“You know, you guys are really testing my mental strength,” Kingston’s face had a waterfall’s worth of sweat by the time we reached the backyard.
Grandma always loved watering the flowers. As soon as the forest opened our eyes were greeted with the scene of colorful roses and hyacinths. At one corner, a tree that grew oranges, and at another, birds had built their nests and called the bushes their home.
Toshiro carefully opened the wooden door of the fenced area, allowing Kingston and I in before pointing inside the garage.
“You can set the car there,” he instructed, to which Kingston obligated, “carefully though.”
“Don’t worry about it, if I wanted to damage your gem I’d done so already,” the demon gently placed the car onto the ground.
Then, he shouted and blinked his eyes.
“AAAAAAAAAAND done, do you have any idea how much mental power it takes for someone to do this?”
I watched as the arms vanished, typical after the consistent blinking I observed. I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to poke them, but I knew eventually I’d tackle this demon down to give me that chance.
“I’m sure this is a new record, seeing how red you’ve turned.”
I giggled at his rose colored face. The poor man really did his best.
“I’d help you out, but I uh, have no idea how these machines work.”
“It’s fine,” I heard Toshiro hollered from the side of the garage, “thanks for your help.”
With that dismissive tone I knew it was time for some convincing.
“Give us a second,” I said to Kingston, to which he shrugged and turned away to stare at the plants.
I entered the garage, the smell of oil and fresh tires hit, reminiscent of the childhood memories I had when I frequently visited Grandma’s house as a young child. It looked more clustered than what I recalled, asides from a worn out ladder and a rack of shoes I recognized. But perhaps that’s due to Grandma’s inability to constantly maintain it seeing that she’s getting so old.
Sometimes, I worry. Being a widower of a two-story house for someone her age meant many rooms go untouched.
Thankfully, Grandma does have a maid that’d come by every other day to do housekeeping work. But with the recent arrival of Toshiro, the maid was dismissed for the time being while he renovated parts of the house.
Thinking of Grandma then led to the big question: where is she?
“Hey, Toshiro, is Grandma home?”
“I don’t know,” his eyes focused on his toolbox, “like I said, I don’t remember if I had seen her lately.”
“Are you not concerned?”
“Of course I am.”
“It’s the lack of memories, isn’t it?”
He stopped shuffling his tools.
“Toshiro, you don’t have to tell me anything, but it bothers me to know you’re frustrated.”
“Yeah, well, like you said, all of us have our own battles to fight.”
Trying to turn the attention away from the matter, I glanced at Kingston. The demon had squatted over a patch of fresh grass and sniffed it.
“Soooo, about Kingston,” I started.
“Yeah what about him?”
“Is he um, gonna hang out with us for a bit?”
“Gah, I knew you were gonna ask this.”
“Ok so whatcha think?”
My brother kept his eyes on his tools, his hand reached over to grab several screwdrivers. “Every fiber of my being does not want him to be anywhere close to us.”
I saw his expression and smirked.
“Kingston!” I called out, “Hey get over here and stop licking that flower!”
The demon hollered for the 10th time inside Grandma’s home. His voice bounced off the walls of the empty living room and rung back into our ears.
Upon entering the back door, we found ourselves inside an unfurnished room filled with stacked clothes covering every inch of the floor. The chairs had lost their colors, with books on a small rounded table collecting dust.
“I thought you renovated the house,” I said sarcastically.
“Not everything, and especially not a room like this one,” Toshiro responded, “but if you guys were to take one more step~“
He opened the door to the main hall.
Lights of a grand opera shone upon us; a well lit chandelier meant for a ballroom hung from the ceiling, illuminating the accessories of gold and silver set around the open area. A mini statue of an angel guiding a young child was placed next to the staircase, freshly painted with expensive oils.
“Did Grandma own all of this before!” I asked, surprised that for an elderly woman her house wasn’t the typical cozy carpeted scenery.
“A lot of the accessories were in boxes kept away in one of the storage rooms,” Toshiro replied, clearly proud of his work, “I made sure to reuse them again as I don’t think placing them inside boxes did any justice.”
“Huh, never took Grandma as one to like luxury looking things…”
“Maybe that’s why dad’s a cheapskate.”
We laughed, now that’s just a bad joke.
We turned to see Kingston’s reaction, excited to witness cultural shock. Instead, he stared at the chandelier briefly and shrugged.
“Looks clean,” he said to Toshiro, “good job.”
“That’s not what I expected,” Toshiro said to me.
“Hm? I mean it’s what you humans call a chandelier right? The structure of it looks similar to the ones I’ve seen back home.”
“Ooh,” that certainly perked my curiosity, “would you say our chandeliers look cooler?”
“Nah,” the demon immediately replied to our dismay, “if all chandeliers look like this, I think it’s too bright. Ours rely on flames than whatever humans use to make things glow.”
“I believe what you’re referring to are LED lights,” Toshiro placed his hands on his hips, “and it’s not technically glowing. It sure ain’t magic.”
“Fair,” Kingston seemed to be more intrigued by the staircase, “Damn, you’re really far behind when it comes to technological advances.”
“See, this is why I keep mistaking you for an alien,” Toshiro squinted, “you look like one, and you certainly sound like one.”
“I mean, if we are reaaaally going to be technical with terminology, a demon could be considered an alien to us because he’s not from here!” I said, attempting to avoid any possible tension between them from happening.
“Heh, sure why not,” Kingston grinned and hopped onto the stairs, “demon, alien, whatever, your terminology’s weird. Like I said, I’m a Fallen.”
“Hey, get back here!”
Toshiro bolted for the stairs. That prompted Kingston to stick his tongue out and hover to the second floor.
“So why are ya all hiding up here ehh? Something embarrassing?”
He slammed a door open just as Toshiro reached the second floor. I followed shortly and glanced over their shoulders, wondering why the conversation had paused.
To my astonishment, a bright light emitted from a very peculiar shard. Random too, and it was obvious that it wasn’t Toshiro who placed it there.
In fact, he looked confused.
“What…is that? I don’t remember seeing that when I cleaned this room weeks ago!”
But the biggest fear factor of all was Kingston’s expression. He had a look of anxiety; his body started shivering as if he had witnessed Lucifer himself.
“N-no way, what is that doing here!”
“Kingston, what are you talking about?” Toshiro glanced at him.
“It shouldn’t be here!”
“Stop using pronouns and tell us already!”
“That thing! That’s a divine shard! But that would mean,” Kingston’s eyes couldn’t get more wider, “the Orb was shattered.”
We gasped. Not that we understood the situation immediately.
“Ah,” I started after a few seconds, “you said the Orb is a suppressed form of contained divine power. So if it’s shattered, the shards-“
“-are likely scattered, and the angels have lost their greatest weapon,” Toshiro finished.
“And that’s the problem!” Kingston hollered, “without the Orb, it’s possible that Lucifer will seize this opportunity to unleash another war! Or worse-“
The demon blinked. His translucent arms reappeared and rubbed his forehead.
“Lucifer might even try to get his hands on the shards and that’ll be bad!”
“Yeah, this is a certified ‘oh shit’ moment,” Toshiro sighed, “Can’t say I’m surprised anymore. Today’s been one heck of a day.”
I glanced around the room. Recognizing this was likely a spare place Toshiro prepared that I’d use based on the soft bean bag and the colorful notepads on the table, I took a step forward.
Kingston’s yell fell into deaf ears right as a strong gust of the wind pulled me in. The glowing shard begun to spiral out of control.
I did my best to maintain my posture, to hold my ground and not lose balance, but the wind was so powerful strands of my hair had covered my face and I tripped over a rolling pencil.
I yelped, and then I felt the warm sensation of a hand grabbing onto mine.
It was Toshiro. Behind him, Kingston held onto his feet.
“Guys, I can’t!” Kingston winced, his body scooted forward slightly, “it’s too strong!”
As the sounds of scattered papers, clattering cups, rolling highlighters and notepads slamming into the walls all merged with Toshiro’s call of my name, I closed my eyes and thought of what all of us can do.
“You watch too many movies, Kamiko! You’re not dying today!” Toshiro screamed, his hands gripping onto mine even harder.
“I meant let all of us go!” I yelled back, “It’s pulling the three of us in for something! And I don’t think it’s going to kill us, it’s divine power!”
“Kingston!” Toshiro called back, “Please tell my sister that’s a bad idea!”
“That’s a good idea!” The demon released Toshiro and allowed the wind to carry him with us, sending our bodies hurtling towards the shard.
“I hate you!”
The shard’s light engulfed the room and swallowed us into a new world.