Writing Group: Better the Devil You Know (PRIVATE)

Hello, you conflicted creature.

I’m sorry you’ve got to be in this position. Really, I am. It’s never easy to choose, especially when there’s precious little to be sure of either way. But before you do, be absolutely certain it’s what you want, because…

This week’s writing group prompt is:

 

Better the Devil You Know

 

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

 

 

This one had me stumped for a hot second, there. I assumed at first that it was just going to be about difficult decisions and conflicting stakes. But there’s a little more wrapped up in it…

Better the devil you know.

Not just choosing between devils.

There’s a statement of value in there.

So it seems that the game we’re playing here is one that involves a tantalizing unknown setup against an undesirable known. And in that unknown, there is danger.

This seems to me a tragic advocacy for safe places and familiar grounds, however flawed they may be. It’s getting an unnecessary cosmetic surgery that messes up your face for the rest of your life, because you didn’t like the shape of your smile. It’s leaving the comfort of home unprepared and ending up on the street because your parents are a little too strict. It’s taking the oily hand of the creature who lives in your vent, because it says the world inside is so much lovelier than your drab little townhouse.

Break our hearts with a greedy decision.

Set up a beautiful catch-22.

Send us off into the thorn patch we never knew was there.

 

 

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

 

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least six stories during each stream, three of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    6. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new (no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    6. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    7. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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Brick
Brick
1 month ago

The Perfect System
by Brickosaur

Ninety-nine crabs are at the bottom of a rusty old bucket in the middle of the washed-est-up island in the sea. Whoever can keep that bucket gets to be the next king.

“Whaddaya see out there?” they call to the single scout they’ve allowed to perch on the lip.

“Giant pile of food in today’s wash. But there’s also a fire-breathng seagull poking at everything.”

Crab Thirty-Eight dares to speak up. “That’s pretty important to get back. Maybe we should pause this and work together to–”

Boos come from the crowd. Collaboration–PUH. If they did that, how would they know who won the battle?

Crab Fifty-Seven tries to scramble up out of the bucket and is snatched down by a clawful of others. They pinch off its eyes, throw it on the pile with seventeen other funnyguys.

A trio on the far side starts brawling. At the end of it, two are dead and one is missing a claw. But Crab Eighty-Two stands. The crowd cheers and body-surfs it to the Elite Middle, where all the victors fight.

“The seagull has begun to set the food on fire,” announces the scout.

Crab Thirty-Eight winces at the smoke rising from the beach. “We really should go take care of that,” it whispers to Crab Five, its best friend.

Five blinks in horror. “But we can’t. It’s against the rules. There’s nothing better than this divine system!” Crab Five waves across the bucket, where two others are fighting over a greasy sandwich wrapper. “What are you calling for? Work-Together-ism!?!?”

“Would that be so bad?” counters Thirty-Eight. “There’s enough food for all of us if we can chase that seagull away. And we could stop killing each other in here!”

“I heard Work-Together-ism killed a THOUSAND crabs. Every day! Every–MINUTE! I can’t believe you want something so evil. In fact…” Five shouts, “THIS TRAITOR WANTS TO END BUCKETISM!”

At that, the whole cast swarms Thirty-Eight. The traitor goes under, crushed at the claws of the eye-pinched climbers.

Crab Five turns away, happy to have helped preserve their perfect system.
“I’ve done good today.”

L. L. Marco
1 month ago

Familiar Roots
By L. L. Marco

“How could you do this to me…?”

My voice quivered. The porch steps were freezing beneath my bare feet and my hands trembled as they clutched the cellphone close. It was so cold out here and my pj’s did nothing to fight off the coming winter. But I couldn’t go back inside; what if someone woke up and heard? They already thought I was so stupid…

“I… I don’t know.” It was the first honest thing he’d said to me in a long time but it still cut through me.

What had I expected him to say? What excuse could he have mustered that would make it all go away? My toes were already beginning to numb from the cold but I was glad for that and silently wished that it would spread through all of me. I didn’t want to feel this pain. Not again. I choked back a sob, trying desperately to silence it before he could hear but to no avail. He sighed.

“I didn’t mean to. We were just friends, and then before I knew it, I…” He didn’t need to say what happened next. We knew. “You deserve better. I… I should let you go.”

My heart leapt into my throat. The sorrow that had planted seeds in my chest suddenly burst into vines that wound around my lungs, my spine, up my throat until I felt I couldn’t breathe. Despair gave away to loneliness that loomed just around the corner. If he left… what would happen? I would be consumed by it. Terror seized me. No… anything but the loneliness! I couldn’t face it!

“W-Wait…!” I whispered frantically. I forced a smile into my voice. “N-No, I’m okay. W-We can work through this! I love you. You mean more to me than a d-dumb mistake. D-Dont leave… please.”

Silence filled the space between us. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears; tears blurred my vision. I’d rather freeze out there on the front porch than be abandoned…

And then, finally, he spoke.

“Okay. But don’t forget hun… this was your choice.”

minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
1 month ago

“A Rock and a Hard Place”
By minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)

“GWOOOOAAAAR!”

“RUN!”

Daisy and Marshal took off down the old castle’s halls. The dragon was hot on their heels, shooting bursts of flame at their feet.

“You just HAD to wake up the dragon, didn’t you!?” Daisy chastised, unconscious prince in her arms. “We were nearly out! Why in Alicia did you WAKE IT!?”

Marshal dove and replied “I-Ack! I’m a scientist, Daisy! I had to get some notes on it for the record!”

“Records Shmeckords!” she shot back. “We’re trying to perform a rescue here, and all you’re thinking about is research!? We’re supposed to be sneaky!”

“Oh, like you’re one to talk!” He retorted mid-sprint. “You’re the one who wasn’t ‘all that impressed’ with the beast! How am I supposed to gather data when you’re insulting it!?”

The dysfunctional duo came to a stop at the end of their line; a crumbling cliff with bubbling lava below. Marshal looked behind them. Dragon, coming in hot. Options were weighed.

“We’re doomed. Oh, Goodness gracious, we are doomed.” His hands cupped his face. He mentally began writing his will…

“No, we aren’t!”

While he’d been panicking, Daisy slung the prince decisively on her back.

“Come on. We’re jumping.”

“Wh-What!?”

“We’re jumping! Take my hand!”

“Th-that’s crazy! I am not jumping into-”

“Just trust me, ok!? I’ve done this before; I know what I’m doing!”

This had to be peak crazy! She was proposing they just jump into lava!? What was she-

The rumbling grew closer behind them. The dragon was right there, staring down the hall at them, death in its eyes.

“Just trust me! Please!”

He couldn’t… but… burnt to a crisp? Or burnt to a crisp alongside a stupid companion?

He chose the latter.

He grabbed onto her hand just in time for her to leap off, barely escaping the dragon’s maw. The lava was swiftly approaching below them. He closed his eyes and braced for impact-

FWOOSH!

SHWING!

POOMPH!

The two fell through the portal spawned beneath them, landing on (and destroying) Marshal’s couch with splintering, fluff-tossing force.

“Y-You’re… paying for that.”

Monty
Monty
1 month ago

Than the Angel You Don’t
By Monty

“Who the hell are you?”

The winged man smiled, making his ethereal aura glimmer and almost blinding poor Nicolas.

“I am your guardian angel,” the blond angel hummed heavenly.

“Why did you come at a time like this?” Nicolas asked with his eyebrows raised; if only he had a weapon with him.

“At the apocalypse?” The angel asked before chuckling. “Why I have come to save you.”

To the angel’s surprise, the human laughed.

“Oh great guardian angel,” Nicolas chuckled with a glint of mischief in his eyes. “I am beyond saving.”

The angel laughed and shook their head. “That is a silly statement, my friend,” the angel hummed.

“What if I don’t want to be saved?”

The angel nearly fell over at such a statement. “W-Who wouldn’t want to be saved right now?”

Nicolas smirked before locking eyes with the angel. “I don’t,” he insisted. “I already have a place where I’ll be staying.”

The angel’s eyes stared at their human with confusion and a tinge of fear. “You mean-”

“Oh, you and I both know what he means, angel.”

The angel whipped their head around to see a dark-clothed figure.

“M-Magnus.”

“Hello, Muriel,” the demon chuckled lowly. “Fancy seeing you here.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Coming to get Nicolas,” the demon hummed. “Did you think I was here for you? Oh no, I have lost all the fun in doing that after you have rejected me.”

“Of course I did! I am Nicolas’s guardian angel, who I will save from you!”

Magnus nearly guffawed at the statement. “Angel.” His voice and his tone lowered significantly. “You believe in free will, right?”

“Well, yes-“

“So if your beloved human decides to go against God on his own free will, then you can’t do anything about it.”

The angel gulped, causing the demon to smirk.

“I win,” the demon hummed.

“N-No!” Muriel exclaimed before turning to Nicolas. He was already gone. The angel turned back to Magnus and sobbed: there was Nicolas, laughing as he was being dragged to hell.

DesOttsel
DesOttsel
1 month ago

Dogged Days
by Gage Jarman

The harmonica wailed over the street littered with shattered bottles and cigarette butts.

“I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above, ‘Have mercy, now, save poor Jimmy if you please’ ”

A man built like a brick house stepped out of a grungy dive bar and approached the boy sitting on his suitcase, lost in the music.

“How many times I gotta kick you off this corner? You come back when you can actually play that thing, son.” The big man stood over the boy. The boy glanced up, then kept playing. The man sighed, grabbed the boy by the collar and his belt loop and threw the boy. “Go on home. You don’t need to be spending your every day round here.”

The boy rolled down the sidewalk. “I ain’t got one!” He scowled over his shoulder.

The man looked down at the boy’s recently tarnished slacks and vest. “Now, I don’t believe that for a minute.”

“…I’ll be back back tomorrow.” The boy snatched his suitcase and walked down the street.

*****

The streetlamp bathed the bus stop in an orange glow. It was enough that if the boy shifted his sheets to catch the light, he could still read the notes. He did the longest draws he could, tried to make his reels tighter, cupped his hands to make each note have just the right level. He played until his face was jelly. The boy curled up in the corner of the glass structure with a thin blanket and massaged his cheeks. He wasn’t going to lose. He bet everything on this. If his parents or the cops ever found him, that’d be it. He’d be back in his room, studying the pre-prescribed materials to a successful life. It was bullshit. They only cared about money. They had no passion, and he loved music, how it could make hearts dance or sink… God, he was hungry. He pressed the harp to his lips.

“Standin’ at the crossroad, baby, risin’ sun goin’ down
I believe to my soul, now, poor Jimmy’s sinkin’ down…”

Last edited 1 month ago by DesOttsel
Deviacon
1 month ago

“Betterman”
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)

I felt the icy cold breath run slowly down my neck. A chill ran through me. I never could get used to that feeling.

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” I muttered under my breath without opening my eyes. A heavy weight pinned me beneath the blankets. I took a deep breath and firmly projected it all out at once. “Come on!” I cast aside the blankets and sat up in one swift motion.

As I made my way down the street, I felt my shadow’s weight at my heels. Dozens of whispering thoughts filled my head. Work to be done, steps to be taken, step out into traffic, places to go, need to grab food first, wonder what she tastes like, need to prioritize things, coffee—no, tea—no, need to actually sit down to eat first.

“Then, we can both eat.” I hushed sternly as I opened the door to a café. Another cold chill at my neck, and the weight seemed to lift some.

As I sat peacefully reading while waiting for my food, a child was peeking over from behind the seat across from me, curious, insolent. Bruises peeked up from their collar. I paid them no mind.

I could feel the child’s desperate gaze, but my attention was on the cold wisps wrapping around the knife on my table. I quickly smacked at the knife with my book.

After my food was delivered, I carefully began to take bits of meat from the sandwich and ball them up together. The child who had continued watching me finally piped up.

“What’re ya doin’?”

Without taking my attention away from the food in my hands I responded matter-of-factly.

“Bettering my Devil.” And then tossed the hunk of meat over my shoulder. There was no sound. No thud of the meat hitting the ground, no gentle smacking of it being snatched up. I saw the child’s eyes widen in awe and horror.

“Hey sit down, don’t bother people!” A stern voice called. I met the kids unwavering gaze, and gave them a quick wink before standing.

“Pardon me, sir…”

Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
1 month ago

“Death”[Aleph null sci fi]
By Gregovin

They are all fools. They think that their lives are better with death. They are so worried about going beyond our natural lifespan that they won’t fund research that will even give us the option to go past it. Even though that would be objectively good. Worst comes to worst, you can just stop using it.

So closed minded. The fools. At least they’re better than the religious types. Telling me I’ll go to hell for saving lives. Fuck it. If the cost of improving our lives is me going to hell, I’ll take it. I’m not sure I want to be in the realm of a god who would oppose us saving lives.

I guess I’ll have to do without their funding. Unless…

I know how to do it. I have a plan. I thought this meeting would be useless, but it could work out…

I walk up to the podium.

“Hello, my friends. As you know, I am working on biological immortality. I would like to tell you I have already secured a bit of funding, potentially more to come…”

A little lie, but I let them fill in the rest. Maybe they would think I was working with the Chinese, or maybe a private corporation. Either way, they couldn’t let this go to the competition.

“Progress is good, even though it is slow. The protein folding is working as expected, though delivery is a little ways off. By the end of the year phase 1 trials should begin, if required funding is obtained”

The audience was stunned. I’m confident I’ll have plenty of funding from the US government in a few days. I’m ready to build a better world.

NocteVesania
1 month ago

The Devil Within
By NocteVesania

Elias stands in the middle of the plaza, his bright blue eyes trained on the demon standing across. A bead of sweat rolls down his cheek as he feels the heat of the burning village around him. He tightens his grip on his sword, pointed at the demon, ready to strike at any moment.

“Give up, young one,” the demon orders, its raspy voice akin to the crackling flames around them, “you’re only delaying the inevitable.”

A familiar voice echoes in Elias’ head. “He stands in our way. Let me eradicate him!”

Elias feels his right arm start to tremble. He grasps it with his left hand, trying to calm it down. The black veins that run down his arm start to feel warm to the touch.

“Just give yourself up. I will lift this curse from you. You know your control over it will not last much longer.” The demon offers his hand.

Elias grits his teeth. “And let you have the power? Let you take over the world?”

“Once the demon inside you takes control, you will have doomed everyone!” The demon shouts out, his voice booming over the roaring blaze. “The world will burn and no mortal will survive!”

Elias pauses for a moment, waiting for a response from the voice within. Nothing. He lowers his head and sheathes his blade.

“Maybe you’re right,” Elias sighs as he closes his eyes, “maybe it would be better to give it up.”

The demon smirks, that is until Elias opens his eyes again, the bright blue now scarlet like blood.

“But I’d rather take the risk than leave everything in your hands!” Elias screams in defiance, his right arm tensing up, ready to rip his enemy to shreds.

Laughter from the voice within echoes in Elias’ head as the black veins on his arm glow a sinister purple.

PixieWings
PixieWings
1 month ago

Mrs. Danvers Eats Children
By PixieWings

“Who’s getting it?”

Keeley clutched the bat to her chest and starred up at the hole punched into the dirty attic window.

“Are you nuts, Josh? That’s Danvers’ house!”

“My brother told me his friend’s sister saw her eat a finger once.”

“Well, I’m not going!”

The boys all turned to her with the same expectant look.

“…Alone?” Keeley squeaked.

“I’ll go.”

“Ugh, fine. Take the new kid.”

The new kid’s name was Dean. He’d moved in the week before.

Keeley hid behind him as he raised the big brass knocker and dropped it with a thump. They waited for footsteps.

Instead, the door yawned open.

Keeley tried to bolt, but Dean caught her hand.

“If you run now, they’re gonna make fun of you. She’s just an old lady.”

They crept into the living room, the floor groaning under them. Dusty light filtered in through the paisley curtains. An old, musty smell hung in the air.

There were no severed fingers, no boiling pot of children’s blood soup.

Keeley followed Dean to the second floor, then the third. By the time they reached the attic, she felt bold enough to go in first.

“You see it?”

No answer.

Keeley glanced back at him. Dean was doubled over, shaking. He’d been so calm earlier. She’d thought he wasn’t scared.

“Hey Dean?”

The top half of his body turned to her.

But it didn’t stop.

It twisted upwards and fell open in fleshy strips lined with teeth.

Keeley screamed and clamped her eyes shut.

Something big whiffed passed her face. There was a sharp crack, then a bang as something heavy hit the floor.

“She’s mine!” The Thing That Was Not Dean rasped.

“Now you listen to me, young man! I’ve eaten well here for sixty years and I don’t intend to stop now!”

There was a crunch.

A wet pop.

A gurgle.

Silence.

“Here you are, dear.”

Something passed into her palms. Keeley pried her eyes open.

A baseball.

“And if those boys give you more trouble, you send them to me. I’ll straighten them right out.”

MasaCur
MasaCur
1 month ago

Deal With the Devil
By MasaCur

Sonja tapped her fingers on her desk, the worry and anxiety eating at her. She hated feeling useless. “Can we ask Zydrunas again?” she asked.

Melissa shrugged. “I don’t see how that can help. Zee has said he wants a break.”

Sonja angrily swept everything off her desk. “This affects him too, you know? Does he want more money? What do I have to do?”

Melissa sighed. “I think he legitimately wants a break.”

A third woman in the room lounged back in her chair. “What if we asked someone else?”

The other two women looked at Erykah. “Who do you mean?” Sonja asked.

Erykah blew a bubble in her gum and let it pop “What about Rikke Farlund?”

Sonja rolled her eyes and Melissa snorted in reply.

“What? I’m sure Rikke Farlund has contacts that could help us,” Erikah argued.

“Rikke Farlund is a criminal,” Melissa explained.

“Um, hate to point this out, but so is Zydrunas,” Erykah replied. “Actually, come to think of it, so are we. Only difference is, we never got caught.”

Sonja tapped her lip. “You know, Erykah may have a point.”

“No! You’ve got more sense than this!” Melissa protested.

“Yes, but we’re getting nowhere on our own,” Sonja replied. “And our usual fixer insisted that he doesn’t want to get involved. Farlund is probably our best bet.”

Erykah pumped her fist in triumph as Melissa scowled.

“Who’s going to call her, Erykah?” Melissa cynically asked.

“Don’t you know her?” Erykah asked.

“What makes you think I know Rikke Farlund?”

“Well, you’re an elf. She’s an elf…” Erykah rationalized.

“She’s a dark elf, I’m a forest elf. And we were born in completely different parts of the world.” Melissa shook her head with scorn. “This is why elves think orcs are stupid.”

“Hey! I’ll have you know I finished top of my class at my magic academy!” Erykah shot back.

Sonja held up her hands. “Enough out of the both of you. I’ll contact Farlund. And we’re supposed to be hiding, so please shut up about not being human.”

Last edited 1 month ago by MasaCur
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 month ago

Settingstuck (UNIVERSE_ID NOT FOUND)
By Calliope Rannis

On a grey, rainy day, at the topmost floor of an old boarding school that was now sliced into houses, a girl sat on her bed. She’d been woken up at exactly 10am by her forlorn daily alarm, but it could take an hour to become capable of anything but staring into space and contemplating.

It was usually of a fictional nature – daydreaming about her worlds and her monsters, or about one of the original characters that she fondly thought of as her daughters. (A somewhat ironic bond, considering the cruelties her writing would inflict upon them. She wondered if this is how the God of her universe sees their creations as they make them suffer?) But this time was different. This was not about the content of her worlds, but rather of their creation. And the thought dominating her mind today was:

“I don’t want to write a Corespace story today, do I?”

It had taken her days to come to that conclusion. But ultimately it was how she felt. She did genuinely love writing for that setting – it was so full of Stuff and Things and Characters that she could make any writing prompt work for it! Lately however, that had been all she was writing. It had become a habit, a rigidity upon her creative process, the thing she best knew how to write.

She could have written a story to fit this prompt too. Frankly it would have been easy. Her Void Lords could take on the role of a ‘devil’, or maybe a prisoner of a Shellskin? But she just…didn’t want to.

The girl wanted to do something else instead. Something unbound from her well-trodden setting, unbound from her genre of preference, something barely fictional if she was going to be quite honest with herself. Something she had never tried to write before. It may be in some ways the exact opposite of the prompt, but that was okay. She didn’t even need to write up to the max word count for this one!

(But she did anyway. Because some things apparently never change.)

The Assassin
The Assassin
1 month ago

A light at Tunnel’s End
By TheAssassin

Deep in the underground, within the damp tunnels of despair stood a man. His body stained with scars and eyes greyed from hopelessness, he cried.

Finally, after all the long years of torment, he found a way out. A path to freedom laid before him. One that did not echo with screams or flow with blood. This one was clean. Clean of the death that surrounded him, free of the daggers that stabbed him, a path that shone, and so he cried.

But these were not the tears of joy.

They were of woe.

For in that escape he now saw, was a poison. Dripping from the walls and oozing in puddles upon the ground, it seeped into all things.

He knew not of this poison. Perhaps it would be a fairer fate than to endure that which he had escaped. But he could not evade the feeling of dread. It might truly be a final well of agony before the sweet release of the morning sun, but he could not be sure.

If he stepped into the depths of the poisoned path and not find that release, then the anguish of his body would be all the more sour. It would take centuries to accustom his wounds to the new pain.

But if he returned…

Returned to the place that rent his flesh and tore his bones, then he would know of his agony. He would understand through his years of experience his pain. He might harness that knowledge to endure just a little bit longer.

Yes…

That is what he must do. Return to his former captors and suffer their ways. But even still the light of the path ahead entranced him. Maybe he could risk escape? Maybe the poison was instead a cure? Something to heal the scars upon his flesh?

Maybe…

No.

His mind searched for an excuse to tread that path, but none were of certain logic. All conclusions risked greater, unknowable pain. And so, crying, he turned and walked into the darkness, away from the light.

Abandoning forever his one fleeting chance at peace.

Last edited 1 month ago by The Assassin
Matthew
Matthew
1 month ago

The Devil was Down in Georgia
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

It was a hot August day. The sun shone fiercely on my back as I rode down the twisting Georgia country roads. Though some respite came from my violin case safely strung across my back for transport.

Passing over another hill, I noticed a strange looking figure on the side of the road up ahead. As I got closer, I noticed that it had red skin, hooved feet, and wicked horns.

Unsure of what to do in this situation, I pulled up next to the beast who didn’t acknowledge my presence. It was just sitting on an old hickory stump, looking fairly solemn. Feeling a Christian duty to help this poor soul out, I carefully approached the creature.

“How are you doin’ today, mister?” I said in as friendly a tone as I could muster.

The beast finally broke it’s position and looked at me. It’s eyes stared with an intensity that would shake nearly any man to his core, but merely registered to my sun-fried brain as apathy.

“I’ve learned a lot today.” The beast said in a gruff tone. “And not in the best way.”

“Aww shucks, mister.” I sang out in sympathetic tones. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Not likely. I lost my expensive golden violin in a fiddling contest.” The creature sighed rather loudly. “I thought I was the best.”

That sentence struck me at my core. I had tried so hard to be the best at violin in the orchestra. I practiced for hours on hours on end. Yet still, I made only third chair.

I pulled out my violin.

“Here.” I said. “Give it a try.”

He gently took the fiddle and started playing a haunting melody. Double stops. Triple stops! Sextuplets! It was masterful.

“You’re pretty good ole son!” I said as he bowed, gracefully.

“I’ll tell you what. I’ll let you borrow my violin, so long as you use it to beat that feller who took your golden fiddle.”

The beast looked humbled at my offer. “I accept. I promise to not let you down.”

“I’m sure you won’t.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Matthew
jesse fisher
jesse fisher
1 month ago

Even Demons Have Inner Devils

By Jesse Fisher

He had been given a blade but it was dull and cracked which now laid on the sandy floor shattered. His loincloth was barely holding on from the movements he was making. This dark navy wolf dodge as a much finer sword nearly sliced his head off. The wielder of this sword lizard with feathered wings and armor that looked like a soldier get up, it looked to be a pompadour scaled with cyan feathers.

“Okay really starting to rethink this whole not killing people.” Demon said to himself as he jumped to the wall of the arena and kicked off to get over the feathered lizard. Flipping so to kick off the lizard just so that it knocked it out.

Landing on the ground the feather lizard fell to its knees before hitting the ground with a thud, the crowd booed and hissed as another challenger entered the arena barely giving the wolf time to rest.

“Oh come on after like fifty griffins, feather lizards, and dragons; I think you would have got the message that I could kill if I did not hold back?” Demon did huff from both said fights and exhaustion of the bone headedness of this whole thing.

It was at that moment that it turned out to be a griffin that had wyvern wings, which meant it was holding four swords; two short swords in its talons while two greatswords held in the wyvern claws.

“Gangrel,” Demon shouted up to the order spirit causing her lion ears to perk up. “I swear when I get out of this I will deck whatever priest did this. Also going to have a long talk about that night, I know what you did.”

The griffins next to the order spirit began to stare daggers at her as she blushed.

“Well that was an easy way to out my target.” Demon smiled. “Now for my next trick, a hand trick.”

Jumping up and landing on the wall again his toe claws dug into the wall as his hands began to shake and knifelike blades replaced his fingers.

revisis
revisis
1 month ago

Hope for the Unknown
by Exce

Luciel’s eyes opened, and immediately there was something familiar all around him. Like a smell, but even more pervasive. And then, across what seemed like an endless mirror plain reflecting the stars above, he saw him.

Ubvoriel.

The two angels, father and son, sized each other up before the younger one spread his arms, as if in a gesture of placation.

“Father. It’s been too long. I was worried when I heard that the Brute had you in his grasp.”
Luciel’s expression hardened at his choice of words, and he crossed his arms, hiding them inside the great sleeves of his dark robe.

“I’d thank you for your concern – hadn’t it been you who  brutalized not only me, but the entire planet for  the last centuries?”

Ubvoriel gave a sigh, as if it was him who had to argue with a child.
“I know you see me as the devil, but, Father, please, you have to see beyond our quarrel.”

Behind him vague shapes appeared , the implication of the angels.

“I have already shown you how far I’m willing to go. Can you say the same about the Brute? His hunger for violence seems insatiable.”
Ubvorial raised a hand, offering it to his father.

As if nothing had happened between them. As if he hadn’t brought misery and death all over this world.

Luciel raised his hand as well, but instead of taking his son’s, he extended it towards the heavens.
“I do know the depths of your soul…and what I see fills me with sorrow. With  the one you call the Brute, I can at least hope that he hides some light that can be kindled.”

The light of the stars began to increase in intensity, and the shadowy figures were burned away.

Ubvorial scowled, even as his shape began to dissolve.
“Then that’s how it will be. You’ll be remembered for choosing a murderous stranger over your son and people!”

Luciel sighed, the dream finally collapsing around him.

Maybe they would remember him for choosing hope over certain tyranny….if there would be anyone left.

Samantha R DeShong
Samantha R DeShong
1 month ago

“Better This Way”
by Samantha Realynn

The view from the balcony was beautiful. I had a perfect view of the garden, sprawling with flowers I’d never seen before coming here. It seemed like the moon was always full, casting it in serene light. Every day when I awoke I always found a new bouquet beside my bed, the smell so divine. I turned from the balcony to view my spacious room. The bed was perfectly made, with soft pillows and silk sheets. My bookshelves were full of my favorites to read and reread at my leisure. The wardrobe that held some of the most beautiful clothes I had ever worn. It was all perfect.

Even the manacle around my wrist was made for comfort.

I don’t remember how long I’ve been here. Days? Months? Longer? The sun was a distant memory now. I can’t remember when I last saw another person aside from my jailor.

He would be making his visit soon. Always to talk, the perfect gentleman. I was not a prisoner here. I was a guest. That was always made clear. I could leave if I so wished. All I had to do was ask, and I would be returned to my old home.

Did they still remember me? Do they remember what they tried to do to me? ‘Witch,’ they had called me. ‘Demon.’ A tainted and depraved thing. What had I done to deserve the moniker? It wasn’t my fault those boys had died. I warned them something protected me. Yet they pursued anyway. They brought about their deaths. But I was to blame. I was the devil.

But what could they blame? The unseen thing that haunted me? The terrible unknown that loomed over me? Why, when they could simply turn to me instead. I was there, visible, touchable, killable. Better the devil you can see, yes? If only they had thought about what happened to those boys.

My door opened and my jailor walked in, who kept me safe. He smiled at me and presented the flowers. I gave a small smile back. Yes, better the devil you know.

Laribhaven
Laribhaven
1 month ago

Demons are way easier to deal with
By: Larissa (Lari.B.Haven)

Killian knew that a possessed teacher causing havoc in the gym just before E.D, would stir too much attention. He needed to think quick, and banish it before the other students came.

A thick curtain of sulfur rose from the wooden floor.

“A demon?” Eddie looked at him.

“You’re going down, demon hunter!” The demon responded, his sharpened claws ripping through the teacher’s skin. “Get ready, Killian Cole!”

“I… can explain, just not now, Eddie!” He gestured at him to hide.

“I’m not going!” He responded in ASL.

“How do you mean you’re not going! That thing is dangerous!”

“You kept that hidden from me, all this time?”

The demonic entity let go a tired sigh.

“Will the two lovebirds argue for much longer?”

“Shut up, V’ilonté!” Killian lowered the bat. “I’m dealing with serious shit here!”

“How do you know my true name?” The demon blinked his eyes.

“Someone etched that in your forehead in elderspeak.” Killian said brushing off and taking the blond boy by the arm. “Now baby, can you please go back to safety?”

“Dammit you, E’ienv! I will kill you when I get home!” The evil fiend tried to clean his forehead while Killian and Eddie argued more.

“So if you die, I’m just supposed to watch and wait for your chewed corpse outside?” Eddie amped up the angry signaling. “And why keep it secret from me, of all people?”

Killian rolled his eyes.

“How about I beat this dumbass now and then I tell you about banishing demons later?”

The blond one thought for a while, still mad at him.

“Fine, I go! But you HAVE to tell me everything later!”
Killian smiled and kissed Eddie’s lips, and the boy ran away.

“Now… where were we?”

“Only Mom can call me a dumbass!” The demon protested.

“How about I send you straight to her lap?”

Killian then ran in the demon’s direction, like he was supposed to. That would be easier than dealing with Eddie’s wrath later.

“Better the devil you know.” He thought.

King_Nix
King_Nix
1 month ago

“Better Your Devil”
By King_Nix

Carnage and ruin surrounded Heimrik. Bodies of men, dwarves, and orks alike littered the craggy beach beside the broken corpses of Gryphons and the writhing forms of dragons in their death throes. Each breath drew in the sickening smell of burning flesh, and the acrid aroma of dragon blood. The sea foamed red with viscera. The battle had been won, yet still Heimrik saw the hunger gnawing at his people’s faces.

It was an evil thing. Some dark horror that had slithered into the hearts of the Aranai, the Dwarves as Men called them, and turned petty squabbles into hideous vendettas, twisted the desire to create wealth into an unrelenting greed. Then the dragons had come, culling the Dwarves in their own lands and taking their hoarded wealth. Why was the hunger still there?

The earth heaved. The mountain cracked. In a roar and a torrent of fire, a massive form erupted from the ground. Glavros, the Devil-Drake, Daemon Lord of Greed, slid his gleaming bulk from the mountain and bellowed, “Puny mortals, welcome! What riches have you brought as sacrifice to your master?” Molten gold dripped from the monster’s jaws; black smoke billowed from its nostrils.

Heimrik stepped forth, gripping his hammer with rage.
“We come to rid ourselves of you, parasite!” he shouted. “Come and surrender, if you have honor!”

The Daemon roared, and the battle began once more.

Gryphons flew and struck, only to be batted away like flies before the beast. Elementalists, elite magi of Lluneria, danced their forms to combat the flames of the Lord of Greed. The Dwarves were in chaos. Some were taken by their hunger, and attacked friend and foe alike. Some buckled over, paralyzed by the disease. Heimrik stood alone.

Suddenly, a Llunerian charged forth, wielding a great javelin. Its crystal blade captured light, shone like a sliver of the Moon as it flew, and planted in the scales of the dragon. Stuck, the shaft broke. Heimrik mounted atop a mighty Gryphon, and flew forward. He brought his hammer down upon the speartip, and drove it into the Daemon’s heart.

Lunabear
Lunabear
1 month ago

A Terrible Revelation
by Lunabear

I tremble as the red-trimmed card stares back. With shaking hands, I bend to pick it up, but the golden letters reading ‘Big Top’s Black Magic Cabaret’ wriggle like angry snakes. I yank my hand away with a loud gasp. The three-eyed man’s voice is in my head again.

“COME TO CIRCUS. MANY DELIGHTS AWAIT. COOOOOOOOMMMMMMEEEE.”

I bolt from my room, tears hurrying down my face. “MAMA!! PAPA!!” I rush to my parents’ room.

Flinging open the door, I stumble through the dark. Their bed is closer than I remember, and I ram into it, bouncing to the floor. The sudden light has me yelping, and I cover my puffy eyes.

“Whazza matter?” Papa asks sleepily.

“Are you alright, sweetie?”

I rush onto the bed and throw myself into Mama’s arms.

“Th-there was a card that fell outta my pocket, and the letters moved, and and and I heard the scary man’s voice!”

Mama kisses my tears away and wraps me in a warm hug, making soft shushing sounds.

“Didn’t I tell you it wasn’t real? You probably got overheated today and THOUGHT you saw those things.”

“But, Papa–”

“NO MORE, YOU HEAR?!”

Papa hardly ever yells. I shake even more and hide my face in Mama’s nightshirt.

“Garrett, don’t scream. He’s frightened enough.”

“He’s getting too old to be afraid of monsters, Emma.”

Papa takes me from Mama and puts me on the floor. I try to climb back up, but Papa stops me and pushes me toward the door.

“Now, you go on to bed, Davey. And no more foolish talk about three-eyed people or evil parades.”

I want to ask if I could sleep with them, but Papa’s serious eyes keep me quiet. My head droops and I shuffle my feet.

“It IS real,” I insist, slowly closing the door.

“We could at least check, dear,” Mama whispers as the light clicks off.

“Don’t need to. He’s big enough.”

The hallway feels longer going back. My heart gets louder with each step. I ease my head around the corner of my open doorway.

The card has disappeared.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lunabear
WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
1 month ago

“Lesser Evils”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

Rot steeled herself as she climbed down the cramped spiral staircase into the darkness. The air was suffocating and the heat was pummeling. All the while, Rot shook her head and muttered to herself.

“Tobias is going to kill me. This is crazy. This is the worst idea I have ever had.”

Rot sighed and as she reached the bottom, candles illuminated the area. Even so, the darkness and gravity beared down on Rot as she approached the door decorated with occult symbols. She could hear their chanting through the door. Rot took a deep breath and she kicked the door. The heavy wood went flying off of its hinges and into a robed figure, landing on top of them with a thud. Rot walked into the room as the other cultists pulled daggers. Directly across from the door was a stone altar with engravings resembling grains, gourds, and fruit. Upon it laid a boy no older than ten. Rot bit her lip as she swallowed her rage.

The cultist closest to the boy, Rot guessed he was the head cultist, his dagger at the boy’s throat. “Well, well. An inquisitor, is it?”

“I take it you are the Cult of the Harvest Merchant?” Rot asked, failing to maintain her calm.

“Maybe,” said another. “Who wants to know?”

Rot trembled in anger as she forced the words out. “Someone who needs your help.”

Some of the cloaked figures relaxed, intrigued by the proposal. Others, the head cultist especially, tightened their grips.

“What?” he asked, suspicion in his voice.

“In your order’s traditions is an incantation that would help us defeat the Vast Deep’s forces,” Rot replied. “You’re all wanting a good harvest? There won’t be much of one underwater.”

The other cultists whispered to each other as the head cultist thought to himself. “And if we help you, what then? You’ll execute us, too?”

Rot looked at the boy. He trembled with fear.

“We can discuss that later,” she said.

She then turned around and exited out of the doorway. Tears rolled down Rot’s cheeks as the boy’s screams stopped.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
1 month ago

“His Letter”
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

He sat at the piano, hands moving across the keys mindlessly. He glanced outside as a mailman placed a small package on the porch. The boy finished the phrase and cautiously opened the door.

The cardboard box was small, about an inch tall, and addressed specifically to him.

He returned to the piano and opened it, then scrunched his eyebrows together.

Who mailed a letter inside a box?

And who used wax seals anymore?

He opened the letter.

“Oliver Mirthbend Jones,

“We have heard of your talents for the arcane and wish to give you an opportunity. There is a map on the back of this paper detailing where we would like to meet you to provide further information. Please burn the envelope and box this letter was delivered in within one hour of opening.

“Sincerely,

“Witherleaf Archives and Laboratories.”

Oliver set aside the letter and placed the envelope and box into the fireplace along with a match, sat back down at the piano, and continued playing.

He hated magic. He hated being forced to wield it just by being born. He hated how it forced him to lie to his parents and the headaches and the pain—

And he hated how it lashed out when he couldn’t contain it anymore.

He pulled his right hand away from the keys to rub his skull, but the melody continued uninterrupted, keys sinking and lifting in perfect patterns. He lifted his left, and the song still continued. He held his head between his hands.

Was this power something to be praised? Did anyone think he wanted this?

Because he didn’t. He wanted it gone.

The song didn’t stop as he crumpled the letter and tossed it into the fireplace. It didn’t stop as he screamed into the empty house.

It only stopped when the tears did.

He glanced at the dark fireplace. The letter was unharmed. He removed it from the ashes.

An opportunity? To what? Stop suppressing it? Let it out and destroy whatever it wanted?

He hid the letter behind his sheet music and returned his fingers to the keys.

Astrid Jones
1 month ago

Marsh Devil
By Astrid Jones

The necklace hung heavy around my neck. I hated it. It was full of magic-stealing silver. But it was necessary to get close to the Nain. Silver took not just my magic, but my Black Shuck scent as well. To the Nain, I would smell human.

I sipped from my glass, reminding myself to sit like a lady. I hated dresses. And heels for that matter. I wished the night were over so I could toss the necklace in a river and go for a run on four legs. But there was a Nain to hunt.

He’d taken three humans in our territory. The papers called him the “Marsh Devil”. It was enough to interest Stone, alpha of the common werewolf pack; my pack. It was only a matter of time before the Nain snatched a human a pack member loved. An enraged werewolf could do more damage in a night than one Nain could do in a week.

Stone, pretending to be the hotel bar’s staff, brought me another drink.

“A drink for the pretty lady,” he said, unnecessarily loud.

The Nain was here.

“I’ve never been called pretty before,” I gasped. A human lacking self-confidence was a beacon to Nains. I smiled shyly as Stone left.

The Nain watched me from the bar. Though he was using glamour, his predatory nature was obvious. His spine was stiff, like a hound on a scent.

“Excuse me,” he said, approaching my table. “Are you waiting for anyone?”

“No. I’m alone.”

“Want to walk by the river? It’s a beautiful night.” He smiled. “Almost as beautiful as you.”

“Sounds lovely. Lead on.”

We followed the boardwalk until the ground on the shore-side of the walkway turned to marsh. His favored killing ground.

He stepped in front of me to block my path but froze when he saw the three mud-covered wolves who’d been following us since we’d reached the marsh.

“Think you’re the only predator out here?” I asked, removing my necklace. I inhaled deeply, becoming Black Shuck again. My eyes glowed red. “There are things far worse than you.”

GJFuller
GJFuller
1 month ago

Strawberry Pie
By Giovanna J. Fuller

Two men in brightly colored, highly decorated, military uniforms shook hands. Next to them sat a contract, freshly signed with the respective leader’s signatures. This day was a long time coming, but each side was finally ready. Sacrifices had been made to put this agreement together and it was finally happening.

“They’re going to make peace!” Griselda said excitedly. She leaned against the glasslike wall separating her from the humans. She pressed her impalpable face-like thing against the, not quite, glass. “Oh, I’m so proud.”

Douglas belched. “Maybe.”

“Don’t be such a downer. This means we won’t have to scour fields of bloody, mangled corpses for days on end.” She pouted and fluttered over to her companion. He was drinking, what looked like, red wine but had a vague earthy scent that fermented grapes could not produce. Griselda poured herself some from the bottle.

He stared at her from behind the empty glass of his cup. “You do realize that our work won’t be over?”

She made a “psh” sound with her lips.

He leaned over to her, “I mean it, Gris. You know what happened to Farren and Gavin when their war ended?”

“N-no…”

He smirked. “Neither do I. Maybe they just…” He made a vague gesture and snapped his fingers.

Griselda jumped six feet into the air and dropped back down again. “No!”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“Noooooo!” She whined. “This can’t be. That-this-nooooo,” she moaned.

Douglas chuckled. “Not much we can do. Unless…”

She snapped to attention. “Unless?”

“Unless we destroy that peace treaty.”

The incomparable feminine entity cupped her hands and tapped her fingers together. “Hmm.”

“It’d be really easy.”

“Hmm.”

“The wrong person dying at the wrong time.”

“Hmm.”

“A misfire at certain figures in the public eye.”

“Hmm.”

“And we’d all return to normal. You and me, back in their world, enjoying all that comes with it.”

“Strawberry pie?”

“Strawberry pie.”

William Maitland
William Maitland
1 month ago

“Benedictio Satanas”
By William Maitland

“Dammit!” I crumpled the sticky-note in frustration and tossed it across the room. The torturous feeling was pounding in my head again. That feeling of faking it. Of not being true to myself. Head full of concepts, and nothing to show for it. No substance, no meat to any of these thoughts. Time and time again, I attempted to shape the things into words. Stiff artificiality is what came out.

I hung my head in my hands, almost wringing some hairs out. This was writing. It was supposed to be a joy! I was making characters, I was making the puppets dance! Fiction was all I knew, and I knew it well. Why, then, did I feel like such an idiot?!

Amid this agonizing introspection, he returned, as if stepping through a door. The faint odor of ashes followed him. His clawed hand fell gently onto my shoulder, and I knew without looking that it was him. Wyrd. The devil I had conjured up in better years.

“Having trouble, boss?” he asked. Concern felt… unnatural, coming from him.

I slumped in my chair. “Yes, I’m having trouble. I don’t think I’m what I used to be.”

“I hope you mean to say you’re even better,” he insisted.

“No. Worse. I think I’ve lost the spark of it. Writing these stories, it feels so… fake.”

He took a glance at the story on the screen. Half-sci-fi, half-self-destructive-rant. “Hm. Well, what about me? You had a real good one lined up for me, didn’t ya?”

“Yeah, I guess I did. I mean, I made you back in, what… high school?”

“And I’m still here, aren’t I?” His smile was uncharacteristically small and gentle. “Even after all the crap we’ve been through, I never left.”

I couldn’t help but smile, yet still looked down. “And neither did your stories. I never felt ready to write them…”

“You’re ready. I see it.” He grinned that row of fangs.

I grinned back. Malign inspiration sparked back into my eyes. I felt it.

“That’s what I like to see! Now… time to begin.”

PitL
PitL
1 month ago

Burn, Baby, Burn
By PitL

It took roughly seven minutes for the warehouse to catch fire.

Yeah, I know. Not my finest performance. It’s hard to light up a ceiling without anyone catching on, I’ve noticed.

“… Mr. Arssssil? Sssspeak when you are sssspoken to, demon!”

Arsil? Arsil? Was that the name I was going by? It’s so hard to remember, sometimes. I need to start taking notes.

“I’m innocent, I tell you!” I tried to spring forward, before being restrained by guards on each side. “I was in – in – uh -” I smoothly chose a plausible excuse. “Bermuda, master!”

Note to self: figure out how I pissed off this guy. Repurpose for future unwanted job opportunities.

The Dark Lord pulled a document from his robes. “Then why did Mr. Kern and I have a meeting this morning about ssssetting a court date with the Handssss of Darknesssssss, Bermudan Chapter?”

Oh. Damn. Bad call. Damage control time. “You can’t trust those devils, master! They lie all the time! It’s, like, habitual! I didn’t set anything on fire!”

“You realize you too are a devil?”

“Yep.”

“And, as you put it yourssself, are a habitual liar?”

Well, that took a turn for the worse. Might be time to bail. It’s not like there’s a shortage of available minion posts. “Uh, well, yes, master, but I’m telling the truth!”

I wonder if I could pull off that “puppy eyes” look. Hmm. The fangs won’t help, but maybe it’ll cancel out?

Nah, better start backing away.

The Dark Lord sighed. “Very well. I trusssst you – ”

I started. “Wait, really?”

He glared at me, eyes narrowed. “Yesssss. You may be a lying idiot, but at leasssst you are honessst about it.”

I sighed, relieved. “Yessir!” I gave my best approximation of a martial salute.

One of the guards beside me twitched. “Eh,” he grunted. “It smell smoky to anyone else?”

Why do I feel like I forgot something?

Alarm bells started to go off in my head, but were abruptly cut off by a flaming beam dropping from the ceiling.

Oh well. I was getting bored of this job anyway.

Last edited 1 month ago by PitL
Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
1 month ago

No Honour for the Honourless
By Twangyflame0

Umi stood in-between the town and the Devil. Lord Hiyoshi stood in front of the band of warriors that had assembled, “Let all present listen to my magnanimous decree. If the warrior, Umi, wishes to reclaim his honour, then he will slay that devil who stands before us!”

There was a cheer from the townsfolk. Umi looked back at the Devil. He looked at the person who forged his first sword, who fed him as a child, who helped him learn what he needed, and had been there since as far back as he could remember. Umi looked at his large and imposing Devil of a father. He then looked at the town. The people he knew and helped. His comrades and friends. The lord he was supposed to serve. The people he was supposed to protect. He looked back one more time to see his father, with no words, begging him to leave for Umi’s own safety.

There was a silence for a moment as Umi looked to the ground. He then slowly turned to face his lord, and everyone felt the air grow cold, “There is nothing more dishonorable than one’s Lord asking them to kill their own father.”

He calmly put a hand on the grip of his katana; the ground around him froze over, “I need no honour from the likes of you, Hiyoshi, so if any warrior thinks they can best me, then I will ensure them a quick trip to Yomi.”

There was another prolonged silence after that. The Lord himself seemed stricken with horror at Umi’s proclamation. Umi mentally prepared to die…

But then was surprised to see the masked naginata-wielding twins walk beside him. The elder sister looked at him, “We owe you debt, and that cannot be repaid, if you die.”

The ground shook as a large man, holding a giant club, walked up beside Umi as well, “If anyone thinks they can best the Ox, I will grant them a painful death.”

“You would protect a Devil?” Umi asked.

“No,” the younger twin said. “But we would help a friend.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Twangyflame0