Walking up to the building where the prisoners were held, I stopped and thought about my next move. I could get in this building several ways, but I'm sure most of them would be frowned upon.
I thought for a moment as I slowly ate my last duck, but in the end, I settled on my least favorite option. Taking a deep breath, I gave myself a mental pep talk.
"Alright. This is going to be humiliating, but it's going to be worth it. Just suffer for a moment, and it will all be over soon."
Taking one last bite of duck to give me strength, I walked forward towards the guards.
As soon as I felt their eyes on me, I tripped and fell to the ground. The sight of my precious half-eaten duck dropping onto the dirt was enough to make me almost cry.
I was snapped from my sorrows by two guards quickly heading my way. Crouching next to me, one asked, "Are you okay, ma'am? You look like you are in a lot of pain."
Giving my duck one last sad look, I replied, "I think I am okay. It's mostly my pride that got hurt." As I said this, I tried to get to my feet but quickly fell back down.
Seeing this, the two guards were practically shoving each other out of the way to be the one to help me up. With a smile, I replied, "Thank you two so much for your help, but I think I may need a bit more help. Would you be able to assist me inside so I can recover for a moment?"
Without thinking, these two men carefully helped me to my feet and began to lead me into the building that they were supposed to be protecting.
Right before we entered, another guard stood in our way and growled out, "Where do you two think you are taking her? You know we are not allowed to let anyone inside."
Hearing this, the two guards suddenly looked less confident with their plan, so I knew I had to step in.
"Please don't be mad at them sir, it's my fault for being so clumsy. I was told by my friend Beyla to meet her here, but I was rushing because I was late."
The third guard stared at me suspiciously. Frowning, he asked, "You know the Princess? Come to think of it, I don't believe I've seen you before."
Hearing his words, I gave up trying to act weak. Who did this human think he was to challenge me?
Standing up, I angrily shoved the two guards next to me to the ground. Before the third could react, I was already behind him. Pressing my fingers against his neck, I slowly grew out my fingernails until they were digging into his skin.
Having the attention of all three, I growled out, "I tried not to be violent, but I can't take this anymore. I even wasted the last of my food to put on that act. You three really piss me off."
If I wasn't annoyed, I would have enjoyed watching the guards stare at me dumbly as they tried to figure out what was going on.
The guard I held hostage was the first to recover and stammered out, "Are you going to kill us?"
"I'm trying really hard not to. Now, I'm bored, and I want to visit Beyla and the Prince. I'm sure something is going on with them that will entertain me."
"Wait, you mean you are threatening to kill us just because you are bored?"
Letting out an exasperated sigh, I yelled, "Yes! Now give me your key to unlock the door! If you follow me in, I will kill you. I will not harm Bayla, though. I owe her."
I was at my wit's end with the guards. I had simply explained to them what would happen, and they still couldn't follow what I said!
Pressing my now razor-sharp nails harder into his neck, I stated, "Last chance."
Spurred on by his impending death, the guard reached into his pocket with shaky hands and passed me his key. Snatching the key from his hands, I released the guard from my grasp and giggled as he fell to the ground.
Walking towards the building, I called out over my shoulder, "You three owe me a duck to replace the one I lost. Don't forget, or I will come find you." With that, I unlocked the door and stepped inside.
Closing the door behind me, I happily clapped my hands together. Now for the fun part.
Slowly strolling through the building, I was surprised by how few people were actually on guard. There were a lot of prisoners in cells, but most were unwatched. The few people who were patrolling were hardly paying attention. I was easily able to pass by them in the shadows.
It took a bit of exploring, but eventually, I found what I was looking for. There was a small, simple room that only had a table. On one side sat the Prince and the old man, while Beyla sat on the other side with two guards standing on either side of her.
Luckily, they were in the middle of a heated discussion, so they didn't notice as I slipped into the room.
"I will tell you for the last time. Release me this instant, or my father will send an army so big that it will flatten this pathetic excuse of a town."
"That's funny. I remember you saying the same thing when I refused to marry you."
"Please. We won the battle. We even breached your impenetrable walls. Hell, our monsters even beat yours. The only reason you won is because those two decided to change sides at the end."
Hearing this, I slowly turned back to Bayla. Her answer here would shape my plans involving this town going forward.
Beyla was lost in thought as she stared at the table.
"You are not wrong. We only won because she didn't attack us. That being said, those two are different. When we hired that mage to defend us, he fully controlled his demon. These two, however, are almost the opposite. He was ready to give his life to make sure that she stayed alive. I don't know if she is somehow controlling him, but she is in charge. Either way, whether she is a demon or something else, I am indebted to her."
I only raised an eyebrow but remained quiet as the old man started to talk.
"Are you implying that you owe something to a demon? That is preposterous! They are here to serve us! If you can't see this, then you clearly aren't fit to run this kingdom."
Turning her attention to the old man, she gave him a surprisingly cold stare and stated, "Isn't my way of thinking what made me be on this side of the table, victorious, and you on the other side a captive."
Hearing this, I let out a snicker, but luckily no one heard me because the Prince had had enough.
The Prince lunged over the table, trying to get to Beyla, but the two guards quickly detained him. While the two guards were focused on the Prince, the old man made his move.
He moved surprisingly quickly. While the two guards contained the Prince, he had a clear line to Beyla. Reaching into his sleeve, he produced some sort of make-shift blade. Seeing this, I let out a scoff. All of the guards deserved to be fired.
For a brief second, I thought about letting things play out, but I decided to get involved in the end. Right before the old man reached her, I made my move.
In one step, I was behind him and roughly shoved him to the floor. Before he could react, I dug one knee into his back, causing him to yell out in pain. I reached out for his wrist, but was surprised to see that someone was already holding it. Slowly looking to my side, I was face to face with the demon Leo had been fighting.
She was staring back at me with the same shocked expression that I had on my face. Had we both been in the same room and not noticed each other?
The whole room was dead silent as we stared at each other until Beyla asked, "Were the two of you here the whole time?"
Getting to my feet, I turned to Beyla and stated, "We are even now. You saved his life, and I saved yours."
Turning to the other demon, I said, "Follow me. We have a lot to talk about."