Chapter 1:


There's a Demon in my Basement!

He stared at the demon in front of him. Of course, he knew their name. Everyone did. However, standing directly in front of the entity was a different story. In front of him stood the one and only Lord of Destruction, whose name he usually wouldn’t utter carelessly and at this moment not at all. He swallowed, trying to get his dry mouth to produce the words he had yet to find.

The entity themself seemingly decided that standing wasn’t worth the bother. As a result, they just levitated off the ground, getting into a lying position while waiting for the summoner’s answer.

Said human had regained his composure, corrected his posture and cleared his throat before he spoke. “Astaroth.” Saying the name out loud felt weird. Almost as if he had just put a hand into the cookie jar and was just waiting for his parents to notice. “Lord of Destruction, I summoned you to bring darkness over this world and-”

“So one apocalypse to go?”, the demon interrupted, seemingly uninterested, “With blood rain, locust infestation and stuff like that?”

Confused, due to Astaroth’s casual demeanour, the summoner backed off a little bit. “Uh...yes. Except for dogs, they did nothing wrong. ...You can… do that whole apocalypse-thing, right?”

“Of course!” In a burst of outrage the demon jumped into a sitting position and crossed their arms in front of their chest. “I am Astaroth! Overlord over forty legions of demons, the sage who knows past, present and future and-...” They stopped their own ramblings. “Huh. I only have two examples. Damn, I need a third one.” One of their hands wandered up to their chin and they seemed to ponder on that thought for a while. Then an idea struck the demon and they lowered it again to place it on their other spread out hand. “What do you think about ‘Destroyer of Worlds’?! Sounds cool, doesn’t it?!” Astaroth looked at the summoner the same way a child would when they showed their parents a picture they drew.

“Suuure…”, the human answered. His confusion grew with every passing second. Astaroth seemed to be the complete opposite of what he imagined the Demonlord to be like.

Said demon changed their position again, back to lying, this time sideways, so they could directly look at the human. “So, why did you call me?”

“The apocalypse”, the summoner repeated.

Astaroth blinked before they averted their gaze and decided to float on their back while staring at the ceiling. “Oh. You were serious about that.” There was some sense of disappointment in their voice.

“Who would joke about that?!”

A nervous chuckle was uttered by the demon before they sat up once again. "Yeah… only idiots would do that…" They swayed a little bit from left to right in the air, before deciding to look around the room a little bit. The ingredients used for the ritual were nothing but dust anymore, just as to be expected. Otherwise, the room was empty, save for the books now scattered around on the floor. “Kinda already looks like a local apocalypse here. Isn’t that enough?”

“No”, the summoner answered in a dry manner.

“Of course not…” Astaroth sighed in disappointment. “I guess… That’s the only reason anyone would summon me.”

The human nodded. “Yes. Everything else would be foolish.” Honestly, it was a matter of black and white - there were no grey zones, so why did he have to explain those very easy things to a Demonlord of all people?

"Okay." The gloomy demeanour was gone and some energy returned into Astaroth's movements. "I will grant your wish." For a short moment, those words hung in the air, creating one of the happiest humans alive in the process. A fragile happiness, as he realized as the demon continued. "But" Three simple letters that could ruin so much. "Not yet."

“Wha- why?!” The former fear and respect were gone, instead, there was a certain desperation in his voice.

“I’ve never been in the Mortal Realm…” There was a pout on the demon's face, but it seemed like there was something else lying underneath. A small glimmer of sorrow deep enough to drown in. "Nobody ever summons me. But I heard so many cool things about the Mortal Realm! I wanna like- go to the beach, eat ice cream, watch fairies and bees fly around through flowers and- no wait, I wanna see flowers in general! Never seen one but I heard they are pretty!" The former sadness had been wiped away by newfound energy. "So- I can't destroy the Mortal Realm as long as I haven't seen it, now can I?"

Dumbfounded, the human stared at the Demonlord. They couldn't be serious. They just could not. However, the entity kept on blabbering about all the things they wanted to experience and to the growing horror of their summoner most of those were outdoor activities. Of course, the demon was completely oblivious to this and just floated around in the air.

This kept going for a few minutes until the human couldn't take it any longer. With a frustrated groan, he told the demon to stop while he held his forehead. "Ok", he sighed once he had the attention of the immortal being, "Look. That is not…" The human paused. "Just-... Follow me." With that, he turned around to face the stairs leading to the first floor.

Curious, the demon did as they were told, although they made sure to change the height they were floating at according to the step beneath them.

Once the human had reached the end, he opened up the door to the small, but meticulously clean hallway. There weren't many things in the room, mainly just a wardrobe with a few jackets and shoes.

However, this proved to be enough to distract the demon behind him. Instantly Astaroth flew over to the wardrobe and grabbed one of the jackets. "Is that your fur for the winter?" They held up the piece of clothing and studied it.

Not for long though, since the human soon clutched it from Astaroth’s hands. "No. That's a jacket. And not important right now." The demon didn't waste any time and already reached for the next item, however, the Occultist grabbed their wrist and pulled them with him to the entrance door. Unceremoniously the human opened it and presented the world's number one destroyer of plans: The weather. It was raining cats and dogs and only offered shivering low temperatures. And the summoner was more than aware that this wouldn't change any time soon. It was mid-October, from here on out it usually only got colder until April. Which made it nowhere easy to fulfil Astaroth's wishes.

Now, normally one wouldn't set a foot in front of the door unless they had to. Astaroth was not normal, as they proved by just floating past the summoner and into the rain.

"Woah!", the demon exclaimed after a few seconds of soaking had passed, "The rain really is acid!"

“That’s not a good thing.” The human watching was still having a hard time contemplating that this was Astaroth. How could reality differ so much from the stories about them? It didn't matter. For now, the human was stuck with them and the only thing left to do for him was damage control.

The entity halted in their movements and locked at the summoner. “It’s not?”

He groaned and held his head. This was terrible. “Just… come back inside.” His interest in someone looking exactly like him acting like a child while the neighbours could see them was… nothing he was quite fond of.

The demon seemed to ponder on that idea before slowly flying back into the house. For safety reasons, the human closed it behind them. "Good", he started, "first of all - you need a name."

"I have one." Astaroth tilted their head in confusion. "Actually I have many." They crossed their arms in front of their chest.

"Yes, but calling you Astaroth in public would be a terrible idea. Your name means something here. And it'll just attract unwanted attention." And the fact that he had to spell it out for Astaroth was too surreal.

"Huh…" They paused, seemingly lost in thought. Then it seemed like they had an epiphany. "You haven't told me your name, yet!"

The mortal looked at them as if they just told him that vampires loved sunlight. He turned away from the demon and adjusted his glasses. "Giving my name to a demon… only a fool would be stupid enough to do so." He sighed before turning towards his conversation partner again. "But I suppose it's easier if you can call me by a name. Fine. You may call me B."

None of his words seemed to bother Astaroth. "Like the animal?"

"Like the letter."

"Oh." Their hand wandered up to their chin while they thought about the proposition. "Then I'll be A!"


"What? Why?!"

B sighed deeply. "Because your name can't be a letter."

"Yours is, though!" The demon gave a small pout.

"Only for you", he reminded Astaroth. And certain other individuals. But they didn't have to know that detail. At least for now.

Like a child that had just been tasked to clean their room, the demon sighed. "Sure…" Silence filled the house for a few moments before Astaroth raised their voice again. "How about Ash?"

"That…!" B had already planned to veto their next suggestion but this… didn't seem bad. Like a normal name. "Should be sufficient."

"Really?" The demon seemed to be just as surprised as him.

He nodded. "Yes." Swiftly he retrieved his smartphone from his pockets. "The next problem would be your looks." He said while tapping a few times on the device.

"What's wrong about it? I thought yours would be the least scary to you…" They floated around their axis a few times. "And it looks kind of nice."

"I appreciate the concern but I didn't summon a demon expecting someone harmless. And furthermore, humans usually don't have a doppelganger. So take on another form. Here, in case you need some inspiration." B held out his phone for the demon. He had opened up some pictures of teens his age on InstaPhoto. Hopefully, that would be enough for the demon.

Half an hour and a bunch of transformations later, B realized he had made a mistake. Who would have thought that most pictures on InstaPhoto were filtered and photoshopped to the point of unnatural perfection?

It took too many corrections (or more like… incorrections?) on B's part to give Astaroth the look of a semi-normal human. However, it has been somewhat worth it. The demon in front of him was now a little bit shorter than him, but not enough to keep them from wearing Bs clothes. Honestly, he would have hated it if he had to go on a shopping tour with the demon. Even though that probably wouldn't have been necessary anyway since they changed the clothes they were wearing just the same way they did it with the rest of their appearance.

"...Say", B started hesitantly, "Are you… actually changing your body or is this some sort of illusion?"

"Trade secret", Astaroth answered with an almost blank expression on their face.

"Okay, but-"

The demon shook their head. "Trade secret."

B decided to drop the topic. Instead, he rather focused on the rest of the demon's appearance. In some regards, it almost looked as if they had specifically tried to look as dissimilar to B as possible. Instead of the human’s short black hair, they had emulated before, they now had light silver hair falling down to their shoulders. The least human feature they had was the grey horns on their head, followed by the piercing red colour of their eyes. Even though their gaze was anything but intimidating. They looked more like a puppy. A demon puppy that may be able to destroy the entire world but still a puppy nonetheless.

For “clothes” (B was still unsure if they were actually clothes or more like extensions of their body) they had chosen were less on the plain side, but not quite extravagant. An asymmetric, blueish-grey shirt without a sleeve on the right side, but one that's long enough to cover parts of the demon's hand on the left. Their pants were slightly less dark and straight, ending shortly over the black sneakers completing the outfit.

At least the demon was somewhat capable of fitting in. While B didn’t care about the opinions other people had on him, getting too much attention was always annoying. However, he was positive, he didn’t have to think about this problem for much longer. After all, it couldn’t take long for the demon to realize how terrible the Mortal Realm was. B was sure of that. 

Real Aire
Taylor Victoria