Chapter 41:

Clouds on the Horizon

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

The morning wind was crispy, the sun just breaking the horizon. Powdered snow blew in swirls upward and away. Nekra watched the way the snow rolled through the air, almost as if it was running from the sun.

Nekra had to follow behind Nasui as they went to where the Harpies were waiting. Pelone had come and told them they agreed to the deal, and the harpies were almost ready to leave. She seemed not too happy about the situation, but went along with it for her people.

All the Harpies were bunched up in a group, most carried bags made from tarps or sheets. Worry spread across their faces as they approached, Pelone leading their group. Rath looked over them, his eyes looking at each face. It was like he was trying to memorize them.

“There are so many.” Nasui said, looking over the numbers.

“It will take a while to transport all of them.” Rath said as he looked up another row. “Malphis could the Castle handle them all if we needed to spend the night?”

“Doubt it.” Malphis said. “Our food stocks are gone there, they would have to hunt which could draw the eyes of the tribes.”

Rath thought for a moment. “We will have to get them all to Criss today then. Once we get to the castle I need to go through and send word, get them as ready as possible for this influx.”

“You should go ahead of us then.” Malphis explained. “One the portal on the left bottom side there is a green gemstone, focus some energy into that and you'll open the portal to Criss for a short time. Once I reach the castle I'll open it for you.”

“Cant I just use the waystone in Criss to get back?” Rath asked.

“Waystones can't handle a large amount of mana being put into them, they will shatter.” Malphis explained. “The Portal has other gemstones and braces to allow it to take in alot more mana. Since you're still leaking mana I dont want to risk you overloading the waystone and breaking it, leaving us trapped.”

Rath nodded. “I don't like the idea of leaving everyone behind.” he said glumly.

“You're the only one who can get there fast enough.” Malphis explained. “The only other person here that can use mana is me and I dont have the mobility that you have. Even if I had mobility spells I would exhaust my mana before I got there.”

Nekra turned to Nasui, he didn't use mana he used the power of his god, but how did Malphis know that? Did Nasui tell him? Maybe show him his abilities.

“You all should reach the castle by nightfall right?” Rath asked.

“It would take longer since we have all the Harpies.” Nasui explained. “At Least an extra hour or two.”

“At Least they can fly.” Nekra chimed in. “Can cover ground easier.”

“You forget about the children.” Pelone said, drawing everyone's eyes. “They haven't learned to fly yet, they will have to walk or be carried and no one can carry a child while flying”

“Why don't we push them off a cliff?” Fenrin asked, drawing everyones horrified looks. “To let their instincts kick in! That's how baby birds learn to fly!”

“That won't work you barbarian!” Pelone yelled out, her face aghast. “We dont treat our young that way first off. Second, children all develop their flying abilities at the same time, when their wings fully develop.”

“So I should expect you all a few hours after nightfall.” Rath said. “Malphis take the lead okay? Nasui and Nekra. I want you two in the middle. If combat breaks out I want Nekra to inform the rest while Nasui fights. Fenrin takes up the rear. Pelone your with Malphis.”

“Not happening.” Pelone said, waving her hand dismissively. “The children won't be able to keep up like the adults, I'm going to take the rear with them.”

“Then get someone to lead your people, tell them to listen to Malphis.” Rath said, starting it with a sigh.

“I have met several of the Harpies from the castle.” Malphis said. “I know a few that would listen to me.”

“Good keep them with you, I want one of them to be a messenger to the rear and middle incase of attack from the front.” Rath explained.

Nekra caught sight of something that several Harpies carried. Large eggs, they all seemed like a faded brown color with splotches on them. He also noticed that there were no male Harpies in sight.

“Where are the men?” Nekra asked.

“Men?” Pelone questioned. “We don't have any.”

“Then how do you reproduce?” Nekra asked, almost aghast.

“Harpies reproduce asexually.” Malphis said in his calm controlling tone. “They only bred women.”

“A women only society?” Nasui questioned. “Interesting, how will they interact with our people then?”

“Were used to men of other species.” Pelone chimed in, her eyes thin as if it was an obvious fact. “Several of us lived with Master Chaoram, Reese, and Malphis. Not to mention we interact with other races from time to time.”

“We should head out.” Malphis said, the sun clearing the horizon and shining on the world. “Rath, get moving, when you get back make sure to recharge your mana, we will need as much of it as we can get.”

Rath nodded in agreement, turning to leave. He stopped and turned back to everyone. “I'm counting on you all, I don't want a single person to die, got that?” They all nodded in agreement, then Rath launched into the air, sending up a spiral of snow.

“Let's get everyone moving.” Malphis said, turning towards the Harpies.

Pelone walked in the back, several children trying to climb up Fenrin. The childrens wings were still pressed against their arms, not fully unfurled just yet. Should they have done what Fenrin had said they would splatt against the ground, what an idiotic thing to suggest.

Their group had already fallen behind the rest, several of the caregivers fell behind with them to keep the hundreds of children in check. That wasn't going too well, one child had reached Fenrin’s head and wrapped their arm around his neck, falling forward and hanging like a necklace. Fenrin looked on the verge of anger, but Pelone just laughed at his situation.

“You think this is funny birdie?” Fenrin said towards Pelone.

“No, I think it's hysterical.” Pelone laughed, a hand to her stomach that began to hurt. Another child had reached his head and sat on it, holding his horns for stability. “You seem great with kids, maybe you should be a father.” She said through laughter.

Fenrin glared at her. “As if.”

It came suddenly, a caw. It wasn't too loud, just a whisper on the wind. However it was loud enough for Pelone to straighten up sharply. It came from behind her, its deep echoey voice ringing in her head.

“Children get down.” Pelone said calmly, the children ignored her. “Get down now!” She yelled out. The children all froze in place, along with Fenrin. “Get down!”

The children dropped quickly, Fenrin turned towards where Pelone was looking. The sky seemed to darken as what looked like a gray cloud began to move. However it was no cloud, Pelone knew what Augurials used as hunting patterns, large forceful groups.

Even from where she stood Pelone could begin to make out their appearance. Their pink colored heads, the long extended necks, the black wings, the curved beaks, the razor sharp claws. Pelone began to shake, this was more than she had ever seen. Had they noticed their leaving and acted out of desperation? Pelone looked over at Fenrin who simply smiled.

“What are you so happy about!” Pelone yelled out.

“How many you think there are?” Fenrin asked, his grin widening.

“Atleast a thousand!” Pelone said. “We gotta run!”

“Then run.” Fenrin said, eyes locked on the gray cloud overhead. “Wait, not yet. We need to draw them closer to the ground.”

“Are you insane!” Pelone yelled out. “They eat our eggs and children! We have to get them out of here!”

“That means they will swipe down this way.” Fenrin said, his expression becoming serious. “I won't let them hurt them, I just need them close enough so I can kill them.”

Pelone felt her body shaking, they could barely fight off a hundred of these creatures, but a thousand was far too many. Rath was their best shot at surviving, and he was in Criss, they weren't far from the castle, the sun beginning to set, however it would still take too long for them to reach it. They were dead, all of them, Malphis had to get to the castle and get Rath back or else they were all dead.

She felt her body rise in the air, it took a moment for her to realize the Fenrin had picked her up under both of her armpits. He held her to his eye level, then tossed her towards where the Harpies had gone. She landed in front of where the children and caregivers were running towards. Pelone turned back to Fenrin.

“Go.” Fenrin said.

“You're going to fight them alone!” Pelone yelled out, desperation causing her voice to break.

“Of course!” Fenrin yelled back.

Pelone tried to steel her nerves. “I'll fight to!” She yelled back.

“Don't you dare!” Fenrin yelled back, turning towards the oncoming swarm. “You got something to protect, take care of them, I'll be just fine.”

“You're going to die!” Pelone yelled out, she felt tears breaking from her eyes.

Fenrin laughed loudly, drawing his strange axe hammer weapon. “As if the great Fenrin could die to some stupid birds! Go! Get those people home safe!”

Pelone only felt the children run past her, she felt one grab her arm and try to pull her. Yet she sat in the snow, looking at Fenrin, wet tears rolling down her eyes. “I'll get help!” She yelled out, getting to her feet and beginning to run backwards. “I'll send word so they can get Rath! I'll get help! Just don't die!”

Fenrin didn't say anything, he simply raised his free hand in a thumbs up. Pelone turned around sharply, forcing the children to run. The rest of the group had gotten far ahead of them, she couldn't even see them against the oncoming night. She had to hurry, Malphis had to run and get Rath, it would still take him far too long to get there, what would she do? Rath would be too late. What can she do to protect Fenrin?

Fenrin lowered his hand, he could hear their footsteps growing distant. He saw the Augurials beginning to descend, they must not be about diving attacks. They must instead attack head on, this worked for Fenrin.

“Come at me you bald shits!” Fenrin yelled out, beginning to charge forward towards them. He noticed it then, in their clawed talons were spears. The spears were massive and long. They must use them to skewer their targets and carry them off as if they were shish kabobs. Fenrin smiled widely as he plunged into the first wave.

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