“My lady, the young master from the house of Sinnlos has sent you another gift,” Retter said as he stood in front of an oak door.
“Again? Didn’t I tell him to leave me alone?” Tafel’s voice came from behind the door.
“He’s very obstinate, my lady,” Retter said. “I’m afraid he’ll keep pestering you until you give him a chance.”
Tafel sighed as she got dressed. She observed herself in the mirror and adjusted her hair before nodding to herself. “Can I execute him?” she asked as she strapped her sword to her back.
“I-I’m just a sentry, my lady,” Retter said. “It would be better to ask your mother that question.”
Tafel opened the door and stepped out as Retter moved aside. “You’ve been in employment since my father was the demon lord,” she said as she looked at him. “Surely you must have some opinion on the matter.”
“As a sentry, my opinion should not hold any weight in the upper echelons,” Retter said as sweat rolled down his back. “But if my lady insists on knowing, I think you shouldn’t execute him. The Sinnlos family is a major backer of the capital. They contributed a lot to the reconstruction of the city after the zombie incident.”
Tafel sighed. “Fine,” she said. “Tell him that he has to get three things before he can meet with me: the tooth of an infant dragon, the fart of a unicorn, and the hairs from the eyebrows of a phoenix.”
“Understood,” Retter said as he nodded his head. “The tooth of an infant dragon, the fart of a unicorn, and the hairs from the eyebrows of a phoenix.” Retter’s brow creased. “Do phoenixes even have eyebrows?”
“No,” Tafel said as she stretched her arms above her head. “I need a vacation from all this demon lord work. Tell my mom to substitute in for me. Thanks.” Her horns glowed silver and she disappeared from the hall.
“But it’s only your third day…,” Retter mumbled as he scratched his head. He shrugged and proceeded towards Mina’s living chambers.
Lindyss rubbed her temples as she sat next to Grimmy on top of a cliff. There was still no news on the location of the fairies even with the skeletons and bats searching in full force.
“Just relax,” Grimmy said as he yawned and flapped his wings. “We can handle anything Stella throws at us.” The Awe-Inspiring White Flame, Little Miss Floofykins squealed as she was displaced and slid off Grimmy’s back.
Lindyss sighed and leaned back onto her arms. She frowned as she sensed a vortex of magic forming behind her. “Didn’t I tell Exzenter not to follow me?” she asked as she lobbed a small fireball behind her shoulder.
Her eyes narrowed and she tilted her head as the fireball shot back towards her, almost burning her hair. She turned her head around. “Sorry,” she said to the ten-horned demon. “I thought you were someone else.”
Tafel lowered her sword. “Hi, Auntie,” Tafel said.
“Tafel?” Lindyss asked as she raised an eyebrow. “You’ve grown.” A blue blur darted past Lindyss and ran towards Tafel.
Tafel’s body flickered and she held Floofykins by one of her hind legs. “This is…,” Tafel said as Floofykins snarled and snapped at her arm.
“Vur’s granddaughter, The Awe-Inspiring White Flame, Little Miss Floofykins,” Lindyss said. “Her mother’s a phoenix.”
Tafel flipped Floofykins onto her back and tickled her belly. “Let me guess,” she said. “Vur named her.”
Lindyss’ lips quirked upwards. “It was that obvious, huh?”
Tafel nodded as Floofykins squealed in protest. For a while, only Floofykins made any sounds.
“You’re not going to ask about him?” Lindyss asked, leaning against Grimmy’s belly.
Tafel bit her lip. “Should I?” she replied as she tossed the protesting Floofykins up and down. “He never contacted me this whole time.”
“He was comatose for ten years,” Lindyss said as she observed Tafel’s face. “He woke up three months ago and wanted to look for you, but I persuaded him not to.”
Tafel knit her eyebrows and frowned. “Then I guess I can’t be too angry at him,” Tafel said after a while and sighed. “Is he alright?”
Lindyss nodded and caught Floofykins as she flew into her arms. “He was really miserable about the whole ‘almost killing you’ incident,” she said as she preened Floofykins wings, “most likely still is. I sent him to the human kingdom to vent a bit.”
“Is that fine?” Tafel asked as she raised an eyebrow.
“He’ll be alright.”
“I meant for the humans.”
“Oh. Probably. If there’s an incident, I can always play the ‘you stole a dragon’s baby’ card,” Lindyss said and smiled. “Are you going to go look for him?”
Tafel shrugged and scratched her head. “I’m not sure what I would say if I met him,” she said.
“How about, ‘hi, my name is Tafel. You almost killed me before. Please take responsibility.’ That sounds good, right?” Grimmy said and grinned.
“No!” Tafel protested and shook her head. Her face turned red. “Actually, that might work…”
Grimmy chuckled. “Of course it would,” he said. “I wouldn’t have suggested it, otherwise.”
Lindyss nodded. “His personality hasn’t changed too much, after all,” Lindyss said as she looked at Tafel who was drawing circles in the ground with a stick. “You seem unsure.”
“I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to not be a burden. What if someone dies for me again?” Tafel sighed. “I trained a lot at Fuselage. I’m stronger than Dustin and a few members of the Swirling Winds, but Vur was stronger than them ten years ago. I was pretty confident in my abilities before coming back,” she said and looked at Grimmy, “but seeing a dragon again just reminds me of how small I actually am.”
The ground trembled as Grimmy laughed. “Everything’s small when faced with a dragon,” he said and puffed up his chest.
Lindyss snorted and looked at Tafel. “Would you like to fight against me?” she asked. “I can tell you how close or far away you are from Vur.”
“Really?” Tafel asked as she raised her head.
“Of course,” Lindyss said and stood up while stretching. “I won’t be going easy though.”
Tafel flashed her teeth and unsheathed her zweihander. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Grimmy placed Floofykins on his head and took a few steps back. “Use the new soul I gave you,” Grimmy called out to Lindyss.
She made a face. “We’ll see,” she said and turned to Tafel. “Ready?”
Tafel nodded as she readied her sword. “Ready.”
Lindyss stamped her foot and a spear of earth shot out of the ground underneath Tafel. Tafel slid backwards and slashed her sword downwards, sending a blade of wind towards Lindyss. Lindyss waved her hand and a wall of air disrupted the wind blade. Tafel disappeared and Lindyss whipped her body around, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
Tafel’s blade cut towards Lindyss, but a black layer of mist on Lindyss’ arms absorbed the slash. Spikes emerged from the mist and shot towards Tafel. A chill ran down her spine as she held her breath and disappeared again, this time materializing in the air above and behind Lindyss. A chain of shadows rose out of the ground and wrapped itself around Tafel’s ankle as Lindyss whirled around and blocked the blade with her arms. Tafel’s body jerked backwards as the chain whipped her towards the ground. She tried to teleport, but the chain flashed with a black light and her spell failed. She summoned a cushion of air behind her an instant before she slammed into the ground.
Tafel exhaled sharply and gritted her teeth as the chain started to drag her along the ground. The runes on her sword glowed with a white light and she slashed it against the chain before she rolled and dodged a fireball flying towards her. The chain dissolved into a black liquid that merged back into Lindyss’ shadow.
Lindyss raised an eyebrow. “Nice sword,” she said as thirty purple balls of fire materialized and circled around her body.
Tafel grunted and stabbed her sword into the ground. A blue snake emerged from the sword’s edge and slithered towards Lindyss, leaving a trail of ice behind it. Tafel dragged her sword through the ground as she ran in a circle around Lindyss, surrounding her with snakes. Lindyss ignored them and threw lightning bolts at Tafel as the purple fireballs defended her autonomously.
Tafel weaved through the lightning and raised her sword above her head. The runes lit up with a purple light as a green layer formed along the edge of the blade. Lindyss raised her arms, ready to defend herself from a wind-blade. An explosion resounded above Tafel’s head, accelerating the blade downwards. The blade shrieked and the tip of the sword vanished, reappearing directly in front of Lindyss, connected by a portal in the air.
Lindyss enveloped her arms with a black mist to block, but the blade vanished again, entering another portal. It exited from a portal behind Lindyss and struck her back, leaving a line of blood. Lindyss grimaced and tried to channel mana to her back, but failed. Silenced! she thought as her eyes flashed.
Tafel teleported in front of Lindyss and swung the flat of her sword at her. Lindyss exhaled and a blade made of light appeared in her hands. The white blade passed through the zweihander, freezing it in place, before stopping in front of Tafel’s neck. Tafel froze and the blade of light disappeared moments later.
Grimmy’s smiled. “You used it after all,” he said. Lindyss faced her head the other way.
“How?” Tafel asked as she wiped the sweat from her forehead. “I thought I won when I managed to hit you with the silencing slash.”
“It was a good attack,” Lindyss said and nodded as a layer of green light appeared on her back, mending the wound. “But unfortunately for you, I developed an attack that works through all kinds of silence.”
“You developed it? Stealing my credit,” Grimmy said and snorted. “Isn’t she mean?” He rolled his eyes towards Floofykins.
Lindyss ignored him. “I think you would still lose against Vur,” she said. “He awakened the dragon bloodline in his imprint. Magical attacks, like your silence, have minimal effects on him now. Your blade sped up by the explosion might be able to catch him off guard and injure him, but everything else was too weak. You could avoid him with your teleports, but you’ll run out of mana first.”
Tafel sighed and sheathed her sword. She stuck her hand in a portal and grabbed Floofykins. Floofykins squealed as she struggled, but Tafel just snuggled her into her chest. “What class are you?” she asked Lindyss.
Lindyss smirked. “That’s for me to know.”
“And me,” Grimmy said as he yawned.