A Champion's Soul

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A Red Vase

I walked to the city gates, and they were wide open. This place looked like a big trade center of sorts. Wagons filled with food and cloth moving in and out of the place. Guards were posted everywhere. They all have silver armor and wore flags over the metal. These flags seemed to have big red crosses on them.

I made about ten steps into the city when some guards screamed out to the others. After that I watched the guards scramble about. Many of them holding cages with birds inside. One shouted to others. “The priests sense a demon, find the dammed thing!”

They walked around with the birds, and as one of the guards got, well within 20 or so feet of me. The bird started flipping out. It was clawing at the cage walls and screeching at the top of its lungs. What bird can sense demons?

He stopped and looks around the crowd. “NONE OF YOU MOVE!” He walked around. The bird calmed down some when he walked away and got louder as he got closer... He continued to walk closer to me the bird got louder and louder. Many people were covering their ears at this point.

He stepped directly in front of me and the bird collapsed. Not even breathing, the cage was filled with blood. it was ripping out its feathers. One leg was broken and hanging outside the cage gaps.

The demon spoke to me. “Show them what you are then. You’re here for business, but a game of cat and mouse will make things harder.”

Alright then. I brought my armor into my skin and made my demon appearance obvious. I put my hand on the guard’s shoulder. “So, you found me. What now?”

He stared at me, frozen in place. His eyes wide, and I could see my split jaw reflecting in them. He opened his mouth and screamed “NIGHTMARE!”

Everyone around me stepped away. “Is that reaction really necessary?” The guard pulled out his sword and swung it at me faster than I could react. It hit my neck and just stopped. The blade was vibrating loud and practically screamed at him. I kicked the guard in the stomach, and he stumbled backward. “I didn’t come here for a fight.”

The people around me all ran away and through the fleeing crowd, several guards were rushing towards me.

The demon spoke up again. “Bag, enough with the nonsense. Do you what you think you must. We just need that artifact.”

I changed into my dragon form roared at the guards. They all stopped dead in their tracks.

I could hear them mumbling to themselves. “We’re not equipped to kill a dragon! What do we do!?”

A different guard did a shout, whisper to him. “I don’t know!”

The guards circled around me, this is just past the entryway so there isn’t much room or me to move. One guard swung his sword at my tail, so I smacked him away with it.

Some time past and a guard came running towards us. I don’t know where he came from, but his helmet and armor were golden. He was screaming. “STOP! YOU IDIOTS GET AWAY FROM IT!”

The guards didn’t listen at first but some more yelling from him got them to back off. Once they stepped away from me, I changed back into my human form. “Are you all done now?”

The guard in gold was gasping for air. “Oh, Christ almighty. YOU IDIOTS ALMOST GOT US ALL KILLED!”

what now? “Who’s that?”

The demon interrupted me. “NO, no-no. Do not concern yourself with that. Just go on with the current task. You only need to be concerned about gods that will try to kill you directly.” Oh, okay then.

He continued shouting at the guards. “We’re not to hunt demons while we’re here! ONLY GUARD THE DAMN CITY! IF A DEMON COMES HERE SIMPLY TO TRADE THEN YOU BETTER DAMN WELL LET IT! Now, which one of you gave the order to attack it?!”

One of the guards stepped forward. “I did sir! The priest sensed a demon, it ended up being of the nightmare variety.”

The golden guards seemed taken back. “A… nightmare walking around in broad daylight?”

The other guard nodded. “Yes… It would also seem the nightmare is some form of bipedal dragon.”

Oh, good lord. “I’m over here! I can hear everything you’re saying!” Now, this is getting annoying!

The golden guard looked at me, then back at the other soldier. “I’ll deal with you later. To the barracks, NOW! As for the rest of you, back to your posts!” I saw the two guards I hit stumble away with some help. Must’ve hurt; not that they didn’t deserve it.

The guards very slowly started to clear out, and the golden one ran up to me. He had his hand on his sword, so I brought my armor up. I don’t trust them.

He stopped a few feet away from and just started for a minute, he looked me up and down. Then spoke. “So, your nightmare? I presume you were a female dragon that choose this path?”

Hmm… I guess. “Sort of. I really don’t feel like talking to any of you after all that.”

I could hear him grit his teeth. “Deepest apologies for that. As it just so happens, we were hired to guard this city during its festival. As you might’ve guessed we are demon hunters. The terms of our employment was to not attack demons unless they’re a threat… Seeing as you only incapacitated my two men that attacked you, I would suspect you’re a rather well-behaved demon then?”

I guess so. “I don’t attack people unless they give me a reason to.”

He fidgeted around a bit. “So, how is it that a nightmare is walking around in broad daylight?”

What? “I’m not sure what you mean? Can I go now? I’m looking for something.”

He snarled at me. “Fine, go about your business. Just so you know I’ll be having my guards equipped with blades that can pierce a dragon’s armor from this point on. Don’t do anything stupid.”

He stomped off and I saw a bunch of the guards talking to people trying to calm everyone down. It wasn’t quick, but people did start walking around again. Though they kept their distance from me.

I wonder what I’m looking for? “Hey, what exactly am I trying to find?”

He answered rather quickly. “It’s an urn. It should be pure black with demons face in red on it.”

Okay then. “So, what does this urn do?”

He grumbled a bit. “It seems we have prying ears nearby. It belonged to my wife. I would just like to have it back.”

Huh. “That seems a little to have me look for it doesn’t it?”

He grumbled again. “It’s not like I have any other option at the moment.”

I walked around a bit. I saw multiple wooden stalls that were selling vases. I checked all of the ones I could find but didn’t see the vase at all.

I don’t see it anywhere. I’ve been here a few hours at this point. “Are you sure it’s here?” He didn’t answer. He did say someone was listening to us so maybe he doesn’t want to talk much?

I figured why he didn’t talk almost immediately. There was a wagon unloading and I saw an old man carrying the vase. They were setting up a stall.

I made my way over to them, the old man seemed to have a young man helping him out. “I think that’s everything, Father. The stall can’t hold anything else.”

The old man replied to him. “Thank you, I’ll start organizing everything.”

I walked over to the stall and the old man’s son greeted me. “Well hello the-…Wow, you are tall.”

Huh? I guess I am taller than them both. Come to think of it I’m taller than everyone here… “I guess so. How much for that vase with that creepy face on it?”

He looked back at it, then at me, then at his father. “Hey, dad how much are you selling that ugly vase for?”

The demon piped up. “Don’t call it ugly.”

Well. “I’m not going to say it’s pretty. The thing’s ugly. I mean it looks worse than a mutilated cow.”

Demon grumbled again but didn’t say anything.

The guy waved his hand in my face. “Hey, are you okay?”

Oh. “Yes, I’m fine?”

He looked at me a little confused. “You sure? Your eyes dulled out for a second there. Looked like you were in another world?”

Oh. “Sorry about that. How much for the ugly vase?”

He leaned back a bit. “Father said he’d sell it for five gold pieces.”

Gold pieces? I found a couple of silver coins on the ground, but no gold. “I only have four silver pieces.”

He was about to say something when a person shouted at me from behind. “There you are!!!” I turned to see who it was… I didn’t recognize them. It was a tall woman. She had wings, they were a very dark red, as well as her hair. She didn’t look like Tithe so it couldn’t be her. She had on a very tight dress.

She’s almost as tall as me, surprisingly. “Do I know you?”

She grinned at me and got closer. “No, you don’t but your master does! Why are you in my territory!?”

The demon spoke. “Tesyrir, forget the vase. Get out now!”

What why? “Who is she?”

He shouted at me. “I’ll explain who she is later, just get out of there!”

Fine. I changed enough for my wings and tail to sprout out and started flying away. I was just outside of the city when I heard her voice again. “You can’t get away that easily welp!” I looked up and she was flying just above me!

Now she’s going to follow me?! “I don’t know who you are. I’m just looking for a vase.”

She sneered at me before slamming down onto me. I couldn’t keep flying like that! She forced us both to the ground in a crash that kicked up dirt! We were just outside the gates of the city. I brought my armor up before pushing her off of me.

She shook her head and laugh. “Wow, that was rush. It’s been so long since I’ve fought anyone!”

Not this again. “I don’t want to fight you! I don’t want to fight at all!”

She laughed and ran over to punch me! I ducked below her fist, but her tail swung around and smacked me! I was launched into the cities wall and saw the armor flying off my face! Sh-she hits hard enough to break my armor!

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