Friday, November 22, 2019

#FridayFlash - Unbinding

"Fluffy," I called, lighting the first candle. "Do you know what today is?" Power brushed against my skin, nipping at my nerves as it responded to the ritual.

My demon approached, keeping his eyes down. "No, my mistress. What is today?" He knelt beside the circle, head bowed.

The four corner candles lit, I paused to deal with him. The ritual waited, magic paused but still building, warm like a banked fire. I wouldn't need much, yet it felt delightful against my senses.

"We've come to the end of your contract." I reached over and stroked his silky brown hair. The first command I'd given him a year ago had been to take a pleasing-to-me form. No more scales and horns and broken teeth. Instead, he was a mash up of every beautiful man I'd ever seen, plus a crackling aura of demonic power. "It's time to release you."

Fluffy leaned into my hand, though he kept his head bowed. "Has it already been that long, my mistress?"

"Is that a touch of sorrow I detect?" I twined a strand of hair around my finger.

He mumbled a response and shifted closer to me.

A frown creased my brow and I ceased petting him. "A year ago, you couldn't wait to be free. Threatened and raged, and even promised to eat my heart." My frown lessened, almost became a smile as I remembered his furious snarls. "Shouldn't Raht'al'agor be ready to replace Fluffy Squishy McDemonpants?" My second command had been for him to change his name; Mama had taught me to always demean enslaved demons to break their will.

He looked up slowly, eyes full of tears. "I don't want to leave, my mistress."

My expression softened as a tumult of emotions flooded my chest. This was beyond unprecedented! I couldn't think of a word strong enough to describe how I felt about a demon wanting to stay with its summoner. No mage had ever had that happen before.

I knelt beside him, laying a hand on the demon's shoulder, and I focused on the binding spell that linked us. It hadn't frayed much recently. When was the last time he'd attempted to break free? I couldn't recall when I'd last heard a muttered obscenity or beheld a defiant gaze.

"Once the spell is broken, no one will ever know I named up Fluffy, and you'll be able to look like yourself." The shame of escaping while bearing my commands was part of what had reined him in during the early days. I touched his cheek with my other hand. "Why don't you want to be free?"

He shrugged once, the smallest rolling of his shoulders. "I enjoy serving you. I've never made someone proud before, nor earned their praise. I've come to..." He looked away. "I appreciate that you don't send me on petty tasks simply to prove that you can."

It was impossible that I'd treated him better than anyone else. I refused to believe his words. Smiling, I lit the final candle. "Rath'al'agor, I release you."

He closed his eyes and shivered as the power of the ritual did its work. The bond that held him in my service faded away, and I no longer had a sense of the demon. He could attack me if he wanted, or return to his original realm.

Rather than any of those, he opened his eyes and met my gaze with a smile. "I'd like if you still call me Fluffy."

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