The tension drained from the camp as the news of our victory spread throughout. Not every soldier was quick to unwind, but they all gradually started to relax.
The dwarf king and I were no exceptions. The two of us were chilling in the tent used for our HQ, and he was examining Enne’s real body.
“Hmmm… Now ain’t this suttin’. You said you made ‘er yerself, eh lad?”
He was treating her with utmost care, handling her blade as one would a precious jewel as he examined every last nook and cranny. And yes, if you’re wondering, I did get Enne’s permission first. This is totally consensual.
“Yeah, I got this one skill called Weapon Transmutation, so I made her into a greatsword. Totally badass, right?”
“Y’aint wrong d’er, eh? ‘Er blade’s so fine it’s making me shi’er in m’bones just hol’in’ ‘er. She’s too hefty for most laddies to lift and has got enoof o’ a bite to slice through a man like he’s made ah bu’er. The magic’s spread through ‘er nice and even too. Real fine, I say.”
“Mmmrrphh… I’m not hefty,” groaned Enne.
“Right, ‘pologies, m’lady.” He turned to face me. “And that lassie is the sword’s spirit, aye? S’real special blade y’got here, eh? We’s got a long his’ory, but I bet there ain’t many dwarves that’ve e’er seen a blade this special. S’really suttin’. Thanks, aye, laddie? For showin’ ‘er, I mean. I owe ya.”
Satisfied, he returned the blade, then continued to speak as he ran his hands through his impressively bushy beard.
“Wea’on Transmutation ain’t too uncommon a skill, but you’d be ‘ard pressed t’fine summone capa’le of makin’ anythin’ decent with it eh? Damned thing eats ‘ay too much mana, and ain’t no way ’round it. Let’s ya make just aboot wha’ever weapon y’could need if yer e’er caught in a tough spot, but our first king was the only guy to e’er master it. E’en though we ain’t done nuttin’ but spen’in our lives si’in’ by the forge, aye?”
According to the dwarf, their first king had transmuted hundreds of weapons in a single day, many of which are still regarded as national treasures. National treasures, huh…? Honestly, Enne’s cuteness is totally national treasure tier, so I’m pretty confident that I can say I’ve at least made something on par with the dwarven king’s stuff, but I highly doubt I’ll ever be able to make anything better than her, ever.
Mostly because I just don’t feel like it. I’m already satisfied, and I don’t really see a point in trying.
Given everything that happened over the course of the war, I couldn’t deny that I certainly would’ve been in some pretty deep shit without the divine spear, but that didn’t mean I was interested in having several weapons that ridiculous. And honestly, I don’t even want the divine spear. I kinda want to toss it in the ocean somewhere and just forget it exists.
“Y’see lad, that Weapon Transmu’ation skill, eh? But best we can do with it is make su’in pre’y good, but it ain’t better than what we get when we go aboot usin’ the gud ol’ ‘ammer ‘n flame, since we ain’t got the mana we need to start makin’ any’ing better. S’to say that yer pro’y the closest thing there is to our first king. Is a mighty fine achievement, lad.”
At first, I thought he was just exaggerating, but a moment of consideration led me to realize that he wasn’t. Weapon Transmutation took much more mana than the average person had. The only reason I was able to casually use it all the time was because I had way too much mana, given the particular nature of my body. Using the skill several times in succession was impossible without an inflated mana pool, which in turn meant that it would be nigh impossible to level.
Yeah, I guess it really would be kinda hard to put out something decent, huh?
“If y’ve got any spare time on yer hands, you can swing by where we are, eh? You’d be welcome, laddie, anytime.”
“You know what, I think I probably will. Sounds like a fun place to go for a vacation or something.”
I’m really liking the sound of it. Seems hella fun.
The king of the beasts stepped forward after the dwarven king acknowledged my answer with a nod.
“If you are going to visit them, then you should come visit us as well, Demon Lord. The dwarves are effectively our neighbours, their borders are only a step away from ours. I assure you we will offer you no shortage of entertainment.”
“Sure, sounds good. I’m totally do-—oh shit.”
“Is there an issue?” The lionkin cocked a brow.
Isn’t it about time for the warwolves to stop by again? Shiiiiit. I totally forgot because of the war. The wedding ring is literally the only thing I have ready. Hell, they might’ve already shown up. I mean, I’m pretty sure everything’ll be alright, even without me there, but uhhhh… oops. I fucked up.
“So uhh, beastking dude, my guy. You know the warwolves?”
“Of course. They are a clan headed by a rather young man. Some of them joined us in this war as well, but I do believe they are not present right at this moment. I have already sent them home.”
Uhhhh… I probably should’ve stopped by and said hi. Yeah, that’s another one on me.
“Yeah, so I’m actually about to marry their chief’s daughter, so I’m actually expecting them to be showing up on my doorstep anytime now.”
“Really? I was not aware that you were related to the Gyrolls. In that case, I will be working them hard to ensure that they are quickly promoted through the ranks.”
Is it just me, or did I kinda just kinda do a thing and mess with their future and whatnot? Oh well, whatever. I’mma just pretend I didn’t hear that.
“Sooooo uhhhh… yeah, I’ve kinda really gotta go. Like, right now. I know I should probably be sticking around to help with the cleanup and whatnot, but I really don’t want to keep them waiting. Sorry.”
Winning the war was certainly a major milestone, but it didn’t mean that we could just walk away. The kings were likely to stick around for quite some time in order to negotiate with the empire. I kinda don’t really give a shit about Phynar because we negotiated terms and shit ahead of time, and he knows what to expect, but it kinda feels like I’m shoving my share of the work onto all the other monarchs as well, and they seem like pretty good people, so I feel pretty bad about it.
“There ain’t a reason for y’to be so worried, aye lad? Ya done good, and we ain’t gonna com’lain ’cause ya needed to leave.”
“Dealing with the aftermath will be our way of making up for our inability to deal with the dragon,” said the beast king.
“Thanks. Appreciate i—wait a second. Hey! Eldegaria!”
I called out to Leila’s teacher, who happened to be passing by.
“What is it?” she asked, as she approached.
“You feel up to paying us a visit? I’m sure Leila’d be happy to see you.”
“I appreciate the offer, but I will be returning home shortly. These old bones of mine need some rest, not another journey.”
Yeah, makes sense to me. She could honestly probably chill out in our hotspring, but I probably don’t want to push her. Oh well.
“Alright, in that case, I’ll see if we can grab Leila and head over to where you guys live once I’m done all my business.”
“You’re welcome at any time.”
Damn, I’ve got a lot of places to be. Looks like I’ll be busy for quite some time. Not in a bad way, of course. No way I’m not going to have plenty of fun.
“Are you leaving already?” asked Phynar, who had just finished giving a set of orders. “You can come back whenever you want, right?”
“Yup, magical dungeon mumbo jumbo.”
I’d already placed a door inside the empire, one big enough to fit even Orochi, the largest of my pets. As usual, I made it so that the door in the empire wasn’t directly linked to any of the ones we had at home. It connected to the Wicked Forest instead. A necessary precaution.
“To teleport with such ease is not even within Our capabilities. The standard you set for Us is ridiculous. It is Our belief that, if you are to take this country’s throne as an individual of such might, you are deserving of another title, Demon Lord. What do you say to Arcane Autarch?”
“Ehhh, it’s just dungeon stuff. Honestly, I’d rather everyone just keep calling me Yuki or Demon Lord or whatever. I’ll probably have no idea you’re talking about me if you suddenly start referring to me as the Arcane Autarch.”
Not gonna lie, it sounds pretty badass, but like, Iunno, it’s just not me, you know? And I kinda like how people randomly call me demon lord.
“You have something to say?” I turned to Phynar, who had been eyeing me intently.
“Yup! I’d like you to stop by once you’re done with your business so we can have a teensy little conversation. There’s no rush, but the sooner the better.”
“Uhhh… sure, I guess?”
I don’t really see why not. I was more or less planning to sit on the sidelines and kinda watch everything happen anyway, so it’s not like I’d really have to go all that far out of my way to pay a visit or two.
“Alright, I’ll be off then.” I turned to my pets, who were in the midst of being spoiled. Apparently, the soldiers had seen them in battle and greatly appreciated all their efforts. “Aight boys, let’s bounce.”
With a sleepy Enne mounted on my shoulder, I approached the massive door I’d installed and warped away from the empire.
“Thanks guys, you did great work out there. I’ll give you all a shout next time I need something.”
I spread my wings and headed for the cave right after thanking my pets. Heading through it, I reached for the door deep inside and warped straight to the true throne room.
“Guess who’s back?”
It was already kind of late, so I whispered as opposed to announcing my presence with a shout. Enne was already asleep, so I placed her against the wall next to the door.
“Mmmnn… you have returned? Then I suppose it is my duty to welcome you home,” said Lefi, who had risen from her bed.
“Thanks, and sorry for waking you up.”
“I mind not.” She scanned my body as she raised her eyes to meet mine. “I see that you are uninjured, but the flow of your mana has been disturbed. You have abused your elixirs once again, have you not?” She scolded. “Such reckless behaviour.”
“Guess there’s no hiding it from you,” I said with a chuckle. “So you remember that helldrake thingy that the Spirit Lord beat, back in the day? The empire brought it back.”
“That is strange. Did he not immolate it with a flame powerful enough to destroy the very world itself? I recall as such.”
Uhhh… did I hear that right? Actually, you know what? I’m just not going to ask.
“I guess that’s probably why they couldn’t get its whole corpse. The head and torso were the only parts they had. The rest just came from a bunch of random big ass monsters. I’m guessing it was probably a helluva lot weaker than it was when the Spirit Lord took it down, but it still nearly kicked my poor ass.”
I take that back. It wasn’t even the stupid dragon kicking my ass. It was my own goddamn spear. Damned zombie was so slow it literally never even hit me.
“So uhhh… side note, I got a country.”
“…I beg your pardon?”
“You know the thing we were up against, the Rogardian Empire? Yeah, I’m its emperor now. I’m not actually going to be running the show or anything, and I’m pretty much just its figurehead, but yeah.”
“I fail to understand. I see not how such a set of events could have come to be, but I will refrain from questioning you further. I ask only this, are we now considered royalty?”
“Apparently, yeah. Either way, I’d say I’m a little more of a big deal than your average small time demon lord now. What do you think?”
“I see not how the path your career now follows is not the one you intended,” she said with a tired laugh.
Talking to her was putting my heart at ease. I could feel myself relaxing more and more with every passing moment. The stress was leaving me with all the swiftness of a coursing river.
“What is it?”
“Being with you is really soothing.”
She chuckled. “Do you require a kiss in celebration of your return?”
“Please and thanks.”
“…That was meant to be said in jest,” she smiled. “But very well. Lower yourself to your knees.”
I did as I was told and sat on my knees. My eyes were lined up with her shoulders. She placed both hands in my hair and started running them through it.
“I am glad that you have returned.”
After pecking me on the forehead, she pulled me into an embrace, my head against her chest.
“Well, yeah. I’d do anything to come back to you.”
Still on my knees, I wrapped my arms around her waist and squeezed her tight. As if to not let even the slightest bit of warmth escape.