Chapter 1: The Gates of Hell
A low, rumbling echo filled the cave, the shrieking of demons rising in chorus from beyond the Gates.
“What was that?” Theo asked. “That must have been the horn—Sabrina must have had to blow it! Do you think she’s okay?”
“I’m more worried about us right now!” Roz yelled over the rising din. Harvey scrambled up from the ground, dropping his sketchpad in favor of the shotguns and handing one to Roz.
“Here we go.”
“What do we do if the sigils don’t work?”
“Run like Hell.” The ancient tumblers groaned and screeched as they clicked out of place, and the doors began to open.
“It’s not working,” Roz gasped, palms slipping on the barrel of her gun.
“Maybe those aren’t the right sigils.”
“Maybe there just aren’t enough of them,” Theo muttered, grabbing a handful of sketches and darting forward before his friends could grab him.
“Theo, Theo, Theo,” Roz called. “Hold on. Hold on!” Theo ignored their cries, diving in front of the doors and frantically spreading the papers. “Theo, get away from there!”
For a moment, the sigils glowed, and the doors trembled against the force of the magic. Theo stood, backing away slowly.
For a moment, they thought it had worked. But adding just half a dozen more symbols at the last minute wasn't enough, and the enchantment broke.
Theo yelled, jumping back as a decaying hand reached for him, more already crowding through the growing gap. Suddenly, he was being yanked back, tripping over his feet as Roz hauled him away from the hungry claws. Noise exploded in his ear, and black liquid exploded on his face. It stunned Roz enough to loosen her grip, and he spun to see Harvey with wide eyes, shotgun trembling.
“Let’s get out of here,” Theo gasped. Roz and Harvey stared past him, frozen in the red light of Hell, until Theo shoved them into action. “Now!”
They ran, turning the corner just as the Gates of Hell were thrown against the wall with a bang, and demons spilled into the cavern. Disoriented, none followed—not that the mortals stuck around to check. They pounded through the tunnels, guns occasionally scraping against the walls, but none of them dared drop their weapons. Not yet. Not until they saw daylight.
Panting hard, they finally burst from the mines, sheer momentum carrying them clear of the entrance before all three collapsed in the dirt.
“What do we do now?” Theo asked, knuckles white around the shotgun and eyes trained on the tunnel.
“Now,” Roz huffed, swallowing thickly, “we get to Sabrina, and pray she has a plan.”
A knock made Sabrina look up from her book, and she was surprised to see Lilith in the doorway, holding a dress.
“Lilith, what happened to you? You disappeared.” Lilith stiffened for a moment before she shook her head and stepped into the room.
“He summoned me right after leaving you.” He had been suspicious, so quiet that she jumped every time he spoke. It was a miracle she’d managed to keep her involvement in the Spellmans’ plot a secret. “I’m sorry. I truly thought that the daggers would incapacitate Him.”
Sabrina shot her a look of understanding, and it was almost too much. She turned away, busying herself with hanging up the golden gown. “Well, He sent me to help you get ready for the ball. Like a Satanic fairy godmother, I suppose.” Her chuckle came out watery, face crumpling once Sabrina couldn't see. “You’ll make a wonderful queen.”
“No. No, I won’t. The fight’s not nearly over.” Lilith smiled bitterly as she turned towards the girl, almost amused by her unending hope.
“What are you doing with all those books?”
“Trying to find something, anything, to use to stop the Dark Lord.” She waved the book she had in hand. “Nicholas gave this to me. My father’s journal. When I first started at the academy.”
“Edward Spellman is not your father.”
“He’s more my father than the Dark Lord. I can tell you that.”
“Plucky to the end,” Lilith sighed. “You’ll learn. He always gets His way. Now, I’m to gather the demon aristocracy at the Gates. I will return to collect you for the coronation.”
She disappeared into the shadows,
“She’s wrong, Salem. I’ll find a way.”
Downstairs, the rest of the Spellmans sat surrounded by books but not really looking at them, not anymore.
“If we can’t kill him, what can we do?” Hilda asked, turning towards her sister.
“We can run,” Zelda offered, refilling her tumbler of scotch for the second time. “Ambrose, the Melmoth Spell, would that work on all of us?”
“If we survive the pain.”
“And then what?” Hilda scoffed. “We spend Sabrina’s entire life on the move? We can’t run forever.”
“No, not forever,” Zelda said firmly, rising to pace. Her lips closed firmly around her cigarette for a long drag, and she turned toward her family as she exhaled. “Until one of us finds the Spear of Longinus.”
“He did say that could kill him,” Ambrose mused.
“Where would we even start looking?” Hilda asked. “And, more to the point, how would we even make Sabrina go? She’d never leave her friends here knowing that Lucifer might use them against her.”
“Do you have any better ideas?” Zelda snapped. Ambrose groaned, reaching for the decanter, when a sudden thump startled them all.
“Please!” Prudence cried, appearing on the floor with her half-conscious sisters in her arms.
“Son of Pazuzu!” Zelda swore. All three of them rushed forward, Ambrose immediately wrapping his arms around the distraught girl while Hilda started checking Agatha’s pulse.
“Please, please save my sisters.”
“Father Blackwood, he’s poisoned them. He’s poisoned all of them.”
“The entire coven?” Zelda gasped, kneeling over Hilda’s shoulder with wide eyes.
“Okay, it’s all right, love,” Hilda soothed. "I’m here now. Okay? I can take it from here.”
“You said all of them. Are they all dead?”
“They’re still alive. They’re in the desecrated church.”
“Right. You, come with me.” Zelda pointed to Ambrose, and the two of them scrambled up, grasping each other’s hands tightly. “Lanuae magicae.”
In a flash, they were in the church, and all of Zelda’s breath left her lungs at the scene.
“What are we going to do, Auntie?”
“We try to save as many of them as we can, of course.” Zelda muttered, already trying to calculate how long they had and how many they could get to. The first people they took would likely make it. The last… “Teleport them back to the mortuary.” She laid a hand on her nephew’s arm, pointing toward the younger members of the coven. "Start with those two, Melvin and Elspeth.” Ambrose nodded, dropping to his knees, and she hurried in the other direction. Her fingers had just found Brother Lovecraft’s pulse when she heard Ambrose depart.
The yelling broke Sabrina’s bleak spiral of thoughts, and she looked up with a furrowed brow. Going to investigate, she put the journal she’d been studying down when her eye caught the page she’d had open. Her mother’s portrait. “Wait.” Grabbing the book back up, she flipped through the pages, and there it was: the Acheron Configuration. “Wait. Salem.”
“The Acheron Configuration that held Batibat.” She opened the trunk at the foot of her bed, digging through it with one hand until she pulled out the puzzle and spread it on the floor. “It’s a prison, right? I mean…my father designed it so that it could hold any demon. Maybe it could…”
“I can help.” Sabrina’s head jerked up, eyes narrowing as she stood to face Nick.
“You’re no longer welcome in this house, Nicholas, physically or astrally.”
“Sabrina…please forgive me.” He shuffled under Sabrina’s glare, eyes wet.“Look, it’s not an excuse, but you know how it goes when the Dark Lord asks you for a devotion. You can’t say no.”
“Yes, you can,” she shot back.
“Look, He asked me to show a pretty girl a wicked time, that’s all.”
“Is He why you asked to sit with me at lunch the first day?”
“No. No, the Dark Lord’s ask came later. I sat with you at lunch because of the way you sang in choir class. Do you remember that?” A faint smile tugged at his lips, softening as he got lost in the memory. "You were fearless. And I fell hard.”
“I don’t think I can ever trust you again.”
“I pray that’s not true.”
“And I’m in the middle of trying to save the world, so…”
“So, let me help you, Sabrina.” She rolled her eyes, kneeling again to pick up the Configuration, but he followed persistently. "Trust me or not, but I don’t want the Apocalypse to happen any more than you do.” Sabrina looked at him hard. It was true; no matter their personal situation, no one knew more about demonology than Nick. No one on hand, anyway. So, she raised the Configuration toward him in offering.
“This held Batibat. Do you think it could trap the Dark Lord?” Nick’s eyes lit up with the challenge, mind turning immediately and almost bringing a smile to Sabrina’s face.
“Theoretically, yes. The Configuration is based on the most sacred and complex bindings in nature…the human body. Your father, he, um…” Nick grabbed the journal, flipping through the pages again until he found what he wanted. “He was inspired by da Vinci’s sketch of the Vitruvian Man. But an Acheron is only as strong as the magics and the binding spell behind it.” Sabrina looked up at that, meeting his eyes. "It’s not something you’ll really be able to do alone, especially without your powers.”
On the first floor, a door banged open.
“Sabrina!” Sabrina whipped around, still half crouched.
“That was Roz!” Nick jumped up, extending a hand that Sabrina ignored with a teasing smirk. “Come on, let’s go.”
“Rosalind, Harvey, Theo, thank Lucifer,” Zelda gasped, hurrying in from the parlor. “What happened with the Gates? Were you there?”
“We got out in time, but we couldn’t stop them from opening.”
“It must be crawling with demons right now,” Harvey added, hoisting the shotgun higher on his shoulder.
“‘Brina!” Theo called, spotting her and Nick from the landing. Three pairs of eyes swiveled to them as Sabrina ran into her friends’ arms.
“Oh, my gosh, you guys, I was so worried!”
“We’re okay,” Harvey reassured her, awkwardly patting her back as Nick glared.
“But what about you?” Theo cut in, pulling back. “What happened to the plan?”
“It didn’t work,” Sabrina sighed, biting her bottom lip. “He was going to kill my aunts if I didn’t blow the horn.” Zelda rested a hand on her shoulder, and they fell into silence. Their plan had failed.
“So,” Roz asked softly, “what do we do now, ‘Brina? You have another idea, right?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. Nick,” she called, holding out her hand. “This is an Acheron Configuration. It’s a trap for demons. Like Lilith said, Lucifer is extremely strong, but a demon is all he is.”
Roz frowned, mouthing ‘Lilith?’ at Harvey.
“With enough power, this could hold him. But we’re going to need witches. Aunt Zelda, is there any way you can think of for us to get into the coven, and get a few people out?” Zelda’s face grew tense, eyelashes fluttering.
“The coven is gone,” Prudence said, emerging through the doorway behind Zelda. “Blackwood poisoned them all and ran with my brother and sister.”
“What?” Sabrina whispered, eyes flickering between the two women.
“We managed to save several, but they’re in no shape to fight,” Zelda apologized. “And we haven’t accounted for the demons that will almost certainly step in to stop us from harming their master.” Sabrina’s face fell.
“Hey,” Nick said, approaching Sabrina. “We can still try. Me, Pru, and your family might be enough. And it’s the only plan we’ve got.”
“Right.” Sabrina took a shuddering breath, nodding. “Right, I’m gonna need everybody’s help. Starting with you, Nicholas. Fix that Configuration, and maybe I won’t hate you for the rest of my life. Ambrose can help.” Nick shot her a salute, following Prudence into the kitchen. Sabrina looked around at her friends.
“The demons are Lilith’s children; they'll follow her. We’ll fill her in on the plan when she comes back. Meanwhile, the rest of us have a coronation to get ready for. Go find my Aunt Hilda. She can spell you some costumes. We’ll all need masks.” With a last round of hugs and squeezes, the mortals went into the parlor, and Sabrina and Zelda were alone. Zelda waited patiently as Sabrina's bottom lip trembled.
“Aunt Zelda,” Sabrina gasped. The next moment, she was in Zelda’s arms, burying her face into her aunt’s shoulder, engulfed by the familiar scent of smoke, vanilla, and kitchen spices.
“Oh, my sweet, brave girl,” Zelda sighed in her ear. “I know it’s hard, but you must not cry. Once you let it out, you won’t be able to pull yourself together as completely, and right now you need every ounce of that strength. Hold your emotions tight and let them fuel you, do you understand?” Sabrina nodded against her, taking a long, deep breath, and then another. “Good girl. You are so, so strong, Sabrina, and you are not alone. I swear to you, whatever it takes, we will keep you safe.”
“I know you will, Aunt Zee.” She pulled back, meeting Zelda’s watery gaze. “Will you help me get ready?” Zelda nodded.
“Of course,” she answered with a soft smile, running a hand over Sabrina’s hair before wrapping it around her shoulders, the two of them turning toward the stairs.
Lilith arrived not half an hour later, blinking into the parlor with a red dress and raised eyebrow. “My, my, what happened here?”
“It was Blackwood,” Hilda muttered, rising from where she and Prudence had been checking on her sisters. “He poisoned the entire coven. These are the only ones we managed to save.”
“Someday I’ll eat that man,” Lilith swore under her breath, rage boiling in her stomach. “Where’s Sabrina? It’s time.” Finally, Prudence looked up from stroking Dorcas’ hair.
“Upstairs,” Hilda answered.
“You’re Sabrina’s teacher, aren’t you? The excommunicate?”
“Not exactly,” Lilith replied with a smirk before sweeping out of the room.
She followed the sound of voices to Sabrina’s bedroom, opening the door to find four pairs of eyes on her. Nick just pressed his lips together at the sight of her, remembering how she had tried to kill Sabrina. But Harvey, Roz, and Theo were wide-eyed.
“Oh, are you all coming along, too? Wonderful, it’s a long journey to the Gates and the court is quite hungry. You can be the appetizers.”
“Miss Wardwell?” Roz balked, the first to recover her voice. “What are you doing here?” Lilith rolled her eyes.
“The number of times I’ve had to introduce myself today. Honestly, didn’t Sabrina explain anything to you silly little mortals? I’m not Mary Wardwell.”
“What are you?” Theo asked in a shaking voice.
“She’s Lilith.” All eyes turned toward the bathroom as Sabrina emerged, shoulders back and chin up in her gold dress, smiling as she found Nick’s gaze. Lilith examined her with a sigh.
“Should I assume from your misplaced confidence that you’ve actually come up with some sort of plan?”
“We have, actually.” She walked over to the bed, and Zelda took her place in the doorway. Lilith cast a quick, appreciative glance at her dress before refocusing on the contraption Sabrina held.
“The Acheron Configuration. My father created it to hold a demon—any demon. We think that with enough power, it will even hold the Dark Lord. While I distract him with a dance, everyone else will be surrounding us, chanting the binding spell. It’s a risk with only six of you, but--”
“That would be five, dear,” Lilith interrupted with a grimace. "I won’t be much help. While you all are binding Lucifer, I’ll have to keep the court from interfering.”
“Won’t they be on our side? You’re their mother, won’t they want you to be queen?” Lilith smiled bitterly.
“It doesn’t matter that I’m their mother any more than it matters that Lucifer’s their father. We’re demons, Sabrina. We don’t do family ties. They want to run amok on Earth, and your coronation will let them do that.”
“But can you hold them?” Zelda pressed. "Will you?” Lilith straightened, squarely meeting her critical eyes.
“Yes. But you’ll have to be fast.” She cast a quick glance at the clock, and the lines on her face deepened. “And we have to go.”
“Sabrina, head downstairs with your friends,” Zelda ordered, eyes never leaving Lilith. “I’d like a word in private.” Exchanging confused glances, the teens headed out. Sabrina turned as she passed her aunt, mouth open, but Zelda silenced her with kiss to her temple.
“I’ll be just a moment,” she whispered, leaving no room for argument as she pushed Sabrina toward the door. She closed it behind her, and they were left facing each other in silence.
“Yes, Miss Spellman?” Lilith prompted, caught somewhere between amusement and annoyance at the woman’s boldness. They were going to be late. He wouldn’t like that.
“I need you to promise me something.” Well, that wasn’t what she’d been expecting.
“What?” Zelda looked at her hard for a long moment, then sighed suddenly, looking around the room in sudden wistfulness. Lilith cocked her head, watching curiously until Zelda’s eyes found hers once more.
“The Dark Lord said he won’t hesitate to kill us if Sabrina defies him again, which means that if this plan fails, she will likely have to watch her entire family die. Probably her friends, as well. She will lose everyone. Except you.” She walked forward until they stood nearly toe to toe, and Lilith could see the unshed tears in her eyes. “Promise me that if that happens, you will do what you can to protect her.”
“I’m betraying him more than anyone. What makes you think he won’t kill me, too?”
“Because I doubt anything could be a greater punishment than making you continue on the way you are now.” Lilith inhaled sharply, lifting her chin with a scowl, but Zelda was unfazed by her indignation, looking at her steadily all the while. She knew the truth in her words.
“Fine, I promise."
Lilith’s heels echoed in the silence as she entered the empty ballroom, burgundy skirts whispering across the floor as she approached her Lord. Lucifer smirked, eyeing her exposed chest and collared neck hungrily as she knelt before him.
“My King,” she greeted solemnly, bringing his offered hand to her lips.
“Smile, my dear,” Lucifer ordered, twisting his palm to cup her cheek. “You should be pleased. Today is the day we take back the Earth from Adam’s spawn.”
“I am pleased.” Lilith hid her clenched fists in her skirt, meeting his eyes with a grin, though it was not for the reasons he thought. Lucifer nodded, satisfied, his hand dropping away in dismissal, and Lilith rose to take her place beside his throne.
“How long have we waited for this moment, Lilith? A coronation on Earth.” He frowned, fingers drumming impatiently against a skull. “But where are My guests?”
“I brought them from the Gates. Only the creme de la creme of Hell, mind you. They are awaiting my word.”
“Perfection. And where is My queen?”
“The same.” A smile twitched at her lips, which she quickly smothered. "Awaiting my word.”
“Well, then, let us begin.”
“As You command.” With a flourish, she clapped her hands, and the procession of demons began.
The first of them came bearing instruments, announcing the others with music from strings made of human hair. Two by two, the lords and ladies of Hell descended in their finery, jewels and spider silk and masks made from painted animal skulls. Faces obscured, they seemed almost human, if one overlooked the stray horn or claw or scale, and Lilith felt a pang as their glances passed her. These were her earliest children, back when she’d been mostly mortal and Lucifer still remembered shreds of humanity. But as his darkness had consumed him and bled into her, as he’d become crueler and she’d gotten tired, so had their offspring been weaker, more monstrous. Until the Devouring Worm was the best she could produce for him.
And here came Sabrina, in all her youthful, golden glory, head held high despite how she must want to shrink from her father’s proud gaze. Lilith caught sight of Sabrina's friends weaving amongst the hordes, her aunts flanking her. They stayed until Lucifer rose, bowing gracefully though reluctantly off to the side.
As Sabrina was escorted to her throne, their eyes met, and any lingering thoughts of jealousy fled as Lilith saw blind panic flash quickly across her face. Keeping her own gaze as steady as possible, Lilith risked a tiny nod before turning to retrieve the crown from its pedestal. As she bowed, and the crown was lifted from her hands, a serene sort of fury washed over her. They would defeat him. They had to. She would not be denied her crown, and she would not let him subject a child to it. Like she had once told Sabrina, rage was power. She grasped it tight in her fist, and while the masses clapped for their new queen, her spell spread like a shadow beneath their feet.
“My fiends and friends!” Lucifer announced as the music faded, taking Sabrina by the hand and raising her up before her new subjects. "Tonight, I present to thee My firstborn, Sabrina Morningstar: Proud Lady of Pandemonium, Maiden of Shadows, and Queen of Hell! Hail Sabrina!”
“Hail Sabrina!” They echoed. "Hail Satan!”
“And now, My queen, we shall dance, as father and daughter, to the Mephisto Waltz.” Back so rigid it was almost painful, Sabrina nodded, and as a new, twinkling tune started, she let herself be led into the dance. Twirling, she tried to catch Lilith’s eye, but the demoness was looking straight ahead, hands clenched at her sides, and then she was in Lucifer’s grasp, his commanding hold not leaving any room for her to stumble.
“There,” he murmured quietly. "Isn’t that so much better than trying to kill Me?”
“Sorry about that…” Swallowing the bile in her throat, she met his eyes. "Dad.”
“Is that not what I’m supposed to call you?” She asked sweetly, taking secret delight in how awkwardly he cleared his throat.
“Perhaps in private. In front of our legions, you should use the formal appellations. Lucifer Morningstar or Dark Lord might be best. Or King.”
“Certainly, Dark Lord.” She could hear the chanting under the music now, and out of the corner of her eye caught some of the demons shifting against the confines of Lilith’s spell. Only a little more to go. She just had to keep him distracted.
“Tene hoc chaos…”
“Now that I’m queen, I was wondering if you might give me something?”
“What do you desire? Jewels? Silks? Palaces?” She smiled up at him, stopping just short of batting her eyelashes.
“Give me Greendale. For my own.”
“Ah, yes,” he sighed indulgently. "You do care for your mortal pets, don’t you? Then you shall have them.” As he twirled her once again, Sabrina slipped from his grasp, watching the smile die on his face with vicious satisfaction.
“Tene hoc chaos. Sanguinem terrae te dique perdant.” The demonic musicians vanished, released from Lilith’s glamour spell, and Lucifer’s gaze jerked around the room; first toward his frozen, straining legions, then at the chanting witches.
“Wait. What are they saying?”
“Tene hoc chaos! Sanguinem terrae te dique perdant. Elementa mundi…” Now that the game was up, their voices rose, and Satan turned to Sabrina.
“I told you what would happen if you defied Me again.”
“Remember my name,” she shot back, all fear gone. "Remember it was me, Sabrina Spellman, who beat you, Lucifer Morningstar.”
“Tene hoc chaos!” Ambrose saw his chance, throwing the Acheron at the Devil’s feet, and Lucifer vanished in a burst of red sand.
Only the snarls of a few demons fighting Lilith’s hold broke the stunned silence as Sabrina picked up the Acheron Configuration. And then, Nick was there, smiling at her.
“Well played, Spellman.” Sabrina sighed, still breathless with adrenaline, though her heart calmed just a fraction more when Zelda stepped forward.
“Yes. Edward would have been proud.” Sabrina smiled at her, basking in one brief moment of relief. And then the Acheron started to shake. For a second, she just looked at it in blank confusion, her mind refusing to accept what she saw. But the white-hot light tore through that haze, and she dropped the burning puzzle just moments before it burst open. The red sand poured out, and Satan stood before them once more in all his fury.
“You try and try to defeat Me,” he snarled, stalking towards her. "I am the Great Satan that no prison may contain!”
“Hold that nasty thought!” Wincing under the strain, Lilith threw out a hand, jerking Lucifer to a halt with an invisible tether.
“Lilith,” he hissed, turning slowly on his heels. Her eyes widened, and Lucifer just shook his head. “Oh, Lilith,” he sighed, wading through the barrier of her magic like water, "your full power might be enough to hold Me back, but you’re still trying to restrain the others.” With a flick of the wrist, he broke both her spells, and the demons howled, lunging at the witches and mortals. Lilith found one panicked gaze after another, but Lucifer was there before she could even think of moving, hand tightening around her throat. "I thought you had learned after last time.”
“I’ll deal with you later.” He pushed her away, not even watching to see if she would fall before rounding on Sabrina.
“Now, Sabrina, it seems to me that you have failed, once again, to consider the consequences of your actions,” he said evenly, gesturing at his captives. "I told you I would kill your aunts if you deceived Me again.”
“No,” Sabrina whimpered, "please don’t. I’ll come with you—I’ll do anything.” Lucifer sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose as he stalked closer to her family.
“I don’t want to do this, Sabrina, but you’ve forced my hand. As a parent, I have to set a good example, and that means that when I tell you I’ll do something, I need to keep My word. But, since I care about you, I’ll only kill one. I’ll even let you choose, if you like.”
“I can’t do that,” she whispered, eyes wide and wet. They stared at each other, then; Sabrina silently willing him to change his mind, and Lucifer patiently waiting for her to give in. But in the end, it was Hilda who broke the stalemate.
“Kill me, then.” And all pairs of eyes landed on her.
“Hilda, what do you think you’re doing?” Zelda gasped, struggling against the two demons who held her arms.
“Don’t interfere, Sister,” she said firmly, giving her a hard look over her shoulder. And for once in her life, Zelda listened, snapping her jaw shut and nodding.
“Hilda Spellman,” the Devil mused, approaching her with a raised eyebrow. “You don’t seem very afraid.”
“I’m not.” Hilda shrugged, rising on her toes as well as she was able to look him in the face. "Go ahead and kill me, because it doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t matter if you killed all of us. You’ll never get what you want. Because whether you’re her father or Edward is, my sister and I are the ones who raised Sabrina, and she’ll never give in to you. So, if you’re going to kill me, get on with it.” Lucifer smiled.
“Very well.” He raised his hand, and Hilda kept staring him straight in the eyes. He twisted his hand in a sharp motion, and there was a sickening crack.
Sabrina screamed as Zelda’s body fell to the floor.
Hilda cried out in shock, twisting fruitlessly in her demon’s grasp. Sabrina made to run forward, but Lilith appeared beside her, wrapping deceptively strong arms around Sabrina’s shoulders and waist.
“Lilith, let go of me.” She struggled in her arms, but Lilith held firm, shaking her head. "What are you doing? Let go! I have to—“
“And I have to protect you,” she hissed in Sabrina’s ear, "like I promised your aunt I would.” Sabrina stilled, taking in Lilith’s fearful expression. “I’m sorry, Sabrina, but she knew this might happen.” Sabrina swallowed her tears, grabbing the demoness’ hand for support, and turned back to watch.
Lucifer nodded, and the demons holding Hilda and Ambrose released them. Ambrose reached Zelda at a run, falling to his knees with a painful crack, and looked up at his other aunt with tears streaming down his face.
“Shh, I know, love.” Hilda knelt on the other side of Zelda’s body, grabbing Ambrose’s arm in a tight squeeze. “It’ll be okay.” Ambrose shook his head, unable to look away from the awful angle of Zelda’s neck. “Ambrose, hey, look at me.” She shook him until he did as told, digging her nails into his arm. “It’ll be okay.” Ambrose blinked at her dumbly, but then it seemed to dawn on him. He nodded, covering her hand with his own.
“There.” Lucifer clapped, strolling towards Sabrina with a cruel smirk. "I trust the point has been made. Why don’t you hurry home and get her into your Cain Pit?” he tossed over his shoulder. Hilda glared at his back. So he knew. “Go on, I won’t stop you.” With a sigh, she stood, nodding at Ambrose and stepping away. Ambrose took one of Zelda’s hands in his own, resting the other on her shoulder.
Lucifer shot a look at Lilith, and she bowed her head, letting him take her place next to Sabrina.
“Next time, I won’t be so kind,” he promised. Raising his voice, he wrapped one arm around Sabrina’s shoulders, his other hand gripping Lilith’s upper arm. “I’m terribly sorry that tonight's festivities did not go as planned, My friends, but rejoice! You have your queen, and the Gates of Hell have opened! Go, gather the rest. Spread far and wide over this realm. But leave Greendale be, at least for now. Sabrina wants Greendale for her own, so her own it shall be. No demon shall harm a human within these borders, and no human shall leave. We’ll need servants, after all.” He nodded once to Hilda. “The queen and I will send for you soon.”
In a flash of light, demon and human, devil and queen, had all departed. And the academy ballroom lay silent and dark.
Lucifer transported them upstairs to the atrium, swinging Lilith around in front of him almost the moment they appeared. She tripped over the rubble still littering the hall, but his bruising grip hauled her upright. Releasing Sabrina, he towered over her, following with every step she tried to back away.
“Tell Me why I shouldn’t send you to the Pit to rot for the next hundred years.”
“Please, my Lord, I am not worthy, but I beg you.” She gasped, back hitting the wall hard. “I was weak and foolish. Please. Please, forgive me. Let me repent. Let me be your faithful servant again.”
“What have you done to deserve such an honor?” he hissed, dragging her up to eye level. "You failed Me, Lilith. Again. I have no use for failures.”
“Then let her serve me!” Sabrina blurted. Lucifer turned to her slowly, not releasing his hold. Sabrina, wide-eyed and shaking, cleared her throat. “As queen, I’ll—I’ll need a handmaiden, won’t I? She can teach me about the demons I’m meant to rule, and how to best support you, my King. Besides,” she continued, looking apologetically at Lilith, “what better punishment than to make her serve the one who took the crown she wanted?"
Lucifer mused over this, finally turning back to Lilith, who tensed. “Very well. You will remain here to serve your king and queen as punishment for your arrogance.” Lilith nodded furiously, sagging with relief. “As punishment for your disloyalty, however…”
Without warning, he jammed a hand into her stomach, and a cry escaped before she could clench her jaw on it. She clawed at his arm, writhing against the pain that burned cold through her veins. She heard Sabrina yell through the fog, but couldn’t make out the words. And then it was over. The Dark Lord dropped her, and she barely managed to catch herself against the wall, digging her elbows in hard against the brick.
“I’ve bound your magic.” She looked up at him dazedly, still reeling at the weight of the stone in her gut. “You still have enough to be useful, but the rest you’ll have to earn.” He bent over her then, gently cupping her jaw, and Lilith closed her eyes despite herself, relishing in the affectionate touch.
“I’ll let you keep the ring, for now,” he told her, and her eyes flew open. "Let it remind you that the only things you will ever have are the things I grant you. Because I own you, Lilith.”
“Yes, my Lord. I’m yours,” she whispered, tears running down her cheeks as she looked into his burning eyes. Even the cruel satisfaction she saw there was better than the pity she felt from Sabrina’s. Smiling, he rose and turned to leave. “Make My daughter comfortable, and then come to the Headmaster’s chambers.” Without waiting for a response, he stopped before Sabrina, who stood stiff as he raised her hand to his lips. “Goodnight, my queen.”
She said nothing back, not daring to move until Lucifer had disappeared, and then she was at Lilith’s side in an instant, hands reaching but unsure as Lilith righted herself, breathing heavily.
I’m sorry,” Sabrina gasped. “I should have stopped Him. I should have—” Lilith shook her head, brushing off the help.
“I’ll be fine. It’s not the worst He’s ever done to me. Well,” she frowned, hand rubbing at her tender abdomen, “except for the magic. That’s...inconvenient.”
“I don’t know what to do now, Lilith,” Sabrina admitted, lower lip trembling. “I don’t know how we can win this.” She flinched when Lilith laughed.
“Oh, Sabrina,” she sighed, rolling her shoulders and wiping the damp streaks from her face. "This isn’t about winning anymore. We’ll all be lucky just to survive."
Don't yell at me, okay? Writing the last part made me feel absolutely awful. Zelda's death, too, but I just couldn't find a believable way for Lucifer to change his mind about killing at least one of them.
Fun fact that probably no one cares about but me: The song Lucifer and Sabrina dance to is not the actual Mephisto Waltz (bc yes it's a real composition), nor is it from the movie soundtrack (bc yes there's also a movie, based on a book, that the episode is titled after). The actual song is Vleurgat by Oskar Schuster. In the show they play it down an octave and with simpler notes so it's more haunting, but the original is still really beautiful!
Also, yes, I changed Lilith's dress. The one she had in the show was gorgeous, but the beaded fringe looked so weirdly out of place with everyone else wearing Renaissance-style costumes. My little ocd brain just wanted her to match.
Comments and kudos are very much appreciated!