159 Chapter 156 The Demon King
With the agreement of meeting again with the dwarven king, Joseph and Stella headed towards the territory of the demon king.
They floated in the sky, looking down on the castle. There was a man below them, standing on a balcony, yawning and watching the guards in the courtyard below, go through their forms. His scales shone in the early morning light, but if his magic hadn't told Joseph that this was the king, Joseph would never have believed it. He wore normal clothes, void of any symbols or decoration, and while he seemed to have a decent amount of magic within him, it was quite obvious he never practiced it.
With a shrug, they headed down to his terrace, to speak with him. He gave a bit of a start, but that was all.
"Are you really the demon king?" asked Joseph, still floating in the air, since the king hadn't stepped back to let them land.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"My name is Joseph and this is Stella."
"And why are you here?"
Joseph sighed. "This seems very redundant."
"I know, don't these people ever wonder anything other than that?" pondered Stella.
"I was summoned by the humans to kill you, but instead I enslaved all of the human kings and ordered them to bring all of your people to the borders. I am hoping to recruit all of the demons and demi-humans in your realm to my kingdom. And I will be returning to my lands in a few days."
He turned to Stella, "Did I forget anything?"
She shook her head no, and he turned back to the king.
"I find it hard to believe a human would want us as anything but slaves. Didn't you slave brand your elf?"
He pointed at Stella's arm, where one of her tattoos peeked out from under her sleeve.
"I am neither an elf, nor a slave," she growled, crossing her arms.
"And I am not a human anymore," said Joseph, finally landing as the king backed up enough for them to have room.
"Fair enough then, but why would we want to move? Surely you have something to offer if you wish to recruit my people?"
"It would get you away from the humans, who wish to kill you," suggested Joseph.
"Is that all?" the king asked.
It was obvious to them all, that they were getting nowhere.
"Allow me to explain my kingdom in greater detail, so you may be able to come to a decision. Currently much of my land is suffering and turned into wasteland because a group of demons corrupted our world tree. I'm expecting to be rid of them within the year, and start reclaiming the land. It is easily, much more land than your current continent takes up."
"Demons?" the king asked, cocking his head to the side in confusion.
"I mean real demons, from another realm. None of your people would actually be considered demons in my realm. You would be considered whatever non-human aspect you have, kin. So, you would be considered dragon-kin. Also, my realm has true dragons. Nothing like the weaker wyverns and drakes you have here."
"Ah. That's very interesting. But I'm afraid it doesn't matter what I think. You'll have to go before the council and get their okay on the matter. We've been at war with the humans for so long that the council just takes it for granted and spends most of their time arguing over benefits for their own respective groups. I'm afraid I don't have much power as king. As such, our food situation is poor and the education levels of our children are low."
Joseph listened to the king as he spoke, but he knew that the king did have some power, so he smiled. "In my kingdom, I use earth mages to create solid stone streets, building foundations, and sewers in the cities, and good roads between cities. We create plenty of food for all the people, and I can control the weather to stop such natural disasters as would cause poor harvests. Earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, insect swarms, they all have no power in my territory, when I am there. And once I have dealt with the demon worshippers and cleansed the world tree, my kingdom will grow immensely.
"I already have good standings with the elven nobility in my realm, and intend to start trading with the dwarven kingdom here, as well as trading with the human kingdoms whenever they settle down from their current fighting.
"Everyone in my kingdom is trained from a young age, in such things as reading, writing, magical understanding, and law."
"All of this is fascinating, and while I would love to hear more, you are just wasting your breath. I already told you that you need to see the council."
Stella sighed, "Then take us to this council."
"Your kingdom sounds like a dream…surely it can't be as you describe?"
"It is, and will be even better when I get a chance to focus on it without all of these distractions of being summoned to other realms.
"The rich people will get to send their children to education establishments, but the price will not be so high as to prohibit poorer families. Most people will be offered the chance to work for the school itself, in order to reduce the tuition even further. And those who refuse to work, will starve. Nobody willing to work makes so little as to not be able to feed their family and have a home. Many of my people are freed slaves, so they value their family being safe and secure more than gaudy artwork or perfumes."
They moved through the king's rooms, empty of anything remotely resembling a noble bedroom, and into the halls. There were no guards anywhere, until they got closer to their destination. Then entire time, Joseph continued to describe his kingdom to the king, despite the king telling him countless times it did him no good. Joseph knew that the king did have some powers, and wanted to make sure that he didn't leave out anything that might sway him away from joining his kingdom, and he also wanted to brag to someone.
"I have a form of transportation gate in the works, but I need to reclaim the wastelands to fully implement it."
"How can your kingdom be so good?" the king asked, completely enraptured with everything that Joseph had described.
"Magic," said Stella, not blinking an eye.
"But why choose my people to take?" the king asked, shaking his head.
"The human kingdoms of your realm annoyed me. I have my hands full with an evil god trying his best to interfere with all of my plans because I killed one of his avatars."
The king turned to look at him for a moment, as if he wasn't sure that Joseph was telling the truth, then shaking his head, he turned back to continue down the hall.
"What would you do if my people don't fit well with your current kingdom? I have many different peoples, with many different customs…"
"You will be my people or you won't be. You don't have to come with me, but if you do, you must agree to abide by my edicts. If I need to make some changes, I will deal with them on a case by case basis. Also, I'm destroying your level system before I go. Everyone will have their actual abilities with no bonuses. A level 30 wyvern hatchling will be just a wyvern hatchling. A level 300 human knight will be just a knight. He won't be able to depend on his level difference when fighting a wyvern hatchling and may very well die if not careful. While I believe you have a good shot of taking over a lot of human land if you prefer to stay, I know that the ensuing madness may cause more trouble for you than it will provide opportunities."
The king nodded and paused at the door. "I have heard your proposal, now it is time to tell them."
The council room that they stepped into was much smaller than a throne room should be, so Joseph assumed it must have been an audience chamber for the king at some point in the past. This castle was much older than any other building he had been in so far, in the entire realm, and Joseph was starting to like it quite a bit.
As they looked around at the various beast kin that sat around the table, obviously confused as to why they were being interrupted, Joseph stopped in his tracks. There was a real bunny girl on the council.