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The evil eye I’d sent down the corridor arrived at an exit.


Checking the exterior confirmed that I was in a secret passage built into the side of a sewer. I had my suspicions, given the less-than-pleasant smell, but now, it was confirmed. Naturally, I wasn’t alone. Two armed guards stood just outside the door, for a total of six, including the ones I’d already dispatched. Six whole guards? They must be on high alert.


I silently crept up behind them and got ready to attack. It was my only option. There was simply no way they would let me walk out scot-free. That said, I made sure to avoid going for a fatal blow. I needed information, and interrogating them seemed like the best way to get it.


The best way to ensure their non-fatal capture was of course through the use of magic.


I formed two water dragons, neither of which had the usual high-speed streams running through them.


“Go.”


They silently flew through the air. The only sounds produced were the muffled cries of their prey.


“Hey assholes. You did me a real good one back there.”


I walked out of my cover and greeted the pair. They were unable to move; only their heads were kept out of the water. I was greeted with a pair of surprised but hostile glares. Neither did anything to hide their distaste.


“W-what the hell! The collar was supposed to knock you out!”


“Damn it… you’ve already killed the other four, haven’t you?”


Collar? What collar?


Only then did I finally realise that I had something along the lines of a choker around my neck. Grabbing it with both hands, I tore it off and quickly ran an analysis.


***


Collar of Subordination


Quality: S


Deprives the target of their consciousness and allows for their manipulation. No longer functional.


***


Ooooohhh… so that’s why I passed out. Damn, quality wise, this thing’s good enough to be considered a goddamn national treasure. No wonder.


Wait a second… I think it’s finally starting to come back to me. I’m pretty sure I went to the city we thought was the human supremacists’ HQ. Think I had some of Phynar’s guys with me too. And uhhh… oh yeah, dinner was poisoned. Right. That was a thing. I’m still a bit hazy on the details, but I’m pretty sure that’s how they got this thing on me.


Seriously though, how the fuck are they randomly pulling high quality shit like this out of the woodwork? Actually, wait, I’m probably giving them too much credit. I’m guessing this was probably their trump card. Don’t mean to make any undue assumptions, but I’m at least pretty sure it is.


“Damn, that was close. Can’t even begin to imagine what you guys were trying to do to me,” I said. “So how about you explain before I fucking drown you?”


“Fuck you, you freak!” shouted one guard.


“Goddamn demons and their racial privileges,” complained the other.


They were cursing me out, but they didn’t seem to be feeling the pressure. I doubted that they were going to answer my questions. Do they still have something up their sleeves? Or are they just well trained? Hmmm… Oh well, here goes nothing.


“Alright, I’mma just say it. Stop fucking trying to resist. Honestly, I have no fucking clue what you were trying to do, but you ain’t killing me anymore. I’m actually on guard this time,” I said. “Oh and you can try me if you want. Give it your best shot, I’ll wait. Just don’t think I’m desperate enough for intel not to kill your asses after.”


I weaved more magic into my spell and raised the water pressure.


Their faces twisted in agony as their bodies were crushed. But despite that, neither broke. Both had wide grins on their faces.


“Hah! You may be confident, demon, but only because you don’t understand us!”


“We aren’t like you. We’re human. We’re weak. And we fight with that knowledge in mind. That’s why you’ll never come out on top. Not against our last resort! You’ll never see it coming!”


After laughing their fair share, both men opened their mouths and spat.


“The hell?”


Though I failed to see it coming, I evaded the attack with ease. I instantly jumped back, only to realise that I shouldn’t have dodged. Because one man was on my left, and the other was on my right. In other words, each had the other in their line of sight.


There were a pair of groans as their attacks landed on target. On each other.


Both pierced the others’ forehead with a needle, and both immediately convulsed as their eyes rolled back into their heads. I tried to rush over with a pair of potions in hand, but I was too late.


“Are you fucking kidding me!? They died instantly!?”



It took only a few seconds for them to fall completely still. Checking their HP confirmed that they were 100% dead. The needles had contained a deadly, fast-acting poison.


Their corpses collapsed onto the ground as I undid my spell.


Oh for fuck’s sake. Those shitters got me good.


I’d been keeping an eye out for any potential suicide attempts, but them killing each other was completely outside the realm of my expectations. My body had already moved out of the way by the time I realised what was happening.


“Seriously, man. These guys are a goddamn pain…” I groaned.


They hate the other races so much they’re actually willing to fucking kill each other just to keep quiet? Yikes, man, yikes. Talk about some fucking batshit commitment. Seriously, what the actual fuck is wrong with them? There’s gotta be more to this than dissatisfaction. No way that drives people this far on its own.


“I guess it’s gotta be… revenge then,” I muttered.


There was no reason for them to put their lives on the line had there not already been lives lost. Likely people they knew, friends, loved ones, relatives, something of the sort. Perhaps in the war, or perhaps during another event that stemmed from a conflict with another race.


That was why they couldn’t simply stop. They couldn’t forget, nor could they ever let go. Their feelings for the dead were like chains, anchoring them to the conflicts of yesteryear. The voices that called out to them were silent. But they heard them nonetheless, used them as fuel to drive themselves forward.,


A consequence tied directly to the war, an obstacle that stood in the way of the future that could not go unresolved. That, I understood, but I had no idea how it was meant to be done.


Killing them would solve nothing. The number of grudges would only grow with each death.


There had to be some sort of solution. But I had no idea what it was or how I was supposed to find it.


“Maybe I’m just overthinking it.”


They attacked us knowing that we were envoys working on behalf of the king. All I needed to do was to surrender them to the authorities and feed them through the legal system.


Worrying about the ins and outs of the problem’s resolution had never exactly been my job to begin with. That task belonged instead to the various monarchs. Leaving it to them was far better than trying to come up with a solution on my own in the first place; I’d never exactly had the best head on my shoulders.


The only reason I’d even acted in the first place was because I wanted to try and make it so that the kids would have an easier time when they eventually went out into the world to study. There was no reason for me to get all worked up. If things went south, then I would just have to have them stay at home for a little longer, even if they were less inclined to do so. I did feel bad for them, but their lives came first over their wants.


Plus, I could just totally ship them off to Baachsburg and call it a day and not really have to worry about any of this in the first place. It’s kinda far, so they’d probably have to live in a dorm or something, but honestly, they’d probably get a much better education there… Hmmmmm….


It was a controlled environment, and at the end of the day, they could always warp back to the dungeon in the case of an emergency. Well, that’s that I guess. Too bad guys, I ain’t sympathizing. If you get in my way, I’mma just stick you six feet under and make you join your friends.


***


Lefi arrived in Alshir within an hour of being contacted. The extreme speed was made possible only by the supreme dragon flying at her fastest. Enne, of course, was with her, slung over her shoulder.


It was already past midnight by the time she arrived, but the castle was still fully alight. The staff was working to resolve the incident as swiftly as possible.


She landed right in the middle of the premises, which, of course, alerted the guards, but she ignored them all and marched straight through the front doors. Nell soon took notice of the commotion and rushed down to meet her with Rir in tow.


It was rare for Nell to forget to inform the relevant authorities, given that she was typically the more responsible type, but with her mind frazzled, she remained blind to the need, even following the dragon’s advent.


“Lefi! Thanks so much for getting here so quickly. I didn’t think I’d be able to save him on my own…”


“Worry not. Nell. It is only natural that I shall answer to an emergency with haste. Now, explain to me the relevant details.”


“Yuki was captured last night in a city that’s roughly five hours east of here by carriage. I think that you should be able to get there in an hour at Rir’s speed. From what I’ve heard from the reports, he should still be alive, but they’ve managed to restrain him somehow. I have no idea how they would manage to capture a demon lord, but that’s what’s apparently happened…”


“For one of the races, he is powerful, but infallible he is not. It is not difficult to capture him if he is to let down his guard,” she said. “And this behaviour is what he has always demonstrated. It is as if he knows not how to finish his business.”


“That’s why all of you have his back.” Enne spoke to both girls telepathically.


“Indeed. He is far from perfect, and it falls upon us to come to his aid.”


“Mhm… I guess so,” said Nell.


The sword’s words sparked in them both a strong sense of resolve.


“I shall be acting promptly,” said Lefi. “But I am aware that it is late. Do you require any time to rest?”


“I know I might not seem like it, but I’m a soldier,” said Nell. “I can stay up three days in a row without any problems. I might start to slip up after that, but I don’t intend to back off or take any breaks, even if it comes to it.”


“Worry not, we need not such an inordinate amount of time. I shall see this resolved by morning,” said the dragon. “Enne, need you any rest?”


“I’m fine,” said Enne. “I can stay up. Being a woman is about having willpower.”


“Indeed,” chuckled the dragon. “It falls to us to demonstrate our will in the case that he puts forward his shame.” She turned to the fenrir. “I see it in your eyes, Rir. You have many a regret for failing to serve as his guard. Let us resolve your inner turmoil through action.”


The wolf barked and nodded, a bright light burning in his eyes.


Seeing that all three were in high spirits, Lefi smiled and nodded, in a way that only someone with no fear could.


“Now let us teach those that have crossed us what it means to be put in their place.”


On that night, for the first time in a hundred years, the Supreme Dragon made an appearance that left its mark in history’s annals.





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