Chapter 1:

The Castle of the Demon Lord

The Heart of a Demon Lord

In times of pressure and disgrace, the skirmishes at the frontier between the enemies kingdoms of Aetherld sounded like the firstfruits of an emerging war.

For he wanted to avoid a bloody conflict leading to ruin Ningea - the Human Kingdom - the King have thought of a way which would at least buy them some time.


The dust wrapped up the carriage's wheels on the meandering road. The soil was pitch-black, the same as the heart of the people who sent her on that journey. The more they approached of their point of arrival, the more mist ascended from the void at each side of the narrow road. However, the young lady in the carriage was gazing at the outside through the window without particular fear nor anger, as if simply enjoying the landscape.

It had taken one more hour before they arrived at the destination, the carriage wheels losing speed before becoming motionless. Standing in front of the entrance of the palace of black stone, the Demon Lord himself was awaiting his unusual guest, surrounded by his subjects. With a slight and discrete smile, his blood-like eyes looked towards the carriage's door. As the coachman opened it, a lady stepped out, her white pretty shoes soon on the cold grey flagstone. The bottom of her dress was of the most exquisite lace ever made in the whole Ningea and, let us say it without great doubt, in the whole Aetherld. The dress was red velvet, with a pinch of white and gold stitching. Her raven black straight hair fell down her back. Her emerald eyes gazing with curiosity at the Demon Lord, she walked straight to him on a calm pace before offering him a delicate curtsey.

"Welcome to the Castle of Läak, in the middle of Akumirgh. I, Oweil, am the King of this land.''

His tone was collected and as he greeted the lady, he placed a hand upon his chest, in a feather-like touch. Needless to say, but Akumirgh was the Demonic Kingdom.

As the young lady sat up straight, she observed the black horns of the demon lord, emerging from his ash blonde long hair, though shorter than hers. With the intimidating aura round him, she already guessed it would be him.

''I am delighted to meet you, my Lord. Fourth Princess of Ningea, Lavinia Serdargent is my name.''

''So, you're the one chosen to be the diplomatic envoy.''

A brief and calm laugh escapes from his lips. As an answer to the demon's words, Lavinia merely smiled, closing her eyes for a while.

''May it result in peace between our kingdoms.''

"Peace, you say. Yes, I suppose we all seek peace after all."

Though he maintained upon his face a soothing smile, almost human, the timbre of his voice lingered with a note of mystery.

After that the Demon Lord led Lady Lavinia through the castle, she was brought to her quarters. A large room with black bare walls. A large room with walls of stone black as ashes, where rays of light shyly slip through the loopholes. Sat on her bed, Lavinia brushed the cover, her fingertips soon sinking in its softness as she mid-closed her eyes.

''How sweet it is, just as clouds...'' a soft smile upon her eyes, expressing contentment.


Walking the corridors of the castle, her footsteps echoed in the corridors. The female human only came across a few beings who inhabited this place. The rare demons she encountered passed by without paying much attention to her presence, except for one of them. A demon wearing glasses, adjusting them as he approached the lady on his way along the corridor. Glancing at the Princess, a smile crept into the corner of his face.

"Be careful, don't go astray.''

Slightly widening her eyes in surprise, her emerald-like eyes followed the demon from the corner of her eyes. Judging by his outfit and neatly cut hair, he should be a notable of the demon king's court.

''It is too early for losing yourself.'' he briefly added encountering her eyes.

As he disappeared, passing the corner, the Princess seemed thoughtful for a while, muttering to herself, a delicate finger lightly pressed against her lips.

''...Losing myself?"

But Lavinia didn't seem to pay much attention after all and, seeking to relieve her boredom, she headed towards the library. She was more than half on her way when she heard plaintive chirping. Shifting her head in search of the origin of this aching sound, the Princess beheld a small feathery mass moving under a leafless tree in the courtyard. Frowning her eyes, she turned away from the corridors, enclosing the feathery creature.

Kneeling before it, she silently gazed at what appeared to be a small crow. Chirping loudly at Lavinia as in hope she would give it some food, it had eyes of the same bloody hue that the Demon Lord. The lady extended her hands towards the bird but, hesitantly, stopped midway. She glanced up the tree.

''Even if you don't touch it, its mother won't take it back."

Following the sound of the unexpected voice, the young Princess took sight of the silhouette of the Demon Lord, watching over her a few meters away, his hands crossed in his back. He wore a calm, distant expression.

''Lord Oweil! I wasn't expecting to see you.'' she began offering him a gentle smile before adding, ''Why wouldn't it?"

The King of Akumirgh observed her attently, as if wondering if she truly didn't understand the reason. Though he didn't mind offering her an answer anyway.

"It fell because it's weak. Hence, there's no reason to pick it back.'' The King answered in his collected tone.

''That's cruel.'' Lavinia begins, cupping her hands underneath the small crow, collecting the warm creature in her hands. Standing up, she made a step towards her host, keeping her gentle smile. "It may be weak today, but it only lets it the possibility to get stronger tomorrow. And, someday, it may be even stronger than you can imagine."

Considering her words for a while, the Demon King then answered.

"Listening to you, it seems that weakness is an asset."

''Rather a hope than an asset."

"A hope?"

"Yes. To get stronger! To show it's true potential."

The Lord of the castle didn't seem particularly convinced and preferred to change the subject after a while.

"Were you going somewhere in particular?"

"Well, indeed Lord Oweil. I wanted to go to the library."

Apparently not having any other more important things to do, the Demon Lord simply nodded, offering to lead her over there.