Chapter 18:


How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

Rath sat around the table in Turv’s bar, the rest of the council joining slowly. They had agreed to give Rath a few days to recover from his adventure before bombarding him with news and questions. However, Rath didn't take the break, immediately getting to work on finishing the Kobold District walls, patching roofs, and any other task he could get his hands on. Mirv had forced him to take a full day off, sitting outside his house and locking him inside.

“So let's start with the big things first.” Barder said. “Taxes.”

“You had me excited.” Rath said, his chin hitting the table due to the gravity of disappointment. “Why are we wasting time talking about that?”

“Are you serious?” Barder said, eyeing Rath annoyed. “The king is still taking our resources, and offering nothing in return, I'm just saying we shouldn't pay taxes if they leave us like this.”

“And when we stop paying him?” Turv asked. “Doubt he will be too happy with the loss of taxes. Last thing we want is to have the wrath of the Tirim army.”

“But we have to do something to stop this!” Barder said angrily. “They take from us and we suffer because of their laws! Rath what do you think?”

The whole council turned to Rath now. It was clear that they had talked about this multiple times without resolution and waited for Rath’s opinion. He thought it over heavily, unsure of the right decision.

“Let's not do anything yet.” Rath said, his eyes shut tight to focus. “For now, we pay the taxes, but we should consider the future, and I think Barder makes a good point.”

“The future?” Peel questioned. “What future are you talking about?”

Rath looked at the faces of the council, they all looked concerned by the unfinished statement that Rath left on them. “I don't want to make any decisions or declarations right now. For now let's keep ourselves open to change. Now what is next?”

“The fortress construction is the next project.” Kivis said, looking over Barder’s notes.

“Hey!” Barder said, moving his notes aside from Kivis peering eyes.

“Alright, the fortress, what we got in mind?” Rath asked.

They rolled out the plans that they had drawn up. The fortress itself wasnt fully planned out, but the external walls were. They had watchtowers laid out to look over all blind spots, the walls were two walls connected, leaving space in between to stop attackers that got through the first layer.

“I was thinking about a large courtyard.” Nekra stated. “Give room for fighting incase they get through the walls. It also can double as other things outside of war.”

“I like that idea.” Rath said, looking over the details. “Any plans for an underground?”

“We have nothing concrete but we can figure something out with the Kobolds since that is their territory.” Tivis said.

“I want the treasury to be underground.” Rath stated, not looking up at the council who all peered at him strangely. “I want the women and children taken to the dungeons in war times, and we need an escape route for them to take if the fortress is lost.”

“An escape tunnel could also be an entry point.” Kokin chimed in. “We would have to be cautious of it.”

“You are correct there.” Rath said. “Either way, we need to make that happen. Maybe have the exit lead to the mines? Any possibility there Kokin?”

Kokin stared astonished before he spoke up. “Yes we could manage that, and we could get a gate set up, maybe one that opens from one side?”

“No.” Rath said. “Incase of an attack I want the Kobolds to use that tunnel to get to safety, or others who are stopped from entering.”

“I understand Sir Rath.” Kokin said, scratching at his chin. “Peel, is there something we can do?”

“Possibly.” Peel said, also scratching at his chin. “I'll do some experiments. Maybe a locking mechanism that we can set up.”

“Good, get back to me on how that goes.” Rath said.

The meeting went on for an hour, going over basics of what Rath missed. Once they familizised Rath with the changes, Rath explained in full what he had learned at the dungeon. He explained about the magics he learned, the Adventurers he met, and the monsters.

“Hells.” Turv said, taking a deep drink. “This monster at the bottom of Depths, what was it doing there, and why is it still alive?”

“Good question.” Rath said. “I have a theory that it is meant to train Adventurers. I think the ability I received has something to do with it.”

“Words you cannot read” Nekra said slowly, letting each word ring in his mouth. “How does that happen?”

“Nekra have you seen the words?” Rath asked. “You can see my shield so you have to have observation, did you see it.”

“Yes.” Nekra said.

“And Kobolds don't have a written language, how did you read it?” Rath asked.

“I do not know.” Nekra said. “I just simply could understand what it was trying to say, it was in words I understood.”

“Maybe you're not meant to understand it yet?” Barder questioned.

“Or maybe I couldn't read it because I can't understand.” Rath questioned. “Maybe it's an ability that I cant use.”

“I have heard of racial magic.” Turv said, looking at Nekra. “Your abilities seem to be racial if I'm correct, and Elves have those teleportation magics. Maybe this ability is something like that.”

“That would suck, getting a cool ability and not being able to use it.” Barder sighed.

“But why would he unlock it then?” Nekra questioned. “Just seems wrong to unlock an ability to not be able to use it, and after beating such a powerful enemy.”

“For now we know one thing.” Rath began. “I am stronger than the Adventurers that will be coming from Kyrit Depths, but there are apparently stronger Dungeons out there.”

“So will you be heading to the DreadFort?” Peel asked.

“Not anytime soon.” Rath said. “I can defend the village fine, we should focus on here, not the DreadFort, not to mention I doubt anyone from DreadFort will come out this way, they will probably head to the front lines.”

“So we will just get small fries?” Urin asked.

“In a sense.” Rath explained. “Nekra and I will train soon to get up to speed. Soon Adventurers will be easier to fight, and if we show overwhelming force, it'll scare them away.”

And the meeting went on, until the sound of a bell rang. Rath was told it was the southern bell and launched off. Nekra ran after him, knowing it was the Kobold district calling. Rath normally would outspeed Nekra because of his leg length, this time however, it was because of magic. He was launching yards in a single stride, leaving Nekra far in the dust.

Rath was in the kobold district before the bell had finished ringing. He looked around the frenzied kobolds, the miners had come running into the village for defense. Rath called out to one for any information.

“By the mines!” one yelled. “A Minotaur!”

Minotaur, Rath had heard of them. Bull-like creatures that stood bipedal, giant horns, and as big as a Goliath. Rath moved faster now, he reached the small trail that led to the mines, catching a few kobolds coming out of the woods nearby. He adjusted himself, launching into the woods from where the kobolds fled. His magic had not recovered fully, he felt his body strained already, like a muscle tightened. This fight would be hard, but he needed to just hold off the monster until Nekra could back him up. Rath regretted not carrying the kobold, the spell wasn't affected by weight so he could have done it easily.

As Rath moved, kicking off trees and lightly touching the ground before launching again. He heard the sound of a tree fall in the distance, a loud roar echoing. Rath moved towards the sound, turning and darting, Freesia drawn. Finally he hit the clearing, stopping hard and just stared.

In the clearing stood the minotaur, his horns massive in size, his arms as thick as a tree trunk, legs hoofed and smaller, but still thick to carry the weight. The creature wore a loincloth, small straps serving as armor but only as much as a shirt did. The beast held a large weapon, on one side was a hammer head, and the other side was an axe head, the weapon was made of a yellow metal, the shaft a deep grey without any wrappings on the handle, just metal. The thing that caught Rath off guard the most though, was the way it stood.

The beast stood, it had its left arm outstretched with his palm flat, his right arm curled back with his weapon held like a dumbbell. Rath realized then, the noise that drew his attention wasn't a yell, it was a laugh.

“Yes flee tiny ones!” The beast roared with a laugh. “You stand no chance against my might.” Rath took notice of several thinner trees fallen on the ground around him, taken by a single swing.

“What.” Was all Rath could say aloud, his mouth agape.

The Minotaur turned his attention to Rath now. “Ho! A new challenger approaches! You are not a small one like the lizards! Come, fight me!”

“What.” Rath repeated again. “I. What.”

“Come and fight the great Fenrin!” The beast yelled, its voice a boom. “I seek the glory of battle, and you look like a fighter.”

Rath straightened up, this beast wanted to fight, but he needed to assess what was happening. “Hold on, can I ask you something first.”

“Of course human boy!” Fenrin said, he shifted his pose, curling both arms over his chest and flexing his muscles.

“You may call me Rath.” Rath said, taking note of the pose. “First, did you hurt any of those kobolds?”

“Of course not!” Fenrin said, raising his weapon above his head like it was a trophy. “I do not fight those who are so weak, though if they all were to fight me perhaps they could provide me a good warmup. I hope you do not disappoint me in this fight.”

Rath sighed, he took note of the features of the Minotaurs face. His eyes were deep brown, his nose was pressed against his face, not pushed out like a cow. He had a scar across his thick upper lip. Rath wondered about this Minotaur, he had to question more. “Where do you come from, Fenrin?”

“I come from the South East!” Fenrin said, pulling his first pose and pointing to the south east. “I left, seeking the glory of battle that I could not find in my home land.”

“And why have you come here?” Rath asked, feeling like he already knew the answer.

“Ah an easy one!” Fenrin said, curling his left arm up, and his right arm down. “I heard rumors of a village that doesn't allow Adventurers, and that they enforce that by force. Meaning a strong warrior must protect them! Am I in the right place?”

“Most likely.” Rath said. “Last I checked this was the only place doing that sort of thing.”

“I respect that!” Fenrin said, his muscles flexing so hard that the veins popped out even through his hairy arms. “Are you this village's protector?”

“I am.” Rath said. “You mean no harm for my village then?”

“Of course not!” Fenrin said, his arms flexed in a new pose. “I am a warrior, not a monster!”

Rath just kind of stood again looking at the minotaur. “I guess that makes sense.”

“What reason do I have to hurt those weaker than me!” Fenrin said. “Those of strength should protect the weak!”

“I agree with that.” Rath said, he sighed. “Very well Fenrin, you wish to fight correct? Then all I ask is that neither of us die or get severely hurt. I would like more people of your beliefs in this world.” Rath took note of the Shield bar above his head now, it was almost obscured by the tree line that his head nearly touched.

“I can agree to those terms!” Fenrin said, his pose changing again.

“Then how about this.” Rath began. “The first person whose shield shattered loses.”

“Sorry but I cannot agree to that.” Fenrin said, his eyes locked hard on Raths. “It is not my style, I say first to concede.”

“Very well.” Rath said, confused by the change but accepting it anyways. He knew that if his shield shattered he would surrender, but why the change?

“Very well!” Fenrin said, lifting his weapon, the axe head facing Rath. “Shall we begin?”

Rath moved in a stance, he waited and watched how the Minotaur moved, he didnt want to strike first. Fenrin held both hands on the weapon, he flexed his muscles hard, puffing out air threw his nose. After almost a moment, Fenrin’s shield shattered.

Caught by surprise, Rath removed himself from guard, preparing to defend the Minotaur from the attackers. That was until he realized what had happened. The shattered glass of Fenrin’s shield floated around him, then began to move towards the edge of his axe. Fenrin had used break, and was now charging up an attack.

Rath tilted his body to the right, ready to launch himself away from the attack that was charging. It would take several seconds for the attack to charge, enough time for him to move away from the attack.

A second shattering. This time the shattering was Rath’s shield, he was launched backwards, slamming hard into a tree. It had happened in an instant, Fenrin had charged the attack in a second, then swung his axe as if to slice the air. The shattered shield that surrounded his weapon shot out and hit Rath in the shoulder.

Rath was stunned, he had not expected the attack to happen so fast. He quickly pressed his feet to the tree, launching himself towards the Minotaur that was now recovered. A large beefy arm came and slapped Rath across the face, he tasted blood on his lip but used the opportunity to his advantage.

He grabbed at the Minotaurs arm, holding on before he was launched away, he got the tip of his left toe on the ground and cast Longjump. Still holding the arm, Rath swung himself up, pulling the arm with him and shot behind the beast. Fenrin tried to strike back, swinging his horn at Rath, attempting to knock him away. Rath let his legs go over his head, then quickly pressed them against the beasts back, stopping himself from begin hit from the horn.

Now Rath cast Longjump again, against the back of the beast, holding its arm. Fenrin’s arm was pulled back hard, sending him onto his back as Rath let go and touched a tree. Rath recovered before Fenrin could get his footing back, pressing his sword to the beasts throat.

Fenrin laughed as he felt the blade. “Interesting technique!”

“I can say the same of you.” Rath said, panting. His body was worn from the constant magic, he couldn't continue any longer. “Are you going to yield?”

“Fine, fine.” Fenrin said, Rath letting him to his feet.

“Why did you start with a break?” Rath asked. “Aren't you afraid of me striking you down?”

“Words of a wear skin race.” Fenrin laughed, picking up his fallen weapon. “If you slash me, it won't kill me. I have no fear of taking a hit, you on the other hand, you could die. That is why I start with a break, I use it to defeat you in an instant.”

“You did break my shield.” Rath said. “I assume you would follow it up by striking at me while I was stunned.”

“Yes but it would be more fun to let you fight back.” Fenrin said with a hearty laugh.

Nekra came into the clearing, catching sight of Rath with a large smile on his face. “No worries Nekra, I don't think he is an enemy.” Rath waved a hand at Nekra. “Fenrin, this is Nekra, he also protects this village. Nekra, this is Fenrin, a traveling warrior from the looks of it.”

“Well met little lizard!” Fenrin laughed. “How does one so small protect people?”

“Bravely from what I hear.” Rath said. Nekra was caught off guard as Fenrin posed.

“I don't.” Nekra said, his face a reptilian reflection of Rath’s when he arrived.

“I know.” Rath said. “Fenrin, can I ask you something?”

“You beat me, so I can allow a question.” Fenrin said, his flexing un disturbed by the attack.

“Where will you go now?” Rath asked.

“That I am unsure of.” Fenrin said, looking around, arms raised in a pose. “I seek glory, but I was defeated by you, so I must train to be stronger.”

“Train here.” Rath said. “We could use a warrior like you.”

“Wait Rath!” Nekra called out. “Are you sure about this?”

“Sure why not. He's a strong fighter.” Rath explained. “What do you say Fenrin? I would like to train with you as well, we can grow stronger together, and I expect more stronger Adventurers to eventually come this way, meaning there will be plenty of challenges for you.”

Fenrin posed as he thought, his arm curled under his chin. It looked more like a work out than a stance for thought. “Very well! I shall accept your invitation. A home does sound nice, and one that will draw challenges as well.”

“What do you mean, Rath.” Nekra said, confused. “Stronger Adventurers?”

“Its simple Nekra.” Rath began. “We are scaring away the small fries, but rumors will come up at some point of our village, and some glory seeker will seek to ‘free this village from its tyrant ruler’, and come this way. We need to get stronger.”

“Oh” Nekra said, astonished. “Stronger huh, stronger than the one I fought.”

“Worry not, young lizard.” Fenrin said, lifting Nekra onto his shoulder, which he resisted the whole time. “I shall make you strong! We can grow those little muscles till your as big as me!”

“Your forearm is bigger than me.” Nekra said, looking at the arm he now was sitting on. “I am not sure that will happen!”

“We wont know until we tried!” Fenrin laughed. “You! Human! I will join your village as a protector, but if I am to remain here, I would like to make a request.”

“We can go over your requests after some rest if that is alright.” Rath said, his body weary now. “Please, let us eat and drink, and introduce you to the village. I'm sure Turv has a spare room for you, and plenty of drink.”

“I do not know what a ‘Turv’ is, but I welcome the drink and bed!” Fenrin laughed. “Lead the way springy man!”

With a laugh, Rath began to lead the warrior towards the village, Nekra sitting on his shoulder while trying to break free of his grasp. The villagers would have words to say about the sudden new member, but Rath felt more confident having a new warrior fighting with him. A feeling of relief covered his body as they reached the road, the kobolds giving them strange looks. 

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