The Promised Heir

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The Promised Heir

Postby Giratina93 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:32 pm

The Promised Heir
Chapter 1: Devil’s Desire

Dialadir looked out the window and upon the ancient Hellian landscape that he called home. He had to admit, it was rather peaceful, living in the shadows of what had once been the mighty capital city. The cobbled grey stones cast off the reflection of the dim light that overhung the grey clouds. The ancient ruins, long since destroyed and in desolation now lay alongside more modern buildings, where the rest of his kind went to and fro. Ancient temples loomed over the simple structure buildings that he and his species had built for themselves, as a reminder of the past… The bloodied, scarred past.

They were one of the many races that dwelled in the ancient remains of Old Hell. For humanity, they knew them from a myriad of names: Ogres, Orcs, Giants, Oni… Large towering humanoids with the strength of a hundred men, and the liver to survive a hundred drinks, they were feared and respected even among their demonic neighbors. They told no lies, for they honored the truth above all else, even above a good drink, and a better fight. They knew themselves as the Galtor, but the others in Hell called them the Oni, after mankind’s superstition of them.

At one point, they had lived far and wide across the Underworld, from the darkest corners of the abyss, to the thriving capital of Makai. Many of them, like their fellow creatures, even lived on the surface world alongside mankind. They traded for wealth, for information, and for mutual benefit. It was a time of peace, of prosperity for all races.

And then, came the wars, both above and below. Mankind and the dragons above struggled over control of the surface, and all others were caught in the crossfire. Many, including the Oni, were forced to flee below the surface to survive, while others stayed above to fight for the thrill of the battle, only to lose their lives in the long struggle ahead. At the same time, the underworld itself entered a vicious, bloody cycle of death and destruction as the war for the empty Throne of Hell emerged. With the mysterious vanishing of Lord Lucifer, the very maker of Hell, countless demons, spirits, monsters, and ghouls struggled to gain supremacy over the very throne, to become the most powerful entities in the Underworld. Chaos and despair spread like wildfire, consuming all in their path. For three million years, the wars raged on, and the Oni fled into the darkest depths of the Underworld, into the long destroyed remains of Old Hell, to sit out and wait the endless chaos.

The war on the surface ended first. The dragon lords that once ruled half the world were no more, and with them, vanished most of the life that once lived upon the surface. Mankind had emerged the winner, after being driven to near extinction, but it had come at a most gruesome cost… The very gods that had kept the world in balance were worn thin by calamity after calamity, and in the end, those that survived cut all ties off with the earth to preserve themselves, leaving the planet a dying world on the edge of life. The Oni shied away from this desolate landscape, and found it worse than where they already dwelled .

The war below raged on. Those who claimed the throne only found themselves disposed of and replaced by another within days, weeks, or months. Stability was a forgotten hope for those who survived in the ancient demonic city. Warriors great and mighty rose from the depths, or came from above to claim it for themselves, but none could hold onto it for long. There was always someone greater in the shadows, someone who waited for the right moment to plunge the deadly knife into the back of the current ruler. Until twenty years ago, when at long last, the deadly chain was broke. A ruler stepped forth, and toppled the tyrant who had seized the throne time and time again. Now this new ruler, cold in heart and cruel in mind, ruled the great Underworld with an iron fist, but knew that trouble was on the horizon. For during the final hours of the war, an Oni warrior had cursed the ruler out with an omen before he died by their hands. “When the twin horned child of white seizes the throne from the Frozen Lord, then all of the Underworld shall thrive in peace.”

That was what Dialadir repeated to himself as he sat upon the chair in his living room. The terrible events rang through the grizzled Oni general’s mind, again and again, like an endless chorus that refused to silence itself. He shook his head, trying to stop it, but it persisted on, refusing to leave, refusing to be silenced.

“Dialadir, is something the matter?” The voice of his wife finally stopped the cycle of events. He turned, and saw her standing by the doorway, a hand placed on the side of the wooden frame. She was short for her kind, only standing in at a mere five and a half feet in height, and as Dialadir stood up, she only came to his chest, yet she still bore the classic marks of her species despite her more human appearance. A thin red horn jutted from her forehead, over two feet in length, and her hair was short and blonde against her tanned, trimmed body and neck. “You look troubled, like something is agitating you. Is it… about our child?”

Dialadir nodded. He was a standard specimen of his kind, a far more rugged, monstrous entity to his wife, Charin. He was to her what a caveman was to a modern human being, yet was dressed in the same modern style of jeans and a red robe. His eyes were thick and heavy, and the horn from his head twisted upward like a narwhals, twice as long as his wife’s. Each arm was thick and hard with muscles, muscles that could break rock between them. “I wish it was not the case.” The old general sighed. “It is just… I remember my brother’s words from that day, twenty years ago. I saw him pay the price for trying to take the throne for himself. And now, our kind, our city suffers because of him.”

“Don’t say such words of your brother.” Charin silenced him with a finger over his lips. “He had every right to say them to our current ruler, who holds no honor herself. She does not deserve the throne, not after the trickery and deceit she pulled to obtain it. She is a coward, a thief who refuses to play by the rules of war and hides behind those stronger than her to accomplish what she desires. Such a person is unfit to take the throne or to even contend for it and should be cursed to the end of days.”

Dialadir couldn’t help but nod. Everything his wife said was true, and he couldn’t deny it. But he didn’t want to think on that right now, not on the current state of Hell, not of the leadership that was now in charge, not on any of it, but that which worried him the most. “How are the twins doing? Still asleep?” He asked.

Charin nodded, a thin smile etched on her otherwise stoic face. “They are enjoying their rest together. I need my own rest… but I know I can’t keep my eyes off them, not when they are so dependent on me, so helpless as the babies they are...” She stopped, then looked over at Dialadir with a stern look. “We’re running out of medicine for them… Could you head out and get some tomorrow?”

“Of course I can.” He said. Ever since the twins had been born a few weeks ago, they had been ill. Vomiting, rashes, ruined diapers, the sickness simply had never ended. Thankfully, some of the neighbors had been kind enough to hand them over herbal medication to handle the symptoms, but as it was, they had no idea what was causing it. “I’ll go right now and get some medicine for them.” He turned, and began to walk out the door. “It won’t take long. I should be back in half an-“

A loud sound, a sort of knocking noise, rang from the front of the house. Both Charin and Dialadir turned to face it, their eyes narrowed. No one visited at this hour, not so late at night. With a look over at her, Charin nodded, and Dialadir went toward the oaken door, before opening it.

“Why, hello to you this fine night hour.” A voice hissed from below. Dialadir shifted his gaze down, and his face twisted into one of disgust. Standing a head below him was a hooded figure, one with a long narrow head with a tapering crest at the end. A clawed wing unfurled from under the robes, holding an ink stained feather, while the other wing, olive green in color and covered in scales, clenched a notebook of sorts. He was half a head taller than his wife, yet still quite shorter than Dialadir was. The crested head looked up, revealing a mouth filled with sharpened teeth, twisted in a smile few would truth. “I am great to see that the man of the house is here. It’ll make things so much simpler.”

“Let me guess, you are here for the annual census of our people? Here to see how many are in this house?” Dialadir glared at him, holding back the temptation to strike the winged cretin where he stood. Every year he came, examining all the Oni in the city and seeing just how many were there. He claimed it was just for representation, but everyone knew the truth. He looked past the demon, and could see that his neighbors, his fellow Oni, were also watching, many holding themselves back from attacking the fiend as well, their muscles twitching and strained as they could only watch. If only they could be rid of this pest once and for all… but as it stood, he was the public mouth of the Ruler of Hell in these areas. Were something to happen to him, they would all suffer far worse, and as it stood, they didn’t stand a chance against what would be brought against them.

“Ah, but of course.” The winged demon said in what seemed to be genuine honesty. “You know how it is. Lord Persephone is interested in seeing how many reside within the lands she rules, so she sends me around to see how many are around… So tell me, do you have any new additions to the household? My nose picks up some new scents inside, some that weren’t there last year. New flowers, maybe, or a new pet?”

“We have… a new pair of twins.” Dialadir bluntly said. There was no use lying to him, even if it weren’t against the nature of his kind. Each and every time they had insisted there were no new arrivals the previous year, he would inspect the place regardless, usually with someone else beside him. It was odd, however, that this time there was no one alongside the winged creature. Something wasn’t right, something he wasn’t seeing… “They are both sick right now, and are resting, so if you would come by another time-“

“I am afraid that is not acceptable.” The demon pushed past the Oni, making his way into the house. “I must come back to the palace to report, and then I will be busy until the next year. I am very interested in seeing these twins, however. I, Karzahni, will not take no for an answer, for I must see all new developments, and take note, for Lord Persephone wants to know everything. Is that not acceptable, for your ruler to know of what occurs down here at this time?” Karzahni let a thin smile spread as he shifted the robes around as we walked down the hallway, thin serpentine tail sliding behind him on the Hellian wood. “Besides, I love seeing babies, especially twins. Just the cutest things around.”

Dialadir held back the urge to grab the gremlin and break his neck then and there. He would have, had he not heard the wood above his head creak and groan. Each house built by an Oni was nearly identical to one another, two stories in height, with the second floor being used for storage. For them, the storage room in their house was empty, bar a few useless trinkets that lay flat on the ground, unable to move. The fact he could hear footsteps above him, meant there was someone up there, and seeing as he could see his wife across from him, her eyes also trained above, everything clicked into place. The other person was already inside, ready to make a move if necessary. That was the only possible explanation that came to both Oni’s minds.

If the intruder were a weak one, they could easily handle both Karzahni and it… but there lay the problem. They knew not who or what the intruder was above them, or worse, how powerful it was. All the cards were in Karzahni’s hands, and they knew not what those cards were. All they could do now was go along with what he said, or else risk losing everything. “Okay them. Charin, show him where the twins are sleeping.”

“Okay.” His wife said, before turning and leading Karzahni down the hall. Each step seemed to drag for both her and Dialadir, time itself slowing down to a crawl. Their hearts ached from what they were doing, but each time they thought of trying to do something, to go against what they were doing, all they needed was the groaning echoes of the footsteps above, following their path , to get them to think otherwise. “But, please be quiet. I don’t want to wake up the babies.”
“Oh, don’t you worry.” Karzahni whispered, a grin barely visible on his toothy maw. “I won’t do anything to them. Just have a look, take down notes, and be on my way. That is how my business is done. I don’t like getting physical, especially with such honest and truthful people as yourselves.”

They both ignored the lies he spoke, until after rounding a corner, came to a closed door. Charin grabbed the door knob, and slowly opened it. Inside was a room where a sole candle glowed, casting a dim, ghastly light upon the room. Toys of various sorts, mostly balls and animals lay around the floor, and in the middle of the room was a crib, with a blanket draped over the middle. The blanket was rising, then falling, at a rhythm identical to a heartbeat. “Here they are. As you can see, they are fast asleep like we said.”

“I can tell.” Karzahni said, voice low and nearly silent as he took a sniff of the air, before clutching his nose. “You are right as well. They are sick. I will make my business here quick and fast. May I take a glimpse at them? It is all I wish to do.”

Dialadir looked at Charin. Charin looked back at Dialadir, then over at the crib. Neither wanted to take off the bedsheet. They knew what would happen if they did so. “We can’t. They are resting and tired. If we take off the bedsheet now, they will wake up screaming, and it will take hours to get them back to sleep. It is not worth it. Just take our word for it, and please leave so we can get back to our routine.” Charin asked, voice tired and wearing thin of Karzahni’s presence.

The tone was not missed by the demon. “I cannot, nor will I. It is by law of her highness that things go this way, and I shall look at these twins wherever you insist or not.” He snapped. He moved like a blur, one moment at the doorway, the next beside the crib, and with a single swipe of the claws, snatched the blanket up and threw it aside. “There, now was that too hard? The blanket is removed, and they are still asle-“ He cut himself off as his eyes drifted down toward the crib, before the irises began to widen.

There, sound asleep and cuddled up to one another, were two baby Oni, both girls by the scent of things. They were slightly larger than human babies of the same age, over a foot in height, and plump as well. Their skin was white as snow, their hair that was already beginning to grow from their scalps of the same color. But it was the horns that caught Karzahni’s attention.

Most Oni by nature had only one horn, a single structure made of cartilage and hardened bone that grew out of the skull. No two Oni shared the same kind of horn, with them ranging from spiraling tusks to short blunt stubs, to only a mere bump on the head to signal that there would be a horn there. Sometimes the horn was on the front of the head, other times it was on the side. But on these two babies, was a first for him. They both wielded two horns, mere blunt protrusions from the skull.

“You have seen our children up close and personal.” Dialadir said, voice barely holding back the anger in his heart as he grabbed Karzahni and pulled him away. “You have seen what you have wanted, now we ask that you leave.”

“Oh, I will. I will leave now.” Karzahni said, eyes darting from the parents to the children. “But, you see. This is quite the unusual occurrence. Twin horned, white bodied Oni. It’s a special occurrence. An event none would ever think possible. So I am afraid I have one final request to ask of both of you.” He said as he began to walk away, body now in the doorway.”

“And what is it? What else do you want from us? You have come in uninvited, and nearly awoken the children! What else is there for you to do here?” Charin growled, fist clenched tight. She knew in her gut what he was about to say…

“That is simple, my dear. You see, Lord Persephone has issued a new rule.” Karzahni said as he twisted back around. His red eyes leered out at both Oni, and he turned his head into a sneering grin. “All Oni children that are white bodied with twin horns are to be brought to her, alive or dead. No exceptions. Your twins are coming with me, wherever you like it or not.”
You dare try to challenge me? Then we shall see how you fare against a true Archangel!

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GotengoXGodzilla wrote: It could be said that kaiju regeneration is like human dodging, basically.


GotengoXGodzilla wrote:That's not Mothra, that's an ugly goddamn demon!

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Re: The Promised Heir

Postby Giratina93 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:13 pm

Chapter 2: The Massacre



“Would you mind repeating that again? I had no idea you were so eager to die here.” Dialadir said as he and his wife stood between the crib and Karzahni. Both Oni were like a stone wall, an impregnable line of defense against the intruder that glared daggers at them. Their muscles rippled and tensed beneath their clothes, waiting for their foe to make the first move. If he did so, they both knew he wouldn’t last. “We will give you, and Lord Persephone, one warning and one warning only. Leave, and never bother us or the rest of this village again, or we will show you no mercy.”

Karzahni shifted his gaze from Dialadir to Charin, and back again. The cloak he wore unfurled, and both of his arms spread out, emerald wings that, as Dialadir noticed, lacked any muscle on them. “I fear you fail to realize the position you are in, Oni.” Karzahni sneered, what had once been a generous tone now dissolved into one of mockery and smugness. With a single flap of the wings, he was airborne, head against the roof of the room, and jaws dripping with saliva. “It is both of you who are outmatched and hopeless against me. If you both leave, and allow me to take the babies, then everyone in this village shall be spared. Otherwise, none of you shall live to see another da-“

A bowl hurled at his head cut him off, thrown too fast for him to react. The demon crumpled to the ground as the bowl smashed into pieces. Dialadir stepped forward, and grabbed the downed demon by the neck before picking him up, eye to eye. The thick burly hands of the Oni tightened around the demon’s neck, constricting the windpipe and denying him precious air. “You have made a grave mistake, dog of the devil.” Dialadir growled.
To his surprise, Karzahni’s maw twisted into a crooked smile. “No, it is… you who have made their last mistake.”

A jagged scream ripped through Dialadir’s mind, and he turned to where Charin had been. Just moments ago, she had been standing there by his side… and now, she had vanished, the only thing left being a large hole in the ceiling. “Charin!” Dialadir shouted, fear gripping his heart. But with his mind taken off his prisoner, he left himself open for attack. A swipe from Karzahni’s wing dug into his face, and caused the Oni to stagger back, letting go of the demon in the process.

“Much better.” Karzahni coughed as he flew upon the crib. In each clawed foot he grabbed a child, but as he did so, one of the talons dug into the child’s forehead, causing her to scream as a thin cut was left in its place. “Now, I shall leave you to Minos. My work here is done.” The demon snarled as he flew up into the hole in the ceiling.

“No, get back here!” Dialadir shouted, but as he was about to leap up, something else leaped down. Before he could react, the figure sent a clawed fist into Dialadir’s midsection. All the air in his lungs was knocked out, and the next thing he knew, he was outside, lying among the wreckage of what had once been the wall of his house. He spat out blood from his mouth. That punch… whoever had thrown it was strong, ungodly strong.

As he got up, a sound alien to him caught his attention, more like a roar than anything. He turned in the direction of his house, and his eyes widened. Standing in the hole in his wall was another demon, far larger than Karzahni, and far more imposing, with crimson scales and four arms that supported its upper body as it slowly moved toward the Oni. A scythe-like tail swished back and forth behind it, and its face was covered in a pale white mask, leaving only the lower mouth and rows of teeth build like railroad spikes to show. Twin golden eyes locked onto Dialadir, and the creature began to circle him, a forked tongue rich in blood flickering out.

A forked tongue and teeth drenched in Charin’s blood, Dialadir realized.

The creature lunged, fangs bared red in the Hellian sunlight. Dialadir swerved just in time to avoid it, then bright both of his fists into the side of its head. The blow knocked the demon back, but to Dialadir’s surprise, it recovered just as fast, and slashed away at his chest. Dialadir screamed as the talons ripped through his hardened flesh, spilling out rich crimson blood. Already, he was realizing this was no ordinary demon; This was something else entirely. He grabbed at the neck of the creature, and began to squeeze with enough force to rend metal apart.

His opponent ripped the hands off its throat, and kicked him away. Once more Dialadir found himself sprawling several dozen meters away. He began to get up, but realized there was something on his chest. He reached and grabbed the squishy, wet flesh that was there.

His own entrails.

He looked up, and there was Minos, the creature charging at him on all six limbs. The very ground itself was rent apart as it closed in on him. He braced himself for impact, but at the last moment Minos was bowled over to the side by another Oni. The creature howled and snapped as it caught itself from falling over, only to find itself set upon by more and more Oni. They came by the dozens, from the houses and the ancient worn down ruins that were Old Hell. Armed with spears and axes, they threw themselves at the monster, pushing it further and further away from Dialadir. “General, leave this monster to us. We won’t let this pet of Persephone lay another hand on you!” A large armored Oni shouted from the midst of the group.

Dialadir could only sit there, stunned as he noticed one particular figure approach him. It was Charin, face bloodied and her horn shattered, but otherwise okay. She ran over to Dialadir, and helped him up. “My gods… That monster did that to you. I had no idea-“

“It’s alright.” Dialadir groaned as he began to stuff his entrails back into the open wound. It stung, but it was better than leaving them hanging. “I’ve been through worse than this.” He was panting heavily, and resisted the urge to lie back down on his back. Everything hurt, but especially the stomach. Had he not been so used to such grave injuries, he would have been paralyzed from pain alone. But those fights were simple, easy for him to predict and deal with, not like this. Never had he faced a situation like this before. No battle he had been in, no force he had faced, was like this, nor had the stakes been as high as they were now. The children were in peril, but in the condition they were in-

A predatory howl brought both husband and wife’s attentions back over to the fight that was occurring. Their neighbors, their friends were being cut down in rapid succession as Minos sliced through them with ease. The fiend had managed to snatch four axes from the Oni, and was now using them against them, like a whirling twister of destruction and death. Oni left and right were felled, heads sliced off and arms ripped in pieces as their foe used the very weapons they had brought against it with skill unmatched. It sidestepped one such swing from an Oni, and lifted up a clawed foot, grabbed it by the skull and smashed it against the floor, sending blood and bone splattering across the ground, before twisting around and bisecting a second Oni with a slash of the axe in its upper right hand. A third managed to impale the creature through the chest with a spear, and then more spears ripped through the torso, and yet not even that stopped it. It turned on the attackers, ignoring the injuries upon itself as it went for their throats, tearing them out with powerful bites and crushing them to bits.

Dialadir and Charin could only stand there and watch, eyes widened with fear. They tried to will their bodies to run, to flee from what they were seeing, but they refused to cooperate. It was as if they were paralyzed in all but the brain itself. Blood splattered on their faces, until at last, there was only stillness. Everyone they had known their entire lives lay dead at the feet of Minos, drenched in a pool of blood and gore. The odor of blood was overpowering, and made them sick.

And then, Minos turned its gaze toward them, and bared its fangs, before dropping the axes. Each hands grabbed one of the four spears in its chest, and ripped it out, bits of meat and muscle still on the hooks of the spears. It looked down at the spears, and threw them aside, before advancing toward the fear stricken Oni.

“Get away from us!” Dialadir shouted as his body finally gained control, and he threw a punch at the advancing Minos. This time, the beast caught the punch in one hand, then with little effort flung the Oni general off to the side. Charin’s eyes widened, and she screamed out her husband’s name as he smashed through a stone pillar, only to look back as Minos charged right at her, jaws wide agape.

______________________________________

Karzahni let out a long winded sigh as he finally landed. He turned, and looked over at the Oni village that was nestled in the heart of Old Hell. “Good riddance.” He spat, as he looked down at the pair of children he had placed on the ground. They were still crying, and he gritted his teeth. “Annoying pests! I should just dash you lot against the ground! I don’t have to go to that blasted village of meat heats again! Heck, I’d be happy if it just burnt to the ground right no-“

He was cut off as a pillar of flames rose up from where the village had been. Karzahni’s eyes widened for a moment, and then he shook his head. “Stupid Minos, having to go make a flashy scene. We were supposed to make things simply and clean, not create a goddamn crater along the way! Seriously, I’m beginning to wonder if she’s even capable of being subtle.”

A hit to the back of the head caused him to turn around, and he quickly resented making that comment. There stood Minos, but no longer in a monstrous form. Now it looked more like a woman, a human woman much to Karzahni’s ire, but still with the pale white mask covering her upper face. Scarlet hair that flowed past the head fluttered in the gentle breeze, and her golden eyes looked upon Karzahni with a gaze he was afraid of trying to interpret. She wore a short reddish blue skirt and a dark, ornate dress that covered her body down to the knees. Her hands, long and slender, gripped tightly, and she took a step forward in bare feet, her mouth slightly agape, and eyes closing as she took a deep breath, before opening once more, now upon the babies that were at Karzahni’s feet. She reached down, and picked up both of them, cradling them against her chest. This had the effect that she had desired: They both quickly went quiet, and fell back asleep.

“Thank you for that.” Karzahni spat as he began to walk off, wings held tightly against his body. “I thought they’d never shut up. My poor sanity was going to be taxed to no end!” He turned back to Minos, and he tilted his head. “So, who will be the one to dash these figures off a cliff? I’d guess it would be you, since you are the one who made this valuable operation possi-“

He was cut off as Minos hissed at him, before turning away, keeping the babies out of his line of sight. That began to ring alarm bells in the demon’s mind. “Oh no. No no no no no!” Karzahni snapped. He began to walk forward toward Minos, fingers resisting the urge to gouge something out of the ground, or worse his own flesh. “I have been chief advisor for every single ruler of Hell since Lord Lucifer himself. I know how these prophesies tend to go, and I have dealt with more than my fair share of them involving a chosen one! Letting them live is paramount to disaster, Minos! Killing them now, and making sure of it is the only way this is going to end well! Ae you even listening to me!? Please don’t tell me you plan on taking in these Oni children as your own? Because if you are, then that is a grave mistake. Grave indeed. I, Karzahni, must implore you to consider other op-“

He was silenced with a hand to the throat. Minos brought the demon up to her face, and began to growl, teeth still crimson with the blood of Oni. It took every bit of willpower from the lesser demon not to soil himself. Despite how human she looked, there was no denying how terrifying Minos was, and how stubborn as well. He had no choice, but to give in. “Very well then. Just… Inform Lord Persephone of this decision. At least listen to her words before trying something this unorthodox.” He quietly groveled.

With that, Minos let him go, allowing the demon to gasp for air and rub his throat. With the twin Oni children held close, she began to walk off, rubbing her lower jaw against them and purring gently. Karzahni took one last look at the burning Oni village, and quickly followed her. There were always more Oni out there, but with their primary village in ashes, their race was no longer a factor to be considered; one less source of threat for Lord Persephone to handle. And yet, Karzahni still found himself baffled by Minos’s actions. Just what the hell WAS she?! She looked so human, the very species Karzahni loathed and despised, and yet she was far more brutal and terrifying than any demon he had ever met. Just what was the logic in her course of actions? What alien thoughts were going on in her mute mind that convinced her that rearing these two children would be a good idea?
You dare try to challenge me? Then we shall see how you fare against a true Archangel!

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GotengoXGodzilla wrote: It could be said that kaiju regeneration is like human dodging, basically.


GotengoXGodzilla wrote:That's not Mothra, that's an ugly goddamn demon!

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Re: The Promised Heir

Postby Giratina93 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:03 pm

Chapter 3: Queen of Hell


As a whole, one would expect for a demon lord to look terrifying, almost monstrous in appearance. Many such rulers that had tried to take the mantle of Hell were noted to be of terrifying visage, with burning eyes that would make even the strongest of men shake and quiver in their heels. It was these rulers that Karzahni remembered the most fondly of, on top of being capable outside of his guidance. However, for every rule there was an exception, and Lord Persephone was that exception.

She sat upon her obsidian throne, a hand supporting her resting head as she looked down upon Karzahni and Minos with a gaze that could only be described as a mixture of contempt and uttermost boredom. Her tanned face seemed more fitting for an angel than one who ruled over the very capital of demonic society, and her legs swung cheerfully in the air, just a few inches off the ground. Her free hand ran through the silver hair that coursed down her back, and she shifted ever so slightly in her metallic armor that was the only thing that gave her away as being anything demonic.

“My lord, please understand what we have done.” Karzahni said, as he forced his body to not shake too rapidly. The very air was chilled, and for good reason. As it stood to Karzahni’s ire, Persephone had the power of ice and cold, and her very body radiated of chilled air as if she were a mountain in winter. For the cold blooded Karzahni, it was torture just being around her. He never could understand why she had to have the power she did, for it made dealing with her an absolute pain in the neck. He could only recall a mere handful of cases where a ruler had some form of automatic power that he’d rather not deal with, but the cold was one thing he detested even more than humans. Combined with the fact that Persephone was as human as they got in appearance, and Karzahni was stuck with the one ruler he couldn’t stand being with.

“Let me guess… it has to do with these… children you bring before me?” Persephone said, her finger rotating in circles in the air. Her voice was young and youthful, but behind the sweet tones lay something else, a tone that shook Karzahni to the core. The queen’s eyes shifted down toward the pair of Oni children that lay nestled in the arms of Minos. “The very children prophesized to be my end?”

The way she spoke those words sent waves of uncertainty into Karzahni. As he knew all too well, he had to choose his response carefully, or else risk angering the young ruler. Already he had learned the hard way not to address her in any other title than Lord, despite his insistence that the term was far too low of the ladder of power for her to use. A bruised eye had been his accompanying guest for the weeks following that lapse in error, and a frozen wing as well. The eye had been from Minos; the frost from Persephone herself. Even now, he shuddered to look over at Minos. Between the two of them, he knew not who to fear more. He gulped, before saying as slowly and low as possible, “Yes, my lord. It was Minos’s idea to bring them to you. She insisted on raising them, for reasons I cannot fathom. I told her that it would be best to ask you personally, so here we are now.”

“I gathered as much.” Persephone said plainly. A thin wry smile spread across her face, and a dark chuckle escaped her mouth as she rose to her feet. She stepped forward, and the ground was covered in a layer of ice that spread from her feet. “And I am correct to assume that the Oni village was eradicated, with all survivors slain?”

Karzahni nodded. “Yes, my lord. Minos made sure of that personally. The last I saw, it was a raging fireball. If there’s anything left for the Tengu to try and get scoops on, it will only be charred bones and ligaments. For all they’ll know, an accident happened and everyone was vaporized as a result. The Underworld as a whole will be none the wiser, especially the rest of their kind in their other petty villages.”

Persephone stopped right before the winged demon, and looked him closely in the eyes. Her frigid azure orbs seemed to pierce deep into Karzahni’s own eyes, and the demon found the temptation to look away more alluring than not. “Very good. In that case, Minos has made a perfectly fine choice in bringing these children to me. We shall raise them in our home.”

It was not unheard of for Karzahni to be absolutely baffled by a decision made by a higher up. Long in his history of dealing with Hellian rulers, he had faced more than his fair share of thick headed bigots whose heads were firmly in the wrong place. Despite his insistence on them following what he said, they had presented to him ideas that ranged from something as mild as trying to cut down the size of the Hellian army to as horrible as declaring war on the demons from the very birthplace of demonkind, the Abyss. One ruler, whose name escaped Karzahni at the moment, had even been so bullheaded as to try and replace the very fallen archangels that now governed over all aspects of the Underworld, and declare themselves as the supreme godhead of the Underworld. That had ended in the most grotesque and drawn out death of a demon Karzahni had ever seen.

In all those cases, either he had gotten his way, or the ruler had suffered for failing to heed his endless advice. But in this case, he found it hard to believe what he was hearing. This girl, this teenage girl before him was the daughter of that very archangel who presided as the godhead of the entire Underworld, and as such, he had expected her to be raised better than this, to know things that previous rulers lacked.

As such, it was no small wonder that he felt the urge to scream at her, to grab the girl by the ears and demand her to follow as he said. He wanted to grab one of the gargoyles on the side of the great hall they were in and dash it over her head, or even better, wrap her up in one of those royal tapestries and smother her. This was beyond stupid! Beyond idiotic! Words failed Karzahni as he felt his claws twitch sporadically out of his control. And he would have let his opinion be known, had there not been a low hiss from his side. He dared to look over, and noticed that Minos was glaring at him. The woman’s lips were parted in a snarl, and her eyes glowed golden. Karzahni gulped, then willed himself to take a deep breath. “My Lord, may I just ask you why you think this is a good idea? I will go through with this regardless, but I want to know your reasoning.” He forced himself to say in as calm and respectful a voice as possible. It was highly evident how much he detested this idea, but with Minos around, he dared not make that known verbally. It was one thing to shoot down the idea before the primal figure… but it was another to lash out against Persephone with Minos around. He valued his life, and wasn’t willing to have it snuffed out so soon.

“Why, of course.” Persephone purred as she walked over to the two Oni children. She ran her hand across their faces, and smiled. “It is because I can.”

“And… that’s it?” Karzahni questioned.

“Yes. You see, I never really was a fan of this whole idea of fate.” She looked over at Karzahni, and yawned. “I don’t really believe the words of some old Oni that was facing death in the face. Sure, they say an Oni never lies, but when faced with death itself, even the most truthful of people will say anything. Or, if he wasn’t lying, perhaps he was merely mistaken in what he thought would happen. After all, if you are mistaken in thought, then you aren’t really lying, are you? After all, how many of these prophecies you dealt with in your old senile age have ever come to pass? You prevented them from even possibly occurring, and the few that did, were self-fulfilled.”

“I suppose that is the case.” Karzahni begrudgingly admitted. “And I am not senile! I still carry more wits about me than many demons of my age, Abyssian or Hellian.”

Persephone waved him off. “That’s beside the point. But most importantly, Karzahni…” She was right up in his face now, her chilled breath violating his nostrils. “I revel in a good challenge. Go ahead, let these children grow. I will even see to it that they become the greatest of their kind. Let them become the strongest warriors I have in my thrall, and we shall see if they are indeed capable of surpassing me. I fear not the superstitious words of a dying Oni. Let this be a testament of how far I am beyond those that have come before me. I am Persephone, greatest of all the Rulers of Hell, and I shall make my position as Lord and Master of all be known.”

Karzahni resisted the urge to groan audibly. That had to be the most try-hard speech he had ever heard, and that was saying a lot considering his history. This girl was so full of herself, so infatuated with her own overblown ego, that she was dismissing every single warning bell and openly challenging all the advice he was giving her. Had it been anyone else, he would have been all too glad to sit back and watch those boasts blow up right in their face, but as it was, things were never that simple. She could get away with making any kind of mistake if she had a safety net to ensure it never came back to bite her… Karzahni took another look over at Minos, who was no longer looking back at him, but was knelt on her feet, a smile on her face as she watched Persephone resume rubbing her hands on the children. With a servant like that, no wonder the young queen was feeling so complacent. “I see.” Karzahni finally said. “Go on as you wish. I shall take my leave…” He turned, and began to walk away, heading for the great obsidian doors he had come through.

“This is… unexpected.”

Karzahni at once stopped and turned back around. Persephone had her hand upon one of the children, and a frown was on her face. “What is it? Is the child so ill, it might die?”

“Hardly.” Persephone answered. “It’s just a mild cold they have… but what is more concerning, is that this one seems to lack any in-built magic in them. Not a trace of it.” She turned her face to Karzahni, and her eyebrows furrowed. “She is completely devoid of any of it.”

Karzahni’s own nonexistent eyebrows furrowed. This was highly unexpected, but not unheard of. Most creatures had atleast some magical talent to them. Hell, even humans could be taught how to perform magic. But all rules had exceptions, and one of these children was just that. A lack of magical prowess would have been a death sentence for any other species here in Hell, but for an Oni, it was more of a handicap than a crippling. Yes, there were those that did make use of magic, but the main bulk of the species preferred to use their natural physical strength than rely on outside magic. “And… what of the other one?”

Persephone moved her hand over to the other child, and the thin smile returned on her face. “This one is the opposite.” She said. “A lot of latent potential in her… Do they have names?”

That caught Karzahni off guard. Talk about a sudden shift in topic. “I recall reading a pair of names on their bed sheet when I was in their room.” Karzahni explained. “If I recall, the names printed there were ‘Delibra’ and ‘Pravra’”.

No sooner had he said the names, than the two children yawned, first the magic deficient child, then the one with the scar on her face. “Well, I guess that cements who is who then.” Persephone said. She handed both children over to Karzahni, before she began to walk off. “We will begin training both children tomorrow. This shall be a conjoined effort of all here in the Palace of Darkness. For now, bring both children to Laeptus, and have him place them in their new bed. I am sure he has a fitting place to seal them away for the night.” With a snap of her fingers, the grand obsidian doors of the innermost hall opened, and Persephone walked out, with Minos following behind. However, the masked girl turned, and cast a glare at Karzahni, one that sent shivers down the demon’s spine. It was a look he knew said one thing only; Harm the kids, and I will end you. With that, she left as well, and the doors closed.

When the doors closed, Karzahni looked down at the twins in his arms and sighed. Of course, it had to be him. Not the freak of nature who had wanted to bring the two here in the first place, nor the upstart lady who thought she wielded all the power in the cosmos… of course not. It had to be him to deliver these two to their new crib. “What a joke.” Karzahni hissed as he made his way behind the throne. There lay another set of doors, these which he had to open himself.

Within this room lay a world that Karzahni was most alien to. Wires and test tubes dangled along the ceiling, and large test tubes filled with green fluid lined the sides of the walls. Large machines stationed around the interior of the room flashed and bleeped, and Karzahni leapt back away from a surge of electricity that sparked from the floor. As an old fashioned demon, Karzahni was not all that accustomed to technology, and to be frank, he preferred sticking to what he knew, and that was good old magic and supernatural powers. It was far more reliable in his book, and had a far richer and deeper history to back it up than some boxes of metal with flashing lights.
Nevermind the fact that he had been the most staunch protestor of this strange and new way of life. Ever since that damn vessel had wound up on the surface thousands of years ago, many demons had sought to use the strange and bizarre machines that were housed within. Up until recently, those attempts at bringing that technology down had been denied by every single ruler, all who had dear Karzahni whispering in their ears to not allow this threat to the status quo to happen. Even now, with Persephone being the first and only ruler to allow this strange new world to be opened, many demons still remained skeptical of science and technology in general, and Karzahni preferred it to be that way. “The day a machine does my job better than me, is the day I take over your mother’s position!” Karzahni had told Persephone when she had announced the lift of the technological embargo. Unfortunately, there were those handful that managed to slip between the cracks, and one of those had set up their own special lab right behind Persephone’s throne room, for reasons that confounded the demon.

He was so preoccupied with his thoughts on technology that he failed to realize where he was walking. A large figure seemed to step out of the shadows, and Karzahni nearly bumped into it head first. “Watch where you’re going-“ Karzahni growled, before he looked up. A pair of burning red eyes glared down upon him, cloaked in a pitch black coat. From the sleeves were large metallic claws that screeched and groaned as the joints moved, and as the figure advanced, Karzahni could make out a sort of droning noise coming from within the coat.

“What is it, Karzahni? And why are these infants here?” A deep, monotone voice echoed from the figure.

“Laeptus.” Karzahni gulped. “Erm, you see, Persephone has requested that you place these children in one of your special machines for the night. Give them a proper place to sleep. They are her new finest warriors in training.”

“I see.” Laeptus replied, as he took hold of the sleeping babies. “I will not question the orders given by Lord Persephone, but even I am uncertain as to how effective raising them will be.”

“At least, someone who shares my opinion.” Karzahni sighed in relief. “ I mean, we already have all the forces we need. Besides, raising these children could end up ruining us.”

“I am aware of the consequences of her actions.” Laeptus said as he walked over to what resembled a bowl on a pillar. He placed the two children within, and then pressed a button on the side. A glass dome formed over the bowl, leaving the babies within. “However, if this does somehow work, then I will more than welcome additional forces on our side, along with additional test subjects. If successful, these two children will be leagues and miles ahead of the rest of their species.”

“Yes, yes they will.” Karzahni said. He wasn’t too sure on just what Laeptus was. At first he had suspected the new arrival was a robot, until he noticed he ate and drank like any creature of flesh. No machine he knew of needed to eat flesh. At least he wasn’t as crazy as some of the other “Science!” types he knew… like Lady Lilith. He shuddered as he recalled the last time he had been in her workplace. Nothing but machines and mutilated corpses for miles… and she had insisted they were all work for her latest bio mechanical masterpiece. “Now, I do have some private information to tell you. Have you seen the Tengu as of late? They’re merciless when it comes to information leaks.”

“Always speaking of what is already known. Whatever it is you want to speak of, I am all ears.” Laeptus hissed back. The two began to walk out of the room, and when the door closed, the room was cast in darkness. The two babies lay in their makeshift bed, cuddled against one another as they slept peacefully.

The very shadows lengthened, then took form. There was an intruder in the room, a fiend that had slithered past the security.

A creature, black as night, rose up from the darkness, three sets of pure white eyes scanning around as it made its way toward the makeshift bed. It moved on five spindly legs, making sure not to step on any wires or alarms that were set when the room was locked. The very black flesh seemed to flow down like lava as it stopped, now standing above the chamber. All three eyes gazed upon the pair of children that lay asleep, but especially upon the one with the scar on her head.

End of Prologue
You dare try to challenge me? Then we shall see how you fare against a true Archangel!

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Re: The Promised Heir

Postby Giratina93 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:05 pm

Book One: Pure Innocence



Chapter 4: The Satori


He was getting too old for this. He just knew it.

Those were Karzahni’s thoughts as he strolled out of the Palace of Darkness and into the courtyard. Above, towering gargoyles looked upon the obsidian clad stones that the demon and his accompanying person tread upon. Dark spires of twisted iron and steel wrapped around the courtyard, acting as a cage of sorts for the front yard of the establishment. There was no foliage in this yard, however… only rocks forged from the infernal surroundings. That was how most things in Hell were built, from the rocks they were stationed on.

Grand statues of ancient rulers lined the courtyard, and Karzahni could identify each and every one of them. They were rulers of the past, those who had lasted long enough to raise such monuments of whatever they wanted. Some were of obsidian and diamond, as to be expected, but there were a few that were of a more metallic ore, those that shimmered in the heat. The formations varied wildly in appearance, from one statue to the next; one looked to be in the form of a great manta ray with gigantic eyes under its wings, while another was a twin headed minotaur, battleaxes as large as its body in each hand. The largest however was of an angel, at the very forefront of the courtyard, with six feathery wings that encompassed his entire body, bar with crimson red eyes. While the names of the others had faded from the minds of most bar Karzahni, everyone knew who the angel was. Lucifer, the grand creator of Hell, who wrestled a chunk of the ancient Underworld away from the primordial propagator of the Abyss, and created an entirely new line of demons to be made. It was beyond glorious to observe, a monument that many would stop to see simply because he was held in such wide regard. Three million years of Hellian history, condensed into a few dozen statues that managed to survive the rest of time. There had been others, but as an unusually wise human immigrant to the Underworld had once told Karzahni, “history was always written by the winners.”

His mind drifted away from the statues and back to the pressing matters at hand. He couldn’t afford to look upon the very rulers he had served under, for he had far more urgent matters to attend to. Once again, he was stuck on babysitting duty. It was okay in his mind, but this case was particularly sensitive. Thankfully, there were no peering eyes as far as he could tell.

It was for good reason as well that he wished none could see. The Tengu were notorious for being where he really didn’t want them to be, and the last thing he wanted to deal with was news spreading like hellfire that he had been “demoted” from chief advisor of the Ruler of Hell, to nothing more than an overpaid babysitter, especially considering the sorts of twists they tended to put in their articles.

“Here is the payment for the latest shipment of parts and discarded organs.” He was tugged from his thoughts by the person walking beside him. She was around his height, and wore a plain and simple blue sleeveless dress of sorts that draped down to the knees. Her hair was short and violet, and her eyes were half closed and mahogany in color… all three of them. The third eye lay in the middle of her forehead, and a dead giveaway as to what species of Hellian Demon she was. Her arms were to her side, and a ring was on her left hand, one that glittered green and red under the Hellian sun. She held out that very hand to Karzahni, and in it were lined coins of varying size and coloration. “Three hundred thousand credits, for you and the scientist to split among yourselves.”

“Now wait just a minute!” Karzahni snapped. He inspected the coins closely, before he pushed the hand away. “The deal was for that amount for each of us, not split down the middle! You’re trying to be cheap as always, Lilith!”

Lilith let a thin smile spread on her mouth, and a childish giggle that seemed out of place for a mature woman slipped as well. “Oh? Was I supposed to give both of you that amount? That’s not what Persephone told me, and if we are to play that game, then shouldn’t we also allow for the rest of her Elite Guard to be paid?”

Karzahni sighed. “You know as well as I do tha-“

“That the rest of the Elite Guard isn’t in on this special deal to give me what I need to keep manufacturing technology , and then selling it to the humans above in exchange for both additional knowledge and the cuisine that you enjoy all too much, right?” Lilith cut him off. She was swaying ever so slightly back and forth on her heels as she walked along.

“You know as well as I do how much I hat-“

“Hate it when I finish your sentences for you, which is why you prefer having Minos or Laeptus do business with me, and why Persephone especially hates my guts?”

Karzahni stopped. He stood and stared at Lilith, and she stopped and starred back at her. Their eyes locked, and neither made a move. Seconds passed, then a minute or two. The hell ravens that circled above landed on the metallic fencing and watched with quizzical faces. If Karzahni had eyebrows, they would have been furrowing, but instead, the bony ridges over his eyes couldn’t serve that purpose.

Finally, he could take it no more. “Will you s-“

“Stop mocking me!”

“I sa-“

“I said stop it!”

“You are the most childish person I have ever had to deal with!” Karzahni snapped, His voice was all but yelling at this point, and the hell ravens flew away at just how loud it was. “You are by far the most difficult person I have ever had to work with, and that is saying a lot, considering my current occupation! I get that you are impatient because of your mind reading capabilities, but for the love of the gods, please let me finish my damn lines! Besides, I have far more urg-”

“Nope.” Lilith smiled as she tilted her head. “I just love teasing you that much, but I will give you the correct amount.” Her smile then dimmed a little and she asked. “So, you’re off to look for the kid on an errand for Persephone, a kid that, by the looks of i-“

Now it was Karzahni’s turn to interrupt the Satori. “That is confidential information and you know it! But since you have dug too deep in my mind and uncovered something not meant for the masses to know, you much swear to an oath of silence, that you won’t be spilling such sensitive information to ears that aren’t of Persephone’s own, and I am sure you can understand why.”

Karzahni couldn’t help but smirk as Lilith’s own brows furrowed, and her lips tensed as the smile faded into the smallest of scowls. “You…” she tried to think of something to say, but eventually threw her hands up. “Fine. I’ll keep my mouth shut so I don’t have that mute freak show delivering my head on a platter.”

“Good. Atleast you seem to know how to prioritize saving limb over saving face.” Karzahni then quickly added, “Also, because you are in the know-how on these kinds of events, you have to accompany me as I search down our little runaway, understand?”

Lilith groaned. “Fine, fine. Just… get off of my case. I came here to make the payment, and I find myself dragged around by a demented reptile.”
“I am not some demented reptile!” Karzahni hissed back. “I deserve better treatment than that… or this.”

“Nah, it suits you rather fine” Lilith managed to get a smile to etch onto her face. “Even the greatest of us must humble ourselves when needed. You know that all too well, don’t you Karzahni, especially the price of failure for not adapting to a changing world?”

Karzahni grumbled as he continued walking into the grand city of Hell. A short term victory twisted away from him in the end. Hell had been in a constant state of flux in the past seven hundred years, ever since Persephone took the throne. Thanks in no parts to the efforts of Laeptus and Lilith, Hell was now turning into a world that was almost as alien to Karzahni as Laeptus’s own lab. A small cyclops boy passed by him, flying a kite in the hot Underworld air. Machines, not the golems that Karzahni was used to, but living robots of metal and electricity patrolled along the streets of the great city. Where once the Gyu-Oni soldiers wielded clubs and shields, now there were cannons they could hold in their hands, cannons that shot concentrated plasma at high speeds. The boar-like monsters had welcomed the new advancements in warfare, since to them, it made murdering and killing all the more fun, and unfortunately for Karzahni, so had many other demons. At first skeptical and as rejecting of the new ways as he had, they had grown to welcome these new advancements that made life easier for them, especially the foods from the surfaces, a fact that Karzahni begrudgingly acknowledged. Hot dogs and burgers be damned, it was Hellian culture being destroyed, millions of years of history striped away for human foods! Even now, he could feel cold mechanical eyes watching from the roofs of the old basalt buildings, cameras built to keep an eternal eye on him and all of the populace of Hell.

And the one who allowed all of this to happen was the dear ruler herself, just to spite Karzahni. He knew it was because of what had happened that night, when one of the twin Oni babies was reported missing. He and Laeptus had been surprised to hear that the containment unit had been breached, and the scarred girl, Praeva, had been kidnapped. On one hand, Karzahni had done his best to try and hold back the biggest grin he could. He had warned Persephone of tempting fate, and at that point, it had seemed the stars were aligning to strike her down, setting up events to tear her from her lofty perch in the future. On the other hand, both he and the scientist found themselves on the vengeful wrath of both Persephone, and Minos. For Karzahni, he had gotten out of it with a broken wing that had since healed, and a pair of scars that still ran from the bottom of his neck to the soles of his feet. It had been quite the experience, being forced on Laeptus’s life support tube for weeks while his insides were carefully put back in his body. Persephone had gotten over her rage rather quickly, saying that “even one child lost doesn’t bother me. I still got the other to make a fine weapon.” Minos… He shuddered as he stopped in front of one building, a bar from what he could tell.
“Let me guess, she still hates you?” Lilith asked. “That’s why you’re doing everything to keep on her good side.”

“Exactly.” Karzahni groaned. At least the mind reader no longer was trying to tease him. Rather, She had a look that was more pity than anything, especially from peering into his memories. Even for a Satori, a race known for not caring for the results of their mind reading, she seemed to have her limits. “The status quo as I know it is long dead, and I am the only one who wishes it was back to the old ways. Now I have to find this girl and bring her back before Minos kills me. She’s already down one gift for Persephone, and if this one goes away-“

“Uncle Karzahni!”

Both the Satori and the Abyssian Demon turned toward the bar entrance. There, standing in the entrance, was someone that made Karzahni smile in relief and joy. It was an Oni, skin white as snow, and matching hair that flowed to her shoulders. It was the Oni child, but no longer a baby, or a child at that. She was a grown woman now, and had the curves and the long legs of one. Black and red robes covered her body, but left her limbs exposed, barely hiding the powerful muscles beneath the fair skin. She still had the same brilliant blue eyes she had as a child, though, and even as she looked down at both Karzhani and Lilith, she had a face of a child, sculpted out of marble, with two short black horns jutting from the top of her forehead. “What are you doing here?” She asked, her voice to high pitched and childish for someone of her frame. “And… Is that your girlfriend with you?”
You dare try to challenge me? Then we shall see how you fare against a true Archangel!

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Re: The Promised Heir

Postby Giratina93 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:53 pm

Chapter 5: New Order


“I don’t, erm…” Karzahni found himself fumbling for words. It was hard to blindside the ancient demon to the point that words failed him. With more experience and wisdom than many inhabitants of Hell, he always had something to say, even if it wasn’t the right thing at the right time. Even with Persephone and her childish, brattish demeanor, he usually had some sort of retort in mind. This on the other hand, had struck him out of nowhere, and all he could manage was a scratching, confused mutter. The implications of what Delibra was saying…

“Oh gods no,” Lilith chuckled, her own face blushing red. Wherever it was from what Delibra was saying, or from Karzahni’s own thoughts, the winged demon didn’t know. She shook a hand infront of her face, as if dispelling a bad odor. “We’re just friends, Delibra. Close friends, but nothing more than that. Right, Karzahni?” A smug smile etched its way on her face as the Satori jabbed an elbow into Karzahni’s side. He nodded, figuring it was best to leave the bastardization of the truth as it was rather than follow the fantasy of the Oni girl. “The name is Lilith. I work for your mother.”

To his relief, the woman seemed to buy the excuse, for she smiled and hugged Satori. For Karzahni, it was rather humorous, seeing the three eyed troll smothered against Delibra’s bosom. “Nice to meet you, Lilith. I had no idea Uncle even had friends, so seeing him with someone who likes him makes me happy.”

“Now wait just a moment! I have plenty of friends!” Karzahni tried to cut her off, but it was too late. Lilith was looking back at him, and the look she had on her face, the widest, nastiest grin he had ever seen, the kind of face of someone who had all the blackmailing material she could ever hope for, and more.

“Awww, poor Karzhani. You should have told me you had no friends aside from me. I thought you were at least friends with everyone you work with. Laeptus, Minos, Tyralus, Charybdis, Proteus-“

“Nah,” Delibra shook her head, and let go of Lilith. “ Laeptus and him constantly yell at each other about magic and science, Auntie Minos doesn’t like him, Tyralus hates everyone-“

And now, we’re going too far. “Okay, I think that’s enough, Delibra.” Karzahni said. He rubbed a claw across his brow. “Family matters remain in the family, simple as that. We don’t go around spilling secrets.”

“No fun, Karzhani,” Lilith shook her head. “No fun at all. Let the twenty year old speak her mind. And considering everything you told me about her…”

“I told you nothing, so quit trying to make a scene. I have enough on my mind as it is.” It was only then he realized his mistake, of exactly what Lilith had said. “Wai-“

“But… How do you know I’m twenty?” Delibra looked at Lilith, an eyebrow raised. “If Uncle told you nothing… Unless Uncle is lying. ” She shifted her gaze to Karzahni, and for a brief moment, the winged demon could see that the woman’s gaze had hardened from the soft playfulness it had before. Now it looked too much like Minos’s glare, the constant fixed look of an upset, pissed off creature far stronger than he was. “I can’t say much of my family, but you can go say what you want? Not fair.” It was terrifying what twenty years of influence could do to a woman, of the influence both Persephone and Minos had on her. For all but a brief moment, Karzahni was finding himself thankful he only had to deal with one such Oni influenced by both figures, and not two, let alone one with actual latent power.

Karzahni bit his tongue. Damnit Lilith, why did you have to say that? He cast a glare at the Satori, who let another smile etch across her face. The worst part was it was his fault. Persephone had been adamant on keeping the details of the girl under wraps. Her existence itself wasn’t a problem, but everything from her belonging to Persephone to the more sensitive details Delibra naturally didn’t know of was strictly off limits. Minos and Laeptus had naturally kept their ends of the order, the former being the mute brute she was, and Laeptus never being one to break a promise or spill information. Karzahni had tried his hardest, and to get so far in seven hundred years had been an accomplishment. To try and keep her existence a secret until it was needed, she had been frozen for most of those seven hundred years thanks to Laeptus, only in the last twenty had Persephone decided to unfreeze her and raise her properly. And yet, Karzahni had made the mistake of not taking the mind reader into account until it was too late. And now, she was using it as blackmail, and to piss him off further. If Persephone knew of this…

“Karzahni, I’d never do anything to upset you.” Lilith’s voice brought Karzahni back to reality. If he could produce sweat, he would have been drenched. She chuckled, before focusing back on the glaring Oni. “But what I am curious about, is what you were doing here, away from the palace?”

To Karzahni’s relief, the change of topic caused the woman to soften her gaze again, and her sweet smile returned to her face. “I usually sneak out of the palace to come here, but I guess I stayed longer than usual, and now Mother is worried about me. You’ll be proud at how many friends I made here, Uncle! They’re all so nice and sweet!” Now any animosity she had in her had dissipated, and she looked as if she was going to explode at any moment, her smile growing wider and wider, and her voice faster and faster. “We play dice games, drink beer, arm wrestle, place bets, go to the arena to watch fights, and all for free! You should meet them, Uncle!”

It was hard for Karzahni to resist shaking his head, but somehow he managed to keep a straight face. He didn’t know how Persephone was going to react to this, but he had a feeling she wouldn’t like it. “That’s nice to know, Delibra. May I just ask you keep your friend collection a secret? I doubt your mother would be happy to know you are hanging around bars.”

“You got a problem with bars?”

The voice had come from the entrance to the bar. Karzahni turned, and saw that someone had come out, a figure he was briefly surprised to see. He was vaguely humanoid in body build, but that was it with any relation to actual humans, or to an Oni. His skin was warty and thick, with sparse hair covering his body. His feet were cracked hooves, and his head was thick and robust, with a pair of tusks jutting out from the mouth, and sharp teeth lining the lipless maw. He towered above the other three, and a hearty, booming laugh rumbled from his chest. “ I had no idea the great Karzahni took such offense to popular Hellian establishments as this. If you don’t like people going here, then tell me to my face.”

“That’s not what I meant, Nuves.” Karzahni grumbled. “And it’s none of your business. Just head back inside and pretend you heard nothing. It’s for your own good.”

“Now is that any way to treat an old friend?” Nuves shook his head, before laughing again. “I know you always hated having fun, but just relax and quit being so uptight. Share a drink with me and the young lady. She’s a blast and a bottomless hole when it comes to alcohol.”

“Do you two know each other? I thought everyone hated Uncle.” Delibra asked, all the while Lilith stood back, grinning at the whole scene.

Nuves looked back over at Karzahni, then at Delibra. “Wait… She calls you Uncle?” Nuves let his toothy grin spread to its fullest, and erupted into full on laughter. “You got yourself on babysitting duty, Karzahni? That’s amazing! Finally, you can get out of that lonely shell of yours! Now all you need is to get laid-“

“No, no, a thousand times no!” Karzahni cut him off. “I REFUSE to indulge in such stupid behavior. I’d rather remain chaste and wise than devolve into such filth.” He cleared his throat, and cast a dirty glare at Lilith, who just kept smiling back at him. Now that it was already on his mind, he might as well speak it out, or let the walking snitch have her way, or let Nuves give his exaggerated version of the story. “And yes, we both know each other. Nuves was one of the only Gyu-Oni to ever take the throne, and for a few years.” As he said the name of Nuves’s kind, he realized just how little sense it made. Whoever had named them that must have been drunk to the point of mistaking such an ugly, brutish creature with an actual Oni. They were nowhere near as strong, rather dumb for the most part, and fragile. It was a miracle they were not only still alive, but the most populous type of demon in Hell. “I advised him during that time, as I naturally do with every soul who takes control, and he tried to degrade me into a ‘party animal’. I refused to budge, and he kept trying. Thankfully, before he made any head way, Tyralus usurped the throne.”

“And since I was out of a job, I found myself this bar and ran it for many years. It’s been open for... sixty years, a thousand, I can't remember now, but I’ve never regretted a day of working here.” Karzahni glared at Nuves as he finished off the story. “I tried to get back into contact with Karzahni, but he never was there. So imagine my surprise hearing your voice outside on this day. You almost never leave the palace, though you and your niece are welcome here whenever you want. Drinks are on me, and I know everything going on that you don’t.”

“I will!” Delibra said. “I promise I’ll be back where when I can, but I have to get going now. It’s getting late, and Mother-“

“You mean Persephone?” Nuves asked. When she nodded, Nuves’s smile faded. “That woman is raising you? I’m amazed you have any happiness and joy at all.”
“Why?”

Nuves was about to say something, no doubt his opinion on the young ruler, but he kept his mouth shut. At first, Karzahni had no idea why, but the reason became clear when Nuves quickly went back into his bar. “Come by whenever you want. See ya, Debby!”

Karzahni gulped. That hasty reaction could only mean one thing. Something had scared him off, and that something laid a hand on Karzahni’s shoulder, and let a low venomous hiss etch into his ear. The hand tightened, and the hollowed bones in Karzahni’s shoulder were strained, pain spiking through his body.

“Auntie! You came as well!” Delibra shouted. She reached over, and hugged Minos, whose face was obscured by the white mask over it. The grip was loosened, and Karzahni was able to free himself, rubbing his shoulder with his winged hand. Thank you, Delibra. Thank you.

The gaze of the masked woman was settled on Delibra, and a light purr could be heard from behind it. She ran her hand through the Oni’s hair, and wrapped her other hand around her. It was a touching, intimate scene that Karzahni was baffled by. It was only with that girl, only with Delibra, that Minos showed any form of humanity toward. Did she really treat her as her own flesh and blood?

As if reading his mind, Minos turned back to face Karzahni, and the golden eyes that could be seen through the mask bore deep into him. Then they turned to Lilith, and Karzhani looked over as well. To his amusement, the Satori was paralyzed in place, her own knees banging against each other. “Do-Don’t m-m-mind me. I-i-i-I’m alread-d-d-dy leaving!” She quickly shouted, and turned to run. She was too slow, for letting go of Delibra, Minos was on her in a flash. Her feet twisted into jagged claws, and she pinned the Satori beneath her. It was perfectly clear she wasn’t going to let her go. She was coming along for the ride back to Persephone, wherever she liked it or not.

“Auntie, please! Don’t be like that. It was my fault. Don’t blame Uncle or his friend. Just don’t hurt them, please!”

Minos looked over at her, then back at the terrified Lilith. She growled lowly in her face, then stepped off, but grabbed her by the shoulder and began to walk back. She reached out with her other hand, and grabbed Karzahni. He didn’t bother trying to resist. He knew trying to fight back was hopeless. If he was lucky, the aching shoulder would be the only injury he would get today. If anything, the abyssian demon couldn't help but wonder at Minos, who was too busy rubbing her head against Delibra's face and purring to care. Just why was she so enthralled with the child?
You dare try to challenge me? Then we shall see how you fare against a true Archangel!

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GotengoXGodzilla wrote: It could be said that kaiju regeneration is like human dodging, basically.


GotengoXGodzilla wrote:That's not Mothra, that's an ugly goddamn demon!

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Re: The Promised Heir

Postby Giratina93 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:55 pm

Chapter 6: Bait and Switch


“Karzahni, I must admit that you have your heart in the right place. You knew fully well the consequences of what would happen if you failed to follow my orders, and for your attempt to keep our beloved Delibra’s origins under wraps, I commend you.”

Karzahni lifted his face from the ground, and looked up at the frigid ruler, at her silver eyes that chilled him to the core worse than the cold air that radiated from the Queen of Hell. He couldn’t tell if the eyes were of someone being honest, or of a lying serpent, which terrified him. “Thank you, Lord Persephone, but I am not worthy. I failed to keep such sensitive information locked away from unworthy minds, and failed to know she was sneaking out of the palace under my nose.”

Persephone shook her head, and chuckled. “Relax, Karzahni. It wasn’t your fault you lack proper means of dealing with mind readers…” She stopped, and held a finger to her lips as if in thought, before laughing. “Actually, it is, but that’s besides the point. That just means we have one new person to share the fun with, right Lilith?” Persephone’s gaze shifted to the Satori, who was on her hands and knees as well. Her face was drenched in fear, and lacerations ran down her right cheek, and across her legs, gifts left behind by Minos. “The problem with trying to get all the inside information, is that sooner or later, it all comes crashing down on you.”

“Yes, Lord Persephone,” Lilith quickly nodded. “I swear on my soul, I won’t tell anyone what I learned, I promise you!”

“You better keep to it, because I’m not the only one who hates a snitch, especially one that crosses me,” The Queen’s voice dropped low, and Karzahni could tell that the Satori was trying her hardest not to soil herself, with everything that had happened in the past few hours. Persephone lifted herself off the obsidian throne, and placed a bare foot onto Lilith’s head. “I am no fan of loose cannons in my forces, Lilith, and you are on thin ice as of this moment. Intrude on matters that do not pertain to you, and you will be meeting the rest of your kind in oblivion.”

Karzahni found it hard to keep a smile off his face. To see the smug serpent that was Lilith be put in her place made him warm on the inside. Her mind reading, a staple among her kind, had made dealing with her an annoyance at best for many. The only one who could tolerate working with her was Laeptus, and that was because there was nothing in the mind for Lilith to read. Even her own kind, the rest of the Satori race, had been used as a stepping stone for the scientist, in a mass purge which Karzahni had been sickened to hear of. It was one thing to pledge allegiance to a childish ruler like Persephone, but to create a poison specifically designed to eradicate your own flesh and blood just to prove that loyalty, went too far for the ancient demon. It was that kind of behavior, along with being overly emotional and illogical, that reminded Karzahni so much of mankind, and he hated all of it.

The Palace’s torches were the only sources of light in the room, yet the look of terror on Lilith’s face was clear as day. “Please, let me leave. I-”

“You leave when I say you can, on my terms. Mara, be a dear and escort our guest back to her workplace.” From the shadows, emerged the white nine tailed fox, fangs bared and electricity coursing through her fur. Each step was silent from the creature, but her presence was overwhelming to Karzahni. It might not have been the most powerful or dangerous second in command he had ever seen from a Hellian ruler, but she was definitely regal, and feral in her own way. On all fours, she loomed above Lilith and Karzahni, a perfectly woven tapestry of grace and power for an animalistic demon.

The tails of the fox lashed, and twirled in the air, as if possessing minds of their own. One of them reached out, and wrapped around Lilith, binding her in its furry embrace. “Make any noise, and I will make you regret it.” The fox snarled, as she ambled off, leaving through the front door of the palace, all while dragging Lilith with her, the girl’s mouth silent.

Once the fox had left, Karzahni heard Persephone chuckle. “Now with that out of the way, I feel we should check on how Delibra’s training is going.”

“Sure, we could do that.” Karzahni muttered. He had expected Persephone to be in a worse mood from what had happened today, but it was clear to him there was something off about the Queen. She seemed to… mild toward him, too understanding. Before, she would have been quick to give him punishment for even the smallest errors in judgement or failings to live to her standards, from a frozen wing to letting Minos have her way with him. And yet, it had been Lilith who had taken the brunt of her wrath, and even then, it seemed half assed in his opinion, like she wasn’t really angry to begin with.

“Are you puzzled by something, Karzahni?” Persephone’s words cut off his thoughts. The Queen of Hell was now walking out behind the throne, toward the other set of doors placed behind it. “My behavior getting to you? Do I seem like I’m in a good mood?”

When he gave a meek nod, the Queen smirked. “Well, that’s because I’m in a good mood, compared to what happened while you were gone.”

Karzahni raised an eyebrow. “Now I’m interested. If you would be so kind as to inform me, my lord…”

Persephone was quick to oblige. As the two walked out of the throne room and into the twisted labyrinth that was Laeptus’s lab, Persephone told Karzahni of the events that had transpired shortly after he had left the palace. The ancient demon found himself rolling his eyes as she mentioned Videla and her ill-timed visit, and the letters that had been sent for the past few days that had somehow gone past Karzahni. Serves you right for not asking my advice on the matter. I would have handled it with little fuss. He thought to himself, and was tempted to say it, but decided against it at the last minute. The last thing he needed was for Persephone’s temper to flare at him, especially considering her current mood.

So he stayed silent, and listened on as Persephone continued the tale. She mentioned the guests Videla had brought along, especially the pale-faced Mulek, who sounded completely human to Karzahni’s ire. The ire was quick to fade into sick amusement as the story shifted to the young ruler’s final outburst against one insult too many thrown at her, and then back into confusion with the invitation to Mulek for that very night. All the while, the two made their way deeper into the lab, past rows of machinery with flashing lights, and test tubes flowing with red and blue liquids, and past a large monitor with larger sequences of numbers displayed on the screen. One look at it, and Karzahni wished he hadn’t, for the sequence hurt his mind to process. He had no idea what it meant, only that it had something to do with Laeptus’s research.

“As it stands, Minos and Charybdis are setting up dinner in the upper floor. Within half an hour, they should be finished, and our guest be here as well. I expect everyone to be on their best behavior, so we don’t give our guest a completely negative view of us, since they don’t seem to be from around here.”

“And that… is all that puts you in a good mood? From the sound of things, you should be angrier.” Karzahni lightly said, taking care not to step on Persephone’s toes, both literally and figuratively.

“You are right. Maybe I’m just so angry, I looped back into happiness.” She shook her head. “But I digress. The other thing is that our dear Delibra wants to explore the world so badly, beyond just Hell and what I have to offer her. For the sake of giving her more power and more wisdom, I’ll let her go exploring for my benefit.”

Karzahni nearly bit his tongue. “Wait, you’re actually going to encourage her to run free? Or-”

“Exactly.” Persephone hissed. “I have an errand for her to run, a special task that she’ll have to be prepared for. It’s a trip to a little place I’m sure you are well familiar with, a place I cannot go anymore, and you are to accompany her there.”

Karzahni stopped. Alarm bells were starting to blare in his mind, and louder than they had been before that day. “Is it Makai you want her to go to? Please tell me it’s Makai. Please!”

Before Persephone could answer, a new voice, one deep and monotone, cut them off. “Greetings, Persephone, and greetings to you, Karzahni. I was not expecting either of you to drop by for Delibra’s training.” The voice had come from the towering cloaked figure that was Laeptus. All that was visible of him was a jagged trio of metallic claws protruding from the left side of his cloak, and a pair of burning red lights flashing from the head region. Otherwise, there was nothing either could see of his being. He stepped toward them, each step causing the obsidian floor beneath him to groan and crack.

It was only then that Karzahni realized they were in the heart of Laeptus’s lab. It was a large room, easily twice as large as the courtyard of the palace. A glass wall cut down the middle of the room carving it into two halves. The half they were in was lined with even more machinery and screens, wires surging across the ceiling and walls. The other half of the room was completely different, with what appeared to be marble walls and flooring, and nothing inside, except for a certain Oni girl who was doing pushups on her knuckles. From what Karzahni could see, the girl had streams of sweat running down her face and body, and was no longer in the robes she had on before, but very tight fitting pants and top. She didn’t seem exhausted despite the sweat, and he could clearly see the toned body and muscles she possessed.

“I still don’t get why you have her wearing that outfit for training. Her usual robes and rags suffice,” Karzahni muttered under his breath, before adding on in a louder voice, “Human clothes don’t belong on a demon, even the most human of us!”

“Too bad you are not in charge.” Persephone kicked Karzahni in the knee, though not hard enough to hurt him. “The attire works for her, and she likes wearing it. I don’t see why she shouldn’t practice in it.”

“Plus, the clothing allows for increased flexibility compared to normal armor. It might not protect her in battle, but for exercises nothing compares. The data I have gathered has yielded more consistent results than with other articles of clothing.” Laeptus shifted his unblinking gaze from Karzahni to Persephone. “There is one thing I must inform you, Lord Persephone, and you might not like it.”

“Try me. And let me guess, she’s reached the plateau of her strength, and we can’t make her stronger without messing with her body?”

“Actually, that is correct.” Laeptus walked away from Persephone, and moved toward the screen, before gesturing to it. “Her strength is only double that of the average Oni warrior, and without genetic modification or an overhaul in the skeletal and muscular systems, this is as strong as she can be. It is strong enough to deal with most enemies, Persephone, but not the ones you fear most.”

“Mother! Uncle!” Delibra’s voice shouted from behind the see through wall. All eyes shifted to the Oni girl, who was now standing against the see through wall, and a smile was etched across her face. “You’re here to watch me exercise. You never watch me exercise, so I’m glad you came! Want to come in and train with me, or spar maybe?”

Persephone’s grin died somewhat. “I would love to, but I’m tired and would rather just watch, I am sure Karzahni would be more than happy to join you for a spar.” She looked down at the ancient demon. “After all, he would do anything to make his niece happy.”

“Why yes, of cou-” Karzahni began to say, before he realized what had just been said. “WAIT A MINUTE! NO NO NO NO NO! I CANNOT FIGHT YOU! I AM IN NO SHAPE TO FIGHT!” He began to screech, voice rising higher as panic began to set in. “PLEASE RECONSIDER! I’D BREAK IF I WENT IN THERE!”

“But Uncle!” Delibra pounded a fist against the wall. “Please! I won’t break you, I promise. I’ll be gentle. I know you’re too old to do anything besides nag at everyone. I’m sorry you’re too senile and decrepit to actually have fun,” She looked away, and bit her lower lip. “I guess this is how all old bats become… inferior to humanoid demons like me.”

That did it. Karzahni felt a nerve snap in his mind, a button in his brain pressed until it broke, and the next thing he knew, he was seeing red. He walked over to the door between the rooms, and opened it. “Child, you have no room to criticize me on anything. I’m older than everyone in this room combined, but I am NOT senile! I am NOT a bat! I am an Abyssian demon, and no one gets to tell me what I can or cannot do!” He turned back to Laeptus and Persephone, and ignored the latter’s massive smug smile on her face. “Laeptus, if you have any way of recording visual data, then do so now. I’m going to show my ignorant bratty niece and her equally bratty mother that I am NOT some senile old man who can’t do anything!”

“Noted. I will also inform Charybdis that the position of advisor will be open starting tomorrow, and anything you possess will be given to her.”

“Nothing of mine is going to the mermaid!” Karzahni sneered as the door closed. “Just watch. Strength isn’t everything. There’s also cunning and the element of surp-”

“Yay! Uncle came to spar!” Delibra cut him off, jumping up and down while clapping her hands. “Uncle came to spar! Uncle came to spar! Me and Auntie Minos spar all the time, but I never sparred with Mother, or you. I’m ready when you are.” She braced herself, assuming a defensive stance with her knees crouched, and hands held in front of her. “Your move, Uncle!”

Karzahni sneered again. “Let me teach you a lesson, Delibra. First rule of combat: There are no rules except that anything that looks human is inferior to me!” He flapped his wings, and lifted himself into the air, just above the ceiling, before diving toward her, claws extended and fangs bared.
You dare try to challenge me? Then we shall see how you fare against a true Archangel!

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GotengoXGodzilla wrote: It could be said that kaiju regeneration is like human dodging, basically.


GotengoXGodzilla wrote:That's not Mothra, that's an ugly goddamn demon!

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Re: The Promised Heir

Postby Giratina93 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:47 pm

Chapter 7: New Despair

“I see… So that is what happened.”The guest said after she took another sip of tea from her goblet. The woman waited a moment, then placed the cup back down on the table. “I hope you have a rapid recovery from your injuries, Karzahni.”

Karzahni could only grumble at the former human, and even that sent pain shooting through his body. A small drip of blood flowed out of the arm cast that contained his left wing, and spilled on the chair he was seated on. A tube flowed into his mouth, supplying the crippled demon with nourishment that he couldn’t eat otherwise. Both of his eyes were blackened and swollen, and his tail was bent at an unnatural angle.

It was two hours after he had tried to show Delibra the power of a true demon, an action he now deeply regreted. The fight had only lasted a minute before Laeptus had intervened and saved Karzahni from further harm. “I hae her ao eh roes!” Karzahni had spat, gargling blood and froth from his broken jaws, but everyone there knew it was just an attempt to save face. He could have sworn he had even seen several of the statues in the courtyard trying not to snicker at the sight of him, but he brushed that off as a pain induced hallucination. Statues couldn’t move, after all.

Thankfully, the injuries wouldn’t last long, thanks to Laetpus’s technology, a thanks Karzahni had struggled to slobber out for more than one reason. Where once such injuries would cripple even the sturdiest demon for years, if not a lifetime, enhanced recovery medication and a painless procedure would undo in just a day. Truly, the power of technology was stronger than Karzahni realized, if it could accomplish such results that previously could only be done with the darkest of supernatural powers and natural abilities. To be told he would have to keep these bandages and restraints on for said day was not something he liked to hear, but he knew there was little say on his end.

And of course, it had to be right before Persephone’s guest had shown up. It was a terrible thing to be seen by others in this state, and for Karzahni, it was completely embarrassing. He wanted to curl up somewhere unseen and remain hidden, but that in and of itself was poor manners.

When Beltris had been let in, she had looked confused and upset to see Karzahni in such a state. Persephone had quickly explained it had been a minor accident, and insisted that she not think much further on it, and instead come to the inner chamber, where the table had been set and dinner was ready. She had accepted much to Karzahni's relief, and only now had asked him what had brought on the injuries she had seen, with Persephone having left the table to check on some manner which didn't concern the demon.

Karzahni had to admit that Persephone had pulled all the stops to make this truly authentic. A long white cloth had been draped over the length of the table, and the usual dreary room had been livened up with fancy candles and a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The chairs weren't stone or wood, but made of fine leathers and silk that Karzahni knew was from the surface world. He hadn't been there himself, but he had seen such things being sold in various bazaars and shops around Hell. They attracted quite the audience who were interested in human furniture, and Karzahni had little doubt that Minos had strong armed them off the dealers in her own usual way. After all, who could say no to Persephone's right hand guard?

The food that was available was also an interesting selection, and no doubt it had been chosen to play off Beltris's status as a ghoul. Being a human dwelling in the Underworld meant she still had the same taste buds and desires that an ordinary human did, and that could be seen as she took a bite in the fish on her plate. It was a rich variety that was based primarily on human delicacy, with a large host of fish, meats and salads that had been prepared. There were even sticks of bread with molten cheese in the middle, and these she seemed to crave the most, having taken almost half of those made and dumped them on her plate without a second thought. Karzahni himself was stuck slurping up soup that Minos had prepared for him, and was still standing there by his side with her mask on, and Karzahni could swear he heard a raspy chuckle come from beneath the mask.

She was toying with him, teasing him on top of the injuries he had already taken. If he wasn't in such a bad state, he would have tried to give her a piece of his mind. Picking on the helpless and the wounded like this... it was hideous. Did she have no dignity, no respect for her elders? Was all she wanted amusement for herself?

“Now auntie, please be nice to uncle.” Delibra said from across the table, after eating a bite from the fish. “And uncle, sorry for the injuries. I didn't mean to hurt you that badly. It was just a punch and an arm lock, I swear. I thought you'd take it better than that.”

Karzahni mumbled in response, and kept drinking from the soup. It wasn't even good soup, just some bland flavorless liquid. He had let his own ego be bruised, and got himself into this mess, and now the regret was being replaced with more anger and rage. That excuse won't help you when I'm fixed up, you bratty girl! I'll show you properly next time, and then try to half ass an apology to me!

“Keep mumbling to yourself, Karzahni.” Persephone's voice echoed through the chamber as she returned to the room. For this occasion, she had decided to wear a long flowing dress, the ends which let off a steady icy mist that surrounded them. The front of the dress was cut down the middle, stopping just below the navel, and the sides were cut to reveal her long and slender legs. Her hair was let loose, and rested past her shoulders, extending all the way to her hips. “And sorry for the interruption. I had to make sure certain people were doing their jobs.”

The Ruler of Hell slid into her seat, and smiled as Minos walked over and scooted her in. This was a rare moment, for Persephone to actually look the part of a regal queen, and not just some evil dictator. It made sense for Karzahni, considering she was doing all this just to put on a show, but then he looked over at Delibra, and saw she was completely enraptured with her adoptive mother's appearance. She had never seen her dress like this, and Karzahni could only guess that she was imagining herself in that dress, walking back down to the bar and driving the male population to do her bidding. “I see you're enjoying the feast, both of you.” Persephone said with a sweet motherly smile as she looked at Delibra and Beltris. “What do you think of the food? I let Mara go shopping and pick what she felt was best.”

________________________

It was a wonderful feast for Delibra. The food, the atmosphere, everything clicked with the young Oni girl. Was this what human food was like? Was this human delicacy, or what they ate on a daily basis? The bread sticks were melting in her mouth, and the meat mixed in with the cheese in layers... It was just too good! Even the food at the bar wasn't this good, and Nuves was quite the good chef. She would have to thank Mara and Auntie Minos for tonight's meal.

And Mother's outfit! She had never seen Persephone dressed so elegantly, so beautiful as she was now. She tried hard not to stare, but her eyes kept finding themselves back on the dress the Ruler of Hell wore. Was it the white against Persephone's tanned skin, or was it the jewelry she was wearing with it, the numerous rings clad in gold and silver adorned with various gems and stones? Or maybe, it was the overall picture she was fascinated with, the image of royalty and sweet divinity Persephone painted with her presence? Delibra knew her own attire wasn't bad or shabby, but compared to what her mother was wearing, it might as well have been. One day, she was going to wear something that fancy, when she took over the position of power her mother controlled. “The food is wonderful, mother!” Delibra smiled. She looked over at Beltris. “Is all human food like this?”

Beltris shook her head. “ Not all the time, unfortunately. It depends on who makes it, and how much they care about making good food.” She looked at Persephone and nodded. “ This is very well made. I didn't expect the chefs in this palace to know how to make these kinds of meals, considering the rarity of humans down here.”

“What can I say? My dear Mara used to live among the humans up on the surface before she entered my service. Her culinary skills are unrivaled in the Underworld thanks to her experience.” Persephone said, taking a bite from a shellfish. “ It's a special meal for a special occasion, though I only wish the circumstances behind this meeting were more pleasant than just a feast.”

Beltris lowered a cheese stick from her mouth. Delibra saw that the ghoul's lips tightened, and her forehead wrinkle up. “I take it this is the real reason why I'm here? Something you'd rather not share with Videla?”

Persephone nodded. “While I apologize for what words I said about your friend earlier, such information is something I know I can't share with her until it's ready to be made public. She says whatever comes up on her mind and never filters it, so I'd rather not have this information spread like wildfire just yet.”

Delibra was about to ask what exactly Persephone meant, but she noticed a quick glance at her, not from Persephone or Karzahni, but from Minos, who was still standing behind Mother. The golden eyes behind the mask darted back over at Beltris, then back to Delibra, before a quick shake of the head. The intention was clear to Delibra: She was only to observe and listen, and nothing else. Years of being with her silent aunt had given her insight into how she acted and spoke with her body, and Delibra decided to follow what her aunt asked of her. After all, why disobey?

“I take it you are familiar with the ravine passage for travelers between the Abyss and the rest of the underworld?” When Beltris nodded, Persephone took a sip from her goblet, and let the red liquor within stain her rosy lips. “Well, there's been a series of... accidents that have plagued that passage.”

Beltris leaned in close. “Accidents? What do you mean by 'accidents?'”

“Those I have sent to speak with Craefr have reported sightings of...” Here Persephone paused, and looked away while scratching her thumb with her middle finger. Delibra recognized this as her adoptive mother struggling to find the right word to say to properly convey her thoughts. Within a few moments, she looked back at Beltris and continued, “a creature, or some beast that lurks in the passage. No real description, just a large shadowy fiend that appears from the crags and attacks them. Only a few have come back to tell me this. The bulk, no matter how large the garrison or how well armed, never return.”

Persephone took a deep breath, and took another sip from her wine glass. A tiny stream of the liquid flowed down her cheek and her neck, but she seemed to note care. “Frankly, I'm beginning to wonder if Craefr is behind this, for it to have appeared so soon makes little sense for anything else. I understand I'm not the most well liked person in the Underworld, but I can't allow him to do this sort of thing.”

Beltris's face hadn't changed while Persephone had been talking to her; she still bore the same curious, yet stoic expression, and only when she took another bite out of the stick of bread did her face soften to one of subdued enjoyment, at least in Delibra's eyes. “ That definitely sounds like an issue.... but why let me in on this? I am but a guest in your court...”

“Because, you seem to be rather close to Videla, and by extension her uncle Craefr, yet I feel I can ask you without facing...” Again she started to scratch her thumb, before continuing, “unwanted attention. Now, when I ask this, I would like for you to be sincere with me. Do you happen to know anything regarding this creature or monster? Anything Videla may be aware of? ”

Persephone waited for Beltris's response, and Delibra as well was curious to know. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Minos watching as well, as if waiting to take action depending on what Beltris said. She could notice the muscles and veins beneath her auntie's skin tense and ready to spring at a moment's notice. Why she was so wound up confused Delibra. Mother was certainly calm and collective, so why wasn't Auntie Minos? Did she not like Beltris?

“No.” Beltris finally said. This brought Delibra's attention back to the discussion. “I fear I know nothing about this, Princess.”

Delibra noticed, just for a moment, the tiniest of smiles creep across Persephone's face, and only just for a moment She blinked quickly, just to be sure she had seen it, but it was gone. Had she been seeing things?

“Really?” Persephone calmly asked. She reached her arms back and stretched until a soft series of pops could be heard, then she leaned back forward, cradling her head on her hands. “I won't question that, then. I feel confident trusting your word, but if you're unaware of what this thing is, then I'm left having to deal with this issue blind. Perhaps a strike force to lure this monster out and deal with it...” Here she looked over at Karzahni, and the ancient demon visibly winced under her gaze. “But, with my dear supervisor Karzahni out of commission for a while, I just don't know who to send. It just seems so dangerous-”

Delibra's eyes light up, and she nearly jumped out of her seat. A wide grin grew on the girl's face as she planted both her hands onto the table, drawing everyone's attention to her. This was it, the chance of a lifetime, to not only be able to run free outside and see the world, but finally test her strength against something that wasn't Auntie Minos or one of Laeptus's machines. “Mother, I volunteer for this!” She boomed. With each word, her smile just seemed to grow bigger and bigger, but she hardly cared. Any thoughts of looking professional and polite before this guest had gone out the window. “ Let me go! I can handle this monster, and anything else that may be with it.”

The reactions to this outburst were not quite what Delibra had expected, aside from Minos, who's eyes dimmed and drifted from her back to the seat behind her. Beltris had a hand over her mouth, and a partially eaten bread stick fell onto her plate. “That's... very eccentric of you, but-”

A deep sigh from Persephone cut Beltris off. “Deibra, I thought I raised you better than to jump up like that. You nearly gave this old woman a heart attack. And to think you were behaving so well...”

Delibra bit her lip, and the fire in her eyes began to flicker out. She knew what Mother was going to say now that the chastisement had begun, and she prepared an argument, but when she opened her mouth, Persephone held a finger out, and silenced her.

“It's also rude to interrupt when I or anyone else is speaking, especially me. Normally, that would be enough for me to decline your offer, let alone the possible danger that could befall you... BUT, you've definitely been eager to leave the palace and go out and explore on your own. There's only so much you can do here with the guards, with Minos and I, with Mara and the oh so frail and grumpy Karzahni, and with Laeptus's machines. You're getting to the point where only Minos going full out can challenge you and push you to your limits with your training and exercise.”

Delibra's mouth closed back shut, and her eyes started to widen again. “You... You mean?”

Persephone nodded. “If I didn't have the utmost faith in your abilities and strength, then I would not be agreeing to this, but I feel you can not only hold your own out beyond the city, but surpass it. You're a special girl- no, a perfect woman, Delibra, and it's time you held some of your own responsibility.”

The words were like nectar to the young Oni woman. Her eyes widened as far as they could, and a lopsided smile crept onto her face. Her body shook, and then her mouth fully opened with a joyful squeeing shout escaping from it. “Thank you, Mother! Thank you thank you thank you! I promise I won't let you down, and I'll be on my best behavior! I'll won't return empty handed!”

“Ur joeken meh!” The raspy, broken voice of Karzahni finally broke free of the tubes filtered down his throat, and the ruined demon turned his head to Persephone. “Plaesh tael meh ur joeken!”

“Now why would I joke?” Persephone asked her adviser. She kept a gentle smile on her face, and held her arms under her chest. “Everything I said was honest and intended, and I do believe this outing, with proper support of course, would be beneficial for Delibra. It's time for her to carve her own niche in the world, after all.” She looked over at Delibra, and the Oni girl struggled to not reach over and hug her adoptive mother right on the spot.

Beltris cleared her throat, and brought everyone's attention to her. “ Sending out a young woman like this all on her own against... whatever it is that's causing all these problems. That's rather reckless and if I am to be frank, dangerous. I don't know what she's capable of, but she might need some back up.” Her eyes drifted over toward Delibra, and the oni girl thought she saw Beltris's face sharpen, the edges of her cheeks rise and her eyelids drop slightly. “ I'd be perfectly willing to accompany her and hel-”

A single loud tap on the table cut off Beltris, and brought all eyes present to Persephone. The smile that had been on her face had softened. “Delibra already has a chaperone for this task. I appreciate your enthusiasm and interest, but Karzahni will be keeping Delibra company, once his recovery is finished of course.” Persephone motioned over to the ailing demon, and Delibra saw the fear in her uncle's eyes as he tried to shake his head. “And don't worry, Karzahni. Minos will be there to ensure your safety as well. I don't doubt your skills and talents, but I can never be too safe with your wellbeing.”

Beltris looked over at the masked being, who had a blankless stare focued on her. For but a moment, Delibra thought she saw the tiniest of smirks form on the guest's face. “I've heard so much of Minos and her skills. I was hoping to see them firsthand, but.. I suppose I'll be staying with you until they return, correct?”

“Yes.” Persephone ran a finger through her own hair. She spun it around, before she pulled her finger out of the resulting knot. “ You and Videla must have taken some secret bypass to get here without being attacked, but I don't want to take any chances that something might happen.” She rose from the table. “ Forgive my rudeness, but I need to discuss something with Delibra in private. It won't take longer than a few minutes-”

“Take your time, Princess.” Beltris said. “ I'm in no rush, I can wait for you to return.” She took another mozerella stick from her plate, and placed it in her mouth. “Me, your aids, and this amazing food.”

Delibra scooted her seat out, and rose out of it. “Please forgive me as well.” She hastly stated, before she scooted her chair back in and followed her radiant mother out of the room. As she left, she could hear the grumbles from Karzahni, and a near silent hiss from Minos.
______________________

"Mother, what is it?" Delibra asked. She kept her voice low as Persephone had motioned, so Beltris couldn't hear in the adjacent room. She had already closed the door, so now they were alone in the pantry. Shelves upon shelves of stored foods, grains and ingredients reached over forty meters down, and twice as tall as Delibra herself was. The only light was a series of dimly lit lamps that hung from the ceiling. "You're not acting like yourself. Was it... something Beltris said?"

"Yes. You see, you are at that age where members of both sexes, and something even species, are drawn to you." Persephone quickly answered. There was no moment of hesitation in her voice. " They will fling themselves at your feet to take them up, but you cannot indulge their fantasies so recklessly. A crazy woman is one that might be appreciated in the hour, but in the long run is despised and feared."

"So, I keep myself composed and don't give in to them immediately?"

"Precisely. You must remain steadfast against their advances, and pay attention to how they react. Those moved by the moment will quickly lose interest, while those that are drawn to you by more than your appearance will remain. Only then will you begin to accept them, and only when you are absolutely certain they are fit for you will you lower your guard, and soften your expression."

“And... that is what Beltris wants? You think she's interested in me?”

Persephone nodded. “Delibra, I have been around for a very long time. I know the way emotions work, and how powerful they can be. When someone has clearly fallen for another, it does not escape my notice. Very little escapes my notice. That's how it was when I was in the Rebellion, and how it is now that I am ruler.”

Persephone placed a cold hand on Delibra's shoulder, and lifted her gaze up to meet her daughter's own. “If Beltris desires you, the way you act will determine the true nature of that attraction. I say this to you out of your own wellbeing. I do not inherently distrust her just because she is a friend of a slanderer of my name, but because in this day and age, you must always be careful.”

“Wait... her friend lies about you?” Delibra asked. First Nuves, and now... “Why is it so many do not like you? They say yo-”

“I know what they say.” Persephone cut her off. “ They say I have turned this realm of Sheol and turned it into Hell, that I have wiped out many who hated me and turned the rest into pariahs. Child, Hell is no perfect place, and I have tried my hardest to rememdy the failures and mistreatment of those who came before me. Many of these current problems emerged before my rule, by the hands of Tyralus, of Belphor and Demiurge, and even with all my power and all the resources, and the longest rule of any in this realm, I can only do so much. Please understand that.”

“M-mother....” Delibra mouthed. To think these were the slanders thrown against her... No, Nuves had to be wrong. She had seen what her mother does. There was no way she could be a bloodthirsty tyrant. He had to be misguided, misunderstood as to her intentions. Maybe... Maybe he had been one of this Belphor's former followers. “I... I'm sorry.”

“It is not your fault, child, and tomorrow morning, you will help me in the best way I can think of. Karzahni should be fully healed by then, and when everyone is ready, you will depart for the Abyssian ravine. Once this threat is taken care of, then perhaps my inage can finally be shown for what it really is, and people can realize I am no monster.”

“Or... they might think you were the one who caused it in the first place.” Delibra mumbled.

Persephone chuckled. “They can try, but that will be grasping at straws. Now, why don't we head back and enjoy the rest of our meal with our esteemed guest?”

She turned, and began to lead Delibra out, but the Oni stopped. Her eyes had noticed something, on the shelf just behnd Persephone's head. She tried to reach up and look at it, but the tapping of her mother's finger on her shoulder told her no, not now. Delibra with an nternal sigh followed Persephone back out of the pantry, though she made sure to keep a mental note of what she had seen in her mind...

A long forgotten photo frame, with Persephone's image on it.
You dare try to challenge me? Then we shall see how you fare against a true Archangel!

Image

GotengoXGodzilla wrote: It could be said that kaiju regeneration is like human dodging, basically.


GotengoXGodzilla wrote:That's not Mothra, that's an ugly goddamn demon!

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Re: The Promised Heir

Postby Giratina93 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:04 pm

Chapter 8: Nocturne of Absolution

Hazy sunlight breached the darkened clouds that hung over the Underworld, sending rays of golden hue upon the grand city of Hell and banishing away the darkness of the night. Delibra smiled as she walked out into the courtyard of the palace. Her right hand was held up to her forehead to shield it from the blinding rays of the morning. This was it, the big day for her. The day she would prove Mother proud and make a name for herself! She was going to the Abyss, and nothing was going to stop her!

“We can't go yet, child!” Her uncle's voice called out from the entryway. Delibra turned, her flowing back and red robes fluttering in the wind, and looked back at the elderly Karzahni, who hobbled out with a cane as support. The bandages and casts that had been covering him last night had been removed only half an hour prior, and outside of a notable limp in his step that required the cane and a still blackened eye, he had made a swift and rapid recovery. Delibra had been forced to not laugh as she had watched her uncle hiss an unenthusiastic “thank you” to Laeptus for his medical expertise, and now that same Laeptus was right beside Karzahni. “And Laeptus, I can move on my own. I'm fine.”

“Irregular heartbeats suggest otherwise. The cellular structure in your wing membranes is still regenerating, and your leg requires more time to harden. Remember to take the prostaglandin pills one you enter the ravine.”

Karzahni waved a hand in the air. “I will, Laeptus. Your concern is welcome, but unnecessary.”

Delibra tried her hardest to not grin, but she failed miserably at it. Lilith was wrong about her uncle... he did have friends, plenty of them, and it wasn't just Laeptus. The whole night as he had been recovering in his room, everyone who worked in the Palace came to leave him gifts and blessings. Even Tyralus had given his thoughts and hopes for a swift recovery, an event that had nearly sent Karzahni sprawling out of his bed in fear. Delibra herself had snuck out of her room and stayed by her uncle's side when he had finally fallen asleep. There had been something charming in seeing his wounded tail twitch and flicker off the side of the hole riddled couch he called a bed, all while his ragged breaths whistled between scaly lips and jagged teeth.

It made her happy, seeing him in this better state of body and mind. Despite what short givings he may have had with Mother and with Auntie, they really did all get together well in the end, he and the rest of her family, so to speak. “We are all ready to go, Uncle! The wagon will be here any minute!”

“And that's precisely why I'm saying we cannot go yet!” Karzahni snapped back at her. Laeptus had stepped back , and had made his way back inside the palace, but not without giving a wave to Delibra, who gleefully waved back. “ I know Minos was supposed to be here with the wagon, but I wouldn't be surprised if she destroyed it and the pullers instead. Subtlety and a gentle hand are not known to her.”

“If she heard you say that, you'd be back in the cast.” A friendly voice called out from behind Karzahni. A pair of hands planted on the top of his head, and a woman who looked completely human lifted herself so she was hand standing on the Abyssian demon's skull. Karzahni reached a hand up to swipe her off, but she pushed herself off, and landed on her feet right in between them. Her hair was red like Beltris's, but she was shorter than the ghoul, and by extension Karzahni, and had lighter toned skin. She flashed a smile. “Really Karzahni, don't put your foot where your mouth is.”

“Charybdis!” Delibra shouted. She raced over and hugged the smaller woman. She lifted her off her feet, and spun around with her. “I missed seeing you last light, but the meal you cooked with Mara and Auntie was amazing, and I heard from Laeptus you visited Uncle while he was trying to sleep.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed the cooking, but can you please let go of me? I can’t breath!” The smaller woman’s light voice was enough to make Delibra put Charybdis down. She took a gulp of air, and staggered back. “And yeah, I couldn’t let my old friend here be left high and dry. That’s why I asked Persephone if I could tag along for this excursion. Both of you get the luxury of being graced by my presence.”

“Your presence is not needed!” Karzahni grumbled. The diminutive demon looked away from Charybdis, and began to gnash at his teeth. “To be honest, I’d rather have you along than Minos, but both of you is overkill, especially with Delibra. She’s gotten stronger than you realize.”

Charybdis looked at Delibra, who smiled and flexed her right arm. “Wow… those are big muscles. I haven’t been around the Palace too often, but you really have grown… but I wonder if I could still beat you in arm wrestling.”

Delibra laughed. “Probably. You got an unfair advantage over me. I don’t have powers blessed by a god, just whatever my body can do. I would need help just to keep even.”

As much as she wanted to have a spar with Charybdis sometime, it was the truth. Charybdis was the ruler of the Dragon Palace, an undersea complex built by the ocean goddess Temprana, and Charybdis had received her powers from the goddess herself. Of the four members of Persephone’s Elite Guard, Charybdis was by far the most physically powerful, a fact Delibra had been made very aware of when she had first tried to spar with her three years ago. Charybdis’s injuries had been a dislocated arm and a bleeding scalp, while Delibra had suffered broken ribs, a torn hamstring, a punctured lung, and a broken jaw and crushed shoulder. The Oni had been going full out; the mermaid had been holding back. In a way, Delibra was both annoyed and thankful that Charybdis spent most of her time overseeing the Dragon Palace rather than being free to fight and train. She had gotten stronger since then, but the depths of power Charybdis held were vast, and Delibra had no way of knowing just how deep the wells of strength ran in the red headed girl, who shrugged and looked back at Karzahni.

“I could always try with just one hand. Maybe my foot against you. That seems about even.”

“The greatest Oni that ever lived, only as strong as Charybdis’s foot.” Karzahni sneered. “When you put it that way, it makes the whole race-“

The sound of a low hiss caused Karzahni to silence himself. He turned, and nearly leaped back when he found himself face to face with a pair of large lizards, with blue furry manes running down their backs and harnesses around their necks. They were each over ten feet tall at the shoulder, and sixty feet from the tip of their golden snouts to the end of their blackened tails. Behind the creatures was a wagon twenty feet in height, attached to their harnesses. A grey leathery membrane covered the top of the wagon, and the rest of it was a pale white wood. The wooden wheels rolled to a stop, and from behind the wagon emerged Minos, who walked toward the group.

“So, what was that about her destroying the wagon? She can be gentle when need be.” Charybdis jabbed at Karzahni’s side, and the demon was about to snark back, but with Minos so close by, he held his tongue.

“Wow… I’ve never seen creatures like these before. Are they a rarity in Sheol? Can I get one small enough to be a pet?” Delibra asked. Everything about these things fascinated her. The way their legs were splayed out to the sides, their short necks elevated just above the lengths of their bodies, the tails swishing back and forth as they waited for the command to go, it was all so cool to her. “Are they related to you, uncle?”

“In what world would I be related to these primitive beasts?!” Karzahni snapped. “We’re both Abyssian, but that is it. It is to me what a human being is to you!”

“What the grumpy old bat means, is they’re distantly related.” Persephone’s voice came from the entrance to the palace. No longer in her ornate robes, she was instead dressed in her metallic armor, which glistened in the hazy light. “They’re Butroids, one of the few remnants of the old Abyssian ecosystem. I guess you can say we’re bringing them back home for a visit.”

“They’re beautiful, mother! Stunning! How many of them are there like this?”

“Not very many. They’re a rare creature that I’m hoping to repopulate, thanks to Laeptus’s work. Though, these Butroids are but a prelude to what he can really do.” Persephone mused. Before Delibra could ask further, Persephone looked over at Karzahni. “ I’m glad to see you’re in better condition than before. This assignment couldn’t be possible without you, and your knowledge of how the Abyss works.”

“For once, acknowledgement of my intelligence and expertise.” Karzahni grumbled. “ And I’m glad you realized that, especially since we’re going beyond just the ravine, correct?”

Persephone nodded. “Yes. While investigating the cause of the disturbances and the loss of our troops remains the top priority, we also need to see if Craefr really does have some influence in this matter, or if he doesn’t, then if he has any plans on stopping it. Karzahni, you’re in the best position to try and talk to him out of the group.”

“I could…” Charybdis flaunted. She puffed out her chest, and placed a hand on it. Her crimson hair blew in the gentle breeze. “ I speak Abyssian, and Hellian, and Sylvan.”

“Yes, we all know of your many tongues, and your own fake dialect… But you might upset the Lord of the Abyss. The last thing we need is for conflict to erupt, and Craefr is… a temperamental demon. Please, don’t cause any more grief than necessary.”

Charybdis bowed low to the taller woman, with one knee on the ground. “Of course, Lord Persephone. I promise we won’t fail you.”

“We won’t, mother! We can’t fail you.” Delibra gleefully added in. The grin on her face was impossible to put down, and ever muscle in her body was desperate to move, to spring into action, to do anything. “Whatever this thing is, we can deal with it!”

“Well placed enthusiasm, and unconditional trust. Just what I need at this hour.” She ran her hand across Delibra’s forehead, and the Oni felt a chill run down her skin. She had felt her adoptive mother’s hand on her flesh many times, but none felt so cold as this, where she wanted to wince away, but she showed no signs of pain, not here and not now. “ I will stay here, and keep our guest safe and secure while you are busy. Don’t worry, I still have Mara here to guard me- erm I mean us.”

She turned, and began to walk off back into the palace. “ If anything goes wrong, please turn back immediately. That is an order, Minos. And Karzahni…” She stopped, and turned back to the diminutive dragon. Delibra noticed that there was a gleam in her eye, as if it had frozen over. “Tell Delibra the Resistance story on the way there. It’s a long journey, and at this point, she deserves to know the full history of how I came to rule, not just the crumbs I left for her all these years.”

Karzahni gulped, but did not speak. Instead, he simply nodded, and climbed up into the wagon. Charybdis followed behind him, and then Delibra climbed up as well. She took her seat on the wooden bar on the side of the wagon, right next to the mermaid.

A sharp whistle echoed from outside the covered wagon, and the pair of lizards began to gallop along, towing their cargo in the process. Out of the corner of her eye, Delibra could see Persephone standing in the doorway beyond the gates, silently watching them.

“Goodbye, mother…” Delibra quietly said. As much as she had always wanted to go and explore outside, a dark pit had started to form in her stomach. It felt… strange to knowingly go so far on her first real outing, especially with the stakes so high. Would it really go alright? Or… was there something else going on, something she had no way of knowing?

“Hey, don’t look so gloomy.” Charybdis said. She grabbed Delibra’s face, and turned it to face her. “We’ll be fine, and so will Persephone. No matter what mission the Elite Guard is sent on, we always succeed. And I don’t know Mara too well outside of her culinary skills, but if Persephone feels safe with her around, she’s got my vote.”

Delibra felt her face lighten. “Yes… You’re right. I’m just overthinking it all, real-“

A loud noise outside the wagon cut her off. It was someone shouting, but the voice was immediately recognizable to the Oni. “ W-wait just a minute. All I want to do is talk to her. I mean no harm, trust me!”

“Nuves?!” Delibra stammbered. The name also caused Karzahni’s eye to twitch in disbelief, but Delibra ignored him. She moved up front to the wagon, where the Butroids had been stopped. Sure enough, the Gyu-Oni was there, with Minos standing between him and the wagon. One clawed foot was extended out, and had latched onto the demon’s head, and it was that which was keeping him away, yet he kept trying to push through. “Minos, let him speak. But… why are you here? How did you know…”

Minos looked back at Delibra, and just as quickly let go of Nuves. The Gyu-Oni gasped for air and staggered forward, past the masked entity. “I still have a few connections in that Palace. I might not know everything that goes on, for the sake of keeping myself alive,” he stepped away from Minos as she leered at him, before continuing, “ but I do know when something happens to one of my favorite customers. I don’t know where you’re going, or what you’re doing… but I know you have what it takes, kid. You also got a lot of powerful friends at your side, more than you know.”

“Nuves…” Delibra stammered. Now the pit in her heart was fading away, and the energetic joy she had felt before rushed back in with full force. She reached out to him. “ I’ll be back, and when I come back, I’ll drag uncle and Minos with me to your place, and we’ll have a drink off. Right, you two?”

To her surprise, Minos immediately nodded. Karzahni, mulling to himself, reluctantly nodded as well. Seeing this, Nuves grabbed Delibra’s hand and clamped it tight. “You got it. It’s going to be like the good old days, back when Karzahni and I were old drinking pa-“

“For the last time, we were not drinking pals! I refused to engage in that vulgarity!” Karzahni howled. “ We’re burning daylight now, so let’s get going.”

Delibra let go of Nuves, and the Gyu Oni stepped back. “You’ll be changing that tune of yours after a few drinks!” He shouted, as the wagon took off again, with Minos guiding the Butroids along the ancient roads of the capital city.

Delibra, having sunk back into her seat, chuckled. “Uncle, you know he only wants the best for us, for all of us, right?”

Karzahni grumbled. “ Yeah… for us to be drunk stupid and wasted on the floor. But… we’ll see when we get to that point.”

“I didn’t think you knew anyone outside the Palace…” Charybdis asked. “Has Persephone been letting you out to go places?”

Delibra shook her head. “More sneaking out, if anything. This is my first official outing.”

She looked out toward the front of the wagon. The cobbled marble and stone streets of the capital city had stopped, and the low laying buildings had given way to the expanse of the realm of Sheol. Molten lakes dotted the open plains they had ridden onto, and great spires of obsidian towered above the landscape. High above, the gentle gliding form of aerial creatures circled. In the far distance, just barely visible through the haze, was a range of mountains, which Delibra knew was their destination. The dark clouds which hung over the mountain range only cemented that feeling in her gut.

“So, Uncle…” Delibra turned back to Karzahni, who leered back at her. “That photo of mother in the pantry…”

For the first time that morning, Delibra saw a sly smile creep along the dragon’s face. “Her old accomplices. Persephone did tell you she became ruler when the previous Lord of Sheol perished, correct?”

Delibra nodded. “ She defeated the bad guy and took over. That’s what she told me.”

Karzahni shook his head. “Far from the full story, obviously. And it’s not so black and white as that. Charybdis, you never were filled in on the circumstances surrounding Persephone gaining the throne, right?”

When the mermaid nodded, the Abyssian Demon stretched his wings out. “ Then let this old advisor tell you of that time, so very long ago. We have a long way to go to reach the ravine, and we have a long story on our hands…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Persephone watched as the wagon disappeared into the horizon. Nuves stopping to talk with Delibra had been unexpected, but it was fine. She deserved to say goodbye to her one real friend here before she embarked on such an important task.

“They already left?” Beltris asked as she stepped out into the Palace courtyard. She stopped beside the statue of the manta ray demon, and looked at it curiously. “ I was going to share with them some deviled eggs I made…”

“You know it’s a long way back to the Abyss, and they can’t tip off whatever is causing this that they’re not the normal prey.” Persephone turned to the ghoul. “It has to be authentic, so the thing can be goaded into attacking…”

“And then they can overwhelm and capture it, and possibly bring it back to Craefr?”

Persephone smiled. “You’re smarter than you let on, Beltris. I’m glad to see you catch onto the plan so fast.”

“Well, I was a teacher, so knowing how people think is a skill I had to learn.” She nervously laughed, one hand rubbing the back of her head. “ You get to realize how people think in general terms really fast. It’s a bit of a sink or swim position, bad pay and all.”

“That’s what I gleamed from what I was told about teaching, and my own attempts with Delibra.” Persephone sat down on the steps, and Beltris sat with her. “ It wasn’t all that easy, raising an Oni child as my own. Not many of my Elite Guard had experience with raising kids, and I myself… I needed help. Karzahni lacks the patience to deal with children, Charybdis is a little too energetic for her own good, Laeptus is a terrible role model for more reasons than one, and Minos… She’s unpredictable if I’m not giving the orders.”

“I’ve noticed that. But then… who did help you raise Delibra?” Beltris asked.

The answer lumbered out of the entrance, and rubbed her fur up against Persephone’s side. “ Is there anything you need, Master?” Mara asked. “Laeptus told me you were out here…”

“Nothing at the moment. I’m fine.” Persephone waved her off, and the giant fox turned back around and walked back inside. When she was gone, Persephone looked back at Beltris. “I got most of my advice from Mara. She had been a mother herself, before she became part of my Elite Guard. Children and grandchildren…”

“Really?” Beltris was shocked. “She doesn’t look it, but then she’s a fox, and-“

“No, she was human once, and she had quite the large family… but war claimed most of them, and her despair and grief caused her to be turned into a demon and end up here.” Persephone wiped a tear from her face. “It’s sad, really. If that war between humans hadn’t happened, she might have lived a long, peaceful life and be dead with her beloved by now. Fate and the gods had other plans, I guess. But without her knowledge, Delibra might not have been raised as well as she was.”

Beltris stood. “I’m sorry for what happened to her. Life throws many twists and turns our way. We lose friends, beloveds, those we care most about, by forces outside our control. We want life to go a specific way, but it’s never that easy. Especially when others don’t want it to be…”

Persephone gently smiled. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to hit a sore spot. What about… oh, you were curious about these statues, correct?”

Beltris nodded. “I get these must be past rulers of Sheol… or Hell, or whatever people call this region, but, these two confuse me. The flying one with the skull pattern beneath it, and the flaming tongued one?”

“The former is Demogorgon.” Persephone stood, and walked over to the statue. It wasn’t as large as Lucifer’s, but it was huge nonetheless, and dwarfed both of them in size. “The Tyrant of the Abyss. She was a crazed despot who lashed out at everyone and everything around her in rage and hatred. All of Sheol feared and hated her, but everyone was too scared to stand up against her. After all, she bigger than the palace itself, and some say even the city.”

“That big?!” Beltris stammered. “I-I can’t imagine a creature that huge…”

“Quite frankly, neither can I.” Persephone shook her head. “But the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and Demogorgon fell spectacularly. According to Karzahni, Demogorgon tried to pick a fight with the angels themselves, the gods of the Underworld. This statue is supposed to be her sealed remains. If you place your ear against it, and listen closely, you may just hear her pounding heart.”

“R-really?”

“No, I’m only joking on that last bit. She’s been sealed for a very long time, so I doubt she’s still alive, if at all. I don’t even think this is the statue itself she was sealed in. For all I know, this was a replica built in her image.”

“And… the fire tongued one? What about him?”

Persephone tilted her head in Beltris’s direction. She took a deep breath, and exhaled. “ That, is quite the interesting story…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Karzahni cleared his throat. “ You’re both familiar with the fact that Tyralus has been the main ruler of Sheol ever since Lucifer vanished, correct? Well, one of those who managed to usurp him and take the throne for themselves was a demon from the Abyss. His name was Belphor, and he was Craefr’s brother. The former has multiple lashing tongues, and the latter has multiple arms, but otherwise, they look close enough. Both large, hulking demons with spiraling horns, vicious visages, gigantic clawed arms, and both highly intelligent.”

“If he was Craefr’s brother, then… why did he leave the Abyss? Wouldn’t he still be welcomed there?” Delibra asked.

Karzahni rapidly shook his head. “ Belphor was tired of being in his brother’s shadow. He wanted to make a name for himself, so he tried his luck out in Sheol, despite the turnover rate for rulers being far higher than the Abyss. Four in the entire history compared to what, thousands? And to think I remember each and every one of them…” He took a deep breath, and resumed, “ Anyways, Belphor usurped Tyralus, and at first, he was a well meaning’d ruler. He wasn’t too harsh on others, he tried to understand what the people wanted, and he tried to expand the city and its surrounding towns into a full fledged empire of sorts. I was there, as his advisor, and was treated quite nicely in fact. But, things didn’t last as long as I would have preferred.”

Now it was Charybdis’s turn to ask. “ What? Did he kneel over? Get replaced by someone worse?”

“No…” Karzahni said, and Delibra noticed he seemed to say the word slower than usual, as if carefully considering how to say it. “ Instead, he was plagued by nightmares in his sleep. These nightmares… when I asked, he said he saw visions of humans, or beings that looked like humans, usurping his rule and plunging Sheol into a thousand years of chaos and destruction.”

“Yeeesh.” Charybdis recoiled. “That’s a hell of a nightmare. I know humans can be cruel and unreasonable from experience, but… that’s just extreme.”

“It was extreme, but these nightmares persisted, and Belphor became convinced what he was seeing was something he had to take action to prevent. He talked it over with me, and he came to a conclusion which ultimately sealed his fate. He decided to try and wipe out every single human in existence, not just those here in the Underworld, or those on the surface, but those in all worlds, all realities.”

Delibra was speechless. This… That couldn’t be right. How could… No, how was that even a possibility?! All her life, she had only known that there was the Underworld, and there was the Surface world, and the remnants of Heaven above that. It was what their existence was made of, those three overall parts, all overseen by the gods and the judges of the dead. The existence of anything beyond that, of even worlds past that… was inconceivable.

But more troubling than that, was Belphor’s solution. Wiping out an entire species, across every possible realm?! She shook her head, and stood up, despite the wagon swaying back and forth as it traversed over rocky ground. “ That’s not right, no matter what the cases! Killing off so many, just because of some dreams… It’s wrong!”

“Many would say that, yes.” Karzahni cut her off, and Charybdis as well when she tried to chime in. “but Belphor was certain it was the only way to preserve the Underworld as a whole, and Sheol. So, he devised a way to open rifts into these other worlds, to send his armies out and bring back prisoners or wipe out troublesome people.”

Karzahni cracked his neck, and looked out toward the approaching mountains. “This, you could say, was ultimately what lead to his demise.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“He brought back people that killed him, correct?” Beltris asked.

Persephone nodded. “ It’s funny how fate works. Like you said, you want things to go one way, but it never does. Especially for poor Belphor. When he sent his forces out, some of the people he dragged back escaped confinement. Many perished, but a few survived. They slipped out of his prisons, and wandered around, either in hopes of a way back home, or at least a way to take revenge on Belphor.”

“Makes sense, I guess. No one’s happy about being displaced from their homes.”

“These four weren’t.” Persephone smirked. She let out a cold cloud of air from her mouth, and looked up at the hazy sky. “ They were interesting individuals, each from different worlds, yet united under one goal. “

Persephone brought her left hand out, and began to peel her fingers one at a time as she counted them off. “One was a butcher of people, who had died and been given a second chance at life, if he atoned for his sins. One was the daughter of a wealthy family, who lived her life in paranoia and fear, but she was skilled with the blade and arrow, but luck was not on her side. She perished before the final fight. One was a great creature, covered in fur and as tall as a building. She could kill a dozen Gyu-Oni in a single swipe, but also tenderly care for an orphan girl. And the last…” Here, Persephone’s eyes dulled, and she shifted her gaze back down to Beltris. “The last was a woman of talent and power. She was as a god among mortals, a shapeshifter who could become anything she wanted, and hungered for knowledge and wisdom. Together, they became the heroes of the resistance against Belphor.”

“Amazing…” Beltris muttered. “Just… amazing. I never thought individuals like that existed… But you sound like you knew them personally.”

Persephone nodded, and a little light returned to her eyes. “ Of course I did.” She turned and began to walk back inside, and beckoned Beltris to follow her. “ I was a part of that resistance.”

~~~~~~~~~~

“Wait, mother really was?!” Delibra gasped. She never could have imagined that Mother had been part of a larger group, let alone one she had never really heard of up to this point. “How?! What were they like?!”

“Slow down, child. Let me tell at my pace!” Karzahni hissed. With another deep breath, he resumed, “as I was saying, AGAIN, those heroes wouldn’t have made it far without them meeting the resistance. They were demons who had learned of Belphor’s plans, and they all opposed them. Your mother, under the name Pera at that time, was one of them. Laeptus as well was among their ranks, as well as Proteus, and a few others, namely an avian butcher demon named Voti, and Asphagel, another Abyssian demon who was the leader of the Resistance. It was a motley crew, but somehow it was enough, even in the face of Belphor’s army. And more than enough for my brother, Karash.”

The tone that Karzahni spoke that last sentence with was all Delibra needed to realize asking Karzahni about a sudden brother he had never mentioned before was a bad idea. Charybdis apparently was in the same boat, since she stayed silent as well, outside of a quiet. “I’m sorry…”

“It’s not your fault. You weren’t even there.” Karzahni grumbled. “And he… Karash was a brash fool. He died because of his own incompetence, nothing more, and nothing less. The same goes for the rest of Belphor’s allies. All of them, even his right hand woman who had betrayed Asphagel and joined forces with Belphor, weren’t enough to stop them. In the end, those four heroes, and the rest of the resistance… they were enough to put an end of Belphor, and topple him. It was a long and drawn out battle, one which I remember vividly, and Belphor tried his best, but in the end… he was no match for them. Belphor fell, and Pera took over, and changed her name to Persephone. That photograph you saw, that was taken after Belphor fell. Each and every one of the resistance members was there in that photo, even the little adopted girl, Anabelle.”

“I… I had no idea Mother had been around such decorated people, or had such an exciting past..” Delibra said. “But… what happened to the rest of them? I mean, Laeptus and Proteus are still around, as chief scientist and military leader…”

Karzahni let out a long, pained sigh. “ That, my child, is because the fight didn’t end when Belphor died. It wasn’t like when Persephone became ruler, that everyone immediately liked her. No, there were those who remained loyal to Belphor, and they wanted your mother’s head on a pike, and those of everyone who helped her. For the next several years, Sheol erupted into a warzone, with the remnants of the Belphor loyalists doing everything in their power to avenge their fallen leader. Some of the Resistance managed to escape, and live on happy in other places. The great beast and the child are among those who escaped. Others… weren’t so lucky.”

“poop…” Charybdis whispered to herself.

“Eventually, Persephone realized the only way peace would be maintained was if every last trace of the radical loyalists were eradicated, to set an example. So, Minos was sent out to hunt them down, and I went with her to lead her to where they were most likely at. Those who unconditionally surrendered were spared, the rest were not. By the time the guerrilla warfare ended, both Minos and Persephone’s names had become marred in blood, and though they had done it for the stability and peace of Sheol, they became feared and hated by many, even to this day.”

Delibra was quiet. The realization of what Karzahni was saying hit her harder than she had expected, and she stared down at the ground in silence. That was it… the reason those like Nuves hated Mother so much… On the one hand, she understood their pain. Losing loved ones in war, against a ruler… it was only reasonable for them to be angry and hateful toward Persephone.
But, at the same time, it had all been in self defense, in a way. They had been attacking Mother, and she had defended herself. It was their faults for all of this, not hers. They had been in the wrong, and they refused to owe up to it…

Even Nuves.

A deafening boom caused her to look back up. Somehow, she had missed the fact that they were no longer journeying across the plains of Sheol. Instead, the landscape had transformed. They were riding up a mountain trail, and the skies above had turned pitch black. Jagged bolts of lightning tore across, and the wagon was rattled by the thunder. Very little vegetation was visible this far up, and the air was heavy.

“We’re almost to the ravine.” Charybdis said. “Whatever this big bad thing is, we need to be ready.”

“Yes.” Delibra nodded. This was no time to worry over small details. She needed to focus.

Whatever it was that was ahead, she’d be ready for it.
Last edited by Giratina93 on Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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