“Quiet!” I hissed through my teeth. “That beast already has better hearing than you can imagine. Don’t make it any easier for him to find us.”
Cool mist from the deep night wrapped around us as I looked at each of the five faces around me.
“But boss, it’s starting to get cold. How much longer do we need to wait?”
“Until it starts to rain. That’s when this monster is at his weakest. Only then do we stand a fighting chance.”
Storm clouds thickened and blocked out the ever-shining light of the full moon. I cringed as a choking hint of sulfur crept down my throat, and I tried to block the stench of my companions from my mind. I sighed as the wind carried the sweet first drops of rain towards us. Red fire danced behind their eyes, which might have been why they refused to look at me.
The cool wind changed direction and began to blow from behind us. As it reached me, it sent a shiver up my spine, forcing the feathers from my wings to brush against my blackened armor. What little light still shone through the clouds highlighted the deep battle scars of my breastplate like silver shooting stars.
“There he is. Now quiet or else you will have me to answer to.”
From our hiding place in an old pine tree, I held onto scaly branches covered with sap as binding as tar and musty bark thick enough to drown all other smells. I looked across a barren patch of earth leading up to an ancient castle. A figure darker than the night made his way down the winding cliffs to the field before me. The rain fell suddenly as if the heavens were torn open. I could not even smell the pine as the water beat down on me, pinging off my armor at a deafening volume. The demon looked straight at the tree that concealed us.
“I know the infamous Angels are here, so come out of that tree and fight me like men.”
I was the first to burst from the needles and leap from the tree, landing face-to-face with the demon. The deep smoke of his hellfire heart wrapped around his body, concealing everything but two fiery pits that were his eyes. As the rain neared his body, it burst into steam.
“My my my, aren’t you bold? Your legend proceeds you. Now what brings you to my land?”
“It’s dinnertime of course, and what better than an Archaic Demon?”
The creature threw his head back and let out a cackle that threatened to shake even my resolve, completely drowning out the rolling thunder.
“Very well then. Are your friends going to come out of that tree? Or shall I have my minions enjoy them for dinner?”
I looked back as flames swallowed the tree. The others could not even scream as the Demon Fledglings wrapped massive talons around their bodies and drug them into the heart of the inferno.
Long, clawed fingers sliced through the skin around my neck, and fiery breath whispered in my ear.
“Come and join your friends as my dinner.”
I unfurled my wings and leaped into the air. The demon’s claws sunk into my collarbone as he tightened his grip and flew into the air with me. With my right hand, I gripped the handle of my sword tight and pulled it from its leather sheath. With my left hand, I reached back and grabbed the demon around his neck. As I spun towards the ground, air whistled in my ears. I twisted to force him below me. Just above the ground, I put my foot on his chest and pushed off of him. His body sunk into the ground as I rose into the air once again.
“Come on, the mighty Dante should be able to do more than get my hair dirty.”
The smoke around his body extended out and formed wings as he flew into the air. He was a solid black except for cracks that covered his body, and his internal fire shone through. With his face still shrouded in shadow, the demon’s horns started growing and wrapping around his skull. I dove once again to meet him. I held my sword aimed straight at his heart. The inferno in the tree erupted, and five other demons flew up and stood by the first. I pumped my wings with all of my strength until I stopped at their level but with some distance still between us.
“What will you do now that you know your friends were actually demons?”
He grew a smirk until I began to smile and laugh at his question. I threw my left hand into the air, and a miniature sun formed in my palm. I squeezed it and the light shot from between my fingers in five spears and pierced each of the minions through their hearts.
With a flap of my wings, I grabbed the first demon’s throat and descended until I stood on the ground, still holding him in the air.
“Of course I knew those peons were your minions. Why else would I invite them on this hunt? You are not old or powerful enough to provide a full meal, so I needed appetizers.”
I swung my sword as I released my grip from his burning throat, and a wave of silver sliced through the demons neck. His head rolled a few times until it was stopped by one of the bodies that lay on the ground.
“The older and more powerful the monster, the better they taste. All six of you should be a great meal.”