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A Demon's Beauty

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            The golden haired elf lay prone and bleeding on the snow covered and ruined palace garden, his fine clothes torn to shreds causing the normally extremely modest knight to be practically naked. Strong rope bound his arms and legs. No one had bothered to come to the currently catatonic blond’s rescue for what was left of the Dragon Tribe was now fighting for their lives in various parts of Draqueen. The events leading up to the blond’s current situation played over and over in his now shattered mind.

 

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            Alfeegi approached the Water Dragon Knight as they were passing each other in the palace hallway. “Oh Rune,” the White Dragon Officer said, “I was just on my way to fetch you. His majesty wishes to discuss something with you. He said to come to the library.”

            The blond paused and turned to face the older man. “Thank you Alfeegi,” he replied, bowing slightly, “I’ll head there right away.” The aqua haired man smiled, giving his younger comrade a nod before heading back to his other duties, mainly hunting down a certain pale haired Blue Dragon Officer and yelling his head off at him for going over budget yet again.

            “I wonder what it can be,” Rune pondered as he changed his course, heading for the humongous book filled room. “It couldn’t be about Nadil or his demons or Lykouleon-sama would have summoned Rath and Thatz as well. How curious.”

            He continued to search for a possible reason for his solo summoning, but cold come up with nothing. Seeing that he’d have to wait until meeting with the Dragon Lord himself, he put aside his curiosity for the moment. He then politely knocked on the heavy oaken door, having reached his destination.

            He was greeted with a “Come in Rune,” from inside and opened the door, grateful that its hinges had been freshly oiled and not a squeak was heard. “You wished to see me, your majesty?” the elf queried as he closed the door and bowed before the king.

            “Yes,” Lykouleon answered, smirking since he saw the Water Dragon Knight wasn’t paying much attention to his current surroundings. “I’m in a bit of a conundrum, my dear Rune.”

            “Oh?” the shorter blond pressed.

            “I have a problem,” the Dragon Lord continued, rising from the overstuffed chair he’d been lounging in, “a most vexing problem only you can solve.” As he spoke, the taller blond stalked towards the knight, cupping the elf’s cheek once having closed the distance between them.

            “W-What sort of problem?” Rune stammered and blushing. He suddenly felt very uncomfortable as his lord and master laid smoldering blue eyes on him.

            The taller man chose not to reply. Instead, he pressed Rune up against one of the bookshelves and proceeded to smash his lips against the elf’s. Rune let out a startled gasp, unwillingly giving Lykouleon access to the moist cavern that lay behind them. He struggled futilely as the Dragon Lord deepened the kiss.

            “Y-Your majesty!” the elf shouted when he could finally breathe, tears glistening in his lovely sapphire eyes. “W-What about the queen?!” He was appalled that the king would even think of cheating on the woman he so loved.

            Lykouleon smirked evilly. “What my beloved Raseleane doesn’t know won’t hurt her. Besides, you must know by now that we haven’t exactly been husband and wife for quite some time. Also, lovely Rune, when was the last time you’ve laid eyes on your own beloved, hm?”

            The shorter blond trembled in fury. How dare he assume he’d be just as willing to commit adultery?! However, the Water Dragon Knight never got to spit out the angry retort for Lykouleon, anxious to get back to his ‘fun’, silenced any further protests from the elf with another fierce and possessive kiss.

            Rune desperately resumed his struggles, even resorting to biting the older man’s tongue as it once more invaded his mouth. Anger flashed in the king’s eyes briefly before returning to smoldering lust filled orbs. “Why Rune,” he drawled, tasting his own blood, “I didn’t know you where the type who likes it rough.” Before the elf could retaliate yet again, the Dragon Lord grabbed him by the throat and threw him to the carpeted floor, effectively knocking the wind out of him.

            The younger knight lay there dazed, precious seconds needed to escape flying by unused. The Dragon Lord pounced on the prone elf like a great cat would its prey, straddling the slender and almost feminine hips and pinning the blond beauty. “How I’ve been dreaming of this,” Lykouleon purred, beginning to roughly pull at Rune’s clothing.

 

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            Rune bit back the sobs as he watched the Dragon Lord finish with his dressing. “I trust you’ll tell no one of this,” he said icily adjusting his jacket and cape. The poor knight could only whimper as Lykouleon strode past him without sparing him a second glance. He barely heard the door shut as the man he once admired left the library.

 

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            Meanwhile inside, it was several minutes later that Rune forced himself up off the floor and began dressing. The blond winced from pain and disgust each time a bit of fabric would brush against where the taller man had paid particular attention to. It took almost twice as long for the Water Dragon Knight to reach the library’s door and open it.

            The elf took a deep breath and gingerly stepped over the threshold. Somewhat relieved he didn’t meet anyone immediately upon entering the hallway, he started making his agonizingly slow way back to his quarters.

            An hour later, the blond sighed in sheer relief as he finally stepped into his room. A sudden wave of nausea hit him and Rune dashed for the bathroom. Within seconds upon reaching the toilet, the elf collapsed and emptied the contents of his stomach.

            When he could stand without vomiting, the abused knight immediately began tearing off his tattered clothing and turned on the shower to its hottest setting. He then stepped under the scalding liquid and started to furiously scrub the now dried blood off the lower parts of his body.

 

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            The next night, Lykouleon snuck into the Water Dragon Knight’s room and after much protesting and struggling on the shorter one’s part, proceeded to repeat his actions of the previous evening upon the still traumatized Rune.

            And he would continue to do so every night for months on end. Each time this happened, Rune found it exceedingly hard to look at the Dragon Lord the next morning while the older man acted as if nothing had occurred between them.  The elf also begun to distance himself from the other Dragon Knights, especially Rath with whom he was so close – well as close as the half demon/half dragon knight would let him get. Thatz and Rath had tried to talk to their friend, but the elf would just either storm off or avoid them all together. Eventually they stopped trying, leaving Rune to come to them when he was ready.

            Later that fall, Lykouleon had noticed the change in the younger blond, but chalked it up to depression over Rath’s death while the Fire Dragon Knight was out on a mission. It was after much coercing from Raseleane and Ruwalk that the Dragon Lord decided to ask Rune what it was that was tormenting him so. He was about to go to the Water Dragon Knight’s room when all hell broke loose.

            Apparently, Nadil’s army of demons chose that particular day to finally invade not only Dragoon, but Draqueen itself. Cursing his rotten timing, Lykouleon, the last true blooded Dragon Lord rushed off to meet his former friend and knight on the field of battle.

 

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            Rune stood against the garden’s fountain panting. He’d chased and killed the last of the weaker marauding demons from the castle proper. The elf allowed himself a brief respite and splashed some water onto his face in spite of it being a rather chilly winter’s day before turning back to the castle and the others who were still fighting. Also he was worried about Water; the dragon had been knocked unconscious earlier in the battle and the elf was feeling guilty for leaving his partner behind.

            “Shouldn’t you be helping Thatz?”

            The blond let out an undignified squeak at the voice. The man who had been abusing him all through late summer, fall and most of winter was standing before him. “Y-Your m-majesty!” he sputtered and backed away from the taller sneering blond. ‘S-Surely he w-wouldn’t,’ he silently pleaded, ‘N-Not w-when...’

            “Oh that’s right,” Lykouleon drawled, “Whores don’t go around fighting in battles. They just lay there and take whatever they can get.”

            Rune kept backing away from the king as he began stalking toward him. The elf whimpered when his back hit a snow covered rose bush, the thorns on the bare branches poking through the fabric of his clothes. “You know you can’t win against me, Rune,” the Dragon Lord whispered into one delicately pointed ear.

            The Water Dragon Knight looked away in defeat knowing the older man’s words to be true. All attempts to stop him from taking what he wanted had been complete and utter failures. He let go of the Water Sword and it hit the snow covered ground with an ominous clang.

            Lykouleon smirked at his knight’s submission. “No kicking or biting this time?” he asked amusedly, “And all this time I thought you liked it rough. No matter, I’ll still get what I want. I always do.”

            Rune allowed himself to be yanked away from the bush, his top ripping as the thorns refused to release the fabric. The taller blond kissed him possessively before letting go. It was several moments before the elf realized that the Dragon Lord was waiting for something. He gulped noisily upon spying those smoldering lazuli gazing at him in impatience. Rune raised a shaking hand to his now ruined clothes and shamefully began to strip.

            “I’ve always known you were such a whore, little Water Dragon Knight,” Lykouleon sneered, venom dripping from his voice as he address the blond by his title. He then tore the rest of Rune’s outfit from his body, unable to contain himself any longer.

            “Enough playing around,” Lykouleon sneered straddling the elf’s hips, “I’m sick and tired with playing pretend.” Rune suddenly felt a great heat wash over him as the Dragon Lord burst into flame, his clothes quickly turning to ash. The elf struggled desperately finally realizing that he was now in the clutches of a demon. He thrashed and rolled as the heat from the flames licked against his delicate skin and hair, singeing them.  However, his captor continued to hold on to him as the flames slowly died down to reveal a redheaded demon in the Dragon Lord’s place.

            “That’s better,” said Fedelta, “If I had to stay in that disgusting disguise any longer I’d go nuttier than that stupid alchemist.” Rune let out a whimper as the Fire Demon’s claws dug into the elf’s pale flesh. “Just quit it already, dragon scum,” snarled Fedelta, “We both know you enjoy this.” The blond elf let out another whimper as the demon kept him firmly pinned down and smashed their lips together and making sure his fangs pierced his captive’s soft flesh, drawing blood.

 

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            “You Dragon Tribe really are pathetic!” the fire demon snarled in disgust at the broken blond lying at his feet. “All it took to break you was my bedding you each night wearing that hideous disguise. I bet if Nadil-sama had known all it took was to trick you scum, he would have done it himself long ago and saved Shydeman-dono and me all this trouble. You make me sick!” Fedelta gave the broken and now bound elf a harsh kick to the side. Rune made no noise whatsoever. He just stared blankly at nothing.

            “I was going to present you to Shydeman-dono, but I know for a fact that he wouldn’t want a broken toy, no matter how good a whore you are. I’ll just let the lesser scum have you.” The fire demon gave the Water Dragon Knight one last scornful and disgusted glance then left the garden in search of more entertaining prey, but not before spitting on the prone body as he passed by.

 

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            The Dragon Tribe had managed to stop Nadil’s invasion force, but at great loss. Several of the remaining Dragon Officers had perished valiantly protecting their home and liege. Only Tetheus and Ruwalk had survived though severely injured. As for the Dragon Lord, he too fell in battle, his beloved queen following him shortly, having thrown herself upon his sword, rather wishing to join her husband in death than serve as Nadil’s slave.

            A lone figure strode through the now ruined and rapidly crumbling castle garden and stopped upon discovering a bound and naked elf. The figure clucked his tongue at the pitiful sight. “Such a waste that a beauty like this had to be killed,” he mused. The mysterious man bent down to close the cerulean eyes to give his former foe what little of his dignity back as he could, silvery light from the moon glinting on his long purple hair.

            Nadil blinked in surprise when he felt a faint breath against his hand. “Still alive!” he whispered in awe. The tiniest bit of pity crept into the Demon Lord’s heart as he waved his hand before the blond’s face. The once sparkling sapphires made no following movement showing him that even though the lights were on, no one was at home.

            The tall demon, upon further inspection of his find, noticed the various bites, scratches and burn marks littering the knight’s pale flesh. “That explains it,” he muttered to himself, “This is Fedelta’s handiwork, though I wish he’d chosen a less humiliating method to destroy one of you knights.”

            Nadil shrugged. He once again bent down and this time gingerly and almost lovingly picked up the catatonic Water Dragon Knight. He cradled the elf to his chest, holding him bridal style as he began his retreat from the castle and Dragoon.

 

 

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            Hard amethysts watched emotionlessly as the delicate and feminine looking blond writhed in agony upon the large stone altar. Demonic magic and energy pulsed around and coursed through the elf’s body. Nadil couldn’t decide what irked him more, the fact that the former Water Dragon Knight had not made a single noise as this was going on or that he, the most feared and hated demon in the world, was feeling pity for an enemy. He had to admit though, that Rune was quite the beauty, even with blood and bruises covering most of his slender form.

            Finally after what seemed like hours, the elf’s gyrations ceased and the dark cloud that had been surrounding him moved away and dropped to the floor. The Demon Lord continued to watch as the cloud of magic and energy slowly turned from deepest black to the color of crystal blue seas and started to solidify. Roughly twenty minutes later, an exact copy of Rune lay at his feet. The only differences between the two was that the newcomer had pale blue hair that shimmered like water as the light from the torches danced upon it and the feline like pupils of a demon.

            The newly freed demon blinked for several moments before kneeling before his lord and master once he’d spotted the purple haired man. “Varawoo,” spoke Nadil, the tiniest bit of a smile on his luscious lips. “I leave the elf in your capable hands.”

            “As my master wishes,” the demon fish replied.

            “Oh and Varawoo,” the Demon Lord called from over his shoulder, “If I see even one more scratch than those he already has on his body, the consequences would be rather dire.”

            Varawoo stared at his master in shock. Never had Nadil ever expressed concern for an enemy, especially for those of the Dragon Tribe.

            “U-Understood master,” he stammered. Nadil’s word was law.

            The Demon Lord said nothing further as he strode from the stone cellar, leaving the stunned demon fish and his charge.

 

 

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            Over the next few weeks Varawoo tended to the blond’s wounds, taking Nadil’s threat to heart. While he was sealed inside the elf, the demon fish had found himself developing a sort of brotherly love for him and had refused to let any of the other demons roaming the ruler of Kainaldia’s castle grounds, especially the higher ranking ones, near the rooms he shared with Rune. This annoyed Shydeman and Shyrendora to no end. Since the demon twins had learned of the Water Dragon Knight’s capture, they’d been anxious to have the blond as a plaything for themselves.

            Nadil being the cruel demon he’d been known to be, took great amusement from watching their frustration and tantrums at not being able to get what they wanted. However, it unnerved and puzzled himself to no end that he, the Lord of all Demons, would feel any pity or sympathy toward one he’d considered an enemy. Yes, he did regret killing his former friend and lord, but Lykouleon’s death had been necessary if his plans for world domination were to succeed.

            The tall demon sighed as he cradled the still catatonic blond in his lap. It had been almost a month and Rune still hadn’t moved on his own or said anything. “And how are we today, little one?” Nadil asked, idly playing with the long golden braid. “No complaints, huh? Then I trust Varawoo has been taking very good care of you?”

            The purple haired former Wind Dragon Knight fought desperately at the stabbing pain in his heart when yet again there was no answer from his ‘guest’. Yes, he had lusted after Rune, but he did not what a mindless, soulless doll. That was what Fedelta had turned the elf into and he had paid dearly for going too far this time. A cruel smirk formed upon the Demon Lord’s lips. Oh how he’d enjoyed punishing the fire demon himself after forcing him to watch as he tortured his brother Bierrez. Despite all the animosity between the two, Fedelta did really care for his sibling.

            “Shall we go outside today?” Nadil asked carrying Rune as he rose from his throne. “It is rather warm and particularly sunny today. I know you’d like that.” A knowing smirk made its way upon the Demon Lord’s face. He then strode from the enormous throne room, relishing in the fact that no one would dare attempt to stop him from doing as he pleased. The twins could handle the idiotic scum that made up most of his minions.

 

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            If anyone would have dared to tell him before all this that he’d go about the castle carrying the golden beauty that was former Water Dragon Knight like a child would his most favorite stuffed toy, Nadil would have killed them only after they had begged him for death due to being tortured in the most cruel and painful way.

            However, now, the purple haired man found himself enjoying the elf’s if albeit silent, company. He was like a ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds on a dreary winter day with all that silky blond hair. Varawoo had noticed how much calmer and gentler his master was while having Rune nearby, but tactfully said nothing thus avoiding a messy death.

            Nadil found it increasingly harder to give the former Dragon Knight to his caretaker and decided one night that it couldn’t do any more harm to his precious blond than what Fedelta already had if the elf were to spend the night in his bed. Especially since he had no intention to take Rune as his own at the moment while said elf was in such a pitiful state. He merely desired to continue to feel the once Water Dragon Knight’s silent presence at his side.

            He lovingly laid the beauty on the gigantic sized ebony canopy bed decked out in shades of purple, black and gold, surprising himself at how gentle he was being. Passing it up as not wanting to mark the blond’s lust inducing beauty, Nadil readied himself for sleep then lay beside the catatonic elf.

            “Did we enjoy ourselves today?” he asked the knight, slowly getting more accustomed to the pain in his believed to be black as pitch heart each and every time he did not receive an answer. “Sleep well, lovely one,” he whispered pulling Rune closer to him. Once more Nadil surprised himself when he leaned over the blond and placed a chaste kiss on his forehead.

            Too tired to think further upon his increasingly uncharacteristic behavior, the purple haired demon snuggled against Rune and loosely wrapped his arms around the elf

 

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            Several hours later, the Demon Lord woke, feeling strangely cold. Looking for the source of the change in temperature, he saw that the French doors leading to the balcony connected to the royal suite were open, the velvet heliotrope curtains blowing in the icy night breeze.

            Nadil’s first thought was that someone had dared attempt to sneak into his private boudoir, the second being how the heck did they manage to get past the Sea of Souls that surrounded the castle like a moat, the next one was that whoever it was, they were most likely after his precious golden one. Whirling around to the other side of the bed, the Demon Lord saw that the place where Rune had lain was indeed empty. Growling in anger, the tall demon leapt from the bed and rushed through the open doorway. Enraged amethysts softened in relief upon spotting Rune lying peacefully on the freezing cold stone floor. Letting out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding, Nadil bent down and started to lift the former night.

            Rune stirred, startling the Demon Lord and causing him to almost drop the elf. Eyes as beautiful the blue gems they resembled opened and sleepily blinked, endearing the blond even more to the older demon and thus pulling him deeper under their spell. “N-No, please,” the golden one pleaded as he felt himself being moved from the balcony.

            “Shh,” soothed Nadil, marveling at the once Water Dragon Knight’s never ending ability to surprise him by making him act in such odd ways. “I won’t harm you, little one.”

            Rune whined and whimpered as he attempted to get of the strong arms holding him. “L-Let me stay, please,” he begged again.

            Finally understanding what his elf wanted the taller man stopped just before the balcony doors. “Only for a little bit,” he acquiesced, “It is still the middle of winter.” Rune nodded groggily, still sleepy and allowed himself to be carried back inside. He watched silently as his greatest enemy gently placed him on a plush chair before yanking a thick and heavy blanket off the bed.

            Once again the elfin beauty let the purple haired demon carry him out to the balcony. He spoke no words as Nadil placed him in his lap and wrapped the blanket around them. Rune returned to what he had been doing before falling asleep, lifting his eyes skyward to gaze at the diamond gems nestled in their velvet bed. The blond flinched slightly at the Demon Lord’s petting of his sleep mussed hair but made no further move to escape. “Thank you,” he murmured almost too quiet for the older demon to hear.

           Nadil smiled genuinely, secretly overjoyed to hear the elf’s voice and that he was now moving on his own once more. “You’re welcome,” he whispered back, knowing that the knight had not only meant the kindness he was showing him this night, but for the care he and Varawoo had given him the past few weeks as well. Even though Rune hadn’t said it, the Demon Lord was sure that he’d been aware of everything that had been going on around him while in that catatonic state.

             Two hours later, the purple haired man was once again cuddling the blond on his bed after having brought them back inside once Rune had fallen asleep again. Though he himself was tired, Nadil contented himself with watching over the slumbering one, ready to chase any and all nightmares away he knew were bound to plague the smaller elf. And he did.

 

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            The next morning, a frantic Varawoo had awoken them as the demon fish burst into his master’s chambers, yelling that Rune had gone missing. That had earned the blue haired demon a harsh glare from the Demon Lord for Varawoo’s sudden and noisy appearance had set the elf into a panic attack. Now Rune was shaking uncontrollably as Nadil desperately tried to get him to calm down.

            He had finally gotten the elf to snap out of the catatonic state he’d been in all this time. Nadil had no intention whatsoever of ever letting Rune slip back into that depressing and piteous condition. For he feared that if that were to happen, there’d be no way on earth, or in Heaven or Hell that would bring the lovely creature back out of it.

            “You idiot!” the Demon Lord bellowed, slapping the ashamed demon’s cheek. A red hand print formed on the pale flesh that matched the golden elf’s. Nadil sighed, slumping onto on the chairs in the demon fish’s rooms. It had taken him about an hour to calm Rune and said beauty was now safely tucked away in the Demon Lord’s bed, sleeping peacefully.

            “You could have caused him to slip away again!” scolded Nadil, “Somewhere in that pea sized brain of yours, you must have realized that he was with me.”

            Varawoo dropped to the floor, immediately pressing his forehead to the cold stone. “F-Forgive me m-master!” he begged, “I-I should have known!”

            “Yes, you should have,” the taller demon repeated, “Get up. You look ridiculous.” The demon fish shot straight up, obeying the order immediately. Nadil rubbed his temples, feeling a headache coming on. “I’ll be in my chambers,” he barked, getting up and hurrying to the door, “With Rune,” he added, not bothering to hide his annoyance.

            The Demon Lord then left the much smaller suite and made a B-line for his own, anxious to check on the blonde and quietly prayed that no further damage had been done to his precious one’s extremely fragile mind. He never noticed the shorter demon’s shocked look upon hearing his lord and master’s first use of the elf’s name. Nadil had always referred to Rune as ‘my pet’ or ‘the elf’. Never before had he bothered to call him by name.

            A smile made its way to Varawoo’s face. “What a strange power you have,” the demon fish mused, “To affect and change us in such a way. I can only hope you won’t slip away from us again, sweet Rune.”

 

 

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            Nadil was on pins and needles fighting with himself trying not to reach out and forcibly wake the sleep the sleeping elf on his bed. He was desperate to see if Varawoo’s earlier stupidity had caused his little treasure to return to a catatonic state or not. So far the only thing keeping him from disturbing Rune’s seemingly peaceful slumber was his concern that if he did so, the blond beauty’s mind would surely slip through their fingers never to return at any sudden and unexpected movement.

            After what felt like an agonizing eternity to the otherwise ruthless and cruel Demon Lord, the former Water Dragon Knight let out a yawn and slowly opened his eyes “Feeling better, little one?” the taller demon asked, inwardly praying that he’d get a response.

            Rune fearfully nodded, now that he was painfully aware of his current situation. Last night, in the dark, it had been easy to pretend that he’d been back home in Draqueen and under the care of one of the Dragon Officers or maybe even Rath or Thatz. But in the harsh reality of daylight, the elfin prince couldn’t escape from the fact that he was Nadil’s prisoner and most probably his slave now that he’d snapped out of his previous mindless state. Yes the demon who could have been his twin worried him, but the blond was more worried about the demon mere inches away from him.

            The elf squeaked in horror when Nadil made to brush the golden strands framing his lovely face aside. “I will not harm you, lovely one,” he tried again, “I may be a demon, but I am not like Fedelta.” A strange sadness swam in the Demon Lord’s alluring violet depths.

            At the mention of the fire demon’s name, Rune began to sob uncontrollably as he rocked back and forth, wrapping his arms around himself in a desperate attempt to hold himself together. He just felt so filthy despite the daily baths Varawoo had given him.

            Fearing his blond would hurt himself the older man pulled the smaller one into his arms and clasped the distraught elf to his chest. “Let it all out, Rune. Don’t let him keep you shackled like this,” he whispered as his hand rubbed gentle circles on his little one’s back.

            “W-W-Why?!” Rune cried as he continued to sob, “Why s-show kind-kindness t-to y-your e-e-enemy?!”

            “Because I do not want a mindless and soulless doll,” the Demon Lord replied not once ceasing his rubbing. The former knight looked at his captor in confusion, his sobbing starting to calm down slightly. “I may have despised you Dragon Tribe,” Nadil explained further, “and wished for the demise of your kingdom, but I never wanted to have any of you broken in such a way. Where’s the fun in gloating if my enemy’s mind is gone?” In his own strange way, the Demon Lord had hoped that that last bit would somehow cheer up the beauty clinging to him somewhat, but frowned when Rune bowed his head, tears still streaming from those cerulean pools.

            “I meant what I said, sweet Rune,” said the purple haired demon, gently lifting the elf’s head with a single finger under his chin. “No harm shall ever come to you as long as you are here. I won’t allow it.”

            “As long as I obey you, you mean,” the blond whispered bitterly.

            The frown appeared once more on Nadil’s handsome face along with the unusual sadness. “I am not him,” he repeated, “I give me solemn word that I will not touch you in any way you wouldn’t want me to, and neither will any of my minions, especially Varawoo.”

            The elf gasped at the demon fish’s name. ‘Is that… is that who that was?’ he wondered, pausing to think of his mysterious twin before eyeing the Demon Lord skeptically. “All I ask for in return,” the taller demon added softly, the words being spoken as gently and sincerely as possible, “is that you remain here at my side, lovely one.”

            “As your slave,” the elf added morosely.

            “Never, little one,” responded the older man, still frowning at Rune’s misunderstanding.

            “A prisoner then.”

            “You’re neither a slave nor a prisoner here, Rune. But know this should you choose to leave, I will let you go, however, I will personally hunt you down to the ends of the world and back until I’ve convinced you to stay at my side.”

            The once Water Dragon Knight remained still in Nadil’s lap for several minutes pondering on this most bizarre turn of events. “W-Where would I go?” he sniffled, another bout of sobbing threatening to burst from the blond. “I-I couldn’t possibly face the others now. I certainly can’t return to Tintlet either now that I’ve let another…” He let out a heartbroken sob at the thought of his beloved wife. Even if Fedelta had never laid a hand on him, the elfin princess now probably thought him dead. “I don’t even think I could face his majesty after what I’ve done.”

            At the mention of the Dragon Lord, Nadil held his treasure closer to him. “You couldn’t even if you wanted to, sweet one,” the Demon Lord replied solemnly.

            “W-What do you mean?” Then it hit the blond beauty like a ton of bricks. “N-No!” he screamed, “He can’t be dead! I-It’s not true!”

            “I’m afraid that it is, dear Rune.” Was that regret he heard in the violet haired man’s voice? “I killed him myself.” A heart wrenching wail burst from the elf as a powerful mix of guilt, regret, anger and hate surged through the blond. He had been so ashamed that night, not just of what Fedelta had done to him, but for actually being so stupid for believing the disguised demon to be his liege lord. Not only that, he’d done the most cowardly thing he’d ever done that night, he ran away from the main battle! He had used chasing a weak lesser demon to as an excuse not to be near Lykouleon. He’d failed his duty as one of those charged to serve and protect the last of the full blooded member of the Dragon Tribe. “I am truly, truly, sorry,” Nadil said, refusing to let go of the shaking blond.

            “Y-You regret it?!” Rune snapped, angrily at the murderous demon. Upon seeing the sincerity and deep regret etched onto the Demon Lord’s face any anger the blond had felt melted away, turning once again into sadness. “W-Why?!”

            It was several moments before Nadiil gave an answer. “Because I was wrong. I thought I knew what it was that I wanted.” That earned him another puzzled look from the elf. “Do not mistake me, dear Rune. Total control over the entire world still holds its appeal to me. However, it wouldn’t be as enjoyable without you at my side.”

            “So you want someone to gloat over,” was the elfin prince’s response. He was then forced to look at the Demon Lord in the eyes, an unreadable expression on the taller man’s face.

            “If it meant I’d have you at my side, lovely Rune, I would gladly remain here in Kainaldia as its lord, never to set foot off my land and be completely content.”

            “Why me?” the puzzled blond asked after the initial shock had worn off.

            “Because, my sweet one, you are what I truly want. I must admit I have lusted after you ever since I laid eyes upon you those many years ago – who wouldn’t – but when I found you that night after the battle, bound, bleeding and broken, something had changed within me. Suddenly the thought of a world where you did not exist frightened me. I do not like being frightened.”

            “It-It can’t be!” Rune exclaimed in utter shock, “Demons aren’t capable of love!”

            “Oh I assure you we are very capable of loving,” Nadil chuckled, “I’m sure little Rath must have told you about a certain pet of mine.” Rune nodded solemnly, remembering the tale the Fire Dragon Knight told him about his and Cesia’s trip to Mt. Marfa and their run in with the blue haired cat demon. “Well, while he was on the run from me, another traitorous minion of mine found him and took him in. From what I heard, they became rather close, very close. A while later, I was able to reclaim my pet but only after he’d killed his fool of a lover.”

            The elf let out a shocked gasp. He made to ask what had caused the cat demon to commit such a terrible act, but the taller demon beat him to it. “Shydeman,” was all Nadil needed to say.

            “Oh,” was the blond’s whispered reply. The fewer details he knew, the better he’d be. Just the mere mention of that sadistic monster’s name was enough to said chills down anyone’s spine.

            The two sat there in utter silence for about half an hour when the elf finally spoke again. “I’ll stay,” he whispered quietly, “But I want to know, just what exactly am I to you?”

            The Demon Lord had to think on that himself. Did he truly love his former enemy as the blond had assumed? Or did he only see Rune as a pet or trophy as he led the others to believe? There was another agonizingly long silence before he could answer the golden one’s request. “Nothing would please me more than to have you as my consort,” he replied, carefully nibbling the tip of one delicately pointed ear, “even if it’s in name only,” he quickly added upon the elf’s flinching and stiffening at the seductive nip, “I gave my solemn word I would not force myself upon you and I have every intention of keeping that vow, Rune.”

            The elf was quiet yet again. “T-Thank you,” he murmured shyly once he’d made up his mind. “I do not know if I’d ever be able to love you in return Nadil… sama.” He hurriedly added the honorific. It was going to take some getting used to address his former enemy as such now that he’d agreed to remain with the Demon Lord.

            “I am content with just your mere presence. You have become like a drug to me, lovely one,” Nadil replied, chastely kissing the blond’s forehead. The taller one’s words caused Rune to blush more than he ever possibly thought he could.

 

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            True to his word, the purple haired demon never did lay an unwanted hand on his beloved consort. Rune began to slowly return to his former self and surprisingly enough found himself flourishing under Nadil’s and Varawoo’s care. Though the darkening of his golden pride and joy to bronze due to the demonic air of Kainaldia did cause him some concern, but the two demons assured him that, no he wasn’t turning into a demon – his body was just adjusting in order to be able to continuing living there and yes they still cared about him no matter what he looked like.

            As the months wore on and the weather became warmer, the elf began to spend more and more time in Nadil’s personal care rather than the demon fish’s. As much as Varawoo cared for the elfin beauty, he knew that Rune would never see him as anything else other than a friend. He had been considering asking permission to move out of the castle when the demon fish stumbled upon an injured green haired demon lying in the castle’s courtyard.

            Having spent time inside of and with Rune, Varawoo had become used to caring for others. Upon seeing the poor demon’s state, he immediately took it upon himself to look after him. It turned out that the demon, whose name he learned was Saabel, had been messing around and wound up in a fight with a certain fire demon – it was a habit of the soul collector’s since he was easily bored.

            Of course upon hearing that, the demon fish decided that he would personally become Saabel’s guardian and companion. The green haired soul collector had been adamantly against the thought of having a demon whom resembled a fairy constantly following him around, but soon warmed up to Varawoo. Apparently, the blue haired demon had reminded him of his beloved pet Garaba, another demonic fish and the two had quickly become inseparable, causing the blue haired demon fish’s growing depression to fade away as they began to spend more time together.

            Seeing his former caretaker had moved on and found a love of his own, had brought a smile to elf’s face each time he and Nadil caught them together. The Demon Lord had said nothing. As long as his precious treasure was happy, he could care less about what his minions did.

 

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            It was early summer when the elf came to realize that he’d fallen for the older Demon Lord and allowed himself to truly become Nadil’s consort. That was a night that both lovers would remember for years to come.

            As for Nadil’s other desire, it had dwindled greatly. Just as he had once told his beloved golden treasure, he the Demon Lord found himself content to remain ruling the continent of Kainaldia with Rune at his side, leaving the rule of the recently annexed continent of Arinas to its sole resident, a certain capricious Renkin wizard.

            So basically, nothing had really changed in the rest of the world. The only major difference in the political climate was that demons were being hunted less often by the practically extinct Dragon Tribe and Nadil had ceased sending his minions to wreak havoc in Dusis.

            For the first time in decades, peace reigned throughout the three major continents. Who would have thought that it would be brought about due to one broken and bleeding elf of unparalleled beauty capable of ensnaring the blackest of hearts, lying in the snow of a ruined castle garden?