Wednesday, September 23, 2015

II 15. What if He Got Fooled by a Demon?

It wasn't her idea. She hated going out with them. Moreover, it was one of those silent days. Ezekiel was still home and wouldn't respond to her calls. Eneizar vanished but Elijah took his place.

"Why are we all going out when they are your friends?" She asked dryly.
Jasper turned to her and grabbed her hand. She gave him the feeling that she was going to get lost in the crowd of he wouldn't get a good grip on her.

"Because you look really sad. And because you need to meet new people. You only have demons around you."

"That's not true. I have friends who have nothing to do with Hell." He ignored her.

"Besides, we will have a show later tonight and I want you to stay and watch." That was probably the main reason why Jasper dragged them out. Thankfully, Mark and Luke tagged along. They were talking with Chen and Iaosur in the back.

"This is so exciting. I've never seen an improvisation show before!"
Chen stared at Iaosur. He was sure he didn't know what acting was in the first place.

"You seem excited about everything."
Luke was joking but Iaosur seemed a little offended by that comment. The demon raised an eyebrow and pushed a ghost through the human. Luke's eyes widened and shuddered. He stopped in the middle of the road and gasped for air. Zoe turned around and glared at Iaosur.

"I see two people fighting with each other in the same body." Jazz's words sounded crazy but that was exactly what was going on. He stood a few feet away from Luke while Zoe hurried over. She touched him and the ghost fell out of his body.

"What the heck happened?"
Jazz was wondering the same thing. Zoe glared at Iaosur and waited for the rest to move forward before she grabbed his wrist and squeezed it. He almost fell on his knees and grunted in pain. His eyes became entirely black and he could see black veins contouring his eyes. Jasper gulped. What did he get into?

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"You didn't have to do that."
After she let go of his wrist, the pain faded away.

"You pushed a ghost into an innocent human." Zoe scolded the angst demon.

"He said something I didn't like. I defended my principles." She stared at him blankly. "I know my rights and I had every right to punish him."

"I think you and your values should keep it in for the time being." Iaosur rolled his eyes and continued to walk without a single glance to her.

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They were going around Upper London and there were a lot of stores she hadn't been into. She really wanted to enter one especially. It had antiques but some of the things on display seemed suspiciously real.

The streets were packed and she could easily sneak away from the group. Maybe it wasn't a good idea, but she felt a need to go and check that store.

When she entered, a small bell rung and signaled a new customer. The person at the counter was sleeping. She raised an eyebrow and stared at him for a few minutes. He was quite handsome and young for such a business. Besides, the store was very fancy for a medium budget.

She walked deeper into it and touched one or two things. It had a certain comfort. Everything in that place was spirit-less and had something magical about them. She noticed a doll in the very back, on an old dresser. It was pretty and vintage. Zoe smiled softly and remembered the toys she had when she was a kid.

Two soft knocks grabbed her attention after a few minutes. She couldn't figure where it came from. She heard them again and realized it was coming from the back of the store. She glanced at the counter to check if he was still sleeping. He was. Good.

As she was walking towards the sound, the knocks didn't stop. Her eyes narrowed at a certain dresser. It was huge; took an entire wall. It was also very detailed. She bent to the corners and noticed cravings. They were Devil signs and she knew some wizardry was involved in the making process but it was amazingly done and it worth the risk.

Knock. Knock.
Zoe heard it again. Her eyes moved upwards and reached for the handle. She was ready to open it when the warmth of another hand covered hers.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Her head snapped to him and she froze. The handsome young man from the counter was a demon. Moreover, he was demon without a sign and without a certain feel about him. She could see it in his eyes. She could see through his eyes, actually.

"You are a rebel." The boy raised both eyebrows and leaned in.

"Commander," A wide smirk graced his lips. "What an honor." He had that certain face and reaction of a vanity demon. It was really bad if he was one of Belial's demons. Those were rare and dangerous. Moreover, they wanted her and Jasper dead; forever.

She gulped as she was staring deep into his lifeless eyes. He inspected her and turned her hand around. He was looking for the sign. He didn't expect it to be on her palm. That only proved she was a sneaky one and would prefer to hide her identity most of the time.

"Are you going to kill me?" She asked and watched him warily. The demon looked down at her and shook his head. "Then are you going to lock me into the dresser?" She continued. He glanced at it from the corner of his eye.

He leaned back and chuckled.

"On the other side of this dresser is nothing but void." She blinked quickly and looked at the wood dresser. It didn't seem that dangerous. "There is an old story. It is said that if you knock three times on the back of this dresser, a door will open. A door to a place where hope doesn't exist."

"Like Hell." He stared at her closely.

"Maybe. It's been locked for a long, long time by a witch and the story died with this master piece." He had such a deep calming voice. It was a surprise that he was a rebel. Zoe would have preferred him as a friend and ally.

"And somehow, you got it." He nodded and plunged his hands in his pockets. He turned his back on her and started to walk. She followed him closely.

"The old man who owned this store died of lung cancer a few years ago and his children didn't want to keep it. They sold it to some scum that wanted to destroy it and build some glamorous restaurant." She could already imagine how things went from there.

"So you possessed him and got it instead?" The demon glanced at her over his shoulder. His eyes were judging her from head to toe.

"I didn't. I saved this place and made it a home for lost spirits. It automatically became haunted and he ran. He is still living his pitiful life somewhere." She was a little touched by the story. But something was still not right. He was a demon with an antique shop. "This is a place where spirits gather for tea. It's a place where no one is weirder than the other. It's my home, as well."

"Why are you telling me this?" He stopped in front of the counter and grabbed something off it. Her eyes widened. It was that doll she saw before.

"Because that is exactly what your house is, isn't it?" She frowned. "Iaosur, Gakhas, Mehrdir, Eneizar and so on. Demons and familiars of different levels find comfort and safety in your home." He smirked and hit her forehead lightly with his finger. "You are their guardian. Just like a true commander, you lead them towards victory." She looked down at the doll in her hands.

"How can a rebel talk so leisurely and have such a bright aura around him?"
Zoe sighed heavily and pulled the doll closer to her chest. She felt responsible for it, for some odd reason.

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She met the others at the bar. Thankfully, she knew where it was. Jasper was in the back, from what she heard around. The others were sitting at a table in the corner. It was crowded and sweaty. However, she was the one grabbing attention with her new accessory.

"It seems Jazz has fans."
Chen was ready to agree when he noticed her new friend.

"Why are you holding a doll?" She looked down and smiled. The doll had something about it that was emitting good mood.

"Why not?"
Chen blinked and accepted her response. He had seen worse -The Volunteer and Cane Hill- and he learned his lesson. Questions only brought more questions. Sometimes, not knowing at all was the best.

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She sat in between Mark and Iaosur and she had to listen to them rambling about whatever they liked. Chen kicked her under the table and pointed at his phone. She took hers out and felt it vibrate. The text was about Ezekiel and his absence. She shrugged and texted back.

He doesn't respond to my calls and texts.

Chen frowned and typed right away.

I talked to his mom. She is worried because he locked himself in the basement.

She rolled her eyes. Who knew what was going on through his head?

I'm sure he is fine. He is a big boy.

Chen wasn't so sure about that. Ezekiel was ready to do anything if it was for family and Zoe became family. Besides, who could judge him? In the last few years, Chen had seen more than he wanted to.

What if something happened?

Like what?

The show was ready to start. The lights turned off and the girls started to scream. It was getting crazy. But she didn't miss Chen's response.

What if he got fooled by a demon?

She frowned and looked at Chen. His head was turned towards the stage but he wasn't smiling. He was worried for his best friend and he just made her share his feelings.

For the rest of the night, she couldn't enjoy the show at maximum. At some point she felt someone grab her hand. She looked down and saw the doll. She chuckled and placed in on her lap. But the worry didn't fade away. It was still there and it was eating her whole.

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On the other side, Mrs. Addams was in front of her basement door. She had a trail of food balanced on her right hand while she was knocking on the door with the other.

"Ezekiel! Come out and eat!" She got no response. She sighed put the trail in front of the door. "I got you some snacks. Get something to eat, son. Don't be stubborn." She sighed and left. "What is he doing down there?" She mumbled on her way back into the kitchen. She was truly curious.

Well, Ezekiel wasn't doing much. He spent the last two days searching for ways to transfer energies between humans and demons. He couldn't find anything on internet so he started to read.

He couldn't find any demonologist who investigated or even heard something about that. Most people wouldn't exactly want to become demons. He was ready to give up when he found something that sounded remotely close to what he was searching for. It was called a Dangerous Magnetic Attraction. It was mostly about Succubi and Inccubi but Ezekiel wondered if it wasn't the same basic system.

"Based on trust and needs. A demon gives you everything you want and even more. But for that to happen, he needs a vow from you. That stated, the demon tries his best to gain your trust through your needs and greed. Once he gets you entangled into his web, you remain with no power against him. You get lost in the dark and can never find light ever again. You are doomed and your soul will eventually be eaten or locked up. You cannot change your choice or back down once you enter his world. We might even see it as a life commitment. Once your connection is made, you start living a lie. What is worse is that you cannot even see it as a lie. For you, life just became real."

Somehow, those words sounded a lot like his actually life. If exchanging life energy for the best of Zoe was so dangerous then he could already see the threads of her web. She was the demon who gave him everything and made him live in her world. If the darkness was what consumed his life for the last few years then exchanging bits with Iaosur was not uncalled for.

He didn't have to draw any circle. He had to find Iaosur and simply exchange some vows and eventually spill some blood. It was easy enough. Iaosur was part of Zoe's circle anyway. If he was her legacy, it pretty much meant he was going to give energy to Iaosur sooner or later anyway.

"What are you doing?" He jumped in surprise when he heard Eneizar's voice.

"Can you not enter like a normal person? You scared me to death." The vanity demon chuckled and walked closer. "How did you know I'm here?"

"I smelled you." Ezekiel scrunched his nose in disgust. That wasn't something he wanted to to hear. "Anyway, I know what you're doing."

"Really now," The human was sarcastic and Eneizar hated humans who were using that tone; moreover with him.

"I know you met Mehrdir. He told you to give half of your energy to Iaosur. Do you know why?" Ezekiel sighed and nodded.

"Yes. Mammon is interested in me and wants me to give him some kind of link to Middle World." Eneizar raised an eyebrow. He was surprised that Mehrdir told him the truth. Ezekiel gathered his books and walked towards the door. When he opened it, he met Alice. She was staring ahead with a poker face. Ezekiel frowned.

"Alice, what are you doing here?" Her eyes moved around chaotically, just like the time you are asleep and have no control over your pupils. Ezekiel dropped the books and grabbed her shoulders. He shook her a little before she closed her eyes. "What the-" His eyes widened and moved down. She stabbed him with a fork. If that wasn't ironic, he didn't know what was. She opened her eyes and Ezekiel saw darkness.

"Isn't this a pitiful sight? Your girlfriend is nothing but a vessel. Nothing but a puppet in the hands of Belial."
Ezekiel coughed blood and fell against the door frame. He was barely standing on his two feet and no matter how much he was trying to gain balance, the wound in his stomach was pretty bad.

The last thing Ezekiel saw before he fell unconscious was the pair of empty black eyes of Alice and the smirk on Eneizar's face.

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Jasper played every play he knew at the show. She didn't know he had so many in the first place. The whole table was shocked just how good he was. He acted with other actors as well and even with his real childhood friend, Zack. She could already see that poor guy take Ezekiel's role for Jasper's well being. She didn't want to pity him but he was going to enter some nasty world.

Jasper introduced his friends to her and the rest. She watched Iaosur's eyes widen in excitement. She could already see him going around them and scaring them for life when he was bored.

"So, he's staying with you right? Isn't that uncomfortable?" She stared at Zack and shook her head.

"I've been living with boys for as long as I can remember. I got used to it." Zack raised an eyebrow and nudged Jasper.

"Heard that?" Zack chuckled but Jasper shook his head disapprovingly. "What kinds of men do you like Zoe?"

"Stupid men who don't know when to stop and admit to themselves that they are wrong and someone else is right." Zack and Jasper stared at her curiously. Iaosur and Chen were chuckling.

"Alright?" Zack didn't know how to respond to that. "So you like simple men?" Her eyes moved on Iaosur.

"I wouldn't say that. More like, sincere men." The demon rolled his eyes.

"You chose the wrong place to look for sincerity." Iaosur was quite blunt with his statement but he wasn't lying and that was really sad for her.

They drunk more and even got deeper into the subject of relationships. Two more friends of Jasper's came at the table. One was tall and well built. His stage name was Manny. The other was a woman. She was really open-minded and took Zoe's side on the girls part. They were both in an underground band called Royal. They were funny and livened up the mood.

Zoe was talking to Kitti. She didn't want to tell her real name yet.

"I heard you are a webtoon artist from Jazz," Zoe nodded. She was curious how he found out since she never told him anything about her life. "Are you under some kind of alias on the internet?" She was genuinely curious.

"The Commander." Chen got himself kicked under the table; rather harshly too.

"No. I don't have any aliases. Only Zoe." Kitti nodded and asked for another beer. For how small she seemed, she had high alcohol tolerance.

When the clock struck midnight, Mark and Luke's faces suddenly changed. They both got up and walked out for a breath of fresh air. Ten minutes passed and they didn't come back. Zoe and Jasper glanced at each other before they went after them.

Many people were that night in the city but Zoe could feel where they went. It was weird because they were humans. She grabbed Jasper's hand and walked down the street. They found Luke leaning against the wall with his hands hiding his face. Jasper was scared and he had no idea why. He could feel his whole body trembling. He glanced at his hands and noticed his veins getting more visible and black.

Zoe walked to Luke's side. She moved his hand aside and froze. His eyes were white. Completely white and lifeless.

"It's harder for Belphegor to possess someone who's been trying his best to stay in his body." She knew that voice. She turned her head slowly and saw Mark. His eyes were normal and he looked normal but inside him was a dangerous creature. "Surprise," His tone was the opposite of his face; blank.

"Leviathan," Jasper's eyes widened. He was staring at Mark with confusion all over his face. "You possess my friend."

"It's not the first time." 
Jasper's eyes moved on Zoe. She had her back turned to him but he could notice how stiff she became. Every muscle in her body tensed and she seemed ready to defend herself.

"What do you mean?"
Luke seemed to have lost control because he suddenly started to laugh.

"Do you think two boys suddenly moved next door in such a crappy apartment building? Do think people can be so bright all the time? Humans have dark secrets, Zoe. Some darker than others." She didn't move nor blink. She was staring ahead like she was in a daze.

"Let me see if I got this. You two use Luke and Mark as vessels. Have been since you found Zoe." Jasper clarified it more for himself than her.
Mark nodded.

"Yes." His eyes enlightened when he noticed the mist around Jasper. "Ooo, Bel. Look who we have here! It's the inheritor!" Jasper's courage vanished. When Mark walked closer and started to check him out, it was both uncomfortable and weird. "You are so weak. Just like Zoe before she got the demons. I'm sure there is a Mehrdir for you too, Jasper. You already found your Ezekiel. What was his name-um-" He tried to remember the name of the people whom Mark spoke with earlier. "Right. Zachary Park." Jasper's eyes widened. Zoe was still lost in her world. "And not only. You have your brother as well, don't you? Your grandparents were involved and your parents tried to keep you away but karma is a bitch." Luke rolled his eyes and glanced at Zoe. He grabbed her shoulders and swayed her from side to side.

"Don't be so shocked, Zoe. You should know by now that no one around you is real. Never was and never will be. Not even your love for Mehrdir." Something clicked in her mind.

Luke took a step back and looked Mark. Inside the bodies, the two demon princes were getting pulled towards a specific place.

"There is a circle forming in a magic house." Belphegor nodded. It was dangerous for the cause. Leviathan's eyes widened. "They're calling for Asmodeus." Zoe's head snapped to Mark.

"It's Ezekiel isn't it?" They nodded. She looked down at her palm and saw her sign glowing. Her eyes started to sting and she became aware of what was going on. "He's making an exchange. Dammit!" She ran out of there quickly. The demons left as well.

Jasper found himself alone on the street with two unconscious men. He sighed and rubbed his head. He really got involved into a weird world.

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