Shady Impressions: Lowered Standards and a Dash of Demons #1

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15 of Shady Impressions Jem returns from his mission just in time to take part in the harvest festival and Russo (via flashback) explains what terrible experience caused him to hate what is basically the Medieval version of New Orleans.

Was still pretty heavy with breaking the fourth wall around this time now that I look back on it.


Chapter 17

Only one day remained until the harvest festival took place, when the town of Tedrah would exhibit one last burst of life before winter came barreling in. It was one of the most important events of the year for the town and everyone was busy doing their part to help contribute be it baking, brewing, or simply managing to not get in the way of others. Russo and Dax had already done their part to contribute by securing needed spices a few days earlier so they were given the go ahead to do what they pleased until the festival descended upon the town. Ultimately that didn't amount to much the day following Russo's lengthy lesson in the basics of magic. Visitors from smaller neighboring villages and towns began to trickle into Tedrah, eager to take part in what was going to be the biggest and best festival in the northern part of the province.

Russo grew anxious and worried at the thought of teaching Dax any more magic tips outside the city limits. Sure he was limiting Dax to using only magical crystals but he sure as shit wasn't going to risk anything happening when there would be significantly more witnesses than usual around on the roads. Dax was understandably upset by the sudden halt in magic lessons but Russo promised to give him a few more pointers once things had settled down. For the past three days the human and wolf had bummed around at the guild as more and more people steadily streamed into town.

The human sighed as he sat at a table, his arms splayed out before him and his chin resting on the smooth oaken table. He was bored as could be, but still not bored enough that he actually desired to expend any further effort to help prepare for the festival. He wasn't that desperate to kill the time that he was willing to put an effort into it.

"So Russo, how long do you think your suspension will last?" Dax inquired, always eager to gain the human's attention.

"Don't know. However long the master deems fit."

"W-well, if you're out of commission for a while do you think you could... teach me more magic? I-I mean it sure sounds like you goofed up massively what with flattening that town and all. Pleaaasssssse Russo, it'll be fun!"

"Ugh, why did I even bother telling you about that?" Russo grumbled as he began to regret relaying to Dax the events that transpired in Letum and Peccamen.

"Bother telling him about what?" A familiar voice asked as Russo felt a furred hand plop down on his head and tussle his hair. Russo grumbled as he swatted away Jem's hand.

"Hmm, good to see you too buddy," Jem happily chirped as the collie sat down next to Russo.

"Hey Jem!" Dax enthusiastically greeted the collie. "He was just talking about how he t-"

"How I taught him the basics of magic over the past few days. All from the goodness of my heart," Russo interjected and finished for the wolf. He put little effort in trying to sound convincing.

"Uh huh," Jem replied incredulously as he smirked at Russo. "Letum?" He asked as he glanced at the wolf.

"Yep."

"Thought so." He grinned to himself and chuckled as he began tussling Russo's hair again.

"Knock it off!" Russo complained as he continued to swat Jem's hand away.

"You know you like the attention," Jem teased as he stuck his tongue out at him.

"I do not."

Dax looked on bemusedly at the strange display of friendship between the two. "So, where were you this whole week Jem?"

"Eh, I was out a ways east investigating some disappearances along a road linking two towns out in the boonies," Jem replied unenthusiastically.

"Didn't like what you found out there?" Russo asked, noticing the change in his friend's tone.

"Not at all," The collie replied with a tone of distaste.

"Care to elaborate?" The human pressed him further.

"Not now, Russo. Maybe later."

"Alright, alright."

"Anyway... you two do much while I was away?"

"We ran some errands for the master and I actually did teach Dax some magic. Not much besides that," Russo nonchalantly replied.

"And we killed a mimic!" Dax chimed in.

"That too."

"Seriously?" Jem asked in disbelief.

"It's a rather convoluted story but the main point is, it's not something either of us get to brag about. Considering the manner in which Dax helped me beat it might draw some unwanted attention..."

"That and Russo's embarrassed that it exploded after he killed it," Dax added. Russo groaned after Dax's further explanation and placed his forehead down onto the table.

"Still having trouble completing the simplest of tasks without something blowing up huh?" Jem smirked as he patted Russo on the back.

"To hell with the both of you."

Both Dax and Jem snickered. Russo sighed again and pulled himself upright. "Ignoring all that, I'm glad you made it back home before the festival kicked off Jem. It wouldn't be as much fun without you."

A gentle smile formed on the collie's face and his tail slowly started wagging. "It's good to be back is all I can say. Mmmm, it's gonna feel so good just taking it easy the next few days and kicking back with all the festivities," Jem said smiling in eager anticipation.

"Kicking back will have to wait just a little bit longer unfortunately," the guild master stated as he walked up to the trio's table.

"I thought we were done with our chores and errands for now master. You said so yourself! And besides Jem just got back from his mission," Russo complained.

"I know, I know and I apologize for going back on my word. But apparently two of the brewers in town pooled together to buy some of the finest rums and ale available for the festival! A wagon all the way from Aurelianis showed up packed to the brim and you three would really be doing the guild a favor by keeping an eye on things and making sure that all that cargo leaves with who it's supposed to. Russo, Jem you two have already met the Mr. Erat and Mr. Ditum from all you pub runs right?"

"You mean the beer bellied groundhog and raccoon? Of course we know who those two are, they run the only good pubs in Tedrah," Russo remarked. "Only one good pub now, but at least the other one was insured against magical acts of destruction," Russo uneasily thought to himself. He eagerly awaited the day when reconstruction would finish on the old pub he totally hadn't had a hand in destroying.

"That and those two actually make the rum and beer that they serve at the pubs. Pretty good stuff," Jem pleasantly reminisced about nights gone by.

"Well those two are the only ones who are to lay a finger on those barrels of liquid nectar that's packed up in that wagon. The wagon's parked over in the open market. I can't stress this enough, but no one is coming on their behalf to pick the shipment up. Make sure that those barrels leave only with Erat and Ditum. Understood?"

"Understood," Russo and Jem replied in unison as they pulled themselves up from the table. Dax followed suit and chased after them out the door.

The day had clouded up and a blanket of white and gray smothered the sky and a chill wind blew through the air. Russo flipped up his cloak's hood after a few minutes, his ears having started to get rather cold.

"All we're doing is standing around a wagon and guarding it then?" Dax asked. "That doesn't sound so bad.

"It should be a pretty simple job. We just stand around trying to look imposing; dissuading any con men or con... women from trying to make off with what isn't theirs. Or if somebody flat out tries to steal what we're supposed to be guarding, we beat the crap out of them. It's not that hard being the muscle."

"Easy or not it gets boring after a while, just standing around all day" Jem complained.

"Even I'll admit to that," Russo quipped. "Here's hoping those two don't make us wait long."

Finding the wagon was fairly simple even in the crowded open market. A decent crowd had swarmed around the wagon, heckling the coachmen to sell off his cargo.

"Is rum from Aurelianis really that good?" Dax wondered aloud.

"It's some of the best in the country. The town itself is famous for its rum, beer, wine, and just about any other alcoholic beverage you can think of!" Jem dutifully informed Dax.

"Booze and bitches, that's what Aurelianis is famous for," Russo chimed in.

"Huh?"

"It's not exactly the politest way to describe them but yes, Aurelianis has a reputation for its alcohol... and ladies of ill repute," Jem elucidated for the wolf.

"Basically Dax, Aurelianis is where people go to uh... relaxtheir morals and indulge in their vices. Everybody has their vices and Aurelianis is there to service most of them."

"Huh... okay. Have you ever been there Russo?" Dax inquired, his curiosity aroused.

"Unfortunately, yes."

"What makes you say that?"

"I'd rather not talk about it."

Jem smirked. "Hard as it is to believe Dax, Russo is actually a fairly conservative guy and the sort of stuff that Aurelianis endorses makes him uneasy. Nor does it help that he can be cagey around women and doesn't know how to talk to them."

"Th-that's not true! I didn't have any problem with Morgan back during that Peccamen business and I've never had any trouble dealing with lady giants!" Russo immediately shot back.

"Russo, I'm guessing you've manipulated and pissed off every female giant you've ever come across and as for Morgan, I doubt she wants anything to do with you. You didn't make a very good first impression when you flattened Letum."

Russo looked down at the ground and dragged his feet as they drew ever closer to the wagon. Jem slapped him on the back and shook his shoulder. "Hmm, we still love you flaws and all though, you silly bastard. Now come on and cheer up, we got a job to do."

"Yeah, yeah," Russo replied as a small smile grafted itself on his face.

As the trio approached they shooed and pushed the crowd away, making it clear that today was not their lucky day. Russo and Dax took up positions on both sides of the wagon while Jem spoke to the coachmen.

"Don't worry sir, my friends and I here are from the guild and we're here to make sure your rum gets to who it's supposed to."

As Jem was chatting up the coachman and reassuring him that everything was going to be fine a chipmunk approached Russo and made himself known. "Excuse me human, but I am here on the behalf of Mr. Ditum to pick up-"

"No you're not.

"Pardon?"

"Piss off. I've frequented Ditum's pub on the other side of town more than enough to know that you're not one of the workers there. Hell, you're not even a regular."

"Now see-"

"Would you prefer that I set you on fire or electrify you today? Or freeze you if that's your fancy." Russo channeled magical energy into his fingertips and a light blue aura surrounded his hands.

"I... I think I'll be going now," The chipmunk worriedly said as he disembarked from the conversation and hauled off down one of the side streets.

"Thought so."

The coachman looked on amusedly and thanked all of them for their help. He let himself relax as they all waited for the groundhog and raccoon to show up and claim, as well as pay for, their deliveries.

In the hour or so that they waited the wind kicked up and Russo pulled down his hood further and wrapped his cloak around himself tightly. Even Dax and Jem began to feel the cold air nipping at them through all their fur. As time passed the job grew progressively more and more boring as the trio of friends stood guard while the weather worsened. Another hour painfully passed by before Ditum and Erat finally showed up with small wagons of their own.

"About time," Russo grumbled.

"Hush," Jem shushed him.

Russo yawned as the groundhog, raccoon and coachman started talking business. Apparently the way it was set up was that Erat and Ditum paid half of the total cost of the rum plus shipping prior to the transportation of the goods. They were then to pay the other half when the shipment made it to them and they could see and taste what they bought. Russo cared little for how fair or solid the arrangements were, he just wanted them to hurry up and just cart off the stuff so he could get back inside. He was woefully underdressed for this kind of weather. Regardless, after what seemed like the longest and coldest twenty minutes in recent memory, the groundhog and raccoon worked things out. Russo, Jem, and Dax all lent a hand to unload the barrels of rum from one wagon to another. The two pub owners went on their way to make last minute preparations for the festival.

"Ready to head on back Dax, Russo?"

"Do you even have to ask?" Russo replied as he wrapped his cloak around himself tight.

"Hold on, hold on, hold on, did you just say Russo?" The coachman interrupted as he pointed to Jem.

"Yyyyyyyyes. I... did. Why do you ask?"

Russo pulled down his hood and looked at the coachman quizzically. He didn't recognize the guy's face. Besides that, during his brief visit to Aurelianis years ago he hadn't actually destroyed, blown up or killed anything. Why would some random guy from that city know about him?

The man gazed back at Russo and after stroking his chin in contemplation for a few moments his face lit up in euphoria. "By the gods it is you! Oh man, the guys back home will never believe this! I actually met and hell, had my merchandise protected by the Russo! Hold on, hold on, here let me shake your hand!" The coachman leapt down from his wagon seat and grabbed hold of Russo's right hand with both of his hands and gave the mage a hearty handshake.

"Jem, what's going on?" Dax asked as he approached the collie, eyeing the coachman suspiciously.

"That's what I'd like to know. Russo care to explain?"

"I have no idea," Russo responded, a look of utter confusion plastered across his face. "What the hell is the crazy bastard shaking my hand for?" He thought to himself. "I didn't do anything remotely bad or good in that town in the half a day I was there and- wait a minute. Oh God no he couldn't possibly know about... Hold on the way he was acting... Jesus, wait does everybody in that town know?! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO," Russo screamed in his head as he came to a horrible realization.

"Russo do you know this guy?" Dax asked worriedly.

The coachmen spoke up. "I doubt Russo here knows who I am but nearly everyone in Aurelianis knows who he is!"

"NO THEY DON'T," Russo blurted out.

"What are you talking about, of course they do! You two furs are looking at the guy wh-"

"OH WOULD YOU LOOK AT THE TIME WE REALLY OUGHT TO BE GOING."

Jem frowned and grew increasingly suspicious of his friend's behavior. "We... we're not in a hurry. Come on Russo what's-"

"SHUT UP, YES WE ARE," Russo immediately teleported all three of them out of the open market and onto the front steps of the guild, leaving the coachmen in the open market absolutely baffled by their sudden disappearance.

"Russo! What are you hiding now?" Jem demanded of his human companion before Russo grabbed hold of both of the furs arms and dragged them inside and all the way back into one of the guest rooms. Russo locked the door behind them and closed the curtains over the windows.

"Explain. Now." Jem demanded as he grabbed hold of Russo and pushed him back onto one of the guest beds. Russo regained his composure and sat up on the bed, looking worriedly at the collie and wolf.

"Come on Russo, you can tell us. You've kept the fact that I'm a giant secret. Whatever it is you're hiding we promise to keep it a secret as well." Dax pleaded with the human.

Russo's shoulders drooped and he let out a sigh as he rubbed his eyes with his hands. "Not like keeping it a secret will do me any good at this point since the entire freaking town of Aurelianis probably knows but... alright. You two know how I said that I've been to Aurelianis before right?"

Both furs nodded their heads.

"And you know how I bluntly put it that people go there to indulge in their vices? Well three years ago I took a trip there for... pretty much that exact reason. A-a guy has needs that he wants satisfied after all... and I was only planning on going there for a day at most. In and out, just like that. *Sigh* I guess I'll start at the beginning..."


READERS: REINITIATE SUPER WAVY FLASHBACK EFFECT!

Disclaimer: Repeated and prolonged use of flashbacks may cause blindness and in rare cases may cause the dread ailment known as 'not living anymore'. Please consult your doctor prior to initiating flashbacks.

It was late in the day and with some trepidation and shame Russo hopped off of the wagon he hitched a ride on and took in the sights of Aurelianis. It wasn't a gigantic town but it appeared to be roughly the same size as Tedrah, if not a little smaller. Too embarrassed to ask for directions for where he wanted to go, the human slowly made his way down one of the main streets, hoping that he would bumble across a brothel.

Street vendors, shops, open markets, restaurants, this town had all the same things that Tedrah did, it was no different... save for the overbearing presence of alcohol being hawked by people at every corner. That and the rather revealing fashion preferences of the women of the town. Women young and old, for better or for worse, wore low cut dresses that put their cleavage on display. The men dressed in the same manner that anyone else in the country would, no surprise there. Still, it was implicitly understood in this place that if you desired male or female company for whatever reason, it wouldn't be hard to come across.

Russo continued walking down one of the wider streets, trying not to look too out of place or unsure of himself lest he draw any unwanted attention. He walked for a time until what looked like a temple of sorts emerged on his right. Arranged in a circle on a raised platform were high smooth pillars made from marble that rose up nearly thirty feet into the air. Surprisingly there was no roof, but inside the circle of pillars there was a fountain and a statue. The statue, much like the pillars, was made entirely out of marble and depicted a beautiful water goddess. An otter with short straight hair, her hands cupped together, water flowing down from her cupped hands into the fountain. The setting sun bathed the temple in a flurry of oranges and red and Russo was drawn by the simplicity, beauty, and purity of it all. He stepped up onto the platform and walked towards the statue. There was an engraving at the foot of it.

"Dedicated to the goddess Lutra, bringer of life. Her cleansing holy waters breathe life into the land and bless it as well, freeing it of any impurities. We praise and show her our thanks for her past and continuing kindnesses in gracing us with water, the primary ingredient of life," Russo slowly read aloud. He looked back up at the statue once he was done reading aloud. He had never really cared much for the gods or religion. Oh sure, it was fun to take their names in vain but the countless different religions in the country all had varying views on them.

There was the polytheistic religion, Russo couldn't be bothered to remember its name, that professed that there were multiple, if not countless gods that were all to be worshipped and praised. Then there was the monotheistic ones that disagreed on which god was the most important, but they all argued only one god was to be worshipped. The monotheistic religions all acknowledged that other gods existed but they couldn't figure out whether they ought to be respected or pissed upon. The only thing that Russo cared to take from all the rabbling amongst the different religions was that gods existed and you should show them their propers.

He placed his hand at the foot of the statue and muttered a quick thank you for all the water and complimented on the beautiful temple. As he turned away from the statue he found that directly ahead of him, opposite to the temple, was a brothel prominently on display.

"They've got the sacred and the sacrilegious right across the street from each other? How convenient and respectful," Russo remarked, his tone dripping with sarcasm. He let out a sigh and scratched the back of his head. "I'm already here... might as well go through with it," He told himself as he slowly walked out of the temple and towards the brothel.

Russo slid inside unnoticed. After all, he was just another customer here, nothing out of the ordinary about that. Straight ahead of Russo was a desk. To the left and behind the desk was a staircase leading up and on the right was a door leading deeper into the brothel. As Russo hesitantly walked up to the desk, he noticed that couches were lining the walls of the room, most of them taken up by a woman waiting for their next batch of work.

"So umm... how does this work?" Russo asked the attendant behind the desk.

"Pick out a girl, tell us how long you want her for and then pay up. She'll take you back to a room, you do want you want, within reasonable bounds of course for as long as you paid for, and then once your time has expired you clean yourself up and head out."

"O-okay... I..."

"Take as long as you like to pick out the girl you want. I can tell, you're new to this. When you've made up your mind come back and talk to me and I'll get you set up."

"*Sigh* Al-alright. Thanks."

Russo's eyes drifted from one side of the room to the other. "What so I just pick and choose what flavor of [swear word filter: cat] I want for the night?" He uneasily thought to himself. A couple of human and furry gals of varying degrees of attractiveness lounged about for Russo to pick and choose from. "I-I wouldn't be against doing something with a fur for the night," He awkwardly told himself as his attention was caught by a pretty black Labrador girl. She had a slim but toned body with pert breasts. They weren't gigantic or anything but they were a good size for her body type and her floppy ears were kind of cute.

"I uh... I think I know who I'd like to spend the evening with," Russo quietly told the attendant.

"No need to be so secretive or shy about this guy. Everyone has sex, that's a fact of life. We just take away the difficulty of finding a partner for people and make profit on it in the process. Now who do you have your sights set on?"

Russo pointed to the Labrador girl.

"Ho ho, so Umbra caught your fancy huh? You've got good tastes guy. How long would you like her for?"

"Not long, I-I'm not here for anything special. Just uh... satisfying basic needs."

The attendant chuckled. "Alright, alright, I won't push you any further on it then." He informed Russo of the relatively cheap rate. Russo signed his name in the ledger at the desk and quickly paid in full. The attendant called over Umbra and introduced her to their newest customer. She looked over Russo and smirked as she grabbed his hand and led him up the stairs.

"This'll be your first time I'm guessin'?"

"...Yeah."

"Hmm, you don't need to be so bashful or embarrassed about it."

"I... I know, it's just-"

ABRUPTLY END FLASHBACK

"Hold on a minute here, you're not seriously going to tell us about your first sexual experience are you?" Jem asked astounded.

Russo grimaced and frowned at the collie. "No Jem, I am not."

"So then why did you include all that buildup and sexual tension?" Dax asked confused.

"Holy crap I was setting up the scene, trying to be a good storyteller! You know what, look, I didn't get laid that night, okay?!"

"...Does that mean you're still a virgin?" Jem innocently asked.

"STOP TALKING!" The human exasperatedly yelled at both the wolf and collie. "And... oh god dammit you idiots made me forget where I was. Oh fuck it, who cares."

RESUME FLASHBACK

Umbra led Russo into a small room upstairs and the only furniture inside was a dresser and a bed. The bed was pressed up against the wall to the right and the dresser lie straight ahead, with a mirror hanging on the wall above it. Umbra pulled him into the room and closed the door behind him. She immediately pressed him back against it as she nuzzled and licked his neck. It was a little uncomfortable considering there was a mirror hanging on the door that he was being pressed into, but he would make do. It was kind of neat though looking at the mirror on the dresser and not only seeing his reflection but the reflection cast in the door mounted mirror as well. His reflection was cast within a reflection, that's kind of cool he thought.

Umbra wrapped her arms around him and pressed her generous breasts into his chest. Russo could feel his face burning up as he slowly put his arms around her and held her close as she began to slide off his cloak and unbutton his tunic. He could feel a goofy smile creeping along his face as he felt her furred fingers dance along his chest and... HELLO what's that I see in the mirror?

At first Russo was sure it was just a trick of the eyes but when he looked at the mirror ahead of him for a minute or two he became worried. When he looked at the mirror on the dresser he saw himself and the Umbra's back reflected in the mirror. No problems there. However when he looked at the reflection of the door mounted mirror cast in the dresser mirror, he was greeted with an altogether different sight. In the reflection cast within the reflection he saw his back and Umbra's face. Whose eyes were glowing an eerie yellow. As the Labrador continued to engage in foreplay Russo quickly did a double take. He physically looked down at her face. Eyes not glowing. Looked at the reflections in the mirror. Eyes were glowing. This may have been Russo's first time dabbling in prostitution but even he knew that whores weren't supposed to do that.

He gently pushed Umbra away and quickly buttoned back up his tunic and tossed back on his cloak. "S-sorry about this but I just uh... I can't go through with this. Sorry for wasting your time like this," He apologetically said as he moved to open the door. Umbra grabbed his arm and he froze in his tracks.

"Was I going too slow for you? If I was, tell me. I promise kid, it's not going to hurt my feelings."

"No, no, no it's nothing like that I'm just... having second thoughts about this is all. A-another time maybe," Russo quickly spat out as he tried to open the door again.

Umbra grabbed him by the shoulder and Russo felt an incredibly painful shock surge through his body. He nearly collapsed but managed to steady himself on the door. He looked back fearfully at Umbra.

"Sorry kid but that's not how tonight's going to play out," she coldly said as her eyes physically began to glow that eerie yellow color. In an instant her shadow pulled itself off the floor and circled around her. In the half second that Russo's view of her had been obscured by the black mass a pair of jagged horns erupted from the top of her head and her claws and teeth sharpened as she shot him a murderous smile. Her clothes had disappeared as well. "Mmmm... it's been a good while since I've devoured a mage. You've got some deliciously powerful magical energy tucked away in you, you know that hon?" She said as she licked her lips and Russo looked on horrified.

"I'm going to-" Kendra's further elaborations on how she would kill the human were cut off as Russo took a good swing with his right hand and absolutely slapped the shit out of her. Her head swung to the side yet she appeared to be unfazed. "You really think you can hurt me?" She said in a mocking tone as she began to laugh. Russo steadied his arms against the door and kicked her as hard as he could in the stomach and she actually stumbled back a few feet. She kept on chuckling as Russo threw open the door and ran out into the hallway screaming. "I love it when they run," she smirked as she slowly stalked her prey.

"AAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" Russo screamed as he ran down the hallway, desperately looking for way out of this god forsaken whorehouse. He frantically tried teleporting but found that his magic had been drained in the ambush. In his panic Russo had ran right by the staircase leading down to the first floor. At the end of the hallway he found a poorly marked men's restroom and burst inside. The mage quickly barged into one of the open stalls and locked the door behind him, not like it would do him any good though.

An instant later Umbra burst down the bathroom door.

"What's the point in hiding human? You know you can't hide from me. You reek of fear and terror and make for easy prey to follow," She cooed as she walked up the stall where he was hiding and slowly began to pull the door off its hinges. She licked her muzzle in anticipation. She could almost already taste his flesh and very soul.

"Oh God, I'm dead, I'm dead, I'm dead, I'm dead, I'm dead" The human mentally screamed, and maybe cried, to himself as the door slowly gave way. Jesus this was not only terrifying but embarrassing too as he felt his bladder about to fail on him. ...Hold on a minute.

"W-Wait!" The human called out through the stall door. "W-wouldn't you rather kill and devour someone who hasn't pissed themself in fear? Can, can you give me a chance to make one last piss before I die horribly?" The human pleaded.

"...He does have a point" the hellhound had to admit. Urine really had a tendency to leave a terrible aftertaste and just absolutely ruin a perfectly good snackrifice. "Fine, but hurry it up in there," She said as she looked through a gap between the stall and the nearly torn off door.

"I-I can't go with you looking!" The human yelled out as he instinctively covered himself with his cloak right after he had pulled down his pants.

"Fucking ridiculous," The demon angrily said to herself as she turned away and the human went about his business. Another idea struck him as he relieved himself.

"Hey uh... now that we've already broached the topic, care if I take one last dump before I die too?" The human called out from the stall.

"Oh for fuck's sake..." It wasn't like he could go anywhere and she had more or less neutered him after draining him of his magic. Nor could he even do anything to her, he had no weapons or magic. It wouldn't kill her to wait a few more minutes to see to it that her prey tasted as well as it could and didn't soil itself before she sank her teeth into it. "Fine, but make it quick."

A minute or so later she heard some heavy grunting coming from the stall. "What the hell are you doing?"

"What do you think I'm doing? Certain death does have a uh... certain uh... magnification of sorts upon one's bodily functions. This will be a rough one on me and this toilet, I can tell, a real porcelain shatterer!" The grunting continued for a few more minutes and sure as hell it sounded like the porcelain toilet seat was cracking in places. Slowly but surely all the noises came to a stop and she heard the toilet flush.

"About damn time..." she grumbled as she turned back towards the stall."This has gone on long enough human. I'm-"

Suddenly the already flimsy stall door came bursting off its hinges from a well-placed kick on the inside. "SHOCK AND AWE DEMON BITCH," Russo yelled at the top of his lungs as he leapt out of the stall and cracked her in the face with the toilet seat he had ripped straight off the toilet. Umbra stumbled back and smacked into the wall. She winced and rubbed her head as she slid down to the floor.

Russo equipped Toilet Seat.

Physical Attack +8

Magical Attack +0

Elemental Affinity: None

Desperation +27

What will Russo do?

Attack.

Russo attacked with toilet seat!

Preemptive strike!

Foe Umbra is stunned and cannot attack next turn!

What will Russo do now?

Flee.

Russo successfully fled from battle!

Russo threw open the window in the men's restroom and hastily climbed out and dropped to the ground below, toilet seat still in hand. He hit the ground hard but shrugged off the throbbing pain in his legs the best he could and ran off towards the temple across the street.

Umbra shook off the surprise attack quickly enough and looked out the window to see where her prey had fled to. "He won't get far," she angrily muttered as her eyes narrowed and she leapt out. During her seconds long free fall, wings erupted forth from her back and she took off flying through the night sky.

Russo bolted to the temple as fast as he could, panting, wheezing and maybe, though probably not but maybe, crying. "Aaaahhhhhh this is what I get for going to a whorehouse!" Russo yelled out to himself. Of course the prostitute he picked would be the one that's a demon in disguise! FANFUCKINGTASTIC. Though, I mean considering this place was kind of a moral shit heap it's not that surprising that I would find a demon holed up here BUT STILL. He looked back and saw Umbra's winged form silhouetted against the ever darkening sky. Worse yet she was diving towards him. He panicked and dove, more like tripped actually, to the ground and felt the wind rush by his head as Umbra swooped by. He crawled over to the fountain at the center of the open temple and fervently prayed that it was filled with holy water of some sort. "MAN, FUCK THIS WHOLE CITY!" He screamed aloud in his head.

He looked up to the statue of the goddess and spoke aloud to it. "I know what I'm about to do is probably all sorts of blasphemous and illegal and I'm sorry but I'm desperate here!" After issuing his hastily thrown together apology to the otter goddess he dove into the fountain as Umbra circled around the temple pillars, absolutely soaking himself in the process.

Shame +40

Sogginess +100

The hellhound circled around once more. She quickly descended from her flight and came to a rest a few feet in front of the fountain. "You really think she can help you?" She said laughing. "Lutra abandoned this town ages ago, this place is so full of sin and vice that it would've repulsed even the most patient, pure and forgiving of gods!" She continued speaking as she pointed an accusatory finger at the statue. "This has dragged on long enough, I've had my fun letting you have your false hope. Time's up," The hellhound smiled devilishly as she reached towards Russo to yank him out of the fountain. She yowled in pain as she grabbed his dripping wet cloak. She tried shaking off the burning water droplets that had clung to her hand.

Russo gasped as he immediately realized what that meant. He turned back to the statue. "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!" He cried in joy. He climbed out of the fountain and ran towards Umbra, raising the now blessed toilet seat high above his head and swung down as hard as he was physically able. The holy porcelain smashed against her face, breaking off one of her horns in the process.

Toilet Seat has been upgraded to Papal Pooper!

Physical Attack increased by +0

Magical Attack increased by +0

Elemental Affinity: Holy

What will Russo do?

Attack.

Russo attacked with Papal Pooper!

It was super effective!

"You have got to be shitting me!" Umbra screamed. Russo couldn't tell if it was directed at him or the statue. She rubbed what was now the stub of her broken horn and glared at the human. "I've killed and devoured numerous others, and even let a few of them make it here before to beg for Lutra's help, yet she's never given them her blessing prior! Why now? Why you of all people?!"

Instead of answering Russo swung at her again. She jumped back, in no mood to feel the burning sting of the righteous shitter. Russo quickly reached down and grabbed the broken demon horn and shoved it into one of his cloak's inner pockets.

"Give that back!" She roared at Russo as she saw him pocket her horn.

"If you want it back so badly why don't you try and take it!?"

Umbra growled furiously as she considered her options and ignored that little idiot's attempt to bait her. She couldn't physically touch the bastard after that impromptu soak of his and if she tried frying this fucker alive with any of her fire or dark magic, Lutra's water would probably resist or even heal the damage done! She roared again at the mage as she realized she had little chance of winning and had just been utterly humiliated and outwitted by some pathetic human and the local water goddess.

"DAMMIT IT ALL!" She screamed as she flapped her demonic wings and started rising high into the sky. "This isn't over you arrogant little bastard! I'll find you again and I'll pay you back in fold for what you did to me!" She flipped him and the goddess' statue the bird and took off into the night sky, battered and humiliated.

Russo's eyes followed her silhouette through the night sky until she blended in with the blanket of darkness dotted with stars. Once she was gone Russo felt his legs wobble and give way as he collapsed onto the ground. He dropped the toilet seat and started laughing at the insanity of it all. And maybe there was crying in there too, he couldn't quite remember. After a time he pulled himself off the ground and slowly trudged back over to the statue.

"I... I don't know what compelled you to help me today, but thank you. A thousand thank yous," After his gracious thanks Russo felt a tingle all over his body, seemingly emanating from the water that soaked and covered him. On a hunch Russo tried gathering magical energies again and to his pleasant surprise found he was able to. It wasn't much, but it was enough for a teleportation spell back home to Tedrah.

"You... you are way too nice," Russo said smiling tiredly at the statue. He readied a teleportation spell and disappeared in a flash of orange light, vowing to himself that he would never return to this goddamned city.

READERS: THOSE OF YOU STILL LIVING PLEASE DISENGAGE SUPER WAVY FLASHBACK EFFECT