In the Dungeon
Editors: Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix, Joker
Analyzing the man had confirmed that he was indeed the king I was looking for. Of course, I hadn’t the need to. His identity was fairly obvious given the circumstances, but I had done so just for confirmation.
“Who am I?” I glanced at the girl and confirmed that she was still asleep before making my next move. “Well, I suppose this might help you understand.”
I materialized my wings and showed them to the king in order to express my identity.
“So you are are a demon? I see. So you plan to use the chaos wrought by this situation to slay me?” The king smiled in a self-deprecating manner. “I am afraid that all your effort has gone to waste. Nothing will come of my death.”
“I know there’s no point in killing you. I wasn’t really planning on it in the first place. Hell, if I wanted to kill you, I would’ve already done it,” I said. “I’m actually here to do the opposite. I’m here to save you, so you better be grateful, y’hear?”
“A demon… wishes to save me?”
“Well, I am certainly a demon, yeah, but I’m not here on anyone’s orders. I’d probably be the guy giving orders instead. I’m not just a demon, king. I’m a demon lord, a demon lord that happens to live in the Wicked Forest.”
“I see. So you are the one responsible for the Alfyro incident…” The man’s eyes sharpened and his eyes began to glint. His expression revealed that, though he was all banged up, he was still a king, a man of a high enough calibre to stand at the top of a country. “But that only confuses me all the more. If that were truly you, then why would you be here, of all places?”
My response was to shrug in an exaggerated manner. “Hey, don’t make it sound like I’m here ‘cause I wanna be,” I said. “You see, the problem is that there’s been an influx of dumb humans trespassing on my property lately. I managed to find out that the ring leader responsible for it all is this country’s prince, so I happened to decide to pay him a visit and put the poor retarded thing down. So you know, I show up and find out that the whole thing’s gone to shit.”
“That does seem rather unfortunate.” The king chuckled in amusement before quickly turning sombre. “So that idiotic excuse of a son of mine truly did attempt to lay claim to the Wicked Forest.”
“Yeah, he did. Come on man, you’ve really gotta start keeping a better eye on your kids. Anyway, long story short, I’d prefer if Prince Douchebag kept his grubby little hands off this country’s throne. Dealing with all the soldier’s he’ll send my way is gonna be one helluva chore,” I said. “So here’s the deal. I’ll help you out of here if you agree to rein in the idiots that want to invade my lands.”
“So that was your purpose… I now understand why you have appeared before me, but I doubt that I will be able to do as you say.”
The king backed away from his cell’s bars, sat down, and leaned against one of the walls. He seemed tired, exhausted even. His majestic aura had all but vanished.
“I am but a foolish ruler, an incompetent king. I had known that my son was up to something. I found his actions suspicious, but I was unable to act out against them.” The king spoke in a self-loathing tone of voice. “Do you truly believe that a dullard such as myself could truly maintain control of an entire country?”
“Well man, you’re going to have to. ‘Cause if you don’t, then I’ll end up killing more of your countrymen than you can count. That stupid son of yours wants my land, but I’m not about to just hand it over on a silver platter. I like my peace, king, and he’s threatening it. That’s why I’m going to kill him and everyone he sends at me without a moment’s hesitation.”
“…So you are saying that I should stop grumbling about my own weakness and simply get to work?”
“Basically, yeah. Oh and just putting this out there, the people that live in this city seem to want to see you reinstated. In fact, the church and their happy little friends were planning to storm the castle tonight. Just to save you.”
“The church? Really now?”
The king narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
“Hey, don’t ask me. All I know is that they mentioned something about being at odds with the prince’s faction, and standing to lose lots if it managed to come into power. Hence the rescue op,” I said. “So it doesn’t really matter whether you were planning out your retirement or whatever. The dam has already been broken, king, and there are few capable of truly stopping the flood.”
“I see…” the king muttered as if amused. “I suppose it is a parent’s duty to atone for their child’s sins.”
He seemed to hesitate for a moment before heaving a long, heavy sigh. He then got to his feet and turned to face me. All the exhaustion on his face had vanished, gone with the wind as if it had never been to begin with. His eyes shone with a powerful, majestic light.
“Very well. I agree to your terms. Please assist in removing me from this prison.”
“Perfect.” I smirked. “Oh, but fair warning. If you ever antagonize me, then I’ll kill you and everyone else that took part in your plans without fail. I’m sure you wouldn’t want this poor little daughter of yours sobbing all over the grave you dug for yourself now, would you?”
For some odd reason, the king responded to my threat with a smile.
“I believe that the average threat in such a scenario would be that you would slay my daughter.”
I didn’t respond. I couldn’t see my own face—nor could the king given my mask, but I was sure that the expression on my face looked fairly similar to that of a shocked Pikachu.
“I can’t say that I ever expected my daughter’s hero to be a demon lord. What an interesting turn of events.” The king smiled. “Ah, right. There is one thing that I must say.”
“What now?” I groaned.
The king bowed. He bowed as deeply as his old back would allow.
“I thank you for rescuing my daughter.” The dignified, kingly mask he wore was nowhere to be seen. Instead, it had been replaced by an expression that could only ever belong to a loving father.
“Pft. It was nothing. The perverted prick abusing her just happened to catch my eye and tick me off. That’s all there was to it,” I scoffed. “Anyway, let’s get the hell outta here. Reinforcements will be here soon, so we really should hurry the hell up.”
I grabbed the cell’s bars and wrenched them open, creating a space large enough for the king to pass through. My hearing, which had been enhanced by sheer virtue of the fact that I was a demon lord, had picked up on a faint clattering coming from up above. Sounds like they must’ve found one of the soldiers I KO’d.
My cover was blown. But I didn’t particularly mind. The king and his daughter were safe. I no longer ran the risk of them being offed just ‘cause I’d been detected. Sweet. Looks like I’ll finally get a chance to blow off all the stress I’ve been building up lately.
A wide grin appeared on my face as I drew Zaien from within my inventory. I could feel the sword respond with glee. Man Zaien, you sure do love work. Them be some corporate slave vibes you’re giving off right there.
Wait a second. That’s not it at all. You’re just happy you get to make people bleed, aren’t you? God damn it. Wasn’t getting rid of the curse supposed to fix that damned personality of yours? After further consideration, I realized that while the blade still did drain the blood of those it injured, it at least no longer afflicted them with a curse. That is at least a step up, right? Yeah. Let’s just go with that.
On a completely unrelated note, the mask I was currently wearing was the full faced one as opposed to the one with a hole around the mouth. I had swapped it out right before I first entered the castle. Iunno why, but I just like this one more.
“You good enough to walk?”
“Then carry your daughter. I’ll make you a nice clear path.”
The king exited his cell through the hole I made, ran over to his daughter, and lifted her in up in his arms.
“All her injuries have vanished!” He exclaimed. “Was the potion you gave her an elixir?”
“An elixir? Nah, it was just a regular high-grade potion.”
“Is that not precisely what an elixir is? I know not if this city has another in circulation. However, I will ensure that I pay you back in kind. And again, I truly thank you for using an item of such value on my daughter.”
Wait. Seriously? High-grade potions were that valuable? I had always assumed that they weren’t anything all that special. The combination of their name and the fact that Lefi had casually suggested that everyone should have a few in reserve had led me to assume that they weren’t all that special. I had assumed that most combatants had one or two in stock, as per the dragon girl’s suggestion. Thinking about its ridiculously powerful effects, however, soon caused me to accept that I was in the wrong. I mean, it works. And there’s nothing wrong with things that work, even if they are a taaaaaad bit expensive. Right? Okay yeah, no. Who am I kidding? I should probably be a bit more careful about using these things outside the Wicked Forest from now on.
I smiled awkwardly to myself before heading up to the surface and all its commotion, the king and his daughter in tow.
Editor’s note (Joker): Hey, guys! Joker here. Man, how about another double release, huh? Boss Young’un is workin’ his tail off, I tell you what. Try not to get TOO used to it though. Once he gets a job, I’m sure the amount of releases will drop off again. Don’t mean to ruin any dream, just trying to be realistic. Also, when we do have a double release, I’ll only put my note on the latest chapter. I tend to run dry of material if I try and do two, so that’s why. All right, we got two letters today, so thanks to zekkendo and Tonatsi. zekkendo in particular, since he mentioned that he’s been curious about DnD, so I’m putting out an invitation to anyone who might want to join in on a game on the website Roll20.net. I’m still pretty new to it myself, but I do play in a game weekly on Mondays, but have found myself wanting to play more. So if you’re interested, DM me on Discord @PhantomThiefJoker#4845 and I’ll try and get it all set up. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, leave it below and I’ll answer. See y’all in the next chapter!