“Demon Lord”. An absurd existance, subversion of natural laws and evil incarnate. If this was a game, it would be the last boss.
Instead, it is right in front of me, right at the beginning of my life in this new world.
My broken voice is weak and stuttering.
<<What nonsense are you uttering boy?>>
Says Aalverg with an inquisitive tone.
The Minister however seems surprised. His expression changes rapidly, and an unpleasant sile is now painted on his face.
He laugh, a chilling sound.
<<Well, well, well…seems that someone here has a good pair of eyes>>. His shrill voice drips malice.
Friedrick looks at me with terror in his eyes.
<<Ah, my Hero. You should see your own face now…truly exhylarating!>>
The Minister mocks Friedrick while laughing.
<<Impossible. Stop this act, Minister>> says Friedrick in a menacing voice. His hand grips the sword hanging from his belt.
<<Now, now…please, your Majesty. Order your dog to stand down>>.
As the Minister says so, the King points his finger towards Friedrick and shouts his order.
The Hero falls on his knee, forced to lower his head.
<<Kuh…I cannot move>> he says.
<<What his the meaning of this?>> shouts Aalverg.
In response, the King plunges a sword in his belly.
The sound coming from the old man is revolting, and the smell of blood makes my stomach clench.
<<Aalverg!>> shouts the Hero, still immobilized on the floor.
The priest falls, a red stain on his white dress.
<<Aah, less crowd in this room>>.
Laughter follows his remark, while the Minister…no, the Demon Lord comes closer to Friedrick and me.
<<A simple spellbind, my dear Hero. I cannot bind you, so…I bound your king to my will. And, as you know, his orders are a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e to you>>.
<<Curse you>> retorts Friedrick with fury burning in his eyes.
<<Oh, I have plenty of those. From Gods and Man. Still, mere words cannot change your predicament>>.
He violently kicks the Hero. Sounds of broken bone, and Friedrick coughs blood.
<<Now…what about you, my little mystery.>>
Demon Lord comes closer . I cannot move, paralyzed by fear.
His hands touch my face, a cold, unpleasant feeling. He forces me to look him in his eyes. And his eyes change. Pitch black wells of darkness.
<<Yes…Indeed. You have a nice pair of eyes>> he mutters. His voice is now deep, chilling.
I scream with all my might. Defenseless, powerless, terrorized.
<<Scream all you want. This-he says, raising his arms to the ceiling as to show the room- is the Small Council room. Completely and utterly soundproof, for important and secret state meeting. And what a cheerful meeting we have!>>
His laughter, again. I feel like it will forever haunt my dreams. Although, deep inside, I know that there will be no more dreams for me.
<<Ah…look at you. Like a lost baby in a world that you do not understand. Perhaps you thought about living a carefree life here, like in those stories where the Hero kills the bad guys, and everyone lives happily ever after?>>.
He emphasizes the last words. A cruel expression on his face.
<<Instead…you find yourself standing in a nightmare. Amusing right?>>
His smile disgusts me. I look away, trying to see if Friedrick can somehow act. He is still on his knees, struggling to get up. His face is flustered by anger, as he looks unable to act.
<<Oh, your friend cannot do anything. You see…the Hero cannot disobey royal orders. He is the king’s pawn, an obedient puppy. As for the King…well, he no longer has freedom of thought>>.
The King’s gaze is empty, staring at the void. The demon is controlling him, no doubt about that.
<<How…how is this possible…to think that you, cursed being…>> Friedrick’s voice sounds pitiful.
<<Well…it was simple-the Demon Lord interrupts him, with leisure- I am simply too strong. The city barrier, your blessing, they mean nothing against my spells. Of course, it would be a completely different story if your level was three or four times higher>> he tells while shrugging his shoulders.
<<For us to be deceived like this…>> bitter tears flow on Friedrick’s cheeks, an his voice is now dull.
<<Oh well…it would have ended the same way nonetheless. A pitiful, weak hero, not capable of seeing through my tricks. Oh, the times that I just wanted to stab you, or kill your friends right when you wold not expect it…but I endured, waiting until the King was completely under my spell. I was about to act, anyway…but your new friend, here, gave me some…inspiration>>
He claps his hands, smiling gleefully.
<<Why kill you all myself, when I can just play with you, you know? So, I have a new, wonderful idea…I will make our summoned friend kill the King in front of the whole parliament, while my demons wreak havoc during the commotion. Of course, I myself will kill all the Hero’s companions, cannot leave them be. And, as a silver lining, with his last breath…the King will order the Hero to hunt down his assassin. Isn’t that delightful?>>
<<You…bastard!>> Friedrick shouts over the Demon’s shrill laughter.
<<How rude…you hurt my feeling like this. Now…let’s get this party started!>> the Demon claps his hands.
He starts chanting words of unknown meaning.
Shadow gathers around him, swirling darkness in a frightening dance.
He casts his hand towards me, uttering a final command word. Streams of shadow now engulf me, all I can see is pitch black emptiness.
A sound rings in my head, followed by a monotonous voice:
[Magic Effect-Dark Empowerment: 1000% Attack, Strength , Dex buff, Gained Piercing Attack, Dark attribute]
[Dark Empowerment Successfully Absorbed! New Magic on Level UP!!]
[Skill Effect- Demon Lord’s Gaze: Null Self, Exp Drain, under *Demon Lord’s Control until released*]
[Failed to Resist Demon Lord’s Gaze: Requirement not Met]
[Failed to Absorb Demon Lord’s Gaze: Requirement not Met]
<<Now, my friend…kill the King>>.
I move towards the Demon lord, which is now handing me a small, black dagger. I feel like moving under water, slowly…I try to resist, but it is futile. I grip the dagger. My hands tremble, as I move towards the king. Closer. I feel my hand pushing the dagger in his stomach. The blade slips in his flesh, without making a sound. A small stream of blood flows from the King’s mouth. I pull off the dagger with bloodstained hands.
<<Marvelous!-says the Demon Lord in a loud voice- now, my King…give the order>>
<<By…my last breath, by the Power of Gods, Hero Friedrick, hear my command! Hunt down this assassin, relentlessly! Holy Order!>>.
The King’s voice is weak, ranting. He manages to finish his sentence before collapsing on the ground. The same monotonous voice from before whispers to me:
[Defeated King Ulver Tertius!!! Acquire Exp Points: Failed due to Spell Effect ]
[Title: King Slayer Awarded!!]
<<Now, boy…RUN!>> screams the Demon Lord.
Still under his control, I flee from the room, barging the door open and leaving bloody footprints behind me.
The voice inside my head notifies me that Demon Lord’ Gaze is no longer active on me. A loud voice booms behind me. It is him, shouting at the top of his lungs!
<<Murder! The king is dead! Stop the assassin!>> he shouts, his face twisted in sorrow. What a great actor he is!
<<What is the meaning of this?>> asks Vera, coming out from a small room in the corridor. Her expression twists as she looks at me.
<<It…cannot be…>> she mutters.
I look at my bloody hands. This is not going to end well for me. Panicked, I run. I am fast, too fast. The enhancement from Demon Lord’s spell is still active. Unable to effectively used my power-up condition I end up against a wall, breaking it.
I find myself in a large hall, full of people. The remaining party members of the Hero are all inside the room.
<<Stop Him! He assassinated the King!>> the Minister…no the Demon Lord’s voice still reaches me, while dumbfounded people are gazing towards me. Sahj and Cirtus leap on guard.
<<Ohi…what the hell is going on?>> screams Sahj while gripping a short blade.
A loud bang sounds in the air. I turn towards the noise. Friedrick is slowly walking towards me, hi sword in hand. He is enveloped by a raging golden aura. In an instant he is right in front of me, swinging his swords towards my neck.
Everything in me screams “Danger”. I fall back, clumsily avoiding the sudden slash of his blade. Still, the sword grazes my chest, leaving a shallow, although painful, wound.
<<Friedrick!>> Princess Caere’s voice echoes in the air. The Hero does not falter, he readies himself for another strike. He screams at the top of his lungs.
<<Murderer! I will avenge the King!>>his voice roars, and panic begins to spread. His followers look at us, still taken back by the sudden turn of events.
I try to reason with him, with them…but my voices does not reach them.
Friedrick’s status now displays Berserk effect. This is bad, really bad.
Meanwhile, the Minister enters the room. Guards are following him, and he is limping, pointing his hand towards me.
<<Kill him!>> he screams. His forehead is bleeding, and he looks like a victim of a violent assault. Again, what a great actor he is!
<<Please, this is a misunderstanding!>> I plea…although I realize that I must not be much convincing, being smeared in blood and holding a murder weapon.
Loud tremors shake the floor, while shadows gather on the sides of the room.
<<What is going on?>> panicked shouts from confused voices.
The masses of shadow crack with a sharp noise, and something emerges from them.
Demons. Six of them.
[High Demon lvl 100] says their Status. One of them covers the exit, while the others start wreaking havoc in the room
<<Demons?Here? Impossible!>> shouts Sahj, launching himself towards one of them.
The Hero’s companions engage in battle against them.
<< High Demons-shouts the Minister, terror on his face- he summoned them…>> he points at me.
I am trembling, as the Hero readies his sword again. No escape routes, while around me carnage spreads. People die, left and right.
The Hero attacks, and I manage to barely evade his attacks. However, I am not unscathed, as the Holy Sword in his hands graves my flesh.
Blood loss starts to affect me, while the ominous, impending feeling of death creeps on my thoughts. I don’t have the strength to fight back, or guard Friedrick ‘s attacks. Certus’s scream catches my attention, as a High Demon rips off his left arm.
He falls, gasping in his own blood. Vera rushes to him, falling prey to another Demon’s claws. Sahj desperately tries to guard Juni and the Princess.He is covered in blood, staggering under the demon’s relentless assault.
The guards flow into the room, some of them rushing to me with bloodshot eyes and sword in hand, while others throw themselves against the Demons.
Sahj falls, fainting due to his numerous wounds. Juni launches the Princess away, shielding her with her remaining power. The Princess is flung away, and she shouts the Hero’s name with a teary voice.
I fall to my knees, holding with my hand the gaping wound in my stomach.
Friedrick comes closer for the kill. I feel like letting all go, this short and cursed venture in a mad world. But something clicks inside of me.
I don’t want to die again, to feel that pain. With all my strength I stand up, staggering and with a blurred vision. Clenching my fist, I run away, avoiding the Hero’s slash.
I run with all my might, stepping on corpses to reach the exit guarded by the towering devil.
I jump, avoiding him, plunging to the wall that breaks after the impact. Empty air is below me, as I fall towards the ground and crash inside a small balcony. My arm broke during the impact, still I crawl towards the balcony’s end.
A grand waterfall is below, my only possibility.
I still have the enhanced status effect from before, so maybe, maybe…I can jump into the flowing water and escape, somehow.
Behind me is certain death, anyway.
I feel like fainting, however I steel my will, and get up. Slowly, slowly I approach the railings, gazing into the crashing waters below.
<<Stop right there!>> a woman’s voice beckons me. Princess Caere jumps at me from behind, plunging a small dagger in my back.
She kicks me, making me fall away from the handrail. Her dagger points at me, streams of tears flow on her angry face, as she stands between me and the handrail.
<<Why! You…murderer!My father, my friends…>> her broken voice is a pain to hear.
I get up, clawing the ground and coughing up blood. I extend my hand towards her. Perhaps…I can explain to her, the absurdity of this situation…even save her, take her away from this mad carnage.
A presence is now behind us. I turn my head to find Friedrick running at high speed towards me, his blade raised.
I was so close. Panic holds my mind, my thought are blurred, and only one concept pulses in my mind.
Survive. No matter the cost. I look at Caere, who is now distracted by the Hero’s arrival. I jump towards her, and grip her, pointing the dagger to her throat. Maybe this will make him hesitate.
One moment, I just need one moment to flee from this predicament.
<<Stop,or I’ll kill her>> I shout, holding the princess hostage.
It works. Friedrick stops his movement and lowers the blade. His face is a mask of conflicted emotions, deformed by anger and stained by tears.
His mouth is foaming.
<<S..sorry…I…I…CanNoT DiSoObEYY!!>> He screams in a broken voice. He lifts his sword and jump towards us, thrusting with all his might.
The Holy sword pierces Caere and me. The princess cries, while the Hero stands before us, still gripping the sword.
The blue light fades from him, as the last order from the King is now accomplished. He does not mutter a sound.
I can almost see his mind break, and I feel the unpleasant gaze of the Demon Lord on us. He is watching, smiling gleefully from the hole that I made in the wall to escape. Friedrick turns around towards him, fury burning in his soul. But he freezes himself.
A High Demon is behind the Minister, holding Juni in his large hands. The Minister snaps his fingers, and the Demon starts squeezing.
Juni’s scream is bone-chilling.
<<Juni!!>> wails Friedrick.
She smiles. Waving at him, with her last breath she mutters a spell. A huge fire explosion destroys the Castle’s upper floor.
<<Clever girl>> says a thunderous voice from the flame.
A dark silhouette emerges, clad in a mantle of shadows.
The Demon Lord’s true form, unscathed.
He points his finger towards us.
<<Now, die>> he mutters.
A dark flash follows, and then nothingness.