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Artist: Nujabes - Song: Imaginary Folklore - Word Count: 339
Having recently been gifted a tremendous amount of power, Claire was feeling a bit more brave than usual. Of course, she'd used up a decent amount of that power, but what she had now was still more than she usually did by a large degree. Her feeling more brave was just an expression though. The reality of the matter that she had always been ready to do what she was about to do, she just didn't suspect her power would be enough to deal with the complications that could arise if she were unsuccessful.There is a difference between being brave and being stupid, after all. At the moment she didn't think that was a concern.
Many of the inhabitants of Romania, and several outsiders who came calling were under the impression that she owned the place. That may have been because she told them, but that does nothing to change the fact that it is the general opinion. She was ready to make the announcement official. She was already in the capital, so, making her way to the center of the city, Claire planted her proverbial flag. She planted a literal one as well. Speaking loudly so that everyone could hear her, Claire addressed the populace.
"Ahhh, My beautiful subjects. I will lead you now, so you may rejoice."
As she spoke she began to release her emotional manipulation onto the crowd, causing them to experience what could only be described as adoration. She filled the air with other emotions as well, joy, relief, love, etc, but the most potent was, as mentioned, adoration. The effect this had on the crowd was stunning, as she was still grossly empowered due to her encounter with Ulv, and the reactions of the crowd only served to bolster her already waxing powers. She certainly felt good about the decision to begin her political maneuvering. Now all she had to do was wait. Wait to see if there would be any response, or if she'd pounced on the opportunity at the perfect time.
"Lead 'em to where? Over a cliff, into a ditch n' into 'mah dick?"
With her words drenched in Texan twang, the Queen of Demons morphed from the abysmal shadow of The Vampiric figure before her. Rising up from out of the ground as nothing more than a disfigured blob of muddy darkness, the shape of Mana started to take root. First her batty lil' wings sprouted from the demoness's back, then her slender lil' figure, modest bosom, fearsome claws n' fangs and soon her luscious gem green eyes broke the dense abyss which consumed her body until her pale ghost skin bled over and The Demon Queen was dressed in an oversized, sleeveless black dress.
Now that the big bad wolf had made herself fully realized with the growth of those devil horns on her head, why oh why did this grand ol' figure come to wreck the party? Well, nobody likes a home wrecker. How would ya' feel if some big-titted bimbo barged in ya' house, started eating ya' food, shittin' in ya toilet n' claiming the place as her without so much as a howdy-hoo-how-are-you-let's-go-to-the-bedroom fuck to pay her dues?
Therefore, what choice did Mana have other than to inspect the goods trying to steal what's hers? After getting a tip-off that a bunch of wonky fuckery was takin' place in Romania from Shadow Fall agents, it really did not take long for information to flow, drip and flush itself into the drainage of Mana's ears.
And so -- here we are~!
Ol' Mana resting on the back of Clarie as she leaned over her shoulders, nibbled on a piece of human flesh n' tried to figure out what the heck she planned to accomplish here. Usually, there was some type of intricate plan, big show of manpower or sumthin' more than just a lusty lookin' lass waitin' to take it from behind, in the front n' all over from every John, Dick n' Harry in a million mile radius.
Sho', tasting the aura of chaos from the release of her emotional powers was a good way to indulge one's self in depravity; but ol' Queenie was already fucked in the head. Millions upon millions of souls rested in her ego, an eon's worth of madness lay within her belly n' the embodiment of The Greek Goddess Eris is what her essence beaconed to. Ya' really think a lil' emotional rape is gonna fuck the brains, action n' perception of Ol Mana? Not a chance.
So, as Mana's atmosphere spread throughout the region like a thick funk of mistified cocaine, the echoes of children laughing drowned out the background as the mixture of both Mana's mania and Clarie's jovial manipulation of the heart drenched this whole scenery in a love duo of absolute mind fuckery. The likes of which made The Queen's voice sing with pleasure before placing her flush warm cheek against the bare skin of Clarie's face n' caressing her jaw with that slithery right hand of hers. With a lean in to get closer, Ol' Mana leaned in closer before asking this question:
Artist: Nujabes - Song: Imaginary Folklore - Word Count: 541
Claire wasn't particularly pleased that Mana herself had shown up, but she would cope with the fact. She knew that if the demon had any interest in ending her life it would be child's play, but she had no intention of sticking around if things began to look like they were moving towards a more violent confrontation. As the fully formed figure of the demon queen pressed against her back Claire smiled pleasantly, leaning in to the embrace. When the demon moved her face closer to Claire's own she responded in kind, until they made contact, and when a few drops of blood from the flesh Mana was chewing dripped onto her shoulder she reached up with her right hand, absentmindedly swirling her finger in the blood.
For the moment she said nothing, simply observing, curious as to what Mana would do. At the same time she felt the strangest emotional sensation she'd ever experienced, as if there were an immeasurable number of unsatisfied souls dwelling within the single vessel that was Mana. Claire wasn't quite sure why or how they were there, but she began to formulate a plan based off of what she was sensing. She began to work on implementing her plan when the demon spoke once more, and she replied,
"What an unrefined manner of speech for one who calls themselves queen. My "game" is to take what should rightfully be mine."
As she finished speaking her smile widened, and she let her emotional manipulation run rampant, funneling vast amounts of her energy into it. She also utilized much of the energy the crowd was continuing to create. In fact, Claire didn't think she could have a better environment for taking on someone of this caliber, as the crowd was continuously funneling more and more energy into her, and that only increased when Mana's own effects on the surroundings began to be felt. Her plan was simple in theory, but much more difficult to put into practice than she anticipated. Still, she toiled away, tracking down a plethora of groupings of unsatisfied or resentful souls that dwelled within the demon's body and attempting to turn them against their "owner". She did this as quickly as she possibly could, using every bit of experience and skill she could muster, until she thought she may be starting to get somewhere. Her only goal at the moment was to throw the demon off kilter, perhaps opening her up somewhat to further attempts to manipulate her emotionally. Claire had never done anything of this nature before now, but in theory she believed she was able to do so, and that if she was successful her job would be much easier. She couldn't be sure until she gauged the other's reactions though. The only thing she could do at this point was to press on with her plan, and that's exactly what she did. She would begin tracking down individual souls if it seemed like it would become necessary, but for the moment she deemed it a superior option to focus on the groupings, as she could sense that they were already in a state of excitement, and that they held no love for their captor. Unless she was otherwise preoccupied, Claire would continue to do this indefinitely until something cracked.
Without much warning, a tendril drenched in the stench of demonic energy erupted forth from the spine of The Demon Queen. Unleashed at a mach speeds, and at close range, it would prove immensely difficult to dodge this for the golden eyed vixen which stood before Mana. As, with this action, The Demoness wanted to make a nice little hole in the gut of Claire to amuse herself with. Since, of course Mana had no desire to kill this woman just yet as she always loved to play with her food.
Despite that being the case, the atmosphere in the air changed rather quickly once that chortle of disrespect echoed out of the mouth of The Sueki. The Queen had little patience for those who tried to otherwise dictate how she should act. So, if she hungered for a more foul and proper Queen, The Asthavon was more than happy to oblige that as she licked her lips to savor the scene of violence unfolding before her.
"I'm sorry. Is this better, my sweet darling?"
Gone was the southern Texan twang which bled through Mana's words earlier. Instead, what was replaced had been a more civil, British sounding accent. One which dripped with the intent of sadistic pleasure as her smile grew ever larger. As, regardless of whether Claire could dodge this or not, The Demon Queen sent more these hungry appendages to pierce her wrist to break them, her knees to shatter them and hips to rupture them; staining the visage of white beauty in the haze of blood to make her stand out as a rose of great lust in this garden of mania.
"Dearie, I can feel you prodding around my heart. While these feelings may make me do something impulsive, you are playing a dangerous game."
Indeed, Mana could feel some type of influence having some type of effect on her. Usually she'd have skewered this lil munchkin for lunch, but at the moment, she was sparring her. That didn't mean she'd get off unscathed, but it was something noticeable which made The Queen amused internally. So, perhaps there was a mixture of influence and curiosity which compelled Mana to keep the woman around.
With one finger raised in the air, The Queen echoed a foul, slow laugh as the echoes of thousands of demons cackling muttered in the air around them. Since, with this raise of her finger, a dome of black demonic energy surrounded them. It was rather a child's place for Mana to utilize her demonic magic in order to summon a pocket realm around them. Flowing forth for an area which expanded the length of an average city block, this small space was meant to be held in a sub-dimension below Earth so that Claire was effectively cut off from the physical world for the time being.
Should all prove to work as intended, it would just be the two of them together in this space of bright emerald light. It would be as if she were in a world of infinite green as mists of white clouds danced around them; reflecting the sounds of children laughing as The Demon Queen stared down Claire with intent to savor this meal.
"Now, gal, what exactly gives the power or right to try and claim what you believe is yours? Certainly you must be more insane than myself to come here by yourself without a chance in hell of achieving that."
Again, Mana would seek to stab the body of the Sueki again, again and again until the ground was filled with her blood to consume; hoping that she could be drowned in it to consume that sweet nectar.
"Even if you manage to infect some of these minds, do you really think I'll allow you to leave this place in one piece? I'm not sure what your game is, but it won't succeed like this, sugar."
Artist: Nujabes - Song: Imaginary Folklore - Word Count: 711
Claire had very few ways to respond to this sudden onslaught, and in any normal scenario would have been instantly taken out of the equation. Luckily this wasn't a normal situation, far from it in fact. Due to the absurd amount of energy she had entering into this confrontation, which only continued to escalate when she spoke to the crowd, her emotional manipulation was exceptionally potent. Because of this the people in the crowd were incredibly inclined to protect their new found idol. The closest and quickest of them managed to throw themselves between Claire and the incoming tentacular assault. They were in no way capable of withstanding the damage, and it took several of them to keep Claire out of harms way, but they gladly did so.
"Well, you certainly are excitable, to say the least."
Claire knew she was getting herself into a sticky situation, but she couldn't back down at this point. For one she desperately craved a foothold for the Sueki. Secondly, she despised the demonic rule of her own home country, and would not rest until they were driven out from at least this one area.
Claire could tell that her poking and prodding was having an effect, even without the acknowledgement, but it was still obviously negligible. With that being the case she decided it was time to step things up a notch. For the first time in a long while she began to enter her Umbra State. It would take a moment for her to reach it fully, but she had started the transition already. She continued to attempt to manipulate the many souls within the demon, the whole while, and felt that she was becoming more adept at making sense of the large mass. In the meantime it seemed Mana had her own plans for how their interaction would continue.
Abruptly they'd become cut-off from the rest of the crowd. Claire didn't appreciate that in any way. She could sense nothing from the people she'd been feeding off of just moments before, but at least there were still the souls within Mana for her to consume power from.
"What gives me the right? This has been the homeland of my people for centuries. Your kind are the usurpers who've taken everything from us. I have every right. As for power? Yes, perhaps my power doesn't compare to your own in terms of pure destructive capability, but you may soon find that my manipulation is more potent than you believe."
With her Umbra State almost fully activated at this point, Claire began to use her manipulation to an even greater extent. Her control wasn't boosted to the level it would be if she had fully transformed, but her power was still much more refined and potent in this state than in her base, and she would be completely in her Umbra State momentarily. She continued to wreak havoc on the souls that resided within the demon's body, but at the same time she began to exert an air of calm. She was using a great deal of her stored power to do this, but she was continuously feeding off of Mana's mania. While it may not be as much as she'd been gaining before, she was still taking in more emotional energy than she would normally have access to, and even using it large bursts wouldn't drain her any time soon considering what she'd already gathered.
Once more the tendrils came for her, and at this point she was forced to use the fail-safe she'd set in place previously. Slamming her hand down on the bloody circle she'd drawn on her own shoulder just minutes ago, Claire activated her Kumotabi, and utilized it instantly. With that she spiraled out of harms way, drawn into the portal completely. Moments later she reappeared a fair distance from Mana, and in the completely opposite direction from where she had been previously. She knew that she would have to step up her game from this point forward, as she had very little left at her disposal apart from her emotional manipulation. With that said, she burned even more of the emotional energy she'd been gathering in an attempt to create an even stronger call to relaxation and calm.
There was a thin-layer of subtle manipulation separating the boundaries between life and death for Claire when it came to the fangs of The Queen's power. Ergo, there wasn't much cause for concern in the mind of The Demoness as her body seemed to relax to a great degree. In fact, there was an outright smile on her face as The Royal took pleasure in pressing her foe so hard. Granted, this pleasant smirk soon turned into an expression curiosity as her eyebrow rose in response to what Claire had uttered out toward Mana about being an usurper.
"Pray tell, what exactly even are you? I could comprehend your sentiments if you were a human, but dear, I smell the stench of blood on you and I can say without a doubt that these lands were never yours even before us bundle of demons encroached upon this realm."
Really, even if Mana hadn't an idea of what this woman was supposed to be in front of her, the aroma, feel and aura of regular humans did not resonate the atmosphere which Claire had radiated with. Therefore, it was reasonable to assume that whatever was standing before her had either been some kind of mutate or some long-forsaken race coming out of the shadows for one reason or another. In either circumstance, The Queen could figure that this bundle of riled up fury before her had their habitat disrupted at some point in the past few hundred years by the events that have consumed the planet.
"Either way it goes, you aren't giving me compelling reasons why I should cease my claim of this land other than threats you cannot back-up. So, rather than skewer you here, why don't you play nice and tell me your name and story? I'm surprisingly diplomatic when I'm calm."
In a matter of moments, the right palm of The Demoness slowly started to raise upward as a cluster of energy potent enough to obliterate a mid-sized city gathered in her hand. While Mana was feeling relaxed, soothed and calm; there was a limit to how far this manipulation could go with her. Had it not been for Claire's influences, The Queen would have gone straight to trying to kill her. However, for the time being, her curiosity was peaked and she'd rather figure out just what the hell kind of threat she was dealing with before making any decisions.
"If you can't do that, then I have no reason against logic to spare you. The choice is yours, darling."
Artist: Nujabes/Idst - Song: BattleCry - Word Count: 1036
Having finally entered her Umbra State, Claire's appearance, and personality, drastically changed. Her wings now spanned an impressive distance, and she had grown a tail which slithered back and forth in such a manner as to resemble an elegant, yet cautious snake. She knew very well that she'd finally found herself in, if not a particularly advantageous, acceptable state, but before she advanced she intended to consider her situation in depth. It was true that she was particularly prejudiced against demons, but she was able to hide this exceptionally well, especially considering her unique control over emotion.
At this point she'd hopefully been successful in fending off any attack that was going to come her way. She was proud of herself in a way, although it had taken every bit of cunning and skill she possessed, she'd managed to survive an impressive and crushing onslaught. She was not, in any way, a fighter, but she'd held her own considerably well, especially when it was taken into account that her opponent was of such immense and oppressive strength. Still, she wasn't finished yet. There was still much work to do before she could guarantee her people a home, but it seemed that, at the moment, she was making some leeway.
Due to the fact that she'd entered her Umbra State now, her powers were much more potent, and she did continue to use them, but she didn't attempt to push her luck. The only thing she was doing at the moment was trying to keep an air of calm around. Now that she'd finally been able to engage her opponent verbally she had no intention of escalating the encounter once more. She was perfectly content with a battle of words and wit, something she imagined she would have the upper hand in. Whether or not that was accurate was yet to be seen.
Claire listened intently as the demon spoke, making sure to catch everything that was said. It was true that she hadn't actually given a compelling reason for the demons to retreat from this territory. In fact, she'd originally intended for this entire encounter to go much differently. She hadn't even wanted Mana to show up, but now that she was here she had to be dealt with. That didn't mean that Claire needed to combat the demon directly though. Her best course of action would be to convince the demon that she was right, and that no further conflict was necessary. She hoped that this would be possible, but if not she was ready to make her escape at any time. The demon began to charge what seemed to be an attack that could obliterate her along with all of her surroundings. Luckily she still had enough blood dried on her shoulder to make an escape if it came down to it, but judging by the feeling of this attack it would mean the end of her people's homeland. With that thought in mind, she began to speak herself.
"I am the Queen of the Sueki, and although we don't possess much clout at the moment, we used to be a driving force on earth. Perhaps it was disingenuous for me to say that demons were an usurper of our lands. Well before your kind made its presence known we Sueki lorded ourselves over the humans, especially in Romania. Eventually they became aware of our existence and our vulnerabilities, and during that time they launched a full scale war against our kind. We were not ready for such hostility, simply because the humans outnumbered us a hundred to one, and they sent their best and brightest after us, focusing on our young and frail. Still, we never gave up hope, and even though we were driven from our homeland, and almost wiped out completely, the Sueki have remained a noble and proud race. I wish to lead my people back to prosperity, and the most inspiring incentive I could possibly provide them is that we've recovered our homeland. Romania is where the Sueki rose up, where they began. It's the country my people originated from, and it has always been the one place that our kind view as their own, a place to go when all others were uninviting. For the past several hundred years we've had nothing. Nowhere to go, no one to rely on, and nothing to call our own, not even the place that has historically been our home. For these reasons I ask you to release your control over these lands. They mean everything to my kind, whereas to you they mean nothing. It is a tiny country with no strategic advantage to speak of, no resources that would merit fighting over, no grand base. These lands are nothing to you, but to my people they are everything. It is their flesh and blood, their home when nowhere else accepts them, their only sanctuary. These lands are incredibly important to my kind, and I hope I've explained that rigorously enough for you to relent them. To you and your kind this country is simply another place to call your own, but to me and my kind it is the only place we've ever called home."
Claire continued to use her powers, now amplified by a large margin to keep this air of peace she'd succeeded in bringing about. Her only goal was to take back the one place that the Sueki cherished above all others. She also laced her words with a compulsion, not because she intended to, but because the words were so important to her that she gave them everything she had. No cause had ever been so instrumental to the advancement of her people, and it was of the utmost importance that she succeeded.
"With these things made clear, I simply ask that you relent to me this land that has always been the home of my kind, and which means nothing to you."
Having said everything she could think to say, Claire waited for the demon's response hesitantly. If worst came to worse she would leave her homeland behind, using the same ability she'd utilized previously, but that was the furthest thing from what she wanted.
One does not transform if there is not a good reason to. So from the observation that Mana gave it was apparent enough that the woman was in a dire circumstance and fretting what was to come next if The Queen were to become further unhinge. It mattered not what type of incarnation of calm the Sueki tried to sway over her, it wasn't enough to turn a blind eye to the objective fact of reality that this was her all or nothing play and that this royal demoness was in control over this meeting. To that end is why she began to become irritated that such tactics were being played before her eyes because it was apparent there was more to her story than meets the eye.
"A being does not rip apart the mask of their base form for little to no reason. I can smell something is not quite right and I merely use my power to sniff out those with false constitutions."
Granted, the voice of The Queen seemed poised and in control, one wrong move could easily set her off just as well. For now, however, the woman was more apt to listen to what The Sueki had to utter to her. Since the words which Claire spoke of were many of a race which lost it claims to fame at the hands of the humans. For many centuries they lacked the resources, manpower and strength to take back what they felt was theirs. Those, they were subject to the hellish abyss of obscurity while the races above them flourished in the world. Without a land to call their own, this leader of their race bares herself at the sight of The Demon Queen to request that this piece of sentimental land lay back in the hands of their race.
It's all -- quite the nostalgic tale.
For a moment, The Demon Queen spoke nothing. Instead, she opted to begin taking time to reflect on her own conquest to improve the demon race from the hell they once lived in. Memories of them being repressed in the shadows of the world flooded in her mind. The former rule before her time had demons banished to the depths of Demon World, their race hellishly constrained and they lacked the prosperity they truly deserved in her eyes as a newborn creature of sin. So, to that end, the young Mana stopped at nothing to utilize her wits, power, alliances, and resources to usher in a new age of wealth, growth, strength and pride in the demon race as they sought to regain their claim to power.
Which is why in the end, Mana understood why this woman was here. The Queen knew all too well she was in a position of desperation if she'd stomach to be in the presence of the race which subjugated her own subjugators. And with that understanding at the forefront of The Asthavon's conscious, a scowl could only emerge before her face. If all of this were true, should her race be in such a dire circumstance, the scorn of a former self-rose to the surface at the foolish actions Claire took to jeopardize her own people.
Going forth against The Demon Queen with only the ambition of herself was a grand gesture which she could appreciate in terms of having the will to stand by your ideals, but it meant nothing if you were slaughtered and killed before you could ever hope to make a difference. At any second this whole journey of hers could be snuffed out if The Queen so much as motioned for another being to slay her, or if another entity sought to protect Mana; as millions of creatures would throw their lives on the line for her. And then, what good would trying to take back this country do? No. Even Mana had to pay her dues with diplomacy as she amassed her own empire and lacked the strength to take it back by forcible measures.
But, more than anything else, there was something which The Queen could not tolerate: lying in her presence.
There was a high amount of pressure which radiated from the body of Mana as her irritation rose back to the surface in order to make this area feel as if there was lead weighing down on everything. There hadn't been killing intent behind her aura, but there was certainly an intention to harm and injure to illustrate a point. The organs, bones and body of The Sueki may very well be pushed to the point of their limits; but The Queen wanted to ensure she wouldn't escape before uttering these self-perceived truths toward her.
"Then your story makes not an ounce of sense. Why would you simply not request an audience with me under more diplomatic terms if you lacked the strength to attain what you desired? You would risk the destruction of yourself and the figure of a leader to your people to indulge your own ego? I've not possessed the greatest sense of rational or stability in this universe, but I knew when to take my victories and when to have the patience to attain what I hungered for throughout the years I built my empire, dear."
The tone of her voice soon rose to a more energized and scolding tone, but she still did not appear to be yelling. Rather, she was speaking from the heart and with great intent and confidence that burned in her chest as a leader herself. Indeed, she wasn't talking as if she were above or below the woman, rather, The Queen was speaking from a place of understanding. One that comes with being the forefront figurehead of an entire race and empire. And, from this comprehension, Mana knew one thing was full of lies: the lack of disdain for demons.
"If you wish to make the pathway toward prosperity for your race, then start by removing this aura of calm. I don't make decisions when under the influence of my own or another's power."
That was the first term of Mana's arrangements for how this meeting was now going to go down. And, while this aura of calm was her saving grace in terms of The Queen not being unhinged, it was also ceasing her from making any clear pathways toward success. As it kept The Asthavon from attacking, but she was rather aware of that fact and could not trust her own actions in this state of being. Which, in turn, would prevent her from making a decision that could make or break Claire's future.
"Second: do not lie in my presence. If it weren't for that aura of calm, you and I both know there is a lot worse I could have inflicted upon your being."
At this point, Mana broke the distance between the two as she stood directly next to Claire in what appeared to be a blink of the eye. Moving at absurd speeds when you have the power she has amassed shouldn't be much of a surprise. So it gave her time to begin observing the Sueki and watching what the woman might do.
"Granted, you may have not a single idea of what I'm talking about. So let me make it more clear: don't hide your contempt for my race and me myself away from the conversation. I've been in the position of where you are in my past, and to believe there wasn't malice in my own heart for those who made my own people suffer in our history is almost unbelievable to my eyes."
Reflecting back to memories of former meetings with figureheads among all races and creeds of demons, it was hard for her not to sense the stench of contempt that many held for her. In fact: Mana would hate herself if she were in the position that Claire was in. Observing the figure of someone tasting the fruits of life, power beyond their wildest dreams and claiming domaince and power over others is enough to make many want to take what they felt they were entitled to. It was a natural reaction to want to take that sense of control away when one felt they deserved it more as it's what The Queen herself did. This wasn't just some random guess, rather, it was acclimated knowledge and awareness that comes with having lived an absurd life such as hers for as long as she has. There was a pool of experiences to draw on and this whole ordeal ranked of something foul because of it.
"Speak honestly with me and I will consider a deal which benefits the both of us. What do you have to offer me in exchange for the gift of a country? I've given countries away on a mere whim as the attachments to this physical world grow dull to me, but concealing your intent will allow you nothing in my eyes."
Artist: Nujabes/Idst - Song: BattleCry - Word Count: 838
Due to the fact that she still had an immense amount of emotional energy at her disposal Claire was able to fend off the onslaught of spiritual pressure from Mana to a degree. She still felt the effects and was considerably weighted down, but not to the most extreme of degrees. She wasn't particularly pleased with this development, but it was no reason to leave just yet. Then, the demon finally began to speak. Claire wasn't happy with the insulting and condescending tone of her speech, but she couldn't deny that there was some sense to what the other was saying. Still, she had her reasons for acting in the way she did, although things didn't turn out as she'd hoped.
She let the demon finish speaking before she responded in any way, although when she darted forward Claire's eyes did widen slightly. She hadn't been expecting that, but she didn't let it throw her off of her game too much. Still, she let the demon finish saying everything she had before she responded. She could end this more quickly that way, and hopefully accomplish her goal in the process. When the demon did finally finish her speech Claire remained silent for a moment more. She had never imagined her enemy having once been in the same position, but it did make sense. Of course there was a time when the demon's weren't so all encompassing, she just hadn't considered it important. It still didn't change her mind, but it gave her more perspective on the situation, and greater insight into the way life worked in general. It was an excellent learning experience which she appreciated, although she didn't enjoy the way it was being delivered to her. Before long she'd analyzed the situation more thoroughly, and had developed a more thorough understanding of where the demon was coming from, and so she began to speak once more. As she did so she let her calm aura slowly fade away, although she prepared herself to release emotional manipulation more potent than anything she'd ever attempted in the past as she did so. She was completely vulnerable when not using her abilities, so she had to be ready to employ them at a moments notice if anything went wrong.
"Why did I not ask for an audience? Because I expected no conflict, at least not so quickly. I didn't imagine there was a very high chance that you would care for these lands enough to defend them immediately, and I was under the impression that you had things to deal with elsewhere. As for why I came alone, my people are still not fully united, and I can't risk losing the few I have at the moment. You may say I should have waited then, but it's been centuries and they still haven't come together. They need a sign to tell them that it's time. Then there are the other races, and their view of us. I intended to put our race back in the forefront, and announce our return with a grand act. Perhaps it was foolish, but it hasn't failed yet. Now my aura has faded, and I don't believe I've lied at all during this encounter. Perhaps I didn't explicitly state that I hated you and your kind, but I didn't assume it would be the most diplomatic thing to say. The humans fought back and outnumbered us, throwing our civilization into disarray, but then your kind basically took our place. That was the most shameful affront of all. I can't accept it any longer. I despise demons for taking our place in the world, but I put my anger aside in order to further the goal of my people. Of course I hate demons, it is after all, as you say, only natural. There, you wished to have my hatred expressed and I've obliged. Although in light of a new perspective I understand demons more fully. I suppose I dislike them less than I did previously, if only slightly. "
Although Claire was speaking of her hatred she didn't appear to lose much of her composure. Perhaps if she hadn't been in her umbra state she'd have been somewhat more expressive, but it was clear that she wasn't completely apathetic, she was simply contained. Content to leave it at that she moved on towards a new topic.
"I have nothing that I imagine you would deem of great value. Money I have, but I see not why you would want it. I have no land to offer in exchange, nor do I have anything one such as yourself would find entertaining or elusive. What I can offer is the simple promise of a favor in return. You may laugh at that, reminded of a mouse offering a lion a favor, but do remember that in the old tale the mouse repays the lion in kind, saving his life. You may not think it likely, but perhaps one day you will need to cash in that favor."
Consuming knowledge from an enemy was a hard pill for many to digest in this world. Yet, to Mana, The Queenly ego which blossomed forth the kingdom of The Asthavon understood the value of maintaining a relationship with your foe. The boundaries of what makes an enemy are irrelevant in the grand scheme of achieving knowledge, spreading a vision and leading forth a people into a new age of prosperity. They become also trivial if one can speak forth with the opposing side, spread seeds of awareness and plant a road which benefits both parties. One does not enter into the state of savagery if simple pleasantries can cease the bloodshed of many.
Baring these fruits of insight into mind, Mana wasted no time in trying to comprehend the state of perception that her present enemy yielded. For the words which she spoke gave forth the understanding that she came from a race of desperation. Their numbers were dwindling, resources scarce and scale for power limited. And when placed forth into a position where your race do not stand fully united, tyrants overrule your precious lands and your blind anger makes you unaware of the dangers your enraged actions invoke for both you and your people; it's rather understandable why the two met here in this moment in time.
So, when Clarie finished speaking her peace, Mana came forth with her conclusion.
"You don't hate demons, darling."
There was not even a blink of her eye as the woman held her gaze straight at The Sueki Queen.
"Replace demons with Shinigami, Hollow, Humans or any of the known races in the universe and the same result will have been produced. No. You hate the circumstances which reduced the potential for prosperity that you and your race have to face."
Was this fact not true? How could it not be? Every word which drenched forth out of Claire's mouth had been one made out of the instinct to survive. Not an ounce of it spoke any word about the culture of demonkind, the psychology of their people, the history of demon kind or the regime of power which governed their policies, people and livelihoods. All that the Sueki uttered was framed in the perceptive of someone fighting for their life against a power which overpowered her and there was no true hatred as not once has there been a true war between the races of Demonkind and Sueki. As far as they are concerned, The Sueki barely even exist and the hatred is a one-sided affair for the time being given the scope of the demon race's hand and current enemies.
"So given this fact that the circumstances of you and your races discontent stems from the power we yield over your country, it makes sense that the hatred would lessen if you were indeed allowed to govern this land. What other reason would you have to wage a crusade against our kind? Do you truly care to change the landscape of planet Earth? To alter the ways we govern the demon world? To rearrange the very culture of our bloodline? No. You only seek to reclaim your home and the desire to slaughter our kind would be insane for you to pursue if this event transpired, dear."
How could one argue with this logic? What possible benefit could Claire attain from pursuing a battle with demonkind? It made little sense to Mana outside of the possible scenario that other factions bully and pressure The Sueki into allying with them. Therefore, from a diplomatic point of a view, alliances could be forged as far as The Demon Queen was concerned. The Sueki had a need and The Demon Race could supply that need. So it was rather simple what she wanted: loyalty.
"Your alliances is all I seek out of you. I'm not asking you to agree with everything the demon race does, but rather, I do not seek a war with your kind. So, in exchange for this land, I want us to have a relationship and to be able to lean on one another when the time comes."
In a matter of moments, The Demon Queen soon stabbed her own heart as emerald blood hurled itself toward the cold pavement both the women's feet. However, it was unatural in how it flowed. It forged itself into a circle until a glow of gem green energy swirled around both Mana and Claire. Soon after The Demoness would take Claire's hand, kiss it and look upwards at her with a gentle smile across herself that seemed a world away from the manic grin she started this encounter with.
"Do you feel the intention of my heart swirling all around you? The blood of my innermost self can unveil my desires quite clear as crystal. I'd hope you make the correct decision to take my hand in this relationship. I do not ask you to turn a blind eye to all of that hostility, but rather, to embrace it with me and accept this deal to understand your enemy better. That's all politics is, after all. The act of easing conflicts of interest when it comes to power."
There was then a moment of silence before The Demon Queen's eyes fixed themselves to Claire's.
"And, if you should feel so open, it's not out of the cards for me to mentor you in the ways of queenship. I'd say I have more than enough experience to warrant something of value from that interaction, my dear."