68 – Demon Lord Nazin – Preparations
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"...And so I was thinking that it would be a good idea to incorporate some magical formations along the interiors of Alvheim's halls. It would only be in a last resort scenario, but-" Nazin cut off his words and then sighed. "You're not paying attention, Titania."

"W-What?" The eldest elf princess blinked and sat up straight. She quickly adjusted her hair and said, "Of course I am!"

Nazin shook his head.

After meeting with Serena and learning that they were only a month out from the Imperial Army returning to attack Alvheim, Nazin had decided to revise their battle plan with Titania, the main person in charge of Alvheim's defense barring the Kingsguard.

They were back in his house, the building that Yggdrasil herself... or rather, Iggy, had crafted for him and his girls to live in. Specifically, he and Titania were seated in the dining room, using the dining table to spread out maps of the surrounding areas.

The current one on the table displayed a rough layout of Alvheim's interior. The main hall, the winding passageway to the residential area, the branches to the throne room... Nazin had dotted places along that route with crimson ink and meticulously plotted it out.

He thought Titania would appreciate it since she was a stickler for details, but the reality was contrary to his expectations.

"Why are you so distracted anyway?"

Titania glanced at Nazin and then looked away, blushing.

"Tani."

Titania turned her head to the side and twirled her hair. "It's... I don't mean to. But I still can't get that night out of my head. Also that you and I are... well..."

Nazin flushed and then coughed into his hand. "T-That's understandable then. But this is important."

Titania glanced at Nazin and then nodded. Taking a deep breath, she slapped her cheeks and said, "My apologies, Lord Nazin. Could you go over the situation again?"

"Alright. Then I'll start from the top." Nazin unfurled another map. This one was a map of the entire continent. On it, he tapped the Northern Empire and said, "From the look of things, the Imperial Army will march in a week." He traced out a line towards the Ancient Forest and said, "I'm still not sure if they're aiming for Yggdrasil or just to get rid of you guys, but either way we need to prepare."

Titania nodded. "That sounds reasonable." She frowned and said, "The attack was indeed unexpected. It's possible that there is a hidden objective at play."

"That's right." Nazin nodded and said, "It's too obvious for it to just be straightforward prejudice or to take advantage. Well." Nazin pulled back Alvheim's map and said, "Whatever the case we shouldn't need to worry too much about the soldiers. What we need to be concerned about are the Empire's special forces."

Titania's face grew grim. "The Braves."

"Right. The Braves that were summoned from another world." Nazin remembered those guys with cheat-like abilities and said, "I took care of most of them, but there's no telling if more have been summoned. Not only that, the ones that survived were... strong."

Cheats that defied the world's logic, wishy-washy powers that worked just because.

Nazin felt like cursing Serena out a bit at that. Then again, his power was even worse than all of those combined, so maybe he shouldn't be talking...

Titania looked at Nazin and said, "What do you have planned? And what do you need me to do?"

"Well..." Nazin thought a bit and said, "It's likely the Imperial soldiers will use chaos mana. That'd make it difficult for you guys to fight back."

It was technically still mana, meaning that it was possible to use magic. However, since the elves were used to the well-ordered mana from Yggdrasil, it would be hard to adjust... which Nazin had experienced first hand in the other timelines.

"In that case..."

Nazin glanced around the room. Seeing a stray sword lying on the ground, probably one that Aria used to practice with, he walked over to pick it up.

"Lord Nazin?" Titania tilted her head, confusion in her eyes.

Since Iggy had given him her protection, and since he had gained [Light's Order], with his [Grant Skill]...

A flash of white light filled the room. When it died down, the sword had been changed.

"Hm..." Nazin swung it a few times to test it out. "It's about on par with that shoddy chaos blade from back then, but it should be good enough. Here Tani." He walked over and handed the sword hilt first to Titania.

She blinked and grabbed it. When she did, her eyes widened. "This sword... carries Yggdrasil's protection? No, it radiates it?"

Nazin sat back down and said, "It could be better, but what do you think a group of elite elven warriors could do with those kinds of weapons, Tani?"

"This..." A bright smile filled Titania's face. She looked up at Nazin and said, "This will definitely help! With this, no matter what chaos they try to ensue, we can still use our magic and fight."

Nazin nodded, a smile on his face as well. "Thought so. Then, for the next part-"

Footsteps echoed, approaching the dining room. Not long after, a beautiful blonde elf wearing a loose violet dress walked into the room. She stifled a yawn and then turned towards Titania. "What are you doing flirting with my husband so early in the morning, Tani?"

Titania flushed. "Th-That... Lord Nazin is not yours, Ari!"

"That's what you think." She winced and clutched her head. "You're lucky I've got a headache right now or I'd give you a piece of my mind." Aria shook her head and then walked over to an icebox in the corner of the room. Grabbing a cup, she poured herself some juice.

Nazin frowned and said, "Where've you been, Aria? You weren't in bed this morning and you didn't leave a note behind like you usually do."

Aria took a sip from her cup. Afterwards, she sighed and said, "I didn't feel well so I went out to get some fresh air. That's all."

Nazin's frown deepened as he examined Aria.

She looked pale. A thin sheen of sweat was on her forehead and her eyes were baggy, dark circles on her eyelids.

"...There wasn't anything alcoholic in what we ate for dinner last night, right?"

It definitely wasn't a cold or illness, not with Iggy's protection around. The only thing he could think of was a hangover.

Aria frowned but then shook her head. "I used some to bake, but it should have burned off. That can't be it."

"Then-"

A cold sigh echoed in the room. "Is it not obvious?" A beautiful woman walked over to the dining table. A black dress that contrasted with her snowy white hair, azure-colored eyes... Saphira glanced at Aria and then said, "The girl is pregnant."

Nazin froze.

A sword clattered to the ground. Titania had dropped it in her shock, her emerald eyes wide in shock.

Aria's eyes widened as well, and then she rolled her eyes. "That's impossible. Even with everything we did, it's far too soon to show any signs of that. If anything, it's your fault, Fi. What kind of teacher forces their student to use all of their mana and then fight until they collapse."

Titania let out a deep breath and then nodded. "Right. That... that makes more sense. Ah." She noticed she had dropped the sword. She quickly bent over to grab it and said, "My apologies, Lord Nazin."

Nazin blinked, his mind finally spinning back into motion. He sighed and said, "It's fine. And I think Aria's right, Saphira. If something like that happened, I think Iggy would bug me about it too."

The World Tree spirit kept bugging him about finding an heir so she could have a younger brother or sister to play with. Considering that she kept track of everything living in Alvheim, she would have showed up first thing to congratulate him about it.

Saphira paused. After a bit, she slowly nodded and said, "That is the more reasonable explanation..." She shifted her gaze to Aria and said, "After all, an immature brat like her couldn't raise a child if she wanted to."

Ominous dark wind swirled around Aria's hands. "What was that you old hag?"

White lightning crackled around Saphira. "I said-"

"That's enough." Nazin rubbed his temples and said, "Could you two get along for once? We don't have time to mess around like this."

"...Sorry."

"My apologies, Master."

Nazin sighed. He turned back to Titania and said, "Anyway, I'll leave the prep work to you. Pass that around and make sure that everyone's ready by the end of the month to fight with something similar."

Titania glanced at Aria again, but then she nodded. "As you say Lord Nazin. Then... I will be on my way." With those words said, she left.

Like that, it was just Nazin, Aria, and Saphira in the house.

Aria sat down where Titania was and sighed, idly sipping from her cup.

Nazin stared at her and said, "Are you really alright, Aria?"

Aria smiled. "What? Are you that worried about being a father? I thought you were going to take responsibility after what you did to me?"

"T-That-"

Aria laughed. "I'm just kidding. Something like that at this time would be disastrous... But don't worry." She smiled and said, "I haven't undergone the coming of age ceremony yet so we couldn't even if we wanted to. A certain old hag on the other hand..." She shifted her gaze over to Saphira.

The dragon blinked and then she shook her head. Turning her gaze to Nazin she said, "Worry not, Master. As a Divine Dragon... even if fallen, I am well aware of my body. The only means for me to bear a child would be if I desired it. Th-Though..." She flushed and averted her gaze. "I-If Master were to command me, I suppose I would have no choice in the matter."

Nazin coughed. "T-That's a bit too much information there, Saphira."

Aria laughed. Shortly after, Saphira joined in.

Nazin sighed. "Well, it seems you two are fine if you can joke around like that."

Aria nodded. "It's also nice that the harsh Mister Nowun... or rather, Demon Lord Nazin learned to lighten up."

"Well, Iggy did fill my heart with light when I got her blessing so I'd say that was inevitable."

Aria rolled her eyes. After though, she gave Nazin a serious look. "Joking aside, Nazin. We're fine... but you might want to double check with Tani."

"Huh?"

"Well... Sis might be getting up there, but she's still in her prime. Not only that, but since that night made it clear that she was a maiden, her body might... you know? Want a child?"

Nazin froze.

That... was something that would be right up that Goddess's alley in terms of causing him trouble.

He quickly made a silent plea. *Serena... You wouldn't do that to me. Would you?*

Unsurprisingly, there wasn't a response.

While Nazin started sweating about the potential flag that had been raised, Saphira spoke up.

"In any case, Master. What were you discussing with Titania?"

"Ah." Nazin decided to take the rope tossed at him and put the other matter to the side. "You see..."

A bit of an early chapter this time since I managed to get everything done sooner than expected. Still... Not too sure how I feel about this one. Ah well, a bit late at this point to change it... Either way, I hope the chapter was enjoyable! Thanks for reading and I'd appreciate it if you left a comment about your thoughts so far if you've made it to this point.

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