All’s Fair In Love And War – Ch.20 [Epilogue]

She remembered well, what word she had received from her elves. The camp by the villa where all trained had been ugly tents and uglier training grounds, yet now after a year of the last hostile act in Varilandian soil, Elizabeth saw it all so different from words. Great structures and fields stood by the strip between the capital and the villa, academies and barracks of all kinds of an architectural design reminiscent of those of old. Elegant and aesthetic, complemented by the stone roads leading to one another with great green spaces lush with life here and there. Tall yet slim trees flanked the road she marched through, all with the same spacing from each other, and through them to the left and right in the distance she saw a fair number of dullahans all walking one way to the other among the buildings, all with their uniforms and weaponry, yet with leisure in their demeanor. With the muffled noises afar, Elizabeth could only guess that the road presented a near-touristic sight to the exterior of the military academies and the grounds as a whole, leaving much to wonder as to how it’d be further within.

She soon arrived to the eastern edge of the villa past the academies, to turn back in curiosity and look at all it took up. Already it formed a semi-circle between the capital and the villa, threatening to spread more as its edges lay bare with constructions clearly to be done. Always with an expression of discomfort on her, Elizabeth could do little but ponder as to why the lilim built them up with such tenacity that it felt as if war still continued. The quality of it all, along with the speed and manpower involved, gave her nothing but thoughts of an immense fortune expended.

Continuing further into the villa, she found it calm and quiet. Few if any servants walked about, a lazy day like a break for those not just in Variland, but in most nations of the Demon Lord’s lands. Eventually she arrived to Victoria’s house, stepping up to the door to stare in wonder for a few seconds at how it stood just barely open, not even enough to peek inside; a dead giveaway of presence within. Then, she raised her hand to knock, but before she could hit it once, a hundred bats appeared from the ether beside her to fly out, almost frightening the life force out of her. Flinching and covering her head with her arms, she soon gave a glance at the source, to see a vampire and a succubus having appeared. As surprised as Elizabeth stared, so too did the vampire return her gaze. Caroline of Caedisia, with her succubus confidant.

“Huh?” Asked the vampire. “You’re visiting too?”

“Uhhh… Yes…” Answered Elizabeth, still with her heart in her throat as she returned to her straight posture, still with discomfort in her expression. “Why are you here?”

“Victoria’s taking her merry time paying off the debt. You?”

“Same.”

Returning her attention to the door, she raised her hand and knocked twice. A second of a few muffled noises within and a set of footsteps arriving, and the vampire, the succubus, and the elf found the kikimora opening the door.

“Eh?” She asked in absolute confusion. “When– I-I was not made aware that you’d visit!” She exclaimed in shocking surprise, opening the door fully. “Please, come in.”

“I didn’t arrange in advance.” Said Elizabeth stepping in.

“Nor did I.” Said Caroline, following behind with the succubus following suit, till Marie closed the door behind them.

“Can I interest you in anything? Tea?” Asked Marie.

“I’d rather see Victoria.” Answered Elizabeth.

“Oh, um… She is still asleep, I fear. Perhaps I can interest you in spending your time in the villa until–“

“Now.” She added, voice stern and merciless, silencing Marie who nearly released a gasp in fright; to anger a Queen would be folly of her.

“Yes, yes.” She answered. With quick steps, she made her way to the closed door of the bedroom, with the three present following her with their eyes. Raising her arm, Marie lightly knocked on the door thrice. “Victoria?” She called, but no response came from inside.

In the relative calm within, Elizabeth couldn’t keep her eyes from wandering about in the room.

There on a shelf, she found a plushie. As strange as it looked within a lilim’s house, it turned out to be a plushie of a knight, a paladin in full armor. Tied on its arm was a tag, reading ‘From: Minie’. Below it, ‘To: Viccy and Indrid’, though the last letter had been crossed out in ink, and with ‘ck’ written afterwards.

Below the shelf, she found a rapier in this sheath, with a ribbon tied on the sheath right under the hilt. On the guard, the insignia of Variland rested, forged in the same metal. Same as the plushie, it held a tag, this time by the ribbon: ‘Gift from Vandire.’

As her eyes wandered on, on the opposite end of the room she found a painting hanging by the wall, housed in an elegant frame. A portrait of Victoria, smiling, with her arms around a blonde and blue-eyed man with a smile as great as hers. Who it was, Elizabeth knew not, figuring she’d maybe know had she visited more often. Nor did she know the author, signed as ‘Catherine’ by the lower right corner.

Far behind Marie, however, the succubus leaned aside to Caroline’s ear. “I sense something.”

“What is it?” Asked Caroline, so too gaining Elizabeth’s curiosity.

“That door, it has a silencing spell on it. No noises can get through.”

“Victoria?” Asked Marie one more time, before slowly reaching for the handle and turning it, opening the door slightly and peeking inside. Yet, her eyes shot wide open as did her mouth before she covered it, letting out a gasp in infinite shock before closing the door shut, to then place her back against it.

“Well?” Asked Elizabeth.

“Uhhh… She’s…” She began, but as much as she tried to formulate an answer, words did not come out. She gestured with her arms inside, to then start gesturing about in an equal attempt to find a way to explain things, only for the three to view it as random nonsensical waving. “Not ready. Ah, she needs…” She said, for her nonsensical gestures to return along with a forced smile for a second. “Five more minutes.”

Taking a deep breath in annoyance and irritation, Elizabeth stormed forward to the door, with Marie caught like deer in headlights before moving aside. Knowing she’d open the door, the succubus and the vampire followed close. “I don’t care if her hair is a mess, that brat is–“

“Indrick~!” Escaped her moan through the door as they opened it to peek in, hearing the merciless repetition of THUMP, THUMP, THUMP that risked to break the bed in half with how much it creaked. “AAAaaaaahhhh~!”

Door closed shut. The three kept silent, and as Elizabeth glanced expressionlessly at Marie, she found in return another forced, anxious smile.

“Maybe my mother had a point,” pondered Caroline in an almost depressed, monotonous tone, taking a few steps away from the door with the succubus to soon follow, “in nagging me for so long to get a boyfriend…”

“Reconsidered?” Asked the succubus, bringing her hands together with a smile on her face. “I have a few ideas on how to find one to your tastes.”

“I suppose I should try.”

And with the swarm of bats that Elizabeth had seen, the two disappeared, as if it were their own version of popping into smoke out of existence.

“I’ll…” Said Elizabeth in such tone of defeat, gaze low and marching to the door. “I’ll come back another da–“

The door opening interrupted her just as she approached it, to find on the other side a man whose body seemed to have grown to the sides in musculature, head half-sunken into his chest. The two locked eyes in wonder at who the other was, absolute silence taking over the room.

“Ah, Sigismund!” Said Marie, happily walking his way as he grew a smile at her presence. With Sigismund turning around, Marie embraced his arm before the two walked out the house, to continue on to the road. “Were you not going to be busy today?”

“Plans changed. I’m free.” He answered.

As the two marched away, Elizabeth stared on with discomfort replaced by defeat in her expression. Letting out a rough sigh as she lowered her head and shook, she soon marched out and closed the door behind her, leaving the house to the two within.

Inside the bedroom where no noises could escape, no longer did the violent thumping dominate as it did just seconds ago. Panting, having once remained on top of Indrick, Victoria let herself fall beside him as he breathed in equal exhausted manner, both with their skin pressed against each other as she embraced him from then on. Though unseen by the blankets covering them, the two could feel each other’s sweat which had built up from so demanding a session.

“Hey, Ini…” She asked in exhalation, all stamina spent.

“Hah?” He asked in return in equal manner.

Slowly, she placed herself on top of him once more, resting against him with her breasts pressed against his bare chest. There, she looked deep into his eyes with a smile on her face; a smile almost too devious from her. “We should have a baby.”

“…E-Eh?!”

 

The End.

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