They Bite - A Nyxia White Story
Nyxia White isn’t entirely human. She sees the things no one else can. She never counted on being called to The Seven, it was an offer she could’ve refused…if she wanted to die. Now she’s one of the beings tasked with protecting humanity. When creatures start escaping the darkness and claiming human lives, Nyxia is the one who will stand against them. Together with her demon familiar, Acheron, and dark magic, she will answer the call and fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. When monsters come hunting…she will be their nightmare.
Release date: December 19, 2020
Publisher: Bitten Peaches Publishing
Print pages: 123
Reader says this book is...: action-packed (1) creative magic (1) escapist/easy read (1) great world-building (1) imaginative (1) terrific writing (1)
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They Bite - A Nyxia White Story
Orlando A. Sanchez
The smell hit me first.
“Blood,” I said, sniffing the air. “That way.”
I loved New York City at night, especially after a hard rain. The park smelled of cut grass and fresh earth. For a few brief hours, the world felt clean, washed of the impurities I knew existed beneath its facade.
I pointed down the worn path. We moved through the trees, careful to remain silent as we closed in on the creature. I came upon more traces of blood, smelling rather than seeing them.
“Only blood,” my partner said, crouching down to touch the small puddle, bringing his finger to his tongue and tasting it. “A recent kill from the taste of it.”
“Do you have to do that?”
“Do what?” he asked, innocently. “It’s not like I’m lapping it up. I have some decorum, you know. Besides, it’s type O…boring. I prefer A.”
“If the blood is here,” I said, looking around, “it must have fed close by.”
“There,” my partner said, pointing to the right. “A body or what’s left of it, over there.”
I adjusted my night vision, bringing the body into clear view.
A half-eaten corpse lay in the trees—a young man in his mid-twenties, missing his lower half. His torso was empty of all major organs. Judging from his expression and the scent around his body, he died hard and scared.
"Definitely a Minoras,” I said. “Look at those claw marks; definitely a Dragondog.”
“Was this the target? Doesn’t smell nearly powerful enough.”
“He wasn’t the target…just unlucky,” I said, examining the body. “Wrong place, wrong time.”
“Not half the man he used to be,” my partner said, looking at the victim. “He did not die well.”
“Demon humor is seriously twisted,” I said, glancing over at my partner. “Not half the man he used to be?”
“I can’t help what I am any more than you can, Nyx,” he said. “Otherkin humor is fairly distasteful, even for a demon.”
“True. It’s not you, Acheron,” I said, taking a deep breath and letting it out slow. “This thing has me agitated. How did it even get out? Black Cleavers?”
“Cleavers would never be this sloppy,” Acheron said, looking at the body. “This looks freelance. Revenge-cast maybe?”
“That is monumentally stupid. Especially with a Minoras.”
“I didn’t say the summoner was smart, just not a Cleaver.”
Black Cleavers were self-appointed sorcerers that hunted demons. Most of them were dangerous. All of them were egocentric idiots. Only a small handful were actual threats. The real issue was that they numbered in the thousands, scattered all over the world.
“More likely a summons,” Acheron said. “Someone was using magic above their pay grade”—he looked down at the body—“maybe this unlucky bastard.”
“No,” I said. “There’d be a circle somewhere. He wasn’t powerful enough for a free-cast. He just ended up being a snack.”
“More like half a snack,” Acheron observed. “It’s moving fast if it didn’t even bother to finish its meal. What’s the rush?”
“It’s still bound,” I said, looking at the trail of blood. “This has to be a reverse-cast.”
“Which means it’s headed to the locus of the cast.”
“The summons,” I said. “It’s heading to the summoner.”
“Who is in for a very rude and lethal surprise.”
“This is totally going to suck.”
“And not in a good way either,” Acheron added, looking into the night. “It’s angry. Demons don’t appreciate being summoned, bound, or imprisoned. I should know.”
“It’s going to try and break the bond,” I said, moving silently through the trees. “I’d prefer not having to fight this thing.”
“I’m not in any rush to face it, either,” Acheron said, keeping his voice low. “The creature will be stronger after this.”
“It’s still feeding,” I said, looking down at the small traces of blood leading away from the body. “That way.”
“Must have taken the organs to go. At least it’s being neat.”
I stared at my partner.
“Neat, really?” I asked. “That’s what you get from this?”
“What? There was hardly any blood,” he said, pointing behind him. “It really drained the victim dry. I give it a solid E for effort.”
I shook my head and sighed.
“This is what I get, having a demon for a partner.”
“Hey, you summoned me, not the other way around,” he said as we moved deeper into the trees. “Not my fault you used the wrong binding spell. What were you thinking?”
“I wasn’t,” I said, recalling the night I called Acheron into my circle…and broke it, nearly killing myself in the process. “I wasn’t expecting…you.”
I had only survived because Acheron was a Demon Lord who was more interested in his freedom than my life. That, and I was an Otherkin, not exactly an easy or soft target.
“Yet here I am,” Acheron answered with a small bow. “A glorious mistake.”
“A mistake I regret every day, trust me.”
“I’m stuck with you too, you know.”
“I’m going to guess—escaping hell means you got the better end of this deal.”
“True,” Acheron said with a quiet chuckle, then grew silent. “We have to kill it. You know we can’t let it leave the park…at least not alive.”
“I know,” I said. “The Seven will lose their shit if it gets out.”
“Especially Victoria…and she tolerates you.”
“We have to maintain the bond, at least until we deal with it,” I said. “If it…”
“If it breaks the bond,” Acheron said, “it will be buffet time. Right now, it just wants the summoner. All bets are off if the bond is broken.”
“Don’t remind me,” I said, moving faster. “Just be happy it’s only a Minoras.”
“You say that like it’s a good thing,” Acheron snapped. “Minoras are angry balls of fury on a good day. Once summoned, they become blenders of death.”
“Up ahead,” I said, lowering my voice and pointing. “There.”
Several meters ahead of us, in a large summoning circle, stood a petrified young man who was quickly realizing he was in deep shit. The Minoras—a lower demon—looked like a hybrid between a large dog and a small dragon. Its body was covered in red-orange scales, each of its six legs ended in claws, and its canine-shaped head contained enormous fangs.
It paced slowly outside the summoner’s circle. This was a reverse-cast. Stupid and dangerous for all but the most experienced sorcerers. In a reverse-cast, the summoner would call forth the creature and then bind them to service, while standing in the protection of the circle.
The safest way would’ve been to go traditional: stand in a protective circle, summon the creature into a binding circle, and compel it while it was still inside. The riskiest method was reserved for only the most powerful sorcerers: a free-cast. No circles on either end. Free-casts usually ended in a bloody mess…for the sorcerer.
The Minoras continued pacing around the circle, focused on the sorcerer inside, oblivious to everything and everyone outside of it. Every few seconds, it would growl and lash out at the edge. A small burst of orange energy would accompany every lash, leaving an afterglow delineating the protective boundary of the circle.
“It’s focused on him…for now,” Acheron said in a hushed tone. “You want to try and talk it down?”
“Do I look like a demon-whisperer?”
“Do you want me to answer that?”
“Shut it,” I said, approaching the circle. “If this goes wrong…”
“I’ll make sure to identify your body,” Acheron deadpanned. “I’ll bring flowers to your grave every year, too…when I remember.”
I proceeded to give Acheron a one-finger response as I approached the circle…and the demon.
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