1: Wunderbar

 

A castle was erected deep within the void of space. A gray construction made by gray automatons. Covered with bright green grass and filled with a bright blue atmosphere. All of this was then enclosed within a silver-gray bubble that separated it from the universe that lay beyond.

 

Eventually people came, many of them wearing checkerboard gray suits. At the top of the tower there was a man, dark eyed, dark skinned, dark haired, his face so beautiful that it was left somewhat in doubt whether he was actually a man.

 

His look so young that it was hard to believe that many of the people who came to visit him here in this office were his grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. His descendants who’d multiplied over the eons.

 

That man currently stood at the window of his office in the topmost floor of the tower. Looking down at the empty universe below. Gazing at a world with only a single planet floating within it.

 

His expression was unreadable, but any who knew him would be able to tell that “that” was just because he generally never wore any expressions. Wearing the same somewhat puzzled, somewhat bored look for most of his adult life. Those same people were usually able to decipher the old man’s moods through other means.

 

Known by many names, Emperor, Asphodel, Mister Gray, King of Nothing, Lord of Despair, he was an inscrutable to man to all but those who truly knew him even the littlest bit. By which point he became an open book. Unable to hide even if he wanted to. Not that he ever did.

 

One such person was currently standing with him in the room right now. A woman with elegantly styled purple-pink hair, a robust build, densely muscular build and eyes that were bright enough to make the stars look dim.

 

She sat wearing the incongruous combination of sundress, and an armored fur-lined coat. Seated on a couch, looking every inch of the empress she was.

 

“Ah Billy, is all this really that exciting to you? Watching all the boring old stars get eaten up by one little world.”

 

“Mn? Maybe…” said the man.


Briefly glancing at his wife before his attention returned to the mostly emptied universe outside.

 

She clucked her tongue slightly annoyed that he’d looked away. As Empress she had countless worlds to look after. Watching over them even if she’d long ago left ruling over that section of Asphodel Imperium to her children and their descendants.

 

It wasn’t easy for her to get away as she had. And then when she’d finally managed to do so and sought to surprise her royal husband she’d found that he was off on another of his pet projects.

 

Which meant having to track him down. Now she’d tracked him down and he was still focusing on the project instead of her.

 

She shook her head, gracefully sliding off the couch and draping her arms around the man. Looking every inch the twenty-something year old she’d been when the two of them had finally gotten together.

 

“Bill-lly….Come on hon, this isn’t the first wonderland you’ve watched getting born. Hell, we even have a few back home. Come out and play with me, huh? I haven’t done anything fun in ages.”

 

“Billy” stood still staring out the window. He didn’t move, but he didn’t say no either. Standing in the woman’s embrace, letting her rest her weight on him, while his thoughts dully lurched forwards. Moving like the ticking gears and cogs of a great clock.

 

On the one hand, she was right, on the other had she was right… and yet he found himself feeling reluctant to leave.

There was a reason that he’d set up the this observational tower. There was a reason he’d so cheaply and so easily agreed to help the assembled forces of Council of Chaos and Order set up the leveling system that now governed the power levels for this universe.

 

Every wonderland was different. Be it the causation, the way they spread merging with and or engulfing their entire universe. Their innate natures. They were called Wonderlands for a reason. Even the gods, angels and devils took interest in them.

 

A wonderland was a heaven under the heavens. Filled with endless possibilities despite being anchored in the realms.

 

Uniquely fascinating in a way that could grab the attention of even a man who’d seen nearly all that the cosmic sea had to offer.

 

And yet…a man had to have priorities there was a reason that he and his wives had lasted so long together.

 

“Um…okay…what do you want to do.”


The woman smiled tightening her grip around the man’s shoulders, a slightly undignified, plainly lascivious look spreading across her lovely green-brown face.

 

“Well…I-”

There was a knock at the door and the woman’s look fell flat. She remained on the man’s back, both literally and figuratively as a robotic servant opened the door.

 

“A man is here to see you, sir. He’s your priority appointment. You said we should show him in.”

 

Billy looked at the crystal faced butler and then he looked to his wife and then he looked to the butler.

 

“Er, we can let Richie handle it. I’m pretty sure I knew what the guy’s here for. We can let him borrow a few the Nihilus Guard troop, to get the results he’s looking for.” said Billy.

 

Slightly bemused at missing the chance to hassle his friend and haggle for a bit, still aware of what was most important here.


“Yes, sire.” said the Butler. Bowing deeply as the royal couple abruptly faded from his view. Teleporting to whichever pleasure planet the woman had wanted to go to.

 

*****

 

Meanwhile several floors below, on the lush green plaza of the tower, Red Moon, the man who smiles, grinned to himself. Pleased to see the lights go out on the top floor window of the tower.

 

He was aware of what likely happened and aware of his abandonment, and ecstatic about it. He’d come expect to have to pay and arm and a leg for the use of some his old friend’s most powerful creations.

 

It seemed that it had been a good decision on his part to let her royal Highness Elena vi Asphodel know of her husband’s whereabouts, before asking for the meeting.

 

She got what she wanted. Red Moon got what he wanted too. Billy might have gotten slightly screwed over, but hey the guy was used to it, and wasn’t likely to be upset, considering the methodology.

 

Besides, Red Moon had a feeling that he’d probably end up spitting up today’s savings on some other purchase from the Lord of the Asphodel Imperium. A seventy-Five percent discount to friends and family was fairly worthless when all the things that one was trying to procure were things that could easily be considered priceless.

 


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