Chapter 5: Green With Jealousy and Demon Blood
“…and together with Ezekial the four shall stop the dreaded army of demons from destroying all of Cillian.” The words of the Oracle echoed through Diana’s head as she tried to sleep.
What she was avoiding thinking about was how Ezekiel was pretending to be Zee. She’d recognized the leg she built for him during the concert. He was good, she wished he’d trusted her enough to have told her he was a musician. She had to admit that he looked good up there. The pure joy of performing made his beauty ever more prominent. She wondered if Arty knew about his double life.
Demons are coming, she reminded herself. What had the oracle meant by an army of demons? Wouldn’t they have heard about something like that? She decided to send out a few scout ships just in case. Just to reassure her that nothing was coming.
She had wanted to reassure Ezekiel after the concert but when she’d gotten to the dressing room she found Zee and Arty attempting to exchange tongues. She’d left as Arty had started to take off what little clothes Zee was wearing.
The Oracle was terrible at seeing through disguises; Arty was certainly not Ezekiel, Zee was; Zee was certainly not her Brother, she’d know him instantly; and Arty wasn’t Diana… obviously. She did have one thing right however. They were all pretending to be something they’re not. Ezekiel being Zee, her being Didi, and Arty being a Fighting Monk. The order was dedicated to purity and chastity, two things that were not happening early in the night. Maybe Arty wasn’t even a Monk?
It was petty and hypocritical, but Diana decided to schedule an official visit to the Fighting Monks of Dumas for the next day. That way she could find out for herself if Arty was parading as a Monk or just going against his training.
The army of demons still worried her. Her dreams were filled with waves of angry red demons being led by her brother Paul. She woke up, much too early, in a cold sweat.
What am I doing? Diana thought as she inspected the Fighting Monks. What she said was, “Your men are impressively trained.”
“Yes they are, Your Highness,” The senior Master was completely hairless and muscled beyond reason. As he spoke a vein over his left eye bulged offbeat with his words. “Our Masters are always searching for both inner peace and the best way to be of help to others.”
“How many Masters are in the city?”
“We currently have eight Masters in residence and six who are either questing or wandering.”
“And students?” she asked.
“We teach the local boys self-defence and discipline every Saturday. As for apprentices and journeymen we currently have thirty-eight. They we be along shortly for your inspection.”
“That is wonderful. It has always been an honour for the city of Cillian to host the fighting monks. You do us honour.”
His vein pulsed and he almost smiled as he replied, “The honour is ours. You know during the reign of King Castelmore we were the King’s personal guard.”
“Yes and during his son’s reign, your order attempted to take control of the crown.” She smiled at him trying to show amusement instead of annoyance. It was much easier after he sputtered an apology.
The Masters ran through some drills and feats of skill and moved to the side. Then was the time of the students. She easily spotted Arty with his wiry frame, high cheekbones, full lips, and cocky smirk. Her heart fluttered as he was tossed into the air and clashed swords with another student. It was all acrobatics and shows of perfected timing. She heard one of her four royal guards gasp in awe from behind her.
Was she jealous of Arty or of Ezekiel? Or of both? She had spent her teen years working next to Ezekiel and had a crush on him for almost a decade. She’d just met Arty. Maybe it was just lust? She felt foolish about the entire situation.
“Do we pass inspection, Your Highness?” The Master’s vein pulsed and Diana realized why he looked so stressed.
“This isn’t an audit. You have nothing to worry about. I wanted to see how the monks were doing.”
“That’s good to hear. Thank you.” The master relaxed.
A green claw appeared out of nowhere and slashed the master from his neck to his lower back. The master’s eyes rolled back into his head and he fell forward.
A seven foot tall green being in a perfectly pressed suit stood there smiling a sharp toothy smile. “The Prince of Demons says hello.” He lunged for Diana but her guards jumped between them.
As if a spell had broken, the yard was thrown into panic. The observers ran from the space while the monks formed ranks around the demon and the princess.
Her guards fell one after the other but it bought her time to reach into the special folds of her large skirt and pull out her newest model of pistol. These shot large calibre rounds that exploded into alchemist fire on impact.
The monks, in their eagerness to defend her, got in the way of her shot. “Move out of my way!” she yelled but to no avail.
Somehow Arty had fought his way to the front of the pack and was managing to go hit for hit with the large demon. He fought with a mixture of styles that Diana had never seen before and neither had the demon. After four or five blows the demon fell to the ground and someone stuck a sword into it’s chest.
The action over, the monks moved away and started to take care of their wounded. The master was still alive, and with the help of a good doctor, would live.
Looking at the royal pages who had stood useless during the fight she barked out orders, “Get me four soldiers to move this thing. Alert the guards that they need a detachment to protect the monks. Tell the royal physician to get here as fast as possible, we have wounded and I want him to dissect this thing and tell me everything about it. And tell my grandfather to convene a council of churches.” When they didn’t move she shouted, “Go!”
She moved towards the green corpse and shuddered. It had taken out a dozen monks, four royal guards, and injured twice that many. There was no way they could stand up to an army of these. When she was an arm span away, it jumped to a standing position and howled. She shot both pistols at its chest. The rounds penetrated his hard skin and it looked at her like it had tickled.
The rounds exploded and took most of its chest with them, spraying everyone around it in green blood. It died with a surprised look on its face.
If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?