Chapter 2:

Cold

There's a Demon in my Basement!


In the last few days, B had found out quite a few things. First of all: Not all Demonlords are murderers. Secondly: Astaroth was probably the friendliest demon in existence. And last but not least: Demons were not immune to illness.Bookmark here

The first day Astaroth had brought the sofa from the living room down to the basement after B had told them to stay in that room. It was fine with him by all accords. The more time the demon spent down in the basement, the less he had to deal with them. Bookmark here

However, when B entered the basement that morning, he knew something was off. Usually, he didn't even catch the demon sleeping. Instead they were already playing games on B's phone or flipping through a book around this time of the day. More than just once he had questioned whether or not demons actually needed sleep. Bookmark here

However this morning Astaroth was still lying on the sofa, beneath their blanket. With a distressed groan, the demon turned to the summoner. "I am cold…", they mumbled. Bookmark here

B took a look at the demon before sighing deeply and burying his face in his hand. Wonderful. Just wonderful. "I see", he said before taking a chair, putting it in front of the makeshift bed and sitting down on it. Without hesitation, he put a hand on the demon's forehead. ...Then he realised that he had no idea what the normal body temperature of a demon would be and retrieved his hand. "Do you feel hotter than usual?" Bookmark here

Astaroth blinked shortly then they nodded slowly. "My head hurts…" Bookmark here

If B didn't know any better, he would have assumed that they were about to die, judging by the sound of their voice. However, Astaroth was immortal, therefore that was not a possibility. "Seems to be a simple cold. That happens when you play in the rain without a jacket", the human commented in a dry manner. Bookmark here

"Not doing it again... Promise" Bookmark here

They were even more childish than usual. "Sure." B was absolutely positive they would do it again. However, he would leave that problem to his future self. “You’re hungry?” Bookmark here

"Nooo…", they answered in a meek voice, "I think... this is what dying feels like…" Bookmark here

"I doubt it. You'll be better in a few days." Even though it did come out of nothing, he thought, but chased it away. B had to concentrate on other things for now. Namely nursing the demon back to health. …Whatever healthy even means for a demon. "I will bring you another blanket and some tea", he informed Astaroth before leaving them alone for a short while. Bookmark here

The demon just grumbled in agreement before pulling their blanket up higher and curling themself up. Right now they would become one with the sofa if they could. …Actually, they could do just that and for a moment they considered it - but B wouldn't be happy about that once he returned. That, Astaroth was sure of. How could the human stay so calm anyway? He seemed to be experienced with this kind of thing - did humans often feel that terrible? What a miserable existence. Bookmark here

They closed their eyes, trying to ignore the nasty light B had left on. Of course, they could just get up and turn it off again, but in all honesty, they just didn’t feel like it. Especially since it couldn’t be long until the human returned and then they’d be back to where they started. Why did humans like light so much anyways? It was so weird how they suddenly turned blind the moment you’d flip the light switch. Bookmark here

The inevitable came and with that Astaroth meant B’s return. “Here.” He threw another blanket on the demon, causing them to turn around and look over their shoulder. Bookmark here

The entity sat up a little bit to adjust the blanket, before curling themself up again. “Too bright...”, they mumbled into their pillow.Bookmark here

“Light sensitivity?” B looked up curiously. "...I suppose that makes sense. After all, you can already see pretty well in the dark…" And so the human did the obvious and turned off the light and had to rely on the little bit of sunlight the small window let into the room from now on. Bookmark here

Astaroth sighed in relief. Finally, they could open their eyes without that burning feeling.Bookmark here

"I would have never assumed demons could get sick…", B mumbled more to himself than the other person in the room.Bookmark here

However, Astaroth still decided to answer. "It happens sometimes." Bookmark here

"But… you're immortal. You can't die. So you have to get well again eventually." Bookmark here

"Immortal doesn't mean invincible", the demon reminded him, "We can still lose limbs and stuff. Most of the time we grow them back sooner or later." They shrugged and closed their eyes again. "...It doesn't work under certain conditions, though." Bookmark here

The last sentence caught B's attention. "'Certain conditions'?" Bookmark here

Before the demon could answer a whistling sound filled the air. Not too loud but noticeable. Bookmark here

"The tea is ready", B informed them before he got up and walked away again. Bookmark here

Somehow Astaroth found it relaxing. B seemed to know what he was doing. Never before had the demon live through an illness, at least not in the time they could remember. And therefore they mainly felt confused about this sudden weakness. However, B had experience in this field, so there was no reason for them to be nervous. They'd just sit it out and afterwards continue to explore the Mortal Realm. That was a fine plan. Bookmark here

They closed their eyes, ready to doze off again. They couldn't remember the last time they felt this sleepy. Or tired in general. Distantly they wondered how they even knew what this feeling was called, but they couldn't come to a conclusive answer. Furthermore, at that moment they couldn't care enough. Bookmark here

It didn't take long for B to return and a sweet smell to fill the air. "Here you go." He sat the cup down on the side table next to Astaroth's "bed". "That should at least keep your throat from getting sore." Bookmark here

Astaroth groaned. "That could also happen?" Wasn't it bad enough how they constantly felt like throwing up? Although they didn't remember ever throwing up and therefore having no idea what that would feel like. Bookmark here

"Yes, so you should talk less to not strain your throat unnecessarily", B informed them in a nonchalant manner. Even though it might be a better idea to have you talk a lot so your voice will be gone for longer, he thought but didn't say that out loud. Honestly, that would just be rude.Bookmark here

The demon’s face changed into a pouting expression. A small grumble was audible before they proceeded to drink the whole cup of tea in one go. Immediately their expression changed to one of pain. “Hot, hot, hot!” Their tongue lolled out of their mouth, revealing the reptile-like nature of the said organ. Long, thin and split at the end. Bookmark here

B just sighed. “You weren’t supposed to instantly drink it. Especially not the whole thing.”Bookmark here

“Wen you fould have fayd fo!” The demon’s tongue was still out. Bookmark here

“I kind of assumed the Sage who knows the past, present and future would possess a common knowledge like that.” The human crossed his arms in front of his chest. In moments like this, he was unsure whether or not the demon in front of him was actually the one he wanted to summon or just an imposter. It was impossible to tell. Bookmark here

Astaroth pouted slightly before retracting their tongue. “It doesn’t work like that.”Bookmark here

B’s eyebrow wandered up. “Okay. Then how does it work?” Bookmark here

“Well…” They sank down on the couch again and covered themself with the blanket. “Imagine it like… a book. A book which you could open in your mind anytime you want. But only if you really want it. Otherwise, it’s closed and you have no idea what it says.”Bookmark here

That was a more coherent explanation than B had expected. “And you don’t want to look inside?”Bookmark here

“Nope.” They closed their eyes again and rolled over. “I’d rather live for the excitement of the unknown.” Their voice was close to a mumble but there was some sort of conspiratorial undertone to it. Bookmark here

B stared at their back for a few seconds before shaking his head. What an idiot. They had the chance to see the future and decided against it? That was as self-sabotaging as it got. Just thinking about the possibilities a power like that brought was enough to make B feel dizzy. How could one have an opportunity like that and just… not take it?Bookmark here

The demon broke the silence after a few seconds. “B?” Bookmark here

He had just decided to go upstairs again and do something more productive with his time, but of course, this plan was thwarted. “Yes?”Bookmark here

“You sure, I’ll be better soon?”Bookmark here

Of course, B couldn’t help the annoyance this question brought him. “Astaroth. You are immortal. If that virus kills you, it’d have to be some kind of super virus.”Bookmark here

“Oh. Right.” A short pause. “...But what if it is?”Bookmark here

“Then you will die an unbelievably gruesome death”, he deadpanned. Bookmark here

Instantly Astaroth sat up as straight as a tree. “Wha- I don’t… But I’m immortal! I can’t die!”Bookmark here

“You-... argh.” B facepalmed. “Look - you will be fine. I’ll go now and cook some chicken broth.” He couldn’t deal with this stupidity anymore. Bookmark here


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Only a few hours later there was a bowl of soup in front of the demon, B realized that he had yet to see them eat. How could demons pass on food but not on getting sick? “It’s hot”, he warned Astaroth, “You should wait a little bit.”Bookmark here

The demon nodded while curiously eying the soup. “And it makes people healthy?” Their voice was a little bit raspier than earlier. Bookmark here

“It helps.” At least he hoped so. He had no idea how the immune system of a demon worked. And he wasn’t sure if the demon was any wiser in that regard. “Here.” He handed the demon the spoon. “You use that for eating soup.” After the incident with tea, he’d rather not take any risks. Bookmark here

Confused, Astaroth eyed the metal tool in their hand. Apparently, the shape was self-explanatory enough so they had no trouble understanding the usage. Without hesitation they took a spoonful and were ready to get the soup into their mouth - until they stopped. “...Can I eat yet?”Bookmark here

“Blow on it a few times.”Bookmark here

A gust of wind blew through the room and carried the soup with it. With a rattle, the bowl fell and spread its content on the floor, just like the little bit of fluid on the spoon. With a confused pout, Astaroth stared at it. Bookmark here

B blinked. “That… Might have been a little bit too much.” However, the demon was powerful. A shudder ran down the human’s spine. Maybe he had underestimated them. “I’ll… get you another one…”, he mumbled in awe. Bookmark here

“Thank you.” The demon didn’t seem to notice the human’s changed demeanour and simply smiled.Bookmark here

Real Aire
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