It was entirely inappropriate for the king to rush, but William didn’t care. He did, at least, try to make his quick movement look effortless.
The royal guard in the throne room did their jobs- which meant pretending not to notice their king crouching and crawling around his throne like a madman, and keeping their backs straight.
William checked to make sure everything was in order. He hadn’t used any of the magical formations in the throne in a real combat situation, but he hadn’t been willing to just leave it a sturdy hunk of fancy stone. From the throne, he could control most of the throne room.
Was it necessary? William wasn’t sure. All he knew was that there was a contingent of elves coming with a fragment of the Demon King among them. While he was confident he could fight them even without his royal guard or the magical formations… it never hurt to have more assurance.
This wasn’t any random fragment of the Demon King. William had good reason to suspect this was the one who had learned how to remove soul necrosis. Either that, or it would mean that there were two or more fragments of the Demon King highly ranked in elven society, which would probably mean they were working together.
William wanted to summon every soldier from around the castle… but he restrained himself. Royal guards were expected. Magical formations to defend the throne room wouldn’t be thought of as strange or wrong. However, flooding the area with soldiers would leave the wrong impression.
It was possible that he majority of the elves were truly interested in some sort of peaceful proposition. However, if he was threatening and violent they wouldn’t be interested in hearing that one of their members was a fragment of the Demon King. Even if they had heard from the dwarves that he had picked out the Demon King there, they wouldn’t necessarily believe him.
Finally, William sat down on the throne and waited. There was nothing else to do. He could feel the fragment of the Demon King getting ever closer. There was no point in hiding that connection, as they would likely already know.
A short time later, a messenger came to the throne room, “My King, the elven convoy approaches.”
William nodded. “Prepare to lead them to the guest chambers when they arrive.” That was the plan. Only in exceptional circumstances would diplomats immediately meet with the king. They had travelled for some time, and would like to rest. Changing what was done because they had a fragment of the Demon King among them would only alarm them.
William calmed himself. As the convoy approached the castle, he kept watch on them with his ki senses. More facilities for guests had been added onto the castle over the years. It was less of an imposing military fortress now, but the main structure remained.
Watching was better than waiting. It made William feel like he could influence the events. He could keep an eye out for whatever tricks they had prepared. That was, if they had any tricks. However, as they settled in, William found no traces of anything untoward about them- except for the fragment of the Demon King that seemed to be their leader.
William kept watch on them off and on until the morning, but he did need some sleep himself. He didn’t want to look haggard when the morning came.
He returned to the throne room in the morning, a solid but not overly large meal in his belly. He wasn’t sure what he would do, so he decided to react to the situation as appropriate. At least he the strong hand in the current surroundings.
At the expected time, the announcement came. “Galen Eanlar and company, of the elven lands of Laseneas.”
William appreciated the elegance with which they entered the room, even as he silently considered how he was going to destroy this fragment. This would be his best chance. If he didn’t destroy him now, he couldn’t be sure when he might see him again. The elven lands weren’t easily accessible, after all.
The elves themselves were a stark contrast to the dwarves. Tall and thin, with long hair but unbearded faces. In addition, they didn’t wear heavy leathers and cloth or metal armor, but instead clothes that looked like plants, complete with leaves. The clothes covered them like vines on a trellis, but the leaflike shapes stood out from the flatness that most clothes had. The clothes themselves simply radiated magic- but William saw none of the traditional precious metals or gems that might store such magic.
Then he realized that the clothes weren’t like plants- they were plants. Living plants, to be exact. They were just unlike any plants he knew of, without roots to anchor them into the ground.
“Welcome, travellers from the lands of Laseneas.” William spoke gevai, but surprisingly elicited no reaction from the Demon King. He then repeated himself in dwarven, the common language among them- if the Demon King refused to speak in gevai. It was possible that William could communicate in elven, but he had no way to verify it and didn’t wish to make a fool of himself.
“Greetings, Eternal King of the gevai.” Galen Eanlar, the leading elf- and fragment of the Demon King- bowed deeply. “We have heard good things from the dwarves about recent changes in your people… even with all of the misunderstandings preceding it. I hear you even destroyed the reincarnated Demon King. What was the word… a fragment?”
William avoided frowning at what was said. Not because of the words, but because of how convincing, how genuine they sounded. “I am glad to hear it. If the elves have need of something similar, I will gladly help.”
Galen Eanlar smiled, and proceeded while seemingly ignoring that statement, “The changes in the behavior of the gevai has eased some of our… apprehension… toward your people. Because of your efforts toward the goal of peace and reconciliation align with our own desires, we decided to come forth with our own proposal. Even though our peoples are quite distance, we agree that it would be better to remain out of conflict.”
William smiled lightly, but inside he was wondering how he could possibly destroy someone who seemingly earnestly presented words of peace… without angering the elves and causing a war- or at least returning their ancient hatred.