Here’s the 3rd chapter. A gargantuan beast of 7k+. On another note I just hit the 30k point in my draft of this novel, even wrote the first smut sceneXD I’m quite happy about how well the writing is going.
I should mention that the gray out chapters on the Original tab are the chapters I’ve written, but not yet published, so you can see I’m about to start on Chapter 8. Currently in my draft I have planned for 16 chapters, not counting the prologue and epilogue. So almost half-way there~
Anyways, enjoy the 3rd chapter.
Demon-Lord’s Little Bride
It was a few weeks later when Adriel was hit by the sudden realization that he wasn’t miserable. Sure, he wasn’t jumping for joy either, but he did not spend his evenings dreading the upcoming work day.
When the Holy Maiden had decreed that he would be demoted to the dungeon, he had thought he would be in for a life of despair. But as days passed, and despondency had not settled in his heart, he had felt his equilibrium being restored.
His usual dungeon duties were not that dangerous, whatever he might have thought before, as the guards made sure all the prisoners were kept in check whenever Adriel had any contact with them. Not to mention most of the prisoners kept in the Palace’s dungeon were political – there were other prisons for people who had committed crimes such as robbery or murder.
And as for his ‘special duties’ – there wasn’t much to complain about either.
He had attended to the Demon-Lord only a few more times since that first day, but he had managed to avoid any further embarrassing incidents, thankfully. He’d tried his best to act as unobtrusively as possible just like if he was a particularly dull painting only mounted on the wall because it was the right size. He’d mostly succeeded.
The Demon-Lord had spent most of his time in his bedroom, but the door was left open more often than not. In Adriel’s hopeful opinion that meant the Demon-Lord did not actively dislike him, which was as good as it would probably get.
Currently, he was sitting in the cramped servant dining room, taking his evening meal. On days he was not attending to the Demon-Lord, he took his three meals here along with the other servant boys. The dungeon servants had their own tiny dining room, separate from the other servants since the boys working in the dungeon were considered the bottom of the barrel, and most ‘upper’ servants refused to associate with them.
He could understand the sentiment, so he did not resent them. All the servant boys feared the dungeon, and so they feared that any association with those already there would land them in there as well. That and, of course, there were always servants who were just arrogant and looked down on those amongst them who had fallen out of luck.
Adriel stirred the stew in front of him, his eyes bleak. His co-workers had always been his least favourite part of working in the Royal gardens. Being a gardener in Her Ladyship’s personal garden was a relatively high position, so a lot of the servant boys went around with their heads blown to a size bigger than their shoulders could carry. He was the youngest there, so he always ended up suffering from their superior attitude.
In fact, he’d suffered so much it had ended with him down in the dungeon.
“You look pensive.”
A voice startled Adriel, and his spoon fell into the bowl. He tried to fish it out, but all he managed was to get his fingers dirty. Then he turned his head in the direction of the person who had interrupted him, a little annoyed, but his expression went blank when he saw that it was actually Caleb.
That threw him for a loop.
Caleb had never taken the initiative to speak to Adriel outside of their working hours in the whole month Adriel had been here. And as Adriel had noticed, he did not really keep company with any other servants either.
So he was, naturally, quite confused about what could be Caleb’s motive in approaching him like this.
“Can I sit next to you?” the youth asked with a blank face. He was one of the most unreadable people Adriel had ever met.
“Yea,” he answered cautiously.
Right away, Caleb sat next to him, and, not beating around the bush, cut to the reason he had come looking for Adriel.
“I just received a message from the upper management. Her Ladyship, the Holy Maiden, will be coming to see the Demon-Lord tomorrow noon.”
“Eh? Holy Maiden!?”
Adriel exclaimed in surprise. The sound was so loud a few of the nearby servants looked over, but Caleb’s cold stare sent their gazes right back to their meals. Then he returned to the topic at hand.
“It’s something I was remiss to inform you of during your briefing. Her Ladyship likes to come down to the dungeon to check on the prisoner, and the seals holding him. It usually only happens once a month or so, that’s why I had not expected for it to fall on a day you’re attending to the Demon-Lord so soon.”
As Caleb spoke, Adriel went paler and paler. He was sure that in a minute he would be as pale as a bed sheet.
He had not expected to ever see the Holy Maiden again after his demotion to the dungeon. That had pretty much been the only silver lining in the whole situation.
However, from what he understood, Caleb was saying he would have to act as a guide and attend to the Holy Maiden during her visit.
He did not know whether the Holy Maiden would still remember him as it had only been a month since the incident, and the thought of what might happen if she recognized him terrified Adriel.
He tried blocking such dreary speculations, and listened to Caleb.
“Usually, Her Ladyship takes two of her personal servants with her, but It is custom that there are two of the servants that serve the Demon-Lord present as well.”
Caleb spoke, and then stopped, and one of his eyebrows went up ever so slightly as he observed Adriel. Then he sighed, and spoke in a softer tone, probably noticing how shaken Adriel was.
“Relax. I’ll send one of the older servants with you, all you have to do is follow his example and stay silent in a corner for the duration of Her Ladyship’s visit. It usually doesn’t last too long, and after that you can return to your regular duties.”
Adriel understood that Caleb was trying to soothe him, but it was clear he was not very good at it, and all it managed was to make Adriel even more nervous.
Caleb did not seem inclined to reassure him any further than that, so after he had told Adriel the time he had to be at the entrance to the dungeon to welcome the Holy Maiden tomorrow, he stood up and left the dining room.
Leaving Adriel to occupy himself with newfound worries.
The next morning, just as he was greeting the Demon-Lord, Adriel was struck by the sudden realization that he had forgotten to ask Caleb a very important question.
Was he supposed to inform the demon of Her Ladyship’s visit?
Caleb had called it an inspection, so it would stand to reason that the object of it should not be informed of it beforehand, but what did Adriel know? This wasn’t exactly a standard situation.
If he was supposed to inform the man, but he did not, there could be all sorts of incidents. Like, if the Demon-Lord was in the middle of a nap when the Holy Maiden came, it was likely that not only would the demon become irate with him, but that the Holy Maiden would not be pleased with him either. On the other hand, if Adriel told the man of the visit when he should not have, the Holy Maiden’s wrath could be formidable.
“What is it?”
The Demon-Lord asked in a curious tone, probably noticing how conflicted Adriel’s expression had become.
Adriel, whose head had been bent down, stole a glance at the demon. The man was sitting on an armchair that stood in one corner of the bedroom, casually playing with some chess-pieces. He was again wearing a baggy black shirt, with the deepest V-cut Adriel had yet seen that afforded a good view of his abdominal muscles.
Adriel had taken note that the demonic lord seemed to have a preference for this sort of style of clothing, when he had been folding the fresh laundry last week. All the shirts the demon owned were like that. Adriel supposed if he had a chest like that, he would also not be embarrassed to show it off.
Realizing that his thoughts had gone haywire again, Adriel felt his cheeks redden, and he stammered.
“Umm,” he began, and then timidly said, “Sir, I was informed yesterday that the Holy Maiden will be visiting you this noon.”
In the end it was better to ere on the side of caution. He had to believe the Demon-Lord would not give him away to the Holy Maiden in case he was not supposed to inform the man. In the short time Adriel had served here, although he had seen glimpses of how terrifying the ancient demon could be, the Demon-Lord had not given him the impression of being a spiteful man.
Therefore he had little regrets once he had spilled the beans. However, when he raised his head to gauge the Demon-Lord’s reaction, there was no indication the news had come as a surprise to the demon. After a minute the man finally sighed.
“So, it’s that time of the month again…” Then, he continued with a smirk, “Dear Hosanna must be missing me a great deal.”
Adriel could only blink stupidly. He’d heard the Demon Lord call the Holy Maiden ‘Dear Hosanna’ before, but it was jarring nonetheless. It was obviously a dig at Her Ladyship, because since she had succeeded the previous Holy Maiden Ruth her given name had become sacred and not to be pronounced by anyone. Only the Demon-Lord could be so brazen as to break such a rule.
Still, there was something that felt weird about the calmness the man was exhibiting, but Adriel for the life of him could not put his finger on it.
“Is that all you wanted to tell me?” The demon asked and Adriel nodded. “Then return to your duties. And bring the breakfast here.”
Adriel nodded again and returned to the sitting room. Then he brought over the tray, and placed it on top of the small table in front of the armchair. After that the Demon-Lord dismissed him again, and Adriel was stuck in the sitting room once more.
He spent the few hours between morning and noon re-dusting the shelves. It had sort of unofficially become his exclusive duty. There had been no more eerie howling though. The reason for that, Adriel speculated, was that since that first day the Demon-Lord had kept the hellhound figurines in the bedroom with him.
The job kept him occupied well enough, but as noon approached Adriel felt his tension rise. The low thrum of dread made goose bumps rise on his skin.
So it was no surprise that when the heavy metal door blocking the exit from the prison cell opened suddenly, making a heavy sound, Adriel let out an undignified yelp. He turned his head towards the doors immediately, and saw that a servant boy had entered the room.
The youth looked a few years older than him, had long golden hair tied in a ponytail, and a serene expression. Adriel recognized him.
“Hello, Adriel. Caleb assigned me to serve alongside you during Her Ladyship’s visit.”
It was Jesse. Aside from Caleb, he was the one with the longest history of serving the Demon-Lord. He was also probably the only other servant with whom Adriel had exchanged more than ten words. Knowing it was Jesse that had been sent to him, Adriel felt himself breathe a sigh of relief.
“Hi, Jesse. Why had you come down here? I thought Caleb said that he’ll send the other servant to wait for me upstairs.”
“Yes, but I thought it better if I came down here to pick you up myself since this is your first time doing this. It’s also better to be upstairs earlier because the Holy Maiden has the tendency to come earlier than she’d planned to.”
Adriel was surprised by the kind gesture. Jesse had the bearing of a gentle person, but he had not expected to receive any special care from him.
“Thank you. In that case, what you mean is you want us to go upstairs already?” Adriel asked, a bit nervously. There was still an hour till the appointed time, which meant they would have to stand waiting for an hour if the Holy Maiden did not arrive early.
Jesse smiled, the look in his eyes as gentle as flowing water, “That would be for the better.”
“Umm, give me a moment.”
Having said that, Adriel hurried off to put away the cleaning utensils and to get his uniform in order. He knew from personal experience that Her Ladyship intensely disliked servants that looked sloppy.
Once he was ready he followed after Jesse out of the prison cell and upstairs to the exit of the dungeon. Halfway there he recalled he had not excused himself from the Demon-Lord, and had almost wanted to turn back, but Jesse stopped him by saying it was fine, and that the demon would not mind.
When they reached the entrance to the dungeon, and were let into the lower basement level, as Jesse had instructed him, he just stood there by the guard post and began the tedious process of waiting.
Once in a while Jesse would strike up some small talk with him, in an obvious attempt to distract him, for which Adriel was grateful.
As minutes passed, however, it became clear that today the Holy Maiden had no plans to appear earlier. Adriel tried to keep his hands by his sides and his back straight, as was proper, but the passage of time made him more and more twitchy. The anxiety was killing him.
At exactly quarter to the appointed time, the sound of multiple footsteps approaching in their direction made Adriel freeze. He turned his head, and watched, transfixed, as a group of people emerged from around the corner.
He immediately recognized the woman leading the four people group. Her Ladyship, the Holy Maiden. Her face, as usual, was obscured by a white veil with only her long hair, a shade even more golden than Jesse’s, trailing down from beneath it. She was wearing a set of official robes that reached the floor, which, combined with the veil, gave her the air of a mystical being that had descended to earth. Thanks to Adriel’s old position, he had seen more of the Holy Maiden than a lot of the other servants, and he’d always been struck by her cold solemnity.
He also recognized the four people trailing after her. There were two female guards – Her Ladyship’s personal bodyguards – and the two servant boys, who Adriel knew attended to the Holy Maiden and were proficient in magic arts.
Magic aptitude was not common among humans, but it also was not extremely rare. Adriel himself had some aptitude as well, low as it may be, and he was trained in the basics. His father swore up and down that their ancestor had served as a mage to one of the previous Holy Maidens. It was not an unreasonable theory – magic had a tendency to skip generations at times, and then unexpectedly pop right back in.
That was why Adriel’s family had put great hopes on him to produce magically strong children and grandchildren in the future. Adriel was pretty sure that such hope had been crushed right into the mud by now. His chances of leaving the dungeon, marrying and having children were probably in the negatives.
The entourage reached them quickly and Jesse took the lead to bow and welcome the Holy Maiden with Adriel immediately copying him. She did not spare them a glance, but the two elite servants bowed in return. The guards that were stationed at the entrance to the dungeon had also bowed, and afterwards had already started to open the door to the dungeon.
There was no chit-chat, and the party proceeded down the stairway to the dungeons in record time. Jesse and Adriel had moved to the back and were following the Holy Maiden behind the two other servants. There really was no point in them being here as Her Ladyship and her guards were completely capable of reaching the chambers of the Demon-Lord on their own, but it was considered ceremonious, and the Church of Saints placed a large emphasis on preserving ceremony.
Adriel had secretly breathed a sigh of relief when it seemed the Holy Maiden had not taken notice of him, or at least had chosen not to. It was possible she had actually already forgotten the incident a month ago, seeing as she was the most important person in the whole country and probably had more pressing matters occupying her mind.
The entire journey to the Demon-Lord’s prison quarters was spent in complete silence.
When they reached the guards standing in front of the heavy metal door, the guards bowed and opened them without a single question, like this was a common occurrence.
Adriel did remember Caleb telling him that the Holy Maiden came down to the dungeon approximately once a month. He found it strange, despite the explanation Caleb had given. Once a month seemed too often for inspecting a cell that had held the Demon-Lord for what was reported thousands of years. And why did the Holy Maiden have to do it personally? There were plenty of strong mages in the Holy Citadel, and the Demon-Lord’s presence was honestly an open secret so secrecy could not be the answer here. This question had been scratching at Adriel’s brain ever since his conversation with Caleb, but he knew he had no way of ascertaining the truth.
When they entered the sitting room, the Demon-Lord was already there, sitting on a corner of the settee and carelessly paging through a book in his hand. Upon their entrance, the demon raised his head and a devilish smile rose on his face.
“Dear Hosanna, how long has it been? I had thought you’d already forgotten about me.”
The man’s voice was pleasant, but it rang hollow in Adriel’s ears. Even he could tell the demon was not actually thrilled about the company.
For the first time since Adriel had received the Holy Maiden upstairs, she opened her mouth and responded.
“Even a hundred years would be too soon to see you again, you beast. But it is a necessary evil.”
Her cold voice held quite a lot of arrogance and derision, a contrast to her dignified appearance.
“Necessary evil you say? I wonder at your ability to delude yourself, Dear Hosanna. We both know how much you crave this, to the point of madness and beyond.”
The demon’s expression had turned cold and intimidating in an instant. It served to remind Adriel that there was a terrifying, savage demon underneath the humanoid appearance.
“Be silent.” There was clear wrath in the woman’s voice. Adriel had never heard the Holy Maiden speak with such vehemence.
“You can’t control me, Dear Hosanna. And doesn’t that annoy you more and more every single day? That I don’t just dance along to your whims and give you the leash.”
Adriel was pretty sure the smile the Demon-Lord was currently sporting was quite capable of instilling terror in whoever it was aimed at. His black pupils seemed even darker, almost like an abyss ready to swallow you up if you so much as twitch.
The words seemed to only incense the Holy Maiden more.
“I told you to be silent – guards, seize him! I’m growing weary of that beast’s prattling, so let us get started.”
The two female guards immediately approached the Demon-Lord. Adriel thought the man would resist, but instead, he stood up and let himself be lead to the bedroom by the two women with spears pointed at him. But during all that, for one second, Adriel could have sworn the demon had looked straight at him, and smirked, the intensity in his eyes blazing.
The Holy Maiden followed after the two guards, and one of the two servants closed the door behind her, but the both of them remained in the sitting room, standing on either side of the door.
Adriel remained rooted on the spot, his gaze not leaving the bedroom door, until Jesse touched his shoulder, and told him to take a seat at the table. Adriel did so, simply because he did not know what else to do. Jesse sat opposite him, his expression as calm as ever.
So there they were, sitting at the table, surrounded by complete silence once again.
Though he tried to remain calm, on the inside, Adriel was itching to ask Jesse what the hell had just happened.
The conversation between the Demon-Lord and the Holy Maiden had left him baffled. He could not even begin to guess to the meaning of it. Craving? Control? What was that about?
The man had been very vague; obviously not wanting give away anything to the other people in the room, but from the Holy Maiden’s reaction Adriel thought she had understood the unspoken parts of the demon’s words.
The best Adriel could think of, because it had been quite blatantly said, was that there was another reason the Holy Maiden came down here, aside from the official one.
At times like these Adriel could only sigh at his lack of intelligence.
And that led to the second thing that mystified Adriel. The fact that the Holy Maiden had gone into the bedroom with the Demon-Lord and the two guards, leaving him and Jesse in the sitting room with the door blocked by her personal servants.
Because that was obviously what the two servants were doing.
Was it a part of the inspection? Did it have to be so secretive?
It was possible, but Adriel had a feeling it had more to do with whatever the Demon-Lord had been speaking about.
All these thoughts continued to churn in his brain.
But he did not dare to open his mouth, considering the two Holy Maiden’s personal servants that were in the room with them.
So he sat at the table still as stone and hoped nothing more bizarre would happen, and that the Holy Maiden would be done soon.
Then the noises started.
They were muffled by the wall so Adriel could not hear them clearly, but they sounded like groans. And cries. A shiver ran over his back as he listened to them.
He raised his head to look at Jesse, but there was no change in his expression, which probably meant the noises were not unusual. Jesse noticed his gaze and gave him a reassuring smile, so Adriel lowered his head again to escape it, as it only made this situation more puzzling.
What was happening in there?
The noises did not go on continuously. They came and went in intervals, seemingly at random, shaking Adriel’s nerves every time they started anew. He still did not dare to open his mouth to question Jesse, though. However, he was resolute he would do it once Her Ladyship has departed the dungeon.
It was an hour later when the bedroom door opened and the Holy Maiden exited, followed by her guards, who closed the door afterwards so Adriel did not have a chance to discreetly peek inside. Immediately, Jesse stood up and bowed and Adriel imitated him. Then he looked up.
The Holy Maiden’s face was still covered by the veil, so Adriel could not guess at her expression, but he did notice that her hands were tightened into fists, an obvious sign of frustration. However, at the same time his attention was also caught by the several rings she wore on her right hand. All of them were inlaid with precious gems of varying sizes, a kaleidoscope of colours. Especially brilliant was a wide golden ring on her middle finger that had a sky blue gem. For some reason Adriel felt like he had seen it before, though he could not recall when. Most likely he had noticed it at some point or other while working in Her Ladyship’s private garden.
The woman did not say anything, but briskly walked towards the exit, her entourage following her. There was nothing left for Jesse and him but to get up and run after them as well, since leading the way back upstairs was also part of the job.
The way back was also spent in silence, though the pace was much quicker, as if the Holy Maiden could not wait to get out of the dungeon. Of course, there was no outward appearance of any hurry, but the feeling was there.
Before Adriel realized it, they were back in the hallway, bowing and seeing off the Holy Maiden. Once she and her people had disappeared around the corner, Adriel finally relaxed, but then he turned to Jesse once again agitated.
“Umm, can we speak?” He whispered.
Jesse nodded, clearly not surprised by the question. “I’ll accompany you back to the prison quarters.”
As they descended, Adriel began the questioning.
“What was that?”
“You’ll have to be more specific than that,” Jesse replied with a smile.
“That weird conversation between the Holy Maiden and the Demon-Lord. And what was happening inside the bedroom? I thought I heard screams and groans.”
The smile disappeared from Jesse’s face and instead there was a thoughtful look.
“Truthfully, I am not really sure either. The relationship between the Holy Maiden and the Demon-Lord has always been antagonistic, as can be expected, and they’ve always spoken sneeringly to each other, but I have no idea what the Demon-Lord had been trying to imply today. As for what’s happening in the room, I do not know the details, since the Demon-Lord does not like people coming into the bedroom after Her Ladyship’s visits, but it’s part of the inspection the Holy Maiden comes to do down here.”
The explanation was not really satisfactory; it was all things Adriel had sort of guessed at himself. But really, he should have expected it as they were merely servants, lowly ones at that, so there was no way for them to know what was really happening.
The whole situation had just been so weird he had felt the need to at least try asking.
“I see. So what should I do now?”
“I would suggest you to just go sit down and wait for the Demon-Lord to either summon you or for dinnertime to come. He should be ready to come out by then.”
With that, they had arrived at the door to the Demon-Lord’s cell, and Jesse bid him a farewell.
When he entered nothing seemed out of the ordinary. There were no grunting noises either.
Adriel sat down on the settee, the exact same spot the Demon-Lord had sat on earlier, he realized a moment later, and waited. But every few minutes his eyes would unwittingly turn towards the doors. He could not deny he was a bit worried. And curious. It was strange mix.
Minutes passed like that, when suddenly Adriel heard a noise. It was similar to the noises earlier, but weaker. Then there was a very loud sound, like that of a heavy object falling.
Adriel couldn’t help himself. He stood up and approached the door, pressing his ear against it. He heard another groan, and what definitely seemed like a sound of pain. Adriel’s fingers on the door trembled, and he gasped in surprise. But next a sound Adriel definitely remembered rang in his ears.
It was the same sound of howling that had scared him on his first day. And it definitely came from the demon’s bedroom. Like he was in a trance, Adriel reached for the doorknob, turned it, and entered the bedroom.
At first, he did not notice anything unusual. However, the bed was empty, and so he slid his gaze around the room, looking for the Demon-Lord.
And then Adriel saw him.
The Demon-Lord was sitting against the left wall, his arms chained high above his head in the shape of a ‘v’. There was also a chain leading from a hoop on the wall to, Adriel could only presume since there was a lot of dark red hair obscuring his view, the golden collar around the man’s neck. Adriel had previously noticed the hoops and manacles embedded in the wall, but had assumed they had been there since before the demon had become the only resident of this cell, but now it seemed he knew otherwise.
The Demon-Lord looked ragged. His head was hanging down, and his body laid there boneless.
Had the Holy Maiden tortured him?
That was the only thought running through Adriel’s head. There were no visible wounds on the demon’s body, but Adriel knew that things like magic did not always leave marks. So it did seem plausible, though Adriel could not fathom the reason why.
He tiptoed closer to the man, wanting to take a better look, but unexpectedly, the Demon-Lord’s head rose, and he stared right at Adriel. The look in his eyes sent shivers down Adriel’s spine.
“What…are you doing…here…” The demon asked, his voice a bit hoarse.
Adriel had stopped the moment the man’s head had risen, and his whole body had begun to tremble.
“What, ahh…what happened?” he stammered out a question, and immediately regretted it.
“Can’t you see? Dear Hosanna had some fun.”
Adriel’s eyes widened in shock. It was almost like the man was blatantly telling him that the Holy Maiden and her guards had been torturing him.
“Don’t look so surprised. What did you think that sound was?” There was clear derision in the sound of his voice, but it went unnoticed by Adriel.
“Umm…how can I help?” he stammered again.
The Demon-Lord blinked, and then tilted his head sideways, slightly focusing his piercing gaze on Adriel. Thankfully, it only lasted for a few moments before he sighed with annoyance.
“Since you’re here already, you might as well unlock the manacles, and the sodden chain. The key is in one of the manacles.”
Adriel hurried to comply, afraid of annoying the demon any further. Cautiously he approached the man’s left side, and saw that there really was a key left in the manacle. For a moment he wondered how the Demon-Lord was supposed to unlock this himself. With his teeth?
But he did not dare to linger, and quickly unlocked both of the manacles.
“Give me the key.”
Adriel immediately handed it over, and the Demon-Lord removed the chain on his neck himself. He then tried to stand up, but crumbled down on the floor. It was obvious he had lost his strength. Adriel hesitated for a second, but then he kneeled on the floor next to the demon to offer his assistance. The man gave him an unreadable look, but put his big arm around Adriel’s shoulders and they slowly stood up.
He was as heavy as Adriel had thought he would be, and it took him tremendous effort to lead the demon to the bed. Once they stopped at its edge, the Demon-Lord plonked down on the bed with a heavy sound, the momentum dragging Adriel with him.
The man landed on his back with a mortified Adriel half on top of him. Adriel scurried to get up and off the bed, but his wrist was caught by the demon and he was forced to remain on it.
The word was whispered tiredly, and it shook Adriel’s heart. “Okay.”
He settled on the bed next to the Demon-Lord, sitting in a relaxed pose. The demon seemed to be on the verge of falling asleep, so Adriel refrained from speaking.
After a while he saw the Demon-Lord’s breathing relax, and figured he had fallen asleep. Adriel did not dare to leave the bed and risk waking the demon up though so he remained there, lost in his thoughts. That’s why he didn’t notice when the Demon-Lord’s body moved, and the man’s head landed in his lap.
Adriel’s body instantly stilled, his arms lifted in mid-air. Even his breathing had stopped.
Then the man rubbed his face against Adriel’s clothed thigh, and Adriel felt his whole face go red, and he gasped. The place the Demon-Lord was rubbing against felt hot and the heat seemed to be traveling up his body. It was the first time anybody had done something so intimate to Adriel. It felt queer.
He tentatively lowered his arms and one of his hands timidly went to the demon’s head. He stopped it right before touching, unsure, but then he lowered it with new resolution, patting the Demon-Lord’s hair.
It was surprisingly soft, and Adriel let the dark red strands pass through his fingers.
Adriel didn’t know how long they stayed like that, with him brushing the demon’s hair as if comforting the man. The man had not moved after he’d fallen on Adriel’s lap, seemingly satisfied with his current pillow. Adriel’s mind was strangely empty as if a lull had settled over it.
It was something like a half an hour later when the Demon-Lord’s eyes opened and his hand that was still in the man’s hair froze. There was no surprise that Adriel could see in the demon’s expression at their position. But there was no anger either, so he relaxed.
“How are you feeling?” Adriel asked, not knowing what else to say, but also slightly worried about the man.
“Fine.” The demon answered curtly, but made no move to remove himself from Adriel’s lap.
So Adriel had no choice but to move to the subject that had been burning on his mind since he had entered the demon’s bedroom and found him chained up.
“What was that? Did…the Holy Maiden really torture you?”
“You could say that.”
“Why? Aren’t you already a prisoner? What could she gain from that?”
“My, aren’t you a bit too curious for a servant boy?”
A smirk rose on the Demon-Lord’s face. In the blink of an eye Adriel found himself pushed down on the bed, the demon’s immense body caging his own, and his wrists pinned above his head in one of the Demon’s hands. The grip was not painful, but the threat it carried could be plainly felt.
Adriel raised his head, confused, and was paralyzed by the terrifying smirk on the demon’s face. There was something savage about that expression that was being barely leashed behind the human mask.
“You can just come clean now, and I promise your death won’t be too painful.”
The words caused cold sweat to run over Adriel’s back. But they also only confused him further. He did not know what the demon was talking about. He had no secrets.
Then he felt a hand creeping underneath the shirt of his uniform, brushing the sensitive skin of his stomach.
“Or maybe I’ll have some fun first. You are very cute.”
The demon’s smirk got wider and Adriel could catch a glimpse of razor sharp teeth. He gulped. He understood what the demon was implying, he wasn’t that naive, but his throat had frozen up and he could not make a sound.
“Or you can say nothing at all. I can well enough imagine why you’re here in any case.”
The hand continued to caress his skin, moving higher and closer to his chest area. The touch was soft despite the harsh words coming from above, and Adriel’s whole body trembled at the sensation.
“You wouldn’t be the first one Dear Hosanna has sent down here to try to butter me up. Or maybe you’re working for somebody else in the Holy Citadel. It doesn’t really matter.”
Adriel blinked. The demon thought he was a spy? That’s what this was about? It seemed a bit ludicrous, he was sure he would be a terrible spy. He wanted to open his mouth, to protest, but the demon spoke before he had the chance.
“I got mildly suspicious on your first day, when you told me why you were sent here. Most of the boys end up here for mild infractions, but your story was the silliest I’ve ever heard. That, combined with your soft act, seemed clearly intended to make me lower my defence.”
The grip on his wrists tightened and Adriel gasped in pain. The hand that had been underneath his shirt slid out from the neckline, and encircled Adriel’s neck. It was so big it felt like it could almost wrap around his entire neck.
“However, my suspicions were only confirmed today. I’m sure Jesse or Caleb had told you to not enter my bedroom after Dear Hosanna’s visit. But you probably thought or were told by Hosanna it would a good opportunity to get on my good side.”
At this the demon’s gaze focused on Adriel, the look in his eyes intense, like he was challenging Adriel to try to protest. The hand around his neck began to squeeze lightly.
Adriel could not take it and screamed the first thing that came to his mind, scared.
“I’m sorry! It was the dogs!”
The hand stopped. A glimmer of confusion entered the Demon-Lord’s expression, which Adriel took as a sign to press on.
“I’m sorry, Jesse did tell me not to enter, but I heard the dogs howling again and before I knew it I had already opened the door.”
Adriel did not know what he had said wrong, but now anger flashed in the demon’s eyes. He pressed Adriel deeper into the bed, and his tone was indignant as he spoke.
“You expect me to…”
Howls rang through the room. There seemed to be more than one source for the sound, like there was a whole pack of beasts letting loose.
The Demon-Lord had immediately stopped as the howling had started and was intently listening. For some reason Adriel got the vague impression the demon could understand the howls. So he braved himself and asked, “What are they howling about?”
The question made the demon return his attention to Adriel, and like that time with the vase, the man unexpectedly began to laugh.
“So you weren’t lying. Those rascals really edged you on. They’ve been abusing you quite badly it seems.”
There was clear amusement in the tone, but then the demon turned his head and growled. The howling immediately stopped. The Demon-Lord scoffed.
“That’ll shut them up.”
After that he returned to Adriel. Both the hand around his neck and the one holding his wrists were removed, and the demon even helped Adriel to sit up. Taking it as a good sign that the danger had passed, Adriel finally let out a sigh of relief.
The demon then reached for Adriel again, grasping his chin. The fingers of his other hand brushed Adriel’s neck, leaving behind a ticklish sensation.
“I hope I did not hurt you too much.” There was some remorse in the tone.
“It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt.” Adriel replied. Then he was struck by a realization. “Wait! Does this mean you don’t think I’m a spy anymore?”
He blinked at the Demon-Lord, curious. In response, the demon cupped Adriel’s cheek, his thumb tracing the skin.
“No, I don’t.”
Adriel’s heart hammered at the gentle tone. “Why?” he could not help asking.
The demon scoffed again, “You have magic since you can hear the dogs, but it’s clear you’re woefully untrained. Nobody would send such a clumsy spy to me, not even Dear Hosanna.”
Adriel was not insulted by the obvious belittlement of his magic skills. It wasn’t like that wasn’t the truth.
The hand at his cheek moved to his head and patted it.
“Now that we’ve cleared that up, I say we go back to sleep for a little while more. I’m still tired from the ordeal with Dear Hosanna.”
A part of Adriel wanted to try asking about what the Holy Maiden had done to the Demon-Lord again, but he feared ruining the good mood they had finally returned to as the demon seemed quite unwilling to speak of the subject. So Adriel did the only remaining thing, and readily agreed to the proposition.
Unexpectedly, the Demon-Lord’s head landed in his lap again, shocking him. His confusion was probably clearly spelled on his face, because the man grinned.
“Your lap was quite nice, especially your soft thighs, so I hope you don’t mind me using it again.”
Before Adriel could fathom a reply, the Demon-Lord had fallen asleep once again, leaving him only able to sigh and return to brushing the dark red hair while a strange fluttering filled his heart.
It seemed like hours later when the Demon-Lord awoke again. Adriel, who had dozed off at some point as well, slightly stirred at the movement, but was shushed to sleep again by a hand brushing through his hair gently. He turned, burying his head further in the soft, fluffy pillows the likes of which he’d never owned.
The hand that had been in his hair slid downwards, across his back. It stopped right before it reached the dip in lower back, disappearing. The dip in the mattress also vanished, not that Adriel was conscious enough to notice it.
It was a while later when the hand returned gently shaking his shoulder.
“Adriel, wake up.”
Adriel grumbled, unwilling to stir from the comfortable burrow he had made for himself on the bed.
Soft laughter reached his ears.
“Not that I can’t understand your desire to sleep away the hours, but it’s already evening, and the kitchen staff is probably expecting you.”
Adriel’s eyes popped open. Lightning fast, he scrambled to get up, but was once again stopped by a hand on his shoulder.
“Calm down. There’s still time enough.” The Demon-Lord chuckled as he helped Adriel to get out of bed. Adriel could immediately notice that there was something different about the Demon-Lord. Or more precisely, he felt that there was something softer in the way the man looked and acted towards him. It was another factor that added to the flushed state of Adriel’s skin.
Adriel felt like his whole body had turned ripe red from embarrassment as the man steadied him while he was climbing of the bed and then unexpectedly guided by the hand to the prison door, where he was let go of.
Afraid of anybody taking notice of how flummoxed he felt, Adriel rushed through the dungeon and clamoured up the stairs like a scared rabbit, and chose the most deserted pathways.
By the time he reached the kitchen, he felt a bit more composed and was able to interact with the kitchen staff as normal. But once he was back in the dungeon, and was standing in front of the door of the cell that housed the Demon-Lord, he felt his nervousness pick up again.
There was nothing for it though, it was not like he could just turn around and run off to his dorm room to hide. He still had to work a few hours before he could retire.
Not to mention, he wasn’t even sure what he was so nervous about. Mentally reassuring himself that he was being silly, he went through the door.
As it turned out, his worries had been for naught. The Demon-Lord acted no different than usual once he had come back and they passed the evening in peace. Several times Adriel had wanted to further question the demon about what had happened earlier with the Holy Maiden, but he always chickened out. In these circumstances it was probably better to not know too much.
So in the end he had to leave with questions still floating in his mind.
Here’s a sketch of The Holy Maiden Hosanna:
I had not actually planned on making this, and especially even adding the clothing, but once I started I’d had been 3 days and I had this. I’ll probably end up making sketches of all named characters. In the future once I’d written this story, I’d like to try make some illustrations for it…but I first have to write it.
Chapter 4 is much shorter. but to upload that I have to finish Chapter 8, which might be the most difficult one yet, since it’s basically the climax of the first half of the story.
So conservatively, I’d say expect maybe a week to pass before I’ll upload Chapter 4.
Anyways, till next time.