Oh sure, bring the cuddle-murderer to the city garrison. How could that go wrong? Lily was behaving herself for now, but Tanya could see a disaster on the horizon. It wasn’t a question of if, it was a question of when.
The town had a single large garrison for the guardsmen. It was enough space to rest and feed the entire town guard. There were 52 men and 3 women to look after a town of a thousand people. Tanya had a lot of respect for those three women, it takes a very special kind of bitch to thrive in this kind of macho environment.
The barracks itself was what Tanya would describe as a ‘mini-castle’. A large stone block of a building formed one corner of the perimeter wall that surrounded the compound. The other three corners had smaller square towers with crenellations and good line of sight for archers. What the wall surrounded, was the training yard.
One side of the yard had a row of archery targets set up, and the other side had several large circular fighting rings. Various types of wooden practice weaponry sat on racks against the wall, and in the center of one of the rings, two men were sparring.
“Oh, so the Saintess’s sworn protector has finally decided to grace us with her presence.”
The man’s voice was mocking, but the smarmy grin was wiped off his face once he saw that the Saintess herself had followed Tanya, giving the man a disapproving look. This pissed her off, Tanya wanted to wipe that stupid fucking smirk off his face by herself.
“Where do you want me to kick your ass?” asked Tanya.
This was all set up ahead of time. One of the guards yesterday made an unsolicited comment about Tanya’s ass, so she challenged him to a fight, and here they were. Anton was his name, and this wasn’t him. Tanya didn’t see him yet.
There was a method to this madness. Tanya had been overconfident, she was the undisputed ‘Meanest Bitch in Greenvale,’ and she used to think she was tough. The bandits proved her wrong once, and Lily proved her wrong a second time. She was tired of just doing muscle training and sword drills in the garden, she needed to improve her skills with real combat. She was a fucking amazing unarmed fighter, but actual swordfighting experience against a competent opponent was something she was sorely lacking.
Tanya looked back at Amelia, double-checking on her ward. The Saintess found a place to stand near the wall and kept a hand on Lily’s shoulder to keep her from charging into one of the sparring matches. Yeah, that was pretty smart.
“Shortsword? Rapier? I’m sure we have something appropriate for someone with your build,” the man tried to make his words sound reasonable, but there was a taunting edge to his voice as he led them both to the wooden weapon rack.
“Longsword. And fuck you.”
“Really? You’ve got a single handed sword on your hip.”
“Thanks for pointing that out dumbass, I hadn’t noticed,” Tanya snarked, “I could kick your ass with an arming sword too, but you asked me what I wanted, and I want a longsword.”
Tanya was actually better with a longsword. Two hands let her parry faster and hit harder, but a single handed arming sword was all she could afford with her meager savings before she left Greenvale.
“Fine, fine,” the man replied, grabbing a pair of two handed longswords from the rack, “What’s with the attitude? Are you getting your monthly blood or something?”
“I’ll give you your monthly blood…” Tanya grumbled underneath her breath.
“Here you go…” came another male voice from behind her.
It was Anton. He was holding a padded gambeson, thick cloth armor used by the practicing men to absorb the wooden sword blows. It was just like all the other ones the guards were training with… except theirs were blue and had the town’s crest stitched onto the chest. This one was pink, pink with a pretty flower embroidered on the front.
“…Princess sized,” he said.
Tanya smiled at the two horsefuckers. A decade’s worth of painful old memories and unresolved anger issues simmered up to the surface, ready to explode at any moment. She smiled and slipped into the fucking princess gambeson and grabbed a wooden longsword. This was going to be so much fun.
“I’ll take on both of you cunts at the same time.”
Lily watched Tanya walk into the fighting circle with two men. They each positioned themselves on opposite sides of her and stood casually. The contemptuous looks on their faces meant that they didn’t seem to find their target worth their full efforts. Tanya, on the other claw, had a very demonlike smile on her face. Lily recognized the bloodthirst and anticipation immediately. This was the moment of silence before the predator attacked. Lily already knew who would win this fight.
“Fight!” one of the men shouted.
The man didn’t even have time to raise his sword before Tanya closed the distance to him. She swung low and wide, striking the surprised man’s ankles, knocking him cleanly off his feet.
The second man charged up from behind. Tanya spun around and carried the sword’s momentum into a second wide swing, this time, striking towards the core. The move was far too obvious, and the man was already in position to block the strike. Tanya suddenly abandoned the swing, let go with one hand, and stepped forwards around the blocking blade. She forcefully introduced the wooden sword’s pommel to the man’s face with the back of her hand.
Lily appreciated the move. It was dirty and unpredictable, which was exactly what you wanted to do in a real fight. The other sparring guards were fighting far too cleanly in Lily’s opinion. Where was the biting? The kicking? The headbutts? They were focusing on pretty, but mostly useless sword movements, fighting like they didn’t want to hurt the other person.
The man recoiled from the pommel strike and was too stunned to prevent a second pommel strike from coming in and crushing his nose. Next came a knee to the balls, and finally, as the man collapsed forward, Tanya stepped back and struck him with a brutal spinning kick to the side of the head. He was unconscious before he hit the ground. Lily smiled with glee. Tanya was now, officially, her favorite human.
The first human had climbed up off the ground and was trying to rise to his feet when Tanya spun around and focused her attention on him. Tanya’s overhand swing clashed against his blocking blade and forced the man back down to his knees. Tanya reeled back and repeated the attack. She was brutal and inelegant, there was no technique to this. She was just bashing the man over the head again and again with heavy two-handed sword strikes. He blocked the first five strikes. The sixth blow caused his sword to slip from his grip slightly, and then the seventh hit him across the head knocking him unconscious too.
Tanya screamed the entire time. There were a whole lot of human-language words and they were coming too fast for Lily to understand it all. She heard the word ‘fuck’ repeated quite a few times. Tanya also mentioned a ‘bloody bitch princess’ three separate times for some reason. Without the proper context, Lily could only guess what she was talking about.
Tanya raised her sword to finish off the unconscious men, but Amelia reached her in time to stop her. Lily frowned. Why was Amelia interfering? The fight wasn’t over, both the men were clearly still alive. Unfortunately, Tanya seemed to agree with whatever Amelia had to say and walked away from the fight.
A man in white robes, not the pretty one, rushed to the unconscious men. Lily watched him drag the men away to the side of the ring. There was a golden flash of healing magic as one man’s nose gradually became nose-shaped again.
“Who’s next?” Tanya shouted out to the rest of the training yard, still panting heavily.
The five remaining conscious men who had been sparring each took a step back from Tanya. For once, Lily didn’t seem to be the scariest thing in sight. The potential victims remained silent, hesitant to call attention to themselves. Tanya looked from face to face, issuing a wordless challenge to each of them. Lily couldn’t hold herself back anymore.
“Me,” said the demon, in Common.
Amelia, who had been helping the healers tend to the men spun around to look at Lily. Her worried expression was plain to see. Her gaze travelled between Tanya and Lily as the two women stared off. Tanya’s previous anger cooled a bit, but she still wore a confident bloodthirsty smile.
Amelia quickly walked up to Lily and spoke infernal, “Do you know the rules of sparring?”
“No killing?” the demon guessed.
Amelia explained in infernal tongue to make the rules extra clear, “It’s a friendly fight for practice. No killing or maiming, not even by accident, you need to stop before you do any real damage. Don’t stab her with your claws. We have a healer, but he can only fix minor wounds. Stay in the circle. You win by pinning Tanya so she’s helpless, forcing her out of the circle, or forcing her to say ‘Yield’. Knocking her unconscious also works, but I wouldn’t try it since you could accidentally kill her if you hit her head too hard. Got it?”
“Got it. I’ll try not to break her.”
Tingling with anticipation, Lily walked into the fighting circle. She didn’t bother to wear one of the thick cloth shirts, sticks wouldn’t be able to hurt her. She’d smashed head-first through tree branches before, the wooden weapons would break long before she did. She considered using a wooden sword herself, but the thin grip looked hard to hold. It might be fun as a challenge but for now she decided to fight with her best weapons, her claws.
Lily wanted a good fight, a good challenge. Tanya was clearly a much better fighter than any of the bandits had been, but she still had no chance of winning against Lily. The only humans that had been able to hurt Lily so far had been the Inquisitors, and that was mostly due to their weapons. Actually… that gave her an idea.
Lily pointed at Tanya’s sword, “Demonbane,” she said, before tapping herself on the chest, “Hit me, you win.”
Tanya readied her sword. Her opponent was Lily. Most would be intimidated by facing off against a greater demon, but Tanya was excited. This was the ultimate challenge.
“Ready?” Tanya asked.
Lily nodded, and her expression changed. Immediately Tanya felt the chill. The cute, curious Lily vanished, and a monster was standing where she had been. This was murder incarnate. Two unblinking crimson eyes soaked in every detail, searching for even the tiniest weakness. Tanya was going to die!
No. No she wasn’t. Tanya was going to kick Lily’s ass. Fuck! That bitch was intimidating when she got serious. Tanya steeled herself again.
The ground exploded under Lily’s feet as the snarling hell-monster took off in an impossibly fast sprint. The crimson eyes continued to focus on their target. The cold eyes, the flesh eating teeth, the deadly claws, the smile… Tanya couldn’t help it, she flinched back from the unstoppable charge.
With her eyes closed, she didn’t see what happened next, but an instant later, Tanya found herself staring at two claw tips, one lined up with each of her eyes. Lily stopped her charge less than an inch short of her eyeballs.
“Y-Yield.” Tanya stammered.
Lily smugly walked back to her starting position. Tanya caught her breath. Fuck. She was not prepared for that. Lily’s strength and speed were only part of the problem. Tanya could almost deal with that, but she wasn’t ready for the demon’s vicious intensity. Lily looked and acted almost like a human most of the time. It was easy to forget what she was.
Tanya readied her sword again. Lily was still grinning.
The demon exploded into movement again. This time Tanya didn’t freeze, she swung out her sword to intercept the demon’s charge, aiming for Lily’s midsection. The demon leapt and tucked her legs in. The wooden blade only touched air. Tanya had no time to react before the flying demon reached her.
Again, Tanya didn’t see what happened next. Her vision went white, there was a weight around her throat, and then there was a falling sensation. The ground struck Tanya on the back, knocking the air out of her lungs. She gasped for breath. The air was warm, and… womanly.
The white fabric of Lily’s skirt was lifted away, and Tanya saw the sky again. Lily was looking down at her. The demon flashed her a devious grin and laughed. Tanya realized with a start that Lily was straddling her head, resting her knees next to Tanya’s ears, and sitting on Tanya’s chest. Tanya’s eyes unconsciously followed the demon’s thighs all the way up to... Lily wasn’t wearing underwear.
Lily definitely wasn’t wearing underwear. The demon didn’t seem to know or care about the rather intimate view she was giving Tanya. Tanya’s cynical side expected to see tentacles or teeth down there, but thankfully, not everything about Lily was pure horror. Tanya was somewhat relieved to see an entirely humanlike pussy. It was cute. Tanya’s eyes lingered on it for a few seconds before she ceased her inspection and glared defiantly into the monster’s eyes.
Lily maintained her grin, reached down, and tickled Tanya’s nose with tips of her claws. Yep, this was a defeat.
Lily dropped the hem of her skirt again and climbed off. Tanya climbed back to her feet. The demon turned and walked back to her starting position. Tanya caught herself staring blankly at the demon’s swaying hips before she shook that nonsense out of her head. She had to focus on the task at hand.
Tanya readied her sword, “Fight!”
Lily charged again. This time, Tanya took a more defensive stance, keeping the sword closer to her body, favoring speed over reach. The demon leapt again, claws-first this time. Tanya took a step, narrowly dodging the claws, and countered, getting a perfect strike to the back of the demon’s neck as she passed by. Lily tripped, landed on her chest, and slid to a stop.
The demon dug her claws into the ground and pushed herself up to her feet. Tanya flinched back when she saw Lily’s expression. The demon was still grinning like a madwoman, but her eyes looked wild, slightly unhinged. Wordlessly, she walked back to the starting position.
Alright! The score was 2-1, demon-slut was the lead, but it was still anyone’s game. Tanya readied her weapon again, “Fight!”
Lily roared like a monster and charged again. Fueled by rage, her movement was even faster than before. The demon charged directly towards Tanya in a berserk rush, claws spread. Tanya countered the movement, stepping around, bringing the sword down, and ‘chopping off’ one of Lily’s legs at the thigh.
Lily stopped in her tracks and looked down at her leg. She groaned in annoyance and walked back to the starting position. 2-2, tied with the slut. It was Tanya’s turn to grin. She was pissing off the demon, and while a pissed off Lily was a terrifying sight to behold, it made her movements predictable. This demon was powerful, but a lack of discipline and poor technique were her weaknesses.
Lily got even angrier the next time she lost, leading to yet another loss for her immediately after. After six rounds, the score was 2-4, Tanya winning. With every loss, the demon’s technique was getting sloppier. Tanya felt pretty happy with herself. With a normal sword, she was still fucked, but if she had a Demonbane weapon, she could officially hold her own against a greater demon. This was Inquisitor-level stuff, and she was pulling it off.
This time, after picking herself up, Lily didn’t get into her starting position right away. She paced around, breathing heavily, and trying to calm down. She seemed to be on the verge of having some sort of demonic meltdown. This was actually a dangerous situation, Tanya didn’t want Lily to attack her for real, maybe they should take a break. Just as Tanya was going to suggest that, Lily stopped pacing. She took one final deep breath, and calmly walked back to her starting position with a serene look on her face.
Tanya got ready, “Fight!”
Lily… didn’t charge. There was no grin, no battle mania. Her eyes were ice cold and predatory again. Tanya shivered. This was completely different. The demon suddenly felt like a demon again.
Lily approached cautiously, and when she got in range, Tanya swung her sword in a diagonal cut, being careful to not overextend herself. Lily stepped to the side, allowing the blade to pass her by with only inches to spare. Tanya spun the momentum into another strike. Lily moved closer, again, dodging the blade perfectly. Tanya took a step back and swung a third time, a claw reached up.
The sword stopped.
Lily’s claws were pinched around the sword’s guard, not touching the ‘Demonbane’ part of the weapon at all. Tanya tried to tug the blade out of her hand, but Lily had a vice-like grip on it. Tanya let go of the sword, and punched Lily hard in the kidney. It felt almost like punching a tree. Lily’s muscles felt as dense as wood, and she was rooted in place, not moving at all from the fist’s impact. Also like a tree, the punch didn’t seem to hurt her all that much. Did demons even have kidneys to punch? Lily casually flung the longsword away and stepped closer, grinning again.
Tanya tried a much harder knee strike to the opposite kidney. Lily’s wood-like core ignored this blow too, and a claw caught her leg. Lily reached the other claw around the small of Tanya’s back, and pulled her closer. Tanya, balancing on one foot, stumbled, but Lily held her up and pressed their bodies together. The demon leaned in and Tanya felt teeth on her throat. Lily gave her a playful nibble.
“Yield,” Tanya grumbled.
The sun was setting as Lily walked back to the big house with her humans.
That was fun. The final score was 13-4, with Lily winning. She learned an important lesson today, she needed to get her rage under control. Completely giving in to her battle lust would get her killed against a dangerous opponent. Once she started making deliberate, calculated movements again, Tanya’s little winning streak stopped.
Tanya was quite skilled, for a human. Lily learned a lot from her by just copying her movements. Lily conceded that Tanya was technically the better fighter, at least for now. Her techniques were creative and unpredictable. No matter how many times they fought, she seemed to always have a new trick ready to try. Lily only won because of her demonic strength, reflexes, and sharp senses. She was looking forward to playing with Tanya again.
When they got back to the mansion, Lily sat down with Amelia in the drawing room, continuing to work on her language skills. According to Tanya, she sounded like a foreigner with a terrible demonic accent, but she was mostly understandable. Amelia seemed impressed with Lily’s learning speed. Apparently, humans usually couldn’t learn a new language this fast. Lily wasn’t sure if fast learning was a normal demonic trait or not.
As the evening grew late, Danica was still absent. Amelia didn’t seem to be worried though. Apparently, Caiden was showing her around town and taking her to a tavern he liked. They were probably drinking together. Lily learned this was called a ‘date’ in common-tongue.
“When we followed Tanya, was that a date?” Lily asked.
“No, that was just normal fun,” Amelia explained, blushing slightly, “Dates are special. It’s when two people who like each other go out and spend time together.”
“I like you,” said Lily. “If it was just the two of us, would that be a date?”
“W-wha?” Amelia stammered, her face getting redder.
“I like Tanya too, you’re both good humans.”
“Ah that’s what you meant…” said Amelia, quickly recovering. “Thanks Lily, I like you too. You’re a good demon.”
“So, if the two of us went out somewhere, that would be a date?” Lily asked again.
Amelia twirled her hair around her finger, fidgeting awkwardly, “Uuh… no not quite, dates are usually between a man and a woman, and the man and woman usually like each other in a romantic way, not just a friend way.”
“So it’s only a date if I go out with a man? Should I go with Caiden or Roland then?”
“No, that would be bad. It’s considered rude to try to steal someone else’s man.” Amelia continued to fidget awkwardly, “And I think it might be possible for two women to go on a date together. I’ve never seen it happen, but some women… I mean, there are rumors…”
“Rumors?” Lily leaned in with interest.
Amelia’s face went red and she stared at the floor, “Well… back in Greenvale, I heard some rumors about a coven of witches in the woods that lured in girls from the village and... slept with them.”
“I slept with Tanya,” said Lily. It didn’t seem like the sort of thing Amelia would blush about. Lily suspected there was more to this.
“Y-you did?” Amelia asked, surprised.
“Yes, in the cart, you were there too.” Lily realized that there was definitely something more to this than just sleeping.
“Oh… sorry… I thought… nevermind,” Amelia’s voice trailed off into a mumble.
Lily waited for her to elaborate, but she remained silent, determined to stare at the floor. Lily realized she wasn’t going to get any more answers on the subject, so she decided to ask another question.
“Have you been on a date?”
Amelia looked up, snapped out of whatever thoughts she was having, but her eyes returned to the floor again, “Y-yes once…”
“Where is your man then?” Lily asked. Amelia made it sound like she needed a man for dating, but she didn’t bring any with her. Maybe it was one of the men who died?
Lily didn’t think Amelia’s face could get any redder, but she’d been proven wrong, “His name was Tolsten… and he’s not my man, it was only one date. He brought me out fishing with him, but he got a little bit too grabby… and I got scared… and I might have accidentally… No, I deliberately pushed him into the river.
“The poor boy was wearing kinda heavy clothes, and I thought he would be able to swim out, but he got pulled underwater by the currents. Luckily Acolyte Joffrey was visiting the village, so he was able to save the boy and magic the water out of his lungs to get him breathing again. I became a little bit infamous afterwards. ‘Amelia the Undine,’ the virginal water spirit that tempts men to their doom… Nobody in the village ever asked me out on a date after that…”
“Grabby?” Lily asked.
The red faced Amelia looked up from the floor and made eye contact, “H-he touched my breast…”
Lily squeezed her own breast, it was actually a rather pleasant feeling, “So?”
“It’s different, I was only sixteen at the time… I wasn’t ready for… things…”
“Ready for what?”
Amelia coughed nervously and shook the blushing redness out of her cheeks. “I think we’re getting a bit off topic. Next up…”
Lily realized that, once again, she wasn’t going to get her question answered. Amelia turned red and went quiet when she asked certain questions, usually about sex or anatomy, but it took a very special kind of question to make Amelia abruptly change the subject. Lily would try to ask her again later.
For now, Amelia gave Lily a phrase to translate.
“My friend Amelia serves the Demon Lord of Truth.” Lily translated into common.
“No Lily, it’s ‘My friend Amelia serves the Goddess of Truth.’” Amelia corrected.
“Then is Aragnok the Goddess of Wrath?”
“You mean God, Aragnok is male. And also, no?” Amelia looked confused for a second, “Oh! I get it. The word for Demon Lord and Demon Lord are the same in Infernal. The seven… divine beings in the Abyss are called Demon Lords in common, and the seven Demon Lords of mortals are… well, they’re called Gods.”
Lily sort of understood, but… “Why are your seven divine-things called different things than my seven divine-things?” she asked.
“Uuh… I don’t really know,” Amelia admitted, “I guess because the common tongue is the language of the mortal races, and no mortal worships the demon lords. It would be like worshipping our own destruction, your kind pretty much always attack us on sight if they can. You might be the only friendly demon in the entire world.”
Before Lily could ask more questions, the front door opened, and a sloppy looking, red faced Danica stumbled inside, leaning on an equally red faced Caiden for support.
“…you shee, it’sh called venom if it kills you when they…” Danica reached over and jabbed Caiden hard in the side with her thumb, eliciting a squeak from the man, “Stab you! And it’sh called poison if it kills you when you eat it. That’sh why you can drink the Spiderbite Whiskey without dying. You can drink as much nightmare fang venom as you want… probably. Just don’t try to inject it, and you’re- Oh hi Amelia!”
Danica stopped talking and waved to her friend. Caiden stopped staring at Danica’s chest and looked around, as if somehow surprised to find himself back in his house.
“Had fun?” Amelia asked.
“Yesh!” Danica cheered, “Caiden is suchh a gentleman. I mighta tried a few too many local boozes, and he wanted to take me home and tuck me safely into bed so nobody defiles me while I’m unconscious. He’s sooo nice.”
“Technically, as the son of a Baron, I’m a gentleman even if I’m an asshole, but I’ll take that as a compliment,” Caiden added, sounding only slightly more sober than Danica. Danica giggled.
“Come on, let’s drink a glass of water before you go to bed, it’ll help with the hangover,” Amelia suggested. The blonde woman stood and guided the drunken pair to the kitchen to get some water and Lily was left alone.
The demon reclined in her chair and heard wood crack as she shifted her weight back. With a sudden lurch, the two rear legs of the chair snapped, and it fell backwards. Lily fell with the chair but stopped when her two horns got stuck in the wooden wall behind her.
Lily let herself dangle from the wall for a few seconds. She’d never been suspended by her horns before, and it was a very strange feeling. She eventually decided to pry herself out of the wall and climb back to her feet.
Dusting off Tanya’s frilly white dress, the demon walked away from the smashed chair and the impaled wall casually. Who did that? She didn’t do that. It must have been another demon.
Lily decided to go hide in the blanket fort for a few hours until everybody went to bed and nobody could blame her for the chair. She wasn’t that tired, so she sat awake in the darkness.