Marek found it most unfortunate that the councilors had sleeping chambers in the council building. This meant the Demon King- whatever his current name was- didn’t often leave. Marek wondered what they were even doing. They couldn’t direct the war from Jeim. It was at least a month each way for information. Even with magical communication, if they had it, it would likely be insufficient. Some things couldn’t be conveyed with just words.
It was easy for humans to forget their past. Marek had observed the very same thing with successive generations of gevai. Humans, being much shorter lived, were doubtless much worse. Asking them to remember anything for more than a gross or two of years was a pointless venture, and was merely random chance if there weren’t constant reminders.
Marek continued to watch the buildings and the guards as they patrolled and entered and left. He did this for over a month without really noticing the passage of time. It was not particularly interesting, and the shifts were consistent enough that there was nothing to gain from watching them repeatedly except for confirmation. A human would have gotten bored, though they could certainly have continued the task for a mere month. Marek knew he could continue for years if he needed to- assuming he didn’t suddenly run out of life- but his secret was not that he wouldn’t be bored. He had just learned to deal with it. During a long life, there would inevitably be long periods of repetition and sameness… and it could only be dealt with.
However, though he could conceivably wait much longer, Marek only observed for another month before he thought it was time to act. He had learned nothing new, and didn’t anticipate any changes. Warriors in Ustil primarily trained their body and not ki, so he was able to track their movements secretly. He could have done so to some extent even if they practiced ki- something that uncountable years of experience had to show. This was how he avoided the notice of the Demon King’s fragment.
Marek considered the possibility that the Demon King had noticed him, but that wouldn’t change his plan. He would go in and destroy this piece. With that, the last of his soul would fall apart anyway. Would it make a difference if his soul was destroyed by the Demon King instead? Perhaps it would. After all, he could not reincarnate if it was destroyed by the Demon King. On the other hand, he wasn’t certain he wouldn’t reincarnate anyway. At least not in a way he remembered anything. There was some slight difference between not remembering and not existing, but he wouldn’t be able to experience it no matter what happened.
He would take down this fragment of the Demon King- likely at the cost of his own life. After that, he would be dead… and if not, he would find the next one and do the same. Marek didn’t know how many there were, but there would be more. Divination magic aside, Marek felt that by instinct. His sister also brought up the point that it was possible that there were some among the elves and dwarves- if those races had even survived. That was an issue for another time, one Marek might never have to deal with.
Marek walked along the hallway of the council chamber. Though he’d learned to be subtle with his use of ki, he wasn’t necessarily great at sneaking in the traditional sense. His steps were always heavier than they should be, his breathing wasn’t quiet. However, if one set things up properly, one could still be the best at stealth. It was all about not being noticed… which was easiest when you were where people weren’t looking.
The route through the hallways was circuitous, but there were points that simply weren’t watched. With so many passageways, they couldn’t have a guard at every corner- and to be fair they hadn’t needed as many guards as they had. Just having guards watching main entrances was enough.
There was only a slight problem. One door was left unguarded for almost an entire minute. Because they didn’t use magic, it was a simple feat to open it with ki. Being able to see the structure of the lock and manipulate any part of it was quite useful. Then Marek had slipped inside. It was a simple matter of going down two corridors, taking a left, slipping into a side room for five minutes… He had a mental checklist of every move he would make. The guards were well trained and consistent, which actually helped. Nobody failed to be exactly where they should be at any given time.
Though it was simple to get where he needed to be going, it still took an hour for what should have been at most a few minutes of walking. Along the way, he actually had to dash at a few points, and the rest was spent waiting for exact moments. Then Marek found himself outside the room that would contain the Demon King. He considered that the door might have magical protections… Any runes could be on the inside. There were no guards outside because nobody should have gotten this far.
Then he just opened the door. As expected, nothing happened. There were several possibilities for this. Perhaps he felt safe, perhaps he couldn’t modify the room without being suspicious… but Marek thought it was probably because the Demon King had never bothered to learn how to do anything but brute force.
Nobody was in the small antechamber, but going through the archway into the small bedroom revealed a sleeping figure. Well, he had been sleeping, but he suddenly woke up, shouting something. Marek didn’t hear it clearly, but it was probably “who’s there!?” or “guards!”.
Surprising himself, Marek actually said something in response. “So, how is it to be human?”
The man frowned, then shrugged. He replied in the gevai language, “It’s awful. They’re weak and soft, not to mention stupid. I didn’t heard word of an army coming here… is it just you? This city’s wide open you know. Easy to conquer.”
Marek smiled. “Just me should be… sufficient.”
“So do you have a message or something? Honestly, it took you long enough to find me. I have no idea how I got stuck in this awful body.”
“A message?” Marek tilted his head as he probed the Demon King in human form. He was… weak. Not only was he physically weak- and even old- but his ki powers were nothing to speak of. Not that they should have been, since they were at best one part in six of his former power, assuming a rather small number of fragments and nothing lost. “The message is… die.”