5 ‘Rules’ in Hunting When You’ve Defected
(Authors note at the end)
My name is Simmi’on. I make my living off bounties and jobs given to me by the king. Specifically, the gathering of the heads of former comrades. It is the cost of my own protection as well as my own living. The crown allows me to stay within the borders of the land- my own cottage as well- so long as I can clean up the mess from time to time.
I saw no problem with this.
There is a trick in tracking the creatures of darkness, however. Knowing how they think is a blessing and a curse…it helps, but it just makes me even more annoyed.
For example, there was the time I caught the trail of Krizix, a Knight in the Demon Lords army. Though he was only a knight when I left, he no doubt had risen in rank over the year. He was sly, powerful, and dangerous. The sooner I killed him the better.
I trailed him along the border of two human kingdoms and along the sea. His trail lead me inward to the deserted West Gate forest when I began to notice I was being tailed as well.
High evil is never alone, you see. The more important the evil, the surer you are that it will be protected at all costs.
Rule 1) They do not play fair. If you track them, they are, more often than not, tracking you as well.
It was about this time that Krizixs trail began to vanish. Gnashing my teeth a bit, I went as far as I could, and then waited.
It was a beautiful day. One my neighbors in the small village I had settled in often say is “picnic weather”. I made a mental note to return the basket I had borrowed before.
The ruins of West Gate were over grown and the earth was doing its job swallowing it up. The trees, though new after the war that had taken place here, were somewhat starved. Their root showing as they tried to dig into the hard packed earth. Other than that moss and weeds were the only thing hardy enough to really grow in bulk…
“Are you waiting for me?”
The woman- to any human- was stunning. She wore blue dragon skin silk that showed off well-toned muscles, but not only that, the shade of blue made her eyes large and sparkle in the sun. The style of fabric played with her long hair that was tied back in multiple bands, allowing one of them to frame her face while also being practical.
“No,” I said, “unless your leader is a coward.”
Her smile showed pearls and would have melted the heart of the kings army. It was then that I remembered I had my hood up and she honestly thought I was just a stronger than most human.
She walked closer to me. I assume there was a smell associated with the movement, but unless I make a conscious effort, I don’t have a sense of smell or taste.
“Why are you following us?”
“Why do you think?”
“You like games?”
“What’s your name? It’s a little rude to stalk us and not at least introduce yourself, yes?”
“My name is of no consequence, Roberta,” I said, “you’re looking a little thin. Is that why you’re trying so hard with me?”
I am usually a gentleman, but succubus’s aren’t ladies, so watching her get angry made me happy. I may be reformed in many ways, but I do have a bit of a MEAN streak…and I do enjoy watching my prey squirm.
“You have me at a disadvantage,” she said recovering quickly and bending over so I had a view of her goods, “I guess I have to play your game? Will you tell me the rules?”
“Of course,” I said pulling my skeletal hands from my sleeves. Purple sparks flying between my knuckles.
“Hold still and scream loudly so that everyone knows you lost.”
She hissed and moved back quickly, “Lich!”
“That’s the problem with using too much perfume, Roberta, you tend to miss the important details of who you are dealing with.”
She spat and flipped her hair; all pretenses of seduction gone. Her nose wrinkled and she rolled her eyes.
“I suppose you’re the hunter in that tiny kingdom up North, Simon?”
I sent my first bolt of lightning. She shrieked as she flailed to one side. I laughed at the humorous look on her face.
“What was that?!”
“We are in the middle of a battle,” I replied sending another bolt and was rewarded with another humorous antic, “did you think I was going to chat with you some more? Alas, my time is worth more than that.”
I had managed to singe her hair pretty good. Her face was now red and her knuckles white with fury. She cursed and threw her magic at me which I blocked effortlessly.
She was testing me.
A succubus and incubus are not confrontational fighters by choice, but they can be very mean. The best way I have found to fight them is to get them serious from the get go. Get them angry to start and then just have your fight. If you don’t, the succubus will test your will power and endurance by starting off slow and then increasing the difficulty as she feeds off your energy that way.
As a lich, she couldn’t feed off me, but I still would get bored if I had to fight her preferred way. And provoking her was so much fun.
“How long since you last fed,” I asked, making sure I sounded genuinely concerned, “for you to be so weak, I would assume your leader would give you a hand out or drugged prisoner-“
That did it.
Roberta screamed so loud my skull vibrated a little as she shot toward me, blue lightning shooting from her fingertips in an arch.
Rule 2) Know your opponent.
Succubus and Incubus do NOT use anything other than themselves. To even suggest that they would use drugs or a “hand out” is the highest insult you can give them. I know most of them DO use drugs and are lower than scum, but to actually SAY it…well…its like rubbing crap in an open wound.
She leapt into the air, arching her back as she rained down what she thought was her version of justice on me.
All it did was remove my hood as I shifted my footing to keep up my defense. As she landed, she threw more spells my way, twisting the magic and bending it to try and get past the barrier.
A thick black mist began to rise from the ground around our feet and rise, obscuring her footwork. She was skilled, but like most of her kind, painfully unimaginative. The mist helped her out a little, but not enough.
I threw attacks her way and got her comfortable blocking them, so I threw a curse in the middle of them as well.
The voice was loud, but cold. I stopped only when Roberta stopped. She hissed and cursed.
“My lord, I can-“
“Retreat and regroup. We have other tasks to complete before days end.”
She huffed and flipped her hair. I could already see the result of my curse. A slight blemish was starting to appear on her face…on her cheeks and on her chin. The washer ladies in town were the ones who helped me develop the curse and reassured me that any female- demon or other- would hide under their bed until the curse ran its course. I still didn’t understand it very well, but the human women were so sure of themselves I thought I would try it out.
I watched Roberta as she walked away and vanished into the shadows of the ruins.
“I will inform the King that you live well, Simmi’on.”
“You could correct that and offer him my head, Krizix,” I prompted, “I am tired after playing with your pet.”
“Maybe later. I just made it to General and I have SO much to do. You remember what its like, right?”
“Yes, yes,” I sighed, “is this mist your doing?”
“Very well done.”
“Thank you, but we will be going now…” his voice drifted off into the air.
“Too bad for you though,” I walked up to a tree and placed a hand on it. I channeled the mist right back into it, “Dark Mist is a spell I invented, so you can choke on it.”
The trees leaves all wilted and fell off. The bark peeled like a rotten fruit and inside was a demon. His black skin flaking off due to the fact that I’d just forced his magic back into him. Its not something any physical body endures very well.
Rule 3) If a trail ends, then chances are you didn’t loose your prey, you’re right on top of them.
“General Krizix,” I said reaching down and grabbing one of his horns to haul him up, “you are far too young to know how to use Dark Mist. Did you know that its main use is to be used at night, not during the day? The sun is still up. There is a human child I have grown quite fond of that would call you ‘silly’ for such behavior.”
I snapped the horn off his head and he screamed.
“That’s for the village you terrorized where I had to start tracking you. They should be able to sell that and pay for damages.”
I snapped off the other horn and he writhed on the ground where I dropped him.
“This is my compensation since those people and those I’ve met and helped on the way haven’t been able to pay me.”
I looked down at Krizix and thought about Roberta for a bit. I let my mind wonder for a moment about how I had ended up here in the first place.
Sighing a bit, I bent over and cast a spell exploding the new generals head.
Rule 4) Make sure the target is dead.
“Did you have to make a mess?”
If I had flesh eyes to roll, I would have.
The Demon King herself sat atop the stone ruins as if they were an extension of her throne. Since she was NOT the demon ruler to destroy the West Gate I thought this impudent of her.
“I did not know you were so concerned with cleanliness,” I replied flicking off brain matter from my robe in her direction.
“Roberta is in a state,” she said, “what is that spell?”
“A new one.”
“So I figured.”
“I’m tired, little king, and you still have to unite the demon lords under you if you wish to conquer the human realms in full. I will excuse myself.”
She raised her sword and stopped me. I sighed.
“Why did you leave?”
“I am old.”
“That is no excuse!”
“I AM NOT LITTLE! I AM THE RIGHTFUL KING!”
I gnashed my teeth, “That is up for interpretation. I have lived under the rule of over 600 demon kings, Little King. Many more powerful and more dignified than you. Many more petulant than you, if you can believe that. But I am tired. I am old. I wish to rest.”
“So you fight for humans?! How does that make sense?!”
“Do you know how Lich are born?”
True to being a monarch, she didn’t flinch, she simply narrowed her eyes and didn’t reply.
“A Lich starting point is born when a human dabbles in what they should not. My root is that of a human. Therefore, is it not fitting that I should not die among my own? Is it not poetic?”
Here her face faltered a bit, “You…you’re betraying me for…poetry?”
I laughed, “It’s not personal, little king.”
Her face, all pretense gone, showed her confusion out right.
I watched with amusement. It wasn’t a total lie. I had discovered, with a little help, that being around humans- creatures of light- as a lich -a creature of dark- made me weak. And I hoped that one day that weakness would bring me death.
Sweet release and slumber.
“Are you sure you want to be my enemy?” She asked, her “kingly” face back on.
I made a show of looking her up and down, “I think I’ll live another 100000 years…”
Pink splotches appeared on her face even though I hadn’t put a curse on her and she stood. A dark gate appeared behind her and she walked through.
I waited for anyone else to appear.
When the sun hit the horizon and the moons began to shine I lit a few orbs and rummaged through Krizixs belongings. Stored away whatever valuables he had and scoffed at the other things he kept with him. Turns out the guy was painfully superstitious and a bit of a hoarder.
Rule 5) Always take a different rout home.
Unless you have made promises on your journey- which I HIGHLY recommend you NOT do- you want to NOT take the same way home. Becoming predictable is how you become a target. Its how bandits get their paydays and how some inns and towns get forgotten.
Since the former new general took me the long way around the coast, I decided to go over the mountains back home. The single small pass that was only open three months of the year.
I traveled North and East and hitched a ride with a small caravan. The merchant and his sons kind enough but were the kind that didn’t like magic much. They worked with their hands and for honest wages.
I respected that and when they saw I didn’t mean them any argument, they were more than willing to hold a conversation with me.
When I got to Botend town- the town at the southern end of the pass, it was too late and the pass was closed. Being what I was I could easily just ignore it and go ahead up the mountain, but, again, I’m old, and I’ve gotten so used to taking it easy these days.
I found an inn, paid my keep up front, and nestled in for a long winter.
(A/N): I wrote this for a competition, but I don't have the money for the entry fee, so I'm posting it here. The object of the competition was to write a story about the above picture.
How do you think I did?
And do you want more?
I've grown fond of Simmi'on as I've done this, but I want to know what you think...