160 Chapter 157 The Council
Joseph turned to Stella and she raised an eyebrow.
"Is it everything you ever dreamed of?" she asked.
Glancing back at the council, who were very confused, and with some starting to get annoyed, he sighed.
"Honestly? Sylva was way better. Even Joe agrees that the reality is nothing like the fantasy. You're way more beautiful," he looked her in the eye to make sure she understood he was telling the truth, and she blushed. She could tell from their link he was telling the truth.
She looked away annoyed that he was doing this in front of a crowd.
"Um, excuse me?" said the demon king. "Did I miss something?"
Just then, a wolf-kin sauntered into the room and took a seat. Everyone ignored him, as if they were used to him being late.
"Why is a human in our council room?" asked the wolf-kin with a grimace, not liking that he was ignored in front of obvious guests.
"I have invited these two to this council meeting to discuss a proposal they have for our people," said the king, appearing very docile as he took a seat in the back corner.
"Why should we listen to a human?" asked the wolf-kin.
"He was summoned by the humans, but instead of attacking us, wishes to take us back to his realm when he returns himself. We would never have to worry about the humans attacking us ever again," explained the king.
"He was summoned by the humans, and you brought him here?!" cried an eagle-kin, her feather's rustling in agitation as she rose from her chair in horror.
Several others also rose from their seats and the room was suddenly very loud as the dominant animal-kin started yelling. Joseph gritted his teeth against just mind controlling them, as he had already done with the humans. He knew that if he was going to be king, he needed to learn how to deal with situations like this. But, shavist, it was hard!
The noise died down very quickly when someone pointed out that if he had wanted to hurt them, he would have done it already.
They all settled back into their chairs and several were staring at him, expectantly.
"Why should we listen to a human?" asked the wolf-kin again, sneering at them.
"I'm not a human," said Joseph, casually, as if everyone hadn't just been yelling about him.
"You look human," growled the wolf-kin.
"Would you feel better if I looked like something else? I have to look like something."
None of them had an answer for that, and it seemed to confuse many of them.
"I take it, you are a mage?" asked the eagle-kin, looking at him carefully.
"Yes," answered Joseph, hiding his smile. That was the funniest question he had been asked in a while, especially considering he had two glowing eyes.
"Why would you be interested in taking our people, besides as slaves or worse?" asked the bunny girl very softly. The rest of the room seemed to ignore her, but it was obvious they were all wanting to know the same thing.
"I have no people such as yourselves, in my kingdom. It would be good for your people to join my kingdom because of the benefits they would gain there. I would gain citizens who understand what it is to live in horrible conditions, and thus they would be much more loyal when I take those horrible conditions away."
"What kind of people do you have in your kingdom?" asked the eagle-kin, before the rabbit girl could say anything.
"That is a complicated question. Currently most of my citizens are human, but that may be changing soon. I am creating my own race that will be called Wizardians, or Wizards for short."
"Isss that what you are, a Wizzzard?" asked the snake-kin.
"Yes," he answered with a nod.
"Isss your companion also a Wizzzard?" asked the snake-kin.
"I am an ancient fey," she said, and for a moment, the killing intent of her annoyance filled the room, and everyone sitting at the council table immediately bowed their heads in fear. Everyone except the king, who immediately bowed his head when he realized.
The killing aura disappeared as fast as it appeared, and the council members looked at her with fear in their eyes. Joseph sighed.
"Stella, it is hard to convince these people if you scare them like that."
"I'm sorry," she said, looking away, and they both knew she wasn't really. It was only a show for the council.
He turned back to them and said, "You will have to forgive her, she is easily angered by that question as many do not know what she is. Most believe she is an elf, and the elves in my realm are not very strong or impressive."
"So," said a fox-kin, licking his lips, "You want us to join your kingdom because we would be loyal for you removing our horrible conditions, but how exactly?"
Joseph thought about what he wanted to repeat. He knew by this point that the king was actually quite powerful, but it didn't look like any on the council realized it. Perhaps the king was allowing the council to handle things as they saw fit, so that he didn't have to rule?
"My kingdom is in the process of establishing itself. My lands have been reduced to a wasteland by real demons from another realm. I should be able to finish ridding my realm of these demons in the next year, and restore my lands back to lush fields ready for my people.
"My lands are greater than this entire continent. Your people would be able to spread out and form towns of their own kinds, free of fear of persecution from anyone. I understand the feelings your people have, from the enslavement and terrible treatment the humans have done to you, because all of my own people have been freed from slavery themselves."
"What do you mean by demons from another realm?" asked a turtle-kin.
"The humans here, call you demons because they are idiots who don't understand the term. I suppose it's possible you don't know what a demon such as this would be either…"
The image of a demon, terrifying in its form, appeared in the center of the table. Its black oily skin shone in a light that wasn't there. Everyone at the table, including the king himself, jumped back away from the table.
Joseph quickly ended the illusion, and was glad that he blocked the only door out of the room, as many of the weaker beast-kin looked as if they would have bolted from the room had he not been there.
"And you expect us to go with you to a place that has those things?" squawked a parrot-kin.
"Those demons are what I am dealing with. You should never actually encounter them. But this is why I don't agree with your people being called demons. You are beast-kin. You would be wolf-kin, eagle-kin, bunny-kin, snake-kin, turtle-kin, dragon-kin, fox-kin, parrot-kin, tiger-kin, rat-kin, bear-kin, goat-kin, and whatever other races your people might have."
They spoke softly amongst themselves for a few moments, sitting back down around the table, then the tiger-kin turned to him and asked, "Can everyone in your realm do such magic, as you have done?"
"No, only a small number of my people can do magic, though I hope to raise that number. Once I have cured my world tree of its corruption, I fully expect more magic to appear. Though, having said that, I have magic everywhere in my kingdom. It is integral to almost everything. There will definitely be magic available for use by your people, should you come with me."
"How exactly?" asked the bear-kin.
"I focus mostly on making improvements with my magic. If something happened, and an entire field were destroyed, it would be easy for me to use magic to replant it and grow food, but it's not something that every farmer could do, thus it makes more sense to provide magical items for the workers to use, to make life easier."
"Other than not having enough room for food and living, the main things our people deal with are sickness, injuries, and fighting with the humans. You've explained how you would deal with the food and space issues, your immense lands, and by taking us away from these humans, the fighting will be dealt with, but what about the health issues?" asked the rat-kin. His nose twitched curiously.
"My kingdom will have extensive sewers to remove waste from the living areas, and bath houses for sanitation. We have trained medical people to deal with small injuries and who have trained with mages to help with larger injuries."
"So, if someone broke a leg?" asked the bunny-kin.
"They would set the leg and either heal it, or place a cast on it to heal straight," Joseph answered patiently.
"What if it were cut off?" asked the bear-kin softly.
Joseph could tell by the looks of the council members that this was a loaded question.
"I would use magic to regrow it. Normally it takes a month, but I can do it instantly."
"That's impossible!" cried the bear-kin, rising out of his chair.
Joseph shrugged. "Unless you have someone missing a limb, I don't know how to prove to you otherwise."
A young boy with fox ears jumped off a stool from the corner behind the king and dashed out the door behind Stella without a word.
"My brother lost his arm in a battle and is running messages around the castle," explained the bear-kin, his voice catching in his throat.
The wolf-kin spoke up, "What would you charge for taxes?"
"That depends, because most of the tax collecting is handled by sales tax. Bartering is also common, and I will be coming up with a functional form of taxation for that, once I return and get a chance to deal with such things. I normally have the businesses pay me. My kingdom's main form of income will mostly come from business I do with other kingdoms."
"I have a question," said the goat-kin. "You tell us of all of these things that your kingdom has, yet you've also said that your lands are currently wasteland. How do you have a kingdom, and yet not?"
Joseph nodded, knowing that this was bound to come up eventually.
"My current kingdom is a thin stretch of land along the boundary of the wastelands. Most of the things I have described to you, have already been implemented in one way or another, but the actual kingdom building will come once I have restored the wastelands to their former glory."
"Then where would our people live in the meantime? Assuming we agree to go with you?" asked the goat-kin, his horizontal pupils focused on Joseph's face as if watching for signs of betrayal.
Before he could answer, there was a knock on the door and a large bear-kin, with black fur stepped into the room. It was obvious from the scars on his face that he had been in many battles, yet the empty sleeve on his side and the look of angry depression spoke volumes of his warrior nature.
"I was told to come to the council room immediately?" he asked in a deep voice.
Joseph was a little disappointed that the bear-kin had no magery in him, because with a voice that low, he could almost speak origin words.
"May I see your hurt arm?" asked Joseph.
"It's not hurt," he said, stepping up to him, "It's bloody cut off."
A new bare arm, all bright and pink grew out from the empty sleeve.
His hair instantly puffed up and grew, then was trimmed neatly so that you couldn't even tell that he had been missing an arm.
"It's hurt, if I can fix it," said Joseph.