Chapter 51:

My Honor

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

Nasui faced his enemy, Mosti. The knight wore heavy plate and bore a large sword. His shield bar was full, this was not good. The hallway was wide enough for the man to swing his sword with confidence while being able to control if Nasui passed or not. He risked a glance behind him, a hallway that turned towards the right. He could flee, but then what? With the plate the man couldn't possibly move faster than Nasui.

He decided against fleeing for the moment. He had to weaken Tirim’s forces as best as he could. Should they all team up against Rath who knew how the battle would go. Sadly, the plate was an issue. His Curse magic wouldn't affect him unless he made contact with the flesh. With the close quarters his bow was out of the question so he couldn't use his drill arrows to break his shield. This relied on his sword play.

Nasui drew Tranquility and Retribution and lowered his torso to the ground. Mosti raised his sword to strike, but did not move. Nasui could not read the man's face through the plate, another disadvantage. However, why was he not attacking? Nasui inhaled and began to strike, he slithered in low towards Mosti.

The dual blades came up towards his open left flank, threatening to stab. Nasui expected him to dodge, but instead the swords made contact. Sparks flew from where his shield was hit, the bar dropping a third of the way. Nasui felt himself be pushed back from the force and realized what was happening.

Mosti waited for Nasui to strike first, then went to strike. The massive rune engraved sword was swung down on Nasui. He quickly raised his twin blades to guard against the strike, the force of the strike ending Nasui spinning down the hall, opposite of where he was before. The two had flipped sides.

Why would Mosti let them be swapped? Now Nasui could flee in the right direction. Unless it wasn't the right direction? Mosti knew this castle, Nasui had little details to work with. So even though there were two ways to go, neither would be of much use to Nasui if they led to a dead end.

Nasui lifted himself up as Mosti shot forward towards him. A small cast bar popped up above Mosti’s head as the Runes of the sword began to glow. No, one rune in particular lit up bright red. Fire surrounded the sword as it dropped down on Nasui, who used his blades in a cross to guard the strike. The heat was sweltering and it dripped down on him when the blades collided. Mosti lifted a foot and kicked Nasui hard in the gut, sending him reeling back. Mosti got his sword back and pulled back to strike again, the runes glowing again.

This wasn't good, this matchup was no good for Nasui. He had to break through the shield and the armor to do any damage, which was no easy feat from up close. He inhaled, backing away to avoid Mosti’s swing. Another casting bar appeared and suddenly Mosti sprinted forward at high speed, Stride!

Nasui felt the now flaming sword slam into his shoulder, the shield absorbing its damage. He was pressed down to the ground as Mosti pulled back to swing again. Nasui acted quickly, and slithered between the man's legs to strike from behind. He stabbed but wasn't able to get enough force to shatter the shield, it now was at a little over one third. Mosti swung backwards with a fist, Nasui slithering back to avoid the swing.

“You have no honor!” Mosti yelled out, turning to face Nasui. He didn't charge, he pointed at the naga with a judging finger. “I have fought you head on, yet you rely on tricks! I have shown you my honor and you cannot return it! A disgrace!”

Nasui gritted his fangs. “I have honor.” He said with a sharp tongue. “Just not the honor you believe. Honor is following a code, and my code is being followed. I follow the honor of Secis!”

“Secis, of course a sneaky snake would follow the god of vengeance.” Mosti said, his tone poisonous. “How can one that follows vengeance have honor.”

“Vengeance is its own honor.” Nasui spoke. “We seek redemption for those killed unjustly, those who suffer from those with power, and protect the ones who cannot protect themself. To achieve those means we do whatever we can. No matter the cost, we fight for others.”

Mosti lowered his hands. “You say that, yet here you stand, fighting one who is protecting his home from invaders.”

“I can say the same.” Nasui spoke clearly. “We asked for peace, yet your king rejected our offer. We just wanted to live without fear of being attacked for simply existing, and your king denied us!”

Nasui heard the sound of Mosti grinding his teeth. “You serve a Demon Lord, the greatest threat to this world, how could we allow that to live within our lands!”

“Easily.” Nasui said sharply. “But you were too afraid to give it a chance, to listen to what my master said. He is a great man, and you wouldn't allow him the chance to prove it to you. He could have been an ally! All of Criss could have been! But you rejected it out of petty fear! You suppress us, then call us evil when we lash out at you as if you were not the cause! For what? To satisfy your petty egos? To follow your thin belief of Honor?”

“Enough!” Mosti yelled out. “You speak my language, yet your words are foreign. It is as if you do not see the destruction the Demon Lord brings, as if you do not see what nagas have done, what kobolds do to our villages. Do not act as if your people have not earned our distrust!”

“You apply those reasons to all nagas, to all kobolds, to all Demon Lords.” Nasui began. “Yet what if we did the same to humans? All humans hunt and kill us, when it's just a select few. A human saved my life. He showed me that there's a reason to trust your kind. Even amongst Demon Lords, Rath stands in opposition to your belief. He does not wish for control, just for his people to be safe! So take your generalization and shove it up your honorable ass!” He swore, Nasui never felt as free as he did in this moment, calling out this man.

Words would not move this man, he readied his attack. Nasui braced to counter him. Was Mosti truly wrong for his beliefs? Form Nasui’s perceptive yes, but what about others? Could people learn to stop fearing others because of the actions of a few? Nasui inhaled, he needed the world to learn to forgive. For now though, he had to fight this man.

Nekra stood at the ready as the older man, Osir, began to raise his staff. A spell bar began to fill overhead, slow? Nekra took the chance and charged forward quickly, using his wings to elevate himself off the ground. He drew his sword, Fraz Proktier, to strike. The bar filled as Nekra was upon him, and suddenly a whirlpool erupted from the tip of the man's staff. The water sent Nekra flying back. He landed on the stone and began to feel the water in the room rise quickly. It stopped, just above Nekra’s ankle.

“You have seen a sample of my power.” Osir said, his tone sorrowful. “Now, will you please leave. The door behind you will lead you to the entryway. Should you follow the hall you may leave. But should you fight me I will have to kill you.”

Nekra stood firm. “What is behind the door you block?” He asked.

“Only more suffering.” Osir said. “I ask that you please turn back.”

“I cannot!” Nekra yelled out. “My friends are that way! I can't just leave them behind to save my own life!”

Osir tilted his head. “That is strange, I thought kobolds were all about survival, you must know you will die should you fight me.”

“Maybe you're right.” Nekra said. He could feel his knees shaking. “However! I am a dragon! A dragon will not simply walk away while his friends fight their hardest! If I am to die, it will be fighting tooth and nail!”

Osir gave a sigh. “Very well, then I shall make your death quick.” The bar above his head began to fill again. Nekra prepared his wings to send him away. The spell unleashed and the room began to fill again. The area around Osir was a vortex, Osir in the center. The room was filling higher and higher. Nekra kept himself in the air, beating above the water. Another bar began to fill above Osir’s head, the water levels halting.

Once the bar filled the water began to shift into a shape. It didn't move how water should move, it moved like a coiled snake. The reason for that was obvious after a moment as a large serpentine head emerged from the water. Osir pointed his staff at Nekra, the snake striking at Nekra.

Now or never! Astaia!

“Please!” Nekra yelled out the night before. “I need your power! I need to help my friend fight!”

The spirit was silent. The skull was haunting in the dead of the night.

“Why do you not help!” Nekra yelled out.

“Because you will not help me!” The voice yelled out. “What benefit do I gain for helping you!”

Nekra was silent for a moment. “Then let me help you.” the voice made a curious noise in his head. “Once we fight this king this city can change, we can change the people. Let us make it safe for dragons to return. Live amongst these people.”

“That is wishful thinking.” The voice said softer.

“Should we not be able to accomplish this, then Criss can be that safe haven.” Nekra said. “Rath says any that are hunted by Adventurers are welcome, I have no doubt he would allow them to live there with us. But I need the power to fight and protect. I need your power!”

The voice was silent again. “You will make this promise?” It said after a long moment.

“On my life!” Nekra yelled out.

“Very well.” The voice said in Nekra’s mind. “But should this promise be broken, I shall never loan my power to you. When the time comes just call my name, Astaia, and you shall gain my power. The power of the Void.”

Nekra opened his jaw as wide as he could, and inhaled. The water came at him in a rush, but was pulled into his jaws. It wasn't like he was drinking it, he was simply removing it. After several minutes Nekra had absorbed all the water and returned to the ground.

“What are you?” Osir said in shock.

“I am Nekra!” Nekra yelled out proudly. “Leader of the Criss kobolds! Dragon! Friend of the Demon Lord Rath!”

Osir’s eyes widened. “Did you say, Rath?”

Suddenly, the door behind Nekra was flung open. There in the doorway, stood Rath. he was breathing heavily.

“I made it in time.” He said, panting.

“Rath!” Nekra yelled out.

“Rath?” Osir said, looking over the demon lord before him. “It can't be.” 

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