Read Demon Lord 6: Garnet Tongue Goddess Online
Authors: Morgan Blayde
Tags: #Dark Fantasy, #Horror, #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction
I growled my annoyance. “Thanks for finally telling me. Way to look out for each other.”
Osamu answered. “We have been busy, Caine-sama.”
Ryella managed a shrug as she ran with our little pack. She muttered. “It’s not like she’s fey.”
“Things are never so awful
they can’t get appalling.”
The rooftop blurred past. The Old Man was hot on the trail of the escaping yantra, bounding along like a blue, scarred version of the incredible Hulk. The rain was a curtain, making footing treacherous as we splashed along. He carried me like I was weightless, and tried to be gentle, but the jouncing I was taking wasn’t doing my ribs any good. Nor was it dignified.
The good news: the roof’s edge was coming up. That was also the bad news. We weren’t slowing any. Neither was the yantra.
Golden eyes opened in the back shadows of my mind as my inner dragon awoke. He yawned then looked at me.
So, what did I miss?
I didn’t bother to catch him up. He had access to my memories and my eyeballs. He was just being lazy.
Ahead, the yantra reached the edge where the cherubim statues squatted, showing us their backsides. The brass spider with its ghost-light heart didn’t hesitate. It leaped out into empty space and dropped from view.
What the freak is that?
My dragon asked.
And what the freak did you do to my knee? And why aren’t we stopping?
That last one, I thought, was a damn good question.
“Uh, Old Man!”
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ve got this.”
And then we leapt out into nothing. Alone. Because the others weren’t stupid and didn’t want to die. They skidded to a stop, grabbing the cherubim so they wouldn’t fall.
Manfully, I resisted screaming like a little girl. I pulled my Storm PX4s to me from the ether. If the Old Man had finally got me killed, I was going to shoot him before we hit the ground.
I’d die happy.
We dropped five feet into a disk of bruised blue with dark purple highlights. Lightning edged the disk. Its center darkened to black. It was like a piece of the storm raging in the sky above us. A portal. The Old Man’s portal. A second one was down on the drive, out past the fountain. Darkness held us in a private universe then spit us out. We shot out the second hole which was vertical instead of horizontal. My stomach flipped inside me, cussing me out.
And then we were landing on the drive. The Old Man needed several steps to slow down before stopping. Still holding me like some damn princess he’d just rescued, he turned to gaze up over the fountain with its pyramid-sphinx centerpiece.
I want to do that again
, my dragon said.
, my cock said.
I’m too valuable to risk
“Oh, so you’re joining the party,” I muttered.
The Old Man ignored me. He was used to my distracted muttering, and had once said he didn’t want to know what the voices in my head were telling me. I often didn’t want to know either.
I stared up at the yantra as it came down on top of the fountain, caging the sphinx along with the ghost-light. The yantra seemed to take no damage from its fall, but the pyramid exploded, spewing chunks of stone. The brass spider climbed down from the rubble and confronted us. The sphinx turned fluid, supple, like a living thing. The wings of the statue poked out the top of the brass grillwork. The lion’s paws gripped the bars tightly. The woman’s head opened yellow-green eyes to stare at us as the ghost light sank into the stone figure. The wings beat. In defiance of gravity and common sense, the yantra rose in a steady climb then hovered.
Holy yelled down from the top of the old school. “Keep it busy, we’ll be down in a bit.”
I am so moving her to Housekeeping.
“They couldn’t just jump into the portal like we did?” the Old Man said.
“They want to go find Shiva and make sure she isn’t mad at them. She likes hurting people.”
The portals closed as the Old Man cut off power to them.
I said, “You know, you can probably fight it better if you put me down.”
“Good point.” He swung me to the side, letting me get my feet under me. I connected to the ground with my good leg and eased the other foot down, but kept my bad knee bent. He had a hand bracing me, gripping my left arm. “You okay?” he asked.
He let go and turned to give the yantra his full attention.
I fell down.
Fuck it all over again!
I lay there on the drive. Hurting. And I’d managed not to fire my weapons in the crash. Laying on my back, I pointed my semi-automatics into the air. That’s how I first noticed the tornados. There were three funnels descending from the clouds—reaching down toward us.
C’mon, Old Man, that’s just overkill. I had the strangest feeling I was about to become a victim of friendly fire—which is seldom friendly.
Ah, fuck it!
I opened fire on the yantra because I had nothing better to do.
It’s not like I can run for cover. Not like there is any cover. The school’s all but falling down now.
My guns kicked in my hands. The muzzles belched fire. As the shots cracked the air, spent casings spilled around me, bouncing on the drive.
At first, I punched a few holes in the sphinx’s chest, which was sorta a shame because she had a nice rack. The statue’s eyes brightened as its ghostly energy stepped up. The rest of my slugs hit nothing. They just seemed to get swallowed up by nothingness within the brass grating.
I wondered if—somewhere in a snake goddess’ private universe—my slugs were materializing, wreaking havoc on her Sunday brunch.
I yelled to the Old Man. “The yantra gate is opening. It will just swallow the tornadoes too.”
I hoped the snake goddess I’d hypothesized
real because she’d already be pissed about the 9mm mercury fulminate ammo exploding around her. Hitting her with three tornadoes would piss her off so that a zombie apocalypse would pale to a walk in the park.
My inner dragon flicked his tail in distress.
She’ll be pissed.
And someone will blame me
, my cock added.
I let go of my guns. They popped back to my armory.
Holy screamed. “We’re here!”
I looked past the fountain and saw her running toward the drive. Behind her, Shiva ran with a decided limp. The fey were behind them. Osamu brought up the rear. Old guy wasn’t as fast as he used to be.
My combat butler saw me sprawled on the drive. He split away from the others, running toward me, and let his demon sword go, popping back into the ether until needed again.
My dragon said,
He deserves a raise for such devotion to me
“Spend your own money,” I said. “I’m going to give him my, uh, eternal gratitude.”
What can that buy?
My cock asked.
The dragon and I ignored him. Dragon stared at me.
So are we just going to lay here and let everyone do the fighting?
“That’s what I’m considering.”
“Shut up. I’m thinking.”
One tornado thinned like a sword, coming down fast. It was sucked inside the yantra, ripped from the guts of the storm. The other two funnels were sucked back by the clouds. The clouds parted, pulled apart like cotton candy. The rain petered out and shafts of golden sunlight dazzled down, brightening the world.
I sat up to watch the battle as Osamu dropped to his knees beside me. “Caine-sama?”
“Broken and battered, but still alive.”
“Should I drag you to safety?”
“Nah, I’m good.” I noticed he was wearing a black leather messenger’s bag over one shoulder. I pointed at it. “First aid equipment in there?”
“Yes, Caine-sama. I like to be prepared.”
Damn. I really am going to have to give him a raise.
“Listen up, I need cold to numb my ribs and an elastic bandage to restrict movement. I’m not actually coughing up blood. That’s a good sign.”
“Yes, Caine-sama.” He slid the messenger’s pack off, swinging it around to where he could get in it, and rummaged inside. A moment later, he pulled out several flat packages, lying them down as he turned to study my battle suit. His brow scrunched up in puzzlement. “How did you manage to hurt your ribs with this much protection on?”
“Suit can stop a bullet, but the skin underneath will still be bruised. Impact goes straight through.”
I punched in the code that made my suit unseal so I could remove it. Osamu helped me with that as we listened to sounds of wild-assed combat.
I continued. “Now picture a cinderblock dropped from a hotel, onto a parked limo with armor and bullet-proof windows. The top of the armored car will still cave in a little. Windows might crack. Might break. Kinetic energy’s a bitch and a half.”
Osamu nodded as the top half of my suit came off and was thrown to the side. He picked up one of the packages from the pack and tore the plastic open. Inside was elastic bandaging. He extracted it and leaned in to wrap my chest. The material felt cold going on.
Osamu saw my interest and surprise. He said, “Arctic wrap. Cools with evaporative effect. No ice pack needed.”
It felt wonderful. “You can wrap my knee next.”
As he put me back together, I returned my attention to the battle. Holy—wreathed in icy mist—directed it at the wings of the yantra. They’d iced up. The spider thing had dropped onto its partly mangled legs, and was now tilting wildly, rushing at one attacker, then another. And it seemed to me I could hear the sphinx talking.
“Don’t tell me she’s tossing riddles at them?”
Osamu looked over at the yantra while still wrapping my ribs. “Yes, Caine-sama, but no one is answering.”
Oddly, the instability of the yantra was helping it. As it scuttled and jerked, the Old Man’s blue lightning bolts kept zipping by, close misses. The fey men were dancing in and out, also dodging the lightning bolts. They kept poking their swords into the grillwork, pissing off the sphinx, but doing no damage.
“Someone get those idiots out of there,” I muttered. “Swords are not the answer.”
Osamu finished my ribs. I helped him carefully remove the knee pad over my damaged knee, revealing bare skin, puffy, bruised, and swollen—definitely wrenched. Maybe a torn ligament or tendon.
“Never mind the cold wrap. I need to be fully mobile. Get Ryella over here. She’s got to have a few healing amulets on her.”
Osamu pushed off the pavement and ran toward the battle. He snagged Ryella by the arm and pulled her in my direction. They came running back.
Followed by the yantra. The sphinx inside its cage grinned, baring fangs. The wings batted at the brass work, breaking off the ice. The yantra hopped, and went airborne again. It hopped over Osamu and Ryella, coming right at me with its legs point-first.
I live such a charmed life.
“Here!” Ryella yelled and flung a silver coin at me.
My inner dragon spied it.
I caught it out of the air. Yeah it was a coin. An Elvin silver piece. And knowing Ryella, it was enchanted. I held the coin toward the yantra.
It landed over me, legs stabbing the driveway, pinning itself in place. The brass grill body dipped close as it rode out the impact of landing. A lion paw reached through the brass and tried to scrape off my face.
But Ryella rasped out a fey word of command and the coin activated. A silver-blue glow shimmered across it and daggers of light stabbed out from between my fingers. The lion paw hit an unseen wall, turned back. The unseen wall expanded, uprooting the yantra, throwing it back.
Iron Air. How great is that? That’s going to be my next tattoo.
The yantra hit the driveway and skidded into the fountain, breaking the surrounding basin, kicking up dust. Ryella and Osamu reached me. Ryella knelt and looked at my bared knee. “Is it painful?”
“Fuck yeah!” I said.
She smiled a happy smile. “Good.”
I glared at her. “Fix it so I can run and risk my life.”
That made her happier. “Oh, yes, at once.” She slipped off one of her many necklaces, holding it by a fine-linked red-copper chain. The piece on the necklace was a red crystal, red beryl, sometimes called a red emerald.
I stared at the precious stone. It put a tingle in my balls.
My inner dragon thumped his tail excitedly.
I mentally snarled at him.
Oh, shut up
Ryella slapped the red beryl against my knee. It hurt. Lots. Though I’ve had worse. My hand caressed the leather strips wound around the end of the garnet tongue knife in my thigh sheath.