Mina woke up with a start only to find another demon kneeling before Vergil while the prince spoke in what she guessed was the demonic tongue. The newcomer’s ash gray skin had patterns similar to electricity in a deep crimson matching a long red braid that fell over his shoulders. But what called her attention were the red scales that partially covered his body and the black spikes protruding from his shoulders and lining his back all the way to his thick tail. They gave him a really menacing look.
“Good morning, darling,” Vergil said still in his devil skin, shifting his scarlet orbs to her startled form.
His companion stood up and quickly bowed to her. “Please forgive me if I awoke you, princess.”
It was then she noticed the creature had two sets of black horns instead of one. The smaller pair grew forming an ‘L’ behind his pointy ears.
“You have your orders, Nergal. Go.”
The demon bowed to her husband and vanished from the room, taking with him some of the suffocating darkness that had awakened her. She glanced shyly at Vergil, remembering that he hadn’t come to bed during the night because of their little disagreement, and went to sit by his side on the loveseat.
“What kind of demon was that?” she asked him trying to hide the slight fear she felt for his real appearance.
“An Irdu Lili.” His voice was cold and emotionless.
“I never expected an incubus could look like a humanoid dragon,” the brunette said cheerfully as she played with a lock of his long white hair. “I guess you told him about my knowledge of your real identity since he spoke to me with so much calmness.”
“Yeah, he was informed of your knowledge.”
Damn! Can he be a little colder to me? She was about to remark on his treatment of her when the spiky dragon popped inside the room with a heavy looking black suitcase and her leather scroll case.
“Thank you, Nergal. That will be all, you can go now.”
After the incubus vanished without a trace, Vergil turned to her and his icy stare made a shiver run down her back when she met his red eyes. He caressed her cheek with the back of his clawed fingers and then left her alone on the loveseat.
“You should get dress,” he offered without looking back at her. “We have to get those documents you want and then prepare everything to return home.”
“Why? Didn’t we agree to go to Greece and Paris after coming here?”
“Yes but apparently you never wanted a honeymoon so I arranged everything for our return. I have a job waiting for me and so do you. If you are going to make this trip a miserable one then it’s best for us to go back to New York.”
He was right. She never wanted a honeymoon but now… now those words tugged at her heart like nothing ever did before. They hurt more than any insults or harsh words that he may had hurled her way.
With watering eyes, she grabbed the first clothes she could find in her luggage and headed to the bathroom. Maybe a cold shower would be able to wash away the pain and sadness in her heart.
They arrived at the elegant estate around noon. The architecture had a Muslim style with rich colors and golden domes that reflected the sun’s rays, covering everything with their beautiful glow. Palm trees and ferns brought an exotic feel to the well-kept gardens. Arches and gorgeous mosaics adorned its walls as they were greeted and guided to the interior by Elijah himself. Every corner she looked screamed refined tastes and wealthy family, making her wonder about Miss Lady’s origin even more. If there was something she always made a point of doing was getting to know the people she did business with.
“You’re breathtaking as always, Doctor Larsa,” Elijah whispered while he guided them through the corridors seemingly unconcerned about Vergil’s presence. “But I must admit that with your hair down you look even more beautiful than in our past meetings.”
“Thank you, Mister St. Claire,” she answered, glancing at Vergil’s emotionless expression from the corner of her eyes. Was it too much to ask that he got a little jealous?
“Let me carry that for you,” the Irish said, gesturing to the leather case in her hands and snapping her attention back to him.
“Oh, of course. It’s very thoughtful of you.” For whatever reason his intense gaze made her uncomfortable and she got closer to Vergil, entwining their arms together in an attempt to feel protected. Her husband just glanced at her and said absolutely nothing while they made their way to a high tech secured door.
She lowered her eyes to the floor, feeling guilty and sad as pain squeeze at her heart again. It was her fault that he acted so cold towards her but... why? Why did he care so much about whether or not they had sex? Well… she knew he was a demon prince, son of Lucifer and… she could almost smack herself for her stupidity! If the queen was Lilith— and she bet anything that was the case— then he would be part incubi, making the intercourse a very important part of his life.
Why she didn’t see the connection before? Maybe because you were letting yourself be seduced by the sex demon. Now his attitude made every bit of sense.
Mina glanced at her prince from the corner of her eye and saw him mirroring her actions before he grabbed her tightly by the waist and clenched his jaw. What was happening? Why was he in such state all of a sudden? She could feel his dark aura lacing with apprehension but nothing more, nothing that could tell her why Vergil was reacting so protective all of a sudden.
“And here they are.”
The heavily accented voice of Miss Lady brought her back to reality. Somehow she had been so immersed in her thoughts that she hadn’t noticed the arrival of their hostess or that they were inside of a vault/museum exhibit kind of place. Chinese vases with beautiful depictions of dragons, demons and gods were displayed behind a glass box to her right. At the opposite side, some dinosaur fossils could be seen beside an Egyptian sarcophagus labeled as Vizier Zafnat-panea. Several terracotta warriors stood watching at the far end of the room while behind Elijah was an immense piece of wood that claimed to be part of Noah’s ark.
But the things she wanted rested inside an opened wooden box over a table not five feet before her. She tried to get closer but was immediately stopped by Vergil’s hand as he pulled her back to his side.
“Stay close to me,” he whispered so softly by her ear that she almost didn’t get what he said. “Danger lurks around us.”
What? Was he referring to a supernatural danger or to a human one? Mina bit her bottom lip and walked carefully without parting too much from her demonic husband, praying to maintain a normal facade. She tried to sense some supernatural energy but again ended up empty handed so she decided to trust his judgment. Whatever the danger they were in he would protect her, won’t he? I surely hope he does.
“These are the papyruses we were talking about,” Lady spoke again and once more her attention returned to the scrolls in the wooden box. “Come take a look and tell me if they are authentic or not.”
The young professor didn’t like the woman’s tone of voice one bit but it wouldn’t be wise to make a scene so she kept quiet and got closer to carefully examine the documents. They appeared to be old papyruses judging by the discoloration of the sheets and the slight crumpling of the edges but she needed to open them to be sure they really contained what she was looking for.
After putting some white gloves, she began unwrapping with great care one of the scrolls while Miss Lady talked with Vergil about the price. Their voices faded into the distance once she scanned her eyes through the contents of the document. Like with the other parchment, this one had been written in a strange mix of Latin and Greek but since she was the main person who cracked the code before, Mina could read pieces of the one she now held between her hands.
«And so the Father’s Favorite One fell from Grace… With his new name he seduced Lilith, making her his… But before the Prison could be born, a Key had to take form. One feather was taken from each of the seven archangels...»
“This talks about why and how the Hell’s Key was created!” she mumbled in a daze.
Letting go of that scroll, she picked up a second one to find a detailed narration of the events that led to Lucifer’s fall from Grace. The third talked about how the Key ended up in Egypt and the assassination of the second Chosen One; but it was the fourth one that gave her the hope of finding the confirmation to her theory somewhere in those papyruses. Two phrases caught her attention immediately: “I found it” and “hidden away in a dry land”.
Joy filled her heart and she smiled while piling up all the five scrolls to then roll them up as one and put them away inside her scroll case. Now she could find the key and the location of Hell so researchers couldn’t deny the existence of the supernatural, proving that her mother wasn’t crazy.
“Vergil…” She looked behind her and found herself alone with only Elijah and the dozens of rare items to keep her company. “Where is my husband?”
“He went with Miss Lady to her office. Would you…” The Irishman’s speech was cut off when a dark hooded figure appeared behind him carrying a big ass black scythe that fell swiftly on him, cutting through his body like it was made of butter. Yet, when Elijah crumpled to the floor his body was still in one piece.
“Den échoun kánei éna cháos,” the stranger said, smiling at her from under his hood, his deep, haunting tone chilling her to the bone. “My blade only cut through his soul,” he finished in English.
“Who are you?” she asked, crushing the leather case against her chest and shaking from head to toe.
“Thanatos,” he answered a moment before he sprinted towards her,
arising a terrified scream when his cold fingers touched her.
Vergil followed Lady outside of the vault while leaving Mina reading the scrolls with St. Claire beside her. He may not trust the human would keep from flirting with his wife but at the very least she will be safe since the danger that he sensed before was with him right now. The person guiding him to her office wasn’t the same woman that he had met the day before but a demon from the very depths of the Greek Underworld. An Empusa.
Though she was doing a very good impersonation of Miss Lady, there was something a creature like her could never hide: the smell. He could smell the sweet aroma of blood coming from her body and the stench of death in her hair.
When they entered a room filled with books and a dark mahogany desk sitting at its center, he moved fast and grabbed the demoness by her hair. “First a Harpy and now an Empusa? What will be next…? Cerberus? No matter what he sends after her I will protect her time and time again.”
“But will you be able to protect yourself, my lord?” she smiled and glided her hands down his chest, caressing along the way until she reached his crotch. “I heard that the blood of a god is far sweeter than the ambrosia itself.”
Vergil’s breathing turned haggard but he caught her hand in time before she got any other ideas and tried her luck by opening his fly. “And you will learn your place or you will desire never been born, you filthy leech.”
The Empusa moaned turning her eyes black and biting her bottom lip. “Filthy leech? I take that as a compliment.” She smiled and leaned to whisper in his ear, “I like it rough, my lord.” She licked her lips very slowly. “That’s more than what your dainty human could ever dream to handle.”
“Is that so?” A white brow shot up high while his breathing deepened. “How much rough exactly?”
“Chains and whips rough.”
With his hand still in her hair, Vergil threw the creature against the hardwood desk, which screamed in complaint but didn’t break with the impact. He appeared in front of her, dragged her over the desk by the hair— tossing aside every object in the way— and then laid on top of her, trapping her body against his.
Their breaths mingled together before he began ripping apart her clothes in a feverish way that only made the Empusa moan louder. The demon prince quickly freed his swollen member and entered her without any ceremony or care, making her groan and reach for his hips in an attempt to have him closer to her. Then the hard thrusts began accompanied by her cries of passion. His eyes turned red and his deep thrusts got speed as he prepared for his release. Just then the walls echoed with Mina’s ear shattering scream.
“You!” Anger and fright boiled within as he cursed himself. How could he let his needs overpower his reason?
“I was only the decoy,” she answered his unspoken question with a wicked smile.
Turning his skin black, he ripped out her still beating heart and crushed it between his clawed fingers making the coppery thick blood run down his arm before he vanished from the office.
“How is that a frightened mouse like you can have the power to destroy a god?” Thanatos whispered as his hooded face stood inches away from hers. Her gray eyes were clear as day, betraying all the secrets of her soul to him. “You love him.” He smirked grimly while tightly holding her chin. “Oh dearest, you refrained from giving in to your feelings for a lost cause. Your soul will never belong to the One God, you’re meant to wander the Greek Underworld for eternity. Lord Hades will enjoy having his son’s wife as his ghostly whore.”
“What?” She paled with the last sentence.
The dark god raised his black scythe over her head and she closed her eyes, silently praying that she got a quick death with no pain when she felt the crushing darkness of Vergil’s aura appearing inside the room.
Before anyone could move, a bolt of blue lighting hit Thanatos releasing an energy blast upon impact that threw the demon bride backwards. She closed her eyes, waiting to hit the far wall, but the arms of her husband enveloped her at the last second and softened the blow of the blast.
“Are you okay, dove?” he asked to her before sweeping her hair out of his way and planting a playful kiss in the curve of her neck.
“Sí, estoy bien, mi amor.”
“Please tell your angel to release the barrier around your mind,” he whispered, looking at Thanatos struggling to stand up, and helped her to her feet. “It would be best if the enemy doesn’t hear me when I tell you to escape.”
Nodding, she gripped her necklace— the one that hadn’t left her neck since the moment her guardian gave it to her—, closed her eyes and prayed to the angel. Please hear my plea, Eiael. Release the barrier around my thoughts so Vergil can use his telepathy with me again.
If that’s what you want, little one, it shall be done.
Mina opened her eyes to find her husband in full battle armor, readying himself to clash against a god. His long white hair danced with the little air currents created by the sparks of blue electricity that swirled and collide around him. The onyx skin that she had caressed various times before sported something new: faint blue veins around his neck and eyes that glowed brighter with every passing second. But it was his sword what called her attention; a broadsword with some archaic runes written along the serrated blade that burst into flames the moment its owner swung it to launch the first attack.
Thanatos moved his scythe, which now glowed with a dark shade of violet, parrying the attack effortlessly. Vergil attacked again but the death god managed to dodge it and send three glowing energy spheres to hit the demon’s backside, making him scream out in pain and fall against a bookshelf full of ancient tomes.
“¡Maldito hijo de puta! Leave Vergil alone!” Mina yelled drawing the attention of the reaper back to her. “If you want my soul so much, why don’t you come and get it?”
The Greek was in front of her in an instant, holding her by the neck and looking into her eyes. “Tell him how much you love him, mortal, for it will be the last thing he hears coming out of your pretty lips.”
Now you have your chance, Vergil. Take it!
The prince’s eyes snapped open before he vanished and then reappeared behind Thanatos, running his flaming broadsword through the dark god’s stomach. “Get your filthy hands off my wife right now!”
Golden blood trailed down the reaper’s mouth and his hands lost their grip on the mortal woman before the sword left his body and he crumpled to the floor in a bloody heap. “T-this is-isn’t o-over yet.”
Vergil looked at Mina with a worried expression on his face. He’s right. You must go now! Staying here will only put you in more danger. He kissed her longingly and secured the straps of the scroll case around her back. Return to the hotel and wait for me; you will be safe there since my wards are still working.
But I don’t want to leave you alone.
He hugged her close, smelling the sweet aroma of her skin and kissed her again. I’m ordering you to go, Mina Larsa. Your safety is of the utmost importance to me. Leave, I beg of you.
Tears streaming down her face, she kissed him softly and caressed his cheek. “Come back to me, you hear me? Come back to me.”
“I give you my word that I’ll return to you, dove.” He gave her one more kiss on the lips and ushered her out of the room. Be safe, my love.
Suddenly, feathered black wings sprouted from Thanatos back and he rose over unsteady feet as all his wounds began healing. “It doesn’t matter where she goes, he will track down her sent and kill her without any mercy.” A malicious smirk gave a tiny bit of emotion to his otherwise cold features. “Írthe i óra, Cerberus. Férte mou to kefáli tis.”
Loud barking filled the room and a swift shadow ran past Vergil who tried to give chase to the monstrous dog but was stopped when the death god slashed open his back, painting the floor with his coppery blood.
“I applaud you for hurting me, demon prince,” the Greek said, gripping his old student’s hair. “But you will never defeat me in time to save her.”
Tears came to his crimson eyes when he imagined his little dove being attacked by Hades’ guard dog. Pain twisted inside him hurting more than any blade. If she didn’t survive this attack it will be because of him. He would be the only responsible for the death of the woman he deeply cared for.