As she'd expected, Rika's failed escape attempt had the guarding arrangement on her changed. Now, instead of only two guards, she had six. If her door was open, two guards were to be inside, two immediately outside, and one more a short distance away in both directions of the hall. Rika knew, because she's pressed her ear against the crack at the bottom of the door when she heard the sound of several boots tramping towards her cell. And pretty as it was, her room was a cell.
Rika had watched the sunset through the window, trying to think of some new way to escape. Already she'd exhausted every method she could remember from her books. And she knew none of the guards were going to trust anything she said or did after her little fake sickness. She sighed, dropping her forehead to her knees and shoving back the tears that were tickling her throat. Crying wasn't going to do her any good.
She thought about trying to start a fire using the lanterns, but figured that would only end with her being hauled out then tossed into a far less pleasant room. Thinking of how to start the fire got her mind on cloth. Was cloth enough like paper that her message spell would work? Did it matter if it wasn't like it? In her last magic lesson, Ahisu had said he'd have thought she might be a movement mage or an air mage, if it hadn't been for the glass shrinking. She wondered if she shoved enough of her magic at a spell, if it would matter what kind of mage she was.
Rika stood. She'd try it. The worst that would happen is that it wouldn't work, and she'd be in the same position she was in now. Rubbing her sweaty palms onto her pants to dry them, she'd only taken a few steps towards the wardrobe when she heard a strange sound.
Frowning, she turned towards the door, where the noise had come from. She heard it again, then what sounded like a muffled cry. She hurried towards the door, hearing something fall to the ground outside the door then the jangle of something metal.
She'd barely reached the door when she heard the lock click open and the door swung open. Rika stared. Then she gulped, trying to keep her stomach from heaving up through her mouth. Lying in pools of spreading red, were her guards. The one she could see most clearly had had his throat slashed out, to the point where she could see the white of his spine. She gulped again, dropping her eyes, trying to block the images.
Which is when she heard the chuckle.
Rika snapped her head up, looking around the room for the source of the sound. She'd though it had come from in front of her, but she could see nothing but…Turning back to the front, suddenly she could see, and what was in front of her had her staring.
He was red. The red of blood. Or maybe rubies. Rika wasn't sure, she just couldn't deny the shocking colour of him. He returned her gaze with a smile, his eyes a bright yellow, his teeth very white and sharper than a human's, not enough to look like a shark but…it was enough to register as wrong to her brain. He had hair. Black hair that fell just past the tips of his pointed ears. Another of the many things that told her stunned brain that whatever he was, this man wasn't human.
But it was the other things that were confusing her brain, slowing its ability to fully register this man as something wholly inhuman. Like the clothes. He was wearing a high collared jacket, pants, and a shirt, all three of them black. But there was nothing on his feet, just his taloned toes.
That was the straw that finally snapped her mind back into the present. "Who-"
He chuckled again, a half-familiar sound. "I'm crushed you've forgotten me already."
The voice sealed it. Rika gasped. "Shetton?"
He bowed to her mockingly. "I was sent to free you and escort you back. I was also told to not dawdle about it, so I'm afraid we'll have to hurry. The mortals will be swarming here soon enough. Shall we return to the rest?"
"The others are here?" Rika said, following as he turned, heading out of the room. She did her best to keep her eyes on his back, and not at the corpses that littered the ground. The smell of blood was enough to have her gagging slightly, making her very certain that she didn't want to see more of her ex-guards than she had to.
Like Ahisu's snort, Shetton's chuckle seemed to be his most common response. "But of course. My master has a debt to you. He had to come and try to save you. The other two came as well, for whatever reason it is they both follow you. You're quite popular it seems."
"How did they find me?" Rika said, finally breathing easy as they left the bloody hallway behind.
"You have a debt to my master, so I've gotten to know your scent very well. Very well indeed," he said, eyes glinting as he looked back at her, a sly smile tugging at his lips.
"That's good," Rika replied. "I didn't think you guys were going to be able to find me. Oh! Everyone is alright? They didn't get hurt during the attack or breaking in here or some other way, did they?"
For a moment, the demon stared at her. Then he laughed. "Oh they're quite alright. I believe the blue man required some patching up, but the healer was more than up to the task. You should be worrying more about yourself."
"Why? You're here with me. From what I've seen, you're stronger than any guard or group of them here."
He grinned. "Oh, I like you. But alas for the compliments you have yet to shower on me, we're approaching the area that hasn't yet been cleared of mortals. You'd best keep silent and follow close to me. And remember, you might be able to see me, but the other mortals won't. So best move quickly."
Rika nodded. The last thing she was going to do was anything that endangered her escape.