Tafel inhaled the cold breeze as she walked along with Floofykins in the royal garden. She wore a loose, silken bathrobe along with fuzzy, pink kitten-slippers. A full moon hung in the sky, illuminating the plants and flowers decorating the road. Floofykins stopped next to a metal fence and raised one leg. The metal hissed and corroded as she marked her territory. Tafel’s eyes widened as the metal bubbled and the fence collapsed in on itself.
Tafel whirled around and Floofykins stopped mid-stream as she looked behind her. Gabel stood upright with his arms crossed over his chest. The moonlight glinted off of his light-blue metal armor. An orange morningstar hung by his waist. He glanced at Floofykins and sneered before locking his gaze back onto Tafel.
“Gabel,” Tafel said and crossed her arms.
“Didn’t you hear what I said?” Gabel asked. “You’re pathetic. A loser. How could someone like you become the demon lord?”
Tafel snorted and turned around. “Let’s go, Floofykins,” she said to the snarling birdpig. “Trash like him isn’t worth the effort.”
“Oh?” Gabel asked and chuckled. “And I suppose those thousands of innocent people were? I guess the demon lord only knows how to fight the weak.”
Tafel froze mid-step. Floofykins tilted her head and nipped at Tafel’s fingertips.
“You thought nobody would know? What a joke. You left too many survivors,” Gabel said as he sauntered towards Tafel. “It was easy for me to find out and that’s after Dustin tried to hide it. I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard for your dragon-boy lover to find out since the humans aren’t trying to defend you at all. I wonder what he would think about a girl who slaughtered thousands of people in cold blood. It’s like a match made in heaven, a monster falling in love with another monster.” Gabel grinned.
Tafel’s body trembled. “Shut up,” she said as her sword materialized in front of her.
“Make me,” Gabel said and breathed down the back of her neck.
Tafel’s left hand grasped the hilt of her sword and she swung it while spinning around to face Gabel. Gabel raised his mace and blocked the blow; he was forced to take three steps to the side. Floofykins hissed and spat a fireball at Gabel’s feet. Gabel swore and leapt backwards. “Stupid mutt.”
“What’s your problem?” Tafel asked as she stabbed her sword into the ground in front of her. “I knew you were stupid, but I didn’t think you’d be this stupid. You know you’re weaker than me. Why provoke me?”
“Me? Provoke you?” Gabel asked and chuckled. “No. That’s not how the nobles will see it. After all, you killed Loffel earlier tonight and now you came to attack me. Bloodthirsty princess slaughters thousands—including hundreds of innocent children—returns home and kills one brother, while the other narrowly escapes with his life. That’d make a great story, eh?”
Tafel’s eyes narrowed. “You killed Loffel?” she asked.
“Not me,” Gabel said with a smirk and shook his head. “You did. I don’t use a sword after all.”
“I suppose you’re doing this so you can become the demon lord once they impeach me?” Tafel asked. “What makes you think I won’t just kill you here?”
Gabel laughed and threw his mace to the side. “Can you do it, sister?” he asked with a smile and spread his arms to the side. “Take that sword and run it through my heart like you did to those countless innocents. The nobles won’t care that you killed me, but the citizens will panic. They’ll think, what if I’m next? If the demon lord is willing to kill her own brothers, what’s to stop her from killing us?”
Tafel raised her sword and pointed it at Gabel. The image of a child’s face stricken with fear superimposed itself over Gabel’s. Tafel’s hand trembled as she took a step forward. Childish screams resounded in her head, begging her to stop. Her sword slipped out of her hand as she hung her head. Floofykins whimpered and licked Tafel’s hand while pushing her thighs with her hooves.
“That’s what I thought. Pathetic,” Gabel said as he walked over to his mace and hung it by his waist. Floofykins growled at him and dashed towards his leg. She bit clear through his greave and shin bone, causing him to fall over and howl. Floofykins snarled and spat the bloody glob onto his face. Her wings flared outwards and she pawed at the ground with her hoof like a bull before a charge.
“I’ll kill you!” Gabel howled as he grabbed his mace and swung it at Floofykins. Floofykins caught the shaft of the mace with her mouth and bit down. A crack formed in the orichalcum weapon before it broke completely. Gabel stared at his now headless mace before his brain registered pain in his unhurt leg; he screamed. Floofykins spat out another bloody glob and tackled Gabel’s chest, knocking his head against the ground—stunning him. She raised one leg and peed over his stomach before snorting and trotting back to Tafel’s side.
Tafel hugged Floofykins who rubbed her snout against Tafel’s face, leaving bloody trails on her cheeks. “I want to see Vur,” Tafel said with tears forming in the corner of her eyes. Her horns glowed silver and the two disappeared, leaving behind a moaning Gabel with bubbling armor.
“Yes, Mom?” Vur asked as he sat cross-legged in front of Sera. The two rested in a moonlit glade with fairy birthflowers carpeting the ground.
“I have a task for you,” Sera said as she gazed at Vur with her golden eyes. “I can sense that your grandfather’s beginning to wake up. I want you to become the king of the humans; it’ll be a nice present for him to celebrate his awakening.”
“Oh,” Vur said and nodded. “Why would it be a good present though?”
“Well,” Sera said and raised her head to look at the stars in the sky, “he did try to wipe out the human race when they first invaded. However, something happened and he told us not to kill them before he went to sleep, but conquering them with you as the king should make him happy.”
Vur scratched his head that was starting to be full of hair again. “I don’t really get it, but okay,” he said. “I’ll do it. Does it matter how?”
Sera shook her head. “Just try not to kill too many of them or that ruins the purpose of making you king,” she said. Vur nodded. “You have around a decade or two at the current rate of his awakening.” She unfurled her wings. “You can continue planting your flowers now. I love you; take care.”
“Bye, Mom,” Vur said and waved as Sera flew out of the glade. He dug a hole in the ground and a skeleton walked over and handed him a flower. He planted it and observed the soil surrounding it before nodding.
Vur’s body froze for a split second before he turned around. “Hi, Tafel,” he said and smiled as the demon appeared next to him with Floofykins in her arms.
“Hi, Vur,” Tafel said with her eyes downcast. She looked up as a tear streaked down her cheek. “Hold me?”
“What’s wrong?” Vur asked as he stepped forward and embraced Tafel. Floofykins squealed in protest and slipped out from between the two. Tafel shook her head and rested her chin on Vur’s shoulder. Her body trembled as she silently sobbed and wrapped her arms around Vur.
An eternity passed in silence before Tafel stopped trembling and leaned her upper body away from Vur. “Would you hate me if I did something bad?” she asked and gazed into his eyes.
“Well, it depends on…“ Vur said and stopped himself as Tafel’s gaze shifted downwards and to the side. “No. I wouldn’t.”
“Really?” Tafel asked as she lowered her head. “What if you walked into a room and I was in the middle of killing a bunch of helpless children?”
Vur placed a finger underneath Tafel’s chin and tilted her head upwards. “Then I’d ask if you wanted any help,” Vur said. She avoided Vur’s gaze.
Tafel’s eyes widened as Vur leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. Her body tensed for a second before she closed her eyes and reciprocated. Moments passed. Tafel broke away from Vur and looked down with flushed cheeks. “Learn to read the mood…” she said in a soft voice. “Jeez.” Vur smiled and shrugged as Tafel shook her head and sighed.
Four skeletons popped out of the ground and formed a makeshift bench with their bodies. Tafel sat next to Vur and Floofykins crawled onto her lap.
“Hey,” Vur said. “Just wondering, but what did you do to become the demon lord?”
“Hm?” Tafel asked as she leaned her head against Vur’s shoulder. “I just beat up the previous demon lord in front of a bunch of nobles.”
“No particular reason.”