Hello again! These are chapters 5-8 of my novel, the first in a series. Harem Heroes: The Heaven’s Gold Spear. Which can be found here.
The book will be free for a limited time on May 5th through the 8th. If you happen to be lucky enough to get it at that time, I ask you leave a review on amazon. Thank you very much for reading!
Chapter 5: The Unicorn
David didn’t pay much attention to his companions, instead trying to cast small simple spells, seeing just how much his mana pool had shrunk. So far, he could cast absolutely nothing. He was quite honestly on the verge of tears. It was if his most cherished friend in the world was dead. He knew there was a real danger his real friends might not be… well. But he just had a feeling that they were okay. His current predicament felt like he might never be able to use magic again. He almost didn’t realize that they had stopped.
Bernice dismounted and held up a hand for him to get a hold of. As he grabbed it, she explained.
“We’ve been riding for a full day. We won’t make it to Vasherton tonight, so we’ll need to rest up. Why don’t you, uh… scout out the area. Silas and I will set up. Maybe see if you can catch something? I’m sure you’ve got a spell or two that can come in handy.”
David bit his tongue. He had forgotten that Silas had sent her away. She didn’t know how absolutely useless he had become.
“I’ll… see what I can do.”
He knew full well they’d be hungry tonight, but he didn’t feel like staying or explaining anything to the woman. He needed to be alone for a while. He walked on, away from the camp and into the nearby forest.
The light of the setting sun shone through the branches in heavenly shafts. Golden light filtering down from the trees broke the purple shadows down below. The moon was visible high above, bright and silver and ready to rule the night. David had always admired nature, both its beauty and savagery. As lightning bugs began to filter out into sight, David found a nice log to sit down and think. He wasn’t going to bother hunting. He had no magic, and no weapons. He wouldn’t know what to do with a deer if he saw one.
He sat and mulled over the last few days, finally having time to sort everything out in his head. Time passed quickly and a chill came into the air. He thought about which of his friends might be sold to where. Danny had heritage in Zipangu, would a Overlord of that realm be interested in him? David knew nothing of the Mist Continent, it was a shadowy unknown land filled with an ancient people closely related to the Zipangu. The ancient deserts were closest. Of course closest still meant more than a hundred miles off, but he supposed that was as good a place as any to begin.
But how was he to begin? That damned spear had… robbed him somehow. What was he to do without money or magic? He promised to help Silas but what could he do now? He was as harmless as a kitten, and a might less cute.
“Are you o-ok?”
David’s head shot up and looked about in sudden alarm. He had heard a strange woman’s voice just now. It had been close.
“I-I didn’t mean to frighten you. I-I’m really sorry.”
David sat up and turned around, certain of the origin of the voice. He didn’t have any real way to defend himself, so he prepared to run as fast as he could, maybe scream for Bernice. But just as the humiliation of that thought crossed his mind, he spotted the creature that had been speaking.
She was taller than him by a good amount, her chest at his eye level. Most women were about as tall as David, just as most men were taller, but this woman would be tall even to them. She had soft platinum blonde hair that almost seemed white, and eyes like clear water. He was reminded of Bernice, but only briefly.
Bernice had a strong jaw, and aquiline nose, even after her attack by the slime. But this woman’s jaw was soft, her nose like a small button, and her lips were full and soft. Not like Bernice’s, whose lips were slim.
But there were yet more differences, as David looked her over. She had a large bosom, each breast seemed as big as her head. Not a bit of sag could be seen on them, as she radiated the youth of someone just fully grown. She wore pure white lace, covering her breasts, but not concealing their shape. The lace came up to the woman’s neck, where it opened in a V shape, and came down to show her ample cleavage. She wore what seemed to David, bridal gauntlets over slim arms, her long dainty fingers fidgeting with themselves.
Now, it might be said that David had ignored the truly important aspects of the woman’s body. Namely the horn on her head and the fact that she had the body of a slim white horse an inch or so past her navel, but David was still a man, and as such could not help to appreciate feminine beauty when he saw it, no matter who possessed it.
But even as he noticed her beauty, he quickly turned to theses other aspects. The horn was as white as snow and shimmered like the most lustrous pearl. Her horse half was slim, like the running horses of nobleman, lacking the large barrel gut of a peasant’s work horse. Her white lacey dress continued past her torso and covered half of her backside. The horse-like half had beautiful white fur that shimmered in the fading sunlight, and seemed to David as though it must be quite soft. Her tail seemed like shimmering strands of silver.
All in all, several moments passed by without either moving. David struck by the creature’s unnatural beauty. The womanly creature seemingly taking in David in much the same manner.
David broke the silence first.
“Who are you? What do you want?”
The creature, which David thought might be a centaur, ducked her head in what seemed a bought of bashfulness.
“I’m O-Ophelia. I didn’t mean to make you nervous. I-I just saw that you seemed kind of sad, so I thought maybe I could help.”
David took her appearance in, remembering what he had learned from Silas and Bernice. Monsters had been corrupted by the powers of the Succubus. Centaurs included. But, that horn on her head…
“Are you a unicorn?”
The creature, Ophelia, raised her crystal blue eyes to his stormy blue ones, and nodded once. David took a step back, but was curious. Unicorns were a beacon of purity weren’t they? Back in his time, only the purest maiden could hope to tame one. All others fell to its horn, mighty men and great kings alike. But this creature… ferocious just wasn’t a word you’d associate with her.
“Y-yes. I am.”
“Why aren’t you attacking me? Isn’t that what monsters do?”
At this she shook her head rather vigorously, but refused to meet his eyes.
“N-no! not at all! Not all of us anyway… Some of us just want to-to help people! I just thought you were sad is all! I-I promise I’m not like that!”
David knew, on some level, it wasn’t particularly wise to just trust your eyes when it came to meeting someone for the first time. But he was only human, and the look of her face, saddened with his insinuation, made his heart ache.
“I’m sorry. I was just- I’m a bit nervous out here alone. You know?”
The unicorn, Ophelia, nodded. She trotted out from the underbrush to fully reveal herself, her coat shining in moonlight.
“I can understand. Th-There are some pretty mean girls in these forests.”
That piqued David’s interest slightly.
“What kind of girls?”
“Giant ants, ho-hornets, arachne. Even a-an ogre and some grizzlies.”
“Well let’s not meet them then hmm?”
Ophelia actually smiled then, and gave David a quick nod before coming closer, just over the log he had been sitting on. David took half a step back, but couldn’t bring himself to run. The creature seemed innocent enough, and he really didn’t feel like going and running for help. Especially for a creature as gentle as this.
He gave her a half smile and returned to sit on the log beside her. She watched him intently as he did so, and seemed to slightly blush when he sat beside her.
“So… you’re a unicorn. Back in my day you looked a lot different.”
“I’m sorry. H-Have we met before?”
“No,” David shook his head. “I meant… it’s a long story. forget I said anything.”
The unicorn looked at him, still a bit bashful looking, but apparently, she had a bit of confidence. She sat her horse-rump by the log, twisting her body towards him, as she twirled her hair in one hand, she spoke in a soft but clear voice.
“I’m sorry I s-startled you. My f-father always said I was t-too quiet.”
“It’s fine. I’ve had a rough week. My name is David by the way. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself before.”
“I-Its fine. I-I like your name. I like your robes too, they’re v-very pretty.”
David looked about his robes, the edges covered in dirt and a fine layer of dust all around them from a day’s ride on horseback. Some of the silver stars were falling off, and a few already had. They had seen better days. But it boosted his spirits a bit to have his dress complemented for once, instead of scorned.
“Thank you. I worked hard on them.”
“Not really, but I’ll do everything once. I made these robes the conventional way, but I improved them later with some spellwork.”
She squealed a little then, and one of her back-legs twitched. David shifted a bit, nervous from the outburst.
“S-So you’re a w-wizard?! M-my father was a w-wizard too! He even taught me a few sp-spells!”
David found that interesting indeed. He and Ophelia spent a good hour talking. The moon rose high above. It’s silver light shone down in the forest, lighting up a few select pockets of shadow. Ophelia and David sat in one such spot and found that they enjoyed each other’s company a great deal. David did not reveal too much about his past, not wanted to explain how it was he came to be 3,724 years old.
Ophelia gathered that he was not alone, and that he was traveling with a woman (who he had to insist was only an acquaintance) and an old elf. He told her how he had only recently come to this land and was still not quite used to it. He regaled her with stories from his days as a mercenary, when he freed captive knights from enemy camps, (though he omitted the times he was on the opposite end, taking captive lords and ladies for ransom.) He told her about his brother, Devon, and his friends Danny and Kris. But he didn’t just talk, he listened as well.
She shared that she had recently begun living on her own, with her father and mother’s blessing. Her father lived in a high tower many miles from here, and she apparently had six sisters, all of which were older, and four of which were already married. Two of which had already had children. David gathered that she was wandering the forest and didn’t have any kind of permanent dwelling. She told him of a battle she had witnessed out on the plains from the safety of the forest. It seemed that a few weeks ago a regiment of the Overlord’s army had fought a large local peasant resistance somewhere north of here, and that the peasants had escaped and gone east to Vasherton, in the same direction he was heading.
With a start. David realized that it had been a few hours. Ophelia too seemed surprised that it had come on them so quickly. David stood up after a few moments. He didn’t really want to leave her. She was fun to talk to, and he hadn’t had a chance to really relax in a long time. Even before he was frozen in stone, he had been preparing to battle for the forces of General Skye.
“Sorry, Ophelia, we’ll have to do this some other time. I need to get back to the other two before they worry. It was fun talking to you though. It seems some chance encounters aren’t so bad.”
“Y-you shouldn’t be so s-sorry all the time. I had f-fun too. But… do you have to l-lea-leave? I mean, you could stay here. The others w-would be fine.”
David was sure they would. It was his own safety he had on his mind.
“Yes, I’m sure. They’ll be worried if I don’t return soon. Who knows what the old elf might do. But I promise I won’t forget our meeting. You’re a good person Ophelia. I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for in life.”
She gave David one last smile as he disappeared into the forest, towards the open plains and his traveling companions.
Ophelia watched as the short man vanished from view under the cool blue shadow of night. She let out a breath she wasn’t aware she was holding and collapsed to the grassy forest floor. That had been absolutely nerve-wracking! She had thought her mother was being overly optimistic when she had told her that men wander into the forests all the time. But lo and behold, there he was, all by himself!
But Ophelia had always been shy around men. They made her freeze up and stutter. Even when she was around her father, she had stuttered for a long time. She went over the conversation over and over in her head, getting more and more flustered over every mistake she made. She really liked the man, David was what he was called. He was so kind and inquisitive. She had meant to seduce him straight off, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it once they had started talking. He had cheered up just from their conversation, so that was a plus. But she was sure she could have made him happier if she wasn’t so timid.
She shifted her body a bit to lay on her back, her horse-like lower half flipped over, dangling her hoofed legs in the open air. A few lightning bugs made their landing there, apparently finding the slight sweat covering her legs a sweet treat.
She could see a few stars past the trees that wafted in the breeze overhead, and she briefly wondered if David had made it back to his companions. The thought to follow him entered her mind, but she thought better of it. He had said he was from far away, which would explain why he seemed to know so little about monster-kind. It was obvious that his friends weren’t inhabitants of a monster-friendly state by the things that they had told him either.
She placed a hand over one of her breasts and the other on her forehead. She felt hot, and her heart-rate was up. Again, her cheeks flushed in embarrassment at letting David go. He was so handsome and sweet.
“I wish I was a succubus. Getting a guy would be so much easier. Just go up to a guy and BAM! He strips naked and confesses his love and you two live happily ever after.”
“Darling, you forgot the part where they consummate the marriage.”
Ophelia’s horse-like ears twitched at the darkly sensual voice that had just spoken. The voice was coming from above her.
“Up here, dear.”
Ophelia found the source of the voice lounging lazily on a thick tree branch. Her voice caught in her throat as she recognized her.
The creature was a demon, with supple blue skin and dark silken hair the color of sapphire. She had a mischievous smirk on her face and a glint in her yellow eyes. The sclera was black where it should had been white. Her breasts were large and firm, her hips wide, and her legs were long and sinuous. Her hands and feet had long red nails that resembled claws. But what made the creature an obvious member of demon-kind were her tail, wings, and horns.
Her horns grew close around her head as they jutted out in an outward curve, like a black crown deeming her a kind of royalty.
And to make matters worse for the poor unicorn, the demon was completely naked, showcasing her perfect body for all to see among the pale moonlight.
Ophelia couldn’t decide if she was jealous or frightened. After a few seconds she flipped to her side and propped her torso up with her arms, and pushed past her fear. As long as it wasn’t a guy, she could deal with it.
“You’re the one who led that army the other day. Against those peasants.”
The demon laughed in a sing-song kind of voice as she melted away into a heavy black smoke. She reappeared a few feet in front of Ophelia coalescing from the darkness of the shadows.
“Army? My dear It was just a simple raiding party. A few poor girls who haven’t found a man yet. I just wanted to help the poor dears. Like I want to help you.”
“Who are you?”
The demon did not address her question immediately. Instead, the demon sauntered over to the unicorn with widely swaying hips in what seemed to Ophelia, a way to intimidate her with her obvious femininity. She was ashamed to admit that it was working. When the demon reached the unicorn she dropped to her knees to meet at eye level. With a devilish smirk and an amused expression in her eyes, The demon looked at Ophelia with an intensity that caused the unicorn to blush.
“My name is Delilah.”
“N-nice to meet you.”
Damn, the stutter was back.
“It’s nice to meet you too dear. You look lovely. Now, you told the boy your name was Ophelia, is that right?”
The demon stretched out an arm, well-muscled and taut, and stroked Ophelia’s cheek tenderly in what seemed a soothing gesture. But it only served to make Ophelia even more nervous.
“No need to fret my dear. I’m only here to help. You want that man, and I want to give him to you,” Delilah flipped her hair over her shoulder. “That is if you’d be willing to do me a favor in turn.”
Ophelia was curious. A demon was a very powerful monster. If she wanted to help, then David was as good as hers. She was a little wary about the favor, but she knew that monster stuck together. Delilah wouldn’t ask for anything too bad.
“Okay. What’s the favor?”
Delilah’s smile got even wider as she stepped back and into the shadowed recesses of the forest, her glowing yellow eyes the only thing Ophelia could see.
“The man is traveling with an elf. The elf has something I really want. If you get it for me, I’ll give you so much demonic energy that David will marry you on the spot.”
“What does the elf have?”
Delilah’s eyes disappeared in the darkness as she reappeared on a high branch swaying in the wind. She stood tall and regal, her hair flowing like silken strands in the wind, her long shapely legs balanced perfectly on the branch. She looked away into the distance as she spoke, as if her mind was elsewhere.
“He carries the blade of a legendary golden spear. It will be troublesome if he reaches Vasherton with it. Get the spear remnant, and I’ll help you. Deal?”
Ophelia thought that sounded rather fair. After all, love was priceless.
“It’s a deal.”
Delilah looked down at the white maiden with a soft smile as she nodded her head once. As she did, Delilah melted into a black smoke and was carried away by the wind.
When David returned, Bernice asked him if he had caught anything, to which David had to reply no. But he did mention that he had found tracks in the woods suggesting a large force had been by here, heading in the same direction they were going. He didn’t want to tell them about Ophelia, but felt it prudent to let them know about the monster army in the vicinity.
Silas dismissed Bernice’s concerns, calmly asserting that he could deal with any force they might encounter. David didn’t really believe him. But he wasn’t going to argue. They ate a small portion of rations the two had brought with them into the wilderness, which mostly comprised of stale bread and nuts.
The next day David, for reasons he couldn’t quite put into words, couldn’t stop thinking about Ophelia. She was beautiful, that was true, but he had met beautiful women before. She was kind, but again, he had met kind women before. He occupied the same place that he did the previous day, behind Bernice on her horse. They chatted on and off several times, usually about the current state of the world and the differences from his day and hers.
Occasionally he’d try to ask about family or other more personal affairs, to get to know his companion a little better. Each and every time he was rebuffed. Occasionally by a joke, and sometimes by her changing the subject.
Eventually he gave up and returned to silently trying to cast simple spells. When night came, he once again went out into the forest. This time he told both Bernice and Silas it was to meditate, to “retune” himself. He imagined Silas believed it more than Bernice since she still didn’t know about his predicament.
David knew it was unlikely that Ophelia had followed them, he hadn’t asked her to, and they had covered a lot of land. But he still couldn’t shake the desire to see her again, and he didn’t entertain any other thought than the one that she was waiting for him somewhere past the tree-line.
As he stumbled through the thicket, gathering up his robes which occasionally snagged on a branch, he heard something approaching from deeper in the forest. Cautious, he attempted to cast an invisibility spell, forgetting that he had lost his power. As realization hit him that he was alone in the forest, defenseless wearing bright purple, the being emerged from a nearby thicket of trees.
It was a large woman over six feet tall with a muscular frame. She had dark brown skin and dark brown hair, and over her taut skin was a series of black tattoos that ran from the base of her neck to the tip of her toes. She wore a simple loincloth to cover her womanhood, but that seemed to be the extent of her clothing. Her breasts were bare for the world to see.
David blushed and looked away to preserve her modesty.
This only seemed to amuse the woman.
“Well well, I was right. There are still a few of you left in here. You were hard to find for a guy wearing purple.”
Before David could ask what the woman was talking about, or where she had come from, A large flash of silver came slamming down across his midsection.
But even as the blade sliced cleanly through his midsection, David felt no pain. No wound had appeared either. Wide-eyed, David noticed that the sword had a slight pink tinge as it reflected the light. David was so stunned that he nearly let the blade pass through him a second time. He lunged to the left, falling onto the grassy forest floor. He landed hard on a rock, bruising his shoulder badly, and cried out in pain. The woman seemed to stop her assault for a moment, confused.
“Hey now. Stop your flailing around! This blade’s made of Demon-Realm Silver. Completely harmless! Now stand still and you won’t get hurt!”
David did not oblige. He got up quickly, narrowly dodging another strike. He felt tired, as if the weapon had sapped him of his mana. He ran past the twisted undergrowth of the trees to try and get away from the woman but was pulled down to the ground by what felt like a large snake. As he turned his head in the struggle, he found it was no snake, but a long armored black tail ending in a heart-shaped spade. The woman’s tail.
She stood between the trees with a look of triumph on her face, a large sword resting on one of her well-shaped shoulders. On the other, he noticed something he hadn’t before. A small vestigial bat-like wing.
“W-What are you?!”
She thumped a fist over one of her well-shaped perky breasts.
“I am Sarash, of the Amazon tribes. And you, purple man, are my beloved husband. Once we get back to the village, you and I shall consummate our love among my sisters so that all may know of our eternal love!”
“You don’t even know my name!”
She didn’t respond, instead she barreled forward, blade in hand. David attempted to move, but found himself too weak to break out of the Amazon’s tail. But much to his surprise, the sword stopped mere inches from his face. He could actually make out his sweaty red face in the reflection of the blade. As he dared to look up at the Amazon’s body, he saw her staring off into the distance, an angry scowl peeking out from her wild black hair.
David followed her line of sight to see Ophelia between the trees, a slender arm outstretched, sparkling with silver light. She had a determined look on her face.
“He’s mine! Go find your own!”
Ophelia spoke with a commanding tone completely unlike the stuttering mess she was before. David found that disturbing, had she been playing him for a fool?
The Amazon gave her a smirk and tossed her matted black hair behind one shoulder.
“I don’t smell another’s scent in his mana. So it seems to me you haven’t claimed him yet. If you want him, you’ll have to beat me!”
David was helpless in the grasp of the Amazon, which had tightened about him in what seemed like excitement at the prospect of battle. He glanced toward the noble white visage of Ophelia. Her gaze was iron, filled with a strength that belied her slight frame. She lowered her head to align her horn with the towering muscle bound woman. The woman, Sarash, lifted her blade and leveled it toward Ophelia in a taunting manner.
David felt a knot in the pit of his stomach as Ophelia began a thunderous charge through the undergrowth towards Sarash. The Amazon hefted her massive blade in preparation for a downward arc. He couldn’t just sit by and do nothing, but his arms were trapped and he had no ability to cast spells. As Ophelia and the Amazon were about to meet, David acted out of desperation.
He bit the Amazon’s tail.
Sarash spasmed as Ophelia rammed her horn into the woman’s sternum. The amazon was flipped over the unicorn’s back and landed in a heap, sending David flying into the brush. David was dazed as came to his feet, his vision blurry. He saw the Amazon a few feet away, coming to her feet with a flushed face and a bruise on her sternum. Ophelia’s horn had failed to break skin. She was a powerful creature, that was apparent.
Ophelia came back around and cantered close to David, she seemed to avoid his gaze. Sarash rubbed her bruised chest and looked at the two of them with a grin on her face.
“That was pretty good. But I can take a lot more punishment than that! The purple man will be mine, but if you’re good, maybe I’ll let you use him every now and then.”
David kept quiet, knowing he wasn’t going to make much of a difference without magic. A small part of him was actually rather flattered that two rather beautiful females were fighting over him. But the other parts of him were terrified of the sheer brutality and power of them. Ophelia had rammed a very sharp looking horn into the Amazon’s sternum, and it hadn’t even broken skin.
Ophelia spread her hooves wide in a defensive stance. She charged again, dirt flying up in a flurry as she lowered her head once again. Sarash avoided the attack this time, rolling to the side. David was stunned at the blinding speed of the blade as it slashed in a wild flurry. He was equally surprised at Ophelia’s speed as she ran about Sarash on her hoofed feet, swifter than any horse.
He rubbed his bruised shoulder dumbly, debating whether to leave and get back to the safety of his companions, or to stay in hopes of Ophelia driving off the hulking warrior woman. As the Amazon dropped her weapon and made an impressive leap over Ophelia’s head; she landed on Ophelia’s back, and locked her arms around the dainty unicorn’s neck, David made his decision. He dashed forward as fast as he could and grabbed the massive sword.
Sarash didn’t even seem to notice as she forced Ophelia to the ground, both of their bosom’s heaving and a shimmer of sweat clinging to their skin. David was able to lift the weapon, but knew he would be too slow to actually fight with it. He only had one shot. He spared a glance at the two wrestling on the ground, and was panicked to find Ophelia turning blue. Sarash had a wicked smirk on her face as she pressed her muscular body into Ophelia’s back, her arms flexed and showcasing a power that frankly frightened the small purple wizard. Ophelia was as large as a small horse, and even if her human frame looked delicate, David could plainly see the horse half flexing with effort to get up and displace the brown-skinned woman.
David wasted no effort and heaved the mighty weapon, and brought it down onto the Amazon’s head.
The momentum carried, however, and as the nature of the blade was to be incorporeal, it sliced completely through the voluptuous warrior and straight through the delicate-seeming Ophelia. Before David could heft the weapon up again, both combatants fell over, unmoving.
For a split second, David’s heart leapt to his throat.
But only for a second. He could see the both of their chests rise and fall as they slept. He let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.
He let the sword drop to the side, not interested in lugging it about everywhere. He laid his eyes upon the two, both sleeping soundly by what should have been a killing blow. He glanced at the blade, noticing once more its slightly pink luster.
Demon-Realm Silver, they had called it. Silas or Bernice had spoken about it before. Though he couldn’t remember who. It was quite impressive. If the blade was smaller, he would definitely take it with him. But as it was… he needed to get out of here before the Amazon awoke. He turned slowly to the fallen form of Ophelia.
He was conflicted. In truth, he knew it would be wise to leave and get to the safety of his companions. But leaving Ophelia there after she had saved him seemed… too dishonorable, even for someone like him. He let out a sigh, unhappy for what he was about to do.
Ophelia awoke in darkness. She sat up quickly, remembering what had happened in an instant. The Amazon had been trying to claim David for herself. She had been so terrified at losing him, she had charged in without thinking. She quickly felt about herself, checking for injuries. When she found none, she relaxed, if only briefly.
“Oh good, you’re awake. I was afraid that sword might have done real damage.”
Ophelia found the source of the voice a few yards off, laying against the trunk of a tree. David sat with legs splayed, chest bare, clad in black trousers and soft leather shoes. To his side was a pile of his robes, neatly folded, laying in the grass.
He looked at her with a red and sweaty face, unkempt hair and a look of exhaustion. He didn’t bother getting up from his position, instead just looking her over with his storm blue eyes. She looked away, blushing. His gaze too intense for her.
“You know, I wasn’t sure if you’d actually be in the forest. But after our first conversation, I was kind of hoping you would be. I thought it was silly at first. But… well I guess silly or not, at least my hope was proven right. Thank you, for saving me.”
Ophelia steeled herself and turned her head back towards him.
David quirked his head at that.
“I apologize if I’m being too blunt. But, why are you stuttering? You didn’t have that problem with the other monster. If it’s just a ruse, I’d like you to drop it. It isn’t fooling me.”
Ophelia was aghast, and stumbled over her words as she tried to explain. Why was she always like this? She was making a fool out of herself and she hated it. Her face was beet red as she bleated out excuses in such a stuttering mess that they were hardly words. After David gave her a quirk of the eyebrow and a smirk, she forced herself to stop and calm down. She swallowed deeply and began again, trying to look anywhere but where David sat, shirtless in the cold night air.
“I-It’s not a r-ruse. It’s just th-that I sometimes, I-I s-stutter when I’m a-round… m-men. I-I don’t have th-the problem if its j-just a w-woman… u-usually.”
Ophelia covered her face with her hands, her light golden hair falling over her face as she steeled herself. David was just a normal person. no reason to get flushed. No need to think of his muscled shoulders, or wistful expressions, or his boyish frame, or-
she stopped herself.
“S-some women a-are a l-little more intimidating than o-others.”
“Like who? Not the Amazon. You attacked her without a single stutter. Despite the fact that she towered over even you, might I add.”
“That w-was different.”
Ophelia fell silent not really wanting to explain Delilah. This whole experience was embarrassing enough as it was. She ducked away from David’s gaze again, but stayed laying on the grassy floor. As she looked about a bit, she realized that she was somewhere other than where she had fallen. Curiosity gripped her then. Had David moved her somehow? As if reading her mind, The short wizard answered.
“I carried you away from the site of the battle. It took a while, and I had to take off my robes because they were getting in the way. You know, you’re a lot lighter than I thought you would be. I mean, being half-horse and all.”
Ophelia felt butterflies in her stomach and a smile on her face. It wasn’t exactly a compliment she knew, but the fact that he cared enough to take her away after the battle warmed her.
Just then, she caught sight of a rather nasty bruise on his left shoulder. It made her wince, and caused David to look over his left side, confused. When he realized what she was looking at he gave a shrug and slumped down further on the tree trunk.
“The Amazon knocked me to the ground earlier, I hit a rock, and it bruised. It’ll heal eventually though. So no need to worry.”
Ophelia’s face twisted into worry regardless, she stood up and trotted over to David, who watched with a careful eye. He seemed distant, even though they were so physically close. Did he not trust her? Ophelia was a little disappointed at that. They had seemed to be growing closer, at least in her eyes. Still, she wasn’t going to give up on him just yet.
She knelt down beside David, first her front set of legs, then the back. She faced him head on, and this time it was he who looked away, the intensity in her eyes too much for him. She extended a slender hand towards his shoulder. As her index finger made contact, David winced, even the light pressure causing pain.
Ophelia felt her heart seem to break. She didn’t like to see others hurt. She closed her eyes and said a silent prayer to Eros, her favorite deity.
Her hand glowed a heavenly silver light, but only for a moment. As the light dissipated, David’s bruise vanished. His eyebrows shot up, and he touched and prodded at his shoulder, testing it. A smile came to him as he became satisfied. He looked at Ophelia with gratitude, a wide smile on his face.
“N-no problem! But I-I was wondering…”
“Oh? What were you wondering?”
“W-why didn’t you h-heal yourself? O-or cast any spells to w-ward off the Amazon? Aren’t you a w-wizard?”
Now it was David’s turn to blush, though he didn’t turn his head or make any sort of face. It was if he thought that by ignoring it, it just wouldn’t happen. He remained silent for a few more moments before letting out a sigh and rubbing the back of his head.
“Well, I can’t come up with a very good lie, so I guess I’ll let you know. I mean you did save me, I guess.”
“W-well, you saved me too.”
That gave David pause, as if he had only just then realized it.
“I suppose I did. Still…”
He trailed off, casting his eyes to the ground before looking back into Ophelia’s crystal blue spheres.
“Please promise me you won’t say anything, to anyone. This is very important, so I need you to promise.”
Ophelia motioned a cross over her right breast and held up her hand in vowing gesture.
David still didn’t speak, instead he seemed to be thinking of what to say. But Ophelia was patient. She sat quietly; hands folded in her lap with a smile on her face. She was just glad that he had come to the forest looking for her. She was curious as to this whole secrecy business, but it mattered less to her than the fact that he was willing to share it.
“You remember Silas? The old elf I’m traveling with?”
Ophelia nodded once, with a small smile on her face.
“Well, he hired me to help him deliver a very important object to Vasherton. That object is enchanted, in a manner. Unfortunately, Silas didn’t bother to warn me exactly how dangerous it was. I accidentally… did something I shouldn’t have, and it sapped my magic out of me. For whatever reason, my mana isn’t restoring like it used to. So, I don’t have as large of a… mana pool to draw from, if that makes sense.”
Ophelia nodded. She understood perfectly. After all, her daddy was a wizard too. The object must have been dormant and needed an excessive amount of power to be recharged.
“That makes sense. But you s-shouldn’t worry David. It’ll c-come back in time.”
He shook his head, his eyes full of worry. He looked off into the distance, obviously disagreeing, but unwilling to speak more of it. Finally, David sat up and reached for his robes. Ophelia wondered if he was leaving so soon. They had barely spoken at all this time. She briefly got angry at the Amazon, Sarash. Why had she broken off from the others? Weren’t they heading to…Vasherton? Suddenly Ophelia got a very bad feeling as realization came to her. David and his companions were heading toward the same city those other monsters were headed.
And each of them would want to claim David as their own.
She was brought out of her thoughts as David placed a hand on her shoulder. She was still kneeling on the ground, so to look at him she had to crane her neck. He smiled down at her with warmth, and she felt it radiate throughout her.
“I have to go, okay? I’ve already been gone too long. I don’t want them to come looking for me and find you and I, uh, together like this. They might get the wrong idea.”
She nodded as he turned to leave.
“W-will you return t-to the forest tomorrow?”
David paused for a few moments before he looked back at her, his ears red, but face impassive.
“Will you be waiting for me?”
She nodded her head once. David flashed her a smile in return.
“Then yes, I will.”
And with that he was gone.
Several days passed as David and his traveling companions went on their journey. David met with Ophelia in the forest nearly every night, talking about past adventures he had had as a mercenary. She was an eager listener, and was pleasant to be around, making things easy for David who normally left the story telling to his brother.
Bernice would also often ask David questions about his past. Far from being a passive listener like Ophelia, she actively would ask questions during his stories. She was fascinated by the era from before the current Overlord. From the absolute ugliness of the pig-like orcs to the gargantuan tentacled horror of the kraken, she would always be eager to hear more about how monsters looked and smelled and acted in his day.
Silas too, would occasionally look up from his book to ask a question, usually something small that hadn’t been written down in the history books, like the smell of a giant slug.
But all the while David was still unable to practice any spell-craft, and while he did enjoy the attention, he was very wary of his lot in life if he had nothing to offer the world. One night, before he left to meet Ophelia, Silas pulled him aside.
“We’ll be in Vasherton within a few days. I want to take you with me to meet my employers. I’ll be delivering the spear first, and let them know you’re coming. They’re rather secretive, so best not bring you straight away.”
“That sounds fine.”
“I’d also rather you stayed here tonight and not go into the forest.”
That piqued David’s attention. He hadn’t told Silas or Bernice about Ophelia.
“And why is that?”
Silas leveled his eyes at David in a blank stare that was as uncomfortable as it was long. But to David’s credit, he did not break it, and held his own. Silas spoke in a flat monotone as he realized David was not going to break.
“I know you’ve been meeting someone. I let it go at first because I thought maybe it would help with your mood. You’ve still not been able to cast anything?”
“No. And it’s none of your business what I do out there. I’ll go if I want to.”
“Maybe. But it would be a shame if a certain monster hunter acquaintance of ours was informed.”
David stole a glance at Bernice, eating rations by the campfire. He looked back to Silas who had yet to change his grim expression.
“You said yourself some monsters were benevolent.”
“Maybe so, but they are still monsters. They’re dangerous by their very existence. Stay here tonight or I’ll let Bernice actually do her job.”
Silas did not stay to argue. He shambled away staff in hand to the campfire. It wasn’t like David disagreed with what Silas said. But the idea that the elf could presume to control him ignited a quiet anger. He was his own master. He tried to cast a small hex at the elf, but as all spells had in the past week, it did nothing. He cursed to himself as he went through his options. He could disobey, and in exchange turn a trained swordsman on what had quickly become a good friend. He could try and wait until Silas and Bernice went to sleep and sneak off… but he was sure that Silas had thought of that. Finally, he could do as he was told and maybe sneak out of the city to find Ophelia after that.
Suddenly a thought occurred to him. It was simple, but it might work. With a smile, he joined Silas and Bernice at the campfire. After a few hours, Silas went to sleep first, Bernice followed not long after. David made to sleep in his pack and waited.
When he heard the light snoring of Bernice, he slowly got up and made his way to her things. He fidgeted around her things, looking for her sword. It was never far from her person. After a bit of meddling, he found it. But it didn’t make things any easier. Apparently Bernice liked to keep it under her pillow. Groaning, David debated whether to chance grabbing it, or to chance going into the forest anyway. It didn’t seem Silas was awake, maybe he really thought David was just going to do as he asked…
A slight glimmer in the night caught David’s attention. David turned to face the glimmer as it appeared again in the dark grass a few feet from where he stood. He could feel a slight… buzz from the glimmers as they appeared. He caught sight of another by the horses in the opposite direction, a small silver glint that was hard to notice if someone wasn’t paying attention.
David found that Silas had a contingency plan. A sensor spell had been placed around their campsite, small silver ribbons of light that David was sure was chosen for the very fact that he would be able to see them.
David’s face turned red in anger at the elf. How dare he?! Who did he think he was?! They were barely more than acquaintances. And while David had offered to help the elf, he by no means was his lackey. David bit his tongue as the desire to yell in frustration overcame him.
He briefly wondered why he wanted to meet the unicorn so badly, but he knew the reason. She liked him, gave him attention, and was a very kind beautiful person. It was hard not to like her. It didn’t help that she was always so happy to see him. He had never had that kind of experience before, not in the same way. He liked making her happy, it made him happy in return. He hadn’t felt like this since he was a small boy, and he wasn’t going to let anything get in his way of feeling like it again.
He was going to take Bernice’s sword and hide it, or take it with him, in order to make sure she couldn’t harm Ophelia if she caught him and her together. But that seemed dubious now. The silver cord would wake her and Silas, and it wouldn’t matter regardless. David sulked a bit before rapping his knuckles against his forehead in thought. Suddenly, an idea came to him. If he could find it, the spear head could most definitely sever that cord.
He checked by their supplies and found it in short order. Silas, apparently, wasn’t much of a planner. David took it out of its packing and gave a few test swings, imagining he was a grand warrior loved by all instead of a short-statured wizard in shabby robes who couldn’t even throw a fire ball. After he reached satisfaction with its weight, he went out to the perimeter of the camp.
He looked forlornly at Bernice sleeping peacefully in her bag. He hoped she wouldn’t have to use that sword. But whatever his wishes, he wasn’t one to second guess his own actions, he swung the spear head as he would a blade down at the silver cord.
It broke like a fine mist, dissipating into nothing as the blade head sheared it.
Without bothering to look back, David trudged forward into the forest. He was a bit more confident than normal with a weapon by his side. He hadn’t been attacked since Sarash some days before, but he always felt uneasy being alone nowadays. He had never been alone before, not truly.
Silas and Bernice were mere acquaintances, despite all they had done together. Ophelia was wonderful company, but she was always far away it seemed until the night came. He missed his brother, and his friends. Devon was always full of life and funny, if sarcastic, comments. Danny and Kris were far more reserved, but when they spoke, it was always amusing, if somewhat crude.
A smile came to David’s face as he recalled a moment when Kris had said some rather insulting things about a local Baron’s daughter after they had been hired to dispatch of her lover, a common fisherman. Danny had opted to talk to the man, rather than kill him. They always took the nonviolent route if they could. Kris had shared that the Baron’s daughter was fond of horses, too fond of horses, and that was enough to convince the fisherman to let the noblewoman live her life away from his godly one.
The memory was especially fond since David had been the one to tell the Baron, straight to his face, that they had taken care of the matter and that the Baron had proceeded to celebrate the news by buying his daughter a new horse.
David shook his head and laughed. That was very poor parenting, he thought. Giving your daughter everything she wanted at wildly inappropriate times.
“What’s so funny?”
David stopped. That wasn’t Ophelia’s voice…
He brandished his weapon and peered off into the darkness. He saw nothing in the inky blackness beyond the trees. A few scant fireflies came and went, but he saw no movement besides. He began to worry it was some other monster larger and even more fierce than the Amazon. He began to sweat just thinking about it, imagining her powerful arms easily knocking him to the ground, standing over him like a giant.
He gripped the broken haft of the golden spear even harder, his knuckles turning white. The clouds covered the moon in the same instant, leaving him in near-total darkness.
He heard a laugh then, a chuckle in amusement of his worry. He strained his ears but could not for the life of him make out its direction. Was it above him, perhaps?
But then the clouds departed, and he could see the forest once more. Standing a few yards in front of him was Ophelia, a diamond shining in the dark, looking more radiant than ever. He let out a sigh of relief, his knees feeling weak as he relaxed his body.
“Oh thank God, Ophelia, it’s just you. I thought… well, I thought you were someone else.”
“Oh? How strange. How could I be anyone other than myself?”
David froze on the spot. No matter how much that looked like her, he knew for certain that this creature was not Ophelia. He brought the spear head up in what he thought was a threatening stance. The false Ophelia gave a throaty chuckle, not in the least bit intimidated.
“Oh, dear. It seems you aren’t easily fooled.”
“Ophelia stutters, it wasn’t hard to see through you.”
“Oh? But that’s not entirely true now is it? She only stutters when she’s intimidated. Either by cute handsome men like yourself or by big, scary, women. Women…like me.”
As the false Ophelia spoke her last words, she rippled like a reflection on the water, and began to change. Shapes melded into other shapes, and colors shifted from light to dark. Standing where the false Ophelia stood was Sarash, the Amazon. David nearly had a heart attack as the familiar creature blew him a kiss. He backed away, spear out in front as if it were a sword. But Sarash just gave him the same chuckle.
“Oh? you don’t want to bite my tail again? That was a good bit of work, you know. I like my men able to think on their feet. Who knows what would have happened to poor Ophelia otherwise~.”
“You stay away from her!”
“Oho? And why would I do that? We’re good friends, she and I~”
David didn’t like the girl’s tone. It was different from before. She had been brash, rough, intimidating. But now she just seemed too certain, like she was holding the string to a sword of Damocles above his head that he wasn’t even aware of.
She brought a hand to her mouth as she giggled and twirled her hair with the other. She was acting differently from the Amazon too. A thought occurred to David then. Who was to say that this was the monster’s true form?
“Who are you? truly?”
Sarash’s eyes seemed to sparkle at the question as she tossed her dark hair over her shoulder.
“Clever too, what a wonderful man you are! Very well then, I’ll show you who I really am. But in return… I want to know your name.”
“David,” he said it without any hesitation.
“Oh, no no no. Not that name. Your full name! What’s your family name?”
David’s eyes narrowed, curious as to why that would matter. Some spells worked off knowing a person’s full name, but nothing all that interesting. A few minor hexes and curses, nothing more. Although… it had been some three thousand years. A new spell or two might have been invented. Still, he answered anyway.
“I have no family name. I’m a war orphan.”
Sarash seemed cowed by that information, if only just. She looked at him with a pitying expression almost, though it fled her as fast as it had come on.
“I see. I was afraid of that. Still, a deal is a deal. Now for your reward, for being so quick to obey me.”
David made to protest, not really thinking what he had done had been anything of the sort, but the protest died in his throat as Sarash’s form rippled once more like the reflection in a lake. Her visage became obscured and the colors of her frame shifted and melted. As the ripples began to calm, in her place stood an imposing creature clad in black.
A very tall, and very voluptuous demon. David jumped back, able to tell her species despite the new feminine form. He had dealt with demons before. Well, encountered might be a better term. Demons were notoriously powerful and intelligent. Not easily defeated by any mortal, if at all. It usually had taken David, Devon, Kris, and Danny’s combined efforts to drive them away. But he didn’t have his comrades. He didn’t even have his magic.
David seriously began to consider running.
The demon was amused at his reaction, he could tell that much. She put a single slender finger to her lips and made a terribly annoying cooing noise. But other than that… she stayed put. David took the time to size her up.
She was tall, that was the first thing he noticed about her. Devon, his brother, was tall, but this creature would stand a few inches even above him. She had flawless blue skin, and long silky hair, navy blue in color. Her eyes were a resplendent yellow, and her sclera were black. Her tail swayed behind her, a long and slick thing, with a heart shaped bulb at the end of it.
Atop her head were two curved black horns, jutting out small dull spikes, wreathing her head as if they were a crown. At her back were two large bat-like wings.
All of this was familiar to the short terrified man. But the ample bosom, angelic face, and wide hips made the familiar monster seem like an entirely new and alien threat. Her face was beautiful, without doubt. Framed by long silken hair that reached the tip of her buttocks, and slightly heart shaped, she only rivaled Ophelia for the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. That unnerved him, in truth. Silas’s warnings and explanations finally truly hitting home.
She wore a curious black leather ensemble, trimmed by gold that glimmered in the moonlight and lustrously polished red rubies cut in the shape of an eye. It clasped about her long slender neck with just such a ruby broach, and a high leather collar. She had an extremely revealing ensemble that turned David’s ears red as he tried to stay impassive. It was a tight leather garment that cradled her breasts and had two thin leather strips venturing down on either side of her well-toned stomach attached to a much too small garment protecting her womanhood.
All told, her torso was nearly bare, showing of the most skin David had ever seen save one succubus from many many years ago. Her limbs were better covered. Two long high-heeled boots going all the way up to her thigh, trimmed with gold. Her arms were adorned with gloves that made their way up near her shoulders, similarly, trimmed with gold. David noticed briefly that her claws, as red as rubies were poking through the gloves.
“Oh my. Am I truly such a sight to behold?” The demon spoke in a teasing, almost flirtatious tone.
David broke his gaze from the demon’s attire to meet her eyes. She was quite obviously amused at his antics, which caused David even more frustration. Demon’s were bad enough, a nearly naked woman was bad enough. Bernice had, though he had never told her, nearly won their confrontation. To combine the two? David slowly attempted to back away.
“And here I thought you were enjoying yourself. I didn’t scare you off did I? Ophelia was so looking forward to meeting you one last time.”
David froze in his tracks.
“What did you mean by that?”
The demon gave him a little smirk and waved her hand. Dark black smoke rose from the ground in great bellows, between the two of them. David readied his weapon but found it unnecessary. The black smoke coalesced into three distinct shapes before fading away. In its place sat two chairs and a table made of dark purple crystal, that shone and shimmered in the scant starlight. The demon sat down on the chair closest to her and gestured for David to do the same. When he refused to budge, she let out an exasperated sigh.
“Alright, let’s make a deal. You know a little bit about demons I assume, from your wonderfully adorable reactions. I’ll let you go, without touching a single hair on your little adorable head, and in exchange you answer ten questions of mine. You can even opt to pass on as many as you like. But until you answer ten, you can’t leave. That sound fair?”
It did, that’s why David didn’t trust it. When dealing with demons nothing was as it seemed, and no matter how fair or even beneficial a deal seemed, it always ended in the demon’s favor. Still, what was he going to do? Fight it? He had no training with a sword, and even though he was fairly certain the magic draining qualities would harm the demon significantly, he also knew the creature would easily outmaneuver him and overwhelm him. Realizing he had few smart moves to play, he decided to sit down, scowling all the while.
“Oh don’t be like that,” she said, leaning into the table causing her breasts to flatten against the crystal in a rather lewd display.
David looked away, his body betraying him.
“Ask your questions, I just want this done.”
“Fine then, be like that. But you know, I’ll happily answer any questions you might have. Think of it as a gift. A token of good will, demon to human.”
“I’ve seen the good will of demons. Its messy, and makes you nauseous.”
The demon woman frowned at that, but said nothing to refute it.
“I do have a question, however, if you can answer it.”
The demon smiled at him.
“What did you mean, when you said Ophelia wanted to see me ‘one last time’?”
“You’ll be reaching Vasherton in a few days’ time. You’re getting close enough she’d be spotted by scouts. They don’t let monsters into the city, you know? This will be your last night together, I believe. It’s too bad, you two were getting along quite nicely~”
“I’ll find a way. “
This response caused the demon to beam, and David realized telling a demon your future plans and intentions was a very stupid thing to do. He scowled and his face became redder at the embarrassment. The demon laughed a bit to herself before reclining in her chair, her tail swaying back and forth behind her like an amused cat.
“Before we begin, I’d like to give you my name. It seems only fair since you gave me yours.”
David grunted in response, doing his best not to reveal anything about himself that wasn’t necessary.
“My name is Delilah, it’s a pleasure to meet you in person, David.”
That caught David’s attention. What did she mean by, ‘in person’? He nearly asked her but decided that it may have been a trick to start a larger dialogue. And just speaking to a demon was dangerous. He stayed silent, hoping that she would hurry up and ask her questions. After a few moments of silence, Delilah gave an exasperated sigh.
“Tight-lipped tonight I see. That’s too bad. You seemed an interesting character from your conversations with Ophelia. Very well, then. My first question. When did you meet Silas?”
David bit his tongue. Realization hit him, as he realized this woman had been spying on him. This demon had been spying on him. The realization made him shudder.
“Am I to assume you’re skipping the question?” she spoke in an almost disappointed tone.
“I met him a few weeks ago.”
“Hmm. I see, could you go into more detail dear? Otherwise I’m afraid I won’t count it.”
“I answered your question. You never asked anything other than when I met him, and I answered as best I could.”
“Yes, but I’m the one determining a satisfactory answer. I admit, it turns things to my favor, but, well, you knew that was going to happen.” She chuckled to herself, finding the situation funny.
David groaned and made a face before relenting. He had no options. He swore he saw a glint in her eye as he forcefully divulged the information she wanted to know.
“We met in some ruins to the west of here. He saved me from a… spot of bad luck. I’ve been a part of his party ever since, and I imagine we’ll be splitting up once we hit Vasherton.”
“Much better. Thank you. Now, for my second question. Tell me, what was that spot of bad luck he saved you from hmm?”
“I was… petrified.”
“You had been turned to stone?”
“Is that one of your questions?”
“Not if that was an answer.”
David nestled his chin into his palm. This was going to be a long night.
“I was turned to stone. I had been trapped in that state for a very long time until Silas set me free. Anything else will cost you more questions.”
Delilah smiled, seemingly happy with that answer.
“Alright then, third question. How long were you petrified?”
“3,000 years at the least”
This time it was David’s turn to hide a smile as Delilah seemed to choke on her own spittle. Her eyes flew wide and she made several strange noises as she attempted to stay something in response.
“Y-you have to be joking.”
“Now look who’s stuttering.”
She laughed. It wasn’t a chuckle, or a giggle, or any sort of snide means of condescension, but a true to God honest laugh. It was a sweet gentle thing, not at all like what her countenance suggested. David was reminded more of angels than of demons, and briefly, he imagined this creature as more girl than monster. As something sweet and gentle, with the feminine charm and grace that entices all men.
But only briefly.
“Well well! I knew you were interesting. But I guess you exceeding my expectations. So I suppose my fourth question would be how that happened. And please, don’t skimp any details.”
So he told her, not bothering to hide anything. The encounter with the Silver Crown had been so long ago he thought there was no need to be spotty with information. Besides, he knew very little about the former Overlord or his magic, the things that would excite a demon most. He detailed the situation leading up to the fateful encounter.
She actually seemed interested, a look of enthrallment on her face as he spoke. He once again was tempted to look past her demonic heritage. She squeaked, squealed, oohed, and awed, and generally seemed entranced. When he spoke of his final moments of consciousness as he turned to stone, she leaned further into the crystal table than she had previous, eyes wide.
“And then what happened?”
“Is that your fifth question?”
She waved a hand in a dismissing gesture.
“Sure sure. Fifth question, for clarification’s sake. What happened after you were turned to stone, up until you came to the forest? Be as detailed as you can, and don’t lie. I can tell you know.”
He didn’t bother asking how she would know. In fact, he was certain she wouldn’t, bluffs were common among demon-kind. They were powerful creatures, who often exaggerated their abilities on top. They were known to use their reputations as often as actual force. A bit like what she was doing right now, David mused.
He went on about how Silas freed him, Bernice’s slime infestation, he skipped everything about the spear, and his current inability to cast spells. She needn’t know everything. But, true to her word, she seemed to catch whiff that he was omitting certain important information. She didn’t say anything, but she smiled every so often when he skipped what he thought she was really after. When he was done, they sat in silence, Delilah not bothering to comment other than to smile at him. He would be lying if he said it didn’t unnerve him somewhat. She spoke as he shivered from a small gust of wind came through the trees.
“There are so many things I want to show you, to tell you… but I think you would dismiss me if I told you now. You aren’t quite ready yet. It’s a shame really. I could help you. I could help you get your friends back, and find your place in this new beautiful world the Overlord has made. But you don’t trust me.”
“I have no reason to trust you.”
She paused, as if considering the statement.
“Yes, I suppose you don’t. But why don’t I share a little something about myself then? All you really know is my name. After that, It’s getting a little late…”
“Does that mean you’re giving up your other five questions?”
“Oh heavens no! I’m just putting them on hold. You’ve been a good little boy, after all. I can let you go early, talk to Ophelia and all that. I know you’ll give me those remaining five questions in time. After all, you aren’t a man who breaks his word now are you?”
“I don’t exactly remember giving you my word. I recall you coercing me, under vague threats.”
“You’re still on about that I see. Very well, then here’s an offer. I let you go now, and you give me the remaining five questions at a later date of my choice. You only stand to gain.”
David was tired. Cautious still, but tired. He had not expected to retell his life’s story to a demon tonight. He reluctantly agreed. At a later date he might even be able to cast spells again. He had no doubt it would still be an uneven fight. But at least it would be better than nothing.
As he made to leave, Delilah looked over him one last time. He forced himself not to shiver under her gaze. She was tall, and even were he not as small as he was, she would be looking down on him.
“One last thing before I leave. That sword of yours… were you aware it has a piece of your soul inside it?”
David’s face remained impassive, but his eyes betrayed the shock he felt. Delilah gave him a cute little smirk.
“Oh yes, My demon’s eyes can see such things. I thought it might have happened by accident since it looks like it was torn off. Not a worry though. I can fix it…for a price.”
He swallowed, not liking the sound of that.
“And what might that price be?”
“I want you to come visit me sometime, like you plan to do with Ophelia.”
“How do I know you aren’t lying about my soul, and this isn’t all some farce?” David grunted.
She shrugged her shoulders, nonplussed at the accusation.
“Go corroborate it then. My offer still stands.”
And with that she was gone, vanished in black smoke. The table and chairs too vanished in the same way, the smoke wafting in the wind. David wiped away a sheen of sweat that had formed on his brow, and looked himself over. If what she said was true, then that meant some very serious magical bonds had been made. His not being able to cast spells meant that it had to be a very serious part of himself that got trapped in the Heaven’s Gold Spear. He didn’t know enough about soul based magic to speculate further. He almost wondered if he should even bother finding Ophelia. He only had a few hours before sunrise, and he needed to be back at camp, and put the blade back before Silas and Bernice awoke.
But just thinking of her smiling, happy to see him, convinced him to go. There had never been that many people happy to see him before. He wasn’t about to take that for granted.