A Demon Lord's Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss Chapter 68
A Vacation in Another World
"You know what?" I craned my neck over in Lefi's direction and spoke to her as the two of us exited an inn. It was morning. We had just finished up the check out procedure and set off on our way. Our destination was the governor's manor, where we would meet with the hero, our tour guide. "That inn wasn't all that bad. I'd even say it was pretty good, in fact."
"I have little affection for it," replied the dragon girl. "It fails to match the quality of our home."
"Well yeah, you got me there."
On the inside, I felt a tinge of happiness run through me. Lefi's words were proof that she acknowledged the castle as more than just another place to rest her wings. It had become her home. However, I didn't let my feelings show and replied with only a shrug. It really was a nice place though.
The inn we chose was one of the more expensive ones, but not unjustly so. Its staff was highly professional. We were fresh faces in town, but they treated us well and got us a room right away, and a pretty spacious, well decorated one at that. Dinner turned out pretty great too. Most of the food they presented was stuff I had never even heard of, let alone seen or tasted, but it was delicious nonetheless. The only complaint I had was the fact that they had given us a single large bed instead of two smaller ones. The lack of a second bed, in and of itself, wasn't really that much of a problem. Lefi and I had already lived together for quite some time, and the dragon girl often barged in on me in the middle of my baths because she wanted me to wash her hair. Sharing a bed honestly wasn't anything special with our regular conduct being what it was. In other words, the real problem was just the way the staff looked at me. I could feel their gazes painfully bore their way into the back of my skull each time they passed me by.
And as for Prince Douchebag? I had long stopped thinking about anything and everything concerning him. The whole situation seemed like too big of a mess for me to resolve after just a few moments' worth of scheming, so I decided to put it off. This expedition's goal had just been to identify my foe. And that goal had already been accomplished. Which means I get to slack off and play tourist. Might as well save all that mind-number, super complicated contemplation for after I'm done enjoying this otherworldly vacation to its fullest. Changing gears is important. As any real working adult would say, "the inability to turn work mode on and off leads only to clinical depression."
"There she is," I said as I spotted the hero. "Wait, why's he there?"
Guards aside, there were two people standing in front of the governor's house. The first was our good friend the hero, Nell. The second was the "jolly" old governor, Raylow.
"Hey, what's up, old dude? You need something?" I greeted him before looking back and forth between the middle aged man and the teenage girl beside him. "Wait, is it just me, or do you two seem kinda tired?"
"Gee, I wonder whose fault that is…?" The hero rolled her eyes. "To answer your question, Mr. Raylow is here because he has a few things he wants to ask you."
"Huh. Well alright, what's up?" I turned towards the "jolly" old man.
"Good morning, sir," he said in an informal but respectful tone. "I happened to hear about your run in with a cursed magic weapon, and I wanted to ask you a bit more about it."
Cursed weapon? Oh, he must mean the axe. Hmmm, that feels like quite the fitting name given what it does. Lefi did mention something about it me not being swallowed by the weapon's curse back when I shut it up, so it's probably accurate too.
"You mean this thing?" I grabbed the axe, which had since become obedient, out from my inventory and showed it to the governor.
"What the!? Governor, please stand back!" The guards standing by the building's entrance immediately drew their weapons and cautiously turned to face me.
"Cease this immediately! Sheathe your swords!" The old man shouted at his subordinates in a commanding tone. "I'm sorry, please forgive them for their sudden, rude outburst."
"No worries," I said with a shrug, "I don't really mind."
"Still… is it truly fine for you to hold the weapon as you are? Is it not affecting your body and mind with its curse?"
"Yeah, it's gotten pretty obedient ever since I tamed it."
My words caused the governor to lower his gaze bring a hand to his face, and shudder as he muttered under his breath.
"How absurd… To think that he is even capable of taming a magic weapon afflicted by a sinister curse." He took his hand off his chin and looked back towards me. "Thank you, that is all I wanted to know. Could you please put it away again? To be frank, even the simple act of laying eyes on its malevolent form makes me feel nauseous."
"Wow uh… is this thing really that strong?"
"Verily," said the old man with a nod."It is so powerful that I find it strange that it has yet to corrupt your mind."
Huh. Wow. I guess me telling the hero that demon lords were good at handling curses ended up being more than just a joke. Errr actually, wait no. That can't be right.
The hero was intimidated by the weapon, but it hadn't made her sick. Lefi, seemed to have the exact opposite experience. In her case, it was she that made the weapon sick. The poor axe was so terrified of her that it stayed completely quiet and acted like any other weapon while in her possession. Though it remained unmoving, I could practically feel it trembling like a small animal, which was kind of cute in its own way.
Clearly dissatisfied, Lefi tried to threaten the axe into cursing her, but again, to no avail. I couldn't help but feel sorry the poor weapon and the cursed spirits possessing it, so I ended up stopping her before she went any further. I guess the way you perceive the weapon must be based on how high your stats are.
I chucked the weapon back into my magical inventory as I entertained the thought, which in turn caused the old governor to breathe a light sigh of relief.
"I already knew that you… deviated from the norm, so let us leave your abilities aside for now. Could you tell me about the man who wielded it before you?"
"Deviated from the norm? That's a bit rude, but fine, whatever," I said. "The weapon boosted his stats a whole bunch, but honestly, I thought he was pretty strong for a random thug even before he drew it."
In fact, I'm pretty sure he was easily strong enough to earn an honest living. Kinda dumb, if you ask me. At first, I had thought that the cursed axe was what drove the adventurer to debauchery. But after wielding it myself, I came to understand that wasn't the case. He had to have gotten it recently. The weapon would've long drove him mad and sent him on a rampage to fulfill its desires had he owned it for long.
Although cursed, I knew that the axe was an extremely potent item. In this world, even just ten stat points was a large enough boost to create a huge difference in the performance. Yet, just holding the axe gave an increase of roughly two hundred to every single stat. It was insane. Losing your mind in exchange for its power was a negligible drawback. If anything like this ever showed up in an online game, the whole community would go nuts and throw a shitstorm 'till it got nerfed. Like holy fuck. This thing is B O R K E D.
"So yeah, that's pretty much the gist of it."
The governor wrinkled his brow and started to brood after I informed him of my speculations. "You look like you've got something on your mind. What's up?"
"…No, it is nothing of importance. Your words happened to remind me of an unrelated matter," said the old man. "Alas, I digress. I am sorry for keeping you."
"I would love for you to return to the forest immediately, but I've no complaints if you do insist on continuing your activities here. Please, at the very least, do your best to stay out of trouble."
"So uhhh, whatever happened to being all two faced and shit? You sure do seem to be giving it to me straight now."
“I figured you'd prefer it that way.”
"Heh. True." I smirked. Damn, this old man knows his shit. I'd much rather deal with someone that's willing to be blunt than someone that beats around the bush.
"Anyway, don't worry. The only other thing we were planning to do was see this city's sights. We'll head right back home once we're done enjoying ourselves, and we'll leave the place exactly as we found it. Right, Lefi?"
"Precisely," replied the dragon girl. "The food prepared by your city's denizens is delicious. I would endeavor to avoid destroying it in its entirety even if my wrath was incurred."
"Never before have I ever been so thankful that our city's chefs are skilled," muttered the old governor, dead serious.
And so, with our business here done, we waved the governor goodbye and loosed ourselves into the city, hero in tow.