Here’s another excerpt from my comedic fantasy story Demon’s Lullaby. This excerpt is from chapter 12, starting at the beginning of the chapter and going to about halfway in. I chose this specific excerpt mainly for the bit at the end, but it’s also a nice little bit of character development.
(Note: this is an unedited rough draft)
“You want me to help you summon a horrible, terrifying demon that will most likely try to kill us all and then probably everyone else around?” Nui asked once Zultio had explained everything to her.
Zultio rubbed the back of his head and mumbled, “Well, when you put it that way-”
“Count me in!” Nui said with a grin. Lyra sighed and put her face in her hands.
“I knew she was going to say that.”
“I do expect some compensation for this, of course,” Nui murmured as she looked Zultio over.
“Of course. We can provide. So how are we going to go about summoning this demon?”
“Hm.” Nui paced around slowly with a thoughtful look on her face. “You said this demon’s name is Tyzon the Tormentor, right?”
“Correct,” Reikulda said. He was reclining against a wall with his arms crossed over his chest, looking mildly bored.
“Right, I’m gonna need a few minutes to consult. Make yourselves at home while you wait. Lyra, why don’t you get them some tea?”
Lyra sighed and headed to the kitchen. “Fine, if that’s what you want.”
“Tea sounds lovely, actually,” Zultio said with a smile. He followed Lyra to the kitchen and settled at the table as Lyra began preparing the tea.
“You should be careful about Nui,” Lyra said. “She’s liable to clean you out of every cent you have if you don’t know how to bargain with her.”
“I’m not too worried about that,” Zultio said with a chuckle. “Rei is good at handling those sorts of situations.” They both fell silent for a few moments and then Zultio cleared his throat. “I’m curious about something. Are you going to stay with Nui all the time, or do you plan on moving out eventually?”
Lyra glanced toward him then shrugged as she began pouring the tea into two cups. “I haven’t thought about it too much but I don’t think I want to stay here with Nui forever. I need to find my own path eventually.”
Zultio smiled and nodded his head. “I remember when I finally left my master. It was hard at first because I didn’t really know what I was doing at all, but then I found the perfect spot in the valley and got to building my tower.”
“Are you really wealthy or something?” Lyra asked. “I mean, I would think building a tower like that wouldn’t be too easy.”
“Eh, well…” He shrugged. “I kinda begged my master to help. We bought the materials together and we built the whole thing using magic.”
“Whoa. I hadn’t really thought of that as a possibility I guess,” Lyra murmured, taking a sip of her tea. Zultio quirked his lips and drank his own tea.
“It was difficult, to be honest, and I think he ended up doing more work on it than I did. He said building it together with him would be his final magic lesson and once it was complete I could officially consider myself no longer his apprentice.”
“Where is your old master now?” Lyra asked.
“Oh, he’s gone,” Zultio said. “He was old and he finally kicked the bucket a few years ago. I actually have his ashes stored in the tower.” He smiled a little. “He was really hard on me when he was training me but he always said I was like the son he never had.”
Lyra smiled a little and leaned back in her seat. “How did you decide to start learning magic, anyway? Nui found me and saw the power I had and offered me an apprenticeship. What about you?”
“Oh, well…” He took another sip of his tea and seemed to be blushing a little. “When I was a kid I always thought magic was cool and I kinda went to see the local wizard a lot. I started begging him to make me his apprentice. It took a lot of tries.” He grinned sheepishly. “But he finally let me. Boy were those years interesting.”
“Was Reikulda summoned to be your familiar while you were still his apprentice?”
Zultio’s expression grew a bit more solemn and he shook his head. “Ah, no. Rei didn’t come along until after my master had died already, actually. I didn’t really have a familiar before, though I did get some pets. You saw the birds in my aviary, right?”
“Yeah, I did.” Lyra narrowed her eyes a little then sighed and sipped her tea. “Guess everyone does things differently when they’re taught magic.”
“Well, all wizards and witches specialize in different things,” Zultio said with a nod. “You were taught about the five schools of magic, weren’t you?”
“Of course,” Lyra said with a nod. “So what do you specialize in? Demon magic?”
“Sort of,” Zultio said with a little frown. “Well, not exactly. It’s true that I like to study demons as much as possible, but I don’t use dark magic. I don’t try to take a demon’s power to use as my own. I assume Nui is the same way?”
Lyra frowned and muttered, “As far as I can tell, but you never know with her.” She continued, speaking a little louder, “She kind of does a little bit of every type of magic. I think she likes nature magic the most, though, specifically herbalism. She has a little herb garden in the back that she messes around with a lot.”
“She seems to know an awful lot about demons, though,” Zultio said.
“Relatively speaking, yes,” Lyra said. “I think most of her knowledge comes from her familiar, to be honest.”
He chuckled a little and leaned back in his chair. “That’s one reason mages have familiars, though I suppose yours isn’t quite as helpful.”
“He’s a cat, so no not really,” Lyra said.
Fynrir appeared in the kitchen at just that moment and stared at her before hopping up on the table and pressing his face against hers, making a sort of purring, growling noise. She huffed and pushed him away. “Okay, fine, you can have some food.”
Zultio laughed as Lyra got up to get Fynrir something to eat. “Demon’s have nearly insatiable appetites, don’t they?”
“It’s ridiculous,” Lyra grumbled.
Fynrir sat down in the center of the table and curled his tail around his legs, yawning wide and showing off his sharp teeth. “We need to eat a lot to maintain our energy. Since we can use magic we need to have a lot of energy. We’re not like you humans.”
“I don’t know, Rei doesn’t really hound me for food like that,” Zultio said with a shrug.
“Akiba doesn’t do that either,” Lyra sad. “I mean he wants his food made just in the right way, but still.”
“Food,” Fynrir said impatiently. Lyra rolled her eyes and set the bowl down on the floor. He hopped off the table and began devouring the food immediately.
“Speaking of,” Zultio said, “I should probably make sure Rei isn’t getting into any trouble since he didn’t come in here with us.”
Lyra frowned and stood up. “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” The two of them left the kitchen and returned to the sitting room where they found Reikulda, Nui, and Akiba all peering through different texts. Akiba glanced up at the two of them and inclined his head a little.
“We’ve nearly found your demon, I think.”
“Summoning demons is no easy task, you know,” Nui said with a little frown. “You need to collect certain items to make it successful.”
“What items?” Lyra asked.
“Don’t worry, I have everything we need,” Nui said, then she looked at all of them and added, “except we’re going to need the blood of a virgin, too.”
Lyra stared a little blankly at her then muttered, “Well don’t look at me.”
Nui eyed her suspiciously. “And when did this happen?”
“You don’t know everything I do when I go out,” Lyra said with a huff, crossing her arms over her chest. She glanced at Zultio who blushed and shook his head.
“Looks like I’ll have to provide, then,” Akiba said with a sigh. Nui stared at him in disbelief.
“No one ever said it couldn’t be a demon’s blood,” he said.
“That’s not what I was implying, but alright.” Nui grinned. “We’ll go set everything up and then call you when we’re ready.” She left the room and Akiba followed behind her, sighing deeply, his many tails trailing behind him.