Chapter 4:

The ceremony

Lights Off

After someone inside the club announced the arrival of the high priest, everything was silent and then everyone at the table got up and went into the club.

"Come on my beautiful lady" Tyller stood up and then took Annie's hand

Annie: But Elai and I haven't split the winnings yet.

I took the opportunity to get a brass knuckle, cigarettes and a lighter that were on the table

Elai: You can go Annie

Annie: Let's go Carmen

Tyller: I apologize but I think Carmen couldn't come with us

Annie: Why not?

Tyller: I don't think it would be a good idea to let the spotlight under our high priest be directed at your beast

Annie: She's not a beast! She is a lady!

Elai: Don't worry Annie, I'm staying out here with Carmen

Elai: After all, there is someone who is dying to spend a few moments alone with you

Annie made a face of complete disgust as I smiled and then she and Tyller walked into the club

Tyller behaved like a fanatic but I knew that as long as he was on Annie's side no one would come near her.

I looked at the streets and they were completely empty, only me and Carmen were there, so I took the opportunity and sat in a chair, put my feet on the table and lit a cigarette and put my backpack on the table.

Elai: Aah... This cigarette is a good one

Carmen however was trying to snoop around the inside through an opening in the door

Elai: It's no use Carmen, they won't let you in

Carmen: *Grows of concern*

Elai: Oh it looks like I'm starting to understand you

Elai: I know that guy is an asshole but his devotion to Annie will keep her safe

Elai: Come here, it would be troublesome if someone saw you and started screaming

Carmen then looks at me and the door a few times and then joins the table

Elai: Come to think of it, you two haven't split up all day, right?

Elai: I would ask you how you met but I wouldn't understand

Carmen: *I grunted in agreement*

Carmen then starts sniffing my cigarette curiously

Elai: Hmm? What was it ?

Elai: Do you want a cigarette?

Carmen then shakes her head in a positive sign.

Elai: Do you know how to smoke? Can you smoke?

Elai: How old are you?

Carmen then grunted as if answering my questions but as expected I didn't understand much

Elai: Ok ok I'll let you get one if Annie fights with me it's your fault

I lit a cigarette for Carmen and then I put it in her mouth

Elai: Okay, now you pull the smoke into your lungs like this

I pulled some cigarette smoke to show her how it was done

Elai: And then you release it slowly to enjoy

Elai: Did you understand?

Carmen seemed to have understood my instructions, so she inhaled the cigarette at an absurd speed until there was a small butt.

I got scared at the speed she had pulled and was starting to worry and then she expels all the smoke from her nostrils

We both stared at each other for a while without saying anything and then we started laughing uncontrollably

Elai: Hahah! That was amazing!!!

Elai: Do you think you can do that with the rest of the pack?

Carmen: *Grunted in approval

So I put the rest of the cigarettes in Carmen's mouth

Elai: They will freak out when they see this

So I took my cell phone to film while I lit the cigarettes

Elai: Hehe I just hope the next one to be lit isn't me

Elai: Are you ready?

Carmen: *Grunted, signaling positive

Elai: Go!

Carmen then drags all the cigarettes at once at a great speed, she inflated like a balloon until there were no butts left

Elai: And here we go

Carmen spewed so much smoke that she looked like a locomotive, she camouflaged for a while in the smoke even though we were out in the open

"Wow that was epic!" I said while coughing and waving the smoke with my hand

Carmen came out bouncing in glee like a child who has discovered a new trick, in a way it reminded me of Annie's reaction when she first threw a fireball

3:06PM Me: Guys, you guys need to see this! :D

3:06PM Me: *Video

I was so distracted playing with Carmen that I ended up missing the cult introduction, it's not like I cared but I had a mission to accomplish.

“Now that we've finished our introduction, let's discuss the city takeover project” that caught my eye, so I got up from my chair and positioned myself closer to the entrance to the club.

“Receive all our high priest Lord Adam Rickshark” everyone there then began to sing a song in an unknown language together

Elai: Do you know this Carmen language?

Carmen: *Grunches in denial

"Hmmm... This could mean that Carmem is new or that they have no idea what they are talking about" I quickly thought about the hypotheses

I didn't have a lot of time to waste so I texted Father John

3:07PM Me: Stop what you're doing and answer the phone

I started a video call and pointed my camera at the opening between the doors so I could see what was going on inside.

It was possible to see a small crowd hooded in a cliché way lit up by the lights coming off the stage and then a figure walked slowly out to the middle of the stage.

He was what you would expect from a goth man in his late 40s, he was dressed in a black suit and red tie, an overcoat that covered his knees, his hair reminded him of 20s tycoons and although he appeared to be perfectly fine, he held a cane with a big blue stone

Next to him was a beautiful woman, her red hair was like a fifties pinup, her body was like a model and alternated between smooth skin like a young girl and scales like a snake

His tight and highly suggestive clothes drew the attention of everyone there because of his beauty, but what caught my attention the most were his eyes

At that moment it was more than obvious to me that that woman wasn't human but her eyes killed the doubt of any imbecile who still questioned herself, her sclera was black and her irises glowed a blood red, plus there was a third eye on your forehead

All were silent without the need for the priest to order

Amidst the silence that woman looked at everyone as if she were analyzing their souls making the tension in the environment rise until in a moment she locks her gaze in my direction looking

Carmen instinctively assumed a battle pose and moved away from the door as if she had encountered a natural predator.

Elai: Carmen are you alright?

She was still fixed to the door and walking away, it was the first time I saw her act that way, if Annie was on our side she would probably know what to do.

Thinking about Annie, now that that demon appeared she could be under a great threat since that demon was able to make Carmen go into alert

I intended to be recording the scene but the cell phone could end up distracting me if something unforeseen happened

I ended the transmission hurriedly when I saw that my backpack was starting to glow like something was burning inside it.

I ran to the table to quickly open the backpack and then I threw away everything that was inside it at once and then I found what was burning was the horn I caught earlier.

It then fell like ready-forge metal on the side of the brass knuckle I won. I didn't know how many degrees that horn was but it was hot enough to melt the asphalt and the brass knuckles

The hot mass was already starting to sink to the ground when a strong thump like a stick resounded through the party atmosphere outside

"You'll still have plenty of time to play Ascla" the high priest said in a serene tone

Ascla then answers his master with some unrecognizable grunts just like Carmen

“It was just a little gig you say, soon I'll let you introduce yourself freely” he said in a menacing tone as if he were already many steps ahead of everyone.

Elai: Carmen, can you understand her?

Carmen: *Grows positively*

Elai: What she did was far more threatening than a "good afternoon" isn't it

Silence had taken over the place and that mass that had melted the floor had already cooled

I decided to get closer to see if anything else had happened. There was a kind of asphalt husk in the place.

So I broke that shell using the side of my scythe that had no cut

After a few blows the shell broke and gave off hot steam, I took a small jump back to avoid being hit

As soon as the steam dissipated, something shiny came out of the crater and flew towards me.

Instinctively I covered myself with my left hand, I was ready to lose my hand or worse at that point but what happened was the opposite

When the glow faded I could see my hand clearly, in it was a new knuckle with the same texture as the horn that was burning moments ago

It fit my hand perfectly, it had its weight but it didn't compare to my scythe, it was the perfect contrast I needed.

I was never that type of person but as soon as I saw how the new knuckle fits in my hand I felt a strong desire to test what it was like to punch it

"Hmmm... Not bad" I threw a few punches in the air like a boxer who was fighting with his shadow

Carmen was staring at me as if she didn't understand much

Elai: What is it? If Annie can test her toy before using it, so can I

Elai: ...

Elai: Annie! I forgot

The euphoria of witnessing the creation of a new weapon distracted me from my main objective.

Then I realized that I had received new messages from Father John

3:11PM John: Elai?

3:12PM John: Did something happen?

3:12PM: Answer Elai

He must have been upset, I suddenly hung up after the woman looked at the camera

3:14PM Me: Don't worry I'm fine

3:14PM John: Thank you God! What happened ?

3:15PM Me: In a better opportunity I'll tell you the details but for now I should call you again

3:15PM John: I think I've seen enough, just make an audio call and shoot whatever you think is important

3:16PM Me: Right

I think even a cleric was able to realize that maybe I should be more concerned with keeping myself safe than with the images.

I started an audio call and went back to the club door

Conveniently they had similar problems inside, I could hear the sound of fire extinguishers being used

I remembered that there were no windows there and I didn't know if there was any kind of ventilation system, so I walked away from the door and sat in the chair again after picking up my things from the floor and asked Carmen to join the table.

A short time later the doors of the club opened and smoke could then come out.

No one came out of the inside, but the high priest had a good view of the outside and that included me and Carmen

All eyes then turned to me and Carmen who were pretending not to eavesdrop

"Fascinating! We seem to have more visitors,” the high priest said in apparent curiosity

"Come my children, join me on stage"

“No need to worry about us! We're fine out here!” I squealed as I gave a friendly thumbs up.

"I will have to insist on my invitation, join us!" Although he was cordial, what he did was not a request, it felt like a sort of summons.

At that moment all I wanted was not to draw attention, so disobeying a direct order could put me as a target for a hunt

"Let's go Carmen" I called Carmen to accompany me but she didn't seem to want to go in with me

"Come on, it will be easier to see Annie from above" I tried to convince her and it worked

We walked into the club and people automatically split into 2 like we were some kind of celebrity.

It didn't take me long to see Annie and Tyller in the crowd, so I motioned for her to come over to us.

Tyller wanted to go along but Annie looked at him without saying a word and he quieted down.

Annie: What have you gotten yourself into Elai?

Elai: Me? I was just minding my own business until the hot demon decided to heat things up

Annie: That one is the high priest of the sect, do you know what that means?

Elai: No, if I didn't know you I would say you're scared

Annie: Of course not! Forgot who you're talking to?

“If you're done greeting each other, come on stage! I will not tolerate unnecessary interruptions!” Rickshark said in a more incisive tone interrupting our conversation

The 3 of us walked silently to the stage, Rickshark then ordered us to stay behind him.

Adam: Now let's continue the ceremony

Adam: Disciples of true freedom!

Adam: We received the blessing of our lord of darkness, our situation couldn't be better

Adam: We are in a new era! Demons have entered our world and are eliminating the weak

Adam: We were chosen to reign as kings over those who neglected the darkness

I was curious to know how Father John was reacting to the statements but I couldn't touch my cell phone at that moment.

Adam: We must take our first step as soon as possible through force

Adam: We will soon carry out an attack on Clark Church and set up a base of operations on its ashes.

The entire audience then started cheering and screaming words of hate and repudiation of the church.

I was hoping to stay out of disputes between the churches but what they are planning is to bypass the church and kill innocents if necessary.

I already knew which side I should be on in this attack but what about Annie? As much as she didn't show sympathy for the other side I wondered if she would be cold enough to attack people who are only there to survive

Adam: Let's team up with demons to achieve our goals

Adam: You will have 12 hours to get a decent partner, no matter what method

Adam: The most powerful will have the honor to sit beside me when the time comes.

Adam: You are dimissed

Adam: Hail Satan!

All but me shouted in response "hail Satan" as if they were soldiers praising their king

Adam: You 2 and the sheep, come with me

I was in doubt if I should follow your orders but Annie and Carmen followed in your footsteps without saying a word

The hallways were tight and Carmen's fur was squeezed between the side walls.

Annie: Calm down my dear, soon we'll get out of this tight place

I remembered to end the call with Father John as it would be much harder to disguise myself

We walked to a room that was at the back

The room was totally different from the rest of the club. While the club was full of lights, various screens and high technology, the room we entered was simply decorated but reminiscent of very old houses.

"Have a seat" Adam then stopped and cordially offered one of the sofas for Annie and me to sit

We sat next to each other while Carmen rested next to Annie

"Serve them Asclas" The demon promptly opened a bottle of wine and poured it into 3 glasses

It was hard not to look directly at her, in a strange way it was like something really forced us to look at her

Adam: I see you are interested in Ascla

Annie and I instinctively looked away from Ascla who was standing next to his master.

Adam: There's no need to be ashamed, Ascla is an experienced succubus, seducing humans is literally their purpose for existence.

Adam: Introduce yourselfs children

Annie: My name is Annie Walker, nice to meet you

Elai: Elai Rivers

Adam: What's the reason you guys came to us?

Annie: I just couldn't not come to the occultists' first date since darkness came.

Adam: Oh! I see you came to join us

Adam: What about you Mr Rivers?

Elai: I'm only interested in your knowledge

Adam: Knowledge is power as the ancients said

Adam: What is your goal in this new world?

Annie: I will become the empress of this world

Adam: That's a fascinating answer, I see the ambition in your eyes

Adam: What are you willing to do to fulfill your goal?

Annie: Everything

Adam: Everything you say... Haha, that's what we'll see

Adam then looks at me and gives me an evil smile

Adam: Miss Walker, kill your friend now!

Elai and Annie: What?

Adam: You said you're willing to do anything for your goal.

Adam: Come on! Kill him

Adam had just put Annie in a dangerous situation, she disobeyed a direct order from the high priest or killed me in cold blood

I had to do something, I trusted Annie but going against the order could kill us 2

Elai: You are asking her to kill an ally

Adam: Allies, friends, servants are all words used to name tools we use at our leisure

Elai: So you see everyone here as tools

Adam: Precisely, those who can't follow orders are like useless tools

Elai: Naturally if a tool fails to do its job you discard it

Adam: We seem to understand each other easily Mr. Rivers

Elai: I must assume that you should be able to get rid of everyone here alone

Annie: What?

Adam: Where do you want to go Mr Rivers?

Elai: If you want to get rid of me, why don't you do the job yourself?

Adam: Insolent! Are you challenging me ?

Elai: You just treated me like something disposable, so it's fair to say you should do the job in Annie's place

I had no choice, I would have to face the high priest right there if I wanted to save Annie and me

Adam: Oh I see, I let myself go for a moment

Adam: You're making this fuss because you're interested in saving your friend

Adam: Or maybe you're just scared to die

Adam then changes his expression to a serious one and stares into my eyes

Adam: You 2 will die if she doesn't kill you

Adam snaps his fingers and Ascla quickly appears on Annie's back and holds her head.

Adam: What will your choice be Miss Walker

Elai: You bastard! Order her to release Annie

Adam: You have no power here Mr. Rivers

Adam: I'll count to 3 and if Miss Walker doesn't kill you, Ascla will crush her head

Adam: 1...

Annie was desperately trying to free her head from Ascla's hands, Carmen couldn't move, she seemed to be under the same effect as before only worse

Adam: 2...

That monster! There was nothing I could do to save Annie at that moment, the rage was consuming me along with the adrenaline, all I could think about was attacking Adam with everything I had.

It was impossible that I could stop Ascla but I was ready to risk everything by attacking her master, if I couldn't save Annie I would avenge her and then leave with her

Everything happened in a split second, I looked at Adam like a tiger ready to exterminate his existence until he gave a command and Ascla let go of Annie's head.

Adam: Those eyes...

Adam: Those eyes are from someone who's not afraid to kill

Adam: You have an urge to kill me that spills over your body

Adam: That's the kind of tool I'm looking for!

Adam: You two have had enough fun for me

Adam: You are dismissed

Elai and Annie: What?

Adam: Were you deaf? Get out of my sight!

Carmen gets up and Annie takes my hand to pull me out of the room

As soon as we left, Adam said from inside the room "we'll meet more often Mr. Rivers" and then I closed the door while Ascla looked at me seductively

We walked outside the club in silence until we met Tyller and his group

“There they are! The celebrities in our group!” Tyller said as he pointed at us

So everyone who was there looked at the 3 of us who were coming

"How was the meeting with the high priest my goddess?" he had come back with the idiot face he made whenever he spoke to Annie

"Give me that!" Annie then took the bottle Tyller was holding and without hesitation drank all the drink and then threw the bottle on the floor.

"I want mooore!" She yelled in a nervous tone as she grabbed more and more bottles

That was her way of dealing with what happened to her, me and Carmen were just looking at Annie

Tyller: Chicken, what happened to you guys in there?

I could see Annie in the corner turning to listen to the conversation

Elai: No biggie, it was just the high priest welcoming

Tyller: Really? Is that just what happened?

Elai: Oh yeah, Annie got special treatment from the high priest's personal demon

Tyller: Special treatment? What kind ?

Annie then enters the middle of the conversation already drunk

Annie: Let's stop talking, let's have a party

Tyller and I stared at each other for a while

Elai: Did you hear her, let's go to the party

And then we joined the group again, I don't know how they were getting drinks but everyone was having fun like pirates especially Annie

The group managed to find an empty house while we were in the high priest's room, so we headed inside to continue the party.

At that point it didn't really matter who the house was, it was all messed up, the picture frames were all burned, there was no way to identify who owned the house.

My goal was to be on guard with Carmen to prevent Annie from getting into trouble but in less than 1 hour Carmen and I were already having fun with the group.

At one point Annie and I questioned whether Carmen could drink alcohol and to our surprise besides she could get drunk she eventually belched like a flamethrower

What happened from then on I have no idea, my memories went black and I only woke up a long time later in a room where there was just me, Annie and Carmen

I got up and my clothes were reeking of alcohol, cigarettes and other things I couldn't identify

"Aww! What time is it?" my head was pounding from the hangover

I went to look for my cell phone that was under some bottles

The clock read 11:06 PM and there were many unread messages

Elai: Wow! I think I overreacted this time, better let the people on the other side know that I'm alive

11:06PM Me: Hello

11:08PM Joseph: Hello?

11:08PM Joseph: You've been gone all this time and all you have to say is “Hello”? >:(

11:09PM Me: Eh... My bad, some things happened and I ended up forgetting to talk to you guys

11:10 PM Joseph: Man, we were worried about you, Father John could barely concentrate on his prayers as he thought about what might have happened

11:11PM Joseph: He asked Emilya to run the church and told me what was going on

11:12PM Me: I'll talk to him


11:12PM Me: John

11:14PM John: Thank God! you are alive boy

11:14PM Me: If he had an influence on what happened I'll thank him personally

11:15PM John: What happened?

I spent some time explaining to Father John about the rest of the ceremony, the “welcome” of the high priest and how I ended up with no news.

11:32PM Me: And that's what happened

11:33PM John: Oh young people!

11:33PM John: Although I disapprove of the way you alleviated the tension of almost dying I understand why

11:34PM John: So... what do you plan on doing?

11:35PM Me: Aah! This time I'll be on your side

11:35PM Me: I don't care for religious reasons but what those guys are planning is a massacre of innocents

11:36PM John: What about your friend?

11:36PM Me: I honestly don't know

11:37PM Me: I haven't had a good opportunity to talk to her since we left that room

11:38PM Me: I don't know what's on her mind, it would be better if she didn't get involved in this battle

11:39PM John: Elai, can I ask you a question?

11:40PM John: In a situation where it was necessary to neutralize Annie to defend other people, you would take the lead in the situation.

The question had taken me by surprise, I saved Annie because the 2 of us were in danger, but what would I do if she became the danger?

11:40PM John: No need to answer me

11:41PM John: I have to hang up now, if for any reason you're going back to church, let me know.

11:42PM Me: Right

Should I go back to church? What does Annie think about all this? Several questions filled my head until I heard the sound of someone falling out of bed

Annie: Oh my head

Elai: Oh you woke up

Annie: What time is it?

Elai: It's almost midnight

Annie: We enjoyed the night a lot

Elai: Yeah, I'm curious what we're going to call the "day" phases from now on

Elai: But what I'm most curious about is how you're not feeling cold

Annie: What do you mean by that?

I then made a sign with my eyes pointing down to show Annie that she was naked

Annie: Oh that! I didn't even notice

Annie: It's the first time you've seen me like this right?

Elai: You are right

Annie: So... Did you like it?

Elai: Of course I liked it

Elai: But we are friends, let's not get past that

Annie: You're right, it would be weird

Annie then put on her clothes and silence reigned over the room.

Annie: Aah! Whatever! Let's talk about the damn elephant in the room

Elai: Would you kill me if I hadn't done anything?


Annie: Why did you help me?

Elai: It's what friends do

Annie looked at me in surprise

Elai: If we had no choice I would let you kill me there so you could stay alive

Annie: Thanks! I'll find a way to repay you, save my words

I then flicked Annie on the forehead

Annie: Ouch! That hurt

Elai: Stop being an idiot, I didn't do it expecting a reward

Elai: To be honest, as soon as Adam said "2" I had already taken it upon myself to avenge you even if I died right away

If I don't know Annie I would say she was holding back the cry to show herself strong, if I pushed a little more she would cry, but I didn't feel right to do that

Elai: And now? What will you do ?

Annie: Power! I need more power!

Elai: Hmmm?

Annie: I can't let something like that happen again!

Annie: I'm gonna get so powerful I'm gonna make that old bastard lick the floor

Elai: I don't know if you should say it so loud but I admire your spirit is strong even after all

Elai: What about the attack on the church?

Annie: What about the attack?

Elai: What are you going to do?

Annie: I don't have anything with them, I'm just going to witness to do field research

Annie: What are you going to do Elai?

Elai: You can already imagine

Annie: Um... I see

Annie: You want to go back there right?

Elai: Yes, it's likely that at that time they discovered something important

Elai: I know it's dumb to ask but do you want to go with me?

Annie: Yes! It's very stupid for you to ask that

We both laughed a little about the situation.

Elai: Aah! It's going to be a long walk back...

Elai: Do you think you'll be fine alone... I mean you and Carmen?

Annie: I'll be studying with Carmen, I'm still angry

Elai: Great

Suddenly the idea came to me to pick up the empty bottles from the floor and put them in my backpack

Annie: Don't you think we're at the wrong time to think about sustainability?

Elai: Do you remember that vampire hunter game?

Annie: Aah yeah, so you wanna try that right?

Elai: Exactly

So I finished getting the bottles and left the room

Elai: See you later

Annie: See you later

Carmen: *Snorts