|Author: AlrunaZel||Original Source: Re:Library|
~Chapter 5: The Hunt Begins~
Somewhere on Earth, colourful exotic flowers in their full bloom were planted strategically all-around a warm tropical garden. Together with various exotic trees and shrubberies, they mapped out an artistically tasteful garden landscape maintained by only the greenest thumbs.
The air surrounding the piece of Heaven on Earth was humid with condensation and thick with strong floral scent scattered by the beautiful flowers. In the middle of this jungle-garden laid a beautiful demoness on a plush settee chair, her current favourite pet gargoyle and a beautiful pet imp. The gargoyle was kneeling beside the settee chair dutifully fanning his Mistress and the imp was kneeling to the other side of the settee, feeding her Mistress various exotic fruits from a bowl.
The gargoyle voiced his question cautiously, “Mistress, how do you plan on enslaving the human?”
Said mistress smiled disgustedly at her favourite who spoke out of his station, “Do not talk of things you have no knowledge of.”
“Mistress, I just thought-” the gargoyle rebutted when he was cut off by his Mistress, “Worry not, silly pet. Everything shall fall into place as it should always be.”
“Yes Mistress, you are absolutely right,” the gargoyle lowered his head in deference.
“I am always right, little pet. Thinking is not for you, just shut down that little brain of yours,” the demoness stroked his head silkily and his eyes turned blank.
“Yes Mistress,” he answered woodenly.
“Good boy, I prefer when you don’t think at all,” she smiled lovingly down at her pet while she continued stroking his head.
Somewhere else in another world, the grass in the meadow swayed gently as the breeze blew through the area. In the middle of the meadow sat a small wooden cottage, smoke was billowing out of the chimney of the house. Currently, there were two occupants inside the house, one was the owner of the house whereas the other one was an uninvited guest. The owner had sharp pointy ears indicating that he was of Fae blood and the intruder was only there in the spirits of the fire burning in the fireplace. They were conversing in a language that was unknown to humans.
“And why would I want to incur ‘Her’ wrath for you to do your bidding?” the airy nonchalant voice of the homeowner asked.
“Oh, I will make it worth your while, little Faerie. It doesn’t have to be you, I could look for so many others, but I have chosen you. I have heard of many great things about you, you should feel honoured,” an eerie disembodied voice answered from the bright red-hot fire.
“Ah, I already feel it, so very honoured. You do realize that even though ‘She’ is in the same circle as you, ‘She’ holds higher regard in the Demon King’s eyes? ‘She’ could have both you and I killed in the blink of an eye,” the Fae-kind grumbled in sarcasm.
“She is but a stupid little girl who knows nothing at all!” the anger in the voice was palpable as the fire turned an angry blue and sputtered for a moment. In a calmer voice, it tried to goad the Faerie to its hire again, “Are you perhaps scared shitless, Fae?”
“I would be an idiot if I wasn’t afraid, I do have self-preservation, you know?” the Faerie snarled snarkily.
“Wouldn’t you like a change in your life? A nice challenge, perhaps? Haven’t I heard that you have been feeling rather stale doing the same old thing again and again? I can give you so much more than you could ever imagine, Faerie,” the voice slimily tried to persuade the Faerie again.
The Fae thought that the more the demon spoke, the more it sounded like one of those disgusting old human men on Earth. The Fae responded, “A new challenge is always fun…” Another sputter of the fire was observed before the Faerie smirked and continued, “However, I only take on challenges that wouldn’t get me killed.”
“I could just as easily kill you now!” The disembodied voice raged.
“Hm… I would like to see you try and enter the Fae realm, old demon,” The Faerie yawned in boredom.
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“You better watch your back, Faerie!” the voice threatened violently, causing embers to splutter onto the carpet.
“All barks and no bite you are, Asgaroth,” the Fae belittled the indignant demon on the other side.
“I wi-” before the demon could finish his latest threat, the Faerie had cast a simple water spell to extinguish the fire. “Yeah, I’ll see you when you actually manage to come to my realm, old Asgy,” the Fae jeered at the wet coals remaining in the fireplace, knowing that the demon could not hear him anymore.
The Faerie yawned once more before he moved away from the fireplace where the demon’s voice had previously summoned him away from his dreamless sleep. Then he felt a cold dark wind blowing through the inside of his house, making him shiver. He only then realized that the demon could be strong enough to get to the Fae realm sooner than he had actually thought.
He huffed in righteous frustration, “ⓕⓤⓒⓚ my life.”
He pondered for a viable solution to his current predicament and what he came up with made him cringe but it was all he had for the moment. He would prefer to live another few more centuries before the old demon came for revenge.
He took in a deep breath to steel his nerves for what he was about to do, then he whispered the words, “Zahearah, Zahearah, Zahearah.” To call out a demon’s name was to encourage their presence, even though he had wanted to summon Zahearah, he was also afraid. In a deep dark corner of his mind, he was hoping that maybe just whispering Her name would not be sufficient to summon her.
He glanced around his home when nothing happened, finding his surrounding void of another presence. He didn’t know whether he should be feeling relieved or peeved.
“Did you ask for me, little assassin?” He felt her presence before he even heard her. Her swirling dark and pink essence drowned every crook and cranny of his home, the essence was intoxicatingly sweet and overwhelming. He struggled to keep his trembling knees from buckling under the strength of her essence. Large droplets of sweat beaded all over his body from the effort of standing up in her presence and the warmth of her essence. It was always staggering to be in a higher demon’s presence, much less a demoness of the top order in the first circle of Hell.
When he finally turned in place to face her, he did not dare look her in the eyes. In the presence of any demon in the top three circles of Hell, it was said that if one was to look them in their eyes, they would be possessed.
“Zahearah.” He bowed deeply to which she merely nodded in acknowledgement.
“I have called upon you to inform you of Asgy’s plan to extort you,” he said clearly, still bowed over.
“You think I do not already know this? Do you realize how long he has been trying and failed? How dare you call upon my name for such trivial matter,” her voice carried an edge of repugnance, her agitated essence forced him onto his knees.
He choked on the heavy toxic essence clouding his airway, he was barely able to mutter his next words, “It is not f-for you that I am concerned about, Princess.”
The demoness withdrew her essence back, enough only to stop choking the Fae-kind, but her anger was still unmistakable with her essence swirling wildly.
“It is for the human you have claimed, Princess. He is looking for her,” he rushed out in his panic. As soon as Zahearah registered his words, he was lifted afloat by her essence and thrown across the room, smashing into the opposite wall. The wall dented and cracked under the impact; his breath forced out of his lungs.
Zahearah snarled angrily, “Then you had better make sure the human stays safe until I can have her by my side, Haydn Autewn. Or it will be your head on a pike!” Her essence lashed out at him, he squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the strike. However, when he opened his eyes, he was unharmed but he saw a diagonal hole in the wall, ending just at his neck.
“Consider it done, Princess,” Haydn was just barely managing to choke out through the thickness of her essence. After the words left his lips, he could no longer feel her presence as if she had never been there if not for the destruction of his home.
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He massaged his injured back gingerly and groaned, “ⓕⓤⓒⓚing humans.”
When Evelyn went back to her office the next morning, Cooper was already there, sitting in her chair rotating it round and round. She imagined that if she was a cartoon character, she would have one of those popping veins on her temple now.
“Cooper, what are you doing here?” Evelyn ground through her teeth in frustration at the sight of him in her chair so early in the morning. She was never a morning person and having to deal with the likes of Cooper at this hour had her on edge.
“Oh, Princess, you’re back! You better go see Mr. Smith right away in his office, he doesn’t seem happy. That’s all I’m here to tell you,” He grinned, in a happy mood that he was the lucky one to inform her of her misfortune. He swivelled out of the chair, walked past her and held the door open for her to get going. She begrudgingly walked through the held-open door but as she walked past Cooper, his hand snaked out quickly to soundly smack her ⓐⓢⓢ.
“Cooper, do that again and I will ⓕⓤⓒⓚing kill you!” Evelyn growled threateningly; her fists tightly held beside her to restrain herself from slapping him. Her face had turned crimson in her aggravation, she could literally hear her blood pumping violently through the vessels in her ears. With an all too self-satisfied smile on his face, he walked in the opposite direction with a smug sing-song voice, “Hopefully by drowning me in between your legs, Princess. I can’t wait for it. Happy Birthday.”
When she finally got to Smith’s office, she had already calmed down considerably. She took a fortifying breath; this was her first meeting with the CEO and she had no idea what to expect of the man. He had not done any of the speeches during the presentation except for the final persuasion when he tried to get Perse to sign on to the joint venture.
A muffled “come in” answered her knocks, she pushed the door open and stepped through the doorway. “Hello Mr. Smith,” she greeted him politely when she finally stopped in front of his desk. He acknowledged her with a “Ms. Summer, please take a seat.”
She reluctantly plopped herself gently onto the chair in front of him. Grant Smith’s office was decorated in a way to boast of his wealth. The windows showed off the view of the huge Hollywood hills with its giant alphabets. Behind his seat was a display cabinet boasting of his golf trophies, various expensive trinkets, and his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in something unrelated to business and commerce. There was also a door at the back-left corner that possibly led to a washroom. The office walls hung elaborately enormous pieces of framed artwork that took up most of the wall spaces in the room. Their placements were so cramped and haphazard, Evelyn briefly wondered if he did not hire an interior designer to make the space appear more presentable.
In a corner of the room, there was what appeared to be a more private section, with a bookshelf and a plush couch bracketing off the space. The carpeting of the semi-private area was made with animal fur. The only bookshelf in the office housed about ten books in total; most of the space on the shelf was occupied by pictures of the Smith family, a globe and shiny trinkets. Facing the couch was the latest release LCD television, with an expensive-looking game console plugged in.
There was little more than a laptop, some neatly organized pile of paper and three ridiculously expensive-looking pens in a stationery cup on top of his office desk. Plus, from the position Evelyn was sitting in, she could barely make out the screen that was currently opened on Calls of Duty. Evelyn didn’t know the man at all, but from what she could glimpse now, she was almost certain that this man probably did not do any work related to the business at all.
Big Smith’s Co. was a successful company built up from scratch by Grant’s deceased father, Grant had only just inherited the company last year since he was an only child. Fortunately for Grant, the board of directors were old friends of his father’s and supported him even though he had not the slightest idea of what the company did. Grant was basically just a figurehead of the company while the board of directors ran the business.
Evelyn didn’t really care about who her boss was and how they conducted their businesses, all she cared about was having a decent job and getting paid a fair wage for her work. However, she began to wonder if this was the kind of employer she wanted to work under and how long it would take before Grant ran the company into the ground.
“Ms. Summer, I couldn’t help but notice that you seemed to be familiar with Ms. Enfer,” he spoke leisurely, slouched down in his chair with his hands folded on his lap.
“No, I wouldn’t say so, Mr. Smith. I had only accidentally met Ms. Enfer about two weeks ago when Mr. Cooper had asked me to send our proposal to her branch company in Malibu. Yesterday was only our second meeting,” Evelyn answered evenly, knowing that Grant was probably trying to use her to get Perse to agree to the joint venture.
“Alright, be that as it may. It seemed like she had taken a personal interest in you. So, let us stop beating around the bush here. Did she or did she not mention the contract when you had lunch with her?” He leaned forward in his chair, displaying his eagerness in her answer.
“She did,” Evelyn answered only the question asked. He then waved one of his hands impatiently in a gesture that indicated that he wanted to know more details. Evelyn unwillingly supplied, “She had only asked me what I thought about the proposed venture.”
He waved his hand impatiently again for her to continue, she lied and said, “I told her that I thought it would be beneficial for both of our companies. She asked no more after that.”
“Well, I’m sure you can do better than that, Ms. Summer,” he said with a lascivious smile, and continued, “Her fondness for you was very obvious. Talk to her again, I want you to convince her that this joint venture is the next best thing to pizza. See that it is done with whatever means you deemed necessary. If you could manage it, you will be given a promotion and pay raise.” He ended his sentence with meaningful wriggling of his eyebrows. He brought his index and middle fingers to his lips, forming a V, poking his tongue out in between, he waved the pink muscle up and down. This strongly suggested that he wanted her to seduce Perse for the company’s benefit. Evelyn cringed internally at the crude gesture, feeling appalled.
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While it may be true that she was attracted to Perse, she had no intention of abusing her relationship with the woman. Just the thought of using her the way Grant suggested made her feel like one of those gold diggers. To get out of his office promptly, she just nodded her head and agreed, “Yes, sir, I’ll see what I can do about it.”
“Alright, get back to work, I’ve got things to do,” he waved her off and turned his attention back to his laptop where he resumed his game.
She left his office with a disgusted grimace on her face. She was now certain that she should tell Perse to not agree to the joint venture. The real question remained, however, was whether she would want to move across the country for her? She had been offered a better job with higher pay. And adding another item to the pro-list would be that she could see Perse more frequently. Just the thought of being able to see Perse again made her feel giddy.
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