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Ready or Not
by Weiila

The air fizzled. The surroundings fizzled. Heck, even the ground fizzled.

It was probably due to all the lava. Or because of one creature's seething rage.

"Aww, will you stop being such a grouch?" a female voice said.

There was a strange bubbling sound in reply, which for a moment overpowered the noise of flaring, cracking, melting rocks.

Sciel stretched out on the red hot ground beside the lava pool, letting a yawn of delight escape her pale, full lips. Despite this, her looks fell back into a slightly concerned one - for a carmilla at least - as she settled again. She propped herself up on an elbow, adjusting into yet another seductive position.

"You know, you really need to get a grip, sweetie," she continued, absentmindedly plucking at the straps of her pitch-black bikini - as if it could POSSIBLY become any more revealing.

"Blurp, bubble, blurp!"

Small bubbles in the flowing lava joined the bigger ones before Rakadra's face as he growled. Or at least before what could be seen of his face since he was submerged to half his nose. The eerie eyes were needle-thin, heatedly glaring at the boiling air.

"Okay..." Sciel said, now playing with a lock of hair that enticingly had fallen down over her throat, "so we lost..."


"Yes, yes, I'm not exactly pleased either. But there's no use in just moping away like you're doing, either."

"Blurp?" he snorted.

Sciel thoughtfully caressed her own lips with a finger.

"Why don't you get a girlfriend or something?" she suggested.

Rakadra sat bolt-right up, sputtering out a mouthful of lava.



In the Beast Kingdom, Beast King - to his subjects' and most of all his own amazement - fell down a stair.


Kevin suddenly petrified, the glass of water he had been raising falling out of his hand to shatter against the floor in a chaotic mess of transparent materials and liquid.

"What is it?!" Lise exclaimed in surprise, her chair hitting the floor as she rushed to her feet.

"Dad!" Jason called.


"Beast King?!" several rather shocked beastmen and women called as they came dashing from all directions to aid their fallen leader.

Beast King had fallen down a stair! This could only mean the end of the world...

The great beast stood, shaking his head for a moment of disorientation. Then he growled.


"I suddenly felt a bottomless horror..." Beast King and Kevin, unknowingly, said simultaneously.


"What does that... WHY?" Rakadra meanwhile coughed, punching his own chest to get rid of the drops of lava he had inhaled.

Sciel broke out of the admiring of the rivulets of molten lava slowly sliding along the half-blood's muscular torso and legs, slipping over the black swimming trunks.

"Well, for as long as I remember we've been saying that Kevin was your bounty," she said, "so by that logic Jason wouldn't be YOUR problem."

"He's not my problem, he's the figurehead of my rage!" Rakadra snarled, flexing his wings angrily which sent red, burning drops flying, "I want to see him burn, writhe in agony, his little body..."

He went on and on, hardly listening to Sciel.

"See, this is what I mean. Your parents knew no joy like the one of plotting their prisoners' torture and the demise of their enemies, together."

She sat up, thoughtfully studying the flexing muscles as Rakadra clawed at the air during his rant, his thrillingly long, sharp nails slicing the clouds of heat. The forked tongue danced between his lips, oh so sexy wings bellowing enticingly. Mmm...

"It's such a waste that you're single, it's all I'm saying," she said, then tilted her head thoughtfully, "or do you just swing the other way?"

"... While Kevin begs for mercy in the backgr- WHAT?"

Rakadra stopped dead, for a couple of seconds blinking, dumbfounded at the carmilla's surveying gaze. After a while he caught up and blew out an impatient cloud of charred air between his lips.

"No!" he snapped, more irritated at her persistence than anything else.

She looked rather miffed at first. Only later did "Rakky" realize that he had just killed off her biggest excuse for why he wasn't head over heels for her.

Right at that moment he was too angry to care about what she really was thinking, beyond the rate of aggression.

"I don't have time for this!" he snarled and turned around, stalking across the surface of the lava.

He cursed under his breath as he reached the other shore only to realize that his shirt and pants had turned to ashes, leaving him with the swimming gear. Grunting he flapped his wings and took off into the eerie, flowing sky.

"And Sciel!" he shouted over his shoulder just before disappearing out of sight, "this is not a challenge, so don't even think about it!"

"Yes, yes, I understand..." she murmured.

She laid down on her back again, lazily bending her left leg and hanging the right one over the bent knee, waving at the "sky" with her toes.

Hmm, this sure was a challenge!

She had no particular interest in Rakadra herself - not more than in anybody else. One like her was just too good to be set on just ONE, of course. Mmm, but it really WAS a waste to leave Rakky alone. The more she thought of that, the less she could stand it.

After all, she had a responsibility too! Schree had - theoretically at least, it was a bit hard to be sure - been a distant relative! 'Sides, Rakadra's human blood made it rather easy for him to open portals to the human realm. The demons couldn't risk that he'd drop dead all of a sudden and rob them of that advantage.

The carmilla gracefully got to her feet and left the pool to go looking for possible huntresses. She cackled at the thought of how angry Rakadra would be when he found out.


"He's not that much of a challenge when it comes to the gist of it. The problem is however that the obsession he's got about Beast King's son and grandson clouds everything else in the darling's head."

Sciel smiled and delicately sipped from the smoking little bowl she held between all her fingertips. It might be best not to wonder about the contents.

"Ooh, an obsession..." the hoarse voice of Arachne cooed to the carmilla's left, "that dear just keeps getting more and more putrid."

She paused and raised all of her six arms to inspect her handiwork. An intricate net, hardly visible in the ever-changing air, hung between her claws.

"To put poison or acid on this one, hmm..." she absentmindedly thought aloud.

She lowered her work again and reached out the upper right hand for a bowl on the black table for herself.

"I remember him as a baby," she went on with a nostalgic smirk, "wouldn't sleep unless he got to chew on a piece of a beastman's lung."

"Lung?" Tricla repeated, raising the scales above her eyes. While she said this she straightened up from having checked on the black chalice on the ground beside her throne. Poison trickled into it from her scorpion tail, which hung over the chair's armrest.

"What did you expect?" Sciel snickered, "Schree wanted the hearts herself."

"Ah, of course. Silly me."

"So, anyway..."

Sciel leant back, resting her cheek on two fingertips.

"Rakky boy is quite a special case," she continued, "we'll need to set him up with somebody suitable for a warrior of his caliber."

"Mm," Arachne nodded, claws clicking while she weaved, "somebody powerful, considering him being what he is."

"Let me see, one of Jagan's finest and resurrected with his enemy's blood? Impressive..." Tricla murmured with an intrigued smirk.

"Yes, so he's truly a force to be reckoned with," Sciel nodded, "as I say, it's a waste of talent for him to obsess with revenge only."

"Isn't he rather desired?" the scorpio of the three pondered.

"Oh sure! But he never had the patience for a longer relationship, and it seems there has been no heir from his quickies."

Sciel paused and scratched her hair.

"Well, it's not that much of a surprise really, he's not a gentle one even for a demon..." she added with a cruel chuckle, "but in either case, he just haven't had any longtime flame, somebody who's survived him so to speak."

"Ooh, makes me all giddy just to think of all that passion bundled up in a package like him," Arachne giggled in a hiss, making the whole net tremble, "the mercilessness is so becoming that it thrills even me, ancient woman that I am!"

She suddenly sobered and sighed, however.

"But yes, as you said... for that reason I doubt that I can provide any help, Sciel dear. My little darlings have a bit of a problem with Rakadra. Not in the good way, mind you."

"Aww, and here I was thinking that a bit of ranger skills would be good for his bloodline," Sciel frowned, "what happened?"

"Well, you know how we are, defendant of siblings and... it was one of my younger daughters you see, an incident..."

She bent forwards, conspirational. The other two followed.

"She should have known better, true, but she couldn't help herself the poor little darling," Arachne said in a lower voice, "being one of us... she tried to bite his head off, you know... afterwards. Well...!"

She straightened up and continued in a normal tone, while her companions cringed in sympathy:

"One have to understand her, him being such a stud and all. But you see then, dear."

Sciel nodded.

"Oh well... no traps for him then."

She sipped, thoughtfully.

"So... Tricla, you got anything hot on your side?"

The scorpio demonette, who had seemed lost in thought for a while, perked up at those words. And her stone-hard, cracked lips parted in a fangy grin.

"If you put it that way my dear, I think I have JUST the thing for your little half-breed."

She clapped her crab-claws together, creating a sound similar to that of two huge maraccas clashing.

A flash of darkness shot up from the table, and in the black flames that remained a shape could be vaguely seen. As Tricla nodded it became a bit more focused.

"A bit of a mix herself, as you see," she proudly said, "her father was among those who opened the gates back in the fall of the Light Kingdom. A fast, proud one, this."

"Ooh, lovely!" Arachne cooed, enjoying the disdainful look she got from the central figure.

Sciel gave the new demonette a measuring look from head to... ehm... "toe".

"Mmm," the carmilla finally said, "she looks strong enough to survive him at least. But I'll believe it when I see it."

"She's worthy of a chance then?"

"Of course. It won't hurt any of us if she tries," Sciel smiled.

"My sentiments exactly."

The scorpio turned back to her disciple and smiled.

"Say, would you like to mate for life with one of the most famous demons there is?"

The younger demonette crawled off the table, her two tails still slipping over the dark stone long after the main body had hit the floor.

Orange and red scales angrily reflected even the faintest speck of warped light, and it was difficult to tell whether her hair was... hair... and not part of the scales on her back.

On the front, she was humanoid from the waist and upwards - her clothes were nothing but a piece of rolled up, black net that just barely covered her breasts.

Claws similar to a cat's drummed against the table as she spoke.

"With 'a bit of a mix', you weren't hinting at that Rakadra, were you?" she hissed.

"You are quite insightful, dear," Sciel smiled.

The naga's thrice-split tongue impatiently twirled between her lips.

"That useless deadweight?" she snorted, "he's had more than three chances to kill his mortal enemy, and he failed every time!"

"Now, now..." the carmilla said, though the memory of some of the latest screw ups made her snicker slightly, "he's been a bit rusty lately, yes. But take his past victories in account."

"Indeed, he's more than a failure, Nagia dear," Tricla nodded.

But the younger demonette scoffed.

"The far off past carries no importance when more recent events are accounted for. I shall accept no male as weak as him," she snorted.

Sciel's entire collection of teeth showed in her huge smirk upon those words.

"Then go challenge him, won't you?" the vampire lady suggested, "you might be surprised... on the same tangent, I doubt that Rakadra would be interested in any weak females."

Nagia's scales flared up in even angrier hues at the insinuation, but she controlled herself and merely snorted.


Turning around she flexed her claws at thin air.

"I'll bring you that loser's head and then force him to be my servant after he's resurrected!"

And with that she disappeared in a roaring, black flame.

"What a lovely attitude!" Arachne almost squealed, clasping her middle hands, "you simply MUST train some of my babies, Tricla darling!"

"Why certainly dear, it would be my pleasure," the scorpio smiled.

Sciel sipped her drink, then sighed slightly and leant back with a thoughtful expression.

"Too bad about Nagia though," she said, "I'm sorry about that, Tricla dear. I'll ask Rakadra for a drop of blood later on so that you can resurrect her."

"Oh, think nothing about it, dear, it's only healthy!"


Orange and red scales littered the ground like burning snowflakes, spread over the splashes of dark blood that plastered the closest surroundings.

Unfeeling green snake-eyes set in a human face stared wide at the face before them, though they were already filling up with the mist of death.

'Oh I think... I'm in... love...' was Nagia's last thought before the depth claimed her.

Rakadra pulled his hand free with a swift movement, ripping out the demonette's heart in the process.

Her body slumped to the ground and dissolved before his feet.

"What was that all about?" Rakadra thought aloud.

As he considered it, maybe Sciel had something to... nah, he had told her not...

His train of thought hit the brake and evaluated for a moment.

'... Nah, she wouldn't send anything this blunt, not her style,' he finally decided and took a bite from the purplish heart in his hand, as if it had been an apple.

Not even bothering to wipe the dark blood from his face he turned and began wandering off from the scene of battle, the dripping, still hot trophy still safe in his grip.

'Put up an alright fight though. Wouldn't have minded, but if she goes about it by attacking me she had it coming.'

He smirked, blood escaping the corner of his lips and dripping over his shirt.

'Fiery little thing, but it sure takes more than that to bring... now what?'

He stopped and turned his head, scanning the surreal area suspiciously. It was impossible to see very far in the ever changing, cloudy world, but he could feel that somebody was somewhere nearby.

The feeling disappeared almost instantly as he began looking around, but he wasn't one to doubt his senses.


Well, the logical conclusion was that whoever it had been, had taken off. Probably another attacker then, who changed their minds.

'Too bad really, a liver would have been a nice dessert.'

Rakadra started walking again, heading off to mind his own business. Unaware that he was STILL being watched, by a being who wrung her hands in exasperation.

Tricla sighed as she felt her disciple's spirit go poof.

"And that's the first end of her," the mistress announced and reached for another drink.

"I'm sure she gave him a decent fight though," Sciel said in a lazily comforting manner while chewing on an unspeakable snack.

The scorpion nodded but muttered:

"First lesson after her resurrection will be step one of attacking patterns though."

"You aren't worried about him finding out that you were behind the attack then, Sciel dear?" Arachne asked.

The carmilla shrugged.

"Not if she gave him some practice without drawing blood. He gets cranky when he bleeds, the little darling. As long as he doesn't get a lead to me, there's nothing to..."

She got cut off by a sudden call.


"Hmm?" Tricla said, looking up and to her right.

From the shifting nothingness burst a seemingly endless flow of yellow and orange, forming a less fuzzy shape beside Tricla's throne. The ending result was tower of scales and muscles, upon which rested an at least partly human upper body.

For a moment it seemed almost as if Nagia had come back to life, until one realized that this naga's scales had a lighter color, and that her long snake tail was in one single piece.

"Hello Slither," Tricla said with a welcoming smirk, "about Nagia, it was lord Rakadra. I recommend caution in his case, darling."

"That's what I thought!" the snake demonette triumphantly grinned, though she was wringing her hands nervously - which almost made her cut her own fingers off with her claws.

The grin revealed fang upon fang and definitely deserved the label "worrisome".

"I saw it, how he killed my big sister!" she continued, "it... he... I..."

She fumbled with the words, stuck in the fresh memory being replayed in her head over and over again.

"You are going to annoy him into a state of berserking, I can tell as much already," Sciel declared, casually spinning her little bowl to stir the stagnating content.

But the interested smirk that followed upon her degrading words hinted at that she rather liked that idea.

And so did Slither, if one dared to read her beaming face.

"That's one of her specialties," Tricla offered, "but there's more to it than that."

"I'm only annoying in the start to catch them off guard," Slither assured, letting her hands fall to prove that she wasn't loosing her head completely.


Sciel nodded thoughtfully.

"But when it comes to Rakky," she said, "I would advise you to skip the irritation and aim for the throat. If you want to live through a flirt, that is."

"Thank you, lady Sciel," the naga said, bowing her head briefly, "I will give it a try. Even so..."

She sighed, gaze wandering off into the air in a daydream.

"Such a gory death, too... I could live with that."

And with that she snapped her fingers and disappeared in a black flame.

"I believe that we'll need more blood from Rakadra," Arachne chirped, her claws merrily clicking against each other.

"Oh, I don't know..."

Tricla sipped her drink with a chuckle.

"Slither has a specialty that might catch his interest. Provided she doesn't anger him too much first."

"Kids these days!" Sciel muttered and reached for another snack from the cage on the table, "never listening to their caring superiors..."

Rakadra's feet made contact with the ever-changing ground and his lizard eyes scanned the land before him. Or the gap, rather.

The nether was a confusing place of no rules of land that went for stable worlds, but some things were excluded from the ever-changing dark mist that only demons could find their way through.

For example, this ravina.

It spread out from horizon to horizon - this being one of the few places in this world where one even could TALK about a horizon - and its complete void was almost too great for even the demons to fathom.

Rakadra reached out his left hand, pressing the pointing and middle finger against each other while clenching the other fingers without much force. Quickly he drew a few mystical signs that momentarily burned against the air's foreground of the eternal blackness of the ravina, while he muttered under his breath in a guttural voice.

A whispering sound came from the ravina and a shapeless shadow arose from it, seen only because it had a lighter color than the depth.

Rakadra sat down on one knee, holding out the half-eaten heart of the unfortunate naga. Dark blood still dripped from it and covered half his underarm.

"Master Jagan," he said.

A hand and arm, skin as pale as ashes, reached out from the shadow, grabbed the heart and retreated back into the lighter darkness.

Moments passed.

"Fine for a snack, I suppose," the old vampire's voice eventually came from the shadow, "what would a naga want with you, though?"

"I was wondering that as well, but I suppose it isn't that important," Rakadra said, shrugging.

"Nothing you can't handle, no," Jagan agreed, then took on a more serious tone, "how fare the new plans?"

"We're still too exhausted from the last two attempts," the half-breed growled with an angry shake of his head, "and the decline of magic isn't helping either."

The destruction of the Mana Sword and the fall of the Tree had been strategically good - if it hadn't been for the fact that the demons had been among the losers of the evil armies. If the Dragon Emperor hadn't been defeated by the Mana warriors, there would still have been enough magic in the world left for the underworld to launch a massive attack by this time. They had tried with Rolante under Teron Gorefiend - it could have been a start of revenge and a way of accumulating a stable hold of the world with less clean rites - hadn't things gotten out of hand as they had done.

Rakadra preferred not to think too much of is less he'd pop more vessels than he could afford. He had already had plenty of reasons to hate the inhabitants of Rolante before those events. Two versions of Kevin and Lise, not to mention one Jason - which was more than enough (twitch!) - was a little more hatred-worthy than even he could handle. As satisfying as some things of it had been, the ending result...

He shook himself free before he started chewing froth again.

"We're doing our best," he said in a low growl, "worry not, the next atte-wha?"

The last word was caused by the two sudden flares of burning heat that swept forth below both his jawbone from behind. There was a low click and the heat was gone again, all during the time it took to exclaim "wha".

Rakadra spun around, but there was no one in sight.


He looked down, still trapped in the surprise.


It took Jagan quite a while to make himself heard well enough to demand an explanation. And the reason he finally made it through was simply because Rakadra eventually exhausted himself to a near-death status and collapsed on the blood-stained ground, panting for air. The skin on his fingers had in large areas been torn to pieces and black liquid seeped from the deep, ragged cuts on his throat.

"What happened? Answer me!" Jagan snarled from the shadow.

Groaning, the half-breed obeyed the words of his dead master, crawling up to the flowing form rising from the depth. A shaking hand that had seen better days floated up and disappeared into the dusk, sending ripples through the shadow.

There was a pause as Jagan read his disciple's last memories. Then the shade violently trembled as the vampire roared with laughter.

With an enraged snarl Rakadra pulled back, too angry to even bothering to notice the fact that all the blood on his hand had "mysteriously" disappeared during the exchange. He was busy KNOWING who was behind the prank this time.

Pushing himself up he cast a spell of darkness upon himself to heal, fueled by his anger. He threw himself into the air before the wounds had even fully closed, eyes blazing.

And Jagan kept laughing. Suddenly limbo had become a lot more endurable.


"Oh my..." the vampiress mumbled, trying to feign calm while she threw up all mental and physical shields she could manage on such a short notice.

Had she been half a second slower, Rakadra's claws would have been cleaving her guts. As it was, he just ended up punching an invisible wall a few inches from her chest. Grey sparkles flew from the connection and Sciel grimaced uncomfortably.

Rakadra was hardly calmed by this distraction and his fist opened, fingers spreading out against the protective spell. Black lightning bolts shot out from his fingertips, crawling over the whole transparent bubble.

Sciel's bowl fell out of her hand, hit the armrest and tumbled onto the ground, its spilled contents oozing and bubbling angrily upon all surfaces it touched. The carmilla had no time to think of that, busy clutching her head in agony as she struggled to maintain her defenses.

Arachne and Tricla watched the spectacle with great interest, but made no moves to aid Sciel, or even raise from their chairs.

Through the intense flares tearing through her mind, the vampiress vaguely noted that there was something peculiar about Rakadra's assault.

"Hold... hold up, Rakky!" she managed to screech, pressing the words through her tightly clamped teeth.

The attack subsided momentarily, only to return in one last, stronger blow that despite the walls knocked Sciel backwards into the backrest of her throne. Somehow she managed to keep her shields raised even as she tried to regain her composure.

Forcing one eye open she glared up at the half-blood and his one outstretched hand, where black needles still jumped between the claws.

... One hand?

The left one was clenched, up by the point below his throat where Rakadra's collarbone almost met. A thin, silvery chain encircled his neck, flowing out from the white-knuckled fist in two small streams.

Sciel wanted to ask, but first thing first.

"What was that for?!" she pouted.

She got both the mysteries solved at the same time as Rakadra replied.

"This!" he snarled, eyes glowing red with rage as he opened his fist and unveiled the source of his fury.

Sciel momentarily noted the remaining stains of black blood on his neck, before her sight was drawn to the item that weighed down the chain. Mainly because since the color of it frankly screamed against the rest of Rakadra's color scheme.

She blinked.

She coughed.

She threw her head back and laughed.

Arachne curiously bent forwards to get into the right angle to see, while Tricla stretched her neck over the table and around the half-demon's shoulder.

Both of them reacted just like two vampires already had done. At least the scorpio managed to keep calm until she had properly retracted her neck before she dissolved in hysterics.

Rakadra meanwhile, understandably, fumed. Literally. The last remains of blood were burnt away from his skin. Had Sciel not kept her shields active, he would have grabbed her by the neck and done uncomfortable things with her spine. But as he wasn't allowed to do that, he slammed both hands against the bubble and let loose another burst of lightning. But even that only momentarily stopped her insane giggling.

"Get this thing off me, leech!" he finally roared.

"It's... not... wahaha... mine!" Sciel croaked between a few gasps for air and uncontrollable busts of laughter.

She clutched her stomach now, trying to get a little control back while Rakadra snarled raw obscenities at her. Finally she managed to calm down enough to dry her gleeful tears away well enough to peer up at him again.

"It looks kinda cute on you though!" she squeaked, which only sent her and her friends back into the pit of giggles.

Rakadra himself hardly helped pulling them back to sanity.

"It's a heart! It's PINK!!" he roared.

"How sweet!" Arachne squealed, then quickly threw up her net to block a dark blast.

Eventually though, Tricla managed to bring a little peace into the picture. Sorta.

"It's from one of my girls!" she screeched, far hoarser than usual, "it seems she was smitten by you killing her sister!"

Rakadra apparently had troubles sorting out what to do first as he opened and closed his mouth in sync with his twitching fingers a few times.

"How many ARE there!?" he finally settled for.

"Many, dear!"

And she went down in snickers again.

"Don't worry, Rakky!" Sciel giggled, "it's no fun to send several of the same kind after you. We'll think of something else next time."

Deliberately slow the half-blood turned back to the carmilla, speaking in a very low, dark voice.


"Aww, come on Rakky!"

He had been berserking for quite a while now, and it was starting to wear even him out. The last explosion of lightning was definitely weaker than the other ones.

He took in a deep breath to bring a little order to his burning nerves and sent one last death glare at the carmilla.

"I'll find that worm first, and then you better watch your back, Sciel," he growled.

She was still giggling. Snarling, he turned back to Tricla, who had calmed down almost completely and now just worked on her breathing. Meeting the male demon's glare, she smirked.

"Her name is Slither, dear," she replied without the question.

Without a word Rakadra reached up to the cute little pendant and lifted it between two claws, as if it was too hot to touch properly.

"Just be prepared," Tricla added, a few more teeth showing as the smirk grew, "she may still surprise you."

"Don't bother to warn me," Rakadra snapped and took off again with a few powerful flaps of his wings.

"It wasn't a warning..." Tricla murmured.

"What was it then?" Sciel wondered while stretching, a teasing giggle still fresh on her lips.

"She has a specialty..."

Tricla paused and took a new drink from the table. It was quite a sight as her claws were far bigger than her own head.

"... It might interest him," she then thoughtfully continued, "provided she survives long enough to use it, of course."

"What would that be?"

Sciel's neck made popping sounds as she pushed her head from side to side, but she didn't let that get in the way of her query.

"That... is a secret."

Tricla sipped her drink with a huge grin. The carmilla was about to protest when Arachne got in between.

"Mm, what power! I didn't know that he was that strong!" she grinned, "the force in his attack... aw, Sciel, I'm so jealous!"

The vampiress sighed in content, nabbing another snack before she leant back.

"Such is our Rakadra..." she agreed, basking in the pain's afterglow.
With the knowledge of her name, he'd easily be able to track her with a spell cast on the necklace. She must have counted on that... which meant that there was a trap waiting.

Foolish woman.

Rakadra swept through the confusing world of the demons without meeting anybody, focusing his will onto the mental path that his spell offered.

Somewhere in the back of his mind he ironically reflected over the fact that this might be similar to how a beastman regarded a hunt.

The rest of his mind was occupied with planning rather nasty things. Since most of the really nasty things he could think of already was reserved for a certain beast-human family, he had to make new things up.

Though he'd rather die than admit it, at least this stupidity offered a little variety to the constantly burning hatred of his life. But he was really too pissed off at the necklace stunt to really find it amusing. And Sciel's meddling... when he had TOLD HER to STAY OUT of HIS BUSINESS...

Hm, there...

He landed, cautiously keeping all senses open for a trap. But all around him were only the ever-changing clouds of the warped dimension.

She was hiding here somewhere, he just had to pinpoint where the little bi-

A red-hot tail wrapped around his legs at the same time as the humanoid part of his thought quarry pounced at his back. Rakadra had no chance to keep his balance and crashed face down with a loud snarl - though her tail and his hands took most of the impact.

Quickly using the strength of his arms he rolled them both over to at least get in a better defending position, automatically folding his wings not to have them crushed under the full weight of half-blood and naga. But as he did this, Slither shot her main body upwards, away from his to get out of reach for his claws. On guard she swayed back and forth above him, while her tail STILL worked on encircling him - it already covered all of his legs from the ankles and up over the thigh, slithering upwards towards his waist.

Without a word Rakadra sent his claw out to their full length and slashed at the highest ring of tail, sending scales and slimy flesh flying. The naga screeched in pain and her main body swung wildly - a reaction to the fact that the agony caused her tail to constrict further. Rakadra snarled as the sides of his own knees dug into his muscles, threatening to crumble into agonized pieces.

Slither took the momentary chance at an opening while Rakadra was almost frozen, throwing her entire form to the side with the result that they both rolled over - or rather, he did, she used her free body-length to remain above him. Within a second she had him in an arm lock, his wings twitching angrily under the pressure of his own arms being forced down upon them.

He turned his head, cheek flat against the ground, and glared at her from the corner of his left eye.

She smirked, lowering herself to whisper in his ear.

"Hello, handsome."

"You did better than the other one, I give," he grunted in reply.

"Why, thank you."


There was a fizzling sound.

Slither reeled upwards, screaming as black lightning crawled across her entire body.

The tail constricted even more.

Gasping of the pain Rakadra shot off from the ground using his hands, applying more force to the right arm.

They both rolled over and this time Slither hit the ground, twitching on her stomach even as rough hands grabbed her wrists and slammed them onto the ground above her head to pin her down.

"Hello, next victim," Rakadra growled.

Slither chuckled hoarsely, trying to regain her breath.

"My death throes will crush your legs," she calmly pointed out, smirking again.

Rakadra was unfazed.

"One thing at the time," he growled, "get the necklace off me. NOW."

His breath ran down her neck like ice water as he spoke. She shifted a little, marveling in the feeling of his imprisoned limbs trapped in her tail. Even more enjoyable was his wincing in reply, and the painfully tightened grip of her wrists as his bones threatened to crack under the pressure.

What self-control, he only winced despite the agony. Not to mention his speed and strength; two times being able to throw both himself and her over and around like that.

And she could have this, if she could only keep him from killing her.

She had hardly counted on beating him in a fight, considering what had happened to Nagia. Then again, her sister's first and only mistake had been to attack head-on.

This situation would require something different, though.

There was one art she was a master of that might help her get what she wanted... just to catch his interest, that was all she needed, though the art she had in mind commonly was used to confuse an enemy. That would not be the case here...

"You will have to let me turn over, you know," Slither deviously smiled against the ground.

Silently he let her wrists go, but in the same movement he crunched his right hand down on her neck. He left the grip just barely loose enough to let her move, and she leisurely turned over. As her back met the ground and Rakadra's hand thus threateningly squeezed her throat, the stupid little locket hung down close enough to touch her chest.

Slither tilted her head as much as the situation allowed to be able to look at her own little creation.

"But it was so fun to put it there!" she pouted after a moment.

"You worms really enjoy dying, don't you?" Rakadra snarled back, teeth just barely hinted between his strict lips.

"Oh, it's just that I like mine in a blind fury..." Slither murmured, reaching up to run the back of two fingers down his bare right arm, towards the hand that easily could crush her throat at any given time.

Rakadra didn't move a muscle, completely indifferent. She sighed, shrugging slightly.

"Fine, fine..." she muttered, "it has served its purpose either way."

She moved her hand closer to his neck and wrapped the thin chain around three fingers. With a swift pull the tiny links shattered.

Rakadra snatched the locket with his free hand, holding up his weight on his right elbow. Pink sand flowed out between his fingers as he clenched the hand into a fist, now that the chain and thereby spell was broken having no trouble to destroy the unwanted gift. The remains fell to the ground in a pink little heap beside Slither's shoulder.

It should be noted that Rakadra's movements during this was very graceless; indeed they were stiff and twitchy. This was probably since Slither playfully squeezed his legs ever so slightly tighter again.

In reply, thin streams of black blood began to pour out where his claws met the skin on her neck.

"Death throes, remember?" she smirked, eyes half-closed in delight.

He was paling in agony now, but still made no sound to prove it - nor did he tremble or release his own grip of her.

How had Nagia dared to think him weak... ah well, all the better for the younger sister.

But as fun as it was, torturing the half-blood wasn't her true intention. Mmm, better get to it before there'd be a true risk that he'd loose his consciousness.

She smiled at his whitening face.

"Aren't we in a predicament?" she pointed out, smirking even wider.

"For your sister, I take it?" he growled, voice a bit hoarse but still controlled.

"Oh no, that was her loss completely, lord Rakadra," Slither replied, while she spoke drawing up her hands to her chest in a defensive position.

He suspiciously tensed further, expecting a new attack.

"I was rather aiming for more pleasurable things, myself," the naga added.

She winked at him and then focused.

Rakadra gripped her neck tighter but then raised his eyebrows as Slither, instead of attacking, changed.

Her features softened while blonde hair welled out from the scales covering her skull - the scales that melted away completely under the golden flow as part of the transformation.

Even her eyes changed, a fact that even before he realized the ending result irked a feeling of being impressed from Rakadra though he didn't speak it out. The flat, cold irises cracked into a million tiny green crystals while the shape of the entire eyes stretched to the sides, becoming more human.

Rakadra found himself glaring down at that pair of eyes as they opened as wide as the new nature would allow, filling up to the brim with fear.

The half-breed's tense suspicion faded into an intrigued smirk as he did a double-take and took in the full view of the naga's finished transformation. It was a familiar woman's neck he now held - if one didn't count the remaining snake tail. But that was something he could momentarily forget at the sight of Rolante's frightened queen.

"Quite impressive," he admitted.

Slither gracefully melted back into herself to be able to properly return his smirk.

"Simply an appetizer," she murmured, just slightly loosening the grip of his lower body, "I assure you that I can perform a complete transformation."

"How perverse. I like it."

"At your service, lord Rakadra."

"If that's so, do something about the fact that I can't feel my legs."

Slither chuckled hoarsely and relaxed her tail. It was still coiled up around him, but at least his circulation was restored.

"Now, you'll probably feel like it, but I recommend you not to squeeze like that again," Rakadra murmured, removing his hand from her neck to make room for his fangs.

'Got you...' Slither triumphantly concluded.


Some time later...

Rakadra sighed, resting his chin on his fist and elbow on his bent knee as he sat back on his feet to watch the mess before him.

"You really aren't out for anything else than causing me trouble, are you?" he dryly said.

"It's not MY fault, you know," Slither pouted while brushing the black remains of the shattered egg shells from her tail.

He gave her a disdainful glare that made her smirk in return.

Sighing again, Rakadra reached into thin air and pulled out a grayish scroll.

"I will have to leave a message because of this," he grunted.

For once, he managed to leave Slither surprised.

"A message?" she repeated while plucking the last shards from between the folds of her curled up body.

Rakadra had meanwhile unrolled the scroll and was scratching what was supposedly leathery parchment with his pointing finger claw. The talon left dark lines wherever it went, which bit by bit formed peculiar runes as the half-blood continued to write.

"That," he muttered, "you will never be able to figure out."

"Aww, come on Raka- stop that, sweetie. I said stop that."

The last two sentences were not aimed at the demon lord. They were however accompanied by a rather nasty, scratching sound.

Rakadra absentmindedly reached out with his free hand, grabbed a small body and lifted it, ignoring the angry squeak.

"Sciel!" he shouted without even looking up.

A few moments passed, filled with the angry squeaking. Eventually the demonette melted into existence beside Slither's human parts.

"Don't tell me you..." she started.

She paused. And squealed.


Rakadra still didn't look up as he dropped the little squeaker in Sciel's grip. The carmilla easily fended off the violent protests and managed to grab her armful in a way that kept it from attacking further.

Slither intently watched this, resting on her upstretched arms with the hands planted on her tail's highest coil.

"Don't worry dear, I'll give you a few pointers," the carmilla kindly promised.

Slither started to smile when the rolled up scroll almost hit Sciel straight in the face. She stopped it with a glare however, and it was left hanging in the air.

"First of all, bring that to its recipient," Rakadra rashly ordered.

"Aww, why the haste?" Sciel protested.

Rakadra stood up, grabbed the scroll again and turned it so that she could see what he had written on its outside; the destination. He grinned widely as the carmilla's eyes bulged.

"Because you might want to get it over with, my dear friend," he smirked.

"You're not serious."

She glared at him.

"You're not serious."

He grinned.

"You're not... WHY?!"

"That," Rakadra replied, pointing at the squirming shape that she held.

Sciel blinked.

"I'm not taking any chances. Get going!" the male demon snarled.

"You're missing a few, Rakky..."

With a deep sigh at his resolute glare she handed her burden over to Slither, grabbed the scroll and vanished.

"Come on now," the naga complained while wrestling the reason for the whole conversation, "who are you contacting?"

Rakadra spoke, and Slither literally dropped her problem.

Rakadra felt a nice, fuzzy smugness over the fact that he for once had managed to baffle the two gits completely. It didn't happen as often as he would have preferred.


Sciel exited the portal, muttering under her breath as she stalked off into the air, grasping the scroll so tightly that it almost crumbled. But it would take more than a highly distraught carmilla to break one of Rakadra's insignias.

She angrily grunted at the daylight, grateful that it at least was a cloudy day. Upon spotting a certain cave she landed and hurried into the blessed darkness of the tunnel, while she ruefully passed the shadows changing her appearance.

Her pale skin darkened to a healthier hue while her claws and teeth shrunk. The black, revealing succubus attire melted into a simple grey dress, fit for a traveler from Maia or Forcena. Oh how she hated this kind of clothing, but at least she could keep the cloak - even if that too had to change into grey wool, something to protect against the mountain winds. Her beloved high-heels became a pair of leather boots. Always something.

Sciel trotted up the path, completely ignoring the depths to her right. She didn't have to fear falling like any puny mortal.

Reaching the first destination was simple enough. It could of course be rather uncomfortable later.

Very uncomfortable.

And she really preferred uncomfortable down in the Netherworld, up here the risk of getting stuck in limbo was greater.

On top of that she had a sulking feeling that Rakadra just would grin triumphantly if she got sliced to pieces. Not that she would. But damn ungrateful kid...

She looked up as a greeting sounded through the air, smiling wearily at the two women on the higher plateau.

"I bear a message from Maia..." she hoarsely said, perfectly faking exhaust as she held up the scroll.

One of the guards even came to support her while the other opened the gate.

This would be the trickier part.

Three minutes later she threw the scroll on the green carpet covering the floor and leapt out of reach for the fist coming her way. While she took flight she wrapped herself in a veil of invisibility, but knowing that wouldn't fool the hunter she clung to the roof while watching the show and waiting for a good time to get out again.

At least he was easily distracted.

The scroll rolled open and grey smoke erupted from it, flowing over the floor like a muddy stream. The surprised shouts from the people of the room quickly became shocked as an all too familiar figure rose from the origin of the dust.

"Hello, Kevin," Rakadra said, the corners of his lips tugging further upwards at the speed of which the king moved.

The half-beast was between Lise and the rest of the room before the half-demon had finished the greeting.

The Valkyries reacted a little slower, but still quickly. Of course, if Rakadra had been able to, he would have been at Kevin's throat long before the female warriors had finished lining up between their royalties and the half-demon.

Rakadra held back a longing sigh at the thought. Oh well, that would have to wait...

"What do you want?!" Kevin snarled, his arms protectively spread out and his back to Lise.

The queen had pulled her spear from behind her throne, but stayed behind Kevin - more because he waved his hands in alarm whenever she made a move to step up beside him instead.

"As much as I wantto rip out your guts, I'm afraid I can't in this shape," Rakadra said with a mirthless shrug, "this is nothing more than an illusion for messages."

Kevin growled, hardly about to lower his guard just because of a reassurance from his enemy. Nobody moved for a moment.


Rakadra couldn't keep himself from grimacing.

"... I wouldn't do this unless I had a really good reason, you know."

No reply.

"My, how cold you people are. Oh well..."

He bent down and rummaged around in the smoke still covering the floor.

"Come here you little bastard... here I said!"

That one raised a few eyebrows. And far more than that as Rakadra with a triumphant snarl shot his hand forth and dragged a long, black and most notably twisting shape out of the mist. Even as he straightened up and raised his hand above his head, the snake tail of the new monster disappeared in the clouds below.

It was a snake. With a human baby's upper body, which was what Rakadra held.

Even on the distance, Kevin noticed with a sinking feeling that the demon spawn's eyes were horribly familiar.

"My daughter," Rakadra announced, his smile twitching as Lise and several of the Valkyries pressed at least one hand against their mouths, eyes wide and horrified.

Kevin's glare merely turned darker, which in itself was an accomplishment.

"Spawning," he grunted, with notable disgust.

The baby, meanwhile, curled her tail masterfully around her father's body and used that to wriggle out of his grip, moving her human part to his shoulder. Rakadra didn't move to stop her. However he did throw up two fingers of his right hand to block her attempt to claw out his eyes. She giggled at this, a creepy screeching sound.

"You seem surprisingly literal today," the half-demon smirked at Kevin, who scoffed, "but in any case, the thing about female demons are that they never do what they are to- YEOW!"

Even Kevin blinked in disbelief as Rakadra stumbled, with a snarl clawing for his triumphantly hissing child as she threw herself off him and dove for the smoke.

"Give me that!"

He got a hold of her neck and ripped his pointing finger from her tiny fangs, ignoring her protesting squeaking.

"Take your child, woman!" he snapped, shoving the baby backwards and leaving her hanging in the air.

Cursing under his breath he pressed the finger against the stump on his hand. Black sparks flew from the connection and after a couple of seconds Rakadra let go of himself, experimentally flexing all his fingers.

While he was doing this, a pair of hands holding the baby materialized, quickly followed by the arms. And then the rest of the body, the impossibly long form that was Slither. More than half of the Valkyries took a step backwards, and even Kevin tensed in shock.

The grown naga had curled most of herself in a two-store circle around Rakadra, tilting her head with a faint snicker.

"My child?" she said, "she got all her color from you."

"You shut up."

The baby meanwhile curled up along her mother's tail and up on Slither's back. The grown demonette turned her head completely around and glared threateningly at the little form scratching her back.

"If you try to bite my neck I'll break your little backbone, understand?"

There was a sour squeak.

Rakadra glared at the two females for a moment, then began turning back to the more human part of the room while speaking.

"In any case, as I was saying..."

He paused, raised an eyebrow and smirked, crossing his arms.

"Nice shade of green, Kevin."

The king tried to growl, but the sound was rather muffled by his own hand. Lise held his right shoulder, glaring daggers at Rakadra as she tried to banish the mental images that plagued her husband's mind. Her own were very forcefully pressed down, but she wasn't sure how long she could keep them away.

"Did you come here just to make us nauseous with your love life or did you have something to say?" she snarled.

Ah yes, what I came to deliver was actually a warning for this little eel," Rakadra said, pointing at the baby - from a safe distance.

He was met with a complete wall of silence. After spending a moment at chuckling hoarsely at the looks he was receiving, the demon half-blood picked up the speech again.

"Demon females are in their own way far worse than the males," he said, giving Slither a glare which she answered with a snicker, "they never do things as they should. This little bastard WILL doubtlessly go after YOUR little bastard as soon as she gets older, but I dare say that it won't be in the way that anyone of us wants."

"Wants?" Lise snarled in disbelief, unable to follow his reason.

Not that she was alone, or anything.

Rakadra rolled his eyes at the stupid humans' failing to understand.

"It's rather simple, fools," he said, "Kevin, you just teach Jason how demons smell so that he's cautious."

He once more pointed at the baby, who now was hanging from Slither's arm - in her teeth. The mother watched this with twisted pride.

"She's going to be some sort of siren demon, I assure you. So keep Jason on guard, I hate you people enough as it is. I don't want us to be..."

He had to pause and pinch the bridge of his nose before he could continue.

"... To be family as well."

And with that verbal bomb, he waved his right hand at the in a heartbeat ashen-faced crowd.

"Tata for now. Hope to see you all in my clutches soon."

As he snapped his fingers, the images of the three demons shattered and dissipated as they fell towards the ground. Within a few seconds the smoke had settled, and left on the ground was only a charred carpet and a small heap of ashes that had been the parchment.

There was a few moments of silence.

"I..." Lise finally began, "I... need to... sit down..."

She crashed on Kevin's throne, which allowed the Valkyries to seat themselves on the platform of the royal chairs as well. The king of Rolante, meanwhile, was rubbing his forehead with both hands.

"I'll be... right back..." he finally muttered and dashed towards the exit.

Sciel, who had thought that she would make it silently and invisible, desperately turned into a bat and just barely managed to flutter out of reach, diving for an open window and safely making it out.

'Rakadra will pay dearly for this!' she furiously thought while making her way back towards the gate to the nether.

Muttering curses, Kevin stalked back to the throne room, shaking his head at the puzzled gazes he got.

"Lise," he eventually managed as he reached her slumped form.

"Yes?" she replied, pressing a hand against her stomach.

"I'll train with Jason now."

"Good... good, do that..."

Kevin slowly nodded and walked out of the throne room while pondering how much it would hurt to ask his father to help out in the training of the youngest generation.

E... n... d...?

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