Heart thudding in his chest, Ken pushed the door open and stepped inside. On the other side was a short corridor with a thick red drape at the end. He remembered he was still wielding his sword and that marching into someone's front room with a drawn sword probably sent out the wrong impression. He found a sheath attached to the belt around his waist and sheathed his sword. He kept his left hand close. The moment he saw a misplaced wrinkle or the slightest point of a fang this bad boy was coming straight back out again.
On the other side of the curtain was a luxurious waiting area. The air was warmer inside and thick with a heady blend of incense. The source of the heat was a large fireplace tucked into the far wall. Jos sticks were positioned around the room and sent out hazy tendrils of perfumed smoke. The floor was carpeted in thick furs and piled high with plump cushions in pastel shades of pink, red and purple. An ornate hookah stood on a low table near the door.
Evidently they weren't kidding around with that partaking of pleasures thing, Ken thought. Add a few dusky maidens dressed in nothing more than billowy see-through robes and he'd be able to fool himself into thinking he'd just walked into one of those decadent harem palaces of yore.
Currently it was a very empty pleasure palace of yore. No dusky maidens in simmering gowns. No grossly overweight, bald merchants ogling them. No lantern-jawed heroic types being all manly while ogling them.
There was only Ken Parker-Stone, possible demon-slayer extraordinaire.
Hmm. What did he do now? Put his feet up and wait for the demon to come along and attempt to seduce him into offering up his throat? At the moment there was a noticeable absence of both sexy seductions and throat attacks.
Silvery bells tinkled deeper in the building. After a short pause a curtain on the other side of the room swished aside and a dusky-skinned, dark-haired maiden who blew away all of Ken's fantasy images of dusky-skinned, dark-haired maidens entered the room.
"Greetings, weary traveller. I am Sulpa," the gorgeous dusky-skinned, dark-haired maiden said.
Okay. This was sexy seduction and some, Ken thought. She didn't really have to do anything. Sex appeal oozed from her pores.
It also helped she was practically naked. Or at least, might as well have been. The billowy blouse and veils she wore were so gossamer-thin and transparent they might as well have not been there. Beneath them her skin was the colour of creamy coffee and looked so smooth Ken felt a primitive longing to slide his hand over her curves.
And what curves she had. Her chest and hips bloomed out in contrast to her slender waist. She definitely had one of those improbable figures horny videogame artists liked so much, only it couldn't really be classed as improbable fantasy when the real thing was standing before Ken in the flesh. It was flesh with next to nothing left to the imagination either. Her dark nipples, clearly erect, were visible beneath her gauzy blouse. The only part of her body not visible to Ken was the intimate part between her legs. That was covered in a tiny triangle of darker material lined with filigree gold chain.
Her face was just as gorgeous as the rest of her body. Black hair fell on either side in luxuriant waves. Her lips were lush and achingly kissable. Her most devastating feature was her eyes. They were picked out in thick black kohl and smouldered as they stared at him with an intensity that made him feel like he was the sole focus of either a forever-burning passion or all-consuming hunger. Or both. Sulpa was not a woman who felt the need to hide her desires.
She also did not feel the need to hide what she really was. Ken had expected to only see her demonic features when she transformed to attack him. Sulpa entered the room already transformed. She wore her demonic features out in the open. Ken saw horns, wings and a tail. They all had the same gossamer insubstantiality as the veils that failed to hide her flesh. Her horns looked like they were made out of glass threaded through with twinkling stars. Her wings and tail were the same. As with Celestrico, Sulpa's additional features complemented and added to her exotic appeal.
Calm it, Ken thought. Remember why you're here.
For all he knew, maybe she transformed from demonic to even more demonic when she got close enough to strike.
"Rest your weary feet, traveller," Sulpa said in a voice as smooth as a sensual caress. "I will dance for you."
Ken settled down on one of the soft cushions. Sulpa moved to an open area and began to dance. Ken didn't know much about dance and couldn't identify what kind of dance it was. Her movements were slow and languid, and seemed designed to show off the supple perfection of her form. Gauzy veils floated around her in a hypnotic swirl. Her wings, also see-through and delicately beautiful, functioned as additional veils sweeping and swirling around her gyrating form.
Throughout it all her dark, smouldering eyes remained fixed on Ken. They, and the smooth economy of movement of her dance, ignited fires in his blood.
Remember what she is.
Okay, so this was a lot stronger than flashing a bit of tit or ass. Her dance mesmerised Ken.
He didn't realise how much she had captivated his attention until he realised she'd approached close enough to him for a perfumed veil to swish under his nose. She danced closer still—bending her pliant body towards him.
She's going to fang you in the neck! a voice screamed at the back of his mind.
Panicking, Ken propelled himself backwards. He failed to jump back to his feet and instead collided with the back wall, dislodging a piece of artwork from the wall. He landed awkwardly on his ass, but just about managed to get his sword out of his sheath and wave it in the direction of the demonic dancer.
Sulpa stopped dancing and looked at Ken with a stunned expression. Then understanding dawned on her face.
"You're here because Celestrico sent you, aren't you," she said.
She moved away and took a seat at the low table.
"What story did she use this time? Let me guess, she told you I was an evil succubus that sucked the souls out of unfortunate travellers."
Sulpa sighed. She gestured to the far side of the table.
"Come, sit down. There are some things you should know."
to be continued... (probably tomorrow, but also probably later rather than earlier)