chapter 142: I dream of demons

After Ashley and Aurivy were done with their show, we all decided to watch one of the ‘movies’ that they had made about the demon race. Excited, Aurivy jumped up and ran over to a set of shelves near the TV. “Okay… uhm… let’s start with an introduction!” She grabbed the first in a row of DVDs and inserted it into the player below the TV.

Once the movie started, the scene was of Ashley and Aurivy standing atop a rocky mountain, looking towards the camera. “Welcome to Demons 101!” Aurivy excitedly said in the movie, as the actual halfling goddess hopped back over into Ashley’s lap on the chair. “Here we’ll go over all the basic information you need to know before watching any of the other movies.”

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“Other movies?” Ashley asked, obviously faking her shock as she looked down to Aurivy.

“That’s right! We’re going to make an entire series to chronicle the history of the demons in an easy-to-understand format! I call it… I Dream of Demon!” When Aurivy announced that, the name appeared in golden words above her head, causing Ashley’s eyes to twitch briefly.

“You’re not that good at naming things, are you?” She deadpanned, causing Aurivy to suddenly fall down against the rocky mountain.

“H-hey! Stick to the script! Anyways, let’s start where every great story starts, the beginning. And by that, I mean the beginning. Back when Desbar was young, and the bats were just crawling out of their caves–”

“Wait, wait wait!” Ashley interrupted, waving her hands in front of her. “Bats? I thought this was about demons?”

“I’m getting there!” The little goddess groaned, though a small smile could be seen on her face. “Though, I guess I can skip some parts. Anyways, the demon race is a descendant of these giant bats! Unlike humans, who evolved from apes, demons evolved from giant red bats.”

Again, Ashley seemed to look on in shock as one of said giant bats appeared behind Aurivy. It was bigger than either of the goddesses, its bulky red body a terrifying sight to behold, two large curved horns decorating the top of its head. “You’re saying my people evolved from that?!”

Aurivy glanced behind her with a grin, and nodded. “That’s right! Because of this, demons are a naturally nocturnal race. Although their hearing is not as sensitive as a bat’s anymore, their eyesight has adapted to allow them to see in the dark. Their eyes are actually so sensitive that direct exposure to sunlight can temporarily blind them, which led to them living in caves for several thousand years.”

Ashley seemed to shudder at that. “At least they got over that bit, right…?”

Aurivy coughed awkwardly, glancing away from the red-skinned goddess. “Well… not really. On Earth, the most terrifying beasts live in the sky and sea. But on Desbar, the greatest predator lives on the ground.”

While she spoke, the screen seemed to shake slightly, the camera panning away from them to observe the base of the mountain. Roaming around in a large herd was another great beast. This one appeared to be a scorpion… the size of a truck, with three black tails.

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“These scorpion-like beasts, labeled the Kiron, meaning ‘black hunter’, are the apex predators of the land. They are absolutely brutal to anything not of their own species, but travel in packs of no less than five members at a time. However, their dense carapace and large size has made it so that they are not as good of climbers as their smaller counterparts, their bodies slipping and falling off of steep inclines.”

Ashley breathed out a sigh of relief as she heard that, the camera panning back to them. “So, my people are safe in the mountains, then?”

“Relatively.” Aurivy nodded her head. “There are still predators for the demons to worry about, but none as bad as the kiron. But let’s look past that. Back to the demons themselves!”

The camera faded to black, before another scene appeared. This one was of a rocky outcropping inside a dark cave. Inside the outcropping was a pair of pitch black eggs, being watched over by a red-skinned woman with loving eyes. With a hushed tone, Aurivy spoke to the camera. “You see, unlike most mammals, the demons fall in the egg-laying category. This makes it so that females can still fly about while waiting for their young to hatch, without the weight of the pregnancy keeping them grounded.”

Ashley’s eyes seemed to soften as she looked at the mother and her two eggs. Seeing that, Aurivy smiled and explained. “It normally takes about two and a half months for the eggs to hatch once laid, during which time either the father or mother stay with the eggs to protect them. Oh, right! Desbar’s year is a bit different from Earth. Rather than a three hundred and sixty-five day calendar, their years last for three hundred and ninety days. Thankfully, the length of a day is still similar to Earth.”

“Anyways, once an egg hatches, the imps are born. Imps are the demon’s name for their young, like baby for human or kitten for cats. You can blame Ashley for that one.” Aurivy grinned slightly, and I could swear that the real Ashley’s cheeks darkened for just a moment at that.

“Now… anything else about their biology we need to discuss? Hm… it’s rare to see an overweight demon, because their wings can only carry them for flight if they are light enough. What else? Oh! Their tails!” Aurivy grinned mischievously, reaching out and grabbing Ashley’s tail, causing the red-skinned woman to yelp.

“A demon’s tail is highly sensitive, allowing them to detect little changes in wind currents during flight. This also allows them to use it to rub against objects to get a feel for what they look like when they can’t use their eyes. At the same time, the tails of a demon are strong, roughly as strong as their own arms, depending on how much they work them out.”

“I think that’s enough of the biology lesson, don’t you?” Ashley asked, snatching back her tail and glaring at Aurivy, causing the halfling goddess to laugh.

“Fine, fine! Let’s move on to their history, then?” She replied, to which Ashley nodded. “Now, there have been several extinction level events that have occurred throughout Desbar’s history, each of which brought the race to the brink of collapse.”

From here, Ashley seemed to take over, glancing towards the camera. “The first was a supervolcano that erupted, only a thousand years after the world had entered my hands. Sadly, this volcano was located on the largest and most populated continent… And there were no survivors there. The ash cloud spread throughout the entire world, and it looked like all hope would be lost for them.”

“Thankfully, demons were a cave-dwelling people to begin with!” Aurivy chimed in, to which Ashley nodded with a smile.

“That’s right. This let a large number of the demons from other continents survive the catastrophe, even as the volcano practically destroyed the one it was on. Roughly five thousand years after that was the first ice age. Just as the demons were starting to break past the stone age for the first time, the climate shift forced them back into their caves, with many more dying.”

Ashley’s face was sad as she spoke, her eyes seeming to mist up. “Only eighty-thousand demons survived the ice age, scattered all throughout the world. But this was only the first one. Each time they began to advance, catastrophe struck. When they had created great cities atop the mountains, and advanced into the age of steel, there was another supervolcano eruption. This one was directly followed by another ice age, killing all but sixty thousand.”

“Finally, there was one last ice age. This one was just a mere ten thousand years ago, and lasted for over eight thousand years. But this time, the demons persisted. Whether it was luck or planning, this time the ice age did not claim many lives. Though their progress was halted in the bronze age, they were able to keep their cave dwellings warm.”

“Well, it’s not like the ice ages were all bad!” Aurivy smiled up towards Ashley. “That last one wiped out the last of the kiron, you know?”

Ashley couldn’t help but laugh at that, nodding. “That’s right. For the first time in their history, the demons were able to walk the land without fear. This brought about their greatest period of advancement, roughly fifteen hundred years ago.”

The camera once again faded to black, turning to a view of a wide valley. In the valley was a sprawling city. Each building had a half-dome cover, one end open to receive flying demons. “After the last ice age ended, the demons of every continent spread out into the world. Though their cultures were different, it was then that they became the true masters of Desbar.”

“Over the course of the last fifteen hundred years, they have expanded past their own borders, establishing trade routes and treaties, fought wars and brokered peace. Now, where they have left off now, they are just beginning to step into the information age.”

As she finished her speech, Ashley gave a deep bow, and the screen faded to black once more. Just as I thought the movie was over, Aurivy’s voice appeared from the TV. “Stay tuned for the next installment of I Dream of Demon, where we look into some more specific historical moments of the demon race!”

With that, the movie really did end, and I looked over to see Aurivy grinning at me from her spot in Asley’s lap. “So? What’d you think?”

“Well, it was definitely a large info dump.” I chuckled softly, shaking my head. “But it’s interesting to see how they developed like that.” Saying that, I looked over towards Ashley. “You don’t have a problem with bright lights or anything, do you?”

“Hmm?” She tilted her head curiously in response. “Oh, you mean because of their sensitivity to light? No, that doesn’t apply to me. Well, not unless I want it to. And let’s face it, who would actually sign themselves up for something like that?”

“True.” I couldn’t help but nod my head at that. “But you said that they are in the information age, now? Do they have things like the internet or anything like that?”

Ashley shook her head, a small smile on her lips. “Not yet. They’ve got electricity, and television, but they haven’t gotten anything that big. That’s why I said that they aren’t at the modern age yet, they’re still missing a few things. But, if I fast forward just a little bit more, then they’ll be there.”

Nodding again, I glanced over towards Terra, Ryone, and Leowynn, only to find the three of them having their eyes closed. Either they were bored from the short movie and decided to zone out, or they were tired, or just really enjoying laying against each other on the couch like this. “So… what did you have planned next? I think I should be able to watch one more before resting a bit.”

Hearing that, Aurivy squirmed out of Ashley’s lap with a wide grin. “Oh! Oh! I know just the one. You’ll love it!” As she said that, she rushed over towards the shelves once again. “Hmm, where did I put it… no, not the Occult Wars… Not the Cave Cities of Abbadur… there it is!” She seemed to find what she was looking for, and pulled it off the shelf. “The King of Twilight!”

…I don’t even know what I can expect from a name like that.

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