I stared at the building a few more moments and then went to work. Pulling out the rope, I tied it around the trunk of the tree and then carried it over to the side of the building. Keeping low, I left about one rope for each window. Was it enough? I had no clue. All I knew was that I had to enter this place, and I had no clue what I would find inside. Up until this point, not a single person had even seemed to peak their head out the window. The ominous feeling it gave me caused me to shiver.
It didn’t matter. I had to go in there, even if it was a trap. There were people who were depending on me. At there very least, I waited enough time that I hoped the remaining girls and guys could have made it off the island. They were likely fleeing the riots and heading to their homes right now. I lifted up the communication device and called out to my sister.
“Hannah, are you leaving?” I demanded.
“You haven’t left.” Hannah’s voice returned, sounding just a bit aggrieved by my words.
I closed my eyes and tightened my grip on the device. “Look, Hannah, I need you to-.”
“I won’t! I won’t leave!” Her voice said in a fervent tone. “I’ll come to you!”
“Wait!” I tried to stop her. “Are you still in the command center for the island?”
“… Yes…” Hannah responded, but she sounded slightly pouty.
I took a deep breath. “I have a plan, but it all depends on how well you know how to handle those controls.”
“What does brother have in mind?” Hannah asked, her voice low like she was sharing a secret.
“Can you control the levitation engines on the island?”
Hannah responded after a moment of silence. “The things that keep the island afloat? There are a lot of red buttons and warning labels over those controls. Did you want me to lower the island to the ground? You will encounter a lot of buildings that will be crushed. It’ll be dangerous!”
“No, I want you to turn on all the engines on the right to full, and turn all the engines on the left off.”
“Heh-hahahahahahahaha,” Hannah’s voice burst out laughing. “Brother… that is crazy!”
I sighed, “I’m sorry, I know it was unreasonable-“
“I’ll do it!”
I bit my lip and shook my head. This was Hannah I was talking about after all. She wouldn’t hesitate to do something dangerous. Suddenly, getting her approval made me weary on whether it was a bad idea or not.
“Get ready. Do it, on my mark.” I finally responded after thinking about it a bit longer.
“Yes, brother!” Hannah’s voice nearly sang the words with excitement.
Her tone of voice did not settle my nerves at all. This was going to go very badly. However, the possibility of running never occurred to me. Lyra’s very life could be on the line.
“Okay…” I spoke to myself, trying to calm my nerves as I pulled out my sword.
I started heading slowly to the front door. I was leaving a scene of horror behind me, men swinging from a tree in the middle of the courtyard, and several dead women lying at the roots. Yet, I felt like I was heading into something even more terrifying. It was certainly unnerving. I let out a cough and then pushed open the door into the magic department building. As soon as I stepped in, the smell of blood assaulted my senses. The lights were off and the place took on an eerie feel. I gulped and continued to walk into the first hallway. Most of the rooms were dark and I couldn’t see anything. The doors were shut, and I didn’t have the guts to open them.
The building was very quiet. This wasn’t the sound of an HQ planning an assault on the school. Instead, it sounded closer to a graveyard. I could hear a dripping sound down the hallway, so I headed in that direction. I kept my sword out in front of me, moving slowly and deliberately. I even found myself checking my feet to make sure there wasn’t some kind of trap. If my anxiety was high before, it was through the roof now.
As I approached the cross-section, it was the first time I noticed something out of the ordinary. Coming out the side of the corridor was a foot. It was bare without socks or shoes on. It was smaller, resembling the foot of a woman. I continued around the corner and froze. At my feet laid a pile of women. A few of them I recognized. These would be the so-called WRATH. Every girl was dead. My knees went weak and I fell down. I had already seen death this day, but I didn’t seem to be getting used to it. The more death you saw, allegedly, the easier it was to see. Not with me. With each dead body, I found it harder to move on.
I looked over the women, forcing myself to check their faces. They were pale and nearly blue. For most of them, it looked like their throats had been cut. However, there was not very much blood here. It was almost as if their blood had been emptied somewhere else and their bodies just thrown here. Forcing myself up, I took various hard breaths before looking away. I fought a bit of nausea and then continued on.
Among their faces, Lyra and Becky were not there. Even if they were, I wasn’t sure I could turn back and leave at this point. I had to find out what happened. What was Diba Monic doing? It was clear to me now that whatever this attack on the school was, it was hiding something more menacing!
A glow from the crack of a pair of double doors finally stopped me from moving. The orange light spilled out. It flickered like it wasn’t a constant light source. Readjusting my grip on my sword, I pushed the door open, keeping up a guarded stance. The room was much larger than a typical classroom. Perhaps it was used for assemblies or magic training indoors. The walls were lined with candles, and lying at the very end was Lyra. She had her mouth gagged and she was tied up, lying on some kind of altar-like table surrounded by candles.
What the hell? It was the only thought going through my mind. I immediately started walking towards her. I checked my feet for a trap and noticed a large magical rune drawn filling up half of the available floorspace. That magical rune appeared to be written in blood. I walked cautiously around it, heading over to Lyra. As soon as I put my hand on Lyra, her eyes snapped open. She made a terrified shout that was muffled by the gag in her mouth.
“Clyburn…” A voice caused me to look up into a corner.
“Becky?” I responded in wonder.
Becky was sitting there in the corner. Her hair was a mess and she looked like she had been crying. Her hands were restrained to a stack of furniture that had been discarded to the side to make room for the rune. It prevented her from moving one bit. She looked a bit out of it, but as soon as her eyes were able to focus on me, they widened and she tried to stand, failing due to the restraints.
“Clyburn! Get out of here!” She finally cried out.
My eyes snapped back to Lyra, who was shaking her head up and down as if she was agreeing with Rebecca in entirety. Before I had a chance to respond, I heard a loud thud, the doors I had come in shutting closed. When I glanced up, at the other side of the room, Miss Monic was standing there. She had always been a terrifying woman, but in the candlelight, she looked even more unhinged.
She was wearing a red dress that looked almost religious in origin, with hints of a robe and religious symbolism mixed into the design. It bared her shoulders though and looked shockingly sensual. Although I never considered Miss Monic a beautiful woman, there were few truly ugly women in this world, and this dress made her look exotic and perhaps even a bit sexy. There was something splattered on her cheek, and I was almost certain it was blood. However, it was not her own blood. She locked the door with a resounding click and then turned to me with a dark smile on her face. As she moved, I noticed that there was some kind of tattoo on the back of her shoulder. It wasn’t a magical rune, but it looked like something I recognized. It had a vaguely magical feel to it. This left me feeling even more on edge.
I could only shiver at the gleeful look she was giving me. It was truly the look of a predator who had found its prey. Her crazed eyes reflected the lights of the candles, looking orange in the relative darkness. Her hair was a bit messy, giving her a dangerous look.
“Finally, you came…” She said, her smile growing. “I knew you’d come.”
“Who are you?” I demanded. “Di-did you kill all of those women?”
Diba Monic chuckled. “I think you’ll find that it was you who killed all of those women.”
“Me?” I snapped, my breath coming out in pants.
Hearing Lyra struggling, I immediately cut the gag off her mouth.
“Clyburn! She’s a Lilith follower!” Lyra shouted as soon as the gag freed her mouth.
A Lilith follower? Lilith? Where had I heard that name before? Lilith… Lilith contract! The contract I had signed with Mako was a slave contract designed to cause the Demon Lord to submit. Demon Lord Lilith was the name of the Demon Lord who was defeated by the blessed man. Now I remembered where I had seen that tattoo on her shoulder. It was similar to the design in the Lilith contract!
“Demon… Lord… Follower?” The words came out slowly as my brain pieced them together.
“Many believe that we don’t exist.” Diba Monic chuckled. “They think the order of Lilith is some kind of fake conglomeration of the infoweb.”
I shook my head, failing to understand. “I don’t get it… the Demon Lord Lilith gave up her entire life for a man. How could a Demon Lord follower be in the WRA?”
“A good cover, yes?” Diba Monic chuckled. “Of course, I played my part well. I needed to keep men restrained and occupied. I needed to foster an environment that hated your sex. That desperation, that anger… that was what I wanted from you. From all men. Look at the world outside. The WRA has released bombs and incited mobs. The city is burning. Have I not done well, Lilith?”
As she stared off into nothingness, I continued to work on removing Lyra’s restraints. There was only one thing, in particular, I got out of her comments. She was absolutely insane! When Lyra finally got to a standing position, Diba’s sharp eyes shot back to us. Her smile returned.
“And you, all of this was prepared just for you!” Diba pointed right at me, her smile splitting open as she giggled once again.
“Me?” I took a step back, Lyra holding my arm. “How the hell am I responsible for this?”
“Of course… isn’t it because you’re the blessed man?”
“Blessed man?” My eyes widened as I realized it was that trial where I had first made that claim. “What does that have to do with any of this?”
“It has everything to do with it!” Diba shouted, steadily walking towards us even as I tried to sidestep her.
My brain worked through everything I knew about this world. “The hero… he came and subdued the demon king Lilith. If you’re her follower, then you’re saying you’re my follower as well?”
Diba burst into another laugh. “Hmm.. follow you? Yes, I suppose I follow you, in a certain manner of speaking.”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying…” I shot back.
“Then… let me tell you a bit of our history.” Diba sighed, seemingly unhurried.
It was the fact she didn’t seem even remotely worried that left me the most terrified. Lyra was completely quiet, holding my arm tightly. As for Becky, she seemed to have lost all of the fight in her. She merely remained in her restraints with her head lowered. She had lost everyone in WRATH in a single moment. She was their president, yet she had failed to protect anyone. I wasn’t even certain why she had been left alive. Perhaps Lyra was a lure to bring me here, but why Becky?
“Years ago, Lilith tried to conquer this world.” Diba began. “She realized the truth. Our world was dying. The seed was gone and without men, our species would be dead. Thus, she began a path to save the world. Of course, no one understood her except her followers. Her magical experimentation they declared evil, and soon they tried to wipe Lilith and her followers out.
“So, she escaped and created armies of monsters using her research to protect her lands while she continued to perform her research. In the end, she had discovered a means of saving the world. It was simple really. Demons were wiped out at the same time that men were wiped out. They had cursed humanity as they were destroyed, and that curse would remain, even if we managed to regain men. No human men would ever be born on this world.
“When the blessed man appeared, Lilith knew that he wouldn’t be able to fix our world. The curse that prevented men from being born would still remain true in all future generations. Only by allowing the demons back into our world would men reappear. That was why Lilith invited the blessed man into her castle. He could have children, but unless he possessed a demonic spirit, the curse would always result in females being born.
“Thus… she enticed the blessed man, and they made a pact. She would make him a demon, and he would sign the Lilith contract, being her subservient. Unfortunately, he had betrayed her, and made her his slave instead.
“Without a choice, Lilith was forced to aid the demon in spreading the demonic male gene across the world. His loyal apostles, his friends, every male born would carry demonic blood. Unfortunately, that wretched Queen Dom realized the truth! Instead of aiding Lilith and freeing her from her subservience, she wanted to men to herself. She captured the blessed man and his children at great expense to her reputation. Then, she spent the rest of her life purifying them of their demonic spirit. Most of them died, but eventually, one child succeeded.”
“What are you saying?” I had stopped sidestepping at some point, completely lost in the tale that she was revealing.
Even Lyra’s mouth had fallen open, completely floored by the words this woman was saying. It seemed to spin history on its head, but it made sense, didn’t it? The Demon Lord’s story was marginalized in this world’s religion. You’d think someone with a name like the Demon Lord would have had a significant influence on this world, yet she only seemed to exist to fluff up the blessed man‘s credit. After her role, she almost disappeared from the story entirely.
The Demon Lord should be the great evil of the tale, but instead, it was this malicious queen who got all the hate. According to Diba, however, this was the exact opposite. The Demon Lord was trying to summon a demon into this world, and the blessed man was, in fact, that very demon. Was he even capable of having children at a 50/50, or was that only the result of the demonic blood inside of him?
“The very rumor that every WRA woman believes is true. Men… are inherently demonic.” Diba shrugged. “The queen had extracted the demon. She killed all of the men in the process, but in the end, she had managed to maintain a happy medium in the last living son of the blessed man. It was a one-thousandth of the demonic blood. Each man contains it. Perhaps, that is an inconsequential amount. But it allows men to be born in this world.”
“G-good…” I said as Diba’s eyes locked on me. “Sounds like a happy ending after all.”
“Then, there is you…” Diba giggled.
“Me? What about me? I’m not some blessed man. It sounds like not even the blessed man was truly a blessed man.”
Diba shrugged. “Ever since the trial, people believe you to be the reincarnation of the blessed man. A person capable of having babies, 50/50. That means, women near and far will seek out your seed. In a few years, you’ll be famous. That’s why I chose you.”
“Ch-chose me?” I asked, already knowing where this was heading.
“You will be the perfect next demon. Only a man can spread demonic seed, and only you are in the perfect state to spread the demonic seed across the world.”
“You don’t know that!” I said, struggling to find some kind of words to talk some sense into this woman.
“Perhaps, I’m wrong. Stories are only stories after all. History has been changed and altered so often that I can’t be certain. Even if you aren’t the blessed man reincarnated, I would still resurrect demons into this world this day. It is time that the order of Lilith comes out of the shadows. It is time that we fix this broken world. The corrupt politicians profiting off of a damaged system, punishing both men and women with unfair laws… it ends today!
“Do you not understand?” Diba asked, her eyes growing even more unhinged. “We are saving this world! We can’t go on like this anymore. If your demonic children are too aggressive to be allowed to roam free, then women will enslave them, just like the WRA wanted. However, we can worry about that later. For now, it is only important to summon the demon, and begin this world’s rebirth.”
“You’re insane!” I said, unable to come up with anything else to say.
I realized I had taken every step I could, I was in a corner now. Lyra was shivering behind me. I couldn’t even imagine the horrors that she had to witness as this crazed woman worked by herself.
“I’ve prepared everything…” Diba explained, taking a few steps forward. “The script is written in virgin blood. It took a lot more than I was expecting. Especially when I realized many of the WRATH girls were lying to me and weren’t really virgins. It’s remarkable how hypocritical these man-hating women are. They spread their legs for their fathers and brothers only to regret it later, and only now want to lash back. However, everything is set up now.”
“Stay away!” Lyra cried out, her voice incredibly weak as she grabbed my hand tightly.
“She’s the last sacrifice needed. With her blood, the spell will be active. I’ve even prepared your first woman.” Diba gestured to Becky. “She will bear the first demonic child, the first true male.”
“You’re sick…” I grimaced, looking back at the terrified Becky who was now trying to escape once again.
“If you don’t like Becky… perhaps, you can have me?” Diba moved her neckline down and to the side, showing her cleavage just slightly.
“To hell with that!” I took a step forward, pulling away from Lyra.
I lifted up my sword and finally slashed it down on Diba. The sword was struck with lightning, which shot through my body. A second later I collapsed on the floor. It wasn’t that I didn’t try to block her magic, it was that she was so much faster than the girls from before. I realized why the blocking mechanism wasn’t more popular. A trained magician moved considerably faster than a student. The window was so incredibly quick that I couldn’t even think before my body had been completely paralyzed.
“No! Clyburn!” Lyra screeched as Diba grabbed her arm and started pulling her to the magic circle.
I forced my shaking hand into my shirt and pulled out the communication device. “Hannah! Now!”
Diba ignored me, pulling a blade up to Lyra’s throat and cutting. I let out a scream, but a second later, the ground started shaking and Diba lost her balance. Lyra elbowed Diba in the gut and fell down. Her blood splattered across the magic rune, and instantly it started to glow with a strange light. She hastily climbed out of the corner, fear painting her face as she curled up in a corner. I let out a curse as I forced myself up even as the world around me shook. Furniture was falling and the entire world felt like it was starting to tip on its side.
“Clyburn!” Diba shrieked. “What did you do?”
She ran up to me and grabbed me, lifting me up to the wall. Her strength seemed to be incredible. Whether it was adrenaline or something given to her by Lilith, the hell if I knew, but I felt like a helpless doll as she pinned me to the wall. As for my sword, it was kicked away, sliding across the floor harmlessly. The magical rune started to grow brighter and brighter, outlining Diba in front of me until she looked like a demon herself. Her hands were tightening on my throat. A part of me knew that if I lost consciousness, there would be no chance for me to wake up. The person who woke up would be the demon who took over my body.
“You… can’t stop this!” She screamed, into my face, spittle flying into my face as the world grew darker and darker.
“Diba!” A voice roared from the other side of the room. “Stop this!”
Diba turned, her grip on me lightening as she looked away. In the brightness of the magical rune stood Becky. With the falling furniture, she has managed to free herself from her restraints. She stood up with a chair over her head.
“No!” Diba shouted.
Becky slammed the chair down on the floor as hard as she could. The chair shattered, but so did the floor. In fact, it completely broke open into a massive hole where the rune was. The magic started to backlash, and power started to explode outward, tearing a hole into the very foundation of the building. The hole suddenly shot out massive flames as if the hole itself was opening up into hell. The heat was intense and the light was blinding. The fire was closest to Becky, who instantly screamed as her body burst into flame.
I let out a scream, shoving Diba off me. Without thinking, I ran at full force towards Becky. Leaping across the edge of the hole where the magic rune once was, I headed straight for her. As soon as I was over the magic rune, I felt a massive shadow grab a hold of me. I could feel something trying to invade into my mind and body. Was this the demonic spirit? Its oppressive feelings were immense, weighing down on me like a hundred tons. By the time I was halfway through my jump, I felt like I was being torn away.
“Clyburn…” A voice seemed to whisper, clutching at my soul. “You’re mine.”
I felt like I was falling away. With every second, my mind was being torn asunder as the powering surging into me grew more and more powerful. My magic felt like it was going out of control. My chakra points were open, and mana was leaking explosively into the rune. No… that wasn’t quite right. I realized instantly that it wasn’t that magic was getting out, it was that something was trying to get in! The demon soul was trying to enter my body through my chakra points. My eyes locked onto Becky, and without a thought, I shoved my chakra points against hers. Like mine, her chakra points had also seemingly been opened up by the power of the rune. The second I combined myself with Becky, the feeling of being swept away disappeared like I shut a door.
“Noooo!” I could hear a voice echoing through my head, causing me to grow dizzy.
I slammed into Becky and our lips met as I finally pulled her out of the fiery rune. The flames went out like a lamp. While her hair disappeared like ash, I could see that her body was not damaged too much. She was mostly covered in ash with only a few burns. She might have a few scars, but not likely given this world had magical cosmetics. I hugged her tightly, feeling relieved that I have managed to pull her to safety.
“Clyburn…” Becky spoke the words awkwardly as if her tongue was swollen.
“Rebecca, I’m sorry…” I said, holding her tighter. “I’m sorry…”
“CLYBURN!” A different voice screeched, Diba Monic stood up as she straightened the magical glove on her hand.
She looked even more menacing and crazed than before. Any sense of order or sanity left in her has been abandoned.My name echoed in the air just as the entire room tilted past a critical point. Everyone started tumbling down the side of the room. The wall gave way as large pieces of furniture slammed through it. Suddenly, everything in the room went sliding off down the hallways of the building. The world had literally been turned on its head.