271 A Deal with a Demon
Having not stepped foot outside of the Crystal Towers for most of her life, Devina had no idea that the accommodations she'd been given were considered pretty good for a prisoner. Of course, a prison is still a prison, and no matter if she was given meals or tea or privacy, she was still quite peeved about her current position.
Could she get out with her abilities? It was more than likely. Even the Yilish, who hadn't relied on Magicians for thousands of years, couldn't build prisoners that could keep a skilled enough Magician. But the question then became should she. The answer of course, was no.
She could attempt to get out in order to stop the Monster from hunting the passengers on the ship. But if she failed, she not only would have angered him, and likely been hurt in the process, but also the Yilish. She doubted they'd hesitate to throw her overboard then. She hadn't been lying when she said she couldn't swim.
Of course, she had no desire to be the catalyst for an international debacle. Devina had never actually been told the reason why the Holy Empire didn't just quietly squash that little country in the south, but she could guess. The Yilish were not a people you simply 'squashed'.
If Gelling was any indication, if they did go out, they'd go out loud and be something to remember.
So, after the first few hours, Devina had reserved herself to wait until they either got to the next port, or she sensed that the Monster was hunting. After all, she wouldn't be able to stand idly by if she went after another innocent.
So imagine her surprise when the Monster came to seek her out himself.
She'd been enjoying a cup of tea before she rested, she'd almost been relaxed. That had changed the moment they'd been left alone. It had begun even then. His Violet eyes and her dark brown ones telling each other all they needed to know.
'I know you're clever. I know you're skilled. But in the end, I will outsmart you'.
What had surprised her was that his eyes were just as confident as her own. Arrogant even.
She'd tried to prob him. Tried to gain more information. He had only allowed to slip what he wanted. It had frustrated her, and she'd been ready to bend the light between them in order to wipe the smug smirk off his face.
But then his eyes had changed. They'd gone from arrogant man, to a monster playing with his food. From violet to red. And those needle-like fangs. It was unsettling enough that Devina damn near shuddered at the sight.
She'd held it together though. Held it together long enough to hear his deal.
A thousand lives? A part of Devina denied it being possible. But the other part, the part that had once played with shadows in the street whilst peddling for food, that part believed every word.
Of course, he only left after informing her of the extended white lie he'd made to get into her. So it wasn't enough that he'd marred her reputation, now he had to take away her faith as well? Devina grit her teeth, the will to deny the deal outright climbing up her throat rapidly.
But a thousand lives, plus her Paladins...
Devina had swallowed the protest, then kept it down with cold tea for good measure.
She had barely slept. The part of her that was the prideful Priestess insisted that her Paladins would take care of this Monster. That they were enough. But she'd seen those eyes turn from violet to red. She'd seen the calculations behind them. The cobweb he'd woven was impossible to escape.
At least, not without dragging down a thousand innocent lives with her. Her, whose duty was first and foremost protection.
Devina sent word just before dawn.
She waited in the silence of her cell right up until the evening meal. She'd heard the loud conks of the anchor as it sank. They were at the new dock. Due to leave on the morning tide.
At the evening meal, Gelling appeared, the Monster right behind him. He was carrying a bundle of clothes with him which he handed to her and then he waited in the hall while she changed out of her Priest's robes and into a plain cotton dress.
Very well, she would play the little actress for him. But he would not take her faith from her.
She exited the cell, meeting the Monster in the hallway. He appeared perfectly normal. His movements were perhaps a bit more calculated than a normal man, but that was the only real difference. He greeted her with a fangless smile.
"Ah, dearest, so glad that we've swept our differences beneath the rug," said the Monster. No...this was just a man. Perhaps in his early-twenties. He was just a man greeting a lover. Greeting her.
Though Devina did realise at this inappropriate time that she had no idea what his name was, and that he had no idea of hers.
"Aye, I apologise for my rash behaviour," Devina smiled politely, "I was far too into character, and it was wrong of me to steal from you, but in going to the west we'll certainly find the token".
"I'm relieved to hear it," stated the man with violet eyes, "Come, let us retire to our room so that we may dine together".
No way in seven realms was she staying with him in the same room.
Still, she said nothing, simply smiled at Gelling and took the monster's hand. It was cold, as if he'd washed them in cold water for a little too long. Still though, she didn't flinch nor protest all the way up the four decks and down several halls before he stopped before a door and produced a key.
"This is us," he said, opening it up with a smile and holding it wide for her. Devina smiled warmly and stepped inside. She walked across the room towards the window where the lights from the port could be seen in the distance. The door to the room closed and her head snapped around.
"I am not staying in here with you".
The Monster sighed as if exhausted, "I worked all day to earn enough to pay your fair and get you a few sets of extra clothes, the least you could do is say thank you".
Devina blanched, with his Silver tongue, she was sure he'd just chatted his way out.
"I..." she closed her mouth again, frowning as if in disbelief that she was actually going to thank him. Then she sighed and admitted it was only polite, "Thank you".
The Monster sighed as he walked over and sat down in the chair at the end of the bed, "My name, is Aegin".
Devina frowned. Aegin. It was a perfectly normal name. Perhaps more northern than she was used to, but normal all the same. Not what she expected of a monster.
Aegin chuckled, "Of course it is".
"What's that supposed to-"
"I'm hungry," Aegin stated.