Friends and Foes
When Jasper entered her apartment, he felt this sudden urge to leave as fast as he could. He tried but someone suddenly appeared in front of the front door; again, suddenly appeared.
“Hello,” Gakhas' expressionless face wasn’t helping the situation. He was looking at Jasper as if he was ready to skin him alive.
“Don’t scare him. Just go ask Mark and Luke if they have a spare room. They should,” Zoe mumbled.
Jasper was amazed by how many people suddenly appeared in the room. Some came from the kitchen or another room in the apartment while others came in through the windows.
“What is this place?”
“Devil’s Den,” Iaosur got hit in the ribs as soon as he opened his mouth by Ezekiel.
Jasper’s eyes widened.
Ezekiel turned to the newbie and smiled, “That’s not true. It’s a normal apartment with immoral entities. It will become your home in no time. You’re quite welcome unlike some others,” He glanced warily at Eneizar.
The vanity demon scoffed and turned back to playing video games.
Zoe sighed and entered her room, leaving the door open so she could see what was happening in the living room. She had a perfect view of Jasper’s sceptical face. Ezekiel was the first person to approach and shake hands with him.
“I’m Ezekiel and I’m 100% human.”
Zoe chuckled. That was how Rowan introduced himself when they first met.
Ezekiel nodded and smiled. From just a handshake, the human could feel a lot of dark energy emitting from Jasper. He wasn’t aware of it before but now that he got to meet superior demons and Zoe, he noticed it.
“You don’t have to worry about anything. The safest place is next to her.” Ezekiel continued.
Jasper’s eyes moved from Eneizar to Iaosur and ended on Gakhas.
“I don’t feel safe,” The inheritor trailed, “They’re not human, are they?”
Ezekiel rubbed the back of his neck and chuckled nervously.
Right in time, Chen entered the living room from the kitchen, a bag of chips in his hand and a can of coke under his armpit.
“Hey! You’re the new uninvited guest?” The shorter human exclaimed, taking Jasper by surprise.
“I’m pretty sure she invited me,”
Chen hummed and inspected Jasper from head to toe before sniffing the air around the newbie. After he got an idea of whatever he was looking for, he smiled.
“Hello. I’m Chen,” he walked closer and stuck his hand out.
Jasper stared at his sticky hand with scepticism. Chen realized what was going on and wiped his hand on his pants before he stuck his hand in front of him again.
“Chen, go ask Mark if he has a bed available for my long lost childhood friend.”
Chen smiled and nodded, leaving right away with the coke and chips.
Zoe rolled her eyes and leaned against the doorframe, “He’s going to take a while if Mark asks him to play video games again.” She sighed and sat on the couch. She patted the empty space next to her and made a sign for Jasper to take it.
He did willingly.
“I have a few question.,” The inheritor started.
The commander could understand it was a lot to take in and was ready to offer him the answers he was looking for.
“Were you in a host club in Osaka?” He asked randomly.
Zoe froze. Eneizar and Iaosur glanced at each other before they started to laugh and even Ezekiel raised an eyebrow and walked closer.
“Um-maybe. Yes. I had something I had to take care of.” She stuttered.
Jasper stared at her innocently.
“You are the one Jun asked out, aren’t you?” He was bemused and she was blushing, “You embarrassed yourself in front of the hosts. I remember Ren and Kyouya gossiping about you. Well, they were talking about a Kyoko-san but I’m sure it was you.”
The demons and Ezekiel were getting curious.
“What did you do with the hosts, Zoe?” Eneizar asked in a teasing manner.
She was really quick to respond, “Nothing.”
Iaosur nudged Jasper to say more.
“You told them that they look like characters from-“
She covered his mouth with her hand and smiled sarcastically.
“Well then, let’s call it a day and go do our business. Let’s go next door, Jasper.” She dragged him out of there. Once they were securely outside, she let him go, “Don’t give them any laughing material. They’re demons and will make it twice worse than it is.”
He nodded and followed her closely.
“Why don’t I live with you?”
She knocked twice.
“Because it’s safer to keep you around humans. Unlike me, you don’t seem like someone with a bad childhood and bad relationship with your parents.”
He stared at her with a poker face, curious what exactly she was talking about.
“Don’t pity me. Don’t pity anyone.” She knocked again before she heard Mark’s voice approaching, “Keep it for yourself. You will pity your own life in a few months.”
He didn’t like the sound of that.
“So, he’s your long lost childhood friend?”
She glanced instinctively at Chen. He really didn’t express it differently than what she told him.
“Yes. We’ve been far from each other for 10 years,”
Mark nodded and turned to Jasper with his blinding smile.
“Where have you been living all this time?”
“Japan/America.” They said at the same time. They glanced at each other and nodded, “America/Japan.”
Mark tilted his head to the side and chuckled.
“His parents are rich. He moved from Japan to America and then back to Japan,”
Everyone turned to Chen. He was -much like Zoe guessed- playing video games with Luke.
“You know Zoe’s family is very strict; so is Jasper’s. He just ran from home and came to the first person he thought of: Zoe,”
Zoe was amazed by how easy Chen could lie. He looked up from the game and winked at her before going back to killing zombies.
“That explains the hurry,” Mark was really gullible, “Well, we don’t have much space but you can take the couch. It’s an expendable one,”
Jasper smiled and thanked Mark, finding it easier to breath in his apartment.
That night, they had a dinner party. Everyone gathered at Zoe’s house and Andy had to possess Ezekiel again in order to cook.
Mark and Luke took a great liking in Jasper and would often ask him questions. Thankfully, he actually had answers unlike all the lies spread by Zoe.
“What did you do in Japan?” Mark asked curiously.
“I used to help in host clubs by day and act by night,”
Luke’s eyes widened and brightened, “You act? I do too in my free time! We should have a show off sometimes,”
Jasper laughed and glanced at Zoe warily. She was in deep thought; something was irking her and she knew it was one new made demon that loved to watch from the shadows.
She got up and went into the bathroom. Elijah was in there, playing with the soap.
“Belphegor wants to pay you a visit soon. And Levi found a few demons that have disappeared from Hell. They’re low level demons, rebels even,” He started while joggling with the soap.
“You have to protect him, no matter what. That is your mission.” She stated the obvious.
Elijah rolled his eyes and got up from the bathtub. He threw the soap at her and left through the mirror. She looked down at the soap before she looked at the tub; he wrote the names on the wall with lemon scented body balsam.
Days passed quietly afterwards. Mark and Luke welcomed Jasper without the smallest suspicion. She only had to come up with a good excuse and that was it.
What was troublesome, however, was Elijah. He would appear in the house at the most inopportune moments and would do whatever he wanted. Jasper found it very troublesome and often was overwhelmed by the ghost.
That was why he asked Zoe for a way to calm him down.
"Wrap a leash around his neck,"
Ezekiel stared at Zoe curiously. Did she just say that?
"That's not a good idea. Elijah is half envy demon; he is a low grade demon and can rebel any time. You might get yourself in more trouble," Ezekiel added, trying his best to help him make the best decision.
He couldn't agree with Zoe when she never even considered her own advice.
But Ezekiel didn't know just how bad Elijah was. Jasper could ignore it but living with two perceptive people was making it worse. Mark couldn't ignore the disturbances in the living room for longer and Luke was traumatized after Elijah appeared in the bathroom and scared him while showering.
"Does the leash work?" He trailed, remembering just how much terror Elijah was bringing.
Zoe gave him two thumbs up, encouraging him to do so. Jasper walked out of the store and went to look for rope; he was sure he needed the best rope out there.
Ezekiel glared at her but didn't say anything.
"The silent treatment doesn't work on me," She started, glancing at her best friend.
"It's not like I didn't use it before,"
She raised an eyebrow and took a sip from her coffee, "It didn't work back then either,"
Ezekiel scoffed and got up. She watched him go and buy a muffin; he was losing a lot of magnesium because of her.
Dan saw her alone and took the opportunity, "You and your friends have an interesting relationship, don't you?"
She smiled and invited Daniel to take Ezekiel's place.
"That guy is giving you the mean eye," He continued.
She glanced at Ezekiel but he was looking elsewhere. Dan pointed outside and Zoe realized Iaosur and Eneizar couldn't enter.
"Did you ask for a priest to come and bless the store?"
Dan smiled and nodded, "A friend came over and gave us that advice. He said something about bad spirits bringing bad luck,"
That explained why the demons couldn't enter.
"How can he know that? Is he some kind of psychic?" She made it sound like a joke.
"Hans is a smart guy." Dan laughed and brushed it off.
Zoe took a sip from her coffee and smiled innocently. She had to talk to that bastard as soon as possible.
Zoe's relationship with Dan was still very vague. He liked her and would probably move towards the next stage but she was confusing.
"Stalking the commander again, Mehrdir?"
The demon froze, feeling the overwhelming energy behind him. His tone was bemused and he was greatly enjoying seeing the demon fight against his wishes.
"I'm still her guardian," Mehrdir mumbled, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Beelzebub chuckled and walked next to his demon.
"I gave you a list of things you should do by the end of the foggy season. It will get even hotter down here and we're waiting for a few newcomers. There's a lot of work."
Mehrdir nodded but didn't take his eyes off her image, "I know that."
Beelzebub sighed and made her image disappear, becoming nothing but a rotten tree.
Mehrdir suddenly felt the urge to cry out in pain as Beelzebub was still the big commander of Hell. The power was in him and he was the power. Zoe was still at the apprentice level.
"You don't know anything, you little shit,"
Mehrdir got thrown aside and Beelzebub moved fast in order to catch him and slice his legs. The greed demon fell back with blood rushing out of his body; it hurt like heck and he was cringing and rolling in pain.
Beelzebub leaned over him and looked into those black eyes, "Do your job and stop acting like a coward."
Beelzebub disappeared and left the demon with a few questions and a lot of pain.
Eneizar was on his daily route to recruit some low demons to do his job when he almost walked over Mehrdir. He stopped when he heard a loud groan and looked down, feeling joy in seeing him in pain.
"Someone cut your legs, huh? I guess you can't run away now~" His words had two ways of being interpreted.
Mehrdir wanted to go with the obvious and simple one however, Eneizar was a vanity demon and was not going to stop. He had to see Mehrdir squirm.
"Did you see Zoe's new boyfriend? He's human."
Mehrdir closed his eyes and crawled near a pile of thrash and human heads.
"And why are you telling me that? Does it look like it bothers me?"
Eneizar nodded right away, "It's obvious, friend,"
Mehrdir glared at the mention of that vague title. Eneizar had no idea what a friend was.
"Did you know? She made Ezekiel her legacy." Eneizar continued.
Mehrdir cringed as his legs started to form again. Bones and flesh were either connecting with each other either forming in real time. It was an ugly sight but Eneizar had seen worse.
"Ezekiel is a good choice."
The vanity demon was watching his acquaintance with mischievous eyes.
"Do you know why she chose him?" Mehrdir wasn't particularly interested so he made a sign for Eneizar to leave. Instead, he continued to talk, "Alright. I'm going to tell you then,"
Mehrdir stared at Eneizar in annoyance.
"She said -often, I might add- that she loves you. She doesn't want kids, though. Do you know what else I found out?" Eneizar flashed behind Mehrdir and whispered in his ear, "She found the inheritor."
The greed demon froze, "Maybe you heard wrong."
"We both know what that means," His eyes narrowed and the heads around them turned away in fear, "The war is close. I can taste the fresh blood already."
From what Mehrdir listened to Eneizar, he could easily say he figured what he had to do; that was proving to be harder than before.
He was in front of Mammon's castle and he was in no position to ask for favours. He left his original master for the commander but Mammon was more open minded than other demons so Mehrdir was betting on that.
"Ungrateful scum. You came here for something? You should be on your knees, apologizing and kissing my feet in order to keep you alive!"
Mehrdir didn't expect him to be so mad. He might have not been the reason but he just added fuel to the fire.
"I have a favor to ask,"
Mammon raised an eyebrow and automatically raised his hand. Mehrdir felt his body freeze and crawled up his body. He managed to look down and see larvae trying to enter his body while some nasty looking worms were already leaving marks on his body. It was unpleasing.
"You have a favor to ask? You, from me?! A favour?!" Mammon exclaimed, "What do I get if I accept? Theoretically speaking, of course."
Mehrdir had to think quickly, "Zoe's legacy. He's the greedy type." That piqued his interest.
Mammon chuckled, "Bring him to me first."
"She protects him like her own brother. It's impossible to kill him."
Mammon puckered his lips and looked to the side. He had another idea.
Mehrdir sighed in relief when the larvae transformed in dust but he had another problem now.
Ezekiel was going home from another painful day at school when someone pulled his arm and covered his mouth. With everything he went through, his fear level was still somewhere low.
"It's me. We have to talk."
Ezekiel recognized that voice by reflex.
"Me who? The long lost asshole?"
Mehrdir stared at the short human with judging dark eyes.
"Yes him. Now, you have to summon Mammon before I have to ask Iaosur to push you in front of a car."
Ezekiel blinked while registering his words, "Why would that happen?"
Mehrdir coughed and took a few steps back, his eyes looking innocently at the human.
"Mammon is interested in you, Zoe's legacy."
Ezekiel turned around and smiled sarcastically before he punched the demon, every ounce of kindness disappearing from both of them.
"Are you out of your mind? Do I look like an idiot to you? Am I an easy prey?" Mehrdir would have commented if his chin wasn't hurting a bit so he let Ezekiel continue, "What do I get out of this? A ticket to Mammon's leisure apartments?" The human was being too brave for his position.
Mehrdir tilted his head to the side in confusion, not getting anything from what Ezekiel said. The human rubbed his forehead and motioned for him to go on.
"Anyway, it's for Zoe's sake. Eneizar knows that shee found the inheritor."
"Of course he knows. He's living with us. Well, with Mark amd Luke, Zoe's apartment is full ever since Gakhas came in the picture."
Mehrdir frowned, "Gakhas? Why the heck would he be living with Zoe?"
"He's been exiled because he almost sent you-know-who in Neverland. Is that not entirely true?" Ezekiel could already feel a knot forming into his chest.
"He did that. He did a lot actually, but for that you need to have an immense amount of power and will. He has both and he is good at manipulating people; he loves manipulating humans into doing things for him but that is the reason he hasn't been exiled. He is good at what he does."
Ezekiel shrugged, "He said Belial exiled him,"
"What did Belphegor say?"
"He is not on my speed dial, sorry."
Mehrdir rubbed his temples and started to pace around, worried.
"Gakhas may be a spy sent by Belial. I'm sure he sent someone to eavesdrop around both parties but then again, maybe Bel still has some kind of power over his demon," The demon was rambling.
Ezekiel rolled his eyes and rubbed his neck, tired and hungry.
"Look, if I have to do something, just tell me what and I will."
Mehrdir stopped and stared at the puppy human with a blank expression.
"You have to give half of your life away," Mehrdir started, Ezekiel's eyes widening, "And no matter how many good deeds you do, you won't get to meet the Big Guy,"
The human took a very deep and precious breath before he decided.
"Fine, I'm in. My fate seems to end in a pit no matter what way I take."
On his way home, Ezekiel fidgeted and thought only about what Mehrdir said. He had to give half of his life away, had to conjure a circle of demons and cast his life into one of them. If he had to give it, he was going to use Iaosur. He was trustworthy and had Zoe's sign; perfect.
"Now, where did I put that spell book?"
He went home, not to Zoe's place. Ezekiel needed a few days to sink in the information and he needed time to learn more about the process of exchanging energy between a human and a demon.
Zoe could manage living on her own; hopefully.