One thing Emel had learnt about adventuring in her short time doing so was that the right clothes made it much easier. Her travelling robes had been switched out for thick linen leggings, leather boots, and a chemise covered with her thickened leather apron. Sat at the bench in her room, she carefully made the last adjustments to the potions and powders she was preparing. While she could cast certain sorts of spells on her own, or with the help of her staff, there were some types that required a material component, usually to assist with the more complex effects. It was hot work and even with her hair tied back and a strip of cloth as a headband she had locks of hair clinging to her soft brown skin.
The potions, when prepared, went into the various cushioned pockets and cases on her wide leather belt. The powders went into small paper wraps that were then tucked into little pouches on her bandoleer. She’d spent the morning using the supplies to make up various batches for spells she might just happen to need when travelling into old ruins to fight the spawned creatures of the demons last invasion attempt a millennia ago.
The door to the bedroom swung open. Glancing back, she saw Million stride in carrying a box carefully bound in cloth. “Morning Master!” The demon cheerfully said, placing the box down near Emel.
“I’ve not seen you in hours, Million. What’ve you been up to?” She asked, before peering at the box. Something inside certainly smelt good.
“Well, I knew I’d distract you with questions and poking if I was here, so I went out and earned us some coin.” Her companion replied, carefully tossing a small pouch onto Emel’s lap. “Plenty of odd jobs around down that needed a strong and sexy d-… ‘guardian’ to assist. And I used some of the money to get us some food too.”
The young mage smiled brightly at her actions. Million had surprised her with her good, if boisterous, nature. Nothing like the demons she had read about in her old text books, described as fierce and vicious warmongers. Perhaps her ancestor had done something when he imprisoned her that first time. Maybe her time locked away had denatured her somehow. Shaking her head a little to clear her thoughts, she came face to face with Million.
“So, ready to go?”
“Um, yeah, but I can wait a bit for you to get ready.” Emel said, gesturing to the fact that the demon was still in her toga, bare-footed as well.
“I am ready. I don’t need weapons or armour. I -do- however need to get out of town before I can finish preparing.” Came the reply, with the addition of a tap to the side of the nose.
Picking up her staff and removing the cover that worked to somewhat dull the glowing charge of the artefact, Emel drew in a deep breath. “Okay… let’s get going.”
The pair made good progress on their journey north of the town. The chill in the air was easily countered by the warmth of the Spring sun, and a dry night beforehand made for easy passage across the old roads free of slippery stones and slick mud. It started to get a little steeper as they went, causing Emel to rely on her staff, and on the stable form of Million, for some support in crossing the rocks more frequently bursting forth from the earth.
“What…” Emel stopped to catch her breath before continuing, “can you tell me about Grologs?”
“They’re creations, really. A bit like a mage’s summons or constructs. Instead of using various materials in the spell though, we use our blood to create them. The stronger demons can use a small chunk of their flesh to create a Grolog hive, which is why they still exist around here nowadays.” Million explained as they walked, falling back to Emel’s side to help her across the rougher terrain before continuing.
“They’re more cunning than intelligent. A few have smarts, they tend to be the ones who can use some form of magic. About as strong as a healthy man in his prime, tough… claws, fists and basic weapons are what the normal ones tend to use to attack.”
“So the Brewmaster’s Baton’s likely to be with one of the smarter ones.” Emel hummed. She paused before asking the next question, gauging Million’s reaction. “Can you create Grologs?”
Blinking, the demon shrugged. “Probably. Why would I want to though?”
“… Could you shut a hive down?”
Her eyes narrowed in thought. “… I’d need some help, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it. As for now though,” her nostrils flared, her stance dropping into a low crouch with her clawed fingers ready to strike, “we’ve got company.”
Grasping her staff in both hands, the orb flared with power as Emel formed a barrier of shimmering white force around them. It came just in time too. Spears and stones pelted against it as the Grologs burst forth from their hiding places to attack. It was her first time getting a proper look at them. With their blue skin, wiry frames, protruding bumps of bony armour and tattered rags for clothing, they did not look much of a threat.
Sunken black eyes and a row of jutted teeth gave them a harsh, fierce expression. They hooted and shrieked as they drew closer to her sphere of protection. Million chuckled at whatever they were saying.
“They think this is going to be easy.” She chortled, her hands going to the front of her toga to start undressing.
“Why are you taking your clothes off?” Emel exclaimed, before blinking as the toga flung at her draped over her staff.
“Well, I don’t want it to get damaged, Master.” She replied, before crouching down to look Emel straight in the eyes, her expression somewhat worried. “Believe in me, trust me, and don’t get scared, okay?”
“I… I’ll try not to.” Emel replied, wondering just what was going to happen.
“That-a-girl.” Million smiled, before leaping back. As she approached the wall of force protecting them, golden fire burst forth from her body. Shielding her eyes, Emel couldn’t see the transformation take place, but could definitely feel the amount of power coming from the demon through the bond they shared. She knew Million was strong, but this? Her limbs trembled in its presence, yet all she could feel was the warmth of that demonic power streaming past her.
Tentatively opening one eye, a gasp escaped her lips. Stood on the other side of the barrier was Million, but never before as she had seen or imagined her. Her tanned skin had been replaced in parts with plates of bone that covered her lower legs, waist, chest and forearms. A tail, almost like a spinal cord, swished behind her from side to side, and her eyes and claws blazed with the unearthly flames of her kind.
The Grologs were cowering in the presence of their better. One crept forth to ask something in a faltering voice. Million just laughed, her blonde hair whipping about in the wind.
“Master? I am master to no one, and serve only one.” She stated defiantly. Her audience seemed angered by this, rising up to face her once. “If you’ve got a problem with that, I’ll…” She mumbled, scratching her chin as she tried to come up with something fitting. With a sigh and a shrug, she opted to simply punt the nearest monster to her into the distance.
As the Grologs charged, she turned to Emel and gave her two thumbs up. “C’mon Master, let’s get in a proper fight for a change? We’re outnumbered, but they’re outmatched!” She declared, even as her fists and claws got to work.