Chapter 30:

Through the Ripples

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

Rath found himself in a dim room. The room was round, lit by dim orange crystals on the wall. A double door laid closed in front of Rath, and soft rugs below his feet. When he looked behind him, he saw a stone archway with strange runes all over it, Fenrin and Nasui appearing in its opening as he looked. They came through a similar pool of energy that vanished after Fenrin came through.

Suddenly Rath was hit by nausea, the room began to spin and he had to hold his knees to keep himself in place. Fenrin fell forward, face planting in the carpet. Nasui began to wobble like a top that had lost speed.

“It will pass in a moment.” Malphis said, unmoved. “Most experience it their first time teleporting.”

“Oh this sucks.” Rath said, feeling a lump in his throat.

“Ra.” Fenrin said, his mouth full of carpet. “Dis Shucks.”

It took a moment for Rath’s to clear up, Nasui following suit. Fenrin laid still for a minute before getting to his feet. Malphis watched with his blank expression as they all went back up to their feet.

“Please follow me.” Malphis said, pushing open the double doors. A wave of chilled air filled the room as the doors creaked open. A long hallway stretched before them, lit by orange crystal light, a red rug run down the hall. Rath caught sight of many side halls along both walls, and several doors.

The group followed Malphis, who simply followed the rug down the hall. “So.” Rath began. “Where are we?”

“The north.” Malphis said casually.

“Like High Wall?” Rath asked.

“Farther.” Malphis said.

Rath stopped for a moment. “You mean the Untamed?”

“That is the name most used for it.” Malphis stated.

“Oh lords.” Rath said, eyes wide, holding his head. “We traveled so far so quickly.”

“That is the luxury of Waystones.” Malphis said. “Though most these days can barely make one Waystone.”

“I did read about that.” Rath began. “The runes and magic needed for it are so particular that most can't pull it off and will often just hurt themselves. Only skilled Artificers can do it. Your master must be amazing if he can do it that easily.”

“Actually I made them.” Malphis explained. “Though he gave me the resources to do it.”

Rath’s jaw dropped. “That is amazing! I didn't know you did that!”

“Because I didn't want people at Kyrit to know.” Malphis began. “If they knew they would be bugging me constantly for work.”

“I can understand that.” Rath said.

Malphis turned them down a hall to the right, leading to a long hall with stained glass windows along the left side. To the right were a series of doors, and the hall ended in a large double door. As they continued on, one of the windows creaked open, letting a wave of freezing air blow in. Rath and Nasui weren't dressed for the weather and began to shiver immediately. Fenrin and Malphis both seemed unfazed by the weather.

Sitting in the open window, was a bird woman. She had brown hair and her body was covered in brown feathers. She wore a black tight pair of shorts, just enough to cover her modesty.

“Oh Pelone.” Malphis said unfazed. “You made it back in time then?”

“Get Bent!” The bird woman yelled out, anger on her face. “You couldn't have let me teleport huh! Made me fly all the way here! I had to fly through a storm! Oh and I got shot at by some people from High Wall!”

“Did you let him know of our arrival?” Malphis asked, ignoring her anger.

“Of course!” She yelled out. “But that is besides the point!” Before she could continue on, Malphis began walking again. “Hey! Dont ignore me!”

“Ignore the Harpy.” Malphis said. “She is just a little antsy.”

“Ill kill you!” Pelone yelled out.

Rath began to walk past her, watching her as he passed. She looked at him and gave a smile. “It's nice to see you again.” Pelone said.

“Have we met?” Rath asked.

“No I said see you, we haven't met yet.” Pelone said with a smile, she then turned to Nasui and Fenrin. “And you as well Naga, oh and Minotaur.” They both looked at her confused. “Sorry I don't know your names.” She said with a laugh.

“Hurry, don't want to keep him waiting.” Malphis said. “Pelone, tell the cooks to prepare a meal, most likely they will stay for dinner.”

“I'm not your servant!” Pelone yelled out.

“Send your sisters to get some elk, tonight is a venison night.” Malphis said, not breaking his stride.

“Ass” Pelone said, flapping her wings and lifting off, closing the window with her taloned foot.

The group caught up to Malphis and stopped just short of the double doors. “Now.” Malphis began. “My master is. Intimidating. I ask that you do not draw weapons on him, he means you no harm if you offer him none in return.”

“Understood.” Rath said, shooting a glance at Fenrin. The minotaur was removing his hand from his weapon just as Rath looked over.

“Very well, be polite, I will announce you to him, when he speaks to you then you may speak, understood?” Malphis said.

“Right.” Rath said with a nod, shooting another glance at Fenrin, who was looking up towards the ceiling. Nasui stood politely next to Rath, he was no issue.

“Then let us go.” Malphis said, pushing the doors open wide.

The room was large, it was a study of some kind. Shelves of books lined the walls, a fireplace against a back wall with a desk next to it. A chair was set at the desk, its back to the door. The chair shrouded the man who sat in it, but Rath could feel he was there.

“Master, I return as I said.” Mlaphis said politely.

“I see.” A voice rang out through the room, it was old and weak. “And who have you brought with you?”

“I bring Lord Rath of Criss.” Malphis said, waving a hand towards Rath. “He is the one I spoke of. Accompanying him is Sir Nasui, and Fenrin.” Fenrin almost spoke, but Rath shot a glare at him. Rath heard the sound of movement come from the chair, it creaking as weight shifted on it, rising. “Allow me to introduce my master.” Malphis began, the figure rising tall. “Master Chaoram. The Hellfire, Lord of the Northernlands, protector of the Basin.”

Rath felt Nasui and Fenrin reflect his emotions as they all gasped in disbelief. The figure stood, a grey skinned old man, he had silver hair, and a pair of curved horns that twisted upwards. Suddenly Rath felt his heart sink in his stomach, for what stood in front of him could be none other than a Demon Lord.

“Hm.” Chaoram said, moving slowly towards Rath, looking him up and down. “This is the one you speak so highly of Malphis?”

“Yes Master.” Malphis said. He stood strong. “He conquered Depths, that alone made him of interest.”

“And Pelone’s report was very high of him.” Chaoram said, reaching Rath and looking him over. His arms were thine, his frame was similar to Turvs. “Tell me boy, did you get the blessing?”

“Blessing?” Rath asked. “I apologize I dont know what you mean.”

“When you killed. Damn it all, what is the name again Malphis.” Chaoram said, turning towards the Goliath.

“You called It Juxalaxe Master.” Malphis stated. “I never met it so I do not know.”

“Yes! Juxalaxe!” Chaoram said, slamming his fist into his palm as if he just realized something. “Did you get the blessing when you killed it?”

“The red words,” Rath said slowly. “I don't know what they were, but that is what I saw when I killed it.”

“Red huh.” Chaoram laughed. “Then you did not receive the blessing. Good.” he clapped his hands together. “What exactly do you want, Rath of Criss.”

Rath was in shock for a moment. “Um, Malphis told me you could help my people.”

“I see. You want power?” Chaoram said.

“Yes sir, whatever you can offer.” Rath explained.

Chaoram nodded his head up and down. “Very well, we can discuss this further. Malphis show them to their rooms, somewhere in the west wing. I wish to speak with you more, Rath of Criss. We shall discuss at dinner tonight, you must be starving after teleporting here.”

Rath noticed then how empty his stomach felt. “Thank you for your hospitality.” He said with a slight bow.

Chaoram laughed. “I appreciate you not trying to kill me on sight.”

“I have learned to not base my opinions on appearances alone.” Rath said.

“The company you keep highlights that.” Chaoram said. “Go now, rest up, I have some things to read before dinner.”

Malphis led them out of the room. Fenrin panted as if he held his breath the whole time they were meeting the demon lord. Nasui too began to breathe deeply.

“That was terrifying.” Nasui said, eyes wide. “His pressure was crushing.”

“Was it?” Rath asked. “I felt it but it didn't seem that bad to me.”

“Probably because of the power you got from Juxalaxe.” Malphis said, facing away from the group, walking down the hall. He stopped and waited for them to follow.

“You serve him?” Rath asked. “And what is that ability?”

“Only the Master can explain that.” Malphis said. “I know next to nothing about it, and yes I have served him since I became a man.”

Rath and his group began to move towards Malphis, walking a short distance from him.

“Master.” Nasui said close to Rath’s ear. “I do not trust this, something is off, that is a Demon Lord after all.”

“And he is offering us help.” Rath explained. “I think we should at least hear him out, and if he does have plans for us, what can we do now?” Nasui settled back, looking around hesitantly. Fenrin had a large smile on his face, Rath already had an idea of what was on his mind. “No Fenrin.” He said plainly.

“No what?” Fenrin asked, startled.

“No whatever your thinking.” Rath said, rubbing his eyebrow.

“I was just going to say maybe he would du” Fnerin began before Rath shot him an angry look. “Duuuuuuuet, like sing, Demon Lords gotta sing too right?”

“He is tone deaf.” Malphis called out without turning his head. “Please dont offer, he broke glass with his voice once. Windows, not just the drinking cups. Very cold up here, can't replace them quickly.”

“Fine.” Fenrin said defeated.

Malphis led them to the west wing. He pointed to three doors along the halls and offered them to each of the group. Rath took his in the middle and looked at the room. It had a large bed, dresser, a reading desk with lantern, and a chest at the foot of the bed.

“We can bring you a change of clothes tomorrow.” Malphis said. “We can also wash the ones you have now.”

“Thank you Malphis.” Rath said. “Id like to talk with you more if that is alright.”

“Now is not the time.” Malphis said. “We will have time in the future, for now I must attend to my Master.”

“What are you to him?” Rath asked.

Malphis turned back to Rath, giving him a proud look. “His most loyal servant.” There was a hint of sadness in the Goliaths eye as he turned away, leaving them alone.

“Master Rath.” Nasui began. “Please bar your door at night, we should set a signal to let the other know when they are at the door.”

“Fine fine.” Rath said, exhausted. “Gives us something to do while we wait for dinner.”

“You think they will have beef?” Fenrin asked. Nasui and Rath turned a disturbed eye at the Minotaur. “Just curious.” 

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