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Not all stories in this file are canon.  Fair warning, this is a demon's POV.

In the wake of my latest advance, I heard the telltale thump of my opponent collapsing.  Fatigue had taken its toll, and now the thrill of victory added fuel for the battle to come.  I snaked forward and pinned them to the ground.  A hazy breath drifted from my lips as I stared down at the beast, tired and dazed, yet alert to my actions.

I lowered my head until my gaze was level with theirs, tilted and then surged through their lips.  The stream of my aura is thick.  Strong enough to burrow its way through any open path through any defenses a creature might have.  It slithered across their tongue, down their throat, absorbing every stray element as it did.

I felt my heart flutter in giddy apprehension as the stream divided into the lungs.  Warm and rich with elements, the thrill they send down my spine is addicting.  It was my favorite part for sure, but the rest is far more important.

I felt my mood dampen.  My mind dulled as life force began to take its toll.  Spirits wove their way through my aura, their vital threads forming in the vapor of breath.  Channels that demanded every ounce of my focus to sort through.

I felt them as though they were my own, yet again I suppose it is their mana that feeds me.  Still, I could feel the way this person’s will shaped them.  Beating them into submission, drawing them out of a crowd, draining, tugging, flushing, churning.

The colorful threads began to crawl across my mouth and set my brow ablaze.  It’s a strange feeling.  Satisfaction on such a deep level that the emotions are absent.  For all the difference it makes, my state of mind does not heed it at the moment.

Instead, this pillar of light, this whirlpool, this tree of life, became my everything.

It wasn’t always this way.  Long ago, before the land was shaped completely, souls were much more vulnerable.  Survival was a matter of compromise, and if they didn’t, we might strip away the individual to get to their essence, often destroying the ID in the process.

Ever since the spirit lords revolted, this wasn’t even possible.  Demons have been forced to use much more effort and fitness to draw the energy we need, but on the other hand, we couldn’t ruin the element itself.  In navigating the labyrinth of spiritual bonds, and negotiating with the familiars, our skills are now stretched to their full potential.

I’ll forgive a moment of empty headedness if it means my every meal is guaranteed to sate my palette, besides, it’s not like they can surprise me anymore.

A furred fist crashed down across where my shoulder blades had been.  A trail of light drifted from my lips as the minotaur tried and failed to grab me.  This was my victory, and if he wanted to change how that looked, he was gonna have to play the game.

“You want more pitchfork?  Come and get me!”

With a grunt the minotaur pivoted onto his knees, and directed a firm gaze my way.  I felt a shiver down my spin, as that colorful mana flared under the surface of his arms.

Ah.  That’s something that’s changed to.  Creatures tend to bounce back and take advantage of those groping around beneath the hood.  That spirit he was beaten into submission.

Sweat betrayed the smile as the behemoth lumbered closer.  I might just lose the second round.

Huh.  Left a lot more to the imagination than I was expecting to.

So a bit of added disclosure: Hunting is a thing in Imaginary.  I was skeptical about it, because harvesting meat and not killing kinda seem to argue with one another.  As it turns out, surgical and psychological techniques are just that broken.  (Pissing off a pack of unkillable wildlife tends to cause problems sooner than later.  If it breathes it’s sentient, and a number of species have the ability to invoke spirits or evolve on demand.)

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