Barefoot Poetry

SS Matthews

Gate of Demons (conclusion)

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Kuie-men-kaun
Part 5

“Why do you want Huang Kun sent through the Gate of Demons?” The query was an obvious response, but feeling unbalanced by the extraordinary encounter, Rowan needed a moment to collect himself. Stepping closer, the scent of her body came to surrounded him like a promise of Elysium.

“He took something from me, something precious. I will pay you” she repeated “with gold and other favors.”

True as it might be that a pouch of coins would make his transition into the outer world easier, it wasn’t Rowan’s primary concern. One way or another he’d find his way. Mei-Yue’s innuendo however, he took as an invitation to seduction and certainly worthy of a tease. Openly appreciative of her physical attraction, in a voice rather huskier than intended he replied, “How much gold?”

Thinking her readily aware of the effect she would normally have on men, he would’ve preferred to appear neutral until knowing more. After all, Kuie-men-kaun, was a name he recognized. The Gate of Demons was part of eastern mythology and equivalent to crossing the River Styx. Being the fabled entrance to the underworld, this pretty witch was asking him to kill!

“Enough to fulfill your desires.” Pausing again, she smiled, allowing the allusion to secret pleasures to simmer in his thoughts. “It is the twenty second day of the ninth month. My hut lies beyond the second bamboo grove, in the meadow by the forest. Come to me by night-fall and I will serve you a meal befitting a warrior’s apatite.”

As she spoke, her eyes deepened in color and more than a hint of mystery wandered there. Raising her hand and pointing southeast, in the morning light multiple silver rings adorning her fingers sparkled with gemstones and the bracelets dangling from her wrist tinkled against one another like chimes.

As she turned to leave, Rowan began to fully appreciate the intensity of her presence. She possessed a compelling but subtle sensuality, much of which went unrealized until it was removed. What remained was a soft buzzing in his ears. Some of which he was partly able to clear by shaking his head.

The effect overall was not unlike that of a pleasant daydream and thinking it possible he’d just been hypnotized, Rowan watched the witch who called herself Mei-Yue depart. Swaying slightly as she walked, she appeared to exaggerate the movement of her hips as if tossing them in secret satisfaction.

Whatever her actual intent might be, like it or not, Rowan had the strongest premonition that the quiet life he’d become accustomed too was at an end. Resist as he might, already he knew that he would follow.

SS Matthews

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Author: SSMatthews

Author of The Moon and Rowan Wolfe and Wolfe's Banes.

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