Updated: May 22
Written by Michael Egolf
Rocco nursed his drink, taking care that he had enough ale left in his mug that the waitress would leave him alone. He knew there wasn’t much for him to do right now, but he still felt as though his full focus should be on the task at hand. He couldn’t afford to screw this up.
His eyes peered between his locks of shaggy blonde hair, past the other patrons at the Crowing Rooster, through the window stained with dirt and sand, and across the street to the building where his target was located.
He had yet to see her, but the considerable amount of money he had spent in bribes had all pointed him to this single location. In fact, he had spent so much money that he was starting to worry about the funding he’d need for the journey back home.
That was a new thing for Rocco to worry about, as his father, Duke of the Westlands, had always made sure he was well provided for. Not that Rocco had been spoiled by any means, he had earned his keep, serving as commander of his father’s forces in the numerous skirmishes that seemed to pop up in the Dukedom.
This was going to be a different sort of fight however, and an entirely new experience for the young lord. This time, he wasn’t just hunting bandits in the Royal Forest, or quelling an uprising of farmers who felt their taxes were too high. This time, he was hunting a demon.
Rocco cursed silently to himself, realizing he had let his mind drift once again. Yet, if he tried too hard to solely focus on the target before him, the sandy-brown stubble that adorned his face started to bother him.
He hadn’t gone this long without a hot bath and a shave in quite some time, if ever. Rocco was not the sort of man who usually allowed himself to go without the comforts that royalty afforded his family. He told himself that if was able to hunt down this monster, it would all be worth it.
Yes, protecting the lands was an important task. Rocco cared greatly for both the loyal subjects of his fathers realm, and the glory he earned his father each time he succeeded in conflict. But, killing a demon? That was the sort of task that would live on in legend, cementing Rocco as one of the great heroes of his time.
That was also how empires were built, you see, on the backs of noble warriors committing heroic deeds. Killing this succubus? It was the sort of tale that Rocco could ride all the way to the steps of the Senate itself. His father may rule the surrounding lands, but if Rocco was able to succeed in this task, he could one day rule the whole country. He could-
“Would you like some more ale, sir?” The pretty waitress with glowing green eyes interrupted his thoughts, and he cursed himself again, shaking his head as he did so. She pouted at him, then sauntered away to see the next customer. Rocco once again felt himself being distracted as he watched her hips sway while she walked back to the bar.
Another pleasure that he had been long without. He could barely stop the growl of frustration that came from his lips. At home, any lowly tavern wench he wanted would be his, he simply had to snap his fingers and flash his father's title, and they would never say no. At least not without finding themselves in the stocks for the night.
Soon, this whole deed would be done, and he could go back to the finer things in life. For now though, he had to act the part. Just a common peasant travelling from out of town, down on his luck and nursing his last coin in drink.
His hand subconsciously touched the blade at his side, fingers caressing the pouch that held the stones of power the Court Wizard had granted him before he left the family home.
Soon, he would have the action he so desperately craved. He felt the blood in his body start to stir at the thought. The demon would die tonight at his hands, he knew. All he had to do was wait for the Jade Blossom to open its doors this evening...
Previous Chapter: The Demon Who Dreamed of Being a Real Girl
Next Chapter: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished