Soon, the powder which had been sprinkled on the drained husk of a young woman burned her body until there was only ash, allowing the two men to sweep her up like a pile of dust.
And then, the final cherry on top was a single spray of a strange golden liquid that had the stench of bleach but multiplied by a thousand.
My eyes almost began to water as I took a few steps back.
"What's up with him?" The young man asked as he backed away from his sweating mother.
"I don't know… let's get going! We don't have much time now!"
I quickly followed her for not much longer, eventually reaching some kind of dark wood office that had a clean smell of fresh wood.
It wasn't dusty, but it still had that earthy, almost rich smell which I would take over whatever the hell that was back there, any day of the week, month, year, my life.
At the very center was a singular large desk curving slightly inward, towards the wall of entirely glass panes, accommodating for a rolling chair which the duchess immediately took a seat on.
"Stand there," She said, and her son pulled me back a bit from her desk, just barely allowing me to see what she was doing.
She bent over while in the chair, stretching down to reach down to one of the cabinets hidden with her desk, rummaging through a few documents before pulling a massive sheet of paper out.
"Since you want to find somebody, we need to know where exactly we have to search. We're not sweeping the entire goddamn city just for your sake, so we'll narrow it down and hopefully, just maybe find her,"
As soon as the vampire swished the map outwards, completely unfolding it, she flicked it back down, stretching it across the entire length of her open desk.
I waited for her to tell me to come forward, but such a thing never happened, so I walked up by myself, craning my neck over a raised part of the desk and seeing the entirety of the map.
It was that of the city we were currently in, but something strange ticked me off, giving me an almost unsettling feeling as I looked at it.
"Huh? What is that?" I asked, pointing to a darker part of the map, which also had splotches of white dotted across it.
"That is the other half of the city… in fact, I should probably tell you how this capital is divided… and I guess the kingdom. So, first, you obviously have the demon lord who rules over all territories within the kingdom, but more specifically, he just watches over them and doesn't govern them,"
"So he's lazy?"
"No, he's precarious. He manages all the battalions that we have, always ready to take over some new land which, on average, I'd say he does… every other day?"
"Damn… he's a demon of war," I chuckled lightly before the vampire continued to explain, all while her son had brought both of us a glass of ice-cold and refreshing water. "I appreciate it,"
"Now, we should start at the capital and work our way outwards, so… ah yes, the capital is managed by the demon lord a bit more directly, but in reality, two high-ranking demons take care of it. And these demons are called Quincy's, a title was given to only those of the strongest demons, but what's so special about these titles is that if you kill them, you can actually absorb it and acquire a permanent boost in power. Pretty neat, right?"
"Uh huh, and? What else? Why'd you bring such a thing up?"
"Cause it's part of my plan, but I'll tell you now that only three people can acquire the title of a Quincy… Anyway, two Quincys rule two parts of this city, managing both. One is the Quincy of Snow, and the other is the Quincy of Sand, two polar opposites in terms of practically everything, including personality. The other Quincy is always out helping the demon lord conquer the land, but lucky for us, he's in this capital right now, attending to the demon lord, who is also currently present," 𝚋𝚎𝚍no𝚟el.𝚌om
I glanced up at the vampire, attempting to read that demonic smile in some other way, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that I was almost preparing to die soon.
Welp… Aisa… seems you're gonna have to go on without me.
"Now, in a more general sense, there is the kingdom which is the largest territory out of all the other demon lords. So, the demon lord does need people to manage it… and that's where I come in with a few others. There are ten Dukes and five Duchess' who are extremely powerful politically, physically, magically, psychologically… you could essentially call them sitting warlords who have been suppressed by the demon lord,"
"So, you were originally the queen of some place, right? And then he took over your queendom of vampires,"
"Yeah, you could say that,"
"Why are you telling me all of this?" I asked since it was suspicious she informed me of so much great knowledge when she could barely even trust me. "Even with the contract, this seems like too much knowledge,"
"This is surface-level knowledge that everybody on your daily street knows… now, tell me, when you came into the capital, was it humid and warm or dry and cold?"
"Ah, I see where you're going… It was very much humid and warm, meaning it's in this section of the map," I muttered, pointing to the very edge of the map where the Quincy of Sand ruled over. "We should probably start there first,"
"Hmm… not 'we,' but my servants will. You have a much better and, let's say… more taxing job since I do need you to acquire some political power. You're a young talent that most would like to take in and teach… but that's not enough. You must squirm your way to the top, and no better way to do that than killing a Quincy yourself."
Her smile was like an icy hand gripping my spine, causing goosebumps to erupt from every inch of my skin.