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“Is there a problem?” I asked casually, glaring at the man who had been attempting to violate this dog girl.
The demon I had snatched her from was short and had a large belly. He sort of looked like a blowfish and was one of the less human-appearing demons present.
“Yes, you should have proper manners and wait your turn!” He snorted snobbishly.
“You misunderstand.” I looked down at the girl, who stared up at me with wide, brown eyes. “I plan to have her work in my shop. She won’t be participating tonight.”
“Excuse me… who exactly are you?” This voice broke out from Sal.
Although my previous actions had caught a lot of eyes, Sal addressing me had caused the remainder to quiet down until the point that every eye was on me. Lieutenant Dire was looking in my direction with a worried expression, while his companion Dogath seemed to have a smug expression, as if ready to enjoy me being troubled.
“I’m Devon, of Devon’s Watering Hole,” I responded dryly.
He knew exactly who I was. If he didn’t recognize his competition, then he was a great fool. Besides, I had been announced upon entry. A few who hadn’t caught the announcement were surprised, but everyone else seemed to understand the situation immediately. Someone from Dire’s side had made a move directly against Sal. It annoyed me slightly that this person ended up being me, but there it was.
“What are you doing with one of mine?” He asked, his eyes narrowed.
I looked down at her, pushing her from me and looking her up and down. She blushed slightly, but she didn’t resist.
“I’m sorry, do you own her? Were these slaves?”
“All humans are servants to demons.” His face darkened.
“Am I not a demon?” I asked. “It seems to me that you have no ownership over this human in the slightest.”
He put on a fake smile and coughed. “It seems like demons on a certain side of town are lacking in some sense.”
His words were intended as a joke, but they only caused a few chuckles. The demons who happened to be on that side of the town, in other words, the soldiers and the grunt workers, wouldn’t take kindly to that comment. There were a few who might be considered common demons, or at least came from common origins, such as Dire, who didn’t like being looked down on, and instead frowned unhappily.
“Then, please, enlighten me.” I didn’t back down in the slightest.
“You see, this woman works for me. She is obligated to perform tonight upon my request.”
“So, you have a contact? May I see it…”
He sneered. “We don’t use such a thing here…”
“Really?” I raised an eyebrow before looking back. “Lieutenant Dire, surely you must acquire supplies in mass to maintain your units. Do you not use contracts?”
Dire smiled slightly. “Of course. Whether it’s products or services, it’d be foolish not to use contracts.”
“Grrr… that’s between demons! These are simply humans! They aren’t fit for mercantile rules! We all know humans can’t be paid for services or given jobs.” His voice was growing increasingly agitated while others listened in.
“Is that so?” I raised an eyebrow. “Then I wonder why you speak of obligation from a group of people who intrinsically can’t be bound by such obligation?”
“Don’t play word games with me!” He snapped. “You know what I mean. I’ve already fed and clothed this creature. I’ve put money into it. Now, it must perform for me so that I can be recompensated. This is only fair!”
“You speak of fairness?” I laughed, causing him to stiffen. “I wonder how many people have made trade agreements with you and have come out feeling like the agreement was fair.”
My words seemed to resonate with the group here. Many of these demons had been taken advantage of financially by the greedy Sal. Several heads were nodding, and a few people even mumbled their agreement. This caused Sal’s face to flush angrily.
“It just seems to me, Sal, that if you invested money into something that doesn’t net you a return, then that’s on you for making a poor investment.”
“If you have a point, make it!”
“My point is simple. At the moment, there are no rules regarding these humans. Humans have no rights, but in some ways, it gives them more rights than anyone. You liked leaving things this way because it’d allow you to take advantage of the situation, but leaving things this way will also allow those others to take advantage of you.
“The humans who work for you work for you because you give them food, shelter, and safety. However, I can provide them the same, and this girl has the choice to do whatever she wants. If she doesn’t do what you ask, you have no obligation to continue to provide her anything. On the other hand, if another demon comes along and offers her better, she has no obligation to remain at your side!”
He sneered. “You say this as if she has decided to stay by your side? I’ll tell you what. Any human here who is unhappy with her place is welcome to leave at any time. Simply walk over to this grand hero Devon. I warn you though, he lacks the money or resources that I do. If you think he can afford you food, or safety, you are mistaken.”
At this point, all of the demons had stopped forcing their cocks on the girls to watch what was happening. Sal’s gaze went across all of the women in the room. However, there was a dangerous look in them, one that seemed to suggest if they even thought of acting up, they would pay. A few of the women shuddered slightly or lowered their heads. Those that didn’t had already lost all autonomy. There was only one girl who looked uncertain. I had let go of the dog girl, allowing her to take a few steps back. She looked between the cruelly smiling Sal and me, holding her arm uncertainly.
“I won’t promise you that you won’t have to do things you don’t want to,” I spoke quietly, but enough that her dog ears could pick it up. “However, you will have a bed, food, and the chance to get things that you want. More than that, you’ll have others besides you who will support you. That is all I promise.”
I didn’t have some kind of glorious speech. I wasn’t going to sugarcoat things. I ran a business of women pleasuring demons. It was as simple as that. Alleya took a step in front of me, reaching out her hand toward the dog girl. I thought she might have been disinterested in a non-human, but perhaps her time with the elf had broadened her horizons.
She gave a smile, gentle, but beautiful. Many of the demons who had been getting touched by the unfortunate and dirty women from Sal couldn’t help but hold their breath as they looked at this dainty beauty who smelled of flowers. For the first time, many of them realized there was a difference in women.
“It’s okay,” Alleya spoke only those two words.
The dog girl shook, and then her eyes broke into tears. She reached out and grabbed Alleya’s hand. Alleya pulled the dog girl into her arms as she started crying. She patted her head like a big sister while the dog girl’s crying became wails.
As for Sal, his expression had crumbled into one of pure anger and hate. The dog girl may not have realized what she had done, but many of the demons in the room did. It was called setting a precedent. Now that one person was allowed to choose her future, there would be a floodgate allowing them all to leave.
Had no one crossed over to my side, I would have been laughed to nothing, and my credibility would have disappeared. Now, everything was different. This was only the first shot. I was well aware that the war was just about to begin.