It took several weeks for the trio to cross the desert and get through the pillars. Regios has been up to the pillars a couple of times previously, but he never went beyond, the demon territories are too dangerous for a solo adventure. Regios didn’t like being in a party, when people found out he was a halfling, a part elf at that, their responses were often very polarized, from open hatred to open lustful affection. So, he preferred doing things alone or with few people he could trust. Now, he was with his sister and a demon who seemed sane enough to understand him.
Because Regios knew a bit about pillars, he also knew their placement and how to go right in between the two, where their power is lesser. This helped Sel keep as much fell energy as he could and to avoid the elven patrols. The pursuit never caught up to the trio, in desert it was somewhat hard to follow the group, sandstorms were enough to cover their tracks.
While they trekked through the ocean of sand, they had to ration their supplies. Sel offered to share the elf he had saved previously, but the other two had some strange aversion to it for some reason. When elf was finished, Sel then hunted scorpions, bugs and whatever else he could find. Needed be, he could consume the scourge to keep him going,
Selmiria swore. A lot. She couldn’t keep her mouth shut most of the time, just going on and on throwing around curses and racial slurs towards no one in particular. The number of times she said fuck made Sel believe that it was what she wanted. He was close to actually doing it too, but desert was not the place for indulging in such activities; in the day you would be swearing and melting from heat, during the night you would be begging for the heat to return. Well, the two others would. Sel was fine being practically naked, his nude torso shown for the world to see.
The reason the two went to the demon territory with Sel was revealed during the journey. Turns out, demons dislike most other races, especially the blessed ones. If humans can pull off walking around free and making a profit, the elves would be immediately attacked to be turned into a slave. So, having Sel, who is intelligent walk around with them posing as Selmaria’s master would allow two to travel around.
Sel thought that it was a stupid idea, what if he wanted to go somewhere alone or simply take her as a slave like any other demon? She is going to practically be his slave, seeing as slave collars all have magic engraved in them to make slaves obedient. It is a powerful blood magic, bonding the slave to the master’s blood. It seemed that the two were desperate to get out of the elves’ territory, but otherwise their plan hinged on Sel’s goodness. And he didn’t really feel like being good.
The time would really tell what would happen with them. The whole journey was very dull. There were no attacks or ambushes by beasts or anybody else. The trio just walked in the desert for a long time, until they finally reached the grasslands.
Regios has a map of the territories close to the pillars, so he pointed towards a close town, where they could replenish supplies and rest. But first, Selmiria had to become a slave. She outright refused to be Regios’ slave, but it wouldn’t have worked anyway, as he didn’t have a drop of demon blood in him. Sel was curious how Regios came across a slave collar but didn’t ask, not wishing to hear an hour long rant about some adventure.
Putting a drop of Sel’s blood activated the collar and made it glow with red light. The lettering of the engravings even seemed to change around somewhat, but nobody could read it. When Selmaria put on the collar, it snapped shut and didn’t get loose at all. The magics in it were powerful.
What Sel discovered a little later, this collar had some convenient, not common features, like thought control. When Sel thought how he would like for the girl to shut up, she just shut her mouth, making her look uneasy and worried, but leaving her no choice. It was a good change, but Sel had to release the hold on her as Regios then began to beg to hear the sweet voice of his sister.
Another feature was absolute obedience, making Selmaria do whatever Sel thought of or told her to do. She had no choice. If he wanted her to sit and be quiet, she would do it. If he wanted her to run in circles, she would run in circles, to the point of exhaustion and beyond. If he wanted her to undress and show her tits, she would do that too. All of those things he tried. A tool much too convenient.
With Selmaria now a slave to Sel, the trio then went on towards the town. This would be the first time Sel would enter a civilized town, at least willingly and on good terms. Selmaria was made to stay quiet and not talk to others and not take action if somebody tries to grab her ass or something. She objected, but she was told that Sel would handle any such attempts, all she had to do was say.
Even on the outskirts of the town, they were approached by some men, wanting to buy the elf or to slave some demon slaves. Sel ignored them and Regios apologized to them. They walked on past the slavers.
Inside the town they also attracted some attention. Few people offered some gold or other slaves in exchange, but Sel ignored he them still, he didn’t need either. One man tried grabbing Selmaria, but he lost his hand in the process. Others learned the lesson through the fool’s mistake and carried on with their business.
They walked through the town, until the found an inn to rest in. It was a medium sized inn, with reasonable prices, by Regios’ standards. The old man had some coins saved up, which elves didn’t get to take.
In there they settled at a table and ordered some food and ale. Weeks in desert will make anybody miss even the simplest of meals. they were discussing what to do next, with Selmaria pouring her frustrations at the greyskin, when they were approached by a small person.
“Excuse me, could I have a moment of your time…”
The furry guy seemed to have a good way with words for a demon, or half-demon in his case. He talked about how Sel seemed to attract misfortune, but it also didn’t seem to phase him in the slightest, instead it bent to his will. He asked for Sel to take in a pet of his, one who attracts misfortune in much the same way and that person didn’t want it to suffer, so staying near Sel, it would have a nicer life.
Regios motioned the person to sit and asked him questions. The guy was named Lemu, he was a catsun, half gremlin and half feline. He talked about his life, about his job as a hunter and such. His story seemed to have a few lies in it, but the trio didn’t stress their attention at that.
Now having a good conversation partner, Regios ran his tongue into the boys ear and listened to whatever he had to say. The boy was of few words, but he wasn’t at all greedy for them. He shared whatever information he had, hoping that Sel would take in his pet.
The trio and catsun all had their meals and drunk some ale. Then, Sel agreed to take the pet and walked outside. The others hurried after him. Lemu was showing them a way outside of town, when there was a commotion behind them. Some horns sounded and a loud voice boomed, amplified by magic.
“We are looking for a grey demon! He was seen walking in here! We have his previous den-mates, who said they knew him as he was one of a kind! We want him and we want him now! Otherwise we take your women and your children instead!”
Sel pondered about the words for a moment and then turned towards the voice. Walking in that direction, others followed him. When they found they slavers, they were atop some horses, with few leashes in their hands. Some of the leashes were attached to naked demons and few were attached to some residents of the town. Seeing one of the residents Lemu shouted out, rushing towards one of them.
Lemu’s older sister was taken by the people. He tried getting to her, but was sent to the ground by a hit from a spear. It wasn’t a cut, he was hit by a blunt end, but he was knocked out for a time.
“We won’t return the women if we have to wait for too long. In fact, if we wait any longer, we won’t return them at all and we will take some more.”
The men who had a spear overlooked the crowd, trying to find some pretty things to take. He was confident in his power, seeing how he was well equipped for these people. Being an adventurer, he was able to get some quality armor, as did his companions. Most there people could do was try and push them back. The slavers had better equipment and some mounts. It was an uneven fight, even if they were outnumbered, they weren’t outgunned.
Man looked around and rested his eyes on a pretty elf. She was pretty and seemed out of place amongst the demons, so the man took his time studying her. He didn’t notice the man beside her was the one he was looking for. He also didn’t notice a tomahawk flying towards his face, right until the moment it was practically embedded into the skull. The throw was too quick.
While people were trying to comprehend what happened, a grey shadow dashed towards them. There were nine slavers originally, now there were eight. Moments later there were seven, with another head rolling on the ground.
Once the men were able to understand what happened, another one of them had two swords sticking out of his chest. They were too slow for Sel, them trying to scramble together to put some kind of resistance, they were nothing compared to the demons in the cave, the spiders or the convoys he attacked previously. Relying on their equipment was what led to their downfall.
The fight didn’t last long, Sel just jumped around, slashing at the horses, making them stand up and throw the riders down. While they were dazed, the greyskin would dash at them and slit their throats or rip into them with his bare hands. One of the slavers tried running away, only to receive a tomahawk to the back of the head.
Nine people came to town, none of them came back. The woman who were taken were now freed, with some slaves being cut free as well. They had collars on their necks, but seeing how their masters were now dead, the colors faded. The girls didn’t dare remove them, in case their savior wanted to take them, but he didn’t care about them, instead cleaning his weapons and turning away.
Only after he walked some distance away, people snapped out of it. Most were surprised and praised the greyskin for the fight, some reprimanded him for being the reason they were there in the first place. A hunter came to them, having one of the resident girls in tow.
“Thank you, you saved my sister, Siri. My brother could’ve fight them, but you just slaughtered them. I was too afraid to do anything as they seemed more powerful them me and my guys. I thank you deeply.”
“Thank you.” The girl, resembling Lemu a lot spoke to Sel.
The demon just nodded to them. The two walked to Lemu trying to wake him up. Sel wanted to do the same to continue, but seeing them walk there, he just stood in place with his usual expressionless face. The two others from his party came by and talked to him, but they were interrupted by a raspy voice.
“Hoy hoy, young man, would you care for a dinner as a thank you for rescuing my granddaughter? She is everything that I have, I wouldn’t have survived without her. “
Before the trio stood an old hag, whose appearance couldn’t be described as anything other than ’crooked’. She was folded in half, her arms and legs seemingly twisted at old angles, her nose big with a big mole on it. A hag was a very good descriptions of her indeed, her grey hairs and eyes they were almost blind, they made her look very old and frail.
Beside her stood a young creature, a teen girl with straight red hair. She was looking very good, her breasts and her butt forming exquisite curved, making her look good. It was strange that demons didn’t take her already. Whatever the reason, Sel wanted to deny the invention, but Regios, smitten by the girl’s beauty readily agreed. This of course prompted a comment from his sister about him being an old fast and a pervert.
So, the trio went to the house of the hag, leaving Lemu and his family behind. They would see him tomorrow. In the hag’s house they talked, while the she and her granddaughter cooked a dinner. They were interested in the trio and how they met and where they were headed. Sel as usual just stayed silent with a solemn expression, letting the other two do the talking.
The hag was an old woman, living in the town. She worked as fortune teller and such, making money off palm readings and some herbal remedies. Her name was Blair. Her granddaughter helped her around, since she was very weak as of late. The girl’s name was Sabrina. She was quiet mostly, just listening to her elder’s request.
After some preparations, they all were seated at a wooden table. It and most of the things in the hag’s house looked very frail, but turned out to be rather sturdy.
With everybody sitting down, the hag opens a bottle of some wine and pours it into the cups, leaving out her granddaughter. Then she raises a toast to them meeting. The trio just empties their glasses, unfamiliar with proper customs. Sel wasn’t familiar with wine, but seeing how he liked blood, he gulped the red liquid down. Then they trio blacked out, hitting their heads on the table, with the old hag setting her glass down and looking at her guests with a crooked smile. A truly crooked person she was.