What actually happened that night was difficult to explain in words. The demons felt a sudden energy arise from the ground and fall heavily on them; just like when a big guy gets off bed and a few seconds later, jumps back on it; that was why the earth shook a little.
"What just happened?"
The humans hurried to Zoe and Mehrdir in worry; they have never felt something like that before. The earthquake was abnormal, feeling like a bomb exploded somewhere deep in the ground.
"Someone opened another hole." Gakhas announced, his face set on the usual scowl.
Chen was standing next to him and it amazed him how monotone it sounded.
"Is there something that can touch you, at least a little bit?"
Gakhas stared at Chen for a few minutes before he cracked a sarcastic smile, “I’d shut up if I were human.”
The human didn't seem pleased with that answer, his smile disappearing quickly. Chen glared at the demon but Gakhas only rolled his eyes.
"That's not important now. Guys, there is another hole and we have no idea where it is!" Ezekiel was getting stressed by himself because Zoe looked like nothing big happened; then again, she's already been to Hell a few times.
"Demons are crawling up to Earth as we speak. This isn't about us anymore, it's about the war." Eneizar explained the situation at hand.
Zoe rubbed her hand and remembered her Christmas present.
"Midnight," She mumbled glancing at the clock on the wall; it was long past midnight, "My apartment will be taken over again." She continued disappointingly.
Zoe could already see the demons invading her personal space all over again.
They wanted to leave the party, just like a majority of the guests. Terry left a few minutes after the earthquake but she figured it was for different reasons when he winked at his date.
"What should we do? We can't leave or your parents will become suspicious." Ezekiel whispered grabbing her hand like a kid.
"There is someone I want you to meet," Zoe started, turning to her grandmother.
The old woman was glancing around warily, feeling like something bad happened but it was really hard to figure what exactly.
Everyone followed Zoe to that certain, interesting person yet none knew what that woman had to do with anything. They learned not to question Zoe, though; well, except Mehrdir, who could practically do anything and she would be fine with it.
Surprisingly, it seemed he decided to let her act by herself that night and not interfere with his nagging attitude.
"This is my grandmother." The humans nodded in respect while the demons couldn't care less, "She was supposed to be the commander in my family." Zoe announced coldly, revealing the importance of the elder woman.
"But the title doesn't go along the bloodline necessarily." Mehrdir added.
The old woman frowned; she didn't know that back then and she didn't research when she heard what gift she had; if anything, she hated it right away.
"I know. As it seems, I got the title as a payback." Zoe mumbled glancing warily at her grandmother.
Even Eneizar was surprised by that piece of news. He looked at the old woman and chuckled bemusedly.
"I heard there was someone who made a pact with Asmodeus a long time ago. He erased the sign and Beelzebub had no other choice but to pass it to someone else," The vanity demon started, a grin erupting on his lips.
Zoe's expression was really hard to decipher. Mehrdir grabbed her hand in comfort but she only clenched it tightly, plunging her nails into his skin.
"You made a deal with Asmodeus of all people?!" Zoe tried to act quietly but her grandmother was testing her nerves.
On the other side, the old woman was confused, "I didn't ask for his name, truthfully, I just accepted the first option I found."
Zoe was getting really angry and she was grabbing the attention of the remaining guests forcing Ezekiel to smile and wave at them nervously, trying to cover the tension.
"That bastard is one of the worst, grandma. If anything, you should have just lived with it." Her tone was cold and strict, especially because her family deceived her in the most hurtful way possible.
But once Zoe's control started to slip away and anger overwhelmed her heart, changes begun, "Zoe, your eyes."
Her grandmother was fascinated; Zoe's eyes had a yellow circle in the middle, looking like it was pulsating. She leaned in unconsciously but Eneizar pulled her back quickly.
"Let's not die yet, grandma." He mumbled after he got her far enough from Zoe’s eyes.
The woman froze when the demon touched her.
"These, are they demons?" She pointed at everyone.
Zoe shook her head and grabbed Jasper's hand, startling him, "This is the young inheritor."
Grandma's eyes widened before staring at him intently, "He doesn't look like one."
Zoe narrowed her eyes at her grandmother, "He doesn't have to. Only I can see how the inheritor looks like." The woman nodded and took a step back, "The watch you gave me, it was a present from Beelzebub to his lover, wasn't it?"
Eneizar's eyes widened in amusement and snorted. The night was getting better, in his point of view.
"Yes. It was a present for her and for the baby. I don't know much about it. Your grandfather got it from an old lady when he was young."
Of course, her grandfather knew.
"Why did you give it to me?"
The older woman opened her mouth but Eneizar interrupted right before she could get a word out.
"The watch can touch something very, very deep in Beelzebub; and I mean extraordinarily deep. It is said that Beelzebub was so mesmerized by that particular woman that he wanted to keep some kind of urgent line, just in case some demon would harm her."
"It's because the commander is his daughter." Gakhas added, getting hit by Chen, "What? Didn't Eneizar say it a few minutes ago?"
"Daughter?" Both Lestrade women asked in sync.
Mehrdir sighed heavily and pointed at the stairs, "We should find a room and talk about it in silence."
They chose Zoe’s room since it was really far from the commotion downstairs. Ezekiel touched the door frame and flinched; he could feel anger radiating from there and he wasn’t even fully inside. His eyes moved around and he realized the room was blank. It felt a lot like isolation and sadness; it looked nothing like he imagined.
Zoe turned to Eneizar as soon as they entered.
“Tell me about the daughter.” She dived straight into business.
The vanity demon chuckled and patted her head like she was a puppy.
“There was one woman, a few centuries ago, who wasn't a noble but wasn't part of the low class either. Her name got lost over the years but I'm sure Beelzebub remembers it. Anyway, this woman had a baby and even if Beelzebub tried to hide the truth, that baby was his." Unconsciously, he glanced at Mehrdir, “But of course neither Lucifer nor God could accept that bastard child and Lucifer almost killed her. That was when Beelzebub decided to give her a pocket watch that contained a protection seal. We can say she started to live in her own little safe bubble,” Eneizar laughed at his own joke. When he noticed no one was getting it, he stopped and coughed his shame away, “Anyway, the seal only works for the commander.”
“What exactly does it do?” Chen was –surprisingly- asking the right questions.
“Depends. I don’t know for sure but it can send an alarm to Beelzebub or something.”
Zoe remembered the inscription on the inside lid.
“Or angels?” She mumbled to herself.
Eneizar raised an eyebrow and glanced at Iaosur and Mehrdir, some kind of silent discussion taking place between them.
The greed demon got on his feet and walked towards her, “I doubt angels would come and rescue a demon.”
Zoe stared ahead and thought carefully of everything she went through. She woke up from what was a cocoon state and now that she grasped the title and the responsibilities brought along, her sight was darker than ever.
And there was the issue at hand, concerning Belial and Beelzebub; the two were both dangerous demons and they both had a common link. She only had to discover what that was. Belial said clearly that he wasn’t going to take sides but that didn’t mean he couldn’t spy and leak information here and there.
“But I’m not a demon yet.” Zoe stated firmly.
Eneizar scoffed and looked down at her, “Uh, yes you are. Just because you’re not dead yet doesn’t mean anything. You already embraced your fate. You are one of us.”
Iaosur glanced between Eneizar and Mehrdir. They weren’t telling her something very important and it was bugging him.
The elder sighed and rubbed her eyes nervously, “It’s my entire fault, isn’t it?” It was hard to sink in so much information but she got the overall image, “I cursed you with this title and now you can’t-“
Zoe shook her head and stopped her.
“No. It is your fault that I’ve been cursed but nothing more.” Zoe sighed and rubbed her eyes, “Look, grandma, most commanders live peacefully and die peacefully if they don’t acknowledge their title. I didn’t do that. I killed a few thugs when I was in Japan; I have already been in Hell a few times and I’m not exactly ignoring the weird things around me. These demons-“She pointed and each of them, “-they are mine.” She heard someone cough, “Except Gakhas, I signed all of them. They are my demons and I’m going to lead them towards whatever awaits me on the other side.”
The woman got up quickly and grabbed her niece’s hands.
“But you will die, Zoe. You will be doomed to live this unfortunate life forever!”
Zoe noticed the innocence and fear in those brown eyes of her grandmother. It was so uncomfortable to look at them; maybe she changed more than she imagined.
The males were all curious how she was going to respond; after all, she had always complained and tried to brush that fact off. Maybe she was still human –even though she almost died a few times- but it was only a temporary vessel.
“I’m ready to die.”
Ezekiel felt pressure on his chest when she stated that and he could only guess it was guilt and worry. But it wasn't, it was something he couldn't control and couldn't stop; his eyes widened and he stumbled back, his vision getting blurry and head pounding harder and harder. He leaned against the door and swallowed back what he felt like gastric juice coming into his mouth.
Chen glanced at Ezekiel over his shoulder and noticed his friend trembling while cringing hardly onto his waist.
“Ezekiel?” Chen barely got to say his name when the puppy human fell unconscious.
Zoe’s head turned towards her best friend as soon as she heard the sound of a falling body. She would have done something if she wouldn't have blacked out that instant.
“What the heck is going on? They both fainted!” Chen exclaimed, his head moving from one friend to the other.
The demons stared at each other in confusion. They had no idea what was going on.