Previous | Table of Contents | Next

“Wait! She’s not a Cambion,” the other man spoke up as the first one took a step towards me.

“Bullshit!” The first man glared, convinced his comrade was taken in by my looks.

“No, look, her slave collar. You know I’m good with magic sense. There is no illusion magic being used by her.” The man explained.

The first guy blinked, his rage diminishing somewhat as he looked me up and down. “It doesn’t matter, she’s still… with them.”

“As a slave…” The first responded with a sigh. “Look, when I came in she had picked up your sword. She was going to stab that Cambion attacking you, right? As soon as he died, she dropped it. Does that sound like a Cambion to you?”

The first finally relaxed, lowering his sword slightly, but still keeping it at the ready. “I guess so.”

The second guy gave me a wink. “What’s your name, darling?”

My confusion, shock, and horror fought to come to the surface. I had to make full use of my deceptive skills to keep my face from showing any of this. Peers was dead. No, likely all of the Cambions would be dead soon. These… demons… aren’t much different than the slave traders who had captured me in the first place. They were people, and people could be manipulated. I put on a fake look of relief and gave the man who killed Peers a happy smile.

The bile rose in my throat, but I couldn’t allow that to affect me right now. “My savior, I’m Aria. I was a simple housewife. These horrible monsters murdered my husband and captured me. They’ve been holding me here for months. Thank you for saving me!”

The gratefulness of a beautiful girl moved the two men, and even the guy who had been a step from cutting me down gave a silly grin and scratched the back of his head.

“Well, you’re safe now miss. Why don’t you come out with us? We’ll keep you safe. The Lord General would probably like to see you then.”

I gave a firm nod, walking up and touching each man on the shoulder as I moved. Both men grinned back. Even the first guy seemed surprisingly weak against women when he didn’t think he was being tricked. Both men emerged from the tent with me nearby. Most of the tents beside my own were torn down or on fire. The village was clearly destroyed. If I wanted to survive, my only choice was to throw in with this lot.

“A-aria!” A shout came out.

A small-looking Cambion suddenly fell to my feet. I was surprised by how close it had gotten. It immediately looked up and tried to lunge for me. By pure instinct, I pulled away, avoiding its touch, my look unintentionally turning disgusted. That was all the time needed for the men next to me to raise their swords and slash down. Two swords struck the small Cambion’s neck and heart each, killing it quickly. It’s last few breaths were to stare at me in confusion.

It was only then that I noticed something in its arms. As they went slack with death, a small little teddy bear fell to the ground. It was the same teddy bear I had given an adorable little girl who had a crush on a certain little boy.

{Mental Resistance has increased to level 21.}

No matter how strong my mental resistance got, I realized it still wasn’t good enough. This world was simply too hateful. As my eyes turned from the scene, I could see Crish’s tent nearby. There were two dead Cambions lying at the entrance to the flap. That would Crish and his girlfriend, probably. I couldn’t even identify the bodies if I wanted to. Perhaps that was a blessing. As I watched through watery vision, the tent I had spent countless hours in working on enchantments collapsed from the fire set inside. The tent cloth tumbled forward, and some of the fire landed on the two bodies, setting them ablaze.

“Miss, let’s get going, you don’t need to see this carnage.” The second man gently touched my shoulder and gave me a glance that even looked sympathetic.

He had seen my reaction to the child, reinforcing his belief I was a captive. Therefore, my dazed teary-eyed stare gave him the impression I was just shocked to see death. Even though these men had slaughtered and destroyed my entire life in an instant, they were looking at me with sympathy, completely unaware that they had done anything wrong. The separation only further left me feeling like I was in a dream. I hadn’t even felt this dreamlike when the Cambions were trying to keep me in a dream!

The two men proceeded to drag me along. I found myself being pulled outside of the confines of the village. The smell of smoke and blood were left behind me, and I found myself able to think a little clearer. I wanted to equip The Reborn title to calm my nerves, but the added charm would assuredly get me in trouble. I was frightened, but any thought of fleeing didn’t touch my mind. These men were acting friendly now, but there was an edge to their eyes that told me they wouldn’t hesitate to cut me down if I tried to flee.

As we left the village, I started to see more demons. There was a surprisingly large force of men waiting in the nearby brush. It was clear that the Cambions never even had a chance, with upward of 300 trained soldiers here. The demons came in many forms, and it was difficult to connect any specific form of class for a demon. Even amongst similarly appearing demons, the level of monster versus human expressed differed. For example, there appeared to be a werewolf-like demon. Most of them had deep golden wolf-like eyes, although a few had blue eyes. Some had a wolves snout, while others had a normal human nose. Some had fur covering their face, while some looked basically human with just one or two different features.

To my understanding, this level of variation doesn’t exist in demihumans. Most demihumans remained quite stable, looking predominately human with a few choice animal parts. A certain book I had read suggested that this was because demi-humans were made by the gods, while demons were composed of a profane genealogy of monster and human. These thoughts, of course, went through my head because I was trying to ignore the reality around me. I was still too shaken up over the death of Peers. Perhaps what shocked me the most is that it didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it would. I felt numb, not pained.

A few of the demons glanced at me. Some merely looked curious, while a few looked ravenous. For some, I wasn’t sure if they wanted to eat me or fuck me. For the rest, I chose not to return flirting looks. This wasn’t the time to do that sort of thing. In the past, I always garnered too much attention. For now, I needed to lay low and survive.

“General, we found a survivor.” One of the guards called out.

That was when I realized I was being brought up to a tall man. His body looked almost human. Almost was the key word here. His eyes looked golden and reptilian, and on his neck were the slightest traces of red scale. It made the man look incredibly intimidating, especially considering his height was above six feet. He wasn’t the tallest man present, but he held himself with a presence that demanded people’s respect.

“We’ve already swept through the prison, there was only one hysterical Bannik. The rest were too far gone so we cut them down. Where did you dig this one up? ” The man spoke with authority, his chin raised as glared sternly.

“My Lord Typhon, They didn’t appear to be feeding on this one, we found her in one of the tents.” The man who tried to kill me explained.

“My Lord, She’s a slave, it looks like.” The other added. “She calls herself Aria.”

The General listened to both men, but his eyes were locked on me. Even he seemed to be affected by my beauty, as he didn’t turn his eyes away. I tried to lower mine, but something about his stare made me think of a snake, and I just couldn’t turn my eyes. My heart started to beat fiercely under that gaze. It was as if this man could read through all of my secrets.

“Aria, is it?”

I immediately dropped into a very low and formal curtsy, surprising the two men on either side. “My Lord, I’m but a humble housewife. Two months ago, these monsters attacked my farm. My husband was slain, and I was kidnapped. If you please return me to my home, I would be eternally grateful.”

The man called Lord Typhon rose an eyebrow as he heard my elegant speech, and then he broke into a smile, even chuckling slightly. The two men on either said looked at each other awkwardly, suggesting that laughing was not something he did often.

“You… you’re an interesting woman.” Lord Typhon responded, taking a step forward and looking me up and down.

The way he looked at me made my skin crawl a bit. It was the same way a farmer might look at a cow. It was the way the slave traders had looked at me. I used my art to its fullest to keep my face from whitening. I had to push forward.

“I assure you, my lord, I’m merely a simple…”

“Not so simple, I think.” Typhoon interrupted me with a sharp look. “You’re a slave. This collar on your neck is a demon item and sealed with demon magic. No Cambion would put a slave collar on a woman. That means you’re from the slave caravan a month back we found ransacked. It was this very unprovoked attack that sent us out here in the first place. What the Cambions did to the slave traders… brutal… but it was a good decision we came. Seven of the Cambion women we found so far were pregnant. It was clear they were starting to expand their numbers. If we hadn’t have been tipped off by this bold attack on demon soil, who knows what these monsters would have gotten up to before we realized it.

Typhon stopped for a second as if realizing he was droning on before starting again. “And that would mean that you’re one of the slaves. A human woman, by the looks of you, however, even if your story swapped Cambions for Demon traders, I wouldn’t believe it. No woman who achieves the second class is so simple, and your charm is unimaginable. I’ve never heard of an Enchantress before, but it sounds like some kind of sorcerer. Now tell me, girl, why did the Cambions choose to not feed on you? There was a reason they were keeping you alive. Tell me.”

My face finally went white as he continued to speak, my façade slipping in the face of his examination. I hadn’t even felt any magic, yet he must have used some kind of identify spell on me. Worst, he knew my level and my class! In a second, I was left completely bare. Furthermore, there was no telling how much Typhon knew about me. My examine ability could tell even personal information like sexual preferences and favorite positions. With an identify skill centered around weeding out lies, what hoped did I have?

One thing was absolutely certain. I couldn’t lie to this man. If I tried to, I had the distinct feeling he would know. Suddenly, I felt completely exposed. I hadn’t felt this exposed since the time I met with Nova. It was like this man was five steps ahead of me. I liked laid back and casual men. I struggled to deal with commanding intellectuals like this guy.

“I… know alchemy…” I muttered.

“What is that?” The man moved even closer, his eyes narrowed, his mouth close enough I could feel his hot sour breath on my face.

“I’m a bit of an alchemist and enchanter. I made them magical potions and blankets and such.”

“Sir, we’ve been finding an abnormally large quantity of enchanted items in this raid. Nothing dangerous. We also hit their storage hut. There is a large number of healing potions. They’ve been stockpiling. Perhaps that’s why they’ve been growing cocky lately.”

Typhon gave no indication he heard the man who spoke in support of my story, still looking down at me, his face incredibly close to mine. “So, you’re the reason our haul was so impressive on this raid. No, if you made all of that, then you’re a greater reward then the rest of it combined.”

As he stared at me and my heart beat to the point I was afraid it would burst, my panicked mind equipped The Reborn title on impulse. The second it attached, when the enhanced resistance calmed me down, I realized it was a mistake. I heard gasping and movement all around me. Even Lord Typhon’s eyes widened a second before he narrowed them dangerously.

“P-please save… me…” I responded pitifully under his gaze to noone in particular.

It was too late now, I had to push forward with everything I had. I set my beautification to demon. I immediately attacked him with Seduction and Eye of the Beholder. If I could just make this man submit, then I would be safe. He was simply too terrifying to allow to continue to choose my fate. However, the man’s grin only turned more dangerous as each of the spells struck. In the past, I could never tell if they hit or not. Since practicing my magical control with Mary, I was now able to tell when skills worked, even those not based on magic. These skills didn’t seem to be working at all. I could see them melting as soon as they struck home.

I could hear the sound of a sword being drawn. The man next to me, the one who had almost killed me before, was holding a sword up towards Typhon. The sword shook in his grasp, but he still brought it up.

“L-lord… perhaps, you should take your distance from the lady?” He spoke almost like he was unsure why he was saying it.

Typhon finally broke his contact from me, looking at the men around them. All of them were watching the pair of us tensely. Each soldier looked about ready to draw their swords on Typhon in the very next moment. Some appeared more affected than others, but even the strongest man had his hand on his hilt, his brow drawn tightly and his hand shaking.

“I… see…” Typhon responded finally.

A sudden eruption exploded from Typhon, and most of the men nearby dropped to the ground like dolls with their strings cut. The man with the sword out flew back and struck the ground nearly fifteen meters away. In a flash that I couldn’t see, I felt cold steel pressed against my neck. For a dreadful second, I was convinced my throat had just been cut, but it took me that moment to realize Typhon had a blade pressed against my neck just short of drawing blood.

“Whatever you activated… undo it now.” Typhon said casually, as if the whole thing didn’t matter much to him. However, the threat in his voice was still enough that I almost peed myself.

I fearfully unequipped the title skill, tears starting to fall down my face. After a second, Typhon merely nodded, pulling back his blade and sheathing it, as if I was no longer a threat in the slightest. The nearby men were starting to stand back up, holding their heads. A few who recovered the quickest noticed Lord Typhon there and immediately bowed fearfully.

“My Lord, I apologize!” One of the men cried out, followed by the responses of many of the others.

Lord Typhon merely shrugged. “To be taken by a charm spell, you’ve embarrassed yourselves. Make sure to reflect. Put the man who pulled the sword on me in chains. He shall be whipped later for insubordination!”

Noone questioned the Lord, merely bowing and immediately grabbing the dazed man off the floor and dragging him away. Even the man himself said nothing to protest as they clamped irons hastily on him.

“My lord, what of this… treacherous woman?” The words were spoken by the other man who had brought me, staring at me now with open hostility now, yet immensely glad that he had resisted drawing his sword like his comrade. “Shall I kill her?”

My eyes widened but resisted struggling any further. If push came to shove, however, I would activate every skill I had. Even if I died by this Lord Typhon, I planned to force him to kill as many of his men as possible. However, when the man looked back at me, he broke into a genuine smile. His eyes almost seemed to hold some level of fondness when he looked me up and down. This made my body shiver more than any level of hate.

“No…” He spoke the words confidently. “I will take her on as my slave. She’ll be my cut of the loot. The rest can be divided amongst the men.”

Several of the men gave a cheer. Clearly, no matter how beautiful I was, in their eyes, I was more trouble than I was worth. For Lord Typhon to take me as his cut, which usually would be 1/5 the total bounty, it showed what value he placed in me. However, all I could do was shiver at that reptilian look that seemed to see more than I could. This is the moment I realized that the normal life I wanted to live would never be.

Previous | Table of Contents | Next