I noticed that the riderless wyverns were following the bandit gang home. They flew as a flock. That being the case, I figured I could just attack the riders and rescue the girls after the riders were dead.
Three heads later, one of the bandits got the bright idea to drop the girl mid-air and hope I went after her rather than continuing to attack.
Well, he wasn’t wrong, but now Tiana’s blood was boiling. She… I mean I… dove to catch the falling girl, which meant I had to put power into pushing myself down faster than she was falling. Otherwise, we would be descending at the same speed. We were traveling at greatly different velocities by that point. I heard the air whoof out of her as I reversed direction and zoom-climbed back up, the girl in one arm and my sword in the other. After I took the asshole’s wyvern’s head off as I passed, leaving him plummeting without a hope to the ground, I circled above the rest, yelling, “Drop any more and I will follow you all to Hell!”
One other idiot had been sawing on the rope to cut his girl loose as well. He froze, as did every other rider. Seeing blood red, I commanded, “Land or die!”
I may have thrown some Vampire compulsion magic into it. I’m not sure if it was that, or just the fact that an enraged, blood-spattered angel with a sword was giving them commands. Either way, they landed.
I think I must have killed the leaders, or at least any bandit with brains, in my attacks up until now. That’s my only explanation for why these guys didn’t just scatter. That, or an unhealthy degree of team spirit. There was only one of me, you know? Some of you might have gotten away?
Once they were on the ground, along with the damsel who had been knocked unconscious when I had caught her, I circled above them, making them drop their weapons and their loot. The loot consisted of seven girls, some Orestanian coins, a male calf and a very large cooking pot. I guess the pot was for beef stew???
The remaining RAL had followed me, of course. They landed and arrested the raiders while I continued to circle. By the time they had bound the last raider and I was able to take a break at last, I was near exhaustion. I landed and stowed my sword.
The captain of the unit strolled up to me, looking as suave as he could while coated in sweat. He flashed me a handsome smile. Not really. It might have been intended as a handsome smile, but it was loaded with lechery and his eyes were all over me.
In a way, I could understand. I was wearing only a thin tunic that didn’t reach my knees and left a window of bare skin in back, so that I could wear it with my wings materialized.
In short, I was in something similar to a backless ‘baby doll’ negligee. Quite daring, and on the highly exotic side thanks to my accessories, such as finely-woven fairy steel mail gauntlets, wyvern hide ‘greaves’ similar to thigh-high stockings and high-heels, and the fact that I was splashed wildly with raider and wyvern blood and more than a little sweaty. However…
Dude, I get it. Inside, I’m still on your side. Still, for the dignity of all men and the love of all that’s decent and holy, DIAL IT BACK!
I mean, I felt like he was about to walk up and lick me.
“Thanks for the help, miss. I will need to know your name and where you come from.”
MY EYES ARE UP HEEEEEERE!!!
Okay, quick note here: I’m half-fairy, half-vampire. The mix, once I materialize my wings, gives me a highly distinctive appearance which is also highly misleading.
I already described the outfit. Now consider the stuffing. Wavy black hair, black wings, obsidian eyes, pale skin no matter how much sun I get, exotic face, pearl-pink lips, delicate bone structure, nice figure…
Yeah. I look just like a succubus.
I don’t have the little demon-like tail or the little horns peeking out of my hair, but since those features are not large like the wings and many succubi take steps to hide them anyway, most people who see me with my wings out assume I’m one, for real.
Succubi are monsters, not demons, and like other fully sentient monsters such as vampires, law-abiding ones are accepted in civilization, just like beast-kin folk like Brigitte are. But succubi often make their living as prostitutes, so… yeah. That’s what he was seeing. A blood-splattered succubus prostitute in skimpy clothing holding a sword. Go figure.
I curtseyed, squared my shoulders to achieve a proper aristocratic poise and declared, with my hand over my sternum in salute, “Captain, please allow me to apologize for my unseemly appearance. I am Tiana Pendor, Royal Knight of Orestania, at your service.”
My hand remained in place, but I extended my index finger to point to my knight’s badge, which was pinned to my tunic. His focus finally made it past my bosom to see the badge.
The transfiguration of the pervert’s face was a thing of beauty.
He straightened to attention, threw a belated salute, and recited, “C,C,C,Captain Finley, 17th Squadron of the 3rd Royal Air Lancers, My Lady!”
I returned the salute with a sweet smile and said, “At ease, Captain. Thank your men for me. I would have been troubled on my own with this many captives.”
“May we escort you back to our headquarters, My Lady?” His eyes were already roaming again, but that much, I guess I couldn’t fault him for. He couldn’t help being a guy, and he had it under better control now.
“No, I need to be on my way. I have been on a mission and must report to the Palace as soon as possible. There is a watchtower down the road where I left four more girls. Could you go retrieve them as well?”
“Yes, My Lady!”
I curtseyed again, and took off.
The soldiers at the watchtower had re-packed my sack by the time I returned. The girls were thankful, but terrified, so they curtseyed and gave their thanks from a distance. The captain of the tower had the ability to see my badge without direction, so he didn’t hold me up at all. I was on my way to the Palace right away.
I did have one stop to make, though. I had to send word I would come, and I could hardly show up at the Palace in blood-spattered underclothes. I winged my way to Mother’s place instead.