Hunted or Haunted? View Two

I landed softly on my feet, thankful my light armor didn’t make a racket. Another victim lay shredded. Another victim without a soul. I lowered my head in respect. And in shame. For too long had this demon escaped me. An expert, it was, at changing shape and moving from one poor human to the next. It took literal form of their darkest fears. And I could only imagine how it appeared now. I closed my eyes to clear my mind. I was in charge of slaying this demon. And it had claimed another. Opening my eyes, I searched for the soul trail. The demon was getting better at hiding the remnants left behind. I locked onto the faint trail. My eyes burning with righteous fury. It feared me. Feared me as I hunted it. This was good. I was haunting the haunter. My white feathered wings carried me along the trail. I flew faster as the trail grew stronger. I drew my double-edged sword when I came to a black cave system. It wreaked of evil. Landing again, I tucked my wings behind me. Every step into darkness left a footprint of white light that permeated this vile darkness. My grip on my sword tightened ever more, sending a stream of purifying fire up the blade The screams of evil echoed to me. My wings locked into place. There were other screams. Not evil. It wrenched my heart. The lost souls cried for rescue. Today would be their salvation. I continued deeper through the cave’s throat. Darkness pressing harder against me. Then the shadows moved, and the demonic monster leaped from its cowering corner. For a moment, I could only stand in shock of it. This was what I hunted. This was what I haunted. The light on my sword flickered, sending shadows dancing on the gross mixture of bones, metal, and rotting flesh. It was the unholiest thing I ever laid eyes on. And I had seen my fair of monsters and demons. It pounced. I rolled off to the side, recovering in time to slide under the spiked tail. It screeched, whipping around and attacking with more speed and agility than I expected. Pinned me to the wall by my wing. My jaw clenched as I tried not to make an exclamation. Golden blood spattered to the ground. It sunk its serrated talons deeper. I finally gave a battle cry, sending a blast of light into its chest. It roared and released me, rancid flesh sizzling. Running at it, I dodged its head and front paws. Sliced the right paw off. I expected a regeneration, but it didn’t. The beast from Hell came after me still, shrieking and chittering. I went for the chest. Its tail knocked me sideways. Then swept again. This time, I severed half the appendage. It screamed at its stub. Came at me full speed. A solid hack cut off its other front leg. As it fell, I thrust my sword in its neck. Yelling for determination, I sent a stream of light up my blade once more as I held fast and sliced the demon monster in half. Also using a thin light barrier to keep the horrendous fluids from spilling on me. Then I went to its head; its eyes still illuminated. A clean stroke disconnected head and body. I suddenly dropped my wings and plunged the sword over my shoulder. Heard the sickening crunch of the humanoid minion’s skull behind me. Heaving it over my shoulder, I smacked the body against the ground. Ripped the head off. With the skull still on my sword, I sunk the blade into the twitching body. I studied the main creature. I expected a better fight from something so hellish. But something beautiful happened. All the captured souls floated out the body’s insides. They were weak. The thing had fed on them. Opening my wings, I gathered them into my aura. I gladly gave them my strength. I would recover later. Taking them outside was also a joy. They were free now. They could finally go home. Raising my sword, a beacon of light traveled to the heavens. The souls ascended. But the last one twinkled at me, pleading its thanks. It was the last victim of the monster, and it wanted to know what happened. Although weary from the energy I gave away, I managed a smile with my reply, “I sent that demon straight back to Hell.”

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