Chapter 45:


How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

Rath sat on a log, it was the sight of their first camp on their journey. Yaki and Nasui were sparring in the central clearing of the camp. Malphis offered the idea, asking for Yaki to show what she can do before they go into enemy territory.

Yaki circled Nasui, her swords drawn. The swords were strange, completely straight and slightly blocky with a serrated edge on the back. The blades had a strange yellow to them, Rath wondered about what they were made of.

Yaki made the first move, stepping forward and using the swords like pincers. Nasui raised his swords to block the strike, ignoring her actual attack. Rath caught it with his eyes, it seemed like Yaki doubled, another Yaki dropping out of the first.

The new Yaki ducked low, bringing her swords to Nasui’s chest as he blocked the first one. The first Yaki’s blades simply vanished to mist when Nasui made contact, revealing the true Yaki below, the tips of her blades to Nasui’s chest.

“As expected.” Malphis said, watching intently next to Rath.

“She can double herself?” Rath asked, confused.

Yaki turned to Rath, standing up straight and touching her hands together, the swords held out weirdly. “Yaki can not do that sir.” She began. “Yaki uses illusion magic.”

“I've heard about it.” Malphis explained. “Oni’s have an innate ability with illusion magic, they are some of the best at it.”

“Yaki’s ability works for herself.” Yaki explained.

“What exactly do you mean?” Rath questioned. Her comment made his head spin.

Yaki looked up, tapping a finger to her chin, causing her sword to bob in her hand. Then it looked as if she reached a conclusion and stood firm. Suddenly Yaki split into three identical forms.

“Yaki’s ability works only on Yaki.” Yaki explained, her voice echoed into three and emanated from each of the Yaki’s.

“So you can create illusions of yourself.” Rath said, realizing what she had meant before. “And it seems they can speak for you as well. This could be useful.”

“Mixed with her physical ability she could be an excellent asset.” Malphis explained.

Rath thought it over, Nekra’s dragon souls, Fenrin’s strength, Nasui’s curse magic, Pelone’s flight, Malphis darkness powers, and Rath’s Demon Lord ability. They were a force to be reckoned with, but were they enough to beat the Adventuring King? According to rumors King Pierce was a master of Terra magic, and a spear savant. He had an army, Rath had his few people, were they enough?

Nekra could feel it, it was close. But they were close to Pierce, only a few hours travel. They spotted the caravan’s along the main road, walking by them without fear. Most looked at Rath in fright, afraid of what was about to happen. A man on horseback spotted them, turning around and fleeing back to the city. They were expected now, Nekra tensed as they continued on. Rath had said to stand firm, don't show fear, they needed to be imposing.

It seemed so easy for some of them to be intimidating. Fenrin and Malphis had their natural size, Nasui his snake features, Rath just being a Demon Lord. Nekra struggled, puffing out his chest and gritting his teeth. Pelone circled above, watching for attackers, so she didn't have to appear intimidating. Yaki had it lucky, she had the mask that looked terrifying all on its own.

The pull was strong, each step it seemed stronger and stronger. Nekra struggled to not sprint forward, he was convinced, the soul was in Pierce somewhere. How would he search it out?

“Rath.” Nekra said aloud. “Its close.”

“Is that so?” Rath questioned. “Seems we will have to do some looking then.”

“What are you talking about?” Malphis questioned.

Rath turned to the Goliath. “Nekra’s specialty soul, its been calling him for a while, he is saying its nearby.”

Malphis looked at Nekra. “Well that is convenient.”

“How so?” Nekra said. “I was hoping to find it before we got to Pierce.”

“You know what Pierce used to be called?” Malphis asked.

“No, what was it?” Nekra asked curiously.

“It was known as DragonSkull.” Nasui chimed in.

“Correct.” Malphis explained. “The king was known as the Dragon King, the place was known to draw dragons in the early days of its construction. The Human’s that settled it fought them off for centuries according to records. The fact that the soul of a dragon is stuck there isn't surprising.”

Nekra looked ahead hopeful. “I need to find it, if I can learn to at least harness that power I will be more powerful incase of combat.”

“I'll send you and Yaki into the city then.” Rath explained. “You can be our scouting party while you look.”

The tree line broke, and Nekra audibly gasped at the city he saw. It was still far off, but from where he stood he could see the whole of it. The city was built along a cliffside that overlooked the ocean. A large gray castle towered over the city, large walls surrounding it all the way down the cliff side. A large port was built along the coast next to the cliff face. However it was the cliff that caught his attention. A giant dragon skull, formed of stone looked over the coast, a massive stone spear plunged into its head.

The pull suddenly hurt. Nekra dropped to his knees in pain. Everyone rushed to his side in concern. Nekra didn't hurt, he just felt pain.

“You have come.” A voice screamed in his head.

Nekra looked up again, tears welling in his eyes. He felt it, the pain of the dragon. He felt that spear in his jaw, the cliff was the soul.

“Rath.” Nekra said, the pain calming. “I think I found it.”

Garion walked swiftly out of the DragonBone castle. A carriage waited for him, but he found himself using his magic to launch him through the air towards the eastern gate. The guards were shocked as his column of stone landed with a crash on the wall, not harming it though.

“Report.” Garion said, pulling his spear free.

A guard pointed out to the edge of the trees in the distance. Garion could just barely spot it, a group of people standing there. He couldn't make out most of them, but he could feel it, the heat.

“Garion!” Mosti yelled, running along the battlements to Garion’s side.

“He is here.” Garion said, gripping the shaft of his spear in his hand.

“We are not ready yet.” Mosti said. “The Elfs have yet to arrive, and our other forces haven't come yet. Do you think they learned that we planned to attack in the next month?”

“Mosti.” Garion began. “This is far better.” He smiled with realization. “Look at the numbers, less than ten people. A Demon Lord is a threat yes, but he has no army to support him, just a small party. We can handle this.”

“Sir he is a Demon Lord.” Mosti said, his face panicked. “Our forces may not be enough, and we lack trained adventurers, they were going to flank from Kyrit once we sent a signal.”

“I'll take the Demon Lord.” Garion said, feeling pride build in his stomach. He yearned for that glory.

“Sir, that is unwise.” Mosti explained. “If you fall we all fall. You are the only one keeping this country together, and without an heir Tirim would be lost.”

“If I die.” Garion explained. “Look, they are moving.”

The group began the march, walking down the hill at a steady pace. It looked as if one was hovering with wings, staying close to the group. Garion could spot the different races, Goliath, Naga, Minotaur, Harpy, Oni, Kobold, walking amongst the ash skinned Demon Lord.

“An oni is with them.” Garion said to Mosti. “I thought Venali said they were with the Elfs?”

“We received a report.” Mosti explained. “The engagement was postponed, they had to wait a little longer due to issues with the Oni’s. They have yet to form the allegiance yet.”

Why? Garion thought to himself. “Alright, let's hope it's just a spy for them or an exile.”

The group arrived outside the eastern gate, standing out of arrow range. Garion met the eye of the Demon Lord, his eyes were oddly human, not monstrous like he expected. The Demon Lord carried a sword with him, a ring on his finger, and a set of travel clothes. The Demon Lord looked at Garion, his eyes locked, he raised his horned head to speak.

Rath looked at the king, he could tell by the crown on his head. The man looked middle aged, he carried a long silver spear with a blue blade tip. The man had a thin beard on his chin, well kept and proud. This was good, the king was right here.

“I wish to negotiate.” Rath yelled out, stepping forward from his group. The rest remained behind, holding the intimidation position.

The king looked visually confused. “What?” He yelled out in disbelief.

“I wish to negotiate.” Rath repeated. “The village known as Criss is my home, should you leave us in peace and allow Criss to form its own country then we do not need to shed blood.”

A man whispered in the kings ear, an advisor of some sort? They discussed amongst themselves for a moment before the king responded.

“Why would we trust the word of a Demon Lord?” King Garion said aloud.

“That is your choice.” Rath yelled back. “Should you allow this deal, we will not seek harm on your people, we just ask for our land and surrounding area.”

The king glared down at Rath. “I do not accept these words you speak, not you or the monsters that follow you. “

Rath stood firm, but he felt his heart sink for a moment. He could not give up on diplomacy yet. “Your forces won't be enough to defeat both me and Tatalis. Should you attack me I will not hold back in destroying your armies. Think about this, dont you want to help your ally fight the Demon Lord who is actually causing issue or the one that is asking for peace?”

“Demon Lords do not seek peace.” The king yelled out. “You seek control, destruction, blood shed. We will not bow to the whims of you!”

Rath grit his teeth, this man was a fool. It dawned on Rath. The man looked at Rath like a hungry wolf, he was not a fool, he was an Adventurer. “Very well, then let us settle this, one on one. You and me.”

An audible gasp sounded from the walls. The King looked thrilled at the prospect, but his advisor pulled him back. They argued back and forth, finally Garion turned back to Rath, a look of defeat on his face.

“We will not fight you in single combat.” Garion said, seeming as if he was biting his tongue. “Our forces outnumber you, we will simply destroy you and your village should you not surrender to us now.”

Rath felt a surge of anger. “Is that so?” He said through gritted teeth. “Very well.” Rath turned away, and began walking west. Then he launched himself in the air, flying through the sky with intense speed. He stopped himself in the middle of the air with his disc. He stood next to the dragon skull cliff face, and pulled free the stone spear that was plunged into it.

“What is the significance of the spear?” Rath had asked Malphis as they stood at the edge of the tree line. A figure flew through the air from the castle to the battlement.

“When the current king declared war on the Dragon king he shoved the spear into the cliff face, it was symbolic.” Malphis explained. “It showed that he planned to end the reign of the Dragon King, reports say he did it after his love was executed by the Dragon King.”

Rath thought about that, a declaration of war like that was interesting.

Garion stood in stunned silence as the Demon Lord pulled free the massive stone spear that Garion had created. The Demon Lord pulled it free after a moment of struggle, then held it in his hands. With a quick thrust the spear came flying toward Garion. People began to flee quickly, Garion too stunned to move as the spear plunged into the ground outside the city wall, the tip nearly hitting the wall.

The Demon Lord returned to his spot amongst his allies and yelled out. “Then this will mean war, Fool King.” The Demon Lord yelled out, turning away. Him and his party returned to the tree line, leaving Garion aghast.

“Mosti.” Garion said, a slight tremble in his voice. “Gather our forces, we have to defend the city.”

Mosti nodded in agreement. “We can take them sir.”

“I hope so.” Garion said, his resolve shaky. “Lords I hope so.”

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