Chapter 5:

Servants of the Demon Emperor

The Children of Eris

“All of you, stand before me.”Bookmark here

Without hesitation, his generals did as instructed, not daring to make contact with their master's eyes.Bookmark here

Are they obedient because they have no choice, or is it because they fear me? Knowing Eris, I wouldn't be surprised if these 'loyal' generals turned on me if they didn't fear or respect me.Bookmark here

“Kneel,” he said and they did .
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“What would you have your servants do, your majesty?” Bookmark here

If I only have a year to create an empire, then I can’t afford to waste too much time on things. Once I know what we’re capable off, I can plan accordingly and figure out ways of appeasing Eris and not giving in and breaking like she wants. Bookmark here

If I play this right, I should be able to do both;  I just need to play the part of the Demon Emperor as best I can.Bookmark here

“If you are to be my loyal servants, I must know what you are all capable off. One by one, I want you to tell me your skills, your magical and physical capabilities, what other powers or abilities you have, what weapons you can use, and how you think you could best serve me and my ambitions. Abaddon.”
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“Yes, Lord Emperor" I am a strong warrior and a good general; I can use fire magic, but I don’t know how to limit it.”Bookmark here

…What?Bookmark here

“What do you mean?” Bookmark here

“I’m able to use it in an attack, but can’t control its power at all, Master.” Abaddon lowered his head in shame. Bookmark here

I already regret picking you.Bookmark here

“If it shames you to admit it, why confess it to me?”
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“Because you are my Master and I will never keep anything from you.”Bookmark here

David smiled. “Is that so?”Bookmark here

Abaddon looked up into David’s eyes. “Of course!”Bookmark here

Good to know.Bookmark here

“Continue."Bookmark here

“Yes. I can create a portal that summons Machai, but only a few of them at a time.”Bookmark here

What the hell is a Machai?Bookmark here

“How many and how often?”Bookmark here

“…I do not know, Master.”Bookmark here

David frowned. “How can you not know such important things?”Bookmark here

“Forgive me, Master!” Abaddon bowed lower than ever before. “I haven’t used the ability much, so I am unfamiliar with how it works.”Bookmark here

“I see.” David sighed. “No matter. We will find out once you test it.”Bookmark here

“Of course, Lord Emperor,” Abaddon said, slightly relieved. “I am skilled with all weapons, but I’m best with my claymore. No matter if you asked me to be a general, a frontline fighter or your personal guard, I have the utmost confidence that I could be any of them, Lord Emperor!”Bookmark here

“Are you saying that I would need your protection?” David asked in a very deep voice. Bookmark here

“Far from it, Lord Emperor!” Abaddon shot upright to face David. Upon seeing his Master's cold gaze however, Abaddon lowered his head again. “I didn’t mean to insult your strength!”Bookmark here

David put his hand over his mouth to hide his smile.Bookmark here

All it took to get him that scared of me was to change my voice this little?  That must mean that I am stronger than Abaddon, one of the most fearsome Demons in myth and legend. Bookmark here

It was then that David realised what he was doing and how it felt. Bookmark here

He bit his lip hard and scowled.Bookmark here

I’m playing right into Eris’s hands! Don't lose sight of yourself, David!Bookmark here

“Do not speak so carelessly from now on."Bookmark here

“I will be more careful, Lord Emperor!”Bookmark here

“Mania.”Bookmark here

“Yes, Master,” she said, smiling seductively. “While this might be arrogant for me to say, I am a highly skilled manipulator, a strong fighter and I can use my natural abilities as a succubus to force desires upon people as you would like.”Bookmark here

“Oh? As I like, you say?” David repeated with a harsh tone.Bookmark here

“M-Master?”Bookmark here

“Tell me, Mania, would you ever try to use your powers on me?”Bookmark here

She shot up right, her expression filled with dread. “What?”Bookmark here

When David had been going through the list of Demons that Eris had given him to choose from, he had worried about picking a succubus. Bookmark here

They were, after all, demons that made men lust for them, drain their life force or force them to do whatever they wanted them to do, and then kill them.Bookmark here

If Mania could turn that power on either me or the other two, I could be dead in a day.Bookmark here

“Master, I live to serve you and would never do something as awful as that! I would never do something like that, I swear!”Bookmark here

“Your majesty, may I interject?” Bookmark here

Oh? Bookmark here

“Speak.”Bookmark here

“While I know you were just testing her, I feel like it is mean of you to hide from her the fact that you are immune to such spells and charms.”Bookmark here

I am?Bookmark here

“Master?” Mania whimpered.Bookmark here

David smiled. “I’m impressed, Mímir, that you knew such things.”Bookmark here

Mímir bowed humbly to David. “It is a given, because you are my lord and master.”Bookmark here

Abaddon and Mania flinched.Bookmark here

A rivalry? Or perhaps there's even greater animosity between them?Bookmark here

“As Mímir said, I was testing you, Mania. Your answer pleases me and I trust that you will always be loyal to me and only to me.”
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“Of course, Master!” She reassumed her position. “May I continue?”Bookmark here

David nodded.Bookmark here

“I am also a powerful necromancer and can raise, or summon, the dead with and without corpses depending on what types of undead you desire. The undead I raise with corpses will be stronger than those without but, as I know gathering corpses would be difficult, I can only guarantee that my summoned undead will prove to be valuable warriors should you need them.”Bookmark here

So, while she could start spawning an army for us right now, it would be best to use dead bodies instead?  It might be worth killing some nearby monsters or something, raise it as an undead and have it fight a summoned undead to see how much stronger they are. Bookmark here

“Also, while I do have faith in my physical abilities, I am nowhere near Abaddon’s or your power. I only know how to fight with a sword, a whip or a dagger, I’m afraid, but, no matter what you command, Master, I shall do it.”Bookmark here

“Very good. Mímir.”Bookmark here

“Yes, your majesty.” Mímir raised his head slightly. “I excel at gathering information of any kind from any place that his majesty desires, and I would be able to infiltrate anywhere and kill anyone you wish as well.”Bookmark here

“Aren’t you quite confident in your abilities? That better not be your arrogance speaking.”Bookmark here

“It isn’t, your majesty,” Mímir said, lowering his head once more.Bookmark here

“Then, tell me, what gives you such confidence in yourself?”Bookmark here

“It is because I am a master of illusion magic. Whatever illusions you wish for me to conjure, I am sure that I would be able to do so.”Bookmark here

I’ll have to test that as well, David thought, barely able to hold back his sigh.Bookmark here

The more he added to his list of things to test, the more exhausted he became.Bookmark here

“I would also say that my physical strength slightly less than Mania’s,” Mímir continued. “However, unlike Mania, I have my magically enchanted threads, the Edda, which I can manipulate at will. Due to their strength and range, I believe that I could use those in a fight to overpower Mania.
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“However, unlike Abaddon or Mania, I am unable to summon creatures to your side. I am only able to create a permanent servant that I call Ravens once a week that make for good spies and assassins. They are not strong in direct combat, I’m afraid.”Bookmark here

“A Raven?”Bookmark here

“Ah, apologies, your majesty. That is the name I give the shadow entities that I can summon.”Bookmark here

“I see. But you can only summon one every week?” Bookmark here

“…Yes, your majesty.”Bookmark here

“How strange.”Bookmark here

Mímir said nothing, but David noticed that one of his hands had curled into a fist.Bookmark here

Perhaps he feels like his summoning abilities are lacking compared to those two, David wondered before slumping a little in his chair. Not that I care how he feels. As long as he does what I need him to, this should all work out.Bookmark here

David frowned. Still, it’s strange that he can only summon such a valuable pawn once a week. That means I would only be able to get fifty-two of them in a year, meaning I’d have to use them sparingly and effectively. He clicked his tongue. No doubt this was something that Eris did to limit the amount of information I could gather. Bookmark here

David had hoped that, by finding out what his generals could do, he could feel a bit better about his chances of pulling off his task of becoming the Demon Emperor. Ultimately, however, even after hearing what they were all capable off, David still felt quite uneasy.Bookmark here

It had become more and more apparent to him throughout his conversation with his generals just how difficult the road ahead for him was going to be.Bookmark here

He lacked everything: an army, a base, weapons, armour, money, rations, farms, a source of clean water, influence and, most crucially of all, information. Bookmark here

However, David knew that he had to act and couldn’t afford to waste even a second more. Bookmark here

“Generals, hear me,” David bellowed, standing from his throne. “First, I am grateful for your loyalty and know that your abilities have not disappointed me. Second, while I wish to become the ruler of the whole world, that is in the long term, not in the short term; therefore, within a year, I wish to conquer whichever country we have found ourselves in.Bookmark here

“To do that, however, we need one thing that we are severely lacking and that is information. We must find out how large this world is, how big the country we are in is, what the terrain is like, what the people and monsters are like and, more importantly, how best we can conquer it. For that, we need reliable information and the best place we can get that is a city.Bookmark here

“Mímir, summon your Raven and begin scouting the area around us. Preferably, I want to know of everything that is within thirty miles of us but, should this be impossible, then the major landmarks, cities, fortresses and monsters will suffice. If possible, draw a detailed map as well for reference.”Bookmark here

Despite being the one to give the order, David knew that it would be impossible for Mímir to achieve, even with his abilities. However, David needed to know to what extent Mímir could perform his tasks, what he’d prioritise first and how much detailed information he would be able to gather in such a short amount of time. Bookmark here

“As you command, your majesty. Shall I begin?”Bookmark here

“Do so."Bookmark here

“As you wish.”Bookmark here

Then, from the darkness of a cave, a shadowy figure emerged. It wore a hood that looked like a raven’s head from which its piercing yellow eyes could be seen; it had a black feathery cape and two daggers by its side. Both it and Mímir bowed to David before departing from the cave.Bookmark here

“Mania and Abaddon, you will come with me and we shall go hunting for prey to test our powers on,” David ordered. “While I doubt anything can harm us, it is best to practice whenever possible.”Bookmark here

“Of course, Lord Emperor!” Bookmark here

“While I agree, Master, is there any nearby prey for us to hunt?” Bookmark here

The second Mania said that, David’s head began to throb in pain and he almost lost his balance, just like earlier in the day. Unlike before, however, David was able to better hide his pain and confusion. Bookmark here

What the hell was-?Bookmark here

Wait.Bookmark here

David looked towards the deeper part of the cave and, faintly, a few hundred metres from them, he could detect a presence of a living creature.Bookmark here

Not just that, he knew that it was the presence of a goblin.Bookmark here

How do I know that? Bookmark here

“Master?” Bookmark here

“It would seem as if there are goblins lurking deeper within the cave,” David mused. “They’ll make for fine practice.”Bookmark here

“Do you not wish to rest, Master?”Bookmark here

“Thank you for your concern, but it is not necessary.” David put on the best evil smile he could. “I feel rather restless at the moment.”Bookmark here

Mania smiled back and said, “As you command.”Bookmark here

Abaddon let out a low growl as he stood up. “Even if it’s just goblins, I’ve been itching for a fight since we got here!”Bookmark here

“While I share your sentiments, do not let that ‘itch’ ever get the better of you,” David chided him. “We need to make this cave our own, not destroy it.”Bookmark here

“Of course! I would never give in so easily to such a thing, Lord Emperor.”Bookmark here

“Master, shouldn’t you summon your armour first?”Bookmark here

A sharp stabbing agony suddenly appeared in David’s mind which was more painful than the two previous times it had happened today. It hurt, but nowhere near as much as what Eris had done to him had and, once it had subsided, he smiled.Bookmark here

He realised what that pain was; it was the information and memories he needed to figure out how to summon his armour in the first place. That meant that whenever he had that pain come over his mind, he would figure out how to use some other part of the powers that Eris gave him.Bookmark here

I don’t know how much she gave me, but it might be best to try and unlock it all at once.Bookmark here

“Right, I should do that, shouldn’t I?”Bookmark here

David quickly found the new information he had been given to invoke such a spell and he closed his eyes, absorbing every detail of the memory into his skin.Bookmark here

He imagined the black steel armour enveloping his body, the weight of the metal, the strength of it, the sinister mist flowing off it, and the mighty two-handed sword that he would wield whilst wearing it. He imagined each and every single piece of armour to the very tiniest of details and then, once he had, David opened his eyes and found the exact same suit of armour adoring his body.Bookmark here

David couldn’t help but smile a little when he thought about how cool he might’ve looked wearing the armour. Bookmark here

Even though it looks and feels this powerful, if what I found in my memories is right, this suit isn’t all that strong, he thought. It should be more than strong enough for me to fight goblins, but I don’t know how far I can go with it.Bookmark here

Perhaps I should ask Mímir when he comes back to find the best materials this world has to offer to make better equipment for me to use.Bookmark here

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David snapped out of his thoughts, turned to his generals and loudly declared, “Then, let’s hunt some goblins!”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.