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?" Zoe asked dryly.
Jasper turned to her and grabbed her hand. She was giving him the impression that she would get lost in the crowd if 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." His explanation was logical but not for her.
"That's not true. I have friends who have nothing to do with Hell," She trailed, aware that she was lying to herself more than anyone else.
He ignored her anyway, "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, making Zoe feel more comfortable.
"This is so exciting. I've never seen an improvisation show before!" Iaosur exclaimed joyfully.
Chen stared at the demon blankly, certain that 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 widening and body shivering. 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." Jasper's words sounded crazy but that was exactly what was going on.
He kept his distance from Luke but Zoe hurried over. She touched the human and the ghost fell out of his body, disappearing with a scowl.
Mark was confused, "What the heck happened?"
Jasper 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 lightly. The demon grunted in pain and almost fell on his knees; his eyes became entirely white and the veins around his eyes swell, forcing him to cover it with his hand.
Jasper was speechless. What exactly did he get into?
"You didn't have to do that,"
After she let go of his wrist, the pain faded away. Iaosur could go back to complaining yet his veins were still swollen so he had to hide them while walking.
"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, letting him continue before having the final word, "I know my rights and I had every right to punish him." The demon combated, his eyes widening slightly.
"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.
They were going around Upper London and there were a lot of stores she hadn't been into. She really wanted to enter one that had antiques, some of the things on display looking 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 the urge to go and check out that store.
When she entered, a small bell rung and signalled 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 but 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, taking an entire wall. She leaned in and caressed her fingers over the corners, noticing 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.
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," She breathed, scared that someone else would hear.
The boy raised both eyebrows and leaned in.
"Commander," A wide smirk graced his lips, "What an honour."
He had the face and reaction of a vanity demon yet at the same time, she knew rebels were demons who left any kind of connection to a Prince. It was really bad if he was one of Belial's demons, though, because those were rare and dangerous; moreover, they wanted her and Jasper dead.
Zoe swallowed nervously staring deep into his lifeless eyes. The man inspected her and turned her hand around looking for the sign. He didn't expect it to be on her palm, proving that she was a sneaky one and would prefer to hide her identity.
"Are you going to kill me?" She asked watching 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 before he started to chuckle.
"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." She added.
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, Zoe followong 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 a glamorous restaurant," The rebel started, his eyes staring ahead.
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, "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 surprised 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." He finished, glancing at her over his shoulder.
"Why are you telling me this?"
He stopped in front of the counter and grabbed something off it.
It was that doll she saw before; he gave it to her.
"Because that is exactly what your house is, isn't it? 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 but couldn't think of anything to tell him; it actually felt like he knew everything anyway. The man winked and vanished right in front of her eyes.
"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.
She met the others at the bar; thankfully, she knew where it was. Jasper was in the back, preparing for his turn while 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 Jasper has fans," She mumbled, sitting next to Mark.
Chen was ready to agree when he noticed her new friend.
"Why are you holding a doll?" He asked pointing at the vintage doll that looked quite sadistic for his taste.
"Why not?" She retorted.
Chen blinked and accepted her response. He had seen worse -The Volunteer and Cane Hill- and he learned his lesson; questions only bring more questions. Sometimes, not knowing at all is the best option.
She sat in between Mark and Iaosur and she had to listen to them rambling about whatever they liked; that was a lot and they it seemed like they weren't going to stop anytime soon. 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.
Zoe: He doesn't respond to my calls and texts.
Chen frowned and typed right away.
Chen: 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?
Zoe: 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.
Chen:What if something happened?
Zoe: 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.
Chen: What if he got fooled by a demon?
She frowned and looked at him from her side of the table. 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 all because everything she could think of was how Ezekiel was gullible enough for some vanity demon to take advantage of him.
At some point she felt someone grab her pinkie and squeeze it lightly; she looked down and saw the doll's small hand wrapped around her finger. Zoe chuckled and placed it on her lap but the worry didn't fade away; it was still there and it was eating her whole.
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 therefore she sighed and put the trail in front of the door.
"I got you some snacks. Get something to eat, son. Don't be stubborn!" She screamed and knocked once more but nothing happened, "What is he doing down there?" She mumbled on her way back into the kitchen.
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 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 and 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 but 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?"
The human 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 around, his eyes scanning the basement like it was an infested place.
"How did you know I'm here?"
Eneizar sniffed the air before walking closer, "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, surprised that Mehrdir told the truth for once. Ezekiel gathered his books and walked towards the door. When he opened it, he met Alice who 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, shaking her a little before she closed her eyes.
His eyes widened when he felt a sudden stingy feeling in his abdomen; 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," Eneizar trailed, appearing behind Alice.
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 was pretty bad.
The last thing Ezekiel saw before he fell unconscious was Eneizar's smug face, laughing at him like he has been planning his demise from the moment they met; he probably did.
Jasper's improvisation show was a success and 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. Zoe could already see that poor guy take Ezekiel's role for Jasper's well being and she didn't want to pity him but he was going to enter some nasty world.
Jasper introduced his friends to them and while Iaosur's eyes widened in excitement, already planning something wicked, Zoe was squeezing the doll under the table, feeling like something was missing.
Somehow, even if she didn't want to originally, the conversation took a turn to the strange arrangement between her and Jasper; Zack was very intrigued since he was sure the two have never met each other before.
"So, he's staying with you right? Isn't that uncomfortable?" The human started, drumming his fingers on the table.
"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 kind 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." She responded without thinking twice.
Zack and Jasper stared at her curiously but Iaosur and Chen were trying their best to hide their laughter.
"Alright?" Zack didn't know how to respond to that, "So you like complicated men then?"
Her eyes glanced for a moment at Iaosur before she turned back to Zack, "I wouldn't say that. More like, awfully blunt men."
The demon drunk his beer and hid the fact that he rolled his eyes and said something under his breath, "You chose the wrong place to look for sincerity."
Iaosur was quite blunt with his statement but he wasn't lying.
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 and the other was a woman, really open-minded by the stage name Kitti. They were both in an underground band called Royal; besides, they were funny and livened up the mood.
"I heard you are a webtoon artist," Kitti begun after taking a sip from her drink.
Zoe nodded, curious how Jasper found out since she never told him anything about her life.
"Are you under some kind of alias on the internet?" The woman was curious and her cat-like eyes were boring into Zoe's blue eyes with so much ingenuity.
"The Commander," Chen got himself kicked under the table right after the last letter came out of his mouth; 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 started to shift in their seats, glancing at each other worriedly before they decided to walk 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 and even as the commander, Zoe could only sense dark entities. She grabbed Jasper's hand and walked down the street, finding Luke leaning against the wall with his hands hiding his face. Jasper was scared and he had no idea why but he could feel his whole body trembling, reacting to something dangerous that he couldn't see yet.
Zoe walked to Luke's side and moved his hand aside. The sight she met was one she genuinely didn't want to see, ever. His eyes were completely white and lifeless, looking very much like Gakhas' when he was watching TV.
"It's harder for Belphegor to possess someone who's been trying his best to stay in his body,"
She turned her head slowly and saw Mark coming out from a side alley, his hands plunged in his front pockets. His eyes were normal and he looked normal but Zoe could see the dangerous creature inside him.
"Surprise," He exclaimed with no excitement whatsoever.
Zoe swallowed nervously and wiped her sweaty hands on her jeans, "Leviathan,"
Jasper's eyes widened and glanced back and forth between the two, confusion all over his face.
"You're possessing my friend," She continued, her eyes eyes narrowing slightly at Mark.
The vessel shrugged, "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 tensing 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 you think people can be so bright all the time? Humans have dark secrets, Zoe. Some darker than others." Luke's voice was definitely different and the changing was obvious, unlike in Mark's case.
She didn't move nor blink, only stared at Luke's lifeless eyes, listening to everything he was saying.
"Let me see if I got this right. You two use Luke and Mark as vessels; have been since you found Zoe." Jasper clarified it more for himself than her.
"Yes." His eyes enlightened when he noticed the mist around Jasper, "Oh, 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 anchor. 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 and turned to Zoe for help but she was speechless. However, Mark continued, "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, trying to get a reaction out of her.
"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." He whispered in her ear after pulling her closer.
Something clicked in her mind and she quickly regained her attitude, shrugging Luke's hand off her harshly.
That sudden trigger didn't come from hearing Mehrdir's name, though; no, it came from the endless knot burning into her palm. She glanced at it and traced it with her fingers, flinching at the contact.
Luke took a step back , his eyes meeting Mark's. Inside the bodies, the two demon princes were getting pulled towards a specific place.
"There is a circle forming in a magic house," Luke started.
Mark's eyes widened when he realized what was going on, "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 veins swelling from the pain. Her eyes started to sting and she became aware of the interferences in energies.
"He's making an exchange," she barely got to say that out loud when she ran down the street.
The demons left as well and Jasper found himself alone on the street with two unconscious men. He sighed and rubbed his head realizing that he g ot involved into a weird world.