Yerpe wasn’t one to frequent bars, but she’d been hogging a table in The Iron Maiden for three straight days now. She never came with anyone, simply sat near the back and drank alone. Gary, wielding that sense of empathy unique to bartenders, was starting to worry about her. So on Yerpe’s third day, he drifted over and settled across the table from the melancholy centaur, floating a meter above the tabletop.
Yerpe looked up at him. “Hello. My drink’s fine, Gary.”
“That’s not why I’m here,” Gary replied, in a voice that sounded like television static having a furious debate with nails on a chalkboard. “I noticed one of my patrons seemed down, and wanted to see if I could help.”
“I’m… not really sure I want to talk about it,” Yerpe muttered, lowering her eyes to stare at her stein. The beer within had long since gone flat.
“Let me take a stab at it then, hmm?” Gary replied, with his micro-storm systems giving off the distinct aura of a kind smile. “The first time you ever came to my bar was alongside Rixu, Valex, Metokai and Nyze. Now those four are off in Saimonica, risking life and horn. And you, having forged a budding friendship with them, are keeping a sort of vigil in my humble bar until they return?”
Yerpe’s eyebrows rose in astonishment. “Damn, how do you DO that?”
“Do what?” Gary asked with mock innocence.
“Completely figure out people like that? Are you telepathic?”
Gary chuckled, which sounded like a meteor storm striking a planet made entirely of incontinent babies. “No telepathy here, I’m afraid. I simply have bartender’s intuition, developed over many years of honing my craft. My profession is a sacred one; people tell me their woes all the time, and I do what I can to help. So, my dear centaur, how can I help you?”
“I’m… I’m not sure I need help,” Yerpe replied. “I’m just having a little pity party, with myself as the sole guest. It’s like… I’m very into my work, yeah? I don’t have a lot of friends outside of my job, and it feels like those four were… well, I consider myself fortunate to have met them. And then, just like that, they’re gone again. Maybe sitting here helps me remember that fun night we spent together.”
Gary bobbed up and down in a little nod. “That makes sense. Still, wallowing in self-pity alone isn’t going to help. The point of going to a bar is to drink with other people!”
Yerpe’s tone took on a bitter edge. “Weren’t you listening, Gary? I don’t HAVE anyone else to drink with.”
“You’re drinking with me right now! Although neither one of us is doing much drinking. In my case it’s a physiological impossibility, whereas in your case…” They both looked at the stein of flat beer. “But I digress. If it’s a companion you seek, I know someone else who’s been feeling a bit lonely of late. Give me two minutes.” Before Yerpe could protest, Gary floated away.
Realizing she was being set up and there was nothing she could do about it, Yerpe shrugged and took a swig of her flat beer, only to retch and nearly spit it out. She stared at the mug, gaining a newfound appreciation for the miracle of carbonation, while wondering exactly what the hydrogen math-orb was up to.
Her question was soon answered when Gary returned. As she looked up, she saw a familiar shape behind him… a shape with blue skin, red-on-black eyes, white hair in a ponytail…
“D-Demon Lord!” Yerpe exclaimed, rising to her hooves and attempting to stand at attention.
“Please, don’t get up,” Psytalla replied with a wave of her hand. “It’s after hours, so no standing on ceremony. Corporal Yerpe, isn’t that right? From the castle guard?”
“Y-Yes!” Yerpe stammered. “I-If there’s anything I can do for you, Demon Lord, just ask and I…”
“For starters,” Psytalla said, sitting down in a chair opposite Yerpe, “please call me Psytalla. Using my proper title in a bar is way too stuffy.”
“O-Of course…” Yerpe replied, nervously sitting down again. “P-Psytalla…”
Gary plopped down two drinks, a Lava Bomb in front of Psytalla and a Bloody Mary in front of Yerpe. “Our centaur friend was just telling me about how much she misses Nyze and company,” he said mischievously.
“Oh, that’s not… I didn’t mean…” Yerpe stammered. She froze when Psytalla rested a hand on hers.
“Yerpe, before you go any further, please take a big sip of your drink,” Psytalla said, smiling gently.
Not one to disobey orders from the Demon Lord, Yerpe raised her glass to her lips and took a long swig. Bloody Mary was her favorite cocktail, a fact she’d never told Gary; she wondered briefly how he’d known. As the warmth of the alcohol washed through her, she felt her tense muscles relax.
“Better?” Psytalla asked, cocking an eyebrow and sipping her own glowing orange drink.
“…Yes, much,” Yerpe replied, taking another swig.
“Good. Now, I’m going to tell you a secret, okay? Top classified Demon Lord information.” Yerpe looked at her expectantly, and Psytalla leaned over the table, whispering. “I miss them too.”
“You do?” Yerpe said, surprised, before mentally chastising herself. Obviously the Demon Lord would feel the absence of her girlfriend keenly.
“Yup. Valex has this bubbly energy that cheers everyone around her. Rixu is a snarky layabout, but he has a good heart. Metokai is… a very old friend, one who means the world to me. And Nyze, well…”
Yerpe nodded her understanding, but Psytalla wasn’t finished speaking just yet.
“I… I think I’m in love with her.”
Yerpe stared, slack-jawed, at the suddenly demure Demon Lord. Psytalla chuckled nervously. “What, do I have something on my face?”
“No,” Yerpe said slowly, struggling to reconcile her mental image of the indomitable Demon Lord with the nervous girl in front of her. “it’s not that, Psytalla. It’s just… that was kind of obvious to the rest of us.”
“It… was obvious?” Psytalla asked sheepishly.
“With all due respect, Psytalla, you act like a lovestruck puppy around her. If you had a tail, I’m sure it would be wagging.”
Psytalla’s eyebrows punched through the ceiling and shot upwards towards the stratosphere. “Wait, really?”
Yerpe groaned, the alcohol in her system making her a bit bolder. “Yes, really. Skel damn it, you really are a disaster lesbian for the ages.”
Psytalla laughed. “Not the first time I’ve been told that. I guess my own obliviousness when it comes to matters of love fits the bill.”
Yerpe joined in the laughter for a moment, before taking another swig of her drink. “You got that right.”
“Actually, that ties into the story of how I got the moniker ‘Disaster Demon Lord,’ you know. You see…”
With the ice broken thusly, the Demon Lord and her new centaur friend chatted long into the night.