Chapter 74: Declaration of War
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Eve drummed her fingers on the arm of her throne. Try as she might, she was beginning to get a little nervous – today was the day she finally made her announcement and revealed herself to the world.

She checked herself over once again. She had modified her body so it was that of an adult, and she had dialed back some of her more…unique features, changing her hair to blond and ensuring that both her eyes were the same boring shade of blue.

She was currently in the throne room of her castle, though the castle was more form than function at this point. The outside had been completely finished and so had most of the interior, but none of the traps had been put in yet. Were a visitor to come, they would likely find the castle to be disappointing, not at all living up to the intimidating air it gave off.

But they wouldn’t get that far. She had more than a few nasty monsters in the surrounding area, any one of which would be more than enough to deter anyone but the strongest people. In the numbers they were in? Nothing was getting through unscathed unless Eve wanted it to. Not until people got stronger.

And they hadn’t, not yet. They were stronger than they were before, sure, but they weren’t up to snuff. The frontier towns were in much more danger than they looked, and more than once over Lilith’s long sleep Eve had been forced to surreptitiously clear out incoming monsters to prevent a town from being wiped out.

That wasn’t sustainable, and people didn’t have the drive to expand more than they had, not when it was so dangerous to do so.

She forcibly brought her attention back to the manner at hand. Getting distracted now was only going to make her performance less convincing, and her pride wouldn’t let her be anything but perfect.

I’m ready to begin recording now. Mae said. Give me the word and we’ll start.

Eve nodded, and began to get herself into position. She shifted so she was lounging casually in the throne, one leg dangling lazily off of the side while she propped her face up with a hand. She took a deep breath, then signaled to Mae that she was ready.

Understood. Starting in three…two…one…go.

Eve gave the camera in front of her a cold look. “Hello, people.” She snarled, putting as much distaste as possible into the word. “I am the Queen of Monsters, and I have not taken kindly to your rampant expansionism as of late. I tolerated your cities for as long as I did because you kept to yourselves and didn’t attempt to push beyond your borders, but I have decided enough is enough.

“I have seen Earth, seen how you people brought a once-beautiful planet low. I will not sit idly by and let the same happen here. But I am not as barbaric as you are, so, I will give you an ultimatum.” She smiled a ruthless smile, showing off the teeth she had sharpened for the occasion. “Vacate this plane, abandon your cities and return from whence you came, and I will spare you. Should you fail to do so within six weeks…I will force you back.”

She paused, sweeping an arm out grandiosely. “Behold my army, and weep.” Mae, who was using the spare avatar to control the camera, turned it to around to show a vast array of strong-looking monsters standing silently in her enormous throne room, then panned the camera back to Eve. “Consider this my declaration of war. In six weeks, I will begin my march, and I won’t hesitate to kill anyone who is in my path.”

She waved and Mae shut the camera off. The moment she had, Eve let out a sigh of relief and sagged in the throne. “Alright,” she said, more to herself than to Mae or anyone else, “let’s give this a look.”

She was glad she wasn’t broadcasting this live. She had considered it, but then decided there was no real benefit to doing so when she could instead just record it and keep re-recording until she had something she was satisfied with. She doubted anyone would be able to tell the difference, and it wasn’t like she was on a time crunch, either. Delaying things for however long it took to get a good take wouldn’t be a big deal.

She watched through the video a few times before letting out a resigned sigh. It was okay, but it wasn’t nearly as good as she would have liked it to be. She caught slight slips in her pronunciation, nearly imperceptible changes in her expression, and a dozen other tiny things that made it less convincing when scrutinized carefully.

“We’re going to do another take.” Eve said. “This one’s not good enough.”

Understood. I am ready to begin recording whenever.


Ava was relaxing in her bed with Bruce, watching the news on the TV. It had been a quiet week, with no major requests at the guild, so she and Bruce had been able to take it easy and enjoy themselves without much issue.

And then, the TV fuzzed, a static noise playing for a brief moment as its display changed. Now, on the other end, there was a beautiful angel, looking down her nose at the camera like she was looking at something nasty she had just stepped in. She was lounging on a large throne, an ominous black and red thing that was covered with intimidating spikes, and the room behind her seemed to be decorated with similarly menacing furnishings.

“Hello, people.” She spat. “I am the Queen of Monsters, and I have not taken kindly to your rampant expansionism as of late.”

Ava watched the broadcast with growing horror. The woman oozed an odd sort of malevolent confidence, and Ava couldn’t help but involuntarily shudder, as if some of that malevolence was aimed at her specifically. It was a silly thought, as the broadcast was probably going out to many other people, but something about the woman’s gaze just felt…personal. Like she held a grudge against each individual person.

But Ava wasn’t truly intimidated until the camera panned away from the Queen of Monsters and to her army. It wasn’t necessarily the largest group of monsters Ava had ever seen, but it was definitely the toughest. Even just looking at it through the screen sent a chill down her spine, her instincts telling her that it was something to run far, far away from.

But…where was there to run? The countries of Earth had been remarkably stingy when it came to allowing immigrants from Haven, and she doubted people would be willing to take in tens of millions of refugees so suddenly.

Bruce gripped her hand tightly. “We…we need to get the civilians evacuated before the fighting begins.” He said. “I’m sure that we’ll be able to find some place for all of them to go.”

“What fighting?” Ava whispered. “You see those monsters. That’s not something we can just…deal with.”

“Yes, it is.” Bruce said firmly. “That has to be all of her strongest right there. We have numbers on them, and we have the Perfect Chimeras. We can wear her army down and then take the fight to her. She can’t possibly take both Winston and Isa, and that’s assuming the High Arbiter doesn’t step in and stop this immediately. We’re going to make it through, one way or the other.”

Ava turned to face him. “And…I’m guessing you want to fight too.”

Bruce nodded. “Absolutely. I’m not going to sit idly by and let my home be threatened. This Queen of Monsters is completely out of line; Earth may have pollution issues, but ever since we discovered magic, we’ve been able to start reversing the damage we did. In a few decades, everything will be as pristine as it was before we started to mess it up. So, no, Haven’s not going to end up like that, and I won’t allow the town I love to be destroyed because some psycho thinks we might mess things up a second time.”

Ava sighed. “I suppose there’s nothing for it, then. I’ll just have to personally make sure you don’t get yourself killed out there.”

Bruce smiled, leaning in and giving Ava a kiss. “Thank you.” He said. “Now, let’s go see how we can help, shall we?”


One day later, Lilith held a press conference in her dungeon to deal with the public’s growing questions about Eve. She had gathered together reporters from most major news outlets, and gave them a short time to get set up before she began in earnest.

“As you all know, yesterday an individual known as the Queen of Monsters declared war on the people of Haven.” Lilith began, looking out at the crowd. “People have, understandably, been wondering what I will be doing about the situation.”

The assembled people looked at Lilith expectantly, and she gave them a careful look in return. “I will be doing nothing.”

Immediately, a low murmur began throughout the group. Lilith ignored it, choosing instead to continue speaking. “The Queen of Monsters has not broken any of the rules I set out three years ago. She is an entity native to Haven, and is acting against the people of Haven only.

“She has given time to get civilians out of danger, and so far, has not committed any major war crimes or other offenses. However, should she commit major war crimes or begin to attack Earth, I will intervene, and I will stop things.

“My job is not to save you from any threat that comes your way. My job is to prevent tyrants from taking over the world, and to keep nations honest in war. As such, this is not under my purview. Are there any questions?”

There multiple raised hands, and Lilith picked the first one she saw. “Yes, you?”

“Is the Queen of Monsters not taking over a world?” A reporter argued. “She is effectively locking off access to Haven, something I believe you yourself said was unacceptable.”

Lilith shook her head. “The Queen of Monsters does not fall under the same category as governments. She is a natural phenomenon, something that planes with sufficiently high Mana density create on their own.

“As such, I am treating her as I would treat any other large group of monsters; if you are unable to deal with her, then you are unable to deal with living on Haven. Even if she is defeated now, another Queen of Monsters will take her place in a hundred or so years. You must learn to deal with this on your own. Next question, you in the red shirt.”

The woman Lilith was pointing to lowered her hand. “Where are the civilians supposed to go?” She asked. “Six weeks is not a lot of time to move so many people.”

“I will be leaving that up to the governments of Haven and Earth.” Lilith replied. “But if an amenable solution is not worked out, I will place portals to parts of unused land I deem large enough to house people. These places will fall under many of the same protections as the frontier towns, and will continue to do so after the threat of the Queen of Monsters has been dealt with.

“Should a government not wish that to happen, I would suggest making arrangements for refugees. I will prioritize the placement of these colonies in countries that have ability to accept refugees and have chosen not to. Next?”

The rest of the conference went about the same way, people asking questions about what would make Lilith intervene, what would happen after, and other similar things. Lilith’s answers were, generally, that she would not intervene unless the Queen of Monsters began to be particularly cruel, and anything that came after was up to the people.

Of course, Lilith had no intention of intervening whatsoever. Eve wasn’t going to be cruel, in fact, Eve was looking to cause as little damage as possible while still remaining a real threat. Actually, in a sense, she was intervening, by helping Eve plan things out, but that was…a technicality more than anything.

So it was that she ended her conference, sent the reporters back to where Lilith had picked them up from, and then returned to her room, letting out a sigh of relief.

“Good job.” Kali said, sneaking up behind Lilith and giving her a hug. “You did good work, as usual.”

“Thanks.” Lilith replied. “How are things on your end?”

“Everything’s been going perfectly. And by everything, I mean I’ve mostly just been watching you and making sure things nothing goes too out of whack. As you might have noticed, there’s a lot of downtime to being an Administrator, it’s mostly just planning and watching.”

“Well, I’m glad you chose to watch me.” Lilith replied, turning around and giving Kali a kiss. “What would you like to do for the rest of the evening?”

“The world is impure and must be cleansed!” Eve announced, throwing the door to the room open. She had reverted herself to her more childlike form shortly after she had finished recording her video, and was wearing one of the dresses she was so fond of.

Lilith frowned. “What’s this about?”

“You were sharing my senses, you know!” Eve huffed, throwing herself onto the bed.

“I don’t, actually.” Lilith replied. “I was focused entirely on the meeting. What’s going on?”

“They’re lewding me!” Eve complained, burying her face in a pillow. “While you were talking with the reporters, I got curious and went to see what people online were saying, and they’re lewding me! People are talking about how they’d like me to dominate them and I’ve even seen some art already! This is ridiculous!”

Lilith stifled a laugh. “Were you expecting anything else?”

“Don’t laugh!” Eve wailed, muffled slightly by the pillow. “And yes, I was expecting something else! I was expecting fear and dismay, not…not lewds!”

Lilith barely even tried to conceal her amusement. “Eve, these are the people who make memes when they’re worried about world war three and then turn deadly pathogens into anime girls. Of course they’re going to lewd you, it’s their way of coping.”

“Yeah, but like…I’m a person!” Eve insisted. “I thought that’d make them hesitate a little!”

“Yeah, but you’ve seen what they can do to stuffy old politicians, they’ll draw them shirtless with huge muscles riding a bear. You made your ‘Queen of Monsters’ form an attractive woman, they don’t even have to modify your appearance to lewd you.”

“You know that we’re the same person, which means they’re lewding you too, right?” Eve said, poking her head up and peeking at Lilith.

“They’ve been lewding us for a long time, Eve.” Lilith replied. “You can’t tell me you haven’t seen it. No, wait, I know you’ve seen it, I have your memories of seeing it. What’s so different here?”

“It’s like…I dunno, it’s my appearance they’re lewding this time. I’m used to it being the default appearance that they’re lewding.”

Kali chuckled. “Don’t let it get to you. Like Lilith said, it’s just their way of coping. I’m sure they’re all properly terrified of you.”

“R-really?” Eve said.

“Really.” Kali replied. “I made sure to keep an eye on most everyone important and they’re all freaking out. Not as much the people from Earth, but people from Haven are super worried about your army.”

“A-as they should be!” Eve said, coming out from behind the pillow. “By the time I’m done with them, they won’t make this mistake again!”

“Now, why don’t we have some girlfriend time for the evening?” Kali asked. “You two have had a long day.”

“Speaking of,” Lilith said, “how’d things go with Alex? I never got the opportunity to ask.”

“Ah, right.” Kali replied. “Honestly, it went a lot better than I thought it was going to. I was afraid that she would only put in a token effort at getting along with me, and focus entirely on you, but that…just sorta didn’t happen? It definitely feels like she put as much effort into my date as she did yours and I had a lot of fun, so…I think we should give it a go. It has potential.”

Lilith nodded. “Should we get her for girlfriend time, then?”

Kali paused, then shook her head. “Let’s give it one more night.” She said. “We’ll take the rest of the evening to relax without dealing with the awkward early stage where we’re figuring everything out, then starting tomorrow we’ll put our all into it, alright?”

“That sounds like a plan to me.” Lilith replied. She hesitated for a moment, embarrassment and nervousness welling up within her as she prepared her next words. “Um…I…think I’m ready to finally, you know…go all the way with you, if you would like.”

Kali froze, looking up at Lilith with barely concealed hope in her eyes. “Really?” She asked in a small voice.

“Y-yeah.” Lilith replied. “It’s been long enough, and I’ve sorted my feelings through properly. This is something that I realized I want, and I know you want it, so…”

“Yes!” Kali cheered, rushing over and catching Lilith in a hug. “I am so ready for this!”

Eve fidgeted in place, looking away. “I…um, me too. When you’re ready I’ll, uh…get older. I’m pretty sure this body is…less than ideal for this.”

Lilith smiled, stroking Kali’s hair and taking her to the bed. “Let’s start the night with some TV, and we’ll see where it goes from there, alright?”

And we're ready to kick off the Queen of Monsters arc for reals!

Um...I can't say too much for fear of spoilers, but the scene with Eve at the end was really fun to write.

I mean, let's face it, the internet would totally lewd a threat like that. It's what the internet does, that's why rule 34 is a "rule".

Uh, let's see...anything else I can talk about?

No, not really. So, next time we're probably gonna be getting into the whole hero thing, so look forward to that!

And, as always, thanks for reading!

Edit: Totally spaced and forgot to mention that my side project finally has enough chapters to post here on SH, so I've been doing that over the past few days. Check it out if you want:

https://www.scribblehub.com/series/297743/swarming-sovereignty/

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