the shady file III
the DEMONS and the LAST FAIRY
“You summoned us, my Lord?” AKUMA asked, after the four generals had entered the war room and taken their seats. He was the largest of the four generals, and almost as big as the Demon Lord himself. His skin was a deep red, dark enough to appear black to observers who failed to be cautious enough to notice its red tint, and his eyes, like those of the rarest of demons, were a bright white. He had two large horns that stuck out of the sides of his forehead and spiraled outward four times, ending in a sharp, straight blade like shape. His teeth were as bright as his eyes, and sharp like the black spikes that covered the various parts of his body. His wings, unlike the rest of his body, were colored a soft, light red, just like most of his tail.
The Demon Lord nodded, as he pulled two thick cables of fire out of the large table they sat around. He gently inserted the cables into the back of his head, and the table lit up and revealed a large overhead map. The generals watched as the Demon Lord gradually zoomed in on a particular portion of the map.
“The Forest of Light?” ASURA muttered, when the Demon Lord was done. ASURA was the second largest amongst the generals. He also had the longest spikes and shortest horns of them all. His eyes and his wings were completely black, and his skin light orange. His teeth weren’t as sharp as the other generals, but they were, rather strangely, as black as his eyes.
“What lies in it, my Lord?” JIN, the smallest of the generals, asked. JIN had a thin frame, one that was colored bright red, with eyes and teeth that burnt a bright yellow. His horns, all three of them, came out of the front of his forehead, and curved upwards, and then backwards to a great length. His hair, unlike the other demons, was black, and his wings were dark red for the most part, with a few patches that were light red and black in color.
“Can you not guess?” the Demon Lord asked, as he looked from one general to another.
“The Last Fairy…” YAMA whispered. YAMA, just like JIN, was an anomaly. His frame was rather small and light as well. His body was dull red in color, except for the edges of his wings and the tip of his tail, which shone a bright black. His horns were curved haphazardly, and there were four of them in all. Both YAMA and JIN were now feared generals who had made their way through the demonic ranks, but it was not always so. Demons worshipped strength, and in their world, size and strength went hand in hand. Thus, the demons with larger frames were always at an advantage when compared to the ones who were small and light. JIN and YAMA, however, had proved themselves to be exceptions to the rule. They had mastered the art of agile combat, and their speed outdid the strength of most demons, except for the Demon Lord himself. Their fighting prowess, along with their cunning and strategic capabilities, had eventually earned them their rightful place in the Demon Lord’s war council.
“Can it be? Have the clans finally found her?” ASURA asked, with a big smile on his face.
“They have. I have confirmed it personally,” the Demon Lord answered.
“What is your wish, my Lord?” JIN asked, as he pored over the map.
“A royal hunt,” the Demon Lord said.
“Why, my Lord?” YAMA asked. “Why waste our time on her? She does not deserve it.”
“Oh… but she does, dear brother,” AKUMA said. “Out of all the prey our kind has hunted over the last few millennia, she deserves it the most.”
“She’s eluded us for years, after all,” JIN muttered.
“And her kind were pests,” ASURA said.
“The kind that took centuries to deal with, more than I care to count,” the Demon Lord muttered.
“And then there’s her. No creature has ever hidden from our clans and spies so effectively,” JIN said.
“This will be a hunt like no other then,” YAMA said, as a mischievous smile formed on his face.
“Exactly,” the Demon Lord said, as his golden eyes glinted with joy.
“But do we really expect this tiny creature to put up a fight good enough to satiate all five of us?” ASURA asked.
“Of course not, my dear General. We aren’t going there to fight her. We are going there to hunt her, separately,” the Demon Lord said, before flashing his generals a large smile and adding, “And may the best hunter win.”
“A competition, my Lord. How exciting!” JIN said, as he rubbed his hands together.
“It’s been more than a decade since we’ve had one,” AKUMA said. “This will be a hunt to remember for a great many years.”
“And it’s been a while since we all were last ranked for succession,” YAMA muttered.
“Yes, General AKUMA, it shall,” the Demon Lord said, before flashing YAMA a quick smile. “And it shall be a rather difficult hunt as well. This creature is a master at evading capture. And it is all the more apparent from the forest she has chosen to hide herself in.”
“Yes. The Forest of Light will give her a great deal of natural camouflage,” ASURA said.
“All the better. We wouldn’t want it to be too easy now, would we?” JIN said, letting out a big laugh.
“No, we wouldn’t. Well then,” the Demon Lord said, as he detached the fiery cables from his head and watched them go back into the table, “let us prepare. We should set off immediately.”
The Generals followed the Demon Lord into the armory. Once there, they waited for the blacksmith and his apprentices to bring them their weapons.
“Here you go, my Generals,” the blacksmith said, as his apprentices brought the weapons out after they had finished putting the final touches on them.
“Your dual katanas, General JIN,” the blacksmith said, as an apprentice handed the General two long, sharp katanas, whose blades were engulfed in a bright yellow fire. JIN took the katanas from the apprentice and felt their weight.
“They seem lighter. More balanced,” he muttered.
“They are, my General,” the blacksmith said. “A few more runes have been added to them as well. Their fire shall burn brighter from here on, and they will cut through any substance with ease.”
“Good,” JIN mumbled, as he continued examining his katanas and slicing the air with them.
“For you, General AKUMA, your broadsword, enhanced and brightened. One side of its blade has been sharpened even more, while the other has been dulled. You can now, with equal ease, slice your foes, or crush them,” the blacksmith said, with a menacing smile, as AKUMA picked up the large broadsword that four apprentices carried with great difficulty.
“Thank you, blacksmith,” AKUMA said, while he balanced the sword on one finger, before resting it over his shoulder. The broadsword, which was almost as long as AKUMA was, and almost half as wide as him as well, was engulfed in a bright red flame.
“Your hammer, General,” the blacksmith said, as ASURA picked up the large hammer presented to him. The hammer burnt a bright orange and ASURA swung it around a few times while the blacksmith continued. “Your weapon weighs less now, my General, but it continues to be just as deadly. I’ve infused it with a new flame, one that will burn your enemies immediately, but take its time to kill them, just like you had requested.”
“Very good, blacksmith. Very good. I shall not forget this,” ASURA roared, as he swung his hammer one last time.
“And for you, General YAMA,” the blacksmith smiled and said, “your great bow. I’ve added a few more drawstrings to it, and they shall now allow you to shoot off five arrows at once. The material the drawstrings are made of is much stronger now, so you should be able to shoot at three times the distance. I’ve also added a magic mirror to it, which you can look through when you aim, if you so choose. The mirror enhances your view of the battlefield and allows you to see further away. I’ve also elongated the spikes that cover your bow. They burn brighter now, and they’re colored differently because they’re made from different flames. Each flame, however, is equally deadly. And each flame has its own unique effect on whoever it burns. I leave it to you to figure out which flame conjures what effect. But I can assure you that these flames will make stabbing any targets who get too close to you much more enjoyable, and save you the hassle of pulling out a knife, or using your nails.”
“Excellent,” YAMA said, as he grabbed the bow and eagerly played with its drawstrings and magic mirror.
“My Lord, we have saved the best for last,” the blacksmith said, as he took the Demon Lord’s weapon from his apprentices and held it up while bowing before him. “Your great scythe, my Lord. Sharpened, and enhanced with a new flame, one that burns a bright gold, just like your eyes. I’ve also hidden a second blade in its other end, one that burns as brightly as the visible one. I’ve also added a mechanism into its shaft which allows you to split the shaft itself into two equal parts, and thereby use the weapon as two smaller scythes if you so wish.”
“This pleases me, blacksmith. You and your apprentices have exceeded yourselves. I shall ask the guards to give you extra rations, and as much ambrosia as you all can consume, for the next three fortnights.”
“Thank you, my Lord. I wish you and your Generals the best of luck on your great hunt,” the blacksmith said, as he and his apprentices bowed. They remained in their positions until the Demon Lord and his generals exited the armory.
“To the temple, my Lord?” YAMA asked, as they walked out of the armory’s fiery doors.
“Yes. We leave as soon as the ritual is over,” the Demon Lord answered, the impatience apparent in his eyes.