Shortest one of the three chapters out. This one less words than many papers I’ve written. I feel it ends on a relatively good spot.
A minotaur was the first to challenge the man only seconds following the disrespect he showed the Lilim. Even for a minotaur she was particularly big. She had to have been at least 8 feet tall.
Charging the man she swung an axe that must’ve weighed a few hundred pounds with everything she had. The force would’ve proven enough to fell just about any tree.
At the last second the group of knights looked away, fully expecting the thing to be cut in half like most things would at such primal force.
They were not privy to the messy wet sounds of tendons being severed. The crunch of bones snapping. Several seconds after the axe would’ve made contact with the creature the first sounds in awhile graced the icy fields below the mountain.
In truth Velthas didn’t even feel discomfort let alone pain but with his rapidly returning humanity he felt the need to at least humor the girl.
The axe had proven sufficient to break his hide. And not much else.
It had lodged itself maybe a centimeter deep in the meat of the his left arm. Drawing no blood.
The minotaur gasped and did all in her power to dislodge the axe from the man but found she couldn’t even budge it. Such was the strength of the god-thing’s flesh.
The man looked at her quizzically tilting his head to the side.
He reached a hand towards her head.
Every instinct in the minotaur told her that hand meant nothing but a quick death. That the man would crush her skull in his hand like an over-ripe fruit.
She pulled at the axe with renewed vigor, but still found she couldn’t remove it from the hold the thing’s flesh had on it.
The hand inched closer. Almost all the mamono looked away terrified of what would happen. Most of them had never seen death, let alone one so gruesome and callous as the one they expected to befall the poor girl.
The minotaur closed her eyes. Not wanting to see the hand inching closer. She felt the hand reach her, and then nothing. She didn’t feel dead. Did anyone really feel death when it claimed them?
And then the hand started to run its’ fingers through her hair. The minotaur gasped and slowly stopped struggling. It took her another few seconds for her to fully relax, releasing her hold on the axe.
Even without the Minotaur’s hands on it, the sliver of the thing’s flesh held the monstrous weapon parallel with the ground. Like the minotaur had never actually bore it’s weight.
Several second later she was pushing her head into his hand. Eager to receive more of his pampering.
The thing…the man exhaled.
Velthas let the girl enjoy his ministrations for a few more moments.
She was rather…cute? Was that the word for it?
Regardless eventually as his fingers continued massaging the girl’s scalp, the veins in his arms started to glow more brightly.
The minotaur that seconds earlier had struck him with everything she could muster fell unconscious, and made to fall into the snow face first.
The man caught her and laid her down on her back.
She started snoring with a goofy grin on her face, and made to latch onto the man’s arm still around her back like it was some manner of stuffed animal.
The man allowed her to for a few scant moments. Then his veins again glowed brighter and pulsed faster. He removed the arm from the sleeping girl’s grasp, as she started to nuzzle nothing into her chest.
Like she thought the man was still there.
The mamono were silent for a long time afterwards.
Velthas had begun to recall the virtues, and lessons he had learned and ingrained deeply within during his time as a knight. The lesson he displayed here was that mercy was a privilege of the strong.
Such a peaceful and graceful manner of conflict resolution may have not been available to him had his strength not been so overwhelming.
Illusion magic was not a particularly energy consuming use of his power.
Especially when the minotaur so greatly wanted to fall asleep in his arms, and for him to let her nuzzle him close.
The….head-pats? Yeah, those. They had been very real and Velthas derived a small sense of enjoyment from them.
Velthas gazed out at the gathered monsters. Oh yeah that’s right. He wasn’t done. He looked to his left shoulder with the axe still embedded in the meat of his tricep.
With his right hand he gripped the axe and pulled it loose with no real visible effort, and started to gaze at the small gash in his arm.
Before all those present the gash started to knit itself shut until there was no indication anything had ever been there. Featureless pale flesh all that remained.
He kept the axe in his hand and ran his fingers down it. Enveloping it in a softly glowing light. Then he seemed to exude darkness, and the clearing at the base of the mountain seemed to grow darker in turn. Like he was eating the light. Using it to fuel what came next. Velthas started to walk toward the gathering slowly growing larger as he did so, the darkness growing more consuming as he drew nearer. When he stood less than twenty paces from the Lilim, he stood taller than the minotaur did.
Many of the gathered monsters had dropped out of the stances they had assumed.
The lilim who felt she was personally disrespected was not one of them.
She was the next to assault Velthas when the vitriol of most were quelled by his actions earlier.
She rose into the air far above the gathering of monsters, humans, and whatever Velthas was. She started to gather a ball of verulean energy in her hands. When it was as big as her she launched it at him. Seemingly uncaring of the monsters and knights around Velthas.
Velthas for his part let her. He could’ve thrown the axe at any point and stopped the channeling.
When the green mass of energy was only a few feet from his face Velthas lashed at it with the axe.
The following explosion would’ve likely killed most present but the axe seemed to draw the explosion inwards. Bathing Velthas in its’ energies. He was invisible for a few seconds, until the whir of wind met the gathered ears of those around. And then again. And again. Faster and faster the wind parted. The energy around Velthas rapidly started to lessen in magnitude, until again he was visible.
When the energies that had encompassed him were entirely spent he was smiling.
Viscous Blue fluid leaking from his mouth, eyes and nose. His mail was charred and his body was burnt black, the oils in his skin fuel for the conflagration that had engulfed him. He fell to his knees still smiling.
The lilim had an air of smugness about her. The other monster were glaring daggers at her.
Then they all heard clapping. Not the slow kind one might use to show light amusement, but a rapid excited sort of fanfare.
The eyes that were on the lilim drifted towards Velthas to find him clapping. Still on his knees. His smile wider than it had been before.
“I imagine if I still could I probably would’ve gone into shock. Not bad. Not bad at all. Of course now its my turn.”
His face contorted. His smile unnaturally wide. He stood. The effort causing his burned tissues to tear. Not that he seemed any the wiser or slower in the motion. He struck the ground with the axe bathing himself in the ensuing rush of snow and ice. His burned tissues seemed to drink in the water, and while they were still badly burnt they now no longer sizzled or cracked as he moved.
He started to make his way towards the lilim whose look of smugness had long since left her.
Contessa couldn’t wait any longer. She began to rush at the mage, knocking other mamono aside with her charge . She reached the front leaving behind the irritated monster girls and started to barrel at the man….who did nothing?
He was still walking at the lilim who had begun to smile upon seeing her.
True she was out of his direct line of sight but shouldn’t he have seen her in the corner of his eyes or heard her?
That spell from the lilim had boiled the fluid in Velthas’ eyes.
He had spread most of the remaining fluid to reinvigorate his burned limbs. He was now mostly blind.
It popped his eardrums almost immediately and he was now entirely deaf. His nose was still charred beyond all repair; gone was his sense of smell.
It didn’t mean much to him. He doubted the Lilim would move from her spot. Her species curiosity keeping her pinned in place. The sensory deprivation was nothing new to him. He had long walked the blackness between the planes and felt nothing then, and he somehow felt even less now.
Before Velthas had reached the Lilim he felt something through his singed nerves, and his sense of balance told him he was on his back.
To the rampant cheering of all the mamono present and utter horror of the knights the hellhound had mounted the Sorcerer…