***Year 2, 2nd era, day two of the Third Quarter (approximately two thousand years ago)***
-The city of Uri-
*Valencia deVon Cindy*
You would think after all the victories it would be easy to gain support from the kingdoms of this world. And you, being a reasonable human being, would expect that on the verge of total victory against an implacable demonic foe, that humanity would be united in purpose and will.
I won’t call you an idiot, but… Well, you are. My name is Valencia Cindy, the “deVon” in my name was added by the nobles of this world and essentially is a sign of nobility. Personally, I don’t care too much, but I have to admit it was useful.
See, I was not the most successful sorceress in my world, to be honest I had just graduated from the academy. True, I graduated on the young side, but my ever-so-perfect sister graduated even earlier. When you have a sibling that is that amazing, it is hard to stand out. And the thing was, I didn’t want to stand out, I didn’t want to follow in the family's footsteps and join the Magical Association, I wanted to explore the world and see all that there was! And then, two years ago, I was summoned to a different world that had no magic whatsoever!
I was free from my family and their expectations, free from the shadow of my sister, free to explore this new world stretched out before me! Free to flirt with some of the finer looking men and women this world had to offer… Really, what was up with that? Sure not everyone was high quality, but some of them… Wow…
There was tiny little catch, which was the Demonic War, and that brings me back to the present where instead of being on the front lines, where I should be, I am smiling at sycophants in a ballroom in Uri. There is something particularly slimy about those smiling toadies who would sidle up to me for political reasons. Even people who would come up to flirt with me at least valued her, and not just whatever value they could wring from me for their own personal power.
“Valencia,” a cool voice called out, my good friend Captain Jurr from the eastern countries. “Enjoying the party?”
Jurr was particularly skilled with sarcasm, and knew damn well I would damn well rather be anywhere else, but I could return the favor.
“It is almost as boring as you were in bed.” I said with a sly smile as I sipped my drink.
“Don’t say things that can be misinterpreted!” Jurr sputtered, nearly dropping his own drink. “You have been tormenting me with that for months, when are you going to stop making me explain to everyone who overhears your comments?”
“When your reaction stops being so hilarious.”
We had shared a bed, in an army hospital, after a particularly violent battle that had left the hospital without room for people to have their own beds. If both of us had not been so high ranking, we may have ended up laying on a thin sheet spread on the ground. Neither of us had been in any condition to fool around, and Jurr was married and quite loyal to his wife anyway. Unfortunately for him, his wife found his reaction quite amusing as well and she and I would often work together to torment him.
Despite that slight bit of amusement, I was still stuck here for the time being, and that thought caused me to sigh. We were winning, the demons had been shoved back to the very north of the continent, but now some countries considered the battle all but won and had turned to petty infighting and political intrigue.
I knew better though, Demons were not like humans, did not function like them and from what I had observed they may be fighting nothing but the demons equivalent of livestock. They sent their dogs to fight human armies while the masters stayed hidden in the back.
No matter how many of their forces they lose, they can always breed more. And I knew that if the Demons ever got back on their feet, and if humanity grew any more fractured, they would sweep back through all the gains they had made in the past couple years and probably further.
“Lady Valencia,” well this was one sycophant that could not be ignored, Karina, the queen of a small country to the northeast. She and her husband had approached me before in an attempt to increase their own standings, but as heads of state I could not brush them off. “What a surprise to see you here.”
You knew damn well I would be here I thought, but I smiled blandly and replied, “I am surprised to see you as well, I have to admit I was hoping that you were organizing your troops to send to the front.”
“Ah, yes.” Queen Karina nodded sagely, “Unfortunately, we need those soldiers for our own political interest, we are a small country and the time we spent under the constant siege of demons has left us weak compared to our neighbors.”
I would have thought that having fought the demons for so long would have given you some empathy, but again, that was something I could not say. “I have it on good authority your southern neighbors are sending their troops to the front as well, so perhaps you are secure enough to do the same?”
“My husband disagrees, and I am undecided.” Queen Karina smiled at me, why did someone so annoying have to be so pretty? “There just doesn’t seem to be anything in it for us.”
I saw Lord Almistraus behind Karina, and used greeting him as an excuse to leave the conversation. The Almistraus’s had been very strong supporters of the war effort, despite being so far from the front lines. Why couldn’t others be like them?
“You have no idea how thankful I am to see you,” I could have hugged him, which wasn’t a bad idea actually… Wouldn’t be the first time, and that first time was not bad, but Lord Almistraus was too noble for his own good, and for my tastes to be sure. He worried about my reputation, but my world had a very different view of propriety than this one. I wasn’t married, so couldn’t I do what I wanted? I didn’t owe anybody anything, and no one owned me.
“Oh, I saw your conversation partner.” Lord Almistraus bowed crisply as I approached. “And if she follows you over here, Lady Valencia, I will abandon you to your trials.”
He flashed a smile and Jurr also came over, having left her when the Queen had showed up! I shot a glare at him and received a smirk in return, so I turned his wine bitter. His next sip had him sputtering and me laughing.
“You know,” Lord Almistraus commented as he looked on at the amusing scene. “You have yet to teach us medical or transfigurative magic, when this war is over your teachings will still remain invaluable.”
“I keep telling you guys,” I sigh. “I am terrible at medical magic. Do you honestly think I would sleep besides Jurr if I could?”
“If it weren’t for his wife? Yes.”
Well… Probably. As long as I was in this world, I was going to enjoy every second of it if I could. And frankly, the front lines were more or less hell. After you’ve seen sixteen year old conscripts torn in half and eaten by a pack of demonic creatures, well, you relax however you can.
I taught magic as well as I could, but I am not an instructor and there are neither the materials nor time to give anyone a proper education. I did what I could, and fought as hard as I could, but War Magic was outlawed centuries ago. Reconstructing what little I could was difficult, but no one wanted magic for growing crops or catching lightening. I never mentioned this, but my actual specialty was in art. I got into it after my sister took first place in everything else, and it was perhaps the one thing I had over her.
I would craft statues and pieces out of crystal and glass using magic, enchanting it with all kinds of effects. And it was something I wanted to go back to when this war was over. And to that point…
“Thanks for the rescue,” I sighed. “But I need to dive back in and deal with these idiots. If they don’t send troops to the front, I am worried that the western area might collapse…”
I spent the rest of the night smiling and making small talk with people who deserved a fireball down their smug throats. It really put things in perspective, I had been so excited for adventure, action, fame, riches, and as many fine partners as I could get my hands on. And reality was injury, politics, and unpleasant company.
The night was nearly over and I had nothing to show for it when Karina came up to me again. Great. Perfect, just what I needed. Keeping my smile up was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life, but on the bright side the hall was nearly empty now and the idiots she had to deal with had mostly gone back to their manors. Generally, that meant their servants taking their drunken bodies to their carriages and driving them back to their manors.
“Lady Valencia, I am glad to be able to speak to you again.” Karina smiled again, her teeth bright and straight. Really, what were the chances of having perfect teeth without any dental magic? I have no idea, but I am quite jealous of that, dental magic is painful…
“Likewise, Queen Karina.” Unless you came to tell me you had changed your mind, you are wasting my time. More things I could not say but thought…
“I told you that I was undecided on the troop issue before,” Maybe I was wrong, perhaps this wouldn’t be a waste of my time after all. “My husband is not that against the prospect to be honest, but there is one thing…”
Greedy fucks, I knew where this was going. “How can I help?” It took all my effort not to grind my teeth to dust and light her too-perfect hair on fire.
“Well, I was hoping we would be able to discuss that… In private…”
Oh. Well, that was a surprise. However, pretty as Karina was, she disgusted me. Was she really going to hold her troops back for that? People were dying on the front as they spoke here now.
“Then perhaps we should retire to my rooms? They are far closer.” I felt like puking when I said that. I hate myself and I hate her because if that was what it took to finally send her soldiers north… I had friends there now, friends I worried about whenever they were out of my sight. Too many people had said goodbye and never came back for me not to.
Sometimes I could trick myself into thinking this world was a party, but this was reality. Making disgusting choices forced on you by disgusting individuals to make the best of a disgusting situation...
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Bio: Hello! I am Vladerag the author of several stories here on Royal Road! I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading, and I hope you check out some of my stories! You can find them here! https://royalroadl.com/profile/76129/fictions And if you are interested in supporting me, you can do so here as well! https://www.patreon.com/vladerag