Chapter 33:

A Warning

The Children of Eris

The world turned grey as time stood still.Bookmark here

“I was wondering when you would show up,” David mumbled as he tried to open the carriage door, but found that it wouldn’t budge a little, even with his full strength.Bookmark here

Eris giggled across from him and David snapped to look at her; she had appeared there just after David turned to face the door.Bookmark here

She had appeared with the same icy, haunting aura oozing out of her and with her usual, sadistic smile. Eris was lying casually against the side of the carriage with her hands in her lap and her wings folded against her back.Bookmark here

“Did you miss me so much that you were willing to risk breaking a rule?” She asked, leaning forwards as she met his gaze.Bookmark here

David shifted back in his seat. Bookmark here

He dug his fingers into the wood beneath him and tried not to panic.Bookmark here

After all, Eris had warned him not to do anything unbefitting of being a Demon Emperor and then, seconds after his agreement with Rebecca, Eris had appeared.Bookmark here

I messed up.Bookmark here

“…Eris, I have legitimate reasons for agreeing to Lady Rebecca’s request,” David said, trying to hide the fact that his teeth were chatting. “As Lady Rebecca said, I-”Bookmark here

“David.”Bookmark here

He instantly stopped talking.Bookmark here

She sat up straight, never breaking eye contact with him and slowly moved towards him. Eris lightly tapped the air and dismissed David’s armour, exposing the terrified man beneath and taking away any last remnants of safety David had left.Bookmark here

Eris purred and touched his cheek, lightly stroking it, enjoying the way that David’s body shook from her touch.Bookmark here

“I wonder if I wasn’t clear enough once about what would happen if you didn’t live up to your name as the Demon Emperor?” She mused, caressing his cheek. David closed his eyes, but didn’t dare move from her. “Open your eyes, David.”Bookmark here

He did so nervously and found that her face was less than an inch from hers, putting her cruel, monstrous eyes that pierced his soul.Bookmark here

“Do you know why I came here?” She asked; he nodded. “Say it.”Bookmark here

“B-because I…I broke a rule,” David stuttered.Bookmark here

Her smile grew a little and she lightly shook her head. “Wrong.”Bookmark here

“Wrong?”Bookmark here

Eris put her other hand on his face and held him in place.Bookmark here

“Why did I come here, David Athelward?”Bookmark here

“I-I…I-don’t know.”Bookmark here

Eris laughed and put her forehead against his.Bookmark here

“Why did I come here, David Athelward?”Bookmark here

“T-t-to remind me not to cross you.”Bookmark here

Unable to hold herself back any longer, Eris laughed loudly and released David floating before him, but keeping her face close to his. Bookmark here

“Ah, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of seeing you squirm, David,” Eris said, her wings flapping giddily. “Well, I will leave it at that, I think. However.” Her expression turned cold and she glared at him. “Never forget that you are bound by my rules.” She smiled and then began to turn into a cloud of black feathers. “Remember, David Athelward, that you are the Demon Emperor.”Bookmark here

She giggled as she disappeared into the abyss, causing the world to regain its colours and time to move forward.Bookmark here

Once it had, David sat in stunned silence for almost a minute, before collapsing onto his hands and knees, hyperventilating and sweating. Bookmark here

He clutched his chest and winced, curling into a ball. He tried to calm himself down, to stop himself from having a panic attack; he tried everything he could think of, but nothing worked.Bookmark here

His breathing exercises, distracting his thoughts, trying to focus on the pain he inflicted on himself with his fist as he beat his leg; it all did nothing.Bookmark here

Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! He couldn’t hold back his tears and he wept loudly, trying his best to muffle his sounds by covering his face with his shirt. Bookmark here

I thought I was dead! Didn’t Eris come down to punish me for breaking one of her rules? Bookmark here

If not, then what the hell did she come here for then?! Bookmark here

Just to mess with me?Bookmark here

What the hell is wrong with that woman?!Bookmark here

Why? Why? He hit the carriage floor so hard that he destroyed a large portion of it, splintering it. Why the hell did she have to come here and do this? Why today, when I was feeling a little bit happy for the first time in weeks?Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

When Eris had returned to her realm, she laughed loudly as she watched David in his carriage.Bookmark here

“That’s exactly right, David Athelward!” Eris cried, looking down at him from her throne, wearing a smile much more vicious than any of the ones that David had ever seen. “I had considered punishing you for trying to find a loophole in one of my rules, but this.” She giggled. “This is much, much better.” She exhaled and brought a hand to her chin. Bookmark here

“David, what you and Rebecca didn’t realise is that you aren’t showing them mercy by sparing the people of Cliff’s Edge and those who escape Black Port. Once they escape and become refugees, they won’t ever be able to find true happiness again. Bookmark here

“Their homes, friends, families, they’ll have lost so much and have been powerless to do anything to stop it.Bookmark here

“They will despair over their own weakness and never, ever be able to move on from the deep wound you’ll inflict upon them. They’ll suffer a fate so much worse than a stab through the heart.”Bookmark here

Eris giggled and leant forward a little in her throne, licking her lips.Bookmark here

“David Athelward, sparing them was the most evil and cruel choice you could make, one perfect of my Demon Emperor.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Once Rebecca had been escorted into David’s office, she had found Mímir awaiting her, with a massive stack of paper by his side and a long list of jobs for her to do on her first day.Bookmark here

Much to her surprise however, Mímir had explained in full all of her duties, as well as a few general guidelines about what the Demon Emperor wanted her to achieve. He had left her about two hours ago and, not wanting to waste even a moment, Rebecca had gotten to work.Bookmark here

Her first order of business was to fully understand the plans for Castle Kelsey, what the renovations were going to look like, how big the castle was going to get, and what the Demon Emperor intended it to be.Bookmark here

As Rebecca set about her work, she couldn’t help but smile. She had managed to get through to Lord Allaric and had managed to save some people’s lives in the south-east.Bookmark here

Maybe I shouldn’t be so happy about something like that, but I feel like I’ve finally loosened the chains on my wrists now, Rebecca thought. This is the path I’ve chosen to walk down now, right or wrong, and all I can do now is try to save as many people as possible while by the Demon Emperor’s side.Bookmark here

She shook her head. By Lord Allaric’s side. Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

In the dead of night, in what was once a storehouse for spices and herbs in the Merchant District at Stonefall, twenty corpses were littered throughout the room with only two people left alive.Bookmark here

“Please…please don’t hurt me,” the man beneath Herakles’s foot begged, his words muffled by Herakles’s boot. Bookmark here

“You know, this wouldn’t have happened if you’d just talked when I asked you nicely the first time,” Herakles said, putting pressure on the man’s jaw, making him squirm. “Now, there’s two ways this goes. Either you die from me boot, or.” Herakles swung his club down on the man’s ribs, cracking two of them and making him scream madly. “You talk before I turn your ribs into dust.”Bookmark here

“I-I’ll talk!” The man screamed, sobbing. “Please, just-”Bookmark here

Herakles put more pressure on the man’s face. “Less begging, more answers. Tell me: how many bases do you have in the city?”Bookmark here

“T-Three more,” the man groaned. “Two in the lower district and one in the noble’s.”Bookmark here

“Oh?” Herakles smiled. “That’s good to know. Where?”Bookmark here

“I-I swear, I don’t know. I was just told the general location, not specifics. My captain would know.”Bookmark here

“Where can I find him?”Bookmark here

“Y-you killed him.”Bookmark here

“Oh.” Herakles looked around the almost destroyed room and couldn’t tell which of the bloodied, disfigured corpses could possibly have been the captain. “So, you don’t know anything else? You swear?”Bookmark here

“On Themis’s name, I swear it.”Bookmark here

“I see.”Bookmark here

With a weary sigh, Herakles lifted his bloodied club onto his shoulder.Bookmark here

“The boss was right,” he groaned, crushing the skull of the man beneath his foot. “The Night’s Eye really are weak.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

The next day, the bodies were discovered by a worker who reported it to the city watch who had almost expected what they saw, but there was one thing that caught their attention more than anything this time.Bookmark here

The message that had been left at the crime scene was different.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Death Took Them.Bookmark here

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