“If you ever get kidnapped by a demon, just pray it’s not a Pride demon.” Patricia slurred.
She was sitting with Tanya in the tavern, enjoying a post-dinner drinking binge. It was either her fourth or her seventh drink so far, and she was sorta definitely maybe feeling the alcohol a lot. Tanya invited her to share what she wanted to share about the year she spent as torture-meat. Sober Patricia was hesitant to open up to a new friend about her traumatizing experience, but Drunk Patricia was more than happy to share all her personal secrets.
Tanya nodded, Patricia continued, “They’re the cruelest of the bunch. The Wrath demons just beat the shit out of you with the occasional hatefuck added in for variety, nice and straightforward. Pride demons though, they really want to see you suffer. I was spared the boiling oil and branding irons, being fireproof was one hell of an advantage there, let me tell you, my fellow captives weren’t so lucky. The whips were tolerable once I got used to them, but the rack was a total nightmare. Once they dislocate your arms, it’s pure hell. The Pear of Anguish was fucking horrible too, made me regret being born a woman. Then again, it’s even worse with the other hole so… I won’t say any more, if you don’t already know what it is, then you’re better off not knowing. Just… ugh! And the thumbskrews… fuck the thumbskrews!”
“Thanks for the uuh… warning,” Tanya said. She was starting to look awkward.
Drunk Patricia knew she had a tendency to overshare, but Drunk Patricia also didn’t give a fuck. Sober Patricia was the one that had to deal with the consequences of Drunk Patricia’s embarrassing behaviour.
“The Lust demons were more mindfucky,” Patricia continued. “The Pride demons were pure cruelty, and that’s easier to process emotionally, at least, once it’s all over. The Lust demons didn’t just want to hurt me though, they wanted to twist me, corrupt me. They didn’t just hurt me, they trained me to get off on the pain. They wove pleasure and pain together, constantly pushing me to the very limit of my endurance but never crossing the line into pure agony. They pleasured me while they hurt me, kept me hovering at the edge of orgasm, screaming in agony while making me beg for more, and damnit, they got what they wanted. Lucky for me, being brainwashed into extreme masochism gave me a new appreciation for the Pride demon’s cruel affections too. I actually started a fight between them, with the Pride demon claiming that the Lust demon broke me too much and took away his fun. I wasn’t supposed to like it.”
“I guess that’s a good thing?” Tanya said, somewhat uncertainly.
“Eh… maybe? It definitely made my post-rescue sex life a little weird.”
With no warning whatsoever, a little red man smashed through the front door and charged into the tavern, impaling an unfortunate customer sitting at the bar on its spear.
Acting on reflex, Drunk Patricia cast a Drunk Force Bolt spell at the lesser Wrath demon. The invisible ball of kinetic energy wobbled a bit as it flew but still managed to strike the imp on his side. The shockwave travelled through the imp, turning his bones into powder, and the opposite side of the demon exploded outwards, spraying Nedrithel and his bar with inky black demon blood.
“What the-” Tanya began.
“-Fuck,” Patricia finished.
The wobbly Cerulean Witch cast a Cleanse Poison spell on herself, and the alcohol vanished from her system, sobering her up instantly. She cast another Cleanse Poison on Tanya, clearing her head too. Finally, she cast Arcane Sight, turning her eyes a glowing blue, allowing her to ‘see’ magical auras.
“That’s a lot of demons…” Patricia said, as she ‘saw’ several hundred lesser demonic auras scurrying around throughout the town. There were four greater demons too. “Tanya, get your armor on. Everyone else, stay inside and hide. If you have weapons, keep them ready. We’re under attack by an army of demons!”
Tanya responded like a professional. She’d reached the stairs up to their room before anyone else had even left their seats.
“Get my staff too!” Patricia called after the woman as she disappeared around the corner.
Patricia walked closer, standing next to the bar where she had a clear view of the front door. Another imp charged in from the street and exploded with the help of a sober Force Bolt spell. The unfortunate stabbing victim at Patricia's feet gasped for aid, and a brave, oppourtunistic bar patron came to his rescue, dragging him into the back and tending to his wounds while covertly pocketing the victim's coinpurse.
“Ned, Tanya’s going to need to borrow your father’s sword.” Patricia said to the blood-soaked barman, who was still standing at his bar in a daze.
“Wha?” he mumbled, looking up at the black tarnished blade mounted on the wall. “What do you need that old thing for?”
“We’re fighting demons,” Patricia said, slightly more condescendingly than she intended. “If you can’t tell from the black patina, that’s a poorly maintained silversteel blade.”
Ned stared at Patricia with a blank expression, but after a few seconds he finally seemed to figure it out. Demons were weak to silver. He nodded and ran off to the back room to get a stepladder. By the time he’d taken the sword off the wall, Tanya had come down the stairs. She was ready for battle, dressed in a padded gambeson with chainmail over top. She had a steel open face helm, and gauntlets on her hands. Her bastard sword was slung across her back, and she held Patricia’s staff in her hand.
Patricia took the staff from Tanya and handed her the silversteel sword. “Use this, it’ll work better than steel against demons.”
Without another word, Patricia strode out of the tavern confidently in her high heel shoes and maid uniform. The street was overrun. Dozens of demons were scurrying about, killing anyone they saw on the street, and breaking into houses to kill anyone they found hiding inside. Half of them stopped what they were doing, watching as Patricia walked out into the open. They looked at the dark elf with vicious bloodlust in their eyes.
“Mass Command Demon: Kneel before me!” Patricia’s magically empowered voice echoed down the street.
Immediately, every imp that could hear her stopped whatever they were doing and rushed to kneel in front of her.
Tanya walked out into the street, mouth gaping open in shock from the sight of twenty or more demons kneeling at the dark elf’s feet.
“Tanya, take care of these with your sword please. I have to conserve mana.”
“Y-yeah sure!” Tanya held the silver sword, and cleanly took their heads off, one by one. The silversteel blade sliced through their necks with barely any resistance, like a scythe through wheat.
“There he is,” Patricia mumbled.
In the distance, at the far end of the street, a dark elf in a black robe was pointing, giving the imps directions. A barely visible aura shimmered around him. Patricia identified it as Lesser Magic Warding, a basic aura providing general resistance against magical attacks.
The Children of Kair Tarost? Really? Patricia couldn’t believe it. These wannabe idiots didn’t know the first thing about demon summoning, they could probably conjure an imp or two, but nobody could survive summoning a greater demon unless they actually knew what they were doing. These guys were practically begging Patricia for help a few months ago. She refused to join their stupid rebellion, of course. Did they find someone else to help them?
Patricia held her staff in front of her and channeled her mana through the focus. The energy gathered in her palm. She held out her hand and conjured a full power Lightning Bolt.
Tanya was finishing off her last demon when Patricia unleashed the spell. She nearly dropped her sword. This wasn’t the same as the tiny little zap of electricity she used the other night. This was, literally, a bolt of lightning. A thick arc of white-hot plasma connected Patricia’s palm to her victim down the street in an instant. The dark elf’s Warding aura didn’t help him at all. He exploded into a cloud of vaporized blood and bone fragments, leaving behind only a pair of smoking boots. Ear splitting thunder echoed across the town and surrounding region, the shuttered windows lining the street shook from the impact.
“Holy fucking shitballs!” Tanya shouted over the echoing thunder.
“Their controller is dead, that should slow them down. Protect me, I need five minutes uninterrupted to cast my next spell. It’s a big one,” Patricia told her friend.
“What?” Tanya yelled, cupping a hand over her ear so she could hear Patricia clearly.
The Cerulean Witch buried her face in her hand and repeated her instructions to the temporarily deafened fighter a little louder.
“Okay,” Tanya yelled back. She held her sword at the ready and scanned her surroundings.
Patricia closed her eyes and started to channel a big spell. She focused on the insanely complex shape, relying on her staff to keep it stable while she worked on perfecting the finer details. Targeting one demon was difficult, but targeting all demons was even harder. This was a Master-level demonology spell.
As she constructed the shape, she was vaguely aware of Tanya moving around her. She vaguely heard the sounds of Tanya shouting out swear words, and imps dying. Hell, if Tanya kept up this pace, then perhaps this spell would be redundant.
After five minutes of intense mental exertion, Patricia finished weaving the shape and held the spell stable in the focusing crystal of her staff. She then started to pump it full of mana. The artifact-grade staff kept the spell stable as Patricia overloaded it with half her mana pool, a truly ridiculous amount of power for a single spell. The enemy had hundreds of lesser demons, but only four greater demons. She focused on modifying the spell for greater radius of effect, rather than magnitude of effect.
Patricia raised, and slammed the foot of her staff into the ground, creating a rippling shockwave of invisible power spreading out from her, enveloping the entire town, and a good deal of the forest surrounding it. Patricia opened her eyes, and the tingling feeling of raw magical power all over her body faded away.
The air was full of swirling ash. The horde of demons that Tanya was only barely managing to fend off was gone. Demon corpses littered the ground around her, but only those who fell victim to Tanya’s sword before the Banishment spell was cast could be seen. No trace of the others remained. The ash slowly settled on the cobblestone, piling up like black snow, forming large heaps inside alcoves and against the walls of nearby buildings. The streets fell into an eerie silence, as even the distant sounds of battle faded away.
Patricia looked around with her still-glowing eyes. Every single lesser demon in the town was ash, their abyssal souls severed from their material bodies. There were four powerful greater demonic auras left that she could sense, too powerful to be banished by such a diluted spell. Greater demons required a much more focused variant of Banishment. Two of the greater demons were near the front gate, fighting each other. It seemed their summoner lost control of them. One demonic aura was deep inside the town. The last demonic aura was… It was above her and flying down towards her fast.
“Incoming greater demon!” Patricia shouted to Tanya. “Let me handle it. Hide and take cov-”
The demon streaked down from the sky and smashed into the ground in front of Patricia like a meteor. The ground shook. The creature climbed to its feet and took a step forward out of the small crater he’d created in the road.
He looked almost like a human man. He was tall, muscular, and perfectly toned. His skin was white and smooth, like a marble statue. He was completely naked and seemed to feel no shame at his nudity, his masculinity on full display. The only hair on his perfect untarnished body was on his eyebrows. Two black feathered wings revealed his inhumanity. They sprouted from his back and spread out majestically. His crimson red eyes regarded the mortals before him with disgust.
“Pathetic worms. You dare to fight back? It is useless. Kneel down, accept your fate, and I might end your lives quickly,” the creature spoke in infernal with a calm, authoritative tone.
Tanya groaned in pain and fell to one knee. Patricia didn’t even flinch. She was fluent in infernal, and even before her torture, she’d built up a tolerance to its effects.
Great. It was a fucking Pride demon, A Fallen Seraph, to be specific. He was nowhere near the most powerful of his kind, but he was still a deadly threat. Even the weakest of Pride demons were dangerous, there was no such thing as a lesser Pride demon. The Seraphs were strong warriors, and even stronger mages. The only consolation was that, like the angels they tried to copy, they weren’t naturally immune to fire or lightning.
One of Patricia’s tormentors inside the tunnels had been a Seraph. His cruelty and penchant for innovative torture had its place inside her fucked up fantasies, but she had no intention of becoming a real-life victim again. Burning this monster to ash was going to be an excellent catharsis for her.
Lightning Cloak, Demonskin, Force Shield: Contingency Variant Kinetic, Mindblank… Patricia let the proud demon do his taunting and posturing while she silently piled enchantments onto herself. An invisible barrier formed a bubble around her, distorting the light slightly and sparks of lightning arced between her fingertips.
“Tanya, go take cover!” Patricia yelled to her friend, who was still recovering from hearing the demon’s voice.
The Pride demon didn’t wait for her. He raised a hand, sneering with contempt. Patricia knew what to expect and began to cast a Suffocating Miasma spell on herself and the human. The Pride demon’s palm glowed with divine light. An instant before he completed his spell, Patricia finished her own spell, and both she and Tanya were swallowed by a bubble of pure necrotic darkness that began to slowly drain the life out of their bodies.
With her darkvision, Patricia saw through the shadowy cloud of undeath and watched the monstrously powerful beam of holy light crash into the blob of cursed darkness and slowly burn it away. The blob of suffocating shadow flowed like a liquid and rushed the fill the gap, negating the Holy Lance spell with its own unholy energy.
After eating the beam of light, Patricia cancelled the spell before the cursed shadow could fully strangle the life out of them. The evil darkness melted away into a faint smoky mist. Tanya took her chance and scurried away into a nearby alley to take cover. Patricia held out her palm and unleashed the overcharged Lightning Bolt that she’d been preparing under the cover of darkness.
The arc of blinding plasma was too fast for the demon to dodge. This bolt was thicker than before, Patricia dumped a massive amount of extra mana into this spell and the results were explosive. The thunder was louder than before. The shockwave caused two of the nearby shops to collapse. The Pride demon was sent flying backwards from the force. Landing on his back, fifty feet away from where he’d been standing before. His perfect skin was scorched and steaming.
“Worm!” the pride demon sat up and screamed with rage.
Patricia activated her Lightning Cloak. Her body was consumed by lightning and converted into pure energy. The bolt arced towards the demon, crashing into him explosively and knocking him flat again. Patricia rematerialized next to the demon, where the bolt struck him, and she immediately started casting her next spell.
The Pride demon sat up again, growling with rage. He was just fast enough to see a ball of pure shining white appear in Patricia’s hand. A globe of swirling fire and plasma, a miniature sun, crashed into the demon from point blank range. It engulfed the demon, Patricia herself, and the surrounding cobblestone in impossibly hot fire.
“Ugh… V-vermin!” the demon groaned, half-sunken into the molten stone and still burning.
Patricia was worried now. She’d burnt through nearly all her remaining mana by throwing around those big spells, hoping to kill or at least disable the demon quickly. The Pride demon’s beauty was marred. His entire front side was charred black and disfigured, but the tenacious creature still managed to pull himself to his feet.
Patricia began to cast another white-hot Fireball, but the demon was too fast for her. He lunged forward, a shining blade of hardened holy light formed in his hand, and he swung his blade at her. The conjured sword impacted against her Force Shield, shattering it. With the protective enchantment shattered, the next part of the spell activated, creating a small explosion of kinetic energy at the impact site. Patricia was sent flying backwards, slamming into the cobblestone road, and rolling several times before coming to a stop.
The demon was knocked off balance, but he remained on his feet. He growled, disappointed that he hadn’t managed to cut Patricia in half with his swing. He held out a palm and began to cast another Holy Lance at the stunned dark elf lying prone on the ground.
His spell was interrupted when a silver sword impaled him through the chest from behind. With his concentration interrupted, the conjured energy sword faded from his hand.
When Tanya ran off, she didn’t hide. She circled around into a flanking position and waited for her opportunity. This was it. Before the Pride demon could turn and strike back, Tanya unleashed a flurry of quick cuts, slicing through the demon’s tough hide with ease. The silver blade failed to cut through the greater demon’s bones, but Tanya targeted the joints, decapitating him, and slicing off his wings and limbs.
She continued hacking the demon apart into smaller pieces until Patricia limped up to her.
“It’s okay. The aura’s gone. He’s dead,” she said.
“Yeah! Fucking pretty boy bitch! Put on some pants, you fucking dickwad!” Tanya cursed, and spat on the dead body.
The sun was starting to set as the caravan of villagers finally reached the outskirts of Befield.
Lily was bored. For the last three hours she made a game of sneaking up behind various unsuspecting villagers and tickling their necks with her claws. The reactions were endlessly amusing. Mostly, people reacted with terror, but there were different kinds of terror. There was shrieking, there was running away, there was clutching weapons nervously, there was helpless crying… all of the reactions were unique and wonderful in their own way.
A shocked murmur started near the front of the crowd and slowly spread. Lily pushed her way through the humans and saw for herself what they were murmuring about.
Befield was under attack.
Screams and sounds of combat were vaguely audible from a distance, but Lily’s demonic eyes could also spot a swarm of little red demons scurrying along the streets, fighting against squads of guards and slaughtering unarmed humans. Focusing on the magical auras, Lily felt three greater demons as well. Two of the three were more powerful than the knight she killed.
Lily felt a lump of concern for Tanya and Amelia, wherever they were. She hoped they were safe. She was eager to charge forward into the fray, but it wasn’t entirely for the sake of her former pet humans. Lily really wanted to kill those greater demons. The hell knight was a magnificent opponent, and there were three more demons like him in the town. She was getting wet just thinking about it.
“This is going to be fun,” Lily utterly failed to suppress the wanton bloodlust in her voice as she rested her massive sword against her shoulder.