To be a Hero
At long last they met. After years of struggles between demons and the humans, the hero and the demon lord faced one another in their first and last confrontation. The hero had a solid look of confidence and determination. This was the moment he had prepared for.
“I had heard the rumors… But I never expected you to look so… Human.”
The Demon Lord grinned at him. There was a clear malevolence to it, and yet there was something off about it. He couldn’t quite figure out what.
“And with that look in your eyes, no one would question if you were a demon.” She said.
Nios gritted his teeth. Focus, he told himself. This was going to be the last battle. Defeat the Demon Lord and bring some sense of peace to his kingdom. That’s all that mattered right now to him.
“I’m no demon, but I’ll give you a fight that no demon could ever hope to give you!”
The fated battle between the two had begun. The many minions stared in awe at the power on display. It was incredible. The hero’s sword clashed with hers in a flurry of blows that would leave any human or demon begging for mercy. They were the strongest in the kingdom, and it showed.
“You’ll pay for your sins, demon!” Nios shouted.
“Shut up! You know nothing!”
The battle continued for a while, but Nios held the advantage. For every hit he took, he paid her back tenfold. The Demon Lord pushed to the edge. She could hear the unrest from her minions rumbling in the background. She couldn’t lose here. She hadn’t even accomplished her goal.
She had to kill the King.
Nios evaded her lunging attack. He cast a spell on her weapon that turned the sharp steel blade into something about as useful as a carving knife.
“It’s over!” The hero’s blade pointed at her throat. Death, but an inch away from her. Her breathing turned slow, and the pain from each trade had dulled her muscles. This wasn’t a fight she could win. His power was far greater than hers.
This is it, isn’t it? She thought. This was as far as she would go in her quest, and that alone made it impossible to stop herself from crying like a powerless fool.
“I guess I wasn’t powerful enough, just like he said. I never thought I would die like this…”
Nios gripped his sword. Why hadn’t he finished the job already? If he would’ve used all of his strength, there wouldn’t even have been a fight to begin with. The difference between them became clear to him from that first clash. So, why?
“What’s your name, demon?” She looked at him with a confused look. “What does it matter? So you can gloat about your victory to your people?”
“I want to know your name. Tell me, Demon Lord.”
The genuine look of the hero convinced her to soften her expression. She couldn’t remember the last time she had used her given name, so it felt strange coming from her own lips.
“Luna. Are you satisfied now?” She looked aside.
“A rather human-like name, too.” Nios loosened his grip on the blade.
He sheathed his sword. He realized what caused his will to waver. The reason was simple. He couldn’t finish the job because he could sense something he hadn’t in any of the demons he had fought before.
It was almost comedic, in a twisted manner, that the Demon Lord that had put them through so much trembled at the thought of their demise. For a split second, an enormous proposition stirred in the hero’s mind. It was a terrifying one… More so foolish than anything. But in his heart he knew that he couldn’t kill her.
“I’m leaving. And I’m taking your sword with me. Can’t say I defeated the Demon Lord without the spoils to prove it, can I?”
“What? You won't kill me?”
Nios looked back at her. He doubled down on his decision.
“On one condition. Don’t bother us ever again. I don’t want to see you in this kingdom. If I so much as hear of your presence… I won’t hesitate to put an end to your life.”
“And what makes you think I want your mercy, hero?!” She shouted.
“Don’t be stubborn. You don’t want to die here, do you?” He shouted back.
Luna remained silent. Nios’ words reached her more than she expected them to. It was impossible for her to deny it. Her frustration was unmatched, but in the end she was even more afraid to die.
She dropped to her knees. Her minions gasped at the sight of their leader in complete surrender. Some looked at her with disgust, while others couldn’t bear to see her this way… But they all shared a sense of overwhelming disappointment.
“Damn it all…” Luna whispered to herself.
“Goodbye and may our paths never cross again… Luna.”