Kuro stared at the door, lifting his hand to knock but lowering it a few times. He had gone over scripts in his head but now that he was here, he had nothing. He groaned and with a deep breath knocked on the door. A few moments passed and Lillith opened the door, stared at him for a few moments and then slammed the door shut. ‘Bitch…’ he thought, and turned away, heading back the way he came.
“You are just going to leave?” Baal opened the door again with a look of disapproval. “You disappear, you are gone for three months and then you show up and then leave? Ai has been worried sick about you. You promised her every month!”
Kuro didn’t turn around, he paused without looking at Baal and without a word he began to walk again.
“Kuro! Don’t walk away from me.” Baal started after him, “We need to talk and you need to stay. Ai has been devastated ever since you left. I know I said some things I shouldn’t have, but you should have never raised your hand to Alouna. Kuro! Stop walking and talk to me! You can’t keep running from your problems, they-“
“BAAL!” Alouna ran towards them, a look of panic on her face “BAAL! BAAL!” She saw Kuro and almost fell over, “KURO! KURO!”
“Alouna, what’s wrong?!” Baal started toward her.
“Ai! I think she is going into labor! She needs help!” Alouna yelled, in a flash Kuro flew past her toward the beach from where Alouna had come. “Woah…” Baal hurried to her and picked her up and hurried after Kuro, “you two are fast!”
“You just have tiny legs, remember.” He chuckled, but then became very serious as Ai came into view. She laid on the beach just before the sand became wet, she gasped heavily and was making loud groans.
Kuro was the first to her, he slid down to her side and immediately cradled her head, “Mom”
Ai’s eyes opened, “Kuro?… my…son… you’re here.” She started crying with a weak smile.
“Don’t cry mom, come on let’s get you inside.” He picked her up carefully. “Baal hurry to the house and prepare a bed, we need hot and cold water, towels and a blanket.”
“We need to call a Doula, they will know what needs to be done.” Baal insisted.
Ai groaned in pain, “the baby is coming…”
“We don’t have time! And I know how to deliver a baby! I have done it before! Now stop arguing with me and get your ass moving!” Kuro barked orders and started toward the house.
“Baal… trust Kuro…” Ai begged. Baal gave in with a nod and still with Alouna in his arms rushed to the house.
As they burst in through the door, Lillith jumped, “Don’t tell me you two got into a fight again!… What’s happening?”
“Ai is having the baby! Get a bed ready, I am going to get some hot water. Alouna, sweetheart, can you help by getting the towels?” Baal set her down.
“Can do!” She ran upstairs quickly.
Soon Ai was placed in bed, and everyone was scrambling around getting what was needed.
“Pace your breathing, Mom. On your exhales push.” Kuro instructed, he seemed rather calm. The complete opposite of everyone else in the room.
“You… came …back” Ai gasped in between her breathing.
“Of course I did. You are my mother.” He answered, in a position to catch the baby. “Sorry I took so long. Don’t stop your breathing pace, and start giving me bigger pushes.” He winced slightly as Ai screamed. “I need a towel!” Lillith quickly placed one under Ai and one in Kuro’s hands.
“A doula is on the way.” Lillith informed him.
Kuro shrugged, “I was a doula for years before the war, I know what I am doing. Mom don’t try to sit up, you need to keep your back straight. Keep pacing your breath, small pushes for now.”
Ai screamed again, and then continued with her breathing, “I wish Leviathan was here…” She cried.
“I know, me too.” Kuro answered, trying to hold his concentration, “Okay, slightly bigger pushes now. Baal, take her hand, she needs to squeeze to help her with the pain.” Baal quickly grabbed her hand.
“Something is coming.” Alouna completely froze in her steps.
“It is called a baby, you are old enough to know where babies come from.” Kuro answered.
“No, something strange. I can feel it, my body aches. My ears are ringing. It is getting closer.” Alouna backed away from Ai to the wall with a frightened confused look.
Baal stared at her, “What are you-“ He started to feel something as well and looked to Kuro, who stared at him wide-eyed. “But-“
“Mom! Keep pushing!” Kuro’s relaxed face now was unreadable. Ai gave another hard push and with that the baby came. Kuro quickly caught the new child, and in seconds it began to cry. “This can’t…”
“What is it, Kuro? Is the baby okay?” She panicked trying to sit up.
“He is fine.” Kuro grinned holding up the crying bloody male baby demon as to show her new child was healthy. He had a small patch of black hair, two rounded small horns with even two smaller ones right below the larger, like his mother’s, that were a lovely grass green and beautiful shimmering emerald eyes with soft purple irises. His skin was similar to Kuro’s, but a softer gray and his tail was small and had what looked like sparkling green scales on it. Kuro quickly cleaned the baby, cut the cord and wrapped the baby in a soft blanket and handed him to his excited mother.
“Oh, look at him, he is beautiful. My sweet new baby.” Ai cried tears of joy, “Hi, there love. Look at those perfect little eyes.” She kissed her child’s forehead as he stopped crying. She smiled at Kuro, “Thank you. You did so well.”
Kuro returned the smile, “Mom… he is an Alpha…”
Ai paused in shock, “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I could feel it too.” Baal explained, “But this means…”
“Gehenna still exists. Alphas can only be born of Gehenna’s soul.” Kuro completed his thought.
“Then it is true, Gehenna has to still exist somewhere…” Lillith stood with her mouth gaping.
“My newest miracle, a hope for our people.” She cradled him in her arms and kissed him softly. “You make me so proud.” Ai reached her free arm to take Kuro’s hand.
“Mom, all I did was catch.” He chuckled, kissing her hand, “You did all the work.”
“Nonsense. Delivering a baby is not easy,” She reached up and ran her fingers through his hair. “and I am not just thanking you for that. I am also thanking you for not giving up on our home. If you had never given me the confidence to have this miracle, we would have never known. I am so glad you were here for this. I was so worried…”
“I am sorry mother, I broke my promise.” He kissed her forehead. “I will be stronger and I won’t let anyone stop me from seeing you. I will be here for you and my little brother, and I will return father to you.”
“My head is spinning.” Baal sat down, “A new Alpha, Gehenna is still out there, Kuro has the skills to deliver a baby, and Alouna…” He turned his attention to her.
She stood staring at the baby, clutching her chest as her body shook.
Kuro quickly looked at her, “That’s right! How on earth did you know an Alpha was coming?!”
“I…don’t know…” Alouna couldn’t slow her heart from racing, nor could she stop her limbs from shaking violently.
“She has a gift.” Ai said weakly, shifting herself around to feed her baby. “I have been teaching her for the last few months. I have never seen a human with the abilities she has. She has been able to summon so easily. I do have to apologize to you dearest. I have been testing you past what most Summoners are capable of, well knowing it could hurt you. Can you forgive me?”
“Of course, I kind of thought that to be the case. I mentioned some of the activities to Caleb and she didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about. I also couldn’t find any of the tasks in any of the books I was reading.” Alouna took deep breaths to calm herself, forcing herself to move, “Don’t apologize. I am grateful for your lessons, even if one was interrupted by this cutie.” Alouna approached the bed, “He is beautiful. What are you going to name him?”
“Mephistopheles.” Ai kissed the child’s forehead again.
“That sounds like something my father would have come up with.” Kuro commented, cleaning the blood off his arms.
“It was the name he complained I didn’t name you. I didn’t think it fit you, Kuroi sounded better for you. The ‘shi’ was added because your father wanted it to sound ‘scarier’ ‘more intimidating’.” Ai giggled.
“I think it sounds perfect… both names. Mephistopheles sounds too… professional for me.” Kuro laid down next to his mother and rubbed the baby’s head.
“Maybe you would have lived up to it.” Baal attempted to joke but Kuro completely ignored his comment.
“Kuro, love, I know you are wanting to go find Gehenna, now that we know it must still be somewhere out there but please listen.” Ai started, “I have been giving this a lot of thought over the last few months and I think Fakir is out there as well and he is trying to help you find our home. He gave us the means to do so.” Ai pointed to Alouna, “He told her to find you and for you to teach her. I think it is a sign he has sent her to help. This is what you wanted babe, help. I have watched her sleep, some nights I feel her soul detach from her being and then return with an energy I have only felt around Fakri. She isn’t just another Summoner, and Fakir knows it too. Stay, train her and when the time is right, things will come into place .”
Kuro looked at Alouna, and she smiled at him. “I would love to help you find Gehenna. I want to know what it looks like.” She held out her hand, “Partners?”
Kuro burst into laughter, “Alright, Fakir, I hope you know what you are doing.” He said to the air, “Not ‘partners’! BUT your teacher. You have to work your way to become partners. Because Partners means equals! And right now, you are not my equal. If you want me to teach you we will have to lay down some rules. FIRST! Training happens when I say it does. I don’t care if you were sleeping, playing with your friends or whatever you do. When it is training time, everything else ends. SECOND! I am NOT your babysitter, there will be no whining, complaining, or crying! THIRD! You will do what I say when I say it! If I tell you to do push ups, you do not question, you just do! And LAST! If you agree to be my pupil you must keep with it. I don’t want you to say a week from now, ‘I am too tired!’ and quit on me. If we are going to do this, then we are going to make contact.”
“A soul contact? She is just a child, Kuro, that is over doing it.” Lillith interrupted, stopping from her cleaning up the mess from around the room.
“This does not concern you, shut your mouth.” Kuro hissed, then brought his attention back to Alouna, “Here are the terms, you do as I say, follow my lead and you cannot quit until I view you as my equal, in exchange I will teach you all I know. If you break the contact your soul belongs to me.” He held out his hand.
“And if you break the contact?” Alouna asked, crossing her arms.
“Come again?” Kuro raised a brow.
“You have a short temper, and when you get mad you run. I don’t need you and Baal to get into another fight or you getting frustrated with me, and quit on me. With your contract right now, you have no punishment if you break it.” Alouna pouted.
“You are not seriously considering making a contract with him?!” Baal, who was quiet, thought she wouldn’t be so careless and make such a hazardous promise.
Kuro, once again, ignored Baal completely, “You are a smart one.” He chuckled, “Okay, fine. If I break the contract, then I won’t look at you like my pupil or my equal. I will place you as my superior and I will give you a piece of my soul to add to your summoning abilities.”
“Deal!” Alouna went to shake his hand but Baal grabbed it away.
“Sorry Alouna, I told Caleb I would keep you safe and this is dangerous. I cannot all-“ Kuro’s foot kicked Baal’s hand, making him release Alouna’s.
“This does not concern you either. I will not allow you to get in my way anymore. Unless you want to see what happens when the Prince of Gehenna really can do, keep it up. I will take every ounce of power you have here and leave you at the bottom. And you know as well as I, I can do it and you’d have nothing to stop me.” Kuro glared at Baal’s stunned face, “Now, back down.” He said in a low demanding voice.
Baal folded, he knew he would lose. Kuro was not only strong and very capable of defeating him, he also had more respect of the others. He was Lord Leviathan’s son after all. Baal backed away and sat down with a defeated frown.
He held his hand out to Alouna once more and she grabbed his hand. A blackish sand flew from Kuro’s wrist and slammed into her’s. “AH!” She gasped as the feeling of five bee stings pierced into her flesh. She screamed as it twisted under skin. The stings would converge to the underside of her wrist and start to form a blackened pentagram.
“The contract has been made. First order, get mother a drink.” He demanded.
“Okay!” She squeaked determined and held her arm. She slowly rose and rubbed her burning arm. “Ow…” She hurried from the room.
“I haven’t heard you speak like that in such a long time. Demanding respect, reminds me of Leviathan.” Ai fiddled with his hair again.
“Ordering people around and being in charge was more of father’s thing. I am the prince but I was never one for bossing people around like one.” Kuro adjusted himself, “But there are times I have to, I am done being nice to him. And I am done allowing him to act like he can just tell me what to do and I will just do it. Not once have I yielded to a command he has thrown at me and it will never happen. No matter how much he continually tries. I just needed to remind him of his place.” Kuro spoke as if he was saying it to Ai, but he stared down Baal as he spoke. Baal looked away trying to hide his frustrations.
“Please be careful with Alouna. I have taken a liking to her, I would be upset if…” Ai gave her son a sad look.
“Don’t worry mother. The whole, ‘your soul will be mine’ thing is just to keep her going. ‘Mine’ just means I get to decide what happens to it when she grows old and dies. I have no intention of consuming it. I had a feeling she meant something to you.” He reassured her.
“You are so smart.” She yawned and closed her eyes, “I think I need a nap. Mephisto is already starting to fall asleep, and I am going to take the time to sleep as well.”
Alouna stared at the marking as she returned with a glass of water. She had only heard of and seen the outcome of demon contracts. Or at least the broken demon contracts. Cities burned down, broken people with so much regret on their face and even the disfigurement of a man who’s broken contract got him his limbs removed, and his eyes, ears and tongue removed as well. A state of not being able to move or understand what was happening around him. It looked horrible. But hers would be different, she wouldn’t break it. No matter what she would succeed. She walked back into the room and set the water on the nightstand near Ai, who was sound asleep.
“I can watch her for now. You guys can leave, get yourselves cleaned up.” Lillith whispered, “I will call you if she needs anything.”
“Thank you, Lillith.” Kuro whispered back to her and slowly climbed out of the bed, not disturbing Ai or the sleeping baby.
Kuro walked toward the front door, “Alouna come.” He commented.
“Okay. Where are we going?” Alouna hurried after him.
“We are stopping at my place so I can change and wash the blood off me. Then we are going to start training.” Kuro commented.
“You can bathe here.” Baal called after him but Kuro continued as if he didn’t hear him. Baal frowned, feeling the anger follow through him as he followed them to the living room. Alouna waved to him as she followed Kuro out the door. “Don’t you dare let her get hurt. I will never forgive you.” Baal said to the empty room.
“Your place is in Rainy Cove right?” Alouna asked as they walked.
“Yes.” Kuro yawned, stretching out his arms, what a tiring day. He couldn’t help but feel excited for his new brother. He was really a spark of hope.
“Cool.” Alouna grinned, “Caleb and Baal would never let me go there.”
“You have no fear?” Kuro raised a brow. A human child, not shaking in fear of him, not looking at him like he was going to attack at any moment and not crying for her mom. It was uncommon.
“Of you? Nah, you are not scary. You are like a cat, don’t pet you the wrong way and all will be okay.” She giggled.
He raised a brow, “a cat? Is this because of my claws?”
“Your claws, and because you hiss and growl, when you get mad your tail switches, but at the same time you look… playful.” She grinned at him.
He laughed, “okay, yeah sure. A cat? I am more like a panther. Strong, proud and not something you want to mess with!” Kuro boasted.
“mmm…. Nope, just a house cat.” She teased. “Panthers don’t come home to cuddle with mommy.”
“Brat.” He pouted, “I am a cat then you are like a…umm… like the ugly duckling! A sore thumb that is weird and sticks out from the rest of the ducks. You even walk funny.”
“I am the ugly duckling?” She asked.
“Yea!” He smirked.
“That means I am gonna turn into a beautiful swan! So graceful and elegant. Stronger and smarter than any duck!” She shouted happily, “Thanks!”
He grumbled at his failed efforts.
“I have a question!” She suddenly changed the topic.
“Ask.” He crossed his arms, mentally prepared for the question to be dull.
“I know that there are seven Alpha’s, one for each of the seven sins. And I know right now there are only three… well now four because the other’s died. I also know they are important to Gehenna, but I don’t really understand why. Why are Alpha’s so important to Gehenna? What makes you different from other demons? And how is Mephisto’s birth proof that Gehenna is still out there somewhere?”
“Huh… not bad. Good questions.” He truly seemed impressed, “We alphas are different from others because our souls come from another place than other demons. Demon souls come from the energy of the parents. A bit of the father’s energy and a bit of the mother’s energy come together to make the soul of a demon. A female is considered ‘fertile’ and ready when the soul energy in her body has collected into an egg, then the male gives her the other half to make one complete soul and that makes a new demon. Now Alpha’s work in a similar way but with an added energy. An energy given from the seven life energies of Gehenna.”
“Oh I have read about those seven souls that carry the power of Gehenna.” She smiled.
“Correct. That extra energy makes us carry one of those soul’s embodiments. Mine be wrath, Baal’s being Pride, Asmodeus’ being lust and now Mephisto’s being Envy. Those souls are Gehenna, they hold the door to home and without them an Alpha cannot come into existence.”
“Okay… but why do Alpha’s exist?” She wondered.
He chuckled, “Full of good questions. Gehenna is alive, and through us Alpha’s it’s able to have life. In a way I am Gehenna, and so is Baal and Asmodeus and Mephisto. We are all Gehenna. Gehenna is so powerful it needs multiple bodies to live to its fullest. A being who lives multiple lives all at once.”
“Whoa…” She took a moment to process the information, “So you and Baal are the same person?”
“Yes and no. We carry a piece of the same soul but we also carry the soul our parents made. I am Gehenna but I am Kuroishi, I am my own person too.”
“So, does being an Alpha give you any special gifts?” She wondered.
“The common trend seems to be we are stronger than our other brethren. We have more control over our souls, we can exit our body and return to it at will. We give a different energy, as you felt with Mephisto, that seems to flow completely differently than any other of my kind. We also get special traits that are special to us. Baal can summon and wield the Durandal, a sword with amazing power. Pride, and only pride, can call upon the sword and is the only one who can hold it. If he were to drop the sword and another was to touch it, they would be consumed by the sword. The embodiment of pride is the only one the sword deems worthy of being it’s master. That is why Baal was the head commander of our army. Asmodeus as the ability to change their sex and form and make children with anything. From what I heard is, the one who was Lust before could make human babies with humans, pure human babies. Asmodeus dislikes humans, so I doubt they have tried. Asmodeus was born without any sexual organs. They can change them and their appearance to fit the being in which they are trying to seduce preferences.” He explained.
“So they could just grow a penis and then turn around and have working ovaries?”
“Exactly. They become what you want them to be. Also they have the trait to be able to ‘perform’ in whatever manner their partner wishes, even if they have never been with that person before. They just know what the person likes.”
“That makes sense, people have different things they lust after. What is your special trait?” She inquired.
“The coolest one, I am the master of dragons.” He puffed out his chest, “Dragons are wrathful beings, so they naturally gravitate toward wrathful people. And because of that, they bow their heads to the embodiment of wrath!”
“Cool…” Her eyes sparkled in amazement, “I can summon a dragon.”
“Are you sure it isn’t just a lizard type demon? Dragons don’t give summoning rights to just some little human.” He teased.
“I can! I swear!” She placed her hands on her hips.
“Alright alright. I believe you.” He said with obvious sarcasm. “You can show me this ‘dragon’ later, we are almost to Rainy Cove.”