A Demon Lord’s Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss
“Holy shit! I found it! I can’t believe I finally found it!” I shouted like a madman as I stood up from my throne . The abruptness of the action led both Illuna, who’d been playing nearby, and Shii, who’d been sitting on my lap, to each give me a look . The former was gazing upon me curiously, as if wondering what’d suddenly gotten me so riled up . The latter, however, seemed to regard my action with resentment . My sudden shift had displaced the slime from its perch and knocked it onto the ground .
I would’ve apologized, but I was too preoccupied to notice the slime’s displeasure . All my attention had been directed towards the thing I’d just found .
“Hahaha… Mwahahahahah…! Mwaaahahahahahaha!” I laughed three times, with each lasting longer and sounding more sinister than the last . Only after I finished did I finally shout a slightly distorted version of a quote from a famous manga . “I reject my humanity, J*jo, and the inability to fly that comes with it!”
With that said, I left the throne room, cackling like a madman as I went on my way .
Of course, I hadn’t actually lost my mind . I was still perfectly sane and in control . The reason I’d suddenly burst into a fit of joyous laughter was because I’d finally found one of the things I’d been looking for since I first became a demon lord .
I spotted it because I decided to look for Everchanging Chains, the overly convenient skill that Rir had shown me the other day . I suspected that the skill was in the catalogue, so I went through the unique skill section and looked for it, only to do a double take as a certain other skill caught my eye . A skill that would allow me to lift my feet off the ground and ascend to the heavens .
At first, I’d actually thought that the skill just didn’t exist . It wasn’t in the list of regular skills, and I hadn’t expected it to be a unique skill . Moreover, Lefi had told me that, to her, flying was just something natural . It wasn’t a skill . It was just something that she had always been able to do . From that, I’d come to the conclusion that flight wasn’t a skill .
But my guess was off the mark . And never before had I been happier to be wrong .
I tapped the purchase button the moment I saw the skill . It was an impulse buy . I didn’t care that it cost more than ten times what regular skills cost . The fact that it ate two thirds of the DP I had on hand was just flat out irrelevant .
Because I was a man, a man with fantasies that burned with all the passion of a fiery star, a man that knew in his heart that chasing his dreams was the one true way to live his life . I had to follow in the footsteps of the king of the pirates and leave the nest to set sail in pursuit of my ambitions . As any real man would .
That was why I had made the transaction without hesitation . Lefi’ll probably chew me out for this if she ever finds out since I always try to discourage her from wasting DP, but I doubt she will . It’s not like there’s any way for her to know how much anything costs .
None of the excitement pumping through my veins waned as I materialized the wings I normally kept hidden away . I still can’t tell if these are supposed to be bat wings or dragon wings, but whatever . Doesn’t matter .
In my past life, the thought of having jet black wings would’ve made me flash a wry smile at best . But now, they were more than just an edgy joke . They were a reality . My reality . From my back extended a pair of appendages so dark in colour that they almost seemed reminiscent of a bottomless void .
Though I had wings, they hadn’t been of any use . At worst, they were in the way . And at best, they were decorative . They may as well have been part of some sort of weird cosplay . But all that was going to change . For they had finally gained purpose .
My wings were going to graduate from uselessness and become powerful vehicles capable of ferrying me into the sky and taking me wherever I pleased . Finally . It’s finally time to liberate myself from the confines of the ground and experience nature from a whole new angle . It’s time to soar, to gain freedom and everything that lies beyond .
“Alright! Let’s go! Beyond the great blue!” As I shouted, I tensed my wings and urged them to flap .
Uhm… What the actual fuck…?
Nothing happened . Nothing changed, no matter how long I waited . My wings refused to respond to my will . Rather, they failed to fulfill my wishes . They were flapping back and forth, but that was it . They weren’t actually producing lift . Alright, you know what? I’ll just… give it another shot .
“Alright… Let’s go! Beyond the great blue!” I took a deep breath and repeated myself with yet another energetic shout . But again, nothing happened . The sky continued to remain far outside my grasp .
“W-What the fuck!?” My jaw dropped in disbelief . I didn’t understand what was going on . I mean, the skill’s working . I know that much for sure . It’s a bit hard to explain, but I can feel it . It’s kind of like how I can tell that my arms are moving when I swing them around, or how I just know when I’ve closed my eyes, even in total darkness .
But, even though the skill was active, I couldn’t lift off .
“What the fuck!? Why isn’t it working!?” I tried jumping around and flapping my wings in a manner reminiscent of an immature chick trying to leave the nest . I repeated the actions until I found myself out of breath and exhausted, but never once did I ever truly leave the ground .
Was I just… not meant to fly? I grimaced as my internal monologue made a turn for the worse . It might just be one of those things . Like how you can’t make a dog cook even if you somehow get it to learn the skill . I might just not have what it takes .
All the excitement I had built up drained from my body as my mood plunged all the way down to rock bottom; a single negative thought was all it took to take me from a record high to a record low .
I turned my eyes up to the sky above and observed it in all its splendor . Looking at it like this almost makes it seem… cruel . It’s right there . Right before my eyes . But I just can’t reach it, no matter how hard I try . God damn it . I guess this whole flight thing really was just a pipe dream after all .
All remaining hope drained from my system . It was as if some cruel mastermind had pulled a curtain of despair right over my eyes, and I’d remained none the wiser until the very last moment . Reality weighed down on my shoulders and caused me to collapse . I fell onto my hands and knees and hung my head in resignation .
I had failed not only myself, but also my passion . My dream had hit a dead end, a brick wall, an invisible ceiling . And there was nothing I could do about it .
God damn it, Yuki! What the hell are you doing!? Get ahold of yourself, you dumbass! It’s too early to cast aside your dreams . Right as I was about to give in, words of encouragement bubbled up from somewhere deep inside of me . That’s right . I can’t give up just yet . Brick wall? Invisible ceiling? Fuck, bring it on . I don’t care what needs to be done . I will fly .
After taking a deep breath to calm myself down, I began to reevaluate my options . Let’s see… Flight’s a unique skill, so it hasn’t got any levels in it . But that doesn’t mean that knowing the skill is really all I need to do to understand and master it . It’ll probably start working if I just git gud, so I guess I’ll go pick the brain of someone who knows how flight works . Good thing I’ve got just the right person in mind, huh?
“And that is why you have come to beg for my grace?” The dragon girl narrowed her eyes as she watched me prostrate myself before her .
“That’s exactly it . ” I said . “Please, Your Scaliness, lend me your knowledge . Teach me your almighty ways . You’re my last hope . ”
“This subservient act of yours is revolting, Yuki,” replied Lefi, her face twisted into a frown . “Have you already forgotten the injustice you subjected me to? You robbed me of the sweets I adored and forced upon me the miserable, sugarless taste of despair for three days and three nights . Do you truly believe that a mere shift in attitude would suffice to right your wrongdoings? Preposterous! What ridiculous conceit!”
“Alright, alright . I get that you’re unhappy,” I said, reverting to my usual tone . “Look, I’ll make it up to you . How about I lick your feet?”
“Lick my feet!?” Lefi shrunk back in disgust . “You would go that far?”
Ey mang, I wants ta fly . Ain’t nothin’ finna stop me . I dismissed Lefi’s question by speaking to myself in a funny dialect .
There was nothing wrong with desperately wanting to fly . It wasn’t an uncommon desire . In fact, it’d been a common one that had crept up throughout my old world’s history . People had always wanted to fly . And machines, airplanes, had indeed been a realization of that exact dream . But alas, the metal contraptions had failed to truly fulfill it . What mankind truly wished for was to soar through the skies with none other than their very own flesh and blood—an act that, in this world, was actually possible . I didn’t care what I needed to do . I was going to fly . I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to fulfill one of my species’ oldest desires .
“Desperate or not, Yuki, you must know that all things in this realm come at a price . ” The dragon girl brought her thumb and index finger together to form a circle . In Japan, such a gesture would clearly have referred to cold, hard cash . Japanese coins, modern and ancient alike, often featured circular forms with hollowed out centers . But of course, Lefi knew nothing of Japan and its culture . And although she’d hinted at an exchange of currency, she didn’t desire wealth . What she wanted was a fried pastry with a hole punched out its center . A donut . Seriously? Is that really all she wants?
The request she made was incredibly easy to fulfill, so I decided to take it a step further and grab her something a bit fancier . I searched through the dungeon’s catalogue until I found a pack that came with a nice, white, paper box .
“How fragrant!” Lefi exclaimed . She slowly lifted the paper box’s lid as carefully as she would that of a treasure chest . “How incredible! There are three whole servings!? I cannot believe it! Each is a different flavour from the last, and all three bear a powerful aesthetic charm . Their appearances truly serve to function as a testament to their quality . ”
Her eyes had shot wide open; the look she gave me was one of joyous disbelief .
There was no denying that the donuts I handed the dragon girl were more expensive than usual, but that was only because I normally cheaped out and got her the least costly type there was . At most, they would have cost me about six hundred yen back in Japan . Yet, she was treating them like they were made of solid gold . It was evident that her common sense as one of this world’s residents had led her to believe that sugar was extremely expensive . It was a reasonable conclusion . That was how it used to be back in my old world too . Sugar had started off as a luxury, something that only the well off could afford .
In other words, Lefi believed that the donuts I spawned her had come at an incredible cost . It was for that reason that she was regarding me as she would a generous saint . This is making me feel a bit guilty… It’s almost like I scammed her or something .
“Here, you know what, take this too . ” I presented her another sweet as a bit of an added bonus . Mostly to curb my own guilt .
“Unbelievable!” cried Lefi . “Is that perhaps the fabled Kast-Ellah!?”Again, her eyes opened wide . Huh . She thinks castella is the stuff of legends? Oh . Must be because I only ever bought it once . I never bothered getting it a second time because I thought she cared more about quantity than quality . Yeah uhhh… whoops . Didn’t realize she liked them that much .
“I am amazed, Yuki . I am amazed to see the man that does naught but grumble and complain prepare such a magnificent feast . ” Lefi placed a hand on her chest and nodded . “Very well . I see now the extent of your ardor . I will forgive you and forget the incident in which you refused to quell my hunger and transform you into one that rules over the sky . Of course, I shall remain its Supreme Overlord, but you too will become one of its masters . I shall make you none other than the Skylord . ”
“Skylord? Sounds good to me . ” I nodded, handed her the castella, and sealed the deal . Huh . She seems pretty attached to that Supreme Overlord title .
“Wait! That’s no fair!” Illuna, who had watched our conversation unfold, pitter pattered over as she raised her voice in objection . “I wanna eat sweets too!”
“Listen well, Illuna . I shall impart upon you an important life lesson,” said Lefi . She twisted her lips into a cocky, shit-eating grin as she directed her gaze at the young vampire . “It is only natural for me to be the sole consumer of the sweets that I was granted . They were goods I gained in an equal exchange . I offered my labour, the transfer of my knowledge, and received them in return . If you too wish for sweets, then you must do the very same . Those that do not work have no right to eat . ”That’s real rich coming from someone that does nothing but eat and sleep all day… Hearing her led me to immediately think of a retort, but I refrained from voicing it in the interest of preserving her mood . She might go back on her word if I piss her off too much .
“Fine!” said Illuna as she turned to me . “Can you give me work, Yuki? I really want sweets too!”
“Hmmm, alright . Help me make dinner tonight, and I’ll pass you a plate of dessert . How’s that sound?”At first, all our food had come from trading in DP, but I soon started growing sick of ordering stuff off the dungeon’s catalogue . The fact that it was ready by the time I hit the button made me feel like I was eating fast food every single day . That was why I’d purchased the kitchen . Having the facility allowed us to make our food . And by us, I meant me .
Lefi wasn’t exactly the type to cook . She was far too lazy and I somehow doubted that she even knew how . Illuna, on the other hand, had helped out in the kitchen at home, so she at least kind of knew what she was doing . That said, she was still young, so I didn’t want her to handle anything major . Most of her tasks ended up being something along the lines of peeling the leaves off a stalk of lettuce . Thus, by process of elimination, cooking duty ended up falling onto my shoulders .
I wasn’t all that great at cooking . I couldn’t make anything too special, but repeating the task had caused it to grow on me . The task was surprisingly entertaining . Or at the very least, much more fun than I gave it credit for .
“Okay! I’ll do my best!” said Illuna .
“I admit…” said Lefi . “Dessert does indeed have quite the ring to it . ”
“I mean, the same rules that apply to her apply to you,” I said . “You can have dessert too, so long as you help out in the kitchen . ”
“…” Lefi’s face twisted into a frown as she took a moment to think the idea over . “It is fine . I will refrain . ”Her response caused a wry smile to show up on my face . Looks like her sweet tooth only comes second to her laziness .