172 Chapter 169 Subordinates of a God
"Take out the two drivers and I'll take care of the captives," Joseph said gravely. "Just remember that your invisibility goes away the moment you attack someone."
Stella nodded and dived for the wagon. She landed just behind the seat, and beheaded the two with well-placed swings of her longest daggers. Her blades disappeared back into her purse and she grabbed the heads before they could fall. Slowly standing, she turned to look at the captives in the bed of the wagon behind her.
Joseph floated down just behind them, while they stared in horror at Stella, and he cast his spells.
"There, they should show up, confused, but alive, back at the village," said Joseph, landing off to the side of the wagon.
The horses had slowed to a stop, without any guidance from the drivers, and stood calmly as the bodies emptied themselves of blood just behind them.
"The fact that the horses don't care about the smell of blood, is disturbing," said Stella, landing beside him, still holding the heads.
"You're right, that's not a good sign. Though, on second thought, that might not be a bad thing. I think I'll send the horses home."
"I wonder what the farmers will think when they find new horses in the fields," chuckled Stella, shaking her head.
"That their king obviously granted them more animals," said Joseph with a smile.
Stella handed him the heads, and he took them carefully, holding them out so that they didn't drip blood on him.
Several places appeared on his minimap, as places to investigate, but he wasn't sure what they represented. He would have to go to each one, to find out. Turning to the cart, he cast the same spell.
Even more places showed up. This was so much nicer than jumping around randomly and hoping to get close.
Tossing the heads away, he wiped his hands against each other, with a clap, and then turned to Stella.
"I know where we're going next."
"Let me guess, it involves killing more demons?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Probably. We're going to start close to the towns, and work our way out. Most of the spots I have on my minimap seem to point to them heading north along the mountains on the eastern border of the eastern human kingdom. I'm curious to see how they are dealing with the monsters that live there."
Another wagon, with several people, closer to death than the last ones. Again, there were two drivers. Stella killed them, just as smoothly as the last two, and Joseph sent the people back to the town. Several more places were added to his map, to investigate, and two more horses were sent home.
This repeated itself three more times, before they teleported above a compound, instead of a wagon.
Below them there was an arena that held several monsters, only one still alive, that Joseph figured were residents of the surrounding mountains. As they watched, several figures moved towards the one and began to whip it. The chains they had on it, prevented it from fighting back, or evading their blows.
"Will they just torture it to death?" asked Stella, with a frown.
"Looks like it."
He could see captives positioned around the arena, probably as new vessels for the demons to inhabit. There were strange symbols around the arena, that he didn't recognize. The longer he tried to look at them, the worse his head hurt.
(THOSE RUNES PROMOTE INSANITY. ONLY THOSE WITH AN UNSTABLE MINDS CAN UNDERSTAND THEM.)
'Got it, stop looking at them, thanks.'
"Stella, I'm going to dispel the possessions, and I need you to kill the demons before they can inhabit new bodies. Whatever you do, stay out of that arena," he said, glancing at her before turning back to the scene below them. The rest of the possessed individuals were positioned along the edges of the arena, spaced evenly while they watched the monster get tortured below them.
With a nod of understanding, she took out her gang and got into position as he began to cast his spells.
The demons were forced out of their hosts, who dropped like puppets with their strings cut. They were then made material, before they could figure out what was going on, much less attempt to re-infest anyone.
Stella and her gang swooped in, right on cue, and began cutting them down with the daggers Joseph had made, that were incredibly efficient at slicing and dicing.
Stella sliced the back of the legs of the demon in front of her, and as it fell, she turned to slice across the face of the next one in line, swinging back to cut off the head of the one that fell, all in one smooth twirl. One of her golems twirled not far from her, slicing through the back of one of the demons, who howled in pain and surprise, and catching another in the chest as it charged her.
Each of them only managed to take down two or three of the demons apiece, before the rest of the demons caught on, and started to attack back.
Joseph was distracted from the fighting as he felt a large group teleporting in.
A group of 5 demon possessed mages appeared thirty feet in the air, instead of in the middle of the fighting. Apparently, they weren't expecting to be that high in the air, and screamed as they fell. It was enough damage to keep them from casting any spells they might have had prepared.
Stella had finished her group of demons off, and moved through the dazed and confused mage demons, slicing faces and hands, never stopping long enough with her dancing blades, to allow them a moment to collect their wits. They didn't last long.
"Any chance you can get rid of the creepy demon magic circle?" asked Stella, nodding towards the arena behind her.
"I think so. Have everyone stand back," he said.
She had her golems grab the captives and jump away from the edge of the arena.
EARTH TO AIR.
"Warn me next time. That made my ears pop," she said, as she shivered a second.
"Oh, sorry. That hadn't occurred to me," he said, honestly confused, as she threw a smile his way.
(A HOLY SITE DEDICATED TO NIKMESH, A LESSER GOD OF RAGE AND DESTRUCTION, AND SUBORDINATE OF NURKONG, HAS BEEN ERASED. FEEDBACK HAS INJURED NIKMESH.)
"Hey, girl, how are you doing?" asked Stella, going to her knees as the injured monster slunk towards her from the destroyed arena.
"Careful, Stella! Anything that was in that pit, is going to be insane!"
Joseph went to cast a spell, but watched instead, as Stella stepped forward and stroked the thing across the top of its bloody head.
"Poor thing, let me help you!" she crooned, seeming to wipe the bloody wounds away with her hands.
For every stroke of her hand, the thing seemed to gain strength and health. Joseph watched amazed as she finally finished healing it, then sat petting it like a giant cat.
"What is that, exactly?" he asked, carefully, not wanting it to suddenly strike at her because he startled it.
"She's a young winged sphinx, probably one of the lesser kinds. We used to have these as pets when I was Sylva, but I would have thought they had died out with the corruption of the world tree."
"Maybe they've managed to survive by hiding in the mountains here?" Joseph guessed, as the winged cat creature turned to look at him.
Now that it wasn't covered in matted fur, and the blood and grime were gone from its face, he could tell that it had human feminine qualities to its face.
"Do you plan to keep it?" he asked, wondering if it was intelligent enough to be housebroken.
"No, I'm going to let her go back to the mountains. There are others out there, that she's worried about."
Stella stood and after one last pat, the creature flapped its wings and flew away. Calling her golems back to her, Joseph sent the last of the captives from this site, back to the gnome town.
"Let's keep going. I don't know how many of these sites there are, but if we can hurt these guys this easily, maybe we can kill them all. You know death by a hundred bites."
"I don't think it will be that easy, Stella, but I'm certainly willing to try."
She smiled at him, flashing her tiny fangs.