The council met, as they did regularly, to discuss ‘the war’. They sat around a large table in expensive chairs, on the top floor of a large building. The location afforded them an unblocked view of Patenga, the capital. The nearly two dozen men and women flung opinions around haphazardly.
“What shall we do about Admiral Mavuto?”
“I thought we had already decided. We need everyone we can get at the moment. The war is not going as planned.”
“How so? Except for a single front, we have had successive victories.”
“Tell that to the coastal cities when they are bombarded by the demons.”
“Anyone important has already moved out. They will be able to rebuild later.”
“What about the rumors?”
“What rumors? Who cares? There is nothing that can be proved… and if there were anything, we could just accuse them of falsification and sedition.”
“That wouldn’t go over well.”
“It won’t matter once we are victorious against the demons.”
“You think a few new weapons will help? It seems to me that our recent victories have been… suspiciously easy. “
“They’re running out of men. We’ll see how long the demons keep struggling without the evil capital!”
“If we can even reach it. You realize we haven’t made it more than a few dozen miles onto their shores- and that was only the probing attack which they wiped out or captured to the last man.”
“They weren’t important anyway. We can just raise more men.”
“Then who will produce the weapons? Mine the metals? You act as if we have infinite resources. Typical, from someone like you who was raised without a care in the world.”
“At least I wasn’t born to dung farmers like you! My parents-”
The door to the council chambers slammed open. “That’s enough,” The imposing man who stepped through the door simply stated. “Let us not act like children. The council is now officially in session. Today, I bring forth an important matter. Some documents have gone missing. Rather important ones. More importantly, the manner in which it happened was quite unsettling. Nobody saw the intruders, but a number of those in the research facility mysteriously fainted.” The man gestured toward one of the council members.
“Is this a serious threat? Perhaps the Demon King?”
“We do not know.” The head councilor gestured to another.
“If I might be so bold… the Demon King should not be a great source of worry. He could only flee and hide from Admiral Mavuto’s attack. Besides, we have the barrier to detect if any demons have entered the country.”
“Barrier’s aren’t perfect.” The head councilor waved his hand dismissively. “People are already starting to notice the disappearing prisoners. There were only so many death row prisoners to begin with… even though we’ve been careful, the disappearance of regular prisoners has caused some attention.” He waved his hand again, “Go ahead.”
“I don’t think it’s of much concern. We archmages have no more need of new prisoners for some time. The necessary research has concluded, and if necessary we can transfer some of the more troublesome soldiers. Nobody will miss them if they die in the line of duty.”
“Perhaps.” The head councilor nodded, “We’ll have to take a cautious approach. Now, onto taxes…”
“You should really be more concerned about the ‘Demon King’, you know. I hear he’s pretty strong.”
The head councilor frowned, looking around for who spoke, “Who dares to interrupt?”
There was a sigh and a large horned figure appeared. “Honestly, you trust far too much in your wards. None of you even put a single bit of thought into looking for mana fluctuations, even though I put my all into disguising them. Oh, you don’t think your security will actually be able to help, do you? Not that those devices of yours still work. It only takes a little, tiny bit of force to sever a wire, you know.” The Demon King looked at the device he was holding in his left hand, “It’s a shame you went to boring stuff so quickly. I would have liked more spicy, incriminating propaganda.”
“You think we can’t kill you?”
“I know you can’t. Even if you had fancy rifles, you’d be dead before you pulled the trigger. I just wanted to give you a chance. If you kneel down and apologize for starting a meaningless war, I might not destroy all of your souls.” There was a moment’s pause, “But I probably will anyway.”
Uzoma flinched every time there was an explosion. If they had actually occurred inside the council building or anywhere near the ground, they could have flattened an entire block. Instead, each figure was flung away from the building, off the roof. Most of the force was directed upwards as well. The explosions continued one after another… before there was a pause of a dozen seconds… before a body was merely dropped out of the window. No, he supposed the person was not a body but still alive, before they hit the ground. Then there was silence.
Uzoma had his men start securing the building. While there were a few dozen guards around, there wasn’t much they could do. They were all offered a chance to surrender- and once they realized there was an army backing that up and most of the building’s wards were nonfunctional, they all did.
“That last one didn’t approve of the soul destroying. Still couldn’t live, though.” A voice came from seemingly nowhere. Even looking towards where it came from, Uzoma only saw a slight flicker of mana. Then he felt something in his hand. “Take this. You might want to edit out a couple lines… but that’s up to you. Not that it will matter much when they’re all dead, but making them look worse makes you look better. I’ve got a couple more archmages to erase. As for the data itself… well, you don’t have to destroy it, but if I hear whispers of soul destruction…” Uzoma briefly saw a terrifying figure as he was patted on the head, “Don’t worry though, I always verify first. Have fun running a country.”