The Demon King's Hero Of Light - novelonlinefull.com
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"No, I will try to cut them off before they lay into you too much," said Elalar with a shake of his head. "I am the king of this kingdom, and they will obey me."
She glanced over to see his troubled expression before turning back to admire the handywork of the elven architect. It was actually pretty, but not really her style. She preferred less ornate decorations where a.s.sa.s.sins and rogues could hide in. It made being one of her royal a.s.sa.s.sins all that more difficult.
Noting the group of elves waiting for them, Aella frowned.
"I've got this," said Elalar. "Daefina, take our guest around the back way, please."
"Got it," said Daefina, motioning for Aella to follow her as she dodged to the side around a large tree.
Aella followed quickly, keeping up with the elf's short legs. Once they were out of sight of the waiting n.o.bles, Daefina started climbing the tree. With a grin, Aella waited several minutes before following after her, enjoying the feel of her muscles stretching as she climbed.
"Lord Avalon will be particularly upset about you taking all of the lions," said Daefina once they reached a branch overlooking the altercation far below them.
"Why's that?" asked Aella, watching and listening as Elalar expertly deflected the questions of the n.o.bles.
"He was deeply interested in breeding the lions. I believe he even took a couple of the expecting mothers to his estate to ensure the success of their pregnancies."
Aella turned and looked at her. "Are you certain that he always handed over all of the cubs when they were born?"
Daefina paused, thinking about that, then turned and smiled to her. "No, actually. Shall we go make a formal visit to his estate? I believe I saw him below, wishing to speak with brother about something, so he shouldn't be home at this time."
"That sounds awful inconvenient for his staff," said Aella with a grim look. "Shall we hurry so as not to bother him too much?"
"Right this way," said Daefina, turning and running along the branch.
Aella kept up with her, having a blast running through the trees. She didn't hesitate once, jumping to another branch, or worrying about whether a branch would hold her weight. The princess didn't seem to think about it at all, choosing the quickest path to her destination while everyone was busy back near the lion's pride.
"This is his estate," she said a little breathlessly, pointing to a great tree that had doors and windows showing that the entire inside had been hollowed out to allow for rooms. Even some of the largest branches had windows and balconies.
"If I didn't see these trees with my own eyes, I would think it impossible for trees to get this big," said Aella.
"Really? You don't have giant trees like this where you're from?" asked Daefina, scrunching her brow. "What do you live in?"
"My castle is made of stone, as are most of the homes in my main city, but we live on vast plains. I can see for a long distance, and while there are trees on either side of the plains, none are as large as these."
"You must live in a place similar to what the halflings live in. They have a lot of hills where they build their homes like the dwarves do, underground, but not nearly as deep. I've been there once, riding on the back of a lion, and they have lots of fields and herds of animals."
"I plan to head south from here, once I'm done with the elves," said Aella. "Any ideas what I should do to repay you for taking all of the lions?"
"Honestly, if you asked my brother, he would be too proud to give you a proper answer, but I'm not that proud. What we really need is for you to find us something," she said, standing up and motioning for Aella to follow her.
They made their way down to the ground and quickly approached the front door. One of the servants saw them at the last minute and tried to run inside to hide, but the princess called out to the elf, making him pause in defeat.
"Ah, Your Majesty. What a surprise! How may I help you this lovely day?" asked the elven servant, obviously not pleased with her presence, and giving Aella a suspicious glance.
"I had spoken with Lord Avalon about getting a complete inspection of his estate, and while he was intensely displeased with the idea, my brother gave me the go ahead. Would you please care to escort us?" said Daefina, giving the servant no way of backing out of the request without insulting both his master and the princess.
"Of course, Your Majesty," he whispered, his face going very pale. "Are you certain my master didn't wish to accompany us on this event?"
"Oh, of course not," said Daefina with a smile, "Otherwise, my brother wouldn't be speaking with him right now, while I was here."
"Of course," he repeated, turning back towards the door and holding it open for them.
As they headed through the ornately decorated halls and walked through the richly adorned rooms, Daefina made a point of calling out to all of the servants they encountered, insisting they join them on the trip through the estate. Aella split her time between listening to their murmuring, admiring their surroundings, and listening for servants that tried to avoid being seen and grabbed, but Daefina had really good hearing as well.
Moving to turn down a hall, Aella noted that the murmuring stopped as they moved towards the only door at the end of the hall. Daefina seemed to note it as well, and her footsteps sped up in response. As she reached out for the door latch, there was a soft gasp behind them. Aella turned to see what was going on, stepping to the side out of instinct, and barely managed to evade the arrow that whipped by her shoulder.
Daefina had also jerked to the side when Aella started moving, so the arrow aimed at her missed as well, thunking into the door and sticking out, vibrating next to Aella's arrow.
Behind them, all of the servants were pressed against the walls, watching with evident fear in their eyes as more arrows began to rain down the hall from a trap that had been triggered. Aella and Daefina merely watched the arrows whiz by as they leaned against their respective walls, waiting for the trap to finish its volley.
"The next time one of you fails to mention such a trap, I will have you tried for treason!" growled Daefina, watching as some of them nodded furiously and others seemed too afraid to respond.
"The door itself is trapped as well, Your Majesty," whispered one of the maids, barely managing to move as the last of the arrows flew by.
"How so?" asked Daefina, but Aella growled in frustration and stepped forward, kicking the door hard enough it snapped the lock and shot back, banging hard against the back wall. A faint electrical discharge sputtered for a moment where the metal wire ended, before going silent.
Not waiting for the princess, she stepped into the room and headed right for the source of the noises she could hear. Darting around the wall that blocked the view of the room from the doorway, Aella's eyes widened in shock and then narrowed in fury.
Before her was a young female lion, barely old enough to breed, chained to the ground so she couldn't move, while three very small cubs were trying to wiggle close enough to nurse. A high b.u.mper around them, kept the cubs close to her side. The noises were from the young mother, struggling in pain, and the whimpers of the cubs who looked to have been born too young.
"Lord Avalon will not get away with this," hissed Daefina, as she took in the room in one quick glance.
Against the wall, behind the lioness, was a pile of dead kittens, showing that the litter had been much larger. The trail of blood leaking from the back end of the mother was a clear sign they hadn't been born long. If she wanted to save the few survivors, Aella was going to have to work quickly.
Lashing out with her black blade, she cut through all of the chains and restraints, freeing the weakened lioness. Able to barely lift her head, the new mother attempted to lick one of the cubs, despite the obvious pain she was in. Aella touched her lightly, scooping up the three cubs, and teleported to her throne room.
"Get Josephine now!" she thundered, sending the advisors scattering, and the few demons in the room fled.
"Your Majesty?" asked Seifer, gaping at the lioness and her cubs.
"No one is to harm a lion, no matter how many people they kill," she growled, gently placing the cubs before the mother, so she could lick them. The moment she was able, the mother started coaxing the babies to pee. They were too young to know how to do it themselves, and had been in intense pain.
"But, what do you mean? None of the lions have bothered the people," said Ruth, bounding into the room with Fred and Louie. "They sure are good hunters though!"
"The king of the lions told us that you had made a deal with him and his people, to allow them to live here,�� said Seifer, watching the lions uncertainly, his hand twitching near his weapon.
"I have, but when they see this lioness, they may become enraged," spat Aella.
"Seems they don't have to. You've already done that," commented Firion calmly, entering the room.