The flaming sword is lighting up my face and as I lift my head to meet Reyn’s swing – I see his silver orbs contract while the pupils pause in recognition. The Hellfire King knows there is something wrong with my bravery.
Andoll was helping to surge that boosted confidence through me as I see her walking behind Reyn, preparing to circle around the Goblins next, to whisper terror into their ears.
While Reyn is paused above me, I take my wrists from the ropes very, very slowly. I hold his gaze without flinching, confident my own expression has triggered some kind of memory in his.
Reyn’s eyes shine inward and the Moon shines down on my skin, allowing me some extra information. I have a few seconds to hold his sudden trance. I stand, while watching the sword frozen above the enemy, Reyn seems to realise… this was everything he didn’t see coming.
Draconess, breathe through me, I attack by striking out a sharp hand into Reyn’s rib cage, into the soft flesh. The King bends over and I leap up, stealing the sword out of his grasp, while the Goblins are confused by Andoll’s whispering, I swing the flaming sword right through their waists, one at a time.
The nameless mother centaur watching on with her daughter, Zest, screams in a fury – but as she rears up on her hind legs, about to retaliate – she’s pushed down violently by the blast of powerful magic that consumes me as I shift.
I become smoke, before I become scale and talon and fangs and horns. My tail is long with super sharp edges, and it’s already slashing violently through tents and unsuspecting soldiers as I use my talons to free both of my Mystifyers from their iron chains.
Kill with me, I drool over the top of them, my tongue lolling out and licking over Zarcar’s wounds, then Lixar’s wounds. It’s instinct, but it seems to help them stand and shift for me on command.
Direction? Zarcar snarls into my mind while I watch his scaly beast form from the smoke on my left, while Lixar appears to my right.
No direction, just kill everyone… my eye randomly catches Zest as the Demons start screeching a war cry… kill everyone except the demon pups.
The mother centaur below me has regained her balance upon her hoofs, reaching for her bow and arrows.
My eyes gaze over the camp and I see spellbound, entirely shocked demons even as they scream. They were waiting for my first move.
I give it to them.
My head strikes down, my jaws opening and closing around the top half of the leading centaur, breaking her in two.
Venatores. Rip them in two, rip them all in two; in memory of Andoll, I speak while half the centaur is melting on my tongue. I whip my head back and snap it forward so the top half lands in a heap before the largest bonfire; almost igniting the war.
However, all bad demons await their direct command from their King.
I look down to Reyn now, on his knees, clawing at the dirt, writing symbols.
“Fight! Fight now before my return! I’m calling on the rest!” Reyn orders his already huge battalion, while the ground cracks apart and Reyn disappears into steaming mist below the surface, even as my talons slowly pass through the vapour to try and catch him.
Zarcar and Lixar charge straight into bonfires, eating alive the demons with ferocious snarls and pulsing magic that knocks any attacker right off their feet. The winds, with Zarcar’s help, also increase to help push the enemies off balance.
But then I look down.
And I see red eyes in the lava below… but as I glance up… I see a silent child centaur.
Zest is standing behind her mother’s hind, the blood pooling and curling around her small hoofs. Zest isn’t making a sound, just watching me after I killed her mother.
I ignore it, my Draconess pushing that part out. This was war.
All around me, I see demons chasing weapons that move on their own accord, rolling and sliding through the soil, as if possessed by poltergeists.
I can’t see Andoll, but I can see my next targets at the back of the camp.
My head slowly turns and the ground starts to shake.
I think nothing of it, until I realise the ground is quaking and that is causing the movement of the weapons.
The ground starts to crack and my senses pound with excitement. Demons. More demons to eat.
I lunge over a red crack, seeing Lucifer himself grinning in a confusing red eyed mist just below the ground. I rip into the demons that are his children.
I get lost in my rage of slaughtering the bad demon soldiers, yet I can’t shake Lucifer watching me through the cracks in the ground. He’s absolutely everywhere, trying to shake me.
I do my best to stay vigilant, throwing flames of fire over arrows and spears being thrown in my direction. One sword flung at my tail is simply flicked back with the tip of mine, with perfect precision as it lodges through the forehead of the assailant.
I turn and shred. I turn and I dance in my own flame as my talons pierce, rip and maul the enemy.
And still, at the corner of my eye, I see Lucifer watching me from the cracks as more steam rises.
I finish my killing spree over the back of the camp, with not one enemy standing on my burnt patch.
I swing my head to the rising mist and I see Lucifer’s eyes floating in that stream of steam flowing up hot and steady before me.
I watch it, feeling nothing but confusion, hatred and terror.
What did the Devil want from me?
Those haunting crimson eyes mist out as I see a large bronze head poke through the mist over the crack.
Pitless black eyes hold mine now; Zarcar.
My first instinct is disgust, a feeling I’ve never felt, a feeling I can’t deny, as if I’ve been…
When I look into Zarcar’s eyes, all I see is him. Lucifer.
I can’t separate the two.
I shake my head.
What’s wrong? We need to prepare Rey, Chyronex. The Surge of Hemon is going to overrun the valley but we need to fall back behind Swendula’s walls. It’s what they want to overtake; the city, a central location.
Zarcar’s straight forward words cause me great discomfort.
When Lixar appears beside him, in the flames, the steam and the empty ground… I notice I feel okay for Lix. I’m relaxed. So, I look into his hazel lizard orbs, and he licks his scaled blood red lips.
Ready to retreat before we eat some more? Lixar asks, disappointed.
Yes, I answer with one word.
Lixar snakes backwards, a splitting Mystifying image of Zarcar except Lix is black while Zar is bronze.
I turn to face Zarcar again and the illusion of Lucifer waiting, is officially gone.
Zarcar looks like my Warlord for a brief, normal, moment.
But then my chest constricts with something else, something ice cold.
What the hell did you do…? Zarcar asks the question and I can even hear his usual demon angry voice is more blunt, more roughly cut.
Nothing – I start to answer, confidently, until I turn my head and I see something so terrifying, I can’t react.
Lucifer is back, but now he has taken a shape shifted form of Zarcar holding Andoll, to his chest, with claws of metal hooks in one palm, all aimed at Andoll’s pretty little petite face.
What are you looking at, Chyronex? Zarcar has turned his head, to see what I see, but he can’t see it.
Only I can see it.
Andoll is about to have her whole face shredded apart.
I’ll need your intent, Draconess, Lucifer even shape shifts his voice to sound like that of Zarcar, as your signature of compliance. Tell Zarcar how you feel.
Tell him what? My question comes out human toned, pitiful and weak.
You’re my second hand in this Venatores, but you’ll never be my mate, Lucifer recites the words for me, if I was not mute, Andoll would have lived, so Andoll’s death is on your conscious. He will understand this, Chyronex, it’s a Draconess’ word and Venatores law. He must be punished.
Will it break him?
The real question, is will you enjoy it when he does?
Lucifer starts pressing in the claws, and I see Andoll’s eyes. She shakes her head, she doesn’t want me to save her anymore. But I can’t stand to see her tortured for eternity.
Queen Chyronex, Zarcar drawls through my mind, his patience thinning as he takes a step forward.
Halt, I snarl, stamping my foot into the ground as I glare at Lucifer, who pulls out the claws and only trickles of small rivers from blood, stain Andoll’s cheek.
I whip my head forward towards my Warlord and I lower my neck, my face and my whole monstrous form to show I am angry and ready to attack, Zarcar, you’re my second hand in this Venatores, I begin, and Zar tilts his head up, as if proud at first… but you’ll never be my mate. He’s frozen, as if he can’t believe the words, if I was not mute, Andoll would have lived, so Andoll’s death is on your conscious.
My eyes roll to the side and I see Andoll floating as her ghost once more, nodding at me, crying and nodding her thanks repetitively.
I turn back to Zarcar, and I snarl as authoritatively as I can, now let’s win this war.
I stalk past Zarcar with my head abruptly pulled up, I put space between us and he does not move.
He does not protest.
Yet as I pass by, I hear one breath leave past his blood dripping fangs, it’s ragged, it’s cut through the middle, and the air stills around us.
When I look up, I see the clouds, black in the moonlight, letting off random strikes of lightning. I look forward lastly, towards Swendula.
I… Zarcar’s tone perforates my mind… understand.
I don’t know if he does. I don’t know either, if his heart is truly broken, but there is something broken about the way he responds.
I can’t linger in this empty void, which causes my Draconess heart to beat erratically.
Find Torrent first, I give the order, hoping to move on, we need Zarcar to win this hell forsaken city for Rey. We will not let demon spawn ruin mankind or Rey’s kingdom, he will help us destroy his father. Tonight, my second, I have to force that new term out, just focus on our goal and nothing else, Zar. Our Immortal King will live and we will make it happen. That’s all you need to know.