World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 53: Arcs
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April 20, 7:30 am, London, England
I watched as Irade finally got onto her bunk to rest. It looked like she had fallen asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. I wouldn't blame her for being so tired – being shocked by a taser was quite draining. Not that I had ever been tased before. But I have had similar experiences, in my old world.
I looked away from the projection and towards the window. The city lay below me, as always, ignorant of me and my plans. I was looking out more than usual lately. I wonder why.
I supposed it was because I was thinking a lot more lately. About what to do about these storylines, how to move them forward. I had to admit, most of them were quite different from what I had thought they would be. Mostly in a good way, but some...
The superhero storyline for example, had somehow become about two gay college students. Sure, the dynamic was quite close to what I had in mind, and the story development was also quite on track but…
I mean come on. It was two guys. I didn't want to see that.
Would I have the same problem if it were two women? Probably not, actually. I liked women, after all. But then again...if it were two women talking sweet talk to each other and all that…without any of the fun...
Y'know, actually maybe I wouldn't be okay with that.
Did that make me homophobic?
Then again, most people in the world were. I wasn't really in the minority here.
Wait, that's not a good thing. I'm a Demon Lord; I should be against every norm in this world.
Although...norms were different in different countries. What was considered normal in one place could be taboo in another. In that sense, it would be impossible for me to be consistently evil.
No, consistency was important. If I wasn't consistent as a character, I would be a terrible Demon Lord.
From the start I have simply done what I wanted to do. Therefore, no matter what my ideals were, they were the ideals of a Demon Lord. Doesn't matter what other people think: if you agree with me, you agree with the Demon Lord.
I turned to Ms. Kang, who had been sitting across from me, working on some merger or something.
"I've decided I want to re-do the superhero storyline," I said casually.
She looked up, surprised.
"Why?" she asked.
It was my turn to be surprised. Ms. Kang never asked "why."
Nevertheless, I explained my thought process. I was in a good mood, after all.
"Wouldn't that just make a stronger case for them to be your enemies?" she said. "It's basically gay people fighting homophobia."
She had a point there. As a Demon Lord, all my beliefs were evil, and so the ones who held opposite beliefs would be non-evil.
"But I don't want to see that anymore," I said. "It's just...well it's just not as fun."
"Do you really want to start over again with that storyline?" Ms. Kang asked. "We can, if that it truly what you wish. But I ask you to remember how long it took to start."
Another, well crafted point. Damn.
"Not to mention, I have an update from Dr. Larsson," she continued. "He said that she is ready."
I frowned at Ms. Kang. 'She?' Who was this–
I opened my mouth to ask, when the look on Ms. Kang's face reminded me.
Ai. The task I gave Dr. Larsson for the next stage in the superhero storyline.
"Already?" I ended up saying, surprised. "He still has a few days left."
"He was quite surprised too," said Ms. Kang, looking through her emails. "Apparently it was much easier than working with only human bodies."
I suppose that made some sort of sense. Ai was a pseudo human soul; it could act as a merger between the human and non-human parts of the body. I was very curious to see her in action.
But if I scrapped the superhero storyline...well, that moment would have to wait.
"Could we use her in a different storyline?" I asked.
Ms. Kang thought about it for a moment.
"The thriller storyline is a no-go," she said. "We've already established a clear antagonist for that one."
That was true. Of all the storylines, the thriller was the one that was coming together the cleanest.
"What about the gamer then?" I asked. "It doesn't have any sort of antagonist whatsoever."
"That's not true," said Ms. Kang. "The antagonist Irade is fighting is basically the entire world she lives in."
She also mentioned that she was developing a sort of nemesis with a particular woman from the government.
Was she? I guess I never noticed in the projections. I may be basically omnipotent, but I wasn't omniscient.
"Speaking of the gamer storyline, how did you get the Chinese government to work for you on this?" asked Ms. Kang.
"Oh, that?" I waved a hand, still thinking about the superhero storyline. "It was simple. I just told them that I would give them a quarter of my yearly profits if they managed to catch her for me."
Ms. Kang stared at me, no doubt impressed. Of course, there was more to it than just that. I wanted some family drama as well, and so I had planted some surprises for Irade to reap once she was ready.
Of course, if Irade ever met her real parent, she would discover things that I didn't want her to find out. But she was in Australia, and I had no plans for Irade to ever meet her.
"Well, if there is no other choice, I suppose we'll let the superhero storyline move on," I sighed.
After thinking about it for a while, I relented, realizing that the quickest way to get Ai out into the world. Of course, I still needed to look at her before, just for a bit of maintenance. I suppose I would have to do that this week.
"Well, if you really want to change it, we could simply...make things more difficult," said Ms. Kang nonchalantly.
I stared at her. She noticed, and stared back, face blank.
I stood up, walked over to her, and placed a hand on her shoulder.
"You are a genius," I said, then went back to my seat. I couldn't control the slow grin spread across my face.
Why didn't I think of that?
Make it harder! Ai could go all out, trying to kill the boys! If they defeated her, great! That would mean a good battle to watch. Despite my disagreements, I did enjoy the battles these boys had.
And if they lost, who cares? I could just start over again! It was basically win-win for me either way.
Truly a marvelous suggestion. This upcoming Ai arc was definitely going to be more action packed than before. From now on, the aim was to kill them.
Still giddy with excitement, I turned in my chair to face Ms. Kang, who despite her expressionless face, seemed quite surprised to me. I paid it no mind; I was just glad to find a solution to the problem I had been facing for the past few weeks.
"Oh, right," I said. "What was it that you in here for again?"
I thought I saw Ms. Kang bite her lip in annoyance, but it was over so quickly that I may have just imagined it.
"I needed to speak with you about the approvals you made for the gamer storyline," she said. "Specifically for the upcoming Urumqi arc."
Right, right. The Urumqi arc. I would need to tell Ms. Kang what I had told the Chinese government about her parents to see if we could make that work.
Ms. Kang listened patiently while I explained the information I gave her.
"Why Urumqi?" she asked. "Why not Kashgar?"
"There isn't a train from Beijing to Kashgar," I answered.
"But if we could make it work in Kashgar…?"
I raised an eyebrow. I allowed her to go on.
She explained her idea to me. By the time she finished, I was stroking my chin, deep in thought.
"Interesting..." I murmured. "I did mention a pet of some sort, didn't I?"
Ms. Kang nodded.
"This would be quite a good way to make it work," I admitted. "But I do have some concerns. Specifically about the genre."
If we went in the direction Ms. Kang was going, there would be some deviations from the whole thing being a gamer/System story.
"I can make it work," said Ms. Kang confidently. "There are plenty of MMORPGs with folk-tale elements."
"The second problem is that I'm not sure I'm okay with the System's role in all this," I said. "Do you think it's a little...out of character?"
"I have considered that," said Ms. Kang. "I believe we can attribute the change to the Patch Update you've been planning."
I stroked my chin. I did have a patch for the HUD planned...something to allow more Skills. Things were quite fine with only one Skill so far, but it was a staple of the genre to have too many powers. I had been planning a patch to help with that.
Ms. Kang had realized this, and also wanted to use it to help the story. In theory, that was a good idea. It was just that...
Ms. Kang noticed my conflicted expression, and bowed her head.
"I understand that it is a risky move," she said. "I only ask that you have faith in my abilities to make this work."
I regarded Ms. Kang's bowing form, an emotion I wasn't familiar with welled up inside me. A sort of...bittersweet longing.
What exactly was this feeling? It was somewhat familiar. I tried to remember what it was from and...It felt a lot like watching an old friend age over the years. Still the same person, but also different, changing ever so slowly.
I blinked furiously. For some reason, my vision had gotten a little blurry. Weird.
"I trust you," I said, turning around to face the city. "Go ahead."
I heard Ms. Kang pick up her things, and start to leave.
"Oh, by the way," I said, still facing the city. "What did we end up calling the next arc for the thriller storyline?"
"Cat and Mouse, I believe," said Ms. Kang. "I believed you thought it was quite amusing to call it that."
I nodded. Cat and Mouse Arc, was it?
I was looking forward to this.
[END BOOK ONE]
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