The Demon King's Hero Of Light - novelonlinefull.com
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Lion heads from all over the forest perked up and turned towards them.
"Oh shi-!!!" cried the elven king, turning to run back towards the gate, grabbing the princess as he went, but Aella remained standing where she was, and thus Alfred and Frederik remained, despite the shared glance between them.
Running and flying from all over the forest, the lions broke free from whatever restraints were holding them back. Frantic cried of elven tenders could be heard as they tried to avoid the hurried forms that ignored them in light of the summons of their king.
"King Aella! Get out of there!" screamed Elalar, holding the gate mostly shut, preparing to shut it.
"No, I'm perfectly safe," said Aella, throwing her words at the gate without turning around or raising her voice. She could hear the sound of the gate slamming shut and being secured.
A loud roar and a scream had all eyes turning towards the dens that dotted the cliff opposite them. An elf clutching his bleeding arm stumbled out of one and dodged to the side as a lioness with beautiful golden wings proceeded to lead a dozen cubs out of the den. None of the cubs stood higher than Aella's knee.
Several lions disappeared into other dens only to return a few moments later with larger cubs, some cubs still wearing the chains that had contained them. Aella's resolved to take these lions away to her home grew and grew as she witnessed the various chains and restraints they wore around their necks and legs. A few even had hobbles on their wings, to keep them from being able to fly.
The other lions tore the hobbles away before Aella could do the same. As soon as they had all a.s.sembled a silence fell over the area as if even the bugs held their breath in antic.i.p.ation of what was to come. The lion king turned to her and raised an eyebrow.
Stepping forward, to the edge of the cliff, Aella looked out over the pride of lions, feeling their eyes judging her for her worth.
"You shall never be caged ever again. If you choose to go with me, I will give you freedom that you haven't had since the days before the elves. Any who wishes to bond with you must prove themselves to you, rather than to a group of non-lions."
Her words traveled to all their ears, and she could see understanding in their eyes as they waited patiently for her to finish.
"Never again will you wear chains or be restrained. Any who wishes to bond with you must be willing to give up their time to learn how to work with you, rather than forcing you to do as they wish. I will provide you with homes where your cubs can grow safe from predators until they are ready to face the dangers of being predators. The lands I claim have plentiful prey for you to hunt. Do you accept me?"
The lion behind her stepped forward, to stand beside her and roared again, causing those before them to roar in response. Even the little cubs, who obviously had no idea what was going on, tried to raise their voices to the cacophony. Their squeaks were quickly drowned out in the roar.
"We will go with you, Leader of Wild Ones," growled the lion king, nodding his head to her.
Behind her, at the gate, Elalar and Daefina choked.
"I shall use a magical device of my people to return you to my lands, but I must touch each of you to do so," she said, holding out her hand.
"Then I shall go first, to secure the land that shall be ours," roared the lion, reaching out the touch her hand with his paw.
Aella teleported them to the land just outside the animal pens.
"I would ask that your people not harm the animals we have penned up. They are stupid prey animals with no minds of their own, that we raise for meat. Those that roam the land are free for your people to hunt. I will have a place made for you, near my home, so your cubs can be protected by my people while you hunt, if that is alright?"
"And your people will not enslave us, as the elves did? It is known how the elves tricked our ancestors into moving to their forest with the promise of plentiful food. I will not allow it again."
"No," said Aella, "I will return in a moment to make your dens."
She teleported above the city, looking for Rupert, and found him making modifications to the castle walls.
"Rupert," she said, appearing above him, "I need you to do something right now."
"All right," he said, finishing the slide he had made for Ruth, Louie and Fred.
Returning to the lion's side with Rupert, she quickly explained what was needed, then left them to make the den while she returned to grab the rest of the lions. She had lots of practice and had them all moved, minus any chains that may have still been on them, in only a few minutes.
"I must go back and deal with the elves," Aella said to the lion as he watched Rupert form the future home for his people. "I will trust you to explain the rules we have agreed to, if that is alright?"
"Go, friend. I look forward to your return, when we can fly together once again!" purred the lion. "I am called Amra by my pride. You may refer to me as such, if you wish."
"I am honored to learn your name," said Aella, bowing to him. "I hope you enjoy your new home."
Teleporting back to the empty forest, she glanced up at the skittering spiders overhead.
"Frederik, now that the elves have no lion cubs to feed to those spiders, they're probably going to go searching for other prey. Do you think you could make sure that prey isn't an elf?"
"Mind if I go with him?" asked Alfred, pulling out his sword with a grin. "I hate feeling left out and useless."
"Sure, have fun," shrugged Aella, turning back towards the gate where Elalar and Daefina were still standing, gaping at her.
"Since when can you teleport?" asked Daefina.
"Since when can the lions talk?" sputtered Elalar.
"It seems I've undone everything your people have worked generations to accomplish with the lions. I hope you don't mind if we finish off the spiders to keep them from attacking your people out of hunger?"
"That would be nice," said the elven king, nodding and still stunned. "But how will you repay the elven people for stealing a huge part of our heritage? The lions were used as a sign of strength among my people!"
"As I explained to the lions, your people will get an opportunity to bond with the lions once they are weaned, but it will be the lions that need to be impressed, not an elven council that probably has little understanding of them. Also, I will be requiring any elf who successfully impresses a lion, to remain with them, in my kingdom for a year, to ensure they learn what the lions need, rather than pa.s.sing some little test and calling it good. They aren't pets, they are lifelong companions and should be respected as such."
Elalar's face couldn't have frowned any harder. "And if they fail to impress a cub?"
"Then they will return here empty handed. Also, I will not allow any magic to be used in impressing them. The cub will also have to be taken care of when it is here, or I will return it to my lands."
"Do you intend to question every lion every time you visit?" scoffed the king.
"Of course. Why wouldn't I? If they can't be brought before me, when I visit, then I will know that they are being held against their wills. No animal likes to be caged when it can roam free."
He gritted his teeth, but nodded. "I still expect something in return. This is a huge blow to my people!"
"I'm sure we can work something out," said Aella.
"This will save us from having to cull the cubs to keep their population down," added Daefina, watching as Alfred and Frederik moved over the ma.s.sive enclosure, hunting the spiders that had grown fat and lazy from overfeeding. "The n.o.bles are going to hate it."
"Then, maybe it's not all that bad," murmured the king, giving Aella a forced half-smile.