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319 The Beastmaster Faction

    Between the out of the blue appearance of a human, and the submission of a being who was much more powerful than her, the captain of the guards had been shocked out of her words. "Y-Your s-servant?.. A h-human.." She said while still holding her young lord in her arm.

    It was the young lord himself who, due to a lack of fear caused by his young age, pushed the arm of his personal guard away from his chest, and approached Daniel with interest.

    "Are you a real human?" He asked while coming to a couple of meters of distance from Daniel. On his red colored face was a big smile which displayed a set of excessively white teeth, and four sharp canines.

    The captain of the guard was too shocked to even think of what to do, so Daniel did not push his question onto her. He instead turned to look at the demon kid, and after bending his knees and lowering his body into a squatting position, he said "A hundred percent real."

    The demon kid, who appeared to be seven or eight years old, looked at Daniel with surprise. He then asked "Is it true that you eat the tails of demons who don't behave?"

    "Very true." Responded Daniel as a faint smile formed on his face- a smile who forced the kid to take a step back.

    "Are you going to eat my tail?"

    "Depends. Do you usually misbehave?.. Hehe" responded Daniel before chuckling softly. Once he made sure that the kid knew that he was joking, he asked "Can you tell me about the signing of the demonic pact?"

    The questioning of  the kid was enough for the captain to come out of her shock and regain her bearings. She disappeared and reappeared in between Daniel and her young master, and with alertness, she asked "What do you want from us, human?"

    "As I said before, I just want to know about this event you are going to. I heard you mention a duel between a human and a demon. Can you tell me about that?" Asked Daniel to the alert guard, who couldn't help but keep a hand on the hilt of her sword- an actions which was ignored by the seemingly calm and polite Daniel.

    The contrast of character between Sewah and Daniel left the shadow of a doubt in the mind of the guard, that began to fear Daniel much more than his straightforward servant. But since Daniel was still not showing any sign of aggressiveness, she decided to behave "It is just a rumor regarding a human that has been captured about a year and a half ago.. A member of the mental faction of the outside universe. The Church of Damnation was oddly willing to share the information about their performance, and invited us to spread the news." She said while trying to convince her younger master to go back to his carriage with gentle pushes of her hand.

    No more information were necessary for Daniel to be sure that the human this demon guard was talking about, was no one other than Aeron. It was clear that the Church of Damnation had still not stopped searching for him, and that they were using one of his friends to attract him.

    If that was not enough, the date of the event matched the time limit of the mission that required Daniel to save him, which meant that if Daniel did not make his appearance to the signing of the demonic pact, Aeron would die.

    After listening to the guard's explanation, Daniel became pensive. He still didn't know much about Hell, and everything that the young lady of the Na'roga family had told him, was the relationship between the groups that surrounded the territory of their family, and the bad relationship they had with the oni tribe.

    He was aware that there would be beings stronger than him, and while his cultivation had helped him in taking a step further, he still had yet to reach Sewah's level of power, not to talk about the power of a Demon Lord. Also, he needed someone that could accompany him there..

    The idea of asking for the group in front of them to join was out of the question. Sewah had already burnt the bridges, and no one in their group would ever trust them.. But luckily, it seemed like the person with the highest standing of their group did not really mind his presence.

    Despite the hints that the guard gave to her young master, the young demon kept standing behind his personal guard, and sneak peeks at Daniel's oddly light skin, and lack of horns, wings, or tail. If that was not enough, his eyes opened wide in curiosity the moment Daniel pulled a piece of candy out of his sleeve, and put it in his mouth.

    "Is that the heart of a demon kid?!" Asked the kid while cowering behind his personal guard.

    "It's just a candy." Responded Daniel while feigning a pensive look and responding to the demon kid's question distractly. Next to him, the excruciating pain that Sewah was feeling was still going strong, keeping him on his knees and screaming.

    Curious about the candy, something he had never heard of before, the demon kid asked with curiosity "What is that?"

    "Something sweet."

    The mention of sweetness lit the interest of the demon kid, who finally came out of behind the guard captain's back, and asked "Can I have one?"

    "Young master! NO!" Said the guard while showing her strictest and most earnest expression.

    Daniel ignored the reaction of the guard, but since he understood what she could be worried about, he took another pill from within his sleeve, and split it into three parts. He then ate one of the three pieces, and let the other two pieces float in front of the demon guard.

    "Sure, you can both try it." Responded Daniel while looking at the guard.

    It was clear to the guard that Daniel was showing her that the candy was not poisoned, and if his own test was not enough, she could have tested it herself before allowing her young lord to take it.

    The demon kid tried to move his little hand towards the third piece of candy, but the guard promptly caught it, and said "We don't know if it's poisoned, young master."

    "But he ate one."

    It was already too late. Her young master had already set his eyes on what he wanted, and she knew very well that there was no way that she could change his mind. So she turned to look at a fat demon who was looking from inside of one of the carriages in the back, and said "Come here."

    The fat demon immediately approached, and without the guard explaining the situation to him, he grabbed one of the two piece of candies, and put it into his mouth. This fat demon was the taster of the kid's food, and his whole job was to make sure that nothing the kid ate was actually poisoned.

    The reason why the guard would not try her young master's food herself, was that he was just a normal demon, and there were thousands of poisons that were strong enough to kill him, and yet too weak to even cause her to break a sweat.

    The presence of a cup-bearer was a surprise to Daniel, who observed the scene in silence.

    After seeing the pleased expression of the tester, and the fact that nothing happened to him, the demon kid grabbed the last piece of candy in haste, and put it in his mouth. The moment the treat touched his tongue, his eyes brightened like a couple of stars in the night, and a big smile appeared on his face. Nothing in hell could ever compare to the sweetness of what Daniel had given to him.

    "If you tell me where this event will be held, I will be on my way." Said Daniel before the kid's enthusiasm for the candy could disappear.

    "It's held in the core of Hell." Responded the guard, eager to get rid of Daniel. However, the words that her young master spoke right after, ruined her hopes completely.

    "Why don't you travel with us? We are headed in the same direction." Said the demon kid with an innocent smile, and seemingly eager to try more of the sweets in Daniel's possession.

    Daniel did not respond, and instead turned to look at the guard. Which in turn turned to look at her young master in worry, and said "Young master, these people are dangerous. I can't allow this." her tone was severe, and her decision was final.

    However, the demon kid did not give up. "There is still a lot of road to cover before we reach the land of the Beastmasters.. Their presence will deter most attackers."

    "Young master, we can't trust them. Try to reason!" exclaimed the demon guard with a hint of impatience. Daniel did not appear to be hostile, but she wasn't sure that he wouldn't turn on them the very next moment.

    What she saw in the face of her young lord was not the usual worry she would see whenever she got angry at him, but a serious expression instead as he responded "I know what grabbing me out of the blue from my carriage meant.. I don't want to abandon my people every time an individual that you can't face appears." He said, reminding her of what would have happened if she had left the rest of the caravan behind and escaped with her young master.

    It was clear that the young master had taken his decision, so she turned to look at Daniel, and said "We can't travel with a human. There are no free humans in hell."

    As soon as the last of the guard's words reached Daniel's ears, a wisp of immortal essence that was circulating through Daniel's body turned into dark essence, and quickly began to absorb his immortal essence faster than he could produce it.. Making him look like a common human.

    At the same time, the swords of one of the demonic guards unsheathed itself, and floated in Daniel's direction, which he welcomed by joining his wrists together and allowing it to wrap around his wrists before morphing into the shape of a pair of shackles.

    "I know how to go unnoticed." said Daniel casually.

    -----

    One month later,  Animalicus, Beastmasters faction's territory.

    The beasts that inhabited hell were, along with the demons, beings who had appeared in the vast flowing of time. Some of them were already present and dominant the moment humans had arrived, while some others had appeared at some point later.

    These beasts had also evolved along with the humans, and in the midst of their changes, they had lost their ability to evolve into humanoids by cultivating their essences. In exchange to the loss of the chance of becoming smarter creatures, they had relied on the support to demons, and developed a power based on their role, and fed through the bond they formed with the demons they followed. That, was how the faction of the beastmasters was born.

    Of all of the factions in hell, the faction of the beastmasters was by far the most accepting and peaceful. They had developed through the collaboration amongst demons and beasts, and since their whole power was based on recognizing the value of the life of other entities, their faction had formed a dislike for fighting ... Reason why the beastmaster faction had never bothered to move out of hell, and had instead taken the role to guard hell's gates.

    Despite the lack of gifts of the faction's members, the beasts who they were paired with made a one on one encounter with any other types of demons a nightmare, and that was, along with the fact that they were ruled by one of hell's few Demon Lords, the reason why they were so respect through the whole hell.

    The capital of their territory was called Animalicus, and was a lot more similar than an immense circus of demons and demonic beasts, than an actual city. There were no walls in its borders.. only demons who flew on the back of massive and scary looking flying beasts, who would spot anyone who dared to approach from thousands of miles away.

    One of these riders in particular was observing a street to the south of the city, and after noticing a long caravan threading it, he immediately flew towards the middle of the city, and landed in front of a tent of impressive dimensions.

    As soon as he reached the tent, the massive featherless hawk he was riding landed in a strange quiet way, and as soon as his rider hopped down of its back, it lowered its head, and cowered in fear due to the deep, and repetitive earth-shaking growling that could be heard come from within.

    "Demon Lord. The last of the families has arrived.. Everyone has arrived."
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