Amelia lumbered over to the dining table and slumped down in the chair. One of the maids, a dark elf named Patricia, delivered a coffee to her. The other maids and servants at the estate called this ‘Patricia coffee’, and they were normally banned from giving it to guests. Drinking it was apparently a test of courage for those servants who had to stay up late and work through the night. Amelia decided to accept their challenge.
The few dark elves still alive today lived mostly in human cities, and they had a bad reputation. It was remarkably progressive of the Montagne family to hire one as a maid. According to the racial stereotypes, dark elves were all evil demon worshippers plotting the downfall of humanity. If Amelia was racist, she might say that this coffee was a sinister concoction born of pure unfiltered evil. It certainly looked ominous at first glance…
Amelia looked down at the black liquid, which was as thick as soup. She took a sip, and the taste hit her like a hammer to the face. It was horrible, dark, bitter, and violent somehow… It gave Amelia the urge to scream obscenities and punch someone, but it worked splendidly. Amelia certainly felt awake now.
“She’s relaxing in her blanket fort.” said Amelia, currently resisting the urge to punch Captain Richter.
“Making her comfy doesn’t solve the problem,” said the annoyed Captain. “She’s a danger to the public. You saw her attack us, right? She’s clearly not as harmless as you say.”
“I never said she was harmless. She’s an extremely dangerous unbound greater demon that was able to kill an inquisitor by herself. I told you that she wouldn’t attack you unprovoked though, and she hasn’t.”
“You’re saying I provoked her?” the Captain growled. “She struck first!”
“She attacked because you tried to arrest her, threatened to bind her in silver plated manacles, and threatened her with a silver plated sword,” Amelia sighed. “I really wish you’d have let me handle it.”
“Sorry Saintess, this is my town, we handle things my way. You don’t have authority over me, and if your pet monster is rampaging around the town at night, completely out of control, then I’m going to have to put her down.”
“I just finished calming her down. It took some convincing, but she has reluctantly agreed not to retaliate. Please don’t ruin that. You’re lucky nobody died tonight. If you force her to attack you, I’m confident that she will kill you and all your men. Just leave her be and no one has to die.”
“Yeah right,” the Captain snorted, “my guards survived, but how many innocent people were killed during her rampage tonight?”
“Zero,” Amelia said, glaring at the captain, “and she even solved your demon problem for you.”
The Captain listened as Amelia recounted what Lily told her. She decided to be deliberately vague about the... things that happened between Lily and the succubus before the fight started. Amelia didn't even know the specifics of what they did. Once Lily started going into details about her first sexual experience, talking about fingers in places... Amelia became too embarassed and had to stop her. Lewd things happened, that was enough information.
Amelia gave the Captain the important details. She explained that Lily found a succubus, killed the succubus, set a man free from her basement, followed him and broke into a warehouse, stealing five cows’ worth of beef before being spotted by guards and fleeing back to the mansion.
“I’ll be happy to reimburse the warehouse owner for the beef, if I have enough gold on me,” Amelia added.
Captain Richter digested what Amelia told him. He gave Amelia a suspicious glare. “You said she killed a succubus?”
“That’s what I said, and I cannot lie.”
“That’s good news. She found the rogue mage that summoned the succubus too?”
“She found a man with an ambient magical aura, that she thinks was the succubus’ summoner.”
“Care to share any details? We need to catch that bastard before he summons another demon.”
“Nothing that would help you. Lily knows his scent and his magical aura. She doesn’t remember where his house was, but she knows the path to get there and what it looks like from the outside. That’s about it.”
“Can she track him by scent?” the Captain asked.
“Are you seriously suggesting that you want Lily to track him for you?”
“It’s not like we have a choice. We need to catch that terrorist before he destroys the town. If she helps us catch him, all will be forgiven. You have my leave to parade her around town as much as you want.”
“She hasn’t done anything other than defend herself from you and steal some meat that I’ve offered to pay for. You have little to forgive.”
The Captain crossed his arms, glaring silently and frowning at Amelia. Amelia returned his gaze with a glare of her own.
“You’re trusting this demon too much,” said the Captain.
“Lily is different,” Amelia replied.
Patricia walked up to the table with a pot of coffee and refilled the Captain’s cup of normal coffee. Amelia had only taken a few sips of her own foul concoction, so she didn’t need a refill. Captain Richter ignored the maid’s presence until she coughed politely to interrupt. Both Amelia and the Captain turned to her.
“Speaking as an evil demon worshipping dark elf, I have two things to say,” Patricia said, in a lecturing tone. “First of all, Your Eminence, I think you’re underestimating how scary demons can be. The fact that Lily hasn’t tortured you to death and raped the leftover pieces yet is frankly astonishing. You realize she can change her mind and decide to stop keeping her promise at any time, right? On that note, Captain Richter, I’d actually have to agree with the Saintess’ assessment. Lily really is different. We’d all be dead by now if she wasn’t.”
“I didn’t ask for your opinion dark elf,” The Captain said, with a venomous sneer.
“My apologies Captain Richter,” Patricia said, bowing solemnly, her face twisting into a wicked grin, “but I’m afraid I don’t give a shit what you think. If you’re smart, you’ll listen to what I have to say.”
The Captain looked at Patricia with shock and outrage on his face. She turned to walk away, swaying her slender hips coquettishly. Halfway to the kitchen she stopped and turned around.
“Oh yeah,” she said tapping her chin, “I’m sure a smart boy like you knows that silver needs to pierce the skin to have an effect on a monster. I’m sure you know that silver plated manacles won’t have any effect on a corporeal demon and that you’d be better off just using heavily reinforced steel if you wanted to bind Lily. But then again… what do I know? I’m just a dark elf whose opinion doesn’t matter.”
Patricia gave the Captain a toothy grin, as the man seethed quietly. Amelia pretended to scratch her nose, covering her mouth to hide her own smug smile. She was starting to like Patricia.
“I’m telling Roland about your disrespect…” the Captain muttered.
“Go ahead and do that. Young little Roland would never dare to fire me. He knows that he’s never too old for a spanking if he misbehaves.”
Patricia walked away. Amelia failed to suppress her giggle this time. The Captain’s glare turned back to her, and Amelia coughed nervously.
“I’ll ask her if she wants to help,” she said, “but I don’t think she cares about earning your forgiveness all that much.”
“Convince her,” said the Captain. “I can’t tell you everything, but we have a good idea who this guy is, and he is bad news. We were warned about him in a letter from the imperial palace. This guy is dangerous enough to be on the Emperor’s personal shit list.”
Captain Richter Truly believed that the rogue mage was bad news. Amelia’s gift told her that he believed what he was saying, but it didn’t tell her if the fact itself was True or not.
She excused herself from the dining table, and slowly made her way back upstairs. It was early in the morning, only an hour or two before sunrise. She didn’t want to deal with this bull-poop right now, she’d been up all night and she just wanted to sleep.
Amelia carefully crept into Lily’s room. It was dark, and the only light Amelia could see was the moonlight shining in from the window and two little red dots coming from inside the shadowy depths of the blanket cave. The demon’s crimson eyes caught and reflected the tiny amount of light that was shining in from the hallway, making it almost look like they were glowing. Amelia entered the room and closed the door.
“Lily, I spoke with the Captain. He wanted you to help catch the mage from the basement. The one that led you to the meat.”
“No,” the demon grumbled, “you asked me not to kill him, and I won’t, but I’m definitely not going to help him.”
“Yeah, I agree,” Amelia admitted. “He doesn’t deserve your charity, but I told him I’d ask you anyway. He seems pretty desperate though, you could demand something in exchange for your help. Gold? Clothes? Armor? Is there anything he could give you that would change your mind?”
Lily paused, and took some time to think, “Meat,” she said. “A lot of meat.”
“Meat?” Amelia repeated. It seemed Lily was showing her gluttonous side again.
“The succubus drained more energy than I got back from eating her, and I lost about a third of my body mass from that fight. I only weigh about five Amelias now. My energy is low, my body is weak. I’m still hungry, I need to eat. A lot.”
Amelias? That was a… unique unit of measurement. Was that why Lily kept picking her up and carrying her around? She was wondering about that. With a short stature, and (unfortunately) no Danica-breasts or Danica-hips to weigh her down, Amelia was about 110 lbs. So that still made Lily… 550 lbs, easily twice as heavy as a normal man. Wait, she’d been… Amelia did some quick math in her head, 800-ish lbs before? That was about as much as the donkey weighed. No wonder Amelia couldn’t lift her into the bath.
Amelia refocused herself on the topic at hand, “Ok, so how much meat do you want to ask him for?”
“20 cows. That was how much was inside the meat place before the guard interrupted me.”
Amelia did some more quick math in her head, “Six tons? That’s a lot of meat. Does it have to be cows? or can it be other animals?”
“Don’t care, as long as there’s a lot.”
“Alright, I’ll tell him.”
Amelia slowly padded her way back down the corridor, yawning loudly as she descended the stairs. She returned to the table and gave the Captain Lily’s price: 6 tons or 20 cows worth of whatever animal meat he can find. In return, Lily would attempt to track and catch the mage alive. The Captain grumbled, apparently believing that Lily should do it for free.
Amelia ignored the coffee-induced urge to punch him in his stupid f-word-ing face and told him to find some meat for the demon if he wanted her help, if not, then she didn’t care. She left him at the dining table and went back upstairs to bed. She didn’t have the energy to deal with his ego, she needed to sleep.
In the morning, a slightly refreshed Amelia, having had four hours of sleep and more coffee, followed the Captain to a farm on the outskirts of town. Lily, also running on four hours of sleep, followed them. She was here to receive her payment.
The demon managed to destroy Tanya’s dress while fighting the succubus last night, but luckily the maids kept a small stock of spare uniforms in various sizes. The demon wore the black dress portion of a maid uniform, without the white apron or the frilly headpiece. A demon maid sounded cute in theory, but Amelia knew that it would be a lot less cute once the white apron turned red from blood. At least the black part of the uniform would hide bloodstains well.
An ashamed looking farmer led them to a barn and explained the situation. “Yeh see, I bought these here forest drakes, thinking I could use ‘em as extra large beasts of burden. I didn’t know that you needed special food for ‘em. I fed ‘em like oxen, but uuh...”
The farmer opened the barn door, and Lily’s face lit up with joy. Two giant forest drakes, recent victims of malnutrition, lay dead inside. The creatures looked like giant scaly reptiles, with four legs, long necks, and long tails. The two creatures were enough to fill the entire barn on their own, without any extra room to spare. Just one of those creatures was almost the size of Amelia’s old shack.
Forest drakes were actually a species of lizard, not at all related to actual drakes. At first glance they looked quite similar to a drake, hence the name. The biggest difference was that forest drakes were herbivores, with flat plant eating teeth and a gentle disposition. Due to their sheer size, they had no natural predators other than true drakes, ironically.
True drakes were not lizards, or even reptiles. They shared an ancestry with dragons. They lacked their brothers’ wings, intelligence, and elemental breath, but they were still vicious apex predators, similar in size to the forest drake, but purely carnivorous. Very few people survived accidentally mistaking a drake for a forest drake.
“Those are both yours, Lily” Amelia said to the demon. Thinking quickly, Amelia added, “Let me take your dress so it doesn’t get dirty.”
Lily smiled like the bloodthirsty monster she was and quickly lifted the maid dress up over her head. The gleefully cackling naked demon pounced on the nearest corpse and began tearing it apart. Her teeth looked perfectly normal and humanlike, but they must have been made of something special. They had no problem chewing through the thick hide and armored scales that could shatter a normal man’s teeth.
This was going to take a while, Amelia estimated that these two drakes contained a lot more meat than just 20 cows’ worth. Sure, it was basically garbage disposal, the farmer had been trying to hire help to haul away the bodies before they rotted, but it seemed Lily didn’t mind doing this job. In her eyes, she was being given a valuable treasure.
“Wow…” was the only thing the slightly terrified farmer had to say when he saw the demon tearing apart the giant creature with ease. The Captain had a similarly nervous look on his face. Amelia didn’t. She was used to this by now.
“This might take a while, Mister Miller.” said Amelia.
“Uh… yeah.” he mumbled, “Would you like to come inside for some tea, Y-Your Eminence? I’m afraid I don’t have anything fancy but-”
“Sure, that would be great.” Amelia replied.
Amelia and the captain sat around the farmer’s humble home while the demon ate. In some ways, Amelia found this simple little farmhouse to be more comfortable than the mansion. This felt much more ‘Amelia’ than the opulent mansion with the silver cutlery and feather beds. Well… she didn’t mind the feather beds so much, but the rest was pure extravagance.
Two hours passed while Amelia relaxed and chatted with the Captain and the farmer before a smiling naked demon, dripping with blood, walked inside and found her.
“Oh, Lily, hold on, you’re getting blood everywhere.”
Amelia brought the demon back outside, dumped a few buckets of water over her head, and wrangled her into the maid dress again. The demon passively went along with Amelia’s fussing, with a blissful smile on her face. Inside the barn, both forest drakes were gone, only a few splashes of blood soaked hay remained where they once lay.
With the demon fully paid, Captain Richter asked her to lead them to the succubus’ house. Lily did so. She seemed to be retracing her steps from last night. First, she went to an alleyway near an extremely disreputable looking tavern, sniffed the air a few times, and continued onwards, following the scent. She followed a twisting route through dark alleyways, avoiding the larger roads, and ended up in the poorer part of town. Lily stopped in front of one of the houses and pushed the door open.
There was no summoner to be found, but this was obviously the house of a mage in hiding. There was a wealth of books sitting around everywhere. Books lining the walls in massive bookshelves, books littering the dining table, and even books scattered across the floor. Books were extremely expensive, there was no way a normal person living in this part of town could have a collection like this. Most nobles didn’t have collections this big. Almost all of the books seemed to be covering various specialized topics of magical lore. Danica would’ve loved to see these.
Amelia wondered if anyone would miss them if she grabbed a few… she might come back here later.
Amelia saw the aftermath of Lily’s fight. There was a giant hole in the floor, surrounded by the black inky residue of dried demon blood. Claw scratches and small claw sized holes tore up the wooden floor around the edges of the pit. Large holes were carved out of the walls and roof. These didn’t look like Lily’s claw marks. The edges of the holes were perfectly smooth, as if a carpenter had cleanly carved out the holes and sanded down the edges after. Lily described a magic attack that turned flesh to dust, this must have been it.
Through the hole in the floor, Amelia saw the cellar. An iron cage sat in the corner, encrusted with filth from its former prisoner. It looked horrible. That man must have been trapped in there for days, weeks even. In the corner, a portable metal tub sat, filled with murky bathwater.
There was also a large round circle painted into the dirt in the center of the floor. The circle was adorned with a complex geometric pattern and strange arcane runes. Candles were placed at various points along the edges, though all of them had burnt out. It looked like some sort of large arcane ritual. Amelia didn’t know much on the subject, but she guessed that this was how he summoned the demon.
Lily didn’t bother looking around, she seemed lost in thought. She walked over to the bed and stared down at it frowning bitterly. Amelia noticed, and walked up behind her.
“Is this where she… took advantage of you?” Amelia asked quietly.
“Manipulated you, used you, betrayed your trust… that sort of thing.”
Lily nodded, “Yes.”
Amelia placed a hand on her shoulder, “I’m sorry that happened to you. I hope you don’t beat yourself up too much about it. Things like this happen to even the smartest of people, and I know it hurts when your trust is betrayed. I think it’s best to use this as a learning experience, so it won’t happen again. You won’t fall for the same trick twice, right?”
Lily smiled bitterly, “No I won’t.”
“It looks like he’s not here,” the oblivious Captain interrupted.
“Lily, is anything different from before? did he come back here?” Amelia asked the demon.
Lily wandered around the house for a few minutes, sniffing the air. She hopped down the hole to the cellar and repeated the process down there. She walked back to the hole and gave Amelia and the Captain her report.
“Yes, his scent is here, more recent than the succubus,” Lily pointed to the murky bathtub, “He used that,” she pointed through the floor towards the disorganized bookshelf, “threw a bunch of books from the shelf on the floor, and left. The scent feels several hours old but it’s a very… strong odour, easy to follow.”
The Captain asked Lily to follow the man’s scent and she did. The demon followed her nose out of the house and down the street. The scent continued down smaller dirt covered streets until the group reached the outskirts of the town. Lily stood next to the wooden palisade wall and pointed to an empty crate that was learning against it.
“He used that to climb over,” she explained.
“Fuck, he got away,” the Captain grumbled.
Lily whispered to Amelia, “I know that word. Who is he fucking?”
Amelia quickly explained the difference between f-word and f-word-ing, along with the various meanings that the f-word could take depending on context. She then explained why the captain was mad.
“Do you still want me to catch him for you?” Lily asked.
“You can do that? He could be pretty far away by now,” said Amelia.
“If I go by myself, I can run fast.”
“I don’t think we should let her run off on her own,” the Captain said to Amelia.
“Humans are slow and they get tired fast, we won’t catch him if I have to wait for you two,” said Lily.
The Captain hesitated, but seeing no other option, he gave in, “Fine, we’ll be waiting for you at the southern gate, over there.” the Captain pointed to the nearest gatehouse. “If you find him, bring him there alive.”
Lily nodded and turned to the wall. Ignoring the crate that the fleeing mage used to climb, she cleanly leapt over the 10 foot high wall and landed on the other side with a heavy thud. Lily sprinted away, and her footsteps quickly faded off into the distance. Amelia and the Captain made their way to the gatehouse to wait for the demon.