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61. Double Battle

“Alright, I think this is it.”

I got up and wiped the black ink off my hands onto my shirt. Daniel scowled, sighing.

“That was my favorite shirt…”

I ignored him, instead beholding my wonderful creation in its full glory; what lay before me was made with my heart and soul. Also my desire to finally get this over with.

“Summoning circle done! And I did it all by myself.”

“I mean, it’s not like I had to go back to Warrington and buy some ink for you…”

He murmured under his breath. I looked back at him standing off to the side with Rachel by his side. I cocked my head.

“But you didn’t want to help me make this.”

I spoke simply; he opened his mouth, then stopped himself. Slowly, Daniel scratched the back of his head.

“Sorry. I’m just, uh, a little bit grumpy. About what’s going to happen.”

He glanced off to the side at the unconscious Human man lying in the corner of the room. He was the head [Cultist]— around Level 60. And I was going to sacrifice him to summon a Demon.

Apparently, Daniel didn’t like it. He was fine with killing people who were in the process of doing bad things, but he became apprehensive when it came to killing them after the fact. I tried prodding him for his reasoning, however he couldn’t articulate anything that made sense. So, he was going to take Rachel and wait just outside of the cave for me to finish the ritual.

“Also—”

Daniel paused right before the tunnel leading out of this [Cultist] lair that wasn’t actually a Lair.

“When I was in Warrington, I asked around for orphanages and temples— any place willing to take Rachel in. And I think I found a place for her to stay. Where she’ll have good people caring for her.”

I blinked and the girl tilted her head.

“A place to take her in?”

“Yes— to give her a loving home and good food. To keep her safe.”

“But why can’t I stay with Salvos? She can give me all that and more! She’s a Princess, after all!”

Rachel tugged at the Human man’s sleeves; he sighed, rubbing at his temples.

“I’m telling you Rachel, she’s not actually a Princess. Or even a princess.”

I stared on as she pouted. Daniel looked at me pleadingly.

“Salvos, if you tell her it’s fine—”

“Don’t worry about it!”

I spoke over him and waved a hand dismissively. Daniel blinked and Rachel stared at me, aghast.

“I didn’t expect you to accept it so easily.”

“But Salvos!”

I hesitated, looking at the little girl as she tried to pry herself from Daniel’s grasps. Nodding, I gave her a reassuring smile.

“Don’t worry about it now. We’ll figure it out later, alright?”

My Human companion sighed. He picked Rachel up and hefted the squirming girl over his shoulder.

“Should’ve known. Fine. We’ll talk later. Come on, Rachel.”

She groaned, but stopped wriggling; I glanced one last time back at the two as they left the room before turning my attention to the task at hand. Time to do this!

I picked up the sacrifice and placed him in the middle of the summoning circle; I held up the sacrificial dagger and closed my eyes. He has high [Vitality], this will take a moment. I brought it down as I remembered the process necessary for summoning Demons.

The most important thing— and the reason why I was using a high leveled Human— was the level of the sacrifice; I could probably summon a Level 40 or 50 Greater Demon with this Level 60 Human man. However, that was not a good idea for me considering I wanted to fight whoever I was going to summon.

So, I was not going to summon a single high leveled Demon. Instead, I was going to summon multiple low leveled Demons. There was an important caveat in summoning rituals that I was surprised to find out, and that was: uncontracted Demons could return to the Netherworld at will.

I prepared myself for that, then, by choosing to summon multiple Demons. Ones that I knew weren’t fast or strong, and only had the advantage of numbers over others.

The sacrificial dagger finally did its job as the [Cultist] convulsed. Stepping back, I tossed the blade aside and began to transform. Daniel had given me rather loose fitting clothes, so it wouldn’t tear so easily.

There was a rip, and my clothes partially tore, but it was not shredded like my own clothes had been after I fought Ignavare.

I watched the summoning circle glow a deep red, and the Demons I had chosen finally appeared. Their names magically etched themselves around the center of the ritual, but I ignored it. Because they were all the same thing.

Legion.

More specifically, they were [Lesser Legions]. Because they were Greater Demons. It was odd— they didn’t exist as individuals. They were all… the same? The books I read was very vague about how it worked, however when I saw them make their entrance, I felt like I understood what it meant.

A dozen pink creatures appeared before me. They weren’t tall— they stood on two short, stubby legs up to my waist. They had long, bulky arms with square shaped fists at the end, and a weird rectangular-like protrusion on their face. That was… their nose? I had seen an animal with a face like that before— I believed it was called a pig!

The Legions glanced around the room, looking for the one who summoned them. Their heads turned in the same direction, and they all stopped at me at the same time. They raised their hands and spoke with the same voice.

“You. Greater Demon. What have you done with the girl who summoned us?”

I cocked my head innocently.

“Whoever could you be talking about?”

“The Human who had been standing there—”

They paused. They didn’t speak entirely in sync, so their words slowly cut off one after another. But they all said the same thing, and they all made the same realization. Then they broke out into a babble of different and repeating voices.

“[Changeling]! She mimicked a Human.”

“She’s given us a fake contract!”

“[Changeling]!”

“We’ve been deceived!”

“She mimicked a Human.”

“She’s given us a face contract!”

“We’ve been—”

I dashed with my [Charge of Embers] at the nearest [Legion]. His eyes widened as I came close, but before I could claw my way through him, he vanished. I clicked my tongue, finding my claws shearing through nothing but smoke.

I glanced around and saw a second [Legion] disappear. Then a third. And a fourth—

I thought if there was a group of them, I could get at least one killed before they left. However, it seemed returning to the Netherworld wasn’t as much of a task as coming to the Mortal Realm. My plan was quickly falling apart.

But I had a backup plan.

I took a deep breath and bared my teeth, emitting an ear piercing sound. The remaining [Lesser Legions] paused and focused their gazes on me. This was the main reason why Daniel took Rachel out of the cave. It was because…

[Title Skill: Zealous Call].

The Legions all charged at me in a frenzy. I braced myself, hoping that the two Humans were far enough away that they didn’t hear the shrieking growl I had just made. I first used it on Rachel… by accident.

We had been playing outside while Daniel was in Warrington, and I was only pretending to use the Title Skill on her. But she pounced on me, forcing an odd grunt from me. And that was when she started hitting me. I was caught off guard— I almost sliced her head off!

But a moment later, she stopped.

I couldn’t use it again for the whole day. But when I tested it again— this time, on the [Cultists]— I counted the time that passed and knew it lasted for only ten seconds.

So, I had ten seconds to restrain these Legions. To kill them and grab their collars. I grinned, activating [Self Haste]. I only need five!

A [Scorching Wave] blasted three [Lesser Legions] back before I leapt onto another and chomped on his head with a [Fire Strike]. I tossed the body aside and clawed the next two closest to me.

Facing the last running mindlessly at me, I created a pair of sickles and threw it at them. They fell—

 

Defeated [Lesser Legion - Lvl. 21]!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 10 levels below you!

 

 

Defeated [Lesser Legion - Lvl. 27]!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 10 levels below you!

 

And the last of the Legions lay dead at my feet. They had all been around Level 20 to 30. So they didn’t give much experience at all.

However, I looked at the glinting bits of metal attached to each Lesser Demon. Exactly what I need. I quickly glanced up down the tunnel Daniel and Rachel had gone down. I hope neither heard me use the Skill. They probably were far enough that they didn’t.

I bent over to grab the nearest summoning collar from the body of a dead [Legion]. Then I hesitated. When Daniel did this… I touched the collar with a clawed finger—

And the body vanished.

“Huh.”

I knew that was going to happen, but it still shocked me to see how quickly the summoning collar brought the dead [Legion] back to the Netherworld. How about if I do this.

I tried using a fire sickle to pry the collar off the body of another, but the same thing happened. I crossed my arms, frustrated. Five more bodies. Five more tries.

I decided to try a different method this time. Rather than directly touch the collar, I picked up a body of a [Legion]. And he vanished.

I threw my hands up in the air, exasperated.

“Why isn’t it letting me take off the collars!”

“Because it’s designed that way. As long as anything disturbs the body of a dead Demon, the summoning collar will activate and send itself and the body back to Regnorex.”

“Regnorex?”

“The Demon King.”

“Huh.”

I tapped a finger on my chin. If it’s designed that way, how am I supposed to— I paused and glanced over at Daniel.

“Wait, how do you know…”

I jumped back and raised my claws menacingly.

“Who are you? Why do you sound like Daniel?!”

A red man stood before me; he had long black hair falling down to his shoulders and a pointed goatee on his chin. Twirling a fork-like spear— a pitchfork— he approached me with two black horse-like legs.

[??? - ???]

I backed up, evaluating him. He had a pair of horns pointed straight up and no clothes, revealing a thin but sculpted body. Fluttering his eyelashes, he smiled and sent a shudder down my spine. His eyes— where are they?

A pair of endless voids stared back at me, uncaring, unfeeling, like the feeling of nonexistence before I had been born.

“Whoever could you be talking about?”

I jerked back, hearing my own voice speak to me.

“Wha— how?!”

“Wha— how?!”

He mimicked me once again. I grit my teeth, hunching over and placing both my claws on the ground. Why is he here? Is he… a Demon? But no, more importantly—

“You! Why are you stealing my voice? Who are you?!”

“You! Why are you stealing my voice? Who are you?!”

I growled and the ‘Demon’ laughed. There was a shift in his voice— slowly, the texture of his voice grew more rough, but the pitch stayed the same high it had been when he spoke like me. He shook his head, wiping a nonexistent tear from his eyes.

“That’s hilarious. Honestly, I hoped you would take longer to notice I was there, but that confusion? Then that scared look on your face? And your reaction after that— steal your voice? That was still quite entertaining. So I applaud you, Salvos. Just for that, I’ll let you live.”

I blinked.

“What?”

“You heard me. I was going to kill you for killing good old John over there. But it seems like you’re interesting, so I changed my mind.”

I stared at the ‘Demon’ as he waved a hand dismissively.

“...who?”

He gestured at the [Cultist] I had sacrificed to summon the Legions. He paused and stroked his goatee.

“John! Or was it Jacob? He was funny. He thought that Regnorex actually cared about what he was trying to do. Isn’t that funny?”

He giggled to himself as I just looked on, unsure of what to say. I worked my mouth slowly.

“I… uh, who are you? Do you work for… Regnorex? The Demon King?”

“Oh, now that’s hilarious! Hah!”

The ‘Demon’ guffawed and doubled over. His pitchfork disappeared and he grasped at his stomach.

“Me? Working for that boy? Funny! You’re just like Johncob, aren’t you?”

“...thanks?”

I wasn’t really sure what to say. He sighed wistfully.

“Anyways, this was fun. But I have to go now. Oh, and I’ll be taking these with me.”

He wagged his finger and the remaining collars broke off from the dead [Lesser Legions]. It took me a moment to process this, but then I raised a clawed hand.

“Hey! Those are mine!”

“No, these are mine. And as I said, trying to grab is a waste of time. You’ll have just failed another four times and disappointed yourself. This way, I’ll just take them and you won’t be sad, see?”

I narrowed my eyes.

“No, I don’t see. Give it back!”

I ran forward and grabbed for the summoning collars. They were hovering in the air above him. But as I got close to them, they simply moved out of the way.

“Tsk, I told you you can’t—”

I leapt in the air, activating [Self Haste] and [Charge of Embers]. I aimed for the nearest summoning collar and grabbed it from whatever it was holding it up. I grinned, holding up my prize.

“I got it—”

And suddenly, I found myself face down on the ground. I tried to get up, but a foot was keeping me down. I heard a sigh as my [Deadly Instincts] screamed in my ears. You’re going to die!

“I told you, you can’t have them. These are mine.”

He emphasized the last word as he clinked his finger against the collar I had grabbed, now in the palm of his hands. I craned my neck back, staring terrified at him.

“W-who are you?”

He smiled and slowly lifted his leg from me. I stopped up, rubbing at my back, but not standing full in front of the ‘Demon’. He cocked his head.

“Oh, I’m nobody special. But if you really want to know, I’m known as the Devil.”

“The Devil…?”

“Wait, you don’t know who I am? That sucks.”

I slowly lowered my head.

“I-I’m sorry for attacking you Mr Devil. But can I please have one of the summoning collars. I need it, please.”

“So you can go back and find your friend, right?”

I blinked.

“How did you—”

“Sorry, but no. Anyways, you have more pressing things to worry about beyond going back to the Netherworld or getting one of these summoning collars.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, don’t you know? Your friends outside— yeah, they’re in trouble. Anyways, I’ll go now. Tata.”

The Devil turned around and the world around him warped. He did not dissipate into a poof of smoke, but instead his body twisted until he was gone. I stared at where he had been.

“Wait, Daniel’s in trouble…?”

 


 

Daniel placed a hand over Rachel as she clung to his leg, making a soft whimpering sound. He held his long sword in his other hand and glanced at trees around him. His eyes darted to the side and he bellowed.

“Show yourselves!”

The figures moved through the trees. They were fast and quiet. Shadows that moved through the darkness. The young man felt his grip tightening around the hilt of his blade.

If he had been the only one here, he could have made a dash for the cave. Call Salvos for help. But he wasn’t. Rachel was here too, and he had to protect her. If he ran, they would have killed her. So slowly, he patted the girl on the head.

“It’s alright. You’re going to be alright.”

She sniffled, saying nothing. It wasn’t exactly a lie, what he said; he knew it was true— it would be true— as long as he did not leave her alone. Because these weren’t random bandits attacking them. He knew who they were and what they were after.

No, it was not Salvos they were after. And they certainly weren’t after Rachel. They were here for one person and one person only.

They were here for him.

 

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A note from MelasD

Just to clear up any confusion, the Devil was mentioned back in Chapter 0 by Regnorex.

You can now read up to 18 chapters ahead of public with an update schedule of 6 chapters a week as opposed to the 5 chapters a week for public on my patreon here!

Thanks for reading y'all!


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MelasD

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