I promised it would be up soon, and I deliver.
Demon-Lord’s Little Bride
It was a bright Thursday morning when Adriel entered the cell housing the Demon-Lord a bit earlier than usual and saw Caleb speaking with the demon.
The scene took him by surprise for a moment. He had not really spoken with Caleb since the time his superior had informed him of the Holy Maiden’s visit. Caleb was a taciturn youth and seemed to prefer an off-hands management of the dungeon servants.
So his curiosity at finding him standing here was understandable.
Not to mention, Adriel was not aware of any duties Caleb might have that would require him to interact with the Demon-Lord aside from the introduction of new servants.
Despite his own confusion, Adriel still gave a short bow to the both of them. Caleb was, after all, above him in the servant hierarchy.
Caleb gave him a barely perceptible nod, expression as wooden as always, but the Demon-Lord smiled at him.
“And here’s my favourite little rabbit. Caleb, you know, I should really remember to give my thanks to Dear Hosanna the next time she comes for a visit. If her temper wasn’t so terrible, I wouldn’t be surrounded by all these cute little things. Really makes my life much sweeter, if you know what I mean, that is.”
“I’m sure Her Ladyship will survive without such esteemed praise,” Caleb commented in a flat tone.
The Demon-Lord snorted.
“You’re as affable as ever, Caleb.”
The demon then continued his musings, chuckling, as if amused by a stray thought.
“You know, I think the main reason all the Holy Maidens surround themselves with all these delicate arsed boy-servants is that they still want to be catered to by men, but without feeling the temptation to fuck them. Cuz, let’s be honest, most of you boys look like you could be overpowered by a stiff wind. Not really the type most women go crazy for.”
Then the demon scratched his chin thoughtfully.
“The only pity is that she gets so pissy when I’m the one who actually touches them. It’s like she doesn’t know that if she baits a tiger, it will inevitably bite. Especially, when the bait is coated in sugar and is being paraded in front of him constantly.”
Caleb’s eyes narrowed so slightly it was almost invisible.
“Are you insinuating something? Should I start looking for another replacement?”
The Demon-Lord gave a full belly laugh.
“I am not fucking anyone, if that’s what you want to know. But I can still look, yes?”
Now Caleb did frown slightly. But the Demon-Lord waved his hand at him.
“Yes, yes, bad demon. You can go now, I’m sure you still have duties to attend to.”
Caleb’s frown grew exactly a millimetre deeper. Without a word, he turned around and went towards the door.
During this whole conversation, Adriel had remained rooted in spot, watching as the two conversed. As Caleb passed him, the youth did not spare him even a glance, but Adriel could not help turning his head to watch him leave.
What had that been?
Caleb and the Demon-Lord had seemed almost…friendly, but not exactly. It was the most emotive Adriel had ever seen Caleb being, at least.
He recalled how Caleb had spoken about the demon during their first meeting. The impression he’d received about Caleb’s attitude towards the Demon-Lord had been completely different, scornful he would even say. Just now, Caleb had been annoyed, sure, but he certainly had not looked upon the demon as a lower being. It had felt more like a playful frustration found among friends.
The conundrum left Adriel flummoxed.
And then, when it came to the subject of their conversation…he…did not wish to think of it.
The rumours he’d been hearing all week flew through his mind, making his chest sting.
“Are you alright? You look a little dazed.” The words spoken directly next to his ear made Adriel take a step back in surprise. The Demon-Lord, who had sneaked up to him, however, followed, his hand reaching out to brush against Adriel’s cheek.
Instantly, his cheeks flushed. A thumb stroked the inflamed flesh gently. Adriel looked at the demon, but the man did not do anything else, seemingly waiting for Adriel’s answer. He quickly took another step back, shaking his head.
“I’m fine. What was Caleb doing here?” he changed the subject on purpose.
The Demon-Lord’s left eyebrow rose. However, he didn’t give Adriel any trouble about his reaction, and immediately answered.
“He was just delivering a message from Her Holiness Hosanna. He’s the highest ranking servant in the dungeon’s so any communications from above usually fall upon him.”
Adriel blinked. What could the Holy Maiden have to inform the Demon-Lord of?
He didn’t dare snoop any further though. He had a feeling the knowledge would not come without a price.
So, instead, he asked: “What are we doing today?”
The demon’s brow cleared and he cheerfully exclaimed: “It’s a surprise.”
After breakfast, the Demon-Lord sat him down at the table and disappeared into the bedroom. When he came out, he was holding three of the Hellhound figurines.
Adriel was certain he knew where this was going and he couldn’t help getting excited.
The Demon-Lord put the figurines on the table, petting the back of the one that had blood red gems for eyes.
“We’ll start with one, and work your way up to a bigger composition with all three. These rascals have been feeling neglected, and they seem to like you.”
“Oh, do they need a dusting?” Adriel asked hearing that. He’d gotten used to the demon treating the dogs as living beings, weird as it was. He supposed that if he got stuck in a cage for so long he’d also end up talking with statues for some support. Especially when those statues were capable of howling. He hadn’t forgotten the previous incidents with the hounds, and he had come to the sneaking suspicion that those things were actually in some way magical, but he didn’t have even the slightest hope of figuring it out. It was way out of his realm of knowledge.
Speak of the wolf. It was very quiet, but Adriel still could hear the howling sound.
The Demon-Lord gave the figurines a forlorn look.
“You’re spoiling them, but if you were so inclined, they’d be all too happy if you brushed them. But that’ll wait until our lesson is over.”
Adriel reached out and also petted one of the figurines, a sitting one with bright green gems for eyes. He heard more howling as his fingers traced the cold stone of the statue.
“They are really beautifully made.”
“My grandfather made them for me.”
Adriel didn’t know what to say to that, but the Demon-Lord didn’t even give him the opportunity to broach the subject any deeper.
“Let’s start, shall we?”
Adriel nodded, and they proceeded with the art lesson. Soon, Adriel became immersed in the process, sketching out the vague proportions of the same hellhound he had been petting, while the demon occasionally offered him pointers. That went on for a while until Adriel noticed that the Demon-Lord was actually…also drawing?
Although he couldn’t see much from this angle, his view blocked by the large book the man was using for support, but the demon had one of the graphite pencils in his hand and it sure looked like he was drawing.
Adriel felt a vibrant spark of curiosity welling up inside of him.
When the demon raised his head he immediately picked up on that. There was laughter.
“I’ll show it to you once I’m done, don’t worry.”
Adriel knew he was on the verge of pouting, so he turned his head away and re-focused on his own assignment. More amused laughter followed. Are demons supposed to laugh so easily? All the textbooks that described them as these evil, savage killers had to have been lying.
With such sulky thought circling in his mind, it took longer than usual for Adriel to finish the simple sketch. At the end there was a depiction of a fierce little hellhound on the piece of paper.
“I’m done,” he told the demon, who was sitting diagonally across from him. “Can I see your drawing now?”
He couldn’t hide the eagerness in his voice.
The Demon-Lord quite uncharacteristically scratched the back of his head. “It’s not my best work, but…”
He handed over the piece of paper, and when Adriel’s eyes lit upon it, he froze.
It was him.
The man had been sketching him.
His own face at an angle stared back at him from the piece of paper. It was clear the artist had poured a lot of attention on each stroke, each strand of his hair. He was smiling in the drawing, his big eyes wide open and warm. His little braid fell over his shoulder, framing the dip of his collarbone. Adriel couldn’t help thinking that the drawing made him look prettier than he actually was.
A warm feeling gushed over his heart. It was very sweet. His feelings, which he had been suppressing all this time, came bubbling up. This had to mean something, right?
But suddenly, the conversation between the Demon-Lord and Caleb came rushing back into his mind again, and it felt like a bucket of cold water had been poured over him.
This really didn’t mean anything, or at least not the thing he might be wishing for.
The Demon-Lord thought all the boys were cute. He’d said as much, and it wasn’t hard to see, considering all of them were actually hired based on their looks. You couldn’t find even one average looking non-blond youth among the Holy-Maiden’s servants – it was a matter of tradition.
Not to mention, as the rumours went the Demon-Lord was prone to dallying with them to get his rocks off.
There was nothing that indicated that the demon thought him special. Maybe he was trying to come on to him, but that, by itself, wouldn’t be strange, considering the demon’s previous behaviour.
Maybe he had spoken about his attraction to the servant boys on purpose, to gauge him?
The man had said he was currently not rolling between the sheets with any of the servants, but that did not mean he did not plan to.
If that was true, and if the target of that desire was him, would he be fine with it? Even if he was just another outlet for the demon’s pent-up desires?
Adriel recalled what the servant he had overheard had said about the fate of the previous person who had been sleeping with the demon. His body shook in fear.
But he knew that he had developed feelings for the demon, and if the man reached out for him…he didn’t think he would have the will to resist.
He had never felt like this.
His shaking hands dropped the piece of paper, and he unconsciously hugged himself.
Two hands came down and slid underneath his chin, lifting his head up.
This caused Adriel to come eye to eye with the demon. He looked downwards before he could make out the expression on the man’s face.
The hands brushed his cheeks, and a finger wiped away something from underneath his eyes. At that moment Adriel realized his eyes were moist, like he was just about to start crying.
“I know that my drawing wasn’t that bad…you were acting strange this morning as well, what has happened? You can tell me.”
One of the hands moved to the back of his head, it slipped into his loosely braided hair and scratched his scalp soothingly.
It just made him feel worse. The Demon-Lord was so gentle with him, it only made him feel false hope in regards to the man’s feelings.
Adriel could not gather words to express his emotions, so he closed his eyes to escape.
The Demon-Lord did not pressure him for answers, but after a moment Adriel felt something soft touch his lips. He gasped.
The demon used the opportunity to push his tongue inside. The wet muscle slowly explored Adriel’s mouth like every part of it was a precious discovery. The demon’s kiss was soft, slow and not at all forceful, completely unlike what Adriel had imagined the few times he had dared to do so.
The softness left him defenceless, and he felt himself melting as he tentatively responded to the kiss, brushing his tongue against the demon’s.
That seemed to spur the man on, as the kiss grew deeper and rougher. The demon entwined their tongues, and Adriel clumsily went along with it. But just when he started feeling short of breath, the tongue left his mouth, leaving him panting.
However, the foreign mouth did not remove itself, as teeth playfully nipped on his lower lip. He felt a hand go around his waist and give a slight push, making Adriel stand up. He was immediately embraced against the demon’s muscular chest as their mouths’ separated completely.
Adriel burrowed his flushed face in the crook made between the V-neck of the shirt the man was wearing and his skin.
The demon’s other hand was still in his hair, but it moved to the top of his head, patting him. The demon was really fond of doing that, Adriel thought absentmindedly.
“There, there…do you feel better now?”
The Demon-Lord’s tone was gentle, as if speaking with a spooked animal.
…an animal…like a rabbit.
The nickname the demon had bestowed upon him in the morning floated around in his mind, and he felt his body flush. He could see the resemblance to his own eternal shame.
Which is why he did not respond with words but just nodded.
For a moment nobody spoke.
“Now can you tell me what has gotten my little rabbit so upset?”
More blushing. He had just been thinking about that nickname.
Adriel wrestled with what he wanted to say, but in the end he knew that he could not hold it all in, especially after such an affectionate kiss – he had to reveal everything that was on his heart, and hope for the best.
“…there are…rumours going around that you have a new…lover…”
He started out awkwardly. It still could be the case that the man had lied to Caleb, and he did already have a lover. The chance of that was low, at least he hoped it was, considering the demon had just kissed him, but he still wanted to make sure.
He didn’t want to make an even bigger fool out of himself.
The man’s tone remained gentle as he hummed “Is that so? Was that what made you so upset?”
“Then what did?” He was urged on.
Adriel took a deep breath. He confessed. “I like you.” He started, “But I know I’m just one of the many servant boys that have at some point caught your attention. I’ve heard all the rumours about your affairs. When I thought of that it just made me feel sad for myself. Even though I know it’s a bit selfish to wish to be thought of as more special than others.”
He had whispered all of that, so a part of him was unsure if the demon had heard him as for a long time there was no response from above.
Finally, “It seems you’re even sillier than I thought. First, let’s get more comfortable, and then I’ll dissuade you from those silly notions you seem to be harbouring.”
“What…” dumbfounded, Adriel began to ask, but hands moved to below his knees and lifted him up in the air, effectively cutting him off. Instinctively, he wrapped his hands around the demon’s neck.
The man did not move far, just to the nearby settee and took a seat. However, he did not let go of Adriel, but instead made him sit on his lap sideways. The position made Adriel slightly uncomfortable as he now had to stare directly at the Demon-Lord’s face as they spoke, so he tried to at least remove his hands from the man’s shoulders, but he was stopped.
“Leave them there, they don’t bother me, I much prefer you as close to me as possible.”
The Demon-Lord then slightly turned his head and gave one of Adriel’s hands a soft peck. It tickled. Both physically and emotionally as a renewed burst of colour overtook Adriel’s cheeks.
The demon then focused his gaze on Adriel himself. Adriel could see the determination in the man’s gaze. Then the man smirked with a mischievous tilt to his mouth.
“I suppose we should start with those irksome rumours. My Dear, there’s no need for you to feel jealous, unless you find it amusing to be jealous of yourself, since you’re the only one who has caught my attention and so are the cause of those rumours.”
Adriel was sure he was gaping. The demon chuckled at that.
“Did you really think I give personal art lessons to every boy the Holy Maiden sends down here? You really think too well of me.”
The demon chuckled again.
“You’re the first one I’ve ever done something like that for,” the Demon-Lord confessed. The hand that was wrapped around Adriel’s waist tightened its grip.
If the man meant what Adriel thought he meant by that, it seemed too good to believe.
“Really…but…you’ve must have had so many lovers during these thousand years,” Adriel voiced his doubts.
Another chuckle, this one a little bit self-deprecating.
“Oh, yes, I won’t deny that. I’ve plundered through my fair share of the servant boys. But the funny thing is – most of them had been spies. And not just Hosanna’s.”
Adriel hadn’t thought he could get any more surprised today.
“It’s popular espionage tactic – seducing your target and extracting information once the person has let down his guard.”
“Magic, of course. You humans have always been fascinated by it, but both your aptitude and knowledge of it is woefully lacking. I possess the most powerful magic amongst all the demonic races, and have inherited the ways of my ancestors. The Holy Empire has lost a lot of its ancient magic, and I am probably the only living-being that could help them regain at least a portion of it. There are more than a few noblemen who would be willing to even sell off their children to acquire that information. And the priests would probably even chew off their legs for it.”
He continued, “So, every once in a while I would be sent this cute boy, since they know demons are notoriously nonchalant about the gender of the person they are fucking, whose goal was obviously to get close to me. Since they’re all too willing I prefer to humour them, since a man does have needs. I don’t feed them anything more than breadcrumbs in exchange, though. Those lovers of mine that get axed are usually the spies not planted by the Holy Maidens.”
Adriel listened, riveted. But then he recalled something.
“But…that day after Holy Maiden’s visit…”
“You’re asking me why I attacked you instead of accepting that clumsy attempt at seduction if I thought you were a spy?”
Adriel could only nod.
The Demon-Lord sighed, “The truth is that Dear Hosanna has already sent numerous boys at me, only to immediately burn them when I don’t give them what she wants. She’s tenacious like that. I had grown rather tired of it by that point, and her visit had not made my mood any better. So I acted impulsively.” Here he stopped for a moment.
His hand rose, and he twined a lock of Adriel’s hair around his finger. And then he gave Adriel a lecherous smile.
“In retrospect, I would have definitely chosen to take the bait and get a taste of you. Honestly, I was still sorely tempted even then. If those rascals hadn’t stopped me, I might have given in. You are one of the prettiest things I have ever seen.”
Adriel’s heart immediately began pounding. Nobody had ever complimented him like that.
“But I’m happy I had not. We might not have ended up like this if I had.” The man’s tone had turned serious. “Basically, what I want you to understand is that you are special to me. There have been others I have cared for, long ago, in the early days of my imprisonment when I had not yet grown jaded to these games, but there has never been anyone like you.”
Adriel could see real grief in the man’s eyes, and overwhelmed by emotions, he did the only thing he could think of. He leaned closer to the demon, and kissed him.
He didn’t know what he was doing, it was just a clumsy press of lips on lips, but he hoped that it conveyed his sincerity to the man.
It didn’t take long for the Demon-Lord to take control of the kiss and assert his dominance, and Adriel surrendered to him, all his worries forgotten.
It seemed like hours later, when they emerged from their carnal bubble during which countless kisses had been exchanged.
“Do you want me?”
“Shouldn’t I be the one to ask that? You’re the one who’d be in danger if we are discovered.”
“I don’t care.”
“I do. You are precious to me. So you must listen to me, I’ll make sure we’re safe.”
“Can that be done? The Holy Maiden cannot be underestimated.”
“Trust me. Your man is not a paper tiger, but just a sleeping one. My day of reckoning with the Holy Empire has been long in the making.”
“What do you mean?”
The heat is on~
Next chapter out in 1~2 weeks. Currently draft-wise I’m sitting at halfway point of this book with over 40k words written, (100+ pages) and the other half of the story still left, but I haven’t worked it out completely yet, so the writing keeps going slower and slower. But I’ve come so far and written so much I am determined to finish this thing this year hopefully.
8/16 chapters written – Ganbare!
Anyways, till next time and thanks to everyone who enjoyed~