Chapter 10: A Monk, a Physician, and the Demon Hordes of Aldroy
The royal Physician was formidable in combat. Artemis couldn’t help but be impressed by this short, rotund, dark skinned man, with a greying beard. He looked like he should be serving his grandkids soup for lunch, not battling a hoard of angry demons.
With one hand he healed the soldiers and civilians and with the other he wielded a blade made of magic and fire.
Artemis had picked up two of the smaller swords that the demons were using and she was getting the hang of slicing off heads.
“I thought monks didn’t like to use weapons?” the Physician asked.
“I thought healers didn’t like using attack magic,” she replied, ducking a broad sword swing from a very naked demon and lunging at his head with her swords crossed like scissors.
“We all need our hobbies.” He smirked as the head fell to the ground. He neutralized the poison with a wave of his hand and the body dissolved.
“Some people pick up crotchet or cooking.” She liked verbally sparing with him. It had a soothing quality. The fact that he knew that she was a woman helped. She felt more at ease with him than she had with anyone since she arrived on the island.
“Do you cook or crotchet not-yet-a-master-monk?” He swung his sword up and it turned into a umbrella, shielding the civilians under him from flaming arrows. A demon at the end of the street had a cannon that shot arrows at an alarming speed. Their tech was very similar to Cillian tech. Artemis didn’t like the implications of that.
Throwing her sword at the demon and catching him in the neck she said, “No. I fight with weapons.” She heard the guffaw from the Physician as she launched herself at the demon with her sword in its throat. Once again she was glad the demons treated their blades against their own acid blood.
As she finished off the demon, his neck exploded in green acidic blood. Artemis felt the acid fly into her face and chest. She lost grip on one of her swords and felt the pain that came with it the acidic blood followed by a stabbing pain in her chest.
Instinct took over and she spun into a round house kick. She connected with something big and broke a few of what felt like ribs. She’d been trained to fight blind by the masters and her other previous teachers. The fact that her kick hit the thing’s chest and not its head meant it was well above seven feet high.
Not wasting any time, she went low and kicked at the things legs as a distraction as she launched into a complicated set of thrusts and slashes. She wasn’t trying to kill the, hopefully, demon, but get it off balance enough to stun it until Fred, the Physician, could heal her wounds.
She sliced and kicked the demon and prepared for a massive blow to its head but never made it. The demon grunted and hit the weapon in her chest and she fell back. The pain was almost more than her training could handle and she couldn’t get up.
“I leave you alone for ten seconds.” Fred’s voice and magic warmed her when she didn’t even know she was cold.
The magic was fast and powerful. She felt the sword pushed from her chest and she grabbed it as it came out. Standing, she assumed a defensive posture and opened her eyes.
She had two swords again and looked fierce but next to the behemoth in front of her she looked puny. He was stark naked and obviously aroused, he had multiple slashes and bruises, and his for hands held three weapons. Behind him, glowing ominously, was a swirling portal.
“Four arms? And eight feet tall? What magic made you?” Her quips were a little weak. She was still a little disoriented. She felt Fred’s hand on her neck and suddenly she felt like she’d drank eight coffees.
“I am the lLor Commander of the Demon Hordes of Aldroy. I command ten thousand and will squash you like the tiny human boy you are.”
Rolling her eyes, Artemis said, “I’ve wanted to say this for months. I am no boy.”
The fight lasted longer than it should have. Despite his size and strength, he was clumsy. Fighting with two short swords and a six foot two handed sword meant he was limited in his movements.
She took her time learning his movements and then pushed him hard and fast. Every hit she blocked felt like a hammer on her arms but every third hit of hers landed. At first his cuts didn’t seem to slow him down but eventually he showed the effects of his wounds.
Just as she was getting confident in her movements and ready to go for the death blow he laughed and tripled his speed. He’d been toying with her the whole time. His hits that were hard and slow suddenly became powerful, quick, and calculated.
To become a master, a Monk of Dumas needed to pass a test and a ceremony but most importantly they needed to do an act of heroism. Artemis had expected that to mean a great feat or strength or something impressive. In that moment, Artemis realized that it was more than that, the monks needed to reach a state of complete control and inner peace.
As she parried the blows all her training disappeared from her mind and was replaced with calm thoughts. She fell into a trained rhythm and concentrated on her breathing and her body. As she did, she called on everything she’d ever learnt and it all fell into place like a giant puzzle.
The world slowed and she moved at an inhuman speed. In the amount of time it took the demon to swing his two handed sword, she cut his head off and kicked it across the street.
Every demon stopped, fell to their knees, and let out a hideous howl of rage and pain.
Portals appeared all around them and the Demon Hordes of Aldroy stepped out into the city.
“I think we pissed them off,” Fred said, eyes wide.
“Maybe, or it could be a coincidence.”
If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?