Chapter 49:

What the People Think

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

 The people of Pierce knew of the demon lord's threat for the last few days, however they did not expect him to show up in the middle of their market. It felt oddly hot that day, people just assumed it was from the sun. That was until they saw him and his people standing in the middle of their crowd, as if they had magically appeared. People were so shocked at their sudden appearance they ignored the fact their legs were wet and they smelled of sewage.

Rath looked amongst the horrified looks of the people, keeping his expression cold. Then began to walk towards the castle. Nekra followed behind, his confidence at an all time high. Fenrin was flexing constantly, trying to show everyone who looked how strong he was. Nasui slithered, ready to draw a weapon but not revealing that fact.

In an alley Malphis, Pelone, and Yaki emerged, joining with their allies. Stunned silence filled the city, even the guards dared not attack. It was as if the world was frozen around the invaders.

“He will kill us.” A voice finally broke. It was a woman who fell to her knees, tears streaking her face. “They are going to kill us all!”

Rath smirked, the bait. He turned back to the woman. “We will do no such thing.” Rath said with what he hoped was a comforting smile. “We simply are going to talk to your king. All we ask is peace. However, should he not be willing to negotiate peace, then sadly he will need to die. But you innocent people should feel no threat from us. Just do not interfere.”

Rath turned back, not waiting for a response from anyone. They were taking on too much information at once, but he had made that proclamation in front of so many. It would spread like wildfire.

“Master.” Nasui whispered. “What if the guards follow?”

“We do what we can to keep these people safe.” Rath said. “No killing unless there is no other choice, understand everyone?”

The group all silently agreed. They were all ready for a fight, one that Rath hoped wouldnt happen. As they went, they repeated Rath’s statement, spoken by each member of the party separately.

“My Master would never harm the innocent!” Nasui yelled out.

“Rath protects people, his business is with the king!” Nekra had said.

“He wont let me kill any of you.” Fenrin had said, Rath having to chime in after him.

“He may look scary but he isn't.” Pelone had said.

“We do what we must for our people, but you have nothing to fear.” Malphis said.

“Yaki knows they will not hurt you. Trust Yaki.” Yaki said.

A path was cleared as they walked. Nasui and Nekra behind Rath, Malphis and Fenrin behind them, and Pelone and Yaki at the back, forming an arrowhead formation. They felt the eyes all around them, not sure what to make of the Demon Lord asking for peace. Malphis and Yaki’s information leaks helped this, the people already were being told the Demon Lord wanted peace, but seeing him declare it solidified it for them.

The gates of the castle now stood in front of Rath, and to his surprise, wide open. The party stood firmly before the gate, eyeing the gate. Yaki’s information was correct then.

“Yaki spotted five.” Pelone had reported. “The king, three guards, and one advisor. The guards have an archer, a soldier, and a mage of some sort. She says they expect them to let us in, separate us, and fight us one by one.”

Rath took the information and nodded. “Then lets them.”

Rath smiled widely. “Positions.” he said calmly, he felt everyone shift behind him. Before they just marched in whatever order they could manage, but now they were paired off. Fenrin and Nasui, Nekra and Yaki, Malphis and Pelone. The plan was clever to Rath, Fenrin and Nasui take the soldier, they could manage it easily. Nekra and Yaki take the archer, Yaki getting close with her illusions and Nekra using his flight and scales to handle the arrow fire. Malphis and Pelone take the mage, Malphis has experience with spell casters, and him and Pelone have fought together before in the past. That left Rath with the king, a plan the rest didn't like, but Rath pointed out the significance of him having to be the one to stop the king.

They all inhaled sharply. They set the good will, not they needed to sell it. Once the doors of the castle were closed things would go south fast, but they needed to enter with good will. Convince the people they weren't going to fight unless they had to. So, they did. They crossed the large courtyard, pushed open the large double doors, and sealed them after they were in.

The entryway was surprisingly bare, as if it was ransacked. Yaki had noted how they were hiding away furniture and valuables, but it made the place look oddly empty. Outlines showed where furniture used to be, but now nothing.

It was sudden, the gripping feeling that surrounded their legs. The room began to melt as if it was wax around them. The group felt themselves being pulled away in different directions.

“It's Land Magic!” Malphis yelled out. “The King must be doing this!”

Rath bit down hard, he didn't realize the land magic could do this, a mistake. The group was being pulled into the walls, which sucked them in. Rath watched in horror, if the king hardened the wall it would suffocate them!

No, Rath thought, Malphis told you that isn't how this magic works.

“The thing about Land magic is that you have to return it to a similar placement, it is more about moving then alternating it.” Malphis had explained, winter stil in full effect. “Its why its not as strong of a magic as people think, your limited to returning it to a similar shape. Even if you were to encase someone, the stone would be weaker because its shape would have to change to fit the new mass inside.”

Rath grit his teeth then placed his hands on the waxy ground and forced out a spell. Agniburst, a rush of fire that would continue to fire off in a short range. Rath’s fire burned at his legs, but melted the stones. He launched into the air in a front tumble. His legs had already healed from the flames. Looking around, he spotted Nekra vanish into the wall. Malphis, Fenrin, Nasui, and Pelone were out of sight. Yaki was the last one, about it hit a wall across the room.

Rath pointed his hands behind himself, releasing another Agniburst and flew forward quickly. He released the spell in one hand, Yaki threw a hand out for Rath to grab. He locked his hand around hers and pulled hard, trying to free her. She couldn't handle the burn from his flames, she didn't recover like he did.

“It is alright Sir Rath.” Yaki said, her red eyes looking scared behind her mask. “Yaki will be fine.”

She kept sinking in. Rath had to struggle with his strength, not too hard or else he would rip an arm out. He took his free hand and slammed it into the waxy stone, it still was as solid as stone, his knuckles shattering and bleeding.

“Yaki is fine Sir Rath!” Yaki yelled out, spotting the blood dripping from his knuckles. “Yaki will find the others, Yaki will make sure they are all safe. Trust Yaki”

Rath grit his teeth harder, he tried again, the stone was too hard for him to punch without his body breaking first. Yaki’s mask was starting to become engulfed in the wall, she would be gone soon.

“Stay alive! All of you!” Rath yelled out deprestly. The stone pushed his grip away from Yaki’s, it was like a liquid but still hard enough. He felt her slip away, then the walls returned to how they were.

Rath collapsed to the floor, alone, surrounded by emptiness. He felt tears coming on but forced them back, returning to his feet. He had to trust they were alive, Malphis and Fenrin could smash through this stone easy, and he heard no sounds of smashing. They must have been deposited in another part of the castle. They divided them in a way Rath had not expected, they would try to pick them off one by one. For now, he had to find that king and trust his friends. With that, Rath began to run.

Yaki found herself alone, the room she was in was locked by a steel door. She could pick the lock with time, but she had to hurry and find the others. She hid a smile, Rath looked worried about her, that made her happy.

Pelone was in a wide open room, an entrance sat on the opposite side of the room, blocked by a man carrying a bow. The room sported a set of large stained glass along one wall. The man rose from the floor that he sat upon as if he had been waiting a while.

“Right, I'll take the bird first. You may call me Elixa. What of you, monster?” The man said, drawing his bow back, but no arrow was knocked.

Fenrin was outraged. How dare that stupid king not put him in a room with another person! Did he really think this jail cell would hold him? Well it was! Though he was hammering at the bars hard, it wouldn't be long before he was loose, and when he was they better watch out.

Nasui stood in a hallway, a man with a large sword standing in front of him. The sword was etched with strange runes along its blue blade. The man had the magical shield bar above his head, as well as a set of full plate mail.

“I take on a simple naga, I hope the king at least gave me a true challenge after this, that Minotaur would be a treat.” the man said, his voice an echo in his helmet. “You fight Mosti, Knight of Tirim, servant of King Garion Pierce, and your killer.”

Nasui gave a slight bow. “I am Nasui, Chosen of Secis, Servant of Lord Rath of Criss, and the one who will be stopping you today.”

Malphis had escaped from the trap. Once he was submerged he used his darkness magic to smash the stone that was trying to force him upward. He landed outside the castle, all his equipment still there. Outside isn't where he wanted to be, but now he could maneuver around better, he just had to spot a fight and he could assist. He began to run along the castle's outer perimeter, looking for some sign.

Nekra stood in the wide room. No windows, two exits, one behind, one ahead. The way ahead had an elderly man leaning against it. He carried a staff with a blue gemstone, and two mana batteries were hidden below his shirt, though Nekra learned to spot them thanks to Rath.

“The Kobold.” The man said with a sigh. “I apologize, but please leave. I asked for that exit behind you, use it to leave this castle. It will lead to the entrance.”

“Nekra readied himself to fight. “I cannot! I must protect Criss, my people, and you are standing in my way.”

The man sighed. “What is your name, little one.”

“I am Nekra, Leader of the Criss Kobolds, The Dragon of Criss. Nekra explained.

The man almost laughed. “Dragon, a good term. I am Osir, Master mage of Water magic. I will ask you once more, small one. Will you please leave, I have no desire to kill you, but I will if I must.”

“I shall not!” Nekra said, summoning his wings. “And I will not die here!”

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