Tafel swallowed and approached the empress who was kneeling on the ground, her cheek pressed flat to the earth. She was lifting a bush’s leaves with her gloved hand and squinting into the darkness underneath. Her armor was stained with brown streaks, and her hair was filled with leaves and grass. A few bugs crawled down her back, but she didn’t notice underneath her armor. A hoarse voice came out of Mary’s mouth, “Mary Junior?”

Tafel cleared her throat and took a step closer to the empress. “Mary?”

Mary stiffened and shot to her feet. She turned around and glared at Tafel, but her expression softened after realizing who it was. Mary’s gaze roamed down, and her eyes lit up. “Mary Junior!” In a flash, she was standing in front of Tafel, her hands grabbing onto the turtlesnake in the demon’s arms. “I was looking all over for you.”

The turtlesnake let out a pathetic mewl and looked at Tafel with wide, wet eyes. Tafel looked away and let go of the poor creature’s shell, leaving her in Mary’s hands. The demon’s gaze traveled down Mary’s body, and she frowned at the stains covering her armor. “How long were you looking for her?”

“Since last night,” Mary said, the noontime sun highlighting the brown smudges on her cheeks. “Where did you find her?”

Tafel scratched her reddening neck. “She … wandered into my room while I was sleeping,” she said, unable to meet Mary’s expectant gaze. “And she was just there when I woke up.”

Mary beamed and tucked Mary Junior underneath her arm. “I’m glad you found her.”

“Yeah…, me too,” Tafel said. “Hey. Um, you just want a sword from Grimmy, right? That’s why you’re raising”—she gestured towards the turtlesnake—“her?”

Mary nodded. “That’s right. Why?”

“I happen to know a race of little people that are really good at making weapons,” Tafel said. “Like, really, really good weapons. I can introduce you to them if you’d like. I might have to bully a few of them since they’re a little arrogant, but that shouldn’t be a problem since I’m Vur’s wife and he happens to be their king.”

Mary tilted her head. “Vur’s the king of little people?”

Tafel’s expression darkened. “You saw how easily he became the great leader of those sheepmen, right? It’s the same thing.”

“If I get a sword from the little people, wouldn’t that be similar to me owing Vur a favor?” Mary asked and pouted. “I don’t want to owe Vur. I don’t like him.”

“Just think of it as owing me a favor,” Tafel said. “What’s Vur’s is mine, and what’s mine is Vur’s.”

“Then isn’t the favor that I owe you also owed to Vur?”

Tafel furrowed her brow. “I phrased that wrong. But don’t feel like you owe Vur,” she said. “You can obtain the weapon in normal, weapon-obtainy ways like, um, slaying a beast that’s bothering them or something. The point is, you aren’t getting a weapon for free.”

“Oh,” Mary said. She nodded. “That sounds good. When can we start?”

“Vur’s gone off to stop a purple dragon from eating his sheep people, but when he gets back, we can go,” Tafel said. “We’ll have to fly since it’s a bit difficult to teleport over an ocean. I’ll have to get my mentor to help me set up a teleportation array between our continents for easier travel.”

“And I’ll be able to run away with Mary Junior?” Mary asked, looking down at the turtlesnake tucked near her armpit that was hiding in its shell. “If I stay away from this continent, then that black dragon won’t be able to find me. Then, when Mary Junior is grown enough to fight back, I can come back.”

Tafel stared at the turtle shell. “I think it’ll be thousands of years before she grows old enough to escape from Grimmy’s clutches.”

Mary bit her lower lip. “But I have to try. This is the first time I’ve ever had to take care of something. I have to raise her well.”

Tafel sighed. “Instead of waiting for Mary Junior to grow up, why don’t you just focus on becoming strong enough to defend her from Grimmy yourself? I think that’s a slightly less unrealistic goal you can aim for.”

“Defeat the black dragon…,” Mary murmured. Her face hardened, and she nodded. “If I get a good enough sword, I can do it. Can the little people really make something that strong?”

“I’m sure they … might be able to,” Tafel said and pursed her lips. “And don’t call them little people to their faces. They’re called dwarves, and they really don’t like being reminded of their height.” Tafel sighed and reached into a portal, taking out a flask of water. “Vur calls them midgets, and they find that really offensive, but he’s their king, so there’s nothing they can do.” She shrugged and placed the flask to her lips.

Mary furrowed her brow and tapped on Mary Junior’s shell while staring up at the sky. She lowered her head and met Tafel’s gaze. “When it comes time to defeat the black dragon, will you help me?”

Tafel choked, water bursting out the corners of her mouth. She coughed and spluttered, lowering her hand with the flask. Her hand thumped her chest a few times, and she straightened her back, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. She raised one eyebrow. “Pardon? Can you repeat that?”

“I’m going to fight the black dragon for Mary Junior’s sake,” Mary said. “Will you help me when the time comes?”

“Um, how long do you think it’ll be until you’re ready?” Tafel asked. “You do realize you’re talking about defeating a dragon, right? I mean, it’s possible to kill a dragon, but this dragon isn’t just any dragon. He’s like the evilest, slyest, trickiest dragon you’ll ever deal with.”

Mary stared at Tafel. “If I had my sword, I could kill a dragon,” she said. “It might be tough, and I might die in the process, but it’s simple. All my sword has to do is stab their heart. If you give me a strong enough sword, I’ll challenge that black dragon right now.”

Tafel groaned. “Didn’t you lose to him already? When you tried to get that devil that he kidnapped?”

“No,” Mary said. “I lost his woman. I didn’t fight him yet.”

“If you can’t even beat Auntie, you’re not going to be able to beat Grimmy,” Tafel said. “Promise me that you won’t challenge Grimmy until I think you’re ready; otherwise, I won’t help you get a sword from the dwarves.”

Mary pursed her lips. “Fine. But when you think I’m ready, are you going to help me?”

“I…, I guess?” Tafel asked, her voice rising in pitch. “Just don’t tell Vur, okay?”

Mary nodded. “It’ll be our secret.” She glanced down at Mary Junior. “She can’t speak, so it’s okay. Vur won’t find out.”


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oliverwashere @oliverwashere ago

This story isn't even listed in the top 45 anymore. Vote for it at:

no168_92 @no168_92 ago

I bet mary jr will tattle to vur anyways.. 

thanks for the chap :)

carl mason @carl mason ago

I can not help but to wonder, when will Mary decide to imprint the little turtlesnake? It would be so much more beneficial than training herself as a protector or waiting for Mary Junior to grow up.

oliverwashere @oliverwashere ago


No,” Mary said. “I lost his woman. I didn’t fight him yet.”

lost against his

Quantum_Mechanic @Quantum_Mechanic ago

One-eyed, one-horned flying purple sheeple-eater.

Alora needs a Saxaphone.

RyuNaga @RyuNaga ago

thanks for the chapter

DevouringGod @DevouringGod ago

Surely Vur speaks turtlesnake


Killashard @Killashard ago

Thanks for the chapter!

"Vur won't find out."

Vur found out.