The stay within the arena was rather pleasant. Well, for Sel at least. The owner of the arena made him fight in daily battles to pay for his accommodation and food, which he did gladly to both improve his skills in deadly combat and to thin out his opponents. The poor sods were easily dispatched and taken out of the future fights.
Over the two weeks that the greyskin fought, he got managed to gain a fan following. The number of females that attended the fights increased by about fifteen percent as they wanted to take a peak at the ’Elven Executor’ as people called him. Honestly, he would have never begun decapitating his opponents of he knew what that would lead to. No point stopping the fun now though.
It was funny how people would throw in food, flowers and even gold to make people fight with vigor. Sel enjoyed catching a slab of mean in the mid air and devour it. What left an even bigger impression on people was when he devoured the heart of an enemy while he was still alive. The trick he used on the slaver woman before helper here, although he concealed the fact that he used magic for that.
Audience loved blood. The bloodier the fight the more ecstatic the people become. Making his opponents bleed like pigs, cutting their limbs and eating their flesh, Sel made himself a bit of infamy, or fame depending how you look at it. He also plenty of money to pay for his meals and to get a better sleeping arrangements.
There were some female fighters, but seeing how most of them were demons, he didn’t fancy screwing any of them. The excess of tusks, hairs and extra limbs coming out of wrong places made the females slightly less appealing to look at. So, Sel had to restrain his libido, waiting to get out of there.
He could have gotten a whore from a whore house, such option was available for a new upcoming champion, but he didn’t want to spend money on something he could get for free. Selmiria was around, if he would get desperate, he could simply call her. She was probably proficient enough to sneak in.
Funny thing, a brutish woman tried forcing Sel into submission. He didn’t like the way she went about things, so he broke her legs and her arms. It was probably the first time somebody denied a woman so forcefully. She was laying in the infirmary, drinking some potions and getting her flesh put together properly.
Men also tried approaching the pretty boy, but they were more wary after he dealt with the brutish woman, so they got out with a few cuts and bruises. Missing fingers didn’t count.
Sel didn’t use magic, even though it wasn’t forbidden. He simply hid the trump card until the time would come, just like the Regios and his sister taught him. He used his twin swords to sound, maim, decapitate and slaughter his opponents. He was allowed to keep them when he was arrested, people who tried taking them were left unable to walk.
The demon territories were mostly lawless, with everybody closing their eyes on what everybody else did. The guards were there to mostly enforce the will of the demon lord, they cared little for the safety of citizens or keeping peace. Bribery was a common way of making them walk away with happy grins and looking the other way.
After the two weeks passed, the event finally happened. There were supposed to be about fourth nobles fighting in a tournament, with preliminaries, semi-finals and finals being in place, but before that the free for all fight amongst the common folk would happen. It would be a fight of elimination, with two dozen people released into an arena at first and more added as soon as the number would drop to half a dozen. In theory, six people could make it to face the nobles, but the greyskin did not want to leave anybody standing. He would cut everyone down, until he was the only one left.
There were different people considered noble demons from all over the the demon territories, as well as some mystery guests from beyond the pillars. They were allowed in as the demon lord wanted to watch them struggle. In case they would win, he could simply kill them or hold them hostage. He had no intention of giving his daughter to some non-demon.
When the fighting began, Sel was not amongst the first batch, he was about midway through the roster of people to be released inside. He just stood in the shadows and watched the fight until it was his time. Once he was let loose onto the poor people inside, he began his massacre.
When he walked in first, there were a small group of people who seemed to work together. Sel didn’t let them live for long. There were three big guys, who wielded a greatsword, a greathammer and a greataxe, swinging their weapons left and right. There also was a short guys with some thrown daggers and a short sword in his hand. The four people killed everybody before them and now they looked at the new arrivals.
Sel firstly charged at the closest person who just came in, cutting him in half. He didn’t bother with fancy fighting when there were plenty of people to kill. He charged from person to person, trying to kill or gravely wound everybody on his way, until he got to the group of four in the centre.
First, he tried taking out the short guy, who immediately jumped away and hid behind the big guys. So, Sel went on to try and fight the three brutes, but their teamwork didn’t leave him many openings. They were a good team, their cooperation was evident from how they moved very close together and covered one another.
Sel made a few attempts, before giving up on fighting them for the time being. He didn’t want to go all out just yet, there were still plenty of others to kill. So, he leapt from person to person, shedding blood and dropping bodies. Most people were just idiots, dumb enough to get caught with some petty crime, or who entered on their own free will.
For the most part killing them was easy. A quick slash or stab was enough most times. Sel easily dropped about a dozen men when the next batch of fools was let inside. There were different people, but to Sel they all were nothing more but flesh, to be ripped and consumed.
Form that batch Sel managed to drop four people, before a certain someone caught his attention. A woman was fighting using magic. She glowed with a green glow, making vines sprout out of the ground and entangle people around her. Using those vines, she would hold them in place and strangle them. It was a strange but efficient way to get rid of people.
Sel paused for a while, looking at the woman. Using blessed magics in the demon territories was rare, she should be a slave of some sort. Although, looking at her Sel could see why she was was walking around free.
The woman had horns like a demon, which resembled antlers of a deer. She also had weird ears, but not like his or elf’s, they were more like animal ears. She seemed to look like a half deer. Her lower half wasn’t that of a human, she had two hooves that were very agile. She was prancing around, avoiding strikes and dishing around punishment using spells.
The grey demon only snapped out of it when she came close to him and tried using magic on him. Dodging the vines reaching for his legs, he jumped away to some distance away. Sel didn’t want to kill the woman, she seemed interesting to him. She was an in-between existence like him, neither a demon or a blessed race, having features of both. He wanted to have her for himself.
He proceeded to clear out the remaining people, killing a few more men, trying to make enough clear space. Pin the arena, there was a small group of four people in the middle, a grey elf and a girl with hooves jumping around and killing. It was a strange dance, which girl also seemed to notice.
The two fell into some kind of rhythm, both circling the group in the middle. They were on the opposite ends of the arena at all times, not coming closer. Sel noticed that the girl was bloodthirsty, like him. She had a vicious smile on her face as she unleashed her magic. She didn’t use her weapon that was strapped to her back. He saw such weapon before in a shop, it was a large circular blade with sharp, serrated edges – a chakram.
The grey demon wanted to see her use it. He himself wielded twin swords, which was a pretty common choice of weapon, so seeing some weird weapon, he wanted to watch the girl use it. He was sure that at some point the magical energy that the girl has will be exhausted and she would need to turn to her trusty bladed circle.
The two danced like that for another batch, at which point about a hundred people were killed. It was the point where arena master ran out of fools to send out, which would lead to the event, but the time it took for the fighting was too short. They whole battle should have taken a couple of hours, but it only took half that at most. The exceptional fighters cleared out all the people quickly and efficiently, not giving much of a bloody show, instead taking the crowd by the beauty of the awe inspiring technique and strength. The way that Sel cut so easily through the demons that were on the battlefield, the way that the weird demon used blessed magic to kill people, the way that the group in the middle all covered each other, those were all the things not commonly seen by the audience. They loved the display of power before them.
When the last batch came out, it was decided to extend the fight by letting out monsters to give people a show and to perhaps to kill off the few of the stronger fighters. When the number of people would go down to six, some nasty beasts would be let out to make people happy, although they seemed just fine already.
Sel and the hoof girl didn’t know that, they just danced. She seemed to enjoy their show, prancing around, leaping from place to place. She decided to make a change and took out her weapon. The beautiful circular blade gleamed in the sunlight. The girl didn’t need much to start dirtying the blade with the dark blood of the demons.
While the two killed more people, they often looked at one another. The girl had a happy expression, she gave off the feeling of a huntress killing her prey. She would dish out quick strikes, neatly cutting people into two, spraying herself with their blood. She loved the feeling taking lives.
Watching that, Sel couldn’t help but smile himself. He gladly played the game the girl played, making the fight into a hunt. It didn’t take them long to go down to just the six people in the arena. With two simultaneous strikes, the two weird people ended two lives and ended up at the opposite ends of the arena, with four others in-between them. They looked at each other and their smiles grew wider. The hunt wasn’t over.
Before the announcer could speak of the extra round of beasts, the two charged towards the center of the arena with their weapons ready. The girl spun around her axis and let go of her weapon, making it fly towards one of the brutes. It hit him in the chest making hi fall and knock over the little guy near him.
It was a perfect timing for Sel to arrive. Using the opening made by the huntress girl, he swung his swords, taking off the head of the big guy, who was distracted by the sudden fall of his friend. At that time the girl reached the other guy whom she struck with her thrown weapon and dug it out of his chest. With a quick whirlwind attack, she struck the last big guy standing, making him topple over. With a few quick stabs, Sel ends the lives of the men, still holding on to their dear lives.
Neither of them stopping, they swung their weapons at one another, locking them together. Sel could have used only one sword for that, but having a few words was what he wanted first, before attacking the girl that he wanted to have for himself.
“Nice hunt. You seem like a good fighter. Too bad I will take your head as a trophy.”
“You are confident for a spittle huntress. I want to take you whole. What do you say?”
“Heh, a duel for the life of the other? Not the way that great Faunas commands us to hunt, but if the prey is good, why not wager with your freedom?”
“Hunt? Oh, this if we are hunting, they you are the prey. I am more of a predator than you, girl.” With those words Sel showed off his sharp teeth with a grin. His blood was burning with excitement. This girl had to be his.
“Illivia Ragesong. The huntress on the path of the Eternal Hunt.”
“Sel’de-Warp, a den-demon born for greatness.”
With the short exchange, the girl kept away, keeping her weapon ready for attacking. When she lands, she doesn’t give Sel much time to act, immediately unleashing a number of spell at him. Now she didn’t simply use vines, she made spikes appear quickly from the ground, sent poison gas at him and used other such tricks to quickly kill him.
Previously Sel was mostly uninjured, with a few scratches and gashes here and there, but now he was getting cut and stabbed, his blood pouring out. He could still handle it, but this clearly showed how the girl was beyond mere commoners. It would have been funny if she won the tournament and got the hand of the demon lords daughter.
Sel didn’t let her attack him for free. Still not using magic, he charged at her quickly, trying to land a strike or two. She guarded with her chakram, not letting him hurt her. They were exchanging attacks, parrying and counter-attacking, hoping to bring the other one down.
It might have seemed as the girl was winning, but she was really at a disadvantage. While her magic dwindled and she grew tired, Sel had the feel energy, which was overabundant in the area, heal him and make him stronger. He wasn’t using his full strength, wanting to bring the girl down without many injuries.
The crowd roared in excitement at the fight, seeing two powerful people come together in the awesome display of power. They moved quicker than before, their attacks sent sparks flying and made loud clashing noise. They were stronger and better then mere commoners.
Their fight lasted for fifteen minutes. They would charge at one another, her using her magic and him ignoring it or dodging it. By the end of the fight, she was getting tired, but she was unrelenting, not wanting to admit her defeat. She seemed to not want to be a prey to a demon.
In the end, Sel didn’t see any other choice but to defeat her with a devastating strike. With her power faltering, she had an opening that which the demon used. He deflected the girl’s chakram and drove his sword into her stomach. The fight was ended at that moment, the girl dropping her weapon and loosing her strength. The greyskin dropped the weapons of his own and caught her.
This was the first time he could clearly see her. She had very light eyes, almost perfectly white but with a tinge of green. They made her look blind, like him. She had a pretty face, a mature face of a woman. Her hair was long, collected in a ponytail behind her reaching down to her waist. Beautiful light green hair, with few strands of deeper dark green.
Now, she had blood flowing from her mouth, her life leaving her. She was a remarkable warrior, perhaps she could hurt Sel greatly if they were just one on one, but after an hour of fighting, she was tired and weak, her endurance giving out. Hunters like her were made for quick kills, a charge, a strike and a kill. She wasn’t made for drawn out fight like she was in now.
“Do you accept your loss? You are mine now.”
“Yes, demon. I have become prey, for you to devour. There is nothing else to do, as a blessing I carry will kill me of you attempt to save me.”
“Would you rather see me devour your heart?”
“Ah, so you are the heart-eater the rumors speak of. Truly, you have the loos and the manners…” She coughed up some blood. “You have me, so what you will.”
“Be quiet and let me make you mine.”
With that, Sel bit his lip to make blood come out. With his black blood flowing, he kissed the girl, sending his feel energy inside her. He didn’t want to loose such a unique trophy.
When the scourge began trying to heal the girl, a bright green symbol appeared above her head, between her horns. It consisted of two parts, antlers, just like the ones on the girl’s head, of light green hue with a flower bud of lighter pale hue above it. They glowed brightly and Sel could feel their power pushing against the scourge.
He focused his attention, taking control and empowering the scourge. He guided it inside the girl. The blessing, it couldn’t be removed, but perhaps it could be suppressed. The greyskin sent his power towards the mark, trying to break through the power, hoping to reach it in time. As the girl’s life weakened, so did the blessing.
Now it was a fight against time. Sel pushed and pushed, condensing the feel energy into a single dense needle, pushing it closer and closer. It took seconds in real time, but to him it were minutes, long exhausting minutes.
Sweat formed all over his body, him using his power like that. A god’s blessing was a formidable power, power that Sel now desired. He wanted this power for himself and the only way to get it was to save the girl.
With the fire inside him burning brighter, he pushed closer.
Finally, the needle reached the blessing, making the power of the god waver. That was enough to encompass the whole floating mark with black ball of scourge, isolating it from the girl. This allowed the feel energy inside her to begin healing her. It didn’t change her yet, simply mending her wounds and bringing her life back inside her body, just like the demon willed it.
While the scourge healed the girl, Sel turned his attention towards the mark, hoping to understand it and to conquer it. With his energy touching it, he could feel two beings, two different gods. A masculine energy was furious at him for trying to take his champion. The girl served as the huntress for a long time, if she wasn’t weakened by the scourge and by the constant fighting, the demon would never defeat her. The foolish lass shouldn’t have ventured into the forbidden lands.
The other one was different. It was worried. For the girl, who was the goddess’ champion. For the demon, who was going to face the wrath of her brother. For the demon’s goddess, who was weak and dying, only the greyskin keeping her alive as her only subordinate in the mortal realm. He was the only one to be eligible as her champion, but if he weren’t to become one soon, she would die and he wouldn’t be able to bless his children to link them to her either.
Sel felt their thoughts, their feelings and he reached out to the goddess. He sent a simple thoughts, using all his power to ensure it will reach her. Feeling the presence of the demon, the goddess was surprised, but she also felt what he wanted to say. With a slight hesitation, she lowered her defense to allow him to do his work. The life of her friend was more valuable than a champion.
With one part of the blessing becoming weaker, Sel was able to overtake it. He pushed his power into it, making it succumb to him, taking control of the mark. When the black ball concentrated, it merged with the mark, transforming it. The color turned dark, with black lines running through.
At the same time, the hair and the eyes of the girl turned dark green as to accommodate the changes to her mark. Her antlers turned from light brown to dark brown, with black at the base and thin black lines rising up. Her neck now had a black mark. With the gods power under his control, Sel felt at peace, no longer fearing for the girl’s life. Relaxing, he simply held her in his arms.
The development that occurred was noted by only a few, but it was enough to shake them to a core. A demon, powerful enough to subdue a god’s blessing. Demon lord and his daughter looked at him with disbelief. The favorite for the event has just changed, making Sel the only possible winner. Both of them wanted nobody else to continue their bloodline.
Sel felt tired, so he let the scourge around him to rejuvenate him. He still had some time before the next stage would complete, hopefully enough to recover his power.
The girl in his arms stirred, waking up from her dreamless slumber. Her dark green eyes looked at the grey elf. She did not expect to wake up anywhere but in the endless wilds of the afterlife.
Sel didn’t let her speak. With a mental command, he summoned Bucefal and made him carry the girl to Selmiria. The elf will take care of his new woman, making sure she survives until he return.
With his mount carrying his trophy away, Sel stood up and faced the balcony, where the instigators of the event resided. His look showed confidence, ready to take on the next challenge by himself. The demon lord waved his hand to give signal to begin the next part. While the beasts would battle, he would think if he can somehow influence the outcome, wanting to have the little grey elf below as his.
The beasts that were restrained behind metal bars all moved around, eager to have a nice meal. The tasty looking two-leg seemed just fine to eat.