I Was Tasked With Defeating The Demon Lord, But For Some Reason, She Is Now My Girlfriend!?
“I shouldn’t have returned to Stalvart,” I mumbled to myself for the hundredth time.
“Lawrence, I promise everything will be alright,” Lillim spoke up from behind me. She sat with her legs crossed on a wooden bench, calmly biding her time.
“I should have just run away from the Quest,” I groaned yet again, almost on repeat.
“Lawrence, please, dear. Have faith. I know we can find ourselves on the other side of this and in good condition.”
I peered over my shoulder to Lillim, “I am not so sure of that,” I grumbled, mostly to myself, as I rested my head against the iron bars of our jail cell.
I was amazed at the courage of the Royal Guardsmen, as after calling for us to surrender, one noticed the horns sprouting from underneath Lillim’s magenta hair.
“A D-De-Demon!” he shouted, going slack in his posture upon the realization. Several of the other guards began to murmur amongst themselves and backed up slightly in terror.
That was until one readied his sword in persistence, “Stand fast, men! We must protect the King and country!” His armor bore no marking of a higher rank, but he still seemed to be their superior.
Showing great resolve, the other troops followed his lead, and approached again, ready to strike if need be.
I already had my arms in the air and pleaded for them to listen.
“We come in peace. I swear. We do not wish harm on anyone. I know what this looks like, but you must believe us. I have been sent on a Quest and I have returned to show the outcome of my mission!”
My appeal fell on deaf ears as the guards continued their approach, “Don’t move! Surrender now, or face the consequences!”
Why me? I began to cry inwardly.
But a bigger threat stepped into the fray.
Lillim separated the guards against me by raising an arm between us. Though I could not see her face, I could tell by the guards’ reaction, who braced for conflict, she had bared her fangs at them.
“Lillim, don’t!” I implored her, “We don’t want trouble, OK?”
Lillim turned her head to the side, her eyes were cut into a hard angle, and she silently nodded in response. She then returned her attention to the guards.
“When visiting a foreign land, it is only right to do so with civility. Most importantly, it is crucial to follow the laws and customs of those who live there. As such, if you ask us to surrender, we shall do so peacefully. But in return, I humbly ask that you do the same, respectfully.”
Lillim stood steadfast in the middle of the enclosing circle of guards. But her advice did not seem to go over well.
“Shut up, Demon!”
“Move, and we shall not hesitate to slaughter you on sight.”
“Vanish from our sight, you wretched creature!”
Many more vile words were hurled towards her as she withstood the entirety of their vitriol unflinchingly.
Unpredictably, Lillim began advancing towards the guard, who had rallied them to bravery. He doubled down into his defensive stance and barked back at her.
“Don’t provoke us, beast. I shall annihilate you if you dare insult my commands further.”
With only a few steps separating the two of them, Lillim halted and sized up her opponent. They were both tall and imposing, but Lillim’s sheer height was still quite taller. The guard gritted his teeth in resentment and roared once more, “Curse you, fiend! I shall strike you down here!”
Raising his sword high, he charged her. Without blinking, Lillim caught his sword with one hand and impeded his assault. Not even a drop of blood ran from her hand as the blade didn’t even scratch her scaled skin.
Gasps erupted throughout the onlooking guards. I am sure many were back to being terrified at her power.
But Lillim did not give them a chance to react to what they had seen. Forcing the guard to drop his sword, she then turned her wrists up to him. “Cuff us if you must. We pacify ourselves before you.”
I could tell a serious anger rose up in the guard, who even under his helmet had veins popping in agitation. He ordered his men to detain us. And thus we were cuffed and taken to the holding cell.
Along the way through the streets, many people crowded around to see who the guards were arresting. When they saw Lillim, a Demon, many choked in horror. But those who were not as petrified began to jeer at her. They lobbed small rocks and anything else they could get their hands on at her, and even hit me in the process.
The guards did nothing to curtail this abuse as long as the onlookers did not block their path.
“What the hell is wrong with all of you?” I yelled as another rock smacked off my head, almost knocking my glasses off my face.
“Pay them no mind, Lawrence. This shall pass in due time.”
I looked around at Lillim who was leading the way in front of me. She held her composure, unblinking, as she was pelted with rocks much harder and larger than the one that struck me.
“Lillim, I-” But I was unable to speak further as a guard shoved me along
“Get going, you damn Demon Lover.”
I gritted my teeth at that but kept silent, following Lillim’s example. For what seemed like forever, we marched through the streets until we arrived at the underground jail.
“I honestly can’t believe you remained so composed the entire time, Lillim,” I muttered out loud after recalling the previous events.
“I knew that becoming enraged would upset you greatly, dear, so I put every bit of my energy into remaining placid,” Lillim spoke in a soothingly calm voice, “But what astounded me the most was how you rose up in righteous anger. And all in my defense. You caused my heart to flutter.”
I don’t really recall doing it for her specifically, rather I was annoyed that both of us were in that situation.
But would I have been as upset if it was just her? I know she is claiming we are betrothed, but I am really so sure that won't be the final outcome? And regardless of that, would I be as upset as I was for any Demon previously in my life?
I was already tired and confused from everything so far, I resigned myself to defeat and proceeded to ignore the details.
“I guess you are right.” I mumbled, rising a bit more upright and now turning to face her, “I am kind of amazed at myself. I have never been so demanding before in my life.”
“Yes, ever so brave,” Lillim purred gently, then patted the spot next to her on the bench, “Come. Sit, my love. You will need rest for later.”
“Yeah, you are right, Lillim.” I stood up all the way and started my approach to join her. She was right, rest was important to be ready for whatever lay next for us.
But sooner than I could move my feet forward, a sharp force ruptured from behind me. To be more specific, it happened right on my posterior, to use courteous terms.
This sent me flying across the small room, but luckily I landed in a fairly soft spot. It had since gone dark once I had landed. And, strangely, where I landed had an oddly lovely scent to it as well?
“As forward as always, Lawrence. I do love you for that, dear, but I also believe we are currently not in a place for that.”
I pulled my face from where it had landed as quickly as possible, while Lillim did her best to prevent her dress from being raised up any higher. Her cheeks were bright red with a hand covering her mouth. I was certain my face was as inflamed as hers.
Lacy was the only thought floating around in my mind, but I shook it out as forcefully as I could, turning to see what had crashed into my rear end.
Still smoking from the impact was a thick leather boot held in the air. The owner of the foot still in the boot was Krystal. The surrounding air was shimmering with an aura of death and destruction.
And there was no mistaking that the brunt of the bloodlust was directed towards me.
“The hell is your problem!?” Krystal rumbled with a voice deeper and more terrifying than I have ever heard come from her before. “I left you thinking you would never return! And now you show up out of nowhere in the middle of town! And with the Demon Lord herself no less! Not only did you not complete your Quest, but I find you trying to make out with her! And that was the wrong end of her to do that with, idiot!”
“I was not m-m-making out with her!” I retorted back, trying to put as much rage as I was feeling at that moment back at her, “You kicked me into her. This is your fault!”
This did not go over well, as Krystal’s furious eyes began shining a blood-red glow while she cracked her knuckles.
“Yes, ma’am, you are right. It was clearly all my fault. I understand.” I began bowing repeatedly, begging for forgiveness.
“Lawrence?” Lillim had just moved beside me during Krystal's and my dispute, “Who is this? You seem to be familiar with her?”
“Oh right,” it had dawned on me to introduce them to each other, “Lillim, this is Vice Chief Commander of the Royal Guard, Krystal Scarlet. More importantly, she is my childhood friend. I have known her for a really long time.”
While I was introducing her, Krystal came to a military attention pose. Though, when I mentioned that we were friends, she pushed out her chest a little and the corners of her mouth rose ever so slightly. I am not so sure what she was so proud about.
“And Krystal, this is-”
I had turned to Krystal to begin the other end of the introductions, but was swiftly cut off.
“I don’t care. But I do know she is Lillim Zeroth Von Millionflame. A scourge upon the Human race. And I am ashamed that you are willing to associate with the evil likes of her.”
I desperately wanted to explain the situation, like how it wasn’t by my choice and what had happened between Lillim and I to end up this way. But again, I was swiftly cut off.
“Commander Scarlet, I graciously make your acquaintance.” Lillim had stepped between us slightly and reached out a hand to Krystal. “I see I need no introduction, though I apologize for meeting under such strange conditions. I do ask for your forgiveness on the matter.”
Once again, I was taken aback by the deftness of Lillim’s ability to take ahold of the situation and bring a sense of peace to the air.
Though Krystal seemed to not be getting that memo, as she scowled down at Lillim’s scale covered hand with such disgust she might have vomited from just the thought of touching it.
Instead of taking Lillim’s hand in hers, she clenched the handle of her sword located on her hip.
“I have my eye on you, abomination.”
I wanted to tell her off for talking like that to someone who was being cordial, but with no surprise this time, I was cut off yet again.
“Lawrence Larkdale, you have been summoned for council with his majesty, King William Leonard.” Krystal had turned her attention to me solely, and glared in indignation.
After unlocking the doors to our cell, Krystal had led us down the maze of tunnels with so many twists and turns I had long since forgotten how it even started, let alone where we were by the time we had halted at an inconspicuous door in the center of one of the passageways.
Krystal stopped, glaring at Lillim as she did, then turning to open the door. She gave a short and highly forced bow as Lillim nodded and stepped into the doorway.
I attempted to follow behind Lillim, but was interrupted by an armor clad arm wrapping around my throat and limbs pulling my body to the ground in a twisted mess.
“You better do whatever you can to fix this mess, got it?”
“Krystal, I can’t breathe…”
Though I had tapped her arm repeatedly, this only caused her to flex tighter. My vision started to go dark around the edges.
But suddenly, she let me go. I gasped and wheezed painfully as I tried to get my neck back onto my shoulders.
Through wincing eyes, I saw Krystal crouching on her heels with her hands weaved together in front of her forehead. “I just don’t know, Lawrence. I feel like I’ve found you out of one grave and now into the jaws of a beast. I don’t know how, but use that big brain of yours to get out of this. Alive, please!”
Krystal had since raised her head to peer at me. Though she was fighting them back, her tears were winning out.
I clenched my fists and pushed myself to my knees before her. I took one of her trembling hands and interlocked our fingers. Yet another promise I was about to make.
“I don’t know how either, but I promise, I will make things better. Somehow.”
A small smile peeked out on Krystal’s lips, but darted back quickly as she took a deep breath and pulled us both to our feet. She hardened her face to her usual military glower and began patting me down vigorously, clouds of dust being launched into the air with each strike.
Turning on her heels, she marched her way into the room ahead of me. “Your majesty, here enters Lawrence Larkdale, as you have requested.”
Finally, a formal entrance. I hesitated a moment, needing to smack my cheeks to prepare myself to enter the room.
The dim lights of the jail and halls did not prepare me for the dazzling illumination of the room I had just entered, and as such I had to shield my eyes as I crossed the threshold.
“Lawrence, my boy, glad you arrived safely, and much quicker than expected. You are getting better at traveling. I am so proud of you.”
As my vision came into focus, the first thing I noticed was Father coming in for a hug. “A chip off the old block, eh? Always ending up in such astounding situations. Why, if it wasn’t for that bargain with the Goddess, I wouldn’t be here to see the moment my boy becomes a man. Brings a tear to my eye.”
“Father, I have idea what you are saying again…” I embraced him, and he tightly wrapped his arms around me.
“If you don't understand anything else I say, then take this as a warning,” he whispered in my ear, and he began to pat my back, “There are still several snakes in the waters here. I have been trying my best to prevent their movements covertly, but I am only able to do so much. Keep your eyes on high alert.”
I gave him another confused look as he backed off, but he only winked at me and brought his finger to his lips, a sign to remain quiet. I nodded, unsure of what else to do, and followed as he led me to the center of the room.
There in the center was Lillim standing tall before a line of people who were sitting along the far side of the wall beyond her.
The room was massive but the people, mostly the nobles and military leaders from when I was given my Quest earlier, were pushed so far back away from Lillim, it screamed their absolute terror at the mere sight of her.
The only ones who were not cowering away from her, were Father, standing there with a soft smile on his lips and a hand running through his beard, and King Leonard, who stood with arms crossed and an even expression on his face. I honestly couldn’t tell if that was a good thing or not.
Beside the monarch was Archbishop Britedon and a large man covered in golden steel armor with a lion’s face facade on his chest. His large red beard and stern crimson eyes revealed who he was to anyone in the country.
“General Scarlet? You’ve returned to Stalvart? I thought you were still patrolling the border?”
“Larkdale. Good to see you. I have returned under distressing news. As I am sure you are aware.” Krystal’s father answered me, barely turning his eyes to greet me. His eyes were instead locked on Lillim.
“Right…” I mumbled, taking my place next to Lillim, glancing up at her in a weak apology, though she kept her gaze solely locked on King Leonard. “So, what are we-”
“Everyone has arrived,” King Leonard bellowed in a low voice that seemed to shake the very room all the way up to the rafters, “We can now begin the council.”
I should be used to being cut off already…
But at that moment, every eye seemed to focus solely on me.
“Lawrence Larkdale,” King Leonard began again, settling his voice to a lower decibel, “If my memory serves me correctly a few days ago I gave you a Quest. And unless I am mistaken, that Quest was to slay the Demon Lord.”
Oh, crap! I felt my throat seize at that moment. I began to sweat bullets as I nervously glanced at Lillim from the corners of my eyes. Her disposition seemed to have not changed upon hearing the reason for me arriving at her doorstep.
Seems like we are safe for now of her possible wrath from being duped.
“Y-yes, your majesty. Th-th-that is correct.” I answered, unable to come up with any excuses at that moment. I winced as I said those words and prepared for a fiery flare up beside me, but none came.
“Instead of slaying the Demon Lord, you return here with her in tow? Please give us your reasoning for your actions.”
“He’s a Demon Lover!”
“He should be sentenced to death for treason!”
Several voices cried out from the crowd behind the monarch. King Leonard raised his hand to quell the clamoring masses, though they barely paid it any attention.
I desperately searched for a way to spin what had happened, but the verbal assaults continued at a rate I couldn't contend with.
“I-I-I…” was all I was capable of muttering as the gears in my head spun into overdrive.
“Sire,” General Scarlet stepped up to speak next, “The crimes levied against Young Larkdale are dire to say the least. And the word swirling around the local gossip halls is that you are in leagues with the Demons. We will need to end these rumors as soon as possible. I suggest a public execution for both him and the Demon. What say you, Sire?”
The hecklers cheered in agreement.
I felt my heart sink into the deepest pits of despair. I tried to speak, but only random rumblings spilled out. I was desperate, as once again, my life was ending before my eyes.
“Now, General Scarlet. Let’s not be too hasty,” Archbishop Britedon spoke up this time, “I doubt a Demon would defile our sacred border for as long as they have here without razing as much land as one could. Mage Larkdale seems to be a bit flustered. Let’s give him a moment to speak his peace, then we can cast judgments.”
Archbishop, you are being a bit too light with your words…
I was much more than flustered, and the way he said ‘speak my peace’ made it sound like they would be my last words. I didn’t like the downward slope my life was suddenly taking.
“C’mon, my boy,” Father chortled, still stroking his beard, “You need to stand up and speak like a man. I know you can.”
Receiving reassuring words from Father did quite a bit to settle my raging nerves. But I was still worried about Lillim, so I glanced over at her once more.
She turned to match my gaze and nodded with a smile, comfortingly.
Alright, Lawrence, it's time to use that brain of yours for real.
I heaved one final sigh as I began my report. “Y-your majesty. You assigned me the Quest to slay the Demon Lord, that is correct. And I was delivered to the entrance of the Stronghold that had appeared within our borders by Commander Scarlet and her men. You can check with them to see if that is still true.”
Though I had a stumbling beginning, I had finally pulled together something resembling a plan, but it was still loose in places. I needed to buy time as I worked out the details mentally. Luckily, everyone had gone silent in the meantime. I just hoped my plan worked.
“As you know, no mortal man can handle a Demon on his own, minus a few exceptions in our presence here. The Quest you granted me was, in all due respect, a death sentence. Everyone could clearly see that.
“But I graciously accepted the Quest with honor and did not sully your name trying to run away. I faced certain death by taking on the Demon Lord of the Stronghold, Lillim Zeroth Von Millionflame.
“Unsurprisingly, I was no match for her sheer strength and readied myself for death. But I was spared. And the way I was spared was through a dialogue with her.”
A rumbling grew slowly louder behind the king. I had planned for what I had said to raise some eyebrows, but this was a far more rash reaction than I had expected.
“Traitor,” was probably the nicest word spoken by them in not too hushed tones. But clearly I had their undivided attention at this moment. I just needed to give them a little more.
“In that dialogue, we found a common ground. With only words, we found peace. And from that point forward, no aggression between us existed.
“I believe that this might be the way forward for the peace of every being who lives on this planet. If we can begin talks for peace with the Demon Realm, then we can bring an end to all the wars that bring only senseless death. I believe this is our best choice going forward.”
“How dare you!?” a singular voice rose up above the peanut gallery. Rising to his feet, Duke Silvergaze came rushing forward to the monarch’s side.
"Sire, give him no further reprieves. He is a traitor," Duke Silvergaze bounced his way around as he spoke, "He dares to claim to have achieved peace with a Demon? Rubbish! It is clear that the Demoness seduced him and is using him as a puppet for her evil plans."
"Sh-sh-she has not seduced me!" I stuttered as my face began to warm with embarrassment.
"See, Sire?" Slivergaze pointed a pudgy finger towards my face, "He speaks while she remains silent. This is only a ploy. We should skip the trail and hang their treacherous bodies high in the streets. Thus sending a message to all who dare to oppose your authority."
My heart was racing. I had foreseen a few rebuttals from those in attendance, mostly from the spineless rogues in the back, but this was a bigger problem rearing its ugly, and fat, face. Though his arguments were weak at best, it seemed to be working as the King was taking it into consideration. Desperately, I racked my brain trying to find a way to turn this into my advantage, but everything that I was able to produce came with more problems than answers.
"This would be a first for a Demon to use a trick as underhanded as this."
But then a glimmer of hope appeared.
Stroking his red bearded chin as he mused aloud, Anders Scarlet began picking up the threads I have placed earlier.
"Demons are a proud race. Never in all of my confrontations with them, regardless of class, would any dare to use such distasteful tactics to meet their needs. If they wish to launch an assault on the capital, they would not stoop so low as to deceive us in such a way. They are more… militaristic than that"
"General Scarlet, surely you aren't-" Silvergaze tried to retort, but was cut short by Father speaking over him.
"Aye. I can attest to that. I have had several run-ins with various Demons in my long life. All are crafty, but more so than that, they are more cunning than to try something so brazenly devious. I find this trick too hard to believe."
"Magnus! Just because-"
"I believe the Gods have granted us a blessing in this communion," now Archbishop Britedon was even stepping on top of Silvergaze's words, while raising an arm skyward, "Only the Gods above could bring such a blessing to us disguised as such a foul-looking creature." He tapped the end of his staff repeatedly to the ground with each sentence.
Though I was slightly ruffled by the Archbishop’s description of Lillim before me, I kept that worry concealed. His sentiment was working in my favor, seemingly turning the monarch further towards my goal.
At this point, Duke Silvergaze had given up trying to argue further and instead turned to gnawing and pulling on his handkerchief with his teeth. I felt sorry for him at this point. I knew full well what it was like to be continuously cut off.
But, currently, I couldn’t be concerned with that. I needed to drive the nail home.
“Your majesty,” I knelt down on one knee and submissively bowed my head to the sovereign ruler, “I humbly ask for this entreaty.”
King Leonard continued to stroke his beard as he contemplated all that had been set for him to adjudicate. “Speak, Mage Larkdale.”
“Thank you ever so graciously, King Leonard.” I kept my face low as I continued to speak, placing a clenched hand over my heart, “I propose we start a dialogue, as a series of negotiations with the Demon race. We use The Demon Lillim Zeroth Von Millionflame as our speaker and ambassador to the Demon Realm. We have ambassadors to the other nation’s peoples, correct? We have remained at peace with each of these nations since making such communications. This shall be the first step to ending our endless wars, and creating a permanent peace.”
Silence filled the room. Not even a gasp from Duke Silvergaze could be heard for what felt like ages. I began to nervously sweat, fearing that my pleas had fallen on deaf ears.
But a voice did finally speak up.
“P-p-p-p-preposterous!” Silvergaze had squealed out in such a high voice, I was worried about his oxygen intake.
Not quite the response I was hoping for first…
“You degenerate!” he proceeded, spewing spit from his mouth as he brayed, “You absolute swine! How dare you haggle with the king himself with such fraudulent claims? You best hope that the Gods have mercy on your bastard soul!”
I held fast during his tirade. Though my plan had not succeeded, I had not come with only one trick up my sleeve. But I couldn’t expose my final ace in the hole just yet.
“That will be enough, Duke Silvergaze.”
I had raised my head ever so slightly, but enough to see that King Leonard had raised his hand before the Duke, causing him to fall short on his tongue-lashing. Rolling over to his side, the duke could only mumble silently with, well, let’s just be honest it is always this way, but a stupid look on his face.
“I hear your proposition, Mage Larkdale,” King Leonard stepped forward closer to me until he was close enough to touch, or as I was worried, to strike me, “But never in history has communication with the Demons ended successfully. What can you do to ensure to everyone in attendance that the Demoness here shall negotiate in our best interests?”
Raising my neck fully upright, I stared straight into the eyes of our sovereign leader, “I promise, that at any moment she fails to do her duties to the fullest of her abilities, I shall hand over my life to you. If she abandons her role for even the slimmest of seconds, I shall willingly give my head.”
Gasps rang out amongst the whole room. Some shocked, some appalled, and then there was Father. He simply whistled in surprise and whispered, “Attaboy”.
Most importantly was one very specific person who caught their breath.
She was staring down at me with utter horror, mouth agape. I am sure she is completely bewildered by what I had said, but if I know her well enough…
King Leonard raised his face upward and looked down his nose at me for a long moment, then turning his attention to Lillim. “What say you to this, Von Millionflame?”
I watched from the corner of my eye as Lillim’s lower lip trembled as she looked between the monarch and me. I kept my eyes steadfast and unwavering, and that, luckily, passed on to her as she closed her eyes and straightened her posture. A single hand moved to her hip as a wave of flames erupted from nowhere, causing the fearful few in the back to press hard against the wall.
From the flames emerged a sword, a long-bladed one with a black hilt and blood-red scabbard. Unsheathing the obsidian blade, Lillim leveled the tip towards the ruler. Guards who had been surrounding the other edges of the room readied their blades and began their advance.
Sparks seemed to flare up between Lillim and King Leonard as they glared hard at each other, but suddenly Lillim raised her sword and slammed it hard into the stone floor below.
The ringing of the steel against stone caused all to flinch.
In an instant, she had fallen to her knee right beside me, matching my exact posture as she did.
“Truly, I love Lawrence, and never shall I part from his side. If he wishes this role to be thrust upon me, then, I, Lillim Zeroth Von Millionflame, shall take up the mantle of ambassador for your kingdom. Please, rest assured, King William Leonard, as a Royal, I shall never forsake my duties to you. I swear on my very life as well.”
Absolute silence fell upon the entirety of the crowd. Never had this idea existed to anyone of level-headed intelligence, but here it was in the flesh. A Demon pledging to work alongside Humans.
I almost expected Silvergaze to swoon and fall over from fainting, but instead he furrowed his brow and clenched his teeth so hard I expected his gums to start bleeding at any point. But that was a new shade of purple his face was turning. Interesting.
“To commemorate this new allegiance with now Ambassador Lillim Zeroth Von Millionflame,” King Leonard bellowed once again, shaking my very eardrums to nearly the point of busting, “We shall celebrate with a welcoming banquet. Ready the meals and musicians. Until then, dismissed!”