“Aria! Come out! We know you’re in there!” A booming shout filled the cavern, causing innumerable creatures to shuffle uncomfortably. “Come out, or we’ll smoke you out!”
I managed to silence and quiet them before standing up and walking over to the entrance of the cavern. I had only just finished recovering from my fight with Bryson. I refused to acknowledge that person as Min! The monsters around me were becoming organized, but they weren’t quite ready to move yet. Furthermore, I was waiting to collect the remainder of my forces.
I had recalled the rest. Many were out hunting or scouting. I also had to include those that had been in the Labyrinth during its destruction. It’d be difficult for them to leave the Labyrinth through the main entrance now that it was dead. Once Bryson left, he would likely collapse the entrance, which was a standard practice in this world. That would bury any survivors deep inside. However, the entrance also was filled with people and protected.
I’d need to take my forces and wipe them out to free the rest of my family. This had the added benefit of making this look like an overflow, otherwise known as a flood. When a labyrinth produced too many enemies than adventurer’s defeat, they end up spilling out in waves, attacking the closest human centers. This, of course, can only occur with the non-labyrinth attached monsters, such as the results of the breeders. Bryson had said this Labyrinth was showing signs of this, although they were actually from my activities, they weren’t technically wrong. I would show them a true overflow.
“This is your last chance!” The voice boomed again, “Come out and surrender! Your tricks won’t work here!”
The voice that had called outside was one I recognized. It was the voice of Hector. Taking a deep breath, I ordered the beasts and monsters in the cave to hold back, and I began to walk out by myself. As I emerged from the darkness and came into the light, I didn’t see demons or humans, but a contingent of elves. They had formed a half-arc around the cave entrance. They were all on their feet, with their horses tied up about fifty meters away so they wouldn’t spook. There were about a hundred arrows trained on me, and even more weapons drawn and pointed in my direction. I also noticed a few people in robes scattered throughout. Were these mages? In all, it was nearly two hundred armed men against a single woman. Calling it overkill to take out one woman would be an understatement.
I looked across the crowd, my eyes instantly landing on Hector in the middle. He was wearing a fancy outfit and armor, and had a sword on his side. He wasn’t even a swordsman, so he looked more like a fool by my eyes. However, standing next to Hector was Baron. He had a very ugly expression on his face like he wanted to be anywhere but here, yet his weapon was distinctly aimed in my direction.
“You too, Baron?”
Baron gave a dry laugh. “Don’t be naïve. The demons have put a pretty bounty on your head. You can’t run into the forest and hide anymore. The gig is up!”
“So, you’ve been following me?” I asked.
“Hmph… you had to know I’d eventually figure out what you were up to. You left to this spot nearly every day. It took a while to realize what you were doing, but I eventually found and killed one of your goblin friends. You actually managed to take leadership over a group of goblins? Did you think they would protect you? Pathetic.”
I gave a sad smile as I turned to the man next to him, tears in my ears. “And you, Hector?”
“Come alive or resist and die. It doesn’t matter. Your head is all they want. It’s what is valuable to me.”
“My body could have some value too.”
He gave a disgusted snort. “Don’t think you can charm your way out of this. We’ve already made sure to protect ourselves from your… abilities. You’re out of options. I have mages at the ready. They have already sealed off your scents, and if needed, they can also blur your appearance. Whatever tricks you have, they will be wasted.”
I blinked in surprise. I didn’t even know that they understood the extent of my abilities. They must have figured out quite a bit. Perhaps the humans and demons had been sharing information. Blocking the scent would basically nullify frenzy and pheromones. As for seduction, I had a feeling I couldn’t seduce those that couldn’t see me. I had the feeling they had cotton ready to shove in their ears too, should the mood require it as well. All three modes of attack had been considered.
“You’ve done your research. The demons really want me dead…”
“Not just the demons.” He sneered. “The humans too. They both are offering an award upon your death. As for me, I have no care to kill you. If you come with us, we will handle you more gently than the other two.”
“Is that the deal you offer?” I asked wryly. “To take my head gently?”
“You’re in no position to talk! We know you’ve taken numerous local women and turned them into breeders for your goblins. Your actions are an abomination for all species. Expect no leniency from anyone. Killing a demon general is the least of your crimes!”
“All I’ve done is what is necessary to survive,” I said lightly, mostly speaking to myself.
I really didn’t want it to go this far. I had hoped for a way out.
“What about Evan?” I broke in, causing his expression to turn ugly.
“He wanted to council to avoid you. He said it was ridiculous to get involved. He was outvoted, so he tried to send you a message, but was caught. The council finally voted to strip him of the last of his command. I am now the head of the elf council.
“That… damned fool…” I muttered. “You shouldn’t have done that…”
“You’re right. He shouldn’t have sided with a monster like you.” He snorted. “So, I’m giving you a chance. Summon the goblins out and allow us to cut them down, and we’ll give you a quick death. Otherwise, well, as you said, your body does have some value…”
“What? That isn’t part of the agreement! The girl has been through enough. Just cut her throat and be done with it!”
“Shut up, Baron!” The other man snarled. “The elf council has put up with your shit enough because you have some skill with a sword, but don’t think I’ve forgotten you were present when my son died! If you’d like, you can join her!”
Baron stiffened, glancing my direction before lowering his head. “I obey the elf council, as always.”
“Hmph…” Hector put on a smug expression, “There we have it. We’ll kill all of your monster friends anyway, you can either bring them out and make it easy on us, or… don’t blame me for making it easy on you.”
I bit my lip, shaking my head. “I really wish Evan hadn’t tried to save me.”
Hector’s expression turned angry as e realized I had been barely listening to what he said. “You bitch! Evan is just a shell of a man! What he has done… doesn’t concern you! Accept your fate and die-”
“Elmindreda…” I said this word, causing an icy chill to fall over all of the elves.
They all knew that name. How could they not? However, why would I suddenly speak the name of Evan’s child, when we had no relation to each other.
“My vessë, until a short while ago, I had thought she was dead. It turns out; instead, she just didn’t want to be my family anymore. Well, I’m sure she’d say something about wanting to get stronger for my sake. That’s the kind of girl she is. However, the truth is that I made her feel inferior, and she couldn’t stand to be by my side anymore.”
“What are you on about?”
I looked up at them, my hood falling back, my piercing eyes causing some of them to even take a step back. Even with charm amulets protecting their fragile minds, my beauty and charm were difficult to deal with.
“She killed some of my family. She said it was for my own good. I suppose she was right. You’re all right. I would have run away or hidden in my hole. They’re the two things I’m best at. Holes and running. She’s freed me from my restraints. When I see her next, I should thank her.
“I’ve decided I’m going to return the favor. She killed my family to free me from my past. So, I will give her the same treatment. It would have been a lot easier if Evan was a complete piece of shit. That man had to make things difficult. Ah well, what did you say? Accept fate? I too am a believer of fate. Yet, I refuse to accept it. Rather, fate is a cruel mistress that tries to strip me of everything I have ever loved. So, I won’t accept it. I will kill it, and everything else that stands in my way.”
“Elves, get ready!” Baron shouted, a sinking feeling suddenly growing in his gut.
“Come… my loves. I will wipe out the elves first. Once the peacekeepers are gone, then only war is left.”
“Kill us?” Hector growled. “You think too highly of yourself. Put an arrow through-“
His words suddenly dropped as darkness behind me started to writhe. Countless forms began to leave the darkness, just as he wanted. A goblin came out, but he didn’t look like a standard goblin. Rather, he was about twice the normal size, and he was riding a massive armored wolf. Dozens like him came out behind. More goblins came, except they were armed and wore new, clean armor. They walked in a trained military formation that made the elves look like a ragtag group.
However, that was only the start. Creature after creature began to appear from the darkness. Monsters that never should have been able to get along, especially in a cramped cave, were all moving as one unit. Even a labyrinth usually kept their monsters on different levels because of their inability to get along, yet these had been kept together in an underground cavern. I had needed to expand the size of this cavern three times to make more room for my recruits and breeding areas, but it was a rather simple process by using the Labyrinth.
The ground wasn’t the only location, as the walls and ceiling were also filled. Giant spiders, hundreds of them, began to flood out of the entrance. The smallest was the size of a large dog, but more were the size of horses. One such spider dropped from the ceiling, swinging down from a long thread. As it dropped right behind me, some of the men looked away, unable to see a beautiful woman eaten by a spider.
Yet, it lowered its head tamely, and I stepped up onto it’s back. This spider was actually one I was familiar with. This was the same type of spider as the one that had raped me nearly a year ago. In fact, every monster her was of a type I had tasted in bed at least once: weak devils, skeletons, imps, harpies, ghouls, undead and more. Over a dozen different species spilled out of that hole. They had all been created by the labyrinth and bred by me for various purposes, to better or worse results.
As more and more creatures piled out around me, not a single elf loosened an arrow. Quite the opposite, their eyes wide and filled with terror, they tossed their weapons down and fled in terror. Someone had already cut the horses free, accidentally freeing them all in his haste. The horses, more afraid than their masters, had already scattered.
“Dear gods…” Baron uttered before turning and fleeing.
Only Hector remained, standing as if frozen in front of the hole that exploded open to release unimaginable horrors. He had pissed himself, but even then, his legs no longer worked.
“R-r-run!” He finally called out hoarsely with little power, but as he glanced back, he realized he was the only person left standing there.
When he glanced back, a hundred eyes were steering at him, a giant spider only a foot in front of his face. He let out a stuttered breath and collapsed to his knees, breaking into tears.
“What are you?” He whimpered, looking up at me with stark terror in his eyes.
“Min says hello,” I responded from my place standing on top of the spider.
It lunged forward and bit off his head in a single bite. As the corpse of Hector collapsed to the ground, I looked out over the forest, seeing elves scattering off in every direction. I took one more breath and then my eyes sharpened into a glare.
“Kill them. Kill them all.”