An Overdue Return to Allysia
Editor(s): Joker, Speedphoenix
Rir and I went through the door with its other side placed near the city before running through a set of grassy fields. Business as usual.
We were doing our best to avoid any and all major roads.
I doubted that it was a good idea to have Rir zoom around in plain sight, regardless of the fact that all the races were supposed to be on better terms than before. I highly doubted that there would be anyone not caught off guard by the super speedy wolf, so we opted to take paths less travelled. To a horse, it would have been an inconvenience, but Rir spent most of his time in the Wicked Forest. An unpathed road or two did nothing to impede his speed.
He was growing faster and faster as he leveled up, and he’d already gotten to roughly the speed of a sports car. On his back, a journey that a coach would need several days to make could be completed in less than one.
With that said, we were going a little under his top speed. He was sure to tire if he kept running as quickly as he could, and I wasn’t looking to wear him out. I myself hated flying at top speed. The wind hurt, I would struggle to keep my eyes open, and the bugs I crashed into would leave me wounded. That was why I always had to shield myself with magic.
Speaking of levels… let’s see. I’m 212, Rir is… 205.
Rir had actually been a higher level than me for a little while, but I overshot him following the helldrake incident. Us being neck and neck was nothing new. We were always roughly even, and we’d take turns getting ahead of each other.
That was something that didn’t seem like it would be changing anytime soon. Together, we would continue to climb until we reached Lefi’s heights. It’s gonna be hard though. I think she said that you start needing hundreds of kills per level by the time you hit 500ish.
“Man, this world’s lore is hella messed up, now that I think about it. Even Fenrirs aren’t strong enough to take on the stuff in the western part of the forest. How the hell did they get scaled so high?”
The wolf barked in confusion.
“Oh, uhhh, it basically means that they’re pretty much way too strong. They’re way more powerful than everything else and it basically makes no sense. We’re pretty much limited to picking off strays.”
Strays referred not to the monsters that wandered too far, but the ones that lived near the western area’s outer ring. They pretty much wandered the boundaries because they were stronger than the monsters in the southern and eastern areas, but not strong enough to really live in the west.
Again, the wolf barked.
“Nah, don’t worry about it. I know you’re trying. Just means we’re not quite there yet. Man… kinda sucks. I wish I could just lock myself in the dungeon and chill all day instead of grinding.”
He barked a third time to express his agreement.
“Yeah, you’re right. We gotta be able to fight off any intruders, so it’s just how it is. Oh yeah, that reminds me. You find yourself a girl yet?”
The answer came in the form of a hesitant but affirmative woof.
“Nice. Hey, don’t be so shy. It’s a good thing. Lemme know if you need anything, aight? I’ll always getcha whatever you need.”
The casual chat continued until we Alshir’s gates were in plain sight.
The area’s population was too dense for us not to be spotted, even when we tried to avoid the main roads. The humans that were coming and going from the capital looked at us in awe and fright. Though they weren’t as good at sensing magic, and thereby determining if someone was strong, they were intimidated by Rir nonetheless.
We tried to be as friendly-looking as possible as we casually made our way to the gate, at which point in time we were greeted by someone with that classic, look-at-me-I’m-super-important, higher-ranking guard kind of look. He ran towards us with cold sweat dribbling from him like a fountain.
“I-Identify yourself” he said.
“Hey, I’m Yuki, a demon lo-, erm demon. I’m here to see the king so we can work on something together. Pretty sure my name should be on a list somewhere.”
“Understood, please give me a moment to verif—”
He was cut off before he could finish.
“Oh, hey Nell! I guess you’re here to get me?”
“I thought it might be hard for you to get in by yourself,” she giggled before turning to the guard. “Don’t worry about him. I’ll take this from here.”
“Y-yes m’lady! O-orders received!”
Though still curious, he stepped out of the way and let us through. And that, gentlemen, is how you know you’ve married someone important.
Grabbing Nell’s hand, I casually pulled her on board and had Rir head for the castle.
“Thanks for the ride,” she said. “Is Enne not with you?”
“Nah, but Rir’s here, so I’m pretty sure everything’ll be fine. Might have a bit of a hard time if I have to fight another helldrake, but I doubt we’ll be running into something that strong for a while. Guys like that don’t exactly just suddenly come out of the woodwork en masse.”
“I’d hope not,” she said, with a chuckle. “I don’t think you’ll need much in the way of force this time. We think they’re more likely to give up than fight, so having Rir around might be for the best.” I’m guessing that’s why Phynar told me to bring him. “And then there’s even the benefit of his fur. It’s always been really nice…”
He replied to her with a grateful bark as she messed around with his fur.
“So how are things going on your end anyway? Like, are people actually willing to cooperate, or?”
“It’s going pretty well. I think roughly 60% are looking forward to cooperating and the other 40% are a little more uncertain, but everyone knows that we’re going to be entering a new era, and there’s a bit of shared excitement. That’s why we really don’t want any negative sentiments to spread.”
“Right… so how much have the human supremacists done so far anyway?”
“Well… they haven’t really made any big moves. They’re just kind of sneaking around and spreading rumours. That’s enough to start getting people anxious, and then it just… spreads.”
The words were spoken not in her casual Nell tone, but the more serious one she put on for work.
Times like these, she really comes off as one helluva badass.
“Alright, time to pull out my secret demon lord tech and expose the shit out of them. Been a while since my however many it was secret weapons have seen any real use.”
“We’ll be expecting great things from you then.” Nell laughed as she spun around and turned to face me. “Oh, and how have things been going with Leila?”
“Uh… I mean… I guess we’ve made a bit of progress? We took a walk the other day.”
“That’s good. She’s really good at keeping herself together, but she’s a bit of a late bloomer, so you’ll have to take the lead. Okay?”
“Y-yeah… sure. I’ll try. Honestly, her being so pretty and mature makes it so that being alone with her makes me a bit nervous. It’s not like with you guys, where I can just be laid back.”
Well, save for when we cook together I guess. It’s really just, you know… when we’re all alone and yeah. You get it. She’s got them ara ara vibes.
“Wow, that is rude!” said Nell, with a playful pout. “Are you trying to say you don’t feel anything when you’re alone with the rest of us?”
Naturally, I decided to play along.
“With you, it’s more of a sense of security. You’re so heroic and charming that I just can’t help but relax.”
“Hmmmm… well, okay I guess we can leave it at that for today.”
Taking my hand, she intertwined our fingers and gave them a squeeze.