Shiona followed at what she deemed to be a safe distance from the disgruntled and severely injured demon male. The vicious tail was flicking about lazily and she was concerned its blade would inflict damage upon her if she strayed too close.
The hall was surprisingly devoid of other signs of life. Matriarch Lasandra had ensured that no one would stray in to the passage while Beelzebub was still present in Zhugoth territory. Mostly to prevent any questioning of him and to not frighten Shiona. Humans were not an every-day sight for any of the Zhugoth demons and their curiosity would get the better of them.
It only took a short time for the pair to reach the room that held the Zhugoth Clan’s Portal. A large swirling oval of crackling reddish-blue energy flanked by tall pillars with olden runic words. It served as the connection between the Human Realm and the Demon world. There were of course more than just the one in the room in the Human Realm, but they all connected to the central one in the room. It made it easier to monitor demon movement between the realms. And to prevent a mishap of another demon clan from entering their portal.
Beelzebub tapped on several runes on either pillar, setting the destination. The portal flashed and bubbled as it calculated the destination it had been given, then settled back in to the calmer state it had been in previously.
Shiona whimpered as the demon grabbed hold of her wrist and pulled her in to the portal with him.
The portal led out into a dark alleyway.
Shiona looked around as the portal closed, leaving behind only a remnant of its energy to allow nearby demons to locate it. When she looked back towards Beelzebub, she was startled to see that he was not there.
In his place was a human with tanned skin with no measure of injury and a jacket and pants that were whole and no trace of a helmet, horns, tail, or claws.
He gave her a smirk, noting her bewildered expression. “Like it? I despise humans but transforming is still fun.”
She was not given a chance to reply, as he started dragging her along behind him.
“Shadow, I’m home!” Beelzebub called as he walked through the doorway of his apartment, forcefully being reverted to his demon form by his protective barrier.
“Finally!” a small hissing voice said from somewhere in the kitchen. “Where have you been?!”
“Mother wanted me-”
“Is that a human I smell?”
A two foot black-scaled serpentine dragon with translucent forewings slithered out from the kitchen. “Oooh, I must see!”
“Dammit, ShadowWing!” Beelzebub shot a glare at his dragonette companion, annoyed at having been cut off from his explanations.
“What happened to you, Master?!” he hissed in alarm at the sight of the demon’s wounds.
“Mother.” Beelzebub replied simply, his voice dripping irritation.
“Oh my. Did you try to disobey her?”
Beelzebub rolled his eyes in annoyance.
“I take that as a yes.”
“Oh, shut up.”
With a small rustle of his wings, ShadowWing became airborne.
The frightened human hid behind Beelzebub's back as the dragonette neared.
ShadowWing huffed in disappointment. "Skittish, isn't she?"
"Baron got ahold of her."
The dragonette's pale golden eyes widened in astonishment. "Baron?!"
"Yep," Beelzebub took hold of Shiona's wrist and pulled her forward so that she was in front of him. "He won't hurt you."
Shiona's body shook violently as she stared into the dragonette's eyes.
ShadowWing tilted his head to one side slightly. "Come now, my dear. I promise I won't harm you. I don't even have limbs!"
The human female tentatively held out cupped hands.
ShadowWing trilled happily and settled himself gently into her outstretched hands. Due to his form being longer than her hands, his tail wrapped around her wrist several times so it was not dangling over the edge. "See?"
Shiona nodded, her body relaxing slightly.
"There we go. A new friend for you, Shadow."
"A nice change from you, Master."
"Feh. I'm gonna take a shower. Keep her occupied."
"Do you cook?"
"Do you even speak?"
Shiona spoke barely above a whisper. "Ye..yes..."
ShadowWing nodded. "Yes, yes. I can see why you would be frightened. Okay, to the kitchen!" He pointed in said direction with his tail.
Shiona obediently made her way to the kitchen.
Beelzebub was in the bathroom in the middle of removing his shirt when a sharp, stabbing pain erupted in his chest. "Argh!" He crumpled to his knees as the pain intensified, spreading to the rest of his body.
"Master, what's wrong?!"
Beelzebub looked up to see Shiona in the doorway, ShadowWing perched on her shoulder with his tail about her neck. "Go away!"
"Your wounds are bothering you, aren't they? I'm supposing she had numbed them in order for you to even return home, didn't she?"
"I'm fine." Beelzebub hissed through clenched teeth. He doubled over and coughed harshly.
"Shiona, help him!"
Shiona dropped down in front of the injured demon, intent on following her given order. She held a trembling hand out towards his hand.
Beelzebub gnashed his teeth in anger, not wishing for her to touch him.
She sobbed in fright and jerked away from him.
"Master, let her help you!"
"Never! No human is-" He stopped and coughed.
Blood was spurting from the lacerations all along his body from the coughing, having pulled at already torn flesh.
Just so stubborn, Beelzebub. You'll bleed out...though it is such a lovely color on you.
Shiona, suddenly spurred by an urge to assist him, grabbed hold of his wrist.
Beelzebub was too overcome with pain to resist the human female as she maintained her grip.
ShadowWing squeaked in surprise when he felt something warming his smooth underbelly. He looked in surprise to see the opal around Shiona's neck glowing softly. "What is this?"
Beelzebub sighed in relief as the pain ebbed away, his body relaxing.
Shiona released his wrist, placing her hands in her lap, keeping her eyes on the floor.
"Damn human..." Beelzebub grumbled as he got up on his knees. He looked up at Shiona and was rather startled to see tears brimming in her muddy green eyes. "Er..."
She suddenly got to her feet and hurried from the room.
Beelzebub cocked an eyebrow in confusion. "Ah...okay?" He got to his feet and started up the shower water.
Shiona was in the kitchen, chopping up a carrot as ShadowWing tried to question her.
"So, why did that opal glow?"
"You sure don't like to talk, do you?"
She averted her gaze. "I...the others never wanted me to..."
"Oh but I think your voice is pretty."
Shiona blushed deeply. "...thank you..."
"You will be safe here. Beelzebub seems harsh, but he really isn't. Past experiences have made him bitter."
"I can't help but be afraid..."
ShadowWing gave her chin a comforting nuzzle, to which Shiona flinched. "You poor dear. Oh, lemme taste the broth."
Shiona lifted the ladle up to her shoulder for ShadowWing.
His forked tongue flicked out, lapping at the broth. "Mmm. Needs a little more pepper." He pointed to the spice with his tail.
Shiona picked up the bottle and held it over the pot.
"I smell somethin' good."
The sudden voice caused Shiona to jump, dropping the bottle in to the soup. She blanched visibly.
"Whoops." ShadowWing chuckled.
"Oh, jeez," Beelzebub said as he came up to the oven. "I'll get it."
Before ShadowWing had finished, Beelzebub plunged his hand into the soup.
Beelzebub plucked out the bottle of pepper, the numbing effects of Shiona's abilities keeping him from being bothered by the piping hot broth. "I don't think we'll be using this anytime soon." He tossed the bottle into the trash can.
Shiona blinked in surprise when she saw that his dusty purple skinned hand was a bright red from the soup. Her eyes slowly made their way up his arm, to his bare shoulder, then to his steely-grey eyes. A light blush crept to her cheeks when their eyes made contact.
He could see the confusion in her eyes. "It doesn't hurt. You numbed me, remember?"
ShadowWing rustled his wings in annoyance. "Fooh. Now the broth will be too peppery."
Shiona lowered her gaze shamefully.
"Oh, don't be upset, Shiona. It wasn't your fault. Here, let me have a sip of this and we'll see how to fix it."
She dipped out another ladle-full of the broth and held it up for the dragonette.
He smacked his jaws together thoughtfully. "Hm...about a tablespoon of lemon juice should remedy this."
Beelzebub went to the refrigerator and pulled out a lemon-shaped bottle. "Here." He held it out to Shiona.
She tentatively took it and started adding droplets into the broth.
Beelzebub stifled a yawn and stretched his arms, a sudden wave of exhaustion sweeping over him. "I'm gonna take a nap."
"We'll make sure to eat all the soup before you wake." ShadowWing said with a snicker.
"You better not, you little worm!" Beelzebub retorted, pointing a warning claw at the dragonette.
ShadowWing flicked his tongue at his demon companion.
Beelzebub waved a hand dismissively and exited the room.
ShadowWing chuckled and looked up at Shiona. "See? He's pretty harmless."
Once the soup was finished and tasted to ShadowWing's satisfaction, he had her go to the living room so that he could watch television.
Beelzebub was splayed out on the couch, fast asleep, covered only by a towel.
"Hm...so much for that idea. Shiona, be very quiet."
Shiona surveyed the demon's exposed body, noting the lacerations and scorch marks that had been inflicted upon him by his mother. A portion of the wounds were still oozing blood.
"My my...you would think he would have given up before he sustained this amount of damage. He's far too stubborn for his own good."
"But why did he not let a Healer help him?"
"He's never much liked physical contact, all the time I've known him. So when he's injured, he just lets them heal on their own."
"Will heal in time."
Shiona shook her head. She could not bear to see someone in such a terrible state. She quietly made her way to the sleeping demon and placed her fingertips lightly on his shoulder.
Beelzebub flinched but did not awaken.
ShadowWing blinked in surprise when he felt warmth seeping in to his scales. He swiveled his head to see the opal brooch glowing. "Shiona!" he hissed in a soft whisper.
Satisfied with her decision, Shiona straightened up.
"What did you do?!" ShadowWing demanded.
Shiona ducked her head, her body shaking slightly at the rise of the dragonette's pitch. "I...I put him in to a deeper sleep..."
"I was going to help him."
"Er...you realize he's going to kill you, right?"
Shiona covered her mouth with her hands at the thought of being harmed. Her body trembled violently and she took several steps away from the demon before dropping to her knees. Several soft sobs made their way from behind her hands.
"No, no! I didn't mean he really would!" ShadowWing cried, quite alarmed by her reaction. He rubbed the top of his scaly head against her cheek reassuringly. "It was just a joke."
Shiona lowered her hands as she tried to calm herself.
"There, there, poor thing. It was merely out of jest that I said that. He wouldn't really harm you," he said, then added in a whisper to himself. "I think."
She hiccuped as she attempted to stifle a sob.
"Okay, okay. If you want to help him, at least allow me to show you where the supplies are. Go to the bathroom."
Shiona pulled herself to her feet, her legs shook enough to make it all the more difficult to stand.
Once Shiona had steadied herself and was able to walk without the chance of falling, she went into the bathroom to gather the supplies that ShadowWing pointed out for her.
Due to his ability to attract unneeded play-mates, ShadowWing made sure that Beelzebub kept the bathroom well stocked with medicine, antiseptics and bandages for any wounds he received. There were even some special bottles of anti-venom from Allarah in case he ran in to any snake-type/venom-bearing demons.
Under ShadowWing's instructions, Shiona applied medicine and bandages to the lacerations and scorch marks that littered the demon's body. It took nearly an hour and a little patience for the young woman to completely tend to his wounds.
After she was finished, she sat down on the floor with her back against the side of the couch, feeling slightly drained.
ShadowWing had settled himself down on the arm for a nap.