A Wish for Hope

Chapter Thirty-Three

The rabbits were slaughtered to feed the people we rescued.  Very little was found to go with the meat, but it was enough to have people accept something on their stomachs.  I was pleased with what was done with the animals, although even Esgalia did not let the people know what would have probably been the fate of the rabbits had I not shown up.

It helped having a number that could speak of where they remembered first coming into the community.  I had learned to see some things concerning moving between worlds, but it took a line of thought that did not come natural to me.  I certainly could not sense things.  While I had access to those who could teach me things of traveling between realities, all the particulars demanded more focus and understanding than I could find the desire.  Having a number of those we rescued show me their path after being captured, I was able to find the connection to their world and send them home.

After the last one passed through Vulge asked, “Princess, I assume that was just a good deed.”  Seeing me nod, he asked, “So, what now?”

“We have two problems before us,” I replied while walking back into the community.  “We need to see about restoring the other fox people, and we need to find the way to confront those actually behind these corrupted individuals.”

“Why can’t we depend on the same thing that happened to Esgalia happening to the others?”

“Answer that yourself, Vulge.”

One thing I liked about the large man was his level of commitment.  Any other guy would have made a statement of not even trying.  Vulge however spent time considering what I said, and his response did not speak of him lacking any commitment.

“You think I can, Princess?”  I did not reply, and as expected he tried.  “You think the gods are working on him?”

“He was working with the gods, Vulge.  They are merely recognizing his dedication.”

“So, your answer is ‘no.’”

“We have the machine that transformed them.  Hopefully, we can figure out how to undo it.  Of course, that brings up the problem of getting them here and not just taking them home.”

Abreyon asked, “Can we end the threat first?”

Esgalia said, “I understand if we do that.”

I felt we had an agreement, so instructed, “What I want to look for is any eruption of demons.  That should be the indication of a breech to the world we want.”

“They were in the house.”

“Right, so we keep a watch on the house.  We can grab what rest we can, but need to be active as soon as something is spotted.”

Sennapre did not have high science.  Vulge however came back from a house telling me that Nerbink quickly offered to heat back up what was left of the rabbit once shown how to use an electric stove.  Vulge and I spoke about the physics of various worlds, which Abreyon and Esgalia seemed to closely listen to.  I found it strange that Vulge also seemed to prefer the lifestyle Sennapre preferred, although I found him to mention things he would like for me to add about the castle.

We did not spot the demons coming in, but we all set down our plates hearing a roar.  No sooner did I step out where I could see a good view of the house than I detected a black mass coming upon me.  I usually fought with my sword.  While the one coming upon me was clearly malevolent, I had enchanted NeverRose to be effective against most opponents.  Not actually being able to see the large demon, but only a black vapor, I decided that I better use the drahaberd as it did not require the precision of the sword.

Grandfather Terish stressed developing the skills to fight blind.  The prophetess Desiree had lived in a cave, and used the complete darkness to teach him how to read the movements of others.  I often heard Great-uncle Ferrigote mention how deadly Grandfather Terish had been when only a young boy.  I learned a lot from him, and found myself using my sight as only a method of verifying what I suspected in the tactics of my opponents.  While most surely found the monster surrounded in a black aura to be a deadly challenge, I did as my Grandfather Terish taught me and closed my eyes to give me the confidence of handicapping myself.

I almost laughed when an arm came off the demon.  Surely having a history of fighting opponents who could not see it, the monster showed no concern for tactics.  It simply swung its arms with the divine craftsmanship of my drahabard separating skin, muscle, and bone.

Once with the advantage, I did not relent.  Those who met me on a sparring field would find me to quickly reset things.  I however did not play with my life or that of others.  In a real fight, especially with something that needed to die, when I found myself having an advantage I went for the kill.

I could not help but smile with the thought of how I appeared standing proud as the black mist dispersed around me.  Seeing the other demons along with a few of the more human forms had me ready for an attack.  When they ran I smiled with the thought that they would provide me with the information I desired, and gave chase.

My god was He-Who-Fights, and I really did find pleasure in those periods when I truly got to experience an extended combat.  There were tactics and skills demanded in a lengthy fight against a multitude of opponents that never could be appreciated in the usual limited encounters.  One other problem, something that bothered me in what I did to what was now my own realm, was that usually most of those in a large group were really not skilled.  I raced forward hoping that in recognizing I was a serious opponent these demons would call upon their unearthly powers and challenge me.  I passed through a portal actually looking forward to an extended period of facing serious threats to my life.

The ones I followed died.  They had turned not expecting me to follow them.  I knew from my own experience that the best way to leave someone being a problem was to step through to another reality.  Those that however followed I knew to treat a little more seriously.  The ones that turned to see me come upon them however simply screamed with fright before they died.

With the Privileged I came upon a slab of worked stones in the middle of a very inhospitable landscape.  I looked around to feel that I was in some building, possibly what had originally been a warehouse.  Where I had arrived was a circular floor of stone, but everywhere else I felt was composed of concrete.  On top of the hard slab were a multitude of instruments.  There were a variety of beings, some appearing human and others not, about the panels.  Many tried to run, but I did what I could to kill them all.  An alarm must have been sent, because as I went to retrieve some daggers a presence with a strong aura of evil came into the building.

My first desire with this monster was to use my sword.  Something about its presence had one feel stabs and itches as if beset by a multitude of demonic insects, and the drahaberd was the weapon designed for such threats.  I however had the experience to know the minor irritations were simply distractions, and to keep my focus on using my weapon that gave me the better range of attacks and defenses.  I was not a large lady, so it was common for me to face opponents that had more reach.  While sparring sessions usually demanded an opening to a vital area, in a real battle any strike could be advantageous.  I however did try to display regular attacks and defensives against regular opponents just to be fair and to promote my deity.  Those who simply needed to die, or had clearly shown an attitude of having no concern for providing a real contest, had me toss my discipline and do what I could to end the threat.  When a horny fist came toward me, I met it with the point of my blade.  Feeling the length would have broke if the tip of my sword had not slid to barely scratch the skin of the demon, I stepped back to draw my drahaberd.

Having my next attack upon a fist cause the creature to react with pain let me know that I could now work to end the fight.  It also had me consider that gods did not provide something until it was needed.  Items of their creation were actually dangerous, one just had to consider the potential of people to realize the truth of that, so they did not offer them aid unless there was a true need.  The Goddess of Aunt Neselle’s world had kept Her drahaberd secured in a display case on another world until Her people were ready to cast off the influence of the minor divine beings.  I suspected She wanted it returned to a place of safety, but had allowed me to use it.  Fergush probably watched my handling of the item with the mind to take it from me, but had instead seen how it did benefit my assignments.  Realizing that I had been needing the drahaberd, and would certainly need a weapon of that type in this mission, he had allowed for me to gain one of his creation.  This weapon demanded a different set of skills than my sword, but seeing my attacks cause wounds had me thank Fergush for making the item for me.

Noticing another similar demon enter the room really did not trouble me.  I was a champion of He-Who-Fights, and I suddenly felt that I was facing a good challenge.  The structure had size, so the large monsters were really not hindered in their movements.  I however considered it my duty to make my opponents worried about harming each other, so looked for what actions I could take to gain control of the flow of combat.  While it was true that I needed to do things to avoid being hurt, the directions I chose to dash including such apparently desperate maneuvers as rolling between the feet of a monster were calculated by me.  Finding myself at the right moment, I rushed to jump on the back of one demon having one end of the drahaberd bite into the spine.  The rough skin actually provided some footing with the divine weapon giving me something to hold onto when the monster reacted.  I however did not stay in place, but took every opportunity to pull the weapon and have it sink into the back with me rising up the torso.  Seeing the other opponent attempt to swat at me as if attacking an insect, I launched myself in a back flip to come down with a blade of the drahaberd making a large gash in the arm whose hand inflicted its own pain in the one I had been bothering.  Again I did not hold my position, but immediately propelled myself up the appendage to swipe at the neck causing a major wound.  I then slid down with my drahaberd slashing to assure a fatality.  With one great demon dropping, I went to the other one already damaged to end its time of troubling the mortal realms.

I looked over the things in the building for a time, but not finding another to enter I decided it was safe for my companions.  Suspecting some things, I used what I knew of detecting portals to study the area in the stone circle.  Not finding what I desired, I decided to ask a question of one I trusted to know the answers.

“Fergush, these machines worked to create the portals?”

My deity replied, “With the guidance of the demons to detect the worlds that would benefit them.”

I knew from my own training that it was possible to use science to enable people and things to move between realities.  The reason people did not was that the physics would also alter, and machines broke down.  Magic demanded a special understanding, but those that learned to work it could adapt to differing rules.  Those that used science usually wanted dependable results, which was not something that could be done with the variety of possibilities other worlds could provide.

I said, “Against the Privileged I was not allowed to rush into Hell to attack the demons in charge.”

Fergush replied, “It is not the demons that need correcting, but the people.  Call the others, Jelnaya.  They need to see.”

As they look, we check in on Neselle.