“The… Devil?” I asked, swallowing in fright. “As in, Devil Devil.” My voice cracked on the last two words.
“It’s true,” the spiky haired and scaled demon said. “Not the one I’m guessing you’re thinking of though. Like I said, names aren’t unique. Identities are. Being The Devil is more of a title than anything.”
“Then…th…then,” I stuttered, horrified at what was going on and still covering up my junk with my hands. “What happened…to the original?”
“Little Luci?” she asked rhetorically with great pleasure. “Last I checked he’d escaped his imprisonment. Probably off somewhere now, drinking and celebrating that God is going to wipe out humanity soon.”
Oh man, I thought. I’ve got a new Devil in my soul and the original Devil is out in the world somewhere! I don’t think the Guardianship ever had to deal with crap like this.
My powers didn’t seem to work here, but if they did, I’d definitely be shooting off blasts uncontrollably right about now.
“Okay, so you’re like, the queen of Hell?” I asked, buckling my knees.
Her body, save for her head, twisted around 180 degrees, so now the entire front of her was facing me.
“You could say that,” she answered, still grinning. “Though I’d never refer to myself that way. Plus, I imagine that one of my inner circle has taken my place in the wake of my absence.”
“Yeah, kinda wanted to ask about that,” I said, my legs shaking. “You’re The Devil, probably have a lot on your plate. But you’ve also been living inside me for the past six months, fuling my powers. I…I gotta ask something.” I clenched my fists and let out a scream full of confusion and frustration. “WHY?! Why would you do this?!”
Pointing her feet downward, she floated over to me. Either she could fly, or physics didn’t apply in a soul. Guess that would make sense.
Rather than stop in front of me, she floated right past me. I turned my neck around so I could still see her, oddly not causing any strain, but I still wasn’t sure how to move around here.
“It was an accident,” she started. “When one of my subjects tipped me off that Abe was making a move against God, I was intrigued. It’s always nice to see the creator of all taken down a peg. But when I learned that he was planning on directly taking on Adam, and that if he failed, all of humanity would be killed, I knew I had to step in. After all, you’ve faced them both. You know the disparity in the amount of power they possess.”
She wasn’t wrong. Smo…Abe may not have been going all out when we fought, but I was still able to hold my own. And I was much weaker back then. My fight with Adam was just last week. There was nothing I could do to him.
“Why does “The Devil” care about humanity?” I asked.
“Hmm,” she hummed. “Nostalgia, possibly. Though mostly, having such a massive influx of demons into my domain all at once would just be an absolute mess.”
“I dunno,” I said softly, wiggling my toes. “I don’t think you’d get too many additions. Most people are naturally good.”
“And it’s adorable that you still think that,” she said quickly. “Now, as I was saying, I decided to get involved. However, because of the barriers in place, traveling between the three planes is more than a little difficult, even for someone like me. So, to slip through, I warped myself into a miniscule ball of energy, allowing me to pass through Taberaq’s Gate undetected.”
Maybe if I’d been reading some of Eve’s books, I’d have had a better idea of what she was saying. As it stood, I…a miniscule ball of energy.
“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh,” I moaned.
“Figuring it out, huh? Well it gets better. I don’t pay attention to every insignificant conversation you partake in so I have to ask. Has anyone told you about fusion?”
I knew what the word meant, obviously. And in what my life felt like it was starting to resemble, I’d seen characters fuse together into a single warrior in some of the anime I’d watched. Even with crazy things had gotten, even considering that I was literally inside my soul, the idea of fusion being real still seemed pretty bizarre. Like, how would it even work?
“No, but I imagine you’re gonna tell me all about it.” Definitely should have looked at some of those books. I’d lost track of how many times in the last few months I’d now gotten lectured to about things I had no clue about and I was getting sick of it. Raina may have been taking AP Magic Theory at her school, but before all of this started, all I knew were the wordings behind all of Magistar’s spells.
“The mortal realm is the only one which produces lifeforms with souls. Angels, demons and the other beings which inhabit Heaven and Hell lack them. However, while it is something which in practice has only occurred a handful of times, angels and demons alike possess the ability to consume a human soul. To let their essence completely overtake theirs. The human continues to exist within the soul, becoming part of the fusion’s subconscious, and the angel or demon, now in complete control, receives an exponential increase in power. My intention was to find the most capable living human, fuse with them and use that power, in tangent with Abe’s, to kill Adam. And my search for the perfect candidate…led me to Shay Myers.”
“What?” I shrieked. “You were going to take over Shay’s body?! Wh…Why?! Wouldn’t you want a Demigod?”
Still floating where they were, The Devil elongated their back toward me, bending over backward and once again twisting their head around to face me.
My heart racing, she continued talking.
“I believe Adam explained it to you. In the face of everything else that’s out there, so called “super powers” are irrelevant. Souls though? Only a handful of your kind have realized the potential they hold.” She tilted her head. “Your sister’s soul in particular was incredibly impressive. Had I fused with her, I could have killed Adam without breaking a sweat. Hell, I’d have probably had enough power to wipe out the archangels.”
“But, that’s not what happened,” I trembled, my stomach rumbling. “You…fused with me.”
“By me you are thick,” she replied. “Were you not listening? If we had fused, you wouldn’t ever have had control of this body. Not to mention you’d be much more powerful.”
“Then what the Hell happened?!” I was so tired of all this. So tired of all these higher being and players in the game being all mysterious and crap!
She sighed, stretching herself back to a normal position, and floating back over to being in front of me.
“You happened,” she growled. “I was all set to fuse with her. Everything was going according to plan. But, as I was flying through your home, you swatted me and somehow, on contact, your soul sucked me inside, trapping me. All this time later, I still have no idea how. Even if there was precedent for something like this happening, I’m baffled by how a soul as weak as yours accomplished it.”
My soul was weak?
“Wait, are you saying that if this hadn’t happened, you would have taken over Shay? That she’d be as good as dead?!”
“Yes,” she answered coldly. “But humanity as a whole would have been safe. Surely as a hero, you understand the necessity of acceptable losses.”
My unclipped nails dug into my hands, causing blood, without any traces of lightning, to drip out.
“It’s true that in certain conflicts, innocent people will die,” i said in a muffled voice. “And causing those deaths for a greater good doesn’t automatically make you a bad person.” I paused. “But it sure as Hell means you’re not a hero!”
A few seconds passed and there was no response from The Devil. Not even a change in facial expression.
“I think it’s about time we get down to why I brought you in here,” she said, changing the subject. “Up until this point, you have been utilizing my power directly. However, I’ve also been limiting how much you can use at a time. Namely, through fear, making it so that in most situations, you’d have just enough power to survive. I had no choice in doing this. With a soul as weak as yours, if you ever got access to my full power, you’d likely either go insane or burn up your soul, and by extension, both of us.”
So that’s the story behind that? If I’d ever gotten sacred enough, could those things have really happened?! I thought, my whole body now quivering.
“But you were saying that I had untapped potential out there,” I said. “Said that if I hardened my heart or whatever, I’d be able to save everyone. What did you mean?”
She floated right up to me so that I had no room to breath…not that I was sure I was breathing where we were.
“The soul is not stagnant,” she whispered. “And killing is a very easy way to make it stronger. Malcolm, Eve, Olivia, your sister; nearly everyone you associate with is a killer, and they all possess very strong souls.” She was lying. She had to be. How would killing make your soul stronger? And Shay wasn’t even a killer! No way. I mean, she had thrown Edwin down into Hell, but he could have survived that. “Well, I suppose I should say the people you used to associate with. Malcolm and Shay have no doubt been killed by Abe by now, Olivia and Eve will be hunted down like dogs by Adam, and I’d give it about another five minutes before Raina changes what she wants out of life again and returns to her father’s side.”
Without a second thought, I smacked her in the face with a right hook. Upon impact, my hand felt like every bone in it had shattered and I dropped to my knees in pain.
“Lies. You’re wrong and you’re lying!” My whole body was still shaking. Blood from my hands had dripped on me. My right hand is agony. My mind was even worse. Everything she’d said…everything she’d said that might be real.
“No Carter,” she said, crouching down. She smirked. “I’ve won.”
With that, she plunged her hand through my stomach.
My eyes popped and my mouth opened wide, but I couldn’t say anything. Couldn’t even scream. From where her hand was, black lightning formed and slowly started spreading across me.
“I really am lucky you’re so gullible,” she hissed. “I couldn’t tell from the outside, but your soul is more powerful than any other human’s that I’ve seen. Even moreso that your sister’s. That’s why I couldn’t get out. But with your emotions running so hot, and every fiber of your being exhausted from what you’ve been through in recent times, you were weakened enough that I was able to bring you in here.” The black lightning had encompassed my entire torso and it was working its way across my arms and legs. “And all it took was a brief conversation and a few well placed lies to break down the last of your defenses.” The only part of me left that wasn’t covered by black lightning was my face. My mouth was filled with saliva from trying to talk…I couldn’t move. There was nothing I could do. “Don’t you worry Carter. With me in control, humanity will be saved.”
The tingling sensation of the lightning turned to sharp pain as it worked its way up my face, feeling like it was cutting into me.
I was helpless, just closing my eyes and hoping I’d survive whatever was happening.
When I opened my eyes, I was no longer in pain. There were no wounds on my body and the Devil was nowhere to be seen.
I was still in the void that was my soul though. Something was different though. All of the colorful squares had turned into screens. And on them, I saw Davenport Manor…from the same perspective I’d been looking at it before I’d been sucked in.
“Oh no,” I said, able to speak again. “No, no, no!” On the screen, arms were raised…incredibly buff arms made entirely of black and yellow lightning.
“Still not a true fusion,” I heard The Devil’s voice say. “But this should be sufficient.”
“Wha…what have you done?!” I screamed.
“Can’t tell?” she asked. This time, I realized there was an echo around her voice. “I’ve taken over our body. Mutated it to a new, stronger form, and of course, trapped you in your own soul. And while with full gusto, you’d probably be able to take control back, something tells me you wouldn’t have the first idea how.”
“You…you’re not going to get away with this!”
“Get away with what? Saving your realm? That’s what’s best for both of us. Of course, I’ll be willing to do whatever’s necessary.” Putting one arm down, she reached out our other one, a massive sphere of electricity forming around the fist. “First things first. Let’s wipe out every trace of that laboratory.”
“NO! There are still people down there. Get them out first!”
“Afraid there are too many better uses of my time,” she said, taking steps toward the manor.
“Don’t do this. Please!”
“The first kill is always the hardest, Carter.”
She was right. I didn’t have any idea how to do anything here. She was in control of the body I didn’t seem to have my powers here. What was I supposed to do?!
“SHAY!” I howled. “RAINA! MALCOLM! JOEY! Someone help!”
“What you say in here, no one but I can hear,” she said. “A mute point thought. I wasn’t lying about your friends though. They’re all gone. Even if you were still in control, you would be all alone.” The sphere around our fist had gotten so big, I couldn’t see anything else. This power was incredible.
“Please just stop! Stop! Stop!”
“Nothing will be stopping me. And no one is coming to save you. Game over, Carter.”
From the sphere, a blast far larger than any I’d ever launched was fired at where the mansion once stood, likely packing enough power to burst the ground and kill everyone trapped in the lab.
I watched in horror and prepared for the impact…but it was stopped.It wasn’t clear who, but someone had jumped in the way of the blast and stopped it in its place. Then, using a scythe they were holding and seemingly using to block the attack, they redirected the blast into the sky.
“Who the Hell is this?” The Devil asked, sounding genuinely shocked. “It isn’t Abe or Adam. And no damn monkey should have been able to do that!”
My vision no longer obscured, I had a better look at the figure who I was now incredibly grateful to. They were dressed in a full-set of black and red knight armor, with their helmet being shaped like a skull. In addition, they had a cape matching the color scheme of their armor. In their hands was the weapon they’d just used to stop me…us, an incredibly long scythe, the handle black and the blade itself having been painted blood red.
“You miscalculated,” they said, though I couldn’t make out the voice very clearly. It was definitely a woman though. “The man you have chosen to mess with is Carter Myers.” With that, they pulled off their helmet, throwing it to the ground. Oh my god, I thought, seeing them. “He is a man who would do anything for those he cares about.” She raised her scythe, showing that she wanted to fight. “And so in turn, his friends will always be there for him.”
I was still scared, but knowing there was hope that The Devil could be stopped, I smiled.