There's a Demon in my Basement!
There are many ways to make one lose their hope in the world’s population. Experiencing high school was one of them. B was sure of that. There was no way one could live through this hormone-fueled experience and not hate every mortal being.
So he brought the Demonlord with him to school. Maybe that hadn’t been the best idea he ever had. But in the end, it wouldn’t matter. Soon there wouldn’t be a high school anymore. B kept on telling himself that. He had to. Otherwise, he would lose his mind, since Astaroth acted like a hyperactive squirrel on drugs ever since he told them that they were accompanying him to school.
And now, here he was - standing in front of his school with the demon next to him. Astaroth's eyes were as big as plates while they gazed at the building. "Woah - this is so cool!"
"Yeah. Sure." There was still some time before class would start therefore a few kids were getting in and out of the building - mainly in. "Just… stay close to me. And don't wander off."
"Sure!" The demon nodded enthusiastically, but it came too fast for anyone to believe they had actually realized what had been said to them.
And so B just sighed and pulled them with him. "If anyone asks - you're Ash, a lower Fire Demon, summoned by me." Luckily for him bribing the headmaster to not ask any questions had been way too easy. Which was just another reason to hate the Mortal Realm. Letting some student pay you to bring a stranger to school who might turn out to be a danger to the other kids? Yeah, great idea.
"Yeah, yeah!" The demon was about to explode, B was certain of that. "So many different Mortals…", they mumbled in the high squeaked voice a child would use while looking around in a candy store.
A group of nymphs walked past the two of them, looking very obviously over their shoulders at them. Probably one of them had noticed Astaroth and told her friends about them. The nymphs looked away again and giggled to themselves.
Vaguely B wondered if it was because they thought of Astaroth as a freak or because they found the demon attractive. Honestly, he'd rather not find out. He'd just keep the demon away from any girls that would be easier. ... They could change their body at any time. ...He'd keep them away from literally anyone. ...Maybe bringing them to school hadn't been the best idea.
"Remember to stay close", he reminded the entity that was currently staring at a vampire who just changed from his bat form to his humanoid one.
Entering the building unfortunately didn't help. The demon still found something new and interesting at any corner. Werewolves, fairies and of course regular humans. Oh. And lockers. For some reason, they found it particularly fascinating to watch someone putting in their combination and then opening the door. "It's like a magic spell!", they exclaimed. How they could be amazed by something as mundane as that while literally living in the house of a dark magician was beyond B's comprehension. At least they were just as excited when they saw B opening his locker.
"Just... how do you do that?", they asked while observing the locker door and the lock itself.
"You already said it, haven't you? It's magic, obviously."
"Woah... Teach me!"
While he grabbed the books he needed from the locker, B contemplated whether or not he should explain the joke but he was interrupted before he could say anything.
"Back at school, B?" The girl strolling up to him was one of the few people whose presence he could tolerate. She looked past the human directly at the demon. "Hi, I'm Ciana."
Before B could say anything Astaroth had already jumped at the opportunity of talking to an actual human (aside from B himself, of course). "Hello, I'm Ash! Nice to meet you!"
Ciana was one of those girls everybody kind of knew, but nobody really disliked nor actually liked. She was usually always kind of there, helping out when needed but not making any meaningful relationships. She just talked to B because she was talking with everyone. They didn't have any sort of friendship. But he was ready to tolerate her since she kept their conversations the way he liked them: superficial, short and reduced to as little as necessary.
"I had taken some days off to help Ash settle in. They’re a friend of the family", B explained shortly. That wasn’t a lie, now was it?
"You were gone for almost two weeks", she noted, before shaking her head and looking back at the demon, "A friend of the family, huh?" With one finger she touched one of Astaroth's horns before leaving them be.
"I also wanted to wear a hat, but B didn't want to give me one", the demon explained, pouting a little bit.
"Because your horns would just-" The human shook his head. "Forget it." They had the same conversation earlier this morning and B was not in the mood to repeat it. The moment the demon had seen him putting on the hat and the coat they had been very enthusiastic about copying the said style. However when B told them to just create the desired items they had just looked at him in disbelief and said: "That's not the same!" Whatever that was supposed to mean.
"Hey." With a grin, Ciana grabbed onto B's shoulders making him growl a little bit. "I'm pretty sure his hats are sacred to him."
"Sacred'?", the demon repeated, looking at B in confusion.
Said human just shrugged off Cianas hands. "We're going to class now", he informed her and grabbed Astaroth's wrists again to tug them along.
The demon just waved goodbye to the girl, who seemed to be fine with the scene displaying in front of her.
“She is nice”, Astaroth commented, while following the summoner.
B just shrugged. “I guess.”
The demon hummed in approval. Just when B was starting to wonder how they managed to not get immediately distracted, they saw an orc in the hallways and that was enough to make them bounce like a super ball.
To no one’s surprise, Astaroth wasn’t good at paying attention in class. Now, this would have been less of a problem if they would have just sat still and been bored just like every other student. Astaroth wasn't every other student.
So it was inevitable for B to weaponize the bond between them. Now, the pact between a demon and their summoner wasn't a one-way street. The demon would gain the ability to walk the Mortal Realm due to the summoner offering their soul to attach themselves onto. The summoner would gain an ally for whatever plans they had. This bond however could also be used to gain some form of control over the demon. While it was impossible to force the entity to do something, keeping them from doing something specific was not.
B wasn’t a good person, by any means. He wanted to start the apocalypse, after all. However, he wasn’t fond of the idea to take away Astaroth’s (or anyone else’s for that matter) freedom in such a way that the demon would be unable to make any decision. He wasn’t interested in a child or a pet. ...Even though Astaroth did have a tendency to act like a kid that had eaten too much sugar.
Only after the period ended, B allowed the demon to speak again - and leave their seat. “That was so mean! Why’d you do that?” Pouting, they crossed their arms in front of their chest and glared at B. However, against his expectations, they didn’t jump off their chair immediately.
“Because you’re not supposed to just talk in class. Or get up and wander off.” The human massaged his forehead.
“But just sitting around is boring. And that teacher-guy is just- how can you keep on blabbering about numbers so much?”
B shrugged. "It's his job. He teaches Math."
"Hm…" Astaroth fell silent for a few seconds, seemingly lost in thought. "I don't get it. You don't just… know that?"
"Not everyone has access to unlimited knowledge." Even though access to the internet came pretty close.
"Come on, we gotta get to the next class."
Science class had never been B's favourite. The way most teachers went about it was just dry and driven by too much theory. That and the fact that he was forced to attend class. Watching a two-hour video about quantum mechanics on WeTube? Completely fine. Sitting in class for forty-five minutes and listening to the teacher explaining the same topics? Pure torture.
However, today was his lucky day. At least he would think that if it weren't for the ancient Demonlord-puppy sitting next to him. Today was dissection day.
Astaroth was staring at the frog corpse in front of them with a mix of horror and disgust. "And you…" They fell silent and looked up at B with obvious distress plastered all over their face. "...Who did that to the poor froggy?"
The human just shrugged. "I don't know. Guess someone's job is killing frogs for students to dissect."
"That's terrible…" They legitimately looked like they were about to cry.
For a few seconds, B contemplated whether or not he should just let it happen - however he decided against it. The result would be a hassle. "It's not a real frog. It's artificial."
The Demonlord blinked twice before redirecting their attention to the frog. "It looks just like a real one, though…" They poked it a few times. "It also feels like one."
"They used to use real ones, but that turned into an issue once Kappas were allowed to visit public school." B shrugged. "Honestly, it was kind of overdue."
Now, it was kind of surprising, it hadn't happened earlier. It wasn't until lunch break that some girl decided to try her luck with the new kid. She was a little bit younger than him, maybe one or two years. A rather small -at least seemingly- human girl. Looking around all the other people who were mostly non-human she almost seemed fragile. Like she could break any second.
She had just plopped down into the seat next to Astaroth and started asking them questions. "Where do you come from?" had been one of her first ones.
"From his basement", Astaroth answered without a second thought.
B just felt the urge to hit his head against a wall. Numerous times.
The girl just giggled, seemingly taking their answer as a joke. "I see." And with that, she dropped at least that subject.
B took another bite of his sandwich. He had to stop this before the questions got worse. Just when he was about to formulate a plan to do so, someone else sat down next to him.
"Hi!" It was Ciana.
Did B say he didn't dislike her earlier? He would like to retract that statement. "I really have no time for you right now", he gritted out, while the subject on the other side of the table had changed to Astaroth's horns. Honestly, the way that girl just touched them was another form of audacity. As if she was in a petting zoo!
"Well, though luck, you gotta take some time for me. Because when you were gone for a whole week, you have been assigned as my partner for the literature project and-"
He ignored her ramblings and just stood up. "Ash, we gotta talk", he said, walking around the table and grabbing the demon's arm.
In confusion, Astaroth blinked, while they let B pull them to their feet. The girl next to them begrudgingly let go of their horns. "But I was talking with An-"
"Continue it later." Or never, he added mentally.
He ignored the protests and just pulled the demon with him. They weren't the only one unsatisfied with the situation since Anna also seemed to have her issues with it. However, it seemed that she knew when to give up and stayed at the table together with B's half-eaten sandwich.
"Look", he said once he found a quiet corner behind the school, "You can't just tell people you came out of my basement."
"So should I tell them I'm from the Underworld?"
"No- I mean yes... kind of. Look. We talked about this, didn't we? You're Ash, a lower fire demon. Summoned by me."
"I know - but how does that interfere with the basement?"
B sighed. It interfered with it because it sounded terribly weird. As if he was involved in some sort of human trafficking. "Just- leave out the basement, okay?"
Astaroth just shrugged. "Okay."
"Good." Now he just had to-
A very unpleasant word almost slipped from B's mouth as he heard Cianas voice. He and Astaroth turned around to face the girl. "Ciana, I really have no time for you right now. I-"
"Hm... You should take some time though." Without a care in the world, she wandered over to them and just leaned against the wall of the building , her arms crossed in front of their chest. "Because I gotta admit I'm kind of curious right now." She looked at Astaroth, a glimmer of mischievousness in her green eyes. "Who are you really?"
Now, that seemed to have triggered something in Astaroth - namely their introduction they were about to burst out. However, B was quicker and put a hand over their mouth. "I swear you are a pain in every way imaginable."
"You're no lower demon now, aren't you?"
“No, they are one!” B answered immediately.
However, simultaneously Astaroth gave their answer. “Yes, I’m not.”
“Oh, that’s not contradictory at all”, the girl chuckled.
B sighed deeply, before giving Astaroth a light slap on the head. “What do you want, Ciana?”
“At first I just wanted your number because it kind of sucks having to do the work of two people.” She held up her phone. “However, that was before I found a Demonlord on the school grounds.”
“Wait, how do you know that?!” Astaroth was faster than B.
She shrugged. “I didn’t.” A smile laid on her face.
The demon blinked, while B facepalmed with a groan. “You… tricked me…” They seemed to be severely shocked by this. “How evil.”
“I…” Ciana looked at them as if they had just grown a second head. Then she sighed. “I don’t know what to say, honestly.” What would one say to a Demonlord calling them evil?
B sighed. He then looked at Astaroth. Could the demon erase her memory? Probably. Would they just do so without protest? Probably not. “Okay.” He nodded. In that case, he’d just have to do it himself. He crossed his arms behind his back, before slightly adjusting their position to prepare the necessary spell. Luckily, she was human. Therefore it wasn’t necessary to use a strong spell. Humans had rather low resistance to magic by nature. “You are correct. This is indeed the Demonlord Astaroth.”
Instantly her posture straightened. “What-?! You’re joking, right?!” She stared at the demon, who just smiled and waved back.
“I don’t think B is able to joke,” Astaroth said as if this was a casual conversation.
“I am dead serious”, he said, exploiting the fact that Ciana’s attention was currently laying on the demon. With a swift movement, he raised his hand and a small glowing light ball on his palm with it.
That got her eyes back on him. “What-” She stopped talking, the moment the spell took effect. Her gaze was fixated on the light ball until B deemed that he was finished and clenched his hand again, thus making it disappear again.
Confused Astaroth opened their mouth, ready to question the scene in front of them. However, this time B prevented them from speaking. He couldn’t have them ruin this. It wouldn’t work a second time.
The girl on the other hand blinked a few times, before shaking her head and holding her forehead. “What…?” Confused, she looked around.
“Ciana? Are you okay?” With false concern, B stepped closer.
“Yes-... I think? What am I doing here?”
B looked at Astaroth as if he wanted to exchange looks with them to get their opinion on the situation. “You asked for my number. For the project, you remember?”
Again, she blinked a few times, seemingly trying to grasp the situation in front of her. “Yeah…” Her eyes wandered to the phone she was still holding. “I did.”
B took out a pen and a small piece of paper from his pocket. “I’ll give you mine and then… I don’t know, you were just totally out of it, for a moment. Maybe you should see the nurse?”
“Sounds like a good idea.” She nodded, even though the mix of confusion and fear was still lingering on her face.
“Good.” Faked relief sat on B’s face, while he wrote down his number. “Here.”
“Thanks…”, she said even though that seemed to be the littlest of her concerns right now. “I’ll… better get going.” B had never seen her leave so fast. He waited until he was sure she was gone before he gave Astaroth the ability to speak back.
“What- did you just manipulate her memory?!” It seemed the Demonlord was familiar with that sort of magic.
B shrugged. “I can’t have her going around and telling everyone who you are. Just like you can’t do that.”
“But that’s-... You don’t even know if she would have told anyone!”
“Things like that never stay secret. Actually, in high school nothing ever stays secret.” He was very well aware of the questionable nature of his morals. And yet, he couldn’t care less. “Besides, it's not like she got nothing out of it. She got what she came here for, with the added bonus of immunity to memory-manipulation-spells.”
“I don’t think she’d see it like that.” For the first time, Astaroth showed some sort of grudge. And they didn’t stop anytime soon. No, it stayed on their face for the rest of the day. B decided to take this as a win. It was what he wanted now, wasn’t it? Showing them Mortals were terrible and of course, B himself was not an exception. So why did it bother him so much that they were angry?