Chapter 48:

The Hard Choice

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

Nekra had returned to the skull again, once again being rejected. He stubbornly stayed there for several hours arguing why he should get the power. When he returned to their camp he felt exhausted. His wings vanished yet he could still feel them on his back.

“No luck?” Rath asked, looking at Nekra who had fallen face first in the dirt.

“He said no.” Nekra said, muffled from the dirt.

The sound of weapons clashing rang out, it was Nasui and Fenrin training. They always seemed to be training, it was clear they were antsy for a fight. Pelone would be back soon from her scouting, she served as the messenger for those on the inside. It had been three days.

According to Malphis they were spreading the word easily, and Yaki says the castle is unguarded. Rath had sat on this information for a full day, deep in thought. Nekra had to sleep most of the day so he had the energy for the night, yet even when he awoke Rath was still awake.

“Alright.” Rath said, getting to his feet. “We attack in two days.”

Nekra raised his head. Rath was staring in the fire unblinking. Fenrin and Nasui had stopped their sparring and stared in shock.

“Master?” Nasui questioned.

“It gives Malphis and Yaki another day to help set up, then we can all meet up and sneak in, take the king and the castle.” Rath explained as the fire reflected in his eyes.

“They expect a long siege.” Fenrin said, thinking over the strategy. “They don't expect us to truly attack till their resources are weakened. This will leave them more unprepared for the attack, its not a bad idea.”

“We strike fast and hard.” Rath said. “We will do it during the day, while most of the people are in the market.” They all looked at Rath curiously. “Trust me.”

They did, and Nekra swallowed hard. He had less then two days to get this soul, this was no good.

Osir sat in the war room, the rumors of the king being a coward were out weighing the positive rumor he was spreading. How had they snuck in so quickly? The guards did not report anything unusual?

He sat back in his chair, he was alone currently. He had been racking his brain for days, and now he finally had a moment to himself. The weight on his heart was suddenly apparent to him. Osir clutched hard at his chest, his eyes blurring with tears. Reports from Kyrit didn't have any info on this Rath person, or where he went. How would he find one person in this world?

A bottle clanked on the table next to Osir. Turning sharply, Osir caught sight of Ezek. Ezek sat down next to Osir, pouring the bottle into two glasses and passed one to Osir, the other for himself.

“I miss Tix.” Ezek said, taking a deep drink. “Dude was an idiot sometimes, but he was a good friend, I still owed him for covering my bar tab out in Kyol.” Ezek leaned forward, looking into the bottle's brown liquid.

Osir took the drink, looking at Ezek curiously.

“Tivis right?” Ezek said, not sparing a glance for Osir. “I remember meeting her when I was out here once, she was still young at that point. Probably around when you first recruited her. I remember how surprised we all were when we say you took someone new on. We thought for sure after Tix you would retire.”

Osir took a drink. “Tix was taught in the time of war, I wanted to teach Tivis in a time of peace so she could learn the deeper parts of our magic.” He felt the tears breaking free.

“Yun looked like he was seeing a miracle.” Ezek said with a slight smile. “Couldn't believe it. I remember thinking you were just some pervy old man, she was pretty after all. Oh and Tix! He looked so offended! Thought he was the center of the world that one. ‘I was his star pupil whats this new girl got that I dont’ he had said, so stupid.”

Osir was quiet, just drinking somberly.

“I was the one who first saw that monster.” Ezek said, his eyes narrowing to daggers. “When I first got to that village I thought I could take anything that came my way. But the second that monster showed up all I could do was run. I was a coward.”

“It was a Demon Lord.” Osir said sadly. “Most that see one turn and run.”

“Not Garion.” Ezek said. “He saw him and wanted to fight. I wish the people could have seen that, I hate them thinking so low of him. He would fight all the Demon Lords for his people, and yet they talk bad about him.”

“They were lied to.” Osir said. “Once we kill this Demon Lord they will all see.”

Ezek nodded, he finished off his glass and went to stand. Osir grabbed the bottle and filled Ezek’s cup, prompting him to sit back down.

“It's rude to leave an old man to drown his sorrows alone.” Osir said. “Besides, who knows when we will have another day like this.”

“They could attack any day.” Ezek said, taking the drink.

“They could.” Osir nodded, they didn't meet each other's eye. “And when they do, we will fight, but for today, let's drink.”

Garion sat on his throne, his spear in his hand. Its yellow metal reflecting his face back. Dragon Piercer, that was the name of this spear, his greatest ally. He killed the last king with this spear, he saved his country.

With a laugh, Garion thought back. When he once was just a spearman on the front lines for the Dragon King’s army, fighting his wars of conquest. He wondered if that old fool knew that he had given Garion the tools to overthrow him? He wondered if the old king even knew he was once a part of his army.

Garion wasnt sleeping much, any day he would come for him. When he did, Garion would kill him, Dragon Piercer would obtain its new name, Demon Piercer. The Adventuring King, Dragon Piercer, Demon Slayer, a man worthy of legend. He would be remembered for protecting his people, for defeating one of the greatest threats to this world. He would be a worthy king.

Rath was composed. He had thought hard on this, he needed to make his decision. The king needed to be beaten, Rath needed to show his people that the king was weak, and that he was willing to fight for his people's safety. A show of strength should be enough for them to give them peace. A promise, a ceasefire.

He grit his teeth, deep down he knew it wouldn't work out that well, he knew what he had to do. For the last few nights he had been trying to find the alternative, but he knew King Garion Pierce needed to die. 

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