Chapter 13:

Winter

There's a Demon in my Basement!


It was kind of fascinating how Mortals managed to build up something as huge as a winter market every year in such a short amount of time. Not did they just manage to get everything up and going in a matter of days, they also managed to disassemble everything again, also in a matter of days.Bookmark here

But that didn’t mean Blake liked it. It also didn’t mean that he was fond of the idea of visiting one. There were too many people and not enough quiet for his taste. However, he had made the mistake of letting Snow handle his smartphone. And she had found out about the winter market. And the Ferris wheel. Especially the Ferris wheel. Naturally, it had only been a matter of minutes for her to inform Astaroth and now both of them insisted to visit.Bookmark here

Blake stared at them. “You do realize, that you don’t need my consent, right?”Bookmark here

“But it wouldn’t be as much fun without yooouuu…” The way Astaroth looked at him, with those big red eyes and the small pout on their lips - Blake was positive they were at least to some degree a dog. There was no other way.Bookmark here

He sighed. "Fine."Bookmark here

The other two threw up their fists in victory.Bookmark here


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Blake really hated the wintermarket. It was just a grim reminder of the fact that Christmas was close - and he hated Christmas. Almost as much as every other holiday. (Expect for Halloween - Halloween was fine.) Now that didn't stop Astaroth from grabbing a Santahat at the first possible option and put it on Blake's head.Bookmark here

"What is this?" Astaroth was pointing to a booth for duck-fishing.Bookmark here

There was a deep sigh from Blake, realizing he now had to explain to them the concept of duck-fishing. That and the fact that they would want to try. And they would eat his brains out if he didn't let them. "It's duck-fishing."Bookmark here

"Wait, it is possible to fish ducks? I thought that was reserved for fish." In confusion Snow tilted her head and looked at Drake who just shrugged.Bookmark here

"There are no actual ducks. Just rubber ones," Blake finished his explanation.Bookmark here

Astaroth's face lid up in understatement. "Oh, like the one you take into the bathtub every time?"Bookmark here

Instantly Blake flinched a little bit and straightened his posture. "I am not- That is not- Just leave Mr Duck Duck out of this!" There was an unusual aggressiveness in his voice. Bookmark here

Drake snickered. "Mr Duck Duck? That's a creative one."Bookmark here

"Well, at least he has a name that fits them! Mr Dragon-Cat! Also, I named him when I was four. So shut it!"Bookmark here

"My name fits me perfectly well, thank you very much!"Bookmark here

Snow folded her hands in front of her chest. "Yes, they do kind of have something of a dragon, do they not?" She smiled in the purest of manners and not even Blake was evil enough to ruin that. So he just let it slide.Bookmark here

"Okay, let's go and fish some ducks!" The excitement in Astaroth's voice was even for them unusual high.Bookmark here


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Astaroth's excitement had also been unusually short-lived. They fished one duck and had been distraught by the fact that they didn't get to keep it.Bookmark here

"It's fine," Blake said, shrugging, "You see, there are points here. You have three points so you can choose one of the prizes worth three points."Bookmark here

"But I wanted to keep the duck..." Their pout grew even more. "That's the only price I wanted..."Bookmark here

"Why do you even want one so badly?" The human just shook his head. Understanding Astaroth was a Sisyphean challenge. "Look, we can just buy one on the way home. And on top of that, you can pick a prize. Isn't that even better?"Bookmark here

"That's not-..." Like a child not wanting to tell their parent what's wrong they averted their gaze. "It's just-... not what I wanted to do."Bookmark here

Blake raised an eyebrow. "So... You like... wanted a trophy for the hunt or something?" Maybe there was a chance the demon would destroy the earth after all.Bookmark here

"No!" They looked directly at Blake again. "I wanted to give it to you!"Bookmark here

"Huh?" The teen blinked, trying to contemplate what led to that decision. "To me? Why would you gift me a rubber duck?"Bookmark here

"You like them, don't you? There is Mr Duck Duck, after all… And I'm sure he'd like some company!"Bookmark here

Blake blinked, staring at Astaroth who still had the duck in their hands. "You-... that is-...'' He buried his face in one hand and looked away. "You're an idiot..." Despite the insult he had just mumbled, there was an ever so slight smile on his lips.Bookmark here


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There was a bigger variety of food to buy than Blake had imagined. In fact, it was enough so the group could spend the entire evening eating new kinds of snacks. It was somewhat fascinating.Bookmark here

Obviously, the Ferris wheel should have been the finale of the day. But they were too late. The line had already closed when the group arrived. So they had to somewhat settle for the day and start walking home.Bookmark here


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The disappointment, especially on Astaroth's face, was immeasurable. To be precise, it was big enough to be considered annoying by Blake. "You know, we can just come back another day. The market stays till January."Bookmark here

"We will visit a second time?!" The disappointment was gone, Astaroth beamed at Blake, intensively.Bookmark here

"Uh... I guess?" He shrugged. Now, it wasn't like he'd insist on doing that but moping Astaroth was a little bit worse than normal Astaroth. So that's why he'd go with the later one. - Not because he was actually nice like a certain God of the Underworld had implied. Nope, just going for the path of the least resistance.Bookmark here

"Another visit would certainly be nice." Snow smiled gently while breathing into her hands, trying to warm them up a little bit.Bookmark here

Blake watched her for a few seconds before finally asking the question that had been on his mind for quite some while now. "Snow, what are you?" Bookmark here

The girl halted in her movements, staring blankly at Blake. "I… do not know."Bookmark here

Now it was Astaroth's turn to be confused. "But you weren't in the Mortal Realm before. And now you are. How did you get here? Have you been summoned?"Bookmark here

For a while she was silent. "I have not been summoned." Snow looked up to the sky. "I just… fell."Bookmark here

Astaroth tilted their head. "'Fell'? Like an angel?" Bookmark here

"Yes. But… I am not an angel." She looked down onto her opened palms. "I do not know… what I am. I just… know what I am not." A melancholic smile found its way to her lips. "It is quite frustrating, I must say. Every time I get to know a new species I once again realize that this is also not what I am. When I summoned Drake I thought I would finally find someone who is just like me, but…" Bookmark here

There was an unreadable expression on Drake's face. Their ears twitch slightly, while they watched Snow closely with a blank stare. Bookmark here

Astaroth took her hands in theirs. Confused, she looked up into their face. "Maybe… There is no word. Maybe you're just you. Just Snow. And that's it." They smiled. "You're you. And that's the most important thing." Bookmark here

She took back her hand and turned her gaze once again upwards. Towards the sky. "I doubt it will ever be possible for me to see it that way. But thank you."Bookmark here

Real Aire
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