Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Before we get into the weeds, I’m just going to go ahead and say that I’m not letting you involve Lefi in any of this,” I said. “If that was what you were planning, then I’m going to call this off and cut ties. I’ve already long sworn never to put Lefi’s power to use. At least not like this.”
It was an incredibly rude thing to say to just about anyone at the negotiating table, let alone a literal monarch. But it was necessary. And apparently, something that Phynar found rather interesting, if his curious gaze was anything to go by.
“Well, that’s certainly quite the statement, and I’m not quite sure I understand it.”
“Uhhhhh, well, I kind of don’t want to make my family members kill people? Iunno, seems pretty obvious to me.”
Not even a country meant much of anything to her. She could easily transform an entire sovereign entity to nothing but an expansive patch of ash overnight. But I had no intention of making her do such a thing. I wasn’t a fan of the idea of putting her incredible power to use, especially not in a way that would only leave a bad taste in both our mouths. As far as I’m concerned, all Lefi and the others need to do is kick back, chill, and live out their lives in peace. If anyone is going to wind up knee deep in shit, I’m going to make sure it’s me. Because that’s just what it means to be the man of the house.
“Oh, and just saying, the same goes for Nell. I know that I’m at least going to have to concede a bit, when it comes to her, seeing as how she’s a soldier and whatnot, but if you start using her to start wars, just ‘cause you want to take shit over, then you’re the one I’m going to end up punching in the face.”
“Sorry Nell, but that’s final.” I cut her off. “Doesn’t matter what you say, I’m not changing my mind.”
She still seemed like she had more to say, but she didn’t try to change my mind. My harsh tone had served to convey my intentions. As far as I’m concerned, her safety is number one. I don’t care how much she loves her country or whatever, fuck that. Hell, I’m enough of a scumbag to ask which she loves more, me or Allysia, if it comes down to it. I’m going to make sure she stays safe, even if she hates or resents me for it.
Rigid personal concerns aside, I was willing to compromise on just about every front, as I cared little for the details. That wasn’t to say that I wasn’t being incredibly rude, but apparently, Phynar didn’t quite seem to mind. In fact, he seemed to be giving me a look of admiration, almost as if he was, in a way, looking up to me.
“You know, Yuki, I have to say, you never do cease to impress me,” he said. “Don’t you worry, we have no intention of earning your ire. I don’t mean to come off as rude, but Mrs. Leficios is… too much for us to handle to begin with. The idea of putting her power to use is more terrifying than it is appealing.”
Yeah, I can see that. Messing with shit way out of your league is never a good idea, since you never really know what comes out of it. One moment, you work with Lefi, next, Lefi’s enemies start coming after you, and boom. You’re stuck in a puddle of shit.
“I won’t be able to give you too many details about the plans we have involving Nell right away, but I can immediately swear that we have no intention of having her do anything that might earn your disapproval. You’re a great ally to have, and I’d totally love to keep working with you for many long years to come. And now that we know you’re married to the Supreme Dragon, we’ll make sure we’re extra careful. I’d rather not have her turn the whole continent to ash.”
The demon realm’s king had dropped his usual sly mask in favour of a much more serious expression. I could tell that, for once, he really did mean exactly what he said.
“Alright. My bad,” I said. “Shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.”
“Oh, no, no don’t worry, I understand. It’s a reasonable assumption, given where you stand,” he said. “But again, Yuki, I really have to say that I’m impressed. It seems you really do love Mrs. Leficios. Worrying about someone that powerful wasn’t even in the scope of our thought processes.”
“You know, you say that, but I probably would’ve ended up having her fight my battles for me if I wasn’t some stupidly overpowered demon lord.” I scratched the back of my neck as I spoke. His honest praise made me feel nothing but awkward.
“I doubt that.” Phynar flashed me a teasing grin, as if very clearly aware of exactly how I was feeling. “We all know that nothing would change. Isn’t that right, Nell?”
“It certainly is,” responded the smiling brunette. “He would try his hardest to protect me even if I was stronger than him.”
“…Right, so moving on, what was that about being a mercenary or whatever?”
I decided to put an immediate end to their teasing by steering the conversation back on track.
“I was hoping that we would be able to ask you to step in if things started to get even the teensiest bit out of our control,” he said. “And to that end, I was actually hoping to ask Nell a favour as well.”
“That’s right,” said the king with a cheerful nod. “Reiyd and I were thinking that we’d really appreciate it if you could help us out by contacting him for us whenever we run into trouble. That way, you can stop by your home every once in a while, even if you’re being shuffled around for work.”
“T-Thank you very much, King Phynar!”
“Don’t thank me,” chuckled the horned blond. “Thank Reiyd. It was his suggestion.”
Thanks Kingpin. I owe you one. What they were saying, in other words, was that they wanted me to step onto the battlefield in Nell’s place. Which was exactly what I wanted.
“Alright, works for me,” I said. “Sounds like we’ll be working together again, though that probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I was more or less planning on it, so long as you weren’t trying to make my wives go to war.” I looked him in the eyes. “And I think it’s safe to take your word.”
“That’s wonderful. Having someone as strong as you on our side will be awfully reassuring.” He breathed a sigh of relief.
Speaking of going places to help people, I should really put a door in Alshir asap. Extending my territory into the Allysian capital would not only allow Nell to stay home for longer, but also provide me easy access to whatever war front I needed to visit. I’ve already got a pretty good amount of territory outside the southern Wicked Forest, so I can probably get it done in about a week if I really try.
Welp. Alright fiend fags. I don’t care what you dickwads are thinking, what your goals are, or what you believe in. Either way, it’s time for you to get fucked.
Two groups of men stared each other down within the courtyard of a Rogardian fortress, one situated near the country’s northern border. The first was led by Gojim, Chief of the Fiends. And the other, Draggodt Gandowell Rogarde, the twenty second emperor of Rogarde. The troops that stood behind their leaders, the most elite amongst both their ranks, were tense. Many were strained and on guard, expecting a battle to break out at any moment.
Though they were all veterans, the sharpest gaze belonged to none amongst the rank and file, but rather, Gojim himself. He was staring at the emperor not as one would a co-conspirator, but rather, a hated foe.
“I thought we were supposed to be working together,” he growled. “But it seems like I was mistaken.”
“And whose fault is that?” The emperor answered him with an annoyed scowl. For his position, he was a young man, one who had yet to reach even his thirtieth year. “We would have been able to follow through on the plan if the undead dragon you were so proud of had at least held its own. Did you really think that we would be able to keep marching after such a major mishap?”
“We bought you more than enough time, Draggodt!” he shouted. “Do you know how many of my men died, emperor? Just because you chose not to flank?”
The fiends had launched a surprise attack on Phynar’s southeastern base. They then leveraged their momentum to attack a second base, the southeastern headquarters under the king’s command, but the undead dragon’s untimely defeat had turned the wind in his favour. He was able to regain control of his chain of command and surmount a defense capable of driving them off. And because the empire had failed to follow through on their flank, many a fiend had perished in the process.
“I don’t see why you would think that to be my fault. It wouldn’t have happened if your men weren’t so incompetent,” spat Draggodt. “I even sent a message to convey my intentions. Your losses are not my responsibility.”
Gojim furrowed his brow in rage, grabbed the other man by the collar, and raised him into the air.
“If you try to push your luck any further, I will kill you,” he snarled.
The imperial troops immediately drew their weapons in their monarch’s defense, which led the fiends to do the same. It was a tense situation, one that bordered on explosive.
But the emperor didn’t care. Not in the slightest.
“If you want to kill me, then stop hesitating and do it,” he said with a snort. “Though I assure you, our destruction will be mutual.”
The irritated redheaded demon spent a few moments silently seething before letting go of the other man’s collar. As he wasn’t exactly calm, he wound up giving the human a bit of a shove in the process. But again, the emperor didn’t mind. He did stumble backwards a few steps, but he soon regained his balance, brushed off his robe, and continued to speak as if completely unconcerned.
“Remember, demon, we’re only doing this for ourselves, not each other. We’re not allies and we’re in no way obligated to help each other. We’re merely cooperating because we happen to share a common foe. And need I remind you that we both agreed on those terms?”
“I know… I know.” Gojim breathed a frustrated sigh. “But we have to work on our communications. I do not find it easy to tell you humans apart. If you don’t want to die, then make it easier for us to distinguish you.”
“We will. We don’t want to lose this war either, after all,” said Draggodt. “Rest assured, demon. If you do your part properly, then we will do ours.”
After wrapping up the trustless conversation, the two leaders returned to their respective territories.