Yami slowly began to make her way out of the barrier, occasionally looking back as she did.
“What am I going to do… Drake is suspicious.” She said.
The uneasiness that Drake had begun to feel as she left quickly transmitted across their link. He was certainly suspicious of their story, and he’d likely have some questions when she returned.
“Heh, we’re one in the same. Trying to lie to each other is pointless.” Shaking off her worries, she began to fly faster. She looked to the outside of the barrier, and crossed over, searching for the Satyr as she did. It didn’t take long to find him, if she focused for a moment, she could feel the link she had with the creature through Drake.
She quickly came upon the Satyr. He had been sitting just outside of the protective field since Gywndolyn’s barrier kept him out. Smirking slightly, she floated down in front of the large creature, a stern look now painted across her face.
“So, how was your free time? I imagine you aren’t too happy with being left here.”
The Satyr stared at the small imp angrily for a moment before sighing. He had been waiting outside the barrier almost since he made his contract, and it was starting to irritate him.
“What do you want, gnat? I assume you want something, otherwise you wouldn’t have ordered me to stay here. Can I at least go get something to eat?”
Yami looked curiously at the Satyr for a moment, before a slight blush came over her face. In all the rush to take care of Drake, she had completely forgotten that when she said stay right outside the barrier, that he would almost be forced to stay right outside.
“Ahh… Sorry. I kinda forgot. Hehe.”
She stuck her tongue out for a moment before continuing.
“This actually works out well. What is the strongest monster you think you can defeat?”
The Satyr’s expression didn’t change, just a faint sheen of red coming over his eyes for a split moment. With the Sin of Greed’s ability, he should be able to do much more than before. Certainly, the humanoids he faced before wouldn’t be able to shrug off his attacks so easily.
“If you’re looking purely for speed, I should be able to kill a basilisk relatively quickly. As for a life or death fight…”
A feral look came across the Satyr’s face before quickly disappearing.
“I should be able to take almost anything down with me, as long as I can reach it. While I haven’t tested it out yet, master’s mana is certainly unique. Now that I’ve gotten accustomed to it, I feel that this power is capable of so much more.”
The Satyr began to grin as he talked, a faint red aura surrounding himself. He seemed to be fighting to keep himself calm, his entire body shivering with excitement.
Watching the Satyr begin to lose himself as he experimented with Drake’s mana, she could barely surpass the urge to sneer at him. If he expected to survive, he would need to be able to control himself better.
“Don’t be too confident, Satyr. If watching Drake has taught me anything, it’s that you shouldn’t be too confident. He has had a hard time adjusting to his magic, and I expect you’d follow the same pattern.”
Even Drake, who had been born with the ability to use and control mana had a difficult time to his particular type. While he certainly seemed to have control of it sometimes, at others it seemed to lash out, and with his recent outburst, now she knew the reason why.
Thinking back on the drastic difference in power between the thing that came from Drake’s mana and the style that Drake used it, Yami could only shake her head with worry. He would need to gain that power, and soon.
“In any case, go out and retrieve some monsters. Make sure to bring all the cores, and at least two of the bodies back with you. You can keep one of the monsters for yourself if you’re so hungry.”
“Oh, is that all?” The Satyr stood up slowly, recalling the exact terms of the orders. He stretched for a moment before looking past the forest, towards the outskirts of the city.
“I don’t suppose that you’ll give me some free time? I… have some business of my own to take care of. You know that one of the bargaining pieces for my life was the power to get revenge. If I never have the opportunity to take that revenge and you renege on that, it won’t turn out well for master.”
The Satyr grinned devilishly, looking at the imp as if to gauge her reaction. If he could manipulate her somehow…
“You…” Yami glared at the Satyr, the runes on her chest beginning to glow with a faint light.
“Agh…!” With a wave of mana, the Satyr collapsed to the ground on his knees, the ground cracking in response underneath him.
Staring at the struggling Satyr, Yami’s eyes narrowed dangerously, the waves of mana continually pushing the Satyr further into the ground.
“You may think you can manipulate me. After all, in your eyes I’m nothing but an Imp. But, if you DARE to betray us, I will personally make sure you will pay. Dragons, Demons, even the former humans. No matter who hurts him, I will never forgive them!”
The faint glow from Yami’s runes began to fade, and with it the pressure that forced the Satyr to his knees. The Satyr slowly stood up, the fury behind his eyes evident.
“You… little gnat! How dare you!”
Infuriated, the Satyr began to move towards Yami, until an intense pain began to sear itself on his chest. Through Yami’s eyes, she could see the Demonic Dragon brand on the Satyr’s chest glow a piercing red, accompanied with the faint smell of burning flesh.
She floated over towards the Satyr, only watching passively as the Satyr struggled with the pain.
“Remember that you obey me as well. I am just as much your master as Drake is. That will never change, no matter how much you may look down on me. Now go. Retrieve at least four cores and a body for Drake.”
The Satyr slowly recovered from the scorching pain on his chest, before turning his back on the small imp and walked off. Satisfied, Yami began to make her way back to Drake, to help show him how to better use the abilities.
Situated between the Gwyn’s barrier and the city, the Satyr walked through the forest. The outermost layers of the forest seemed to have been cleared by some small creatures, with the lowest layers completely stripped of anything that could be used for building small huts. All the while, the Satyr continued to march on, completely oblivious to the insignificant changes.
“Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn!”
As the Satyr made his way into the inner layers of the forest, all he could think of was his utter embarrassment at the hands of that imp.
“She thinks that just because she is connected with Master that she is so special. She’s nothing but a bug!”
He slammed his hand against a nearby tree, causing a slight cracking sound as the force made its way through the tree.
“I’m going to make her pay one day.”
As he was brooding on what happened, he heard a strange flitting noise nearby. It was faint, like the beating of a hummingbird’s wings, but stronger. He quickly crouched down, hiding behind one of the nearby trees.
What he discovered was a small, overly muscular creature, with brown fur and almost comically small wings. It seemed to be sniffing occasionally, and it was slowly making its way towards him as it did.
The Satyr smiled, eager to find something to take his frustration out on.
“A scamp demon huh… Well, there’s no way in hell I’ll actually eat one of the little things, but it’s core should be as good as any. Hehe..”
His claws fully outstretched, he waited for the scamp to draw within range, excited to test out his new abilities on something, even if it is something so weak.
As the scamp drew closer, it stopped roughly ten feet before it reached the Satyr, and landed on the ground, kneeling.
“Please, reveal yourself. I have business with you.”
What the hell? What business could a weakling like that have with me?
He sighed, and walked out from the side of the tree. The Satyr slowly approached the small creature, claws fully outstretched.
“What do you want? It better be important, otherwise it won’t turn out so well for you.” The Satyr grinned gleefully. It looks like he had found his first toy.
“A-ah.. yes. Well, you see, I have been tracking you for the past few days. Ever since you ascended to a Lord, I have been looking for the traces of your mana. You were quite hard to find. There was one earlier as well, but they disappeared quickly. Although they seemed to be slightly different from you…” There was a momentary pause as the scamp’s eyes narrowed for a moment, as if he was thinking about something important. “Hmm, no matter.”
The small scamp seemed very nervous to the Satyr. The way that it stammered on, as well as the way that it wouldn’t look him in the eyes. Yes, it certainly knew its place.
“So, in accordance with my master’s wishes, I am here to bring you to him. He wishes to work with you.”
As the Satyr watched the small scamp explain himself, his eyes widened in surprise. The little bug who had managed to follow him here was obviously was led here by his master’s mana. What was more surprising was how he was actually mistaken for his master. It must be understood that the difference between a servant’s mana and their master’s is almost night and day, and even those demons who are made for battle are at most at half the power of their master. Otherwise, it would be too simple for those demons to become Lords themselves. What this small demon had actually told him was much more important than he realized.
He smiled with glee, a murderous look clear in the Satyr’s eyes now.
“Oh you dumb, insignificant little demon. You mistake someone as great as my master with a demon who doesn’t even have a name yet.”
The Satyr slowly made his way over to the scamp, his master’s mana flowing through him.
“I can tell that you have Pride’s mana in you, however small the amount. What kind of half-baked Lord would send someone like you to find another Lord. Does he really think someone like you could capture them, let alone stop them from killing you?”
Chuckling to himself, he watched as the small scamp visibly shake in place, an indignant look on its face. The presence from the Satyr was starting to take its toll on the small demon.
“Y-you wouldn’t dare! My lord is powerful! He would come after you, a-and… with only your level of strength, you wouldn’t stand a chance!”
The scamp was clearly putting up a front in an attempt to intimidate the Satyr. In a one on one fight, scamps were only useful for cannon fodder, as they had no real offensive abilities besides those given by their masters.
Laughing in a sinister fashion, the Satyr rushed forward, grabbing the scamp by his throat, before lifting him in the air.
“So, just what ability does your master have? Pride demons are quite particular about their powers after all. Now.. show me!”
The Satyr gripped down on the scamp’s neck, slowly suffocating the small creature.
In a rush of smoke, the small scamp disappeared between the Satyr’s hand, swiftly materializing a few feet away, clearly close to passing out from the strain.
The Satyr laughed to himself for a moment, clearly sneering at the pitiful amount of powerful given to the weak demon. “Ha! That’s the extent of the power he gave you? Your lord truly didn’t value your life. As for me…”
Swiftly rushing over to the scamp again, he grabbed the scamp by the skull. His talons sunk into the scamp’s skin, a faint glow of mana emanating from the Satyr’s hand.
“Aaaaackk… What.. are you doing? This… isn’t G-greed’s power.”
The Satyr began to smile in an almost maniacal manner, his eyes glowing with a red sheen. His master’s powers were truly useful.
“You idiot. I’m not a Lord. I never was. You are looking for my master, but you’ll never find him. After all.. you’re dying here today.”
In a rush of mana, the scamp began to be covered in a red aura, resulting in the small creature’s skin slowly beginning to shrivel up as he was held in place.
“I can.. still escape!”
As the scamp focused on his mark, he tried to activate his Void Smoke ability, but quickly realized something was wrong.
With a look of shock coming across the Scamp’s eyes, he stammered, “Your lord… is a greed variant?”
With a last maniacal laugh, he said, “You’ll never know. Now die.”
The Satyr initially enjoyed slowly draining the scamp of all his mana, but now his powers activated in full force.
“A-aahh… P-please.. stop….”
As he spoke his dying words, the scamp quickly shriveled up, and after only ten seconds, the corpse of the scamp dropped to the ground, shriveled up like an old prune.
“Hmph, Master will be interested in this one. I wish the opposing lord would have sent more of a challenge though, such a weak creature is unbefitting of me.”
He peered at the corpse for a moment, before quickly stabbing into the corpse with his talons, exposing a faint, gray mana core. Glancing at the corpse of the Scamp, he sighed for a moment, and began to cut out a small piece of the leathery fur with his talons. Satisfied with the small scrap of leather, he quickly fashioned a rudimentary bag, storing away the core in the new satchel. As he finished, he looked towards the outskirts of the city, an almost desperate look in his eyes.
“Just a little more time… Just wait.”
Turning back to the forest, he began to look for other monsters, preferably ones that were more appetizing.
Yami quickly made her way back through the barrier and back over to Drake, who seemed to have waited right next to Gwyn’s hut the entire time she was gone. Thankfully, Gwyn’s barrier blocked out the moment when she lost her cool with the Satyr earlier. If Drake felt that, he would likely have had a lot of questions when she got back.
Soon, she had made her way back over to Gwyndolyn’s small cabin, the familiar multi-colored smoke conspicuously missing from the roof. Spotting Drake laying on the side, she quickly flew towards him.
As Yami made her way over, she yelled out, [Hey Drake! Sorry if I took so long. I had to plan some things out with our new friend. The Satyr is gonna get us some food, and some more cores to help stabilize yourself. You’re probably a bit drained after that last fight.]
Drake looked up suddenly from his dozing, and smiled. The small imp’s cheerful nature always made him happy.
[I’ll have to tell that Satyr thanks when I see him. I doubt you would have been able to carry me here by yourself.]
[Hmph! I would have managed somehow.] She pouted for a moment, putting on her best show of being upset, before sticking out her tongue playfully.
Drake smirked for a moment, a large toothy grin showing through.
[It’s hard to act upset when we can feel each other’s feeling, huh Yami?] His voice clearly mocking her display.
She floated over, landing between Drake’s horns and made herself comfortable.
Laughing, Drake slowly got up, groaning as he did. The pains of whatever Gwyn did to him really took its toll.
[That last fight really took it out of me. I feel sore all over.] Drake laughed for a small moment, before his face hardened, something clearly on his mind. Looking up, he glanced at Yami who was hanging in his line of sight.
[Yami, just what happened? Please, trust me.]
She felt her heart begin to stammer rapidly at his sudden questioning. Would it really be right to tell him? If he knew about what happened while he was unconscious, he might try to talk to whatever… it was. But, whatever that thing was, the entity inside of Drake seemed to want to keep him safe, even if that was purely for itself. But… No. She trusted him. He had never shown any signs of that hateful glare, those eyes that so clearly wanted to kill her.
Assuring herself, she slowly floated off Drake’s head, her heart still beating heavily in her chest. She turned to him slowly, cautious.
[Drake, have you ever felt or seen any strange things with your mana?]
Drake cocked his head to the side, bewildered. As far as he knew, his mana was pretty normal. Sure, he had customized it to work for himself instead of using the troublesome mana that seemed to exude from everything else, but since he figured out from Gwyn that he had demonic mana, he assumed that was the real reason why he was able to what he did.
[Strange? What do you mean? Sure, I have trouble controlling it sometimes, but that’s just because I’m not used to it yet.]
Yami shook her head, eager to dispel any those notions.
[Drake, that isn’t it. You said that you were human once, right? Well, just why are you in control? What happened to the Draconian that was supposed to form?]
Drake thought to himself for a moment, and in his eyes he began to understand. Sure, he was in control of his body, but did the monster that was supposed to take over form after all?
[You think there’s something else inside of me?]
Yami shook her head emphatically, the worry and fear she felt clearly seeping into Drake.
[Drake, we know something is. It attacked Gwyndolyn whenever you were knocked unconscious. Either because it was angry for damaging what it views as its body, or because it was able to without you in control.]
Drake stared at the ground, and began to think back to whenever he used his magic. Whenever he started to lose control, it began to lash out more, like it was eager to attack. And it always seemed to resist his control or act on its own during his fights.
[Yami, have you ever noticed me act strangely during a fight?]
She shook her head slowly, clear on that point.
[I’ve never seen you act out of the ordinary. You were a little battle hungry when I first met you, but ever since then you’ve been better. Honestly, you scared me a bit when you were so eager to fight that Dire Bear, but since our contract, I haven’t noticed anything.]
Drake smirked slightly, thinking back to his first fight with the humans. It seemed like such a long time ago.
[Yami, back before I met you, I lost control. Almost killed a couple of humans the moment I felt danger. Now that I think back to it, I shouldn’t have been like that. I went from trying to escape to wanting to murder them at the flip of a switch.]
Taking his hands, Drake held Yami, her tiny body sitting between his scaly hands and looked straight into her eyes.
[Yami, just what did that contract do? Gwyn seemed to tiptoe around mentioning it, and I already know that it’s different from a normal contract. Just what is it? Why does Gwyn seem so afraid of telling me anything about it?] Drake’s voice echoed through their bond, the worry resonating deep within her.
She stayed quiet for a moment, contemplating just what to say while Drake waited patiently for the answer.
Sighing, she looked Drake in the eyes, the fear in their link once again transmitting over to Drake.
[You said we were friends. You were my only friend. So I linked us, mind and body. You were so unsure about this world, and I had no real power to protect you, and a normal contract isn’t what you wanted…]
Yami shook her head slowly, tears slowly beginning to form. Drake had to understand… if not…
[That light that you saw came from me during the contract. We each shared part of our souls. That’s what makes us Kindred. That’s why we share emotions. It’s why I’m able to help you, share information that otherwise would be impossible to easily transmit. It’s why… It’s why… ]
As she began to speak, he could feel her inner emotions become more chaotic, more disjointed. It was likely she was extremely afraid of how this would affect his opinion of her.
While she was speaking, Drake stayed quiet. He had a feeling their contract was something similar to what she mentioned. It was likely why Gwyn was so hostile at first. No normal Draconian would ever make a contract like that, so she must have thought that he was planning something.
Drake gave a self-depreciating laugh, and pet Yami, feeling her soft hair as he did. Yami looked up, her dewy eyes still looking up at Drake.
[Yami, I don’t regret it, so stop giving me that look. It hurts a bit when you look at me like that.]
He smiled, putting Yami back on his head, and going out into the field.
[I would do it all over again Yami, so don’t worry. Also, thank you for telling me about what happened. I doubt Gwyn would have trusted me with that. Now onto more important problems.]
Standing up, he stretched for a moment, eager to shake off any of the pain from earlier. He seemed to be getting better, however slowly. Spotting an open area within the barrier, he walked over, with Yami still sitting curiously on his head.
“Well, this is a better time than any.” Drake murmured, a faint uneasiness tainting Drake’s voice.
Drake slowly picked Yami off his head, letting her slowly float off in front on him, a curious look on her face.
[Yami, teach me how that thing fought.]