No warnings or comments this time (which is kind of a lie since I commented, but oh well...). Enjoy!!
There's a Fine Line...
Malphas and Alicia barreled through the portal and onto the charred stone floor of a cavernous chamber. The impact sent the tiefling tumbling off the demon lord’s back and jarred the sunblade from her hands. It bounced and skittered across the floor to rest in a far corner of the room, well out of her reach. Alicia slammed her fist into the floor and released such a string of vulgarity that she was certain she’d pay for it later with her ass. Her fangs lengthened at the thought of her vampire’s discipline before she wrestled her mind away from her delectable mate.
She glanced around the room in search of the celestial sword and was struck by the strangeness of the building’s materials. The smooth walls looked to be worn away by years of friction rather than tools, and stretched upwards until they faded from sight. A closer look at the stone showed black and dark-red waves undulating just beneath the surface, breaking through in unexpected bursts to shoot geysers of fiery lava into the air.
“Once more you meddle in things of which you know nothing, Tiefling!” The demon growled his pain as the severed wing began to heal. The one she’d sliced with the glowing blade showed no signs of repair. Her lips curled into a cruel smile.
“Yeah? Well, consider it a character flaw.”
“I will do more than that.” Malphas chuckled evilly as he rose to his full height and stretched his newly grown wing. “I will ensure that you will be unable to make such foolish choices in the future.”
“You think so?” Watching the infernal’s every move, Alicia rose into a crouch and matched his steps to maintain the distance between them. “Blake hasn’t had much luck with that, you know, and I adore my vampire. Can’t really say the same for you, Gramps.”
“Your insignificant feelings have no bearing here other than the joy it will bring me to watch them crumble to my will.” Malphas’ tail stabbed from the left, causing her to roll to the right to avoid the deadly appendage. The floor opened up beneath her and she barely managed to avoid a burst of fiery brimstone that shot almost two feet into the air. The demon’s grin of delight was terrifying to behold.
“You really need to see someone about that god complex you’ve got going on. You’re never gonna get a date that way.”
“Foolish child, haven’t you learned, yet? Here, I am a god! This is my domain and all here bow before me or face my wrath!” His bellowing voice echoed in the large chamber and a cacophony of wails and cries of agony and terror rose in an answering chorus. The sound chilled her to her very core and she gazed longingly at the celestial sword. “Since you gave up your humanity for that blood-sucking parasite and ruined plans centuries in the making, I will drain the vampiric blight from your soul and create a pure creature of the Seventh Circle. You will become mine for all eternity, tiefling. Mine to keep or destroy. Mine to cherish or ravage. Mine,” he stabbed again from the left, moving her further and further away from the softly glowing sunblade, “to command and control.”
“Good luck with that, asswipe. I checked my to-do list, and nowhere did it say ‘relocate to a place that smelled like an egg fart factory’.” She hesitated for half a second to gauge the distance to the sunblade and the third jab from the demon’s tail sliced through her thigh, drawing a hiss of pain and anger from between her fangs. Instead of dodging to the right as the demon anticipated, Alicia dived between his legs. While he was off-balance in the midst of a right-handed grab at her former location, the tiefling placed both her feet on his upper thighs and kicked hard. Though it was like kicking a Sequoia, her vampiric strength enabled her to affect the demon lord’s balance. Malphas struggled to remain in place but had to stagger forward to stay upright, giving Alicia the time to move towards the blade. She checked the cut on her leg as she rose and was pleased to see that it had already begun to heal.
“Deny it all you wish, but it’s already begun, tiefling.” Malphas chuckled and slowly turned as Alicia scrambled for the glowing sword. “Pick up that blade you’re so anxious to get to, hellspawn, and feel the pain as it burns away at your very nature.”
“The fuck?” The scent of burning flesh mingled with the sulfur and brimstone already present in the hot air. Though she gritted her teeth to ward off the pain, Alicia couldn’t maintain her hold on the celestial blade for more than a few seconds. Hissing in frustration, she allowed the sword to drop from her fingers. “It didn’t burn before. Why do you always have to fuck with shit that’s not yours, demon?”
“I’ve done nothing to the blade, tiefling.” The demon lord’s triumphant grin was a hideous display of vicious fangs and cruel triumph as he approached. With her back now against the wall, there were few places for Alicia to go and, though it burned, she was still unwilling to abandon the sword that seemed to inflict permanent damage on the infernal. “It is you who are changing. Just being here is leeching away all but the demon inside you.”
“You’ve finally snapped, haven’t you?” Alicia’s eyes darted around the room looking for something to wrap around her hands so she could pick up the glowing sword at her feet. “I mean, I’ve heard that some humans get a bit delusional as they get older so I can only imagine how totally bat-shit crazy you’ve gotten over the centuries, Gramps.”
“You already feel it. Don’t you, tiefling? How much stronger the demon within is growing. How much weaker the blood-sucker has become. The pull of my will increases, influencing, forcing you to obey me.”
“In your dreams, you overgrown bat,” Alicia sneered, but inwardly she trembled. She did feel the changes and they terrified her. Where would that leave her vampire if Malphas had his way? Would he think she had died and abandon her to her fate? Would he discover her altered form and abandon her still?
“That’s it, tiefling. Give in to me and you shall be stronger than the vampire who’s enslaved you. He’ll leave you like all the others – all but me. I have never abandoned you, tiefling. I have watched over you from the day your worthless father broke his promise and a young child’s heart by walking away without a second thought.”
Hissing in fury at her lingering doubts, she steeled herself for the pain and reached for the sunblade. In an awkward move borne from desperation rather than skill, Alicia grabbed the hilt as she rolled to the demon’s left side. The celestial blade sliced through Malphas’ calf before she flung it away with a cry. “I will never be yours, Malphas,” she ground through her clenched fangs as she cradled her injured hands to her chest. “I’ll fight you for all eternity if I must, but I will return to my mate.”