Chapter 43: Blades and Claws

You…” Makaela’s eyes widened as did the demon’s smile.

I’ve already won~” Risera giggled, suddenly moving away from her and bowing dramatically. “Surrender, Makaela. Retreat your forces, and give yourself to me~ Aha, I’ll promise I’ll treat you well!

Makaela grimaced, as she met the succubus’s lustful gaze. “How? How did you find his lair? We covered our tracks wherever we went, in and out there was no way you could’ve followed us.

Hah, prying for information even as you’ve already lost?” Risera chuckled, amused by her mental struggle. “Oh I guess it doesn’t matter anymore, I’ll let you in on something. You’re going to owe me though, and you know exactly what it means to owe a demon…Right, Makky?

Don’t you dare call me by that name…” Makaela hissed, fury going through her eyes.

Amusing the demoness further, as she laughed. “Oh, please. Anyhow, while I hold you in my clutches,

I’ll tell you. The Pact has a Hemomancer in their ranks, I wonder if you can conclude the rest?~

Hemomancer? You located us with Blood magic…Kyrenic?” Makael guessed.

Aha! Righto~” Risera exclaimed, “The few limbs he left behind proved enough for Vein to cast his little ritual. Now we not only know how to get to Erikathyr’s liar, but we know it’s exact location! I must say, I was surprised to find out that it lies in the Lost World though. My, we never even noticed its presence!

(“Then…they didn’t find Kyllix’s portals, but instead the actual Liar’s location?”) She thought, “And that is why you snatched Kayle, being Thea’s sister you figured that the Liar’s defences would be tame on her…But I received a clean report from Druvia only two weeks ago, you couldn’t have made it there and then back in two weeks! Even by land and through the miasma! Also…How do you even know about how a Dragon Liar’s defences work?” then exclaiming in disbelief, then considering if the demon’s guise was nothing more than an illusion.

Knowing that, anything was possible with succubae.

But Risera shook her finger at her, “Oh now, I can’t tell you that much!~” she giggled in amusement, “But as for how I made it back and forth that quickly…I’ll tell you that it wasn’t two weeks, Aha~ It was barely a second!

Witch, you got your hands on teleportation magic too?” Makaela then asked with further disbelief, “Vile demon, who did you suck dry to steal that knowledge?

Oh, so you know what my people can do. Let’s just say the Fae was a tad busy with a shadow~ Studied hard have we since we last met?” Risera laughed, “Maybe in hopes, of getting revenge for your own sister?” she then asked, her wicked grin returning.

And Makaela’s rage rising, “My sister…So It was you…

Aha~ If you could only have been there…Zentha’s screams were delicious to the very end~” Risera teased, running her hands and tongue over herself as she blushed in excitement.

Makaela’s eyes glowed a fierce gold, “Hellish whore, I’ll tear you apart!” She bellowed with rage.

But Risera’s bladed tail suddenly rose to her own neck, “Careful now, you still have your sister. But someone might just lose theirs.” The succubus coldly warned, but she was not amused as Makaela faltered.

Instead, the succubus seemed to grow frustrated as she bit her lip in annoyance. “What has happened to you, Makaela?” Risera asked coldly, “You’ve changed, you’re weaker, too sensitive as well. Where is my foe? Where is the enemy I’ve longed for? Where has the vicious, cold-hearted and bloodthirsty Xilfir Queen disappeared to?

Makaela’s eyes narrowed, as she brought her anger under control. “I’m still here.” She hatefully warned, “And if you’re not careful, one of these days, my cold blade will reside inside your back.” She hissed.

Aha!~ There it is! That frigid gaze of yours!” Risera exclaimed in excitement, “That’s what I’ve been waiting for! I might not be able to control myself any longer!~” the succubus said before suddenly disappearing.

Causing Makaela’s eyes to widen in surprise, as it occurred too fast for her to see…(“No, it wasn’t speed”) she thought.

As Risera appeared behind her, Makaela realised the demon had teleported.

And it was instantaneous.

Makaela’s spine grew cold as she felt the demon’s tongue slither over to her ear, “I can’t help myself, this is too good of an opportunity! Let’s have some fun~” Risera said as Makaela turned to attack.

But the succubus was already gone, appearing behind Makaela the instant after, just like before.

Its tongue, grabbing a lock of Makaela’s long hair, the demon inhaling her scent and growing excited by it.

Disgusting creature!” Makaela exclaimed, turning on the demon once again, and again finding nothing to strike at.

Aha~ You cannot catch me Makky~” Risera giggled as she appeared standing over a stack of small crates. “And even if you did…” she raised her right palm forward, opening it towards Makaela. “I have two lives in my clutches, are they both dear to you? I wonder…Which is dearer?” The demon asked, wicked amusement filling her eyes.

Makaela released her whip, striking the ground before her as emerald flames raged around it. Meeting the demon’s gleaming eyes with her own.

The Dragon who your people are raised to worship? Or a friend’s sibling? Which…would you choose?” Risera coldly asked. “Or…for petty revenge? Hehe~ Either way, this is all done and won. But I still want to see you struggle!~” She exclaimed, clenching her petite hand into a fist as a dozen Dreadblades suddenly appeared around Makaela.

Surrounding her, as a pinkish energy engulfed them entirely. Like a flame, it raged around their bodies.

You’ve studied my kind, but did you know? We not only steal knowledge and magical ability, but also share it among those we charm.” Risera explained, as the white-eyed Xilfir unsheathed their blades. “Oh! Another conflict!” She then exclaimed in excitement, “Will you fight your own people, to get to me? Or will you run and save yourself?

Makaela didn’t know.

Neither what to do, or what to say.

As she clenched her whip, as she gazed at her charmed comrades. Her stomach turning to knots as she tried to think of a way out. Her mind racing to find a solution, while her heart sank lower with every dead end she came to.

There was no way out, she knew she had to pick.

Would she pick her people? Would she save the innocent Kayle? Or would she damn them both and risk it all for Erik?

Her gaze fell upon the despised succubus, rage filling her further with every passing moment.

The demon giggled as Makeala studied her, “Oh I can feel the hatred in your eyes! The despair in your heart! It’ll taste gran-” Risera suddenly froze, as her eyes widened in horror. “Impossible!

 


In the meantime

Erikathyr’s Lair

Erik’s chamber


 

Kayle approached Erik’s bedside, clenching her dagger as her eyes lay rolled back and expression warped with heated insanity. She grinned widely, as her entire body trembled. She moved strangely too, every movement she made seemingly stuttering.

The tendrils of pink energy that wrapped around her seemed weaker, dimmer compared to Risera’s other thralls. But they held on, tightly coiling about her body.

Kayle struggled against the charm, her mind trying to fight it. The distance weakened the magic, yet still, she was no match for the demonic energy that filled her.

She couldn’t see what she was doing, but she could feel the dagger in her hands, and the wide grin she wore.

Kayle felt hopeless, knowing whatever her body was up to, she’d regret.

She wanted to fight it, she wanted to be free of the chains that bound her mind.

But she was too afraid, drowning in despair the succubus had poured upon her.

She felt herself stop, and then raising her hands up, the dagger rising with.

Kayle knew, she was about to take a life. Controlled by the demon’s will, she was about to commit murder in Hell’s name.

She did not know who it was, she did not know whose life she was about to cut short.

But as fear suddenly engulfed, her charmed body freezing from the terror that filled her. She knew now that it wasn’t someone she should’ve been messing with in the first place.

Kayle heard an amalgamation of monstrous screams before her body was suddenly riddled with cuts, as hundreds of Spectres assaulted her. Their claws barely struck her, skin deep at most, but the tendrils of energy that engulfed her weren’t so lucky.

The Spectres surrounded Kayle like a natural disaster, forming a whirlwind of darkness that shred the energy which held her captive.

She felt the charm weaken, and her eyes rolled back to normal. Now finally able to see, she was met with more darkness. The warped shadows continuing to claw away at her, their expressionless guises snarling at her as they flew in circles.

She watched, still unable to control her own body, as it lunged about at the Spectres. But not once did her attacks land, her weapon and entire arm going straight through the ghostly creatures with every strike.

Panic filled her, but it was not her own.

Kayle felt the demon’s confusion through their bond, she felt its sudden fear and rage as the bond itself weakened.

Like thick rope, the Spectres slowly tearing away at it.

Kayle thought she’d finally be free, free of the hell she’d been through these past days. Relief filled her, mixed in with the demon’s fading rage.

Until suddenly, the spectres rushed away, scattering into the walls and floor. They disappeared from her sights, revealing the room. Her eyes widened as she saw Erik, asleep before her.

Kayle struggled to break free of her curse, but the demons till clung to her mind. She couldn’t stop herself from taking a step forward, the dagger still gripped tightly in her right hand.

So, my time has finally come.” Said a melodic voice from behind her, her body suddenly turning to face the source. Kayle watched as the ground before her rose, pavement and the stone beneath it rising before taking human form. “You threaten my master. You think, that by using a thrall who’s blood is allowed, you can crawl past my defences. Foolish demon.” The golem said, its form and voice neither male or female.

Made of stone while the white pavement formed its rocky hair, its eyes were two gleaming golden gems while the rest of its features were simply carved in. Not one part of it moving as the being spoke.

Kayle watched as her body lunged forth, the dagger striking the golem’s chest but deflecting right off.

The being chuckled as it grabbed her arms, twisting them outwards before moving in closer, putting its right leg behind hers and tripping Kayle back. Kayle fell, losing her grip on the dagger as she hit the ground, watching out of the corner of her eye as the pavement opened up to devour the weapon.

The golem kneeled down above her, putting its right leg on Kayle’s chest and keeping her down with its weight. Kayle’s arms grabbed onto its leg, trying to pull it off, but even as she lay infused with demonic energy her strength was nowhere close enough to make it budge.

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Kayle saw the golem’s carved lips suddenly warp into a cold smile, “As if, we Lair Guardians, would make it so easy. I compliment you, for locating us. But you’re a fool still, for thinking such a simple ploy, would outdo everything master has built here. Here lies magiks older than even you, vile hell-spawn.” It said, as it lowered its right hand onto Kayle’s face, placing its palm open over her forehead. “We sensed you teleport before you even fully materialized. We sense, the demonic energy within this poor vessel. We sense…You, on the other side.

Kayle suddenly felt a new connection enter her mind. Still feeling the succubus’s burning desire that bound her, she now felt something else clash with it. Ancient, was the only word she could think of to explain how the golem felt. Something so old, so archaic…That as its mind melded with hers, Kayle lost all comprehension of the passing of time around her.

She felt the golem’s will collide with the demon’s, she felt it surround the succubus’s flame, entrapping it entirely.

Before suddenly snuffing it out.

 



 

No…NO!” The demon exclaimed, falling to her knees and screaming in pain. Holding her own head, clenching it as she seemingly struggled. “H-He was expecting us!? No! Impossible!” Risera screamed in confusion and hatred, as her mind was filled with pain, causing her to fall to her knees. “I’m always a step ahead! He couldn’t have known I could teleport and my thralls! Why? Why did he know?” she asked herself out loud.

As her muttering was suddenly drowned out by Makaela’s laughter. Risera’s gaze rose from her knees, meeting Makaela’s murderous eyes, her previously charmed comrades lying unconscious around her.

Risera’s voice faltered at the sight, causing Makaela to smile widely as she continued to laugh. “I don’t think he did. But the stories are true, it seems. For the destroyer expects not your next step, but every single leap before and after, ever side-step and possibility around it. He knew not what you would do for sure, but he knew what you could possibly do, given what knowledge he had available. You think Erik did not know about teleportation? He probably knows more about it than the Fae you sucked it out of.

Risera shook her head, “That’s…That’s like saying he was prepared for every possibility! That’s madness!

Makaela chuckled weakly, (“No, he wasn’t. He did not know about Etheria…But he put his trust in us either way.”) She thought, remembering the fear in Erik’s eyes from weeks ago when he asked her to be his blade against Etheria…(“Kayle being targeted was a given…but even I didn’t think it would happen again. But using Kayle to confuse the Lair’s defences and reach him? Erik…you were prepared for something like that? How far?…How much further does your gaze reach?”) then sighing in both relief and despair.

Clenching her hands she grimaced, (“Even when I think I know what you’re up to. Even when I think…that you’re just as mortal as us. This is why my people worshipped you. This…This is why I’ll never understand you.”) Makaela thought, before returning to the demon ahead.

You thought you were a step ahead, and so did I. But…We both underestimated him. Even as he lies there, unconscious, immobile. The destroyer is never defenceless.” Makaela said, grinning widely as she met the succubus’s enraged eyes.

This doesn’t end here.” Risera warned, as she rose up. “I-I will not…I will not fail so quickly! I still can…I still-

But her muttering, was once again cut off by Makaela’s cold laughter. “Still can what?” Her frigid eyes meeting the demon’s, oozing emotion that at this point was far past that of hatred. “You have two options. Run and hide. Or stay, and die.” She hissed, as tendrils of shadow and golden ethereal energy swirled about her form.

The demon chuckled, but her faked amusement was obvious, as the underlying fear surfaced. “Y-You think it’s over? I haven’t even begun! What I failed to do a year ago, I’ll accomplish now! You sister Zentha, your sister Pyra, and your brother Ascal! I’ll kill them all and you’ll be too slow to stop me! You’ll watch as I turn all your people against one another! You’ll only be able to watch as I-

But Risera’s expression paled, as Makaela suddenly appeared a few steps before her.

You talk too much.” The Xilfir hissed, as her blades sliced through the air Risera once stood in. The demon barely evading the attack, appearing below the moment after, her eyes wide in surprise.

Makaela giggled in amusement, licking her dagger’s blade as her cold gaze fell upon the demon. “Look who’s above who now~

Hah!” Risera’s scoffed as her rage rose, but her hands trembled. “Your name is known all over the land…The Queen of Thieves! Makaela Xilfir, Priestess of the Xilfir…Then there’s me, who’s played you like a fool so many times…But who knows of me? Third daughter, princess to nothing, heir to nobody beneath my two foolish older siblings…Makaela, I’ve sworn to defeat you, and I will!

You had me, for a few moments there, you truly had me.” Makaela admitted in amusement, ”But while I lay beneath, at least I didn’t look like a scared bitch like you are right now. You think you’re so grandiose, you think you’re all that…But in reality, you’re nothing more than a spoiled little slut, and this adult is about to teach you a few life lessons you’ll never forget.” She exclaimed with a cold chuckle, suddenly fading out of view.

Let’s see then. Who’s quicker?” Makaela asked, yet she was nowhere to be seen. “Your so-called, teleportation. Or me.

Risera didn’t wait, immediately she disappeared as well. Teleporting as far away from her previous position as the caravan’s space allowed. “You think you can keep up with this?!” she asked, her wicked laughter resonating through their surroundings.

 


Enter edgy music~


 

But Makaela was absolutely silent, as her whip elongated to reach the demon, swiping by Risera as she teleported out of the emerald flame’s way. She tried to follow the whip’s source, but right as she evaded it the weapon faded back into invisibility.

Risera paled further when a knife flew out of nowhere, closely evading that too before being faced with another.

Then another.

And another.

She teleported left and right as fast as she could manage, appearing and disappearing all over the caravan’s inside whilst evading the flurry of blades.

The demon was backed into a corner, her speed barely capable of keeping her alive as death flew at her from the shadows, evading the blades by mere inches before having to evade once more.

For several chilling moments Risera dodged Makaela’s attacks, out of breath by the end of it as she reappeared ready to evade another.

But no blades came her way.

She expected another attack, she knew one would come.

But from where?

Her senses only brought back a void, she couldn’t detect Makaela’s location.

She couldn’t see her.

She couldn’t hear her.

She couldn’t even rely on her demonic nose to pick up on Makaela’s scent, which confused her all the more. Her nose was usually uncanny, and there was nothing wrong with it, so how was she unable to pick up on anything’s scent?

It then clicked in her head, “I cannot smell anything…” she mused in realisation.

Then noticing, as she was given a moment of pause, the thin layer of smoke that now covered the caravan’s floor.

It wasn’t that she couldn’t smell anything, “No…There’s nothing to smell…” Risera discerned.

Her heart sank, when she noticed that even the sound of the battle above was gone.

Not a shout, not a footstep. Her ears worked fine, as she could hear herself speak earlier, but she heard nothing else. “What is this?” Risera, tried to, ask.

But suddenly, even her voice did not reach.

She could feel the sound leave it, she knew she was forming words.

But her ears did not pick up a single sound.

Panic filled the succubus, as she tried to remain wary, watching her surroundings for the slightest movement. But nothing moved, for several long moments her world seemed frozen, and she was the only one there.

Her mind filled with fog as she leapt off the large container she was standing on, grabbing onto one of the large wooden crates that hung off the ceiling. Now empty after the dreadblades had freed the hostages, a large hole laying in their sides.

Risera climbed up the crate, unable to hear her own grunts, unable to even hear her hands grabbing onto the wooden surface.

Unable to hear her own footsteps, as she stood over it.

Absolute silence surrounded her, and it was driving Risera mad. As her eyes darted from side to side in panic, as she tried to mumble to herself, but the words never once reached her own ears.

A coldness permeated her, she felt it creeping out of her gut, up her spine and filling her bones with fear.

For a moment, Risera even forgot how to breathe, when she noticed a cut on her left shoulder. Her panic grew when she saw her own violet blood dripping down her arm, she hadn’t even felt the attack, less so seen it.

The succubus spun about, agitated and confused. Trying to locate an enemy that, for a moment, she pondered if they were even there.

Was she there?

Had she left?

Was Risera alone?

Had she been alone all along?

Those questions riddled her mind, as she drowned in apprehension.

Freezing on the spot, “Will you run?” as a chilling voice reached her ears.

Followed by silence once more, making Risera wonder if she had imagined the voice.

Are you afraid?” The voice then asked, and Risera took a step back from the fright.

Pain, agony filled her as another attack slashed across her back. She spun around, but saw nothing, heard nothing.

Sensed nothing.

And her panic, reached its very limit.

As her expression turned to terror, her eyes on the brink of tears while she spun around.

Looking for something.

Searching, for anything.

Anyone.

You are.” The voice spoke once more, “Good.” It said, Risera now realising that it was Makaela’s voice.

You should be.” Makaela whispered coldly, her voice suddenly seeming mere inches away from Risera’s ear.

Risera jumped in surprise, teleporting away that exact instant.

But when she reappeared, a third cut slashed through her left cheek.

Her eyes widened, her breathing doubling in speed.

And her heartbeat, went through the roof.

Risera teleported and teleported, appearing and disappearing a mere moment after.

As cuts now riddled her body, the attacks going unseen, unheard.

(“No more…”) Risera thought, lunging with her tail’s bladed end at empty air after something cut her nose.

No, not empty air.

As she felt her tail connect with something, it was brief but she felt the mild resistance it gave. Barely noticing the thin string’s shine as it slowly fell through the air before her.

For Zentha.” Makaela said, as she suddenly faded into visibility behind Risera. Plunging her dagger into the succubus’s back, but only piercing it through the demon’s shoulder as Risera evaded a deadly blow.

Teleporting that exact moment, and taking Makaela with.

Risera heard herself take a deep breath, as sound suddenly returned to her ears. They both had appeared above the caravan’s upper deck, high up in the air above it, and were quickly descending upon the battle.

She heard blades and shields clash, she heard hammers and armour collide.

She heard the screams, the bellows and grunts.

And as Makaela’s whip coiled around her left arm, she felt further pain. Snapping her out of her confused daze.

Risera teleported once again, the both of them appearing over the desert dunes and tumbling down into the sand, before they both stood up to face one another.

Risera struggled with the whip, as Makaela used it to throw her aside, also summoning emerald flames to run down the weapon’s length. Risera summoned her own magic, a pinkish miasma that clashed with flames before they reached her arm. She tried to stand back up, but Makaela waved her whip aside, with enough strength behind it to flip the succubus over once more.

Risera groaned as she raised her face from the sand, her teary eyes now refilling with rage as she turned to gaze at Makaela.

She teleported, meaning to appear behind her.

Only to turn confused as Makaela and the whip between them also teleported.

The situation seemingly not changing one bit as the dunes all look alike.

Makaela grinned widely, pulling on her whip once more and almost making Risera stumble.

Briefly averting the demon’s gaze from her, as she rushed forward. Risera saw her coming, but didn’t teleport, knowing she’d only be wasting her energy. Instead, her tail slashed down onto the whip, meeting more resistance than she expected as her tail-end deflected right off.

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She returned to face Makaela as the Xilfir now stood before her.

Their eyes met, both were full of hatred for the other.

Both their eyes widening, as hate turned to fury.

Both lunging at one another, Risera’s blade-ended tail and her claws engulfed in demonic energy.

Against Makaela, who held her shortening whip with one hand. But having let go of the dagger that still lay in Risera’s back, she pulled a smaller knife out of her cloak.

Damn you Makaela!

Go back to hell Risera!

Time seemed to slow for the both of them, as they both screamed each other’s names. As claw and tail, descended against a much smaller throwing knife.

The demon’s claws swiped widely before her, while her tail lunged straight ahead like a spear.

Yet, each missed their mark.

As Makaela evaded to the side, pulling on her whip to widen one of the demon’s swipes before rolling beneath it. Coming to a kneel by the Risera’s side, she plunged her knife into the demon’s leg.

For my sister, for my friend, and for the one I love.” Makaela said, letting go of the knife as she spun around to now stand behind Risera. Unsheathing a short sword from her belt, she slashed through the demon’s neck.

Die.” Makaela hissed, her blade beheading the succubus, and splattering blood onto the sand beneath them. The demon’s head rolled, falling upon the sand and bloodying it further.

As the rest of her body briefly remained still before Makaela.

Before abruptly collapsing on itself, joining the head inside the pooling blood below.

The demon’s expression was frozen, even after death, as one of ugly fury.

Makaela sighed, but not in relief.

Disdain still filled her eyes as she gazed down at the demon, she felt no closure in her death.

No, Makaela wasn’t satisfied. She wanted to inflict further pain upon the creature, for everything it had done.

But it was too late, she couldn’t reverse death, as much as she wished to. Simply to torture the succubus further.

So, she sighed.

A sigh filled with disappointment.

Releasing her whip from the corpse’s arm, she left it behind her, burning away with emerald flames as she climbed up the nearest dune. Makaela gazed at the battle ahead while it still raged on.

Zentha’s summoned serpentine monstrosity of poisonous golden fog had moved onto another caravan, while Ascal was still toying with his.

Pyra on the other hand had completely thrashed hers, the caravan now laying in bits and pieces as a streak of light dashed about its ruins, clashing with a streak of shadow that flew above.

Her gaze went over the battle, she was looking off into the horizon, but the ocean was nowhere in sight as more dunes and some greener hills lay blocking her view. “Please…be safe.” Makaela whispered, snapping her whip to full length as she noticed several of the Dagen waking up from their slumber.

Makaela grimaced as the draconic beasts turned onto the rebel’s ships where the hostages lay, “This is going to be a long night.” she mused before dashing down towards the closest Dagen.

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