Asha Swanwick: The Grimoire Maiden

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Chapter 5

Merlin may not have been a man of God, but for the first time in his life, he prayed. He prayed that Asha would be careful and erase the memory of the men she slept with. He prayed that if King Arthur found out, that he would be given a quick and painless death.

The people of Camelot may fear his magic, but they what they lacked in magic, they more than adequately compensated with creative torture.

Merlin wandered in the forest until the sun was high in the sky.

“She should have found the town by now,” Merlin murmured.

Merlin sighed. It was no use thinking about the Asha now. He had to worry about himself. Asha would live, but Merlin wasn’t so sure about his own life. If King Arthur’s soldiers ever came to find him, he could protect himself with the magic for some time. He could even take the Grimoire book and threaten to release all the demons if they tried to capture him.

But King Arthur could simply keep sending in his men until Merlin was hopelessly outnumbered and could do nothing but surrender.

The more he thought about it, the more depressed Merlin felt. He felt that he could argue that, in his defense, Asha was only one nymph who managed to escape the clutches of his magic. The other option was to commit suicide when King Arthur found out about of his treason.

One last option was to build a boat, cross the channel and flee to the Germanic kingdoms. But Merlin knew that this was essentially suicide. He did not speak the language, and the Germanic kingdoms were enemies of Britain. At worst he would be tortured to death, at best he would be taken prisoner.

With a heavy sigh, Merlin leaned against a tall tree and sank to the ground. He couldn’t believe that he had given his life for a nymph. A nymph!

He wanted to curse Asha for bringing this onto him. He wanted to wish for her to burn in hell, but no matter how hard he tried to feel hatred towards her, he could not summon the emotion to curse her. He could only imagine the fragile body on his bed, inching closer towards death. Her breathing labored, the magic in her eyes dulled.

As much as Merlin wanted to feel, he couldn’t help but feel that he had done the right thing.

He thought of how Asha tried to strangle him when she first came out of the Grimoire book. “What a fierce creature,” Merlin mused. How much must she hate him to be able to grab his throat without hesitating for even a moment. How much must her sisters and all the other demons hate him?

No! Merlin slapped himself. He could not allow himself to feel guilty for betraying the demons who shared his blood. He had done Britain a great service. The farmers and hunters could now work without the constant fear of demons lurking in the darkness.

Yet he also felt that saving Asha’s life was the right thing to do.

“Maybe she is right, “ Merlin frowned. “Maybe I am nothing but a lonely fool.”

Watching the sun was sinking towards the horizon, Merlin began to make his way back to his hut. When he came back, he saw that the wooden cup was empty and the straw mattress vacant. Were it not for the broken table, it would appear that no nymph had ever been here.

Letting out a deep breath, Merlin dropped himself on his straw mattress. He gazed up at the ceiling of his humble hut. He wondered if Asha had found a young man yet. Maybe she encountered a wolf or a bear on her way and was killed?

Merlin closed his eyes and shook his head. He had to stop himself from worrying about her. After all, she had tried to kill him before.

He looked around and made sure that he was alone. He then removed the rune on his hand that suppressed the his human blood. The purple glow in his eyes grew dull and his claws shrunk back to regular human finger nails. Merlin took a deep breath. That spell had placed an enormous burden on his body. Now that Asha was gone, he could finally be at ease.

But no sooner had his human blood come back to him, did he feel the storm of emotions a young man would feel his in heart when he met a beautiful maiden. His chest ached and Merlin had to grit his teeth.

“It’s only her magic,” Merlin told himself. It was her magic that formed her body into whatever the man inside him desired. It was the very nature of a nymph to appeal to human men so that she could keep him a prisoner and drain his life force whenever she wanted to.

Yet Merlin had to admit to himself that this was the first time he had felt such emotions towards another being — be it human or demon. No human woman had ever managed to inspire such a yearning in his heart. But then again, most human women ran away from him whenever he approached. Every trip to the nearby town had resulted in the townsfolk taking their arms and threatening him with fear filling their voices. How could he ever feel attracted to any human woman when all of them ran away from him?

“I mean no harm,” was something Merlin had said so often that he was tired of it.

His human blood would leave him no peace. As much as he tried to, he could not help but worry about Asha. Would she be able to find a place to sleep at night? Would her remaining strength be enough to seduce a man? What was she actually going to do with a human man? Although Merlin knew about a nymph’s diet from the ancient books he read, he had never observed a nymph during the act of feeding.

“You fool,” Merlin groaned and lay down on his bed.

Even though he knew that his human heart had been enchanted by Asha’s magic, he could not stop himself from thinking about her.

Her long straight raven black hair, her perfectly shaped breasts, her slim waist and fleshy buttocks. The mysterious purple glow of her eyes and her hypnotic eyelashes. There was no man in Britain who would be able to resist her and Merlin was one of them.

Merlin tossed and turned in his bed until he could move no more. Maintaining the suppression spell on his own body and keeping the filter barrier intact while Asha was here had drained him of all magic.

He knew that Asha probably had stronger magic in her veins than he did. He considered himself lucky that Asha had resorted to her seduction magic, giving him enough time to build a barrier between them.

“Asha...,” Merlin murmured and closed his eyes.

And as Merlin slept, he forgot to do something that he had been doing every night ever since he began to live by himself inside this forest. It wasn’t his fault really. His magic had been exhausted and casting another spell was not on his mind when he was moments away from falling asleep.

He did not cast a protective spell around his hut.

Merlin did not fear the wild animals of the forests. Bears and wolves could sense the demonic blood in his veins and circled around his hut. It was demons and other human beings Merlin wanted to protect himself from while he as asleep.

More than once had local townsfolk rallied against him and attacked him while he was asleep. This was his sixth hut now and he did not know how much longer he could stay there before the local townsfolk became irrational with fear again.

And more than once had demons attacked him when he was resting in deep slumber.

Merlin preferred not to sleep as being awake meant that there as a higher chance of staying alive. But on this night, he dropped his guard and fell asleep, his body fragile human body on open display.

While Merlin snored quietly, the wooden door to his hut opened and a lone figure entered.

“You fool,” Asha muttered and watched as Merlin slept peacefully.

She had sucked the life out of a young man who was hunting in the woods and her strength and magic had been restored. Her hair and skin had regained their lustrous gleam and her body was back in its original state. Her bosom and buttocks were plumb and well rounded, her thighs strong and shapely. Her waist was curvaceous and her eyes glowed brightly.

“Your kindness will cost you your life,” Asha muttered and grabbed the knife from underneath his pillow.

Sitting down beside him, she held it to his throat.

Normally Merlin’s protection magic should have woken him by now, by tonight, he slept like any other human male. In his sleep, he could not even sense the presence of Asha’s magic.

“You fool,” Asha said a second time and tensed her arms.

The knife dug into his skin and single drop of blood trickled down the blade.

“Urgh,” Asha gritted her teeth and she pulled back.

The knife dropped to the ground. The only sound in the hut was that of Merlin’s snoring and Asha’s breathing. She wanted to kill him, but at the same time, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. If she wanted to trick Merlin into opening the book and freeing her brothers and sisters, she needed him alive.

As frustrating as it was, Asha knew that she needed Merlin more than he needed her. In fact, he didn’t need her at all. He would be better off if she was dead.

And above all, Merlin possessed magic that made it impossible for her magic to have significant effect on him. Normally men would be entangled in her words and gaze even if they knew that she was a nymph, but Merlin had demonic blood in his veins. She could not seduce him as she wished.

“Damned demon...,” Asha whispered and sat next to Merlin. If she wanted to free her brothers and sisters, then she would have to seduce Merlin without using her magic.

But how can that be done, Asha wondered. Her whole life she had mortal men do her biding by catching their hearts and souls with her magic. Just the sight of her curvaceous body was enough to make them obedient like dogs.

Yet Merlin, who was deeply aware of who she was and what she was capable of, was as careful as a man could be.

“Heh,” Asha grinned and stroked Merlin’s cheek. She could feel that his demonic blood was weak when he was asleep and she had no doubt that he would wake up the moment she used her magic on him. But Asha had a different plan. She would seduce him using more conventional methods — methods which would surely appeal to him.

Skillfully she slipped underneath the covers and pressed herself against Merlin.

“You spared my life, so I will spare yours just this once,” she whispered.

And just like a regular human maiden, she took comfort in the warmth of a man’s body and fell asleep.

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