No one had ever had a stronger will than Diablos. In fact, he was nigh near untamable. It was part of the reason he kept getting locked away. But not this time. This time he was going to make sure that he stayed out by getting the best of his keeper. He wouldn’t allow her to tame him. He wouldn’t be enslaved to her or to his lamp any longer. He would be free at last, truly free. And he would burn that damn scroll so that he couldn’t be put back in his lamp. Or…His yellow eyes shifted back to his prison briefly. Or he could get rid of the lamp.
“Let me go,” she demanded suddenly. “I’m not going to do this with you.”
“Do what?” the demon wanted to know.
“Fight with you or get you to provoke me.”
She pushed at his tail, her tiny, child-like hands warm against his leathery skin. He peered down at her, flexing the claws on his right hand. He could hear her heart beating, could even feel it through her soft fingertips, but her body language said she was not going to let him get the best of her. He brought her closer, his peer turning into a glare. Was she trying to defy him? Or perhaps provoke him herself?
“I didn’t let you out of the lamp to add you to my repertoire of eidolons I can summon,” she huffed, crossing her arms and glaring at him.
He snorted. It was a trick. It had to be. Nevertheless, he took the bait. “Then why did you let me out.”
“Because I wanted to talk to an eidolon,” she answered frankly. “I used to live with them, you know.”
That piqued his interest. If the creature had eyebrows he would have quirked one. Instead his interest in the subject matter was shown by his left eye widening a bit more than it should have. “Did you now?”
“Yes. I was raised by them,” she admitted readily. “From the time I was a little girl, about seven.”
“How old are you now?” he asked.
“A lifetime ago for you humans.” He snorted, loosening his tail around her middle somewhat, but not entirely. “You are aware that there are countries for us eidolons? Just like you humans have countries.” She nodded. “Then which country were you raised in?”
“The Land of Summoned Monsters,” she answered.
“Ah, you were underground. In my home.” He gave a small smile, revealing one tooth before settling down on the ground. “I was born there. I was but your age when I was imprisoned by a brash red mage who did not like my connection with my summoner. In my day black mages were very rare.”
“I’m the last one left,” she said softly. Perhaps a bit too softly for the beast. He shook his head, sticking a claw in his ear to clean out the grime that had likely built up over his years of imprisonment. But the way she looked down at the floor said she had indeed uttered those fateful words.
“You are the last black mage?” he questioned. “Or the last summoner.”
“I am the last summoner,” she replied, speaking up a little. “My friend Terra knows magic too, but she’s half eidolon. So I don’t think she counts.”
“No,” he said dryly. “It doesn’t.”
After a bit of tense and awkward silence the legend decided to free his captive. Slowly he unraveled his tail from around her middle, his wings quivering as it snaked over her velvet-covered skin. The feelings it was bringing forth was too familiar. He would not go back into his prison, certainly not for making the same mistake twice.
“We’ve talked,” he pointed out none too graciously. “Now go.”
She blinked, startled at the command. She wasn’t used to receiving one from her eidolons. She didn’t really know how to react to it.
“I can’t just leave you here,” she said finally. “Especially not out in the open. Anyone could find you.”
“Let the humans find me and tremble before me,” he growled gutturally. “I will not return to that accursed lamp.” As he spoke, he raised himself up to his full height, stretched out his wings and glared at her.
She sighed. “And how am I supposed to explain you to my husband?” she wanted to know.
Husband? She was married? If he was startled he certainly didn’t show it, but the news did make his mood a bit more dour.
“I care little how you explain my presence,” he grunted, whipping his tail back and forth idly. “Until you best me, mage, I will not be contained.”
She gave him a glare, and he glared back. Her body was so rigid now; she was rigid. She seemed to be at war with herself, and Diablos hoped that war resulted in an outburst so that she could be put in her place. Such a young, little thing, so tender and naïve. Not cunning and commanding like the demon was.
“Fine,” she huffed. “But sooner or later I’ll have to battle you. And when I do…”
“Battle me now, if you dare,” the black thing taunted, flexing a magenta muscle. “I will even accept someone else battling me in your behalf. You may have help mage, if you dare, but you will not succeed.”
“I’m trying to be nice,” the young woman sighed. “But fine. Since you can’t get along with me like a civilized being then I’ll fight you. Tomorrow morning, in the sand outside of the castle.”
“Or better yet,” Diablos proposed, stretching out a hand in her direction, “so that we aren’t exposed to your precious humans and their fragile states of mind, we will do battle inside of my lamp.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. It had to be a trick. “Don’t try anything funny,” she warned, “like locking us in there. We’ll find a way out.”
His laugh sent chills up her spine. “I am above such petty human trickery! I am an eidolon, and I keep my word. I will not try to lock you or your companions in my lamp.”
“Once I best you will you behave yourself?” Rydia wondered.
“I will keep to the stipulations set out by our forefathers before us,” Diablos promised. “If you best me I’ll serve you obediently unto death, either yours or mine.”
Rydia nodded. She really didn’t want to fight him but he wasn’t giving her much of a choice in the matter. He was being stubborn and she couldn’t put her own people in danger because she had an eidolon that refused to submit to reason, let alone respect or sanity.