Author's Notes: Just an odd little Overlord one shot. Nothing particularly special about it. The ambiguity in it is deliberate, so that you the reader can decide if this is a corrupted or not Overlord.
Disclaimer: I'd have a lot more money if I did own it, but I don't, so suing me is pointless.
He is a dead man, he has only to look in the mirror to know it. Skin with a corpse gray tint to it, blackened lips, hair that has reached a peculiar bleached no color. Even though he breathes and bleeds and fights, he is dead. His heart beats slowly, steady, no matter what. When a Halfling nearly disembowels him and he swears in fury, when he feels a tinge of hidden fear at the sight of the Wraiths, when he chooses and claims his Mistress, it is always the same. A tool to keep a dead shell moving.
So when it picks up a beat, he listens.
It does so for Melvin Underbelly, though only for a beat. For Oberon it thumps painfully a few times. With William it beats so fast he can only see red that matches the cultists robes and his fury behind his eyes. With Goldo, again only a single faster beat. And when he sees her, Jewel…
He wants to scream in fury and anguish and denial at the gentle rapid beat.
He ignores Gnarl's whines for the Iron Maiden after Jewel is questioned, ignores his Mistress and he questioning glances. The room is belowground, all smooth stone save for the heavy iron door, the shackles in it magic made and well beyond her ability to break. It is furnished almost as lavishly as his own quarters, nearly half the pretty things in his tower brought to it. Fine food, fresh water, everything that will keep her alive is brought to her the instant Jewel needs it.
It is a cruelty that the chains bring her up just short of touching anything but the bed she sleeps in.
His heart pounds with excitement and sorrow when he faces off against Kahn. And it beats a war song at the betrayal and the Wizard who has made him puppet and is puppet himself to the old Overlord. Bone breaks satisfyingly, calms his rage, and he checks on Jewel, not trusting Gnarl to have left her alone and safe and out of that damned Iron Maiden. His hearts beats sharply with relief when he finds her okay, and he allows her to hold a priceless ivory silk shawl.
It annoys him to have to burn it when she uses it to try to strangle him.
Things slow, become as peaceable as they can with Evil in charge. And he finds himself poking about in the Abysses, at first because he wants his peasants back, then because he always did have more curiosity then was good for him. The voice irks him, makes his heart beat hammer time with fear and rage and a desire to fight. When the last Abyss appears, instinct tells him he will not see Jewel again once he has walked into it. He will either be destroyed, or the victor, but he will not see her again. The land he stands on is warm, Elves going about what is left of their kind and their business a few miles away. The shackles fall from Jewel's hands, and he vanishes before she can demand answers. She'll be all right, there's plenty of things to covet here.
He, who has no true sin of his own despite his Evil, can at least understand the sin of Envy.
As I said, not a particularly interesting one shot in my mind, but it always bugs me that Jewel's fate is left hanging at the end game.