Actions

Work Header

Avatar World Tour Dates

Chapter Text


Lily is back in her room after the viewing party. She feels like taking a comforting bath and selects her robe and bath soaps and afterwards she makes her way to Asmodeus bathroom. He promised she could use it after all. 
She sends him a text to not disturb her - because you never know with that guy - and opens the door. But Asmodeus is still in his bathroom, luckily in a robe. He should really lock the door, seriously, Lily thinks. 

“Oh, hey Lily!” Asmodeus sings to her. “Sorry, I was already here. They were all so rough with me during the viewing party. And not in the fun way.” He complains and Lily giggles, he earned every pillow thrown at him. He continues. “But I’m almost done.”

“I hope it’s okay to use your bath?” Lily asks him a bit shyly. She’s still not used to just doing that. “I’m feeling a bit sore from yesterday's hard work…”

“Of course!” Asmodeus casts a cleansing spell over his bath and starts refilling it. “I’ll make a nice one for you.”

Lily is glad to have put on a bikini, just to be extra prepared for her plan to use Asmo’s bathroom. So she takes off her robe and already steps into the bath as Asmodeus is making it. But then she hears his horrified gasp.

“Lily! What happened to you, my little flower.” He walks around the bath in one second and gently strokes a finger over her bruises as if she actually is a fragile flower. “Who did this to you?” Lily hears the dark threat in his voice and quickly makes sure he doesn’t go believing it was any of James and Leila’s demons.

“You know how I told you guys that their Lord Diavolo practically pulled me over the table… Well… I needed to brace myself to not actually make that happen, so I hit against the edge and…”

“Lily! You can NOT ever return to their reality!” Asmodeus sounds dramatic, but Lily can hear his genuine worry for her.

“Don’t be so dramatic, Asmo.” Lily tells him sternly, relaxing in the tub again. “It wasn’t any of them and I also told you about how Leila immediately protected me. She even immediately healed my pain away. They love me in that reality. I could sense it. Just like I can sense how all of you love James and Leila.” She looks up to him. “Look into my eyes and tell me if that's true or not.”

“Well, of course it's true!” Asmodeus throws up his hands. “They’re like you! Descendants from Lilith and family. We can feel our connection with them as well. They belong with us, like you do. But if it’s dangerous for you to go there…”

“It’s not.” Lily says, trying to persuade Asmodeus of her point of view. “I’m protected there too, Asmo. I belong with them too. Lucifer told Diavolo to leave me alone, because I’m special. Please don’t make this into a huge drama so that Lucifer and Mammon will stop me from going there?” She pleads. “Besides, it’s not like I haven’t had my share of bruises in this reality.”

“Well…” Asmodeus thinks, as he starts massaging her shoulders. “It’s a rare opportunity to get a little blackmail on my little flower...Maybe you can convince me not to tell the others about this...”

Lily can hear his mischievous tone and sighs. Here it comes. He better not ask for something weird. “You wouldn’t keep quiet about it just because you like me?” She still tries.

“Of course not!” He laughs. “Who do you think I am? I’m a demon, Lily. Now don’t worry, it’s not anything you wouldn’t like. Let’s see… How about you, me, James and Leila go on a full spa date together?” He massages her shoulders gently. “Wouldn’t that be nice? I can’t wait to see Leila’s figure. Oh and I bet James' body is gorgeous…”

“Ugh!” Lily tries to scold him but ends up laughing. “You’re incorrigible! But sure, I think we can arrange that…” She won’t tell him that this was her idea all along to do one time.

“It’s a deal then.” Asmodeus cheers. “Now let’s have fun with your bath and I expect to hear more details about our date soon!”

 

Asmodeus keeps her company while he’s spoiling her with his bath products and massages. Lily remembers how this would make her uncomfortable in her early days with him, but now it is nice, as long as he keeps proper. And he does, most of the time anyway. But he does today. He’s full of plans for their date. Probably would make an appointment right away if he could. Lily is looking forward to it herself as well.

After the bath, Asmodeus gives her a special cream that helps with her bruises. They will disappear in no-time as if they were never there, so nobody else will find out about it.



A couple days later, Lily is brushing her hair in front of her mirror while thinking about Asmodeus’ request. James and Leila have never had the chance to visit her own reality together. Smiling, she collects a hair from her brush and finds a vial to keep it in. After rushing around to get ready, Lily sends a quick text to Mammon, letting someone know where she’ll be before grabbing the vial and her own reality-turner.

Lily steps outside her own room before turning the hourglass once. The halls are empty in the other reality and the Manor seems quiet. She knocks on James’ door but no one answers. She doesn’t run into anyone on the way up to the attic either. Knowing that everyone had a lot of plans today in her own reality she’s not surprised if the same is going on here. Knocking softly on the attic door, no one answers there either. She doesn’t want to knock louder or enter, because she doesn’t want to wake Pandora if she’s in there napping for one and she doesn’t want to walk into any intimate moments between Leila and her mates for two!

Since she has a busy day at home, she only turned the hour glass once. She quietly curses herself for being so impulsive, remembering how organized Leila had been even in her distress when she brought that box to her. Shaking her head at herself, she finds Lucifer’s study where she expects it to be. This time she does enter when no one answers her knock. 

Walking over to Lucifer’s desk she finds herself some paper and a pen and sits down to write Leila a note in case she’s gone before she finds anyone. The sound of someone clearing their throat startles Lily, causing her to smudge her last letter. At least she finished her note. Looking up with her wide eyes, Lily smiles brightly at Lucifer as he stands there with his arms folded. 

“Hey Lucifer.” She greets him, jumping out of his chair as if it’s caught fire. “I just popped by to give something to Leila but I couldn’t find her. Do you think you could deliver this to her for me? I don’t have much time here.” She explains quickly.

Lucifer gives her a smile, it looks similar to the patronizing one that her own gives her at times. “I must say, we didn’t expect you back so soon, Lily.”

“Yeah it was a sort of impulsive visit.” Lily admits with a nervous laugh. 

Lucifer accepts the vial and note. “I’m afraid everyone’s out currently. I wouldn’t mind the company, though. Tea?” He offers to Lily’s delight. “That blend you gave me the other day is quite delicious.”

 

Lily enjoys tea and small talk with Lucifer until she disappears. In her own reality she pops into existence in her own Lucifer’s study. She giggles when her own Lucifer actually flinches at her sudden arrival, which earns her a glare. Belatedly she realizes she’s accidentally stolen one of the ‘other’ Lucifer’s tea cups. 



Another few days later.  

Lily has been a bit restless about leaving the note with Lucifer. Maybe the other Lucifer wouldn’t want both his humans to go to the other reality at the same time? Maybe he never gave the vial and note to Leila? But her own Lucifer wouldn’t do something like this, so why would theirs, right? Still, it makes her anxious to just not know. It’s currently a relatively quiet time, without major events going on in her own reality. It would be the perfect time to meet up again.

She’s sitting at her desk, just aimlessly reorganizing everything, when suddenly a piece of paper appears on her laptop. Huh?

‘Heya Lily!’

A letter from Leila? How?

‘I found a way to communicate across realities! Let’s call it reality-mail. I’ll teach you how to make the spray-potion.’

What follows is a detailed instruction on how to use the small attached hair under the piece of scotch tape - Lily only notices it now, most likely it belongs to James - and make it into reality-sand again with her own Kerberos fur. Then follows the instruction of making the spray, combined with matching spells. It looks simple enough to Lily, now that she has made a reality-turner.

‘Once you have finished it, pour it into a compressed air spray can and only spray a tiny amount on your letters. If you want to send something with it, make sure it is small and covered under scotch tape. We’re almost finished with making James’ reality-turner. I kinda wanted him to make it on his own, so it takes a bit of time. But we are both excited about the spa-day! Of course you have to return the favor to our Asmo… Anyway, you hear from us soon! - Leila’

Lily laughs, of course their Asmo would want the same thing! She’s down for that. She feels excited to make her own reality-spray. But first things first! She has news for Asmo!


“Asmooo!” Lily calls out excitedly through his door. “I have news!” 

“What is the news, Lily?” Asmodeus grins as he opens his door. “Am I finally on the cover of Devils Cosmo? Well, that’s about time…”

Lily interrupts him before he launches into a speech about himself and his importance again. “No, it's not that. But look!” She shows him the letter Leila had sent. “Leila sent me a letter! Soon we can plan our spa-day.”

“Spa-DATE, Lily.” Asmodeus corrects her, earning himself one of her eye rolls and he grins. He takes the letter and his grin goes wider as he reads it. “Nice, so you’re going to make that stuff now, right?”

“Yeah, it might take a couple days, but I thought you’d like to know how we stand with our deal.”

“I wouldn’t have told Lucifer, Lily” Asmodeus says. “Though you have to understand that I wanted to get something out of this, of course. If you promise nothing bad will happen to you in the other reality, I’ll keep quiet. I promise.”

“Ugh, I knew it.” Lily pretends to be offended by being ‘tricked’ by her demon and Asmodeus snickers. She ‘stomps’ off to her room to make a start to the potion, while Asmodeus laughs after her, feeling good about himself.


It doesn’t take long for Lily to fabricate her own compressed air spray can
of reality-spray. She didn’t expect it to be such a large can for using such a little hair. It’s kind of a relief: She won’t go bald any time soon, while communicating this way.

She has her first letter ready and invites Asmodeus to witness her sending it away to Leila and James.

'Hello Leila and James! As you can see, I have finished my reality-spray. That is what we are calling it, right? I’m so happy! Now we can talk more and actually make plans. I can tell you that Asmo is very excited and already has begun planning our day out. He told me to tell you that he will want to take full advantage. I think he means that he wants to start early and be home late… But who knows with him. - Lily.’  

There is soon an answer, from James this time. Lily is so excited! She’s thinking about making a scrapbook to save all the letters in. Mammon better not try to steal it, though.

‘Hey, hey, Lily! That’s great! Leila had me make my own can as well. And I have my reality-turner now ready. The first time I will use it will be on our day out… So I’m a bit nervous if I did it right. But Leila and Solomon both tell me I did it perfectly, so… Hope I won’t be left behind home on the big day! Haha! - James.’

Lily smiles. Yes, she was nervous about using her own reality turner for the first time as well. But James must have had the same instructions as she had from Leila, so she’s sure everything will turn out just fine.


Chapter Text

Lily’s Reality

The next couple of days Asmodeus has stepped up his spa research, much to his brothers’ annoyance, who still don’t know what they are planning.

“What the hell are you doing, Asmo?” Satan asks annoyed, when he finds his book under another stack of spa treatment pamphlets. They’ve been littered all over the Manor lately. The pamphlet Satan is holding is about fire facials. I’ll gladly light your face on fire if that’s what you want, brother... He thinks to himself. “Do you really need this many pamphlets for your next spa appointment?”

“Oh, but it won’t be JUST any appointment!” Asmodeus sings to him with his melodious voice. I’m going with Lily, Leila and James this time! So obviously I need -”

“What?!” Some of his brothers want an explanation and look at Lily accusingly as well, who was writing in her spellbook, leaving the spa-planning all to Asmodeus. She just blinks at them all and nods. Did I forget to tell them about this? She wonders.

“As I was saying, before being so RUDELY interrupted by all of you…” Asmodeus continues with a prissy attitude, flipping his hair. “Obviously I need to find the best spa treatments in the world! But Lily, there are just NO spa’s in the Human World who have it ALL!” He finishes with a sad, dramatic sigh.

Lily barely could hear him over the indignant shouting of the other demons. Apparently it was all not fair that Asmo gets to go on a date with all the humans. But deciding to ignore them all for now, she answers Asmodeus. “What if you make a list for me and I’ll ask James and Leila what treatments they prefer?”

“Ooh! Yes, that’s a good idea!” Asmodeus can just cheer to her, before he’s being rudely interrupted again.

“Oi! Whaddya mean ‘ask them’, huh?” Mammon shouts. “Ya plannin’ on goin’ off to the other reality again?!”

“Out of the question.” Lucifer tells them all, but mostly Lily. He doesn’t like the idea of her going so often, at all.

“First of all, it’s not up to any of you if I want to go or not.” She tells them all with a soft voice, but firm. “Second, it’s my secret.” She gives them all a smile and accepts the list from Asmodeus - who has written down his suggestions for her in the meantime - and she walks off to her room. Not noticing how Mammon narrows his eyes at her back, intent to find out what her secret is.

 

James & Leila’s Reality…

James walks into the living room looking amused and maybe slightly worried, with Lily’s latest letter. “Hey, Leila. Look at this. I don’t know what Asmo is planning, but to me it looks more like a survival-trip than a spa day…” He scans over the letter and reads out loud for all to hear. “Hot air cupping, Cryotherapy, Snake massage, Fish pedicure, Bee sting facial, Snail facial and Fire facial, Leech therapy and Slapping massage…” He frowns concerned. “I’m fairly certain that I don’t want to do half of these. But this Wine bath seems like fun.”

“What are you even talking about, James?” Belphegor mumbles half-awake. All he heard was a bunch of punishments or tortures listed. But he could have heard wrong, as he was snoozing in his spot in the sun like a cat.

Asmodeus however, reacts enthusiastic. “Ooh, they do those things in the Human World too? Oh! And do they do Hammam? They do in the Devildom and I SWEAR by that treatment. It’s so rejuvenating! They bathe you in boiling water and scrub off all the dead skin afterwards…”

Leila looks at him, worried. “Boiling water? I don’t think there’s much living skin after that…”

“Oh, that’s right.” Asmodeus nods, understanding. “You humans are still a bit fragile. Well, let me see that list.” He sticks out his hand to James, while all his brothers look at him in confusion. “I’ll help you decide.”

“Yo, Asmo!” Mammon wants to know. “What’s goin’ on? Ain’t James talkin’ about you just now?”

“No, that was the other Asmo.” James explains, while everyone, except Asmodeus and Leila, look even more confused. “He sent us a list of possible spa treatments for us to choose from.”

“Care to explain what you are planning, James? Leila?” Lucifer looks at them sternly, folding his arms. This seems like some interesting torturing, but he's not sure he wants it to leave it to others to torture his family. After all, he is the expert.

“We didn’t tell you yet?” James looks surprised. “I thought we did… Well, anyway. You know how I made a reality-turner now as well, right? We’re planning on having a spa-day with Lily and her Asmo soon and-” 

A storm of protests interrupts him and Leila rolls her eyes. They’re always so loud! Pandora on her lap lets out some protesting little noises. She was just snoozing so comfortably and now her uncles wake her up again!

James and Asmodeus explain the situation: Lily’s Asmodeus wants to take all the humans on a spa-day and so naturally James and Leila’s Asmodeus want that too. And now they are planning the two dates, to be held soon.

“Why does Asmo get to go?” Belphegor complains. He doesn’t like the idea that there’s possibly another Asmodeus after his mate. He doesn’t stop to consider that there might be another him and another Satan after his mate as well.

“Yeah! That’s not fair!” Leviathan agrees. “I like to hang out with all three humans too!” Even though he protests, he barely glances up from the game he’s playing on his hand-held device. 

That’s the start of a whole new discussion, if you can really call it a discussion with all the shouting, and James and Leila sigh. Of course they want that. Now fourteen demons want personal human time, instead of seven. They should have taken that into account.

“Let’s just focus on one date at a time, okay?” Leila tells them all. “I’m sure eventually we can make time for everyone…” But she doesn’t sound very convinced. There is a lot to do for her and James in the coming months. When another round of protests start, Leila narrows her eyes on them. “Or James and I can just keep Lily all to ourselves.” She threatens, her voice projecting over them without shouting. “Asmo, help us with this list, please.” She focuses on him now, ignoring everyone else.

“How are they even communicatin’ with the other reality?” Mammon grumbles under his breath, as he watches his humans going in a conversation with Asmodeus. He plans to find out.

A couple hours later Solomon visits the Manor. “Leila, I have the sorcerers passport for James here. Remember, this is not the real one yet.” He takes Pandora on his lap to cuddle with her for a bit. He doesn’t get too many chances with so many people around.

“Sorcerers passport?” James looks a bit confused. “What’s that?”

“It basically lets you travel freely all over the Human World.” Leila explains, showing her own to James. “Usually you only get that when you have your full Sorcerer’s License, but we don’t want to wait for that. So look at this temporary one as a sort of visum.”

“Ah.” Lucifer nods, inspecting the papers. “This seems like the document we use when we visit the Human World from the Devildom. The destination changes to the place where you are right now.”

“Oy! Gimme one of those!” Mammon already sees all kinds of useful possibilities.

“No.” Lucifer tells him. Mammon is not getting a Devildom travelers document.

“You’re not a human.” Solomon tells him. Mammon is also not getting a human World sorcerers passport.

“Guess you’re not getting one, Mammon.” James snickers. Accepting his temporary passport back from Lucifer.

“Buncha miserly tightwads…” Mammon is grumbling again. 

“This will let you travel in the Human World under the supervision of a sorcerer, which is Leila.” Solomon continues to explain with a smile. “So that you two and Lily can have your dates with each other.”

 

In Lily’s reality…

Lily doesn’t have to wait long for a response. Soon another letter appears on her desk. Every time it happens she gets a huge goofy grin on her face, she just can’t help it. It makes her so happy. It still works!

‘Hey Lily! So, we talked about it with Asmo and he gave us some advice on what we can do without hurting ourselves...’

Lily laughs. Yeah, she was a bit worried about Asmodeus’ choices as well. What follows is a list of requests from the other reality.

  ‘...Your Asmo is right, however. We can’t do all of this in one place. But Leila says that she can make a portal to any location she’s been before, knows the address off, or to a person. So… How about a World Tour spa-day? We can pick 5 of these treatments in the best places in the Human World and Leila can take us there. Keep in mind that making portals takes time, so we need to start early and travel with the sun, so to speak. Start in the east and travel westward. It’ll take some planning from your Asmo. Leila and our Asmo suggested that we do a World Tour for him as well. But for shopping, make-up and hairdressers. (those two are crazy if you ask me, but I guess we just roll with it, right?)’

Lily giggles. Typical James. As long as it is fun, he’s up for anything. World Tours sound fun, though, she has to admit.

‘So, if your Asmo manages to plan a spa World Tour for all of us, we will see you all in two days. Bright and VERY early. Why did I agree to this again? Haha! - James.’

“Two days?” Lily wonders. She hasn’t been that interested in the planning of the date, but this seems awfully short notice for her Asmodeus. But when she brings her latest letter to him, Asmodeus just beams and starts his planning. He’s apparently done some prepwork with several spa’s to hear if they have openings and made some temporary reservations. The fact that it’s going to be a World Tour only makes it easier, as far he is concerned.

 

Asmo has been in a frenzy the last couple of days. Calling spa’s all over the world for information and appointments. He could even charm humans over the phone with his voice it seems, because apparently it wasn't so hard for him to get scheduled into the most exclusive spas. He also called to cancel a lot of reservations he already made. Lily has been pretty amazed. It’s almost like Asmodeus does this sort of thing for a living? Well, he does. But, you know…

There have been some funny discussions while he was sorting out the requests. Like for example the one about the slapping massage.

“Lily.” Asmodeus complains with a whiny tone of voice during dinner that first evening after the letter arrived. “I don’t understand why Leila and James just REFUSE to do the Slapping massage? Don’t they know how well that stimulates the blood flow? Which will make your skin glow up and look so radiant.” His brothers snicker or roll their eyes.

Lily just stares at him. She understands exactly why someone like Leila would not let herself get slapped, for any reason. A red-slapped face is definitely not what she herself is looking forward to either. And even if James seems to be a guy who is up for anything, she’s not surprised that he draws the line by something that sounds like assault more than anything.

“Maybe I should just put it on the list anyway?” Asmodeus muses. “I’m sure they’ll change their minds once we’re doing it…”

Lily begins to sigh, does she really have to explain this to him? Is a command going to be necessary to get the point across? Fortunately she doesn’t have to say anything as her other demons stand up for them. 

“I hope you’re not suggesting that Leila and Lily should let themselves get slapped against their will.” Belphegor threatens his brother. He already thought that some of these ‘treatments’ seemed strange, but he won’t allow it if Asmo tries to force them on his favorite girls.

Satan agrees with him. “I’m happy to slap you in your face, Asmo. If that’s what you want.”

“Precisely.” Lucifer agrees with a deceivingly benignant smile. “It seems that particular treatment is available for you right here at home.” He takes the pamphlet out of Asmodeus' hand and studies it. “This is quite interesting, however. I should remember this technique for the next time Mammon needs punishments…”

“Oi! Why’re ya draggin’ me into this?” Mammon shouts defensively.

Asmodeus, realizing his brothers are all starting teasing and threatening him, caves. “Fiiine! I’ll officially cross the Thai slap massage off the list!! We’ll do the Snail facials instead…”

“Snails?” Beelzebub perks up. He wasn’t very interested in the conversation up until now. “Maybe you can bring them home after you’re done with them, so we can eat them.” He starts drooling, looking forward to it.

Lily just stares at him again. It doesn’t really surprise her that this is where Beelzebubs mind went, but still: Is he serious?

“I’m not eating any snails that have crawled over Asmo’s face first.” Leviathan states, playing his game, while eating his meal. His brothers agree with him completely and soon the conversation changes into something else ridiculous.

Chapter Text


Serenity Manor
 

Then it’s finally the morning of the big day. Or more like the middle of the night. They agreed to meet at an unholy hour, 1AM to be in time for the first treatment of Snail Facials that happens in an exclusive spa in Tokyo, Japan. 

Lily has made a quick snack for herself and Asmo, but to her surprise, all her demons join her and Asmodeus around the breakfast table too. With grumpy faces for the early hour, although she’s sure some of them, Lucifer, Levi and Satan specifically, haven’t even gone to bed in the first place. 

She’ll be gone with Asmo, Leila and James for almost the whole day. And it’s not fair. Almost all of them, except Lucifer, have at least said it once. Though Beel only mentioned it because of the wine bath treatment. He wanted to join that too. And probably drain the bath by drinking it all. Lily grimaces at the thought, drinking bathwater is gross no matter what the bathwater is made of. 

“Why’d you have to go so early.” Belphegor complains and Lily rolls her eyes. It’s not like any of them had to get up and wave them out. “The sun won’t even be rising for several hours.”

“But it’s already 9 in the morning in Tokyo and our appointment is at 11!” Asmo is panicking. “Where are Leila and James? We’re going to be late!”

“Ugh, seriously? I could have slept for another two hours?” Belphegor isn’t done complaining.

“You know that Leila  will make a portal for us, Asmo. I’m sure we won’t be late.” She tries to comfort him. “Why are you guys even up at this hour?” Lily then asks, though she has a pretty good idea on why some of her demons are up. 

They want to see Leila in person again. It’s been a year, after all. And most of them want to see James again as well. Lucifer still doesn’t trust the whole situation, so he has to oversee their departure and while he won’t admit it, he too wants to see them again, especially that insolent James.


Before anyone can answer, suddenly James appears in the dining room. Carrying a bag and a backpack. “Hey guys!” He cheers and Lily flies towards him to give him a hug. His reality turner worked! She knew it!

“James! It worked!” She beams and then looks around. “But where is Leila? She’s coming right?”

James looks just as confused and a bit worried. “We turned our reality turners at the same time… I knew I must have done something wrong.” He beats himself up. Lily rubs James’ back comfortingly. It’s not his fault.

“So, Leila isn’t coming?” Satan carefully asks. 

He doesn’t want to come across eager to see her again, but ever since Lily showed the baby shower videos and pictures he has been thinking of her a lot. Seeing himself - his other self - with her got him a bit confused. He’s been scolding himself for it, but then he heard that she was coming again and… Well. Scolding didn’t help enough to make him go to bed last night.

“She’s supposed to.” James still looks worried. “I don’t know what went wrong.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing.” Lily says, trying to comfort him. “We all know Leila’s reality turner works flawlessly. Maybe it’s just a matter of how fast you turned? Or who started first?” That seems plausible, right? James at least looks slightly relieved: His cousin isn’t stuck somewhere between realities.

James pulls out the Lord of Corruption costume from his bag and gives it back to Leviathan. Lily can see how happy Levi is that James remembered. Lucifer also remembers the day it went missing and gives James a glare. He almost wants to punish him after all, but he decides against it. He’s sure his counterpart has given James some sort of punishment as well. If he’s anything like himself. But still: The cheeky grin of that boy!


As they continue to wait, Lily tries to be upbeat and make small talk but there’s a tension in the room that doesn’t go away until Leila finally arrives, a good ten minutes later. She’s very surprised that not only does Lily hug her, but also everyone else, as if they’re feeling relieved.
What the hell?

After some explanation about why everyone was a bit worried, Leila understands. “We have to try to time it better next time.” She tells James, but her voice is drowned out by the loud shouting and clamour of Lily’s demons.

“So there’s going to be a next time?!” Leviathan never sounded so enthusiastic to have normies over.

“I’m callin’ dibs, ‘cause I’m-” Mammon starts, but he is interrupted.

“DON’T say it, or I swear I’ll rip your tongue out.” Satan growls at his brother, still not in the best mood. Even if he’s confused over how he feels about a girl from another reality, he’s not getting his date with the humans stolen from him, because of a stupid reason like Mammon was going to give!

“Let’s talk about it over breakfast.” Beelzebub says as he throws an arm over James’ shoulder and pulls him towards the kitchen. James laughs as Beel’s stomach rumbles loudly in agreement. Beel can eat ‘breakfast’ at any hour of the day!

“Breakfast!” Asmo shouts, as if horrified by the very idea. “We don’t have time for breakfast!” He practically shrieks, throwing up hands. 

“It’s a bit early for breakfast…” Lily says. “Some of you still need to go to bed.” She reminds them. Some days she really did feel like a babysitter. 

“I’ve packed breakfast and lunch with sandwiches.” James offers, gesturing to his Beel-proof backpack, but the demons think they should just keep that for later. 

Beel frowns at Lily and James. “You have to start your day out with a healthy meal. You shouldn’t rush it.”

Soon everyone else is agreeing with Beel and Lily knows it’s just because they want to keep them here a bit longer. Lily exchanges a look with Leila, who shrugs. “Maybe a quick bite won’t hurt?” Leila offers. “I can start preparing the magic circle, while you cook and then I finish it after breakfast.”

Lily nods, “Okay, just a quick bite to eat.” 

Everyone except for Asmo seems happy about this and Beel corrals them all into the kitchen. With almost everyone pitching in, they’re able to cook up a quick egg, bacon and toast breakfast, while Leila does the prepwork for her first portal of the day, under the curious supervision of Lucifer, Satan and Belphegor.


A little bit later, everyone is sitting behind a plate around the breakfast table. Lily’s demon’s can barely hide their excitement. Leila said ‘next time’, right? That means there will be dates for everyone with the three humans!

“Lily, you did get a temporary sorcerers passport from Solomon too, right?” Leila is sure to check. 

“Yes! He brought it to me yesterday.” Lily waves her brand new document in the air enthusiastically. “I didn’t even think that we needed it.”

“I still think it ain’t fair that we can’t have one too.” Mammon complains about it. Apparently the same sort of conversation about it happened in this reality, Leila thinks.

“Lucifer has given me this 24-hours travelers license for the Human World.” Asmo tells his brother proudly, waving the document in front of Mammon's face, who growls annoyed in reaction. The exact reaction Asmodeus was hoping for, if his expression had anything to say about it.  “With this, I’m legal in every country, just like my humans. Though my beauty is still illegal… I hope they don’t keep me locked up somewhere. Though that could be fun as well…”

Everyone ignores Asmodeus and his fantasies now and they start dreaming about their own dates they will have with the humans. Hopefully soon.

“For my date, I say we go on a casino world tour!” Mammon laughs, earning groans from everyone. He’s so predictable. 

“Only as long as you pay for your own losses.” Leila shrugs, earning an appreciative smile from Lucifer, while Mammon grumbles something. It’s needed some getting used to, but he’s starting to like Leila and her directness. 

“Pfft.” Levi mocks Mammon. “Why would they waste their time? Especially when there are so many better options.”

“Oh yeah?! Like what?” Mammon challenges Levi.

“Like a world tour of every major Ruri-chan retailer!” Leviathan’s eyes glitter with glee at the mere thought. He doesn’t notice the groans and grimaces of almost everyone around him. 

“How about a world tour of the greatest Libraries or a Cat Cafe world tour…” Satan says, his cheeks tinted pink. How could he choose between the two? Are there Cat Libraries? He wonders.

Leila smiles at him: That’s so Satan. She’ll be happy to do that, but she’s not sure how much time and energy it will take. Today is going to be a sort of test. “Who said anything about giving all of you a world tour?” She teases and has to protect her ears against the protests that flare up in all its intensity again. Leila winks at a giggling Lily: It’s so easy to tease them. “Though of course you all can start thinking of fun things to do with us. Just remember that we’re only human and we need to like doing it too.”


Japan

Eventually Asmo is beside himself with anxiety and Leila finishes the portal once Lily, James, Leila and Asmo have taken their place inside the circle, after saying goodbye to everyone. When they finally land on the rooftop of the first spa in Tokyo, Asmo sighs in relief. Finally alone with his humans!

“Nice!” Leila looks around proudly. She’s getting better with making group portals. As long as she has enough information about the location. “And we have plenty of time, Asmo.”

Even though James and Leila are almost as tall as him, Asmodeus still manages to bring all three humans in for a group hug. “Oh, I’m so excited! For a moment I thought those idiots were going to ruin our day!”

“Allright!” James cheers quietly. “Let’s go sneak down unnoticed and properly check-in at the reception. You speak Japanese, right Asmo?”

Asmo flutters his lashes and pulls James close again, “Of course! Kisu shite mo ii.” He says to James in a seductive purr. 

James looks at him surprised and grins. “I bet that means ‘kiss me’?” He blows Asmodeus a kiss and shrugs.

Lily rolls her eyes, “I don’t think we want to know.” She tells Leila and she nods in agreement.

“First we have snail facials, right?” Leila asks smiling, ignoring the boys and their flirtations. “Did you bring your earplugs, Lily?”

“I did!” Lily says, bouncing excitedly like a child. “I wonder what snails have to say?” Then looking at Leila with sad, wide eyes she says, worriedly. “What if the snails HATE crawling around on people’s faces?!” Already looking like she might stir up a snail revolt. 

“I washed my face extra thoroughly, so it isn’t salty.” Leila nods, understanding Lily’s worry. “We will just leave, if it hurts them.” She promises.

Lily nods, agreeing. “What are you girls saying?” Asmo interrupts, disengaging with James as he overhears them. “Lily, how many times do I need to explain this to you? The feelings of bugs are not above our beauty needs!” He declares indignantly. Then, narrowing his eyes in suspicion. “Wait a minute! You two didn’t pick these treatments just so you could chat with the help, did you?”

Lily isn’t going to engage him on this, she doesn’t want to repeat an argument. Instead she just looks at Leila and they both burst out in giggles. 

“James! Save me!” Asmodeus laments, pretending to faint into James. Leaving him no choice but to catch him. 

“There, there.” James sets Asmo back on his feet and pats his shoulder. Lily smiles and shakes her head. Asmo is lucky that James is so good natured, putting up with his theatrics. 


Once inside, Asmo turns up his charm as they check in for their appointment. Lily is impressed to hear him speak fluent Japanese and soon enough he seems to have every employee wrapped around his little finger. 

Lily and James aren't sure why they need to remove their clothes for a facial but Asmo insists it’s all part of the experience. After they’ve all had a chance to change into the robes and slippers provided by the spa, they are ushered into a room with 4 beds. 

“This feels nice so far.” Leila comments as they are each tucked under a warm, heavy blanket and their hair is pulled back and wrapped in a warm towel leaving only their faces uncovered. 

James and Lily already put their earplugs in when they changed into their robes, so now they wait for the snails, curious. Lily bites her tongue, she wants to talk to Leila about it but she doesn’t want their esthetician to think they’re crazy on the off-chance they understand english. 

They don’t have to wait long before the snails are brought out. “Moisturizes skin, promotes collagen production, aids in skin healing and regeneration - ” Asmo is chattering away about all the benefits of the snail treatment. They each have three large snails placed on their faces. Lily tries to keep her face still but it’s hard because it tickles. Leila is already giggling. She’s very ticklish, after all.


“This is weird.” James comments. The girls agree. Before meeting demons, they would never have thought of doing this on their own.

“Quiet James, just let the snails work their magic.” Asmodeus instructs. “Leila, stop giggling. You have to take your beauty seriously.” This doesn’t exactly help, but she still tries to do as he says.

When the esthetician leaves them for a few minutes, Lily asks Leila. “What should we say to them?”

Leila thinks for a moment. “Hello snails. Thank you for...your service?” Leila says, a little unsure in her wording. Maybe she should start simple. “Are you happy here?” She asks the snails. Lily nods in approval while Asmodeus rolls his eyes. 

The little snail heads and eyes swivel around in all directions as they look at each other. Lily hears the one near her left eye begin to say in a very quiet and sluggish voice. “Hmmmmmmmmm?”

Another snail on Leila’s face begins to say. “Arrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” then there’s a great pause, Lily, James and Leila don’t think it will say anything more when it begins to say. “Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” 

The snail treatment is only five minutes long, otherwise the snails will lose too much of their slime and be hurt by the process. At the end of that 5 minutes all they got out of the snails was “Are we on top of a sorcerer?” They obviously were not used to humans speaking to them. Who knew that snail language took so long to say? 

James has dozed off and Asmo scolds Leila and Lily for giggling so much. Saying that they were going to ruin the effects of the treatment. Once the snails are taken away, the estheticians rub the slime into their skin along with some other topical treatments. All in all, their appointment only lasted around thirty minutes. 


Back at the reception desk, Asmodeus pays for their treatment. Lily’s jaw drops when she sees the total cost for the four of them. 140,000 yen! She’s not an expert on world currency but that seems like a lot of money to her. 

When Leila and James pull out their wallets, Asmo scolds them. “I told you all this is my treat!” He waves them off. James smiles and happily puts his wallet away, he can’t really afford these expensive treatments but he didn’t expect Lily’s Asmo to pay for them all. 

“Thanks Asmo.” James beams, slapping the demon’s back. 

Asmo pouts at James and pretends that the human was too rough with him. “If you want to be rough James, save it for the bedroom.”

“Asmo!” Lily scolds him, giving James an apologetic look. But James just laughs. 

“I’m just joking, little flower.” Asmo says, pinching her cheek. “Now, we have a bit of time before we need to go to our next treatment..”

“I think Levi wouldn’t talk to me for a week if I don’t bring him back something from Japan.” Lily says. Leila and James nod. Yeah, their own demons would expect a souvenir as well.

Asmo wraps his arms around Lily from behind, squishing his face against hers as he leans over her shoulder. “Lily, you really hurt my feelings. This is our date, why would you be thinking about my brothers?” He pouts. 

“But Asmo, wouldn't you like it if I brought you souvenirs when I go out with the others?” Lily tries to persuade her Asmo.

“Oh yes, and I know our Asmo would love to get something from this reality. Something that you selected for him, Asmo!” Leila knows just how to please any Asmodeus in any reality. “Just some small things…?”

“I can carry it for them and we still have plenty of time.” James grins, knowing Asmo will cave soon.

“Oh, alright!” Asmodeus sighs as if defeated. “If it is for me and myself, how can I say no?”


Philippines

When they eventually portal to a jungle in the Philippines, Lily looks around thinking something must have gone wrong. Leila scrunches her brows, she knows these were the exact coordinates that Asmo had given her. Of course they can’t appear in plain sight, but still… Where are they, right now?

“Now don’t be alarmed, my lovelies.” Asmo tells them. “Keep an open mind for our next appointment.” A short walk reveals a road which leads them to...a zoo?!

“A zoo!” Lily exclaims, clapping her hands. Leila beams as well. So many animals to chat with! Still, it’s hard to imagine that Asmo thinks this is an acceptable place for a spa treatment. 

But as it turns out, the ‘snake massage’ isn’t a real spa treatment but a gimmick by the zoo to teach people about snakes and help them not be so afraid of them. Best of all, it only costs the price of zoo admission!

The snake keepers escort them to a raised platform covered with a bamboo mat. Asmodeus looks around with a grimace. Lily doesn’t need to be a mind reader to know that he’s thinking about how dirty the place looks. “I feel bamboozled.” Asmo sniffs.

“I think it looks authentic.” James teases him and Leila giggles.  

Lily rolls her eyes, “ You’re the one who told US to keep an open mind, Asmo.” She reminds him. 

“Woah, those are some big snakes.” James comments as they bring out the first burmese python. Lily thinks it’s about ten feet long. 

“These ones aren’t actually that big, considering they can be twice as big as this.” Lily informs them. 

“Not compared to Henry 1.0, no.” James snickers and Asmo shivers exaggeratedly. 

“I think they’re beautiful.” Leila smiles, talking to the snakes more than her companions and the snakes all turn their heads to her, having understood what she said.

Since there are only four snakes, they have to take turns, going one at a time. The snake keepers instruct them on how to lay and a few rules to follow. Basically they aren’t supposed to shout or blow air on the snakes, or anything that might provoke them. Lily and Leila listen carefully, nodding and smiling. Eager to participate. 


Asmodeus goes first, insisting he has to make sure it’s safe but really he probably just wants to get it over with now that it’s turned out not to be what he expected. They watch as he lays down and the snakes are piled on top of him. 

“Hmm. It’s actually sort of comfy.” Asmo finally comments. “Like taking a nap on Leviathan’s tail.” He giggles. 

“That’s our pet snake.” Lily blurts out to the snake keeper who gives Asmo an odd look.

Eventually Asmo gets really into it. “Ooo, I love the way their muscles grip onto me.” He shivers, excitedly. 

“Thiss one keepss vibrating. Sshould we eat him?”  one snake says and thanks to their earplugs, they can all clearly understand what’s being said. Except for Asmo, who refuses to use the earplugs.

“But he’ss warm, let’ss not.” one replies. 

“Bessidess, he’ss too big.” another says. 

“The snakes aren’t hungry, are they?” Leila asks, not too concerned for Asmo one way or another. He can charm them easily with one look at them if needed to. They’re never left alone so she’s not able to engage the snakes in a too obvious real conversation, but luckily they’ve been a bit chatty and they’ve been able to listen in. Leila feels a bit guilty that she’s the only one who can have a real quiet conversation.

“No, we feed them all chickens before a session.” The snake keeper tells them. 


James decides to go next after Asmo. He lays there perfectly still and closes his eyes, using one of the larger snakes as a pillow under his head.


“Thiss one iss quiet compared to the other.” One snake comments. 

“He’ss very warm too.” Another says, satisfiedly curling himself up and hogging the heat along James’ midsection.

  “Move over, make room for uss.” The third says, also trying to get as much of James’ warmth as possible. 

Lily and Leila are enjoying listening to the snakes talk so much that they don’t even realize that James has dozed off again. Asmo is the first to notice. “Really, James? Are you going to sleep through all your treatments?” He lectures.

Lily giggles when she notices. Well, Asmo did make them meet at a horribly early hour and it doesn’t seem like poor James had enough rest beforehand. James just gives Asmodeus one of his cheeky, if not a bit sleepy, grins and Asmo is swooning. It really doesn’t take Leila or James much, Lily notices. Not knowing that she has the same sort of effect on people.


“Hey guys.” Leila communicates without words, when it is her turn. Gently stroking over the scales of the big snakes. “How are you doing?” 

“Ah, thiss iss the nice one.” The biggest snake curls himself snug against Leila.

“Thiss iss one that can talk with uss?” The second one also wraps itself around her. “You sseem nice, human.”

“You’re all so beautiful.” Leila sighs out loud happily, as the snakes curl gently around her. She earns appreciative nods from the snake keepers. They are very proud of their snakes.

The third one says. “Let’ss be nice to her too, then.” Making Leila quietly giggle. 

“Do you like doing this?” she asks in her secret language.

“It beatss being in a glasss cage all day.” They tell her. “And humanss have warm bodiess.”

The fourth one is also very enthusiastic. “Sso nice to meet you, human.” It says as he curls around Leila as well.

“My name is Leila, by the way.”

James, Asmo and Lily notice that all heads are facing Leila as they wrap themselves around her, while she’s having her secret conversation. Confusing the keepers who stand on the alert. All they see is their snakes having a strange interest in this girl and the girl making weird faces while she’s petting the snakes. She doesn’t look scared though.

The others know that Leila is silently communicating back to the snakes and that she’s perfectly safe, but the snake keepers don’t know this obviously. All they see is their snakes being weird, while James, Asmo and Lily know that they are actually almost being charmed.

“She could be a better snake charmer than me.” Asmo whispers to his humans.


The snake keepers have some trouble getting the snakes off of Leila. They had such a fun time with her and didn’t want it to end. Because of the snake's strange behavior the snake keepers think it’s best to end the sessions there until they see the tears well up in Lily’s eyes when she thinks she’s not going to get her turn. She’s an adult, she really shouldn’t cry over such things, but she was really looking forward to it! The keepers relent and decide to feed the snakes some extra chickens before they let them onto Lily.

Lily is excited as the keepers place the snakes over her body. The snakes weigh a combined weight of 550lbs, almost five times Lily’s own weight. At first she feels a bit buried alive under the large snakes, whose stomachs are still bulging with chicken. 

She pets them happily, they are very heavy on top of her but it doesn’t hurt. Asmo was right though, Levi’s tail does feel exactly like a snake. She wonders what Levi would think of this. She beams at James who takes her picture. It’s good that they’ll have photos to share of this experience. 

“I’m feeling peckissshh…” One snake says. 

“Thiss one is ssmaller than the otherss.” another says and Lily laughs nervously listening to the snakes talk about her. “But I’m not hungry.”

“Besidess.” The third snake says to the first. “We jussst got exsstra chickenss and you ate the mossst of all of usss earlier.”

Lily giggles. The first snake sounds a bit like Beel. 

“And the one who sspeakss to uss would be crosss with uss if we ate her friend.” The fourth adds. 

Leila thanks the snakes on behalf of all of them at the end of their ‘treatment’. The snake keepers laugh and say they’ve never had anyone respect the snakes as much as this group. James, Lily and Leila would have liked to stay longer in the zoo, but they can all tell that Asmo is ready for the next location and an ACTUAL spa treatment. They had spent an hour with the snakes and considering travel time they are pretty much on schedule to head to Greece to have lunch before their next appointment. Lily and Leila feel a bit disappointed that they can’t hang out in the zoo longer. But it is Asmo’s day after all. Maybe they can do a zoo outing in the future with Satan? Big cats are also cats, right?


Greece

Leila has teleported them all to a quiet place in the city they need to be. It’s still not time for siesta, but nobody notices them arriving in a small park. 

“Time for lunch, or breakfast.” James says. “I don’t even know at this point, but I’m hungry.” He empties his backpack on a picnic table and Lily notices immediately he made use of her keep-it-yummy spell, as he calls it. She gives James a proud smile.

“We have only an hour for that.”Asmodeus tells them sternly and then he notices that James has brought his favorite smoothie. Or probably the other Asmodeus favorite, but they are the same, so he smiles at James. “Thank you.”

“Sure thing.” James grins. “I brought your favorite salad as well. I hope you like what Leila and I made for you, Lily.”

Lily is sure that whatever Leila likes, she will like as well. She’s not sure about James' tastes. He seems like the type to enjoy whatever Beelzebub feeds him.

There are more smoothies with fruit and vegetables and some sandwiches. Some extra apples too, in case they’ll feel peckish later. It all looks very healthy and Asmo nods in approval. Leila is feeling very tired already, so after she’s had enough she just lies down in the grass for a bit. It drains a lot of energy to create all the portals, but she’s not going to tell this to the others and ruin their day out. Soon she’s dozing off for a little power nap.

“Is she okay?” Lily whispers to James. She knows it’s not that long ago that Leila gave birth. 

James nods. “Yeah, she just needs her breaks. She’ll be exhausted by the end of the day, though.”

“Oh no!” Lily whispers worried. “Should we go home instead?” Looking at Asmodeus she sees to her relief that he’s considering this as well. Going out with the humans is only fun if they all have fun.

“No, don’t worry.” James reassures them. “She wouldn’t want to cut the day short for this. She’ll be having a nice cuddle with Belphie tonight, after today though.” He snickers and they all laugh quietly.


They walk to their destination after having rested and eaten enough. In time for their Fish Pedicure.

The fish spa looks similar to the types of nail salons the humans are used to seeing. Except in place of the regular foot basin, it’s been replaced with a tank full of tiny fish! Asmo has booked them for the 30 minute ‘fish therapy’ which only costs 20 euros. I guess not every treatment is as expensive as snail facials? Lily thinks to herself. 

First their feet are sanitized and sprayed down with ice cold water, before they are given little footies to wear as they walk towards their designated seats. The spa has given them a ‘ fish booth’, basically four seats, two on each side that face each other. 

James, Lily and Leila can already hear the tiny fish chattering away, there are so many of them and they all seem to talk over each other that it’s hard to make out what they are saying. Lily giggles as it reminds her a lot of her demons back at home. Leila gives Lily a knowing look and Lily is still not convinced that Leila can’t read minds.

Asmo sinks his feet in right away, without hesitation. It’s not surprising since he’s probably had much weirder treatments in the Devildom. James follows suit, twitching a bit at the odd sensation as the fish swarm his feet. He’s not ticklish, so he’s used to it pretty quick.

Lily bites her lip as she eases her feet in slowly. The fish eagerly swarm her calloused feet. Tears prick her eyes and she giggles as she does her best not to thrash her feet in the water.

“Does it tickle that much?” Leila asks Lily. Lily can only nod, still holding her breath. 

“Really?” Asmo says. “I barely feel anything.” Looking down in his tank most of the fish don’t seem that interested in his feet. Leila can hear them complaining that there’s barely something to find for them on his feet.

“You might have a rough time with this one Leila.” James tells her, knowing how ticklish she is. He takes out his DDD. Ready to record Leila’s every moment of this experience. An impish grin on his face.


Leila looks around. It’s busy in the salon. Eyes of her friends and the supervisor are on her expectantly.
Dammit. She tells herself, closing her eyes. I can’t cast a spell to make me less sensitive, like this. Focus, Leila… If you focus, you can do this. You can do anything.

“Why isn’t this one putting her feet in?” She hears the tiny voices chattering. “Come on, human!” “We’ll be carefull!” “We don’t bite!” “It won’t hurt!” The fishes tell her encouragingly with their tiny voices and when Leila opens her eyes she sees them swimming on the surface expectantly and enthusiastically. 

It seems like they like doing this and Leila doesn’t want to disappoint the cute little fishes. “You’ll be careful?” She asks in her secret language, bending over to look in the tank. Not caring about the strange looks she’s getting from the supervisor. The fishes respond excitedly and Leila has her doubts. 

Still she takes a deep breath and focuses again. She decides to plunge in both her feet at the same time to get it over with. Carefully of course, she wouldn’t want to hurt the little fishes.

“There you go!” “Yay!” “Yummy!” They cheer as they charge her feet and Leila lets out a little squeal. Then she quickly clasps both her hands over her mouth, her eyes wide. She’s NOT going to be filmed by James, while squealing! She can’t help keep giggling behind her hand though. Trying, just like Lily to not thrash her feet in the tank and hurt the little fishes.


“That was the cutest sound I’ve ever heard.” Asmodeus comments on Leila’s reaction. “Are those the sounds you make when you are with your mates, as well?” He asks his inappropriate question while James is still recording. Leila needs all her focus to not lose herself and keep her feet still, however, so she can’t respond to him. Which makes Asmodeus continue. “No wonder that the other Asmo wants to-”

“Asmo stooop.” Lily pleads in a breathless voice as she’s trying to keep from laughing like a crazy person. Asmo turns his cheshire grin on Lily. 

“Oh don’t act like such an innocent little flower.” He teases her this time. “I know what you and Solomon get up to -”

“Asmo!” Lily practically cries, embarrassed and fighting against the ticklish feeling. 

“Mmhmm. That face you’re making now Lily I bet that's just like -”

Suddenly James bursts out laughing and wraps an arm around Asmo and ruffles his hair in a way he knows he won’t like. “You’re the same in any reality aren’t you. Absolutely incorrigible.” He sends a wink to Lily and Leila. 

“James!” Asmo whines and tries to fix his hair. “If you want to get closer just say so! There’s no need to get so rough with me.”


Leila distracts herself from the tickling experience, by focusing on what the fishes in the tanks are chattering about. She bends over her tank and holds a finger above the water. She’s not sure if she can put it in, but she assumes not. Their feet had to be sanitized after all. But the fishes are still curiously following her finger, just under the surface. It’s like they like this game: Following her finger and then suck on her feet again. And it is distracting enough for Leila. But she can’t really get used to it.

Once they all seem to be settled, one of the spa employee’s brings them all a glass of wine to enjoy during their ‘therapy.’

Lily is sitting right next to Leila, so she leans closer to whisper. “You can really understand what they’re saying, right?”

“Yeah.” Leila confirms quietly. “It’s difficult, because they are with so many. But it’s like with Cerberus. Or our guys, for that matter. You need to really focus, if you want to hear them. Which is a good distraction for me, because…” She lets out an uncontrolled giggle and focuses on her tank again, her hands back over her mouth. 

Lily is not offended. She’s mostly gotten used to the sensation herself, almost numb to it until one of the fish moves in a new way and causes a different sort of sensation. This really seems to be hard for Leila to endure for half an hour long, finally Lily has met someone more ticklish than her. Instead she tries to focus on the fishes as well.

Eventually Lily is able to focus enough to pick out some of what her own fish are saying over all the other fishy voices. “I’m stuffed!” “I don’t think I can take another nibble!” “I’ve never seen such a bountiful feast.” And then Lily and Leila both hear some of the fish from Asmo’s tank say. “Well they should switch to this tank, we’re starving over here!”

James has just given up on it and has taken out his earplugs. Instead he is having an animated conversation with Asmodeus and the supervisor about why this particular pedicure is so good for your feet.


Italy

With their time in Greece over, Leila prepares to take them to their next destination in Italy. James is probably looking forward to this the most. While the other ‘treatments’ have certainly been interesting, this is the only one that sounds like a ‘normal’ relaxing spa treatment.  

The spa in Tuscany has an old world charm and oozes luxury. The vineyard views are breathtaking and everyone is excited for the next treatment. When Asmo checks in at reception and is told they’ll be separated into two groups, he’s quick to charm them and convince them to put everyone all in the same room. The ‘couples’ package he’s booked includes a full body grape leaf extract scrub, followed by a grape seed oil massage before the actual wine bath takes place.

Everyone, except Asmo, has a look of relief on their faces when the receptionist asks them to pick out a piece of swimwear to wear during their treatment. There are only a couple options to choose from and all the swimwear is white. “Oh, how about this one girls?” Asmo wiggles his brow as he holds up the itty bitty-est bikini that Lily has ever seen. 

“Yeah, I don’t think so.” Leila says and grabs the more modest option of the bikinis. Lily follows suit. “I’m sure Satan will cross realities to kill you, Asmo. If you saw me in that. Implosion of the universe be damned.”

“Ugh, he’s always so mean.” Asmodeus sighs, dramatically shaking his head. He can definitely see that happening. “It’s a good thing he’s so handsome. Well, anyway... I’ll look fantastic in this one.” He continues, grabbing the smallest of the men’s options. James just laughs and grabs a more modest option for himself. 

After they each have a chance to change, they are given fluffy white robes and slippers. When Asmo saunters out of the changing room, his robe is open. “Look how great my ass looks in this!” He exclaims, whirling around and pulling the robe aside as he sticks out his butt towards them. Two years ago Lily would have been shocked and turned beet red, but now she’s so used to this sort of behavior that it really doesn’t phase her anymore. 

But to her surprise, James steps up to Asmo and gives him a teasing slap. To which he yelps in surprise. And Lily yelps too, not having expected to see that! James keeps walking after the attendant as if nothing happened, while Asmodeus and Lily stare after him before glancing at each other. Leila follows, giggling. Leave it to her cousin to surprise everyone.

“Ooh, I wasn’t expecting that.” Asmo whispers loudly to Lily as they follow behind James and Leila. “I find myself getting excited!” He exclaims. 

“Just behave yourself.” Lily tells him, trying to sound firm but failing. “And close your robe, you show off.” She chastises. 

“You’re right. I wouldn’t want someone to faint at the sight of my perfection and dash their brains on these lovely marble floors. What a mess that would be!” Asmo sighs dramatically. 

Leila giggles even more. Asmo’s all over realities are all so funny! They really cheer her up when she’s tired! It’s a good thing Asmodeus doesn’t know what her thoughts are right now as he sends her a seductive wink, making her giggle more. He would be disappointed.


The room they are led to is spacious, the large bath looks like one of those wooden barrels where the grapes would be smashed under people’s feet. It sits right next to a large window that looks out over the vineyard and countryside.

While they are being given their body treatments, someone is preparing the bath. “Wine baths date back to the medieval ages. Although you’re not actually bathing in real wine, it’s the marc, which is what’s left over when wine is made. It contains all the vitamins, minerals and polyphenols that make it an amazing skin treatment.” One of the masseuses explains to them. Asmo hangs on every word and asks them lots of questions.

It’s lucky that the bath is so large, normally only meant for two people they still seem to have plenty of room to stretch out and relax without crowding each other. Not that Asmo would have minded a little crowding. As they get comfy in the warm bath, it’s already begun to turn their swimsuits pink. A spa attendant brings them all a glass of wine and grapes to snack on. 


“I don’t understand this concept of white swimwear.” Leila sighs in complaint. She ducks deeper under the surface. Her bikini looks practically see through now. 

“Yeah, maybe it’s because now you can see how they stain?” Lily thinks. She hasn't noticed the other reason for Leila's concern yet. “Like a form of art, maybe?”

“And such lovely art at that!” Asmo is ogling the girls unabashedly, earning himself a splash from Lily. “Lily, behave yourself! We’re at a spa! No splashing.”

“About behaving…” James mumbles, laying stretched out and relaxed. Enjoying his grapes. “You better stop peeping at the girls like that, Asmo. Or you find yourself with a nasty curse.”

“Curse?” Asmo looks at him innocently. “But why?”

“One that only will be lifted next time we visit this reality.” James continues, dryly. “Leila hasn’t taught me the spell to lift it, yet.”

Leila and Lily burst into giggles, while Asmodeus stares at James in shock. He wouldn’t! But he would. James will always be a knight.

“We haven’t bought anything for Lucifer yet.” Lily says absentmindedly, enjoying the warm soak as she leans her head back on the edge of the tub and closes her eyes. “We should get him..them.. some wine from this vineyard.”

“I was thinking the same thing.” James beams brightly. The four of them enjoy some small conversation but mostly just enjoy relaxation.


Break & United States

“We have a couple of hours free time before our Cryotherapy appointment.” Asmodeus tells the group after the wine bath treatment is finished and they have purchased a couple of bottles to give to the Lucifers. “If we travel to New York City now, it will be 7 in the morning and our appointment is at 9.”

“Oh, could we stay in nice sunny Italy in that case?” Leila asks a bit tiredly. She really had a relaxing time, but the day is taking its toll on her now. “I know siesta is over, but maybe we can still have a nap…”

“A nap?!” Asmo asks as if that’s something outrageous. “Didn’t you just do that during our lunch? What are you, the Avatar of Sloth? Are you taking after your mate?” Leila doesn’t hear that he’s teasing her, however.

“No, but I’m feeling a bit tired.” Leila says, sounding a bit hurt. She’s really trying her best.

“We did get barely any sleep last night and I don’t even know what my internal clock is doing right now, with all the world-hopping.” James agrees, already knowing that Leila probably isn’t even telling how tired she really is. This Asmodeus doesn’t know her that well, yet. “I say we hold a little bit of a break.”

“You don’t need to explain yourself Leila.” Lily assures her. “You’ve been working hard so we can enjoy this day.” She says, giving Asmo a meaningful look.
“Okay, okay, I was only kidding.” Asmodeus smiles halfheartedly, giving Leila a hug. “It’s a shame we can’t do some shopping… But, you have your nap and I will just watch the Italian people. A lot of them look very appealing to the eye. It won’t be a complete waste of our time.”


“If you want, you can paint my nails while I’m sleeping, Asmo.” Leila offers him with a small smile. “My Asmo always likes to do that. I trust your taste.” 

“Oh, that’s a good idea!” Asmo nods happily. “I’ll do your toes and your fingernails. I see you have lovely nails, just as Lily…” He compliments enthusiastically, lifting one of her hands to the light. “Let’s see, what would look good on you?” 

But Leila is already laying down on James blanket on the grass and is off to dreamland.

Lily watches Asmo take out his special nail polish that he never leaves home without, it’s spelled to be any color he wants on a whim. He’s looking at Leila and contemplating what colors would suit her best. “Oh I know Asmo.” Lily makes a suggestion. “You should do them in Satan and Belphegor’s colors. But in a pastel tint.”

Asmo pouts a little. “Really? I think she’d look better in my colors though…” Lily gives Asmo a look and he finally concedes.

“Okay fine! But I get to do yours next and I get to pick whatever colors I want!” Asmo tells her, looking determined. Lily easily agrees. 

“Leila doesn’t care much about the colors.” James tells them. “She does what she wants. But Satan and Belphie would definitely appreciate it.” He laughs good naturedly. “They tried plenty of time to convince her to not wear pink anymore. Or any of their brother’s colors, really.”

“Well, she does have pacts with all of us.” Asmo tells him as if Leila and James are just like Lily for him. Lily and James smile at each other. “She belongs to all of us, in a way.” He magics the right color in his nailpolish flask and starts painting Leila’s nails.

While Asmo is busy painting Leila’s nails, Lily tells James. “If we do something like this again, we should figure out a way for us to help her. I know we’re a long way off from being able to do this ourselves, but there has to be a way we can lend her some of our magic or stamina so it’s not all on her shoulders.”

“The reason you and I don’t get tired from using a lot of magic, is because we have pacts with the seven brothers.” James explains. “And even though she has a lot more energy than she used to have, I think it will stay like that, until she’s just as strong as Solomon. The only way that happens is if she practices a lot. Which she does.”

“So she has pacts with everyone except Lucifer then?” Asmo asks, not taking his eyes off his task. 

“Yeah.” James nods. “If they made a pact, that could help in theory. But she would never ask for a pact with Lucifer.”

“And I’m assuming your Lucifer is just as stubborn.” Asmo comments, nodding his head.

Lily giggles. Shaking her head. “They’re both pretty stubborn right?”

“Lucifer really loves Leila.” James says, thinking. “Considering how much he does for her and lets her do. I have a feeling he wants to be in a pact with her.” He laughs quietly. “He let her keep Shado and renovated the attic for her. Asks her opinions on punishments yet never tries punishing her if they argue.” He laughs more when he sees Asmodeus look at him in disbelief. “But there’s something about negotiations and leverage when making a pact, Solomon explained to me. I’m not sure it will happen any time soon. But who knows?”

“Oh yes.” Asmodeus nods. “You lose your leverage when you’re the one asking first. It’s usually the humans asking anyway, so it doesn’t matter much in most circumstances. But if a demon wants a pact with a stubborn, but powerful human it’s more complicated.” 

“Lucifer always wants some sort of advantage because of his pride.” Lily says, remembering the way her own pact was made and she assumes James as well had a similar experience. She agreed to be ‘his’ and because of that, she has much less control over him than his brothers. Only when he ‘allows’ it. At least, that’s how it seems. “He wouldn’t try to trick her would he?”

“She would lose all her respect for him.” James shakes his head. “That is important for him, I can tell. Just like she wants to be respected by him. So I don’t think he’ll do that. But I have a feeling he will let go of some of his pride, sooner or later, and ask her. I bet Solomon will make it an international holiday. He would be so proud!”

Lily and Asmo laugh. Yeah, for him it will be like Solomon himself is getting into a pact with Lucifer, no doubt.


Eventually they have to rouse Leila from her nap so they can get to New York on time. Lily feels quite guilty about it, but Leila seems happy even if she’s exhausted. Lily is already planning on making sure the rest of these ‘dates’ will not be as tiresome for her friend.

“Asmo, my nails are beautiful!” Leila admires his work, before she starts with making her magic circle. “All the Asmo’s are so good with this.” 

Asmodeus beams hearing the compliment, but still has to say. “Just with this? I’m good with everything, Leila!” He wiggles his eyebrows, but is just being shoved by James again. Not roughly, but just enough to get the message through: Asmodeus shouldn’t try to tease or flirt with his cousin when she’s too tired to defend herself.

 
The cryotherapy itself was a bit anticlimactic. Quite literally. After having traveled all over the world that day and seen and done a lot of stuff - that not necessarily had to do with spa treatments but nobody will tell Asmo - it’s suddenly so extremely cold and short in the salon in New York.

Lily still can’t stop shaking as they leave the salon, she feels like she’ll never be warm again. By the looks on James and Leila’s faces she has a feeling they feel the same way. “I n-never w-want t-to do t-that a-again!” Lily declares with clattering teeth. 

“That WAS rather disappointing wasn’t it?” Asmo pouts. “I say we make up for it by finding something else fun to do!” He says, cheering himself up with the idea. “Maybe we can find a club. But there’s probably nothing open at this hour.” He muses to himself, not noticing the worn out looks on the human’s faces. Especially poor Leila. “Or maybe we can do some more shopping here in New York.” Asmo then suggests. “They have some really amazing fashion here and I would love to dress you all up!” 

“Well that really does sound like fun, but we didn’t really plan for that Asmo..” Lily begins to say. She would love to go shopping in New York, but at this point she’s worried that Leila won’t even have the energy to take them back to the manor. 

“Maybe we can do that some other time Asmo?” Leila says, sounding a bit tired again. “I mean, I would love to go shopping with you, really. But you see… I don’t know how it works with our reality-turners yet. If I arrived 10 minutes later than James while we turned them at the same time…” She’s not even talking about being tired, Lily notices. Even if it is clear that she is.

“It could be that this stays as a 10 minutes difference.” James nods, understanding where Leila is going with this. “Or it could be that if the time difference keeps expanding over the course of the time we’re in this reality, the difference could be an hour by now, or even more.”

“Oh! That’s not good!” Lily worries and Asmo looks thoughtful as well.

“Today is also a sort of test, right?” Leila continues. “And I would hate to see James disappear on me and get stranded in New York, for who knows how long. All alone.”

“I have my DDD, so I’ll be fine. But yeah…” James nods. “It wouldn’t be ideal and it would worry the people in our reality as well.”

“Yes, you’re right.” Lily says. “Let’s go home, just to be sure.”

“But my brothers better not hog you all up!” Asmodeus warns them. “It is MY day with all of you and they should just get their own.”

“We’ll try not to be hogged.” James rolls his eyes with a grin. He already knows that they will be, but what is the point in making Asmodeus worried about that in advance.


Back at Serenity Manor

They appear in the spacious living room of Serenity Manor again. There is immediately a lot of shouting and yelling of course. 

Lily shakes her head. She realizes the demons love them, but really, don’t they have better things to do than wait around for them to reappear? She pats Mammon’s back as he gives her the usual hug and inspection. This isn’t year one, why does he always assume she’s going to be injured when she leaves his sight? 

“James! You still have time right? You should come to my room and play games!” Levi is already trying to drag James away as soon as they arrive. It didn’t take Levi long to realize that James is much better at video games than Lily. 

“What do you think you’re doing Levi?” Asmo says, stopping his brother from absconding with James. “This is still my day with our humans! Get your otaku hands off my human.”

“Oy! Stop fighting over James!” Mammon shouts, letting go of Lily to go get involved. 

Lily thinks about trying to save him, but James seems pretty unaffected so she leaves them be for now. Instead she sits next to Lucifer who, as usual, looks like he has a headache. His expression softens when she leans against him tiredly. 


Leila is barely registering it anymore. She staggers towards the nearest couch, flops onto it and curls herself up. “Hey guys.” She says softly as she smiles tiredly, but still sounds happy. “We had a really fun day, but I’m just going to have a bit of a snooze now, okay?”

“I swear…” Asmodeus sighs, throwing up one of his hands, while holding onto James securely with the other. But he’s smiling at her fondly. “She’s just as lazy as you, Belphie. That’s her third nap today!” He feigns complaints.

“She is not.” Lily argues with a yawn. It’s been a long day and if she’s this tired she can only imagine how Leila must feel. 

“Sounds perfect to me.” Belphegor smiles, a soft look in his usual bored eyes. Sitting next to Leila, he wraps an arm around her and she falls asleep against him with a happy sigh, as if he’s her own mate. She probably couldn’t even tell at this moment. “Ugh…” He grumbles quietly to her. “Don’t make it so hard for me to not get jealous of my counterpart.”

“Are you sure this is okay, Belphie?” Lily asks him worried. She has the feeling that every time he sees Leila, he falls for her more and Satan is getting affected too, she’s noticed. Even Lucifer and Beelzebub are getting affected by James, she’s noticed. Though not as strongly, as of yet.

“It’s fine.” He tells Lily, as he lets Leila lean more comfortable against him. But he thinks. No, it’s not fine. I really want to kiss her. He scolds himself, as he smiles down on her sleeping face. Idiot. Don’t get any ideas.

“It would be good for her…” James looks on, partially in doubt, reading Belphegor's facial expressions. “Power napping with Belphie always helps get her energy back…” But would it be good for him? Lily’s Belphie could get hurt, this way. He thinks and looking at Lily, he sees that she thinks the same.

“What did you do to make her so exhausted like this?” Satan asks slightly aggressively to Asmodeus. His brothers are all so irresponsible!

“Nothing!” Asmodeus looks shocked by the very idea. “All I did was treat them to a day of pampering and one of a kind experiences. Basking in the glorious beauty that can only be provided by ME.”

That doesn’t sound very convincing to his brothers, but James steps in immediately. “It’s nothing Asmo did. The World Tour was just a bit much.”

“Whaddya mean?” Mammon looks a bit worried too. 

“We can’t do any more World Tours.” Lily tells her demons. She thinks this might be best, no matter how disappointing it might be for everyone.

“Maybe she just needs to eat better on the trips?” Beelzebub suggests. He always runs out of energy fast when he’s hungry.

“No, no…Don’t worry.” James laughs, hearing all the protests and disappointments and accusations to Asmodeus. “Leila loves doing this. Only next time we should just ask less from her. Less portals will help preserve her energy. And we better not go this early in the morning either. We just need better planning, is all.”

“Are you sure?” Lily asks doubtfully. She would really love to travel the world like this, but not if it takes too much from her friend.

“And it would really help if she made a pact with Lucifer.” James jokes. “To complete the ring, like Lily and I have.”

“Ugh.” Satan and Belphegor both let out a disdainful sound. Earning a glare from their own Lucifer.


“It was a really awesome day.” Lily admits, smiling at Asmo. 

James laughs, “It was definitely an adventure we won’t forget anytime soon.”

“Oh, and we brought you souvenirs.” Lily remembers when Mammon gets a shock trying to get into the bag near her feet. This seems to brighten up everyone’s mood, especially Mammons. 

“Wine from the vineyard in Tuscany.” She tells Lucifer as she hands him a bottle and leaves one in the bag for James and Leila to take back with them. Levi’s sulking turns to a bright smile before he starts gushing a mile a minute, when they hand him a figurine that can only be bought in Tokyo. She pulls more out of her bag. Something nice for everyone. And eventually everyone settles down. 

Even Asmo begins to look a little sleepy when he cuddles up on the other side of Leila, pulling James along with him. “Don’t hog Leila.” Asmo tells Belphie. “I want to spend as much time with them as I can, before they both disappear.” He pouts. 

“Fine, as long as you don’t wake her.” Belphie shrugs like he doesn’t care. Soon the four of them are all asleep against each other. 


Shortly after James and Leila disappear back to their own reality, a note arrives. 

‘James told me all about your World Tour! I’m so jealous of myself, I can’t stand it. Just know that when it’s my turn I’m going to completely blow you all away, it’s going to be that amazing! I know you’re probably dying to be in my presence again, but wait just a little longer, okay?

Hugs and kisses,
Asmo’

“Oh, how fun!” Asmodeus reacts excitedly. “They let their Asmo use the spray, Lily! Can I do that too?”

“Sure Asmo. We’ll answer him tomorrow, together.” Lily promises with a yawn. “I’m going to bed extra early to catch up on some sleep.”

Chapter Text

Leila & James’ Reality...

“Can I send a letter to the other reality, James?” Asmodeus asks him after James has told everyone all about the World Tour during dinner. Leila was already brought to bed by Belphegor, so he knows nobody would see her or him again until tomorrow. But he really wants to write a letter to Lily and himself in the other reality.

“Sure, the can is on my desk.” James tells him, while he’s being cuddled by Beelzebub on the couch. He isn’t as tired as Leila, but it really has been a very long day and he doesn’t want to get up from being comfortable.

“Send a letter?” Leviathan asks, looking up from his game. They all know by now that James and Leila have some way to communicate with Lily, outside of traveling to the other reality. But he didn’t think it would be something so… simple and low tech. It’s impressive and disappointing at the same time.

“Oh right.” James nods with a yawn. “I guess we haven’t told you all about that yet. Asmo, why don’t you get the can here and I explain it.”

Asmodeus is gone in a flash to get the can of reality-spray from James' room. When he returns, he has a bit of a strange look on his face. “Is the can supposed to feel this light, James?” He shakes it, but it seems like it is empty.

“What do you mean?” James looks confused. “You only used a little bit, right?”

“Yes, like Leila told us.” Asmodeus nods. “But when I just used it to send the letter, it sputtered and I think it’s empty now…”

“That’s not possible.” James takes the can from him. It really is empty! He frowns and looks around at his demons. “It was still full the last time I used it. It was enough to last for months!”

Lucifer looks over his paper and studies the faces of his brothers. All of them frown at James’ can in confusion. It looks like most of them are only seeing it for the first time. Except for one, who looks guilty. “Mammon?!”

“Yikes!” Mammon jumps up with a yelp. “What’re ya lookin’ at ME for!” He tries to cover his crime, but then he sees James’ very disappointed look. So he explains how Leila showed him her can and how he thought that he could use James’ can to send stuff over to the Mammon from the other reality. “But it ain’t even workin’ right!” He accuses the invention. “No matter how much I sprayed, it didn’t send it away!”

“What did you try to send?” James asks, calmly. Though he does feel a bit irritated with his thieving demon. Did he think he could just take James’ can, because Leila’s is better protected? Seriously?

“Oh… um…” Mammon squirms. “Just a thing I found…”

“Seriously?” Satan growls angrily. “It was something of ours, wasn’t it?”

Mammon doesn’t answer, but the look on his face tells everyone that Satan has made the correct conclusion. Everyone jumps up to check their room to see if something is missing, but Lucifer stops them, seeing James' weary face.

“I’m just going to say this once.” James tells his demons. “Leila and I don’t mind it if you want to send a letter to the other reality. But you should have asked, Mammon. Then you would have known that you can’t send anything larger than a hair or a picture taped on a letter over with the spray.” He looks at the others. “Whatever Mammon has stolen, it should still be in this reality.”

“So, it ain’t such a big deal, right?” Mammon tries to escape his upcoming punishment. “No harm done.”

“Except I now have an empty can.” James tells him, holding up the evidence, and Mammon already knows how much trouble he’s in. James is disappointed and sad. So Lucifer is furious. And he’s not the only one.

“Leila can ask Lily for a new hair for ya.” Mammon tries again. “Let’s ask her.” Already moving to the door trying to escape his brothers.

“I don’t think so!” Satan blocks his way. “She’s sleeping and your stupidity is not going to wake her up! Now what did you steal from us?!”

Lucifer takes over from Satan, grabbing Mammon by the collar and dragging him to his room. “Yes, let’s have a look in your room. Shall we, Mammon?”

And off they go. All of them. James sighs and decides to go to bed. Satan is right, they can decide what to do tomorrow.

 

Lily’s Reality

When Lily comes down to breakfast the next morning her demons immediately sense that something is wrong. They watch as she comes in silently, taking her seat without greeting them or even looking at them. Without her bright smile and usual good morning greetings, it feels as if a cloud hangs above them, threatening to rain. 

Lucifer’s fork hits the table with a heavy thunk as he looks around the table. All his brothers seem to be looking at Lily worried, wondering what has her so upset this morning after she had such an amazing outing yesterday. Of course. Why am I not surprised? Lucifer asks himself as he narrows his eyes on Mammon. Mammon looks worried too, but not the same as the others. Lucifer can read the guilt all over his face and in his restless posture. 

“Mammoooonnnn.” Lucifer growls lowly. 

The other brothers now look at Mammon with accusatory glances. “What did you do to my little flower now?!” Asmodeus asks with a glare. Lily should still be riding high from the date she had with him after all, not coming to breakfast looking so gloomy. 

Mammon glares at his brothers, ready to deny everything. When Lily looks up at him with that hurt look in her eyes, he caves. “I only wanted to test it out! I didn’t mean to use the whole can! It just sorta..uhh..ya know..happened.” 

“Can? Canned food? You ate something of Lily’s?” Beelzebub asks, angry on Lily’s behalf. If Mammon ate something she’d been saving, he can understand why she’s so gloomy. 

“No, he’s referring to my aerosol can of reality-spray. It’s how I can communicate with the other reality and now it’s all gone and I can’t make more.” Lily explains to everyone quietly. “So I’ll have to try to make time to go there soon to explain it to them.”

“Well no surprise there, Mammon’s still a scumbag.” Levi comments. 

“What did you even need so much for anyway?” Asmodeus wants to know, narrowing his eyes at Mammon in suspicion. “Were you trying to send a book over page by page?”

“‘Course not!” Mammon defends himself. “It was just a… um… thing I found… It didn’t even work!”

“What thing?” Leviathan asks, alarmed. It better not be one of his prized figurines!

“Did you steal something from us again, Mammon?”

“Trying to send it over to cover your tracks?!”

Just when things begin to get overly heated at the breakfast table and Lily feels like she might burst into tears because of their selfish behavior, a letter appears next to her plate. “Oh! A letter from Leila!” She can’t exactly sound happy yet, but she feels it as a relief. She quickly starts reading out loud.

‘Heya Lily!’

Lily already smiles a little from Leila’s cheerful greeting. And even more when she finds the few attached long hairs from Leila. She continues reading. 

‘Don’t worry! When I woke up this morning they told me all about what the Mammons did. Stealing James can of reality-spray to send stuff over. I assume your idiot of a Mammon did the same thing…’

“Pffft!” Leviathan almost sprays his mutated pomegranate juice out his nose, hearing Leila call Mammon out like that. 

‘...Maybe it is a bit my fault, since I showed my can to Mammon. Even if I keep mine locked away, I didn’t think about him going to steal James’ can. Also, I thought I explained that he couldn’t send anything big. But when do they listen, right? I also told him to ASK PERMISSION first…’

It’s like Leila sends a glare over to Lily’s Mammon with those words and Lily giggles, seeing her own Mammon shrink away a little as if he’s feeling it too. She can practically see how Leila must have looked to her own Mammon. Lily’s other demons look at her while she continues reading Leila’s letter. It’s good news! Their Lily is cheering up!

‘...Anyway, as you can see, I sent you some of my hair with this letter. It should be enough for you to make a whole stock of reality-sprays. It will be enough to give everyone a can and have some left. - Which you probably should keep safe at Solomon’s place, or something. - It’s kind of what they are demanding now in our reality. As if they deserve it. But James is such a softy, he’s already promised it to them, basically. Be sure to cast this spell over the cans after you finish them…

Lily notices a simple looking censoring spell and nods in understanding. Her demons in the meantime have started to shout again: Are they all getting sprays of their own? Completely missing the fact that Leila isn’t entirely convinced that this is such a good idea. Lily continues reading.

‘... this will make sure that whatever those idiots are telling their other selves about major events are being censored and erased from the letters, so that both our realities stay safe and intact. And now: On to more fun stuff: Once you have made your reality-spray again, would you like to send us one of your hairs - or a few, if you think those idiots in my reality deserve their own cans - so James can have a can of his own again? And let's start planning for our Asmo’s date soon! I had a really fun time yesterday and I can’t wait to see you again! - Leila’

“Leila seems to be feeling better again.” Is all Belphegor says. “I’m glad.”

“Yeah, maybe we can all go on a date with them, after all.” Leviathan beams, feeling excited. Soon he can communicate with his other self, who is probably the only one who really understands him.

Lily just feels relieved. She really needs to learn from Leila and secure her things better. It’s no surprise that James suffered the same fate. She giggles a little thinking about it.

“Do you think you’ll do that today Lily? I’d be happy to assist you.” Satan offers, exchanging a look with Belphegor. The Anti-Lucifer league is about to double in size. “I’d like to learn more about how you’ve been communicating with the other side.”

“I’ll think about it.” Lily replies, recognizing the mischief in Satan’s eyes. 

“You’ve been keeping a lot of secrets since you became Solomon’s apprentice.” Levi accuses her with a jealous glint in his eye. 

Yes. Lily thinks, not feeling guilty or planning on becoming less secretive about these things. And Mammon stealing my can is exactly one of the reasons why.

“Well I knew all about it already.” Asmo beams, showing off.

The table becomes abuzz as everyone starts to speak over each other. They seem to think that, just because James made a promise to his demons, that it extends to them too. Lily shakes her head. She’d like to put them in their place, but at the end of the day she knows she’s just as soft as James. 

“See! Leila’s on top of it! Ain’t no reason for ya to get all pissy with me!” Mammon declares, thinking he’s out of hot water, now that Leila’s come up with a solution.

Lily stands up, letter in hand and gives Mammon a pointed look, hurt still flashing in her eyes. “Just because it worked out, doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven you yet Mammon.” She tells him quietly before leaving the table to work on making more reality-spray. She knows he’s a greedy demon, but it still hurts when he does things that are so thoughtless to her feelings. And she could read in between the lines of Leila’s letter that James and Leila are feeling the same.

 

Later that same day, Lily has finished making her first batch of reality spray cans from one of Leila’s hairs. She wasn’t kidding: After she’s used all the hair, Lily will have enough to last for a long time, even after giving her demons all their own cans. But then she thinks: Do they really deserve it? Lily giggles a bit, before she probably would have shrugged the whole thing off. This new way of thinking is definitely Leila’s influence on her. Much to her own demon’s dismay. She decides to talk it over with her demons first, and lay down some ground rules before making her final decision.  

She gathers everyone in the living room that evening, but before they can start, the doorbell rings and the Manor gets more visitors. She’s not very surprised to see Solomon and Barbatos, they always seem to be in the know somehow when it involves the other reality. It turns out that Leila has told the story to her own Barbatos and grandfather and let them send a letter to their counterparts in Lily’s reality. Once everyone is settled, Lily explains everything from the beginning.

After she’s explained how the spray cans work, what they can and cannot physically send, Barbatos takes over and explains what they can and cannot say in their letters. Solomon leaves them with some cryptic warnings, but no one reminds them about the censorship hex that will be placed on the cans. After all, they don’t want anyone to try to figure out a way around it. 

“Well, I obviously want one!” Asmodeus declares. “Who other than me understands what’s going through my mind.”

“Nobody wants to know what’s going through your mind.”

“Except ME!” Asmodeus isn’t offended. “I can finally talk about everything I want without being held back!”

“Well I for one, don’t think this is a good idea. It’s one thing to allow me a can, but you can hardly trust any of these fools..” Lucifer says with a sneer at his troublesome brothers. 

“That’s so mean, Lucifer!” Asmodeus pouts, looking wounded. “Don’t lump your adorable little brother in with the rest of these idiots!” Lily has to agree that so far Asmo has been responsible in keeping her secret. But it will be hard to convince his brothers about that. She’s going to have to treat him equal to his brothers, no matter how unfair that may seem to him.

“So, ya got a can for me yet Lily?” Mammon asks unabashedly, ignoring everyone. Lily shakes her head, still feeling disappointed with his behavior and the rest of the room practically erupts.

“Why would she give YOU one, you moron?!” Levi says. 

“Oy! None of ya would be gettin’ anythin’, if it weren’t for me! So ya’ll should show me a little respect and gratitude!”

“Pfff.” Belphegor scoffs. “As if.”

“You tried to send off one of our things and we should thank you for it?” Satan sneers.

From there, everything begins to escalate as expected. Even Lucifer gets involved, threatening them all to come to order, or else. Which just escalates the fight further with Belphegor and Satan turning their ire from Mammon to Lucifer. Barbatos looks a little disgusted and Solomon just looks amused, as usual. 

“How does it taste?” Beelzebub was looking interested at the can of reality-spray in Lily’s hand this whole time. It’s a large can, and Lily is going to make multiple. “Like spray cheese? Or whipped cream?”

He got everyone silent for a moment, at least. Lily has to give him that. Until the demon brothers erupt in a new discussion. En-masse scolding Beelzebub. 

“Yo!” Mammon shouts loudest, as per usual. But he is forgiven for it this time. “It’s made from Leila’s HAIR!”

“And Cerberus’ hair.” Satan nods, staring at his glutton brother incredulously. Is he serious?

“I’m not feeling so well.” Asmodeus pretends to faint. “You’re so strange, Beel.”

Beelzebub just shrugs as the scolding continues. To him it was worth asking.

“Enough. Stay!” Lily finally says in her quiet but authoritative voice. Barbatos gives Lily a thankful smile and nods his head to her, grateful that she brought the noisy bunch to heel. Solomon also beams at her proudly. He’s always happy when she stands up to them.

Lucifer sits back down and pretends like nothing happened while his brothers groan and pick themselves up off the floor. 

“Listen, I’m only going to say this once.” Lily tells them in the sternest voice she can muster. “Against my better judgement, you’ll each get your own can.” She hands Lucifer his own can, the only one she brought down with her. “I can rely on you to be responsible with this, right? She asks him. 

“Of course.” Lucifer tells her, almost offended that she would even ask him such a thing. “Thank you.”

“I’ll keep everyone else’s cans locked up in my room, if you want to send a letter you’ll ask permission first.” She tells the rest of them. 

“What a hassle.” Belphegor says lazily.

“What? Why aren’t you locking up Lucifer’s then too?” Satan demands to know. 

“Yeah. That’s preferential treatment. No fair.” Levi complains.

“Fine. I guess there will be no cans for the rest of you then.” Lily says, acting as if the matter is closed. 

“Oy! Wait a minute!” Mammon shouts. Looking at his brother’s with a glare. “Doncha pay any attention to these idiots, Lily.”

“Oh, and Mammon.” Lily tells him directly. “I expect an earnest apology before you get anything from me.” She tells him before turning to leave the room, with Solomon and Barbatos following. 

 

Leila & James’ Reality

After the debacle of the reality-spray cans has been solved; a new argument begins. Satan and Belphegor don’t want Leila exhausting herself with any more world tours. Especially not with Asmo, but that was only one of the reasons. To them, it’s unacceptable for their mate to come home so tired. She’s not as strong as James and Lily when using magic. Even if she is powerful. If everyone wanted to do these tours, it would wear her out way too much. 

There are weak protests from the others, specifically Mammon and Levi, they don’t want to exhaust Leila, but it’s not fair all the same. Leila stubbornly protests the most though, insisting she can decide for herself what she could handle after all. But only once she called in the help from Solomon to explain it to them, did they decide to listen.

“While I understand your worries…” Solomon says. “It really is good for Leila to keep practicing these things. Only training it will make her stronger.”

“Exactly!” Leila is nodding along.

“But I do agree that you have to build up these things a bit slower.” Solomon continues, imperturbable to her interruption. “You did six teleportations on your date with the other Asmo, correct? That’s too much, Leila.” Even he would think twice on teleporting big groups that many times in one day and he’s much more experienced. “You need to save some energy for recovery.”

“She got really tired after the third. And after that she couldn’t really recover enough with breaks and naps.” James tattles and receives a glare from Leila. She knows he cares about her, but she hoped he would be on her side in this. He shrugs at her: He is on her side, wanting her to stay healthy. She’ll always be his little cousin.

“So, that seems to be the limit of what you can handle safely, right now.” Solomon nods. Satan and Belphegor agree as well, looking almost threatening to Asmodeus. Daring him to disagree.

“I would never want to make my Sunshine exhausted.” Asmodeus declares to them as if offended. “I want to treat our humans on a day full of spoiling.”

“So, what do you have in mind then, Asmodeus?” Solomon asks him. He’s now basically the mediator in this and the judge for the final decision.

“Well…I wanted to do makeovers! Starting with shopping in Paris, brow and lash grooming in South Africa, hair and makeup in Vancouver.” He explains excitedly. “We would all become so gorgeous! And then, at the end of the day, I want to show off my humans at a club.”

“If you can bring all of that down to three teleportations. At maximum. Leila should be able to enjoy a night at a club.” Solomon tells him and his voice doesn’t leave room for negotiations. Everyone else agrees on it as well, after having heard what James told them earlier. Except Leila.

“I can do four...” Leila argues weakly, but everybody stands their ground.

“Hmm…” Asmodeus thinks. “Oh! I know! Why don’t we do the clubbing here in London? It’s close to Serenity Manor, so this way we can take a taxi home. Leila doesn’t have to make a portal that way.” 

“That sounds like fun, Asmo!” Leila cheers excitedly. “There are some good clubs in London too! Very classy!”

Everyone is looking at Leila’s sparkling eyes. She obviously wants to do this, so how can they disappoint her?

“She can’t get up too early, like last time.” Belphegor still argues. He wants her to be happy, but she barely registered coming home the other day. He was very worried. Satan agrees with him. The next date should definitely be planned better.

“Then how about they travel to the first location the day before?” Satan suggests to everyone’s surprise. Is he offering Asmo extra time with Leila? But then: “You said Paris, right? From London to Paris they can go with the train. That saves time the next day. And it saves a teleportation. And you can still do four things.” He smiles smugly when he continues, watching Leila’s smile light up her face. “Of course I’ll join them for that. I’m not trusting Asmo to leave Leila to rest enough when he’s in Paris with James and her.”

“Oohh.” Leila swoons. “I like that, Satan! Us, together in Paris, La Ville-Lumière!” She sits on his lap, wrapping her arms around him and gives him a kiss. 

“French cuisine…” Beelzebub says dreamily to James. “I hear there’s a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower…”

“Two, Beel.” James tells him, rubbing the belly of his lover, somehow calming down the rumble that comes from it. “One of which even has a Michelin Star.”

“That sounds like a good place to have dinner.” Satan tells Leila and her eyes sparkle with excitement. If he’s going on this special outing with his mate, he’s going to treat her to all the best Paris has to offer. “Make reservations for that too, Asmo.” Asmodeus nods in enthusiasm and so does James.

“Can I come too?” Beelzebub pleads with his puppy expression and he’s not the only one. By this time, some of the brothers erupt into shouts that it all isn’t fair. Why would Satan and Asmodeus get extra time? They all should go to Paris together with the train!

“There’s no way I’m allowing you all to go.” Lucifer tells them all with a sigh. He can already envision the chaos. Solomon gives him a smirk and Leila giggles. It’s not hard for them to guess why Lucifer thinks this is out of the question.

“And besides.” Belphegor interrupts. “Fair has nothing to do with it.” He glares at some of his brothers. “Satan and I are Leila’s mates, so Satan should go and I’ll stay to take care of Pandora.” 

Everyone is a bit surprised that he is so agreeable to this plan. Of course he hates to give Satan special time with her, but the way she’s looking at him gratefully right now helps make up for it. Besides, she’ll have more fun in Paris with Satan and he’ll spend the time thinking of a way for her to make it up to him when she gets back. 

Mammon and Levi are still grumbling a bit under their breath but this effectively shuts down the argument. Belpehgor doesn’t notice the proud look that Lucifer gives him, it’s there and gone too quickly. 

“Right, we can do shopping in Paris the next day…” Asmodeus agrees on it. As long as Satan promises to leave them alone on the real date. It’s still his date with the humans, not Satan’s. Soon they have made a complete plan and Asmodeus starts making his calls. Just like Lily, Leila and James can’t be bothered with the actual planning. They just send her the letter with the details.

 

Lily’s Reality

Lily happens to be sitting with most of her demons when Leila’s letter comes in, detailing their next day out. As usual, they all want her to read her letter out loud. She barely begins when she’s already interrupted. 

“So the other Asmo is getting two days with James and Leila?” Levi asks, already thinking how unfair that is. 

“Two days?” Mammon rubs his palms together. “Oy! I want two days too!” He shouts, thinking of all the extra casinos he could fit in. 

“Well that’s not fair.” Asmo pouts. “I didn’t get two days! So neither are any of you!”

“No, Satan is going to accompany them to Paris.” Lily scans the letter again. 

“Huh? Why Satan?” Mammon looks at his own brother accusingly. 

“He’s obviously the most responsible candidate.” Satan answers brazenly, but not everyone agrees. Because that's just not how they are.

Lily ignores them and continues. “He’s Leila’s mate and goes with them, to make sure that Asmo isn’t taking Leila and James out for a night out on the town and make Leila exhausted before the date even starts the next day.” 

“Two lovebirds in La Ville de l'Amour.” Asmodeus defends his other self. “I already can tell you who will make Leila tired. And it won’t be me.”

“That’s only because you won’t be given the chance.” Satan definitely looks triumphant. Even if it isn’t him, he’s still feeling good about this plan. Belphegor just rolls his eyes at him. He knows why his counterpart isn’t going. And he’s sure his counterpart will make Leila make it up to him, somehow.

“So, Lily.” Asmodeus shrugs and changes the subject. “You’re going to France?”

“Yeah.” Lily looks up from her letter again, as she was ignoring their non-discussion. “Seems like we are. And also-” She wants to continue, but is interrupted.

“Ooh, then you have to visit the Conciergerie, Madelonnettes Convent, Bicêtre Asylum, Sainte-Pélagie Prison and Charenton Asylum. Maybe also the site where the Bastille used to be: Place de la Bastille.” Asmodeus nods enthusiastically and… proud? “It’s where my greatest student has been. Oh, we should definitely do a tour around Europe as well, just to honor his legacy. He’s been in Italy and the Netherlands and....”

“Who are you talking about?” Satan looks at him suspiciously. It can’t be good if Asmodeus is enthusiastic about someone else, other than himself.

“About Marquis de Sade, obviously!” Asmodeus rolls his eyes. As if that wasn’t clear? “He was such a good student of mine! Too bad nobody understood his philosophy. Only later they did and honored him by adding his name to the dictionary of every language.” 

“Oy! Ya pervert!” Mammon covers Lily’s ears as she’s staring at Asmodeus. “Ya really are a disgustin’ deviant!” And he’s not the only one of his brothers who starts shouting at Asmodeus now.

“Ugh.” Asmodeus huffs. Why don’t his brothers respect him more? They’re all a bit sadistic in their own right, but now they’re calling him a pervert? They’re just jealous! Do any of them have a follower this famous? No. Exactly. He doesn’t think so!

But then…

“Ah, yes.” Lucifer says with his sadistic smirk. “Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, I remember him. Quite a good student of mine, as well.”

“Whaaat?!” Asmodeus exclaims indignantly. “YOUR student?!”

“But of course.” Lucifer says with complete confidence. “I taught him all those techniques of torture, after all. It’s a shame he ended up using them for his more carnal desires. But that’s what it is with humans. You never know what they will do with the gifts they’ve been given.”

While Lucifer and Asmodeus launch into a discussion about who taught Marquis de Sade the most and who gets the credit and bragging rights for it, Lily just stares at them. Not believing it: Are they serious, right now?

“Wait...if Leila and James are going the night before...That means Lily needs an escort to Paris too…” Levi suddenly says which quickly derails Lucifer and Asmo’s argument. 

Mammon turns to Lily, finally looking happy about something. “Alright. You’re really twistin’ my arm here...but I’ll take ya to Paris with the train, if ya ask me real nice.”

“Pfft!” Levi sputters. “As if she’d ask you!”

“I’m... um… going to call Solomon.” Lily stands up, leaving her idiots alone. “To ask if he can take me with a portal to Paris that day…” She ignores the new storm of protests. Calling Solomon will be nice. At least he’s not so loud.

Chapter Text


Lily’s Reality

There were a few disappointed demons when they learned that Solomon had agreed to take Lily to Paris. But even Lucifer was in agreement that this would make the most sense for Lily. And he definitely couldn’t - or wouldn’t - let all his brothers loose, ‘escorting’ Lily to Paris and leave them there without her supervision. 

"Hey! Whaddya leavin’ so early for, huh?” Mammon demands to know as he follows her around her room while she’s packing an overnight bag. 

“Mammon, I already told you. Solomon has sorcerer business to attend to, so we’re going early.” Lily patiently explains for the umpteenth time as she debates on bringing comfortable walking shoes or Asmodeus-approved shoes.

“What kinda business?” Mammon continues to pester her. “Sounds shady, if ya ask me.”

“Your guess is as good as mine.” Lily waves him off. She doesn’t like admitting that most of what Solomon does is a mystery to her. James has told her that this was normal for a sorcerer to behave, and that Leila does it too, but still. It’s definitely none of your business, Mammon. Lily thinks to herself. 

“No one’s asking you, anyway.” Satan sneers as he enters Lily's room. 

“Hey Satan.” She smiles at him, leaving Mammon huffing in annoyance at being ignored. “Which shoes should I bring?” She asks holding up the two different pairs. 

Mammon groans and goes into her closet, bringing out a pair that he shoves into her arms. “Obviously ya should take these. They’ll go with everything, Asmo will approve and they won’t be too bad on your dumb human feet.”

“Thanks, Mammon.” She beams, kissing him on the cheek and ignoring his foul mood. Leaving him blushing and grumbling, she looks to Satan again. “So, what’s up?” The Avatar of Wrath doesn’t frequent her room as often as the others. 

“Can I use my can of spray, please?” He asks her ever so cordially. “I’d like to send this list to my counterpart. I assume he’ll be visiting at least one bookstore today and if he can acquire any of the books on this list, he can leave them with Leila, who can pass them on to you.”

“Sure…” Lily nods, going to fetch one of the cans from her enchanted cupboard. “But that sounds overly complicated, I’m sure I could find some of these books for you?” She offers. 

“I’m sure Solomon will keep you far too busy today.” Satan teases her, “You’re going to be in La Ville de l'Amour with your former lover after all.”

“AH! Shaddap!” Mammon growls as Lily blushes.

“But in all seriousness, my other self will have a much easier time. He’s probably already looking for these titles, himself. Plus they’ll be even more rare coming from another reality.” He explains. 

“Okay.” Lily shrugs and hands him his can of spray. “I’m leaving soon, so bring it back quickly.” She’s surprised when Satan doesn’t argue at all. Leaving to his own room he sends off the letter and returns the can back to her without a fuss. He’s probably just trying to get his way by winning me over this way. Lily thinks to herself, shaking her head. 

“Uh, Lily.” Mammon is giving her that look, the one that she’s come to learn means he’s going to try to sweet talk his way into something. “Can I use my can to send a letter?” 

Mammon had eventually apologized to her for using up her first can of spray, but his behavior was not very penitent. “Sorry Mammon, not today. Solomon will be here any minute.” She tells him with a smile, throwing her bag over her shoulder.

“What?!” Mammon looks surprised, throwing his hands up. “Ya just let Satan! That ain’t fair!”

Lily ignores him, making her way to the living room where the rest of her demons wait to send her off. “Oh I wish I could go too!” Asmo whines pitifully. “But I know you’re going to be in the best hands.” He tells her, wrapping her up in a big hug. 

“Make sure to eat all your meals.” Beelzebub tells her, giving her a pat on the head. 

She’s just said all her goodbyes to the rest of them, when the doorbell rings and they all groan. They’re acting like I’m leaving them for a year. Such babies. She thinks to herself with an eye roll. 


Solomon receives a chilly welcome from Lily’s demons, except Asmodeus who has championed Solomon and Lily as a couple from the beginning. He’s never taken their attitudes to heart though. “Are you ready then?” He asks Lily, who nods, trying to hide some of her excitement.

Asmodeus kisses Lily on both cheeks and then gives Solomon the same treatment. Ignoring the sounds of revulsion his brothers make behind him. “Take care of our little flower.” Asmo tells him as Solomon wraps his arms around Lily’s waist pulling her flush against his chest. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” He winks.

A storm of protests begins and Lily thinks she sees some sort of projectile heading towards Asmo but before she can blink twice she finds herself landing gently in a quiet cobblestone alley. Lily is already bouncing with excitement as Solomon takes her hand and leads her to the main street. 


James & Leila’s Reality

Leila sighs happily, poking in her food. Dreaming about her trip with Satan. Okay. Officially it’s a trip for Asmo. And it’s about spending time together with him, James and Lily. But she’s going to Paris with Satan! The only thing that could make it even better would be if Belphegor and Pandora would come along as well. We definitely should have a little family trip one time. She sighs, dreamily. Just the four of us.

She hears a chuckle and looks up into Belphegor's eyes. He’s smirking at her. Did I say that out loud? She wonders. But that can’t be, or the table would have exploded in protests for sure.

“We will have one of those outings for ourselves, one day.” Belphegor promises her with a whisper, as he’s taking Pandora from her lap. “Somewhere nice and quiet. Now, don’t forget to care for your child while you’re off in dreamland.” He lets a slightly protesting Pandora burp.

“Sorry, Pandora.” Leila cuddles her baby. “I’m going to miss you so very much. But you’ll be a sweet baby to everyone, alright?” Pandora gives her one of her cheers, after the annoying burp that was bothering her is released. “Will you be alright, Belphie? With both of us gone?”

“You don’t have to worry about her. Or me.” Belphegor now wants her attention before his mate goes off on her mini-vacation. Snuggling close to her, wrapping his free arm around her, giving her soft kisses. “I’m happy when you’re happy. So just have fun. And be sure to not exhaust yourself again.” He sounds very serious, saying that last bit.

“I won’t let her.” Satan tells him, entering the room with his suitcase and a piece of paper in his hand. Leila recognizes it: spraying reality-spray on a letter gives it a slight coloration. “At least not the first day, while I’m around.” 

By now, they all know that Lily has been pretty strict with her demons. They’re not allowed to keep their own cans, yet. Lily needed to make sure they won’t all just waste it away, like Mammon did. A similar discussion took place in their own home, after all. Leila feels proud of Lily for standing her ground. So receiving letters from the other reality isn’t a common occurance yet. At least not for the brothers. It still makes Leila happy when they do receive one.

“You got a letter, Satan?” She asks, giving him a smile that makes him almost melt. Look at me more like that, and I will be the one exhausting you. He thinks, but he doesn’t show it.

“Yes.” He places his suitcase next to Leila’s smaller one. She doesn’t need much and was planning to share his, but Satan told her to bring her suitcase, so he could buy some books and bring them home in her suitcase tomorrow. “It’s from Satan. It appeared on my bed, just when I was about to leave.”

“What’s it say?!” Mammon is curious and gets a glare from most of his brothers. It feels very intrusive if someone is asking about letters they receive from their counterparts. Even though they all expect Leila and James to share the letters from Lily. That’s different, apparently.

But Satan doesn’t get angry. At least not visibly. He’s not planning on ruining the day for his mate. “Not that it is any of your business, but it’s just a list of books he’s interested in. Most of them I’m looking for myself, so I suppose I’ll purchase two copies if I can find them. I also have a list made of some books I’m interested in myself, and some books from his list look very interesting to me.” He smiles satisfied. “It’s good to know someone like me, to give me some new perspectives.”

“Sounds like you like yourself a lot.” Lucifer sneers behind his paper. He seems to be in a bad morning mood today. More than usual.

He didn’t like the distribution of reality-spray cans to all his brothers, at all. And the correspondence that would become the result of it. Someone needed to supervise over what was written to the other reality, but both James and Leila were fiercely against breaching their demons' privacy like that. Lucifer didn't stand a chance against their combined human moral standards! So they all got their own can. And were told that they wouldn’t get a new one for the next half year. Still, it’s not often that Lucifer loses a battle like this. And he doesn’t like it. Especially not because all his brothers had witnessed his ‘defeat’.

“Well.” Satan shrugs, not biting the bait Lucifer dangles in front of him. He’s not about to be hung from the ceiling right before going on his trip with his mate. “It would be pretty stupid if I didn’t like myself, wouldn’t it?” He sits next to Leila and Belphegor and starts his breakfast. “Is Asmo around yet? I think the taxi will be here soon.”


“I’m heeeere!” Asmodeus flings open the door with his dramatic flair. With a suitcase in one hand and a smaller bag over his shoulder, he saunters into the room as if he isn’t already running late. 

James follows him in, rolling his eyes good-naturedly. He pulls two suitcases and has his duffel bag slung over his shoulder. “I’m telling you Asmo, you’re bringing too much stuff.” He tells Asmodeus, as he places the two suitcases with Asmodeus one. Then he places his duffel bag with Satan’s and Leila’s luggage and sits at the table for a quick breakfast.

“Asmo roped you into carrying his suitcases?” Beelzebub asks, but he already knows the answer. James is just so nice. He pushes a full plate to his lover, before he accidently eats everything.

“I thought you guys were only going for one night.” Leviathan looks to Asmodeus three suitcases scornfully. “Instead it looks like you’re off for one month.”

“We are. One night. It’s why I’m telling him he’s bringing too much.” James shrugs. It’s not his problem anymore. Satan takes over from him.

“Asmo, if you don’t want me to leave your stuff behind in Paris, you better narrow that down to one single overnight bag.” Satan looks with disdain to Asmodeus' three enormous suitcases. Asmodeus apparently thinks that since Satan is joining the first bit of the trip, that he would be so inclined to bring it all home for him. Well, he thought wrong.

“Whaaat?!” Asmodeus exclaims indignantly. “You wouldn’t!” 

“I would.” Satan threatens him. “In fact, everything the four of us bring today should be able to fit in one single suitcase. Mine. I need the other suitcase, Leila’s, to bring back the books I’m going to buy. Those are the only two suitcases that are going home with me tomorrow.”

“Books?! You think books are more important than my designer clothes? My beauty products?”

Satan just looks at him from cuddling Pandora goodbye. “Is that a rhetorical question? If not, I’m just going to treat it like one.”

“I can cast the bottomless-bag spell on the suitcase.” Leila whispers to Satan, so only he hears it.

“Yes, I know.” Satan gives her a kiss. “But he doesn’t deserve it. You do that on your handbag tomorrow, so you can bring home all the clothes you might buy. I’m not bringing Asmo’s three suitcases home from Paris, if he doesn’t even use a fraction of what's inside. He just likes bringing it along.”

Leila nods. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“You better hurry too, Asmo.” James has started saying goodbye to everyone now too. “I don’t think he’s joking.”

“You’re all so mean.” Asmodeus whines and starts repacking. His brothers just snicker around him. It’s not the first time that Asmodeus does this. He will probably never learn.

“Here are your 48-hour travelers licenses.” Lucifer gives one to Satan and Asmodeus each. “Don’t burn down the city, or cause another revolution, and make sure you return before it expires.” He says this mostly to Satan who rolls his eyes. 


Chapter Text

Lily’s Reality

Solomon is a bit surprised by the address Lily had given him in the first arrondissement, the heart of historical Paris. Lily is such a down to earth sort of gal, he figured she would have booked them a hostel to stay in, in a more affordable area. Maybe an Airbnb.. “This is the place you booked?” He asks her, looking across the street at the historic five-star Le Meurice Hotel. Lily nods her head with much enthusiasm. 

“Yes! Isn’t it gorgeous!” She beams excitedly as they make their way to the hotel. 

After Lily has checked them in, Solomon looks at her in the elevator, feeling like he’s discovering a new side of her or perhaps wondering if Asmodeus and Mammon have rubbed off on her too much lately. “I’m a little surprised you booked this place. You’re usually so conservative with your money. What you spent here for one night, would be enough to stay a week in Paris at a more moderate hotel.”

Lily is quiet for a moment as she considers this. “Well… We’re not staying a week. And who knows when I’ll get an opportunity like this again? Plus the views of the Eiffel tower are amazing.” She gushes. “Besides, I booked a modest room compared to the suites they have here!” 

“Are you sure Mammon and Asmo’s tastes haven’t rubbed off on you?” Solomon teases her. “Shall I begin treating you like a Queen?”

Yes, please. Lily thinks, but instead she rolls her eyes and smiles cheekily at him. “You know, it’s true what they say about having a pact with Mammon. I’ve been really lucky when it comes to money.” She laughs. “I have more in my savings than I’ll ever know what to do with.” Now if only I could get Mammon to be responsible with his own money. She thinks ruefully to herself. 

The room is even better than the pictures Lily saw online. “It’s so lovely!” She drops her bag on a chair and rushes to open up the french doors that lead to the balcony. “Just look at that view!” She sighs in contentment, completely missing the adoring look on Solomon’s face as he watches her. 

“Are you sure you’re comfortable sharing a room?” Solomon asks her, breaking her from her daydreams. 

Glancing at the two queen sized beds, she shrugs. “Yeah. I mean, there’s two beds and we’ve lived together enough that it’s not weird…” But now that you bring it up, you’re making it weird. She thinks to herself. Lily hadn’t really given it a second thought until Solomon brought it up now, the intensity of his stare begins to make her blush and she looks away. “So, you said you had errands to do?” She asks, changing the subject. 

“Indeed.” Solomon smirks. “Come on, I’ll show you the secret side of Paris.”

Lily laughs, feeling more at ease again. “Does Paris have it’s own Diagon Alley, HP?” She teases him.

Solomon laughs as well as he leads her out of the hotel. “In a way, you could say that it does.” 

 

James & Leila’s Reality

James and Leila wonder how Asmodeus has managed to get first class tickets for the train on such short notice.

“It’s my secret.” He tells them with his flirtatious smirk as they maneuver through the throng of people on the platform in St. Pancras International , London.

Though it isn’t really a secret. That much is clear soon. Because they’re not exactly maneuvering. People seem to part for them. Him. He just has to smile. James and Leila look at each other: Is Asmo’s charm really that powerful? Sure is convenient now. Satan is closing the ranks. Obviously used to this. Traveling with Asmodeus is comfortable. If you are immune to, or ignore, his flirtations. 

First class gives more legroom for them. It’s also relatively quiet in the car. So they can have their, for normal humans, curious conversations.

“You want to tell us what other Satan wants you to find for him?” Leila asks curiously. She can’t help it. She likes the other Satan and Belphegor too. Not the same. But still. Satan and Belphegor know this. They don’t exactly like the idea of it, but they understand it. And they trust her.

“Of course.” Satan finds the list. “How is your French?”

“Terrible.” Leila says with a French accent. It’s exactly the same word after all.

“Perfect.” Satan nods. “In that case I can tell you all the titles without fear of you scolding me. No translating it for her, Asmo!” He threatens his brother who was about to offer his services.

“But…” Asmodeus pouts. “French is the language of love! l’Amour! Or was that Italian?” He thinks it over for a few moments. “No matter, I can speak both.”

“And you speak none of it to my mate.” Satan tells him as a matter of fact. Then continues as if he didn’t just threaten him. “Let’s see… The titles we’re both interested in are… ‘Comment Faire Face à un Patron Sadique’ , ‘"Je Pourrais Faire Pipi Dessus" - Un Livre d'Images de Chat’ and ‘La Vache dans le Parking: Une Approche Zen pour Surmonter la Colère’ .” He sums up and James and Leila see Asmodeus trying to hold his laugh, when he hears the titles. Satan notices too and continues. “Then there are these very interesting works that I didn’t think of myself. ‘Le Lavage de Cerveau est un Jeu d'Enfant!’ and ‘Techniques de Torture du XVIe Siècle’ .” 

He looks pointedly at Asmodeus when saying that last one. Asmodeus' eyes go wide and he quickly ducks into his fashion magazine. Satan nods, satisfied and James and Leila look at each other knowingly: Satan just made a threat with the title of a book alone.

“And then there's this title I heard a lot of good things about. ‘CATFLEXING: Guide de Amoureux des Chats sur l'Haltérophilie, l'Aérobie et l'Étirement’ .” Satan reads off his list and Asmodeus snorts inelegantly, unable to hold his laugh now.

“What does that mean?” Leila asks suspiciously. “Something with cats and aerobics? You better not be planning on letting Shado do gymnastics.” She tells Satan sternly and he blushes a bit. “He’s agile enough.” She says proudly. Everyone knows Leila thinks her cat is just perfect. 

“It’s actually meant as a sort of work-out for people, using the cat as a-.” He stops talking when he sees Leila narrow her eyes at him. Good call. There’s no way he can explain it so she will like the idea of it. Satan probably just thought it would make cuddling with Shado even cuter. He and cats. It's a bit typical, but harmless.

There’s more silly conversation after this and it makes the trip very fun and quick. Before they know it they’re several hours further and stepping out of the train in Paris. A short trip with a taxi - mostly because Leila sneakily influences the crazy Parisian traffic to part way for them with her magic - brings them to their next destination. Their hotel.

 

Lily’s Reality

Once out on the streets of Paris, the earlier awkwardness is long forgotten. Lily is happy to be here and she’s going to enjoy every second of it. Linking arms with Solomon, she allows him to escort her through Paris.

“Le Bazar de la Magie.” Lily reads the sign on the shop when they arrive. “Is this a joke?” She giggles, looking in the window of the ‘magic shop’ for magicians and illusionists. Solomon just smirks and holds the door open for her. Lily glances around the store wondering why they are there.

Solomon ushers her to the back of the store, to a door that reads ‘salle du personnel.’ “I don’t know french,” Lily says, “but I don’t think we’re allowed in there Solomon.” She says in a hushed voice.

“Is that so?” Solomon raises a brow, waving his hand over the sign. A seal on his hand glows up and suddenly the words on the sign have changed and now read: ‘vente aux enchères de sorciers.’  “Welcome to the exclusive sorcerers auction Lily.” Solomon grins, opening the door for her. Lily wonders what type of seal is on his hand, it doesn’t seem to be like his demon pact seals that she has seen.

Glancing around to make sure no one is watching them, Lily peeks her head through the door. There is no staff room, just old stone walls and stairs that lead into darkness. One step through the threshold and the sconces on the wall flicker to life with a blue flame, lighting their descent. 

At the bottom of the stairs there’s a short hallway and a man who guards another door. Solomon again shows his hand with the glowing seal and Lily wonders what it is. But based on the man’s expression he knows exactly who Solomon is, with or without showing his hand. 

“This is my apprentice.” Solomon explains when the man looks at Lily expectantly. The man only nods and opens the door for them. Stepping through the door was like stepping into another world. Characters of all sorts filled the room, various noises, sights and smells assaulted the senses leaving Lily dizzy for a moment. 

“Are all these people sorcerers?” Lily asks Solomon in a whisper, many people have noticed them, or more accurately they’ve noticed Solomon, and the crowds seem to part to let them walk through. 

“Many of them, yes.” Solomon nods. “There are bound to be several apprentices here, but many people here are just running the auction or selling goods. They’re part of the Human World’s magical community, but they aren’t necessarily all sorcerers.” He explains to her. “This is an exclusive auction and only fully fledged sorcerers from the community are allowed to bid.”

After his explanation they take their seats towards the front of the stage. Lily wonders silently what sort of things they will auction. In the past, Solomon would have never brought her to such a place. It seems that lately he’s been opening up more of his world to her. No, that’s not right. Lily thinks to herself. I’m his apprentice, I’m going to be a sorcerer too someday. This is our world now. She smiles to herself. 

Lily watches as a thin, stern looking man with spectacles takes the stage. This must be the auctioneer. She thinks to herself. “Today’s auction is for the estate of Grand Sorcerer Balthazar Babineaux. -”

“They’re auctioning off someone’s things?” Lily whispers to Solomon. 

“Yes, if a sorcerer, witch, or any other kind of magician of renown, passes without a will or living relatives in the magical community, then the Sorcerer’s Society takes over their estate and possessions and auctions off their belongings, so that nothing falls into the wrong hands, or more likely, the hands of the innocent.” Solomon explains in a hushed whisper. Lily nods her head, this makes sense. Some objects would be useless in the hands of an ordinary human, yet others could cause them harm if handled inappropriately. 

It doesn’t take long for Lily to get into the spirit of the auction, after Solomon had told her he’d bid on anything she fancied. Knowing she could pay Solomon back for anything he won, she is eager with her bids. This Balthazar guy had some cool stuff. Lily thinks as she tells Solomon to place another bid for her. Unfortunately everyone else thinks so too and she’s been outbid on everything so far. The first thing she had bid on was supposedly the first grimm ever minted, Mammon would have loved that! However it went for far more than she was willing to spend, it was a good thing Mammon would never have to find out about it. Currently she’s bidding on a statue that reportedly cries real tears, she’s sure either Satan or Lucifer would love something like that. Dratz! Lily curses in her head as the statue too, goes over her self inflicted spending limit. 

The next item up for bidding on is a gorgeous silver filigree hairpin, adorned with silver birds and flowers. “This hairpin, called the ‘Songbird’ reportedly first belonged to Anne Victoire Dervieux, an 18th century courtesan and opera singer.” Lily listens as the auctioneer explains the past of the hairpin and how it came to belong to Balthazar. “The songbird, when worn, will sing and harmonize with the wearer if it deems their song worthy. Bidding will begin at 200 euros.”

“300!” Lily shouts, holding up Solomon’s arm which holds the bidding paddle. Solomon chuckles when Lily ducks her head, embarrassed that she’s drawn eyes her way. She was so excited, she just has to win this pin for Leila!

“Well you certainly are the big spender on this trip.” Solomon teases her at the conclusion of the auction. 

“You’re one to talk.” Lily teases him back, he’d spent more than her on a single item. She doesn’t mind spending her money especially when it’s for other people. Besides, who knows when Solomon will bring her to one of these auctions again! 

They make their way over to the clerk to settle their payments and arrange for the purchased items to be shipped to Solomon’s house. Except the pin, which Lily collects to give to Leila as a gift. 

By the end, aside from the hairpin, Lily had won herself a garden orb that no one had been interested in because they hadn’t known that it gave off Celestial light. But Lily recognized it right away. She knew this item would help her grow Celestial plants in the green house. She also won a collection of enchanted records that she was going to give to Lucifer. Solomon had been a more judicious bidder, until a magic carpet came on the auction block. Lily hadn’t even realized those were real, and still could barely believe Solomon spent 10,000 euros on it! 

“I still can’t believe that I didn’t know you collected magic carpets as a hobby.” Lily tells him as they finish their arrangements with the clerk. 

“Original magic carpets from the 8th century are exceedingly rare, I now own five of them.” He tells her with a boyish grin on his face. 

He reminds Lily very much of one of those people who is proud of their 20 expensive luxurious cars, and she finds it secretly adorable. She shakes her head with an amused smile. “But where have you been hiding them?”

“Oh I keep them at my villa in Abu Dhabi. I’ll show you sometime.” He tells her, as if this is nothing. Lily just blinks at him, he has a place in Abu Dhabi? It really shouldn’t surprise her, yet she can’t help thinking that after all the time she’s spent with the man, she barely knows him.

Making their way out of the auction house and back onto the street, Solomon looks at his pocket watch. “Hm, time for lunch I’d say.. I didn’t think to pack anything...it’s a nice day for a picnic..” He muses, sounding a bit disappointed with his lack of foresight there.

“That’s alright! We’re in Paris, I want to go to a cafe!” Lily tells him exuberantly, hiding the fact that she’s very much relieved that Solomon didn’t pack them a picnic.

Making their way down the bustling city streets, Solomon takes her hand. “Stay close.” He tells her with a smile.

They stop to have lunch at the first cafe that draws Lily’s eye. “Oh! Look at this place. It’s so cute.” Lily says as she admires the architecture of the building and the outdoor seating. “Let’s get a table outside!”

Lily looks at the menu with enthusiasm once they are seated, everything on the menu looks amazing and for once she feels like Beelzebub, she wants to try it all! Unlike her gluttonous demon, she won’t be able to manage it. Eventually they settle for ordering some coffee and croque monsieur, a type of open faced sandwich. 

 

James & Leila’s Reality

Contemptuous looks are sent their way as the group walks into Hôtel Le Meurice. At least, that’s how Leila feels. They look like la racaille; plebeians. Definitely not the type of people that should walk into this hotel. With their jeans and sneakers. And one and a half suitcases and a couple of bags. Well, they’re certainement gorgeous people. But still. Looks won’t buy them a room in this luxurious hotel.

“Are you sure we’re here at the right address, Asmo?” Leila feels a bit uncomfortable.

Asmodeus laughs brilliantly, already changing the looks of contempt into stares of awe from the people in the lobby. “Of course, ma Princesse Soleil! Only the best for us!” He walks confidently to the reception desk, while Leila is processing her newest nickname. James shrugs at Leila and follows him without hesitation.

“This is not bad, Asmo.” Satan looks around approvingly, as he guides a hesitating Leila with him. “Don’t worry, Leila. Leave it to Asmo. He’ll charm our way into the best suite.”

“I would be just as happy with something modest…” She whispers, feeling judged by her appearance and because she’s walking into a hotel with three men. At least they didn’t bring the whole family. That would be more embarrassing!

“The best suites are the best soundproof, though.” He teases her with a kiss and laughs out loud, when she starts blushing.

“Oui!” Asmodeus, in the meantime, nods animatedly to the receptionist who is completely smitten with him already. “I’d like to speak to the manager. We’re interested in staying in la Belle Etoile Penthouse Suite.”

“Did he say Penthouse?” Leila whispers, almost in a panic. They’re going to be kicked out of the hotel now for sure!

Satan chuckles seeing his mate like this. She’s always so confident with things she knows. But apparently there still are a lot of things she needs to learn to become confident about. “You’re being too cute, Leila. Don’t worry about it. Asmo is getting us that place and it’s going to cost us almost nothing.”

“What?” She looks shocked, then whispers urgently. “We’re going to pay the hotel, though. Right?”

“Of course.” James whispers, while Asmo is talking to the manager now in rapid French. “But do you know how much these rooms cost for one night? They can give us a 90% discount and still make profit.” He obviously doesn’t see any problems here.

“Oui, oui. Exactement! We want to use three bedrooms in the Penthouse suite.” He looks at James and whispers. “Unless you like to share a bed with me?” After James shakes his head, he shrugs and turns to the receptionist and manager again. “Oui, trois chambres.” 

He continues the negotiations and in the end he has made sure the group can make use of all kinds of perks that are just for the Penthouse suite. A group of curious people has formed around them and Leila feels like she wants to disappear. She knows the spells for it, after all. But Satan won’t let her, his arm wrapped around her. Proudly showing everyone who she’s with. James just thinks it’s all very amusing and he’s grinning ear to ear when eventually the group's luggage is deposited on a cart and a carrier and a concierge escorts them to the elevator leading up to the Penthouse.

 

Leila has quickly forgotten all about her misgivings, when the group arrives in their Penthouse suite. Because it is absolutely gorgeous! It’s designed in such a way that each room has plenty of light shining through the tall picture windows. The main part of the suite has a living room area, a dining area, a study area and a main bedroom and bathroom. A spiral staircase leads down to another bedroom. One of the remaining two bedrooms is being unlocked for them by the concierge. 

After the staff has been tipped by Leila, and they have made their leave, the dividing of the bedrooms begins. Of course Asmodeus wants to claim the main bedroom for himself, but Satan kicks him out and plans to install himself there with Leila. Asmodeus complains about it. It was him, after all, who got them this Penthouse for an apple and an egg. But Satan doesn’t care. He’s here with his mate and she gets the best of the best. And he’s the stronger one of the two demons. 

James and Leila just wait out the argument on the gorgeous terras. They basically have the whole roof to themselves and have an amazing view over the city. “This is nice.” Leila sighs happily, as they admire the view of the Louvre, the Eiffel tower and other iconic landmarks from the rooftop, ignoring Asmodeus complaints and Satan's rumbling voice in the background. “I could get used to this.” She really does enjoy being treated like a princess, now and then.

James laughs. Suddenly Leila doesn’t feel so embarrassed to ask for a penthouse, anymore. “Well, you kind of already are used to living at the top of a building. Miss Luxurious, with her own penthouse at the House of Lamentation.”

“I should ask Lucifer to make it more like a penthouse, right?” She giggles jokingly. “It would be nice to have my own terras like this.” Then she shakes her head. “This is nice, for sometimes. But I wouldn’t want to ruin the spooky image of the House. Now, let’s separate the fight dogs and have some fun in Paris!” 

James hugs her and cheers with her. “Yes, let’s!”

 

Lily’s Reality

After having enjoyed a light Parisian lunch, they make their way to Solomon’s next stop. Since it’s too far to walk from the cafe, Solomon uses his magic to move them across the city. Lily is busy admiring all the different shops and charms of the neighborhood when they suddenly reach their destination. “L'Objet qui Parle?” Lily reads the shop sign of what looks to be some sort of vintage curiosity shop. She looks at him quizzically, once again it seems like they’ve arrived at a perfectly ordinary shop. Will they be going through another hidden door?

“I received a message from a colleague. He happened to come across a real spellbook here not long ago. Sometimes shops like these unwittingly come across something genuine. It’s not safe for the general public to acquire real magical items.” Solomon explains to her. 

“Oh!” Lily looks at the shop with new eyes. She never thought about that possibility before. The Devildom had been where she discovered the world of magic but she is now learning that her own world is not quite as mundane as she always believed.

“If you can find something with real magic in this shop, I’ll give you a prize.” Solomon tells Lily with a mischievous smirk. 

Lily looks at the shop with determination. A prize from Solomon? She thinks to herself, that’s not an opportunity she can pass up. She moves forward, making sure she’s the first one into the shop. “Bonjour!” She greets the shopkeeper brightly with the little french she knows, as she enters. Solomon enters behind her and the task to find something genuine, in this curious little shop, begins. 

The little shop is jam packed with all sorts of antiquities and vintage items from the ordinary to the bizarre. There’s definitely a lot to browse through in this tiny space, but Lily doesn’t let that sway her determination. Solomon sticks close to her and she’s hyper aware everytime his arm brushes against her own. “What method will you use?” Solomon whispers in her ear, his warm, smooth voice sends a wave of electricity down her spine. 

Lily tries not to let him see the way he makes her cheeks heat up and continues to look at the items around them. “I’m not completely sure…” She finally replies. “Maybe a locator spell of some sort?”

“Efficient if you had the time, tools and privacy to perform one.” Solomon counters. “Here,” he tells her, pulling out a spelled crystal from his pocket and a random knick knack off the shelf next to them. “Place your hand over one and then the other.” He instructs her. “Open yourself up to your own power, what do you feel.”

Lily nods, closing her eyes for a moment to center herself. Holding the item from the shop, Lily feels nothing. Then she holds the crystal, there’s an immediate difference although she’s not sure she would have noticed it if she hadn’t been looking for it. She’s felt this feeling before when she’s come into contact with certain things before. Usually something cursed in the Devildom. 

“Depending on the object, it’s not always obvious at first. But like calls to like. Often witches and sorcerers are naturally drawn to magical artifacts, or repelled, depending on the nature of the item.” Solomon explains as he pockets his crystal. “So you see, you don’t need any spells or enchanted tools, you only need your own senses.” He smirks.

Keeping this in mind, Lily turns back to her task, focusing on keeping her senses open and alert. Still, it’s hard not to be distracted a bit by all the interesting items in the shop. 

“Oh that’s pretty.” Lily comments to herself, admiring an emerald set ring in the display case. Lots of pretty jewelry sit under the glass, but none of it gives off the sort of energy she is looking for. 

Something interesting catches her attention in one corner of the shop next. It's shaped like a hand mirror and looks something similar to a sundial, except it’s some sort of metal calendar. It certainly looks interesting, but she doesn’t detect anything from it. “What is this?” She still wonders aloud. 

“Hm?” Solomon is, once again, close to her as he looks over her shoulder. His chest brushing against her back. “Oh,” he chuckles, “That’s a prognosticator.”

Lily raises a brow, she’s heard that word before. “Isn’t that someone who predicts the future?” She asks with a furrowed brow.

“Indeed. But these were used in the past by doctors if you can believe that.” Solomon tells her, still chuckling over her expression. “There was a time where medicine and magic walked a thin line together. These were believed to be able to predict the correct time to treat an illness. Of course, it was all hogwash.”

Hmm. Interesting. Lily thinks, learning something new everyday. Setting it down, she continues to browse through the curios. This is going to take all day at this rate. She thinks to herself. There has to be a better way than touching all the objects. Deep in thought she misses the amused way Solomon is watching her. Closing her eyes, she tries to focus on expanding her senses. Solomon has taught her before about all the energies that both people and objects can carry. She can pick out the different energies between herself, Solomon and the shopkeeper. For the most part the objects in the shop are inert, some giving off positive or negative vibrations based on their past history. Ah ha! Lily opens her eyes, there’s definitely something giving off a magical aura in this shop! Except she feels she’s being pulled in more than one direction, maybe there’s more than one item here! She thinks excitedly. 

She’s drawn to a trunk full of random pieces of vintage clothing. Shuffling through various blouses, scarves and what not. Lily finally pulls out a vest. Watery whorls and waves are embroidered over the dark leather in a blue that has faded over time. Several smooth pieces of sea glass have been sewn into the fabric as well. Interesting. Lily thinks to herself, her fingers gently gliding over the gems. It’s definitely the sea glass that she’s sensed. 

“Ah. What a wonderful find.” Solomon says, speaking over Lily’s shoulder again. “That’s not sea glass.” He says as if reading her mind. “Those are genuine Mermaid Tears.”

“Mermaid Tears?” Lily asks. She’s heard that mermaids are real, she and Asmodeus even spent some time at the beach transformed as them once. She’s never seen or met a real mermaid though. 

Solomon nods, taking the vest from her to inspect it further. “Mmhm. Yes. Mermaids are generally an unfeeling race, much like their cousins, the Sirens. If you do happen to break a mermaid's heart though, their tears turn to sea glass as they leave their eyes.”

“There’s something else…” Lily says, letting Solomon hold onto the Mermaid Tear vest. She passes by a bowl and then comes back to it. The bowl is full of various keychains. Not where she’d expect to find a magical item. Digging through the bowl she pulls out a keychain with a real rabbit's foot attached. She immediately bursts out in giggles. 

Solomon is quick to inspect what has Lily in a fit. “Ah, a lucky rabbit's foot.” He nods, looking equally as amused. “This one has indeed been infused with some luck...I’m afraid it’s mostly used up.” He announces after examining it for a moment.

Whomever enchanted this must have a sense of humour. Lily decides she’ll give it to Mammon. The dummy could use all the luck he can get.

 “Ready to go then?” Solomon asks her. 

Lily gives him a suspicious stare. “Are you testing me? I can still feel something here.” Earning herself a chuckle from him.

The next item is harder to find. She feels repelled, instead of drawn, which makes her nervous about what she might find. Eventually Lily’s eyes settle on a snow globe on a shelf just above her head. She points to it and Solomon fetches it for her. “I’m impressed you spotted this, there’s a cloaking spell on it, although it is old and beginning to erode away.” Solomon tells her as he places the globe carefully in her hands.

Lily peers at the snow globe, trying to understand it’s magic. There’s something about it that makes her uneasy. Inside the globe is a little house with a tiny garden. When something, or someone passes by the tiny window it startles her and she almost drops the globe. 

“Easy there.” Solomon cautions her, steadying her hands. “You don’t want to break this and release what’s inside.”

“Please tell me it’s not another one of Asmodeus’ jaded ex lovers.” Lily says with a grimace. This time she earns a full belly laugh from Solomon who’s given a rude look by the shopkeeper for being so loud. “Shhh.” Lily can’t help but smile too as she nudges his shoulder.

Solomon takes the globe from her, there’s an inscription on the base that Lily can’t read but apparently he can. “Hm. The Serpent Witch of Basque.” He raises his brows. 

“Who’s that?” Lily wants to know. 

“A most heinous witch. I won’t bore you with her list of crimes.” Solomon tells her off-handly.

“I can’t believe that it was just sitting in this shop for anyone to buy!” Lily says in a hushed tone, the shopkeeper has been eyeing them suspiciously since Solomon’s outburst. 

Solomon gives her a smile and her shoulder a comforting squeeze. “Bien trouvé, ma petite chasseresse.” Solomon shows off his French, praising her. “Why don’t you wait for me outside, and I’ll purchase these.” Lily gives him a beaming smile and makes her way out of the shop, it’s a lovely day and she can look through the windows of the other shops while she waits for him. She’s not upset about putting some distance between herself and that globe either.

 

James & Leila’s Reality

“Leilaaa!” Asmodeus complains. “Why are you bringing us to this shop?!” He doesn’t understand! It’s like his cute Sunshine has a whole new side to her! A side with strange opinions on what is ‘cute’ and ‘fun’. Look at where they are! “‘ Deyrolle’ .” He says with much disgust in his voice. “This shop is filled to the BRIM with taxidermied animals! Ugh!” He throws up his hands, almost knocking something over.

“Just for a minute, Asmo.” Leila promises him. “I saw a picture online that they have a hybrid of a unicorn and a pegasus here and…”

James bursts out laughing when he sees Asmodeus' offended face. That is why she wanted to come here?! Satan smirks at his younger brother. Seems like Leila is the best out of the whole family to rile up Asmodeus. In all her enthusiastic innocence.

“Ah!” She cheers excitedly. “There it is!” She inspects the taxidermied statue with a critical eye from all angles. “Oh wow, that actually does look real! Look, James! A baby pegacorn! Or a unisus?” She giggles, pulling him in and whispers. “I have seen pegasi up in the Celestial Realm and unicorns in the Devildom. What do you think?”

“I can’t really tell if it’s real or not.” James whispers back. “Except knowing that something like this can never be real. Seeing as where they’re coming from.”

“Right?” Leila nods enthusiastically. She knew James would understand!

“What else do they have here?” James is now an enthusiast as well. “Maybe they made a phoenix…?” He’s about to go deeper into the shop, but is grabbed by his collar by Asmodeus. 

“Oh no!” He tells him. “Not going to happen, James! The minute is over!” And he marches out of the shop dragging James behind him. Satan and Leila follow laughing.

Outside of the shop Leila looks on her list on her DDD. “I know just where we are going next.” She announces and stops a taxi with her magic and a radiant smile. Soon they maneuver through the Parisian traffic towards the Montmartre district.

 

Leila thinks she sees a familiar figure when they walk through Paris' most famous district for artists. Wait, was that…? She thinks, but her fleeting thoughts are being interrupted by Asmodeus' newest complaints as they step into the shop Leila wanted to visit. She shrugs, she probably was mistaken.

“Why are we here?” Asmodeus complains, while Satan and Leila enthusiastically start browsing the wares in the tiny curiosity boutique called ‘l'Objet qui Parle’. “Everything here is old and smelly and…”

“Hey James.” Leila ignores him, turning to her cousin instead. “Did you know? Shops like this often sell magical items by accident.”

“You’re serious…” James wasn’t much interested in this shop either. But that changes now. “How come?”

“People often don’t know what they have. Or it is dormant until a magician finds it…”

“Are you REALLY all going to ignore me?!” Asmodeus feels very offended. Everyone is ignoring him today and he is sure there's some cobweb in his hair now after he almost bumped his head against a dusty chandelier. 

“You’re saying we might find something like that in here?” James is, indeed, ignoring Asmodeus and Satan lets out a chuckle from where he stands, browsing the books in the shop.

Leila’s eyes shine in enthusiasm. “Who knows? Maybe? Did Solomon already teach you how to sense magic in your environment?”

“Well no, I think?” James and Leila are now whispering together in a corner and Asmodeus lets out a huff and stomps to a section that displays all sorts of jewelry. At least that is pretty to look at. “I mean, I can sense the demonic energy from our demons. And the energy from our angels.”

“It’s like that.” Leila explains. “Everything supernatural has a kind of energy to it. You need to learn to search for it. Can you sense my energy, even when we’re not connecting?”

James assumes that Leila can. She’s been more trained after all. So he tries as well. And tries to not look like a lunatic while doing it. They could have given him that lesson in a less crowded tiny space, honestly. He smirks.

“Don’t laugh.” Leila reprimands him sternly, taking the lesson seriously. So James tries to focus again.

“I think I can sense the different energies from you and the other people here. There really is a difference!” He whispers at a certain point excitedly and Leila has to shush him. Though her own excited giggling works a bit counter effective to that. “Solomon did once tell me that everyone has a certain amount of magic. Is that what I’m sensing now?”

“Yeah!” Leila nods in enthusiasm. Proud that she could teach him something, and proud for how much talent he has for it. “When looking for magic you don’t look with your eyes, but you sense the energies around you. Now that you know how to focus on energies, what do the items in this shop tell you?”

“Well…” James tries to focus on the objects now. It’s almost like he can sense the people who have touched them recently. Like he can sense Satan over by the books, flipping through them, in the one corner of the shop. And Asmodeus over by the jewelry. He never knew he could sense them so strongly. But of course, now he’s sensing them as the magic they radiate. “I honestly can’t sense anything supernatural here… I mean, apart from us four. But maybe…”

“Yeah.” Leila whispers, nodding. “I have this feeling that there was something magical in this shop. Not too long ago.”

“Me too.” James looks a bit worried. “Who do you think bought it?”

“You can’t worry yourself with that, James.” Leila teaches him now. “There will always be moments where you are just a bit too late. All you can do is hope it is in good hands.”

“Oh good, so we can go now?” Asmodeus perks up, now that it seems that the humans couldn’t find what they were looking for. “Finally!”

“What are you talking about, Asmo?” Leila looks at him in surprise. “I haven’t looked at everything with my eyes yet.” She now moves through the little shop and browses all the curiosities with a different sort of interest. Until she stops and beams. “Ooh! Look at these! So cute!”

Asmodeus comes to look at what she’s so excited about. “Little dirty-looking bottles? You disappoint me, Leila. That’s not cute.”

“They’re obviously not dirty.” She tells him sternly. “They’re old apothecary bottles. See? The salts and acids they made medicine with in the old days have corroded the glass. Oh, I need to find more of these! I’ll use them for my potions, once I’ve sterilised them.”

Satan looks over the shoulder of his mate, already a stack of books under his arm. “You should only buy the ones who have special shapes or colorations.” He advises her, knowing that something like that would make her even more excited for it. “Look, this one has a special shape, it’s more of an orb. And this one almost looks blue-ish because of the corrosion.”

“Oh, that’s a good idea.” Leila nods enthusiastically. “I want a lot of these little bottles!”

“I’ll help you with your collection, if that’s what you want to do.” He promises her. “If I find some more of these in the future, I’ll purchase them for you.” He laughs when she hugs him in her enthusiasm and gives her a quick kiss.

“Ugh, you two.” Asmodeus complains some more, feeling left out. “We’re in public here, you know?” As if he would care about that if he was in Satan’s shoes.

“Let's gather all Leila’s little bottles and pay for them and Satan’s books and get out of this shop.” James tries to mediate. “I’m feeling a bit crowded in here too…”

They agree on that and soon they leave ‘l'Objet qui Parle’ again. Asmodeus breathes in exaggeratedly. “Finally! Fresh air!”

“I know another fun place we can visit!” Leila tells them after having cast a spell over her bag and dropping all her bottles and Satan's books in it. Asmodeus narrows his eyes at her: He’s not trusting her tastes in ‘fun shops’ anymore.

Chapter Text


Lily’s Reality

Still riding high on her find, they begin to make their way to the next location. “Let’s be ‘normies’,” Lily says with air quotes and a laugh, “and take the bus!” Cheering as she watches a bus go by.

It takes them a bit to figure out which bus they need to get on to reach the next shop. Solomon marvels over her in silence. She’s grown so much from when he first met her, yet even after all she’s been through, she's always been able to smile easily and find joy in something as simple as a bus ride in a new place. After all this time, all she has to do is turn that brilliant smile his way and his heart skips a beat.

“I was surprised when you invited me to Paris with you..” Solomon tells her as they sit and enjoy their ride through the city. “I would have thought you’d take the train and have an adventure with one of the brothers.”

Lily rolls her eyes. She does love them all and she loves her adventures with them but it’s not always about them. Especially when they decide to fight over her. “Lucifer wouldn’t allow them all to come and you know they would fight and argue...besides,” she smiles at him, “I like having adventures with you too.”

They only have to walk a few short blocks once they leave the bus before they arrive at the apothecary shop. “Herboristerie du Palais-Royal” Lily reads the shop sign with a very poor french accent. He must be picking up some ingredients here, I wonder if there’s something special about this shop? Lily wonders to herself. 

But it turns out that it’s just a regular apothecary, no special or rare ingredients to be found.

“Tea?” Lily asks, when she sees Solomon picking out several varieties of tea leaves. 

“Yes, I’ve been told the quality is quite fine here. So I thought I’d pick some up for Barbatos.” He explains. 

“Aww that’s so sweet.” Lily smiles at him. “I’ve never seen you buy gifts for Barbatos before.”

She’s only met a handful of Solomon’s 72 demons but he only seems to have very good relations with Asmodeus and Barbatos, still, she’d always felt like Solomon even had walls up with those two as well. 

“Hmm. Yes, well I do my best to stay in his good graces.” Solomon smirks. Probably thinking about all the headaches he’s caused Barbatos over the years. 



Before they go back to the hotel to prepare for dinner, they decide to take a stroll through the famous Tuileries Gardens, which is right outside their hotel. To Lily, the weather couldn’t be more perfect, the sun is out and it’s not too cold or too hot. They’re admiring the foliage and statues in the garden when Lily sees they are coming up on a small hedge maze.

  “That looks fun!” Her laugh is tinkling with delight, as she runs inside. Solomon can only shake his head and follow suit. 

“Lily?” Solomon calls out for her, having already lost sight of her.  

Lily doesn’t respond, giggling to herself. Knowing now how sorcerers can sense magic, she knows she has no chance of hiding from him if he really wants to find her. Still, this is fun and a little exciting. What will happen when he finds me? She can’t help thinking. Paris has gone a little to her head, she knows it. Spending the day here with just Solomon. In the City of Love, as Satan reminded her this morning… Even if Solomon just sees her as his apprentice, she’s still happy for today. Skipping through the maze, she looks back over her shoulder to see if Solomon is already following, when she runs into something hard.

“Oof!” She begins to fall backwards, but strong arms wrap around her. She looks up, surprised to find herself practically nose to nose with Solomon. She blinks at him and blushes, not missing the way Solomon has glanced at her lips. Like she did to his, for a fraction of a moment. She’d only have to lean forward a little and their lips would be pressed together... 

Then the moment is over. “Careful now.” He smirks, as she straightens up on her feet and pulls away. Solomon catches her hand in his own. “Let’s get you back to the hotel. Ma petite fleur sauvage.” Lily isn’t sure if she feels disappointed or relieved that the kiss didn’t happen. She does feel happy by how Solomon looked into her eyes: Definitely not the way a teacher should look to his student. But the way a man looks at a woman.



James & Leila’s Reality

“Another one of these places?!” Asmodeus exclaims as they arrive at ‘Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen’. It is rumored to be the largest antiques and second-hand marketplace in the world. “Leila! A flea market?! Why are you torturing me like this?! I thought Paris was supposed to be beautiful...” He almost cries.

“But Asmo, I promise you’re going to like this.” Leila links her arm in Asmodeus’ and pulls him into the lanes and walkways between the several little shops and stalls. She starts praising the charms of this place. “All kinds of people come here. People looking for bargains, tourists, designers, influencers like you… There’s something for everyone here. Books, antiques, furniture, vintage high fashion, jewelry and maybe… Magic.” She whispers that last bit to James with a wink and he grins back. Apparently she’s not done trying to make him find something magical in Paris.

“Vintage high fashion?” Asmodeus perks up. “Real haute couture? Here? And jewelry of quality?”

“Yes, if we’re lucky!” Leila nods enthusiastically, her eyes shining with barely suppressed ebullience. “And it will cost us next to nothing. We just have to try to find it and haggle ourselves a deal.” She beams and Asmodeus can’t help but capitulate now. She’s being too infectious.

While Leila is trying to get Asmodeus excited for this place, Satan gives her a kiss before saying goodbye. “I’m going to look for some books. Watch our humans, Asmo. You three have fun and I’ll find you in two hours.” And off he goes. Within seconds he disappears into the crowd.

“He’ll find us?” James wonders, frowning at the crowd. “This place is huge!”

“Didn’t Leila just teach you about senses?” Asmodeus lectures him. “Satan has an easy time finding Leila. She’s his mate for one. He can pick out her scent from anywhere. And then he can also sense her magic and see the radiance of her soul. Same with you, James. We know how to find our humans. Especially when having a pact with them, or are otherwise... intimately connected.” He winks.

“Right.” James and Leila now both blush, while Asmodeus is telling them this. So out in the open. Where hundreds of people could hear them. “Scent…”

“Don’t worry, it doesn’t smell bad. On the contrary. You could compare it to pheromones, in a way.” Asmodeus explains laughing, seeing their faces. “Though it’s not exactly the same.”

“Anyway, I want to find some magic!” James rubs his hand with a cheer and a family of american tourists give him a look. He just grins at them. “I mean, If I can’t find it here, where else! Am I right?” They give him an approving nod and carry on.

“Oh, but before we venture further into this… place... you two have to promise me I can buy you an outfit for tonight's dinner here.” Asmodeus negotiates. “Because I may have forgotten to tell you that there is a dress code for the restaurant. So you didn’t bring anything appropriate. Or did you?” Asmodeus smirks triumphantly as he sees the looks on his humans faces. He was planning to buy an outfit for them in Paris from the start. He just hopes he can find something here.

“Sure Asmo.” James agrees immediately, without any hesitation. “You can dress us up. Make us look good, okay?” He pats him on the shoulder. But Leila hesitates. She feels like Asmodeus is up to something.

“Leila?” Asmodeus crosses his arms with a smirk. Not planning to make another move before she agrees. 

“Ugh, fine.” She caves, with a shrug. Asmodeus tastes may be a bit extravagant, but they’re actually not bad.

Asmodeus cheers now too. “Yay! Let’s go find something! Oh! And we have to be quick about it, because I want our outfits to be a surprise for Satan!”

Asmodeus has quickly found three matching vintage smart casual outfits for the guys. He tells Leila and James that he will tailor them so that they fit perfectly on him, James and Satan tonight. Earning himself some incredulous looks from passersby, but they can’t understand, of course.

“Time to find you a pretty dress, Leila!” Asmodeus announces, after he has discreetly put all the new suits in her bottomless-bag spelled handbag.

“Wait.” James interrupts him, however. “Maybe I sense something?” He looks at Leila for confirmation and she tries to focus now too. Then she nods. “Let’s investigate that first, okay?” James grins, rubbing his hands again, as he tries to locate where the magic is coming from. Other than Leila’s spelled handbag.

They try to not draw too much attention while they’re being drawn towards the still unknown magical item. Trying to sense something and focus on it works better if you close your eyes. And then keep stopping and moving and closing your eyes… Well, it looks funny. Asmodeus doesn’t have much patience for the young sorceress and the inexperienced apprentice. He’s already sensed the magic. And it wasn’t interesting to him.

“It’s this way.” James whispers, grabbing Leila’s arm as she was just about to go the opposite way.

Leila nods proudly at James. “Yeah, but this way as well.” She whispers back, while Asmodeus is rolling his eyes behind them. Seriously, these humans of his!

“We can go get both, if you two hurry up already.” He huffs and marches into the direction that James wanted to go.

“Asmo!” Leila calls after him. “Let James do it!”

“Ugh! Fiiine!” Asmodeus stops and waits for the others to catch up. “Can I at least tell you it is here in this shop? If not: ‘whoops’.” He makes air-quotes and rolls his eyes when saying that. He really doesn’t want to go look for magical items right now. He’s not like his nerdy brothers and besides, he makes his own and they, at least, have all something to do with something beautiful or fun.

But Leila pats him on the arm. She understands his impatience and didn’t mean to make his day so uncomfortable for him. “Thanks, Asmo.” She gives him a sweet smile and starts searching with James. 

“Look Leila.” James soon holds up an old-looking dreamcatcher. It’s feathers look timeworn and the beads have faded. Some of the strings have snapped. “I think this is it.”

“Yeah, I think so too.” Leila nods, closing her eyes and holding her hand over the dreamcatcher. “It feels like it has the ability to protect the owner from any bad dreams. Usually these things aren’t the real thing, but this one must have belonged to a powerful shaman once.”

“You think it’s broken, because of the bad dreams it’s caught?” James asks, carefully picking up the dreamcatcher and walks with it to the shop owner.

“Yeah.” Leila answers him. “But me and Belphie can fix it, I think. Make it brand new. And then we can use it for Pandora. If that’s okay with you?”

“Of course!” James laughs. “Wow, I found actual magic in this place!” 

The shop owner looks at him a bit suspicious, when James says that just after he bought the dreamcatcher. James and Leila can exactly read on his face what he thinks: ‘Huh? Magic in his shop? He should have asked for more!’ Laughing they leave the shop and go find the other item. Hopefully it’s still there!

“Hey!” Leila says to James and Asmodeus. “Does that look like Solomon to you...?” She just spotted the same familiar looking figure from earlier again. But she’s pulled along by James and Asmodeus and it doesn’t seem like they have heard her. I was probably wrong. She thinks to herself as she follows her friends. What are the odds, right? But still… 

While she still wonders about it, they have already reached the other place where they sensed magic. It doesn’t take them long to find what they are looking for: A jar filled with small pieces of sea glass. “Huh.” James says, a bit surprised. “I didn’t expect that.”

“You look at it too much in the scientific way.” Leila whispers to him, as she grabs the jar before anyone else in the crowded shop does. “A lot of sea glass is made by the tumbling and grinding of the waves and the sand in the ocean. It makes normal glass look so smoothed, yet frosted, like some of these.” She points out some of the pieces in the jar. “But some sea glass is also called Mermaid Tears. They look more clear too. Real Mermaid Tears grant the user a one-time only experience.”

“Experience?” 

"Yes. Mermaid Tears let you experience your desire.” Leila nods. “It’s not exactly real. But it is the feeling of that experience. Like…” Her face gets real serious now. “If you wanted to talk to your parents one more time, to say goodbye in a way… A Mermaid Tear can give you that experience. But only for one time.”

“Wow…” James whispers back. “I think I would like that…” He looks to his cousin and he knows: She would like it too. “How many in that jar are real Mermaid Tears?”

“Well, there’s a lot in here, but it’s mixed with the normal sea glass. But we can figure that out at home, right?” Leila purchases the jar filled with sea glass and quickly puts it into her bag. James knows she will keep it safely locked away in her own study, together with all her other rare items and materials. “Even if the material by itself is not magical, normal sea glass also has its magical uses, by the way.” She teaches James with a happy smile. “I’m so happy we found this.” She beams at him and then she turns to Asmodeus. “Asmo, we’re all ready for you now!”


Now we can find a dress for Leila?!” Asmodeus complains about this waste of time. Sure, they found a battle-worn dreamcatcher and some Mermaid Tears, but was that really more important than finding a dress for that evening? His humans sometimes. They have a completely wrong concept of ‘priority’!

James and Leila follow Asmodeus in his search now, like two good, well behaved humans and soon Asmodeus finds what he’s been looking for: On an old-fashioned mannequin that stands on the streets, sits an eye-catching, though slightly dirty-looking, long strapless a-line gown made of fine silks in a light jade green. The bodice is ruched in an overlay of iridescent paris-emerald green chiffon. Another layer of matching chiffon skirting gathers at one side of the waist and falls gracefully, decoratively pinned with large jade floral blooms. Matching floral decorations adorn the opposite shoulder.

“Asmo, are you sure…?” Leila whispers urgently to him. “I think that’s a wedding dress…” She can’t go to a restaurant in a huge green wedding dress! Okay, it’s very pretty, she can clean it up easily with a few spells and she likes the color. But it would be embarrassing! And what would Satan and Belphegor think of it?!

“It’s just perfect for you, ma Princesse Soleil!” He laughs at her. “Remember that you have given me carte blanche to dress you up for tonight's dinner. So you’re going to wear what I’m putting on you.”

“But…”

“Nope, no buts.” Asmodeus purchases the wedding dress. “And now we go shopping for matching jewelry. Come on, Leila!” He seems to finally be enjoying this place she dragged him to: So many shops where he can find and create the most perfect outfits for himself and his companions. 

Just after he has put the enormous dress into Leila’s handbag, Satan pops up, seemingly out of nowhere again. A couple of books in his one hand and a little box in his other.

“I found something for you, Leila.” He puts his books in her bag that she holds open for him and then shows her what is in the box. It’s a small collection of little craquelé glass and porcelain bottles in different shapes and colors. Satan has already started helping Leila with her new collection, like he promised. “What do you think?” Leila is already around his neck, giving him kisses in thanks and making him laugh.



Lily’s Reality

Back in the hotel, Lily is enjoying a bath before dinner. Solomon told her he would take care of dinner arrangements as part of her promised prize. She only packed some fashionably comfortable clothes that would still be ‘Asmodeus approved’ so she had told him not to pick any place too fancy.

She flushes, thinking about how close they came to kissing in the garden. What were you thinking? Spending a day and night together in Paris?! She mentally scolds herself, as she holds her breath and sinks under the water a moment as she tries to free her mind of Solomon. Even if she still loves him, even if she knows he still wants her, there’s always that nagging voice in the back of her head. The one that tells her that he’ll just break her heart. Besides , she tells herself, I need to focus on my apprenticeship.

Walking out of the fancy marble bathroom in her complimentary robe, she blinks in surprise when Solomon hands her a bouquet of pink stargazer lilies. “Your first prize.” Solomon tells her with a cheeky grin as she takes the bouquet. Lily does her best to hide her ridiculously happy grin by shoving her face in the bouquet to smell the lilies.

“First prize?” Lily asks, looking at her bed where a  fancy dress with matching shoes and jewelry have been laid out for her. She tries to calm her heart that wants to leap with excitement. If she didn’t know better, it looks like the beginnings of a romantic date instead of a prize for an apprentice.

“You found three items, so you get three prizes.” Solomon tells her with a satisfied look on his face. The dress on the bed looks vaguely familiar but she can’t place it. “I found this in your bag,” Solomon tells her as if reading her mind. “Looks like Asmodeus’ doing, he even had a neat little spell on it to make sure it didn’t wrinkle.” He chuckles, amused.

“I thought we weren't going anywhere fancy?” Lily asks him as she fingers the fine fabric of the dress and eyes the flowers.

Solomon laughs. “What happened to your carpe diem attitude Lily?” He says while gesturing to the fancy hotel she booked. “Besides I promised a prize to my apprentice, I didn’t say she could pick her prizes.” He teases.

“It’s all lovely. Thank you.” Lily tells him, giving him a beaming smile. Solomon only gives her a rare smile back before he makes his way into the bathroom to freshen himself up for dinner, leaving Lily alone to change. Without Asmo’s help, she does her best with her own hair and makeup, opting to keep it simple. 

The dress is a beautiful lilac color with a strapless sweetheart neckline and sheer sleeves that begin at the neckline of the dress and fall just below the elbows. A layer of sheer chiffon over silk is embellished with silver beading that begins heavy on the top and thins out the further down the dress it goes. Lily thinks the dress is very beautiful but is a bit worried she’ll be overdressed if anything. 

She’s struggling to clasp the matching silver necklace when Solomon is suddenly behind her. She startles a bit, not having heard him exit the bathroom, she swears he moves like a demon in stealth mode when he wants to. Goosebumps prickle her flesh as his fingers sweep across her exposed skin when he pulls her hair gently out of the way. The intimate touch is as familiar as it is foriegn. “Allow me.” He says, the timbre of his voice in her ear sets off her nerves again. 

“Thank you.” Lily tells him in her quiet voice and resists the temptation to lean back into his chest.

His hands pull her hair back in place and then he sets his hands on her shoulders and gives her a light squeeze. “My pleasure.”

Lily breaks away from his touch in a hurry, feeling as if her flight or fight instinct has been triggered. More like flee or f-.... She shakes the thought from her mind and grabs her silver strappy heels and sits in a chair to put them on. Solomon watches her, for a moment she strikes a graceful figure as she tilts her head, her hair falls away to the other side exposing the graceful line of her neck, to the subtle swell of her breasts. Then her jerky, ungraceful movements break the spell as she awkwardly tries to put her heels on. Solomon isn’t put off by this though, if anything it only endears her to him more.

When they finally make their way out of the hotel, Lily can’t help swooning a little bit over how dashing Solomon looks in his three piece suit. His silver vest matches with her beading and she can’t help but feel that he and Asmo planned this in advance. Her heart begins racing a bit as she gets swept up in romantic daydreams again, feeling safer to do so now that they’ve left the privacy of the hotel room. Solomon’s hand pressed against the small of her back guides her out of the lift and outside towards the luxury taxi he’s called ahead of time.


Solomon takes Lily to dinner at the oldest restaurant in Paris. “Tour d’Argent” He tells Lily, as she looks up in awe at the tall building on the corner of a busy crossroads. “This was an inn originally in 1582. And a favorite of royalty back in the 16th century.”

“It looks like it’s still fit for a royal visit now.” Lily tells Solomon, her tone both full of awe and a little reproachfulness. "I guess I was worried about being overdressed for nothing." She mutters, not used to being spoiled by Solomon in this way. It all seems way too opulent for a prize for an apprentice. She does feel spoiled and grateful for the opportunity to eat in such a beautiful restaurant, but her modesty comes through when they arrive on the top floor and are escorted to a table for two. With the very best view over the oldest part of Paris. "How did you get a reservation for this place at the last minute?"

"Just as you think having a pact with Mammon can have its advantages, a pact with Asmodeus has its advantages too." Solomon smiles at her as they sit at their table and examine the menu. "And after we have dressed up so nicely, we will of course not go to an ordinary eatery, Lily." Solomon laughs off her worries.

The restaurant serves up an indulgent menu under one-Michelin-star chef Philippe Labbé. Lily doesn’t know half of what she’s reading on the menu, but Solomon helps her choose. After they have placed their orders, Lily enjoys the incredible view of Notre-Dame that they have from the top of this building. 

Dinner begins quietly but Lily doesn’t mind, it’s easier to think when she doesn’t have a bunch of noisy demons competing for her attention. Lily is amazed by the food, she tries her best to eat with some amount of decorum. She supposes those etiquette classes that Lucifer forced them to take at one time, were not in vain. 

Solomon covertly observes her while they eat. It’s something new sharing time with her like this, sure, he’s seen her dressed up before at various balls and functions while surrounded by demons. Their time alone has always been casual comfort or time spent focused on work. Being with her this way stirs up the emotions he works so hard to keep under wraps. Tonight will be a test but he’s determined to do things right if he ever wants a second chance to be with her.

In between two courses, Solomon reaches across the small table for two and take’s Lily’s hand in his own. With some sleight of hand he produces a ring and slips it on the middle finger of her right hand. “Your last prize. I saved the best for last.” He tells her with a warm smile and a little squeeze of her hand.

“Oh!” Lily blinks. It’s the same emerald ring she saw earlier at L'Objet qui Parle. “It’s so beautiful and you’re so sneaky.” She tells him teasingly even as she smiles, happy and daydreaming romantic thoughts. 

“It suits you.” Solomon tells her, letting her hand go and sitting back to take a sip of his bordeaux . She looks up at him, the warm look in his eyes has her pulse picking up a pace.

“Thank you, it’s a very nice prize.” Lily tells him, but oh! Something is different about it from earlier when she spied it in the shop. “You enchanted it?” She asks, curiously.

Solomon nods, pleased that she’s spotted it herself. “I did, yes, it’s a protection spell so I’d like you to keep that ring on you for now.” Lily frowns, a protection spell? Why now all of the sudden? She wonders to herself.

“What sort of protection spell?”

“Hm..” Solomon taps his fingers lightly on the table, thinking of how to explain it. “I guess you could say it’s a combination of a cloaking spell and a signal scrambling spell?” He chuckles. “I customized it just for you.”

“But...why?” Lily wants to know, still confused. All her day dreams of this being a purely romantic gesture are floating away on the sweet summer breeze. It always comes down to her safety, every time. She’s happy he cares of course, but is that all he sees himself as, now? Her guardian and instructor?

“You made your unofficial debut today , I introduced you at the auction as my apprentice. As I’ve told you before there are dangers with this path you’ve chosen. Not just in being a sorcerer’s apprentice but being my apprentice specifically will bring you more threats than usual. You don’t live as long as I have without acquiring some enemies.” He explains to her with a serious tone. “If any other sorcerer or witch tries to locate you via magical means, this will help keep you hidden.”

Then smiling, he reaches across the table and gives her hand a squeeze again. “As a master, it is my duty to keep my apprentice safe.” There it is ..Lily thinks to herself glumly. I’ll always be his apprentice first. 

“When did you even have time to do that?” She wonders aloud. Keeping her previous thoughts private. It had to have been when she was in the bath but he would have had to have the spell ready ahead of time. But of course he had, if he planned on bringing me to that sorcerers auction.  

“I have my ways.” He answers her with his cryptic grin. Lily just smiles and rolls her eyes, I’d have to live forever to uncover all of this man’s secrets. She thinks to herself. 




James & Leila’s Reality

After Asmodeus has found some jewelry for himself and Leila - James and Satan were not interested in that, no matter how hard Asmodeus tried - the group goes back to their penthouse suite to get ready for dinner at the Eiffel tower later that evening.

While Asmodeus is busy dressing up himself and his brothers, Leila empties her bag on the dining area table. Looks like Satan has found a lot of books. She thinks, smiling. Oh, and double copies of most of them, too. That’s nice. She happily displays her new potion bottles on the table and casts sterilizing and cleansing spells on them. I can’t wait to fill these with my most special potions! Then, carefully, she takes out the jar with Mermaid Tears who got mixed up with sea glass. And finally, even more careful, she fishes up the fragile old dreamcatcher. She casts a renewal spel on the feathers, beads and threads and then a repair spell. She holds it up against the evening light and smiles. It looks so vibrant and pretty now and good as new. It will be a powerful protective talisman for Pandora, once it’s fully restored, but she knows the magic it holds is still unstable right now. 

“Belphie has to help me with that.” She mumbles to herself before she places the restored dreamcatcher in her suitcase, together with the other treasures they’ve acquired today and casts a protective spell on everything.

When the boys walk out of Asmo’s room Leila gives them a big grin, they all look so handsome! Asmo dressed them all in vintage three piece suits, yet he altered them to look like the latest fashions while somehow holding onto that vintage charm. James looks sophisticated in charcoal grey and Satan looks dangerously sexy in black with an emerald green tie. Asmodeus, as usual, somehow embraces feminine charm and masculine sexiness all while wearing a soft blush pink suit.

“Wow! You all look great!” Leila compliments all of them, but she’s making eyes with Satan. 

Asmodeus laughs, “Haha, of course we do. But I look best of all, right?” He winks, ignoring the glare from his brother. Then it’s as if Asmodeus has just realized that Leila is still in her normal clothes when he looks at her with surprise.

“Sunshine! Why aren’t you dressed yet?” Asmodeus chides her as he walks over to her. Because you bought me a huge embarrassing WEDDING dress. She thinks, but she’s just looking at him. “Come on, put your dress on, so I can start tailoring it.”

“Fine, come to my room then.” Leila finally agrees. She needs to wear something after all. 

Asmodeus better not let her down, or she’ll stay right here at the hotel and the three boys can have dinner on their own without her. Hey, maybe that’s not such a bad idea? She ponders in her mind. She wouldn’t get bored here, with a view like this. Maybe I could take a bath when they’re all out?

While she’s pondering her options, Asmodeus in the meantime has demanded Satan - who followed them - to leave the room, because he wants Leila’s dress to stay a surprise for his brother.


When Satan is out of the room, Leila pulls out the dress from her handbag and first casts a cleaning spell on it. With the grime gone, it looks even prettier! The fabric is in excellent condition and she really can’t believe that they could buy something like this for next to nothing. If it wasn’t a huge embarrassing wedding dress, she would be happy to wear it.

“Excellent! Now put it on!” Asmodeus has removed all the wrinkles from the dress with another spell and now stands there looking expectantly at her.

Leila just stares him down. “With you watching? Do you have a deathwish, Asmo?”

“Oh, Sunshine.” Asmodeus teases. “I doubt you can show me anything I haven’t seen before.”

“That’s not the point. Satan will kill you anyway.”

Asmodeus has to admit that this will probably happen if he keeps watching, so he just casts the clothes changing spell on Leila. What a shame, He thinks. He really would have loved to see Leila au-naturel.

Then Leila feels like she’s in the middle of her own Cinderella story, because Asmodeus starts casting all kinds of tailoring and altering spells on her dress. Okay, she’s not being lifted up in the air, spinning around and Asmodeus isn’t singing a bibidi babidi boo song… But it’s close.

Once he’s finished, Asmodeus has transformed the wedding dress into a beautiful dress, fit for a restaurant. Using the same a-line base, the jade green silks have been shortened to a tea length, showing off Leila’s shapely legs and allowing for easier movement. The overlay of chiffon now lays in simple pleats,the full skirting moves gracefully with each step. The extra chiffon has been repurposed into sheer sleeves that cascade over her shoulders and end above her elbows. The large decorative flowers have been removed from the dress completely, miniaturized with magic and turned into a decorative hair pin. Which he places in her hair after he styles it into an elegant chignon, leaving out a few tendrils of hair to frame her face.. 

“Oh! Aren’t I just amazing?!” Asmodeus praises himself once he’s finished with Leila’s dress and hangs a simple silver necklace with a small jeweled silver locket around her neck. 

Leila liked that one the most, when they found it today on the market and she has already put pictures of herself and Pandora, Satan and Belphegor inside via her picture transfer spell. Asmodeus has to stop himself from letting his hands linger on her skin. He promised to not pursue her for now. Give her the time she needs to get used to being a family with his brothers and her daughter. But sometimes, in moments like these, he regrets this promise. He wants to be a part of her little family within the family so bad. Well... maybe she and his brothers won’t allow him to join them now. But someday.

Leila doesn’t notice his inner turmoil and checks her feet, just to be sure. But she’s relieved to not find any glass slippers on them. Just ‘normal’ but stylish and elegant silver wedge heel shoes that match her dress and jewelry perfectly. “What are you doing?” He asks, looking puzzled at her.

“Just checking…” She gives him a cheeky wink and then a kiss on his cheek. “But yeah, you really are amazing, Asmo.” Leila compliments him with a hug. “Sorry for doubting you.”

“Sunshine, I would never let you walk around in something you’re uncomfortable with.” Asmodeus wraps his arm around her for a selfie with her. “But I think this dress would look even better on you in pink.” He casts another alteration spell over Leila’s new dress and it turns into a soft pink. Which indeed looks lovely on her.

“Maybe, but I like it green.” Leila tells him. “And Satan would like that too.” And at that moment Satan walks into the room. He was getting impatient waiting for his brother to dress up his mate. And maybe he didn’t trust the situation entirely either.

“Yes, I like it green as well.” He confirms, just having watched how Asmodeus has tried branding his mate with the color of Lust. He can’t have that, so he changes the color back to green with the same spell that Asmodeus just used. Then he takes Leila in his arms to kiss and compliment her.

Asmodeus gives Satan a glare for ‘stealing’ his masterpiece. “Fiiine!” He throws up his hands and walks out of the room. “James can wear my color tonight! Don’t take too long being lovey-dovey, you two. We have reservations and it is bad form to arrive too late.”

Leila rolls her eyes. She will never understand how a color can be claimed by someone, but here they are. She makes Satan stop kissing her, after some effort and she also didn’t really want to, and follows Asmodeus out of the room so they can go to their restaurant.


Arriving at one of the feet of the Eiffel tower, they go with the elevator up to the second floor of the tower. Which is 410 feet up in the heavens. On this floor sits the Michelin star restaurant ‘Le Jules Verne’. James and Leila marvel over the view they get to see from there.

“I think that is the Montparnasse tower.” James points to a tall grey skyscraper in the distance. The tallest building in Paris. It looks like a monolite from a futuristic time. Placed in the middle of the city by aliens.

“It sticks out of the city like a sore thumb.” Leila thinks out loud. “Still it’s not exactly ugly… It just doesn’t fit… yet.”

“Yeah, yet.” James agrees. “Like the Parisians once thought of the Eiffel tower as something ugly and sticking out like a sore thumb. Now they’re proud of it.”

“Yeah, maybe in another 200 years the Montparnasse tower will be viewed like that too.” Leila laughs and whispers quietly to James so that nobody else hears them. “And we get to see it then. How the world will change.”

“Finally getting used to the idea of a long life?” Satan growls in her ear and wraps his arms around her waist and snuggles her. Asmodeus smiles and wraps his arm around both her and James' shoulders as he stands between them. The two demons both are very happy to have their humans around for a long future. 

She leans into his embrace with content. “I guess. Maybe… It’s still weird. But I think it will certainly be interesting.”

“That it will.” Asmodeus tells them as if he makes a promise. “But before the future begins, let’s first eat something, okay?”


Asmodeus quickly has somehow believing the staff of the restaurant that the group is some kind of royalty and they’re being ushered to one of the best seats with the best view. James enjoys all the spoiling quite a lot, but Leila feels a bit like all eyes are on them. 

And she could do with less. Especially since Asmodeus secretly changed the color of her dress into a soft pink. Again. Which is also something that James enjoys watching. Especially when Satan glares at his brother and changes the color back to green the first chance he gets.

Asmodeus has reserved a seven course tasting menu for each of them. It will be enough food this way, although it makes Leila a bit worried about the price. Of course she’s being ignored about that by both demons, who just want to spoil their humans.

First they are served crab, flavored with curry and the waiter who brings their servings looks a bit surprised how Leila’s dress looks pink again. While James is snickering, Leila gives Asmo a glare: He should really stop with his antics. Asmodeus just gives her a wink and the other guests sitting near them immediately start swooning. Leila sighs. 

The following courses have scallop cooked into a Toast Melba served with lemon and caviar, langoustine prepared as a ravioli served with a smoked cream and pomegranate gelee, and cooked cod served with aioli. 

All four of them enjoy the small dishes very much. And the waiting staff proudly returns the compliments to the chef each time. But they are all wondering about how Mademoiselle Leila’s dress keeps changing in color in between courses. Is it the lighting? Or the magic of Paris? Someone even comes over to try to adjust the lights and flower arrangements, that seems to be playing tricks on their eyes.

Leila has enough of it and as soon as no one seems to be paying attention to them - something that hardly ever happens anymore at this point - she gives her demons a piece of her mind about their behavior.

“If you don’t cut it out, changing the color of my dress, I’m making it blue.” She threatens and both Satan and Asmodeus look shocked at her as James bursts out laughing. “And then I will take a selfie of myself and send it to Lucifer.” She ignores Satan’s threatening growl and turns to James. “He will be proud of me representing his color, don’t you think?”

“For sure he will.” James snickers.

“Ugh, fiiine!” Asmodeus caves. “I promise to stop. You win this round.” He tells his brother, when Leila’s dress is just green again. “I can definitely not have Lucifer take pride in my creation of Leila’s appearance!”

“Thanks, Asmo.” Satan grins back at his brother, patting him on the shoulder and feeling relieved. That’s something he definitely would not have liked either. Any other color would be better!

After this small domestic crisis is averted, they enjoy the rest of their dinner. The main course is roasted lamb, served with a cream of mustard seed, radish and a soft mushroom flan. For dessert they get a crispy meringue, served with a sorbet made with Sour Apple Zephyr, apple and dille coulis. And finally they get to enjoy a warm chocolate souffle with crispy gavotte. 

Nearing the end of their dinner, Leila receives a text from Solomon.

Solomon <> Leila

< Solomon: Leila, if you are interested, I could use your assistance tonight.
> Leila: I’m in Paris and not supposed to teleport today.
< Solomon: Don’t worry, no need for that.
< Solomon: I will see you at this entrance of the catacombs at 11PM.

Solomon sends the address of an illegal entrance to the Parisian catacombs. “Great.” Leila mutters quietly. “Skeletons…” She knows she’s going to help Solomon. He wouldn’t ask if he didn’t want her help, or if he didn’t think she could learn from this.

> Leila: So I did see you a few times in Paris today?
< Solomon: (Smiling-Demon sticker) I did have some other sorcerers business to attend to in Paris, today.
< Solomon: I’ll see you later, Leila. 

“What are you muttering about?” James wants to know.

Leila looks up from her DDD and shows Solomon's message to her companions. “Solomon needs my assistance with something, tonight.” She looks to the address. “I think we need to end this dinner, or I won’t make it in time…”

“You’re going to one of Paris’ most notorious neighbourhoods alone?” Asmodeus asks incredulously. “Dressed like this? A beacon to every predator out there??”

“Obviously you aren’t going alone.” Satan tells her as a matter of fact, agreeing with his brother.. “Out of the question.”

She rolls her eyes at him. “Why not? I do that all the time-”

“Yeah.” He challenges her with flashing eyes. “And all the time I don’t like it. I know it’s part of who you are. But this time, you’re not going alone.”

“What is it that he needs from you?” James mediates between them, because he’s also curious about this mysterious thing that Solomon invited Leila to. He’s never been allowed to join Solomon's mysterious missions before. Maybe tonight is his chance! “Maybe I can learn from it too?”

“Ugh, fine.” Leila caves. She doesn’t want to argue. Solomon knows she was with Asmodeus, Satan and James. So he shouldn’t be too surprised if they all tag along. “But you all better follow Solomon’s rules and not ruin whatever his business in the catacombs are. Understood?” She looks sternly at each of them. “Because I WILL leave you hanging and just have a fun day with just Lily and me tomorrow, if you can’t behave.”

They all agree to that and then get ready to leave the restaurant. They leave a generous tip for the waiting staff, for treating them like royalty and let them send their compliments to the chef and the kitchen staff. After that, they hurry down to ground level and get a taxi to bring them to where Solomon will be waiting for them.



Chapter Text

Lily’s Reality
Despite her mixed feelings about Solomon’s intentions with her, Lily still had an amazing evening! The scales are still tipping in his favor, as far as she is concerned. The view from the restaurant was beautiful, the food was delicious and the company was Solomon. It was all just a perfect ending of an already perfect day.

Back in the hotel, she’s in the bathroom changing into something less glitzy and more comfy. While she’s removing her make-up, she dreams about how she and Solomon now have time to sit and talk on the little balcony together with a glass of wine, maybe. Just talking a little and becoming closer, hopefully. There won’t be any demons around, demanding of her to come home, or glaring Solomon out of the door so rudely. Like normally always happens. I’m basically the youngest member of the family with seven big brothers, she thinks fondly. But tonight I’m free from their opinions!  

She practically dances out of the bathroom in her comfy pajamas. Until she sees that Solomon is nowhere to be found in the room. Just the note he left behind for her:

‘Dear Lily, I apologize for leaving you alone for a couple hours. There is some important sorcerer’s business I have to take care of now in the Parisian underworld. Don’t worry and don’t go wandering about Paris alone. I will be back soon. - Solomon’

“Don’t worry?!” Lily somehow feels betrayed. After the day they had together, he does something like this to her? Tears threaten to prick into her eyes and she starts pacing up and down to calm herself. “Okay, this is Solomon. He does this. It’s nothing personal, Lily.” She tells herself sternly. “It’s okay, It’s going to be okay.”

But she feels it is not okay! After the auction house and everything else she finally thought he was beginning to trust in her as his apprentice and opening up his world to her. She needs to talk with Solomon about this, she knows. She can’t keep her thoughts about these things to herself any longer. Not if she wants to be treated as an equal by Solomon...

 

James & Leila’s Reality

“Ah, Leila.” Solomon says as he appears from out of nowhere. “You look lovely tonight.” He tells her with a proud smile. Then, with a slight frown to James and the others. “And I see you’ve brought everyone.”

“It’s more that they wouldn’t let me go alone.” Leila explains with a roll of her eyes. “It’s like they think I’m just a weak defenseless damsel, or something.”

“Well, you aren’t exactly physically strong, either.” James tells her with a shrug and she gives him a glare. “I mean, sure you can yell at people, stunning them that way. Or just blow them away. But yelling won’t help you in these parts. And you can’t just use magic in the open against normal people. Right?”

“Ugh.” She just huffs. “Anyway, Solomon. What’s up in the catacombs?”

“Yes.” Solomon nods at her, offering his arm to her to lead her into the secret entrance of the catacombs. “I apologize for pulling you away from your night out, but it seems like there’s a gathering of witches tonight that aims to do an unsanctioned summoning of a demon.” Solomon answers, giving an almost unnoticed glance to Asmodeus, who certainly doesn’t notice. But Satan does and he frowns. “We’re going to prevent it from happening.”

“Ugh!” Asmodeus complains, as they descend a series of stairs into the dark. “It’s so dark and dirty in here.” He makes his eyes glow up to see better and so does Satan. They both hold on to James to guide him through the darkness.

“Oh, that reminds me.” Solomon fishes up a small wooden box from his pocket. “I have something for you, Leila. I  picked this up at a sorcerers’ auction today.”

She opens the box and sees a necklace with a pendant laying inside. The necklace is a small orb hanging on a silver chain, wrapped in silver filigree that is knotted around the orb in a way that reminds her of celtic designs. The orb glows brightly with what Leila immediately recognizes as Celestial light. 

“Oh!” Leila beams happily. “That’s so pretty! Thank you, Solomon.”

“It’s functional too.” He smiles, glad that she’s so happy with it. “This is not just a pretty light. I think this pendant can also amplify your Celestial magic spellcasting when you use it.” 

“Really? You think so?” Leila admires her new pendant and it glows even brighter when she touches it. 

“Ugh.” Satan grumbles irritatedly, shielding his eyes. “Could you dim that down a little?”

“I don’t know.” Leila tells him in all honesty. “I just got it and don’t know how to work with it yet.”

“For now, just hang it around your neck.” Solomon suggests. “So we can use it as a torch.” 

Leila nods and does as he suggests. The pendant lights up the whole corridor around them as if they aren’t standing 25 meters under Paris, but above ground in the middle of a sunny day. The sight isn’t pretty though. Contrary to what the official tourist attraction parts of the catacombs look like - where the bones are neatly stacked up in a sort of macabre art - here the bones of thousands of people are just dumped on heaps on either side.

“Wow, look at all these bones…” James says in awe. It’s one thing to look at pictures online, it’s another thing to actually be there, seeing it in person. “This must be a necromancer’s wet dream.” He snickers with Asmodeus. 

“No doubt.” Solomon agrees dryly.

“Hmm. You’d think so.” Leila begins to answer seriously, ignoring their immature jokes. “However, necromancy in a place like this doesn’t exactly work how you might imagine.” Leila explains to James, while Solomon walks alongside her, nodding approvingly. “They moved the remains of six million Parisians here over the period of two centuries and not every set of bones is fully intact or from the same body.. If you do a ritual to raise the dead here, you have to let the bones fly to you from all over this place. These Parisian catacombs are 290 kilometers long.”

“That sounds impossible.”

“Not impossible, but the results are frightening.” Leila nods. “Even though necromancy is complicated, it will follow the path of least resistance. So… It will basically just grab what’s nearby. It could make an abomination of two spines and three arms, skulls used instead of kneecaps, etcetera…” Asmodeus shivers, not in fear but in complete disgust. He hates unsightly things. Leila nods at him. “Exactly, it won’t be pretty.”

“You talk pretty matter-of-factly about it.” Satan states, sounding a bit surprised, knowing that his mate doesn’t like scary things. “So you’re not afraid of living skeletons, then?”

“Well…” Leila thinks. “I guess not. Since I know they’re just lifeless bones again as soon as they break against my forcefield. Doesn’t mean I like it that people do necromancy. It’s a forbidden craft for a reason. They bring ‘life’ to something, without giving it a soul. It shouldn’t be done. Whatever you try to bring back from the dead, it has lost its soul and isn’t the same as it used to be. So it should stay dead.”

“They’re still experimenting with necromancy.” Solomon adds, tapping his chin. “Now, If I were to perform necromancy here...I would bring my own dead body or bodies here..freshly dead I should think..” Solomon continues, not noticing the looks he’s getting. “Then I’d use the energy of the catacombs to amplify my spellwork.” He finishes with a grin. Then, seeing the way his granddaughter is looking at him, he coughs, “In theory of course. I would never.” He smirks at her, as she rolls her eyes at him. “Even if the craft is forbidden, to some magicians it’s like inventing the philosopher's stone. They can’t resist the temptation to create something impossible. So they try to capture souls. Or ghosts. To imbue their creations with that.”

“Yeah, if they use souls, that’s even worse.” Leila shivers now. “They’re no better than demons if they do.” She doesn’t care that both their demons look frowning at her for a moment. “It means they haven’t given the souls a chance to cross over. Instead, they’re ruining them forever. I would be scared of those creations too...” She admits.

“Well, in any case.” Solomon says, patting her arm comfortingly. “I’ve heard nothing about a group practicing necromancy in the catacombs today.”

“Yes, it’s going to be a summoning of a demon, you said?” James asks curiously. “What about it is ‘unsanctioned’?”

“Because they’re summon them, without having a pact with them.” Solomon explains patiently. Now that James is here, he might as well give him a lesson. Even if it is a little soon in his training. “As you know, demons already don’t like it much to be summoned out of their normal routine when they do have a pact with the summoner…”

James recalls his and Leila’s lessons from a year ago and nods. “Basically they only don’t mind it from humans who they have given a permit, right?”

“Exactly.” Solomon nods, pleased that James has paid so well attention. “But with an unsanctioned summoning, the summoner calls upon the sin of the demon, since there is no pact to call upon. Or a permit. They do this by creating a magical circle in which sacrifices and rituals are performed and offered. The demon, unable to resist the temptation of the sacrifice, is lured into this trap and in most circumstances unable to escape from the circle.”

“An unsanctioned summoning is the worst kind of summoning for a demon.” Satan growls threateningly and the sound echoes hauntingly through the corridors back to them.

“It’s absolutely humiliating.” Asmodeus agrees with his brother. He’s not as menacing as his brother about it, but even he sounds ominous in the eerie catacombs.

“It strips the demon of his personality outside of his sin.” Solomon explains further. “As you know, demons are more than just their Sin. But in these cases, the demon is ruled by their most basic primal instincts.”

“In my case: Wrath.” Satan explains with another terrifying growl. It seems he’s really angry, James thinks a bit worried. “All I want to do, when summoned this way, is kill everyone in my path.”

“Exactly. Demons are particularly dangerous for the Human World, when summoned like that.” Solomon just nods. “Fortunately, when you have a pact you can summon a demon by their whole person. But it can still be dangerous if you haven’t warned them ahead of time, or if you don’t have a particularly strong bond with the demon you’re summoning. There are cases where they still arrived somewhat feral, but a pact gives a stronger control on the demon. A permit even more, because then they know whom to expect. And it just so happens that…”

“You’re saying that they’re going to attempt to summon one of the Avatars.” Leila sighs exasperated. “That’s what you’re getting at, isn’t it?”

“I’m afraid so…” Solomon glances over his shoulder and looks at Asmodeus openly now. “Today, at the Sorcerers’ auction, some of my informants warned me about this. They’re going to summon Asmodeus.”

“What?!” Asmodeus practically shrieks, creating a ghastly, reverberating echo. “How dare they! I don’t have time for this! I’m already losing beauty sleep over this excursion!” He complains hotly with a scowl. 

Everyone knows that Asmo has a flair for the dramatics, but there’s something different about his body language. He’s not holding himself as confidently, his eyes seem to roam the shadows. 

“You seem nervous?” James asks him. “Is it really that bad?”

“Huh? What? Little ole’ me? Nervous?” He laughs, clearly letting his nerves show through. Everyone gives him a questioning look, clearly not buying it. “Okay! The truth is, I really don’t want Leila or James to see me like that!” He admits. 

“Well, obviously we won’t let that happen.” James links his arm in Asmodeus and Satan pats his brother comforting on his back. “We have a date with Asmo tomorrow and that’s not going to be ruined by some unsanctioned summoning.”

Solomon smiles appreciatively at him. Liking James' determined attitude. “Don’t worry, we probably won’t even have to restrain you, Asmodeus. As long as we make it in time, before the Witching Hour.” He explains further. “It is a powerful magical moment where a lot is possible, but if we’re there before that time, this ritual is easily put to a halt. Especially with all five of us.”

Solomon glances at Satan. He still looks very angry at the idea of this unsanctioned summoning. Hopefully they won’t also have to restrain Satan from ripping these witches to shreds. Leila notices too and gently takes his hand as they keep walking. Satan lets out an irritated sigh as he squeezes her hand. He’s still angry, but Leila has a calming effect on him. Enough to temper his anger for now.

 

Along the way, Asmodeus’ behavior becomes increasingly peculiar. Sometimes he lets out an excited whine and then apologizes nervously and embarrassed to the others. Mostly to his humans for seeing him like this. Which is strange, James thinks. Asmodeus is never embarrassed over his Sin. 

Satan has to stop his brother a few times, when he begins panting and tries to remove his shirt or unbutton his pants. As it is, he’s already discarded his jacket and tie somewhere in the corridors behind them. He’s not on his own in his own room, after all. 

Leila blushes as she notices that not only Asmodeus' behaviour, but also his body is starting to show his excitement. Asmodeus feels torn in between showing off to her and hiding it all from her. This is not how he wants to court her, after all. Not with her. Ugh, so embarrassing! He thinks.

“We’re almost there.” Solomon announces and Asmodeus lets out a needy moan in agreement. “How are you holding up, Asmodeus?”

“How do I look like I’m holding up?!” Asmo gestures wildly over his disheveled looking self. The snappish tone, he intended to take with Solomon, comes out sounding much more desperate than he’d intended. Earning himself worried looks from Leila, James and Satan.  

“Well don’t worry,” Solomon tells him as if he’s talking about the nice weather and that he doesn’t think it will be raining. “We’re well on time to stop them.”

“I want to teach these witches a lesson.” Asmo lets out a low guttural sound, his voice sounding lower and more scary than James or Leila have ever heard. “How dare they attempt to summon me in a horrid place like this.” Satan has to restrain his brother once more when he sees him try to reach inside his own pants. He’s not about to let him do something so lewd in front of Leila. Asmo startles, not even aware of what he was doing. Asmo let’s out an embarrassed wail and clings onto his brother. 

“Ugh. Get off of me.” Satan growls, pushing him away. 

“Quiet.” Solomon commands them all, before telling Leila to hide her Celestial light pendant back into the box, when they arrive in a corridor that is already lit with candles that sit on sconces that eerily look like a mummified phallus. They hear chanting and singing and the very clear sounds of people having sex.

“Try to keep quiet now, Asmodeus.” Solomon advises him. He knows this will be hard for his demon. It’s why he prefered only Leila joining him for this. Asmodeus will be too unpredictable, James is too inexperienced and Satan is already way too angry with the situation. “James, you only observe and stay out of Leila and my way. Try to remember what we do and maybe we can bring you for another one of these excursions. Satan, stay out of it and restrain your brother if needed to.” His tone of voice doesn’t leave room for discussions. There is no room for mistakes with this. So they all nod. Besides, they promised Leila.

 

The witches are much too busy with their ritual to notice them arriving in the underground chamber. James' eyes go wide with shock as he watches what is happening inside. He couldn’t really have any image of the unsanctioned summoning before, since none of his companions seem to be interested to tell him exactly what to expect. They only told him about the general facts.

There’s a complete coven of witches, most of them are wearing red robes with hoods and a caramel colored mask that make their faces invisible. They seem to be wearing nothing underneath. Five women stand outside the circle chanting, their arms raised in supplication and their bodies seem to undulate sensuously in the flickering candlelight. Three men stand at the perimeter of the circle, their robes pushed back as they feverishly seek to spill their offering into the circle. Two sets of partners openly engage in depraved acts of pleasure on either side of the circle. Most disturbing of all, is the young woman inside the circle. The young woman is dressed in a sheer white gown. She looks to be tied down, laying on her back with her legs spread wide in offering. She also wears a mask and is singing a seductive melody. Is this some sort of virgin sacrifice?! James thinks alarmed and confused. She doesn’t seem to mind, though?

Satan has to grab his brother by the neck, as it seems like Asmodeus was about to run into the room to claim the sacrifice they laid out for him in the middle of the circle. “Don’t be an idiot.” He growls, sounding pissed and disgusted. “You’d be trapped before they’ve even summoned you.”

“Let me goooo.” Asmodeus growls back in a way that neither James or Leila ever heard of him. 

He seems to shimmer in and out of his demonic form and looks to be just as strong now as Satan in his human form. But Satan restrains himself from transforming and he can keep Asmodeus under control for now. 

The sounds of their scuffle and demonic growls announces their arrival to the summoners, however. The coven looks up from their activities and at first the less experienced among them seem happy that Asmodeus has arrived. “All hail Asmodeus, Lord of Lust.” Some of them wail as they prostrate themselves on the ground. 

“Fools!” A tall woman wearing the sigil of a high priestess hauls one of her acolytes from the ground. “We haven’t summoned him, he’s not within the circle.” Only the elders among them realize their peril. Especially when they realize he’s not alone. Panic seems to break out among the coven then as they all try to flee. 

But Solomon and Leila quickly stop them in their tracks. Solomon barricades the exit with a spell and Leila walks calmly and businesslike into the chamber and one by one enchants everyone of the coven in her time freezing-spell, as Solomon immediately starts performing the banishing ritual. It looks to James as if they’ve already done this together a few times before. Asmodeus can’t help whimpering in complaint as the effects of the summoning begin to fade from the chamber. He’s already far gone into his primal instincts. James is worried for him. Will Asmodeus be alright tomorrow, after an experience like this? But he is calmer now that Solomon has nearly banished the summoning circle. Enough for Satan to let go of him.

“Are we disbanding this coven, Solomon?” Leila asks in an impartial manner.

Solomon nods. “Yes, that should diminish their power as a coven and make them unable to summon a demon any time soon.”

“On whose authority?! You can’t do this to us!” One of the witches rails at them in a venomous voice. 

“According to the Salem Treaty of 1692 between the Human World’s Magical Society and the Devildom, any member of the Sorcerers’ Society is obligated to stop any unsanctioned summoning. You’re lucky we stopped you in time, otherwise you’d be heading towards a cell in the Devildom instead.” Leila schools them, as Solomon gives her a proud look.

Some of the coven has the prudence to bow their heads and accept their fate, pale at the thought of what could have awaited them. Others are not as wise. “Screw the Society! They’ve never done anything good for us.”

“Quiet, fool!” The High Priestess’ glare is searing as she hisses at the acolyte. “We’re in the presence of Solomon, hold your tongue.” She commands. These words only seem to frighten the coven even more. 

“Okay, I’ll create the circle. You go see if Asmo needs help.” Leila nods to Solomon now that he is finished banishing the previous ritual, still completely detached and down to business. “James, come watch how I make the dissolution circle.” James rushes to her side, eager to learn something new and to be involved in the proceedings of the night.

“Are you okay, making a circle?” He whispers to her. “Since you needed to rest your magic?”

She laughs sweetly again, letting go of her serious demeanor. “I’m fine. Solomon is the one who’s going to do the actual magic in a minute. I’m just making the circle. Maybe next time you can help us. Then we’d be done even quicker!”

James smiles at her. She’s always so happy to include him in her life now! It must have been hard for her to keep her magic a secret. “Is disbanding their coven all the punishment they’re getting?” He asks her curiously. It seems so ineffective.

“Yeah, it should do enough.” Leila explains. “It takes a long time for a coven to build the power they need to do a summoning like this. And they weren’t successful after all. Basically all they did now was have sex and make Asmo uncomfortable, which isn’t exactly a crime.” She laughs cheekily and makes James snicker. “Anyway, after being disbanded, they can gather of course, but their power as a coven is basically gone and back to being individual.”

“Why would they do these summonings?”

“For more power.” Satan chimes in now, looking much calmer. “With a successful summoning, the coven can tap from the power of the demon, for as long as they can keep him trapped. It will make the coven more powerful as a whole.”  

Once Leila has completed the circle, Solomon doesn’t even check her work, trusting that she’s done her job correctly. “Satan, would you mind moving everyone into the circle?” Solomon asks. 

“With pleasure.” Satan growls as he approaches the first witch and yanks them roughly by the arm. 

“Gently, Satan.” Leila only lightly scolds him. Honestly, they’re lucky they’re not facing worse.

After all the members have been placed in the disbanding circle, Asmodeus finally approaches them. Flipping his hair out of his eyes. “This.” He dramatically gestures to their surroundings. The heaps of bones, the eerie looking sconces. “Is not cute.” He says sassily. They could at least have tried to summon him in a more sexy place. “You’re all very lucky Solomon was here because I am not pleased. I better never see any of you ever again in the span of your short pathetic lives.” He sneers, still sounding not entirely like himself.  

“Calm down, Asmo.” Leila commands him, sensing him still very tense and angry. “They will all be punished in a minute.” He nods at her and comes to stand next to her, when Solomon starts the disbanding ritual.

After the witches have been released and they have scattered into the catacombs, Solomon turns to the group. “I will teleport you all to your hotel. I would like to advise that you do a relaxing activity before going to bed. Especially you, Asmodeus. And you, Leila. Since you were the most involved in the events. It’s not good to go to bed after experiencing tensions like these.”

 

Lily’s Reality

When Solomon slips back into their shared hotel room, he makes sure to step lightly. He doesn’t want to disturb Lily’s sleep, she has a big day tomorrow. As his eyes adjust to the dim room, he realizes that both beds are still neatly made and very empty. It doesn’t take him long to find her sitting on the balcony with an empty glass of wine, staring out at the Seine and the twinkling Eiffel Tower beyond. 

“Solomon?” Lily calls out to him, not turning to face him. She felt his presence as soon as he entered the room. 

“Lily, why are you still up? You should be getting a good night's rest.” He tells her quietly.

“I wanted to talk…” Lily answers, still not turning to face him. 

Solomon chuckles lightly. “Whatever it is. I’m sure it can wait until morning.” He tells her, if he’s being honest, he’s very worn out himself. The nasty bit of business in the Catacombs was a messy job to take on, on his own. 

“No, it can’t wait.” Liy says, her voice is firm and she finally turns her head to look at Solomon. He almost flinches under her gaze. Her large eyes that are so often wide, far away and dreamy are suddenly sharply honed in on him. An expression he’s only seen a few times when she’s hunting. 

“Very well. But come inside.” He implores, he has a sinking feeling that this conversation shouldn’t be open to just anyone’s ears. 

Lily picks up her glass and shuffles inside, Solomon sits in one of the fine upholstered lounge chairs but Lily remains standing as she begins to pace. She rehearsed what she wanted to say while he was out, but now that he’s here, her thoughts scramble. Solomon frowns, they’ve had such a good day, he expected her to pass out quickly and have a good night's sleep. 

“As your apprentice.” Lily finally begins. “I want to lodge a complaint about your...practices.” She states calmly, looking Solomon in the eye. 

If she wasn’t so serious about this, she would have broken out in giggles over the rare surprised look that overcomes Solomon’s features. 

“A complaint? Of what nature?” If he didn’t know Lily as well as he did, he might have thought she was pranking him. He crosses one leg over the other, folding his hands over his knee. 

Lily pauses once more, she has so many feelings bubbling up and if she’s not careful she might just say anything. “I was very disappointed when I found your note.” She finally says, Solomon begins to open his mouth but Lily holds up her hand, “Please let me say my piece first.”

She takes a breath before continuing. “It’s not just because it was an anti-climatic end to a wonderful day, if you left, I know you enough to know that it must have been very important. It’s the way you left that upsets me.” Tears prick at her eyes again as she remembers how she felt all over again. “It was one thing when you kept things from me before, but I’m your apprentice now and you have to communicate with me. You could have told me about this business at dinner so I’d at least know what to expect or you could have taken me with you.”

Solomon, seeing that she’s done speaking for now. “The business I had was dangerous and something you’re not ready to handle yet.” He tells her calmly. By his expression, Lily can see that he thinks this closes the discussion.

Lily rolls her eyes, “The business.” she mocks with finger air quotes. “You won’t even tell me! You expect me to follow and trust you blindly when you don’t even trust me enough to tell me what you were doing. What was so dangerous that I couldn’t come?”

Solomon was not expecting this from Lily, they’d only had one real argument before and that was about their relationship, or the end of it to be exact. Sure, she could be stubborn and she knew how to stand up for herself, especially if she was backed into a corner, sometimes she complained about his methods but she’d never gone this far before. 

“I don’t expect you to blindly trust me.” Solomon tells her with a weary sigh. “But it is my responsibility to decide when and what you’re ready for as my apprentice. Now, it’s late. We should go to bed.” He tells her, standing from his chair. 

Lily crosses her arms and raises her chin stubbornly. It’s a stance Solomon had always thought adorable on her when it was directed at one of the demon brothers. He’s not sure how he feels about her doing it to him though. “Why is it so hard for you to open up? I told you before I need you to be honest and treat me as an equal. As soon as I think we’re taking a step forward, we seem to slide two steps back.” Her voice is quiet and trembles slightly as she wills herself not to cry.

Solomon steps forward and takes her by the arms gently. “I’m just trying to protect you from the things you’re not ready for.” He insists. It’s the same old tune and Lily is so weary of it. 

“Protect me as your apprentice or something more?” Lily asks, sounding sad and tired. 

Solomon falters, taking a step back from her, letting his arms fall to his side. He’s at a momentary loss for words. 

Lily feels guilty for what she says next, it’s manipulative, maybe she has been around demons for too long, but she’s taking a risk too. Nothing is going to change if she can’t get through to this stubborn man. “I know you’re the best, no one else comes close. I do feel grateful to be your apprentice…” She tells him this sincerely before steeling herself for what she says next. “But if you feel uncomfortable having me as an apprentice... If you have changed your mind about that... Maybe Diavolo can help me find a new teacher and you will be free of me.”

Solomon is both floored and angry. Of course Diavolo had been whispering in her ear! Who else but those demons would put a ridiculous idea like this in her head. Stepping close to her again, he takes her chin and forces her to meet his eyes. Lily sees his expression is hard and his eyes are full of passion. This makes her feel relieved, excited and scared all at the same time. 

“I chose you before I knew what you were, I saw your potential first. You can walk away from your destiny, you can walk away from me. But I will never, ever change my mind about that. I will never not choose you.” Solomon releases her chin before he does something regrettable, like kiss her silly and toss her on the bed and convince her in other ways to never consider leaving his side. 

Lily grips his robes in her fists and hides her tears in his chest. “I don’t want anyone but you.” She confesses. “You don’t have to tell me everything, but you can’t just ghost me each time anymore, Solomon. We’ll be equals soon. I want to respect you. I need you to respect me too.”

“I do respect you.” Solomon insists, gently resting his hand on her head, smoothing her hair. “I’m used to working alone. I’ll try, but probably won’t change my ways overnight.”

Lily sighs, she’s not sure if she’s truly getting through to him. She doesn’t want to hear a repeat of the same old excuses. “I know you’re not used to having to consider others. But I need you to put in some real effort from now on. I work hard on my studies..you should put in the same amount of effort.”

Solomon chuckles, “Alright. You’ve caught me in your sights, little huntress. How can I reassure you?” Lily brightens at these words, is she actually making progress? Only time will tell. She pulls back so she can once again look at him while she speaks.

“No disappearing unless it truly can’t be helped. If you know something ahead of time, then tell me you’ll be gone, to my face. I want to know what you’re doing before you leave. And the reason why it is still too early in my education, or why it is too dangerous.”

Solomon sighs, ”I feel like I’m about to make a pact that’s disadvantageous to me.” He teases her. 

“I’m serious. Don’t joke.” Lily says, even though she’s smiling when she pushes his shoulder. “I want you to tell me what this dangerous business of tonight was and when you think I will be ready to help you with this.”

“The dangerous business of tonight was that a coven of witches were doing an unsanctioned summoning of a demon. Our demon. Asmodeus. If I failed to stop it in time, you would have seen him in a way I felt I needed to spare you from. It was too dangerous.” Solomon explains. “Asmodeus would not have wanted you there either.”

Lily makes a grimace. She’s learned all about unsanctioned summonings and she doesn’t even want to imagine what she would have seen if she’d gone. She’s glad she wasn’t there. 

“I can’t take you to these sites yet and have my attention divided between keeping my inexperienced apprentice safe and stopping the culprits.” Solomon continues. “Once you are more experienced, once you have learned more, once you have your learners license, I will take you to these sites. But those will be hard lessons for you. You’re not ready for those.” 

Lily nods her head in understanding as she takes a step back from him. “I understand that I’m not experienced enough for every task. I don’t want to be a liability. I just want you to communicate. If you had told me all this earlier I would have understood. I’m glad I was spared seeing that unsanctioned summoning if I’m being honest…” Lily locks eyes with Solomon once more, there’s one thing that still weighs heavily on her. “But someday you won’t have any excuses not to bring me..you can’t protect me forever. You’ll have to do your job and have faith that I can do my part. You can’t divide your attention, but part of me wonders if you’ll ever get there. Can you treat me as an apprentice only and push any other feelings aside?”

“I would be lying if I said it would be easy, if I felt you were ever truly in danger…” Solomon shakes his head, pushing his tumultuous  feelings aside for the time being. “You’re my apprentice, that’s what’s most important right now. But someday, hopefully not long from now, you’ll be a sorceress in your own right. When that time comes, I have a lot to say and admit to you.”

Lily feels like her heart just made a hopeful leap. But she just smiles at him, not showing her true feelings to him yet. This is indeed not the time for it yet. But Solomon said ‘Someday soon’. “I’m glad we have talked this out, Solomon.” She says with a sudden yawn. All her tensions are suddenly released. 

“Me too.” Solomon smiles at her softly and gives her a hug and then ushers her towards her bed. Once they are both settled into their respective beds, they both fidget restlessly for a bit, the earlier tensions may have been released but others are still pent. Neither of them realize they’re both considering inviting the other to sleep in their bed. Just to sleep, of course. They’ve both had long days though, so it’s not long before they both drift off into a restful slumber.

Chapter Text


James & Leila’s Reality

Everyone is beat when Solomon has teleported them on the terrace of their penthouse suite and said goodbye. That last unexpected visit to the catacombs may have pushed them all over the edge. They definitely need to take Solomon’s advice and do something relaxing. 

“A bath would be nice.” Leila says wistfully, when they walk inside. 

Everyone can hear that Asmodeus has already begun running one. He was the first to go inside and made a beeline to the luxurious main bathroom of the suite. The only one with a large bathtub. He will be using it for hours, knowing him. Leila sighs and shrugs. It’s not likely she’ll get a chance to use it afterwards. She will read something instead. Or have a drink on the terrace and enjoy the view over the city for a while. But then Satan smiles at her and gives her a swift kiss before picking her up bridal style. 

Shoving the bathroom door open with a foot, Satan deposits Leila on the sink counter before grabbing Asmo by the neck and forcing him out of the bathroom. “Hey! You can’t commandeer my bath!” He wails pitifully but doesn’t put up much of a fight, maybe too worn out from his ordeal in the catacombs. 

“That wasn’t very nice.” Leila frowns, feeling guilty. Asmodeus might need this bath more than she does. 

“I don’t care.” Satan shrugs. “It’s my duty to take care of my mate, and my mate wanted a bath.” He grins. “Besides, he’ll recover more quickly than you.” He grunts as he begins disrobing her before carrying her to the bath.

 

Leila’s concerns seem to melt away as soon she sinks into the tub with a happy sigh. The hot water is infused with lavender, chamomile and frankincense. Fresh rose petals float on top, adding to the relaxing aroma. From how the bathroom is placed in their penthouse suite, she has a beautiful view of the twinkling lights of Paris. She can already feel her muscles relaxing, it feels heavenly. I could get used to this ..she thinks to herself. She closes her eyes as she sinks a bit lower into the bath. Then the sound of clothes hitting marble makes her eyes pop back open. 

“What are you doing?” She asks, blushing at the sight of her sexy mate standing naked outside of the tub. 

“I’m joining you, of course.” He tells her, a wicked smirk on his face, with the confidence of a demon who knows how good he looks and how much his mate loves him. 

Leila lets out a small squeak as Satan gently moves her forward so he can step into the bath and settle behind her. Then he pulls her back, so that she can lean against his chest. His arms rest on either side of her, his fingers begin tracing patterns on her legs. Leila finds herself relaxing again until his hands begin their sensual movements up her thighs, drawing closer to her center.

“Satan…” Leila tries to protest but it comes out sounding more like a sound of pleasure than she intended. She grabs his hands, halting his movements. His hot, wet skin against hers is building a fire inside her, it’s been so long since she’s had a real intimate moment like this with one of her mates. 

Satan can feel the way Leila has tensed up, he doesn’t want to ruin her relaxing bath, on the contrary, he only wants to make it better for her. “Relax Leila.” He whispers into her ear. Leila begins to protest once more but Satan cuts her off. “I know you’re not ready for sex yet, but I can still make you feel good. Let me do this for you.”

“But what about you?” She asks, feeling guilty. His arousal is obvious to her in the shared tub. 

“Don’t worry about me. I’m a demon, I can handle a bit of torture.” He tells her. Okay. A lot of torture. He admits only to himself. “Besides, when you’re ready, you’ll make it up to me.” He growls playfully in her ear. His lips travel from her ear, kissing down her neck until he’s sucking and nibbling on her shoulder. Melting into his intimate embrace, Leila lets go of any guilt she may have been harboring and lets her mate take care of her. 



Leila is so tired and relaxed after the bath, that Satan needs to help her dry up and he carries her to their bed. He feels a bit worried about her going on this date tomorrow with his brother. Who also could not be in the best state of mind for it, tomorrow. But he knows he can’t stop her. He can only make sure she will be rested enough.

“Damn those witches.” He growls, as he watches Leila immediately fall asleep as soon as her head is on the pillow. 

He knows that this is what she does with Solomon now. Among other sorcerer’s business. And he is grateful that they could stop the ritual in time. But, being a demon who gets summoned, he never knew it from the human point of view. He never witnessed a ritual, or seen how much it takes from sorcerers to stop it from happening. He knows they do it to protect the Human World first. But he also felt today that Solomon and Leila are doing this to protect the demons from these kinds of inhumane practices, as well. 

He kisses his mate and crawls in behind her. Encircling her protectively with his body. “Thank you, Leila.” He whispers and he chuckles as she makes a soft sound in her sleep, as if she’s answering him.


In the meantime James can just stop Asmodeus before taking the elevator downstairs. “Asmo, where are you going?”

“I’m going clubbing!” Asmodeus announces dramatically and James can hear in the way he says it, that this would be a very bad idea for Asmodeus himself and possibly Paris as well.

“No, you’re not.” James commands him and Asmodeus lets out such a pathetic, long-drawn-out groan that James immediately takes pity on him. Asmodeus is clearly not over the aftermath of the near-summoning yet. He wraps his arm around Asmodeus' shoulder and gently pulls him inside the suite again. “Hey, hey… It’s okay, Asmo. It’s going to be okay.” James racks his brain over how to help Asmodeus.

“Satan has taken my bath for Leila, so how am I supposed to relax?!” Asmodeus cries. “And now that you’ve seen me like that, you and Leila are going to hate me! And I didn’t even get to go off!”

“We don’t hate you.” James comforts a crying Asmodeus. He knows he’s not being dramatic right now. “Come on, I know something to help you relax.”

“Ohh, James! Really?” Asmodeus sniffles. “You think Lucifer and Beel will be okay with you and I…”

“Not that, Asmo.” James chuckles and escorts Asmodeus outside onto the terrace. “I’m going to massage you. Would you like that?”

“Oh, yes!” Asmodeus nods eagerly. James doesn’t often offer his massages, because the seven brothers would want one every day and wear him out that way. So when he does, it’s a real treat for them. “I’ll go get some oils!”

“Come back to the terrace immediately afterwards!” James calls after him in a command. Just to be sure that Asmodeus wouldn’t change his mind about going out clubbing.

He didn’t have to worry. Asmodeus is excited for his massage from James. He returns with his arms full of aromatic candles and massage oil. Dressed properly in a robe from the hotel and two large towels. One he spreads out over an outdoor wicker chaise lounger to lay on and the other James uses to cover Asmodeus up. Even though Asmodeus offered to just lay there au-naturel. Making James shake his head again.



Satan is laying next to Leila watching her sleep. He hasn’t been able to fall asleep himself, because of the incessant moaning and wailing noises. He shouldn’t be surprised, after all that transpired this evening, but he’s still pissed that Asmodeus has apparently brought someone back to his room with Leila and James here. It’s grating on his nerves but he’s trying his best to remain calm, for Leila’s sake. 

“James.” Suddenly Satan hears his brother moan out. “Now’s not the time to be gentle with me.”

Satan goes rigid next to his mate. No, I must have heard wrong. He thinks to himself, shaking his head. But then he distinctly hears James’ voice. 

“Fine.” James grunts. “You asked for it. Don’t come crying to me in the morning.”

“Uhhh! Yes! James! That’s the spot right there!” Asmo lets out another pitous wailing sound. 

Asmo is getting louder and louder as Satan grinds his teeth in sick annoyance. He still can’t believe James would have given into his brother this way. Lucifer and Beel will take this as a grievous betrayal. 

“Right there! Harder James!” Asmo practically screams.

Leila’s eyes blink open as the noise wakes her from her sleep. She rubs her eyes. “Satan? What’s going on?”

That’s it. I’m going to kill them both! Satan thinks to himself. He would have minded his own business but now they’ve woken up his mate! 

“Shhh! You’re being too loud.” James grunts with his own loud laugh. Asmo’s only response is another loud moan. 

“Asmo has seduced James and they’re being loud enough to keep up all of Paris! I’m putting a stop to this now.” Satan hisses, getting up from the bed.

“What?!” Leila sits up, confused and grabs Satan’s arm. She can hear the same sounds Satan is hearing. “There’s no way James would do that. Something else must be going on.” She explains tiredly. 

“I don’t care who or what my brother is screwing. He’s disturbing your rest!” Satan tells her, stalking out of the room. Leila stumbles out of bed half asleep and rushes after him.

 

“Harder! Harder!”

“I’m only human, Asmo.” They hear James grunt. “I’m doing it as hard as I can!”

Leila burst into tired giggles at the look on Satan’s face when they walked onto the terrace to see Asmo sprawled out naked, face down on a lounger, only covered with a towel from the waist down. James’ is straddled over him, his elbow grinding into a knotted muscle on Asmo’s back. 

“Ear plugs.” Leila says giggling to Satan. “That’s what we need.” She pulls him back to their bedroom. Leaving her cousin with Asmodeus. Soon he will finally be able to relax. James is very good with his massages.



Lily’s Reality

Despite an emotional night, Lily wakes up cheerful and excited for the day that awaits her. She’s so glad that she invited Solomon and that they were able to have a tough but much needed conversation. She feels hopeful for the first time in a long while about the future of their relationship. Glancing over at the other bed she can see that Solomon is still sleeping peacefully, whatever magic he had to perform last night must have worn him out after the long day they shared in Paris. 

Lily quietly gets out of bed, stretching silently before she lightly pads over to his bedside. His face is always so serene when he sleeps, no hint of the mystery and hidden turmoil that resides inside. Like this, one could almost believe in his youthful facade. Leaving him to sleep, she decides to call on some room service. 

Solomon wakes up to the smell of coffee filling the room. Sitting up, Lily gives him a beaming smile as she hands him a cup. “I’ve added a dash of cream, ten sugar cubes and a packet of hot sauce. Just as you like.” She tells him, squishing her own noise in disgust. I’m just glad the concierge didn’t ask me what the hot sauce was for. She thinks to herself. 

“Mmm. Thank you.” Solomon murmurs, taking the warm cup in his hands. 

“There’s all sorts of fresh fruit and pastries.” Lily gestures to the table where a tray of assorted breakfast foods are laid out. She heads over to the table herself, happy to indulge in a glass of fresh squeezed juice and fresh baked goods. It’s not long before Solomon joins her at the table and they enjoy a simple morning of domestic bliss. 

Soon enough it’s time for Lily to head over to the Eiffel tower to meet up with James, Leila and Asmo. They decide to head out a little early so that they can enjoy the sight together before Lily jumps to the other reality. 

Since they’re arriving before the tower officially opens to tourists, Solomon uses his magic to transport them to the top of the tower, using a cloaking spell to hide their presence. They are not invisible per say, but normal humans just won’t notice them. It’s another bright, clear day, all of Paris is at their feet. 

Lily leans against the railing, smiling with her face upturned to the sun. A light breeze moves her lavender locks of hair. She opens her eyes and shifts her beaming smile towards Solomon, she takes his hand, giving it a squeeze. “I’m glad we were able to do this...it’s a nice change of pace..” She tells him. 

Solomon gives her an indulgent grin. “Enjoy your trip..I’ll have more lessons waiting for you when you return.” He teases her. Lily rolls her eyes and nudges him with her shoulder. They stand like that for a while, shoulder pressed to shoulder, enjoying the quiet. 

“It’s almost that time.” Solomon suddenly announces after looking at his watch, breaking Lily out of her own thoughts. Lily checks to make sure she has everything important with her in her bottomless purse. Once she’s satisfied she hands off her small suitcase to Solomon. “I’ll make sure to get this back to Serenity Manor after I conclude the rest of my business today.”

“Thanks again! I’ll see you soon.” She tells him as she begins carefully counting and turning the hourglass.

Solomon tucks a stray hair behind her ear, Lily ducks her chin at the intimate gesture. His finger slides down her hair, lifting a lock as he presses it to his lips as she’s still carefully turning the hourglass on her reality-turner. “Have a wonderful time…-” Lily disappears, her hair vanishing from his touch. “...mon coeur.” He sighs wistfully, staring out over Paris before he himself vanishes from view. 



James & Leila’s Reality

The next morning, room service brings them a scrumptious breakfast. The bellhop that delivers it to their door tries to cast a curious glance inside the suite. Leila can read all over their face that they want to know what transpired in the penthouse last night. So loud that it kept most of the top floors awake for over an hour. She can also tell that they are surprised to see that the penthouse doesn’t look to be in a state of total destruction. But before they can get any more curious - they offer to bring the breakfast inside and make trays to serve breakfast in bed, just to snoop around - Satan gives them such a deadly glare that they flee and Satan closes the door behind them.

Leila is already dressed for the day. She feels good, rested and excited for the date with James, Lily and Asmodeus, which will start in a couple hours. “If you wake Asmo and James, then I will bring the food to the terrace.” She tells Satan with a smile. “Look how nice the weather is.” 

“Yeah.” Satan nods grumpily. “Bright.” Leila giggles. He’s still not fond of the brightness. Though he can sustain it much better than the Celestial light.

When she wheels out the cart onto the terrace, she realizes that she sent Satan to look for the others for nothing. James and Asmodeus are both out on the terrace already. Just… asleep. Asmo is still naked, though covered up. And James is still in his dinner clothes from last night. Though without his jacket. It apparently served as his blanket. Poor James. Leila thinks. She hopes he won’t be too tired to have another Asmo day.

“Ugh.” Satan comes looking for her and complains. “They’re nowhere to be found. Seriously, if they are in a gutter somewhere in Paris, I swear…” He then sees his brother and James too and sighs. “Right… I’ll put Asmo under a shower, or something. You help James…” Seriously, what a hassle this vacation turned out to be, he thinks with a roll of his eyes. No wonder Belphie let me go with Leila so easily...

“You know…” Leila snuggles into his side, seeing how irritated Satan already feels. “We could just have breakfast together inside…” 

Satan smiles at her and gives her a searing kiss. She would do that for him! She’s so sweet. “Nah, it’s fine.” He tells her, already feeling better. “They need to get ready too. They can’t make us late for your meet-up with Lily.” He’d be damned to let anyone make his mate late for that and let Lily appear in this reality alone, without Leila being there for her.

He pulls Asmodeus up by an arm, and drags him off to the shower. Asmo is only fully awake by the time the cold water is running over him and he starts complaining loudly to his brother, who is less than impressed by it. Leaving his brother under the shower with a ‘Just hurry up, Asmo.’ Leila is a little more gentle with James, but also urges him to hurry up.

They enjoy a somewhat nice and quiet breakfast together. No extra loud noises of seven demons. The two that are with them don’t argue much with each other in general, after all. Soon it is time to call the taxi. But not before everything is put into Satan’s big suitcase. He’s still planning to use the smaller one that belongs to Leila, for bringing books home. Leila is debating whether to spell her suitcase to be bottomless. But then decides against it. Satan already has so many books. Lily’s Satan probably too. It would not be a good idea to tempt her mate like that. She does spell her own purse to be bottomless. She’ll have to carry everyone’s purchases home today.



When Leila’s group arrives at the tower, it’s open to the public so they decide to go up the traditional tourists way. When they reach the third floor, the tower is already filled up with tourists. They haven't seen Lily yet. So Leila closes her eyes, concentrating. 

Suddenly she opens them and just says: "She's here." Smiling brightly.

And true enough, James senses her now too. They look in the direction and see her: Lily is easy enough to spot without magic anyway. Even with her back turned to them, as she’s enjoying the view, her lavender hair stands out. 

Lily turns and waves to them as they approach. “Leila! James!” She cheers and meets them halfway. James wraps her up in a great big hug and Leila follows his example. Soon Asmo joins the hug. Only Satan waits politely until they’re finished with their show, which attracts a lot of people looking at them. “Hey Asmo, Hi Satan.” She greets them too with a big smile, practically bouncing. “I’m so excited for our ‘date’ today, Asmo.”

“Me too!” Asmodeus bounces with her. “This will be the best date, as soon as Satan is gone.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Satan grumbles, but everyone can hear he’s not really angry. “In a minute, Asmo.”

Lily thanks Satan when he gives her the books that her own Satan wanted. Dropping them into her bottomless purse. It’s a good thing Solomon showed her how to spell it to be mostly weightless as well. No matter how much she put in it, it never felt heavier than five pounds. 

“You can tell him that I’m going to try to find more books today.” Satan tells her with a smile. “There are still a few shops I want to visit while I’m here. You get any extra copies I’ll find the next time you visit us.”

“He will be happy to hear that.” Lily beams. “Are all these titles French?” She wonders what kind of books the Satans find interesting.

“Yes.” Satan snickers at his mate who gives him a frown. “Don’t tell Leila what they translate into.”

“Ugh.” Leila tries to punch Satan and is caught in his embrace. “I’m still not letting you go ‘catflexing’ with Shado. If the title of the book is in French or not.”

Lily burst out in giggles. They’re so cute together. She turns to James and Asmodeus while Satan and Leila start to say goodbye extensively. That’s a bit intrusive to watch, after all. After this, Satan has suddenly disappeared from the platform.

Suddenly Asmo snatches up Lily’s hand. “Oh this is pretty! A gift from a special someone?” He asks with a wink. “So you like to wear jewelry?” He asks in such a way that makes Lily think that Asmo will end up buying something for her today, if she doesn’t stop him. 

“No, no…” Lily laughs. “Normally I’m not typically the type to wear jewelry, but this is just a gift from Master to apprentice.” She replies a bit wistfully. 

“Oh, did Solomon give that to you in the Catacombs by chance?” Leila asks cryptically, thinking of the gift she received from her grandfather. She’s curious, but she doesn’t want to say too much. Even though yesterday’s events are safe topics of conversation, as far as the reality rules are concerned, she knows this can be a sore subject for Lily at times. 

Lily frowns for only a moment, reminded of her confrontation, then she smiles, it all worked out for the best anyway. She gives Asmodeus a worried glance, thinking back on what Solomon had told her. Did the same happen for them? Was Asmo there? She’s not certain if she should ask. 

“No..He gave this to me when we spent the day together, yesterday.” She tells them with a bright smile. “He left me at the hotel when he had business to take care of in the Catacombs...”

“Oh, so you didn’t go with him?” Leila asks Lily now. And Lily looks a bit confused at her as she shakes her head. They’re not supposed to talk about events, right? “If not, we can talk about it.” Leila explains. “Since we only have to keep the major events secret that involve both you and James. And this was not a major event.”

“Excuse me?!” Asmodeus exclaims a bit too loud for the public place they are in. Thinking it was a pretty major event, himself.

“Shh, Asmo.” Leila soothes him, gently rubbing his arm. “We were on time, remember? We will always try to be on time for those things.” She comforts him.

Lily squeezes Asmo’s hand that was still holding on to hers when admiring her ring. He seems a little out of sorts if she can judge him based on her own Asmo. “Solomon only gave me the bare details when he got back...” She admits. “I’m curious about what happened, but at the same time not sure if I want to know. I don’t want to rehash anything unpleasant for you..” She glances at Asmo. 

“Oh ho!” Asmo laughs, ignoring Lily’s concern. Picking up on her body language and everything she isn’t saying. “A lovers quarrel was it? Did you two make up afterwards?”

“No, it wasn’t a quarrel!” Lily insists, pulling her hand away from his. She waves them in front of herself, blushing. “Just a...slight disagreement on some of his methods..”

“About him not telling you something?” James guesses. 

“That’s just his way.” Leila shrugs a little, not thinking of it being such a big deal, but then she starts explaining more about her experiences with her grandfather being her teacher. “Being Solomon’s apprentice you‘ll learn some different things about him. Sometimes he leaves you guessing, challenging you to find the answers for yourself. He will be very proud of you when you manage that, but won’t be too disappointed if you don’t yet. Sometimes he keeps you away, because of the danger. I bet yesterday was like that.” 

“I don’t think he wanted me, Asmo and Satan there, to be honest. The only reason we were there too, was because we were all together when he asked for Leila’s help.” James tells Lily. “I definitely was not ready for it, if Leila wasn’t there too…”

Lily just smiles and nods. This isn’t what the issue was or is between her and Solomon and she doesn’t want to delve into that now or here. She just wants to have a lovely day in Paris with her friends.

“ANYWAY!” Asmodeus interrupts, not wanting to be reminded of last night. “Enough about that stodgy old heartbreaker, as much as we all adore him...Today is about ME!”


Chapter Text

Paris - France

Once they have a chance to take in the view together and take a few photos, or one hundred in Asmo’s case, they make their way from the Eiffel Tower to begin their shopping excursion. Asmodeus charms some important looking man to share his limo with them as they speed across town from the 7th to 9th arrondissement. James and Asmo keep a lively conversation with the wealthy businessman while Lily and Leila look at each other in quiet mortification. 

Arriving at the Galeries LaFayette, they pile out of the limo while Asmo kisses the man on the mouth and says “Merci, mon cher. Je n'oublierai jamais cette expérience!” and bids him adieu. 

*tsk* Asmodeus lifts a finger to Lily’s chin and closes her gaping mouth. “Lily, think about where you are and that people can see you.” He reprimands, but Lily barely hears him. Not only does this ‘mall’ look gorgeous but it oozes luxury and name brands. It’s not that she can’t afford anything here, but she’s never been one to waste money on a label.

When Asmodeus had told them he was taking them shopping at the mall, this was not what they were expecting. The building is gorgeous and nothing like the malls the three humans are used to. The Neo Byzantine dome and art deco style of the building took their breath away, while Asmodeus doesn’t even seem to notice as he beelines it for the customer service desk.

A few honeyed words later and Asmodeus has secured VIP treatment for them all. They’re immediately assigned several personal shoppers and taken to the top of the mall and given their own large, luxurious private changing room. 

James flops onto the couch in the lounge looking relaxed while Lily and Leila exchange a disappointed pout. They’d rather be downstairs going through the clothes themselves. In fact, Lily would be much more comfortable flipping through clothes at a much more modest establishment. She thought the Majolish was over the top, but it doesn’t hold a candle to this place. And while Leila enjoys being spoiled and treated like a princess now and then, she has been looking forward to having a normal shopping morning with Lily. 

Asmodeus takes charge telling the personal shoppers the sorts of things he’d like to see everyone try on, from clothes to accessories, not giving his humans much say. Soon after they find themselves being measured from head to toe. 

“Is this really necessary?” Leila asks Asmodeus, a bit uncomfortable, while two employees are pulling on her arms and legs and measuring her up. It feels like such an intrusion. “You know I can just give them my sizes. In fact-” She wants to say more, but Asmodeus interupts her.

“We have to be precise, Sunshine.” He tells her. “So you will look your best. Then he frowns at the way the employees seem to manhandle his Sunshine and Lily, and he reprimands them. “J'apprécierais que vous soyez un peu plus prudent avec ma Princesse Soleil et ma Petite Fleur.” His voice sounds suddenly less cheerful and more threatening. James and Leila look at each other: Asmo is still not entirely himself.

“It’s fine, Asmo.” Leila says soothingly. “They’re not hurting us. It’s just a bit weird…”

Lily nods, while her arms are pulled up in the air so they can measure her overbust, bust and underbust while someone else measures her head at the same time. “This isn’t as fun as shopping for ourselves.” 

“Maybe not, ma Petite Fleur de Lys.” Asmodeus agrees. “But we’re on such a tight schedule, I had to make sure we were able to get the very best in the time we had..so..” He shrugs. “Plus, doesn’t it feel amazing to be waited on hand and foot?” He says and then grabs a glass of the complimentary champagne. 

“We have three hours, that seems like plenty of time.” James laughs. Still he reclines down on his couch, closing his eyes.

“Three hours shopping for ourselves will make Leila tired.” Asmodeus explains and his voice sounds now like he doesn’t want to hear any more complaining. “It’s going to be a long day and I want everyone to be able to have fun tonight.”

James is already snoozing and Leila whispers to Lily as an explanation. “We all had a bit of a rough night last night.” Lily nods, she can just imagine.

Of course James doesn’t get to snooze long before it’s his turn to be manhandled and measured head to foot himself. But as soon as they're alone again, they find him back on the couch, spread out with his arm over his eyes. They decide to let him rest until the shoppers return with racks and racks of clothing wheeled in behind them. Two for each of them and several totes full of accessories follow. 

“So, explain to me why I can’t wear the smart casual clothes from yesterday, Asmo?” James asks. They are nice clothing after all and follow the same dress code as the club they’ll be going to tonight.

“Because we have been stomping through the catacombs in those, James.” Asmo explains impatiently. “I’m going to BURN those clothes when we get home!” He declares dramatically.

“We have cleansing spells for that, Asmo.” Leila reminds him, but Asmodeus wants to hear nothing about it. Those clothes will forever remind him of that night. Besides, who wears the same clothes twice?

Several LBD’s are brought for the girls, but both of them don’t feel like any of them is their style. For Asmodeus and James, several fashionable jackets and dress shirts are selected. Lily and Leila feel like the boys have a much easier time choosing something. 

“Why are there always more clothes for girls?” Leila complains with half a laugh. “It makes it so hard to choose.”

“What’s that I hear?” Asmodeus says in a sassy tone.“More complaints? Leila, please…”

“Sounds like a luxury problem to me.” James teases Leila.

“I just mean to say…”

But Asmodeus interupts her again, putting his hand over her mouth and gives her a kiss on the cheek. “I don’t want to hear any complaints from you, after the places you dragged me to yesterday, Sunshine.”

While Leila nods at him with a guilty expression on her face, Lily tries not to giggle. She’s going to find out where Leila dragged Asmo to yesterday as soon as she gets the chance. 

 

Once they decide that the dresses aren’t working for them, Asmodeus decides to move on to having the girls try on sexy pants and top combos instead. Meanwhile Asmodeus and James have already perfected their entire look. But Leila keeps her complaints to herself, she did owe it to him after all he went through yesterday, she supposes. 

“Try this one on next.” Asmo tells Leila, handing her a hanger. 

Leila narrows her eyes at the fuzzy purple tube top with silver chain straps. Is he kidding me? Leila thinks to herself, doing her best not to complain. She takes the hanger, it is soft and she likes the color, it matches Lily’s hair, but this will barely cover anything!

“I insist, Sunshine.” Asmodeus tells her, as if reading her thoughts. Leila really has to clamp her lips closed when she sees him hand Lily a much more covering top to try on next. As they go into their fitting rooms he passes new bottoms to try on as well.

When both girls come out of their respective fitting rooms, Asmodeus is delighted with what he sees apparently. Leila has to admit that the top looks much better than how she imagined it on the hanger. It is comfortable and covers more than she thought it would. She has a feeling that both Belphie and Satan would appreciate it as well, although they may not appreciate her wearing it out to a club. 

The top that Lily is wearing doesn’t really cover more than Leila originally thought, the biggest difference is that Lily’s top has long sleeves. Now if Leila can convince Asmodeus to let her wear some sort of jacket, they’d be in business.

Lily’s top is a black ruched crop top with fluted long sleeves. They’ve never seen Lily in black before so it looks a little alien on the girl who always wears neutral and pastel colors. However, it contrasts nicely with her lavender hair. While the girls are complimenting each other, Asmodeus is busy discussing options with the personal shoppers who have been waiting in the wings.

When he’s finally done with them they’ve both ended up in dark black jeans and matching Prada logo belts. Leila gets a smart black blazer to wear with her tube top and Asmodeus has decked them both out in silver earrings and necklaces. He picks out high end purses that are small, dainty and practical enough for the club. Leila’s purse matches her purple top with a silver strap where Lily’s is a bright pink, popping against all the black she’s been dressed in. 

When Asmodeus pulls out the boxes of shoes he’s had brought up for them, the girls begin to protest even though they’re both secretly swooning over them. Every box contains a red soled Louboutin in various styles. Asmodeus doesn’t need to charm them to win them over, the shoes do most of the talking. 

Leila ends up with a really cool pair of heels that remind her and Lily of Cinderella's glass slippers. The clear pvc is studded with crystals that cluster more thickly around the pointed toe of the heel. Lily’s heels are a pink suede stiletto that match the color of her purse. It easily adds fifteen centimeters to her height. Something she has to get used to.

When both girls stand and wobble a bit, Lily knows just the trick. Since she’s such a clutz and Asmodeus is always forcing her to wear crazy shoes, she developed a spell just for these occasions. She casts the spell on both pairs and Leila can instantly feel the difference in both comfort and stability. 

“I call this my ‘Lily is a real fool in heels and needs all the help she can get’, spell.” She laughs at her Leviathan inspired title. 

“Nice! Thank you.” Leila grins and whispers back. “I have a ‘no blisters in new heels’ spell to compliment with that.” And she secretly casts her own spell on their new shoes. They both giggle at Asmodeus' expression: They know he thinks you have to suffer sometimes if you want to be stunning. But they disagree with that.

“Perfect.” Lily beams back. “Between the two spells, we will actually be able to dance in these!” She lowers her voice to match Leila’s remembering that they’re not exactly alone up here. It’s an unspoken agreement that they’ll be swapping spells later. 

Once the outfits have been completed they all change back into their regular clothes for the day, Leila casts some spells on their shopping bags so they won’t become too burdensome and so that their clubbing clothes don’t become wrinkled in the bags. 

 

After Asmodeus has graciously paid for everyone’s crazy expensive outfits, they decide to walk a short way towards the nearest chic Parisian cafe they can find to enjoy a lunch together. “Oh look!” Leila points excitedly to a shop across the street. “That’s ‘A La Mère de Famille’! I wanted to go there yesterday, but there wasn’t enough time.” 

Lily looks to where Leila is pointing and also gets excited. “Oh! I read about that place. We didn’t have time to stop by yesterday, either.” Her and Leila exchange a look: Yes they are definitely going there next!

Asmodeus is about to complain. He’s not going to let Leila hijack his date and drag them to more dusty old places today, she promised him she wouldn’t! Then he sees the shop they are so excited about and his expression totally changes. “Oh I suppose we could make a quick stop.” He concedes. But he’s not fooling any of them, they know he has a sweet tooth. Plus he’ll love all the Devilgrammable content inside the store. 

They rush to the store excitedly. “I hear they have all kinds of typical french sweets.” Leila tells everyone. “And they also sell a cookbook on how to make them. I think I’m going to buy some of everything. For Luke, of course.”

“Sure.” James says dryly with a smirk. “For Luke…”

They can’t waste too much time unfortunately, so after they take the mandatory tourist photos. Lily and Leila both load up on the iconic chocolate boxes tied with orange ribbon to gift to everyone at home. They pick out something extra special for those who will really appreciate it and have finer tastes, like Luke and Barbatos. Then they walk a few more blocks until they come across a chic little cafe to have lunch at.

 

While sipping espresso and waiting for their meal to arrive, Leila leans forward and asks Lily, “So what did you do in Paris yesterday? Where did you stay?”

“Oh, we did so much! It was such a fun day.” Lily beams and tells them about the hotel. They all have a good laugh over the fact that they booked the same place without knowing it. 

“Though in our case it was more like Asmo just walked in and charmed our way into the Penthouse suite.” James grins and Asmodeus looks smug with what he assumes is a compliment.

“I felt a bit out of place, but it was really nice and beautiful to stay there for a night.” Leila sighs dreamily, remembering how nice it was with Satan.

“Did you share a room with Solomon?” Asmo asks, wiggling his brows at Lily suggestively.

“I did.” Lily tells him, rolling her eyes. “But we slept in separate beds, not that it's any of your business.” She teases him. Then she tells them about the auction. 

“Oh, he’s taken you to the auction?” Leila perks up. “What was it like? Solomon has never taken me before. I guess it makes sense, but I’m so curious about all those events.”

Lily feels surprised when Leila tells her this and hopes it doesn’t show too much on her face. Secretly she feels special that her own Solomon has taken her somewhere that even Leila hasn’t been to before with her own grandfather. Still, she can suspect why Leila’s never been before, since her identity was kept secret for so long. She’s sure it won’t be long before Leila’s going to these places, with or without her grandfather. 

After Lily describes the place and people of the auction to them, her eyes suddenly widen in surprise. She almost forgot!  Lily excitedly pulls the songbird pin out of her purse and presents it to Leila. “Sorry I didn’t have time to wrap it but I won this at the auction for you!” She beams as Leila accepts the gift with surprise.

“The songbird, when worn, will sing and harmonize with the wearer if it deems their song worthy. That’s what the auctioneer said anyway.” Lily laughs.

“Wow, thank you…” Leila sighs, admiring the gift. “I’m going to test it out soon, but even if it doesn’t deem my song worthy, it’s still so pretty…” She carefully slides her fingers over the delicate pin. Lily beams with pride. Leila is obviously very happy with her gift.

Then she notices that Asmo and James are looking at her expectantly and she ducks her head. “Sorry I only have the pin for Leila, I wasn’t able to win anything I thought you’d like.” She explains. “The only other thing I won was a collection of enchanted records for Lucifer and an orb that shines with Celestial light. “I’m going to use it for gardening…”

“Did that orb happen to look like this?” Leila fishes up her wooden jewelry box from her purse and shows her own pendant with the orb that shines with Celestial light under the table, so that other customers aren’t bothered with the brightness. She still doesn’t exactly know how to work with it or if she can dim it. “Solomon gave this to me yesterday.” Leila tells Lily happily. “He says it can amplify my Celestial spellcasting, once I figured out how to work with it.”

Lily looks in surprise at the jewelry: It looks beautiful, but it is much smaller than her own orb. Still it shines with the same brightness. “My orb is more the size of a tennis ball.” She tells Leila, after she has closed the box and put it away again. “So even if we are having a lot of similarities, it seems like not everything is exactly the same…” She muses out loud and drifts off in her thoughts for a bit. Then suddenly she’s back. “Oh and did you know Solomon has a collection of real magic carpets?!”

“Yeah, I know!” Leila laughs. In a conspiratorial whisper she confesses. “When I was fifteen, I wanted to take one out for a joy flight…” She giggles when she sees the expression of surprise on her friends' faces. That doesn’t seem like something Leila would do at all! “Hey! I’ve had my rebellious phase too, even if it only lasted for a short bit. But anyway, it didn’t work out that well. I crash-landed in the ocean and you can imagine how Solomon wasn’t at all proud of me for that…” She ends her story with a pout.

Lily giggles imagining Solomon’s face, she’s sure he’s had his share of crashes too. “Well lucky it was water and not something hard.” She grins, imagining Leila’s rebellious phase. “I never even considered the idea before.” Lily admits, surprised with herself. Even after all this time, the world of magic seems unreal to her at times. “I used to think how wonderful it would be to be a bird and have that freedom when I was a child.” She says dreamily. 

“I wonder if I’m better at flying now.” Leila wonders out loud, not noticing the confused looks on Lily and James’ faces. “As soon as I’m a full-licenced sorceress, I’m going to apply for my flying license…” She says dreamily, leaving it to Lily and James to look at each other and draw their own conclusions. “But what will be fun to fly with? I don’t like the idea of a broomstick, that’s so cliché. A carpet is comfortable, of course, but I’m thinking of spelling a motorcycle. That would be cool. I’ll have to talk with Shado about it…”

“Shado…?” Lily asks carefully, not sure if she all understands it well.

“Oh yeah!” Leila nods enthusiastically. “Non-flying familiars, like cats, want to have a say in what their magicians fly with. Since they often join them on their trips and need to feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a familiar, of course. But I should consider Shado’s feelings with this.”

“Since we all know that Shado is a cat with opinions.” James nods, pretending he could follow this conversation. “He might want you to spell his roomba.” 

“No, that’s too small.” Leila shakes her head with a serious expression and James bites his lip to not burst out laughing. “Oh, but there are flying discs these days. Though you have to be careful with that. Some careless witches have been spotted with those and made it into the news as UFO’s.” She shakes her head over that amount of stupidity. “Seriously, if you don’t know what you’re doing, keep it to broomsticks…”

Lily and James look at each other and burst out in laughter: They can’t believe they are actually having a conversation like this. Leila gives them a look, feeling offended, but then giggles as well.

After they all have a good laugh, Lily continues with describing Solomon’s test for her. James enthusiastically joins in on that part of the conversation. Having learned how to track down magical objects himself now as well. “...But there was nothing left in the shop…”

“I think Solomon beat us to it.” Leila tells him, remembering how she thought she saw him walking in Paris a few times. “But we did find some things at the flea market.”

“Now I want to know what you all kept busy with!” Lily tells them. 

“Well…We went to this place called Deyrolle .” Leila gets a simultaneous mischievous and enthusiastic smile on her face. “I saw this picture online and I just had to check it out for real!” Leila shows Lily her pictures of the baby Pegacorn. “See? A crossbreed of a Pegasus and a Unicorn! Of course it’s not real, because they exist in opposite worlds…”

“It was a horrible place and that thing was an abomination.” Asmodeus declares dignifiedly, still not over the idea that his cute Sunshine would like these sort of things.

“It was honestly amazing.” James contradicts him and tells Lily. “I’ve never seen Pegasi, but I have seen Unicorn in the Devildom. And let me tell you, that Pegacorn looked like the real thing. 

“Oh! That sounds so fun. I didn’t manage to make it there.” Lily practically pouts, feeling like she missed out.

“I wanted to see what else they got, but Asmo dragged me out…” James pouts, with a wink in Asmodeus direction and Lily and Leila giggle. “What if they have a real looking Yeti?”

“We should all go back!” Leila suggests with the mischievous twinkle in her eyes much more evident now and Lily and James catch on and nod enthusiastically.

Asmodeus gives them all a look. “There’s no way I’m being dragged into that place again.” He declares prudishly, a look you don’t often see on the Avatar of Lust. “Besides, there’s absolutely no time for it anyway.”

“You said you found real magical items at a flea market?” Lily asks in a hushed voice when their meal is finally brought to them and the cafe starts filling up with more patrons enjoying their lunch. 

“Oh yes.” Asmodeus complains to Lily. “Another one of those places Leila dragged us to…”

But he finds no support in his misgivings from Lily, and James and Leila tell her about the magic items they found. “The dreamcatcher seems to be very powerful, once I have it fixed.” Leila tells her enthusiastically, but of course also keeps her voice down like they all do now.

“And Leila told me about what those Mermaid Tears can do.” James tells Lily and explains to her what Leila told him. He whispers to Lily, so that no one else can hear it. Not even Leila and Asmodeus, who have started a discussion of their own for the moment. “I’m thinking about giving one to Belphie and Beel. You know… So they can say goodbye to Lilith. Even if it isn’t real…”

Lily blinks at James in surprise. That thought hadn’t occurred to her. She wonders how the twins will feel about that. It seems like a wonderful gesture but still, she can’t help feeling sad about it. “You might be a troublemaker James, but you have a heart of gold.” She beams at him. 

“You should tell her about your beautiful dress, Leila.” They now hear Asmodeus chiding Leila sternly. “Not about some dusty old dreamcatcher and a jar full of sea glass and Mermaid Tears.”

“Asmo…” Leila tries to sound dignified, but can barely hold her laugh. “You bought me a freaking wedding dress!”

“And you looked absolutely enchanting in it.” Asmodeus nods proudly.

“He did?!” Lily asks excitedly. “Why? What did Satan think of that?”

“Satan never saw it as a wedding dress, thankfully.” Leila answers her, showing some pictures of the new and improved - as far as she is concerned - dress. Sometimes pink, sometimes green, having Lily wondering. “If you are wondering about what color the dress was.” Leila notices her confusion. “The idiots thought it was a good idea to keep changing the color. While I was wearing it in public. I was THIS close to changing it to blue and sending a picture to Lucifer.” She holds her thumb and index finger together by only a millimeter and Lily bursts out in giggles. She can just imagine the scene.

 

After lunch, they make their way to Parc Montsouris. There is a small section of overgrown abandoned train track named la Petite Ceinture. They gather inside the tunnel and Lily and James cast a glamoring spell - they both recently learned from their Solomons - to keep curious people away while Leila is making her teleporting circle. Once finished, they all stand in it and Leila casts the final incantation to transport them all to their next location. Vanishing without a trace, as if they were never there.

 

Pretoria - South Africa

Arriving in a quiet alleyway in another large city, they don’t really have time to take in any sights as they make their way to the Palladium salon for their lash and brow treatments.

“I feel like the boys are going to outdo us girls today.” Lily laughs to Leila. 

“Yeah.” Leila smiles. “James especially already has long dark eyelashes, he doesn’t really need this treatment.” She teases her cousin. “He's been upstaging me with those lashes all my life.” She pretends to be sad about that to Lily and pouts.

“That’s because I’m not coating mine everyday in toxic gunk.” James retorts playfully, fluttering his eyelashes at them. 

“Please.” Asmodeus rolls his eyes. “You just need to use the right lash serum. Do you think it’s easy or cheap to maintain this amount of gorgeousness?” He gestures to himself. 

Leila and Lily both snort. Then Leila links her arm with his and tells him mockingly. “Teach us all about your gorgeousness, Asmo. What should we choose?” Asmodeus, not catching on, beams at her and starts chattering, while both James and Lily follow them laughing.

The 90min appointment goes by in a flash and at the end of it they’re all admiring each other’s groomed brows and tinted lashes. James didn’t need a lash tint but they did a lift and his are even more impossibly pretty now. Lily and Leila both have chosen for lash lifts and tinting and some eyebrow grooming. They come close to James now, but are still no match for him. Not that they really care.

“Ah, this will be so much more practical in the morning.” Leila nods satisfied. “A lot less messing with make-up…” Asmodeus almost faints as he hears her say that. He threatens to check on her every morning if she starts getting lazy with her appearance and Leila just rolls her eyes. He’s so dramatic!

They all make a point to fawn over Asmodeus to make him feel good, even though none of them can really see a difference in his appearance. He always looks so perfect to begin with. A little maintenance doesn’t stand out much. 

 

Vancouver - Canada

Lily is discreetly and conscientiously checking Leila for signs of fatigue after their second portal jump of the day. They’ve arrived in the back alley of another sprawling metropolis just in time to make their way straight to the next Salon. They arrive at the early Canadian hour of 7:30 in the morning, even if they already have quite some hours of pampering behind them.

“I’ll have you know I spared no expense or effort on this appointment. Not that charming the Salon owner to open early with their three most talented stylists was any trouble for me.” Asmodeus grins as head leads them to the doors of the Julien Grenier Salon. 

All three of his humans give Asmodeus his well-earned compliments and he is beaming ear to ear. He likes being adored, but being adored by his favorite humans is like a shot of pure serotonin for him.

They all start with a deep cleansing shampoo and scalp treatment. The head and neck massages they received at the same time is heavenly. Lily and Leila both giggle when they hear James snoring during the treatment. Poor guy really is tuckered out!

Asmodeus praises Lily for having her roots touched up ahead of time because they don’t have enough time for that today, after all. Lily and Leila decide to just get a stripe of each other's hair color to frame one side of their face. Asmo and James argue while Asmo tries to convince him to do extensions with his hair. 

“Imagine how beautiful you would look with waving locks…”

“Forget it, Asmo.” James tells him determined. “Anything that takes me more than ten seconds in front of a mirror in the morning, is a hard no for me.” Asmodeus gasps, offended by that statement. He tries even harder, but James just turns to his stylist and discusses the different kinds of hairstyles he could choose from with the previously mentioned requirements.

Eventually Asmo gives up on James and begins telling the stylists how to do their jobs. Leila and Lily exchange a look, they’re glad they're not in the stylists shoes because Asmodeus is the definition of a client from hell, quite literally.

The girls are getting their blowouts when a team of makeup artists arrive and begin painting their faces with glamourous evening looks. They feel very strange having someone pull at their hair and poke at their face all at the same time. James doesn’t escape this treatment either but they don’t complain, because they can see how absolutely happy and delighted Asmo is about it all. They all change into their clubbing outfits before leaving the Salon and portaling back to London. 

 

London - Great Britain

Once they’re back in London, it’s time to head to the restaurant where Asmodeus has made dinner reservations. Lily can clearly see Leila flagging in energy although she did go through the day with no naps so that is an improvement. Leila also stubbornly refuses to admit it this time. They all know it. Lily just hopes that they can have a nice relaxing dinner so that Leila can recharge and still have fun tonight at the club. 

While they wait for their dinner reservation, Asmodeus insists on taking a ton of selfies and group photos. “We have to get them done now, while we’re still looking fresh!” He insists. 

“Don’t you have that ‘stay fresh’ spell, Asmo?” Leila reminds him, but Asmodeus keeps taking pictures. Then he also casts the spell over everyone’s hair and make-up with a wink to Leila.

It’s not long before they are escorted to their table and Asmodeus takes it upon himself to order wine and his preferred appetizers for everyone. 

Asmodeus scowls when they see Mammon stroll into the restaurant like he owns the place. Followed by Levi and Beel. They’re looking around, clearly looking for THEM. 

“How did those idiots know where we were?!” He complains with irritation. 

“I don’t know Asmo.” James laughs teasingly. “Maybe it was the one hundred and one selfies you posted online, of us outside the restaurant while we waited for our table to be ready?”

Asmo rolls his eyes. “There were only ten photos, James.”

“Don’t worry we’ll send them away.” Leila assures Asmo. 

“Yeah, it’s still your day after all.” Lily says, offering him a supportive smile. 

When the three interlopers finally spot them and head over, Mammon looks like a cherry tomato by the time he reaches the table. His humans look so good and they’re dressed in real expensive clothes, they might as well be wearing grimm as far as he’s concerned!

Beel is staring at their appetizers, with drool running down his chin and Levi is looking like a little kid who’s been caught red handed doing something he shouldn't. He knew this was a bad idea when his idiot brother came to him but he let himself be dragged out of his room regardless. He wanted to be with their humans too.

“Don’t you dare James!” Asmo chides, catching James about to sneak Beel some food. Once he gets a taste, there’ll be no getting the glutton to leave. 

Mammon is just about to summon the waiter to let them know that they need to bring three more seats and more appetizers, when Leila stops him. “You guys can’t sit with us.”

“Wha?! Why not?” Mammon protests way too loud.

Asmodeus tells him with a rare possessiveness. “Because this is MY date with my humans! Get your own!”

“Ugh! Don’t be so greedy!” Mammon argues. As if he isn’t the Avatar of Greed. “If Satan could join, why can’t we?!”

“Satan didn’t join.” James points out. “He left us alone and went doing his own thing after saying goodbye, this morning.”

“But we’re already here.” Leviathan whines. “And I want to spend time with Lily too. They’re OUR humans.”

“And I’m hungry.” Beel states like a broken record, still drooling a bit and looking at their food with covetous eyes. 

“We’ll get our own day together Levi.” Lily tries to point out gently, but is ignored when Asmo and Mammon start arguing over everyone.

“Look.” Leila is getting involved again, sounding a bit tired and irritated. “I’m not saying you can’t eat here in this restaurant. But you can’t sit with us.” She’s silent for a bit, as if thinking. “And we’re not going to pay for your bill.” She calls their waiter and tells them this too.

“Whatever! I ain’t got time for this.” Mammon grumbles as if coming down to the restaurant hadn’t been all his idea in the first place. Without another word he turns to leave, a scowl on his face. 

Beelzebub looks at them a bit forlorn but tells the waiter he’d like his own table. Leviathan hesitates, looking between Beelzeub and Mammon’s retreating figure before he growls with frustration and takes off after Mammon.

“I knew I should have never left my room. That dumb scumbag is always wasting my time!” They hear him complain as he leaves.

The interruption is soon forgotten as they settle into comfortable conversation and enjoy their dinner. Asmodeus is clearly amped up for the club and it’s easy for them to get swept away in his excitement. They all pretend they don’t hear Beelzebub’s complaints when he’s asked to leave the restaurant, from somewhere out of their peripherals.  

“You’re all just going to LOVE the place we’re going to. It’s simply the best London has to offer and of course I deserve to have the best with my adorable little humans.” Asmodeus preens. 

Soon enough they find out that he really wasn’t exaggerating about the club...

 

Lily and Leila can’t help feeling nervous and out of place as they walk up to the club. Leila might be a sort of royalty in her own right in the magical community but in the ordinary world she’s a nobody and she can tell this is not the sort of place she’d ever been allowed entry into without trickery and magic to aid her. 

Lily’s nervousness is quickly replaced by awe. All the glittering lights and beautiful people, she feels like she’s walked up to a red carpet event and she gawks at all the people she passes by as Leila keeps her feet moving since they’ve linked arms.

James is right beside her looking a little starstruck himself. Wait. Was that Ella Watkins from Harrison Porter!? He thinks to himself. Unlike the girls he isn’t nervous at all, he’s just excited for the night to come. 

“Asmodeus, VIP party of four.” He tells the bouncer at the door. Everyone except Lily has noticed that they’ve completely bypassed the line. The bouncer looks them all over, he can’t place them, they’re not celebrities but they look the part, dressed as impeccably as they are. However the tallest girl does look like she could be a model, judging by her graceful posture. Maybe this is her entourage? The bouncer doesn’t want to make a rookie mistake by bouncing someone important he’s just not familiar with.

“No Asmodeus on the list.” The bouncer replies after trying to verify their names on the guestlist. 

“Oh? Are you sure? I think you should look again, hon.” Asmodeus purrs, looking directly into the man’s eyes. 

Because he’s already wavering, the poor man is more receptive to Asmodeus' charm. In a daze he looks at his tablet again. “My apologies.” He tells them, now suddenly thinking he’s seeing their names on the list. Then, as quick as that, they’re entering the exclusive club. 

“Oh? We’re in already?” Lily asks as they are being directed to their own private VIP table. “I thought we’d be in that line longer.” She laughs, clueless. 

The club is centered around a raised stage, which allows the patrons to dance all around the performers. The decor is eclectic and the color scheme boasts bold green and golds. There’s framed pictures of various icons hung on the walls on metallic holographic wallpaper and the seating is all velvet trimmed. 

Arriving at their VIP table, Asmo orders bottle service and then immediately launches into a complicated order for custom shooters. “It needs to be super sexy with floral and citrus notes. A layered shot with bright pink and green.” He tells them, showing his nails as an example. When they ask him what the drink is called, he smiles and replies with a seductive voice that clearly has an effect on everyone close enough to hear him. “The Avatar of Lust .” The humans exchange an amused eye roll. He makes everything so drama-filled. 

They stay at their VIP table just long enough to down their ‘Avatar of Lust’ shooters together before Asmodeus pushes them out onto the dance floor. But not before others around them catch sight of the interesting looking drink and begin inquiring after it. It’s not long before the patrons of the club are enjoying the new drink, whispering among themselves. Everyone wants to know who the new faces are.

They might be ‘unknowns’ in this world of the rich and famous but that doesn’t mean Asmo doesn’t draw the eye of just about everyone he passes. The humans get plenty of attention themselves, which James enjoys to full extent. But he has to shake his head, amused by Leila and Lily who are oblivious to their own charms and the attention they draw to themselves without effort. 

For a while they are able to dance and have fun without any interference but like most adventures with their demons, drama is sure to find them eventually. 

There is this girl that is starting to get on Leila’s nerve more and more. She's been circling around them, like some kind of scavenging vulture, ever since she’s got a taste of Asmo’s signature drink. Sure, Asmodeus has his share of sycophants everywhere they go. And sometimes that’s really a bit annoying if you want to just dance and have fun. But Leila is used to that. Asmodeus thrives on attention and Leila knows she can never give him enough on her own. Which is one of the reasons she knows she can’t be with Asmodeus in a relationship. But that doesn’t mean that she is okay with being shoved aside by the sycophants.

They’ve been coming and going all evening, vying for Asmodeus' attention, making mean comments about James, Lily and herself in the process. Really, sometimes humans are just like demons. But one of them is the absolute worst: Like when Asmodeus was dancing with Lily earlier… She practically tackled Lily off her feet! James could just catch her in time! And after that she invited herself to their VIP table, making use of their bottle service, practically shoving James out of his seat.

And now…

Leila finally gets the chance to dance with Asmodeus. She loves to do that, even if she can’t follow his movements so well. He always treats her so special and Leila loves it. But then SHE came over again. Practically running her over like some kind of tank! Seriously, how rude can you be?

“Excuse you!” She hisses at the offender after she regains her balance. At least Asmodeus had made sure she didn’t fall, but he’s also not doing a good job defending his humans from this tornado. “If you want to dance with my friend, just wait until he’s available.”

“Wait for YOU?!” The girl shrieks with a piercing voice and laughs, while flipping her hair back. “And who might YOU be, that I should wait for you?”

“That’s none of your business, who I am.” Leila responds with the air of the granddaughter of King Solomon. Not that anyone knows who that is, but her attitude still forces respect from the growing group of bystanders. Standing tall on her high heels, Leila looks like royalty now. “You can still show some respect to people, even if you don’t know them.”

“You act all high and mighty, but I bet you’re a nobody.” The girl snorts mockingly. 

“Ladies, ladies.” Asmodeus grins and speaks to them in his alluring voice. “The night is young and there’s plenty of me to go around.” He puts himself between Leila and the model and begins dancing with both of them. 

Leila can’t help feeling a little annoyed and hurt by his actions. He’s clearly loving the attention and thinks he’s being fought over by the two women, when Leila just isn’t going to stand for being pushed around by some arrogant girl. She really loves him. But sometimes he’s just clueless!

James and Lily, dancing nearby, have been watching the scene unfold. They both pull Leila in between them. They adore Asmo and want him to have a good night but they’re not going to stand around and let Leila be treated like that either. 

It only takes Asmo a few seconds to notice Leila’s absence, his three humans are looking so radiant together and he doesn’t like being left out of their threesome and so he abandons the model in favor of wiggling himself between Leila and Lily. 

“Don’t leave me out!” He pouts. Leila can’t help but feel some satisfaction as she notices the look of pure frustration and humiliation on HER face as Asmo abandons her for them. 

This girl just won’t stop until she’s had Asmo for herself though, as she drunkenly stomps up to them and gets in Leila’s face, “Do you know who I am? I’ll ruin you. I’ll make sure you never get work again!”

Leila, James and Lily all exchange a confused look before bursting out in laughter. Apparently she’s gotten the idea that Leila must be a new face in the modeling industry. Their laughter is cut short when James sees the girl raise a hand, and he quickly pulls Leila out of the way just in time. 

The momentum of the failed slap causes her to lose her balance, twisting her ankle, breaking a heel and crashing to the floor. They all think the scene is finally going to be over, except now the girl begins screaming like a crazed lunatic, drawing even more of a crowd of curious patrons. 

“You PUSHED me!” She screeches from the floor, falsely accusing Leila with a pointing finger. Everyone could clearly see that she was never touched, but the crowd still feels excited for the possible upcoming catfight, trying to goad the two arguing girls to fight.

A bouncer arrives on scene and after discerning who all was involved in the commotion, ends up kicking them out, along with the snooty model. No one is too upset about this turn of events though because it’s been a long, exciting day and the humans are definitely ready to rest. Only Asmodeus is bewildered. 

“I don’t understand?” He pouts. “I could have charmed them to let us stay?”

“Of course, Asmo.” James pats him gently on his back while Leila is calling for a taxi. “But we have to be home on time, anyway.”

“Exactly.” Leila nods, putting her phone back in her bottomless purse. “We need to be home before Lily returns. We don’t want her to disappear on us while we’re driving home and be stranded in the middle of nowhere.”

“Oh all right…” Asmodeus pouts a little, but he’s not arguing anymore. He wraps his arms around Lily’s and Leila’s waist. “I don’t want myself to think I’m not taking care of our humans well enough.”

They have been ignoring the screaming model that was kicked out with them this whole time. She’s still obsessed with the idea of going home with Asmodeus it seems. Rubbing herself up to him, trying to push Lily and Leila away from him again. Leila is pretty annoyed with Asmodeus as to why he’s not just sending her away. She supposes he can’t help himself. And they did agree that they won’t be getting together for now. So why would she feel so irritated?

When their taxi arrives a few minutes later, it looks like the brat has the nerve to try to get in with them in the taxi. What the hell?! Didn’t she JUST try to fight her for Asmodeus' attention? Does she really think she’s invited to come home with them?!

James and Lily gape at Asmo when they see that Asmo is about to invite her to come home with him but Leila isn’t going to stand for it. 

“Asmo…” Leila says threateningly and even Asmodeus now notices that this is not about getting his attention anymore, but that Leila is at the end of her patience.

“Right.” He nods, pushing the model away from the car door. “I’m afraid I need my beauty sleep tonight. You and I just weren’t meant to be, my dear. I can’t make my Sunshine angry.”

The model begins to sputter in disbelief at Asmo’s direct rejection. She’s never been so humiliated in her life. “F-Forget her!” She hisses, glaring daggers at Leila. “She’s nothing compared to me! I’m the one you should be leaving with!” She’s practically begging at this point and while Asmodeus is usually happy with some groveling, even he’s beginning to see what a pathetic creature this girl is.

“Do you want me to curse you?!” Leila asks with scorn. “Fine, if that’s what you want.” The model is about to laugh in her face, but then Leila says in a chilly voice. “ May those who only thrive on power, beauty and fame, transform themselves into a plain Jane. ” 

Before their eyes, the looks of the model change into some normal average girl. Her voluminous glossy curls turn limp and dull. Her botox injected lips shrink and her eyelash extensions fall out. Her perfect, luminous skin is suddenly graced with large pores and an oily t-zone.

After this, they get in the taxi and leave the model standing in bewilderment. What just happened to her? Who are these people?! Too bad they won’t get to see her expression when she gets in front of a mirror.

“Leila.” Asmodeus implores urgently as they are driving home. “Don’t you EVER dare put that curse on ME!” He looks just as horrified as they imagine the model will later, and Lily and James can’t help giggling a little. There is one thing that Asmodeus loves and fears in equal measure. And her name is Leila.

“I shouldn’t have done it at all..” Leila answers somewhat regretfully. “She just made me so angry! The way she treated all of us tonight! Ugh! But I shouldn’t have done it.”

“Was it a permanent curse?” James asks, a bit worried. He knows they can’t just go around cursing people. 

Leila shakes her head. “No, I think it may last for a couple weeks though. Depending on how she behaves to others.”

 

Serenity Manor

It’s 1:30 AM in the middle of the night and Belphie has been sleeping on the couch since putting Pandora to bed. Waiting for his mate to return. Even though he appears to be deep asleep he seems to have a sixth sense and sits up, rubbing his eyes as soon as Leila, James, Lily and Asmo walk in and flop themselves down on the nearest couch or chair.

All except his lovely mate who looks so soft and cuddly in her fluffy purple top, he notices that immediately and grins proudly. He wants to cuddle her, but she seems to be amped up about something as she paces around the room. He narrows his eyes at Asmo, wondering what his brother has done wrong this time. Lucifer makes his way into the living room when he hears human voices, they’re home earlier than he expected.

“What seems to be the problem, Leila?” Lucifer asks her.

Leila throws up her hands in frustration. “I just can’t believe that lady!”

“What lady?” Belphegor asks suspiciously, looking like he might go kill whomever has his mate worked up. This is not the right state of mind for her to cuddle with him.

They decide to all go to the kitchen to have a relaxing cup of tea together. They explain what happened at the end of their evening. Lucifer and Belphegor - demons as they are - both look pleased when they hear about their human casting her curse. Slowly but surely, Leila begins to calm down and everyone starts telling more about their trip and the date. Until Asmodeus redirects the conversation to the sensitive topic again.

“I still don’t understand why we couldn’t give her a ride, Sunshine.” Asmo pouts. He might still be disappointed that they had to leave the club and that he wasn’t able to select someone to bring home with him for the evening either. “Though I suppose she was less attractive after your curse…”

Leila sends Asmo a glare. Is he really that thick-headed?! She feels like her patience with him might be about to wear out. James is on alert to keep the peace but Belphegor wraps his arms around Leila and she instantly melts into them. Lily only has time to sigh in relief before she disappears back to her own reality.

“Oh. There went Lily.” James laughs. “I guess we’ll write her a note in the morning.” He says with a yawn. 

“Yes. Because I really need my beauty sleep now.” Asmodeus declares. “Ugh. My skin will suffer so much! I haven’t slept a proper amount in two days!” With that, he bids everyone adieu and leaves for his room. James and Leila are soon swept to the bedrooms of their respective mates as well. 

 

Lily’s Reality

It’s 2 AM at night and Beelzebub jumps when Lily suddenly appears in the kitchen as he’s enjoying some sort of midnight snack. “Ewe ook pwety.” He beams at her, his mouth full of food. Lily is too tired to care that he might be getting into tomorrow’s food stock and just smiles and pats his arm as she heads towards the living room to see if anyone was waiting up for her to return. 

She finds Asmodeus and Mammon there. Mammon is passed out, his head practically hanging off the side of the couch, one leg slung over the back while his mouth hangs open as he snores. Asmo has a gold leaf mask on his face, his hair clipped back while he paints his toe nails. Lily has to stifle a giggle and then a yawn as she takes in the scene.

“There you are, flower!” Asmo exclaims when he sees her. “Oh look at you!” He beams proudly coming over to inspect her, walking oddly as he tries not to ruin the still drying paint on his toe nails. Lily stands there as Asmo circles her and praises himself for her look, well his other self but in Asmo's mind they are one in the same. “Oh you just have to let me borrow this belt, precious. This purse as well!” Asmo tells her excitedly. 

He’s woken up Mammon now with his exclamations. Who was admiring her from the couch openly since he doesn’t think anyone notices him. When he finally saunters over with a yawn as if he didn’t care that she was home or not, he begins to notice that not only does she look good but she’s wearing high end garb as well. 

“Oy, ya look like a million grimm.” He admires her appearance with a crooked grin, “Hey, I wanna borrow that belt too.” He tells her, earning a glare from Asmo. 

Lily laughs and pushes his grubby fingers away from her waist. “I don’t think so Mammon. I’ll never see this belt again if I do.” She tells him as she makes her way to her room. 

“HEY! That’s not- okay maybe it’s true.” He grins and shrugs unabashedly. 

“Flower! I wasted good beauty sleep waiting for you! I want to hear about your date.” Asmo complains.

“Fine. But you’ll have to come to my room, I’m tired.” Lily tells him, not stopping as she yawns again. She’ll give everyone their treats tomorrow she decides. 

Mammon is on their heels. “Oy! If you’re going to Lily’s room then so am I!”

After changing into pajamas, washing her face and quickly smearing on the beauty serums that Asmo insists she uses she flops into bed. Quickly followed and sandwiched between Asmo and Mammon. She quickly tells them about her date with Asmo, skipping over her time with Solomon that she knows Mammon won’t want to hear about. Once she finishes, Mammon is already passed out again and Asmodeus is giving her a grave look. 

“Don’t you EVER dare put a curse like that on ME!” He exclaims with horror. Lily can’t help but laugh after he said almost verbatim what his other self had said to Leila.

Chapter Text

 

“Oh, a letter from James and Leila!” Lily says a few days later when another letter appears next to her plate. “Already?”

She’s about to read it, when her demons, mainly Leviathan and Mammon, start a rowdy debate on whose turn it is next to go out on a date with all the humans. Lily lets them know to be quiet, or she won’t read the letter out loud.

‘Heya, Lily! We had so much fun with Asmo’s dates, right? So we thought we need to do something like this for the others too...’

“YES!” Leviathan pumps his fist in the air.

“Whaddya excited for? It’s my turn next, I shoulda been first in the first place.” Mammon claims with a growl. Satan scoffs and Belphegor rolls his eyes. 

“I don’t know...I set the bar pretty high.” Asmodeus brags. “You really think any of you can show our humans a better time?”

Lily tries to ignore them as best as she can and continues reading. ‘...James and I already have made some plans and have some ideas. One of them is: Are the twins okay with sharing their dates?’

“Huh?” Belphegor raises his eyebrows and looks at his twin. He’s never minded sharing with Beelzebub and it’s not like he’ll have time with Leila alone anyway, unless he can figure out a way to use his twin to his advantage in distracting the other humans...he smiles.

Beelzebub smiles back, unaware of his twin's scheming mind. “I don’t mind.” He says around a mouthful of food. He will be going out with all his favorite people, it will be great!

“Oi! They better not be expectin’ the Great Mammon to share!” Mammon complains. “Why do they get to go first anyway?!”

Lily sighs. “That’s not what she says, Mammon.” She tells him with a stern voice. “Now, if you would let me finish…” 

That helps, at least for now. ‘...If yes, we will let you know what our plan for them is soon-ish. But first: Prepare yourselves for James and me arriving in 2 days at 7:30 for breakfast! We’re going to take you and Mammon to… Nope… I’m not saying it! We’re going to keep it a secret for you this time, so that you don’t get pressured by Mammon to spill what we have planned for him…’

Lily raises her brows, she’s very curious as to what they have up their sleeves! “They think I’ll allow you two to go traipsing off without an itinerary?” Lucifer growls, clearly disgruntled at their gall. 

Lily suppresses an eye roll and smiles at Lucifer sweetly. “I’m sure Leila will have one for you when they arrive to take us.” She assures him. This is Leila after all, she’s sure she’s considered this.

“Hey!” Mammon shouts again, waving his hands. “Asmodeus got to plan his own date! I’ve already made grand plans for us all! A two-days Casino world tour! Vegas! Macau! Monte Carlo! Poker tables, roulette and black jack and we top it all off with horse races in London!” He gets a greedy glittering in his eyes just imagining it, but Lily grimaces hearing him talk and his brothers all groan.

“Ugh.” Asmodeus protests with a disgusted face. “Sounds awful and exhausting. Our poor humans. You’ll undo all my hard work in making them gorgeous!” 

“Nevermind.” Lucifer says, smiling wickedly at his brother. “I take back what I said. I’m sure Leila and James have planned something delightful. Far better than anything this idiot could come up with. You have my full blessing.”

“Why ya dirty...!” Mammon growls but Lily clears her throat and begins reading again. 

‘...I can already hear him complaining. Across realities, yes. Or maybe it’s because our Mammon is getting the same treatment with not getting a choice what we’re going to do on his date. It’s their own fault and punishment for stealing the cans with reality sprays. Hahaha! (I’m cackling evilly here now, just try to imagine it.)’

Lily hides her giggle behind the letter while Mammon scowls. Satan has let out his own wicked laugh and Belphegor sits there with a silly, lazy grin on his face. 

Leviathan shudders thinking about it. “That girl does scare me sometimes…”

‘...Anyway, tell him to take it or leave it. Those are his options. If he doesn’t take it, I guess we can take someone else. See you soon! - Leila’

“Well there you go, Mammon.” Asmodeus smiles. “You can stay home and I’ll go on a second date with our lovely humans!”

This gets everyone shouting all at once while Lucifer pinches his nose in abject misery and Lily gives him a sheepish look. 

“SHADDAP! ALL OF YA!” Mammon is suddenly standing on his chair. “Write to Leila, Lily!” He says as if he can command her. “I’m taking my date!” He growls, glaring at his brothers. 



2 days later

Everyone sits ready at the breakfast table. They were all up and ready around 7.00. Much too early and Lily had warned them about that too. Now Beelzebub has to wait for half an hour before he can start eating. It’s almost unbearable for him. And still, it’s his own fault.

“Can’t I just have my first plate of food while we wait?” Beelzebub asks in a grumpy tone while he practically salivates on the table. 

“Sorry Beel.” Lily tells him patiently. “I told you not to come down early, we’re keeping the food warm until James and Leila arrive.”

“But I’m so hungry!” His voice comes out between a growl and a whine. 

“That’s too bad! Behave yourself.” Lucifer interjects with a glare.

Beelzebub’s hands clench into fists as if he’s using all his self control to keep it together. “Is it just me or does Beel look like he’s about to explode?” Asmodeus asks in a wary tone, looking as if he’s ready to flee the room at any moment.

“Maybe we should just feed him one of your everlasting candies, Lily..” Belphegor says with a yawn. He’s wondering himself why he came down for breakfast this early. Though he knows the answer, if he’s honest with himself.

 Lucifer looks ready to give everyone one of his famous lectures. It’s not that he minds James and Leila coming over for breakfast. But he does mind the way they invited themselves and how that results into an even more chaotic event, because of his brothers knowing no control over their behavior when they are this eager. It’s Leila’s fault, he’s sure of it. It’s the typical way of Solomon too, to just invite himself into his home whenever he pleases. Though if Lucifer is being honest, he can take it better from Solomon’s granddaughter. 

But just before things can get really out of hand and Lily has to command them all to ‘stay’, suddenly their two expected guests pop into their dining room. Well, not exactly at the same time, James is still fist, carrying a large mystery bag and immediately seated by Beel next to him. Beelzebub sees this as his cue and wants to start eating, but is stopped by Satan and Asmodeus, saying that they have to wait for Leila too.

They don’t have to wait too long. Leila only appears three minutes later this time, smiling brightly and also carrying a bag. Filled with books for Satan from Satan. She’s immediately seated at the end of the table between James and Asmodeus. Lucifer is relieved that the unrest and chaos can finally stop and they can start eating. And they have to be quick doing so, because Beelzebub is wolfing down breakfast as if nobody has fed him for a century.

“So what sort of torture do you have planned for Mammon today?” Satan asks Leila directly with a wicked glint in his eye.

Mammon sits up straighter in his chair next to Lily, who tries not to giggle. He doesn’t say anything but she can tell his ears are honed in on the conversation down the table. 

“That’s our secret.” Leila grins in return. Then she takes a folded piece of paper out of her pocket and uses magic to float it down the table towards Lucifer. “Oh, but here’s our itinerary, Lucifer. For your eyes only.” She ignores Satan and some of the others, who make a scoffing noise. 

Quick as lightning, Mammon tries to snatch the itinerary before it reaches Lucifer but as usual, all he receives for his efforts is a nasty shock. “Ow!” He scowls at the offending piece of paper as if it isn’t his own fault. 

“Pfft! What a moron.” Leviathan laughs. “You really never learn, do you?”

“Shaddap! You’re just jealous it ain’t your date today!” Mammon retorts. Meanwhile Lucifer is tucking the itinerary into his vest pocket. His expression is slightly smug. 

“Anyway!” Asmodeus declares loudly, gaining Leila’s attention as he twists a lock of her hair around his finger. “Your hair is looking extra shiny Sunbeam, are you using that serum I recommended?” He asks her. “It doesn’t look like you’re taking Mammon anywhere fabulous based on the shoes you’re wearing.”

“Leila.” Belphegor interrupts before she can respond to Asmodeus. “What are your plans for Beel and I’s shared date?” 

“Well…Belphie isn’t really the type to do a World Tour, so...” Leila smiles at him. “We don’t want to do that for you two, but something relaxing. Like camping in the woods of North America, next weekend.”

Beelzebub pauses his chewing, his eyebrows pinched. He was liking the idea of a world food tour but then Leila said camping and he started smiling thinking about how much he likes camping food. “Hmm. I see.” Belphegor smiles. Some parts of camping are a chore, he doesn’t like those parts but he’s sure his twin will do all the heavy lifting and leave the relaxing parts to him. 

“You'll find out the details soon, because we still need to discuss some practical things over with Lily and the Solomons, but James and I think you both are really going to enjoy it.” Leila explains. She doesn’t want to give away too much. Surprising someone is half the fun. “We can tell you that it will be one night with you two and one night with our twins. Does that sound good?”

“As long as I get to do some stargazing with you.” Belphegor says with a lazy smile. Beel just nods his head, still daydreaming about grilled hamburgers, fire roasted hot dogs, and gooey smores. 

 

“Oi! Can we finally go now?” Mammon declares impatiently. Breakfast ended ‘ages’ ago from his perspective and his jerk brothers try everything they can to keep his humans here, and not let them go on his date. 

For example Satan is showing Leila some sort of boring book about magical plants and Lucifer is lecturing Lily on being careful today - and he just knows a lecture like that can go on and on and on - and Leviathan has the nerve to try to bring James to his room to show him some new game he recently bought. This is going all wrong! He has to do something, before he won’t get to have his date at all! Whatever they have in store for him, he wants this private time with Lily and the others!

“Yes, Mammon.” Leila answers, standing up and missing Satan’s disappointed expression as she does. “They will be opening soon, so let’s go!”

Mammon beams as she starts making her teleportation circle. Finally! He’s nervous about where they are taking him, but he would be damned to show that to anyone! So he stands triumphantly smirking to his brothers with his arms wrapped around James and Lily’s shoulders as Leila finishes the ritual and they all disappear.

Lucifer heaves a sigh, once they’re gone. Today will at least not be constantly disrupted by Mammon’s idiocy and loud shouting. But he is a bit concerned: Even though Leila has given him the details of the date in secret, it’s still his trouble-making brother Mammon they are bringing with them. He best prepares himself to bail them out of jail in the worst case scenario. 



Efteling, The Netherlands  

The group reappears in a small strip of nature called 'Het Duits Bosje', close to the entrance of the Efteling. A Fairytale themed amusement park. They sneak out of the woods as inconspicuously as possible and join the stream of visitors, also on their way to the entrance of the theme park. 

Mammon looks up with suspicion to the entrance called ‘Huis van de vijf Zintuigen’: The five-pointed thatched rooftops reaching to the sky, like a claw… To him it looks like some giant witch's hut. Where are these humans taking him?! But he doesn’t dare complain, too afraid Leila will bring him back home immediately. She might do that...Right? Or not? 

He steals a glance her way and then smiles, seeing her beaming excited face. “Mammon, Lily. Welcome to the Efteling!” She tells them excitedly. “This is one of the most popular theme parks in Europe. James and I went here often when we were younger!”

James is grinning too, Mammon notices. He walks up to one of the ticket sales booths, pulling Lily along with him so she can purchase 4 day tickets. “I bet you two are going to love it!”

Lily can barely express her excitement, her eyes wide in anticipation. “I still feel weird about you paying for all this.” Leila says a bit awkwardly as Lily happily pays for their tickets. 

“Don’t be silly!” Lily laughs. “We already agreed that it makes the most sense this way for our visits. I’ll pay when you two are here and you can pay for me when I’m in your reality.” They had discussed this in their letters back and forth, knowing that not all the brothers would spoil them the way Asmodeus had. 

“Besides, you’re going to pay for yourself today, right Mammon?” James adds. Causing Mammon to flinch. 

“Whoa! Whaddya talkin’ ‘bout buddy?” Mammon says with wide eyes. “I didn’t bring my wallet.” He pulls out his pockets to demonstrate his lack of money. “I thought this was your treat!”

“So if we’d gone along with your idea of a casino tour, you’re saying you would have us pay for our way and yours? And paid for all the debt you racked up?!” Leila asks him with a raised brow. 

Mammon gulps and looks away, stuttering for some sort of excuse or explanation but coming up empty. 

“It’s fine.” Lily waves it off with a laugh, it’s not like she had actually expected Mammon to spend any of his own coin today. Leila looks like she has something to say about it but decides not to, they all want to have a good day. 

“I’ll pay ya back, promise!” Mammon finally says as they enter the park. None of the humans respond, no one really expects Mammon to pay them back. 

 

“Okay, so what shall we ride first?” James is holding up the park map they purchased, after having put the mystery bag in a locker for the day and after Lily has taken some cash from an ATM disguised as an enormous golden vault that stands near the entrance. It mysteriously moves and rumbles as if defending itself while Lily is taking the cash. “We probably can’t do everything, but we should be able to ride a lot, with magic on our side.” He laughs cheekily.

“I think Mammon and I should let you two guide us.” Lily says, smiling. “Right, Mammon?”

“Uhh..” Mammon makes a face. Theme parks and fairs are usually a good time, but this isn’t the Devildom. He doesn’t know what to expect and he doesn’t like the feeling. “I mean...sure, why not?” He concedes with a grimace. “But ya better be showin’ the Great Mammon a good time!”

“Okay, let’s see…” Leila now bends her head over the map next to James. “If we go this way…” She points with her finger. “And then so… and then this way…”

“Yeah, we can make a fun loop of the whole park like that.” James nods, folding up the map. “Let’s see Fata Morgana first.”

As James has said before, the two apprentices, the sorceress and the demon make sneaky use of their magic to easily navigate the queues and skip most of the wait for the ride. Soon it is their turn to board the towboat that takes them into the mysterious world of 1001 Nights. 

“Are you ready for this, Mammon?” James teases when they manage to have their own boat - despite the crowd - and are being towed to where it will start. “They say the city of Fata Morgana is cursed…” 

“Tch! Ya don’t gotta be worried about no curses with me here to protect ya!” He boasts when they all enter the jungle and their voices are almost absorbed by the sounds of the wilderness around them. The humans try to hide their snickers as they watch Mammon look around nervously now. He lets out a very un-demonlike schriek when a big animatronic snake slithers down a branch close to where he’s sitting. “Oy!”

But before he can do anything, a mysterious wizard appears out of nowhere, casting a spell and the boat jerks into a different direction. Mammon turns around, wanting to give that shady wizard a piece of his mind, but he already disappeared into thin air. Lily and Leila in the meantime are doubling over laughing over Mammon’s reactions, while James bites his lip trying not to laugh as he turns him back around and pats his back in comfort.

They arrive at the slums of the city. They’re being warned and threatened if they don’t turn around things won’t end well for them. Beggars holding out their hands to them, hoping to get a coin. Mammon feels very uncomfortable…He covers his eyes, but peeks at his humans surprised that they don't seem bothered, he’d expect Lily to jump out and give those beggars every last coin she has on her.

From the slums they arrive at a lively marketplace. Mammon feels much more comfortable here: This looks like the place he could break a deal or two. But it goes by too quickly and the boat goes further into the city. They reach a tunnel, guarded by crocodiles and armed guards. They are being threatened again: They are not allowed to enter the city! Canons are shot and the gate is falling down on them!

“Oi! What the hell!” Mammon stands up, ready to use his strength to keep his humans safe. 

Just in time the wizard stops the gate. Leila is laughing, pulling him back into his seat again. They are now entering the place where prisoners are held and tortured between the walls of the city. Guards armed with rifles and tigers keep watch and Mammon and Leila almost jump out of their skin when suddenly one of them leaps at them from an alcove, growling. 

“Ugh. I forgot about that one.” Leila giggles, a hand over her heart to calm herself.

Mammon wraps an arm around her. “Don’t be scared, the Great Mammon ’ll protect ya from the tigers!” He declares loudly, to show he wasn’t frightened for a moment himself. Nope… Not at all.

James and Lily exchange a knowing look. Lily would enjoy the ride regardless, as this is her first time. Mammon’s reactions are bringing a whole new level of fun for James and Leila. 

In the meantime they’ve arrived at the palace of the Pasha. Guards are busy protecting the harem of the lord of the city, but they don't have eyes everywhere and there are several men trying to lure the women to come with them. Mammon looks at it with a face of distrust: What if they’re attempting to steal his humans from the boat? But soon he has forgotten all about it already when the boat brings them to the throne room of the Pasha. It’s clear this dude is loaded! Look at all that wealth!

“Hey,” He whispers to James behind him while Lily and Leila admire their surroundings. “Do ya think we can sneak into the treasury…?” He makes sure the girls don't hear him. They wouldn’t approve.

“Maybe…” James answers mysteriously. “But I heard it’s being guarded by a giant…” They sail on and James suddenly says. “Look there he is!”

Mammon curses. “He’s huge! Oy! What’s he doing?!”

The giant tries to stop the passengers by standing in the doorway, trying to break it before they can go though it to the next room. They sail right under him as he does that. The wizard pops up, saving them again by teleporting them to a quieter place. There is only one thing standing in their way to the outside world. A giant portal that looks like the open mouth of a snake head. They have to go through it…

“Hey, Mammon!” Lily pulls on his arm. “Come on, you have to get out of the boat before you go again!” Mammon has closed his eyes. He would never admit it, but suddenly they are at the crowded platform where the towboats are loaded with the park visitors. He blinks a bit dazed. Maybe it was a dream?

They walk the designated route towards the exit and come by the photo booth. “Hahaha! Look at Leila and Mammon!” James laughs at the startled faces of his cousin and the demon. “That’s priceless!”

“We have to buy that!” Lily exclaims.

“I’m sure there’s better souvenirs Lily.” Mammon grumbles, his face red. He won’t admit he’d like to have a picture for himself too. 

Lily rolls her eyes. “I’ll get you a souvenir you want today too.” She assures him. Then in a whisper she tells Leila and James. “I’ll just buy one photo and we can make our own copies later.”

Once Lily buys their photo, Leila discreetly uses a spell to have it vanish into their bags that are safely tucked away in the lockers.



“Next up: Piraña!” James shouts way too loud and with much enthusiasm when they emerge in the sunlight again. A lot of people look his way and laugh. “It’s not a real one, Mammon. It won’t eat you.” He adds in a teasing tone and Mammon huffs. Of course it’s not a real one. He knew that. Though he can never be sure with these two cheeky humans from the other reality.

James and Leila are whispering to each other when they are in the queue for the wild river ride. It’s a sunny day and these sorts of rides are very popular on those days. Mammon looks at them with suspicion. These two are up to something for sure! Lily isn’t noticing a thing, admiring the scenery, the music and the decor. As per usual she seems to have drifted off into her own dream world and Mammon decides he needs to protect her from whatever these two are planning.

Mammon soon finds out what the two humans from the other reality were plotting. They wait till Mammon is seated and then pull Lily to the other side of the 6 person round rubber boat across from him. Wicked smirks on their faces. “Lily, come sit with us!” 

“Oy!” Mammon protests, but then the boat is already on the wild river. 

James and Leila grab hold of the steering wheel in the middle while Lily is just watching on with big eyes, wondering what is going on. They manage to steer the boat into a churning current and a huge splash of water washes over the boat over Mammon’s pants. Lily lets out a delighted squeal, finally noticing what's going on. And also because she’s gotten a part of the splash over herself.

“Is that how ya wanna play?!” Mammon growls, because he can’t show them he’s laughing inwardly. “It’s ON, humans!”

The whole ride the humans try to get Mammon under as many waterfalls and through wild currents as they can. But Mammon is fighting back! And while he’s obviously holding himself back in the Human World, the three of them are still no match for him. Not even when they secretly use magic when no one can see them. Mammon has the upper hand soaking them all. 

“There’s the double-sided waterfall!” Leila shouts, after she just gotten a huge splash over herself again in revenge for steering Mammon through the previous waterfall. “There’s no escape now Mammon!” She challenges him, laughing. 

Mammon looks into the direction she’s pointing. Just then two aztek-like statues spurt out a spray of water over their boat. If they weren’t all soaked before, they are now! Rubbing the water from his face he now sees the small doorway their boat has to go through: Waters gushes from the walls on both sides. It’s going to be the final and most important battle! He almost feels like Levi: He HAS to win!

“Here we goooo!” Lily cheers joyfully. She decides that no one can see her in this part of the wild river and she puts herself in a bubble as soon as they disappear between the waterfalls.. 

But James and Leila try everything they can to turn the little boat so that Mammon gets the full load of the waterfall. While Mammon tries the same with them. It’s safe to say that only Lily gets out of there…not as soaked as the others.

When eventually they climb out of the boat back at the loading station, they’re all dripping wet and laughing. People look at them a bit oddly. Can you really get this wet from this ride?

They walk past the photo booth again and decide to buy their picture. They look absolutely ridiculous. James and Leila look downright villainous, their faces twisted in fanatical glee, while Mammon’s face is set with maniacal determination and Lily sitting by clapping with a gleeful grin. But most importantly they look like they are having the best time together.

 

James claps his hand on Mammon’s shoulder as they walk towards their next destination: Baron 1898. “Are you ready to search for gold now, Mammon?” He asks him with an impish grin on his face. Lily looks at James curiously and then Leila who snorts and rolls her eyes, smiling at her cousin’s antics. 

“Gold! For real?!” Mammon asks James with wide and then narrow eyes. Both hopeful and skeptical of James.

“Mmhmm. They promise you that you can keep anything you can find in the mines…” James confirms, watching Mammon’s expression closely. “There’s just one thing…”

“What?! What is it?!” Mammon demands. He can hardly believe this literal golden opportunity! They give away gold in this theme park?!

“Well..the gold...you see...it’s protected by the ghosts of witches.”

“G-G-Ghosts! W-Witches!” Mammon stammers out. Of course it sounded too good to be true

“Yeah…” James starts to tell the story about the baron who dug a goldmine so deep that he upset the ghosts of a coven of witches who dwell there. But then he shrugs. “But don’t forget the gold! That’s worth it, right?”

Mammon seems to be going through real inner turmoil, to which James snickers. Lily is secretly laughing behind her hand. James is such a troublemaker, but really knows how to make these things come to life for Mammon.

“Well you have fun doing that.” Leila tells her cousin. “I’m sitting out.”

“Aww come on Leila. Live a little.” James teases her. “She never wants to go on thrill rides with me.” He tells Lily as if it’s confidential information. 

“Oh it’s a thrill ride?” Lily asks curiously. She’s only ever been on one rollercoaster during a school trip, but it was a smaller one, not very impressive. 

“It’s a scary rollercoaster that does all kinds of loops and dives.” Leila defends herself. “I like other sorts of thrill rides.” She assures Lily.

“Oh! That sounds fun to me!” Lily beams at James. “Let’s go, James!”

“Hey! What about the gold?!” Mammon asks, making James and Leila laugh. “Tell me more about that!”



Mammon decides to keep Leila company when he realizes there isn’t any real gold. What a scam! He thinks to himself as he watches Lily and James line up. Mammon doesn’t notice the way Leila has been observing him today. She’s seen it before and today has been no different. She knows how much her own Mammon loves her and James but the way this Mammon is with Lily is just different. 

Even when they make small talk his keen eyes are tracking Lily on the ride. His whole body goes rigid when Lily and James take the first plummeting dive on the tracks. She bets Mammon can hear Lily’s squealing apart from all the other excited screams. He looks like he wants to save her from whatever is happening. Leila quickly places her hand on his arm to calm him.

“You two have to go on the next ride with us!” Lily cheers when she and James come running back to them like a couple of excited kids. “That was so thrilling!”

“Pfft. Ya, dummy that’s why they call it a thrill ride.” Mammon teases her, rolling his eyes. And looking very relieved to see her back in one piece.

They start walking together leisurely towards the next attraction that Leila is really excited about riding: Symbolica. As they double back down a different path towards the Palace of Imagination, Lily holds out her hand towards James and Leila. Showing off her first star proudly. They know they can’t talk about it yet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t show it off. James lights up his own star to show Lily just as proud. 

Lily has a dreamy look on her face, when she begins to say. “Solomon said -”

“Ugh! Really Lily?!” Mammon cuts her off with a loud groan. “Can’t we just enjoy our date without bringin’ up that old, lousy, shady, food poisonin’ wizard?!”

James and Leila watch Lily’s eyes widen in surprise at Mammon's outburst before her expression crumbles into one of hurt. 

Leila can feel Lily’s turmoil of emotions almost as well as she can see them on her face. Something happened between Lily and her Solomon. Something really nice. She is behaving like the happiest woman on earth all day, but one bad word about Solomon… Leila herself doesn't like anyone speaking ill about her grandfather either, but Lily looks genuinely hurt now. I’m going to give Mammon a scolding. She decides. As soon as I see an opportunity. He’s not going to ruin Lily’s day with his insensitivity.

“Leila, do you mind if I take Lily through the haunted castle?” James asks her, knowing full well his cousin won’t be participating in that attraction either. He could read her thoughts on her face and it will give him a good opportunity to distract Lily and get her back in the fun excited mood again. Knowing Mammon, he won’t join them either.

Lily watches as Leila physically shudders. “I suppose, if Lily really wants to go with you?” She questions. “I can take the passageway next to it and wait for you on the other side.” She offers.

“I’ve never been in a haunted castle before! Sounds fun!” Lily cheers. 

“Tch. Ya been in the Demon King’s Castle, ain’t ya!” Mammon reminds her loudly, obviously not thinking about the other visitors in the park. Some people look at them in surprise.

“That doesn’t count.” Lily says offhandedly, as if it was just a lame attraction in a b-listed theme park. James and Leila look relieved, since nobody pays them any more attention now

Mammon gulps as the haunted castle comes into view. “Well I guess I can keep ya company again, Leila. I wouldn’t want anythin’ to happen to ya.” He declares, getting himself out of being dragged into some haunted castle. 

“Thanks, Mammon.” Leila laughs, linking her arm with his. “What would I do without you?” Mammon grins, he knows she’s mocking him a little, but it’s nice to hear his humans say these things nonetheless.

“Are you sure you’re up for this?” James teases as he and Lily make their way towards the castle. 

“I don’t scare easily, James.” Lily tells him with a grin. “I’ll hold your hand if you need me to, though.” She teases him back, causing him to laugh. Then they disappear into the pitch dark castle, pushing and giggling.



Meanwhile, Mammon and Leila take the tunnel to the side, to meet James and Lily on the exit side of the haunted castle. Leila can’t help feeling worried about Mammon, she’s certain he’s in love with Lily, like Satan and Belphie are in love with her, and she has a good hunch that something big has happened between Lily and Solomon. 

“Does Lily know, Mammon?” Leila asks him in a soft tone. Mammon looks at her with scrunched brows, not following. “Does she know that you love her?”

His eyes widen comically, his face and neck turning beat red. “Pftt? W-What?” He scoffs and laughs. Until Leila gives him a ‘don’t mess with me’ look. “Of course she does.” He says as if trying to brush her comment aside. “The Great Mammon loves all his human servants.” 

“That’s not what I mean Mammon and you know it.” Leila uses her serious tone. “I mean: really love her.” She observes Mammon as he refuses to look at her, but instead stares into the ghastly well outside of the haunted castle. “You can’t just be passive aggressive about Solomon and hurt Lily this way, you’ll only push her away.”

Mammon says nothing, only groans and rubs his face in his hands. He can’t help the way he feels about Lily anymore than he can’t help getting pissed every time someone says the name ‘Solomon’. He knows his comment must have hurt Leila too, but he can’t make himself apologizing for it.

“You want to know what I think?” Leila asks him and then tells him bluntly. “Lily doesn’t know. She loves you like a brother and she thinks you love her the same way she does you. If you want her to choose you, you have to tell her exactly how you feel.” Leila continues in a softer tone, taking his hand. “But even if you tell her and she still chooses Solomon, you have to respect her choice. Because If you really love her, you’ll want her to be happy and you’ll find a way to support her instead of hurt her.” 

She observes him, reading his emotions on his face. This Mammon is even more stubborn than her own. She wishes she could teach him how to be more honest, like she taught her own sweet Mammon. She just knows he has it in him too...

“You can’t force someone to love you the way you want.” Leila continues when Mammon stays silent, rubbing his arm. “But you shouldn’t live with regret either. So tell her if you need to, but you have to support her choice no matter what.” 

Leila can’t help thinking about her own situation with Diavolo with some bitterness. Unlike Asmodeus, he never supported her own choice, it only made him more determined to have her after all. All the more proof that what the Prince feels for her isn’t real love. 

“Thanks Leila.” Mammon finally mumbles. “You’re a keeper.” He grins and pulls her in for a side hug. Leila isn’t satisfied with that and gives him a real hug, making him grumble and protest and eventually hug her back for real as well. Damn human. He thinks with a small grin.

Another five minutes later, James and Lily come waltzing out of the castle as if they’ve just been on a joy ride. “You really missed out on the talking heads.” James tells Mammon.

“Yeah there were some real ugly demons in there too.” Lily laughs. “But my favorite part was the ghost violinist!” The music was probably her favorite part of the whole attraction. 

Mammon is glad to see his favorite human laughing again. He did regret hurting her with his outburst. He just can’t help himself: Lily is his human. And Solomon should stay away from her! But telling her that he loves her? How could he do that and risk hearing she doesn’t feel the same… “Heh. Only a weirdo like you would be smilin’ about somethin’ like that.” He teases, pulling her into his side and ruffling up her hair. 

“Ugh! Mammon!” Lily protests while giggling, trying her best to straighten out her hair. Not that there’s any point in doing that after the wild river ride and the rollercoaster.

 

They start walking the remaining route over the Pardoes Promenade towards Symbolica together while Leila enthusiastically starts telling about it. Apparently once you get inside, you are invited to go on audientie with the King of the Realm of Imagination. But the butler takes such a long time to explain to the guests all the rules that must be followed, that Pardoes, the magical Jester, interrupts him and opens the door for the guests with a wave of his wand.

“The rules must be obeyed!” The butler shouts after the guests filing into the Palace, but he is ignored.

“Sounds like someone we know at home.” Mammon grumbles, casting one final glance to the butler and his list of rules. His humans laugh. Yes, they could all see a similar scene playing out between Lucifer and Mammon. Except Mammon in reality is the one without the magical power. It looks like he likes Pardoes’ behaviour, though.

“So, we can choose between three different routes.” James explains. “The Hero route, the Music route and the Treasure route. They’re all slightly different, but you mostly see the same things.”

“Oh, I like to do the music route!” Lily smiles happily. What a fun idea to make different experiences. They should all do something different!

“Well, Imma do that Treasure route!” Mammon announces. He’s heard about so much treasure already and hasn’t managed to swipe any of it so far! And Lily had forbidden him to go pickpocketing random people today as well, so he can’t even do that in the queues…

“That’s fine, but someone has to go with him.” Leila says, not entirely trusting that Mammon would behave when nobody is watching him.

Once they decide who goes which route, they all get in the designated line. The little carts already look magical to Lily, as they slide in front of them as if floating by themselves.

When they all meet up again at the end, Mammon is drawing the eyes of fellow park visitors with his loud ranting. “What the heck is wrong with this place?! They keep talkin’ ‘bout treasure except none of it’s real! What a scam! And what was up with that huge fish?! Thought I was gonna have to save ya’ll from drownin’. If Levi’s not around I’m not expectin’ any watery deaths, ya hear!”

“Shhh. Mammon. People are staring.” Lily tries to quiet him down between her giggles as they lead him out. “I thought it was a wonderfully mysterious ride.”

“Right?” Leila agrees beaming. “They put so much imagination in this! I feel inspired to create some of these myself with magic.” She whispers that last bit to Lily and who nods eagerly in agreement.

“Haven’t you ever seen a whale before?” James snickers to Mammon, who is still grumbling.

“Course I have!” He insists. “But even I know that the tank they kept ‘im in was too tiny! Levi will be mad when he finds out…”

With Mammon still complaining, they make their way to the next stop, laughing all the way. They know Mammon is having a good time too. But he just can’t help himself with the mention of treasure or danger. It’s triggering.

“I’m ready for a bit of a break.” Leila announces after they all enthusiastically have discussed the details of their own routes and have made enough fun of Mammon. “Let’s buy some lunch and eat it during the Gondoletta ride.”

“What’s that?” Mammon asks with suspicion, not ready for any more surprises just yet. Lily is curious as well. Looking expectantly at James and Leila.

“It’s a boring tow boat ride.” James tells them.

“It’s a relaxing scenic tow boat ride that gives us time to eat something and chat.” Leila corrects him dignifiedly. “Unless you guys want to eat something in one of the restaurants?”

“That sounds lovely to me.” Lily agrees. 

They all eat in comfortable silence, hungrier than they thought. Afterwards Leila drifts off against her cousin’s shoulder while the rest of them have easy conversation. Lily is glad to see that Leila is not as tired. They haven’t done much teleporting today but she’s still a new mother, really it's a wonder Leila has any energy to spare for them at all. After the Gondoletta ride, they all feel energized again. Leila was right that a bit of a break was good for them.

“I still say you’re a chicken for not going into a single thrill ride so far, Leila.” James teases his cousin.

“It has nothing to do with being scared.” Leila defends herself, though if she’s honest with herself, she’s a little scared of them. “I just think they’re going so fast and you can’t even see what’s happening around you.”

Lily laughs. Somehow this makes sense to her: The way she’s gotten to know Leila, she knows that she likes to be in control of situations. To surrender to a thrill ride and be tossed and tussled doesn’t seem like her thing.

“I’ll show you I’m not scared!” Leila declares, when now both Mammon and James start teasing her. “We go back to Ruigrijk where the roller coasters are and we go ride the Flying Dutchman AND Joris and the Dragon!”

She starts marching towards the bridges that cross the lake where the gondoletta boats are sailing peacefully. James laughs as he follows her.

“Dragon?” Mammon whispers to Lily, already regretting his teasing. The Human World is full of surprises today…



“So, Mammon. Are you up for a little wager?” James asks when they arrive at the enormous wooden structure that is the rollercoaster Joris and the Dragon.

Mammon is interested of course. “Whaddaya mean?”

“Weeell…” James drags out the word. “This rollercoaster is a race. Red against blue. Fire against water. What do you think works best to defeat a dragon?”

Mammon takes the question very seriously. Until Lily speaks up. “I’ll go with Leila in red and you boys go together in blue.”

“Good idea.” Leila grins, linking her arm in Lily’s as they file into the right queue. “See you boys at the finish line! We’re going to beat this dragon with fire!”

“Oy!” Mammon would have liked to go with Lily, but he’s already being pulled into the other queue by James.

“Come on, Mammon.” He tells him with a grin. “We have to try to get into the same race as the girls.” It takes a bit of waiting and letting other people go first, but eventually the two teams are across from each other, waiting to be next. “So, who do you think is going to win?” James asks again.

“Us, of course!” Mammon states confidently. “Ya got the Great Mammon on your team!”

“That I do.” James grins, not caring about the odd looks they’re getting from the people around them. “You heard him, ladies!” He challenges the girls sitting in the other train. “Water will defeat the dragon today!”

“We’ll see about that!” Lily shouts back, laughing and completely hyped for the race and going into another rollercoaster.

‘The one who can defeat the dragon wins 1000 and 1 doubloons!’ The announcement promises and Mammon perks up. Will it be real this time? Finally?

Both teams climb up the wooden structure in their little trains. Once both are at the top, the trains are released and the race begins! One team goes over the fire breathing tracks and the other over the water splashing tracks, crossing each other here or there, but it goes so fast that it is impossible to even wave to each other.

Afterwards the girls are doing a little victory dance because the red team won. Mammon scoffs and rolls his eyes at them. “I dunno why ya two are so happy when ya didn’t get nothin’ for winning!” He complains as they laugh. 

Not only did they get cheated out of their winnings but then Lily had to spend her own money to buy two more photos of her and Leila on the red train and him and James on the blue train. He’s thinking maybe he needs to work at a place like this, these people seem to love getting scammed here. 

The group goes into several other attractions and rides after this, having a good time together. After having ridden on the Flying Dutchman, they took the little train to the other side of the park to admire the mysterious Dreamflight. A fantasy ride inspired by Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and after that they went into the Madhouse Villa Volta, to see if they could break the curse. You’d think they could, being Sorcerers in training... Right? But they couldn’t… Oh well… It wouldn’t make for a fun attraction anymore if they were able to lift the curse, or would it?



Casino de Monte Carlo, Mónaco.

“We need to hurry if we want to be on time for dinner.” Leila says urgently to James, as they all make their way to the exit of the Efteling now and she explains to Lily and Mammon. “Of course we couldn’t make reservations for the restaurant in this reality, but if we’re early…”

“I understand.” Lily nods, but then she looks at everyone’s disheveled appearances. “We look like we’ve gone through the washing machine today, though…” She tries to straighten up her clothes and remove the stain she made with the ice cream they had earlier, inconspicuously. It hardly works. Asmodeus will be disappointed with how she looks again, she shrugs.

“That’s why we brought extra clothes!” James tells her now with a wide grin. “The place where we want to go next will definitely not let us in looking like this.” He makes a beeline for the place where they left their belongings in a locker for the day and says, looking around. “But maybe we should dress up someplace else…”

“Yeah, let's get out of here first.” Leila agrees with him, giving up on fixing her wild hair for now. It will go easier with a magic spell. “Best not ruin those clothes.”

Before they exit the park, they visit the gift shop. “Let’s all get somethin’ matchin’” Mammon suggests. 

“Good idea!” James agrees. 

It takes some time, but eventually they decide on matching T-shirts , picturing the main characters of Symbolica: Leila and Lily buy a Princess Pardijn T-shirt and James and Mammon one with Pardoes the Magical Jester. Mammon can’t wait to show off his matching swag to his brothers. And this time, none of his brothers are included. He tries to talk them out of buying souvenirs for his brothers souvenirs at all, but when they won’t relent he makes them promise not to get any of his brothers t-shirts. They settle eventually on some Raveleijn keychains for the others.



Leila transports them all to their new location. Lily and Mammon don’t know where they are, except that the air is warmer and that they are in a city. In the little alleyway they find themselves in, Leila wastes no time casting a few more spells. Suddenly the clothes they were wearing are neatly tucked away in the bags and they are wearing their new fancy clothes. Not only that but their hair has been brushed and styled, makeup refreshed. 

“Now this is more like it!” Mammon cheers, checking out his new suit, black with gold lining inside his blazer jacket and matching gold cufflinks on his dress shirt. James wears a similar suit and the girls wear cocktail dresses and heels. Whatever James and Leila have in store for them next, this promises to be something high-end.

“Courtesy of our Asmo.” Leila tells him with a beaming proud smile. “He was happy to help me select our clothes.”

Exiting the alley as inconspicuous as they can, Mammon’s eyes light up with excitement and greed when he sees the lights spelling out Casino de Monte Carlo. He would have been satisfied with the day out at the strange amusement park. A whole day to himself with his favorite humans without his annoying brothers ruining things...that’s a rare treat! But seeing the casino lights...wow, his humans really love him! Misty eyed he links arms with Lily and Leila, James follows behind with a laugh. 



Home at Serenity Manor

“So, tell us about the torture you put Mammon through today.” Asmodeus laughs, once everyone is settled in the living room with some late night tea. He’s certain that nothing they could have done would top his own date. 

“I’ll show you!” Lily responds happily, ignoring Asmo’s baiting of Mammon and the way Mammon falls for it as always. She pulls out many, many photos from all the rides they went on. Everyone crowds around to get a look, plenty of teasing going around at the various facial expressions. 

“Oy! Why ya have to go and share our photos with those idiots?!” Mammon complains half-heartedly while Leila makes copies of each photo so that she and James can have their own to take home as well. “Umm, yo Leila...can ya make me a copy too?” He whispers, much too loudly as usual. 

“Of course!” Leila beams, making copies for him as well.

James is regaling everyone with tales of their adventures at the amusement park while Mammon begins complaining all over again about all the park's lies and scams about various treasures. 

Satan and Belphegor are more interested in what Leila is doing though. “I can’t wait to hear more about our date, Leila.” Belphegor tells her sleepily, as if it will just be the two of them. If it’s up to him, he will make sure he gets a lot of time just the two of them. It’s actually perfect that his twin will be there to keep the others distracted.

Satan folds his arms, as if he knows what his brother is scheming about, he hides his annoyance and instead gives Leila his friendliest smile. “I hope you're not saving our date for the last, Leila.” Then he seems to reconsider. “Although if you do I can’t complain, they say you should save the best for last.” He says with a smug look directed at his brother. 

Leila starts explaining to them how they will try to fit everyone in the coming weekends, how she, Lily and James already talked about this with the Solomons so it won’t interfere with the sorcerers lessons. First the twins, then the Satans, after that the Levis and finally the Lucifers. 

Lucifer now gives Satan the same smug look as he has given Belphegor before. “The best for last, indeed.” Satan just gives him a deadly scowl. This is not what he meant, obviously.

 

“I can’t believe you’re complaining.” Lily laughs at Mammon, in the meantime, unaware of the other conversation. “Especially after you obtained some real winnings before the night was over.”  She waves a huge wad of cash in front of everyone in triumph. 

“Whaaa?!” Asmodeus gasps. He never thought they would actually indulge Mammon like this! Though they indulged him too with his dates of course. Their humans really are too sweet.

“Yeah.” James snickers. “It wasn’t all torture for him. We took Mammon to the Monte Carlo Casino after the theme park.”

Lucifer has trouble not to look surprised, he can’t believe they actually managed to take Mammon to a gambling house without some major incident. 

“You mean that moron actually won something?” Leviathan scoffs. 

“Yeah, we did.” Leila nods in agreement, returning to the main conversation now as well. “But we decided to divide it up, he didn’t win that on his own after all.”

“Well in that case you can pay me back what you owe, right now!” Leviathan holds out his hand expectantly to Mammon who immediately starts huffing with indignation.

“Actually,” Lily says before things escalate between the two of them. “We told Mammon he can keep his part of the winnings for himself. So it’s up to him to decide what to do with it.” She gives Leviathan a stern look so he knows not to ask for it again.

“Ha! So Mammon didn’t really win anything did he?!” Asmodeus laughs. He knew it! It was already really hard to believe the amount of luck Mammon had gotten today. He was getting a little bit jealous, already...

Lily, James and Leila take turns telling the tale, much to Mammon's disappointment. After a laid back dinner at the more casual restaurant in the casino they had decided to give Mammon three hundred euros despite his begging for more. James had kept Mammon company while the Avatar of Greed hit up the floor to decide where he wanted to play. 

Lily and Leila had played casually at the slot machines until they were bored, neither had really lost any money but didn’t win any jackpots either, so they decided to go find the boys. When they found them, James was just dragging a red faced Mammon away from the craps table. 

“Mammon had me shoot the dice for him and he won his ridiculously large bet! I told him to cash out but he refused and lost all his winnings after that.” James laughs, shaking his head. 

“Once a moron always a moron.” Satan scoffs and he’s not the only one who starts voicing his opinions.

“Anyway,” Leila interrupts before Mammon’s brothers can insult him too badly. “We didn’t want him to have a bad finish to his night so we decided to help him make the most of what he had left.”

“Ya shoulda seen it.” Mammon brags now. “We all sat down at the blackjack table together and my little humans swept the table.”

“We split what Mammon had left between us.” James adds. “Mammon lost everything in the first round.” The demons around them make sounds that let them know that this doesn’t surprise them in the least.

“By the last round Lily bet all her winnin’s in a daring move. Go bold or go home, I always say.” Mammon boasts proudly, as if it was all his own achievement. “I shoulda been takin’ Lily to more casino nights!” 

“You’re doing no such thing.” Lucifer stops his brother's fantasies in his tracks. Lily is not going to get dragged all over the world to be his greedy brother's lucky charm, if he has anything to say about it. Lily gives him a relieved smile. Once in a while is fun. But Mammon definitely needs some moderation with gambling.

“Anyway…” James quickly continues, before Mammon can say something, earning himself an approving nod from Lucifer. “Between the three of us we turned Mammon’s one fifty into five thousand!” He laughs, leaving the brothers gasping. 

“So Mammon really didn’t win anything at all!” Asmodeus scowls. 

“Shaddap! It was my money!” Mammon retorts. 

Leviathan snorts and rolls his eyes while Belphegor points out the obvious. “It wasn’t yours, it was Lily’s money to begin with.”

“Tch.” Mammon scoffs and grabs the roll of bills from Lily. He counts it out and splits it evenly between the four of them. Then he surprises everyone by handing some cash to Levi too.

Levi’s eyes are wide with surprise, until he counts the bills. “This isn’t even half of what you owe me!”

“Like I said.” Lily reminds him. “It’s up to Mammon what he will do with his share.” She doesn’t want to hear them arguing, especially not while James and Leila are still here.

“Lily.” Leila says, handing her share of one thousand and two hundred fifty euros to her. “I like you to keep my share safe here, so next time we come over to this reality, I have some money of my own to spend.”

“Oh, that’s a good idea!” James agrees and hands over his share to her as well, while Mammon is watching incredulously how the humans just give each other money like it’s nothing! “We have no use for it in our own reality, since it’s slightly different and-”

“I can keep it safe for ya!” Mammon offers greedily, but is immediately scolded by almost everyone.

Lily ignores them all and just accepts the cash and promises to keep it safe for her friends. Maybe she can set up a bank account for them? She’ll think about it later.

 

 

Chapter Text

Lily’s reality

“Where are you going so early, Lily?” Lucifer asks her with a stern voice, pretending not to know. 

He knows. It was on Leila’s itinerary that she had given him yesterday as well. Today is the other Mammon’s date and Lily is expected to come to the other reality before breakfast. But that doesn’t mean he likes her going. Especially when they didn’t care asking him permission for her to go in the first place. 

Lily tries to not roll her eyes at him. Typical Lucifer. She knows exactly what is going through his mind right now. Wrapping her arms around the arm he has settled on his hip, she smiles at him sweetly. “You didn’t forget about my date with James, Leila and Mammon in the other reality did you?” She blinks up at him, “You didn’t need me for anything today, right?” She asks. 

Before Lucifer can respond, others have caught wind of their conversation as they head towards the dining room. “Whaaa?!” Asmodeus cries. “I have to lose you two days in a row to my idiot brother?” He gasps dramatically and latches onto Lily, trying to pull her away from Lucifer into his own arms. Lily stubbornly holds onto Lucifer, knowing if Asmo gets ahold of her she’s going to get passed around like a football. Lucifer’s glare is enough to dissuade Asmo from further attempts. 

“It’s not like you’re going to have any fun, stuck with Mammon for a second day in a row.” Belphegor yawns. “You should convince Leila and James to come here instead.” Now that he knows his and Beel’s dates are next week, he can hardly wait for it.

“Oi!” Mammon snaps angrily at his brothers. “Doncha try to cheat any version of me from my human time!” He would rather Lily stay home with HIM as well, but he isn’t going to treat his other self that way. Even if he does have some worries. What if Lily has more fun with that version of me? What if Lily starts to like that Mammon better? What if that version falls in love with her too? He does his best to push such thoughts away. He knows Lily will be safe with his counterpart and he can’t be sure about that with her being with any of his brothers. Or Solomon, for that matter.

“Stop pestering Lily.” Lucifer finally intervenes. “Or else I’ll be sure the rest of you don’t get your dates.” He threatens them before turning an affectionate smile on Lily. “Don’t worry about things here, you may go.” He tells her magnanimously. 

Again Lily suppresses her eye roll as she gives him another smile, “Thanks Luce.” She tells him, going on her tip-toes as she pulls him by the arm so she can give him a big kiss on the cheek. “You’re the best.” She tells him indulgently. “I’ll see you all tonight.”

“Try not to be too late.” Lucifer growls after her, his cheeks slightly pink. His brothers grumble, jealous of her public affections that haven’t been bestowed upon them as well this morning. Lucifer smiles at them smugly before making his way to the table, after Lily disappeared.

 

James & Leila’s reality

“Lily! Ma Fleur de Lys!” Asmodeus greets Lily with much enthusiasm with the French nickname he invented for her and a big hug that makes her ‘oof’. “We have SUCH a surprise prepared for you!”

“Oy!” Mammon protests the scene his brother makes. “It ain’t your date, Asmo! Don’t pretend like it is!” Lily finds herself giggling at the similar moods from her reality to this reality.

But he is being ignored as Asmodeus leads Lily to the seat next to him at the breakfast table. Everyone except for Leila, James and Mammon are mid-way through breakfast. Pandora seems to just have had her fill and is snoozing in Leila’s arms, while her mother is picking a few pieces of fruit to eat to get her strength up. Beelzebub is still stuffing his mouth as if it's a race, as per usual, but everyone else greets her enthusiastically. Mammon barely gets a word in as he tries to stake his claim. Apart from the baby, it’s really not going much differently in this reality. Lily thinks.

Though Mammon does look differently. His mouth is set in a frown as he sits somewhat ridgidly in the full formal dress. It’s not that Mammon never dresses in a suit but he has an unusual knack for wearing them in a way that makes formal look casual. He looks too stiff with everything pressed, fitted and buttoned up properly. His morning coat, waistcoat and trousers are black with fine floral embroidery done in a gleaming gold thread. A matching gold tie is for once tied properly and snugly around his neck.The part that makes Lily hide her giggle is the top hat sitting on his head! Lily can’t help staring at him during breakfast, making him very self-conscious in the process. Especially since his brothers all ridicule him a little, looking like that. Lily can’t really blame them: That’s a look she never thought she'd see on him!

Leila explains. “We couldn’t completely keep everything a secret from Mammon.” She tells Lily. Lily suspects that, knowing Leila and Asmodeus, they just have been too excited together. She smiles when Leila continues. “So his punishment is to sit at breakfast in his outfit for all to see. We have some fun outfits for us too.”

“If ya consider it fun.” Mammon grumbles, blushing in embarrassment.

After some explanation, Lily learns that Mammon has been spying on the preparations for his date, when Asmo and Leila were busy with it. Even Satan chipped in by making some arrangements for them with his connections. Asmodeus was very happy to help select and create their outfits. 

“Why’d Asmo even need to help ya with plannin’ my date, huh?” Mammon grumbles annoyed. “I could’ve shown y’all a good time on my own.”

“If we left it up to YOU, Mammon.” Asmodeus huffs at him. “They would have been stuck in some kind of gambling den all day! I could not let that happen to my precious humans.”

“Are you sure you won’t eat anything before you go?” Beelzebub finally asks James, looking at Leila and Lily too. He’s been ignoring most of the conversation going around him, as per usual while there’s still food on the table. But Lily can see Beel worries about the humans not eating enough and there’s not much left at the table at this point. 

“Don’t worry Beel.” James smiles affectionately. “We will be filling our bellies soon enough.” He assures him with a pat on his back. Beelzebub takes this to heart as he fills his own stomach with the remaining food. 

 

After dabbing at his flawless mouth with a linen, Asmodeus is grabbing Lily’s hands and pulling her after him. “You are going to LOVE it!” Asmodeus leads her, James and Leila to his own room, while Mammon is following, muttering something about his brother ‘tryin’ to steal my humans’. Lily immediately notices the big hat boxes in the corner of Asmodeus' room and gets curiouser by the minute. “I remembered your measurements of course, so I’ve created the most delightful outfits for you!”

With some spells, Lily suddenly finds herself dressed in a dusty rose crinkled silk dress with short cape sleeves. A high neck with pleats and a corsage tie to the front. A floaty body skimming fit with a high low hem to the midi skirt. Accented with a champagne gold belt that has a barely there print of flying crows. A large brim straw hat decorated with green silk vines and flowers in white, rose pinks and lavender is placed on her head. James is wearing a navy blue suit with subtle pinstriping on his morning coat, waistcoat and trousers. His gold tie matches Mammon’s and is kept neatly in place with a black enamel crow tie pin. Like Mammon he has a top hat too. Leila wears a champagne gold silk jacquard midi length dress with a high circle neck with mini pouf shoulders, and sleeves with scalloped edges. A very subtle embroidery on the dress matched the design on Mammon’s suit. A slim silhouette flatters Leila’s build and the flouncy pleated skirt moves with each graceful step. Her hat is almost the same as Lily’s except the colors of the flowers on her hat match better with her own dress.

“Wow, what is all this?” Lily wonders as she starts taking pictures and selfies of everyone and herself. “It’s oddly formal. Not our usual style...” She muses aloud, wondering where they could be going dressed this way. “But I like it too!” She quickly insists as she sees the expressions of Asmodeus and Leila drop. They both immediately start beaming again. “What are we going to do today?”

“As Mammon would say: We’re going to see the horsies.” James grins and Leila giggles. “But Asmo and Leila wanted it to be special too and not some boring gambling date…”

“Oy!” Mammon protests again. “That ain’t boring! It requires a keen eye, skill, and intuition to find the best horse who can win ya a truckload of cash!”

“As James was saying.” Leila continues. “I don’t mind seeing these races, but why not make it a bit more fun for us too, right? That’s why Asmo helped create these Ascot outfits for us!”

“Mammon and I didn’t have much say in the matter.” James tells Lily as if he’s as much of a victim in this as she and Mammon are, but everyone can clearly see that he doesn’t mind it. 

Mammon feels embarrassed, though. “Ya know these clothes ain't necessary for going to the races.” He tries again, probably for the umpteenth time, to get out of going dressed like this.

“Actually.” Suddenly Satan enters the room, “For where you’re going, it is required.” He says as he hands Leila some tickets before pulling her in for a kiss. She eagerly gives him all the gratitude he deserves and Satan looks downright smug afterwards. “Remember, the Jockey will meet you after the breakfast service.” Satan whispers to Leila. 

“Oh, I should start preparing the magic circle.” Leila then says, standing up to go to the living room again. “Belphie will probably be bratty about me going away again today, so…” She shrugs with a smile.

“He better not try to stop you.” Mammon is still grumpy as he follows her. He will make sure nothing will stop his date with his humans from happening! Of course this results in the whole group going downstairs again.

 

But when they all get downstairs, Solomon is waiting for them with a smirk on his face. “I heard about your plans for today, Leila.” He says after having given Lily a nod in acknowledgement. “And I have arranged a surprise for you.”

He leads them all outside where a classic, vintage limousine is waiting for them. “All riiight!” Mammon cheers. “Now THIS is how the Great Mammon deserves to be transported!”

“What’s this, Solomon?!” They hear Asmodeus complain behind them. “You never arranged a luxurious way to travel like this for ME!” He pouts, almost crying.

Solomon raises his eyebrow at him, his arm wrapped around Leila’s shoulder. “I don’t recall you being my granddaughter, Asmodeus.” He tells him dryly. “I’m doing this for Leila and her friends, not Mammon. Obviously.”

“It’s still not faaair!” Asmodeus whines, clinging onto Solomon’s arm, but then he is pulled back inside by Satan and Belphegor. They won’t allow him to ruin Leila’s day with his dramatic behaviour.

Solomon ignores his demon’s dramatic ways and he turns to Leila. “Now be sure to tell me all about how it went afterwards. It must have been almost 70 years since I last attended the Royal Ascot. I can’t have her recognizing me and noticing that I haven’t been aging, but the queen just won’t die!” He laughs with a mischievous glimmer in his eyes. “And she would recognize me, she’s keen enough!” Lily can’t help a giggle. The struggles of an immortal royalty.

Once Asmodeus has calmed down, they all settle in the limousine, but not before they had taken their fill of photos to commemorate how good their race day attire looks with the vintage limo. Everyone stands outside the Manor waving them off. Mammon feels like a prince and acts like he deserves nothing less. His humans just shrug at his behaviour. They all know why Mammon’s brothers really tried their best to make this a fun date: Because they all want James, Leila and Lily to have fun. And a bit because they can rub it in that Mammon’s date wouldn’t be the same without their help.

 

Ascot Racecourse, Great Britain

They are swiftly taken to the Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire. On arrival, they notice that there is a big throng of press waiting at the sidelines. 

“Is it always like this?” Lily whispers to Leila, feeling a bit uncomfortable as she swivels out of their limousine as elegantly as she can muster, feeling very self-conscious. 

“I don’t think so.” Leila whispers back as they walk towards the entrance with their arms linked. “It’s the first day of the Royal Ascot. I thought that would be fun for us to experience. But I didn’t think of this…” She gestures to the circus of photographers and reporters around them.

James and Mammon walk behind them, waving to the press with huge mischievous grins on their faces. They obviously care a lot less if they make it into the magazines or not. Mammon strikes his modeling poses and people in the crowd swoon at the sight of the handsome demon. But he ignores their questions as they want to know who he is. Lily and Leila have to admit that it is fun to hang around with Mammon like this.

Eventually they find their way to the Queen Anne enclosure. They show the tickets that Satan has arranged for them to the valet, so that they have access to a private viewing box. This is where they enjoy their late breakfast. After all, they don’t have much interest in hobnobbing with the British elite. They’re here for the experience and the horsies, of course.

“All right!” Mammon cheers as he pops open a bottle of morning champagne from the bar to make mimosas. “This is the life!” He pours the glasses as the others sit around the already set table.

His humans roll their eyes as they indulge him. Mammon acts like he arranged this all by himself for them, but they all know better. This has Lucifer, Satan, Asmodeus and Solomon written all over it. Well, it doesn’t really matter. Even if Mammon was wrong with stealing the reality-spray, he still deserves to have fun now and then. Just like everyone.

“Look Leila, they already had our swag delivered.” James says, pointing out the gift bags. Because of Satan’s connection, they were able to order these ahead of time. 

“Wha? Swag?” Mammon abandons his seat to grab the custom bespoke gift bags. He’s quick to find his name and shuffles through the items which include ascot branded playing cards, a keychain, fancy pen and racehorse mug. “Sweet.” Mammon grins. Pocketing the playing cards for whatever reason before taking his seat again. James' gift bag is the same as Mammons', while the girls gift bags have a tea towel, key ring, notebook and a hand fan. 

“Aww you guys really went all out to make this a special day.” Lily gushes, showing her appreciation. “Thank you.”

“Of course!” Leila tells her with a beaming smile. “Mammon is our first and best demon, after all.”

“That he is.” Lily smiles and Mammon almost bursts out of his jacket with pride, hearing this.

Even though Leila did have some pieces from the breakfast table this morning, she’s still hungry. So are the others as they finally start with their brunch now. Mammon is talking enthusiastically and loudly. Proud that his humans have taken him to such a good place and managed to arrange all these extras for him. They’re having access to the best views! He would be able to practically see the photo finish with his own eyes, instead of on the screen. Etcetera. Etcetera. He’s not realizing that they did this mostly for themselves and Lily. Because let’s face it: Mammon would have just taken them to the races and let them watch the screen while he was in his betting frenzy...

 

When breakfast is finished, Mammon is eager to go to the betting ring to start placing his bets. Dragging his humans along with him. He needs them to be his lucky charm. James just lets himself get dragged. He knew this was going to happen today and he doesn’t really care one way or another, as long everyone is having a good time. 

But the girls are both very distracted by the very stylish and sophisticated looking people around them. It’s an amalgamation of colors and crazy looking hats. They unashamedly watch all the bustle of people trying to impress each other. It is seeing and being seen for these people.

“It doesn’t really look as if it’s about the races for these people.” Lily eventually comments aloud.

“No.” Mammon grumbles. It’s almost as if he feels offended by all these people socializing. “All these people dunno what the races are really about!” He marches to the first bookie he sees and the others roll their eyes. “I s’pose we can bet on what color hat the queen wears though.” He tells them.

They all pick a different color to increase their chances, Lily and Leila bet together since Lily can’t actually gamble legally in this reality, she doesn’t exist here after all. After the girls have placed bets on the Queen’s hat, they slip away, but not before Leila and James communicate in that secret language of theirs. It’s a long, brisk walk in their heels and they are both thankful for the spells they’ve cast to prevent blisters. There’s surprisingly a lot of time to fill before the first race, the only one they will stay to watch since Leila and James have another surprise in store later.

On the way, Leila explains where they are going. “So apparently Satan knows a demon who sponsors some jockeys and he was able to call in a favor for us, so we can get behind the scenes if you will and see some of the horses! Unfortunately we can’t see any who are in today's races but we can talk to some of the others.”

Lily claps in excitement. “I’m so excited to see them!” It’s a real treat to be able to see these fine horses up close. The only thing that might be better is racing one of these horses herself, but she keeps that thought to herself. 

Eventually they find the place Satan had described to Leila and find the Jockey. He’s a short lithe sort of man as many jockeys tend to be. He’s very polite to them, in fact he almost seems a little frightened of them. The girls exchange a look, wondering just what he’s been told. He escorts them to a building full of stalls and introduces them to his own horse that he’ll race two days from now. There’s a small paddock behind the building where a few horses are being exercised by their trainers. Before he leaves them, he gives them two badges, instructing them to use them if they are hassled by anyone and reminding them to leave the area before the royal procession is underway. 

 

They first have a little chat with the horse that their jockey guide introduced to them. It is regular brown, like most of these Thoroughbreds seem to be. But all four of its feet are white as if it’s wearing socks. Just like it’s rider, it seems to be a little skittish. But Lily already has her earplugs in and she strokes its nose soothingly while Leila talks with it. It calms down quickly and is then very affectionate.

“I hope you’ll bet on me!” The horse finally tells them bashfully. The horse in the stable next to it makes a rude snort that sounds like derision. The girls are sad to tell the horse they will only be betting on the very first race of the day. The horse seems to get over it’s disappointment quickly though. “In that case, if I were a human, I’d bet on silken mane. She always starts slow, but she hates having the dust and sand in her nose. She likes to run in the front.” 

“Silken mane?” Lily questions out loud. She doesn’t remember seeing any horses in the race by that name. Before long, they realize that the horses have their own names for each other. 

They move over to the next stable where the more rude sounding horse is stabled. He’s impatiently shaking his head and stomping his hooves as they approach. But it turns out that he just needs someone to listen to him about all his frustrations. How unfair it is that they need to be weighed just before they start with the race. That they sometimes get extra weight added, but are not allowed to eat an extra carrot and more of those things. Lily and Leila are very understanding. That doesn’t really seem fair. They know for sure that Beel would be grumpy about that too if those were the rules with his sports!

The horse next to him wakes up from her snooze, telling him to not make so much noise and not be such a wet blanket. He should be happy his race isn’t until tomorrow and just enjoy the sun and the atmosphere. She turns around, her face outside on the other side of her stable and looks outside to watch the trainers and some of the other horses. She doesn’t feel like talking with Lily and Leila right now. Maybe when there's a shadow over her stable again. She’ll think about it.

The disgruntled steed snorts and stomps his foot, telling the sleepy mare to mind her own business. The humans have listened to him patiently and offered him kind words and he decides he likes these two humans very much and he will give them some advice of his own. “Don’t listen to that greenling over there. The horse you want to bet on is blazen two hoof. She’s in top condition and even set a new record yesterday.”

The horse in the stable on the other side of the sleepy mare is very excited to be here. He’s prancing around in his box, nickering as if he’s laughing. While his neighbour complains to him to let her snooze, he tells Lily and Leila excitedly that he’s very much looking forward to his first race on Ascot and that he just has made new friends with his new trainers and jockeys. 

His enthusiasm is infectious and more horses around them start telling them about their first racing experiences and the high profile places they’ve been before. Leila and Lily ask the horses a lot of questions while they pet their noses. Eventually even the lady horse turns around again to chat with them and be part of the fun.

By the time they leave the stables to find James and Mammon, most of the horses are divided into two opinions. Those who think silken mane will win and those who are for blazen two hoof. Now the girls just have to figure out which horses those ones are!

 

They find James dragging Mammon away from the betting ring, insisting that Mammon has done enough. Mammon doesn’t seem to agree. He’d probably be content to spend the entire day inside the betting ring. One look at the chaos currently in the betting ring is enough to make Leila and Lily make their way to one of the betting kiosks instead. 

Lily acquires a pamphlet that shows information on the horses and jockeys. Her and Leila enthusiastically flip through, studying the pictures of the horses. “This one’s mane looks pretty silky doesn’t it?” Lily points out and Leila nods with enthusiasm.

Mammon can’t believe his ears. “Whaddya two goin’ on about? Ya can’t place your bet based on how silky a horse's mane is!” He shouts, drawing some curious and disdainful looks their way. 

“Don’t worry Mammon, we know what we’re doing.” Leila insists as she and Lily exchange a look. “Oh and look, Lily!” Leila points to a horse that has a blaze on it’s head and two socks.

“Blazen two hoof!” they both say at the same time. 

“Nah! Don’t bet on those horses!” Mammon tells them as he sees which horses they are placing bets on. “They haven’t won a thing so far!” The girls ignore his advice though, insisting they are betting on the right horses. 

 

Once they are done, they try to soothe Mammon by taking him to the Parade Ring Shop. James and Leila have already decided this will be the best place to buy their souvenirs. They spoiled him with an expensive pair of four leaf clover gold stud earrings, a lucky charm from his lucky charms. They found a variety of other items for the others back home, from tea towels, oven mitts, mugs and more. They may have spoiled Asmodeus a bit too with a pashmina scarf but he did such lovely work on all their clothes. They also spent a bit more on Satan and Solomon’s gifts to thank them as well.

Shopping spree concluded, they made sure to get good spots at the Parade Ring in advance of the Royal Procession. Leila and Lily were eager for a glimpse of royalty, Lily never thought she’d ever be seeing the QUEEN in person! Mammon was just eager to see what color hat the queen was wearing. 

“YES!” James pumps his fist in the air when the Queen’s carriage comes into the Parade Ring. He’s guessed the right color. Lily and Leila cheer for him, ignoring the looks of those around them. 

“Lucky guess.” Mammon grumbles. Proud of James but also annoyed that he didn’t win.

Mammon sighs in relief when they head back to their private suit to get ready for the first race that’s FINALLY going to start. It may be more exciting to watch the races from the lawn but they’re all tired of the crowds and this way they can let Mammon be his strange demonic self without worry.

Mammon is still not over the fact that his humans placed their bets on horses based on the softness of their manes and the blaze on their heads. He likes to take risks too, but this is just so irresponsible! Him taking that word into his mouth when talking about gambling makes them all laugh.

“You’ll see!” Mammon tells them confidently. “And then next time ya listen to the Great Mammon!” Lily and Leila nod well behaved and focus themselves on the race that is now about to start.

When the race gets going Mammon is giving the girls smug looks when his and James’ horses are ahead and ‘silken mane’ and ‘blazen two hoof’ are behind. Things don’t stay in Mammon’s favor for long though. 

“GO Silken Mane!” 

“You can do it Blazen Two Hoof!”

Leila and Lily cheer just as loudly as Mammon, okay maybe it wasn’t ONLY Mammon’s strange behavior that they needed to be worried about. James grins, happy to see them all having a good time. 

“NOoooooo!” Mammon drops to his knees, burying his head in his hands as his horse falls behind. Silken Mane pulls ahead and wins first place, Blazen Two Hoof right behind her. James' horse comes in fourth and Mammon’s horse comes in fifth place. Meanwhile Leila and Lily are jumping up and down, wishing they could go back to the stables to thank the horses for their advice. 

After the first race, they’re walking towards the kiosks to collect their winnings, while the next race is being prepared. Mammon can’t let it go.

“What’s your secret?” Mammon insists to know as he again questions the girls' motives as to why they placed bets on the two horses that almost nobody had placed bets on. Those horses were inexperienced! Never won a thing before! 

“Lucky guess…?” Lily laughs, teasing him.

“I ain’t believin’ that! Ya two were lookin’ for those horses in the catalogue! And why'd ya even call them with those names?” He looks at them with suspicion.

Leila pats him on his arm as she links hers with his. “Shh, Mammon. I promise to tell you all about it once we’re not in such a crowded place.” She pulls him along. “Now tell us how to claim our winnings.” 

That is something Mammon is eager to teach them. After the girls have collected their generous winnings that Lily and Leila divide among the four of them, he wants to immediately place more bets, using that secret the girls apparently discovered. But to his great disappointment he hears that it is time to leave Ascot and go to their next destination.

 

Istralandia AquaPark, Croatia

Like the last date, once Leila had teleported them to the new location, they used magic to change their clothes. They’re glad to quickly change out of their formal wear since they’ve just gone from a partly cloudy 20 degree english afternoon to a dry, 29 degrees. Lily can feel swimwear underneath her t-shirt and jeans shorts. 

Once inside the park they go to the respective girls and boys locker rooms to store their things and dress down to their swimwear. Lily checks out her swimwear approvingly. It’s a one piece with a modest cut out in the front. It is cute in pink and purple color-blocking, the straps are wide and snug. She can play in this without worrying about wardrobe malfunctions. Leila wears a similar style except her cutouts are on her sides and it is black and gold. Probably in honor of Mammon’s date. After the girls compliment each other and braid each other's hair, they leave to meet the boys. 

Mammon and James are already waiting for them, ready to go in their swim trunks. “What do you think, Lily?” James asks in a teasing tone as they make their way to the grassy lawn to lay out their picnic blanket and towels. “We dress down as well as we dress up, don’t we?” He ignores his cousin’s amused snort. 

Mammon’s cheeks are pink and he refuses to make eye contact with the girls all the way until they find a nice spot. “Whatever. I’m just glad to be outta all those stuffy layers!” He says, finally taking a peek at Lily and Leila. He’s torn between admiring them and the need to cover them up with a towel and take them away from prying eyes. 

“Let’s go down the big slide!” Lily says eagerly, bouncing up and down on her toes, once they’ve laid out their things and Leila has inconspicuously cast a protective spell over it all to keep thieves at bay. Leila is also ready to go, listing off enthusiastically all the slides she wants to try out

“Heh.” Mammon finally grins, relaxing a bit. Lily is acting just as happy as Leila often does. He likes that. “Ya sure do act like a couple of little kids sometimes, ya know?”

Leila and Lily join hands when they are skipping ahead of Mammon and James, barely able to follow the parks ‘Do Not Run’ rule, just as if they are two excited kids. 

 

Lily wades out of the pool after the first slide, waiting for the others before they will move on to the next one. One minute she’s standing there waiting for Leila to arrive at the end of the slide and the next she’s pitching forward as someone bumps into her shoulder. Steady warm hands grab her by the waist to keep her from falling face forward. 

Lily grabs onto muscular arms, blinking widely at a reasonably handsome young man. “Are you alright?!” He asks her with wide eyes. “I’m so sorry for bumping into you!” He apologizes. 

“Oh.” Lily gives him a reassuring smile. “It happens, no worries.” She brushes it off. “But um..you can let go now.” She tells him with a blush, realizing his hands are still firmly gripping her waist. 

“Oh! Sorry!” The man grins sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck after releasing her. “Hey..um..-”

Lily sees Leila splash into the pool and cheers, turning away from the guy. “Have a nice day!” She tells him as she makes her way to the edge to greet Leila enthusiastically. Together they wait for James and Mammon. 

The next slide they line up for is called flying boats, they get to go down in pairs this time. Lily is behind everyone this time when she feels a bit ticklish. Turning her head around she sees that same guy that bumped into her earlier is standing behind her. Was he playing with my hair? Lily wonders to herself, feeling a little odd. He doesn’t seem to be paying any attention to her though, she probably just imagined it and shrugs it off. 

Mammon and James take the first ‘boat’ which is a double seated floatie, the girls take the next one. Screaming, giggling and throwing their hands up as they decend. It’s a real change up from the posh experience at the racecourse, that’s for sure. 

A couple slides later they find themselves at the top gun, a double slide where two can take one slide at once. Mammon and Lily are up next when Lily shouts. “Last one out is a rotten egg!” Before jumping in her slide. 

“Oi! That’s cheatin’!” Mammon shouts, jumping down his own shute. He doesn’t want to be a rotten egg, after all. 

Lily giggles as she surfaces in the pool, seeing Mammon shoot out just after her. “You’re a rotten egg, Mammon.” She teases him, splashing him with water. She receives a tidal wave in return and revenge, making her go under for a second.

After riding a few more family friendly slides where they can all slide together on inflatable boats, they decide to relax in the hydro pool. While the rest of them opt to use the hydromassage bench, Lily decides to float out on her back in the warm water. When her sun is suddenly blocked and she feels something brush against her side, her eyes squint open. 

Is this guy following me? Lily wonders, feeling a little paranoid. But he seems to be everywhere she goes just about and she swears he keeps touching her. “Oh hey.” The guy says to her, as if he’s just noticed her. Lily narrows her eyes suspiciously. 

“I need to get back to my friends.” Lily says as she moves away from him, feeling uneasy. She must be frowning when she returns because Leila asks her if she’s feeling okay. “Yeah! I’m good.” She replies, with a forced smile. 

 

The four of them decide to take a short break and return to the lawn where they laid out their towels and picnic basket. It’s a good opportunity to reapply their sunscreen, have a snack and hydrate. Not too much later, Lily excuses herself to the restroom. As soon as she’s out of ear shot, Mammon looks at Leila and James and tells them he’s going too. 

Leila and James exchange a look. What’s up with Mammon? Why wait until Lily is out of sight? “Something the matter, Mammon?” Leila asks him.

“Not really, doncha worry.” He smiles at her with reassurance. “But I really gotta go now.”

Lily has barely exited the restroom when she feels a hard pinch on the exposed underside of her bum! Eyes flaring she whips around and finds the culprit. It’s that guy again! Enough is enough.  

The guy has the audacity to grin as she glares at him. “Finally got your attention.” He tells her, moving closer. Lily blinks. Is this guy for real?!

She pushes him away from her firmly. “Keep your hands to yourself, buster.” Lily warns him with one last glare before she marches away. She doesn’t go back to the others right away, she doesn’t want them to see how upset she is right now and ruin their day. 

This is how she’s not noticing how Mammon has grabbed the offender who is stalking her all this time by the neck, before he could follow her again. He swears, sometimes humans are almost like demons! He’s noticed this dude hanging around his human from the other reality a couple times. Even warned him a couple times to stay away. But the moron just won’t relent! He’s going to teach him a lesson now! 

“I told ya to stay away.” He growls, trying to sound not too demonic, squeezing the neck. Making sure not too hard, just enough to make his point. Leila won’t forgive him if he killed a human no matter how rotten he was. “The lady herself has made it clear she ain’t interested. Take a hint, buddy. Next time I see ya, I’ll be less nice.” 

With that he lets go and goes in the direction he saw Lily go. He finds her soon and promises her that the guy won’t be bothering her anymore. Lily feels grateful on the one hand that Mammon even in this reality is her guardian. On the other hand she’s a bit worried as to what he did to her stalker. 

He grins at her in that familiar way. “Doncha worry. He’s still alive.” Lily can’t help but laugh a little herself. “Let’s not tell James and Leila about this, alright? Just stick with me from now on.”

“Okay.” Lily smiles at him, feeling grateful. “That's why I didn't say anything. I didn’t want to ruin the day.”

“It ain’t your fault.” Mammon wraps his arm around her shoulders as they walk back to their spot where Leila and James are waiting. “Ya deserve to have fun, just like us. So next time, tell me about it and I’ll protect ya!” 

 

Lily isn’t bothered again by the stalker after this. Whatever Mammon did to scare him off, it was proven to be efficient. But Mammon still keeps close to her, making sure she’s not being bothered by anyone else either.

Later they’re hanging out in the wave pool when Lily suddenly shouts. “Oh! Let’s have a shoulder war!”

“A shoulder wha?” Mammon gives her a quizzical look. 

“Shoulder war or chicken fight!” Lily explains quickly. “I’ve always seen it done but never done it before, it’s always looked like fun. Basically we team up in twos, us girls on top of the boys shoulders and then we have to work together to knock the other team into the water first!”

“Okay..but I’m on Mammon’s team.” Leila says quickly, “Otherwise it won’t be fair.” She says, comparing her slender lean arm to Lily’s more muscular one. 

James laughs. “Fine! You’re still going down, cousin!” He declares, “We’ve got this Lily.” He tells her with a wink.

Mammon looks more unsure, wrestling even in the pool with his humans doesn’t feel safe, what if he accidentally hurts them?

“Let’s make a bet.” Lily suggests and suddenly Mammon forgets all his worries. “Three out of five. Winners get to pick where we have dinner and losers have to wear their ascot clothes.”

“Huh? What sorta bet is that?” Mammon frowns. “Where’s the coin?”

They all look at him like he’s crazy and not even give him an answer. There would not be any point in explaining to Mammon that not everything is about money. Mammon grumbles something indistinctive, which is probably for the best.

Lily climbs onto James' shoulders without effort. They look like they’ve done this forever together and look challenging to their opponents. Mammon is feeling a bit awkward while Leila tries to climb on his shoulders. She feels so soft and smooth! No, he can’t think such things. What would Satan and Belphie say if they find out? 

“What's wrong Mammon?” Leila asks him as she senses him being uncomfortable. “You don’t want to do this?”

“It ain’t that.” He grumbles, blushing. Then he tells her quietly about his worries, so that James and Lily aren’t hearing him. That would be even more embarrassing. 

“They won’t get mad over that, Mammon.” Leila ensures him, ignoring his sceptical snort. What does she know? He knows how his demonic brothers are! “It’s just a game after all.”

“Any time you’re ready!” James mocks, still waiting with Lily on his shoulders. “If your tactics are that you want to tire me out in advance, it’s not working.” 

He receives a big splash in his face from Leila. “Shut up.” She grins, seeing him almost losing his balance from it. “Mammon and I need to strategize. It’s not our fault you two skipped that part!”

“They’re cheating!” Lily laughs. “We’ll get them for that, James!”

After this intermezzo, Mammon is finally in a competing state of mind. Well, mostly. Ready to win this feat of strength - which it apparently is - because there is no way he will ever put that top hat back on his head again. Though Leila looked beautiful in her ascot clothes.

Half distracted, both by the feeling of Leila on his shoulders and her legs around his neck and the thought of how cute she looked in his favorite colors, he takes his stand across from James and the girls above their heads start pushing each other’s arms and shoulders. They aren’t making much progress at first with the girls giggling as they grapple above the boys heads. Still Lily is clearly the stronger one of the two. Mammon has to work hard to keep his own and Leila’s balance, while it seems like James and Lily are naturals with this game. 

“Come on, Lily!” James laughs. “You can do it! We might actually win this game for once!”

“Hey!” Leila protests as she struggles. “I always try my best!”

Lily laughs as she hears the two of them argue like siblings. It feels to her like she’s really part of their family. James and Leila are usually in the same team, of course. But Lily notices herself that Leila’s strength comes mostly from her character and magical powers. Not so much literal physical strength. And soon enough Leila topples off of Mammon’s shoulder with a big splash.

“Yes!” Lily cheers in triumph, high fiving James. She climbs off him to give his shoulders a massage. “That was fun!”

“It ain’t over yet.” Mammon growls, but they all can see he’s starting to have fun with this game.

The next round is made more challenging as the waves pick up, threatening to push them all over without any help. James tries to take advantage of the waves, surprising Mammon. This strategy works but not as well as he had hoped. James loses his own balance, lurching forwards Lily gives Leila a firm push as this happens. Lily falls forwards off James’ shoulders and into Mammon's arms at the same time as Leila falls backwards. Lily takes Mammon down with her and everyone except James comes up sputtering. 

“I think that one is a tie!” Lily laughs. “Maybe we wait for the waves to get smaller again.”

Taking a cue from James’ attempt, Mammon and Leila win the next round, because Mammon makes James trip under water. He tries that strategy next round again, but this time Lily and James are prepared for it. While Mammon tries to trip James, Lily quickly pushes Leila off of his shoulders. Mammon loses his balance because of that and they both go under.

“We only need to win one more time, Lily!” James cheers as they do their little victory ritual that they spontaneously invented together. “Reality twins for the win!”

“Yeah! Let’s have dinner at a pizzeria and they can wear their ascot clothes there.” Lily is already planning how to celebrate their victory. 

“Ya gotta win first.” Mammon sounds very determined to not let that happen again. He would rather eat that tophat than put it back on his head again! He better not tell them this, though. They might hold him to that! “Let’s go, Leila.” He lifts her on his shoulders with ease. “We can still win this.”

“Yes we can!” Leila ruffles his hair affectionately and prepares for another standoff against Lily. 

She is starting to feel tired, but Mammon holds her very securely this time. He also stands immovable against James. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t manage to make Mammon lose his balance. Mammon is using his own strength to help Leila give an extra push against Lily, making them move backwards and soon Lily and James both fall backwards in the water! The odds are even again. And because of this strategy working flawlessly, they do it again in the extra deciding round. Leila struggles more against Lily, who still has the upper hand over her, but because of Mammon's determination to not let her fall again, they still eventually manage to let both James and Lily topple over in the water.

“Yay!” Leila cheers happily, hugging Mammon tightly after their victory. “We won, Mammon! I’ve never won this game before!”

Lily and James both laugh. Not only because of Leila genuinely being happy with her victory, but also because of Mammon blushing shyly, being hugged by her. 

“So, what was it ya said about pizzeria’s?” Mammon grins crookedly.

 

London, Great Britain

Back in London, Lily and James find themselves back in their ascot clothes inside a local pizzeria. Lily lifts her bottle of cola, her pinky lifted as she looks to James. “I say, good sir, this is a very fine soda indeed.” She says with a horrible, over the top, english accent. 

James lifts his tophat in greeting. “‘Tis a very fine establishment to sup, is it not?” He responds with his own terribly put on accent. 

The two of them cackle at each other. Mammon rolls his eyes, why aren’t they embarrassed! Instead they’ve been actin’ like second rate actors from the sort of drama Satan is into. Soon enough they have him smiling and laughing along. Despite not winning anything himself at the races, it was a damn good day. Greedily he wishes that the day would never end.  

Despite Mammon’s wishes, the day does come to a close and he groans as they head back to the Manor. He feels like Cinderella, leaving this morning in a limo and coming home in a taxi. Except it’s Lily that’s going to disappear at the stroke of ten. That’s another thing he’s not happy about, how come his day has to end so early? Knowing that Leila is likely to give him an earful, he keeps these complaints to himself.  

 

Later that night Mammon is dreaming about the races. It takes him a minute to realize that he’s the horse and he’s racing after Lily who races ahead of him, she’s wearing that cute swimsuit and holding a briefcase full of grimm, she giggles and teases him but somehow always stays ahead. Then he notices the Jockey on his back is Leila and he can feel her soft thighs on his shoulders. “Faster Mammon! We’re losing her!” She tells him sternly, threatening him with a riding crop. Somewhere he hears James’s voice say, “You’re going to be in so much trouble when I tell Satan and Belphegor what you’ve been thinking about..”

“Wait! James! It ain’t like that! I promise!” Mammon shouts in panic as he wakes up huffing. 



Back in Lily’s Reality

It’s not that Mammon didn’t love his own date with his humans the day before, but being the Avatar of Greed makes complete gratitude a challenging concept. When Lily returned and told them all about her date at the races and aquapark, he couldn’t help feeling jealous, earning himself a lot of gleeful ridicule from Levi. 

Lily hasn’t even gone to see the horsies with him yet! And the fact that his other self gotta see her looking cute in a swimsuit, splashing around, all wet and smiling, protecting her...he was grateful and envious all at once and it left him in a sour mood for the rest of the evening. He felt a little better when Lily gave him his ascot souvenir and then he didn’t leave her side for the rest of the night. Even when she crawled into bed, he just crawled in after her, begging her to go to the races with him tomorrow. 

“Mammon shhh.” Lily finally mutters a sleepy command. She’s exhausted and if she doesn’t put her foot down, he’ll keep her up all night. “I’ll think about it.” She mumbles before falling asleep.

Chapter Text

James & Leila’s Reality

“Finally our turn for the date.” Belphegor cuddles with Leila when they wake up. As if he barely spent time with her or hasn’t been sleeping with her almost every day since her return from the Celestial Realm. When Leila points that out, he tells her. “That’s different. This time I have you all to myself for a whole day.” 

“James, Lily and Beel will be there too.” Leila points out again.

Belphegor just laughs. He knows that. But they won’t be asking for Leila’s attention as much as the others would. 

“Since you get to spend so much time with her.” Satan walks in from Pandora’s room, depositing his daughter in Belphegor's arms. “It’s more than fair that I get to spend some final hours with her now.” 

He throws open the door of Leila’s room and pushes his brother and their daughter out. “Hey!” Belphegor protests, but the door is already closed behind them. “Bastard son of a prideful prick.” He curses his brother through the closed door and Pandora tries to imitate him. He chuckles softly, giving her a cuddle. Leila better not hear about this… But still: The nerve! 

He decides to let it slide this time. Upsetting Leila won’t make for a fun trip with her for him. It’s not that he hasn't gotten any attention from her lately. The past week he’s been clinging onto her, despite her being angry with him and Satan. He’s been working very hard to get back into her good graces again. So is Satan. But their mate is a stubborn one. And judging by the arguing voices behind the door, he knows Satan isn’t getting what he wants right now. No, his own chances are still greater, being alone with Leila on this trip. He smirks at the door then turns around.

“You will be a good girl while mommy and I are away, right Pandora?” He smiles down at his daughter as he makes his way downstairs, giving her an extra cuddle. “Well maybe not too good..” He amends. “Feel free to give father Satan and uncle Lucifer some grief and extra stinky diapers.” He snickers and she gives him one of her cheers. “Don’t be afraid. I will be back tomorrow.”

 

Lily’s Reality

Lily is busy packing their giant camping packs with everything she can think of that they might need. It’s been awhile since she’s done this and it takes her back to days camping out in the backwoods with her Dad. Beelzebub shows up with some of the extra pots and pans she figured the house could spare while she’s gone for the weekend. 

“Thanks..” She says absentmindedly as she points to where he can set them down until she’s ready to pack them. 

Beelzebub watches with a worried frown as she proceeds to put all of the food in her bag. “Lily...shouldn’t you leave half of that food with me...in my pack?” His tummy grumbles in agreement. He hasn’t been able to swipe a single bag of marshmallows from her. 

Lily blinks at Beel with wide eyes before she giggles. “Oh Beel...I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She tells him with a pat on his back. 

“Why are we going second this time anyway? I thought our reality went first.” Lily startles at Belphegor’s voice, not having seen or heard him enter her room. 

Lily shrugs. She doesn’t know what the order of it matters anyway. “Not always.” Is her only response that leaves him grumbling and unsatisfied. When she’s done packing, she leaves Beel and Belphie’s packs with them to bring, since she didn’t put any food in their bags she doesn’t have to worry about that. 

“What in the three realms?!” Asmodeus gapes at Lily as she totters into view with her giant pack on her back. “What is that hideous thing on your back?” He grimaces.

“Pftt! AHAHAHA!” Mammon laughs at how ridiculous she looks. Lily puts up with the round of teasing she receives from everyone. But once they’re done teasing her, some of them begin complaining about both sets of twins getting 24 hours for their dates.

“Now I wish I hadn’t gone first.” Asmodeus pouts. “If I had known that holding out longer would get me special treatment.”

“Asmo’s right, it ain’t fair.” Mammon agrees.

Lily rolls her eyes. “Do you two want to go camping sometime? Because it’s not worth going for less than a weekend trip. I’ll be happy to take you both out to the woods sometimes, with no electricity, no running water, just good solid earth to sleep on.” She smiles sweetly to them. 

Asmo and Mammon both look at her as if she’s crazy. “Oh stop please, Lily, you’ll give me nightmares. One camping trip was enough for me.” He shudders and leaves, heading towards his bathroom to bathe away the memories. 

 

James & Leila’s Reality

Later that day, in fact it is already 6.30 PM, Lily arrives into their reality. They will all have a quick dinner together and afterwards they will finally leave for their destination. Belphegor has made sure that Leila has gotten a lot of naps in today. Where they are going, they still have half the day ahead of them, before it is time to sleep and he wants her feeling rested and healthy.

Lily arrives almost stumbling over her own feet, not used to traveling between realities with so much strapped to her person. The others look at her with a mix of amused and perplexed expressions. She’s wearing a large camping pack that’s nearly as large as she is! Not only is the pack huge but she’s also making a din with each movement. The pot, pan and tin canteen swing and clang together as she rebalances herself and adjusts the straps on her shoulder. A large bedroll and tent pack are strapped to the outside of the pack. 

“AH HAHAHA!” Mammon finally bursts out laughing. “Ain’t ya camping for only the weekend?” 

“You actually didn’t need to bring that much.” James chuckles, clearly amused. 

“Clearly Asmodeus’ packing habits have rubbed off on this one.” Lucifer says dryly, even as he smirks, exchanging a glance with James.

Asmodeus gasps in offense. “Excuse me?! I’d never wear something so large and hideous on my exquisite body.” He sniffs. 

“And why didn’t you put everything into your bottomless spelled bag?” Leila asks, surprised. Lily is familiar with that spell just as Solomon, James and herself are. To see Lily come in, almost toppling over from her huge backpack and camping gear, surprises her.

“Well, we’re going with Beel, right?” Lily answers. “So I thought you can never bring too many marshmallows and hotdogs…I couldn’t leave them behind in my reality and trust that Beel wouldn’t eat them in advance before tomorrow.” She sighs, casting her spells. “But you’re right. I forgot about making a bottomless bag.” Soon after, everything is ‘repacked’ into a more manageable sized pack. Lily laughs at herself when she hoists her condensed pack up again. “I spent a large portion of my life camping in the woods outside my home.” She tells them. “I guess I just fell into my old habits, as funny as it sounds, sometimes I still have moments where I forget I have access to magic.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that.” Lucifer says, surprising some of them. “There’s merit to knowing you can survive and get on without relying on magic or shortcuts.” He sends a pointed glare to some of his brothers. 

Beelzebub nods along. “It's good exercise too.” He says with a mouthful of food. “You’re small but strong.” He compliments Lily.

In the meantime Beelzebub has been wolfing down dinner like he expects not to have another chance to eat during their trip. Leila looks at him slightly disapprovingly, but doesn’t say anything about it. It’s something she will never get really used to.

 

“Allright, let’s go then.” James drags the giant cooler - the size of a bench, spelled bottomless, but still heavy - they prepared into Leila’s teleportation circle, then he goes and fetches his lover from the dining table who still holds a plate full of food when he joins them. “Carry your pack, Beel. Or it won’t come with us.” He says, sitting on the cooler with his own pack on his back.

Lily joins him sitting next to him with her own camping gear and pack with an excited smile. Belphegor hangs his own and his twin's backpack on the shoulders of his twin and joins them, after having said goodbye to Pandora. But he’s holding Leila’s backpack for her, for some reason that is not too much effort to do.

“Beelzebub, don’t coddle your brother. Make sure he pulls his weight.” Lucifer warns, even though he knows telling Beelzebub not to baby Belphie is mostly pointless, it’s even more pointless to lecture Belphegor not to be lazy and take advantage of everyone else. Belphegor could give Asmodeus a run for his money when it comes to charming others into doing what he wants.

“Tch. Fat chance.” Mammon snorts. 

His brothers join in on his snickers. Asmodeus is still frowning, not understanding why his darling humans would want to do something as barbaric as camping anway and Leviathan fully agrees with him on this subject for a change. Then Leila finishes the teleportation ritual and they all disappear.

 

State Park Wallowa Lake, Oregon

They appear in the middle of the woods close to an enormous lake in North America. Before they get their bearings from the teleportation and their vision becomes clear, they already can hear the sounds of nature: bird song, the chittering of squirrels chasing each other in the trees, something shuffling in the underbrush, the shrill cry of a hawk circling overhead. 

When Lily's eyes have become accustomed to the surroundings, the first thing she notices to her surprise is a large wooden cabin tucked between the trees a little distance from them. It looks old and weathered but sturdy, moss is growing on the roof. A large picnic table on the clearing in the front. There seems to be some kind of old fencing surrounding the clearing, partly overgrown with ivy and other weeds. Lily and James can immediately sense there are several powerful wards put up around the area. The cabin sits at a higher elevation with a beautiful view of the lake below them.

“Welcome to Solomon’s home from when the west was still wild!” Leila cheers, gesturing around proudly.

“A cabin?” Lily wrinkles her nose. "This isn't camping!"

“Of course it is.” Leila insists as she walks towards the cabin, levitating the cooler behind her. “It is off the grid and has an outhouse.” She wrinkles her nose a bit too saying that last bit, making them all laugh.

"Off the grid is camping to Leila." James explains with a snicker. “I’m afraid my cousin is a little princess sometimes.”

“Nothing wrong with wanting some comfort.” Belphegor laughs softly as he follows his mate and his brother - who followed the cooler as if it was a magnet - to the cabin.

"At least there's no electricity." Lily says, shaking her head with a sigh, both in resignation and amusement.

“No electricity and no plumbing.” Leila confirms. “So that makes it camping, right?” Lily only snorts in response. 

Leila has placed the cooler next to the picnic table and cleaned the table with a magic spell. Then she starts to dreamily look around, enjoying the clean air, the whispering of the wind in the trees and the singing of the birds.

“This is nice.” She smiles, then jumps up. “Oh, look at those flowers!” She wanders off to inspect them and then she finds more interesting sights, plants and animals. Soon, she has disappeared from view.

“Where is she going?” Lily wonders. 

It’s not like Leila to abandon them when there’s still work to be done. She anticipated needing to set up camp, a fire and everyone’s tents before it got dark. But still, If they’re going to stay here off the grid they still need to get the necessities, like water and fire wood. They still need to make comfortable sleeping arrangements inside the cabin with their sleeping bags and probably clean up a bit inside as well.

“Oh, don’t worry about that. She does that all the time when we’re doing something outdoors like this: Fluttering away like a butterfly.” James laughs, making fluttering motions with his arms. “She’s probably picking flowers or herbs for her collection and she’ll be back later. Let’s set up our stuff, alright?”

And here I thought I was the dreamer. Lily thinks with a smile. She herself is very practical when it’s about survival in the wild, even if it is only for the weekend. Her youth spending in the woods has taught her that. 

“All right then.” She nods, laughing. “Leila deserves a break anyway. Let’s try making this place liveable. At least for today.” She sees Beelzebub trying to open the cooler, which is sealed with one of Leila’s locking spells, and decides to put him to work. Spotting the water pump, she says. “How about you pump some clean water for us, Beel?”

Beelzebub looks up as if caught again. Then he smiles. “Sure. It’s almost time for lunch, isn’t it?” He was most excited about this part of the planning. He could get to eat right after dinner again, without anyone complaining to him, because technically - in this country - it’s close to lunchtime. And he knows James and Leila took that into account for him.

“Uh… Sure.” Lily nods as Beelzebub fishes up an enormous pot from his own bottomless spelled bag and starts pumping up some fresh water from the pump. She can’t imagine them eating again now, but she knows this is also to keep Beelzebub happy and away from hunting the wildlife in the area. 

“Where are you going, Belphie?” James stops Belphegor as he notices him trying to sneak off after Leila. In his case he knows it’s not because he’s distracted, but more trying to get out of helping. “How about you lay out all our mattresses, sleeping bags and what not inside the cabin?” He commands and Belphegor gives James a scowl for ruining his plans to have some private time with his mate.

“I’m going to chop some wood.” Lily has spotted a pile of large logs against the side of the cabin but they’ll need to be chopped into more manageable pieces. The chopping block and axe are nearby and Lily can sense that magic has protected the axe from rusting. “Come back in a bit James and I’ll have wood ready for the fireplace.” She tells him as she rolls up her sleeves. “I’ll chop enough so we can have a big bonfire outside tonight too.” She smiles happily at the thought. 

“Sounds good.” James grins at her. “I guess I will help Beel make lunch.” He grimaces, not feeling hungry at all, but knowing Beel is looking forward to it. “Leila spelled the cooler so that as long as the lid is on it Beel can’t access it. But we can.”

“Yeah…” Beelzebub returns with the water. Looking a bit sad, but then perks up as James opens the cooler and fishes up the ingredients to make a big pot of soup and some sandwiches. Then he looks sad again when the lid is closed again. Lily and James laugh at his comical expressions.

 

By the time Leila returns, she’s beaming proudly and happily. Her arms full of herbs, mushrooms and flowers and telling that she spotted an elusive mama red fox with her nearly grown kits and had a chat with her. “She promised to come by later, so you could see her and the kits too.” Leila tells Lily. “They were so cute!” Then she looks around: Seeing the soup cooking, the pile of sandwiches, the stock of chopped wood. “Oh, is everything ready, already? I wasn’t away that long, was I?” She asks guiltily.

“It’s okay.” James snickers. “We’re happy to see you’ve had such fun exploring.”

“Okay, if you’re sure.” Leila nods. “I promise to help set up everything tomorrow.” She tells them. “Where’s Belphie?”

“Last we saw him he was laying out our sleeping arrangements inside.” James tells her. “But that was a while ago…”

“I bet he’s fallen asleep.” Beelzebub shrugs, sneaking a taste from the soup. “Hey Leila, are those edible?” He continues, looking at the herbs and other treasures she found.

“Not really as they are now, Beel.” She answers him as a warning. “But some of them are, when used with cooking. And others are for potions. So don’t touch them.” She commands him, walking into the cabin to wake up her mate.

Beelzebub was right. Belphegor did lay out the mattresses, sleeping bags and what not. Exactly as James commanded. But that’s where the command stopped and he decided to steer clear from another command from James and make himself comfortable on top of the blankets.

When Leila wants to wake him up to join the others with her, she suddenly finds herself in his loving embrace. “So you’re back.” Belphegor murmurs in her ear as he pulls her down next to him. “Let’s have some fun, Leila.” He says this as his hands roam over her curves.

She’s trying to struggle out of his arms however. “Nuh-uh, Belphie. Even if I’m not so mad with you anymore, you’re still being punished…” Her explanation is muffled by his kiss.

“I don’t think that’s really fair.” He tells her, a sad expression on his face and Leila completely misses the mischief in his eyes. A sign that he’s been thinking up several schemes to convince her to let him have his way. “I can’t help the others caring for Pandora right now, can I?”

Okay, that’s a good argument. That was mostly his punishment after all. But still, Leila isn’t about to give in so easily. “But you fell asleep right after laying out our stuff. You didn’t even clean up the cabin first.” She gestures around. “I don’t see you putting in a real effort.” The room definitely can use a cleaning spell or two before they all go to sleep tonight in here, so she starts doing that now. “Besides, we’re here with all of us, not just you and me, Belphie…”

“Okay, what if I promise you to ‘pull my weight’, as Lucifer said?” He says as he pulls her closer again, peppering her neck with lazy kisses. He can always ‘forget’ about it afterwards.

“Maybe.” Leila doesn’t fall for it and stands up, much to Belphegor’s disappointment. “After you show you want to help out and do fun stuff with all of us.” She tries to pull him up. “Come on, Beel is eager to start his lunch-after-dinner.”

“Fine.” Belphegor sighs as if making a huge sacrifice. “I’ll join in all the activities and have fun together with everyone…” He gives his mate another passionate kiss. “But this isn’t over yet, Leila.” He threatens her with a smirk. She just laughs in answer: Is that supposed to be a threat? It gives her butterflies more than chills, if she’s honest.

 

During the second dinner, slash lunch, they decide what to do next together. “So, according to the websites, there are a lot of fun things we can do on and around the lake.” James says. “There’s a miniature golf course and a marina. We can do some fishing, hiking, and there’s a sky tram…”

“I think we can do all of that.” Lily says as she still takes a couple bites from one of the sandwiches. They’re there after all and smell really good after all that hard work she did. “We can split it up between our sets of twins. You guys have the first choice.” She turns to Beelzebub and Belphegor.

“I like to do some exploring, or hiking.” Beelzebub says in between mouthfuls. “And I want to eat lots of delicious food and roast marshmallows…”

“I want to relax. And do some stargazing.” Belphegor says simply. “But I don’t mind doing that together with all of you.” He quickly adds, remembering his promise. “I guess I like to go on the lake in a boat or something, that’s peaceful with this nice weather.” He smiles when he sees his mate beam at him approvingly.

“That sounds good.” Leila nods. “Then we can save the other activities for your twins, Lily.”

“That works. Let’s head to the town where the marina is first.” Lily says, eager to explore and do something fun. 

James packs up some extra sandwiches for Beel. “Afterwards we can eat in a cafe or restaurant or something…”

“Hmm” Beelzebub is already looking forward to that.

 

They follow a game trail down towards the lake until they can connect to one of the official human hiking trails that will bring them into the state park that surrounds the lake. The closer they get to the lake the more spread out the trees become. It almost seems surreal when they come off the trail into the park and see families picnicking and playing in the park after the relative silence and seclusion of the wilderness they had come from. Lily throws rocks into the shallow river that connects to the lake as they walk in the direction of the Marina. 

James has to give Beelzebub a quiet command not to help himself to the stock inside the Marina store as they wait in line. The people who are visiting or camping nearby come here to rent boats, buy snacks and souvenirs too. They also sell fishing bait and rent out fishing gear. Belphegor watches the other humans with a bored look to hide his curiosity. When it’s finally their turn, James, Beel and Lily all opt for a single person kayak, challenging each other to a race before they’re even in the water yet. Belphegor and Leila decide on a rowboat to enjoy together, both not understanding why you’d want to race when it’s such nice weather.

A Marina employee walks them out of the store and onto the dock to show them their boats and give them their safety instructions. Lily tries not to giggle at the different faces Beel and Belphie make when the man hands them each a life vest. Especially when the employee had a very hard time finding a vest big enough for Beelzebub. 

Once the man leaves them to it, Belphegor starts complaining about the bulky life vest, “How are we supposed to cuddle wearing these?” 

“We can take them off when we get away from the dock.” Leila assures him. They load a large picnic basket with some cool drinks and fruits and Beelzebub’s sandwiches in their rowboat. They all agree that the others will come by their rowboat when they get hungry from their efforts. 

“Not too often.” Belphegor says with a lazy smile. “And don’t disturb us when we’re cuddling or napping.” He warns, helping Leila step into their rowboat.

“So... don’t disturb you at all?” James snickers as he sees Beelzebub rubbing his stomach, already worried.

“Preferably.” Belphegor confirms with a shrug. “But I guess if I say that to you literally, Leila thinks I’m being selfish…”

Leila rolls her eyes, “That’s right.” She confirms and then says to the others, “Come by whenever you’re hungry...within reason..” She adds at the end, specifically to Beelzebub. 

They’re the first to push off with their rowboat. Leila has cast a subtle spell on their oars so the rowing goes automatically while Belphegor pretends to row as long as they’re in sight of other park visitors. 

Lily is impressed with how nimbly Beelzebub is able to get into his own kayak and before long the three of them have all gotten into their own boats and push off from the dock as well. The three of them quickly catch up with the rowboat. Even if Lily and James think the two in the rowboat are cheating with Leila’s rowing spell, it’s not as if they’re going fast. They’re mostly just drifting, now that they’re on the open lake. 

Leila is lazily bending over the side of the boat, her hand running through the cool water and playing and chatting with the fish and waterbirds that come over to their boat out of curiosity. Belphegor has his arm wrapped around her waist, planning to have some romance as soon as he gets her full attention. He’s brought some pillows and blankets in a bag that Leila spelled for him, to make them very comfortable. Because the small wooden benches installed in the iron boat are definitely not up to his standards of comfort. 

“Don’t get too comfortable Belphie.” James teases. 

Lily nods. “Yeah...you don’t want to anger the Great Spirit.” Lily adds with a conspiratorial wink towards James. “You don’t want old Wally to come and disrupt your nap.”

“Old Wally? Great Spirit?” Belphie scoffs with a roll of his eyes. 

“Oh yeah, I read about that.” James nods, feigning concern. 

“What is it?” Beelzebub wants to know, wondering if it’s edible but also looking slightly concerned for his twin. Belphegor does have a way with angering persons and spirits.

“The lake monster of Wallowa lake of course.” Lily says, with large blinking eyes. She looks out as if expecting to see it at any moment. “According to the Nez Perce and Blackfeet tribes the monster rose from the depths to devour the daughter of the Nez Perce chief and one of the Blackfeet tribes most celebrated chieftains. They felt the Great Spirit must have been displeased somehow by the couple’s joining. To this day the natives avoid the lake, concerned that the spirit is still unhappy with them...”

“Pfft. Nice try Lily.” Belphegor tells her, leaning back with his head on his crossed arms as he closes his eyes. “No spirit would be against me and Leila. We’re perfect together.” He grins as Leila swoons hearing him say that.

“Do you think roast wally would taste good?” Beelzebub says, his stomach rumbling already from the idea of eating a huge...well, whatever Wally might be. 

“It’s just a legend, Beel.” James laughs, also looking ready to command Beel to stop as he’s looking contemplatively at the water. As if he might go diving in at any moment in search of the monster. 

“Settle for a sandwich.” Leila says, already handing over a wrapped package from the cooler. Beelzebub accepts it happily. 

“Let’s race to the middle of the lake!” Lily says as she starts to paddle away quickly. “See ya later Leila!” 

“You cheater!” James laughs, paddling after her. 

“Bye!” Belphegor waves at their backs, pulling Leila in his arms. 

“Waff fa mhh!” Beel says as he quickly shoves the rest of the sandwich in his mouth and paddles after them. Quickly overtaking James and then Lily. So much for their head start.

“I think Beel needs a handicap.” James laughs as his boat pulls up next to Lily as they both watch Beelzebub’s back. Even in the bulky life vest he looks impressive, the way his muscles ripple with each push and pull with the paddle. 

“You’ve got a little drool..” Lily laughs, pointing to the side of James’ chin. “...just there.” 

James doesn’t fall for it, laughing he tells her, “You can’t blame me, right?” 

Giggling, Lily thinks about how they can even the playing field. “This isn’t cheating right?” She asks with a grin as she conjures a small current that pushes against Beelzebub’s boat. 

“It’s barely slowing him down!” James laughs. “I guess we will need to put in some real effort.” He and Lily put all their focus into catching up with Beelzebub. 

Beelzebub is chuckling at his humans as they attempt to slow him down. A little current like this is nothing for him to tackle. That is until something silver flashing under the water catches his attention. A large lake trout swims alongside his kayak enticing him each time it’s scales glint off the sunlight. 

“Uh oh.” James mumbles as he sees Beelzebub let go of one side of his oar to plunge his hand into the water. Causing his Kayak to tip to the side. James and Lily pick up their speed so they can stop Beel from capsizing. “Beel stop!” James commands as they come gliding fast alongside Beelzebub. But they are a second too late, Beelzebub capsizes his boat in his effort to catch the trout and in the process, capsizes James’ boat over too!

Lily narrowly avoids being knocked over herself. She’s ready to jump out of her own boat to make sure they’re both okay when Beelzebub surfaces next to James, who still looks a bit surprised by his sudden dunk in the cold lake. Beel holds the lake trout triumphantly in his hand. 

Lily breaks into a giggle seeing that they are both fine. “You can’t eat that Beel.” Lily tells him. Beelzebub doesn’t have to listen to Lily but he does, sadly letting the fish go. 

“Sorry James.” Beelzebub apologizes, gently rubbing his hair from his face. “Are you okay?

Catching the heated look James is giving Beel, Lily clears her throat. “Push the boats over to this swimming dock, it’ll be easier to get back in from there.” She tells them as she paddles that direction herself. Believing in Beel to make sure they both make it safely she gives them some privacy. 

James grins at Beelzebub’s guilty, puppy dog eyes. Sure, he should probably be annoyed that he ended up in the water because of his never ending hunger but he just can’t bring himself to it. He’s too distracted by how good his partner looks right now. James pushes Beel’s wet bangs from his eyes in return before capturing his wet pouty lips with his own. 

Beel looks surprised but happy when James pulls away. “I’m sure you’ll make it up to me.” James smirks before treading water backwards to put distance between them again. “You push both the boats.” He laughs as he turns and swims towards the swimming dock where Lily is waiting. 

Beelzebub’s cheeks burn. James can be such a tease sometimes. He groans as he begins to push one boat at a time towards the dock. Now he’s hungry for two different things at the same time. 

 

Belphegor groans when he hears his twin’s, Lily’s and James' laughter approaching their boat again. He tries to hold Leila closer as she wiggles in his grasp. It’s only been an hour and they’re already back?  

“What happened to you two?” Leila asks as she sits up and sees that Beelzebub and James are both soaked.

“Just a little boating accident.” James shrugs with a laugh. 

“I’m hungry.” Beelzebub tells her as if that answers her question. 

Leila rolls her eyes with a laugh, she’s happy she’s been in the rowboat with Belphie. She passes out more drinks and food to everybody. Making sure there are no other visitors nearby on the lake, she performs a drying spell on them.

Chapter Text

 

At the end of the afternoon, they look for Belphegor and Leila, still leisurely drifting somewhere on the lake. All the sandwiches are nearly gone, so they decide to return to shore again. Beelzebub starts to get really hungry and it can’t be much longer tidied over with the occasional sandwiches and fruit.

“Didn’t you say there was a town nearby with restaurants?” Beelzebub asks as they walk through the park. 

“No. The nearest town is a car ride away.” Leila explains. “But there are amenities around the two different camping resorts up the road.”

“Are you sure we can’t eat those?” Beel practically drools as a doe cautiously approaches their group, curious if they will offer it food.  

They have already given Beel a command not to eat any of the local deer. He watches to his dismay how Lily and Leila start feeding it their last apples. The girls swoon over the elegant creature: the big sensitive ears, the large brown eyes with the long lashes.

“Come on. I heard there’s a pizza place nearby.” James grabs Beelzebub’s hand and pulls him towards the main road. 

“We can’t stay to talk to animals all day.” Belphegor says as he practically has to drag Leila and Lily out of the park for different reasons.

Once they exit the state park, they only have to walk along the side of the main road, there are no sidewalks but there’s ample room for pedestrian foot traffic. They only have to cross a bridge and then cross the road to reach the pizzeria, which sits next to a large pond which is also full of round looking boats.

“What sort of boats are those?” Belphegor asks.

“Bumper boats!” James and Lily answer at the same time, sounding way too excited for his taste. 

“Sorry I asked..” Belphegor mumbles. 

Soon enough they are seated at an outdoor picnic table with enough pizza to feed all the park visitors. Lily and James go for a round of bumper boats once they finish. Leaving Leila to watch over Beelzebub who hasn’t finished eating and Belphegor who’s already fallen asleep again, using her lap as a pillow. 


When they leave the pizzeria the smell of roasted cinnamon pecans tickles their nose. “That smells good.” Beelzebub says eagerly looking up the road where he can smell other delicious smells that haven’t reached the humans. Everyone laughs, shaking their heads. They could remind him that he just ate several pizzas all by himself, but what would be the point?

“Belphie, do you mind making sure the girls make it back to the cabin?” James asks. “I’d like to tour the area with Beel before tomorrow.”

Leila snorts and rolls her eyes at her cousin. Her and Lily certainly don’t need protection to get back to the cabin. But Belphegor just smirks and wraps his arms around her shoulders. “Of course, James. I can do that.” He doesn’t want to walk all over these campgrounds and afterwards have to hike back to the cabin too.

While the others start the trek back to the cabin. James treats Beelzebub to candied pecans at a candy store, and five scoops of ice cream at the ice cream stand. He buys some sweets for Leila too, knowing she would love to taste new sweet things and puts them in his Beel-proof backpack. They check out the two different places to play mini golf, a go-kart race track, arcade, various gift shops full of souvenirs, the tram and horseback riding stable. There’s another, fancier restaurant too that James has to drag Beelzebub away from. His giant demon would eat him bankrupt if he’s not careful. He promises him a giant pretzel for the hike back to the cabin from the snack shack instead.  


Belphegor is dead on his feet by the time they make it back to the cabin. He flops down on the grass and falls asleep immediately. Even Lily and Leila are pretty tired from the uphill hike. Even though it’s tempting, Leila and Lily decide they don’t want to waste their time napping right now. 

“Do you know why Solomon keeps this place warded?” Lily asks Leila, usually he only wards the places he currently lives so heavily, unless he’s protecting something else. “Because honestly, this place isn’t much to look at, though I guess it’s nice to have it for weekends like this.”

“This used to be a preserve for magical animals native to the area.” Leila explains what she knows of the history. “It’s actually possible that ‘Wally’ really lived here back then, but he never confirmed it to me. Anyway, eventually Solomon didn’t have time to devote to it anymore so the animals were moved to another area protected by a team of magical conservationists from the magical society.”

“Then why keep the wards now?” Lily wonders aloud.

“Solomon kept this place hidden from the world because of a special species of Aloe Vera that only grows here in the area. A large portion of the forest here is still his private property because of that reason.” Leila answers Lily’s question as to why Solomon has his old cabin, and the land surrounding it, still so heavily warded against human trespassers. “He could just barely keep the plants from going extinct…” She tells her as she picks up one of the leaves she gathered up earlier today and shows it to Lily. “He tried to cultivate it, but so far has been unsuccessful, because as he suspects, it might actually be a Celestial version of Aloe Vera.”

Lily recognizes it as a leaf from the well-known succulent plant, only this leaf has a coloring and pattern she doesn’t recognize and smells different, more herbaceous. Making it stand out. No wonder it is almost extinct and I never heard of it before. She thinks as she’s holding the leaf, enjoying the smell.

“As you know it is believed that Aloe Vera has some medicinal properties.” Leila teaches her, because she can’t help herself. “Though it is true that it has a soothing effect on burns and scratches, the healing doesn’t really go further than skin deep. Not without magic, at least.”

“But this plant is different?” Lily blinks in wonder.

“Well, in a way…” Leila tells her mysteriously. “This species of Aloe Vera has the ability to make everything just a little better…” She laughs as she sees Lily staring. “For example, if you use a little bit of its sap in combination with regular medicine, it will work faster and better. If you use some of it with your favorite perfume or soap, it will make you smell even nicer and the scent stays longer. It can even be used as a delicacy, making your average-tasting food taste like a five star meal.”

“Wow, that’s amazing!”

“Yeah. A bit too amazing.” Leila nods a bit sadly. “People started to use too much of it in their pursuit to get rich. From what I understand, the craziness was close to gold fever back in the days. Making the plant go nearly extinct.” She starts gathering her cauldron from her pack and some tools and ingredients and a couple of vials. “Solomon worked back then very close with the shamans of the native tribes to preserve the last few plants. Then he made sure people completely forgot about the plant’s existence, making it seem it didn’t exist and people who claimed they found a miracle drug were named charlatans.” 

“Hmm. I wonder...the wild west was full of people seeking fortune and fame. I bet the legends of a lot of plants and animals inspired a lot of those old snake oil salesmen.” Lily nods, it makes sense. She helps Leila set up a potion making space at the outdoor stone and brick kitchen. Excited to learn a new kind of potion. “It seems a shame to keep it to ourselves, but I guess it makes sense too. Imagine what pharmacy companies would do if they found out about this plant.” They would definitely exploit it even more than the regular Aloe Vera plant is already being exploited. And because of the rarity of the plant, medicine would be expensive as if it is made with actual gold.

“Exactly.” Leila nods, as she starts making the base potion, showing Lily the steps slowly and patiently. “But once a year I get to pick one leaf to make potions and tinctures with and to experiment with.” She tells Lily happily. “And in case the plant still exists in your reality, I’ll teach you what we know so far.”

By the end of the lesson, Lily and Leila have made several different potions and tinctures. Leila gifts one of each to Lily. Lily is especially happy with the tincture where if she uses just one drop on Solomon’s food, it will - most likely - taste a whole lot better. A personal invention of Leila that she kept secret from her grandfather. They had a good giggle over it. She knows Asmo would love the soap they made to add to his shampoo and she’s also very happy with the several different types of healing potions they made.

“I’m going to ask Solomon about this when I’m back.” Lily tells Leila. “I wonder if he’ll let me try to cultivate it in my garden at Serenity Manor?” She wonders, mostly to herself. 

“It never hurts to ask!” Leila says encouragingly, “Now, let’s build the bonfire, before it gets dark.”


But then a shrill, strange sounding yip alerts them to visitors. Leila and Lily grin happily when they see the mama fox trotting out of the woods with her five playful kits. “Oh they really came!” Lily says happily, keeping her voice low, not wanting to spook them. 

Leila greets the fox in fox language, welcoming them and thanking her for her visit. 

“Of course.” The mama fox says as she stretches while her almost grown kits start playing around the campsite, curious about everything. “You promised me food and a nap while you entertain my children.”

Leila translates for Lily, who doesn’t want to miss the foxes by going into the cabin to find her translating ear plugs. They set about giving the foxes some berries, cheese and left over meat from the cooler. Beelzebub doesn’t leave much and they have to save some for the other reality, but the foxes seem satisfied. The mama fox curls into a ball in a patch of the day's last golden light, completely trusting the girls to watch over her kits. Leila and Lily give up on trying to cuddle with the impudent kits that struggle out of their grasp. They want to play! 

Belphegor has been napping in the grass next to them, several pillows cushion his head and one arm has been splayed across his eyes to block the light. The curious skulk of kits finally decide to descend on him to investigate the large slumbering creature. One of the kits instantly finds the string of his hoodie, biting and pulling on it with a playful growl. Another tugs on the sleeve of his arm, curious about what it’s face looks like underneath. The other three are busy dragging the pillows out from under his head. 

Leila and Lily make no moves to rescue Belphie from the curious kits. Far too amused. Instead, they are busy snapping photos and videos of the whole thing.

“Are ya sure this one is alive?” Kit #1 says.

“Don’t be stupid.” Kit #2 replies. “It’s breathing.”

“Why won’t it wake up?” Kit #3 pouts.

When Kit #2 manages to move Belphegor’s arm off his face, he makes a groaning noise which makes all the foxes jump back. Kit #2, being the boldest of the group, is the first to climb back on his chest to look down at his face. It’s whiskers tickle his face as it smells him. 

“Be careful!” Kit # 4 warns. “It sounded like a bear!”

“Don’t worry, he’s not a bear.” Leila assures them and Lily giggles when she continues. “Now his brother is more like a hungry bear, though. You should beware of not running into him.”

After making sure that the brother of the sleeping creature is not around, Kit #5 finally succeeds in pulling the last pillow away and Belphie’s head hits the grass with a light thump. That gets him to give up his charade of pretending to sleep now. He gives Leila and Lily a grumpy glare as they giggle at him. 

“Hey, give that back.” Belphegor says as he grabs the pillow. 

The kit isn’t about to relinquish it though and soon enough the girls are melting as they watch Belphie play tug of war with the excited fox kits who all join in on the fun. Of course Belphie could have taken the pillow away easily at any time, but he didn’t want to hurt or scare them. 

“He’s really good with kits, isn’t he?” Lily laughs, enjoying her pun and Leila nods proudly. Belphegor, having heard it, just smirks over his shoulder.

Eventually some of the kits are tuckered out enough to tolerate pets and cuddles from Leila, Lily and even Belphegor. Not that he would admit it, but even he was a little sad to see them go when the Mama fox woke up and told them it was time to go back to their den. 


By the time Beelzebub and James finally return to their cabin, the sky is already darkening and Leila, Lily and Belphegor have started the promised bonfire. Well, mostly Lily and Leila did. Belphegor just placed his pillows and blankets again. Mostly for himself and Leila at first. But after Leila asked him to make some comfortable places for the others too, he did as she asked. It’s basically all he brought with him in the pack that Leila spelled bottomless for him, after all.

“Lily, do you want to help me with something?” Lily lets out a little squeak when suddenly Belphegor stands behind her. He must have followed her when she left for the outhouse. Gosh that’s embarrassing! She thinks. He’s just as noiseless as her own Belphie. He laughs softly and amused, as she shines her flashlight at him. “Wow, you’re jumpy…”

She laughs a little too. “I just didn’t expect it. What’s up?”

“You see, I want to do something romantic and special for Leila, but she’s telling me that we’re here with all of us and can’t spend all our time just the two of us.” He sounds as if he finds this awful and ridiculous, but Lily knows by now that Belphegor has had a fun time with everyone today. “So I thought that maybe I could use your tent…”

“Oh, that’s a great idea! Of course you can borrow it.” Lily nods approvingly, glad she didn’t bring her tent for nothing. “You really are very sweet and romantic, aren’t you Belphie?”

He just shrugs. “Don’t tell anyone else.” He grins lazily. “Anyway, it’s almost dark, which is good for the surprise, but I could use your help with that thing.”

“Of course.” Lily knows he’s probably perfectly capable of figuring out how to set up a tent, but she loves the idea and she wants to help. So she quickly gets her bag in which she’s keeping her tent from the cabin. “You should bring a lot of pillows and blankets to make it cozy for you two.” She advises him with a smile. “I’m sure you brought even more, knowing you.”

He snickers, grabbing his own bag and his and Leila’s sleeping bags and mattresses. “That’s right. You can never have too many and Leila spelled my bag anyway.”

Lily could set up her tent in her sleep, but she patiently shows Belphegor how it’s done. Just in case he ever wants to surprise Leila with a romantic tent in the woods in the future. She giggles at the thought, earning herself an odd look from Belphie. 

“Thanks Lily.” Belphegor tells her as he surveys their work with a lazy, happy smile. He can’t wait to bring Leila back here tonight. 

“Of course!” Lily beams. “But it needs a finishing touch.” She tells him as she pulls something else out of her bag. Belphie looks pleasantly surprised by the battery powered twinkle lights she offers him. When they are done it looks truly romantic. Belphegor turns off the lights to conserve the power and so he can better surprise Leila with them later.

 

 

Chapter Text

When Lily and Belphegor return, Lily can barely keep a straight face when Leila looks at them curiously. Belphegor pretends nothing is going on, nothing to see on his face as he flops down next to his mate again.

“What have you been doing for so long?” Leila asks curiously. “Did you get lost? Or was there something scary?!” She asks with big eyes.

“So scary.” Belphegor lies, letting out a yawn. “I needed to save Lily from a ghoul.”

“That’s not funny, Belphie.” Leila shivers, making everyone laugh when she snuggles close to him for safety. He chuckles in response. Too easy.

“Oh, that reminds me.” James grins wickedly. “We should tell at least one ghost story, while we’re camping. Right?” Leila wants to protest that, but her voice is drowned out by the others' enthusiastic reactions. “Lily, do you know a good one?” James ignores his cousin and turns to Lily.

Lily nods mysteriously and starts telling her ghost story. “Hmm.” She stares into the fire as she ponders over all the stories she’s ever heard from the local loggers, hunters and townspeople from where she grew up. The woods she grew up in are full of creepy lore. 

“Well...this is a story that went around my school for a while.” Lily explains as she begins her tale. “There were these two best friends, Dan and Nick, they were a couple grades above me but one of them, Nick, lived on the edge of the same forest I did, except his home was closer to town.” 

She lowers her voice to a whisper and they have to really concentrate on her voice as Beelzebub munches his way steadily through their supply of campfire snacks. But he tries to be quiet about it, listening closely to her story.

“Nick’s family owns a good chunk of land and they have hunting rights. So one day when Dan is over, they leave Nick’s kid brother in the house alone playing video games while they decide to venture into the woods. They bring their guns in case they see anything.”

“Did they see anything?” Beelzebub asks, earning a shush from James and Belphie.

“Well…according to the story...” Lily grins. “They eventually sat on some logs and started chatting quietly, not really in the mood to actively hunt. They decided to see if luck would be on their side, Maybe a deer would come their way. Eventually they spotted something moving in the woods, it was slowly getting closer and closer. Nick lifts his gun and looks through the scope when it’s about thirty yards away, it looks like a big buck.”

“Wish we could go hunting..” Beel says, his tummy grumbling. James hushes him by handing him fixings for smores. 

“Anyway, Dan gets pretty excited but Nick makes a strange face. He lets Dan look through the scope and they exchange a look. ‘Have you ever seen a buck that big before?’ Dan asks. Nick tells him he hasn’t, but what is more strange to Nick was the thick, dark red substance that looked like it had been smeared all over the deer’s face and limbs. If he didn’t know better, he’d say the thing had been on the losing side of some brawl with a predator. Well Nick decides he’s going to take a shot at it anyway but then it slips behind some bushes and they lose their shot. For some reason Dan is feeling uneasy now and he suggests that they just pack it in and go back to the house.”

“That’s anticlimactic.” Belphegor snorts, earning himself an elbow from his mate. She’s already relieved that nothing happened to the boys.

“Just as the boys are about to turn back down the trail towards home, suddenly they hear Nick’s little brother Cody, calling to them for help!” Lily tells them with wide eyes and Leila lets out a strange sound that sounds like a gasp and a squeak, her eyes just as wide as Lily’s. “Both the boys feel goosebumps erupt on their skin at the sound of Cody’s voice. It sounds like Cody isn’t that far from them but they know they left Cody back at the house. But his voice is coming from the opposite direction.” Lily pauses for a moment. “So now the boys are confused, how did Cody get out past them without them noticing? Something about it just doesn’t feel right. But Nick can’t just leave, especially when he hears his own brother call for him twice more.”

“Maybe he was pranking them?” Belphegor yawns, sounding bored to hide that he’s very interested to hear the rest of the story. “I’m sure those woods are big enough to creep past someone unnoticed.”

Lily grins, looking a little creepy as the flames light up her face. “Just as Nick is getting the nerve to walk further into the woods to look for his little brother, his cell phone pings with a message. The message is from his brother Cody. It reads: ‘When are you coming back? Mom and Dad won’t serve dinner until you’re home’. Now Dan and Nick are really confused and they hear some rustling in the brush. The buck is back and it’s sticking its head out of the brush it disappeared into earlier. Nick looks down his scope at it once more, Dan’s wondering if he’s going to take a shot at it or not when Nick’s face suddenly looks super pale. Once more they hear Cody cry out for help. The boys can barely believe what they are seeing but everytime they hear Cody’s voice, they see the mouth of that deer open and close at the same time.”

Lily looks around, seeing that even Belphegor is listening attentively to her now. “Nick tells Dan that they’re going to back down the trail slowly, keeping their rifle raised and their eyes on that strange buck. But as soon as they try to leave, quicker than they can track the strange animal is suddenly poking its head out of another clump of brush, this time only a few yards away. Up close they can see it’s head is mangy and rotted, they can even see pieces of bone through matted bloody fur. Once more it’s jaw opens wide and they hear Cody’s voice crying out for help.”

“BANG!” Lily suddenly shouts, causing everyone to jump and Leila lets out another squeak and snuggles closer to Belphegor for protection. He immediately wraps her up in his arms with a grin, enjoying this Human World tradition of telling scary stories very much. “Nick shoots the thing right between the eyes and the boys take off running as fast as they can! When they make it home they see to their relief Cody setting the dinner table with a sullen face, but looking all right.” 

“Oh, I’m so relieved nothing bad happened to Cody…” Leila sighs. “I thought for sure that…” She shivers, not wanting to think about it.

Lily nods seriously. “Dan and Nick tell Nick's parents their story, fully expecting them to assure them that they must have been mistaken. But that’s not what happens. Instead, Nick’s own father tells the boys about how one night, before Cody was even born, he came downstairs for a glass of water in the middle of the night. He heard Nick calling to him from outside, asking him to come play ball with him. Except he’d just passed by Nick’s room and Nick had been in his bed, sleeping soundly. Later that year, Nick’s family moved away, supposedly they had too many strange experiences.”

“I don’t blame them.” 

“Do you think it's a true story?” James asks after they’ve all had a moment to ponder it. He enjoys how Leila is still sitting there with wide worried eyes. 

Lily shrugs. “I spent a lot of time in those woods and never had a similar experience. But I’ve heard similar tales from other locals.”

“I think you should have Solomon do a sweep through those woods, just to be sure.” Leila advises with a serious expression, making Lily giggle. It really is fun to tease Leila with spooky stories!

“Well unless there’s a demon roaming those woods, I doubt it’s true.” Belphegor says, laying back down lazily. 

“Why?” Lily asks, teasing. “You think demons are the only things that can go bump in the night?” 

“They’re the most likely and come in all varieties.” He shrugs. 

“It could be some sort of necromancy too.” Leila tells them seriously. She can’t let go of the idea yet that Lily might have grown up with such a, possibly dangerous, creature roaming her neighbourhood.

“I’ve got a good story too.” James says, knowing this discussion could go on forever until Leila has figured out the mystery. “This is a true story, it happened to me when I was a senior in High School.” He continues, ignoring Leila’s shrewd look. 

“Max, a buddy of mine, and I were on our way to a party, it was out in the middle of nowhere. We were driving down this lonely road, nothing but farmland all around when we saw this girl in the headlights, hitchhiking on the side of the road. Being the gentleman I am, I of course pulled over and asked her where she was going. Turns out, she was on her way to the same party.” He pauses for a moment. 

“And?” Beel asks, looking worried for his lover. 

James grins broadly. “She hopped in the back seat and she looked really cold, Max had instantly taken a liking to her and offered her his coat. So we all went to the party and had a lot of fun, we even drove her back home.” He shrugs. 

“That’s it?” Belphegor asks, looking annoyed. 

“We’re halfway home when Max realizes he never got his coat back from the girl, her name was Lavender by the way.” James explains. “I told him we’d go back in the morning, maybe he could ask for her number. So we go back in the morning but Lavender isn’t home, there’s just this really old lady there. When we explain who we’re looking for, this lady gets really mad, thinks we’re playing some cruel joke on her.”

“Why?” Lily asks, fully invested in the story.

“She says that Lavender was her daughter, but she died 12 years ago in a car wreck on the same corner we picked her up on. She’d been on her way to a party…”

“That’s sad.” Beelzebub says, before stuffing his face with another smore. Making his twin scoff. 

“Of course we couldn’t believe that, we thought the old lady was having a go with us. But she pointed us to the cemetery down the road. Max and I went and sure enough, we found Lavender’s gravestone and she had died 12 years ago that day and Max’s coat was laying over the headstone.”

Lily and Beel both gasp but Leila calls him out. “You’re spinning tales James! That never happened to you and Max!”  

 

  After this more stories are told, mostly by Lily and James. Each new story is even more crazy and scary than the one before until Leila can’t take it anymore.

“I think it’s time we all go to bed.” She suggests as the campfire starts to go out. “At least if you guys want to do some hiking and exploring tomorrow. Also, It might start raining soon.” She looks up to the gathering clouds in the sky with suspicion.

“I would like to do that, yes.” Beelzebub smiles, munching away the last of the marshmallows and hot dogs they allowed him to eat.

“You think you’re going to be safe from ghosts inside that spooky, centuries old cabin of Solomon’s?” James teases her and she gives him a glare. “Who knows what happened here…”

“Of course it’s safe and I’m not scared.” Leila insists as she casts an extinguishing spell over the fire and all the escaping cinders. “But if any of you try to pull pranks tonight, I’ll make sure you regret it.” The truth is that she is a little scared. Even though she knows that Solomon has his properties warded against anything imaginable with ill intent.

She’s still the first who makes her way to the safety of the cabin, to hide herself in her sleeping bag, but Belphegor stops her. “Not that way, Leila.” He whispers in her ear, pulling her away from the others who are, chatting cheerfully, entering the cabin. “We’ll sleep somewhere else together.”

“We are?” Leila looks slightly worried as they’re now the only ones left outside and Belphegor is leisurely picking up all his blankets and pillows and depositing half of them in her arms. “I don’t want to sleep outside, Belphie. Like I said, I think it might start raining…” 

“Just come with me.” He leads her towards the edge of the clearing, out of sight of the cabin, to where Lily’s tent is waiting. 

“Oh, we’re sleeping in the tent together?” Leila gives him her sweet smile. “That would be nice and cozy…” Secretly she’s glad he didn’t set it up in the middle of the woods. That seems a little more ominous after all those stories. Even though it’s dark they can see the lights of the Marina shining on the lake.

“Exactly.” Belphegor grins proudly. “If you want to wait one second outside, then I put the rest of our pillows inside…

“Sure…” Leila sounds a bit doubtful as she watches him disappear inside their tent. She’d rather stay close to her strong mate after all the scary stories. Then suddenly the whole tent is illuminated with tiny little twinkle lights. As if the stars fell down on earth and settled on the tent. “Oohh, so pretty Belphie!” She cheers and quickly goes after him into the tent, peppering his face with sweet little kisses. Suddenly less disappointed that the clouds have ruined any stargazing for tonight.

“Keep your shoes in the shoe bag.” He points to the mesh bag in the awning that Lily had shown him earlier. “Then get here under the covers, so that I finally have you all to myself.” As soon as she zips the tent closed, he casts the dressing spell over her. Or more like the undressing spell, as she finds herself suddenly naked on her back between all Belphegor’s pillows and her mate admiring her with glowing eyes, before he covers them both under his blankets.

It is as if Leila has forgotten all about her plan to be strict with her mate this weekend as soon as she saw the effort he made for her. She eagerly surrenders herself to all his kisses and caresses. Belphegor laughs in triumph. That wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. Again he made it back into his Leila’s favors before Satan could.

 

Later, after Belphegor has thoroughly caught up with all the love Leila has denied him the past week, they're both lying lazily and completely in the nude under the soft blankets. Looking outside through the opened tentdoor, watching and listening to the downpour, enjoying the smell of the refreshed forest and the cool night air after their exercise. The rain is thrumming down on the canvas, but they’re safe inside, cozily cocooned up in all their blankets.

“I sometimes feel like saying ‘I love you’ is just not enough to express my feelings for you.” Belphegor sighs happily, kissing Leila’s bare shoulder as she’s almost falling asleep next to him. He knows it’s been an extra long day for her and she didn’t get in nearly as many naps as himself, but he can’t let her go to sleep just yet. “Aren’t there any better expressions?”

She only opens her eyes half to him. “The moon is beautiful tonight.” She mumbles sleepily.

“Huh?” Belphegor looks out to the pouring rain coming from the grey clouds overhead. There is definitely no moon to see tonight! He looks a bit worried down on Leila to check if she’s not delirious now. Has he been too selfish and tired her out a bit too much? He would never want to hurt or exhaust her.

Leila rolls on her side, snuggling her body lovingly against his for more warmth. “It’s from a novel in the human world. A poetic way of saying ‘I love you’.”

He laughs, relieved. “Not bad.” He rolls her on her back to kiss her more and she reacts compliantly and with a happy sigh, making him excited for round two. “I kind of want you to say it to me more...” He says, climbing on top of her and presses himself between her legs to see if she’s up for it too.

“Okay…” She gives in again and wraps her limbs around him. “But I need sleep too, Belphie…”

“Of course.” He covers her body in a million kisses. “I’ll be careful and then let you sleep…”

 

Next day

Early the next day Belphegor wakes Leila up who is sleeping contentedly in his arms. It’s really a shame to do, but he knows she wants to see this: A beautiful sunrise above the lake. The world is still wet from the rain last night, droplets glisten from the leaves and branches like diamonds. Birds are singing as if this is going to be the best day of their lives and Leila smiles happily. She thinks they might be right. Cuddled up together they watch the sun make its climb across the sky until they both fall asleep again.

Chapter Text


“Where are Belphie and Leila?” Beelzebub asks early the next morning. To his own surprise he fell asleep pretty quick last night and slept all through the night too. It must have been the outdoors and lots of activities and loads of food to enjoy that left him so satisfied. But now he woke up and they weren’t with them in the cabin. And most of Belphegor's blankets are missing, as well as both their backpacks.

“They slept in my tent.” Lily smiles. “Belphie wanted some privacy.”

“So, Leila has actually been camping.” James laughs, stretching his limbs. “Though she can’t tell the difference anyway.”

They all walk out the cabin after having collected and packed most of their stuff. Lily will bring some of it to her own reality later. Beelzebub wants to look for his brother, but Lily and James stop him. “Just let them sleep.” 

When Leila and Belphegor finally wake up they find breakfast waiting for them with a note that lets them know that the others have gone hiking. Belphegor is elated to have more alone time with his mate and considers rushing Leila back to their tent for more love making as soon as she’s replenished her strength with breakfast. Unfortunately for him, Leila insists on cleaning up camp instead. She wants to leave it even cleaner than they found it. 

After a few hours, Leila waves to James and Lily as they exit the woods behind the cabin. “Where’s Beel?” Belphegor asks when he realizes his twin isn’t with them. 

James and Lily stop laughing about whatever it was they had been discussing and look around them in surprise. “I swear he was just with us!” James says. 

“Quickly summon him James!” Leila tells James worriedly. Beelzebub wandering through the forest on his own can’t be good. Especially not when they know how much of a craving he has for basically everything in the forest.

“Right, yes!” James nods and immediately starts his incantation. “ Hear me, denizens of the darkness. You who are born of shadow and you who give birth to it. Hear me and do as I command! I am the one called James. I call upon you to send forth one of your number! I summon the Avatar of Gluttony, Beelzebub!

Beelzebub appears in front of James. He looks to be in the middle of trying to eat a chipmunk though, as he has his mouth wide open and holds the little shrill squeaking rodent by its tail in the air, ready to devour it alive. All three humans look at him horrified and Belphegor bursts out laughing.

“BEEL! NOOO! STOP!” James and Leila command him at the same time and Beelzebub goes rigid, letting go of the little chipmunk and groaning in pain from their combined command.

“Urrgh…”

The chipmunk immediately seeks refuge in Leila’s clothes, loudly chattering in indignation, telling her all about the monster that suddenly grabbed him as he was busy collecting seeds in his cheeks. Now he’s lost everything! Lily can’t help giggling a little bit with Belphegor herself, now that the chipmunk is safe with Leila, chattering away dramatically. She doesn’t have her ear plugs in but she can just imagine.

“Sorry…” Beelzebub pouts. “I thought that there’s enough of those and I just wanted a little taste…”

James and Leila look at each other. They could give Beel a lecture, but that would just ruin his entire weekend at the last minute. “Just… Don’t do it again as long as you’re in the Human World, Beel…” Leila sighs, petting the little chipmunk and keeping it safe and comforting it.

Once they’ve all calmed down, Lily looks at the watch on her wrist. “See you later.” She tells them with a smile before she disappears back to her own reality. Not long after, Solomon arrives to take the twins home. 

“Ready for day two?” James asks his cousin with a grin. Leila gives him a small smile, releasing the little chipmunk, now that it’s safe for him to go home. 

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” She answers as they begin to spin their reality-turners. They both know they’re in for a potentially awkward time with the other versions of their lovers. Not to mention they both will be a challenge to deal with, just like their own twins. Especially Beelzebub.



Lily’s Reality

When Lily appears back in her own reality, she’s outside Solomon’s cabin. She immediately notices the same sort of wards protecting the area and it makes her happy. Seeing it as a good sign that likely the mysterious Aloe Vera plant still exists in her own reality! She should not forget to ask Solomon about it when they are alone some time. 

Via text she lets Solomon know that he can bring over the twins and gets started on preparing for their stay. She already knows what needs to be done and she brought Leila and James’ bedrolls with her. A few quick cleaning spells have the cabin in good enough shape for a one night stay. As she makes herself busy setting up their sleeping arrangements, she finds herself daydreaming about what Solomon’s life was like when he lived here. Outside of caring for his reserve, he must have had some other undercover identity...

She must look like a mad woman, cackling in a cabin all by herself as she imagines Solomon dressed in chaps, wearing cowboy boots and a hat, walking around with a swagger and a piece of hay in his mouth. She mischievously wonders if she can find photos of him during that era...She can’t imagine him living a peaceful life as a farmer or rancher out here. Maybe he was a lawman or bounty hunter? 

She’s still giggling to herself when Solomon himself arrives with Belphie and Beel in tow - with just as large backpacks as the one she came to the other reality with yesterday - at the appointed time. “Something you want to share?” Solomon asks her.

“Do you have pictures of yourself from when you lived here?” She asks him, with feigned innocence in her wide eyes. She doesn’t fool him though as he narrows his eyes on her. 

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” He smirks, he says nothing more on the matter before wishing them a good time and taking his leave. 

 

Belphegor drops his backpack where he stands, yawns, and plops down on one of the sleeping bags. “When’s Leila going to be here?” 

“Soon.” Lily answers distractedly. “Where did Beel go?” She looks at the spot where Beel’s backpack is left, but no sign of the large demon, who she could swear was there a moment ago.

“Huh?” Belphegor looks around. “Probably exploring.” He shrugs. 

“Ugh.” Lily groans. She can’t believe she’s lost Beel already. She doesn’t want to immediately start summoning and commanding him, but she also doesn’t want another chipmunk incident on her hands. “Stay here and wait for Leila and James, Belphie.” She grabs his hand, pulling him outside with her. “And be sure to make yourself useful.” She tells him before easily spotting the path Beel took into the forest, the large demon doesn't do anything to hide his passage. “I’m going to track your brother down before he eats everything in the forest.”

Belphegor shrugs and just flops down in the grass instead, as soon as she starts running after his twin.

When James and Leila appear, they’re just in time to see Lily running into the forest calling for Beelzebub. “I’ll help her.” James tells Leila with a little laugh in his voice as he drops his bag, lets go of their cooler and then quickly runs off after Lily before she gets too far away.

Belphegor hears Leila let out a soft sigh and he laughs a little. No doubt they just had some sort of emergency involving Beel in the other reality too. “Lily said to wait here for you guys…” Belphegor yawns, peeking through his hair when Leila sits next to him in the grass. 

He’s been looking forward to this date all week. Longer even, ever since the humans started making plans for dates with all of them. Doing it together with Beel would give him a lot of time with Leila, he knew it. Look what happened only minutes after them arriving in this reality. But now that he’s alone with her, he isn’t sure what to do. Doing what he WANTS to do will only make her angry, like the day they first met. She isn’t sleepy, or in distress, or distracted by his annoying brothers right now. And he doubts she knows how much he actually loves her… So he decides to wait for now. 

“Makes sense…” Leila nods, looking around. “So everything else is ready?”

“What do you mean?”

“For lunch.” She explains. “Yesterday we needed some water and chopped wood to cook. I wasn’t with them, because I went exploring, but I think that’s what we need.”

“You went exploring on your own?” Belphegor is a bit surprised. “Didn’t I come with you? I mean, other me…” I would have, if it was me. Some time alone with Leila . He smiles.

“I think James didn’t let him.” Leila giggles. “Anyway, is everything ready?”

“Lily said something about making myself useful, while waiting for you.” Belphegor yawns again. But it wasn’t a command and I didn’t feel like it. He keeps these thoughts to himself. “No idea what she meant…”

“Okay then, let's do the stuff together then.” Leila stands up and stretches out her hand for him to get up too. 

He takes it and one moment he’s very tempted to pull her down on him to cuddle with her. Don’t be an idiot. He scolds himself and gets up with a frown. As he does, the breeze changes directions and he gets a strong whiff of her scent. It’s strong, heady and mixed heavily with his own scent. He clenches his fists as he tries not to visualize what she and his other self were up to last night and possibly this morning. “Ugh…” He grumbles.

Leila’s smile disappears from her face. Is he mad at me? She wonders what she’s done wrong to deserve that frown. I have to try harder to make this camping trip fun for Belphegor too… She walks towards the logs and chopping block. “Lily chopped all our wood yesterday.” She tells Belphegor, taking up the axe with an excited smile. “I’ve never done this myself, but she seemed to have a lot of fun with it…”

“You’re going to chop the wood? Without magic?” He can’t help sounding slightly concerned as he watches her clumsily placing the first log, lifting the heavy axe up high. “Whoa, hey! Are you sure?” This doesn’t look at all safe for Leila, no matter how amazing he thinks she is!

“Of course!” She gives him a smile and brings the axe down and misses the log she was supposed to hit completely, lodging the axe stuck in the chopping block. “Oh, dammit. That’s harder than it looked when she did it…” Belphegor watches, aghast, as she sets her foot on the chopping block to push as she pulls on the axe handle, struggling to free it.

“Okay, I can’t watch this.” Belphegor grumbles. Before I know it she chops off her own foot! Suddenly the axe comes free and he’s quick to steady her as she looks like she’s about to tumble backwards. 

“Whoops.” Leila giggles, blushing a bit embarrassed as Belphegor scowls in exasperation. “Thanks.” She tells him as he lets her go, ready to try again. 

But Belphegor grabs the axe before she can bring it down again, stopping her momentum. “Seriously, Leila. Let me…”

“No, I can do it.” Leila stubbornly says, trying to lift the heavy axe again to renew her swing. “I just need a little bit of practice and-”

He grabs the axe now with his other hand too. “Come on, don’t be so stubborn. I’ll do it.” 

To his relief Leila looks over her shoulder at him, her cheeks still flushed and nods. He slowly releases his hold on the axe, wanting to trust her but ready to grab it again if she’s trying to trick him. He watches as she now places the axe on the chopping block carefully and then she turns around, blushing. Staring at him and confusing him, until he suddenly realizes he’s got her trapped between himself and the chopping block, somehow his hands have settled on her waist. His heart skips a beat as his instincts tell him to take her in his arms where she belongs. 

But his mind stops him. DON’T kiss her! he warns himself, quickly letting her go, a new scowl on his face. Dammit, this weekend is going to be torture if I can’t even cuddle her… “Go do something that’s safer.” He growls. Feeling irritated with himself, he picks up the axe after she’s stepped away, giving the log that’s still waiting a frustrated blow, splitting it in half.

“Okay…” Leila nods, feeling confused about his mixed signals. He doesn’t really like me. He’s only nice to me for Lily’s sake... She thinks as she walks to the pump to get water. He’s really different from my own Belphie… Maybe that’s for the best…? I would like to be friends, though…

 

While Leila is pumping up fresh water - just as clumsy as she was with the axe because the mechanism is heavy, but at least water is harmless - she decides that she will try to become friends with Belphegor this weekend. 

Belphegor in the meantime sneaks glances at her between each log he’s splitting up in smaller pieces. “She’s making me work, unbelievable.” He grumbles, but he also can’t help smiling as he sees her struggle with the pump, stubbornly not wanting to use magic. “I even offered it…” He splits another log in two. “No, I insisted…” Shaking his head, he works out his frustrations with every blow. Soon there’s a large pile of chopped wood ready to cook with.

“You look sweaty.” Leila teases when she sees Belphegor collapse on the grass after his work. “Do you want to wash yourself?” She brings over one of the smaller pots of water she filled. The others are too heavy. 

“Ugh…” Belphegor groans, with his eyes closed. “Too much effort…” He dismisses as she places the pot next to him.

“Yeah, you worked so hard, but do you really want to stay stinky?” She asks and when she continues he thinks he hears something mischievous in her voice. “I can help, you don’t have to do a thing…”

He opens one eye suspiciously and watches how Leila summons a tendril of water from her pot. He also notices the mischievous expression on her face. Cute. He thinks, a barely visible smile on his lips. Let’s see what she’s up to… He feels how she uses her magic to wipe the little tendril of water gently across his face as if she’s caressing him with a washcloth. “Hey, not bad…” He laughs softly, closing his eyes again and feeling happy to have her caring for him. But then suddenly he gets a cold splash in his face! His eyes fly open and he sits up sputtering.

“Oops.” Leila smiles innocently, getting up. “I let it slip…”

“You did, did you?” He growls, getting up too. Faster than she can see he grabs the pot with water as he does and sends the contents all over her in the same motion. “Oops. So did I.” His grin is lazy and wicked at the same time.

“Revenge!” Leila laughs cheerily. “You’re a dead demon!” She rushes over to the pump, but Belphegor is of course faster. Damn. She thinks. He makes it easy to forget how fast he can be with the proper motivation. 

Smirking, he waits already for her with another pot of water. “Revenge? As you wish.” He wants to upturn this one over her head too, but Leila defends herself this time. 

She catches the splash in her forcefield and sends the giant ball of water after him. Belphegor tries to run from it, but Leila keeps sending it after him. Tendrils of water lash out of it, most of them miss him, but a lot hit him too. Then Leila’s weapon is empty and the tables turn again. Shrieking with laughter she runs away from him as he sends his own water spells after her. Belphegor laughs too. Despite wondering how she’s somehow lured him into another activity, he’s feeling very happy to play with Leila like this.

 

Lily walks out of the forest looking a little weary, Beelzebub and James aren’t far behind her. She instantly perks up when she notices all the chopped wood waiting and ready. Wow. Leila did a really good job. Lily thinks to herself. Honestly, as amazing as Leila is at magic and other things, she didn’t expect Leila to be able to chop all that wood. Maybe she used magic to do it. Lily thinks that might be more likely. 

Coming around the corner of the cabin she finds Leila and Belphegor working together to make lunch for everyone, laughing and completely soaked. It looks like they both lost a water fight. Grinning, she asks, “Having fun without us are you?”

“Maybe a little.” Belphegor says, his bored tone is not reflected in the smile that reaches his eyes. 

“Leila, thanks for chopping all that wood!” Lily tells her. 

“Actually…” Leila blushes as she remembers it. “Belphie chopped all that wood for me.”

Lily looks stunned for a moment as she looks from Leila to Belphie. “What?” She finally says. “Wow Leila, you really must be a Belphie charmer in all realities to get him to do that sort of manual labor.” She teases. 

“Quiet you.” Belphegor scowls at Lily with a faint blush on his cheeks as he flicks some of the water at her from the large bucket they had just refilled at the pump. 

Lily giggles and ruffles Belphie’s hair. “Thanks Belphie, that was a big help.” She tells him as he scoffs and bats her hand away. Even though he’s happy for her praise.

“Is it time to eat?” Beelzebub asks behind them. He has his arms full of edible plants, herbs, mushrooms and berries. Lily isn’t sure the weed looking plant that he’s currently chewing on IS edible for humans, but she’s not too worried about Beel. The only thing that ever seems to bother his stomach is Solomon’s cooking. “Maybe we can eat some of these too.” James stands next to him, grinning. 

Lily feels grateful he came after her to help get Beel in check. He helped them pick out the ones they could take and the ones to leave alone. Lily of course knows a lot about it too, but with Beel it feels you can never have enough backup to keep an eye on him.

“Almost, Beel.” Leila comes over to inspect his treasures and starts selecting some items. “We can use these for the soup we were about to make and these are nice to season the fish with…”

“Fish? Do we have fish?” Beelzebub beams. Lily didn’t let him catch any animal, because the Human World has all kinds of regulations for hunting that he doesn’t really understand.

“Not yet, but we thought that we could do some fishing for dinner tonight.” James tells him. Leaving out that his own Beel already ate two thirds of what they brought in their cooler and Lily’s supplies.

“Oh, Lily.” Leila happily holds up some creeping snowberry, wild chamomile and chaga mushrooms, not really having listened to the conversation about fishing. “We can brew some delicious herbal tea from this. Be sure to take some home to surprise Barbatos with.” 

 

Lily and Leila start chatting about more uses for the herbs they found, until Beelzebub starts getting restless. So after James has brought the biggest pot with water to the stone outdoor kitchen area, Leila lights the chopped wood up with a fire summoning spell and then starts chopping vegetables, meat and mushrooms lightning fast with her slicing spell, sending them flying into the pot to make the soup. She’s adding seasoning to the pot while stirring with her other hand. 

Lily studies her as she cooks: This is definitely different from watching Solomon in the kitchen. She actually works with proper techniques and etiquette. She realizes that - even if Leila herself warned her of Solomon’s non-existent skill in cooking - she doesn’t know if Leila can cook, or if her own cooking is similar to Solomon's and she can’t help sending a bit of worried glance over to James. Beelzebub and Belphegor do the same and James bursts out laughing.

“Leila is a great cook.” He assures them all. But they all still look a bit doubtful. Until the delicious smell of the soup starts spreading and reaches their noses. Beelzebub is the first to start drooling and Lily and James lead him away from Leila to make more sandwiches, before he starts offering to taste test with the soup ladle.

“Couldn’t you use that spell for chopping the wood?” Belphegor comes standing next to Leila, whispering to her half annoyed, half amused that she’s now suddenly showing her skills.

“I could have.” Leila gives him her sweet smile again and he forgets all about his mild annoyance. “But I told you I wanted to try it the manual way, without magic.” She sighs and pouts at him. “Now, because of you, I still haven’t really learned how to do it.”

“You’re welcome.” He grumbles at her, but this time she can hear the fondness in his voice that he tried so hard to hide from her earlier. “Ugh… Making me do hard work like that, Leila. You better make it up to me by doing some stargazing with me later.”

“Sure, that sounds nice.” Leila gives him a shy smile. “Would you want to lay out my picnic blankets, Belphie? They’re in my bag.”

Belphegor can hardly believe she would let him rummage through her backpack, but then again she knows he isn’t Mammon. Or Asmo, for that matter. He’s surprised how he pulls out blanket after blanket and a whole bunch of pillows. Not bad. He thinks with a grin. Lily should have remembered to spell our bags too. He shakes his head. She was so excited to go camping that she actually stuffed all their backpacks the normal way.

 

They soon all sit on the extra blankets and around the picnic table for lunch, having a good time together.

But even after they finish a big meal, Beelzebub is eyeing the local wildlife like a cat that’s spotted a mouse in the grass. Since Leila and Lily didn’t explore the lake’s resort amenities yesterday with James and Beel. They decide they should go find some distractions and most likely, more food, before they find themselves chasing the hungry demon through the woods again. 

Belphegor is already looking dead on his feet by the time they make it down to the lake. “Do you want me to carry you?” Beel offers his twin.

“No.” “Yes.” Lily and Belphie speak at the same time. 

James and Leila laugh. “Um Belphie, that might look a little strange to the other human visitors…” Leila reminds them. 

“Ugh..” Belphie grumbles. “What’s that?” He points at a metal box gliding over some trees before it disappears from view. 

“That’s the tram.” James explains. “It takes you all the way up to the peak.”

“Oh I bet the views are gorgeous!” Lily exclaims.

“Hmph. Well it would be better than all this hiking.” Belphegor complains. “I think I’ve done my share of strenuous activities for the day.” 

They all agree to go on the tram, but not before Beelzebub makes them stop at the snack and candy shop on the way though. Once they’re in line, James reads from a pamphlet, skimming through the history. “It’s a fifteen minute ride to the peak….Once you reach the summit overlook, you can see into the states of Washington, Idaho etc...after reaching the summit overlook area, you can proceed along the circular loop of the summit trails heading toward the valley overlook, while experiencing some great views of the Snake River Country. Or you may choose to return directly to the terminal.”

“Ugh. Not more hiking.” Belphegor complains, crossing his arms. “I vote to go directly to the terminal.”

James chuckles and keeps reading. “Aside from the trails and spectacular views, enjoy the gift shop and breakfast or lunch at the summit grill…”

“Let’s do that.” Beelzebub nods, perking up at the word ‘grill.’ 

“I’m with Beel, sounds better than hiking.” Belphegor says, not that he could eat another bite himself right now. 

“We get it. You don’t want to do any more hiking.” Lily teases with a roll of her eyes.

When they buy their tramway tickets the girls also buy a bag of squirrel food, which is basically a bag of unsalted peanuts. Beelzebub buys one too but they all know he won’t be sharing with the squirrels.

“Only four people in a gondola.” James says as he continues to scan the pamphlet. The humans exchange a glance, it would be best if their demons were not left to ride with strangers. Who knows what would happen? 

Turns out they didn’t need to worry about being sat with strangers. As soon as Beelzebub and James enter the gondola, the tramway operator mumbles something about Beel’s size and loads the girls along with Belphie into the next gondola. Luckily the group after them was a family of four and they waited for the next available gondola. 

 

If Belphegor had hoped for some peace in his gondola with his two girls, he is very mistaken. The girls bought some binoculars too and are enthusiastically pointing out the several views and animals. 

They keep switching places to have better views, chattering like birds and Belphegor groans. “Would you both please sit down and stop wobbling the gondola?” He growls, sounding more mad than he actually is. “Thanks.”

Leila looks very guilty. It doesn’t sound like Belphegor is having a good time at all with this date. And she tried so hard to get him into a good mood with the whole water fight. She sadly stares out of the windows. If he really doesn’t want to be friends with her, maybe it’s best if she tries to avoid him and leave him alone from now on...Maybe she was better off sitting with Beel and James? There’s a tear rolling down her cheek before she realizes it. She angrily wipes it away, refusing to look at Lily or Belphegor and so not noticing how they both watch her with dismay There’s no real good reason why she should be upset that the counterpart of her own Belphie doesn’t like her. 

Lily gives Belphegor a hard pinch on his side. He glares at her but she glares back just as fiercely, while Leila is missing the whole silent exchange as she’s still facing away from them. Belphegor doesn’t need to be a mind reader to know what Lily is thinking and asking from him. He knows he’s been grouchy and Lily has told him that Leila has a sensitive soul, it's easy to forget sometimes when she has such a strong character. But he supposes it's her soft hidden side that he loves just as much as her other sides too. Still, he can’t just roll over for Lily every time she wants him to do something. Lucky for her, he doesn’t want Leila to be sad. Yeah, he convinces himself that’s all it is as he tries to ignore Lily beaming at him proudly once he gets up with a sigh and plops down in the seat next to Leila. 

Leila is surprised when Belphegor suddenly moves to sit next to her, he flops his head down to rest on her shoulder with a sigh. “Sorry I’ve been grumpy, Leila.” He grumbles not sounding nearly as sincere as he actually is. He yawns next. Secretly smiling to himself when Leila doesn’t push him away. Her breasts would be much more comfy than her shoulder, but he’s not going to try his luck, especially not with Lily staring at them. 

“Okay, thanks.” Leila says softly. Not entirely convinced, but she doesn’t want to make any more of a scene she probably already has, so she tries to smile.

Lily is happy when Leila seems to cheer up a little. The girls sit still for the rest of the ride, keeping their voices low while Belphie naps against Leila for the rest of the ride. 


Meanwhile in the gondola in front of them, Beel and James are having a great time together. James was worried he might feel a bit awkward with Beel who is not his own. But frankly, they’re so similar that it is easy to forget. 

Beel is munching away on his nuts, the ones meant for the squirrels. They knew they wouldn’t last all the way to the summit. Commenting on all the wildlife he spots with his demon senses. “Do you think that bird tastes like a cockatrice?” He asks when he sees a bald eagle swooping down. “Oh! He caught something! Hmmm… Now it’s a stuffed eagle.” 

James burst out laughing. He can appreciate these sorts of conversations with Beel. It’s like comedy to him, while he knows Lily and Leila would probably be shocked by the directions the mind of this demon goes.

“Hey!” Beelzebub notices something else. “That looks like a Manticore cub!” He excitedly points to a grown mountain lion swiftly making its way over some boulders, that James just manages to spot as well, because Beel wraps his arm around his shoulders to make him look in the right direction.

“Wow! A mountain lion! Good catch, Beel!” He compliments the giant demon for spotting the elusive cat so easily.

“What do you mean? I didn’t catch it.” Beelzebub says, sounding sad that he’s trapped in the gondola. He could break out and fly down of course. But that might possibly be dangerous for James and then Lily would be sad and disappointed. Not to mention what Lucifer or Leila might do to punish him.

“I just meant… Oh, never mind.” James laughs and pats him on his arm. “Do you see anything else?” He asks, deciding to use Beelzebub as a lookout to spot all the animals he knows Leila would be dying to see. Shame they couldn’t share the gondola with all of them.

“Oh yeah!” Beel points out. “Over there’s a whole group of wingless Peryton. What do you call those in the Human World?”

“Deer.” James answers.

Beel beams at him as if he’s taking it as the term of endearment. “Really? That sounds nice.”

 

Once at the summit, the group ends up dividing. James accompanies Belphegor and Beelzebub at the summit grill. They get a nice spot on the outdoor patio in the sunshine where Belphegor proceeds to make a pillow out of his arms on the table and falls asleep. James is left to keep Beelzebub from ordering everything on the menu. Even without a strong hold on this tenuous pact line they seem to have with the other realities demons, Beel seems amiable to listen to James without commands.

Leila and Lily seek out one of the easier, shorter trails to enjoy the views and find some squirrels to feed. They don’t really have to look though, the squirrels find them first, knowing exactly what those bags they are holding mean for them.

The squirrels stuff their cheeks in the cutest way with the nuts they get, then run back and forth, to hide them somewhere and then pick up new ones from Lily or Leila. There is a lot of chattering the whole time they’re busy spoiling the squirrels, because they all feel that the others get much more than themselves. But they also find it very interesting to talk to Lily and Leila. It's never happened before that people really understood them and they like the girls very much, so they let themselves be stroked by them too.

Lily and Leila don’t really want it to end, but soon both their bags are empty and the squirrels lose interest in them and look for other people on the trail to beg from by being cute.

Leila and Lily just have to satisfy themselves with trying to spot rare animals with their binoculars. Which is not easy to do on this busy trail where other park visitors don’t really make any effort to try keeping their voices down. They THINK they see a mink, but they’re not sure, because just as Lily points it out to Leila, a big group of teens comes skidding down the trail, loudly laughing and making a racket and the animal immediately vanishes.

 

 

Chapter Text

By the time they meet up and make their way back down the tram they decide to head back to the cabin with plans to come back tomorrow to play mini golf. 

“We should probably go to that little grocery store.” Leila advises. “There’s not too much food left at camp.” Beelzebub immediately looks extremely worried and Lily comfortingly pats him on his arm.

“Let’s buy some more vegetables and we were already planning to go fishing for our protein.” Lily suggests. “I’ve got fishing gear in my bag but we’ll need bait, which we can get at the marina store.”

“I’ll do the shopping and you do the fishing.” Leila nods, thinking it’s a good plan, but not eager to go fishing herself.

“Mmm fishing…” Beel grabs Lily’s hand and starts dragging her towards the marina. “You’re coming too, right James?” 

James chuckles. “Guess I’m going fishing with them.” He pats Belphegor on the shoulder. “Look after Leila for me and help her with the shopping okay?” He says before jogging after Beel and Lily. 

“Fine.” Belphegor sighs as if resigned to his fate when secretly he couldn’t be happier to be left alone with Leila again. “Let’s get this over with.” He tells Leila as he drags his feet towards the store.  

Leila just needs to quickly tell the others one important thing. “So, um… About the fish… Make sure they’re dead before joining us at the cabin…” Then she jogs after Belphegor, catching up to him quickly. 

 

At the Marina, the others are waiting in line. Lily had already bought fishing licenses ahead of time, so all they needed was the bait. Beel of course had other ideas and with the small shop bustling with park visitors, James decides to wait for them outside. 

Hands in his pockets, enjoying the cool breeze and beautiful views of the park around them, he smiles feeling content. He’s a self proclaimed ‘city boy’, but coming out and enjoying nature once in a while isn’t so bad, especially when the company is good. 

Some rowdy laughter draws his eye as a group of young adults tromp off the docks. Based on the shirtless sunburnt men and bathing suit clad women, he suspects they just came from swimming or boating on the river. It’s probably a good thing that they are leaving the water considering the way they’re all drinking and all seem half inebriated already. James looks away uninterested, but not before catching the eye of one of them. 

“What’re you looking at?” One of the men of the group says to him, stomping towards him with an angry looking scowl. This guy clearly thinks he’s the ‘alpha male’ of their ragtag group. 

James suppresses an eye roll. It's only rarely that this happens, but sometimes his good-natured demeanor triggers this kind of behaviour in men. He's not afraid of them but he doesn’t want to cause trouble either. Holding up his hands in a gesture of peace he tells them. “I’m not looking at anything, just trying to mind my own business.” He assures them. 

The man scoffs and spits on the ground, looking James up and down, taking in his outdoor clothes that look like their brand new from a high end retailer. “We don’t need you pretty boys comin’ down from the city and leering at our women.” The guy says to him, puffing up his chest and getting in James’ face. His friends behind him laugh as if he’s said something funny.

Ugh. This guy is a joke. James thinks to himself, all while keeping an amiable smile on his face. Sure, while the guy is much shorter than James, he’s broader with more visible muscles. Maybe James couldn’t take him in a fist fight but he has magic on his side now. Besides, he probably doesn’t even need that as usually he can charm his way out of these sorts of situations.

“Trust me.” James says with a laugh. “I don’t leer at women.” He can appreciate the beauty of women like Leila and Lily. Mostly because their gentle souls radiate through their smiles and add to it. But he’s not attracted to that. He’s not like Asmo.

The guy quirks his brow giving James another derisive once over. “Tch. So you’re one of those, huh? Well me and my buddies don’t like being leered at either.” He says, shoving James by the shoulder. 

James can’t help rolling his eyes now and scrunching his nose in disgust. Like these inebriated hillbilly idiots would ever catch his attention. He has much higher standards! He chuckles, realizing he’s sounding like Asmo, thinking like this.

His chuckling only enrages the drunk more. He’s definitely realizing he’s being mocked. Is this city boy thinking he’s not good enough for him, or something?! But before he can do something that might really escalate the situation, Lily and Beel come out of the marina store. Beelzebub easily assesses the aggressive posturing of these human males around his James and pushes his bags of snacks into Lily’s arms. 

Beelzebub wraps his arm around James’ shoulder protectively. Wearing his sleeveless tank, his large muscles flex attractively. He glares down at this human man bothering James. “Is there a problem James?” He asks, his other hand clenching into a fist. 

“Nah, don’t worry, Big Guy.” James smiles at him brightly, ignoring the idiots further. “Did you get everything you looked for?”

Lily rushes up to James’ other side too with large blinking eyes, wondering what's going on. The drunk man hypocritically leers at Lily before he opens his mouth, looking like he’s going to say something stupid to Beel. Luckily his friends aren’t as drunk or stupid, as they grab him by the arms, pulling him away. 

“N-No problems here.” One of them says, looking somewhat intimidated by Beel’s size and muscles. “We were just leaving.” The women with them follow behind laughing and sending flirty looks towards Beelzebub and James, also impressed by their good looks. 

Lily looks from James and Beel to the group leaving. “What happened?” 

James just laughs and gives Beelzebub a side hug. “Just some drunk fools, who are lucky that Leila wasn’t here.” He tells Lily before saying to Beel, “Thanks for backing me up there buddy.” Earning himself a big smile and a nod from Beelzebub. 

“I’ll always have your back James.” Beel says, patting James’ back before he releases him to take his bags back from Lily. 

Lily shrugs, she supposes she doesn’t need to worry. “Come on then. There’s a better lake to fish, up past the cabin. We’ll grab the fishing gear from my bag on the way.” 

 

Belphegor and Leila are not back yet at the cabin when they go by to get Lily’s gear and supplies. They’re probably either still shopping, or having a very slow walk up to the cabin from a different direction. Whatever the case, they decide not to wait for them, but hurry to the lake to catch their dinner. It’s going to take some time before they've caught enough fish for everyone, probably.

“Now Beel.” Lily speaks to her demon seriously when they reach the lake. “This isn’t the Devildom beach and there are rules here we must follow. Understand?”

Beel gives her a serious nod, but he’s not looking at her, he’s looking at the lake eagerly. Lily can hear James snickering behind her, threatening to dissolve her serious attitude. “We can only catch five fish each, I’ve brought Leila and Belphie’s licenses too, so we can catch some for them too.”

“I’ll only catch the biggest fish then.” Beel says, seeming worried about the twentyfive fish they are limited to. 

“That’s fine.” Lily says, “Let’s have fun! I don’t want to have to command you.” 

Beelzebub is the first to get his line into the lake while Lily shows James the basics. “Once you’ve caught a fish, the most humane way to kill it is with a quick blow to its head. Then you can throw it on the tarp.” She gestures with her thumb to the large tarp. She figures with Beel here they will indeed catch some large fish. Only Beel will be strong enough to haul a tarp full of fish back over his shoulders.

“Right… Kill the fish…” James nods. He understands perfectly why Leila doesn’t want them to bring back living fish. Since she can hear them as well as she can hear normal languages. Hearing them makes them something more to her than just food. She wouldn’t be able to eat, once she has heard their death cries.

Lily notices that James is looking a little unsure. He probably wasn’t expecting to have to put the fish out of its misery after he catches it. “Just let me know if you want any help.” She smiles encouragingly before casting her own line out a little ways down the shore from him. 

It’s not long before Beel and Lily have thrown many fish onto the tarp. James hasn’t caught a thing yet but he doesn’t really mind. He’s been sitting on the grass now having fun watching Beel and Lily. Well, mostly Beel, and how excited he gets with each catch and then how conflicted he looks because he obviously wants to devour the fish raw right then and there. It’s a good thing they bought some extra snacks at the marina shop to keep him tidied over.

Eventually Beel trots up to James with a big smile, he’s already caught his, Leila and Belphie’s share of fish. “Want me to help you catch a fish, James?”

James can't refuse an offer like that as he admires the golden rays lighting up Beel’s hair like a halo. He accepts the hand that Beelzebub offers to him to help him back up and then is guided to another spot down the shore of the lake. James can’t help grinning as Beel stands behind him and shows him the proper technique for casting the line. He’s more direct and thorough in his instructions than Lily had been and he smiles warmly, squeezing James’ shoulders in encouragement. 

James can sympathise with Leila’s plight when it comes to these reality dopplegangers of their lovers. He feels the same pull and attraction and it’s hard not to act on them at times. It’s the strangest, most bizarre test of loyalty he’s ever had to face. It definitely falls under the category of things that would make an interesting debate in a philosophy class about ethical and moral dilemmas. Fortunately for James, he’s not as much of a worrier as his cousin and has an easier time enjoying the moment for what it is.

Beel stays by James’ side making small talk when finally there’s a tug on the line. James grins and he’s cheered on. “I think you caught a big one!” Beelzebub says proudly. 

Sure enough, the fish looks huge as he pulls it in closer to shore. Even James is a little surprised when Beel crashes into the lake, the water half way to his knees, as he catches James fish with his bare hands and brings it to shore where he proceeds striking it firmly on the head to knock it out dead.

 

Meanwhile, while the others did their shopping for bait and hiking back to camp, Leila and Belphegor have made sure to buy plenty of produce to go with the fish, as well as more fixings for s'mores and extra supplies for breakfast the next morning, since their own Beel basically decimated their supply. It turned out to be very hard to plan enough food for two days, for two Beel’s. Belphegor paid for it with the human world money that Lily reminded him to bring. 

Normally the amount of food they bought would be enough to feed an army and would be too much to carry by themselves up to the cabin. But a friendly employee helped carry everything outside where Leila pretended to have parked her car. The employee was so charmed by the friendly girl - who smiled so sweetly at him when she asked for his help - that he didn’t even notice Belphegor’s less than friendly scowl as he was flirting with her. Once he did notice the jealous glare of the demon, he practically ran back inside the shop. Having Leila staring after him with big surprised eyes, until she notices Belphegor’s glare as well.

“You didn’t have to make him so scared.” Leila points out, as she starts packing up everything in two bottomless spelled shopping bags. “He was just being nice and didn’t mean any harm…”

He was trying to flirt with my girl. Belphegor thinks, still feeling furious, but he says. “You didn’t have to be so nice to him either. How am I supposed to keep my promise to James to keep you safe, if you smile sweet like that to every male?”

Leila giggles, making him grin too. At least she’s not mad. Or sad, which would be worse. “I can fight my own battles, Belphegor. You of all people should know.” She says, shaking her small fist under his nose. 

“Yeah, yeah.” He says, grumpily batting her fist away. But she can hear he doesn’t mean it. “You’re amazing. I still don’t trust human males around Lily or you.”

“As opposed to much more dangerous demon males?” She teases.

He blushes, feeling caught out now and decides to not bite. The only male he would trust around her is himself, after all. But he can’t say that to her. “Come on, have you still not finished packing it all up?”

“You know, you could help me…” 

Belphegor stares at her as if she’s said something outrageous and they both start laughing. He still helps her by handing the items one by one now. Once packed up, the enormous amount of food isn’t so heavy anymore and they finally head up towards the cabin.

 

“Ugh…” Belphegor groans, sounding completely exhausted as they’re entering a more secluded path. He drops the bag he was carrying for a moment, leaning against a tree. “More hiking…”

“Yeah…” Leila is honestly happy that he wants to take a little bit of a break. Not realizing that Belphegor is strong enough for the hike, and that he had noticed that she was beginning to look pale. “I know the others have to do this too and even go fishing afterwards, but I think I was a bit optimistic about my own stamina.”

“Aren’t you an all powerful sorceress, able to make teleport circles?” Belphegor grumbles as if annoyed with his whole situation. If she’s too tired for it, he won’t push the issue, but they can both save some energy that way...

Leila raises her eyebrows at him. Is he mocking me and my skills? “You do realize that we’re in a relatively crowded state park in the Human World, right?” She checks with him. “It takes some time to create a teleportation like that. People will notice.” He probably doesn’t care about that… Still, he’s right. She would love to do a simple teleportation right about now and wash up at the pump with some cool water after all today’s hiking. 

“What are you thinking about?” It is as if Belphegor can see the conflict on her face. Well he can, because her face is expressive, but she doesn’t realize this now.

“...Just.” She says, sounding a bit doubtful but coming closer to whisper. “I can do my personal portal, maybe. It goes fast, almost instant. And I’ve been training myself to expand it so that I can bring more with me than just Pandora and a suitcase.”

“Interesting.” Belphegor doesn’t sound as if it’s interesting, but Leila is in her element, talking about magic, so she doesn’t care if he’s genuine or not. “Go on…”

“Well, IF we want it to work, we have to be touching and stand very close.” She muses, not realizing what effect her words have on him. “I probably should put my forcefield around us, so that I don’t accidently leave any of our limbs behind.” She casually says, making Belphegor almost burst out laughing. “And you have to carry both the shopping bags.” She tells him as if this is going to be the biggest obstacle. “I need both my hands for this, since it’s going to take more power. You’re not exactly Pandora’s size.”

“Let’s do it.” Belphegor is only focused on the part where she said ‘touching’, picking up both bags and walking off the trail into the woods so that they’re more out of sight of curious eyes. “I’ll risk a limb or two if I don’t have to do this dreadful hike again.”

“Alright then.” Leila laughs at his dramatic statement and hurries after him. 

When they're far enough out of sight, she casts her forcefield over the both of them. Belphegor wraps his free arm around her waist, while holding both the bags in his other, pulling her close against him.

“Be gentle with me Leila” He whispers teasingly in her ear.

“Shh.” She tells him sternly. “I need to focus.” She then starts to draw her doorshaped portal. A bright Celestial light appears in it and she moves forward. “Come.” They both step through her portal and arrive in front of Solomon’s hidden cabin. The portal closes immediately behind them.

Upon arrival, Leila and Belphegor can just hear Beelzebub’s loud crashing through the woods, going away from their camp.

“Sounds like the others were just here to get Lily’s gear.” Leila observes absentmindedly, as she checks if Belphegor is still in one piece and they didn’t lose their groceries in the teleportation. She smiles proudly at him when everything seems in order. “Looks like it worked!”

“Yeah, good job. Ugh… I’m exhausted.” Belphegor falls face forward on the picnic blankets that are still laid out on the grass. Falling asleep immediately, or so Leila assumes. 

Leila makes herself busy by sorting through the remaining food supply, the groceries and the herbs and other things Beel and the others found today. If they catch enough fish, we should be okay. She nods satisfied, packing what they need for later tonight and tomorrow back up in the spelled cooler and starts preparing what they need for their fish dinner.

Then a beautiful grey mule deer walks onto the clearing with her curious two fawns and Leila swoons. Such a shame that Lily isn’t here to enjoy this with her! Luring them towards her with her sweetest voice, she decides they can have her share of tomorrow's rations.

Belphegor is only half asleep with Leila around. It’s not that she keeps him awake on purpose. Just her mere presence and scent as she flits around keeping herself busy is distracting. He finds himself taking peeks at her through slitted eyes as he pretends to sleep. He finds himself mesmerized by her sweet voice and mannerisms as she has a conversation with the animals. He’s heard of course that she can speak with animals, because of her pact with Barbatos, but watching her actually doing it is something different. 

“It’s a good thing Beel’s not here.” He suddenly says from the ground behind her. Startling not only her, but the deer family as well. “They wouldn’t survive one minute.”

“Oh! Belphie, I thought you were sleeping…” She whispers to him, her hand over her heart. She lures the miniature herd back and they eagerly return for their chat and the offered fruit and herbs. “Yeah, I’ve warned them not to return later. But aren’t they beautiful? Do you want to pet them?”

“Sure.” He sits up, but doesn’t make a move to get up and Leila giggles. “Bring them over…” He pats the spot next to him, plucking some grass in offering. Leila comes sitting next to him and soon the family of deer come over and one of the fawns sniffs the grass he’s holding out, but prefers the apple Leila is giving him in small parts, so he can feed that instead. “Spoiled…” He complains, stroking its fur as he feeds it.

“Shall we name them?” Leila asks, as she’s gently petting one of the fawns that dreamily munches on her braid, trying to get it to stop. “They’re two girls.”

Belphegor smiles at her. “Sure. Let’s call them Lily and Leila and their mom Lilith.”

“Aww that’s cute.” Leila beams at him. “Who’s Lily?”

“The one eating your hair. She’s a dreamer and doesn’t even notice what she’s doing.” He snickers, taking a picture with his DDD. Then he points at the other fawn who is playfully stotting away every time he tries to pet it. “The spoiled one is Leila. Very cute, a bit wild and a bit of a princess.”

Leila gives him an odd sideway glance. Not entirely sure if he was talking about her or the fawn. She decides it doesn’t really matter when she sees him beaming when eventually ‘Leila the fawn’ decides she’s tired from playing and lies next to him to rest her head on his lap. It’s her turn to take a picture! She bets Lily has never seen him smile so happy.

“Give me your DDD.” She asks. Once he does, she copies over his picture of her to her own DDD with the spell they invented a while ago and her own picture of him to his DDD. “You can send them to the others now, if you want.”

No, I keep these for myself. He thinks as he smiles at her. They can see them, but they’re my pictures…

Chapter Text

 

Loud sounds of snapping twigs and feet crunching the dirt on the path that leads into the forest startles the family of deer and they immediately flee from the sounds. “There’s Beel.” Belphegor yawns. He’s a bit worried, though. By the sound of it, Beel might be on the verge of a hunger tantrum.

And sure enough the giant demon comes lumbering onto the clearing. A large tarp filled with fish slung over his one shoulder, Lily’s fishing gear in his other hand. He looks extremely hungry and a bit disappointed that they haven’t started the fire yet. James and Lily come rushing in after him, looking like they’ve been running and Lily is just in time to stop Beelzebub with a command, before he starts eating everything that Leila had already prepared.

Leila gives Beel a bag of chips and beef jerky they picked up at the store just in case this happened. Hopefully this will tide him over until dinner as they quickly all start working together to make a campfire and prepare the fish for roasting, before Beel loses it and goes into a tantrum.

Lily makes a sound of relief as she kneels down by the tarp to gut and filet the fish. “Thanks Leila. He went through his extra snacks so fast... I can’t believe I forgot to bring some of his everlasting lollipops.” 

“No worries.” Leila nods as she gives her a sympathetic look. It’s been a real challenge to keep both the Beels from going hungry this weekend. “But wow, you caught a lot of fish!” she exclaims looking at their haul. Then she scrunches her nose and looks away. Lily sure is proficient with that knife but she can’t stand to watch.

Lily and Leila can’t help scrunching their noses when Beelzebub is throwing all the guts and heads and bones of the fish in a large pot and starts making some sort of stew from it with added vegetables and potatoes, on the stone kitchen stove that James had fired up for him. He really can’t wait for the good parts of the fish to be seasoned and roasted on the campfire. He needs to eat now! Lucky for him, none of the others feel the need to taste his foul smelling stew. It’s all for him.

“Well…” James laughs, seeing the girls' faces. “At least nothing is wasted.”

Finally, after he’s finished his pre-dinner, Beelzebub is allowed to dig into his hoard of campfire roasted trout. “Mmmm….So good.” He beams, looking deliriously happy which causes everyone to laugh. 

 

Gathered around the campfire they enjoy dinner, followed by roasted marshmallows and s’mores. “Let’s sing some camp songs.” Lily suggests, causing some surprised looks to come her way. While it’s true that Lily isn’t usually big on singing in front of people, this is a small group and she doesn’t want to torture Leila with ghost stories again. 

“That’s fun!” Leila happily jumps onto this idea. “You start Lily.” She encourages.

“Down by the bay, Where the watermelons grow.” Lily begins to sing a silly tune, James and Leila laugh humming along. Beel and Belphie just exchange a shrug. They rarely know what these humans are about with their songs and pop culture. 

Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say
‘Did you ever see a goose
kissing a moose?’
Down by the bay

“Huh?” Belphegor rolls his eyes, this may be the silliest thing he’s heard Lily sing. 

“I’ve never seen that.” Beelzebub comments around a hot gooey marshmallow.

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother will say… ” 

Lily pauses her singing and Leila picks it up where she leaves off. “ Did you ever see a whale with a polka dot tail? ” She asks everyone with a completely serious expression.

Then together… “ Down by the bay…

Leila and Lily sing the main verse again and then James jumps in with the next rhyme. 

Did you ever see a bear combing its hair? ” He asks Beelzebub, who blinks at him with his mouthful, not knowing if he is expected to answer him.

Again they sing the main verse over and this time their humans look at them expectantly, it’s obvious they want one of them to come up with their own silly rhyme.

Belphegor looks away stubbornly. “Uhh…” Beel is thinking hard before he smiles. “ Did you ever see a Beel eating a bucket of Eels?

James, Leila and Lily laugh before continuing the verse one more time. “ Down by the bay!

Now Belphie is on the spot as everyone looks at him expectantly, his twin elbows him and he lets out a sigh before singing in a monotone voice. “ Did you ever have a time where you couldn’t care to rhyme?

Down by the Bay! ” The humans have a good laugh after that and Belphegor is just relieved that the annoying song has come to a close. 


Unfortunately they have many more ludicrous and annoying songs left to sing. Songs with meanings he can’t possibly decipher and that seem to repeat and go on and on. His only saving grace is that they all seem to be having fun and Leila’s voice warms him even when it's gibberish passing through her adorable lips. 

Eventually the silly camp songs come to a close naturally, it’s late and everyone is feeling a little sleepy now and satisfied with a full day of activity and good company. It’s getting dark and Leila has fetched all her blankets so everyone can cozily wrap themselves in them. Lily begins singing softly and a bit shyly, a soft folksy tune. 

 

In south carolina
There are many tall pines
I remember the oak tree
That we used to climb…

Belphegor and Beel smile, it’s rare for Lily to sing for them. Usually they only hear her singing by accident by stumbling upon her when she thinks she’s alone.

But now when I'm lonesome
I always pretend
That I'm gettin' the feel 
Of Hickory wind.

Belphegor frowns a little. There’s something melancholic about this song that reminds him of his days in the attic. He hates thinking about Lily being lonesome too, he knows those days are far behind her now but he doesn’t like to be reminded. 

I started out younger
At most everything
All the riches and pleasures
What else could life bring
But it makes me feel better
Each time it begins
Callin' me home
Hickory wind.

Belphie and Beel exchange a look. For some reason the song reminds them that their time with Lily is limited, not only will she not live as long as them..she’s destined for a life in the Human World.

It's a hard way to find out
That trouble is real
In a far away city
With a far away feel
But it makes me feel better
Each time it begins
Callin' me home
Hickory wind
Keeps callin' me home
Hickory wind.

 

When Lily’s song comes to a close, Leila picks up with one of her own. It has a more uplifting tune but still suits the sleepy camp atmosphere. Belphegor perks up from his somber as her voice instantly suffuses him with warmth. 


This old road, less traveled
Leads through the open fields
The breeze blows where we go
All of the world stands still
There is nothing and no one that could be in our way
It's just me and it's you in this moment we can save.

Lily closes her eyes and sways to the beautiful tune Leila weaves. Belphegor marvels at the conviction she puts in her song as she sings and the starry eyed look in Leila’s eyes as she stares up at the night sky while she sings. There’s a twinge of pain mixed with pride as he listens to her sing, he can tell she’s thinking about her mates.

Deep and wild, you and I
Deep and wild, full of life
Here we are, here we are now
Here we are, here we are
Headed for the deep, headed for the deep and wild.

No one notices the stolen glances between James and Beel across the fire or the shy look on Beelzebub’s face when he offers James a marshmallow he just roasted, one of the few left.

Our footsteps, right then left
Strong through the fallen leaves
What's seen in the distance
Challenge we will receive
There is nothing and no one that could be in our way
It's just me and it's you in this moment we can save.

Belphegor closes his eyes telling himself he can pretend, just now, just for this moment he can pretend that it’s just her and him. Maybe he’s got a masochistic streak but as he listens to her sing the chorus again he lets himself feel all the love he has for her. 

Here we are, here we are now
Here we are, here we are
Headed for the deep, headed for the deep and wild.

Eventually her song comes to a close. And it’s almost as if everyone wakes from a dream as they start to pick up their mess from dinner and make their way towards the cabin to call it a night. Leila finds herself lingering behind a bit, not quite ready for bed. The skies are so beautiful here, without the light pollution from the city, and there are no rain clouds threatening tonight. She wants to look at the stars for a bit longer.

 

Coming back to the cabin from the outhouse, Belphegor finds his twin, Lily and James already in pajamas in their sleeping bags, shining their faces with their flashlights and being altogether very silly as they’re telling each other spooky stories. Heh. Looks like those three found a second wind of energy . He notices that Leila isn’t with them as he stands in the doorway watching them act like teenagers. He’s heard of course how she was scared of ghosts and stuff, but didn’t know she even didn’t like the stories. 

Where is she anyway? She promised him to do some stargazing, but he feels reluctant to remind her of that. He isn’t sure how well he can behave himself if he’s alone with just her now. But he wants to be alone with just her. When will he ever get a chance like this again? Probably never. So he decides that whatever happens, ‘now’ is better than ‘never’. He slips away without Lily, James and Beel noticing and starts looking for Leila.

He finds her on a flat spot out of sight of the cabin, but still within the warded terrain. She’s laid out a big picnic blanket and some pillows and has a soft blanket pulled over herself. Belphie can’t help feeling conflicted. It’s obvious she’s learned this way of making herself comfortable from his other self. Still, she looks irresistible like that, all cozied up in her blankets. Stop making a problem where there is none. He tells himself. She’s in my reality now, so I can let myself enjoy this.

Taking a deep breath, he flops down next to her, letting out the breath as if it’s an exasperated sigh. “So here you are.”

“Hey Belphie.” He can see her sweet smile in the dark and he feels happy she’s finally using his nickname on a regular basis. Took her long enough. “I’m so happy I can see the stars above the lake tonight.”

“What do you mean?” He wonders, surprised. Didn't she do some stargazing last night with her own Belphie? He can hardly believe the two of them are really that different. 

“We couldn’t do any stargazing last night, because it was pouring.” She doesn’t sound unhappy with that fact at all and Belphegor can already guess what they did instead. His heart aches, he doesn’t want to be jealous of his other self. He isn’t really, except when it’s about these levels of intimacy he can’t have with Leila himself. “But look at how beautiful the skies are…” She points up to the vast expanse above them, shimmering with billions of stars. “...I would have been sad if I had missed this view…”

“It’s really amazing.” He relaxes next to her, laying on his back. “You can’t even see this many stars in the Devildom.”

“No?” Leila asks him. “You’d think a dark world like the Devildom has amazing starry skies.”

“It’s not the same we see as when we are in the Human World, you know that.” He explains. “The Devildom has different stars…So does the Celestial Realm.”

“Except for one…” She lays next to him, pointing.

He smiles. “Except for one.” He points as well, his index finger touching hers as they both point at the same, special to them both, star. He’s happy she doesn’t pull her hand away immediately as soon as they touch. It’s making the moment special for him, when they lower their arms at the same time.

They’re quiet for a while, just looking.


“Belphie and I are looking for a new star.” Leila suddenly says, knowing he hasn’t fallen asleep. “Well, Belphie is, because I wouldn’t know where to start…”

“What kind of new star?” Belphegor rolls on his side to look at her. 

“You know…” She has a soft expression on her face. “Since it sort of seems tradition for this family to each have their own star, be it in the Human World, Celestial Realm or Devildom… We wondered if Pandora would get one too…”

That makes sense to hope for that. Belphegor thinks. He nods. “You haven’t found it yet?”

“No…” She sits up, hugging her legs. Sounding worried and a bit sad and he can’t stand hearing her like that.

“Well, don’t worry.” He tells her, sitting up too and comfortingly rubbing her back. “I’ve always seen Lilith’s star in the sky, but never knew it was hers. How could I have? Maybe Pandora’s star is already up there, even before she was born. Just like Lilith’s descendants. Only you never knew it was meant to be her star. And someone else will point it out to you one day.”

“Oh yeah!” Leila sounds suddenly so happy and she spontaneously gives him an innocent little kiss on his cheek, making his heart leap. “We’ll figure it out eventually, right Belphie?”

We? He thinks with chagrin, laying back down again. If only that was true. Still he laughs, feeling happy to have made her happy. “Of course. Now come back down here. You’re blocking my view, and I want some of that blanket too.” He tugs on her blankets and she lets him pull her down next to him again, smiling as she drapes half of her blanket over him. He keeps her close with his arm around her shoulders as long as she doesn’t seem to mind it.

“I’m glad we’re friends now, Belphie.” She tells him as if it’s a confession and he grimaces. Sure… Friends, just friends… He thinks, clenching the fist on his other hand so she doesn’t notice. “I thought you would always dislike me, but that’s not the case anymore, right?” She asks, still sounding unsure.

He feels a bit shocked. He knew that she doesn’t know how much he loves her, but he can’t believe she actually thought he disliked her! Have I been that cold to her? Or is she just completely clueless? Lily is like that sometimes too, but still. It’s obvious for everyone else.

“I never disliked you. Not once. What makes you think that?” He can’t help pulling her a little closer to prove his point.

“Well, we did have a bit of a bad, confusing start.” She explains, shyly. “You know, I blasted you away from me that first time. That must have hurt. And then I locked you up. And then we started arguing in the middle of the living room with everyone as a witness… And we’ve never really gotten a chance to talk about it and make it right.”

He snickers. “I was never angry about that.” If anything, it made you more amazing in my eyes . “And even if I was, you pointing out Lilith’s star to me was making everything right between us.”

She laughs now too, relaxing in his arm. “If only I had known that, I wouldn’t have worried so much.”

“No, you shouldn’t have worried about that.” He rolls to his side again, hovering half over her to look in her eyes. “I like you a lot, Leila. I have always liked you, from the moment we met. And I always will...” And I’m an idiot confessing all my feelings to a girl I can’t have! He looks into her wide surprised eyes and decides to salvage what he can. “... Because you’re Lilith’s descendant. We can’t help but love you and James.” There, I said it. Even though I didn’t really say it.

She smiles brightly at him and wraps her arms around him in a hug. “I’m so happy to hear you say that, Belphie.”

Leila, you’re an idiot. He scolds her in his mind, blushing. Pulling me on top of you to hug me. If she would live in his reality, he wouldn’t let any mate she might already have stop him from having her. But now he just lets her hug him.

He rolls off her as he’s expected to when she’s done hugging him. “Hey Leila…” He muses, when he’s on his back again, staring at the sky full of stars.

“Hm?”

“Words like ‘like’ or ‘love’ just aren’t enough to express my feelings for you.” He tells her quietly, but feeling bold. He now wants as much honesty between them as is allowed. “Aren’t there any better expressions?”

Leila looks at him, feeling a bit alarmed. Isn’t that exactly what her own Belphie asked her the night before?! No, this Belphie can’t feel the same way about her, right? Still, to be safe she tells him something else she told her own Belphie. “I have no idea…”

“Yeah, it’s hard to find the right words sometimes.” He nods in understanding, not knowing what’s going on in her mind. “I’ll try to see if I can find some good expressions.” He points up again to change the subject. “Look, the moon is beautiful tonight.” He doesn’t understand why she is suddenly fidgeting next to him. It’s a strange reaction to his random observation.

But she doesn’t explain herself either, so he shrugs. Maybe she’s feeling cold, so he wraps her comfortably in his arms and in her blankets. He doesn’t want this to end, now that she’s allowing him to cuddle her. 


A while later he notices she’s fallen asleep. She must feel tired after two camping nights with what he assumes little sleep between himself and his other self.
So cute. He thinks, gently running his fingers over her relaxed features. “I love you.” He whispers to her sleeping face. Then, no longer being able to resist, he lightly gives her lips a kiss.

Even though it’s summer, at their elevation the temperature drops and Belphegor realizes this blissful time must finally end. He can’t be selfish when it comes to her well-being when she’s shivering in her sleep. “Come on, let’s get you inside then.” He mumbles with resignation, wondering how he still hasn’t fallen asleep himself. Maybe because he feels he needs to guard her? What is he, Beel?! Shaking his head, he gently lifts her in his arms. He could tell himself he’s being kind, not waking her, but really, he just likes the feel of her in his arms. How many opportunities will he have like this?

Once inside the cabin, he again snuggles up beside her. Leila is still sleeping, probably not even aware how she got in her sleeping bag. Exhausted, he falls asleep now himself as well, feeling secure and content knowing Leila is safe and comfortable.

 

 

Chapter Text

Next Day

Beelzebub had, just as his counterpart the night before, a surprisingly good night’s sleep. Without any waking urges to go on a midnight snacking raid. Of course he couldn’t, because Leila spelled the door for him so he couldn’t go outside and go hunting once he was inside the cabin. Not without Lily’s supervision at least. He can understand why they were worried about that, but he still finds it strange to deal with the fact that Leila apparently has these powers. Is it going like this for his counterpart as well? He almost worries if his other self is being fed well enough… Though then again he’s sure that James will take good care of him… He smiles fondly down on the still sleeping people around him, then looks outside the window towards the picnic area. He’s starting to feel hungry, now that he’s awake. 

His eyes widen in surprise as he is looking: There, sprawled all over their picnic table, lies a Dire Bear sleeping! Well, this one is probably still a cub, as it isn’t nearly as large and ferocious looking as the ones in the Devildom, but still. It would make for a delicious breakfast! They wouldn’t mind that, right? Dire Bears are notoriously dangerous, even for demons in some cases. He’d be a hero if he took care of it for them…

Forgetting all about Leila’s spell to keep him inside he rushes to the door. He tries to open it and is launched backwards by a powerful blast from her forcefield. He lands on his back on top of his brother who startles awake. 

“OW! What the hell, Beel!” Belphegor protectively rolls over Leila next to him, so she won’t get squished. 

She wakes up immediately and looks with wide surprised eyes at the two demons on top of her. “Wh...!” 

She stops, staring into Belphegor's eyes, as he stares into hers. She smiles at him sweetly, half awake and before he knows it, Leila wraps her arms around him, intent to give him a good morning kiss. But before she does he sees her expression changing again into shock and guilt, when she realizes he’s not her own Belphie. 

Letting him go, she quickly crawls out from under him. “S-Sorry!”

“That’s okay.” Belphegor grumbles, angrily pushing his brother off from him. His heart races and twists painfully. To be woken up so roughly and then fall into a dream-like moment that was obviously too good to be true. If only he could wake up with Leila’s arms wrapped around him like that every morning...His other self is a damn lucky bastard. He rarely gets mad at his twin but he could really throttle him right now. 

“What’s going on?” Lily’s sleepy voice takes everyone back to reality and out of the strange situation. They all look up and see a sleepy James and Lily stare at the pile of bodies with big surprised eyes. It must have looked very strange to them!

Leila and Belphegor don’t feel like explaining Leila’s almost-mistake so they too look to Beelzebub expectantly to explain why he landed on top of them, waking them up so rudely and making such a ruckus.

“There’s a Dire Bear sleeping outside.” Beel explains, pointing to the window. “A small one, but still dangerous, so I thought I’d capture it before you guys woke up. But then I forgot about Leila’s spell.” He pouts. “Sorry.”

They can’t exactly tell if he’s sorry about not being able to catch the bear, or because he woke everyone up. It also doesn’t matter. Lily, Leila and James jump up excitedly! A bear! Of course it’s not a Dire Bear, they know that. It must be a Black bear who are known to live in the area. But you see them so rarely that this is very special. 

Their excitement doesn’t make them exactly quiet as they crowd their heads by the window through which Beel saw the bear. There it is: A large adult Black bear, but it’s already clambering off the picnic table looking around confused where those strange alarming noises come from. Deciding better to be safe than sorry, the bear quickly lumbers away from the clearing into the forest. Leila can just hear his confused cry and his grumpy disappointment that he couldn’t open the cooler in which he smelled something interesting. He was lured by the smell of fish and hoped to find something. Apparently it could sniff that smell out from miles away, even with the newly invented smell-canceling spell she tried on their camp.

“Well, now that we’re awake, let’s just make breakfast then.” Lily laughs and yawns at the same time. It’s still very early and they’re all a bit tired still, but Beel is hungry and they only have so many hours left before Leila and James have to return to their own reality.

Beel beams at her. “And we can eat everything today, right? All the leftovers?”

“Yes, Beel.” James laughs sleepily as he walks outside to the pump to splash some cold water in his face, hoping it will wake him up. “But save some for later today, as we’re still here for a couple more hours…”

Beelzebub pouts. Saving something for later, is really hard to do for him. Seeing him like that, Leila promises to save some for him. He nods, trusting her. Out of all humans, he already knows that Leila is strictest on him, but if he wants to eat later, he knows he can trust her to keep him tidied over during the day.

After everyone has washed themselves, they all start on making and eating their breakfast. Belphegor and Leila did a good job with the shopping and there is still plenty left to make packages with sandwiches for Beel. But he notices something. “Leila, you’re eating so little. Are you feeling alright?” He asks her worriedly. He’s noticed she’s not as big an eater as most of them, but she’s been a healthy eater, so far from what he can tell from human eating habits.

“I’m fine, Beel.” She smiles at him, chewing on her bread. “But I’ve given my share of fruit to the family of deer that came by yesterday, so…” She shrugs.

“Oh yeah.” Belphegor smirks sleepily, when Lily perks up. “We forgot to tell you, since the whole fish-roasting stuff happened…” He shows his pictures to Lily who swoons looking at them, telling her about the family of deer and naming them. “No, you can’t have these pictures, Lily. They’re mine.”

“Oh well, that’s okay.” Lily smiles mischievously at him and he looks at her with suspicion as she continues with. “I already have pictures and videos of you playing with a family of foxes.”

“Huh?” He doesn’t remember any of that as she shows him a video of a sleeping ‘him’, being trampled by 5 fox kits walking all over him and pulling on his clothes. “Heh.” He snickers then. Looks like he’s gotten an ambush too. 

Beelzebub makes James swoon for a moment when he passes Leila an apple of his own stash. “Here, you have to stay healthy for your baby.” Beels in all realities have such a cute streak, caring for family.

“Thanks, Beel.” Leila accepts it gratefully. She knows she can do a day without fruit, but Beelzebub’s gesture means so much to her.

 

After they have breakfast they all head down towards the main lake and then up the main road to the Matterhorn Village which consists of a large gift shop, Ice cream parlor, Candyshack and their main point of interest, the Mt. Pines Adventure Golf, the adorably themed 18 holed miniature golf course.

Of course the adventurous trio are really excited for this, Leila is excited too, but not too sure of herself, she’s usually not too good at these sorts of games and she finds that embarrassing. But just like chopping wood, you can’t know if you don’t want to try it. Besides, there's always magic on her side. Belphegor simply looks resigned to his fate. 

“I’m so excited! I’ve never played before!” Lily says as they pay for their round and pick out their clubs and balls. Lily picks the purple set, Leila grabs the pink one, James blue and Beel red. 

“You stole my color.” Belphegor grumbles to Lily.

“Well it’s my color too.” She claims with a teasing laugh. “It matches my hair. Your purple is dark purple.” 

“You can have pink, if you want?” Leila offers him teasingly, with a sweet smile. He just glares at her: As if! 

Still he likes that smile, so his glare disappears almost immediately. Belphegor grumbles, turning around, claiming a black set and muttering something about Lily acting like Asmo. 

A quick game of rock paper scissors determines the order of play. Beel, James, Lily, Leila and Belphegor last. The first hole is always the easiest, basically a straight shot on a mostly level surface. Lily and Leila can’t help giggling as Beel’s large body hunches down to use the club that is definitely too small for him, but it was the largest size available. James smirks at the adorable look of concentration that comes over his face. 

Beelzebub seemingly taps the golf ball, except the ball goes flying straight off the course, almost hitting another guest right in the head before plopping into the man made pond in the middle of the course. Belphegor snorts in amusement while James laughs. “Easy there Big Guy, you’re going to have to hit that ball gently.” He teases. “I’ll go grab you a new ball.” He says before jogging back to the shop to get a new ball for Beel.

Beelzebub looks a little embarrassed, his cheeks tinted pink. “Sorry. Being gentle is harder than it looks.”

“Hmm. I think Beel needs an incentive.” Leila muses, dangling the bag of candied pecan that James gave her yesterday. Beel immediately perks up again.

“Right.” Lily nods in agreement. Everyone knows there's only one thing that really motivates Beel. “For each hole you keep the ball on the course, you can have a few candied pecans.” Lily realizes this will probably use up the entire bag by the end so she makes a mental note to buy Leila a new bag before they leave. 

“Okay.” Beel nods with a look of determination on his face just as James returns with his new ball. Concentrating again, he taps the ball and this time, not only does it stay in the course, but he gets a hole in one. “Do I get extra for that?” He asks, looking proud. 

“Not a chance.” James laughs as Leila drops some pecans into Beel’s waiting hand. “If we give you any more incentives, I won’t stand a chance at winning.” He teases as he drops his own ball on the course to take his turn. James easily gets his own hole in one as well.

Lily steps up next with her own look of determination. But she hits the ball too hard as well, it doesn’t leave the course though. Instead it hits the rock wall behind the hole and ricochets back towards them rolling to a stop as it hits her own feet. She gives her snickering friends a sheepish smile.

“Don’t tell me you need an incentive too Lily.” James teases. Lily juts her lip in a mock pout and tries again. Adjusting her technique she’s able to get a hole in two. 

Leila is up next, she looks calm and elegant as she strikes her ball with her club, but it only makes it halfway to the hole. Glaring at her ball now she marches up to it and taps it again, this time it whizzes past the hole striking the rock wall and bouncing back towards the hole but stops just short of falling in. With a smirk, she uses a tiny bit of magic to push the ball in, smiling triumphantly until she looks up to see her cousin giving her an accusatory look.

“Nuh-uh Leila. No magic in this game.” He says quiet enough that the other players on the golf course don’t hear him. 

“Ugh. Fine.” Leila says, rolling her eyes. “Spoilsport.” She grumbles to her cousin as if she isn’t the one in the wrong.

When it’s Belphegor’s turn he lazily drops his ball and seemingly without even paying attention to what he’s doing, gets a hole in one while he yawns. Everyone looks at him with a bit of surprise. “What?” He asks with a bored tone.

By the third hole it’s clear that the win will belong to one of the boys. Although Lily could prove herself before the end, as she does seem to improve with each turn. Leila’s miniature golf skills seem to be hopeless though, if anything she’s getting worse with each turn. Belphegor is finding this all completely endearing. It’s adorable to him that she’s so bad at this and he can just imagine how much Satan would be enjoying her frustrated little temper that she’s been trying to keep under wraps. As cute as it is to watch her being frustrated, he wants her to have a good time. 

“Here, get your hole in one.” Leila says a bit bitterly as she makes room on the fourth hole for Belphie to take his turn. Belphegor smirks at her before he takes his turn, making sure the ball doesn’t go in until his eighth try. 

Halfway through the course, with Leila and Belphie’s leave, the other three start moving ahead faster on the course. Leila already has given her bag with Beel’s rewards to Lily, just to be practical. Leaving Leila and Belphie to play on their own. 

“You didn’t need to be bad on purpose just to make me feel better.” Leila tells him, part of her thinks he’s being sweet but it also sort of annoys her prideful side.

Belphegor shrugs. “Maybe it was just too much effort.” 

Leila shakes her head, she doesn’t buy that for a second! “Don’t lie to me. It’s more effort to have to keep hitting the ball.” She points out the obvious and she holds her club, ready to take a swing. 

Belphegor smirks, he’s feeling a little naughty right now. This whole trip has really been testing him. Standing close behind her he wraps his hands around her own on the club and adjusts her grip and then his hands go to her hips as he adjusts her stance. His breath tickles her ear as he whispers. “Maybe it was all part of my plan to get you to myself.” He chuckles before releasing her and letting her go. 

What’s he doing?! Flustered, Leila takes a wild swing and knocks the ball right off the course. Earning herself a deeply amused chuckle from Belphegor. “Come on Leila, don’t take yourself so seriously.” Belphie tells her. “Let’s just have fun with it.” 

She’s thinking about scolding him for making her so flustered, until she sees the open smile he’s finally giving her. He’s so much like her own Belphie this way, she can’t help immediately forgiving him. 

Leila relaxes her shoulders and laughs. “You know. I think I hate mini golf.” She decides. “Would it be bad if we snuck away and went shopping instead?” 

He grins. Sneaking away together sounds perfect. “Come on.” Belphegor takes her hand, pulling her back to the shop where they can return their club and balls. “Who cares what they think anyway.” 

Even so, Leila let him send a text to Lily, letting her know that he and Leila are going to shop for souvenirs. Lily texts back telling him to have fun and that they will probably play a second round. 

“I’m sometimes a bit worried for them.” Lily sighs at James when she puts away her DDD. “I mean, I’m so glad that they’re friends, but..”

“..But his feelings go deeper.” James nods. And Leila would never cross that line.

“She makes Belphie happy.” Beelzebub tells them, shrugging. “Even if he’s sad about her being from another reality, when she’s here, he’s extra happy. And I feel the same way, with you and Leila coming here, James.” He wraps his large arm around James shoulders and squeezes fondly. Then steals another candied pecan from the bag Lily is holding.

“That’s true. It’s nice to see him happy like this.” Lily agrees, still sending a bit of worried glance to Beel, who is smiling fondly to James' beaming face. Him too? She supposes it can’t be helped.

 

“What shall we get for everyone?” Leila asks Belphegor, when they’re in the shop browsing the wares. “We didn’t have time to shop for souvenirs yesterday, so we have to pick up something for everyone from my reality too…”

Belphegor shrugs, not very interested in buying souvenirs for his brothers and the people from the other reality. He just wanted to make the most of his final hours with Leila. Still he lingers at the display of soft blankets. Some of them have wildlife depicted. It could be a good reminder for him. The stargazing under Leila’s blankets. Picnic with the deer… He shakes his head, maybe it’s not smart to remind himself of these things too much. Then again, he hasn’t been acting very smart to protect his heart the past day, anyway.

“What do you think of these?” Leila calls him over to a display of mugs. Various animals are depicted. And also lame texts such as ‘Greetings from Wally’. Belphegor snorts. That’s perfectly lame for his brothers. “Or maybe these?” Leila wanders over to the clothing section where t-shirts are on display. “Oh wait, I don’t think there’s too many choices for you large people…” She takes out one very soft looking cotton jumper for babies with a cute fawn printed on the front. “Feel this, Belphie.” She swoons, rubbing it to his cheek. “It’s so cute! I’m at least buying this for Pandora, she will enjoy that.”

He nods approvingly. “You mean, I’ll buy that for Pandora?” He teases. 

“Oh, you know what I mean.” She tells him. “Ask Lily to pay it back to you from the money James and I have in this reality.”

I’m not going to do that. He thinks, but nods at her. “I will, for the things you want to buy for my brothers.”

Eventually Leila decides on beer glasses that say ‘The Wallowas’ on them for all the brothers. It’s practical and maybe she’ll bring back some ‘human world demonus’ as they always say since this state is known for its craft beers. For both the Beelzebub’s she buys two of the largest bags of hazelnuts they have and a cookbook with recipes they’re used in. She already knows that James and Beel will love to cook some of those together and she’s sure that Beel from this reality will put it to good use as well. 

She also buys a couple of freshly baked Marionberry pies. “For dessert tonight. “She tells Belphegor with a smile. 

He snickers watching her excitement for that little treat. “Didn’t know you had a sweet tooth?” She just shrugs, but can’t keep the smile from her face as she sniffs the delicious smell of the pies.

“I want something for Solomon too.” Leila wanders ahead again. “I think he would find that interesting… Something mystical, from another reality…” She stops at the display of native arts and crafts. “Hmm… I wonder…” What to give to someone who has seen everything? She thinks.

“Ugh, Solomon. Why?” Belphegor’s sudden grumpy voice makes her turn around with raised brows, making him realize he made a mistake. Right, she’s Solomon’s granddaughter in her reality. He remembers again. 

She narrows her eyes at him, getting defensive. “Something the matter, Belphegor?” He flinches as she’s using his full name with such a sharp tone. “Why are all of you in this reality so opposed to Solomon? He’s my grandfather, you know.” She tells him in a way that says: Show some respect!

Belphegor raises his hands in peace. “I don’t know your grandfather...I’m sure he’s a good guy...he helped raise you after all.” Ugh. What am I even saying? He thinks to himself. The things I do for her favor.. .He sighs. “But Lily is still wrapped around our Solomon’s finger and he already broke her heart once. I don’t like seeing her hurt.” He gives her some puppy eyes for good measure. He doesn’t feel guilty about it at all. He’s not lying. 

Leila stops and smiles as she suddenly sees a book on display: ‘ Nez Percé Sorcery ’. It looks to be a study of the shamanistic ways of the native tribe. “Look, Belphie! This is perfect for him!” She’s already forgotten all about her annoyance with him again, he notices. “Solomon will be happy with this!” She thinks for a moment. “...Maybe Satan too?” 

He gives her a noncommittal shrug. Ugh. We’re alone and all she can think about is making other people happy. He thinks to himself when he selfishly just wants her to focus on him, and only him. 

Before he can voice any of his thoughts, Leila already shakes her head. “But no, that wouldn’t be fair. I can’t buy something small for everyone and something big for Satan. I’ll buy it for me then, so he can read it too.” She nods, having made a decision. “And for Belphie I will buy…” She moves on from the display in search of something soft and comfy.

Belphegor yawns tiredly, Leila has finally picked out something for everyone. He’s way overdue for a nap and he’s feeling a bit offended when Leila stops short at a toy stuffing machine. “Oh! This is perfect for you!” She exclaims happily, turning quite a few heads from other shoppers.

“How do you figure that?” He frowns. He’s not opposed to soft things, but stuffed toys? Does she see him as a child? He feels he wants to teach her a lesson if she thinks that.

“Well look…” Leila picks out one of the very flat looking models. It’s very big and may resemble something like a fox. “There’s pillow cases too. Wouldn’t you like that?”

He smiles, his face flushes embarrassingly, but he doesn’t really care right now. How well she knows him! Well, other him, but who can tell the difference? “Yeah, I think I would…” He admits, feeling the softness of the model. One side is made of plush, the other side of soft cotton. It will be perfect. “But I want the fawn.”

“Of course!” She beams at him happily. “Because you met the family of deer yesterday, right?” She whispers conspiratorially in his ear. “My Belphie can have the fox… Oh, maybe I should make another one of the foxes for Lily? She would like that, right?” She nods to herself as she’s rambling and starts filling up the first pillow. Belphegor just stands there, watching her with a goofy grin. How cute… “We could do a bear for James. He hasn’t had a chance to talk with an animal, but he saw the bear in our camp this morning…” 

She keeps going, thinking out loud, until the first pillow is filled. Then she holds it up for him. It looks wonky. All the stuffing is in its belly, while none of it is in the head or the tail. Leila looks disappointed. This is not how she hoped it would look.

“Here, let me.” Belphegor offers and starts fluffing up the pillow like only he can. Soon the stuffing is equally spread in the model. “Hm…” He tests its firmness and softness. “I think it can use a little more.” He tells her, giving it back. 

She nods seriously and gets to work, filling up four pillows with stuffing until Belphegor tells her they all reached peak perfection for support, firmness and softness. She gives him her sweetest smile as she watches him enjoying himself. She wasn’t sure if he really had a fun weekend, but it looks like he is really happy now, at least.

Belphegor in the meantime couldn’t feel happier. He had hoped for a lot of time with Leila and becoming closer with her and it all turned out even better than he hoped. He can’t believe his luck as she smiles so cute at him. He can’t believe that someone like her exists for someone like him. The only downside is that it was all only for one day and that she isn’t meant for him. But he decides to forget about that for the moment. Right now he just wants to be happy for as long as possible.

 

Serenity Manor, Great Britain

At the end of the morning, they all gather at the cabin again to collect their belongings. Lily and Leila do a thorough sweep of Solomon’s cabin and the area surrounding it, to make sure they leave it in perfect condition. Or at least in the state they found it. Beel has eaten the contents of the large cooler empty to the last crumb. It’s time to go home. Leila makes the teleportation circle and they vanish from Solomon’s secret reserve and appear back in Serenity Manor.

 

“Ugh!” Asmodeus wrinkles his nose as he’s closing in on Lily when she and the others appear back in the Manor. “Lily!” He admonishes her, plugging his nose with his elegant fingers. “You’re smelling less than lovely.” He tells her bluntly. “And look! You’ve still got dirt and Diavolo knows what else under your nails?!”

Lily just shrugs. Sure, she could have used some cleaning up spells on herself, but it already wasn’t really a true camping trip as it was. You can’t let magic take away all the authenticity of spending time outdoors. She thinks to herself as she grins and lunges as Asmo, intending to wrap him up in a big hug. “EEEEK! Stay away!” Asmo shrieks, hiding behind Lucifer who is probably already feeling a headache coming on. 

“Can I go use your bath then Asmo?” Lily teases him. She’s looking forward to a hot bath, that’s the best part of coming home after camping, scrubbing all the grime off and feeling new and shiny again.  

“Certainly not! Don’t you dare!” Asmodeus exclaims from behind Lucifer.

With a sigh and a wave of his hand Lucifer performs a cleansing spell on them all, anything to make them stop. Drat! Lily thinks to herself. 

“Thanks Lucifer!” Leila sings to him in gratitude, making him and Lily smile. Yes, to Leila this was the most ‘camping’ she was capable of. Even though she’s the only one of us who actually slept in a tent. Lily thinks fondly. “That’ll save me from this same argument with our Asmo!”

“I’m hungry.” Beelzebub announces and everyone follows the demon to the dining room where dinner is waiting for them.

“Yeah, me too honestly.” Belphegor admits as they all quickly fill their plates before their brother eats it all. He’s REALLY hungry! It must have been all that time spent outdoors? Or maybe it’s just that it’s time for lunch… Erm...dinner.

During dinner it’s mostly the brothers talking who weren’t out on the camping date. The humans are quiet, feeling tired but happy. Beelzebub is eating and Belphegor is being himself.

“I bought dessert!” Leila announces after dinner. They should just have enough time before having to go back to their own reality. “Apparently the state we went to is famous for these berries!” She quickly goes to get the Marionberry pies. One for Beel and one for everyone else. 

“You shouldn’t indulge him, Leila. I have enough problems with Lily spoiling him.” Lucifer tells her sternly, but still accepts his piece of the pie with a smile, before his hungry brother takes it too, since he is already halfway devouring his whole one. 

“I’ve gotten better.” Lily mumbles in her defence before stuffing her own face with the delicious pie.

“It’s not so bad.” Leila tells him with her mouth full and sparkly eyes from the delicious taste. “He didn’t kill any animal he wasn't allowed to, so he deserves it.” She munches happily, ignoring the eyerolls of the demons. Like they care about Human World wildlife?

“Trust me, Leila can’t be accused of spoiling Beel too much.” James snickers and Beelzebub pouts. It’s true, he found that out this weekend. “Now me, on the other hand…” He performs the duplication spell Leila had taught him once on Beelzebub’s half devoured pie, creating another - albeit less tasty - half. Beelzebub still beams at him in gratitude, as Lucifer gives James a disapproving glare.

Soon after dessert, James and Leila return home to their own reality.

 

After Leila and James had disappeared back to their own reality. Belphegor makes his way back to his room, Beelzebub had already brought both their packs up earlier and while he was too tired and lazy to actually unpack properly - he’ll get Lily to do it tomorrow - there were a couple things he wanted from inside. He smiles happily as he pulls out his new fawn pillow first, refluffing it before setting it on his bed. Then he rummages around near the bottom of his pack for a very specific blanket. Satisfied, he curls up in bed with his new pillow and blanket.

Satan is making his way to his room when he catches a scent that doesn’t make sense. “Leila?” He says aloud, looking around. But her and James had only left not long ago and the reality turners do not allow them to come back so soon. And her scent should have faded from the manor by now. But he’s sure of it when another draft moves through the manor and he catches her scent again. Too curious, he follows the scent to the twins room. 

Barging inside he only finds Belphie asleep in his bed, no one else is in the room. No doubt Beelzebub is still downstairs eating. Leila’s scent is strong in the room though and jealousy flares up inside him. But he’s still confused because Belphegor did not smell that strongly of her when they arrived home. 

Walking up to Belphie, he notices the blanket, it doesn’t seem like Belphie’s usual style or colors. Picking up a corner he sniffs it. Ah ha. That explains. Did Belphie steal this blanket from Leila or did she give it to him? He feels annoyed with the thought of the latter. Why would she?

“Satan? What are you doing?” Belphegor asks his brother sleepily, interrupting his thoughts. 

“Did you steal Leila’s blanket?” Satan accuses him with a glare. Belphie smirks and jerks the corner Satan was still holding onto, out of his hands. 

“So what if I did?” He mumbles lazily, closing his eyes again.

“That’s just….creepy…” Satan grumbles, trying to contain the irrational jealousy that’s swirling inside him. 

“No it’s not.” Belphegor sounds completely satisfied as he curls himself up once more in his new blanket. “Since Leila and I shared this blanket a couple of times, I saved her from an embarrassing conversation with her mates. She doesn’t smell my scent on it, but they certainly would.” 

Satan notices now too. It's not the scent he was drawn to, but Leila’s irresistible scent is definitely mingled with his brother’s. And not from his recent use of the blanket. For some strange reason he feels an inexplicable rage boiling up inside him. What did they do together in this blanket?! Growling he stomps out of the twins room, before he’ll tear the innocent blanket to pieces. Why would he care what his brother did with Leila? Sure, she’s interesting, when she comes over they have good conversations. But she’s from another reality. It doesn’t make any sense to even sense her this strongly!

Belphegor doesn’t even notice him stomping off. It’s like he can now hug Leila in his dreams without having to hold back or worry about anything.

Chapter Text

 

Lily’s Reality, a few weeks ago...

“Lily, I was wondering...” Satan walks into Lily’s room with such a huge stack of books in his hands that Lily can’t even see his head. 

He must be purely trusting his senses as he confidently comes further into the room. Mammon grins at Lily and sticks out his foot to make his brother trip, but Satan steps over it as if Mammon’s foot wasn’t there. Instead, all Mammon receives for his efforts is a disapproving glare from Lily.

Scowling that his little mischief backfired, Mammon growls. “Can’t ya see Lily’s busy?”

Satan puts his books on her table and looks at Mammon. “No, I couldn’t.” Then he turns to Lily. “Have you, Leila and James already discussed any plans for my date with all of you?” 

“We have talked about it, yes.” Lily nods at him. “But we’ve also been so busy with the other dates and the trials…We haven’t made any concrete plans, yet.”

“Allow me to make some suggestions then.” Satan smiles at her with a confident smirk as if he didn’t expect anything else and Lily rolls her eyes, but nods. He opens several books about ancient worshiping of cats, and several websites on Lily’s laptop with art galleries, bookshops etecetera. “You see, there are all kinds of interesting things about…”

“Oi!” Mammon protests, seeing that his human will most likely be occupied by his nerdy brother for the rest of the day if he isn’t quick to put a stop to it right now. “I’m hangin’ out with my human! Get your own time!”

“Your date is already being organized and you don’t have to do a thing.” Satan gives him a threatening glare. “Go away, Mammon. I’m not going to wait for you to ‘allow’ me to have some time with OUR Lily.” He then turns back to Lily with an amiable smile. “See here, Lily. These superstitions say black cats are bad luck. But in this part of the Human World they’re viewed as bringers of luck…” 

“Really?” Mammon is still around, having much more interest in the conversation now. “So they bringin’ their cat to the casi-”

“Mammon, please don’t interrupt.” Lily sighs, she just knows he’s going to make this take longer than it needs to, and probably make Satan mad before the end too. And she would rather avoid that. “In fact, why don’t you go see if Levi needs a player two?” She’s smiling brightly when she says it but it’s still a command. It might seem unfair but Mammon does have a tendency to monopolize her time if she doesn’t put her foot down. 

Muttering, Mammon leaves and Satan and Lily can finally look at all Satan’s ideas in peace.



James & Leila’s Reality, still a few weeks ago…

“We’re really busy right now with planning for Mammon’s dates and the twin’s dates, Satan.” Leila tells him again as he comes to her with yet another new idea for his own date. “Why don’t you make a list and we pick some good things out together soon?” 

She really appreciates him wanting to help with his own date. Mammon is quite useless, only saying he wants to gamble with his luck-bringers. And well… Honestly the twins are not much help with planning their own dates either. Beel wants to bring enough food and Belphie enough blankets, basically.

But it feels as if Satan comes up with more and more ideas every day of all interesting things from the Human World. He really needs to narrow it down. Preferably on his own. But he won’t be dismissed so easily.

“Look at this.” He tells her with gleaming eyes. “There is a whole town that basically is made out of bookstores…And it’s not even that far away.” He thinks they should go there together someday anyway, with or without the others.

“Uh huh, uh huh… Interesting…” Leila nods absentmindedly as she calculates the amount of food they need for the camping trip. A lot. And it's going to bankrupt them, she’s sure of that. She frowns a bit worried at the numbers.

“Can I help you with something?” Satan gives up for the moment, seeing his mate frown.

“It’s just a lot of organizing to do.” She tells him, leaning her head on his shoulder as he sits next to her. “I want all the dates to be special, but…”

“Well, I can help you with making Mammon’s date more classy.” He tells her about his connections at the race circuit and she beams. “And let me help you calculate this.”

“What’s your price?” She grins cheekily. As if she doesn’t know. He grins back and gives her such a kiss that it leaves her dizzy.



Leila and James Reality, Present Day

Lily arrives for breakfast bright and perky, waving a list that’s basically a scroll of all the books her own Satan would like them to find for him today. He’d decided he’d make his own trip over to the booktown Hay-on-Wye himself but it wouldn’t hurt to have second copies or in the advent he couldn’t find certain titles in their own reality. 

“You know, I was thinking about it. Magic has so many wonderful uses but I think these bottomless bags will forever be my most practical item!” Lily laughs as she takes out a stack of titles that her own Satan had sent with her to pass along to his other self. 

“I knooow!” Asmo agrees wholeheartedly. “I don’t understand why Leila can’t teach me that spell!” He complains. He knows so many good uses for a bottomless bag. For one it would make shopping for clothes - and especially carrying them home - much easier.

“Right?” Mammon grumbles. “If I knew how to make a bottomless bag, I coulda gone to a bank to-” He stops talking as he realizes how he almost admits he would rob a bank, given the chance.

“It’s a family spell.” Leila explains with a lecturing voice. “Only for Solomon and his apprentices. Some things we aren’t allowed to share with outsiders. Mammon just gave us an excellent example why. And also: What if someone uses it to transport a bomb from one country to the next? Just as the teleportation techniques that we aren’t supposed to teach demons, because they’re already fast and dangerous enough without-” 

She’s interrupted by Belphegor, who suddenly demonstrates demon speed by swiftly kissing her out of nowhere. Everyone else politely tries to ignore the PDA. Belphegor feels a little jealous that Leila and Satan are going out on another trip together this summer.

“Most likely most demons would even be unable to perform some types of Human World magic.” Lucifer agrees with a smug look on his face. Knowing out of all his brothers, he is the most likely to be able to. If he would be so inclined to try it. Or, heaven forbid, be taught by humans. “Just as some types of demonic magic are unsuited for humans or angels.”

“It’s still not fair.” Leviathan laments, joining the conversation out nowhere. 

“I’d keep a bag like that full of-”

“FOOD?! We know.” Asmo sighs, cutting off his younger brother and earning some laughs. Beelzebub just shrugs and keeps eating. 

Eventually their lively breakfast comes to an end and Satan is eager to rush them out the door to begin his time alone with Leila, and James and Lily too of course…

Hay-On-Wye was close but still a three hour trip by car, Solomon was nice enough to offer to transport them there to save Leila some energy and spare the rest of the group from having to get up at an ungodly hour to drive there.

“Aww! This place is too cute for words!” Lily gushes at the quaint booktown as they arrive from their teleportation spot in a secluded bit of woods outside of town. James humors her with a smile, this really isn’t his speed but if it makes Satan and the girls happy, he knows he can enjoy his day with them. 

“It really is nice isn’t it?” Satan says as he wraps Leila up in his arms from behind. “I could see us settling down in a place like this. I could open up my own shop and we’re close enough to the Sorcerer’s Society and one of the seals to the Devildom.” He sighs with contentment. “We could have a house in a secluded spot outside of town with plenty of room for Pandora. I think Belphie would even like a sleepy little town like this.”

Leila smiles, feeling warm and happy. She knows it's not likely for his little dream to come true. Would Diavolo ever allow any of his Avatars to live in the human world permanently? Lucifer certainly wouldn’t like it. Would Belphie agree to live with them without his twin? She tries to ignore these practical questions. It’s a nice thought and there’s no harm in dreaming right?

Satan is lifting her chin back to press his lips to hers when Leila hears someone passing by giggling about ‘young love’ causing her cheeks to redden. “Not here.” She admonishes him, not able to wipe the smile from her face. 

Looking ahead of them, they see James and Lily had moved on to give them some privacy. They were standing outside a shop a little ways up the road. “Look Satan!” Lily giggles as they get closer to the two. “Murder and Mayhem!” She points to the name of the shop above the door.

“I bet it’s chock full of those mysteries you like.” James laughs. 

Inside the bookshop James and Lily make a game of finding the mosting silly, interesting and bizarre titles. Such as: Thread on Arrival , Sconed to Death and Lily’s personal favorite: Strangled Eggs and Ham - Would you like them murdered ?

Leila giggles with them, but makes herself more useful to Satan by helping find and carry the books he was actually interested in purchasing. 

It takes a while but they eventually manage to drag Satan away from the quintessential village of books with the promise of heading to the Cat Cafe in Liverpool that he’d been wanting to visit. “Listen to this.” He tells them as he reads from their website once more on his DDD while Leila gets ready to do a short teleportation jump. “Cat Cafe is here to bridge the gap for cat loving humans who can’t have pets themselves…”

“And Demons too!” James laughs. 

Once at the cafe, Satan is giddy when a group of cats lured by Leila’s ability to talk to them settle in around them. Feeling content, Satan decides to read aloud one of his books since they’re sitting in a quiet corner in the back of the cafe.  The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective , is the title he decides to read. 

“Do you have to read that one?” Leila almost pouts. She doesn’t want to burst his bubble but she really doesn’t enjoy stories like that. 

“Yes! It’s the dramatic story of the real-life murder that inspired the birth of modern detective fiction!” He tells them all exuberantly. 

“You just read that from the back of the book.” Leila accuses, not impressed.


“The word 'clue' derives from 'clew', meaning a ball of thread or yarn. It had come to mean 'that which points the way' because of the Greek myth in which Theseus uses a ball of yarn, given to him by Ariadne, to find his way out of the Minotaur's labyrinth.”

“Nothing can be more slightly defined than the line of demarcation between sanity and insanity ... Make the definition too narrow, it becomes meaningless; make it too wide, and the whole human race becomes involved in the dragnet. In strictness we are all mad when we give way to passion, to prejudice, to vice, to vanity; but if all the passionate, prejudiced and vain people were to be locked up as lunatics, who is to keep the key to the asylum?"

While some of the book was fascinating, soon enough Lily and James are practically asleep with the cats. When the book began to take darker and darker turns, Leila finally insisted that Satan leave the rest for home. In his own room. 

“Fine…” Satan sighs, wanting to please his mate but feeling torn about setting the book down now. 



“What have you got there, Satan?” Lily asks with a yawn, when she notices a nondescript looking book on the bottom of his stack of purchases. It looks like an old diary, so it caught her curiosity.

“I’m not sure.” Satan smiles as he picks it up. ‘The Eyes of Ra.’ it says as the title and two cat eyes are staring at the friends from the cover. “I found it at that place where the entire fence is made out of books. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t leave it…” He stares at the two golden eyes: They seem to be hypnotizing.

Leila quickly tests the diary-looking book. It’s not cursed, as far as she can determine, but it may have belonged to a magician once. She can sense some vague magic. Curiously she asks Satan to read it.

Satan nods and cracks open the old weathered diary. “Hmm… I can’t read it all, but it says here that this diary belonged to the male witch Osmund, who was in love with the beautiful, but non-magical Lady Elaine...apparently she was beautiful beyond comparison, since he’s describing her appearance in much detail here…” He shrugs and reads on in silence for a bit, not very interested to read that out loud. “...It seems like she was destined to be married off for some political gain to a Duke, but she turned to the witch for help…” 

“Ooh… Is it some sort of medieval love story featuring magicians?” Leila swoons and scoots closer to Satan to try to read over his shoulder. He pretends not to like it and moves away until she scoots even closer and he suddenly wraps his arm around her with a grin. 

“Like Eric and Enid? Or Tristan and Isolde? Oh! Maybe like Floris and Blancheflour, that one has a happy ending…” Lily beams as well, while James rolls his eyes.

“I don’t know, let's keep reading.” Satan snickers with a roll of his eyes and picks up the book again, but then something falls out. “Hey, what’s this…?” Curiously, Satan carefully picks up a thin golden object. 

“A key?” James is finally interested in the book now too.

Satan nods. “I wonder what it opens? Maybe there’s a clue inside?… Hmm…” He flips through the first pages, trying to read the faded words. “It seems the witch tried to win the Lady Elaine for himself, by making a magical love token for them both to wear…” He squints at the next passage which is virtually unreadable if he weren’t a demon with heightened eyesight. “...I think it says here that he asked the goddess Bastet for approval and assistance…” He nods. That’s not uncommon under Human World magicians to ask the help of demons for these sorts of things. “Something with rings and… eyes…? Ugh…” He skips the rest of the page and skims impatiently through the next couple of pages until his face lights up. “Ah! The witch used to live in Wales! It shouldn’t be too far from here either. Let’s check it out?”

None of them can resist Satan’s exuberant face as he looks so eager to play detective and solve this mystery. And honestly: All three of his humans are curious too! A witch! Possible courtly medieval love! Magic and demons, or goddesses if you will. A mysterious key, and a mystery to solve!

“We should be careful.” Leila reminds everyone, but her own eyes shine with anticipation. She’s not fooling anyone.


On the way over, Satan tells his humans all about the demon Bastet. One of the two favorite daughters of the demon king Ra. She was called the Eye of Ra, just like her sister Sekhmet. Beloved by demons and humans alike. But while Bastet had a gentle spirit, especially for a demon, her sister was more ferocious. They both were often depicted as cat-like by the humans who worshiped them. Bastet as the sensual and elegant domesticated feline, symbolizes the blessings - like nurturing and growth - of her father, the Sun god Ra. And Sekhmet as the fearsome lioness, symbolizes the scorching powers of the sun. But they also both had attributes they shared with one another. Like for example they both were believed to have certain healing powers and both were worshiped as goddesses of fertility. In a way. Even though Bastet was more known for it.

“You make it sound if you know them.” James asks curiously.

“I’m not personally acquainted.” Satan shrugs. “But as you know, there aren’t many female demons, compared to males. So yes, if someone fathers female twins like Bastet and Sekhmet, everyone knows about them soon enough.”

They try to follow the vague instructions in the journal as best as they can, looking for the landmarks described. Which have obviously changed over the centuries. But that’s not going to stop a group of demons and sorcerers, of course.

“...I mean…” James tilts his head to the side, looking through narrowed eyes to the hills in the distance. “If you imagine real hard, you could think of those hills as ‘The Cyclops’ Family’...” He points and the others follow his finger. “That giant watering hole… That’s the eye…Then on the left is his wife. Her two eyes are those big rocks… And so the smaller hill is their kid.”

They all nod, they can see it now too, with some imagination. Now they have to find the Llangernyw Yew tree that marks the entrance of the witch’s territory. Or at least, that’s what they think it says in the journal. “It’s apparently a famous tree, already 4000 years old.” Lily mentions, as she’s reading over Leila’s shoulder who has looked the tree up on her DDD, while James drives their rental car in the direction of The Cyclops Family. “I didn’t know trees could grow thousands of years old…Hey Leila, wouldn’t it be neat if there was a spell to talk to trees? Think of all the history it could tell us!” 

“Sure would!” Leila beams and the two girls start a giddy conversation about communicating with trees and researching for spells or enchantments to be able to do that, while James and Satan look at each other, roll their eyes and shrug.

Since the tree is so famous, they have no problem finding it. It is located next to a church. Maybe it used to be the witch’s home in the dark ages? It was not very common for witches of that day and age to want to get anywhere close to a church… But it doesn’t matter now. The tree stands on the church's graveyard. Old tombstones with faded names stand near its trunk, as if the tree can protect the ones who are buried there with its branches.. 

“There’s a legend that this tree whispers the names of the people who will die before the next Halloween.” James informs them with a cheeky grin, reading from a pamphlet he’s picked up from the church. 

“Creepy.” Leila shivers and is looking at the tree and the tombstones suspiciously now. 

“Hey! Look here!” Lily has found the tombstone with the name of the witch who started the journal. It’s a very old tombstone and most of the writing on it has weathered away, but they could just make out his name.

“Really? He’s buried on church grounds?” That’s definitely not common for witches from that time! Leila is starting to feel more and more uncomfortable now. Not because of the church, but because she knows her history and there aren’t many reasons why a witch back then would let themselves be buried in a traditional christian way. “Maybe we should leave this place to rest, you guys. I don’t think we should…”

“I sense something buried here.” Satan interrupts, not really listening to her and he performs an upheaval spell to not disturb the grave, but a little box starts appearing from the dirt. He grabs it and opens it curiously with the key he found in the journal. “Hey, look at that!” He smiles triumphantly, taking out what first appears to be one large ring with two gemstones. But it actually turns out to be a matching pair. Both rings have gold bands and a gemstone that looks like a golden cat eye. Very similar to the cat eyes on the cover of the book Satan found, ‘The Eyes of Ra’. “Isn’t this lovely, Leila? I think it’s what you humans call ‘promise’ rings.” He looks in her eyes with much love.

Leila looks. She has to admit that the rings look very beautiful and she feels herself being drawn to them. She gives Satan a sweet smile in return, feeling closer to him than ever.

“You two should wear them.” Lily teases. “The way you two are swooning like newlyweds.” James laughs and agrees with Lily, teasing his cousin too.

Nobody realizes how Leila has let go of all of her guards or how entranced the couple really is. Somehow the rings have her and Satan under some sort of spell they don’t even detect. At least not until it’s too late…

“I don’t mind…” Leila finally answers Satan shyly.

James and Lily are still smiling and shaking their heads at their love struck friends when Satan slips a ring onto Leila’s finger and then his own. Leila is admiring the ring on her finger when Satan suddenly reaches out to her, pulling her by the waist and pressing her close to him as he lifts her chin with the other and starts to kiss her most passionately!

Lily and James' eyes widen and they exchange a look while Lily tries not to giggle. James whistles. “Get a room, you two!” He teases. 

Leila’s cheeks are flushed red from Satan’s sudden passion and the fact that Lily and her own cousin are watching them. She gently pats his chest to signal him to stop. When he doesn’t she gives him a little push against his chest. 

Satan finally let’s Leila’s lips go with a growl, only to gently pull her head back by her hair to lavish hot kisses down her neck. “S-Satan! Stop!” Leila says, beet red as she accidentally makes eye contact with Lily and James who are now just starting to feel uncomfortable by Satan’s passionate display out in the open for anyone to see. 

“Hey, Satan. There’s time for that later.” James jokes again, trying to break the tension and gain the demon’s attention. 

Satan completely ignores them all, including Leila’s embarrassed pleas for him to knock it off. When he starts groping Leila’s butt with one hand and trying to undo a button on her blouse with the other, Leila finally shouts a command. “Satan! Enough!” 

He finally let’s go of her as if stung, as if waking from a dream he looks at Leila’s angry yet concerned expression and Lily and James’ own expressions of worry and bewilderment. “Leila…I’m sorry..I don’t know what came over me…I just love you so much.” He professes, taking her hand and twining his fingers with hers. 

“Uh, well I love you too.” Leila replies with a blush, she certainly wasn’t expecting such a casual declaration in front of James and Lily no less. “But there’s time for that later, in private.” She whispers to him. 

Satan laughs and wraps his arm around her shoulders. “Maybe we should scrap the rest of the trip and you and I can go home.” He says suggestively in her ear. 

“What?” Leila says surprised. “You were so excited to go and we spent too much time planning this day!” She scolds him, “Besides, it wouldn’t be very fair to Lily who only has a limited time to spend with us.” She reminds him before slipping out of his hold. “Let’s move on to our next location, we’ve already ruined our schedule with this interesting detour.” Leila doesn’t see the wicked looking glare Satan levels at Lily while Leila is walking away from them, back to their car. 

“Is it just me or is something off with Satan?” Lily whispers to James with concern as Satan rushes back to Leila’s side. She’s seen Satan giving displays of passion for Leila before, but this seems to go beyond that.

James nods, looking a bit concerned after the couple. “Let’s keep a close eye on them.”

A little bit later they are at the art gallery Satan wanted to see and James and Lily’s concern has been growing, while Leila’s patience with Satan’s constant touches, kisses and public groping is wearing thin. Surprisingly though, every time he apologizes she seems to forgive and forget. “Leila? Can I talk to you for a minute?” James links his arm with his cousin and attempts to lead her away where he can talk to her. 

“Let go of my mate!” Satan is suddenly snarling in James’ face as he wrenches James’ arm painfully and pushes him away from Leila. 

“Satan! What the hell is wrong with you?!” Leila is shouting at him, uncaring of the strange looks they’re receiving. How dare he hurt James!

“You’re mine! No one else can have you!” Satan growls at Leila harshly before giving her a punishing kiss. If they were not in public Leila probably would have blasted him with a spell all the way to the Celestial Realm for that stunt. Instead she has to get him under control with another command. 

During the ruckus Lily was able to sneak the journal out of Satan’s bag. She’s flipping through the pages furiously, this has to have something to do with this book or the rings, even if none of them had detected a curse. Eventually she finds what she’s looking for. Meanwhile Leila has ushered them all out of the gallery to a secluded area in the nearby alley where she can teleport them all home. During her ranting at Satan as she’s kept him compliant with a pact command, she hadn’t even noticed Lily reading the journal as she followed them at a slower pace. 


“Lily, I'm so sorry.” Leila suddenly apologizes to her friend as she’s finishing up her magic circle. “When we’re back at that Manor, we’ll spend some time alone, just us girls.” This elicits a growl but nothing more from Satan who isn’t allowed to speak or move right now without Leila’s permission. 

“Actually Leila…I don’t think this is Satan’s fault.” Lily tells her, feeling a bit guilty for encouraging her friends to put on those rings. 

“Of course it’s his fault!” Leila begins to rant again, James and Lily are always way too soft on these demons. But a little part of her feels like Lily might be right. Satan is acting very strange. “Anyway, we’ll figure this out at home. Come on.”

“No listen.” Lily insists, not stepping into Leila’s teleportation circle yet. It’s probably not a good idea for them to get home yet, knowing who lives there. “This journal isn’t the romantic love story we thought it was…” She begins telling about what she could decipher so far from the scribbles in the journal.

It turns out the witch had made a mistake creating the rings. Both Bastet and Sekhmet were asked for their blessing, as the humans often confused the two demon sisters and sometimes worshiped them as one deity. And while Bastet blessed the rings with eternal love, Sekhmet blessed them with burning desire and the result was that it brings out a combination of possessive passion and aggression in the one wearing the Tigers Eye gemstone ring for the one wearing the Cats Eye gemstone ring, which is smaller and usually given to the female.

“Oh no.” James looks worried and guilty. “And we encouraged you to wear them…”

“Yeah, listen to this passage…” Lily nods and reads out loud. “ ...’I can’t let my Lady Elaine marry anyone else other than me…’ and then a little later. ‘...The wedding is tomorrow. She doesn’t want to marry him, but she still will… I need to save her: if I can’t have her, nobody can have her…’ and finally here… ‘...She’s dead now, they’re all dead. But at least my beloved Elaine is freed from her fate. She will be mine in the next life…’ I…I think he killed her and everyone else at the wedding…?”

“Oh no!” Leila stands next to Lily, reading with her. She can sense the heartbreak from the witch and his beloved Elaine in her own heart and she feels like crying. She looks at her new beautiful ring, but somehow doesn’t have it in her to simply pull off the ring from her finger. Why not? “What happens next…?” She’s afraid to ask, but has to know.

Old passages in the journal mention that the witch went crazy and indeed killed his beloved and her husband on the day they got forced into their marriage. But the witch couldn’t find any rest after this. The rings could not be destroyed. The curse was put in place and couldn’t be broken this way. Eventually he died of a broken heart and an insane mind.

“How awful.” Lily sniffles. “He meant well for Lady Elaine, but they both got cursed…”

“There’s more.” James has taken the journal from Lily, as she can barely read it anymore through teary eyes. “This here is written by an older female witch who cleaned out his house after his death. Apparently she found the rings and got excited ‘...Beautiful wedding bands. My daughter will be so happy with these…’ Ignoring the crazy scribbles of warning, she imagined the two rings as beautiful wedding bands for her daughter and fiance…”

“What happened to them…?” Leila asks, but it is as if she can sense it. She already knows.

“Um…” James looks at the journal with wide eyes. “Apparently, on their wedding day, they gave such a… public display of passion, that the authorities had to intervene. They were arrested and the next day they were executed for witchcraft…” It’s not very much appreciated these days to have sex in public for everyone to see, but back then it was seen as something like a ritual to worship the Devil.  

Heartbroken that she lost her child, the old crone writes one last goodbye and her own warning about the rings in the journal before giving herself up to the mobs to be burned at the stake.


There are more examples like this. Over the centuries it seems that often the Eyes of Ra; the rings created by Bastet and Sekhmet find their ways in the hands of lovers. Always involving at least one witch or sorcerer. Often there is someone who witnesses their friends, family or beloved succumb to insanity before they die or get killed by the hands of the one wearing the Tigers Eye ring. These friends or relatives are often involved with either finding the rings and giving them to the couple, or witnessing the couple finding them and encouraging them to wear them. The couples are unable to resist the pull the rings have on their love. But as soon as they wear the rings, their lives are being destroyed. The last one writing in the journal - that seems to be tied to the fate of the rings - decided to bury the rings at the place they were created. Hoping that nobody would ever find them again…

“Well, that didn’t work…” James grumbles, glaring at the journal. To think that if Satan didn’t find this journal, they wouldn’t be in this situation at all! “But I agree with Lily. We can’t go home. Who knows what Satan will do to Belphie.” Satan lets out a threatening growl in answer to that, making Leila look scared at him. She sees a murderous smolder in his eyes. 

“Yeah, you’ve seen how he acts around James and he’s not a threat to your love.” Lily agrees. “He might even harm Pandora…”

Satan begins making a lot of sounds of protests, what Lily said about Pandora has seemed to cut through the fog of the curse. “You may speak.” Leila tells Satan knowing he wants to say something, she waits to see what he’ll say with trepidation and a heavy heart. 

“Leila! I’d never hurt Pandora!” He protests. 

Leila shakes her head sadly. “I know you wouldn’t…under normal circumstances…” What will he do when Pandora needs attention and care from her mother? He can’t even stand it when Leila gives attention to Lily and James, right now.

“The three of us will go away, somewhere far from everyone else!” He begins to insist as the clarity of his mind begins to submit to the curse again. “There was only a problem with those other couples because of other people getting between their love!”

“The curse seems to be escalating much faster than it did for the others…” Lily comments with worry. 

“Maybe because he’s a demon?” James speculates. “Regardless, we need to find somewhere secure for him while we figure this out.”

“Don’t listen to them, Leila!” Satan is snarling again. “They’re just jealous because they’ll never experience love like we have! Just release me Leila and I’ll take you far away where no one can come between us again.”

Lily hugs Leila as she has to turn away from her beloved mate, shedding tears of sorrow to see him like this. “Don’t worry Leila, we’ll figure something out. We always do!” Lily does her best to encourage her friend, patting her on the back. 

“Yeah..yeah you’re right.” Leila says, brushing her tears aside. When she looks at Lily again there’s a fire and determination there. She’s not going to despair and give up on her mate. Meanwhile James has had to command Satan to be silent again because of the snarling fit he was having, practically foaming at the mouth like some rabid animal by the sight of his mate being hugged by her friend.

 

 

Chapter Text

A short while later they’ve holed themselves up in one of Solomon’s abandoned residences. While Leila had discussed the circumstances with her grandfather, James had informed Lucifer. Leila may or may not have scolded Lucifer when she’d heard that he’d prepare a cell for Satan in the Demon Lord’s Castle dungeons. Solomon arrived soon after, they had to put Satan in one of the back rooms since the sight of more people would probably agitate him further. 

“Hmm.” Solomon frowns as he reads through the journal. He probably wants to comment on how they should have read the journal entirely before going on their impulsive treasure hunt, but he also realizes they were all probably under the influence of the residual energy left on the journal as well. Just like the others, he doesn’t detect a curse, which means this whole situation was never meant to be one. Even though the effects are one. “Well, if the Eyes of Ra ‘blessed’ these rings, we should go straight to the source. I’m sure we can convince them to remove the blessing and then everything should go back to normal.” He says with confidence. 

“Really? You think they’d help?” Leila asks. She seems to be torn between hope and skepticism. They are demons after all. 

“No harm in asking though, right?” Lily says enthusiastically. 

“Well..typically I don’t encourage asking demons for favors as a first course of action.” Solomon sniffs. He doesn’t need to say anything more, they all know he’d risk more than a few favors to demons if it was to secure Leila’s safety and happiness. 

“I’m sure Lucifer will help with this too.” James says. “You know, for Leila. And Satan, though he’s not likely to admit it.” He laughs. 

“Yes, and for now we’ll keep Diavolo out of it.” Solomon nods, considering all his options. 

Once Solomon has left for the Devildom, Lily keeps checking the clock, it won't be too long before she has to return now and she’s anxious to see everything resolved before she has to return. She knows she’ll be a mess of worry if she has to wait at home for a letter to arrive telling her how things went! She tries to keep an upbeat and optimistic attitude for Leila’s sake, but she can’t help worrying a bit. So many people before them were never able to stop the curse, and they’re trying to do it in one day?! Still, those other witches and sorcerers didn’t have Solomon for a grandfather and their true love wasn’t one of the Lords of the Devildom. There was no way they were going to let something like this take them down.  

 

It might have felt like years to Leila, James and Lily as they waited for Solomon to arrive but in reality it was surprising how quickly he returned, with the sisters in tow no less. The two former goddesses are stunning, entering the room with predatory feline grace and the confidence of Queens. Sekhmet has deep ebony skin, a large afro and glowing crimson cat eyes. While Bastet’s skin is like burnt caramel with hair styled in long dreads, adorned with golden rings. Her eyes are like amber lit with fire. Despite their casual clothing, that they swore they’ve seen in Asmo’s latest issue of Devil Style, Lily and Leila could imagine them decked out in gold and jewels dressed as Queens and Goddesses of ancient Egypt. 

Solomon clears his throat and the other three humans quickly stop their gawking, giving the ladies a little bow of their heads in greeting. It just seemed appropriate in the moment although they feel a little silly after. Especially when they notice the amused smirks on the faces of the demons. 

“Thank you for coming so quickly!” Leila begins to say, only to be immediately cut off by Sekhmet while Bastet takes her hand to inspect the ring. 

“So you’re the one? Solomon’s own granddaughter no less.” Sekhmet appraises Leila with amusement. “I would expect the infamous Solomon to have trained his own kin better.” She challenges. 

Leila immediately wants to bite back, to defend her grandfather. But Solomon, standing behind the demons catches her eye, slowly turning his head and warning her to stay silent. There’s a time for speaking one's mind and a time for strategy. So Leila bites her tongue instead and bows her head humbly. “Can you please help us?”

Bastet looks at her sister with a teasing gleam in her eye, and the rest of them wonder if there was some secret wager between them. “What would you do to have this curse lifted?” Bastet asks her instead.

Anything! Is what Leila wants to blurt out but she knows better. She has more than her own life and destiny to think of. “I would do a lot, not just for Satan, but for anyone I love.” She says instead.

Bastet studies her and nods. “Yes, I believe you would…” Then she looks at her sister again with some sort of smile that nobody can really place. It reminds Lily of the way Leila and James seem to be able to communicate with each other. Or Beel and Belphie.

“Where is Satan? I would like to see him.” Sekhmet asks. 

When Leila opens the door to Satan’s temporary room, they all duck as some sort of room knick knack goes flying past their head to crash against the hallway wall. They had commanded Satan not to leave the room, they should have confined him to the bed, maybe put him to sleep because the room is completely trashed. 

He’s transformed in his demonic form, but he has even ripped his own clothes from his torso in his frustration of being left alone by his mate. His tail thrashes about, destroying everything in its path. “Leila!” Satan lunges for her, claws outstretched. 

Leila was ready for it though, even though she was a bit shocked by the state of the room. “Stop Satan!” She commands. “Please sit down and don’t move.” She points to the bed, whose bedding has been torn to shreds. There’s even springs poking out through the torn bits of the mattress. He does as she commands with a growl, his eyes are like smoldering green fire fixated on her.

Sekhmet snorts as she moves past Leila to look at Satan. She clicks her tongue and shakes her head. “I’ve heard fearsome rumors about the great Avatar of Wrath, but he’s practically a kitten under your command.” She teases. “What do you need us for? You have your pact? You are powerful, surely you will have no issue keeping him on a leash?” She says to Leila with a challenging look. 

Leila can’t help the outraged gasp at the demon’s cruel suggestion. “That’s no way to live! To love…” She says with tears in her eyes. It hurts her to see Satan, her Satan, so lost to her. 

“Perhaps we should take mercy on them, sister?” Bastet says to her sister with a knowing smile. 

“Perhaps…but first we should test their love.” Sekhmet declares. “I’m curious if a demon, especially the Avatar of Wrath, is truly capable of love?” She taps a gilded gold painted nail on her full lips. 

“Leila! Release me!” Satan growls, practically frothing again. He struggles on the bed as if physically bound and everyone can see how his fighting against her command hurts Leila. “I’ll tear them all to shreds and then you and I will be together forever. But don’t think I’m not going to punish you for leaving me alone in here!” His smile is awful and deranged. 

“Satan, stop speaking until your mind is clear of this madness.” James commands Satan this time, with a wince. It’s truly awful to see Satan this way and the way it hurts his cousin. 

“He is capable of more than you know.” Leila insists, defending her mate despite everything. “He doesn’t need to prove his love to me or anything, because I know it’s real.”

“I know.” Sekhmet says, ignoring Leila. “Let’s have your little human go through a trial, shall we?” She says leaning down towards Satan, as if she’s telling him a secret. “What do you say to that, hm?” He snarls and snaps his teeth at her in response, which causes her to laugh in amusement. 

Bastet smiles and rolls her eyes at her sister. “It will at least prove her love for him.” She nods.

“Just like we used to do in the old days when a human used to request a boon from us, let’s send her on a grand adventure with lots of peril and risk!” Sekhmet continues, pinching Satan’s chin and directing his attention directly at Leila. “Do you think she’s up to the task for you, Satan?”

“I lost my favorite bangle in the Shadow Swamp, shall we send her to fetch it?” Bastet asks, joining in on her sister’s game. 

“Too easy. Let’s not forget she’s a sorceress and Solomon’s granddaughter.” Sekhmet shakes her head, which causes Satan to growl. 

“We could send her to the top of Devil’s Mount to pluck a rare flower that only grows there.” Bastet throws out another idea. 

“Too predictable. And besides, she might just teleport to the location.” Sekhmet shakes her head again. “Perhaps we’ll send her on a journey through all eight layers of the Devildom, on foot, and have her steal something from Hades wine cellar.” She laughs. 

Bastet gasps as Satan growls furiously. “Sister, you are too cruel! Even if she could survive the journey without going mad…Hades would surely skin her alive!”

“I’ll do it!” Leila says, tired of the sisters’ games. They didn’t say she couldn’t use magic at all.

“No Leila!” Satan suddenly blurts. Everyone looks at him and can see that his eyes are clear once more. “I know you’re an amazing sorceress but you have to think of Pandora and everyone else...”

“Satan, I know. I’ll be careful, but-” Leila begins to argue stubbornly.

“Leila! Listen to me!” Satan begs. “I don’t know how long I can fight this..you must banish me. Command me away from your side forever! Far away, so that I can never hurt you or anyone we care about.”

Leila looks at Satan as if he’s insane, she could never do such a thing! “Satan, don’t say that! I can’t! I could never-”

“Leila, I love you. I will forever love you, but you must do this.” Satan’s own words are cut off with a painful scream-like roar that shakes the house as he fights against his own ring and the madness it brings. 

“Satan, please…” Leila stumbles to her knees, sobbing.

“Oh, you poor thing…” To everyone’s surprise, Bastet wraps her arms around Leila in comfort and gives her sister a look. 

“Fine…” Sekhmet sighs. “We’ll remove the blessings on the rings.” She tells them, muttering something about how this ‘wasn’t fun anymore’ and she’s never seen a more ‘sickening display of true love’ from a demon in all her existence. “Come here, little human.”

Bastet pulls Leila up on her feet and leads her towards Satan and Sekhmet. The demon sisters let her sit next to Satan, while making sure he’s not doing anything unexpected towards his mate. But the presence of having her next to him, seems to keep the madness at bay long enough for the sisters to proceed in the ritual.

Sekhmet holds Satan’s hand with the Tiger’s Eye ring up with surprising strength, considering who Satan is. But nobody really cares how, because meanwhile Bastat does the same with Leila’s hand that is wearing the Cat’s Eye ring. They say something in an ancient long-forgotten language when the hands touch and the rings glow up bright as the sun, before they disappear completely from Leila and Satan’s fingers.

Leila stares at her empty hand and wiggles her fingers, almost in disbelief. It felt before as if she could never part with the ring that bound her to Satan. But it seems that only now she remembers that it wasn’t that ring that binds her to her mate, but their love for each other.

“Leila.” The voice of Satan stirs her from her daze. “Leila, please release me.” He sounds hoarse from all his roaring and growling. And perhaps from emotions too.

His pleading demand sounds so much more familiar, so different from the demon he showed himself to be in the last couple of hours. When she looks at him, she sees her own, true Satan again: The one who still has a raging fire just under the surface, but one that she can calm with her love for him. He’s transformed into his human form again and even though he looks dirty and rumpled, at least his clothes are still in one piece in this form.

“Oh!” She exclaims with joyful relief as she scrambles to sit on his lap and smothers him in hugs and kisses, making him laugh.

“Leila, you still need to release me.” He reminds her with a growl. But it isn’t the angry scary one, it’s the kind that sends shivers down her spine and butterflies in her stomach. She knows it in her soul that she really has her own Satan back. “Or I can’t hold you in return.”

“Ugh.” Sekhmet rolls her eyes, but grins despite herself..

Bastet laughs. “Admit it that you love this too, sister.”

“Well, I suppose I do enjoy seeing happy humans.”

“We’re all really happy and grateful.” James starts with thanking the demon sisters in Leila’s place, who doesn’t seem to be able to do that right now. Lily is nodding too, with barely contained happiness and relief for her friends. It looks like everything has been resolved after all. And just in time too!

Solomon sees Lily sneak a glance to the clock. “I think Leila should take you all home, so she can rest from this adventure.” He turns to the demon sisters. “I thank you both for this favor. Be sure to let me know how I can thank you properly at some point in the future. But for now, allow me the honor of escorting you ladies back to the Devildom?” He bows courteously and Bastet and Sekhmet look pleased. As immortal supernatural beings they’re in no hurry cashing in his favor and Solomon knows this. His granddaughter is saved and he can worry about the rest later.

Once Solomon has left with the demon sisters, James cautiously approaches Satan and Leila, who are still hugging each other. Even if this isn’t the extreme PDA Satan has displayed before, Lily and James aren’t as entirely certain that it worked as Leila seems to be.

“So, um… Leila?” James says. “What do you say we go back to Serenity Manor now and not leave Lily stranded in this creepy abandoned house when she returns to her own reality?”

“Oh! Yes, definitely!” Leila nods and leaps off of Satan’s lap. James and Lily are more convinced everything is back to normal when Satan doesn’t growl or make any aggressive moves to get her back. 

Instead he gives an apologetic look to both Lily and James while Leila gets to work on her teleportation circle. “I’m sorry.”

“No hard feelings.” James says, clapping Satan on the back.

“Yeah. It wasn’t exactly your fault anyway!” Lily assures him, joining them in a group hug.

 

In Serenity Manor.

“Why’re y’all so quiet?” Mammon shouts when the group arrives in the living room, but instead of telling him or anyone else what they did today, the four of them have just been sitting together while the others were making a ruckus as usual.

“I knew it!” Asmodeus triumphs. “It’s only fun to go on a date with me. Satan must have dragged them from one boring location to the next and now they’re bored out of their wits.”

The three humans look at each other. It’s obvious that Lucifer has kept it a secret. And they decide then and there that it’s best if they don’t tell the others about how Satan reverted back to his primal Wrathful instincts today and how close they were to losing him forever. Or maybe even have died themselves by his hands. They would all just overreact and try to keep him away from Leila and James until they were satisfied that no lingering side effects remained.

So they stick to small talk until Lily disappears to her own reality, discussing Satan’s other purchases and describing the town Hay-on Wye, which has most of them quickly losing interest completely.

Once Lily is gone, Leila announces that she’s tired and wants to go to bed. Satan is quick to follow her, before Belphegor can, wrapping an arm around her. It’s still his day, after all and he has many reasons why he wants to redeem himself in the eyes of his mate. He needs to be sure they’re really okay. But first he gives Lucifer a nod in thanks. For not telling the rest of their brothers what almost happened. 

“Make sure my trust is not misplaced.” Lucifer simply says. Belphegor looks through narrowed eyes from one to the next: Something happened. 

“Where are you taking me, Satan?” Leila asks with suspicion when he lifts her up in his arms. She wants to trust him, but she’s tired. And today he was very scary. Even though she knows deep down he’s himself again, a small part of her can’t forget about what happened today just yet.

“To my room.” Satan tells her and she can clearly hear the desire in his voice. “Belphie is in your room, probably. And Pandora will be there too. It’s best if they don’t hear the things we’re about to do…”

“You’re not trying to keep me away from anyone, are you?” She just has to be sure: Maybe a fragment of the curse still lingers? Can it flare up again?!

“Tonight, I am.” Satan laughs, when he discards his purchases in a corner of his messy room. He carries her to his bed. “I’m still your mate and I want to prove to you how much I love you. Loving someone is holding them close like this…” He cuddles with her under the bedsheets after quickly taking off all their clothes. “...And also letting them go to have their own life. And I will do that, but tomorrow. Tonight you're my mate.” Leila feels relieved that Satan promises her to not hold her captive far away from everyone else she loves and soon the couple lose themselves to the throes of passion and in each other completely.

 

Lily’s reality  

When Lily appears back in her own reality a chorus of the usual greetings await her, but she’s not listening to any of them. Instead her eyes are instantly drawn to a very familiar looking journal held in Satan’s hands. Which he seems to can’t put down, just like Satan earlier today.

“Where did you get this?!” Lily practically shouts as she jumps up from the couch and snatches the journal right out of his hands, causing everyone to go silent as they all look at her with alarm at her unusual behavior. 

“As you know, when I heard where you would be going from my counterpart, I decided to go to Hay-on-Wye today as well and…what’s the matter? Why are you looking at me like that?” Satan asks Lily with concern as she lets out a weary sigh. “It looks like a nondescript journal, but it’s a most fascinating read and look, I even found this key inside..” His eyes gleam with excitement for the mystery he’s found.

Lily makes a grab for the key too but this time Satan is faster and holds it out of her reach. “Satan give me that!” 

“Oy! What’s goin’ on? Whaddya do to get my human all riled up?!” Mammon demands, giving Satan an accusing glance. 

“That’s what I’d like to know.” Satan growls annoyed, handing the key to Lily per her command. 

Lily lets out a weary yet somewhat relieved sigh, sinking back down onto the couch. She won’t say it outloud but this is the only instance she’s happy Satan doesn’t have his own soulmate in this reality. But she needs to get rid of this book, or else she’ll have to tell Leila and James not to come in the morning. It’s unlikely the same would happen, given what they know now. But even so, she’s not going to risk a repeat of today. 

“Have you read the whole journal yet?” She asks Satan, who denies that he had. It’s hard to decipher the worn and weathered pages at times. Even if he had, she couldn’t count on him to not look for cursed objects, a demon like Satan loves to collect things like that. 

“I’m so confused!” Leviathan laments. “Is anyone going to explain anything?!”

“The other Satan found this journal today too and because of it, he and Leila ended up cursed. It was very disturbing.” She finally says, immediately having to quiet down a storm of shouts and questions before she can fully explain about the ‘adventure’ they had today.

“That’s it! You ain’t goin’ to that reality anymore!” Mammon declares, wrapping her up in his arms as if he can keep her from going this way. 

“That’s not fair!” Leviathan shouts jealously. “We haven’t gotten our date yet!” referring to both him and himself in the other reality. 

“Don’t worry Levi.” Lily tells him with a yawn, still clutching the book posessively. “I’m going to go get those rings before James and Leila arrive and put them somewhere where they can’t hurt anyone.”

“Oh..okay.” Levi looks both relieved and guilty, Lily seems too tired to be doing all that after a full day in the other reality.

“You’re not going alone, are you?” Belphie asks. He’s not blind to Lily’s feelings for Solomon, even if she thinks she keeps them under wraps. If it’s true that the rings react to sorcerers in love, Lily might just end up keeping them.

“Hm, yeah…” Lily nods pensively, understanding what Belphie isn’t saying. “It might be best if someone comes with me…”

“Ya better not even think about goin’ with that shady sorcerer!” Mammon says hotly. “If ya need someone to go with ya, I’ll go an’ protect ya.”

“Wow! Have you even been listening to the story, Mammon? Of course our flower isn’t going to search with Solomon! And neither are YOU!” Asmodeus declares dramatically before anyone else can. “You are SO STUPID!”

“Oy! Who ya callin’ stupid!”

“ENOUGH!” Lucifer finally interjects for the first time. “I’ll take Lily to retrieve this object. I’ve already sent a message to Diavolo and Barbatos. Barbatos will make sure to put the cursed objects somewhere hidden and safe.” His deadly glare keeps even Mammon from protesting again. 

“Yes, that’s much better.” Asmodeus approves, not that Lucifer needs his approval. And not that Asmodeus thinks that it’s a good idea if Lord Diavolo joins. But at least it's not his idiot brother Mammon. And at least Barbatos will make sure to keep those rings far away from both Solomon and Diavolo.

With the matter settled. Lily entrusts the journal and key to Lucifer before heading to bed. She’s got a very early morning.

 

James & Leila Reality, the next day…

When Leila wakes up in Satan’s arms the next morning, he’s reluctant to let her go, despite his promises the night before. He’s worried about what Leila might encounter with his other self and doesn’t like the idea of her going when she’s so tired, he didn’t exactly let her get a full night's rest.

He follows her to her own bedroom where Belphie is waiting, promptly pushing Pandora into Satan’s arms so he can take his mate into his own. Something strange happened between them that made him worried and he didn’t appreciate Satan taking Leila last night at all. He takes his time to cuddle her and check if his sweet mate is still in good health before he finally tells her after showering her with a dozen lazily kisses. “I think Lily sent you a letter.” 

“Oh! I hope everything is okay.” Leila says, wondering what the last minute letter could be about. 

‘Hey Leila! 

You won’t believe what Satan was holding in his hands when I arrived home! It was that dang journal!! I nearly had a heart attack when I saw it. Don’t worry though. Lucifer and I dug up the rings in our reality and Barbatos has hidden them somewhere deep in the layers of shadow of the Devildom. So we’re ready for our day today! But I’d understand if you’re too tired to come, but just let me know either way. Satan is getting pretty anxious over here… 

Hope to see you soon! - Lily’

Belphegor has been reading over her shoulder as she was snuggled on his lap. He frowns. What the hell happened? Leila isn’t going to tell him, it seems. As she smiles in a relieved way and snuggles in his arms again. Of course she’s not going to skip on today! But that doesn’t mean she can’t be a little later.

 

Lily’s Reality

The whole family is again waiting at the break of dawn for James and Leila to appear in their reality. Another trip to Japan! Though this one will be more designed to Satan’s tastes. He did a lot of the planning himself. Keeping some of these plans even a surprise from Lily as he’s borrowed a lot of his reality-spray to plan with his counterpart and Leila from the other reality. Despite being tired and having very little sleep, Lily has to admit that she is pretty excited about this trip because she knows Satan has good tastes and there will surely be lots of fluffy kitties involved at some point in the day. 

“Lily! Did you make enough earplugs, so we can understand the cats?” Satan is very anxious this morning as he keeps badgering her for things he’s already asked multiple times before. 

“Yes, of course Satan.” Lily just confirms to him patiently, like a good girl. He’ll calm down once they get going. Probably. He hadn’t said so, but Lily can tell that Satan is worried that Leila might not show up, even if she assured him that she said she was still coming. “And even if I hadn’t, I’m sure Leila is bringing plenty herself…”

He has his excited flush on his face as he grins goofily at her. His brothers observe him with raised brows, some in amusement or awe. He’s barely recognizable when he’s talking about cats on a normal day. But today he’s even more excited than usual.

When Leila and James arrive, Satan attempts his best not to rush everyone through breakfast when he sees how sleepy Leila looks. If it wasn’t for the fact that he wanted to be considerate to Leila who is still a nursing mother and just went through quite the ordeal yesterday he’d have tried to get them to skip it all together. The usual banter, inquiries, complaints and bragging are going round the table like they always do when James and Leila visit. 

“Try not to die of boredom while you’re there.” Leviathan says, as he's feeling extra salty that he still hasn’t had his own date. 

“Hmm. I still say my date was the best.” Asmo declares. “So good in fact, maybe I should get an encore? You don’t really need a day out with Levi do you?” He snickers

“Satan ya better not drag our humans into any trouble!” Mammon warns. Making everyone stare at him, since he’s notoriously worse when it comes to trouble.

Lucifer interrupts before they can really get going hurling insults at each other this morning. “It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.” He gives Satan and then Lily a pointed look. “Don’t you dare try to bring any strays home with you, I don’t want to see a single cat hair.” He warns. “You can be assured I will be doing inspections upon your return this evening.”

Satan and Lily exchange a look, rolling their eyes. Lucifer’s ongoing refusal to let either of them keep a pet is part of the reason she remains a member of the F.A.L.L. 

“Let me help you with that circle.” Satan tells Leila as soon as her plate is clear. The sooner they can start this day, the better. 

“Not yet, I haven’t had a chance to cuddle with Leila yet.” Belphegor pulls her in his arms and towards the sofa. He looks very much as if he wants to keep her in his arms like this for the rest of the day. She’ll be safer there.

“I don’t think so, Belphie.” Satan growls menacingly, pulling Leila up from the couch again in his own arms, then he freezes for a moment as he looks straight in her bewildered eyes. That feels good. He thinks, then immediately shakes his head. He can’t go and get distracted by this girl from a different reality too much. What would be the gain? “Come Leila, tell me what I can do to help.” He tells her in a gentlemanly way, ignoring his protesting brother and his glare.

“Please remember to treat Leila as a person, not a toy.” Lily calls out, she knows Leila can handle those two but after yesterday, the possessive behavior isn’t as amusing.. 

“Okay, quit it with the tug of war.” Leila tells them both sternly. “Satan, you can help me with the measurements so that the coordinates are accurate…” They both get to work while the others are watching. James and Lily are paying good attention too. Making these teleporting circles looks complicated, but they both have to learn how to do it eventually. Even if Solomon tells them that these lessons only officially start after they have become full-fledged sorcerers, they can still watch and learn from watching Leila.

 

Tokyo, Japan

After they’ve finished the teleportation circle, Leila teleports all four of them to Yanaka. A quaint traditional neighborhood in Tokyo that’s famous for the lots of stray, but very sociable cats. Satan didn’t need a world tour, he said. Everything he could want would be right here. A gallery, gift shops, cat café’s and even a cat-yoga studio.

“Yes, I heard about that book my other self bought in Paris.” He tells Leila with a grin. “Catflexing, was it? It seemed very interesting.” They stand in front of Neko Shiki, the yoga studio that is also a place where rescue cats are being cared for.

Leila rolls her eyes. It’s a good thing he’s not her own Satan, or he might get any ideas on practicing with Shado later. 

 

A little while later Satan is scowling while holding a cobra pose. This yoga session with cats is not going at all as he hoped. All the cats have decided to congregate around Leila and Lily, leaving him bereft. Mostly around Leila as they most likely find her ability to silently communicate with them fascinating. Satan has never felt so jealous before. 

Leila giggles as one orange tabby cat stalks up her back, rubbing against the back of her head. Satan finds himself paying more attention to the cats and Leila than he does the yoga. Often falling behind in changing his poses with the rest of the room. 

He’s staring again while they go into the downward dog pose. Suddenly he’s less interested in the cats and more into ogling the shape of Leila’s ass raised high in the air. With her long, lean legs, she’s just the right height if he were standing behind her...Unbidden he’s thinking about her and his other self and what sort of activities they get up to in the bedroom. He can barely imagine it. Well, he certainly CAN imagine it but he wonders how his other self controls himself with her? He knows how rough and violent he can be with his own sexual partners and he doesn’t imagine Leila is the type of girl who’s into that sort of thing, nor would her human body handle it well. Does his other self worry about hurting her or has love made him soft?

Then he almost loses his balance as the red tabby sits princely on top of Leila’s butt, loudly purring and starts kneading his paws in her. She giggles again and scolds him, but the cat doesn’t care. He’s found a nice soft person and isn’t about to give her up. 

I would really like to trade places with that cat, right now. Satan catches himself thinking and he loudly clears his throat to drive away any more of these thoughts. But making everyone turn their heads to him instead. He pretends not to notice and focuses on his own pose, but sneaking a glance at Leila soon after again. What’s wrong with me? He scolds himself, feeling jealous of the cats now.

They soon switch poses into the cat-cow stretch and Satan has to look away with a blush staining his cheeks. He needs to focus on the lesson and cool the flame in his loins before they switch into a position that might give him and his undesired thoughts away. 

 

After their half hour yoga session they go to a cat-themed gift shop. They’ll have to buy some souvenirs of course. Better do it while they’re in the right area. “I’m not sure the others are really into cat themed merchandise.” Lily says, as she looks around at the goods offered. 

Satan doesn’t seem to hear or more likely, he’s purposefully ignoring her. Leila doesn't seem like she thinks it's a poor choice as she’s already gushing over all the cute novelty items. Eventually Lily shrugs, seeing it as a losing battle and let’s herself enjoy the cuteness of the shop as well. Leaving poor James to be the only voice of reason.  

 

Eventually they are able to drag Satan and Leila out of the gift shop, but only because they promise him that they will visit a Cat café next. That gets his eyes gleaming again, because he tells his humans with conviction that he’s read that real cats serve you at this particular café he's selected and that their latte artwork is famous.

“I doubt it’s the cats that do the serving.” Leila tries to warn Satan of the inevitable disappointment that’s waiting for him. “But there’s usually a lot of cats to cuddle with at such a place.”

Satan can’t be convinced. He’s had his mind set on smart kitties with serving trays strapped on their backs, it seems. He’s probably been watching some kind of anime with Levi… But when they enter the café, it seems that he was partly right. It is a cat-themed Maid Cafe. 

“Welcome home, Masters and Mistresses. Meow.” A bowing maid with fuzzy cat ears on her head greets them with a sugarsweet voice as if she’s actually their servant from the Manor. 

When she turns around to show them their places, they can see a big plush cat tail swaying from under her skirt. It looks like she’s supposed to be a Persian. A real Persian cat follows her and sits on a cushion at their table. Satan follows her - or the cat, it’s hard to say - as if hypnotized.

Soon after they’re seated, they’re being surrounded by waitresses who all wear varying colors of cat ears and tails. All meowing for their attention and eager to serve them all kinds of adorable cat-themed items from the menu. Satan looks like he’s in heaven. Or at least a place close to that, because he probably wouldn’t like actual heaven. James and Lily are finding it all very amusing. Only Leila isn’t really enjoying this place, even when she really is a cat person herself.

“It’s a good thing he’s not my Satan.” Leila mumbles resentfully to herself when she watches Satan look with hearts in his eyes after yet another cute maid, who’s fuzzy catlike tail swishes behind her from under her too short skirt - in Leila’s biased opinion - as she walks away after bringing their order. “He would have words with me when we get home.”

Leila knows it is unreasonable to have these sort of jealous thoughts about this Satan from the other reality. He’s not obligated to give her any of his attention. But still, it’s just as if her own Satan is now ogling these girls. And that just after they made up at home… It stings her. She petulantly stirs away the cute 3D foam cat-image from her drink. Then regrets it immediately: She forgot to take a picture of it for her own Satan. He would have loved to see it.

Lily and James grin mischievously at each other: They know they shouldn’t encourage Lily’s Satan to fall for Leila, but wouldn’t it be funny to tease them a little? James stands up and walks to the manager of the café. With a lot of broken English and sign language they finally understand what he wants from them. Bowing politely and brightly smiling, they let James purchase a couple of mysterious items.

James walks back, sending a big grin and a wink Lily’s way and she already bursts out into giggles. Leila and Satan are just about to ask them what’s going on, but just then James plants a headband with cute fluffy calico cat ears on Leila’s head. Satan’s eyes widen in surprise and then he starts grinning at Leila in the goofiest way. 

“What? What did you do?” Leila asks James, but then she sees James putting bunny ears on Lily’s head, another pair of cat ears on Satan’s head and doggy ears on his own. “Oh, that’s cute! I didn’t know we could do that.” She smiles happily, leaving what she assumes are another pair of animal ears on her own head. 

“You can always count on Leila to just go with the flow if it’s something cute.” James whispers to Lily as they watch how Satan now only has eyes for Leila and how she likes the attention.

“We really shouldn’t encourage him.” Lily whispers back. “But I can’t help it, they’re just cute together.”

“Yeah, I know. But I couldn’t watch Leila being sad and irritated, having to see someone who is exactly like her mate looking at other girls. She might be experiencing some emotional whiplash after yesterday too.” James nods. “We probably need to keep them a bit apart after this café, though…”

Chapter Text

 

Cat Island

While they all knew that Satan would be just as happy to spend the entire day in and out the various cat-themed shops and businesses in Tokyo, his humans - mostly James - told him that it was high time to go to their next destination. The Cat Island, Tashirojima. 

The words were enough for Satan to start rambling like they all thought only Levi could do. “I read that there are more cats than people living there.” He starts as they have found a secluded location in a nearby park where Leila can start with the teleportation ritual. It is late at night and already almost dark in Japan, even though they just ate ‘lunch’ according to their own stomachs. Holding her bag with souvenirs he excitedly tells. “During the Edo period, the island was known for its silk industry. Though of course a lot of pests, like mice, were attracted to the silkworms, so everyone in the two villages of the island took in some cats. When in 1602 it was decreed that all house cats in Japan should be freed…”

Lily leaves it to James and Leila to listen to him while she daydreams. After all, she’s already heard this whole spiel before as he researched places to go. 

He’s still talking as they arrive close to the shrine that is made for the cats in the middle of the island. “Ah yes, Neko-jinja…” Satan nods as if he knows all about it. Showing the surroundings to his humans with expressive hand gestures, brightly smiling and a flush on his cheeks. “The villagers of both settlements built this for the cats, roughly in the middle between their villages to honor the cats. People here believe that cats are good luck bringers and-”

“Meow!”

Satan stops talking and turns on the spot. They all see the large pitchblack cat sitting on a sort of wooden bench near the cat-shrine. Staring straight at them with what seems otherworldly golden eyes.

The cat jumps off the bench and circles around Leila’s legs affectionately. “Go home, little one.” She meows to her. Satan, Lily and James quickly pop in their earplugs to listen to what the cat is saying.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.” Leila kneels down before the cat and strokes her. “Do you know me? Is there something you want?”

The cat ignores her and continues to speak as if she’s been trying to communicate with visitors thousands of times, but was never truly heard. “Cherish what you have. Not everyone is able to go home.”

“I’m only here for today.” Leila promises the cat. “James and I will return home in a couple of hours.”

“I can’t go home, because I’m being punished.” They all hear the cat’s melancholic voice as her eyes drift to one of the two villages in the distance. Then she suddenly looks up as if only now realizing that she is truly understood. “Are you here to end my punishment?” She asks. “The lord says I should stay here and try to convince people to help me.”

“Who is the lord?” Lily asks, thinking it might be a Fae. Leila translates for her to the cat.

“He is a powerful, awe-inspiring person.” The cat tells her and Lily nods as if she understands what she means to say. “Someone like him can undoubtedly end my punishment. But there is something that needs to be done first. And I need people to help me with that.”

“How can we help?” Satan is ready to help any cat. “Why are you being punished?”

The black cat purrs, feeling comfortable and pleased that she finally found people who understand her. “Little one.” She tells Leila. “I am not what you think I am. This is not my true form. I’ve been given this cat body. Before I died, I was human…”

“You’re human?” Leila asks, giving Satan a glare for his insensitive huff of disappointment. He doesn’t want to help a human, he’s here for the cats! 

The cat continues. “Yes. If I was still alive, I could probably be your grandmother. Unfortunately it was always just me and my cat. We depended on each other, we were family.”

“She was your familiar?” Leila asks again. “You were a witch.” She then states, as if she knows for certain this is true. She knows about the bond a magician can have with their familiar.

The cat's strange eyes seem to widen in surprise, then it seems like she nods. “Well… yes. Does that frighten you?”

They all laugh. No, not really. They explain to the cat/witch who they are and she seems to relax even more: Maybe this is the day her suffering will end?

“My sweet cat was old too.” She tells them, as she enjoys the cool water that James has poured for her into a thermos cup and the scraps Lily is feeding her. “I dedicated my life to protect this island and the people and cats living here and I always thought that we would leave this world together. But then I was killed by a rivaling witch who intended to harm the cats on this island. He kills them to absorb their lucky energy for himself, to extend his life and to gain power.” It almost sounds like the cat is crying now. The soul of the woman inside her is feeling very sad and helpless. None of them interrupts and Leila is stroking the black fur in comfort. “I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. The Bakeneko - a type of yokai and cat spirit - has given my soul this body to avenge myself and the cats that are being slaughtered by the evil witch. But before I could do that, something went wrong. When I didn’t return home, my cat went out looking for me. The evil-spirited witch that killed me informed her of my death and he performed a spell on her that violates the natural laws of this world.”

“Necromancy?” Leila asks.

“Yes. In a way.” She answers. “He used my cat for an experiment. Telling her that if she let her soul enter my body, I would be revived.” She sighs sadly. “My poor faithful cat… She wanted to revive me, but instead she gave up her soul and changed my body. Her features are now a lot like that of a cat. She’s wandering the streets at night in the other village. Capturing cats that don’t hide well enough. A slave to the evil-spirited witch who killed us both.”

“So then, what exactly do we have to do to lift the curse?” Satan asks. “What exactly is the punishment? You know, besides all that…” He seems to be much more interested now that he knows real cats have and are still being harmed.

“The soul of my cat needs to be reunited with her body. And my soul needs to be with hers. I can’t leave this world and leave her behind, because of this curse. We were supposed to leave this world together. But her body is in my house in one village and she’s possessing my body in the village I was killed. I’m bound to this shrine. I can’t bring them together…”

Lily is sniffling at the sad tale. “So you’re both wandering this island, but you can never meet, unless someone brings you together?” Lily silently wonders if the yokai are the same as Fae in this part of the world.

“Yes, that is the punishment. I haven’t spoken to anyone in a long time. As I was unable to make myself understood by humans.” The cat seems to be just satisfied with the listening ears that they have provided her. “Thank you for listening, little one.” 

“It’s so unfair that you are being punished for something someone else did to you.” Leila’s eyes are like flames. “We need to bring that horrible witch to justice.”

“Exactly!” Satan growls. “Especially since he’s been killing off cats and-” He stops talking when he sees his humans stare at him. “Right, killing people and cursing them is bad too, of course.”

“Whoa. Let’s think for a minute here.” James holds up his hands to slow down Leila and Satan who both look like they’re ready to rush  into battle. “After what happened yesterday I’m not sure if it’s a good idea for you two to rush into another cursed scenario!” 

“James does have a point..” Lily seems torn, she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to Leila and her Satan but she wants to help too.

“This is completely different!” Leila argues. “Satan and I are not mates.” She declares as if that could ward off all curses.

“And we’re not walking in blind either.” Satan agrees, but feeling stung after Leila’s declaration. He shakes off the sensation again, however. It’s not logical.



Later, in one of the villages…

James and Lily look up to the small cottage built on a low elevation next to the road, looking abandoned and in disrepair. It wasn’t hard for them to find out where the witch - who is now a cat - used to live. All the cats on the island knew the way. All telling them how much they miss her, but are a little afraid to visit the shrine, because of the curse lingering there.

“So much for our plan to not leave Leila and Satan alone today.” James sighs, sounding a bit worried.

“Yeah. They certainly teamed up to shoot down any objections.” Lily can’t help smiling a bit. But now they have two things to worry about , things turning out similar to the other reality and complicated feelings. 

Even if nothing goes wrong with this mission: If things turn out like it did with Belphegor last week… After the camping trip he’s told her honestly about how he feels about Leila, confirming the suspicions she already had. Only Leila seems to still be oblivious, which Lily sees as a blessing. She’s sure that Leila didn’t do this on purpose. She just wanted to make friends. But she could still have the same effect on Satan as well.

“There’s nothing we can do about it now.” She tells him softly. “It just made the most sense that the both of them would confront that evil witch together. Right?”

“Yeah.” James agrees as they walk up to the front door of the cottage. “Leila has dealt with these things more often in our reality, together with Solomon. I feel better knowing she has Satan’s protection too.” 

Lily chuckles to herself a bit despite the strange turn of events the day has taken. Leila had been confident they didn’t need to involve anyone else and Satan was very quick to take her side, he didn’t want Solomon or any of his brothers ruining his time. This was still his date, he had insisted. 

James tries the doorknob and the door creaks open by itself. “Unlocked…”

“Yeah. The cat said that the evil witch brought the body of the dead cat home, to keep it far away from the soul of the cat…”

“I sometimes don’t understand these things…” James tells Lily in a confidential tone. “Why not burn the body? It can never be reunited then, right?”

“I don’t know either.” Lily shrugs. She supposes there’s a reason for it or else someone that wicked wouldn’t think twice about destroying the body permanently. “But let's just look for it.”

They both use the flashlight of their DDD’s and start searching. The cottage isn’t big. Basically only two rooms and a small storage space. It looks to be a big mess inside though. It looks as if someone has been rummaging around in here, taking all the valuables and most likely all the items a witches’ home has. But this happened a long time ago. As they look around, they stir up a great deal of dust, so they keep their arms in front of their noses and mouths.

“Look Lily.” James holds up a broken frame with a photo. “The cat should look like this…” 

She comes over to take a look. Even though the witch told them that she has been given the body of the cat by the Bakeneko, for some reason Lily expected to see the image of the large black cat. But instead they see a picture of a small tabby with white and red being held lovingly by an adorable looking little old lady with sparkling dark eyes, smiling in the picture as she holds her cat.

“Cute.” Lily smiles, even more determined to help these tormented souls. They deserve to move on together!

They keep rummaging around and finally find the small curled up body of the tabby cat. Buried under a pile of rubble, rags and newspapers. It’s clear that the body was not meant to be found, but they don’t understand why it was not buried for real. It must have something to do with the way the body seems to be untouched, though mummified. Perhaps because of the spell, the body has not decayed after all this time. No insects or other pests have been feeding on it. It’s in good condition, considering it has been dead for a long time, even though it looks skinny and filthy.

“Let’s bring it to the shrine.” James says as he takes off his jacket, intending to wrap up the cat in it. “And let’s hope that Leila and Satan have managed to find the evil witch and the body of the old lady.”

Neither of them sense the curse placed on the body until it’s too late. As soon as James tries to wrap it in his jacket, the fur of the cat begins to slide off its body. 

“Oh no! I think it’s decaying!” Lily gasps. 

“Shit!” James curses as they frantically try to think of what to do. 

“What about a preservation spell?” Lily blurts.

“Oh yeah…umm…” James quickly casts the spell that he had invented for his leftovers when he lived with Solomon. Then Lily casts her own version of the spell for good measure. The cat doesn’t look to be in perfect condition anymore but at least they’ve stalled the decay, for now.

“We better get this done quickly!” Lily says with some urgency as she types out a text to Satan to let them know they have the cat's body and the circumstances as James finishes wrapping the cat in his jacket. 

“Okay, let’s go.” James says as he stands.

Lily nods, puts the picture of the cat and the witch in her purse, and they start their trip back to the shrine. They’ve done their part of what has to be done to bring the witch and the cat together and to lift the curse. 



Meanwhile in the other village...

Leila and Satan hurried to the other village as quickly as they could. It was still a long walk and they knew they had to do it again to return to the shrine, with a probably resisting literal cat-lady in tow. But they had to try to save this island from the malpractices of this evil-spirited witch. But they have to hurry too. Her and James only have so much time in this reality. And even if it wouldn’t be really a problem for anyone to get off this island again in case they did get stranded, Leila doesn’t like the idea of leaving things unfinished and leaving it to others to fix the problem.

Arriving in the village, it’s immediately clear to Leila how the magic of this witch is affecting the surroundings. There is nobody around, which isn’t so strange in the middle of the night, of course, but at every house where someone lives there is an omamori with a yaku-yoke spell hanging on the door to ward off evil spirits. And for good reasons. This has become bigger than the curse of the witch and her cat. The village oozes bad vibes. The cats have noticed and don’t come near, anymore. The whole island could be affected soon and there’s nowhere for the cats to flee to at some point.

“Where to…” Satan grumbles in Leila’s ear as he stands close to her. As a demon, it’s harder for him to detect evil. He can, of course. But it will go faster if Leila tries. For a moment she’s distracted by his hot breath on her ear, sending a spark down her spine as if it were her own Satan. She can only hope he doesn’t notice as she blushes and tries to clear her head, now is not the time to be distracted!

Leila doesn’t have much trouble sensing the direction they have to go. Where the evil witch has made his home on the island and where his magic concentrates. Either he doesn’t know how to conceal it, or he just doesn’t care. They quickly make their way to his residence. Satan can’t help feeling a sense of pride for how quickly Leila has managed to find the witch and how confident she is. She is truly a worthy mate for a demon like himself. His other self, he corrects his own thoughts quickly. 

The house is a bit away from the main village. It looks fairly modern too, compared to the other houses they’ve seen so far. The garden looks to be well kept and in good shape, with lights next to the path that’s leading to the front door.

“It’s here?” Satan asks Leila, though he already knows the answer. “I expected something… different.”

“You can’t judge the outside of things.” Leila shrugs. “Something beautiful can cover up something rotten…”

“Yes, but not for long.” He growls. Satan wants to barge right in and get things over with, but Leila stops him by placing a hand on his arm. Satan is suddenly hyper aware of her gentle yet powerful touch. His arm tingles even after she’s removed her hand.

“We don’t want to spook the cat’s soul.” She tells him as he looks at her with an odd expression, he almost seems embarrassed but she can’t fathom why? Then she unlocks the door with a spell.

It’s dark and quiet inside. It seems that the witch is either not home or is sleeping. But then they hear a soft growling sound. The sound of a feral angry cat howling and hissing. But it’s not a cat they see, as the shadows in one corner of the room start to move towards them. It's the shape of a human. A small human female, even smaller than Luke, but still. 

Her hair sticks out in all directions. Her ears seem to be pointy and fuzz grows on them. Her eyes are glowing like green slitted cat eyes in the dark. As she snarls at them, they can see the cat-like canines in her mouth. But Leila is most horrified by the way her neck looks to be broken, even if she appears to be alive. Not to mention the gaping wound in her chest where she was stabbed with a knife. This body is being kept alive somehow and Leila can’t help being scared. 

“Don’t be scared.” Satan notices it and quickly lets her know she’s safe with him, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. “It’s not a ghost, it’s a cat soul in a human body and we can handle this.” Leila looks up to him with trust and nods. She can always count on Satan to protect her from the things that scare her.

Then suddenly the female launches herself at Leila and Satan with a yowl. Hands outstretched like claws. “Go home!” She shrieks at them. The same words the black cat has used in their encounter. Leila quickly stops her in a time-freezing spell, before she can scratch out their eyes.

“Why do they all say that?” Satan whispers as he picks up the frozen cat-lady under his arm, ready to walk with her out of the door again.

“I think they want to go home.” Leila explains. “Home, as in where their souls belong. I think?”

Suddenly the light flashes on and they both are frozen for a moment as they try to get used to the sudden brightness. “How dare you break into my house!” Someone yells at them in Japanese and Leila has no idea what is said, but Satan does. “Do you know who I am?!”

“No.” Satan growls back with contempt, carefully placing the still frozen, still growling cat-lady back down. “Do you know who I am?” He asks threateningly, ready to show his true demonic form to this lowly human witch that steals the souls of cats. His potent green aura building around him.

Leila sees what he plans to do and quickly yells. “Satan, no! Don’t kill him!”

He whips his head her way, looking furious. She stopped him, somehow. But why should he listen to Leila? Sure, he likes her and he doesn’t want to see her upset with him. “Why not?! He deserves nothing less!” He growls at her, annoyed with the situation and himself.

“Did… she say Satan…?” The witch questions, sounding much less confident now, making his way to the door to escape. Satan has caught him by his throat almost immediately, however.

“We don’t know what effect that will have on the magic!” Leila pleads, seeing as how Satan starts squeezing the witch’s throat. “Please don’t do it. Maybe the curse can’t be broken if you kill him…” She tries to get past his anger by pleading with his logical side.

“That’s right! That’s right!” The witch squirms in his hold, but still manages to choke out the words, desperate for his life.

“Fine.” Satan growls, throwing him on the floor to Leila’s feet. “Shackle him and we’ll bring him with us. I’m not leaving him here on the island.” 

Leila wants to give Satan a piece of her mind about commanding her like this, but decides to think better of it and let it slide, giving him an unimpressed look. It’s honestly more Lily’s problem. She thinks and shackles the witch’s upper body and then sweetly asks Satan if he could carry both him and the still hissing woman back up to the shrine. She can’t teleport them there, if she also has to teleport everyone back home soon.

He nods at her, hoisting the cat-lady under his arm again and yanking the end of the shackles as if the witch is on a leesh. Both of them make an enormous racket in the silent village, but nobody comes to see what it is all about. The residents are too scared for the evil spirits that wander the island at night. 

Satan’s phone starts buzzing but his hands are full so he ignores it. “You should answer that.” Leila tells him. “It could be Lily and James.” She can only hope they haven't run into any trouble of their own. 

“My hands are a little occupied.” He grins at her. “You can reach in my pocket.” Leila only responds with another unimpressed look and folds her arms. “Fine.” Satan huffs, setting down the mutant cat-lady so he can fish out his phone.  “Hmm. They found the cat but its body began to decay as soon as they touched it. They said they were able to halt the decay but urge us to hurry.” He explains while he types back an update to Lily.

They begin the trip back at his quick pace and Leila tries her best to keep up with him. Glancing back now and then and stopping for her, Satan can’t help thinking he would rather carry Leila, instead of the spitting cat-like female. She’s such an enigma to him. As fragile as she looks right now, tired from the uphill climb, he knows how powerful she is, having sensed it whenever she uses magic. Stubborn too, the way she’s not complaining about the quick pace, but trying her best to keep up, because saving the island is more important. She’s afraid like Mammon of the unnatural, but not at all afraid to go up against a demon like himself. He shakes his head and smiles softly, understanding exactly why his counterpart chose her as his mate. What’s not to love?

There’s not much conversation between them as they make their way towards the shrine, Satan is lost to his inner musings while Leila concentrates on her breathing as she keeps up a grueling pace so they can meet up with Lily and James in time. They can’t come this far and have it all be for naught! 

“Satan! Leila!” Lily’s voice calls out to them and Leila is relieved to see James and Lily running towards them. James has a bundle wrapped in his arms, cradled carefully against his chest. 

“No! You can’t do this to me!” The witch begins to struggle in his bindings again when he realizes what James is holding. Satan gives an extra hard yank on the shackles in response. His shouting only causes the cat-lady to start up her own yowling and hissing again.

“Woah.” James and Lily’s eyes are wide when they really notice the old lady for the first time. “Not what I was expecting.” 

“She’s not herself.” Leila explains, sounding very out of breath as she stands with her hands on her knees. Lily is quick to support her, worried she might pass out. “She’s a scared cat, trapped in the wrong body…”

“Poor souls. Let’s put this to rights.” Lily says as Satan threatens the witch into silence again. 

As they get closer to the shrine the witch becomes so distressed he drops his body to the ground, refusing to budge, pleading for their mercy. Satan is happy enough to drag the man through the dirt but instead Lily insists that Satan carries the man after he’s been gagged. Fortunately the area is empty of people and they aren’t likely to be discovered. 

Leila didn’t want the evil witch near the poor old lady’s body longer than needed, so James passed the cat to Lily and was forced to carry the hissing-spitting body himself. The tiny body weighed next to nothing but he found it a bit disturbing nonetheless. They were all relieved, well everyone except the witch, when they finally entered the shrine. 

They are immediately greeted by the large black cat who is really the soul of the old lady. The cat practically has tears in her eyes as she sees them return. “I never thought this day would truly come!” Lily carefully lays James’ jacket on the ground and unwraps the body of the cat while James lays the still time-frozen old woman’s altered body next to it. The black cat stands on the other side. “Thank you, and bless you, little ones” The cat cries over and over to them. The cat’s soul in her body starts finally calming down and the cat-lady starts purring, as she recognizes the soul of her person.

“What now?” James asks. 

But there’s no time to answer and no spell needed. The souls, recognizing their own bodies, make the journey back to where they belong. Other than the black cat’s body dissolving into a soft glow as she bids her final thank you, and her real body transforming back into its original form, there’s no big visible magic that happens. 

Except that as soon as every soul has gone back ‘home’, both the body of the little old lady and that of her cat start emitting a white bright glow. When the glow dims, the bodies are gone and a small Japanese Maple with purple leaves has started growing in their place. Forever a reminder that the spirit of the witch will watch over the cats of this island, even now that she’s gone. Their punishment has ended. All that’s left is the clothes the old woman was wearing and James’ jacket.

“What are we doing with him then?” Satan growls, pointing a finger at the struggling and panicked looking evil witch, whom he had dumped on the ground when they entered. He’s happy that the spirits are at rest now but he doesn’t feel as if rough justice has been served to this cat murderer.

“Lily can hand him over to Solomon-” Leila begins to say but is interrupted when the witch begins to twitch and convulse. A dark black aura of evil oozes from his orifices, his screams muffled by the gag as they all watch in horror when the witch begins to dissolve away as the evil consumes him body and soul. It seems that with the disappearance of the bodies of the old lady and her cat, made the magic of the witch diminish in such a way that it lifts the curse of the evil spirit that possessed him, completely.

Leila invokes her ring and banishes the black cloud of evil with Celestial light. She’s not going to take the risk of letting it possess someone else on the island and continuing doing evil.

“I guess I won’t need to contact Solomon after all…” Lily says, looking a little pale. 

“You should still tell him about this.” Leila insists as she sits down on the bench where they found the large black cat upon arrival, to take a breather. “Maybe there’s more of these witches possessed by evil spirits doing these things on the other cat islands. We should check them all with Solomon when we get home…” Lily nods in agreement: This might not be over yet.

“Speaking of home…” James suggests, seeing his cousin so exhausted. “Let’s go home. We can worry about that later.” Earning eager nods from everyone.

Before they leave, Lily digs up the picture she’d taken from the old woman’s house from her purse, repairs the frame and sets it up among the cat statues. Leila helps her cast a spell on it that will deter anyone from trying to remove it from the shrine. Then Leila conjures a small wreath of flowers to honor them by. 

As they begin to leave the shrine, everyone, but mostly Leila can immediately tell the difference. The oppressive dark vibe has lifted and the island has been freed of the curse.

“Wait!” Lily stops as they are about to walk out of the forest into the meadow where Leila will make her circle to transport them back to the Manor. “Look! Do you see that!?” 

They all look to where Lily points. There’s a shimmering in the woods, reminding them of a mirage. At first it looks like a tall dark man is standing there, except it’s no man. While it stands upright as a man would, wearing a decorative yukata and haori, the hands clasped over its waist are not hands but paws and the head is that of a black cat, looking very similar to the one that had the spirit of the old lady inside, except much, much larger! It’s eyes are the same otherworldly gold and a slim black tail sways behind its body as it bows to them in silent thanks.

“That must be the lord that the witch spoke of.” Leila whispers. “The Bakeneko.” 

They all find themselves bowing respectfully in turn. “With wisdom and restraint you will find what you seek.” It speaks softly, looking Lily directly in the eye before vanishing. 

“Wait!” Lily calls out again, running towards the woods. But the Bakeneko is gone leaving no trace of ever being there. 

“Come on. Let’s go home.” Satan tells her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and guiding her back to the group. 

“Well, that turned out better than yesterday but I’m sorry your date didn’t go as planned.” Lily finally says to Satan as Leila puts the finishing touches on the circle. 

“Are you kidding?” Satan says with a laugh. “This was even better than expected.” 

“Really?” James asks, even Leila looks up.

“I spent the day around cats, with my favorite humans and brought justice to a heinous killer of cats.” Satan declares with triumph. Everyone was a little too horrified by what happened to the evil-spirited witch that they didn’t notice the gleam of satisfaction in Satan’s eyes as it happened. 

“And don’t forget the human.” Leila reminds him again. 

“Yes, of course that too.” He says smiling, only to placate the woman that he’s found himself completely and foolishly enraptured by.