Author’s Notes: this was supposed to be the fight chapter but I went overboard with the setup for this and by the time I got to the best part it was well over the quotient for an entire chapter so here you are the third part of what looks to be a four or five part pseudo epic.
For reference Jacob’s weapon looks like Galan’s weapon from Nanatsu no Taizai/The Seven Deadly Sins anime.
~ Chaotic Harem Series – Demon vs. Dark Valkyrie Prelude~
“…well, this is ironic” Jacob chuckled
Sigrdrífa looked up at the chuckling man and scowled “do you think this is funny!?”
“You mean if I think the fact that you are being corrupted is funny?” he looked at the black feather in her hand then his expression turned fierce “OF COURSE NOT!”
The Valkyrie flinched and found herself being cowed as he stomped over to her.
“When were you going to tell me? Were you even going to tell me?”
She turned away and closed her eyes “of course not” she returned his own reply albeit lowly.
Jacob opened his mouth presumably to shout but in the end he closed it and shook his head before turning away “I came to find you because I was worried” he started “because I felt that you have putting distance between us. I can see now the reason for that. We are finished preparing camp, come back when you are more…presentable.”
And with those words he left.
Sigrdrífa watched him until he was out of sight and once she was sure she was alone the Valkyrie dropped to her knees taking long shuddering breaths “why” she gasped holding her chest “why does it hurt so much?”
The image of his expression the anger shook her but it was the overwhelming disappointment that hurt more than any injury she had sustained over her time with him. She was supposed to be the one to help him, he didn’t need to worry about her, all that mattered was his well being, she would be fine, she was a powerful warrior and he was just a man.
‘A man who had proven himself time and time again’ Sigrdrífa paced herself remembering that he wasn’t that boy she first encountered in a crowd, he was a fully realized hero. It wouldn’t be farfetched to say that he had surpassed her own strength, he didn’t need her protection.
‘Nonsense’ she had more to offer him than mere muscle, she was his friend, she was…thinking about Jacob more than she should.
She looked into the slightly murky waters at her reflection and asked the question “why is this happening to me?”
Her eyes immediately went to the black feather and she scowled, ever since she was first infected with corruption her thoughts have veered in a specific direction. Sigrdrífa was content to roam the lands and vanquish monsters in the name of the Chief God, it was her mission. Even her taking in a human apprentice to train was to that end. She was to train him and once he had proven himself capable she would ascend back to the heavens in triumph to serve the gods again.
Except that didn’t happen and one day without warning or any specific reason her connection with the heavens was irrevocably severed and she was barred from returning to her home. Without any direction from her god and no home to return to she could only do what she had been ordered to do, train Jacob and slay monsters.
She had done this for twenty years, ten whole years over when she had deemed him ready to journey on his own. The entire time she had desperately tried to appease the Chief God, to right some wrong she had unknowingly done but after all this time she had not gotten so much as a sign and Sigrdrífa had eventually given up.
Around the same time she had discovered the black feather and the source of why she was barred from the heavens. At some point she had been corrupted and that corruption had destroyed her connection with the Chief God. Sigrdrífa despaired, she knew exactly how and what the corruption would do to her. First it would eat away at her spirit, then it will attack her mind, warping it then the final transformation will change her body causing her to become a Dark Valkyrie.
Sigrdrífa had held onto her beliefs though despite the discovery, she had fought and killed many monsters, freed many people and helped inspired hope among the masses, she would not fall! And even now, even after all the blackened feathers she plucked from her wings she at least retained her connection to the light. That is something no amount of corruption will ever be able to change.
…that and Jacob. She had done what the Chief God asked and kept her eyes on him, she practically raised him and even if she kept it from him, even through his anger and disappointment Sigrdrífa knew in the bottom of her heart that he would never abandon her.
‘Yes, there is nothing to worry about. He is nothing like any of the other humans and he is most certainly not like the Chief God’ Sigrdrífa’s expression twisted at the thought of her abandonment.
In the end she stood and with a careless flick discarded the black feather “I have no time to dally, Jacob is waiting for me” the thought brought a small smile to her face.
Unknowing to her several of her feathers turned a darker shade of white approaching grey.
Another victory was helmed today thanks to their efforts, the men had earned themselves a well deserved rest. The village and surrounding lands from which the Demon Realm had once been established were thoroughly purged leaving no trace of the corrupted mana. As for the fallen enemies, the Order wouldn’t deign to give a proper burial to creatures thought of as abominations but Jacob had a trench carved in the land using magic where the corpses were placed (dumped) unceremoniously after which they were set ablaze with holy fire.
The makeshift pyre was the most he could do to at least send them off to the afterlife (again?) with some dignity. They may have been monsters but they were also soldiers fighting for what they believed in. It also helped that burning the corpses would prevent the corrupted mana from seeping into the earth thus tainting the land again…as was explained to him by scholars from the church.
Jacob had already given the order, they would march out by first light. Most wouldn’t get the proper amount of sleep but the rewards that awaited them upon this overwhelmingly successful campaign would be worth the weariness. Wards were erected around the camp and a rotation watch was selected, there would be no festivities yet, not until they were safe behind impenetrable walls enchanted to keep even the high level monsters at bay.
Talks of the missing villagers had spread amongst the men, they knew the reason for this, Jacob saw no reason to keep this from them, but the fact that an entire village was just up and transported away made more than a few of the men weary of the land they thread upon despite the victory against the monster army.
Jacob encouraged their weariness, he would not promote a false sense of security to assuage fears. Fear was good, it made the senses sharper and a fearful man would more than likely pinpoint anything out of the ordinary than a man who was idle in mind. The hero returned to his dwellings, noticeably absent of any Valkyrie but his mind was not on her at the moment.
Today had been a mess, despite the victory over the enemy forces and the success of the purge without any ‘innocent’ casualties. The victory felt hollow, the enemy he had defeated was but an inexperienced teenage girl (vampire or not). The army he fought was ill prepared at best and woefully outclassed at worst. But worst of all was the information he got that this was all orchestrated in an effort to get to him by someone he had hoped he would never see again.
Evelyn, the memories of their time together were vague after so many years but he remembered the feelings he had for her back when he was a naïve child. Deep down he knew she would be back in his life at some point. One of the first things the scholars of the Order did was to educate him on Demons of today’s age. And as if to prove a point the first thing they did was to cleanse his body of the mark she placed upon at some point during the time they had known each other.
Jacob couldn’t believe it but he had felt the demonic mark vanish under the holy power. They made sure to take many precautions against him being taken by her, which included being educated on her species and how they operated. As a result Jacob had more information on Demons than he did on any other Monster. Never mind that back then his worldview had been flipped on its head in a matter of hours, he couldn’t believe some of the things he had been told.
He learned about the world change of monsters into monster girls by the succubus demon lord or Maou. As a result every single monster was at least part succubus, if not in their general appearance, then in their attitudes and instincts. They cared not for mans destruction through violence and murder but rather their subjugation through corruption and their twisted sense of ‘love.’
Most would take whatever man is available to them at any moment but there are some who would only settle for a particular man, even going so far as to chase him to the ends of the earth. Demons even in the days of old have had a particular reputation for being persistent, vindictive and shrewd monsters who would use whatever means to get what they want. What makes them even more dangerous than other high class monsters is the fact that they have a patience that could not be rivaled by most.
They have a long lifespan and powers mortals (and some monsters) could only dream of which they use to full effect in wearing down even the most resilient of Heroes. Jacob was also told that they were not above using underhanded tactics as a means to get to what they want as they had an ‘ends justified the means’ outlook on their actions.
At the time he feared the worst but as of now he knew the proper context of the warning. Monster meant no true harm to humans but that hardly mattered to him at this point, he made a promise to everyone and he would no sooner break it. Jacob had spent the first decade of his time in the Order developing contingencies specifically against Demons.
He trained himself into the ground building his strength and skills. He’d all but mastered the near obscure art of demonic mana detection, learned the art of creating or destroying barriers and high level detection spells that enable him to see through illusions. He even went as far as to relocate his family to somewhere safer, closer to the capital and within range of the core of the Chief God’s power.
Paranoia of the unknown had gripped him at one point, making him hesitant to leave the safety of the capitol’s walls unless he was absolutely prepared to deal with her. Sigrdrífa had helped to assuage his fears being that she drove the Demon away before but could he be the same? After so long without so much as an attempt on him Jacob had almost forgotten she existed, or hoped that the stories of Demons were exaggerated (as so many are) and after so long she had moved on.
Apparently he was wrong.
‘From the way how Schaibel acted, it seemed Evelyn had tricked her into challenging me. But if the vampire had won then I would be her slave and she would have lost me. Did Evelyn know I would win?’
It was a gamble, Shaibel may have been young but she was powerful and would have defeated the average hero but Jacob wasn’t an average Hero and there have been many tales of his exploits.
‘Was this a test to confirm the rumors of my power? I have no doubt she would have somehow kept on eye on my fight earlier’
Speaking of which, Jacob would assume that among finding a way to draw him out, Evelyn found out where he moved his family and that scared him more than the thought of facing her possibly alone.
‘Of all the damn times why did she have to strike now dammit!’ Jacob mentally cursed.
His thoughts were brought back to his earlier problem. Sigrdrífa was threatening to fall from inner corruption. He’s never met or seen a Dark Valkyrie before and Sigrdrífa wasn’t very forthcoming on the corruption process of a celestial so he did not know what to truly expect. All he knew was that celestial corruption was different from human, Elven, Dwarven or even elemental corruption.
He had no idea what that meant but he would find out, he would get his answers from her and by the grace of the Chief God he will save her! The mounting thoughts did nothing for his mind, he needed to focus on something else. Jacob opted to polish his weapon and armor to pass the time, hopefully he would be able to calm himself.
And if not, it didn’t hurt to do a few rounds around camp to make sure everything was alright.
Sigrdrífa found herself within the tent being used as a makeshift chapel, this time she did not bother trying to pray to the Chief God. She simply sat on her knees looking upon the winged-cross despondently. There was no need to keep up the pretences any longer, Jacob had found out the truth and now the Valkyrie did not know what to do. She didn’t even mean to come to this place but it was so routine for her to be here that her body wandered inside.
Somewhere deep inside she had wanted to discern a sign, a miniscule acknowledgement that her God had not completely abandoned her, that this was some form of test like she had done oh so many times with the humans. This was it, she had reached her lowest, the only thing that had kept her going for so long after her disconnect with heaven was the knowledge that Jacob was ignorant of her plight, that to him she still had significance, she was holy, she was divine, she was something more.
She took a shaky breath, clasped her hands hard, clenched her eyes shut and she prayed. Sigrdrífa muttered a thousand line manthra in the language of the angels hoping against all else that her God would see her willingness to come back into her good graces, to serve her as she had faithfully done even after all this time. Seconds turned into minutes as she dredged up holy energy with all her might, until her words pittered out, until her posture loosened, until…the tears finally came back and a wracked sob escaped her.
Sigrdrífa heard nothing, felt nothing. For all intents and purposes she was a lone angel crying in a poor man’s church. At this point it couldn’t even be called a house of The Chief God since it was made very apparent that she was not here in any discernible or indiscernible form.
You poor girl.
Sigrdrífa’s head snapped up, her sob was choked off.
‘Could it be…’
She looked upon the cross and swallowed “hello? Y- your holiness?”
Was her prayers being answered?
Had her god finally answered the call of one of her servants after so long an absence?
Not quite~ the voice replied to her thoughts teasingly.
Sigrdrífa was startled, this-this was not her god. Her God’s voice was dignified with an air of regal authority and soothing to the ears. This, this was something else, something sinister, in a way that sent unpleasant tingles down her spine.
“Who are you?”
You know exactly who I am battle maiden.
The Valkyrie could practically see the coy smile just from the entity’s words and it made her scowl. Getting up to her feet and wiping at the tears furiously Sigrdrífa’s wings ruffled in agitation.
“I’m well aware of what you are, defiler”
How rude, and after I went out of my way to answer your heartfelt prayers.
The voice took on a tone suggesting it was pouting.
“That prayer was not meant for you!”
All prayers from the fallen are meant for me child.
Sigrdrífa bristled “I am not-”
-Fallen, yes. Not completely, not yet. I must admit from all the angels that have been in your position you have lasted the longest. Your faith in the Chief God is most laudable, congratulations.
Sigrdrífa cringed, she did not want to be congratulated by her yet she could not help the thrill of nervousness, as much as she and every being who follows the light detested her very existence and even now Sigrdrífa wanted to vomit, she was still in the presence of a God.
The Dark God.
Had her attempts to have the Chief God take notice drew the other towards her? Or had the Dark God been aware of her plight and wanted to finish the corruption personally for her amusement. Sigrdrífa had served the Chief God, had even met her a few times and seen other Gods interact. They were not above meddling with those on the mortal plane for their own amusement.
Was this to be her faith then? To be the next in a very long line of playthings for the amusement of this detestable God?
I find your lack of faith in my goodwill towards you disappointing, but expected.
“What do you want from me?”
Your co-operation would be nice.
“I will never serve you!”
I do not want your servitude Valkyrie. I want your ear, if I wanted to I could forcibly turn you into a Dark Valkyrie and have you set upon your human charge in a single-minded lust-induced haze.
Sigrdrífa shook, the thought of falling and assaulting Jacob with reckless abandon actually excited her for all the wrong reasons. She shook her head and after a fashion took a calming breath before asking “why haven’t you done this then?”
There is always a choice, maiden. I will not force myself upon you like some starving mortal. Really your addition to my forces will not change anything significantly, not when the Chief God continues to lose followers without my intervention whatsoever.
Oh don’t tell me you believe I or my agents are responsible for every human who decided to stop worshipping her? Granted I do occasionally interfere but really humans would simply rather make love than war, such a simple concept the Chief God just can’t seem to grasp for some reason.
Sigrdrífa tried not to cringe, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that she and Jacob had to go through great lengths to ensure that the men aren’t led astray and even then, desertion isn’t at all something they were unfamiliar with, even if said soldier or soldiers weren’t successfully assaulted by the monsters.
It was galling but it was the plain truth.
But enough about her, let’s talk about you Sigrdrífa.
Sigrdrífa shoulder’s stiffened at being addressed by her name.
The truth is I have noticed you for a very long time. I mean it when I said your devotion to the Chief God is admirable, in fact sometimes I wish that bitch would break her asinine rule and welcome you back into the fold. But as she’s demonstrated time and again her pride and stubbornness would not let her allow such a thing. And they call me the dark one.
Sigrdrífa felt indignant at her words but it was somewhat muted when she spoke the truth.
As much as I applaud your conviction I must implore you to reconsider your stance on this. Your decision to remain faithful and not fully embrace the dark is killing you Sigrdrífa.
This got her attention “w-what?”
Angels were created to be a God’s servant Sigrdrífa. Their powers are linked and supplied by the God who governs them. Should they reject or are otherwise cut off from this source then they will slowly but surely perish.
Sigrdrífa has never heard of such a thing, she shook her head “you are lying”
I do not lie child. I know even you have noticed that every battle you use holy power you regain your energy slower and lose just a bit more each time. Even your Hero noticed how weak you’ve become in the end.
Again the god spoke the truth, though she was leagues above the average human in terms of physical and magical ability it was still nowhere compared to what she was when she first came to the mortal plane. It’s as she said, with every battle and exertion she loses just a little bit more of her power and an angel without divine power has either two choices, turn to corrupted power or die.
There has never been an angel who did not choose corruption whether by choice or by force.
How long will you be able to last like this? I doubt you can continue to fight by your Hero’s side after much longer.
Speaking of Jacob made her realize something “it doesn’t matter if I lose my divinity” Sigrdrífa would surely have enough power to at least last until the rest of Jacob’s life.
What is thirty or forty years to that of a being who was centuries old?
Ah yes, your human. The cause, I believe, for your predicament in the first place.
Sigrdrífa grit her teeth
By all accounts you should loathe the human for letting your god abandon you’ gauntlet clad fists clenched ‘if only he didn’t exist you would be-
“Don’t you dare speak about what you don’t know!”
…but don’t I? After all if it weren’t for him, if you had not fallen in love with him, you would have still been a Valkyrie of honor and prestige.
Sigrdrífa nearly scoffed, sure when she first received the order it was more of a chore than anything. Train a human to become a hero but since then, after twenty years it became so much more. Jacob became so much more both to the side of light and to her, she couldn’t fathom living without him at this point. Out of everything she has and had he was the only person to have stuck by her all this time.
Without him what would she be?
She clenched her eyes shut. Remembering his expression upon seeing her shame the Valkyrie’s wings slumped and she took a seat.
Do not fret Valkyrie, he will not abandon you.
This time the Valkyrie did scoff, deep down she already knew this. She was the one who trained him, she was very aware of nearly every facet of his personality. Jacob would be angry, disappointed but far from leaving her, he will be back, they will speak in detail of this and then they will come to an accord. Everything will be as it should given time, he will continue to b the hero and she will stay at his side until the end.
Not if he is taken from you before that.
A certain demon seeks to take that which you covet the most.
Sigrdrífa’s eyes flashed “Evelyn.”
How could Sigrdrífa forget what Jacob told her just after the vampire escaped? This entire thing was somehow orchestrated by that Demon. It has been over twenty years since the demon was bested and fled, without so much as a peep. The Valkyrie should have known better than to assume she would stay away, even the demon of old were tenacious and persistent.
But more importantly they were not above using their infernal magic or other underhanded methods and trickery to get what they want. If she has allied herself with others then in her current state she would not be of much aid to Jacob if there was an ambush.
She would lose him to that blue-skinned slut.
Ah, so now you understand. She has only gotten stronger since last you’ve met. And allied herself with others of similar strength.’
The Dark God’s voice was grating on her but Sigrdrífa had calm down and take a step back to analyze this information before she spoke up “why are you telling me this?”
As I’ve said before your devotion is something I greatly admire and it would be such a waste to see it crumble into lust-induced craze, rather by my hand or the hands of another.
The Valkyrie couldn’t believe that, the Dark God was warning her because of admiration? She didn’t buy into it but the fact that she hasn’t attempted to even corrupt her spoke volumes. Gods were tricky thing to understand but if a God does not do something they clearly can with almost contemptuous ease then it is a fair assumption that they will keep their word.
I won’t attempt to coerce you into my fold Sigrdrífa, the time will come when you will accept my embrace yet and I will welcome you at anytime with open arms. Just know that unlike The Chief God once you are a part of my ‘Order’ I will never leave you and I will never let you go~
And with that the presence that had surrounded her being vanished and the area became just a little brighter despite it being well into the night. Sigrdrífa shuddered and slumped. That was a…harrowing experience and those last words made her shiver. The Dark God had given Sigrdrífa much to think about, but for now she would find Jacob. If she knew him, and she very much did, then he would not be able to sleep as well, he needed to find him.
They had bigger things to worry about than her status, especially with what was said.
Before she left, Sigrdrífa looked at the symbol of her…former God. The golden cross adorned with feathered wings spread across its back. The moment was interrupted by a white flash and corresponding noise that covered the entire camp.
They were under attack!
The Valkyrie gathered her weapon and rushed out of the tent without looking back. That would be the last time she would willingly enter a church-like building.
Several figures watched the going one of the camp, cloaked in an invisibility spell just outside the reach of the perimeter sensors erected.
“I have to hand it to him, that man certainly knows how to run a tight shift with his men” the voice came from Sable, a grey-blue haired succubus who’s horns and wings took on a draconic features.
“I know right, not one of them is even celebrating their victory” another blonde succubus, Myla noted “I mean even we were more light-hearted when we were part of the Order.”
“I heard it’s always like this nowadays” commented a dirty blonde Holstaur who hefted a magitech rifle on her shoulder as she chewed on a blade of grass “gotta admit, they really stepped their game up since we were part of it, notice there ain’t much women down there?”
“You’re right, so much for creating a distraction”
“Feeling intimidated, Roslyn?”
The Dhampir grinned showing her pronounced fangs “hell no, just makes it more fun, right Abellena?”
The Dhampir’s eyes casted upon a statuesque woman with long dark hair and a sword attached to her arm.
“There appears to be a number of skilled sword wielders amongst their ranks” her stern expression turned slovenly as a euphoric smile stretched across her face in tandem with the eye on her sword contracting.
The Cursed Sword didn’t seem to acknowledge the Dhampir’s question as she continued to stare out at the camp in her own little fantasy.
“Don’t even think about going down there” a voice snapped and the five Mamono turned to see a silver haired devil appear with an annoyed expression.
“And where have you been?” the [draconic succubus] questioned
“Scouting the barrier” her annoyance shined “no structural weaknesses, whoever made that thing know what they are doing. None of us are making it through without alerting the camp to our presence.”
The Dhampir shrugged “it’s not like it matters, we only need to distract the Valkyrie.”
“It matters if we have to fight off an army who are expecting an ambush like this” the Holstaur drawled.
“Not if they have something more pressing to deal with” a voice suddenly interjected.
From the shadows appeared the Alp mage followed by Evelyn the Demon and leader of this band of Lescatie’s fallen heroes.
“Apologies for the absence ladies, it took much more work to set this up”
“So are we finally ready?” the Cursed Sword was positively vibrating with anticipation. The red eye on the sword seemed to pulse.
Evelyn chuckled “yes, I do believe we are” she looked over to the camp which would soon descend in anarchy and debauchery.
“Jericho if you will”
The Alp spread her wings and flew into the air, the time which she carried levitated with a dark purple outline. As she began the incantation the pages flipped until they stopped and from the pages a swirl of Mana travelled into the air towards the camp followed by the crack of thunder.
The others readied themselves in anticipation but none more so than the Demon herself whose gaze remained transfixed on the camp, her senses attuned to the largest spirit energy signature.
Then the floodgates opened “and so it begins.”
The ability to sense mana is not as innate to humans as it is to the other races, especially monsters. One has to have the talent, even a little, before they are trained and this is where the skill is cultivated to where the user can discern the different mana patterns and actually tell apart one person from another. There are few mana-sensates within the Order and even fewer who have mastered the skill to such a degree mainly because a simple detection spell is far easier to learn and master.
Luckily Jacob just so happens to be one of the few who decided to learn both. He was the first to notice the large pool of demonic energy gathering in the general area. A wide cast detection spell yielded the precise location of where the mana concentrated.
Jacob wasted no time and raised his hand “FLARE!” A bright ball of light magic s shot off into the night sky then exploded in a bright flash that illuminated the entire camp, it explosion was followed by a loud high pitched whine that was grating on the nerves but served its purpose all the same.
There was not a single person in the camp who has not heard or seen this technique. From the mages who taught and were taught the spell, to the soldiers who could remember the dreaded thing from the days of spontaneous drills conducted in the dead of night. And for those who were not familiar but was briefed on the technique.
If there was one good out of the rumors surrounding a possible ambush was the paranoia. A lot of the men could not sleep and those that did, sept fitfully with a weapon close by. So when the signal was made, most of the men were already prepared somewhat, anticipating and even relieved that their unfounded fear was being justified.
They were ready for the enemy to come and come they did.
It was fortunate that the flare was not an instantaneous spell but one that lingered, its light illuminated the camp like a miniature sun and the mages were tactful enough to add fuel to Jacob’s fire and cast the same spell in several minute intervals. It provided enough light for the soldiers to see them.
“By the Chief God” one knight said in horror.
They came at the men like a swarm of locusts over a peasant farm. In all shapes and sizes, from large voluptuous full grown women, to small barely pubescent little girls, it did not matter, they all came, scurrying forward in a way that had some of the men recoil but one had the tact to shout out for those who were not aware of what was happening.
“KILL THEM WITH FIRE!”
Fire spells were lobbed at the swarm with Jacob contributing but it was no use, there were hundreds of them and they descended upon the camp. The Devil Bugs were a fusion of beautiful women with the limbs, antennae and wings of cockroaches. Even amongst the Mamono they are regarded as literal insects living in the crawl spaces of homes or in sewers, having no coherent thought process but driven by the insatiable lust present in every monster.
“Stay in groups of three, don’t let them catch you alone!” Jacob shouted as he cut down the creatures in droves.
There was no tactic to the Devil Bugs, they rushed the men and women with reckless abandon trying to be the first to get to a human. The order to group up was passed around with Jacob being the only one fending off the horde alone using the reach of his halberd and magic to keep the monsters at bay as well as continuously moving in so as to cover more ground and rescue anyone who might have been caught unaware.
One of the smaller ones, looking not older than thirteen managed to get under his guard and latch herself on his chest. He yanked her off by the antenna, thrust the spear tip back to impale another through and out the torso before swing her into another random Devil Bug. Tossing the one in his hand away Jacob smashed his halberd into the ground creating magic shockwave that blasted the gathering crowd back.
Rushing forward to the recovering monsters he swung the axe, fueled by magic to bisect several of them. Another twirl sent a short range crescent slash made of pure mana that cut up a few more, then another and another before Jacob ended it by separating the Halberd into two pieces and entering a defensive pose waiting for any foolish enough to attack.
The Devil Bugs who had managed to avoid getting themselves killed gave the hero a blank stare but their antennae twitched furiously. Instead of sticking around they all scurried away like the insects they are based on making Jacob actually bewildered for a moment. He regained his composure a split second later and went to regroup with the soldiers and knight who had successfully finished their own monsters off.
By now the horde had spread to almost every corner of the camp, the sounds of fighting and some moaning could be heard all around and even though the flares began to wane, the fires started by the various spells during the initial assault still burned illuminating the camp-turned-battlefield.
Jacob began barking orders “spread out and assist as many as you can, start with the mages and priests. Find them, protect them and disperse them amongst others. Each group must have no less than three persons and at least one of them must be a spell caster. Maintain defensive positions, do not attack any fleeing enemies unless they carry one of our own, we need to hold down this camp for the time being” his gaze went to a mage “should you encounter any high level monsters, particularly a demon sent forth a signal and I shall be there but do not engage, understood?”
“Good, spread word, this ambush does not end with these pests for they are but a distraction! We need to be prepared for when the orchestrators make their move.”
And with those words Jacob was off, heading deeper into the camp towards a certain tent, all the while cleaving through any monsters within reach of his weapons.
“Get off of me you vile creature!” Jacob halted his advance at the feminine shout.
There was a figure writhing on the ground with two Devil Bugs pinning her down trying and succeeding in taking off her armor bit by bit but she wasn’t making it easier for them. Before Jacob could go to assist the knight another beat him to the punch.
“Get away from her!”
An arrow lodged into one of the monster, she gave a shriek alerting the other who was unfortunate enough to have an arrow lodged in her throat. The knight took the opportunity to kick the dying Devil Bug off and flip the injured one to the ground in its moment of distraction, take out her knife and slit its throat in one smooth motion, even spitting on the body in spite.
While the knight began to readjust her armor the archer came with another soldier to cover her. At that point they noticed Jacob watching them and gave a nod which Jacob returned with a small smile of pride.
Suddenly the sound of a shot broke through usual sounds of fighting and the female knight’s head jerk, the helm flew off and her body dropped unmoving.
The archer immediately went by her side but Jacob was no longer moving his eyes immediately trailed a path from where the sound came from and found the culprit. Of all the monsters he could have thought of on the battlefield a Holstaur was not one of them but the thought was thrown out the window once he saw the contraption she held.
Right because how else would a Holstaur be brought onto a battlefield?
She jerked the bolt at the side and loaded another bullet but Jacob was already running towards her. She switched her sights to him and fired but Jacob dived to the side and continued to pursue the monster that was now running back. The Holstaur abandoned the rifle, leaving it hanging from a around her shoulder, took out two pistols and opened fire while strafing to the side.
Jacob followed along ducking, weaving, blocking and deflecting the bullets while gaining on her. Her calm façade strained somewhat as she realized her position and cursed.
“Dammit Roslyn I could use some help here!”
“Say my name and I shall appear~”
And appear she did in Jacob’s peripheral swinging a rapier blade at his head. Jacob cut his sprint, getting to his knees and leaning back as much as his body allowed going into a knee slide. He managed to dodge by a literal hair’s breath. Using the axe half as an anchor he swung himself to his feet to glare at his new opponent. She was a young woman, younger than him with short blonde hair and red highlights on her bangs.
She wore an open long sleeve coat and wide brimmed hat with feathers, her bra was a size too small and would have made her breast spill over the top if it was not held up by a chain attached to a golden bat shaped link attached to a choker around her neck. Along her too small short shorts were thigh guards and below that she wore armored thigh length boots with a garter attached.
She flicked the top of her hat and gave the man a fanged smile brimming with confidence. Jacob in the meantime took a moment to ascertain her species.
‘Vampire? No she doesn’t have any wings, Dhampir’ his eyes narrowed.
“Get outta here Holli, I got this” the Dhampir went into a stance.
“Don’t be stupid, you can’t take him by yourself. He beat Schaibel.”
At this the Halfling snarled “I am a lot tougher than that pampered bitch.”
The Dhampir blitzed forward at the hero who blocked and parried the blade with his spear half and swung his axe, she managed to bring her rapier up to block beginning a fast paced sequence of swings, thrusts, blocks and parries all the while their clashing blades made sparks. A few minutes into the melee and Jacob had a clear indication of her skill in conjunction with his and the elemental vampire.
She was about the same level of skill and she didn’t have the benefit of elemental powers to compliment them. Whatever tricks she did have however Jacob would give her no chance to enact them. He pushed forward, momentarily over powering her, knocked her feathered hat down in front of her face.
But a moment later he swung the axe half into her half covered face. She leapt away hastily, bemoaning the loss of her “that hat was a gift you basta-AH!”
No time to speak she brought her rapier up to block, the force buckled her feet and her heeled boots dug into the ground.
‘He’s strong’ she thought and swallowed at the look in his eyes, the uncertainty of her victory beginning to show.
She broke off the lock and began attacking again but quickly found herself on the defensive before long. He struck fast and hard nearly rivaling the strength of herself but he was only human, he couldn’t be as strong as her.
He wasn’t but he made up for it with skill honed over a decade worth of experience that eclipsed hers. Or it would have if he hadn’t made a colossal mistake, he overreached one of his swings with the axe half. She could not safely block or party it so she dodged to the side in time to see him stumble from the miss, she capitalized on it and lunged with rapier set to pierce him.
As he knew she would.
Before she got within proper striking range his body went with the momentum of his stumble turning it into a spin while swinging the now connected halberd spear first at the Dhampir’s face. Roslyn could not halt her forward momentum, only able to redirect her sword into a hasty and sloppy block while turning her body away.
It succeeded in saving her life however instead of skewering her face, the shining blade pierced her cheek to the bone, cut through the bridge of her nose and ended across the other cheek. She managed to avoid a far worse faith and gain some distance but the injury was deep and the pain…
The Dhampir let loose a blood curdling scream clutching her face. The holy energy burned like salt in an open wound flooding her mind with white hot pain and blearing her vision.
Meanwhile that stunt left Jacob open to take several shots through the chest courtesy of a camping Holstaur.
Demon realm silver bullets hurt like hell and left him even weaker but he was still relatively fine. He also gained some respite as the Holstaur was preoccupied by an arrow flying at her head courtesy of the archer while the soldier went to engage her in close quarters. With the pressure momentarily off him he Jacob took a moment to collect himself and survey the situation.
The knight from earlier was down, presumable dead, the archer and soldier was keeping the Holstaur busy, she was surprisingly nimble for her species, and the Dhampir’s was still trying to compose herself. Jacob went after the recovering monster, intent on finishing her first, then the Holstaur.
The earth shaking was the only warning he got before the ground raised into a wall separating him from his intended target. Not only that but a magic circle appeared under him or it would have if he had not sensed the Mana and avoided it. The same could not be said for the Archer and soldier who froze in place, paralyzed under the magic, he would have to dispel it.
Two figures landed, one to each of the monsters, the first was a succubus who went to the Dhampir behind the wall while the other he identified as a Devil landed next to the Holstaur but kept her distance from him.
“Roslyn got cocky, damn near got herself killed, had to deal with those two so I couldn’t help her.”
The Devil clicked her tongue in distaste “serves her right for underestimating him” her Ruby red eyes appraised the Hero who was in turn trying to figure a way to free the struggling men from the paralysis. She gave him a once over and smirked “well looks like Evelyn wasn’t just singing your praises Hero, you’re definitely worth the effort.”
Jacob didn’t outwardly react but the hairs on his neck did stand on end and it wasn’t from the devil before him. There was a light flap from behind that had him tense before swallowing lightly, then ever so cautiously he looked over his shoulder almost perfectly hiding his anticipation until he laid eyes on her, his body turned fully but he never let his guard down.
The same could not be said for the woman that stood not twenty feet away. She looked exactly as he could scarcely remember, down to the placement of her hair.
The human woman smiled beatifically at him and spoke only too words.
To Be Concluded…