80 Dangerous enemy
"Mmm...? It's just you two...? I could swear you guys would have tried to come with the whole team to save Ashy... I guess you just don't care about her that much..."
Daren and Lilith were staring at Rya with their battles stances while she was sitting on a bed inside of the castle's dungeon.
"Even stick-girl hasn't come yet? Is she still in dreamland? Or maybe she simply realized how useless her sister is and decided to just get rid of her."
Daren was trying his hardest to keep his emotions in check. He wanted to scream about how his team would never abandon Ashley and how they only came by themselves because of the barrier surrounding the castle and also because some of them still needed to take care of Evlin.
However, he didn't want to reveal that Evlin was defenseless right now. The last thing they needed is to have her captured as well.
Information is power, and he needed to keep to himself just how fragile the state of his team was right now.
"You can mock us all you want, but you still have no chance against the two of us at full power!"
"You don't say...? Well, guess I should better run then..."
Drya leaped off her bed and started to walk towards the exit of the dungeon, which in turn alarmed Daren who thought she was going to try and escape again making him rush towards her.
She then turned her face towards him while still keeping her back turned and started to smile.
Suddenly, several spikes started to emerge from her back and began to piece Daren's skin, much to his surprise.
Lilith rushed to his side but the dryad used her vines that were spread all over the room and after grabbing her bed with them, slammed it against Lilith.
"Man!!! You guys are the best!!! I could do this aaaaaall day!"
Daren stood up and glared at the demon with ferocity.
"How did you do that? Nothing should be able to hurt my skin aside from blessed metal!"
"Did you forget that demons get their power from suffering? Right now, my good friend Ashy is so deep in depression that she can't stop thinking about how much she wants to kill herself!"
She extended her arms and created a pair of leaf-blades.
"With this much inner damage, no one can hold me down!!"
Daren moved with his maximum speed to get behind the dryad's body and knock her out, but the moment he got close to her she simply extended her spikes in an attempt to pierce him again.
"Come on big boy!! Give me a hug!!!"
Daren managed to halt himself at the last second and got some distance between the two of them.
"Oowww... He's shy... But if you won't come to me..."
She aimed her blades at him and started to raise herself with her vines while moving towards his position.
"I'll come to you!!!"
Daren jumped up to avoid her blades and kicked the ceiling to return to the ground quickly. He started to repeat the process and began to jump all over the place so that the dryad couldn't lock into him.
"Do you have fleas or something? Stay still!!"
Daren was managing to avoid her attacks with ease thanks to his non-stop movement. Drya was so busy trying to follow Daren with her eyes that she didn't notice Lilith approaching her from behind.
Lilith swung her sword down and almost sliced Drya in half, but the moment she was about to, Drya turned her arm into vines and pulled herself out of the way by latching onto the ceiling.
While she was in the process of moving out of Lilith's attack, Daren leaped towards her and smacked her against the ground.
The dryad collied with the floor of the dungeon and started to spill some green blood.
She saw Daren looking at her and tried to stab him with her spikes once again, but right after that, the spikes were cut into pieces by Lilith's sword.
The dryad tried to go for Lilith this time but Daren used his speed once again to slash her with his claws.
Drya then realized she was caught in a loop. Each time she turned her attention to one adversary, the other would take this chance to strike her. She was being bounced between opponents like a volleyball. Their tag team was going to defeat her in no time.
"Ugh... I need to change my strategy..."
She saw Lilith coming to attack her again and had an idea. The moment she was about to swing her blade Drya opened her arms and stood perfectly still while the sword was coming towards her.
"Go ahead! Kill me! Let's end little Ashy's suffering!!"
Lilith panicked as she realized she forgot this wasn't just an enemy, this was Ashley's body. If she killed Drya, Ashley would die too.
She hesitated and Drya used this chance to attack her with a barrage of spikes.
Lilith suffered a grave injury. She was lying on the ground with wounds all over her body and making a pool of blood.
"You still can't get over your little trauma cant you? Still too afraid of getting lost in your desire for carnage..."
"I have no desire for carnage you plant-demon!"
"Of course you do! Don't you know? I saw Ashley's memories, I know about your hate towards demons!"
"Of course I hate demons! They attacked me and my family when I was little!"
"Oh, silly girl... That's not why you hate demons..."
"You hate them because you are afraid of one day becoming like one!"
"What are you talking about??"
"I'm talking about your silly little traumatic experience where you lost yourself and ended up slaughtering a whole army alone..."
Lilith tried to impale Drya with her sword, but her frustration was starting to make the plant-girl stronger and faster.
"You are afraid that you might like it! That you might enjoy it! That one day you will crave the taste of blood so much that you won't be able to live without it!"
"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!!!"
Lilith continued to swing her sword wildly but Drya managed to catch her with her vines and brought her very close to her face.
"Just- Like- A- Demon!!!!!"
Lilith began to engulf herself in rage and started to attack Drya with even more aggressivity.
"I'm going to kill you!!!"
"Lilith calm down!!"
"Yeah Lilith, calm down! You don't want to have the man you hate seeing that side of you, right?"
Lilith froze in the middle of her attack right when she was about to swing her sword again. Daren looked at her with his red eyes wide open.
"Oh, Daren... She didn't tell you?"
"Daren, don't listen to her!"
"Yeah Daren, Lilith hates you! She hates looking at you because you remind her of everything she fears becoming one day!"
"What are you talking about...?"
"Stop Daren!! She's trying to confuse you!!"
Drya was looking at the two with her arms crossed as if she was enjoying a good show.
"During one of the nights after Marcus attacked and Auren confessed his love for your little airhead friend, Lilith started to develop some weird feelings..."
Lilith started to attack Drya again to keep her quiet, but the demon was moving too fast for her, even with her future sight activated.
"She wanted someone to talk to about the feeling of loving someone, but since her only other options where stick-girl who only thinks about fighting day and night, and airhead-girl who only thinks about playing around all the time, she had no choice but to try seeking guidance from good old Ashy!"
"She told Ashley that she wanted to try falling in love too, and Ashy said that maybe she could try her chances with you since you two looked like a good match! You know what Lilith said after that?"
Drya jumped out of the way from one of Lilith's sword attacks and landed right in front of Daren. She stared right into his eyes and held his lion face.
"I could never fall in love with a monster!! The mere idea of touching him when he looks like that disgusts me immensely! Those were her exact words!"
Daren wanted to think she was lying. He wanted to believe that those were not her true feelings and that the dryad was just toying with them. But then he looked at Lilith who acted like she was about to start crying.
"Lilith... Why aren't you denying it...?"
Daren felt like he had just been stabbed in the heart. He just heard that the person he was slowly starting to develop feelings for admitted to hate him for being half-monster. Not only that, he heard that during a moment in his life where he didn't know if he would ever become human again.
Drya stood close to him and began to feed on his pain.
"Oowwww, come on Daren, don't be sad... You just can't lie to your heart in these kinds of situations..."
Daren simply stood quietly without moving while Drya continued to absorb his negative feelings. She then proceeded to form her usual arm-blades.
"Here... Let me make the pain go away!!!"
She moved her blades to stab his heart. Lilith saw that scene and started to scream her lungs out.
But the moment her blades touched his black fur, they were shattered in pieces, much to the Drya's surprise.
"What?? How did..."
Daren grabbed her throat and glared with ferocity.
"I'm a demon now too, remember? Demons feed on the misery of the human heart."
He then carried her whole body with one hand and slammed it against the ground with all his strength, creating a huge shockwave across the room.
The lion monster released her after observing her entire unconscious body smashed against the floor of the dungeon.
"And right now... There is no one more miserable than me..."
Daren was carrying an unconscious Drya on his arm while Lilith and the rest of their pet monsters followed right behind him.
She was looking really uncomfortable while observing him trying his best to avoid eye-contact with her. She tried to approach him and start a conversation.
"Whatever it is you have to say... I'll hear it later... Right now, saving Ashley comes first..."
The group had reached the entrance room and were about to move towards the exit of the castle. But the moment they did so, the doors started to open.
Daren and Lilith assumed their battle stances again in case an enemy was about to come in, but what they saw surprised the two to no end.
Daren was looking at the figure that was entering the castle. A blond woman floating in mid-air wearing an amazing white dress.
Daren had his mouth wide open. The source of all his hate, the woman that imprisoned him for two-hundred years and made Marceus into a slave was right in front of him. Lilith seemed to be surprised as well but she felt something was not right.
"East...? Daren what are you..."
Before Lilith could finish her sentence, Daren dropped Drya on the floor and rushed towards East to impale her with his claws.
East closed the door and finally noticed Daren coming towards him filled with rage in his eyes.
"Mmm...? What the...? Who are you?"
She seemed confused by seeing Daren trying to attack her and while he was in mid-air, she simply grabbed him by the throat with one hand and threw him against the ceiling.
"Whoever you are, don't bother me right now... I'm tired and need to sleep."
Daren watched while still stuck in the ceiling as East moved towards Drya who was knocked out. Looking closer, he could see that East was carrying some kind of black sword.
"Hey, you! Why are you sleeping on the floor? You should be taking care of our bait!"
Drya heard East talking to her and opened her eyes.
"Mmmm...?? Oh!! Hey boss!! Back from refilling the sword already?"
"I wish... I only managed to get halfway done..."
Daren was staring in shock as East, also known as the goddess who hates all demons, talking so casually with the dryad.
"Really? Then why did you returned?"
"Some of our spies noticed a small group of warriors carrying silver metal approaching. We are about to be attacked so I came to protect the castle."
"Yeah... Those annoying demon-slayers that keep coming here to attack us... It seems they picked a small girl and a teenager to join their group..."
"When is the crossbow mage coming? We need her to help us prepare for battle."
"She still hasn't shown up, but that guy stuck in the ceiling is one of her friends."
East looked at Daren again all the way from the ground, and before he noticed, she was right in front of him floating right by his side.
She grabbed Daren's throat again and launched him into the floor.
She started to slowly descend and began to analyze Daren.
Daren tried to stand up but he noticed Lilith screaming at him from the corner of his eye.
"Daren!!! That's not East!!!!"
Daren looked at East again and realized something was wrong. She wasn't holding her usual devilish smile or carrying an aura of superiority. She was looking like she was tired with her eyes half open as if she just wanted to bury herself into a bed. Lilith was right, that wasn't East.
Before he even noticed, East noticed the rest of the intruders, vanished out of nowhere and rushed towards Lilith and the pet monsters while extending her hand. With a small blast of energy that looked nothing like the kind of energy East would usually release, she knocked out every single one of them in one hit.
Daren could only look in shock as his team fell on the floor.
"Who are you...? You're not East..."
"...?? Your most hated enemy is the goddess of east? Interesting..."
"Most hated enemy? What...?"
"As for who I am... Let's just say... I'm your new best friend!"
East, or rather, the individual that appeared to be East in Daren's eyes, smiled at Daren in a way that was somehow even more terrifying than the way the usual East would smile. Daren started to realize that he was in the presence of a truly dangerous creature.