The first time I saw a demon, I was only five years old. I watched in awe from the window as it slinked into the forest. It’s mangled and twisted body terrified me at the time. I ducked away when it turned to look at me.
The first time I met a demon was in the first grade. It followed me into the bathroom and tried to take over my body. Luckily, a hunter came just in time to save me. She opened my eyes to the world of hunting, and I became obsessed.
The first time I killed a demon was when I was eight. Under the guidance of an older hunter who’d taken me under his wing, I trapped and cleansed a demon all on my own. I enjoyed it.
The first time I met Mallory was at a hospital as a child. At that time she was much taller than me, and had an odd growth on her forehead that was poorly covered by a bandage. Her legs didn’t bend right either. She seemed fine though, so I asked her why she was there.
She said she’d been hit by a car a few hours ago.
Despite her oddities, we ended up becoming really good friends. We’ve been through a lot, together and separately, and now we’re the best hunters in the county! Well, we’re the only hunters in the area, but we’re still good at what we do.
But lately, Mallory had expressed some… dissatisfaction with the way we’ve been doing things. She thinks we should be showing more mercy to the monsters. Which is absolutely ridiculous. These monsters never show mercy to us!
But, she pushed and she pushed and she pushed some more, and I’ve decided to try things her way. So long as she agreed not to take things too far.
Technique 1: Always be sure to put the human’s needs before the monster’s desires.
“Vera! …Hey, Vera!”
I pause, my spear already lodged deep into the demon below me. I glance up at Mallory and sigh softly. I almost forgot. We’re trying things her way.
“Sorry, I was just… Keeping it still while you secured the room.”
“Uh-huh…” Mallory kicks the room’s door shut as she walks deeper into the windowless room. “I think you just wanted to stab them.”
“That too.” I smirk.
She rolls her eyes, but clearly can’t help but to smile a little. She pours salt in front of the doorway, mumbling to herself as she usually does. I spare a glance towards the demon I had pinned to the floor.
“You’ll tear a hole in yourself if you keep wiggling like that.” I warn it.
“You’re a fool if you think a simple spear can stop me!” It snaps back.
It’s a fool to think that I’d use a simple spear. Hunting otherworldy beings doesn’t really rake in the cash, but we’re occasionally rewarded with cool, equally otherworldly weapons.
Mallory finally comes over, quietly observing the demon with a concerned expression.
“So, what hot, new, untested technique are we going to employ today?” I ask, keeping my tone light and playful.
“We’re gonna try and maintain a nice, non-lethal atmosphere while we discuss options with the demon.”
She pulls a small bottle of ink out her pocket, and gestures for me to roll up my sleeve. I do so and hold out my forearm.
“And, what’re you branding everyone with this time?”
“You’ll be getting half a bonding sigil, and they’ll be getting the other half… along with the usual power negators.” Mallory explains as she expertly paints a sigil onto me.
Technique 2: Deliver an ultimatum to the monster in a controlled environment.
When she’s done with me, she squats down next to the demon and starts to paint an even more intricate sigil onto it.
The demon on the agenda for today is one of the more humanoid ones. It sports two sets of pitch-black eyes, and teeth much too big for its mouth. Though it also has normal, if not a bit pale, colored skin.
With these kinds of demons, it’s always hard to tell if it’s using a host or not… Though I’m pretty sure this one isn’t. Usually the ones using hosts try to escape their vessels at least once.
“Alright, de-spear him.” Mallory stands, capping her ink bottle and tucking it back into her pocket.
Well, here goes nothing.