Chapter 16:

Family Protector

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

Nekra sprinted to the east gate, leaving Mirv behind near the shack. Talon and Urin were already climbing the stairs to the east wall. The east gate had recently been finished, two large wooden gate doors that were cracked open for Nekra to slip through. Barder had been the one to close them slightly, not sealing them till he knew that there was a threat.

The man walked casually up the road, past the signs that warned travelers. The man wore black armor, two blades at his hip, and a look of annoyance as Nekra came closer. Nekra spotted that the man wore rings on each finger, taking the time to observe them wasn't an option at the moment, it would take far too long and require him to focus on an individual ring.

“I apologize.” Nekra said, noting the full shield bar above the man's head. “We do not allow Adventurer’s here, you may take the north road a little ways back if you plan to go east.” Nekra felt the gaze of many villagers, peeking through the cracks of the gate and climbing the wall to look over, out of Urin and Talon’s way.

The man looked Nekra over, and scoffed. “So the village of Criss was taken over by a kobold?” he laughed. “I expected better.”

“The village hasn't been taken over.” Nekra stated. He had gathered his staff and sword before heading out and now gripped the staff tightly. “I just follow their belief, I apologize but you are not welcome, please go a different way to wherever you are going.”

“And what if where I am going is Criss?” The man asked. “I heard rumors of the no Adventurer village, came to see if I can free them of whatever tyrant was controlling them.”

“There is no tyrant here.” Nekra stated, trying to stand firm, but he felt his legs shaking. “We all do not accept your kind, I ask that you please leave again.”

“Big words from a little lizard.” The man said with a scoff. “And if I kill you, do you think those people will still deny me? I have a feeling they would let me in just fine. So why dont you make this easy, and leave yourself.”

Nekra’s grip tightened over the staff. “No, even if you kill me, someone else will kill you! But it will not come to that, because I am not dying today, not to you.”

“Oh little lizard has a backbone?” The man said, drawing the two blades from their sheathes.

“What is your name human?” Nekra asked, following Rath’s request to have a name for all who come. “You may call me Nekra.”

The man raised a slight smile at the question. “You may call me Quil, but I will not call you by whatever name you go by, lizard.”

Nekra inhaled deeply, drawing the sword from his hip. Rath had called it a dagger, but to Nekra it was as large as a sword. The weapon was made of the first pieces of silver that the kobolds had mined, Peel having engraved a symbol of a water dragon into the blade.

“You gotta name it.” Rath had said when he first looked at the blade. “This will be an heirloom of your people, like your staff, so you gotta name it.”

Nekra had thought it over, but he had yet to come up with a name for it for so long. Now holding it, facing the adventurer Quil, he finally could settle on one. Fraz Prokteir, the kobold words for Family Protector. With the name settled, a small relief had settled over him, he just hoped he survived long enough to tell others of the name.

Quil lowered himself, darting forward at Nekra with high speeds. Rath was not a good dual blade user, but he had trained with Nekra on fighting against them for a while. The key was finding their dominant hand, and acting around it. Nekra raised his staff off the ground, he could use the staff of it to block attacks along with his blade, he needed to figure out his opponent.

It was as Quil was about to strike that Nekra remembered a big problem he had training with Rath, size. Quil’s blades slammed into Nekra’s staff and blade, sending him reeling back. Nekra allowed the spirit of a fire dragon, one he called Ignol, to fill him, releasing a belch of fire to force Quil back. Quil took the hit directly to the face, his shield dropping almost half way. He had taken the hit to strike at Nekra again.

Nekra saw how Quil planned to stab both blades into his chest. The normal response would be to block them with his weapons. However Quil would simply use his superior strength to break the guard and strike at Nekra who could no longer defend himself. Instead of guarding, Nekra planted the butt of his staff into the ground, pulling himself with it.

Kobolds have a light body, so it is easy for Nekra to launch himself with his staff, safely dodging the thrust from Quil. Nekra swung himself to the left of Quil, striking with Fraz Proktier to his side. His attack was stopped as a group of rocks flung upwards, knocking Nekra’s attack upward.

Nekra had not taken into account the rings, he must have cast a spell quickly to guard himself. Pulling his sword arm back, Nekra flung himself back with his staff, he needed to make space to observe him more. Quil wasn't letting Nekra have the chance, using his right leg to swing against the ground, knocking the staff out of the ground as Nekra was in the air. The attack had the other effect of turning Quil to face Nekra.

His skull took the brunt of the fall, making Nekra dizzy. He moved quickly to recover, pressing his staff into the ground and pushed himself back, grinding against the ground. He prepared another belch as Quil moved to attack, this time the adventurer swerved to the right, unaware that Nekra’s attack wasn't just small puffs. He could hold the breath, and in doing so, Nekra turned to Quil. Quil was caught off guard by the attack, but was only hit by its edges. The attack lowered Quil’s shield to the quarter area, but not broken.

Nekra noted that Quil had to be right handed, based on how he moved to make sure his right was always attacking. Quil moved to press the attack on the still prone kobold. Nekra lifted the staff, planting it firmly in the ground, and prepared a fire breath. He quickly threw himself forward, letting his face look at the ground, releasing the breath, Nekra launched up over the strike from Quil. As he flew overhead, he caught sight of a slight smile on Quil’s face.

Realizing too late, Nekra prepared another belch to change his trajectory, but it was too late. Quil’s left blade slammed into Nekra’s side, luckily only being the flat of the blade. The strike sent him across the field, tumbling from the sheer force.

“Funny thing.” Quil said, walking calmly over to the prone kobold. “Most people think that finding my dominant hand is all they need to do, not considering that I might be ambidextrous.”

Nekra pushed himself back, away from the village. Quil closed the gap, sending a kick deep into Nekra’s stomach. The kobold spun across the grass again. As Nekra caught himself he coughed up blood. He realized that he had dropped his sword and his staff, both now on the other side of Quil, who kept coming. As Nekra tried to get to his feet, his body aching in pain, another kick was shot into him. He felt his ribs cracking as more blood spewed from his jaw.

“Just die you stupid kobold” Quil said, moving to strike with his sword.

Nekra felt dizzy, he was out of options, his body wasnt responding, he was dead. As he braced for death, a rock came flying, hitting Quil’s shield, knocking it lower. Quil turned to the attacker, Nekra catching sight of his savior.

“Get away from him!” Mirv yelled, standing outside the gate, reaching for another rock, chucking it at Quil. she wasn't alone, others of the village now stood outside the gate, all reaching for rocks.

“This is our village!” Barder yelled, throwing a rock. Quil raised a hand, a magic bar appearing over his head briefly. The rock stopped and was thrown to the side.

“You're not welcome!” Lyn yelled out, her rock being blocked as well.

“Don't hurt our family!” Yun yelled out.

More protests came in, all in defense of Nekra and the village. Nekra felt a warmth in his chest, not like the warmth of the blood that was spilling inside him, this one felt nice. He felt welcome, accepted. He felt like he belonged. Urin and Talon had moved along the upper wall, where Quil couldn't see, and both had arrows knocked.

Quil shot a glance at Nekra, his intentions clear. His body spun quickly, the blades aimed at Nekra’s throat, he aimed to decapitate. Nekra forced his body to move, he raised his arm to absorb the hit. If he could stop the blade, he would be open for Urin and Talon to break his shield. It would cost Nekra at least his arm, if not his life, but he needed to do it.. Quil was furious, and he could kill everyone in this village if he wanted to, he had to stop him. He had to protect his family.

“I trust you with my family life,” Rath had said to Nekra. Nekra felt solace, he was going to protect Rath’s family, just as he had promised. “Remember, that includes your life to.”

Nekra had forgotten. He would break his promise. He had to live, he couldn't let Rath feel sad about his death. If Rath returned to hear Nekra had died, Nekra would have failed. He had to stop the blade, an arm is one thing, but he could not give up his life, no matter the cost.

“I like you.” A voice echoed to Nekra, time seeming to slow as a power began to fill his insides. “Toral.” the voice whispered.

Nekra grasped at the power, letting the spirit flow into him. Quil’s blade struck Nekra’s arm, but instead of the sound of splitting limbs, came a hard clang. Nekra felt his scales harden, they grew over the blade, locking it into place. Quil looked in shock as Nekra stared him down, his eyes now filled with confidence. He blade would not free as long as Nekra willed it, and his other blade would not pierce his scales, not in time that is.

As Quil stood astonished, the first arrow hit, his shield shattering. The shattering would have sent Nekra back, but he was firmly attached to Quil’s blade. The impact had still left an effect, his arm was broken, but the pain was nothing to him, he swallowed it down, digging his feet into the ground, grasping at Ignol’s power. The second arrow hit Quil firmly in between the shoulders, the man straightening as it impacted. Nekra would not let him have the chance to retaliate, releasing a fire breath into the unprotected adventurer’s face, the man burned and screamed, before falling silent to the grass.

The sword still rested in Nekra’s scales till he had dismissed Toral’s power. These were the earth dragons scales, he had learned another ability. Nekra smiled widely, he was one step closer to becoming a full fledged Shaman, just as his master had wanted. He released a scream of victory, ignoring the blood that dripped from his lips.

It wasn't until Mirv had reached him that Nekra fell. He had gone into shock from pain, but he could still hear the praise of the villagers. It wasn't long before he felt a liquid enter his body, his internals healing themselves.

“It was a good thing Rath left a potion.” Mirv said after Nekra had regained consciousness. “Ours were not ready yet.”

They were inside Miss Korvi’s house. Nekra was on a soft feather bed, he felt warm from the fireplace. When Nekra regained consciousness he had seen most of the village standing over him worried, Miss Korvi and Mirv had to shoo them all away so they could look over Nekra. Nekra wished that they stayed, he was happy to see them all. This was his family after all, he protected them and they protected him. 

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