Verz's hands were visibly shaking as she clutched Mors' status plate, her eyes slightly out of focus. "How is this possible? This ability, it's..."
Sighing loudly, Mors looked up at the night sky before shrugging his shoulders. "I know what you're thinking, and I know how much it means to you but, no. You have burnt that bridge."
Mors' icy tone woke Verz from her stupor. "You talk of burnt bridges, but you are still here... hiding in my shadow. Do not ma-"
"Enough of your feeble threats," hissed Mors, extremely irritated that he forgot about Grim's gift, and even worse, had let Verz see it. If the memories he had obtained from Grim were even half right, now she knew, she would hound him to the end of the earth. He now needed to think of a way to reduce the damage. "If there is nothing else, I'm leaving."
As Mors turned and was about to walk away, Verz grasped his shoulder in a vice-like grip, her hand vibrating with the intensity of the deep growl she was releasing. "You have always alluded to knowing more than you should. I don't even want to think how you got that knowledge but answer me this, do you think I will let you walk away?"
Verz's bestial growl was met with Mors own as he slowly turned around, glowing red orbs emanating through his blindfold. "I know that you are not stupid enough to think that you can force this matter or is it that you can't see the restrictions on the skill?"
Mors lips curled as Verz blinked, realising that an ability that powerful would definitely have some drawbacks, however, what Mors said next seemed almost too good to be true for the wolfkin. "The skills can only be obtained if both parties are willing and, unluckily for you, I am all out of goodwill and pleasantries."
Still shaking, Verz took a deep breath as she removed her hand from Mors' shoulder. Even though she was wearing a mask, it was evident she was frowning in concentration. "What are your conditions?"
Mors glared silently. He had not even considered this possibility, mainly due to forgetting about the ability, and although there were many things he needed, he couldn't bring himself to ask for them. The scorn and humiliation the huntsmen had shown him had left its mark. Even if his pride demanded vengeance, he knew he couldn't make an enemy of the whole world. He would be content with using them if possible, temporarily ignoring their exitance until he was stronger if not.
Seeing varying emotions crossing the demon's eyes, none of them good, Verz decided to lead the negotiations. "I will teach you how to make a blood pact, including all of the ways to cheat them and then, when you are happy, make one with you."
Her sudden suggestion brought Mors out of his musings.
Having read the reports, seen his drastic change in both personality and physical appearance, and most importantly, could sense the rage boiling inside, simmering below the surface, with Verz's past, she had a good idea in what would convince him. If it failed, she might have a backup plan if she could confirm some of the details of his earlier behaviour, but Verz would only use it as a last resort as if she was wrong, it could backfire horribly.
"I will make you into an unstoppable killing machine. With your potential, you will be so powerful that you will crush all who oppose you and protect those that you find worthy."
"I will also provide you with the best training, equipment and resources on the continent while keeping you, and the two you are bound too, safe until you are strong enough to force the world to its knees."
Silence had fallen upon the cemetery, Verz's words tantalising the young demon, offering what he wanted but had no idea how to acquire by himself.
Verz continued. "In two months time, when I have sorted everything out here, I am going to hunt the group that killed Ethemeusa, and if you are willing, I will bring you with me. When we find the foxkin, you can kill him as slow as you like."
And now for the icing on the cake. Verz was throwing everything into her offer. She had played on Mors' sins, and now, she was going to target his insecurities.
"The training will be brutal. There will be times you beg for the mercy of death, but I will not grant it. The weak, pathetic you will perish, and from its ashes, a true dragon shall be born."
Verz had underestimated how much Mors had matured and was trying too hard, eliciting a snarl from the Demon. "Ho, so you are just going to give me everything so that I inherit your families curse? Even for you, that deal is too generous and, stop with the sweet talk. It is making me sick."
"There are conditions," Verz smiled under her mask. "You will compete in the adept's initiation in three days. Not only compete, but you will beat every opponent into the ground, leaving their broken bodies in your wake. The only rules are they do not die, and, from me, they do not get the chance to surrender."
Mors couldn't help but smile at Verz words. The organisation Verz had created was loosely based on a wolf pack and just like a pack, the dominance other others had to be established early on, not that this mattered to Mors in the slightest. It also would give Mors a chance to legitimately stomp the potential pupils that had been brought in by the huntsmen that had wronged him.
As her body gradually stopped shaking from the excitement, the silver gleam in Verz eyes intensified, sending a small chill down Mors back as for the first time, he felt oppressed. "Don't mistake me Mors. I do not need a man nor a demon to win. I need a terrifying monster that would cause the Gods to tremble in fear."
Regaining her composure somewhat, Verz breathed deeply. "After that, I will give you the position of Pathfinder and make you my personal adept. Pathfinders are feared existences, even to their fellow huntsmen. They are named so because they are willing to destroy everything that stands in their way, friend of foe, in order to achieve their goals. As such, you will be excused from regular training or team orientated drills, which I know you will hate. It will also give you full access to everything available to a lieutenant or below. Books, potions, elixirs, scrolls, everything you could ever want to gain strength rapidly."
"That is still what you will do for me, not what you want in return?" hissed Mors, getting impatient. He was sick of hearing the sales pitch. "Get to the point."
"The destruction of the Sun Clan and the revival of the Moon Clan," said Verz effortlessly, as if she had asked for something as simple as a glass of water.
"Ignoring something that is already guaranteed, you want me to fuck a wolfkin so that your clan's heritage can pe passed on?" Mors felt himself surge with anger. "You're no better than those damn demons."
Verz glared at Mors. "Moron! You're basically an immortal soul. As long as you exist, the curse will not activate, and my ancestor's spirits can rest in peace. All you need to do, when you have crushed those damn foxes into the dirt, is announce that you are of the Moon Clan to the world."
Mors studied the woman in front of him, looking for any hint of deceit.
Verz smiled wickedly behind her mask, deciding to use her last card. "Also, in two years time. The two you are bound with will face the final trial. Over 70% of adepts never return. A Pathfinder must still take the trial and so requires a team. Wouldn't you feel better knowing you were there, next to your... masters instead of on the other side of the continent."
Mors' brain Jared. "What? Masters?"
Verz couldn't help but laugh at his reaction. "As I thought, you didn't even know you were carrying out a rather crude soul ritual when you removed your horns. Do you know how many demon summoners have died to try to do what you just did to yourself? You even made a vow at the same time... That is almost as insane as your existence."
"FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!" roared Mors in anger, finally realising what the weird feeling, deep in his chest, was. "Why the hell does everything have to have some sort of hidden meaning in this bloody world. I am surprised I am not bound to the fucking floor I piss on."
Although Mors did not want to believe Verz, the moment he removed his horns, he felt two, small tugging sensations towards the other side of the fortress and somehow, knew that the two Lamia's were sleeping somewhat peacefully. Although, at the time, he immediately pushed it to the back of his mind.
After letting him calm down somewhat, Verz continued. "By your reaction, I guess you already instinctively know it's real. If you go against that vow and directly harm them, your mana will combust inside you, obliterating your body. If you had made a simple blood pact, then only your organs would be destroyed, or you could have found a loop-hole, but alas, it's still good to know your an idiot."
Still chuckling, Verz sighed in relief. She wasn't sure Mors was telling the truth about his ability, seeing as he didn't see his status card, but at least with the twins, she had him cornered. "You can sense them, Claire and Alice, Ethemeusa's adopted children, can't you?"
"How, absolutely, bloody convenient," spat Mors, fuming at his own stupidity. "Why did I do that? How did I even rationalised that impulse? I could have just used that charm that hides horns instead of ripping them off. I HATE THIS WORLD."
Verz let out a genuine laugh, now completely confident after confirming Mors' reaction. "Can you imagine if they found out? You would be at their mercy. You wouldn't even be able to run away as they could summon you back, naked of course as only your flesh and soul can be teleported, and then you would have to follow every order or experience crippling pain. I'm surprised. Demons typically die before submitting to another. Then again, as you already have enslaved that Ice Demon, I guess this is just life paying you back."
Mors couldn't hear Verz's words, his mind scrambling for any chance, no matter how small, that she was wrong. However, deep down, he knew she was telling the truth.
After lifting her mask slightly to wipe away a tear, Verz turned to look at the demon, who looked like he was about to explode on the spot. "Now, now. Don't be like that. It's not like I am going to tell them. I will ask Kelora and see if she knows anything about how to remove it. I can't have an inheritor of the Moon Clan enslaved, can I? Or is that what you're into?"
Mors stared at the ground for a long time before finally releasing his breath, his voice crackling with mana as he restrained his rage. "I will be back for the initiation. Afterwards, I will give you my answer."
Without waiting for a response, Mors' figure flickered, and a shadow blurred out of the cemetery towards the outer gate and an incredible speed, occasionally swerving to smash anything that looked fragile, including two benches and one of the street lamps.
"Impressive, I was certain he would have gone on a rampage and need a time out." Verz stood watching until the shadow had scaled the wall and disappeared before tucking Mors' status card into her pocket and picking up the two discarded horns. "It's About time that bastard, Death threw me a bone."
Turning and slowly walking back to the fortress Verz couldn't help but sigh. "The angelic pact takes all the fun out of teasing the little demon. Still, I guess I can be thankful it stopped me from killing him in that clearing. As soon as the heritage secure... I can finally start to let loose."
Two of the guards closest to the cemetery shuddered as their captain's terrifying laugh resonated on the wind, and they quickly retreated into the shadows.
- 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]