I didn’t see precisely how Trisiagga survived the [Holy Strike], but she continued to fly, trying her hardest to get away from me. Her injuries hampered her flight though, and I soon caught up. She was somehow surviving Durandal’s Holy attacks, so I decided to return to melee combat.
As I closed in on her, I sent a request to Aenëe to get back to Ged if possible in order to back up Mirna. Fenrisuelfr had lost a significant amount of weight thanks to the repeated destruction of his limbs and tail, and he was now fleeing into the hills, away from the battlefield. I had entrusted Ged’s safety to the dragonkin woman, and to the combat mages and knights guarding the prince, but it was still a higher demon that they were facing. Although I trusted them to keep him safe for the short term, a lot could happen if the battle wore on.
My own quarry sensed me coming and turned to face me as I arrived.
“How are you even possible?!” she shrieked as I met her demonic mana sword with a [Purification]-laden, Wind-coated Durandal. “The stregas died out ten thousand years ago!”
“I’ve been off-planet on vacation,” I answered brightly. “Just got back recently.”
I did not lie, but she didn’t seem to like my answer. The fury coming through her sword only increased as we fought.
She had lost her grip on her spear when Durandal’s [Holy Strike] blasted her. This manifested mana sword was now the only weapon she had in evidence, although she had several demonic tools still active. She had a sword during our first meeting– she’d had four arms then, and carried both sword and spear– but Mother’s butler had caught her with a sneak attack before she could demonstrate her skill with it. This was my first time truly crossing blades with her. It turned out, she had considerable skill.
“I am My Lord’s greatest servant, the general of his forward regiments! I have worked for decades to prepare the path for his conquest of your little kingdom! I don’t care what kind of creature stands in my way! You could be a strega or one of the false gods themselves, I will win victory for My Lord and the True God of Demons, no matter what! By now, your king and your princes are all dead, and you will be left with nothing!”
Trisiagga had a powerful blade that Durandal wasn’t able to destroy, even with Wind and [Purification] assisting, so I began preparing a sneak attack on her. I even asked Fan Li and Sirth to go to sleep, just so I could grow my mind once more. I even dropped the things that Sirth had been handling. I needed everything I had, in order to use my full control of Will and Blood to complete my plan.
Nevertheless, despite being much more “Little Sen” than Tiana at the moment, I was completely pumped up, and starting to become a bit battle-happy. A completely genuine laugh came bubbling brightly out of me.
“Is that a fact?” I sing-songed with a smirk. “But your True God is a villain banned from this world by Heaven, little girl! My comrades and I came to this world to remove him. His eleven accomplices have all been banished, and he is the only one left. We will expel the last criminal soon enough.”
I was pressing her backward, but the problem with an aerial battle is, it’s difficult to make the opponent run out of room. She had miles of ‘backward’ left to work with.
She gave a jeering laugh in return. “What is this ridiculous fantasy you are imagining? A tiny thing like you is nothing against the True God of this world!”
My mocking chuckle turned for a moment into a solid guffaw, which I managed to reign in, keeping it restrained behind a mocking grin.
After several more clashes of our blades, she couldn’t stand it anymore, and screamed, “What? Acting like you have some special secret to tell me, what is it?!”
“It’s just becoming more and more clear to me that you have absolutely no idea who it is you are dealing with. But maybe I can let you in on the secret.”
I was ready now, but I held it for the moment, smirking while waiting for her reply.
“What? What secret?” she finally demanded as we continued to exchange swings and parries.
“You might understand exactly what I am if you knew the name of my husband,” I answered lightly.
“That prince you’re betrothed to? What does that matter?”
I let out a loud, low chuckle and said, “I mean, my husband in Heaven, little girl.”
This was long enough. She truly did have some powerful demonic tools supporting her, and I just wasn’t going to get through with normal sword-play. I had wanted to defeat her normally, since both our previous meetings had been my victories through freak occurrences. But there is no foul play in war, so I used the trick I prepared.
I began with the strongest level I could bring my [Fortification] skill up to, then suddenly increased the flow of [Purification], up to the point that my body became incandescent again.
As her eyes opened wide, I let the [Blood Sigil] still on Trisiagga’s back expire, while maintaining control of the blood that had composed it, converting it into blood tendrils that suddenly strapped her upper arms to her torso. Then I allowed [Purification] to coat my body as I closed in on her.
The surprised demoness, unable to understand how my blood tendrils had slipped through her defensive shield, struggled against her sudden bonds. I met her demonic mana shield with my body and used Will to force myself harder against it with my arms outstretched, while letting the Holy mana pour out of my body to cover it. After several seconds of powering myself into her, the shield shattered under the load and our bodies collided.
I wrapped my arms around her, letting more blood pour out of me to also bind her in tighter chains. Letting the [Purification] continue to flow, I wrapped her in a cocoon of Holy Mana. She hissed in pain, proof that I was beginning to penetrate her defense against it, which seemed to come from both a necklace and the waist-chain.
We began falling to the ground. I used Will and my wings to slow our fall, but it was empty prairie beneath us, well away from the battle, so I didn’t try to prevent our landing. As we descended, I put my lips near her ear.
“My husband Oranos,” I clarified to her as I grew my fangs.
Trisiagga’s back hit the ground, forcing the air out of her lungs, but she was tough, so it didn’t knock her out. She stared at me, unable to quite follow what I had just told her.
Didn’t matter. I was done with her. My hand grabbed her tit. She wore a fairy steel mail bra, so it didn’t feel like much, but I had only done it out of habit anyhow. I plunged my fangs into her neck as I let the [Purification] pour through them into her.
My [Vampire Charm] attempted to control her, but she shrieked and struggled anyhow. But I wasn’t letting go for anything. My tendrils continued to tightly bind her, extending now to wrap her thighs to prevent her from kicking me off, while my Will quickly seized control of her blood core before she could set off any sort of booby trap she’d prepared to detonate it.
Swiftly, I drained her, concentrating first on that blood core, as the [Purification] overwhelmed her. Her struggle ceased and she lay helpless as I claimed possession of a blood trove that she must have drained tens of thousands of mortals to create.
As the last of the stolen blood flowed into my core, I prayed a silent benediction for those mortals, wishing them peaceful rest. The demoness began trembling violently and I finally withdrew my fangs.
I met her dull eyes as I crouched over her, then allowed a new torrent of [Purification] to pour through my hand still clutching her breast. The mysterious defense she’d had against Holy mana had vanished, and the purifying fire flowed into her unimpeded. Her mouth fell open as it ended her life. I stood, pulled out the Starfire Jade Writing Brush from its little holster and used it to pour Fire mana into her, cremating her.
Her death must have been a trigger. Suddenly, that crow-like demon that had carried Durash’s voice to Trisiagga before appeared in front of me.
Durandal’s [Fortress of Gaia] sprang into existence while the demon began bellowing at me.
“You dare, Strega! You have committed an unforgivable sin against me, but you have revealed yourself! I do not know how you have managed to survive this long, but you shall now die in vain!”
I didn’t wait to find out what sort of remote attack he could launch through the creature. I immediately sent out tendrils and wrapped it in blood, then used Will to drive it away.
My instinct had been correct. After it flew a short distance, the thing exploded, kicking me backward violently. But Durandal’s shield had held through the initial impulse, and what remained wasn’t enough to overcome my [Fortification]. I tumbled across the land for many paces, but remained conscious as I came to a stop.
After blinking a few times to clear my head, I stood, then felt with my fairy sense to locate Durandal, who had fallen from my grip. By some miracle, my combat fan was still dangling from my wrist.
The Writing Brush was not in my hand either, but that was easily solved. I held out my hand and commanded, “Starfire Jade Writing Brush, Return!”
Talene’s pre-programmed trick worked once again. The brush came flying through the air and hit my palm perfectly. I strode over to where Durandal lay in the grass.
“I couldn’t get you past her sword, Old Man,” I said as I brushed grass and dirt off him. “Sorry to have stolen another kill from you.”
Don’t mind it, he answered with an amused tone. It isn’t pleasant biting into a demon anyway, My Lady.
I woke Sirth and asked her to contact her spirits, then regrew my wings (which I had lost in the explosion) and took back to the air. To my relief, the spirits showed the demon losing a two-on-one fight against Aenëe and Mirna. They had put plenty of distance between the demon and Prince Gerald.
As quickly as I could safely do without alarming the defenders, I returned to Ged’s side, landing as close to him as I could without panicking his horse. He gave me a relieved smile, but continued his conference with the officers.
They were still trying to sort out what had happened to the demonic army. The leading edge of the attack had survived, so the front line was still battling, but it was not the awesome wave they had expected, and they were not falling back as originally planned. Rather than a rearguard action, they were fighting a winning battle.
Naturally, they had seen the fantastic explosion and they could still see the cloud of dust it had left, but they had no idea what had happened.
I held my tongue for the moment so I could gather information from Sirth’s spirits. The previous night, I had expressed strongly that the army mages should cast [Break Illusion] spells into the opposing lines as often as they could in order to reveal the demons amongst them, and now that they didn’t need to cast offensive magic as much, they were doing exactly that. It was causing the enemy ranks to break down in confusion , so our rearguard lines were no longer in retreat either.
As quickly as I could, I gave Ged and his command team a rundown of what was going on, dwarves, dead asura, fleeing God Wolf and all. I could see the relief dawning in their eyes as they came to understand just why the expected enemy was failing to arrive.
“They will dig out eventually,” I warned. “But we should be able to rally a sufficient force in time to meet them.”
When I was done, Ged glanced at the battle against the fiend, still ongoing, then asked, “Are you going to go help them?”
I pursed my lips, then said, “I think Aenëe can manage it.”