Chapter 2:

Signs in the Field

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

The signs were laid out almost like a fence around the entire village. Rath and Relund had spent the last week since the death of the Adventurer setting up the signs, all labeled with clear messages to send Adventurers away. With the last one hammered down the two collapsed to the grass below them, Rath’s sword catching on the ground and pushing him to his side.

“How much do you think this will help?” Relund asked, his voice the rough tone he had for years.

“Lord’s only knows.” Rath sighed, moving the sword sheath to let him lay flat.

“They already don't follow the Kingdom’s laws so what would stop them?” Relund asked, staring at the clouds above.

“It's not that they don't follow them, it's that they are exempt from them.” Rath said, catching the sight of a cloud shaped like a tree. “But the Kingdom’s policy about Adventurers is no longer in effect here.”

“So now we're going against the Kingdom too?” Relund sighed.

“The Kingdom wont do anything against us, we're just saying no entry. We are allowed to reject whoever we want.” Rath said, watching the tree shape into a blob. “Plus traders can come through, so we aren't interfering with trade so I doubt the kingdom will even notice.”

Relund grunted as he got to his feet, reaching out his large log sized arm to lift Rath up. “We are counting on you, and ill keep doing my part. What next?”

“Well I thought about it, we are going to need more lumber for sure.” Rath tapped his index finger to his chin, looking at the whole of the village. “I want to start getting some defenses up, maybe a gate?”

“I can get started on that, we will have to get some of the other guys helping out.” Relund said after a moment of thought. “How much protection does this need to provide?”

“I'd like to surround the village, including the farms.” Rath stated.

“I can do it, when will Nefu be giving me the blessing?” Relund said sarcastically.

“Lets see, last I checked she was busy elsewhere so maybe just rely on something that isn't a goddess blessing?” Rath rebucked.

“Ill have to expand my work area in order to make that happen, wouldn't be for a while and I gotta make sure not to take to much so I don't destroy the forest.” Relund stated.

“Replanting is important, take the time you need, i'd like to start on the east and west sides of town, mainly the west since most Adventurers come from the city. How long will it take to get something up?” Rath asked.

“Ill let you know, gotta do some figuring out to make that happen.” Relund explained. “Though we will need more than just wood at some point.”

“We will get there, for now let's start on the timber, I'll get some of the guys to help set things up so you can focus on the wood.” Rath explained as the two began moving back to the village.

“Seems like you're still getting used to that?” Relund said, pointing at the sword at Rath’s hip.

“Yeah, it's weird carrying a weapon, but I've been getting some practice at it. Barder is a fine sparring partner.” Rath explained, placing his hand on the handle.

The two walked back and parted ways so Relund could do a survey of the work he would need to do. Rath got away from where others could see and drew his sword. His eyes focused on the blade, activating the Observe ability.

Rath had figured out how Observe worked, when he focused his vision on objects he could get a set of words to appear, explaining the makeup of whatever it was. It was how Rath learned that this steel sword was forged with more iron then normal, probably making it cheaper. It also showed the damage of the blade which was still in a good condition.

“Fixated much?” Came the voice of Barder, who had snuck up on Rath.

Rath spun around and held back swinging at Barder. “Sorry!”

“It's fine.” Barder said. Rath realized he was just far enough away to avoid his swing. “Though try not to get like that in town okay? Don't want ya taking Old Korvi’s head off.”

“Sorry, just figuring things out.” Rath said, sheathing his sword.

Since the Adventurer's death Rath has tried to understand his three abilities. Observation was figured out quickly, and Shield he found out was similar to the Adventurers power, testing it against Barder. Rath learned that when something strikes the shield the blue bar he could see seemed to decrease, and upon testing it, shattered when the bar was empty. Barder was thrown back when the shield shattered but Rath was unmoved. After a while the shield eventually refilled, relieving Rath who thought he broke it for good. Growth still eluded him. He thought it might make him grow taller but he hadn't.

“So how's the signs coming?” Barder asked.

“All set up. We're moving on to the next stage.” Rath stated.

“Oh what's the plan here?” Barder asked.

“Walls around the perimeter of the village, including the farms, that way no one is left out.” Rath explained.

“Seems like a waste of resources.” Came the voice of Turv, approaching from their side.

“What do you mean? We need some kind of defense.” Rath explained.

“Yes but surrounding the town should be enough, don't you think?” Turv began. “We got a bell, we can signal everyone when danger approaches and they can come into the walls.”

“But then the farms, including Barder’s, would be left outside, and Adventurers can just pillage what they want.” Rath explained, his emotions flaring.

“I'm not saying permanently.” Turv said, waving Rath’s emotions away. “Surround the main village now, and start working on the outer part of the village, it would actually be more defensive that way, having two sets of walls before reaching the people.”

“But during the time while we are still setting up the farmers will be in danger.” Rath said, grasping at anything, but he knew that Turv had a point.

“And if they get through the opening in the long time it would take to build that village sized wall we would be screwed anyways.” Turv said. “You already said you're going to protect us, I'm just offering a suggestion to help make it easier on you.”

“He has a point.” Barder said, resting a hand on Rath’s shoulder. “It would be temporary, so we won't be hurting for long. Plus it makes it so you can focus on protecting those outside the wall and worry less about the ones inside. And we could take the time to make the different layers of walling more fortified.”

“Fortified how?” Rath asked.

“Well,” Barder began. “We could set it up so people can walk atop the wall, and we could craft some bows and arrows to provide support.”

“No!” Rath yelled out. “The idea to make the wall walkable I agree, but I am not letting anyone else get involved in this fight.”

“Oh shut it.” Turv said, slapping his back. “Everyone in town is behind you, we're going to end up fighting at some point. Why not take it into account now.”

Rath looked low. “As long as it is only in a ranged form, I don't want anyone getting hurt here.”

“Well see what happens.” Barder laughed. “Let's get something to drink huh?”

The trio turned to leave, and Rath took a look back towards the west road and caught sight of something odd. A man was walking right past the signs that he had put up. The man was robbed and had a large backpack on, but the strange thing was the blue bar above his head.

“Adventurer” Rath said, rushing to meet the threat.

It only took a minute before the two were close enough to get a good look at each other. The space between them was still wide but both could see the expressions of the other. The man was young, his face unmarked by the weather, and his hair tidy.

“Good day.” The adventurer said.

“Yes it is.” Rath said, his hand itching for the sword at his hip. “I apologize but we do not allow adventurers here anymore.”

“Oh is that so?” The Adventurer said. “I wish someone had told me before I left the last town, I really need to restock on supplies.”

“I'm sorry, it's a new rule, it hasn't made its way that way. Though I'd appreciate it if you spread the word on your way back.” Rath said, his body shaking.

“I'm too am sorry but I must restock. I could return where I came but then I'd have to trek all this way again to go around and then I would have to spend more money restocking. It's all a hassle you understand.” The Adventurer looked very casual as he explained it all.

“It is unfortunate.” Rath explained. “If you head north a few days there is a village you could restock, and you can make your way to Depths from there afterwards.”

“Yes I could do that, but that would put me behind schedule. I have to get to Depths as soon as possible.” The Adventurer explained.

“What is the reason for the hurry?” Rath asked.

“Well, you're looking at the next Hero of the Age!” the man posed with his chest puffed out and hands on his hips.

“Oh okay.” Rath said, bored. “Well the hero can wait a few days, last I checked there was no world ending crisis.”

“Well that is not true!” The man said, quickly shifting to wave his arms wildly. “Another Demon Lord has popped up in the far east, the world needs a Hero out there as soon as possible.”

“And you're the one who will beat it?” Rath asked curiously.

“I will, once I conquer Depths!” The man said proudly. “And then the other dungeons of the world, until I reach a Demon Lord’s door step, to which I shall slay them where they stand!”

“Well glorious hero.” Rath said, disinterested. “Sounds like you have a decent amount of time, a few extra days won't hurt.”

The man gave a look of annoyance, then looked past Rath, towards the village. The man took a step forward but stopped as Rath drew his sword.

“You plan to stop me?” The man asked.

“I told you, you are not welcome.” Rath said, his sword raised and ready.

“I see.” the man laughed, pulling a metal rod from his robe.

Rath eyed the rod for a moment before noticing the red gem at the top. A wand. Rath watched for another minute, noticing something above the Adventurers head. Below the blue bar of his shield, a smaller bar appeared and began to fill with a strange energy. Once the bar filled, Rath realized his mistake.

“Agnibolt!” The Adventurer yelled out, a bolt of fire launching out quickly at Rath.

The fire slammed into Rath’s chest, sending him tumbling back. He felt the heat where he was struck but no pain. It wasn't till he noticed that his shield had fallen a little less than half that he realized why he felt no pain.

Rath turned his head up to see the bar below the Adventurers head filling again, wand pointed directly at him. Rath reacted by rolling away from the blast, which briefly ignited the grass before phasing out. After scrambling to his feet, Rath began to rush the Adventurer. He had to swerve around another bolt, closing the distance rapidly.

He finally reached the man, the bar above his head filling again. Rath thrust his sword forward, pressing hard on the shield, seeing the blue bar above his head dropping the longer he pressured it. Finally Rath had to duck and move to the man’s flank to avoid the next bolt. The man tried to put distance between them, but Rath refused to let up, thrusting at him again, the shield low.

It was like shattering glass, Rath was knocked back as the energy burst around him, his sword arm flying back. The bar above the man’s head was nearly filled again. Rath quickly dropped, letting his body fall and his legs slide away. The bolt flew just above his head, Rath feeling the heat and using that as a sign to strike. Using his free hand to balance himself, Rath planted his toes against the ground and lunged forward, moving to a tackle, knocking the man down.

The man now laid on his back, Rath standing over him with his sword to his throat. The Adventurer’s face looked terrified, his wand dropped to his side, both hands up in surrender. Blood pulsed through Rath’s eyes, the world red around him.

“Please, I surrender.” The Adventurer said.

Rath didn't let up. “You will leave, and never come back.”

“Yes of course.” The Adventurer said.

“Good, then go.” Rath withdrew his sword, keeping it ready but moving it away from the man’s throat. “What is your name?”

“Adris.” the Adventurer said.

“Adris.” Rath repeated. “Ill remember your name, I expect never to see you again.”

Adris got to his feet, grabbing his wand and turning to leave. “You will see me again one day.” he began to walk away. “Before I kill the Demon Lord I'll come back here and I will kill you and burn this whole damn village to the ground!” Adris turned to face Rath again, planning to shoot off a final shot, but realized something stopped him from turning.

Blood filled Adris lungs and with a cough shot out where he stood. Looking down Adris caught sight of the steel sticking out of his stomach. He twisted his head to look into the eyes of Rath, who looked more frightening than any monster he had ever heard of.

“Your mistake is thinking you have the right to threaten my Village.” Rath said, twisting the sword in Adris, another spurt of blood coming from his mouth.

The life vanished from Adris eyes and he became limp on the sword. Rath let Adris body slide down off his sword and turned away, vomiting against the grass. It took a few minutes before Rath recovered and grabbed the metal wand from the corpse. Upon focusing on wand he could see its properties. Ruby, iron. Below the properties was listed something else.


The words were what Adris had called out, a chant for a spell. Rath raised the wand and said the words, to no result. Rath tried again, and again. He took a moment and inhaled deeply, closing his eyes to the corpse next to him and felt every bit of himself. There was a rumor that had come into the village when Rath was young about how magic worked, needing a focus of some kind, and to let your body's energy flow freely. After a while of concentration, Rath realized that the wand was pulling at invisible veins in his body, or extending them into the wand. Letting the vein’s flow freely into the wand, Rath spoke aloud.

“Agnibolt” the fire burst into the sky and phased out high above. Suddenly words appeared. ‘Spellcasting Unlocked’ covered his vision in red text. Another skill, and a new weapon to use in his fight against the Adventurers.

Rath turned to Adris body, he had to have other useful items on him so he took the bag and his coin pouch and returned to the village. He would ask for Barder to help him burn the body when he returned, and the village would celebrate another successful defense. 

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