Chapter 32: The Unlikely Alliance

Chapter 32: The Unlikely Alliance

A Chapter by Gosia

The unlikely alliance

 

“Take those people to Orvik. And turn this area into ashes,” Zhawn said to his minions, looking at Aedain’s corpse.

“With pleasure, master,” one of twin creatures replied, curling the corners of his mouth upwards in a delighted smile. He observed Zhawn and his brother leaving, carrying the unconscious bodies of the witch, the Guardian and that pathetic dragon Baltar. Thinking of dragons… The elegant man glanced briefly at the corpse of the son of Kaellach and his smile grew, the pleasurable sight fuelling the yearning for destruction. He stretched his fingers and let the flames engulf his whole body. Feeling the surge of energy, he set off to purge this peaceful place of all living creatures till only ashes would remain.

Enticed by the wonderful sight of lives he extinguished, the lovely melody of pained screams and begging for life, the monstrous creature barely noticed the strange disturbance in the air. He stopped in midair, distracted by a sensation that was like a jolt of electricity.

“What is that?” he wondered, setting his gaze on the source of the anomaly �" it were the remnants of Lavena’s tower. Intrigued by it, the creature floated closer. A surprised sound escaped its throat when it saw a silvery puddle forming on the bottom of the ruined chamber. The surface was like a mirror �" it reflected the sky and the silhouette of the fire creature. But, after a while it went opaque and was resembling smoke. Interested and somewhat excited, he drifted closer to it. He landed right outside the edge of the mysterious puddle and waited.

 

 

May sharply inhaled the air as she left the void of the Veil and she had been thrown out of the portal. She yelped when she fell back down on the stone surface once the passageway between two worlds closed. She blinked and stared at the sky above; the stars were shining brightly, but they weren’t the sole source of light illuminating the surroundings. There was a reddish glow around her and the girl distinctly heard the characteristic crackling of the flames.

Fire! She abruptly jumped onto her feet, clutching the Dragonslayer’s Spear. May felt the air get trapped in her lungs as she saw who was standing before her.

“Is that not the Dragonslayer’s Spear you have there?” the creature who was literally on fire asked her in a creepily smooth voice.

May gulped and took a step back, nervously glancing sideways; the chamber had been destroyed, debris laying everywhere, mixed with the witch’s belongings. The tower which was above the cellar existed no more. She couldn’t see a trace of Eren, the witch, any living soul other than the unfamiliar flaming man in front of her. The creature extended its elegant hand.

“Give me the Spear,” he said, slowly approaching her. May kept retreating till her back met a solid wall. The mysterious creature’s eyes ever left her own. “If you give it to me now, I will spare your life.”

May swallowed a lump in her throat, hearing her heart beat like a drum. What was going on?

The unyielding look in the creature’s eyes indicated that he wouldn’t hesitate to kill May if she didn’t give him the Spear. Under the particular circumstances his offer sounded like a bargain. May bit her lower lip.

“Here!” she threw the Spear right into the flaming creature’s hands. The man engulfed in fire offered her a dazzling smile.

“Thank you,” he replied and took off, transforming into a ball of fire.

May was breathing hard for a longer while after he had left, her hands shaking. She covered her mouth with her palm, trying not to hyperventilate. She had just handed over the most dangerous artifact to the stranger and she doubted his intentions were pure. What was this nightmare? What had happened here while she was on Earth? May looked around, searching for any sign of the witch or Eren.

 “Eren,” she whispered, searching for any sign of the boy. May screamed as loud as her lungs allowed her to: “Eren!”

But, no one answered her call. May began behaving frantically; where was her little friend? She looked up at the sky illuminated by the subsiding glow of flames. Clenching her teeth, May climbed up out of the cellar’s remnants. When she managed to peek out from the hole in the ground, her heart stopped from shock.

“No,” May whispered to herself, seeing all the death and destruction.

The once peaceful valley had become one big cemetery. Everything had been razed to the ground, the sanctuary of the Riada Swamp existed no more. The lush fields, orchards, houses, barns and the good portion of the forest had been completely burnt, turning into ash. There was no way anyone survived such a terrible purge: every soul in the heart of the Riada Swamp had been eradicated. Was it Aedain’s work or that demon’s who had stolen the Dragonslayer’s Spear from her?

May squeezed her eyes shut, not wanting to take the terrible sight in anymore. The tragedy which occurred here was horrifying, but her thoughts were circling one person in particular �" Eren. Where was he? Was he dead too or perhaps he somehow survived? No, it was too cruel to be true. May shook her head, refusing to believe her eyes. Her whole body was numb from shock. Not knowing what to do, the she began climbing down, her fingers stiff.

Just when she was nearly at the bottom of the chamber, her foot slipped and May landed hard on the debris filled floor. Somehow she managed to stay on her feet, she felt her shoes stepping on something wet and sticky. She glanced down. May lifted her hand to cover her mouth, not to scream.

Blood.

May was standing in a puddle of crimson liquid. Slowly she turned around to see where did all that blood come from. The girl felt a wave of nausea wash over her as she stared at a still form before her eyes. She barely recognized who was laying on the stone floor in the pool of his own blood. It was Aedain, his armor had been shattered to pieces, his whole body bore marks of deeply carved wounds and dark bruises. His skin lost its original color, it was ghostly pale now. May saw that he was still clutching a sword in his hand, an evidence that he didn’t go down without a fight.

Hesitating, May took a step towards the lifeless body of the demon she used to fear so much. Aedain wasn’t moving, his chest was still. Was he… was he dead? The girl inhaled sharply. A tiny voice in the back of her head was nagging her to check if he was really dead. May kneeled down at his side.

                “Aedain,” she called his name, unsure whether she wanted him to actually respond. When there was no response from the demon, she shouted: “Aedain!”

                This time there was no response as well. Biting her lower lip, May prepared herself to check the demon’s pulse even though she didn’t really expect to find it; she was sure he was as dead as one could possibly be.

                Just when she was leaning over him, May noticed a movement with a corner of her eye. She wrinkled her forehead, she could swear that Aedain’s finger moved. She held her breath and stared at the body in front of her. Was it her imagination or his chest was slightly moving upwards? Quickly she pressed two fingers to the right spot on his neck and stilled, waiting.

                There it was! The pulse was very faint, but it was definitely there!

                May gasped and sat back on her heels, looking at Aedain, while there was an internal battle raging inside her head. The demon was somehow still alive, but it was clear that he was dying. What should she do? Should she help him? But, her fear of the ruthless man was still vivid in May’s memory. The girl knew that preventing him from dying would be a right thing to do, but a part of her wanted just leave him to slowly bleed to death, the world would be a better place without an evil being like him. May shook her head, mentally berating herself for even having such thoughts. Acting like that would make her equal with a killer Aedain was and she didn’t want to be anything like him. Maybe Aedain was an a*s and tried to kill her, but there was no way, that the girl would leave anyone in such state.

                Then, one more reason for keeping him alive appeared in May’s mind �" he was the only witness of what had transpired here. Only Aedain could tell her what happened with Eren and Lavena. The boy was her dear friend and the witch was probably the only one who knew how to open the portal to Earth again. May desperately needed to know it. If Aedain died, her hope to see her family again would perish with him.

                “Fine,” May muttered to herself, reaching the decision. She wanted to interrogate Aedain, but first she had to make him regain consciousness.  Sighing, she examined his condition.

With a huge gush from his right shoulder all the way to his left hip it was a miracle Aedain was still alive. One of his arms had been turned into a bloody pulp and it was hard to find an inch of his skin not covered in cuts and bruises.

May searched the debris for anything she could use to treat the demon’s injuries. She disinfected the wounds by pouring a whole bottle of Lavena’s suspicious booze on them. A normal person would wake up and scream in pain, but Aedain didn’t even budge. Then, May did her best to wrap the makeshift bandages around the demon’s torso, having some difficulties with lifting his limp and heavy body. May sighed and wiped the sweat of her forehead. All right, the most work is done. She managed to stop the source of bleeding.

The sun was already rising when May finished dressing numerous minor wounds. She had most difficulties with the massacred left arm. She put it in an improvised cast, but it seemed that it desperately required a surgeon’s intervention. However, it was no more May could do and, given the circumstances, she did really well.

“I should go to med school,” the girl muttered to herself, looking at the result of her work �" Aedain looked a lot like an Egyptian mummy now, but his pulse seemed to be a bit stronger now that May prevented the remaining blood in his body from leaking out.

During all this time, she was dressing his wounds he didn’t show any sign of regaining consciousness, what worried her, but at least he was still breathing. Sighing, May leaned against what remained of the cellar’s wall and kept watch over her patient.

 

 

                The demon was laying still all day, barely alive, but stubbornly refusing to die. May changed his bandages every few hours and prepared a lot of new ones, ready to use. Aedain’s state improved rapidly, his wounds were extremely serious, but they healed several times faster than they’d heal on a regular human. Minor scratches and bruises were fading quickly and even the ones, that were looking like they were lethal, began closing. With every hour Aedain’s breaths were getting deeper and his pulse stronger. May had to admit that the pace of the recovery was insane.

When the sun was about to hide beneath the horizon, she started building a fire. May stiffened, as she heard rustling behind her back. Was Aedain waking up? She turned around and leaned over the still demon. He seemed to be unconscious…

Suddenly, May shrieked in surprise as the clawed hand grabbed her wrist and the lids covering golden eyes lifted slowly. She looked at the demon with wide-opened eyes and he stared back at her.

 

               

The first thing Aedain felt was pain. Piercing, excruciating pain, that lit his every single nerve on fire. However the pain was a good sign �" it meant that he was alive. Not opening his eyes, he took in surroundings. He distantly remembered battling Zhawn’s minions, the immortal fiends. Did he lose? He must have lost.

Then, Aedain sensed that he wasn’t alone �" someone was right at his side. He heard a familiar shriek when he closed his fingers around a person’s wrist. The demon slowly opened his eyes and froze, not believing who was before him.

The woman, May. Was it a trick, his mind was playing on him? Perhaps he was delirious and was seeing things that weren’t there or, maybe, he died and went straight to hell.

 “You’re awake!” May mumbled, trying to free her hand, but Aedain tightened his grip, nearly crushing her bones, not willing to let go.

“I am ready,” he said calmly, his voice sounding oddly weak.

May stared at him for a while, confused.

“What?” she asked.

Aedain furrowed his brows.

“You came for my soul, did you not?” he said, a hint of impatience in his voice.

May blinked several times, comprehending what Aedain meant by that. She almost burst in laughter when she realized that he had to think that he was dead.

“Sorry to disappoint you, but I’ll pass on taking your soul. I’m back from my world and you’re alive, I patched you up,” May summarized all the important events.

Aedain was looking into her eyes for a while and lessened the pressure of his fingers on her wrist, but didn’t let go.

“You helped me?” he inquired, staring at May with disbelief.

“I couldn’t possibly let you bleed to death. Not that you tried to kill me… Oh, wait, you did,” the girl said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

Aedain clutched May’s wrist with more strength, causing her  to wince from pain. His eyes began glaring daggers at her as he bared his fangs at her. The demon jerked May’s hand and pulled her closer to him, so that their faces were only inches away.

“You were the one who tried to kill me with a knife!” he hissed out, furious. May narrowed her eyes, equally angered. How dare he remind her that?!

“It was self-defense! You were strangling me that time!” she retorted. The demon growled at her.

“It was my intention to discipline you, not to kill you!” he yelled at her and averted his gaze from the girl, staring intently at the sky.

May felt anger boiling in her and took a calming breath. Discipline? How sadistic could he be?! She felt the urge to punch him with all her strength. On the other hand, she really tried to kill him, but it was his own fault, wasn’t it? May sighed.

“All right. Let’s not talk about it now. Anyway, what happened here? Where are Eren and Lavena?” May asked, deciding it was the best to change the topic and keep non-violent relations for the time being.

“Not your business,”

May took a deep breath, refraining from finishing, what someone started. Why must he be such an a*s?

“It is my business,” the girl stated firmly, refusing to get dismissed by Aedain. “You didn’t think I was keeping you alive solely from the goodness of my heart, did you?”

The demon was staring at her for a longer while, visibly startled by May’s bold attitude. Finally he decided to return the favor.

“The boy and the witch might be still alive. I can smell only my and Baltar’s blood here. Perhaps they have been abducted by those monsters,” Aedain said quietly.

May felt a mix of happiness and fear in her heart. The demon’s words fueled the small spark of hope she had, but how much hope could she afford to harbor when Eren and Lavena were in the clutches of some evil creatures.

Then the girl looked down, noticing that a clawed fingers were clenching her palm the whole time. The silence lasted for a longer while and May coughed.

“Aedain, you’re still holding my hand,” she said.

The demon ignored her, still clenching her wrist. He stared at her face, his eyes becoming unfocused as though he was struggling to remain conscious.

“Damn you, woman…” Aedain said with effort, as though brief argument with May had drained all his strength. “Now I am in your debt.”

Then, Aedain finally released May from his grip and closed his eyes, resting.

May stared at the demon for a longer while, thinking about what he’d just said. He was in her debt? The girl clenched her fist, having an idea.

I am so going to collect this debt, you can be sure of that,  she thought, smiling to herself as a plan began forming in her head.

 “Don’t pass out yet,” May patted Aedain’s shoulder. “I need to know what happened here while I was away.”

Aedain opened his eyes to glare daggers at her, but finally he told May everything. It took some time and a lot of her stubbornness, but she learnt about Zhawn and his unbeatable minions and that they were the ones looking for the Spear. From Aedain’s story May gathered that the Dragonslayer’s Spear was just as dangerous in Zhawn’s hands as it would be in Aedain. Apparently the enemy of deceased Kaellach took too much pleasure in genocide than he should �" he was the one who started the last great war eighty years ago by murdering human villages and towns one by one.

“So Zhawn is alive. That’s bad,” May voiced her opinion before giving Aedain a confident look. “Okay, now hear me out. Everything indicates that he kidnapped Eren, the witch and your buddy Baltar. We have to somehow free them.”

Aedain looked at the girl as though she was crazy.

“Free them?” he asked, snorting. “They are as good as dead. There is nothing you could do, given how pathetically weak you are.”

May narrowed her eyes at the demon, not willing to give up on Eren.

“I don’t deny, I’m too weak to barge in and free them. But you’re not. And you can sniff them out. If you had a good plan you could actually pull it off,” May said, giving Aedain a meaningful look, which collided with the demon’s menacing glare.

“No,” he said plainly, closing his eyes.

“But…” May lost her confidence, having not expected that much lack of cooperation. “But Baltar’s your friend! You can’t just leave him behind!”

Aedain stared back at the girl with absolutely no remorse.

“Baltar knows his duties. If needed, he will die,” the demon responded without any emotion in his voice. “And remember this, woman, I have no friends and you are still alive only because you saved my life.”

May was looking at the arrogant man for a longer while, unable to come up with a witty retort. She was shocked how anyone could be so uncompassionate, so cold and devoid of decency.

She narrowed her eyes at Aedain, dead-set on having him help her save Eren and Lavena.

“You’re such a jerk,” she commented. “You said you’re in my debt. Repay it by helping me bring Eren and the witch back. Only you could track them down!”

May’s and Aedain’s gazes locked in a battle of wills. The demon was giving her his coldest glare, but the girl wasn’t going to lose either. When he saw that May wouldn’t surrender so easily, the black-haired man huffed.

“I am not doing it. Think of some other way to repay this damn debt,” he hissed out, breaking the eye contact.

May took a calming breath, not liking how the negotiations were going.

“So you’re getting back on your word?” the girl questioned, looking at the wounded demon with contempt. “You have a lot of character flaws but I never thought you’re a coward.”

The words had the expected effect on the demon. Aedain’s eyes lit up with internal fire as he clenched his fist and slammed it into the ground, breaking a granite tile. He glared at May, his usually stoic face now displaying surprisingly much emotion �" anger, humiliation, shame.

“I am not a coward!” the demon yelled at the girl.

May had to gather all her courage not to flinch; she knew that she couldn’t afford showing any weakness in front of the demon right now. When she smiled lightly instead from cowering in fear, Aedain’s confidence plummeted.

“If you say so,” May said indifferently.

The demon kept staring at her with bewildered expression on his face as the weak human girl had just crushed his pride like it was nothing.

“I am not,” he repeated, looking away. The demon clenched his teeth, the brutal truth soaking to his mind. All his life he took pride in his fighting skills, his superior strength and yet it turned out to be nothing compared to the two monsters he had fought. He strived so stubbornly to accomplish his dream to become the most powerful being that ever existed, but it was merely a childish fantasy, a pathetic delusion. In the end he hadn’t been able to succeed �" his chance for the greatness was gone forever. Now Aedain was left with nothing, not even his useless companion Baltar.

“The only thing I have left is my life,” the demon said out loud. “I will not sacrifice it for anyone.”

May was silent for a longer while, pondering Aedain’s words. She understood his point of view, but without his help, all hope for Eren and her safe return would be lost. May needed Aedain’s abilities to locate the boy and witch Lavena. The demon looked like he would use a stronger incentive.

The girl bit her lower lip, considering if she should give it to him. Under normal circumstances it would be the stupidest idea ever, but the situation was far from normal right now. She sighed heavily, having decided to use her trump card.

“Those… people, who kidnapped Eren and the rest, they have something which could interest you…” May began, not being entirely sure if she made a right call.

Aedain arched his eyebrow.

“I doubt it,” the demon said skeptically.

“How about the Dragonslayer’s Spear?” May asked, quitting beating around the bush.

Aedain’s reaction was immediate. He stiffened and stared right at May, his golden eyes wide-opened in shock.

“Impossible,” he whispered, struggling to regain his composure. Then a spark of disbelief crept into his mind as he snorted at the girl. “Do not even try such petty tricks on me, woman. Where would they get the Spear from anyway?”

May kept her emotions in check.

“From me,” she said flat out, making Aedain stare at her in shock once again. The girl shrugged her shoulders. “I found it back in my world and gave it to one of those red-haired guys who beat you up.”

“You did what?” the demon whispered, the look of horror showing on his face as May spoke so casually of the Kal Laismarr’s most treasured and powerful artifact. “Why would you give them the Dragonslayer’s Spear?”

May sighed heavily.

“It was either that or my life and I like living just as much as you do,” she explained shortly.

Aedain muttered something inaudible in response and knitted his eyebrows, his face focused as he was thinking May’s words through.

“I know you do,” he said, distracted. After a prolonging moment of silence, the demon turned his full attention to the girl at his side. He cleared his throat, the displeased look on his face. “Very well, I will follow those b******s who took my Spear, take it back along with Baltar and the two other useless fools. As much I do not like the idea, you can follow me.”

May inhaled sharply.

“And if we get all of them into safety, you’ll allow me and Eren go back to my world,” she tried pushing her luck.

Aedain scowled, hearing her demands, but didn’t come with a snappy response right away. He glared at May, but nodded in agreement, acknowledging that if it wasn’t for her, his corpse would be rotting here.

“Deal. We move out at dawn,” the demon announced and laid back, hiding a wince of pain. Clenching his teeth, he closed his eyes.

May knitted her brows, looking at Aedain’s injured form. Most of his wounds here only beginning to heal, he looked like he was one foot in a grave. He wanted to depart the next day, but it was impossible he could withstand the journey in such condition. He was healing fast, but not fast enough to be ready in just one night.

“You know, maybe we should wait an extra day, you’re in a pretty bad shape,” May shared her doubts.

The demon didn’t open his eyes, but his forehead wrinkled.

“I will be well enough tomorrow. I don’t have time to waste,” he snapped and turned his head away from May, letting her know he didn’t want to be bothered.

The girl sighed heavily, having a really bad hunch about this journey.

 



© 2013 Gosia


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Added on October 14, 2013
Last Updated on October 14, 2013


Author

Gosia
Gosia

Poland



About
Hello, my name is unpronounceable for most of humankind, but fortunately it can be shortened to Gosia. I’m an university student in my twenties, about to face the real life very soon. I’ve.. more..

Writing
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