Level 21 ~ Andrew

“Andrew! She’s just a kid! She didn’t do anything to deserve this!” Vixie stamped her foot as she snarled at Andrew.

The marsh where they had made camp was still, and the shadow of the Third Talon mountain would leave them chilled until midday. Andrew had slept outside the tent next to his armor. Vixie had slept in the tent with the demonic spawn of Letemra whom she seemed determined to defend for some reason. He and Vixie were the first ones up.

“Naomi is a demon.” Andrew grit his teeth and found he couldn’t look Vixie in her cat-like eyes while he tried to explain what felt obvious, “Her age doesn’t change that or what she will grow up to be.”

Andrew missed Sheya right now. She could’ve explained what was wrong with keeping Naomi alive in terms Vixie would understand. Hell, even Feanthar would’ve had to feel the intense evil at the heart of Naomi’s being—even if he wasn’t comfortable with harming a child. Andrew had been so relieved that Vixie decided to stay with him when Sheya and Feanthar returned to Yore… But then a day later they found Naomi hiding in a hollow and Vixie had seemed to adopt the daughter of the god they’d all fought so hard to defeat.

“Then you might as well kill me too!” Vixie hissed, “I’m a lycanthrope!”

Andrew felt a pain shoot through his chest; Vixie had to have known how bringing that up would make him feel. “That’s different…”

“How?!” Vixie stepped up until her chest was pressing against Andrew’s, he didn’t want to fight her, and so Andrew stepped back. “She’s a demon, I’m a monster!”

As Vixie crossed her arms under her bosom Andrew silently cursed himself for giving ground. Vixie wasn’t going to back down unless he made her. “Demons are literal incarnations of evil; lycanthropes aren’t.” Andrew hoisted Banisher up onto his shoulder and squared his jaw. “You’re in control of your nature.”

“And she’s not?!” Vixie threw an arm back toward the tent, but Andrew kept his eyes on hers this time. “Andrew, she lost her mother and we killed the evil god that fathered her! She needs someone to take care of her; and I think it should be us. It took me a few years to master my transformations too.”

“You’re talking about me.” Andrew and Vixie’s attention was finally moved from one another to the little girl in cultist robes sitting in the tent flap, hugging her knees and with her bat-like wings draped around her shoulders.

Andrew lowered Banisher with a scowl as Vixie hurried back to the tent to crouch next to Naomi. He wasn’t going to attack while Vixie could be caught in the crossfire, and Vixie knew it. Vixie gently brushed Naomi’s hair away from her eyes, though Naomi’s gaze remained on Banisher’s blade.

“Hey, how’d you sleep?” Vixie’s tone had changed completely as she now doted on the young succubus.

“Okay, I guess…” Naomi’s voice was flat and listless, but her gaze followed Banisher up to look at Andrew, “Is he okay?”

Andrew’s teeth clenched as the demon talked about him to Vixie, all while looking him in the eyes. “Yeah, he’s fine. Sorry our argument woke you up.” Vixie smirked and shook her head.

Andrew could feel Naomi looking into him, but he didn’t see any reason to block her. Maybe he could get her to make the first move. Give him an excuse.

“So… Are you going to kill me?” Naomi just sounded mildly curious, Vixie had at least been sad when she had asked Andrew that question.

“What? No! No—“ Vixie was clearly shocked by the question, but it’s what Andrew had been hoping for.

“That’s the idea.” Andrew interrupted Vixie with his eyes locked with Naomi’s.


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