For the past 16 years of his life Jacob had lived simply. He came from a well off family that wasn’t too poor yet wasn’t rich, merely fortunate. His father ran a mercantile shop while his mother would stay at home and take care of the house. For as long as he could remember Jacob’s path in life was set, he would receive an education via homeschooling by his mother and afterwards he would be taught how to run his father’s shop. Eventually he would own the shop himself to do with what he pleased.
Most boys his age wouldn’t feel content with this, having lived within the Order ruled lands the men of his city were all flocking towards the church and recruitment centers. Jacob wasn’t like most boys, he never dreamed of going on any grand adventurers, slaying monsters, saving maidens or having his name recorded in history. Jacob was content with his quiet, mediocre life which he loved, Jacob didn’t have many friends growing up but that was alright as it allowed him to maximize the full potential of his mediocre life.
Just because his life was mediocre by others’ standards didn’t mean that Jacob had to be like that. Jacob put a 100% in everything he did, he was a fast learner, had an above average physique and a caring yet calculating personality not found in such a small place. It stood out sometimes as unnatural to others how Jacob could be this way though it was never deeply explored. All Jacob knew was that he could only do what he wanted to do and he didn’t need an explanation for how he could do some of the things he did.
That all came crashing down one day during a visit to the church. Though Jacob wasn’t the religious sort his parents mainly his mother was. His mother would read him scriptures even as an infant, pray extensively three times a day every day and kept to the tenets of the Chief God. Jacob’s father was of the same mind as he was on the subject of religion-Jacob had a suspicion that if he had his way then they could be looking over ledgers together rather than going to pray.
But his father wasn’t brave enough to go against his wife at the best of times unfortunately.
Even before they went to the church Jacob could tell that day was going to be…different and that in itself was not necessarily a good thing. On the way over he noticed that there seemed to be the presence of more people than he had expected, a lot more actually. The longer he went the more the crowd seemed to concentrate until before they knew it they were gathered outside the church.
Murmurs were aplenty but Jacob could gleam nothing from the many voices coalesced together though he managed to overhear a nearby conversation.
“What is happening in there?”
“Haven’t you heard? They say that an angel is visiting”
That was about all Jacob needed to hear, a visiting angel more than warranted this much attention. Needless to say having your God’s messenger grace your small town was a very big deal and of course Jacob was excited. Angels were rare to see, it is said even a hero could go his whole life without ever meeting one. Jacob just knew that if he ever got a glimpse of her then it would be the highlight of his young adult life.
Eventually the church doors opened and several priests came though Jacob or anyone else doubted they had been aware of them, not when she had exited. Jacob had heard a thousand stories and had seen a hundred illustrations of them but none would ever do the actual thing justice. He had thought of it before but the moment he laid his eyes upon her it was truly the highlight of his teenage life.
She was easily the most beautiful creature he had ever seen and ever will see. Healthy flawless skin, sun-kissed hair that seemed to shine two pairs of snow white wings folded behind her back and her eyes were the brightest viridian. She was adorned in blue and gold light armor with plated golden crosses etched onto it in different areas and a blue blouse and skirt underneath. One would forgive Jacob if his eyes strayed, he was a hormonal teenage boy and the armor and blouse only served to accentuate her toned stomach.
While he was staring mesmerized by her beauty and angelic features Jacob hadn’t noticed she had stopped walking until their eyes met.
“Urk!” he jerked back a little, he had been caught staring,
Strangely she didn’t look offended, more shocked actually, that changed a moment later and she frowned while making her way towards him. The crowd parted for her and Jacob tried to shuffle aside to join the sea but it was all in vein. As if they realized he was the one she was gunning for they made a semi-circle around him, partly to not get in the way of the angel and partly to cut off his escape route.
“Boy” he stiffened and looked to the angel who was a lot taller than him, at least an entire foot taller.
“Y-yes, um miss angel?”
“What is your name?”
“Jacob miss” he was nervous and awed at the same time wanting to look away and stare, the dissonance was starting to make him feel light headed.
To his surprise/pleasure she smiled and damn if it didn’t set his insides on fire “hello Jacob my name is Sigrdrífa, may I ask you a question?”
Resisting the urge to innocently say “you just did” he nodded “yes…?”
“Do you believe in destiny?”
That one question she asked started it all and Jacob would remember in the years to come. As it was explained to him, the term angels are a collective name given to a group of celestial beings who serve the gods. There are regular low ranking angels for which the names are derived but there are also others which denote their position in heaven. Sigrdrífa happens to be a Valkyrie, a class of angels referred to as battle maiden who served a in heaven’s army.
She explained that among their duties a Valkyrie is sometimes charged with seeking out humans with great potential and raising those humans into great heroes. Apparently Jacob has, deep within him, the potential to become a very powerful hero and by order of the gods themselves Sigrdrífa is charged with the task of mentoring him. Which means she will be taking him to the capital where all heroes chosen by a servant of god go to learn.
It would mean goodbye to his simple, content life, goodbye to his family, goodbye to his few friends and goodbye to his home. It was already a foregone conclusion Jacob was going, the Valkyrie may have said it was his choice but really ‘choice’ was just an illusion, the truth was his life up to that point was gone the moment she looked him in the eyes. The town would sooner execute him than allow someone who ‘defied’ the will of the gods to live in their midst.
He would go but he had one more thing left to do before he did.
Outside the border of the village stood a grassy hill and built on top of that hill was a small mansion surrounded by a garden. The house was built long ago by a wealthy aristocratic family who has since moved away. During their absence, the mansion was for a time home to vagabonds, hooligans and teenagers looking for an escape.
In recent years the mansion was allegedly bought and renovated by a single person. This person not only managed to fix the place up to make it seemed as if it was recently built but has also defended it against any seeking an easy fortune. There have been many rumors surrounding the person in question from the believable to the outlandish.
Jacob didn’t really listen to most rumors since the woman had been a long time customer of Jacob’s father for years now ever since she moved to their quaint little town. Jacob would admit he had a crush on the older woman, then again most of the teenagers and some adults had a crush on her, she was a very beautiful woman.
He found her as he always did when he visited sitting by the tree near her garden simply looking over the town. Their eyes met and she gave him a divine smile that gets him every time and despite the circumstances he averted his gaze with a blush.
“Hello Jacob” she greeted as he approached.
“Good day miss Evelyn.”
“You are just in time, I made lunch” she stood and ushered him inside by the shoulder.
He swallowed a bit, Evelyn was a fair skinned older woman with shoulder length brown hair and vivid green eye wearing a long grey blouse with an apron. Her feathery brown hair was partially obscured by a bonnet. To be frank she dressed as any village girl would but she certainly didn’t look like any peasant, as mentioned she was very beautiful and until today was the most beautiful woman he had known.
She was also a mysterious one, no one really knew much about her past so they could only speculate and in the case of women, gossip. Rumors circulated from her being the daughter of a merchant to her being a runaway noble. Both rumors were plausible since she carried herself with a grace and poise one would expect from someone born in the upper class, combined with her beauty, apparent wealth and well, Jacob wouldn’t be surprised to find her in a royal procession.
Jacob soon found himself seated at a table covered with embroider cloth and expensive silverware while Evelyn prepared him a meal. He couldn’t explain the reason why but she’d taken a shine to the youth and Jacob would like to think they were at least friends since ever since a few months ago she would invite him inside for food, or to play or to even listen to how his day went and tell him how her day went.
Sometimes Jacob would like to imagine they were married then reality would slap in the face when he realized he was barely a teenager and she was a full grown adult woman who could literally have any man she wanted. It stung a bit but the fact that she chose to spoil him with great food and an ear to listen stroked his ego a lot.
His thoughts soon went to how he was going to break the news to her that he would be leaving town with no prospects of coming back. That thought halted when the heavenly smell of what she was preparing hit his nose.
“Here you are, I hope you like it.”
Jacob smiled, or at least tried to, this was the highlight of his day, sometimes his week and the thought of this being his last supper so to speak muted his excitement, something the older woman noticed.
She sat down and gave him a stern expression “Jacob.”
He fidgeted a bit “um…an angel came in town today.”
There was a pause as Evelyn took her attention from her food to look at him for a brief moment then resumed eating “…so I’ve heard, it must have been quite a spectacle, I wish I could have been there to witness it” she smiled.
The smile was like one she had always gave him yet he could tell the atmosphere shifted at the mention of the angel.
“Y-yeah, I mean it was great, um…she was actually a Valkyrie and her name is Sigrdrífa”
“Oh, is that so?” she said not paying any particular attention.
“And…she wants me to go with her to the capital to become a hero!” Jacob blurted out.
The distinct sound of silverware scraping against the ceramic plate made Jacob wince and Evelyn slowly spoke “what did you just say?”
“Lady Valkyrie said that I was chosen by the Chief Goddess to be trained in the capital and become a hero.”
Evelyn took a moment to stare before mumbling “I-I see, so you are leaving then?”
The stutter threw Jacob off a little, Evelyn did not suddenly get speech impediments which meant that the news of his indefinite departure was hitting her more than he thought it would. It made him sad to know this would be his last day seeing her but there was nothing he could really do about it.
“When will you leave?”
“So soon?” her eyes went to the window which showed the sun beginning to enter its waning cycle.
Jacob didn’t want to leave so soon either but Sigrdrífa had insisted that they depart as soon as possible and to make matters worse.
“I can’t stay long”
“Do you want to go?”
“Um, excuse me?”
“I was curious, for someone chosen by the gods you don’t seem too enthused about it.”
“I-I don’t know what you mean. It is the highest honor to be chosen by-”
“Jacob” she reached over to hold his hand “you don’t need to defend them, I understand you don’t really want to be a hero do you.”
It wasn’t a question so much as it was an observation on her part, gods was he that transparent?
“…” he couldn’t answer that, if he was chosen by the gods then they might just be watching him right now.
“It’s alright you know, I won’t judge. Everyone has a choice Jacob, if you don’t want to become their Hero then all you have to do is say no.”
Jacob’s mouth trembled “I-”
Evelyn seemed to peer down at him even more “yes?”
‘When did she get so close?’ In the time that he had taken his eyes off of her the older woman was now sitting beside him.
Her head tilted “why? Are you worried about angering the gods? Are you concerned with how the people and the church will see you? Or perhaps are you worried you won’t be able to live up to their expectations.”
His eyes widened and Evelyn smiled “what if I were to tell you there was a way for you to decline their offer without worrying about the implications. What if there was a way for you to live your life how you wanted it without having to conform to the Church’s religious dogma?”
For the short time they’ve known each Jacob had never known Evelyn to be anything more than a demure lady with a gentle disposition so to see her so agitated was throwing him for a loop. He was being lost in her eyes which had taken on an edge that was equal parts passionate as it was alluring.
Who was this woman who had taken over the soft spoken big-sister type woman he had come to know?
Her eyes snapped away from his breaking the spell and he saw an uncharacteristic scowl mar her exquisite features for but a moment before she showed a normal pleasant smile except this one was different, it didn’t quite reach her eyes.
“I’m afraid we will have to resume this conversation at a later time, it would seem I have some troublesome guests who will be arriving soon.”
She stood up and Jacob did as well “should I leave?”
“Nonsense Jacob you are staying right here” she spoke “I need to prepare for them, you will help me.”
“Um, okay I-” she grabbed his hand before leading him away before he could finish his sentence.
The halls and subsequent rooms were mostly baron of any personal effects from what Jacob could see which was all the boy could do when Evelyn kept a tight lip about who exactly she was ‘preparing’ for, what she needed his help doing and where they were even going. His last question was answered when she lead them to a room.
His eyes roamed the modest room as unlike the rest this one had various items, such as a small library in the corner, a personal desk, a large bed with sheets that looked to be made of the finest material. His eyes were drawn to something else however, a large portrait of Evelyn herself except not as she is now. The Evelyn in the portrait was not a noble woman but a noble warrior in light armor wearing the symbol of the Order. Below the portrait a sword was mounted and he recognized it as the same sword strapped to her waist in the portrait.
“Do you like it?”
Jacob shook himself “um yes, it looks very” he gave her a side long glance “nice.”
Evelyn raised an eyebrow but she smiled nonetheless “well thank you Jacob”
“You were part of the Order?”
“Yes I was and good riddance” Jacob looked startled at the unexpected edge in her voice she waved it off “I don’t much care for my time in it. That place was more of a prison and each time I look at this portrait I thank the gods I made the decision to leave.”
‘Then why do you keep a portrait of yourself like this.’
As if reading his mind Evelyn spoke “the portrait was a gift” she said standing before it “I may not have very fond memories of my time with the Order but far be it for me to forsake something so beautiful. The artiste really captured me well…” she spoke with a hint of fondness then just stared.
Jacob was actually curious to know more but didn’t want to impose and it left him in an awkward position.
Evelyn seemed to come from her reverie and chuckled holding a palm to cheek “oh my, here I am getting lost in memories again, I feel so old sometimes.”
‘You don’t look it though’
“Hmm?” she looked to him a bit of coyness in her smile.
Just as quickly as it was there, the smile dropped and the sounds of someone banging on the door could be heard followed by shouting.
“EVELYN KRAUSS, BY ORDER OF HIS EXCELLENCY YOU ARE HEREBY UNDER ARREST FOR TREASON!”
Evelyn cursed out loud which was in itself even more shocking than the freshly delivered news of her treachery “I thought I had more time.”
“What is he talking about?” she did not answer and instead went to her wall mount to retrieve her sword then looked to him.
Jacob flinched under the intensity of her gaze and coupled with the recent reveal of her knight status and alleged treachery, Jacob in that instance feared for his life. Then she crossed the distance between them so quickly it was as if she glided across the room. She got in his face still holding her sword and Jacob shut his eyes on instinct.
If he was expecting a sword to the gut it never came and instead he felt softness upon his lips and chest followed by an embrace that pressed their bodies together even more. His mouth opened in shock but all it did was send an invite for the older woman to push her tongue into his mouth Jacob’s eyes locked onto Evelyn’s and even through his shock his arms found their way around her hips.
She moaned in their kiss before withdrawing while sucking on his tongue with a wet smack “oh, how long I’ve wanted to do that” she panted.
“Wha-I…wha just…” he babbled incoherently.
Evelyn smiled impishly before she sighed “I wanted to wait until your birthday to do this. I had it all planned out too” she stepped away from him with a serious expression “I know you have a lot of question dear and I will answer each and every one of them but for now stay here and be quiet, they cannot know you are in here.”
As she went for the door Jacob called out “Evelyn!” she looked over her shoulders and he swallowed “be careful.”
She flashed him a beatific smile “I will” then she was out and the door shut ominously.
Almost immediately Jacob lost feeling in his leg forcing him to stumble over to the closest piece of furniture which happened to be her bed. He tripped and landed back first onto the soft sheets simply staring at the ceiling. Eventually his thoughts caught up to him and he realized something very important in this complex situation.
“She likes me, Evelyn likes me!” he said with a wide smile on his face.
It was incredible, this…it felt like a dream, was he dreaming? Because he’s had dreams about this before and-
The explosion startled him enough to make him sit up straight, there were sounds of fighting outside, shouting, clashing steels and- “Evelyn!”
Jacob rushed towards the door trying to pry it open but it wouldn’t budge. He knocked his shoulder against it but to his shock he was pushed back stumbling. His shoulder hurt and the door- Jacob gasped when a bright red sigil appeared on the door. Jacob was by no means a practitioner of magic but even he knew there was something not quite right with that particular rune.
‘Did Evelyn do that?’
It didn’t look like something a holy knight would use but what did he know?
Dust rained from the ceiling as something crashed on top of it, Jacob could hear the muffled voices shouting before a piece of the roof was smashed in raining debris and dust on him. He cried out scrambling away as the light shone through and he looked up to see a familiar if partially obscure face peer through.
It was the Valkyrie he met this morning ‘what is she doing here?’
Sigrdrífa was yanked from the hole, several crashes sounded making their way to above the bed until a steady thumping sounded, like someone knocking against a wall. Jacob could make out the last three louder thumps were followed by shouts then the roof exploded inward. The bed was destroyed and the force sent Jacob flying back and into the wall dazed.
His vision swimming Jacob pulled himself up and watched the bed only for a blur to fly by and through the wall.
A bruised and scowling Sigrdrífa walked out and towards him “what are you doing here!?” she yelled before shaking her head “never mind” she dragged the confused teen towards the door before knocking it down and pushing him out “get out of here!”
“DON’T TOUCH HIM!!” a disturbingly familiar voice yelled before Sigrdrífa was tackled aside.
“Run Jacob, go to the church, they will protect you!” the Valkyrie shouted
An explosion rocked the house but Jacob didn’t question it, he was already at the door which was open. He found several knights of the Order and guards sprawled across the front yard. Another explosion sounded and against his better judgment Jacob turned and his heart nearly stopped at the sight. There was a woman just where he was but that was all she was, a woman but not human.
“Jacob” the woman rushed at him only to be stopped when Sigrdrífa appeared grabbing her leg and swing her into the kitchen and out of view.
The Valkyrie turned her sharp gaze at him and yelled “GO!” before engaging the…woman again.
This time Jacob didn’t stop he ran from the crumbling house, through the garden and down the hill, ignoring everything else. He was well on his way towards the village borders when something grabbed him by the shoulders and plucked him from the ground. Jacob flailed, looking up he saw that it was the woman-no the monster Sigrdrífa was fighting before. Jacob screamed, trying to pry her talons from him but it was a futile effort and in no time he found himself taken into the forest where he was dropped.
Jacob groaned from the impact but quickly got to his feet when the monster landed not far away. The woman stood or rather leaned against a tree not far from his position, it seemed Sigrdrífa had managed to wound her. The woman’s body was covered in dirt and injuries and her clothes were…her clothes looked familiar.
“Please don’t stare Jacob” she said turning away but exposing a bruise.
Jacob swallowed as he stared at the woman, the monster and spoke a single word “Evelyn?”
She gave him a sidelong glance “I didn’t want you to see me like this” she said looking down “at least not yet and not here.”
“Wha…wh…you- you’re a…”
“Monster?” she finished with a chuckle “we prefer the term mamono nowadays but yes I am a ‘monster’ more specifically I am a Demon.”
A demon, Jacob sputtered at a loss for words. The woman he had made friends with, his only female friend was a demon of all things. Sardonically he thought it would make sense, after all no woman would ever be interested in even talking to someone like him let alone professing their love by giving him a passionate kiss.
Which reminded him ‘I kissed a demon’ he should feel sick at the thought but the actual act of kissing her was by far one of the greatest moments of his life.
Even now as she stood there with her clothes a mess, covered in cuts and bruises, her skin now a shade of blue, her brown hair ashen, a spaded tail hanging by her leg with folded wings, a horn and her red-black eyes, Jacob could still see the tender woman he had spoken to all this time within this demon. In fact he would go on to say that Evelyn had never seemed more alluring.
Or perhaps that was the point, he had heard the church preaching about how succubi and demons would place spells upon themselves to lure men into corruption. Jacob was now suddenly guarded because as defenseless as she looked right now this creature he knew as Evelyn was very dangerous, anyone who could fight off a group of Holy Knights and a warrior Angel was more than deserving of such a label.
‘I need to escape’ he thought frantically edging away from the still recovering demon.
“Please don’t go” she spoke softly yet firmly.
Jacob didn’t know why he stopped but he did, something compelled him to halt his plan of escape and listen to what she had to say. With a quick breath Evelyn removed her palm to reveal her injury healed.
The demon looked at the boy practically frozen in place and approached him “you’re afraid of me, don’t be. What the church spread to humans about us is a lie Jacob. I know you are a smart boy, if anything they said were true then this situation would be very different.”
Jacob didn’t really want to think about what if’s right now but he did anyway because there was a demon right in front of him and he wanted to at least know “why me?” he every much doubted she could have
“Do I need to have a reason to fall in love?”
She sighed before her head perked up and her eyes swiveled to the side “dammit, we have to go” she began concentrating and a red glowing glyph appeared under them.
‘Go, what does she mean by we?’
Once he realized what was going to happen Jacob panicked and tried to run only for his body to be petrified ramrod straight “agh!?”
“Stay still Jacob”
“What are you doing?” his voice came out strained with the effort of breaking free of his invisible constriction.
“Trying to locate the nearest Demon Realm to teleport to” she paused “found it!” the circle began to glow even brighter. Her smile grew brighter even as his expression grew pale.
Just as they were about to be transported though a spear made of yellow light impacted the center of the glyph with a loud thunk cracking the array.
“No…” Evelyn breathed out before both of them were absorbed in a yellow light-filled explosion.
Evelyn managed to get in front of the blast and leapt away with Jacob in her arms but not without sustaining damage. Landing away from the freshly made crater Evelyn began checking on the human with worry just as Sigrdrífa landed behind her sporting her own minor injuries.
“You’re not going anywhere hellspawn” she declared then plunged her blade into the ground erecting a barrier around them.
Evelyn didn’t acknowledge her and Sigrdrífa saw her kneeling over the boy “step away from the boy demon!”
Evelyn finally moved, turning a murderous gaze towards the angelic warrior that made even her pause in shock. Evelyn’s eyes blazed red, demonic energy seeped from her body as she clenched her blood spattered claws. The clothes she wore burned away in fire-like mana revealing the standard set of armor worn by demons in the Maou’s army. That is, a variant of a string bikini with very little armor consisting of arm, shin and thigh guards. Her lack of clothing also revealed a pleasure run on her left breast in the shape of a heart. What truly caught the Valkyrie’s eyes were the symbols of a red eye on her heeled boots, gloves and thigh guards.
Anyone would recognize the symbol of the Mistress of Lescatie, Druella.
This changes everything!
Despite the aggressive stance of the high ranking monster before her Sigrdrífa’s excitement rose at the challenge, if she could interrogate this demon then it might give some insight into the happenings of the fallen theocracy.
Before that though she had to actually defeat her, a task which seemed to get more and more daunting the more she looked into those smoldering red eyes.
“You hurt my love! YOU DIE!!” she screamed in righteous fury, then she charged with a forward thrust that slammed into Sigrdrífa’s guard.
His ears were still ringing by the time he woke up and he was also in some pain, scratch that he was in a lot of pain. The ground beneath him shook and his bleary eyes opened to the clear sky. He groaned in pain as he tried and failed to get up, at that point the ringing had subsided to a dull throb and the noises of his surroundings came up.
By the time that he did manage to at least drag himself to a sitting position the earlier sounds seemed to have ramped up and he could actually make them out and where they were coming from. His eyes widened as they took in the damaged surrounding the area, he followed the sounds of clashing steel until he was staring at the forest.
Jacob stumbled to his feet, heart racing, they were still fighting. His gaze went to behind him and where the town was and started walking until an explosion caused the ground to shake. It was all he could do to not fall flat on his face. Looking back into the forest he swallowed, the battle didn’t seem to be slowing one bit.
They’re really trying to kill each other.
It dawned on him then that if he left then one of two things would happen. Either Evelyn would win and she would be free to come for him and whisk him away to some distant demon realm. Once word got around that Evelyn killed a servant of the Chief God he would be marked as corrupted and an accomplice. His parents would be made to face the brunt of the accusations while he was gone. Jacob could only imagine what would happen to the parents of the boy who was cohorts with a demon.
On the other hand if Sigrdrífa won then…he would never see Evelyn again. He’d be taken by the Valkyrie to begin training as a hero. The answer to him was so simple, regardless of what Evelyn was Jacob didn’t think she could beat Sigrdrífa, call it a gut feeling but he felt if he left this place then he would never see her again.
Maybe that’s the reason why he couldn’t bring himself to walk away. Everything he was ever taught told him to leave the demon to her fate, yet at the same time he couldn’t just discard the times they had spent together. Maybe at some point during all that she did charm him into being her servant. He didn’t feel any different but maybe that’s point, could be, he didn’t know but what he did know was-
‘I can’t leave like this.’
And with that Jacob ran straight into the fight.
“Why did you come here!” Evelyn’s arms were a blur as she tried to score a hit against her foe.
“I should be asking you that!” Sigrdrífa grunted blocking and parrying the strikes with her shield before slashing at the demon.
“You ruined everything!” she leapt over the Valkyrie and summoned Dark Matter tentacles to bound her “if it wasn’t for you he could have remained out of this war, we would’ve been happy” she lunged at the bound Valkyrie sword poised to strike her heart.
“I-” Sigrdrífa’s four wings were enveloped in light as they cut through the tentacles and she dodged the strike “saved him and this town from your corruption”
Evelyn followed after her resuming their fight in the air “hah, I had no intention of corrupting anyone in this town let alone him!” she sent several red magic missiles after her.
“Lies!” Sigrdrífa dodged the attacks and used her shield to deflect the last before summoning four golden energy lances and sending them after the rapidly gaining demon “You walk the land corrupting everything you see for your own twisted pleasure, that’s all your kind does! Especially your dark mistress” she added.
Evelyn dodged the missiles and met the Valkyrie in a clash of steel that reverberated through their bodies “I have not served Lady Druella for many years” she hissed breaking away only to resume their airborne clash before she chanted sending another red magic missile though this one was thicker and was in a spiral shape.
“Why else would you come here?” she deflected the attack and rushed her “why else would you be interested in an unassuming young boy, if not to corrupt him then mold his potential to suite your needs” as she continued to fight the demon Sigrdrífa was unaware that the missile she deflected curved and headed straight for her unprotected back.
“AAHH!” the missile exploded on her armored back jolting her forward and into Evelyn’s awaiting blade.
The demon only had a small window to inflict as much damage to the holy warrior with multiple slashes, one of which disarmed the Valkyrie. She finished off with knocking the Valkyrie on the side of the helm and firing off a few more magic spells on her descending form. She managed to use her shield to take the full brunt of the magical attack before she crashed into the ground.
Sigrdrífa, now without her primary weapon rolled to her feet as Evelyn came after her again “I won’t bother explaining the concept of love to someone who leads such a pitiful life as a slave!”
Sigrdrífa flew back to dodge a slash with eyes blaring “how dare you!” she flew right at the demon in a burst of extra speed that caught her foe off guard.
“Gah!” Evelyn recoiled when the Valkyrie rammed her armoured forehead into her own.
Sigrdrífa didn’t stop there and with a shield bash she sent the demon’s sword flying “I am a servant of The Chief God” she grabbed the demon by her collar slammed their heads together, stunning the demon before tossing her aside and rushing after her.
Evelyn rolled to her knee and chanted silently then tossed a fireball at the rampaging Valkyrie. Sigrdrífa didn’t bother to dodge, she held up her shield and took the brunt of the attack. One fireball hit, then another before a torrential gout of hellfire spew from her hands forcing the too close Valkyrie to buckle her knees.
Evelyn braced herself as the Valkyrie continued to push through “I…am… a holy warrior!” she crossed the threshold and bashed Evelyn’s face with the edge of her shield eliciting a shriek from the demon and sending her crashing into a tree. once there she was helplessly bombarded by Valkyrie.
“Bound by honor” Sigrdrífa’s armored fist crashed into Evelyn’s cheek turning her blue skin a deeper shade and leaving a cut “to serve” an uppercut from the shield sent Evelyn’s head into the tree rattling her brain “a higher calling” a punch to the gut left another bruise and knocked the wind out of her, her feet buckled and Sigrdrífa glared hatefully down at her, raising her shield edge to deliver the final blow she said “your life will never hold a candle to that!” then the shield dropped straight for her neck.
Red claws gripped the shield and an even deeper shade of red eyes glared at her from under them “but it is my life.”
Her whispered reply was followed by a blast of magic from her free hand directly into the Valkyrie’s unarmored gut and she made sure to yank the shield off before she was blasted away.
“My choice” with a flap of her wings she met the Valkyrie with fist to head that knocked off her headwear “I choose to live my life how I want” a claw swipe to the face momentarily stunned the Valkyrie who conjured a light spear to stab at the demon but a dark matter tentacle held her hand in place.
The last thing she saw was a heeled foot heading to her face before she saw stars. The spear of light fizzled out and a fireball to her leg dropped her to her knees and a dark matter tentacle yanked her away and into a tree with enough force to split the bark.
“And I refuse to be lectured by the likes of you” Evelyn finished breathlessly wiping the blood from her nose.
Sigrdrífa dragged herself to her feet and spat out a wad of blood “I grow tired of hearing your voice demon”
“And I you, Valkyrie” she spat.
The two injured, panting women circled each other while making their way back towards their discarded weapons. Yet neither made a move and instead watched the other for any shifty movements. They were both on their last leg now and the next move could determine the winner.
Just then Jacob burst through the forest beside them gaining both their attention “boy/Jacob!”
Before anymore words could be said Sigrdrífa capitalized on Evelyn’s distraction and picked up her sword, dashing towards her. Evelyn picked up her own sword with a scowl charged as well. So single minded they were in their assault that they momentarily forgot about the third party who had entered the fray not long ago. However despite the situation he would not stand idly on the sidelines and let this pass.
It might have been they were too distracted to realize just how close he was, it could be that they were too fatigued to change course so quickly or it could be that Jacob was faster than either women had thought. Either way before the two could run each other through Jacob appeared before them attempting to stop their charge.
But it was too late to stop now.
The sickening squelch of two swords ramming through a body echoed off the surrounding forest. Everyone froze and a silence fell over everything only broken by Jacob’s wet cough as he unintentionally spat blood splotches on Evelyn’s pale face before shuddering briefly then slumping, his body only held up by the two swords held in their hands.
Evelyn’s claw reached out to his face, tears streaked down her cheeks and she took shuddering breaths as she came to terms with what she was seeing. Sigrdrífa herself stepped back allowing his body to drop only to be caught by the demon whose breathing continued to elevate until she let it loose in one harrowing shriek reflecting all her pain, sorrow and grief.
Sigrdrífa stared at the scene in a mix of confusion, horror and…suddenly she perked up seeming to catch herself, she hesitated before closing her eyes and nodding. When her eyes opened they were steel and she struck as quickly as possible. Even as distracted as she was, Evelyn’s instinct caused her to dodge the swipe of a light spear that would have taken her head off.
She could not however dodge the second lance that was thrown at her. Evelyn screamed in pain as the lance struck her gut, the holy energy burning her from the inside out. With a wrench from her claws the spear shattered. Not that it mattered now, Evelyn was finished, the energy it would take to recover would most likely make her collapse.
‘And Jacob is…’
The sound of his voice jolted her, the Valkyrie was knelt above him, having pulled out the weapons that skewered him, only one of them had his blood on it. Evelyn watched as light from the Valkyrie’s outstretched hand washed over his body.
‘She’s healing him’
Soon his eyes opened blearily to stare into her own ‘he’s alive!’ relief flooded her body dulling the pain in her gut.
Her hand outstretched slightly, she wanted nothing more than rush to his side, to hold him, smother him with her love and spoil him with riches, to give him whatever his hearts desires. She yearned for it so much it seemed physically painful to be separated from him.
But she can’t.
Her claws tightened into a hard fist.
She didn’t have the strength.
Not the strength to properly protect him.
Not the strength to defeat the Valkyrie.
And not even the strength to save herself.
Her hand dropped as the frustration mounted then she began to whisper the words to an archaic spell, halting her healing and directing the rest of her mana towards another goal. As she did this she stared into the eyes of the object of her affection and hoped her feelings would be conveyed to him.
‘Jacob, I love you.
Sigrdrífa forced herself not to look back as the demon teleported away, healing was never her forte and in her current state she needed all the concentration she could afford. Frustration showed heavily on her face as she stared at the boy who had so foolishly thrown himself in the middle of a fight between two beings he could not hope to contest with. It irked her that he would be so foolish as to risk his life and for what, to prevent her from slaying the demon?
Sigrdrífa clicked her tongue, this was expected, if the demon was here for as long as the reports indicated then she would have had ample time to worm her way into the heart of the naïve boy. The results speak for themselves as it was obvious the boy was smitten with her or at the very least he was smitten with the human she pretended to be.
Her face soften somewhat and an aggravated sigh escaped her lip, this boy had cost them possible intelligence on the inner workings of Lescatie. Her lord and master deemed him to be worth the effort so she would put her trust in that. Though to her he didn’t seem like much but then again she was not a god and could not see his potential even the demon saw it otherwise she would not have made it a point to seduce him, proclamation of love aside that was the only reason she could see the demon having an interest in him.
That was two for three, he sighed as she retracted her hand “I hope you are worth it Jacob” she whispered before picking him up.
Evelyn found herself staring at an unfamiliar ceiling ‘where…’ distantly she heard voices and the sound of a door opening and turned towards it.
Immediately Evelyn was almost smothered by the petite form of a Devil with long white hair held in place by a headband accessory with two small bat wings sprouting from her head. Her top consisted of a chest plate in the visage of the symbol of the Demon Realm Lescatie, a vertical red eye with bat wings sprouting from the sides which despite her small form only partially covered her breast. For bottoms she wore a garter belt connected to two thigh guards with the only thing concealing her modesty being a small heart-shaped plate under the heart shaped pleasure rune on her stomach.
“Felicia” Evelyn sat up “how did I get here?”
“You don’t remember?” the little devil questioned.
“I…” she trailed off holding her stomach before she suddenly became frantic “Jacob!”
“Who?” Evelyn ignored the confused Mamono and sat up throwing off the sheets only to hold her stomach “where do you think you’re going!?”
Evelyn struggled to under the deceptively small girl’s grip “I have to find him”
“Who the heck are you even talking about?”
Evelyn didn’t answer and continued to struggle making it harder for Felicia to keep her down.
“That’s quite enough” a new voice ordered calmly.
Both struggling mamonos froze and as one turned to the new occupant they had somehow not notice step in. She was another demon, standing tall wearing a blue and red leotard with a window cut out to show a generous amount of cleavage and another heart shaped window cut out to show her toned stomach over an open general’s coat. The only sign of her allegiance was the vertical red eye symbol on a crystal attached to a choker around her neck.
Unlike Felicia and Evelyn’s eyes hers were yellow instead of red denoting her bloodline.
Immediately Felicia straightened and separated from the taller demon “general Desmona” she bowed lightly.
The Demon approached her and ran a hand across the side of her face, the devil shivered under her touch “at ease Felicia” she spoke softly. Then her eyes went to the despondent Evelyn who averted her gaze to the floor “give us a moment Felicia”
The smaller Demon seemed to hesitate before she nodded “yes, ma’am” she offered a lingering glance to her friend before exiting.
The sound of Felicia’s heels on the floor sounded through the room before the door closed with a soft click leaving the two alone. Desmona chose to take a seat in a corner of the room not too far from where her subordinate sat. For a moment nothing was said between the two and the uncomfortable silence lingered before it was broken.
“General Desmona I-”
The general held up a hand to silence her “we’re alone right now Evelyn, no need for decorum, just call me Blaire”
“Yes, of course…Blaire”
She nodded in satisfaction “good, now do you mind telling me the events that led to you appearing on my doorstep half dead with a hole in your gut?”
Evelyn swallowed and began recounting her tale, by the end of it a significant time had passed, Evelyn was still despondent but now Blaire was scowling.
“Valkyrie” she spat “of course they would stick their noses where they don’t belong” with that said she gave her subordinate a sympathetic glance “I am sorry you were not able to bring him with you, he sounds like a sweet boy.”
Evelyn smiled wryly “I suppose it is for the best, all the enchantments in the world wouldn’t detract from the fact that I ruined his life” she laughed bitterly “he probably hates me.”
“Nonsense, from what I gathered he risk his life to protect you” she looked the demon in the eye “I don’t need to see him to know that boy cares for you without the need for ‘coercion’.”
“I almost got him killed”
“Demon realm silver doesn’t kill, if anything the fault lies with that Valkyrie”
“I couldn’t do anything to protect him”
“That’s what you get for slacking off”
For the first time Evelyn looked her superior in the eye and almost recoiled at the sharp glare she gave her.
Blaire interlaced her hands as she braced her elbows on her knees while maintaining her glare “Evelyn I don’t particularly mind when one of my lieutenants asks to leave in order to ‘find herself.’ In fact I would encourage it if it were to make her happy, I also don’t mind when said lieutenant stops writing letters and doesn’t correspond to the ones her superior wrote” she narrowed her eyes at this and Evelyn had the decency to wince “and I also don’t mind when that lieutenant forgoes participating in defending the kingdom to which she belongs to from an enemy invasion.”
Evelyn perked “there was a-”
“I am not finished! And I also don’t mind when you don’t even so much as send a letter to your commanding officer congratulating her on finding a husband” she gritted her teeth a bit “well actually I do mind, I mind a great deal. But what I will not tolerate is my missing subordinate suddenly arriving, injured and disgraced having lost her potential mate to the likes of the Order and an Angel no less, and instead of doing something about it sits there feeling sorry for herself! What kind of demon are you to take your defeat like common human?”
Evelyn swallowed remembering that this was no mere demon, Blaire Desmona was the Demon. The one she fought against when she was still human, the powerful swordsman who easily bested her then turned her into one of her kind. She knew these things and much more and yet here she was moping in front of her like she some kind of councilor.
‘She is right, I have been playing at being human for so long I almost forgot, I am human no longer. Meeting Jacob, being around him, it was almost like a dream I wanted to keep going, but dreams eventually end.’
It was time to wake up now, the dream was over.
Evelyn stood, the sorrow that had so plagued her evaporated like mist over a lava pit “you are right General-Blaire. I almost lost myself there, thank you”
The elder Demon waved her off “no need, though I hope you aren’t foolhardy enough to try and retrieve him now.”
Evelyn pursed her lips “how long have I been here?”
“Long enough for the Valkyrie to have delivered him to the Capitol to undergo his training”
Evelyn bit her thumb nail, no she was not foolish enough to step foot in that place, not even Lady Druella herself could do such a thing and escape unscathed.
But if she could not get to him before then that would mean, realization dawned on her.
“More than likely the next time you meet he would be a fully realized Hero of The Order and a powerful one if the Chief God sent a Valkyrie after him” Blaire pointed out.
A Hero who would no doubt be made to kill mamono, like her and relish it. The thought of those people turning her sweet innocent Jacob into another of their loveless killing machines made Evelyn’s blood boil.
A moment later she calmed herself down “then all there is left to do is wait?”
“Yes, but while we wait you will be resuming your training under me” it wasn’t a request “you’ve grown soft in your time away Evelyn, soft, weak and…human. There is no greater shame for a demon than to lose a mate to an angel. I see it as an affront to our species and I will personally ensure that the next time you meet this Valkyrie you will fell her by your own power and add her to our ranks” she smiled indulgently “as well as your Hero, Jacob.”
Evelyn smiled at that and it also occurred to her that she would be separated from Jacob for many years and while he would become a Hero she realized that by then he would also be a man, the best kind of man. An image of what the Heroic Jacob would look like came to mind causing a blush to surface.
“Oh my~” she held a cheek in one palm as her tail started flickering.
‘Just wait for me Jacob, I swear in the name of the Maou we will meet again and next time you won’t get away~’
Her womb ached in anticipation.
Jacob set out with Sigrdrífa towards the capital via teleportation the next day. The capital was everything Jacob had heard it was and more.
“So this is the capital” Jacob murmured to himself as he looked around.
The city was a complex mixture of culture, magic and technology, despite being the center of the Chief God’s stronghold, it was unmistakably the pinnacle of humanity. Being there left Jacob too much in awe to bother thinking of his abrupt shift in lifestyle and in fact he began to get excited at the thought of living there.
Before he could be taken into the sights any more, he was taken by a set of strong yet delicate armored hands and dragged off “come this way, there is much we need if we are to begin your training.”
Jacob had to jog lightly to keep up with her stride as he asked “we’re starting right now.”
The Valkyrie looked over her shoulder “of course, the sooner we start your training, the closer you will be to receiving your blessings so that we may be able to begin vanquishing the monster scourge in earnest.”
She spoke confidently with a smile and it hit Jacob just now that he was really doing this, he was going to become a Hero. Jacob didn’t know how to react to that, he supposed he should be happy to have been chosen by one of god’s servant for the honor but he couldn’t. Maybe it was the slight queasiness brought on by his nervousness, maybe it was the sadness that he would have to forfeit his dream to fulfill this task he had thrust upon him or maybe it was his own lack of confidence in believing he could actually be this great hero Sigrdrífa seemed to think he could be.
The doubts continued to swirl even as they made it to a modest looking house “this will be your home for the foreseeable future” Sigrdrífa commented before walking inside.
Sigrdrífa proceeded to give him a small tour of what he can only assume was her home. Contrary to his expectations the house wasn’t very large or ornate, actually it was fairly ordinary. There was a lack of personal effects and furniture besides the bare essentials, the room amounted to two bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining area, a bathroom and a makeshift study. Behind the house was a spacious backyard with a few acres of forest behind where he would be training.
At the end of it Sigrdrífa told him “clean yourself and change into the clothes I left for you on your bed, when you are finished meet me here so that we can go over the specifics of your regiment from now on.”
He could only nod and mouth an affirmative, Sigrdrífa nodded though paused to give the shorter boy a once over. She opened her mouth to speak though thought better of it and walked away leaving the boy standing by his room. Jacob walked inside his room, saw that it was a modest dwelling with only a bed and small closet furniture-wise.
Jacob managed to make it to the bed before he fell down face first into the soft material, softer than his own bed but with none of the familiarity. Nothing about this was familiar to him, he wasn’t looking over the prices of products, he wasn’t helping his mother with work around the house. Instead he was here, in an unfamiliar place, in a an unfamiliar home with an unfamiliar lady about to become blessed by a goddess he didn’t even worship to fight a war he was only vaguely aware of.
A muffled sob wracked his body…
To Be Continued in Part 2…
Author’s Note: Is it weird that it was while writing this that I found that the Valkyrie has four wings and not two? I don’t think any author has specified the number of wings a Valkyrie has so people would just assume it was two, weird huh?
Also I’m going to forgo any kind of chronology with these stories. The truth is I finished this months ago but I wanted to release another one before this. Then I just said fuck-it and published this. So from now on, the stories are inter-connected as they take place in the same world but could take place in any number of timelines apart.