I looked down at the clear crystal I was rolling in my palm, every time I looked at it a smile would appear on my face. Ah, finally I have one… A legendary tier soul stone without an elemental affinity, one that was already a dungeon core at least once already… Now I just need to get to the wild continent… With a laugh I lightly tossed the crystal in the air. “Well it took three hours longer than I’d like, but I finally have a suitable dungeon core for my efforts…”
“Congratulations sir, but now that you have what you came for… Is there any reason to stay in this place any longer? The others are beginning to get antsy staying in enemy territory for so long…” looking over I saw that Yara was looking out at the city where my warriors were out patrolling.
“Yes, we need to stay and cover our tracks. No one can find out that I was here, that we were ever a part of this…” I looked back down at the crystal in my hand and clutched it tightly. “Then there’s that other thing that still has to be done…” with I sigh I closed my eyes and asked the hard question. “Yara, how many of our warriors can shift now?”
She turned and walked back to stand at the side of the throne where I sat, with the way she hesitated I could tell she was going to give me bad news. “Since you first ordered the mandatory specialized practice we have had an increase in those able to shift to a human form…”
“Yara, get to the point…”
I heard her sigh before speaking in a far softer voice. “Besides myself, just under 350 others can shift on command. About 100 others can shift, but they don’t have a level of control that either of us would be comfortable with…”
“So if I gave those 100 or so the benefit of the doubt that would mean only a third of my warriors can shift?” It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been but it was far from the number I was hoping to hear. “Alright, I guess that’s the best I could realistically expect, have you found a way to get to the wild continent on your own yet?”
“I’ve secured multiple options, but I feel most confident in a guild controlled transport portal. It is the most costly option, but I feel the security and assurances this option provides more than make up for that cost.”
“And you’ve come up with a suitable cover for yourselves?”
Yara turned to walk back to the balcony overlooking the city. “We shall pose as a mercenary group, for a year we will take on assignments and display a work efficacy and dedication that is unmatched on this continent. After a year we shall matriculate into the adventurer’s guild, and at that point we will begin our move to the wild continent.”
I considered that for a moment, it did seem like a good plan and was beyond anything I could come up with right now. “That seems fine, if you run into trouble contact Elisabeth. My sister is usually able to find her way into an influential spot in the nation of some mortal race or another on each of the continents, most of the time it’s the greatest human nation.” I clutched the crystal even tighter. “Yara, I might not be entirely myself after I finish the ritual. If you don’t recognize what I become when you come find me on the wild continent then leave the continent and lead my warriors on this one as their new lord and master…”
“Sir…?” She turned and looked at me confusion and fear playing across her serpentine eyes.
“And consider that last request as an order…” I looked up and let out a sigh as the tone of my voice returned to normal. “Lead the warriors out of this territory at dawn, give leadership of the draconians that can’t shift to Juok and tell him to sow chaos across this land… and to survive…” I trailed off. “I’ll leave this city to demons, they’ll cover our tracks here and take all the blame for the carnage we leave behind. That way there should be no suspicion cast on your newly formed mercenary group, in fact you might be welcomed with open arms for the added force of arms the group will bring.”
Yara was quiet for a long time before she spoke. “Yes sir… And Sir, it has been our pride and pleasure to serve the one who gave us our lives back. We will never be able to thank you for all you’ve done for us, but I swear that I shall devote the rest of my life trying.” She was knelling and held her arm firmly to her chest in salute.
“Yara, you are dismissed… and good luck, may Loki bless your journey…” As I watched the draconian woman I had grown to rely on for the past century get up and walk out of this throne room I felt a sudden sense of loss. Yara would be able to handle whatever came up next and would make sure my people survived anything they faced, now I could relax and focus solely on my own future. Looking down at the crystal I was clutching in my hand I felt myself begin to smile again. Now all that’s left is turning myself into a dungeon… Well that and the hoping for Thor not to be lying to me about what this ritual does…
In the light of the noonday sun I looked out at the city that I had slaughtered and raided for my own selfish purposes and thought once again about how much a person could change if given the right conditions and enough time. I still vaguely remembered my time on a world called Earth, a time when I was a kind and innocent human living an incredibly sheltered life on a decaying world. I’m sure if that past Nox could see what he would become he would be horrified, but as I am now I actually enjoyed what I do and what I’ve become. As one of Loki’s agents of chaos I’ve had to slaughter and save others countless times in almost equal measure. In one decade I could be asked to bring an end to an entire civilization of people while in the next I could be told to cure some deadly plague, in the end Loki only cared about bringing chaos to this world governed by Thor. Good and evil were concepts Loki didn’t care about and I had been told to discard, in the end I had learned to find enjoyment in whatever I did. So now whether I’m bringing forth salvation or slaughter, it’s fun for me and I find myself enjoying whatever I’m doing while I’m doing it. I did exactly what Loki had suggested all those years ago and had cast aside my humanity and any concept of good or evil long ago.
“Lord Blackwing… May we go forth zzzoon?” I looked at the demon next to me that resembled a giant purple mantis with four scythe like arms and a serpent tail for a lower body.
Damnit, I’m no lord! Ugh, not like it matters to them… Demons, they always have to give me some grand title when I summon them… I turned and gazed out at the hundreds of demons I had called into this world from the abyss. “Yes… Destroy, pillage, and corrupt until all of you are dead and return to the abyss. I give this continent to all of you, do with it what you will…”
“Yezzz!” With its buzzing voice the demon next to me raised one of its scythe like arms and pointed to the nearby city I had ravaged. “Come brotherzzz and sisterzzz, the dragon hazzz saved uzzz from the horrorzzz of the abyzzz and brought uzzz to thizzz fertile world and given uzzz freedom! Let uzzz show our gratitude!”
I watched as wave after wave of demons of all sorts and appearances swept past me and out towards the city. I knew exactly what they would do, I had summoned the most violent and bitter demons I could safely bring into this world and leave unattended. They would invade and ravage everything on this continent as they vented out their hatred and fulfilled their desires, and eventually after they had caused damage equivalent to multiple long and bloody wars they would be wiped out. The only ones who would be safe would be my draconian warriors who knew what I was summoning and had seen the scourge that has just come to this continent themselves first hand many times, this knowledge and their natural gifts as draconians would keep them safe from much of the damage these demons will cause.
Turning around I walked toward the writhing purple tear in space, what happened on this continent no longer mattered to me. Yara, Juok, my people be careful… It’s up to you all to fend for yourselves now… With a light heart and a clear mind I stepped into the tear, letting it take me to somewhere new. I was now heading into the unknown, and I felt more alive than I had in years.
Stepping out onto lush green grass I found myself looking at a small mountain in the middle of what looked like a large expansive forest. Turning my head I found what had created the portal I had just come through, an abnormally large wolf with purple and green fur, large bat wings growing from its back, and disturbing clear transparent eyes that were like glass yet revealed nothing inside. It opened its mouth revealing row after row of sharp jagged teeth and let out a deep guttural sound that my inherent draconic nature converted into recognizable speech.
“I offer greetings to my great lord…”
“No!” Hearing the demon touch on one of my personal pet peeves I spoke without hesitation.
“What is the matter, have I offended my great lord in some way?” its unnatural guttural voice grated against my ears as it spoke.
“Firstly, I am not a lord so do not refer to me as such ever again. Secondly, your voice is like the sound of rocks scraping together, change it.”
“What sort of voice would you prefer then my master?” It spoke in a strange neuter tone that had no discernable gender or emotion.
Well at least master is better than “my great lord”… Still though… “Something humanoid, preferably something feminine and pleasant sounding. Also, don’t call me master, or any other unnecessary title. Call me by my name, use Nox and nothing else unless I dictate otherwise in the future.”
“Yes Nox… Is this voice acceptable?” the demon now spoke with a soothing and demure voice that seemed as if it should belong to an innocent and charming young woman.
“Yes it is, also try to take on an appropriate form as well. Not many are as accepting of demons in this world as I am, anything seeing you as you are now would recognize you as a demon and would probably attempt to kill you.”
“Nox, should my form be humanoid as well?”
Looking at the demonic wolf creature I couldn’t decide whether its form being humanoid would be more of a benefit than not, in the end I decided to default to whatever the demon itself chose to take as its new form. “Do as you like…” With a dismissive wave I turned to look over this new area I had appeared in. “I’m going to inspect the land you’ve chosen for me…”
After a thought my human form melted away and with a tugging sensation I shifted back to my original form as the mighty black scaled dragon with silver markings. Taking to the sky with a casual flap of my wings I soared through the air looking down and learning the features of this land. It’s fairly isolated, but not too far from what looks like a village constructed by one of the races… Under twenty miles from the sea as well… There’s plenty of wildlife, both animals and monsters seem to be flourishing in the area so it must have a decent amount of mana sustainability… Hmm… Is there anything a dungeon would need that this place lacks? As I looked down from my position circling above the clouds I found myself regretting once more that there was so little information about dungeons available. I had scoured three whole continents this past century searching for information on the strange beings, and though I had found some information on dungeons it was nowhere near the amount I had hoped for. I guess this place is fine, it doesn’t seem to be missing anything important and I should be able to lure in enough prey in an area like this… Yeah, I can work with this… This place will be my new home, my new territory…
For a moment I felt my instincts kick in, a part of me wanted to roar at the sky declaring this place as my own and staking my claim for all the world to hear. Then with a shake of my head the urge was gone and I remembered how stupid a move like that would be, nothing would draw people in like the lure of priceless treasure a dragon’s roar would cause. Well, I suppose there is something that would draw in more people… but I’m not ready for a dungeon to be discovered in this area until that dungeon is me and I have enough floors, traps, and minions to protect myself… With that thought still lingering in my mind I dive toward the ground and landed at a clear spot in the forest near where I had left the demon wolf.
Shifting back to human form I felt a familiar tingle of all my senses before a pair of arms wrapped around me. “Noxy! Do you have any idea how long it took me to find you!?” The voice was husky and alluring, the feminine voice sent pleasant shivers down my spine all while alarm bells rang in my head.
“Hello again Loki, I’m guessing it didn’t take very long for you to find me at all…”
“Hmm, well yeah, it really didn’t. Still though, your using demon portals to skip around was really annoying…” With a dark and ominous tone Loki whispered into my ear. “Almost as annoying as your little fling with Thor…”
With a shrug I ducked out of Loki’s embrace and turned to see a Beautiful young woman with long black hair in a green cocktail dress. “Thor gave offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse, besides it was only one night of meaningless sex to help break the tension of dealing with a god. You use that tactic yourself all the time…”
Loki glared at me with abnormally cold eyes. “Normally Noxy I wouldn’t care who or what it is you decide to fool around with, but this time is different. I don’t care what the reason is, if you ever let Thor touch you again I will dispose of you myself. I don’t take well to having my toys taken away by others Noxy, you know that…”
With a sigh I looked away, I couldn’t take looking into those cold eyes anymore. I saw things that even made me, a mighty and nigh immortal dragon, utterly terrified, in those eyes I saw fates that were worse than death and punishments that made what little of the abyss I’d been to seem like a luxury resort in heaven. “I won’t be your toy much longer anyway…”
Loki laughed, a reaction I truly did not expect from her at this point. “Oh Noxy, even after all this time you are still so naïve… Sure you won’t be my personal toy anymore and I suppose ‘technically’ your soul won’t be mine, put you’ll still be one of agents of chaos in this world. With this new move, Noxy, you’re simply changing the type of piece you are, from a pawn to something more dignified like maybe a knight or a bishop, but you haven’t even changed sides let alone left the game board…” In an instant Loki was behind me and I could feel her whispering softly into my ears again. “Even if you don’t know it, even if you can’t remember, even if eons pass by, even if you fade into non-existence…” I could feel her hot breath on my ear and had to fight back my natural instincts and the urge to take Loki right here and now. “And even if I no longer ‘officially’ own you or your immortal soul, you, my dear sweet Noxy, will always be mine. No one else’s, always mine…”
I felt a cold sweat begin to run down my spin as her words settled in my mind, my whole reason for attempting this insanity I called a plan was to obtain true freedom. I wanted to be free from Loki, free from any duty or obligation I might have to any of the disturbed beings calling themselves gods. “What are you…?”
“Really Noxy, think about it. If I didn’t want you to do something all it would take is one clear order from me and you’d never take that action for the rest of your life, honestly I’ve really spoiled you by only giving you that one order so far…” I could practically hear the mischievous smile I was sure was on her face right now in her voice.
“But you’d never let me talk to another god without your presence…”
“Thor just wanted the dragon Nox Blackwing to stop interfering with the fate of this world, you had been causing and spreading more chaos than any other single being in the entire world. If Thor wanted to curb all the chaos you were bringing to the world, the easiest way to do that would be to provide you a way to ‘escape’ my influence and . Unfortunately for my idiot sibling, Thor never considered that my plans for you in this world are all but over, you’ve provided me with plenty of new pieces in this world over the past few millennia after all. Thor guiding you to become a dungeon and giving you a ritual to do so doesn’t impact me negatively in the slightest, In fact it only increases the potential you hold and offers new heights for your soul to reach. I almost wanted to thank Thor when I found out what had happened…” With a dark humored giggle Loki nipped my ear before softening her voice. “Hehehe, in case you haven’t noticed yet Noxy, I’m actually quite fond of you. I decided that I could let one of my favorite pieces take a small rest from the game, at least for a little while…”
I felt a new wave of desire flare up as the draconic instincts inside of me screamed at me to dominate and conquer the alluring female that was teasing my senses, at this point only the knowledge that this “female” was actually an all-powerful being that transcended mere mortal concepts like gender or sanity kept me from acting on those instincts. Keep it together Nox… the last time I gave in Loki kept going for days, she nearly fucked me to death… I do not want to have to go through that again, no matter how pleasant it was in hindsight…
“So I’ll let you take a short break for a while. You can live out a new way of life as a dungeon for as long as you can manage, then when your core eventually dies I’ll harvest your improved soul and send you off to a new game board to play a new role.” With a parting squeeze and lick to my ear lope Loki appeared a few feet in front of me again. “So I do hope you appreciate this time I’m giving you, because once your break is over I’m sending you, my lovely little Noxy, to a world far harsher than any my family could dream up…”
I shivered at that and felt a whole new wave of cold sweat pour down my back, I could barely handle the Aesir and their insanity so I really didn’t want to meet a whole new pantheon of Psychopathic gods. “An… And what if I never die?” My voice cracked despite my attempt at sounding resolute and unafraid.
“Then I guess you’ll finally have that freedom you want so badly, Noxy, but I seriously doubt you’ll manage that. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again eventually Noxy, be it in a few days or a few eons I’m sure you’ll eventually die somehow…” Loki gave me a casual wave and a beautiful smile before seeming to just disappear.
With a sigh I hung my head, the delusion of my finally escaping the clutches of these mad gods shattering like fragile glass. Casting aside the gloom that had soured my mood I looked towards a group of trees giving off a familiar scent. “You can come out now, my patron is gone…”
“You… My great master Nox, you have a patron god?” A small trembling elven girl with bluish silver hair and dusky skin stepped out from the cover of the trees and into the clearing.
I sighed as the demon gave me yet another new unasked for title. I guess I can’t really blame it… Hmm no, her… Seeing a god would be a shock for any being from the abyss, I’m more surprised she managed to maintain her infernal mana so well in Loki’s presence… I wonder how powerful my new demon companion actually is? “Yes, at least for the now I do, but I’m about to change that. Oh, and I remember telling you to refer to me by my name instead of some title.” The demon flinched at my reminder and lowered her head. “Relax I won’t banish you…” Not that I’ve ever actually banished demons very often when I could just as easily gain more by eradicating them and stealing their power for myself… “Not when you’ve done so well in selecting this location. Though, I’d like you not to make that mistake again…”
“Yes Nox, I shall remember and not make the same mistake again.” The demon spoke its head still lowered.
I gave a nod as I walked towards the base of the nearby mountain. “Good, now we might be able to work together…”