I watched the door shut and let out a sigh, that had been nerve-wracking. I was still not sure if revealing my weakness was a good idea, but I figured if I was going to have a shot at forging a decent relationship with these people I would need to be honest.
But still, better to show that my weakness isn’t powerlessness… I got up and pulled my knife out of the wall, it gave a small displeased pulse. It felt like it was hungering for blood, starving really. And if I prove to be more useful than not I can slowly work my way up to being indispensable… I turned and looked at the girl that still seemed shocked by the whole conversation that just happened. Then once I’ve established myself more and evolved some useful abilities I can slip away whenever I want or need…
“So… That was fun, huh?”
The girl just looked at me before looking back down. Walking over and plopping back down on the bed I nudged her with my elbow.
“So kid, what are you called?”
If it was possible she seemed to shrink down and make herself even smaller.
“What was that kid?”
The girl looked up with a look that all but broke my heart, the sheer defeat and acceptance in her face as she smiled were enough for me to want to go out and murder every slaver I saw.
“I’m called Slave. I haven’t earned a real name yet…”
I suppressed my growing need to kill slavers and tried to summon up a smile of my own.
“No kid, I meant what was your name before… before you were put in that collar.”
The girl’s eyes had a hint of tears in them as she spoke.
“…My mother called me Curse, so I guess that is my name…”
I wanted to murder that woman in that moment, I wanted to kill her in the slowest and most painful way I could manage. What type of person can call their child a curse so often their own kid mistakes that as the name they were given?
“…But the people in the village called Monster, Abomination, Half Breed, and Filth so any of those could be considered my name...”
I take it back, the entire village needs to die not just the mother… I took a breath and pushed down my feelings as I worked to maintain the smile on my face.
“No kid, those aren’t names… Here, how about I give you a name if you don’t have one?”
The girl just shook her head and looked down.
“You can’t, only my master can give me a name. If I take on a name from someone else I’ll be punished.”
I was taken aback by that, obviously slave collars had advanced some since the last time I had dealt with them. Ok, then I’m going to need to go on a quick errand…
“Oh, and out of curiosity who is your current master?”
I looked out at the hall before glancing back into the room. The girl was still sleeping curled up on the floor, it had been more effort than I thought to get her to take a pillow and blanket. Sleep tight kid, I’ll be back soon…
I pushed the door so that it shut as far as possible, it would never again close perfectly after I cut through the lock. Pulling up the hood of my coat I started walking.
I had no idea what it was that I was trying to do, I just knew deep in my gut I had to do something. Ok Evo, you have no abilities, no backup, and you’re in enemy territory so you have to be a ghost… Get out, find a slave trader, get what I need, then get back in without raising an alarm. Simple…
I walked calmly and with a sense of purpose as I passed through corridors and halls. I had no idea what the layout of the palace was but I couldn’t stop to ask for directions, I couldn’t do anything that would draw attention to myself. I was just glad that my coat still worked like it was supposed to, but its perception blocking effects would disappear if I was focused on too hard. A guard saluted and a butler bowed as I passed by, who or what they thought I was when they saw me I didn’t know.
I must’ve been walking for an hour before I found my way out to the front gates, the front gates that were shut tight for the night. Well fuck… Ok, improvisation time…
I walked up to the six guards with an unhurried stride, even as I walked I was analyzing the ones that were blocking my path. There was a dwarf battlesworn with a laughably huge war axe, a pair of knights with swords at their sides, a demon reaper who ironically had a war scythe in her hands, and a pair of elven braves with bows. I needed to be careful with this.
I walked calmly up to the guards and stabbed the dwarf in the shoulder. My knife slid through the heavy plate easily, and judging by the look of shock on his face it took being stabbed for the dwarf to realize I wasn’t who I appeared to be. A part of me wondered what he saw before the illusion slipped away, then I twisted my knife and yanked it from his shoulder.
I ignored the shocked expression of the knights and the humming pulse of satisfaction coming from my knife as I turned toward the reaper while turning my back to the braves, the humans might hesitate but with a demon or elf’s reflexes I would be dead before I noticed them even pause.
True to form I turned just in time to see the blade of a scythe swinging towards my chest, I charged into the blade. As the razor point met my shirt it found no purchase and deflected to the side as if it had hit a perfectly smooth steel wall. The blow hurt and I felt two sharp impacts from my back that let me know that the braves weren’t slacking either, but at worst I’d just get a bruise from attacks on this level. The difference in our equipment was just too large a gap for these guards to cross, especially in an ambush situation like this.
Stepping to the side and ducking under the scythe’s return swipe I watched as an arrow that was meant for my head found a new home in the demoness’s shoulder. Lunging forward I rammed my knife home into the woman’s other shoulder before twisting the blade and ensuring that the reaper wouldn’t be welding her scythe for a long time to come without the help of serious healing magic.
As the demoness screamed I yanked my knife free and turned just in time for an arrow to hit my chest. Looking at the two braves I hurled my left arm up to cover my face as I began to run and threw my dagger towards the closest elf. The pained grunt told me that my dagger had found its way to the elf, but the metallic rustling I heard said that the knights had shaken off their shock and were ready to join the fight.
I lunged forward and as I tackled the elf to the ground my free hand found its way to the brave’s throat. Taking my arm away from my unprotected face I reached back and yanked my trusty knife from the elf’s leg while adjusting the grip I had on the elf’s neck. I panted as I took a moment to catch my breath and settle down my rampaging heartbeat, I was really not used to doing stuff like this in a normal human body.
Looking up and glancing around and felt I managed to do pretty well. The dwarf was on his back, confused, and slowly bleeding out. The demoness was clutching her left shoulder and letting out pained moans. Both of them were out of the fight for sure, the real problem were the two knights with swords in their hands and the elf with an arrow pointed at my face.
“Well that was fun… Now you should put down your weapons or I’ll be crushing this fine… Man? Woman? I don’t know, all you elves are so damn pretty and slender it’s hard to tell… Anyway I’ll kill this brave. Got it?”
I watched the knights, I knew that the elf wouldn’t risk another of its kind. Elves were ridiculously loyal to one another and treated all of their kind like family, the humans were the ones I had to worry about in this situation.
One knight stepped forward and I saw his grip on his sword tighten, so my grip on the elf’s throat tightened as well and I moved into a throwing posture with my knife. Under me I could feel the elf struggle but what caught my attention more was the thing hardening under my thigh, I almost sighed. Ugh… The proud elven race, masters of the bow and the blade, graceful and unearthly beautiful, and all closet masochists… I just do not get how their race developed such a weird survival instinct, though I guess by the fact they’re still around it must work… I glanced down at the now blushing elf that I held by the neck and I could see shame and excitement waring in his eyes, I felt bad for the guy. It must really suck for your greatest turn on to be being beaten and dominated, but I guess it did ensure that their race sought out powerful mates… It’s still weird though.
“Who are you? What do you want?”
The other elf spoke out and I saw that the bow in the brave’s hand was slightly trembling. I put on a reassuring and friendly smile as I faced the brave.
“I just want to leave the palace grounds…”
I suddenly had an idea as I looked at the bow trembling in the brave’s hand.
“Oh, and your bow and quiver… And let’s throw in the lady’s scythe as well, she won’t be needing it any time soon anyway…”
I watched as each of them wore different expressions at my demands. The elf looked relieved, one of the knights looked suspicious and the idiot who kept trying to inch closer looked confused. I decided to put the final nail in the coffin.
“Oh, and one last thing. You need to make your decision before I count to ten since I’m sure someone has heard this commotion and more guards like yourself will be showing up soon. If you don’t decide in time then I just kill this poor guy under me and all the rest of you afterwards. One. Two. Three..."
I walked through the alleyway while whistling softly and bracing the large war scythe across my shoulder, I had a decent idea of where my destination was and as long as that beggar wasn’t lying to me I’d be there in no time.
Welp, this is going to be fun… I guess I’ll go with the whole “I’m death Incarnate” deal and if that doesn’t work I’ll just see where the mood takes me. Though unless slavers have significantly toughened up in the last three hundred years I doubt this’ll require much effort… I came to a stop at the back of a rather large half-stone three story building, one that clearly stood out among wooden single story structures lining the rest of the streets. It’s show time…
I slipped my knife into the crack of the door and slid it down, easily slicing through any locks or latches that kept the door secure. Pushing the door open I stepped into the slave shop.
There was dark wood everywhere I looked and the floor was covered with an intricately woven pattern rug. Obviously the slave trade was a very lucrative business to be in. I shook my head and felt an ironic smile slip onto my face. Here I was about to terrify and torture a slaver over a girl I met for the first time today, don’t even factor in the fact that I was basically just a normal guy without my usual monstrous evolved abilities.
Hell, on a different day I might’ve been here as a customer… Funny how fate works, one minute you’re dead the next you’re out tracking down a slaver to ask about the latest in slave collar magic… Moving my way into the store I came to a set of stairs leading down, for a minute I stopped. If this was like every other slave shop I’d ever been in then the slaves would be somewhere down there in cages or cells. They would have all sorts of races down there, maybe even a few exotic monsters or animals. It had always been hard to find a time and place to quietly take care of the more cannibalistic portion of my abilities, for some reason people were fine if you just kill someone but when you start cooking and eating who you killed everyone starts to get up in arms.
I shook my head. Later Evo, this isn’t the time or the place… Wait until you find some bandits or some enemy soldiers, people that won’t be missed and whose disappearances won’t raise any questions… I started moving deeper into the store again, I’d guess that there was a living quarters on the upper floor. Looking around in the dark and finding nothing I began to wonder if there even was a way up to the next floor, but then I found a cord hanging from a framed square section of the ceiling. Ah… a pulldown ladder… Clever, I guess that saves a lot of space and keeps the curious from straying out of the business area… Pulling the cord the square hatch fell away and a wooden ladder dropped down with a loud thump, I flinched at the loud sound before looking up. Welp, I guess that’s the end of the stealth portion of tonight… I held the scythe in my hands and began to carefully climb up the ladder, it was an act that once more made me miss my old body with its supernatural strength and agility. Climbing up a ladder with a five foot, thirty pound rod of metal and blade in my hands was not easy.
Pulling myself up onto the upper floor and taking a moment to readjust my clothes I looked around. I found myself surrounded by three half-dressed men who all seemed to be armed and to the far right a door opened up and a woman stepped out. As the red haired woman turned to face me her face took on a predatory glee and she licked her lips.
“Oh, well look who crept into my home! I think we can skip a few steps for a thief like you, you’ll be a wonderful addition to next week’s showcase…”