I Was Tasked With Defeating The Demon Lord, But For Some Reason, She Is Now My Girlfriend!?
Lillim had retreated to her quarters to prepare. With breaths heavy and forced, she huffed angrily while sorting through her numerous suitcases. She had not expected that bringing as much as she had would be as beneficial as it was, but she was glad that she had foreseen such circumstances, as she finally found what she was looking for.
In the final suitcase, one larger than the rest of them, was a full suit of armor ready for combat once the wearer had become fully dressed. She raised the onyx helmet lined with ruby paddings to eye level. The mask gave an intimidating presence even without someone wearing it. It even had holes cut into the metal with room for her horns to poke out comfortably.
She sighed, setting it to the side. I could tell she did not want to wear it for any reason while in the Human Territory, but she found herself left with little choice. She had accepted the challenge without batting an eye, and backing down would show too much weakness in her character.
Though it probably would be beneficial for her image to appear a little softer around the edges, backing down when the going was getting tough would not help soothe the inflamed opinions of her now.
“Are you sure you want to go through with this?” I asked, moving through the scattered suitcases.
Lillim sat up right, but only sighed in response immediately. She turned to face me, her face was steely, but I could tell she was facing great turmoil inside.
“I cannot concede now, my honor, and more importantly, your honor is at stake here. Though I would prefer to settle the matter peacefully with words rather than might, sometimes it is important to stand firm no matter what is thrown at you. And that time is now.”
I squatted down to be closer to her on the floor, “You are positive you couldn’t use your skills in diplomacy to bring a peaceful resolution to this whole debacle?”
Pulling more armor pieces out from their designated places, she shook her head in rejection, “You saw Knight Steelgate’s arrogance. He would do much the same and not accept an agreeable settlement without bloodshed. It is his view of honor he is defending, after all.”
I knew she was right, but I wished I could punch him in the face for her, he had upset me that much. Though, I knew that if I had assaulted him, it would not end well for Lillim’s public relations nor for my hand. His jaw looked so chiseled that I was afraid it would break my knuckles on contact.
“Besides, this is just how a Demon is treated in the Human Territory. I cannot change the tides of Human perception. Not yet, at least. And this… this is a setback I had hoped would not arise.”
Her eyes fell, quivering as she readied the last armor plate on her bed, prepared to adorn herself with it.
“Which is why I still wish we could find a way to find a peaceful resolution. You know I do not wish any of this for you. You have changed my views, you can do it with others. I promise!”
Lillim’s smile grew softly wider as she tried to keep her face as level as possible, but her steadily pinkening cheeks revealed her true feelings.
“Thank you, Lawrence. Truly,” Lillim rose and crossed to be right before, leaning down to be eye level with me, “You sincerely are my safe haven in a sea of perils. I love you fondly for this.” She reached in closer to me and planted a soft kiss on my cheek, causing me to grow hot in embarrassment.
My hand shot to where she had kissed me and I backed up, fumbling to find my way out. “Uh, yes, right, so umm…” I began, reaching for the door.
“Yes, please take your leave. I am about to get dressed myself, and I am not ready for you to see me as unsightly as that yet,” Lillim purred playfully as she moved towards the door and opened it for me.
“Um, right, I shall be going. I will see you later.”
“Goodbye Lawrence, stay safe until then” She waved at me as I exited, moving swiftly down the hall.
I turned over my shoulder to look at her once more, “You too! I am sure you can win people over to your side even through this.” I began moving quicker as I finished and waved back at Lillim turning the corner.
As I rounded the corner, I skidded past Krystal who, though in her civilian wear, was acting as a guard for both Lillim and I at this moment.
“Have you made your peace with her yet?” She asked with arms folded over her chest and an indignant look in her eyes.
“Stop being like that, Krystal, it is becoming incredibly disheartening,” I rested against the wall next to her, slightly out of breath, “What has she done to you?”
Krystal cut her eyes away from me, “It's not what she has done. It’s what she could do that I am worried about. She is a Demon, after all. We shouldn’t be so trusting with her.”
“Krystal-” I tried to reason with her, but I was cut off by Krystal getting up to lead me out.
“I am giving you the benefit of the doubt,” she huffed in frustration but had resigned herself at that moment, “If you trust her that much, I will watch the duel and decide for myself with an open mind. But if I spot any unwarranted actions during her fight, I will do whatever I can to get you away from her. I am only trying to protect you. Let me do just that. Come on now, I still have to sneak you out first.”
She never turned to look at me while she made this compromise with me, but I could tell she was starting to warm up to Lillim. Maybe just a little, but some still.
But she was right, I had to move clandestinely to see Lillim as there were guards protecting the entrance to the Embassy that housed Lillim’s quarters. At that moment, they were not letting anyone in or out.
Normally, it was a peaceful establishment devoted to the ongoing arbitration between the Human Territory and other nations and races, but now a mob had gathered at the entrance of the domicile.
They were objecting to Lillim’s continued presence in the Human Territory, and they were dead set against anyone going to meet with her until she was formally removed from her position and exiled from the Human Territory. That is why Krystal had so graciously snuck me in using an underground escape route to let me try talking to Lillim before her contest with Percival.
As for the duel itself, it had been authorized by King Leonard, as he had silently watched the entire altercation unfold and did nothing to intervene. He had, though, announced that the duel would officially be held in the Colosseum, the main sporting arena in Stalvart that was normally reserved for competitions between trained fighters for sport and entertainment to the common person, for all to see.
Why he had let this farce go on was beyond my comprehension, even to the extent he had pushed it to. The flyers decorating several forum walls in the city squares had announced it was a competition between Honorable Knight Percival Steelgate and Demon Ambassador Lillim Zeroth Von Millionflame.
Clearly, it was worded in such a way to make it sound like Percival, the jerk that he was, was actually the hero in this narrative. Lillim’s position meant nothing if she was supposed to be an arbiter and not a combatant. In the citizens’ eyes, she had already lost the war before the fight had even begun.
But just as I had promised Lillim before leaving, I was going to trust in her. I am sure she could find a way to turn this whole mess around. I just had to have faith and wait.
Later that evening.
At the Colosseum.
It had been several hours since I had left the Embassy. Though two meal times had passed since then, my stomach had turned in such knots that I was unable to even force myself to eat. And still my belly gnarled itself, reflecting my turmoil in my heart.
And since I had not eaten, I was feeling weaker than normal. The roaring of the crowd surrounding me was not helping my mental state either. The stadium was large enough to hold several armies worth of people, and every seat had been filled. Each and every person in attendance was cheering so fiercely that even the stone seat below me rattle with each chant for Lillim’s defeat.
The vile things they cheered were making me squeamish. And since I knew they were not terribly pleased with me after word came out that I was the one who had brought her to Stalvart, I pulled the hood of my magic robes lower over my face, hoping no one noticed me in the crowd. That would not end well.
“Are you seeing what I have been trying to tell you, Lawrence?” Krystal whispered to me, also lowering her cloak’s hood, probably worried to catch hell for her association with me. No matter where I scanned the crowd, it just seemed to be a swarming mass ready to see Lillim be slayed for the monster they thought her to be.
I desperately wished to be able to persuade them that this was wrong, but I was one against a multitude that craved blood. There was no winning that endeavor.
The only thing I could do was lean back in my seat and wait for this all to be over, all the while hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Krystal put a hand on my shoulder and tried to console me, or at least that’s what I hoped she was doing.
Then I felt the hand start to move over my shoulder to my chest and try to move under my robe.
“Krystal? What are you-” I started to swat at her hands until I noticed whose body they were attached to. The hands were slender and pale like a doll’s, and the owner was also doll-like. Her bubbly blue eyes were right next to mine as I turned to the side.
“Princess Charlotte!” I choked as I fell back, trying to put some distance between me and the surprise of her presence being so close. She was dressed in a shabby coat that could have been taken out of someone’s trash pile with a drab, simple scarf wrapped around her head and face, but her silver curls were peeking out from under the back. “Why are you here? How did you get here without anyone noticing you?”
“Oh, I sneak out all the time,” she answered nonchalantly while swinging her body around to sit on my lap with her arms wrapped around my neck. Even Krystal was giving the Princess a dirty look, watching her constantly lean in to cuddle with my neck. “Percival may be my assigned Guardian, but I don’t like him. He creeps me out. So I sneak out whenever I get bored. It’s fun to watch him freak out and run around trying to find me.”
While she laughed at Percival’s stress, I glanced around the entirety of the stadium, making sure none of the active guardsmen were looking for her. They all seemed to be holding their posts, so I heaved a sigh of relief, at least I wouldn’t be accused of kidnapping her on top of all the other troubles I was dealing with currently.
I wanted to question her as to why she was still all over me at that moment, I was able to break her free of being on my lap and now just sitting beside me, still wrapped tight around my neck. I was about to question her further, but opened my mouth right as the announcer began calling for everyone’s attention.
“Ladies and gentlemen! The duel of the challengers shall commence soon! First, representing Stalvart, Captain of the Royal Secret Service, Sir Percival Steelgate shall be honorably defending his honor!”
Upon those words, one of the iron rod gates began to open as Percival sauntered in. A rapturous uproar rose high to his entrance while he waved and blew kisses to the masses in the stands. His armor was the same gilded one he had worn earlier, still draped with his blanched cape billowing behind him and a golden shield with a white cross adorned on it as he continued his stroll to the center of the massive arena.
As he waved at our direction, the Princess gave an overly dramatic gag in reaction. I gave her a sideways glance, but she beamed brightly and began to hug me tightly. Krystal had to push her off of me.
Looking back down at how he bowed and accepted the cheers of the crowd, I knew he believed it was from his adoring fan. It’s just what happens when your ego is one of that size. But I knew better, and the way the cheers of joys changed to hostile jeers proved me right.
“The challenger to Sir Steelgate’s honor and newly appointed Demon Ambassador, Demon Lord Lillim Zeroth Von Millionflame!”
Could you have found a worse way to introduce her?
But honestly, it was hard to hear what he had said over the deafening ridicules of the crowd. It was so loud, I am sure people in small hamlets in the distance were wondering what the roar coming from the capital was about.
They threw everything they could at her, whether it be rocks from the stand or overripe food. Where did they even bring those in from?
Lillim strode to the center in brisk, even steps. Her armor was still lustrous black, even in the dusty environment of the stadium. Once she stood before Percival, she stomped to an attentive pose and bowed slightly before him with her arm raised over her chest.
That was a common military salute to one of even rank in the Human Territory. I was not sure why she had done this, as it did seem quite insulting to everyone in the crowd. And especially Percival, who snarled at her before spitting in disgust to the side.
Though Lillim held the visual advantage, as she had both height and strength on her side, the crowd repeatedly chanted for Percival to win.
“Down with the Demon! Down with the Demon! Down with the Demon!”
My still upset stomach lurched up into my throat as I heard the cheers. I desperately wanted to leave, but there was no way I would abandon Lillim in her time of need. If nothing else, I had to be there and witness what happened in case anyone tried to lie about the events.
“Please, Lillim,” I bowed my head into my hands and prayed for a tactful end to this disaster of an inauguration.
“You really believe in this Demon? Lillim whatsherface?” Princess Charlotte asked, looking at me with her brows angled low in confusion.
It took me several moments to mull this question over, but only one answer crossed my mind in that time.
“Yes,” I answered resolutely, “I do. I have only known her for these few short days, but if I have learned anything about her, that is if she sets her mind to it, there is no turning back for her. If she says she will do whatever it takes to bring peace to Humans and Demons, then I have no choice but to believe that she will do everything in her power to do just that. I don’t know how this fits in her plans, but I can only trust that it will work out somehow.”
The Princess studied my face hard for what felt like forever before turning to face the ring. Suddenly, she rose to her feet and cupped her hands to her mouth. “Go, Lillim! You can do it! Show that smug butt who’s boss!”
The surrounding people turned with disgusted faces at the Princess, but went back to cheering for Percival without another fuss.
“Princess Charlotte, what are you-” both Krystal and I began to demand at the same time, attempting to pull her down and stop causing a scene. We were both cut off by the Princess turning to us with a determined face and her hands at her hips.
“Two, well, three things! One!” she started with her hands raised with the number she announced raised as she went, “You are going to be my husband someday. That has already been decided.”
I was about to protest that, but she spoke first, “And if you say you can put your faith in her, then I have no choice but to take your lead. I shall trust her as well. Two! She claims to be working for the peace of our nation, correct? I, too, want peace for all of our citizens, and if that brings peace to those of other nations, what harm is there in believing in someone, even if they are of a different race. Who cares? And three! Stop calling me Princess. We are going to be wed, therefore you will call me by my name Charlotte.”
I was stunned by the Princess’s, or rather, Charlotte’s declarations. Despite her age, clearly whatever training she was receiving to be a future ruler was working. Though her word choice still needed a little work. I was thoroughly surprised by her determination.
“Or any other pet names you come up with works too, hunny bun.”
She then began to hold her rosy cheeks while wiggling her hips side to side in embarrassment over what she had just said.
“Uh, hunny bun?” I asked, feeling like I was in another losing war.
“Nothing has been decided yet!” Krystal yelled, pushing me down to get closer to Charlotte to argue better.
Their feud was put on pause as the announcer started up yet again.
“Before the fight shall commence, please rise and give your praises to our Sovereign Lord, King William Leonard!”
On cue, trumpeters began to play an entrance tune as King Leonard entered into the topmost spectator's balcony. He was surrounded by Royal Guardsmen, with Queen Catherine joining him at the railing. Praises to his name were lauded to the King, who stood firm and waved to the crowd below him.
Percival raised a hand to him and took a deep bow, welcoming the King. Meanwhile, at the same time Lillim drew her sword from a spire of flames and knelt down on one knee before the King with her sword used as a brace in front of her. Seeing this, Percival began gnashing his teeth, clearly frustrated.
Mild confusion dispersed amongst the crowd. Some booed her and called her a deceiver. Others began to murmur amongst themselves, wondering what the action signified, if it was a good sign or not. Some even fell silent all together. They waited to see how things would shake out in the near future.
As the trumpeters finally stopped their trumpeting, the crowd collectively went silent, and turned to listen to the King as he began speaking.
“For the sake of Honor, I, William Leonard, shall bear witness. The duel between Sir Knight Percival Steelgate and the Demon Lord Lillim Zeroth Von Millionflame shall proceed uninterrupted until one of the two concedes to the other or is incapacitated and can no longer contest. The rules are simple. The two shall fight with whatever weapons are on their persons now and any magic spells at their disposal. There shall be no outside help or disruptions. If either are found to be breaking these rules set forth, shall be disqualified.”
Percival turned to look at Lillim with a smug look in his eyes, “Heh, this shall take no time. But don’t worry, I shall go easy on you. Still want to give the audience the show they came to see, after all.”
Without batting an eye, Lillim pulled her sword from the ground, “I thank you for your great offer, but for the sake of both my and your Honor, I humbly request you come at me with all of your might. I shall then not hold back either.”
Apparently, Percival did not appreciate her appeal to Honor. Instead, he only sneered at her and turned his face away.
“If there are no objections, then let this duel begin.”
Bowing once more, the two warriors took their paces away from each other, and aimed their swords at their opponents. Percival had his sword readied at his side, with his shield aimed right before Lillim.
Lillim on the other hand had only her armor and sword, both gave an intimidating air to them as they were riddled with spikes on her shoulders, knees, and the hilt of the blade. She held her sword in front of her, a very neutral pose.
The stadium waited with silent breaths. No sound other than the wind rushing through. Then…
“Begin!” King Leonard bellowed loudly.
Instantly, Percival rushed towards Lillim, clearing the distance between them in a single leap. He thrust his shield directly at her head, but Lillim raised her sword up to intercept the steel wall incoming.
As the iron clashing echoed out in the stadium, Lillim’s sides were left completely open.
“Heh,” Percival snickered, “Should have just taken me up on my offer.” He swung his sword wide at her ribs, which were only lightly covered in armor. If struck, she would break at least a rib if she was just lucky.
But that did not happen.
Within inches of contact, Lillim pushed off his shield and forced her sword down with great speed, parrying the oncoming blade and causing Percival to twist back in surprise.
Skidding to a stop, Percival’s eyes glared daggers at Lillim who took a deep breath and returned to her starting position.
“Damn you, Demon!” he roared and raised a hand into the air, “Now die! Shkindo!”
He had cast a spell as he thrust his palm flat to the ground. I knew that all the Royal Guards were trained in magic, but I had never seen one use one in real combat before.
The ground around Lillim undulated and rippled before spewing several rock spikes up at her from all sides. She slashed through many of them before they became too numerous for her to handle, and she leapt into the air to dodge them. I was surprised at how nimble she was for her size, but how effective she was in diplomacy, I guess I should be shocked that she was raised for physical combat as well.
“He’s an earth-natured magic user?” I asked dumbfounded.
“Yeah, and he has quite powerful spells too.” Charlotte mused casually.
Both Krystal and I turned to figure out how she knew this, but she answered the question without us asking, “He’s my guard, of course I know what he is capable of.”
“Oh, so you were able to dodge that?” Percival mused, rising upright again, “Not bad, maybe I should take you more seriously.”
He then raised his palm flat into the air and chanted, “In Brehem!”
Above the Colosseum, a large dark cloud began to form, thunder rumbled inside it, as a torrential rain began to fall only in the ring, soaking the two warriors inside.
“Wait, he can use water-natured spells too?” Not that it was impossible to have two separate natures of magic, just incredibly rare, and even rarer for them not to be a mage as well.
“Actually, he can use more than just those natures.” Again, Charlotte answered indifferently.
“Is there anything else you want to share with us, Princess?” Krystal snapped at Charlotte’s delayed revelations. But Charlotte only shrugged and continued to watch the unfolding fight.
Lillim braced herself against the raging winds brought on by the falling rain. She attempted to call forth fire around her feet, but they were quickly snuffed out by the rain. She kept her ground with her sword still raised in front of her.
“I’ll concede, Demon,” Percival chuckled with his arm still raised in the air, “You are a worthy opponent. And thus I shall show you my most powerful spell. Prepare yourself for death! Kuhdo!”
The thunder inside the swirling rain cloud grew more intense as sparks of lightning flickered around the edges, Without warning a massive bolt dropped from the cloud and fell directly on Lillim engulfing her in blinding light.
“Lightning-natured too!?” I cried out.
“I didn’t even know about that one!” Charlotte covered her eyes from the light.
“Heh, it was always going to be your funeral,” Percival sheathed his sword and turned to walk away before the sparks of his spell had ended.
But the crowd gasped all at once, causing him to stop and begin to sweat. He turned to see the smoldering spot where his spell had landed. There in the still crackling air was a ball of fire.
Slowly, the flames dissipated, revealing Lillim, unscathed and still in her starting pose, unfazed.
Percival could only stare on with utter terror in his eyes. “Y-you… you are a monster…” was all he could mutter.
Before he could truly finish that thought, Lillim wordlessly rushed him, just like he had done at the start of the fight. Luckily for Percival, he was able to block her oncoming attack with his shield. That gave him just enough time to draw his sword once more.
But Lillim did not allow him enough time to ready an attack, as she slashed against his blade, causing him to lose balance and step back. Again and again, Lillim kept up her onslaught and Percival was only able to defend as he was losing ground. And quickly.
Soon he found himself nearing the wall of the stadium with nowhere to run. Sweat began to pour down his face as fear took over his eyes.
Desperately, he searched for a gap in her attacks to escape and regroup himself, but not a single one came.
Right as Percival’s back touched the wall, Lillim swung her sword wide and collided with his shield’s grip, causing it to fly into the air. It landed with a solid thud and rolled around like a dropped coin on the rocky ground.
The dark clouds of Percival’s previous spell began to disappear slowly, letting the sunlight slip back through to the ground below.
Terrified, Percival raised his sword high to go on the attack, but Lillim would not allow that to happen. With one swift movement, she just as quickly disarmed him again.
Breathing heavy and nearly hyperventilating, he began to grit his teeth tightly together. Shaking hands rose up in defiance as he began to start another spell out of desperation.
But as he opened his lips to begin his chant, the tip of Lillim’s ebony blade found its way against his Adam's apple. It hadn’t broken the skin yet. Percival gulped as his lips quivered in anxiety.
Looking deep into Lillim’s helmet, he could only see darkness and a burning inferno for eyes. He let out a final breath and slumped to the ground, legs trembling and trousers most likely soiled. He was still conscious, but he had lost the will to fight at this moment.
Lillim withdrew her sword and turned to look directly at the King. Removing her helmet, she unfurled her long magenta hair into the wind.
She glared hard at him, and the King returned the look in kind. But then Lillim dropped to her knee once again with her sword before her.
“Your Majesty, I concede.” She called loudly enough for the whole crowd to hear her clearly, though she didn’t need to as everyone had fallen silent watching her conquer their hero, “I no longer wish to fight further, I claim defeat.”
No one could believe their ears. The one who soundly beat the other was the one calling to an end of the fight, and saying she was the one to lose. Who could understand such a turn of events?
“Is that your wish, Lady Von Millionflame?” the King asked her.
“Yes, Your Majesty.” She answered while still having her head down low, “I do not seek conflict. I wish to bring peace, but if force is needed to bring said peace, then I shall use only as little force as possible to achieve such ends. I promise you this. I shall only raise my blade again in defense of the Human Territory.”
The King mulled this offer over while stroking at his beard. Slowly, the crowd regained their voices and began mumbling among themselves.
It seemed like it had worked, Lillim had really pulled off the impossible. She won the fight and was still able to keep the people from turning on her out of fear of her power.
“You never cease to amaze me, Lillim,” I chuckled as I sank back from the edge of my seat to a slouching position.
Then the King raised his hand into the air to silence the crowd. “Lady Von Millionflame, I hear your request. I shall grant it to you. Defeat is yours. Congratulations.”
A strange sense of confusion spread over the crowd as some began to clap, then some cheered. That was unheard of. A Human cheering for a Demon? No matter the situation, Human’s instinctively knew that Demon’s were their enemies.
But then this seemed to be completely different. With Honor being on the line, a Demon fought completely honorably and came out on top over the one the crowd thought he was the definition of Honor.
What could they do?
Then more were on their feet chanting Lillim’s name. How amazing, one clash can change the mass's view of a person so quickly.
“I won't accept this!”
Rising once more to his feet, Percival roared in a deafening scream. He grabbed his sword once more and charged Lillim’s back. But Lillim had intercepted his movements and grabbed his wrists.
Turning them hard, she caused him to drop his sword once more by breaking his wrist through his armor. He wailed out in pain while sinking to his feet.
“Guards!” The King called upon the cavalry once the unforeseen assault had ended, “Arrest him! He has defiled the sanctity of this Duel. Do not let him continue!”
As ordered, the Guards rushed the flailing Percival and raised him to his feet, dragging him out of the arena. As they went, the crowd turned on him for his lack of Honor and began to boo his deceitful attack.
After he was out of their sight, the entirety of the crowd went on to cheering for Lillim’s victory.
What a strange sight to see.