Chapter 27:

A Warm Night

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

The night felt far warmer than it should. Nasui sat atop the stone pyramid, eyes wide as Rath stood between him and Tix. Rath emanated a darkness that threatened to swallow everything around him. He stood with his sword in his hand, raised for another attack.

“You alive, Nasui?” Rath asked, not turning his eyes from Tix.

“Ye. Yes Sir.” Nasui stuttered.

“Good.” Rath said, hints of anger and exhaustion in his voice.

Tix shook for a moment at Rath’s arrival, but now he was calmed. “Why do you protect these monsters!” He yelled out.

“Why do you kill these people?” Rath asked, his tone tipped like a knife.

Tix glared back at Rath, could he not see the aura around him? How did he not feel the crushing feeling that he released? Nasui still had his bow knocked, the string was loose but now he began to pull it back.

“They are not people.” Tix yelled out. “They are monsters to be slaughtered!”

“Oh shut up.” Rath said, his voice sharp, and somehow, Tix did silence. “What did they do to you? Being born as a naga is not an excuse to be slaughtered, it's one's actions that make one a monster. From my point of view, you are the monster. You and all the people that follow you, blindly killing creatures that have done you no wrong.”

“We are no monsters!” Tix yelled out. “We fight to protect our people, we fight to live on! We fight for the survival of our species.”

“As do I.” Rath said. “I fight to protect my people, which is why I slaughtered some monsters.”

Tix eyes widened. “What do you mean?” His voice shook at the question.

Rath tilted his head confused. “You haven't noticed?” he turned his head towards Tix camp, the lord following his look. Nasui turned to look, keeping Tix in his peripherals. Sadly his attention was taken by the sight, Tix not of any importance.

Smoke rose from Tix camp, not the thin lines of campfire smoke, no this was the large smoke of tents burning. So many streaks rose into the sky, forming dark black clouds. Nasui’s eyes caught ash beginning to fall, a brutal scene he had not noticed.

“How.” Tix said, drawing Nasui’s eye back. “When.” he looked shaken.

“I had some time to kill, figured Nasui here would go for the dial.” Rath began to explain. “I figured if I disrupted your army it would help him out. Originally I was only going to destroy your weapon stashes and other resources, then kill you of course. Sadly you weren't there, and some soldiers attacked me. Don't worry though, those that didn't fight lived.”

“You slaughtered them.” Tix said, eyes wide in horror.

“Yes I did.” Rath said, the aura began to creep forward. “They were willing to destroy innocent people, I had to protect the nagas that were still fleeing.”

“You.” Tix began to shake more violently, then he grasped his sword hard, ready to strike. “You are a monster!”

Rath smiled casually. “If that is what it means to protect the people I care about, go ahead and call me a monster. Hells call me worse!” The aura began to fill the world around them, the top of the pyramid being engulfed in it. “I'll become even greater than any monster you will ever see! When I am done you'll look at these nagas as one of you in comparison! I'll become the greatest monster, I'll surpass that! I'll become a Demon if that is what it takes to protect my people!” Suddenly, the world was gone. It was just Rath, Nasui, and Tix.They all were trapped in a black void, and Tix shook in fear.

Nasui understood now, they could not see this void, only Nasui. The void did not exist, this was simply Rath’s pure will being forced on him and Tix. They were absorbed in his pure willpower. Nekra and Fenrin hadn't seen it as they were used to him, as an outsider of course Nasui would see it more clearly.

The world flashed back into existence, Nasui felt exhaustion overcoming him. He looked up at the moonlit sky, and saw a bird circling them far above. The bird looked so strange, its legs were far longer than any bird he had seen before.

“Nasui.” Rath called out. “I need you.”

Nasui’s eyes returned to the scene, his exhaustion vanishing. Tix was recovering, he was getting ready to fight now.

“If you want that Dial.” Rath said, lowering himself. “You gotta help me fight! Fight for your beliefs!”

Nasui pulled the arrow back, letting the power flow into it. “Of course Master!” He yelled out.

“Good!” Rath called out, he shifted his weight to the left. “I trust you!” With that statement, he launched off to the right. He slid to a stop, Tix’s gaze locked on Rath. Nasui applied Slow to his arrow, it wouldn't matter, but hopefully he could break his shield for Rath.

A spell bar appeared above Tix head, arrows of ice appearing, all aimed at Rath. Nasui noticed the bar charging slower, he was Heightening the spell. More arrows filled the air around, too many. Rath saw the arrows, and bent his knees to jump. The arrows launched themselves, a volley charging at Rath.

As soon as the arrows launched, Rath was in the air, but another spell bar appeared above Tix's head. He was Quickening his spell now, casting it faster for a smaller effect. The arrows were already heading in Rath’s direction as Nasui sent his arrow out. Rath would be struck on his descent, the arrows would slow him by freezing over his shield, playing right into Tix hands.

Nasui’s arrow bore into Tix shield, breaking his shield. Tix didn't seem to mind, Nasui was of no threat, and Rath would die quickly. Suddenly Tix mouth dropped wide, eyes large in Rath’s direction. Nasui dared a look at his master, and reflected Tix's expression. He could not explain how, but Rath stood above where the arrows flew, standing in mid air.

Nekra had been ducking and weaving through the hunters, throwing up fire breaths to draw them in his direction. He felt them running after him, and he smiled slyly. Summoning his wings, Nekra took to the sky over a large dip, letting the humans with poor vision slip into the pit. From there he simply fried them from overhead.

He took no joy in killing, but knowing that he was lessening Fenrin’s load was enough for him. Now that big bull would owe him. After taking out a large group, he flew up above the treetops, looking out at the fires from Tix camp. He sighed, knowing it had to be Rath’s work. Looking at the pyramid, he caught sight of a bird flying overhead, it was small from where he stood, but he could see it.

Nekra turned away from the scene then, flying north. He would reach Criss much faster now that he could fly, and bring help that much sooner.

“Fenrin.” Nekra said, feeling the wind blow at his scales as he flew as fast as he could. “You bring them all back, those are our people now.” The night felt oddly warm to him, thinking of the people that he would bring home.

Fenrin stood panting. It was a gorey mess all around him. Several trees were taken down to make room for his swings, and were in turn used to smash unfortunate soldiers that were caught unaware. He had lost count, but he assumed his hit a trillion at some point, that was all he needed.

“Sir Bull!” a Naga called out, Fenrin almost swung in his direction but caught himself. “Our people have cleared out of the fortress! We have done it! Please join us! We need your guidance to find this village of yours.”

Fenrin was silent, panting. “Fine.” He said, his adrenaline calming. He wiped blood from his face and began to follow.

“You did good, son.” The voice said in Fenrin’s head. He paused as he heard it, he hated that voice, why didn't it just go away already.

Fenrin laughed aloud, startling the naga. “Tell me, snake!” he yelled out, throwing stealth to the wind. “How many do you think I killed tonight!”

The naga looked around the massacre. “I'd say at least a hundred.”

“That's it!” Fenrin yelled out. “No, that will not do! The great Fenrin must take more!”

“You have nothing special about you, cripple.” Another voice echoed in his head.

“Point me towards their camp!” Fenrin called out, pushing back the voice again. “I'll clear out the whole thing!”

“Sir we need you!” the naga said. “Please come with us! Not only do we need your guidance, but your protection from any threats that will threaten us!”

Fenrin pouted, the voices silent. “Very well.” He groaned, then began to follow the snake. “But you tell everyone how many I killed you got me! They all must know how great I am!”

“Of course sir!” The snake said.

Fenrin laughed again, the heat from his adrenaline pushing back any cold the night would give him.

Rath stood in the air, he had expected as much to happen. He had not mastered this combo just yet, but he had learned to use it. He first got actual combat experience with it when he saved Nasui. The combo involved him using LongJump to gain height, then casting Disc below his feet.

Disc was interesting, letting him form a flat disc wherever he willed it. He had yet to master its distance, and could only pull off getting it below his feet if he tucked in his legs. The first time he had used it, he jumped in the sky, and waited on the disc for Fenrin to kill one, get his boast off, and then came down to finish the last one. It was a good test to make sure he could get it off in the moment, next was the second part.

Tix stared in amazement at Rath, must not see people stand mid air very often. To him, the disc won't appear unless he looked closely, but he wasn't. Rath bent low, a smile crossing his face, and pointed himself at Tix. LongJump’s rule was that he had to have one foot on a solid surface, and Disc counted for that.

Rath stood next to Tix now, he slid to a stop at his side. Tix jumped back, his back pointed at Nasui. Raising his sword, Rath began to swing at Tix. Tix blocked the strike, and the two began to parry back and forth, neither giving an inch to the other.

Tix began to charge a spell, ice forming around them. Tix and Rath both used a ring as a focus, and Tix had to remove his hand from his sword to cast the spell. Rath took the opportunity, LongJumping to the side of Tix, who stumbled as Rath brushed past him.

Swinging himself around, Tix faced Rath. He had gone to Tix's right side, the side he used to cast the spell. The turn had disrupted Tix, fizzling the spell. Rath charged forward, Tix trying to quicken his spell, only then noticing Rath’s spell bar. He had prepared the spell as soon as he began to move, it wouldn't fizzle as long as he wasn't thrown off his concentration.

An Agnibolt flew past Tix head and off into the sky, just barely missing the bird that was circling overhead. Rath had noticed the bird following him since he left Tix camp, he assumed it was some sort of spy for Tix at this point, he would have to have Nasui shoot it down when he was done.

Tix’s spell was disrupted by Rath’s Agnibolt, letting him get far too close for Tix's comfort. Rath made a move to strike at Tix, who in turn lifted his sword to guard. However, just before the swords met, Rath kicked at Tix's left leg, knocking him to the side. Freesia dug deep into Tix's shoulder, blood beginning to drip quickly. Rath took his sword, and pulled it back, still in Tix’s shoulder.

The lord cried out in pain, using Stride to dash away from Rath, moving to a safe distance. An arrow suddenly dug deep into his left side, making Tix yell out again, much louder.

“He is slowed!” Nasui yelled out to Rath, he heard Nasui knocking another arrow.

Rath noticed the change almost instantly. A black outline seemed to highlight Tix, and he did begin to move slower, his jaw closing far too slowly from the screams. Rath took his chance, he began to charge, aiming for the head. He LongJumped forward, Tix catching sight, casting Stride to back pedal away from Rath.

Rath did not let this opportunity slip from him, he tucked in his legs and summoned a disc below his feet, he kicked out, hitting the disc, and LongJumped again. He was upon Tix, who was just beginning to look afraid as Freesia was coming for his throat. Rath saw it then, ice. Tix formed ice around his neck, knowing Rath was aiming for it. Freesia wouldn't break through the ice and slice, Tix would have a moment to recover. Rath put more force into his swing, Freesia would cut. His blade touched the ice, and Rath was elsewhere.

Rath stood at the tree line, he stood near Mirv’s secret garden. In front of him he saw a younger Mirv, and a younger version of himself. Blood was on his face, Mirv had begun wrapping his head with a makeshift bandage.

Looking around him, Rath caught sight of something strange. It was a girl, a young one. She wore a simple green faded dress that covered all but her feet, her hair a light brown, eyes a deep purple, and long pointed ears. These were not the ears of Elves, who only had an extra centimeter on normal ears and brought to a point. These ears were far longer, almost as long as her small arms. She turned to Rath, smiled, and held a finger to her lips, then pointed back at the scene in the garden.

“I promise to protect everything you love and care for!” Younger Rath yelled out.

“In that case.” The younger Mirv began. “I promise to love and care for you.” she said it with a red face, pulling free a petal from the freesia.

Younger Rath was caught by surprise. “What!” He said far too loud, he was embarrassed by the declaration.

“Well if you protect things I love and care for.” Mirv began, the two’s hands still held on the flower. “Then you have to protect yourself. You were reckless, that wolf could have killed you! I want you to live!”

Younger Rath’s face turned an even brighter red, and Mirv took the opportunity. She moved forward, pulling Rath forward by the hand, and kissed him. Rath turned back to the long eared girl, who looked at the scene with a big smile, then turned to Rath.

“I see.” Rath said in understanding. “Your Freesia aren't you.”

“Yep.” the girl said with a large smile, her voice gentle, almost angelic. “This is the promise you named me after. When you named me, you filled me with this memory. It's nice.”

“I'm glad you enjoy it.” Rath turned back. “I kinda let this memory fade over the years, but I kept that promise alive.”

“I can tell.” Freesia said, looking at the two kids, Mirv pulled Rath away.

“Thank you by the way.” Rath said. Freesia looked at him confused. “Juxalaxe, you moved to help finish him didn't you.”

“You noticed.” Freesia said happily.

“Yep. Thank you.” Rath said again.

“Of course.” Freesia said. “We are partners in all of this after all. I will help you however you need it. Just as long as you keep that promise.”

Rath smiled simply. “Of course.”

Rath stood, Freesia in hand. He was panting, and something was rolling from behind him. Taking a look, he saw Tix head was the rolling object. It was over, he won.

In Tix's final moments all he had thought about was why Elixa had run away. He had said he would come in to help if Tix needed it, but he saw Elixa run away like a coward. What a horrible little Halfling.

Nasui raised the dial from its tablet, Rath helping him get it up. It wasn't heavy, but it had been stuck to the tablet from lack of movement over the years. Placing it under his arm, the pair began to move away from the pyramid.

“The bird.” Rath said, looking up for it. “Where did it go?”

“I lost sight of it, Master.” Nasui said. “I apologize.”

“Can't be helped, you were focused on Tix.” Rath said calmly, his aura was gone now.

“Master.” Nasui said. “I owe you far more than just a life debt at this point.”

“Oh yeah.” Rath said with a laugh. “That's fine, I'm sure I'll need your help in fights in the future, your ability is amazing.”

“Thank you Master.” Nasui said. “And I shall do whatever I can to help you!”

“Well worry about that when we're back in Criss.” Rath said, drinking in the night. He felt so warm now, it was odd to him how warm he felt. “You have to get your people settled, let's hurry and catch up, if we leave Fenrin alone too long he might start picking fights.”

“Yes Master!” Nasui said, feeling the wave of heat the Rath was giving off. Rath hadn't noticed it, but Nasui did, his Agnibolt that he fired was far too large for a normal cast. Even now the heat lingered from it.

Malphis stood atop a hill, he was well east of the Naga fortress, watching the streams of smoke rise into the sky. He saw that fire, it shot off such a long distance, much longer than it should have. His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of flapping wings, and the sound of something landing on a branch near him.

“What did you think?” Malphis asked, turning towards Pelone.

Pelone sat on the branch next to Malphis, he taloned feet wrapped around it for stability. Her feathered wings low, letting her talon-like hands aid in her steading. She wore no shirt, as her feathers covered her flat chest, though she wore a tight fit pair of shorts. She turned her human-like head to Malphis.

“Oh it was very cool.” Pelone said, a tease in her voice. “You should have seen it, how he fought.”

“Just tell me.” Malphis said, annoyed. “Is he worth meeting the Master?”

“Oh definitely.” Pelone said with a sly smile. “He is fast, strong, and has a good head on his shoulders. The master would love him! You should have heard what he told that Tix guy before he killed him.”

“He killed Tix?” Malphis asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh he did far more than just that!” Pelone said. “He destroyed his camp single handedly, and that Agnibolt he used! He didn't even heighten it!”

“What did he say, bird.” Malphis said, taking in the information.

“I'm a Harpy not a bird!” Pelone yelled out, slamming a taloned hand down on the branch, shaking it. She had to catch herself before she fell. “And he was all ‘Ill become a demon’ isn't that kinda ironic?”

Malphis cracked a small smile. “Alright, lets go.”

“What?” Pelone said, watching Malphis turn away from the battle. “Aren't we going to get him?”

“I know where he is going.” Malphis said. “A place called Criss. You start heading back, let the Master know I'm bringing him.”

“You're going to make me fly all the way there!” Pelone yelled.

“Yep.” Malphis said. “Better start flying.”

Malphis heard Pelone flapping her wings, taking off into the air. “Your a jerk Malphis! Don't think I'm not telling the Master about this!”

“You can tell him after you give him my report.” Malphis said, walking deeper into the darkness. “Better hurry, you know he doesn't like it when he gets unexpected company, and ill let him know you were suppose to tell him before I got there.”

Malphis heard Pelone making sounds of annoyance as she launched out into the darkness, flying as fast as she could. He knew she could make it there before he arrived, but he wanted to make sure. Turning north, he made was to Criss. 

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