When Sigrdrífa went outside and saw the swarm invading her first thought was to find Jacob, however her plans derailed when a hapless knight found her just as she spread her wings. The urge to take off anyway was great but she managed to stop herself. After properly assessing the situation before her she issued some generic orders and took flight to gain an aerial view. Once in the sky she could see that they were under attack by Devil Bugs of all things, although ‘attack’ didn’t fit, swarmed would be the appropriate term.
The men were doing well in handling the situation but her presence or lack thereof wouldn’t go unnoticed and so she entered the fray making short work of the ones who had managed to overpower some and drove away others with her mere presence. She stuck with mostly melee attacks forgoing magic to conserve strength. It wasn’t long before Jacob’s orders for the men reached her ears allowing her the perfect excuse to be alone.
The truth was Sigrdrífa’s head was not in the battle at all, the prior events with the Dark God and her frayed emotions reign havoc on her mental state. She didn’t need this right now, she wasn’t fit for battle in this state, she…she needed to find Jacob. And she decided to do just that only to be barred at the last moment. Sigrdrífa’s annoyance was on clear display as she looked upon the Succubus floating before her.
“You are Sigrdrífa correct?”
The succubus’ attire consisted of a tight opaque dress, chest armor that goes around an accentuate her large chest, attached to said armor was a black cape which went down to her knees. Her arm and thigh guards were decorated with Lescatie’s symbol, armored thigh high boots and a sword strapped to her hip. Her most distinguishing features however are the pair of draconic wings spread out behind her back.
Sigrdrífa didn’t answer her thoughts went to what the Dark God spoke and concluded “you are that demon’s underling aren’t you?”
“I wouldn’t call us underlings” another voice spoke up from behind but Sigrdrífa was long aware of her presence “we’re just friends trying to unite two people in the name of love~”
The succubus floated with a proud smile on her face. She wore a collar around her neck and the base of her tail, an open coat with heart shaped cufflinks and Lescatie’s symbol on the shoulder, thigh high boots decorated much the same, patches of armor plating covered the side her breasts, nipples and groin with the latter attached to a belt that secures a long sword just above the base of her tail.
“My name is Sable, a knight of the Demon Realm Lescatie and this is my associate Myla”
Sigrdrífa didn’t have time for this but she allowed a bit of banter to buy herself time to “my mistake, because all I see are two dead whores.”
The biting remark gained a shocked glance from the two succubi especially Sable whose eyes narrowed but Myla was the one to speak “you know, Evelyn said that you were uptight but she didn’t say you were a bitch.”
“I knew that demon would eventually come, I was hoping we would cross paths so I can finish her off” she shrugged “but you two will do for now.”
Sable’s expression was stone as she spoke “we have shown you the proper respect as befitting a knight. It would be wise for you to show the same courtesy.”
Sigrdrífa cracked her neck “earn it.”
Then she lunged at the succubus, sword at the ready.
‘He is so handsome~’
Jacob had not said a word after her greeting. Neither had Evelyn, too preoccupied with drinking in the absolute marvelous specimen of man that he had become. Gone was the thin, shy boy still transitioning to adulthood and in his place was the very definition of man. He was taller than her now, leaner, with muscles to compliment his stature and a stubbled beard to complete his rugged look. Yet despite this it was his eyes that garnered her interest, there was not a shred of doubt in them.
They were the eyes of a warrior who led entire armies andawitnessed bloodshed on a massive scale but never let it budge him. She had seen many like it during her time as a Hero and even as a Mamono. It should not be such a surprise but seeing it in Jacob, the one she loved, made her sad and angry. But most of all it made her fearful, for those eyes glared at her with an intensity only saved for their worst enemy.
‘Oh Jacob, what have they done to you.’
Jacob was still staring at her and for appearances she smiled “ do you see something you like?” she lifted the hem of her long dress as she went on performing a courtesy with the grace of a royal “I was feeling a bit nostalgic meeting again after so long” she tilted her head “do you not like it?”
The reaction she got wasn’t what she hoped for or expected. Jacob shook his head with a complicated expression. No longer was he scowling but it wasn’t particularly friendly. He looked a little confused actually.
“No I…” he hesitated “after all this time I forgot what you looked like.”
That sincere confession knocked the wind from the demon’s sails fairly quickly. The only thing she could say was “oh” managing to at least mask the sadness she as he continued.
“Why do you assume your human guise? I am well aware of your true nature demon.”
Evelyn tried not to react at the scathing way he spoke to her. It was expected of course, at this point he must have been fully indoctrinated into the Order. She would not falter here though, Jacob would not be the first hero she had to deal with and Desmona had taught her how to deal with those self righteous hypocrites. Evelyn smiled, it was not a real one but no one would be able to discern it, especially not Jacob.
“If you’re trying to provoke me with psychological warfare you will be disappointed to know I have long since accepted that this” he gestured to her human form “was never real. So cut the crap, drop that disguise and let’s get this over with. I have other more important things to do.”
That stung a lot more than she would ever allow to show outwardly. Instead she gave a dramatic sigh and receded her glamour to assume her demonic form. The dress was gone and in its place was what was essentially a series of well placed straps covering her modesty, barely.
Jacob scrutinized her Demonic figure for a moment. There was no doubt in his mind, despite the time that had elapsed, despite the brief times he had seen it so long ago and despite the majority of their past friendship he’d only seen her as a human, this was the form he was anticipating. This was what haunted his nightmares and, for a time, his fantasies as a teen. This was how he remembered Evelyn, the woman, the monster and The Demon the most.
Jacob didn’t show much of a reaction on the surface however, beyond a pronounced frown and it wasn’t directed at her. His eyes roamed the area before he spun the Halberd and went into a battle stance.
“We need not fight you know” Evelyn spoke “as much as you seem to think the contrary, we are not enemies. I don’t want to be your enemy.”
“You lost any chance at negotiations the moment you came here with an invasion force!”
He punctuated his words by stabbing the Halberd into the ground creating a shockwave that kicked up a dust cloud covering the area. From the dust cloud a massive fire spell launched itself at Evelyn who held out her red clawed hand to erect a barrier. The barrier dissipated the spell leaving the demon completely unarmed.
The flashy spell gave Jacob enough coverage to go after his real targets, the trapped archer and the female soldier. He sent several arcs of magic at the Devil and Holstaur forcing them to dodge. It was a simple matter of stabbing the spear tip into the magic circle to disperse the paralysis.
“Regroup with the others, find Roland or Sigrdrífa.” The two followed his order and ran with the Archer picking up the fallen knight.
Jacob watched them flee before turning around in time to see an arch of red tinged magic spread across the area into the dust cloud which then began to coalesce into a spiral dome and disperse harmlessly into the air.
“That wasn’t necessary Jacob, I am only here for you, nothing else matters.”
“Then come and get me, demon!”
Evelyn stood at the front with the Devil and Holstaur on her right and a Succubus and Dhampir on her left. The Dhampir’s wound was fresh and she looked bleary eyed but most of all pissed. There wasn’t much she could do to act on this anger while the succubus was barring her from doing anything stupid.
“Jericho” Evelyn spoke not taking her eyes off of Jacob.
The Succubus perked up “yes, ma’am”
“Be a dear and take Roslyn away to treat her wounds.”
“What!?” The Dhampir shouted, incensed “you can’t be serious!”
The Demon wasn’t at all bothered by the outburst keeping her eyes on her prize “you are not fit to fight in your current state.”
“But…at least let me stay and keep the soldiers off you.”
“Only if Jericho deems you fit to do so without getting yourself killed.”
She gritted her teeth baring her fangs. That’s when the devil spoke having quite enough of her sass “why are you still here? You had your chance to delay him and screwed up, now scram brat.”
Roslyn’s eyes flashed red in rage.
“None of that” the Succubus placed a hand on her shoulder stopping any retort “and that was very rude Felicia.”
The devil only clicked her tongue in response.
“Good luck” and with that the Succubus and Dhampir disappeared in a red magic circle.
Without any further delays Evelyn went on the offensive.
In hindsight taking on two succubi who seem to have actual combat senses as opposed to simply running on their instincts to try to corrupt and/or seduce her wasn’t such a good idea. On top of being handicapped by her lack of holy magic to repel the pair the Valkyrie realized, in terms of skill, they would have gave the old Sigrdrífa some trouble.
There was no pause to gloat, there were no smiles or taunting giggles (at least from Sable) and more than once Sigrdrífa actually forgot she was fighting a pair of lust demons, succubi who used to be highly trained Heroes. She attributed their lack of distractions to those rings on their fingers.
They were both married.
‘It would seem that demon isn’t underestimating me.”
The two of them had mates (she refused to acknowledge the men who bed them as anything else) and had more than likely taken in a great deal of spirit energy in preparation for this battle. The fact that they are apparently ‘friends’ with the demon would suggest the only reason why they are even here was to keep her away from Jacob.
Speaking of which…
Her attention was taken by a bright shining light that eclipsed the fires for a good few seconds before it was snuffed out.
‘An S.O.S flare, Jacob needs my help.’
Several shots rang out and she could sense and feel the powerful magic being thrown around. Jacob was in trouble and the only thing that was stopping her were these two harlots! The thought made her simmer in rage at the audacity.
The two succubi seemed content in just floating there, barring her from aiding the no doubt struggling hero. Sigrdrífa’s panting breaths became more agitated at the thought of the demon taking off with her Jacob. Agitation became fury and the Valkyrie dashed at the two succubi who raised their weapons at the ready.
“OUT OF MY WAY!”
She suffered dearly for that charge but did not stop, withstanding the brief pain and draining effect of their blades and dived towards where Jacob was fighting. Her flight may have been ungraceful but Sigrdrífa hardly cared for she could see Jacob. His sweating and panting form standing his ground again three monsters one of which she recognized immediately despite how much time had passed.
Said demon along with everyone looked up in tandem to see the Valkyrie angle her decent with an overhead swing of her sword. The demon lashed out creating a barrier just before it hit. The resounding clash sent sparks as the sword grinded against the barrier. Throughout it all the demon stared in cold anger while the Valkyrie gnashed her teeth together, the sound setting her on edge.
In the end the demon won out and her barrier repelled the Valkyrie sending her bodily away. Luckily Jacob was there to catch her before she crashed into the ground.
“Are you alright.”
Sigrdrífa paused, catching her breath “I should be asking you that” she gave him a once over, noting the dirt marks and clear signs of exhaustion on his face.
He shook his head giving her a more severe look “that is not what I meant, your wings” he gestured to the limp appendages.
For the first time in what felt like hours Sigrdrífa looked to her wings and her breath hitched at the number of black feathers which dotted them. Even the regular feathers had lost their luster going from shining white to candle wax grey.
She should have been panicked, ashamed of being seen in such a state in front of her enemy and especially Jacob but she wasn’t. Seeing the concern in his eyes, how he held her and more importantly the jealous glint in the demon’s eyes made it all worth it.
“This is nothing” she eventually responded pushing off him “we deal with them first.”
She said that but Sigrdrífa knew they didn’t have any realistic chances against them. All it took was a glance at Jacob to confirm this, they needed to make a strategic retreat. At any other time she would have focused on this rational thought but the moment her eyes met the black-red eyes of the demon threatening to steal her Jacob an uncharacteristic and territorial snarl escaped her lips.
“Demon” she growled.
“Valkyrie” Evelyn replied with as much contempt though her anger faded into amusement upon seeing her sorry state “hmph, you look pitiful.”
The Valkyrie had definitely seen better days. Being scuffed up from the battle earlier with the undead she hadn’t the time to wash or change her clothes. The recent scuffle with the succubi only made it worse. Her hair was frayed, her garments were soaked in sweat, her posture was slouched, the scowl she sported could make children cry and her grey wings speckled with black feathers were drooping instead of folded behind her back.
“The only thing pitiful here is you demon. How desperate you must be for affection to even stoop so low as to enthrall children” she smirked at the irritated look.
“As opposed to you and your god who conscript said child in your genocidal war against us.”
Sigrdrífa gave a look of distaste “I have no god.”
Evelyn smirked resting a hand on her hip “clearly” she gestured to her wings “though I wonder since the Chief God has abandoned you, what do you have?”
At this Sigrdrífa gave the biggest shit eating grin of her life “I have Jacob and twenty years~”
The thoughts of the gathered monster women, minus Evelyn, were summarized into a single word muttered by the devil Felicia “damn“
Jacob on the other hand gave the Valkyrie the strangest look, as if he’d never met her before and is just flabbergasted by her actions.
‘What is she…’ he froze, Sigrdrífa had given him an over shoulder look and smiled a smile that was so fond it might as well looked alien on her face.
Yet even that didn’t distract him from noticing how a few more of her feathers turned black. As she turned away she missed the weary look Jacob regarded her with. But all that didn’t matter as Evelyn, after a long bout of silence, sheathed her rapier sharply.
“Change of plans” the demon announced “I will deal with the Valkyrie. The rest of you subdue Jacob.”
“This was not part of the plan” the Holstaur cautioned.
“Holli is right, those bugs won’t distract the rest of his men forever” Myla informed.
“That flare he sent out earlier is attracting them” Felicia informed “Abelena is taking care of the swordmaster but it’s only a matter of time before the rest come.”
Evelyn pursed her lips. It had taken a long time to find Jacob and even longer to gain enough information on him to even attempt a meeting. Engineering this took a lot of time and manipulation. She gambled almost everything she had on this and even then it only granted her a small window of opportunity. The Devil Bugs would provide the distraction for his men, Abelena would take the swordmaster, Sable and Myla would distract the Valkyrie while the rest of them would overpower and subdue Jacob.
It was supposed to be a relatively quick and clean operation that casualties on their side. But even such a relatively simple plan had its drawbacks. For one they underestimated the reaction time the army would have to mount their defenses. Evelyn had never seen a battle weary army react so fast before. And they had also underestimated just how resilient Jacob was. The man was able to take on all three of them at once, a feat worthy of praise even if they were holding back.
But most of all she underestimated the Valkyrie or more specifically the relationship between her and Jacob. Yes, it was quite clear to her that the celestial was quite literally falling for him and as much as she loathe to admit it the years apart had made Evelyn’s presence in his heart significantly less than what it was. Jacob trusted the Valkyrie, cares for her a good deal more than he does herself, she has became more important to Jacob than her.
But all is not loss, Evelyn saw an opportunity to exploit this to her benefit.
“Erect a barrier to keep anyone from entering this space” she glared at the duo “or leaving.”
The Devil hesitated for a moment “I’d have to maintain something like that constantly” meaning she won’t be able to fight alongside them.
Felicia sighed sheathing her sword “fine.”
At that moment Jacob took advantage of their distraction and dashed after the diminutive infernal. Myla and Sable were quick to intercept but Jacob was swift in parrying their weapons without stopping. He easily deflected Holli’s bullets and finished off his short sprint by throwing the spear half at the Devil.
The spear’s speed was further increased by the aura of holy magic it was incased in. Felicia could only squawk in shock but the weapon did not hit her. Instead it hit a wall of black sludge-like substance.
“What?” Jacob stared wide eyed at the thing his weapon was lodged in.
The sludge sizzled on impact due to the holy magic but ultimately won out and coverd it before it launched itself at the hero. Jacob was quick to dive out of the way but sent out a rope of magic into the sludge to retrieve the spear half. The weapon was positively drenched in corrupted mana, so much so that he had to use a significant amount of holy energy to cleanse it on the spot.
His eyes narrowed at the sludge before they went to Evelyn whom he now realized was glowing with demonic energy, she was the one controlling it but what was it?
“Since when could you control dar matter?” Felicia questioned.
“The better question is, why are you still here?”
Felicia scowled “fine, I’m leaving but this conversation isn’t over” and with that she flew away.
‘Dark matter’ Jacob regarded the substance floating around the demon warily, his eyes went to Sigrdrífa who did not look to be in the best state to fight.
Not only that but the rate of black feathers on her limp wings was growing.
Evelyn gave a sinister yet alluring smile that sent chills down the Valkyrie’s spine despite herself “I confess I made an error in judgment and underestimated your charm Jacob”
Jacob’s expression said it all ‘what are you on about?’
But Evelyn did not elaborate further, instead she outstretched her hand. Both Valkyrie and Hero expected the dark matter to shoot out but instead Sigrdrífa shrieked as the dark matter oozed from the ground beneath her feet. The Valkyrie could not even muster the strength to fight back before she was strung up spread eagle in a wall of Dark Matter.
“NO!” Jacob panicked his feet already carrying him over to the Valkyrie.
As fast as he was going, Sable appeared running at his side a moment later and swung at him. Jacob blocked but the surprising force sent him tumbling to the side head over heels. He righted himself landing with gritted teeth while his eyes strayed to Sigrdrífa and Evelyn floating towards her. The sight was blocked by the blonde succubus who appeared in his face poised to stab him.
He barely dodged the attack but grunted when Sable landed a hit across his stomach. He yelled briefly when a bullet ripped through his shoulder leaving a brief flash of white hot pain that soon turned to lethargy and something else. It left him open for Myla to blast him further away with magic before pursuing him.
“Jacob!” Sigrdrífa struggled against her bindings in vain but stopped once the demon was close enough “you, bitch!”
Evelyn tsked “such crass. Being cast out of the Chief God’s good graces is no excuse for such crude language.”
The Valkyrie ignored her, straining to see the fight that was now barely in her peripheral.
Evelyn’s eyes also strayed for just a moment as well but she tore her gaze away and forced the Valkyrie to look at her “you shouldn’t worry about him Valkyrie” she spat “I want your full attention for what is about to happen next.”
There was that smile again and despite the pit forming in her stomach she put on a brave front “you won’t kill me.”
Evelyn laughed, it was airy yet filled with mockery and malice “oh, how easy it would be for me to do so right now and it would solve so many of my grievances. But yes, you are right, I won’t kill you. Before everything I am a woman who strives to be the best wife I can be for my husband” she paused “all I want is his happiness, and he would not want me to kill his precious pet Valkyrie. In that regard I concede to you this, you indeed had twenty years to worm your way into his heart while I dawdled. It would be in poor taste for me to take you away from him.”
The admission left the bound Valkyrie speechless for a moment but she scowled upon feeling the demon’s red claws caressing her cheek.
“But that’s all you are” she pinched her cheeks “a pet. While I am his first and only wife” her smile widened in sadistic glee “and I think it’s high time I establish the pecking order.”
Sigrdrífa went to protest but a tentacle lodged itself in her mouth. Several others formed from the dark matter and started to coil and squirm around every contour of her body over and under her armor and clothing. Sigrdrífa glared, muffled curses, screams and moans tried to escape her gagged mouth.
Evelyn smiled, oh how she would have loved to savor each and every delicious moan the Valkyrie produced but unfortunately they were strapped for time. Truthfully Evelyn didn’t really have to do anything at this point now that the Valkyrie was trapped in dark matter. It was only a matter of time before she succumbed to the pleasure and corruption. Even now she could see the light leaving her eyes becoming dull, a clear sign of her subservience.
And yet the demon could feel something was amiss.
Her brows furrowed as the feeling started to grow and the Valkyrie became unresponsive. Not only that, the Dark Matter itself felt different. It began to ripple and grow to a point where the Valkyrie disappeared under its murky depths as if it were a lake of pure black water. The Dark matter still grew and shifted until it was a perfect sphere and at this point Evelyn had to take several steps back in shock.
‘What is this?”
She tried to wrest back control however a chill crept up her spine and she witnessed a very brief flash of something that had her recoil in terror. Whatever had taken control of the dark matter was not only several leagues above her own power but it was also tinged with a power that she had only felt in Sasha Fullmoon herself, dark power.
Dark Divine Power.
It was the only thing she could think even as she descended further into darkness.
‘I can’t protect Jacob. I can’t even protect myself.’
As she began to wallow in sorrow at her own weakness Sigrdrífa actually felt the darkness seepingi nto her very being. She didn’t need to look back to know that at this point her wings were completely tinged obsidian. The only reason why she had not succumbed to maddening pleasure was not because of her now burnt out willpower but by the graces of a god.
Sigrdrífa knew why she was here and more importantly she knew what had to be done if she wanted to save him.
Say the words…
Her eyes closed and she took in a shaky breath before her eyes opened in resolution.
“Please give me the power to serve and protect him”
The feeling afterwards was near instantaneous and overwhelming pleasure.
The Dark God had just overwritten her control and was now personally corrupting the Valkyrie inside a sphere of near impenetrable Dark Matter. Evelyn knew the corruption process took on different forms for the different species but by far the most mysterious were the celestials. Technically though they are called ‘Monsters’ by humans and are allied with the Maou, Dark Celestials are actually under the control of The Dark God whom not even the Maou is said to not interact with or have any form of control over.
Evelyn had heard from her General that Sasha Fullmoon underwent a similar transformation at the deity’s hands. Evelyn had thought it was due to Druella’s invasion of the then most powerful Theocracy under the Order that drew the attention of the Dark God. The corruption of its most powerful priestess would be an opportunity The Dark God who is an enemy of the Chief God would not pass up.
But if the Dark God was here to personally corrupt Sigrdrífa then either this is the status quo of corruption for all true Celestials and important humans or perhaps Evelyn underestimated the value Sigrdrífa had to the Chief God prior to her fall. At this point, the Demon was leaning to the latter than the former as irritating as it was to admit to herself.
The sudden break in the dark matter sphere was deafening, drawing the attention of all those present. Evelyn herself took another step back as the sphere continued to form cracks almost like an egg preparing to hatch. Except the shell did not burst out, rather it it began to peel away from the feet up, like ashes drifting in the wind. Once the process reached just above her waist the entire structure shattered with a flap of her wings finally revealing the newly corrupted Dark Valkyrie.
Two sets of pure Obsidian wings folded behind her back. They weren’t the only thing to take on a darker tone as Sigrdrífa’s skin was now a light shade of blue. She had gained a new set of armor, all black as opposed to blue with gold. It consisted of armored knee high boots, pauldrons, gauntlets with an obsidian chain wrapped around her wrists and dangling from them, her chest armor looked modified to squeeze and accentuate her breasts rather than protect them, a dark helm that is more of a crown decorated with three red crystals rested on her head of now silvery-grey hair and finally she had a noticeably smaller thigh guard that barely covered the sides but left her front thighs completely exposed.
Her under armor dress was now completely transparent and didn’t cover her front beyond a strip of red cloth so narrow that it was debatable if she even wore underwear.
Despite the lewd and drastic changes to her anesthetic, Sigrdrífa’s expression was anything but lewd. Somehow maintaining a stoic glare at the demon standing before her that is so reminiscent of her time before Jacob wondered if she was truly corrupted.
Then she spoke “Demon.”
Evelyn met her glare with equal if not even more venom “Valkyrie.”
And just like that no more words were needed as Evelyn prepared to fire a spell through a magic circle. Sigrdrífa meanwhile held out her arm and formed a magical spear of corrupted celestial energy.
Evelyn launched a magic missile and Sigrdrífa threw her spear but not to intercept the attack. She launched it at a shocked Myla, striking her down with an explosion. On her other hand a heart shaped shield materialized blocking the attack. The resulting explosion blew away Jacob and Sable in different directions and even Evelyn had to leap away from the blast radius.
A small pillar of fire illuminated the area. Evelyn internally cursed staring at the sight ‘it would be wishful thinking to say that I killed her. Although I am sure it hit.’
She didn’t miss the stunt she pulled attacking Myla, her crimson eyes went to the still downed succubus. On the other side of the threshold Sable and Jacob had recovered and were engaging in melee the Hero was slowly losing.
A gust of displaced air had Evelyn gasp and spun, drawing her sword to slash at her back.
Only to hit a scorched but still sturdy shield.
Sigrdrífa floated before her slightly singed but otherwise unharmed. She also now carried both a shield and a sword the latter of which was dripping with corruption. Wordlessly she deflected the Demon’s sword and slashed down before she could react. A spurt of red appeared between them as the blade cut through Evelyn’s body. The Demon could only stare into the Dark Valkyrie’s purple eyes in shock while the latter glared in apathy.
“Be grateful that she no longer believes in killing her enemies” and with that Sigrdrífa used the pommel of her weapon to backhand the dazed demon across the face sending her plummeting into the fire she had caused.
Her gaze now went to the succubus fighting against Jacob and a fire was set ablaze behind her eyes.
Things are spiraling out of control.
His lungs burned, his legs felt weak and every swing of his weapon felt like his arm was about to fall off, yet still he persevered. Then a sharp swing from his opponent’s blade disarmed him and he felt searing hot pain pierced through his chest. She ripped the Demon Realm Silver blade from him and he stumbled back, tripping in exhaustion and crashing onto his back.
He laid there panting, barely able to properly muster the strength to stand when he felt a blade to his throat and his opponent, the draconic succubus, stood over him.
“Stay down, you are defeated.”
Jacob gritted his teeth, his body may have given up but his will was nowhere near defeated and she knew this as well because she raised her sword to plunge into his chest and drain the remainder of his energy for an instant knockout. Before she could perform the deed however something entered his senses and from how her ears perked it did hers as well. They both managed to turn to the side when a blur tackled the succubus away from the prone hero.
Jacob wasted no time, he scampered to his feet and stumbled towards his weapon managing to pick it up.
“Jacob” startled the Hero turned spear first ready to pierce the one who had snuck up on him. Standing before him was Sigrdrífa, her expression stoic and uncaring of the weapon pointed at her advanced “are you alright?”
She paused mid stride and did as instructed taking a step back, her expression taking a dip from stoic to forlorn. After a moment of staring at his ragged face Sigrdrífa shocked him by dropping her sword and shield then getting on her hands and knees.
“I am sorry!”
This…he was not expecting.
“I am sorry that it came to this, please forgive me Jacob.”
“What are you talking about?”
“If I had done this from the beginning, this battle would not have escalated to this point. I could have dispatched those succubi and be here to assist you instead of being a hindrance” she bowed lower, her forehead touching the ground “please forgive my uselessness. It will never happen again.”
…what the hell was even going on here?
“What happened to you Sigrdrífa?”
There was a brief moment of pause where the Dark Valkyrie’s head slowly rose as she spoke “I asked the Dark God to lend me her power Jacob, so that I may protect you from those who would corrupt your soul” her head stopped just shy of meeting his gaze
“That doesn’t make any damn sense!” he shouted finally losing his composure “why would you do something like this?”
“Because I love you” she said without a second of thought and Jacob almost took a step back at the look on her face.
For the look she gave him was one of pure unadulterated adoration and if he squinted hard enough he could swear he saw the inside of her pupils where shaped like hearts.
She smiled widely having said it out loud “I have loved you for many years Jacob and I suspect that to be reason why I was abandoned by the Chief God, not that it matters now. I am now reborn.”
“As a minion of the Dark God!” he positioned his spear at her throat.
Sigrdrífa chuckled “I may have accepted her corruption and I may owe her a debt but I will never serve under another God again” she spat with fury before it melted a moment later “the only one I serve, the only thing that matters to me in this world at this moment Jacob, is you.”
“What?” the Hero’s eyes widened, being caught flatfooted yet again.
“I love you Jacob, I want to serve you, I want to stay by your side until the end. I am no longer the Chief God’s Valkyrie nor am I the Dark God’s Dark Valkyrie, I am yours and I will be whatever you want me to be. I will do whatever you ask of me. So give me your orders my master~”
Jacob was at a loss for words but did not have the time to think as a great gale of mana slammed into his senses and shook him to the core.
“She has recovered” Sigrdrífa noted only half paying attention to the demon emerging from the flames of destruction looking for all intents and purposes like a demon from the time before the Great Change of Monsters.
Jacob found himself turning to face Evelyn, choosing the ‘devil he knew’ so to speak and asked “can you defeat her?”
Sigrdrífa rose to her feet, her expression stoic again “I admit, it will not be so simple”
Jacob lcked his lips eyes darted from the Demon to the Valkyrie who were now sizing each other up “then do your best to keep her away from me while I evacuate the men.”
“By your command master.”
“…don’t call me that” he gritted out before making a strategic withdrawal.
Even as he left Sigrdrífa replied with a smirk “alright…darling~”
At that moment Evelyn disappeared and reappeared right in Jacob’s path reaching her red claws towards him only to get side swiped by Sigrdrífa at the last second. Evelyn extricated herself off of the Dark Valkyrie’s shield via teleportation causing Sigrdrífa to skid to a stop. Her eyes instantly went towards the fleeing Jacob anticipating another attempt to have him.
Unfortunately she never expected the ground on either side of her to roll up and slam into her. Evelyn appeared, having turned visible but her attention was taken trying to locate Jacob.
Evelyn looked over her shoulder “you are annoyingly persistent.”
“Funny” Sigrdrífa dashed at her with a swipe of her sword only to slash at air as the demon teleported away. She looked over her shoulder “I could say the same for you.” Evelyn glared wordlessly but the Dark Valkyrie continued “and it is as you said, in a way we are both too important to him.”
“Oh” Evelyn raised a delicate eyebrow as they began circling each other “I’m surprised you would admit my importance to him.”
“He has trained most of his life in defending against you specifically, demon” she pointed out “and as for me, I am not in the least bit threatened. As this” she smiled confidently and gestured to herself “my ‘fall,’ my corruption will not change anything. So long as I am still the same he will look past it and we will remain as we have always been, maybe even more.”
Evelyn scowled being reminded of how close her Jacob was to the celestial “do you have a point?”
“My point is, Jacob does not hate you or monsters. At most he is sympathetic towards some of your kind and apathetic to most. He fights to defend humans rather than to eradicate you. He kills out of a sense of duty than any kind personal pleasure or self righteousness. I imagine most of his hatred towards you at the moment was for dragging his men into this. And to think if you had cornered him alone and away from here he may have been more receptive of you” the Dark Valkyrie shrugged “oh well, missed opportunities and all that.”
Evelyn absolutely refused to let the shock show on her face at this new information. She could have called out the Dark Valkyrie as a liar but the fact is that she had subconsciously overlooked several of Jacob’s actions that support this.
During the attack he was more concerned with getting his men coordinated so as to stand a better chance against the Devil Bugs than killing the monsters themselves.
He used himself as bait to keep her attention away from causing any trouble and also to keep them from gaining her attention.
But the most damning evidence of all was that he had not once shown any outward malice towards the corrupted Valkyrie beyond wariness. And after ascertaining her loyalty he abandoned the fight to her in order to coordinate a retreat.
Those are not the actions of a religious zealot or even an anti-monster Hero who has trained most of his life to slay a specific monster who has now decided to show herself before him.
Sigrdrífa saw the look in her eyes and smiled in triumph before finishing “in other words, you messed up.”
She did, she had made grave assumptions as to what his character would be, the type of person he would turn out as under the oppressive Order regime. Virtually everything she had planned for up to this point had been under the assumption that he would not ever be swayed by words. She thought him a zealot when he was a pragmatist.
“You lost any chance at negotiations the moment you came here with an invasion force!”
It made her heart break just a little bit more each time she remembered just how much she underestimated him. Her plans were becoming muddled with every thought she had henceforth. It was too late to call off the invasion now but…
“It doesn’t matter anyway”
That managed to jolt the infernal from her ponderings almost as much as the shield bash to her face did. Evelyn was tossed head over heels landing on her chest.
She managed to drag her face from the dirt wiping a trail of blood from under her nose. Staring at it then the Dark Valkyrie in shocked confusion, the look on her face said everything.
What just happened?
“Apologies but you left yourself wide open and I was trained to take every advantage I get on the field of battle” her expression was the portrait of smug, not at all perturbed by her underhanded attack “did you forget what is currently happening Demon? In the end Jacob has his own priorities and he is my priority. As he is YOURS!”
She lunged at the last word forcing the Demon to block, using her other clawed hand to brace the blade. Still the strength of the blow had her heels dig into the ground.
“And I think it’s about time I established the pecking order.”
Evelyn glared into the dark celestial’s eyes, furious at having her own words thrown at her yet the implications stuck. Her wings flexed, a magic circle appeared between them and blasted the Dark Valkyrie away.
“Yes you are absolutely right~” the demon purred, eyes burning with a different kind of lust “nothing else matters.”
Her subordinates could handle themselves, nothing would ever happen to Jacob and she didn’t care about anyone else. Her opponent thought the same so all that was left now was…to establish the pecking order as it were
No other words were spared as the two charged at each other. The first clash had them rebound off each other mid air only to charge yet again. Moving faster than the eye could see both past by each other with the clashing of blades as the only sounds made.
In the end Sigrdrífa won out slamming the demon down and diving after her to follow up with a horizontal swing that hit air. Sigrdrífa raised her shield instinctively just before Evelyn’s sword hit. It took all of half a second for the Dark Valkyrie to realize the weapon wasn’t swung but thrown before she got a heeled boot to the side of the head jerking her forward and into the knee of the reappearing demon. Evelyn followed up by swinging at her but Evelyn deflected with her shield at the last second and grabbed onto her horn.
The uncharacteristic moan that came out of her mouth turned into a pained grunt when Sigrdrífa slammed their heads together in a bone breaking headbutt that would have caved in a human’s skull. Sigrdrífa didn’t feel it as much wearing an enchanted helm however Evelyn actually saw stars for a moment. The Dark Valkyrie finished by kicking the Demon to the ground and launched an energy lance after her. The explosion illuminated the immediate area and blew up a dust cloud.
Suddenly the dust cloud was blasted apart by a swarm of dart matter tentacles making a collision course for the Dark Valkyrie. Sigrdrífa raised her sword and sent out arcs of mana slashes while summoning a volley of energy lances but they only served to slow them down. Eventually she was forced to take evasive maneuvers while cutting down the tentacles but they seemed endless.
“Arrgh!” a magic bolt slammed into her back unexpectantly causing her to veer off course.
Several tentacles latched onto her feet and coiled up her body like writhing snakes but there was no eroticism in it. Sigrdrífa was slammed into the ground once, twice, three times before she managed to rip her way out, losing her shield in the process. Not that it mattered as a wave of demonic mana started kicking up the wind.
Evelyn continued her low chant gathering mana and storing it inside her sword which gained a red outline and hummed with power. The move set Sigrdrífa on edge and she went into a defensive stance though she noted that the Demon was breathing heavier now. Nevertheless Evelyn composed herself as best she could. Ignoring the small amount of sweat on her scraped, bruised blue skin she raised the sword into the sky.
Several dozens of red glyphs appeared around them creating a pseudo barrier effect. Again this seemed to sap the demon of even more mana and it was clear to the Dark Valkyrie that the demon was pending everything on this last gambit. The demon’s next words only confirmed her assumptions.
“Prepare yourself Valkyrie” a swish of her stance had her blade pointed forwards “this is it” a red glyph materialized beneath her feet from which she was launched forward faster than the average eye could see.
Sigrdrífa held her position before launching herself as well only for Evelyn to evade the direct clash at the last moment. By flipping over the Valkyrie and bouncing off another glyph she continued to increase her momentum. By the time Sigrdrífa looked back Evelyn was already upon her. She barely managed to block the attack. Evelyn was moving so fast and maneuvered so well that the Dark Valkyrie couldn’t launch a counter attack before she was gone the next second.
Again and again Evelyn bounced off the glyphs building up more speed and momentum. Within the space of a minute she was blur even to the Dark Valkyrie who tried to find her until…
The force with which the demon’s magically reinforced blade attacked caused chunks of armor to be ripped off but the real pain came from the sword itself. Whenever a demon realm silver weapon ‘cuts’ there is a sharp pain before a numbing sensation takes over, something any hardened warrior can ignore especially with enough exposure. Evelyn’s weapon was no longer like this, it was like fire ran through the Dark Valkyrie’s insides and burned away at her mana leaving a painful throb in its wake.
She was at it again, bouncing round her cage of glyphs, picking up more momentum. Another slam knocked off more of her armor and further weakened her. The third time she managed to parry due to sheer luck but took advantage nonetheless and launch a corrupted Lance at her. The Lance missed the demon but impacted a glyph and ricochet off of several others before slamming into her, all in a matter of seconds.
Evelyn took advantage of this and cut into her five more times. Sigrdrífa had no chance now, this she knew and attempted a retreat. She was intercepted by a glyph that slammed her back into another then another and finally ended with Evelyn piercing through her unprotected back. Sigrdrífa’s scream of agony was like music to Evelyn’s ears. The demon kicked her to the ground but she didn’t crash, instead she landed on her hands and knees.
The Dark Valkyrie panted, sweat dripped from her face to the ground.
Sigrdrífa’s teeth grit as she stumbled to her feet “that was a well played strategy Demon, however, it will not work again.”
Evelyn clicked her tongue “we shall see.”
With a wave of her hand the glyphs of their cage began to circle around them. Evelyn launched off one and the game of high stakes pinball continued. Sigrdrífa summoned several dark purple lances but instead of launching them she had them take a defensive position around her body and had them spun rapidly to create an impromptu shield of sorts. Sigrdrífa then closed her eyes and maintained a loose stance.
Evelyn even moving as fast as she now did narrowed her eyes and sent a weak magic bolt. Once it dispersed harmlessly against the collective shield-lances she attacked the Dark Valkyrie’s flank, cutting against one of the lances.
Evelyn was launched back by an explosion but managed to catch herself on her glyph and continued maneuvering. She attacked again, this time using her dwindling Mana to shield her from the worst of the explosion or outright escaping from it with her speed and agility. With every Lance destroyed another seemed to take its place and soon there was a cacophony of explosion as Evelyn attacked continuously and from ever perceivable angle trying to find a link in her seemingly impenetrable barrier.
In the midst of all this Sigrdrífa remained unmoved in her loose stance. Perspiration from constant exertion built up on her forehead but through it all the subtle spreading of her awareness slowly started to gleam a pattern in the Demon’s seemingly random pattern of attacks until…
Her eyes snapped open and the lances shattered right as Evelyn swung, resulting in her cutting air but her momentum was too much to redirect and Evelyn ended up caught in Sigrdrífa’s gauntlet covered hand, face first. The Dark Valkyrie pushed through the leftover force of the Demon’s charge and slammed her headfirst into the ground.
“I told you before” the Dark Valkyrie yelled, her words were punctuated by slamming the demon into the ground harder and deeper than the last. “ it. Won’t. Work. Again!”
There was a blood splotch on the ground beneath Evelyn’s head. Sigrdrífa stabbed her sword into the ground and lifted the limp form of the demon. She couldn’t see her face but she didn’t need to. She drew her fist back and gave the demon a Mana infused punch to the chest that may or may not of broken a rib or two. Despite the force of the punch Evelyn’s heeled boots dug into the ground and her momentum was eventually halted a few dozen feet away.
For a moment she remained standing then collapsed to her hands and knees coughing up blood. Her vision swam, her insides felt like they were on fire and it actually hurt to breathe. Evelyn used her dwindling Mana to repair the problem.
“Already on your hands and knees after a single punch” Sigrdrífa spoke mockingly “so this is the extent of your resolve, how disappointing.”
The Dark Valkyrie was bluffing for the most part, the truth is while she hadn’t sustained much visible damage or injuries her stamina was shot and her Mana stores nearly burned out from the Demon’s enhanced blade. In fact she still felt the hot throbbing sensation as if she was stabbed but there was no visible wound to treat it.
Evelyn did not know this and in truth was not coherent enough to observe this due to her concussion. But she did hear the words and it reignited her fury. Red nail-like claws gouged the ground beneath her as they clenched into a fist.
“My…resolve…” Mana in the form of red mist of started rising from the demon who staggered to her feet “I have endured for twenty years and I will not be denied what is rightfully mine!”
To call the spell Evelyn released a ‘fireball’ would be a great understatement. It was actually a massive ball of magma the size of a small house and it rolled across the ground with the speed of a stampeding horse. It lit a trail of fire in it’s wake and melted through the ground enough to make trench. Sigrdrífa gritted her teeth in clear alarm, she grabbed her sword and charged at it with a piercing thrust.
The enchantments on her new blade, courtesy of the Dark God herself, were the only reason why the blade was instantly melted into slag. Sigrdrífa herself was completely exposed, sweat broke out all over her skin and her teeth grinded together in exertion. The Dark Valkyrie strained, her boots dug into the ground further as the pressure of the magma ball increased, her sword slowly began to inch back.
Sigrdrífa’s wings flared out but only succeeding in inching the attack away from her body by a few margins. Several corrupted Lance materialized and stuck into the magma ball, pushing forward. Slowly at first the Dark Valkyrie began to push back the molten ball of death. An earth shattering scream let loose from her throat as she picked up speed sending the attack back.
“No!” An utterly exhausted Evelyn, shocked by the turn of events braced both hands forward in an attempt to wrestle control of the attack and keep it away.
For a moment the Valkyrie’s pace slowed from a dash and devolved into strained stomps that while slow was getting her closer.
“D-DAMN YOU!” Evelyn cursed
If that attack detonated against her there might be a chance she would not survive. But she was so weak she didn’t have enough Mana to halt the progression. She however had enough to do the next best thing. By now it was several feet away from her, too close for her comfort but it would have to do.
Using the last of her Mana Evelyn reached out and clenched her claws.
Behind the magma ball Sigrdrífa’s sword and Spears sunk into it.
The sudden loss of integrity was almost as alarming as the bright light it gave off, at which point she understood what was about to happen.
For a moment a bright star shined in the east. At least the men and women of the Holy Order Subjugation Unit thought it was a star in that blissful two seconds of silence before an ear piercing explosion sounded and a force of wind knocked nearly everyone off their feet.
“What is that!?” one of the few men to have managed to not get knocked down by the sheer force of the explosion shouted.
“Sigrdrífa’s battle with the demon has reached its end!” Jacob shouted over the explosion.
“And so has ours” another voice shouted.
Jogging up to him was a younger man in his mid twenties. Short brown hair, a clean shaven face and boyish looks. His armor was ripped and dented in several places and he was covered in a light sheen of sweat and scuff marks.
“Roland, what is the situation?”
“The Devil Bugs have mostly been killed or have fled, some with our men but we are free of them for the time being.”
“Good and the invaders?”
At this the younger man hesitated somewhat before he shook it off and answered “the… Cursed Sword managed to escape before I could finish her off. We managed to drive off the other monsters who bare the mark of Lescatie.”
“Good man” Roland nodded and the Hero turned his gaze to another man “Archibald, report.”
Compared to the master swordsman the other man looked even worse for wear. With exhaustion clear in his posture, the man was littered with bruises and even knicks and cuts to accompany his haggard features. His dirty blonde hair was cut low near to a buzz cut, one eye closed due to blood running from a cut above his eyebrows and he held his bleeding left shoulder.
“W-we managed to drive off the monsterized women sir” the archer’s haunted eyes made Jacob clench his fist in anger but didn’t let it show otherwise.
“Have the healers deal with that wound Archibald” he laid a hand on the man’s good shoulder “you did good.”
The man nodded and stumbled away.
Now that they were alone Roland whispered with all pretense of formalities gone “Jacob we lost half of our men and all of the women are gone. This area is no longer safe for us, we must leave now.”
“I know!” Jacob snapped “I know.”
“Recall all the men we have, make sure none of them have a scrap of demonic energy in them. We are going with that.”
“Would they have enough mana to make it to the capitol?”
“We will use mana from everyone to fuel it. Have the able bodied soldiers scavenge for whatever stamina potion we can find while the mages prepare the array.”
“Yes my lord” and with that the young sword master was off.
Once he was alone Jacob allowed himself to collapse, they had made the refuge in and around his personal tent which served as the center of the camp itself.
“I am getting too old for this shit” he envied Roland, the man had just fought off what he deemed was one of the most skilled monster swordsman he had ever met, yet still had enough stamina to help take care of one of the succubi and drive off the Holstaur. Jacob was no slouch despite the way his thoughts were but then Roland had the benefit of not having as much of a personal stake in this war.
Evelyn and Sigrdrífa…
In short order the list of events that happened after Jacob managed to escape from the Devil girl’s barrier:
He had to fight said Devil and through what could only be plain dumb luck that must have been a miracle from the Chief God herself he managed to land a hit in the form of a powerful spell that may have incapacitated if not outright kill her.
After stumbling his way to the refuge he arrived to witness the horror of finding his men under siege by the Succubus and Holstaur who have managed to somehow monsterize all the women in his battalion…all of them. It was the Holstaur’s bullets he realized later, they were loaded with powerful demonic energy. It was enough to turn women into monsters in a single shot. As for the men, they were partially turned into Icubi.
The silver lining to this was that there weren’t many women in his battalion to begin with since he wanted to avoid that very same situation being the end of his battalion.
Since he had basically used all his mana in the fight with the Devil he was helpless as he watched his own men fight, hesitate or get raped by their turned comrades. In the case of the men they deserted to find themselves any stray Devil Bugs or…just start doing each other.
…Gods he could use a fucking drink right now.
This clusterfuck would have been the end of them if it weren’t for Roland returning and subsequently ending the Succubus and Holstaur’s reign of terror. On the flipside the Archer he had learned he saved really stepped up, defeating two of the turned women and rallying what was left of the men to fight their fallen comrades. He could see it in his face, the look of a man who had to swallow his convictions and put down enemies who had once been comrades, all for the ‘greater good’.
‘Have to remember to buy him a drink’ he looked out at the state of his men outside ‘will have to buy them all a drink when we get back…if we get back.’
How had this all turned so wrong?
What started as an overwhelming victory turned into their greatest loss. He didn’t even need to ask the how or why because who was he kidding? Jacob damn well knew how and why everything went to hell.
It was all due to the machinations of a single, desperate, scheming demon.
Jacob felt his anger rise for a brief moment before it ebbed away shortly after. Even after everything that has happened Jacob couldn’t find it in himself to be completely angry and outraged at Evelyn. After all, sure as animals will seek food and humans will seek happiness, monster girls will seek out mates. It is a fact of life Jacob learned during his first and only visit to one of the Order’s more morbid research facilities.
They call it research but what they really do is torture monsters in all forms and record their reactions. The first time Jacob visited he was revolted and insulted these men and women could call themselves human beings let alone claim to be holy men after the things he had witnessed. Even Sigrdrífa as the stern anti monster extremist she was back then curled her lips in disgust at what those men put the captured monsters through. Aside from that Jacob had witnessed and even saw records of what happens to a monster girl separated from their ‘husband.’
Most are withdrawn.
Some go insane.
Few get angry.
But almost all of them quite simply die.
That is the end result no matter what. For them, as strange enough as it is to imagine, the man they choose literally becomes all that matters to them. They forsake anything and everything to ensure their happiness. Even going so far as to use various magics and charms to put them in a state of blissful happiness. A method every monster extremist use to ensnare a human.
So with all that in mind Jacob knew without a shadow of a doubt that ultimately everything that has happened here, Evelyn’s attack, Sigrdrífa’s fall, the death of his men and the various horrors they had faced that night, it was all his fault. He was the one to blame for everything and Jacob had to live with that fact for the rest of his days…for however long that lasted.
“Lord Jacob” the voice of Roland sounded at the edge of his tent knocking him from his musings.
Jacob forgot his mask of conviction and looked at the man with a weary, aged stare that frankly shocked the man.
Jacob straightened a moment later and asked “what is it Roland?”
“We are almost ready to leave sir.”
“Is that all Roland?”
The man frowned deeply “the men as well as I were wondering as to the whereabouts of Sigrdrífa. Surely she could not still be fighting?”
“…Sigrdrífa has fallen, Roland. She is one of the Dark Valkyries now” he spoke with a tired tone.
“What!? But how?”
Jacob gave him a wry smile “sit down Roland, I think it’s time I explain what has been happening” he stood and went to retrieve a quill, ink and several parchments “after which I will give you a set of instructions you are to follow” he took a deep breath as he dipped the quill in the ink “these will be the last orders I give you as your superior and Hero of the Holy Order.”
Roland’s eyes widened in shock but he did not speak, he could not, for Jacob began to talk of how this all started. The tale of how a no name teenage boy from an insignificant town located nowhere important gained the attention of two of the most beautiful, powerful and terrifying women one could ever meet.
The devastation was immense that much was very clear as was the giant crater still partially red from the intense heat. At the edge of the crater Felicia and Sable stood staring in morbid fascination and slight worry.
“So, you think she’s alive?”
The Succubus knight glared at the shorter devil “I am more concerned about Evelyn” and with that she flew off leaving the Devil by herself.
“Who do you think I was talking about?”
Sable did not hear her or if she did ignored the snarky Loli infernal. Myla had arrived with Abelena slung over her shoulder. The Cursed Sword looked worse for wear yet thoroughly satisfied as if she had lain with a man.
“What happened?” The draconic succubus questioned looking at the state of them.
“We fought the master swordsman…and lost” she winced.
“It was glorious~” the Cursed Sword muttered.
“The good news is that we’re alive” her eyes roamed the battlefield “what happened here?”
Sable hesitated “I am not sure” at the questioning look Sable looked away “I was taken by surprise by the Valkyrie.”
Myla nodded but didn’t press for more, even as a monster Sable was still hung up on the knight’s chivalrous, honor bound code. Why? Myla didn’t really know, especially since Sable was a Succubus and not a Dullahan or Lizardman.
Holli walked up to them covered in injuries that seemed more superficial given how she seemed to walk just fine.
“What I want to know is where Jericho and Roslyn were during all this” the Holstaur was more than a little peeved since she lost her prototype magitech rifle and monsterization pellets.
It’s hard enough to ask those Sabbath girls to let her play with their toys, now she damn well had to take responsibility because she let it get destroyed.
“That is a good question” Sable answered.
The absence of the Alp sorceress and Dhampir swordswoman was felt throughout the battle and in some truth they would have been able to pull off a victory if they were present.
Before any of them could contemplate further Felicia’s voice was heard “hey I found her!”
The group of monster women went to where Felicia knelt by the bloodied, burned and bruised form of their leader.
“Evelyn!” Felicia was by her side utilizing her strongest healing spell.
Eventually her eyes fluttered open or at least one of them did, the other was shut, with a scorch mark across half her face.
The healing continued until Evelyn could move her body “you okay?”
The demon coughed up blood and held her broken rib.
“Right, dumb question.”
The demon looked to her surrounding comrades’ battle weary appearance and croak out “what… happened?” She gasped into a small coughing fit.
The Devil grit her teeth “your hero happened! Tenacious bastard, after everything he still had enough energy to pull off a powerful spell, he caught me off guard.” She added before looking at the others and pointed to Myla and Abelena “those two got their asses handed to them by the Hero’s second in command, Holli got driven off by the knights and Sable was sideswiped by the Valkyrie…oh and Jericho and Roslyn are missing.”
At the mention of her Evelyn sat up and pushed the Devil away looking around wildly “wait, where is the Valkyrie?”
“Dead, most likely” Sable commented.
As the words left her lips the ground not far from them rumbled and the Darker Valkyrie picked herself up from the dirt.
Myla gasped at the bleeding, burned, dirt covered sight of the woman while Sable drew her sword and Holli trained her pistol on her.
Felicia’s jaw dropped “Maou’s tits, how in the nine hells did you survive that!?”
Sigrdrífa didn’t answer for a long time as she tried catching her breath but when she looked up at them and especially Evelyn she spat out a clod of spit mixed with blood and dirt and smiled. Even though it shouldn’t be possible her teeth were mostly white.
“The Dark God smiles upon me.”
The devil clicked her tongue in annoyance even as the Demon beside her growled. Unbeknownst to them that remark was not far off as the Dark God had truly intervened to ensure her survival by shielding her from the brunt of the attack.
Up, get up my dark warrior I cannot have you dying here. You still have much to accomplish.
Those were the words spoken to her and then she found herself clawing her way out the ground.
Evelyn climbed to her feet, teeth barred as she glared balefully at the Dark Valkyrie. Sigrdrífa matched her glare as she tried to stand tall. Both women were heavily injured, exhausted and were almost literally a push away from collapsing but still they limped towards each other intent on continuing until it was done. No one tried to stop them, not even Felicia as even she knew deep down on a primal level they had to finish this.
They were about five feet apart when they suddenly stopped before simultaneously turned. A moment later and the other girls picked up on what was happening, someone was coming. They all watched in silence as Jacob himself strode forward in a slow gait. His shoulders were squared, back straight and steely eyes focused on the two of the three most important women of his life.
Most notably they saw he did not carry the famed holy Halberd for which he made a name with but rather a common longsword on his hip. He passed by the group of monster women, not even acknowledging their presence before he stopped right in front of the two. His eyes roamed both their forms with a glare of hardened steel that made them both uncomfortable.
“L-lord Jacob I-”
Both women said at once, froze and glared at one another before movement had their attention on the man again.
In his hands Jacob had two red vials of potent elixirs that restore one to almost perfect health. He had bought these from a famed alchemist some weeks ago, it cost him a fortune but he figured the moment he was placed in a position to use it would be worth the price to preserve a life.
Instantly Sigrdrífa realized what they were and even Evelyn did after a fashion. The Dark Valkyrie went to protest but was shut down almost immediately when he muttered two words.
Without any preamble the women each took a vial and downed the contents in a single gulp. Almost immediately the effects took place, burning away the cuts, knitting internal injuries, clearing away burns and fixing anything broken. Within a few short minutes both women looked as remarkable as they both first started if a little dirty.
Throughout it all Jacob had his arms folded, glare still in place and lips thin as he contemplated something.
“Are you finished?” he asked much to their confusion but didn’t allow time to contemplate as he continued “good, because I am sick and tired of this farce. Today, good men and women lost their lives and so much more. And for what? So you can lay claim to me?” He looked between them “if I knew this would be the end result of us meeting all those years ago I would have stayed at home, on both counts.”
Both women flinched.
“Or I should have just killed myself” he punctuated this by gripping the pommel of his sword.
A look of horror had dawned on both their faces, both wanting to act or say something but his expression had them hesitant.
In the end he sighed and let his hands fall to the side “however I am not a spiteful man and what is done is done” he looked both women in the eye “and this is done” he sighed letting the anger in his tone ebb away “with that said I know you two won’t stop so to avoid another situation like this I have made the decision to formally resign myself from the Order” he ignored the small gasp and exclamation from the group of monstergirls to continue “I’ve explained everything to Roland my intentions and handed him a letter to be given to the Cardinal and my family. I returned the holy Halberd and gave the men their last orders before they are all teleported away to the capito-AH!”
Jacob could hardly finish his sentence before he was damn near tackled off his feet by Evelyn. Jacob and Sigrdrífa shared a glance but the Dark Valkyrie could only cough and look away with a blush on her face.
“I’m sorry” a muffled sob reach his ear from his chest “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” she kept muttering.
She raised her head from his chest looked him in the eye. Jacob’s breath hitched at the sight of her tears.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen. I-I thought you were like the rest of them, that they managed to change you, warp your mind into being one of their puppets. I…I don’t want you to hate me, please.”
Jacob felt very awkward despite everything, one of the few things he was not equipped to deal with were crying women (or women in general) and especially (as he now found out) crying monster women. The others offered nothing in the way of help well most of them didn’t he could see the blonde Succubus mouth something that steadily gained volume.
“Hug. Her. Back!” she nearly whisper shouted and he was pretty sure they all heard her.
Nevertheless in a combination of this only advice and his own concluding thoughts he wrapped her hands around her. Evelyn stiffened at first but melted into his embrace.
“I know” he patted her back.
“Let’s just…start over.”
She nodded in his chest and after a long moment she spoke into his chest “hello there young man, my name is Evelyn.”
The words sparked a memory he didn’t think he would ever remember again.
“My name is Jacob.”
The day when they first met.
They parted and slowly inched together to kiss.
Only to pause at last minute as they regarded the third member of the group. And this is where things start to get dodgy for the former Hero as the question rose that remained unanswered.
Evelyn rolled her eyes “fine you can join in too.”
“I do not take orders from you demon.” Sigrdrífa spat though approached while tentatively asking Jacob permission with her eyes.
He gave the slightest of nods, very reluctantly and in short order they were all embraced together. One can forgive Jacob for feeling just the tiniest bit of apprehension. Especially when faced with two very hungry gazes from two monster girls that him trapped in their embrace. Then the question arose in Jacob’s thoughts again.
“How are we going to-”
He was cut off as both of them took the opportunity to lunge for his lips somehow managing to capture at least part of it. Then there was the application of tongues and Jacob couldn’t quite remember what happened after one of them grabbed his crotch and somehow maneuvered his hands to cup an ass cheek each.
They were interrupted when a high pitch squeal sounded.
“Yes, pay up!”
Three heads turned towards the source of the noise in time to see Myla collect several coins from Felicia.
“Oh no please don’t mind us, continue.”
Jacob used that opportunity to pose a question (distraction) “weren’t there supposed to be two more of you?” because he remembered a third Succubus and the Dhampir.
Evelyn’s expression became serious though she did not let go of Jacob, instead choosing the hang off his arm like a side piece with Sigrdrífa doing the same giving no room for him to extricate himself.
“Where are they?”
“Like I said before, we don’t know!” Felecia exclaimed.
Sable picked up “they never showed up after you sent Jericho to tend to Roslyn’s wound.”
Before another word could be said they were all interrupted by the sound of a rift in space opening a portal. From the portal stepped out the battered form of Jericho who was promptly shoved forward and fell on her face.
Roslyn soon joined having been callously thrown aside except the Dhampir was even more injured. Both of them were unconscious.
“You are a very hard woman to find” a voice spoke with a thick accent before a woman stepped out of the portal accompanied by several others who were dressed as knights.
A deep and almost all encompassing chill permeated the air at the appearance of the woman. She was just as tall as Sigrdrífa, with pale skin reflecting the moonlight, snow-like hair tied into a bun with a curled bang hanging from the right side of her face. Her attire consisted of a white dress coat worn over a light blue dress shirt where a frilly cravat was tucked, white dress pants were tucked inside blue thigh high boots. Strapped to her waist was a saber but her hands were behind her back.
Crystal blue eyes with slits in the middle surveyed the area while the knights, over twenty in total, surrounded the nine of them. The monster woman’s gaze took in the damage around her, the giant smoking crater, the distant bodies of Devil Bugs and some humans without a word. She locked eyes with the Mamono of Lescatie each battle weary but with weapons drawn and dismissed them.
Then her eyes went to Sigrdrífa and a delicate white eyebrow cocked in mild intrigue especially when she compared and contrasted the injuries to what she saw on Evelyn. And judging by said injuries and their position she had made a conclusion as to the reason for this and it was where her eyes landed last.
She looked at the human warrior in the arms of the Dark Valkyrie and Demon appraisingly like how a judge would assess a prized animal.
Jacob did not know the identity of this woman but he had a very good guess and it was all but confirmed when Evelyn spoke “what are you doing here Rotter?”
Rotter Schnee, General of the undead army and Heiress to the Schnee Coven of Vampires. This was the woman whom Jacob was led to believe he would face earlier today. From what information he gathered and the rumors he heard this vampire certainly lived up to them.
“I do not like to play games Demon” she stated in a clipped tone dropping any misconceptions of this being a polite conversation “you betrayed my trust, tricked my sister into sending a portion of our army into a slaughter and almost had her killed.”
“I did no such thing” Evelyn defended though even her allies could tell she didn’t seem very concerned with the irate vampire standing before her “I warned her of the Order’s retaliation and what it would mean should she occupy the area.”
“You used honeyed words and manipulation to lure Schaibel into a false sense of hope and the Order’s supposed incompetency.”
Jacob scowled at that and it all led back to Lescatie. It took a long time for the Order to finally update the way in which they go about slaying monstergirls but until then and especially after Lescatie there have been multiple rumors and propaganda proclaiming the Order’s incompetency in dealing with them. It led to a period of time where monsters would become bolder and certain places would trust mercenaries to protect their borders rather than the church.
Even now, decades later and The Order hasn’t completely shed this kind of stereotype. The zealots have not been helping.
Jacob realized he was being looked at again by the woman but did not react beyond returning an appraising glare.
“And you must be Jacob” her tone had shifted somewhat “the so-called ‘Lance of Castiella’ but I see no such weapon.”
“Jacob has no need for a holy weapon anymore” Evelyn spoke holding him tighter while sending a heated glare at the vampire.
It did nothing to affect her, in fact Rotter had not taken her eyes off of the man “does this blathering she-demon speak for you, hero? Have you also fallen into temptation like the rest of your kind? Given into the corruption like the Valkyrie? How…underwhelming”
Sigrdrífa did not appreciate the highborn vampire’s tone and her gaze at that moment could make hardened warriors wilt as would her words.
“I would watch how you address a warrior of the gods, you blood sucking leech.”
Rotter removed her hand from behind her back. The temperature dropped a few more degrees with the action though the Vampire’s expression remained unmoved, her attention went to the Dark Valkyrie.
Jacob did not react beyond narrowing his eyes, however he adjusted his arm to wrap around both women’s waists much to their flustering happiness “no, I can speak for myself and I chose to relinquish that weapon along with my title as a Hero of the Order.”
She gave him an inquisitive look before nodding “I see, I would have loved to cross blades with you, if only for the satisfaction of breaking you physically before I moved on to your mind”
With that a cold wind blew signaling the undead knights both monster and Incubi to draw their weapons and level it at them. Evelyn and Sigrdrífa separated and formed their own weapons while Jacob drew his own sword.
“For the injuries you have dealt my sister I will deliver you to her a broken man with a broken spirit” Rotter spoke while she slowly drew her saber, the silver metal gleamed in the moonlight.
Sigrdrífa rose to the challenged and replied “you will find, his spirit, is not so easily broken.”
Rotter’s blue eyes began to glow and ice formed underneath her as a representation of her rage “we shall see.”
Jacob took a deep breath “yes we shall.”
Before they could all start however Sigrdrífa spoke in a whisper “Jacob?”
“Do you believe in destiny?”
The question brought on another bout of nostalgia and he laughed. The seeming mockery spurred the vampire to initiate the attack and the others responded in kind.
Meanwhile no one took note of the flash that signaled the successful escape of what was left of the Order warriors.