Dain knelt next to the decapitated soldier and used the man’s—a boy really—cloak to clean the blood from the blued blade of his broadsword. He’d later have to take the fitting and hilt apart to make sure none of the blood had seeped between them. After all, he had just killed an entire squad of the King’s men. Fifteen more deaths laid at his feet, though with all the killing he’d done over the years, perhaps that was a poor analogy. He couldn’t imagine the size the pile of corpses he’d wrought would make.
He could only smile feeling sick and twisted, missing the days of his youth when this life had seemed righteous to him. Or perhaps it was just the glossy veneer of memory shining light upon a life where he had known too little. Or perhaps youth had simply blinded him to what he really was:
Murderer. Killer of men and women. Blood and death were his only legacies.
He was nearing his thirty-fifth year of life, still short of his middle years, though not by far. He stood well over six feet tall, was broad of build, and well muscled. His face was passingly handsome, though just barely, with its broad bluff features, and set with determined hardness. His eyes glacial blue. He kept his brown hair shorn close to his scalp.
Dain shrugged his way out of his reverie and sheathed his broadsword on his hip before bowing with a flourish to the freshly dead. “Give my regards to the Gods of death.”
He began to check over his armor, for he had taken one or two glancing blows to it. Hardly enough force to have even needed the stuff. His greaves were untouched. As were the very lightweight cuisses he wore. He readjusted his plated kidney belt, as well as his pauldrons that connected to the segmented half-breastplate he wore. All his armor was light, but well made, offering protecting from all but the heaviest of blows. It was as protective as much heavier armor, but it had been years since he’d been struck hard enough to really call the protection necessary.
Both of the glancing blows had been on the backs of his gauntlets. It was really the only piece of armor he deemed absolutely necessary. In battle blows often were turned by your own weapon, and when the opponent was trying to get through that guard blows often struck hands and fingers by mistake. He flexed his fingers, the segmented steel still functioning smoothly over his fingers.
Dain grunted. If not for the gauntlets even a glancing blow to the hands could cripple, as the tendons and flesh of the hand easily parted even under the lightest of blows.
Retrieving his pack from behind a nearby Oak he began to check over the corpses, seeking their food and valuables. The former, he found in abundance, but the latter was rather sparse.
One soldier had two fine daggers strapped to his greaves, both with straight blades and dual edges, excellent for thrusts with keen points and edges. These he strapped instead to his vambraces, since the straps were far too short to go round his tree trunk-like calves.
He divested another soldier of a finely made and cased horn bow, with several well-made arrows. Another had a very well-made blanket, lined with fur, and the outer layer heavily oiled and proofed against water.
Happiest of all, he divested the dead of several pounds of smoked bacon, jerky, a sack of oats, a sack of dried fruit, and two skins of cheap brandy to his waning stores.
The young lieutenant who’d been leading the men proved to have a purse of silver, but it was his orders that gave Dain pause. The orders had been to seek him out specifically, and gave a rather general location. It appeared he was being tracked by sorcery.
He’d thought that coming out into the wilderness areas filled with monsters would alleviate him of being sought out by sorcery due to the interference of the demonic energies, but whoever was currently seeking him proved to be talented, his exact location becoming more general. Leaving his only option of escape to push for the local volcanic area were far stronger monsters resided, their power better able to interfere with the sorcery seeking him.
Dain spat in disgust. He’d already been attacked by the beautiful monsters many times over, though he’d easily driven them off. The kingdom must be losing their half-trained soldiers left and right with an incursion such as they’d sent after him.
But Dain was no fool. While fighting off the Grizzly, Nekomata, and others generally didn’t pose much of a challenge he had no doubts that the dragons and more powerful creatures that resided in the regions surrounding volcanoes could handle him. But at the same time, while he could kill many men, there was no way he could fight an army if they chose to send it after him. Which they would.
No, risking the Volcanic region was his best option. Not only would he only be faced with single opponents, but they would also be competing against one-another if he got lucky. Unlike most regular humans Dain could somewhat feel the demonic energies that monsters put out to mark their territory, and could accurately sense the Monsters themselves if close enough. He’d have to traverse the borders between territories and sortie deeply into another territory if he was approached to set off confrontations between them.
At the least, it would force monsters that would pursue him to wear themselves down on a similar opponent before they could face him. At best, it would tie the two of them up long enough for him to make his escape. Those were odds he could live with.
Not to mention his pursuers wanted his head on a platter. The monsters either wanted to keep him alive and sexually well, or to just keep him until they were with child. He really liked those odds much better.
Dain had now been on the run long enough to have regained the stamina he’d lost over his few years of retirement–
He slapped his hands to his face hard and shook his head to clear those thoughts from his mind. His gauntlets had caused a few small pinches on his face which ran freely with blood, but would sting for quite some time. He needed to be sharp and strong. Thinking those thoughts wouldn’t help matters any.
After all, no one likes to think of how you’d been so thoroughly fooled.
Star sighed in frustration as she looked down at the vanquished soldiers that she’d come upon. Twenty men at once and they hadn’t even been able to amuse her, so she’d made sure to wound them heavily. No doubt that these already weak men would be snapped up in the forest or the wasteland before ever getting close to human lands.
She pouted to herself as she swung her feet off the rock and kept her Demonic Aura suppressed, just in case, hoping against hope that something amusing to fight would wander her way.
Shaking her head and causing her long red hair to sway side to side, as she was wont to do when thinking, Star pondered. She was a Salamander, but her scales didn’t just give an appearance of burning, they actually produced their own flames. She was also many times stronger than the rest of her Salamander kin were as well.
For her, battle had become her only form of enjoyment. Seeking out the strong to test herself and to grow stronger and more wise in the process. She was probably the only Salamander that could claim to have fought dragons to a standstill. She could still recall the elation and joy when she’d faced the Jabberwock in her sojourn to Wonderland. Though she had lost that fight, the Jabberwock had lost all taste for battle that day as well and had fled just as Star’s own strength was failing her.
“Bored.” Star stated to no one as she watched one of the wounded soldiers trying to crawl away. She decided to amuse herself and knelt down by the wounded soldier, who began to beg her for his life.
“You know,” Star told him in in a petulant tone, “you’re not worth fucking, much less a threat enough to me to warrant me taking your life. I mean, you’re a soldier, right? Why are you so weak? I’m a Salamander, so I don’t try to fight every human that crosses my path, just the ones with weapons and armor. That’s a denotation of the warrior-skald, correct? So why couldn’t any of you even properly parry any of my blows. You just let me knock your swords out of your hands in the same motion I was able to wound you.”
The soldier, though, didn’t answer any of her questions and continued to beg for his life, which rather annoyed her.
Star saw that like most of the others, her blows had broken some of his bones. She hadn’t deemed any of them enough of a threat to warrant attacking with enough fervor to cleave their armor. She swiped one of her taloned hands across his scalp raking open three straight lines which began to immediately bleed profusely.
Star smiled at the boy sweetly. It was such a sad day. He was fairly lithe and cute, totally her type. “If you don’t want one of the girls of this wasteland to get you, I’d suggest crawling faster. None of you were really worth sensing in terms of spirit energy, even as a group. But now that you’re bleeding…well, think of what happens when blood gets into the sea.” She patted his behind and gave it a squeeze and was disappointed to find it rather lacking in proper tone.
Star stood and stretched yawning, her eyes searching the horizon and her senses extending. She then began to walk back towards her own territory when she felt something tug at her from the southeast.
“What….” Star asked herself aloud in confusion. For just a moment she’d felt an immense spiritual energy…of a human. It was just for a moment, like the moment an arrow strikes home, or a blade pierces flesh. But she’d never heard of a human who could hide their spiritual energy in any circumstance except combat.
No, she felt she was mistaken. Human men, while lovely to play with and look at, couldn’t grasp the art of calming their spiritual energy. They either burned constantly like beacons or fluttered like candles like her last opponents.
Star knew she should get back to her cave near the forest border. She still had fresh meat from a wild boar hanging and the thought of bathing in the hot springs just outside her cave was nearly sexual.
But she could do nothing but stare southeast towards where she’d felt that presence… She shuddered involuntarily. That presence had been neither a bonfire nor a candle. It hadn’t had the wild and failing feeling of a conflagration, but felt hotter still. And neither was it a candle and flickering weakly. The only references she had was a Cyclops forge fire or the burning rocks of a volcano. Burning steady and strong. Controlled.
Star laughed to herself. Humans were on her mind. She’d been thinking of how to explain to the humans how she’d found them, but how you explain sight to someone who’s never seen before. They’d even asked her before they’d fought.
Well, if you could call that fighting. It was primarily breaking bones and emasculating them with wicked cutting comments.
Star sighed with a smile on her plump lips. Her stomach rumbling, she set off to the southeast.
Dain speared the lizard’s tail upon an arrow and set it over the volcanic vent to cook. The vent was just hot enough that the tail should cook through in just a bit.
He scowled at the arrow that now speared the tail for the fletching and nock had broken off when it had been fired into the fairly large lizard. The loss of the arrow annoyed him for some reason, but it was a small cost when coupled with the fact that volcanic lizards were regarded as a delicacy and that he would now have eight pounds of fresh meat for his lunch and dinner today.
Settling back against a shelf of rock and watching his food cook, Dain cast his senses about and only felt a weak pull towards the northwest. He thought he’d felt something quite strong in that direction earlier, but the presence in that direction now was quite weak in comparison. Possibly a young monster that had yet to come into her strength or an old one.
In all honesty, it felt more like a beastwoman of some kind out of her element. A lizardwoman perhaps, who though skilled in arms, weren’t much of a challenge to a warrior of his vast experience.
Dain chuckled wryly. A warrior of his experience? He’d fought and killed more ‘masters’ of swordsmanship that any ten legendary warriors he’d ever heard of. Charlatans the lot of them, the only ones ever coming close to matching his skill were those of the Order who hunted the monsters and theirdemon queen. But still, they fell short of him.
Dain spat and checked his meat by eye. It was dripping deliciously. He’d left the skin on and the layer of fat beneath it to ensure that it didn’t dry out cooking uncovered over the vent as it was. He’d only have to cut about an inch off the end where the meat had been left to the air to make sure his meal was moist and tender. He opened one of the pockets on the outside of his pack and took out a small jar of a mixed spice, which when added to meat added excellent flavor. It was primarily salt and pepper, but contained several more exotic and expensive spices. He’d taken off one of the dead soldiers and briefly wondered if the squad had pooled their monies to buy the expensive treat.
Dain spent the time waiting for his food to cook doing miscellaneous tasks: Which was always the longest list. Plying whetstones to his various blades, checking the seams on his boots, stripping a piece of armor and checking the straps, rearranging the contents of his pack, counting his coins, re-lacing his boots, fixing a popped rivet on his newly acquired dagger sheaths, and some others.
After some time Dain slices off the end of the tail which had dried and cracked, and the meat at the thickest point had turned white like well done pork, marking it as being done. He took the arrow down and sliced his cook-knife down the skin of the tail parting it and began to tug off the skin before adding the spices to the now bare meat and wrapping it back up in the skin of the tail, allowing the spice to soak into the meat and allowing the meat to cool.
“Hey! Come here often, handsome?” Came the a lilting feminine voice with just a bit of gravel in it.
Dain froze. He slowly turned his head to the northwest and saw a woman with red scales standing on a small boulder. She wasn’t terribly tall, probably just short of six feet. But she had red scales that looked as if they were giving off their own heat. Her hair was a deep, dark red and was tied up in a tail in the back. Her tail itself looked to be giving off flames.
The monster pouted. “Not the response I was hoping for.”
Dain grimaced. She was quite lovely and scantily clad. She was wearing a top of what looked like the heavy scales that armored her forearms and lower legs. She was wearing what could only be described as panties made of leather, the straps decorated on her hips of the same large scales probably shed from her legs and arms. She also had the shoulder straps of her top adorned with them effectively giving her a simple, yet effective set of paldrons. Worse, the top of the pauldrons were strapped to a heavy leather choker around her neck which draped down over her collar bones and adorned with more shed scales, effectively giving her a rather light gorget. “Perhaps I should rephrase: Bullshit.” Dain said boldy. He still had a few more minutes to let the meat rest.
“Bullshit? Isn’t that a human expression for disbelief? What did I say that was so out there?” She said squatting down and tossing her hair from side to side.
Dain thought the hair thing cute, but didn’t show any change outwardly. “You called me handsome. I’m calling bullshit. Maybe ten or fifteen years ago when I was younger.”
The salamander propped her chin on her hand, her elbow on her knee. “Well, you’re not my type. But the ones who were my type earlier couldn’t even parry a blow. So boring. Maybe I should get a new type. You look tough.”
Dain was lost for a moment before he figured out it was the Monster girl’s version of flirting. But Salamanders were like a few others that you fought: Lizardmen, orcs, werewolves, etc. Winning against them in a fight could be just as complicated as losing. His only real option was to get out of here without fighting her. “Ah. Yeah, sorry about that. I murdered their prince. Humans tend to get upset and send large hunting parties after criminals like me. Especially when said criminal commits regicide.”
The girl cocked her head. “Regicide? I’ve never even heard that word before.” She emitted a loud grumbling noise and immediately wiped her chin looking abashed.
Dain followed her gaze to the lizard’s tail that was ready. “Are…are you hungry? Will you leave me alone if I share this with you?”
“Couldn’t hurt your chances.” The salamander told him now unabashed at the thought of food. “That smells wonderful by the way. It looks juicy. Everything I try to heat up with fire ends up dry and hard.”
“Drools AND can’t cook. I see you’re a refined young lady.” Dain cut the tail and half and tossed the larger portion to the salamander who began to eat it skin and all.
Dain took the skin off of his and began to slice it eating the slices, chewing them slowly to bide his time. He was about to speak when the girl interrupted him again.
“I’m Star by the way. What did you do to this lizard?! It’s so good!” Star said cleaning her clawed hands.
Dain sighed. “It’s called seasoning. You take spices and prepare them before hand and season meat or vegetables before, during, or after they cook. Enhances the flavor.”
Star nodded sagely. “I’ll have to get some of those one day. So, what’s Regicide?”
The turn in conversation took Dain by surprise and he had nearly forgotten he’d brought up the subject earlier in attempt to dissuade her from trying to kidnap him. “Regicide is the name of what happens when someone kills the leader of a people or region. It’s considered a very grave crime since you’re killing the head of a government body.”
Star nodded. “I could see where that could be bad for everybody involved. So, why did you kill that guy?”
“He was an asshole.” Dain stuffed another thin slice of lizard into his mouth and began to chew it slowly.
Star cocked her head and shook her hair to and fro a few times. “Are you telling me this to put me off.”
Dain shrugged at her. “Depends. Is it working?”
“Salamanders like to fight. Harboring someone who committed regicide would mean more fighting, yes?” Star asked simply.
“So you were trying to dissuade me!?” Star asked aghast.
“It’s not you, it’s me. I just got out of a bad relationship and wouldn’t feel comfortable putting you in the rebound position. You’re a wonderful girl, but I don’t think it’s going to work out between us.” Dain said apologetically.
Star sputtered. “Did you just try to turn me down before I made an advance?!”
Dain put another slice of lizard into his mouth and began chewing.
Star’s face turned red and her tail began to emit brighter flames. “I’m going to kick your ass once you get done eating!”
Dain began to chew very slowly.
Star sputtered in indignation. “That’s not fair!”
Dain swallowed and sliced another piece of tail. “You set the rules, not me. You’re free to go kick the asses of the small army following behind me. They should be getting to the forest about now. I wonder how many are going to get snatched by the woodland Monsters. Besides, why wouldn’t you attack me now, while I’m eating and only having a cooking knife out? You’d have the advantage.”
Star spat to her side and drew a large single edged blade with a ring on the end of its hilt. “Like I need the advantage. The result of this fight was determined before ever we met.”
“Good insult. Excellent confidence. But to unnerve experienced warrior or make them mad I’d suggest a disparaging remark about the size of their penis. Most men are insecure when it comes down to that.” Dain only had a few slices of his lizard left.
Star nodded. “You have a tiny penis.”
Dain shrugged. “I said most men. Good try. But I’m just not looking for a relationship at the moment, so there are more fish in the sea. Good luck.”
Star swung her sword in irritation. “Did you just turn me down again!? I was insulting you, not trying to pick you up!”
“Oh, dear. I’m sorry, but you’re just too young for me. Maybe you should try finding someone your own age and level of intelligence. You a dear so I’m sure you’ll just have to bat the guys away.”
Star gaped. “You did it again! You—Wait! You’ve been trying to unnerve me the entire time we’ve been talking. You want me angry and not thinking straight when we fight. You think you’ll have a better chance that way.”
Dain swallowed his last bite of tail. “I’m sorry honey, but you’re just all about you. I’m looking for someone less self-centered, and more concerned with their partner. I don’t think you’ll ever get a good man with that attitude.”
Star smiled wickedly as she charged toward him bringing her sword down in a diagonal chop.
Dain stood sliding his front leg forward as he unsheathed his sword, his blade catching hers and slipped the blow past him as he pushed off his back leg and used his front leg to pivot spinning himself about to face her just as she spun around several feet past him. His spin, once his sword has disengaged from hers, had sent a blistering cut at her eye.
Star was no longer looking at him angrily, but in suprise. She raised her hand to her cheek just below her left eye as it began to trickle blood. “You…you pinked me on the first parry.”
Dain was inwardly cursing himself. That had been a great opportunity. He’d been going for the eye with enough force to put his blade well into her skull, but she’d raised her head and side stepped while in mid-stride. He’d executed the maneuver perfectly, but she’d also avoided it with just as much skill. First time for everything he supposed.
Star’s face took on a slight blush and her scales began to glitter more brightly. The flames on her tail grew. “I’ve never been pinked by a human before. And never on a parry. Going for my eye? That was well done. Had I just stepped to the side and not raised my chin you’d have still taken the eye and I’d have been fighting impeded. By the Queen, had I not raised my chin that could have been the decided clash of the fight.”
Dain took a calming breath and slightly changed his footwork to accommodate her awesome speed and slid his left hand up a bit further from the pommel of his sword for less power and more control. “Yeah. Never had anyone think of raising their head and stepping to the side. It’s normally one or the other. Just an instinctive reaction to protect the eye and they forget that the blade that cleave their brain. Your demonic aura is immense now. I didn’t know Monsters could suppress it.”
Star smiled and seemed to shiver. “I didn’t know men could sense it at all.” She immediately came forward with a twisting thrust that turned into a slash at the midsection, right at the gap between his plated belt and breastplate.
Dain thrust his sword tip still pointing upward, right at her blade, catching it just above the cross-guard and pushing it to the side. He dipped his sword point downward and twisted his hips pulling the blade along with him, causing it to slide up the side of her sword.
Star responded well, twisting her own body out of the way of the sword and sending her blade flashing back up at his face. Dain knew it for the feint it was, for when she was sure he’d pull away she shot her arms up changing the slash into a downward thrust that normally would caught him in the chest as he retreated but now went over his shoulder.
His counter had brought him too close to work his blade effectively as it was now resting against the scale tassets at her side, but he bent his knees and shot his hands upward causing the pommel of the sword to strike her on the chin, even as he felt a line of fire on his bicep just below his paldrons.
They both leaped back at the same moment, sending a similar counter at each other, the their blades meeting as they parted.
Dain flexed his left bicep and found it satisfactory. She’d barely parted the skin. But he was surprised she could remain standing after his pommel-blow to her chin. He’d bent his legs perfectly as just before making contact and snapped his legs straight to add the strength of his whole body to the strike.
Star shivered as her entire being brightened once more. The flames becoming larger and her blush more intense. “You’re terribly quick for one so large. I could probably outrun you, but your reactive speed is unbelievable for a human. You also don’t rely on pitting your strength against mine to defend. You just put enough effort into the parry to change their direction and send a counter my way.”
Dain inwardly cursed. He hadn’t been counting on her pulling off a reversed cut after his pommel blow. But she’d also hadn’t been counting on him twisting out of the way at that moment, just taking a shallow cut instead of the deep tissue damage she’d intended. “How’s the chin?”
Star smiled and licked her lips as she took one hand off of her massive sword to briefly touch her face. “I think it’s going to be bruised for a week. Was that your best shot, handsome?”
Star blanched. “What?”
“The handsome thing again. I’m not buying it. Stop trying to endear yourself to me that way. It’s not going to make me make mistakes.”
Star gaped. “uh…”
Dain coughed uncomfortably. “Wait…you weren’t screwing with me? uh….what?”
Star smiled as she spun her sword around testing its balance. “I had a type. They’ve always been boring. The pretty and lean men. Not all that great in the sack too. I decided to change my type. And here I find a guy who can fight with me and isn’t bad looking. I’ll have to get used to the broad shoulders and muscles, though. You probably have a sculpted butt, don’t you?”
Dain let that sit for a moment. “I have a fat ass.” He was rather perplexed.
“Do you need a minute?” Star teased.
“Probably. But let’s continue. I fight better when my brain refuses to work.” He told her, his voice dripping with sarcasm and his face blank.
“Hm. Good point. So, how are you in the sack?” Star asked as she sent a light but fast cut at his face.
Dain knew it was a faint, so he stepped into the blow and pushed it back with his blade and turned the parry into a blistering cut that she had to leap back from but he pressed her. “Passable at best.” He quipped.
Star slapped the flat of his blade upward as he thrust at her causing it to go high, and she thrust her shorter blade at his middle. Dain brought his heavier sword down on the flat of her blade, pommel first driving it down and to the side freeing him up to twist his sword and spin on his front foot, sending a driving cut with his weight behind it towards her neck. She was able to avoid it thanks to her gorget.
Star’s blush nearly matched the red of her hair as she took a step back and gauged the distance between them. “If you fuck like you fight, I’m in for a real treat.”
Her sudden rush took Dain by surprise, as it was a very bold move. Her stroke was perfect, and if it made contact he had a feeling his armor wouldn’t even register as it cut him in two. But he was able to avoid it by holding his sword out and spinning twisting his hips and shoulders to catch her blade. He saw his best opportunity and twisted his sword in an underhanded blow that would have taken her arm off just above the scaled forearms….
Had it landed there. The blow instead landed on the armored scales of her right hand, though they parted and blood spurted. Her sword clattered to the ground, but the kick of her powerful leg knocked him back several feet and he rolled coming to his feet just as Star recovered her sword, the injury appearing to be of no hindrance.
Star was panting, but Dain thought it more of excitement than weariness. “I’ve NEVER been disarmed before.”
Dain felt at his ribs where he’d been kicked. They didn’t feel broken as he took a deep breath, but he was sure his side would be purple for weeks. “Yeah, you’ve got claws on your hands and talons on your feet. I don’t think that counts as being disarmed. Nice kick.”
Star attacked again, but Dain changed up his tactics, locking his sword up against hers in a test of strength.
Star smiled. “And you were doing so well–” She was saying as Dain released his sword with his left hand and grabbed the blade, his hand protected by his gauntlet, the mail on his palm turning aside the sharp blade. He twisted her sword aside, now having the advantage of leverage and again his pommel struck her, but this time on her temple, causing her to stumble back. He thrust the pommel at her and scored a perfect strike just above her lips but below the nose, causing her to stumble back again, he released the blade with his left and pulled as he twisted sending a frightening one-handed strike at her face.
Star had recovered enough to quickly leap back, though she took a cut on the chin in the process, it was deep, nearly to the bone and she openly gaped at the warrior before her. “What was that!? I’ve never seen that before.”
Dain was disappointed she’d been able to avoid the killing blow, but he was happy for a moment’s reprieve to recover, being careful not to let it show. The blow he’d taken to his ribs was wearing on him more heavily than he’d thought. Perhaps one of them was cracked. “It’s called half-swording. My hands are protected by heavy gauntlets. I can use my sword as a mass weapon by gripping the blade and striking with the quillions or the pommel. But my crossguard isn’t suited for quillion strikes. But as I’m sure you understand the fish-tail pommel is a bitch. The aristocracy and the chivalry—knights—really hate half-swording. Probably because it’s so effective. Their wheel pommels could hit just as hard, but not with the same oomph.”
Star’s panting had become heavy gasping. Her blush was severe and Dain thought he’d become uncomfortable in melee range with her from the heat of her tail. “Blue silk. You’ll look good in blue.”
Dain was confused. “Pardon?”
Star snapped from her reverie. “A blue silk robe. It’s all I’m going to let you wear when we get back to my cavern. And never tied.”
Dain hadn’t even seen her leap forward, but he managed to get his sword up in time to deflect a blistering blow. He was able to counter, but she stopped it as well. And for the next twenty of his heartbeats they traded as many or more blows, each of them scoring a small wound upon the other every three or four exchanges, but Dain knew he was losing. The monster just had a higher reserve of energy than he did and could shrug away blows that would leave him unconscious.
In frustration Dain cried out his fury and launched his own furious assault, though it waned with his energy, he was able to prevent himself from taking any cuts and inflicted two long cuts that went into the muscle of her left leg on top of the thigh, then he lost his footing on making the second one.
Star countered with a wicked thrust that he was able to bat aside as he fell, but he hadn’t seen the kick she’d also aimed at his chest in time with her thrust. He felt his armor dent just before the back of his head smacked into the rocky ground and darkness enveloped him.
Star stared at her now fallen opponent shaking with the excitement of her hard-won triumph and glowing with a fierce arousal that nearly overwhelmed her. Never had she fought such a skilled warrior. She had been forced to walk a razor’s edge, parrying his blows just enough to miss her flesh, sometimes by a scant hair’s breadth, just to be able to return a proper counter. And he had be doing the same, sometimes with such skill and speed that she could scarcely believe she’d been fighting a human all along.
Star had fought some of the strongest monsters in the world, but she had never countered anyone who could fight with such skill and discipline. He hadn’t allowed his injuries to impede him in any way, and she’d occasionally needed to visually inspect his wounds to make sure he was really bleeding, for all that he had reacted to the blows had led her to believe that she’d actually missed him. She had also watched him stoically flex or move the wounded area or appendage to see if if it could hinder him. Such as the damage caused by her kick when he’d disarmed her. He hadn’t slowed much, but the damage to his side had caused him to slightly favor that side and have given her a bit of advantage when pressing attacks, although it hadn’t given her much sway.
But the fierce throbbing wetness in her loins had come from the look in his eyes, a look nearly identical to the same one she knew she had displayed. The absolute exultation in combat, where the only things that kept you from shuffling away from the mortal coil were you own speed, skill, and strength. The euphoria of throwing caution to the wind in an all-out attack, such as he’d done towards the end of the fight, where his desperation for victory had driven him well beyond his apparent human limits, pushing back a much stronger opponent and wounding them.
Star flinched as she felt her demonic energy forcing her own wounds closed, the blood flow slowing to a trickle before finally drying up. She watched as the deep cuts on her thigh began to pinch shut and pucker as her natural healing began to knit the muscles and skin back together.
She shook her head to and fro as she stared down at her now fallen opponent. His head had struck the rocky ground with such force that it had knocked him unconscious, his breastplate dented over the middle of his chest from the force of her kick that had ended the fight.
Star nearly fell as she was struck with pang of pleasure that coursed through her. Monsters were very sensitive to the men they were attracted to, after all, and his passably handsome face was downright adorable as he slept.
Well, not sleeping she mused to herself. He was rather unconscious and needed his wounds tended to. Humans couldn’t heal a hundredth as fast as monsters could, and it did not escape her that had been one of the deciding factors of the fight. As had her natural toughness, which had kept her conscious from all those blows of the heavy pommel on his broadsword, the first two of which had both made her vision narrow down to tunnels and still nearly put her down
Star grunted as she felt the bones over her top row of teeth realign from the last pommel-blow and spat out a little blood from where the roof of her mouth had been torn by fragments of bone. She then sheathed her blade at her side and set about collecting the man’s belongings and scattering some about, things she hoped he would not miss and would make any of his pursuers give up the chase, thinking him taken to be eaten by a monster.
The last thought made her laugh aloud long and hard, leaving her wheezing as she knelt down and began to check her man over. Humans still believed that monsters ate humans. Which wasn’t correct, though she planned to taste parts of him soon enough, though more swallowing than chewing would be involved.
Star looked at the unconscious man’s normally hard face that was softened by his vulnerable state and relative relaxation. “I really need to get your name when you wake up.”
Though she had said that, she didn’t really care what his name was, as long as she could call him ‘hers.’ She carefully lifted him up and set off for her cavern.