Chapter 7:

To Summon (another) Demon (1)

There's a Demon in my Basement!

Finding out how to summon a demon hadn't exactly been an easy task. At home this had been forbidden knowledge nobody would ever want to use. However here it was apparently something way more common. Common enough that she had been able to find the necessary information on this thing called 'internet'.Bookmark here

She looked at the artefact she had brought with her the wide way from home. A small collar with a bell on it, too small for her to wear like anything else than a bracelet. At some point there had been something etched into it, but it was too old and worn out to read.Bookmark here

For a short moment, she looked at it and reconsidered using it for this incantation. Maybe it wouldn't even work. Bookmark here

She shook her head. No. It had to be this item. After all, whoever she might summon, would be just like her. Partially from her home and partially from the underworld. The only one who could understand. ...And if it didn't work, that probably meant she was alone. That there was nobody like her.Bookmark here

Maybe she shouldn’t do it. Maybe she should just stop here and never answer this question that had been burning on her mind for so long. But she couldn’t. No matter how scared she was. Not knowing was worse.Bookmark here

And so she focused on the texts she had printed out in the library again. The technology in the Mortal Realm was astonishing. Bookmark here

Without hesitation, she started the incantation, her voice soft and melodic as she spoke. Soon a portal opened itself in the air in the middle of the room. The deep red mass of energy wasn’t too big. About one metre tall and one metre in width, it didn’t take up much space.Bookmark here

Shortly after its appearance, a creature jumped out of it, too fast to instantly get a good look. However, once they landed they stopped and looked around curiously. They looked like a cat, but taller than one would usually expect. Their eyes, which were just as red as their fur, fixated Snow as if she was the creature's next prey.Bookmark here

The girl didn't seem bothered by this. She just lowered herself and smiled. "Greetings. My name is Snow." Without hesitation, she held out her hand.Bookmark here

The cat-like demon looked at her, then at her hand before scratching it. Bookmark here

With a yelp, the girl retracted her arm and put the other hand on the freshly forming scratch. Meanwhile, the demon took the opportunity and jumped past her over to the next window which they didn't bother to open and just jumped through the glass, breaking it in the process.Bookmark here

"That is…" She looked at the broken window like one would at something precious falling to pieces. "...Going to be a problem." Immediately she jumped to her feet and ran out of the door. She could easily make out the vague position of the demon she just summoned but the bound was too freshly formed for a more precise location.Bookmark here

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"Look, I don't- why are you this worked up?!" B had given up on getting Astaroth to slow down and instead grabbed a bike after breaking the lock with a weak magic spell. However, even on the said vehicle, he had problems keeping up with the demon. Bookmark here

Astaroth stopped running for a short moment and looked in different directions, holding up their nose almost like a dog trying to sniff out someone's scent. "Territorial issues", they answered without offering too much of an explanation. Bookmark here

Grateful for the short break the human tried to catch his breath. "I-... What?" None of this made any sense. "You're a Demonlord. Astaroth… Who would challenge you?" He looked around quickly - they had left the well off neighbourhood, Ciana was living in and had found their way to a more deserted, less lively part of the town. Bookmark here

"Normally, nobody…", they mumbled before looking directly at B, "But… This one is… strange." Bookmark here

"Care to elaborate?" Bookmark here

"I-" Astaroth stopped talking and suddenly jumped past B's bicycle and grabbed him by the upper arm in the process. Bookmark here

Surprised by the demon's power he couldn't do much but blink confused at them. He just wanted to ask about it but then he heard a weird sound, he couldn't identify. Automatically his eyes wandered into the direction of it - the bicycle had been crushed under a piece of cement. He swallowed. Bookmark here

They landed a few metres away from their original position. A low growl emitted from Astaroth. Bookmark here

B just shuddered, not daring to say anything. This whole situation was… too much to grasp for him. Demons were having fights about territories? The Demonlord Astaroth was on edge because of something? Somewhere distantly inside his mind B realized that he might be in danger, but couldn't quite grasp the severity of that fact. He wasn't scared. Just numb and confused.Bookmark here

Astaroth's gaze was fixated on a small alleyway between two empty buildings and so B also concentrated on that area. He didn't know what he expected. Maybe a demon of an impressive size, just like Astaroth when he had summoned them. Maybe just another attack. Bookmark here

However, what came out of the shadows was nothing like that. A cat-like creature, about one meter tall, gracefully left the darkness and stepped into the moonlight. Their glowing red eyes were fixated on Astaroth for a few seconds before staring directly into B's. A shudder ran down his spine. As harmless as they might have looked, they were still a demon.Bookmark here

"Leave." The word left Astaroth's mouth and hung heavily in the air. It felt less like an order but more like a law of nature just being rewritten. Bookmark here

B shuddered and instinctively wanted to take a step back despite the demon's hand still gripping tightly onto his arm. Bookmark here

The cat-demon didn't seem to feel the same way. They did the opposite and dashed towards Astaroth - No, towards B, as he distantly realized. Bookmark here

He could never react fast enough to dodge the claws of the beast. But Astaroth did. They pushed B away to stumble a few steps backwards. Bookmark here

Meanwhile, they grabbed their opponent's wrist before the claws could reach their destination. The energy they had built up by their sprint was redirected by Astaroth into a shoulder throw, sending them flying for a few meters. However, the other demon didn't seem faced by this and launched a breath of fire while hanging upside down in the air. Just in time Astaroth let go of them and sidestepped out of the attack's range. The Demonlord refused to give their opponent a break and so their counterattack was immediate. An ice-crystal formed in their hand, flying towards the cat who had just managed to turn around in mid-air to land on their paws. The cold projectile was destroyed with another blow of fire. Bookmark here

B managed to regain his balance. He had to do something. There was no way he could interfere directly in this battle - he could barely keep up with what they were doing there was no way he would be able to land a hit on the opponent. Why did they focus their attacks on B, then? The summoner. They were going after the summoner. That was the easier opponent after all. However, that would also work the other way round. He just had to find the other summoner. Surely, they would be around if they just let their demon go rampage so shortly after the incantation. Bookmark here

Only for a second, the fight between the demons had been paused. The cat jumped at Astaroth, teeth fletched. Instead of dodging the attack, the Demonlord decided to destroy the concrete beneath their feet, letting the single pieces flow up into the air. Simultaneously they launched a gust, using the former street as missiles against the enemy. The projectiles were utilized by the cat as jumping points in the air, to minimize the distance between the adversaries. Quickly, Astaroth changed the direction of the wind and sent the debris upwards. Bookmark here

With an elegant jump towards Astaroth, the cat left their current piece of concrete. This time the Demonlord wasn't fast enough. Long, sharp teeth sank down in Astaroth's arm. They didn't flinch and just slapped their attacker off. "B. I am sorry, but may I take on my original form?" Bookmark here

He hadn't expected anyone to talk to him anytime soon, so it took a second for him to understand what had been said. "Y-yes! Of course!" He had no idea what exactly he had just agreed to, but there was no time to demand an explanation. The image of the appearance Astaroth had taken when he first summoned them shot through his head but he had a vague feeling that also hadn't been their full form. Probably a smaller one to be able to fit into the basement. Instinctively he took a few steps back. At least that's what he had been trying. A dark mist engulfed him. While he realized he couldn't see what was happening, he felt himself getting lifted up with an incredible speed. Almost instantly he lost his balance but the ground he found wasn't the street. It was… soft? The movement itself stopped but due to its speed, B was thrown up into the air for almost two metres just to land back on the fur again. Bookmark here

The mist disappeared as quickly as it had come, giving him the chance to fully comprehend what had just happened. Astaroth had grown to a size of more than ten metres, their body covered in dark fur and partially in feathers. It took a few seconds for B to realize that this was the form the demon had taken on when they first met - and that meant they were currently down on all fours. Something they couldn't change as long as the human was on their back. That had probably been a tactical decision by them to keep him safe. Immediately he grabbed the fur trying his best to keep himself steady. What could he do to help? What could he do to not be in the way? Bookmark here

That question was answered soon after when Astaroth's body changed once again, this time however there were some… sort of walls growing out of them, surrounding B and closing above him. Effectively he was trapped but he knew it was probably the easiest way for the demon to keep him safe. Right now B was their biggest weakness. Of course, they wanted to keep him from harm. The only downside to this was that B couldn't see anything happening outside his little shelter.Bookmark here

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Even though she couldn't determine the exact location of the demon, the noise was enough for Snow to find them without that. And if that hadn't been telling enough the 10-metre tall demon in front of her was all the information she needed. Quickly she took in the situation in front of her. Aside from the tall one the demon she summoned earlier had also changed their appearance. The size stayed the same but a new pair of wings was attached to their back. However, that was the smaller change. It appeared that they had multiplied. About twenty identical cat-like demons attacked the larger one like a swarm of wasps would. Did she accidentally summon more than one? Were those illusions? Bookmark here

It didn't matter. "Stop!", she screamed not knowing whether her small voice could even reach them. Bookmark here

Instantly all of the cats turned their head to her, seemingly more out of reflex. They stared directly at her, leaving her speechless. Something in those red eyes wasn't right. Bookmark here

Their opponent took the chance and grabbed one of the surrounding buildings to use it like a bat, hitting them almost all at once. Only two managed to escape from the attack but those were hit by some ice projectiles shortly after. Instead of following up to their opponent the demon reached up onto their back, grabbed something and then brought their giant hand down to her. Instinctively she flinched back a little bit until she realized they didn't grab something but someone. "B?!", she exclaimed upon recognition. Bookmark here

"What- You?!" The demon sat him down on the ground and gave him a small nod he didn't register due to his current fixation on the newcomer. And of course, she was still wearing that stupid costume. Bookmark here

Without hesitation, she ran up to him and looked for injuries. "Are you alright?!" Bookmark here

"Yes, I-" He shook his head. "What are you doing here?!"Bookmark here

"I- Watch out!" Before Snow had even finished her warning she had already put up a magic barrier that kept the cat from hitting B. Instead they just dissolved into nothing. Bookmark here

The magician blinked. That was… a very powerful spell one would usually need a lot of preparation for. Bookmark here

"I am here to bring them back", she said pointing at the swarm of cats. Bookmark here

"You summoned them", he started to piece together, "And now they're- causing havoc."Bookmark here

"Y-yes. I do not… know how to make them stop." Bookmark here

He massaged his forehead. This had to be a cruel joke the universe was playing on him. "Just use your bond. You can stop them from doing anything."Bookmark here

"What- You can do that?!" Snow looked at him as if he had just discovered the concept of gravity. Bookmark here

B on the other hand was flabbergasted. How could she summon a demon and not know that?! "Of course!" Bookmark here

"W-well, then-" She ducked her head under a flying piece of debris. "Tell me how!"Bookmark here

He fired off a thunder spell to keep off some more stones flying their way. "It should just come naturally to you- just focus on your bond and-" An ice-cold revelation ran through him and sent a shiver down his spine. For a few seconds, the world seemed to slow down. "Did you…" No, she couldn't be this stupid. There was no way she knew this little about the demon she had just summoned. "Did you tell them your name?"Bookmark here

Confused, Snow blinked. "Of course, I did. Was I not supposed to?" Bookmark here

If the situation wasn't so dire, B would have laughed. Of course, she had done it. "We're dead."Bookmark here

Real Aire
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