Spy for a Demon
Written in Collaboration with Dragonflight
Sun Soul hadn't expected the hatching to turn into a battle,
honestly. She knew that the hatchlings might have been violent, but the mayhem
and madness from which she'd just, finally, emerged had been more than she'd
been expecting. Thank the gods and the spirits all that she'd come with plenty
of weaponry, befitting her current mercenary disguise, though not all of it was
exactly suited to her.
Thank the gods and spirits, too, that her valiant attempts at holding her own without someone to distract her assailants had earned her reinforcements. From between the mottled-teal beast and its many biting heads, and the smaller but still tough-scaled gray serpent-beast, she could lash out at weak spots on either of their attackers without risking herself quite so much. Straight-on battle was not her strength, but striking from the shadows or from behind was something she could do. It made pitched warfare difficult without a team-- so it was only a blessing that she'd found herself in a team before she wound up some hatchling's meal.
Being between them kept the bigger one from eating the smaller, too, which Sun Soul felt would be counter-productive to staying alive, herself. Besides, she wasn't sure what might happen if a bond was killed after it was attached to her.
Because both of them, sometime early in the midst of the fray, had bonded her. Introductions took place once things had calmed down, but she'd realized the connections immediately. It made things, to her relief at the time, much easier to coordinate their attacks: the beasts knew her strengths, and she knew their attentions, so the instant they were ready for her to take advantage of their prey's focus, she was ready to make the killing strike. And when one of them had run into something he or she couldn't handle, the others were ready to leap to their defense. For someone who usually hated having partners, Sun Soul was at least satisfied this time around. She'd have to see how things panned out with them, in her normal missions....
Keishaal survived the melee, to her mild surprise. He'd been so... off, lately, that she was half-certain he would be something's meal. She wasn't sure whether that boded well or ill for their mutual employer.
More important, however, was what she'd seen of "Alden" and his little girl Ceres. No demon should have been able to hold a transformation for that long, and no demon she'd ever read described had that many wings. Even after watching him closely for all this time-- she was actually rather proud of her persona and how well it had worked, allowing her more access to him than she'd anticipated; thank the gods for that creepy little girl, making it all possible-- she hadn't quite expected that.
As a precaution, lingering back in the crowd leaving the bay-- it wasn't hard to emphasize her wounds and leave at a slow limp; she really did hurt-- Sun Soul replayed the entire experience and her observations on it into her memory crystal. Janunir-- the teal one, with three heads, two tails, and golden wings and spikes-- ignored her, busy contentedly licking blood from her scales, while Kjolir-- the gray, snake-like one, with two pitch-black wings but no other limbs-- watched with definite, intelligent interest.
"What is that?" he asked.
"I'll tell you later," she answered him, not wanting to get into it in public.
"Why are you limping so badly? You are not that wounded, are you?"
Flattened ears, a tail lash, and a quick glare silenced him. "Later," she hissed.
"Look, Ceres. It's that lonely lady that likes to talk to you."
The purposefully over-loud voice caught her attention immediately, and it was no trouble at all to keep her ears flattened warily as her head snapped around to get her eyes where they belonged, on Alden. Who, upon taking the measure of her current persona, had taken to nettling her purposefully to get a rise out of her. He seemed to be of the opinion that, because she was rather violently anti-men in this persona and thus quite suspicious of him, she needed a good tumble-- abyss take it, when had she started using that particular slang?-- and badly. It was actually a little funny, once she got past the "he's a demon!" part, especially given how very wrong he was.
Not even someone unresearched in demons could have mistaken him for anything else, even though he'd long since changed back into his less threatening human form, so he shouldn't have been surprised to see her giving him an even more wary look than usual. "A little less lonely now," she spat back, tail lashing again and going purposefully fluffier. That had been a bit of body language it had taken some time to get control over, but now she was an expert at making herself look agitated by her tail along.
Of course, the "lonely" he meant was of a completely different kind than what might be assuaged by a pair of beasts, but her persona didn't care. Her persona would avoid that thought like a cat avoiding water.
"Mmmhmm." He smirked his skepticism and, without any warning at all, vanished. Sun Soul went tense instantly, but even then jumped when his voice whispered over her shoulder, "Is that an invitation? Or an attempt at a warning?"
The great thing about pretending to be a mercenary was she had no need to disguise her reflexes, since a startled and angry mercenary would do exactly what Sun Soul would do: she spun with a yowl of outrage, lashing at his face with one clawed hand while the other tugged one of her daggers out of its sheath. Even better, both Janunir and Kjolir reared up with bared teeth and lashing tails, themselves. Maybe being bonded wouldn't be too bad, if said bonds were quick to come to her defense.
It was all in vain, of course, because when her hand moved, Alden wasn't there. Damn teleporters-- he had moved back, just out of reach. "Temper, temper," he clucked. "Are you sure? I really would have liked an invitation."
"It was an answer, asshole," she growled.
"As you wish...." At least he backed off, even though he did look insultingly amused at the same time.
"Though we could make it a 'threat', if you like," Janunir mused, three heads grinning with all her little, baby teeth.
"I don't suppose you noticed what I did to your other siblings that decided to try that, runt," he told her.
"Considering the thing that chose you isn't much bigger, I wouldn't go around calling me a runt, idiot," Janunir smirked back.
"It's not worth it," Sun Soul muttered, still glaring at "Alden" suspiciously. "Leave it alone."
Alden waited, tapping his chin and smiling, while Sun Soul wrestled silently with the beast, trying to get her to obey. She didn't want to find out what would happen if her fledgling bond was broken. Kjolir looked briefly between them, then dove in and-- quite purposefully-- nipped Janunir's heel. She let out a little shriek of fury and whirled on him, heads snapping and tails flailing. Sun Soul was, for a brief moment, tremendously grateful for the little serpent, enough to let him hide behind her to avoid being snatched up and torn in two. She gave Janunir a little kick when she tried getting past her, growling warningly, and the beast subsided sulkily.
Alden, of course, just looked more and more delighted, like a cat who had just found a half-dead mouse to play with-- up until Janunir's sulk. The smile faded a bit; maybe that didn't "taste" as good. Demons and their feeding off of negative emotions.... Sun Soul's persona would know that, now that she knew he was a demon, and she made it more of an obvious struggle than usual to beat down her anger at his presumption-- because there was a little.
"Perhaps we'll meet again, in the future," the demon said silkily.
"If there's any justice in the world, it will be with me seeing you bound back in the pit," Sun Soul grumbled. Time for her persona to make one last attempt at what her goal had been for weeks. "Ceres, are you sure you'd not rather leave this-- this demon and find someplace better to live? Someone less-- dangerous to look after you?"
"No," the child said firmly, and both the black thing curled around her and the brown beast at her feet watched her quietly. Commanding, for such a tiny thing. "Alden's mine. He teaches me."
"I'm sure he does," Sun Soul muttered darkly; her men-suspicious persona could easily imagine what he was "teaching" her, though she, herself, had other ideas.
Alden himself smirked, shrugging "helplessly". "You heard the young lady."
Scowling, thwarted again and for the final time, Sun Soul nodded helplessly, herself, and hurried for the ship-dwellers waiting to take them away as quickly as her limping feet could get her. Thankfully, both beasts followed after, leaving the demon and his odd little girl alone with their beasts.
She, after all, had a report to make.