Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Demon Diary.
The only indication of Eclipse's surprise was the momentary flutter of eyelashes as he blinked. Though Eclipse himself had done much crueler things during the Hangma War, he had not expected such methods from a human like Monika.
Erutis' reaction reflected her feelings in a much more obvious manner. "Y-you... you WHAT!?"
"I couldn't risk giving her an opportunity to use one of her incantations on my men," Monika said in defense of his action. "Hence, she cannot speak. I also have her chained so she can't use her hands or feet to write, unless I allow her to."
"You've been very thorough," Eclipse commented.
"I had to," Monika replied.
"B-but... why?" Erutis waved about her arms in frustration. "Why go that far? Even greed shouldn't drive one to such extremes. You have her gems already; why such cruelty?"
"Erutis," said Eclipse, "he isn't you. Greed is not what drives him."
"Is greed what made you come here, knight?" Monika asked. "Is that it? If so, then I have a proposition. You can have all of the witch's Crystal Hearts; they mean nothing to me. But in turn, you will leave this castle; you will leave my men alone; and you will leave the witch in my hands."
"Look here," Erutis began, "I may be greedy, but I'm still a knight of honor. I won't leave lady Lilith in the hands of a-"
"We'll take your offer," Eclipse interrupted.
"WHAT?!" Erutis whipped her head around in shock. "How can you do that, Eclipse!" she cried, "How can you let-"
"My duty is to my liege only, Erutis!" Eclipse snapped. "I came here to get you, as per master Raenef's wish. The man and the woman have nothing to do with me!"
"You have the reward you wanted, Erutis," said Eclipse. "Have you still not learned yet to not put your nose where it doesn't belong?"
Erutis drew a deep breath, but then bit her bottom lip to stop her next words from tumbling out. She knew what Eclipse was referring to. That first night she had barged into Raenef's castle, looking for a demon lord to slay. Eclipse could've easily killed her then, but he had opted instead to detain her, and she had spent her time hanging in the air inside Eclipse's magic orb. She still did not like to be reminded of that night.
"We'll take your offer, Monika," Eclipse repeated.
"No," said Erutis, "we won't."
She quickly continued before Eclipse could interrupted her, "You are a demon, Eclipse; you serve your lord," she spoke, "but I am a knight; my duty is to my honor. I can't leave a helpless woman in the hands of a sick tyrant." She turned to face Monika. "Still, whether you are a tyrant or not, appears to be undecided. You look like a tyrant to me, Monika, but you've made legitimate arguments in your defense. Because I don't have enough information to judge whether you're a villain or not, I cannot kill you yet. Therefore, I propose the following:-"
When Erutis paused momentarily, both Eclipse and Monika gave her expectant looks. She tried not to squirm under their gazes.
"I will take those Crystal Hearts, Monika; and in return, I will leave your men in peace. But you and Lilith must come with me. Until I know for certain which one of you is good and which one is bad, you're both under my custody, understood?"
"Why should I agree to that?" Monika protested.
"Well," Erutis pointed out, "in case you haven't noticed, my men have already taken over your fortress. I can burn it down whenever I want, but I won't because I have a conscience. If you have one too, you'll let me investigate the matter; I won't kill you, if you aren't guilty. In fact, if what you say of Lilith is true, I'll help you kill her."
Monika clenched his fists. "Fine," he snarled. "But leave my men out of this."
"Excellent!" Erutis exclaimed; and with a twirl she put her sword back into its sheath.
Beside her someone cleared his throat.
"Have you forgotten where we'll be headed? I have not agreed to taking back two more fools," Eclipse growled.
"Oh, I hadn't forgotten," Erutis replied, "I had merely hoped-"
"Not even for a fourth of my bounty?" Erutis tried.
"Think of all the tomatoes you could buy for sweet little Raenef..."
Eclipse shot her a warning look. "Shut up," he sneered. Then, in acquiescence, "I want half."
Erutis grinned. "Done."
To be continued...