It was just a regular night, late enough for most of the town's population to be asleep. Those who were still awake were either working, being irresponsible adults or, in case of one man, carrying out a forbidden ritual in the basement.
The man in question was Gregory. It was impossible to tell from a glance that this person was actually a man as he lacked any masculine traits. Even his voice would fit a girl more than a guy. Unless he corrected them, everyone who saw him thought he was a timid girl with a flat chest. It didn't help that his waist-length hair was done with blunt bangs and long sidelocks. Aside from that, Gregory's hair and skin were naturally white and his eyes were red, which had always made him stick out like a sore thumb. But the most unusual part of his appearance was an extra sixth finger growing next to his pinkie finger on both hands. It was fully functional and it looked just like any other finger on his hand, but it's presence alone raised far more eyebrows than his feminine appearance or albinism.
What his appearance didn't tell was that he was a mage. He wasn't the kind of mage that taught random boys with weird scars or one that made a show of cutting himself in half when it was all just a trick, but rather the kind of mage that all sorts of book and TV shows showed as bad guys all viewers would hate. Gregory came from a lineage of mages who did all sorts of nasty things in search of knowledge and power, devoting their bodies and souls to such vile life. Fortunately for everyone around him, neither he nor his parents had done anything like stealing children and sacrificing townspeople to long forgotten gods as it was too much of a hassle in modern age. That didn't mean they abandoned their craft or questionable traditions.
As for the ritual, it wasn't exactly well-know and even less knew how to perform it. Many people thought of bringing the dead back to life for all sorts of reasons and yet only a handful of mages figured out how to do it. On paper, the process was really simple, but it was difficult when you actually got to it. All you needed was the essential salts of whoever you wanted to resurrect, a container said person could fit into, a few potions and an incantation. A plain black T-shirt with a black turtleneck sweater several sizes too big worn on top of it and a pair of tights probably weren't fitting for a ritual like this, but he didn't feel like changing out of what he wore the rest of the day.
Gregory had already obtained said salts and found the necessary potions, both of which had already been poured into a coffin-shaped container made of materials many scientists would kill to get their hands on. It took some time to prepare for theft without getting caught, but he knew that the result was going to be worth the time and effort spent. While he didn't bother trying to find out whose ashes he stole, he did make sure to choose only men that died a long time ago. The one he chose died almost thirty years ago. Even if someone who once knew that person somehow happened to meet him, they wouldn't think much about it. A faint smile crept over Gregory's face as he thought about how flawless his plan was.
Said smile didn't last for long as he remembered the most difficult part of the ritual. The incantation itself wasn't very long, but it had to be repeated for an hour. That alone is bad, but he also had no experience with it. Knowing how to do it, while necessary in its own right, still wasn't everything. Anything could have gone wrong there. One missed word could have prevented the spell from working while not using enough remains of the deceased or incorrect dose of the required potions could have created a horrible abomination instead. At least the locals' customs made it almost impossible for said remains to rot away into nothing so quickly and it was much easier to carry some ash than a corpse.
And so he began reciting the spell. It wasn't written in any living language and it would normally be impossible for any human to actually pronounce even a single word correctly, but generations of self-experimentation had greatly altered the bodies of Gregory's ancestors and those changes were passed down to him as well. While not all of those changes were actually good, modified vocal cords were useful. The language itself was very hard on the ears as a result and would normally draw too much attention, but the basement was sound proof.
A mage or not, standing in the same spot repeating the same passages for an hour was not fun. His legs ached, his throat was raw and he was just mentally exhausted by the time he was done. He would surely feel that in the morning, but that was the future. What concerned him more at that moment was the coffin. There was a disgusting smell coming from it, which was a sign of a successful resurrection, but that didn't tell him anything about what was now in the container. Fortunately, he could undo the spell and try again if there really was a monster inside.
Once he took a deep breath, Gregory carefully removed many locks keeping the coffin sealed shut and removed the lid.
What he found inside was not something he expected. It wasn't a monster or anything hideous. On the contrary, it was beautiful. Inside the container was a girl, about eighteen years old judging by her appearance. Her skin was snow white and her messy, hip-length hair with bangs and sidelocks was also white. With its owner still not awake at the moment, her face looked almost angelic although the dark circles under her eyes made it look like she really needed some sleep. While she had a slender build, her breasts were only several inches smaller than her head, making Gregory look away out of embarrassment. That's how he noticed her long, reptilian tail, which didn't fit into the coffin well and had to curl around. It had to be at least five feet long. There was also a pair of black bat wings of moderate size growing out of her lower back.
Something was wrong there. Not only did the remains belong to a man, but it was also a human. This girl was neither. It couldn't have been a case of misplaced remains, which was unlikely anyway. Gregory never liked making mistakes, especially when it came to magic, but now he was starting to panic. When did it go wrong? Did he stutter? Were the remains actually incomplete? Did they somehow get contaminated? Did he use the wrong potions?
The mage's train of thought crashed into an imaginary wall when he heard a groan. The girl was sitting up, clutching her head as if she woke up with a headache, which was true. Everything swam in her vision. Now that her eyes were open, Gregory could see that they were not only yellow, but they were also glowing and she had slit pupils.
"Wh...What's...Where am I...?"
Failure or not, she was pleasant to look at and her soft, breathy voice was easy on the ear. Maybe there wasn't any need to get rid of her. However, he couldn't just keep her there or let her go either. At least not without figuring out what was going on. The problem was that Gregory wasn't good at talking to people. He was supposed to get a mindless slave through this ritual, not...this.
"Um, how should I say it...Welcome back to the world of the living," Gregory says, drawing the girl's attention.
"Back to the world of the living?" she asks, still recovering from her terrible headache. "What are you-"
The girl paused, then cleared her throat and tried to say something, but then she stopped again as if she noticed something. Things were getting even more confusing for the mage, who watched the girl examine herself, her expression quickly changed from confusion to panic and finally anger.
"What the fuck is this?!" she shouts, sharply turning her head to look at the only other person in the room. "Who are you?"
Now "angelic" didn't suit her at all. That kind of expression really shouldn't have been on a face like this. This girl was growing hysterical and that wasn't a good turn of events. Of course, Gregory was prepared for things getting violent, but it was still annoying to him.
"I'm Gregory. I'm the one who brought you back to life. Calm down."
"...Then...Did you do this to me?!"
The mage was quickly cut off as the girl almost jumped out of the container and grabbed him by his throat. He had to admit, she was stronger than she looked. This would be at least concerning to any other man, but Gregory knew that his life wasn't in danger even as he felt his windpipe getting crushed from her grip. This only made everything easier for him as he didn't have to play nice anymore and he could get something out of this.
"Fix this...Now!" she demanded, which only made the man in her grip frown.
"I don't understand..."
"What is there to understand? Give me my dick back!"
Now everything was clear to him. He did successfully resurrect that man. What didn't go right was everything else. There must have been something else in the ashes or one of the potions had gone bad. But before he could get to that problem, he had to get out of this situation.
In spite of his seemingly frailer appearance, the mage was strong enough to pry the pale hands off his neck with minimal effort. While he was noticeably shorter than the person in the coffin - being only 5'2" - getting too close into her personal space after displaying the difference in their strength was enough to make her freeze...Him? Now that was going to get confusing. The body was obviously female, but the mind wasn't. As far as he was concerned at the moment, this thing wasn't any different from property now, so, "it" would be fine.
"You're alive, you can serve me and you will do so. Everything else is irrelevant. Got it?" That was a little harsh, but Gregory was too tired to deal with her and he was hungry.
"Like hell I will!" his servant protested, actually managing to punch the mage right in the face hard enough to knock him flat on his back.
This was getting out of hand. The punch didn't outright break anything, but it did hurt and his vision swam. Maybe he should have brought some chains with him. Would have made this much easier.
The sound of something hitting the floor with a thud and a curse drew his attention back to the troublemaker. Someone still wasn't used to their body. Of course, he couldn't let his property clumsily damage itself and so he stood up and approached it.
"I'll make it clear to you...If you run away now, you will die. If you try to kill me, you will die. If you don't serve me, you will die." And yet this warning still didn't stop its attempts to get away.
"I don't have time to listen to your bullshit!" There was one more thing he could do to stop this nonsense if it refused to listen.
Without hesitation, Gregory rolled up the sleeve on his right arm and slashed his wrist with his left hand. The cut was deep enough for blood to start flowing, immediately stopping his servant in its tracks.
"Can you see it? Can you smell it? You can't live without it. It's just a side effect of the resurrection spell, but it's a nasty one. Trust me, you won't get enough blood if you don't obey me."
Watching its resolve crumble under the pressure of its desire for blood wasn't pleasant to him and there was still enough left for it not to take even a single step in his direction, forcing Gregory to approach it instead. He'd rather get it done and over with quickly. He doesn't even mind it when his servant finally tears into his arm. Unfortunately, he badly underestimated its thirst for blood. By the time its done, he could barely stand. Anyone else would be long dead from losing that much blood, but this was simply unpleasant to him.
His servant, on the other hand, seemed to be disgusted at its own actions and still mad at its master. That would certainly change as enough time passed. But first, the mage had to rest. Maybe eat a slice of cake. A strawberry cake seemed like a good idea to him. He always liked those. Maybe a blackberry cake? Cherry? Chocolate? Everything at once? His mouth watered at the thought of it.
...No, he had to do something about that thing first. The basement always got very cold during winter and his servant was still naked, making it shiver from cold. He didn't know whether it could catch a cold as it wasn't human, but he would rather not risk it.
"Let's go upstairs and get you dressed."
"Don't care, I need you in good shape. It's not like you have a choice, right?"
Something had to be done about that attitude. He didn't go out of his way to resurrect someone to waste more time dealing with disobedience.