36 Chapter 35

Since the kobolds were one of the more civilized races, their incorporation into Tempest was rather easy. Sprites, on the other hand, were much more primitive and savage, and required subjugation. Once Pero stepped through the gate, his entourage following closely behind him, he found himself in a small clearing. Immediately, the avian could feel eyes on him.

The small creatures hid well, but not well enough. Blending in with the trees, four were watching him intently.

"Prepare for an ambush!" Pero said, taking a bow out of inventory. It was only relic quality, with steel arrows as ammunition, as using anything better would be an overkill in the current situation.

Aura materialized her own bow with the |Ranger| skill just as Shalltear summoned part of her household, namely bats. The goblin riders prepared their own bows. The tribe that Pero named took inspiration from their master and practiced archery to a religious degree.

"Come out!" Pero shouted.

No response.

'They think I don't see them. Fair enough. I will have to show them.'

The arrow Pero shot found its target perfectly, bolting one of the sprites to the tree through its shoulder. The small creature loudly screeched, trying to get the arrow out without any success. The remaining three quickly retreated deeper into the forest, disappearing from Pero's view.

"Shalltear, could you get that creature for me, please?"

The young vampire was instantly at the tree where the sprite was bolted on, quickly flew up, and unceremoniously tore the creature off the arrow. The sprite let out a loud howl of pain and jerked around, trying to get out of Shalltear's grip to no avail.

Peroroncino curiously inspected the small creature. It had four semi-translucent dragonfly-like wings on its back, short, dirty green hair, and a greyish-green, petite, androgynous body, though it was easy to guess that Shaltear was holding a female sprite. With only a few leaves covering her private area, he could easily see her small breasts and a slightly curvy figure. She had brown eyes without irises, an almost nonexistent nose, and a large mouth filled with sharp teeth.

The sprite was widely flinging her arms and legs, both armed with long, sharp nails. Shalltear, in response, tightened the grip around her neck and brought the creature closer to her creator.

"Here it is father, should I get rid of it for you?"

The sprite's face started to fill with dread as her captor's grip prevented her from breathing.

"Not yet. Loosen your grip a bit, sweety, you may kill her by accident."

The young vampire dutifully loosened her grip and held out the sprite in front of her father. From what Pero guessed, and the limited information they had, a sprite was pretty much a flying goblin in terms of power and intelligence. Being only a little over a meter tall, she alone posed no real threat to anyone from his group. But if there were untold thousands of such creatures hiding in the woods, they could become a troublesome nuisance over time.

For now, it was time to see if they could even be reasoned with.

"Can you speak?" he asked the sprite.

"Yes, this one can speak."

"Where is the rest of your tribe? Why did they leave you?"

"This one got noticed, weak. No tribe, all serve queen." the sprite said. Her expression clearly showed that she was in a lot of pain.

For a moment Pero considered giving her one of the new healing potions, but he knew that such a noble act would not convince the vicious creature to be less hostile.

Same as with the kobolds, he readily noticed his own lack of any kind of remorse towards anyone who wasn't part of Nazarick. He clearly didn't enjoy the creature's suffering but wasn't particularly bothered by it either.

"How do we find this Queen?"

"No tell. You bad. You die!" the sprite hissed.

Before Pero could say anything, Shaltear's face twisted in rage and she tore off one of the sprite's wings. "You will show my father respect, pathetic creature!"

The sprite let out a wail of pain and once again struggled to get out of Shalltear's iron grip...

'That was a bit much. In hindsight giving her sadism as a kink may not have been the best idea. She is far too eager to inflict pain.'

"Shalltear, let me handle this." Pero said in a gentle tone to not startle his daughter.

"Of course father. I apologize for interrupting your interrogation." Shalltear said with a bow while still holding out the sprite.

"Hurt. Stop. No harm." the sprite wailed.

"Tell me where your queen can be found."

"NO! Protect Queen."

"I guess she is yours, Shalltear."

The words got through to the sprite whose face displayed sheer horror. To be given to the sadistic creature holding her was too much for her to bear.

"I tell! I tell! Stop! I tell!"

"Speak then."

"Queen lives forest. There. Can show. Don't hurt." the sprite said hastily, pointing in the direction the rest of the sprites fled.

"Think of the place clearly." Pero said to the sprite and then addressed his daughter. "Shalltear, you can read her mind and cast gate to the Sprite Queen's location."

"Yes, father."

Shalltear turned the sprite around, putting one finger against her forehead, and then quickly opened a gate, walking through it first. Pero and Aura followed suit, with the goblin riders going after them.

The first thing Pero noticed was hundreds of eyes filled with fear and hostility. The trees around him were filled with grass huts, with countless sprites occupying them.

They didn't have to wait for long for the Queen to show up. A head taller than those around her dressed in a grass weaved dress, she descended and landed a distance away.

"You hurt one of mine. You die!" she hissed, pointing at the sprite Shalltear was still holding.

'If I don't act fast, there will be a bloodbath. Momo did tell me to not take off the ring, but in this situation, it may be the best option.'

Quickly raising his hand, Pero took off the ring of false data. The effect of his unrestricted aura was immediate. The small creatures quickly descended and prostrated themselves before him, with the sprite queen glaring at him for a moment and then kneeling as well.

"We obey strong one!" she exclaimed with a strained voice.

Just as quickly as he took it off, Pero put the ring back on his finger and approached the sprite queen.


The sprite queen got back on her feet facing the avian. There was uncertainty and fear in her expression.

"What you order us to do, strong one?" she asked.

"Your lands will be taken over by Tempest, and you and your people will become part of our nation. Do you want to be named?"

She tilted her head questioningly "Strong one give me a name?"

"Yes. We named everyone who didn't have a name in our nation. I can do the same with all the sprites."

"A-all of us? Strong one, too many of us."

"Do you want to be named or not?"

"Yes. Give me name, strong one."

Coming up with names wasn't his strong suit but using the words from his native language provided an easy solution.

"I shall call you Yoseijoo."

With the knowledge of what happens after you name someone, Pero passively observed the transformation. Yoseijoo grew taller, her nose and teeth became more human-like, yet her canines remained. The brutish nails became thinner and more elegant but still retained their sharpness. Her grass dress now hid much less of her petite form, revealing much more of her grayish-green skin.

"Thank you, my master." She said kneeling again.

"Do you rule over all sprites?"

"Yes, master. I am the queen of all of my kind."

"Call them all if you can."

"Master, I understand your power is overwhelming, but is it wise to name us all?"

"I think so. My magicule reserves are back to full. Just round them up so I can start."

"As you wish, master."

Even within his range of view, there were at least five hundred of them.

'I didn't think it through. How the hell will I come up with thousands of names?'

{ Hey Momo, any advice on how to name a fuckton of sprites? }

{ Just pick a name and then add numbered sounds to them at the end. Do you have specific ideas about what skill to give to sprites, or should I give Pandora a free rein? }

{ He usually knows what he is doing, so I'll let him do his work. }

The naming itself turned out to be a herculean task. Thousands upon thousands of creatures arrived awaiting their turn. Their slim almost naked figures didn't help either, especially after the naming. A few hours into the grueling task, he was no closer to the end as the new sprites just came and joined the orderly rows waiting for their new Lord to bestow them with a name.

A pang of envy rose as he saw Shalltear and Aura playing cards on a tree trunk to pass the time, with sprites observing them with interest. The goblin riders for the most part had spread out and started educating Yose's underlings about how Tempest is run.

'I can do this, just a few more… thousand.'

His internal scream of despair was heart wrenching. Being a leader turned out to be hard work.

The final yet unnamed one was the sprite they captured and interrogated. She stepped closer, trembling and looking down. Her wound on her shoulder and the spot where the wing was torn off were patched up but the damage was still there.

'Shit I forgot about her. I guess better heal her before naming.'

Pero quickly took out one of the healing potions made out of the Hipokute plant and handed it to the sprite. "Here, it will heal you."

The sprite carefully took the glass jar and drank its contents eagerly. Despite being inferior to Yggdrassil potions, it still regrew her wing and healed the pierced shoulder.

"Master, kind."

"We take good care of our own. Right, a name; how about Yosina."

Same as others, the sprite grew taller and more human-like. After letting out a heavy sigh of satisfaction from a job well done, he could finally return home and rest.


The travel through the forest was taking a lot out of her. In fear of losing control, Shizue didn't rely on the spirit's power at all. As a consequence, after a few fights with the giant bugs, she was exhausted. Attempts at completely avoiding the roaming monsters proved to be a fruitless endeavor.

After a few hours of walking through the forest, she found a quiet spot, sat down, lifted her mask a bit, and drank from her water pouch. Ifrit was getting more insistent on breaking out by the minute.

'Could you stop just for a moment? I need more time. I need to find answers. I need to help them. Please give me a bit more time.'

Of course, the plea didn't move the angry spirit within. Maybe if she would have tried to understand it and work with the flame titan instead of suppressing it, things would have been different. It was too late to speculate either way.

Standing up was becoming a chore. Her joints had gotten a lot stiffer lately. The decades of delayed aging were finally starting to catch up. Her outward appearance was still her usual youthful self, but her body was rapidly aging from within.

For a moment Shizue looked at her right hand. Her grip has gotten weaker. For someone relying on her sword for protection, the revelation was a heavy one.

Without hesitation, she started to walk again, chewing on pieces of dried meat to save time. It would take a few weeks on foot to reach the Demon Lord's Leon's castle, one that he had abandoned a long time ago. Somewhere in that building, answers may lie on how she survived so long, after her summoning as a child, or a clue on how to reach the demon lord's domain and ask him questions directly.

After a few hours of walking, the forest was getting dark once again. Luckily, there were no more attacks today and the time to rest had come. Shizue found a tree that was comfortable enough to lean against and put her cloak on the ground. To not be disturbed during the night, she quickly cast a masking spell and sat down closing her eyes.

It wasn't sleeping per se but more of deep meditation that restored the depleted energy. With her trusty sword in her hand, she was ready for the unlikely event of being ambushed as well.

The gentle breeze soothed her mind into a very calm state, and there was no need to worry about the dreams. They would not come in such a state. The only distraction was Ifrit poking around the borders of her consciousness.

'Give me a little more time. Then you will be free.' she said to the spirit whose relentless assaults she had endured for decades.

The night's rest gave the needed energy boost. After a quick breakfast and a few gulps of water, she was on her way again.

This day came with another ambush. Shizue had walked too close to the nest of the giant fire ants, disturbing the giant insects and finding herself surrounded.

With no other option but to fight back, she drew her sword and lunged at the nearest ant, splitting its head with a precise swing. The lethal blow took out one of her opponents, but unfortunately it enraged the other six.

The nearest ant jumped at her aiming for her head. Quickly ducking under the attacker, she thrust her sword in the ant's midsection.

Another one went for her legs but in a split-second decision, Shizue blasted a fireball in its face, forcing the insect to step back.

There was no helping it, either she used Ifrit's power or she died here. A sudden flame ring around her forced her opponents to retreat. Drawing upon the flame giant's power, she ignited her sword and charged. The additional power boost was enough to make quick work of the remaining ants.

Just as the last one died, Shizue dropped to her knees, panting. A quiet cracking sound startled her. She instinctively grabbed for the mask and there it was; a small crack had formed in the lower half.

'No. Not yet. Please! I need more time. Ifrit, if you understand me, please let me finish this one last thing, then you will be free. Please.'

The inner rage subsided. Shizue stood up letting out a sigh of relief.

{ You finish what you have started and then you let me out. That is the deal. }

'Yes. Thank you.'

With renewed strength, she resumed her journey, but the feeling of dread still lingered.

Edited by Edgy

Additional proofreading by placid_void

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