Paved With Good Intentions Chapter 8


~Assault And Valkyrie~

It was now late in the evening, the sun was beginning to wane and Jacob was treated to the sight of four inhuman women organizing a camp in a patch of forest way off the beaten path. Roselyn was setting up the tents, Ysmeina tended to the horses and Caitlin was preparing food ingredients for dinner. Riseth was the most interesting of the lot for she stood in the middle of the small clearing clutching her now glowing staff and muttering words under her breath.

To his shock he saw red patterns being traced in the air and scattered about.

‘What is she doing?’

“She doesn’t like it when you stare” a voice spoke up beside him.

Jacob jolted ‘when did she…’

At some point Roselyn had finished her task and made her way next to him without him even noticing. Was this some characteristic of her inhuman abilities or was he just that distracted by what the Witch was doing?

Ignoring his reaction the Dhampir gave him a cheery smile and a two finger salute “yo~”

“H-hello?”

Jacob didn’t know what to think of Roselyn. Of all of them she seemed the most normal and it had surprisingly little to do with the lack of inhuman features. Caitlin was nice but her perky attitude and overly familiar ways made him uncomfortable. Of course her being a very beautiful and very sensual woman with a distinct lack of modesty was a contributing factor as well.

Ysmeina meant well and he could see she was making an effort to make him feel comfortable however whether by choice or not she came off as incidentally standoffish. Her professionalism and deference seemed in line with how he read a knight to act before a lord in books which made it all the more discomforting in how she insists on treating him as such.

Riseth was by far the most critical of him. His very presence seemed to offend her with the Witch often giving him glares filled with judgment, tones of mild condescension and an overall short temperament when dealing with him.

Compared to them Roselyn seemed like the most approachable of the bunch sporting a friendly attitude without being overbearing, standoffish or oddly resentful.

“So I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with Riseth” she spoke leadingly before the mirth left her tone transforming into mild concern “how are you?”

“I…”

The urge to brush her off was strong but her concern for him felt genuine in a way that actually reminded him of…Evelyn and his answer ended up being something different than what he initially conceived.

“I don’t know.”

“It’s a lot to take in isn’t it?”

Jacob’s shoulders loosened a bit “yes.”

Between Sigrdrífa, Eveleena, him becoming a Hero and now this business with monst-Mamono and possibly the Order Jacob could admit to himself that he was way past being overwhelmed. The fact that he was technically kidnapped from his home by four monster women claiming to be the servants of a now confirmed Demon and he couldn’t even be bothered to raise a fuss about it showed just how drained he was by the entire ordeal.

She chuckled in response “I can imagine” there was a pause as she looked about “to tell you the truth I think this whole thing is kinda nuts.”

That took Jacob off guard “you do?”

“Pfft, oh yeah. I mean monsters turning into monster girls, the Overlord being a pacifist, the ‘Holy Order’ being genocidal bastards? Eleven years into this and I still don’t believe it sometimes.”

Wait what?

“Eleven years?”

“Yep, didn’t even know I was a Dhampir until I met Eveleena. She offered me a spot as one of her retainers and since I wasn’t doing anything important at the time I took her up on the offer” she spread her arms “now here I am.”

“…” Jacob didn’t know what to say to that. He wondered how someone could not realize they weren’t human.

Her eyes narrowed a bit “you’re wondering how I didn’t realize I wasn’t human aren’t you?”

“Um…”

Well not in as many words.

She ruffled his hair with chuckle “Dhampirs are only half Vampires and that half is buried deep unless we drink human blood. Since I had no reason to go drinking blood at any point in my life-thank the Gods-I was just a normal if very exceptional woman” the last part was added with a husky tone as she flipped her hair and pinned him with a sensual gaze very reminiscent of Caitlin.

It made Jacob freeze on the spot and not for the first time he realized that Roselyn was a very beautiful woman, something shared by her companions.

Very exceptional indeed.

A moment later the spell was broken when she grinned widely showing off her slightly pronounced canines. It was a feature he wouldn’t have noticed had she not revealed that she was part Vampire and even then Jacob could only take her word for it since nothing of this woman says that she was in any way related to those pale, ghoulish, blood sucking fiends of the night. At least that was how they were portrayed by the church anyway, for all he knew Vampires could sparkle in sunlight.

“Don’t worry, it will all make sense once you’re back with lady Eveleena and speaking of which” she slung an arm over his shoulder “I think it’s about time you regale us with the tale of how you managed to woo our mistress in the first place.”

For some inexplicable reason this seems to get everyone’s attention.

“W-what?” Jacob flushed despite himself “I never-”

“Ooh yes, tell us!” Caitlin piped up from where she was deboning a cut of meat “how did you win over Lady Eveleena’s heart?”

“But I didn’t-”

“I am also interested to know this.”

Jacob gaped at the knight “you too?”

Ysmeina didn’t look like the type to care about such gossip.

The knight at least had the decency to look self-conscious “do not misunderstand, I only wish to understand the reason behind lady Eveleena’s peculiar behavior.”

“Behavior?”

“I mean, she had it bad for you” Roselyn continued.

‘She did?’

“I didn’t think I would ever see her act like a blushing maiden before” Roselyn added “it was uh…”

“Unsettling” was Riseth’s mutter.

Caitlin picked up “she really does seem very smitten with you.”

Jacob was furiously trying to think back on every interaction he’d ever had with that woman and no matter how he looked at it, ‘Evelyn’ only ever acted like a big sister to him. The most ‘intimate’ they’d ever been was when she would occasionally invite him into her home to talk and she would give him leftover food. The talks were nice and the food was delicious but he couldn’t say the atmosphere was very romantic…or at all.

“I didn’t know.”

Riseth went to retort only to snap her gaze to the darkening horizon. The others following suit but it became clear that they could not perceive the same thing as the Witch.

“What is it?”

Riseth’s eyes narrowed in concentration before widening in fear and with a swing of her staff a barrier of red was erected just before something smashed into it. Jacob only had a moment to glimpse the attacker before he was yanked aside and enveloped in the hard metallic embrace Ysmeina’s armored bosom. In the next instance a bright light lit up the area and Jacob made out a familiar voice roaring with the fury of the heavens itself.

~O~

With a roar and flash of Heaven’s light her lance broke through the Witch’s barrier and struck through, stabbing the corrupted human in the chest. Once the Witch was brought low Sigrdrífa briefly scanned the camp and saw Jacob held in the clutches of the armored one who reeks of death mana. A surge of rage went through the Valkyrie in that instant and disregarding the Witch below her she pulled her weapon out and yelled.

“Unhand him you undead cur!”

With a flap of her wings the Valkyrie surged forth ready to impale the false knight through her head, as is one of the two ways of permanently putting down one of her ilk.

“!”

About halfway to her target a blade was swung horizontally in her path heading straight for her neck. It’s wielder had been the woman whom she had pegged as as a human only no ordinary human could move with such speed.

‘A Majin?’

Despite the initial shock the Valkyrie was able to act quickly and turned her dash into a slide as she dropped to her knees and sailed below the would-be guillotine. As she slide past the woman Sigrdrífa spun and used the shaft of her lance to trip her opponent before completing her spin by swing the lance in a two handed grip towards the armored undead. Sigrdrífa ensured that her aim would only result in the beheading of the undead leaving Jacob safe for retrieval.

She did not count on the undead throwing the boy aside and into the arms of another whilst raising her gauntlet clad forearms to take the blow.

CLANG!

Holy steel met dark steel and Sigrdrífa noted that the armor must have been further enchanted if it could take a full on swing from her lance. The hit still sent the undead careening out of view however which is all the same for the Valkyrie’s gaze was now firmly on the Succubus who took to the sky. Sigrdrífa shot after them with a snarl but as she reached for them the Valkyrie was shocked when her hand went through them and their visage faded away like smoke.

Illusion magic!

Sigrdrífa lost sight of them but thankfully she did not need her sight to find him and after a moment her gaze snapped to a section of the forest obscured by dense foliage.

‘There!’

Sigrdrífa threw her lance into the canopy of trees and was rewarded with a pained scream followed by the sudden appearance of the Succubus with the lance impaled through her thigh. Jacob remained unharmed though the shocked, fearful and queasy look on his face did not speak well for his mental health. Unfortunately for the boy the Valkyrie only cared for his physical well being at the moment and so made a dash straight for him.

*Rumble*

The sound was the only warning she got before a wall of earth was erected, separating her from Jacob again and fencing her in. Sigrdrífa’s ire turned to the once thought incapacitated Witch only to face the undead and human(?) who were both making for her at high speeds. Sigrdrífa engage the human first, manifesting a blue and gold heater shield in a spark of light. With it the Valkyrie redirected the longsword to the side and backhanded the surprised not-human in the face.

As she was sent aside Sigrdrífa had to quickly jerk her head to side narrowly avoiding the spearhead tip of the undead knight’s halberd. Not even a moment after the failed skewering did the undead repositioned her stance and swung the axe end to Sigrdrífa’s face in a similar fashion to what the Valkyrie did only minutes prior. And much like in that first instance there was a resounding clang as corrupted dark steel met blessed holy steel.

The two women shared a glare before the knight pulled back the weapon and began her attack anew. In mere moments Sigrdrífa was assailed with fast thrusts, sharp swings and powerful sweeps all performed with expert skill, clear intent and robust grace.

‘Not bad’ Sigrdrífa begrudgingly admitted to herself as she was forced on the back foot.

Then it ended.

The Undead suddenly halted her attacks and pulled back leaving the Valkyrie momentarily confused and weary. An instant later and the ground beneath her feet erupted with thick tree roots that began to wrap around her body and restricting her movements.

~O~

“That’s not going to hold her for long!” Riseth shouted with furrowed brows and a bloody shoulder.

“I don’t need long” Roselyn growled, longsword in hand ready to pay back the Valkyrie in blood.

Don’t, you’ll just piss her off even more.”

Roselyn hesitated before snarling “to hell with that!” and went to charge only to be held back by a gauntlet clad hand of Ysmeina.

“Riseth and I will distract the Valkyrie, you will escort Caitlin and Jacob away from here” the Dullahan knight spoke in a calm yet authoritative voice that brokered no argument.

But before the deed can be done the Valkyrie reached out with a hand causing Riseth to shout

“Watch out!”

Ysmeina acting quickly tackled the younger Dhampir to the side just in time to avoid a Holy Lance smashing through the wall of earth magically erected by Riseth. In a rapidly spinning fashion the lance cut into the roots deep enough for the Valkyrie to wrest her hand free, grab it and begin hacking away at her constraints. In no time she was free and looking ready to take her grievances out on the resident Witch.

“Shit” Riseth cursed as the Valkyrie went after her.

Seeing this Roselyn surged to her feet, a glint in her eyes “looks like there’s been a change of plans. What now?”

Seeing the Witch holding back the Valkyrie’s onslaught for the time being Ysmeina glanced over her shoulder through the recently made hole in the magically erected wall of earth.

“Caitlin?”

The Succubus was gripping her thigh with a worrying amount of blood under her. Beside her Jacob looked lost as to what he should be doing. The two of them looked to her as she called out with Caitlin taking a breath and speaking through gritted teeth.

“I’m alright”

“You sure? That’s a lot of blood” Roselyn called out.

“I’ll live!”

“Take Jacob and leave this place.”

“Okay!”

Just then a curse alerted Ysmeina to Riseth however it wasn’t an attack as she feared. Rather it was the Valkyrie disengaging from the Witch and heading in their direction.

“She’s after the boy!” the Witch yelled.

“Do not let her take him” was Ysmeina’s grim order.

“Ain’t gotta tell me twice.”

The two women surged forth, sword blade and halberd shaft met lance shaft as the two women met the Valkyrie head on in a resounding clash. Despite it being two against one Ysmeina and Roselyn still ended up being pushed back as they locked horns with the celestial warrior-servant. With a yell the Valkyrie pushed them off and while the Dhampir faltered the Dullahan was quick to bounce back and engage her. This time around the Valkyrie was in full assault mode forcing the Dullahan on the defensive.

Just a few seconds of receiving the angel warrior’s attack and Ysmeina could admit to herself that the Valkyrie had her beat when it came to skill with a pole arm. The Dullahan was no slouch herself however the Valkyrie was faster, stronger and had centuries of experience on her. Every second that passed was a moment where Ysmeina’s defenses were chipped away and it was only a matter of time before she faltered.

Luckily she was not alone and as Roselyn came in to attack the flank Riseth’s gave them appropriate support with spells. Unfortunately whatever perceived advantage the Dullahan and her compatriots thought they had with their numbers was quickly and efficiently destroyed. Ysmeina’s reprieve became a fallacy in mere moments as the Valkyrie seamlessly adjusted to their efforts. Not only able to fend off two opponents of two different weapons and styles but also taking care to adjust for their magical support.

Addendum: The Valkyrie was not just fending them off she was dominating the battle itself and in only the span of a literal minute did the stalemate crumble. Roselyn was the first to falter, being the youngest and least skilled of them all. The Valkyrie took advantage of the Dhampir’s relative naivety and shorter ranged weapon to lure her into a perceived opening where she committed to an attack hoping to deal a debilitating blow.

Instead the Dhampir was quickly disarmed through a series of close quarter strikes that ended with the Valkyrie smash the butt of her lance into the Dhampir’s face hard enough break her nose and slam her into the ground knocking her out cold. With her out of the way the Valkyrie quickly disengaged with Ysmeina using her better maneuverability to attack Riseth. The Witch had already completed incantations for several offensive spells and as contingency erected arcane barriers invisible to the mundane eye.

Neither mattered to the Valkyrie who expertly maneuvered through the spell attacks and as she prepared to swing, her weapon ignited with the holy light of Heaven. In the next instance the blade of the lance bolstered by Heaven’s light cleaved through Riseth’s barriers, her staff and finally the petite body of the Witch herself. It all happened in the span of a moment, the Valkyrie charged the Witch and seemingly flew past with the only difference being her posture and position of her weapon having completed its arc.

As for Riseth, two half of her precious staff fell and so too did the Witch, falling to the grass with a steadily growing pool of her life blood spreading under her. The Valkyrie flicked the blood off her lance and turned towards the Dullahan knight. Ysmeina met her glare with one of her own, the cold determination in both their eyes spoke volumes more than any words could.

Then the two charged each other.

The brave Dullahan lasted five seconds.

On the first two she was quickly disarmed.

On the third the holy weapon broke her armor’s protective enchantments.

On the fourth the Valkyrie bodily disabled her so that she fell to her knees.

And the final second ended with Ysmeina looking up into her opponent’s cold blue eyes as she swung the lance at her neck.

The sound of wind splitting was eclipsed by a screech of metal and Ysmeina’s head flying free of her body. The Valkyrie didn’t bother staying to bask in her victory or admire her work and instead left to travel deeper into the woods.

Had she stayed she would have witnessed not blood but pure mana be expunged from the body’s exposed neck before it toppled over.

~O~

‘They shouldn’t have gotten far.’

Sigrdrífa wasn’t aiming for it however her lance ending up in that Succubus’ thigh was a stroke of luck that could only be provided by the Goddess herself. It not only slowed the Succubus down but also provided a trail of corrupted blood for her to track like the hunter she was. The trail would eventually lead to a small clearing where she found Jacob’s unconscious body leaning against a tree.

Sigrdrífa’s eyes narrowed “I won’t be falling for your illusions a second time.”

In response to this ‘Jacob’ faded away and Sigrdrífa spun around to slash her lance through the Succubus leaping at her which turned out to be yet another illusion. Soon several illusions of the Succubus appeared all around her. Each of them was perfectly identical, sporting the same wound on their thigh and feigning movement to suggest injury. They were near perfect illusions too for the Valkyrie could not even tell them apart through her mana sense.

If she was committed to fighting this monster then Sigrdrífa would have been at quite the disadvantage. Unfortunately for the Succubus however, Sigrdrífa was not here for her and she had the means of tracking her real target. So as the illusions attacked at once Sigrdrífa weaved through them without a second glance and headed for a specific area.

“No!”

That voice…did not come from any of the Succubi illusion and once Sigrdrífa’s gaze locked onto what seemed like empty space she saw the distortion effect of a camouflage spell. The lance went flying a moment later and while it did not hit the target, the fast movement of the Succubus’ dodge forced her to divert attention away from the spell keeping her unseen. The pink haired lust demon only had a moment to meet the heavenly warrior’s gaze with fear before she was accosted by the Valkyrie.

One gauntlet clad hand wrapped around her throat and slammed her into a tree. While this did knock the wind out of her the Succubus proved to be a tenacious one and summoned a corrupted dagger to stab into the Valkyrie’s unarmored neck. That same dagger clattered to the ground when Sigrdrífa caught the offending wrist and crushed it in her grip eliciting a choked scream of pain from the squirming monster.

It was at that moment Sigrdrífa realized something “it was you. You were the one who snuck through my wards” the Succubus was hoisted higher as the Valkyrie continued to choke the very life out of her “DIE!

“STOP!”

Sigrdrífa did indeed stop, if only due to the surprise of who it was confronting her.

“Jacob?”

Her grip further loosened allowing the Succubus enough air to rasp out “Jacob run.”

The Valkyrie frowned at the Succubus but once again it was the boy whom got her attention more.

“Leave her alone!”

The Valkyrie blinked, looked between him and the Succubus and promptly dropped her. The boy visibly calmed down as the monster began coughing and messaging her throat. At this moment she was more concerned with the boy who stiffened at her approach. She couldn’t exactly blame him, for the Valkyrie’s severe expression would worry even the most hardened warrior.

That would have to wait however as just when she got within arm’s length of the boy they were distracted by the sound of something hitting the ground next to them. Upon seeing what looked like small black balls Sigrdrífa immediately scooped Jacob into her embrace and flew them away. A moment later the balls erupted into black smoke but it hardly mattered as Sigrdrífa had secured Jacob and recalled her lance.

With a sweep of the holy weapon magically enforced winds blew the smoke away to reveal that the Succubus was now gone. Sigrdrífa frowned and looked about while extending her senses but could find nothing of the monster. Her attention then went to the boy who cowered under her gaze.

“Jacob.”

He swallowed “y-yes?”

Her eyes narrowed into slits.

“We will have words about this.”

~To Be Continued~

Get up to Four Advance Chapters on my Patreon at: www.Patreon.com/Streggaeworks

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