Predeparture — Part 2
“Yuki! To what do I owe the pleasure? I heard you had some order of business or another, but I haven’t the slightest clue what it could be.”
The demon king greeted me as I entered his audience chamber. With Haloria’s help, I was able to see him on the day of my visit.
“Hey, sorry for suddenly dropping by. There was just a little thing or two I was hoping to get your opinion on.”
“You were hoping for advice? That’s rather unusual,” he said, as he leaned forward. “I’m very much intrigued. Please, do tell.”
“So uhhh, one of my wives is pregnant.”
A look of shock appeared on his face momentarily, before it was soon replaced by a big smile.
“Congratulations! Which wife was it?”
“The one that’s the Supreme Dragon. So uhhh, the thing is, I heard that interspecies breeding doesn’t really work all that well most of the time. Someone was nice enough to warn me while I was still in Baachsburg.”
His smile vanished and was replaced with a much more serious look.
“I can certainly see your concerns. There tend to be a far greater number of stillbirths. And to be honest, I have absolutely no idea how things might turn out with you two as the parents. It’s unheard of, to say the least.”
“Yeah man, I was thinking the same thing. And that’s kinda why I came to you for advice. I figure you probably know a good doctor or two, so would you mind introducing me to one? Not for free, of course. I’ll pay you back however I can.”
“I already owe you a number of favours, so I certainly wouldn’t mind, even without any repayment.”
“Yeah, but then I’ll feel like I owe you one. Anything that concerns any of my wives is pretty much at the top of my priority list, so I don’t really feel all that great about getting help for free. And I’ve never exactly felt like you owed me anything anyway, soooo, yeah.”
The monarch broke into a light chuckle. “Well, I guess I can think of a few things I might need your help with, if you insist. One of them’s a pretty big problem.”
“I’m gonna need you to elaborate.”
He pursed his lips and nodded.
“It’s something that actually has to do with the reason Nell happened to visit. We’ve been having a few issues getting the races intermingled.”
“Is there a group trying to start a race war or something?”
We had all known that it was an issue, and I knew for a fact that all the monarchs were trying to work around any possible trouble, but apparently, not even their efforts were enough to totally stop it from happening outright.
“It’s nothing that drastic. If we stick to looking at things from the board strokes, integration is actually going quite well. Our cultural exchange programs have been progressing rapidly and smoothly. The main issue is that King Reiyd is having trouble with his countrymen advocating human supremacy.”
Oh… so that’s what’s going on.
“We knew from the start that things wouldn’t go perfectly right off the bat, courtesy of a long history of war, but this doesn’t seem to be just that. The human supremacists seem a little… too organised.”
“So someone’s trying to pull the strings, and it isn’t just that people are still salty?”
“Yes, it seems rather unnatural, like there’s an organisation of sorts working behind the scenes,” said Phynar. “So anyway, I was thinking that the forest you live in is pretty close to Allysia, so I’d appreciate it if you could lend him a hand or two.”
“Sounds like a plan then. I’m guessing he’ll clue me in on all the nitty gritty stuff?”
“That would be best. I’m sure it’d be better for you to hear all the details from King Reiyd himself. I’ll send a few of my men to provide you with backup, so feel free to call on them if you need any help,” he said. “So when are you expecting?”
I shook my head.
“No idea. She’s technically still a dragon, even though she’s transformed into something that’s mostly humanoid. Dragons generally need two years, so it could be that, nine months, or anything in between.”
“I see. In the meantime, I’ll be on the lookout for doctors with the necessary qualifications. What do you think about throwing a party to celebrate your child’s birth? We could make it into a grand celebration and invite all the other monarchs when it happens.”
I matched his entertained smile with one that was much more wry.
“Appreciate the thought, but I’d rather not make it a whole thing. I’m pretty sure my wife wouldn’t be all too happy about it. I will still introduce you though, probably as some schemey ass motherfucker I happen to know.”
The demon king broke into a hearty laugh. “I’d certainly like that, yes. I’m looking forward to it already.” He learned back into his chair as he continued to chuckle. “Oh, that’s right. Do you have to leave right away? Or do you have a moment, once this discussion is over?”
“I don’t mind hanging out.”
“Perfect. Then I’ll put an official end to my duties for the day. Let’s go get ourselves a few drinks.”
He clapped his hands together and stood up from the throne.
“Uhhh, alright. I mean, I’m down, but you sure you don’t have more important stuff to do?”
I’d told Lefi that I’d be gone for up to a few days, so I had plenty of time, but somehow, I couldn’t help but feel as if Phynar was a little busier than I was.
“Look, Yuki. I’m this country’s king. That means that whatever I say goes. I can drink whenever I want, and no one can stop me.”
“Well, you’re the boss, er, king, whatever.”
Is it just me, or is he acting a bit out of character? I could swear he was supposed to be more responsible…
“Lunogill!” Phynar raised his voice, right as I started shaking my head.
“At your service.”
The familiar spymaster appeared in an instant.
“Oh, hey man. You’re back from Rogarde already?”
The whole place was a mess last time I checked. I guess they must’ve made some decent progress, if he’s back.
“Hello. It hasn’t exactly been all that long since our last encounter, but it is nice to see you again. I was able to return because things have calmed down a little,” he said, before turning back to Phynar. “You called, Your Majesty?”
“We’re going drinking. Right now. No objections allowed.”
Lunogill chuckled. “Well, this is certainly a rare treat. I’d be glad to join.”
“Dude… You can’t just tell him he’s not allowed to say no. That’s totally some abuse of power right there.”
With everything said and done, the three of us left the audience chamber with booze on our minds.
“I’m hoooome.” I stumbled as I teleported into the throne room. It was late into the night, the lights were off, and everyone was sound asleep. Or at least almost everyone.
“I am glad to see that you have returned,” said Lefi. Her nose twitched as she turned towards me. “You reek of alcohol.”
Her laid-down position appeared to imply that she was also asleep, and that she had only awoken because she sensed that someone had entered the room.
“Yeah, I kinda ended up getting swept up into having a few drinks with the demon king.”
“I believe not that you have drunk only a few cups. It takes quite the volume of alcohol to induce such a state in you.”
“Might’ve been a few more than a few. Honestly, no idea. I can’t remember.”
My head was spinning. The world was spinning.
Everything was hazy. But I knew for sure that I had one hell of a night.
Phynar was normally impossible to read, but the devil’s nectar prompted him to openly reveal his thoughts. He had spent most of the evening laughing at Lunogill, who couldn’t exactly hold his liquor, and chatting the night away. We shared stories, with him talking about his country and me going on and on about the dungeon.
The food and drink were sourced from royal contractors that only dealt with high end clientele, so everything was about as good as good got. The chefs were skilled enough to give even Leila a fierce competition.
The king had even sent an invite to Draggodt, who had refused because he had apparently sworn not to indulge in luxury ever again, as a form of self-imposed atonement.
It wasn’t as if I didn’t understand where he was coming from. Many Rogardian soldiers had died following his orders. He was the ultimate cause of the war, and he knew. It was a fact that was sure never to leave his side, not for the rest of his life.
The whole day was just another day of drunks being drunks. But I had the feeling that it was an event I would never forget.
My lovely wife wrapped an arm around my waist to support me before heaving a sigh.
“I know not what to do with you. You have returned in this state, after leaving to claim that you had business to attend to. Whatever the case, you must bath—” I pulled her into a hug before she could finish speaking “W-what are you doing?”
With her in my arms, I plopped straight into bed.
“You’re the best. Best girl. No… Best wife. That isn’t it either… Best body pillow… Yes. The best body pillow ever.”
“I wish not for you to settle on that as the final decision… but with the state that you are in, there is nothing to be done.”
“Whaddya mean, there’s nothing we can do? We can do anything. So long as we’re together.”
“Yes, yes, whatever it is you say, I agree. I shall remain by your side, as you wish. Now sleep.”
My consciousness began to fade. As she wrapped one arm around me and pat my head with the other.