Lilizath crept towards the group of men and their screaming victim. She was surprised, but none of the men seemed to hear her approach. She wasn’t being deliberately careless, but she also wasn’t trying especially hard to stalk the humans anymore. She expected them to spot her by now. How could their senses be this dull? Maybe it was because they were distracted?
She walked up to the nearest man, one that was standing at the edge of the camp. He had his back to the amusing cruelty, and his attention was focused outwards, watching the woods with a serious face. Despite appearing diligent, the man didn’t see the demoness until she emerged from the forest shadows and allowed the firelight to fall across her body. She was only a few steps away from him when he finally saw her.
She grinned at the man. Was he a kill-human? or cuddle-human? He wasn’t as nice looking at the first comfortable human she met, but he wasn’t bad. He had a sword on his hip, so he might make for a decent fight too. She couldn’t decide which was better, so she would leave the decision up to him.
The man decided to draw his sword while screaming in terror. Kill-human. It was almost the same pitch as the naked woman’s screams. The other men in the camp turned and their reactions were similar. There were shouts, screams, and the drawing of blades. None of the humans kneeled or submitted to her. These were all kill-humans then.
The naked man, interrupted while trying to position himself between the victim’s legs, stopped whatever he was doing, and climbed to his feet, looking for a weapon. Even the victim herself started screaming again with renewed energy when she saw the smiling demon. Was she a kill-human too?
The man in front of her took a swing with his sword. The demon dodged to the side and blinked at him in surprise. Slow. His attack was so slow! Was he only pretending to fight? No, he seemed serious. She’d gotten used to fighting predatory animals, and she knew that she’d honed her reflexes a bit, but not this much. The man was lightly armored, but he was still far slower than the inquisitors. His sword swing didn’t look like it had much strength behind it either.
The man wound up for a second, overly telegraphed, swing and the demoness let the disappointment show on her face. She casually stepped around the slow-moving blade and poked her sharp fingertips into his soft face, piercing his brain through his eye socket. The man’s legs went limp and he fell down, gurgling out his last few breaths. Really? That was it?
Slaughtering that man did absolutely nothing for her. There was no battle-lust, no fire in her veins, no tingling in her loins. It was just… unsatisfying. Even the boring animals were more interesting opponents. The demon turned to the next closest human. Maybe he would be better?
Nope. Slow and predictable. Disappointing. Tearing out his throat wasn’t even a challenge. This battle wasn’t doing anything for her. It wasn’t scratching her itch. Maybe she could make her own challenge instead? Of course! With her smile renewed, and her body winding itself up with excitement, the demoness started silently counting inside her head.
The humans seemed a bit shaken after seeing two of their own die so easily. They weren’t going to be very interesting as individual fights, but as a group, there was some potential fun to be had. The demoness roared, just like Father, and plunged into the middle of the group.
The first one took three seconds to kill. Not bad, but she could do better. The next, she killed in only two seconds. Ow! What was that? an arrow? Oh well it didn’t hurt that much. She killed the next two at the same time, one claw for each. Their leather armor was pierced quite easily, and it barely did anything to protect them. Was that even armor? Ooh… this one was fast, he actually managed to stab her twice before he died…
After 15 seconds, the three surviving men lost their courage and started running into the woods.
The blood-drenched demoness pulled the arrow out of her shoulder and watched the flesh knit itself back together. She would give the fleeing men a five second head start.
Five seconds later, with the arrow and stab wounds completely gone, the demoness burst into a sprint, kicking up a splash of bloody mud behind her. The cowardly men didn’t take long to catch. They couldn’t see in the dark, so they kept tripping on things. By the time the slaughter ended, she’d counted to 31. The demoness casually strolled back to camp, dragging the three bodies behind her. The fire in her veins cooled, and the drooling anatomy between her legs throbbed. She had to admit, that was kind of fun. It was snack time now. There was an amazing feast waiting for her in the camp.
Lilizath returned to the camp, pilling the cowards’ bodies next to the others. She looked at a blank space on the ground, and realized she forgot about something…
The demon found the ‘something’ quickly. The naked victim-woman had been caught in the middle of the carnage, so she was covered in blood. She was crouched next to the other two victims, desperately trying to untie one of them. When she saw the demon walking towards her, she gave up on life and hugged her knees, curling up into a quivering little ball.
A bloody claw grabbed her face. The demoness wanted this one alive for now, so she only dug her claws in enough for the woman to feel them. No damage, just a warning. The demoness maintained her grip and gently led the naked woman away from the others. She got the hint and scrambled backwards obediently. Good… she wasn’t fighting or resisting, this one wasn’t a kill-human.
When she reached a suitable open space, a short distance from the others, the demon let go of the face, moved a clawed hand to the woman’s chest, and firmly pushed her down onto her back. With the naked woman in position, flat on her back, she pulled her hand away and the obedient little thing stayed where she was, avoiding eye contact and trembling slightly.
The blood-soaked monster loomed over the helpless woman, looking down at her prize. The naked woman was similar, but different. She had brown hair, rather than black. There weren’t any sticks or leaves in this woman’s hair, and while it was fluffy, it wasn’t tangled and matted into clumps like the demon’s hair. The woman’s skin was pinkish, rather than ghostly white, and she wore strange, circular glass lenses over her eyes. They were crooked, the wire holding them in place was bent in strange places, likely damaged when the men beat her. When she dared make eye contact, the demon could see that the woman’s eyes were brown, rather than red.
Her body was different too. They were about the same height, but this human was softer and rounder near the chest and hips, with very little visible muscle under her skin. This one was clearly not a fighter, she looked pathetically weak. The demoness grabbed the human’s breast in one claw, and her own in the other, ignoring the whimpering sound the human made. The demon’s breasts were smaller, firmer, and denser than those of the human. These larger softer breasts looked comfy to rest on, but they’d get in the way when dodging around and fighting. It was a good thing this pathetic creature wasn’t a fighter then.
The human woman said something in human language and a drop of water fell from her cheek. Weird.
One more thing to check. The demon grabbed the woman’s knees and pulled them apart. There was some resistance, the human was probably trying to keep her legs closed, but her feeble efforts were barely noticeable. With her legs spread, the human started making a lot more noise than usual. She was looking directly into the demon’s eyes, water leaking down her cheeks, saying the same pattern of meaningless human-words over and over.
“Don’t fight,” the demoness growled, in demon-language.
The woman flinched and shrunk back at the sound of the demon’s voice. Her body went limp and her protests stopped. The helpless woman stared into the sky, resigned to her fate. Perhaps she understood demon language? That was convenient.
The investigation was over in seconds, it was obvious right away that the woman had the same equipment as the demon. The theory was confirmed. The demon didn’t know why, but it was obvious that her body was very similar to that of a female human. The succubus was talking about female anatomy as well, so perhaps she had a humanlike body too? The demon considered checking to see if the human’s anatomy was as sensitive as her own, or if it got wet when she got into a fight, but even a casual glance at the area seemed to distress the human more than she expected. Detailed pokey-proddy tests could wait, the human’s reaction to being looked at was a more interesting question.
The demon stood up, went to the body pile, and casually hacked off a dead man’s arm to snack on while she watched the mysterious humans with newfound curiosity. Even though the demon was done with her, the naked one stayed where she was, eyes closed and trembling. That was weird, but she could stay there if she wanted. The other two were watching the demon eat, and the demon watched them back.
These two humans had clothes that covered their features, but the demon knew what to look for now. The bumps on their chests betrayed the presence of breasts. They were female too. Their arms were tied behind their backs with rope, and that rope was also looped through the spokes of the wood-thing’s circle-things. These two women weren’t going anywhere.
The bound human on the left had short black hair. She wore a plain, loose fitting white shirt, and simple brown pants. Her body was slim and wiry, almost like the demon’s own body. This one was a fighter. She watched the demon eat the arm with a look of disgust and anger on her face. She was looking the demon straight in the eye. Even though she was helpless, she looked like she wanted to fight. Was this a kill-human? Would she be a less boring opponent than the others? The demoness decided that she was going to untie her and put a sword in her hands at some point before she died, just to see.
The bound human on the right was strange. She had long blonde hair, and her blue eyes caught the light and seemed to sparkle. She was short and slender, lacking the muscles of the black haired one, and the softness of the brown haired one. Her tiny figure was buried in a long, loose fitting white robe. Her expression was nervous, but not panicked. She wasn’t cowering like the brunette, and she wasn’t defiant like the black haired one. She looked at the demon with worry but seemed to be completely in control of her own emotions, unlike most humans the demon girl had seen so far.
The demon closed her eyes and felt the magic around her. That one… the blonde one. She felt a magical aura earlier, and now she knew it was coming from this specific human. The demon opened her eyes to stare at the tiny little girl again. There was power in her… but it wasn’t an aggressive power. She felt as weak as she looked, she was no threat to the demon, but she seemed strong in other ways. Weird.
There were too many questions. The demoness sat down next to the naked woman, and gently nudged her with a foot to get her attention.
“Why did you react like that? why did you not want me to open your legs?” the demon asked.
The naked woman cringed and closed her eyes again. She frantically babbled some nonsense in the human language but didn’t answer the question. From this angle, watching all three women, the demon noticed another interesting thing. The defiant black haired one cringed too, though she tried to hide it. Even more interesting, the small weak one with the robes and the magic was unaffected by her voice.
Again. Weird. The demoness took another bite of arm and stared at her prisoners. She thought things would start making sense once she caught some live humans. Apparently, that wasn’t the case.
“Do you know why?” the demon asked the black haired one. She was defiant but seemed to be more aware of her surroundings than the broken brunette who was still babbling helplessly on the ground.
The black haired woman clenched her jaw, suppressing her discomfort. Nearby, the brunette writhed around, speaking more of the nonsense human-language at the demon while covering her ears.
These walking snacks were frustrating her! The demon growled and threw the remaining part of the severed arm at the pathetic brunette. She climbed to her feet again.
The brown haired one was broken and useless, but the black haired one was clearly hiding something. The demon was running out of patience, so she stomped over to the bound woman and stabbed her claws through the wooden-thing behind her.
“Answer me!” the demon roared, “Do you want to die that badly?”
The black haired one broke. Her defiance melted away. She squeezed her eyes shut, holding back her tears, and bit her lip. Her breathing sped up and her body started trembling slightly. She clenched her muscles, trying to stifle her sobbing.
Bah! This one was only pretending to be strong. She was as weak as all the other humans. She would be useless as an opponent, and she seemed to be useless as a prisoner too. Did she even understand the demon’s words? Did any of them?
“Please stop, haven’t you hurt her enough?” came a trembling voice, in perfectly understandable demon-language.
Lilizath turned away from the useless black haired victim and moved over to the one in the white robe, the one who spoke.
“Hurt her? Explain,” demanded the demon. The two useless women hissed in pain.
“You mean you didn’t know? When a demon speaks the Infernal tongue, it hurts any human that hears it,” whispered the blonde woman, “You seem to be a stronger demon, so your words hurt them a lot.”
Lilizath squatted down, getting face to face with the blonde woman. She kept her voice quiet, barely louder than a whisper, so as not to break the weakling humans.
“Doesn’t look like it hurts you.”
“No, but I’m different.”
“I was…” the blonde paused for a moment, “I don’t know if there’s a word for it in your language… given a gift? from Verita, the… Demon Lord? The Demon Lord of Truth.”
Lilizath buried her head in her claws and groaned. Nothing about that answer made any sense at all. How can words hurt? The more she learned about humans, the less she seemed to understand them.
“Can you untie us and let us leave here alive please?” the blonde asked, with a hopeful smile.
Lilizath backed away without answering and climbed to her feet. She picked up the remaining half an arm, still lying next to the whimpering brunette, and slowly finished eating it while pacing around the camp.
There were basically two options… eat them or let them go. If she ate them, she’d have three more bodies to eat. That was worth something, more food meant denser muscles and faster regeneration. If she gave up on her meal and let them go, what did she gain from that? She thought things would make sense now that she caught some living humans, but she was no closer to understanding them now than she was yesterday. This whole understanding business might be futile, she was tempted to just give up and eat everyone.
The demoness, having finished her arm while grumbling internally, went over to the body pile, and hacked off another arm to eat while she continued to pace around.
If this tiny blonde thing wasn’t lying, then only humans with ‘gifts’ or whatever could speak to her without being overwhelmed with pain. Were these gifts rare? If so, killing this human might be wasteful.
With a severed arm in hand, Lilizath walked back to her prisoner, “Are these gifts rare?”
“Each of this world’s… Demon Lords only have one gift to give, so only one human at a time carries their gift,” the blonde whispered, trying her hardest not to look at the bloody chunk of human meat in front of her face.
So, they were rare then? The demoness walked away and continued her snack while pacing around.
There probably weren’t that many Demon Lords in this world. Some weird hereditary demon knowledge in the back of her mind told her that there were seven Demon Lords of the Abyss. Trying to find one of only seven special demons among the trillions of demons swarming through the fiery labyrinth would be a nearly impossible task.
Applying that logic here, this blonde was clearly more valuable as a prisoner than as mere food. Could she truly use this chance to learn more about humans? To learn more about herself? That would take a while. If the blonde stayed tied up, she might starve or something before the demon could learn everything she wanted to know.
Lilizath finished her last piece of arm, and came to a decision, returning to the human, “If I let you go, I want to go with you. I want to learn more about humans.”
The blonde’s jaw dropped, and she stared at the demon, dumbfounded. “You want to travel with us… and learn from me?”
“If we cooperate with you, will you promise not to hurt us anymore?”
“Anymore?” the demon asked, looking around in confusion. She lowered her voice even more, whispering into the tiny blonde’s ear, “Am I still talking too loud?”
“No, it’s not that, but…” the blonde looked towards the somewhat broken brunette, quietly sobbing on the ground, “you hurt Danica when you touched her. You hurt her a lot.”
The demoness gave the blonde a skeptical look. She held up her bloody claw and pointed at the girl, “I only looked, I was gentle, her bruises were from before, from the men, see?”
“How should I explain this…” the blonde stopped to think, “Invading that part of a person’s body without their permission, is very bad.”
The demoness squeezed her own breast skeptically, “Doesn’t hurt…”
“It’s like speaking Infernal,” the blonde explained, “for most humans, someone touching their breasts or genitals without permission hurts their mind and soul.”
“I see,” the demoness pondered, “No wait I don’t. That’s doesn’t make any sense at all.”
“Sorry. It’s hard to explain, but uuh…” The blonde looked at the demon expectantly, and the demon realized she hadn’t answered the blonde’s question.
“Yes, yes, fine. I won’t hurt you. I wasn’t planning on it anyway, hurting people is only fun if they can fight back.”
The blonde smiled and nodded, “There’s one more thing, we’ll be travelling to a place where other humans live… can you promise not to hurt them either?”
The demon spread and flexed her claws warningly, “No, definitely not. If humans challenge me, they die.”
“Can you promise not to attack unprovoked? Not kill anyone unless they intend to kill you first? Demons are… You need to be seen as a friendly demon to enter a human town. If you attack an innocent human, you won’t be welcome there anymore, and you won’t be able to follow me.”
Ugh… this was going to be a pain. There were so many rules to remember. No speaking Infernal, no touching breasts… Lillizath suddenly smirked. It was going to be difficult. A challenge! She was bored of the forest. Bored of mindless hunting and killing. This was a true challenge. It wasn’t a glorious life-or-death battle per se, but it was still an interesting challenge she could conquer.
“I don’t plan on dying. Against a real threat, I will show no mercy. If they’re not a threat, but merely stupid enough to challenge me, then I’ll try not to kill them if possible. If they’re not challenging me, then I’ll avoid hurting them entirely. That is all I can promise. So, I’ll set you free and I’ll follow you. Agree?”
“Yes. With Verita as my witness, if you set us free and agree not to hurt innocent people, then I promise to let you travel with me and learn from me.”
The demon nodded, reached out a claw, and with a few gentle pokes, shredded the girl’s bindings apart. She reached over and did the same for the black haired girl.
The blonde woman started speaking the human language, probably telling the others about the deal. The demoness ignored the murmured human nonsense. She could wait for them to settle down and organize themselves, there were a lot of delicious bodies here, and it was finally time to eat.