~ The Day Before It Happened ~
Rome. (New York)
5:45 PM. (11:45 AM.)
The sun was setting above Rome as a short girl skipped down one of the streets of the WDL's Roman Academy's Commercial section. The entire thing was a neat triple pizza slice of sectors- the first was the very one she was waltzing down. Shops, restaurants, all the good stuff that the staff could need (and spend their cash on). Secondly was the residential district full to the brim with Exorcists and other WDL staff..
... and the occasional not so human beings.
The third section and by far the largest was the shared grounds between the WDL's Exorcist Academy and the actual military base nearby it. It took up roughly half of the WDL pizza and left a quarter to each of the other two sectors. Military sector, Commercial sector and Residential sector.
Of course, in a small circle of its own in the very middle of the compound was what Illusion called the 'important stuff place' where Arthur himself resided alongside the higher echelon of the WDL's members- the Exorcist High Council- and where a certain power plant was also positioned.
And, of course, everyone's favourite living power source was also there.
Passing by a certain inconspicuous but very conspicuous shop, Illusion glanced at the door and felt a sudden shift in the inside of the place. A small smile crept its way across her face as she slowed to a stop and watch as a taller blonde woman peered out of the doorway after opening it and flipped a sign on the door from 'Closed' to 'Open'.
The woman caught Illusion's gaze and the Principal gave her a polite nod which she returned after a pause.
Slipping back into the doorway and closing it, the Ex-Demon God Asmodeus had much work to do.
Resuming her merry travels down the street, Illusion hummed to herself loudly. People began to appear in the streets now freed from their nine to five jobs and were flocking to the sector to relax after a long, hard day of teaching, training.. Whatever it was that silly little humans got up to these days, really. It was a fun game that a lot of the staff had become accustomed to- well, bar the most devout murderous Zealots of the WDL- called 'Catch the Principal'.
Of course, nobody ever won since she could just phase right through them most of the time with her Magick. A hand reached out to grab her and it passed right through her chest and the body the hand was attached to let out a soft sigh.
"Miss Illusion, isn't it a bit one sided if you just make yourself intangible?"
Looking up as the man courteously removed his hand from her torso Illusion grinned happily, albeit just a little cheekily, and shook her head.
"Well, I suppose you're right, but then I'd have to actually work.
" Staring up into the man's face she realised that the person before her was none other than Mister Johnstone. With the corners of her lips twitching up ever so slightly she reached over and floated up to put a hand on his shoulder. Johnstone's eyebrow rose as Illusion cupped his cheeks in her hands, a wide, beaming smile lighting up her face.
"Congratulations on your child, Mister Johnstone. I hope she's as beautiful as your wonderful wife.
" Patting his cheeks before letting go Illusion dropped to the floor and gave him a quaint bow before walking away.
Johnstone, however, was flabbergasted. He stared after Illusion with his jaw more than a little dropped as he struggled to find words.
The Principal turned on her heels and gave him a quizzical glance.
Johnstone stumbled over his words a little before giving her a small smile and a nod. "Thank you. Maybe you'd like to meet her one day..?"
Illusion paused for a long while, expression somewhere between shock and something else. A sly smirk slid across her face as she responded.
"You'd let a Demon near you baby daughter?
Johnstone hesitated a little before giving her a nod.
Illusion's face lit up.
"I'd be honoured, Mister Johnstone. Tell your family I said hello, please?
Johnstone nodded and Illusion turned away once more, humming to herself and skipping with a bit more of a spring to her step than she had before.
Johnstone rubbed his chin.
Nobody at the WDL had known about his newborn Angela.. He hadn't told a soul yet.
Turning back to look over his shoulder at Illusion his eyes widened ever so slightly as he saw her waving at him over her shoulder.. almost as if she'd known he was going to turn around.
Johnstone let out a nervous sigh and quickened his pace. He didn't mind her, she was a fine person and a great example of what a Demon could be.. but sometimes she frankly creeped him out.
She had that effect on people.
Arthur Evangelion sat on the edge of his bed and casually pushed the cup to his lips, swallowing the water inside it along with the tablets inside before clearing his throat once he was sure they were down and finishing the rest of the glass. Pushing himself off of his bed and placing the glass on the desk beside it he walked over and stepped into his bathroom. Staring at himself in the mirror he noticed yet another grey hair had decided to spring up at his hairline. Grumbling to himself he reached up and adjusted the eyepatch on his face before stepping back and running his hands through his hair to slick it back.
It had been a long time. Being the Archknight, leader of the entirety of the WDL, had its stresses.
Those stresses were slowly growing. He peered out of his bathroom and out into his bedroom before quickly making his way out there.
A rather large crow perched on his windowsill, a rolled up letter clutched tightly in its beak. He made his way over to it and opened his palm, the bird carefully depositing the letter into his waiting hand before giving him a nod and taking off once more.
With a soft sigh, Arthur unrolled the parchment. It was tied with a red string with the familiar Sanzu leaf tied under it against the parchment. The man read the odd letter through, a small knot building in his stomach."We're always watching.
Hope you're doing well.
I'll be keeping an eye out.
Indeed, the stresses on the entire WDL had just grown by quite the large margin.
Arthur reached up to run a hand through his hair and groan again.
He was getting too old for this.
Elsewhere in the WDL's compound one Eine Minerva sat at her desk filling out the paperwork that had slowly been building up ever since a new recruit had decided to use Fire Magick on what he'd assumed was a stray cat but turned out to be a peaceful Nekomata that had rather quickly turned not quite so peaceful.
Sighing to herself with a tinge of more than a little annoyance in her voice, she placed her pen down as she finally finished the arduous task. Working over in Rome was much different from working over in her home in Germany. For one, nobody here actually spoke German aside from a few people.
Secondly, almost everyone spoke Italian which she was still learning.
Which meant people could talk trash behind Eine's back.. mostly.
Reaching up to scratch her face under her bandages, Eine reached over to grab a glass of water and took a quick sip before placing it down and sliding the report she'd been filling out to the side. She rather quickly stood up, tucked her chair in, and was about to leave her office when a nurse knocked on the door. With the slightest narrowing of her eyes Eine cleared her throat and bid the person to enter.
Her subordinate, Valencia Nightshade, stepped into the room with another pile of files clutched in her arms.
"I'm sorry, Doctor Minerva, but there was another fight today.."
Eine let out a long, annoyed sigh.
"All the information is in the document on top. We gave them the proper treatment and assigned them both detention and psychological evaluations but we still need your signature for it to be approved."
"The rest of those files?
" Eine gestured for Valencia to come over and put them down on her desk as the Doctor pulled her chair back out and took her seat yet again. Valencia did as she was told, putting the file down on the desk and rubbing her arms.
"Just some files on some people of interest that the Archknight has asked you to look over. No more hard work, luckily." Valencia smiled down at the sitting woman who nodded quickly. "Luckily.
"Um, Doctor, could I perhaps take tomorrow night off?"
Eine looked up with a raised brow and Valencia withered a little, clasping her hands together and looking down.
"May I ask why?
"I, ah, have a date.."
Doctor Minerva studied Valencia's face with a small smile before giving her a nod. "Enjoy your date, Valencia. I will take over your graveyard shift.
Valencia let out a short squeal and jumped in excitement before catching herself and clearing her throat awkwardly. Eine's smile widened ever so slightly.
"Thank you, Doctor Minerva. I'll see you tomorrow!"
"Have a good night, Val.
"You too, Doctor!"
The girl rushed from the room and slipped out the door and Eine heard another voice begin to speak. Val and the other person gossiped as they moved away down the halls and Eine shook her head.
"Ah, people are so funny these days.
" Looking down at the forms she had to sign, she quickly got those out of the way and slid them over to the side before staring down at the documents before her. All of them were folders, all of them were quite large. Flipping the one on top open she made a noise as she plucked a letter from the top and quickly skimmed through it."Doctor,
These files are quite important and as the Chief Medical Officer of our fine establishment I feel you should be apprised of the new developments and changes coming to our lovely little pocket of Eden.
Do not divulge the contents of these folders to a single soul or you're like to lose yours. I don't enjoy threatening you but the sheer importance of secrecy in regards to this event requires it.
You will be assigned to their care personally.
- The Principal."
Doctor Minerva raised an eyebrow and took a quick glance over the first folder.'Rick Brackwall'.
Then the second.'Jonathan Black'.
The third, fourth, fifth and sixth were all the same. People she'd never seen nor heard of and suddenly they were of grave importance. Scanning Rick's file more closely, however, revealed something that sent a shiver down her spine. She quickly scanned through the others and sat back in her chair, taking a deep breath.
"So this was what you meant, then, Devi LeRouge.
" Her voice returned to the language much more natural to her and she swallowed thickly. Nothing good could come of this.
In each and every folder under the 'Race' section was something Eine had hoped to never see.
"Child of the Devil..
Reclining in the chair in the small closet that Asmodeus had converted into a special room in the back of her general store, she stared up at the ceiling before casting her gaze over to the box sitting beside her feet up on her desk. It'd been one hell of a trip (hah) getting up here in one piece and having that tiny vampire on her side meant Asmodeus was in a great position!
For one, what kind of Exorcist would pass out the good she was selling, right? On top of that, nobody hunting her sweet ass down would be able to actually get to her sweet ass or any other portion of her body as long as that barrier stood.
And the barrier would stand forever, apparently.
She was in a great starting position. Every single card was on the table and they were all in her favour. She had money, she had info, she had protection and even more importantly just nearby was..
Glancing at the door to her small room, she felt a grin break out on her face as she reached down and tenderly felt her stomach, wincing as she did so.
Everyone in Hell knew what was happening. Illusion hadn't personally been back to Hell in around twentyish years and thus things had changed around. A new Demon God was on the rise, more and more turf wars were breaking out, and Asmodeus had decided this was the time for her own return.
Shifting her gaze from the door and over to the wall beside it at the picture of a certain man with a massive dagger placed between his eyes Asmodeus made a face and slipped her boots off of the table to stand up. Devi LeRouge, the Devil and Satan himself, was going to pay. Everyone that had participated in the betrayal of the now dead Demon Gods was going to suffer.
Asmodeus' eyes narrowed as she walked over to the picture and gripped the hilt of the knife buried deep into the wall and Devi's face.
"I'll make sure you taste the irony of your own family stabbing you in the back just like my siblings did, brother.
And that's the main reason as to why Azzy was here in the first place.
She was here to help Devi's very own smol children rip his heart out and, from her sources, she knew precisely who to go for first. It's why she'd bothered shacking up in such an anti-demon place.
Well, aside from the massive, impenetrable barrier that protected her from whatever the hell it was that was so keen on taking more chomps out of her very being.
Leaning over and clicking her fingers, Asmodeus turned the radio on in her store and couldn't help but smile at her good fortunes. Booting the door to her smaller room open and skidding out into the actual store itself, she smacked the door shut with her rear and danced her way through the store, singing along as she did so.
I Will Survive was one of her personal favourites.
Dancing and taking stock at the same time was a nice little stress reliever for the girl, her pointy Demon ears would catch the rather loud noise of her store's front door opening- several bells and chimes were rigged to make rather beautiful music- if you can consider random noise to be music- whenever the door was actually opened. Not to mention the motion sensors that made a little device in her pocket vibrate whenever the door was opened. I mean, how else would she know if anyone tried to break in when she was in the back room having some private singing time?
Once again Asmodeus skidded to a stop and adjusted a small dagger on one of the shelves, turning on her heel to push a box of cereal back away from the edge of its own shelf. The worst thing in the world was getting Demonic cereal in your hair, trust her, she knew.
Humming to herself as she glanced around her store- a mishmash of different items from food to weapons to Mana potions stacked against the wall behind her counter, it was an inventory like something out of some sort of video game.
And if this was a video game then she sure as hell was the best merchant in it. Nodding to herself in satisfaction as the song faded out and one of the many songs from that fancy new musical about America's founding fathers came on, Asmodeus grinned.
"Well, I suppose it's about showtime, am I right ladies and gents?
" she spoke to nobody, leaning against the counter of her shop and nodding in satisfaction.
The door to the place opened into a large room that extended to the person's right and was full of shelves with every type of thing they could imagine. Straight down a rather clear path from the door was Azzy's 'Special Services'
room marked with a fun sign she'd made all by herself.'No Knocks, No Service'
was the slogan of the little room and, frankly, she was proud that not a single soul who hadn't had the common decency to knock was given service.
All the way at the right end of the shop was the counter behind which Asmodeus would spend most of her time.. if she didn't really prefer to be in the back room. Behind the counter at the opposite side of the gap she used to get back and forth from behind it was another door that lead to yet another small room that Azzy had converted into a tiny bedroom of sorts. It was a grand departure to what she was used to but hey, whatever works, right?
Asmodeus' shop was quite out of the way and that's how she'd gotten such a bargain on her little residence. Not many people came by this older, more decrepit portion of the good old Commercial district so Azzy had a great amount of freedom on her hands.
Which was great because she was a relatively notorious Demon God who needed to lay low.
Plus, if she really wanted a ton of clients, she'd put up a sign.
Which she did.
She also sent out flyers to several people including her main client (she hoped) by the name of Rick Brackwall.
She'd been loathe to give so much information freely but Illusion had pulled the 'you owe me' card and Asmodeus had obliged.
Thus the files had been collected, collated and taken to some nurse for some reason. Asmodeus kept duplicated, obviously, what good information broken wouldn't? However, it still made her uncomfortable.
She didn't even get any souls out of the whole ordeal.
Well, regardless of that she could easily make up for it. With her frown turning into a grin she heard the doorbells open and someone step inside. With a beaming smile sure to dazzle anyone who gazed upon her pretty face she set upon her first customer like some sort of fusion between a predatory bird and a businesswoman.
"Welcome to the one and only Azzy's Bizarre Bazaar! How may I help you today?
Needless to say, Asmodeus made quite the profit by the time the starstruck Exorcist had left.
"This is a good start, yeah, this is a great start.
Azzy smiled to herself as she counted her cash.
Somewhere far away, somewhere deep within the Earth, somewhere that was hidden and created specifically to keep the things inside hidden away from the world, a masked and cloaked figure placed their hand against the glass of a rather large tube filled with oddly coloured liquid. Staring up at the figure inside of the tube, they bowed their head and pressed their lowered forehead against the glass, closing their eyes behind the mask.