Unnamed Story

BY : Roaming_Firefly
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Yaoi - Male/Male > Sephiroth/Vincent
Dragon prints: 2604
Disclaimer: see full disclaimer below



Chapter 9 - Archdaemon



At first the Archdaemon of the 7th absentmindedly wandered around the cages of rare slaves, listening to Gooey-Duck's introductions of the various slaves with only half an ear and ignoring Tseng's exasperated looks. The sight of the firedrake caught her attention, however.

"Is that...a firedrake? And a high-rank one too!" her red eyes widened in undisguised wonder and curiosity.

"Oh yes, he's one of our most recent catches, fresh out of the Wastelands, from the remote, jagged peaks of the Genesis Highlands! Not only is he high-rank, see those scales along his neck? He's royalty! A most fine catch indeed. Sure to catch the eye of all the other lords and accentuate my lord's own magnificence and power! Would my lord like to have a closer look?" asked Gooey-Duck. The Archdaemon nodded.

Gooey-Duck signaled his lackey, a huge, ugly ogre, to take Genesis from his cage and chain him to one of the poles that now stood at every intersection of the 'corridors' formed from the spaces between the cages.

Genesis was obviously not liking this. He barely managed to hold himself in check when the Archdaemon leaned VERY close to inspect him.

"Hmm...he looks to be a bit...unhealthy."

"Ah...that's because we are still in the process of taming him. He's only been captured very recently, after all. But I assure you he is one magnificent beast... Would you like to see his true form, my lord?"

The Archdaemon nodded again absently. Gooey-Duck then spoke a word and the collar around Genesis's neck began to glow red. The metal bands around his wrists and ankles also began to hum with power. Genesis's eyes widened as he barely chocked back a cry of agony from the forced transformation. His form expanded, shiny red scales multiplied and spread all over his skin, and a pair of huge leather wings sprung from his pack. Finally, the dragon-like creature that was Genesis screamed in pain and rage and instinctively let out a blast of flames at the group of demons before him.

Gooey-Duck quickly erected a shimmering magic shield around himself, but he needn't have bothered. Instead of spreading out, the fire gathered itself and went straight for Reno and the Archdaemon. It swirled around them for a few seconds then disappeared harmlessly. The two redheaded demons seemed to glow slightly after that, but was otherwise completely unaffected. They didn't even bother to change their facial expressions.

Fearing that the firedrake might act recklessly, Gooey-Duck quickly spoke another word to force Genesis back to humanoid form. Genesis groaned from the pain of two forced transformations and dropped weakly to his knees.

"What do you think, my lord?" the slave trader asked tentatively.

"He is very pretty," said the Archdaemon, looking completely unimpressed, "but in 7th Circle, everybody is expected to put their backs into earning their keep, and this one is nothing but a spoiled prince. He's soft and undisciplined. He'll not make the cut. Besides, we already have quite enough fire-elementals in the Circle. He's useless to me."

Genesis's eyes blazed at the insult, but was both too weak and too aware of his situation to retaliate. The ogre shoved him back in his cage and the demon party moved on.

"Then how about this centaur here?" Gooey-Duck gestured to N'geal, "Centaurs are one of the most hard-working and disciplined of the lower beings of the Axis, able to endure the hardest manual labour in the harshest conditions. This one's even been a soldier in 4th Circle's army. He is already well-trained in court etiquette, he speaks all the common tongues of the Axis and so can communicate fluently with other lower beings despite the shortcomings of his race. Be it in the mines working on his hands and knees along with the lowest drudges or serving at banquet tables in the grandeur of an Archdaemon's receiving halls, he comes well-equipped to be put to work right away in any area my lord most see fit."

"A black centaur..." the Archdaemon cocked her head at N'geal, her tail tapping slowly behind her. The centaur stood steady against her scrutiny.

"Tell me, centaur, what fault has the Archdaemon of 4th Circle found in you that he expelled you from his army and sent you here?" asked the Archdaemon.

"There were some tasks he commanded of me that I disagreed with." N'geal answered evenly.

"I thought centaurs were supposed to be loyal and disciplined?" the Archdaemon arched an eyebrow.

N'geal's shoulders stiffened slightly, but his reply remained steady, "Indeed, but we also live and die by our honour. What my liege asked of me, I could not do without forsaking my honour."

The Archdaemon considered this for a moment, then asked, "What was your rank in the 4th's army?"

N'geal hesitated, but then answered truthfully, "I was Commander of the First Division."

The Archdaemon nodded in satisfaction, "Just as I thought."

"My lord...?" Gooey-Duck asked uncertainly.

"Centaurs have a reputation of being forthright and uptight. Black or not, this one's no different. He's too much of a straight arrow. 7th Circle has way too many...mischievous characters..." the Archdaemon, along with Tseng, glanced at Reno, who widened his eyes and tried to look innocent and offended, "...they will eat him alive."

"Hmm...then, may I suggest-"

"Those children..." the Archdaemon's attention suddenly focused on Husky and Nana, her dark red irises turning gold from the center, revealing slitted cat-like pupils. Nana shrank away in fear, her small body trembled violently. Husky huddled closer to her, partially shielding her from the Archdaemon's scrutiny with his body.

Gooey-Duck turned his merchant's smile on full force, "Ah...those children...they were found in the Wastelands, arrived from a spontaneous vortex. They are very rare indeed—in fact, we have not seen anything of the like. To have such rare creatures in one's possession will surely bring the envy of even the highest lords of Hell."

"Can they transform?" asked the Archdaemon, her red-and-gold eyes not once leaving the children to look at the slave merchant.

"Ah...yes..."

"I'd like to see it."

"...Of course..."

The children's collars glowed red and both of them gasped at the pain. The tattoos on Husky's neck seemed to come alive: they grew and extended down his body, morphing into gills and fins, and a bluish-silver fish tail soon replaced the boy's legs. Sephiroth imagined that Nana's tattoos did the same as bat wings extended from her back. Her ears also grew longer, but unlike the demons', hers were rounded at the tips.

"I'd like a closer look at them." the Archdaemon commanded without taking her eyes off the children.

Gooey-Duck jerked his head at his ogre lackey. The hideous hulking monster lurched into the children's cage and undid the chain on their collars from the thick chain on the floor. As it did so it caught the scent of their fear and pain. It sneered in instinctive bloodlust as it fixed its jaundiced eyes upon them and extended its huge clawed hands towards the vulnerable morsels of flesh.

Nana sucked in a breath and screamed.

"Worm-fire! Not like that you oaf!" Gooey-Duck barely had time to yell before the ogre collapsed face-first to the floor.

Everyone in Sephiroth's cage tensed when the ogre reached for the children. They could all see that Nana was at her breaking point and feared that the girl would do something reckless. However, they didn't expect her scream to be in an inhumanly high pitch that rang painfully in their super-human ears, nor did they expect a wave of nausea to hit them at the sound. The ogre took the girl's attack full-force and fell out-cold right on the spot. Gooey-Duck hastily put up a shield but was barely fast enough. The slave trader staggered from dizziness as he rushed into the children's cage.

Husky had evidently had training in close-quarter combat. He lifted and pivoted himself on his arms and unerringly smacked Gooey-Duck hard in the nose with his fish-like tail. The slave trader's eyes watered as he fell backwards. Nana took the opportunity to hook her arms under Husky's and launched them both into the air on her bat-like wings.

All in Sephiroth's cage watched the coming disaster in horror. They fiercely hoped that the children would be able to get away but knew they would not: there were just too many demons about and Nana's speed was not going to get them out of range for spells and such fast enough. What's more, someone in the Archdaemon's party—it wasn't clear exactly which of the three—had promptly put up a large magical barrier that protected the entire party. As a result, the three most dangerous demons in the vicinity were completely untouched by Nana's attack.

Just as Nana had cleared the cage, a hand shot out and casually plucked the girl from the air by her ankle. It was the Archdaemon. In one smooth motion, she flung Nana into the cage bars of the imps. The impact knocked Husky from Nana's grasp; he landed hard and tumbled to several paces away on the floor. The imps went into a wild frenzy; they screeched loudly and clawed at Nana's delicate pale skin and sensitive wings. The poor girl had had the wind knocked out of her, and had to fight for her breath as she frantically scrambled out of their reach. Husky struggled to get up and get over to Nana, but his fish-tail could only flop uselessly on the ground and his collar prevented him from changing back to his more land-suited form. A clawed hand suddenly closed around the arm of Nana's wing from behind and jerked upwards. Nana yelped in pain and surprise.

"I suggest both of you think very hard before making your next move." said the Archdaemon coldly as she tightened her taloned fingers around Nana's wing. Reno adjusted his position slightly and allowed bolts of red-orange energy to dance between his own clawed fingers. His ever-present smirk was still in place, but his pale eyes flashed in silent yet unmistakable threat. Nana whimpered but wisely froze, as did Husky.

Gooey-Duck staggered up to the Archdaemon, obviously still feeling the effects of the children's deeds, and the Archdaemon coolly tossed Nana to him.

"You may put them back. I know their kind. They're called '+Anima'. They're humans who have been gifted with select abilities and traits from another animal. They may make cute little trophies on some demon lord's lap, but other than a few special abilities, they are every bit as weak and fragile as ordinary humans."

Gooey-Duck bowed and scraped and apologized profusely even as he kicked the ogre awake and barked at it to get the children chained and back into their cage.

"My utmost apologies, honoured lord, we were not there during these two's capture..."

"Of course not, I wouldn't expect the likes of you and your lackeys to have the competence to catch a cold," scoffed the Archdaemon, "so who was it, slave trader. Was it the Loveless? The Nobodies? As I recall, there is only one sector of the multiverse that has +Anima, and it is quite stable..."

Gooey-Duck straightened himself defensively, "If my lord is implying that I've been dishonest in the practice of my business, I have documents, forms, proof that-"

"Save your forged papers for the Watchers," the Archdaemon interrupted, "I just want to know that I can shop for slaves in the comfort of the knowledge that I'll not be suddenly finding Watchers on my ass."

"Of course not my lord," assured Gooey-Duck, "this ship has been throughly inspected by the Watchers before we docked. We are most certainly spotless in every respect."

"Good." said the Archdaemon, then her demeanor rapidly lightened as she shifted her attention to Sephiroth's cage, "What pretty mixed-bloods you have here, and quite a large selection too!"

Five pairs of eyes watched from their cage as the slave trader twitched behind the Archdaemon.

"May I suggest this one here..." Gooey-Duck quickly got ahead of the Archdaemon and dragged out Nero.

"He's very pretty..." the Archdaemon's eyes widened and she stared at Nero with unabashed interest. Reno made a sound of agreement. Tseng shot him a hard look, but studied Nero thoughtfully after.

Gooey-Duck grinned in satisfaction as he secured Nero's collar to the pole.

"Humans are such...voracious breeders...fertile with just about anything," the Archdaemon slowly spoke as she circled the hybrid, her tail making lazy arcs behind her, "but, one can't always argue with the results..." She leaned into Nero's neck and inhaled. The hybrid stiffened.

"He smells absolutely delicious! Is he..." the Archdaemon narrowed her eyes, "...a Hell-born?"

"Yes, and he's a brand new slave too." Gooey-Duck said proudly.

The Archdaemon's eyes widened, "A Hell-born hybrid who survived to this age without getting captured and enslaved?"

"Oh yes, and see this..." Gooey-Duck spoke a word, and the power around the metal shackle that bound Nero's demonic claw shifted. Everyone watched in fascination as Nero's arm began to glow bright blue.

"Oooo~~ Shiny~~~" cooed the Archdaemon as she reached out to touch the claw. Nero jerked his claw away at her touch and then swept it forward instinctively in an attack. The Archdaemon deftly caught the claw mid-strike in one hand and pulled the hybrid close. A white glow emitted from her hand and cracked against Nero's blue. Nero growled into the Archdaemon's face, now barely an inch away.

"And feisty..." the Archdaemon grinned widely in appreciation.

"He'll make a very good addition to my lord's bed..." Gooey-Duck suggested lewdly. Nero's blue eyes blazed as he glared at the slave merchant.

"Hmm...I do like him...but..." the Archdaemon drew back and frowned as she considered, "I'm not sure of the economic viability of pleasure slaves..."

"He's also very hardy. Likely the get of a daeva of the Mid Circles." said Gooey-Duck.

"No..." said the Archdaemon absent-mindedly as she sniffed once more at Nero, "he smells way too good to be that... No...he's the progeny of something much more powerful. In fact, I'd wager I can make a pretty good guess to his bloodline." the Archdaemon grinned wickedly at the hybrid. Nero's eyes widened. Even Gooey-Duck looked surprised at that statement.

Tseng sighed quietly behind his oblivious sovereign as he glanced at Gooey-Duck's gleaming, greedy eyes. The slave merchant was now sure to demand a high price for all that the Archdaemon had said about the hybrid.

"So...Boss, can we keep him?" Reno asked, the fiery redhead was clearly running out of patience.

The Archdaemon frowned as she looked to Reno, "He does smell very delicious...too delicious... Even if I don't use him as a pleasure slave, that will not stop a lot of the horny bastards in the Circle from flying at him like flies to carrion—you know those I'm talking about."

Tseng rolled his eyes. Reno's shoulders dropped.

"Aww Boss... Come on!"

"So... my lord...?" asked Gooey-Duck.

The Archdaemon sucked in a breath through her teeth and ran a hand through her hair. Her tail swept back and forth agitatedly, "Tempting...very tempting..." She paused for a long time staring at Nero with her brows furrowed. "But no." her tail-tip dipped in affirmation, "Way too many potential problems."

Reno moaned in despair. Tseng cleared his throat loudly and glared at the redhead. None of the demons took note of Gooey-Duck's disappointed look however.

As the ogre shoved Nero back into the cage, the Archdaemon noticed Fenris and frowned in puzzlement, "That one there, he looks like a regular wolf-youkai, why do you have him here with hybrids?"

"We had put that one in with the other youkai when we first acquired him, but we soon found that he's a better fit here. You see, my lord, his previous master was one who called himself 'The Warlock of the West'." explained Gooey-Duck.

"That idiot who got himself killed in the marshlands?" said the Archdaemon.

"...Yes. As my lord may know, that one was constantly chasing after new knowledge and new magic. He bought quite a number of slaves, and did experiments on them."

Four pairs of eyes turned to Fenris. The wolf-youkai's jaw tightened but he carefully kept his face impassive.

Those standing outside their cage took no notice as Gooey-Duck continued, "Shortly before his death, he had been working on creating a youkai-demon hybrid. This one is one of the results. He retains all his youkai characteristics, but he also has some demon ones. For one, he has our ability to communicate with all creatures who use spoken language."

Sephiroth's eyes rose to the demons at this tidbit of information. He had studied Wutaian as part of his training in childhood, and Hojo had attributed his fast mastery of the language as another success of the his own self-proclaimed 'genius'. But now Sephiroth wondered, if he hadn't studied the language, would he still have not noticed any difficulty understanding the locals during his first mission in Wutai.

The Archdaemon crouched down to peer closer at Fenris through the cage bars.

"Interesting, very interesting...a youkai with demon abilities... I've always found it a pity that with all the better, stronger beings, humans are the only creatures capable of breeding mixed-blood children with demons. And he's quite handsome too. Yes...he'll be very good indeed." the Archdaemon bared her long sharp canines in a wide grin and nodded to herself. Fenris's eyes widened. Tseng suddenly cleared his throat, and the Archdaemon shot him an annoyed look.

"But," she sighed in exasperation as she shot another annoyed glare at the greenish mark on Fenris's shoulder, "apparently...second-hand slaves are beneath Archdaemons as show-pieces to pompous bastards."

Fenris looked visibly relieved as Tseng glared warningly at his sovereign as discreetly as he could.

"If my lord prefer youkai, we also have a dog-hanyou there. He's brand new." suggested Gooey-Duck hurriedly, "Not only that, he's a dai-hanyou! Very rare, and almost as hardy as hybrids."

"True, but," the Archdaemon stood up and shook her head, "hanyou are a tad...unstable. They have that...monthly...cycle...thing..."

Nero raised an eyebrow at Inuyasha. The dog-hanyou hotly glared back.

"...That kind of weakness will very likely be fatal in the 7th." finished the Archdaemon. "Say, what about that one over there, the one who had been staring quite boldly at us?" she pointed at Sephiroth.

"Ah...that one..." said Gooey-Duck slowly as a look of uncertainty passed over his wrinkled features.

"Skip the intro and take him out." commanded the Archdaemon impatiently.

"...Yes, my lord."

As the ogre led Sephiroth out of the cage by the collar, the ex-general stood up to his full height and towered over the petite Archdaemon. His long silver hair shimmered about his shoulders and against his back, straight and untangled as always. His eyes shone coldly down at the Archdaemon, not a glimmer of fear in their mako-green depths. Reno gave a whistle of appreciation. Even Tseng looked impressed.

"He's magnificent!" breathed Tah'rh, not at all caring about her slack jaw.



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