“He’s really weird,” Lillian said to Paul as Vur traveled ahead to the competition booth. “Who wears an eye mask underneath a mask? I’ve never heard of wine referred to as fire water either.”
“Maybe he’s a half-breed. He did give us a demon’s last name after all,” Paul said as he watched Vur knock over a crowd of people. “Purple eyes would really stand out, so he’s most likely hiding those. He’s probably been ostracized his whole life because of them. Try to be nice to him, alright?”
Lillian pouted as the cousins followed the trail left behind by Vur. “If you guessed as much, why didn’t you just kick him out?” she asked. “You keep lecturing me about offending the wrong people, but you want to associate with a demon.”
“Demons are slowly being accepted by the populace; that’s why the school in Flusia was founded,” Paul said. “With our grandpa’s territory being so close to the border, making friends with a demon isn’t a bad thing to do.”
“Whatever,” Lillian said. “If grandpa asks, it’s your idea.” The two caught up to Vur and stood behind him while ignoring the glares and murmurs from the masses around them.
“Umm,” Paul said as he tapped Vur’s shoulder. “Did you skip the whole line?”
Vur turned around and tilted his head. “What line?” he asked as he looked at the throng of people behind him. “No one said anything about a line.”
“You should clean the blood off your equipment…,” Lillian said as she scratched her head. “Everyone’s probably too scared to say anything to you.”
“Blood? Oh. From those people I killed earlier,” Vur said as he nodded. “I’ll clean it when we get to an inn.”
“Next in line,” one of the booth members called out. Vur looked around, but no one stepped forward.
“I guess that’s us,” he said.
“Looks like the dragon boy’s all grown up,” a girl muttered to herself as drool leaked from her lips. She giggled and pushed her way to the front of the crowd as Vur’s group left.
“Hey! Watch it,” a guy said as he was nudged aside. “You-.“ The girl turned around and smiled at him, showing her teeth. She wiped away a strand of saliva with the back of her hand. Her reptilian eyes changed colors every time she blinked.
“Me what?” she asked. She licked her lips. “I’ll be sure to eat you first in the tournament.” She giggled at the trembling boy and proceeded onwards to the booth.
Not now, little wormy, she thought as her body shuddered and squirmed. There’s bigger prey out there.
“What’s your name?” the man at the booth asked her without looking up.
“Stella. Just Stella,” she said. “What did that boy with the raccoon mask sign up as?”
“A black mage,” the man said as he wrote on a piece of paper. “Would you believe that?” He looked up and froze when he met Stella’s eyes.
“Mmm, I can see that,” Stella said as she smiled.
A crowd of demons sat around a plaza underneath the royal castle. They wore clothes made of silk and sported jewelry that glittered in the sun.
“Don’t you think the prince is too young to be the demon lord?” a demon asked the man sitting next to her.
“I don’t think he can seize it,” the man said as he adjusted the white bracelet on his arm. “Dustin is strong after all. And he’s been doing a good job helping the country recover despite his lack of royal blood. It’s a shame a lot of the nobles here are stuck in such a narrow mindset.”
The chattering of the crowd died down as Dustin walked out of the main gates of the castle, wearing a purple robe and holding a golden scepter in his hands. “Thank you all for coming today,” he said. “As many of you know, the first prince, Gabel, has issued a challenge for the throne. Normally, this would be done in private, but many of you wanted to witness the results for yourselves because you don’t trust me since I am a man of common birth. I have done my best to lead the country and you can see the results of my leadership for yourself. I hope that after today, no matter who wins, all of you will respect the new demon lord.”
The man with the white bracelet stood up and applauded. “Well said! Show them nobles who’s boss. Whup him good, Dusty,” he shouted.
“And you, Gabel,” the man said as he pointed at the prince who just appeared at the entranceway. “If you lose, I’m going to increase your training by tenfold!”
The woman next to the man tugged his sleeve. “Doofus! You said you wouldn’t embarrass me tonight,” she said with a red face.
Doofus cleared his throat. “My apologies for the outburst,” he said as he looked at the nobles around him. He sat down and crossed his arms.
Dustin smiled and scratched his head before turning around to face Gabel. He frowned. “Chad lent you his armor?” he asked as his eyes narrowed.
Gabel snorted. “I guess he just hates your guts, huh?” Gabel said as he smiled.
Dustin creased his brow. “The fight ends when one of us surrenders or is rendered incapable of surrendering,” he said. “Ready?”
“Bring it,” Gabel said and clashed his mace against his shield. He sneered. “I’d like to see what you can do against this armor.”
Dustin waved his scepter and thirty fireballs condensed in the air behind him before flying towards Gabel. Gabel laughed and lowered his helmet’s visor before standing akimbo. The fireballs collided against him, setting his armor on fire.
“You think your measly little fireballs are going to work? All it does is create some smoke,” Gabel said as he laughed. He inhaled a lung full of smoke and started coughing. “Wait. Smoke?” He screamed and started to strip off the burning armor. “Time out! Time out!”
Dustin scratched his head. “There’s no timeouts, but I’d feel really bad if I continued to attack…”
Laughter rang out over the plaza. Chad was rolling around on the roof of the royal castle, clutching his stomach. “Stupid boy,” Chad said through tears. “You really thought I’d give you my armor for a position in the nobility? I’m richer than all the nobles out there combined.”
“You tricked me,” Gabel shrieked as he stood naked and pointed at Chad. “I’ll kill you! I’ll rip your intestines out and strangle you with them. I’ll-“
Gabel collapsed as a chunk of ice struck him in the back of the head.
“I guess that was pretty anti-climactic,” Dustin said. He turned towards the nobles. “It seems we wasted your time.”
The crowd broke out into discussion. “Let me have a shot.” A demon wearing a veil and blue robe stood up. She walked out of the crowd towards Dustin. She removed the veil, revealing her deep purple eyes.
“Tafel?” Dustin asked as his eyes widened. Murmurs flowed through the crowd of nobles.
“That’s the princess?”
An orange sword materialized in Tafel’s hand as she smiled at Dustin. “Long time no see,” she said and removed her necklace. “I’m returning this to you.” She tossed it towards him.
Dustin caught it and looked at it. “The good luck charm that I gave you ten years ago,” he said and smiled. “I guess that means you’re pretty confident now.”
Tafel nodded and lifted her sword with both hands. “Ready?”
Dustin lifted his scepter and his horns shone with a red hue. A blue layer of light surrounded his body. “Ready,” he said. He waved his scepter towards Tafel, but she disappeared. The layer of light shattered in front of his eyes. A sharp pain bit into the back of his head and his vision went black.
Tafel stood behind Dustin with her sword propped up on her shoulder. “I guess that wasn’t very fair,” Tafel murmured. “Well, that’s what he gets for underestimating me.”
A commotion broke out in the crowd as Tafel walked forward and picked up the golden scepter. Tafel stabbed her sword into the ground. “Anyone who has any objections can step forward and fight me,” she announced. “I won’t be as merciful as I was with Dustin.” She passed her gaze over the crowd.
No one stood up.