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Life's For The Living

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Lily POV

Worry has been gnawing on me all week, while I should have just been happy. The day I received my seventh star of Virtue and I became an official Sorceress, Solomon and I had officially announced to our friends that we were engaged and we had sent our dear friends Leila and James an invitation to come celebrate the big news with us at our engagement party. 

We sent the invitation that same day and I assumed James probably became a full fledged sorcerer that day too. But we never received a letter back. Which is very unlike James or Leila. They always respond to my letters quickly. Then the next day I was looking for a missing earring and noticed someone had broken my reality turner! It was cracked and the reality sand has poured out of it. The sand was dulled, instead of softly shimmering like it was supposed to. I may have overreacted, getting angry and then sobbing over it out of nowhere and even then no one came forward yet to take responsibility or to apologize. Not even after all Lucifer’s threats and punishments. I thought they would feel at least guilty about it, but...

On top of that, when I tried to send another letter to Leila to explain, the letter wouldn’t go. Just like the sand in the reality turner, the usually glossy reality spray now just left a dirty stain on the letter. I’ve been telling myself it’s all some bad coincidence, but I’m afraid something awful has befallen my friends. I can only hope they show up today. 


Despite my worry, I’ve been so happy at the same time. Today is our official engagement party. I’m so proud and happy that Solomon is declaring me as his intended, to the Human World’s Magical Society, but I’m nervous too. There will be important people here today from both the Devildom and Sorcerer’s Society. 

I’m only disappointed by the way Lord Diavolo reacted to my engagement. I understand how it came as a bit of a shock to my demonic brothers, they’ve always been protective over me and don’t feel anyone will ever be good enough for me. But they supported me nonetheless, knowing my union with Solomon will make me the happiest. But Diavolo practically threw a silent tantrum after hearing our announcement. He offered no congratulations, scoffing something under his breath before growing cold and distant for the rest of the evening. Solomon of course didn’t blink an eye but I found it very hurtful. I had to excuse myself to the restroom when I felt tears welling up over it, I didn’t want his mood to ruin our announcement. I haven’t heard from him since...

I decided that I don’t want to deal with anyone who can’t be supportive of my choices. There was a lot to do before the official party. Thankfully Asmodeus has been in his element and planned almost everything. From our clothes to the hors d'oeuvres so I know we’re in good hands. 


And today is the day! Asmo has separated us until the party begins. I told him that this particular tradition was only meant for the wedding day, but he insisted and Solomon agreed to indulge his old friend. 

I’m anxiously sitting in the parlor waiting for someone to come collect me, when Asmo says it’s ‘time.’ I smile brightly when I see Mammon walk into the parlor. He looks nervous for some reason and I wonder why. 

“Asmo told me to come collect ya…” He tells me, not quite meeting my eyes and rubbing his neck in that way he does when he’s uncomfortable. I take his offered hand and let him pull me through Serenity Manor. We exit through a door that exits into the side garden. 

“What’s going on Mammon?” I ask him with a smile and a light laugh. He pulls me back towards him when I start to walk towards the back patio where the party is being hosted. His face is beet red and he looks as frustrated as he does embarrassed. What in the world is up with him right now? 

“Lily...I-I…” He chokes on his words, swallowing thickly. Unable to form words. I narrow my eyes, he usually only gets like this if he’s about to confess doing something that’s going to make me really mad. 

“Mammon..did you break my reality turner?” I ask him, I feel my eyes begin to water. I’ve been way too sensitive lately and Asmo will kill me if I mess up my makeup. I have a hard time believing that he would have done it though. Even he would not mess with something so important to me. And IF he had done it, he would have confessed already, I’m sure of it.

“NO!” He practically yells in my face, looking extremely offended that I’d even suggest such a thing. “I’M TRYIN’ TO SAY THAT I LOVE YA!” He shouts. 

What? I do my best not to giggle at him being so ridiculous. “Mammon..I love you too.” I tell him as I wrap my arms around him in a hug. He sighs and hugs me back, he bends to rest his chin on my shoulder as he speaks into my ear.

“N-no s-stupid...I mean, I really love you...and I don’t want ya to marry Solomon…” He says gently, squeezing me tighter as if he may never let me go. What?! My mind is reeling, I love all my brothers dearly but he sounds as if he’s suggesting something else, something..more. I feel myself going rigid in his arms, not knowing what to say or how to react. I barely notice the silent tears that begin to spill down my cheeks.


“Mammon! What’s the hold up?!” I see Asmo shouting impatiently from over Mammon’s shoulder, having come around the corner of the manor and spotting us. 

“It’s always something.” Satan grumbles next to him.

Suddenly the world erupts into chaos. Shouts and a loud crashing sound comes from the backyard, accompanied by the sounds of glass breaking and metal snapping. A flare shoots up into the sky and Asmodeus suddenly doubles over as if in pain, pulling at his hair and wailing in anguish. I feel as if my world has suddenly slowed down. 

The growl Mammon suddenly emits breaks my daze and time seems to speed up again, faster than ever as I’m shoved roughly to the ground. I look up at Mammon standing over me protectively, his wings spread wide, just in time to see his eyes bulge in surprise. I barely notice Satan’s demonic roar as his wrathful green flames race past us. My eyes are glued to the point of an arrow sticking out of Mammon’s chest beneath the sternum. A deep red, almost black ichor, drips slowly from the tip.

“MAMMON!” I scream his name as he falls to his knees in front of me. I struggle in my dress to crawl towards him. If I can get that arrow out of him, he’ll be able to regenerate, I know it. Satan’s viscous growls, Asmodeus screaming my name and the other awful sounds coming from the backyard, are distant and far away things.

“L-Lily..” Mammon chokes out my name, his own blood on his lips as he coughs.

The arrow suddenly glows up with what looks like Celestial light. “NO!” I scream but there’s nothing I can do as I see his veins light up from inside of him. Mammon doesn’t even scream, his eyes only look surprised before he falls forward. I frantically pull the arrow out, yowling as the metal burns my skin as well. I throw it from me and I summon fire to cauterize Mammon’s wound before rolling him over. 

“No, no, no….you can’t leave me…” I tell him as I place my hands over his heart that has gone still. I need to revive him, I have to try. The green healing aura leaves my hands as I will his heart to beat again. “Please..please…” I pray to whomever is listening. Demons don’t die so easily, this can’t be happening. I dig deeper within and pour everything I am into bringing him back. 

“That magic won’t work on us…” I hear someone say, gently, but I ignore them. Digging deeper and pouring more of myself in my attempt to bring Mammon back to life. Like I can do with flowers. Why doesn’t it work the way I want it to work? 

“He’s gone Lily…” they say, grabbing my arm. 

“NO! He can’t be! He can’t!” I scream, roughly jerking my arm away. I try reviving Mammon again, but I’ve nothing left inside me to give and my magic fails to work as I want it to. “No! No nononono!” I cry as I fling myself onto his body, my ear rests over his heart and I pray and pray and pray that it will start beating again. 

Someone is trying to gently pull me away and something snaps inside me. There’s no rational thought left in me as I scream, kick them, and hold onto Mammon with all my strength. 


“Lily! Enough!” Lucifer’s commanding, heartbroken rasp breaks me out of my frenzy and I look up and around me. Satan stands close, looking down at me with worried eyes. I don’t fight when he pulls me up this time and finding I have no energy of my own, I sag in his arms as I stare into the shocked, heartbroken eyes of Lucifer, Asmodeus, and Leviathan. 

“W-Where a-are the twins? Where is Solomon?” I ask in a voice I can barely recognize as my own. In the distance I think I can still hear fighting. Everyone looks at me with pity, no one speaks, my question is met with silence.

“Let me go!” I snarl as I try to break free from Satan’s hold. 

“Lily…” He tries to warn me gently but I don’t want to hear it! 

“Let me GO!” This time it’s a command and I force him to let go and dash onto the back veranda. I barely notice how trashed and destroyed everything looks, the pool has been dyed red with blood. My eyes hone in on Belphegor as he carefully lays a body down on one of the pool loungers. “SOLOMON!” I run over and Belphegor catches me in his arms. 

“Lily, don’t...” He tries to tell me as I struggle to get past him. I see my love laying there, with the same sort of arrow that pierced Mammon, still embedded in his heart. He must have died instantly. The rush of adrenaline that had suddenly fueled me has fled at the sight of my beloved. This has to be a nightmare, none of this can be real. How could this be real?!

I feel numb and detached, as if I am observing someone else's life. 



Lucifer POV

I clench my teeth and look at my watch once more. This is just an engagement party but it irritates me all the same. I may have come to accept Lily’s choices but I don’t have to be happy with them. I don’t have anything in particular against Solomon, if I am being honest with myself, I don’t think I’d ever find anyone worthy of our Lily. 

I look at my watch again, Diavolo is late. I have no doubt that my Lord is having his own private tantrum about Lily’s engagement and his tardiness is on purpose. Lily has been increasingly sensitive lately, fatigued and prone to tearful overreactions. I can only assume it's from all the excitement and perhaps even that Diavolo has hurt her with his selfish behavior. He probably thinks we’ll wait for him to be done sulking. Well this isn’t his world and we’re not waiting a moment longer. I scan the crowd for Asmodeus and give him the signal to get this thing going. I watch as he approaches Mammon and asks him to go get Lily. Hopefully he won’t stir up any trouble, the fool has been slumming around the Manor all week in a depression. I sigh, he may be a fool but I can’t help but pity him. 

Mammon leaves to collect Lily, I see Solomon speaking with other humans, laughing and looking at ease. I can’t help feeling a slight bit of resentment towards the Sorcerer. I’ve never had children in my long existence but I feel as if he’s taking Lily away from us, from me...and I don’t like it. Still, if this is what makes her happy...then I am powerless to stand against it. Just like Lilith, she’s always been able to weaken my resolve. 

Demons, humans, and our two angels are milling about the backyard. Diavolo shouldn't be so against this union when it will clearly help his dreams. Still, it makes me nervous to have so many unknown faces around. I’m scanning over the yard, making sure once more everything is in place. Asmodeus has done an impeccable job, worthy of our family and I can’t help letting myself smile thinking about how Lily’s face will light up when she comes around the corner.

Speaking of which, I glance at my watch once more. What is taking Mammon so long? I sigh and tell Asmodeus to go look for his brother, Satan follows him. I watch them disappear around the corner and then I freeze. I can sense a build of magic nearby. I growl with agitation, if anyone dares to mess up this party I’ll…

It happens so quickly. I sense a release of tremendous magic from two different directions, I’m about to go look for Lily when someone screams. I look to Solomon, but he’s already falling with an ensorceled arrow sticking from his chest, the witch he was just conversing with keeps on screaming. 

Chaos breaks out between groups of demons and humans. Some of them instigate the chaos, some of them run around in panic, not understanding what is going on. Then someone I don’t recognize shoots a magic flare into the sky, it’s a signal of some kind. They’re looking for something, another signal I realize as I go after them. But I’m too late: When I round a corner, I see a group of unknown demons and humans disappearing through teleports and portals. Solomon’s death was the signal and who knows what these people plan to do now that he is gone. Someone hidden shoots one of those bolts at me but I easily dodge it. It’s no use going after them, because I now can hear Asmodeus wailing and Satan’s wrathful screams. All I can think about is Lily as the rest of my brothers launch into action. 


Arriving at the place where Lily and Mammon were supposed to come from, I see Mammon lying on the ground. An arrow like Solomon’s pierced through his chest. This one has sent something akin to celestial magic through his body, however. The magic must have burned him up from the inside, killing him instantly, but with excruciating pain. Lily is clutching herself to his body. She can not process the loss of Mammon from her soul, an unacceptable loss. 

Satan tries to help her, but she won’t accept it. He tries to get her off from Mammon’s body, so we can check if she has been hurt herself in any way, but she fights him tooth and nail. I don’t know where our frail little flower finds the strength. Satan feels helpless, he doesn’t want to force her and hurt her that way. 

“Lily! Enough!” I command her with a voice that doesn’t quite sound like my own. But it works. Lily allows herself to be pulled from Mammon’s body now and lets herself be held by Satan.

But then she realizes we’re not all here and panic fills her eyes. “W-Where a-are the twins? Where is Solomon?” She frees herself from Satan’s hold again and rushes towards the back garden where the fighting is just subsiding. Lily spots her beloved Solomon and screams his name with a heartbreaking cry. “SOLOMON!” She launches herself towards him, but Belphegor catches her. Using his magic to calm her down a bit first.

Leviathan carries Mammon’s body and lays it next to Solomons. I see that Barbatos has opened portals in the yard and servants of the Demon Lord’s Castle are taking back the dead and injured demons that litter the yard. Satan begins burning the bodies of the humans where they lie.

“Some of them escaped.” Beelzebub growls as he lands back in the yard. I know they have. I’ve seen them escape. The fight seems to leave Beelzebub’s eyes as he takes in his brother lying next to Solomon. Belphegor has reluctantly released Lily who now kneels at Solomon’s side, her face pressed into the crook of his neck as she sobs uncontrollably. We let her cry, let her anguish pour out and echo what we all feel inside. We lost a sister once, and now, a brother.


“What’s happened here?” Lord Diavolo’s voice elicits a growl of anger from me. I hadn’t even noticed his arrival through one of the portals

“Where have you been?!” I snap back instead of answering him and can’t keep the hint of accusation from my voice. He holds my gaze silently, before his eyes snap back down to Lily, her once hysterically sobbing has ebbed into silent shudders.

Everything inside me bristles as he scoops Lily up into his arms as if he has any right to do so. Lily trembles, her eyes are far away and uncaring of anything that goes on around her. I’ve never seen her spirit so broken. “I’ll take Lily to the Devildom, she’ll be safe with me, while you avenge your brother.” Diavolo tells me gently. As if I would agree to that!

My brothers growl around me, taking Lily from us now is not the wise choice. We need to protect her ourselves, I’ll not permit her out of our sight. “You know she can’t go with you.” Belphegor growls before I can speak. “The Devildom makes her sick.” His ever defiant eyes stare up at Diavolo unrepentant. “She will die down there if you take her.” He transforms back into his demonic form, ready to take back his Lily by force if he must.

“I’ll see to her needs. I’ll build her a whole castle of light if I have to.” Diavolo rumbles back, stubbornly. “Barbatos.” Diavolo calls for his steward as if the discussion is closed with that. “Make a portal for us…”

I’m about to demand our Lily back when we all realize that Barbatos is nowhere to be found. “Who saw Barbatos last?” I demand to know. 

“I’m here.” Barbatos replies, stepping through a new sort of portal that has opened up. It is barely visible to the naked eye. But it’s there, as we watch familiar faces follow him through.

 

 

Chapter Text

Karasu’s Introduction to our new story: Life’s for the Living


Karasu art by Ristorantesix on instagram

 

Eh? Who’s that? Oh...it’s you. Welcome...welcome. That was some sad shit, huh? Can’t believe my master went and got himself killed, I was finally a free bird! Now some other money grubbin’ shit has shown up to replace him. Eh...well I guess it wouldn’t have been the same in the Devildom without the greedy bastard... *cough* And besides, he brought some interestin’ peeps with him, I guess...

Oh? Ya wanna know who I am? The name’s Karasu...at your service *bows exaggeratedly* God of corvids, Master of spies and assassins. The best lookin’ demon in all the Devildom, dontcha let anyone tell ya different. *winks* *strokes his hands through his featherly hair*

Fallingunderground13 and Cluelesse really are a couple ’o cruel mistresses… *chuckles* They were having so much fun writin’ their little side adventures' with Lily, Leila and James that they got this crazy idea in their heads to merge their realities permanently. So ya can look forward to season four with the whole gang together. But before that happens there’s a different tale to tell. 

I shouldn’t be gettin’ ahead of myself here though. If ya haven’t read James and Leila: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Devildom , James and Leila: Guide to the Human World , A Lily among Demons , and Lily and Leila: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Alternate Realities ...Well then I highly recommend ya go do that! (I’ll leave you the links below to make it easy on ya, so don’t go telling anyone that old Karasu never did anything nice for ya! *winks* ) If ya wanna dive right into this story though, you better listen to me and I’ll summarize what everyone’s been up to. 

Now an important thing to note: Lily doesn’t exist in their reality and James and Leila don’t exist in hers..which is how they were able to meet in the first place. If ya wanna know that story..ya gotta read A Chance Meeting, part 1 of Lily and Leila: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Alternate Realities.


Hmmm... *strokes chin* Where should I start? I guess in season one… Lily and James are each other’s shadows I guess ya could say.  In their separate realities they were both chosen as the ‘ordinary’ human exchange student for Diavolo’s Exchange program for RAD. Little did we know at the time they were descendants of Lilith. They more or less had the same adventures. If ya want to know all about Lily’s first year at RAD you’ll have to read A Lily among Demons. It’s extra interestin’ cause I’m the main character in that story, of course… What? Don't look at me like that! Fine! I’ll continue... Now James’ story gets really interestin’ in season two because here’s where things take the biggest turn between these two realities. Lily came back to RAD alone but James brought someone with him, his cousin, Leila. Turns out Leila is Solomon’s secret granddaughter and even James hadn’t known about his cousin’s affinity for magic. I mean, how dense can ya be not to notice? Maybe that’s a human thing?

As ya can imagine, Leila’s presence really mixes things up in the Devildom. If you want to know more about that you’re gonna have to read James and Leila: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Devildom

Now, Fallingunderground13 isn’t as far along with telling Lily’s whole story yet, but if ya want some sneak peeks about what’s in store for her in season 2 and 3, ya can find glimpses in Lily and Leila: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Alternate Realities .

Oh another big difference is this: James became lovers with Beel and Lucifer *laughs* while Lily treats her avatars as her brothers. Well, it didn’t take long for Satan and Belphegor to claim Leila as their own in season 2. They even bred a little nephilim named Pandora with her... and like I said, if ya want all those juicy details, you’ll have to read that story. 

But this is the most important bit ya gotta know. The biggest difference between the two realities is, well, Leila. She was hand picked by the Angel of Death to wear the ‘Ring of Souls’. She’s a bad-ass chick who takes after her grandfather and has a real affinity towards her Celestial ancestry. But if you think that sounds like a perfect life, you’re mistaken. Leila’s talent and power caught the attention of ill-intended demons left and right and the worst thing about that is that, by no fault of her own, she eventually caught the eye of Lord Diavolo himself. 

Now...ya might not think that’s such a bad thing right? He’s a Prince, the future Demon King and he’s powerful. He’s also got those big sexy *motions with hands* tracks of land...heh. 

But the Diavolo in James and Leila’s reality wasn’t as... *ahem* ...stable, as some other versions of him. His dark obsession and lust for Leila grew and grew and because she wasn’t having any of his dismal attempts at romancing her... Well he went a bit mad. Mad enough to cause the end of the world. 

So now we’re here. Lily and her demons are in the midst of their own tragedy when Leila, James and their crew appear outta some sorta time-void from Barbatos. Their reality is gone and now they gotta make the best of things in Lily’s reality. 

So hold onto your butts and get ready for the beginning of their new journey together. Angst, Adventure and Romance are sure to follow in spades.

 

Recommended Reading Timeline

 

  1. A Lily Among Demons (season 1)
  2. James and Leila: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Devildom (season 2)
  3. James and Leila: Guide to the Human World (season 3)
  4. Lily and Leila: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Alternate Realities (takes place during season 2 and 3)
  5. Life’s for the Living (takes place between season 3 and 4 - there will be spoilers for Lily’s story since her season 2 & 3 is still being written)

 

Advanced Reading Order

 

  1. A Lily Among Demons 
  2. James and Leila: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Devildom 
  3. Lily and Leila: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Alternate Realities - Part 1 & 2
  4.  James and Leila: Guide to the Human World - Part 1
  5. Lily and Leila: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Alternate Realities: Part 3 Baby Shower
  6. James and Leila: Guide to the Human World - Part 2-7
  7. Lily and Leila: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Alternate Realities: Part 4 & 5
  8. James and Leila: Guide to the Human World - Part 8 & 9
  9. Life’s for the Living

 

Lily’s Introduction by Karasu


Art by Zurui_e on instagram

 

This is Peaches...also known as Lily, Mammon’s Human, or Asmo’s little flower. When I first met this human I didn’t expect her to last long. Just a little tasty morsel that was more than likely gonna go down as a casualty of Lord Diavolo’s little peace project. The scrappy little thing proved me wrong though , heh, she proved to be quite the entertainment for me and the rest of the Devildom that first year. 

She'd been living on her own for the past three years after her father had up and disappeared. Her Ma’ had passed on when she was just a wee chick, ya would expect a kid like that to be broken. Not my Peaches though, she might have been a naive lonely little thing but she was strong in spirit with a soul so shiny and bright, any demon might covet to possess for himself. 

She surprised us all when she started making pacts with the mighty Avatars, Lords of the Devildom, one after another. Wish I coulda been there to see old Lucifer’s face when they found out she was a descendant of Lilith. 

Ya might be inclined to underestimate her if ya saw her walking down the halls. With her wide eyed dreamy stare, she often seems flighty and absent minded. Lost wanderin’ in her own thoughts she often says blurts out random thoughts at odd times. Even so, I’ll bet my own tail feathers, there’s a vibrant, intelligent young woman in those big violet eyes. 

Random Facts:

Lily has been dying her hair lavender since she was a teen. These days she skips the box day in favor of doing it with magic or going to a Salon with Asmodeus. 

Mammon and Levi are her best friends, she’s very close to all the brothers though and looks up to Lucifer as the eldest. She loves shopping with Asmo and Mammon. While she loves to dress casually because she loves to be able to move freely and be outdoors, she still has a girly side that she likes to indulge with Asmo. 

She enjoys reading, cats and conversion with Satan. Naps and outdoor activities with the twins, binge watching shows and playing pretend with Levi, just hanging out doing anything or nothing with Mammon. She likes to be helpful to Lucifer and enjoys time with him in the music room. 

She’s great with a bow and arrow, loves climbing trees and playing with Cerberus. More than once Lucifer has scolded her for tracking dirt into the house and for walking around with bare feet.

 

Leila’s Introduction by Karasu


Art by Zurui_e on instagram

 

This hot little mama bird is ol’ Solomon’s granddaughter and heir, if ya can believe it! She’s also James’ cousin and shares descendancy with Liliths line through his side of the family. Oh and she’s mother to a little nephilim named Pandora, who’s also the spawn of her late mates Belphegor and Satan. 

I’m still gettin’ to know this firecracker but I can already tell I’m going to have a lotta fun with this one. Heh. What I can tell ya is that she’s Solomon’s pride n’ joy and he’s been trainin’ her in magic since she was ten. She’s got a fiery, temperamental side and I just know I’m gonna have a blast pushin’ her buttons. She’s also got a real sweet and carin’ side too so I’m not too worried she’ll take me out, if ya know what I mean. Especially since she’s got a big soft spot for animals and I’m just the cutest crow there ever was, ya know? And I bet she’d walk through fire for those she loves. You get me?

I’ve been told she can be shy when she meets new people but I haven’t seen that side of her yet. Maybe we haven’t given her much chance to be shy, being a rowdy demon bunch she has to get in line. In her old reality she had pacts with Barbatos and all the Avatars, it’ll be interestin’ to watch and see if and when she renews those pacts here. Seein’ how she’s a gal who likes to take charge and isn’t afraid to put us rowdy demons in place, it’ll be exciting to see how things start changing around here. I can’t wait!


Random Facts:

Leila has sparkling bright green eyes and long golden/light brown hair. She likes to dress feminine, but practical in general. She does love to be a girly girl and be treated like a princess.

Even though her mates were Belphegor and Satan, Leila’s best demon friend was Asmodeus and the one she trusts the most to protect her and her family is still Mammon. She demands to stay on equal grounds with Lucifer. She is least close to Leviathan and Beelzebub, because however much she loves them and admires them, she has a hard time dealing with, and understanding their Sins.

She has the natural ability to speak with animals, due to her pact with Barbatos, and this resulted in her adopting two pets already. A cat, of all things, and a Fairy Dragon.

 

James’ Introduction by Karasu


Art by Zurui_e on instagram

 

Heh. How should I introduce James? He’s a stand up guy, real laid back and it’s really hard to ruffle his feathers. Which is frustrating for me, because teasin’ him ain’t much fun. The only way I can rile him up is by poking at his protective instincts for his family. At least I can get a rise outta Leila by teasing James. So it’s not a complete loss. Leila and James are really close, seein’ how they were raised together.

The funny thing is, when James was randomly chosen to go to the Devildom in his reality, same as Lily. He had no idea his cousin could use magic, already knew about the existence of the Devildom or that she was Solomon’s granddaughter. He was pretty relieved when she came with him that second year and there were no more secrets between them. 

I’m still gettin’ to know James and even though he’s a masculine and handsomely built young man, I have no idea how he managed to bag Lucifer and Beel as lovers in his reality. They all seem so different from each other, and it’ll be interestin’ to see how his love life plays out here with us. Even though he’s got a much different personality than Leila, I can tell they share a lot of the same values, family is everything. 

James seems to be just as strong as Lily when it comes to their sorcerer abilities, although it seems like they all have different natural affinities. I can tell it’s just a matter of time before he becomes a real powerhouse around here. I’m lookin’ forward to seein’ how he shakes things up around here, especially considering he seems to be in good with Satan and Belphie, despite his attraction for Lucifer. 

Random Facts:

James has the same sparkling green eyes as Leila, which tells you instantly they’re related. He has dark chestnut brown hair that is not particularly styled. Much to Asmodeus’ dismay.

Despite having Lucifer and Beelzebub as his lovers, his best demon friends have always been Mammon, Levi and Beelzebub. You can find them often gaming, snacking and arguing together. He’s also an enthused member of the Formerly Anti-Lucifer League (aka F.A.L.L.) with Satan, Belphegor, Lily and now Lucien as well. Guess they’re a real bunch of suckers for punishment.

 

Pandora’s Introduction by Karasu

Ol’ Karasu never had much interest in demon spawn, putrid lil’ things really...I never was a child myself and well...I sorta find it unnatural. But I have to say that Leila’s daughter Pandora is a sweet little thing, a real cheerful, noisy little bird. It's been a long time since I’ve seen a nephilim, while they seem to age like regular humans, they mentally age faster than human babies. I remember that time when baby Hercules took out those two snakes sent by Hera and… Well, that’s a different story. Just sayin’ she might be destined for greatness, just like that Nephilim. Maybe the most interesting thing about these little hybrids is that they only show certain features depending on which realm they're in.

Now in the other reality Satan and Belphegor were Leila’s mates and they both accepted this lil’ one as their own daughter, raisin’ her together. It’ll be interesting to see how Lucifer and the others deal with having a baby in the house. I just crack up thinkin’ about it. 

Random Facts:

Pandora has the same sort of eyes as us supernaturals: framed with long lashes and they have an intensity you don’t see in regular human eyes. Though hers are grey, which makes it hard to determine from who she got her eyes. She has the same hair color as her mother.

Her Nephilim features show in the Devildom as three golden tipped horns, a little downy feathered golden tail and two downy feathered golden wings. In the Celestial Realm her Nephilim features show only the golden wings, where they appear to be brighter. In the Human World, her Nephilim features do not show and she appears as a normal baby. Except her eyes keep the same intensity.

Her birthday is June 1st and when this story begins she is only 3 months old. She pretty much loves everyone she meets and excitement around the house. She loves Chimera and Shado and dislikes loud scary noises. 

 

Lucien’s Introduction by Karasu

Where do I even begin with his kid?! I’ve lived a long time and I ain’t never seen the like before. So as it’s been explained to me..wha? So what if I eavesdropped? Anyway...This teenage lookin’ kid was angel Luke from the other reality. Except he grew up a bit and lost his Celestial light during that confrontation. Good riddance if ya ask me. It’s too bright anyway.

Now normally when an angel ‘falls’, so to speak, they become really vulnerable and there’s this big gaping hole in their soul. There are lots of demonic and evil spirits out there that wanna fill up that void and once one of ‘em does: viola, the angel turns into a demon. 

So now this Lucien kid, that’s what he renamed himself, is walking around with an empty soul. I can tell the others want to protect him...but I ain’t so sure that leaves him in a better place and anyway, what’s so bad about him becomin’ a demon huh? I can tell Mammon’s especially attached to him. Sayin’ he’s his kid brother. Anyway, I’m sure the whole thing will prove to be entertainin’ at least for me. Heh.

Random Facts:

Lucien is Luke from Leila and James’ reality. He’s no longer an angel but he’s not human or demon either. He’s still an immortal, supernatural being but in a vulnerable state to spirits wanting to use him as a vessel.

His personality and interests are pretty much the same as Luke’s except now he’s the equivalent of a fifteen or sixteen year old, dealing with the trauma of what happened to him and everyone else in the other reality. He hates Diavolo and he’s changed his birthday from June 15th to August 31, the day they arrived in this reality. Sayin’ somethin’ about being reborn. Yeah he’s probably got some teenage angst.

He’s joined the Lucifer pranking club like a real fool and Mammon declared him to be his littlest brother, so now the rest of ‘em have to accept them both. Well, he ain’t no angel anymore, so why not, ey? At least he’s ‘fallen’, like the rest of ‘em.

 

Our Story HC Heights

 

Chapter Text

James POV

We don't know how long we've been waiting. Here in this place between the realities. It could have been hours. Or minutes. Maybe days? There's no time here. It's not dark here, but it's not light either. It's the feeling of going under anesthesia. The experience of nothingness. One second you're awake in one place, the next you wake up in another. Something must have happened in the time you were not awake. But you can't recall.

Except we know we're waiting. Even now that time does not pass, we wait. Leila seems to be numb. She just stands there: Her cat and Fairy dragon on her shoulders. Both agitated with outstanding fur. Baby in her arm. Pandora is screaming and Leila does nothing to soothe her. And no one blames her. I’m not even sure she can, right now. We all just stare at the spot where the portal we just came out of has disappeared. Where the world as we know it is...

What actually happened? 

It feels as if our lives have stopped, the moment we were pushed into this place. We noticed Mammon following us with our suitcases. And sooner or later after that - I really can’t tell - Solomon and Luke joined us. I felt the pact with Lucifer finally ripped from my soul, but I couldn’t react to that, even. The portal closed behind them and we… just existed in this void. I don’t know any other way to describe it. 

We don’t move. I’m not sure if we can. I just know I don’t feel like it. None of us do. The only one moving and making sounds is poor little Pandora. She must still be hungry, after her meal was disrupted earlier this night. Has it really been only half an hour ago before Lord Diavolo lost his mind? Maybe it was shorter ago? Maybe longer? Do I care? It seems like nothing is important anymore to care about… How can I feel like this? We need to leave here soon, this is not a good place to be, even if it seems to be safe. It’s numbing us.

 

It can’t have been that long. The time we spent in this void. I’m not feeling like I need to sleep, or get thirsty or hungry. No, it couldn’t have been that long. Barbatos and the others are just fighting Lord Diavolo. They are defeating him, so we can return to the real world. The others? But who is left to fight him? What’s the point of returning to an empty house? Where there are only corpses of our loved ones waiting for us? Maybe it’s not so bad to stay like this forever. Just existing. Nothing else. Nothing at all.

 

 

September

 

Suddenly the portal appears again. It still comes unexpected. Too late? Too soon? I have no idea, but it feels like a bit of both. Barbatos steps through it with his solemn expression. We just stare at him. He gives us all a friendly smile. Not a fond one to Solomon and Leila, as I’ve become used to. Just a polite, friendly smile. A bit distant. Strange. He beckons us to follow him and only then it is that we know we are able to move again. 

As if walking through molasses, we follow him. Slowly, as if this place, this void, wants to keep us here. Keep us in this state of not being fully alive. But with Barbatos here, it seems that this place has to let us go, anyway. Or maybe it is that now that he is here with us, we want to leave this place? Whatever it is, the feeling is strange. 

When we exit the portal we are in the garden of Serenity Manor, instead of Leila’s room. And then we see the people. Staring at us, as we stare back at them in shock. Well… Most of us. Solomon doesn’t seem to be all that surprised.

I barely register all the destruction around us, it appears as if there had been a party. Dead litter the grounds but I don’t recognize anyone. I can’t peel my eyes away from the main scene before us, we’ve only emerged mere seconds ago when I’m jolted from my daze by Leila’s harrowing scream. 

Leila and Mammon spring into action, after having taken in the main scene: Lord Diavolo holding a crying Lily in his arms, while their version of Mammon and Solomon lie dead at his feet. Angry demons and angels surrounding the two of them.

 

Lucifer POV

I can not believe my eyes! Wondering if grief has addled my mind as I watch the people following Barbatos out of the portal… This is never supposed to happen. This is not how James and Leila are supposed to visit our reality. Mammon and Solomon… They aren’t allowed to come here. They aren’t supposed to bring living creatures with them. Yet here they are: James, Leila, her baby Pandora, some adolescent male that looks oddly like Luke. And Solomon and my brother Mammon from another reality. Alive and well…? 

I have to swallow. This is too cruel. My dead brother’s body is still cooling next to a Solomon, whose eyes will never open again, on the pool lounger. Then this version of my brother comes walking through a portal, almost immediately afterwards. Glowing like an angel of retribution. Impossible. And yet...

They all look like they’ve gone through trauma and battle as well. Luke and Mammon especially look like they had a severe battle with demons of all sorts, judging by the blood covering them head to toe. Neither look injured though. None of them look hurt. At least, not physically. Instead, they look as haunted as I feel.

But the look of shock and then pain on their faces as they recognize us, hurts me in my soul like a stab. I feel a new sense of connection with James and Leila in my soul that wasn’t there before and immediately afterwards a rejection from them. The feeling comes strongest from Leila.

But before I can even begin to process this strange new sensation coming from seeing our friends, suddenly both Mammon and Leila spring into action. Launching forward towards Diavolo, attacking him?!

“Let her go!!” Leila screeches as if possessed by a banshee. The fury in her eyes is worse than when I saw it a couple weeks ago on James and Lily’s birthday. “MURDERER!!” She accuses as she blasts Lord Diavolo away from Lily with one hand, by casting a strong protective shield around her. Then she’s immediately at her side. “Lily! Lily… Are you okay?! Don’t worry, I won’t let him take you…” She soothes Lily in her free arm as she’s holding her crying baby in her other. 

Lily finally gives some reaction to her surroundings. “Leila…” She embraces her and cries again, “They’re dead, Leila…”

“I know…” Leila sobs with her and the girls hold each other tight for comfort in their own separate grief. “He killed them all, like they meant nothing…” 

I have no time to process Leila’s reaction, Mammon has taken advantage of the opportunity to pounce on a surprised Diavolo. Shouting “MURDERER!!” The same way Leila did. “Ya killed my brothers!” His new glowing appearance seems to also give him some amazing strength and as he starts beating on the face of Diavolo, he immediately has punched him a broken nose and a black eye!

Too much, too quickly has transpired before my eyes in mere seconds after the group of newcomers has left the portal. But when I see Diavolo transform to get Mammon off of him, I finally react. I’ll be truly damned if I let another brother of mine get killed today! No matter what reality he is from! Diavolo will not accept this form of treason from anyone.

I transform into my demonic form once again and swiftly restrain Mammon. I’m surprised with how much trouble it gives me. This unknown transformation of him, makes him almost as strong as me?! Diavolo however seems to think I’m holding Mammon for him, so that he can punch him back. That is definitely not my intention and I turn my back to him, so Diavolo punches me instead. 

I grunt as Diavolo’s punch connects painfully and I can hear my other brothers shouting in outrage. Some of them transform, ready to come to our defence. Before the situation can escalate, suddenly it is like time rewinds itself. Our memories remain, but Mammon and I are being pulled away from Lord Diavolo by an unknown force. Diavolo and I transform into our human forms and the time-spell is halted the moment Diavolo hits the ground and Leila embraces Lily.

I grimace at the ache in my back and see that Diavolo gives me an apologetic look as he holds his own bloodied nose. Mammon is now crouched in front of Leila and Lily defensively, still looking feral. Despite everything, I can’t help feeling a surge of pride.  

“We don’t have time for accusations and squabbles.” Barbatos says with a disapproving voice. “So, let’s try this again, shall we?”

Leila’s grandfather pulls her up from the ground and Lily’s eyes widen, another sob escapes her as she notices him for the first time now. He’s paying her no mind, only caring for his own granddaughter. It’s painful to watch our Lily looking at them. My brothers all growl irritated at Solomon’s apparent insensitivity. But how could he know? How could he care the same as Lily’s own Solomon? 

“Come Leila.” He commands her and I’m slightly surprised to watch how Leila obediently nods and lets herself be led away inside the manor. That is certainly not how I’ve seen Leila ever act before.

“What the fuck is going on here?!” Satan finally roars. Someone is finally expressing what we’ve all been thinking.

“We have to explain a few things about this new situation first, Barbatos.” Solomon tells him over his shoulder. Seeming to be not at all impressed with Satan’s threatening voice.

“Yes.” Barbatos nods in agreement. “But we have to be quick. There is something really important we have to take care of as soon as possible. Or else I’m afraid the situation will escalate on our side as well.” 

Solomon nods in understanding. By now I feel that the only two people who know what is really going on are Solomon and Barbatos. And it irritates the hell out of me. At least Leviathan had the good sense to pick up Lily before Diavolo has the chance to again. We all follow Solomon and Barbatos into the Manor. Away from the dead bodies. 

After Barbatos makes it clear that our Lord Diavolo had nothing to do with the violence done here today, one by one the newcomers start explaining what transpired in their own reality. How after James received his seventh star and officially became a sorcerer just like our Lily, they celebrated his achievement. How suddenly their Lord Diavolo took the kind of liberties with Leila that are absolutely unheard of for someone in his position, but somehow, having heard all previous stories about them, also not that surprising. How they retreated to the Manor and prepared themselves to flee for the Celestial Realm. How Lord Diavolo suddenly showed up, throwing around accusations of treason and killing Satan and Belphegor in cold blood.

By this time Leila is crying again, refusing to even look at my living brothers Satan and Belphegor, who both look shocked and angry and hurt. She’s wrapped up in Solomon’s arms as the story continues. Lily and James both look numb, their gazes far away. The tiny creature that Leila brought with her, flies up on James' shoulder, trying to cheer him up with tiny hugs and kisses. It seems to be able to bring him back to reality somewhat.

“James and Leila were in agony all the way up to Leila’s room and I just knew they were feelin’ how Beel and Asmo were bein’ killed off one by one as well.” Mammon explains with a growling demonic voice. Still looking with a murderous glare towards Diavolo who is listening to the story with an expression of utter disbelief on his face.

“By the time Lucifer and Lord Diavolo reached Leila’s room, the Manor was already half destroyed.” The grown up version of Luke adds to the story with a strange sounding adolescent voice. “Leviathan was dead by then as well and Lotan escaped, rampaging the neighbourhood. Lucifer and Lord Diavolo were both wounded, but still fighting. Then Simeon started helping Lucifer and I helped Barbatos keep the monsters that were pouring into the worlds away from Solomon. Soon after Lord Diavolo was killed, Solomon completed some sort of ritual and Simeon and Lucifer tossed me into Barbatos portal too.”

“What kind of ritual was that?” Satan practically snarls, his rage still not completely under his control. He’s taken the cat that was sitting on Leila’s shoulder when she came through the portal on his lap. No surprises there. The animal meows at him, kneading its paws into Satan’s legs and Satan relaxes a bit. That is a surprise.

“The kind that we need to prevent from happening in this reality.” Barbatos stands up and so does Solomon, after having nudged Leila and her baby into the arms of Mammon. “My Lord, I urge you to retreat to the Demon Lord's Castle and wait for my return.” Lord Diavolo looks ready to protest, but Barbatos cuts him off. “It is unwise to linger here, after such a tale, My Lord.”

“I shall return to the Devildom and launch an investigation on today's attack.” Diavolo growls as if he leaves of his own initiative and not at Barbatos’ behest. “Our enemies will regret what they’ve done today.” 

He turns to me, looking like he might say something more but his mouth only closes again, pressed into a grim line. He squeezes my shoulder once before leaving the Manor, I watch him go through the shattered patio doors. He seizes a gravely injured but not yet dead demon from the ground by a wing and drags it behind him through a portal to the Devildom. I can only feel a wicked satisfaction at the torture that awaits the traitor. 

Solomon and Barbatos waste no time leaving on this dire errand of theirs. I’m left to stare at our guests, refugees from another reality and now my responsibility. I glance at Lily, still tucked away in Leviathan’s arms. He’s still in his demon form, his tail securely and protectively wrapped around her waist and limbs. Untangling those two will be a chore for later. I need to have two new rooms prepared for Leila and James, possibly three if this other version of Luke plans to stay as well. Mammon of course can take his own room. The thought is painful, my brother's body is still out on the patio and the arrival of this other version can’t ease that pain. Even so, I plan to treat him the same. He is Mammon and he is our brother. Relief and anguish storm inside my heart but I’m quickly pulled away from these thoughts when Leila speaks.

“I...need to feed Pandora…” Leila whispers in a hoarse voice and stands up, walking out of the room with her child.

“Where are you going?” I ask, concerned. I feel I need everyone in close range right now. I don’t want anyone wandering off.

“Privacy…” She just tells me, walking towards the dining room. “She hasn’t had enough yet, since Lord Diavolo’s… interruption. And apparently it’s also been a week ago…” Then she’s gone, her pets followed her on her heels. Apparently not planning to let their mistress out of their sight.

I’m resisting the urge to follow her. To check if she’s not disappearing. To check if she won’t teleport herself to the Devildom and does something stupid like attacking Diavolo again. Then suddenly Beelzebub stands next to me. “I’m going to make some food and I’ll keep an eye on her.” He tells me, understanding my worry. Not only my worry. The worry is evident on all my brothers faces as they watch her go. He disappears into the kitchen and soon I hear him talking to Leila. Leila answers him quietly with short reluctant answers. But not unkind. She isn’t going anywhere right now.

When I turn around again, I see Simeon and Luke caring for James and the older Luke. They both glow and I know they’re giving them some Celestial comfort healing. They would have included Lily, if Leviathan could let her go. But they still cling to each other.

Mammon’s new transformation has finally worn off and he has assumed his human form. He’s pacing the room restlessly. Turning away as if stung if he comes a little too close to one of my - his - brothers. He doesn’t know how to deal with this situation. Neither do they. Maybe it is not the most important thing right now to prepare rooms. I have to have a talk with him, before anything else. 

“Mammon.” I see him flinch at my voice, “Come here.” I tell him, not harshly but with the authority I know he needs right now. I walk to the far end of the room where we can have some privacy but I can still keep my family within my sights. 

Mammon takes one look at me and lets out a shuttered breath before looking away again. Before I can say anything, he begins to rant. “I know what you’re gonna say! I’m useless! I f-failed my f-family...I let down my humans. I don’t belong here-”

I grab him roughly by the shoulder to stop him from pacing. “You really are a fool.” I growl before pulling him into my arms. 

“L-Lucifer…?” I can feel his whole body go rigid with shock at my actions, I can’t blame him, I’ve surprised myself with this rare display of brotherly affection. I should have embraced my own brother, I should have told him what I really thought of him. I won’t make that mistake again. 

“My brother died a hero, he sacrificed himself for the one he cherished most. You protected the ones in your family who needed you the most and you lost your brothers. They would be proud of you.” I tell him fiercely, not letting up on my hold of him when I feel him slump in my arms as he takes in my words. “You are our brother now. We are your family.” 

It’s a bittersweet feeling when he finally returns my embrace for a moment and when I feel him begin to pull away I let him go. No surprise his face is flush with embarrassment, but I see also a hint of hope in his eyes. “Now, let’s rejoin our family.” I tell him, with a final pat on his back. 

When I turn around, some of our brothers are staring at us in shock. I clear my throat and send a glare their way, which has them minding their own business again. 

 

Some time has passed since Beel and Leila left and I’m about to go check on them when they finally reappear. Leila somehow manages to hold her baby in one arm and balance a tray in the other. Beelzebub pushes a whole service cart laden with all sorts of food. Food that, as Lily has taught me, humans call ‘junk’ or ‘comfort’ food. 

Beelzebub takes the tray from Leila and makes himself busy laying out all the food. Belphegor and some of the others end up drifting over to the table to partake of this human ritual of eating your feelings. Something I had thought was unique to Beel for the longest time. 

Leila has pulled a blanket from her suitcase and starts with collecting pillows from the couches. With this, she’s building a soft, secure place in the corner of the room for her daughter to have a nap in. I can’t help but smile a little, seeing her busy. She must have some experience with this from her own Belphegor. It looks to me like she needs to be busy with her child to distract herself. And we let her. The little flying creature nestles itself next to the baby and both are soon off to sleep.

Satan has immediately taken possession of the cat again when it returned with Leila and now has it on his lap again. It doesn't look like he will part with the animal any time soon, so Leila sits next to James now. They both wrap their arms around each other in silent mourning and comfort. Our angels sit close to them, giving them comfort with their presence.

The mood in the living room is still tense as we wait for news. I feel helpless. I want to do more for them. For Lily. For all of us. But where to start? It’s very difficult to stay still when there’s much to be done to secure the manor and make room for our new guests, our new family members. We all have quiet conversations among each other, none of us wants to leave to be alone right now. No matter how hurtful it’s still to see the counterparts of our deceased loved ones. Beel is snacking away from the mountain of food he made. Belphegor is half asleep, but I know he’s keeping an eye on things. 

Until something suddenly flies through the window and lands on our table in the middle of all the food. Making us all jump up in agitation again: Another assasination attempt?!

Chapter Text


Somewhere in a secret underground labyrinth.

Solomon murmurs the specific enchantment and a little orb of light appears in his hand again. He and Barbatos look around. To Solomon, it’s been less than an hour since he was here last in his own reality. Their stay in the void made it feel as if they were only there for a short time. No time at all. While in truth, a whole week has passed. Barbatos couldn’t retrieve them until the right circumstances in this reality aligned. If things had gone too differently here, they might have spent an eternity in the void. Whether Barbatos knew for sure or only gambled, Solomon was just thankful to be given a second chance with his family. 

“Some wards have been dispelled with my counterpart's death.” He mentions as they make their way towards the middle of the labyrinth. “It seems this place is easier to find now…” Barbatos just nods, as he walks alongside with him. “No matter…” Solomon casts his new wards while they walk. Barbatos nods with approval this time, he can sense his Grimoire becoming more secure with each renewed ward or spell. 

It’s not as if Solomon doesn’t care about the loss that Barbatos and Asmodeus must feel. Or that he’s not feeling the loss of all his own 72 demons. Of course it matters to him. But at this moment, he can’t let it matter. Right now, things need to be taken care of before this reality goes asunder as well.

They hear the warnings rumbling throughout the labyrinth. Ever repeating itself. Someone must have reached the center and taken the Grimoire from its stand. They exchange a grim expression, as they make haste. They both ignore the living body parts of demons and humans alike sticking out of the stone walls of the labyrinth. Some heads are screaming to them for help as they pass by them. A number of people have attempted to teleport themselves to this location today and were trapped by the wards. If you don’t teleport exactly in the small arrival chamber, this is what happens to you: The very surroundings will turn on you and trap you into solid rock. The humans will soon die. The demons will suffer longer, but eventually they will be crushed and become one with the rock that’s keeping them trapped, except for the parts that are sticking out...

Neither of them have any plans for saving them. Because first, there is no time for that. And second, why should they? Someone who tries to steal Barbatos’ Grimoire deserves this sort of punishment. Because any and all thieves only have one thing in mind: To control Barbatos is to control time itself. No wonder a lot of sorcerers are jealous of Solomon.


Reaching the center of the labyrinth, they discover why the warning is triggered. The glass case has been shattered. Several creatures crawl around their feet. No, not creatures. Demons and humans. But time has taken its toll on them. Literally. As a last defense the center of the labyrinth is cursed for all unauthorized beings. As long as this defense is still active, anyone who enters the center is transformed to random invalid ages. There’s an old man so ancient, his bones bent and too brittle to move, his mind lost to senility. The fetuses are dead by now. But there is a toddler playing with the Grimoire cheerfully.

“Come here, you.” Solomon says almost gently as he picks up the toddler before it can rip out the pages. “That is not a toy.” He admonishes.

Barbatos almost laughs. This Solomon is very much like his own. He’s sure he will appreciate him over time as well. He needs him now to safeguard his Grimoire. He will accept and renew his pact with this new Solomon and his granddaughter without a doubt. He just has to see the extent to which he will respect or like them. Placing his Grimoire back on the pedestal, the rumbling warnings finally subside. 

Solomon skillfully repairs the glass case, cleans up the mess in the chamber and rounds up those who are still alive. He shackles them, before Barbatos transforms them back to their natural ages. 

Then Barbatos creates a portal towards the Devildom, sending the trespassers through first. “I still have more to discuss with My Lord.” He tells his new young master. “Give my new young mistress my regards and I promise to visit the two of you soon.”

Solomon nods and watches the portal close. Then he gets to work to repair more of the damages and broken spells and wards in the labyrinth. After he is finished, he returns to Serenity Manor. He needs to be with his granddaughter, she’s his top priority now that the current crisis has been averted.

 

Karasu POV  

Let me tell you something. It’s been a crazy day! First my master refuses to let me come to the Human World to join the celebrations of his little mistress’ engagement party. The next thing I knew, the connection I shared with Mammon was suddenly severed. 

What happened to the greedy idiot?! Look, It’s not like I was worried. Well, maybe a little, but he doesn't need to know it, you know? I was about to go to the Human World to check things out for myself until I was distracted.

Because all sorts of rumors started circulating in the Devildom. Dead bodies of important high tier and elite demons were portalled into the Castle. Wounded demons too. You can’t keep things like that a secret from me. So, I sneaked into the Castle to spy on whatever was going on. Soon Lord Diavolo himself came home and started interrogating some of them. That wasn’t a pretty sight, sheesh…

Then old Barbatos came home, bringing in another bunch of demons and a couple humans too. After some interrogation of them he and the Prince had some tête-à-tête. Of course I tried spying on that as well. But before I could hear anything really interesting, Barbatos spotted me and caught me in one of his time spells and instructed me to report Lord Diavolo’s findings so far from his interrogations to Lucifer in the Human World. Now you know I’m not the kind of demon to take orders from just anyone. But since I was already planning on going, I thought, why the hell not? I had to see what had befallen my master too.. I had a bad feeling about it, you know? And if something did happen to the idiot... Well, who better than me was supposed to look after his little mistress?


When I fly through the portal, I’m pretty shocked by the scenery. I thought this was going to be some sort of human relationship ritual? But whatever happened here sure doesn’t look like it was a fun celebration. At least not for the dead folks that litter the yard. Heh. Some of them are half burned. This is looking gruesome, even by demon standards! Plenty of Human World crows have gathered for the after party. Seeing that I don’t stand out too much, I circle once, twice and then settle in the branches of a tree near the pool.

I see that old sorcerer Solomon is busy in the garden all on his own. The shady dude is not really my master’s friend, so I stay in my crow form to observe him. He’s collecting the bodies with spells, putting them under some sorta forcefield and then sets the pile ablaze. The bodies are incinerated without a trace within minutes. He's cleaning the blood from the pool, he’s repairing broken stuff all around the garden and more of that. Basically he’s cleaning up the mess of a party gone wrong. A stoic expression on his face the entire time. 

Cold. 

I ruffle my feathers and can’t help letting out a caw when I see him move towards two bodies that have been given special attention. One of the bodies is my master!! And the other one is that old Solomon too?! How? Did they fight each other? Nah, they’re not that stupid...

I’m distracted, wondering what’s happened to our little human when I’m called out. “I noticed you.” Solomon says to me, without looking at me. “Show yourself.” Well, if he insists…

I swoop down off the branch and transform in front of him into my human form and look at him curiously. This living Solomon doesn’t seem to recognize me. Strange. But interesting. 

“Who are you?” I still ask him. I just have to know. Something strange is going on. “Who is that?”

“My name is Solomon.” He introduces himself and I narrow my eyes. It’s hard to believe, when another one of him is just lying there. He has the same sort of sharp, intelligent gaze though. This isn’t an impostor. So he must be the real one? “And who are you?” He then asks, confusing me again.

“Well, I’ll be damned! After all the time we spent together?”

“I’m not joking.” Solomon gestures towards his dead look-alike. “I’m him, but from another reality.” Oh, I heard about Lily having friends in another reality. I never met them before though. This must be one of them. But what’s he doing here? As if Solomon can read my thoughts he tells me. “It’s too much to explain to you right now. Now tell me, who are you?”

“The name’s Karasu.” I tell him, as I try to loot the rings from my dead master’s fingers. To which this new Solomon casts a zapping sort of spell on me, making me stop my attempts. “Ouch! Hey…! *ahem* This one here’s my master… Or well… I guess he was…” 

“Is that so?” Solomon asks me in a strange voice. I hear a bit of compassion, but also a bit of a laugh. “And you came here to loot his corpse?” He casts a spell over dead Solomon and Mammon and both of them disappear from view inside luxurious looking caskets.

“What?!” I shout offended. “Course not! I’m here to report to Lucifer on the findings of some sorta investigation.”

“Well, in that case, why don’t you go ahead inside and do just that?” New Solomon tells me and with a wave of his hand he casts a spell on me that I can’t resist, which sends me into the direction of the Manor. “They’re all in the living room. If you like, you can tell them I’ll be right there after I’m finished cleaning up here.”

Well, I’ll be…! That guy’s got guts! Treating the great corvid god Karasu like this! I try to escape his whirlwind spell by transforming into a crow again, but all that does for me is messing up my feathers and launching me through the window into the living room of the Manor, very undignified.


I land on my back on the table in the middle of a mountain of food and snacks. And of course that whole crew of demons begin shouting and growling when they see me. Nobody can ever be nice to dear old me. It’s hard to be this underappreciated.

But then something unexpected happens. Soft, caring hands pick me up and gently wipe off the mess from my feathers. A soft voice coos to me in crow-language, telling me that I’ll be okay. That no one will hurt me. What the heck?! It’s bad enough that Barbatos can crow-speak. Now I have to worry about another one, possibly eavesdropping on the great Karasu?! Ugh, oh well. I dunno who this lady is, but I can tell she’s very sweet, just like peaches. She’s got a similar sort of soul, bright and pure. Even if a turbulent cloud of anger and deep anguish swirl around it. I’ll find out about who she is later, it’s more important how sweet she is to me right now. So I sit in her lap and let myself be treated like I deserve. Who cares about all those other demons and their angry growls. Or about that cat - Since when do they allow a cat in here? - hissing at me from Satan’s lap in a fit of jealousy. This is heaven. Or at least, what constitutes as bliss for a demon like me. 

But then an even stranger thing happens. “OY! Karasu! Didn't I get rid of ya?!” I fly up with a squawk when I hear my dead master shouting at me. “Get off my human, ya dirty…!”

What the...?! Quickly putting it all together, I realize this Mammon must be from the other reality too. He’s not my real master so I don’t have to listen to him. Nevermind the fact that I can still feel a connection with this idiot too. The sweet girl looks like she might admonish him for cruelty to animals and if a crow could look smug, I would right now. 

“Karasu?” Lily’s voice catches my attention, she’s standing up from a chair and I’ll be damned if my evil little heart doesn’t do a little flip seeing that she’s alive and well. I instantly dive for her, transforming behind her and hugging her, wrapping my arms around her shoulders as I use her as a human shield, it’s always worked to keep my old master at bay anyway. 

I see that sweet girl’s eyes go wide as she realizes I’m not what she had thought, I can’t help myself as I send a cheeky little wink her way. Her eyes narrow into a glare in response. Oh, I can tell she’s going to be fun already. 

“OY!” The new Mammon shouts however, looking ready to separate me from Lily now. “That ain’t mean ya can cling on someone else!” 

But the little mistress has turned in my arms and clutches me, desperately crying. Aww, hell! For once no one tries anything, letting Lily take her comfort where she wants. Not that any of them look happy about it… But Mammon has stopped advancing on me too. That was close... I can’t help grinning smugly at them all, as I let her hold me, patting her back and smoothing her hair. 


“Why are you here, Karasu?” Lucifer finally demands, looking particularly incensed. Ah, I guess it’s time to get down to business. I grin at Levi who starts to pull her away from me. I let him, but not before I wiped some of her tears and gave her a little peck on the cheek. 

“Barbatos sent me.” I tell Lucifer, puffing myself up as if I still had feathers. “To report on what they know so far…”

Before I can continue, Solomon walks in. “The garden is cleaned up.” He mentions to Lucifer, before he wraps his arms around the sweet girl. Now that I see them together, they do look a bit alike. Hm… “I’ve made sure our doppelgangers are secured...from looters or anyone with nefarious intentions.” He says with a pointed look my way. Heh.

“Thank you, Solomon.” Lucifer says graciously, then turns to me expectantly, in a harsher tone. “Your report, Karasu.”

“Well, ya shoulda seen the way old Dia gouged out this demon’s eyes when he wouldn’t talk!” I laugh, until I realize that no one in this room has any sense of humour. Some of the humans tense up as if I’d said something really bad. Sheesh, tough crowd. 

“If I hear another disrespectful word…” Lucifer growls at me threateningly. 

“Fine, fine. Lord Diavolo.” I make sure to enunciate the title, just to piss off Lucifer a little more, because I just can’t help myself. “Interrogated the survivors from whatever happened here I’m assumin’. All we got so far is that the Cult of Barbatos and the Sorcerers’ Society were working together. The cult was planning on double crossin’ the Sorcerers. But they both wanted Solomon dead for their own reasons.” 

Lily starts crying again when I finish my report. I sorta feel bad, I mean, as much as a demon like myself can. Everyone’s glaring at me as if I’d been the one to put them in the grave. But what’s new? They’ve never given me my due respect and the feeling is mutual. 

That new Solomon dude is just humming, nodding along. As if he expected to hear something like this. But he doesn’t say anything. Maybe it’s because Lily is barely handling my report as is. Hearing Solomon speak about his own death, in a way, yeah… That would not help her, at all. He’ll probably tell these demons more about it when Lily is not around. And I’ll be sure to eavesdrop on that conversation.

“If that’s all you have to report, then return to your crow form and don’t let me hear another word or noise from you until you’re called back to the Devildom.” Lucifer tells me, looking down at me from his haughty nose.  

The nerve of that guy! But eh... I’ll give him a break today though, seeing as what a shitty day they all had. Back in my crow form, I find a good place to perch, mostly out of sight. If they forget that I’m here, who knows what juicy tidbits they might accidentally spill?

 

From my new vantage point, I take notice of some interesting things. The sweet girl is very close to the new Solomon, I’d bet my tail feathers they are related. She’s the apparent mistress of the new Mammon, and she's not the only newcomer. There’s a boy that seems to be the master of the new Mammon. Him and the sweet girl are very close, at first I thought they might be lovers but the two look very alike. Maybe they’re brother and sister? He’s very quiet and still, just like Lily. Contrary to the new girl - I soon find out her name is Leila and the boy’s name is James - who keeps herself busy even though she’s not speaking much either, he just lets himself be held, just like Lily, both of them staring off into space like a couple of zombies. 

Besides the cat, which apparently is now part of this household, I also notice a tiny strange little creature in a quiet corner of the room. Just the size of a juicy prey. If I was an actual crow and couldn’t control myself, I could snatch it up easily. But it’s snuggled up against an actual baby! Both are sleeping soundly, not a care in the world. I really would like to check that out, but I feel this is not the time to draw attention to myself. It’s probably Leila’s baby and I better not piss her off more by getting too close to her offspring, right now. I’ve been around, I know there’s nothing scarier than coming between a mother and her spawn. 

But honestly: TWO pets are allowed now in this household where dear old me was never even welcome? It really ruffles my feathers the wrong way! Or maybe Lucifer just allows them for today and gets rid of them tomorrow? Yeah, that seems likely. He’s only ever allowed Cerberus - not even in the House - and even he was left behind in the Devildom.

I get distracted from my thoughts when I see new Solomon whisper something to Simeon and hand something to him. I can’t exactly hear what they say. Only bits of the conversation

“...Should not fall into the wrong hands…” Solomon says.

And Simeon answers with a nod and gratitude. What are they talking about?

At some point Asmodeus has plastered himself up against the new Solomon, being all emotional and feeling miserable. He always had a flair for the dramatics, but sheesh… He must’ve really missed the connection of a pact with Solomon. I’ve heard about how a demon can feel lost without the soul of their human, if the human’s soul was really powerful. It’s probably sort of like how our little Lily feels lost without the soul of her Mammon. Those other humans must feel the same, having lost 6 of their demons. Solomon lost even more...but he seems to be handling it the best. No big surprise there, considering how unnatural of a human that guy is, he’s seen his fair share and more.

New Solomon just soothes Asmodeus calmly, saying something that he would be okay and that he would help him get through it all. And it is almost like with those words Asmodeus has forged the pact with new Solomon right then and there. Or maybe reactivated it? I don’t really understand the pacts between humans and demons. I’m not the kind of demon who can forge real pacts. My connection with Mammon could be seen as something similar, but it’s of course not the same thing. Still… I feel something is missing now that my master is dead. And I feel I want to heal up this strange feeling of loss with the new Mammon. The Old Devil help me! Maybe I will bind myself to this new Mammon… Maybe...

 

Chapter Text

At the Demon Lord’s Castle

Barbatos calmly prepares tea for himself and Lord Diavolo in the Prince’s private study. By his demeanor and spotless, perfectly pressed clothes; no one would guess that he and his Lord had spent the past hour and a half in the dungeons, interrogating demons and sorcerers alike. 

Lord Diavolo has also changed into clean clothes, however he struggles to keep up the same reserved appearance as a storm of volatile emotions swirl within him. He’s furious about the attack, angry with himself for thinking that there were none left who would dare oppose him this way. He also can’t help feeling a little bit of relief, knowing that Lily won’t be marrying Solomon, even though he knows she’d hate him for thinking it. 

He’s frustrated by the arrival of Lily’s friends, he doesn’t know why Barbatos would bring them here. It’s just another complication. He’s glad that Lucifer won’t have to be without Mammon, but now there’s this new Solomon, and Leila and that boy too. Powerful Sorcerers who don’t like or respect him. They could prove to be a huge hindrance to his dreams and the progress he’s been making in the Human World. 

This new Mammon struck him too, it was obvious where his loyalties lied. For the first time, in a long time, he felt completely out of control, as if his dreams could slip through his fingers just like that. No, these newcomers have no business being here in his reality!

“Why did you bring them here?” Diavolo finally growls out impatiently when Barbatos sits across from him, calm and stoic as ever. “We have enough problems on our hands, right now.”

“They are needed-” Barbatos begins to say, his disposition ever patient. 

“They don’t belong here.” Diavolo growls out, cutting him off. “That unbelievable story they spun…” He waves his hand as if he can dismiss it as easily. 

Barbatos’ eyes narrow on his young Lord shrewdly. “They told the truth.” He speaks in a tone that captures Diavolo’s attention. “Do not blind yourself to your own potential. You’ve always been destined for greatness, my Lord, but there are always two sides to every coin.” He explains as Diavolo resigns himself to listening. “You’re a fool, if you think you can ignore your bloodline and the history of our people. You are capable of great evil, if you allow yourself to succumb to it.”

Diavolo’s jaw clenches, his mouth drawn in a tight line. It’s not often Barbatos speaks to him this way and sometimes he resents the way it fills him with shame, as if he’s still a mere child that has to be lectured. Barbatos had never led him astray though, he has to remember that above all else.

Seeing that his young Lord is going to listen to him now, Barbatos continues. “When Solomon accidentally sent Lily to that reality, our threads of fate became entangled. Without them, we likely face a similar fate. It’s true that they could become your enemies, but that all depends on you, my Lord. Prove yourself to be nothing like that worst version of yourself, and they will see to it that your dreams come to fruition. Because they desire this, as well.”

Lord Diavolo doesn’t like the idea that he needs to prove anything to anyone, but he keeps his childish complaints to himself and let’s Barbatos say his piece without further interruptions.

“Solomon will be an essential ally in the war to come. With the reemergence of the cult, he’s vital to keeping my Grimoire safe. Today, our enemies came very close to destroying everything we’ve built.” He warns his Lord and Diavolo can’t help but feel shocked by that news. It didn’t look like that to him at all, but he also knows that Barbatos wouldn’t exaggerate the facts. “You’ll need to forgive Mammon for his slight against you. It has always been essential to keep the seven Avatars loyal to your cause since the day you brokered that deal over Lilith.” He reminds. “Leila and James will be essential to establishing harmony between the three realms with Lily.”

Diavolo sits back in his own chair in resignation, some of his irritation and anger has cooled, enough for him to hear what Barbatos is saying, whether he likes it or not. He knows it makes sense. Humans are the key to his dreams. 

Barbatos stands as their conversation is coming to a close. He rests a firm but gentle grip on Diavolo’s shoulder. “And if I may be so bold…Let her go. She doesn’t have a future in the Devildom.” He squeezes his shoulder once, before leaving his young master to his thoughts.

Diavolo’s nails dig into the arm of his chair. He knows what Barbatos is really saying, she doesn’t have a future with him. She doesn’t belong with him, no matter how much he wishes for it.  Pushing aside his feelings on that subject, he shifts his focus. He’d have to speak to this new Solomon about what they learned about the Sorcerers’ Society and the deadly weapons they had made. However the cult was solely his responsibility and he vows to himself that he won't stop until each and every one of them is wiped from existence. 

With a heavy sigh he grabs pen, paper and his official seal. It’s been many centuries since he’s had to close RAD but with enemies moving against them he has little choice. Lucifer and his brothers will need time to heal, if he asked them to leave Lily now he’d only be setting himself up to be defied. He’ll give his Avatars one month, one month and then RAD will reopen. One month to crush the Cult of Barbatos. 

 

Lucifer POV

I’ve just noticed that Belphegor is missing from the room but before I can inquire as to where he’s gone, he comes shuffling back into the living room. His arms are piled with blankets and pillows, I can’t even see half of him. More surprisingly, he’s using magic to carry even more behind him. While I know Belphegor has the capacity to be as adept with magic as I am, his slothfulness impedes him. I rarely see him expend energy on it unless it’s to make my life more difficult.

“What are you doing, Belphegor?” I ask him as he starts arranging pillows and blankets on the living room’s large, plush rug.

“I’m sure our guests are tired.” He shrugs. “We don’t have any guestrooms ready and they probably want to stay together tonight.” His voice is apathetic, as if he doesn’t actually care about what he’s saying. Not that he can fool us with that act. Not anymore. 

I don’t love the idea of them having a slumber party on our floor after the horrific events we’ve all been through. They deserve to be in comfortable beds and get a good night's rest. But I let my brother have his way, we don’t have beds big enough to fit four or more persons and I doubt we’d be able to separate our newcomers even if we tried. As long as my own brothers have no ideas of joining them, Mammon excluded of course. I know I wouldn’t let Leila and James out of my sight if I were him. 

Regardless of where we are all sleeping, I have a feeling we’re all in for a restless night.  

 

That first night…

Solomon sits in his chair. The day is almost dawning. He has been watching over the group of people sleeping in the living room of Serenity Manor all night. He has cast a sleeping spell over everyone in the Manor. They needed rest. They all need rest after what everyone has gone through yesterday. Himself as well, but he can wait. Tonight, for his own peace of mind, he had to watch over everyone.

Despite everything that has happened, all Solomon can feel is relief. Relief that his family still lives. Of course he knows his granddaughter is feeling heartbroken. He never wanted for her to experience the same horrors he experienced himself hundreds of years ago. But she’s safe. And she’s not left alone, she still has her James and Pandora and himself. And she will survive this too, he will help her get through this. He will help them all, this whole broken family of demons, angels and humans. Whether they will want it, or not. If they will notice it, or not. They will all be safe, he will make sure of it. 

He’s carefully inspecting the arrow that is floating in front of him between his hands. It is not only enchanted to always hit the heart, but also laced with Gremlin blood. This type of poison changes into the deadliest kind of poison for any being when it mingles with their blood and the enchantment on the arrow makes sure it spreads immediately. Anyone getting pierced by this, dies almost instantly. Though the enchantment has worn off after hitting its target, the poison is still on the arrow. His granddaughter found some of this extremely rare and dangerous poison on the witch way back then. It seems in this reality it has found its way into the hands of the Sorcerers’ Society, because he found this arrow in the garden when he was cleaning up. This one has Mammon’s blood still on it. Dried now, but he knows it as being demon's blood. He removed the other arrow from the chest of his counterpart before Karasu appeared. It has his own blood on it. He won’t let it go to the Devildom. But this one…

“Karasu.” He says quietly, after wrapping the arrow in some cloth, knowing the spy demon is still around somewhere in the living room. “Bring this arrow to Barbatos tomorrow with my findings…”

“I ain’t your servant, human.” Karasu comes flying over silently and lands on the back of his chair, making sure he wakes no one. “Why should I obey you?”

Solomon chuckles. “Good question, why indeed.” He holds out his arm invitingly and Karasu hops onto it to look Solomon in the eyes. “You’re an interesting character, Karasu.”

Was that a compliment or an insult? Karasu can’t tell. “And you’re still an odd one, no matter where you’re from.” Karasu caws indignantly, tilting his head to look at Solomon. He feels a bit curious about this new Solomon. Not sure if he likes him or not. Probably a bit of both.

“It’s not a difficult thing I’m asking of you, Karasu.” Solomon tells him. “You might be a wilder, ancient demon, but I’m used to demons. So is Leila by now. I’d like you to be her friend.” He gently strokes the feathers of the large bird. “She’ll need all the friends she can get.”

Solomon being nice to him? Karasu makes an odd sound in the back of his throat that eerily sounds like laughter. Being his granddaughter’s friend? The other would never ask that of him. But... Hm, maybe... Some humans are worth it to befriend. Lily is one of them. Leila and James probably too, or Mammon wouldn’t have made pacts with them. Besides, the girl was sweet to him. She’ll be fun to tease too. 

“Sure, she’s a pretty one, ain’t she?” Karasu says, expecting Solomon to react defensively. “The great Karasu will take good care of her for ya!” He blinks one of his crow eyes as if he’s winking at the sorcerer.

Instead of the reaction he expected, Solomon just snickers. “You better watch yourself with her, Karasu. Don’t make her too angry. She’s fought Lord Diavolo himself.”

Karasu ruffles his feathers, he can’t believe that. But before he can ask more about it, they suddenly hear someone softly crying. 

Solomon leaps immediately into action. The sleeping spell on Leila has worn off and now her dreams are filled with the images of her mates dying. Her heart still feels as if it has been ripped apart and the loss of her demons in her soul is unbearable. And because there is nothing to do in her sleep to keep her mind occupied, she can’t help crying again. It will take a long time before she’s healed, Solomon knows. He embraces his granddaughter warmly and lets her cry. She probably won’t cry often in the presence of the others, but as long as she lets it out in other moments it will be good for her. 

Once she’s calmed down a bit again, Leila whispers to Solomon. “I can’t live here, Solomon. It’s too much…”

“Yes, I already thought that would be the case.” Solomon whispers to her, gently rocking her. “You don’t have to live here, Leila. I can prepare any house you want for you and Pandora to live in. You need time to learn to be happy again…”

“I don’t know if I ever can be…” Leila starts to say, but she’s interrupted.

“You can…” Solomon tells her. “Because I will make sure of it. You will all be happy again. But you don’t have to rush anything. You can be unhappy for as long as you need…” It took him nearly 500 years, before he was ready to start a family again. But Leila is stronger than him, because she won’t be alone.

A cat comes sneaking into the living room. Shado escaped Satan’s bedroom and now comes to check on his Leila. He settles in her lap, loudly purring. He missed her, he barely got the chance to cuddle with her yesterday. Pandora lets out a soft cry, waking up from a good night's sleep. Solomon gets up to change her and then gives her to Leila so she can feed her in peace this time. Chimera lands on Leila’s shoulder, giving her good morning kisses and Leila smiles slightly again. There is still enough to care for.

Karasu lands on Solomon’s shoulder and caws. “Okay, I’ll bring your report to Barbatos today.” He doesn’t exactly know why, but for some reason he doesn’t want to be excluded in this. He still won’t be obedient to this human, though. Definitely don’t think that… Solomon smiles slightly at him and just instructs him to be careful with the arrow. The poison can still harm the demon spy.

 

Lucifer POV

I slept well, despite all the circumstances. We all did, strangely. I suspect this new Solomon is to blame for it. It doesn’t sit well with me that he must have cast some sort of sleeping spell on all of us. One that was strong enough that even I couldn’t resist its power. I woke up sooner than everyone else. But it was already almost dawn. 

Lily had spent the night in Mammon’s room. She was crying on his bed when Belphegor and I found her. We both decided to stay with her. I don’t remember anything afterwards and I don’t like this sensation. 

Lily and Belphegor are still sound asleep. I suppose I understand why Solomon cast this spell over everyone. We all need enough rest to help us recover, but still… I don’t like the liberties all Solomons across realities are apparently taking with my family. I need to have a word with him about that. 

I’m about to leave when I notice one of Lily’s hands resting on Belphegor’s chest, it looks red and swollen. I carefully uncurl her hand, she winces in her sleep yet doesn’t wake. Her palm looks cracked and blistered. I’m angry at myself for not inspecting her thoroughly after the attack, angry that she didn’t say anything and angry that I have no way to heal her myself. Irritated that I’ll have to ask Simeon to heal her later. But I will let her sleep for now.

I decide to go to the kitchen and make breakfast. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Solomon thinks he can ‘help’ us by making breakfast too, once he wakes up. I better prevent that disaster from happening. 

A scratching on Satan’s door distracts me from my thoughts when I walk down the hallway. It’s followed by some demanding meowing. Oh, right. That cat. Satan must have taken it to his room last night. I need to think of a solution for that cat too… And the other animal they’ve brought with them. There is absolutely no way I can allow beasts to run rampant in my household. 

But for now… Before it wakes up everyone, I open Satan’s door just a bit to let it out of his room. It circles around my legs once - I suppose in a sort of gratitude, but I can’t help frowning at the gift of hair it’s left behind on my trousers - and then swiftly makes its way outside through a window. Satan apparently didn't think about making a cat toilet when he took it to his room. This is exactly why I can’t allow him to have animals!

It has already returned to the Manor before I start making breakfast. It slips into the living room to be with its mistress. I hear the soft talking voices of Solomon and Leila in the living room when I set the table. I’m not really hearing what is being said, but somehow it gives me a bad feeling.

 

Despite Solomon giving Karasu orders back to the Devildom, as if he has the right to call the shots around here, breakfast has still been chaotic! Even more than usual. It seems my brothers display no consideration with the situation and Lily is unable to silence them, being in the state of utter despair she is now. I know they care for our humans, but they try to distract everyone the way they think is best. Which it is not. For a change, Mammon is the only one not shouting, but quiet. Which makes things even worse, in a way. It means he’s not feeling at home.

On top of everything, James has the cat on his lap. At the breakfast table, mind you. Feeding it scraps, absentmindedly. And the little strange creature scurries around all over the table like this is totally normal. I also have a bit of discomfort with the sight of the baby, drooling as it sits and babbles on Leila’s lap. Admittedly, it is a beautiful, adorable baby. And also a descendant of Lilith. But what are we supposed to do with a baby? I hadn’t even come to terms with the fact that Lily might bring a baby into our world a few years from now. The manor isn’t baby-proof and with my brothers, well it’s a hazard zone, I’m sure!

“How come you look like that now, Luke?” I get distracted from my concerns when our own Luke asks the taller new Luke this question softly. The angels have been ignoring the chaos my brothers and Leila’s animals cause, much like the humans have. “I mean, I figured we wouldn’t be exactly the same, but you look so much different than me…”

New Luke shrugs, much like a sulky teenager, frowning. “No idea…”

“I might have some idea about the subject.” Simeon explains. “As you know, angels grow up differently. Experiences in life can sometimes have them make large leaps in aging until they reach adulthood. The experience Luke went through when his reality was destroyed, the fact that he lost his Celestial light, all those factors made him change into his current appearance when he was in the void outside of time and reality.”

“If he’s a fallen angel, how come he’s not a demon?” Satan asks the insensitive question that is still on everyone’s mind. “I mean, that is how it usually goes…”

“Luke wasn’t sent to the Devildom when he fell.” Simeon explains patiently. “So no demonic spirit could fill the emptiness in his soul to make him demonic. In essence, Luke is now an empty vessel. He is a powerful immortal, but no spirit has claimed him. No darkness and no light. Unless he chooses to become a demon, he can never go to the Devildom in this state.”

Older Luke grimaces at the very idea of that. He would never choose to become a demon out of his own free will. “Is that why you gave me this ring?” He asks Simeon and now I notice that he wears Solomon’s Ring of Wisdom. 

I suppose it’s an angel's right to give away that Celestial item, but we all feel for Lily as she looks at it in shocked silence. Solomon must have taken it from his counterpart's finger when he was preparing the caskets. I know he was right to do this, as a powerful magical item like this must not fall into the wrong hands, but still… To see her confronted with the reality of things yet again, it hurts.

“Yes.” Simeon nods. “It is a Celestial item and it will protect you like a talisman. It won’t work the same way it did for Solomon. You are not a human, after all. But it will help you and protect you, while you are in this vulnerable state.”

Luke frowns again. Hearing himself being called vulnerable and an empty vessel and the likes, must be painful to hear. But he doesn’t say a word about it. Instead he surprises us with a statement.

“Since I’m no longer the same as I was before, no longer the same as Luke, you could say that I’m reborn. Correct?” He asks and when Simeon confirms with a nod, he continues firmly. “In that case I want to be named differently. And my birthday will be yesterday, when I came out of the void.”

Our Luke looks a little surprised, but for now has nothing to say. I can only imagine how he might feel about having his own doppelganger here, no matter how different he looks. It’s not supposed to happen.

“Are ya sure ya wanna be doin’ that?” Mammon questions.

“It seems like an awfully big decision to make so soon..” Asmodeus adds. 

“Perhaps you should give it some more time?” Simeon says with concern.

“I think it makes sense.” Leila is the only one speaking up in a supportive way. She must have always been very close with Luke or whoever he is now.

“Yeah. Let him do what he wants.” Satan growls. “It’s his life and his choice to make.”

“How do you want to be named?” Leila asks encouragingly.

Older Luke suddenly smiles brightly at her, despite all the circumstances. Her support must mean the world to him. “How about Lucien? It still means the same as Luke. But it is still different.”

“I think that’s beautiful.” Leila beams at him and, if only for a moment, it seems like the sun has just begun to shine now. Simeon agrees with them with an approving nod. So does Luke, who gives his reality twin an encouraging smile. “It means Light. No matter what happened to you, Lucien. I know you still have your angel core. Just like Mammon.”

Angel core? I’ve heard the mention of that before. But I dismissed it as something ridiculous. Is that what Mammon’s powerful transformation was, when he came out of the void? I wonder.

“You really think so?” Lucien looks a bit doubtful.

“I’m sure of it!” Leila nods determinedly. “And I will try to figure out a way to find it in your soul too and bring it to the surface.”

Now that there is some level of calm descended around the breakfast table, thanks to this strange conversation, I feel that it is finally the time to discuss some of the more practical matters. The matter of accomodations for the new family members, the animals, the needs of a baby that none of us has a clue about. But how will I say this…?

I see Lily wince  when she lifts her glass to her lips, reminding me of her injury. “Lily.” I try to keep my voice soft but my irritation clearly shows. “Why didn’t you tell us you were injured? What happened to your hand?” I demand to know. 

She looks up at me startled and then shifts her focus to her hand, looking at her palm as if she’s just noticed it for the first time. “I...I…” She blinks and I regret asking her, she’s clearly reliving memories she’d rather not. 

“She screamed when she pulled the arrow out….” Asmodeus answers for her, looking guilty, “I didn’t realize she was injured.” 

“Simeon..” I begin to ask but Leila is already moving beside Lily and inspecting her palm. 

“This looks like the effects from Gremlin blood poison…” She says softly, I can see how her touch doesn’t hurt Lily, but seems soothing. “What do you think, Solomon?”

Solomon barely glances up before he confirms. He did mention to me this morning that he already inspected the arrows, so it isn’t really a surprise. I’m still a bit irritated by his apparent lack of care for Lily, but instead shows pride for Leila. This will take some getting used to for all of us.

“It’s a good thing it didn’t break her skin. The poison didn’t enter her bloodstream, so I think I can heal it.” Leila then says to my surprise. “But Simeon, would you want to give me guidance while I’m doing so? I never had to deal with healing this sort of poison before.”

“Of course.” Simeon moves closer and Leila starts healing our Lily’s hand. 

The Celestial glow that starts emitting from her hand reminds me a bit of how brilliant Lilith used to be. A true descendant from my sister. It makes me feel proud that Leila will become part of my family now. I hear my brothers whispering with some excitement as well. Simeon only gives some pointers, but when Leila is finished, Lily’s hand looks perfectly healed, without any scars left. Leila settles back into her own chair. And with Lily’s hand now healed, I move on to the other matters we need to discuss. 

“We’ll hold the funeral rites three days from now.” I say in a low voice that captures everyone’s attention. “Aside from those preparations we have a lot to get done around the manor.” Leila has a queasy sort of expression when I direct my attention to her. “Leila, I will need your assistance. I will need a list of your needs, both for yourself and your baby.” I instruct her, “We’ll figure out a way to make due during renovations.”

I can see my own brothers’ eyes light up at the prospect of our new family members staying with us. James and Leila don't seem as thrilled, but I understand they are still processing a grievous loss. Just then the little rodent scurries over and tries to steal food from my plate. The audacity! I pinch it by the scruff between my thumb and index finger with a grimace. I’m very gentle with it but it still has the nerve to make the most indignant noises at me.  

“I received word that Lord Diavolo is closing RAD for a month and we’ve been given leave to remain here in the Human World during this sabbatical. It’s not much time, I know, but we will finish the renovations in that time.” I explain, “In the meantime we’ll have to find somewhere for these...animals to go.” I shake the little thing between my fingers for emphasis. “Perhaps we can construct some sort of pen in the garden for them..” I finally release the rodent and it scurries back to its owner, Leila, who is looking very angry at me for some reason? I didn’t hurt the thing and I will let her keep them, she has no reason to look at me this way.

“They aren’t wild or farm animals, they’re my beloved pets.” Leila tells me with some fire back in her eyes. “They aren’t going to live in a cage or a pen in the garden!” 

“Leila.” I tell her sternly, standing up. “You can't expect us to live with dirty animals roaming the Manor freely. There’s enough chaos as it is.”

Leila stands up from her chair as well, looking defiantly at me. “You’re right. I don’t expect you to.” I begin to smile at her words - at least she can see reason - until she says, “That’s one of the reasons I won’t be living here.”

What? She can’t be serious! I’m even more troubled when James stands next to her, taking her hand. He looks relieved? Did he not want to stay here either? “We appreciate the offer…” James begins to say in a more reasonable tone, but he refuses to look at any one of my brothers or me. “But it’s just too hard to stay here.” He glances at Lily, as if giving her an apologetic look, maybe feeling guilty about leaving her behind. They’d probably invite her to go with them but that I will definitely not allow. 

“Solomon has promised to prepare any of his homes I want. For me, Pandora, James and, if they want, Mammon and Lucien as well.” Leila explains with a slightly trembling voice, but she still looks determined to go.

“I forbid it!” The words tumble out of my lips unbidden. The anger I feel over having my family split into two, spills out. 

A foolish tactic, considering the way Leila’s eyes now blaze as she meets my stare. “You have no right!” She seethes. “No right at all to forbid us anything, Lucifer!” 

Somehow her words do something to me. I feel stunned. Never has someone talked back to me like this and walked away unpunished. Not even Lily. But I still let this child of Solomon talk to me like this?

Then she continues, calmer this time, with a voice that wants to reason with me as an equal. “Look, Lucifer. I understand how you must feel about the situation. You’re not used to having a baby in the house. You couldn’t prepare yourself for this, like your counterpart could. You are not used to having my pets around, who are normally well behaved... I sincerely apologize for not correcting Chimera today. But it doesn’t mean that their lives, my life, have to change even more because you are not used to my ways.”

Mammon stands up and wraps his arms around his humans. “I go where my humans go.” He states firmly. Well, that’s no surprise. 

“Me too.” Luke, or Lucien I should say, speaks up too. 

My brothers, who had seemed dumbfounded before, now begin shouting and arguing over one another. Some are accusing me of chasing them off. Even though I did no such thing!

“Leila…” I start. I need to make her see reason, but she cuts me off. Another thing that usually never goes unpunished and yet I let her. Why? Because I don’t want things to escalate? Or because I have no choice?

“Besides, James is right.” She tells us with a choke in her voice and I feel my heart go soft for her. “It's too hard for us to stay here. I’ve seen Satan and Belphie die in my arms. Felt the life leave their bodies. Seen their souls leave their eyes. Every time I see Satan and Belphegor or hear their voices, I relive that moment. I can’t even look at them now, without thinking how unfair it is.”

Everyone falls silent now. I can tell this is hard for my brothers to accept, hard for me to accept. The arrival of this other Mammon doesn’t take away the hurt of losing ours, but we are eager to accept him all the same. His arrival is a blessing for our family to be whole. Humans handle their grief differently, it’s not as easy for them to come to terms. 

“I’m sorry… I don’t want to think like this about my friends. You are all my dear friends. But I find it hard to be around you, right now…” She tells us all, as she’s again avoiding to look at the two of my brothers who love her the most.

Solomon stands behind his granddaughter, his hands on her shoulder in a show of support. “Lucifer, you don’t have to worry about them. I’ll make sure they’re safe. My residences are well warded.” He speaks to me as if he can soothe me. My jaw twitches as I press my mouth into a firm line. 

“Please. You have to let us go, Lucifer.” Leila pleads and suddenly it feels as if it was a command. 

It is as if I can feel all her pain from her final hours in the other reality. Her humiliation when their Diavolo assaulted her in public. Her fear for her family when he threatened them. Her guilt that she feels responsible for all that had happened. Her new fear that if she stays around us, it could happen again. So many emotions. I can also sense how vast her powers are. How her character is. How much she cares. I sit back down again and just stare at her now. Is this how it feels to have a pact with Leila? It’s almost overwhelming. 

“For now…” I hear myself saying, as I obey her command. She gives me a relieved smile in return. It almost makes up for my defeat.

My brothers look just as shocked as I feel. To them it probably looks like I gave up too easily. Satan and Belphegor are silent, I can tell Leila’s words stung them and they are trying not to hurt her more by voicing their complaints. Leviathan and Asmodeus seem to have a million questions though. Where will they live? How often will they be able to see them? And so on.

“The London townhouse isn’t really big enough for all of you…” Lily’s soft voice breaks me from my thoughts and observations. Even my brothers quiet down to hear what she has to say. “Even so, I should probably remove my things…”

“You don’t have to worry about that, right now, Lily.” Solomon tells her, not unkindly, and Lily stiffens in her chair, hearing him speak directly to her, saying her name. The same way, but without the love in his voice we all have come used to. Still she looks at him for a moment in gratitude. What Leila feels, is how Lily and James must feel as well, I now know. “I will let Leila have a sweep through my residences to find your personal belongings.”

I watch as Lily nods at him and stands, her face is sad, resigned but also full of compassion. She walks over and squeezes James and Leila’s hands as she gives them both kisses on their cheeks. “I understand...just...don’t be strangers.” She tells them, essentially giving them her blessing. As she leaves the room, I can’t help thinking that for the first time she looks like a woman and not a child. It crushes me that this tragedy is what brought about this change. Or maybe I’ve just been too blind to see it until now?

 

“So…” Asmodeus asks when I’m alone with my five brothers and Lily. Luke and Simeon have finally left the Manor as well, after Solomon made a portal for James, Leila and the others going with them to the residence where they will be staying. Away from us. “What happened there, Lucifer? You gave in to Leila so easily…” He pouts.

I want to glare at him, punish him, but I don’t. Instead I just answer him. “It seems that somehow I have forged the pact with Leila.”

“What?” Belphegor asks, suddenly looking more awake and also annoyed. 

“How’s that possible?” Satan can barely keep the snarl from his voice. I try to be patient with them. I know how they feel about Leila and I can imagine how raw her rejection of living here with us, for now, must have made them feel.

Leviathan is oddly quiet, with no game console or phone in his hands for once. Just holding Lily’s hand. He’d probably never admit it but I’m sure he’s the most affected of us by Mammon’s death. They may have fought like cats and dogs, constantly, but they were close.

“It seems that the pacts they made with our counterparts are still connected to their souls.” I try to explain what I think must have happened. “And are now waiting to become our pacts. When they are ready to accept us.” 

Lily looks at me somewhat stunned. She doesn’t look ready yet to renew her connection with Mammon. I understand how she must feel, now that I understand how Leila feels about losing everyone. 

My brothers are excited to hear it, however. I hear Asmodeus babbling something about how he felt the same thing happening to him yesterday with the new Solomon, but somehow I think it was hardly the same experience. Leila is a unique sort of human. Her soul is extremely sensitive, but also strong. I have to admit, I find myself to be honored and grateful to know that Leila has accepted me. That she opened herself up to me. To know that eventually, when we are both ready for it, she will return to us to become a true member of my family. My new sister.

Chapter Text


James POV

I’m feeling sad as well as relieved when Solomon transported our ragtag group of refugees to an old Manor he owns on the Isle of Man. I didn’t really want to hurt the others by leaving like that, it wasn’t their fault on how we are feeling right now, but we also couldn’t stay there with them, not yet.. We need some distance to heal. I was told we’re only a nine or so hour car and ferry ride from Serenity Manor. We landed on the paved walkway that leads up to the Manor. It's definitely older but still has a stately sort of charm. Not that any of that is very interesting to me right now. 

“ACHOO!” I can’t help the large sneeze that sneaks up on me as we enter the main entry hall. Dust floats in the air. That’s when I notice we’re not the only ones in the house. There’s two people, dressed like old fashioned maids. One of them is mopping the floor and another is dusting off the chandelier. I can hear the sounds of other people further in as well.

“Oh, I should have mentioned. I doubted any of the larger houses have been used in a long while, so I hired some maids to get the Manor in order. They’ll be gone by the end of the day.” Solomon assures us. “Unless you’d like one or two of them to stay and help out?” He asks, looking to Leila for an answer.

“...I’m not sure…” Leila looks to be a bit overwhelmed with the large property. And having to make a decision about that on the spot.

“I’ll let them come over once a week then.” Solomon decides. “And you can dismiss them whenever you feel you can handle things yourself. Now, let me give you all a tour of the property, it's been so long since I’ve been here…” He leads the way and we follow.

I barely pay attention as Solomon gives us a tour of the five bedroom, six bathroom Manor. Complete with a Library, office and workroom. Solomon has assigned us rooms, so there’s no arguments. Even though I don’t think Mammon has it in him to throw one of his normal objections out. The rooms are nice, but they don’t compare to what he has at the House of Lamentation or even Serenity Manor. I’d like to think he’s matured but most likely he’s just too depressed to care right now. 

I flop back on the bed, thankful that the maids got the rooms ready first. I feel like I could sleep the week away. You’d think losing pieces of your soul might make you feel lighter, but I’ve never felt heavier in my life. 

 

Lucifer POV

Two days have passed since James, Leila and the others left, leaving us with a bereft feeling in their wake. I had misjudged Leila. Seeing her keeping it together, taking care of her baby, healing Lily… I didn’t realize the depths of her anguish, until my pact with her snapped into place. Not even the loss of Lilith could compare to her despair of losing two mates. Losing our sister had nearly destroyed our family, like a slow-killing pestilence. I couldn’t allow myself to make the same mistakes again. I had to make sure we shouldered these burdens together. But I have to respect that she needs some time to give it all a place in her heart. That they all need that.

I was glad to be getting Lily out of the house today. She’d barely left her room these past days and we’d been taking turns coaxing her to eat and holding her as she cried. Lily, who hated others to see her cry, wept openly and honestly. Now, standing outside her door I brace myself. Although she knows of our appointment… Well, let’s just say I’ll be glad if she’s at least out of bed.

“Come in.” I hear her call, as if she could sense me outside her door. 

Walking in I’m relieved to see that she’s out of bed. Not only that but she’s gotten properly dressed too. None of us said anything, but seeing her basically living in one of Solomon’s old sweaters the past two days was making us ill at ease. 

“You look beautiful Lily.” I tell her with much fondness. Even though the dark circles still linger under her eyes and the smile she gives me doesn’t quite reach them either. 

I watch as she tugs on her dress skirt nervously. “I wanted to put in some effort, I don’t want Leila or James to worry about me.” She tells me. There’s guilt in her expression, probably because she knows that we’ve been very worried for her. 

I cup her cheek gently and make her meet my gaze. “I think it’ll do you some good to get some fresh sea air today.” I smirk when the mere mention of sea air brings some life back to her eyes. “I know you need time to grieve, but I don’t like seeing you wasting away in this room.” 

“I know.” She tells me quietly, trying to look away but I force her to keep her gaze on me.

“I know you feel lost, but we’re here for you and you still have much purpose and potential left in your life.” I remind her before releasing her and giving her a kiss on the top of her head.

“I’ve been thinking about that…” She confesses. “I had such grand visions of what our life would look like..” she chokes back a sob and I gently wipe a tear from her cheek. “Solomon was going to help me find my father after...and I’m not giving up on that. There are still people who need me here.” She says with a determination in her eyes that I’m relieved to see hasn’t been snuffed out. 

However, this business with her father is dangerous. “We will all help you find your father. But you must promise me that you won't do anything foolish.” I warn her sternly. “I..We couldn't bear to lose you.”

She nods in agreement, giving me a lighter, more genuine smile before embracing me. I’m glad she seems compliant, but I never know with her. I’ll have to keep an eye on things even closer.

 

James POV

It’s the day before the funeral and Lily and Lucifer are on their way to visit us at our new home. The distance made it difficult for day visits and Leila wasn't ready to have guests stay overnight, so Barbatos made a portal that connects Serenity Manor to our place. Except Leila didn’t want to risk demons bursting into the Manor any time they pleased, so the portal can only be opened by Lily, myself or Leila. For extra security, the portal opens up at the guest house, which sits half a mile down the road on the cliff by the sea. To call it a guest house is a little generous, it’s more of a one bed, one bath cottage with a tiny kitchenette. 

I’ve decided to walk down and meet them. When I arrive I can already see them standing near the cliff's edge. They both have their backs to me, Lucifer’s posture is stiff and proud as always, his arms are crossed over his chest as if he’s about to give the wind a lecture for pulling on his coat. It’s still hard to look at him so my eyes avert to Lily. She’s wearing a long cream colored dress that is billowing in the wind, her hand is set firmly against her head to keep her straw hat from blowing away. I can’t hear what she’s saying but I can see her acting animated with her free hand, pointing down at the cove we haven’t explored yet. 

When they hear me approaching and turn to face me, Lily has an excited smile on her face. I can’t help but smile too, it’s so good to see her smile like that. The last time I saw her she was so numb and vacant, I hated seeing her like that. Maybe because I care about her, but maybe also because I didn’t like seeing my own feelings reflected in her face. My dismal thoughts are broken when Lily is suddenly in front of me, wrapping me up in a big hug. 

“Oh James! I’m so glad to see you. You didn’t tell me how wonderful it is here!” She tells me.

I can’t help laughing a bit. She reminds me of Leila, my cousin instantly fell in love with the property here. The gardens, lush rolling lawns, the stream that trickles through a small forest we haven’t explored and of course the sea shore nearby. Personally I prefer the city but it hasn’t been bad here, so far, we’ll see how long I last before it begins to drive me crazy. 

“Did you know there’s a mermaid down at the cove? You’ll need to be careful.” She tells me as we walk back towards the Manor. Lucifer has been silent the whole time, except for the nod of greeting he gave me. “Oh look Lucifer, they have a forest close by, and look at that hill over there!” She points. “I bet there’s fairies here, James. You haven’t seen or heard anything since you moved here, right? You should leave some cream out in a saucer every night, just in case.”

“I didn’t know, are you sure?” I ask her with a laugh. Leila will be delighted, although it does worry me some, thinking back to our camping trip at Lake Lo Lanthe. I believe Leila is already busy - she’s busy with a lot of things to keep herself distracted from her sadness and pain - with making bowls and gifts for Fae. She had to leave those behind, not thinking she would need those in the Celestial Realm, where we thought we would go.

“Mmhm.” Lily murmurs back, her eyes look far away in thought. “Actually, there’s something I need to tell you and Leila. Something I learned about myself recently.”

I can’t help noticing how stiff Lucifer looks, whatever it is, he doesn’t seem that happy about it. Or perhaps it’s just concern? I’m now more curious about what it could be, but I don’t press her to tell me. She’ll want to share the news with Leila at the same time, I’m sure. If there are fairies around I’d have to add onto Leila’s contingency plans. Ever since we moved here two days ago, she’s already made several emergency escape plans. Bags are always packed with the minimum essentials at all times. I can’t say I blame her after what we’ve been through, but it worries me too, I hate seeing her so distressed even though she does a damn good job of hiding it. 

Lily and I enter through the main doors of the Manor, but we turn when we hear Lucifer curse under his breath as he hits Leila and Solomon’s invisible barrier. Oops, forgot about that. “Sorry.” I grimace at Lily’s look of surprise and Lucifer’s frown. “One of the new security measures.”

I clear my throat and address Lucifer, I can’t seem to meet his eyes though. Not yet. “Lucifer, do you swear to do no harm against those who dwell in this house?” I ask him formally.

I can see Lucifer clench his jaw, before he says. “I swear.”

“Then Lucifer, you are welcome here.” I tell him with a sigh and a sheepish look. I completely understand why Leila and Solomon guarded our house from demons, the least of which was to protect Lucien’s soul. But that was totally uncomfortable. I’ll make Mammon do it next time. Luckily Lucifer doesn’t ask me about it. He’s obviously trying to be on his best behavior, hoping we’ll move back sooner than later.  


The others have been waiting for us in the parlor. Shado is sunbathing in the window, Mammon and Lucien are playing a card game, arguing a bit, but mostly laughing. Chimera is scurrying about, admiring herself in the - too heavy for her to take - shiny candleholders and Leila is feeding Pandora. It’s a peaceful picture. Not at all what Lucifer expected, judging by the slightly surprised expression on his face. Heh. It is probably more peaceful here than at Serenity Manor. He shouldn’t have made assumptions.

Of course the arrival of Lucifer and Lily themselves, breaks the spell of peace. Which is sort of funny for me to watch. Chimera dives for him in enthusiastic greeting, thinking he’s the Lucifer she knows. He catches her, before she messes up his appearance and places her on Lily’s shoulder, which of course delights them both. Shado meows at Chimera, probably scolding her for waking him up from his nap in the sun, and comes over to greet Lily as well. Mammon seems to be happy to see Lucifer - even if he would never say it - and comes over to awkwardly shake his hand. They’re still a bit awkward together. Lucien and Leila just smile at our guests in welcome.

Now we’re all settled in the parlor after Leila has fed Pandora and put her down for a nap. She’s just returned with a large tray of tea and scones with jam and clotted cream for us to enjoy while we talk. “So what’s this news you had to share?” I ask Lily.

Lily launches into a tale about her missing father, something we knew about. “...Well, right before the bogeyman was released, I found out that my father is trapped in the land of Faery.” I’m definitely surprised by this news, but what Lily says next really shocks me. “I found out my father is half fae..which means I’m a quarter fae myself. Solomon and I guessed this is why I can’t tolerate the Devildom as well as you guys and it also explains my natural abilities, it’s my innate fae magic.” Lily has a wistful expression on her face, she’s excited to share this news with us but I can tell she’s thinking about Solomon too. 

“The whole story is that I’ve actually known about all of this since Lake Lo Lanthe, except I was bespelled to forget everything. I only gained back my memories right before the bogeyman incident and honestly I think I was only given back some of my memories. And it’s only because of a little flame spirit that decided he would rather be my familiar than work for the Fae that summoned him to spy on me in the first place.” 

Leila’s face lights up in excitement, hearing Lily tell her tale. “Ooh, Lily!” She hugs her friend tightly. “You’re a Fae? Finally I’ve met a real Fae in person! And you have an elemental spirit as a familiar?!” 

Lily giggles at Leila’s enthusiasm and Chimera dances happily between their shoulders. “Well a quarter fae anyway. And yes, he likes to take the form of a little blue Salamander. His name is Cinaed, but I call him Cinder.”

“How does Cinder communicate?” Leila asks with enthusiasm. 

Lily scrunches her brows. “Well..telepathically I suppose?”

Then a realization suddenly strikes Leila. “Oh! so this is why Chimera has been calling you ‘Sister Lily’. I honestly thought she thinks we’re sisters.” Leila exclaims in realization as they laugh. Leila launches into a whole list of questions that Lily hardly has any answers for, but we all smile, seeing her so genuinely excited about this news.

“At least Lily won’t try to kidnap Leila.” Mammon mutters under his breath to Lucien, who nods in agreement. They’re both a lot less excited about Fae in general, for obvious reasons.

Lucifer looks up a bit alarmed, hearing this. We never told our friends the whole story about what happened that night at Lake lo Lanthe, after all. I hope he doesn’t insist that we move back to Serenity Manor immediately for safety now. That won’t end well between him and Leila. But it looks like he’s holding his tongue. Though I can tell it takes a lot from him. He can’t protect us all the way over here, he has to trust that Solomon is doing that for him.

“We must soon discover all you can do, Lily.” Leila ignores them, already dreaming about research sessions about magic and Fae together. “Oh, this is so exciting!” 

While she’s petting Chimera, Lily continues her story. “I told James on the way up to the Manor that I can sense Fae activity in the area, it’s still very new to me and I have a lot to learn. But I’m eager to make contact again so I can finally find my father.” She tells us. 

“There’s no reason to rush into anything.” Lucifer warns her and I can tell by the look on her face this isn’t the first time they’ve had this discussion. “Fae are capricious and unpredictable. You have a lot more studying to do.”

“The Fae on the Isle of Man are called ‘Themselves’ by the locals.” Leila tells us all, but mostly Lily, who is listening with enthusiasm. “There are a lot of fairy tales involving them. But a lot of them are about tricksters... I will do some research about them and…”

Lucifer heaves a sigh, he tries not to frown but fails. “She should look for him when she’s ready. I don’t plan on losing any more family members under my watch. Especially after what happened at Lake Lo Lanthe ” He tells us and we all feel the case is closed for now. Lucifer is probably right: Now is not the time to get lost in the land of Faery, on top of being dropped into a whole new reality. 

“What happened at Lake Lo Lanthe?” I can’t help asking. We were under the impression that Lily had an almost completely uneventful trip aside from their fairy flowers being stolen. 

“It’s a long story.” Lily sighs, clearly she doesn’t want to provoke Lucifer further but she gives us a look that says. I’ll explain later.  

“Leila.” He changes the subject completely now. “I still hope you and the others will join us eventually back at Serenity Manor. So, I still need a list of your needs. All of your needs.” He looks to me and Lucien as well, while avoiding looking at Shado and Chimera. Though he knows as well as anyone in this room that he has to fully accept them too, before Leila would even consider coming back.

She won’t point that out to him now though. “It won’t be soon, Lucifer.” Leila tells him softly, but in a way he knows she’s determined and cannot be persuaded to come back before we’re ready. “We need time. But of course I will make a list for what we need. I will have a list for you when I see you tomorrow for the funeral.”

“I would really like it if you came back.” Lily says softly as she reaches over to rest her hand on Lucifer’s arm. “But I also know why it’s not possible yet.” She’s doing her best to support Lucifer and the rest of us at the same time. I can’t fault her for it because I know I’d be doing the same if our roles were reversed. 

Lucifer nods and that seems to be the end of that conversation as well. “Before I forget.” He says, gesturing to Lily. Her eyes widen as if just remembering something too as she reaches into her bag. She hands a bunch of D.D.D.’s over to Lucifer who passes them out to the rest of us. “You will need these.” He tells us.

They’re already activated and ready to go, everyone’s numbers have been added to the contacts already. Lucien has been given a brand new number. I immediately notice that Lucifer has added himself to my emergency speed-dial. Looking up, I see Leila smile and nod at him. He must have put his number on speed-dial for all of us. A quiet reminder that he sees us as his family and that he will be ready for us whenever we need him.

 

Some lighter conversation follows until Mammon invites Lucifer to join him and Lucien for a game of cards. I was almost surprised to see how readily, almost eagerly Lucifer agreed to play. While they are distracted, the girls waste no time in exchanging conspiratorial glances before moving to the kitchen. Curious, I decide to follow them. 

“What type of Fae do you think live around the manor?” Leila asks, as she shows Lily her crafts for Fae gifts. The little wooden bowls and cups made out of nutshells are just as shiny as the ones she had to leave behind. 

“Well this is what I’ve learned so far.” Lily tells Leila in a hushed tone. As if she’s afraid Lucifer will over hear them and spoil their fun. Neither of them have noticed me leaning against the wall, as they start with preparing their little Fae feast. “The fae that typically still dwell in the Human World are mostly harmless creatures, some like to play pranks but most will leave you alone unless you offend them. I suspect you could attract a brownie if you leave out some bread and milk, cheese and nuts are good as well. Honey, cakes, cookies. Anything sweet, really.” She taps her lips in thought, while Chimera makes sure she’s on top of things, trying to steal sips and bites. “If I helped you bring the garden back to life you’d probably attract pixies. Although I’ve heard they can be as troublesome as they are delightful.” 

“That would be lovely!” I can already see Leila getting all sorts of ideas in her head when she tells Lily. “Want to go see the forest? We haven’t explored it yet.”

Lily nods her head enthusiastically. “I want to check out the hill I saw too. It reminds me of the one near Lake Lo Lanthe.” 

“Let's give them the feast over there then.” Leila starts packing up their preparations and grabs Lily’s hand as she pulls her towards the backdoor off the kitchen. I know Leila must be eager to hear all about that. “Mammon and Lucien wouldn’t like it if I started luring them to the manor now. Besides, Chimera would steal it all if I’m not careful.” She laughs cheerily and infectiously. It does me good to see her excited about something frivolous like this. She’s too serious and tense.

“Leaving without me?” I ask them, just when they’re about to leave the manor. I can’t help grinning in satisfaction as they both give a frightened start. 

“Oh, James.” Lily gasps with her hand over her heart. It’s really hard not to laugh right now, seeing the guilty looks on their faces. 

I end up joining them on their little excursion. Not because I'm terribly interested in meeting Fae, but someone has to keep an eye on these two Fae-crazy girls. Chimera, of course, has joined us as well. Happily chattering on Leila’s shoulder, she’s taken the glamour of a little blue parakeet. And Shado walks in front of us, his fluffy tail held high, proudly leading the way. We don’t spend too much time in the woods, Lily doesn’t sense anything living there, only magic that is old, as if something had passed through but is gone now. 

“I want to check this out again on the next full moon.” Lily tells us as we sit around an old oak tree at the top of the hill she wanted to see. I notice our climb up the hill has left her looking tired, unusual for someone as athletic as she is, it’s probably the depression. I know I can relate.

The girls have just made a little party area for the Fae on a small flat stone. Laying out all the gifts they prepared for them. Leila is feeding Chimera and Shado little treats, to keep them away from stealing from the feast. 

We have told Lily about what happened when we visited Lake lo Lanthe. How two groups of Fae battled over us and how Leila got enchanted during the revelry afterwards, having no memory of that herself. And Lily has now told us all about what happened to her at Lake lo Lanthe as well. Not exactly the same adventure, but there are a couple of similarities. How she had fallen into a faery revelry but had no memory of it afterwards. Later, she met a Fae, right before the bogeyman incident who gave her memories back. If I didn’t already know better, it would have been hard to believe.  

“I have a good feeling I can get into the land of Faery from here.” Lily tells us now, confidently. It seems odd to me, I don’t know what would give her that impression. Nothing seems out of the ordinary to me. Fae magic must feel different than what we’re used to. “I couldn’t feel it until I knew what I was looking for.” Lily says as if reading my thoughts. Here I thought only Leila could do that. Heh. Or maybe it was obvious by my raised eyebrow. “Even if you and James aren’t Fae.” She tells Leila. “I bet if you visited Faery, you’d be more sensitive to it.”

“Yeah, that makes sense.” Leila nods. “You have to teach yourself to open up to the magic, just like with the other energies we’re used to by now.” She gently pets Chimera in her bird appearance. “I can’t really sense Chimera’s magic, maybe she’s too little…? It’s not because she doesn’t have any magic.” She explains to Lily. “She breathes fire, can glamour herself and can make flowers and fairy rings during her own little moon dances.”

“Hmm, maybe it’s because it's her innate magic ability and she is tiny. Different from casting a spell?” Lily muses out loud. 

 

I’m about to say something when our new D.D.D.s start blowing up with messages and calls. I guess the guys realized we left the house. “Hi Mammon.” I say, answering his call. “Ow. You don’t need to shout. We’re just on the hill.” I glance at the girls who are responding to texts. “No, we didn’t see any fairies.” I laugh. “Sure, don’t worry. Bye.” I hang up. “We need to come back, and immediately.” I tell the girls with a smirk. “Or else…”

They both roll their eyes in unison, but stand up and dust themselves off anyway. When we walk back we see Mammon and Lucifer coming up on the path up the hill to meet us halfway. Leila gives them a very stern frown, surprising Lucifer, because by the look on his face he was about to give us a scolding for sneaking off, himself. 

But before she can say something, Mammon already shouts. “I know what ya gonna say! We didn’t leave Pandora all alone in the house. Lucien is with her.” 

That dissolves Leila’s frown immediately into a smile and Lucifer seems to decide to not start lecturing us. By the look on his face, he completely forgot about Pandora napping in the house when he took Mammon with him for his search for us. Caring for the baby doesn’t come natural to him yet. 

We all had a pleasant rest of the day, despite the circumstances. It was a nice change, seeing Lily and Leila smiling easy and excited over something. I know it doesn’t change anything, the grief will still be waiting for us when the distractions end. We all want to get along together, because it is none of our fault that we are in the situation that we’re in. But by the time Lucifer and Lily go home, I’m ready to collapse from exhaustion. Dealing with Lucifer, so soon after I felt the other him dying… It’s too much. I miss my own Lucifer and Beel. I miss them all, so much. Tomorrow is the funeral. Maybe it becomes more real to me then. Maybe.

Just before I descend into sadness again, my new DDD starts buzzing with texts again. I open the chat to distract myself. I don’t want to feel sad, after the nice day we had together.

 

New Family (11)

< Lucien: Check this out!
< Lucien: *Picture of Lucifer holding Pandora.*

I smile, remembering when it was taken. Leila had brought Pandora down after her nap and asked if Lucifer would want to hold her. He was a bit hesitant about it, but agreed. One of Pandora’s toothless smiles at him was enough to soften up his whole stern expression. It was so endearing and Leila was beaming with pride at the two of them.

< Satan: (Shocked-Demon sticker)
< Belphegor: (Surprised-Demon sticker)
< Leviathan: (Shocked-Demon sticker)
< Asmodeus: Oh my! Lucifer! How adorable!
< Asmodeus: (Demon-in-Love sticker)
> Lily: You should have seen it! It was so sweet...
< Lucifer: She is quite a well behaved baby. There may be hope for this family yet.
> Leila: I love that picture! Thanks Lucien!

< Beelzebub: Leila, what does Pandora eat now? Is she already old enough to eat Roast Roc?
< Belphegor: Ugh, think about it Beel...
< Beelzebub: Right. She doesn’t have teeth yet. It probably needs to go in the blender first. (Nodding-Demon sticker)
< Beelzebub: I like chewing, but drinking your food is sometimes nice too. It goes down faster, so you can eat more. (Eating-Demon sticker)
< Lucifer: (Frustrated-Demon sticker)
> James: (Laughing-Demon sticker)

I can’t help laughing. Beel has such strange ideas about food, no matter what reality he’s from. I just love this demon, even if it is painful to be reminded of my own, like this. It still makes me smile.

> Leila: She now drinks only milk, Beelzebub. Breastmilk or Formula, depending on my production.
< Beelzebub: I wonder what that tastes like…
< Mammon: (Shocked-Demon sticker)
< Leviathan: (Shocked-Demon sticker)
< Satan: Don’t even think about it!
< Belphegor: Ugh, don’t be weird to Leila, Beel. 
< Beelzebub: Sorry…
> Leila: It’s okay. Soon she can start tasting pureed food. 
> Lily: I bet that will be adorable for pictures too!
< Satan: Messy food pictures of Lucifer and Pandora. (Laughing-Demon sticker)
< Mammon: Those will go for some good Grimm!
< Lucifer: Don’t you dare! (Threatening-Demon sticker)
> Leila: Don’t you dare! (Threatening-Demon sticker)

I laugh again when I see Lucifer and Leila react exactly the same at exactly the same time. They are more alike than they would ever want to admit! Heh.

< Mammon: Oy! I gotta make some cash! I got zero in this reality!
> Leila: You know my rules about posting or selling pictures of me or Pandora, Mammon!
< Mammon: Aww...
> James: You never had any cash anyway! (Laughing-Demon sticker)
< Mammon: Don’t tell THEM that, James!
< Leviathan: LOL We already knew that, Mammon. Obviously no Mammon ever has any money.
< Mammon: Oy! Whaddya say?!
< Lucien: Wow… This escalated quickly…
< Leviathan: By the way…
< Leviathan: Not to sound insensitive, but is Lucien now part of this family too?

Uh-Oh, sounds like Leviathan is a bit jealous… I hope Lucien won’t take it personal.

< Lucifer: Yes he is.
< Mammon: Course he is!
< Mammon: He’s my littlest bro and don’t any of ya dare callin’ him a Chihuahua!
> Leila: Aww, Mammon! I’m so proud of you! (Hugging-Demon sticker)
< Lucien: Thanks, Mammon. (Shy-Demon sticker)
< Mammon: Sure thing! The Great Mammon ‘ll watch over ya!
< Mammon: You’re more of a Dachshund anyway. Y’know, since you’re taller now. (Grinning-Demon sticker)

Lots of laughing, snickering and grinning demon stickers follow this comment.

< Lucien: Ugh. Jerk.
> Leila: I’m suddenly less proud of you, Mammon…
< Belphegor: So I’m no longer the youngest of us brothers?
< Belphegor: I don’t know how I feel about that…
> Lily: I’m sure you’ll be just fine. I for one, am happy to relinquish the role of youngest in the family to Pandora!  
< Belphegor: (Rolling-Eyes-Demon sticker) Fine, no one can compete with her for the role of youngest.

More nonsensical conversation follows until deep into the night. Everyone is trying to cheer each other up. Nobody wants to think about tomorrow and the funeral right now. And I think that’s fine.

 

Chapter Text

Lucifer POV

I wanted to incinerate this new Solomon when he first suggested a cremation for the funeral rites we would be holding for our fallen today. My brother, at least, belonged in the family crypt. At least until he had made me see reason when he explained himself. DNA is a powerful tool in magic, especially the darkest of arts. It was safer for their living counterparts if the remains were burned. If I am to accept this other Mammon as my brother, which I have, then he should have a place with us in the crypt. Even still, it's a difficult pill to swallow. 

Solomon and his granddaughter will be hosting most of the ceremony. I think it is brave of Leila to want to do this, since she has lost so much and I know she is definitely not quite ready for all this emotional stress. But I suppose everyone grieves differently. I noticed that Leila wants to keep herself busy. Which is not a bad trait. I hope she won’t get a backlash from it later, when the dust settles and there is less to occupy her mind with.

I have to admit that Solomon and Leila organised an interesting setting. I was worried they would make the funeral into too much of a religious Human World event and make me and my brothers uncomfortable attending. I was relieved to find that wasn’t the case. Despite the fact that Lily’s rogue powers had decimated the gardens in her grief. And I had to humble myself by asking Solomon to hire gardeners from the magical society, the gardens were looking more beautiful than ever. Making sure Lily wore her emotion absorbing talisman, I made sure it stayed that way. 

They requested for us to place a certain number of flat stones in a perfect circle around the two pyres on which Mammon and Solomon’s caskets are placed. They look like primitive stone benches for two or three people and they are decorated with an abundance of wildflowers and greenery. Soft pillows are placed on top or against the stone benches and on each bench sits a basket with a couple of candles. Waiting to be lit later, when the sky will darken and the ceremony will begin.

My brothers made me proud as they were all eager to help with the preparations. Even Belphegor. Most likely to show their good intentions to our new family members. Just like me, they want them to return to us soon. Even if it isn’t as soon as we wish for.

 

Lily POV

Ever since I entered the Devildom, my life had been evolving in a whirlwind, so much has changed. I have changed. I’ve never had such an abundance of love and joy in my life. I knew what it was like to lose someone you loved, the heart ache. But it didn’t prepare me for this..this soul rending loss. I feel irrevocably changed by it, like nothing will be the same. The sun will never shine as bright but the world will keep turning regardless.  

I’ve wandered into the rose garden while others are preparing for the funeral rites. We’re not just honoring Mammon and Solomon, but those that Leila and James lost as well. I absentmindedly rub the talisman around my neck that’s protecting the garden from my coresive mood. I haven’t had to rely on it for a long time but the day Solomon and Mammon died, this garden nearly died with them in response to my grief and anger. Lucifer had to go through a lot of effort to restore the gardens to their former glory in time for today since I haven’t been up to the task. Picking up some gardening shears I cut six perfect white roses. It doesn’t take too much effort to change the colors of the roses: Blue, Red, Orange, Pink, Green and Purple. I’ll give three of them to Leila and three to James.

When I’m busy with the roses, I notice a soft humming behind me. I immediately recognize it as Leila’s voice. I turn around and see her gently caressing the white roses from the bushes where I just cut mine. When I listen closely, I can hear the words that she sings barely above her breath, a lot of melancholy in her voice.

Promise me, when you see,
a white rose you'll think of me
I love you so
Never let go
I will be your ghost of a rose

She gives me a sad but grateful smile while I silently cut more white roses for her. Ten white roses for everyone we lost. She doesn’t need to explain to me what they mean to her, after what she just sang. I made sure to remove the thorns before I gave her the ten white roses, along with the pink, green and purple roses. 

Leila’s grandfather and Asmodeus did a beautiful job with the arrangements and the caskets. Even if it’s all going to burn. My heart wrenches painfully at the thought, even if my mind understands. 

I walk up to James who sits with Pandora on his lap on one of the heavy stones that Lucifer and the others have placed in a circle around the pyres at Leila’s request. Next to him Beel has taken a seat. I can see how this is simultaneously comforting and difficult for James. Belphie has taken a seat on the soft pillows at their feet, leaning against their legs in quiet comfort. He’s blushing a little, because Pandora is trying to pull his hair. Cooing to him to try to get some attention from her father, who is not really her father, but how can she know… It is both adorable and heart-wrenching to watch. I give James the same watery smile as he gives me and I hand him the blue, orange and red roses. “To say goodbye..”I whisper hoarsely before giving him a kiss on the cheek. 

I walk up to Mammon’s funeral pyre first.. Even if he’s still in his fearsome demonic form, he looks so beautifully at peace. I want nothing more for him to wake up, laugh and make fun of my face. That he will tell me it was just some horrible, cruel joke. His hands are folded on his chest, his beloved rings glinting in the last light of the day. On an impulse I pull the three silver rings off his fingers and I can’t help but flinch at how cold his hands are, hands that used to hold my own with so much warmth. I barely feel the silent tears that begin flowing down my cheeks again. 

“I’m so sorry…” I whisper. My voice is hoarse, barely recognizable as I press a last kiss to his cold cheek. 

Warm arms wrap around my shoulders. “It ain’t your fault.” The familiar voice brings both pain and solace to my soul. As hard as it is to accept that my Mammon is gone, I’m grateful that James’ and Leila’s Mammon, who is my dear friend too, has a place here now. I turn just enough in his hold to give him a hug in return, my tears unrepentantly wet his expensive shirt. Finding strength in his arms, he walks with me, the short yet terrible distance to Solomon’s pyre. Only a few steps away, but it feels like miles, the distance me and my beloved are forever apart from each other now. Forever out of my reach.

Unfamiliar, dark thoughts swirl in my mind as I look at him lying there, perfect, even in death. There’s a very small part of me that would give it all up, to crawl onto that pyre and leave this world with him. Mammon’s tender squeeze on my shoulder reminds me that I still belong here and I have too many loved ones to leave behind. Mammon steps back and gives me space to say my goodbyes. 

As I cup the cold cheek of my beloved, my engagement ring glitters brilliantly in the final light of the setting sun shining its warm beams through the trees surrounding our garden. The future we had envisioned, the dreams we’d shared with each other, are just empty, shattered promises now. My friends and family are the reason I find any strength to remain standing. It’s all still so surreal and part of me knows once this numb feeling wears away the true pain may very well crush me. I love you , I love you... I can only tell him in my mind because I can’t seem to find my voice anymore. I press one last lingering kiss to his cold lips before Mammon gently guides me back to one of the benches where he lets me take a seat next to Lucifer and Simeon. 

 

Lucifer POV

I’m feeling grateful for this new Mammon. His presence has somehow given Lily strength to go through with her goodbyes of our Mammon and her Solomon. He seems a little different. Leila must have taught him to be more honest and open with her and James and now that transfers to Lily as well. It’s just what she needed today. After her goodbyes, he delivered her to my side.

We’re all waiting now for the ceremony to begin. Looking around, I see that everyone tries to mingle our two broken families together. Mammon and Leviathan are sitting on the next bench from ours, having some sort of discussion. Perhaps about money that Mammon still owes Leviathan. I smile a little, I know this can’t be the case. But one day, no doubt. Satan and Luke sit together with Lucien. They both seem to want to help him in his state of fallen angel, but not demon. Satan is probably listing off the sorts of spirits Lucien can allow, if not wanting to become a demon and Luke probably ensures that Lucien doesn’t have to do any of the sort and he will protect him. I smile again. The little Chihuahua. Asmodeus is talking with Leila. Knowing him, it’s probably about how lovely he thinks she looks with the rainbow of ribbons braided in her long hair. One ribbon for all the fallen. Leila just softly smiles, barely listening to him while she cradles the roses in her arms. Barbatos and Leila’s grandfather are standing at a distance, also having a discussion. I suspect their conversation is more about the Cult of Barbatos and the Sorcerers’ Society. I would join them, but so far Solomon hasn’t kept me out of the loop during the investigation and Lily needs me more, right now.

The sun has left the garden now and the sky really starts to darken. Leila stands up and goes around, lighting the candles that we are holding in our hands and that are placed around us on the ground. Protecting each of them with a spell so that the flames won’t go out or set the environment or someone’s clothes on fire. Pandora lets out a delighted cheer as the dancing flames give a beautiful glow on everyone’s faces, while the ceremony will now begin.

Solomon invites each of us to have a personal thing to say. Being it a prayer, a blessing, a story or wishes. Everyone can be who they are. It is all very informal and not at all what I expected from a Human World funeral. Well, I suppose that Solomon and Leila aren't anything like the average humans. Maybe it is more common in the Human World Magical Society to send loved ones off to the next journey like this.

“I respected Solomon for his knowledge of TSL and our shared passion for TRPGs, I’ll miss our chats but I’ll especially miss the way he made our Lily happy, no matter how much it made me jealous.” Leviathan says, avoiding looking at Lily as he does so. “Mammon was a scumbag, he died before he paid me back everything he owes me. But he died a hero and I’ll miss that moron more than anything.”

“Rude.” Mammon mutters. “He better not be expectin’ me to pay those debts.” Even though he scoffs he seems affected by what Levi said, a blush staining his cheeks and neck. It must be very uncomfortable for him and Solomon. “Yeah, well Levi was a real pain in the ass.” Mammon says, following Leviathan. “But uh, he was my best friend and he died a hero too. All my brothers did.” He confesses, and I’m really shocked that this Mammon is willing to admit so much despite his obvious embarrassment.  “I swear that I’ll protect our family.” He glances my way but I know he’s not speaking to me, but the other me. “I won’t let your sacrifice be in vain.”

After this, Satan reads us a poem from the book he’s brought with him. I can tell he is more trying to lift the spirits of us survivors, rather than wanting to linger on what’s happened. That would only serve to stoke his anger and he already hardly knows how to contain his Wrath ever since that day. 

Simeon follows his example by saying some sort of prayer, encouraging us to look forward. I suppose he means well. I can see it working for our humans, Lucien and Luke, even though it’s  in general not the sort of thing us demons appreciate.

“Mammon drove me crazy, but he knew how to party and I was jealous of his modeling ability.” Asmodeus sniffs as if he’s loath to admit this, especially in front of the living Mammon. “But he was a good older brother and I’m so grateful to him for saving our Lily.” He sends a flirtatious look to Solomon before continuing. “I’d have lots of things to say about Solomon but I don’t want to make Leila’s grandfather blush.” He says, winking before he sits back down. He receives a stern look from Leila next to him, but then he makes her smile a little as he gives her hand a kiss. I’m glad to notice that those two seem to be able to cheer each other up a little.

Not everyone feels like sharing something. James and Leila just place a couple of colored roses on the now closed caskets and stand for a moment hand in hand together. Lily just wants to be held, though I see she feels moved by what everyone else is saying or doing. Beelzebub isn’t a demon of many words. I know he just finds comfort in being together now with the whole family. Belphegor seems to be asleep. But he still offered to hold Leila’s baby for a moment while James was placing his roses with Leila and let them have their moment together. Pandora seemed to be very happy to be held by him. It must be strange for her that the people who she thinks are her fathers are not doting on her the way she’s accustomed to. She lets out a little protesting sound when James takes her back on his own lap.

I have my own speech prepared, of course. I have a lot to say about our family and the events and the future. So much, that after ten minutes I hear a gentle cough from Leila and I feel that was a subtle command to me to wrap it up.

 

Once everyone has had the chance to have said their say, Solomon summons a flame in his hand. “I wish I could find the right words to say to you all. This is a difficult loss for all of us. I just only know this one thing to say to describe my own hope for our future together.” He steps towards the pyres and sets them ablaze with the words. " The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise. " It’s maybe a spell, maybe a promise. But whatever it is, it symbolizes what has happened to us. We’ve been attacked, we’ve been torn apart. But we will rise. I feel encouraged by these words.

Leila has placed her forcefield - that we have come used to by now - around the pyres so that we are all protected from the heat and sparks. As the fire roars, she starts softly singing.

The valley green was so serene
In the middle ran a stream so blue
A maiden fair, in despair, once had met her true love there and she told him
She would say
"Promise me , when you see, a white rose you'll think of me
I love you so
Never let go
I will be your ghost of a rose"

Her little baby cheers in excitement on James’ lap. Her big baby eyes reflect the flames as she witnesses the great fires in front of her. We all smile a little. Her innocence lightens the heavy mood. Maybe she is right. In essence, this has been a beautiful ceremony. 

Her eyes believed in mysteries
She would lay amongst the leaves of amber
Her spirit wild, heart of a child, yet gentle still and quiet and mild and he loved her
When she would say
"Promise me , when you see, a white rose you'll think of me
I love you so
Never let go
I will be your ghost of a rose"

Maybe Leila sings this song for us, or maybe for herself. Whatever the case, the words touch us all. The promise that we will never forget our loved ones. That we will always love them.

When all was done, she turned to run
Dancing to the setting sun as he watched her
And ever more he thought he saw
A glimpse of her upon the moors forever
He'd hear her say
"Promise me , when you see, a white rose you'll think of me
I love you so
Never let go
I will be your ghost of a rose"

After she’s finished with her song, Leila creates a memorial from the remains of the two pyres, using her magic. She turns the remains into a stone pedestal engraved with the words ‘ I love you so. Never let go’ . She arranges 10 white roses into a beautiful bouquet, representing all who lost their lives in both of our realties. All except Diavolo. But nobody can blame her for not wanting to include him in the memorial. 

She places the bouquet of roses in a glass case on top of the stone pedestal. She casts a preservation spell over it all and the roses inside the case bloom as if they were freshly cut, forever fresh, never to wilt. The everlasting dew drops on them shimmering like gemstones in the light of the candles. 

It’s a beautiful memorial, when she’s finished. Simple, but meaningful. No outsider will understand the meaning, but all of us present do. Whatever the future will bring for my family, we will never forget our lost loved ones. 

Speaking of family… I need to figure out a way to bring back the ones that have wandered away from us. To make them feel truly welcome. After all that has happened in the first 24 hours after their arrival, I have to admit that I’ve made a couple mistakes with that. I assumed they would submit to my rules, like all my siblings always do. But I had underestimated Leila’s strong personality. Too much like Solomon… We are now two seperate families. We need to become one again. And I need Leila’s help in establishing this, even if it’s hard to accept for me.

 

Leila POV

I’m wandering the garden alone for a little bit, with Pandora in my arms. I’m not feeling up for talking with anyone right now. I don’t have anything to say that wouldn’t result in either making me angry, frustrated or incredibly sad. I just want to give Pandora a few happy moments with her mother without crying. 

The ceremony went well. I feel a sense of being at peace, for the moment. It won’t last long, I know, so I need to cherish this moment and give it to Pandora. I’m glad that people seem to understand and leave me alone for a bit.

Until Solomon catches up to me, a serious expression on his face. He takes Pandora from me and cuddles a little with her. “I have to go to the Devildom tomorrow, Leila.” He tells me. I nod. I guess I knew that this was coming, but I feel uneasy about it. He’s been staying with us at our new place all this time and I feel I still need him to. “You know why, don’t you?”

“Yes.” I confirm. “You have to reconnect with all your 72 demons…” 

After I reconnected with Lucifer a few days ago, Solomon explained to me how our pacts are still active and waiting for us to restore them. The one with Barbatos was automatically restored as soon as he opened the void for us and led us into this reality. But we have the choice if and when we want to open ourselves up to the other demons of this reality. On one hand I’m happy knowing this, on the other I’m not ready to accept it. Although I do feel happy with the feeling of having my pact with Lucifer restored and I know he feels the same way. Even if he has trouble understanding me, right now.

“Only 70 now.” Solomon chuckles optimistically. “Don’t worry, I’ll be coming home almost every night, I promise.” He returns Pandora to me and calls. “Karasu.”

The big crow - that is actually a demon - comes flying over and lands on his shoulder. He’s been with us all day, but Lucifer has forbidden him to show his other form in the Human World for some reason. To me he looks human enough. Maybe it’s just because they don’t like him? He’s been hanging out at our new home a lot too. I think maybe he feels drawn to Mammon, but he won’t admit to that. Today he came to give his respect to his old master. I think he was very respectful towards everyone, staying on his branch in a tree. Only cawing once when the pyres were set ablaze. Only I and Barbatos heard him say his goodbyes to Mammon in his crow-language.

“At your service…” Karasu mocks Solomon.

“Good, that’s what I like to hear.” Solomon mocks him in return. “I’d like you to-”

“Actually,” I interrupt Solomon, knowing what he is going to ask, but I don’t need some spy demon watching over me. I’m perfectly capable of watching over myself and the others in our house. “I have a request for Karasu myself, if he’s interested to hear it.”

Karasu laughs in his crow-language and immediately hops onto my shoulder instead, making Pandora cheer for seeing the big animal so suddenly so close and Solomon laugh for Karasu’s questionable loyalty. “What is it that you want old Karasu to do for ya, sweetcheeks?” He says in his crow-language on purpose, as if we’re about to share some big secret.

“I just want you to watch over Solomon, while he’s in the Devildom restoring his pacts.” I tell him, trying to ignore the stupid nickname, but I can’t help but frown, so he cackles. “And keep me up to date, since Solomon will never tell me about the things that would worry me.”

“Tch. Humans and their soft hearted requests. What makes you think I would?” Karasu challenges. “What do I get in return?”

“The promise I won’t cook you and feed you to Beel?” I challenge back and both he and Solomon start laughing now.

“PFFT. You got guts girlie, threatenin’ the Magnificent Karasu!” Karasu guffaws. “But actually, I’ve already got an assignment to watch Solomon as soon as he steps into the Devildom. And honestly, while he’s in the Human World too…” He tells me with a sly look, if a crow can look sly. 

“What?” I look surprised. Why? Who?

“Oh yeah,” Karasu enjoys telling his news. “From the big boss himself! Apparently Lord Diavolo doesn’t trust new Solomon!” He cackles, taking a good look at my reaction.

I frown at him, my eyes blazing, feeling extremely offended. How dare Lord Diavolo not trust my grandfather! HE is the one who can’t be trusted!! Solomon places a hand on my shoulder to calm my anger. “It will be okay, Leila.” He just tells me.

“Sure!” Karasu says cheerfully. “I’ll give you the reports ya need, Hot Mama. And I will tell Bossman only the good bits about old Solomon here that he wouldn’t want to hear and in return, you give me a kiss, deal?” He says that last part in crow-language.

“I don’t make deals with demons.” I tell him. And especially not with a demon like Karasu, who is a bit strange. Although he’s nice to Lily, so he can’t be all bad. “But I do make agreements.”

“So I get a kiss?” He laughs again in his crow-language, rubbing his beak softly against my cheek.

“Of course not.” I tell him sternly. “I don’t feel like kissing any demons. But I can pet you, if you like…” I pet him the way I did the first time we met. I know he likes that. And true enough he closes his beady eyes in enjoyment, as he sits on my shoulder. I think we’re having an agreement. For now. Until he changes his mind again. He seems like a real troublemaker of a demon. “And tell Lord Diavolo what I think of him in crow-language and I’ll have a treat ready for you next time you come visit us.”

“AHAHA! I think you and I could be good friends, Pretty Lady.” Karasu laughs again, while Solomon sends me a disapproving frown. 

“Leila, that is not the way to make peace…” He tells me sternly, but he can’t keep the glimmer of mischief out of his eyes himself.

 

Lucifer POV

After everyone has gone home after the funeral, I find Lily sitting on her bed alone, seemingly staring off into space. “Lily.” I call out to her softly from her doorway, she turns her head slowly, as if waking from a dream. Her eyes focus on the box I’m holding before meeting my own. 

“Solomon brought you your things…” I grimace, seeing the way she flinches just from me mentioning his name. I know it will get better for her with time, but it's still hard to watch. In another time and place I probably would have hexed her to forget and filled her memories with happier things. But Lily has changed me, and since I know she wouldn’t approve of such devilish methods, I’m bound to only provide the simple comfort of a brother who loves his sister and wishes to see her smile again.

I sit next to her on the bed, wrapping an arm around her as she rests her head against me. We sit in comfortable silence for a while before she slowly starts to go through the items in the box.I can’t help noticing that she’s wearing Mammon’s favorite ring, on her finger next to her engagement ring that she still wears. 

“You’re wearing Mammon’s ring.” I point out. She stops rummaging through the box and her cheeks flush. I think maybe she has the wrong idea, so I clarify. “He would be proud to have you wear it.” I tell her gently. 

She gives me a relieved sort of smile as she fidgets with the ring, her eyes sad. She no doubt used magic to make the ring fit. Then her eyes widen in memory and she digs in her pocket. “I saved this one for you.” She tells me with a sweet, hopeful smile. When I nod in acceptance, she casts a spell that makes the ring fit my finger perfectly. As I suspected, I’m proud of the adept little Sorceress she’s becoming.

“I think I’ll give the third to Levi…” She says as if she hasn’t truly decided. “Unless he’s going to pawn it off to make up for the money he was still owed.” She wrinkles her nose at the thought which almost makes me laugh. 

I stand, getting ready to leave. Then, remembering the list Leila gave me today, I smooth a strand of Lily’s hair behind her ear and lift her chin to meet my gaze. “You’re going to help me get our homes ready for our family, won’t you?” She’s been so withdrawn, and while it’s understandable, I think a project would do her some good. Something that doesn’t involve running off to Faery.

She gives me a small smile and nods in agreement. It’s not the usual bright, beautiful smile I wish to see on her face again, but it will do for now. I give her a swift kiss on her forehead before I leave her. 

 

I return to the garden to the place where we held the ceremony earlier this evening and take a seat on one of the stone benches. Some of the candles are still burning beneath the memorial. Today went better than I thought. Even if there is still so much sorrow over the loss of our fallen, this place that we created together, this memory, is a positive one. Today has been the start of our new journey together.

I’m not surprised when a portal opens and Lord Diavolo walks through. I’m glad that for once he’s following decorum as he settles onto the stone bench next to me. “That’s a wonderful memorial. I’m sorry I couldn’t be here for you.” He says, his voice hushed. 

I allow myself a small smile. It's moments like these that give me hope that our Diavolo will turn out to be a fit Demon King someday, one who can proudly accomplish his dreams. It’s horrifying to know what the other him has done in another reality, but I remind myself that we all have the potential to be our worst and best selves. I know this from my own faults. 

“Thank you.” I tell him, in all sincerity. He could have shown up today or held it against us that we didn’t invite him, that I’d asked him to stay away as a personal favor. It renewed my faith that he does possess some measure of maturity. I need to redouble my effort in seeing that maturity flourish. But before that, my family comes first. 

In hushed whispers we discuss the ongoing hunt for those responsible for the attack. My only regret is that I can’t spare the time to hunt them down myself. 

 

The morning after the funeral I gathered my brothers and Lily around the breakfast table. We need to make plans to get the rest of our family back living with us, instead of half across the country where I can’t keep an eye on them. Some might think me callous and unfeeling so soon after our losses, but I know my family well enough to know that idle hands and minds will do none of them any good. 

“Leila has given me a list of all the things they need.” I say to start our family meeting. “I personally was pleased to notice that we don’t have to make too many changes and…”

“Can I see that list?” Lily asks me, holding out her hand expectantly. I nod and give it to her. She starts reading out loud. “A bedroom for me and Pandora. A bedroom for James and Lucien. A crib for Pandora. A rental car for transportation. A car seat for Pandora…”

“Wait…” Belphegor interupts her to my surprise. “I don’t like the sound of this.”

“What do you mean?” I ask him. I thought that out of all my brothers, he would especially like to have Leila close as soon as possible. Why would he be against planning for it? He’s receiving more frowns from my other brothers.

“I mean…” Belphegor frowns at the list in Lily’s hand. “That it sounds like Leila doesn’t want to stay for long with us, when they come over. She asks for guest rooms and a temporary car. While we know she had a big private place for herself and Pandora before.”

“I agree with Belphie,” Lily tells me. “To have a comfortable life with us and feel welcome with us, she’s asking too little of us. Only the necessities for Pandora and the others. Nothing for herself…”

“If they have such a nice place where they live now, why would they want to come live with us?” Asmodeus agrees after hearing that. “We shouldn’t make them feel as if they’re just guests.”

I sigh and pinch the bridge of my nose. I specifically asked Leila for all their needs, didn’t I? To think I would meet someone just as proud as me… “Very well. We need these necessities at the least. What else…?”

Of course this question results in a heated discussion. Everyone has their ideas of what our new family members need. James needs his own kitchen and pantry, Beelzebub thinks. All of them need their own walk-in closet, is Asmodeus' opinion. They each need their own game room, according to Leviathan. Belphegor tells us that they all need a large private bedroom with a big fluffy bed and en-suite bathroom. I’ll think about that, it’s not an entirely bad idea. Still, Satan made the most sensible suggestion: He thinks that Leila would appreciate a private library or study to store her and James spellbooks and materials and a place to create their potions. 

“I have an idea.” Lily says after having quietly listened to my brothers and their partially selfish requests. “Why don’t we renovate the entire east wing of the Manor? We don’t use most of that space. If we plan it right, we can do most of your ideas and I’m sure it will make them feel welcome.”

“Yes, that’s a good plan.” I agree, proud of her kindness and the way she considers all of my brother’s opinions, no matter how unworthy they are half the time. “I know the perfect person to be in charge of it all too.” I smile at Lily. I smirk as her eyes go wide. 

“Me? I said I’d help but…” She says meekly as her eyes shift away from mine and I give her a more firm expression. I’ll not allow her to waste away in her grief holed up in her room day after day. 

“No one else has a better grasp on what you and Leila and the rest need so that we can all live here comfortably. You will oversee this venture and keep my brothers from getting out of hand like only you can do.” I flatter her while speaking in a way where she knows well there’s no arguing with me on this. “I will be here of course to make sure it all gets done.” I let her know I’m not abandoning her to this large venture alone. 

“All right..” She agrees, giving me a smile. It doesn’t quite reach her eyes, there’s a confidence she’s lost since losing Mammon and Solomon. I need to make sure she finds that confidence in herself again, hopefully this project will be the first step. 

Unfortunately, with her agreement, my idiotic brothers break into another heated debate as they argue the merits of their ideas and whose idea will appeal to Leila and James the most.

 

Lily POV

I know Lucifer means the best for me. And I know he is right of course. I have a much better idea of what James and Leila will need, since I’m a human sorceress now, just like them. And I shouldn’t fade away in my sorrow... I just don’t know if I can muster the strength right now to put up with all my brothers. They all mean the best for us, I know that. It’s just hard.

Still, they all help me very well. Apart from their more outrageous ideas, we eventually draw up a plan for the renovation of the east wing of the Manor. It will be very nice. I will live there with James, Leila, Pandora and Lucien, once the Avatars have to return to the Devildom to help Lord Diavolo with his ongoing hunt for the last remaining cult members and of course, the daily running of RAD. 

No more direct portal to my Devildom room, but that’s okay. We designed a safe room where Leila and Barbatos will create a special sort of portal. It will become semi-permanent. It will only open from our side and the room will be sealed with Celestial wards when not in use. We have to make sure no evil spirits can sneak through to bother Lucien.

Chapter Text



Wizard’s Palace...a couple days before Mammon’s Birthday.

James POV  

“Ow!” I sit up in bed with a start and swipe at my forehead, a little bit of blood comes away on my hand. What the hell? I look around and see a large crow flying away from me. Or maybe it’s a raven? That’s not important because it’s about to peck Leila on the forehead when I shoo it away. “Hey! Get out of here!” I shout at the bird, waking Pandora in the process. Even though we do have our own rooms, they both sleep in my room, because neither of us want to be alone right now. 

The bird squawks at me indignantly. Ruffling its feathers as if I’ve offended it. I have a feeling this isn’t a regular bird, maybe it’s that demon..what was his name?

“Oi! Is that anyway to treat the Great Karasu after he’s bestowed a gift upon you?!” As if in answer to my question the crow turns into the demon Karasu. He sounds like Mammon, but unlike Mammon this demon oozes confidence and cunning. 

“Karasu! What are you doing here?!” Leila demands, angrily. She gets up to soothe Pandora. “How did you get in here?!” That is a good question. She and Solomon have put up so many wards, a demon is not supposed to enter this house without our permission. “Did you hurt James?!” She then practically shrieks, seeing the blood on my forehead.

Karasu leaps behind me, another Mammon move. Using me as a human shield between him and Leila’s wrath. “Don’t get your knickers in a bunch, sweetheart!” He croons from over my shoulder. “I just opened James’ third eye is all! I figured he’d like access to his spy chats again.” The bird demon spy smirks at Leila who scowls back. It doesn’t escape our notice that he only answers the why and not the how of our questions.

But if he thinks he’s safe behind me, he has to think again. Leila won’t let anyone close to me if she thinks they will hurt me. I find myself suddenly in her forcefield and Karasu is repelled from me instantly, being launched backwards much like Lord Diavolo was repelled from Lily on the day we arrived in this reality. He lands against the dresser with a crash.

She stalks towards him, conjuring what looks like sparks of electrical energy in her hands and flashing angry eyes. “Stay away from him.” She hisses as she starts zapping him.

“Whoa, whoa! Hey!” Karasu transforms again, dodging her attacks by flying away. “Calm down! C’mon Sweet Stuff! I didn’t hurt him!”

“He’s bleeding, isn’t he?” She accuses, but also seizes her attacks. Probably sensing he’s not lying. 

“Like I said…” Karasu perches on a bedpost. “I was just openin’ Prince Charming’s third eye.”

“What’s that…?” I ask. We both look with suspicion to Karasu after Leila healed my wound. It is indeed very superficial. What he did was probably harmless. But still.

“A third eye is the invisible eye a sentient being has, which provides perception beyond ordinary sight.” Leila explains to me and as often happens when she teaches me something it sounds like this is information from a textbook I could have read if I was more interested in studying. Heh. “If it is opened, you’re often more sensitive, intuitive and aware of spirits…”

“Plus it’ll let ya read other people’s chats!” Karasu cackles. “I noticed for some reason his ain’t opened yet, despite bein’ the same as Lily.” Karasu explains now with a grin as he’s transformed into his human form again and reclines on my bed like he belongs there. “So I thought I would help out, for the more practical uses.”

“In our reality there wasn’t any Karasu to peck me in the forehead.” I rub my forehead in indignation. “Besides, you could have asked…”

“Really?” Karasu looks at me with his pitch-black eyes inquisitively, ignoring my other comment. “But you still could read those spychats, so there must have been a Karasu in your reality too… I wonder what happened to him…” He folds his hands under his head looking as if he wants to sleep in my bed tonight. Then he suddenly pulls Leila next to him on the bed and hovers over her. She’s so surprised by his audacious boldness that she forgets to put him in his place. Smirking again, he bends over her as if he’s about to kiss her forehead. “Anyway, I was about to do the same to you, my fiery enchantress.”

“I don’t need that.” Leila refuses him, coming to her senses and trying to push him away from her. “I’m already sensitive enough and aware of spirits, thank you very much!” I can see Karasu wants to argue, but just then...

“Oy! Get off my human, Karasu!” Suddenly Mammon bursts into the room, looking livid as he sees Karasu all over Leila. Lucien follows, carrying a bat and looking ready to whack anyone who broke into my room over the head with it.

Karasu, realizing that he can’t hide behind any human with this group of people, swiftly transforms and flies out the window. “Another time then, Sugar!” We hear him laughing. 

Two seconds later Shado jumps through the window, all poofed up and hissing after Karasu. Chimera flies in too and sits on Leila’s head to check if we’re all okay. They must have been on a nightly adventure and just missed the commotion. Which is probably for the best.

“Ugh, that sky rat.” Mammon glares after him. “Are ya two okay? Nothin’ happened to Pandora?” He starts inspecting us.

“We’re fine, Mammon.” I quickly reassure him. “Karasu just...uh…” I obviously can’t tell Mammon or Lucien about the spychats. I look to Leila for help.

“He just came over to report news from the Devildom.” Leila answers, understanding I want to keep this a secret. “He startled us, so that’s why we were shouting. I told him to report next time only during the daytime. Sorry to have woken you two up…” She gives both Mammon and Lucien a hug and a kiss on the cheek and directs them out of my room again. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to go back to sleep.”

Mammon still protests. Saying this doesn’t explain why Karasu was all over Leila. He threatens that next time he sees him he will ring his neck for sure. We let him rant, but close the door of my room on him anyway. 



Shado POV  

My Leila told me all about that weird person that can change himself into a raven: Karasu. I don’t really trust him. He’s hanging around my Leila too much, sitting on her shoulder while that is my spot. I already tried to threaten him a couple times, but so far it didn’t have much effect. I have told Chimera to stay away from him too. Who knows what he will do to her? It’s not natural to change and vanish so completely. To travel between worlds without the help of my Leila. Something is off about that bird-man.

And it turns out that I was right! One night, when I was out hunting with Chimera - Well, she was just playing, she does not have any hunting skills - we heard a commotion coming from our new house. We rushed back, but by the time we reached James' room we already saw that Karasu bird flying out the window! I hissed after him to not dare come back and he better not have hurt Leila or her kitten, but he just cackled ‘See ya later, Pussycat!’ at me. The nerve!

When I asked Leila what had happened, she told me he pecked her James in his head! She told me that nothing was damaged and that it was some sort of magic. But I was still very upset to hear it. That bird-man better does not try to do any of that sort of magic to my Leila or her kitten! Or I will rip him to shreds as soon as I get my claws in his feathers!

It was a few nights later when he returned. I’m not exactly sure why my Leila has abandoned her mates again, but at least she took me with her to the new house this time. But today all her mates joined us in our new house. They were all very loud as usual. It seems to be some sort of event, with Mammon being the important person. Everyone was patting him, so of course I went and walked between their feet. I haven't seen them for so long, they should not forget about petting me too!

But it’s strange. Something has changed about them. It is as if they don’t remember me. How I like to be petted and cuddled. Maybe this is why Leila and James abandoned their mates? Everything has been strange and different since that scary night. But I will try to adapt, since I’m a cat.

They were all talking, being noisy and Satan has taken me on his lap in a way I’m not sure I like. It’s as if he doesn’t want to let me leave. He’s still good at petting me. So I’ll let it slide for now. Anyway, that Karasu bird showed up out of nowhere again, landing on top of Mammon’s head and caws. “Happy birthday, ya old grimm-pinchin' devil!”

Mammon tries to shoo him away. Quite right, if you ask me, and yells. “Oy! What ya doin’ here, ya quick fingered libertine fiend?!”

“Is that anyway to treat your oldest friend?” The bird-man squawks, flying off Mammon’s head only to go settle on the shoulder of the nice girl Lily, who is friends with Leila. I had the perfect opportunity to launch myself and sink my claws into his feathers if Satan hadn’t been holding me captive! 

“Ya ain’t welcome!” Mammon growls but the girl seems protective of that nasty bird for some reason? I can’t trust that one completely, no matter what Leila says, because that girl is a ‘dog’ person. I can smell the monster Cerberus on her, just like with Lucifer.

To my surprise even my Leila says that the wretched bird is welcome as long as he behaves. I’m already thinking of ways I can set him up for failure. That must be easier than with Chimera, since I know Leila doesn’t completely trust him, like she does with Chimera and me.

“Yeah right!” Mammon grumbles. “Like he behaved a few days ago?!”

“What happened a few days ago?” Lucifer looks with suspicion between all my people who live with me. I haven’t forgotten how to interpret his expressions.

“Oh nothing.” James lies to Lucifer with an innocent looking grin. I don’t think Lucifer believes him, because he narrows his eyes in a threat. I have never seen him do this to James before. I want to go to James to help him, but Satan doesn’t let me go.

“Satan, stop holding Shado hostage.” Leila tells him. She has brought Pandora in on her arm who tries to imitate her voice and then coos to her father. I know she misses him, but he acts like he’s forgotten her too. For some strange reason it feels like Satan doesn’t want to listen to his mate. Are they still mates? It’s confusing. But then Belphegor gives him a poke with his elbow and Satan finally releases me. I give him a stern meowing for his behaviour and go see if James is okay.

“Whaddya mean, ‘nothin’?!” Mammon shouts at James. “That bird-brain was all over Leila the other day!” I hear Satan and Belphegor growling menacingly when they hear this, finally acting like her normal mates for a moment. 

“Oh you dirty old bird!” Asmodeus gasps, as he’s petting little Chimera who is trying to flirt with him to give her a massage. She really missed him.

“It was nothing like Mammon insinuates!” Leila assures everyone. “Besides, I can take care of myself.”

“Be that as it may, I want you to keep a closer control on your bird, Mammon.” Lucifer orders his brother.

“Yeah, yeah.” Mammon growls, accepting Pandora and her bottle from Leila, so that she can serve drinks to everyone. Then he turns to that bird demon. "Don't let me see ya with Leila again, or I'll make Satan trap ya inside the DDD’s in this reality too!" Mammon threatens him. 

“Ah, so that’s what happened?” Karasu cackles, he’s turned into his man look, sitting on Lily’s armrest with his arm wrapped around her shoulders. “Did you hear that, Lily? You think he did that to his own Karasu?”

There’s a lot of noise after that and I barely hear Lily tell that rotten demon bird that she’ll protect him from all of them. I can’t believe she cozies up to him, I should tell Leila to instruct her friend to be more cautious of who she associates with.

“You let me do what?” Satan snickers wickedly. “I’d be happy to! But one question, what made you decide to give up your most loyal pet?”

“Who ya callin’ a pet?!” Karasu mocks offense. “If anything, Mammon was my pet.”

“Oh ya know.” Mammon shrugs unconcerned, ignoring the bird-man, and then says something unbelievable. “I was sick ‘n tired of that one stealin’ my stuff…” Pandora coos in his arms, agreeing wholeheartedly with her uncle.

That makes everyone laugh at Mammon for some reason and Leila says. “Don’t you dare do that to Chimera.” Looking threateningly to both Mammon and Satan. It makes sense that she warns them, Chimera is a little thief too.

“Hey! What about poor old Karasu, Sweetheart?” The bird man complains to her. I think he should just be happy to be allowed in her presence after what he did to James and not try to play victim here. So I hiss at him.



Lucifer POV

We’ve gathered together at Solomon’s residence to celebrate Mammon’s birthday, it’s a rather casual affair considering Mammon’s usual tastes and demands. With everything we’ve all been through recently I approve of his reservation in this regard, perhaps this version of Mammon is a bit more mature? If this is true, I can only guess that his growth is at least in part, thanks to Leila’s influence. I’m pleased to see him caring for his little niece like that, finally the example he could be for his brothers. It’s probably only temporary, however. 

Diavolo, Barbatos and Solomon are absent from today’s festivities due to other priorities. I can’t say I’ll miss them, the less drama today, the better. Of course that obnoxious Karasu had to stir up the peace with his arrival. But after Leila threatened to cook and serve him for Beel, he settled down, at least a little. Much to Beelzebub’s disappointment.

“Why is this Mansion called the Wizard’s Palace?” Satan asks as he looks around. “Sounds very supercilious to me.”

“It’s been named like this by the people of Mann.” Leila explains. “Solomon just kept the name, just like his moniker ‘The Wise’. Because why not, if it’s the truth.” She smiles proudly, ignoring how my brothers and I start scoffing in contempt. Of course we know this new Solomon is Leila’s grandfather and we’ve seen the way they genuinely care for each other, but we can’t change our opinion of him overnight. Her adoration of him seems inordinate.

“Oh I know I read the story of the Wizard’s Palace somewhere.” James starts searching on his DDD and soon finds what he is looking for. He starts reading out loud. “ ‘Hundreds of years ago there was a fine palace on a mountain sloping up from the sea. It was like a palace in a dream, built of shining marble of all colours and having great doors covered with gold. In it there lived the mighty Wizard who had made it for himself by his spells. But his hatred of other people was as great as his power, and he would not allow any person to come near him except his own servants, and they were evil spirits. If any man dared to go to see the palace, to ask for work or to beg for charity, he would never be heard of again. His friends might search for him, but they would never find him. Soon people began to whisper that some of the blocks of granite near the palace were like the men who had gone up the mountain and never came back. They began to believe that the Wizard had caught them and frozen them into grey stone. At length the Wizard became the terror of the whole island, so that no person would pass within several miles of his palace. The people of that side of the island fled from their homes, and the place was lonely and desolate’ .”

“That’s all nonsense, of course.” Leila says. She's becoming predictable now as she defends her grandfather. “Just a folk tale.”

“Aren’t you the one always telling me that folk tales hold a grain of truth?” James teases her.

“Well yeah…” Leila admits. “There was a time where all people with magic were hated and considered evil, so they’ve obviously been exaggerating this tale. This story is about Solomon when he lived here. And the dark spirits they mention are his demons, obviously. But he would have never made people into statues. Maybe he had the head of Medusa stored here temporarily…?” She muses. I can’t help being amused as I notice she gets that far away look as she ponders the possibilities, a look I'm used to seeing on Lily.

“Oy! Don’t say that!” Mammon shudders, clearly disturbed by the idea of a gorgon head lying about. Clearly this Mammon hasn’t gotten over foolish fears as well.

“Oh, don’t worry.” Leila waves at him, unconcerned. “He moved that a long time ago to his museum of mystical and magical items.” Leila turns to Lily. “Have you seen that yet?” When Lily shakes her head with big blinking eyes, she continues. “Yeah, makes sense. It’s a dangerous place. I was only allowed to go there after becoming Sorceress. I’ll take you and James to it one time.”

“Oy! What about us? I wanna see it too!” Mammon shouts, surprising us all. He wants to go to a museum? But then we see the greedy glimmer in his eyes: A museum full of valuable magical items. Honestly, personally I’m interested in visiting this museum as well. And it looks like most of my brothers are and even the angels.

“No.” Leila disappoints us all with one word. And somehow we all know not to push the issue.

“What happened, for Solomon to abandon this house for so long?” Lily asks, changing the subject back and earning a smile from Leila. I know talking about Solomon is painful for her, yet her curiosity and love for the late Sorcerer pushes her to participate in the conversation anyway.

“Well, according to the story some brave hero visited the Wizards Palace, spilled some salt and that drove him out…” James looks at his screen in disbelief. I can’t blame him, that sounds like a far-fetched reason. “Could that be the reason that Solomon’s food tastes like absolute crap?” 

Everyone burst out laughing, theorizing the reasons for Solomon’s complete and total lack of skill with cooking. 

“It’s most likely just a matter of having to move on.” Leila answers the question as to why Solomon left the manor. “In the time of the great Purge, a lot of people with magic were hunted and had to go into hiding…” She shakes her head sadly and then sighs longingly as a better thought crosses her mind. “But he opened this house up sooner in our reality, I’ve had a lot of my early magic training in this house…”

“Is it true there are mermaids in the cove?” Leviathan suddenly asks, changing the subject abruptly. 

James shrugs. “Lily said she saw one but so far we haven’t caught a glimpse.”

“But I did some research.” I noticed the way Leila’s eyes take on a certain shine when she says ‘research’. Maybe it’s not so inconceivable that she was mates with Satan. “I found some interesting lore about a mermaid who supposedly lived in the waters around the Isle of Man.”

“Oh, tell us the story, Leila.” Lily says to her with pleading eyes and I see that Leila is more than happy to indulge her with this information. Most of my brothers seem interested too, either for the story or just listening to Leila speak. 

 

“There was a fisher family by the name of Sayle and it was said they always had luck on their side. Apparently Sayle Sr. always brought apples out on his boat and shared them with a mermaid and her taking a liking to him was the reason for their luck.”

“Really.” Leviathan sounds surprised. “You don’t hear that often, but I guess mermaids do like the males they choose for life. Contrary to Sirens.”

“Well eventually Sayle became an old man and didn’t go out on the boat anymore and most of his sons went into other trades and their luck got to be less. The youngest Sayle still went out on the boat though and he met the mermaid himself. He was frightened at first but when she inquired after his father, he told her about the goings on at home. Then she slipped away after telling him she hoped to see him again…”

I try not to roll my eyes when I see Mammon shudder, no doubt terrified by the imagery already. 

“When young Sayle returned home and told his father, his father was excited and said their luck would be up yet again and he told his son to take apples with him the next time he went out. So that’s what he did and when he gave the apple to the mermaid she ate and began to chant: The luck o' the sea be with you, but don't forgetful be. Of bringing some sweet lan' eggs for the children of the sea.”

“Lan’ eggs.” Mammon snorts. “Bestowin’ luck on someone just for some dumb apples?” He scoffs but he’s not fooling me or anyone else. No one would be surprised to find him throwing apples in the sea later trying to get a little of that luck for himself. Idiot.  

“From that time on young Sayle practically lived on the water until he was taken to task for being idle and so decided to go sailing in foreign seas. The mermaid was in great distress, so to please her, he planted an apple tree on the brow above her haunt. Sure enough, the luck for the house remained even though the boy had left.”

“Ya think that apple tree is still there?” Like I thought, Mammon is letting his greedy mind take over his faculties.

Leila still patiently smiles at him. “I doubt it, Mammon. Apple trees don’t grow that old.”

“Aww, man!”

“The tale ends saying the mermaid was too sad and lonely waiting for the apples and decided to go search for young Sayle, hoping the apples would be ready when they came back. But neither of them ever did come back even though the apple tree bore fruit over the little cove where the mermaid used to live for many years.”

“Awww. Do you think they ever found each other again?” I hear Lily ask softly, her wide eyes full of unshed tears. I have to suppress a sigh, her already sensitive nature can barely handle a dreary little folk tale. 

“I like to imagine they did.” Leila replies with a smile at her. “I love a story with a happy ending.”


“Do you think the top part of a mermaid also tastes like fish, or that it would actually be red meat?” Beelzebub suddenly blurts after being silent the entire story, looking over to the sea in the distance, as if he’s ready to go look for a mermaid right now. Everyone stares at him in a mix of horror and stupefaction.
Come now, are his thoughts really that surprising? “Would there be a solid line where the meat changes in their body or would it kind of blend?” He starts to drool, as if dreaming about the taste of flesh and fish combined. I have to admit, while not surprising, I find his daydreams distasteful.

“Beelzebub I forbid you from attempting to find out!” Lily practically cries in dismay, ready to go on the defence of mermaids everywhere. I see Leila sending her a grateful look. Probably would have commanded him herself if she could.

“Really Beel?” Even his own twin chastises him, probably just to impress Leila if I had my guess. “That’s taking it too far..”

“I’m just wondering.” Beelzebub shrugs innocently, but doesn’t stop drooling as he daydreams further. “Could you make a surf and turf platter with one carcass?”

Asmodeus, looking a little green around the nose, complains. “Okay, thanks for that nightmare.”

“Night-mares taste good too.” Beelzebub nods in agreement with a smile.

 

“Speaking of things that taste good.” I hear Simeon snickering as he enters the room from the kitchen. “Lucien has prepared a wonderful birthday dinner.” 

The more silent brooding version of Luke, Lucien as he wants to be called, had offered to cook. It’s apparent that the trauma they’ve suffered has brought them even closer than Luke and Mammon had started to become. Of course Luke and Simeon were eager to lend a hand as well. Not that I mind, it saves me the trouble and guarantees a well done meal. 

When we’re all gathered around the dinner table I clear my throat, wanting to give a speech. Thanking the angels and Lucien for the meal, telling Leila and James about how our plans for renovations are coming along and more, but before I can speak...

“Cheers to Mr. Raggerbums!” Karasu toasts as if he has any right to give the first toast. “Long may he live!” I want to glare at him, but everyone else is already toasting.

“Let it go, Lucifer.” Leila whispers to me with a smile. It’s not a command, but I listen to her anyway. Her genuine smile is beautiful and sweet. Just like Lilith. Just like Lily. “Mammon wouldn’t want a long speech on his birthday and he knows that you love him.”

Everyone is already digging into their meals and I sigh in resignation. My family will always be chaotic, I suppose.

As our meal is winding down and tongues have been whetted with demonus, my brothers begin to share and reminisce about Mammon. In their own way they want to remember our fallen brother while seeing where our new brother stands in comparison. I believe most of them had caught onto the subtle differences. 

“Oh!” Asmodeus exclaims much too excitedly. “Remember the time that Lily tried to hide the fact that Mammon had botched another spell and he turned himself into a dog?!” He laughs with wicked amusement. 

I notice James is laughing and grinning conspiratorially now too while Mammon scowls. “HA! I almost forgot about that. We had the same experience.”

“Except ya didn’t even TRY to hide me!” Mammon accuses him. 

“Aww. I couldn’t resist showing you off. You were too damn cute.” James teases him with a scratching behind his ear, making it hard for me to maintain my composure for a moment and not burst out in laughter like everyone else does. Mammon scowls and blushes, he can’t hide the fact that he loves the attention no matter what face he tries to pull.

Lucien is grinning too. “You couldn’t call me chihuahua after that!”

“Tch! Whatever.” Mammon roughly messes up Lucien's hair. “There’s nothin’ going to change the fact that you’ll always be the pup!” This causes the old arguments to flare up between the two, that we’re so familiar with. Luke is watching the two of them with a nostalgic sort of smile. No doubt remembering our Mammon and the way they argued together.

“Then there was the time we pretended to be ghosts.” Satan smirks, causing both Leila and Mammon to glare his way. 

“I was amazed that anyone could fall for that prank, childish as it was.” I chime in, smirking at Satan as he levels a glare my way. 

“Like I said before! I was just indulgin’ my little brothers!” Mammon insists. 

“Yeah right! You were totally scared!” Leviathan insists, looking to James for confirmation. 

“Well I would have been scared too.” Leila stands up for Mammon. “And I definitely wouldn’t have been indulgent to anyone who pranked me that way.” She gives a serious warning look to our resident juvenile delinquents. I can’t help looking forward to having her living with us in the future. I wonder what her usual punishments are and if they are more effective.

I’m surprised by the way Mammon smiles softly at Leila after that. “Ya, you’re right Leila. There ain’t nothin’ to be ashamed about gettin’ scared now and then.” To hear Mammon admit something like that in public is certainly new.

“Do you guys also think that this Mammon is a bit different?” Belphegor asks with a yawn. Always pretending he has no investment in what’s going on around him.

“There is something different” Asmodeus hums. “I just can’t put my finger on it.”

“He still talks like an idiot.” Satan points out rudely. 

“It’s like...he’s less tsundere…” Levi chimes in, speaking in his strange terms as usual. 

“If we could just get him to stop speaking like an idiot, we’d really see some progress.” Satan nods. 

“Oy! Stop yappin’ about me like I ain’t sitting here!” Mammon growls petulant. I can tell he’s loving the attention regardless. That much isn’t different.

James laughs. “You mean, Mammon speaking like that time he was under hypnoses, right?” Satan nods and grins at him.

“Mammon was under hypnoses?” Leila looks up a bit alarmed. “Who did that to him? That’s not supposed to be so easy to get a demon under hypnoses.”

“It was from a Devildom TV-show.” Leviathan explains. “Mr. Magic’s Hypnosis Special. The hypnotist was a demon as well.” 

I see Leila only frown more. I still need to get used to her and being in a pact with her, but it seems she doesn’t trust demons so easily. Which I suppose is a good thing, Lily has often been too trusting and I assume James even more, considering his gregarious character.

“Get this, Leila.” James tells her laughing. “Mammon started talking all posh, like: ‘That program just now was quite fascinating, wouldn’t you say?’ It was hilarious!”

Leila can’t help smiling as she looks at my brother, who gets his signature embarrassed blush on his cheeks. “Really?”

“Oh I remember!” Asmodeus declares dramatically. “I was utterly shocked to hear it!”.

“Me too. I saw that show back then.” Leviathan tells her, since it seems that Leila is the only one who doesn’t know this tale. “It introduced a method of hypnosis guaranteed to turn any bad demon into a good one.”

“And Mammon is supposed to be a ‘bad’ demon as opposed to all of you ‘good’ demons?” Leila mocks us all with a roll of her eyes and the angels, James, Lily and Lucien all start laughing. I suppose the nuances are hard to explain to anyone who isn’t a demon.

“What absolute drivel. I haven’t changed in the slightest.” Mammon suddenly says with a mischievous smirk. “I’ve simply decided to devote more of my time to scholarly pursuits.”

“Whoa!” Beelzebub reacts to Mammon’s suddenly civilized speech. “Are you still under that spell?”

“Just something he picked up from our time doing the school play. Simeon was a stickler, insisting that the Lord of Fools spoke this way.” James tells us with a straight face, but I’m not sure if I should believe it. Though we did all experience a version of drill sergeant Simeon as well.

“It’s unsettling, but certainly a welcome change.” I turn to Simeon. “I’m going to need more details about this method of hypnosis, or whatever sort of technique you think is used by your counterpart.” 

 

 

Chapter Text

James POV

Our little get together for Mammon’s birthday has been going well. I thought it would be hard having everyone over to celebrate and in a way it is, but there’s something healing about it too. It’s going to be a long way off before we’re one big family but I’m glad we came together for Mammon’s day. He deserves it. 

Leila and Lily have stepped out of the room and the brothers are still recounting tales with Mammon. There’s a lot of laughing and shouting going on as can be expected, except there’s no real anger, just bonding. Someone broke out the demonus, as they call it, a while ago and I know things will get rowdy soon enough. 

“Hm, let’s see…” Asmodeus muses. “How else are you similar to our brother?” He taps his lips. They’ve been lightly roasting him all evening. I can tell Mammon just loves the attention no matter how indignant he might sound at times. I can tell he wants and needs to be accepted by his new brothers. 

“I wonder if this Mammon is as much of a cry baby.” Satan teases. 

“Oy! I ain’t no cry baby!” Mammon declares, earning himself plenty of snickers. 

“Suuuure you aren’t” Asmodeus laughs. 

“I ain’t never cried ever!” Mammon lies easily, even I have to roll my eyes now. 

“Pfft!” Leviathan scoffs. “You mean you didn’t cry your eyes out when James died in your arms?” His words slur a bit at the end. “You’re a big liar!” He laughs with a snort. “Our Mammon bawled like a baby when Belphegor killed Lily.”

All laughter dies away. Belphegor is scowling at Leviathan for saying something so stupid and insensitive at Mammon’s birthday. They may be demons but none of the rest of them went that far. I’m about to say something when we hear something crash on the floor. I turn my head to see what happened and see Lily and Leila standing there, the tray of refreshments has slipped from Leila’s hands. 

“What did you say?!” She asks with a horrified and betrayed look on her face. “James died...? Belphie… killed him?” 

Her face becomes white as a sheet. I can see what she’s imagining now, looking from me to Belphegor and back: my death. Killed by a demon. Like her mates were also killed by a demon. One of the mates she loved with all her heart killed me… Maybe we should have told her, back when she first came to the Devildom. We all decided back then to not tell her this detail, since it worked out in the end. If we had told her, she might have not ended up with Belphegor and the two of them would end up unhappy. But if we had told her, she wouldn’t have found out this way…

“Leila…” I stand up, I need to explain it to her, comfort her. Before she does something impulsive. None of us would be able to stop her if she decides to do that in one of her tempers. Solomon is not here...

Lily places a gentle hand on Leila’s arm at the same time and says softly. “Let us explain…”

“NO!” Leila shouts to us, stunning us all with her sudden fury, but also with the tremendous hurt in her voice. “I’m not listening to any of you!” She quickly scoops up a surprised Pandora out of the arms of Lucien and then she vanishes through one of her lightning fast personal portals. She’s become really good with those.

“Way to ruin a party!”

“Look what you’ve done!”

“How did she NOT know?!”

Everyone begins to yell and panic when Leila disappears on us like that until Lucifer finally roars above everyone. “SILENCE!”

“I thought everyone knew…” Leviathan whispers guiltily. “I didn’t mean to…”

“We can worry about that later. Where did she go?” Lucifer asks me, with concern written in his eyes. There aren’t many places in this reality she knows, after all.

“Usually she goes to me if something is bothering her.” I say, feeling helpless. “But she’s mad at me now too…Maybe she went looking for Solomon…” 

Solomon decided not to join in on Mammon’s birthday celebrations today. To give Lily a bit more time and he still has a lot of business in the Devildom. Being on a tight schedule, he promised to bring a gift for Mammon later.

“You think Leila went to the Devildom with Pandora and only having three pacts?!” Lily asks, looking as if she may start bawling at any moment. “Should we go find her?”

“Yes, I’m going to look for her immediately.” Lucifer is ready to go. It does me good to see him so worried about my cousin. Ever since her pact with him was restored, he’s becoming more and more fond of her, while I know he didn’t trust her all that much before.

“I don’t think she would like us storming after her.” I stop him - and the others - before they make things worse. I look around the worried faces, reading on their expressions what they’re thinking. “Leila is really powerful without pacts, too. And trained by Solomon. She won’t easily be forced into a pact. Especially not when she’s furious.”

“If I don’t hear from her in ten minutes I am going after her.” Lucifer gives an ultimatum as he sits down stiffly again. I hardly think that’s enough time.

But then Mammon surprises us by giving a command. “Karasu, go look for her and Solomon.”

I think we were even more surprised when Karasu gave us no witty or sarcastic quip, only standing with a serious nod to Mammon before disappearing into an eerie black vapor and then vanishing all together. Well...that’s something new. 

 

Ten minutes later. 

Lucifer is about to teleport himself to the Devildom to organize a search party, or something, when suddenly someone lands in our midst. Solomon. He has a not so friendly glint in his eyes, but still his ever calm expression on his face as he looks around the group. “A bird told me that you’ve been upsetting my granddaughter.” He says with an accusatory voice. Then he just says with a certain authority. “Lucifer, James, Lily. We’re going to the Devildom to talk with Barbatos. It’s time to get everything out into the open.”

“I was already on my way.” Lucifer practically sneers. I’m sure he doesn’t appreciate being told what to do by Solomon. Looking around I can see that Leviathan has retreated within himself, refusing to meet anyone’s gaze. No one else says a word. You could almost hear a pin drop.

Under different circumstances, the reactions of the others around me are almost comical. They’re definitely not used yet to our Solomon. Still, I know he’s a lot the same as their own was. The difference is hard to describe and probably mostly has to do with Solomon having a living family he protects at all costs. They’ll get used to him. Eventually.

But in any case, Solomon ignores them and in barely any time at all he’s made a teleportation circle for us. The next moment we’re in a cozy little room in the Demon Lord’s Castle where a still distressed looking Leila is sipping from a cup of tea. Karasu sitting on the back of her chair, as if he’s assumed the role of guardian. It’s probably because Mammon would want him here, because he can’t be with her himself right now. Or maybe because Karasu likes to know everything. I have a suspicion it’s a bit of both.

Pandora is making cheerful noises on the floor, playing with an old RAD newspaper she found, enjoying the rustling noises she makes when squeezing the pages. Her little wings flutter weakly on her back and her tail twitches cutely as she plays. I can see Lucifer looking at her for a moment in surprise. He knows she’s a little nephilim, of course. But it’s easy to forget how special Pandora actually is when you have only seen her in the Human World. Lucifer only hesitates for a moment before bending to pick up Pandora as if he’s done it a hundred times before. I can almost imagine what he must be thinking and would probably voice out loud if it weren’t for the current situation.

 

Leila POV

I could not stand to be around them anymore. I couldn’t let Pandora stay with them. They’ve all been deceiving me!! Why did nobody ever tell me?! 

I knew that something had happened between Belphegor and James. Of course I knew that. There was this whole part of the story of James’ first year in the Devildom that they have kept vague about. I assumed Belphegor had attacked him, but I didn't think anything more terrible than that had happened. And he always expressed regret about it. I believed that Barbatos and Diavolo came interrupting something worse just in time. I knew I was the mate of a demon. Even if he was treating me as the most precious thing in the world, Belphegor of course was capable of unspeakable things… But I never imagined… Not to James…How could they pretend to me that didn’t happen?

What could have occured to bring him back to life? It’s not necromancy. James is really alive. With his own living soul in his own living body. I would definitely have noticed if he was not himself. I don’t think he’s that much different as before either. Living for a year in the Devildom changes a person, but James hardly changed. He’s only gotten a bit more serious and mature in some ways.

Before I talk to anyone else, I need to find out exactly what happened. And there is really only one person who knows exactly what happened and doesn’t have the power to refuse to be honest with me. Barbatos. I’ll command him, if I have to…

So I’ve teleported to his strange room. He’s not here and I’m unsure which door leads into the Demon Lord's Castle, so I would rather not touch any of them. I sit down on a chair to wait for him after sending him a message.

Barbatos <> Leila

> Leila: Barbatos, I need to talk with you right now.
> Leila: I’m in your room.
< Barbatos: Of course. I’ll be right over.

If he is surprised, he doesn’t show it. I have accepted the pact with him, but I don’t fully trust him yet. Our bond is still going a little rough, mostly because of me. He’s been perfectly nice and respectful to me, to be fair. But he’s just different. My Barbatos was my friend in the end. This Barbatos… I don’t know… Maybe with time? I’m still glad to have him as my demon. He knows I respect him as he respects me.

While I’m overthinking everything, Barbatos is already here. Standing in one of his odd doorways, he invites me to join him into the Castle. “I will prepare some calming tea for you, Leila.” He tells me after one look at my face. I must look like a mess. “Ah Karasu.” He suddenly says and I look up in surprise. It’s true: Karasu is just flying through the window as Barbatos leads me into a small cozy living room. “Would you mind finding Solomon for us and tell him to bring James and Lily, as well as Lucifer? Thank you.”

Before he does as being asked, Karasu first lands on my shoulder, rubbing his beak against my cheek as he often does to tease me. This time not asking for kisses, though. It’s a gesture of comfort to me. I give him a gentle petting and then he flies off.

“So, Leila.” Barbatos says in a friendly tone, after he served me some tea. “What can I help you with?” 

 

I think he’s already made an educated guess. Still I start telling him what I just discovered, trying my best to keep myself from crying in front of this impressive demon. I don’t think he will consider me weak if I cry, I was crying when I arrived in this reality too, but still. It’s different now. Still the thing with me being emotional is… If I can’t cry, I’m angry. That's often how it goes. So I not only let out my frustration and confusion that they kept this huge secret from me. But also my anger and sadness as to why this all happened to us in the first place. It’s all so unfair! Is there really no way to fix it all back to the way it was?!

I’m still in the middle of my rant when Karasu returns and soon after Solomon arrives with James, Lily and Lucifer. Barbatos makes some more tea for them. Then he starts telling the most unbelievable tale. Unbelievable, if I wasn’t raised to believe that everything is possible. 

He tells about how there are multiple timelines, just as we know there are multiple realities. Lily, so most likely also James, was sent back in time by him and Lord Diavolo to find out who freed Belphegor from the attic. I know this part. This is what they have told me too. 

But then it gets complicated. In several realities they survived, in several they were killed, under several circumstances and by several people. I can’t help cast a suspicious glance at Lucifer, when I hear this. I could feel a sense of guilt coming from him when Barbatos mentioned ‘several people’. Mister Pride and Prejudice is probably not innocent either. Looking at Lily’s face, I know I guessed right. But James doesn’t seem to know this fact. Seems they kept this a secret for him too? Should I keep my suspicion a secret? He would feel as heartbroken as I do, if he knew this… Okay, maybe now I understand a little better the dilemma of telling or not…

In any case, only in one timeline in each of our realities they both met the lost soul of Lilith who merged the remnants of her soul with her descendant with the last spark of her powers. They still would remain Lily and James. But they would also carry the memories of Lilith. The love she felt for her siblings. Making Lily and James more than ‘just’ the descendants of an angel. A more forgiving and gentle person. Barbatos explains how this version of Lily and James is what they needed for the dream of Lord Diavolo.

I can’t help scoff at that. Lord Diavolo. Sounds like he made them go back to the past on purpose to have them killed for his dream of peace and harmony in the Three Worlds. In how many timelines and realities did it fail and our family is torn apart? Are all the first year exchange students, just like Lily and James, in all realities expendable like this? That is no way to achieve that dream! He ruined everything! Do they really believe that this reality’s Lord Diavolo is different? Can nobody see his true nature?!

Solomon places a hand on my shoulder, letting me know to keep my thoughts to myself for now. He’s right: Both Lucifer and Barbatos are very devoted to Lord Diavolo in this reality. Lucifer is frowning at my apparent disrespect and I can’t read much from Barbatos’ face, but I can tell he’s not amused with my scoff either. Though I can also sense from both of them that they understand my point of view. That I just can’t let go of what he did to us. Not yet. If ever.

While I’m in my turmoil of angry and sad emotions of hurt and betrayal, both Lily and James start explaining to me now that because of this merge with Lilith’s soul, they’ve gotten through their fear for Belphegor easier than a normal human ever could, no matter if they were descended from an angel or not. 

“Believe me, I was scared and incredibly hurt by his betrayal at first.” Lily tells me, her voice quivers with emotion and I’m not sure if it's for me or herself. “Once we made a pact, I could feel all his regret and pain and I understood him better. I couldn’t let that moment define me, I still loved him despite it all.” They truly are too nice because of it. They wanted the family to be whole and happy again and stimulated the brothers to forgive him.

“We wanted to give you two a chance of happiness.” James explains to me, placing his hand on my knee. “Belphie was in love with you from the first moment you met. I knew that. And I know you, Leila. Had I told you what he did, while I had forgiven him for it, it would ruin all chances he had with you. It wouldn’t have been much of an act of forgiveness. It would have been sabotage.”

I honestly can’t argue with that. That’s not how James is.

“James told me once that he - no, all of your demons, even Satan - would want to give him a chance to be in a happy, untainted relationship with you.” Lily now tells me, squeezing my hand. “The family being one and happy was very important to all of them.”

Yes. I know this too. For a bunch of idiot demons they’re very close and very fond of each other. Even if you sometimes can’t really tell at first glance. I guess it makes sense. In a way. I still feel betrayed, though. I need some time processing this.

“I can’t even talk with Belphie about this anymore…” I don’t even know why I say this. If I see him again, would I feel just happy he’s alive, or will I hate him for killing James? “I can’t even…” I start crying now. I don’t care anymore who sees me. It’s so unfair. I don’t know what to do with myself. Solomon is telling me for the umpteenth time that everything will eventually be okay, but I just can’t believe it. “What are we even doing here?” I burst out. “Why can’t you reverse time and let us go back?!” I ask Barbatos and it sounds a bit like an accusation. I don’t mean to, but maybe I do. I’m not really myself the past couple weeks.

Barbatos doesn’t get mad or impatient with me. Not that he would show if he did. But I know him, he’s never been mad at me before, he’s not mad now. He stands up and nods at us. “I anticipated this question coming sooner or later.” He tells us, walking to the door. “If you would please follow me, I will explain how this is not possible.”

 

We all walk through the Demon Lord’s Castle now, following Barbatos and Solomon as they explain how time can’t be reversed this time. Why this timeline and reality has to remain the way it is, no matter how painful it might be for everyone.

“The reality where Solomon, Leila, James, Mammon, Lucien and Pandora came from no longer exists. That is to say… It doesn’t in the way you could go back to your old life.” He tells us. “The incantation Solomon was performing, as mentioned by Lucien, reset time in that reality to the very beginning.”

Even Lucifer can’t hold in a strangled noise of distress: We are back in Barbatos’ room and he’s unveiled a sort of portal, except it's sealed like a mirror with a hard surface. Barbatos shows everyone what transpired in the final half hour of our reality. I turn my face away and let James hold me, I can’t watch. I can hear Lily crying quietly as Barbatos must fast forward through the events of our reality. 

“But that's...that’s what the Cult of Barbatos has wanted all along..” I hear Lily gasp. 

“Indeed.” Barbatos agrees. “However, they never can comprehend the full extent of what it means to reset time to the beginning…” I turn to the mirror now to see the world, the universe unraveling until nothing but darkness exists. Barbatos continues. “Once Solomon and my other self realized that reality had gone beyond saving, it was the only option left.”

“That just...seems extreme.” James says, and I can tell he’s in as much shock as I am.

“Lord Diavolo in that reality has brought the apocalypse on the Three Worlds by acting the way he did.” Barbatos says emotionless. “By resetting the time completely, that reality now has a chance to restore itself. It will take as long as it needs. Millions of years. By the time that timeline is restored, perhaps a new version of you all will emerge, or perhaps not. But either way, the world you knew is gone forever, it will never become your reality anymore.” His words are like a bucket of ice thrown over me and I cling to my cousin tighter.

“What about this reality?” Lily whispers, hopefully. “Can’t we go back in time to save Mammon and Solomon?”

“No. Not this time.” Barbatos explains to her. “It’s complicated and there are rules even I cannot break. Once I pulled Leila, James and the others from the void it caused an irreversible event. In short, I can no longer spin time back further than that point. Even if I could, bringing our Mammon and Solomon back would mean that Leila and her friends would languish for eternity in the void.” His explanations are quick to extinguish any spark of hope any of us might have harbored. “In the event anyone would try, regardless of these facts, it would only cause a cataclysmic event for this reality as well. Only one version of each person is allowed to exist in each reality. Lucien is the exception - in a way like you and James are, Lily - because he is no longer the same Luke as he was before.” His warnings leave me chilled. I look up to James and we both realize we have no choice but to accept this new reality as our own.

 

Lily POV

I feel tired, down to my bones when we make it back to everyone waiting for us at Wizard’s Palace. Leila is quick to make a beeline for her room with Pandora, wanting to be alone and not face everyone. Honestly, I can’t blame her. Even Lucifer is shaken by what Barbatos has shown us in the mirror, I know him well enough to know that much, even if he’s acting like business as usual. Leviathan is trying to apologize to anyone who will listen. Lucifer’s barking orders. 

I walk up to Belphegor, he’s sitting off by himself, looking his usual apathetic self but I can feel his anger and sorrow. I brush his bangs back and kiss his forehead. He hides his face against me as he pulls me into a hug. “She hates me.” His voice only reaches my ears as he whispers. My heart aches for him and for Leila. My heart just hurts too much these days. 

“Just give her time Bel.” I know I probably don’t sound as encouraging as I could but honestly, I don’t know what else to do right now. Meanwhile Lucifer is herding everyone towards the door, he wants to leave on his own terms and give Leila the space she desires before they start bothering her with their good intentions. “I’m staying.” I announce as Belphegor lets me go to leave with his brothers. 

“Lily..” Lucifer looks at me with exasperation. I know he doesn’t like me gone from his side for too long since this all happened but I want to stay for Leila and James. And selfishly, I don’t want to be home for the fight that’s probably going to break out as soon as they step foot in Serenity Manor.  “Fine.” Lucifer gives me a curt nod before leaving with everyone else who doesn’t live here at Wizard’s Palace.

“Lucien, why don’t you stay the night with us?” Simeon offers, as they are heading out the door. Lucien looks like maybe he wants to go but isn’t sure. He glances back towards the staircase, probably worried about Leila. 

“Go on ahead. I’ll keep watch on everything here.” Mammon tells him, ruffling his hair. I notice Lucien starts to scowl but then smiles. 

“Well if you’re sure…”

“Come on! It’ll be fun.” Luke says, looking a little flustered but trying to be bright and positive. “I heard you know how to make Fairy Flower sweets? How did you figure out the recipe?” He smiles encouragingly and Lucien grins back proudly. I’m sure this is all very strange for them to have another version of yourself suddenly thrust into your life. I think they’ll be okay though as I see Lucien’s blush and leave with the angels. 

I give James and Mammon a sheepish look when everyone else is gone. “Umm..I hope it’s not a problem, I just invited myself to stay the night.” I laugh nervously. 

“Not at all.” James instantly gives me a warm smile despite everything. “You’re always welcome.”

“That’s right.” Mammon agrees, wrapping the both of us in his arms. “Ain’t a bad end to my birthday if I get to spend it with my humans.”

I grin at them both, thankful. I didn’t want to leave after what happened. “So...should we go see Leila?” 

James shakes his head. “Let’s give her a little more time. She’ll probably come down after she puts Pandora to bed.” I nod, trusting James to know his cousin best. 

As tired as I am, I can’t sit still waiting. So I make myself busy cleaning up and once I’m done with that I look for something for Leila. There’s no leftover cake thanks to Beelzebub but I found a tub of chocolate ice cream. Grabbing several long spoons I make my way to the living room, sure enough I find Leila snuggled between Mammon and James. “Ice cream?” I ask. And somehow all four of us manage to sit together, sharing a gallon of ice cream straight from the tub.

Chapter Text

 

Lucifer POV  

As anxious as it makes me to have Lily under someone else’s roof for the night, I’m glad she stayed behind. I’ll have to get used to the feeling again anyway, once my brothers and I return to the Devildom. Lily is in no shape to deal with these morons anyway. As expected, a huge fight starts as soon as we’re inside the Manor. 

Accusations are flying from every direction and Levitation flip flops between indignantly defending himself, to extreme self loathing. It’s all very pathetic. “Would you like to know what transpired or shall I just skip to stringing you all up by your feet?” I ask them calmly. 

As much as I hate to relive the harrowing moments I witnessed in that other reality, my brothers need to know. They’re all uncharacteristically subdued by the time I finish explaining everything. I can tell they have a better understanding of the depths of James and Leila’s grief and fears. Belphegor especially looks defeated. 

“I’m going to bed.” He announces, standing to exit the living room. 

“Belphie I’m-” Leviathan has sobered up and looks especially repentant. 

“I don’t want to hear it!” Belphegor snaps at him before stomping off. 

I sigh, rubbing my temples as I watch the others avoid eye contact with Leviathan. I can tell this will remain a source of trouble until Leila can find it within her to accept Belphegor again, if she ever does.



Lily POV

We ended up putting on one of the Harrison Porter films while the four of us demolished the whole gallon of ice cream. With lots of small, silly, pointless talk and banter. 

Eventually Leila passed out exhausted and Mammon carried her up to her room while James showed me to the guest room. It’s a nice room, the bed is comfortable, but as soon as I’m left alone with nothing but my own thoughts...Solomon wasn’t at the party tonight, and while there’s nothing to hint of him in this room, I can feel him here, like an energy imprint that my whole being recognizes. And Mammon...I love this Mammon and I’m glad he’s here, I’m thankful he’s safe but it doesn’t take away the sting and the grief of losing my own. He might be the same demon in all the ways that count, but we don’t share a history. And poor Belphie...poor Leila...will we ever truly be whole again?

A knock on my door has me sitting up, wiping away my tears. “Come in.” I call out, expecting it to be James, maybe he forgot to tell me something? It’s not James in the doorway though, it’s Mammon looking like he probably overheard me in here crying. I try to tell him I’m okay, that he doesn’t need to worry about me. Instead I devolve into a sobbing mess. I hold my hand over my mouth and try to cry silently. 

“Hey..” The bed dips as his weight falls next to me on the bed. His rough thumbs are wiping away my tears. “I got ya.” He says softly, pulling me against him. I cling to him as my tears soak his shirt. 

“Why did he do it?” I ask tearfully, “He shouldn’t have done that.” All my feelings are twisted up in guilt and anger as I look up at Mammon, his brows are pinched, not understanding me but wanting to listen. “It’s my fault they’re both gone.”

“Ya can’t do that to yourself, Lily.” Mammon tells me and I’m surprised by the strength in his voice. “Nothin’ good will come of it. They wouldn’t want ya blamin’ yourself.”

I swallow my arguments as I blink, staring into his crystal blue eyes full of gold flecks. I can see my pain reflected in his own misty eyes. A flash of guilt, here I am desperate for his comfort and yet what about his pain? He left his brothers behind to protect the others. 

“It ain’t fair, I know.” He tells me, his voice low and full of emotion as I hold him again. “I might not be him..but I’m still countin’ myself as your first demon.” I can’t help chuckling through my tears as I hear that. And just like that, even though it’s not MY Mammon, I know I can trust him, that he’ll be here for me as much as he’s here for James and Leila. 

When I accept that truth in my heart, I feel our tenuous connection surge as our ghost pact snaps into place. With our souls connected to each other, I feel closer to him than ever and while my own Mammon could never be replaced in my heart, I feel a piece of my soul knit back together. I have room in my heart for this Mammon too. 

Mammon shifts me onto his lap as we cling to each other, as if we both can’t get close enough to each other in this moment of soul bonding. When I lift my eyes to look at him, his own eyes are searching mine almost frantically. I realize I’m probably overwhelming him with my emotions right now but I can’t seem to put my walls up. “Please Lily, don’t cry anymore.” He’s pleading with me as his large, warm hands cup my face. I feel his lips kiss away my tears fruitlessly as his own tears fall to wet my face as well. 

I’m wrapping my arms around his neck to pull him close again when our lips accidentally brush. We freeze, his blue eyes searching mine. I’m not sure who moves again first, but his lips moving gently with my own infuse me with warmth. Gentle, tentative touches soon turn into a needy frenzy. My own hands touching, tracing and mapping a body I know so well yet never so intimately. A wanton moan escapes my lips when I feel just how affected he is by this. Clothes become discarded quickly and I find myself pressed into the mattress with his hard body pressed against mine. A low rumbled growl escapes him as he nips at my neck. 

“Lily…” My name sounds rough and strangled on his lips as he stares into my eyes once more, his pupils blown with lust, golden rims glow in the dim room. He presses his forehead against my own. “I...I don’t wanna hurt you.” He gulps. My heart only grows for him as he restrains himself, worried about taking advantage of me in my grief. Maybe it’s madness, maybe it’s folly. But right now, I’ve never wanted anything more than to feel as close to him as I possibly can. 

“Please..don’t go...unless you want to.” I manage to breathe out. I don’t know if I could stand it if he stood up and left now but I’d never pressure him to do anything he didn’t truly want. 

“Are ya sure?” He breathes out on my neck, already peppering the skin with kisses. I nod, my hips pressing into his own. 

“I need you.” I practically whimper, shamelessly. It’s all the encouragement he needs. His talented fingers make quick work of me, I’m still falling apart when I feel him join our bodies in the most sacred and complete way. We spent the rest of the night greedily losing ourselves in each other. 


In the morning I wake up in a tangle of limbs and last night's events come rushing back to me. I immediately wall off the guilt that tries to stab at me. I don’t want to ruin this moment. Strange as it is, I feel more whole, like somehow, everything really will be okay eventually. I try to sit up but Mammon pulls me back. That’s when I realize we're both still very nude and I’m suddenly feeling shy, as if we didn’t just do the devil’s dance all night. My mind is screaming at me from all directions, part of me wondering what in the world did I do while another part thinks we should go for another round. Another part is anxious about how Mammon is going to react when he’s fully erect, er... I mean, awake! Ahh! Mammon’s hands begin wandering and I’m spurred to action as I escape the bed. I see his shirt on the floor and immediately pull it over my head.

“Where ya goin’?” Mammon mumbles, still mostly asleep.

“I gotta pee!” I whisper loudly back, rushing to the door. I peek into the hallway to make sure the coast is clear before rushing to the bathroom. It wasn’t an excuse, I feel like my bladder may explode!

I’m overthinking everything, half wondering if I will return to the room to find Mammon gone. If it were my Mammon, I’d be expecting some jerk tsundere move at this juncture. Well...maybe not? I try to push those thoughts from my head. 

“Mornin’” Mammon greets me with a shy smile when I enter the room. His cheeks are cutely flushed and he’s rubbing his neck in that way that he does when he’s not sure what to say. 

I climb back into bed, relieved that he’s put his boxers back on. “Good morning.” I smile and give him a friendly kiss on the lips, surprising him. Okay...good. He’s not running. I need to bolster myself to get through this awkward morning after, this is a first for me! I’ve never had sex with someone I wasn’t in a relationship with!

“Uh..so…” Mammon clears his throat. “Ya don’t regret it, do ya?”

I shake my head, my mouth pressed into a firm line. “No! Not at all!” I try to reassure him and I’m relieved that he looks relieved. “It was actually really amazing.” I tell him, feeling shy again. “I’m so happy our pact is active, last night was special... and I think I really needed it.” I confess.

“Yeah..I think I might have needed it too.” He smiles back but I can tell there’s still something bothering him. “Do ya...um...think ya might want to do it again?” He blushes.

I gulp, blushing like mad as well. “I don’t know…” I tell him honestly. “I’ve never done casual sex before and I wouldn’t want that to complicate our relationship.”

Mammon laughs and suddenly he seems more like himself again. “I think I feel the same way…” I watch as he struggles for the right words. “Even though we ain’t in love like that, ya know not like Leila was with…” He clears his throat again. “I just want ya to know. It wasn’t meaningless, I’ll treasure it.” He tells me seriously and I feel my emotions welling up again. “But ya know I’m greedy so…” His tone suddenly changes to teasing. “I wouldn’t mind another tumble in the sheets.” He wiggles his eyebrows at me.

I laugh and give him a friendly shove. He catches me up in a hug. “Thank you, Mammon. You’ll always be my best demon.”

“Damn straight!” He laughs. “Ya know what’s up.”

We’re both getting dressed now, picking up my pants and turning them right side out, something falls out of a pocket. “Oh! I can’t believe I forgot to give this to you.” I pick up the tiny wrapped box and hand it to Mammon. “It’s your birthday present from me.” I explain.

Mammon laughs. “I can’t believe THE Great Mammon, forgot about gifts on his own birthday.”

“Well things did take a turn there at the end.” I watch as he opens the small box and takes out the small white enamel crow charm with a black diamond eye. “I bought that for him the first year I came to the Devildom.” I explain, feeling emotional again. “I’d like you to have it.” I hold up my lizard keychain with my matching charm attached. Mammon just pulls me into a great big hug again and he doesn’t need to say anything for me to know that he likes it. I start feeling like I might cry again so I tell him. “Oh and Lucifer and the others' gift to you is that they’ve cleared out all of Mammon’s debt so you have a clean slate here.”

“Wha?!” He pulls back to look at me to see if I’m pulling his leg. “Wow...a clean slate with my Goldie…” He grins happily. “Oh wait, I don’t have my Goldie anymore…” He actually looks devastated now and I giggle.

“I think that will be sorted for you too, Mammon.”



James POV

Surprisingly I’m the first one up in the morning. Leila was emotionally exhausted and from the sounds of it, I don’t think Lily or Mammon did much sleeping. I can’t help grinning like a Cheshire cat when those two walk into the kitchen together. They’re both acting skittish like two school kids who got caught sneaking out. 

“I’m making a scramble...and there’s bacon.” I point to a plate. “I’m sure you two worked up an appetite.” I’m terrible, I know, but I just can’t help teasing them. 

“T-Thanks James.” Lily says politely, looking red as a tomato.

Chimera is hopping around from Mammon’s head to Lily’s shoulder to mine. Loudly chattering in my ear about something only Leila would probably understand. She immediately flies over to Leila when she comes down for breakfast with Pandora on her arm and followed by Shado. 

Leila listens patiently to the excited, and maybe indignant chattering of her fairy dragon and then looks from Lily to Mammon and back. A small smile on her lips, that makes me extremely happy. “So, you two restored your pact?” She just asks with a sweet smile and a mischievous glimmer in her eyes. “I’m glad to see you both feeling a little better.” Oh yeah, Chimera definitely just told her all about Lily and Mammon making noises all night long. Heh.

They both blush again and Mammon wraps his arm around Leila’s shoulders, looking relieved that Leila can still laugh, despite everything. “I now finally have the completed set.” He boasts with a shy crooked grin. “Let’s eat, I’m feelin’ hungry.”

“I bet you are.” Leila smiles at him. “Lily, would you like to feed Pandora this morning?”

Lily eagerly nods, looking relieved that we’re all acting so normal about it. I don’t blame her. I’m sure reactions would have been different if this happened in the other Manor. Heh.

We’ve mostly finished breakfast when there’s a knock on the door. I don’t even make it out of my seat when I can hear the brothers barging in through the front door. I glance at Leila and I can already tell she’s thinking about revoking all the permissions to enter the house that we granted for Mammon’s birthday. 

Beelzebub is the first to enter, holding a big crock pot of something. “We brought an apology breakfast.” He tells us, setting it down on the table. The others file in with more platters and dishes full of food. We receive all sorts of excuses why they’re here, unannounced, from just picking up Lily to making up for wrecking Mammon’s party. 

Leviathan is a wreck, bowing low in front of Leila and spouting off one apology after another. I’m sure he thinks she hates him but he really needs to back off, they all do before she blows up.

“Right…” Leila whispers, barely audible in the chaos. I can see she wants to escape all this. Patting Leviathan shortly on his head, she says. “I’m just… Going to go have a morning walk with Pandora…” She moves for the door, avoiding to look at anyone and I notice they all get a hurt expression on their faces. They try so hard to help, but all they really do is make it harder for her.

Lucifer stops her at the door opening, a hand on her shoulder. “Leila…” He sounds stern. He probably thinks things can be solved if we just force ourselves through it. But that’s not how it works for most humans. We want to get through this, but we need time for healing. Leila does stop for him and stares back at him. It’s one of the silent stand-offs I know so well from our own reality. Her new Lucifer must be getting used to those by now, because he sighs. “Don’t wander off too far…”

She smiles faintly back at him and squeezes his hand still on her shoulder. I think they understand each other. “We’ll talk later, Lucifer.” She promises and then quickly disappears from the room. Soon after we see her walking briskly out the door, Pandora in her stroller and both Shado and Chimera following her.

“Ugh. What’s the point?” Belphegor grumbles, collapsing into a chair and pretending to fall asleep with his head resting on his arms. I do feel sorry for him, but they just need to be patient. I notice Satan is silent but clearly thinking about something.

“Lily flower, I brought you a change of clothes.” Asmodeus changes the subject, embracing Lily with a bag on one arm. “You must feel dreadful having to wear the same thing…” Suddenly he stops mid-speech and pulls Lily in for another hug, breathing in her scent deeply like some sort of weirdo. “Lily!” He gasps and I really can’t tell if he’s horrified, jealous or proud? Maybe a bit of all of those. “You wicked little thing, you slept with Mammon?!”

“WHAAAA?!” Leviathan practical shrieks, momentarily snapping out of his state of self-pity and loathing.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me…” Even Belphegor raises his head to look at Lily and Mammon. Satan doesn’t say anything but he looks like he might explode.

“Asmodeus, this is no time for your lewd jokes.” Lucifer is growling a reprimand, and I’m doing my best not to laugh. Then he notices it too: Lily is red again and Mammon is trying to sneak out of the room. “Liiily!! MAMMOOON!!”

“Yikes!” Mammon tries to escape the room, grabbing Lily’s hand. “Uh… Let’s go for a walk with Leila too, Lily!”

“O-Okay!” Lily agrees, looking extremely flustered as all her demons stare at her as if she’s just grown an extra head. “A walk sounds good.”

“Stop right there!” Lucifer thunders, blocking their path. “Explain to me THIS instant!”

“Calm down, Lucifer.” I try, but he glares at me like it’s all my fault. Yikes, wish Leila was here with her forcefield. But I have to be brave. This is our reality now and these are our demons. Our family. “They’re both adults…” I feel strengthened when both Satan and Belphegor move to protect me.

“Exactly!” Lily nods, I can see she’s feeling braver with my support now too.

“It ain’t as perverted as Asmo makes it sound!” Mammon blurts and I have to clamp down a laugh. He’s really not helping us here. Even Asmo is scoffing in amusement.

“Oh please...like we don’t know-”

“Did it make you feel better?” Beelzebub asks, cutting off Asmo and looking completely undisturbed by the news as he’s the only one munching from the lavish breakfast they brought. I feel my heart melt a little for him again. He’s more like Leila than she thinks, always caring about people’s happiness first.

I see Lily squeeze Mammon’s hand as she smiles at Beel and nods her head, looking shy again. “Please don’t be mad.” She turns wide pleading eyes on Lucifer and the rest of them, at least the ones who can meet her eyes. I can’t help smirking as I see Lucifer’s internal struggle, his features are already softening. 

“I suppose I won’t punish you...if you’re feeling better.” Lucifer sighs.

“It better have been a one time thing.” Satan says with a glare to both of them.

“Oh lord!” Asmodeus gasps as if just having a thought. “You two aren’t a couple now are you?!”

“No!” Lily and Mammon both refute at the same time, they look at each other and laugh. “It’s not like that.” Lily insists.

“Oh good.” Asmo sounds relieved. “Hey! Does this mean I finally have a chance?”

“No!” Mammon growls back, “This was uh...a special circumstance. And the rest of ya better keep your dirty mitts off my humans.” 

“Despicable.” Satan is unamused and the rest of the brothers groan. Leviathan is still staring at Lily as if she’s grown a second head. 

 

Eventually Lily’s demons did get somewhat used to the idea of their Lily and the new Mammon doing the bedroom rodeo. Not that they wouldn’t watch these two like a hawk from now on. And Mammon is basically back to being a scumbag as far as they are concerned right now. But that’s nothing new, really. Still I find it all a bit hypocritical of them: I know Satan and Belphegor would love to have this sort of intimacy with Leila. And Asmo himself… Well, we know how he is. They really have no right to judge Mammon and Lily seeking comfort with each other.

Later, Lucifer sends his brothers home ahead of him, together with Lily. For once he’s probably glad that Mammon stays behind, so that he doesn’t have to deal with this headache at home too. He’s patiently waiting for Leila, wanting to have that talk with her. Leila returned from her walk a little while after they all went home, looking a little better. She’s been doing some self therapy by picking flowers and herbs in the area to put in one of her vases. I’m happy to see some color back in her cheeks and a smile on her face as she tries to pry the handful of grass out of Pandora’s chubby clutches.

We had a nice talk together. Lucifer was telling us about how he sees the future, how the renovations of the Manor are coming along, but that we don’t have to feel obligated to join them there right away.

“I don’t like the idea that Lily stays there all alone.” Leila simply says, implying she’s willing to move back once RAD starts again. But she makes sure she’s not promising Lucifer anything. Still he takes it as a small victory on his part.

“I would like to suggest that all of us visit each other more often.” Lucifer tells us, making it sound like it isn’t a suggestion. “I don’t like this situation right now, where my family is split up. It’s already an annoyance that you all stay in the Human World when my brothers and I have to return to the Devildom.”

“I understand. And… That’s fine.” Leila sighs to my surprise in resignation. “But please, can you not come all at once?”

Chapter Text

Leila POV

After Mammon’s birthday I wasn’t exactly looking forward to seeing more of Lucifer and his brothers from this new reality. Especially not Belphegor or Leviathan. I’m still in shock and I need time to sort out my feelings. I’m feeling the pressure from Lucifer wanting us to be one big family, but it’s just too much, too soon. I’m trying so hard to keep going for the sake of everyone but I feel as though I’ll never have a moment to deal with my own grief.  

I know this isn’t fair to the others. Everyone is in the exact same situation as me and we all do want to make it work. Eventually. So despite my own needs, I agreed that we would make time to visit each other in the days that followed after Mammon’s birthday. I keep telling myself to soldier through these visits until the guys have to return to the Devildom again. When things start settling, I’ll finally have time to think and grieve. 

However, as the days pass by I find this is easier said than done. I don’t mean to hurt anyone, but I just can’t deal with some of them right now, so I make myself scarce when Satan and Belphegor are visiting. I have no words of comfort for Leviathan when he keeps apologizing, over and over. Reminding me of the day I discovered what Belphie really did to James and the fact that I can never return to him to confront him. I know he means well, they all do. But meaning well doesn’t always make things right immediately. I’m not like James. James is more brave, facing them. Or maybe he’s better at hiding his hurt. At least it’s a small comfort that I’m getting along well with this new Asmo. He’s a little different from how my own was, but he cheers me up with his dramatics just as well. Making me smile, which is what I want and need. Just to be friends with them, nothing else expected from me.

Now, after almost two weeks of awkward visits to both of our mansions, I’m pretty sure this whole thing is never going to work out. But Solomon continues to insist that I’ll be happier later, when we all join at Serenity Manor again. And in case we can’t make it work, we can always keep this place open if I need to be on my own. 

Suffice to say, I was very relieved when Lily accepted my idea to celebrate Mabon together. Just us two girls and Pandora. And of course Chimera and Shado. We will send all the boys to Serenity Manor while we stay here to celebrate this magical harvest festival together, the way the Magical Society does it. Of course the guys had all sorts of things to say about it. Acting as if we’re two damsels that would run into all sorts of trouble without our big strong ‘heroes’. As if they aren’t causing 90% of all the trouble we run into.

Mabon is the time of the autumnal equinox. We celebrate that the days are exactly as long as the nights. And it is also the time to be thankful for the harvests after the summer. I like to celebrate these things, even if they’re outside of our control. They give me the sense that there are also good things happening. I need to believe and trust this and I know Lily does too. It is also the time to hope for protection during the months of winter. I’m not afraid of the winter, but I feel we all could use some extra protection in the coming months, with us living in a new reality and unknown enemies to face sooner or later.

 

Lily POV

It’s the night before Mabon and I’m spending the holiday with Leila, just us girls! I’m excited to share some time with her this way. Living in different realities, we never had the luxury of spending this much time together, especially not without our demons clamouring for our attention too. 

We spent the day making decorations for both our houses, baking delicious spiced apple pies, cakes and bread. We’re both pretty good cooks, if I do say so myself, ignoring the fact that most of mine look odd or misshapen. But we both had a good laugh about that.

“It’s not as if Beel is going to mind how it looks.” She says about it with a casual shrug.

We also attempted to make mulled wine, mead and cider. But we kept it alcohol-free for ourselves. Leila needs to think of Pandora after all. It’s basically just spiced-up juice, honestly. But delicious! 

“Maybe we can make some liquor for the guys.” I suggest while looking through Mammon’s stock of alcohol and grabbing a recipe book. “I bet Lucifer would love to taste some new types of ‘Demonus’.” I laugh. 

“It’s unbelievable how stubbornly they call it all Demonus, right?” Leila sighs wearily, but with a laugh in her eyes. “But the guys can spike their own by adding some rum, I think.”

“Which is also Demonus.” I nod with a cheeky grin.

Now we’re sitting cozy in the living room with mugs of hot spiced cider, Shado is curled up on Leila’s lap and Chimera is entertaining Pandora. I finally feel like it's a good time to bring up what happened the night of Mammon’s birthday without one of my demonic brothers watching over me. “So…” I blink, suddenly feeling a little awkward. “You’re really not upset about Mammon and I hooking up?” I ask nervously. I know how much Mammon means to her and James and we never spoke about it other than some light teasing that morning. I don’t want what happened to come between my friendship with James and Leila. 

Leila looks at me in surprise. “Why should I be upset about that?” 

I shrug as I look for the right words. “Well...I know how protective you are and I don’t want you to think I was just using him...I don’t want to lose any of you because of it.” I look down.

“Lily, I have this kind of curse.” She tells me with a small, wistful smile. “I know how people are, pretty much right away from meeting them. I know you love Mammon the way I do. And he loves you the same. If yours or his feelings were different, then yes, I think I would be upset and worried for you two. But you helped each other to feel better in your own special way. And nobody has any right to judge that.”

Her words bring a relieved smile to my face. “You’re an amazing friend Leila.” I tell her sincerely, so grateful for her being here and being my friend. “Honestly it was never something I thought I’d do and I don’t think either of us are planning on it happening again.” I sigh lightly. “It’s hard to explain, connecting our pact...nothing can replace the love I had for my own Mammon but it was as if...I got a piece of my soul back?” I struggle to explain. 

“I think that can be true. I was, no I am feeling completely torn apart. Like my soul is broken. When Lucifer and I accidently restored the pact, it did make me feel a little better.” She seems to be thinking for a moment. “Lucifer was my big brother, not only my protector, but also we were equals.” She laughs at me. “If you believe that. With my pact restored with your, now our Lucifer, I feel I’m strengthened that I can go on and that he will try his best to help James and me and the rest of us. I have my big brother back and it feels safe…”

I have to laugh, “I’m glad you’re feeling that way. We both know how...difficult he can be even when he has our best interests at heart.”

“Yeah, he probably needs a bit more time to get used to the ‘equal’ part of our pact.” Leila giggles. “But you’ll see. Lucifer and I will get along very well, eventually.” She nods confidently. “I think your pact with your Mammon was based on more love than you might have known. That’s why you might have felt so comfortable and willing to ‘celebrate’ restoring your pact with him this way.” She grins. 

I blush and giggle at the same time, before becoming more serious again. “I felt as if Mammon just needed the release and distraction from his own sorrows too. Maybe he was a little curious too, we’re not in love but it wasn’t meaningless either. I don’t think he’s experienced that before. Neither of us regret it, and that’s what counts.” Then with watery eyes I confess what I haven’t told anyone else, what Mammon had said to me before he died. “I think in a way...it was helping me say goodbye to my Mammon and experiencing something we never would have.”

“I think that makes sense. Making a pact is very emotional. Restoring one with a demon you love so much…” Leila bites her lip, a little frown on her face. She must feel some trepidation for restoring more of her own pacts.

“While I don’t regret it, I’d be lying if a part of me hasn’t been feeling guilty. Even though Solomon is gone...it almost feels as if I’ve cheated on him.” I confess the guilty feelings buried in my heart.

“Well, it’s not.” Leila states firmly. “Everyone grieves in their own ways. Trying to make yourself feel better is part of it, the same as feeling guilty. Believe me. And I know Solomon. Even if yours was not exactly like mine. I know Solomon would never want you to not try to feel better and look for comfort and happiness because of his memory.” 

“Thanks Leila. You’re right. It doesn’t make the feelings disappear but I think I needed to hear that from someone else, coming from you makes it more real.” I give her a sheepish grin. This conversation has been very cathartic for me but we’ve mostly been talking about me. I don’t want to push her to share before she’s ready but I want her to know I’m thinking about her too. 

It's like she’s avoiding looking at me, suddenly. I know she can practically read thoughts from people’s faces and she must know what I want to talk about now...

“I know it’s probably too overwhelming to think about right now...Heaven knows I find it painful just to look at your Solomon right now and you have it twice as bad...” I hesitate for a moment, not wanting to push too far. “But maybe you’ll find a little more peace once you’ve reconnected all of your pacts here too?”

“Maybe…” To my shock I see her start silently crying. “But I can’t. I loved them all so much. And it would hurt me so much if they don’t love me back the same as they did before. And if they do love me the same, then I don’t know what to do either. What am I supposed to do with a pact with Satan and Belphie? Let them know exactly how much I loved their counterparts, only to feel friendship from them in return…”

I try to listen carefully as Leila opens her heart to me, it’s hard to understand not wanting to reconnect the pacts. My partner was human though and we didn’t have that dynamic and I suppose I hadn’t really considered Leila’s special connection she has through her pacts. I know that Satan and Belphie love her, maybe it wouldn’t feel the same to her, these things I can’t know. My heart breaks for her and it breaks for them as well. 

“Levi would only make me feel his constant guilt and insecurities, right now. I do love him, but I can’t be his counselor. Not right now. Not yet. I’m sorry if that sounds selfish…”

She’s not entirely wrong about that and I don’t think she’s selfish but I don’t say anything yet, I don’t want to interrupt her string of thoughts.  As I’m doing my best to listen and see things through her eyes. 

“And I’m not even sure what I want with Belphie… I feel sad and angry and betrayed and I miss him so terribly.” I can see all the feelings she described on her face. “And I know he did this to you and that I have no right judging what you have forgiven him for. But he’s the only Belphegor left… I just can’t deal with that rollercoaster of emotions, right now. I need to be strong for Pandora and James and the others.”

I think Leila takes too much burden onto her own shoulders, she thinks she has to be so strong for everyone else. Reminding me of a certain demon of ours. She’s naturally strong and she doesn’t have to do or be anything for the rest of us. This isn’t the time to tell her these things though. Instead I wrap her up in a hug. 

“You have a lot to sort through in your heart and mind. I don’t think you’re selfish. Right now you need to do what’s best for you and Pandora.” I give her another squeeze. “There’s no reason to rush to figure it all out. You’re on no one’s time table except your own. And I’m always here to listen anytime you need.” Then to lighten the conversation I add. “Another upside to restoring my pact is that I was finally able to take a walk through the garden without my talisman and didn’t wilt every plant I passed.” We both smile at that.

 

Leila POV

Tonight is finally the full moon, called the Harvest Moon, and Lily was here to greet the first day of  Mabon in the morning with us. I even feel we have deepened our friendship after a long heart to heart. Now I’m ready for a light hearted end to our day. Chimera is very happy that Lily is here with us too, so she can join her fairy celebration.

Earlier in the evening we laid out some Fae treats we made for them today near the oak tree again and now we’re back home. 

“I can sense the Fae very strongly now, Leila.” Lily looks pensive, I know she wants to see if she can enter the Realm of Fae, but I’m not sure if that is wise. And I certainly would not enter with Pandora. And also not when there is no one around to babysit her. 

These are all valid reasons for Lily, thankfully. And she’s really enjoying Chimera’s haphazard little moondance this night, as we gather around an old stone circle, nothing more than a few flat stones peeking out from the earth. We’ve decorated it with flowers and lit some scented candles and it feels so relaxing to just laugh, drink fresh juice, eat fresh fruit and reminisce about the times we did all those dates with the boys. 

“It was so much fun, but frankly we’ve had a super exhausting summer, all things considered.” I sigh, clinking my glass to Lily’s as we watch Chimera being silly. 

“But we have made so many good memories. That is what we need to remember, going forward.” Lily reminds herself as much as me, I’m sure. It’s what we both want, despite everything. I nod, agreeing with her. I will try my best to do that.

“And I promise we will go look for Fae soon.” I tell her excitedly. “Maybe with the next celebration or full moon? We need to do some research on it first.”

“Hmhm.” Lily just nods, looking towards the oak on the hill. I know she really wants to go soon and I won’t stop her then. I want to look for Fae almost as much as she does! But right now is just not the right time. “I think Chimera wants me to join her.” She then laughs and gets up and starts jumping around as silly as Chimera. Shado on my lap tells me they look ridiculous and then falls asleep. 

Then I receive a text on my DDD.

Belphegor <> Leila

< Belphegor: Hey
< Belphegor: I hope I’m not disturbing you and Lily.
< Belphegor: But I know something that will make you smile.

I should be nice to him. At least with texting. I don’t hate him. I just can’t be around him.

> Leila: All right. Tell me.
< Belphegor: We heard from Lucifer that Lord Diavolo turned into a cat tonight.

I blink at my screen in surprise. I just know those guys probably made some kind of mini-disaster together. James isn’t one to stop them, even if he could.

> Leila: (Surprised-Demon sticker)
< Belphegor: Don’t worry, James and Lucien are fine.
> Leila: What did you guys do?!
< Belphegor: That’s need-to-know information.
< Belphegor: Only for members of the F.A.L.L.
> Leila: Forget it, I’m not joining your silly pranking club.
< Belphegor: Was worth the try.
> Leila: Are there pictures?
< Belphegor: Now you sound like Satan. (Laughing-Demon sticker)
< Belphegor: Don’t you believe me?
> Leila: I believe you. Thanks for telling me.
< Belphegor: (Smiling-Demon sticker)

They all make me laugh today.

 

James POV

“What’s the secret phrase?” I hear Leviathan's voice through the door and get ready to drone the phrase I remember from my own Leviathan.

But Satan is quicker. “We’re the Anti-Lucifer League.” He declares, as if that is enough reason for Leviathan to open his door for us. 

Belphegor seems to agree with that sentiment. “Our one and only purpose is to dish out punishment to Lucifer.” He clarifies.

“Wow, they take themselves seriously.” Lucien whispers to me with a nervous laugh. It’s his first time joining in on a prank for Lucifer. You could say he’s being initiated into the Anti-Lucifer League. Of course I’m here to make sure Satan and Belphegor are not getting him in too much trouble. Mammon and Leila would never forgive us.

“That’s not the secret phrase.” We hear Leviathan tell us from the other side of the door with an irritated voice. Then we hear a sigh. “Eh… Whatever…” It sounds like he wants some company today. The door gets unlocked and opened for us. “What is it? Need something?”

“Yes.” Satan nods, looking around as he steps into Leviathan’s room. “We have a favor to ask.”

“Yeah.” Belphegor flops onto Leviathan’s bean bag as if he owns the place. “We need you to let us use Crowe. So we can play Pandora’s Gacha.”

“What?!” Leviathan startles.

Before Leviathan can say more, his AI smartspeaker is already speaking up. Wow, seriously… Why is nobody concerned about this thing? “Hello. Did someone ask for me?”

“No!” Leviathan tries to shut it up. “No one asked for you okay?!” Then he turns to his brothers and Lucien and me. “Are you guys insane?! That’s a REALLY bad idea!”

“Look, Levi.” Satan explains. “Today is an ideal day to have both Lucien and James join in on a prank. The girls are busy with something, so they won’t tattle. Next week we have to go back to the Devildom, so then it will be harder for Lucien to join in.”

Leviathan rolls his eyes in a way that makes it obvious that he doesn’t care about any of those reasons. “Have you forgotten what happened to me and Mammon?!” He shivers, probably thinking about some punishment my own Leviathan has never gotten, since… you know… Worse things were happening… “It was horrible!”

“Yeah, that was pretty bad.” Belphegor yawns, not exactly looking as if he really cares. “I mean, I can’t believe the things he did while you were hanging there…” He grins as he sees Lucien shift nervously. 

“AAAAH, SHUT UP!” Leviathan shouts, startling Lucien even more. I laugh a little. He definitely needs to get used to this. “DON’T REMIND MEEE!”

“Hey, shhh!” Satan says, not wanting to alert Lucifer beforehand of our plans. “Whatever. So things were a little rough for you, Levi. I don’t care.” He declares, ignoring Lucien’s shocked expression.

“A little?!” Leviathan glares at his younger brother.

“You and Mammon may not be able to handle it, but I can.” Satan states confidently. “No problem.”

“I don’t get it.” Leviathan sighs, shaking his head when he goes fetching his smartspeaker off the shelf. “How can you be so weirdly confident?!”

“Because all we want is to cause headaches for Lucifer.” Belphegor yawns once more, but I see a glittering of anger in his eyes. He definitely does not like it that Lucifer has his pact restored with Leila and his own chances are reduced to nihil, right now. “Basically, the more horrible the outcome, the better.”

“You know that Lucifer’s headaches would end up being our headaches too, right?!” Leviathan tries to convince his brothers to have some common sense.

Then the AI speaks up again. “Leviathan, there’s currently a promotion that may be of interest to you.” Apparently wanting to be used for Pandora’s Gacha. Which is no surprise really, considering how expensive it is. It must be good business for the Three-Legged-Crow Group. I just hope that in this reality they did something about the demon- and monster summoning into the Human World. Or I will have something to tell to Lord Diavolo next time I see him! “Right now, if you play Pandora’s Gacha once, you’ll be rewarded with a bonus gift: A special voice message recorded by Sucre Frenzy.”

That works like a charm. “I’m in!” Leviathan beams with a fanatical expression on his face.

“Just like that?” Lucien asks him with big eyes.

“That was fast…” Belphegor shakes his head now too.

“Commencing Pandora’s Gacha roll…” Crowe speaks and starts a whirring sound without waiting for Leviathan specifically telling it to. What the hell, I doubt this is how it is meant to work. I’m definitely telling Solomon about this, so he can keep an eye on the Three-Legged-Crow Group.

Of course none of the demons seems worried about an AI with the power to summon monsters, spirits and demons. “I hope this turns out to be a giant mess.” Satan grins wickedly. “Fingers crossed…”

There’s a flash and a bunch of glittering confetti rains down on us out of nowhere. But nothing else happens. We all look at each other in silence, wondering if it has yet to come - whatever it is - or if the gacha may have failed.

“...huh?” Leviathan looks around confused, once all the confetti is done falling and still nothing is happening.

“That’s it?” Lucien can’t help but let out a bit of a relieved sigh. He was a bit nervous about the possibility of a spirit summoning, even though Satan and Belphegor made sure he was well warded for that before starting this. They wouldn’t force or trick him to become a demon. “That wasn’t so bad…”

“Nothing’s happening…” Belphegor frowns at Crowe, clearly dissatisfied.

“Hmm, it’s weird…” Leviathan shakes Crowe and checks if it’s charged well enough. “Every other time we’ve rolled, the effect has been immediate…”

“...So we lost then?” Satan frowns at Crowe. “...Or could it be that we were tricked?” He lunges for Crowe in Leviathan’s hand with a scary threatening smile. 

“Aaah, whoa!” Leviathan leaps out of his reach, saving his AI from his brother. “Satan, stop!”

“Give it to me!” Satan growls, chasing after his brother. “That thing got my hopes up, only to dash them on purpose! This piece of junk AI of yours is going to be scrap metal by the time I’m done with it!!” 

Belphegor tries to stop him in his pursuit, however. “Whoa, Satan. Calm down.” Seeing how Lucien is a bit frightened by Satan's sudden aggression. I know he doesn’t want Lily and Leila to find out how Lucien's first time with the League ended up in a disaster for him.

“Come on, don’t lose your temper!” Leviathan pleads with his brother as he keeps ducking out of reach. “You’ll end up destroying my entire room!”

“...Hey, did you guys hear something just now?” Belphegor asks, still shielding Lucien and me from Satan and Leviathan chasing each other with demon speed.

“I’ve got bigger things to worry about right now, Belphie!” Leviathan yells at him with a panicked voice, still running from his brother, while trying to save Crowe and his collectibles in the meantime.

“I didn’t hear anything.” I tell Belphegor. But then again, I don’t have supernatural hearing.

“I’m sure I heard something…” Belphegor says.

Lucien nods at him. “Yeah, me too. Some sort of roar…”

Belphegor nods. “It sounded like the lid to the boiling cauldron of the Devildom slid open, releasing an evil spirit that is now coming this way, blind with rage…” He declares poetically, but Lucien looks at him with big fearful eyes. He grins at him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders protectively. “Don’t worry Lucien, that can only mean one thing…”

“Those are Lucifer’s footsteps.” Satan now hears it too and stops his pursuit. “And he’s heading towards us.” He quickly schools his features into pure innocence and joins Belphegor, Lucien and me as if nothing happened. 

“What?! Aaah!” Leviathan is the only one still looking flustered when Lucifer storms into his room in full demonic form. “G’AAAH! H...h-h-h...HE’S HEEERE!”

Lucifer looks over our faces with a deceivingly friendly smile, while his dark demonic aura swirls around him. “...I just got a call from Barbatos. From what he says, Diavolo suddenly transformed into a cat just now.”

“C...come again…?!” Leviathan looks shocked, while Lucien clasps his hand over his mouth in an attempt to hide his giggle. Lucifer notices and narrows his eyes at him. But I know for sure that Lucifer won’t harm him for this. He still wants us to come live here in the Manor with the others. No, Lucien and I won’t be the ones who will get punished. Heh. 

“You say Lord Diavolo...turned into a cat…?” Belphegor’s eyes are wide in surprise and he’s really trying to hold himself from laughing too. I already know that he will try to use this news to get closer to Leila again, somehow.

But Leviathan is more worried. “Ooh… not that...That’s treading on the most sacred of sacred ground…”

“Well…If even Lord Diavolo isn’t safe...” I say innocently to Lucifer. “At least this is proof that Pandora’s Gacha isn’t suited for use yet, don’t you agree?”

Before Lucifer can answer that, Satan ruins my attempt to be reasonable by no longer being able to contain his excitement. “Okay, what type of cat did he turn into exactly?” His eyes get an almost fanatical expression as he stares at Lucifer, a flush on his cheeks. “I’m curious to know the breed and color of his fur. Are there pictures?”

“Barbatos asked me whether I knew anything about this.” Lucifer growls, irritated by the lack of concern from most of us. “He thought that perhaps my brothers have been up to no good again…”

“It’s your Super-Special Rare Pandora’s Gacha effect: ‘Transformation’.” Crowe explains from Leviathan’s hands, without being asked again.

Is it now…? ” Lucifer asks in a very scary friendly way, sending a chill over my spine. Poor Lucien looks scared now, too. “ And who was it that initiated the roll?

“W...w-w-w-w...well…” Leviathan stutters, trying to back away.

“That would be Levi.” Belphegor says without a grain of guilt in his voice, leisurely walking towards the door with his arm protectively around my shoulders.

“Yep, Levi.” Satan follows us, his arm protectively wrapped around Lucien. 

“Pfwha?!” Leviathan protests behind us.

The four of us look around the corner of the doorway into Leviathan’s room, watching what will happen next. We see Lucifer towering over a cowering Leviathan. “...Levi?

“W...no! Lucifer! I-I can expl…” But before he actually can explain, he is being dragged off by Lucifer to be punished somewhere. “G’AAAH!”

“Is he going to be okay?” Lucien asks worriedly.

“Sure.” Satan shrugs. Then he slaps his hand against Belphegor’s for a high five. “Succes!”

“Wait.” I stop them, as I see their triumphant smirks. “Was this whole thing to play a prank on Lucifer or on Levi?”

Their grins grow only wider and more wicked as we make our way to the kitchen to get us some drinks. I guess that answers my question. Looks like this was a sort of revenge action from the both of them to get Leviathan in trouble for making Leila sad and avoiding the two of them even more right now.

“Ugh, you guys.” I sigh. “This is not the way…”

“Well, I for one feel like Diavolo deserves it.” Lucien surprises us all as he browses the fridge for drinks for all of us. “We can’t take revenge on the one who destroyed our lives, the least his counterpart can do for us is turn into a cat.” I honestly can’t entirely disagree with him, but I’m still surprised that our sweet little Luke from before can feel this vindictiveness, now that he is Lucien. Though we all feel like that, to be fair.

I see Belphegor grinning and texting at the table. “What are you up to then?” I ask him with suspicion.

“Just texting Leila.” He shrugs disinterested, a little blush on his face betrays him though. “Thought she’d like to know about it too.” He grins, looking at Satan. “She asked for pictures.”

 

“I’d say we go to the Castle and snap some.” Satan grins back goofily. But we all shake our heads at him. That would be just stupid.

Chapter Text

 

Leila POV

Early the next morning, Chimera took us excitedly out to where she danced with Lily last night. She proudly presented us with her new fairy ring full of all sorts of mushrooms this time. The first one in this reality. I’m glad she’s been feeling happy enough to create one, even after all we’ve been through. I know the moondance is some kind of outlet for her which shows her happiness. And judging by the Fairy ring she made, it’s going well with her. She even made a Fairy Flower! Just one, but I’m not complaining, as I wasn’t expecting this at all. She gave it to me proudly: her first Fairy Flower in this reality. But promised that next time she will give one to Lily. 

“Oh that’s so sweet.” Lily thanks her gratefully and then tells me. “I’ve heard that these are gifts, back when we went on that Fairy hunt adventure.” She tells us that she still has her Fairy Flower that Mammon gave her, not having found a purpose for it yet.

“Yeah, I understand.” I nod, carefully tucking away Chimera’s gift. “They’re extremely rare and you don’t want to ruin it…”

We picked some of the mushrooms from the fairy ring that are useful to make potions or cook with. I’m looking forward to doing that and gave my little fairy dragon a lot of compliments.

Now we’re deciding how to spend the rest of our day. Solomon has told us to keep a low profile for now, at least for as long as his pacts are not all restored and things are not settled in both the Devildom and the Human World’s Magical Society. But I really want to go out and celebrate the bounty of nature with Lily today. 

It’s been ten days since we learned the truth about us coming here. That we can never return, but we’ve also been given a second chance to live here with each other. No matter how sad it may be, it is also something to be grateful for. We were rescued. And however painful it may be to be confronted every day with the people we lost, but alive in this new reality… We have to keep living and learn to be thankful for the people we get to keep.

Ten days ago I also learned another awful truth, one I’m unable to come to terms with. At least not yet. I’m honestly trying. Belphegor from this reality is not the one who killed James. Instead he killed Lily. She has forgiven him. It’s not my right to judge him for it in her place. But he is so much like my own Belphie was… And I just can’t deal with the idea that my mate I loved so much was also the murderer of my James who I love so much as well. I can’t be around Lily’s Belphegor because of it. 

Ugh… I need something to occupy my mind. We’re definitely going out today! I’ve heard of a Pagan festival in the nearby forest where wicca’s and such will celebrate Mabon. It’s open for the normal public as well and if Lily and I don’t use any magic at all, I doubt we would draw eyes from the Magical Society.

Lily has to have a bit of disguise, of course. Or she will definitely stand out with her lovely purple hair and unusual color eyes. She will be recognized by any random member of this reality’s Magical Society. All this reality knows is that she is supposed to be engaged with Solomon and that it somehow never became official. Poor Lily. Nobody knows the awful truth in the Magical Society. That Solomon had died and my grandfather just took his place instead. But of course they were not going to fake an engagement for the sake of appearances. That would not make sense for either of them. 

Sooner or later she will have to deal with a mountain of gossip when Solomon is ready to introduce us and we take our place in the Society. Well, she won’t be all alone. James and I will probably get some gossip and speculation about our sudden appearance as well. I couldn’t care less what dumb people think of me though. I didn’t care about it in the other reality either. And I’m sure Solomon has a plan.

Once I’ve finished getting ready, I check to see if Lily is almost ready or not. We’ve both opted to wear pretty cotton dresses in fall colors. Mine is a burnt amber color and her’s is a forest green. She’s just finished tucking her braided hair under a tan felt hat when I knock on the frame of her open door to announce myself. She turns around from the mirror with a smile. “Well how do I look?” She asks. “I haven’t touched up my roots for awhile.” She points out. With the hat on, her lavender hair is hidden and you can only see her dark blond roots. The most surprising part is her blue eyes. 

“I thought we agreed not to use magic?” I ask, wondering how she changed her eye color. 

“Oh!” Lily laughs, touching her eyeball. “Contacts.” She tells me, wiggling it on her eye. “Let’s just say this isn’t my first time going incognito.” She smirks mysteriously, not elaborating further. 

I raise my eyebrows, wondering why my friend carries around colored contacts with her.

“Well anyway, you look great. Ready?” I ask, eager to get out to the festival. “Come see Pandora's fall outfit, it’s adorable.” I can’t help bragging about my cute baby. After a bit of fussing over the baby, making sure I had everything she needed in her diaper bag and fruitlessly trying to convince Shado and Chimera to stay home, we all left together. 



After some trekking through the forest, we arrive at the clearing. It's a sort of meadow, where normally the deer will graze I think. But today it’s bustling with people. The wiccan community has erected several stone altars, abundantly decorated with scented candles, grape vines which already show autumn colors, cornucopia filled with apples, pumpkins, corn and other riches from the harvest. 

I need to tell Chimera to behave herself. I know these altars are made to honor the gods of nature. Also known as Fae. But she needs to pretend she’s just a normal blue parakeet right now. We definitely won’t keep a low profile if she’s transforming to her natural form in her excitement! At least Shado is sound asleep, napping next to Pandora in her stroller. Because two women with a baby and a cat and a bird is completely normal...yeah...well, we’re doing our best.

When we arrive, Lily and I definitely sense that there are people around here with real magic. Even if it looks to be a fun festival for the normal public. We see lots of people here who play tourist. Curious to know what exactly this Pagan celebration is. It’s honestly nice to see people so accepting. Well… as long as the magic seems to be mostly rituals that don’t do much visual magic, but are mostly blessings and wishing. I’m also pretty sure that half of the wiccan here aren’t actually practicing magic, but are self-proclaimed white witches. It makes Lily and I giggle a little.

Lily and I have a fun time tasting the special made pies, pastries and what not and try to bargain the recipes from the bakers. Which is the highest compliment you can give someone. There are musicians playing nice music everywhere on the festival grounds. There are some people who give instructions on spiritual meditation and other people selling crystals who insist on telling us they are infused with moonwater from last night’s full moon. 

“They’re not.” I whisper to Lily and she giggles and nods. She’s noticed too that some of these people are charlatans. Or maybe they really believe it? There’s magic in that too, I suppose.

We’re still purchasing a couple. Crystals are always useful to have and some of these have a rare purity. We can infuse them with real Moonwater ourselves at home.

Lily and I have just been dancing along a bit to the music of one of the musicians and now have some refreshments. Pandora wants to be out of the stroller for a bit and I give her a bottle, as Lily is spoiling Shado with some pastry that’s probably bad for him, but we’ll fix that at home. Chimera is on top of the rim of her hat, making sure to get her share. We’re quietly chatting and laughing about what we think of the ‘magic’ of this particular festival.

“Maybe we can play some games later?” I ask Lily. “Some of these look fun. And I don’t know if you want to go to the bonfire tomorrow night?” I scan the pamphlet I found in the town where we always do our shopping.

“Sounds like fun.” Lily nods with a smile, bending over the pamphlet as well.


Nearby...

Despite their efforts to blend in, unbeknownst to the girls, they had captured the attention of a few young men. The way the sunlight filtered through the trees and brought out the gold in Leila’s brown hair and lit up her green eyes as she smiled, had completely enraptured Tristan. He couldn’t help staring from across the improvised dancefloor where he and his group of friends were gathered.

“... So what I’ve heard is that Solomon is going to personally select this year’s apprentices…” Vivian tells her friends, if they want to listen or not. “He’s now selecting suitable demons for these apprentices in the Devildom and...”

Cedric is elbowing Tristan, instead of listening to her. “I bet I can get their phone numbers first.” He brags, having caught his line of sight. 

“...It’s all because that last apprentice of his was a disappointment, of course…” Vivian doesn’t notice a thing. “Just appears out of nowhere…” She mutters contemptuously. “I heard they never even got engaged and-”

“Please don’t scare them off.” Elphias complains to his friends, obviously also barely have been listening to her. “They’re the prettiest girls here.”

“What are you idiots going on about?” Vivian pouts, finally noticing her audience is distracted and she doesn’t like being ignored for other pretty girls. Even if she wouldn’t give any of these three the time of day. 

“Tristan’s taken a fancy, I think.” Cedric laughs. “Maybe we should invite them to join us?”

Sybil shakes her head. “They have a baby with them, I doubt they want to entertain you three.” She rolls her eyes at the boys.

“Yes, let’s just admire them from afar.” Elphias agrees.

“Besides, why would you want to waste your time with a couple of mundanes? We need to be seen making a good impression with the right people so we can get our apprenticeships.” Vivian lectures on deaf ears.

“There he goes..” Cedric laughs, following behind Tristan, who - ignoring his friends - confidently approaches the two young women. 

“Ugh.” Vivian complains again with a roll of her eyes.

Sybil and Elphias give each other a meaningful look. “We better make sure they behave.” Sybil says to her brother, who nods.



Lily POV

We’ve been hanging around the edge of the improvised dance floor for a bit now. Pandora is enjoying the music and colorful garb of the dancers. Leila and I have been laughing at the delightful little faces and noises she’s been making. 

I don’t notice the two young men approaching us at first, not until one of them playfully nudges the other one aside and jogs up to us with a wide, charming smile. I see Leila stiffen beside me, her beautiful smile suddenly strained. I know she can sense, probably better than I can, that these two young men - and the rest of their group of friends following - all have magic flowing through their veins. I’m not sure if Leila is just nervous because they’re strangers or because she’s worried we’ll get found out. I’m not too worried though, I don’t recognize them, we haven’t performed any magic and we even drank that nasty potion before leaving the house, the one that cloaks your magical aura. 

“Hullo! Are you fine ladies enjoying the festivities today?” The young man asks us jovially. 

I make sure to smile warmly at him. “Hello. Yes, we’re having a fine day. And yourself?”

“Well honestly I was finding it all quite dull until I spotted you two beauties.” He flashes that smile again and Leila and I can’t help blinking at him in surprise. He’s certainly confident that we should be swooning by now. 

The other young man is beside him now, glaring at, who I assume is his friend. Then he gives us a sincere and apologetic smile. “I apologize for my friend here.” He tells us, extending his hand to me he says. “I’m Tristan, and that idiot is Cedric.”

“Nice to meet you both.” I say as I shake his hand. “I’m Li-” I almost make the mistake of giving them my name. “I’m Lisa. And this is Leila.” I notice the shy smile Leila has on her face as she accepts Tristan’s hand and the way he holds her hand just a little longer than he needs too. 

“Such beautiful names.” He compliments us but his eyes are glued on Leila. “We were wondering if you wanted to join us. We were just about to enjoy some of the games.”

I look at Leila wishing I could communicate with her as well as James can. We didn’t really plan on escaping the chaos of our own family just to spend the festival with this interesting looking bunch. Before either of us can reply, the rest of their group gathers around us.

“Hi!” One of the girls greets us with a sweet smile. I instantly like her. “I’m Sybil, this is my brother Elphias and this is Vivian.” In contrast, Vivian gives us a sickly sweet and totally fake smile that doesn’t reach her eyes. Elphias blushes with a shy smile in return. “I hope these two knuckleheads haven’t been bothering you?” She laughs.

“Not at all.” I smile back at Sybil. “It’s always nice to meet someone new.”

“You look familiar.” The girl Vivian says, looking down her nose at me suspiciously. “Have we met?”

“I don’t believe so.” I know I haven’t, I’d remember someone like her for sure. 

“Hmph. You’re probably right.” Then I swear she mutters something about social circles. I pretend not to hear her or notice the scowl Sybil sends her way. 

“That’s a beautiful baby!” Sybil changes the subject, speaking to Leila now. “Can I ask her name?”

“Sure.” Leila smiles proudly, showing off her adorable baby just a little more. Compliment her baby and you can do no more wrong! Haha! “Her name is Dora.” 

Pandora cheers, hearing a part of her name, though I’m a bit surprised with how quick Leila comes up with that name. I know she usually doesn’t like to use a shorter version of her daughter's name, but I guess it makes sense. Pandora isn’t a very common name and we don’t want to draw too much attention. Even though we apparently already have.

Sybil reaches out to let Pandora squeeze her finger, but then Chimera comes into action. Loudly twittering in her blue parakeet glamour, she descends on the finger, giving the newcomers a piece of her mind, no doubt.

“Oh!” Sybil looks surprised. “What a cute bird! And so tame!”

“Yeah, I called her Chimera.” Leila smiles shyly, gently picking up Chimera to calm her down in her secret animal language. “I know, it’s a strange name…”

“It’s very original.” Elphias reassures her. “How is she not flying away though?”

“And why isn’t the cat eating her?” Vivian looks down in Pandora's stroller a bit disgusted at our napping Shado. “What a useless hunter…” She doesn’t seem to be very fond of animals. But I suppose not everyone can be as crazy about them as Leila and me.

I notice Leila narrowing her eyes at her, suddenly looking a lot less shy. But she decides to ignore her. She can’t let her temper get the best of her and ruin our plan to lay low.

“We’re a tight knit family.” I try to explain the strangeness, we don’t want them suspecting they are familiars after all. “We just can’t bear to leave them at home.”

“Sorry, but before we go any further with our introductions I have to ask.” Cedric suddenly blurts. “Are you two a couple? And if so, do you have room for one more?” He grins cheekily. 

“Ced!” Tristan growls angrily at his friend for being so uncouth. 

“What?” Cedric just looks innocently at his friend. “It’s not like you didn’t want to kn- OW! Sybil! What the hell?!” He complains when Sybil pinches his ear firmly.

I look at Leila with wide eyes, her expression mimicking my own before we burst out in laughter. Oh gosh, is that really the impression we were giving? Asmodeus would have a field day! If anyone was ever joining that menage it would be him, or he will never forgive us! I crack up all over again just thinking about how our demons would react if we told them that we’ve given up on men and are dating each other now. 

“No...” I finally say, wiping a tear from my eye. 

“We’re just best friends.” Leila finishes for me, giggling. Her sweet beautiful smile is back on her face to stay this time. 

“Well, that’s good to know.” Cedric wraps his arms around our shoulders as if we’ve known him for years. “Just so you know, the offer still stands…” He ducks away from Elphias’ punch. “Oh, come on!”

“Just ignore the clown.” Tristan turns to Leila who is immediately shy again. “Do you want to play some of these games with us?”

Leila smiles at me. “It could be fun?” I know she just suggested we try some games and we know by now they definitely have not caught up on us being magical too. And this seems like just the group of people to be able to give us a carefree happy day with a lot of laughs. “Though, I’m not letting Dora out of my sight.” She warns them, as she puts her daughter back in her stroller.

“Yeah, I’m up for it.” I agree. The boys and even Sybil break into big smiles at our acceptance to hang out with them.

“Not me.” Vivian declares snootily. “I really have better things to do than hang out and play these dumb games with a bunch of mundanes…” And off she goes into the direction of one of those fake wiccan rituals. Probably to tell them how it’s supposed to be done. Well, I’m honestly not sad to see her go.

“Was that some sort of insult?” Leila wonders with a surprised expression on her face, watching her go.

“Don’t mind her.” Sybil assures us. “We have known her for years and she’s honestly not so bad once you get to know her. But she is a bit of a snob, sometimes.”

“No kidding…” Leila mumbles softly to me, making sure I’m the only one who hears it. I have to stifle a giggle. I’d be fine never meeting that girl again. 



“Go Lisa!” I can hear Sybil and Leila cheering me on and Pandora’s encouraging noises, as I plunge my face in a bucket of water again and again. 

It all started with Cedric being an idiot and challenging Tristan over a round of games, and somehow Leila and I would owe the winner our phone numbers. Instead of just telling them they were nuts I found myself in the challenger's ring, if I win, we keep our numbers to ourselves. I’ve never gone ‘apple-ducking’ as they like to say in these parts, but neither have my competitors apparently. 

I’m glad Asmo bought me waterproof makeup and put it in my bag, as I triumphantly spit out my last apple with a soaked face. I beat these boys by a mile and kept my hat on my head somehow at the same time. 

“Damn Lisa. What else can you do with that pretty mouth?” Cedric laughs with a lascivious grin, that is until Sybil and Elphias both punch him again. “Ow! Man, you guys are mean!”

I notice that Tristan put in a good effort for all the rest of the games we played that day too. Despite declaring Cedric an idiot, I could tell he wouldn’t give up an opportunity to win Leila’s number. I wasn’t sure if I should think of him as unusual or just very sweet for being sweet on a single mom. I mean, Leila IS gorgeous but most young guys wouldn’t be interested in a baby. However Tristan seemed to be a natural with Pandora and it was cute to see Leila’s flustered shy smiles around him. It was pretty endearing, maybe a guy like Tristan could be good for Leila? Either way, I didn’t think she was ready to date just yet. 

“Dammit Lisa.” Cedric pushes me playfully when I beat them at our last game of balloon darts. “I have to hand it to you, you’re good.”

“We should really go back.” Leila says, after the dart game. “I need to feed Dora at home and she needs to go to bed and I’m tired too…” She rambles off a whole list of excuses and I see Tristan looking a bit disappointed. That boy has fallen for Leila fast! 

“Right…” He says and I can see him thinking. “But maybe you want to meet up tomorrow evening for the bonfire?”

“Oh yeah!” Sybil jumps in enthusiastically. “Did you know that the bonfire stands symbolic for celebrating the light and respecting the darkness?” She looks as if caught as Elphias elbows her and mumbles. “Or, you know, according to Pagan beliefs…”

Leila grins at me: Of course we knew that. But we have to keep it to ourselves, of course. “Really?” I feign ignorance. “That really does sound interesting and beautiful. What do you think, Leila?”

Leila looks around the group of people who now seem to be our newest friends. All she sees are four pairs of pleading eyes, ignoring the one eye-roll that belongs to Vivian who decided to finally show up again. “I would like to… We’ll… um… think about it…” 

I know she wanted to come for the bonfire when we read about it in the pamphlet. For the same reason as Sybil just mentioned. But she also likes to stay low for now in the Magical Society. It's probably not a good idea in her mind to keep seeing these fun people and accidently slip up one time.

“Well, I’m just going to assume we’ll see you tomorrow then!” Cedric declares confidently with his arms again wrapped around my and Leila’s shoulders. Earning all the eye rolls.

“Maybe you can come up with a better plan to get our numbers by then.” I tease as I duck away from his arms, pulling Leila with me before I grab the stroller for her. 

“Leila..” Tristan calls out as we’re walking away. We didn’t SEE him do it, but we definitely felt the magic behind our backs as he jogs up beside her. “It was really nice meeting you.” He tells her, flashing his gorgeous smile while tucking a pretty amber Chrysanthemum - that he must have materialized for her with that surge of magic we felt - behind her ear. I stiffle a giggle as Leila ducks her head shyly. He gives her one more smile before turning around and jogging back to his friends. 

“Someone has an admirer.” I finally let out my giggle when we’re out of earshot and can talk plainly again. I’ve never seen Leila like this, but she’s been completely adorable under all his attention.

“Hardly.” Leila tries to refute it, but I notice she hasn’t taken the flower out of her hair. “Cedric seems to fancy you.” She tries to redirect the conversation.

I roll my eyes. “Please...I think Cedric fancies anything in a skirt.” I laugh. 

I didn’t mind it so much though, he acted like an idiot but I think he’s nice underneath it all. It was a nice distraction from everything else. I don’t think Leila or I will be entertaining the idea of new relationships for a long while. It seems impossible to even think about trusting someone new with my heart, I know that much. 

“Well…” Leila looks at me with some mischief in her eyes. “It’ll be interesting to meet them again after Solomon introduces James and I…”

I burst out laughing. “Yeah I can only imagine their faces when they realized they spent the day with Solomon’s granddaughter.” ...and ex-fiance...I don’t ruin the levity with that thought. “Vivian will regret dismissing us.” I snicker.

 

 

Chapter Text

Lily POV

I know Leila means well, going into Faery unprepared is a foolish choice. But missing this chance to find out more about my father also feels like a mistake. I know I can go through the veil during this festival. I sensed a doorway at the oak tree on the hill. I’m feeling very conflicted.

And of course Leila is right. She can’t join me with Pandora and she also can’t leave Pandora all by herself. But would it be too terrible if I went on my own? Only for one hour. Maybe two. Just to see how it is. While Leila is talking about our day at the festival and is making plans with me for going to attempt together on the next opportunity, I barely listen to her. I really want to try this time! Well, tomorrow night then. I like hanging out with just Leila for a change very much. We really need to make plans to do this regularly. The boys will probably be jealous, saying it is unfair…

 

I’d made up my mind to take Leila’s advice and wait to go together, as prepared as we can be. I’ve been relaxing by the hearth while Leila puts Pandora to bed after our day at the festival, when a strange feeling comes upon me. It’s sort of ticklish and then I swear I hear tiny bells chiming. Strange ..I walk out the front door to investigate. I hear the faintest strains of music...it’s fairy music...and it’s coming from the hill, I just know it! The music is beckoning me, as if it’s calling me home. I know I should close the door. Wait, like I’ve promised Lucifer and now Leila too. But would it really be so bad? It’s not as if we know enough to go fully prepared anyway..If I go now, at least I can get more information so we can be better prepared for our next trip.. Maybe I’ll even regain more of my memories? I’ll bring Leila then.

Before I even realize that I’ve made up my mind, I find myself already standing on the hill next to the giant old Oak tree. The music thrums through my veins potently, I almost feel inebriated and have to get my bearings. Okay, Lily! Focus. You can do this . I tell myself, looking around. All I see is the hill as usual, the mostly full moon out makes it easy to see. I walk slowly around the tree but find nothing, no clues, no hints. The music is still urging me to join my kin, yet I cannot find a way to do so. Frustrated, I rest my forehead on the oak. Riddles! I suddenly come upon an idea. The Fae love a good riddle or rhyme. 

“Lords and Ladies...fair and gentle...allow me in...to prove my mettle?” I frown at my poor rhyming skills. “Oh!” I gasp and step back from the tree as light shines through cracks in the bark, outlining a door. I grasp a gnarled looking tree knob that is in the perfect position to be a door handle. I almost squeal with excitement when it actually turns, the door opening outwards. The entrance in the tree is pitch black which is odd since there was just light shining through a moment ago. 

“I did it!” It’s a surreal moment. Suddenly Chimera alights on my shoulder startling me, I didn’t notice her following me. “Chimera…” I give her a little pet. “Go back to Leila.” I tell her, pointing to the house. 

I don’t need to understand Chimera to know that she disagrees, she’s hovering in front of my face now, chattering excitedly and pointing to the door. I’m conflicted, I know how much Leila loves her little fairy dragon. Chimera tugs on a lock of my hair, urging me forward. She seems just as entranced by the music as I do.

I shake the fog away long enough to leave Leila a magical note. Knowing how clever my dear friend is, once she notices I’m gone, this will be the first place she looks. I spell the note to appear when it senses Leila’s presence nearby. A neat trick that Solomon taught me only days before our engagement party. 

I push away those thoughts. I have no time to drown in misery right now. I have a mission to complete! Turning back towards the open doorway, I only hesitate a moment before stepping through. Well...here goes nothing .

“AHHH!” A short scream escapes when I step through and find nothing for my feet and find myself tumbling through the earth. Why didn’t I remember this from last time? “Oof!” I land on my knees in the dirt. Standing up to brush myself off, no one seems to have noticed. Chimera glides gently onto my shoulder, clearly laughing at my clumsiness. 

“Look Lily! Food and dancing!” Chimera cheers. I look at her with wide eyes. I understood her without the use of my magical earplugs. She chitters amused again, enjoying my expression, apparently. “We’re in Faery now, Lily. Can you understand me?” She tilts her head cutely to the side.

“I sure can. Wow...that’s neat.” I tell her, it is a surprise but considering where I am...Once again I find myself in Faery, in the midst of a revelry. This time I won’t be losing my faculties though. Stay away from the faery wine and drugs and you’ll be just fine. I encourage myself. Looking up as I brush dirt off my festival dress all I see is earth and the gnarled ancient roots of the oak tree. Shit.. .Now I need to add finding an exit to my to-do list tonight. 

“Come on Lily! Let’s play!” Chimera is tugging on my hair again, urging me further in. I smile to see her so excited, I know she’d never leave Leila but I can tell she’s excited to be here too.

“Chimera I need to focus, we can’t stay long.” I let her know, reminding myself of my agenda. “Stay close okay? I don’t want to lose you.” Chimera lets out a little huff and looks longingly at the long tables laden with food and the bands of merry dancing fairies. 

I’m surprised no one has really taken notice of me yet, but the revel seems to be well on its way and most of the Fae around me seem quite intoxicated. Their mouths stained with faery wine and their noses powered with the silver dust of fae opium. From pixies to hobgoblins and other creatures I don’t yet know the names of, I’ll need to venture further in to find anyone who might be of a mind to help me. 

I feel the beat of the drums as if in time with my own pulse. It’s hard to focus, something about Faery makes me feel wild and impulsive...vibrant and alive. I feel as if I could let go of all my worries and all of my sorrow. Nothing is more tempting than that right now. But I need to get information about my father. Steeling myself against the temptation. I move through throngs of lesser fae in the underground barrow, trying to be inconspicuous while looking out for someone approachable. 

I see an old woman sitting by a wall, weaving a basket. “Good Mabon to you, grandmother.” I mimic the way I remember Dain speaking to an elderly fae during the Lake Lo Lanthe revels. 

The old crone looks up from her weaving with a shrewd gaze. “Fair Mabon to you, mother.” I wrinkle my brow at her greeting, but I know well enough not to talk back to this woman. “Do you come seeking a boon?” 

I take my time before answering, wording is important to the Fae. “I came seeking news of my father.” 

“And who is your father, girl? What importance does he have?”

“I only know that he is important to me.” 

“Shall I give you the name of one who could help you?” The weaver asks.

It takes all my will not to blurt out an affirmation. “And what shall be your price?” I ask instead.

“Hmm..” I feel her assessing gaze over me once more. “How important is your father to you? Is he worth a year of your life? Your youth? Your beauty?” I gulp nervously. I'd surely trade all those and more for my father’s safety, but for only the name of someone who might be able to help me? I think of how to respond, but the old weaver cackles in amusement. “Give me a strand of your hair so I may weave it into my basket.” She names her price.

It seems simple enough but I know next to nothing about Fae magic, still, it seems harmless enough and I came here for information. I pull a strand of my hair and give it to the weaver and watch as she weaves it skillfully into the basket. I see nothing unusual or untoward about the action but the old woman looks pleased enough. “Find the one-eyed trow.” She tells me, going back to her basket work, as if to say our discussion is now done. 

“The one-eyed trow..” I grumble to Chimera once we’re out of earshot of the old crone. “I don’t even know what a trow is...Do you?” I ask her. Except I’m belated in realizing that Chimera is no longer with me!

In a panic, I stop worrying about trows and set to search for the little fairy dragon. Leila will never forgive me if I don’t bring her back in one piece! I finally spot the naughty little thing gorging herself on fairy fruit. But as my luck would have it, she’s at a table near the Lords dais. 

“Just my luck..” I grumble to myself as I duck out of sight of the imperious and dangerous high Fae that linger. 

 

Leila POV

I’ve just put Pandora to bed and am looking forward to a nice quiet and relaxing evening with Lily in front of the hearth. It’s been so nice these last two days. Finally I feel I’m getting some peace of mind. Maybe we can do some more cooking together. We’ve found some interesting recipes today during the Pagan festival. I also had a really fun time with those nice people we met at the festival. They’re probably members of the Sorcerers’ Society. Novices or apprentices, maybe? I wonder what Lily thinks of it.

But when I come down to the living room, Lily is nowhere to be found. Just Shado lies passed out in front of the fire, enjoying the heat. I don’t see Chimera anywhere either, but that’s not so strange. Usually around this time she checks on her treasure, or does something naughty. She’s probably in Mammon’s room, trying to steal back what he stole from her. Or it was the other way around. Who keeps up with those two, really.

Lily must have gone to the bathroom, I tell myself. I will make some spicy autumn tea for us. I should remember to give some of it to Barbatos, before we drink it all. It’s that delicious.

But Lily doesn’t return from the bathroom. Maybe she went for a bit of a walk on her own? But she seemed so tired earlier, when she was snoozing on the sofa. I didn’t think she was going to do much of any activity tonight. Chimera also doesn’t return. Strange. Around this time Shado and Chimera usually are going to do their nightly hunting and foraging. Though I think it’s mostly hanging out without people-time for them, so they can gossip.

Shado wakes up from his nap and comes walking over to me for cuddles. “Where’s Chimera?” He asks me, while giving me headbuts and purrs.

“I don’t know. Lily is away too…” I tell him pensively. “They must have gone out together, but there is no note.”

“Also not on your talking device?” He asks me, meaning my DDD. But I shake my head, I’ve already checked. “Hm, why would they not tell us?”

“Probably because they were planning to do something naughty.” I sigh. “Do you want to help me go look for them? We can’t go too far though…” I have to stay close to Pandora.

I grab my flashlight and a coat, because summer is really starting to disappear now. It’s already dark for hours. Once outside, I notice the millions of stars and the still almost full but waning moon and a thought comes to mind: the image of Lily looking longingly to the presumed Fae oak, yesterday. No… Lily wouldn’t… Not all on her own... Right?

But Shado has them already sniffed out, walking with his tail up high in a beeline to the hill. Dammit! Maybe we really are two damsels, getting into trouble. As I approach the tree I feel as if I am being pulled and repelled at the same time. This isn’t good, but I need to find Lily! When we reach the oak, Lily is nowhere to be seen however. Still Shado insists that she’s right here. Then I see the note appear, floating in front of me. It looks like a version of the magical notes Solomon sometimes makes for us, when he’s out extra early to the Devildom. 

“Dear Leila, if you find this note it means I’ve successfully made it into Faery. I’m sorry I couldn’t wait...please forgive me and stay safe with Pandora tonight, I plan to be back before sunrise. - Lily. PS: Chimera insists on coming with me, I’ll bring her back safely. Xoxo“

After I’ve picked up the note, I feel the strange sensation change. I’m no longer being repelled. It’s like something tries to draw me to… I don’t know… Here? But different. I need to get away from here right now! I quickly cast my forcefield around myself, before I am enchanted. Or whatever is going on. I won’t get abducted and leave Pandora all alone in the world!! 

It must have been my mother instincts fuelling my power, because I blast myself so hard away from the tree that I tumble down the hill. Shado comes running after me. Sitting on my chest, to see if I’m all right.

“What’s going on, Leila?” He asks me curiously.

I stand up and take him in my arms as if he can protect me. “I’m not sure. I felt something trying to lure me in, I think…” I try to keep my voice calm, but I honestly feel I could cry right now. “Lily and Chimera will be staying out tonight. But we need to get back to Pandora.” 

I really hope she’s okay! I’m half in a panic as I rush back to the house. What I felt wasn’t friendly. I really hope Lily is okay too, but I have to get back to Pandora! She’s my first priority right now! 

It’s like Shado can sense what I’m worried about right now, because he jumps out of my arms and speeds towards the house. When I arrive there too out of breath, he’s already in her room. Sitting next to her head, guarding her. I make an audible relieved sound. He’s such a good smart kitty!

 

Lily POV

The throne-like chair on the dais is unoccupied. Hopefully this barrow has no Lord or Lady. Either way, I’m not in the position to catch their attention. So I find myself ducking under the far end of the long table, moving on my hands and knees until I reach where hopefully Chimera is still above. 

“Chimera.” I whisper hoping she can hear me. “Chimera!”

“Are we playing a game?” The voice beside me makes me stifle a shout of surprise. “Who’s Chimera?”

“Dain!” I hiss instead of answering, causing the mischievous Fae to press his finger against my lips with a look of warning. “Here to steal my memories again?” I whisper harshly.  

“I thought I told you not to come back.” He ignores my accusation.

“I never agreed to that.” I tell him. Besides, this is a different barrow. 

Chimera has darted under the table to join us in the meantime. “What do you want with our Lily? You should go away!” She scolds him fiercely, before turning to me and excitedly starts telling me all about the food she’s tasted tonight. Apparently Leila and I bake delicious Mabon treats, but nothing can compare to some of the Fae delicacies here.

“Where’s Cinder? I haven’t seen him in weeks! Did you do something to him?” I accuse with a huff. 

“Is that what you’re calling him?” Dain’s eyes twinkle with amusement. “I haven’t done anything to the little traitor.” He rolls his eyes. “He is probably laying low so I don’t banish him back to the elemental realm. Where are you going?” Dain asks as I shuffle on my hands and knees around him, Chimera riding atop my head. He’s in his finery and the three of us must make for an absurd sight. 

“Away from you.” I say, before giving him a pointed look. “Unless you’ll tell me of my father?” 

“Thrice now I’ve warned you. There’s nothing I can tell from my own lips. I’ll not say it again.”

I roll my eyes at his fairy talk. It annoys me that he knows something and refuses to tell me. Whether by choice or not, I’m not sure. “Come on Chimera, we need to find a one-eyed trow…” I tell her, ignoring Dain. “Do you know what a trow is?” 

“Oh no Lily, not a trow, you don’t want to talk to them.” She tells me with a hint of panic in her tiny voice. “They’re awful.”

“The one-eyed trow?” Dain asks from behind me. 

“Why are you following me?” I complain. I can’t have him following me around, he’ll just draw eyes my way. 

“The view was so lovely, I couldn’t help myself.” He chuckles.

Pig. .I think to myself, rolling my eyes once more. I peek under the table cloth before making a hasty exit, trying to disappear back into the crowd of rowdy, dancing Fae. As I weave my way between dancers I belatedly think that I should have asked him where the exit is around here. I’m about to consider turning around when a squat wrinkled man appears behind me. He only has one eye.

“I heard a strange topside girl was lookin’ for me.” He says with a toothy grin. The dwarf sized man has a mouthful of rotten looking sharp teeth. I try not to shudder. Fae are easily offended. Or so I’ve been told. Chimera is hiding in my hair and starts to urgently whisper in my ear.

“I’m looking for information on the whereabouts of my father.” I tell the strange little man, or trow, whatever he is. I don’t like the greedy glint in his eye, unlike a certain loveable avatar I get nothing but bad vibes from this one. 

“I can scry him out….for a price.” He grins that awful toothy grin at me again. I try to focus and ignore Chimera’s frantic warnings in my ear. 

“What price would you ask?” I ask, trying to keep the trepidation out of my voice.

“Hmm.” The little trow leers over my body with his one eye. “A Father for a child.”

“What do you mean? Speak plainly...please.” 

I flinch back when he places his stubby hand on my stomach. “I’ll fetch your father in exchange for your first born child.” He grins, speaking so nonchalant about something so terrible. 

I take a few steps back. I don’t plan on having children anytime soon, especially not now that Solomon is gone, but I’d never give up that future to this despicable creature. 

“How dare you touch my lady, you filthy little scamp.” Suddenly Dain is between me and the one-eyed trow.

“Apologies my Lord, I didn’t know the lady was with you.” The trow speaks politely with a small bow as I peek at him from behind Dain. “But the lady has business with me.” 

“No. We have no business.” I tell him. His price is ridiculous. “Unless you have more reasonable terms?” All I get in return is a hateful scowl. When he departed from our company I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. “You didn’t need to interfere. I had it handled.” I tell Dain as I scan the room. Surely there has to be some reasonable soul in this den of revelry who’d be willing to help me?

“Come.” Dain takes my hand and pulls me towards the revelers. “That sorrowful look doesn’t suit your countenance. You’ve made a good effort tonight. Now it is time to make merry.”

“I don’t want to.” I tell him. It’s a lie. My whole being wants nothing more than to drink and dance the night away and forget everything. “Especially not with you.” I try to tug my hand from his grasp. Chimera runs down my arm and bites his hand.

Faster than I can track, he’s grabbed her by her scruff with his long slender fingers. She’s squeaking at him so fast and indignantly that I can’t even understand her anymore. “Let her go.” I plead with him. “She’s important to someone I know.”

“Behave.” He tells Chimera, looking directly into her eyes. Charming her as effectively as Asmodeus himself. I’m thankful I’m immune as he smiles jovially and deposits her back on my shoulder. Before I knew what was happening, we joined the circle of dancers.

 

Leila POV

I tried, but I didn’t get too much sleep that night. I have been so worried for Lily. She wrote to be home by sunrise. But it’s already past ten in the morning. The sun has risen for two and a half hours! What should I do?! 

Those idiots must have sensed something. I keep getting texts from Mammon and Lucifer, if I’m feeling alright, if Lily is okay. It’s crazy they can sense my worry across the country. But they could feel my labor anxiety and emotions across worlds, too. I need to calm down! I can't have them showing up here! Lucifer will drag me to Serenity Manor by my hair, no doubt. To live there where he can keep an eye on us. Ugh. I’m not looking forward to that confrontation.

I decide I don’t want to give Lily more time and the guys more of my anxiety. I don’t know what I can do to get her back, but I’m not going to sit here wasting precious time! So I text Solomon. He’ll know what to do.

Solomon <> Leila

> Leila: I REALLY need your help with something.
> Leila: Could you come right away? Please?

I know he’s still busy in the Devildom. He hasn't had all his pacts restored yet and I know that is very important for him. But he knows I won’t be asking this if it isn’t serious.

< Solomon: Of course, Leila.
< Solomon: I’ll be there right away.

Once my grandfather arrives I burst into a monologue of a thousand apologies, worries, feelings of annoyance and guilt and everything in between, all while pacing the room like Mammon always does when he’s a bundle of nerves. Until Solomon sets me down in a chair.

“Well, that’s fairly easy to solve.” He tells me calmly and I blink at him with big eyes. He must be joking. Still, his calm demeanor makes me calmer too. “You said Chimera went with her, correct?”

I just nod.

“That’s good.” He nods satisfied. “Lily didn’t go on her own, and what’s more: her companion is a Fae as well.” I still don’t understand where he’s going with this, but I wait for him to continue. “What’s more, Chimera is your familiar, as well. There is a simple witches ritual to call your familiar and connect with them from a distance. The better your bond, the easier it will be. And you happen to have a very strong bond with your familiars and a very special talent of being able to communicate with animals.”

“Okay, so if I learn that, I can summon Chimera?” I’m feeling much better now that there seems to be a solution.

“No, not exactly.” Solomon denies that. “But you’ll be able to make a telepathic link between the two of you. It will be tiring, so you should get some rest while I get the necessary ingredients. I will be back soon.” With that, he disappears to one of his residences, no doubt.

Ugh… ‘Get some rest’ while I’m worried sick! Easy for him to say! Still, now that I’m feeling I’m no longer alone in this I feel calmer. I tell Shado to watch Pandora and close my eyes for a nap.

 

Lily POV

I collapse onto a bench with Dain, laughing about who knows what, I can’t even remember anymore. I pass a grape to Chimera before popping one in my own mouth. “Wine?” Dain tries to pass another cup to me but I refuse, I’ve already made the mistake of imbibing. At least this is progress, the last time I was in Faery I couldn’t seem to refuse anything, everything was far too tempting. 

“Why are you even here?” I ask him as we snack on fruits and cheeses. “I thought you lived at the Barrow at Lake Lo Lanthe?” There’s something I feel I’m forgetting but I can’t think of what it is. 

“I go wherever my mistress bids me to go.” He shrugs off my question, evading. Fairies can’t tell direct lies, but they are masters of manipulation and misdirection.

“And WHY did your mistress bid you here?” I inquire. Honestly I don’t know why I even bother talking to him, he’s infuriating, but somehow I always have a lot of fun with him too.

“This barrow and all the lands around it belong to no faery courts. Only the wild fae and free folk live on the lands claimed by the Wizard.” Dain begins to tell me something that doesn’t have anything to do with my question but it’s interesting so I don’t interrupt him. “The courts do their best to avoid tangling with the human Magical Society. Even so, this makes it a neutral meeting ground for allies and enemies alike.”

I take a while to digest what he’s told me. “But Solomon has no claim on faery lands.” I protest, that doesn’t make sense to me.

Dain rolls his eyes at my ignorance. “That’s true but the earth and Faery are inexplicably tied which is why we avoid certain areas.”

It’s a vague explanation but I don’t press him for more. At least not on that subject. “So, were you meeting with allies or enemies?” I ask instead. 

“Do you wish to pay a price for the answer?” He asks in return, all I give him is a scowl. Which only delights him for some reason as he pulls me back up to join the next round of dancing.

“Lily! Lily!” Chimera tugs hard on my hair to get my attention. “I hear Leila!” She seems both excited and nervous. I look around in surprise.

“Leila? I hope not. Could she have gotten in on her own?” I wonder aloud. 

“She says to come home.” Chimera insists.

I laugh, I should feel guilty but right now I only feel amused. It’s just like Leila to worry when I’ve only been gone a few hours. “How do you even know that?” 

“She’s contacting me through our familiar bond.” Chimera tells me, now I know why she’s excited. “We’ve been gone a long time, Lily. We really need to go. My Leila is worried.” she pleads with me. 

“That can’t be right.” I frown. I look to Dain for confirmation but of course the gorgeous, damnable man just grins at me. But if I have been away for as long as Chimera claims, I should be exhausted. While I now notice my muscles do ache a bit, I still feel like I could keep going for hours more. 

“Surely you can stay a little longer.” Dain smiles at me, trying to charm me, no doubt. Maybe I really should go. I don’t like to see Chimera so distressed and I don't think there’s anyone here who will help me.

“Let’s find that exit.” I tell Chimera, suddenly feeling sober.

Chapter Text


Leila POV

It’s hours later when I jolt awake from Pandora’s crying. The surge of panic subsides just as quickly when I see Solomon taking her out of her crib with an already prepared bottle for her. 

“You’re back!” I sound very relieved.

“Oh yes,” He smirks over his shoulder. “For a couple of hours already. But you looked like you didn’t get much sleep last night.” He now settles in a comfy armchair, with Pandora eagerly demanding her bottle.

“You still should have woken me up. We need to get Lily back!” I tell him sternly.

“You can’t do this before tonight when the doorway will appear for her again.” He explains to me calmly. “Fae have all these rules. If humans find their own way out of their realm, they won’t stop them, but they close their veils during the daylight. In the meantime, I will help you prepare.”

Another text from Serenity Manor pings and I frown at Lucifer’s demanding question to know if everything really is okay. Again. I earlier basically commanded him not to come, that Lily and I don’t want to be disturbed, but I must have alerted him again by waking up so anxious.

“You haven’t told them yet, have you?” Solomon concludes, seeing my frown. I know he means Mammon and the others.

I sigh, shaking my head. “No, but they know something is up. But I’m not going to tell them anything, either! Lucifer will lock Lily up and throw away the key!”

Solomon chuckles, hearing me being defensive for my friend. “Well, I can’t entirely disagree with him.” He smirks as I glare at him. “Seems her Fae genes bring out her rebellious side. It’s quite interesting, really. I will do some research on the matter, so you can help her to be safe next time.”

I smile at him and give him a kiss on his cheek. He really understands the importance of family and that Lily just HAS to find her father. I’m glad he’s on our side. I’m sure Lily will appreciate his support over time as well .

“Well then, let’s get to cooking.” He says, once Pandora has had her fill and is contentedly napping in her crib again. “We’re going to concoct a potion that will put you in a trance-like state. I will stay by your side to guide you through your trance. When you’ve done this more often, you should be able to stay focussed during your trance by yourself, but I’m not taking any chances today.”

Once we’ve made the potion, Solomon has me take a sip and relax on a chair. “Focus on Shado in the other room.” He instructs with his hands placed on my shoulders while he stands behind me. It feels safe. I feel anchored by him, while at the same time it feels like I'm floating away. “You should get an image of where he is and what he is doing.”

“Ugh, he’s trying to sneak a kitty cookie from the jar.” I complain, while my voice does not quite sound like my own right now.

Solomon chuckles, squeezing my shoulders in encouragement. “Well, tell him to stop. But only use your thoughts.”

I give Shado a stern talking to in my mind and see him jump up high with his fur poofed up and looking around suspiciously, then he starts washing his face as if this was his plan all along. I burst out laughing from the silly reaction, breaking the trance. Solomon smiles, giving me a compliment for my successful first try, but then tells me I have to stay focused for when it really matters. I nod in understanding. Soon after, Shado comes over to us, complaining as to why I gave him a fright like that. But when I explain it to him he is willing to help me train.

I’m pretty exhausted afterwards, but I have mastered the new ritual by the end of our session. Solomon tells me to sleep and he will take care of everything at home until it is time to call Chimera home. And hopefully she will manage to bring Lily with her then.

Solomon has been taking care of everything today. Even cooked me a meal, yay. Of course I thanked him for it, but I wasn’t going to eat it. So I made it vanish and quickly ate some crackers as he was preparing a last batch of potion. He says I might need it more often, now that I know this ritual. I’m just glad he’s still not experimenting with food for Pandora! Haha!

But anyway, when the sun started setting, we set off towards the oak tree. We both felt the strange sensation, but I felt much less frightened. Solomon is keeping Pandora safe with him. I couldn’t leave her alone in the Manor and be distracted worrying about her while in my search for Lily and Chimera.

I sit on the ground in front of the tree. Solomon is keeping me anchored again. I just know I won’t get lured in tonight. I focus on looking for Chimera and thanks to our practicing, I soon have an image of her in my mind. To my relief I see Lily’s purple hair all around her. At least they’re still together! 

“Chimera, come!” I tell her with my thoughts. “You have to tell Lily that she has to come home!” I try to put as much urgency in my thoughts as I can. “Look for the exit, Chimera.”

I can see her react immediately. She looks happy to hear me, looking around excitedly. Asking me where I am, with her own thoughts. I tell her I’m still in the Human World and that she has to get Lily away from there before she gets trapped. But then the trance is broken.

“Rest some and try again.” Solomon tells me encouragingly. “We have all night, don’t worry.”

And so I try again and again. At a certain point Chimera tells me that Lily wants to return now and that she’s looking for the exit. I try to keep the telepathic link open as long as possible each time, so that she doesn't get distracted from what I really want her to do.

Eventually Chimera told me they found the exit and then I lost her again. It’s been several minutes and we don’t see them anywhere. I’m not sure if we expected them to appear out of thin air but I certainly wasn’t expecting to glance down the hill and notice Lily stumbling out of the forest, waving up at us before collapsing!

I jump up and run down the hill, Solomon following me at a safer pace with Pandora. Lily is sitting up again by the time I reach her, she looks fine except for the dirt and twigs she’s brushing off her dress absentmindedly. Chimera has already flown to my shoulder chatting away excitedly when I drop to my knees and hug Lily so tightly that I might have bruised her if I was stronger! So relieved!

“Oof!” She groans, patting my back. “What’s the fuss, Leila? It’s still dark! And you brought Solomon? You didn’t have to do that, I was perfectly fine…” She looks around me to look at Solomon shyly.

“Still dark?” I can’t help shrieking. I’m not angry, just relieved. But did she really think she was only gone for a couple hours?! “It’s dark AGAIN, Lily! I was so worried, you have no idea...” I almost cry, squeezing her again. 



Lily POV

I feel a bit shocked to hear that I’ve been gone for over 24 hours. No wonder Leila seems so overanxious as she inspects me. “I’m so sorry Leila, I just got caught up in the revelry.” I begin to explain as I pull away from Leila and we stand up together, Chimera gives Leila lots of reassuring kisses to try to make her feel better. 

“Who’s Dain?” Leila asks. Chimera, that little tattle-tale! I think to myself but before I can answer a wave of dizziness hits me and I need to sit down in the grass. Now that I’m no longer in Faery, all that dancing and lack of sleep is catching up with me.

“He’s the fae who sent Cinder to spy on me. He knows something about my father but refuses to tell me. He says it’s for my own protection.” I huff in annoyance as she looks down on me, still worried and picking a twig out of my hair. “A real nuisance.” I say with a large yawn.

“Why are you so dirty?” Leila keeps asking questions. “Why were you in the forest, we thought the entrance was on the hill?”

I nod. “The entrance is.” I confirm. “But the exit was in a hollowed out tree trunk. We had to crawl and I barely fit.” That doorway was probably meant for smaller folk, I didn’t tell her that Dain had tried to warn me, I just thought he was trying to keep me longer. 

Leila looks at Solomon. “Do you think you could carry her back home?” She asks while taking Pandora from his arms.

“Ugh.” I groan, attempting to stand again. Leila assists me with a hand. Gosh my legs are sore. “I’m fine really, just tired.” I yawn again. “And I'm sore.” I attempt to take a wobbly step towards the house and my legs shake as I almost collapse again except this time Solomon catches me.

“Steady now.” He tells me. His touch is firm and familiar yet foreign as well. My heart feels a stab of longing and loneliness. I try to step away from him, it’s not as if I dislike Solomon, I respect him very much, it's just too painful to have him so near, reminding me of what I’ve lost. For a few blissful hours in Faery I was able to forget...well I guess more than a few. My attempts to flee his side are as useless as my legs. With a wry chuckle he easily lifts me in his arms.

“Just let him help you Lily.” Leila looks at me pleadingly and I can’t refuse her. Not after I’ve made her worry. I nod and we all start back towards the house. I’m so tired I find myself relaxing in his hold despite how awkward I feel. I close my eyes and can hear the steady beat of his heart. For just this moment I can pretend that he’s a different Solomon. 



Leila POV

Last night Lily came back so exhausted that she fell asleep in Solomon's arms before we even made it back to the house. Even little Chimera was sleep deprived and immediately went to her nest. After seeing Lily safely tucked into her bed in the guest room, Solomon has promised to stay the night to keep an eye on things, saying I really need my sleep too.

I sent Lucifer a picture of Lily sleeping serenely in her bed just to get him off my back. I’ll leave the decision to Lily if she wants to fill him in on her escapades. I really wish she would not have gone on her own but I’m just relieved she is back safe, I definitely could not handle losing someone else. On the other hand, I can’t help being curious to talk with her and learn more about her time in Faery. She’s not going without me next time, I know that much!



Lily POV

I wake up with a start. Looking out the window I see that the sky is still dark. What time is it? I check my DDD with sleepy eyes. “Huh. Only 6 AM. And what’s with all these messages from Lucifer?” I put my phone away. I can’t think of that now. Ugh… My body is still tired and my muscles ache but my mind is racing, there’s no way I am getting back to sleep at this rate. 

I remember why I woke up. I was dreaming about the crone who called me mother, and then she turned into the trow, making his awful request. Some sort of alarm bells were going off inside of me and all I could think about was protecting the mother and child that lived in this house. I don’t know if the current wards, though effective on demons, would necessarily work on Fae as well, but I just have the feeling that they might not…

  Recalling the precautions I have learned from Dain all those weeks ago, I get dressed quickly and make my way outside to find what I need. 

“Lily.” Solomon’s voice jolts me out of my daze only mere steps outside the door. “Where are you going?” 

I turn to look at him, his eyes are narrowed in suspicion and I couldn’t stop the irrational pain that stabs at my heart. “I...I’m going to gather herbs and berries.” I tell him, turning and walking away, wanting to put distance between us. 

I hear him sigh and then the door closes and his footsteps follow behind me. I guess he doesn’t trust me, well not surprising after what I put Leila through. Still it’s annoying and hurtful and I try to blink away the pinpricks of tears in my eyes. 

“You know you’re welcome to anything in the pantry.” Solomon tells me. 

“I need fresh St. John's wort and red berries…” I tell him, still refusing to look at him. 

“There’s a holly tree over this way.” He tells me, I stop to glance to where he’s pointing. “And I think I know where we can find some St. John’s wort too.” I nod and follow him, feeling tense. Soon enough I’m picking holly berries in silence with Solomon watching me. “Lily…” Solomon begins to speak to me, but he seems to be waiting for something so I stop what I’m doing and turn towards him. His expression softens a little when I finally meet his eyes. “Lily, I can only imagine how hard this is for you. I’ve lost many people dear to me in my time but I’ve never had to deal with..” he motions between us. “Something like this.”

“I...I feel like I’ve been robbed of my future.” I try to explain what it is like for me. I want to turn away again, I don’t want him to look at me with pity. 

But he doesn’t, instead he says to me, “I’ve tried to give you space, a courtesy the brothers don’t seem to be able to extend to James and Leila.. but I feel I need to remind you that you still have obligations and duties as a sorceress. Soon, you and I will have to work together. We will need to bring retribution to the ones responsible for your tragedy as soon as possible and I’ll need all three of you at my side when we face the Magical Society as a unified front. I need you to stand strong and endure the gossip that I’m sure will ensure for a time.”

I take my time absorbing his words. He’s given me a reality check and for a moment I feel as if he’s dumped ice water on me, but I know he means well. He basically just promised me to help avenge Solomon’s and Mammon’s deaths. And he’s also right, I owe it to my own Solomon to continue on this path. Finally I nod in acknowledgement. “I’ll do my best.” 

Then he smiles a smile I miss so much and my heart squeezes painfully. “Thank you. Now if you want to tell me what you’re doing, I could help you?”

I muster up a small grateful smile for him and explain to him exactly what has me up so early. 

“Hm…” Solomon nods and thinks. “The Fae living here never have bothered me before. But then again, I also never lived here with a young mother and a baby before. It wouldn’t hurt to take extra precautions.” He gives me an approving smile. “Thank you for looking out for my family, Lily.”

After we’ve gathered the ingredients I was looking for, Solomon and I are walking back to the house in silence, until he clears his throat right before we reach the door. 

“Lily...I apologize for bringing this up now but I think we need to have a discussion on what we’re going to say when we’re asked about...your engagement. As uncomfortable as it is, having a consistent response will make it easier.”

He’s right of course. Sooner or later, it’s going to come up. But anger and despair still war inside me. It’s so unfair that I can’t tell the world the truth, that he died a senseless death at the hands of selfish horrible people that would just see our world fall into corruption. The world doesn't even know how lucky they are to have his replacement here working harder than ever to make our reality better.

“Lily?” Solomon’s voice gently calls me back to our conversation as I nervously twist my engagement finger.

“Yes.” I blink, nodding. “Whatever you think is best.” I know it's unfair of me, but I’d really appreciate it if he just made a decision on this. 

“I see.” Solomon nods. “Well I did have something in mind. We can just say that in light of recent events, we’ve decided to hold off on our engagement while we focus on our duties concerning the Sorcerer’s Society.”

It sounds reasonable. My own Solomon, had he lived, might have done the same thing. He wouldn’t have rested easily until he took down everyone who thought to attack us, I know that much. “Yes, okay.” I tell him. “It will take quite a while to accomplish this and while we do, it will just look as if things...naturally fizzle out. Without drama…” I muster a small smile for him before turning back and entering the house to get to work on my project.



Leila POV

It’s the next morning now and I’m heading to Pandora’s room to start her morning routine. I almost yelp in alarm when I see someone standing over her crib until I realize it’s only Lily. “Lily! What are you doing? You gave me a fright.” I tell her as I make my way inside.

Lily looks at me with wide, red watery eyes. She's hanging an odd looking mobile above Pandora’s crib. It’s made of herbs, red berries and bits of iron. Asmodeus would go as far as to call it hideous if he was here. “Sorry Leila.” She gives me a sheepish look. “I woke up from a nightmare and could not rest again until I finished this.” She must have left the house early to forage for the herbs and berries but I have no idea where she sourced the iron.

She takes my hand and leads me out into the hall. “I don’t want to alarm you but I met some fae last night that I wouldn’t want to introduce you to, or let them know there’s a baby as special as Pandora so close by.”

Alarm bells are ringing in my head now, no matter what Lily says. I’m confident in Solomon and I’s wards when it comes to repelling demons and evil spirits but fae are a whole other thing and one I feel undereducated about. “All right.” I nod, trying not to let her see my inner panic. “I want you to tell me everything over breakfast and then you and I will figure out together how to better protect the house.”

Lily nods and gives me a relieved smile. “I’ll make breakfast toda-ACHOO!.” She stops mid-sentence to cover a sneeze.

“Maybe you should go back to bed? You look like you’re coming down with something.” I say with mild concern.

“Oh. I’ll be fine. I’m just mildly allergic to these ingredients.” She tells me, making her way downstairs as I go back in the room to fetch Pandora. 

During breakfast Lily tells Solomon and me everything that transpired during her time in Faery. I admit the merrymaking, the dancing and music all sound enchanting but there are definitely alarming bits to her tale. One thing we do know about Fae is there are sorts that love to kidnap children and young mothers. It’s almost enough to make me consider moving but I don’t think Solomon would have brought us here if we were in any serious, imminent danger. As Lily describes the various ways to protect yourself from Fae enchantments, I’m already coming up with the beginnings of new spells in my head with these ingredients in mind. But one detail sticks out in my mind. 

“I’m all for protecting the Manor but I don’t want you to be poisoned every time you visit.” I say with a frown. 

Lily waves off my concern. “It’s no different than if you had an allergy to pollen. It’s mildly irritating but I’m too human to be poisoned.” She assures me. Then she laughs, reminiscing.. “One year Dad broke out in hives when I made a bunch of wreaths out of holly. He’d never cook on the cast iron pan, he said it made the meat taste funny and I thought it had an unpleasant smell. I could only wear earrings if they were pure gold or silver, but that’s such a common allergy you know?”

“All the clues were there but you had no idea…” I nod along, it all seems so normal unless you already knew better.

“I’m sorry again that I didn’t wait, in the end I didn’t get any information about my father.” She sighs sadly, returning to the previous topic Even so, I can tell there’s a side of her that doesn’t regret going. It bothers me that this Dain character pays so much attention to Lily when he clearly knows something about her father and won’t divulge it. There’s something more afoot here.

“Just so you both know.” Solomon has mostly listened to our conversation up until now, but now he addresses Lily directly. “And as I told Leila earlier. I’m supportive of you two wanting to look for your father. I understand the importance of family, Lily. But I want you two to always go together from now on. And make better plans first. Protect yourself and each other from Fae traps and tricks. And take Chimera with you and heed her warnings.”

“Okay…” Lily whispers a bit guiltily after Solomon’s stern sounding speech. “Thank you, Solomon. For your support..” He gives her nod and a friendly smile and goes back to his papers.

“You should try to get some more sleep for now.” I tell her, she doesn’t look as if she’s slept at all, she still needs to catch up on her rest. “I’m going to gather the ingredients you mentioned and experiment on some spells.” 

“All right.” She nods. “But wear this when you go out from now on.” She takes something out of her pocket and slips it on my wrist. It’s a string of red holly berries.


Later that day Lucifer came over with Mammon, James and Lucien to bring them back and to bring Lily home again. I tried really hard to escape his intense stare. Of course he knows something has happened yesterday. And he probably thinks he can glare the truth out from me. But I also could feel his pride that Lily and I were able to solve whatever was going on ourselves. It probably gives him some relief that when he has to return to the Devildom, he can trust that we are able to keep ourselves safe.

But it was pretty uncomfortable. 



Back at Serenity Manor 

Belphegor sneaks into Lily’s room later that night. He missed having her around for the past few days. He knows that the girls like to be just together sometimes, without all of them, but it makes him feel a bit jealous. He wants to be a part of it. To have them both for himself, that would be so nice… Of course Leila isn’t ready for that. Though it seems she may be softening up for him again? Or maybe that’s just his wishful thinking.

“Lily, are you awake?” He whispers as he crawls next to her in bed. Lily always has too much energy, it was odd to see her come home completely exhausted. Just what were those girls up to?

She snuggles against him sleepily and whispers back. “Just barely.”

“Okay, good.” Belphegor wraps his arm around her shoulders, but doesn’t say anything more. It’s hard to just ask what you want to know, if you’re not prepared to listen to something that might be negative.

“We had fun and Leila is feeling okay in general.” Lily knows what he wants to know. Belphegor sighs in relief, but Lily continues. “But she’s very sad, I can tell. She doesn’t know how to deal with her loss and the news of James’ death and her Belphie’s involvement. So she’s just determined to stay strong…”

“I would like to really talk with her.” Belphegor says, sounding equally sad to Lily’s ears. “I miss her...But she won’t see me.” He finally has her permanently in his own reality, but she seems more out of his reach than ever before.

“It’s just hard for her. She doesn’t have the same connection to Lilith’s soul as James and I. But I’m confident that eventually everything will turn out okay.”

He hums, not sounding convinced yet, but changes the subject. “So you two had fun? What did you do?”

Lily starts telling him about Chimera’s dance and her day out with Leila at the Pagan festival. She leaves out the part about Tristan following Leila like a lovesick puppy. She skirts around the fact that she snuck away on her own the second night and was gone for an entire day without knowing it herself. But he’s the first brother she confides in about being in Faery again in the first place and the strange encounter that’s been on her mind ever since.

“... I met this strange person…” She says, still sounding confused and Belphegor, who was feeling content with listening to what sounded like a happy day for the girls, pays more attention to her voice, even if you couldn’t see it from his relaxed appearance. “I was told he could give me information about my father. Except he didn’t just offer me information, he offered me a trade. My father in exchange for my first born child…” Lily sounds very confused and a little offended. “Of course I would never make a bargain like that. That’s just too awful! But it was such a strange conversation… I need to figure this out, it’s annoying that the info I need is right at my fingertips but still out of reach. What do you think, Belphie?” She turns her head to look at him. “Oh, you’re already asleep.” She smiles and gives him a kiss on his cheek.

Lily turns to her side to finally get some sleep as well. She feels as if she’s been partying for a full day. And she actually has, as it turned out. Leila and Solomon were right to tell her not to go into Faery without a plan again. But next time she won’t go alone and she will be better prepared. She won’t barter off her future children, but she’s determined to finally find her father. Soon she falls asleep herself.

But Belphegor wasn’t asleep. He was wide awake, just pretending to sleep. A fairy asked for Lily’s first born?! All alarm bells went off in his mind, when she told him this. He has mixed feelings about all this. He loves her wild and rebellious streak, he likes that she confided in him first. But Faery is unknown to him, he doesn’t know how to protect her like he can from humans and demons.

When he notices she’s fallen into a deep sleep, he gently rolls her on her back. Then carefully places his head on her lower belly to listen. First of course, he hears her steady heartbeat. But it’s not what he’s looking to hear. He’s not sure what he hopes for. To only keep hearing her own heartbeat, or... more… Well, he doesn’t have a choice. Listening closer he hears very faintly, but just as steady only faster, a second heartbeat.

“Dammit, Lily.” He curses, but still can’t help a little smile. 

He lays next to Lily again and wraps his arms protectively around her, as if he can keep the treasure she has growing in her belly safe for her this way. He decides to keep this to himself for now, though. Lily would feel heartbroken all over again if something goes wrong. He’s seen how that look returned to Leila’s face and doesn’t want to see it on Lily’s too.

Before he falls asleep himself, a last thought crosses his mind… It’s maybe a weird thought, but he decides to not forget to check when he gets the chance.

 

Here's a fanart of Leila with Chimera and Shado


art by @zurui_e on instagram
you can see other fanarts from our stories on Fallingunderground13's instagram @fallingunderground13

Chapter Text

Lily POV

It’s the 30st of September.

Tomorrow, after breakfast, all my brothers will return to the Devildom to attend RAD. I’m feeling sad about it, but also looking forward to today. Today Leila and James and the others will come home. To spend the final day together with all of us. 

I can hear my demonic brothers already making a ruckus around the house. Getting breakfast ready, no doubt. Even though I’ve moved into my new room, which is in a different part of the Manor, I can still hear them. They must be excited for today… Hehe!

My own room is on ground level. I really love how it turned out! It’s light and I have a lovely sliding door leading directly into the garden, with the Manor’s greenhouse attached to the terras. I have my personal little en-suite and Asmodeus insisted that I should have a large closet. I remember how that convo went... I needn’t worry: He would love to help me pick out items to store in there. The way he beamed so happily at the idea, it made me smile too and I couldn’t resist the idea anymore. We’ve already made good progress on filling it up, normally I don’t like to be too frivolous but there’s something to say about retail therapy.

But it’s time to get out of my lovely room and join the others. So I make myself start the morning routine that Asmo created for me so long ago now and hounded me about until it became second nature. Almost. There are days I still only splash my face with water, brush my teeth and throw my hair in a messy bun and call it a day. After I have finished getting ready I walk into our new east wing living room.

On the ground level we also have our shared small human living room and kitchenette. I’m sure we’ll usually hang out with each other in the main part of the Manor, of course. But I just know that hanging out with my noisy demon brothers is sometimes a bit too much for Leila and Lucien. So to have a more quiet space to relax, without retreating to their room will be nice. And honestly, I think I’ll be taking advantage of that too, sometimes. This living room is next to my bedroom and also has a large sliding door leading into the garden. It will be nice to use together, once our demons have to return to the Devildom. More cozy.

The suggested potion making station was set up in a separate room next to the kitchenette. I’m very excited to start using it, making potions with Leila and James. There is a large common cabinet installed in which we can store our ingredients, vials and finished potions. We also all have our own smaller cabinets in our rooms for the more personal potions and ingredients. It was Satan’s suggestion to do this. It makes sense, I suppose. Leila will appreciate this, she’s trained into being a secretive sorceress. I’m not sure how much I will use mine for that purpose. It’s more likely I will use mine to store snacks, that undoubtedly Beel will take advantage of since I know Leila will be boobytrapping our kitchenette.

We also have a small extra room here on the ground level, right next to my bedroom. For now we’re just using it for storage of all the painting stuff leftovers. Haha!

“Lily, good morning!” Asmo’s cheerful greeting instantly pulls me out of my thoughts when I join my brothers in the dining room. “I have breakfast all ready and waiting for you! I was in charge of preparing it this morning, you see. And I have to say, your Human World waffle makers really make breakfast a breeze.” He sits me down at the table and I emerge myself in their chaos.

Leila and the rest must have arrived just before me, I see bags and suitcases discarded haphazardly. I’m sure they were pounced on as soon as they showed up. Leviathan is already telling James and Lucien all about their rooms and the entertainment room on the first floor.

James and Lucien’s rooms are more or less the same as mine, except not having access to outside, unless they want to climb out of the large windows. Lucifer did not let us renovate the outside of the Manor to keep its aesthetics. There is a small balcony for them, however. But it’s more for decoration, if you ask me. You could place a potted plant on it, I suppose. I can already imagine they’ll be using it for mischief instead. I mean..I wouldn’t hesitate to climb out the window if it was my room.

Between James’ and Lucien’s rooms is Leviathan’s requested entertainment and game room. A large room where we can game, read, hang out, and make noise since it’s extra isolated. The large TV that Leviathan chose for us even made himself a bit jealous. His own is just a tad smaller. And then he picked out all the best game consoles, computer screens and I don’t even know what else. He insisted we needed this and it caused Lucifer a bit of a headache. But Leviathan was so happy with everything he picked out for us, besides being jealous, that I just couldn’t say no to him… Like I thought, I’m not sure what big of a help I was with this. But his happiness made me smile. And that made Lucifer happy.

I smile at Belphie and Satan, glad to see they are showing Leila some restraint. They’ve barely seen Leila ever since Mammon’s birthday, and though I know they understood her feelings, it was still hard for them. They’ve opted to sit across from her instead of trapping her between them. They are just as eagerly telling her about her own rooms. I know Leila has a lot more healing to do before she can fully accept them, but I can’t help being happy as I remember how cute those two were when they helped with Leila’s part of the renovations.

Leila and Pandora’s rooms are on the second floor. At first I thought it would be best to have them living on a lower level for practical reasons. I would have loved to have my room next to Leila’s. Also, Leila wouldn’t have to do all those stairs with her baby all the time for all Pandora’s naps. This was of course easily solved by installing a second crib downstairs, Satan had pointed out. 

I just couldn’t let go of my curiosity: why were both Satan and Belphegor so adamant on having Leila on the second floor? And why did they volunteer to do most of the demolishing and building work up there, not letting any of their brothers help them? They were acting so strange and secretive. So naturally, I went investigating. I was somewhat worried they had plans to make some sort of hidden corridor from their rooms to hers! Leila needs time to heal and no matter how much they both love her, they can’t make her love them back. She’s already been through enough trauma with a demon who thought that love could be forced on her!

But my worries were unfounded, thank goodness. They did have secret plans for Leila’s room. But it was something very cute, actually! They both scowled at me when I unlocked the securely locked door as they were busy. They were both hunched over the plans they made for her and Pandora’s rooms and, obviously not having expected me, they looked a little guilty when I asked what they were up to. But then they explained what they were up to and made me swear to keep it a secret from everyone else.

Apparently one of the original rooms that used to be here had a small secret space inside a closet. I wondered how they even knew about it. We never used the east wing of the Manor before, because all the main rooms were more on the other side or main part of the Manor. They both had these adorable goofy grins on their faces, when they explained that Leila told them that this was her secret in her own reality. Of course they adore these things about her! They wanted to make sure for Leila to keep that secret space so she could keep her most precious items in there. I wrapped them both up in a great big hug and promised to keep it a secret too. 

Eventually they designed a large room for Leila with an en-suite bathroom and the large closet for clothes that Asmodeus demanded for us all, much like the other bedrooms. A lovely room for little Pandora with enough space to have a cute comfortable room to play in once she grows up. And a small personal study in which her secret space-behind-the-closet is.

“You didn’t need to renovate an entire wing.” Leila is shaking her head and I’m wondering if she’s feeling too overwhelmed. “Though I do appreciate it…” She puts on a brave smile and Satan and Belphie beam at her.

“I’m glad we did!” I tell her, trying to take some of the pressure off. “Aside from wanting you all to feel comfortable here, I got some much needed new space too.” 

Satan nods in agreement. “I haven’t told you about the library yet…” He continues filling Leila in. 

On the top floor we also built a small library where we will store most of our spell books over time. It has some comfy couches to read and a big table to do research. I’m assuming that Leila and James didn’t bring many books with them. It makes me sad, thinking of what they have left behind. They lost everyone and everything! But Satan and Lucifer already brought copies of books they find interesting to our new library from their rooms and the main library. Everyone really did their best and worked hard to make it perfect. 

“Oh and we bought you your own car too!” Asmodeus butts into the conversation. “I wanted to get you something cute and pink but they wouldn’t let me.” He pouts.

Leila giggles. “That would have been fun. I don’t mind a pink car, as long as it’s safe and practical…” 

Asmodeus gives her a radiant smile in return. “Really? I suppose we can still cast a color alteration spell over that dreadfully boring grey…”

I roll my eyes, hearing him. “We decided on a practical midsize SUV.” I tell her. “I think you’ll find it comfortable and safe for Pandora.”

“Thank you.” She smiles at me, then turns to Asmo. “I’ll think about it.” She promises him.

“We’ll have a proper tour once everyone is done eating.” Lucifer says, warning his over eager brothers.

“Fine.” Leviathan sighs. “Beel, don’t take all morning!” To which Beelzebub merey nods and somehow shovels in food faster. I better finish putting food on my own plate or else I’ll go hungry this morning and for some reason I feel like I could eat twice as much!

 

Leila POV

“Leila, can I come with you?” Lily asks me when I get Pandora ready for a little walk after breakfast. I know they all want to do that whole tour in the renovated part of the manor, but I just want to be away from it all for a bit. James, Lucien and Mammon can handle it for now.

I smile at her. “Of course.” I notice that both she and Lucifer shut the brothers up with a look, before they can ask to join too. I wouldn’t mind one or two joining us, but not all of them making a spectacle.

“Yo, Leila!” Mammon calls after us, as we’re about to step out of the door. “If you’re goin’ out, pick me up a cake at the bakery.”

“Sure, Mammon.” I smile at him. “You want to treat your classmates tomorrow with a Human World cake?” I know he’s a bit nervous to meet his friends from the Devildom tomorrow, who were actually his counterpart’s friends.

“As if! I dunno what ya mean!” Mammon blushes adorably. But Lily and I look at each other, knowing better. He probably wants to show off the Human World delicacies. If the cake survives until tomorrow… “Anyway, just don’t forget.” He gives both me and Lily a hug and Pandora a kiss on her little head.

“Lily…” Belphegor’s sleepy voice calls out. Lily turns to him with a smile.

“Yeah? Do you want me to pick you up something too?” She asks him.

I see him look between us and then he seems to change his mind. “No...just be careful.” I see her wrinkle her brows in confusion, something is a little off about the exchange but then Asmo is talking to us and we’re already heading out the door.  

“Whoa, can you believe that?” Asmo has grabbed a coat and follows us with an amused laugh. “Mammon is so different now, I barely recognize him like this.”

“Are you going out too, Asmo?” Lily asks him.

“Oh yes.” Asmo nods, smiling. “I’ve made one last appointment with the spa. I need to radiate perfection tomorrow, you understand. You don’t mind it if we head out together, hm?” 

“No, that’s fine.” I tell him. It’s nice to hang out with Asmodeus. He has given us a lot of attention in the past weeks, but from him I feel the least pressure to immediately make everything right again. Which honestly surprises me. Asmodeus is very sensitive. Maybe he feels that it’s nothing personal? Or maybe he just understands that it’s only a matter of time, because no one can resist his natural charms forever. Haha!

“Mammon’s nervous to go back to the Devildom, isn’t he?” Asmodeus asks when we walk through the little park across from Serenity Manor. “He acts as if he doesn’t know what to do with himself.”

“Yeah, he’s a bit upset to have to say goodbye to us soon.” I confirm. “But James, Lucien, Lily and I will be just fine together.”

“He doesn’t have to worry about the Devildom, either.” Asmo tells us. “His friends don’t know what happened and we will keep it that way.”

“They might notice some differences though?” Lily asks him, pushing Pandora’s stroller as she offered to do.

“Maybe.” I shrug. “I’m not sure how far his differences would extend to his demon friends.”

“Yeah, but if it does, we can blame that on the influence of the Human World.” Asmo laughs musically. “...Where he made ‘new’ pacts with two ‘new’ humans. Not to mention adopted Lucien, his new ‘littlest bro’. He’s probably going to act embarrassed about it…” He shakes his head wryly. “He’s such a child. What am I going to do with him?”

I can’t help but laugh. Yeah, the news of two new humans and entourage accepted in the Avatar family must be news, down there in the Devildom. Oh well, we’ll face that hurdle in time too. For now I’m not going to the Devildom, unless it’s an emergency.

“I’m glad you’re mostly the same as always, Asmo.” I tell him sincerely. “That really helps.”

Asmo comes very close, looking flirtatiously in my eyes. “Hehehe. Well, I’m not a man-child like Mammon.” I roll my eyes in return and he laughs. Then his expression changes, suddenly looking a bit sad. “But when I think about it… I’ll miss you. All of you staying behind... I know we’ll have that visiting schedule, but it’s not the same you know? I’ll be sad having to say goodbye tomorrow.”

“Yeah, me too.” Lily tells him sadly. “And I know Leila and James feel the same.”

“Of course.” I nod. “We care about all of you a lot. We were friends before all this happened. That hasn’t changed.”

“I just want to treasure the little moments like this.” Asmo smiles at us, linking his arms in both of ours, which makes Lily swerve the stroller dangerously. Not that Pandora minds, as she reacts cheerfully.

I free my arm from his and he looks a bit surprised and a bit crestfallen. I can see from his face that he thinks he’s been too familiar with me. But that’s not it. I just want what he just told us: Treasure this little moment. So I hold his hand and give him a little squeeze. I don’t want to fight against restoring my pact with Asmo anymore, no matter how much I miss my own. I want to accept him fully in my life. Before he has to leave. He’s been one of my best friends. And I want Asmo to know this. 

He beams at me as we look at each other. “Oh Leila.” He kisses my cheeks multiple times, before he plants one on my lips. “You loved him that much? You love me that much?” He’s practically radiant as he embraces me. “This feeling is better than any admiration from my fans!” Then he looks towards Lily, who was looking at us with a grin and tears running down her cheeks. “Now, now, Lily flower. Don’t be sad. I have plenty of love for the both of you!”

“I’m not sad.” Lily sniffles, joining the hug awkwardly without letting go of Pandora’s stroller. “I could just SEE how your pact snapped into place… I’m so happy…”

“I need to find a suitable name for you too.” Asmodeus tells me, after having kissed away Lily’s tears and we’re walking again. Lily pushing the stroller with an excited Pandora, my hand still in Asmo’s. “I have to make sure it’s a good one, don’t I?”

“Yes, or I won’t listen to it and I’ll give you an awful one in return.” I tell him with a teasing smile.

He frowns sternly, looking into my eyes, searching. “You would, wouldn’t you?” He promises to give it some serious thought. I can’t tell him the nickname my other Asmo called me. But maybe he’ll figure it out on his own. Or maybe he chooses something similar. It doesn’t matter if he can’t find one. I’m just feeling a little more happy, cheerful and energized, due to my newly restored pact with Asmo. Oh, how I’ve missed this feeling...

When we reach the exit of the park on the other side, Asmo bids us adieu. He still has his spa appointment and Lily and I are going to the bakery for Mammon. “See you back at the Manor!” He practically skips away.

Chapter Text


Leila POV

After we’ve been to the bakery to buy Mammon’s cake - and some extra sweets for ourselves as well - we walk back to the Manor through the park again. Halfway, we see a familiar tall figure walking briskly into our direction. I really want to duck behind a tree. I’m not sure I can face him yet. It doesn’t seem like he’s seen us yet, so I try to take a side path, hoping to avoid him. But I should have known better, to try to avoid a demon.

It’s like Satan smells us in the air and then suddenly his gaze snaps in our direction, just as I thought we might escape him. “Leila?” Then he sees us. I know my Satan could smell my scent from far away because I was his mate. I still don’t exactly know how this works, because what he smells is not my regular scent, it’s something I can’t wash away. But anyway: this Satan shouldn’t be able to. Right? I look back a bit anxiously. “Ah yes, I thought it was you. And Lily and Pandora too.” He smiles at us softly, as if trying to keep me from fleeing and comes directly to us, straight through the shrubbery. “Have you been doing some shopping?”

Thankfully I’m not alone, Lily is with me. I’ll let her do the talking, while I try to get my complicated thoughts and feelings under control. I really don’t dislike him. It’s just still so hard being around him.

“Yeah, we just returned from the bakery.” Lily tells him with a smile. “Where are you off to?”

“The bookstore.” Satan smiles shyly down at Pandora who’s practically bouncing in her stroller by the sight of him. He gives her a short, gentle ruffle through her short golden hair. “There are still some Human World books I want and I thought I’d stock up before going back to the Devildom.” 

“You know we will have a visiting schedule, right?” Lily teases him. “You can buy more books any time you want.”

“Yes, of course.” He nods. “But Lucifer is making us wait a whole week. I need books for the days I have to stay in the House of Lamentation too. Actually, this is perfect timing. You should come with me. With the three of us, we can carry even more home.”

“Don’t you dare think I’m using Pandora’s stroller as some sort of cargo trolley for you.” I tell him sternly, no longer able to keep quiet. Satans all over realities are all the same, seriously!

He just gives me a grin. “We’ll see. Let’s go.” Ugh…

Reaching the bookstore that we were banned from entering together in my old reality, I can’t help blushing a bit from the memory. Luckily Satan and Lily don’t seem to notice. How would I even explain that to them? I park the stroller at the entrance of the store, and carry Pandora in my arms. She’s really starting to get heavy now! But it feels safer to have her in my arms. Books are still stacked haphazardly it seems. I don’t want one to fall on her head.

“It’s pretty difficult to find certain Human World books in the Devildom, you see.” Satan tells us, as he’s seriously scanning his very long list of desired literature. “So I need you to help me find the books on this list.”

“Sure, what are we looking for?” Lily asks him.

He shows her the list and says. “You start at the top and work your way down. I’ll start at the bottom and work my way up.” He’s looking so cute when he’s talking about something he enjoys. It’s painful, but at the same time it’s nice to watch him being like this. 

“Okay I’m on it!” Lily copies the list with a simple spell and disappears between the bookcases and shelves before I know it. They must’ve done this together many times before.

I look awkwardly up at Satan. “So um… I guess I’ll help you then?”

Satan gives me a big smile, handing his list over to me so he has his hands free for his books. I think he’s happy to spend some time together. I should try to be nicer. It’s not his fault and we’ve always worked well together with research. We get to work in amicable companionship. 

“I have to say, this is nice.” He tells me as he picks out several books from the shelves as I hold the list for him. Trying to keep it out of reach from Pandora’s clutches. “I just realized we’ve never had a real opportunity to do this before, especially after everything went south in Japan.” He chuckles wryly. “I can trust that you know what you’re doing.” He smiles again, while I point out a book that looks in a better state for him.

“Yeah, I have some experience looking for books…” I tell him softly, avoiding the look he sends me by looking up the shelves. “Look, I think that one’s on your list too.” I try to reach up, but I’m just a bit too short.

“That one is pretty high up, I’ll get it.” He comes to stand close to me, reaching up, and it feels as if I can barely breathe for a moment: Too close! Too soon! But Pandora lets out a joyful cheer, having her ‘father’ so close to her and she grabs his tie and gives it a firm pull.

Startled, Satan lets go of the book he’s almost pulled out from the shelves. It comes tumbling down and I quickly catch it with my forcefield. Satan and I look at each other, laughing a bit shyly at each other while the heavy book floats over our heads. Pandora is still holding on to his tie, cheering happily as she tugs it.

“Magic comes handy in times like this, doesn’t it?” He grins at me, sounding proud like my Satan always was. Then he looks up alert. “Oh no, someone’s coming!” He quickly pulls me with Pandora into a different aisle, startling me in such a way that I drop the book from my forcefield. It lands with a loud thump to the floor. “Whew.” He whispers in my ear, as we still have to stand close thanks to Pandora’s grip on his tie. “It’s a good thing you caught it. I don’t want to think about it landing on your head or Pandora’s.”

“Me neither.” I whisper back for some reason. Why are we whispering?! My face must be as red as a tomato. I try to free him from Pandora’s clutches, which isn’t easy. Satan is just smirking in amusement at me, making no move to back away and Pandora thinks it’s some fun new game: Each time I free one little hand, the other grabs onto his tie again.

“Oh, here you are.” Lily comes around the corner with a large stack of books in her hands. “I mostly followed the sound of Pandora’s cheers.” She tells us, as she dumps her stack with the ones Satan has already gathered. “What’s going on?” She asks with a laugh as she sees me with a flushed face, struggling with my naughty half-demon daughter.

“Thanks for catching the book, Leila.” Satan tells me, finally helping me free himself from Pandora. “I’m happy no one was hurt.” He picks up the book and the rest of the stack. “Are you going to be okay once we’re gone?” He asks as he divides the stack between himself and Lily to carry to the counter. “It looks like Pandora will become quite the handful for you…”

“We’ll miss you.” Lily answers for me, seeing me suddenly being very sad. I was supposed to raise Pandora together with her fathers. Now I’m feeling so alone, even though I know everyone will help me. “But don’t worry, we’ll be fine. James, Lucien and I will help wrangle this little one.”

“I’m going to try to stay strong.” I whisper to them, but still determined, trying to keep my voice steady at least. I feel encouraged by Lily’s promise.

Satan nods seriously with an encouraging smile. “I see…Okay. Then I’ll do my best to stay strong too.” I look a bit confused at him: Why should he try to stay strong? He’s already one of the strongest demons I know. But he doesn’t elaborate.



Lily POV

Once home, Satan goes to his room with his new stock of books, so they’re with him in the Devildom when the portals to the Human World will be closed tomorrow. After such a busy morning with Asmo and Satan, Leila and I are in need of a refreshment. When we walk towards the kitchen of Serenity Manor, we can already hear the voices of the twins and James.

“...Celery?” James seems to make a suggestion.

“Ew, no.” Belphie tells him with a grumble. 

“After you juice it, you won’t be able to taste it anymore.” Beel tries to convince his twin about something, seeming to be agreeing with James.

“No way that’s true.” Belphie sounds grumpy. “You’re not fooling me, Beel.”

“I’m not trying to fool you…”

Leila looks ready to make a U-turn, hearing them arguing in there, but I stop her. I know it’s a bit overwhelming for her. The confrontation with both Satan and Belphie in such a short time, but I know she can get through this now. And it would mean so much to Belphie if he could spend a little time with her before he has to return to the Devildom.

It seems she could read all of that from my face with that special talent she and James have, because she takes a deep breath and nods at me. Pandora lets out a cheerful noise as soon as she sees Belphie, who startles a little. 

“Hey guys.” I greet them for the both of us. “What are you doing?” All three of them are sitting around the counter, the blender and juicer in the middle and all sorts of fruit, juice and vegetables surrounding them. They’ve made an incredible mess of the kitchen and James just sits there, grinning. He doesn’t look guilty about the mess at all. Chimera sits on Belphies head, excitedly chittering. Making sure she’s on top of things and stealing bites and licks, I’m sure.

“Lily, Leila.” Beel beams at us in his familiar way. “How was your morning?”

Leila just bites her lip nervously. Seeing this, Belphie smiles encouragingly. “We’re using our juicer here to make some juice. And we’re discussing what we should add to it.” Pandora lets out more cooing noises at him. She must be trying to convince her ‘father’ to give her some attention. I’m not sure if Belphie is ready for that, though he smiles shyly between Leila and Pandora. “You should rest.” He tells us, then he does something odd, lifting me up to sit on the bar stool. He must think he can keep Leila here longer by trapping me on the stool. 

“They want to add a little extra with each of their experiments.” James snickers at us. “You wouldn’t believe what they’ve come up with so far…” I can only imagine, seeing some of the ingredients they’ve gathered.

“What are you making now?”

“Well, we’ve put in bananas and orange juice, but it needs something else.” Belphie tells us, feeding a small piece of banana to Chimera on his head. “What do you think we should toss in? Please don’t say celery…”

“Milk.” Leila surprises us all when she says it with such determination, after she tasted their product with a little spoon. She lets Pandora taste a little too, earning herself more cheers. I’m just glad how she really tries her best to be friendly with Belphie. “Or maybe yoghurt, but that might make it too sour.”

“Milk?” Belphegor nods at her. “Alright, I don’t have any objection to adding some milk…” He proceeds with pouring milk into the blender, together with their juice.

After it all is nicely mixed up, we all enjoy a tall glass of fruit smoothie with a hint of milk. Belphie pours me a large glass and doesn’t let me share it with Beel. He’s acting a little odd but it’s probably something to do with them leaving. 

“Hmm…” Leila gives the twins a sweet smile. She lets Pandora taste a drop again. That little one is going to be so spoiled, if she keeps reacting so enthused to everything people let her try. Haha!

“It has a nice mild flavor to it.” Belphie looks very happy. “Right, Beel?” He asks pointedly.

“I downed it in one gulp.” Beel admits with his sad puppy expression and James, Leila, Belphie and I let out a collective sigh. I guess this was to be expected. “I’ll just take another glass.” 

“Really? You still want more?” Belphegor asks him, gesturing around to the multiple emptied glasses of earlier experiments. They must have been at this for a while already.

James has already poured one for him with a grin. “Thanks, James.” Beel looks at him with a bit of a blush on his cheeks. Not sure if it’s from the gesture or because of being happy he gets another glass of this delicious smoothie.

And yes. Beel still wanted more. A lot more. In the end we were just experimenting together and let Beel taste everything. And when everything was gone, he still wasn’t satisfied, of course.

“Ugh, all we did was make some juice, and look what a mess the kitchen is.” Belphegor flops down on one of the counter stools, not making any move to start cleaning. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think Cerberus went on a rampage in here.”

“Yeah, we better get this place cleaned up.” Beelzebub agrees with him as he’s trying to lick out the last drops from the beaker. “Lucifer will be mad, if he sees it like this.”

“Luckily we now have three Sorcerers living with us.” Belphegor smirks at us, resting his head on his arms. 

“If you think we’re going to clean up your mess…” Leila starts, but then stops, when she realizes that Belphie was trying to rile her up, grinning knowingly at her reaction.

Then he suddenly perks up. “Hey, that sounds like the ice cream truck.”

“It came by each week around this time in our reality.” Leila tells him a bit shyly. She’s really trying, I can tell, but she can’t leave the other reality behind yet. Well, honestly it’s perfectly normal, some things are just too hard to let go of so soon. I don’t know how I would cope in her  situation. She smiles a bit melancholic when she continues. “Belphie thought the ice cream was musical and that it would make the consumer sing…” I grin at Belphie, who has a bit of an embarrassed blush on his cheeks: I know he thought so too. 

“She once spelled his ice cream, so it would make him sing…” James tattles and Leila lets out a giggle, earning her a glare from Belphie as if she’s done it to him personally.

“...Hmm. You know…” He’s already forgiven her. “I would like to buy some from the truck one final time, before we go back.”

“Good idea, Belphie.” Beel smiles encouragingly. “I would like some ice cream myself. You go ahead and get us some.”

“But we still need to clean the kitchen…”

“Lily, James and I can clean it up.” Beelzebub suggests. “Then Leila can come with you to make sure the ice-cream stays frozen until we’re done.”

Leila looks a bit shocked by Beel’s suggestion - which was meant innocently, I’m sure - but Belphie beams at him and then Leila, grabbing her hand. “Great idea, Beel! But don’t let Lily do too much, it’s your mess.” He tells his twin more sternly than any of us expect. “Let’s run outside and have a look, Leila!” He carefully picks up Pandora in his other arm, as if he’s never done anything else and rushes with them out of the door to try catch the ice cream truck on time.

“...Okay…” We can just hear Leila sounding doubtful.

“We will catch up with you later!” I call after them. Mostly to let her know she won’t be alone with Belphie for too long. I hope they’re going to be okay…

We all get to work and Beelzebub smiles. “That’s something that will never change about Belphie. Whenever he has a chance to do something fun, he just can’t help himself. He has to do it.”

“Especially if he doesn’t have to clean and it gives him some personal time with Leila.” James tells him, shaking his head. I can tell that he’s also a bit worried about her feelings. “I know you want to help your brother, Beel, but you should consider Leila’s feelings with this too.”

“Oh…” Beel looks guilty now. “I didn’t mean to… Are they going to be okay?”

“If we hurry up, I’m sure they’ll be fine.” I tell him, patting him on his arm. “Was it just me, or was he acting a little odd earlier?”

James laughs, “Maybe he just wanted to dote on his little sister a bit before going back?”

I laugh, rolling my eyes, “Well that would be quite the change, he prefers to be the one doted on, after all.”

“I’m just so happy that everyone is home again.” Beelzebub smiles happily at James and me. “Now that we have Mammon back and you and Leila joined our family, James. We even have Lucien as a new brother and also have a little niece…” He steals a piece of leftover fruit Chimera was nibbling on from her little paws and pops it in his own mouth, ignoring her indignant chattering as she flies around his head. “We even have pets now, who would have thought?”

“I’m sure that we will all become happy together, Beel.” James tells him gently. “We just might need some more time. But I can promise you that we will really try our best.”



Leila POV

“Leila, it’s still there!” Belphegor rushes towards the end of the driveway, where the ice cream truck is waiting for Beelzebub, no doubt. He still has my hand in his and has a delighted Pandora securely on his arm. “Hurry!” It feels so natural like this and yet so strange. 

The ice cream man sees us coming and waits a bit longer, a friendly smile on his face. “Slow down a bit, Belphie.” I tell him, a bit out of breath. “He’s seen us. He’ll wait…”

Arriving at the truck, Belphegor grins. “You came at the perfect time.” He tells the ice cream man. “We have new friends living with us, as you can see and I want to treat them.” Aww, he really is sweet. No wait! He’s a demon who killed someone! Ugh… I stomp my foot, trying to control my thoughts and feelings. Belphegor looks a bit oddly at me, but ignores it further. “What flavor would you like, Leila?”

We browse over the several flavors and choose a couple of different ones. Just as if we are Belphie and Leila from my own reality. A happy little family. My heart aches and I can’t help a sob. It’s too soon. Just as with Satan. The ice cream man looks a bit curious, but I can’t help it.

“Here, you carry Pandora.” Belphie tells me softly and I gratefully hide my face against the warm body of my baby. Once the truck is gone, he carries the box with our disposable paper bowls of ice cream and little scoops for us back to the Manor. “Let’s go over by the pool and eat it there. Since the weather’s still nice and all.”

“What about the others?” I sniffle.

“Oh, don’t worry.” He smiles at me after I have cast the spell to keep the ice cream frozen over the box. “Beel will track us down eventually. Either through our twin connection, or the smell of sweets.” He grins and I can’t help smiling a little too. “Beel has a way of finding me, just like I have a feeling of always knowing where he is.”

“Usually in the kitchen.” I laugh a little again.

He snickers. “True. But I can also sort of tell where all my brothers are, too. And what they’re doing.” He smiles, looking happy.

“I always knew you were a sensitive one, Belphie.” I smile at him. He cares so much about family. Just like all of them.

He blushes a little and then continues. “I’ve never told her this, but I can also actually sort of tell where Lily is and what she’s up to…” He looks into my eyes, searching. “Last week, when she was staying over at your place…It felt like she was..out of my reach.” Wait, does he know somehow about Lily’s adventure in Faery? I didn’t think she told anyone else. “She told me a little bit about her adventure..” He notices my worried expression and stops talking. “No, never mind… But… You’ll watch over Lily, when we have to go to the Devildom, right Leila?”

“Of course.” I promise him. Is this why he seems to be doting on her more than usual? There’s something else he’s not telling me. Something secret, some sort of worry for Lily. I can just see it in his eyes. But he hides it well. Maybe if I had the pact with him restored… He wouldn’t be able to hide anything from me… No! I can’t! I’ll need to keep a closer eye on Lily.

“With James and you, I’ll probably be able to tell what you’re up to soon, as well.” He smiles teasingly. “When James is playing games with Levi, or when Asmo wants to paint your nails…”

“Well, that’s honestly probably very obvious. Knowing them.” I laugh a little again. “But you have a really good intuition, Belphie. I know that about you.”

“It’s not just that. It’s because we’re a family.” He states firmly. “That’s why. Leila, me and my brothers are thrilled that you and James have become part of our family. I know it’s still hard for you, but… We really love you.”

“I know. I’m happy too that we have a place to call home, even if it’s all so painful now.”

“Do you think... you could accept me and restore your pact with me?” He sounds so hopeful, it breaks my heart. I burst into tears again.

“I can’t, Belphie.” I tell him as I sob. “I don’t know if I ever can...”

“I’m sorry… I really am sorry, Leila…” He comforts me by rubbing my back, but sounding sad himself. “About everything that has happened. But don’t think I will give up on it. On you…” I’m not exactly sure what he means, but somehow it is comforting to know. “Hey, want to try some of the other flavors of ice cream?” He changes the subject and I give him a watery smile.

“Yeah, let’s taste-test…”

“Can Pandora taste ice cream too?” He asks as he takes her back on his lap. He’s not her father, but I think he likes playing her uncle. At least it makes her happy. 

“Only tiny bits.” I instruct him. “She needs to slowly get used to different kinds of food, to not develop allergies. At least, that’s how it works for human babies. But I’m not taking any chances.” I tell him what she can and can’t have for now and he starts to feed her tiny licks of cold ice cream, widely grinning over her comical expressions as she feels the cold sweets on her lips and tongue. 

“Heheh. Was that good?” He asks her. She cheers in response. “Okay, let’s try this one too…Aaah...”

“Ah!” Pandora excitedly copies him and Belphegor beams. Well, not only him, but me too. Even if he’s not my own Belphie… It’s almost right for Pandora this way.

We’ve been so busy that I don’t notice James, Lily and Beel showing up suddenly. But Belphegor has noticed with his twin senses, or whatever. “Beel, over here! We’ve got several flavors of ice cream, but Pandora likes them a lot…” He teases his brother.

“I want some!” Beelzebub flops down next to him, pulling the box with flavors to him and gets scolded immediately by Lily, Belphie and James. He needs to save some for the rest of us too.

“See?” Belphie gives me a smile. “Like I said, Leila. When you’re family, you just know where to find each other.”

“But in Beel’s case, it could have been the smell of Ice cream.” I smile back.


After having had our little ice cream party, I feel physically and emotionally exhausted. Restoring my pact with Asmo. Talking with Satan and Belphie like this. Finally. It was needed, I do feel a bit better about them in my direct proximity now, but still… 

“I think I’m going to my new room for the rest of the day.” I tell everyone. “Pandora needs a nap and I want to unpack and maybe I'll take a nap too...”

“I’ll show you.” Belphie offers and immediately tells me. “Don’t worry, I won’t stay. I just want to show you what we did. I worked on your room together with Satan.” He grins proudly.

“You did?” I ask him, surprised to hear the word ‘work’ coming out of his mouth.

“You’re going to love what they did.” Lily smiles encouragingly, so I nod.



James POV

“And that’s how Leila and I restored the pact!” Asmodeus swoons as he tells everyone about his day, enjoying the envious looks from his brothers - especially Satan’s and Belphegor’s - that are sent his way. “And I have never experienced something so special in my life! I mean, my sweet Lily flower is SO very dear to me and Solomon of course as well, but with Leila… It was as if I knew exactly…” He keeps on chattering, ignoring his brothers’ growls. Or maybe fueled by them? It wouldn’t surprise me either way.

“Yes, yes.” Lucifer nods with a dry voice from behind his newspaper. “It’s a very special experience, now if you could…”

We’re all waiting in the living room for Lucien and Leviathan finishing making dinner for all of us, talking about our day. In general it went very well. I retreated to my own room after the ice cream party too, just like Leila. To recharge and get through the evening with all of us. It’s still emotionally exhausting, but I feel much better about living here now than I felt a month ago. We really needed the time away.

“Okay guys, dinner’s ready!” Leviathan calls to everyone waiting in the living room. “So, is everyone here?” He looks around the big group of people. But we aren't all here. I can see his face fall, immediately.

“Nope, Mammon isn’t.” Beelzebub looks worried as his stomach lets out a terrifying growl. He can’t control it much longer by the sound of it. 

“Seriously, he always has to make things difficult, doesn’t he?” Belphegor complains tiredly as he shuffles towards the dining room.

“Leila said she probably would be a little later.” I tell them and it seems Belphegor doesn’t see that as being difficult. “Pandora’s tummy seemed to hurt a little. She needs to get used to the new sorts of food she gets to try…”

“Is she okay?” Lucien asks worriedly.

I nod reassuringly. “It’s something to do with the poop becoming more solid and well… That’s really not the kind of subject to discuss around dinner…” I grin around the table and see at least Lucifer and Asmo looking a bit disgusted. They’re all definitely not used to the idea of a baby yet. “I’m sure that Leila will join us soon.”

“It’s okay, I get it.” Leviathan sighs, sounding depressed. “Obviously she thinks that dinner’s going to suck, since I made it and all. You don’t have to make excuses for her. That’s why she’s not here…”

“I just said…” I try, but really what’s the point.

“There you go again, Levi.” Belphegor tells him, irritated. Those two still have friction over what happened on Mammon’s birthday, it seems. “Beating yourself up for no reason.”

It somehow makes Levi shrink into depression even more. “Right, I get it. I’m an ultra-negative, depressing otaku and no-one likes being around me. You don’t need to spell it out for me.”

Just then Leila comes rushing into the dining room, a cute flush from running on her cheeks. “Sorry I’m late!” She flops down in the seat next to Leviathan without thinking about it, because that was the closest empty seat. “Oof, I’m so hungry…” Leviathan stares at her with a comical surprised expression on his face.

“That’s okay, Leila.” Lucifer tells her mildly. “Is everything alright with Pandora?”

“Oh yeah, don’t worry.” She smiles sweetly. “I gave her a little belly massage and now she’s settled again, playing in the crib in my room with Shado and Chimera now.” She places a baby-com next to her plate and we can all hear the cute baby noises and the chattering and meowing. “They’ll let me know if something is up.”

“James, could you let Mammon know dinner’s ready? I think he’s in his room.” Belphegor asks me grumpily, looking at Leila chatting with Asmo now as she’s eagerly filling up her plate. He looks like he doesn’t want to leave her out of his sight and it makes sense that he asks me.

“I’ll join you.” Lily offers.

“Make it quick if you can.” Beelzebub tells us, looking worried. “I don’t know if I can leave enough leftovers for you three… I’m so hungry that bad things might start happening.”

“Don’t you dare go on a tantrum with a baby in the house!” Leila glares at him from across the table and everyone looks at her in surprise, wondering if it was a command or not. Lucifer looks very pleased her way for a moment before he starts eating.

Lily burst into a giggle. “Right. You can consider that as a command from me as well, Beel.” She ruffles his hair as she makes her way to the door. I follow her laughing. Leila will be fine with them. Pacts or not.



Lily POV

“Hey, Mammon!” James walks into Mammon’s room without knocking. Much like I was used to from my own Mammon, always barging in without knocking or permission. I guess it’s their dynamic. 

Mammon is slouched on one of his couches. “Huh? Oh, Lily, James. It’s you…” There’s credits running on his TV screen, but he’s obviously not looking at them. It’s like he’s just been staring into space.

“Hey, dinner’s ready.” I flop next to him and James sits on Mammon’s other side.

“Dinner?” Mammon looks as if he’s never even heard of the word. “...Ah, I didn’t realize it was that late. I’ve been watchin’ this shark movie that Satan recommended me today…” He sighs. “Guess I zoned out and lost track of time.”

“Are you okay, Mammon?” James asks him, wrapping Mammon’s arm around his shoulders and cuddling against him. 

Mammon squeezes him against him for a moment. “Yeah, I’m fine. Ya two should head back and go have dinner. The Great Mammon can’t have weak hungry humans. Doncha worry about me.” I do the same as James and snuggle into Mammon’s other side and he sighs again, squeezing me against him too. “I’m just not in the mood for dinner right now…”

“It will be okay, Mammon.” James tells him. “I know you feel out of place in his room, in his family. But they all love you and have accepted you. I can tell.”

“Yeah.” I agree with James, understanding how this must be for Mammon. “Remember that at least at first you are allowed to come to stay with us every night.”

“That’s right!” Mammon grins crookedly. “Y’all need the Great Mammon watchin’ over ya! Still I’m gonna miss ya… I want ya two to learn summonin’ magic real soon, so ya can summon me outta one of those borin’ council meetings…” He snickers at us. “Leila’s too much of a goody-two-shoes.”

“Oh I don’t know.” James laughs and I giggle too. “I think Leila could surprise you. You just have to come up with a VERY good reason.”

“Something better than ‘going to the horsies’.” I snicker, agreeing with James.

“Hangin’ out with ya like this, talkin’ about dumb stuff…” Mammon sounds contemplative again. “I take this sorta thing for granted when I have ya around…Once I’m back at RAD, life’s gonna be totally dull. It used to be that as long as I had money, I was happy. But here I’m sittin’ in the midst of my counterpart’s expensive stuff and I just don’t care right now… I’m only feelin’ worried and unsettled, havin’ to leave you behind tomorrow, but takin’ this room…”

“We can stay here and keep you company for a bit, Mammon.” James tells him. “Right, Lil?”

“Of course. Let’s watch a movie together.” I tell him and Mammon beams at the both of us.

Just then I get a text from Belphie.

Belphegor <> Lily

< Belphegor: Lily, you’re still not done in there?
< Belphegor: Beel has about nearly devoured everything.
> Lily: Mammon, James and I will just have some dinner later.
< Belphegor: OK...just be sure you do eat later.
< Belphegor: Good luck with that giant pain in the ass I call a brother.

“Heh.” Mammon snickers and I look up to him. It looks like he’s been reading over my shoulder. “Looks like I need to teach that brat a thing or two about respectin’ his older and wiser brother.” He looks happy. Belphie just has confirmed to him that they really all see him as their brother Mammon.

 

 



Chapter Text

James POV

Later that evening we’re all gathered in the living room. Even Mammon, Lily and I. Even Pandora and Leila. All the animals, all the brothers and Lucien. It’s pretty noisy, but I can tell everyone is having a good time together. Everyone except for one, it seems.

“Right, I get it.” Leviathan whines at Leila and Lily, who both just refused the coffee he offered them. “Naturally, any coffee I make isn’t going to be worth drinking, is it?”

“That’s not…” Leila wants to explain, but he interupts her.

“Right, of course. I get it.”

“What do you mean?” Asmodeus has settled himself between his girls, still swooning over his pact with both of them and Solomon. Now he looks up, very surprised. “That’s not true, Levi. See? I’m drinking my coffee.” He demonstrates by taking a large sip.

“Sure, you claim it’s not true.” Leviathan seems to be determined to bring the overall mood down, it seems. Though we know he can’t help himself sometimes. He still wants to make up with Leila for blurting. But he’s going all wrong about it. “But I noticed you didn’t actually say it tasted GOOD, did you?”

Everyone blinks at him, stunned. What can you really say to someone determined to be negative? Leila frowns at him. She never drinks coffee in the evening, or she can’t sleep well, getting weird dreams. Maybe Lily has the same reason, but he won’t even let her explain that to him.

“So you all really don’t like it…” Leviathan sighs, depressed. “I knew it…”

“I’m sorry, what?” Asmodeus still tries to get the mood good again. “It really is good though, Levi. Isn’t that right, Belphie?”

“Don’t drag me into this.” Belphegor glares at him and Levi. “Seriously. I don’t want any part of it.”

“Levi, please don’t do this now..” Lily practically begs.

That doesn’t help. Leviathan starts spiraling now. He doesn’t even want to listen to Lily, right now. And Leila looks like she might burst into tears from his self-loathing. She and Lily look pleadingly at me: Maybe I can cheer him up with a game? Okay, I think I definitely have to do something about this. Before we know it he either locks himself up in his room for the rest of the year, or he summons Lotan on us.

“Come on, Levi.” I get up and pull him out of his chair. “You and I are going to slay some dragons.”

“Eh? What?” Leviathan looks confused and a bit alarmed, but lets himself be dragged away by me. I can just hear the collective sigh of relief from the others, before the door closes behind us.

 

I’ve dragged Leviathan to the new entertainment room in the renovated part of the Manor. I need to make him see that he can’t act like this to us, to Leila, when everything is still so raw and painful. Not unless he wants us to go back to Wizard’s Palace again. But how? It’s hard enough to get through to Leviathan when you have a pact with him and he isn’t spiraling…

“I...I...I…” By now he’s crying too… “I’m so sorry… Leila, she…” *sob*

“Come on Levi…” I rub his back. “It’s not that bad, I promise…”

“She must hate me! Everything I do around her is wrong!” 

Well, can’t argue with you on that but… “She doesn’t hate you.” I tell him. “You just need to give her more time.”

“But she restored the pact with ASMO!” Wow, I can feel his jealousy surge even through our ghost-like pact. So that’s what’s going on? “And I ruined things for Satan and Belphie. And I ruined things for myself!”

“You’re all brothers.” I tell him. “You should try to support each other in this, instead of being jealous of who we choose to restore our pacts with first.”

“First?”

“Yes, first.” I smile at him. “I’m sure that I want to restore my pacts with all of you, once I’m ready for it. And so will Leila. You just have to be a little patient and not fight with each other about it…”

“I mean, I don’t know if we’re fighting…”

“But you made it into a sort of competition in your mind anyway, didn’t you?” I ask him and I just know I’ve hit the mark. “You can’t pressure us like that, Levi. Besides, we’ve always gotten along just fine before when there wasn’t a chance of having a real pact with each other anyway. Pact or not, it doesn’t change how we feel about each other.”

“Right...Okay… I’ll try…”

“Allright, now what games have you installed for us?” I flop down in the pile of pillows laid out in front of our big screen and grab a controller. “You better be at least as good as your counterpart, or I’ll wipe the floor with you!”

“Challenge accepted!” Leviathan shouts, grabbing his own controller and starts showing all the games he thought we would like. “Oh, by the way. You shouldn’t let Mammon use Crowe once you live here alone with him. He’s the worst! He keeps making purchases without asking. Before you know it you will be as broke as he is…”

“Good point.” I know Leila will be pissed if she finds out and probably tell him off, but if we can avoid it, it would be better for her. She’s already had enough on her mind. “Let’s come up with a password he’ll never guess.”

“Hmm… maybe something TSL-related, he’d never guess that, but…” He thinks out loud. “Okay, how about this? We’ll combine a word only I’d know with a word only you’d know. And that can be our new password!”

“I just hope I can remember it then!” I laugh, as we proceed to bounce words off each other, working out this new password for Crowe.

“Well, then you just have to call me up, won’t you?” He smirks triumphantly.

I pat him on his back. “Don’t worry, Levi. I would have called you for other reasons too.”

Eventually we’ve come up with such a complicated password, I’ll definitely need to call him up the first couple of times to help guide me through it. We keep Crowe activated for now, making sure the purchase feature stays locked. Then we finally started playing one of our new games. 

As we’re busy, I feel such a familiar companionship with Levi. It’s like we’ve always done it. He, Beel and Mammon always were my best demon friends. My brothers under a pact - though Beel was a bit something more than a brother, of course - who I always hung out with and had all sorts of shenanigans with. Somehow I feel the same is happening now. Somehow I know my pact with Levi is no ghost pact anymore, but a real one. He grins at me suddenly, even after I beat him with this new racing game. I wonder if he’s noticed it too? 

 

We’ve been at it for a while. At a certain point Lily and Leila came by to say goodnight to us and Leila gave Levi such a sweet smile that he drove his Devil Cart straight off a cliff. Much to all our amusement. Lucien went to get a book from our new library and sat down in the entertainment room with us, complaining we were making too much noise to sleep anyway. 

Lily must have helped Leila out for a bit, because she and Leila came down from Leila’s room again after having fed Pandora and put her to bed for the night. Bringing snacks and hot chocolate and tea for all of us and nail polish for themselves. Shado and Chimera followed on their heels. Either to cuddle, or for the snacks. They settled on a couple beanbags in the corner, softly talking and laughing.

Then Mammon walks in, in his arms his pillows and blanket. “Oy, humans!” He loudly whispers. “Y’all won’t mind me sleepin’ one last time in your room, right?”

“Of course not.” Lily, Leila and I don’t mind. 

“As long as you don’t shout.” Lucien looks up from his book. “And don’t think you can come here every night from tomorrow.” He tells him, earning himself a fond rough ruffle through his hair. 

Then Mammon flops down next to us, looking at the screen. “What y’all doin’?”

Leviathan looks at Mammon a bit sour. He probably wanted us for himself, but he’s smart enough to not start an argument, now that Leila doesn’t seem to be mad at him for his earlier outbursts. Probably feeling a bit satisfied about our pact too. Heh.

Soon after Mammon, the twins come sneaking in. Well, Belphegor at least moves silently, you can’t really be inconspicuous while carrying in a mountain of pillows and blankets.Then he quietly flops down next to Lily and Leila, after making sure they’re both comfy. Asleep almost instantly, as it seems. Beelzebub makes much more noise, bringing his own bags of snacks and chips, using the microwave, using the popcorn maker and so on. Then he sits down next to us, loudly munching and crunching, making encouraging noises as Mammon, Levi and I play our games. Soon Chimera and Shado have moved over to him, stealing from his snacks.

It’s no surprise that eventually Asmo and Satan join the impromptu slumber party as well, bringing their own things they find important. Asmodeus immediately shoves Belphegor to the side and helps the girls with masks and other beauty things. Belphegor grumbles in his half sleep, but settles again soon. Satan starts a conversation with Lucien over different subjects. For some reason they get along very well. Maybe it’s because of their unique circumstances of how they became one of the brothers? 

Even Lucifer joins the party at some point. Though I suspect it’s more that he wants to keep a watchful eye over his brothers. He doesn’t seem to be the slumber party type of demon. Heh.

 

Lucifer POV

It’s the 30st of September, still. Tonight, I finally have my whole family sleeping under one roof again. I would have liked it if it happened sooner, tomorrow we have to return to the Devildom where RAD will start again. But at least I got our strays convinced that it would be worthwhile to all have one final night and a breakfast together. 

I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning for that matter. Not us leaving for the Devildom, if I’m completely honest. But to the undoubtedly chaos that will be at the breakfast table. With the baby. And the cat. And Leila’s obnoxiously energetic creature. And our new brother Lucien. And our two new humans. I smile. Yes, it will be chaos. But I think it will be a good sort of chaos again, even if I can already feel the ghost of a headache beginning. It doesn’t matter. I heard Leila is skilled at healing away demon pain.

I’ve sent everyone to their rooms early this evening. I don’t expect them to go to bed immediately, but it’s a big day for my brothers tomorrow and I want them all to be rested and on their best behaviour when we start the new RAD year. We can’t show any weaknesses to the Devildom. Certain details must be kept secret and, no matter what, we have to show a strong, united front.

While I’ve just finished preparing for my important opening speech for RAD, I’m just realizing it’s been suspiciously quiet in the Manor. Is everyone already asleep? Is everyone in their own beds? Remembering the way Lily and Mammon restored their pact so intimately, I suddenly feel I should check up on certain brothers of mine. Just to be certain if they’re up to no good or not, I’m just going to have a quick look in their rooms, before I go to bed myself.

I soon discover that none of my wayward brothers are in their rooms. What are these idiots up to now? Do they WANT our new family members to leave us right away, again? I quickly make my way towards the east wing.

“YES YES YES YEEES!” I hear Leviathan’s voice coming from the renovated part of the Manor. Seems like it was a good idea to check up on everyone! What in the Devildom is my brother doing now, hasn’t he caused enough strife today?!

I open the door of the new entertainment room in haste, but my anger dissipates immediately as I take in the scene. It looks like everyone has gathered here for a sleepover. My brothers and our humans look up at me for a moment, but then continue with their activities. Which are looking very innocent. Leviathan is gaming with Mammon and James, while Beelzebub is snacking and watching them. Close by sit Asmodeus with the girls, it seems they’re doing some sort of beauty routine. Lucien and Satan are discussing something over a book, no doubt planning another prank, and Belphegor appears to be sleeping against the beanbag that Leila is sitting on, mostly being ignored by her, but it’s progress. There look to be more pillows and blankets than I remember should be here in the room. While no one is looking, I indulgently smile with satisfaction at the very normal scene of my family coming together.

“What are all of you doing in here?” I sigh after wiping the smile from my face. Everyone seems to be getting along well. Satisfaction aside, I'm slightly irritated. I did tell them all to go to bed, their own beds. “And why is Leviathan shouting like that?”

“Tsuchi moved into our village!” Leviathan tells me cheerfully, as if this explains anything. “She’s a half snake, half fantasy creature and hundred percent awesome!” 

He keeps on rambling about what must be the game he’s playing with the others, until Asmodeus interrupts him with a weary sigh. “Um, sorry to interupt your moment of joy, Levi. But like… Nobody knows what you’re going on about.”

“Exactly.” Satan agrees with Asmodeus. “Crowe, play the theme song to ‘Another Purrrfect Day for Kitties in the Devildom’. At max volume, please.” Leviathan must have taken Crowe with him.

“Got it. Playing the theme to ‘Another Purrrfect Day for Kitties in the Devildom’. At max volume.” Suddenly a hideously sounding nursery rhyme blasts over the new sound system at full volume and everyone breaks out in protest.

“Crowe, turn that down!” Lily shrieks, her hands against her ears, but laughing.

“Lily flower!” Asmodeus shrieks just as loud. “Think of your nails!”

“We’re trying to play a game here, Satan!” Leviathan shouts furiously.

“Think of Pandora!” Leila scolds Satan sternly, but there’s no real anger in her eyes or her voice. “Lucifer, in or out, but close the door! We don’t want to wake her.”

I try to stifle a glare - I’m still not used to her speaking to me in this manner - and do as she says, stepping into the room, but not before having closely listened if little Pandora has woken up from Satan’s terrible choice of entertainment. It doesn’t seem like she has. 

“They all wanted to hang out for a final time, before having to go back to the Devildom tomorrow.” James finally explains what’s going on, while he’s keeping his eyes glued to the screen, playing Leviathan’s game. He should use that multi-tasking ability for more worthy pursuits. I’ll talk to him about it when he’s more comfortable around me. “First Mammon came in, then the twins and then the rest…”

“Focus, James!” Leviathan scolds him. “Or we lose Tsuchi!”

“Eh, don’t worry.” James laughs at him unconcerned. “I got this…”

“Do you all have to be so loud?” Satan defends his actions. “Lucien and I can’t focus on our conversation.”

“I’m not sure how that song would have helped with that.” Lucien snickers. “It even got Shado agitated.” He points to the cat who is hissing indignantly at Crowe.

“Besides, you can read in your OWN room!” Leviathan scolds Satan, as if he isn’t in the wrong room himself right now.

“Crowe, I’m hungry.” Beelzebub tells Levi’s AI, while sitting amidst his piles of snacks. 

“Sending a little snack recipe to your DDD.”

“Make it something big. Give me a huge amount of food.” Beelzebub munches.

“A huge amount of food. Got it.” The familiar whirring sound starts up.

“Absolutely not.” Leila interrupts. “Crowe, cancel that!” She orders and the whirring stops immediately. “Beelzebub, I told all of you to not use Crowe for something magic. You know I don’t trust that thing. Its magic is faulty.”

He pouts at her. “Sorry…”

“Oh, it’s all right…” She gives him a smile and conjures some food for him herself. “Here you go.”

“Don’t spoil him…” Belphegor smiles sleepily up at her from the floor. “He’ll only want more, you know…” I can tell my brother feels happy to see her care for his twin, but at the same time feels jealous, because she can’t give him the same effortless attention yet. At least she allows him in her proximity now.

 

In resignation I decide to stay and watch over them all. I don’t want any of my brothers to do something stupid and break the fragile harmony that seems to be finally forming. Eventually, it seems that everyone has worn themselves out. They start to quiet down. Leila has been away for a bit to check on Pandora and has returned with new refreshments for everyone. 

I’m pleased to see how much she tries to become a part of the family. I’m also glad she accepted Asmodeus and restored her pact with him, even though it surprised me a bit. I would have thought my gentle brother Beelzebub would have been more suited for her first choice after me. It seems I still do not completely understand her.

James has restored his pact with Leviathan. Leviathan made sure to let everyone know, much like Asmodeus did earlier this evening. Even though I don’t exactly understand why or how - Leviathan seemed to be on a collision course of self-destruction earlier this evening - I’m happy to see he seems to have gained much more confidence because of it. 

 

Most everyone has rolled themselves up in some blankets and I’m feeling strangely content. I see that James is looking for a nice spot to settle for the night and I move to intercept him. I haven’t had a chance to talk with him today. “James, over here.” I make sure to let him know I don’t want to hear no for an answer. “There is something I want to talk to you about.”

“Okay.” James shuffles over to me, careful to not step on anyone. “What is it about?”

“I just want a bit of a talk.” I tell him. “I know you’re trying to stay strong for everyone, just like Leila and Lily are. But I want to know how you’re really feeling?”

“It’s hard.” He tells me in all honesty. “I spent some time with the twins today and Levi. And I know I really love them just as much. But it’s only been a month since we lost our own family, Lucifer.”

“I see.” I nod at him, as I help him settle in some blankets and pillows next to me. “I suppose it really is harder for humans…”

“Oh, I don’t know.” James tells me sleepily. “We need our time after a loss, but we won’t turn into demons…” That cheeky little…! 

I can’t help a chuckle. More and more I understand how my counterpart must have felt about this boy. He has a very special talent to put everything into perspective. “You’re a nice boy, James. I’m glad you chose to restore your pact with Leviathan.”

“Yeah.” He sighs. “Me too. I feel a little bit more whole. Maybe it takes a very long time before Leila and I have accepted all of you like that, but we’ll get there. Don’t worry, Lucifer…” It sounds like he's almost asleep now. It’s a good sign that he feels safe enough in my house, that he can. I should let him rest.

“If you say so, I’ll believe you, James. Good night.”

 

Late that night, very late...

Belphegor is awake. For some reason, he can never be fully asleep when Leila is around. She’s too distracting, even if she does nothing. Even if she’s just lying there, fast asleep with the baby com next to her pillow. He knows why this is: He wants to carry her to her own room and be her mate. He probably can’t rest well in her proximity before that happens. Now that she’s here for good in his life, she belongs to him. But he can’t force her, like Diavolo tried to do in that other reality. He doesn’t want to scare her. No, she has to choose him. He NEEDS her to choose him, desperately. And it will take a long time before that happens. IF it happens, now that Leviathan made it so much harder for her to trust him. And it’s going to be torture for him, more than it was before when she was still his counterpart’s mate. At least then he knew that it was impossible. Everything is uncertain now. But he will be careful and patient with her.

He should be smarter than this. Be less of a masochist and just go to his own room to sleep there, instead of lying here awake right next to her. Lying on his back he hears the sounds of everyone else sleeping. Even Lucifer. But he doesn’t want to leave. Even if he can’t sleep, it’s comforting to know she’s this close to him. Even if she doesn’t want to be their mate, not yet, he and Satan both know that she is. They will watch over her from now on and won’t let anyone else get too close. No matter if she chooses to restore her pacts with the others first, everyone will know she belongs to him and Satan. Unless she chooses a human… 

Ugh. Belphegor rolls to his side, carefully not to wake her; he wraps his arms around her. She can’t choose a human. Who does she even know in this reality? Still the thought of it… They need to keep her away from human males, somehow. He growls softly. They couldn’t stop Lily from choosing a human, either.

Now he’s honestly happy for Lily. Even though he isn’t exactly happy to know who the father is. He knows once she discovers the secret in her belly herself, it will make her a little sad, but also happy. He’s been listening to her belly more often when they were napping together the past week. Lily still doesn’t know, but the sound is still steady and going strong, even if it’s still faint. He will keep it a secret for as long as possible.

Thinking about Lily made him remember something. Something he needs to check on Leila. Maybe it’s too soon. She obviously never told anyone when she was last intimate with one of her mates. But it doesn’t hurt to check. He carefully listens on Leila’s belly too. No extra heartbeat. He definitely feels relieved. If Leila was pregnant from her previous mates, it would have made things much more complicated for him! But she isn’t. She’s all mine now… He smiles and wraps his arms around her again, softly kissing her cheek, making sure not to wake her.

 

A little further in the room, Lily lies curled up against Mammon’s chest. Mammon’s sleep is also restless. He’s definitely nervous about returning to the Devildom. Leaving his humans behind and going with his new brothers. What kinda sense does that even make?! He tosses in his half-sleep and then he feels Lily’s little hand patting on his chest. The little gesture calms him down, she must have done this often with his counterpart. Whenever he’s gotten the chance to cuddle with Leila, she also did this in their previous reality and recently back at Wizard’s Palace whenever she didn’t want to sleep alone. It’s so cute. He grins his crooked grin fondly and gives Lily a little kiss on her head. All my little humans are adorable… How can he even think of leaving them behind?

Then he senses something. A strange, faint thumping sound, like a heartbeat. Different than the usual human heartbeats he can hear in the room, but familiar. He knows he’s heard that sound before. When was it? Leila was up in the Celestial Realm… She sent a message with her DDD… There was this thumping sound…

“What the…” Mammon curses. Some people around the room complain to him in their sleep, telling him to be quiet and Mammon quickly swallows the rest of his curses that threaten to spill. 

He lies down next to Lily again. The sound comes from her. It can’t be Leila, he would have known. He carefully moves his ear over her stomach, until he hears the obvious thumping sound near her lower belly. There’s no denying what he’s hearing. A second heartbeat! Lily is pregnant?! Who is the father?!! It takes all Mammon’s wits to not start loudly shouting those questions. Of course HE is the father… Who else could it be? Ugh! His new brothers are going to kill him! 

He needs to be responsible about this though. Because of Pandora, he’s already got some experience caring for a baby. He knows what it takes. He needs to start saving grimm… Ugh, that’s goin’ to be torment! But a new Nephilim in the family will be cute. He can already imagine his own little squirt playing with Pandora… Does Lily know? Should he tell this news to his new brothers already? Dammit! He’s SO dead! Maybe I better wait a couple o’ weeks...

 

Mammon keeps tossing and turning as he thinks about this all. Not noticing how Belphegor is leaning on one arm, looking at him with a glare: The way his new idiot brother Mammon is acting right now will wake up Leila. Which means he has to let her go again. It seems that Mammon has just discovered Lily’s pregnancy as well. And seeing him worry like that must mean he thinks he’s the father. Ugh… What a moron… Belphegor rolls his eyes and tries to fall asleep again.

 

October 

James POV

“...I’m still tired.” Belphegor yawns, looking grumpy. We may have made it extra late last night and all didn’t get much sleep. It must be even worse for him. “Oh, hey… Satan. Make a cup of that for me, too.”

“Make it yourself.” Satan sips from his coffee, while trying to lure Shado on his lap. It’s not working. Instead Chimera comes to check if he has a treat for her. Heh. “It’s not like the espresso machine is hard to use. You just press one button.”

“Hmph, jerk.” Belphegor glares at him, getting up almost as if it is too much effort. “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”

“Asmo, careful.” Lucifer warns Asmodeus, who is balancing two trays with smoothies towards the table. “Don’t step on the vacuum cleaner.”

The roomba whizzes just past Asmodeus' feet and Shado quickly chases it to reclaim his throne. “D’ah! Yikes!” Asmodeus almost drops both his trays, obviously not used to a cat around the house yet.

Leviathan laughs as he watches Shado doing his rounds on the roomba. “...Hey, remember back when we first came to the Human World…” He smirks at Satan, who looks after Shado with a goofy grin, taking pictures with his DDD. “And Satan didn’t know what the robot vacuum was? What did he think it was again?”

“A vehicle for cats!” I laugh. That’s pretty much how we had the guys from our reality believing all the time and Shado only proved our point.

“Right, that was it!” Leviathan laughs. “Pff lolol a VEHICLE! LMAO”

“Well, he isn’t entirely wrong, anymore.” Leila laughs. “Look at Shado enjoying his ride.”

“Besides, I was trying to say that it can ALSO be used as a vehicle for cats. Even though it was designed to be a vacuum cleaner.” Satan’s face is flushed, both from embarrassment and a bit because Shado looks so cute on the roomba. 

“Oh no...uh-uh!” Leviathan keeps teasing. He looks to be feeling much better today. “That’s a lie and you know it. You were totally convinced it was a thing cats ride on!”

“Levi, sit down and eat.” Lucifer sighs tiredly. He probably should have just gone to his own room last night, instead of keeping watch over us. “Beel, you’ve got whipped cream around your mouth.”

Beelzebub just keeps munching, looking like he couldn’t be happier today. It makes me both happy and sad, seeing him this way. I decide to help him out and I levitate a napkin over to him to wipe. “Thanks James.” He smiles so cute at me that most sadness disappears. He immediately keeps on munching and soon his mouth is covered with something else. Oh well…

Belphegor looks impressed. “So you and Lily don’t need to recite an incantation anymore to use simpler magic like that?” He grins at Satan and Lucien, who both grin in return. Oh boy, they’re already planning for a new prank, no doubt. I see Lily shrug with a little smile my way. We already know it.

“We’ve been practicing a lot.” She tells him. It’s true. Every time she came over to our other mansion, Leila has been tutoring us in Solomon’s absence. “Soon we have to face the Society again.”

*yaaawn* “...Mornin’…” Mammon comes in, loudly yawning and looking very sleepy still. 

“Mammon! Look out!” Leviathan tries to warn him. “Shado on his roomba!”

“Eh…?” Mammon asks groggily. “Wha? AAAAH?!” Suddenly Mammon is launched backwards to the living room next to the dining room and he lands on the couch, then he falls off it. “Oy! Leila! That blast of wind, was that really necessary?!” He stands up, fully awake and very indignant.

“You were about to step on Shado.” Leila explains innocently as almost everyone looks at her with surprise. “I didn’t want you to hurt yourself, or him.” She focuses again on Pandora who is bouncing on her little legs on Leila’s lap in excitement! Her uncle just flew through the room and her mommy did that! “Now, Pandora. Try this…” 

Leila has recently started to give Pandora more solid food, usually fruit mashed up in some sort of horrible looking sauce. Pandora eagerly tries it, but then loses almost everything again, because it's a different kind of texture and taste that she doesn’t know what to do with. She still seems to like the taste of it, though. As she keeps eagerly opening her mouth for the spoon.

“Well done, Leila.” Lucifer compliments her with a smirk towards Mammon, who comes grumbling to the table to finally eat his breakfast. “Mammon, hurry up. We don’t want to be late on the first day of RAD.”

“Next time ya do somethin’ like that, be GENTLER about it!” Mammon scolds Leila with a glare. “No more sendin’ me flying, got it?!”

“It looked pretty funny.” Lucien tells him with a grin, earning himself a glare as well. “And she blew you onto the couch. It’s not her fault you fell off…” A good-natured argument between the two of them follows.

“Hey!” Suddenly Lily is protesting when Mammon takes the mug of coffee out of her hands and drinks it himself in one go. “My coffee…” Lily pouts. 

“Ya sure ya should be drinkin’ that stuff?” Mammon fidgets while Lily and the rest of us wonder what’s up with him. “I mean...ya got those bags under your eyes and you’re lookin’ a little thin.” He grabs someone’s smoothie and pushes it towards her.

“Rude.” Lily mumbles, rolling her eyes. 

“Moron.” Belphegor grumbles under his breath, barely heard by most of us. I catch Leila eyeing them all suspiciously. Leila and I exchange a look: Something is going on.

“So, you’re all going to summon us to the Human World from now on, right?” Beelzebub asks. “So we can still visit?”

“No, Lily hasn’t learned that yet.” Leila tells him. “And I don’t have my pacts restored with all of you…” They all look like they want to fix this right now, but stop just in time, seeing Leila’s still hurt expression as she thinks of the death of our own demons. She shakes it off, though. Putting on a brave face. “Barbatos and I will make a special portal today, after he closes off your rooms for the Human World. You can come visit us through that.” Preferably not all at once . I read from her face.

“We will let you know the schedule soon.” I tell them for her. “It’s still overwhelming for us, to…”

A lot of shouting about who has the right to go first erupts while I’m still explaining. Lucifer sighs before shouting at them. “Quiet, all of you. Hurry up and eat your breakfast. We’re running late.”

Chapter Text


James POV

It’s only been a couple days since the guys went back to the Devildom and Leila, Lucien, Pandora and myself went living with Lily back in Serenity Manor. They all honestly did an amazing job with the renovations. From the outside the Manor looks exactly the same, but they renovated the entire interior of the east wing to accommodate us all in a comfortable way. Enough space and comfort for us all! Making us feel very welcome. 

Mammon is allowed to stay here with us in the Human World at night, even if he has to attend his RAD classes. And has to be on time. Which pretty much means we all have to get up early to kick his lazy bum back to the Devildom every day. As much as he and Lily claimed to have no intention of dating, he’s been oddly attached to her. Maybe it’s just because they slept together but Leila and I have been keeping an eye on it. We’ll talk to him soon if it continues.

We just did that this morning again and are now enjoying the peace and quiet in the garden. It is a pretty nice autumn morning. A bit chilly, but sunny and Pandora is enjoying playing with the rustling leaves that Chimera is bringing her to play with together. It’s nice this way. Having nothing to do for a bit, though we know that we will be put to work by Solomon soon. 

Then Lily’s, Leila’s and my DDD’s start pinging at the same time. Yup, I probably have jinxed that… We read our chats while Lucien is keeping a watchful eye on Pandora.

The Sorcerers (4)

> Solomon: Good morning!
> Solomon: I wanted to let you know a couple of things.
> Solomon: Yesterday I completed my task of restoring all my 72 pacts in the Devildom.
> Solomon: Now it is time to reveal my plans for the Magical Society and Sorcerers’ Society of this reality.
> Solomon: I hope I can count on all of you.

We all look at each other and nod. This is it. Time to take our place in the Society. Time to avenge Solomon and Mammon. Time to show what we can do… Leila answers her grandfather without hesitation and we follow her example.

< Leila: Of course!
< Lily: I’ll try my best.
< James: You can.
> Solomon: While I’m confident that the majority of the Magical Society will react positively to most changes, I’m expecting some backlash from several people who weren’t fond of me in our old reality.

“He means to say he’s already suspicious of a couple of people who could have been involved with the assasination.” Leila tells Lily, who nods with an unusually hard expression on her face. “But that doesn’t mean it is always the case, so…” Don’t go off and start accusing everyone who acts suspicious or resists. I read from her face.

It’s like Lily also knows what Leila isn’t saying. She lets go of her expression and smiles at us. “Don’t worry, I will follow Solomon’s lead.”

Solomon leaves some more instructions for us in the group chat and then closes with the words that he will come get us to take us to the Sorcerers’ Society Headquarters in a couple of days.


Yesterday, at the Sorcerers’ Society Headquarters...

Solomon has been working tirelessly since arriving in this new reality. Between restoring his pacts, investigating the Council, and being there for Leila and the others as much as he could, suffice to say he’s barely had any rest. Especially when he had to scour a demon stronghold to find his last demon imprisoned, he’s glad he found him too, he had vital information for his investigation. The last nail in the coffins, so to speak, for certain members of the Council. 

Along with six of his demons he enters the council chambers of the Sorcerers’ Society. The seven members seem to halt their shouting at one another to look at Solomon and his entourage with dumbfounded looks. It’s chaos after they get over their initial shock.

“I told you he wasn’t dead!” One man shouted, he’d heard rumors of Solomon gathering his 72 demons in the Devildom. 

“This can’t be! I saw him die with my own eyes!” Another argued, practically a confession of guilt. While others tried to sneak out the secret passageway only to be restrained by demonic powers. 

“I can see some of you are surprised to see me.” Solomon finally says with a flat smile. “I assure you, I am alive and well.”

“What’s the meaning of this, Solomon?!” One member sputters as a demon restrains him to his chair. All the members are getting similar treatment. 

“As the Founder of the Sorcerers’ Society, I’m here to clean up the corruption that has been allowed to fester for far too long.” Before he can finish, one of the members frees themselves from their bonds, shooting a magical attack at Solomon which he easily evades. “My, my.” Solomon shakes his head disapprovingly as one of his demons tackles the rogue sorcerer to the ground, the other members wince at the sound of breaking bones. “Let’s try to be civil.” Solomon advises them. “I promise to judge you all fairly.”



James POV

On the morning of the big day, Solomon comes visiting us and enjoys breakfast with us. He has a lot to discuss on what is going to happen and what he expects from us. He also brings us a gift. 

“I’ve been thinking about where we’ll go from here.” Solomon tells us. “In order to improve as a sorcerer, you’ll need training. So do you think you all could give me an idea of what sort of magic you’d like to use in the future?”

“Summoning magic.” Lily answers without a second thought. “So I can summon the others to me.”

“I see.” Solomon nods. “I hope that’s not the only reason why you decided to become a sorceress in the first place? To summon your demons to aid you?”

“It’s an important reason.” Lily admits to him, trying to hide a look of indignation on her face. “Not just to aid me, though. They’re family. Since I can’t stay for long in the Devildom anymore, I still want to see the guys. But no, it's not the only reason. I have been given these powers, I want to put them to good use. But I’d like to learn how to summon across worlds first.” I can tell Solomon’s question provoked her, no doubt because of a long standing argument between her and her own Solomon.

“Very good.” Solomon nods approvingly. “And you will in due time.” He promises her. 

 “I also like to learn more about my Fae magic.” Lily tells him, softer now. “But I guess I will learn this mostly by trial and error, unless I can find a fae tutor…?”

“There isn’t much known about it.” Solomon admits to her.

“But we’re all here to help you figure it out.” Leila smiles brightly, encouraging Lily. I can already tell she’s looking forward to all future research sessions.

“What about you, Leila?”

Leila smiles at her grandfather. “I already know a lot, but I still have a lot to learn about healing magic.” She tells him. “Especially the different sorts from the different Realms. There is still so much to learn.”

“Magic to heal and come to the aid of others.” I grin at my cousin who is beaming imagining she can learn even more, even if she’s already so skilled. “That does sound like you, yeah.” I ruffle her hair and she gives me a glare.

“James! Now I have to fix my hair!” She protests and Lily bursts into giggles. “You know we are introduced to the Society in an hour, right? Ugh!” She huffs as she starts casting spells on herself, looking in a mirror. Guess she’s nervous about it, heh. 

“I want to be like Leila and learn some badass attack spells.” I declare as everyone now looks expectantly at me. “And learn the summoning and portals and all that stuff too.”

Solomon laughs as Leila rolls her eyes at me. “I’ll be happy to teach you that, but just remember that you can’t just use your power to pick fights.”

“Of course.” I nod seriously. “I’ll choose my battles wisely. I just never want to feel so helpless again as I felt when… You know…”

“Yes, I understand.” Solomon nods and so do Lily and Leila. We all do understand that feeling of helplessness now. We couldn’t fight back to the ones that hurt us. And it still hurts. 

“You and James are still new sorcerers.” Solomon tells Lily seriously. “There is still a lot for the both of you to learn about the magical arts, the history of magic and the origins of the Three Worlds.” He turns to all of us now as he explains his plans. “Eventually it will be good if you all learn more magic in the Devildom again or even the Celestial Realm, but for now I want to keep you in the Human World with me. My long term goal is to create a more altruistic purpose for the Sorcerers’ Society and add a school similar to RAD to it. And I eventually plan to have the three of you to be it’s first teachers. I will soon appoint to each one of you an apprentice who you will teach the original values of the Sorcerers’ Society.”

“I’ll do whatever you think is best.” Leila smiles confidently at her grandfather. Yeah, she’s probably already well-equipped to have her own apprentice, but Lily and I look at each other, feeling nervous by the idea.

“Some of us may not be cut out for teaching.” Lily says softly, shifting in her seat, basically speaking for the both of us. We’ve only become sorcerers this year! 

“Of course you won’t have to do everything on your own.” Solomon tells us comfortingly. “You will have your own apprentice, but you will also be working together. Maybe do some lessons as a group. And I will make time to teach you more, now and then. Summoning and teleportation techniques, among other things.” He smiles encouragingly. “I won’t throw you in the deep end.”

Then he hands us each a large box, it looks and feels like the sort that has clothing inside. He nods at us and we all proceed to open them. Lily lets out a small gasp and runs her hand over the fabric. “Lucifer found your robe in one of the rooms after...I think he was going to present it to you that day.” Solomon tells her as gently as you can talk to someone about such a thing. “Lucifer thought we should wait and I agreed.” Lily only nods her head in understanding.

“I almost forgot about these.” Leila says quietly.

“New robes?” I ask, feeling like I’m the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on as I pull out the new, plain black Sorcerer’s robes that look very much like Solomon’s without the embellishments that make his robe unique to him. 

“Yes.” Solomon clears his throat and for a moment I wonder if he’s feeling emotional? “I had to have new ones made for you once we arrived here. Black Sorcerer’s robes for you and Lily. White denotes High Sorceress.” He explains. I look over to see that Leila’s robe is similar to ours but white with an additional emblem that marks her as a High Sorcerer. “Well, put them on.” He encourages us. 

As we change out of our grey apprentice robes, he opens a box that he’s fished up from one of his pockets of his Sorcerer's robe. “I made something for all new Sorcerers…” He shows the contents to us. It’s filled with faceted hematite rings, their smokey charcoal grey surface gleams at us, reflecting a myriad of colors. Chimera lets out a joyful cheer and dives down on that treasure. Solomon laughs and quickly snaps the box closed again before she can nab one of them. “Not for you, Chimera.”

After Leila has scolded her naughty Fairy Dragon, who whines in disappointment and remorse, Solomon opens the box again and takes out three rings. 

“Here, this is for you, Leila.” He smiles as he hands her the first ring. Lily and I watch on curiously. Why would we need another ring? “It’s a Sorcerer’s ring. I plan to only give these to the newly approved sorcerers of the Society. You might think, since we already are the bearers of the Rings of Light, Wisdom and Souls, we don’t need another talisman, but even so…” He smiles fondly at us. “This ring should amplify your spell-casting, much like our Rings or a wand can do, or Leila’s Celestial pendant. Over time you all might find something more specialized to your individual strengths, but for now… These rings will only work if and as long as the Sorcerers’ Seal is completed and still valid. So, don’t lose your Virtues.” He finishes with a cheeky smile.

He now hands Lily and me a ring as well. They look like they are the same size but as soon as we slip them on, they fit perfectly, despite our vastly different finger sizes. As soon as I put it on my finger I can see my Sorcerer’s Seal glow up slightly. In response the new ring glows up as well. It feels like it was made for me. They are connected. We all grin at each other.

“Thank you…” Lily says shyly. I notice she’s got a growing collection of rings on her hands now. Between her Ring of Light, Solomon’s protective ring with the emerald that he gave her that day in Paris, one of Mammon’s rings, her engagement ring and now the Sorcerer's ring.

Looking at Solomon and his interesting choice of necklace, and thinking of Leila with her collection of pendants in her jewelry box, I suppose it’s a sorcerer's fate to become a sort of collector of symbolic and magical items. Heh. Even I am wearing jewelry now...

“You’re welcome.” Solomon smiles at her softly. “As my colleagues, students and former apprentices, you deserve nothing less. Even if there’s still so much I need to teach you, having all three of you by my side is very important to me. I’m looking forward to the future.” He then stands up and smirks. “Now then, let’s go and introduce ourselves to this reality.”



Leila POV

It’s almost time for our introduction when Solomon teleports us all to the Sorcerer’s Society Headquarters and we find ourselves backstage. I’m already feeling anxious and I can only imagine how James and Lily feel. But I won’t show this to the people. They have to get the impression that I am confident in what I can do and that I belong in this reality.

I’m surprised to see a demon already here waiting for us, I don’t recall meeting this one in person in our reality ever before, but he does seem vaguely familiar. His features are too unusual to forget easily. Even if I can’t recall right away who he is, I know he’s one of my grandfather’s 72. I probably have seen him around RAD, when I first visited the Devildom, but we never spoke to each other. I can only assume that Solomon had summoned him here earlier, maybe to observe the crowd, or as a sort of bodyguard. 

But I’m shocked beyond reacting when Lily notices the demon and reacts violently to his approach to us. “You son of bitch!” She screeches, her face contorting into someone who is barely recognizable to the rest of us. 

The demon only smirks at her verbal assault and doesn’t even attempt to dodge the ball of Celestial light she launches his way. He barely flinches, staggering only momentarily as the feeble ball of light hits his shoulder. It burns his clothes and singes his flesh but her celestial magic is weak but there’s something else wrong. The color of the light was off and the ashes that fall from his clothes turn into flower petals and bloom into flowers as they hit the floor. 

I barely take in any of these details as Lily is now physically slapping and hitting the demon, who merely takes her abuse. “Where were you?!” She’s yelling but her voice is too choked with emotion and barely comes off as more than a husky whisper. “He trusted you! You knew, didn't you?! You wanted him to die!” She accuses him. 

James and I look at each other with big eyes: What is going on?! This is not how we know Lily.

“Lily.” Solomon’s voice is firm as he finally reacts, pulling her away even though she was causing no real harm to the demon. Only causing a scene right before we’re supposed to go on stage. Luckily there is no one else around. I know this is very personal for her, but Solomon’s death must remain a secret. “He was captured, tortured and imprisoned by the cult. He couldn’t warn him.” 

I’m surprised again when she shrugs out of Solomon’s hold, but at least she doesn’t go on the attack again. She has a wild look to her that I’ve never seen before. I wonder if this is how I seemed to the others when I attacked Lord Diavolo? I still can’t bring myself to regret it, doesn’t look like Lily will regret this either. 

“Doesn’t change who he is.” Lily says with an angry tear. “He’s a liar, he uses people and discards them when they bore him.”

Finally the demon reacts, suddenly looking angry and pointing a finger at Lily as he towers over her. “Is that what he told you?” 

Okay, this is going too far. I know Solomon is standing behind her and will protect her, but I won’t let my friend be intimidated by some demon. I look at Solomon and he gives me a nod. I stand next to Lily and link my arm with hers in support.  Then I place my hand that wears my Ring of Souls on Solomon’s demon’s shoulder and look into his eyes. He looks back at me, surprised for only a fraction of a second, before the ice returns in his eyes, turning back to Lily. But it was enough for me.

“Since he’s dead I can finally tell you. He commanded me to ‘discard’ you.” He contemptuously spits her own words back at her. Lily takes a step back, looking shaken. 

“I don’t believe you.” She shakes her head, practically baring her teeth at him. 

“Believe what you want.” The demon scoffs. 

“Enough.” Solomon says in a voice that brooks no argument. “You two can work on your personal problems later.” He eyes them both sternly. 

“So um…” James tries to break the tension in his own way. “Not that this wasn’t extremely interesting to watch, but who is this demon and why is he here too, today?”

“This is Astaroth.” Solomon tells him and now I remember him too from my studies of all Solomon’s demons. 

“Astaroth is, among other things, known for teaching all sciences and is the keeper of secrets of the past, present and future. They say he can answer any question given to him.” I give James a quick summary, ignoring how the arrogant demon seems to look my way when I do. “So, knowing this, you understand he’s a popular demon to be summoned by fortune-tellers and fortune-seekers and the likes…”

“Whoa, that must be so annoying…” James looks at Astaroth with sympathy until Astaroth replies with a cruel smile.

“I’ve been asked many things and have answered very few. Most are unwilling or unable to pay the price.”

Solomon smiles proudly my way for a moment, ignoring Astaroth, and then gets back to business. “I rescued him from a cult stronghold, most of the members had long fled. With his help I obtained the final evidence I needed to sentence the council members who enacted the assassination.” He looks at Lily when he explains this and she chokes another sob. “I did this yesterday, the guilty members have been handed over to the Devildom. I wanted you three to know the progress that has been made to avenge my counterpart, before I address everyone today. I wanted to avoid surprises…” He eyes Astaroth and Lily. “Apparently I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be.” 

“Come on Lily.” She’s a complete mess after taking all this news in. I take her hand and pull her towards the washroom. “Let’s go clean you up.” 

“Be back in ten.” Solomon tells me. 

“Sorry you had to see that.” Lily mumbles softly, angrily wiping at her tear tracks when we enter the washroom. Her shoulders are slumped and defeated. No signs left of the wild girl we saw earlier. I quickly scan the room to check if we’re really alone.

“Don’t worry about it. You’ve seen me at my own low points…” I say as I pass her a tissue. “What’s the story there? If you’re up to sharing?”

She blows her nose and splashes her face with cold water. “He..and I...we dated for a while after Solomon and I broke up. Everyone warned me about him, Solomon never seemed to notice or so I thought. Everything was going wrong then, you know...” She sighs and tries to fix her hair. “I never thought Solomon would do something like that..” Then she laughs, a depreciating sound. “Lord, I was naive.” 

I don’t know my own grandfather as one to do something like that either. Maybe he didn’t like me dating demons, he probably didn’t. But he never tried to stop them either. But this is all not helpful for Lily now. To discover something like this about her own Solomon, after his death… I know how she feels. Betrayed by someone you loved and unable to ever talk about it with him...

So I smile gently. “Here, let me help.” I say as I perform a couple spells that have her hair, outfit and makeup looking right as rain again. 

“Thanks.” Lily gives me a small smile, takes a deep breath and puts on a brave face again. 

“For what it’s worth.” I tell her as we slowly make our way back to Solomon and James again. “I told you about how I have this ‘curse’, right? That I know someone’s true character pretty much right when meeting them?

“Yes?”

“Well, I think I saw a spark of his old self in his eyes.” I think back of what I saw, before Astaroth’s expression turned into ice again. I try to put in words what I felt. “I think he means well, way deep down. And he didn’t betray Solomon. And he won’t betray us.” 

Lily doesn’t react to that, just nods. She probably doesn’t believe it before he proves it. And I think that’s fair, after all she’s been through.



At the Sorcerers’ Society Headquarters... 

The Great Hall is bustling with people. Representatives from all over the world, from all layers of the Magical Society, have gathered. Today is an important day. King Solomon the Wise will speak to the entire Society. People can’t even remember the last time that happened. It’s probably stored in one of the records of The Sorcerers’ Society Library. Or maybe not, since there was a great fire at the previous Headquarters, over 500 years ago and the former Headquarters was destroyed.

This is what Vivian tells her friends as she’s bouncing on her feet. She’s so excited for today! It’s rumored that Solomon will be taking a more active role in the Sorcerers’ Society again, and since things have fizzled out between him and Sorceress Lily, maybe a girl like herself has a chance of catching his eye. They’re so lucky that they’re members of the Sorcerers’ Society and that they can hear what will be announced in person! 

But there are so many people blocking her view. “Ugh, why are people so tall?” She complains unreasonably, worried she might not even see Solomon from the place where they are. “Can’t they take off their hats?! Seriously, so rude! Come on, let’s go more to the front.”

“Novices like us aren’t allowed…” Cedric starts to explain, but is interrupted by her huff.

“Since when are you one to follow the rules?” She asks him pointedly. He grins back at her. He can’t exactly argue with her on that.

“I sort of agree with Viv.” Sybil tells the guys. “We can’t see a thing from here and I want a good view too. What if we go to that spot over there, more to the side? It looks quieter. People might not notice…”

They agree to at least try and all plow their way more to the front and the side of the podium. “Ugh, now there's a pillar in the way…” Vivian sighs exasperated. No wonder nobody else was standing here. Well, at least they have a better view if they look around it.

“Stop complaining and try to not stand out, or we’ll get removed.” Elphias warns her. That would be so embarrassing: To get removed from a gathering where Solomon is present! Vivian looks in shock at him and obviously thinks the same thing, because she nods.

Tristan has been silent so far. Just following after his friends and their antics. His mind is far away, back to a week or two ago at a silly Mabon festival where he met the most sweet and adorable girl. He’s been more disappointed that she didn’t show up the night after, than he cares to admit to his friends. 

Not that he could fool them. “Hey, Tristan.” Cedric pokes him with his elbow. “Pay attention, okay? You can continue pining over that cute single mom later. I think it’s starting.”

Tristan grumbles something, but focuses on the podium now. He’s the tallest of their friends and can easily see Solomon walking up to the center. A strange powerful looking shimmering shield surrounds him and the crowd is instantly in awe. A tall ominous man stands behind him in the shadows. Even from his spot Tristan can see the way his icy blue eyes seem to glow as the man seems to scan the crowd. Tristian is almost positive that it must be one of Solomon’s demons. He’s never seen a demon before. 

Solomon casts a spell on himself to enhance his voice and the five novices are in awe. His every move is graceful, his use of magic looks as effortless as breathing. And he looks so young! Even if they know he’s ancient. They listen to Solomon’s speech with rapt attention, much like most people in the crowd. 

He begins by telling about how a little over a month ago, on his engagement party, an assassination attempt took place. While he survived the attack himself, many demons and members of the Magical Society were killed in the chaos that followed, some survivors were taken to the Devildom for interrogation and imprisonment. A few innocents were sent home with an enchantment that altered their memory of that horrific day. They had to stay silent about this until enough of the investigation had been completed and he, Solomon, was ready to make this announcement. Their memories will be restored after today.

“Sorceress Lily and I have decided to put personal feelings aside and put our engagement on hold. We both wish to put our full focus on creating a better Society for the greater good of the Three Worlds.” Solomon announces with his calm voice.

This brings him to the next point. Solomon has decided that there needs to be a big clean-up within the Magical Society in general and the Sorcerers’ Society specifically. He will personally oversee the tests of virtue and retrials for all current Sorcerers in the upcoming months, using a new fail-proof method.

“Retrials?” Vivian gasps. That’s something unheard of! 

She’s not the only one shocked by this news. A buzz of voices rises up from the crowd. Sounding like a disturbed angry beehive. Though it is not as if everyone is angry. Looking around, the five friends see a lot of people from the other layers of the Magical Society nod approvingly. The Sorcerers’ Society has been abusing their power over the others long enough! But can it really be done?

Then even more shockingly, Solomon says that he’s already begun with his sweep through the Sorcerers’ Society ranks and names off the council members that were already arrested for the attempted assassination and that eventually new council members will be elected to replace them.

Vivian who had looked pale again, looks somewhat relieved when her own uncle’s name is not listed among those arrested. She shouldn’t have been too worried, the old man wouldn’t even use his position of influence to bolster Vivian in rank, much to her own father’s disappointment. 

“Wow. Solomon is serious business.” Cedric says with an unusual sort of respect in his voice. “He must have been really pissed…”

“Well, who can blame him?” Sybil whispers back. “If they attacked him and Sorceress Lily on their engagement…” 

“Poor girl...” Elphias agrees with his sister.

“Shh!” Vivian shushes them, as if she wasn’t one of them talking through the speech. “He’s not finished yet.”

“In order to establish this new Sorcerers’ Society from the ground up, I want to introduce three of my most trusted apprentices.” Solomon tells the crowd with a calm voice. He gestures to stage right and three young people come walking into view. Two young women and a young man. They’re all encased in the same powerful shimmering shield as Solomon. It makes sense now, after having heard the news of the assassination. Everyone in the crowd immediately recognizes the Sorceress Lily and the buzzing starts again.

The five friends however also recognize someone else. “Leila?” Tristan stares in surprise at the young woman he couldn’t get out of his mind since over a week ago. She looks the same, but the powerful aura she exudes is astounding. She comes to stand confidently next to Solomon. No trace of her adorable shyness. This confidence must be an act. He thinks. The surprise on his face turns into a scowl as he watches Solomon wrapping his arm around her shoulders. The buzzing flares up.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me.” Cedric whispers. “You think Solomon is the father of her child?”

“Maybe that’s the real reason they haven’t made their engagement official.” Vivian nods. “Who would believe that excuse for putting their engagement on hold, anyway?”

Tristan doesn’t want to hear that and he glares at his friends. But then he hears Solomon speak again. “This is my granddaughter, the High Sorceress Leila.” If possible, the buzzing sounds even louder now.

“Oh, granddaughter.” Tristan just feels relieved to hear that. At least he doesn’t have to compete with the most powerful Sorcerer of all the Three Worlds.

“High Sorceress?” Cedric laughs, clapping his friend on his shoulder. “Man, did she fool us…”

“We never asked.” Elphias shrugs. “But I’m curious how she was able to hide that aura from us so well.”

“Solomon’s granddaughter!” Vivian squeaks quietly, thinking back at how rude she was to this girl and her unknown friend. That’s not going to be good for her career! Sybil, Elphias and Cedric look at her mini panic attack and snicker.

“Who’s the guy?” Sybil stares at the handsome man on the podium next to Lily, his arm wrapped around her shoulders to support her during this awkward introduction. “He’s so handsome…”

“Guess we will find out…” Tristan still has only eyes for Leila on the stage. He crosses his fingers that this other guy isn’t her husband or something. He’s definitely going to try to talk to her today.

When the buzzing that arose after the announcement of a granddaughter has passed somewhat, Solomon explains how he kept Leila hidden all her life for her protection and has trained her in secret. Telling everyone how she won her trials before Lily and the still unknown man started theirs. The crowd seems spellbound by his words. Nobody questions that Solomon’s own granddaughter is a true Sorceress, who already has reached the rank of High Sorceress.

Then he tells about Lily and James in a way as if he trained them at the same time, in this same year and how they both won all their trials of Virtue at the same time. Suddenly it is like everyone knows about James all along. Yes. People nod. James was right there with Lily.



Lily POV

“In a couple weeks time, after we’ve done the retrials for the current Sorcerers, I will be personally selecting the first few waves of new apprentices. For Leila, James and Lily, as well as any others who are deemed ready to take on apprentices after the retrials.” Solomon announces finally. “I’m ready to answer questions now.” He somehow casts another spell over the crowd that makes any gossiping questions about his and my ‘on hold’ relationship status die on the lips of any person asking the insensitive question. I look at him with gratitude and I start mingling with the crowd together with Leila and James.

I’ve already sensed the magical signatures in the crowd when we came on stage: The fun people from the festival are here too. I know Leila must have recognized it too as she’s looking around, purposely ignoring the magically elite, looking like vultures wanting to introduce themselves to her to get in her good graces. I could feel Astaroth’s stare on my back during the speech and I don’t want to give him a chance to talk to me again tonight. Linking our arms with James’, Leila and I take him into the direction where we sense them.

“Where are you two taking me?” James laughs at us. 

Then he looks up in surprise as he hears a female voice. “Whoa shit, they’re coming our way!”

“Relax, Vivian.” A male voice says. “They won’t bite.”

“Yeah, Leila was actually really sweet when we met her and her friend last week.” A different female voice says. “You would have known it, if you stayed.”

“Though she is apparently a princess.” I now recognize Cedric’s clownish unfiltered comments. “Are you sure you wanna continue this, Tristan? She’s a bit out of your league.”

“Shut up, Ced.” We see the familiar wavy black head of hair on the tall man making his way easily through the crowd towards us. “Leila! I’m so surprised, yet happy to see you again!”

“Hi.” Leila greets him with her sweet shy smile and I can hear James chuckle next to me: He’s immediately noticed what’s going on here. Well, for as much something is going on here. I think the adoration comes mostly from Tristan’s side for now. Even if Leila is definitely charmed by him. “It’s so nice to see you all again.”

She’s soon greeted by the others as well, while they’re casting curious glances my and James’ way. It makes sense: When we met I was in disguise. They don’t know they know me yet. I can’t help giggling, not noticing how they all look at me funny.

“So, um…” Cedric says, looking curious my way. “It’s nice to meet you in person too, Lily… I’m-”

“Cedric, I know.” I laugh at their surprised faces. “And you are Sybil, Elphias and Vivian.”

“She knows our names…” Cedric gasps like a fan girl. 

“You already met Lily before.” Leila explains. “But you knew her as Lisa at the Mabon celebration. We wanted to stay incognito for as long as possible.” I see Vivian’s face morph into an expression of horror and Leila and I share a knowing glance. 

“How didn’t we see it!” Sybil laughs, spontaneously wrapping me up in a hug. Then she looks concerned. “Are you feeling okay? I’m so sorry all those awful things happened to you…”

“I knew she looked familiar.” Vivian sniffs, looking as if the world has been pulled out from under her this day. 

Cedric looks pale. “You didn’t tell Solomon I hit on you, did you?!” He asks with panic, looking around as if Solomon might appear suddenly and curse him. 

I laugh, probably not hiding my nerves well as I twist my ring back and forth on my finger. “Oh don’t worry about it..” I try to soothe his worries. 

Leila rescues me by pulling a still grinning James to the front now. “This is my cousin James. He’s the most amazing guy you will ever meet.” 

“Whoa, that’s some high praise!” Cedric protests. “What about me?”

“What about you?” Sybil rolls her eyes. I can see she totally agrees with Leila on that one.

“It’s nice to meet you all.” James laughs. “Leila and Lily have told me absolutely nothing about you.” He teases. Oh right. I guess we didn’t. We’ve been so busy with other stuff after my Faery adventure that we must have completely forgotten to tell the others about meeting these people.

“OW! That hurts.” Cedric grips his heart dramatically. “And after all we’ve been through, Lily. The apple-ducking… The balloon darts…” Leila and I can’t help but giggle. What a clown. He’s clearly recovered from any fear of Solomon.

Leila blushes a bit guiltily, apologizes to James and then explains to Tristan who was glaring at his friend's antics. “I’m really sorry. Something important came up and we couldn’t come to the bonfire. I really wanted to go, but…”

“I understand. I’m just glad we met again.” He tells her, flashing his handsome smile.

“So anyway.” James asks curiously. “You guys are apprentices then? Or sorcerers?”

“Nope, novices.” Elphias snickers. “We’re on the bottom of the Sorcerers’ Society food chain, but still members.”

“We’re on the list for getting an apprenticeship.” Vivian finally speaks up again, having recovered from all her shocks. “But it can take years, as you might know…” James and I look at each other: We definitely did not know. It somehow feels we’ve cut to the front of the line, even if we didn’t know there was one. “We now sometimes join training days held by the Sorcerer’s Society, but it’s nothing like being a full-time apprentice.”

“How are apprenticeships usually assigned?” James asks. “I mean, Solomon kinda does things his own way.” He shrugs.

“Well, it used to be a lot of having the right connections and showing talent and skill.” Sybil tells him with a smile. “If you knew some high ranked Sorcerers in the Sorcerer's Society Council for example, or did other things that caught their attention, then usually you could get one pretty quick within a couple years.”

“So, through nepotism and patronage. Nice.” James laughs. “Like how Leila is related to Solomon and I’m related to her and Lily is our friend…” Everyone laughs, except for Leila and Vivian who both glare at him in a similar way.

“It’s not like I can help it.” Leila defends herself.

“Don’t worry about it.” Elphias reassures her. “We all come from magical families, so we have some connections, but I guess we don’t stand out enough.” He shrugs, as if he doesn’t really mind one way or another. “Take for example Sybil and I: We're from a mostly unnoted family from the Isle of Mann.”

“I think we stood a good chance this year.” Vivian huffs indignantly to that. “But now that Solomon is changing the rules and will personally assign apprenticeships, who knows what will happen?” She glares accusingly at where Solomon is talking to some people I never met before, but who look important.

“I think as long as you show the potential of being an excellent sorcerer who understands and shares his values, everyone stands an equal chance to get selected this year.” Leila tells her. She sounds stern suddenly, surprising our new friends a little. 

Vivian better learn soon that in Leila’s eyes Solomon can do no wrong… Well, I honestly also believe that her grandfather is making the right decisions to make a sweep through the ranks of the Sorcerers’ Society and Magical Society. Look what happened because corruption had a chance to fester...

“Besides, we do have some interesting new connections now, Viv.” Cedric turns and bows, half mocking, half sincere. “Princess Leila the High Sorceress and Lily the Sorceress and James the Sorcerer.” Then he wraps his arms around me and James’ shoulders this time, because Tristan has blocked Leila from his reach. “It can’t get any better than this!”

Leila rolls her eyes and turns to Sybil and Tristan. “Anyway, I want to hear all about your favorite magical studies and what you hope to do once you become Sorcerers..”

“Wow. A studious one, huh?” Cedric snickers.

“You should try it sometime, Ced.” Elphias sighs, as he joins their conversation. 

Even Vivian soon eagerly joins the new conversation. Probably trying to make a new and better impression on Leila. Cedric just sighs dramatically. 

We have a lot of fun hanging out with our new friends. None of us felt the need to do a lot of mingling with the elite of the Magical Society. I know I don’t want to go in there and keep avoiding curious looks. We would get to know more people soon enough. For now we just wanted to enjoy ourselves. 

Before we parted, we all exchanged numbers promising to keep in touch this time. I was worried poor Tristan might burst from all his barely contained joy when he saved Leila’s number. I hope he doesn’t get his hopes up too high. Either way, it felt nice to be establishing new friendships.

 

 

Chapter Text

Leila POV

When my grandfather decides to get started on something, he does it with a plan in place. I knew he would be thorough and take his time making things right with the Sorcerers Society. After all, someone who has lived as long as he has doesn't feel the same rush of time as most humans do. That said, my grandfather is no slacker or procrastinator either and I know he expects the same of myself, and now James and Lily too. 

So it was the very next day that we began the tests of virtues. Solomon had many of his demons on hand, including Astaroth. Luckily he and Lily remained cold yet civil with each other. If a fight or resistance broke out, he didn’t want us distracted from our duties. 

I had the biggest job with my Ring of Souls. Solomon had drawn a magic circle on the floor in the chamber where the tests were taking place. The circle was meant to draw out the virtues in each Sorcerer and with my ring, I could see which virtues, if any, the Sorcerers no longer lived by. Once a judgement was made by my ring, the same magic that was used to bestow a star, could now take it away. 

Solomon knew the process would be taxing on me, so his and James’ role were one of support. Lending their own strength and magic to me through our joined rings. Lily wasn’t able to, her ring can’t be joined with ours since it’s the same as James’ ring and after the way her magic behaved when she attacked Astaroth, Solomon didn’t think it would be safe. So she was given an administrative role to help with the recording on each test and making a list of the sorcerers who needed to do retrials in the future. Solomon also decided we would only give the tests of virtues on twenty members a day. 

The demons had been a good call, there had been more than one outburst on the first day. Arrests were made and some members had failed to show up for their summonings. Their names went on the list of those to be captured and investigated. 

The second day went more smoothly. Gossip and news travels fast in the Magical Society and those who showed up for their tests were compliant, though many more didn’t show up at all. But we still had twenty tests each day, calling in the next members on the roster until we did. The sorcerers who lost a virtue would be called upon on a later date, so they could regain their missing stars through a new trial.

Solomon decided I would have every third day to rest. Which is today. Grandfather wanted to train with Lily today and James joined them as a buffer. Lily didn’t have to use any of her magic the past two days and he’s concerned about what he saw with her Fae magic interacting with her Celestial magic. 

 

It’s still early in the afternoon and there is a student council meeting today after classes at RAD. Mammon won’t be requesting for me to open up the portal any time soon and Lucien just told me how he loves how peaceful it is like this: Just the two of us and Pandora, Chimera and Shado. I agree with him, half snoozing near the cozy fire we built in the hearth. It’s rainy outside, but we don’t have to go anywhere. Then my DDD starts buzzing on the table.

“I spoke too soon.” Lucien mutters, rolling his eyes. “I thought Mammon is supposed to be late today due to some council meeting?”

“Yeah, I thought so too…” I reach out lazily to my DDD and Lucien rolls his eyes again, as it is just out of my reach and Chimera comes to pick it up for me - it’s so adorable how it’s almost bigger than her and how she wraps her tail around it for extra support when she flies it over - proudly chittering as she hands it over. “Thanks…” I give her a petting and a little kiss and she’s over the moon so happy with this praise. Then she goes off to tell all about it to Shado, who doesn’t even open an eye for her as he lays stretched out in front of the fire.

“So lazy.” Lucien scolds me and I grin at him, sticking out my tongue. He’s just jealous that Chimera doesn’t do this for him, I’m sure. “What do they want?”

“Let’s see…” I open the messenger app. “Huh, it’s from Satan and Belphie?”

Satan <> Belphegor <> Leila
< Satan: Leila, open up the portal for us!
< Belphegor: Please, it’s important!

Lucien is reading over my shoulder and rolls his eyes again. “That’s looking suspicious..”

“Yeah…” I am curious though. But it’s not their turn today to visit us, it’s Asmo’s. I can’t go making exceptions, then before we know it they all want that. Besides, today is the first day of the scheduled visits since they went back to the Devildom and these two are probably up to no good...already.

> Leila: Aren’t you guys supposed to be in class?
> Leila: And have a council meeting later?
> Leila: Also, it’s not your turn yet.
< Satan: (Rolling-Eyes-Demon sticker) Such a good girl, aren’t you?

Ugh, is he mocking me? I should punish him!

< Satan: Belphie and I finished classes for today.
< Belphegor: Then we found something.
< Belphegor: Come on, you’re going to like it.

I find myself already walking in the direction of the room where we have the portal. I only have to use my magic to open it on our side. Lucien stays behind in the living room with Pandora. He doesn’t want to get too close to the portal that’s connected to the Devildom, for obvious reasons.

< Satan: Oh shit, Beel’s coming home!
< Leila: Don’t any of you have classes? (Sighing-Demon sticker)
< Belphegor: He must have come home to snack before next class.
< Belphegor: Hurry Leila! Or there won’t be any point anymore!

Huh. Weird. But they make it seem so urgent. And I can’t help being curious. Belphegor would never hide something from his twin, right? So if he does, it must be something really urgent...at least that’s what I tell myself to satisfy my own curiosity. If it’s something stupid I’ll just punish them and send them back.

> Leila: Just a sec…

I unlock the door and open the portal with my special spell. Satan and Belphie come tumbling in over each other. Satan is holding a bag in his arms that’s moving and squealing and sounding panicked. 

“Close it! Quickly!” He yells at me.

Feeling bewildered by their strange entry, I still do as they ask. They both let out a relieved sigh as they stand up from the floor and dust themselves off. Then they grin at each other in triumph, high-fiving and burst out laughing seeing me looking utterly confused.

 

Just a little while ago, back in the Devildom...

“Satan, wait up.” Belphegor calls after his brother, who briskly walks into the direction of the House of Lamentation. “Let’s walk home together.” 

Satan frowns impatiently as he waits, wondering why he listens to his brat of a younger brother. Making no move to speed up himself, Belphie still expects him to go slower. Eh, it couldn’t hurt. He’s come up with several new schemes and ideas for the F.A.L.L. while breezing through the classes today and he wants to know what his brother thinks of them.

“Why do you bother going home, you know we have council meeting later, Belphie.”

“Yeah, I know.” Belphegor hangs his bookbag on Satan’s shoulder and shrugs. “But I was thinking about skipping that and taking a nice nap instead.” Satan drops his brothers’ bag on the spot. He’s not like Beel, indulging in his lazy ass brother’s every whim. But he does like him and his rebellious nature. Belphegor picks his bag up with a suffering sigh. “I mean, maybe they’ll say something interesting this time about the assassination and the progress our humans are making with the SS, but I doubt it…”

Satan agrees. So far all council meetings have been pretty standard stuff. Nothing Belphegor is interested in listening to, or participating in. Sure, Lucifer might get mad at him for skipping, but making Lucifer mad is what they do.

“You can go and fill me in later, Satan.” Belphegor suggests with a grin and then stops in his tracks, looking disgusted. “Ugh, what the hell did I just step in?”

They look ahead of them. On the forest path that goes from RAD to their house it seems as if something has been slaughtered here. By the looks of things it was a whole family of Shadow Hogs. Mom, dad and all the kids. Carcasses and entrails are scattered on and beside the path that’s darkened and slippery from their blood.

“Beel really should learn to restrain himself, seriously.” Satan frowns with disgust. “He’s making even more of a mess than he did before our vacation to the Human World.”

“That’s not Beel’s doing.” Belpgegor says as he tries to wipe the entrails he stepped in from his boot on the grass. “He wouldn’t leave so much behind…Besides, he still has classes.” 

Then they hear the screeching sounds and they look up. High above them flies a large group of Harpies. Basically these are medium tier female demons who act more like birds of prey than people. They laugh in an awful screeching way as they tear the last Shadow Hog to pieces with their clawed hands and talons. Just for fun and sports. They only take the heart to eat and drop the rest to the ground. Then they fly off, laughing.

“Ugh, gross.” Belphegor quickly steps out of the way to avoid the shower of blood and the falling pieces of the last carcass. Then he startles, when a panicked squealing noise starts right at his feet. “What the…”

“Kill it, quickly.” Satan growls, scanning the dark skies. “I don’t feel like having an encounter with Harpies right now.”

Belphegor nods. Those Harpies could return if they thought they have forgotten to murder one of the family of hogs. And while he and Satan aren’t afraid of an encounter with those females, it would be incredibly annoying and definitely not worth lifting a finger for, let alone expending power. Not to mention how it will hurt their ears. Those sounds they make, ugh! He’s about to wring the little Shadow Hog piglet’s neck when an idea hits him.

“Come on, hurry! They’re coming back!” Satan growls impatiently, as he hears the return of the screeching laughter coming closer. “They’ve heard it!”

“I have a better idea.” Belphegor smiles wickedly and mischievously. He clasps the little snout of the piglet closed with his hand so its squeals are muffled and then hurries in the direction of the House of Lamentation. “We can kill two birds with one stone: Annoy Lucifer and go see Leila and the others in the Human World, if it works.” He yells over his shoulder to Satan who follows him on his heels. The Harpies go in pursuit after them, lured by the panicked sounds of the last piglet.

Satan can’t help being curious. Belphegor usually has good ideas and he likes the sound of this one so far. Normally he wouldn’t run away from annoying females like Harpies. He would sooner kill them if they dare chase him. 

Which is what he does with the first one who ambitiously swoops down on him all on her own. The other Harpies halt their chase, partially still eager to hunt the running people who act like prey, partially confused how one of their sisters is suddenly dead. Then they decide they’re just furious about that fact and en masse start chasing them again. Their screeching of fury is even worse than their laughter.

But then Satan, Belphegor and the baby shadow hog have made it to the House of Lamentation and the wards immediately repel their pursuers. “Hehe.” Belphegor grins at his brother, slightly out of breath.

“Alright, spill.” Satan grumbles. “What’s the plan?”

“Well, look at it.” Belphegor holds up the small piglet. It wiggles in his hands, squealing terrified after all that it has experienced. It’s definitely a runt. The smallest of the group and normally this one would have been the first to die. Were it not that it was small enough to hide in the treestump where Belphie found it. “It’s sorta cute, right? What do you think our girls would say?”

Satan grins, taking it from his brother and holding it in the sink to wash off the blood of its family members and the dirt. It squeals even louder now, but both demons ignore that. “They definitely would say it’s cute.” He nods, a wicked grin on his face. “It’s wounded too. We can say we rescued it right out of the talons of the Harpies.” 

“Yeah, let’s leave out the fact where we were about to kill it ourselves.” Belphegor laughs. “They’ll think we’re heroes.” 

“Now we just have to convince Leila to open the portal for us.” Satan nods and puts the protesting piglet in a burlap bag. “Once she sees it, she won’t let it go back to the Devildom and neither will Lily. Lucifer will be so annoyed. Ahaha!” He starts texting and Belphegor follows his example as they make their way to Lily’s old room, which is the designated portal room for now.

Leila's curiosity seems to be quickly aroused. Even though she protests a little about it, she doesn’t immediately refuse them, which the brothers see as a sign in the right direction. Maybe someday soon their cute Leila will agree to be their mate. They grin at each other, making plans to be extra cute with Leila’s daughter, so that she might let them stay in Asmo’s place. 

But then the front door slams and they hear Beelzebub calling. “Belphie, are you home? I saw your book bag on the way! I’ll put it in our room...”

Satan and Belphegor look at each other: Leila better hurry, or their plans will completely fall apart. They hear their brother make his way to the kitchen, still talking. They make their texts more urgent. Leila HAS to open the portal for them!

“I found a family of dead hogs on the way, so I brought them for dinner. And a dead Harpy.” Beelzebub’s voice turns contemplative. “Is it weird to eat Harpy? Maybe that’s cannibalism? Eh… Whatever. They probably taste just like chicken… Hey, what’s that smell?” They hear Beelzebub coming their way, lured by the smell of fresh, living Shadow Hog.

“Whoa, shit.” Satan curses under his breath as he backs away against the still closed portal, while they see the doorknob of the room turning. 

Belphegor does the same. “Come on, Leila…” He pleads as he pushes against the portal.

“What’s that sound?” Beelzebub wonders, hearing the panicked muffled squealing of the piglet, combined with the muttering of his brothers.

Just then they both tumble through the portal into the Human World. At the same moment Beelzebub opens the door fully, looking inside. He only sees the portal to the Human World shimmering for a moment, but then it looks the same as always: Locked from the other side. He probably was just mistaken. 

“I could have sworn I heard something.” He mumbles confused, scanning the otherwise empty room. He shrugs and goes back to the kitchen to look for a recipe on how to prepare Harpy.

Chapter Text

 

Lily POV

Solomon has just dropped James and I back off outside of Serenity Manor, asking us to give Leila his best since he has urgent Society matters to get back to. Some members are unhappy about him using his demons to police them and help with the ongoing investigations but with so few qualified Sorcerers that we know we can trust and rely on, it’s not like he has a choice. They can all stuff it for all I care, anyway. 

“Lily, wait up!” I hear James call to me as I rush inside the Manor. I want to curl up in my covers and sleep until someone drags me out of bed. I thought today with Solomon would be torture, and it was, but not so much in the way I had thought it would be. 

Solomon had wanted to see where I was at in my skill of performing various spells and give James and I some extra training today. Suffice to say the whole day went horribly. My casting was inconsistent and the results unpredictable. It felt like my second time in the Devildom all over again. Solomon promised he’d help me figure it out, but his plate is already so full, at this rate I won’t even be able to help bring the conspirators and murderers to justice!

“I’m alright James.” I try to assure him as I open the door. I don’t want to be comforted right now, I just want to be left alone. 

I’m rushing towards my room when I stop short. In our small east wing living room, Belphie is on the floor playing with Pandora and Chimera, and I see Satan is handing another book to...Leila, whom I almost didn’t see sitting behind an already enormous pile. Several pieces of paper with scribbles are scattered around her. 

“What’s going on?” James sounds amused from behind me. “Wasn’t Asmo supposed to be the first to visit us tonight?” No doubt these two have found some sort of scheme to cut in line and try to impress Leila at the same time.

“Squeeee! Squeee!” 

I look down to see a tiny little piglet at my feet. It’s snuffling around my feet, its body is a muddy reddish color, with two tiny nubs of black horns on its head, two tiny malformed looking wings resting on its back. Is this a shadow hog?! I’ve never seen one so tiny! It’s even smaller than Shado.

“Aren’t you just precious!” I tell the piglet as I sit down and carefully scoop it into my arms. It’s not really soft but it’s warm and makes the cutest little snorting noises, as it inspects if my hair is edible. Then the most embarrassing thing happens. I start sobbing uncontrollably clutching the little piglet to my chest.

“Lily? What’s wrong?” I hear Leila ask. She looks over her pile of books with concerned eyes.

“I didn’t think she’d cry over it.” Satan says with worry in his voice. 

“It’s probably hormones.” I barely hear Belphegor mumble, that jerk! What does he know, anyway? I’m not in my period.

“She had a bit of a rough day.” I hear James answer for me as he’s rubbing my shoulders in support. I take a deep breath to try to calm myself before I scare the poor piggy to death.

I let the piggy go when it starts squirming. “Yeah. Sorry.” I tell them, giving Satan a small smile when he offers me a handkerchief to dry my eyes. 

I start to feel better when no one presses me to explain and instead Satan and Belphie take turns explaining their heroic rescue of the runty shadow hog. I’m swooning as I imagine them fighting off the awful Harpies tooth and nail, though I can tell by Leila’s expression that she’s not buying half of what they say. But she’s sold on the pig, as she explains what the stacks of books are for. 

“I’m researching for a few practical spells we can implement to keep the manor and garden in one piece while allowing Sir Piggy to live here with us without being locked away in a pen.”

“Are we really going to keep it?” I ask hopefully. And what a cute name for the little thing!

“I mean...we can’t send him back, it’s a boy by the way. He’ll just be turned into lunch by Beel or something worse.” Leila makes a good point. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Lucifer ‘rescues’ poor little Sir Piggy from Beel, just to return it to the dangerous wilderness of the Devildom ‘where it belongs’.

“Lucifer isn’t going to like it.” James reminds us, but I can tell by the way he’s petting Sir Piggy now that he’s on board with keeping him. 

“That’s why I’m doing my research.” Leila says. “He can’t complain if I have a perfectly sound and reasonable plan in place. If he does, that’s just too bad for him.”

Her stubbornness makes me laugh, I can see Belphie and Satan are loving it too. “Come here Sir Piggy.” I try to coax him back to me. 

“We’re not really calling him Sir Piggy, are we?” Satan sighs. 

“I like it!” Leila says, giving him a stubborn glare as she looks up from her book.

“Well, I like Baron von TruffleSnout.” Satan argues with a smile on his face. “It’s more sophisticated.” He laughs as Leila rolls her eyes at that and goes back to her spellbook and notes. I can tell he very much likes this back and forth with her. “And since I’m the one who rescued him…”

“We rescued him.” Belphegor interrupts, as he tickles Pandora’s belly. “And I vote for Major Truffles. What about you, Pandora?” Pandora makes cheering noises at him as if she completely agrees, making him grin.

“Maybe. But I healed his injuries.” Leila points out, watching him play with her daughter with a soft smile. I’m pretty certain that Satan and Belphie have thought this part of their visit through, as well.

“How about Lieutenant Bacon?” James says, playing devil's advocate and earning a look from his cousin. 

“Or Mister Oink.” Lucien finally chimes in with a laugh. 

“I like Sir Piggy, too.” I tell Leila in sisterly solidarity. She beams at me in her sunny way and I immediately feel much better from all the trials I went through today. “Let me help you with that research.” I say with determination, giving up on my plans to go wallow in my room. 

Leila has great ideas for Sir Piggy and protecting the manor and gardens from his natural piggy instincts. It doesn’t take us long to have an ironclad plan to strong arm Lucifer into accepting our newest member of the household. It also cheered me up to see Pandora so happy and making the most excited noises as she engages with her ‘pseudo fathers’. Even if this is just some ploy on their part to earn Leila’s favor, I think it’s good for Pandora and I just know that little babe will have their hearts wrapped around her little fingers for real, in no time at all. 

Shado and Chimera on the other hand seem less pleased by all the attention being lavished on Sir Piggy. Shado adjusted to Chimera eventually and I know they’ll learn to accept Sir Piggy in time too. Maybe for now they will take sides with Lucifer though, I giggle at the thought.



James POV

Leila’s DDD rings suddenly and Satan gets it for her from the coffee table. “Tristan?” We can all hear the anger in his voice as he reads the caller’s name. “Who’s that?” He growls almost threateningly.

“Someone I know.” Leila tells him, holding out her hand expectantly. But Satan doesn’t want to give her DDD to her, he just glares at her. “Come on, what’s your problem?” Leila complains as the ringing ends without giving her the chance to take the call. She snatches her DDD from his hand and huffs. “Seriously…”

Of course. We haven’t really gotten a chance to tell our demons all about our reintroduction into the Magical Society yet. How that went and who we met. We’ve all been chatting and texting with our new friends. Even if we can’t provide information about our work for the Sorcerers’ Society and Solomon, we still have plenty of other stuff to talk about.

I think Lily and I both vaguely anticipated that Satan and Belphie would get jealous when they found out that Leila has found herself an admirer. Even if she doesn’t even realize herself that she has. But I think we both underestimated how much.

Leila’s DDD rings again and this time she can take the call. With a glare Satan’s way - which he returns just as fiercely - she gets up to stand a bit away from us. “Hey Tristan.” She greets him with her sweet voice. “Sorry, I was just a second to late…”

“...”

“Yeah, we’ve been very busy the past few days.”

“...”

“No, I’m sorry. Tell Vivian that we don’t know how long it will take.” She apologizes. And continues with. “Well, I’m tired, but I try to get enough rest. Yes...” 

Suddenly our new Lieutenant Bacon lets out a loud startled squeal as Shado whacks him on the snout for coming too close to him.

“...”

Leila bursts into giggles as she listens to what Tristan says to her, he’s probably wondering what the hell that sound was. Heh. “Of course that wasn’t me! That was our newest pet. Shado hit him on the nose.” She explains, giggling. “He’s a very cute little piglet. No, I’m not kidding!”

We can all clearly see how she enjoys talking to Tristan. Her conversation goes on for a few more minutes and I can see the looks of growing anger and contempt on Satan and Belphie’s faces: They don’t like this at all! Oh boy.

“Who the hell is Tristan?” Belphie growls, sounding furious. Pandora lets out a sad whining sound, not liking that scary sound he makes at all.

Lily and I look at each other and decide to tell as much as we dare, without making Satan and Belphie angrier. Leaving out most of what we think Tristan really feels for Leila. After all, so far she doesn’t return his feelings. Not as much as he probably hopes. 

When Leila has finished her call, she sits back with us as if nothing happened. Well, nothing did happen, as far as she is concerned. But I worry that her other admirers think differently. They both glare at her DDD as if they can murder Tristan this way.

There’s no time to further debate our new friends from the Sorcerer’s Society when Leila’s D.D.D. is going off again, this time it’s Mammon with Asmodeus requesting entry at the portal. A whole new drama is about to break out when Asmo finds Satan and Belphie here. I tell them as much. 

“Maybe you two ought to head back now.” I suggest. 

“We can’t go yet.” Belphie argues. “Satan hasn’t spent enough time with Pandora yet.”

“That’s right.” Satan only takes a moment to agree, stepping over to take Pandora from Belphegor. “I’ve been too busy helping Leila.”

I shake my head. I’m sure they planned this all out ahead of time too. But regardless of their intentions, Pandora does seem really happy. Leila seems to be thinking the same thing, because I see her resolve weaken as she heads towards the portal to allow Mammon and Asmo in. 

“Well maybe just a little longer…” She tells them as she walks out the room to get the others. Satan and Belphegor share a triumphant smile that they don’t even try to hide from myself or Lily. 


A little later Leila returns with Mammon and Asmodeus and his two large suitcases. No surprises there really. Asmo never travels light. Not even if he’s just staying one night with us. Still it’s not the suitcases that draw our attention to him, but his very dramatic act.

“What are YOU two doing here?!” He exclaims indignantly. “Out, out, OUT!” He tries to push them both out of the room. “Leila, send them back! It’s MY turn to visit and-”

“I know Asmo.” Leila quickly answers, trying to soothe both a startled Pandora and a very offended demon at the same time. “Shh, Pandora. Uncle Asmo won’t hurt anyone…”

“Oh, I’m sorry Sweetpea.” Asmodeus comes down from his high horse, but only halfway. “Of course I won’t.” Still, he turns to his brothers with his face twisted in such a glare that you don’t often see him make, as afraid he is of getting wrinkles. “Still it doesn’t explain…” Just then he’s interrupted by our new piggy, inspecting his shoes with enthusiastic snuffling sounds. “AAAH! What in the WORLD?!” He screams and jumps on the low table, scattering books and notes, as if he sees a fully grown, raging Shadow Boar. In reaction, our poor baby pig starts squealing in fear and makes a run for it, knocking over another stack of books until Mammon catches him before he can run out the door.

“Okay, Asmo.” Lily sighs and shakes her head with a resigned smile as she takes his hand. Seeing that Leila is still busy soothing a scared Pandora - Satan and Belphie both made sure to be at her side to ‘assist’ her - she sets Asmodeus down in a chair. “Calm down, so we can explain.” She’s gentle but firm with her command to stifle his dramatics.

“Yeah. I kinda wanna know what’s goin’ on here too.” Mammon still holds the piglet under his arm as he’s finally able to walk into the room as well.

“Seriously, you're such a drama queen, Asmo. It’s only a baby Shadow Hog.” Satan scoffs as he takes Pandora back from Leila to play with her. “Come Pandora, let’s read one of those baby books of yours.”

“She likes ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ .” Mammon tells his brother with a mischievous grin as he releases the calmed down piglet to the floor. Lucien snickers with him. 

“You do?” Satan picks up the book and settles with Pandora in a chair. “Alright… ‘In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf’ .” Pandora excitedly ‘helps’ Satan turn the page. “Whoa, calm down! I’m getting it… ‘One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and - POP! - out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar’ .” 

Pandora made an excited popping noise with her mouth as Satan was reading that, making him chuckle. Just as Leila always showed her. We softly explain to Asmo and Mammon what happened, how we acquired another pet now and how happy it makes Pandora to have her ‘fathers’ around, while Satan is reading the story of how the Very Hungry Caterpillar eats its way through all kinds of food.

“... ’On Monday he ate through one apple, but he was still hungry’ …” Satan reads and Pandora does one bounce on his knee. “... ’On Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry’ ...” Pandora bounces twice, happily cheering. Satan quickly figures out what's going on and helps her bounce with the three plums on Wednesday, the four strawberries on Thursday, the five oranges on Friday, etcetera. She’s so into it that he has to really keep her steady afterwards. “... ’Now the caterpillar was no longer small. He was a BIG, FAT caterpillar’ ...” Pandora snuggles against Satan with a tired satisfied sound, sucking on her little hand. “... ’He built a small house called a cocoon for himself and stayed inside for two weeks. Then he nibbled a small hole and pushed his way out and... What do you think he looked like, Pandora?” She looks at him intensely: maybe the story has changed? “A beautiful butterfly!” Satan tells her and Pandora cheers again. The story still ends the same!

“Okay, that was adorable.” Asmo has to admit. He knows, just as well as any of us, except maybe Leila, that the real reason his brothers hi-jacked his turn is because they want to be close to Leila. But since Pandora is benefiting the most of it, he can’t really stay mad at them.

“And it looked exhausting.” Belphegor comments, but with a slight smile. “She almost bounced off your lap there…”

“Told ya she liked that one.” Mammon grins.

Satan looks proud. “I’m surprised she can already count. Must be my genes.” He smirks Belphie's way who rolls his eyes.

“Hardly.” Leila helps him out of his daydream. “She only remembers one bounce and two bounces. Anything up from there she just does whatever she wants.”

“What do you say to us going out tonight, Asmo?” I suggest trying to please him. “Just you and I. Lily and Leila are tired from our Sorcerers’ Society work.”

“Oh, all right…” Asmodeus finally gives up. “But only I get to stay here overnight!”

“Of course.” Leila promises him, giving him a hug for not causing more drama in Pandora’s presence. “When you get home, it’s just us and Mammon.”

Leila doesn’t see the look Belphegor and Satan are sharing: We’ll see about that! Though I think they’re out of luck on that. Leila just lets them stay for Pandora’s sake, I’m sure of that.

Asmo and I go to his new Human World room in Serenity Manor with his suitcases. He complains a lot about how it doesn’t have all the comforts of home and his own room. And if he might snuggle into my bed tonight and more of that, but eventually we make it out of the Manor to go to a restaurant first and then some clubbing.



Lucifer POV

We’ve only been back home in the Devildom for one week. But it has felt like such a long week, and much less like home without our human family members. Between my brothers arguing who gets to go visit our humans first, our RAD responsibilities, the unrest in the Devildom that is still a hot topic in the news, council meetings... Diavolo even assumed he could visit Lily in the Human World on the seventh day of our visiting schedule…Of course I told him no, it’s a family schedule and I will not play a part in encouraging him as long as Mammon, Leila and James are still recovering. If Diavolo wants to visit, that's his own business and he can arrange it on his own time. I’m not sure if Diavolo understands or wants to understand, but luckily Barbatos backed me up on this. It’s not as if his duties allow him to leave so often anyway, it was a miracle Barbatos had let him have an extended stay in the Human World in the first place. 

I’m already feeling exhausted. 

I’ve decided that we will wait one week before we start visiting our humans. One week for us to settle in our normal routine and to establish some sort of order. It wasn’t easy to create the schedule. I wanted to keep it simple and go from eldest to youngest, but that idea was met with a lot of opposition. Someone suggested going in order of the pacts, but that didn’t work out either because we have three humans now, all different. Because which pact would count: the old one or the restored one? Eventually we just played a game of rock, paper, scissors that shook the Devildom on its foundations. Oh well, at least we have a schedule now.

Today would be the first day that one of us would join Mammon back to Serenity Manor after the council meeting. Of course some of my brothers immediately undermined my authority and not only did not show up for said council meeting, they also weren’t home at the House of Lamentation when we all came home.

“I thought Belphie was home, when I quickly went to get a snack before the council meeting.” Beelzebub explains as he starts preparing to make food from the hideous bloody mess he’s left in the kitchen. “I found these Shadow Hogs on the way and thought to bring them home for dinner.”

“Oh that’s what that is?” Asmodeus sniffs contemptuously. I honestly can’t blame him, nor am I looking forward to this meal. “Ugh, I’m glad I get to go to the Human World tonight.”

“Speakin’ of…” Mammon tells him. “Ya better hurry up, or I go without ya Asmo. I already texted Leila.”

“Oh! Wait for meee!” Asmodeus quickly leaves the kitchen and soon we hear them laughing and arguing in Lily’s old room. Until their voices suddenly go silent.

“So then, where are Belphie and Satan?” Leviathan asks, looking a bit worried to Beel working on plucking the dead Harpy on the kitchen table. “I...think I’m going to eat in my room tonight, Beel. You don’t have to cook for me.”

“Okay.” Beelzebub gives him a beaming smile, as he starts tearing the limbs from the Harpy with a sickening sound, skewers them and starts cooking them over the fire. Soon the smells and sounds of sizzling demon flesh fill the kitchen and Leviathan and I make ourselves scarce.

“Maybe they went out for dinner, after they saw what Beel brought home…” Levi mumbles. “I dunno, maybe I’m spoiled, but I can’t wait to have a Human World meal tomorrow when it’s my turn…” He walks up the stairs to lock himself up in his room for the rest of the night.

“Human World, hm…?” I say looking contemplative to where he disappeared. Could it be that…? Oh yes, they would definitely do that. Those two! When I get my hands on them, I’ll roast them next to that Harpy above the fire!

I let Beelzebub know I’ll be eating out tonight as well and then leave for one of the seals that lock the Devildom from the Human World. I won’t bother Leila with opening the portal for what I assume the third time tonight. Though I am a bit disappointed in her: Why would she let those two troublemakers stay? I thought she would be firmer than that. 

It takes a little longer for me to arrive at Serenity Manor, since I have to make a detour via the Devildom city and I obviously don’t arrive right inside Serenity Manor. I can already hear the sounds of laughter and arguments coming from the house when I ring the doorbell. 

It’s Lucien who opens the door, looking very surprised. “Oh, hey Lucifer!” The laughter in the dining room instantly stops. “What are you doing here?” He does sound genuinely surprised.

“I’m here to fetch my fractious brothers.” I tell him and he nods in understanding, letting me in. 

When I enter the dining room, I see instead of Asmo and James, indeed Satan and Belphegor sitting at the dining room table. Big challenging grins on their faces. Pandora sits on Belphegor’s lap, making excited noises to Satan who does some kind of foodgame with her. Oh, that’s why. They have somehow convinced Leila that they’re here for Pandora… Of course she couldn’t say no to that.

“Welcome! Have a seat, Lucifer!” Leila beams at me in the sweetest way. “Do you want to join us for dinner?”

“If you don’t mind…” I find myself already in a milder mood when I sit next to Lily who gives me a similar sweet smile. 

I do get the feeling that I’m being lured in a false state of equanimity and that they’re all up to something. Especially when Mammon and Lucien are wearing the same sort of grins as Satan and Belphegor. As if they’re all about to watch some sort of show…

“Well, that whole schedule is already out the window, isn’t it?” Lily starts with a laugh as Leila heaps my plate with delicious types of food. Much better compared to what was waiting for me at home. Even though I do like to eat Shadow Hog, the smell of roasted Harpy made me feel a bit below par. “The only ones who haven’t popped up here are Beel and Levi!” She laughs.

That reminds me: I can’t be distracted. “What are you two doing here?” I ask my brothers sternly. “And why haven’t James and Asmodeus joined us for dinner?”

The girls just continue to eat, while the rest of them still have conspiratorial smiles on their faces. “James and Asmo went out.” Mammon finally answers me after a mouthful of food. 

Out? Out where? I want to know but they are skirting around the real issue here. That’s when I hear Leila’s cat make an ungodly yowling noise that is followed by a heinous squealing. My eyes widen as I see a tiny Shadow Hog come barreling into the dinning room, running under the table to seek refuge from the cat hissing and swatting at it from behind. The little fae creature flies in, alighting on Leila’s shoulder, chittering away.

“Shado!” Leila scolds her cat who cries pitifully at her but stops his pursuit. “Sir Piggy ate Shado’s bowl of food.” Leila says to the rest of us as if that explains this uncouth dinner side show. 

“What is going on?!” I demand answers as I watch Lily reach down under the table, sitting back up to reveal the revolting little Shadow Hog in her arms. “What is THAT doing here in the Manor?!” I glare at my brothers who are all snickering. Now all the pieces fall into place! I would have roasted the runty swine, if it wasn’t in the arms of my beloved sister right now, and they all know it!

“Isn’t it adorable, Lucifer?” Lily has that pleading look on her face that I know oh too well. Oh no. I don’t think so! I steel myself against her charms. I look around the table to see the smug looks on my brothers’ faces and while Leila smiles at me charmingly, I can’t miss the challenging look in her eyes though.

“Satan and Belphie brought him to me this afternoon. Since they knew I was the only one who could heal his wounds.” Leila explains, while taking her cat on her lap to calm him down. It seems the animal is the only one on my side right now, as I hear him softly growling at the piglet.

“Leila, Lily…” I try to calm my anger as much as I can. “I can’t allow you two to turn the Manor into a petting zoo, as soon as I turned my back on you-”

“Oh but Lucifer...” Leila interrupts my lecture - I really hate it that she does it, but for some reason I also like this challenge she provides me - looking pleadingly. “You can’t let him return to the Devildom. You don’t have things like petting zoos there. Not really, right? And he can’t go to a Human World petting zoo, for obvious reasons. And you wouldn’t want my efforts of healing poor little Sir Piggy to go to waste just so Beel can eat him tomorrow…?”

Lily and Leila have similar expressions on their faces. Pleading, almost in tears by the idea that Beel will eat their piglet tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure if they’re acting. Probably partially. But they are weakening my resolve by doubling their forces this way.

“We have made plans so it can have a good life with us.” I guess it’s now Lily’s turn to try to convince me. Have they been planning it like this? My brothers are suspiciously quiet as they watch the show, as they no doubt see it. Lily and Leila take turns explaining the spells and solutions they have come up with to keep the Manor clean and intact.

“Shado just needs a little time to get used to him.” Leila then promises, petting her cat who is already purring in her lap. “He needs time to show Sir Piggy who is in charge and then he will accept him and there won’t be too many fights.” I notice her choice of words: She expects more chaos, but pretends there will hardly be any. “The only animals he really has problems with are dogs, honestly. But I doubt you want to bring Cerberus to the Human World.”

“Oh! And Leila thinks she can teach him to find truffles and roots and that kind of stuff for us.” Lily starts cooing to the animal. “Yes you can, can’t you? You’re so smart, aren’t you Sir Piggy?”

Okay, stop that, Lily… They’re already so attached to the beast. What am I going to do? I can’t allow them to get their way every single time they find a stray or wounded creature… It surprises me that they don’t just try to command me to accept the animal. I know Leila’s commands are powerful enough, but she doesn’t seem to want to use them for trivial matters like these. It means she really respects me and wants to be on equal terms with me. I sigh. I should respect her in return. 

“Very well…” I hear myself say and I secretly feel very proud to see the faces of my two little sisters light up with joy. “I want to see the results of those plans you mentioned within one week, or I will personally bring the animal to Hell's Kitchen. Furthermore, I want to see proof that this creature will be a useful animal to keep. You are going to train it once a week in the Devildom during a walk with me, Leila.” That’ll teach her to use her charms on me and this way I can get to know her a little better. Besides, my two brothers won’t like me spending personal time with ‘their’ Leila at all. I give them a smirk and raise my glass at their glaring faces in a mocking salute as Leila nods and agrees to these stipulations without protest. “And lastly: We are not naming any creature under my roof ‘Sir Piggy’. I will give it a suitable name, like for example-”

Before I can finish speaking, there are already two squealing girls hanging around my neck. “EEEEE! Thank you Lucifer!” I’ve never seen Lily so excited. At least not since that dreadful day. This, and the fact my two trouble-making brothers are now scowling, that alone almost makes it feel worth the yield. Besides, I’ll think of a suitable punishment for those two later.



Leila POV

After dinner, it is time to put Pandora to bed.  Belphegor offers to help. I agree on letting him, there’s something I need to talk with him about. I have Mammon join me too.

“Okay guys, tell me.” I start, when we’re in my room. “Why are you both acting suspicious around Lily? Especially you Mammon, you suddenly started treating her like she’s made out of glass. Tell me if my own suspicions are correct.” Belphegor smiles at me as if he’s proud of me, a strange reaction, while Mammon just begins sputtering nervously. “Is she pregnant?” I finally just ask them, straight out. 

“She is.” Belphegor nods. He looks like he’s about to say something more, but Mammon interrupts.

“Huh!? How’d ya know that?!” 

“Probably the same way you did, Moron.” Belphegor scowls, mumbling the insult. “I heard the baby’s heartbeat.” 

“Okay.” Everything is starting to make sense now. I feel both nervous and excited for Lily. “She doesn’t know, does she?” If she does, Lily is a much better actress than I ever gave her credit for. 

“She’s so dense, she probably won’t figure it out until her stomach starts swelling.” Belphegor rolls his eyes but there’s a lot of affection in his voice. 

“I guess it’s still early in the pregnancy.” I defend her. “First trimester women often don’t notice much difference themselves and with everything else going on…”

“We shouldn’t tell her yet!” Mammon blurts. “What if somethin’ goes wrong? It would make her even more sad!”

Belphegor rolls his eyes again, but gives him a small approving nod, “I agree. Let her figure it out on her own, it’ll be better that way.”

I’m not sure if I agree. I mean, they’re not entirely wrong, but if it were me, I think I’d like to be told. But it is still early, maybe we should give her the chance to find out and tell us? “Well I’m going to talk to James about it at least.” I tell them. I can see Mammon looking panicked. “You know we don’t like to keep secrets from each other, Mammon. But I won’t tell anyone else, for now.” I assure him. 

“Thanks Leila.” Mammon sighs in relief and hugs me, giving me a kiss on the head - which causes Belphegor to huff and roll his eyes for some reason - before heading back downstairs. 

“Can I help you with something as you put Pandora to bed?” Belphegor asks then, as if the whole news of Lily’s pregnancy is something boring. Though I doubt he really thinks that. “I mean… It would be sort of practice for Lily’s baby too.” He blushes.

“Sure.” I smile at him. “She’ll like that. Here, let me show you how to clean her and put her pajamas on…” 

I’m pleased to notice how Belphegor is paying close attention to what I’m doing. He really doesn’t have to do this, as he’s not her real father or her real uncle even. But I think he really cares about her. That makes me happy. And Pandora too. She’s going all out for him: babbling, cooing, bouncing in his arms when he picks her up, grabbing onto his collar and hair. It’s so cute to see them together like that again!

“You’re really a handful, aren’t you?” Belphegor mutters to her, but I can hear a little laugh in his voice. “Stop pulling my hair, I need to put you in the crib and I want to keep my hair on my head.”

“She always liked it when Belphie sang.” I mention to him with a bit of a laugh. He probably won’t, but it’s worth the try, right? He looks up to me as if he’s debating if he should glare or smile. “It’s probably because you have that sort of sleepy sounding voice…?”

“Ugh… Fine…” Belphegor sighs as if it’s the hardest thing he’s had to do in his life, but I already don’t believe this act of his anymore. I’m convinced he really loves my little nephilim so I beam at him. “You’ll owe me for it.” He then tells me, blushing for some reason.

“Sure.” I don’t see any harm in that. “What is it?”

He grins in triumph, but blushing even more. “I’ll let you know in due time, don’t worry.” He starts softly singing and Pandora is practically swooning. She really missed this. I’m so happy that Belphie wants to do this for her. I should think of doing something nice back. But later, when I’m feeling more at ease around him.

After Pandora is asleep we go back downstairs. “Well I suppose you two should go back.” I tell Satan and Belphegor. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but they were only here to bring Sir Piggy and to play with Pandora after all. Now that Sir Piggy is allowed to stay and Pandora is in bed, they have no reason to stay any longer.

“Quite right.” Lucifer agrees. 

“Are you sure?” Satan asks. “We could always help you with Pandora in the morning.”

“Leila can manage just fine.” Lily assures them, gently pushing them towards the Portal room. I can imagine she’s worried what sort of punishment Lucifer will have in store for them.

“Well, what about you?” Belphegor doesn’t budge, glaring at Lucifer. “Aren’t you coming with us? It’s not your turn to be here either.” He points out. 

“Because you two disrupted my schedule, I think I’ll enjoy my time here a little longer.” He smiles in both a smug and threatening way. “At least until Asmodeus returns, I’d like to have a word with him about his behavior as well.” No doubt he thinks missing dinner to go clubbing is a terrible offense. 

“Come on.” Lily tells or rather gently commands them. She’s trying to save them but as usual they are intent on digging their own graves deeper. They reluctantly follow however as I lead the way to open the portal for them, leaving behind a very self-satisfied looking Lucifer.

Hours later Lucien has already gone to bed and Lily and I are getting tired ourselves. Lucifer keeps glancing at the clock and muttering darkly.

“I told ya.” Mammon laughs. “Ya shoulda gone home, they’re not gonna be back anytime soon.”

“You might as well stay the night now.” I tell Lucifer with a yawn. 

“Asmodeus obviously is a bad influence on James. I should revoke his rights to visit for the next several months.” He growls in irritation. 

“Psh.” Mammon laughs. “James is a valued member of Team Party! He’s a natural party animal!” He boasts. “He never had an issue keepin’ up with me and Asmo.” He chuckles as if recalling fond memories.  

“I don’t think that speaks for his character.” Lucifer answers grumpily. 

I’m honestly a bit surprised as to why Lucifer is so disgruntled about it. Our work at the Sorcerers’ Society always starts late in the morning and I believe Asmo also has late classes tomorrow.

“I would really like it if you don’t revoke Asmo’s rights to come here, Lucifer.” I sweetly but firmly object. “Having my pact with him restored cheers me up. It energizes me. I’m looking forward to breakfast tomorrow and our couple of hours of Asmo-time before he has to go back.”

“He… cheers you up…” Lucifer looks as if he can’t believe it. “With his dramatics?”

I shrug and grin. “My old Asmo was always really sweet too. And Lily and I will look so pretty tomorrow after he’s done our hair and make-up.”

I THINK I saw Lucifer suppress his eye roll. “Fine, I won’t revoke his rights. For now. But I will have a talk with him about this sort of behavior.” He starts muttering as if he’s already practicing his lecture. Poor Asmo...

“I think I’m going to bed.” Lily tells us as she scoops up Sir Piggy. “You can sleep with me tonight.” She coos at the pig earning herself some snorts. “That way you won’t upset Mr. Shado, who would definitely not like it if you slept in Leila’s room yet.” Nope, he definitely would not.

I glance at Lucifer, whose face twists in disgust. “Lily, you’re not sleeping with that animal.”

“Ya!” Mammon seems to agree with his older brother. “It could have diseases or somethin’.”

I roll my eyes at the same time Lily does. “I think that’s a good idea.” I tell Lily. “At least for tonight. We will buy some comfy bedding soon. Right?”

“Yup, exactly.” Lily agrees and ignoring Lucifer and Mammon, she makes her way to bed with Sir Piggy tucked against her bosom. 



VERY late that night, Asmo and James finally show back up at Serenity Manor. Or is it just VERY early this morning? I must have fallen asleep against Lucifer’s shoulder as we were talking and waiting. I didn’t want him to wait alone as some sort of angry father of a teenager, so when he finally barked at Mammon to go to bed, I gave him some of our homemade spiced hard cider, which he of course just called Demonus. He was very pleased with it, at least.

We hear them come stumbling through the front door. Asmo drunk and giggling. He really can’t hold Human World liquor that well. James sounds just a bit tipsy. 

“Hrm...Hrhmph.” Lucifer startles awake too and fixes himself up, clearing his throat and setting his face in a glare. He takes a deep breath when the door to our living space starts opening.

“No lectures now, Lucifer.” I tell him, placing my hand on his arm and he has no choice but just to exhale and glare churlishly as I cheer to Asmo and James when they stumble through the doorway. “Welcome home! Now go to bed!” 

Asmo’s drunken eyes widen as he takes in Lucifer next to me and gives James a quick smooch before stumbling back to his own room. Otherwise I’m sure he would have passed out with James, he’s made it very clear that it’s not fair that their new guest rooms aren’t as nice as ours. 

Breakfast wasn’t exactly full of warmth, the next ‘real’ morning after we all slept. Lucifer still held a lecture during the whole meal and I doubt that Asmo or James heard half of it. Lucky for us, Mammon and Lucifer did have early classes, so we still got some fun Asmo-time after that. After I had to heal some hangovers away.



Chapter Text

Leila POV

It’s been a little more than a week since Solomon’s big announcement for the Magical Society. James, Lily and I have been working hard to help Solomon test all the current members. We've been at it for six days with today as my third day of rest and I’ve tested 120 members, with only approximately 465 more to go...If I don’t count the sorcerers who never showed up in the first place and have gone into hiding. I feel dizzy just thinking about it. Eventually we will also need to test the thousands of apprentices and mages that have partial seals, but Solomon says we can worry about them a bit later. 

The most rotten of the Sorcerers’ Society showed their true colors by never showing up and going underground instead. Approximately a quarter of all our 780 registered members. As awful as that is, at least there’s less testing to get through. Solomon has had his demons hard at work rounding them up. Barbatos has assigned a section of the Demon King’s Castle dungeon for the captured corrupted sorcerers, where they have to wait until we have time to give them a proper trial and sentence them their due punishments. Solomon worked with Barbatos to make sure the human prisoners were held and treated in accordance with human ethics in mind. I have to say I was surprised and somewhat relieved to realize that Lord Diavolo has been very supportive to us on this matter.

While I know the majority of the Magical Society is good people who support us, the rotten ones are just… very rotten. Eventually we will have to get to work rounding up power hungry covens of witches, warlocks and mages with bad intentions for the Three Worlds in general. To do that efficiently we have to finish purging all the corruption from the Sorcerers’ Society. We still have a long way to go, I sometimes feel we will never be able to get the Society fixed the way Solomon envisions it for the future. 

But we have to try. We all have our own motives, but in the end we all want the same. This reality is our last chance of a peaceful life and I have to fight for Pandora’s future. Peace and harmony between the Three Worlds might be Lord Diavolo’s dream, but it is also mine. It’s the only future where a child like Pandora will be accepted. I know Lily’s current motives are vengeance for what happened to this reality’s Solomon and Mammon, but I know deep down she wants the same as all of us: A peaceful life. I think James just mostly is determined, just like Solomon, to keep what remains of his family safe.

So far the rotten ones have gone into hiding, but we know they are only biding their time to attack. It frightens me to think of another attack on my family but I have to keep faith in myself and everyone else. We’re determined not to lose anyone else.

Anyway, of the Sorcerers who did submit to testing, the results were not quite as bad as I had feared. There were only a handful that lost everything, their souls felt so tainted that they were sent in for questioning and investigating. After that, it was only about half of the Sorcerers that lost one to three virtues out of seven at most. The majority were worth retraining and Solomon even found several potential candidates to fill the empty council seats. Finally it felt as if we were making progress. All the sorcerers that have not lost their virtues at all were granted one of the new Sorcerer's rings that James, Lily and I have received as well. Most of them volunteered to help retrain their fellow sorcerers who lost a few virtues, once the time comes for that.

Today is another rest day for me and once again Solomon has taken Lily and James out for training. I hope Lily doesn’t return in low spirits like she has the other times. It’s also a break day between our visits, except for Mammon coming home later of course. 

Sir Piggy made an absolute mess of the garden this past week, luckily Lily was able to use her fae abilities to fix most of it. We don’t want Lucifer to bring him to Hell’s Kitchen after all. I made an ever-fitting harness and leash for him and yesterday I took Sir Piggy to the Devildom for the first time to start with his snuffle-training and the walk I promised Lucifer. Only for a short half hour walk and poor Sir Piggy was frightened the entire time. I can’t say I blame him, the Devildom is infested with predators of all sorts, after all. Even Beel has already mentioned that we’re only keeping Sir Piggy - or Pork Chops as he calls him - to fatten him up so he can eat him later. That was a whole other discussion and Lily and I were practically in tears by the end of it. Beel does mean well in general, but he has such a one-track mind...

But anyway, today I am going to use this free time to perfect the spelled collar I’ve been working on to keep Sir Piggy out of certain areas of the garden. Luckily our little enchanted piggy door has worked like a charm in keeping mud out of the manor. That’s some good news I could bring Lucifer yesterday, at least. He seemed pleased to hear it.

I’ve also struck on an idea that might help Lily, a way to have her clashing Celestial and Fae magic coexist. But I have to talk to Solomon about it first.

 

Lily POV

It’s our third time out for training. I appreciate Solomon for taking time away from his mountain of responsibilities for us this way, but I’m tired and frustrated. Our running theories currently are that my time in Faery has awakened more of my latent abilities and with my memories returning, it’s not playing nice with my other skill set, so to speak. Solomon thinks my erratic emotions might be at play as well, which makes me feel weak. Leila and James have been through hell and their grief doesn’t seem to be messing with their power. There’s also a possibility it has something to do with James and I’s rings trying to exist together permanently in the same reality. 

Today I’m wearing a necklace of red rowan and holly berries, rowan twigs and various herbs in my pockets to see if it’ll help by suppressing my fae abilities. So far all it’s doing is giving me allergies. I know Leila has already told me that suppressing my Fae magic isn’t the solution, because it is part of me just as much as my Celestial magic. But I have to try something! It’s so frustrating, I could cry.

I’m almost relieved when Solomon says we have to wrap up training early. Until his next words. “I’ve just been warned about an unauthorized summoning. The demon in question is currently imprisoned in Tartarus, so normally I wouldn’t worry. It’s almost impossible to summon a demon from Tartarus.” He says this in a way that has James and I exchanging a glance. I’m fairly sure Solomon has summoned a demon from Tartarus now. I bet that’s a curious story for another time. “But with the number of highly skilled rogue Sorcerers out right now who want our hides..well, we shouldn’t risk the chance they are successful.”

“We’re coming to help right?” James guesses before Solomon has the chance to say. 

“Yes. This will be a good chance for you to show what you’ve learned since the last one you witnessed.” He nods approvingly. “Lily, you’ll be witness only today, unless things get out of hand you can back James up if he needs help.” Solomon tells me in the stern voice of Master to apprentice. I have to force back an eye roll. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me lately, it’s perfectly reasonable what he asks of me since I’ve never witnessed an unauthorized summoning before, but I feel extra combative. Solomon doesn’t deserve that, so I’ve been reigning in my attitude as much as I can. “Astaroth will be there for backup too…” He warns me.

Just great. I keep my mutterings in my head and plaster on an agreeable smile. 

 

James POV

Lily and I were not ready for the sudden shift in climate when Solomon teleports us to the middle of some humid jungle. It was afternoon in England where we had been training, it’s dark out wherever we are now. Solomon wastes no time in summoning Astaroth, I contemplate taking off my heavy Sorcerer’s robe, but think better of it: who knows if I’d ever find it again? It’s supposed to protect against some magic too, but later I will have to ask about a summer weather version..

“Where are we?” Lily asks in a hushed whisper once Solomon’s summoning is complete and he’s had a short whispered conversation with Astaroth.

“South America, outside some Mayan ruins.” Solomon answers. I notice Astaroth pointedly ignores us. “Sites where human sacrifices have been made are popular when trying to summon particularly nasty demons.”

Ah. Well. That explains it. Still, he could have given us a heads up. The moon isn’t quite full yet, and the jungle is so dense barely any of the moonlight trickles through. I hope Solomon is going to allow us to summon some light because I can barely see my own feet.

“This may be a trap, so be prepared for anything.” Solomon advises us before summoning a tiny orb of light to lead us with. Astaroth has disappeared into the jungle silent as a panther.

I feel on edge as we stalk through the jungle, not sure if this is better than the creepy crypt in France. At first the jungle was alive with the sounds of nature creeping through the canopy up high and the plants below. Things that are being hunted, things that give off warnings, things that let out their last cries as they are ambushed in their sleep. But then the jungle falls silent and not long after that we begin to hear the first sounds of chanting. 

The jungle is becoming a little thinner as we pass by crumbling rocks with indecipherable carvings. Eventually we come to the crumbling remains of an ancient Maya pyramid illuminated by the light of the moon. At the top I can barely make out the silhouettes of robed figures.

“We’re going to have to climb up.” Solomon whispers, making his orb of light disappear. “Watch your step. The terrain will make it harder for them to escape but also not easy for us either. James, employ the shackling spell. Lily, you will provide backup.” Both of us give him a serious nod.

I still don’t know where Astaroth has gone but since Solomon hasn’t mentioned it, I’ll assume it’s all part of the plan. We slowly climb the crumbling steps, trying to be as silent as possible. Lily has told us about how she was raised in the woods around her home of course, but I’m still impressed at how silently and agile she is able to move, she’s keeping up with us easily despite her shorter legs. 

 

Somewhere in South America...

Astaroth has been sent ahead to the Mayan temple. To scout the area. He was to report to Solomon if there was an ambush waiting there, or if anything seemed out of sorts. However, after investigating the entire clearing and the jungle surrounding it, he was sure that the only people nearby were the five humans chanting something atop the temple and the three humans making their approach towards them. The five humans are indeed engaged in a summoning ritual but without more information, he can’t discern the authenticity of their ritual. He could take all five of them out by himself right now and be done with it. They don’t seem to be all that powerful, unlike Solomon and his students. However, his master told him he wanted to use this opportunity to train James and Lily. He is not to interfere unless one of them looks to be in mortal danger. Basically he’s their babysitter now… What a waste of his time. Well, at least he’s not wasting his time at RAD.

He looks for a place to have a good view of the top of the temple. The building that used to be on the top has long crumbled away, so that won’t work. He can’t continue to fly overhead either: The moon is making too obvious shadows. People would see him. He decides to wait in the tallest tree close to the clearing. It’s some distance away from the temple, but he has a clear view of the scene that would probably be over within a few minutes anyway. 

Finally he hears his master approaching with his students. They could do with a bit more stealth training. Astaroth thinks with contempt. Especially that boy. He can smell his nerves from all the way over here. He’s sure that Solomon is aware of this too.

Astaroth continues to observe Solomon and his students as they climb up the steps on the shadow side of the temple quickly. They’re going pretty high up, for human standards. A fall from those steps would be fatal. He decides he will come closer as soon as they engage the group, just to be sure. 

He’s too focussed on watching his master and his students to notice that one of the people atop the temple stops participating in the ritual and instead is sending a message...

And there it is: Suddenly the clearing is bathed in light as if it was the middle of the day. Astaroth flies up silently, is within reach of the temple in mere seconds and sees his master and his students have already subdued the five people performing the ritual in some type of shackling spell that seems to grow out of the foundations of the temple. Like he thought: It would go quick. 

But then.

“Look out!” Lily calls out a warning as suddenly five real Sorcerers teleport in.

He notices them before he sees them. A much larger group of sorcerers and this time also demons are suddenly upon them! These humans are more powerful than the ones who were playing the bait, as Astaroth now realizes. But their demons would be no match for himself, so he decides to wait before engaging. ‘Only when one of us is in mortal danger.’ That’s what his new Solomon commanded him. 

It doesn’t sit well with him to just wait and watch as he circles high above the fight now. He couldn’t stop the attack on Solomon all those weeks ago. The fact that Lily thought he would partake in his demise and her unhappiness chafed at him. He scoffs at himself, his cruelty to her had obviously erased whatever affections she held for him. While it’s true that there was no love between Solomon and himself, he had never wished for the sorcerer to meet such a senseless end. Maybe you would never know this of him, but he felt the loss during the time his pact with Solomon was severed and just the ghost of it lingered. While he was imprisoned he could barely make sense of it all. Solomon had died, he knew it. But something of him still was around. It only made sense to him when this new Solomon found him, freed him and restored his pact with him. 

This new Solomon seemed different, though. He would only know why a couple of days later when he met with his students. One of them was of course Lily. But he never knew about Solomon’s granddaughter, or her cousin. The granddaughter was interesting. He had heard that the Ring of Souls had been lost, not that he thought Azrael would have ever found someone worthy to wield it. But there she was, wearing the legendary ring, using its powers to peer into his soul with just a touch and a look in his eyes. Or sense it. He wasn’t sure what he experienced when she did it to him, with Solomon’s permission. He couldn’t hide it from her, like he can with everyone else: his true character.

He huffs with discomfit. It just has the result that now he’s babysitting Solomon’s students. Because his new master trusts him. Of course he wouldn’t let any harm come to Lily. They have a history. But why is he also watching the cousin? 

Anyway, so far it doesn’t look like any of them is in mortal danger. Three of the Sorcerers and their demons have descended on Solomon. Oh, how noble the human race is. Flaunting their ‘virtues’. Astaroth scoffs. He’s pleased to watch how his master easily evades the attacks sent his way. The other two Sorcerers are attacking James and Lily with their demons.

James seems to be very agile now that he’s let go of his nerves, Astaroth notices as he sees the boy dodge an offensive attack, using his robe. Lily looks just as skilled as she casts the shackling spell on James' attacker, while he successfully shackles the second Sorcerer who was trying to attack Lily, while she was distracted defending James. Meanwhile Astaroth watches how the two demons of the Sorcerers are closing in. But with their masters trapped, it doesn’t look as if they’re keen to hurry and help them. 

Weak humans. Astaroth thinks with contempt, as he hears the attackers shouting commands to their demons that they’re barely inclined to follow. They have no business making pacts with demons if they can’t control them. Solomon’s students will hardly have any problems defeating them together. He turns his attention to his own master to see if he needs any help. So far it doesn’t seem like he does. He has already one of the Sorcerers shackled with the others and has put some sort of confusion spell on himself to keep their demons busy, seeing as they keep getting in each other's way as soon as they get too close to the clever old Sorcerer. Astaroth smirks: His master seems to be toying with those demons and is only interested in capturing the attacking sorcerers. But then Astaroth sees something strange happening.

Lily makes a noise of distress when the Sorcerer she had pinned begins to laugh. The shackles around him had turned to flowering green vines which then began to dry and wither, allowing him to easily brush them away. Astaroth turns his attention back to her. Something like this also happened when she tried to attack him, a couple weeks ago. He thought that it was because of her emotions, but up until now Lily has been fighting with alertness and efficiency, just like Solomon and James. But now her usual boundless energy seems to be waning much sooner than he’d expect from her. This effect must have origins outside of her skill or emotions. James has noticed it and takes a defensive position with Lily’s magic on the fritz, but Astaroth feels a twinge of concern: the boy might not be up to the fight if it is just him against the two demons and the escaped Sorcerer.

“Ah, how adorable. The Sorceress Lily is giving us a bouquet of flowers.” The one that freed himself mocks Lily with derisive laughter. 

The weaker people who were captured first are starting to mock her too. “Can you believe it? I’m swooning!”

“The new SS you’re building will only show how weak you are, Solomon, if you surround yourself with Sorcerers like her.” Another one laughs, as if he isn’t stuck in shackles himself. 

One of the Sorcerers that fights Solomon growls out from behind him. “Still, as your greatest weakness and treasure, she’ll have to die. Today we’ll accomplish what our brothers failed to do.”

They’re mistaken. Only Solomon, his demon and his students know this. New Solomon cares for Lily and James a lot, but they are not his greatest treasure. His granddaughter Leila is. And she is not his weakness, but his greatest strength: Constantly challenging him to become a better man and Sorcerer. But they also know that the Sorcerers’ Society hasn’t failed to kill Lily’s Solomon… And Lily can’t take the abuse anymore.

Lily let’s out an angry and anguished cry, as James blocks an incoming attack that comes her way. Then he has to jump back quickly as suddenly jungle vines shoot out from cracks and crevices and twine themselves around all of the five witches and the two trapped Sorcerers at the top of the temple. Only the people who can move away are able to evade them and before any of them can do anything, the vines are dragging the seven screaming people into the crumbling pyramid. 

“Lily, get yourself together!” James shouts at her as it looks like she wants to fall on her knees and cry. Lily looks up at him with her eyes misty with tears, but she nods determinedly. This isn’t the time to give into despair.

“Kill her and the boy too!” The Sorcerer that has freed himself commands his demon with a deranged snarl as he starts launching spells at Solomon’s young students who are starting to advance on him together now. 

The demon laughs wickedly and the ones who are now freed from their masters join in with him. This is going to be fun: No masters to command them to return to the Devildom afterwards. They’ll start with the souls of these humans here and then continue raiding the Human World later. They’ll have a good party, before Lord Diavolo orders them to return. Nobody notices how above them a powerful demon watches every move that is made, ready to intervene.

James exchanges a glance with Lily, they’re going up against three demons and a Sorcerer now and they will need to try to summon Celestial power against them. Astaroth watches how Solomon tries to get to the side of his students to aid them and protect them, but he is hindered by the spells of his own four attackers. He growls with impatience, if Solomon wasn’t so bent on taking his attackers alive, this could have ended by now. 

James and Lily raise their hands and both chant a variation to their own personal Light spells that they used on the Bogeyman all those weeks ago. The memory of that day fuels James’ power. Remembering how Satan gave him access to his powers, Lucifer’s trust in him. He wishes he could go back to make it right! I miss them all so much, I want them here with me!  

Only Astaroth can see what exactly is happening, even if he doesn’t understand what exactly IS happening: James’ Ring of Light glows up brightly and so do Solomon’s and Lily’s Celestial rings in reaction. But while Solomon’s power stays with Solomon, it is as if Lily’s powers are connecting to James through their twin Rings of Light. It looks like a strong surge of power enters James' being via his ring, coming from Lily. Then he casts his spell: Light spills forth from him that sets all the demons atop the temple ablaze. They scream in pain and instantly flee back to where they belong. 

Astaroth is stunned. He’s never seen something like that. He’s also glad that he had not landed on the temple to intervene yet, because that looked painful. This was not just James’ own power! This looked as if James accidently leeched powers from Lily…? What is going on with these humans and their magic? It’s powerful, but it seems erratic.

“Impossible!” The three remaining Sorcerers start to panic and all advance on James and Lily now. If they’re unable to take down Solomon tonight, they will at least take down his most trusted students and leave him all on his own again!

“Die! You bitch!” One of them screeches.

“Lily! Watch out!” Solomon calls out a warning as he’s quickly trapping one of his own foes in another shackling spell. 

James spins around to try to help Lily after he hears Solomon’s warning, but he loses his footing and falls on his knee, feeling dizzy and out of sorts from the power surge of that last spell. What was that?!  

Lily is swaying on her feet from the surge of power that James drained from her and she hasn’t seen that one of the Sorcerers has moved behind her, poised to strike her down with a dagger. Astaroth takes this as his que and immediately swoops down. 

While Solomon deals with the other remaining Sorcerer and shackles him as well, Astaroth suddenly drops from the skies, kicking the last Sorcerer in the chest straight off the pyramid and catches Lily, before she passes out from the sudden loss of energy. Just in time. She would have likely broken her neck on a fall down the steps.

 

And with that, the fight is over. Solomon summons a few more of his demons with instructions to search for the missing witches and sorcerers and contacts Barbatos so that their new prisoners can be transported to the Devildom. By the time Barbatos has arrived with a transportation portal, one of Solomon’s demon’s returns and shakes his head. The Sorcerer that Astaroth kicked off the temple is dead and the ones taken into the temple cannot be found, all that remains of their existence are trails and puddles of blood. 

 

Leila POV
Lucien and I have decided to enjoy a late afternoon tea in our cozy living room while Pandora still naps. I’m happy to see that he hasn’t lost his passion for baking. The scones he baked for us are amazing! One moment we’re chatting and laughing and then the pressure changes in the room momentarily as Solomon suddenly teleports into the room. The scent of sweat, blood, magic and something earthy fill my nose as we jump up in alarm. Solomon looks fine if only a little rumpled and his hair out of sorts but I gasp when I look at James. He looks like he’s been through hell, there’s a thin cut on his cheek, his hands are scraped and bruised, the fabric of his trousers are torn and dirtied. More alarm fills my gut as I take in Astaroth’s bulk standing behind them and carrying Lily who looks unconscious.   

I rush towards them. “Solomon, what happened?!” I reach James first and make him sit in our comfy oversized chair before he collapses. Astaroth settles on the couch, laying Lily down with her head on his thigh as he smooths her hair tenderly. I’m a little shocked at the display of affection after the hostility they’ve shown each other but it’s just more proof that he’s not as bad as he tries to make himself appear.

“We encountered an ambush and one of James or Lily’s defensive spells went haywire, it seems.” Solomon explains. “Astaroth will tell us what he saw. In the meantime we need to revive Lily.” He says this as he checks her pulse, “I’m afraid she could go into shock or even slip into a coma. Can you do that, Leila?” 

“Yes, I’ll try.” I nod seriously and get to work with determination. 

“How can I help?” Lucien asks with concern, his hands in fists at his side. 

“Can you bring James some black tea and something sugary?” Solomon says with a grateful smile. I’m kneeling next to Lily, channeling energy into her. While I concentrate, I try to still follow the conversation as Astaroth explains what he witnessed from his perspective. 

“Gods.” James groans, covering his face with his hands. “It’s my fault. I think I pulled power from her through our rings, that's the only thing that makes sense.”

“It’s not your fault James.” I tell my cousin in a gentle comforting way as I give Lily’s hand a gentle squeeze before standing up. I’ve done what I can and hopefully it’s enough and she’ll wake soon. “We all know that your twin Rings of Light try to co-exist. It could have easily gone the other way.” I try to calm myself, dreading the moment Lucifer starts calling my D.D.D. the same way he had when Lily had gone into Faery. I distract myself by fussing over James’ superficial wounds. 

“She’s right.” Solomon says solemnly. “Anything that happens to my apprentices under my watch is my responsibility alone.”

“That’s also not what I mean to say. But you should have called me, Solomon. I could have helped.” I grumble, as I heal the cut on James’ cheek, making sure to leave no scar behind on his handsome face.

”Yes, maybe I should have.” Solomon agrees with me. “I was assuming that this would be a standard unsanctioned summoning and a good training opportunity for James and Lily.”

“Then why did you summon Astaroth, if you thought it was a standard-” 

“In case I was wrong and we needed backup after all.” Solomon continues, frowning a little by my interruption, but I think he understands my worries. “You need your rest, Leila and you would not have made it in time, either…”

“But…”

We all stop arguing when Lily suddenly sits up, looking around the room with wide eyes as she tries to get her bearings. She seems to look relieved when she sees that everyone is whole and well, then she pales. 

“What happened to them? The vines…” She looks down at her own hands as if she doesn’t recognize them. “They’re dead aren’t they?” She barely whispers. 

I’m honestly just relieved right now that she’s back to the land of the living. But when I take her hand to soothe her I am worried for her soul. Killing someone… It’s...

Lily sees me looking at my ring as I hold her hand and turns to hide her face. Astaroth growls in irritation as he reaches for her and pulls her into his embrace at the same time. “Foolish human.” I think I hear him say, quietly. 

“I killed them.” Lily sobs as the gravity of the situation hits her. 

The fact that she’s showing regret alone will help her heal her soul, I know it. I think that she’s gotten a real wake-up call that going into a confrontation purely fueled by hatred and vengeance could make her lose her virtues in a moment of weakness. It’s something we ALL have to continue to remember. I know, with my temper, it could have easily been me doing something like this…

“It’s good that you can cry about it, Lily.” Solomon comes over and squeezes her shoulder with his hand. “Now you will have to learn to live with this. And remember it for the next time. As a Sorceress, you must always stay in control of your emotions when dealing with evil.”

Lily just nods at him. We let her cry it out until she’s given it all a place in her heart, while comforting her and supporting her. Lucien brings her her own tray of tea and a new batch of freshly baked scones for everyone.

Once we’ve managed to calm Lily down, Solomon begins to ask Lily questions about what she felt when James’ spell got the better of him. From her description it becomes clear to us all that it's a danger for James and Lily to continue on this way. 

“I wanted to discuss this with Solomon first, so I don’t want to get your hopes up. But I think I’ve come up with a solution.” I tell them and then explain my idea of how we can transform Lily’s ring to suit her abilities better and so we can balance hers to work in harmony with ours and hopefully solve both problems. 

“That very well could work.” Solomon gives me his special proud smile and I can’t help beaming a little despite the situation. “The difficulty will lie in the execution. It’s no small feat to alter a divine object like the Celestial Rings.” He hums in thought.

“This is true.” Astaroth agrees. 

“Well then I guess it’s good you know an angel with a rebellious streak that would do almost anything for Lily, James and Leila.” Lucien tells us with a mischievous grin. 

I return Lucien's grin and I’m about to say more when I hear Pandora’s coos coming from the baby monitor. “I’ll be right back.” I tell them as I leave them to discuss plans for talking to Simeon as I go upstairs to fetch Pandora. 

 

“So it’s true.” I nearly jump out of my skin as I exit Pandora’s nursery to find Astaroth leaning against the far wall, looking at us in an indecipherable way. Even though I’ve read his soul and don’t believe he would actually hurt us, I don’t take chances as my Celestial shield comes around us instinctually. “I won’t harm her.” Astaroth shakes his head with a sigh, dropping his crossed arms.

“You startled me. Why did you follow me?”

“I had to see for myself.” He looks at Pandora with a mix of awe and despair in his eyes. I’m curious about his reaction, when Lily feels better I should ask her more about him. I’m more likely to get details from her than my tight lipped grandfather. Pandora is watching him with curiosity and making curious cooing noises. “You risk much misery upon yourself, bringing a nephilim into the world.” He murmurs. 

Yes, don’t I know it… As her mother, I want to feel offended by his words but he says them with such a tragic look on his face that I wonder if he speaks from personal experience? Has he known hardship like mine too? I don’t know this demon well enough but if he knows about Nephilim then I wish to ask him so many questions. Instead I hear myself saying, “Would you like to hold her? Her name is Pandora.” Somehow I feel it’s the right thing to say to him.

Astaroth looks genuinely surprised by my offer and honestly, I am too. Under normal circumstances I would never trust a demon outside my family with my child. I just trust my gut about this one though. Pandora bounces in my arms and reaches out to him with a noise of encouragement, she’s already comfortable around him too. He slowly reaches out and lets her grab one of his fingers. When she smiles at him and laughs, shaking his finger, he suddenly smiles. It’s a good look on him, I prefer it to the surly scowl that’s always plastered on his face when I see him.

Slowly he takes Pandora in his own arms. She happily babbles her baby talk at him and pulls playfully on his long hair. He seems mesmerized by her and I can’t help beaming proudly as her mother. “I have little fondness for our Crown Prince.” He suddenly says to me as he continues to stare at Pandora. “But I follow him because of his ideals. I would like to see a future where this little one can live freely without fear.” He looks back to me now as he hands her back to me.

“Yes. It’s my hope as well.” I nod at him. “I… do not trust Lord Diavolo. At all. But I will try my best and do my part in establishing harmony for the Three Worlds. It’s the only future where Pandora will be accepted…”

“Having one pact is annoying enough. I have no desire to forge another.” He suddenly huffs. 

Um...what? Somehow me agreeing with him on something makes him think I want a pact with him?! “I didn’t say anything about making pacts.” I huff in return. Honestly, I feel I already have a lot, once they’re all restored again. Who needs more of that rollercoaster of emotions? “I’m not my grandfather.”

“Hmph.” Astaroth snorts. I’m not sure if it's amusement or disbelief. “I suppose I’ll take your word on that for now.”

“Okay then, I’m glad we agree.” I sass, suppressing an eye roll.

He gives me a smug smirk in return, before his expression settles into something more serious. “Instead I will offer you an oath. As long as I draw breath, I pledge to protect this child and you, as her mother, to the best of my ability.” He vows to me solemnly. I can only nod and accept his oath, feeling too emotional and moved to find the right words. His features soften again. “Pandora.” He chuckles, “A suitable name.” He nods with amusement and approval.

I notice my grandfather looks curious as Astaroth and I return together, talking in a friendly manner. Lily looks surprised for a moment and then her expression softens with a knowing smile. I definitely have to talk to her about this later. My D.D.D. starts buzzing, Mammon is waiting to come home. So I leave Pandora with Lily, knowing she could use the distraction. 

When I return with Mammon, he loudly greets Astaroth with. “Yo Astaroth! What’re ya doin’ here, mate?” And a clap on his shoulders. 

Lily looks at Mammon with wide, surprised eyes and I can assume that her own Mammon wouldn’t have ever interacted with Astaroth this way. Astaroth eyes Mammon suspiciously, his relaxed posture becomes stiff and formal again. “Refrain from touching me.” He practically growls, his eyes cold again. 

“You’re always such a grump!” Mammon laughs loudly, then he turns to Lucien and me. “Ya still didn’t answer my question, Leila. What’s for dinner? I wanna brag to my brothers who have to eat Beel’s offal stew with the pickled harpy organs he’s been savin’! Ahaha!”

“Where’s Solomon?” I ask instead. “Don’t tell me he’s…”

“Damn.” James curses. “He must have slipped away to the kitchen when we were all talking and playing with Pandora…”

“Oh no, oh no!” I run towards the kitchen with Lucien following me with determination. “He’s going to cook a ‘healthy heartening’ meal for James and Lily that’s going to KILL them!!”

“We got this Leila! I have an idea!” Lucien shouts suddenly. “Come here, Mister Oink! Come to the kitchen with us! Come on!”

Sir Piggy squeals in excitement and makes a run for the kitchen just like us. Smart! To Solomon it will look like we’re chasing our wild little Shadow Hog around the house. Haha! 

When Lucien opens the door, our little piggy storms inside, excitedly snorting straight up to Solomon who was indeed cooking… who knows what, really? Completely running him over. Solomon is able to balance himself and the pot he was busy with, but then Lucien and I pretend to tumble over each other, because of Sir Piggy who is still excitedly snuffling around in the kitchen. 

Our combined forces make whatever Solomon was cooking fall to the floor and Sir Piggy is immediately on top of it! “Thank you Leila!” I hear him as he dives in Solomon’s food.

“Sir Piggy! Are you sure?” I ask him in animal language. “I don’t want you to get an aching tummy!” I try to get our little piggy away from Solomon’s ‘poison’, but he protests.

“I want to eat it, Leila.” He tells me. “It’s really nice.”

“Alright then.” I pat our piggy on his back and turn to Solomon who stands next to us, looking with a pouty face how Sir Piggy is slobbering up the meal he was cooking for us. “The good news is, nothing has gone to waste.” I smile brightly. “Sir Piggy loves your food, Solomon!”

“Really?” Solomon beams proudly. I’m not sure if it's something to be proud about, but eh. He’s happy. “Let’s make some more for everyone then!”

“No, no.” I tell him, shoving him out of the door. “It’s Lucien and my turn to cook. You have to spend some time with your great-granddaughter.”

 

Meanwhile, back in the Living Room…

James POV

I watch as Mammon looks after Leila in surprise before turning his gaze over me and Lily, I notice the way his brows rise as he notices our torn, dirty clothes that we haven’t bothered to change out of yet. 

“What the heck happened to you two?” He asks, loudly.

“They were ambushed during training today.” Astaroth answers for us. “They fought well but there were some complications.”

“Huh? What sorta complications?!”

Mammon carefully steps around Pandora who is happily playing with Chimera on the rug between us. He lifts Lily up like she’s fragile and sets her back down on his lap. I try not to laugh when he nonchalantly rests his hand over her middle. I watch as his expression turns from pensive to relieved. “I’m okay.” She tells him quietly, patting his arm, none the wiser to his true thoughts.

Astaroth has scooted away from them on the couch, scowling. I tiredly tell Mammon a few details about our rings and Leila’s plan. Not really wanting to explain everything all over again. I gloss over the details about Lily’s outburst that cost several lives. She looks like she might start crying again. 

Astaroth growls with impatience. Apparently not appreciating the way I’m telling things. “Lily ended a few worthless lives in self-defense.” He bluntly tells Mammon. “And while I agree that you must learn to control your emotions and magic,” He tells Lily, his tone softening the slightest bit. “You have nothing to feel guilty over.”

Mammon seems at a loss for words for a moment. I don’t know what he’s feeling through their pact, but I know Lily enough to know she’s not going to agree with Astaroth’s sentiment on the matter. A life is sacred, enemy or not. 

Solomon rejoins us then, Leila must have been successful in her pursuit to stop him from wrecking our kitchen and guts. Mammon gives him a glower, but doesn’t say anything. Knowing that our Solomon never would let us do something if he thought we couldn’t handle it. Knowing that Leila will scold him if he treats Solomon with less than respect. Solomon notices Mammon scowling however, and gives him an apologetic squeeze on his shoulder. Yeah, that might work on Mammon. Now. Just because they know each other better now, but I doubt this will work on the others who don’t know Solomon so well yet.

Chapter Text

 

Lily POV

After Satan and Belphie tried to hi-jack Asmodeus' turn to visit and partially succeeded and Lucifer staying over instead of them, the whole visiting schedule they had so carefully doctored flew out the window. 

Especially Levi and Asmo wanted their chance to make things right again. Asmo made an appointment with his favorite spa for the next day after his turn and expected Leila to open the portal for him. And Levi had bought some sort of new thing from Akuzon that James just HAD to play with him immediately. Even Beel came with a request to come on a different day because he heard of an all you can eat event in the Human World. That turned out to be in a different country, so I sent him back. But still. 

Leila became pretty annoyed and decided to make a new schedule, going from eldest to youngest. Take it or leave it. No more exceptions. Though I know she secretly was a little sad for Pandora to have Satan and Belphie over only once a week now.


Today is Satan’s second turn to visit us and he came out of the portal waving a pamphlet with a large grin. Being that it was only the day after our jungle fiasco, it was nice to see someone looking so cheerful. It automatically brings a smile to my own face.

“Lily, James, Leila! Look at this!” He cheers excitedly. “They’ve decided to hold a ‘Devildom Secondhand Bookfair’!”

“Eeeh! Wrong!” Mammon buzzes, coming in with a possibly even bigger grin. “It’s goin’ to be a Limited-Edition market!” He proclaims before walking up to me and handing me a cup of bufo egg milk tea. “Uh, I got this for ya.” He whispers. 

I smile a little uncomfortably and try not to gag. He’s been acting peculiar ever since going back to RAD, treating me differently, he’s been almost too nice and I worry it has something to do with us sleeping together. I know it’s not because he’s in love with me. Not the way my other Mammon meant… So then why? Maybe it’s his attempt to make me feel better after what happened yesterday?

“Yeah, yeah.” Satan waves him off as if not important. “Anyway, part of all that is, that every book at RAD library is going to be sorted!”

“Every book?” I stare in disbelief, remembering the enormous RAD library where you can get lost in for days, if you don’t leave breadcrumbs. So to speak. I look back at the drink in my hand, I feel bad but I find bufo eggs disgusting, but this Mammon doesn’t know that. I think I’m just going to ‘forget’ about it and give it to Sir Piggy later...

“That sounds interesting!” Leila on the other hand smiles encouragingly at Satan. “What sort of books will be selected for the fair? Or the market, if you will.” She quickly smiles at Mammon just as encouragingly and they both beam at her.

“I know right?!” They beam back. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!”

“There will be TONS of books and goodies that will be ripe for resellin’!” Mammon explains his enthusiasm. “I’m gonna make a killin’!” I shake my head with a smile, knowing he’s just going to get himself in trouble as usual.

“What kind of market is that anyway?” James asks curiously, as we all move to the living room to join Lucien and Pandora.

“Oh, it’s gonna be great! On the market they’ll be sellin’ limited-edition goods from food, to art, to anythin’ that can’t be found anywhere else!” Mammon rubs his hands. “I gotta score me some rare items and resell them online! I’ll be rollin’ in grimm.”

Satan rolls his eyes at him. “It’s true. There will be items that aren’t sold anywhere but at that market, like catalogs of rare published books. But I’m going to volunteer to help sort the books at RAD.” He tells us as we settle with some tea and home-made biscuits. He beams even more when Shado jumps on his lap out of his own free will. I know it’s because Leila’s lap is already taken by Pandora, but why let Satan know this, right? “They will be looking for human and angel sorters as well.” He looks at us expectantly. 

Well, mostly at Leila, but she disappoints him. “Really? I think Solomon will be interested in that…” She tells him as she plays with Pandora.

“Oh, well…” Satan quickly hides his disappointment and nods. “If he is, he can apply to be a sorter and everyone who is chosen gets to organize all the books in the RAD library. Even the books you’re normally forbidden from reading.” His eyes gleam with a sort of wicked light. Ho boy...

“Damn, that sounds like hard, nearly impossible work.” James whistles. I can’t say I disagree with him.

“Right?” Mammon agrees. “I wouldn’t wanna be a book sorter even if they begged me to. Although if they’d offer me a reward from the Demon Lord’s Castle, then I might consider it...” He starts daydreaming on his own and we all roll our eyes, but let him. Dreaming is harmless after all.

I nibble on a biscuit. I'd really like some of the tea Lucien made but I don’t want to hurt Mammon’s feelings. “Hey Lily.” James suddenly says. “Don’t you hate bufo eggs?”

“Wha?!” Mammon looks over at us with surprise. “Ya do?!”

“How come you didn’t buy us some milk tea too? Huh?” James teases Mammon. “I’ve had a craving for it too.” He sighs. Mammon begins sputtering about only having enough grimm for one and something other unintelligible gibberish. 

“Not for me.” Leila tells him, coming to his rescue. “You know I’m not crazy about most weird Devildom food, but James loves it.”

“I appreciate your thoughtfulness.” I assure Mammon, thankful for the out James has given me. “Here James, you can have it.” James happily accepts the drink and Mammon seems mostly pacified

Meanwhile Satan hasn’t let any of this distract him from telling Leila all about his excitement for sorting and the upcoming book fair. And Leila has been an enthused listener, asking what sort of books will be selected for the fair and if Satan would want to give her a heads up if there’s something that might be of interest for her. 



James POV

The next day it was Asmodeus' turn. He comes walking in, loudly complaining. “...And then Lord Diavolo REFUSED to let Solomon be a sorter! It was preposterous! Because he is originally from another reality, he said!” He huffs indignantly.

Leila has a certain fury in her eyes hearing that and I can honestly feel her anger too. What has that to do with anything? It feels more like Diavolo refuses Solomon, just because he is Solomon and his counterpart was engaged to Lily. And that is not fair at all!

“Well, don’t worry, my Pearl.” Asmodeus reassures Leila, with a kiss on her head. “I won’t rest until we’ve fixed this heinous insult to our beloved Solomon! But other than this, I’m very excited for the market myself!”

“Yeah?” Lily and Leila are interested. “Do you have anything in mind that you want to get?”

“Oh yes!” Asmodeus declares dramatically. “I NEED to get my hands on the Devil’s Salon limited-edition skin care set! I simply can’t live without it! Oh, and then there’s that book by the legendary beautician that goes by the pseudonym of Ashtaroth: ‘Devoting Body and Spirit to Beauty’ !”

Later that evening Asmodeus and I are ready for another night on the town. As much as Asmo tries to talk the girls into coming with us, they turn him down again. I feel a little guilty for leaving them behind but I need the distraction. Leila buries herself in her research and Lily spends time getting her hands dirty in the garden, but I’ll go crazy staying cooped up in the Manor. Even Lucien has his things. Often visiting the angels, as he’s working part-time at their cafe now on the days we’re all away from the Manor, bringing Pandora and figuring out new recipes with Luke.

“EEEK! CHIPOLATA!” Asmodeus is suddenly shrieking, pulling me out of my thoughts, as Lieutenant Bacon snuffles over his shoes. “Don’t slobber on my limited edition Versucci’s!”

“It’s a pig with style, isn’t he?” I tease, as I lift our pig up from the floor, just after he’s accidentally trapped himself in a shimmering scarf.

Asmodeus hasn’t been so against Lieutenant Bacon’s presence after the first day. Because of his size and adorable appearance he thinks he’s some sort of nice accessory to have in the Manor. ‘Much better than Cerberus, if we HAVE to have a demonic pet’, he proclaimed the next morning already. Ever since then, he’s been designing barets and bling and what not for our little piggy. Lily and Leila have banned the nose- and earrings immediately, but the rest was deemed cute. However the bling was soon discarded by the pig and disappeared in Chimera’s treasure hoard. But Asmo keeps letting his brothers bring more stuff anyway, when it isn’t his turn to visit.

Bottomline is: He secretly thinks he’s cute. Well, except for when he’s snuffling around in Asmo’s stuff. Heh. “Ugh…” He huffs as he unwraps our piggy. But I see he’s trying to hide his smile. “I can’t wear this now…”

It has been our routine soon after we moved back to Serenity Manor. Like I said: I need the distraction. From my sadness and missing my old life, my own Beel and Lucifer... But also from worrying about Lily and her magic, her pregnancy. From worrying about Lucien in his vulnerable state. From worrying about Leila who is taking all her responsibilities like a warrior, while I’m not yet able to truly assist her. I don’t know how we are supposed to have our own apprentices soon, while there’s still SO much I don’t know yet. I’ll drive myself crazy, if I don’t let it all out at least once a week on the dance floor, or… you know… With someone random I don’t want to have as my boyfriend, but still can have some release with. 

While Leila and Lily let me go through my grief the way I see fit, understanding that we all have our own ways of dealing with stuff, Asmo understands this the best, I think. It’s what he’s been doing ever since he fell, after all.

We look at each other, grinning. At some point I will lose interest in living my life like this again, but for now it feels good. It has helped the two of us restore our pact. Somehow. While we were dancing.

“Come on, James.” Asmo pulls on my arm and skips out of the door. “Let’s gooo!”

“See you two later!” Leila calls after us. “Be careful!”

“Oh, aren’t you JUST adorable!” Asmo swoons, pinching her cheek and planting a kiss on her lips. “Careful… What would be the fun in that?!”

“We’ll be careful.” I promise her and Lily too, who are already looking a little concerned.

“BYE!” Asmodeus cheers, dragging me out of the front door as we hear our taxi honk outside.


When it was Beelzebub’s turn to visit, we didn’t talk about the upcoming secondhand book-fair at all. Well, apart from what he hopes will be in store concerning food stalls. He didn’t really follow the politics behind it all.

“I hope there will be an eating contest.” He beams as he eagerly munches on his second dinner for today, one that Lucien prepared specifically for him. 

This has been Beel’s routine since he went back to the Devildom. While most of the brothers are in a hurry to get to us after RAD, Beelzebub first eats dinner with his brothers in the Devildom - much to Mammon’s annoyance - and then we have another - late for us - dinner with him here in the Human World.

“Hell’s Burger has a market-only menu.” Beelzebub has brought a pamphlet as well, interested in a whole different aspect of the market. “Like the headless dragon deluxe burger.” 

“When I was at RAD, I once saw this book in the Library.” Lucien adds to the conversation. “I think it was called ‘Ultimate Hamburger Recipes: Burgers So Good You’ll Change Into Demon Form’ . It wasn’t very useful to me, but...” He stops talking as he sees Beelzebub starting to drool by that title alone.

I chuckle as Beel gently shoo’s Chimera away from his plate as she tries to steal a morsel. He grunts, the corners of his mouth turning up in a tiny smile as he flicks a crumb off his plate her way. She thanks him happily, nibbling up the crumb and goes to tell Leila all about it. Shado then lets out a plaintive cry at his feet. Beel looks quite perplexed and torn as he tears off the tiniest sliver of meat and drops it to the floor. Shado quickly gobbles it up, hissing and batting at Lieutenant Bacon who comes charging over for any more scraps that might fall on the floor. 

I turn to Lily who’s giggling. “C’mere Sir Piggy.” She calls. She still has a lot of food on her plate.

“You didn’t eat much.” Beelzebub comments. “Aren’t you going to finish that?” He points to her food covetously as he’s still chewing his own. 

Lily shrugs. “Feeling a little queasy.” She puts her plate on the floor and cheers encouragingly to our fuzzy little garbage disposal who makes quick work of cleaning her plate. I fail not to laugh when I see how upset Beel looks by this. Obviously he’s used to Lily giving HIM her scraps. He almost looks betrayed! 

“Don’t worry Big Guy, you can finish my plate.” I tell him with a pat on the back. Usually I can finish my plate of food, but since Beel served me tonight, there was way too much on there to begin with. 

“I suddenly have a craving for grilled Pork Chops.” He mutters, stuffing more food in his mouth as he glares at the runty shadow hog. Who honestly already looks a bit stronger ever since eating Solomon’s spilled meal. His malformed wings look better, maybe they will grow into proper wings one day? He also starts growing a dark stripe of coarse hair from the top of his head to the end of his back. 

At least, we THINK it has to do with Solomon’s food? Leila has started an experiment for it. Every dish that Solomon proudly brings over the last couple of days, she turns into piggy kibble with her magic and she uses it to train Lieutenant Bacon with. Taking him out into the park so he can practice his mushroom and roots snuffling. Giving him a kibble whenever he finds something good, that is eagerly being gobbled up.

“We shouldn’t feed them while we are eating.” Leila thinks out loud, knowing she’s just as guilty herself. “We are turning them into beggars and Lucifer will start complaining…”

“Aww, but it’s just so cute.” Lily pleads, knowing Leila is right of course.



Lily POV

When it was finally Belphegor’s turn, we found out that Diavolo has eventually gone back on his word and allows Solomon to do the sorting together with Simeon, Satan and Luke. He makes it sound like he’s played a big part in convincing Lord Diavolo that this was a solid strategy in working towards achieving harmony between the Three Worlds and Leila looks at him proudly. 

I don’t understand how Solomon finds the time or energy for everything on his plate. Maybe his immortality comes with perks I don’t know about? Whatever the case, it doesn’t seem to interfere at all with our work for the Sorcerers’ Society, or training James. He decided to give me a day of rest together with Leila on every third day as well, until the details of the alteration of my Ring are complete.

“The trick was to make Lord Diavolo recognize how good Solomon would be and how efficiently he’d work with Satan, Simeon and Luke.” He tells Leila with a lazy smile, happy to see how proudly she smiles back at him. “That out of all humans he knows, Solomon would be the most qualified.”

While I suspect most of them wouldn’t really care one way or another about Solomon being a sorter or not, it was most likely a group effort from my brothers and Barbatos, though. They all still want to impress Leila.

Besides, it really is ridiculous to exclude Leila’s grandfather from these sorts of events. If they like him yet or not, he is an important figure in the Human World. And they’re going to need his, James and Leila’s help. Making them feel unwelcome is not going to achieve Lord Diavolo’s dreams. I feel like eventually, soon, I will need to confront Diavolo on some of these issues.

“So, what would you like to have from the market, Belphie?” James asks him. “A book about being less drowsy all the time?” He snickers playfully.

“Hmm… Everyone has some book that they’d like to have, huh?” Belphegor shakes his head. “I’m actually more interested in one of those limited-edition premium mattresses from Devilish Bedding…” He looks at Leila in such a way that it makes her blush a bit. “You should try one too, Leila. They say they’re so comfy, it’ll feel like sleeping on a fluffy cloud.”

“That does sound nice.” She admits.

“I’ll buy one for you at the market then.” He promises her with that special smile again. And one for you too, Lily.” He turns to me now. “You look a bit tired…” I certainly feel tired, but he doesn’t need to call me out like that, so I roll my eyes.

“If we all buy those super special comfy mattresses, how will we get them here?” James worries about the logistics.

Belphegor shrugs unconcerned. “You buy them and they’ll be shipped to the House of Lamentation. From there I’m sure we can get them moved to Serenity Manor…”

Belphegor spends most of his time with us trying to impress Leila as usual. Pandora loves his attention and he makes it so that Leila doesn’t have to lift a finger as far as her daughter is concerned. 

I giggled when Belphie tried to hide his grimace when Pandora’s stomach made long gurgling noises followed by a very wet, messy sounding bowel movement. His smile might have been a bit strained but he still insisted on changing her diaper himself. Leila gave him her sunniest smile in gratitude and an extra slice of her delicious homemade apple pie for his efforts. It’s a slow process, but I can see some progress in her trusting him again.

Eventually we all ended up in a blanket fort watching colorful silly children's shows that Pandora would appreciate until we all fell asleep in a pile. Pandora safely tucked into her portable bassinet so none of us rolled over on her in our sleep. Shado and Chimera joined the cuddle fest as usual and even Sir Piggy ended up falling asleep in Lucien's arms. 



Leila POV

The next evening Lucifer honored us with his presence 

“Of course I understand the importance of Lord Diavolo accepting your grandfather, Leila.” Lucifer tells me. “Even though he has no jurisdiction in the Human World, he’s royalty and usually expects to get his way and he has shown some… reserve… accepting the situation as it is since you all came living in our reality.”

Yeah, no kidding. It seems like Lord Diavolo thinks he can just have his way with everything and whatever he wants. And that he sees us as obstacles. Well, too bad for him! The Human World is for humans. We have the right to be here now and if he has a problem with it, he has to go through us first! If he really wants to have peace and harmony for the Three Worlds, he has to start with understanding that he doesn’t dictate the rules. Still I’m glad he let Solomon help with the sorting. It’s a step in the right direction.

Lucifer smiles contentedly. “I was surprised by the way Satan put in the effort to get Solomon to help. He and my brothers even came to me for advice and asked for my assistance in convincing Lord Diavolo.” He sips his tea with a pleased expression on his face and I see James staring. That’s exactly the face that always had him swooning with our own Lucifer.

“I’m just bummed Satan didn’t lemme help ‘em.” Mammon complains and the rest of us stares at him in surprise. Didn’t he just a few days ago say that he wouldn’t want to be caught dead sorting books in the Library? “Eh, there weren’t any good books anyway…”

“I would not hesitate to punish you if I catch you stealing RAD property to sell for profit, Mammon.” Lucifer threatens him with a smug smile. Almost as if he hopes he DOES get to punish him.

“Oy! Whaddya think I should do then, huh?” Mammon defends himself weakly. “I don’t have any money and I needa buy presents ‘n stuff!” I notice he glances over to Lily as he says that. I’m really proud of him for taking responsibility for making her pregnant.

“Presents?” Lucifer looks almost pleased again. “I’m happy to lend you some money if you want to buy presents for Satan’s and Diavolo’s upcoming birthdays, Mammon.” Wow, that’s very nice of him? He knows that ‘lending’ something to Mammon means giving it to him, right? I doubt our Mammon is different in that regard from this reality's original Mammon…

“Eh? Birthdays?” Mammon sounds surprised, then quickly collects himself. “Uh yeah! Birthdays! That’s what I need money for! Yup! Birth…” He glances over to Lily again. “Birthdays…”

Lucifer had been surreptitiously checking over the Manor for traces of dirt, hair and droppings. Lily and I had exchanged a look when we realized what he’d been doing. We’d taken a lot of pains to ensure Lucifer would have nothing to complain about when it came to that at least. I wasn’t sure if he was pleased or not by the time he was through with his inspection. When he begrudgingly gave Shado a few scritches under his chin, I considered it a win. Not that we’d allow him to take our pets away, but it is still in our best interest if he starts accepting them and is comfortable with them around. We told him about the Solomon-kibble and my plan to use it as reward food for our piggy and I swear it made him smile. 

Of course he immediately scheduled another appointment for me to have a walk with him in the Devildom: He needed to see Sir Piggy’s progress on the matter with his own eyes. Or maybe he just enjoys talking and walking with me. I don’t mind: This is the best season for finding mushrooms and roots and the likes. I can stock up our cabinets this way with some rare Devildom materials and ingredients too.


Finally it’s Leviathan's turn and he comes in with a large box of books and mangas that he wanted to give to the Library, but Satan stopped him. Now he’s dumping them at our place instead.

“I mean Satan is such a meany!” He complains as he places the large heavy box on the middle of the coffee table with a thump. For a moment I was worried the table wouldn’t hold! “I was willing to donate my novels that I don’t have much time for reading anymore. I can’t just throw them away, right?! He loves books! Why didn’t he understand how I feel?!”

“Why don’t you bring that box to the new entertainment room?” Lily asks him sweetly, also looking worried that the table might not hold the weight of the heavy box.

“Yeah, I’m sure we want to read them some time.” Lucien promises. “But um…”

“...but don’t keep bringing your stuff here and treat our home as if it’s your personal storage space.” James speaks for all of us as he walks with Leviathan to the east wing.

“Right.” It's dawning on Leviathan that he can't keep doing this all the time. “Anyway, about the fair…” He changes the subject quickly. “I bet there are some retro game strategy guides hidden there! And first edition young adult novels from back when the genre was first established!” During the rest of our dinner, he keeps on rambling about all the treasures he hopes to find.

“So, what do you want from the market, Levi?” I ask him, bracing myself for a night of Levi rambling away on all his favorite subjects.

“Oh there’s so much I want, but I definitely need to see if I can score…” He starts and we all smile politely as our eyes glaze over when we go into listening-mode. At the end of his monologue he suddenly yells. “The special market-edition TSL figurines will finally be mine!!” Startling us all awake.

We’ve been snacking and playing games in the entertainment room for awhile now and Leviathan uses too much strength to open a chip bag as he’s shouting at James and Mammon to use a specific combo on the boss they’re facing. The bag explodes and chips fly everywhere. Leviathan is looking at us as if he expects to be yelled at when Sir Piggy comes charging into the rescue. 

“Henry 3.0! You’re a lifesaver.” Leviathan and the rest of us laugh as the mess and any other crumbs that had made their way to the floor are cleaned up in short order. Sir Piggy shuffles his snout against Leviathan, encouraging him to drop more food. 

Meanwhile Chimera is chattering away animatedly around his head. “Is she trying to tell me something? I don’t know what she wants.” Leviathan says, giving me a plaintive look. 

“She wants to know when she can visit Henry 2.0 again.” I tell him with a giggle. “She was friends with him in our reality.”

Leviathan looks surprised. “She’s not going to try to eat him, is she?!” He exclaims. 

“Of course not.” I snort and roll my eyes. “She’s a herbivore. She just wants to play with him in his fish tank.”

“Oh okay.” Leviathan still doesn’t seem completely convinced as he says, “I suppose she can come visit anytime then...as long as you’re with her.”

“Just be careful that the little thief ain’t gonna steal one of yer precious dolls.” Mammon warns him with a red face of concentration. Leviathan now looks possibly even more concerned.

“I’ll bring her next time I go for a walk with Lucifer.” I promise them and Chimera lets out an excited cheer. “You really don’t have to worry about her, Levi.”

 

 

Chapter Text

James POV

In Serenity Manor

On the morning of Satan’s birthday, the day of the limited-edition market and secondhand book fair, we’re all sitting around breakfast pretty early. We want to be on time for the fair. Well, Leila mostly. Studious as she is, she wants to be there before the crowds are allowed on the RAD grounds so she can pick out the best magic books. Still she’s not rushing us. She takes her time for breakfast and caring for Pandora. 

“Where’s Mammon, anyway?” Lucien mumbles around his mouthful. He swallows his food first, after a stern look from Leila, before he continues. “I thought he was looking forward so much to this fair?”

“Probably still asleep.” I shrug. “Mammon has a tendency to oversleep, as you know.” Lucien snickers and nods knowingly.

“If he’s not up in time, we’ll just go ahead and I’ll summon him to the Devildom once he’s ready.” Leila promises, not sounding very concerned. “Let’s enjoy a quiet breakfast…”

She’s barely finished speaking when Mammon comes storming into the dining room. “Whaddya think you’re doin’?!!” He shouts on the top of his lungs. “Now’s not the time to be stuffin’ your faces!” He declares passionately.

We all turn our heads and blink at him. Is he serious? All, except Pandora who lets out a series of very indignant sounding noises. I can almost tell what she’s trying to communicate: She’s not pleased with the way her uncle disturbed our peaceful morning.

“I completely agree, Pandora.” Leila calmly agrees with her daughter. “Mammon, sit down and eat your breakfast. We have plenty of time.”

 

In the Devildom

“Let me just...put this box down.” Belphegor already looks exhausted when we arrive at the courtyard of RAD University. Leila has teleported us directly to RAD, instead of us taking the portal that leads to the House of Lamentation.

It looks like they’ve all been put to work to bring out the selected books for selling from the Library to the stall. He smiles with lazy adoration at Leila as she’s already enthusiastically bouncing up to the RAD stall to browse the books.

“Are these all of the books RAD’s going to be selling at the fair?” She asks starry-eyed, scanning with her finger over the titles of the books inside Belphegor’s box. “Oh, there’s some good titles here…”

“Oh no, there’s tons left!” Asmodeus wraps her up in a hug after having hugged Lily. Making her drop the books about spell-crafting she’s already holding in her arms. “There’s still so many boxes inside.”

“Ugh, this is too much for a weak shut-in like me.” Leviathan complains, dropping off another box. But none of us are taking him seriously, remembering the enormous heavy box he recently brought to Serenity Manor.

Simeon comes walking up with his own box with books, placing them next to the other boxes still waiting to be unpacked. “Well, we found so many books that were suited for selling…” 

He smiles, quickly helping an industrious Luke who almost topples over from his own heavy box that he brings from the school. “Ughh… this is heavy.” Luke sighs, then his face lights up in the sunniest way when he sees all of us. “You came!” He hugs Lily tightly. “You tell us if you start to feel too sick! We’ll get you home right away.” He then adds, with a short-lived frown of concern. 

“Yes, try not to push yourself past your limits.” Simeon agrees, smoothing her hair and giving her an affectional pat. Leila and I have been told about Lily’s lack of tolerance to the Devildom but this will be our first time seeing it first hand.

Once all books have been brought out, they start setting up their stand. Satan is coordinating the whole thing together with Solomon. “So, we’re not forgetting anything, are we?” Lucifer asks them, as he oversees everything. 

“Nope, we should be good to go.”

“All of you, good luck!” Lord Diavolo comes bounding over and I see Leila stiffen immediately. “I hope you manage to sell every last one of those!” 

“Thank you and good luck.” Barbatos adds in his formal voice, nodding in a friendly way to Solomon and Leila too.

Then Lord Diavolo turns to Lily, spreading his arms. “Lily! I would like to invite you to come to the Castle and have some tea with me!” He wraps her up in a hug and almost already carries her off. That would really be a tactless thing to do, considering the company he is in, right now. “I want to show you the plans for a new greenhouse we’re building just for Human World plants. We’ve imported the soil and the atmosphere will be sealed with a completely-”

“My Lord…” Barbatos frowns disapprovingly.

But before he can say more, Lily luckily stands her ground, before her demonic brothers can get mad with their Lord. “That sounds very interesting but I don’t have time for that during this visit. I’m only here for the fair and Satan’s birthday.” She tells him firmly, yet in her gentle way as she maneuvers out of his embrace. “But I’m sure I’ll see you at Serenity Manor tonight for the birthday feast.”

“Right.” Satan is glaring, but still nods to Lily as she reminds him that Lucifer has invited their Lord to his birthday.. He doesn’t want to make a scene, but he does look a bit worried Leila’s way: Will she be able to handle that? “Well, see you later.” He tells him curtly, pulling Leila away to show her some more interesting books about magic.

“Satan, where should I put this book here?” Asmodeus holds up a large mysterious looking tome.

Satan looks up from trying to impress Leila and nods. “Oh, put that in the front if you could. It’ll be a good eyecatcher.”

“How about this one?” Luke asks, holding up a book that seems to growl from between the pages. I see Leila looking a bit worried at it, but Satan grins.

“Let’s wait until we’ve sold through some of our stock that’s already displayed on the shelves, so that it has a bit more space…” Okay, that doesn’t sound weird or ominous at all. Luke quickly put it down in it’s own box and I could swear it made a final snapping sound at him.

 

Lily POV

“We still haven’t finished setting up, and we already have a line of people waiting outside the gates.” Belphegor sighs tiredly. “RAD magic books are really popular, huh?” I have to stifle a giggle and turn a blind eye as he sneaks another book that she seemed interested in into Leila’s bottomless spelled bag when he thinks nobody's looking. 

I don’t think she even notices herself as she’s looking over the titles with gleaming eyes, making notes of what she wants to buy as soon as the fair opens officially. It’s really cute how both he and Satan try their best to impress her. I see Solomon watching them half-amused, half worried as he’s shaking his head.

“Yeah, these books are from the RAD Library’s collection after all.” Satan has noticed and gives his brother a grin. “There are plenty of people who’d love one of these.”

“Oh, definitely!” Leila beams at them, holding up two books as she compares them. “I’m so glad we got here early so I could see them before it starts! I have a good idea of what I want to buy now…”

 

When the gates open a little later, a large number of people come straight for the RAD Library booth. “OMG! I feel so popular now!” Leviathan actually sounds more than a bit anxious, so I pat him comfortingly on his arm.

All seven of them have to work hard to man the RAD booth, even if they rotate turns. Mammon thinks it’s all very unfair. He needs to scour the grounds for bargains on the limited-edition items. “Yo, Beel!” He shouts impatiently. “How much longer is it gonna be before ya can give this customer their change?!”

“I can’t help it.” Beel defends himself. “Someone needs to come help me at the register!” I give Lucifer, who was so far not doing much else than overseeing his brothers, a certain look and he gives me that certain look back as he moves to assist Beel. The one that tries to say that he only does this for me but I’ll still be in his debt.

“We’re WAY too busy!” Mammon complains. “Where’d Solomon and Simeon run off to, huh?!”

“They only came along to help with setting up the booth.” Lucifer explains. “They’re out touring the fair right now.”

“What good are they then?!” Mammon huffs, receiving a stern glare from Leila. Haha! He really should know better by now than saying something like that.

“Lucifer, someone asked if we have the rest of the series this book is from…” Belphegor waves a book in the air in a disinterested way.

“No, if it’s not here we don’t have it.”

“Wait, Satan, what’s with all that stuff in your arms?” Asmodeus asks, looking impeccable but also a bit frazzled from the rush. “We’re too busy for you to start shopping now.”

“Oh these?” Satan shrugs. “These are gifts. From acquaintances mostly, although a few I didn’t even recognize..” He says with a slight frown as he tries to find a place to put them aside where they won’t be sold off. Or ‘misplaced’ by Mammon.

“Here I’ll carry them for you.” I tell him, offering him my own bottomless bag. He gives me an appreciative smile before dumping them in. I had almost forgotten just how popular Satan is.

“Ooh, it’s true. I saw it.” Leviathan nods. “They were in line with the customers, some of them just handed them to him like it was no big deal and walked off. It made me feel even MORE like I’m part of the popular crowd!”

“Man, your fans sure do love you..” Mammon grumbles as he rushes around to fill orders for customers. 

“He’s not the only one with admirers.” I hear a familiar voice and I’m suddenly grabbed from behind in a hug, lifted off the ground and swung around in a circle as another familiar voice says. “Lily! It’s been forever. We thought you forgot about us.”

“Phe, put me down.” I demand with a giggle. “I think I might be sick.”

“Oy! Oy!” Mammon drops the book he’s holding, Lucifer catches it before it hits the ground with a glare our way. “Whaddya think you’re doin’?!

Whew. That made me a little dizzy and slightly nauseous. I smile at Mammon as soon as I’ve got my bearings, putting a reassuring hand on his arm. Even though I warned him ahead of time who my friends in the Devildom are, it’s still probably difficult for him to get used to. It’s not as if my own Mammon ever cared for it anyway. But my new Mammon seems to treat me as if I’m made of glass, sometimes. I noticed that ever since he started to live back with us at Serenity Manor. I just hope it’s not because we slept together. I don’t want him to treat me differently than Leila or James because of that.

“Come now, Mammon. No need to get possessive between friends.” Mephisto mocks with a teasing smile. “We’re actually here to see Satan too, running into Lily was just a bonus.” I shake my head at them with a roll of my eyes but give them all a hug in greeting anyway. 

“Congratulations on another year.” Stolas bobs his head and extends another gift to Satan. “From the three of us.” Satan accepts the gift graciously and drops it into my bag with the others. 

Then I notice James looking a bit bewildered. Of course he knows these demons probably just as well as I do, but he can’t just go and greet them, like he’s used to. They don’t know HIM yet.

“Oh, my manners.” I reprimanded myself. “Everyone, this is James, one of my dear friends.” James shakes their hands with a grin, probably making instant friends with them as they clap him on the shoulders. “Oh and I should introduce you to Leila…” 

I look around and don’t see her at first until I’ve spotted her sitting on the grass with her nose in a book already. I know she’s not a big fan of demons outside our family but I think she’ll like Stolas and Phoenix well enough, can’t say for sure about Mephisto. Haha!

“Hey Leila.” I call out to her. I notice Satan follows us, he’s probably not thrilled with the idea of me introducing Leila to more males but I really don’t think he has anything to worry about. 

“Is something the matter?” Leila asks as she peeks up at me and James and the entourage of demons following us. Oh good, she wasn’t too far gone in her book yet. Heh. Warily she stands up to meet us.

“I wanted you to meet some friends of mine-” I begin to tell her but am cut off by Phoenix. 

“So this is Leila? Solomon’s mysterious granddaughter?” He grins, unabashedly checking Leila out. “Your reputation precedes you milady. Solomon was spare with details but Astaroth was kind enough to tell us more. Yet he didn’t tell us that I could write songs and sonnets for a lifetime and not fully describe your beauty.”

Hearing that, Leila’s eyebrows rise so comically high that I laugh, also to try to cover up Satan’s growl. “You’re so cheesy Phe.” I roll my eyes. “Leila won’t give you the time of day so you can drop the poet act.”

Phoenix gasps. “You wound me flower.”

“Hello.” Leila smiles politely. I see her looking over to James to see what he thinks of these demons and she relaxes a little more when she sees him looking relaxed around them. “Nice to meet you.” She tells them with a sweeter smile and I also see her inconspicuously glancing at her Ring of Souls as she shakes their hands. I guess that’s her proces. Her ‘curse’, as she calls it.

“Charmed.” Mephisto winks and gives Leila and James one of his signature smiles.

“A pleasure.” Stolas gives a little bow. 

“What did Astaroth say?” I ask, mildly curious, after I have introduced each demon. Earning smirks from Phoenix and Mephisto. 

“Well… First we happened to walk in on him changing and saw the tiny scar you left on his shoulder.” Mephisto gives me one of those journalistic looks of his. I feel a little guilty and a little satisfied by that news. But seriously, don’t demons even know how to knock on doors? I can see from Leila’s face that she thinks the same.

“So naturally we annoyed him until he divulged details just to get us to go away.” Phoenix snickers. 

“Naturally.”

“He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Solomon’s granddaughter surpassed Solomon himself in the not too distant future.” Stolas adds, and I see the way he appraises her and the books she has out. No doubt he’d want to engage her in some scholarly debate if Satan hadn’t anchored himself next to her like some surly bodyguard. 

“High praise and rare admission from Astaroth.” Solomon’s voice makes everyone, except Leila - who smiles proudly - and Satan, flinch in surprise. They must have seen him walking up behind us. I turn to see that he has that proud sparkle in his eye for his granddaughter. 

“Speaking of rumours.” Mephisto drawls with a raised brow after Stolas and Phoenix greet Solomon. “I heard you two broke off your engagement.That you slept with Mammon… but I see you’re wearing a ring so..” he shrugs. 

“Oh wow, that’s so insensitive.” Leila gives him a glare and she casts some sort of curse on him that makes him seem tongue tied for a moment. James wraps his arm around me in comfort. 

“Mmrphh Urrffggghh” Mephisto’s eyes widen in shock as he tries to speak. In normal circumstances I’d be laughing my butt off, it’s an appropriate curse for a demon like Mephisto who loves to hear himself talk. Phoenix does all the laughing for me instead. 

“Stolas, why don’t you escort your friends somewhere where they can’t make trouble.” Solomon commands with a sigh.

“My apologies.” Stolas gives us a little bow before roughly shoving Mephistopheles in the other direction. 

“I better go see if they need help at the stall.” I say dryly before turning tail and escaping the situation like a coward. 

“What? Did I hit a sore subject? OW! Stolas that hurts!” I hear Mephisto complain in a snobbish tone, Leila’s punishment spell already worn off.

“Freaking idiots.” I hear Satan growl.

 

“Oy! Are you alright?” Mammon asks me as I mindlessly start straightening books. 

“Yep. Fine.” I lie to him with my best smile. I look over my shoulder and see Satan walking back this way after our friends have left, leaving Leila with James and Solomon. 

“Seems like things have slowed down.” Satan notes as he returns to the stall. 

“Satan, you should use this chance to roam around. Take Lily with you.” Belphegor suggests.

“Wha? Why him?” Mammon exclaims.

“It’s his birthday, duh.” Belphegor yawns.

“Well, If we have too..” Leviathan says and I start to feel a bit guilty of leaving him behind. 

But Asmo grabs my hand and pulls me over to Satan. “Satan, you can have our flower all to yourself for a while. But only because it’s a special occasion!”

“No, he can’t! That’s not fair!” Mammon protests again on deaf ears.

“Mammon, you’re manning the booth.” Lucifer tells his brother sternly. 

“But I don’t wanna!” Mammon shouts. “I gotta find me some good bargains and-” He’s interrupted by Lucifer, who practically grabs him by the scruff and puts him in the booth. “Ow!”

“Let’s go Lily.” Satan tugs on my arm with a happy smile and off we go. 

“Look at this, Lily! It’s a first-edition copy of Delving into the Writing Systems of the Devildom: Research and Findings! I’ve been looking for one of these forever!” Satan shows me the volume excitedly. I love my brothers, I know they noticed I was upset and tried to help, even if Satan would probably be in better company out here with Leila. I love to read, but not as much as those two. But seeing Satan so delighted has me smiling for real again. “And here we have, Introduction to Magic Herbology ! This is out of print! I never thought I’d find a book like this here!” He exclaims next.

“Oh?” I perk up, he’s finally mentioned a title that has my interest. “I’d like a peek at that too, I’ll buy it for you if you let me borrow it.”

“Sure.” He nods, smiling and patting me on the head absentmindedly like the little sister he sees me as. “What do I do? I want every one of these. Every last one!” He laughs. ”What about you? Are there any other books you’re interested in?”

I shrug. “Maybe a fantasy adventure…something with NO romance.” I say as I roll my eyes. 

Satan chuckles and wraps his arm around my shoulders after we’ve made our purchases at this specific stall. “I think there’s a few I can recommend. Let’s go look for them.”

We stop at the next booth and Satan has been going on about a book called ‘ Final Destruction Fantasia’   for a while now. It’s one thing he has in common with Levi, but at least in Satan’s case, I understand the majority of what he’s saying. I half listen and half browse the books in front of me when I spy something interesting. The book pages seem to be faintly glowing around the edges. 

I’m reaching for it when I hear Satan stop chattering for a moment to say, “Lily, wait! That book is..-” Too late, I’ve already touched the book. A bright light enfolds us and I sigh. I really never learn, do I?

“..Lily.” I hear someone call my name and I blink slowly as my blurry vision clears. 

Satan has a concerned look on his face. “Where are we?” I ask, looking around it seems as if we’re on a train. 

Satan looks around too. “It reminds me of the train we took from London, remember?”

“Of course, how could I forget? Even if it does seem like a lifetime ago now…” I look back to Satan who shakes his head, smiling.

“You humans have an odd perception of time.” He teases, ruffling my hair. 

“But why are we here?” I wonder aloud. 

“You remember touching that glowing book at the bookfair, right?” He continues after I nod. “That wasn’t just any book. It was a particularly troublesome one. If you touch it, you get pulled into another world. One created by the book itself. I’m not sure what sort of story it is, but..”

“Don’t look so worried.” I tease. “Let’s start by having a look around, we’ve gotten through worse situations haven’t we?”

“I’m not worried.” Satan glares at me, following closely. Hehe. “Look! It’s Belphie, and Beel’s with him.”

“Huh. Do you think they were sucked in too?” I wonder, they weren’t anywhere near us at the bookfair.

“One way to find out.” He says in a hushed voice to me before shouting. “Hey, Belphie! Beel!”

“Ahh! Finally found you!” Belphegor smiles. 

“What’s the guest of honor doing all the way over here anyway?” Beel grumbles. “We’ve been looking all over for you. Come on.”

Satan and I exchange a look as we follow behind. There’s just something a bit off about them. “I think anyone else in here besides you and I are just figments of the book. Let’s play along so we can see what sort of book we’re in.”

The next train car we enter has our whole family present, including Lucien and Pandora which we know can’t be right. “Happy Birthday Satan!” Everyone cheers. Asmo has popped some champagne and starts pouring it for a toast. 

“Happy Birthday Satan.” Lucifer beams at him proudly. “Let’s start with a toast, here, we have some of the best demonus money can buy.” I can’t help rolling my eyes with a laugh, they can’t even get it straight in this book world. 

“Happy Birthday, dear!” Leila flies her arms around his neck, giving him a big smooch. I blink in surprise almost as wide as Satan does. Sure, I’ve seen the real Leila kiss her Satan lots of times but these are different circumstances.

“What’s going on Leila?” Satan asks with an adorable blush. I notice he can’t quite let her go, holding her hesitantly against him.

“What?” Leila smiles coyly. “Can’t I give my fiance a birthday kiss?” Satan’s eyes widen even more and his blush deepens, as he starts to smile. That must have sounded like music to his ears!

“You’ll have some cake won’t you?” Leviathan interrupts, thrusting a large slice towards him. Now he has to reluctantly let Leila go.

“So Mammon, what’s going on?” I ask, trying to get some more info while Satan is still flustered. 

“What? You don’t remember?” Mammon asks me, not talking like his usual self at all. ”This was your idea after all, little sister, to charter a train to celebrate Satan’s birthday.”

Well that much I had figured out, but it doesn’t tell me anything about what book we’re in. But Satan is tugging on my sleeve. “Lily, I need to speak with you for a moment.” He tells me, looking suddenly very serious, as we excuse ourselves into the next train car for privacy. 

“What’s wrong?” I ask, seeing how worried he is again. “Did you figure out what book we’re in?”

“Yes, this is bad Lily.” He shakes his head with a scowl. “It seems we’re in a mystery novel, one famous in the Devildom. I’m the main character. The whole family throws a birthday party for me and then we enjoy a scenic train ride to celebrate my recent engagement, which the book has cast as Leila…” he sighs. 

“That doesn’t sound terrible..” I begin to say. If anything, I thought he’d be thrilled to pretend to be Leila’s fiance, but something is clearly bothering him, so I don’t tease. 

“No you don’t understand.” Satan continues to explain. “The book pulls from our memories and subconscious minds and right before we came in here, you said you didn’t want to read a romance.” I’m wondering what that has to do with anything when he finishes his explanation before I can ask. “In this book the fiance is murdered and the main character and his family solve the crime.”

“Ooh I see.” I say, but I’m still not sure what he’s so worried about. “Well I guess it’s good that’s not the real Leila in there anyway then. Right?”

Satan sighs and frowns. “Still, I didn’t want to spend my birthday watching the woman I love murdered, even if it’s not real.” He says softly.

“Oh..Satan..” His words hit my heart like a dagger. I know exactly how that feels, after all. “Of course, who would?” I wrap him up in a hug. We’ve all seen too much death lately. 

“If that wasn’t bad enough, the culprit is the sister who is played by you and the main character kills her at the end of the book in a blind rage.”

“Wow. Dark.” I mutter. If I wasn’t motivated to find a way out of this book I certainly am now. I’m not sticking around to kill Leila and then be murdered by my brother.

He continues with a serious frown. “I know I would be capable of it, if anyone harms Leila… Even if this is just a story and I really love you too, Lily… I don’t like to see that scenario playing out either.”

“Yeah, let’s not let it get that far.” I agree wholeheartedly, giving him a hug.

“I have an idea that might work, play along will you?” I nod just as Satan’s fiance, played by fake Leila, enters the train car with us. She’s holding Pandora but passes her off to me.

“Your baby was fussing, so I brought her to you.” She tells me smiling, and while I’m processing the ‘fact’ that I’m suddenly apparently a parent, she’s already turning her adoring eyes on Satan, entwining her fingers with his and guiding him back to where everyone else is waiting. I follow closely behind, with ‘my’ baby. 

Satan wastes no time in giving a toast. “Everyone, I’d like to thank you for throwing such a fantastic birthday party for me. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than having you all here to celebrate the start of Leila and I’s life together.” I watch as he blushes, looking into Leila’s eyes. Deeply affected even though we all know it’s not really Leila. “Leila, I love you. Truly, deeply...and forever.”

‘Leila’ is swooning and snuggles herself into his arms. “I love you too, Satan.” She tells him, before kissing him again, much more passionate this time.

I blink back some tears. Well if this wasn’t supposed to be a romance novel, it certainly is now! When they finally break apart, I watch as all his brothers, even Belphie of course, wish them both the best. 

Eventually Satan and I manage to get a little moment alone again, as everyone is busy with some kind of discussion of what Leila should wear on her wedding day. I honestly would like to join that conversation, but first things first. “Was that your plan?” I whisper to Satan, when I see him still beaming. 

“In the real world it wouldn’t be so simple. I just wanted to experience what it would be like for everyone to be happy for us.” He confesses with a blush. 

“I know it won’t be as simple as this.” I tell him tearfully. “But I really do want you to find your happiness, hopefully with Leila.”

“Thank you Lily, that means the world to me.” Satan wraps me up in a big hug as a bright white light enfolds us again, returning us to the real world. 

“We’re back! That was easier than expected.” I exclaim, happy to be back at the bookfair.

“The secret is to do something different than what your character does in the original story.” He confides with a smile, before shaking his head at me with a sigh and gives me a stern look. “You know the Devildom Secondhand Bookfair isn’t like the RAD library, it’s not safe to just go around touching random books. You should be more careful.”

Yeah, He’s right. But I still roll my eyes at him. He’s lucky it’s his birthday and I don’t compare him to Lucifer right now. “Got it.” I say, giving him a cheeky grin. 

“Good.” He ruffles my hair. “Now if you see something that catches your eye, just tell me first.” I only give him a salute in response and we both start laughing. “Okay, but before we go. I’m going to buy that glowing book and its matching mystery novel. It’s actually a pretty good read, I’ll lend it to you sometime.”

“Sure.” I nod along, even though really, after that, I don’t think it’s a book I’d like to read.

“Lily! Satan!” We stop as we hear Solomon call out to us. It’s been easier to be around him since we’ve been working together so often for the Society, but it’s still hard to hear that familiar voice calling my name just a little different than I was used to... Luke and Simeon are with him and they start telling us about how many books our booth has already sold. 

Then Solomon gets a look at some of the books Satan has opted to carry instead of putting in my bag. He didn’t want anyone rummaging around carelessly and accidentally triggering that book again..

”That book! I don’t believe it. That book you’re holding, Satan...” Solomon seems to look a little concerned, though he hides it well.

“Oh, the glowing one?” Satan asks. “Lily and I actually ended up in a pretty messed up situation thanks to this thing.”

“You did? Do you think I could have that?!” Solomon says quickly.

“Huh?” Satan and I both say at the same time. 

“That book is the main reason I came to the bookfair today. I was hoping to find that exact volume!”

But Satan shakes his head and gives Solomon a stern look. “Not happening, Solomon. I want this book for myself.”

“I’ll pay you double what you paid for it.” Solomon generously offers. 

“Tch!” Satan scoffs. “Who do you think I am? Mammon?”

“There must be some way I can change your mind.” Solomon insists. I wonder why he wants the book so much?

Then Simeon suggests a quiz competition. We run into Levi and they wrangle him into helping and reading off the questions. At first Satan was winning by a landslide until he called out Levi for reading off titles that give Satan an unfair advantage. I thought it was cute that Levi wanted to help his brother even if it was cheating. It was even more admirable the way Satan insisted on a fair game. In the end Satan still won and Solomon was a good sport about the whole thing. I don’t think anyone else notices but he did seem pretty bummed about not getting his hands on that book. I have a feeling it won’t be the last we hear about it. 

 

James POV

We see Satan, Levi, Solomon and Lily come walking back to the RAD booth laughing and joking about something. Satan looks approvingly to the shelves and tables: most of them are already half empty. And no, not all books went into Leila’s bottomless bag. Though she’s still sitting a bit away from the crowd in the grass, surrounded by her purchases, reading with a smile on her face. Ignoring any and all demons or humans trying to get her attention. “We sold a ton of books today, huh?” He grins.

“Yeah…” Belphegor slouches over one of the display tables. “I’m tired…” I know he still keeps an eye on Leila, like all of the brothers do.

“We’ve already sold most of what we had.” Asmodeus gives them an update. “We’re having a bit of a break now-”

“AAAAHH!” He’s being interrupted by Mammon’s loud obnoxious cry. We all watch in surprise as he frantically starts looking for something in the RAD booth. “Nonononono!”

“Hey!” Leviathan pushes his brother away from him, when he comes too close. “Don’t shout into my ear!”

“Mammon, stop being so loud.” Leila admonishes from her spot in the grass, barely looking up from her book.

“I can’t help it!” Mammon defends himself. “Somethin’s happened that’s worth screamin’ about, okay?!”

“What’s wrong?” I ask, trying to calm him down.

“Y’know that one book that we WEREN’T s’posed to sell?” Mammon whispers loudly to his brothers. “It’s about THAT!”

“What?!” Asmodeus looks shocked.

“A book we weren’t supposed to sell.” Leviathan has forgotten all about being annoyed with Mammon’s loudness. “Please don’t say it’s what I think it is! That’s NOT good!”

“Did we sell it by accident?”

“I-I dunno…” Mammon looks nervous, as if someone might blame him for doing just that.

“Okay, calm down.” Satan looks ready to solve this mystery. “What sort of book was it, exactly?”

They all avoid his gaze. “That’s sort of hard to explain…” 

“Well, standing here panicking isn’t going to help things, is it?” Lucifer tells them all to start searching for the mysterious ‘hard-to-explain-book-that-can’t-be-sold’. Everyone teams up to search. The twins with Mammon, Lily with Leviathan, Asmodeus on his own and Lucifer stays behind to watch the booth. All have soon mingled in the crowd, except Leila, who still sits on her blanket in the grass amidst her books. Solomon sits with her, inspecting her purchases.

Satan looks after his brothers spreading out over the fairgrounds. “...Hmm, why don’t we go look for it too, James?” He asks, after having made sure that Leila would be safe enough alone with her grandfather.

We jog up after Asmo, who is closest by. “Asmo, can you tell me what sort of book it is? Or at the very least, what does it look like?”

“Umm, well…” Asmodeus taps his lips in thought. “The cover looks sort of like a child scribbled all over it? Ooh, but the design is amazing!” Well, that’s not helpful… “But don’t worry! I’m sure we can find it!” He smooches a kiss on Satan’s cheek and before he can protest about it, Asmodeus has already skipped away.

 

Suffice to say we couldn’t find a book with a vague description like that to go on. When we return to where the RAD booth is, we see Mammon and Lucifer into some sort of heated discussion. A little further away Asmodeus sits with Leila and Solomon, laughing and talking. It doesn’t look like looking for the mysterious book is that important to him.

“Calm down, Mammon.” Lucifer tells Mammon with a sigh. “I’m sure it’s going to be alright.”

“But, what about the birthday…?!

“Hey.” I say as Satan and I step up to them.

“D’aaah!” Mammon shrieks and Satan rolls his eyes at him. “Ya can’t sneak up on people like that, Satan!” He scolds him.

“Whatever, Mammon.” Satan shrugs. “What were you talking about?”

“Nothing that concerns you, Satan.” Lucifer tells him with a straight face. Oh wow. He’s a good liar… I frown.

“What do you mean?” Satan says angrily. “I heard you talking about a birthday and since it is my birthday today, I’d say it concerns me.”

They keep going back and forth like the demons they are, seriously. So childish. I wonder if I should intervene. It’s probably for the best, or today is ruined. 

“Come on, Satan.” I place my hand on his shoulder and make him look into my eyes. “He probably says it for a reason, right?” Before I give him the chance to answer me, I turn to Lucifer and try using my sternest voice. “And you, Lucifer. Are you trying to make Satan mad on purpose?”

“Of course not.” Lucifer looks as if I’ve said something outlandish. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“You’re right, James.” Satan suddenly says, not sounding mad at all anymore and I look in his eyes again. “It’s really not that important.” He smiles at me genuinely and suddenly I feel as if we understand each other, like I understood my own Satan. I know my pact with him is restored. I hear stories from the girls of strong emotions surging through them when they reconnected, but honestly: So far it only has a sort of healing effect on me. Another piece of my soul feels patched up.

The twins come back now, looking worried as they look between Lucifer and Satan, but they don’t say anything when Satan wraps his arm around my shoulders and I miss the smug expression he sends to Lucifer. 

We look at Mammon and Asmodeus, seeming to be in some sort of discussion where Leila sits. “Now what’s up with them?” he asks as they both suddenly come running up to us.

“We’re baaack!” Asmodeus cheers.

“Take a look at this!” Mammon cheers in triumph waving a sort of album above his head. “The Great Mammon tracked it down for ya! ‘Cause I’m a genius like that!”

“Excuse me?!” Asmodeus protests indignantly. “What are you talking about Mammon?! I’m the one who found out it was being kept by Leila. You just happened to show up right when I got it from her. Isn’t that right, Leila?”

Leila looks up from her books. “Hm?”

“Oh, never mind!” Asmodeus huffs, but he can’t help a smile. “You’re almost worse than Satan when he’s reading!”

“Go on, birthday boy.” Lucifer suddenly pushes Satan towards Mammon and Asmodeus. “Step forward.”

“Hey, don’t push me!” Satan grumbles, but then stops his complaint as he gets the mysterious books thrust in his hands.

“Happy birthday, Satan.” Belphegor starts his felicitations and the rest of the brothers follow his example. “This is from all of us.”

“Wait, this book…” Satan looks at the cover. “It looks like a child scribbled all over it, but the design is amazing…”

“I know right?” Asmodeus beams. “Pandora was so cute with the fingerpaint. Of course I helped her choose the right colors and we had to start over a couple of times, but the cutie is quite talented! Just like her uncle Asmo!” He declares proudly.

“So the book you were all searching for was for me?” Satan looks very happy as he admires Leila’s daughter's ‘artwork’.

“Yep! It’s our present for you!” Mammon pats Satan roughly on his back. “Your birthday book! Full of our memories and pictures.”

“I thought you said it didn’t concern me, Lucifer?” Satan questions.

Lucifer smirks at him. “Huh, did I?”

“Whatever.” Satan shrugs, grinning my way. “I got my pact with James, because of it, so I’ll let it slide this time…” The others burst out in congratulations and they’re still at it when the angels join the laughing demons.

 

Leila POV

“Satan really looks happy, huh Lucifer?” I hear Simeon ask Lucifer as I watch James bonding with Satan, while everyone has gathered around them, being loud. On the one hand it makes me really happy to see this. But on the other hand it also makes me really sad. I can’t make myself be a part of it.

“He does, yes.” Lucifer is staring at them too with an affectionately proud smile. I can feel a sting of jealousy going through our pact. Proud Lucifer would never admit it out loud, but he really wants James to restore his pact with him too.

“...It’s his birthday, after all…”

“...Well, I guess we have to let him have his fun then...” 

“...Thanks, I owe you guys one.” Satan breaks away from the group and comes my way with a gentle smile. “Come on, Leila, let’s go.”

“Go?” I realise I have missed the whole conversation. I completely missed what they were planning with each other. “What about my books?” I protest, trying to quickly gather them, but Satan already has pulled me up.

“Don’t worry. We will get them home.” James promises me.

“Have fun!” Simeon calls after us as Satan pulls me into the crowd. “See you back at Serenity Manor!”

 

“Sorry to have pulled you away from your books.” Satan grins at me. “I just wanted to spend some time with you too, after having spent time with Lily and James. I hope that’s okay?”

“Yes…” I take a deep breath. I should do this for Satan. It’s not his fault that I miss my own Satan extra on this day. “Yes, of course.” I give him a brave smile.

“Since I’ve already gone book shopping with Lily, I thought we could browse some of the limited-edition booths.” He suggests with a smile. “Most of my brothers have already been shopping there, so we won’t run into anyone else.” Is it just me, or does he definitely sound triumphant now? “Still, there’s a large crowd, so stay close to me okay?”

“Of course.” I say again. Even if I can stand my ground against most demons, I still don’t feel like getting into any fights. “I’m glad I got to see the fair today.”

“If it isn’t Satan and Leila!” We hear a squeaky voice, before I can react to his comment. “Aren’t you two a cute couple, if I ever saw one!”

It’s the obnoxious Little D no 2. He’s just as annoying as the one from my old reality, as he steps in our path looking from Satan to me as if he knows something. “Ugh… What are you doing here?” Satan asks him, annoyed.

“The main sponsor of this event is Lord Diavolo, of course.” Number 2 tells us. “So he had me and the other D's come and help out. Hey, why don’t you two join the stamp rally? You should still have enough time to do that.”

“A stamp rally?” That sounds honestly like fun.

“See, when you buy something at the market, they ask you a question.” He explains. “And each correct answer will earn you a stamp. You’ll get a wonderful prize, once you've collected enough stamps!”

“That sounds like fun.” Satan sees me smile and nods. “Okay, we’re in! Right, Leila?”

We get to work with much enthusiasm. We’re mostly buying small things, like special candy, but also some more limited-edition books, some cute toys for Pandora and I have found an interesting booth selling all kinds of rare ingredients and crystals. Between the two of us, we still earn a lot of stamps.

“Whew… We ended up buying a lot. And all our answers have been correct so far.” Satan grins proudly at our almost full card. “I sort of feel like the questions are too easy…” He frowns a little. I mean… ‘The name of the pathway between the Devildom and Human World’ ? Too easy…”

I laugh at him, forgetting for a moment that he isn’t my own Satan and linking my arm with his. “I think we’re just that smart together!” 

He grins back, looking happy that I act less reserved around him now, I think. “Alright, if you say so. At this rate the stamp rally prize will be ours. Let’s keep this up.”

“I’m really curious what sort of prize it is!” I smile at him as I put the blood-painted ticket set that I bought for Mammon in my bottomless bag. I’m sure he will be happy with something weird like that.

“Yes, me too.” Satan nods, looking around. “But we still need two more stamps. Is there anything you like to check out, Leila?”

“Well…” I hope he won’t think this weird or read something into it. “We passed by a stall with enchantable accessories earlier and…” 

Satan is already grinning. “Oh yes, I’ve seen that stall too…” He says, pulling me back into that direction with his quick way of walking. 

I hope he doesn’t think I want to buy those to play pranks on Lucifer, because in that case, he is mistaken. I can always use extra trinkets to enchant, or to practice on. And I want to buy a couple of baubles to have our future apprentices analyzing, to see where they are...

Once at the stall, we both browse over the options. Each item comes with a suggestion of a spell or enchant, but I think I can easily put my own on these. Lily would love something that will help her communicate with animals. Earplugs are sometimes just impractical… Though I’m not sure if earrings would have the same effectiveness… Then there’s Sir Piggy’s collar that definitely still needs some improvement - if it wasn’t autumn and the whole garden is wet and muddy anyway, Lucifer would definitely be less lenient with Sir Piggy’s enthusiasm for ‘gardening’. - maybe with a charmed charm on it…?

“Oh, this ring is designed to look like a salamander.” Satan pulls me out of my thoughts. I only now realize how close he stands next to me, making me startle. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” He grins. He doesn’t look sorry. Don’t tease me today, Satan...

“You didn’t scare me.” I defend myself, weakly. He definitely startled me and he knows it. “It's just… I was deep in thoughts…”

“Of course. Well, anyway…” He picks up more rings. “I would like to buy it for her, what do you think? As a symbol for her Fae familiar. And this one here for James. It looks a bit like Baron von TruffleSnout, don’t you think?”

The rings look really cute. They’re all somehow in an animal shape with the cutest little gems as the eyes. I nod approvingly: Lily and James would be happy with these, I’m sure.

“Yeah, it does look a bit like Sir Piggy.” I give him a grin. I don’t know why we still stubbornly use our own names for our piggy, but it’s kinda fun to do. “Have you seen Lily’s fae familiar?” I ask him with curiosity.

“No. I’ve only been told about it.” Satan chuckles. “If it weren’t for my own experiences at Lake Lo Lanthe, I might chalk it up to her imagination. That and she’s spectacularly bad at lying.”

“I’ve heard Fae can’t tell a direct lie, maybe that’s why?” I speculate and we share a laugh. I can’t deny I’m eager for my own chance to explore Faery. “I can enchant these into something useful for the SS… Maybe as a sort of alert for danger…?” I definitely feel we need something like that, after they were ambushed.

“In that case you need one too.” Satan decides. He picks up a much too pretty and expensive looking little dragon. “Like this, as a symbol for your Fairy Dragon…”

I look shocked. “No, I don’t need you to buy anything for me!” I don’t know why it comes out so rude. He doesn’t deserve that. I would love to receive something nice like this from my own Satan, but he’s not him!

He looks at me as if unimpressed by my small outburst. But it doesn’t feel like he’s taking it too personally as he says. “It suits you, Leila. Let me buy it for you.”

“It’s your birthday…” I protest as he’s already buying all the trinkets we selected, plus the rings. “You don’t have to give us gifts…”

“Well, since it’s my birthday, I can do what makes me happy, right?” He tells me with a shrug. “Come here.” He pulls my hand to him and slides the dragon ring on my thumb, before I know it. “See? It looks good on you.” He grins triumphantly, still holding my hand. “I want to be there when you enchant it.”

Ugh, demons… Of course he does. He’s much too interested in my process of spell-crafting if you ask me. Probably trying to get pranking ideas or lifting my curses. Still I promise him. Part of the enchantment is already in place, after all, these are enchantable items.

We get another question for the stamp rally, after his purchase. “Let’s go and take a break at the café after we answer this question.” Satan suggests, before looking at the envelope. He opens the envelope and looks happily surprised. “Oh, we’ll receive a catalogue of rare published books if we get this one right! What a coincidence. That’s what I was looking for!”

“Really? Do we get an extra prize?” I ask curiously, forgetting the boundaries I put up between us and stand close next to him to read the question. “What does it say?”

“Grr…” Satan growls as he finally sees the question. “ ‘What is the hardest question in the world to answer, according to human scientists and philosophers alike?’ This question is a lot harder than the ones we had before. I have no idea what the answer is.” He sighs, looking pleadingly at me. “But we have to try. It’s my one chance to get my hands on that catalogue…”

I smile brightly at him. “Don’t worry, I know the answer.” I snatch the question out of his hand and scribble the answer on it and quickly turn it in without showing it to him. He looks a bit offended, but then beams when he gets his catalogue handed over and another stamp for our rally.

“Well, obviously you know more of the Human World than me.” He defends himself a bit sulky but then grins. “I’ll buy you a treat as thanks, Leila.” He pulls me in the direction of the café. “Order whatever you want.”

I’m not very excited for the Devildom menu, but I guess I’ll try for him. Still I’m happily surprised that the café has a small selection of Human World-ish dishes and drinks, so I order some of those. Something called Butchered Cheesecake, which honestly tastes amazing, and some tea without toad eggs added to it.

“Are you having a good time today, Leila?” Satan suddenly asks. I look up and see him staring into my eyes. “I can imagine it’s not easy for you to celebrate my birthday…”

“It’s not easy, no.” I admit to him, trying not to get emotional. “Today I miss him extra. And you’re right here. But you’re not him…”

“I understand…” He says gently with a hint of guilt. “I’m sorry if we forced you…”

“No, I want to celebrate your birthday!” I tell him with conviction and his face lights up with a smile. “In his honor, but also in yours. Even if it’s hard, I’m happy to do… most of the things I was hoping to do with him, now with you.” I give him a bit of a shy smile. I would definitely not do ALL the things I was going to do with my own Satan. “This is the first time I get to celebrate yours and his birthday, did you know? Last year I was up in the Celestial Realm…”

“Really? Oh, yeah I guess that’s true.” Satan nods. “I feel like I’ve known you forever, but it’s actually not that long, is it?”

“No, I met Lily and all of you only a couple months after meeting the others.” I smile at him. “You’re all important friends to me. At first I was trying to just get through today without crying, but now I’m genuinely happy to have spent some personal time with you, Satan. And I have prepared a surprise for you, later tonight.”

“That’s good. I’m glad to hear that. I’m very curious to find out what you have planned.” Just then we get the bill delivered to our table. Satan looks at it as if his thoughts are somewhere else, until he says. “...Oh, another question. ‘Name three things that you love about the person most precious to you’ .”

“That’s Lily right?” I laugh, glad that I didn’t get this bill and question or I would have for sure fallen apart. “Since Shado isn’t a person.” I tease him.

“Well, actually…” Satan looks into my eyes again. “There’s someone else… I love her determination in the face of adversity. Next, I love how deeply she cares about everyone, her adorable smile and… Oh, I guess that’s three already.” He grins at me in a conspiratorial way. “I could go on and on about all the things I love about her.” I get the feeling that he’s talking about me, the way he looks at me like this. But that can’t be right… Right?

We get our last stamp and suddenly obnoxious Little D no 2 pops up again, as if he’s been following us the entire time. “Is it hot in here or is it just me?! Aren’t you two the most adorable-”

“What are you doing here?” Satan interrupts him with a growl.

“Oh, just checking on how you’re doing with the stamp rally.” Number 2 tells him. “Since the fair is almost closing up and…” He snatches our stamp card from the table. “Ah, look at that! A full card, looks like you’re winners! Congratulations on collecting all the stamps!”

“Yay!” I cheer. “What did we win?”

“Your prize is this lovey-dovey candy!” Number 2 presents us with a very sweet smelling jar of little heart shaped candy.

“Lovey-dovey candy?” Satan looks at the jar almost in disgust. “Who comes up with such an awful name?”

“They taste good, though.” I have already popped one in my mouth and offer the jar to Satan. He reluctantly takes one too. They’re probably too sweet for him.

“This will make your love for each other burn brighter than a thousand suns!” Number 2 declares, before running off, loudly laughing, while Satan and I almost choke on the candy.

“It’s not really enchanted candy, right?” I check the label and ingredients and if there was a spell cast over the sweets. My face is bright red, no doubt. “Oh phew… They’re not.” That would have been such a rookie mistake!

I see Satan blushing too as he stands up, glaring into the direction where the Little D disappeared into. “That’s a relief…” He says in a way that confuses me a little. Almost as if he’s disappointed. Though I don't understand why that would be?

Chapter Text

 

James POV

Near the end of the afternoon, I gather up Leila’s things as the others break down the RAD booth and box up the books that weren’t sold. Barely any, compared to what we had to sell at the beginning of the day. 

I see Lily is swaying on her legs from fatigue, so I decide to keep close to her in case she faints. We can’t have that, that would make for unnecessary drama that she definitely doesn’t need. Belphegor is keeping an eye on her too, as he pretends to have nothing to do, while everyone else is busy. He’s forgiven for it, because he’s watching Lily, I’m sure. I know the true reason: he’s keeping watch over his pregnant little sister, while he’s also been keeping it a secret for her own sake. 

As soon as Lucifer gives the okay, Solomon rounds everyone up in the large teleportation circle and takes us home to Serenity Manor. Most of them seem to have forgotten that Solomon’s portals make you fall out of thin air, if you’re not careful, so they fall on a heap on top of each other. Much to Lucifer’s disapprovement, if I have to go by the look on his face. Lily and I haven’t forgotten, because lately we travel a lot with Solomon. But it’s definitely less comfortable than Leila’s group teleportation. 

Still Lily almost topples over and I quickly catch her. “Oops, sorry James.” She tells me tiredly. “I’m just a bit tired from the Devildom.”

“Let’s get you to the garden then.” I tell her. Lily has told us about the effect the Devildom had on her but this was the first time we witnessed it ourselves. It was like her vitality was slowly being sucked away from her. Being out in nature in the Human World, I’m sure that will freshen her up a little.

“Good idea, James. I’ll take her.” Belphegor smiles approvingly at my suggestion.

Lily nods. “Only for a bit then.” She tells him as he carries her outside in his arms to catch the last sun rays. “I want to be back, before Satan and Leila return.”

“Yeah, me too.” I hear Belphegor mumble and Lily looks over his shoulder at me knowingly.

In the meantime I hear Solomon having a little discussion with Lucien, who stayed home to watch Pandora and who enjoyed himself by making all sorts of delicacies for tonight. “I sent over a Celestial birthday cake for Satan and Leila this morning. Did you receive it okay? It’s a Heavenly Skies Blue Velvet cake…”

“Oh, was that what it was?” Lucien looks at him wide-eyed. “The velvet looked a little… dark…” 

Solomon nods proudly. “Yes, because I gave it a little twist. You see, I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand and I was sure that squid ink would work just as well…”

“R-Right…” Lucien nods in ‘understanding’. “Well, the thing is…” He’s looking desperately for an explanation as to how the Dark Skies Squid cake is no longer available. “While I was looking for a cake stand to place it on, you know, for presenting it with candles… I’m afraid our little Mister Oink jumped on the table and has indulged in it…” Lucien tries his best remorseful look.

Solomon looks very surprised to hear that for a moment, then bursts out laughing. This way he doesn’t notice how everyone else lets out a relieved sigh: Crisis averted. “Well, I hope he enjoyed it!”

“Oh yes, very much.” Lucien promises Solomon with a small grin, while I see even Lucifer give our little pig a little pat on his back in passing. “So anyway. You don’t have to worry about a cake. Because I made a Celestial Citrus Chiffon. And lots of extra fluffy whipped cream.”

“That sounds perfect.” Solomon smiles at him. “I’m sure Leila will love that too.”

“Why should Leila love the cake if it’s meant for Satan’s birthday?” We suddenly hear Lord Diavolo ask as he’s walking through a portal that Barbatos made for him. Barbatos and some of the Castle’s Little D’s are also bringing in some extra food that are quickly being carted over to the Beel-proofed kitchen.

Solomon frowns slightly at him and I also don’t feel like explaining. Would Lord Diavolo really not understand how much Leila would miss her own mate on Satan’s birthday? It’s a good thing she’s not here yet, or she would be crying in her room for the rest of the evening, after having heard such an insensitive comment coming out of the mouth of the man who looks exactly like her mates’ murderer. It’s probably already going to be hard enough for her to be in the same house with him, where it all happened only two months ago. I know I’m not feeling ready to play nice yet...

“We’re honoring the Satan we lost today too. Part of doing that is treating Leila with respect, encouragement and sensitivity today, because she can’t be with him and he would have wanted nothing less for her.” Lily answers, as she comes back into the Manor, supported by a worried looking Belphegor. Already she is beginning to look better, the dark circles under her eyes are less pronounced. She still looks very weak, though. “She still misses him…”

I doubt Lord Diavolo even heard Lily’s explanation. His face lights up when he sees her and comes walking up to her with his arms held wide. “Lily! How was your day? You really should visit the Devildom more often!” He tells her exuberantly, as he’s about to wrap her up in a hug. 

But Belphegor won’t let him, quickly handing her off to Mammon who swiftly takes her to the living room, out of Lord Diavolo’s reach. Honestly, Lord Diavolo must be blind or willfully ignorant, if he can’t see how weakened Lily looks right now. He would have crushed her in that hug! Still he goes into the ‘pursuit’, trying to get some of her attention. Barbatos follows his Lord with barely concealed exasperation after having sent the Little D’s back to the Castle.

Luckily soon after, Satan and Leila return from the Devildom and her pets are acting so crazy, that everyone has soon forgotten about everything else.



Leila POV

“Hey! Welcome back!” Asmodeus wraps me up in a hug as soon as I have portaled Satan and myself to the living room of Serenity Manor. “How was the market?”

“It was fun.” Satan answers for us with a big smile, as I’m being ambushed by Shado, Chimera and Sir Piggy all at once. “We made sure to make the most of it. Didn’t we, Leila?”

“Uh-uh, sure did.” I agree, as I try to keep Chimera out of the pockets of my coat. She’s searching for treasure for sure! She has a sixth sense for it. Shado has already climbed on my shoulder, ordering the other two to behave themselves. 

“I knew you two would have fun!” Asmodeus cheers, wrapping Satan up in the hug as well. It’s just because they’re demons that we don’t topple over now, I’m sure. Since Sir Piggy is rotating around and between our feet, enthusiastically grunting and snorting, standing on his little legs against mine. What’s up with him? He loves me, but he’s usually not that affectionate.

“Hey, hey!” Mammon comes to break us apart, already seeing me losing my balance. “Break it up! Careful with my human, ya hear!” He puts me safely on the couch, but I’m still not left alone. Chimera and Sir Piggy are especially determined to be close to me now and Shado doesn’t like it one bit.

“Hmm…” Belphegor sits next to me, holding Pandora to give her to me. “You smell nice, Leila. Very… sweet…?” He snuffles me with a teasing grin and I try to push him away, which he only seems to like. Ugh. Demons are so weird.

“Oh.” Suddenly I understand what’s going on. Pulling up the jar with the candy I explain happily. “Satan and I won this in the stamp rally. Lovey-dovey candy. They taste really nice.”

“Lovey-dovey?” Belphegor sounds suspicious, if I didn’t know any better.

“Why does everyone smell it on you and not Satan?” Asmodeus asks curiously.

I shrug. “I don’t know? Maybe it’s a human thing?”

“Or…” Satan grins mischievously as he sits on my other side, wrapping his arm around my shoulders. “It’s true what they say and they will make our love for each other burn brighter than a thousand suns!” He laughs loudly as I try to punch him.

“Ugh.” Belphegor grumbles.

“I’ve already verified that it’s not doing any of that.” I promise Solomon who was giving Satan a look.

“They smell nice.” Beelzebub tells me with a smile. “I want some too.”

“Sure…” I screw the jar open and immediately it’s getting knocked out of my hands by Sir Piggy. The contents fly all over the living room floor and Chimera, Sir Piggy and Beel all dive for the candy. “Oops…” I blink at the chaos and I hear James and Lily burst into laughter.

Chimera has swiftly gathered up a few candies and flies off to a high spot in the room to keep them safe. I know she’ll bring them to her treasure hoard later, to nibble them up there. Then she dives down to get some more. She’s much smarter about it than Beel and Sir Piggy.

“Out of the way, Pork Chops.” Beelzebub practically growls, fending off Sir Piggy while he scoops candy off the floor with his other hand. I frown in distaste and I’m not the only one.

“Beelzebub. Get off the floor this instant.” Lucifer scolds, much the same as Shado does to Chimera from my shoulder. Haha. I won’t tell him that... “What have I told you about eating off the floor?”

“Aww give the Big Guy a break.” James laughs. “Haven’t you heard of the five second rule?”

Diavolo starts laughing boisterously and I swear he’s just doing it for attention. “What’s that runty Shadow Hog doing here in the Human World anyway?”

I tense at his words. What if he says a Shadow Hog doesn’t belong here and tries to order it back to the Devildom? I’m certainly not letting Sir Piggy go!

“His official name is Lord Hildísvini the Battle Boar.” Lucifer answers before anyone else and then gives Diavolo a very short, clipped version of events. “He… has his uses.” Lucifer admits and I just know he thinks about Sir Piggy saving us a couple times from eating Solomon’s creations ever since we adopted him.

“His name is Baron von TruffleSnout.” Satan argues. 

“Major Truffles.” Belphegor counters.

“No, Little Chipolata!” Asmodeus insists, as he puts a large pink sparkly bow on Sir Piggy’s collar with a dressing spell.

“He’s Henry 3.0!” Leviathan throws in. 

“Oy! He’s Cap’n Scraps!” Mammon shouts with a laugh.

“I thought Marquiche of Hammlet was most appropriate.” Solomon even joins the banter with an amused gleam in his eyes. 

“Leila and I call him Sir Piggy.” Lily gives an amused, tired giggle. 

Diavolo studies Lily for a moment before he bursts with laughter again. “How amusing!” That’s the end of that and I find myself relaxing.

“Well, that was the last of that.” Satan sounds a little disappointed as he’s looking at the floor where all our prize candy has been gobbled up.. “The smell really was nice on you, Leila.”

“Don’t make it weird.” I complain to him, giving him a push.

He just laughs and walks up to Lucifer, while rummaging in my spelled bag. “Lucifer, I found something at the limited-edition fair…” He fishes up a thick book and hands it over to Lucifer.

Lucifer can barely keep the surprise from his face as he accepts the gift from Satan. “Is this what I think it is…? ‘The Quest for Thousand-Year-Old Demonus’ . This book has been impossible to find…” He sends Satan a smug smirk. “I can’t believe you’re giving ME a gift on your birthday. I suppose miracles do happen.”

“Ugh, don’t make it weird.” Satan grumbles, repeating my words with a bit of an embarrassed blush. “I just didn’t want to owe you anything…”

After this - no doubt embarrassing for Satan - exchange, Lucien and Barbatos call everyone to the dining room for dinner. They laid out an amazing feast on the table and on a couple side tables too.

“Lily, come sit next to me!” Lord Diavolo demands as he takes his place at the other head of the table, opposite of Lucifer. 

It makes me so angry. How can they say that this Diavolo is different from the one that murdered everyone in our reality, when this one CLEARLY is showing obsessive behavior too? And Lily doesn’t look good at all! I think she is actually better off to go to our rooms and have some rest and peace and quiet. Especially in her condition. But I doubt she would want to do that on Satan’s birthday. Maybe we should have told her sooner that she’s pregnant. I worry about the effects of the Devildom on her pregnancy...

Lily is already slowly moving in his direction when Solomon stops her. “Actually, Lily…” He tells her, looking pensive and worried. “I think you should sit next to Leila, during dinner…”

“Oh? Okay…” Lily doesn’t even seem to register who’s talking to her right now...

“What? Why?!” Lord Diavolo protests loudly, before he’s being calmed down subtly by Barbatos immediately. “You have no say over Lily, Solomon!” He still protests petulantly. Ugh. Can I just teleport us all back to Wizard’s Palace tonight and be far away from the Demon Prince?!

“Actually, Lily is first of all a human and her well-being is my responsibility. She’s also one of my apprentices. One of my most trusted members of the Sorcerers' Society and Leila’s friend.” Solomon calmly answers as he’s directing Lily firmly to sit next to me. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize how severely draining spending time in the Devildom is on your energy, Lily.” He apologizes to her guiltily and concerned.

“Don’t worry. It’s not your fault.” Lily insists as she sits next to me,she probably doesn’t want anyone to fuss over her. She knew what she was in for by going to the Devildom but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can so easily put aside our concern. Unlike a certain irksome prince!

After this, he places Simeon on my other side and James on Lily’s other side with Luke next to him. Everyone is watching with a stunned expression when they see how Solomon is doing the seating arrangement as if he isn’t in someone else’s house. 

They don’t even get the chance to protest, when Solomon starts explaining. “Leila will be able to give Lily some healing energy during dinner. Thanks to the transferring technique Leila learned a year ago, James will be able to assist her by lending his strength too. Furthermore, I think the healing presence of the angels will strengthen James and Leila during this process.” 

“That sounds like an excellent idea.” Barbatos agrees, further quelling any complaints from his Lord.

“If it works…” Leviathan muses skeptically. I’m guessing that after Mammon, the realization that Lily had no future with them in the Devildom hit him the hardest.

“Course it works!” Mammon boasts proudly. “My humans are amazin’! Ain’t they, Lucien?” Lucien just grins and nods in confirmation, giving me an encouraging thumbs up.

“Oh you don’t need to bother..” Lily protests weakly, her cheeks flushed from the attention. I understand, I wouldn’t like it either but she should still let us help her. “I’ll recover, I always do…”

“Nonsense!” Diavolo says before I can gently reassure her that it’s no problem. “Let her try!” Apparently having changed his opinions completely. 

“Someone needs to feed Pandora then, please.” I ask, trying my best to ignore Diavolo as I look around the table. “First her bottle and then she can taste some bits of mashed fruit…” 

“I’ll do it.” Beelzebub offers, holding out his hand for both bottle and baby. I hesitate, it’s not as if I don’t trust him with Pandora but I don’t trust him with her food. 

“Let me.” Belphegor says, saving me from having to reject his twin. “You can help me mash the fruit later.” He tells Beelzebub with a pat on his brother’s arm, easily earning himself a happy grin. He’s already gotten so good at handling Pandora, he’s a natural at it...just as my own was.

I take Lily’s hand, shaking off any sad thoughts that cling to me, and James places his on her shoulder. I start looking for the root of Lily’s exhaustion. It seems that her Fae nature is so deeply connected to the Human World that she can’t be away from it for too long. How did she even survive her first year in the Devildom? I wonder. It must be her natural optimistic nature and perseverance. It’s admirable really, but I hope it doesn’t cost her her baby… No, I can’t think like that now. I need to give her my own human energy. It’s the closest I can give her. James will help me. I start transferring my energy through our combined connection, pulling strength from James and the angels.

“You should focus on eating Human World food, Lily.” I encourage her. “Beel, could you give Lily some cut up fruit and I think she would love those fried zucchini spears” Beelzebub just nods and starts cutting, without sneaking pieces for himself even. It’s really sweet how much he cares for his little sister.

Lily starts looking better by the minute during dinner. We let her drink lots of juice and water. I still think she should try to get a nap later. I was hoping she could be there when I will show Satan his surprise. I’m not sure she will be able to now. Though it will be outside and it is a full moon and there is a lot of magical energy in the air...

Asmodeus suddenly stands up and gracefully clinks his glass with the tongs of his fork to get everyone’s attention. When he has it, he lifts his glass towards Satan. “Clever, Beautiful, Cool, Classy, Stunning, Admired by all....but enough about me! Here’s a toast to you!” Asmodeus titters playfully before continuing his toast. “Let’s hoist our glasses to a remarkable demon who never ceases to amaze me with his smart looks, clever brain and terrible - terribly unique -” he pauses to wink. “sense of fashion. We’re proud of you brother. Happy Birthday!”

Everyone joins in the cheers and I have to push past the painful lump in my throat to add my voice to theirs. Lily gives me a comforting squeeze on my hand. As dinner begins to settle down and I’ve done what I can for Lily, Diavolo decides to break the peace as usual.

“It really looks like that healing method works on Lily!” Lord Diavolo looks pleased with the results of our combined work as if he personally made sure that it happened. “This is good news! Now Lily can visit the Devildom more often! Leila just needs to-”

“No.” Solomon just says, probably before I can blow up to Lord Diavolo: Is he barking mad?! “As you can see, it’s draining on Leila too. She can’t fully restore Lily’s energy. Lily needs to gradually recover by spending time outside… I’d say approximately ten days, from this…”

“Oh good!” Lord Diavolo cheers with joy. “That’s right on time for my birthday!” 

Wait… Is he expecting Lily to go through this whole process of exhaustion again, just for His Princely birthday?! I open my mouth again to protest, but again my grandfather is quicker. It’s like he’s planned to have this conversation long before any of us knew this conversation would be happening. Lily is tense beside me, obviously uncomfortable being the point of focus for this argument.

“Actually.” He says again and I see Lord Diavolo already glaring, while everyone else seems to be very interested in what Solomon has to say. Solomon continues unperturbed with his explanation as if not noticing any of it. Or at least definitely not caring. It makes me smile how formidable he can be, besides being often so silly. “As long as I don’t know precisely what Lily’s Fae magic means for her and her health, I plan on keeping her in the Human World. I’m confident that we can solve her problem with her clashing Celestial and Fae magic. Just as we could solve James and Lily’s problem with their clashing Celestial powers and their pacts. In the meantime I made plans for-”

“You’re keeping her away from me on purpose, just like the other you did.” Lord Diavolo interrupts him accusingly. “I knew that-”

He’s now himself being interrupted by Lucifer. “Let him explain, Diavolo.”

“But…” Lord Diavolo puffs.

Solomon continues as if there wasn’t any interruption at all. “I would never keep Lily from her demonic family and her friends.” He says calmly and Lord Diavolo audibly deflates. “They mean everything to her. Just as I know they mean everything to Leila and James. But still, knowing how it affects her health, I can’t let her go to the Devildom in good conscience too often. Therefore, as I was saying before, I have made a plan on how we’re going forward in the future.”

“Hold up.” Belphegor growls, clearly annoyed with the conversation. Pandora on his lap makes a scared noise, hearing the sound. “No offense to Solomon or you Lord Diavolo, but you’re all talking like she’s not sitting right here, perfectly capable of making her own decisions.” His features soften a little as he looks at Lily. “Lily, you know how we feel about this issue, but what do you want? I’ll support you either way.”

I can tell Lily is torn between feeling affection and annoyance - I certainly feel annoyed with Belphegor for not trusting my grandfather’s wisdom - for being called out to participate in this conversation. She glances between Diavolo and Solomon. I know how much she respects my grandfather but sometimes I can’t fathom her affection for Lord Diavolo. 

“You’re right Belphie. I can choose to accept or decline an invitation to the Devildom at my own will…” She starts and I scowl when I see Diavolo puffing in triumph, but then he deflates at her next words. “But Diavolo, I’m not willing to risk another trip there until things are resolved, like Solomon mentioned. And as for my role as a Sorceress, I’ve chosen to be a part of the Sorcerer’s Society. Solomon is both my mentor and leader, and I will defer to his wisdom in this.” 

I feel satisfied with the way Lily tells this to Diavolo with resolve. I can tell Solomon is pleased with what she’s said too. Diavolo huffs but doesn’t challenge her words. Belphegor seems to be satisfied with her words as well and finally begins to soothe my fussing baby, as if the rest of the conversation isn’t interesting anymore. So Solomon continues with what he was saying.  

“My plan is for Leila to become the Celestial Realm ambassador for the Human World. Her Celestial affinity is strongest between the three and the time she spent in the realm will help her forge ahead in this reality too.” Solomon smiles my way and I beam back. 

“That sounds excellent.” Simeons tells him approvingly, placing his hand on my shoulder. “I know you will do a marvelous job, Leila.” I feel immediately a lot of my energy returning and I beam at him too.

Solomon smiles and continues. “And James for the Devildom-”

“But I hardly know James. I still think Lily would be more suited…” Lord Diavolo tries. Ugh. He’s so much like our old Diavolo. Can’t nobody see this obsession?! “Surely Leila can energize-”

“I thought we’ve gone over this.” Solomon interrupts him impatiently, losing some of his calm as he now glares with a deadly expression. “Leila can’t be Lily’s battery. It will kill them both. Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I’m not doing this for your dream, Diavolo, but for Leila’s. It so happens that she shares your dream to bring peace and harmony in the Three Worlds. But for a better future for her daughter, where she will be accepted and safe. I intend to help Leila with HER dream. So you have the choice: It’s either ME or James who is going to coordinate Human World affairs in the Devildom. And if you choose James, you BETTER treat him right.”

“So that’s it then?” Diavolo scoffs, it seems he’s unimpressed with Solomon’s tirade. “You would rob Lily of her destiny and everything she’s been working towards and simply replace her?!”

How dare he speak about her destiny as if he knows anything about it! She’s a human who can barely survive in the Devildom for a whole day! That can’t be her destiny! What he’s suggesting is so ludicrous! I’m burning with anger! But before Solomon or I can refute him, Lily squeezes my hand again to calm me and speaks.

“It’s not my destiny to serve in the Devildom, we’ve known that for a long time now. As hard as it was for me to accept, I did and I need you to accept it as well.” I’m surprised how calm she can be after everything that’s been said, even if her eyes do waver with unshed tears. “James was my counterpart in his reality. We shared a fate. If anyone is suited to this ‘destiny’, it’s him.”

Diavolo frowns, shaking his head as if he just can’t or won’t accept it. “Lily..”

“Please give James a chance.” She gives him that pleading look usually reserved for Lucifer. “He’s an amazing person and he’ll be a strong ambassador for the Devildom.”

Diavolo seems to lose all his fight, losing his resolve even easier that Lucifer does when we pull this stunt on him. “If that is what you wish.”

“Not only can James thrive in the Devildom, his strengths suit him there best.” Solomon nods, giving Lily an approving smile for her words. 

“We’re happy to have James. Duh. But does this mean Lily won’t ever be able to summon us?” Leviathan suddenly joins the conversation for the first time.

“Of course I will teach both Lily and James the summoning and teleportation techniques as soon as possible.” Solomon adds to his plans, smiling his way. “But as most things go: there is a process to learning. You can’t be expected to understand the hardest math problems, before you know how to calculate the basics. In the meantime, you have Leila for these summonings or teleportations. As I said before: I won’t keep Leila, James or Lily from seeing their friends and family.” 

“You haven’t mentioned where you see Lily in this organization yet.” Lucifer says, I know he doesn’t mean disrespect. He just wants to know.

“Right now, she’ll be best suited to serve inside the Sorcerer’s Society here in the Human Realm, perhaps even someday she'll become ambassador to the Faery Realm.” He smirks. Lily’s face lights up by the prospect, but most of her brothers get various expressions of worry on their faces.

With that, the uncomfortable conversation - that we all know we had to have at some point - comes to a close and Mammon’s boisterous antics cause more light hearted arguments to spring up and soon everyone is laughing and having a good time again. Eventually a beautiful Celestial Citrus Chiffon cake is brought out and served. It’s so amazing that I almost forget how upset I am with Diavolo for disrupting Satan’s party. 



Lily POV

Dinner and dessert was scrumptious, albeit somewhat heated and awkward for a time. I’ve been unusually tired since everything went upside down but I’ve been told that’s a normal part of the depression that can come with the grieving process. After a full day in the Devildom I’m feeling exceptionally drained. Even after the boost Leila gave me it will take a while to recover. Today has been a good day overall though and I’m feeling content sitting back and watching my family. 

I notice Lord Diavolo is trying to make his way over when Satan steps up beside me. “Lily, join me for a moment.”

“Of course.” I smile and follow him to the next room over where he collects the glowing book from his various purchases and presents. It’s wrapped in a plastic sleeve that keeps us safe from activating. It needs to come in contact with skin to work. 

“We had a bit of drama today, but the secondhand book fair went off without a hitch, and I beat Solomon fair and square.” He grins. “But I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to go ahead and let Solomon have it.”

“Are you sure?” I blink up at him in surprise. He worked so hard to keep it for himself. I wonder what changed his mind?

“The truth is...I wanted to keep the memory of what happened inside that book close at hand.” He sighs, looking away with a sad look of longing. “I was afraid I might never have a chance to say those words for real.”

I rub his shoulder comfortingly. “What changed your mind?” I ask softly.

Satan gives me a brilliant smile and wraps his arm around my shoulder. “Your support for one. Also, I had such a wonderful day today and the time I spent together alone with Leila gave me hope for the future. I realized it doesn’t matter how long I have to wait, she’s worth it...huh? Why are you crying?” He laughs as he wipes away my tears.

“Sorry. That’s just the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard you say Satan.” I chuckle with him. I really am being overly emotional.

“Oh! There you are Satan.” Solomon walks into the room with us. “I know you won fair and square but I really wanted to talk to you about that book-” He begins to say.

“Here. It’s yours.” Satan says, handing the book to Solomon. “I’ve decided I don’t need it.”

I watch as Solomon’s brows rise in surprise. Then a look of relief takes over his features as he sighs. “Oh, well that’s a huge relief.” He says as he makes the book vanish inside his jacket.

“Why did you want the book so badly anyway?” I can’t help asking.

“Most books of that variety don’t interest me, but you see this volume specifically was a misprint I guess you could say. Most of them had been destroyed but I heard a few were still in circulation in this reality and they’re very dangerous. I was worried what may happen if it stayed in Satan’s possession.” He confesses.

I blink, opening my mouth and then closing it before I just blurt out. “Well, why didn’t you just lead with that in the first place!?” I wonder if this means I really would have died in that book if we had stayed. I look at Satan but he looks just as surprised as I feel.

“Well, not everyone trusts me in this reality yet. If I came on too strong about the book, I was worried Satan wouldn’t take me seriously. I figured I’d be able to barter for the book.” He explains, he looks the same as ever, but for the first time I see just a hint of embarrassment. It’s cute and it makes me miss my own Solomon that much more.

“How dangerous are we talking?” Satan wants to know. 

“Well you two weren’t in any mortal danger while you were in the book but it has an addictive nature for whoever plays the main character. You were so adamant on holding onto that book that I worried you were already in its grip.” Solomon explains with a dismayed expression. “If you had continued to keep it, it would begin to twist and warp your relationships. Until the point where you might even harm someone you care about for real, like Lily or even Leila.”

I look at Satan and we share the same horrified expression. Thank goodness he decided to give it up. “Well, what will you do with it then?” I ask.

“I’ll put it away in storage with the others I’ve found. Where they can’t hurt anyone.” He answers with a pat on his jacket pocket.

“Oh, I see. The museum, as Leila calls it.” I nod, satisfied with his answer. 

I see a fond glimmer of humor appear in his eyes. “That’s right. That’s what she calls my most secret storage with dangerous magical items.” He chuckles.

“Well that’s a relief.” I yawn. I really need to go sit down now.



James POV

Most of us have moved to the living room after a very filling meal made by Lucien. Even Beelzebub seems content. Various conversations are going on. Belphie is trying his best to get back in Leila’s good graces after his - how she sees it - questioning of Solomon’s plans and wisdom during dinner. Even though I know she’s not really mad at him, I can tell she’s quite annoyed at the moment and Belphie has to work a lot harder than just being sweet to Pandora to get on her good side now. I’ve seen it many times before in our old reality and, unlike his counterpart, he can’t just take her in his arms and be cute and kiss her annoyance away. Soon he seems to have given up and starts snoozing with Pandora held against his chest. But I see him peeking through his half-closed eyes at Leila - who pointedly is having a conversation with Simeon - no doubt thinking up new schemes to try to impress her again. Heh. 

Satan, Lily and Solomon have seemed to vanish though and just as I’m about to ask where the birthday boy has run off to, they come walking in, Solomon looks pleased, Satan looks relieved and poor Lily just looks dead on her feet.

“Lily! Come sit with me.” Lord Diavolo calls out to her boisterously. I see Lily hesitate for a second before smiling tiredly and resigning herself to his demands. It makes me nervous, he’s been after her attention all evening, as if he doesn’t get how drained she still is. I worry about her condition, maybe we shouldn’t have waited to say something?

Lily is about to sit in the small open space between Diavolo and Lucifer when Diavolo wraps his arm around her waist and practically pulls her onto his lap. I start to look at Leila to see how she’s taking this. She’s already glaring and also looks very worried. I can’t say I blame her. No matter what everyone says about this reality's Lord Diavolo, all we see is him taking the same sort of liberties with Lily as our own tried with Leila. And Lily really looks too tired to stand up for herself right now. The last thing we need is another ending to the night like we had for Mammon’s birthday. I try to signal her to stay calm, but my eyes are pulled back to Lily when Diavolo makes a strange noise as his hand settles over her stomach. Oh. Shit…

“Lily?” Diavolo is reacting before I can say anything. He stands up quickly, forcing Lily to her feet as he does. Suddenly he’s kneeling in front of her and Lily is looking very bewildered.

“Diavolo? What are you doing?” Lucifer exclaims as Leviathan makes some strangled screeching noise like he did when he found out Lily and Mammon slept together. Everyone is getting the wrong idea on what’s going on here and I stand up and start making my way across the room towards them. 

“Oy!” Mammon has a panicked look as he begins racing over as well. 

“What’s goin on?!” Asmodeus gasps looking around. 

“For fucks sake.” Belphegor has stopped feigning to be asleep and has handed Pandora off to someone else. 

Diavolo doesn’t pull a box from his pocket as I think some of them are thinking, no he’s pressing his ear against Lily’s stomach. 

“Diavolo, don’t...!” But I’m too late.

“You’re pregnant!” He exclaims loudly as he looks back up into Lily’s confused expression. His voice sounds accusatory. Of course he needs to blurt that out to her in the middle of a crowded room of party guests. That unfiltered baboon! “Who’s child is this?!” He demands, pointing his index finger into her tummy and both Belphegor and Mammon growl threateningly, ready to come to Lily’s defense.

The rest of the room is deadly silent suddenly. Until Lily makes a scoffing noise and laughs. “Diavolo! That’s not funny.” Diavolo stands up and looks down on her with a serious expression, letting her know he’s not joking. Lily’s smile drops and she takes a step away from him. 

“Oy! It ain’t anyone’s business!” Mammon declares as he pulls Lily against him, his hands protectively on her belly. Leila is beside him, one of her shields quickly wrapped around them. It shimmers just as strongly as it did all those weeks ago, but she’s holding back. So far Diavolo didn’t do anything harmful to Lily.

“YOU?!” Diavolo looks incredulously at Mammon.

“So what if it is?!” Leila snaps back, wrapping her arm around Lily’s shoulders. I join them, ready to use some of the new offensive spells Solomon has taught me if needed. 

“Congratulations Lily.” Barbatos beams at her as he pats Diavolo’s arm, silently telling him to calm down. “It seems it happened after all.” He says cryptically, looking pleased.

Lily however is in a daze, barely registering how all her demon brothers start clamoring through each other by the news. 

“Lily? Is it true? Are you pregnant?” Lucifer is asking, looking a little shell shocked himself.

“Oh! Another baby! How wonderful!” Asmodeus croons. “Oh but wait…” He’s suddenly frowning as if putting it all together. “It’s MAMMON’s baby?!” He looks so frightened by the prospect, that it makes me chuckle despite the circumstances. 

“We’re all doomed.” Leviathan laughs, except he looks like he might cry instead. 

Leila drops her shield as Diavolo sits back down looking a little lost himself now. Beel is immediately taking advantage of it and is squeezing Mammon and Lily in a bear hug now. “Our family is growing. I’m so happy.” He tells them, making me melt a little for the big guy. 

“Oy! Ya can’t squeeze her like that!” Mammon shouts. He’s still looking nervous like any one of them may murder him at any moment. “Look Lily, I know we didn’t plan for this. But uh...I plan on takin’ good care of ya and the little one.” He promises her earnestly.

“It’s not yours, Mammon.” Belphegor mutters quietly, but no one pays him any mind. Still I hear him and wonder what he means. I see Leila has heard him too, she looks inquisitively in his direction. Already having forgotten about her annoyance with him, now that more important matters are at hand.

“Am I really pregnant?” Lily eventually asks so quietly I barely hear her. Poor girl looks shocked. Damn Diavolo. Leila was planning on talking to her gently about this after today. So much for plans.

“Let’s get you to bed.” Lucifer says suddenly, immediately gently guiding her towards her rooms with his hand on her back.

“Okay…”

“We should retire too, my Lord.” Barbatos guides Diavolo towards the portal he quickly conjured.

As soon as Diavolo and Lily are gone, the room explodes in loud voices that demand explanations and shout accusations, ranging from how it is possible that Lily became pregnant in the first place to Mammon being a grade A scumbag for knocking her up. 

I see Leila roll her eyes in exasperation and I can’t help but chuckle again. I can read it from her face: Do we seriously have to teach these guys about the birds and the bees? and: It’s not as if they did it on purpose. The shouting comes mostly from Levi, Asmo and Satan. Only a little from Luke, he’s mostly happy for Lily after his initial shock. Simeon just seems to be happy with the news. The rest of us, apart from Solomon and Beel who are both supportive, already were aware of her condition.

“How about you all calm down?” Solomon suggests, taking the heat and the glares. “It’s not as if anything can be changed about it by yelling.” He continues with a shrug. 

“Instead of shouting like a bunch of idiots, you can start to be supportive of Lily.” Leila adds and most start reigning in their indignation. “She will need all the support and I for one am pleased to see that she has at least the support of the twins and Mammon.” She takes her daughter back from Solomon. “I’m going to put Pandora to bed. The next time I see you all, you better have changed your attitude.” She threatens and out the door she goes, leaving everyone to reflect.

“I need to make a suitable Sorcerer's schedule for her and her condition…” Solomon muses, mostly to himself it seems, looking as if he tries to remember previous pregnancies of his family. “Maybe she needs to take breaks, like Leila, later in her pregnancy or-”

“Oy!” Mammon protests. “Lily can’t do Sorcerers’ stuff as long as she’s pregnant!”

“Whyever not?” Solomon looks at him genuinely surprised. “Apart from having spent time in the Devildom today, Lily is in excellent health. This pregnancy completely explains her tiredness and I will take this into account from now on. Also, I think it would be best to not have her go back to the Devildom at all, as long as we don’t know what effect that has on her current condition.”

“That seems reasonable.” Lucifer has returned. “No matter how much it pains me that I can’t have her with me at all times while she’s in this state, her health and that of her baby comes first.” He glares at some of his brothers. “And I don’t want to hear a single complaint about it! Now Mammon…”

“Yikes!”

“What punishment should I give to the father of my future nephew or niece?”

“Ugh, seriously.” Belphegor grumbles, wrapping a supportive arm around his new brother’s shoulders. “Leave Mammon alone, okay?! He’s been supportive and responsible for this pregnancy ever since he found out about it. I can’t say the same about all of you.” Mammon just blinks at him in surprise. “Besides, we don’t know if-”

He’s interrupted, but this time by the more positive clamoring of his brothers. Of course they are supportive! They hurry to make that clear as they’re ignoring the rest of Belphegor’s speech, who sighs and shrugs. It doesn’t look like anyone is going to listen.

 

After Lucifer did his best to chase everyone off to bed so he could have a private conversation with Simeon and Solomon, probably about the future of us humans as ambassadors and maybe Lily’s pregnancy, Satan stopped me on my way to my room. Leila has told him she has a surprise for him and he was supposed to bring Lily and I. We had decided to let Lily rest since she had already gone to bed, so we stepped out into the gardens via the french doors of our personal living space. 

“What are you two troublemakers up to?” Lily’s voice catches us off guard. She must have not been able to sleep. Instead she’s standing in the grass next to the terrace in her bare feet and a nightgown.

“Leila asked us to meet her out here for my birthday surprise.” Satan beams happily, quickly putting his coat around her shoulders. This really isn’t the time of year anymore to be dressed so thinly. “Do you feel up to joining us?” 

“I wouldn’t miss it. I’m very curious about what she has planned.” Lily smiles back. 

“Good.” Satan ruffles her hair. “And Lily, we’re all here to support you through this, no matter how we might have acted earlier.” He tells her with a slight blush, probably embarrassed about his part in the shocked outburst.

“It’s all good.” She tells him. “I’m a bit shocked about it myself.”

We head towards the memorial but slow when we hear Leila’s melancholic singing. Satan stops and seems to be debating if he should really be out here right now. Lily notices and takes his hand and I clasp his shoulder. As hard as it is for us, I’m sure it's a very awkward situation for him as well. 

We see Leila sitting on one of the benches around the memorial. The sky is clear and the full moon illuminates the garden clearly. We see Chimera doing her moondance around the bench Leila is sitting on while she sings. The atmosphere feels magical. I can tell it’s doing Lily some good too. We decide to wait and listen to her song before approaching.

 

The world seems not the same
Though I know nothing has changed
It's all my state of mind
I can't leave it all behind
I have to stand up to be stronger

I have to try
To break free
From the thoughts in my mind
Use the time that I have
I can't say goodbye
Have to make it right
I have to fight
'Cause I know in the end it's worthwhile
That the pain that I feel slowly fades away
It will be alright

I know
Should realize
Time is precious
It is worthwhile
Despite how I feel inside
Have to trust it will be alright
Have to stand up to be stronger

I have to try
To break free
From the thoughts in my mind
Use the time that I have
I can't say goodbye
Have to make it right
I have to fight
'Cause I know in the end it's worthwhile
That the pain that I feel slowly fades away
It will be alright



Leila POV

I just needed a bit alone time, before my surprise for Satan. It was supposed to be our first time celebrating his birthday together, this year. I had already thought of a few fun things we could do together. And he would have probably wanted to do some extra fun things together later… But now we never will anymore. And I just needed a bit of time for myself to say goodbye to those thoughts and dreams, so I could give this reality’s Satan the attention he deserves.

I have given Chimera something shiny earlier and now she’s doing her exuberant silly moondance. Already the second one since we all came to this reality. The longer we’re here, the more I know this is real and we can’t return to our old lives. Not that I thought we could, after what Barbatos has shown and told us. But I guess a tiny part of me never stopped longing for it...

I hear the others approaching. They try to be silent, but I already noticed them. They just arrived a little bit sooner than I expected, I guess. “Oh, hey guys.” I smile bravely and quickly wipe away my tears. “Good timing.” 

“I wouldn’t miss it.” Satan grins, his eyes lit with curiosity.

I see them all looking at the decorated box I brought with me. “You’re wondering what that is, aren’t you?” I present the box to Satan and he takes off the lid, looking surprised to see how it’s filled with all sorts of cat toys and treats. “Well, here you go, you’ll need it for the surprise. I just want to watch Chimera’s dance for a bit longer and then…”

“Is this all cat stuff?” Satan sits next to me with a grin. “You sure know how to keep up the suspense, Leila.” He tinkles a toy mouse with a tiny bell in front of my face as if I’m a cat. I laugh and swat at it, just as he hoped I would do, if I know him well enough.

“Sorry, she’s just so cute like this.” I smile at him, feeling a bit shy that he sits so close on the stone bench. “I promise you that her moondance isn’t the real surprise.”

“It’s fine.” He tells me with a smile. “And you’re right, she is cute. You mentioned she can make Fairy Flowers?”

“Yup, if she’s happy enough.” I tell him proudly.

“Looking forward to seeing that tomorrow.” He says as he rummages more in his box. “Hmm… Feathers? And string? Is this your way of saying Shado is now my cat and I can take him to the Devildom?”

“In your dreams!” I huff at him. “They’re for the cats that-” I clasp my hand over my mouth, realizing I just spoiled the surprise. Satan laughs even more now with a genuine happy smile. Oh well. I guess it doesn’t matter that much.

Just then Shado approaches, loudly meowing at us. Letting me know that everything is a go. “Look there’s Shado!” Satan smiles happily. “I was already wondering where he went.”

“He likes to hunt.” I tell him as if I don’t know that Satan probably has made a study of all of Shado’s comings and goings. “You probably should distribute the contents of your box to all of us…” I give him a hint.

“C’mere, Shado!” Satan doesn’t listen to me and tries to lure Shado to him. Who has his own mind and sits on my lap instead after having given Satan one headbut against his leg. “Oh, come on… I have something for you.”

Suddenly another cat appears at the memorial. This one is pitchblack and Satan did not see her coming. She softly meows and circles around his legs, practically begging to be picked up. Satan is happy to be of service.

“Hey, look over there.” James laughs as another cat approaches. 

Soon there’s a big group of cats gathered on and around the benches of the memorial, meowing to Satan and purring. Satan doesn’t know where to start with playing with all of them.

“Are they… having some sort of cat meeting?” Aww, he really is so cute with his cat obsession. I’m glad I still did this idea I had for Satan’s birthday. Look at him, he’s beaming! “This is amazing! I’ve never seen so many cats in one place.”

“You’re lucky that Shado is making new cat friends so easily.” I tell him. “All the cats in the neighborhood you were secretly feeding over the course of summer vacation were happy to come over to play with you tonight. They just had to wait until their owners went to bed.”

“Oh right! Now I see it.” Satan picks up a small cat that has settled herself inside Satan’s box with cat toys, looking for the treats. “This calico came over to the garden last week when I was here. Good to see you again Callie!” He snuggles the cat against him and she meows in his ear. “And this black one comes over to play all the time, doesn’t she?”

“She sure does.” Lily smiles. “I think she’s Shado’s girlfriend.”

“Are you?” Satan pets the cat on his lap and she just sweeps her tail. “You’re perky as ever, Blackie.”

“Here.” I pop two enchanted earplugs in his ears. “Now you can hear what they’re saying about you. It’s all good. You’re really popular with the cats.”

“It almost sounds as if they’re calling my name, doesn’t it?”

“They are.” I confirm. “They don’t know how to sing happy birthday, obviously. But this is their way of wishing you a happy birthday.”

“Now give me some of those toys!” Lily comes over and hugs Satan tightly, making some of the cats run off in protest. “I wanna play with them too!”

“Me too!” James cheers and Satan has no choice but to share his birthday surprise with his humans. Not that I think he minds all that much.

After a couple hours of playing with and spoiling the cats, most of them go on their nightly rounds or go hunting. Satan looks a little sad that it’s over, but still pulls us all in a hug. “Leila, James, Lily, thanks for today.” Satan smiles in satisfaction. “I enjoyed the market and the book fair, but I liked spending the whole day with you the most.” 

“Aww.” Lily hugs him and pulls us with her. “That’s so lovey-dovey of you, Satan.” She teases.

 

 

Chapter Text

Lily POV

It’s been over a week since I found out that I’m pregnant. Apparently Mammon, Belphie, Leila and James all knew but were waiting for the right time to tell me. Diavolo ruined those plans for them, unsurprisingly. The fatigue, occasional nausea, being prone to crying or laughing easier than usual..I’d just thought it was a byproduct of everything that’s happened. Even my missed period was nothing new since I’ve always had an irregular cycle. 

I feel like I’ve been lost in my own head even more than usual since finding out. Walking around in a daze, trying to sort out my feelings. I know I will love this child but most days I just feel anxious and sometimes I get lost in sadness when it reminds me of what Solomon and I could have had and a little guilty when I think of what my own Mammon might think. Mostly it doesn’t even feel real to me. Since the initial shock and chaos wore off, everyone has been supportive, especially Leila and Mammon, in his own way. All his odd behavior makes sense now too. I know I’m not alone in this, which makes it less scary. 

Leila told me it will feel real once I can see and hear my baby for myself, so right the next day, she forced me to make an appointment with the local obstetrician registered with the magical society for a pregnancy check up. She’s so excited for me. She tells me that those check ups are the most wonderful things. I will be able to hear the heartbeat myself, like apparently supernatural beings can if they listen to my belly. And see the little blip blinking on the screen, making it immediately much more real for me, she promises. The way she talks about it makes me look forward to my first appointment on November 5th. The pregnancy should be around eight weeks by that time.

Of course, everyone has been showing their support in their own unique ways. Lucifer and most of my brothers erroneously thought they could bully Solomon into keeping me out of Sorcerer business for the duration of my pregnancy, as if they have anything to say about my work for Solomon’s new Sorcerers’ Society. Solomon still lets me come to work the next couple of days after Satan’s birthday. I’m still feeling very tired and also very vulnerable after the news, but he says that keeping busy will do me good and that Leila, James and himself are with me the entire time after all. 

But news travels fast. After overhearing some of Solomon’s demons talking about my pregnancy as if it’s any of their business, I can only assume Lord Diavolo has been openly talking about my pregnancy and Mammon being the father in the Devildom too. I can’t help feeling disappointed in his behavior. I know he is a demon, but… This is not how friends should treat each other: Making me the subject of gossip. Especially if this is a childish response for having to decline my attendance to his birthday celebrations this year. I can’t risk it again when I have something precious to protect. I’d have hoped he wouldn’t take it personally. I feel I understand him less and less these days. But besides all that, being able to work at least gives me a sense of normalcy.

Ever since the accident at the Mayan Temple, Solomon has given me the day off with Leila on each third day too, only until we’ve figured out a solution, he assured me. I knew it was just his nice way of benching me while my magic was unpredictable and I didn’t blame him for it either. It was the right decision. Leila spends all her free time with her nose in a book on those days, not taking the rest she probably should take. Working tirelessly on her plan to solve my problem while I’ve been next to useless in assisting her. I felt guilty when each time I tried to help I would just end up spacing out. In my defense, most of this magic is beyond me, Leila really is a prodigy when it comes to spellcraft. When I finally read over all the notes she’s been making, it slowly starts to make sense to me.

 

Today is the day we will attempt to alter my Ring of Light. I’m actually surprised how quickly Leila was able to do everything, although I know she’s been working on this for longer than she has told us. Simeon has come to assist us, Luke is here to keep Lucien company while he babysits Pandora. Even James and Solomon have taken the day off from training to oversee everything. Not that I don’t trust Leila, she’s a brilliant Sorceress, but it made me feel even more reassured when Solomon looked over all her spells and notes one last time, beaming with pride.

All our demons were banned from attending today. They all had their own crazy solutions to the problem, trying to cut out Simeon’s involvement. But eventually they had to see reason, that if the problem lies with clashing Celestial and Fae magic, the solution can’t be Demonic.

“They would just be loud and interfering, anyway.” Leila explains their absence. “A guaranteed way to make us fail.” 

I can’t say that’s not true. Probably not on purpose, of course, but the result would be the same. Disaster, for me and my unborn child. I definitely couldn’t afford distractions today. 

Simeon is studying over the notes that Leila made. And the spells she’s invented together with Solomon. The magic that is needed for this special kind of - and probably forbidden - ritual that we’re going to perform. We only get one chance. And if we fail, it’s probably going to be worse than before. But if it works, the Celestial Realm would likely not object, just as they didn’t object to me receiving the Ring of Light in the first place. I’m so nervous. Just as nervous as Luke is, worried as he is that if the Celestial Realm finds out, we will all be punished for it. Which doesn’t help calm my nerves… But Simeon is nodding and smiling in an approving manner.

“Yes. This should work.” Simeon smiles optimistically. “Let’s do it!” Everyone stands up and Solomon starts making a teleportation circle.

“Where are we going?” I ask, not realizing we’d be leaving the Manor.

Leila looks up in genuine surprise. “Oh, didn’t I tell you yet? I’m such a scatterbrain sometimes…” She scolds herself and I can’t even be annoyed with her, she’s been working so hard for me.. “We need to be somewhere where your Fae magic is enhanced, so we’re going to Wizard's Palace.” Then, as if something comes to mind. “Oh, and I need to bring a Fairy Flower, of course. I already have the other ingredients for infusion and fusion.” She’s about to run off to her rooms, but I stop her.

“No need.” I tell her with a smile as I show her that I already have my fairy flower, the one Mammon gave me for my birthday. Having read over her notes, I knew I would need this. “From what I could gather, I thought it would be even better if I had a personal connection to the faery item we used.” I explain.

I see Solomon smiling. Leila is usually so meticulous, but given how much she had to consider for this ring-alteration, it’s understandable. ”Oh! Yes, that probably will give you a leg up, but are you sure? Another flower will suffice as well.” I nod, I can’t think of a better way to preserve this gift.

“I’m sure that Chimera will give you a new one soon.” Leila beams at me. “When she feels more at home. All this moving around and unrest...I’m surprised she even can make one.” She pets her Fairy dargon proudly and gives her a kiss, but then sets her down. “No, you can’t come today, Chimera. But we’ll be home soon.”

Arriving at Wizard’s Palace, Luke and Lucien stay with Pandora at the house, while the rest of us go to the Faery Mound where I joined the revel two full moons ago. I can sense the Fae magic still lingering from the full moon on Satan’s birthday too. Right here, but in Faery behind the veil, they had another moon revelry. Just like Chimera had one of her own on Satan’s birthday near the memorial at Serenity Manor. 

Being here, I feel strengthened. Leila’s rejuvenating healing did help me a lot, but being here close to the forest and so closely connected with Faery is where I really find my strength. Leila immediately gets to work, infusing the Fairy Flower with a potion she brought

“Lily, you will have to tell us where you feel safest and strongest here.” Leila explains encouragingly. “The most comfortable place. I know you can sense it.”

She’s right, I can. The large hill doesn’t feel safe or comfortable everywhere. It’s almost that I can sense where the Trow spoke to me about my first born baby. That conversation makes much more sense now and a chill runs down my spine. Definitely not feeling safe here, so I quickly move on while the others are keeping a close eye on me. Here is where I had the strange conversation with the old Grandmother… Here is where the dance floor was… The tables with food and wine... I feel sick, remembering the wine I drank in ignorance. I’m just thankful I didn’t partake in the other more unsavory vices of Faery.

At some point I’ve wandered into the nearby woods at the edge of the hill and I find a place that feels safer. I’m not sure why, but it does. A certain feeling that whoever, or whatever, is here on the other side of the veil has the best intentions for me and my baby. “Cinder?” I mumble, wondering if that is what I’m sensing.

Leila comes up to me, smiling. “If you think you can sense your familiar here, then I think you’ve found the right place.”

Simeon comes over as well. Solomon and James are just here in case something goes wrong, but we're all going to assume that nothing will go wrong. He silently takes my hand, holding it up, so the autumn sunlight gleams against the gold of my Ring of Light. Leila has asked me if I could take off all my other rings on this hand, so they wouldn’t interfere with the magic. I could put them back on later after the rituals.

“Look deep within yourself and find the core of your magic.” Leila instructs me as she places the little Fairy Flower on my Ring, after also having put a drop of a fusion potion on top of my Ring. Like a magical glue, you could say. The flower had wilted a while ago with my mood but today it’s looking better but not as vibrant as it could.  “I’ll help you find it. Don’t try to suppress any of it. Accept it all, because it is all a part of you.” 

She holds my wrist as she keeps the flower on my Ring. I close my eyes and try to concentrate on the magic. I feel a gentle, but powerful flow of magic coming from her hand. It’s warm like sunlight and it feels as if my own magic is being drawn towards it. All of it. My Celestial magic as well as my Fae magic. I’m feeling scared. What if I hurt Leila too?! I find myself tensing up and resisting.

“Relax Lily. I promise, I won’t let you hurt me or anyone else..” I hear Leila’s voice reassuring me, her confidence and compassionate tone help me relax again. I keep my eyes closed and take a calming breath. When I open my eyes again, I see Leila and Simeon looking at me with encouraging smiles: There’s nothing to be scared about. I know it in my heart.

When Leila feels I’m relaxing she starts saying a series of incantations, while all of us are still connected with our hands. I can sense Simeons magic and Leila’s and my own. They’re merging, but are still separate. They concentrate towards my Ring of Light and the Fairy Flower. Then it all starts glowing: the blinding light of pure Celestial magic coming from Simeon, switching to the more greenish glow of my own Fae magic, sometimes flowing into Leila’s warm and gentle glowing magic that seems to balance it all out. It seems to depend on which part of my magic wants to take control. If it’s Celestial magic, Simeon starts guiding it, if it’s Fae magic, Leila starts guiding it, as it is close to human magic. Once I feel what’s going on, I can do it by myself, with the support of Simeon and Leila. This is when the glowing of my Ring settles into a soft golden glow. This is when the flower blooms brilliantly before it completely melds with the ring, the golden Celestial alloy encases the flower. While it still appears as fragile as a live bloom, I know nothing could make it wilt or tear its petals.

When the glow subsides, my Ring of Light has changed. It’s no longer the same as before. No longer the same as James Ring. It’s still gold. But now a Fairy Flower blooms on it like a jewel. Little roots with little leaves are wrapped around my ring. It looks like the most marvelous work of metal smithing. Even though the flower is encased in the Celestial alloy, I can feel it’s still alive. It’s being kept alive by Fae magic as well as Celestial magic. As eternal as the ring itself. And wow! I feel so good now! It doesn’t feel like a war of powers is clashing within me anymore! My pacts, my Celestial magic and my Fae magic are all in harmony, as long as I have this Ring on my finger. 

 

Suddenly there’s a great shuddering that ripples through the forest and we all brace ourselves. “Was that an earthquake?” I ask, as it stops almost as quickly as it came. 

“An aftershock of the powerful magic wielded here today.” Solomon explains, almost as if he expected it. “Others will be able to sense it in this area for a long time to come.”

The forest feels different now, not necessarily in a bad way but it feels more alive than it ever had before. My hairs stand on end as I feel as if we’re being watched, maybe by the very trees themselves. It’s an eerie feeling and I wonder if it’s unique to this site or if I will always feel this way in nature now. I take a step towards the deeper forest, my ring hand held in front of me. I can see something in the air, sort of like seeing dust motes in the rays of light except it's thicker, almost tangible. Then I know: It’s the veil. If I wanted too, I could walk right through. 

Solomon’s voice breaks me from my dazed state and I turn around, suddenly not feeling as safe as I had before. “Let’s go back.” I nod. Yes, I think that would be best.

We all walk back to Wizard’s Palace after the ritual. I’m looking in awe at my very special ring the entire time. The eerie feeling I had in the forest vanishes in the open air and now I just feel giddy. I honestly can’t wait for a new training session with James and Solomon now, but I already know it worked. I can’t wait to explore my Fae powers more now.

“Your Ring now unifies the magic of not only the Three Worlds, but also the Realm of Faery.” Solomon comments. “I think it deserves a different name.”

“How about the Ring of Unity?” Simeon suggests. I feel that it suits right. Only with the help of a Celestial being we could do this today, so only a Celestial being has the right to change its name.

“Lily.” Solomon speaks. “As you know, Leila, James and I have balanced our Celestial Rings to work together. Making us equals. It means that we have the ability to share each other's innate abilities and powers. Not as strongly as the one where the powers belong, our own powers stay our own, but for example we can easier put up a shield, thanks to Leila’s ability.”

“Okay,” That sounds good, right? I feel I want to be a part of that and work in harmony with Leila and James. And Solomon too, I think. But why are they all looking so serious at me?

“The thing is, due to Solomon being immortal, the balancing will also make you immortal.” Leila explains. “Until the day I give my Ring of Souls back to the Angel of Death. Which basically means it will be the day that I die and so will all of you, when that happens.”

Having my life tied to others...I knew they were bonded but I guess I hadn’t really thought of all the implications. It had taken me a while to accept that I’d be living for over 700 years, but forever? Or at least as long as Leila wanted to continue living, excluding any horrific incidents that could take her life prematurely. It was a lot to think about. My thoughts keep circling back to my baby. 

“Let’s go back to Serenity Manor.” Solomon suggests. “We can answer any questions you have there.” 

I nod. “There’s a lot to consider.”

 

Back at Serenity Manor, Leila retreats with Pandora to her room to rest. The ritual she performed today with my ring has exhausted her and she needs to recover. Whatever my decision, if I decide to say yes, she won’t be able to perform this new ritual immediately.

I decide to also take an hour alone in my room to process everything. I doubt there would be any objections to my doing this, in fact I’m sure my demonic brothers would be pushing me to do it. Which is another reason I want some time alone with my thoughts with no outside influence. Really, eternity was a hard concept to understand. Knowing I could keep my brothers and chosen family in my life forever - and not have to part with them - seems like a no brainer decision. I rest my hands on my stomach. In the end, it really all comes down to this little one. 

James had invited all my brothers during the time I had my rest and Solomon had fetched them from the Devildom. While Leila is still resting, the rest of us tell them about what we did today and how I could proceed further, now that my Ring was made compatible.

“You mean to say we get to have James and Leila around forever…?” Asmodeus gasps with a huge smile hugging James. “Why didn’t you tell us that before?!”

“I guess it’s because you never asked.” James teases with a laugh, as he’s being pulled in another pair of arms.

“I already knew, ‘course!” Mammon boasts proudly and gets a barrage of good-natured complaints and insults launched his way from his new brothers: That’s not something he should have kept to himself! Greedy bastard! It makes me laugh.

I also see the big goofy grins on Satan and Belphie’s faces: They get to have Leila with them forever! Of course all my brothers are happy with this news. But I still appreciate it that Leila, James and Solomon were honest about the consequences and left the choice up to me.

Later after dinner, when we’ve convened together again, I really only have one question for them. “Will the ritual affect my baby?” 

“Not at all.” Leila assures me. “I was pregnant with Pandora when we did it the first time.” She explains. “If anything it’ll help you.”

I nod, a small smile on my face as I hold my hands over my stomach. Our demons have been uncharacteristically silent as if waiting on pins and needles. Mammon steps up to me and gives me an encouraging squeeze around the shoulders. Albeit not as roughly or tightly as he would have before. I’ll have to convince him I’m not so fragile. 

“What do you think, Lucifer?” I look to the eldest, knowing how pleased he’ll be that I ask him first. No matter the rocky start we may have had, I trust him explicitly and I respect his opinions. Even if I don’t always agree with him or listen to him at times. 

“As if there’s any question about my feelings on the matter.” Lucifer replies with a self-satisfied smirk. He’s practically beaming with pride and affection behind his haughty expression. Suddenly I’m surrounded by the rest of my brothers, squeezing me and ruffling my hair while Mammon shouts at them about being too rough with me. I can see in their smiles that they are feeling some relief after what happened at the temple. 

“Not that I have any objections, but could you explain to us in more detail what this means for Lily?” Satan asks Leila and Solomon with curiosity. “Aside from immortality.” Leila beams at Satan, appreciating his scholarly curiosity. 

“The ritual will allow the four of us to share our abilities and strength. Power is also distributed more evenly between us, this was especially helpful for James, who had more power inside him than he knew what to do with. It doesn’t take away from his powers, but it helped take some of the workload off of his Ring of Light.” Solomon chuckles. “I imagine it will be helpful to Lily in the same way.”

“Hmm. I see.” Satan strokes his chin thoughtfully. “Does this mean you’ll have access to Lily’s fae powers then?”

“Maybe.” Leila chimes in. “We’re still learning about Fae magic. If it’s something that requires the user to have Fae genes to use, then I don’t think we’ll be able to, but otherwise, yes, we should be able to.” 

“Yes, there’s a difference between magic that can be learned by anyone who has the ability to manipulate magic and a power or ability that you have because of your genetic code.” Solomon further explains. “A fire demon can breathe fire because of their genetics while a human might be able to create an illusion spell to make it seem they are doing the same, they don’t have the biological ability to do so.” 

“So Lily will be able to create Leila’s Celestial shield now?” Belphie chimes in now. 

Solomon nods. “Yes, the same as James and I can do now, except ours aren’t as strong as Leila’s shield because that is one of her natural abilities. And even though the shield I make will be potentially very strong, it won’t be Celestial since I don’t possess the required genes. Also, since we’re borrowing from her, the strength of the shield isn’t the same as when Leila cast it herself.” Solomon continues. “However, when we work together on a spell and access each other's powers via the transferring technique, using the connected Rings, we will all be able to do more.”

“What about pacts?” Lucifer suddenly asks, looking a bit pale and suspicious suddenly. Maybe he’s wondering if Solomon has somehow gotten his way after all these years, sneakily accessing his own powers through his new pact with Leila.

Solomon chuckles as if suspecting Lucifer's thoughts the same as I had. “No, pacts are unaffected. That is a different sort of magical bond that can’t be tampered with in such a way.”

Lucifer looks relieved but still a bit suspicious. Until Leila adds. “That’s right. Pacts are Demonic and this ritual is Celestial. Solomon won’t be able to access your powers through our pacts with you all. The same way that James and Lily won’t be able to access Barbatos powers through us. Or any other of Solomon’s demons we don’t share.” Lucifer nods, seeming satisfied now.

The conversation continues for a while, my brothers having more questions than I ever did, it’s been very informative. “You don’t have to decide today, Lily.” At a certain point Solomon stands up, indicating he’s ready to say goodbye. “Talk it over a bit more with the others if you need to and I will see you three tomorrow for the next sets of tests of virtue…”

“Oh, but wait!” I call out. I guess I have been too quiet for too long, letting my brothers take over the conversation. He must be thinking I need more time to decide. But I know what I want: To be as long as possible with my child and my family. “I want to do it!”

“Are you sure?” Solomon stops and turns around with a warm smile. “I know you won’t regret it, but you have to be sure. There is no going back.”

“I’m sure!”

“All right!” James cheers and wraps me up in a hug. “Let’s do it right now! What do you say, Leila?”

“Yeah, of course!” Leila beams at me. She grabs my hand and wants to grab Solomon’s hand, but he evades it.

“Let’s do this around the memorial you created, Leila.” He smiles at her.

Leila grimaces for some reason. As if a bad memory surfaced in her mind. “Okay, but you know this doesn’t need a special place or fancy ceremony, right Solomon?”

He smiles at her warmly. “I know, but I think that it will make it special for you.”

 

And so we all go outside. While James, Solomon, Leila and I join hands around the memorial, everyone else takes their seats on the stone benches that form the circle. I’m not really sure what to expect: Will I feel different afterwards? 

Then I first feel Leila’s magic reaching out to mine again through our joined hands, while I also sense her own powers. Soon I sense Solomon’s powers connecting with ours. Leila must be functioning as some sort of conduit. Gathering our powers and distributing it again, as I soon feel James’ powers joining ours as well. Even though I know they stay our own, Leila slowly lets our powers get used to each other. They start to merge and accept each other, becoming equal in a way, eventually settling again.

When we’re finished, Leila’s shield shimmers around us and all our guests cheer. I feel mostly the same as before. I have an easier understanding of what Solomon’s powers are, I feel strengthened by James’ powers and more of a celestial presence from Leila, while James and I might have remnants of Lilith inside us, Leila’s celestial powers are all her own. When we let go of each other, the feeling lingers.

“Okay, I gotta try this.” James grins as he takes one of the flowers that someone put at our memorial recently. He turns his Ring of Light and strokes the petals of the flower with a look of concentration as if he’s willing the flower back to life. Some of our demons snicker when absolutely nothing happens. “Aww! Nothing!” James laments. “What am I doing wrong, Lily?” 

I shrug. “Maybe you didn’t think happy thoughts?” I joke. I don’t really know what to say, when I revive a flower or wilt one, it comes from my feelings and will. 

“I don’t suspect you did anything wrong James. Perhaps this is an ability from the type of Fae Lily shares her ancestry with?” Solomon suggests. 

“Oh! Maybe. I haven’t been able to learn anything about who my Fae grandfather was yet.” I tell them. 

Solomon nods. “I imagine once you learn more about your heritage, it will help you discover more of your abilities.”

“Let’s try a different approach.” Leila says suddenly, handing the wilted flower back to James. “This is a rejuvenation spell.” She explains before reciting the spell she wants James to use. “This is usually very advanced magic, it’s hard if not impossible to bring something mostly dead back to life, even if it’s just a flower.” She explains. “But while you recite the spell, instead of pulling on your own power source, try to find and pull on Lily’s Fae magic.”

James nods and adopts a look of concentration again while Solomon looks on in intrigue. “If you think you need more power behind the spell after you’ve latched onto Lily’s Fae magic, pull on Leila and my own magical reserves.” He adds.

I watch as James concentrates and recites the spell Leila gave him. His ring faintly glows up as he does and then my new Ring of Unity glows up in response and slowly the wilted flower comes back to life. Even though I’ve done this myself dozens of times, I still find myself amazed. 

“Interesting.” Solomon nods, looking pleased with James' effort and proud of Leila’s insight. 

“Even if we can’t use Lily’s ability the same way she does. At least some of her Fae magic is rooted in healing magic, so I figured if James could pull on that, he could perform this usually complex spell with little effort.” She explains as if it’s no big deal. “You still won’t ever be as good as Lily.” Leila tells him with a laugh in her voice. “And it works better if we all work together.” She looks at me expectantly. “Do you want to try something out, Lily?”

I nod and concentrate on making one of Leila’s celestial shields. Amazingly I’m able to create one much bigger and stronger than I’ve ever been able to before, with less effort used, even though it's nowhere near as strong as Leila’s. Leila takes my hand and with her glowing ring the shield becomes even bigger and stronger, forcing our demonic family to step back. 

After we’ve all gone back inside, Leila goes back to her room to sleep. The two rituals today, where she was a balancing conduit for magical powers, must have been exhausting for her. But I’m so happy with her as my friend and with how successful this day went. 

Solomon offers to bring the brothers home to the Devildom, but they all want to stay the night to celebrate. “As long as you all let Leila have her rest. No slumber party in the east wing, understood?” Lucifer tells them sternly - but I secretly know he doesn’t want to leave us now either - and Solomon gives him an appreciative nod before he leaves for his own home.

 

Meanwhile in Faery...

The magical shockwave that rippled through Faery had drawn many curious eyes to the Human Realm. Most who witnessed the magicians in the forest bore nothing in their hearts past fleeting curiosity but not all who saw them were benign of heart. 

The Trow had still been feeling sore that he’d been interrupted in his attempt at swindling that doe eyed human of the life she hadn’t even realized she’d been carrying. Since then he’d learned that the Moth Mistress had a keen interest in the mortal girl and the Trow grew less afraid of Dain. He didn’t know what Dain’s true intentions for the girl were but he knew that Dain belonged to the Moth Mistress. 

She was all too happy to learn of his encounter with the girl and the news of the unborn babe in her womb. He was promised riches beyond imagining if he brought the girl to her. Dain had tried to reason with his Mistress and the Trow had been delighted when the arrogant noble had been put in his place for speaking out of turn. 

Of course the Trow didn’t mention the other girl he saw. He’d give the strange halfling girl and her unborn child to the Moth Mistress, the other young mother and her baby would be his extra reward. 

Dain wasn’t planning to let his Mistress have her way with Lily however. Though he wouldn’t let anyone know his true motives of wanting to protect her from the Unseelie Court, he decided to do the best he could to protect her and her friend. Once he is alone, he summons a small blue flame to him, whispering to it, before releasing it.

Chapter Text

 

James POV

Leila is still fussing with my tie when Lily walks in from the greenhouse carrying her gift for Lord Diavolo’s birthday that I’ll have to take with me. I eye my own neatly wrapped gifts for Diavolo that sit nearby. There’s no part of me that wants to celebrate his birthday but I’m putting my personal feelings aside to make Leila and Solomon proud. I want to show Lily that she hasn’t supported my position as ambassador to the Devildom in vain either. She was really helpful when we went shopping for Diavolo’s gifts. 

“Are you sure you’re up for this James?” Leila asks me as she smooths my lapels. “It’s really soon, I’m sure Solomon would understand.”

I give her a reassuring smile. I’m glad she’s able to stay home with Lily and Lucien. “I’m good. I promise.”

“Doncha worry about James.” Mammon says as he enters the room with his usual swagger. “The Great Mammon will be watchin’ over him after all.” He grins crookedly. “Oy! I told ya I’d help ya with that!” Mammon suddenly begins fussing over Lily who shoos him away with a smile. 

“It’s not heavy.” She assures him. 

“Tch. That’s some fancy flower huh?” He comments as he appraises her plant. “Wonder how much somethin’ like that would fetch?”

“Don’t even think about it.” Lily laughs and rolls her eyes. 

“What a charming hybrid.” Solomon says, surprising everyone who didn’t notice his arrival. He immediately takes his great-granddaughter from her playpen into his arms with a bounce. 

I notice Lily can’t help beaming proudly, despite her blush. “Thanks! I cross-bred an earth daisy with a celestial lily and then cross-bred that with a hellfire rose.” She explains her three world flower. The shape is like a lily with the fragrance of rose and daisy combined, the coloring and velvety texture of the petals are reminiscent of the hellfire rose. “The petals can be used to brew tea too.”

“Tch. Still think it’s wasted on him.” Mammon grumbles. 

“You’re looking very dapper James.” Lily tells me, ignoring Mammon. “I don’t think Asmo will even have any critiques.” She grins. 

“Except maybe that he’s wearing the wrong color.” Leila comments, my black suit with red accents certainly doesn’t match Asmo’s preference for dressing us in a more romantic color palette, namely pinks. 

“Pah.” Mammon scrutinizes my look. “I still say gold is more yer color.”

Solomon chuckles while giving me an appraising look with a grin that tells me he’s up to something. “As the official Devildom Ambassador, I’ve brought you a gift.”

Leila beams with excitement as she steps away and takes Pandora from her grandfather, looking like she might have had an inkling on what’s coming. Reaching into his own robes he pulls out a jewelry box, inside is a gold pin with the Sorcerer Society’s ambassador’s emblem engraved on it. Solomon pins it to the black fabric collar of my gold Sorcerer’s chain that sits atop my black robes. 

I’m about to thank him when he steps away but then my eyebrows are rising in surprise. There’s a faint glow from the ambassador's pin that washes over my robes, leaving a whole new color and design behind in their wake. The shoulders of my robes are the usual pitch black but now they gradient into a rich red, the same as the Devildom’s dark royal red. The inside lining is also a dark red and the shoulders and sleeves now have a gold embroidered design similar to Solomons.

*whistle* I look over at Mammon who’s grinning crookedly, looking over my new  robes. “Lookin’ official now. I should charge for introductions.” He says as if he’s joking until we can all see him considering it for real. 

Then I’m clobbered by Leila and Lily as they hug me. “Congrats James. Knock ‘em dead.” Lily tells me with a playful wink.

“Good posture.” Leila reminds me with a poke to the gut. “Don’t let anyone intimidate you! You’re amazing.”

Mammon clutches Lily’s hip against him, sliding his hand possessively across her tummy, as he kneels in front of her. “Doncha make yer mom too tired, ya got that squirt?” He yells to her belly, making us all burst out laughing. Lily ruffles his hair playfully and then pushes him away from her again.

“We should depart.” Solomon says, still looking proud and pleased. He takes Lily’s flower for me and I grab my own gifts. He glances back once at Lucien and the girls. “Remember to be careful this night.” He reminds them.

“Of course.” Leila waves him off. As far as she’s concerned, we’re the ones that need to be careful tonight. “We’re going to enjoy a perfectly normal Halloween! Wear costumes, show some magic tricks and pass out candy to the children!” She insists as she accompanies us to the portal room, sending us off to the House of Lamentation where Lucifer and the rest are waiting for us.



In The Devildom

The others are all waiting for us inside my old room, or I should say: Lily’s old room. Which is the designated portal room for now. They’re already in demon form and looking impressive as always.

“Good evening.” Solomon smiles kindly to them, checking on Lily’s plant if it can stand the change of environment. It’s looking good, so far.

“Hey guys!” I greet them too and start immediately showing my brand new looking robe. “How do I look as the Devildom ambassador?” 

“So dashing!” Asmo swoons, wrapping me up in his hug. “But are you sure about that color?”

“Yes.” I tell him, seeing he’s about to cast a color changing spell on my clothes. “Don’t mess with my outfit tonight, Asmo. It is important for me to make a good first impression and I’m not your dress up doll tonight.”

“So touchy.” Asmodeus teases with a feigned pout, but I think he understands the importance of tonight for me. It might be Lord Diavolo’s birthday, but a lot of eyes will be on me.

“And for good reason.” Lucifer says with a serious voice, placing an encouraging hand on my shoulder. “I want all of you to make sure that James won’t be embarrassed tonight. Not by anyone.” He sends a threatening look over all his brothers, knowing that they can be as much of a bunch of troublemakers as the strange demons I will be meeting tonight.

“Relax.” Belphegor yawns. “We want James to succeed tonight too. If not for making a point to Lord Diavolo, then at least for making Leila and Lily proud.” He wraps his arm around my shoulders and shuffles out of the room. “Let’s get this night over with.”

When I look back to see Lucifer’s face, I can’t help but laugh. He looks torn between wanting to punish Belphegor for his insolence and smiling proudly at his brothers who all are agreeing with their youngest brother.

“Oh, by the way.” Solomon suddenly says as we’re on our way to the Demon Lord’s Castle. “I appreciate the escort that the seven of you are providing James and I on the way to the Demon Lord’s Castle, but we will be entering the Great Hall in the Castle on our own.”

“What? Why?” Mammon protests as the first and most of the others follow, glaring at Solomon, who looks unperturbed as always. “I told Leila I would be watchin’ over James!”

“And you can, from a distance, preferably in a subtle way.” Solomon tells him with a smirk that tells me that Solomon doesn’t believe Mammon has the ability to be subtle. “Not many of the Devildom elite present tonight know the true connection between James and yourselves yet and it would be best to keep it that way. At least for now.” Solomon holds up a hand to ward off the protests about to be launched his way. “Think what this night would be like if Lily were here in James' place. How many would take her seriously? I bet she’d have a long arduous fight ahead to gain the respect she deserves.” Solomon’s words seem to hit home as the protests die on their lips.

“Solomon is right.” Lucifer says, not looking happy at all to admit it. “We need to allow James to stand on his own two feet tonight.”

Solomon nods appreciatively. “James needs to be seen acting independently, even I will be giving him breathing room tonight after introductions are made. He needs to be approachable for everyone who wants to strike up a conversation with him. He has no use for seven bodyguards forming an impenetrable wall around him tonight.”

“That does make sense.” Satan agrees too, with a slight frown. “But I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t make me uneasy.”

“Understandable.” Solomon nods. “So if you manage to keep an eye on him, without repelling people who want to get to know him, that would be the ideal situation tonight.” 

There’s only a small amount of grumbling from the brothers after this, but Solomon stands his ground. And honestly, I agree with him. I can’t always hold the hands of the Avatars on these sorts of political events. Not unless I want to turn myself into a laughing stock in the Devildom, and with me the entire Human World. Two things I know to be true: showing your weakness makes you look like an easy target; showing off too much power is just as likely to draw in demons with ill-intent. I need to walk the middle road.


Upon arrival at the Demon Lord’s Castle the Avatars are immediately ushered inside by the servants, being the VIP’s that they are. Solomon and I have to wait a bit longer in the parlor, they tell us. I don’t mind it. We have a great opportunity to watch the apparently more important Devildom nobility with all sorts of plumage arriving and being ushered inside before us. Solomon is whispering useful information to me as we watch them coming and disappearing through the doors again. And there are refreshments to enjoy here too. 

Simeon and Luke have arrived in the meantime as well and Luke has been indignant as ever as to why these demons let me wait so long until being introduced. I have an important role to fulfill for Lord Diavolo’s dream and if I was Lily, I would have been treated as a guest of honor. 

Yes: I know that too. Lord Diavolo is acting out petulantly for not getting his way and has no doubt instructed his servants on how to treat me. Not exactly impolite, but also with the minimum of respect. I couldn’t care less, honestly. So I pat him comfortingly on his beret. I’m here for Leila’s dream, not Lord Diavolo’s. And I will become the best ambassador the Devildom could wish for.

“It’s really fine, Luke.” I promise him with a smile, when he and Simeon are being ushered inside the Great Hall before us.

At a certain point Barbatos himself comes to take a look in the parlor with a barely concealed look of exasperation in his eyes. A look that tells me that Solomon and I should have been inside the Great Hall a long time ago already and that he decided to set things straight and back on track again. He whispers a quick command to the servants with an air that brooks no arguments.

Now that the ushers know that they aren’t allowed to stall us any longer, Solomon and I are  instantly ushered inside the Hall through the great doors. 

“Lords and Ladies, arriving from the Human World: The Master Sorcerer, King Solomon the Wise and the Sorcerer James, Devildom’s Human World ambassador!” Someone announces loudly with an enhanced voice as soon as we step inside the Great Hall. 

All heads turn our way for a moment curiously. I see the Avatars have spread out over the entire room. Looking almost all extremely annoyed that I’m only now arriving in the Hall. Only Beelzebub is too busy at the refreshment tables and probably hasn’t noticed a thing. Heh. Then they all smile encouragingly at me, looking relieved I haven’t been carted off to who-knows-where. A servant escorts us directly to Lord Diavolo on his dais, so we can congratulate him and give him our presents.

“Ah, Solomon! And James! Welcome, welcome!” Lord Diavolo welcomes us jovially. “I was beginning to wonder where you two have disappeared to. Did you get lost on your way?” He laughs boisterously and guests closest to the dais laugh with him. Oh, is that how it’s going to be? I don’t think so, Lord Diavolo. I’m not going to be the entertainment for tonight .

“Just some miscommunication with the staff, I’m afraid, My Lord.” Barbatos is by his side again, giving his Lord a disapproving look for his stunt. I swear this demon is nearly omnipresent..

“Well, no harm done.” Solomon smiles toothily at Lord Diavolo. “We made it, at last.”

“And we come bearing gifts for your birthday!” I match Solomon’s smile. “These are from me, Leila and Lily.” I start with giving the first wrapped gift to Lord Diavolo.

Lord Diavolo, not knowing which gift came from who - even though he could make an educated guess, probably - has no choice but to smile politely with each gift handed to him. First my ‘gag’ gift: The pumpkin carving set.

His eyes widen with surprise when he realizes what it is and he bursts out in boisterous laughter again. This time it is genuine, I’m sure of it. “Wonderful!” He exclaims. “I always wanted to try this, but somehow nothing ever came of it.” The people close to us start clapping politely, but I ignore them. They’re only here to make an impression on their future Demon King.

Then Solomon gives Lily’s very special plant and explains how it was cultivated. Lord Diavolo beams as he listens to how it represents all the Three Worlds. To him this is proof that it is possible that his dream can come true eventually. “And as an extra bonus, I hear a delicious tea can be brewed from its petals.” Solomon finishes as he hands over the plant.

“Marvelous!” Lord Diavolo beams as he passes the plant over to Barbatos. “I’ll be sure to ask for a cup of that tomorrow morning.”

“And of course, last but not least, we want to give you a small token of our good intentions.” I present the small box to Lord Diavolo with a flourish and an exaggerated sweep of my new robe. I can tell from his face that he’s loving the show. 

Upon opening the box, a vintage-looking gold collar necklace is revealed. The two studs are in the shape of the Devildom royal crest and there are three different types of chains attached to them. Lord Diavolo immediately understands that this is also a representation for all the Three Worlds and he loves it, immediately putting it on his collar with a smile.

“Thank you very much for all these wonderful gifts, James. And you too, Solomon.” Lord Diavolo tells us graciously. “I almost feel like it is my birthday! Ahaha!” His sycophants standing close by all start laughing at his joke on cue and are being ignored. “Now, I want you to go mingle with the guests and make new connections, but above all: Have fun! It is a party after all!” 


Solomon and I nod our heads politely and make way for the next guests waiting to present themselves. At least this part is over with. It’s not likely Lord Diavolo will have time to speak with me again tonight, seeing as there are hundreds of guests.

We walk through the crowd and those nearest the dais only give us curious second looks, more focused on gaining Diavolo’s favors than ours right now. “I want to introduce you to a few demons of mine and then I’ll release you to the hordes.” Solomon tells me with an amused chuckle. 

As if he’s summoned him up by thought alone, I watch a smaller demon make a beeline straight for us. He has a sickly pallor and long green hair pulled back with a hair tie. I can imagine it looks like seaweed green when wet. Something about his mannerisms remind me of Leviathan. 

“Solomon.” The demon greets him with a nervous nod, looking around the room before attempting to loosen the tie around his neck. “This is the ambassador then?” He gives me a suspicious look.

“James.” I greet him, extending my hand with a polite smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“James, this is Forneus.” Solomon introduces his demon, as said demon looks at my proffered hand like it’s one of Solomon’s homemade meals. “He’s the only one in my retinue that belongs to Leviathan’s Navy.”

“Oh! You must be friends with Leviathan then?” I ask, placing my hands behind my back and offering another smile instead. 

Forneus suddenly looks bashful, reaching up to scratch his neck as a nervous habit. I notice the gill slits behind his ear and the webbing between his fingers. Maybe this is why he didn’t want to shake hands?

“Heh. If only I was so fortunate.” Forneus mumbles. “I don’t think the Avatar of Envy even realizes I exist.”

I’m about to say that’s probably not true but think better of it. Leviathan tends to live in his own bubble, so it is a possibility. Instead I say, “Well perhaps you can join us for a game sometime? Solomon runs a real mean TRPG as you probably know, we always need new players.”

This at least earns me a smile from the demon who suddenly seems more confident. “Well, if you insist. I’m sure I could find the time to join you.” He nods gratefully. “Now I must go greet Lord Diavolo so I can leave this wretched place.” He tells us before excusing himself to join the queue by the dais. 

Solomon chuckles as we watch Forneus approach the back of the line with a look of dismay. “You did well James.” He praises me. “Forneus is well versed in rhetoric, arts and languages. He even has a special ability that allows him to confer goodwill and reputation unto others, but despite that, he’s abominably wretched when it comes to his own social life.”

I laugh at this information. “Well if we do get Leviathan and Forneus together, they’ll either love or hate each other.”

 

Next, Solomon leads me over to a group of three demons holding conversation with each other. One of them overshadows the other two, not only in height but by the way he holds himself with supreme confidence and an air of regal grace. He reminds me of an Arabic sultan with his clothes, dark olive skin and beard. His large horns wrap around his head like a crown. A female demon stands next to him, she looks like she could be his sister, her posture is stiff and her beautiful face seems to be etched in a permanent scowl. The other demon with them is a very thin, shifty looking fellow. Instead of the usual demonic horns he has a set of wicked sharp looking antlers. In this form his ears also look like they belong on a deer and he even has a short deer tail that flicks behind him. He might actually look cute, if it were not for his untrustworthy, calculating expression and the grotesque set of wings that are leathery and worn down with the appearance of a plucked bird, a few feathers still stick out here and there.

“James, this is Ba’al.” Solomon introduces me to the impressive looking demon first. I remember reading something about him way back during my first year at RAD, if I remember correctly he’s a pretty powerful and important demon. “This is his sister Anath, and this,” Solomon gestures to the other male. “Is Furfur.” With practiced poise I’m able to suppress the laugh that would like to escape, it’s a silly name for such an odd looking demon.

“It’s an honor to meet you all.” I greet the demons with a short bow of my head. 

“Solomon has spoken highly of you.” Ba’al tells me. 

“I hope to live up to his praise.” I say with a smile.

Ba’al gives me an appraising once over before gracing me with a small smirk on his handsome face. “We shall see.” His sister is silent and continues to scowl. I can’t tell if she’s angry or if that’s just her natural resting face.

“It shall be interesting to see how our Lord takes to you.” Furfur speaks to me in a hoarse voice. “We know he was keen to have his favored human female fill the role of Ambassador.” He says and I don’t miss the sly glance he gives Solomon. 

I can’t tell if he’s trying to provoke Solomon or myself, maybe they are curious about the rumors or maybe he’s trying to gauge their new master’s interest in Lily. Either way, I’m not going to be duped. I just give him my best smile as I say, “I will endeavor to prove to Lord Diavolo that I’m the best suited for the role.” I receive a greasy smile in return. 

As we move away from that group into the crowd again, Solomon murmurs quietly to me. “Ba’al was my first pact, he’s a very influential figure here and helped me gain an audience with the now retired King of the Devildom back in the day. We have a good, professional relationship. His sister is not one of mine but best to stay on her good side; though unconditionally loyal to her brother, she can be as volatile as Satan.”

“And Furfur?” I ask, he doesn’t seem like Solomon’s usual sort, at least from whom I’ve met so far.

Solomon rolls his eyes. “He’s a liar on principle, but he has his uses. He’s loyal to me, but you should not let your guard down around him.” That’s all Solomon has time to say before he’s introducing me to two other demons that seem vaguely familiar, probably students of RAD.

They are both average demonic height with dark bronzed skin. One reminds me of a lion with full shaggy golden hair that sits wildly around his face, his short horns barely visible beneath. His eyes are golden and he has a large toothy grin with extra large canines as he sees us approach. A long lion's tail swishes behind him. The other has just as wild hair but a deep brown with horns that remind me of a bull. That impression is further cemented in my mind by the large golden nose ring he wears. His eyes are equally dark, his tail reminds me of Belphegor’s and he wears no shoes as his feet are cloven hooves. Where the other smiles, this one looks at us with brooding eyes. 

“James, I’d like you to meet Marbas and Buer.” Solomon makes the necessary introductions and Marbas shakes my hand enthusiastically while Buer is more subdued in comparison. Despite his brooding look, he proves to be friendly enough. Actually, despite their wild looks they’re both quite handsome and I think they could be fun to party with. Not that I should be thinking about that tonight.  

After a quick but friendly conversation, Solomon is looking around the room. “I thought Andromalius would be with you two.”

Buer snorts and Marbas laughs. “You just missed him, I think he sniffed out a thief.”

Solomon seems amused as I follow him through the crowd. Eventually we come across a demon I think I recognize as one of Solomon’s that’s usually lurking in the shadows during our dealings with the Sorcerer’s Society and he seems to be in the middle of lecturing Mammon? 

“Did you really think I was going to let you get away with stealing from his Highness’s guests on his own birthday? It’s truly despicable. What would Lucifer say?” We hear the demon saying to a very annoyed looking Mammon who stands there with his arms crossed looking wholly unrepentant until our eyes meet. 

“J-James! How’s it goin’, buddy?” He shouts over the demon nagging him.

“James, this is Andromalius. He has a penchant for catching thieves, he can practically sniff them out. In fact, it's almost a compulsion.” Solomon explains as he introduces us. It doesn’t seem like a very demonic trait and I can’t help chuckling a bit, he and Mammon must get along famously! Heh.

Before anything else can be said Mammon retreats the other way, soon we realize it’s because Lucifer was making a beeline his way. I shake my head as I watch Lucifer stalk Mammon through the crowd. Well it didn’t take Mammon long at all to feel right at home here.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you properly, James.” Andromalius says, his shrewd expression calming into a more friendly countenance. He’s tall and handsome with long blond hair and it’s only now that I realize he has a black serpent wrapped around his arm that blends in with his clothes. “Let me know if I can ever be of assistance to you.” He tells me before excusing himself to go return the string of expensive black Devildom pearls that must have been lifted right off of some unsuspecting demon’s neck.


Diavolo is still greeting guests and we end up being approached by several more demons that are either curious about me or want to rub shoulders with Solomon. Soon enough we notice that Diavolo is getting ready to give his speech so we decide to grab a glass of bubbling demonus being passed around by the banquet staff and move closer to the dais again. Surprisingly he gives a good speech that doesn’t drag on too long.

After Lord Diavolo has given his speech and a whole bunch of high profile demons - Lucifer and Ba’al among them - have given him their best wishes via their toasts, Lord Diavolo makes his way into my direction - much to my surprise - with a broad smile. I sure hope he doesn’t want to dance with me, because I’m not sure I can do something like that so soon, especially when I still don’t fully trust this one. 

But I needn’t worry. “James!” He smiles broadly. “Tell me, how is it going? Your first official political party as the ambassador?” 

He seems genuinely interested, so I tell him who I have met so far and the interesting conversations I was pulled into. 

Lord Diavolo looks pleased as he listens. “It seems like you have been a good choice, after all.” He tells me in a confidential tone and a bit of a mocking smirk. “I’ve noticed that people are curious about you and so far all of them seem pleasantly surprised after having talked with you.”

“I’m not doing anything special.” I smile back. “I’m just being myself.”

“A natural demon-charmer!” Lord Diavolo laughs, clapping my shoulder as if we’ve been besties forever. “Who would have thought? Don’t turn into Solomon, though. You hear me?”

“I wouldn’t go that far.” I turn my grimace into a grin. Ow, that shoulderpat was a bit too forceful if you ask me… He really doesn’t know his own strength.

Mammon approaches us. I can tell from his face that he doesn’t like it at all that Lord Diavolo is alone with me. Lucifer is watching him from a bit of a distance, a slight frown on his face, but he understands Mammon’s feelings and he doesn’t intercept him this time.

“Ah, Mammon!” Lord Diavolo greets him, while keeping his hand on my shoulder. “Have you met James, already? He is the new ambassador from the Human World.” He pretends as if I’m a total newcomer, which I am of course, but it’s a bit over the top, putting on a show like this.

Mammon stares at him incredulously. Either not getting it or refusing to play along. “‘Course I do!”

“Ah yes, that’s right.” Lord Diavolo nods. “He’s Lily’s friend and Sorcerers’ Society colleague, so you must have met him. How is Lily, by the way? How is her pregnancy developing?”

Uh-oh… Is this the direction Lord Diavolo wants this conversation to go? “I really don’t think we should-” I begin to say.

“She’s fine. The baby’s fine.” Mammon grumbles quickly, trying his best to not draw attention as we are discussing this. “It ain’t anyone’s business…”

But Lord Diavolo seems to disagree and wants to make a spectacle of it. “Wonderful! That’s just wonderful! Who would have thought it, am I right?” He laughs boomingly at Mammon, whose face is flushed with embarrassment and indignation of Lord Diavolo’s insensitive behavior that not only affects him, but also Lily. “You swooped right in to put your spawn in her after her engagement with Solomon was put on hold! No one else even had a chance to act! You’re more of a demon than I gave you credit for, Mammon! Ahaha!” What the hell, Diavolo! That’s so disrespectful and insensitive! Not to mention obvious that he’s jealous.

“Leave him alone.” Suddenly Belphegor is next to Mammon and turns a cold glare at his Lord. “Haven’t you always claimed to be Lily’s friend?” He asks in a hard voice.

“Belphegor…” Lucifer’s threatening voice comes from behind him, warning him to not start a scene.

But Belphegor ignores him. “Some friend, huh. Gossiping about Lily behind her back. The whole Devildom knows about it now. And we weren’t the ones who spread the rumors.” He wraps his arm firmly around Mammon’s shoulders in support. He’s really been the only one, out of the brothers at least, who has been standing up for Mammon ever since the news came out.

Lord Diavolo seems to be surprised, as if just now considering the consequences of his actions. “Well… I mean… I didn’t mean any harm by it…” He lies, he definitely meant to harm Mammon’s reputation out of jealousy. Only he didn’t think about how Lily would be duped too in the process. “Anyway, I heard she has a check up next week. Let me know when that is and I’ll be there to show my full support.” 

I can’t believe what I’m hearing! He invites himself to this type of very intimate appointment? Nuh-uh! Over my dead body! Figuratively speaking, of course. “I don’t think that is a good idea.” I tell him, before anyone else can speak up.

“But…”

“Listen to James, Diavolo.” Lucifer interrupts his Lord. “He’s the Human World ambassador and he knows best about human customs and how delicate matters like these are handled..”

“Precisely.” I nod. “We wouldn’t all be allowed in, even if Lily did desire it, which she wouldn’t.” I add quickly. “Besides, what would people think if the Devildom Prince himself came to a pregnancy check up in the Human World? We don’t want to make Lily a subject of gossip in the Human World as well, right? More than she already is now that people are speculating about her and Solomon. It’s been really rough for her. We have to be considerate.”

I can tell we’re all relieved when Lord Diavolo’s shoulders slump slightly in defeat as he gives in to my wisdom. He recovers quickly, smiling again. “You’re right James. I haven’t been considerate. I need to make more time for her to make sure she’s getting through all her...human grief.” He says, making me internally groan. “I’ll have Barbatos schedule a tea with her in the Human World soon.”

“That’s not a bad idea. I think she’s been wanting to talk to you too.” He beams as I tell him this, of course I don’t tell him that the nature of the conversation she wishes to have with him won’t be to his liking. 

After this Lord Diavolo moves on to mingle with other guests and Lucifer joins him, reminding his brothers to move on as well so that I can continue to mingle with new demons myself. Solomon has already disappeared and soon enough I find myself on my own for the first time tonight.


I soon see two elegant asian looking females gliding towards me. I don’t know how else to describe it. They’re displaying the most elegant smooth ways of moving. It’s not until they’re closer when I realize why that is. While they’re looking like beautiful women at first glance, dressed in long dresses of white and jade with rich embroidery and snakelike ornaments, their demonic form makes their entire lower body that of a large snake. One has a white tail and the other a green tail, matching with their attire.

“Hello.” The white-tailed woman greets me with a kind smile and a bow. “It’s been so long since I have met with a human! Do you have time to-” 

She is interrupted by the green-tailed woman. “Honestly, Bai Suzhen.” She scolds. “You can’t just approach humans in your snake form! You know what will happen!”

“Oh, don’t worry, Qingmei.” The white-tailed woman pats her friend - or maybe sister? - on her arm. “It is obvious that James here is used to seeing demons in their natural forms.”

“That’s right.” I laugh, bowing for her the same way she bowed for me. “My name is James. And I will do my best to mediate between demon and human affairs.”

“Oh, I apologize.” She smiles at me. “I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Baishe Niangniang. People call me the White Snake. And this is my sister Xiaoqing, the Jade Snake.”

“Don’t try anything funny, because I’ll protect her from all harm!” Xiaoqing tells me fiercely, as her eyes turn more snakelike. Her sister pats her arm again to calm her, rolling her eyes at me apologetically.

“You know? I think I’ve actually heard of that legend.” I laugh at them. 

It’s one of the more beautiful folklore stories that Leila has taught me during one of her lessons. The two snake demons descended to the Human World from Mount Li to learn about human life and earn merits to cultivate themselves as immortals voluntarily. Baishe Niangniang especially was skilled with medicine and she tried her best to save a lot of human lives. Against all odds, as the humans she treated feared her for being a demon. I can understand why Lord Diavolo invited these minor deities - compared to some of the other demons here - to his birthday party: Even if they might not be amongst the highest ranks in nobility or even elite, they represent everything he wants to achieve for his dream. Demons, trying to live in harmony with humans. Even loving them. Well… At least the White Snake. Heh.

The Jade Snake gives me another suspicious look as she sees me smiling. But then I think she decides that I look harmless enough and smiles now too. We have some discussions about healing magic together. I know Leila will be interested to hear about me meeting the Snake Sisters.

Suddenly our peaceful conversation is interrupted by the arrival of another gorgeous looking female. She bumps the White Snake aside with her hip and comes to stand in front of me, effectively blocking the Snake Sisters from my view. 

“What are you still standing around for, James the Sorcerer?” She coos as she runs her fingers flirtingly over my arm. “Haven’t you heard this is a party?!”

“Excuse me!” The Jade Snake hisses to the newcomer, raising herself up on her tail so she’s towering over her. Looking very much like a cobra ready to strike. “Don’t push us aside!”

“You are excused.” The newcomer looks up haughty, looking less than impressed. “Go catch some rats and let the adults talk.” She waves dismissively.

I’m feeling stunned as I’m watching the scene play out: The Jade snake is about ready to coil herself around the new female to choke the life out of her, but the White Snake calms her down again. “It’s okay, Qingmei. I’m sure we will get another chance to talk to James soon.”

“Yes, of course.” I regain my senses and bow to them. “I’m sorry we have to keep the conversations short tonight…”

“It’s completely understandable.” The White Snake assures me, as she starts pulling her furious sister with her. “It was nice to meet you, James!”

“FINALLY, they’re gone.” The new female dusts some imaginary dirt from her shoulder. “You really should be more careful with whom you associate yourself with, James.” She tells me as if we’ve been friends forever.

“Do tell…” I mock her lightly, suppressing an eyeroll. I don’t think she noticed it. 

This seems like one of those types of girls from school in the old days. Wedging herself in between me and Leila, telling me I was too good for her. Obviously not knowing who Leila was and that there would never be anyone better than her. Not even the prettiest boy. Heh. Well, let’s see what she comes up with.

“Oh!” She laughs suddenly, as she grabs my hand and pulls me towards the dancefloor. “Yes, I would LOVE to dance on this song with you!”

I don’t remember asking her, but eh. I like to do a little dancing too, after all this standing around. “So, aren’t you going to tell me your name?” I ask her with a grin, when she drapes her arms around my neck and lays her dark curly head against my shoulder.

She blinks at me with her glittering golden eyes. “You mean, you don’t know who I am?!”

“I’m afraid I don’t.” I admit with a smile. 

She pouts, looking very much like Asmo this way. And stomps her foot, nearly missing mine. Phew. “Oh, It’s not fun at all to have to live in the Devildom forever like this! Humans start forgetting who I am! Isn’t that just awful, James?” She asks with teary eyes. “Once I was worshiped as a goddess and now you don't even know who I am!” She starts fake-sobbing against my shoulder. “You should do good work as an ambassador and make sure that I can return to the Human World again and be rightfully worshipped by humankind again as Ishtar the Goddess of fertility and sex!” She declares, lifting her head and staring into my eyes as she flutters her long lashes. “Promise me, James!”

“So, Ishtar.” Is my dry conclusion and she blinks her golden eyes at me again as we dance. “Nice to meet you.”

“Yes, I’m sure you are pleased to meet me.” She snaps impatiently, now that I’m still not kneeling at her feet in adoration, as she must have expected. 

“Ishtar, stop making a drama.” Suddenly I hear a familiar voice. It’s Astaroth, tapping her on the shoulder, indicating he wants to cut in.

“Oh, Tothy!” Ishtar cheers, seeing the icy demon. “Isn’t this new human JUST adorable?!” She smooches a kiss on my cheek. “I want to keep him. Can I?”

Astaroth sighs, sounding tired like Lucifer as he deals with Asmo. “Let me dance with James, Ishtar. I want to ask him something.”

“Oh, fiiine!” She huffs, but doesn’t sound too upset. “But we are sharing this one, understood?”

“I apologize for my sister.” Astaroth tells me as he whisks me away, back onto the dancefloor. And this is all he’s saying for a really long time. Ever since the day at the Mayan ruins, he’s been less cold towards us. Still not warm, though. But I suppose a little opened up?

The song is almost over and he still hasn’t spoken. Maybe he’s waiting for me to start? That seems to often be the norm with these proud demons like Lucifer and Astaroth. I decide to give him a push. “So, how about this party, huh.” I mock.

A small smirk appears around his lips and then he says. “Walk with me for a bit, James.”

“Oh, sure…?” I react surprised as we dance off the dancefloor and disappear into the crowd. We walk into the garden. I’m wondering why I’m not feeling nervous. It must be because Leila has searched this demon’s soul and found him trustworthy.

“How is Leila doing? And Pandora?” Astaroth suddenly asks. “Are they safe? Is Pandora’s supernatural ancestry not yet discovered in the Human World?”

I’m surprised to hear his questions. Why his interest in my cousin and her daughter? “Yes, they’re fine. Leila has all sorts of spells invented to protect Pandora. Only people with good intentions can touch her, basically.” I answer him and Astaroth looks pleased to hear that. “And no, Pandora seems to be like a regular human baby in the Human World. Though she appears to be a couple months ahead of a normal human baby’s development schedule…”

“Yes…” Astaroth nods, as if he’s expected that answer. “She’s a miracle…”

“And Leila is tired, she hasn’t given herself much time to grieve, but she’s getting there.” I continue, as I keep watching his expressions. I see something of worry flash over his features, so I continue. “She won’t over-exhaust herself. Though I feel she should use her days off from the Sorcerers’ Society to actually rest.”

“She should.” Astaroth grumbles.

“But now that it seems that she has fixed Lily’s magic problems, I think Leila has no excuses not to rest on her days off anymore…”

“It’s fixed? She did that?” He asks surprised, but quickly controls himself again. I nod and give a short explanation of what they did a couple days ago. Astaroth seems impressed, when he says. “Truly a scion of Solomon…” Though I’m not sure if he means it as a compliment or insult. Maybe a bit of both? He sure seems interested in Leila and Pandora for some reason. “About Lily…” He changes the subject. “How is she, after the Mayan ruins incident?”

“It’s tough on her to live with the guilt.” I answer, wondering why he wouldn’t just ask her himself, next time he sees her. But eh. “She’s slowly starting to learn how to forgive herself.”

“Good.” He nods. “They were wicked humans and deserved nothing less. Now tell me this one other thing, James.”

“Sure?”

“Is Lily really pregnant with Mammon’s child?”

“I mean, she’s really pregnant.” I answer him. “And most of us assume it’s Mammon’s, but…”

“But?”

“But, you know… She was engaged to Solomon, right?” I shrug. I think this is what Belphie means to say each time, before he gets interupted. He’s just given up on it now, but Leila plans to talk with him about it soon. We won’t know for sure until the check up, anyway. “For now we just assume it’s Mammon’s. It’s easier on Lily, this way.”

“Hm…” He nods. “I suppose that makes sense for her. I can’t say I would be happy either way.”


“Yo Astaroth!” Suddenly a group of half-drunk rowdy demons come barreling through the doors that lead to the garden and Astaroth stiffens defensively next to me until he realizes who it is. “Don’t hog the ambassador! We wanna talk with James too!”

Mephisto is the first to roughly grab me around the shoulders and Phoenix gives me a pat on the back that probably would have knocked me over if Mephistopheles didn’t have a good hold on me. Luckily I’m used to this sort of treatment from them. Even if they didn’t know it. Heh. 

“Excuse our interruption, James.” Stolas tells me, looking annoyed with his friends. “But it is nice to see you again, you’re fitting into your role quite nicely we noticed.” He’s as polite as ever.

“Stop manhandling James.” I hear Satan growl at Mephisto and Phoenix. I turn and give him a small grin, not realizing he had arrived with the group.

“Aww don’t be like that Satan.” Phoenix pouts. “Young James here looks like he might enjoy a little manhandling.” He teases, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. 

“Not from the likes of you!” Satan pushes him away. Astaroth looks annoyed that our conversation was cut short and I’m thinking maybe I should invite him over sometime since he seems interested or concerned with the wellbeing of our girls. 

Suddenly Solomon comes rushing out of the castle doors into the garden, followed on his heels by Simeon and Luke. “James, Satan, get ready. We’re returning to the Human World.” He tells us. “Astaroth, you’re coming with us. The rest of you can go.”

“What’s going on?” Satan growls impatiently for Solomon disrupting our conversations.

“It seems that there is a crisis of some sort at home.” Solomon levels a look Mephistopheles way. “I would appreciate you not broadcasting any of this in the RAD Newspaper.” He then starts with quickly making his teleportation circle.

“Oh, he won’t.” Satan gives his friend a terrifying look. “Not unless he wants to wear his skin inside out from now on.”

Mephistopheles holds up his hands, “My lips are sealed!” He promises. 

“Hold up Solomon.” Phoenix argues. “If the ladies are in trouble I want to come too. I may be more of a lover, but I’m good in a fight.”

“I must confess to some curious concern myself.” Stolas chimes in to my surprise, so far I’ve never seen him do anything but follow Solomon's orders without complaint. 

“Do as you wish.” Solomon tells them without breaking his concentration. “Just stay out of my way.” For once Phoenix looks serious as the two of them take places on either side of Astaroth. I try to contain the surge of panic and fear that tries to claw its way up my throat. I’m anxious to leave and make sure everyone is alright. 



Lucifer POV

Things seem to have been going well on this night for James in his new function. Solomon was right: James seems to thrive here in the Devildom. James is naturally open-minded, good-natured and approachable which makes the guests tonight curious for him. He hasn’t gotten a moment of rest ever since he walked through the doors and was announced, but he doesn’t look tired at all and somehow managed to stay hydrated as well.

Me and my brothers have been watching him navigate the politics of this high profile event with ease. Even tempered an argument or two that was about to break out between demons vying for his attention, without taking sides.

Honestly, the only ones in my family who were behaving embarrassingly were some of my brothers. I really didn’t need to see one of Solomon’s demons catching my new brother Mammon in the act of stealing… And Belphegor slouching against the wall… I must have told him a hundred times to stand straight. Asmodeus gathering his fans and sycophants around himself, making Diavolo’s birthday about himself. And… Well, I could go on. But what is the point? They’ll never learn.

Where is James anyway? I haven’t seen him for a while now. I’m not worried, one of my brothers has his eyes on him, no doubt. But I like to be sure...

I’m about to go look for him when I feel a sudden stab of anxiety and fear surging through my pact with Leila. It’s worse than that time Lily was staying over at Wizard’s Palace. She was worried about something then, but kept herself under control. But now it feels like she’s panicking? Or maybe in a struggle? I know she’s calling for help right now, as I feel an overwhelming sense of worry stabbing at my heart. Something seems amiss at Serenity Manor. Looking around the Great Hall, I can tell that Mammon, Asmodeus and Barbatos must have felt it too. 

We lock eyes and Mammon comes rushing over to me. Asmo follows with a worried and confused expression and I see Barbatos making a beeline for Solomon who is talking with Simeon and Luke at the far end of the Hall, before they join us as well.

“Lucifer.” Mammon whisper-shouts urgently at me. “Somethin’ ain’t right at home! We needa go back, like right now!”

“What’s going on?” Asmodeus sounds worried. “I felt this… fear… suddenly, but it’s not mine. I think it’s Leila’s?”

“Yeah.” Mammon quickly explains it to him. “Havin’ a pact with Leila has that effect on ya, when somethin’s wrong. Ya can’t get used to it. It’s pullin’ on yer heart. We needa go to her.”

I agree. Right now, I want nothing more than to go home and save Leila from whatever is frightening her. It’s probably something that affects Lily too, but I can’t sense her feelings from across worlds.

“Mammon, Asmo.” I order my brothers. “Go find the rest of our brothers and gather them…” I’m thinking where we should gather to not raise suspicion.

“The garden.” Solomon completes my sentence. “I saw James going to the garden, accompanied by some of my demons and Satan. He must be taking a breather there. I will make a teleportation circle for us in the garden. Go and hurry!” 

I nod at him and my brothers start looking for the rest of our brothers while I move to say goodbye to Lord Diavolo. I don’t plan on telling him what is going on, since I don’t want him to make a spectacle of things and abandon his own party. I’ll just tell him that I can’t stand my brothers acting like brats anymore and that James needs to rest. 

“I’ll stay with my Lord and come to Serenity Manor after the party has come to a close.” Barbatos seems to understand my thoughts. “But let me know any news as soon as possible.”

When I arrive in the garden, I see Solomon already working on his teleportation circle. Satan and James are there too with worried expressions on their faces. Together with Simeon and Luke and some of Solomon’s demons who seem determined to not move from his side, right now. Astaroth, Stolas, Phoenix. I can’t say I’m thrilled to see them. It’s a bunch of troublemakers, but since they’re Lily’s friends and it doesn’t seem like Solomon is going to dismiss them, I decide that it’s not worth the trouble right now.

Soon the rest of my brothers have joined us and Solomon teleports us all back to Serenity Manor. It’s only been a few minutes since we first felt Leila’s panic. But still I fear we might be too late…

 

James by Zurui_e on Instagram

 

James and Sir Piggy - Art by Zurui_e on Instagram

Chapter Text

Leila POV

James, Lily, Lucien and I have been hard at work the last couple days in preparations for today’s festivities. We wanted to have a nice traditional Halloween together. James unfortunately couldn’t spend the whole evening with us but I knew it was important for him to fulfill this role, despite any reservations I still have about Lord Diavolo. Lucien has made all sorts of unique home-made sweets - that might be a tiny bit magical, but harmless - for the children that hopefully might come to our doorstep for Trick or Treat.

We have Tricks too. We’ve transformed the driveway up to our door with some mildly spooky and magical effects. Like moaning pebbles on the path if people step on them and bioluminescent flowers and mushrooms that glow up as you pass by them. Shrubbery in the shape of fantasy animals that turn to the passersby, blink their glowing eyes or make a sound, and more of that fun stuff. Innocent enough to make it look like it's just some Human World illusion trick, but just a little more. We’re sure that the kids are going to love it! It was a lot of fun to do. Lily and I went a little crazy with fun ideas, now that she has her magic under control. The garden is already in a perfect state for winter! And also looks a little silly, right now, but Lily will have that fixed back to normal before Lucifer’s next visit. Haha!

I’m dressed up in a very festive witches outfit, at least a version of what the non-magical world imagines witches to dress like. Haha! It has a voluminous skirt in autumn colors cut shorter in the front to expose my high heeled thigh high boots and the back of the skirt flows all the way down to my ankles. The top is a matching bodice that laces up in the back to mimic a corset. It’s pretty sexy, but not too sexy of course, there’s kids coming to the door. We don’t want to traumatize them. Haha! I did think there was a bit too much cleavage on display so I camouflaged that under a lot of crystal necklaces. Yes, with real magical uses, but nobody would know if they’re not magical themselves. Of course I’m wearing my Celestial Light pendant among them. It shines softly, illuminating the stones on my necklaces prettily. I’m also wearing a large floppy witch hat that’s super impractical as I’ve bumped it against the doorway a bunch of times already. With this, I’m wearing much too heavy make-up around my eyes. All in all, I think I look pretty nice though.

Lily is dressed as a garden Pixie. Her bodice is a dark green with a lighter green skirt that is cut in varying lengths in a semi-sheer fabric that shimmers in the light. She’s wearing tan stockings and matching green ballet type slippers that curl up at the toes with bells on the end. Her hair is braided in a big plait and she has a crown on her head made of ivy and flowers from the garden. We’ve made delicate looking wings that look like the wings of a dragonfly and I spelled them to softly flutter and sing as soon as someone yells ‘Trick or Treat!’ Let’s hope she won’t get sick of it too soon tonight, haha!

Lucien and James decided to go with matching costumes, sort of. Lucien is dressed as a huntsman. Wearing a simple plaid shirt, vest and jeans with a fake axe. He looks very handsome, as he has been growing his hair ever since coming to this reality and now it is just long enough to tie it up in a small bun on the back of his head. James is supposed to be the big bad wolf or something. James is only wearing a wolf's mask with his normal clothes for the sake of simplicity since he has to change into his formal clothes later for Diavolo’s birthday party. 

I’ve made and decorated tiny hats for our pets, but I think only Chimera enjoys playing dress-up. She’s flying around proudly with her tiny shimmering tophat between her ears. Very excited for tonight and all the treats. Sir Piggy has basically slobbered his hat up halfway before he noticed it really wasn’t edible. I got a lot of indignant snorting from him and Lily had to feed him a few Solomon-kibbles before he wanted to cuddle with us again. Shado shredded his hat instantly and scolded me, asking me if I wasn’t right in the head. I shouldn't ever dare trying again to put on people's clothing on him. But he soon had forgiven me again after a few scritches under his chin.

I’ve dressed up Pandora as a cute fluffy kitty. Shado approved of this very much. She’s basically been asleep in the crib in the living room ever since dinner, because I don’t want to leave her alone in the far east wing, while we're all here. She’s an easy sleeper and Shado is cuddled up against her. They’re sleeping like two little fluffy kitties in her crib now. I couldn’t help sending a picture of them to Satan. He probably doesn’t care as much as my own Satan would have, but it’s as close as it gets. 

We told Mammon that today’s the only day he can be seen in his demonic form, anyone will just think he has on an amazing costume. A few days ago I had to forbid him from entering any cash for prize Halloween costume contests though. We decided that we will have an easy dinner of pizza delivered, so we won’t have to fuss in the kitchen on top of everything else. 

 

It’s not long after we’ve opened our gates that we hear the excited chattering and laughing of children’s voices and adult voices alike. It sounds like people are really enjoying the effort we put in the spooky route they have to take to reach our front door for their well-deserved treats.

When we receive the first ring on our doorbell, Mammon beats me to the door with his demonic speed. I give him a warning glare not to pull any stunts like that in front of the children. At least nothing that can’t be passed off as a simple magician's illusion. 

“Trick or - …” Lily and I crowd behind him to get a glimpse of the two children on the porch, my guess is that their ages are around six and nine. Their faces are in awe of Mammon’s impressive stature standing there, I can’t see his face but I can imagine he’s smug, eating up their attention. 

“Are you a v-vampire?!” The younger one, a little girl dressed as a princess, squeaks. 

“Nah.” Mammon scoffs. “Imma Demon!” He boasts. 

This time the little boy, the older of the two scoffs in return, giving Mammon another once over.  He’s dressed as a knight and, puffing up his little chest bravely, he says, “A demon? Who are you supposed to be? Satan? Shouldn’t you be red with a pitch-fork then?”

Lily starts giggling next to me and I have to smile too, just imagining Satan’s surprised face if he had heard that! “N-no!” Mammon tells the kid indignantly. “Do I look like Satan to ya?! I’m THE GREAT MAMMON, AVATAR OF GREED!” He beams proudly, his arms crossed over his chest as he strikes a pose.

The little boy looks less than impressed now. “Never heard of him.” He shrugs then goes back to more important business. “Anyway, Trick or Treat!” Lily’s fairy wings instantly start to buzz and flutter and the little princess gasps, trying to see the much more interesting pretty fairy behind the demon.

I push Mammon aside, who looks like he might just start lecturing these poor children on who the ‘Great Mammon’ is, and I offer them their choice of treats. They now both gasp in awe as they look over the softly shimmering colorful choices that we wrapped up in transparent wrappers.

“Is that… REAL magical candy?” The boy asks us, as he now notices that I’m dressed as a witch.

“Almost real.” I promise them. “They taste magically yummy.”

“You’re both very pretty!” The little girl tells Lily and I as we replace a muttering Mammon at the door. 

“Aww. So are you sweetie!” Lily beams.

“Your dress is very beautiful, your highness.” I tell her as I give her a little curtsy. “And your knight is very brave!” The boy gives me a proud smile in return, puffing up his chest again. 

Lily and I have fun with these sorts of exchanges with the children who come through for the next couple hours until I have to leave it to Lily and Lucien while I help James get ready. I put Uncle Mammon on Pandora duty. 

 

After James, Mammon and Solomon have left for the Devildom to attend Lord Diavolo’s birthday party, I close the portal securely and return to the living room where the others are waiting. We decided to settle ourselves in the main living room of the Manor tonight, as it is closer to the front door. Now that it's later in the evening, things are winding down but we may still get a few stragglers so we decided to keep our porch light and pumpkins out until 10pm.

I’ve just sat down, when I receive a text.

Tristan <> Leila
< Tristan: Hey Angel!

I blush. I don’t know why he’s giving me a nickname like that. Sure, we've been texting and we’re friends, but still…It seems awfully forward of him.

< Tristan: We’re going to a Halloween party tonight. Would you guys like to come too?
> Leila: Sorry, can’t. I don’t want to leave my little brother to stay home all alone to babysit Pandora.
< Tristan: I didn’t know you had a brother?
> Leila: Oh yeah! A whole bunch of them!
< Tristan: Vivian is freaking out here by the idea of more grandchildren of Solomon.
> Leila: Oh, tell her not to worry: we aren’t blood related. We’ll introduce you to them some time.
< Tristan: Awesome. Can’t wait.
> Leila: Anyway... Lily, Lucien and I are just staying home hosting an enchanted Trick or Treat garden.
> Leila: With REAL magic, but you didn’t hear that from me!
< Tristan: Haha! Okay, I didn’t hear a thing!

There is a pause in his texting and I’m just beginning to  assume this was the end of our conversation, until I receive a new one.

< Tristan: But tell me: You are all dressed up, right?
> Leila: Of course!
< Tristan: Great! Then send me a picture!
> Leila: Nope! Not doing that!
< Tristan: Aww! Come on, Princess Leila! Don’t be shy!

I just know by now that Cedric must have stolen Tristan’s phone. He’s the only one who calls me that. I smile and put my DDD away, telling Lily about the texts and she agrees with me. She takes out her own DDD and starts sending some texts too, but she just smiles mysteriously at me when I ask what she’s doing.

 

An hour or so later we’ve only had one more group of trick or treaters and I’m wondering if we should call it a night when the doorbell rings again. Lily has another suspicious smile on her face as we make our way to the door. 

“Trick or Treat!” 

I’m surprised to open the door to find Tristan, Cedric, and the rest of the gang crowding in front of me as I hear Lily’s wings singing beside me. “What are you guys doing here? I thought you were at a party?”

“You made it! Come inside!” Lily says and then everything makes sense.

Tristan looks a little surprised himself, maybe he didn’t know that Lily invited them without telling me about it? 

“Well we did go to the party.” Cedric says as he moves past a hesitant Tristan to come into the house. “But poor Tristan looked so glum we decided we’d bring the party to you!” He laughs. 

“Sorry..I hope it’s alright that we’re here?” Tristan asks me with a hopeful look. 

“Of course. Come inside.” I assure him as he walks inside and Vivian, Sybil and Elphias follow him with greetings of their own. 

Vivian is looking around with a curious eye as we escort them into the living area. “Does Solomon live here with you?” She asks, and I know what she really wants to know is: Is Solomon here now. 

“Solomon is in the Devildom with James tonight.” I answer her unasked question and ignore the other. I don’t need some ambitious girl my age chasing after my grandfather, showing up at random hours. 

“Oh..James isn’t here?” Sybil says, trying to hide her disappointment. Then she gives a friendly smile to Lucien and shakes his hand.

“You probably know it’s the Prince of the Devildom’s birthday.” Lily says. “James has his debut as Ambassador tonight.” 

“Really?” Vivian asks with a shrewd gaze narrowed on Lily. “I thought Solomon was going to give that role to you?”

Lily shakes her head. “That was the plan a long time ago, but the Devildom makes me sick, I can’t stay there for very long. James is much more suited to the task than I am.” She explains happily with no hint of resentment or regret.

“This is Lucien, by the way.” I tell everyone, feeling rude for not introducing him right away. “He’s sort of like our adoptive brother.” We might tell them the truth of our family situation at some point in the future, but for now this is fine. I see both Lily and Lucien nodding in agreement. “You all really have to try the sweets he made for tonight.” I continue proudly and Lucien beams.

“Right.” He says, showing the trays we have out for ourselves and the kids and have placed on a high side-table so that Sir Piggy won’t raid it. He’s not able to fly yet, thankfully. “Here we have Fairy Flower sweets and Fairy Ring tea. And over here we have Cherry Devil Crush, Shadow Caramels and Shadow Chocolate Cake from the Devildom. This here is Sweet milk tea, blue rose petals candied in crystal syrup and Blue Paradise inspired after old Celestial Realm recipes. Here in these bags we have Celestial, Devildom and Human World flavored popcorn. And then we have an assortment of Human World cupcakes that Lily and Leila made…” He pauses, looking at our creations. “Well… They taste good at least.”

“You can just say they look bad, Lucien.” Lily laughs and I giggle too as I see how our guests are frowning a bit at our misshapen cupcakes displayed next to Lucien's delicacies.

Like a gentleman, Tristan demonstratively grabs one of our cupcakes and I beam happily at him as I see him enjoying it so much. He’s such a nice guy! I’m glad we have met him.

“Are these really all recipes from the Three Worlds?” Elphias asks curiously, inspecting a Shadow Caramel that seems to darken as he holds it in the light and vice versa. “Interesting.”

“Yeah.” Lucien smiles proudly. “Though I’ve made them all less strong. So that it better suits the Human World.”

“Makes sense.” Elphias nods and pops it in his mouth, full of trust. “Hmm, not bad.” He approves with a grin.

Cedric doesn’t want to stay behind and grabs one of the bags of popcorn. “Devildom popcorn.” He grins. “I hear it’s very spicy.”

“Oh, it is.” Lily warns him. “Even if Lucien didn’t use actual purgatory spices…”

He isn’t listening to her and has already confidently stuffed a handful in his mouth. “Whoa!!” Cedric shouts and he quickly sips from the glass of milk that Lucien has already poured for him, having anticipated this. 

“Shh, idiot!” Tristan scolds him good-naturedly. “Don’t you see Leila’s baby sleeping over there?”

“Oh, sorry, sorry…” Cedric earnestly apologizes to me. “But seriously, that’s REALLY spicy! I’m breathing fire!” He grins as he takes more popcorn, alternating it with sips to douse the flames in his mouth.

“And this is just a mild copy. Real Devildom popcorn can make you actually do that.” I tell him with a laugh. “James loves it, but I personally prefer the Celestial popcorn. It’s so nice, it always makes me swoon.”

“I’ll have a taste of that then.” Sybil beams at me, taking a bag. “And I would like to try the Shadow Chocolate Cake too…” She can’t really choose as she browses our wares. “Oh, it is all so interesting and smells so great…” She sighs.

“You can taste everything, if you want.” Lily and I encourage her and Lucien beams, giving her a slice of cake first. “We have so many leftovers!” Of course we aren’t afraid that we have to toss them out, we were planning on giving them to Beel tomorrow.

Vivian in the meantime has secretly grabbed a piece of Fairy Flower sweets and is now nibbling on it with an expression of utter delight. I’m pleased to see her enjoying it. Lucien worked hard to figure out the recipe, after all. Then she suddenly lets out a squeak as Chimera lands on her head, asking for a crumb.

“Aah! What is that?!” She swats at Chimera and my poor little fairy dragon seeks refuge with me.

“Chimera.” I scold her sternly. “You can’t just land on people's heads to beg for sweets. Not everyone will like that.” I turn to Vivian who is looking at me and Chimera with big eyes. “I’m sorry Vivian. She’s still very young and impulsive. But she’s really very sweet.”

“Oh… It’s okay.” Vivian tries to fix her beautiful natural platinum hair, with a red face. “I was just startled.”

“Did you just say her name was Chimera?” Sybil asks as we all sit down. “Like the blue parakeet you had with you when we first met?”

“One in the same!” Lily laughs as Chimera now flies to Sybil and starts chittering at her. She recognized her and is now asking her for sweets, having not learned a thing from my scolding. 

As Sybil shares her cake with her, we quickly explain what kind of creature Chimera really is. Then our guests encounter another surprise when Sir Piggy comes trotting into the room. Enthusiastically inspecting everyone’s shoes, before sitting expectantly in front of Elphias, snorting encouragingly.

“Uh… So you have a pig too?” He asks the obvious, but we know what he means. “Or is this the cat?” He laughs as he offers Sir Piggy some treats.

Shado meows sleepily from his spot next to Pandora. Not appreciating being compared to Sir Piggy. They get along better now, but it is still not the sort of care he has for Chimera.

“A new addition to our household.” Lily laughs. “Sir Piggy. A real-life Shadow Hog from the Devildom. Didn’t Tristan tell you about him? I seem to remember that Leila talked about our piggy with him.”

“I honestly didn’t really believe it.” Tristan shrugs with a grin. “Something like that, or your fairy dragon for that matter, is not very common to have. Not even in the Magical Society.”

“Right?” Elphias asks a bit incredulously. “How in the world do you even get a Shadow Hog?”

“Probably got him off the black market. Privileges of being Solomon’s granddaughter?” Cedric teases, waggling his brows and earning himself an elbow from Tristan. 

“We did not!” I say, ready to defend my grandfather.

Lily laughs and cuts me off though. “He was a gift from the Avatar of Wrath and Sloth. Sorta a long story actually.”

“Those two are always stirring up trouble.” Lucien rolls his eyes. “But they actually did a good thing bringing Mister Oink to us.” He squats to give him some Solomon-kibbles and a scratch behind his ear. 

“I thought his name was Sir Piggy?” Tristan asks.

“That’s what Lily and I call him but everyone else seems to have another name for him.” I explain, rolling my eyes. Our piggy with a dozen names. 

“So that means we can give him a name too, yes?” Tristan grins, appreciating the humor of it. “Let’s see…”

“Hold on!” He’s being interrupted by his friend. “I want to hear more about the demons!” Cedric says. “It still blows my mind, I’ve heard terrifying stories of the Avatars but you make them sound like saps that bring you runty pigs for pets.”

Lily and I exchange a look and we decide to humor our new friends with a few harmless tales from our shared histories. 

It’s really fun to hang out with our new friends without any sort of drama, unlike what often happens with our trouble-making demon brothers. Though Cedric can’t help yelling ‘Trick or Treat!’ at random moments, just to let Lily’s wings flutter in excitement, once he discovered it. Lily isn’t bothered with it, anyway. I feel proud that they liked our magical garden and our costumes, asking how we did certain spells. 

“So, is there any news on when the apprenticeships start?” Vivian can’t help herself, but I can see that the other four are curious too. “And do you know what Solomon has planned for the five of us, by any chance?”

I bet that’s also a reason she wants to meet Solomon in person. So that he notices her and she will be chosen for apprenticeships this year. I guess it must be difficult for someone as ambitious as she is to have to wait her turn.

“Well.” I decide to tell them what we can. “Things are on schedule right now. We should be finished with the first rounds soon. I believe that afterwards Solomon will start assigning apprentices to all approved Sorcerers. Us too. I believe he plans for novices like yourself to do a couple of tests in the near future to decide who is in the first batch, so to speak.”

“Oh, I think I would really like to have you as a teacher, Leila.” Sybil beams at me, sharing another cupcake with Chimera and Sir Piggy. “Wouldn’t it be fun if that happened?”

“Yeah, I think I would like that too.” Tristan gives me a special sort of smile that makes me shy again.

“I dunno.” Cedric teases. “I think Leila will be much too strict. I think I would like James as my teacher.” He wiggles his brows at Sybil and she blushes a bit.

“There's nothing wrong with having a strict teacher.” Vivian lectures him, completely missing the fact that Cedric was just teasing us. “Is Solomon himself going to take on an apprentice?”

“I believe he’s planning on giving trials and training to the Sorcerers that lost a couple of their Virtues first, before beginning a whole new apprenticeship. Together with the new Sorcerers’ Council members that will be announced by that time as well.” I nod at her and she looks a bit disappointed. I tell them that none of us have any say in Solomon’s decisions on this matter. He’s still keeping a lot of his plans for himself. “I guess we will find out soon who we get as our apprentice. But I really hope that all of you get a good teacher this year.”

We talk a little more about their expectations. They all are very excited to finally start their apprenticeships and Lily and I keep telling them that we also hope the best for them this year. If they are chosen, we just don’t know for sure that they will be yet.

“Leila..” Lucien is talking low in my ear now. “It’s getting a little late...how do you think Mammon is going to react to everyone?” I glance at the clock, and it is getting close to that time. It’s a shame to cut our time short but Lucien does have a point. Not that we can’t handle Mammon’s shenanigans but it’s not the time nor place. Looks like I’m going to have to be the one to tell them to leave... ugh, how awkward.

I join back with Tristan and Sybil’s conversation for a few minutes more until I have to interrupt. “Anyway, sorry to sound inhospitable, but you guys really should go.” I tell them when I see it’s only fifteen minutes before midnight now. “I’m not sure how our brothers would react to finding you here, when they get home…” Satan and Belphie already act weird when I get a phone call from Tristan after all, and Mammon is much more greedy and possessive. I’m not up for dealing with that tonight, it’s been a long day already.

“Leila’s right.” Lily backs me up. “We appreciate you stopping by though! Let’s do something like this again soon.”

“What, are you going to turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight?” Cedric jokes. Looking like he has no plans to get up from his chair anytime soon.

Lily laughs and teases him back. “No, but I might turn you into one.” She shows off her costume again. “I am a fairy tonight, after all. Bibidi, babidi...” She starts a fake incantation.

“The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve: Lovers, to bed; ’tis almost fairy time…” Cedric starts reciting as he’s being pulled up from his chair by Elphias. Maybe he’s a little bit drunk from our homemade cider and other drinks...

“Come on, idiot.” Elphias laughs, as his sister starts helping him.

“Tristan! Why aren’t you telling Leila how you feel about her!” Cedric yells over his shoulder to his friend and my eyes go wide in surprise, looking at Tristan. What’s this about?

“Ugh…” Vivian complains to her friend. “Really, Cedric?”

Tristan just grins at me, seeing me confused. “Maybe some other time, when I haven’t been drinking. I’m in no rush...”

I shrug and help them push Cedric, who really doesn’t want to go, out the door. “I could give him a princess dress at the stroke of midnight…” I tell them all and now Cedric looks shocked.

“You wouldn’t!”

“Bibidi, babidi…” I summon some Celestial light as if casting a real spell.

“Allright! Allright! I’m going! I’m GOING!” Cedric starts stumbling towards the front door, not risking having to go home dressed as a princess. Our new friends follow him out the door, laughing.

 

November 

After our friends have left again, Lucien grins. “They seem like fun people.”

“They really are.” Lily smiles, stretching out over the sofa with a sigh. “Oof, I’m tired… Handing out candy all day long is no small feat.” 

“Yeah, I think I’m just going to hang out here until Solomon brings James and Mammon home.” I stretch out over another sofa. “Pandora is sleeping soundly and I don’t really want to disturb her now…”

“Imagine next year…” Lily rubs over her belly with a smile.

I nod at her and smile happily, staring into the fire of the hearth. I’m so tired… I could swear to see a little blue creature dancing inside the flames… Halloween holiday spirit must be playing tricks on me... 

Lucien smirks at us. “You two are a bunch of lazy girls.” He teases. “I’ll clean up then…”

“No, come sit with us!” I ask him. “We can clean up tomor-” My voice is drowned out by the chiming of the clock striking midnight.

Suddenly the creature I thought was in my imagination in the flames, jumps out of the hearth. It rushes directly to Lily, settling on her shoulder, making knispering sounds like fire, but it looks as if it’s chittering in her ear, much like Chimera always does with me.

“Cinder?!” Lily’s eyes go wide as she tries to understand the panicked blue flaming creature.

“What’s going on?!” Lucien voices my own thoughts as he and I are both feeling the tension, staring at the flaming creature on Lily’s shoulder. It doesn’t burn her and seems it wants to warn her of something. This must be her familiar she had told us about. 

“He’s warning me of an attack.” Lily tells us as she jumps up and looks around in a panic. “The Fae are coming for us, Leila.” She says, looking pale. ”We need iron..” I’m already rushing towards Pandora’s crib. We hadn’t thought to ward the house from Fae, since Lily has allergic reactions to some of the measures we have to take. And because there is no Fae activity this close to the city, we assumed it wasn’t necessary. 

Lucien grabs the iron fireplace poker and brandishes it like a weapon. “Are they already in the house? Should we go look?” He asks us. 

“No, let’s stay together.” I tell them. I don’t want to leave Pandora alone and I’m sure we’re stronger together. “I can sense something… bad…” Lily and Lucien nod, they sense it too.

I lift her from her crib and she softly complains. It is as if the sound she makes heralds the beginning of the attack.

We hear a strange rumbling coming from somewhere in the Manor. Then soon after a dark shadow slips into the room from under the crack of the door. Coming straight for Lucien and I instantly put my Celestial shield around us as I pull him closer with my free hand. More shadows are spilling into the room and that’s when we realize that our portal to the Devildom must have been breached. These aren’t Fae, they’re demonic spirits targeting Lucien. 

In seconds all the light in the room is snuffed out. We’re completely surrounded by the dark entities. The only light is coming from my Celestial Light pendant inside my shield and the eerie blue light given off by Lily’s familiar. The spirits outside my shield shriek and sizzle each time they come in contact with it. 

Lily starts launching her own celestial attacks that are stronger now since she’s joined her ring with ours. Lucien growls, probably feeling useless in the face of these spirits. It must be hard for him but I don’t have time to dwell on that now. There’s too many spirits and Lily isn’t strong enough to take them all down and I need to focus on keeping the shield up. We need help. 

“Does anyone have their DDD on them?!” I ask, struggling to be heard over the roaring and shrill shrieking of the demonic spirits. 

Some of the stronger spirits have begun hurling the weaker ones against my shield to attempt to weaken me. They have a long way to go, before I give up my shield!!

“Mine’s in the other room.” Lucien says but is interrupted by a crash, as if glass is splintering somewhere. Is someone breaking in?! I can only hope it’s our friends and family returning from the Devildom, but I fear it’s only the Fae that we were warned of. 

Suddenly we hear the large windows of the living room shatter as well. The solid darkness of the spirits surrounding us suddenly breaks up and we can once again see what’s going on in the room. 

All sorts of odd and strange creatures have flooded into the room and most of them are now fighting off the demonic spirits. Are these friendly Fae, I wonder? My question is quickly answered as a creature that looks like it lives in the swamp waters tries to tear through my Celestial shield with its sharp claws and hisses at us, revealing a mouth full of needle-like teeth. It manages to actually tear through it. How? Nothing is supposed to penetrate it! Swiping at Lucien with a clawed and webbed fingered hand, Lucien shouts and hits the creature with the iron fireplace poker. The iron burns the Fae as if it had been heated over the coils, one more hit has the creature retreating back outside of my shield where it's immediately attacked, its soul sucked away by a demonic spirit. I try to re-enforce my shield again, but it’s so much weaker against these Fae, it seems. They use a type of magic I’m not familiar with and haven’t learned a defense against, yet.

“We need to get out of here!” Lily shouts as she’s stopped her attacks on the spirits. “As soon as the demons are gone they’re coming after us.” At the same time the door shakes and suddenly flies open from an unknown, but terrible force. More spirits and entities of different sorts enter the room and I can’t help but scream in terror as I see one of them taking the form of an enormous wolf, snarling viciously.

My own scream is drowned out by one from Lily. My head whips around and my eyes go wide at the large Satyr looking creature that has dragged Lily right out of my shield and slung her over its shoulders. A short ugly little man with only one eye and an awful, wicked smile contorting his face, stands next to it.

“Let her go!” Lucien jumps out of my shield, his poker held up to strike the beast. At the same time I see Lily’s familiar, Cinder, burning the arms of the creature that bellows and begins to drop Lily. 

“Lucien! No!” I try to stop him, but I’m too late! Because the enormous wolf attacks as well, colliding with Lucien as it launches itself at the other beast. I watch in horror as Lily is dumped unceremoniously on the floor and Lucien’s body becomes trapped between the snarling battling Fae creatures. 

I clutch Pandora to my chest, trying to figure out how to launch an offensive attack that won’t leave my daughter vulnerable and won’t hurt my friends in the process. Lily is trying to get up from the floor but she looks disorientated and the ugly little man has grabbed her by the hair, he’s stronger than he looks. Her blue flaming familiar tries to burn him but he’s prepared with a water spell that has her familiar retreating back inside the hearth to grow in strength again and renew its attack in Lily’s defense.

The ugly little man laughs with cruelty as I hear an awful snapping sound and see to my horror how the Satyr-like beast snaps the wolf’s neck. Lucien, covered in scratches, bellows in desperation as he smashes the fire poker over the head of the Satyr-beast, causing it to finally fall to all the other wounds the wolf had inflicted. Lucien collapses with them. The remaining dark spirits in the room all descend on Lucien, but it seems that some of the other Fae spirits and creatures that came in with the wolf, start defending him now. I don’t have time to think about it. I need to get him back under my Celestial shield and fast!

“Ahaha! You’re out of allies now!” The little man laughs wickedly at me and shakes Lily by her hair causing her to moan in pain and grab at his hands. “You better surrender yourself and your pretty babe too, girlie! Because I’m getting my hands on you either way! Your shiny shield won’t w-”

“Never!” I screech at him, taking my chances and blasting him away from Lily with an elemental spell and I quickly move over to where Lucien lies unconscious now. Lily joins me, still seeming foggy headed and I worry that she’s suffered a concussion in her fall. 

I huddle us all in my most powerful shield to keep everything that is still attacking us at bay. Trying to balance the Celestial with the elemental as best as possible. Pandora is crying from the top of her lungs now. No wonder. I’m already grateful that she’s unharmed and so far none of our pets got caught in the scuffle and I call them to me. I know they’re brave, but they would have been killed by now, if I go by how many times Lily’s creature has been extinguished and has refueled itself. 

“Lucien.” Lily calls to him, trying to wake him. 

On the surface we can’t see a reason for him to be unconscious. He has scratches on his face and arms and one wicked, deep looking bite mark on his forearm that’s still slowly oozing blood. Something must be wrong with him internally. It’s like he’s slipping away. I can’t lose anyone else! I’m praying my hardest that someone will come to our rescue. But I can’t help crying. Everyone is in the Devildom and there's an army of attackers in the Manor. How are we going to survive this?! What’s going on with Lucien?! Has he been possessed by one of the evil spirits that descended on him already?

“Here, give Pandora to me.” Lily offers, sounding groggy, but determined. But I don’t want to. I need to protect them all! “Come on, Leila. Trust me.” She insists as she puts up her own shield now too. “Let me help, so you can help Lucien.”

I notice that her shield, even though not as strong as mine, seems more effective against the little ugly man and his horde of evil Fae. I nod at her and trust my baby to my friend and try to focus on reviving Lucien. He’s not dead. His soul is still there, shining and pure as ever before. But something else is with him there too, I can sense it. It wants to overtake him. Corrupt him? I can’t let that happen! My little guardian angel and friend. My little brother. I can’t lose anyone else. 

I barely notice how suddenly it seems that the pressure of the attack has been lifted from my shield. I vaguely hear people shouting our names and I hear demonic roaring and then suddenly it’s all over? Someone is talking to me, but I need to focus on Lucien.

 

Lucifer POV

Upon arrival, we find Lily, Leila and Lucien huddled together in the middle of a wrecked living room. Leila has put up a blindingly bright Celestial looking shield and we need a moment to get used to the light before we can take in the scene: She’s crying and looks terrified as she’s holding Lucien's head on her lap in support. He looks to be unconscious and she’s trying to revive him. Lily sits next to them with a screeching Pandora protectively in her arms. She has a bruise on her forehead, but otherwise looks to be doing fine. She has put up her own greenish shield around them too. Maybe it’s a Fae shield? I didn’t know she could make those, let alone one that’s looking that strong, but maybe this is what it means for them to be able to access each other's abilities.

It doesn’t matter right now. They’re surrounded by all sorts of spirits and Fae creatures, some are attacking each other and others are trying to break through their shields. This is a full scale attack on my pregnant sister and my sister with her young child! How did they get here?! A few seem to be defending them and some are already defeated, but I can see that my brave little sisters can hardly do more than keep them at bay, trying to protect Lucien and Pandora and each other at the same time. 

“What’s goin’ on here?!” Mammon shouts, he’s holding some sort of strange snarling creature by the neck that dared attack him. It doesn’t give him any answers other than obscenities.

“Is that a baby?” I hear Phoenix's annoying voice behind us. 

“How DARE they attack our family!!” Satan is the first one to roar in fury, seeing his sister and his chosen one under siege like that and he jumps at the next odd looking creature that attempts to breach their shields again, grabbing its head and snapping its neck. 

Belphegor and Beelzebub are quick to follow and even Astaroth loses his icecold calm and furiously beheads some sort of Fae creature with a spell, without Solomon having to command him to. James and Solomon start banishing the dark spirits, who want to possess Lucien, with their light spells, while Simeon and Luke rush to Leila’s side to help with Lucien. But first Lily has to lower her green shield for a moment, it doesn’t seem she knows how to let specific individuals through like Leila can. The rest of us quickly spring into action as well to defeat and banish the remaining assailants.

Once the room is cleared of invaders, either because they retreated, fled or perished by our hands, we can finally reach out to our sisters. But Leila isn’t letting us demons in. She’s completely focussed on Lucien, who looks alarmingly pale with drops of sweat forming on his head. The battle doesn’t seem to be over yet for him.

Chapter Text

 

Lucifer POV

Lily drops her strange fairy shield and comes walking towards us, I pull her and Pandora who is still screaming into the safety of my arms as soon as they’re clear of Leila’s shield. Satan is still pacing angrily just outside her shield, while Mammon and Leviathan help James and Solomon do a more thorough inspection of the house. Solomon has sent his demons to search the property. Admittedly they turn out to be useful now, after all. If only to stand guard while we can stay with our family.

“Aaiiii! Is this green blood?!” Asmodeus is screeching as loud as Pandora as he helps Beelzebub clear up the bodies lying around the living room. 

“This is not the time for your dramatics, Asmodeus.” I admonish him as I gently sit with Lily on the sofa, Pandora still in her arms. “Just clean up this room and repair the windows.”

“Here. Give her to me.” Belphegor gently takes Pandora from Lily and it’s not long until he’s calmed her, her screams reduced to hiccups as she clings to him. That poor child has been through too much trauma at such a young age. 

The room is quickly fixed as if nothing ever happened. Apart from Leila still sitting on the floor with an unconscious Lucien inside her shield that she’s still refusing to lower.

But the quiet in the room now seems to finally shake Leila from her concentration. “Pandora?!” She shouts, looking around in a panic until she sees Belpheogor facing her outside the shield with her daughter. Relief sweeps through her expression and Simeon’s whispered words seem to finally sink in as she lowers her shield and she allows Satan to lift her up in his arms, while Simeon and Luke move Lucien to the sofa. 

She won’t allow Satan to hold her for long, immediately rushing back to Lucien saying. “I need to help him…” 

“It’s my fault.” Lily is suddenly sobbing in my arms. “I went to Faery and they knew about my baby and I led them straight to Leila and Pandora. Now Lucien is hurt...it’s all my fault. Just like Solomon and Mammon.” 

I don’t know what to say to her as I hold her. I know my demonic sentiments won’t help her right now. I was furious when I eventually found out that she’d gone to Faery after promising me she wouldn’t until she was better prepared. But there’s no point in making her feel guiltier than she already does. Why should I punish her when she’s already doing it to herself?

“I think she’s concussed.” Solomon says, suddenly next to us, looking at the bump and bruising on her head. “Simeon or Luke should be able to take care of it.” He says before making his own way to Leila’s side.  

“No. I’m fine.” Lily shakes her head and tries to push away from me stubbornly. “They need to focus on Lucien.” 

Her stubbornness is no match for mine though. “Lily.” I lift her chin, my voice stern as I look into her eyes. “I need you to pull yourself together.” She blinks up at me then as if really seeing me for the first time since we arrived. She nods after a moment and wipes her tears. I kiss her head gently before releasing her to Simeon who then quickly heals up her bruise and concussion.

“What is going on with Lucien?” Beelzebub asks with a frown. “Why isn’t he waking up?”

Leila is just crying, while holding Lucien’s head on her lap with both her hands. I can feel her heart break all over again. “I fear that Lucien might have fallen victim to one of the spirits and is now becoming a demon.” I answer for her.

“NO!” Leila shouts, having heard me, despite her concentration on Lucien and her fear. “He doesn’t want to become a demon. He never did any harm! I won’t let it happen! I will help him defeat it!”

We all look at her in silence. I don’t think she will be able to. None of us think that it is possible to stop this process. It’s already a miracle that Lucien held out this long without getting possessed, as the powerful supernatural empty vessel he was. But none of us has the heart to tell her this, right now.

“So, what now?” Asmodeus whispers. 

I’m not sure. How long will it take for Leila to realize that it can’t be stopped? Do we need to stop her at some point, forcing her to give up on Lucien? She will never forgive us if we do. But how long will she be able to help Lucien battle his intrusive spirit before she collapses herself? She’s powerful, but only human and already looking exhausted. Do we have to make her choose between Lucien and Pandora? And how will Lucien take it once she’s given up on him? What sort of spirit has possessed him, will he carry a sin as we do? He will be forever changed. There is no guarantee that things will turn out well…

Solomon seems to have been thinking the same thing. “Let’s for now take turns watching over them.” He says. “Make sure Leila is fed and hydrated and doesn’t have to worry about anything else.” He gently cleans up her tear-stained face with water and a washcloth that he materialized.

I nod as I sit next to Leila. Letting my strength flow through our pact to bolster her as she focuses on Lucien. Mammon instructs our brothers. “We can feed Pandora with formula and that mashed up crap she’s been givin’ her. And I think the lot of ya know a thing or two about babies by now, right?” My brothers all nod in determination. 

For once I feel comfortable letting the others make the plans. Let the angels decide when it’s time to tear Leila away from her impossible task. If Lucien does become a demon then I’ll step in and help whatever way I can. 

Suddenly Lily speaks up again. She has her flaming creature sitting on her head. “Cinder just told me something.” We’d all heard about her mysterious fairy familiar but it was another thing seeing something seemingly made of blue flame sitting atop her head without charring a single strand. “Cinder says that the wolf was fighting for us. He was a sort of guardian spirit, and when he died his spirit entered Lucien as his new host.” Lily begins to explain as she listens to the familiar speaking to her in a way none of the rest of us can understand.

“That wolf mauled Lucien!” Leila insists incredulously, pointing out the vicious bite mark. 

Lily listens to Cinder again before responding, she looks guilt stricken again when she finally says. “The guardian was only told to protect the mothers...Cinder says that Lucien was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and that the guardian didn’t mean to hurt him.” She pauses, listening once more. “Cinder doesn’t know a lot about their kind but he says they need a host's body to survive.” Lily moves to kneel on the floor next to the sofa Lucien lays on. Stroking some of Lucien’s hair back she looks to be trying to sense something. “I can feel something familiar about him now, something Fae…” She turns his arm, inspecting the bite wound. 

Luke speaks up then. “Simeon and I healed all his other wounds but that one won’t close.”

The little fairy creature Leila calls Chimera is now chattering in her ear. “Cinder says that Chimera can sense the same thing…” Lily continues. “She says the bite wound is how the spirit entered his body. Maybe if we can figure out a way to heal it we can force it from his body.”

“Well at least we’re not dealing with anything demonic.” Luke says. Out of anyone here, he probably understands the best why Leila won’t let Lucien become a demon. Or, as it turns out, some host for a Fae spirit. Changing him.

“It doesn’t matter to me.” Leila says stubbornly. “The Fae invaded our home just as much as the demonic spirits did. Who’s to say I can trust this spirit with Lucien's soul? I won’t let him take over! Lucien would want to have a choice!”

Cinder and Lily seem to be having another silent conversation with each other until suddenly the little creature that reminds me of the flame salamanders we have in the Devildom, except blue, disappears into the fireplace. “Cinder has left to see if he can convince another guardian spirit to come and help us. They will know if there’s a way to remove the spirit without hurting Lucien’s soul.”

After she’s finished speaking, it seems that the spirit inside Lucien wants to give him a break, because he temporarily opens his eyes, looking exhausted. Only to immediately fall unconscious again. But it seems different this time. He’s asleep. It seems that Lily’s creature was right: The spirit doesn’t want to exhaust Lucien to the point of no return. It needs him alive.

“He’s stopped fighting us.” Leila smiles, kissing Lucien on his head. “At least for now…”

“Good, you should rest then as well.” I tell her. “I promise I will wake you if anything changes.” I’ve barely spoken the words when she's already slumping against my shoulder.

The Fantastic Three (3)

< Diavolo: It’s unfortunate that you all had to leave so early. You missed a spectacular fireworks show. Lily would have loved it!
< Diavolo: Speaking of… I know we’ve discussed this tonight at my birthday, Lucifer. But I have been thinking about it more.
< Diavolo: I really think that I ought to be there right next to Lily during her pregnancy check ups.
< Diavolo: She may not be the ambassador but she still has an important role to play in all our lives and the future.

I sigh tiredly, looking over at Leila still holding unconscious Lucien in her arms. Even if she looks exhausted in her sleep, she’s ready to help him fight the intrusive spirit again when she needs to. But they’re both calm at the moment. 

I have no excuses not to respond right now, even if I may wish to. Diavolo’s silly desires seem so much more insignificant and selfish right now. Diavolo needs to see that his obsession with Lily could lead him to the path of destruction, just like his counterpart in the other reality. She is not suited for him and now that Lily is pregnant, he needs to put her out of his mind.

> Lucifer: I really don’t see how that makes any sense. (Tired-Demon sticker)
> Lucifer: Most likely Leila will accompany her to that appointment

At least… If the appointment doesn’t need to be pushed, now that we are in the middle of this new crisis…

< Diavolo: Leila? Why would she choose her over one of us?

I press a finger to my temple as if it could abate the on-coming headache. 

< Barbatos: Because she is a human female who already experienced the same situation.

Thank you, Barbatos. He always seems to have impeccable timing to step in before I say something regrettable. 

< Barbatos: Not to mention very sensitive and sensible. Lily will be in good hands.
< Barbatos: Besides, your schedule won’t allow you for any excursions to the Human World next week, My Lord.

I smirk. No doubt this is the work of Barbatos himself. After all, he is the one overseeing Diavolo’s planning. It seems the case is closed for now, since there aren’t any new responses. Though I have the feeling that this isn’t over yet. I put my DDD away with a sigh and grab a washcloth to wipe away some sweat that’s forming on Lucien’s forehead again. Bracing myself to lend Leila my strength again.



Lily POV

We’ve been taking turns on guarding Leila and Lucien all through the night and all day. When it hasn’t been my turn I’ve been making rustic fairy charms and placing them all over the manor and gardens. The iron may stink and the rowan makes me sneeze and my eyes watery and red if I linger around them for too long, but It’s a small price to pay for a modicum of protection. After I’ve had some rest I plan on studying the wards Leila uses to see if we can make them work on the Fae too, it should be possible now with our rings connected. 

“Faeries.” Stolas scoffs. “Can you believe it? In all my years, I thought they were myth.”

“Yeah, me too.” I hear James’ voice answer. “Until Leila was nearly kidnapped this summer. And now they attacked her and Lily again.”

I look around the corner and see that James has brought out a tray of food for Astaroth, Stolas and Phoenix. They must have been outside all night standing guard. I wonder if Solomon put them up to it or if he simply forgot about them? I stop to lean against a pillar on the back terrace where I was hanging a charm to eavesdrop on the demons I forgot were still here. 

“Of course they’re real!” Phoenix says. “Who do you think the first great bards and poets were?!”

“And don’t those tales speak of their untold beauty and skill?” Stolas mocks. “I certainly didn’t see any evidence of that, might as well have been a horde of lesser demons.”

“The Fae come in all shapes and sizes. Hideous and Alluring. Usually the more beautiful they are, the more deadly.” Astaroth joins the conversation and his words surprise me.

“So, just like demons then.” James laughs, before being roughly rubbed on his head by Phoenix’ knuckles. It makes me want to smile despite everything. James always knows how to make a situation less tense. Even though I know that he’s extremely worried for Leila and Lucien, right now, he’s trying to keep our spirits up.

“What do you know about the Fae?” I ask as I reveal myself from my hiding spot. 

“Lily, you should be resting, not eavesdropping.” Stolas reprimands me. 

“Old habits.” I say with a shrug and the first hint of a smile since everything turned upside down.

James grins at me. “I would have told you about this convo anyway, Lily.” He tells me and I smile. That’s right, Leila and James won’t keep secrets from me. 

“Not much.” Astaroth finally answers after studying me for a moment. “I lived with humans during a time before the Fae faded into the myths and legends they are today.”

“So you’ve met Fae before?” I prod, knowing he doesn’t easily share. Stolas, James and even Phoenix curiously await his answer.

“I crushed the skull of the first Fae I ever came across, when it was trying to steal my own child from its crib.” He tells me with cold, empty eyes. I clench my hands at my sides to keep myself from reaching out to comfort him. I know how painful it is for him to speak of his past family, I regret asking now. “They love unique mortals, especially children. There’s nothing more unique than a Nephilim.” There’s a heavy warning in his voice and I avoid his gaze. I know he’s not only thinking about Pandora. Why did Diavolo have to spread rumors in the Devildom about my pregnancy?!

“Leila’s baby...” Stolas asks. “It’s a Nephilim, right?”

“Yes.” James just answers, not planning on telling more. Even if they know some things about their new Solomon, James and Leila, it is probably best that they don’t know who Pandora’s fathers were, so they won’t accidentally say something they shouldn’t to the wrong people. 

“I thought so.” Stolas murmurs reflectively. “There’s something mesmerizing about her.” 

“Right.” Phoenix laughs amused, as he recalls their arrival. “And that even while she was screeching our ears off. Imagine her when she’s happy.” We all laugh a little. It’s true: Pandora is just a child you can’t help but love.

“It’s been so long since I had smelled that scent…” Astaroth continues to muse. “Still, I’m surprised that I didn’t put it together before.”

“What are you going on about now?” Phoenix asks with confusion about the apparent change of subject. 

“She’s one of them.” Astaroth says as he looks at me and I take a step back, I can’t help feeling that there’s a deep prejudice in his eyes as he says this. “A Fae. Or at least partially.”

Stolas and Phoenix just stare incredulously at me in response. Apparently they need to process this news. James stands there snickering in amusement, lifting the tension in his familiar way. “Obviously.” He tells them as if he hasn’t found out just recently himself. “Why else do you think she has such a strong connection to the Human World?”

They start nodding in understanding now, but before they can say something about it to me, we’re interrupted.

“Oy! Whaddya doin’ out here? Without your shoes and everythin’!!” Mammon’s voice makes me jump as he joins us on the terrace. “You’re s’posed to be restin’!” He grumbles accusingly and gives the others a glare as if it’s their fault. “We can’t have ya passin’ out next to Leila and Lucien!” He grumbles something about dumb stubborn humans as he pulls me inside.

“Bye, Lily!” James laughs as I’m being dragged inside by Mammon. 



James POV

“So…” Phoenix says after having watched Mammon dragging Lily into the Manor. “Mammon seems different.”

Uh-oh. They shouldn't have noticed, but of course they're his friends… All three of them seem to look at me with laser focus. I really should have gone after Lily and Mammon when I had the chance… I’m not feeling threatened, but I know they won’t let me leave before hearing the truth now.

“Come on. James.” Phoenix insists. “We already know our new Solomon isn’t our old Solomon. And that you and Leila are new to this reality too. He made us swear secrecy, but we have to know more, you know?”

“I’m not sure…” I evade them, but they don’t let me escape. Putting me in a chair with big grins.

“I bet we were friends.” Phoenix continues, his arm wrapped around my shoulders. “You seemed to know us when Lily introduced us, right?”

“Well, yeah…” I nod. “I get along easily with people, after all. Your counterparts never met with Leila, however. She might have known you from studying her grandfather’s demons, though…” I decide it can’t hurt to explain this, so that they understand better why Leila is so wary of demons.

“So how about Mammon then? Was he friends with us? Because he suddenly doesn’t seem to hate Astaroth here at all anymore. That’s weird, right?”

“I mean, our realities weren’t exactly the same.” And when I said it I immediately realized I’ve said too much.

“I knew it!” Phoenix cheers in triumph. “Mammon not being a complete miserable sap in love with Lily anymore so suddenly was so obvious.”

“Right?” Stolas nods too. “And suddenly being so companionable with Astaroth was another sign. They hated each other's guts, especially after, you know…” He stops talking when Astaroth glares at him.

“Well, in our reality they fought together in the same Celestial War. I think Mammon sees all fallen angels as his comrades, in a way.” I decide to just tell what I know and later tell Solomon to order his demons not to spill to Mephisto. Although I think they won’t. They’re just being curious. I don’t think they want to make trouble for Mammon or us.

Astaroth is just his silent brooding self. But the fact that he doesn’t scoff at the word ‘comrade’ tells me that he accepts this as the truth that it is for Mammon. They probably won’t become friends. But maybe he won’t stay hostile to him. Who knows?

“You should go back inside and check on Leila and Pandora.” He suddenly says to me, not sounding unfriendly. He apparently really cares about them. Maybe because they remind him of his past with his own family.

Everyone pitches in to help with Pandora today. There are some minor complaints, as they never realized what it truly meant to take care of a baby that’s already very active and especially today needs a lot of attention. 

She’s been a bit whiny and clingy all day and definitely traumatized after yet another scary event that happened in her five months old life. She just wants to be with her mommy, but Leila has to keep the intrusive Fae spirit from taking over Lucien. Belphegor and Satan are the only surrogates she really accepts, but it’s just not good enough. It’s understandable though. She’s only a baby.

Leila’s pets try their best to comfort her and distract her. And most of the time it works. But when it is time for a nap, Pandora seems too scared to close her eyes. Eventually Belphegor lies down on the floor right next to the sofa where Leila and Lucien are. Taking Pandora on this chest under a fluffy blanket, he starts humming all the lullabys he knows. Eventually he manages to let Pandora fall asleep and soon after, he starts snoring too. Shado decides to lay on his stomach in encouragement or something. Heh. Making Satan slightly jealous, because he could really use some kitty therapy today. Our other pets join the cuddle pile and soon Belphie is surrounded by sleeping pets on the floor. Despite the circumstances I have to smile and take a picture. Leila would like it, once she gives herself time to care about anything else other than saving Lucien.

We’re all very worried for Lucien’s and Leila’s health. They both really don’t look good near the end of the day. It’s all Simeon and Luke could do to keep them energized enough with their Celestial healing magic to not let Leila and Lucien completely slip into a coma together, but it’s just too difficult of a battle to keep the Fae spirit from taking over Lucien. Even though it seems to be losing strength too. The ‘fights’ are shorter, each time. It needs to recover longer afterwards. But the same is true for Lucien and Leila. At this rate, I fear the worst case scenario… 

Barbatos has stopped by to pick up Astaroth, Stolas and Phoenix. He has been looking worried at Leila. Possibly having peeked into the future and seen some less desirable outcomes. But he hasn’t said a word about it. And we were all afraid to ask. He just mentioned that the portal is damaged now and since it was a new type of portal he created with Leila, he will have to wait to repair it with Leila as soon as she’s available. For now he’s put an arsenal of barricade spells over Lily’s old room on both sides to keep any new invaders out.

Solomon has made his demons swear not to mention anything of what transpired. Not that I think he needed too. Phoenix expressed his disappointment that they couldn’t stay to see how everything played out. Stolas scolded him of course for his insensitivity and Astaroth remained cold and distant, although now that I’m beginning to be able to read him better I could tell there was a hint of worry there too. Barbatos insisted that everything needed to look as normal as possible for the rest of RAD. It isn’t uncommon for the Avatars to not attend classes or council, since they have duties outside of RAD. But if more high ranking demons were missing and found to be in the Human World for unexplained reasons, it might raise suspicions. They can’t afford more speculation after the attack from the cult.

It’s not before the evening when Cinder returns. With a Fae that seems willing to help us.

 

 

Lily POV

I open my eyes, my body responding and waking up as it becomes overly warm. I blink twice against the blue glow before I realize my familiar has returned. Sitting up, I can see that the sun must have just slipped beyond the horizon leaving behind the dusky blue twilight before it gets truly dark. 

“Lily! Awaken, you silly creature!” Cinder’s little voice whips at my mind like the tendrils of a flame. “No time to be lazy when a member of the Wächterwolf pack is waiting on you!”

My mind is slow to listen to Cinder as I try to fully wake up. After being up all night and most of the day, I’d finally been forced to go rest. 

“The Wächte-what?” I ask as I stand and look for my shoes. Not finding them immediately, I shrug and only grab my coat before I follow Cinder out my personal porch doors and into the back garden.

“The Wächterwolf! A guardian. They’ve come to speak to you, but would come no further. They don’t trust that the demons inside the house won’t attack on sight.” Cinder explains. In the dark I can barely see the creature that comes forth but it’s not a wolf, like I had been expecting. 

“I am Alston, I was born to an Undine mother and my sire was a Redcap. But for most of my life I have been a Wächterwolf and the guardian spirit that lives inside me is called Sigewulf.”  The Fae introduces himself.

“Welcome to my home.” I bow. “Thank you for coming and I apologize for the wards…” I wave my hand around to indicate the fairy wards I had placed around the garden and back porch earlier. 

Alston smiles at me, revealing a mouth full of sharp teeth and sniffs the air. “Such homespun crafts won’t keep me out.” He tells me, filling me with apprehension. Cinder wouldn’t have brought Alston here if he meant us harm, but if my wards can’t keep him out, can they keep out the Trow or any of the High Fae? Unlikely. “If you can promise me the demons inside won’t attack me, then bring me to Grimmwolf and his new host.”

Grimmwolf? I wonder about that. “The demons inside are all bound to me and I promise no harm will come to you as long as you do no harm to me or mine.”

Everyone is on edge when I enter the living room with Cinder on my shoulder and Alston at my side. “This is Alston and Sigewulf.” I introduce the Fae to everyone, “He’s here to help with Lucien.”

Without warning, a few cracks and pops later, Alston has transformed into a giant wolf, Sigewulf, I presume. Leila tenses noticeably as Sigewulf approaches Lucien, as if ready to strike the beast if he makes any untoward moves. But Sigewulf whimpers forlornly as his big wet nose bumps Lucien’s arm. Just as suddenly Alston is Alston again. He gently inspects the bite wound on Lucien’s arm. He looks worried, like all of us do.

“Well?” Leila asks with pleading eyes. “Can you help Lucien? Can you remove this spirit from him??”

Alston gives Leila a disapproving look as if she’s insulted him. “This Lucien of yours should be honored to carry the great guardian spirit, Grimmwolf. He’s a most cherished and honored member of the Wächterwölfe .”

Leila gets that fiery, stubborn look in her eyes and I think I’ll need to be quick to mediate if this gets out of hand. “I don’t care about that! It wasn’t Lucien’s choice!”

Alston frowns and nods, his angry expression softening into one that’s more understanding of our plight. “This is a rare circumstance. Some Fae spend their entire childhood dreaming of becoming a guardian. We train hard to become worthy hosts and compete in tournaments to have a chance to be chosen. It’s very rare and almost unheard of for a spirit to enter an unwilling vessel.” Alston explains and I offer him a seat so he can tell us more. 

I take the opportunity to tell him more about the altercation to occur and how Lucien was caught up in the middle. Then Leila explains Lucien’s symptoms since Grimmwolf died, well apparently it was his host, an elf named Rand that actually died. I try not to be too overwhelmed by the guilt that stabs at my heart, more than a few good Fae died to protect Leila, Pandora and I. But why? That’s another thing I’d like to have an answer to. 

“I see.” Alston says, pausing as if he’s having a silent communication with himself. Or I guess he’s speaking to Sigewulf? “Typically at a certain age of wisdom, a guardian choses a secondary host in the event that their current host dies in battle. This is a very peaceful ceremony, a single bite is given in consent.” Alston shakes his head. “I suspect this has been just as traumatic for Grimmwolf as it has been for your friend.”

“I don’t get it!” Mammon suddenly can’t keep silent any longer. “What sorta person lets a dog bite ‘em and take over their body like some sorta parasite?!”

If I thought Alston looked offended by Leila before, that was nothing compared to the snarling look he’s giving Mammon now, as if his wolf is about to break free and take a swipe at Mammon’s big mouth. 

“The guardian spirits are not parasites!” He nearly growls. “They are honored guardians of all Faeryland. They do not control us, we live in perfect harmony with each other under normal circumstances.” 

“Well, didn’t this Grimmwolf have a secondary host chosen?” Solomon asks, trying to get the conversation back on track.

“He did, but that potential host was in Faery and your friend here was bitten and available. Grimmwolf never would have survived the journey back into Faery. It’s a risk we face when in the Human Realm, which is why we typically keep our guardian duties Faery-side.” Alston explains.

“I’m truly grateful for him and his army arriving to help us. But it’s just not right that he took Lucien as his host. He doesn’t want this. He’s fighting this the whole time.” Leila tells Alston with tears in her eyes and I can tell that he is not insusceptible to it. “What if we take Lucien to Faery? Can’t Grimmwolf just jump inside the host he’s supposed to be with?!” Leila asks, sounding hopeful. 

“I’m afraid that isn’t possible.” Alston shakes his head, dashing her hopes. ”Grimmwolf cannot leave his new host's body unless it dies.”

“There has to be a way to help them both!” Leila insists.

“There are only three options and only one of them is preferred.” Alston says sternly. “Either your friend dies and Grimmwolf finds a new host or dies in the process himself, or Grimmwolf decides to leave on his own and will kill himself in the process, or they learn to live with each other like all guardians and hosts have.

“Lucien isn’t a Fae.” Satan suddenly enters the conversation. “He’s a fallen angel. Who’s to say he and this Grimmwolf are even compatible?”

That’s a good question. We all know how my Fae and Celestial magic were clashing with each other until recently.

“Even though it’s there, I didn’t detect much Celestial magic on your friend.” Alston answers. “And Grimmwolf wouldn’t have been able to enter if he wasn’t compatible.”

“What about demonic spirits?” Luke chimes in with a question of his own. “Will Lucien still be haunted by them as they try to possess him?”

“In the state he is now in, yes.” Alston answers calmly again. “As long as he hasn’t accepted Grimmwolf, he will remain susceptible to other spirits, demonic or otherwise. Both spirits would fight over his body and soul until either he died, or one of them won. But once Lucien accepts Grimmwolf, they will become as one and no other spirit will be able to enter. Grimmwolf will protect his host's body and soul to the best of his ability..”

“Leila.” Lucifer suddenly says sternly and she looks at him with tears streaming over her cheeks. Mammon sits next to her with his arms wrapped around her in comfort. He looks close to crying too. The situation seems hopeless. “I know you don’t want to lose Lucien the way you knew him. But you have to accept that there are only a few options left. If you want to remember Lucien the way he was, you will have to let him die…” She lets out a heartbreaking sob and James kneels in front of her to comfort her. Lucifer continues. “Or if there’s still a demonic spirit able to slip through the damaged portal, you will lose him to becoming a demon.”

“He doesn’t want that…” She whispers hoarsely, but determined.

“I know he doesn’t want that.” Lucifer nods. He knows how Luke is and Lucien is still much the same. “But then there is only one option left…”

“But this Grimmwolf is trying to overtake Lucien. I can sense it!” She insists, looking around desperately. “He’s not trying to live in Lucien’s body on equal terms. Lucien has the right to be his own self! Right?”

“Perhaps it's because you both fought so hard against it, that Grimmwolf has become desperate himself.” Alston gives his explanation, but we can all see that this is new for him too. “The Wächterwölfe always try to survive, as it is our duty to protect Faery…But I assure you, if they accept each other, Lucien will remain unchanged from the person you’ve always known. As hosts we remain ourselves, we just have another voice inside and another set of goals and desires.” Alston does his best to try to explain it in terms we’ll understand.

“If Lucien accepts Grimmwolf, what does that mean for his life here?” I ask. I doubt Lucien wants to move away from his family to be a guardian in Faery.

“That will be between Lucien and Grimmwolf to decide between themselves.” Alston responds after a moment of reflection. “As I’ve mentioned, this situation is rather unprecedented.”

“What puzzles me is why this Grimmwolf came to protect humans from their own kind?” Lucifer asks. 

“That is a question for Grimmwolf.” Alston shrugs. 

“Dain sent Cinder…maybe he sent Grimmwolf too?” Lily wonders aloud. 

“The Courts cannot order us to do something like this, but it’s not impossible.” Alston answers.

“Maybe…” James suddenly speaks up, getting the conversation back on track. “Maybe, if you use your Ring of Souls, you can go into your subconscious world and talk to them both, Leila. Sort of how you did when you spoke with the Angel of Death when they gave you your ring?”

Her face lights up a little with hope. “Yes, I can do that!”

“What?!” Mammon protests loudly, sounding very worried. “No! Ya ain’t doin’ that, Leila! What’re ya sayin’, James! Don’t ya remember how she looked dead…”

“Yeah, I remember how it looked.” James nods as we all look shocked with this conversation. “But what else can we do?”

I can sense the tension building in the room, the others aren’t familiar with Leila’s soul ring abilities and Mammon’s words must sound alarming to them. I trust James and Leila, now that I’m so connected with them, but my only worry is that Leila doesn’t have enough strength right now and should probably try and get some rest first. However I know she’s not likely to agree to that.

“Hold up! What do you mean by that? We need to consider all our options before rushing into anything!” Asmodeus insists. 

“Leila has been fighting for hours, she’s depleted. You can’t seriously be considering doing something so dangerous right now?!” Satan growls angrily. 

“Maybe she should sleep and eat first?” Beelzebub offers, trying to be helpful at least.

“Leila, James, Lily...even Solomon. They’re all connected now.” Leviathan states with worry. “I like Lucien just fine but what if Leila dies?! Won’t James and Lily die too?!”

Belphegor looks pale at the thought. “It’s not worth the risk, Leila. Think of Pandora… And Lily’s baby...”

“Leila wasn’t actually dead.” Solomon tries to explain what Mammon so unsubtly blurted out. “She went into her subconscious mind. Making her body look still, because she was only using her mind…”

“Exactly. Don’t be a bunch of idiots.” Leila finally scolds them all. Sounding a lot more confident again and making us feel more at ease about her health situation. “I won’t die before I give my Ring of Souls back to the Angel of Death voluntarily, remember? And I’m not planning to do that for a long time. I wouldn’t risk all our lives. So I’m doing this. I have to try to save Lucien!”

“Very well.” Lucifer frowns, but knows there's no point in arguing with Leila on this. “How can we help? What do you need?”

Leila doesn’t answer him. I have a feeling she doesn’t know the answer herself. She just kneels next to the sofa, holds Lucien’s face gently and presses her forehead against his. We can see her Ring of Souls glow up brightly, engulfing them both for a moment, but almost immediately both their bodies become still. She slips away from his body and begins to slump towards the floor. Mammon is quick to catch her and ease her transition to the floor. Like Mammon mentioned: It really looks as if they are dead.

Everyone is silent for a moment, staring at the two dead looking bodies of Leila and Lucien. Not even Asmo is making it a drama or about himself.

“Leila…” Belphie whispers hoarsely and I feel his panic surge through my pact with him. He scrambles to her side while still carrying Pandora and places his head on her chest. Then he lets out a long relieved sigh. “She’s not dead…” He doesn’t care who sees his emotions as he snuggles her and Pandora protectively in his arms in the middle of the living room floor. 

“Well, of course she’s not, idiot.” Satan grumbles at him. “Or else James, Lily and Solomon would be too.” He tries to come off as confident, but everyone can clearly hear the emotion and relief in his voice too as he takes her hand and checks for her pulse himself.

“I think, after the mental connection is made, they don’t need to touch anymore. But let's keep them close together. She will be unconscious for a time.” James explains. “So let’s put them somewhere soft and comfortable.”

“Good thinking, James.” Solomon approves.

We eventually decide to not move them too much in order to not disturb whatever progress Leila is making in the subconscious world of her and Lucien. We just wrap them up in pillows and blankets to keep them warm.

 

 

Chapter Text

Leila POV

I’m not in the dark world of the Angel of Death when I open my eyes. Nor am I in the bright world of Michael’s subconscious mind. What I see instead is a sort of dense swirling mist, which makes me again unable to really see more than several feet in front of me. Sometimes it would begin to thin and just as I thought it would clear up, it would gain density again. 

I can sense two other presences here with me, hidden somewhere in the swirling mists of this shared consciousness. One of them is clearly Lucien. I can sense he is frightened, but also determined to not give up his soul. My first instinct is to look for him and tell him I won’t give up on him. I stumble a couple steps through the mists with arms outstretched in the direction I can sense him before I stop. It doesn’t seem like I can reach anyone here unless they want to be found. The other presence is frightened as well, but determined to not give up its life. It must be Grimmwolf. And I suddenly feel a deep compassion for him as well. He didn’t mean for his host to die and invade Lucien’s body. But he really didn’t have a choice.

“Lucien? Grimmwolf?” I call out to them. “I’m here to talk…”

No answer. They don’t want to let each other know where they are hiding. They’re both exhausted from their battle, but are on a truce right now.

“Sigewulf and Alston came to visit us.” I start and I can immediately sense the wolf spirit turn more of his attention towards me, his guard slipping somewhat at the familiar names. I begin explaining what he told us. I know Lucien is listening too. I also tell them about the dangers Lucien is still in if a demonic spirit was to invade him too. I can tell it scares them both. “Grimmwolf is not a demonic spirit, Lucien.” I eventually finish my tale. “It is a guardian spirit from the Realm of Faery.”

“That’s right, I am.” Suddenly I hear Grimmwolf’s voice for the first time. His deep growling voice rumbles, but doesn’t sound unpleasant to my ears. It reminds me of thunder and rain, I can sense Lucien relaxing a little: This isn’t the voice of a demon.

“He still had no right to invade my body.” Lucien still isn’t ready to come out of hiding, but he’s letting himself be heard now. A sign he wants to talk about this. “He’s still trying to overtake my being, Leila.”

“I know.” I answer him. “And Grimmwolf will need to stop doing that.”

“If I leave this body, I will die.” Grimmwolf defends himself.

“You will?” Lucien sounds compassionate and worried now. He really still has the soul of an angel! Oh I could hug him, if I knew where he was. “I thought spirits could live and move around in the intangible dimensions?”

“Some, yes. Not all…” Grimmwolf answers him. This is good. They’re talking now. “The Wächterwölfe are a type of guardian spirits that protect Faery. But we need a living corporeal body in order to take our wolf shape and to remain.”

“I don’t want either of you to die.” I tell them. “Lucien, you are my guardian angel and my little brother and you know how much I love you…” Suddenly I feel like Lucien comes closer to me. Almost as if the mist wraps me up in an embrace. “But Grimmwolf came to our rescue last night. I would have lost Pandora and Lily to the Fae who were trying to kidnap them.”

“They wanted to kidnap you too, Young Mother.” Grimmwolf reminds me with a rumble. “And if they were able to get all of you, you may have never returned to your own home again.”

“And you and your horde were sent to save us, right?”

“Yes.” I think I see the shape of a large wolf through the thick mists. Still standing in the distance, his shape appears and disappears it seems. I’m not even sure if I see it right. Except I’m sure that two yellow wolf eyes are fixated on me now. But they don’t frighten me. “I don’t want to hurt you, Lucien.” He speaks to Lucien now. “But I don’t want to die. And I won’t let you exorcize me…”

“But you can’t take control of him.” I attempt to mediate. “Alston told me that he and his Sigewulf are living in his body together in harmony. You need to have Lucien’s permission.”

“Under normal circumstances. Yes, that is true. I didn’t have any other choice however and Lucien has been resisting me. I felt desperate.” Grimmwolf admits. “I’m not opposed to living in harmony with Lucien. I would prefer it. His body is unique to a Wächterwolf and his soul is powerful. I’m not sure what type of being we would become together, but I know we are compatible.”

“How does this work then?” Lucien mocks. “I think it’s going to be a giant pain to have some spirit in my body, telling me what to do.”

It’s like the wolf is laughing in amusement now and I can definitely see more of him as it seems the fog starts fading. It’s like the ghost of a wolf is standing there. The edges of his form seem to move with the mists. Appearing. Disappearing. Without a set shape, but his yellow eyes glow more brightly in the mist as he still looks at me.

“Don’t laugh at me!” Lucien shouts indignantly. I can almost imagine him stomping his foot, like when he is in an argument with Mammon.

“Young Lucien.” Grimmwolf laughs amused. “I would be honored to be your spirit wolf. I think we would get along well.”

“I didn’t say that I agree to let you stay…!” Lucien starts to protest. “And I’m probably older than you besides!”

“How about this.” I try to mediate again, as I understand that Lucien certainly doesn’t trust this situation. It’s maybe not new for this ancient wolf spirit who might have done this multiple times. For Lucien it is a very big deal! “What if you agree not to transform Lucien’s body yet? This will give you both time to get to know one another. Time to learn to trust and accept each other?” 

“Yes.” The wolf agrees, again showing himself more to me, while Lucien is still hiding in the mist, even though I know he’s embracing me protectively. “In three moons time it is the Wolf Moon. That is usually the time when the tournaments are held to find new or secondary hosts for the Wächterwölfe. Until that time, I will help Lucien understand what it is like to be my host and I will get to know him as well. I won’t take over as primary or transform his body until that time. That is my promise.”

Lucien now appears as well. In a bright but ghostly shape. “You really promise that?”

“Yes.” Grimmwolf stands next to him, laying his enormous head gently on his shoulder. “I want to live in harmony with you, Lucien. You have an immortal body, the soul of a guardian and the heart of a warrior. I couldn’t wish for a better host.”

“Okay…” Lucien’s ghostly hand hesitantly pats the wolf on his back and he laughs a little. “I used to be a guardian angel, I guess becoming a guardian wolf is as close as it ever gets now.” Then suddenly it seems that something comes to his mind. “Oh but...I’m not a Fae. I’m not going to live in Faery. I stay with Leila, Lily and James.”

“Well. I suppose that is fine.” Grimmwolf tells him as he lays down on the misty floor. “As long as you respect that we have guardian duties for Faery as well.”

“Of course.” Lucien nods, sitting against the ghostly body of the large wolf. “As long as you respect that I have guardian duties in the Human World.”

I think they have accepted each other. The mists start fading as they both fall asleep against each other peacefully and I feel myself returning to my own consciousness.

I wake up by the sounds of Pandora fussing. I feel her little hands clinging to me and she’s whining while someone is pulling her away from me. Instinctively I hold her against me and hear her joyful little reaction to that. The person who was holding her lets go of her and while I’m still not entirely conscious, I feel someone helping me up and holding me steady against them. It feels safe. All is good now.

 

James POV

We all let out a relieved sigh when Lucien and Leila start to stir. While Lucien stays asleep, it is clear that something has changed for the better. Even though the spirit and he would take short breaks in their struggle over his body, Lucien’s sleep seems different now. He seems truly at peace and his muscles have relaxed. 

The Fae named Alston changes into Sigewulf again and inspects him carefully under the suspicious, watchful eyes of our demons. When he changes back, he’s smiling. “Grimmwolf is resting and your friend Lucien has accepted him.” He tells Lily with relief. “I must return to Faery now and I will inform the Wächterwölfe that he has found a new host.” With that he walks out the door leading to the garden and he instantly vanishes in the darkness.

Leila wakes up only a little later. As she stirs, Pandora is the first to notice and she clings to her mommy and starts cooing to her and then softly whining when she doesn’t react quickly enough. Solomon wants Leila to come to her senses slowly, so he tries to take Pandora away from her for a bit until she is conscious. But Leila instinctively clutches her baby against her, making Solomon smile completely unguarded. Still half unconscious, Satan helps her to sit up.

“Let’s bring Lucien to bed.” Lucifer decides. “And you go to bed as well, Lily. No arguments.”

I can tell Lily does want to argue. But before she can, she lets out a huge yawn that releases all the tensions that she must have felt. So she just nods and lets herself be led to her bedroom by Leviathan and Asmodeus, who will probably stay the night with her to protect her. None of us are feeling safe leaving any of our girls alone tonight.

Lucien is brought to his room as well, carried by Mammon and Luke follows them. Most likely they stay with him all through the night as well. There’s not a force in the Three Worlds that could keep Mammon away from his littlest bro, right now. I’m sure.

“Have you been a good girl, Pandora?” I hear Leila coo to her daughter as she cuddles with her. “I’m so sorry that Mommy was so busy with uncle Lucien…”

Pandora snuggles so close to her mommy that she looks as if she wants to crawl into her. Softly complaining and cooing and clinging onto her. But Leila is tired too. We can all see how much she missed cuddling with her daughter, but she’s barely awake, right now. She definitely asked too much of herself in the past two days.

“Come on.” Satan stands up as Belphegor takes Pandora from Leila. “Let’s get you to bed as well.” Satan lifts her up in his arms with ease and she doesn’t even have the energy to protest. He carries her to her rooms and Belphie follows them with Pandora. Looking at them now they all look like that familiar picture of the little family Leila had in our old reality. It's so cute and so heartbreaking at the same time. But for now I just want to think of the good side of things. I’m glad that we've all got through this crisis, mostly unscathed.

“If you don’t mind, I’ll stay here tonight again, Lucifer.” Solomon says, watching them go with a worried expression on his face. I definitely can understand what he’s thinking. He won’t just leave his granddaughter, even if she seems fine now.

“Me too.” Simeon agrees, looking expectantly at Lucifer.

“There are some guest rooms on the first floor in the west wing.” Lucifer agrees to let them stay. He wouldn’t risk an angry Leila in the morning for sending away her grandfather. Or maybe he’s beginning to accept this new Solomon?

I grin at them. “You might need to use some cleaning spells.” I’m sure they’ll be fine and it’s just for one night.

“We should all get a good night's rest.” Lucifer says to Beelzebub and myself once they’ve gone looking for empty rooms and we’re the only ones left lingering now.

 

Leila POV

I don’t remember how I ended up in my room in my bed. After waking up from mediating between Lucien and Grimmwolf, I remember that I wanted to cuddle with Pandora, but I’m not sure that I have. Maybe the recent events were all just a bad dream? Did everything really happen? I sure don’t feel like I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep. My mind is so tired that I don’t even want to open my eyes to see who is hugging me. I just want to enjoy it. It feels safe.

But then I hear Pandora’s enthusiast noises coming from the floor in my room. And I hear the rumbling laughter of Satan encouraging her…? I think? For one painful moment I feel like everything really was just a bad dream and we’re still all a happy family. Then I know this is not true and I wipe away my tears and steel myself again.

“Don’t cry, Leila.” I hear Belphegor mumble in my ear. “Everyone’s safe.” It’s Belphegor who’s hugging me?! I can’t let him do that! Half in a panic, I try to wriggle out of his arms. “Whoa! Hey! Relax, I told you everything is okay.” 

He lets go of me and helps me sit up. I look up at him a bit embarrassed: That was an over the top reaction. Do I really still not trust him? Or is it more that this feels too familiar and it’s heart-wrenching to know that it’s never going to be the real thing again?

“S-sorry…”

“It’s fine.” Don’t smile so cute at me. I don’t have my defenses up yet. “I’m glad you’re okay, Leila.” He snuggles me against him, like he’s done before we came to this reality to stay, and I try to relax. He’s my friend. He won’t hurt me. I should try my best to trust him again.

“Look who’s awake, Pandora.” I hear Satan say and I look over to where I hear his voice and Pandora’s cute noises. He’s put her on the foot end of the bed now and leans on his arms, looking at her with a grin.

She’s lying on her back at the foot end of the bed, but she apparently can’t see me well. So, while giving herself a lot of encouraging noises, she tries her best to roll in a better position. I laugh. She’s been trying to roll a couple times now, but so far always needed a little push. Rolling from tummy to back is easy for her, but the other way around is much harder.

I lay on my belly on my bed and start encouraging her too. “You can do it, Pandora! Look at Mommy.” Belphie moves to lay next to me and cheers her on as well. 

Suddenly, with some effort, she has rolled herself on her tummy. Satan, Belphie and I all clap for her and she cheers, loses her balance and rolls back on her back. She makes a frustrated little noise, now that I’m out of sight again and tries again. I’m still so proud of her! It’s only a matter of time now, before it becomes second nature to her!

It’s then that my stomach decides to announce itself with a loud rumbling gurgle. “You should probably get dressed and we can join the others for lunch.” Satan tells me with a teasing grin. I want to hit him but that sounds like a good idea, I feel half starved and need to get my energy up after all that’s happened. 

I look down at my rumpled Halloween costume, no wonder I feel so uncomfortable. I leave Pandora to play with her - I bite my tongue at the thought I had - these aren’t her fathers, but I’m still glad they make time for her like good uncles. I grab some clothes and make my way to my private bathroom to change and freshen up in privacy.  When I come back out I walk over to the bed and reach for Pandora so I can take her downstairs. But instead Belphegor is pulling me back into bed with them. 

“Satan and I were talking about it, Leila and we really think it’s time.” Belphegor is suddenly saying to me. I blink at them: I don’t know what he means?

“Time for what?” I ask as I take Pandora into my arms. 

“Leila,” This time it’s Satan speaking, and the gentle seriousness in his eyes scares me. I feel this is going somewhere I’m not ready for. “You don’t know how helpless we felt when Lucifer sensed that something was wrong. How can Belphegor and I take care of you and Pandora like we need to, if you won’t accept our pacts?”

My throat constricts and I tell myself I’m not going to cry. I know they mean well, they just want to protect me and the rest of us, but it’s too soon and it’s too painful to even consider. I’m trying to figure out a way to say this to them without hurting them too badly, but before I can Belphegor is snuggling up behind me again. 

“You’re scared because you think we don’t love you.” Belphegor tells me, his breath caressing my ear. I feel panicked that he’s guessed my feelings so close to the mark. “But we do love you Leila, we love you so much and Pandora too. I’ve loved you from the first time you fell through realities and landed on my lap, I knew I wanted you for myself from the first time you blasted my ass with that shield of yours.”

I’m so confused by my own conflicting emotions right now, I can’t even find words to respond. But I can feel how much my soul wants to reconnect with them again. I can’t allow it! I’m not ready! I can’t let my pacts, that I made with love, restore on feelings of fear and anguish. That doesn’t feel right. They don’t love me like my own Satan and Belphie did. That’s impossible!

“No…” I only whisper. More to myself than to them.

Satan reaches out to tuck a piece of hair behind my ear. The loving tenderness they’re both displaying feels so familiar… Stop it! “No matter what reality you find yourself in, there’s a version of us that will fall for you every time. You can’t deny that kind of destiny Leila.”  

“No.” I shake my head determinedly, standing up from the bed with Pandora and stepping away from them as they follow me. “No, I don’t want to hear it. It’s not true! It’s not my destiny to be your soulmate in every reality.” I choke on a desperate sounding sob. “To see you get killed by a maniac in every reality! It’s not true! I choose my own destiny!” 

I can barely breathe as the memories come flooding back that I tried to bury so deep. Maybe they are right. Maybe that’s why I always feel safe with them. But I can’t allow it. I won’t let history repeat itself! I’m glad they’re not speaking, while I’m trying to get myself back under control. I don’t dare look into their eyes and accidently restore my pacts with them. They can’t know my deepest feelings and emotions. They’re too personal. 

“I just want us to stay friends.” I tell them with a soft voice, once I feel that I can speak a bit more calmly. I curse myself that I still sound shaky and emotional. I don’t want to fall apart now. “We don’t need to have our pacts restored yet. I need more time for that…” 

And then I turn around and basically flee downstairs to get some breakfast for Pandora. I don’t think I can get anything through my throat now. No matter how much my body needs substance.

 

In Leila’s room…

“That could’ve gone better.” Belphegor collapses on Leila’s bed and rakes his fingers through his hair with a frustrated groan. “Friends…” He sighs. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but the rejection has hit him harder than he cares to admit out loud to his brother. Even through the ghost of their pact he could sense Leila’s anguish and fears. And the great love she felt for her mates. A love she’s confused about now as her feelings tangle more and more with what she feels for new Satan and Belphegor.

“She wasn’t ready…” Satan admits as well. “No wonder, if she thinks being with us will get us killed…” They should have been more patient, maybe. Though patience is not his strong suit and even Belphie didn’t want to wait, after what happened on Samhain. Deep inside, his emotions are raging like wildfire in a storm, urging him to go after her, bring her back to her room and prove to her how much he loves her. But he knows that this will only frighten her, so he keeps himself under control. 

Satan has sensed the same as his brother. If they could sense her emotions this strongly through their ghost of a pact… Once their pact will be restored, they’d be able to feel all of the love and power she possesses. It’s hard to wait for that. It's something they want to experience more than anything. But it will be worth it to wait.

Belphegor stands up first. “Well, it wasn’t a complete loss. She called us soulmates. Which means that deep down she knows that we’re her mates, even if she’s in denial about it now.” He walks to the door. “I’m not about to give up on my mate after one rejection.”

A small grin appears on Satan’s face. “Right. She’s just too traumatized now and suppresses the truth that she belongs with us. It’s miserable that she doesn’t trust us, yet…But once she accepts us, it will be sensational.”

They both walk downstairs now too. Feeling hurt by her rejection, even if they know it wasn’t personal and she didn’t mean to let them down so harshly, they are both determined to not give up on their stubborn mate.

“I’m glad we’ve told her. It’s something I wanted to tell her for a long time.” Belphegor says to Satan, before they enter the main part of the Manor to join the others at lunch. “I’m not going to let her friendzone me… But we should probably give her some space, for now.”

“Yeah, I agree.” Satan nods. “We don’t want to make her feel as if we’re stalkers. As if she’s our prey, like her reality’s Diavolo did. She’s our mate. We have to make her feel safe with us.”

“Exactly. It’s not as if she’ll ever disappear on us again. We have all the time in the world.”

 

Shado POV

I really don’t like how things are going lately.

First of all: We move around so much. From the big house to the smaller house and back to the big house again. There’s that Karasu creature visiting too frequently for my tastes. Then Leila’s mates - that she abandoned - bring her a little annoying monster as a gift to win her back. Piggy, they named it. Well, it looks like a pig, but it’s different. It’s one from the dark world. And it’s eating MY food.

Eventually I taught baby Piggy to behave himself better and that I am the only one in charge in this household. It took much longer than with Chimera. And he still rebels against me. No matter how big he grows, I’ll still scratch him if he misbehaves around me! He keeps his distance now, most of the time.

But just as things started to settle down again a bit, our home was suddenly invaded by all sorts of monsters and spirits. When that happened, I told Chimera and baby Piggy to hide under the sofa with me. It was too dangerous to fight back. Especially when that big dog appeared! But I was really worried for our people stuck in the middle of the scuffle. So when Leila called us to her, I quickly brought us to her. She would be able to protect us from all the attackers, after all.

When Leila’s mates and kin returned home, they quickly chased away the intruders. But one has hidden himself inside Lucien. And he won’t come out! Leila has tried to fight him to chase him out, but eventually she had to give up. She was too tired and her kitten needs her. 

But now the dog is stuck within Lucien’s being. I really don’t like it. I don’t intend to give up on chasing him out, either. That my Leila decides to accept more creatures from different worlds in our household, doesn’t mean I’ll ever be okay with a DOG!

“Shado, why are you hissing at me?” Lucien asks me, when he joins the rest of the family the next day. “Don’t you like me anymore?”

Of course I like you! But not the wolf inside you! I quickly run away from him as he tries to pet me. Or maybe grab me?! I continue hissing from a safe distance. Just then baby Piggy comes trotting into the room, to see if anyone has dropped some crumbs. But when he comes close to Lucien, he stops in his tracks and starts that horrendous squealing and makes a run for it! At least he has his instincts straight. There’s a dangerous predator hiding inside Lucien now and a pig should keep its distance from him. 

“What’s up with Mister Oink?” Lucien asks with big eyes when he looks after baby Piggy turning tail. 

“I think maybe Shado and Sir Piggy can sense Grimmwolf inside you.” Lily tells him pensively. I give her an approving head rub. For a dog person, she’s pretty smart.

James agrees. “That makes sense.”

“Okay…” Lucien nods, looking a bit sad. “I guess I have to prove that I’m not a danger to them. Or rather, Grimmwolf has to…” He looks a bit confused. I suppose it’s not his fault that he has an intruder. Maybe I’ll be a bit nicer later. For now, the dog needs to learn whose house this is!

“At least Chimera isn’t scared of me…” Lucien laughs as he watches her flying around his head, loudly and enthusiastically chittering. “Oh, you know Grimmwolf is here, do you? Hey… How do I understand what you are saying..?” He tries to catch Chimera and I let out a warning yowl! He better not try to eat that dumb little pet of Leila! She’s my friend!

“I can understand Chimera when I’m in Faery.” Lily tells him. “And I have a mental link with Cinder. Maybe it’s because you’re partially Fae now?”

Lucien does that thing now where he communicates silently with the beast inside him. “Grimmwolf says I can’t understand Chimera but because he can, it automatically translates into my own brain.”

“Awesome!” James cheers, rubbing Lucien over his head. “That’s a nice side-effect! But also really unfair! Am I now the only one without the skill to communicate with creatures?”

“It’s really not an essential skill to have, James.” Lucifer looks a bit disgusted at the new flaming creature that doesn’t seem to want to leave anymore and starts playing some sort of game with Chimera. “Lily, are you planning on sending that… creature… back to Faery?” 

Thank you, Lucifer. We really don’t need any more invaders in my home.

“Cinder doesn’t need to eat or go poopy.” Lily giggles, maybe she isn’t as smart as I thought to tease Lucifer. “Besides, we’re bonded now and they might try to enslave him or send him back to the elemental realm.” 

Lucifer doesn’t look convinced that these are good reasons to let the strange creature stay, it’s not even a real animal even if it looks like one. It’s made of fire and fire makes me nervous! “It’s a fire hazard.” Lucifer points out and I leave my safe spot to go twine around his legs in encouragement. 

Then Chimera starts running around playing tag with the other little intruder! I try to scold her not to but she doesn’t listen! The traitor! I yowl a warning as the little fireball almost catches her in a leap but Chimera flies out of the way. Then to my surprise the little lizard looking thing turns into a glowing ball of blue light whizzing around in the air after her. 

“Cinder’s a great little playmate for Chimera too.” Lily tries to argue.

“Look at those scorch marks on the table!” Lucifer points out the tiny four toed blacked footprints burnt into the wood. 

“He just got a little excited to play with Chimera.” Lily shrugs and uses her magic to erase the evidence. “Besides, if it weren’t for his warning we might have been a lot worse off…”

I’m disappointed when this seems to deter Lucifer from trying to have the fiery creature sent back to where it belongs. My only hope is now Leila. If I tell her how dangerous all this fire is around my fur and her kitten, she’ll understand.

But when she finally comes down from resting, I decide to wait to talk with her for later. She doesn’t look happy. Even if she's acting happy. Her mates Satan and Belphie don’t look happy either. Have they been fighting? I thought they were accepted as her mates again. They behaved to her as if they were. I find these mating matters of people too complicated to understand, but I’ll just make sure that my Leila knows I’m on her side. 

In the meantime I’ll just sit with her kitten to protect her from the dog inside Lucien.  

 

Lily POV

We’re all sitting at lunch when Leila comes down from her room with Pandora. She and Lucien have slept all through the night and all through the morning. And while Lucien looks to be much better this morning, though a bit tired from his experience, Leila still looks exhausted. With circles around her eyes and a pale looking complexion. 

But it’s not what worries me the most when I see her: She looks anxious and in distress and I’m just wondering if I should ask if something is wrong, when I see Satan and Belphegor coming into the room after her. They both look miserable and hurt and I can almost guess what must have happened between the three of them. I hope they didn’t ruin their own chances… I’m not going to prod. It’s really something they need to sort out for themselves.

Leila tries her best to pretend that everything is fine. Breaking the awkward silence that descended on the room when they entered. “Lucien!” She hugs him, after having put Pandora in her feeding chair. She's able to sit by herself in her chair for a while now and always looks so proud that she can sit with us around the table. “You look so much better now. How are you feeling? How is Grimmwolf? Are you two getting along?” She barrages him with questions, to try to cover up how emotional she looks right now. She checks the bite mark on his arm and nods satisfied. It’s left a permanent scar, but is already completely healed up.

 

All through lunch Leila is acting up like that, while Satan and Belphegor are quiet, looking at her with pained but determined expressions. After lunch Lucifer gathers all his brothers but Mammon, to return to the Devildom and Leila finally completely melts into an emotional mess of tears once they’re gone and she tells us what happened. I know my brothers love her and didn’t mean for this to happen, but they should have realized that it was much too soon for Leila to hear these words from them. Mammon is angry and ready to knock some heads in for making Leila so distressed, but James and I convince him not to. We know Satan and Belphie are feeling just as hurt, even if in a different way.

“I think all of you should spend some quality time together the rest of the week.” Solomon says to us. “I will give you the week off from Sorcerers business until after Lily’s pregnancy check up.”

We all look at him with gratitude. It’s been a stressful few days. First the making of my Ring of Unity and the balancing of our rings. Then the attempted kidnapping and then Lucien’s struggle with his wolf spirit. It’s really no wonder that Leila is a complete mess. 

“Thank you, Solomon.” James smiles, as he rubs Leila over her back. “We will make sure that Leila takes her rest. Won’t we?” Lucien and I nod with determination. 

“Good.” Solomon smiles at us. “Then I think it’s time that I go home and reorganize my schedule. I will send Barbatos over tomorrow to assist Leila with fixing the portal.”

“Is there any point in keeping it?” James wants to know. “Since apparently it can be breached?”

“That was the exception that occurred because of Samhain.” Solomon explains. “Sometimes the veil between worlds is thinner on Samhain and the portal was the weakest point in the veil. Already an opening, in fact. The fact that Lucien was on this side of the portal must have lured in those powerful spirits. They must have sensed his presence in this reality for months now. I should have known it could happen, but I trusted that if the portal was closed securely enough…” He sighs, shaking his head. “Well, it’s no matter anymore. Lucien’s soul is safe from Devildom spirits, now that his wolf protects him.”

It shows that even the great Solomon can’t know everything. It makes him all the more human to me. I can see why Leila admires him so much. When he makes mistakes, he is not afraid to admit it. Even though I don’t think he or anyone made a mistake here. It’s strange to realize: If it wasn’t for the Devildom spirits invading our home too… Who knows what would have happened to all of us? It makes me shiver to think about it and I’m just so grateful that everything worked out for the best in the end.

“Once repaired, the portal should be strong enough again.” Solomon just adds and then he leaves for one of his own residences. 

We spend the rest of the day playing with Pandora, getting to know Grimmwolf inside Lucien and entertain ourselves with our growing petting zoo. Though I still think that Cinder does not really count as a pet. Especially not when he refuses to accept the soft bed I made for him, but instead crawled between the literal red hot cinders in a corner of the fireplace with a satisfied knispering sound.

By that time, Leila seemed more herself again. Though I think we all know on a subconscious level, that she’s just trying to be strong again. Still I think the crying helped her. 

 

“Lucifer had a question, and I’m curious if Grimmwolf will answer.” I say gently to Lucien later that evening. “Why did he interfere in the first place? Not that we’re not grateful for the help, but I’m curious too.”

 Lucien flinches and stares up at the ceiling. He’s not yet used to having someone in his head and I feel a little guilty for asking but I feel it’s important to know.

“Someone named Dain let him know what was about to happen. He owed Dain a favor, he won’t say why…he tried to refuse at first. When Dain made it clear that some very pissed off demons would wage war on Faery to get you guys back if you were taken, he felt it was his duty to stop that from happening.” 

I can’t help wondering what sort of thing Dain did for a Wächterwolf to have him owe a favor. Or maybe it was Grimmwolf’s former host who owed the favor? If that’s the case, then I’m sure it’s also not easy for Grimmwolf to accept a stranger as his host, just as it’s not easy for Lucien.

Chapter Text

 

Lucifer POV

Of course I had noticed the tension between my two most troublesome brothers and their chosen mate when they came down for lunch. They must have done or said something to upset her and I feel irritated with them. Doesn’t she have enough on her plate already to also have to deal with these idiots and their schemes? So I decide to take everyone home right after lunch. We have to take the portal located in the city, because the one from the Manor is still damaged and the exit in the Devildom is probably too unstable. I use this time to lecture them on bothering Leila while she’s exhausted. That’s maybe how we treat regular humans, but our own humans deserve more respect. And so on.

“Can you PLEASE shut the fuck up!!” Satan growls, once we’re inside the House of Lamentation. I’m shocked to hear him like this. Not because he has the nerve to talk to me this way - that’s really not anything new - but the way he sounds and looks so hurt. Maybe I’ve misjudged the situation?

Belphegor backs him up. “You have no idea what it’s like for us, Lucifer. Just… Leave us alone…” Even though he gave me his normal rebellious glare, he seemed more sad and defeated than anything else.

They both disappear to their rooms after that. While I’m thinking of suitable punishments for their insolence, Leviathan, Asmodeus and Beelzebub come stand next to me. “You can’t blame them for this, Lucifer.” Beelzebub says as he shovels the last of lunch leftovers he brought home into his mouth. “I don’t know what happened, but it made Belphie very sad.”

“Yeah.” Asmodeus agrees. “It must have been awful to hear from us how terrified Leila really was. That they had to depend on Solomon to bring us home on time. And oh… When I think of how our sweet girls looked, so scared and so brave while being under siege like that.” He shivers, tears forming in his eyes. I know it’s not to be dramatic this time. “And then Leila did that thing where she went unconscious on purpose… I’m just saying I’m glad to have the connection of a pact with her. So that I know when to be there for her.”

“Yeah, it’s not fair.” Leviathan tells me, but this time he’s not being entirely self centered when he continues. “They should have pacts with her too. Since it’s so obvious those three are going to end up together like a bunch of normies. They’re obviously going to feel strongly about protecting her even more than we do.” He shrugs as if disinterested on the matter, but I know better. He makes his way to his own room after that, saying something about missed raids and anime.

“But Leila is too sad to accept them now.” Beelzebub nods, a sad frown on his face before making his way to our kitchen. Probably to eat feelings on Belphegor’s behalf. 

Asmodeus pats me on my arm. “So just cut them some slack on this, hm Lucifer?” He lectures me in an almost patronizing way before making his way to his own room with the much better bathroom, muttering about lack of comfort in Serenity Manor, now that the Devildom rooms are closed off. 

I’m torn between laughing and wanting to punish all my brothers. Since when are they all so understanding? But it’s rare for them to all stand up for one of us against me, maybe I need to give the situations a bit more thought. 

But before I make any decisions concerning my troublesome brothers, I make my way to Lily’s old room. That is where it started, after all. I need to see the damage for myself. Opening the door, I see Lily’s old room - now the portal room - in total destruction: The frame of the portal is torn and the surface that should always be closed on this side of the portal is looking cracked and splintered. It seems to erratically shimmer and zapp with magical electricity too. As if the refined combination of Celestial and Demonic magic used to make the portal is at odds now. The portal is unusable and remnants of spirits are still lingering about, if they had corporeal bodies, they would be corpses. Now they’re just senseless wisps and tendrils. It’s almost like the invading spirits used each other to weaken the portal to eventually breach it. It must have gone fast and it must have been violent, while we were attending Lord Diavolo’s birthday.

I sigh. There’s no point in feeling guilty about it now. We couldn’t have known it. That Lucien’s empty, or should I say available, soul in his immortal vessel just on the other side of the portal was just too much of a temptation for demonic spirits. I’m not sure how I feel about my youngest fallen brother being partially Fae now, but at least he won’t be bothered anymore and doesn't have to worry about becoming a demon. It’s something he really didn’t want.

I can sense Barbatos’ barricade spells he placed over the room and the portal itself. When Leila feels better, she and Barbatos will start the repairs on both sides of the portal. Until then, me and my brothers can’t visit. A knowledge that makes me feel uneasy, after what happened with recent events.

I decide to go to my room early, like all my brothers did, as well. There’s nothing to be done about it now.

The next day Barbatos comes over to repair the portal on the Devildom side, while Leila is repairing it on the Human World side. Soon it seems as if nothing happened at all in the past couple of days. Except for Leila requesting to not have us over for a couple of days.

Later in the afternoon my DDD starts buzzing.

The Brothers (8)

< Lucien: *video that shows Lily laying on her belly on the floor, trying to help Pandora roll.*
< Lucien: I thought you guys might want to see a sort of pick-me-up like this. (Grinning-Demon sticker)

I smile. We can always count on Lucien to let us know what’s going on with the rest of our family. Mammon is too greedy to share even the smallest of these scenes. Unless he uses it to brag about something. The fact that Lucien isn’t a demon is somewhat refreshing, I have to admit. And while I’m not uns