“Devon, you’re leaving?”
I was just getting my coat and intending to slip out, but apparently, there was a break in the discussion and Lieutenant Dire had just managed to stop me before I could slip out the back.
Inwardly, I cursed my luck, but outwardly I kept it from revealing on my face. “Uh… yes. I’ve said my piece, and I feel that at this point my presence would only further antagonize Sal.”
It was a reasoning that sounded logical. When I saw Dire nodding in acceptance, I breathed easier seeing that he was rather gullible with some things.
“Yes, you’re right. What you’ve done today had already helped our cause immensely. I’m not sure to what extent you could call this girl a demon, nor do I understand what you did to achieve such results, but you’ve given demons everywhere much to think about.”
I nodded. “That’s fine as long as they think about it, but if they have some notion of me mass producing female demons or something like that, I neither have the ability nor the drive to do such a thing.”
Dire shook his head. “Of course, most demons are fiercely independent. Some may be curious how you achieved such a result, but their pride would prevent them from doing more than observing. Besides, we still need to figure out what role a female would even serve in our society. Many of the demons still don’t understand the point of them, other than some vague notion of the perpetuation of the species. Either way, the talks have only begun and it will be a long time before any real solution is obtained.”
“It sounds boring.” I shrugged. “Well, at least when it comes to understanding the point, I may be able to help with that.”
Dire gave me a subtle look, nodding slightly. “Yes, I also believe your choices will be important for our future.”
“Well, if that will be all…” I was eager to leave, but as I turned Dire lifted his hand.
“Before you leave, I just wanted to offer a warning. Before, Sal only saw you as a nuisance. Now, I fear he may see you as something more dangerous. I don’t know what his move will be in the future, but rest assure he will be making a move.”
“If there is anything I can do to help…”
“I could use more money.”
Dire’s eyebrow twitched. “Didn’t I just give you a large sum to come here today?”
“I already spent it all on improvements,” I responded. “However, if I’d like to continue to make improvements, I’ll need more money.”
Of course, I already had plans to grow the business and earn money the proper way, but since he offered help, I would naturally take whatever I was offered. I had another mouth to feed, and there was no saying how long it’d take until Luna was trained enough to start making me money. More money never hurt anyone. That’s what I’d say.
He sighed. “I will see what I can do. Is there anything else?”
“An alcohol license.” I added before I forgot.
“You wish to sell alcohol?” He frowned. “What for?”
“Just trust me on it. My shop will flourish with alcohol.” I responded, hoping that was enough to convince him.
He slowly nodded. “I have a feeling I might be depending on your shop for my future more. I’d expect your business to grow soon. Many demons tonight in much higher positions have taken notice of your place. I will do my best to get you a license. Just… be careful.”
“I always am. Goodbye, Dire.”
With a girl in each arm, I gave Dire a final farewell and left the place. Thankful, there were carriages set to take us back to wherever we wanted to go. I got in and informed the demon coachmen where we were going. The journey was rather event free and quiet. I was lost in my thoughts, while Alleya seemed content to lean against me as she healed from her injuries. Luna sat with her head down, not making any noise.
When we reached our location, I got out and noticed that the demon coachman looked somewhat unhappy. I realized the problem. I recalled earlier that Dire had an exchange of coins with the coachmen who took us here. This guy was apparently working on tips. He was waiting for me to pay him. Well, I was far too cheap for that.
“Alleya… give the demon his tip.”
“You have five minutes to finish up.”
I grabbed Luna and went inside, leaving the flustered Alleya to it. I knew I had said earlier that she didn’t need to work tonight, but this was just a tip for a ride she had benefited from, so she shouldn’t have any complaint. Besides, that would be a sufficient payback for her going and leveling up based on some misconceptions about our relationship.
That’s not to say I didn’t value Alleya. She was steadily growing into a useful employee. However, she also needed to know her place unless she got a big head. Since you were what you ate, a little head would set her straight.
Walking into the bar area of my shop, the fireplace was low, a soft glow emanating from it. Charack was sitting in the corner, snoozing happily with a mostly finished glass still in his hand. It looked like he wasn’t able to make it the whole night without a drink.
“Master, you’re home.” A voice welcomed me. “And you brought a girl?”
Diana stepped out from behind the counter, which she was only a head taller than. Since I had started slowly giving her management responsibilities, she was quickly growing into the role. She spoke much more eloquently and proper than even her mother. Her ability to fake emotions allowed her to be a rather efficient shopkeeper. I checked her carefully though and still didn’t see any signs of the demonification. If I couldn’t see her skill Female Demon, nothing would indicate she was any different from any human.
“It’s late, shouldn’t you be asleep?”
“Mother was worried and wanted to stay up for you.” She gestured to a couch, where Elizabeth was lying down, her eyes closed.
“That explains why she’s out here, but why are you here?”
“Are those real?” Diana ignored the question, and instead approached Luna.
Luna flinched, but she didn’t resist Diana reaching up and grabbing her ears. Luna was already a smaller girl. Height wise, she was even shorter than Alleya. She still ended up taller than Diana, although since I had started feeding Diana right she was quickly growing into a young lady, and would probably be taller than both Alleya and Luna by the time she was done growing. Luna let out a whimper as Diana playfully pulled on her ears.
“Stop pulling her ears.” I frowned. “She’ll be our new employee. However, she’s filthy now so I’m going to go clean her.”
“You’re going to bathe her yourself?” Diana’s eyes widened.
“I need to get familiar with her body so I can sell it.” I declared.
This was purely in the name of professionalism. It wasn’t like I had some kind of fantasy about playing with a dog girl’s ears and tail in a bathtub or something like that.
“Master… it’s been a long day of work.” Diana pressed her fingers together.
“What about it?”
“I’ve become dirty too.”
“Since Master is already cleaning her, then it wouldn’t be any problem if he cleaned me as well.”
I rolled my eyes and then shrugged. “Fine.”
Diana ripped threw her dress off right in the middle of the common room. She wasn’t big enough to have a bra on yet, so she just had stockings on. Diana hadn’t been wearing underwear. As for why she wasn’t wearing underwear, I didn’t care to ask.
“Were you born in a barn- ah…” I recalled that Diana was born in a place that was probably filthier than a barn so I quickly changed what I was going to say. “Just pick your stuff up.”
She said that and immediately bent over. When I heard a whimper next to me, I realized I had been pulling on Luna’s ears. I wasn’t sure why I had done that. I was just examining Diana to make sure she was developing properly. I mean I was looking for demonic attributes that I might have missed. With an awkward cough, I followed the naked Diana as she skipped into the bathroom. I had some strange feeling in the back of my head like I was walking a paved path into hell, but it was probably my imagination.