Crouching in the bushes, Mors felt his face cramp as his lips curl, revealing a sinister snarl. Not understanding why the woman's words irritated him so much, Mors took a calming breath and leant against a tree. I wonder if that old hag would be this brazen if she knew a demon was a couple of dozen metres away. So far, apart from the different races and magic, this world seems just as fucked up as my old one.
A teenage boy shouted out, distracting Mors from his thoughts. "Priestess, what's the difference between a Demon Lord and a demon? Are they just a demon's with high social status?"
The old woman hesitated as if waiting for something, before chuckling and shaking her head with an amused expression as her eyes flickered across the forest to her side. "A demon can evolve into a Demon Lord after completing requirements dictated by their primary sin. Due to how stringent the prerequisites for evolution are, Demon Lords are extremely rare. Although demons are cruel and sadistic by nature, turning away from the goddess of lights teachings, they have enough intelligence to be of use to society in some, limited, cases, and only in small numbers. Mostly in a kingdom's army or the adventure's guild, where their brutality can be put to good use. A Demon Lor-"
"If they are so rare, why were there so many of them during the Third Demonic War?" interrupted the boy, clearly irritating the old woman.
Mors frowned, not minding the interruption as he tried to make sense of what he was hearing. Evolution? I vaguely remember some bits in Verz's memories about how some species can evolve as they grow, modifying their base characteristics and abilities but I didn't know demons were one of the species that could do it. It seems I have a lot to learn.
Glaring at the boy, the priestess continued. "The Third Demonic War, also know as the Trial of Man, was initially caused by the Demon Lord of Greed, wanting to secure the most fertile, safe lands for his... tribe. Joining forces with Pride, they formed a vast demonic horde and invaded our kingdom via the Trekan pass. For three weeks our troops fought valiantly, repelling the demons, however, their numbers were too great, and our forces in the region were slowly pushed back and on the brink of annihilation."
Even though they had heard this story many times, especially when one of their own had fallen at the fortress, the children had gone silent as they followed every word with rapt attention.
"Just as the fortress was about to fall, the Demon Lord of Envy joined the battle, not wanting to be excluded from the spoils of war, and was quickly followed by the Demon Lord of Lust, who was trying to impress her. With the new forces, the Trekan fortress fell in a matter of hours, and demons flooded into the Antaeth basin, killing everyone before them. It was at our mighty city of Alzor, humanities bastion of hope, that the demon horde finally stalled, and as I mentioned earlier, with the intervention of the Sacred Temple, may the goddess of light bless them, our heroes killed the Lords of Greed and Envy. "
"Little did we know that with that simple, righteous act, we had invited a greater calamity upon ourselves. Pride escaped the extermination that followed and returned to the demon city of Halen, where the remaining Demon Lords resided and presented Wrath with Envy's severed head," the priestess paused as if she remembered something painful. "Fifty years later, at the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Imperial, Federation, Vonaian and Sacred Temple troops and countless innocents, the Demon Lord of Wrath and the four remaining lords were executed, and their clans purged down to the last imp. Wrath's vengeance was so extreme and merciless, destroying his own kind as much as ours, that since that day, demon nobles have taken it upon themselves to purge any of their young born with the sin of wrath."
The silence was deafening as she finished, Mors frowning deep in thought. Great, not only am I a demon, something that is hated in this world, if what Grim told me is correct, I am a demon of Wrath. I need to get out of here."
Mors had heard enough. It was clear that these people had nothing but hatred for his kind and to make matters worse, if what Grim told him was correct, his sin was wrath. Even though the food smells delicious, I think it's time to leave. I doubt I will learn anything else here.
"It seems that our guest's patience has finally run out. I am surprised you did not react to my provocations and are going to sulk away into the shadows like a beaten dog. With the stench of blood and death on you, I expected someone a little more... hot blooded," laughed the woman as she stared in the direction of Mors.
Mors held his breath as he focused his senses. It was extremely faint, almost unnoticeable, but he could hear over ten heartbeats surrounding him. Looking across the clearing, Mors noticed that most of the guards were missing and the villagers all seemed to be looking in his direction, small weapons and glowing lights appearing in their hands.
Realising his stupidity for thinking that, in a world full of magic and strange abilities, hiding in the shadows would conceal him, Mors closed his eyes and took a deep breath before standing up and walking forward.
Stepping into the clearing, many of the children let out surprised squeals at Mors' sudden appearance before running towards their parents. The guard who had been leaning lazily on his spear and the priestess didn't even flinch, confirming his worst fears, that they had known he was here the entire time and were confident enough to deal with him without risking the children.
Having already gauged the guard's strength and having no idea how they found him, Mors tried to buy time while he thought of ways he could escape. "Ummm, I don't suppose saying I was just passing and mean no harm is going to work?"
"Nope," replied the old woman, an evil smile creeping on her lips.
Not wanting to waste another second, Mors activated his new ability, turning into shadows and raced towards the forest. Just as he was about to enter the woods, he smashed into an invisible wall and was hurled back into the clearing.
Golden light erupted around woman's body, causing Mors' hair to stand on end. "Looks like we have ourselves a demon who's primary affinity is darkness and a pretty powerful one at that.... how lucky for us. It seems like this will be easier than expected."
Mors stood up, spitting out a mouthful of blood that hissed on the floor, causing the lazy guard's eyebrow to arch in surprise. "I warn you; if you plan to go through with this, you better make damn sure to kill me because if you don't." Mors' thoughts triggered his terrifying aura, causing shock to appear on everyone's faces as the regular villagers grabbed the children and retreated. "I will slaughter every last one of you and raze this village to the ground."
"You don't have to tell us that demon." shouted the woman as she sent a golden spear hurtling towards Mors. "Capture him; we will purify his soul through sacred flames."
- He who stares into the abyss
Bio: Company Director, Software engineer, gamer, snowboard instructor, proud father of two insomniacs and all round philomath. My Works: The Book of Mors: Summoned [http://royalroadl.com/fiction/8312/the-book-of-mors-summoned] The Summoned: [http://royalroadl.com/fiction/11348/the-summoned] The Forgotten Hero: [http://royalroadl.com/fiction/11721/the-forgotten-hero]