* * * *
He lowered his burning sword. “This was never a fair fight,” he called up to the succubi in the stands.
He recognised the collar as the one Brennan had made, supposedly to keep daemons under control, although it had failed to protect Brennan from Nÿte. It was much more effective on L’mactia. Her face contorted in agony as the collar crackled and scorched her. Segmented legs twitched spasmodically as magical sparks fizzed through her.
“It could never be a fair fight,” Nÿte said. “L’mactia has killed many experienced warlocks. You’re just a novice. Without the collar you’d already be dead.”
Phil knew that. He realised now why L’mactia had focused on defence. The collar had prevented her from mounting any attacks. It had never been a fight. The succubi had set it up to look like one, but in reality it had more in common with the slaughter of a muzzled and hobbled beast.
“What now?” Phil asked.
“That’s up to you,” Nÿte said. “Her life is in your hands. You can slay her in revenge. Or spare her and let her go. What do your teachings tell you?”
Phil remembered The Scrote’s lessons. A warlock should always be ruthless, he’d said. Kill a defeated foe rather than giving them a chance to come back stronger.
The theory was easier than the reality.
L’mactia was sprawled before him. Her head was bowed. “I won’t beg,” she said.
He couldn’t do this. In the heat of battle, to defend himself, yes. But not this. Not the cold-blooded execution of a defeated and helpless opponent.
“Where’s your anger?” Nÿte said. “She tried to give you a slow and lingering death and nearly killed you. Don’t you want revenge?”
Phil looked at the defeated spider daemon. One quick blow to the neck. It would be fast.
What revenge was this anyway? The person who’d wanted him dead was Emma Brennan and he couldn’t kill her because someone else had already killed her. L’mactia was a tool. Raging at her was as pointless as raging at a gun.
He thought it but recognised it for the feeble dissembling it was. He couldn’t do this. Not in cold blood.
His flaming sword flickered out of existence. The flames surrounding him died away.
“Nope. Can’t do it. Not murdering a helpless individual.”
He walked away. What a shit-poor excuse of a warlock he was.
L’mactia looked up in surprise when the killing blow failed to arrive. She struggled free of the tangling vines, but rather than charge Phil she ran away and skittered up one of the arena walls. It was Nÿte she ran to. And not to attack. She prostrated herself before the succubus in black. Then she got up and they shared a passionate kiss. Afterwards she sat next to Nÿte and rested her head in the succubus’s lap. To Phil it looked like she was trying very hard not to cry.
Nÿte ran her hand through the spider daemon’s black hair. She took the collar off and placed it around her own pale neck. She smiled down at Phil and gave him a little nod.
This left Phil thoroughly confused. Had he been supposed to kill L’mactia? Or not?
The portcullis rose behind him and he hurried out of the arena before the succubi decided to give him an even worse daemon to fight. He went back to the changing room even though he had nothing to change or change back into. His robe had burnt away when he’d set himself and L’mactia’s web on fire.
He sat on one of the stone benches with his head between his knees. He had to get away from here. And Wargsnouts. He wasn’t a warlock and would never be one.
Rosa walked in with Carny. “Not one of yours then,” she said to Carny. “Are you disappointed?”
“He never was,” Carny replied. “You wouldn’t have set such a hard challenge if you’d thought otherwise.”
He walked over to Phil and offered a good-natured fist bump.
“Fine showing there, dude,” he said as Phil tapped his knuckles.
“It was all fake,” Phil replied morosely. “She couldn’t fight back.”
“Well, yeah,” Carny said with a laugh. “Human versus daemon normally only ever has one outcome. That’s why you guys summon us to fight for you.”
Phil felt soft and weak. He couldn’t even kill the spider daemon that had tried to kill him.
“Did I do the right thing?” he asked.
The rage daemon shrugged. “Hard to say with these things. The consequences of mercy are difficult to predict. Today’s beaten foe might become tomorrow’s ally. Or the indignity of the defeat might linger and fester away until they become an implacable nemesis that cares only for revenge. There are no right choices. Either outcome is possible. Only time will tell.”
Phil shuddered at the thought of an arachne like L’mactia becoming his nemesis.
“I think you’ll be fine,” Carny said. “I doubt she’ll bear a grudge any more than she’d have shed a tear over your death. Her kind are known for their detachment.”
Carny was hunkered down as he stared into Phil’s glum face. He frowned. He put his hands on either side of Phil’s head and peered more intently.
“Oh,” he said. “Verdé you silly girl,” he murmured, more to himself. His face brightened and his usual easygoing smile returned. “Not your fault,” he said to Phil. “It was her choice to make. Maybe it was the right one.”
Phil wondered where Verdé was. Cέrμləa and Nurse Honey had also entered the room. Verdé wasn’t with them. He asked the succubi where she was.
“Intruders,” Cέrμləa said with exaggerated seriousness.
Intruders? Did that mean they were under attack?
“Who?” he asked.
“Some students from your college found the portal,” Rosa said. “It’s okay. There are safeguards. Any unwelcome guests are separated and redirected to random locations within the castle grounds.”
“That was my addition,” Cέrμləa said, beaming with pride.
“One landed in the outer forest,” Rosa added. “Verdé flew off to find them.”
“Oh, that’s good,” Phil said. “That place is dangerous. They’ll need a helping . . .”
He saw the expressions on the faces of the other succubi.
“She’s not gone to help him, has she?” he said.
“Well, they are intruders,” Rosa said.
Phil grimaced. “They’re fellow students. Can we at least find out why they’re here first?”
Rosa shared a glance with Carny. He was smiling.
“It’s unusual, but I suppose we could do that,” Rosa said.
“I’ll look for Verdé,” Nurse Honey offered. “She likes to take her time with her prey. There’s a good chance I can get there in time.”
“Where are the others?” Phil asked.
“I can do a divination to find them,” Cέrμləa said.
They rushed from the room, nearly bowling Nÿte over in the process.
“We’ve got to go rescue some novice warlocks,” Cέrμləa explained excitedly.
* * * *
Jack Stone hated the outdoors. He hated the sun. He hated mud. He hated the smell. He hated the noise. He hated the trees. As he trudged along an overgrown path he hated every sliver of misfortune that had brought him to this hateful place.
He walked into a clearing and saw a sexy chick waiting for him. She was hawt. Long silky green hair billowed around a beautiful face with full sensual lips. Her billowing green robes left little to the imagination and her sexy figure matched anything between the pages of the porn stash he kept under his bed. She looked like a beautiful elf princess . . . with a really dirty mind.
Stone did not hate that.
Behind her a weird plant peeled open and revealed a soft white inner layer. It looked like a giant king-sized bed with a luxurious, super-soft mattress. The top leaves were translucent and curled over to provide shade.
“You look hot and bothered,” the girl said. “Why don’t you rest here for a while?”
She patted the white surface as if it was the bed it resembled.
“With me,” she added. Her green eyes glittered with the promise of sex.
That sounded like a really good idea. It was fucking hot. She was hot. He was sick of walking. It would be good to lie down for a while, especially with a chick with a bodacious body like that.
Who had horns.
Stone’s brow wrinkled. She had horns, wings and a tail.
Fuck, she must be trying to glamour him or some other mesmeric shit like that. Luckily it hadn’t taken hold.
Flames sprang to life in his right hand and he tossed a fireball at the lust daemon. Her seductive smile vanished and she yowled in pain as the ball of fire burst against her side.
Start of a kill streak, yeah baby.
Not quite, although he’d clipped her pretty good. She held her side and grimaced as she got back to her feet. Damn, he thought he’d put her down for good. Now he’d have to hit her with something else.
Or maybe not.
The succubus gave him a fearful glance and then dashed off between the trees.
to be continued . . .
And you don't actually have to wait for this cliffhanger as the whole chapter has gone live on Literotica right here.
Succubus Summoning 210 should be out next month and I'm hoping to get the full Succubus Summoning 201 book out before the end of the year. If you liked what you read, maybe I can interest you in some other work. ;)
Tomorrow I'll start the Violated Hero 5 playthrough.