The echo of the door slamming behind him still rings in his ears but all that is left to do for Drey is to finish the steps leading toward the basement and to the moans of pain from his servant. He knows not of what or who shut the wooden door but he is sure that no one will go unscathed from this affair. His feet found the dampened ground of his basement and he narrows his eyes to adjust them to the darkness surrounding him.
“Murdson, is the witch still here?” he asks in a raspy voice. “Or have you let her escape?”
“…Master…” Murdson whines, rocking back and forth in a fetal position, his hands are still covering his face caked with dried blood. “She hit me with the chains… I have blood all over me…!” he removes his hand from his face, his stubby nose has a dent in the brim in which blood is flowing slowly and the left side of his face is swollen and purple. “Look at me! I have become an ugly creature!”
Drey retracts in repulsion and his face contorts with sudden rage and angst, his foot collides with Murdson’s gut, tearing a scream from his servant’s pained face. “What have you done, idiotic beast,” he swings his foot again and a yowl escapes from Murdson’s lips. “I was so close of being with Zahira and you ruin everything. The witch was powerless and you made her powerful again!” His foot inflicts a third blow on Murdson, but this time to the side of his face. Murdson plummets to the ground and sobs, pleading for his ruthless master to stop hurting him.
“Please don’t hurt me further, I promise to be good, I promise to be good,” sobs Murdson, cowering behind his arms.
“I don’t know why I am surrounded by incompetents like you,” Drey mutters and stoops next to Murdson. He suspects Leila to have enclosed them here, and if his guess is correct he must act fast. “I promise this will be the last demon, Darkness…” he says to himself and begins to chant those demonic verses which can bring shadows from the underworld and materialize in the present world. Darkness answers his words unwillingly and the pearl glows again with irradiated warmth. The ground beneath them starts to shake and bulge, forming an uncanny shape as it grows in height and width. A deformed and incomplete demon appears before him, incomplete due to the fact that he heard the pearl crack further. The demon isn’t beautiful but beastly, and that will suffice.
“I want you to open the door,” he tucks a finger under the demon’s chin and her pitch black eyes stare back at him. Slowly, the long limbs of the demon begin to stretch out and her head bobs disoriented on her shoulders. She walks up the steps clumsily and beats at the door with her talon, clawing at it, and hurling her body against the door until finally the wood splinters and cracks due to the force of her blows and the weight of her body. Drey smirks and takes Murdson’s dagger off the ground before climbing up the stairs. The opening in the wooden door is just large enough for him to cross and soon he finds himself liberated.
“Good job, my dear,” he strokes the demon’s head as if she is an animal. “Find the witch and bring her to me…” Both of them begin to proceed through the length of the house with their ears pricked.
The echoes start to die away and become less noisy when weariness proclaims every step you take. Adryan grit his teeth as he bends down with his hands against his knees, trying to catch his uneven breath. The moon will soon overtake the night sky, setting itself atop the nightly throne and marking the time of Leila’s death. He had run and examined every house on the left side of Atala and found nothing. His hopes of finding her are dwindling with every gush of wind that brushes his skin.
“Come on Adryan,” he says to himself, “one more time…” He commences his search, this time scrutinizing every window. Something catches his attention on the far right, a struggling red against a hazy window. Immediately, he runs toward the source of his curiosity and his heart leaps with joy as he sees Leila. Her fingers are trying to pry a window but to no avail. He sees her jerk her head to her right and her flight from an anonymous creature starts. He approaches the house and in the same window in which Leila stood once, a demon has crossed. He quickens his step and finds Elena staring at the same window from across the street.
“Go back to the settlement and wait for Astra and the rest of them to come!” he hisses, “I will do my best to save Leila. Quick!” Elena nods and runs east toward the plaza. He runs up the stone steps and begins kicking the door with every ounce of energy he has left.
Drey and the demon are walking through the second floor now and he notices the curtains of a window thrashed to the side, the wall opposite to the window bath in moonlight. “She was here,” he whispers to his demon and they walk pass the window.
Loud banging against precious and ancient wood startles him. They rush toward the top of stairs of the common room, in fear that Leila has find the main door and is trying to force her way out. The stairs are found on both sides of the main room, one of them is hidden behind a thin, improvised wall suspended from the ceiling with the sole purpose of bearing in its surface a painting of the master of the house. Drey clutches the banisters of this stair for support, just in time to see Adryan burst through his door and stumbling into the house. He then picks himself up from the floor and shouts Leila’s name. Drey curses. He cannot let anyone leave this house alive.
“Kill him,” he orders his demon, “but do it slowly… I want him to spend his last minutes of life in pain and agony.” The demon nods in compliance and quietly begins to walk down the stairs.