"I am Celestrico," the girl in blue said. "I am to be your guide on this holy mission."
A down stroke of her wings floated her up off the rock on a gentle puff of air. She gracefully landed on the path before Ken and gave him a little bow.
Ken blanched. Definitely not human. Not human in the slightest.
"My guide? But aren't you... I mean... you look like a demon. No offence."
"It's the rules. The questing adventurer must have a guide. And you're going to need all the help you can get. Standing in your way are thirteen of the most depraved and perverted beings in all creation."
Celestrico gestured to a thick expanse of cloud hanging above the path before them. Hazy shapes formed in the mist like images projected onto a swirling screen. He saw a parade of demonic figures flicker by. It was a perverse assemblage of the grotesque and the arousing. He saw gorgeous curves and the kind of kinky outfits normally reserved for hardcore German S&M porn. Juxtaposed with that were body parts that were the wrong shape, in the wrong place, or in the wrong number. Or even from the wrong species. He glimpsed tentacles, a scorpion's tail, vines covered in thorns. Some of what he saw was so alien as to defy all description. The images flashed by too fast for Ken to get a good look, but slow enough to make a mark on his memory. He might not be able to recall them now, but they would return to him in the deepest depths of either wet dream or nightmare.
The last was a looming shape as ominous as a thunderhead. Ken saw nothing more than a black silhouette and yet it filled him with a sense of visceral dread. And also—to his shame—a weird kind of perverse arousal.
"Wait, what!" he protested. "I thought you said I had to slay the demon queen. Who are all these others?"
And why were they all female? And what the hell was this boner doing in his pants?
Celestrico sighed. "You can't just walk up to the front gate of the demon queen and challenge her. You won't stand a chance. No, you must take out her lieutenants first. That will level you up enough to be able to face her."
"Level me up?" Ken said. "You make this sound like a computer game."
That was more evidence to Ken that this world was wrong. He couldn't remember who he was, but he remembered a world of cities, technology and computers. It was not a world where people used swords to solve problems.
"This is stupid," Ken said. "Why send a single fighter instead of an army? I'm going back to recruit more people."
Celestrico's eyes widened.
"You can't do that," she said. "You're their chosen one. If you turn down your calling they'll have you killed."
Fucking great. How the fuck had he ended up in this position? Surely he hadn't been dumb enough to volunteer.
"You shouldn't think so negatively," Celestrico said. "I'm certain you were selected for a reason. There are hidden powers within you. And with me as your guide nothing will stand in our way."
"Why are you so keen?" Ken asked. "Aren't you a demon too?"
Celestrico flashed him a vulpine smile. "I'm a demon with ambition. Each high-ranking demon you slay creates an opening for others to move up the ranks."
So much for the holiness of the cause, Ken thought. At least she was honest. Knowing she had a sensible motivation for all this, even if it was selfish, made him more confident she'd do her best to help him.
Help him. Did that mean he was really going to go through with this insanity?
Did he have any other choice?
His memory was fucked. He didn't have the slightest clue what was going on. Until he got a better idea he might as well follow her for now.
The fact she had the nicest ass he'd ever seen might have contributed to his decision.
"Okay, lead the way," he said.
"Not yet," Celestrico said. "There are protocols we have to follow first. What is your name, brave hero?"
"Ken. Ken Parker-Stone."
"Mighty Kenny. Your righteous quest to slay the demon queen and rid the land of her evil begins here. May your bravery carry you through to glorious victory."
Ken was amazed she was able to deliver that with a straight face.
Next up, Chapter 1: Sulpa the Succubus...