Lemma the Librarian: The Witch and the Warlock, Part 1

“Well,” I said.
“That’s something you don’t see every day.”

“Nope,” Iason agreed.

“I mean, you’d think you of all
people would, in your line of work.”

“You know, people always think
that? But that’s just the bards skipping to the fun parts. Most of monster
hunting is just walking from one place to the next, y’know?”

“I hear ya.”

Iason drew his sword. “So, we
should probably help her.”

I sighed. “I suppose, if you
really must.”

Iason shouted a war cry, something
in Sea People I couldn’t quite make out, and charged down the hill toward the
two distant, battling figures. 

Even from here, it was clear that
one of them was small, human, and not attacking much, if at all. The other,
though, was very big and very not human. Like “twice Iason’s height”
big, and just as wide as it was tall, just this enormous pot-bellied torso of
massive green muscle with arms like an ogre’s, legs like a dragon, a crocodile’s
head, and massive horns like a bull’s, but way bigger. Definitely Iason’s kind
of thing…

…Except that I could feel a whole
lot of magic down in that hollow, and it wasn’t the wild energies of a
monster. It was controlled, ordered, high magic–which meant there were only a
couple of possibilities of what that thing could be.

Shit. I ran after Iason as fast as I
could, but he reached the bottom of the hill first and sprang at the creature,
waving his sword. The girl it had been menacing screamed as it swiped at him
with a massive fist, but Iason brought up his blade to block. There was a
sizzling sound and Iason was driven back several feet, but the creature howled
in pain and rage as a black mark like frostburn appeared across its knuckles,
viscous green fluid oozing from where Iason had actually cut it.

Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of.
Ichor. “Iason–” I started to shout, but stopped as the creature
hunched over.

Closer up, I could see the broad
crest of hair that ran from the nape of its neck down the length of its spine.
It was hard to miss it now that it was all standing on end like so many needl–shit!

I barely got a wind spell up in time
to catch the spray of deadly-sharp spines it fired at us from its crest, but I
did it, a broad gust that twisted around us and scattered the no-doubt
poisonous needles harmlessly. Sighing, I followed up with a blast of flame
straight at the thing’s eyes. It staggered back, more surprised than hurt,
allowing me to come up next to Iason.

“Demon,” I said.

“You sure?” he asked.

“Check its knuckles.”

Iason glanced up at the hand it was
waving in front of its eyes. “Shit.”

Of course a monster hunter would
recognize ichor when he saw it. The blood of gods, angels, and demons, imbued
with enough high magic to vaporize mortal flesh and blood. And this clearly
wasn’t any god or angel! The big question was what kind of demon it was.

“Get away!” a woman’s
voice shouted–the person the demon had been attacking, obviously.

“Don’t worry,” I called to
her. “We’re professionals.”

To be continued…

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