Chapter Three – The Devil Went Down to Alberta
The three of them stood lurking in an alley like a group of loitering hooligans. Deena, crossing her arms, now had her hair done up in loops, even though neither of the boys even noticed her have a chance to change. She was mostly quiet, which seemed to be the norm.
“What are we looking for?” Kevin asked quietly. “I don’t see anything.”
“Normal people don’t have magic eyes,” came a quiet, slightly frustrated response from the witch.
Eldrian inspected the time on his phone, but looked up to Kevin’s confusion and spoke. “Magic eyes. It’s what lets wizards get away with a lot of things without others finding out. It lets you see what others can’t. Wizards have them, and spellbreakers have them. Demons too, usually, and some other things. Sorry, Kev. You don’t have them, so just try not to get murdered.”
“Gee, thanks,” muttered the ginger boy in response. “But what are we waiting for? We’re standing still. Is it supposed to come to us?”
“No, no. My friend wanted to meet up first. She probably has more information. See, she hates phones. If we can meet up, she’ll do that instead.”
Only a moment longer was needed before the alley lit up in flickering flames. In front of them a hole in the concrete pulled itself open. Smoke and intense heat burst forth. A figure rose up from the depths of hell, and it was a young looking woman. Her hair was a reddish brown, and her skin was something similar, surprisingly. She looked to be a shade of orange, or at least very tanned. Dark red horns curled up from the top of her head, and short wings to match protruding from her back.
Her clothes were minimal, but likely what someone would wear in a place of fire—like summer in California. They were ornately designed and matched her theme of crimson colours. A tiara-like headband of rubies also circled around her forehead.
“Oh. Hey, Lucy,” Eldrian said casually.
“Hi, Eldrian. You have new friends. Hah! Good to meet you three. I’m Lucy.”
Kevin, trying to look discreet, was trembling. His eyes widened as he took a quiet step backwards in retreat. A shaking word escaped his mouth.
“Basically,” Eldrian said quickly. “Demons, devils, whatever. It’s all the same thing.”
Deena finally spoke. “Impossible. No. You’re not the Lucy, are you? As in, the Princess of the Demon World?”
Lucy laughed nervously. “Yeah. That’s me. Satan’s daughter. Let’s not make a big deal out of it, all right?”
“A demon you met with was Lucy?” Deena stared immediately at Eldrian. “How?”
“She helps me fight demons. I get a call, we meet up, then I go fight the demon. Usually I don’t get my butt kicked.”
“Usually,” Lucy chimed in. “Anyway, guys. Let’s calm down. There’s a demon running around somewhere named Rend Devilclaw. He’s escaped before, twice, which is incredibly embarrassing on our part. It’s our job to make sure demons don’t get into your world. He needs to be contained. Rend might be small, but he’s still dangerous.”
“Devil…?” Kevin repeated under his breath.
Eldrian put his hand on his shoulder. “You’ll get used to it.”
“Will I though?”
“So, Lucy! Tell me a bit about this Rend fellow. Where do you think he is?”
The Devil’s daughter sighed. “I don’t know where. He’s short, as black as a shadow, and has both razor-sharp teeth and claws. Don’t get near him. He’ll shred you apart. That little bastard is known for always trying to grow his power, so who knows what he’ll do.”
“Look for large slashes made in walls and other objects,” she added. “His claws can cut through almost anything, and he can’t help himself.”
“We’ll handle it, Lucy,” Eldrian said confidently.
“Do your best. I have a lot of work to take care of.” She smiled, and a portal to Hell peeled open on the concrete floor. The flames welcomed her back through, and it sealed without a trace after she disappeared.
They were left in quiet solitude. The sun was beginning to set, and not a soul was seen in their general area. All that greeted them was the wispy breeze whistling softly between the alley walls, but an unsettling sensation fell upon their shoulders—a chill down their spines. There was no sign of a demon here. They had to move on.
“So, I guess we should start looking around,” suggested Eldrian. “But where?”
Deena sighed. She clapped and rubbed her hands against one another as she took the lead, nudging both Eldrian and Kevin aside. A single word escaped her lips.
“Easy?” repeated Eldrian.
“You’ve been hunting demons, yet you know so little about them? Follow me then, boys. I’ll find you your demon, but only because I’m feeling generous.”
She smiled, though neither of them saw. It might have been something they couldn’t have comprehended in the first place. It might be less terrifying to simply run into the demon than see a genuine smile on the witch’s face.
The three marched through the darkening streets, looking for clues of Rend Devilclaw’s whereabouts. It brought them down alleys, blocks, and all around that area of town. Eventually they made their way between a pair of buildings to a place their witch was confident could hold their prey.
“The markings I’ve been following lead in here,” Deena said, gesturing to an old metal door in the front of an expansive warehouse.
Eldrian nodded. He moved up to the door and twisted the knob but to no avail, as it seemed to be locked. A simple wave of his hand caused a loud click, and the door pushed itself open in front of him. The moonlight slowly illuminated the inside room of the incredibly large building.
“Did you just unlock this door with your mind?” whispered Kevin.
“You’re easily impressed,” Eldrian said in response, laughing quietly.
“If you can do things like that, are there… wizard assassins?”
“It’s best not to think about that.”
“Hurry up,” Deena grumbled. “Let’s take a look inside.”
They stepped into the seemingly abandoned warehouse. Eldrian raised up a hand, and bright light manifested itself as an orb above his palm. It raised up to hover in the center of the room, and it lit the majority of the area like a miniature sun. Various bits of wooden debris revealed themselves, as well as old barrels and crates. It was silent and vacant otherwise.
It seemed that way, anyhow. Eldrian yelled out in agony as an array of daggers cut down and open his back. Blood soaked the back of his shirt as he fell to his knees, and the suspect responsible was quick and short. It was difficult for them to notice the black creature scurrying past their legs. They finally got a look at the culprit. He was short, but his fingers stretched out as deadly claws, and his cat-like eyes pierced a stare towards them—toothy grin present on his face.
“What the hell is that?” Kevin shouted.
There was little time for chatting. Rend bolted towards them with his claws heading straight for Eldrian’s face. But he was repelled as the wizard raised his struggling hands to conjure an invisible shield of force to protect himself. The demon bounced off with a curse under his breath.
Rend dodged the sudden swing of a lead pipe which crashed and sparked on the concrete beside his feet. He looked to see a face of fear on Kevin’s expression, but the mortal boy was still attacking. Kevin, however, was not a wizard. The demon licked his lips and was ready to pounce. It was short-lived, as Rend launched away. This was the result of a spell coming from Deena.
A growing energy had been appearing within Deena’s grasp—a swirling black orb of magic. It grew until the size of a basketball, and it fired from her palms into the side of the tiny demon. Shadow Ball!
“Damn it all!” Rend screamed as he smacked directly into a beam.
“You’re coming back with us,” Deena said bluntly, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Not until I’ve killed a wizard! And now there’s two of you… I’ll become twice as famous.” He grinned wide as a devilish snicker came through his teeth. It became slower, until he went silent and paused for a moment. “Wait. Where’s that Eldrian boy?”
Limping with pain but still keeping strong, Eldrian was holding a readied stance to the side. He had teleported away when the demon became distracted. Blood dripped down from the wounds on his back, but one of his hands was raised and open. He brought it down to slam flat against the ground, and a glowing runic circle manifested itself around the point of impact. Earthen Grasp!
A fist of stone extended up from the floor to wrap around Rend’s entire torso. It squeezed him tight and help him firmly in place, but it didn’t keep him from trying to escape. The demon panicked and began to flail his blade-like claws, and he snapped his pointed teeth.
“Nobody’s killing me,” the wizard said. He groaned as he made his way closer. “Give up. Lucy wants you back in the Demon World before you hurt somebody.”
“Screw Lucy!” he screamed.
“This guy is small, but he really freaks me out,” uttered Kevin from the back. “Let’s call your devil friend already, Eldrian. Look at your back! You’re hurt pretty bad.”
He nodded in response. “Yeah. I know. You’re right.”
“Oh hell no!” shouted the demon again. “I’m not going down that easily. That would be humiliating. Across the land of elves, demons, humans, and more. I will kill them all. Never again will I be trapped. All will fear… Rend Devilclaw!”
His eyes shifted accompanied with a disgusting noise, like a terrifying reptile. Somehow his teeth grew even larger, and his famous claws became wider. In an instant, the stone hand around him shattered into pebbles under the growing mass of his body. What was once a demon the size of a dog, now seemed to be the size of a giant. He stood at nearly ten feet tall. His body became that of a body builder—tight and muscular. However, despite his gigantic form, his head was small and unfitting of the rest. It still brought fear to the three of them. They stepped back, and stared in awe at Rend’s piercing glare down towards them.
Now with a much deeper voice, he screamed, and slammed his claws into the ground beside them. With a burst of magical momentum, Eldrian gripped Kevin, and they flew back to land a couple meters away from the point of impact. Deena did the same. They looked to see his claws having dug through the solid ground like a warm knife through butter.
“How did you find me, anyway?” Rend growled. His grin never faded.
“I did,” Deena stated. “Easily. You’re not very discreet. There were claw marks everywhere.”
The ripped demon let out a boisterous laugh. “You didn’t stop to think that it was too easy?”
“You… wanted us to find you, didn’t you?”
“Clever girl. Now, you’ll all be my dinner. Across the land of elves, de—”
Eldrian struggled to his feet, and lowers both his hands to his side. Between his fingers manifested a growing spike of solid ice. The shape extended to the length of a sword, with a tip likely sharp enough to pierce straight through somebody. With a swift motion he threw forward his hands and the frozen weapon fired like a bullet towards Rend’s torso. Ice Spear!
It stuck into his arm as he raised it to block. The demon growled, but tore it out quickly, crumbling it to sparkling fragments in his powerful grip.
“We’re fine. Right, guys? You’re both wizards. Reality at your fingertips. Isn’t that how it works? We’re not going to die!” Kevin said in a moment of panic.
“None of us are dying,” Deena barked as she stepped back.
Quickly, she pointed her hands to the wall beside them as a spell began to take effect.
“Oh no you don’t!” shouted the demon as he began a sprint forwards.
Eldrian raised both his hands up the moment Rend brought a hand down. An invisible force field halted the attack, but the wizard seemed to struggle. It was enough, however, and Deena was able to conjure a pale white door on the warehouse wall.
The energy broke, and Eldrian tumbled back.
It was like a charging bull. The demon bolted in their direction with his claws at the ready, but Kevin helped Eldrian to his feet. The three of them leapt through the opened door, and slammed it behind them. Rend’s claws shattered the door into wooden splinters, but they were already gone. Besides him, the warehouse was empty.
“You’re saying he became tall and muscular?” Lucy asked. She was wrapping bandages around Eldrian’s bare back as they sat around him in Deena’s dungeon home.
“Disturbingly muscular,” Eldrian replied.
“I’m sorry. I had no idea he could do that. This is much worse than I thought.”
“It’s all right, Lucy. Nobody knew. The world is full of surprises.”
She let out a soft laugh. “I guess you’re right. Now I don’t know what to tell my dad, though.”
“Tell him we’re catching that demon.”
Kevin looked to him. “You can’t at least cast some kind of healing spell on yourself first, can you?”
“That’s more of an elf thing, and I don’t know any elves.”
“Well, what are we going to do? That demon was huge,” Kevin said dejectedly.
“We let him try to kill us. That’s what he wants, isn’t it? Two days. Two days to rest up, heal, and plan. We can’t afford to wait any longer than that. I guarantee that if we let him know where we are, he’ll come.”
“But he was really horrifying.”
“That fight had me at my worst. Let’s see if he can handle me at my best.” Eldrian snickered. “And with all three of us, we’ll do it. We have to.”
Kevin let out a sigh. “I’m not very useful. Maybe I should stay out of this one.”
“You’ve been taking those kendo classes, haven’t you?”
Finally, Lucy finished bandaging up the injured wizard. She stood back up, and planted her hands firmly against her hips. An idea came to her. Her devilish gaze turned to Kevin as she approached him.
“Actually,” she hummed. “I might have something that could help with that.”
“I have something too,” Deena spoke up. They all turned. “Follow me.”
Without needing a response the short, white-haired witch began stepping out of the room. The four of them proceeded to a door, and she pushed it open. The room was a huge but crude naturally cave room. It was lit, however, with a series of magically glowing spots on the ceiling.
“I come here to practice things,” she added.
“And so can we then, right?” Eldrian asked excitedly.
She sighed. “You guys coming here is going to become a regular occurrence. I can feel it. Yes, you may use this room. Just be careful not to have the whole thing cave in on you.”
“And my thing?” Lucy muttered from the back.
Eldrian turned. “Right. Sorry. What kind of neat thing do you have to help me fight a demon? You’ve never given me something before.”
“I don’t have anything useful for you. This help is actually for Kevin.”
Stay tuned for Chapter Four – Team Effort!