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Underworld

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Chapter 1:
Spooks

The cold air smacked his face as Julius walked down the streets of London, he snuggled deeply into his red and black scarf and pushed his hands down far enough into his pockets to grasp some warmth. He never usually went into the normal world, in fact he only went up here for missions but today was a special occasion, it was one a tradition that Julius would not say he’s most proud of. Walking through the streets he made sure his spell was working, constantly looking at his back hoping the dark grey wings would be invisible.

He turned the corner smiling at the shop that was in front of him, Percy's Sweets & Treats, as said earlier, not the proudest tradition. Julius walked through the door and his face fell into a grin as the bells chimed, the cashier gave him a warm smile which he happily returned before turning to the shelves of treats tracing his fingers along the labels trying to find the specific candy. When finding it he grabbed the small paper bag next to the machine and watched as the candies fell into the bag, the sweet smell filling the air, Julius walked up to the counter placing the bag on the weighing machine.

“Mega sours aye?” The cashier cocked up an eyebrow and pressed some numbers on his keyboard, “Must be a toughie? Placing those in my mouth even for a mere few seconds and I lose my taste for a week, that'll be $2"

“I enjoy the taste, makes me feel invincible knowing I can taste those and not make a face" Julius chuckled and handed the cashier the money, “Besides, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger am I right?”
“Not all of us are as crazy as you Mr. Invincible, have a nice day” he said and handed him the paper bag. Julius gave him one last smile before walking out the door, hearing the bells chime once more. the truth was he hated sour candies, especially ones that had warning labels such as ‘mega' and ‘super' they were really for his master, Zen, after a meeting with the under-overs Julius would always buy him $2 worth of mega sours to make him feel better.

Mitchel would always call him a ‘suck up', saying that he wouldn't buy those candies if he didn’t get anything beneficial out of it, like a promotion, but the truth was Julius valued those times he spent with Zen, as he was way to busy to even spare another conversation with Julius. Walking through the streets again he looked out for the entrance to the underworld, the alleyway with the creepy shadows at the end. He grinned when finding it and walked into the dark alley, gripping onto the paper bag feeling unsafe, once he got to the end of the alley he looked behind him before bumping his fists together, mumbling a few magic words before a dark red portal appeared, looking behind him once more he walked in, letting the cold air shift to his usual warm one.

“Master just came back from his meeting, he does not look impressed" Mitchel told Julius as he entered the underworld, leaning against the wall, arms crossed and one foot resting on the wall behind him, “Heard he's not allowing visitors, wouldn't bother if I was you"

“He'd let me in" Julius reassured and began walking to the glass elevator in which he stepped into, clicking on the highest floor before being lifted into the air, watching Mitchel become further and further away. The elevator opened and he walked out, stepping through the corridor and knocking on the big black door before opening the handle and stepping inside, Zen stood by his window that overlooked the underworld, his raven hair swaying through the wind and his hands placed on his hips; clear sign he was thinking.

“Sir, I hope you don’t mind! I brought you some mega sours” Julius grinned and grabbed the paper bag out if his pocket, handing it to Zen. His master wasn’t the most friendly looking, a big scar over his eye and his swayful raven hair he was more than intimidating, for everybody else maybe, not for Julius. He sat down on Zen’s office chair and watched as his master grabbed a candy and placed it in his mouth.

“Thank you Julius" Zen grinned and sat down on his office table, looking at him like he was going to say something, “You know you’re not allowed up here right? Strictly invitation only”

“Kick me out then sir” Julius told him and watched as he placed another lolly into his mouth, not even making a single change to his face as he bit down into the candy, “If im not allowed then I understand sir"

“You're an exception Julius, now I've got a bunch of paper work to sign, you can stay but I need my office chair" Zen told him sliding off of the table and awaiting for Julius to stand up.

“Your chair is comfortable sir” Julius smirked.

“I will sit on you" Zen cocked an eyebrow and Julius giggled before standing off of the chair and sitting on the less comfortable chair across from him, he watched as Zen grabbed a folder out from his drawers and placed it in front of him, sighing at the sight.

“Would you like to talk about the meeting? I heard it was a rough one” Julius suggested, placing his hands on the desk, Zen placed his warm hand on his causing shivers to go down his spine.

“Its all boring stuff Julius... well except for one slight problem” He frowned, and took his hand off of his, causing Julius to frown again, “The angels have joined and bounded once again, our rival from years before you even joined the underworld is back and I assume they're stronger than before”

“That's not good sir” Julius frowned and leaned forward to rest his head on his hands, he knew that their was teams in the over world, just like theirs, the two usually battled for good and evil, “Won't they complete more tasks then? Surely they wont beat our overall score”

“I don’t know Julius, but what I do know is that they will be banded once more tomorrow and that im sure they will be in a rush to complete tasks” Zen responded and scribbled his signature. It was silent for a while, the sound of his master stamping and signing things was the only sound that could be heard, “Is it possible- Doesn't matter"
“No, sir it does. Anything you'd like to discuss matters... to me anyways" He smiled and Zen’s face relaxed.

“I will discuss it with you the next time I have a council meeting, I assume its next week. Now you and Mitchel better complete some tasks, wouldn't want the angels to take over your precious work" Zen told him and Julius nodded and stood up heading for the door before he heard the office chair, he turned around to see his master walking up to him.

“Yes sir?” He asked, his heart beat increasing as he placed his sturdy hand onto his shoulder.

“I- I would like bon-bons next time please, any flavour” He told him and slid his hand off of Julius shoulder causing Julius to frown, “Good luck"

“And to you too sir, have a nice afternoon” He grinned before walking out of his office, heart still beating softly.

-

“Oh he let you in, what did you do? Blow him?” Mitchel snorted as Julius exited the elevator. It was a constant joke that he pulled, ever since Julius and Zen had gotten somewhat close, which wasn't close at all, Mitchel would always poke fun at him saying there was something going on, “C'mon Jules lets go pick a task"
“There's been a new team banded according to our master, the strongest of them all, they're angels though meaning they're our enemy, we must beat them" Julius told him as they walked over to the task board.

The task board was a common place for the underworld demons, completing tasks resulted in ‘skill points' with these points you can level up and obtain new skills. These points also determined your ranking, Mitchel and Julius duo was currently at rank #7. As Julius walked up to the task board he examined the pieces of paper contemplating which one to chose, there was a broad selection of them, from killing evil spirits haunting humans to obtaining objects there was alot to achieve in the underworld.

“Any ideas on what we could do?” Mitchel asked gnawing at his lip, he had a bad habit of doing that, Julius would always tell him that he could actually rip his lip if he continues but Mitchel being the equivalent of a teen rebellion he continued, “I’m thinking of a fight, I'm in the mood to kill”

“What about this one? Ghost boy haunting citizens of NYC, caused a woman to think she's gone insane, a little girl trying to befriend it and an old cat who died of a heart attack. Prize is 2 skill points, not too shabby"

“Perfect. Do the honours” Mitchel gestured to the board and Julius placed his finger on the pin holding it up, pushing down hard. Dark smoke covered the page and it disintegrated, the smoke travelling up to the sorting room, where tasks got sorted and points got arranged if completed.

“New York city yeah? We better get going” Julius spoke and walked towards the portal wall, bumping his fists together and mumbling “Portal, activate: New York City"

The dark red portal appeared on the wall, Julius walked through and smiled smelling the fresh air of the city, feeling the portal fade away as Mitchel jumped through, he quickly bumped his fists together speaking ‘Activate disguise: Human form’ and his demon formed slowly transformed into an average human.

“Now time to find this ghost, where do we even begin?” Mitchel asked looking around the alleyway. Starting a mission was always the hardest for Julius, questionnaires and investigations are usually the way to begin but something about the current task made him think that there was better ways to do so.

“I have an idea, but we need fake badges”

-

It wasn't the first time they'd faked their identities for the purpose of a mission, there had been countless times where they'd pretend to be bouncers, investigators, travel agents etc. To get the mission done. Pretending to be an officer wasn't the most difficult thing but there was some complications with it, not knowing the information needed to make themselves believable was something that had let them down far too much.

“Hello, I'm officer James and this is my partner Cody, we are here to investigate the ‘ghost' situations. We heard reports on a lady having a sighting pushing her into madness” Mitchel spoke confidently, it was going to be difficult getting into a mental ward, high security and one slip up could get them arrested for good.

“Badges please" The receptionist asked and the two of them showed him the fake badges, “Emily Hart, room 321, be careful as she is a little shaken up, good luck officers”

The receptionist handed them an access card and the two of them began walking down the hallways, Julius placed the card against the door and it opened, taking them to a hallway where a bunch of rooms were. It started from 100 and at the end of the corridor was an elevator. The two of them silently walked down to the end, using the card to open the doors, when they finally got to the room 321 Julius hesitated before placing his card on the panel, the door opening to reveal a young adult, curled up on her bed.

“Hello we're officers Cody and this-" Julius began before being cut off by Emily.

“Go away, I've already been questioned and they just put me in a psych ward. Your type just think I'm crazy, I'm not” She told the two, eyes glaring at them, Julius stepped forward and traced his fingers on the carving on the wall, it was a ghost, its almost human like features almost made it difficult to differentiate from normal to supernatural but its hanging dress, messed up hair and large, scary eyes told them it was a ghost.

“Is this the ghost ma'am?” Mitchel asked and Emily nodded, looking at them wary wondering what they were up to.

“Its beautiful” Julius told her, “Are you an artist?”

“Yes, I am. That's what I saw although other cops just think its a normal person, I know its not, I know a normal person when I see one" She informed the two.

“May we ask you some questions then? We believe we can take your case but we cannot help you if you wont give us answers” Mitchel asked once more, Emily looked a bit more relaxed this time, relieved that somebody had taken her case so she could finally get out.

“You may”

“Could you describe exactly what happened?” Julius asked, placing his hands on his hips, whilst examining the rest of the room.

“It started about a month ago, it was small at first, the TV would turn off by itself, the lights would flicker but I assumed it was normal, just technical difficulties. Then it got worse, I would see other shadows from the corner of my eyes and some days I would hear screams that nobody else seemed to hear, I was sure I was going crazy. Then that night I woke up to see something laying next to me, I assumed it was my boyfriend as nobody else would be in my bed but they floated out and all I saw was a pool of blood in its place, I called his name but turning around was a ghost like figure” she explained, shuddering at the memory.

“Have you had any other experiences like this? Voices, tv's flickering... you get it" Mitchel asked jotting down what she told them in his notebook.

“Not at all, in fact I have never been superstitious at all, I didn't believe in anything of the sorts” Emily informed them.

“That is strange, what about your boyfriend? Where was he at the time?” Julius asked.

“I-I don't know. I haven't heard from him since I got here” She replied sadly.

“Have you informed the other police officers about this?”
“Yes, they told me that partners, friends and family usually don't visit and just disappear from their lives, apparently its common" she sighed.

“Is it something your boyfriend would do?”

“Not at all, or so I thought. I've been busy second guessing myself I’ve been too occupied to second guess him”

“Thank you for your time Emily, we must be going. We will visit you once more once we've investigated further” Mitchel told her and Julius gave her a small smile before leaving the room, letting his confidence and officer persona shrink.

The walk back to the alleyway was quiet as they usually are, being best friends and the same duo for about 3 years and the silence was not awkward but more of a comforting one, Julius was the type of person to listen rather than talk which worked perfectly as Mitchel talked more than he listened.

“I'll activate it this time" Mitchel told Julius before bumping his fists together, the dark red portal appearing once more.

-

Julius stepped out of the steaming hot shower, his body red and his wings clean. he turned to the mirror and frowned at his features, in some cases people were jealous of his looks, his dirty ruffled hair and his huge eyes with long lashes, he looked small and weak, not scary at all. On the other hand others poked fun at him, being in hell many people had tattoos and piercings, coloured hair and scary features but the only tattoo Julius had was a small cross on his wrist.
When he stepped out of his bathroom there was an envelope on the floor, black mist surrounding it. Julius walked over to the letter and picked it up, the mist making the envelope disappear only the letter remaining, he sat down on his fluffy bed getting comfortable to read it, he never usually got letters so receiving them was something he treasured.

Julius,
Meet me in my office when you have the chance,
Zen.

Julius heart fluttered at the thought of his master wanting to spend more time with him, grabbing his coat he exited his room making his way to the elevator. Until someone grabbed his wrist.

“Hey pretty boy" The ladies voice echoed, Julius looked up to see the lady gripping onto his wrist, trying to tug away he realised she was much stronger than him.

“hi" he bluntly replied and stopped struggling, knowing there was no way out of this.

“Let me get straight to the point, I want your task” She grumbled and Julius cocked his eyebrow in confusion, it wasn’t even a high task in which people fought for, it only had 2 out of the max 5 skill points and wasn't necessarily hard.

“Why?” Julius asked confused.

“Is that any of your goddamn business!?” she yelled holding onto his arm tighter and threw him against the railing that looked over all floors, “give it to me or I will throw you off the edge of this, no bloody hesitation”

“Tell me why then I will" Julius yelled and smirked at the lady, the trick was to always have the upper hand no matter how strong the component was.

“My name's Michelle Hart, ring any bells?” She told him impatiently and Julius frowned trying to figure out what her name had to do with the case, then it hit him.

“Emma Hart?” He asked wondering if that was what she was talking about, Michelle pushed him further against the rail, almost making him fall off, guess it wasn’t that.

“Its Emily Hart you asshole" She grumbled angrily, “Give me the bloody case. Last chance”

“I'll talk to Mitchel tomorrow morning” he told her before pushing out of her grip and walking into the elevator.

“You wanted to see me? Sorry I'm late” Julius asked as he walked through the office door, Zen was sitting in his couch at the corner of his room, reading a book on what looked like the roles and responsibilities of a demon leader. Julius gave him a playful smirk and wandered over to him sitting on the couch opposite to him.

“Hello Julius, no problem at all. How are you?” Zen asked placing his book down on the table and stared at him, as the two of them locked eyes Julius took the moment to gaze into his deep brown eyes, the golden ring around them made him mesmerised, Zen coughed and Julius regained his posture blushing as he realised what strange thoughts he was having about his boss, “I'd like to apologize”

“About?” Julius asked confused, the intrusive thoughts escaping his mind already.

“Being so rude earlier, you don't have to buy me any sweets Julius. I'd rather face to face apologies rather than letters” Zen explained.
“No! Don’t apologize its my pleasure sir” He told Zen and threw his hands up reassuring him.

“Good, that's great. I ordered some food from the food shack, I ordered you some I hope you don’t mind chips and chicken" he offered.
“I don’t mind at all, thank you sir” he grinned and the two of them sat in silence, not knowing what to say. Its not everyday you’re invited to have dinner with your master.

“How is your current task? The ghost one I assume?” Zen asked and heard the bell ringing, holding up a finger and opening the door to collect their food.

“It's uh... well there's been a slight issue" Julius laughed nervously, scratching the back of his neck. Zen placed his food in front of him and sat down, staring at Julius confused.

“An issue?”

“Michelle Hart, she asked for my job- I wouldn't call it asking she kind of almost pushed me off the rails- anyways, she demanded for the job as it was her sister I’m assuming” He explained.

“She almost pushed you off the railings?” He asked and took a bite off of his chicken, Julius grabbed one of his chips and examined it before throwing it into his mouth.

“yes sir, that’s why im late” He said watched as Zen failed to throw his chip into his mouth, Julius giggled and threw one perfectly into his mouth demonstrating silently how it was done.

“That's not allowed- How are you doing that?” Zen began and started laughing.

“Practice sir” he told him.

“I’m horrible at this" he pouted as another chip fell onto the floor,
Julius’ stomach did flips, “You throw it into mine"

Julius grabbed a chip and aimed for his opened mouth grinning from ear to ear as it landed perfectly. Zen grinned and threw his hands in the air signifying victory, Julius stared at his master wondering how he could get so excited over a chip in his mouth, it was cute regardless.

“You did it sir”

“Please Julius, I'm sure we're up to the stage where you can call me Zen" He told him.

“You did it Zen"