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The little black demon scuttled back and forth. He might be small, but he was stronger than he looked. With a regular diet, he even seemed a little bigger today. He carried empty bottles in the rack of his antlers, balancing them carefully so not to drop them. The miniature monster bent down to lower the bottles, using one of its many-jointed legs to help maneuver it.

Blucini reached down to drop a half-thawed piece of fish onto the floor. It ran over to it, closing its massive eyelid and revealing a toothed mouth in place of the lone eye it usually had. A long tongue curled out, wrapped around the morsel and hauled into the unsettling maw. Another moment and blink, and it was like it had never happened.

One of the bottles tipped over and rolled around a bit in a circle.

The cat reached down to pat the beast on the top of its head with a single claw. It emitted a burst of static. The eye shut trustingly.

Nina stood in place, hands on her hips, just watching wordlessly. She looked more than a little impressed.

“They’re intelligent?” Nina asked.

“Not exactly… but they’re not dumb either.”

“You trained it?”

The cat pointed at her own open mouth. “Steed is very food motivated.”

The rabbit lifted her chin slightly. “Steed? That’s an interesting name.”

Blucini met her eyes, smiling, but seemed to be looking right through her. “It was the name of a Terrenmedan Pelixus I used to ride as a kid.”

“Never heard of one of those.”

“No, I suppose you wouldn’t down here. You’ve lived here most of your life, right?” Nina nodded and Blue continued. “It’s a feranoth native to Davelchester, right next to Terrenmeda. It’s very much like the sandfoxes here but bigger and gray.”

Blucini pulled out a writing pad and started attempting to sketch the shape of one. The side of her mouth was pulled up into a happy, distracted smile at some old memory. Nina stole the pad before she was finished, flipping through it. It was a combination of shopping lists, inventory, and other assorted doodles.

While Blucini was busy drawing, Steed began headbutting her leg with sharp ends of his antlers, angry at being ignored.

“Ow!”

The farmer continued like nothing had happened, with a bit of a lecturing tone. “I can get you some proper ledgers. It’ll help keep this in order.”

“Hold on.” Blucini was holding the jar of fish chunks over her head as Steed tried climbing up her body to get to them. Nina just laughed and didn’t help at all. “Do something!”

“Oh, no, you got yourself into this, you can get yourself right out. I already told you this was a bad idea. Besides, the worst thing here is that he just eats all your fish.”

The cat tried to hold him back with one paw. “That is not the worst thing, trust me.”

Steed pushed harder and they started wrestling. The demon was only about a fifth of her size, but seemed to be winning. Blucini chucked the jar at Nina, forcing her to either catch it or have it break on the floor if she didn’t. Nina snatched it out of the air, clearly unhappy. Steed hesitated. Nina threw it right back at Blue, but with some force. She looked angry.

The rabbit stomped out of the shop and slammed the door.

In the end, the demon got the fish and Blucini took a break from trying to train it to be her helper for a while. Also, she needed to bandage multiple small pinpricks from its antlers. It hadn’t attacked her, but he could get ornery if he didn’t get what he wanted when he wanted.

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Published by Watercolorheart

Artist, animator, painter, writer, aspiring musician. Working on short stories for an animated series called Sparse. Pen name Lyn Mitre.

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