Read Demon Lord 6: Garnet Tongue Goddess Online

Authors: Morgan Blayde

Tags: #Dark Fantasy, #Horror, #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction

Demon Lord 6: Garnet Tongue Goddess (8 page)

BOOK: Demon Lord 6: Garnet Tongue Goddess
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I was left alone with Deedee, but she was no longer a threat.  Unpossessed, the fey woman swayed on a tail that split in two, the extra mass bleeding away as a yellow-green mist that dissipated in the air.  Deedee’s face returned, the fangs dissolving.  A moment later, she was her true self—her elf self—without the glamour that made her appear purely human.  She leaned to the side, her eyes closing, all emotion drained from her bland expression.   Her skin was peeled-willow white, her hair a silver cloud.  She was still naked, on legs now, with breasts that had dropped a cup in size.

Even fey can feel insecure and cheated by nature.

As I held her, she was rendered invisible.  To those watching on the vid camera, it would look like she turned human and had then dissolved away just like her snaky parts.  I carried her over to a huge desk that was actually still in decent shape.  A large sleeping bag lay on it.  I stuffed Deedee’s unconscious form inside, covered her face to protect her fey identity, and left her to what probably wouldn’t be very pleasant dreams.

In the silence that followed, the rest of the reality show stars crept in, except for Clifford.  He was probably still running.  Or changing her pants.

I dropped the
Demon Wings
spell, wanting to take credit for “saving” Deedee.  My fade-in caused concerted gasps from those in the room, except for Christie.  Her voice lashed out.  “See?  I told you Caine was here.  I’m not crazy.”

“Crazy people never believe they are,” Rooster said.

“Wow, dude!”  Malevolence’s hands choked up on the hammer she held.  “That’s so cool.  How did you do that?”

Looking totally fuckable in her skin-tight, mostly black Power Ranger suit, Christie pointed a white-gloved hand at me.  Her katana was in its sheath again.  “He’s totally a ninja sorcerer.”

“Yeah, what she said, so don’t piss me off.”  I grinned and let the shadow butterfly I’d planted on her dissipate. 

Malevolence said, “I wish
you
were my father.”

Ears turning red with strong emotion, Rooster stabbed me with a hard glare.  He muttered.  “Stupid ninja tricks don’t make a good dad.”

I sighed. 
Is it my fault I’m not a loser like you.  This damn perfection of mine is such a curse.

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EIGHT

 

“There’s never a Shinto priestess

around when you need one.”

 

                                                 —Caine Deathwalker

 

 

“Listen up,” I told the reality stars in the office.  “I’ve got errands to run.  You guys stay together and suppress any sexual impulses that come around.  You’ll be safer that way.  Sex draws the ghost swarm.  The swarm draws the baby snake ghost.  The snake ghost probably won’t turn anyone else into a nagi or naga, but there are other ways it can hurt you.  Just keep calm and hide until I get back.”

If I weren’t getting paid to deal with the spooks, I’d suggest they walk out.  Of course, they wouldn’t get paid by the show, and they might get into legal trouble.  I kept silent, doubting anyone would give up their chance at TV fame anyway.

“Where are you going?” Christie asked.

“My magic is better at dealing with material threats than spooks.  I need to find a certain kind of backup to fix things around here.” 

I also need a liquor store.  I’m definitely too sober for all this.

“I want to go with you,” Christie said.

“Me, too,” Malevolence chimed in.  “I need a break from this dump.”

“Then I’m going, too,” Rooster said.

“Hell no,” I said.  “The people I’m going to see can be dangerous. Bringing along sightseers might ruffle feathers, claws, and fangs, and other kinds of stuff.”

“It’s okay.”  Malevolence held up her hammer.  “I’ve got this.”

“Hold that thought.”  I pulled Christie over to Deedee in the sleeping bag.  I whispered.  “I need you to stay here and make sure no one looks in the sleeping bag at Deedee until she’s conscious again.  It’s very important.”

Christie stared at the hidden figure.  She whispered back.  “Why?”

I lied.  “The aftereffects of her forced change will take a while to go away.  She’s not quite back to normal.  I don’t want someone seeing her and jumping to the conclusion that she’s a preternatural.  It could mess up her whole life.”

The truth was, she looked fey because she was fey.  I wanted to give Deedee a chance to keep her cover.  She’d owe me, big.

Christie leaned over the sleeping bag, peeled it open a little bit, peering in.  She nodded and closed up the bag again.  “Yeah, I see what you mean.  Are you sure we don’t need a doctor?  Someone that pale might be in shock.”

“Know any witch doctors?” I asked.

“Uh, no.”

“Just trust me on this.”  I left her there and strolled back to Rooster and Malevolence.  “Rooster, I need you to find Lillian and bring her to the cafeteria where everyone else will be.”  I put an arm on his shoulder and dragged him away from his daughter.  I whispered.  “It’s a dangerous job.  Do you think you’ll be able to fight her off if she wants to force herself on you?”

Rooster thought about it and gave me a grave nod.  “It would be a natural response for her, but I think I can hold her off, and keep it in my pants.”

Sneakily, Malevolence had followed us over to listen in.  She said, “That’s not what Mom says.”

I pushed Rooster toward the door.  “Go, and do not fail me.”  I grabbed Malevolence’s arm so she wouldn’t follow.  “It’s like staking out goats to catch tigers.  The goats might get hurt, but the village stays safe.  Also, I’ll know where I can find the spooks when I get back.  Don’t be surprised if Lillian and Rooster don’t show up in public any time soon.”

Malevolence made a gagging sound and shuddered.  “I don’t want to think of my
father
having sex.  Hey, let me come with you.”

“It’s against my better judgement, so, okay, fine.”

She jumped up and down a little and followed me to the outer hallway.  We ran into Teresa there.

“Caine!  What the hell was all that?” she asked.

“You saw it on the video monitors, right?” I said.

“Seeing’s one thing, understanding is something else.” She said.  “And where did you come from?  One second, you’re not in the room, then you are.  Poof, Caine.  Poof!”

I shrugged and walked on, forcing her to walk backwards.  “Must be that intermittent fault in your camera system.”

“But the other cast members didn’t see you at first either, and why did Deedee become Python Girl?  Is she a shapeshifter?”

“No.  I think you can blame that weirdness on the baby snake ghost that just showed up.”  I pushed past Teresa and kept going, Malevolence a step behind me, keeping quiet.

Teresa called after us. “Where are you guys going?”

“Taquito Bell!” I called back.  “I’m craving a cheese-filled
chu-whump-um
and
cardio-assail-me
fries.”

Malevolence stage whispered to me.  “You know, that’s not real Spanish.”

“It’s okay,” I said.  “It’s not real Mexican food either.  We’re also going to hit a liquor store.  I do my best work drunk.”  We reached the main foyer, about to turn toward the exit, when Holy and Shiva intercepted us.

“What’s going on?” Shiva asked.

“Where are you going?” Holy asked.

“We need reinforcements.  I have a couple guys in mind.”

“Reinforcements?” Shiva said.  “But you’ve got us.”

“You guys missed all the action, again,” I said. 

“It was gnarly,” Malevolence said.  “A ghost turned Deedee into a snake woman.  We almost died!”

“Really?” Shiva said.  “I’ve never fought one of those.  It’s gone now?”

“Yeah,” I said.  “But keep watch.  It could return at any moment.”

“Yeah?”  Shiva smacked a fist into the palm of an open hand.  “You think so?”

“Sure.  Get Teresa to show you the vid footage of it.  You’ll see what you might be up against.”

Electrical jags crackled and slithered along Holy’s arms.  “How do you want it cooked?”

  Malevolence stared at the albino demon girl.  “You’ve got to teach me how you do that!”

“I thought you were going with me?” I said.

“Oh, yeah, right.”  She looked at Holy and whispered.  “Later!”

We finally got out of the door.  Minutes later, buckled into my Mustang, we went slinging around the drive and out onto Highway 101.  I had to drive the wrong way for a while until I could cross to the other side where 101 headed the opposite direction.  Teresa had said that the town of Hawthorn was just a mile down the road.  She claimed I’d missed it coming out, in my haste to drive that old lady off the road.  That couldn’t be.  My senses are far more sensitive than humans.  Even if I didn’t see a small middle-of-nowhere town, I’d have smelled it.  Especially the garlic scent of a pizzeria. 

Passing the haunted school, I kept an eye on the mileage.  After a mile, we reached nothing, just empty countryside, but Malevolence piped up.  “Hey, you just missed it.”

“I did?”  I pulled off onto the shoulder of the road.  “Show me.”  We got out.  I locked the car and let her lead the way.  I watched for buildings, for an off road.  Nothing.  Mal seemed to know where she was going.  She turned suddenly and the dirt underfoot became pavement, materializing a little more with each step she took.  A sign faded into view a few feet away: Hawthorn.  Population 214.  As we moved on, more road appeared, and then a small town ghosted into existence.  Not really a ghost town; a place of the fey.  It had been magically shielded from preternaturals, but not from humans with money to spend. 

I guess I’m the kind of visitor they’d rather not have.

This was actually what I’d expected.  Some of the pizza boxes in the school cafeteria had smelled of fey—and not just Deedee.  My guess was that she was from here, and had been sent to make sure the TV people didn’t stumble on anything the fey might want to keep hidden.  That would explain her sudden appearance among the reality stars.  It also meant that I might be able to find the backup I needed here, specifically, a magic user.

As I looked around, following a sidewalk, Mal slanted me curious gazes.

“What?” I asked.

“Something wrong with your eyes?”

“No, not any more.  Listen, I need to ask you to do something for me.”

Her gaze turned into a suspicious glower.  “What?”

“I need you to forget your manners while here.  Do not say thank you to anyone, for anything.”

“Huh?”

“Listen, what we’re seeing isn’t really here, exactly.  This is all a glamour.  Magic.  This is a place of the fey.”

“Fey?”

“Fairies, not the gay kind.”

“Oh!  Like Tinkerbelle!”

“Real fey are not so cute and can be very dangerous.  They can bend your emotions and make you fall in lust with them so they can have their way with you.  We might not even be in the human world anymore.  Just to play it safe, say nothing.  A simple ‘Thank you’ implies you’re indebted to a fey in some way.  They can use that admission to bind you to them, so rudeness is the rule.”

The buildings were human in design, but with a quaintness to them; elements in harmony, unexpected touches of simple beauty here and there.  The street lights looked more like old fashioned gas lights.  Our sidewalk gave way to a five-foot wide boardwalk.  This time of night, the shops were closed.  We saw no people.  We passed the pizzeria, and this time I did smell the garlic.  There were roped strands of it hanging inside the windows.  I could see tables with red-and-white checkerboard tablecloths.  A neon sign was extinguished.  A closed sign was displayed on the front door. 

We went on.  It seemed like we were alone, but my dragon sense of smell picked up the scent of cloaking magic and hidden fey.  Several of the residents were keeping us company, no doubt curious as to why we were here at this time of night.  For now, I pretended that I didn’t know they were there.

We came abreast of a fortuneteller’s shop.  There was a red palm painted on a window, the universal sign of a medium among humans.  I hoped this meant that a fey seer resided here.  Flanking the red palm were painted renditions of very old tarot cards.  I saw a Hanged Man, a Six of Cups, the Fool, the Tower (being struck by lightning), and a Nine of Swords.

Hmm.  I wonder whose fortune that is.

I stopped at the front door with its closed sign.  Malevolence stopped with me.  She watched as I knocked on the door.  She said, “They’re closed.”

“If this is a real seer, she will have known I was coming and will be on hand to open the door at just the right time.”

The door didn’t budge.

I spoke through the door and the roll-down blind that prevented me from looking inside.  “I’ve got gold.  I’m dragon born.”

Malevolence shot me an
oh-come-on, who-are-you-trying-to-kid?
look.

The door opened a foot.  I kinda expected a wizened old gypsy with a headscarf and shawl.  What I got was a hot blonde with highlights, crimson lipstick, and a tight red dress.  I spoke to her tits.  “Hello there.  I’m looking to hire some magical talent.”

She looked me up and down.  “The dragon halfling.”  Her gaze swung to my companion.  “And dark child.  I’ve been expecting you.”

I said, “How about you get rid of our escort so we can talk privately.”

“Escort?”  Malevolence looked behind us.  “I don’t see anyone.”

I concentrated, using the tattoo that tied me to my armory.  My Beretta PX4 Storm semi-automatics popped into my hands.  I quarter-turned and aimed at two of the hidden fey.  “There and there.  In a moment, they’re going to start bleeding quite heavily.”

Malevolence’s eyes popped wide in disbelief.  “No shit!”

The seer in the doorway said, “That won’t be necessary.  You may enter.  I have been expecting you.”

I muttered to Malevolence.  “See?  Anyone can be reasoned with.”  I tossed my guns up in the air.  They vanished, returning to my armory until called upon again. 

Malevolence stretched it out a word, “Daaaaaaaamn!”

The seer led us across a dim-lit room with golden carpeting, through purple curtains, into a sitting room.  The chairs were European antiques: curvy legged, gilded wood with red upholstery.  There were three of them surrounding a mahogany table that looked a great deal more modern despite its lion feet.  The obligatory crystal ball sat in a silver cradle upon a midnight blue runner.  Near the scrying ball was a deck of tarot cards, set face down. 

Fey and their props.
The room’s probably a lot different than what we’re seeing.

The seer motioned toward two of the chairs.  “Sit, and show me your gold.”

“You have a name?” I asked.


Nettle
comes close, in your human tongue,” she said.

“Fine.  Here’s your gold.”  What I had wasn’t ordinary twenty-four carat, ninety-eight percent pure; it was fey gold, thirty caret, purer than anything refined by humans.  Soft gold so fine it literally glows in an unpolished state. 

BOOK: Demon Lord 6: Garnet Tongue Goddess
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