The Rogarde Empire
Editor(s): Joker, Speedphoenix
“Her ability to call even the Supreme Dragon to her aid has far exceeded Our expectations,” said the elven queen with a tired sigh. “That hero of yours has wed into a household far outside the norm.”
“She has grown to be quite reliable,” laughed Reiyd. “And I believe most of the growth to be rather recent at that. The young can change drastically, even in the blink of an eye.”
“I’m more interested in that little teensy bit of history that you seem to have with the Supreme Dragon,” said Phynar. “It sounds like you nearly offended her. How exactly did that happen?”
“It was… roughly ten years after We first ascended to the throne. She landed nearby whilst We were on an expedition, which led Us to believe that We were under attack. Rather than dying in vain, We chose to resist and land the first blow, only to discover that her only intention was to eat the fruit of a nearby tree,” said Napholahz. “It was not Our fault. We could not have been aware.”
“That’s… certainly a bit of an unfortunate turn of events,” said a flabbergasted Phynar.
The demon king had no doubt that Yuki would have called the elven monarch a “dumbass” had he been present. And right to her face, at that. He wasn’t one to mince his words, especially not when it was obvious who was at fault.
A knock interrupted Phynar’s thoughts. Upon being admitted, its source revealed itself as Carlotta.
“Please excuse the sudden visit,” said the paladin. “We have just finished analyzing all of the information we gathered.”
“Oh, done already? Why, that’s just wonderful. Would you mind telling us the results?” asked Phynar.
“Right away. After interrogating the spy that Remiero captured, we have come to the conclusion that the fiends are most likely working with the Rogardians.”
“The Rogardians? I believe Rogarde is the empire that lies to the south? And that it sports a doctrine of human supremacy?” asked Phynar.
“Yes, it is,” affirmed Reiyd. “In the past, the Rogardians were also locked in a long conflict with a group of demons, albeit not one from the Demon Realm. However, that seemed to change once the current emperor took up the throne. His beliefs differ greatly from those of his predecessor. They have begun attacking other human states without restraint. Every country in their vicinity has already been consumed.”
“And now they’re working together with the demons that they were at war with just a generation ago? How interesting,” said Phynar. “What does Allysia think of the Empire, Reiyd?”
“We’ve yet to come to arms because we’re still rather far apart, but we’ve certainly participated in a few indirect conflicts,” he said. “We often send support to the countries that lie between us.”
“So you are making use of them as a buffer? It appears that even you are succeeding in fulfilling your duty as a monarch,” said the elven queen.
“That probably wasn’t the best way of phrasing that, Naphy,” said Phynar.
Reiyd smiled wryly.
“It is an unfortunate but necessary measure. If Allysia shared a border with the Empire, then we would have no choice but to go to war.”
“Definitely a good decision, Reiyd,” said Phynar. “Wars between large nations are sure to sow all sorts of chaos, and across the whole continent at that. I’m starting to think that might just be their goal.”
“You think that their goal is chaos?” asked Reiyd.
“That’s what I think, based on everything I’ve been hearing. Their goal seems to be to sow enough chaos to turn the status quo on its head, which is just wonderful, isn’t it? You could make an argument that they’re just ambitious, but their actions seem a teensy bit too deliberate for it to be just that. They have to be planning something big.”
“Deliberate? That is not news We appreciate. We would prefer Our enemies to be mindless, but it cannot be helped. Given that We are already involved, We cannot remain idle any longer. We shall prepare reinforcements to be sent wherever they are needed in short order,” said Napholahz. “It is to Our understanding that the Demon Realm is already under attack.”
“I will be preparing to do the same upon my return,” said Reiyd.
“Thank you,” said Phynar. “We’ll need to be careful. I think we might have made a bit of a mistake and misread our foes. The timing with which these spies have arrived is nearly all the proof we need to conclude that they’ve already forged a military alliance, and it’ll be best for us if we do the same.”
I decided to take a bit of a walk after lunch just to get refreshed before I got back to training. I asked the others if they wanted to come, but Lefi and Enne had turned me down in favour of exploring the village. It was likely something they’d chosen to do for Nell, who had happily decided to accompany me. Our stroll took us outside the village. We didn’t stray too far, however. We mostly stuck to staying near its perimeter.
“Someone seems to be in a good mood.” I looked at the girl walking by my side. She was literally giggling to herself with joy.
“Of course I am! This is a rare chance for me to have you all to myself.”
She twisted her fingers around mine and leaned her head against my shoulder. It went without saying that I enjoyed it, as there was no such thing as a man that didn’t like to be openly fawned on, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was supposed to be on duty. All the other military-related people still seemed hard at work. Oh well, I guess we can probably just call this a part of her lunch break or something.
“What are you going to do once you’re done training?” she asked.
“Hmmmm… We’ve already finished what we came for, and I’ve even checked in with you and got myself a few lessons from the old sword saint guy, so we’ll probably be heading home soonish. I’m pretty sure we’ll just be in the way if we hang around,” I said. “What about you? How long do you think it’ll be before you guys head back?”
“I’m not sure, but I doubt I’ll be able to come home for a long time,” she said. “We’re technically not all that far from Allysia, but we can’t just up and leave, not now. I don’t think I’ll be able to get any time off even after we do get back either. Carlotta said that we’ll probably be forming an alliance and going to war.”
“Going to war, huh…?”
I mean, the fiends did kinda just attack all three countries at once, so I’m not really surprised. But still…
“Mhm…” she squeezed my hand. “I wish people could be more like you, Yuki. If they were, then we’d never have to have any wars.”
“I’m going to go ahead and say uh, yeah no. I’m nothing if not a selfish prick. I only do what I want, and if I was to end up in charge of a country, it’d probably end up collapsing because I’d literally just leave it there to do its own thing. If anything, I’d be causing more wars.”
“I don’t know… You’re way too nice for that.”
“To you, maybe,” I rolled my eyes. “But that’s only because I love you.”
“Well, you at least seem to have a point, so I guess I’ll have to leave it at that,” giggled Nell.
“And what, exactly, are you implying?”
She grinned at me in the sort of adorable way that only she could.
A few minutes of walking later, we eventually reached our destination, the place that Rir had spent the night.
“Hey Rir, looks like you’ve got yourself yet another group of lackeys.”
“Wow, it’s like you’re a king!” said Nell.
The wolf whimpered and shook his head in a display of exasperation. He was literally surrounded by friendly monsters. They almost seemed to be waiting on him, waiting for him to announce his whims so that they could attend to them. Given that they all had collars, I felt it safe to assume that they were likely the elves’ pets. Damn, Rir. You’ve already got a whole group of minions back in the Wicked Forest. And now you get more the moment you show up somewhere new? God damn. Outstanding as fucking always.
“Man, the elves sure do have a whole shitload of pets,” I said. “I had no idea they kept this many.”
The entire area that we had entered was deemed a space dedicated to elven familiars. The monsters’ sizes lay on a huge spectrum and ranged from tiny squirrel-like critters to large, hulking wyverns. They seemed at peace at each other, minding their own business despite the fact that they belonged to different parts of the food chain. I guess they probably have some sort of technique to keep them under control.
“Yeah, the elves are known for turning monsters into their familiars and using them to boost their forces and abilities. They have several units made up of just monsters. You should’ve seen them in action, it was really cool.”
“That does sound pretty cool. Too bad I missed it.”
We pet Rir as we idly chatted for a bit, but soon, we found ourselves interrupted by a certain obnoxious third wheel.
“Oh, hey Yuki! There you are!”
“Phynar? What’s up?”
The king of the demon realm waved at me from atop a tree within the town.
“I’d like to talk to you about your reward, as well as something I’d really like you to do for me,” he said. “I know you’re scheduled for some training in the afternoon, so I thought that this was probably the best time to find you. Am I interrupting anything?”
“Yeah man, you’re interrupting literally everything. Go away.”
“You’re supposed to be polite and say that he’s not bothering us, especially since he came all the way out here just to find you,” lectured Nell, before turning to the demonic monarch. “He’s all yours!”
“Thank you, Nell, and sorry,” said the king with a boyish smile. “The elves have put together a really nice looking reward for you, so go take a look when you’re free. Naphy’s open for negotiations if it doesn’t knock your socks off.”
“And as for the thing I’d like you to do…” he put his hands together and leaned forward over the railing. “I’d really like it if you’d be willing to do some more mercenary work.”