TW: Mild cursing, mentions of death and suicide !
Demons are vile creatures. They lie, manipulate and eventually will devour you whole to absorb your soul. Sometimes their intentions go beyond just absorbing mortal souls. For them to amass a big number of souls and unleashing them in a specific spot could open a gateway to any desired location. Which could lead to destruction. But a calamity like that hadn’t happened on the planet of Arun for countless millennia after a contract was made with the Demon King Belias.
That is all that June and God Aria had talked about before leaving, since as Aria said, “It is good to have knowledge in case something unpresented would happen.”
Some of the group members thought it sounded like a forewarning, but just brushed it aside..
The sound of someone pushing away leaves was clear. It was a young man accompanied by another meek looking man, a witch and a tall elegant looking knight.
The young man clicks his tongue, “Why are all of these paths so narrow? It’s really getting on my nerves.”
Evelynn mockingly repeats after Azrael.
“...” He looks at Evelynn with fire in his eyes, “You think this is funny, huh?!”
The two start fighting again..
“You two..” June sighs and turns to the meek looking young man, “Please, do not mind them.. Anyways, did your compass detect any anomalies around here?”
The young man who looked like he was one with the background seemed surprised that June even acknowledged their presence in the group. In his hand he held a small compass.
The compass wasn’t your ordinary one. This one was coated in a dark blue color that resembled the starry night sky and the directions were written in unknown signs. It was told that the compass was made by Gods and Demons together to be used to track magic sources. But having Gods and Demons work together backfired and the peace they once had was broken. The device was left in Heaven and was altered to serve as a way to detect demonic magic nearby.
“Ah.. uhm, Yes.. I- I.. mean no! Not yet..” The young man stutters, “F-from what the compass is showing I-I.. think we should check that area near the abandoned buildings.”
“Good thinking, Owen. Let us get to it then, yes?” June and Owen already started walking towards their destination, “You two should also hurry up!” they yell to the bickering duo way behind them.
After walking for a while again and arriving at the wanted destination, June notices something was off.
“The air here..–” June’s sentence was interrupted by them coughing very violently. They collapse on one knee. And everyone rushes to them.
“June! What’s wrong?!” Evelynn cries.
“It’s– the air... It feels so toxic and heavy here..”
Both Azrael and Evelynn try to get June up by lifting them from their arms. Surprisingly despite looking light, June was awfully heavy and the two were having a hard time lifting them up.
“Are you sure you aren’t sick? The air here feels normal.” Azrael bluntly states and Evelynn nods.
“The– This air feels like.. it has been infused with some kind of magic..” June says back while taking heavy breaths, “Most likely dark magic..”
“E- Everyone..!” Owen yells and points at the place in front of them.
Everyone turns to see a rundown castle that emitted negative energy. It wasn't there upon their arrival, but it suddenly had appeared in front of them. A castle that looked so old and shabby yet somehow was still able to maintain its delicate look.
Azrael looks at the castle with a grim look, “I suppose we’ve arrived at our destination then..”
At an unknown location lies a body on a grass field. Mint colored hair, animalistic features and red staining through its white shirt. The body is located in the middle of a narrow river in the middle of a forest and no-one around to check up on the person. A nearby bird lands on the top of the person's head.
The person's head twitches and the scared bird flies away. The person puts pressure on their hands and tries to slowly get up. In the process they groan and pant in pain.
“Where am I..” They mutter, “Is.. this.. The Afterlife?”
The mint haired fellow smacks their face, “Get a hold of yourself, Cyrus! I wouldn’t feel that if I was dead.. Right..?”
Cyrus finds themself waking up in an unknown forest with no knowledge of their surroundings– Once again, a situation all too familiar to Cyrus.
Cyrus needed to recall what had happened before ending up laying in the middle of a river. It seemed like the water current from the castle had carried them all the way to the forest.
So, first Cyrus was running away from the guards due to the stress and pressure. Then, after being cornered, by impulse decided to jump off the castle’s window, because they thought dying would be better than to deal with the pain of having ‘killed’ and hurt people. What came after that.. Was pure darkness and pain.
So why were they still alive..? Cyrus thought.
Cyrus looks around, trying to spot the castle from which they jumped off from. They attempt to climb a tall oak tree to properly see the landscape.
With both hands Cyrus grabs the tree from its sides, one leg desperately trying to hold its place on the tree. Cyrus sighs.
“How.. Do I climb a tree?” Cyrus muttered as they backed out to inspect the tree.
“I should just go walk around instead..” they keep muttering, “If I’m anywhere near Eristal, it would be best to leave soon..”
Cyrus turns their back on the big oak tree and while holding the injury on their back with one hand, they slowly start stumbling away.
The sky had turned a deep blue color and was filled with bright stars including shooting ones. Staring too long at the sky too long could even get you deeply immersed in the sky. Looking at it Cyrus felt like there was someone watching over them from the skies. Dismissing that thought, Cyrus had found themselves in a small cliff at an open area in the forest and by looking afar they saw the castle that was in Eristal.
A smile of relief appeared on Cyrus’ face but was still filled with wavering thoughts.
‘Why did I jump off that window?’
‘Is it okay for me to just run away like this?’
‘But they were about to punish you!’
‘But it’s still not right for me to leave like that.. I should take responsibility for those whom I’ve hurt!’
‘Are you really letting yourself into the palm of humans just like that? Fight back!’
Arguing with your own mind.. Cyrus was convinced they had just reached peak insanity. The more they thought about being punished, the more their vision started to blur and their mind slowly going numb.. As if their own presence in their own body started to slowly fade.
A sudden slap on their own face seemed to calm them down. Ever since Cyrus opened their eyes and woken up in that forest, they had only encountered humans who had been ill-mannered and acting like they had something against them. Constant disrespect was thrown at Cyrus’ face, even though in the moment they always regarded it as just someone having a bad day and acting out a bit. However after Eristal’s festival, Cyrus realized that.. humans just weren’t kind hearted people…
Cyrus shook their head, got off the cliff and leaned against a nearby rock and curled up on themselves. They started to think about what their next decision should be.. A decision that wouldn’t hurt others.. As they were thinking in peace, it was soon interrupted by loud bangs coming from the forest not too far from them. Startled Cyrus bounces up and warily starts listening.
The more bangs they heard the more the bangs started to sound like deadly explosions. Cyrus covers their sensitive deer-like ears to protect them from the noise of the explosion. However the situation started to concern Cyrus even more when gray fog started flowing towards Cyrus from the direction of the explosions.
A bitter smell hits Cyrus’ nose, “This– This smell..” Their face became alarmed, “The forest is burning..!?”
Instead of running away from the forest and finding shelter, Cyrus decides to go towards the burning smell and the explosions to inspect.
On the way Cyrus stumbled on pools of mud, tripped on hanging vines, worsening their injuries and continuously delaying their way to their destination. Like a mysterious force trying to stop Cyrus from going there. But still it didn’t occur to them that there could be danger facing them there.
Back at the rundown castle…
A gray brick wall exploded.
“Shit.. Guys..! Is everyone okay?!” Azrael yells as he wipes the blood running down from his forehead.
Evelynn who was crouching on the ground quietly nodded and she was holding June who just grunted in agreement. Owen, their scout looked pale and was trembling the whole time and seemed like he would pass away at any time. Azrael seemed to be analyzing the situation they were in.
Currently they were inside of the rundown castle to investigate, but as soon as they had entered June’s condition had worsened. However they still decided to investigate the castle that appeared out of nowhere. The inside was pretty much empty excluding the furniture that were beyond use. There was a second floor.. but the stairs and floor looked too fragile to be stood on, so the group stayed investigating the first floor.
At first everything looked normal on the inside.. Until Owen had ‘accidentally’ flipped a switch.
“Oh come on.” Everyone comments.
The switch had opened the doors that were previously locked.. and the content that came out of them..? The mutated humans If you could call them that anymore. At this point they were beyond recognizable. Their skin color had rotten to the point of looking a purplish green color and looking into their eyes, one could see that their souls were long gone and no longer responsive. There were hundreds of mutants coming out of the rooms and there was Owen who couldn’t fight and June, who was feeling too weak to fight. Their forces had been halved– They were truly in a pinch.
“Heee hee” Someone laughed.
The voice came from the floor above them, they all looked around, only to see no-one.
“Hee heee..” The voice laughed again, “My Lord was right! Mortals are always so impatient.”
A figure appeared on the stairs of the second floor, sitting there leisurely with no care in the world. The demon had multiple eyes on its face going all the way to their hands, black featherless wings coming from the back, and the lower body like a goats. A smile so wide, it filled them with fear. With a gesture of their hand, all of the mutants surrounded June’s group and they had nowhere to flee.
June, who was on their knees, stood up with the help of Evelynn. “Everyone, beware.” June said, “This is a high ranking demon, one wrong move and we will all be dead..”
The others nod. Meanwhile the demon just kept laughing, “Smart..! So smart!!” The demon shouted, “It is as they say, despite being banished, Angels are still ever so smart!”
June’s face turned grim but didn’t answer. Azrael looked around and then looked at Owen who looked paler than ever.
“Owen, we’re going to make an opening for you.” Azrael whispers, “So you, go and alert the Royal Knights, okay?”
He quietly swallows air and nods.
“June, are you going to be able to fight?” Evelynn asks with concern, “We can try to help you get–”
“No.. I will do what I can.” June replies back, “So Owen, just focus on getting out of here.”
“Hee heee, are you all coming up with a genius plan?” The demon mockingly asks. They look at their formation and laugh, “D– Do not tell me you’re planning to get that weak human out of here and snitch on me..!!?”
The demon lets out a very loud sarcastic laugh, “Feel free to try, but NO-ONE is getting out of here today.” it says in a deep and violent manner.