Have an excerpt from my current WIP, Demon’s Lullaby. This is from chapter 6, starting at the beginning of the chapter and going until about halfway in. I don’t believe there needs any real context to figure out what’s going on at this point in the story.
(Note: this is an unedited rough draft)
Zultio was perhaps one of the oddest looking men Lyra had ever seen. As they walked back down the road to the Yokoi Forest together, Lyra took careful notice of his appearance.
His hair was rather long, brushing over his shoulders. It was black, but it had streaks of silver all throughout it which she could have sworn were sparkling in the sunlight. He wore rather bright blues and greens and the outer coat he wore had strangely long sleeves that trailed out around the elbows. His most striking feature were his eyes. At first she thought they were green, but as she looked at them they seemed to be changing colors and then she realized they were swirled with all the colors of a rainbow.
“It’s kind of a long story,” Zultio was saying, sighing rather dramatically. “You see I live out in the Solial Valley. I study a lot of… dangerous things.”
“You mean like demons?” Lyra asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
Zultio gave a little nervous laugh and rubbed the back of his neck. “Uh, yeah pretty much.” He glanced at Fynrir who was curled up on Lyra’s shoulder. “Is that a cat?”
Fynrir glared at him and started to hiss. “I’m not a cat! I’m a fearsome demon!”
“Definitely a cat,” Zultio said under his breath. Lyra rolled her eyes and pulled Fynrir down into her arms.
“So tell me what your problem is exactly.”
“Right, of course.” Zultio cleared his throat and pressed his hand to his chin, a thoughtful look on his face, as if he were determining just how he should explain things to her. “Well I suppose the simplest explanation is that there are demons terrorizing my home that are not under my control and I’ve had no luck banishing them on my own. They’re not just any old demons, either. They’re big powerful demons. I heard about a demon tamer who’d been getting rid of demons for people in Zaika City so I came to look for you at once. I guess I was lucky to run into you when I did.”
“I guess you were.” Lyra tilted her head to the side and frowned slightly. “I don’t want to sound rude but I don’t offer my services for free. Would you be able to compensate me?”
Zultio stared at her for a moment, looking as if he hadn’t quite understood what she just said. “Oh! Money. Right, of course. Yes, I can pay you no problem. Could you tell me what your fee is?”
“I’d have to see what I’d be doing before I can tell you, I’m afraid,” Lyra said in response. “And, uh, another thing. Is this something of the utmost importance that must be taken care of right away, or could it wait a day or so?”
He frowned at her and crossed his arms over his chest. “Well I suppose it could wait a little longer, yes, though I would prefer to take care of the problem right away. Oh, but I suppose you’ve got other appointments to attend to, is that it?”
“I’m just coming back from a job, actually,” Lyra said. “I could use a little bit of downtime before the next one, if it’s all the same to you.”
Zultio stared at her for a long moment then peered up at the sky and squinted. “I suppose it is getting rather late, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, and by the time we got to Solial Valley the sun will have already set. I don’t really want to deal with demons after dark.”
“Well there is a quicker way back,” Zultio said. “But… if you really can’t do it today, I suppose I understand.” He sighed a little and Lyra glanced back at him over her shoulder.
“I do apologize,” she said. “It’s just that the way in which I tame demons takes a lot out of me, so I’m cautious with how much I would try to do in one day. If the demons you’re having problems with really are as powerful as you say they are, I think it’d be better for me to be rested before I take care of them, don’t you think?”
“You have a point,” Zultio said with a nod. “Well in that case it can wait until tomorrow, yes. You will do it though, won’t you?”
“Yes, I will,” Lyra said. By that point they had made it back to Nui’s house. Lyra went up to the porch and then turned back to look at Zultio. “I suppose I’ll need directions to get there, though. I’ve never been to Solial Valley before.”
“Oh, I can give you something for that!” Zultio put his hand in his pocket and then walked over to Lyra. He held a small silver ring in his hand and smiled at her. “It has a spell on it and it can take you directly to my tower. I brought an extra just in case. Do you know how to use these sorts of things?”
Lyra peered at the ring and reached out to take it. “In theory, yes, though I’ve never done it before myself.”
Just as she was taking the ring from his hand, the door behind her slid open and Nui peered out at them. “So just because you turn eighteen today you think it’s alright to be accepting marriage proposals? I can’t believe you, Lyra!”
Lyra and Zultio both froze and stared at Nui. Zultio backed away and began shaking his head. “That’s not what was going on at all, you’ve got it all wrong! I was giving her a teleport ring to get to my tower to-”
“Ooh, scandalous! Get to your tower and do what, exactly?” Nui leaned out the door with a wicked grin on her face. Lyra grit her teeth and shoved her back in.
“Would you knock it off!” She slid the door shut again then turned back to Zultio with a huff. “Sorry, she’s insane. Don’t listen to a word she says.”
“Uh… right.” Zultio regained his composure and cleared his throat. “Was she your mother?”
“No, I’m her apprentice,” Lyra said with a sigh. “Although technically since I’ve just come of age and she’s letting me do stuff on my own now I guess I’m not really an apprentice anymore.”
“Oh! Is today your birthday, then?” Zultio asked.
Lyra peered at him for a moment then nodded her head. “Yeah, it is.”
“Ah. I understand then why you wouldn’t want to come bother with this at the moment. I’m sorry for troubling you.” He grinned at her and bowed his head. “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow then, Ms. Indaril. Happy birthday.”
Lyra blinked and watched as he turned away and began walking down the dirt road. She waved her hand and called back, “Yeah, I’ll come tomorrow first thing. And thank you.”
Zultio waved his hand behind his head. A silver ring of his own glinted on his finger and a moment later he had completely vanished. Lyra let out a breath then peered down at the silver ring in her hand. She slipped it into her pocket and went into the house, kicking off her boots at the entrance.