The demon lord looks at me with mix of slight trepidation and quizzicalness. How he manages to appear so timid with his impressive dragon wings, skull mask, and flaming sword... I do not know.
I'm currently meeting the demon most likely to be knowledgeable and helpful in my acute case of being too blessed. Does it sound weird to say that? Remember, I'm demon. Positive energy or whatever blessings are made of is bad for me.
My apology probably remains a mystery to him, but it was a formality anyhow. I sort of just felt like I owed it to him, since of the 102 'incarnations' of mine that I have catalogued so far, 76 either verbally and or physically abused him. He might be tad cunning and manipulative at times, but he did not deserve ALL that.
The larger picture I've constructed bit by bit from myriad memories I've recovered revealed his continuing sacrifices for greater good... or should I say greater bad? The unlauded hero of this section of hell, this wimpy demon lord has been holding the chaos at bay by settling the inane disputes of forever rowdy demons day after day for millenia now. I got a head-ache just from watching the single one that was in progress when I entered the demon lord's chamber. Despite having to deal with this literally hellish task, he hasn't committed suicide more often than once every 400 years! How admirable of him. Or just masochistic. I'm uncertain which it is.
"So... W-what brings you here today, Ais?"
He attempts to appear as friendly authority figure, though the delivery is too timid to succeed. I may have been making tad scary face as a combined result of my annoyance with this damn blessing's effects on me, and getting bit lost within memory of all the times my incarnations bullied him.
I force a smile, then force the forced smile to be less forced, ending up with a grimace twice as forced. I drop it, I don't want him to recall smirks of some of my more ax-crazy incarnations - I'm here to ask for his help after all.
"Ais has continence problems~!"
With an insufferable grin, Celica blurts out the worst possible interpretation of my problem. I immediately aim a punch at her annoying face, but she dodges it without batting an eye, further humiliating me. ...Did my demonic enhanced reflexes dull too with the blessing? I noticed that the charm spell doesn't work much anymore, but I don't feel any weaker physically though... She could be just that fast naturally. In any case... Celica, you will regret this later!
"Umm... I'm saddened to hear that, but--"
"No no no, don't believe her! ... Actually, I..."
I quickly move on to explain the demon lord what happened, or at least what I believe happened: that using all my demonic essence in emergency situation, and then subsequently being hit by the druid's blessing has rendered me unable to hold the demonic essence. I'm aware telling him all this carries risks. He might be bit of a wuss, but he like everyone here is a demon, and it'd be incredibly gullible to expect altruism from one. Still, letting this continue probably is worse than anything he could do with this knowledge.
He raised eyebrow at the part where I forced my way through summoning circle, but otherwise listened to my recounting with great focus. After I'm done, he scratches his jaw beneath his mask.
"This situation... it is very unusual, truly."
"Are there any precedents then?"
Not that I'm hopeful in that regard. I couldn't recall any, and I've been around for very long time, possibly longer than him. Besides, my situation was special to begin with.
"If there are, I'm afraid I have never heard of them. By any conventional knowledge, you should have perished during the... incident with druids."
Was coming here waste of time?
"As for solutions... Well, returning to norm by reforming is always an option."
I expected that to be the obvious solution. However, I know that reforming has reset my memory and personality countless times. And there's no reason to expect me being aware of it would change that outcome - someone else's would take over again, most likely. In short, reforming would be a death of personality for me.
For some reason all of them seem to have been from that same world too. I have no idea why... It could be the first 'me' was somehow connected to that world. Or maybe it overlaps with the dimensional space where incorporeal forms of all demons who are reforming go? Well, alright, I made up that on spot. Although... that could explain all the myths about supernatural happenings there too. Huh, I even impressed myself with that! Yeah, let's go with that hypothesis.
Of course, in my case there'd be some additional identity copying going on. And that's the problem. Considering the state that world was in my latest memories of it... who knows what kind of idiot the next incarnation could be?
"No, that'd be bad."
"Surely remaining like this is worse--"
Slightly startled by my absolute tone, he thinks some more while fidgeting all the while. For a bulky, very demonic looking demon, his ferrety fiddling looks almost comical.
"Then... Now, I'm just guessing here. It's by no means certain, so don't get your hopes up..."
"Out with it."
"Uhh... I believe you might overcome this... ahem, hurdle of yours, by committing one colossal act of evil."
"Well, it needs to be big enough to extinguish the blessing's essence. It's like... hmmm... you couldn't douse fire one drop of water at a time either."
That's... actually a pretty good analogy, I think. Overwhelm the blessing with one large dose of essence of evil. But...
"What'd be big enough then?"
He shrugs. Well! 'Colossal evil', great. I left the demon lord's castle pondering on what the hell that could be.
Drawing blank here. I'm not very good at evil, now that I think about it. Practical, yes. To point some people might consider callous. But not evil for its own sake. You need to be actually interested in people to be jerk to them, after all. I just hardly care.
Okay, let's start with what is the evilest thing I can imagine... Hmmm... Introducing the concept of lawyers to this world? ...No no no, some lines must never be crossed!
Maybe I should just wait and see. Yeah, the empire is bound to do something suitably evil sooner or later, like magic-napalming the elves or starting a dwarf-zombie apocalypse. Stick with them and this will be easy! Was what I thought.
To my disappointment the empire was apparently content to bide their time for now, waiting for a chance to further weaken their neighbors. Come on, you were doing genocides and assassinations all the time, but now that I actually need one nefarious plan, you decided to go on holiday!?
Since diabolical laughter and goatees were quite absent in their plans at this time, I returned to the helltown to intercept summonings instead. Who better to come up with a suitably dastardly deed than someone who happily summons demons, right? Wrong again...
'Seduce the council of a city-state so they'll take me as the resident head-wizard'? How about you actually work for it yourself and quit wasting my time? 'The kids next door are noisy, scare them with hellfire or something'? I was tempted to accept - got to admire that summoner's lack of moderation - but sadly I'm out of hellfire juice. 'Oh great demon, please grant me power to make the women fall for me!'? I handled him a shovel and told him to leave out the sharpened stakes in the pitfall in case he wants to catch them alive.
I kept encountering only these 'interesting' contracts. I bypassed them all - if it's too small-scale to douse the blessing, then it'd be effectively wasted effort. On the evilness scale they were somewhere between nanohitler and microhitler. By the way, I estimated (on my completely arbitrarily decided scale) that one centihitler would be evil enough.
Then came the final offer. I entered another summoning light yawning as I appeared once again in a generic underground room. This could be a catacomb or basement or sewer. Been there, done that. I've been doing this alone, since having Celica tag along would mean the prize would be halved too, which is rather counter-productive.
Anyway, this is going to be another waste of time, I bet. I still listened the summoner wizard's offer. My n:th summoner relied on a classic dark mage look with cowled robes that beshadow his face, pitch black save for the stylized skull shape on his chest. Spooky.
With a dull, sleepy voice he states this confidence inspiring thing. Oh, this is just great, summoned by a first timer! Again. Am I some sort of tutorial demon for newbie summoners!? I'm ancient and immortal and only little senile because of my swirling memories, I ought to be only for the greatest demonologists to summon!
Instantly exasperated, I answer him with a fake high pitched voice.
"Yeees. Congratulations, you have summoned the tooth fairy. The best tooth-to-gold exchange rates in all Fairy Land!"
For a moment he looks almost bewildered, but after a heavily weighing second of silence he calmly, oh so very calmly states the obvious.
"No. I believe... you are a... succubus."
No shit. Although, I guess I'm one in name only by now. But it's not like I need to inform the summoners of my weakened state. Most things they ask can be completed without getting all succubusy anyway.
I never quite got into the lust aspect, and recently I've become even less inclined to do so. I wonder if my continuing denial of the lust aspect will eventually cause me to turn into a full-fledged apathy demon? ...If it does, I hope my looks won't be downgraded. I do like my looks very much. Huh... An apathetic succubus that only loves herself? When put like that I sound like a joke...
I halt my inner monologue that was getting nowhere to glance around the room some more. The summoning circle, while crude, looks solid enough. Further away, in the corners of this dark room I notice four undead in various garbs. Necromancer branching out to summoning then? The undead look more sturdy than those zombies I fought a while ago.
I don't recall seeing magically created undead before the few most recent incarnations. Necromancy is a fairly new as a magic school after all. I should probably be more surprised to see them, but I've become completely desensitized to zombies and skeletons because of all the RPGs are full of them. I'd hazard a guess that these are around medium strength, while zombies are just trash mobs. Still, they absolutely pose no problem for a demon.
I turn my gaze back to the sleepy necromancer. As his voice is almost painfully slow and deliberate, I decide to preemptively cut to the chase.
"Before you go on with the contract jargon and other tedious stuff, I'll save time for both of us: I won't bother with any small time evils. So, if this is another contract better left for bored imps, good bye."
The mage blinks at me. Then, completely dead-pan he says...
"We want you... to help us destroy... a city..."
A whole city? Is he serious? That just might suffice...
"...as a test. The follow up is... much more."
"When do I begin?"