Path to the Throne (Part XII)

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They showed up in two hours.

Twelve riders, all dressed in capes—once white, and now smeared in dirt. Three Punishers with their heads shaven, the same look of obsession on their faces, flashes of light in their auras. That was not good at all.

Darkness dissolves matter, and light burns it all. A normal person is balanced, but these... But who am I to say that? Demons are parts of darkness, and sooner or later, it will claim me, unless I manage to remain human.

They stopped at the scene that I had carefully prepared for them. A dead horse and a man in a black cloak lying on his back. Of course, there was nothing under the cloak, but who would check?

So, who'll go first? Ah, too bad I don't have a crossbow. Whatever. I'll manage. Especially since they stopped right where I wanted them to.

I sized up the situation for the last time. All right, here we go!

A daring leap into the center of the squad, and I landed right behind one of the pursuers. These shaven-headed beasts should not exist in my world. Demon's blood sang a battle cry in my veins.

It was a whirlwind of death. The horses went into a frenzy upon seeing my battle form, while I continued to strike, blow upon blow.

The first died straight away when I crushed him under my boots, the second fell to my tail, and the third—to a knife I threw at him. The horses reared up as I jumped aside—and howled like a wild wolf. Henry taught me that. Too bad I didn't have any other wolf traits, but you play the cards you're dealt.

People were falling on the ground all over, unable to deal with their maddened mounts, and I was waiting for them. I killed two more with my blade, another one with my tail, and tried to get to the last two. I had to deal with them above all else. Filth.

The temples trained these bastards to hunt mages, but at least mages did something for people, like the necromancer I was saving. But these guys...all they could do was take money and whine about sins.

That said, at that moment, they weren't whining, but trying to brace themselves. Well, so help you Saint! I charged forward, finally reaching one of the Hounds with my second dagger. I didn't have any of them left, just my sword and my tail. The weapon I had been born with.

The men finally started taking me seriously and got ready for an attack. Nobody wanted to escape. Great. That was just what I needed. If anybody ran away, I would have to find them, follow their trail.

But the murderous scum charged. They didn't even think that somebody who attacked them wasn't stupid. Does it matter what I look like? I might be small, but I am as fast and strong as any adult!

I had killed ten of them before they realized that. The remaining ones regrouped, sending a shaven lout ahead. He looked at me and reached out with his hand, the symbol of the Bright Saint inside—a cross in a circle. I snarled and leaped toward him.

Demon!

My movements suddenly slowed down, as if I was swimming in thick jelly. The two other warriors prepared to meet me, their swords flashing. They never reached me.

Rene's arrow plowed through the bald skull, and the spell was halted. In two swings, the rest of the squad was dead.

The necromancer came out from behind the rocks. "Well, boy, you're a gift that keeps on giving!"

"Taking. Lives," I corrected him respectfully. "Will you help deal with the trophies?"

"I will. And maybe we should get ready to spend the night?"

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