I looked down at my hand, I clenched it and then unclenched it. It felt real, alive. I still didn’t quite process the fact I was back in the world of the living, the memory of my death was still fresh in my mind after all. It felt like it was just yesterday that I was planning to slaughter my way across the vale and present a new territory to betrothed. Now I was here in Avalon three hundred years later with no idea what happened to the people I cared about.
I was sitting on a needlessly luxurious bed in a lavish but locked room with a cute silver haired teenage girl, under different circumstances this would be the start to a rather nice night. Unfortunately I was dealing with a bit too much to enjoy the situation in any way, I was also having weird feelings about the girl.
I don’t hate her… I looked up at the girl sitting at the desk across the room, her long silver hair was lustrous and practically shined in the candle light. She had a small frame and the whip like spade tipped tale that was common to half demons, her face was more cute than anything else but there were obvious seeds of beauty waiting to mature in her features. Even the tattoo like mana lines on her forehead complemented her looks, but for whatever reason she held herself in a subdued way that made me think she didn’t realize how attractive she was. The fact she was wearing what was basically a hemp sack and had a familiar black metal collar around her neck didn’t help things either. If I had to guess I’d say she has a self-esteem problem and probably a seriously messed up concept of her self-image…
I shook my head, I shouldn’t care about this. I had more than enough of my own problems, why was I worrying about whatever was going on with this girl?
This is a problem. I don’t hate her, but I do feel something for her… It isn’t attraction, at least not one that’s clearly sexual in nature… No, it’s like when I look at her I see myself… A weaker and unsure version of myself sure, but all the same. Actually that weakness I’m seeing in her might be what’s making me so oddly protective of her. Fuck, this is a real mess… I stared back down at my hand as I clenched it once more. It was once a hand that could easily crush stone and crack steel, but now it was just a hand. It couldn’t turn transparent, couldn’t partially liquefy or phase through solids, and it certainly couldn’t crush stone. I was in no condition to be feeling protective over some stranger, hell I might not even be in a condition to handle what was going to happen next.
I pulled the knife out of its sheath at my waist, it was a wickedly sharp foot of grey death. It radiated an aura of power and almost seemed to throb as if it had a pulse. Looking down at the weapon I had once made on a whim I felt a small smile tug at my face, at least I wasn’t entirely defenseless. I had been brought back into the world with some of my old equipment, and unlike myself my stuff seemed to still be in top shape. My coat, shirt, pants, boots, knife, and even my underwear were made from great materials and were evolved to the paranoid degree that had been my old standard before I got cocky and thought I was invincible. I might not be winning any contests of strength for a while, but I could probably stab through dragon scale and mithril fairly easily if I managed to get close enough.
Still, this probably won’t be enough… I thought back to the people I had seen in that temple, each one of them gave me a bad feeling that made me want to have my best armor and an army at my back if they decided to start something. Even without ridiculously enhanced and specially evolved senses my instinct told me that they were individuals that were not to be casually fucked with. I’m supposed to be in the same league as them? Pft, if it’s me right now the weakest of them could probably fold me up and use my corpse as a paperweight… I need to find a way to get out and hunt without raising suspicion, I don’t want to know what’ll happen if the kingdom figures out I’m basically powerless and at their mercy… Yeah, I need to go kill and eat some monsters ASAP…
All the people in the temple had been ushered off with the utmost respect and placed into these locked rooms, granted everything was comfortable in the room I was in but when you’re told to wait until someone comes to speak with you and shoved into a locked space it’s never a good sign. I figured that once someone in a position of power figured out I wasn’t in top form the way I was going to be treated would see a dramatic drop in quality, hell given which side I had chosen to fight on in the last human-demon war I might even be killed.
So first thing’s first, I slip away and start to build myself back up to my former power. Next I check on what happened to my people and see if anyone is still alive from the Night Company, it should be fairly easy to find Nali as long as she wasn’t dethroned or something. After all that I guess I can try my hand at being a sellsword again, I’ll just make sure not to conquer a territory this time. I never want to deal with politics or land management ever again… I nodded my head at the plan I had come up with. Well, plan may have been an overstatement but it was at least an outline of what I needed to do.
“Um… Mister Evo?”
I looked up sharply at the voice that sounded out right before me, I hadn’t noticed anyone getting so close to me. It was the girl, she was looking at me with those adorable lavender doe eyes while clutching at the hem of her bag-dress. I felt it, it was like something just clicked. I wouldn’t be able to leave this girl alone, it would be like abandoning myself. In one moment my entire plan collapsed in on itself, I might be able to get myself out of this place in one piece but there was no way I could do that while also looking out for her. It was already iffy that I’d make it out ok with my condition being what it was, but add a kid into the equation? Yeah, I’d have better luck wrestling a dragon in the buff…
I let out a sigh, I knew what this was. The desire to protect her, to keep her near, to see her happy and content. I’d only felt this way for five people before.
“Yeah kid, what is it?”
The damn adorable ball and chain keeping me from freedom looked down with an absolutely terrified expression.
“Um… are you really a devil?”
I almost laughed, I probably would have if the girl didn’t seem so serious and scared. Instead I swallowed down my gut response and gave her an answer.
“Nope I’m not a devil, in fact I’m about as human as a person can be.”
“Oh, that’s quite reassuring to hear Lord Nightborn…”
My gaze shot to the figure standing in the now open doorway, before I realized it I was standing in front of the girl protectively with my knife in my hand. The woman was beautiful with dark hair and a full figure, but she had also snuck up on me and I was as weak as I could ever remember being. If she made a move I didn’t like she was getting stabbed, beauty or not.
“Who are you?”
My voice had lost all of the warmth and gentleness it had a moment ago, it had come out as a cold demand that was probably far more intimidating than I had any right to be at the moment. My mind was already going through potential moves I could make and their likely outcomes, I wasn’t liking my chances of getting both me and the kid out of this if the woman was hostile. A part of me reflected that dying had brought back my old paranoid tendencies, but the rest of me was focused on the every motion the woman in front of me made.
The woman gave a chuckle while holding up her hands in surrender.
“I’m Lilith Baum, the one who after a long debate was selected to be your liaison and guide. It is good to see that the texts were not wrong when they said you had a fondness for women…”
That made me pause, was it a historical fact that I had a weakness for the ladies? Wait, does that mean any half decent historian will know how I died? Fuck that’s embarrassing…
“I am twenty two years old this year, a virgin who has not known the touch of a man, and I am of noble birth. I hope that you’ll find me a suitable partner for…”
My eyes widened and I found myself holding up a hand to cut her off. My mind was spinning at what this woman had just said and what it could mean. Wait, they stick me in a comfy cell then send me a woman to have sex with? What the actual hell? What about the kid, what are they even thinking? No, wait… the kid’s collar… So Avalon still doesn’t have any slave protections huh? No, look at the bigger picture here Evo, whoever’s in charge here is being very accommodating. Almost too accommodating…
In that moment I felt a tug at my back, the kid was peeking out behind me but her head was hung down as if she was ashamed or afraid. Seeing her like that tugged at my heart and helped settle my mind, I knew what I was going to do in that moment.
“I’m not interested in bedding you.”
The woman’s eye’s widened in shock and clear fear began to edge into her calm expression.
Oh, so that’s how it is… I understood the other side’s standpoint in that moment from just here expression. They needed me, but they had no idea that I was currently a mere shadow of my past self. They had probably scrapped together all the information they could find about me to find a way to get me receptive to whatever pitch they were going to make, but all they could find was that I liked to fuck and that I was a killer. They probably thought that anyone they sent in to meet me would meet one of two fates, so they sent someone they thought I’d want to take into bed instead of someone I’d want to stab. Clever, probably would’ve worked if I wasn’t so high-strung right now…
“Correction. I’m very interested in bedding you, just not right now…”
I found myself relaxing almost at the same time as the dark haired woman, Lilith. Trying for charming as I gave the beauty a playful smirk, I said something that would hopefully reassure her.
“Right now I’m more interested in why I’m in Avalon when the last thing I remember was dying in agony…”