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Ethan was dreaming, and he knew it. He had had this dream before, and he recognized it despite how they disappear in the mental fog of the morning. There we was, back when he was just a child, having a picnic under a large elm tree with two others. The first was a large muscular man with tanned skin and dark hair that he recognized was his father. Next to him was his mother, a pale frail woman with curly red hair. His father had said something, and his mother began to smile. Ethan was filled with a deep sense of longing at the sight. The nagging rational part of his mind reminded him that this scene, this brief moment of happiness was lost and gone forever. However his heart still skipped a beat when his parents beckoned him over.



“Ethan,” his mother called out. “It’s morning Ethan. You need to wake up.” He began to feel aware of the real world. He could feel the softness of his bed, his sheets, and something laying on top of him. He begrudgingly opened his eyes, and found his mother’s face mere inches from his own. She was a lot paler than she was in his dream, and her shocking red hair and deep emerald eyes had lost their luster. Worst of all the smile she had in his dream was nowhere to be seen, and had been replaced with a look of mild disinterest. She never had smiled that much before becoming a lich, but now it looked like Sibyl Ashworth had forgotten how after she died. “Ah. Good morning Ethan.”



“Morning,” was Ethan’s stunned reply. He quickly glanced around the room, and found that it was still early morning. “A little early to be up isn’t it?”



“No. We have a lot of things to do today,” she answered dryly.



“Right… Well I’m up now, so can you get off of me?”



“Of course,” Sibyl said before slipping off of her son. Ethan sat up and stretched, but stopped when he noticed that his mother was naked.



“Is there any reason for why you came to wake me up naked?” Ethan asked as he looked away out of embarrassment.



“Naked?” Sibyl looked down at her nude form before saying, “I must have forgotten to get dressed before coming down.”



“How do you forget that?!”



“I find it much more comfortable to complete my studies in the nude. I guess I simply forget that I need to put them back on.”



“That explains it…” Ethan grumbled. He had seen her in the nude so much lately that it was a wonder why it still surprised him. “You could have sent someone else to wake me up you know.”



“And why would I do that?” Sibyl asked, sounding offended at the idea despite speaking in a flat monotone. “Do you have any idea what those monsters could do to you if I let them into your room?”



“Yeah, but I’m sure it would beat seeing you naked again.” Sibyl looked at her son in mild shock before frowning. She began to hit his chest repeatedly with her fists, but she wasn’t strong enough for him to actually feel anything.



“Don’t you dare think like that,” she scolded as she continued to strike him.



“What? You want me to keep seeing you naked?”



“No. I don’t want those monsters taking advantage of you. So I don’t want you thinking that letting them have their way with you is good in any way.”



She continued to lightly hit Ethan until he sighed, “Alright mom. I won’t.”



“Good,” Sibyl said before she got out of bed, and began to walk to the door. “Get dressed, and come to the meeting room.”



“Alright, but you better get dressed too!” Sibyl left Ethan’s room, and he sighed. His mother had always been an odd one. His father always loved to tell stories of how strange she could be when she was younger. He always asked him why a boisterous and friendly lumberjack would marry a quiet, moody, waifish magic scholar like his mother, but he would just laugh off the question. Ethan always figured that he didn’t know himself. In fact he had always wondered if she even loved her husband when he was younger. Ethan’s father assured that she did, but Sibyl didn’t seem to display much affection for him. She barely even smiled. Eventually Ethan would learn just how much his father meant to his mother on the day of the accident.



His father had been crushed by a pile of logs after Ethan turned fifteen, and Sibyl didn’t take it well. For the first few months she would alternate between crying manically and being practically comatose. Luckily Ethan was old enough to take care of the two of them, albeit with some difficulty, since Sibyl could hardly remember to feed herself in her grief. This changed a few months later when she was struck by a revelation. She told him that magic was a tool to bend and break the laws of nature, so naturally death wasn’t an exception. He sometimes regretted not dragging her to the nearest church right then and there, but he didn’t. Some part of him thought this was just going to be a flight of fancy, that she would realize the folly and blasphemy of her ways before things got out of hand. He had underestimated her.



She practically dragged him across creation for her research, and she left no stone unturned. Ethan was thankful that she tried to keep away from the dark arts for as long as she did, but even the “proper” study of ways to bring the dead back to life tended to draw suspicious looks. They would always attract the attention of the authorities sooner or later despite his efforts, and then they would move onto the next town to start again. The longer she studied, the darker the magic Sibyl used, and the further they needed to run from the Order. By the time he turned eighteen they had left the Order controlled lands behind, and they found themselves living amongst the monsters. It was then that Ethan sensed a change in his mother. She began acting depressed again, and he secretly hoped that it was a sign that she was finally giving up. He did not expect that his mother would kill herself. He had found Sibyl dead in her study one fateful afternoon. She had obviously drunk some sort of poison, but he didn’t realize that it was actually a potion. It was quite the shock when she began comforting him as he cried over her corpse, and thus Sibyl began her un-life as a lich. She used her arcane knowledge and newfound undead powers to take over a wight’s undead kingdom, and declared herself to be the next Demon Lord. She then announced that Ethan would be her prime minister. He was never sure which surprised him more.



Ethan sighed as he finished his reverie. It was honestly a little too much to take. He busied himself every day to keep his mother’s kingdom running as best he could, while she did Lord only knows what. He eventually entered the meeting room and smiled as he thought, At least I don’t have to do it alone. Two mamono sat at a large table located in the center of the rather drab room. Colette Labelle was the wight who had originally ruled the kingdom, and was the most beautiful woman Ethan had ever seen. She had luxurious dark brown hair that easily came down to her shapely buttocks, and ghostly blue eyes that were cool and cunning. Her pale skin was perfect save for a beauty mark under her left eye. She also wore a dark grey dress would have been considered risqué by a prostitute’s standards, but she managed to make it look classy by sheer charisma alone. That alone was an impressive feat considering her large breasts were threatening to spill out. Mei Hua the jiangshi seemed rather plain compared to Colette. She wasn’t unattractive, but looking at her next to Colette was like trying to watch the stars during the day. Mei was small, slim, and had a generally cute appearance. She dressed much more conservatively than Colette with a tan coat-like robe with long sleeves, and a matching round-top tall brimmed hat. The large paper talisman she wore on her forehead hid her greenish-white skin and big brown eyes, but added to her cuteness as she peaked around it. She kept her stark white hair rather short, which was why Ethan had mistaken her for an especially cute, small boy when he first met her. A ghostly pain in his ass reminded him to never do that again.



Mei spotted Etan as he walked in as said, “Ni hao~!” with a smile.



“Good morning Prime Minister,” Colette said as well. Ethan noticed that she seemed to be emphasizing her breasts, but chose to ignore it and join them at the table.



“Good morning,” Ethan answered. “How are we doing today?”



“Bored mostly,” Colette complained. “I want to get this meeting done so I can get a start on my day, and I can’t stand waiting on that woman!”



“That woman is your queen now Colette,” Mei reminded the wight. “She can make you wait as long as she wants.”



“I never made anyone wait this long…” Mei made a look that implied the opposite, and Colette bristled. “Are you trying to say something Shorty?” Colette took up a smug pose while Mei shot the wight a glare. Everyone knew that height was a sore spot for the short jiangshi. It was even an open secret that she even wore special shoes to make herself look taller. A ghostly pain in Ethan’s ass reminded him why everyone knew not to bring it up. “What’s with that look Shorty? Are you mad? Shorty? Shoooooorty?” Mei growled, but suddenly began to smile.



“Say what you want. At least I’m not some UGLY HAG who can’t even seduce a guy when I’m practically naked!”



“I am not ugly Shrimp!”



“Now you’re calling me a shrimp?!” Ethan cleared his throat, and both mamono stopped before they could stop brawling.



“I guess I should probably apologize for being so late as well then,” Ethan announced, hoping to get back on subject.



“Why would you need to apologize Ethan?” Mei asked.



“I wouldn’t worry about it prime minister,” Colette assured. “It’s always a pleasure to wait to see you.”



“I find that hard to believe,” Ethan sighed. “And can you call me Ethan? Prime minister just sounds weird.”



“I can call you daddy if you’d like~,” Colette cooed seductively. The air in the room suddenly turned cold, and the atmosphere grew tense as if a lion entered a sheep’s pen. They looked to the entrance, and found Sibyl watching them closely. She was still naked and was holding a plate, but they could sense her anger through her blank expression.



“You may call him prime minister,” Sibyl emotionlessly recommended as she approached the table.



“She can call me Ethan like everyone else mom,” Ethan said before Colette could react.



“I don’t think tha-”



“Mom…”



“Alright... You can call my son by his first name if you so please…”



“T-thank you,” Colette stammered. Her unflappable smile twitched a bit as she said, “You are very generous Lady Ashworth!”



“I know,” Sibyl said before placing her plate in front of Ethan. “I thought you’d like to eat breakfast during the meeting, so I cooked you a little something.” Ethan looked down at the charred remains of something on his plate as his mother sat down next to him.



“Thanks mom… I didn’t know you could cook…” he said as he tried to identify what he was supposed to be eating.



“First time actually,” the lich admitted. “It was pretty easy. I don’t know why you’d always make such a big fuss about it.”



That’s because I’d spend all that time making food, and you’d leave it to rot in your room! Ethan screamed in his head. While he wanted to scream about the injustice of it all, he instead used his rage to stomach the burnt remains of breakfast. Sibyl glanced at him as if she were expecting something, and Ethan forced himself to grin. “I-It tastes p-pretty good m-mom… You’re a-a n-natural…”



“Of course,” Sibyl agreed. She seemed awfully proud of herself, while Colette and Mei looked upon Ethan with pity.



“Lady Ashworth?” Mei asked. “While it seems like you’ve done a great job making breakfast, wouldn’t it be a better use of your time to get one of the servants to do it?”



“Of course not. I don’t want to risk having some tramp slip something like prisoner fruit into his meals,” was Sibyl’s passionate but calm reply. “Besides a mother should cook for her son. And the only problem I had was lighting the stove fire, but a little bit of hellfire solved that quickly enough.” Ethan chocked, and began to cough.



“Y-you used hellfire?!” he asked once his coughing fit subsided.



“Yes. And I think it was the perfect temperature to fry those eggs.”



Those were eggs?! Ethan thought. They definitely didn’t taste like eggs…



“Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to business,” Sibyl announced. “How is my kingdom faring today?”



“I think I should go first. It seems like the vampires are planning to revolt again,” Colette stated.



“Again? Why would they be unhappy with my rule?”



“It’s not you Lady Ashworth,” Colette explained. “The vampires have always been a contemptible bunch. They’re always going on about how they should be the ones to rule, and not someone as classless as I. I managed to keep them in line, but I fear that they’ve got it in their heads that you aren’t nearly as ruthless as I.



“So they’re trying to take my throne before I get too comfortable in it…” Sibyl sighed. “What do you think we should do?”



“My mole has informed me that they’ve only begun planning, so we could convince them that trying anything would be a bad idea.”



“And how would we do that?”



“Well I always enjoyed throwing a lavish ball, and then have the leaders raped by zombies,” Colette explained. Her smile was mirthful, but it came off as sadistic and cruel.



“M-maybe we should avoid anything quite so cruel,” Ethan suggested.



“Fine…” the wight pouted. “I guess we could play nice since this is the first time they’re acting up under your rule… We could still throw a ball, and you can use it as an opportunity to show them that you’d be a great ruler.”



“How?” was Sibyl’s quick reply.



“You need to show off their noble bearing. Vampires react well to those who portray themselves as noble and aristocratic. If we can convince them that you’re not only an aristocrat, but one worthy of their servitude they’ll follow you anywhere. If only to suck up of course.”



“And why didn’t they like you again?” Ethan asked.



“They thought I was a cruel, merciless tyrant,” Colette sighed with a shrug. “Now to be a noble you’ll need to look the part Lady Ashworth. I’ll call a few arachne to make you some clothes worthy of the future demon lord. Of course you’ll have to remember to wear them for once.” Everyone turned to stare at Sibyl.



“What are looking at me like that for?” the lich asked as she stared back in confusion.



“We weren’t going to say anything…” Mei said.



“But you didn’t actually get dressed yet…” Ethan finished.



Sibyl looked down at her naked body and said, “Ah. Right.”



“Moving on…” Colette announced. “I think it would also be prudent to talk to Edna Coutts. The Coutts clan is the most influential of all the vampire clans, and Edna is heir to that mantle. While she’s a few years away from actually inheriting her mother’s position, the current head of the clan is training her as she’s getting ready to retire. If you can get Edna on your side she might be able to convince her mother, and thus the other clans, to give you a shot to prove yourself before revolting.”



“Thank you Colette. I’ll look into it.”



“I suggest you try to talk to her today. Edna’s a big fan of the opera, and a friend of hers is staring in the one opening tonight. It’ll be a rare opportunity to meet her outside of the Coutts’ manor.”



“Alright. Anything on your end Mei?” Sibyl asked.



“Let’s see…” Mei said before pulling some papers out from under her clothes. She quickly looked over the pages before saying, “We’ve been having issues replacing the army’s weapons and armor. We’re having a hard time finding enough to replace what you destroyed during your invasion. Most of the rank and file don’t seem to mind going casual, but we’ll have trouble in the future if we can’t resolve this.”



“I see. That is unfortunate. Is there anything we can do to fix this?”



“I’ve already sent some emissaries to the dwarven kingdoms. Making a deal with them will be a step in the right direction at the very least,” Mei explained. “Oh! I almost forgot about this! Forty seven ronin ochimusha showed up last night!”



“Ochimusha?” Ethan asked. “What are those?”



“Undead soldiers from Zipangu. They usually serve a lord, and these master less samurai were hoping to pledge themselves to you Lady Ashworth. You should grant them an audience sometime this morning.”



“And they would make a good addition to our army?” Sibyl asked.



“Of course! Ochimusha were already great warriors when they were alive, so even a single one would be a great addition to the army. Forty seven of them will be an incredible boon!”



“Very well. There’s a few things I’d like to deal with first, but I’ll meet with them this morning.”



“Excellent! I’ll go let them know then!”



“So did you have anything to bring up Ethan?” Sibyl asked after turning to face her son.



“Nothing to worry about so far,” he answered with a smile.



“Alright. Then if there isn’t anything else we can adjourn this meeting,” Sibyl announced as she stood up. Ethan, Colette, and Mei followed suit as she said, “I’ll see you all later. Goodbye.” The lich then melted into the shadows, and everyone who remained sighed.



“So did you really have nothing to report Ethan, or are you trying to be a tough guy to impress everyone?” Colette asked after a moment of silence. “I know for a fact that there’s way more stuff that needs to be done than you’re letting on.”



“Sure, but none of its anything that she can deal with.” Ethan said with a tired smile. “A ball huh?”



“Yeah. What about it?”



“I’ve never organised a ball before. I’ll probably need your help for that one Colette.”



“Of course, and I’d be happy to help.”



“And I should probably come to meet those ochimuchits too?” Ethan asked as he looked over at Mei.



“It would help,” the jiangshi admitted. “They’re not as thorny as vampires, but they do expect a bit of courtesy.”



“Hmm… I might be able to make it if the meeting with the stone masons goes well,” Ethan muses aloud. “I should be able to make it, but I might be late.”



“That should be fine.”



“Then I’ll see you two later as well.” Ethan smiled at the two mamono before leaving the room as well.



“Is he gone?” Colette asked after a minute.



“Should be by now,” Mei answered.



“Good…” Colette sat back down before groaning. “Stupid commoners! I put all that effort into making myself as sexy as possible, and the lowbred runt doesn’t even look at my tits! It’s an outrage!” Mei pats the upset wight on the shoulder assuredly.



“There, there. Everything’s going fine,” the jiangshi assured.



“How’s it fine? How am I going to get my kingdom back if he won’t look at me long enough to seduce him?! To think I’d ever meet a man who was so disinterested!”



“Oh he’s definitely interested.”



“He is?” Colette asked as she turned to look at Mei in disbelief. “How can you tell?”



“It might have been hard to see, but he was sneaking glimpses at you,” Mei explained. “But he looks away almost immediately.”



“Oh?”



“They’re from Order controlled lands right? I’m guessing that the problem is cultural. He might react more positively if you didn’t dress like a whore.”



“Thank you Mei. That’s why I made you my general even though you’re a midget.” Both women laughed awkwardly.



“You really should watch your mouth lady pseudo-virgin slut,” Mei threatened as she laughed.



“Maybe you should grow a sense of humor as well as a pair of breasts miss scrawny child,” Colette retorted.



“Small breasts are a national treasure!”



“Is that the motto for the Itty Bitty Titty Committee?” Both mamono laughed for a minute before they started fighting. While there only few people managed to see it, they all agreed that it was a sight to behold. A few hours later would find Ethan marching angrily towards his mother’s chambers. She had not come to see the ochimusha, and he was going to drag her butt down to the throne room. He reached Sibyl’s room, and opened it without knocking. Sibyl was standing naked in the middle of the room behind a large purple flame. It guttered out when Ethan entered, but his lich mother didn’t seem to care.



“You seem upset Ethan,” Sybil said as she looked at Ethan. “Did anybody hurt you?”



“No mom. You’re late for your audience with the ochimusha!” he scolded.



“I am?”



“Yes! By a whole hour!” Ethan marched to his mother’s armoire, and began pulling out some clothes.



“Really? I guess I had gotten caught up with my experiments. We should head to the throne room right away.” Sibyl announced as she son placed some of her clothes on a nearby sofa.



He picked up a pair of her underwear as he said, “Exactly, so let’s get you dressed so that we can hurry…” Sibyl teleported the two of them to the throne room. The throngs of mamono had left for the day, but the forty seven ochimusha and Irene had remained. Irene was the dullahan captain of the guard, and was quite tall and fit. Ethan had mistaken her for an elf with her pointed ears and light green hair, but that was quickly remedied when she lost her head during her fight with his mother. Her hazel eyes lit up when she saw him, but that changed when her armor changed from a full suit of plate to what could be best described as bikini armor. Irene blushed as her pale skin, breasts, and abs were revealed, and she seemed almost as mortified as Ethan with Sibyl’s underwear in his hands. “M-m-mom…”



“Damn it Praesidio!” Irene complained to her armor. “I thought I told you to stop doing this?!” The armor that Irene wore was named Praesidio, and was apparently alive. How the dullahan was able to convince another mamono to enter such a close relationship Ethan would never know, but he felt sorry for Irene whenever it decided to show off her body. Which was whenever he was around once he thought about it. “I keep telling you that I don’t want people knowing that I look like a man! Women don’t have muscles like this!” Ethan looked over Irene as she argued with Praesidio. He’d admit that she was quite muscular, but she still looked like a woman with a firm pair of breasts and nice wide hips. He then remembered that he was holding his mother’s underwear, and quickly stuffed them into his pocket. “W-why would you even say that?!”



“Let’s just ignore her,” Sibyl said to the ochimusha after a brief pause. “I am the future demon lord Sibyl Ashworth. I apologize for my tardiness. I had lost track of the time while I was performing an experiment.”



“Do not worry. We are honored that you were willing to meet with us at all,” the leader of the ochimusha said with a slight bow. Sibyl quickly followed suit, and Ethan got a good look at her when they stood up straight. The Zipangese woman was almost a head shorter than he was, but she still seemed stern and commanding. Her skin was pale like many other undead, and her raven black hair was kept in a ponytail that came down past her shoulders. Her breasts were bound by bandages to keep them from being exposed, and a black pair of hakama pants was the only clothing she wore. She kept a katana and a smaller short sword sheathed at her side, and her lovely brown eyes were doe-like despite looking so tired. “My name is Ikeda Akemi, and I am the leader of this band of mercenaries.”



“I hear that you’re interested in joining my kingdom. May I hear why?”



“Of course, although it is a boorish tale,” Ikeda answered. “I was a warrior princess back in Zipangu, and my father named me his heir instead of my elder brother. Incensed at this slight, my brother conspired with some yokai to remove me from the picture. I was turned into an ochimusha, although I’m sure he had hoped I’d have turned into something more timid.”



“What would changing you into a yokai do?” Ethan asked. “I thought Zipangu was supposed to be a paradise for mamono.”



“Some places are. The region of Zipangu the Ikeda clan rules over tolerates them, but they do not have the rights or respect that they have in certain areas. Like not being allowed their inheritance,” Ikeda explained. “Now instead of running away like a dog with her tail between her legs, I roamed Zipangu searching for those who would help me get revenge on my cur of a brother. However my father died before I could gather enough allies. My brother took his position, and convinced the other clans to exile us from our homeland…”



“And why does this have anything to do with wanting to be a part of my kingdom?” Sibyl asked dryly.



“Word of your plans to usurp the current demon lord have spread far and wide. We were hoping that you could help us reclaim my birthright in exchange for helping you with your goals.”



“I see. Sorry, but we’re not interested,” Sibyl said before walking away.



“W-what?!” Ikeda shouted. “B-but we can help you?!”



“No you can’t,” Sibyl said as she turned to face the upset ochimusha. Her expression was as blank as ever, but her gaze chilled everyone down to the bone. “I conquered this kingdom so that I could improve my magical powers in peace, not to wage war. To become the demon lord I must become stronger. Building an army means nothing if I am unable to prove that I am strong enough to rule. The only reason I even bothered meeting with you is because your strength could be used to keep my son and I safe, but that’s not worth declaring war on the nobility of Zipangu. You are not needed so you may go.”



“Wait,” Ethan said before the lich could leave. “Let’s not be hasty here.”



“Why?”



“She never said we’d have to go to war,” Ethan explained. “She was just asking for help reclaiming her birthright. That could mean anything from going to battle, or having them work for us until they’re ready to go on their own. We should at the very least have a discussion before sending them away.”



“You mean negotiating an agreement?”



“Mei did say that they’d be a great addition to the army. It seems like a shame to just turn them away without given them a chance.”



“I see,” Sibyl said before falling silent for a moment. “Very well. You may stay for now. We can discuss your arrangements later.”



“Arigato…” Ikeda said with a distracted bow. She turned to Ethan and said, “I saw you earlier sir, but I don’t believe I got your name.”



“Oh! I guess I forgot to introduce myself since I was only here for a minute,” Ethan said with an awkward chuckle. “I’m Ethan Ashworth. I’m the prime minister, and Lady Ashworth’s son if that wasn’t too obvious. It’s nice to meet you.”



“Ethan Ashworth…” Ikeda said tentatively as if she were testing it. She seemed deep in thought for a moment before prostrating herself in front of him. “Ashworth-dono! Forgive my audacity, and accept me as your loyal servant!”



“W-what’s going on?” Ethan asked awkwardly.



“One of the single greatest joys for an ochimusha is serving a lord,” Irene explained.



“But I’m no lord, and she’s a Zipangese princess! Why would she want to be my servant?”



“Do not worry about such trifling concerns Ashworth-dono!” Ikeda said. She never moved from her dogeza position as she said, “While I was a princess in my homeland, I have been stripped of my title and exiled! Here I am nothing more than a simple sell sword! What kind of leader would I be to not offer my body and soul to such a generous man as yourself on account of my heritage?! Please allow me to be your servant my lord!”



“She’s already calling me her lord,” Ethan said with an awkward chuckle. “I appreciate the offer, but you don’t have to go so far. It’s not even like I’m being that generous since having you here would be mutually beneficial.”



“Your humbleness is incredible my lord! How can I possibly not want to serve such a kind, generous, handsome man?!” Ikeda asked loudly. Sibyl raised an eyebrow at the display, and Ethan began to sweat nervously.



“P-please… You don’t have to…”



“My lord! I only wish to serve you! Please use me in any way you see fit! I can defeat your enemies! I can protect you from harm! I can even bear you as many children as you wish!”



“Now hold on there a minute,” Sibyl said as she cut between the ochimusha and her son. “What did you mean by that?”



“I am a woman as well Lady Ashworth! I am willing to do anything as long as my lord wishes it, although I do admit that I have more experience in battle than I do in bed. I don’t know if my lord would want to be with anyone so inexperienced, but it would make me very happy if he found me acceptable. Even if it is only just once in a while.”



“Irene,” Sibyl called out after a long, awkward silence. The sudden acknowledgement and hostility coming from the lich made the dullahan flinch.



“Y-yes lady Ashworth?” Irene asked almost timidly. Praesidio changed back to full plate, and Irene looked like she was about to lose her head.



“I have decided that we should begin negotiations immediately. Please escort my son elsewhere.”



“But I can help with negotiations,” Ethan protested.



“Now,” Sibyl ordered, and Irene quickly saluted.



“R-right away ma’am!” Irene agreed before pulling Ethan out of the hall by the arm. Ethan struggled and tried to go back in, but stopped when they heard the explosion.



“Should we go check that out?” Ethan asked. “You know. To see if they’re ok?”



There was another explosion, and Irene said, “My head might be detachable, but I don’t really want to lose it. Let’s not.”



“Agreed. Although I hope mom doesn’t hurt anyone…”



“So where do you want to go?” Irene asked as they began walking away, leaving the ochimusha to their fate.



“I think I’ll go to the library,” Ethan answered after some thought. “It might be a good idea to study up on the kingdom’s vampire clans before this evening.”



“An excellent idea milord. How long do you think we’ll be there?”



“I’ll probably be there for a few hours. You can go do something else if you want.”



“Lady Ashworth asked me to escort you milord, and that’s what I’m going to do.”



“It’s fine. It’s not like I’m going to be attacked in the library.”



“It’s not that I’m you’ll get attacked milord. Lady Ashworth asked me to watch over you. I’d be a terrible captain of the guard if I disobeyed a direct order.” Irene explained.



“Alright, but can you at least call me by name if you’re going to be hanging around,” Ethan requested. “Being called lord all the time feels weird.”



“Of course Sir Ashworth.”



“Ethan. Just call me Ethan.”



Irene hesitated a moment before saying, “Alright Ethan.”



“Now was that so hard?” Ethan asked with a smile. “So Irene, I’m curious about how you knew so much about the ochimusha. Did you go to Zipangu or something?”



“It’s not so interesting I’m afraid. I did travel a bit, but I never got so far as Zipangu. No I studied about them.”



“You studied the ochimusha?”



“Not them specifically,” the dullahan clarified. “I studied all of the other mamono species who could be considered warriors or fighters. I was curious, and thought that it might be useful to know something about them if I ever needed to fight them. I studied the ochimusha in particular since they’re also a type of undead, and I guess I developed a bit of respect for them.”



“They do seem pretty strong,” Ethan agreed.



“It’s not just that their strong. I feel that we share the same philosophy about what it means to be a warrior.”



“Oh?”



“They believe that a warrior isn’t just someone who excels at fighting. Ochimusha strive to master the literary arts as well. They’re as much scholars as they are warriors,” Irene explained. “It just struck a chord with me, and I figured that I should try to follow their example.”



“That’s a nice attitude to have. I should probably try to study more as well. Would you mind if I joined you sometime?”



“It would be my pleasure!”



“So how was meeting some ochimusha for the first time?” Ethan asked. “I bet it was pretty exciting.”



“It was, but I’m a little disappointed as well.”



“Not quite what you were expecting?”



“Oh no! They were exactly as I imagined them!” Irene quickly corrected. “It’s just… I guess there was a part of me that was hoping there wouldn’t be such a large gap between us…”



“Well I’m sure they could help you get stronger if you ask them,” Ethan advised. “And I’m sure a bit of studying could help with the literary stuff.”



“I meant physically…”



“Oh… I guess you are pretty tall…” Ethan said as they finally reached the library. It was very large and grand, with an untold number of books and scrolls on its many shelves.



“It’s not just that I’m taller than them. I was hoping that they wouldn’t be so much more feminine than me. You can tell that that they’re trained warriors, but they’re still so feminine! Ikeda is especially small and cute… I look like a man compared to them.”



“I don’t think so,” Ethan denied.



“W-what?”



“I’ve seen your body often enough. Sure you’re tall and muscular, but no one’s going to mistake you for a man.”



“M-milord…” Irene stuttered as she began to blush.



“And as a man, believe me when I tell you that you’re pretty good looking. And you’re definitely as cute as Ikeda in your own way.”



“M-milord Ethan… I…” Irene began, but she started screaming when Praesidio changed again. She could scarcely be called armor anymore as she left barely anything to the imagination. The dullahan tried to cover herself, but her actions only made her look more erotic as any movement threatened to reveal anything that wasn’t already exposed. Ethan looked away, but not before the sight had been burned into his eyes. “W-what are you doing y-you stupide armor?! I-I’m not! W-we’re not! How would that even work?! I-I’m not wearing you while we..! I-I mean I-I’m not going to be!”



“Would you be quiet?! This is a library!” the ghost librarian whispered loudly as she appeared. “Some of us are trying to watch people having sex in piece! So unless you two are going to start fucking, please be quiet!”



“F-fucking… Me… Lord Ethan… Praesidio…” Irene muttered before collapsing from embarrassment. Ethan was able to catch her, but he had some difficulty carrying her large body over to some nearby chairs. He was luckily able to do so without losing her head, and proceeded to study until it was time for dinner. After a busy afternoon, Ethan and Sybil took a carriage to the local theatre. They were both wearing high-class clothing, and both felt uncomfortable despite how good they looked. Sibyl seemed especially uncomfortable, but Ethan was unsure whether it was because she was wearing on of Colette’s old dresses or if she had just gotten used to going everywhere naked. She probably would have been more comfortable wearing a custom made dress, but she couldn’t make time for the arachne tailors. So now she had to go around dressed as a rebellious teen wight.



“Why are we doing this again?” Sibyl asked as she pulled up her dress. Colette may have worn the dress in her youth, but it was obviously made for someone whose bust was much larger than Sibyl’s.



“We need to talk to Edna Coutts,” he reminded her. “We’re hoping that we can convince her to at least postpone any vampire rebellion.”



“Oh right… So why do we have to dress like this again?”



“Stop complaining mom! You’ve been running around in the nude all day!”



“I was?”


“Yes! You didn’t notice?!”



“I guess not.” Ethan sighed before looking out of the carriage’s window. He admired the gothic architecture of the city. Despite the dreary gloom that seemed to permeate the undead kingdom, it was quite the beautiful place. He was certain that Colette had an undead hand in this fact. They eventually reached the large building which held the theatre. It was an incredibly large and the most ornate of the buildings in the area, and almost seemed gaudy in comparison. The carriage stopped next to a statue of the wight who had funded the theatre, and they quickly got out before heading inside. The inside of the building was just as ornate as its exterior, with rich looking rugs, expensive paintings, and lifelike statues. They eventually found the theatre, and it was mostly empty with the exemption of a few people watching some of the actors practise. They made their way to the small crowd in the front row, and Ethan found himself watching the phantom floating above the stage. She was dressed in a simple but elegant sleeveless black gown, matching elbow length gloves, and a golden tiara that sat daintily on her head. Her hair was long, flowing, and an ethereal light green, and skin so pale it almost looked white. What interested Ethan the most though was her voice. The song she was singing was in a language he didn’t recognize, and was hauntingly beautiful and sad. He was almost overcome by the sudden urge to rush on stage to give her a comforting hug, but the feeling subsided when his mother pinched his arm.



“Are you awake now?” the lich asked.



“I guess. Why’d you pinch me?” Ethan asked.



“I was worried you were getting caught in her spell,” Sibyl answered cryptically before continuing her journey to the front row. They reached the others as the phantom finished singing, and joined in the applause.



“Fantastico!” the only man in the group beside Ethan cried out as the phantom floated down towards him. “Magnifico! Spettacolare! That was beautiful Bianca! You make me so proud!”



“Thank you papa, but I don’t think I did that great,” Bianca the phantom said before giving her father a hug. The crowd had finished their applause, and had begun to leave as she floated away from her father. “I feel like I could have sung the second verse a little louder, and I was getting a little flat at the end.”



“True, but those are mere quibbles. You sounded just like your mama.”



“I wouldn’t go that far,” a vampire said as she approached Bianca and her father. Unlike some of the other mamono she looked almost human save for her ruby red eyes, elven-like ears, and the two fangs that protruded slightly out of her mouth. She also had shoulder length, curly red hair, and flawlessly pale skin. Her black dress had shimmering gems sewn into the fabric, and she had a wolf skin cape draped over her shoulders. “It was very good, but I’m sure your wife could have done better Alfeo.”



“My wife’s singing is perfezionare… I mean perfect Lady Coutts, but even she wasn’t perfect when she first started. My Bianca sings just as well as she did back then. Maybe even better!”



“Relax papa,” Bianca scolded. “Edna is just trying to say that I did very well. She wouldn’t have compared me to mama if she thought I did poorly.”



“Err… Y-yeah. That’s right…” the vampire said as she blushed. She tried to look as noble as she could, but her red face made her look a little silly.



“I knew it! You can’t fool me Edna. I’ve known you too long for that!”



“W-whatever you say Bianca…” Edna suddenly spied Ethan and Sibyl, and turned to them in hopes of changing the subject. “Hello, who might you be? I haven’t seen you around here before.”



“I am Sibyl Ashworth, and this is my son: Prime Minister Ethan Ashworth,” Sybil announced.



“H-hi,” Ethan stuttered.



“I see. I guess that’s why I didn’t recognize you,” Edna said as she looked Ethan and Sibyl over. “None of the vampire clans bothered to intervene when you invaded, so I guess this would be our first meeting.”



“Yeah. Colette is still a little sore about that…”



“That tyrant can be a sore as she likes if she thinks we’d come to her rescue after she…” Edna angrily ranted before realising what she was doing. She took a breath before continuing with a blush, “Regardless, I’m glad that we’ve finally been able to meet Lady Ashworth. Although I’m surprised to find that you both look so… Average…”



“I see…” Sibyl said as she looked down at her dress.



“I guess that can’t really be helped,” Ethan agreed. “We didn’t really come from the nobility.”



“Such nonsense!” Bianca shouted. She floated up to Ethan, and stroked his face as she asked,” “How can you be so cruel Edna?! Calling such beautiful people average! Granted they are obviously of commoner stock, but even the common people can be beautiful! Isn’t that right bello?”



“I-I guess so miss..?”



“She’s Bianca Caro, daughter of the famed director Alfeo Caro and the equally famous prima donna Olivia Caro,” Edna explained. “I hope you’ll pardon her manners. This isn’t exactly the behavior of a noble.”



“Its fine,” Alfeo said as he wrapped his arm around the vampire’s shoulder. Edna flinched as he said, “There’s nothing wrong with a little touching after all! You should try it a bit, or you’ll never find a good husband!”



Edna blushed as she said, “I-I d-don’t need a ‘good husband’! And there isn’t anyone who’d be good enough for me anyway!”



“Don’t talk like that mio amica!” Bianca said as she stopped stroking Ethan. “You have to give them a chance before…” The phantom stopped to cough daintily.



“Is something wrong?” Ethan asked.



“Scusa… It seems that my throat is a little sore after all that singing… Could I ask you for some help?”



“Sure! What do you need me to do?”



“Not too much,” Bianca assured. “I’ll be doing most of the work. Just undo your pants, and we can get started.”



“What?”



“Semen not only tastes good, but it also do wonders for a sore throat!”



“B-B-Bianca!” Edna shouted. She had stopped trying to look as noble as she could, and her embarrassment was plainly visible on her pale face. “H-how shameful!”



Alfeo laughed as he said, “You better be careful prime minister! My wife told me the same thing when we first met, and we were married before the year ended!”



“Papa! You’re ruining the mood!” Bianca complained.



“Mi dispiace, principessa,” Alfeo said with a proud smirk.



“Please prime minister…” the phantom pleaded. “Tonight will be my first time staring in one of my papa’s plays, and I won’t be able to sing properly if my throat is sore…” Sibyl stepped next to Bianca, and grabbed her with a phantasmal hand.



“I hear drinking tea is good for a sore throat,” Sibyl said icily. “I’m sure that would be a lot easier than getting my son’s semen.”



“Ah! But it won’t be nearly as fun~!”



“I insist…”



“Bianca, perhaps you should leave the prime minister alone,” Alfeo advised. “Lady Ashworth doesn’t seem to enjoy your flirting.”



“But papa!” Bianca pouts. She turns to Ethan before saying, “You don’t mind it? Do you?”



Ethan averts his eyes as he says, “W-well… I don’t dislike it.”



“He’s just being polite,” Sibyl interjects. “He’s obviously very bothered.”



“He doesn’t seem too bothered~,” Bianca coos. “In fact I’m sure if we checked in his pants~.”



“You wouldn’t find anything because you’re bothering him.”



“If he’s so bothered maybe he could tell me himself!”



“He doesn’t have to. I can tell that he’s very uncomfortable.”



“He doesn’t look that uncomfortable!”



“How would you know? You’ve just met him, while I’ve known him his entire life.”



“Stop it mom,” Ethan interrupted. “A little bit of flirting isn’t going to hurt anyone.”



“But..!” Sibyl began, but a harsh look from her son shut her up. “Fine.”



“Can you stop too Bianca?” Alfeo pleaded. “Please. For papa.”



“Alright papa…” Bianca sighed before floating towards her father. The lich and phantom both began to pout in silence.



“I’m sorry. My daughter sometimes doesn’t know when to stop,” Alfeo said.



“Its fine,” Ethan assured. “Mom’s a little sensitive with mamono showing too much interest in me. Bianca wasn’t even the worst flirt I’ve met since we came here.”



“She isn’t?” Sibyl asked suspiciously. “Who are these women?”



“I don’t think I should say…”



“Why don’t we get back on track,” Edna said icily. “I doubt the lich who fancies herself the next demon lord and the prime minister came all the way here just to argue with my friend.”



“You are correct,” Sibyl agreed. “We wished to talk to you about the vampire rebellion.”



“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Edna quickly denied. “The vampire clans fully support your regime. I don’t know where you’d get the idea that we are planning to revolt.”



“We have it on good authority that you are,” Sibyl argued.



“I assume you’re referring to that wight tyrant of yours. I wouldn’t trust that vile woman if I were you. I’m sure she’s trying to undermine you so that she can retake her kingdom.”



“And we should trust your words over hers? It’s not like the vampires wouldn’t have anything to gain from usurping me.”



“That’s enough mom,” Ethan said as he put a hand on her shoulder. “We’re not here to argue with her remember.”



“Then what are you here for?” Edna asked irritably.



“We were hoping to make a truce with you,” Ethan answered with a smile. “Like the wolf on the Coutts family crest, this kingdom will function better if we’re all working towards the same goal. We understand that there is a lot of bad blood, and my mother and I aren’t exactly the most high class people, but we would like to work together with you.”



“You know about the Coutts clan?”



“Not as much as I’d like,” Ethan humbly admitted. “I was hoping to study more about your family’s history, but I got busy with other things. What I was able to learn was very impressive though. It’s obvious that the Coutts family has a very strong pedigree.”



“Thank you…” Edna said. She was obviously stunned, and had to look over Ethan as if she missed something at first glance. “Why?”


“I figured that learning about your family history would help with negotiations,” Ethan answered hesitantly. “Mom’s not really good at this kind of stuff, so I have to step in to make sure it goes well.”



“So you’re the power behind the throne?”



“Not really. I’m just there to make sure everything goes smoothly so that she can get what she needs done.”



“Ethan…” Sibyl said in shock.



“Yes mom?”



“… Sorry. It’s nothing,” the lich quickly denied.



“It seems that you know your place human. It’s irritating that you’ve been placed in a higher station than me, but I can respect how dedicated you are to your role,” Edna declared. “I can admit that there are some vampires grumbling in the dark about the state of things, so perhaps I can talk to my mother about setting up a meeting.”



“Thank you. I’d really appreciate it,” Ethan said with a smile.



Edna blushed as she said, “A-as you should! Prime minister or not, you are still a human and should appreciate everything a vampire like myself does for you. Even just taking the time to listen to you is more charity than your kind typically deserves!”



“Is that so? Then I should thank you for that as well.” Edna’s face grew bright red, and turned away so that no one could see the goofy look on her face.



Bianca floated up to Etan before saying, “Well done il mio amore! You’ve definitely gotten on Edna’s good side!”



“B-Bianca!” Edna complained, but was subsequently ignored.



“Now I’m sure that you’ll be leaving us soon bello since your business is done, but could I ask you to stay to see my debut?” Bianca passionately asked. “It has only been for a brief moment, but I fear that I shall be unable to sing my best if I cannot see you in the audience.”



“Sorry, but there’s still a few things I have to do tonight,” Ethan apologized. “Although I’m sure you’ll be able to do just fine. You have a beautiful voice.”



“You are much too kind. Perhaps you can leave something with me instead?”



“Like what?”



“I’m sure if you gave me your bambini it will feel like you are with me up on that stage!”



“What’s a bambini?” Ethan asked, and Bianca just giggled seductively.



“Perhaps you should stop Bianca. Before you go too far again,” Alfeo said.



Bianca sighed and said, “Alright papa… Now Prime minister, can I call you Ethan?”



“Sure,” Ethan agreed with a nod.



“Grazie! Make sure you come to see me as soon as you can Ethan!”



“I’ll look forward to it! And I’ll be looking forward to meeting you again later Edna.”



“T-that’s Lady Coutts to you!” Edna bristled.



“Err, alright Lady Coutts. We’ll see you later…”



“Goodbye,” Sibyl added before she and Ethan began to make their way out of the theatre.



“So Edna, what do you think?” Bianca asked once she thought the mother and son pair were out of earshot.



“It’s ridiculous! A human prime minister!” the vampire ranted. “And he’s so haughty too! Who does he think he is calling me by name! Unbelievable!”



“I know~! Don’t you just want to suck something out of him?”



“Don’t be gross Bianca! Why would I want to drink some foul monkey’s semen?” Edna asked, only to find her phantom friend struggling to hold back her laughter. “W-what did I say?”



“You’re such a pervert Edna~! I was talking about his blood!”



“Wha..?! That’s even worse!” Edna protested while her face went beet red.



“Then why do you look so excited?”



“Because you’re embarrassing me!”



“But I wouldn’t be able to embarrass you if I wasn’t right~,” Bianca teased. “Admit it mia amica, the reason you’re upset isn’t because Ethan is the prime minister. It’s because he isn’t your servant!”



“W-what…” Edna stuttered.




“Ah! Young love!” Alfeo said before leaving the two mamono alone.



“Am I really that obvious?”



“Edna, I’ve known you since we were kids,” Bianca reminded her friend. “I know your every thought before you even think it.”



“All right,” Edna said with a smile. “So what am I going to think next?”



“Let’s see… You’re going to be thinking that you’re going to let me have sex with Ethan whenever I want as a reward for helping you make him your servant!”



“Like hell! Why are you so interested in him anyway?”



“I can feel it! We were lovers in another life! How callous are the sands of time that my love no longer remembers me!” Bianca said aloud. “Plus he’s my type. I swear my panties would be soaked if I wore any!”



“You don’t wear underwear?” Edna asked. “Since when?”



“Since ever! Want to see?”



“No!” Meanwhile Ethan and Sibyl were having an awkward carriage ride back to the castle. He knew something had upset his mother, but he wasn’t sure of what it could be.



“Man those vampires are something aren’t they?” Ethan asked. “I know Colette said they were pompous, but I never expected that!” Ethan waited for Sibyl to respond, but she remained silent until they got back to the castle. She left for her room once they arrived, and Ethan had more things to do before the day was done. It was dark by the time he finished, and he tiredly walked through the labyrinthine, torch lit halls to get to his room. He eventually passed the door to his mother’s chambers, and decided to stop for a quick visit. He knocked on the door before entering, and found his mother standing in front of an eerie mirror floating in the middle of her room.



“Ethan?” Sibyl asked. “Is anything the matter?”



“I just thought I’d check up on you mom,” Ethan explained as he approached her. “You seemed a little out of it on the way back.”



“I see…” Sibyl silently stood in front of her son. She eventually asked, “Do you hate me Ethan?”



Ethan’s brow furrowed as he asked, “Now what’s brought this on?”



“When you were talking to Edna… Just… Listening to you talk reminded me of all the things you did for me. And still do for me. Things that no parent should expect from their children.”



“Mom…”



“Just thinking about how I took your future because I…” Sibyl began, but Ethan quieted her with a hug. “Ethan?”



“Don’t think like that mom…” Ethan said. “I don’t hate you. Sure it was hard. Sure there were times that I wanted to leave, but I never hated you. You needed me, and I stayed because I love you mom.”



“You…” Sibyl whispered before hugging her son. “You’re as silly as your father Ethan. What did I ever do to deserve either of you, let alone both.”



“I guess you’re just lucky I guess.”



“That sounds about right.” Sibyl broke the hug before saying, “You better get to bed now. It’s late, and I’m sure we’ll have a busy day again tomorrow.”



“Right. I’ll see you tomorrow then,” Ethan said before turning to leave the room.



Sibyl said, “Goodnight,” and watched Ethan leave in silence. She eventually turned back to the mirror to face the shadowy reflection that looked nothing like her.



“What a wonderful young man,” the figure in the mirror said. “It must be nice having a son.”



“It’s the best,” the lich agreed. “He takes after his father.”



“I can imagine. So where were we again?”



“You were going to tell me why it took you so long to contact me Mrs. Demon Lord,” Sibyl said coldly.



“Give me a break will you?” the shadowy form of the Demon Lord asked. “I’m very busy you know! Between ruling over all mamono kind, keeping all the factions in check, and waging an unholy war against the heavens eats up a lot of time you know. I can’t just drop everything to contact everyone declaring that they’ll usurp me.”



“So that means you see me as a threat?”



“No. I just like to nip potential problems in the bud,” the Demon Lord clarified. “So how about we negotiate? What would it take to make you stop from coming after my throne?”



“I want you to marry one of your daughters to my son,” Sibyl declared.



“Come again”



“I want my son to marry one of your daughters, and receive all the titles, benefits, and privileges that entails,” Sybil explained. “He’s done so much for me… More than I had the right to ask of him regardless of what he thinks. He needs to be rewarded, and what better reward than a position that will give him a life of comfort and privilege.”



“Is that all?” the Demon Lord asked.



“Yes. Well no. I would appreciate it if you could marry him to one of your prettier daughters. He deserves that much.”



“I see. Then I’ll have to decline.”



“What? On what grounds?” Sybil asked.



“Unfortunately for you none of my daughters would be willing to wed someone who has already been married,” the Demon Lord explained.



“What are you talking about? My son’s still single!”



“For how long I wonder?” the Demon Lord asked gleefully “He’s surrounded by beautiful monster women, and I’m sure there’s at least a few who are interested in him.”



“Ethan’s not the type to fall for some undead floozy,” Sibyl stated proudly. “And I’m here to make sure he stays safe.”



“You say that, but I wonder if you can.”



“And what do you mean by that?”



“It sounds like you’re not the most reliable woman around. Who knows what could happen when your absent mindedly fooling around. Someone, anyone could snatch him away without you realizing it!”



“I’ll never allow that to happen! Never!”



“Ooooh! How scary~!” the Demon Lord teased. “You’re quite the funny little lich. I might have to keep an eye on you if only to see what kind of shenanigans you’ll cause. We’ll talk again if you manage to keep him single! Goodbye!”



“Wait! I’m not done with you!” Sibyl protested before the mirror changed back to its normal self. After a moment of silence she said, “She hung up… What a bitch… Don’t worry Ethan. I’ll make sure to get you a better life. By any means necessary.”

Ethan was dreaming, and he knew it. He had had this dream before, and he recognized it despite how they disappear in the mental fog of the morning. There we was, back when he was just a child, having a picnic under a large elm tree with two others. The first was a large muscular man with tanned skin and dark hair that he recognized was his father. Next to him was his mother, a pale frail woman with curly red hair. His father had said something, and his mother began to smile. Ethan was filled with a deep sense of longing at the sight. The nagging rational part of his mind reminded him that this scene, this brief moment of happiness was lost and gone forever. However his heart still skipped a beat when his parents beckoned him over.



“Ethan,” his mother called out. “It’s morning Ethan. You need to wake up.” He began to feel aware of the real world. He could feel the softness of his bed, his sheets, and something laying on top of him. He begrudgingly opened his eyes, and found his mother’s face mere inches from his own. She was a lot paler than she was in his dream, and her shocking red hair and deep emerald eyes had lost their luster. Worst of all the smile she had in his dream was nowhere to be seen, and had been replaced with a look of mild disinterest. She never had smiled that much before becoming a lich, but now it looked like Sibyl Ashworth had forgotten how after she died. “Ah. Good morning Ethan.”



“Morning,” was Ethan’s stunned reply. He quickly glanced around the room, and found that it was still early morning. “A little early to be up isn’t it?”



“No. We have a lot of things to do today,” she answered dryly.



“Right… Well I’m up now, so can you get off of me?”



“Of course,” Sibyl said before slipping off of her son. Ethan sat up and stretched, but stopped when he noticed that his mother was naked.



“Is there any reason for why you came to wake me up naked?” Ethan asked as he looked away out of embarrassment.



“Naked?” Sibyl looked down at her nude form before saying, “I must have forgotten to get dressed before coming down.”



“How do you forget that?!”



“I find it much more comfortable to complete my studies in the nude. I guess I simply forget that I need to put them back on.”



“That explains it…” Ethan grumbled. He had seen her in the nude so much lately that it was a wonder why it still surprised him. “You could have sent someone else to wake me up you know.”



“And why would I do that?” Sibyl asked, sounding offended at the idea despite speaking in a flat monotone. “Do you have any idea what those monsters could do to you if I let them into your room?”



“Yeah, but I’m sure it would beat seeing you naked again.” Sibyl looked at her son in mild shock before frowning. She began to hit his chest repeatedly with her fists, but she wasn’t strong enough for him to actually feel anything.



“Don’t you dare think like that,” she scolded as she continued to strike him.



“What? You want me to keep seeing you naked?”



“No. I don’t want those monsters taking advantage of you. So I don’t want you thinking that letting them have their way with you is good in any way.”



She continued to lightly hit Ethan until he sighed, “Alright mom. I won’t.”



“Good,” Sibyl said before she got out of bed, and began to walk to the door. “Get dressed, and come to the meeting room.”



“Alright, but you better get dressed too!” Sibyl left Ethan’s room, and he sighed. His mother had always been an odd one. His father always loved to tell stories of how strange she could be when she was younger. He always asked him why a boisterous and friendly lumberjack would marry a quiet, moody, waifish magic scholar like his mother, but he would just laugh off the question. Ethan always figured that he didn’t know himself. In fact he had always wondered if she even loved her husband when he was younger. Ethan’s father assured that she did, but Sibyl didn’t seem to display much affection for him. She barely even smiled. Eventually Ethan would learn just how much his father meant to his mother on the day of the accident.



His father had been crushed by a pile of logs after Ethan turned fifteen, and Sibyl didn’t take it well. For the first few months she would alternate between crying manically and being practically comatose. Luckily Ethan was old enough to take care of the two of them, albeit with some difficulty, since Sibyl could hardly remember to feed herself in her grief. This changed a few months later when she was struck by a revelation. She told him that magic was a tool to bend and break the laws of nature, so naturally death wasn’t an exception. He sometimes regretted not dragging her to the nearest church right then and there, but he didn’t. Some part of him thought this was just going to be a flight of fancy, that she would realize the folly and blasphemy of her ways before things got out of hand. He had underestimated her.



She practically dragged him across creation for her research, and she left no stone unturned. Ethan was thankful that she tried to keep away from the dark arts for as long as she did, but even the “proper” study of ways to bring the dead back to life tended to draw suspicious looks. They would always attract the attention of the authorities sooner or later despite his efforts, and then they would move onto the next town to start again. The longer she studied, the darker the magic Sibyl used, and the further they needed to run from the Order. By the time he turned eighteen they had left the Order controlled lands behind, and they found themselves living amongst the monsters. It was then that Ethan sensed a change in his mother. She began acting depressed again, and he secretly hoped that it was a sign that she was finally giving up. He did not expect that his mother would kill herself. He had found Sibyl dead in her study one fateful afternoon. She had obviously drunk some sort of poison, but he didn’t realize that it was actually a potion. It was quite the shock when she began comforting him as he cried over her corpse, and thus Sibyl began her un-life as a lich. She used her arcane knowledge and newfound undead powers to take over a wight’s undead kingdom, and declared herself to be the next Demon Lord. She then announced that Ethan would be her prime minister. He was never sure which surprised him more.



Ethan sighed as he finished his reverie. It was honestly a little too much to take. He busied himself every day to keep his mother’s kingdom running as best he could, while she did Lord only knows what. He eventually entered the meeting room and smiled as he thought, At least I don’t have to do it alone. Two mamono sat at a large table located in the center of the rather drab room. Colette Labelle was the wight who had originally ruled the kingdom, and was the most beautiful woman Ethan had ever seen. She had luxurious dark brown hair that easily came down to her shapely buttocks, and ghostly blue eyes that were cool and cunning. Her pale skin was perfect save for a beauty mark under her left eye. She also wore a dark grey dress would have been considered risqué by a prostitute’s standards, but she managed to make it look classy by sheer charisma alone. That alone was an impressive feat considering her large breasts were threatening to spill out. Mei Hua the jiangshi seemed rather plain compared to Colette. She wasn’t unattractive, but looking at her next to Colette was like trying to watch the stars during the day. Mei was small, slim, and had a generally cute appearance. She dressed much more conservatively than Colette with a tan coat-like robe with long sleeves, and a matching round-top tall brimmed hat. The large paper talisman she wore on her forehead hid her greenish-white skin and big brown eyes, but added to her cuteness as she peaked around it. She kept her stark white hair rather short, which was why Ethan had mistaken her for an especially cute, small boy when he first met her. A ghostly pain in his ass reminded him to never do that again.



Mei spotted Etan as he walked in as said, “Ni hao~!” with a smile.



“Good morning Prime Minister,” Colette said as well. Ethan noticed that she seemed to be emphasizing her breasts, but chose to ignore it and join them at the table.



“Good morning,” Ethan answered. “How are we doing today?”



“Bored mostly,” Colette complained. “I want to get this meeting done so I can get a start on my day, and I can’t stand waiting on that woman!”



“That woman is your queen now Colette,” Mei reminded the wight. “She can make you wait as long as she wants.”



“I never made anyone wait this long…” Mei made a look that implied the opposite, and Colette bristled. “Are you trying to say something Shorty?” Colette took up a smug pose while Mei shot the wight a glare. Everyone knew that height was a sore spot for the short jiangshi. It was even an open secret that she even wore special shoes to make herself look taller. A ghostly pain in Ethan’s ass reminded him why everyone knew not to bring it up. “What’s with that look Shorty? Are you mad? Shorty? Shoooooorty?” Mei growled, but suddenly began to smile.



“Say what you want. At least I’m not some UGLY HAG who can’t even seduce a guy when I’m practically naked!”



“I am not ugly Shrimp!”



“Now you’re calling me a shrimp?!” Ethan cleared his throat, and both mamono stopped before they could stop brawling.



“I guess I should probably apologize for being so late as well then,” Ethan announced, hoping to get back on subject.



“Why would you need to apologize Ethan?” Mei asked.



“I wouldn’t worry about it prime minister,” Colette assured. “It’s always a pleasure to wait to see you.”



“I find that hard to believe,” Ethan sighed. “And can you call me Ethan? Prime minister just sounds weird.”



“I can call you daddy if you’d like~,” Colette cooed seductively. The air in the room suddenly turned cold, and the atmosphere grew tense as if a lion entered a sheep’s pen. They looked to the entrance, and found Sibyl watching them closely. She was still naked and was holding a plate, but they could sense her anger through her blank expression.



“You may call him prime minister,” Sibyl emotionlessly recommended as she approached the table.



“She can call me Ethan like everyone else mom,” Ethan said before Colette could react.



“I don’t think tha-”



“Mom…”



“Alright... You can call my son by his first name if you so please…”



“T-thank you,” Colette stammered. Her unflappable smile twitched a bit as she said, “You are very generous Lady Ashworth!”



“I know,” Sibyl said before placing her plate in front of Ethan. “I thought you’d like to eat breakfast during the meeting, so I cooked you a little something.” Ethan looked down at the charred remains of something on his plate as his mother sat down next to him.



“Thanks mom… I didn’t know you could cook…” he said as he tried to identify what he was supposed to be eating.



“First time actually,” the lich admitted. “It was pretty easy. I don’t know why you’d always make such a big fuss about it.”



That’s because I’d spend all that time making food, and you’d leave it to rot in your room! Ethan screamed in his head. While he wanted to scream about the injustice of it all, he instead used his rage to stomach the burnt remains of breakfast. Sibyl glanced at him as if she were expecting something, and Ethan forced himself to grin. “I-It tastes p-pretty good m-mom… You’re a-a n-natural…”



“Of course,” Sibyl agreed. She seemed awfully proud of herself, while Colette and Mei looked upon Ethan with pity.



“Lady Ashworth?” Mei asked. “While it seems like you’ve done a great job making breakfast, wouldn’t it be a better use of your time to get one of the servants to do it?”



“Of course not. I don’t want to risk having some tramp slip something like prisoner fruit into his meals,” was Sibyl’s passionate but calm reply. “Besides a mother should cook for her son. And the only problem I had was lighting the stove fire, but a little bit of hellfire solved that quickly enough.” Ethan chocked, and began to cough.



“Y-you used hellfire?!” he asked once his coughing fit subsided.



“Yes. And I think it was the perfect temperature to fry those eggs.”



Those were eggs?! Ethan thought. They definitely didn’t taste like eggs…



“Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to business,” Sibyl announced. “How is my kingdom faring today?”



“I think I should go first. It seems like the vampires are planning to revolt again,” Colette stated.



“Again? Why would they be unhappy with my rule?”



“It’s not you Lady Ashworth,” Colette explained. “The vampires have always been a contemptible bunch. They’re always going on about how they should be the ones to rule, and not someone as classless as I. I managed to keep them in line, but I fear that they’ve got it in their heads that you aren’t nearly as ruthless as I.



“So they’re trying to take my throne before I get too comfortable in it…” Sibyl sighed. “What do you think we should do?”



“My mole has informed me that they’ve only begun planning, so we could convince them that trying anything would be a bad idea.”



“And how would we do that?”



“Well I always enjoyed throwing a lavish ball, and then have the leaders raped by zombies,” Colette explained. Her smile was mirthful, but it came off as sadistic and cruel.



“M-maybe we should avoid anything quite so cruel,” Ethan suggested.



“Fine…” the wight pouted. “I guess we could play nice since this is the first time they’re acting up under your rule… We could still throw a ball, and you can use it as an opportunity to show them that you’d be a great ruler.”



“How?” was Sibyl’s quick reply.



“You need to show off their noble bearing. Vampires react well to those who portray themselves as noble and aristocratic. If we can convince them that you’re not only an aristocrat, but one worthy of their servitude they’ll follow you anywhere. If only to suck up of course.”



“And why didn’t they like you again?” Ethan asked.



“They thought I was a cruel, merciless tyrant,” Colette sighed with a shrug. “Now to be a noble you’ll need to look the part Lady Ashworth. I’ll call a few arachne to make you some clothes worthy of the future demon lord. Of course you’ll have to remember to wear them for once.” Everyone turned to stare at Sibyl.



“What are looking at me like that for?” the lich asked as she stared back in confusion.



“We weren’t going to say anything…” Mei said.



“But you didn’t actually get dressed yet…” Ethan finished.



Sibyl looked down at her naked body and said, “Ah. Right.”



“Moving on…” Colette announced. “I think it would also be prudent to talk to Edna Coutts. The Coutts clan is the most influential of all the vampire clans, and Edna is heir to that mantle. While she’s a few years away from actually inheriting her mother’s position, the current head of the clan is training her as she’s getting ready to retire. If you can get Edna on your side she might be able to convince her mother, and thus the other clans, to give you a shot to prove yourself before revolting.”



“Thank you Colette. I’ll look into it.”



“I suggest you try to talk to her today. Edna’s a big fan of the opera, and a friend of hers is staring in the one opening tonight. It’ll be a rare opportunity to meet her outside of the Coutts’ manor.”



“Alright. Anything on your end Mei?” Sibyl asked.



“Let’s see…” Mei said before pulling some papers out from under her clothes. She quickly looked over the pages before saying, “We’ve been having issues replacing the army’s weapons and armor. We’re having a hard time finding enough to replace what you destroyed during your invasion. Most of the rank and file don’t seem to mind going casual, but we’ll have trouble in the future if we can’t resolve this.”



“I see. That is unfortunate. Is there anything we can do to fix this?”



“I’ve already sent some emissaries to the dwarven kingdoms. Making a deal with them will be a step in the right direction at the very least,” Mei explained. “Oh! I almost forgot about this! Forty seven ronin ochimusha showed up last night!”



“Ochimusha?” Ethan asked. “What are those?”



“Undead soldiers from Zipangu. They usually serve a lord, and these master less samurai were hoping to pledge themselves to you Lady Ashworth. You should grant them an audience sometime this morning.”



“And they would make a good addition to our army?” Sibyl asked.



“Of course! Ochimusha were already great warriors when they were alive, so even a single one would be a great addition to the army. Forty seven of them will be an incredible boon!”



“Very well. There’s a few things I’d like to deal with first, but I’ll meet with them this morning.”



“Excellent! I’ll go let them know then!”



“So did you have anything to bring up Ethan?” Sibyl asked after turning to face her son.



“Nothing to worry about so far,” he answered with a smile.



“Alright. Then if there isn’t anything else we can adjourn this meeting,” Sibyl announced as she stood up. Ethan, Colette, and Mei followed suit as she said, “I’ll see you all later. Goodbye.” The lich then melted into the shadows, and everyone who remained sighed.



“So did you really have nothing to report Ethan, or are you trying to be a tough guy to impress everyone?” Colette asked after a moment of silence. “I know for a fact that there’s way more stuff that needs to be done than you’re letting on.”



“Sure, but none of its anything that she can deal with.” Ethan said with a tired smile. “A ball huh?”



“Yeah. What about it?”



“I’ve never organised a ball before. I’ll probably need your help for that one Colette.”



“Of course, and I’d be happy to help.”



“And I should probably come to meet those ochimuchits too?” Ethan asked as he looked over at Mei.



“It would help,” the jiangshi admitted. “They’re not as thorny as vampires, but they do expect a bit of courtesy.”



“Hmm… I might be able to make it if the meeting with the stone masons goes well,” Ethan muses aloud. “I should be able to make it, but I might be late.”



“That should be fine.”



“Then I’ll see you two later as well.” Ethan smiled at the two mamono before leaving the room as well.



“Is he gone?” Colette asked after a minute.



“Should be by now,” Mei answered.



“Good…” Colette sat back down before groaning. “Stupid commoners! I put all that effort into making myself as sexy as possible, and the lowbred runt doesn’t even look at my tits! It’s an outrage!” Mei pats the upset wight on the shoulder assuredly.



“There, there. Everything’s going fine,” the jiangshi assured.



“How’s it fine? How am I going to get my kingdom back if he won’t look at me long enough to seduce him?! To think I’d ever meet a man who was so disinterested!”



“Oh he’s definitely interested.”



“He is?” Colette asked as she turned to look at Mei in disbelief. “How can you tell?”



“It might have been hard to see, but he was sneaking glimpses at you,” Mei explained. “But he looks away almost immediately.”



“Oh?”



“They’re from Order controlled lands right? I’m guessing that the problem is cultural. He might react more positively if you didn’t dress like a whore.”



“Thank you Mei. That’s why I made you my general even though you’re a midget.” Both women laughed awkwardly.



“You really should watch your mouth lady pseudo-virgin slut,” Mei threatened as she laughed.



“Maybe you should grow a sense of humor as well as a pair of breasts miss scrawny child,” Colette retorted.



“Small breasts are a national treasure!”



“Is that the motto for the Itty Bitty Titty Committee?” Both mamono laughed for a minute before they started fighting. While there only few people managed to see it, they all agreed that it was a sight to behold. A few hours later would find Ethan marching angrily towards his mother’s chambers. She had not come to see the ochimusha, and he was going to drag her butt down to the throne room. He reached Sibyl’s room, and opened it without knocking. Sibyl was standing naked in the middle of the room behind a large purple flame. It guttered out when Ethan entered, but his lich mother didn’t seem to care.



“You seem upset Ethan,” Sybil said as she looked at Ethan. “Did anybody hurt you?”



“No mom. You’re late for your audience with the ochimusha!” he scolded.



“I am?”



“Yes! By a whole hour!” Ethan marched to his mother’s armoire, and began pulling out some clothes.



“Really? I guess I had gotten caught up with my experiments. We should head to the throne room right away.” Sibyl announced as she son placed some of her clothes on a nearby sofa.



He picked up a pair of her underwear as he said, “Exactly, so let’s get you dressed so that we can hurry…” Sibyl teleported the two of them to the throne room. The throngs of mamono had left for the day, but the forty seven ochimusha and Irene had remained. Irene was the dullahan captain of the guard, and was quite tall and fit. Ethan had mistaken her for an elf with her pointed ears and light green hair, but that was quickly remedied when she lost her head during her fight with his mother. Her hazel eyes lit up when she saw him, but that changed when her armor changed from a full suit of plate to what could be best described as bikini armor. Irene blushed as her pale skin, breasts, and abs were revealed, and she seemed almost as mortified as Ethan with Sibyl’s underwear in his hands. “M-m-mom…”



“Damn it Praesidio!” Irene complained to her armor. “I thought I told you to stop doing this?!” The armor that Irene wore was named Praesidio, and was apparently alive. How the dullahan was able to convince another mamono to enter such a close relationship Ethan would never know, but he felt sorry for Irene whenever it decided to show off her body. Which was whenever he was around once he thought about it. “I keep telling you that I don’t want people knowing that I look like a man! Women don’t have muscles like this!” Ethan looked over Irene as she argued with Praesidio. He’d admit that she was quite muscular, but she still looked like a woman with a firm pair of breasts and nice wide hips. He then remembered that he was holding his mother’s underwear, and quickly stuffed them into his pocket. “W-why would you even say that?!”



“Let’s just ignore her,” Sibyl said to the ochimusha after a brief pause. “I am the future demon lord Sibyl Ashworth. I apologize for my tardiness. I had lost track of the time while I was performing an experiment.”



“Do not worry. We are honored that you were willing to meet with us at all,” the leader of the ochimusha said with a slight bow. Sibyl quickly followed suit, and Ethan got a good look at her when they stood up straight. The Zipangese woman was almost a head shorter than he was, but she still seemed stern and commanding. Her skin was pale like many other undead, and her raven black hair was kept in a ponytail that came down past her shoulders. Her breasts were bound by bandages to keep them from being exposed, and a black pair of hakama pants was the only clothing she wore. She kept a katana and a smaller short sword sheathed at her side, and her lovely brown eyes were doe-like despite looking so tired. “My name is Ikeda Akemi, and I am the leader of this band of mercenaries.”



“I hear that you’re interested in joining my kingdom. May I hear why?”



“Of course, although it is a boorish tale,” Ikeda answered. “I was a warrior princess back in Zipangu, and my father named me his heir instead of my elder brother. Incensed at this slight, my brother conspired with some yokai to remove me from the picture. I was turned into an ochimusha, although I’m sure he had hoped I’d have turned into something more timid.”



“What would changing you into a yokai do?” Ethan asked. “I thought Zipangu was supposed to be a paradise for mamono.”



“Some places are. The region of Zipangu the Ikeda clan rules over tolerates them, but they do not have the rights or respect that they have in certain areas. Like not being allowed their inheritance,” Ikeda explained. “Now instead of running away like a dog with her tail between her legs, I roamed Zipangu searching for those who would help me get revenge on my cur of a brother. However my father died before I could gather enough allies. My brother took his position, and convinced the other clans to exile us from our homeland…”



“And why does this have anything to do with wanting to be a part of my kingdom?” Sibyl asked dryly.



“Word of your plans to usurp the current demon lord have spread far and wide. We were hoping that you could help us reclaim my birthright in exchange for helping you with your goals.”



“I see. Sorry, but we’re not interested,” Sibyl said before walking away.



“W-what?!” Ikeda shouted. “B-but we can help you?!”



“No you can’t,” Sibyl said as she turned to face the upset ochimusha. Her expression was as blank as ever, but her gaze chilled everyone down to the bone. “I conquered this kingdom so that I could improve my magical powers in peace, not to wage war. To become the demon lord I must become stronger. Building an army means nothing if I am unable to prove that I am strong enough to rule. The only reason I even bothered meeting with you is because your strength could be used to keep my son and I safe, but that’s not worth declaring war on the nobility of Zipangu. You are not needed so you may go.”



“Wait,” Ethan said before the lich could leave. “Let’s not be hasty here.”



“Why?”



“She never said we’d have to go to war,” Ethan explained. “She was just asking for help reclaiming her birthright. That could mean anything from going to battle, or having them work for us until they’re ready to go on their own. We should at the very least have a discussion before sending them away.”



“You mean negotiating an agreement?”



“Mei did say that they’d be a great addition to the army. It seems like a shame to just turn them away without given them a chance.”



“I see,” Sibyl said before falling silent for a moment. “Very well. You may stay for now. We can discuss your arrangements later.”



“Arigato…” Ikeda said with a distracted bow. She turned to Ethan and said, “I saw you earlier sir, but I don’t believe I got your name.”



“Oh! I guess I forgot to introduce myself since I was only here for a minute,” Ethan said with an awkward chuckle. “I’m Ethan Ashworth. I’m the prime minister, and Lady Ashworth’s son if that wasn’t too obvious. It’s nice to meet you.”



“Ethan Ashworth…” Ikeda said tentatively as if she were testing it. She seemed deep in thought for a moment before prostrating herself in front of him. “Ashworth-dono! Forgive my audacity, and accept me as your loyal servant!”



“W-what’s going on?” Ethan asked awkwardly.



“One of the single greatest joys for an ochimusha is serving a lord,” Irene explained.



“But I’m no lord, and she’s a Zipangese princess! Why would she want to be my servant?”



“Do not worry about such trifling concerns Ashworth-dono!” Ikeda said. She never moved from her dogeza position as she said, “While I was a princess in my homeland, I have been stripped of my title and exiled! Here I am nothing more than a simple sell sword! What kind of leader would I be to not offer my body and soul to such a generous man as yourself on account of my heritage?! Please allow me to be your servant my lord!”



“She’s already calling me her lord,” Ethan said with an awkward chuckle. “I appreciate the offer, but you don’t have to go so far. It’s not even like I’m being that generous since having you here would be mutually beneficial.”



“Your humbleness is incredible my lord! How can I possibly not want to serve such a kind, generous, handsome man?!” Ikeda asked loudly. Sibyl raised an eyebrow at the display, and Ethan began to sweat nervously.



“P-please… You don’t have to…”



“My lord! I only wish to serve you! Please use me in any way you see fit! I can defeat your enemies! I can protect you from harm! I can even bear you as many children as you wish!”



“Now hold on there a minute,” Sibyl said as she cut between the ochimusha and her son. “What did you mean by that?”



“I am a woman as well Lady Ashworth! I am willing to do anything as long as my lord wishes it, although I do admit that I have more experience in battle than I do in bed. I don’t know if my lord would want to be with anyone so inexperienced, but it would make me very happy if he found me acceptable. Even if it is only just once in a while.”



“Irene,” Sibyl called out after a long, awkward silence. The sudden acknowledgement and hostility coming from the lich made the dullahan flinch.



“Y-yes lady Ashworth?” Irene asked almost timidly. Praesidio changed back to full plate, and Irene looked like she was about to lose her head.



“I have decided that we should begin negotiations immediately. Please escort my son elsewhere.”



“But I can help with negotiations,” Ethan protested.



“Now,” Sibyl ordered, and Irene quickly saluted.



“R-right away ma’am!” Irene agreed before pulling Ethan out of the hall by the arm. Ethan struggled and tried to go back in, but stopped when they heard the explosion.



“Should we go check that out?” Ethan asked. “You know. To see if they’re ok?”



There was another explosion, and Irene said, “My head might be detachable, but I don’t really want to lose it. Let’s not.”



“Agreed. Although I hope mom doesn’t hurt anyone…”



“So where do you want to go?” Irene asked as they began walking away, leaving the ochimusha to their fate.



“I think I’ll go to the library,” Ethan answered after some thought. “It might be a good idea to study up on the kingdom’s vampire clans before this evening.”



“An excellent idea milord. How long do you think we’ll be there?”



“I’ll probably be there for a few hours. You can go do something else if you want.”



“Lady Ashworth asked me to escort you milord, and that’s what I’m going to do.”



“It’s fine. It’s not like I’m going to be attacked in the library.”



“It’s not that I’m you’ll get attacked milord. Lady Ashworth asked me to watch over you. I’d be a terrible captain of the guard if I disobeyed a direct order.” Irene explained.



“Alright, but can you at least call me by name if you’re going to be hanging around,” Ethan requested. “Being called lord all the time feels weird.”



“Of course Sir Ashworth.”



“Ethan. Just call me Ethan.”



Irene hesitated a moment before saying, “Alright Ethan.”



“Now was that so hard?” Ethan asked with a smile. “So Irene, I’m curious about how you knew so much about the ochimusha. Did you go to Zipangu or something?”



“It’s not so interesting I’m afraid. I did travel a bit, but I never got so far as Zipangu. No I studied about them.”



“You studied the ochimusha?”



“Not them specifically,” the dullahan clarified. “I studied all of the other mamono species who could be considered warriors or fighters. I was curious, and thought that it might be useful to know something about them if I ever needed to fight them. I studied the ochimusha in particular since they’re also a type of undead, and I guess I developed a bit of respect for them.”



“They do seem pretty strong,” Ethan agreed.



“It’s not just that their strong. I feel that we share the same philosophy about what it means to be a warrior.”



“Oh?”



“They believe that a warrior isn’t just someone who excels at fighting. Ochimusha strive to master the literary arts as well. They’re as much scholars as they are warriors,” Irene explained. “It just struck a chord with me, and I figured that I should try to follow their example.”



“That’s a nice attitude to have. I should probably try to study more as well. Would you mind if I joined you sometime?”



“It would be my pleasure!”



“So how was meeting some ochimusha for the first time?” Ethan asked. “I bet it was pretty exciting.”



“It was, but I’m a little disappointed as well.”



“Not quite what you were expecting?”



“Oh no! They were exactly as I imagined them!” Irene quickly corrected. “It’s just… I guess there was a part of me that was hoping there wouldn’t be such a large gap between us…”



“Well I’m sure they could help you get stronger if you ask them,” Ethan advised. “And I’m sure a bit of studying could help with the literary stuff.”



“I meant physically…”



“Oh… I guess you are pretty tall…” Ethan said as they finally reached the library. It was very large and grand, with an untold number of books and scrolls on its many shelves.



“It’s not just that I’m taller than them. I was hoping that they wouldn’t be so much more feminine than me. You can tell that that they’re trained warriors, but they’re still so feminine! Ikeda is especially small and cute… I look like a man compared to them.”



“I don’t think so,” Ethan denied.



“W-what?”



“I’ve seen your body often enough. Sure you’re tall and muscular, but no one’s going to mistake you for a man.”



“M-milord…” Irene stuttered as she began to blush.



“And as a man, believe me when I tell you that you’re pretty good looking. And you’re definitely as cute as Ikeda in your own way.”



“M-milord Ethan… I…” Irene began, but she started screaming when Praesidio changed again. She could scarcely be called armor anymore as she left barely anything to the imagination. The dullahan tried to cover herself, but her actions only made her look more erotic as any movement threatened to reveal anything that wasn’t already exposed. Ethan looked away, but not before the sight had been burned into his eyes. “W-what are you doing y-you stupide armor?! I-I’m not! W-we’re not! How would that even work?! I-I’m not wearing you while we..! I-I mean I-I’m not going to be!”



“Would you be quiet?! This is a library!” the ghost librarian whispered loudly as she appeared. “Some of us are trying to watch people having sex in piece! So unless you two are going to start fucking, please be quiet!”



“F-fucking… Me… Lord Ethan… Praesidio…” Irene muttered before collapsing from embarrassment. Ethan was able to catch her, but he had some difficulty carrying her large body over to some nearby chairs. He was luckily able to do so without losing her head, and proceeded to study until it was time for dinner. After a busy afternoon, Ethan and Sybil took a carriage to the local theatre. They were both wearing high-class clothing, and both felt uncomfortable despite how good they looked. Sibyl seemed especially uncomfortable, but Ethan was unsure whether it was because she was wearing on of Colette’s old dresses or if she had just gotten used to going everywhere naked. She probably would have been more comfortable wearing a custom made dress, but she couldn’t make time for the arachne tailors. So now she had to go around dressed as a rebellious teen wight.



“Why are we doing this again?” Sibyl asked as she pulled up her dress. Colette may have worn the dress in her youth, but it was obviously made for someone whose bust was much larger than Sibyl’s.



“We need to talk to Edna Coutts,” he reminded her. “We’re hoping that we can convince her to at least postpone any vampire rebellion.”



“Oh right… So why do we have to dress like this again?”



“Stop complaining mom! You’ve been running around in the nude all day!”



“I was?”


“Yes! You didn’t notice?!”



“I guess not.” Ethan sighed before looking out of the carriage’s window. He admired the gothic architecture of the city. Despite the dreary gloom that seemed to permeate the undead kingdom, it was quite the beautiful place. He was certain that Colette had an undead hand in this fact. They eventually reached the large building which held the theatre. It was an incredibly large and the most ornate of the buildings in the area, and almost seemed gaudy in comparison. The carriage stopped next to a statue of the wight who had funded the theatre, and they quickly got out before heading inside. The inside of the building was just as ornate as its exterior, with rich looking rugs, expensive paintings, and lifelike statues. They eventually found the theatre, and it was mostly empty with the exemption of a few people watching some of the actors practise. They made their way to the small crowd in the front row, and Ethan found himself watching the phantom floating above the stage. She was dressed in a simple but elegant sleeveless black gown, matching elbow length gloves, and a golden tiara that sat daintily on her head. Her hair was long, flowing, and an ethereal light green, and skin so pale it almost looked white. What interested Ethan the most though was her voice. The song she was singing was in a language he didn’t recognize, and was hauntingly beautiful and sad. He was almost overcome by the sudden urge to rush on stage to give her a comforting hug, but the feeling subsided when his mother pinched his arm.



“Are you awake now?” the lich asked.



“I guess. Why’d you pinch me?” Ethan asked.



“I was worried you were getting caught in her spell,” Sibyl answered cryptically before continuing her journey to the front row. They reached the others as the phantom finished singing, and joined in the applause.



“Fantastico!” the only man in the group beside Ethan cried out as the phantom floated down towards him. “Magnifico! Spettacolare! That was beautiful Bianca! You make me so proud!”



“Thank you papa, but I don’t think I did that great,” Bianca the phantom said before giving her father a hug. The crowd had finished their applause, and had begun to leave as she floated away from her father. “I feel like I could have sung the second verse a little louder, and I was getting a little flat at the end.”



“True, but those are mere quibbles. You sounded just like your mama.”



“I wouldn’t go that far,” a vampire said as she approached Bianca and her father. Unlike some of the other mamono she looked almost human save for her ruby red eyes, elven-like ears, and the two fangs that protruded slightly out of her mouth. She also had shoulder length, curly red hair, and flawlessly pale skin. Her black dress had shimmering gems sewn into the fabric, and she had a wolf skin cape draped over her shoulders. “It was very good, but I’m sure your wife could have done better Alfeo.”



“My wife’s singing is perfezionare… I mean perfect Lady Coutts, but even she wasn’t perfect when she first started. My Bianca sings just as well as she did back then. Maybe even better!”



“Relax papa,” Bianca scolded. “Edna is just trying to say that I did very well. She wouldn’t have compared me to mama if she thought I did poorly.”



“Err… Y-yeah. That’s right…” the vampire said as she blushed. She tried to look as noble as she could, but her red face made her look a little silly.



“I knew it! You can’t fool me Edna. I’ve known you too long for that!”



“W-whatever you say Bianca…” Edna suddenly spied Ethan and Sibyl, and turned to them in hopes of changing the subject. “Hello, who might you be? I haven’t seen you around here before.”



“I am Sibyl Ashworth, and this is my son: Prime Minister Ethan Ashworth,” Sybil announced.



“H-hi,” Ethan stuttered.



“I see. I guess that’s why I didn’t recognize you,” Edna said as she looked Ethan and Sibyl over. “None of the vampire clans bothered to intervene when you invaded, so I guess this would be our first meeting.”



“Yeah. Colette is still a little sore about that…”



“That tyrant can be a sore as she likes if she thinks we’d come to her rescue after she…” Edna angrily ranted before realising what she was doing. She took a breath before continuing with a blush, “Regardless, I’m glad that we’ve finally been able to meet Lady Ashworth. Although I’m surprised to find that you both look so… Average…”



“I see…” Sibyl said as she looked down at her dress.



“I guess that can’t really be helped,” Ethan agreed. “We didn’t really come from the nobility.”



“Such nonsense!” Bianca shouted. She floated up to Ethan, and stroked his face as she asked,” “How can you be so cruel Edna?! Calling such beautiful people average! Granted they are obviously of commoner stock, but even the common people can be beautiful! Isn’t that right bello?”



“I-I guess so miss..?”



“She’s Bianca Caro, daughter of the famed director Alfeo Caro and the equally famous prima donna Olivia Caro,” Edna explained. “I hope you’ll pardon her manners. This isn’t exactly the behavior of a noble.”



“Its fine,” Alfeo said as he wrapped his arm around the vampire’s shoulder. Edna flinched as he said, “There’s nothing wrong with a little touching after all! You should try it a bit, or you’ll never find a good husband!”



Edna blushed as she said, “I-I d-don’t need a ‘good husband’! And there isn’t anyone who’d be good enough for me anyway!”



“Don’t talk like that mio amica!” Bianca said as she stopped stroking Ethan. “You have to give them a chance before…” The phantom stopped to cough daintily.



“Is something wrong?” Ethan asked.



“Scusa… It seems that my throat is a little sore after all that singing… Could I ask you for some help?”



“Sure! What do you need me to do?”



“Not too much,” Bianca assured. “I’ll be doing most of the work. Just undo your pants, and we can get started.”



“What?”



“Semen not only tastes good, but it also do wonders for a sore throat!”



“B-B-Bianca!” Edna shouted. She had stopped trying to look as noble as she could, and her embarrassment was plainly visible on her pale face. “H-how shameful!”



Alfeo laughed as he said, “You better be careful prime minister! My wife told me the same thing when we first met, and we were married before the year ended!”



“Papa! You’re ruining the mood!” Bianca complained.



“Mi dispiace, principessa,” Alfeo said with a proud smirk.



“Please prime minister…” the phantom pleaded. “Tonight will be my first time staring in one of my papa’s plays, and I won’t be able to sing properly if my throat is sore…” Sibyl stepped next to Bianca, and grabbed her with a phantasmal hand.



“I hear drinking tea is good for a sore throat,” Sibyl said icily. “I’m sure that would be a lot easier than getting my son’s semen.”



“Ah! But it won’t be nearly as fun~!”



“I insist…”



“Bianca, perhaps you should leave the prime minister alone,” Alfeo advised. “Lady Ashworth doesn’t seem to enjoy your flirting.”



“But papa!” Bianca pouts. She turns to Ethan before saying, “You don’t mind it? Do you?”



Ethan averts his eyes as he says, “W-well… I don’t dislike it.”



“He’s just being polite,” Sibyl interjects. “He’s obviously very bothered.”



“He doesn’t seem too bothered~,” Bianca coos. “In fact I’m sure if we checked in his pants~.”



“You wouldn’t find anything because you’re bothering him.”



“If he’s so bothered maybe he could tell me himself!”



“He doesn’t have to. I can tell that he’s very uncomfortable.”



“He doesn’t look that uncomfortable!”



“How would you know? You’ve just met him, while I’ve known him his entire life.”



“Stop it mom,” Ethan interrupted. “A little bit of flirting isn’t going to hurt anyone.”



“But..!” Sibyl began, but a harsh look from her son shut her up. “Fine.”



“Can you stop too Bianca?” Alfeo pleaded. “Please. For papa.”



“Alright papa…” Bianca sighed before floating towards her father. The lich and phantom both began to pout in silence.



“I’m sorry. My daughter sometimes doesn’t know when to stop,” Alfeo said.



“Its fine,” Ethan assured. “Mom’s a little sensitive with mamono showing too much interest in me. Bianca wasn’t even the worst flirt I’ve met since we came here.”



“She isn’t?” Sibyl asked suspiciously. “Who are these women?”



“I don’t think I should say…”



“Why don’t we get back on track,” Edna said icily. “I doubt the lich who fancies herself the next demon lord and the prime minister came all the way here just to argue with my friend.”



“You are correct,” Sibyl agreed. “We wished to talk to you about the vampire rebellion.”



“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Edna quickly denied. “The vampire clans fully support your regime. I don’t know where you’d get the idea that we are planning to revolt.”



“We have it on good authority that you are,” Sibyl argued.



“I assume you’re referring to that wight tyrant of yours. I wouldn’t trust that vile woman if I were you. I’m sure she’s trying to undermine you so that she can retake her kingdom.”



“And we should trust your words over hers? It’s not like the vampires wouldn’t have anything to gain from usurping me.”



“That’s enough mom,” Ethan said as he put a hand on her shoulder. “We’re not here to argue with her remember.”



“Then what are you here for?” Edna asked irritably.



“We were hoping to make a truce with you,” Ethan answered with a smile. “Like the wolf on the Coutts family crest, this kingdom will function better if we’re all working towards the same goal. We understand that there is a lot of bad blood, and my mother and I aren’t exactly the most high class people, but we would like to work together with you.”



“You know about the Coutts clan?”



“Not as much as I’d like,” Ethan humbly admitted. “I was hoping to study more about your family’s history, but I got busy with other things. What I was able to learn was very impressive though. It’s obvious that the Coutts family has a very strong pedigree.”



“Thank you…” Edna said. She was obviously stunned, and had to look over Ethan as if she missed something at first glance. “Why?”


“I figured that learning about your family history would help with negotiations,” Ethan answered hesitantly. “Mom’s not really good at this kind of stuff, so I have to step in to make sure it goes well.”



“So you’re the power behind the throne?”



“Not really. I’m just there to make sure everything goes smoothly so that she can get what she needs done.”



“Ethan…” Sibyl said in shock.



“Yes mom?”



“… Sorry. It’s nothing,” the lich quickly denied.



“It seems that you know your place human. It’s irritating that you’ve been placed in a higher station than me, but I can respect how dedicated you are to your role,” Edna declared. “I can admit that there are some vampires grumbling in the dark about the state of things, so perhaps I can talk to my mother about setting up a meeting.”



“Thank you. I’d really appreciate it,” Ethan said with a smile.



Edna blushed as she said, “A-as you should! Prime minister or not, you are still a human and should appreciate everything a vampire like myself does for you. Even just taking the time to listen to you is more charity than your kind typically deserves!”



“Is that so? Then I should thank you for that as well.” Edna’s face grew bright red, and turned away so that no one could see the goofy look on her face.



Bianca floated up to Etan before saying, “Well done il mio amore! You’ve definitely gotten on Edna’s good side!”



“B-Bianca!” Edna complained, but was subsequently ignored.



“Now I’m sure that you’ll be leaving us soon bello since your business is done, but could I ask you to stay to see my debut?” Bianca passionately asked. “It has only been for a brief moment, but I fear that I shall be unable to sing my best if I cannot see you in the audience.”



“Sorry, but there’s still a few things I have to do tonight,” Ethan apologized. “Although I’m sure you’ll be able to do just fine. You have a beautiful voice.”



“You are much too kind. Perhaps you can leave something with me instead?”



“Like what?”



“I’m sure if you gave me your bambini it will feel like you are with me up on that stage!”



“What’s a bambini?” Ethan asked, and Bianca just giggled seductively.



“Perhaps you should stop Bianca. Before you go too far again,” Alfeo said.



Bianca sighed and said, “Alright papa… Now Prime minister, can I call you Ethan?”



“Sure,” Ethan agreed with a nod.



“Grazie! Make sure you come to see me as soon as you can Ethan!”



“I’ll look forward to it! And I’ll be looking forward to meeting you again later Edna.”



“T-that’s Lady Coutts to you!” Edna bristled.



“Err, alright Lady Coutts. We’ll see you later…”



“Goodbye,” Sibyl added before she and Ethan began to make their way out of the theatre.



“So Edna, what do you think?” Bianca asked once she thought the mother and son pair were out of earshot.



“It’s ridiculous! A human prime minister!” the vampire ranted. “And he’s so haughty too! Who does he think he is calling me by name! Unbelievable!”



“I know~! Don’t you just want to suck something out of him?”



“Don’t be gross Bianca! Why would I want to drink some foul monkey’s semen?” Edna asked, only to find her phantom friend struggling to hold back her laughter. “W-what did I say?”



“You’re such a pervert Edna~! I was talking about his blood!”



“Wha..?! That’s even worse!” Edna protested while her face went beet red.



“Then why do you look so excited?”



“Because you’re embarrassing me!”



“But I wouldn’t be able to embarrass you if I wasn’t right~,” Bianca teased. “Admit it mia amica, the reason you’re upset isn’t because Ethan is the prime minister. It’s because he isn’t your servant!”



“W-what…” Edna stuttered.




“Ah! Young love!” Alfeo said before leaving the two mamono alone.



“Am I really that obvious?”



“Edna, I’ve known you since we were kids,” Bianca reminded her friend. “I know your every thought before you even think it.”



“All right,” Edna said with a smile. “So what am I going to think next?”



“Let’s see… You’re going to be thinking that you’re going to let me have sex with Ethan whenever I want as a reward for helping you make him your servant!”



“Like hell! Why are you so interested in him anyway?”



“I can feel it! We were lovers in another life! How callous are the sands of time that my love no longer remembers me!” Bianca said aloud. “Plus he’s my type. I swear my panties would be soaked if I wore any!”



“You don’t wear underwear?” Edna asked. “Since when?”



“Since ever! Want to see?”



“No!” Meanwhile Ethan and Sibyl were having an awkward carriage ride back to the castle. He knew something had upset his mother, but he wasn’t sure of what it could be.



“Man those vampires are something aren’t they?” Ethan asked. “I know Colette said they were pompous, but I never expected that!” Ethan waited for Sibyl to respond, but she remained silent until they got back to the castle. She left for her room once they arrived, and Ethan had more things to do before the day was done. It was dark by the time he finished, and he tiredly walked through the labyrinthine, torch lit halls to get to his room. He eventually passed the door to his mother’s chambers, and decided to stop for a quick visit. He knocked on the door before entering, and found his mother standing in front of an eerie mirror floating in the middle of her room.



“Ethan?” Sibyl asked. “Is anything the matter?”



“I just thought I’d check up on you mom,” Ethan explained as he approached her. “You seemed a little out of it on the way back.”



“I see…” Sibyl silently stood in front of her son. She eventually asked, “Do you hate me Ethan?”



Ethan’s brow furrowed as he asked, “Now what’s brought this on?”



“When you were talking to Edna… Just… Listening to you talk reminded me of all the things you did for me. And still do for me. Things that no parent should expect from their children.”



“Mom…”



“Just thinking about how I took your future because I…” Sibyl began, but Ethan quieted her with a hug. “Ethan?”



“Don’t think like that mom…” Ethan said. “I don’t hate you. Sure it was hard. Sure there were times that I wanted to leave, but I never hated you. You needed me, and I stayed because I love you mom.”



“You…” Sibyl whispered before hugging her son. “You’re as silly as your father Ethan. What did I ever do to deserve either of you, let alone both.”



“I guess you’re just lucky I guess.”



“That sounds about right.” Sibyl broke the hug before saying, “You better get to bed now. It’s late, and I’m sure we’ll have a busy day again tomorrow.”



“Right. I’ll see you tomorrow then,” Ethan said before turning to leave the room.



Sibyl said, “Goodnight,” and watched Ethan leave in silence. She eventually turned back to the mirror to face the shadowy reflection that looked nothing like her.



“What a wonderful young man,” the figure in the mirror said. “It must be nice having a son.”



“It’s the best,” the lich agreed. “He takes after his father.”



“I can imagine. So where were we again?”



“You were going to tell me why it took you so long to contact me Mrs. Demon Lord,” Sibyl said coldly.



“Give me a break will you?” the shadowy form of the Demon Lord asked. “I’m very busy you know! Between ruling over all mamono kind, keeping all the factions in check, and waging an unholy war against the heavens eats up a lot of time you know. I can’t just drop everything to contact everyone declaring that they’ll usurp me.”



“So that means you see me as a threat?”



“No. I just like to nip potential problems in the bud,” the Demon Lord clarified. “So how about we negotiate? What would it take to make you stop from coming after my throne?”



“I want you to marry one of your daughters to my son,” Sibyl declared.



“Come again”



“I want my son to marry one of your daughters, and receive all the titles, benefits, and privileges that entails,” Sybil explained. “He’s done so much for me… More than I had the right to ask of him regardless of what he thinks. He needs to be rewarded, and what better reward than a position that will give him a life of comfort and privilege.”



“Is that all?” the Demon Lord asked.



“Yes. Well no. I would appreciate it if you could marry him to one of your prettier daughters. He deserves that much.”



“I see. Then I’ll have to decline.”



“What? On what grounds?” Sybil asked.



“Unfortunately for you none of my daughters would be willing to wed someone who has already been married,” the Demon Lord explained.



“What are you talking about? My son’s still single!”



“For how long I wonder?” the Demon Lord asked gleefully “He’s surrounded by beautiful monster women, and I’m sure there’s at least a few who are interested in him.”



“Ethan’s not the type to fall for some undead floozy,” Sibyl stated proudly. “And I’m here to make sure he stays safe.”



“You say that, but I wonder if you can.”



“And what do you mean by that?”



“It sounds like you’re not the most reliable woman around. Who knows what could happen when your absent mindedly fooling around. Someone, anyone could snatch him away without you realizing it!”



“I’ll never allow that to happen! Never!”



“Ooooh! How scary~!” the Demon Lord teased. “You’re quite the funny little lich. I might have to keep an eye on you if only to see what kind of shenanigans you’ll cause. We’ll talk again if you manage to keep him single! Goodbye!”



“Wait! I’m not done with you!” Sibyl protested before the mirror changed back to its normal self. After a moment of silence she said, “She hung up… What a bitch… Don’t worry Ethan. I’ll make sure to get you a better life. By any means necessary.”

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