The Sequel Begins!

The year is 2090, and humans, demons, and angels live side-by-side on Earth. Their combined efforts have propelled science and technology to new heights, and revealed the existence of other worlds. As it turns out, Earth, Hell, and Heaven were not the only places inhabited by intelligent beings. The Inter-Dimensional Trading Bureau was established to facilitate goods and services across the various dimensions. The future remains uncertain, but that just makes it all the more fun!

You are Mona Buer, a twelve-year-old human-demon hybrid. Your mother is Tifid Buer, and your father is Gil Buer. You are in sixth grade. You are a mischievous girl, and a bit of a tomboy. While you try hard to do well in school to impress your mother and father, you also love getting into trouble. Often, the ridiculous scale of your shenanigans boggles the mind. You wake up groggy on a Monday morning, having barely gotten any proper sleep due to your parents going at it throughout the night. You get dressed, then head down to the kitchen, where you find that they've made a huge breakfast for everyone. You're hungry, so you grab some bacon and eggs. When you return to the living room, Mom is getting ready for work while Dad is watching TV.

You sit down and watch TV with Dad.

You sit down to watch TV with Dad. He scoots over to make room for you. He notices the dark bags under your eyes and frowns.
"Did you get enough sleep?" he asks.
You shake your head and look at him like he's a villain.
"Not really. You and Mom were keeping me awake..."
Dad blushes a bit and leans in close to you, then whispers.
"Sorry, Daddy's trying real hard to give you a little brother or sister. It sometimes keeps Mom up at night too."

You say "No way, really?! Cool! I always wanted a kid brother or sis- Ack!"

You wince as Mom walks over and bops you on the top of the head. She gives Dad a good smack too.
"Way to tease your daughter," she says disapprovingly.
"Sorry, Tif. But she has a right to know!"
Mom shakes her head and sighs.
"I've gotta get going. You be good today. Both of you."
She leans down and kisses Dad on the cheek, then you on the forehead.
"Bye, Mom!" you say.
She waves as she leaves.

You get ready for school, and follow Dad to his badass motorcycle.

You follow Dad outside as he locks the front door.
"Hop on," he says, gesturing to his badass motorcycle.
You climb on the back of it and wrap your arms around his waist. He starts it up, and soon you're off to your school in the sky.
After building enough speed, the bike's wheels fold into the body and the exhaust turns into a jet, allowing it to fly.

You say "By the way, Dad, where do little sisters and brothers even come from? How come you guys need to be so loud to make one?"

You feel the bike swerve a bit as Dad starts laughing nervously. He recovers and steers back into a direct course.
His reaction is just about what you expected. The truth is, you already knew how babies are made; you've already started learning about it in school. You just wanted to see Dad squirm.
"Well, uh, Mona. When a mommy and daddy... love each other very much..." Dad begins.
"Yeah, I know that much," you say.
"Well, when the mommy and daddy love each other very much, a special kind of hug helps them make a baby. That hug feels really good, and sometimes, it even feels better than any video game you've ever played. But, if the mommy and daddy are too tired to give each other that special hug, then they need to sleep really hard..."
You frown a bit.
"That's it? That's how you make a baby?" you ask.
"Basically," Dad says.

You say "So if I hug you really hard, can we make a baby?"

"Sure thing, kid! We'll make a whole litter of babies tonight!" he says without skipping a beat.
"Ew! That sounded weird! Now I'm never going to hug you again."
Dad laughs for a while at his own joke.
"What's the matter? Off your game today? Usually, you'd have thrown about three zingers back at me already."
"Yeah, well, you caught me off guard this time," you say.
Dad laughs again.
"Yeah, nice save," he says.
You ride in silence for a while longer before you speak up again.
"So, why'd you pick Mom?" you ask. "Out of every girl you could've chosen, why her?"
"She challenged me," Dad says.

You say "You mean like how she beats you at all the games we play, and basically everything else we do?"

"Yeah! That's it exactly! She never lets me get away with anything," Dad says.
"That sucks," you complain.
"No, actually, it's really fun," Dad says.
"How is it fun losing?"
"When you're able to lose to someone, and still be able to have fun with them, that's when you know you've found a special person," Dad says.

You say "Whoa. That sounded really smart just now."

"Thanks. I try my best," Dad says, grinning from ear to ear.
"So, how did you meet Mom, anyway? You guys never told me," you ask.
"Well... it was a few years ago..."

-- A few hours later.
"Hurry, Mona! We're going to get in trouble again!" Izediel remarks.

You say "Buh?" as you snap awake, still distracted by Dad's story of how he fought in a gladiator arena to save Mom's life.

"Come on, Mona! All the other kids are already out there!"
Izediel shakes his head anxiously, and you can tell he's tired of waiting.
Izediel is your best friend. He's an angel boy with glowing, blue hair and a halo over his head. He is a quiet kid, and a bit on the scrawny side, not to mention he looks sort of like a girl. All of that made him a perfect target for school bullies, and kids teased him endlessly. That changed when you saved his butt from a group of bullies in third grade, and ever since then, he's been yours to command. He follows you around everywhere, and does whatever you say. Lately, he's been acting really weird, though. He seems to avoid looking you in the eye for too long, and he's been fidgeting a lot. Like, a LOT. You have no idea why, maybe angels grow wimpier as they get older.
You and Izediel are standing by the barrier, in between the spectator's stand and the racetrack.
"Earth to Mona," he says, waving a hand in front of your face.
"Huh? Wha? What?" you say, snapping out of your trance.
"I said, you need to come on! We're super late!"
The two of you run over to join the other kids.
The gym teacher, Mr. Carver, stands at the end of the line. He is sitting on his giant exercise ball, which he has placed in the middle of the track. He is a short, stocky man with a shaved head and thick black glasses. He constantly wears a tracksuit, and the kids say he sleeps in it.
"Alright, everyone! Listen up! There's twenty of you here, and you're each going to be timed individually, and then your three fastest times are going to be averaged to determine your final time. So, if you do really well your first time, and really suck the next two times, it'll reflect on your final score. Ready?"
Mr. Carver blows his whistle, and all of you line up at the start line.

You say "Psssst, Izzy! My dad told me this morning that he fought an angel to the death to save my mom's life! Crazy, huh?"

"Your dad? You mean Gil? The Gil?"
"No, I mean my other dad," you say sarcastically.
"Oh yeah, I know all about that story."
Izzy says, not paying attention to your sarcasm.
"They showed us a moving picture about it in Bible School."

You say "Why the hell would they should you a video about my dad at Bible School?"

"Because your dad is famous in heaven, and in Christian schools," he says.
"What? Really?" You ask, incredulous.
"Yeah. Your dad is a true hero of the Lord. He's one of the few humans who ascended successfully. He fought the fallen angel Kit, and defeated him with a little divine help, of course. It's all in the Bible."
"Shut up! Just shut up!" Mr. Carver yells at you, jumping from his exercise ball. "You kids are the reason why America is falling behind in education! Now get your ass running, Buer! Don't talk during my class!"
Mr. Carver jumps back on his exercise ball and begins bouncing.
"No further questions," you say to Izzy, rolling your eyes.
"Oh, I see. You think you're so smart," says Mr. Carver, "Now run two miles! And when you're finished, you can run two more! And then, you can do it again! You got that?"
You nod.

You say "Psh. I can do that, easy," then channel your demonic powers for a boost (whatever those powers may be).

Your demonic half happens to give you the power to control lightning and electric-like powers. The sound of crackling static can be heard coming from your body.
You bend down, then take off like a bullet. You're fast, and you're damn fast when combined with your demonic powers. The wind billows your hair back as your feet pound the asphalt.
You fly past the other kids in your grade, and you can hear them screaming at you to watch where you're going. It's not like you can help it though.

You run the six miles Carver demanded of you.

You run, and run, and run some more. The miles fly by as you speed on the spot.
Soon, you're coated in a sheen of sweat. You feel like you're going to pass out soon. Finally, you arrive at six miles. Thankfully, Mr. Carver doesn't make you run anymore.
"Alright, everyone," he says over the speaker, "That's enough exercise for today. I want to see you all in the showers and scrubbing yourselves from head to toe. There is no excuse for mold and mildew caked on one's body."

You snap your fingers and gasp "Izzy... water! I need...!"

Izediel runs off, and soon, he's back. You grab the bottle of water from his hands, and take a nice, long sip. It's lukewarm from sitting on the bleachers, but it's refreshing all the same.
"Thanks," you say, leaning on him for support.
"I... uh... d-don't mention it," says Izediel.

Izediel's POV:
Oh my goodness. Mona is leaning on me for support. I can feel her soft breath on my face, and it's giving me trouble concentrating. Why is she so close? Should I move away? No! Bad Izediel! You should totally stay still and continue to enjoy this moment.
Mona smells like watermelons. I love watermelons. Please, Lord, grant me strength. It feels like an eternity, but eventually she pulls away.
I... I must be brave. I must be strong.

Your POV:
"Hey, Izzy, you okay? You look a little pale," you ask.
"Yeah... I'm fine... it's just a hot day... yeah..." says Izediel.

You hand him the water bottle and say "Here, you want some?"

"You just drank from it!" he says.
"So?" you say.
He looks at you, then down at the bottle.
"Thank you," he says, as he grabs it and practically downs it.

You say "Ha ha! Someone's thirsty. Anyway, I'm gonna take a shower. See you in class!"

"Yeah... see you," says Izediel.
You begin to turn around.
"Hey, Mona?" says Izediel.
"Yeah?" you ask.
"N-Nevermind," he says, as his face turns a new shade of red.
"What?"
"Nothing! See you later!" he says as he bolts ahead of you. You've never seen him run so fast, not even from the bullies.
You shrug, then head back inside to shower and change.
After a long school day, it's finally time to meet your dad.
"Howdy, partner!" he says as you walk through the front door.
"Hey Dad," you say, smiling. "How was your day?"
"Oh you know, fought some bad guys, saved a couple of lives... you know the deal," he says.

You say "Dad, I got a few questions."

"Shoot," he says, smiling.
He takes your schoolbag for you as you ask your questions.

You say "Did you know you were famous in Heaven? Izzy says they show videos of you in Bible School."

"Really?" he asks, in a surprised tone. "Nah, if I was famous in heaven, I'd know about it."
"Then why did Izzy say it?" you ask.
"I have no idea," he says. "He's that angel kid, right?"
"Yeah," you say.
"I remember him. He seems like a good kid, but way too into homework. You shouldn't read too much into anything he says."
"I guess..."
"Now come on, enough of this heavy talk," he says. "Let's go grab some dinner. I'm thinking of getting a pizza tonight."

You say "Wait, I have one more question. I got my demon lightning powers from Mom. So what'd I get from you?"

"Weeeell, let's see. You got my absurdly good looks, my amazing hair, my charm, my capacity to never run out of things to say... What else? Oh yeah, my great taste in pizza toppings. So you see, I'm tied with Mom in giving you great genes."
You laugh.

You go grab pizza with Dad.

Your dad drives to the local pizza place, and the two of you sit down with a simple pepperoni and mushroom.
"So how was school today, pumpkin?" asks Dad as he places a slice on your plate.
"It was... different," you say. "I talked to a boy I think."
"You talked to a boy?" he asks, surprised.
"Yeah, his name's Marco."
"You have a boyfriend already? That's quick."
You nearly spit out your drink.

You say "Marco's not my boyfriend! He's a creep and a bully!"

"Oh, is he now?" Dad says, his expression darkening. "What did he do?"
"He... nevermind. I know you have a habit of beating up every boy that looks at me the wrong way. I'd rather not see you in court again. I can take care of myself."
You look at Dad, concerned. He lets out a sigh, and his anger disappears as quickly as it appeared.
"Well if my twelve-year-old daughter is concerned about me, I guess I did go overboard," he says with a smile. "But just remember, I'm here to help if you need it. Okay?"
You nod.
"It's hard being a twelve-year-old, isn't it?"

You say "Sure is. What were you like when you were my age?"

"Oh, I was wild. But I didn't really have anyone to tell me right from wrong. Didn't even get to go to school like you do. The things we did... well, let's just say I have no intention of ever letting you get into the kind of trouble I did. There are some things that a person should never have to do."
"Like what?" you ask.
He thinks for a minute, but then just chuckles.
"Maybe I'll tell you when you're older. I'm sure you'll find some of it pretty interesting. But for now, it's probably a bit TOO interesting, if you catch my drift."

You pet Dad on the head and say "Okay, but I won't ever hate you, Dad. Not even if I found out you killed a bajillion people. You're the best dad ever."

You lean over the table and pet Dad on the head.
He takes your hand and kisses it, making you giggle.
"Thanks pumpkin, I love you too. Now let's finish up and take some pizza back for your Mom."

You go home with Dad.

You help Dad strap the box of leftover pizzas on his bike, then hop on behind him as you head back to your house.
It's a short ride of a couple blocks. When you get home, Dad has to hold the pizzas above his head to get them through the door. Mom comes running when she hears the door open. She looks absolutely beat. The moment she sees you walk through the door, she begins staggering weakly, eventually collapsing onto the floor in faux-exhaustion.
"Oh no!" you gasp. "It's the curse of the Monday Blues!"
Mom puts an arm over her eyes and dramatically whispers "I feel so weak... the curse has overtaken me..."
You and Dad look at each other and then stare down at her.
"There's only one thing that can save her," Dad says.

You hug Mom and yell "I give you my life energy! Receive it! And also we brought home pizza!"

You drop to your knees beside Mom and put your arms around her, hugging her tightly. You feel your magical wavelengths resonate; a special form of embrace that only demons can share. Mom twitches about in exaggerated motions, pretending to soak in your hug.
"Ah! I feel it... the life energy... coursing through me!" she announces in a strained voice. "I feel all tingly and warm inside... my heart is beating!"
Soon, she stops being dramatic and just laughs. She gets up and holds you tightly, leaning back and looking into your eyes.
"You saved me!" she says, then kisses you on the cheek. Dad walks over to help her up.
"You sure know how to put on a show," Dad says, helping her off the floor.
"That's why you love me," Mom says, then pulls him into a kiss.
You turn away, blushing. You've seen people kiss plenty of times, like on TV and at the movies, but the way your parents do it puts all of them to shame.

You say "Come on, guys. Your child's in the room!"

"Oh no, your parents love each other! How scandalous!" Dad says in a high-pitched voice.
Mom ruffles your hair.
"Don't worry, honey. Your father's just teasing you," she says.
You smile and turn back to them, waiting for them to finish flirting. Eventually, they go into the kitchen, still holding hands.

You say "I'm going to my room!"

You walk into your room and pull out your laptop. Your best friend, Izediel the angel boy, messages you.
Izzy: Hey Mona! I just took a nap, and had the weirdest dream!
You: Tell me about it.
Izzy: You and your parents were in it! There was a lot of pizza too! Weird. Oh well, dreams are weird.

You roll your eyes and text "Izzy, that's not a dream. It's another one of your prophetic visions."

Izzy: Oh man! Sorry! I didn't mean to get all creepy or anything!
You: Don't worry about it. But you should try to use them for something cool, like predicting the lottery or something.
Izzy: But that'd be cheating, plus it's probably illegal!
You sigh when you read the message.
Izzy is one of the nicest people you know, but he's also one of the most naive. He's like an innocent child. It's part of why you just can't leave him alone. Sometimes you wish he'd stand up for himself.

You text "Spying on other people is also illegal."

Izzy: What?
You: You know, you're pretty much looking into my life without permission. That's illegal, you know.
You wait for him to respond. It takes a while before the message appears.
Izzy: I'm sorry... I don't want to lose your friendship... 😥
You groan. Izediel is such a hard person to tease, you always end up feeling bad for him.
You: I'm just messing with you. I know you can't control your powers.
Izzy: Man, you're really good at that. At first I thought you were actually mad at me.
You: Forget about it. You wanna do homeover together over video chat?
Izzy: Sure! Actually, I'm already done. You can copy my answers if you want.

You text "Izzy... stop being such a doormat. This is why Marco and the others bully you so much."

Izzy: I can't do that... they'll beat me up... 😔
You: Then work out or something! Get stronger so they don't think about it!
Izzy doesn't respond. Just when you're concerned that you may have gone too far on that one, you see another message pop up.
Izzy: Do you like guys that are strong?

You text "I guess? I'd definitely like it if you got stronger. Then we can kick ass together. 💪"

Izediel's text comes almost immediately this time.
Izzy: OK. I'll try my best 👍

You text "👊👊👊"

Izzy: You're the best, Mona!
You smile and put your laptop away. You can't imagine what exactly is going through Izediel's mind right now, but you hope that he takes your words to heart.
You hope you weren't too forward with him. But he has to stop being such a wimp eventually.

You do your homework, asking Izediel only if you get stuck on a question.

You do your homework, and about 30 minutes later, you're finished. You had to ask Izediel for help on a few questions, but you're confident in your work.

You clean up, kiss you parents goodnight, then head to bed.

You feel accomplished. It was a long day, and you're glad its over with.
You take a shower and change into your PJs. Then you head downstairs to your living room, where Mom is doing some work on her laptop. Dad is snoring peacefully on the sofa across from her. He must have had a hard day at work.
You give Mom a peck on the cheek and say goodnight to her. She smiles and ruffles your hair playfully, then goes back to her work.
You walk over to Dad and shake him by the shoulder. He wakes up groggily and looks at you.
"Sorry to wake you Dad," you say, "I'm just headed to bed now."
He rubs his eyes and lazily gives you a hug.
"Okay, pumpkin. Have a good night," he says, then yawns.
"Night, Dad!"
You head up to your room and collapse onto your bed after closing your door. You're asleep in under a minute.
You dream of fighting a colossal space god made of molten rock and magma who seeks to destroy the entire Earth. Your Mom and Dad are there, and so is Izediel, but they lie motionless on the ground. You're not sure if they're unconscious or dead.
You are the only one who is able to stand against the dark being. Swords of pure light manifest in the air behind you, and you fly forward to attack its face. Its shrieks are unlike anything that even the fiercest of Earth's beasts, nor the foulest of demons, could ever produce. The dream is so realistic you feel like you're really there. Somehow, you manage to summon up the strength to overcome the dark being and kill it. As it falls from the sky, its body breaking through buildings all over the world, you celebrate your Pyrrhic victory. You saved the world, but the cost was great. Millions dead, entire cities destroyed, the planet itself struggling to survive after being struck by the flaming body of the vanquished foe.

You wake up electro-punching the air.

You wake up with your fists raised and covered in cold sweat. Electricity crackles in your hands, and the smell of ozone lingers in the air. You've tossed your bed sheets to the floor and they're clearly singed in some places. You take a few minutes to calm yourself. You look around, and see the moonlight pouring into your room from the window, illuminating the soft contours of your stuffed animal collection on your shelves. The night is quiet, save for the faint sound of Dad's snoring in the next room. You have no idea how Mom can sleep through that. You climb out of bed and head to the kitchen for a drink, trying not to think about the dream you've just had. Maybe you should talk to someone about this. It's getting worse. They aren't exactly nightmares, but they're harrowing all the same. Your demonic abilities are also activating more frequently in your sleep, and it is very dangerous for someone as powerful as you are to not be in full control of your faculties. The only thing that's been stopping you from seeking help is your pride. You don't want to be seen as "weak" because you're afraid of a few bad dreams.

You wait until morning, and tell your parents about your dreams, as well as your powers going haywire in your sleep.

You wait until morning, and sit down with your Mom and Dad at the dining table to briefly explain your situation. They listen intently as you explain about your abilities. When you mention the part about your nightmares Dad puts his hand on your shoulder and asks if you're okay.

You say "I'm okay... I mean, they're just dreams right? I'm sorry about frying my bed sheets..."

Mom gives you an assuring hug.
"Oh sweetie, forget about the sheets. We're more concerned about you."
Dad strokes his chin and looks at Mom.
"What do you think, Tif?"
"Well, it's not unusual for demon children to experience a growth in their abilities as they reach puberty. We just need to be a little more careful. I'll book an appointment with Dr. Kovas for after classes today, and in the meantime you can try not to use your abilities if you can help it."
You groan.
"Aw Mom, I don't need to see one of those quacks. I'm fine!"
Mom puts her hand on your shoulder and squeezes.
"Trust me sweetie, it won't hurt to get you checked out."
You frown, but nod.
"Okay, I guess..."
Mom smiles and kisses your forehead.
"Enjoy your day at school, sweetie."

You let Dad drive you to school, then go to class.

After Dad drives off to work, you walk into the school and make your way to your first class. You find that you're the last one there, so you quickly take a seat next to your only friend, Izediel. He seems to be asleep at his desk, which is strange, as he usually is focused and attentive, even in the morning. When he notices you sitting next to him, he sits up with a start and blushes.
"Oh, M-Mona! You scared me..."
You raise an eyebrow and look at him more closely. He seems different somehow, though you can't quite pin it down...
"Um, are you okay Izzy? You look tired."
Izediel laughs nervously and looks away.
"I-I guess I am a little tired..."
You study his face. He looks about how he always has, a bit on the short and scrawny side with large eyes and wispy blue hair. You've always been jealous of Izediel's hair, actually. Even though he's a boy, it's quite long and flowing. You wonder why you thought he looked different today. Maybe it's because he seems a bit less uptight. After all, he never used to sleep in class.

You laugh and say "What's the matter? Did ya stay up too late playing that 'AI Dungeon: Universe' game you love so much?"

Izzy's eyes widen and his face tints with red. He smiles sheepishly and shrugs.
"No... Actually, I was... doing push-ups."
You can hardly believe your ears. Izediel is always so quiet and introverted, you can't believe that he would actually start working out.
"Now that's something I'd never expect from you, Izzy! Did you get a girlfriend or something?"
Izzy gets an even redder face and starts fidgeting with his hands.
"No! I-I'd never! I mean... I don't... yet..."

You "Oh yeah? Then why'd you start working out all of a sudden? I mean, it's not a bad thing."

"You told me to."
You blink.
"I did?"
He sighs, then puts his head back on the desk.
"Nevermind... I'm really sleepy. Can you please wake me when the teacher comes?"
You laugh and nod. He's always been a bit weird, but in a cute way.

You wake Izediel up when the teacher arrives, and sit through class.

You wake up Izediel by yelling. The whole class turns to look at you as Mr. Demar appears in the doorway, looking more than a little annoyed.
"Alright, class. Please open your books to page 666."
The class drones on as usual. You have a hard time staying awake through it all, so you take some notes to stay focused.
Somehow, you get through first period without falling asleep, but the same can't be said for Izediel. You had to kick him in the shin more than once to keep him awake.
When the bell rings, you and Izediel make your way outside for recess. Your usual corner of the playground is pretty empty, as usual. A few kids from your class are out there, but none of them interact with you or Izediel.

You say "Hey Izzy, you're a turbo-nerd, right? Do you know anything about humongous, flaming space giants?"

Izediel tilts his head in confusion.
"From what period of history?"
"Uh... the future?"
"That's not very specific."
You sigh. If you want Izediel's help, there's no avoiding telling him about your dreams.
"I've been having this one where this humongous flaming space god thing destroys the world..."
You explain your dream to Izediel. He listens intently, and his expression turns to one of concern.
"That sounds scary! Are you okay?"
"Well, yeah. I just keep having it over and over again."
"Did you tell your parents?"

You say "Yeah. My mom said she'd look into it. I'm supposed to be seeing a doctor this afternoon, but I hate going to the clinic."

"Don't be like that, Mona. At least you have a mom who cares."
You sigh. It's unfair when Izediel plays this card on you. You know angels technically don't have parents, since they're all "born" from divine energy or something like that.

You say "Hold on, Izzy. I've always wondered... if you don't have parents, do you live alone?"

"Well, I do have a room at the local church building. You know, the one that says 'Saint Anthony's' on the front?"
"That's not what I mean. Don't you have someone to cook for you, and tuck you in at night?"
Izediel just shrugs.
"Nah, I do all that stuff for myself. As long as I can fit in some time watching TV after homework, I'm fine."

You put a hand on Izediel's should and say "Izzy..."

He immediately moves away and starts fidgeting.
"I-It's okay! When I earn my wings, I'll move out of my room at the church and into a real apartment building!"
You can't help but laugh. Something about Izediel's awkwardness just makes you want to smile.
"Anyway, Mona, about that creature in your nightmare... It could very well be an Outside Being. The only way to find out is to go to the library and look it up."
"The library? Like the one at school?" you ask.
"No, silly! The school library sucks! We can go to the one at the IDTB. It's got the biggest library in existence, with books from all different dimensions!"

You say "Oh neat. My mom and dad both work at the IDTB, so we can probably get in, easy!"

"Great! Just let me know when I need to be there, and I'll clear my schedule."

You say "Wanna go this weekend? We can meet at my house and I'll get my parents to drive us there."

"Sure thing. They make us angels work to earn our keep, so I can't always take off as much as I'd like. But I should be free this Sunday."
"Great! It's a date!"
Izzy chokes on his tea, spits it out, and looks at you with a shocked expression on his face.
"It's a what?!"

You say "A date. You know, where two people go hang out somewhere and play. We used to go on playdates all the time... why are you acting so weird about it?"

His face goes red.
"Oh y-yeah, that... I just thought you meant something else. N-nevermind me..."

You say "Weirdo... anyway, recess is almost over. Wanna see if I can climb that pipe behind the storage building? Pretty sure I can reach the roof this time!"

"I don't think that's a good idea, Mona! What if you fell and hurt yourself?"
"I'll be careful! Come on, it'll be fun!"
Izzy sighs and nods.
"Alright. I'll try to distract Mr. Demar, so you can get away."
The two of you end up getting caught anyway, but since you have a doctor's appointment this afternoon, only Izediel gets in trouble.
"I hope you learn your lesson, mister! No more dangerous stunts!" Mr. Demar says.
Izediel gives you a sheepish wave before he's dragged down the hall to the principal's office. You feel a bit bad, since it was your idea, but he'll be fine.
After school, your parents drive you to the doctor's office. You've been feeling more energetic than usual lately, but you don't think much of it. It is Autumn, after all -- the best season. No big mysteries there.

You meet Dr. Kovas with your parents.

Once you arrive at the office, the three of you sit in the waiting room for about ten minutes before Dr. Kovas calls you in.
"Hello! Come in, come in!" he says as he waves you through the doorway. You, Mom, and Dad all step through. "Take a seat."
The four of you sit in his office, a strange place filled with even stranger devices. A stuffed wolf howls at you from atop a bookshelf. You remember that Dr. Kovas calls it a totem, and that's supposed to keep bad spirits away or something like that. An antique mirror with an iron frame sits in the corner. Dad says devices like that are for seeing into other worlds. You don't know whether to believe him or not. To be quite honest, you've always been a little scared of that thing.
Dr. Kovas pulls out your patient file and flicks through a few pages.
"So, I understand little Mona here is having some strange dreams, as well as trouble with her powers," he says in an eerie tone. Or maybe his voice is normal, but you just think he's eerie. You never liked visiting the doctor.
"That's right," Mom answers. "She had a little episode at last night."
"I see. Mona, could you describe what you experienced?"

You tell Dr. Kovas about your recurring nightmares involving the flaming space god ending the world.

"I have these dreams where a giant, flaming god made of molten lava blows up the world. I fight him in the dream, and usually win, but he just comes back. The funny thing is that I'm not scared when it happens. I actually think it's really cool. It always ends the same way, with the Earth exploding."
"That's an interesting dream," Dr. Kovas says in a dismissive tone. "When did these start?"

You say "I dunno, maybe the start of the year? I don't get 'em every night. Like once a week, maybe."

Looking down at your file, Dr. Kovas says "I see. If I recall, that's also when your horns started growing in."
Mom snaps her fingers. "Of course! I got my horns when I first developed my powers. I remember being pretty moody during that phase." She turns to you. "No offense, sweetie."
Dad laughs. "Moodier than you usually are, Tif? I'd like to see that."
Mom giggles at Dad's remark.
Dr. Kovas cuts in: "Alright, that's enough chit-chat. It's true that demon children usually experience a surge in power during puberty, predicated by the growth of their horns. This also applies to half-demon children like Mona here. The growth of horns is directly tied to a rise in supernatural power. It's natural for them to have trouble controlling it during this phase."
Dad scratches his chin, as he usually does when he's having a hard time following along. You find his awkwardness funny.
"What about her crazy dreams?" he asks.
"Well, I'm no psychologist..." Dr. Kovas says, "But I believe her dreams are a product of her subconscious trying to make sense of her new powers. A sort of 'growing pain', if you will. It could be she needs an outlet to expel all the extra energy she has."
You raise your hand. "I wanna be a superhero!"
Mom, Dad, and Dr. Kovas burst out laughing.
"I'm serious! I'll grab a cape from the dollar store and fight crime!"
Dr. Kovas ruffles your hair.
"We can't have you roaming the streets in a costume, but I might have something just as good. Come with me."
Dr. Kovas leads you and your parents into an adjacent room. It's divided in half by a large, glass pane. Beyond the glass, you see a huge machine with lots of metal spokes sticking out of it.

You say "What's that? Looks kind of awesome. Like a medieval torture device!"

"No, no, far from it, actually! It's what we call a magical conduit. We use it to, well, channel your magic!" Dr. Kovas says, clearly proud of the machine.
"How does it work?" you ask.
"I'll show you! On the far end of the machine, there's a helmet that will fit you just right. We hook you up to it, and we use it to measure the efficiency of the magic flow between your horns. Does that make sense?"
"Not really," you admit.
"It's hard to explain. Why don't we hook you up, and I can show you what I mean?"
You look to your parents for guidance.
"Is this a good idea?" asks Mom, "I'm worried this is all going to stress her out."
"I understand your concern, Mrs. Buer, but this machine is perfectly safe. We use it all the time to monitor a subject's brain activity. It's just like an EEG, really."
Mom sighs. "I guess it's OK then."
"Relax, Tif," Dad says, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder, "Doc knows what he's doing. Besides, I'm pretty curious about Mona's magic myself."
"Yeah! Let's do this!" you say, "I want to find out how this works!"

You move into the room and let Dr. Kovas hook you up to the magical conduit.

You step into the testing room, and find a comfortable seat. The chair is just like the ones in your classrooms, except with a few extra wires attached to it.
"OK, I'm going to put this helmet on you now. This will monitor your brain activity," says Dr. Kovas, "You'll feel a slight pinching sensation."
He places the helmet on your head, and you can feel it suction onto your temples. You jump a bit, but otherwise remain still.
"Now, Mona, listen carefully. There will be a flashing yellow light, and when it turns green, you must concentrate on your magic, understand?"

You say "You mean... I get to blast lightning?"

"Yes. We're here to measure your powers, after all," Dr Kovas says, giving you an assuring smile. "No need to hold back. Just think of the machine as a big punching bag. Nothing to it."

You wait for Dr. Kovas' signal, then begin to channel your demonic lightning powers.

You wait patiently as the doctor attaches a few wires to your forehead, temples and beneath your helmet. He then steps out of the testing room and stands behind a large monitor. The yellow light begins flashing.
"Whenever you're ready, Mona," he says.
You take a deep breath and concentrate. You feel your powers surge through your skull, as if they're about to burst out of your brain and into the room. The yellow light turns green, and you unleash your full force upon the machine. It begins to shake and rattle.
You've never been allowed to use your powers to such an extent. You feel as though you're flying through the air, lightning flowing through your body. You close your eyes and surrender yourself to the torrent. The room is filled with the ozone smell of electricity.

You crank that shit up to 11 and beyond.

"More, more, c'mon! Gimme more! Ha ha ha ha!" you shout.
You can feel the bolts emanating from your body smash into the machine and ricochet off at crazy angles. The bolts fly all over the place, crackling and hissing as they bounce off the walls. Suddenly, they begin to converge upon the center of the room, and a bright white light appears.
Dr. Kovas and your parents shield their eyes. The bright white light begins to assume the shape of a large, glowing sword made of pure light. It hovers in the air, pointing downward.
"Mona, stop!" your Mom cries.
But you're feeling yourself go beyond your means. The sword rushes downwards, slicing into the machine, causing the room to shake. You've disrupted the electrical current of the entire block. The street lights go dark, and cars pull over on the side of the road.
The machine erupts in a series of sparks and short circuits, and the emergency lights flicker on.
Dr. Kovas rushes into the room and removes the helmet.
Your parents follow.
"Mona! Are you alright? Say something!" Mom says.
"I'm... I'm fine," you say, standing up. "I feel great, actually. That was amazing!"
You see your Dad grab Dr. Kovas by the collar, with murder in his eyes.
"What the hell did you put my daughter through?"
"Mr. Buer, please! Your daughter isn't hurt. In fact, we've just witnessed something incredible! I need to check the readings, but Mona just might have unlocked the potential to-"
"She's only twelve years old!" Dad says.
"Exactly! Not only that, she's a half-demon, yet she displayed the same magical abilities as a full-blooded, adult demon. This has massive scientific implications! We could learn so much about the relationship between-"
"Dr. Kovas!" Tifid says, holding Gil's hand. "I think we need to calm down. All of us. This is a lot to take in. I need to make a phone call."

You tug Dad's sleeve and say "Sorry, Dad... am I in trouble? I broke Dr. Kovas' machine..."

Dad kneels down and picks you up, hugging you tight.
"Of course not. You made a sword out of lightning. That's pretty cool."
"Dad, I'm tired," you say. "I wanna go home..."
Dr. Kovas speaks up.
"That would be ill-advised. She should probably-"
"We're going," Dad says, lifting you up and carrying you like a princess. "Let us know if you find out anything else about... this. See you later, Doc."

You fall asleep in the car, and let your parents carry you to bed when you get home.

Feeling exhaustion wash over you, you quickly fall asleep...
When you reach home, your Dad carries you upstairs and gently places you in your bed.
"Good night, sweetie," Mom whispers in your ear. "Don't let the bedbugs bite."
You giggle a bit, and then fall into a peaceful slumber...

Gil's POV:
You sit down in the living room after putting your daughter to bed. Tifid joins you after tucking in Mona.
"Well that was a big surprise," she says.
"Yeah, what was that about?" you ask.
"I don't know," Tifid replies. "Our relationship always has been... unusual, and I knew there was a chance that Mona would be as well."

You say "Tell me about it. She's the kid of a demon princess and a dude who died, then came back to life through the grace of God. You don't have parents like that and grow up without a few quirks."

Tifid sighs and rests her head against your shoulder.
"I suppose you're right. It's just... Mona is so powerful. She's so strong-willed. I'm worried she'll take a wrong turn somewhere."
"Mona can be whatever she wants to be," you say reassuringly.
"Yeah... I suppose so. The only thing I want for her is to be happy. And that's all I want for you, too, Gilly. I'm sorry if I come off as overbearing sometimes."

You say "Hard to believe you're the same girl who set my old hideout on fire, then blew it up."

"Oh, we're bringing up old arguments now?" she laughs. "Trust me, mister, that's a can of worms you don't even want to open."
You roll your eyes playfully.
"Whatever you say, Tif. You're still the most terrifying thing I've ever seen."
She leans in and kisses you.
"I'll take that as a compliment."

You kiss her back and say "Don't worry. Whatever happens, Mona will have us. You'll be here to set her straight, and I'll be there to... weeeell, I pick her up from school."

Tifid giggles.
"Don't sell yourself short, Gilly. You're a great father. She brags about you at school all the time."
You smile.
"Is that so? I guess I'm doing something right."
You both laugh, then lean in to kiss. Eventually, it turns into a makeout session.

You say "Hey... you wanna get freaky? I doubt Mona will wake up... she's totally passed out."

"Oh? You sure?" Tifid asks with a playful grin.
"Sure I'm sure," you say.
Tifid laughs and jumps on you, pinning your arms above your head.
"You know one of the great perks about being a parent... it's no longer awkward when I call you 'Daddy'."
She kisses you as she grinds against you.

You say "Fuck, how is it after all these years, you still know exactly what to say?"

"I know, right?" she asks with a smirk.
She leans in and whispers in your ear.
"How should we do this, Daddy? You wanna give Mona a baby brother?"

You say "Holy shit. I'll sure as hell try."

"Go for it," Tifid says.
Without another word, you hike up her dress and slide into her. You slowly build up speed as she lets out a series of moans.
"Ohhh, Daddy... you're so good to me..."
You can barely speak as you breathe heavily.

Mona's POV:
Your parents are at it again.
You doze off, cringing as Mom begins to moan. You wonder if they know you're awake. Probably not, seeing as they've been at it for an hour.
If you were them, you wouldn't let your kid sleep through that.

You bury your head under the pillow and try to block out the soul-scarring noises.

You bury your head under the pillow and try to block out the soul-scarring noises.
"Oh G-Gilly... I l-love it when you do that..."
"I love you, Tif," Dad says as they both reach their respective climaxes.
They quiet down as they cuddle.
Thank fucking God.

You do your best to go to bed; it's another school day tomorrow.

It's a nice, cool 60 degrees with a gentle breeze.
You open your eyes and get out of bed. You walk into the kitchen as Mom makes breakfast.
"Good morning, sweetie," she greets you.
"Morning," you reply, kissing her on the cheek as you grab some milk from the fridge.

You join Dad at the table and pour yourself some cereal.

You join Dad at the table and pour yourself some cereal. You shovel the flakes into your mouth as you listen to the radio. Dad reaches over and pats you on the head.
"Mornin' pumpkin, how'd you sleep?" he asks.

You glare at him and say "So, do I have a baby brother yet?"

You feel Dad's hand freeze as he looks away. A dish clatters as Mom drops it in the sink.
"Uh... No," Dad says. "You know what? I'll go check the mail."
Dad leaves the table, as Mom screams after him.
"Gil, you traitor!"
Dad doesn't reply. You take another bite of your corn flakes as Mom turns to you, red in the face.
"Listen, sweetie. You know Dad and I love you very much, right?"
"Sure," you say.
"Terrific," she says, clapping her hands together. "Well, we... uh... love each other very much as well! Just... in a different way."

You say "Mom, I know what sex is, I just wanted to mess with you guys for keeping me up all night."

"Oh thank god," she says. "I was not prepared to have that conversation."
"Gotcha good, huh?" you say, stifling a laugh as she sighs in relief. She starts to laugh as well.
Mom serves up a nice plate of hot, fluffy pancakes. You scarf them down greedily, as she returns to the sink to do the dishes.

You say "Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Izzy, uh... Izediel, and I want to go to the IDTB library on Sunday. You and dad both work there so... you think you can drive us?"

"Sure thing, sweetie! Why, that's a great idea!" Mom says. "The Bureau's library is the biggest one around, and the one largest repository of information we have on Earth. Did you want to go there for school or something?"
You can't tell your parents that you really plan to do research on how to kill a space god. They'd probably freak if they found out.
"No, just to read. Izediel suggested we check it out since our school library is pretty lame."
"Well, sure thing. I'll drive you there in the morning, good thing Sunday is my day off."
"Thanks, Mom."
"No sweat, sweetie," she replies. "You know, I really like that angel boy. He seems like a good influence on you."

You say "I figured you'd say that. Izediel's smart, like you. Dad has a bit of a problem with him, though. Says he's too into homework."

"Your dad's got his opinions, but he means well. I'm sure he has no problems with who you make friends with, so long as you're happy and you stay out of trouble."
You nod. Breakfast is delicious, so you wolf it down quickly.
"Well, I'm gonna go find Dad so he can take me to school. See ya, Mom!" you say.
"Bye, sweetie!" she says.

You go check on dad Dad "getting the mail"

You find Dad outside, staring at the mailbox and having a smoke.
When he sees you, he quickly puts the cigarette out and tosses it in the trash.
"Hey pumpkin, you ready for school?"
"Ready when you are, Dad," you say, climbing onto his flying bike.
The flight to the school is short, and you quickly arrive on campus.

You look around for Izediel so you can tell him all about your trip to the doctor's.

You look for Izediel, but he's not where you usually find him in the mornings. You walk around the school, checking everywhere you can think of, but you don't see him. You walk into the boys' bathroom, just in case, but he's not there, either.

You ask the boys in the bathroom if they've seen Izediel.

"What the hell, Mona! This is the boys' bathroom!" one kid says.
"I'm lookin' for Izediel. Have you guys seen him?" you ask.
"No! Now get out of here!!" they reply.

You say "Nice try. I'll give you a ring pop if you tell me where he is."

"Shut up! I ain't tellin' you nothin'!" one kid says.
"Yeah, I'm not tellin' you anything either. This is stupid," another kid says.
"Okay, I'll give you two ring pops if you tell me where he is. This is the last offer, guys."
"Gimme the goods now," one kid says.
"Fine," you say, giving him two red ring pops.
"They got him locked up in the janitor's closet for hittin' someone," one kid says.

You say "Izzy did?! Who'd he hit???"

"Marco. Heard he was getting picked on, and decked 'im right in the face," a kid says, laughing.
"Yeah! But then Marco got his friends to beat Izzy up. They got him locked up in the janitor's closet," another kid says.
"Okay, thanks guys," you say, turning the leave the bathroom.
"You didn't near nuthin' from us! And you're not getting these back!" one kid shouts.
You continue walking without looking back..

You go find Izzy locked in the janitor's closet.

You rush over to the janitor's closet and bang on the door.
"Izzy? Izzy! Are you in there?!" you yell.
"M-Mona? Yeah...I'm in here..." he replies from the other side of the door.
Izediel's voice is muffled. You can tell he's hurt, but you're not sure how bad. It sounds like he's been crying.
"Don't worry, I'll get you outta there... somehow."

You use your electro-powers to jiggle the lock and pick it.

You focus, and you hear a small "click." The door unlocks.
You slowly open the door, revealing a battered Izediel. He is lying on the floor of the closet, with a bucket over his head and his arms tied up behind his back with eletrical tape.

You drag him out of the closet, take the bucket off, and rip through the tape with your claws.

You pull Izediel out of the closet. You rip off the tape with your claws. It comes off his arms with a sickening "peel" sound.
Izediel stands up, holding his arms close to his body. With the bucket off, you can now see his face. It's all bruised up, and his eyes are puffy and red.
"Thanks, Mona..." Izediel moans.
You gently move Izediel's arms away, and quickly lift up his shirt. As you expected, you see a pair of fist-shaped imprints on his stomach.

You hug him and then growl "That piece of shit... what'd he do to you?"

You hold him for a few minutes, until he finally pulls away. He stands up straight and wipes his eyes with his sleeve.
He takes a deep breath, and closes his eyes. He starts to concentrate.
"I was just sitting on the stairs, and I got jumped by Marco and his goons. They kept calling me names, so I tried to punch him. I hit him in the face, then they held me down while the others punched and kicked me... then they shoved me in the broom closet."
After a few minutes, you can see bruises fading away. His puffy eyes go back to normal, and the redness goes away. Angels heal fast, but the wound to his pride is too great. He's a mess inside, and you know it.
You've seen Izediel beaten up before, but this is the worst you've ever seen. The others never left more than a few bruises.
He looks at you with a hint of desperation in his eyes.
"Mona, please don't pick a fight with anyone today. It's not worth it..." Izediel begs.
"Relax, I'm not picking a fight with anyone," you say.
"You promise?" he asks, hopeful.

You say "Yeah. It won't be a fight. It's gonna be a one-sided slaughter."

"I don't want you in trouble, so just forget it! Forget it!" Izediel says.
You stare at him angrily.
"Forget it? No way. Nobody beats up my best friend and gets away with it. It'll be fine, I'm just gonna use my head."
"Please, don't..." he whimpers.
"I promise this will be fine," you say reassuringly.
He doesn't seem convinced, but he knows it's no use to argue with you.

You put a hand on his shoulder and say "I'm calm, really! Besides, I'm super proud of you! You actually stood up for yourself! I'll treat you to a soda at lunch, you deserve it."

Izediel sniffles, but smiles in return. You sigh in relief. Izediel's such a marshmallow, it physically hurts you to see him upset.
"Thanks, Mona... You're the best..." he says.
"I know that already," you smile. "Now come on, let's go to first period! We're gonna be late!"

You go to first period with Izediel, but secretly plot Marco's brutal demise without letting him know.

You know it'd upset Izediel to know you still plan to pick a fight with Marco after school, so you decide to stay quiet during class.
Later...
At lunchtime, you go to your usual meeting spot: The back of the school, by the fence. Izediel is already there, waiting for you.
He looks up nervously when he sees you walk around the corner. His face lights up in relief when he sees that it's you.
"M-Mona!" he says, smiling nervously.

You hand him the soda and say "Here, like I promised. I got your favorite: Celestial Mint!"

He takes the soda from you, and rolls the can around in his hands.
"Thanks... I haven't had one of these in a while!" he says.
You sit down next to him and crack open your own soda: Hellborn Hot Sauce. It's not actual hot sauce, of course. It's actually a cinnamon-flavored root beer.
"Cheers!" you say, lifting your soda can.
Izediel smiles and clinks his soda can against yours.
You take a long sip, then sigh in contentment as the sweet taste washes over your tongue. You lean back on the grass and look at the white, blank sky. The clouds are gone, as if the sky is desperate to let you see the great beyond.

You say "You know, Izzy, I actually think you're really brave."

He looks at you in surprise, and his cheeks turn a deep shade of red. You've never said anything like this to him before, and he's taken quite aback.
"I-I am?" he says.

You say "Sure. You get picked on, but you never let it get to you for long. You're always so nice and cheerful, even if you're kinda weird sometimes. And you're always worried about others, but never let others worry about you. I think that takes guts, in its own way."

You pat him on the back, then take another drink of your soda.
"Wow... you really think so?" he asks.
You nod.
"Yeah. And I think Marco thinks so, too. That's why he's always picking on you. There's nothing a bully hates more than a person who is better than them."
Ideziel is silent for a moment, but you see a smile forming on his face.
"Thanks, Mona," he says. "I'm real glad we're friends."
"Me, too. Now let's go get something to eat. I'm hungry. Come on!"
"Yeah, let's," you say, standing up.
You and Ideziel walk into the school building together.

You after last period, call Dad and tell him to pick you up a little later.

After school, you call Dad and tell him to pick you up a little later. When he asks why, you just make up an excuse and say you're trying out for a part in the school play, something you've always wanted to try. You know this is a lie, but Dad doesn't question it any further.
"Alright, sweetie," he says. "Call me when you're ready."
"Okay, Dad. See you soon!"
When school ends, you see Izediel safely to the school bus, and then find your way to the back of the school campus.
You know Marco and his thugs congregate in an alley near the far end of the campus, so that's where you go. It's like they have nothing better to do after school than wait around to pick on people.
You have a feeling they'll come this way soon.
You lean against the brick wall of the school and wait for them to show up.

You chew on a piece of gum for +10 to intimidation.

You take a piece of peppermint gum out of your pocket and put it in your mouth. You've seen people in the movies do this when they're trying to look tough. You chew the gum and wait.
A few minutes later, you see them approaching. They always come from the same direction, down this alley and into the woods behind the school.
You see a mop of red hair among them, and your fists clench. It's Marco.

You blow a bubble and say "Sup fuckface? Jerkin' off your goons again today?"

You blow a bubble with your gum as they walk up to you, staring them all down.
"Sup fuckface? Jerkin' off your goons again today?"
They all stop and look at you. One of them, a goblin girl with a shaved head, speaks up.
"What the hell do you want, Buer?" she says.

You say "Not talking to you, nameless trash. Marco, you listening, you fat sack of shit? I've got a real problem with you."

"Not talking to you, nameless trash. Marco, you listening, you fat sack of shit? I've got a real problem with you."
Marco smiles. He's missing his two front teeth, and it makes him look slightly more hostile than he is. His tiny eyes narrow as he looks at you.
"Yeah?" he says. "This about your little angel bitch boy? He had it comin'."

You say "Dunno who you're talking about. I'm here pay you back for what you did to my friend."

"Dunno who you're talking about. I'm here pay you back for what you did to my friend."
"Heh. More like boyfriend, am I right?" Marco says.
The goblin girl bursts out laughing, as do the rest of Marco's gang.
"I'll give you one chance to apologize to Izediel, and take back everything you said," you say.
"Or what? You'll zap me with your little lightning powers?" Marco sneers.

You say "Naw. I won't even have to spend one volt to kick your sorry ass."

He laughs again, then walks right up to you. Marco is a big kid, not to mention older and taller. He towers over you. Even though he's a human, all of the other kids at school are scared of him, even the demons.
"You serious right now?" he says, his face only a few inches from yours. "You think you can beat me?"

You say "Oh I don't think so. I know so. In fact, I'll even give you the first hit. Come on, gimme your best shot!" then turn and point to your chin.

Marco thinks for a moment. He seems to seriously consider punching you in the face, but then he says "Naw. I don't wanna hit you. It'll hurt my knuckles."
"I'm sure will!" you say.
Then Marco swings, his fake-out punch slamming into your face. You feel the force of his blow knocking your head back. Pain ripples through your jaw and nose. It hurts like a bitch, and you feel blood trickle out of your nostrils. You stagger for a moment, but you manage to dig your heels into the ground. You remain standing.

You use your head.

You reach up and grab Marco by the collar. Before he can react, you pull him down and headbutt him with your full force. Your horns may still be nubs, but they're solid bone, not just skin or keratin. They pack a hell of a punch. You smash your head into his nose, and you hear a sickening crunch as your forehead snaps his nose to the side, shattering his nasal bones. Marco lets out a pained yell. You stagger back, bracing yourself as Marco falls flat on his ass.
"You broke my fuckin' nose!" he screams.

You wipe the blood off your own nose and say "Talk shit, get hit! C'mon! Is that all you got?!"

Marco gapes at you, his face in shock. He sputters and staggers to his feet.
"You... you broke my nose!" he says weakly.
He suddenly charges at you again, barreling into your chest. He knocks you easily off your feet. You and Marco tumble to the grassy ground.
"I got you now, you bitch!" he says, landing a heavy fist on your chest.
You wheeze and grab his wrist, trying to pull his fist away. As you grapple, you attempt to throw your knee into his stomach, but he hops backwards and scrambles up to his feet.
Marco's gang begins to cheer him on.
"Get 'er Marco! Fuck that bitch up!"
"Kick her fuckin' head in!"
Marco's nose is still bleeding profusely, and his eyes are wild with anger. He swings a heavy fist at you, but you duck and chuck a handful of dirt in his face. He screams and claws at his eyes for a moment.
"You're gonna pay for that, you cunt! You played dirty! That ain't fair!"

You knock him over and pummel him, screaming "Were you 'fair' when you all ganged up on Izzy? 'Fair' when you beat him up and shoved him in the broom closet? Huh?! WERE YOU?! YOU PIECE OF SHIT!!"

Still blinded by the dirt in his eyes, Marco is helpless as you launch a brutal kick into his stomach. He curls up and wheezes.
"Stop... Stop..." he begs pathetically.
"Say you're sorry!" you demand of him, raising your fist.
"I'm sorry! I didn't mean for it to get that far! Please stop!"
"Say you'll never do it again! Apologize to Izzy!!"
"I... I won't! I'm not apologizing to that little faggot! Just stop hurting me!"
You don't listen to him and continue beating him. You feel his ribs cracking under your fists, and still you don't stop. He's pathetic, screaming and begging for mercy.
"GET OFF ME! MOMMY! PLEASE HELP ME!"

You say "DO IT! TAKE IT ALL BACK! APOLOGIZE!"

Marco is just a mass of fear and pain, broken and sobbing, as you continue to brutalize him.
"NO! PLEASE! NO MORE! I'M SORRY! I'LL DO IT! I'LL APOLOGIZE!" he screams.

You let him go, throwing him to the floor, then stare at the rest of his goons.

You've made your point. Marco groans and wheezes, clutching his broken ribs. He looks up at you in fear.
You shoot a death glare at the rest of Marco's crew.
"You all want some? Come on, I'll take all of you. Just try me."
"C-Chill out, bitch!" one of them shouts at you.
"Damn, she's a monster," another says nervously. "You OK, Marco?"
"It... it hurts..." he breathes out, then collapses and passes out from the pain.

You spit your gum on the floor and say "Get the fuck out of my sight."

"Get the fuck out of my sight," you growl.
Marco's gang scatter like roaches when the lights come on. You stand over Marco's unconscious body for a moment, before spitting your gum into his hair.
"There. Now you got something to remember me by, asshole," you say.
You walk away, leaving Marco lying in the grass. You walk straight to the principal's office. The secretary gasps when she sees your blood-stained clothes.
"I picked a fight with Marco. He's lying in the field. You can find him there," you say.

One Month Later...

You ended up getting in trouble, of course. Deep trouble.
It could have been much worse, but luckily, the school cameras caught the full extent of your fight; the footage clearly showed Marco hitting you first. That, and Marco's gang actually told the truth when asked what happened. It helped that they were genuinely scared of you.

The police were called, but they chalked it up to another playground scuffle and didn't really get involved. You suppose they had better things to do. As a result, you got suspended for a week and had to take an anger management course after school. You were also banned from sports for the rest of the year. Marco was in the hospital for two weeks, and when he came back he seemed like a different person. He still picked on other kids, but he never bothered you nor Izediel again.

Speaking of Izediel, he was probably your saving grace. He defended you to the police, stating that Marco started it and you were just standing up for him, which was entirely true. He also told them how much of a bully Marco was, and gave examples of times he saw him picking on other kids.
"You should be thanking her, not punishing her!" Izediel had said during the meeting. He was hysterical, and dripping with snot and tears. You nearly started crying yourself when you heard him defend you. Izediel's testimony was most likely the reason why you didn't get expelled. It was the most worked up you've ever seen him.

On top of all that, the parents got involved.
The first thing both your parents asked you was "Are you okay?" to which you replied "Yeah."
The second thing they asked was "Did you win?" to which you also replied "Hell yeah" before bawling into your Mom's arms.
Marco mother's was livid, but since it was clear her kid started it, she couldn't do much. Eventually she left in a huff.
Marco's father was furious as well. He spat on the ground and called you names before walking away.
Your Mom had to pin your Dad down with magic for him not to attack the guy. He even pulled his gun out, which scared you a little bit.
It was all a bit dramatic.
But the most dramatic was probably when Izediel's parents showed up. Or rather, parent. Being an angel, that naturally meant God, Himself.
The school can't do much against a higher being, and miraculously, God took your side. Apparently, the Great Creator is good friends with your Dad, so it was an easy choice for him to make.

When you came back from your suspension, the whole school started talking about you, some calling you a hero, others afraid of you.
You even got a nickname out of the whole ordeal: The Hell Forcer.
You don't really care about any of that, though. This whole thing started out with you defending Izediel's honor, and you did. That's all that matters.
You still remember how he visited your house during suspension, hugging you and crying so much that it soaked through your shirt. He was disappointed you fought on his behalf, but happy you were there for him.
"Just wait, Mona!" he said, "I'll get stronger, you'll see! Then you'll never have to fight my battles again!"
You couldn't help but laugh at the mental image of Izediel as a buff muscle man. But who knows, maybe one day. You're already looking forward to it.

During the whole debacle, you continued to have dreams about the looming figure. But instead of violence, it would show you bizarre symbols and runes. And every time you dreamed of it, the flaming space god would look more and more...familiar. With the calming of the space god in your dreams, your powers also stopped going haywire in your sleep. You have no idea what any of this means, but at least your parents are a little less worried now that you aren't setting the mattress on fire.

"Mona, you awake? You kind of zoned out there," says Izediel.

You say "Huh? Oh, sorry. I just thinking about my dreams again."

"You've been having those a lot, lately. Anything new to report?"
"Not really. I mean, every night it's the same thing: I'm surrounded by symbols and runes. And then I wake up."
You draw some of the symbols you keep seeing in your notebook.

You say "These are the ones I remember. I used to dream about fighting it... but lately it seems like it wants to talk. Any ideas?"

Izzy studies the symbols.
"Nope, never seen 'em before. We should keep these in mind when we get to the library."
"What are you kids talking about back there?" asks Mom from the front seat.
"Uh, homework," you and Izediel say in unison.
Dad chooses that moment to fancy himself a comedian, and tells you all a limerick:
"There was a young professor from Leeds, who loved to experiment on seeds. He fucked up his luck, and got hit by a truck, but at least he got some weed."
You and your Mom groan in unison. Your Dad laughs heartily, proud of his "comic genius". Izediel just seems confused.

You say "Dad, is this really the time?"

"Don't fuck with the limerick time!" your Dad jokes.
You groan, and slump in your seat.
"Yeah, yeah, groan all you want. Just remember, I feed you, and I'll be here laughing when you're living in a van down by the river," Dad replies.
A few hours later...
You reach your destination: the IDTB complex. It's a massive structure that's more like a tower than a building. IDTB, which stands for "Inter-Dimensional Trading Bureau", is responsible for keeping peace and trade flowing between all the different dimensions. The IDTB is also responsible for stopping conflicts before they happen, by stopping one side from gaining a military advantage over another through trade deals. The complex has many floors, each serving a different function of the bureau. The top floors are designated to the special departments, such as research labs and inter-dimensional transport bays. The floors beneath that serve for the meetings hall, training rooms, and et cetera. The library, which is what you're here for, is located on one of the lower floors.
You, Izediel, and your parents enter the building. You've been here several times, as both your Mom and Dad work here. Dad's title is "Head of Security" and Mom's title is "Head of Research and Development". You've never given it much thought, but your parents are actually some of the most powerful people at this company. Even so, they're both still very humble, and very nice.
You reach the library, and find it surprisingly empty. There's the librarian, a grim-looking man who's always wearing dark red robes, and has pointed ears to show he's an elf. But other than that, there doesn't seem to be anybody else here.
"Hello! Anybody here?" your Dad calls out.
"Shhhhhh!" the librarian hisses. He points a finger at a sign that reads: "Please keep quiet. Respect other people's desire to read in peace."
"Wow... fuckin' elitist..." Dad mutters. The librarian glares at him, and he shuts up.

You say "Mom, Dad, are you guys gonna hang around the library with us?"

"No, sweetie. You and Izediel can do this by yourselves," Mom says. "Since I'm here, I'll pay a visit to the IDTB's research department. I have some business to discuss with some of the lab workers."
"I guess I'll go with you, then," Dad says.
"That's fine, Gil, but I don't want you touching anything. The last time you did, you broke several beakers and a few expensive machines."
"But those machines were out of date. I just expedited their inevitable replacement."
Mom rolls her eyes, and gives you both a nod. "Have fun studying, kids." With that, your parents walk off, arm in arm. They seem to be in a good mood.
"Your parents really love each other," Izediel says.

You say "Yeah, they've been married for twelve years and they're still all lovey dovey. You don't want to see some of the stuff they do at home... trust me."

"Lovey dovey..." Izzy whispers, repeating your words like a magician's mantra. "Lovey dovey..."
"Shut up," you say, giggling. "Come on, let's get to work."
"Right," he says, "We can either ask the librarian for help, or just check out books at random until we find what we're looking for."
"I dunno, Izzy. The librarian looks mad and bored at the same time. I think making him work harder than he wants to is a bad idea. We should just check out books at random."
"...Oh yeah, I wouldn't want to make him grumpier than he is."
You nod. "Yup. You ready?"
"Sure, let's go!"
The IDTB library is the largest collection of information on the entire planet. There's historical information, scientific information, geographical information, information on supernatural creatures and their habitats, and more. You have the entire day to comb the library for as many books as you can.

You go check out some books about angels.

You start looking for books about angels. You're about to head towards the non-fiction section about supernatural creatures when Izediel sheepishly tugs on your shirt.
"Uh, Mona... if you want to know about angels, you can just ask me."
"I can?" you reply, raising an eyebrow. "Well I guess you are an angel. I sometimes forget because we're so used to each other."
"R-Right... so, did you need to ask me something?"

You say "You mentioned angels need to earn their wings, right? Is that like, getting promoted?"

"Just like that," he says with a nod.
You blink. "So... what happens when an angel gets promoted? Is it like a big deal?"
"Um, you can think of it like leveling up in a video game."
"That sounds cool! So what happens when you level up?"
"You get stronger and gain abilities, of course," he says.
You stare at him.
"I... have no idea what that means," you say.
He looks at you for a moment, as if thinking about how to explain it to you.
"Here, let me write it out for you, it'll be easier to explain."

Ideziel's explanation about angel hierarchy:
Level 0 - Rankless (No Wings)
Powers: None
An angel child is born through divine energy. They begin without wings, and can earn them through feats of great righteousness.

Level 1 - Principality (2 Wings)
Powers: Holy magic, flight, longevity
The lowest rank of angels to have wings. They tend to be very young and inexperienced. When an angel is promoted to a Principality, they are drafted into military service. A Principality attends military training until they become experienced enough to be promoted to a higher rank.

Level 2 - Virtue (4 Wings)
Powers: Extra abilities depending on the Virtue
A Virtue is an angel who has served for many years as a Principality. They tend to be older than most angels. When they are promoted, they gain additional powers based on their specialization. Three of the known specializations are the healers, crafters, and warriors. Virtues are also free to act as they please within the boundaries of the Great Creator's laws.

Level 3 - Cherubim (6 Wings)
Powers: Ascendant constitution
Cherubim are an elite few who have managed to please the Great Creator with their actions, thoughts, and beliefs. They are masters of war and have special "ascendant" powers that others do not possess. They gain wings made of pure light.

Level 4 (Final) - Thrones (8 Wings)
Powers: Master of the elements
The highest of the angels, the Thrones, are few in number. They serve as the Great Creator's right hand and carry out his will perfectly. They are said to be able to control the raw elements of reality. Angels cannot become Thrones unless hand-picked by God himself. To become a Throne is the highest honor and sign of approval.

"Where did you hear all this?" you ask.
"It's pretty much common knowledge for all angels," says Izediel.

You say "Hold on, Level 1 angels get drafted... so does that mean you'll be, too, when you get your first wings?"

"Yes, I suppose so," says Izediel. "But it's not like Heaven is at war with anyone. The last war was centuries ago, so nowadays it's just mandatory service."

You say "Does... does that mean you'll be going away when that happens?"

"I don't know. Probably," says Izediel.
You stare at the ground in silence for a moment.
"I don't want you to go," you say.
Izediel begins to get very flustered.
"D-Don't be sad, Mona! It probably won't happen for a long time, if it happens at all. Besides, even if I go, we can still stay in contact! And I won't be gone forever!"
You look up at Izediel again.
"Promise?" you say with a small voice.
Izediel puts his hand on your shoulder.
"Promise."

You say "Pinky swear it! Cross your heart and hope to die!"

"Um... OK," says Izediel.
Izediel extends his pinky finger and wraps it with yours.
"Pinky swear."
You lock pinkies and smile.
"Friends forever," you say.
"Forever," he says.

You say "Now let's look up some more books!"

Izediel and you browse the library for a while longer, occasionally looking up books on interesting-sounding subjects.

You check to see if Dad (Gileon/ Gil) is in any of the history books.

You skim the index for "Gileon", "Gil", or even "Dad". You find something that looks like it could be a history book from with records from a few years ago.
Included in the book is a small photo of your Dad as a young man in full armor. The armor isn't familiar, but the tattoo on his arm is.

You say "What the hell? Dad never told me he had a cool outfit like that! He looks like a superhero from those Japanese kids' shows!"

"You mean the sentai shows?" Izediel asks,
"Yeah, I've seen those. My Dad has a bunch of them downloaded on our home theater. They're pretty cool," you say.
"I really like the old ones. They just have more heart, you know? And the heroes are more relatable," he responds.
"They also have terrible special effects."
"Well... yes."

You read up on what the history book says about Dad and his sentai armor.

You read up on it:
The human named Gileon donned a suit of God-Killing armor to defeat Kit, the fallen angel who rejected the Will of the Lord and sought to become a god himself. The armor was imbued with holy energy, and could kill any angel that got in the way of Gileon. However, it was made in God's image. After defeating Kit, Gileon discarded it for the same reason, no longer wanting, nor needing, to wield such power.

You say "Holy crap! I thought he was bullshitting about all that stuff!"

"No, it's definitely true. I certainly don't want to end up like Kit," Izediel responds.
"Kit, huh? What's that guy's story?"
"I don't know, he's really unknown. No one does, I mean we know all the angels by name and everything, but not him. He's just another angel with a grudge against God and Earth."
"Oh...." You pause. "Wait, if Dad defeated Kit, why is he still alive? Shouldn't he have killed Kit or something?"
Izzy pauses, thinking of an answer. "Well angels don't really die, we just get reborn in Heaven. I suspect that he just stripped Kit of his powers, which would be enough."

You next, look up if the Toronto Maple Leafs ever won another Stanley Cup since 1967 (It's currently 2090).

"Let's see..." says Izediel, as he looks up information on the hockey team.
The results instead shows the post-apocalyptic, barren wasteland that was once Canada. You look in horror at the giant fissure in the middle of the nation. Apparently, when the End Times happened, it struck powerful earthquakes that split the nation in half.
The information on the Toronto Maple Leafs is displayed next to this image. Apparently, they won the next Stanley Cup after your dad had defeated Kit. The team was inspired by his heroics, and they dedicated their victory to him. The Maple Leafs went on to rebuild the nation, and soon became its rulers. The entire country is now a nation-state ruled by the undead, with hockey as its religion.

You say "That's... that's ridiculous. Canada has obsessions other than hockey... like Roll Up the Rim and overpricing phone and Internet plans."

"I guess that's why everyone is undead and there are lava pits throughout the nation... No wait, that's just Ontario," says Izediel.
"Sounds like a horrible place," you say.

Izediel's POV:
While Mona is distracted by the Leafs article, you decide to do some searching for yourself.
You look up "Can angels and demons have a baby together?" The results say that neither angels nor demons can do so, since both parties' biologies are viewed as repulsive to each other.
You look up "Half-demons" next to see if there's any way a child of a human and a demon is biologically compatible with an angel. The results show that a half-demon and an angel can mate, and produce a Qweepah.

You continue to read to see if there's information on what a "Qweepah" is.

The results show that a Qweepah is the most powerful being in existence. They are neutral creatures who are not good, or evil, but somewhere in between. One has never been successfully birthed before. You feel your curiosity piquing and continue to scroll, only to see a disclaimer at the bottom of the article that says the article has been flagged for removal, and should not be trusted as fact.

"Hey, watcha readin?" asks Mona. She looks over your shoulder, and you try to close the tab, but it's too late.

You throw your body over the computer screen and mash the power button.

You shove your body over the computer and turn off the monitor. Mona tilts her head and raises an eyebrow.
"Everything OK?" she asks.
"Y-Yeah!" you say, sweating bullets. "I just clicked on a virus or something!"
There's no way she bought that lie.
"OK then," she says. "Just be more careful, Izzy. I thought you were smart with computers."
Nevermind, she totally bought that.

Mona's POV:
You chalk Izzy's behavior up to his usual weirdness and go back to your own library searches.
You search up "The Topography of Earth after the Rapture War."
The search brings you to an interactive map of the world, with scraps of information and pictures pasted all over it. You are overwhelmed with the amount of content. (But in a good way!)

You see what the United States looks like.

You drag your mouse cursor, spinning the three-dimensional representation of the globe. You see that the United States is mostly covered in ocean, with the majority of uncovered land having been reduced to barren desert. Your city, Heksten, is located in one of the few remaining oasis climates that used to be the state of Utah.

You scream "MORMON!!!"

You scream "Mormon!" at the top of your lungs. Izediel jumps in his seat and looks at you, and you mouth the words "I'm sorry."
The librarian peeks his head out from behind a bookshelf.
"Is there a problem?" he asks.
"Umm...sorry," you say. "I just had a really startling thought. I didn't mean to disturb anyone."
"OK then," he says. "Just try to keep the noise level down please."

You stop messing around and do what you actually came here to do: look up any information on the space god from your dreams.

You find a lot of information on the space gods, apparently there are quite a few religions out there that worship aliens as gods. You find nothing on your personal god- the flaming one with a body made of magma that you see in your dreams.
You try to describe your god to see if the librarian can help you.
"Have you tried Googling it?" the librarian asks.

You say "... Are you serious? Do your job."

"Kid, we don't cater to crazies. Now scram, I'm busy."
"But this is important!" you say. "My whole family is in danger, and I need your help to stop what happens in my dreams from becoming a reality!"
The librarian rolls his eyes, and you can tell he's not taking you very seriously. He grabs something off the table next to him and says, "If you don't get out of here in five seconds, I'm calling security." He's holding an orange spray can with a sign that reads "Pepper Spray" in big black letters.
"But-" you whine as he interrupts you with another annoyed sigh.
"Five...four...three..."

You say "You're going to pepper spray a twelve-year-old looking for help finding books? When you're the friggin' librarian?"

He stares at you in disbelief, then slowly lowers the canister.
"Sorry about that," he says. "Sometimes crazy people come in here thinking I'm going to help them find something, and it gets annoying after a while. So what was it you needed?"

You say "... You know what? Nevermind. You seem like you need some time alone to think over your life."

The librarian is taken aback by your understanding of his feelings. "Thanks," he says. "You're right. I do." He sighs, then says, "If you want some books to read in the mean time, you can just take whatever you want. I don't get paid enough to care."

You take out the runes that the space god showed you in your dreams and say to Izediel "We can at least try to look these up. See if they're even a real language."

Izzy nods, and you pull out the sheet of paper with the symbols you saw in your dream. They're still as confusing as ever.
"We can use the image search to find out what they might be," he says, and before you know it he's already found something. It turns out that the symbols are actual runes, and with a bit of research you find that they read: "The Earth will be broken by shadows and covered in darkness." Terrifying, much?

You say "Well the Earth is already pretty broken, what's this guy's deal? Is there any way to use these letters to talk back to the thing?"

"I don't see how that'd be possible. It's only a few letters and you won't even know how to pronounce them."
You frown. "Great. So we came here for nothing."
Izediel scratches his head. "Not necessarily. We know the runes are real, and we know what they mean. More than we knew before."
"But we don't know what that has to do with my dreams," you say. "Or what the space god even wants."
"Have you tried asking it?"
You shake your head. "I'm not really sure how."
"Just... talk to it. Mentally. Like, with your mind."
"I'm not a psychic! I don't know if that'll do anything," you say.
"It's worth a try," he shrugs. "It's a dream, anything is possible."

You say "You have a point... maybe I'll give that shot if I have the dream again tonight."

"Sure thing," Izediel says. "Just let me know how it goes."
"I will," you say.

You call your parents and tell them that Izediel and you are done at the library.

You call your parents and tell them that Izediel and you are done at the library. They say they'll be at the front of the library in ten minutes to pick you up. While you're waiting, you decide to borrow a few books as to not make the trip a complete waste of time.

Mona's list of borrowed books:

  • "Through the Eyes of a Raven," by Edgar Allan Crow
  • "Necronomicon," by ???
  • "The Collected Short Stories of H.P. Lovecraft," by H.P. Lovecraft
  • "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • "Life Cycle of Stag Beetles," by Marian Walts
  • "The King in Yellow," by Robert W. Chambers

Izediel's list of borrowed books:

  • "Teaching Yourself to Draw," by Tony Brewer
  • "The Secret Life of Cats," by RG Castillo
  • "Functional Functional Programming," by Hal Finkle
  • "20 Great Bodyweight Exercises," by Joseph Finkle
  • "Bridge to Terabithia," by Katherine Paterson

You say "Oh I read that last one... it's really sad."

"Really? What happens?" Izediel asks.
"Well I'm not gonna spoil it for you. I just wanted to tell you because, knowing you, you'd probably start crying."
"Huh. Well, I do enjoy a good cry."
"That's such a 'you' thing to say."
Izzy smiles and thanks you for the heads up. You check out the books and head to the exit.

You wait for Mom and Dad to pick you up.

You're sitting on a bench at the exit of the library. You think about your dreams and the flaming space god. You also think about Stag beetles, and how cool they look when they wrestle. Izediel walks out of the library to join you on the bench.
"Thanks for waiting," he smiles.
"No problem."
After a few minutes you see your parents walking down the hall, having finished their business in the upper floors. They wave to you and approach.
Another minute passes and you see the strangest thing out of the corner of your eye, a man wearing a brown coat with ragged cuffs that cover his hands. He keeps his head down and shuffles past you, walking at a slow-ish pace.
You turn to look at him as he passes and feel an instinctive wave of disgust. It's hard to explain, but you feel like something is very off with this man. He gives you the willies, and you can't help but stare at his hunched figure as he continues down the hall.

You say "Izzy, did you see that guy? He kinda gave me the creeps..."

"Yeah, I saw him. You know what they say about guys who wear a lot of brown..."
Izzy's joke is cut short by a blood curdling scream from the front of the library.
The two of you stand up to see a trail of smoke leading from the entrance of the library towards a set of double doors.
Your parents break into a sprint towards you as alarms begin to sound. Your Mom grabs you and Izediel, while your Dad goes for the entrance of the library.
"Tif, take the kids to the car. I'm checking out the situation. Go!"
"Okay, be careful, Gilly," she responds, and runs in the direction of the car.
A large explosion is heard down the hall from the entrance where your Dad went.
"Come on, you two!"
Your Mom leads you and Izediel out of the library. The alarms are painful to your ears. You see injured people on the floor, some dead.

You say "Wh-What's going on?! Where's Dad going?!"

"Dad's going to be fine. Keep your heads down, both of you!" She grabs both you and Izediel by the hand and leads you outside.
The three of you reach the elevator of the library floor, but find it out of order.
"Damn!" mutters Mom, "Looks like we'll need to take the stairs. Come on!" She leads you and Izediel down a flight of stairs to the exit.
As you reach the bottom of the stairwell, your Mom throws open the door and you find it engulfed in flames.
With a wave of her hand, the fire is extinguished. As the haze clears, you see two armed men in heat-resistant armor standing outside. One of them addresses your Mom.
"Put your hands in the air! We are the Alliance of Gaia! Demonic presence will not be tolerated!"

Tifid's POV:
You step forward, pushing your daughter and her friend behind you. "We don't want trouble. We just want to go."
"We can't let you leave. You're a blight upon humanity."

You say "Listen you imbeciles. I was having a very, very good day. You do not want to be the ones to ruin it."

The men look nervously at each other. They seem to be contemplating a course of action.
"Drop that bitch!" one of them screams to the other, and they open fire.
Your demonic reflexes give you the split-second you need to dodge their shots, and you pull the kids with you back into the stairwell and shut the door behind you. Bullets fly through the door as the three of you hide, some of them narrowly missing you or the children.
"Mom, what's happening?" whimpers Mona.
Her friend, the angel boy Izediel, hugs her tightly.
"Shhh," he whispers, trying to calm her.
You hear yelling out in the hallway. It's clear the armed men are moving closer towards the stairs, searching for you.
"What do we do, Mrs. Buer?" asks Izediel. He's clearly terrified, but trying to stay strong.

You pat the two of them on the head and say "Izediel, can you stay here and look after Mona? I'll take care of this. It'll only take a second."

Izediel nods in response and hugs Mona. "I'll keep her safe, don't worry."
"Mona, you look after Izediel, too, okay?"
"Okay, Mom. Go kick their asses."
You lean in to kiss your daughter on the forehead before turning and winking at Izediel.
You open the door and step out into the halls. When the armed men see you, they scream at you and begin firing.

You whip your tails forward, deflecting the incoming fire.

You lash your tail out, at such speed that it acts like a shield, protecting you from the bullets. The men's guns click empty loads as they finish firing.
"What the fuck!" yells one of them, clearly confused.
"Done already? My, aren't you boys quick on the trigger." The men curse at you, and reach for more ammunition for their guns.

You snap your fingers and boil the liquid in their eyeballs.

You flick your wrist and snap your fingers, and their eyeballs instantly begin to boil. They scream in pain and terror, clutching their faces as they fall to the floor.
"What's going on?" screams Mona from behind you.
"I took care of it! Let's move, before more show up."
The three of you slink down the corridor. Eventually you see a group of IDTB security personnel turning the corner. They raise their weapons at you, but quickly drop it when they recognize you.
"You're the head of R&D, Tifid Buer!" one of them says.

You say "What happened here? Who the hell are these jokers?"

"They're calling themselves the Alliance of Gaia. They're a bunch of religious fanatics who ascribe to the belief that humans and demons can't coexist."
"What are you on about?" you ask. "We've lived with humans for decades without any issues."
"Tell that to them! They started by bombing a few buildings, then graduated to directly killing demons."

You sigh and say "Where's my husband? Shouldn't he be leading you?"

The security team steal awkward glances at each other.
"Well, ma'am, he told us to handle the evacuation while he handles the Alliance of Gaia himself."
"What?" you say. "This whole place is under your jurisdiction! Why the hell would he break off to go after the Alliance of Gaia by himself?"
"That's just what he's does. You should know, you're married to him."
You shake your head and ask where he went.
"Probably to the topmost floor. He always leads with his head into the thick of battle."

You say "Thank you. Please take these children to safety. This one is my daughter, Mona, and the boy is her best friend. They just came here today to do homework in the library. They don't deserve to be caught up in any of this."

The security team member nods as you hand the kids off to them.
"Don't worry, ma'am, they'll be safe. I promise you. We'll protect them with our lives if we have to."
"Thank you," you say.
Mona tugs at your shirt.
"Mom, why can't I stay with you?" she asks.
"Because I need you to stay safe and sound with these nice gentlemen, okay? I'll go make sure Dad's okay. You know how reckless he gets."
Mona seems reluctant to leave your side, but she nods.
"Come on, kids," the security guard says as they walk towards the direction of the foyer.
"Stay safe!" Mona calls after you.
"I will! Be good, and I love you!" you shout back.

You go meet up with your idiot husband, Gil.

You run back to the stairwell and sprout your wings, flying to the top. You're a little winded from the running-and-flying combo, so you pause to catch your breath.
As you climb to the highest floor, you are horrified by the massacre taking place. IDTB security are dead everywhere, most of them literally torn apart.

You run through the corridors, looking for Gil, or possibly any sign of his pet hornets.

You are about to step into the hallway when you hear buzzing. You look around and see a few hornets flying towards your face.
"BZZZZZZZZZZ!"
The hornets rush at you, then stop and hover in front of you.

You do the hornet dance Gil taught you to communicate to the nasty creatures "Where is your master? Take me to him!"

You perform the hornet dance Gil taught you.
"BZuuuzzz Bzzz Bzzz..."
The hornets fly off down the hallway. You follow them. They begin leading you to the roof of the IDTB tower. As you run, the bodies of IDTB security personnel are slowly replaced with those of terrorists, each one of them covered in grotesque stings. It seems Gil has been busy.
As you reach the roof, you see your husband standing on the helicopter pad, facing off against another human. This person is a tall man wearing a black robe, surrounded by an array of glowing symbols. He has a staff in his hand, which appears to be the source of the glow.
"This is the last time I'm going to say it," Gil says. "Drop your weapon and surrender, punk!"
"It's the last time you're going to have a chance to say it," the man replies.
Suddenly, a several ethereal portals appear, and about a dozen terrorists step through, armed with machine guns and assault rifles.

You scream "Gilly!" and transform into your ten-foot-tall elemental form.

You scream "Gilly!" and transform into your ten-foot-tall elemental form. You advance towards the terrorists, a terrifying sight with your full body of flames. The terrorists begin shooting at you, but their bullets harmlessly bounce of your fiery hide.
"Kill them!" the robed man screams. "I want their heads!"
With a wave of your arm, you send a shockwave of fire towards the terrorists. Most of them are set on fire and killed immediately; the others fall back in terror.
Gil stands there with his mouth open.
"Holy shit! Tif, what are doing?" he asks.
"Saving your ass," you say.
With another wave of your hand, you send the terrorists flying back into the walls. The robed man is hit by his own henchmen, and goes down.
You stomp over to him, and he begins to beg for his life.
"Please! Please! I surrender! Mercy!" he begs.
You grab him by the throat and lift him high off the ground. Your burning fingers begin to sear into his clothes.
"Who the fuck are you?" you ask.
"Call me... Kieran," he replies, choking on his own words. "I'm... the leader of the Alliance."

You slam him on the ground and knock him out, then transform back into your normal form.

Gil runs up to you as you step back. "Jesus fucking Christ! That was fucking intense!" he says.
You sigh, and collapse to your knees.
"It's been a while since I've had to use my powers like that," you say. "I'm fucking exhausted."
You stand up, and Gil helps you to your feet. Then he gives you a kiss.
"Thanks for saving my ass."

You smack him upside the head and yell "You fucking dolt! What were you thinking, running off alone like that?! What if you got yourself killed?! You want Mona to grow up without a father?! Think for once in your life!!"

"You're absolutely right," says Gil. "Thank you for keeping me in line."
He hugs you.
"I love you so fucking much, Tif," he says. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
You kiss him.
"Moron... I love you, too," you say, as you straighten out his disheveled hair. "Come on, let's go. The kids are probably worried sick about us."

Mona's POV:
You wait with Izediel outside in the parking lot of the IDTB complex, where the security force have formed a barricade around the building. Sirens are blaring all around you as emergency personnel tend to the injured. Every time someone is carried out on a stretcher, you wince and look away. You don't know what you'd do if one of them ended up being your Mom or Dad.
"It's all over the news," Izediel says, pointing to his phone.

You say "Who cares about the news! My Mom and Dad are still in there!!"

Izzy touches your shoulder. "I know... I'm worried about them, too. But there's nothing we can do but wait."
"You're right," you say, sighing. "Sorry I snapped at you."
"It's OK," says Izediel. "I know you're under a lot of stress right now. I brought some snacks... do you want one? They're delicious."
Izzy holds out the bag of tortilla chips to you.

You say "Thanks, Izzy..." and munch on the chips while waiting for your parents to come back.

"Thanks, Izediel..." you say, munching on the chips while waiting for your parents to come back.
"I'm glad you're here with me," says Izediel. "I'm glad we're friends."
He smiles at you. You smile back. You're glad you're with him, too.
Suddenly, you hear screaming from the crowd of onlookers. You look up to see a group of people pointing at something in the middle of the crowd. A man who had been on a stretcher gets up, revealing himself to be an Alliance member in disguise! He stabs an IDTB employee with a knife, and then leaps forward, holding a live grenade!
"GLORY TO THE ALLIANCE! WE WILL TRIUMPH OVER HEAVEN AND HELL!" he screams, as he tosses the grenade into the crowd. The Alliance member is then shot in the shoulder by a security guard, but it's too late: he's thrown the grenade into the crowd. It rolls right up to your feet, and then stops.
Before you can even gasp, there is a deafening boom, and the last thing you hear before your ears start ringing is Izediel screaming your name.
You wake up several hours later in a nearby hospital. Your parents are at your bedside.
Your Mom cries tears of joy when she sees that you are awake. Your Dad hugs you so tightly your ribs creak.
"You're safe, you're safe," he cries. "Thank God. You're safe."

You say "Mom...? Dad...? What happened...?"

"Thank God, Mona, you're all right," says Dad.
"I'm fine, I'm fine. What happened?"
"One of those terrorists attacked the crowd with a live grenade," says Mom. "But you're fine. You didn't even suffer any permanent damage. You just have a bit of a concussion and some scrapes from the blast, but the doctor said you'll make a full recovery."
You check yourself all over and wiggle your fingers and toes. You're in pain, but you're fine.
You ask, "Where's Izediel?"
You receive no answer. You look at your parents. They avoid your gaze.

You "W-Where's Izzy? Is he okay?! He was with me when it happened!"

"He's in the hospital, sweetie," says Mom.
"He's in a coma, Mona," says Dad, slowly. "He saved your life by throwing his body over yours to protect you from the blast. He suffered major internal injuries and burns all over his body, and..."
Your Mom pulls your Dad aside and whispers, "Shut up, Gil! She doesn't need to know all the details right now."
You say, "Izzy saved my life?"
"Yes," says Dad.
You bury your head in your hands and cry.

You say "Izzy's an angel. He can't die! Angels just get reborn in Heaven... he said so himself! He's gotta be okay!"

"Oh, Mona...," says Dad. He puts his arm around you.
"He'll be fine!" you repeat. Your voice cracking up through tears. "He can't die! He's an angel!"
Your Mom sighs and joins the hug.
"We can visit him later, if you want, sweetie," says Dad. "The doctors say he's just in a coma right now. His body will naturally heal itself. You just take all the time you need to process this."
You nod, and pull away from the hug. You look at your parents and say, "I think I wanna be alone..."
"Of course, sweetie," says Mom. "We'll be just outside if you need us."
You spend the next few hours crying into your pillow. After a while, you begin repeating one question to yourself over and over again:
"Why? Why did this have to happen?"
After more hours of sobbing, you eventually fall asleep.

That night, you have a dream. It's the same dream, with the flaming space god. As usual, he looms over the horizon; a massive being made of magma and fire. He stares down at you with eyes that burn like tiny, blue suns.

You say "Go away! I'm not in the mood tonight!"

The space god opens its mouth... and out comes a booming, deafening voice that pierces your ears. It's barely even a voice, and more like a roaring vibration that you feel in your chest more than anything else.
A massive windstorm rips through your dreamscape, knocking you over and tearing debris all around you. You shield your eyes from the sand that blinds you.

You get up, stomp the ground, and yell "What the hell is your problem?! First you wreck everything, then you show me weird symbols, and now you're just yelling at me! Is it fun for you to mess with a little girl?! Are you some kind of a pervert?! Pervert! Perv-god!"

The space god seems to blink, and for a brief moment it seems... puzzled. The windstorm stops, and the space god is quiet once more.
"Pervert! Perverted perv-god! Go away!" you continue to shout.
You hear rustling all around you. Humanoid shadows emerge from the sand all around you. You recognize them as the people from your life. Your Mom, your Dad, your schoolmates, and even Izediel are there.
They all join you in hurling insults at the space god.
"Pervert! Pedophile!"
"We'll never forgive you!"
"You killed the Earth, you moron!"
"Go take a cold shower or something!"
The space god seems truly stung by all these insults, and eventually curls up into a fetal position. It seems to be crying, with molten tears flowing down its face. It's so pathetic that you can't help but feel a little sorry for it.

You stop insulting it and say "H-Hey... I didn't really mean it. I'm just upset. My best friend got really hurt and... Oh, what's the point? This is all a dream anyway...."

The space god sits up and turns towards you, its face no longer sorrowful, but rather shocked.
It opens its mouth, and instead of a booming voice coming out, you hear a song-like voice. You see the runes from before appear before you, but this time, you can read them.
"I'm not a pervert. Sorry about your friend."

You say "So you can talk now? Um... my name is Mona. What's yours?"

"My name is Yado."
"Yado... That's a cool name. So, um, why is it that you've been terrorizing me? Wait, let me rephrase that. Why have you been 'visiting' me for the past couple months?"
The runes appear once more, and once again, you can understand them perfectly.
"I have been watching you. We have all been watching you. But terrorizing? No. We have not done that. I have merely given you a glimpse into the future, and a warning. This is what lies in store for the world, if you do not stop Angrin."

You say "Who's... Angrin?"

"Angrin is another one of us, a being from between the dimensions. But unlike us, he has forsaken all that is good and virtuous. He intends to take over the Earth, and then other worlds. He cannot be allowed to succeed. That is why I gave you the gift of foresight, and why I have been 'terrorizing' you. To prepare you for your destiny. You are to be the savior of the world."
"But I don't want this... I don't even know what this is! Why me?! Just leave me alone!"
"I'm sorry, but you are the only one who can stand up to him. You are the culmination of hundreds of lifetimes of planning. You cannot back down now. You are the only hope for humanity, and quite literally the galaxy."

You say "I don't want to hear this right now! I'm just a kid! My best friend's probably dying because of me... I just... I don't know what to do!"

"It is unfortunate that I must subject you to this. But I will help you to use your power. It is within you. You simply need to let it out."
"I don't want this...! I want to go home...!" You say, starting to panic..
"Then go home. But eventually, you will end up here. It is fate."
The presence in your mind starts to fade, as do the runes. You open your eyes to find yourself back in the hospital, covered in sweat. Your parents are asleep in chairs beside your bed. You slowly get up, and walk past them, heading towards the door.

You wander the hall of the hospital and look for Izediel's room.

You walk down the hall, and manage to find Izediel's room. He is lying in the bed, his eyes closed.
He's covered in bandages, and his left eye is wrapped in gauze. You take a seat in the chair beside him. Over an hour passes as you watch him sleep peacefully, with only the beeping of the heart monitor breaking the silence.

You take his hand and apologize over and over.

You clasp your hands over Izediel's and you feel tears welling in your eyes.
"I'm sorry! I never meant for any of this to happen! We should never have gone to that library. This is all because of my stupid dreams! Just please, please wake up!"
You continue to hold his hand and watch him sleep.
A month passes...

Izediel's POV (angel consciousness in Heaven):
Time passes, you don't know how long. You feel like you're floating in a black void, with nothing but the sound of a hollow wind blowing. Then, there is suddenly light, and when you come to, you find yourself standing before the pearly gates. The guard on duty, a Virtue named Thial, gives you a warm smile.
"What's up, Izediel? Welcome to Heaven! It's been a long time."

You say "Thial? Is that you? Why have I returned? Am I... dead?"

Thial chuckles and shakes his head.
"Naw, man. You're not dead. But you are pretty fucked up!"
He puts an arm around you and takes you to a gap in the clouds, where you can see the mortal world below. You recognize the landscape as the town you grew up in.
"Look man. See that mansion over there? The rich motherfucker who lives there has sexy demon girls pour sorghum all over his dick every morning. That's the shit. I'd kill to live like he does!"

You say "What the- What are you talking about, Thial? What happened to Mona? Was I able to protect her?"

Thial puts a hand on your shoulder.
"You mean your little girlfriend? Bitch died. She couldn't cope with your coma and she killed herself. Pretty damn tragic, really. I know it hurts, but you can just stay here, in Heaven. Fuck Earth! We got beautiful ladies and nachos! Who wouldn't want to live here?"
You stare at the man in front of you in shock.
"Mona... killed herself? You can't be serious!"
Thial laughs again, this time even harder. He slaps his knee and points at you as he continues laughing.
"Oh, I'm not. I'm just messing with you. Mona's fine! Here, take a look."
Thial waves his hand and the clouds part once more, this time showing your hospital room.
You lean over to see Mona sitting by your bedside, holding your hand and sobbing her eyes out.
"S-she's crying..." You say, feeling your heart breaking.
"Yep. Bitch be cryin' ev-ery time they see you like this. It's pretty damn funny, if you ask me."

You say "Thial, you've gotta send me back. I can't be here! I still have things to do down there!"

Thial shrugs.
"Hey man, you're an angel, too. Do whatever the fuck you want. It ain't my call."
"You're saying I can go back to Earth if I want to?"
"Sure. I'm just in charge of keeping the dead fuckers who get stuck here. You're not dead yet. In fact, I'd say you're due for a promotion."
"Due for a... wait, what?"
"You know, for your 'great' act of... what was it? Oh yeah, 'heroism'. You saved that girl from a terrorist attack. Doesn't get much greater than that."

You say "Really? I'm a Principality now? You're not just messing with me again, are you?"

"Nope, not messing with you again. You're definitely a Principality. I'll be damned. When you first got sent down, I thought 'Shit, ain't no way this fucker gonna last more than a week.' But here you are."
"So, is there anything special I can do as a Principality? Anything at all?"
"Well, you'll get a fresh pair of wings when you're fully healed up, so you can fly around and all. Oh, and you'll probably get your draft letter in about a week. Congratulations, by the way."

You say "Oh my Lord! That's incredible... me... a Principality! I... I'll see you later, Thial. Please greet the Great Creator for me!"

You take your leave of him, jumping through the hole in the clouds. As you fall, you hear Thial shout after you,
"Love and peace, little dude! Spread the Word!"

You wake up in the hospital bed screaming "CHILDHOOD FRIEND HANDHOLDING!"

You bolt upright in bed and nearly pull the IV stand to the ground.
"CHILDHOOD FRIEND HANDHOLDING!" you scream, as you toss your covers away.
Your head collides into Mona's, and the two of you scream together.
"Izzy?! You're awake! You're alive!"
"Where am I? What happened?"

Mona's POV:
You throw your arms around him. He looks confused, but he hugs you back!
"Oh, you had me so worried, Izzy! I thought you'd never wake up! You've been asleep for a whole month!"
"Well, I'm awake now! What happened?"
"Do you really not remember? You know, the doctors said you might have some memory loss. You don't remember anything?"
"I remember... we went to the library... and then there was lots of shooting... and then I was here."

You say "Yeah, and then you saved my life, Izzy! You took a bomb for me!"

"A... bomb?"
"Yeah! If you hadn't pushed me out of the way, it would have killed me for sure! You saved me!"
Izzy looks a little confused. "I did? I'm glad I could help, Mona."
"You're 'glad'? You saved my life by taking a bomb to the face, and that's all you have to say?"
"I'm... uh... sorry?"

You wipe the tears from your eyes and say "Oh Izzy... you never change."

"What do you mean?"
"Nevermind, dummy. I'm so happy you're okay!"
You give him a quick peck on the cheek.

Izediel's POV:
You know she just kissed you on the cheek, but did it really happen? You're not sure it did. It must have. It was too real not to be real.

You reach up and touch your cheek and say "Mona... you just..."

Mona looks away and blushes.
"Yeah, you know, I thought you deserved it. Like the heroes in books and movies."
You're speechless. You feel like you've entered some kind of Twilight Zone.
"... Really?"
"Yeah. B-But don't read too much into it, 'kay? It's just, you know..."
It seems even Mona doesn't know what to say. You've never seen her so lost for words.
You remain quiet, unable to gather your thoughts. Your face is burning, and it has nothing to do with your wounds.
"Hey, say something!" Mona says, trying to avoid looking you in the eye.

You throw up on your lap out of nervousness, and the fact that you've just woken up from a month's coma.

"Ugh... uh..." you sputter, wiping vomit off your chin.
Your voice is barely audible.
Mona puts her hands on your shoulders to steady you.
"Hey, are you alright?!"

Mona's POV:
You end up calling the hospital staff, and they come rushing in to Izediel's room with a gurney. They remove him from the room in a hurry, and you're told to stay put.
Your parents soon arrive, hugging you and simply being happy for your friend's recovery. You don't tell them about the kiss. How could you? You don't even know why you did it. It felt right in the moment, but now you wish you hadn't. You're glad he's alive, but your feelings are all jumbled up. Why did you do it? How does he feel?
Over the next few days, Izediel recovers and is able to leave the hospital. He has a few permanent scars to remind him of his near-death experience, with an especially large one over his left eye. Izediel never mentions the events of that night, and you don't bring it up either. You're secretly hoping he forgets about it.
His popularity skyrockets at school after the incident. Everyone wants to hear his tale, and but he doesn't tell it very often and avoids the subject in general. Other than the scars, which quite honestly earn him a lot of female attention, even from girls in the upper grades, Izediel isn't affected by any of it. It's like he doesn't even notice. He's back to being the same old, awkward weirdo that he was before.
You, on the other hand, are still wondering why you did what you did. You can't get Izediel out of your head, but you aren't sure why. Did you really have a crush on him? Is that why you kissed him? The questions don't stop pestering you, even in your dreams. You end up complaining about it to the space god, Yado.
"You're twelve, that's the age when hormones start kicking in. It was a natural thing to do," Yado reassures you.

You say "But it feels so... weird! Like it's Izzy we're talking about. He's my best friend, and always has been! Is it normal to feel this way about your friends?"

Yado stares at you for a minute in silence. "Ah. Well, I can see where that could be confusing. But you'll figure it out eventually, don't worry."
You're not sure you believe him. Yado sighs, and scratches his humongous chin.
"Do not concern yourself with it too much. You must enjoy your life while you can, little one. For the day will come where you will be called upon to save the galaxy. But until that day... just try to have fun, will you?"
You nod.

You say "Thanks Perv-ado. You're not such a bad guy."

"Please stop calling me that."

A week passes since Izzy's recovery, and he receives a letter from Heaven, officially promoting him to a Level 1 Angel: a Principality. The Great Creator deemed his act of saving you a full display of loyalty and love, the highest there is.
He's filled with so much pride that he can barely contain it. He just continues to stare at the letter, occasionally bursting into a fit of joy.
"This... this is incredible!" he says. "I can't believe it. I did it! I'm finally a full-fledged angel!"
The letter states that in two months, he will be called upon to return to Heaven for the reception of his wings. After that, he will be required to stay for his mandatory service, but it isn't known how long that will be.
You feel happy for him, but also a little sad. You knew this day would come, eventually, but you didn't expect it to hurt this much.
It felt like only yesterday that he was just a scrawny nerd with a nervous stutter and zero friends. Now he's moving up in the world.
You decide to make the most of your remaining time together, and start hanging out basically every day.
The more you see him, the more he starts to occupy your thoughts. After a while, you stop caring so much. You're just happy to be around him.

Gil's POV (IDTB Security Department - Interrogation Room):
Date - 10/05/2090
Time - 15:09
Subject - Kieran
You sit with your feet up on the desk, your face buried in the interrogation reports. To anyone watching, you seem to be piecing together the investigation, but really, you're just dozing off. It's been close to a month since the Alliance of Gaia staged their attack on the IDTB building, and since then, work has just been piling up. As the Head of Security, you took the brunt of the blame for what happened that day. Quite frankly, you're surprised they haven't outright fired you, but you suspect they needed someone to be the scapegoat. There were so many papers to sign and meetings to attend that you practically sleep at the office now. Sometimes, you go days without seeing your family in person, and even when you are home, you're too exhausted to do anything. Not to mention all the families of the IDTB employees have been filing complaints about the incident and threatening to sue for the loss of their loved ones. It's been a nightmare on every front, plain and simple. You might have changed careers, but you were always just a thug. A clever thug, perhaps, but nothing more. You're just not cut out for the political nonsense that seems to come with this job.
The only good news you've gotten since this nightmare began is the fact that your daughter, Mona, seems to be doing fine. It's all thanks to that weird little angel brat she seems to be friends with. You were really wrong about that kid, and now you really owe him one, too. If anything ever happened to Mona because of this, you don't know what you'd do...
You receive a notification on your pager tell you that the prisoner is about to be brought in. You yawn loudly and straighten your collar. Time to do this again for the billionth time. You hear footsteps coming down the hall. Here they come.
Several agents walk in and drag the prisoner into the interrogation room (not so gently, might you add). You watch as they shove him into a chair and restrain his arms and legs. You thank the agents for bringing in the prisoner, and tell them to wait outside. Once they leave and the door is shut, you turn to the prisoner and begin to speak.

You shake your head and say "Kieran... Kieran, Kieran, Kieran... why do we keep meeting like this, man? You've gotta be as tired as I am by now."

Kieran just stares at you, still as a statue. He hasn't said a word since the day he was captured. He isn't planning anything, either. He's just been quiet. Maybe he's playing the long game... but then, maybe not, and you're just growing more desperate. You sigh as you run a hand through your hair.
"Alright, let's get started."

Interrogation script and Kieran's responses:
Question: For the record, and not because I want to ask, your name is Kieran, correct?
Kieran: [Silence]
Question: What was the purpose of the Alliance's attack on the Inter-Dimensional Trading Bureau?
Kieran: [Silence]
Question: How many members are in the Alliance? Where do you operate out of?
Kieran: [Silence]
Question: Do you understand that you will not be released or pardoned no matter how much you resist answering these questions?
Kieran: ...
Kieran: I will never cooperate with my own executioners.

You say "Oh? Finally making some noise, are we? Just so you know, they're not executing you. Not a choice I agree with, but it's true."

"You misunderstand me," Kieran says, for the first time in weeks. "I'm not talking about the death sentence. This is greater than me. I'm talking about the Earth."
You roll your eyes when you sense what's coming.
"Jesus Christ, give me a fucking bre-"
Kieran cuts you off, suddenly becoming very vocal.
"You are all traitors to the human race. You have condemned not just myself and my brethren, but all humans, even yourselves. You allow abominations to walk among us, and you consort with the worst our race has to offer. You have no honor, no pride, no dignity."
His voice grows louder and louder as he addresses you, as if he's spilling out all the vitriol he's been holding in for so long.

You say "Listen, Kiki, I get it. You're good at talking shit. But I'm reaaaaally fucking tired today, and I need some answers soon, so I'll make you an enticing offer: Start talking, or I'll stick a hornet up your dickhole."

"Fuck you," he spits. "Empty threats. You won't do shit."
"You sure about that?"
"You're a coward, and a filthy pig. You'd never hurt a prisoner. You need us alive. They won't let you touch me."

You say "Yeah. Maybe... Maybe that's true. But hey, I'm already up to my neck in lawsuits. What's another one for the road, eh, chum?" as you pull out an Asian giant hornet between your fingertips.

Kieran's eyes widen at the sight of the insect, which looks to be about the size of a hummingbird. It wriggles ceaselessly as you pinch it between the tips of your thumb and index fingers. Occasionally, it flutters its wings, producing a sound that could be mistaken for the whirring of a lawnmower.
"What the fuck is that?" Kieran asks, as beads of sweat begin to form on his brow.

You say "Vespa mandarinia, commonly known as the Asian giant hornet. I call this one Gretchin, and she's a real size queen, if you catch my drift. Likes long, slow walks. Spelunking is a hobby of hers."

Gretchin makes a loud, high-pitched noise as you bring her closer to your prisoner's face. Startled by the sudden change in altitude, she begins to flap her wings with more force.
You hear a faint whimper escape from Kieran's lips as he shuts his eyes and begins trembling slightly. The two guards look on through the peephole in the door. They watch with incredulity as you hover the hornet an inch away from your prisoner's face, but they don't do anything to stop you.

You say "Let me tell ya, Kiki, these little champs move fast. In the time it'd take for them to stop me and get you to a hospital... Oooh, I'm practically giddy at how much damage she'll do."

Kieran remains silent, but he's shaking so much the chair begins to rattle. You wonder if he's reached the point of muteness, or if he's just too petrified to speak. Either way, you find your words to be falling on deaf ears. Maybe it's time to set Gretchin loose.
"Shall we see what sort of damage she can do? Buzz buzz, Kiki!"
You release your fingers, and Gretchin soars forward, the intense buzzing of her wings loud enough to echo off the walls. She hovers over Kieran's face before descending upon it. He begins to scream as the hornet makes her presence felt on every inch of exposed flesh. She eventually finds the opening of his jumpsuit collar and makes her way inside. You watch as the little lump in Kieran's clothes begins to travel downwards.

You say "I'll repeat what I said that day, Kieran. This is the last time I'm going to say it. Tell me what I want to know, or you'll wish my lovely wife had immolated you that morning."

Kieran sucks in his breath and screams as Gretchin enters his pants. He squirms as she makes her presence known in his most sensitive area, and he begins to weep. It's not long before a puddle appears beneath him.
"Please don't! I'll tell you! I'll tell you!"
You whistle at Gretchin, and she returns to your shoulder. She continues to buzz, angrily.
"Sorry, girl. Looks like you won't get to go exploring today."
You pull a small pad of paper and pen from your pocket.

You say "Now, let's start from the top, shall we? What was your reason for attacking the IDTB building?"

"We were told to! Through divine intervention, our god spoke to us and told us that if we destroyed the IDTB, then he would save us from this doomed world!"
"Your god? And who the fuck would that be?"
"His name is Angrin! He is the true god! The one who will save our souls!"

Mona's POV (One Month Later - Halloween):
It's the morning of All Hallows' Eve, and you're so excited you can barely sit in class. Halloween is one of your favorite holidays, though you hear the tradition has changed quite a bit since the Rapture War ended. It used to be that kids would dress up in costumes and roam the streets, knocking on strangers' doors for candy. Now, it's become a holiday in which people dress up in scary outfits and attend haunted houses, searching for some kind of fun and fear. Households who participate set up unique and exciting tricks for the children who come to their door. Candy is reserved as a reward that is to be earned through courage, and not simply given away for free.
When the last bell of the day rings, you grab your belongings and head out towards the bus stop. Both of your parents are too busy to pick you up today, so you actually get to ride the school bus for once. That sits just fine with you, because it means you get to meet up with Izediel. You can't wait to start chatting about all the fun you're going to have tonight.
You sit down in your seat as the bus begins to move, and the chatter quickly sets in.

You say "So, Izzy. What are you dressing up as?"

"A soldier, of course!" exclaims Izediel.
"Really? Why one of those?" you ask.
"Why not? They protect people, they're brave..." he says, looking a little embarrassed. "I look up to them."
"Like a modern-day soldier? Or...?"
"Like a soldier from the old days. You know, when there was still war."
"Ohhhhhh...." you respond, nodding.
You recall from your lessons that human soldiers from the days of the war donned tough, mechanical suits, which they used to fight against demons. That's pretty cool, you think. You wonder if he'll have his face covered, like they all did in the old pictures.
"That sounds cool, Izediel! Are you going with anyone tonight?" asks Eldolith, an obnoxious girl from your class who sits in front of you.

You say "Butt out, Eldolith! Nobody asked you!"

"Stuff it, Eldolith! Nobody asked you!" you say, annoyed.
"Oooooh! Temper, temper!" she says, sticking out her tongue.
"Hey, come on, Mona," says Izediel. "Don't be mean, she just asked a question."
You look away and grumble as Eldolith laughs at your expense.

You recall to yourself what kind of kid Eldolith is.

Eldolith is the most annoying girl in your class. Her species is faun, which explains the pair of goat's legs protruding from her skirt. Both her ears are pointed, and her blond hair is braided, ending in tiny bells that tinkle every so often. She has an obnoxious laugh and a tendency to gossip. Her mother is on the school board, so she thinks she can get away with anything. You cannot stand her.
"You should come to my house tonight, Izediel!" Eldolith continues, "Halloween is practically a religion in my house! I got up at four in the morning to start preparing!"
"That's a pretty specific time," you say.
"My mom is really into it," she explains, rolling her eyes. "Come on, Izediel! You should come! It'll be fun! We'll be setting up the biggest haunted house on the block!"
Eldolith is leaning so far over her seat she's going to fall out any minute. You try to ignore her, but she's really getting under your skin.
"Come on, Izediel! Pretty please?"
Izediel looks nervously in your direction, as if asking you to help him out of the awkward situation. You shrug and look away coldly.

You say "Do whatever you want. I'm not the boss of you."

"Do whatever you want. I'm not the boss of you," you say, maybe a bit too harshly.
Eldolith continue to look at Izediel hopefully. Izediel sighs and shakes his head.
"Sorry Eldolith, I already promised Mona I'd go to her house tonight."
Eldolith frowns.
"Well, okay. I'll see you later," Eldolith says, starting to turn away.
"No, wait!" Izediel says, grabbing her arm. "You can come with us, too."
"Really?" Eldolith asks, flinging her arms around Izediel. He quickly ducks to avoid her, and cause her to nearly fall out of her seat.

You pinch Izediel's cheeks and say "What the hell are you doing?! Don't invite people over to my place!"

You pinch Izediel's cheeks and say "What the hell are you doing?! Don't invite people over to my place!"
"Ow! Hey! That hurt, Mona!" he says.
"Well maybe that'll teach you not to invite people over without permission!"
Izediel smiles sheepishly and whispers to you in a low voice.
"Aw don't be like that, Mona! You know she has no friends!"

The Inner-Monas Convene to Render a Decision:
Your "Inner-Monas" gather around the war room to discuss the issue. They are:
Sergeant Mona (emotion), who wears a military uniform and smokes a corn pipe. She looks like you, but seems to have a perpetual angry expression. She is the most vocal of the Monas.
Professor Mona (logic), who wears glasses and a laboratory coat. She wears an expression of cold logic and is usually calm and collected. She is very intelligent and able to calculate probabilities with great accuracy.
Ascetic Mona (empathy), who wears a plain gray robe and a bald cap. She always appears to be asleep, but she is able to see a person's emotions and sense their pain.

Sergeant Mona: Absolutely not! This bitch could be lying about everything!
Professor Mona: Yes, it is clear she is simply using this opportunity to grow closer to our Izediel. She is a faun, after all. They are known for their manipulation.
Ascetic Mona: But she looks like she's in physical pain! She's obviously not doing this out of malicious intent!
Sergeant Mona: She's just faking it! Give her an inch, and she'll take a mile!
Ascetic Mona: Izediel is a paragon of compassion. We should strive to be more like him!
Professor Mona: You have a point. Siding with Izediel may be the best choice if we wish to gain his favor.
Sergeant Mona: You fucking cowards! Next thing you know, they'll be smooching!
Ascetic Mona: Oh! That's gross! I don't want to think about Izediel that way!
Professor Mona: You are immature. Smooching is part of a natural relationship, there is no need to be disgusted.
Sergeant Mona: Oh, fuck you! Show some spine! Assert our dominance now!
Professor Mona: Ladies, please. We are supposed to be making a decision here.
Ascetic Mona: Fine. We should strive for a compromise. Eldolith may join us, but only if she takes some tests to prove her loyalty.
Sergeant Mona: I see! A rite of passage! She must pass these tests to prove her worth! I like this idea.
Professor Mona: I, too, find this agreeable.

The Inner-Monas have arrived at a consensus.

Back to the Real World:

You say "Fine, Eldolith. You can come hang out with us, but we're not gonna go to any lame old haunted house. We're going to 666 Miskaton Drive."

"Why?" asks the faun girl, "Nobody lives there, and it's been abandoned for like a zillion years."
"Exactly. It's a real, live, genuine, haunted house. The scariest and most haunted place in town!"
Izediel looks at you with confusion and scratches his head.
"I thought we were just going to walk around the neighborhood in costumes." he says.
"Well, of course we are!" you say, "But there's also real life haunted places around here if you just look for them. Trust me. It'll be a lot more fun than trick-or-treating."

You give Eldolith a sly grin and say "Unless... you're a scaredy-pants."

Eldolith stomps her feet against the floor of the bus, her hooves clopping together. She narrows her eyes at you.
"I am not! I'll prove you wrong so hard..." she says.
"Ha! We'll see about that. See you tonight then, Eldolith!"

You get home to prepare your costume. Surprisingly, Grandpa is here to pick you up from the bus stop instead of Mom or Dad.

"Hello, my little warrior! I trust you had a good day at school?" Grandpa asks you.
"Grandpa? What are you doing here? Where's Mom or Dad?" you ask.
"Still at work! I had an unexpected day off, so I offered to come and get you from the bus stop. Shall we be off?"

You hug Grandpa and say "Sure thing! I missed you, Grandpa! Long time no see!"

You run up and hug your Grandfather, you really did miss him. He picks you up in his tentacled arms and hugs you back.
"Oh my! You've gotten so big!" he says. "Ah, my little warrior of the dark. Soon it will be difficult to even pick you up like so! Now, let's be off to get your costume sorted out."
Grandpa turns and waves his hand as a limo appears out of thin air, a door appearing in the side.
A neatly ordered crew of demonic skeletons file out of the ether. They form a straight line, standing at attention.
"Attention! Salute the Lady Mona, Champion of the Dark!" the lead skeleton announces.
The demonic skeletons salute as you walk past, entering the limo.

You say "Later Izzy, see you tonight!" as you climb into the limousine.

You wave goodbye to Izediel.
"See you tonight, Izzy!" you say.
"See you, Mona!" Izediel waves back.
You sit down on one side of the long, luxurious seat.
The skeletons disappear as suddenly as they appeared, and your grandfather climbs into the back with you.
"Are you ready to go?" your grandfather asks.
"Yes, Grandpa!" you say.
"Good, good," he smiles.
The limo drives through the air, suspended by invisible forcefields.

You say "How have you been, Grandpa? Is everything okay with work?"

"It is," Grandpa says. "Just busy, you know how it is. I've got a lot of things to take care of."
The limo pulls up to the costume store. You and Grandpa get out of the car.
"This is it!" you say eagerly.
"This is it," Grandpa agrees, smiling lovingly at you.

You go to the costume store and look for the Kuwagata Samurai costume. Bonus points for a big, bushy, badass mustache.

You walk through the front door of the costume store. A bell chimes overhead as the door closes behind you.
You and your grandfather are surrounded by costumes of every kind imaginable. There's hundreds of choices, from medieval suits of armor to full-body costumes. Mannequins wear some of the available choices.
You spot a rack of anime-themed costumes to your right.
To your left is a Barbie section, with dozens of ballgowns in every color of the rainbow.
There's a special aisle for superheroes and supervillains, with choices for Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, and more.

You ignore all the costumes and look for the Kuwagata Samurai with a big bushy mustache.

You and your grandfather begin looking around for the costume. After a few minutes, you spot one.
You don't see what kind of mustache he has, but the suit's appearance is perfect. It's not exactly like the ones the kuwagata samurais wear, but it's definitely close enough for a kid's Halloween costume.
"I'll take this one!" you say happily.
Grandpa smiles at you, "Are you sure? There are other good ones here."
"I'm sure," you say, as the clerk gathers up the costume.
He rings you up, and your grandfather pays him. The clerk bags up the costume, and you happily carry it over your shoulder.
"Happy Halloween, Mr. President!" the clerk says, as you leave the store.
"Happy Halloween," Grandpa says back.
You and your grandfather walk out of the costume store and back into the waiting limo.

You go home and wait for Izediel and, begrudgingly, Eldolith so you can explore 666 Miskaton Drive together at night.

The big night has come. You stand in front of your full-length mirror, wearing your kuwagata samurai Halloween costume. The brown pants fit perfectly, and you fastened the black belt around your waist. Over your red hakama, you've put on the brown kimono.

You don't know what any of that Mongolian stuff means, but the armor looks amazing. It looks like a stag beetle and it comes with twin samurai swords.

The armor looks amazing. It looks like a stag beetle, and it comes with twin samurai swords made of rubber.
"Well done! Are you ready to meet your little friends?" Grandpa asks.
"Yes," you say, turning around. "Do I look cool?"
"You look very cool," he says, smiling. "Be safe out there! I shall stay at home and attend to the guests. The 'tricks' I've cooked up will surely be enough to scare the little hellions."
You laugh. Part of you wants to stick around just to see your grandfather's ghoulish creations, but you're too excited to go out with Izediel and Eldolith.
"Bye Grandpa! I'll see you later!"
You leave your house, with Grandpa waving you goodbye.
"Have fun, little warrior!" he says.
Waving goodbye, you walk off to find Izediel and Eldolith.

You meet Izzy and Eldolith at the curb before you head off to 666 Miskaton Drive together.

You find Izediel and Eldolith waiting for you at the end of your street. It's a beautiful night, cold with a bright moon in the sky. A few fallen leaves scatter across the sidewalk as a light wind blows them along.
"Hey, Mona!" Izediel says, waving. "Are you ready to go?"
"Hey sure am! Awesome costume, Izzy!"
Izediel smiles. He's wearing a sci-fi battle suit, like something out of the Gundam series. It's incredibly well-made, and even has a full-face helmet with LED eyes.
Eldolith is wearing a goth outfit, with a corset, miniskirt, fishnets and boots. She even has a skull-shaped purse.
"Look who showed up late!" laughs Eldolith.

You say "Eldolith... what are you wearing? We're twelve..."

You look at Eldolith's gothic dress. It's as if Hell and Hello Kitty had a terrible accident which ended in murder.
Her eyes narrow.
"Excuse me?" she hisses. "Please do not judge my outfit. It took forever for me to find it."

You say "Alright, well do us all a favor and stay away from unmarked vans," you say.

Eldolith looks at you in silence, before bursting into laughter.
"Hey, that was actually pretty good!"
Izediel tilts his head, causing his helmet's LED eyes to swivel around.
"Unmarked vans?" he asks.
You smirk.
"Don't worry, Izzy. It's a joke. C'mon, let's go."
You begin to walk down the street. The night is crisp and cool. Leaves crunch under your feet as you reach the end of your street and turn left. After a few minutes, you reach a crossroads with a sleepy little general store on the corner.

You say "Last chance to get stuff, guys! I'm gonna go grab some water and snacks."

Eldolith, Izediel and you walk up to the store's entrance. You peer through the dusty windows. You can make out a shadowy figure behind the till.
"I'll get some snacks," you say. "Eldolith, Izediel, what do you want?"
"I'll have a Monster Energy Drink," says Eldolith.
"Oh, I want some raisins," says Izediel.

You buy your last-minute supplies, then head to the haunted mansion.

You buy three bags of chips, a can of Pringles, a bottle of spring water, two Peppermint Patties, and a box of raisins.
"That'll be fifteen dollars, kid," says the cashier behind the till.
You hand the money over, then divide up the snacks between everyone's bags.
"Alright, let's head out to the mansion," says Eldolith.

You say "Hey, Izzy. I've always wondered how your halo works. Can you take it off? Does it get in the way of clothes and stuff?"

"Yeah, I can take it off," says Izediel.
"How does it recharge?" you ask.
"It's solar-powered," says Izediel, plucking it off his head and showing you. "Pretty cool, eh?"
"What happens if you lose it?"
"I can just grow a new one. But I'll get a headache, and it'll feel like something important is missing."

You say "So can you, like, make an infinite amount? Could we sell a bunch and make tons of cash?"

Izzy stares at you in silence for a few seconds.
"Sorry, it's just... that's a pretty dastardly thing to do," he says. "You wouldn't actually do something like that, would you?"
"So you're saying it'd actually work?"
"I guess, but..."

You say "You know I'm kidding right? One last question: Can you throw the halo like Destructo Discs and slice people with them?"

"Only highly skilled individuals can do that," Izediel explains, "I've tried to throw my halo while on Earth, and I ended up breaking through a layer of the atmosphere. It took me a whole week to regrow it."
Izzy puts his halo back on his head.
You continue to make idle chatter while walking through the town's suburbs. Eventually, you reach a dead end. In the middle of the road is a large gate with the letters "MISKATON MANSION" written on it in black paint.
Izzy presses a few buttons on a nearby intercom, and a voice crackles through.
"Password?" it asks.
"Uh... it's Halloween," says Izediel, staring at you and Eldolith for help.
"Wrong password," the voice sighs. "Please try again."

You say "Uh... 'Password'?"

"Wrong password," the voice sighs. "Please try again."
It's Eldolith's turn to try. She elects to do something far less conventional. She jumps up and down, and begins hollering in the intercom.
"Let us in! Let us in!" she yells.
The intercom stays silent for a moment, and then the gate starts to open.

You say "Are you friggin' kidding me?"

Izediel gives Eldolith a thumbs up. You stare at her in disbelief.
"What?" she asks. "It worked, didn't it?"
The three of you walk up to the mansion. The whole time, Izediel is pondering something.
"Hey... if the mansion is supposed to be abandoned, who answered the intercom?" he asks.
The three of you freeze. You slowly turn your heads towards the house. There is no sign of anyone inside. You shrug and walk inside. The mansion is surprisingly clean. You would expect cobwebs and dust to cover every inch of the house, but it is surprisingly absent.
"Hello?" you ask.
No response.
The three of you begin to search the mansion for anything out of the ordinary.

You didn't expect the mansion to actually be haunted. You just wanted to scare Eldolith a little, but you keep that to yourself. "M-Maybe it's someone playing a joke," you say.

"Who would do that?" Eldolith says, annoyed. "They'd have to be an idiot."
"Well there's got to be some logical explanation," Izediel says. "Like, what about this room?" He points to a door with a sign reading "Lab".
The three of you enter the lab. Several machines are set up, covered in dust and cobwebs. Many bottles of chemicals are stacked on shelves. You spot something that looks like a rocket amongst the chaos.
"Why are we here, anyway?" asks Eldolith as she wanders over to another workstation.
Before you can respond, Izediel speaks up.
"The 'Haunted House Challenge' says that there's a goblet in this mansion. If we find it and send it in to the local newspaper, we'll win a fifty dollar gift certificate to the pizza place."
"Oh, that's why we're here," Eldolith says.

You examine the rocket.

As you approach the rocket, Eldolith stops you. "Hey, do you hear that?"
You stop and listen. The sound of footsteps echo from a stairwell in front of you. Then, a voice emanates from the stairwell: "I can hear you!" A shadowy figure appears from the stairwell.

You scream and grab Izediel's arm.

You scream and grab Izediel's arm. Izediel gasps, but doesn't move. Eldolith is too busy trying to get a signal on her cell phone to notice the man.
The man steps out of the shadows, revealing a white lab coat covered in dust and cobwebs.
He taps his foot as he watches you scream. He speaks with a German accent, "Now, now. Zere iz no point in being frightened of me."
"Who are you?" you whimper.
The man smiles, "I am Doctor Kesselrute. If you don't mind, may I ask vhat you are doing here? It is very rare I get visitors. Especially at night."
You look at Izediel, then back to the Doctor. You notice that there are red eyes peering at you from the darkness of the stairwell.
"Three of you? Zat is good. More people to share my experiments!"

You say "Nope!" grab Izediel and Eldolith, then attempt to bolt out of the room.

"Nope!" you scream, grabbing Izediel and Eldolith. You turn, but the doorway has vanished, replaced by a solid wall. The Doctor laughs, and more red eyes appear in the stairwell.
"Zey vant to play," he says. The zombies begin to shuffle quickly down the stairs.
You back up in fear as the zombies surround you.

You say "Ooooh, they're zombies. Not ghosts. I can punch zombies, I'm okay with this," and start electro-punching zombies.

The zombies grunt as the electricity courses through their rotting bodies. They fall, but more take their place.
Izediel sighs and clears his throat, then begins to sing in a beautiful voice, "♫ There was a little frog, who lived in a swamp. He had a cute smile; let's all sing along..."
The zombies stop and cocks their heads. They stare at Izediel, entranced by his music.
"♫ La la laaaaaaa, la la laaaaaaa...♫" The zombies begin to sway back and forth. The red light in their eyes fade away.
Izediel finishes the song and the zombies disappear.

You say "... What just happened?"

"Oh, that! Well, the souls of the dead can be soothed through song. It's kind of a hobby of mine," Izediel says, as if it's nothing. "C'mon, let's go find the goblet."
Doctor Kesselrute howls in rage, and the walls disappear to reveal the way back. You reach a set of double doors, with the Doctor hot on your tail.
"The dining hall," Izediel points out. "Let's see if the Goblet is there."
You open the doors and find yourself in a huge, ornate dining hall.

You say "Wait, Dr. Dorkenstein's still following us! Should we do something about him?"

"Why would we do something about him?" Izediel asks.
Eldolith nods. "Yeah, let's leave him behind. He's a little weaksauce anyway."
You roll your eyes. "Fine, whatever. We can deal with him later."

You search the dining room for the Goblet while the Doctor is still obviously chasing you.

You search the room. On the far wall is a huge fireplace, with a massive sword mounted above it. You walk over to it and inspect the sword.
"That's the legendary sword Arondight," Izediel says. "It's supposed to be magical."
You grab the sword from the wall and wave it around a little.

You say "Well I'm a samurai tonight, so it wouldn't make sense for me to wield a sword from Arthurian legend."

"Oh, good point, they do kind of clash," Izediel says.
You put the sword back and continue your search. In one corner of the room you find a massive golden Goblet. The goblet is about as big as you are, and is studded with jewels.
"Is this what we're looking for?" you ask.
"No, that's much too big," Izediel says. "Let's try the next room."

You say "Izzy, you know when you said that guiding undead souls through singing was a hobby of yours? What does that mean? Do you guide undead souls often?"

"Of course!" Izediel says. "It's part of an angel's job. Most of the time, souls ascend directly to the heavens, but sometimes they become lost and must be guided out of the Material Plane and into the Afterlife."
"Do you always sing to them?" you ask.
"Yeah, but to be honest it's kind of old fashioned. These days most angels just use their smart phones."

You say "What do you mean? Don't tell me there's an afterlife app?"

"Well, yes, but you have to be subscribed to it to gain full access. It's not like the regular App Store though, for security reasons. It's almost as complicated as buying illegal guns."
You leave the room and head to the next door down the hall. Doctor Kesselrute is stumbling around in the hallway, trying (and failing) to find a way through the enchanted walls. He hasn't seen you yet.
"Okay, behind door number three," you say.
You open the door and find...
An entire room filled with goblets!

You say "Well... this complicates things. How do we know which one is the real one?!"

Izediel considers this. "Maybe we could flip a coin?"
"Flip a coin for something as important as this?" Eldolith asks. "That's not going to work!"
You hear Doctor Kesselrute trying to open the door behind you.
"Let's get a move on!" Izediel says.

You say "Wait a minute, I know how this works!" and straight up ask Doctor Kesselrute to show you the real Goblet.

You wait for Kesselrute to open the door, and then you ask him which goblet is the right one. He shows you the correct goblet, and you win the Tournament!
Actually, you don't.
"I'm sorry, but I can't give out the rewards," Kesselrute says, tossing the fake goblet aside.

You say "Sonuva..."

You punch him in the throat, and he falls to the ground. You grab his key card from around his neck. Your friends help you drag Doctor Kesselrute into the closet and barricade the door.
"Let's go back to the Lab," you say, "I'll bet he's keeping the goblet there."
The four of you sneak back to the lab, and begin searching for the goblet. Unfortunately, there's hundreds of beakers, test tubes, and flasks.
"It could be in any one of these," Eldolith says, "let's just empty out all of them and look through them."
So you do. It takes hours, but you finally find the goblet in a container filled with a liquid.
You hold it up and examine it...

You examine what the liquid could be before reaching inside.

It's possible this liquid could be anything. It could be water, it could be acid, it could be gasoline for all you know. You're about to open it and reach in to take out the goblet...
"Stop!"
Eldolith quickly puts a hand on your shoulder and stops you. She wrinkles her goat-like nose and says,
"I know that smell! It's LSD!"
"What?" you ask.
"That's the smell. I can't be sure, but I think that container is full of LSD."

You say "What's LSD? Sounds like some kind of floor cleaner."

Eldolith chuckles,
"LSD stands for... well, it used to stand for lots of things, but now it just stands for Laughing Stoned Demons. It's a powerful hallucinogenic. That container is probably full of a liquid LSD solution."
"So why does that stop us?" you ask.
"Well it wouldn't, it'll just make you really high. But if we get LSD on our fingers and then touch our eyes, then..." Eldolith looks at her hands and makes a frightened face. You don't even want to know what she intended to say.

You say "So this 'haunted house' is actually... just a drug den? That makes more sense than I'd like to admit."

"Yeah, I think it is. Which means this is just one big prank, and we've fallen for it!"
"I guess you're right," you say.

You say "Well let's just take this whole container, then. Maybe we can still turn it into the pizza place for that $50 prize coupon."

"Good idea," Eldolith says. "I guess this ends our adventure. We did pretty good for three kids."
Eldolith's right. It is a pretty good haul: a big container of liquid LSD, and the prize goblet!
"Now let's get out of here," you say, carrying the container under one arm.

You leave the "haunted house" with Izediel and Eldolith with your prize.

The three of you walk out of the "haunted house," and back into the suburbs. Izediel whistles, while Eldolith takes the container of LSD from you and admires it.
"You know," she says, "We could achieve a lot with this. We could change the way people think! We could lead a revolution in consciousness! No, that's too small. We could start a rebellion!"
"What do you mean?" Izediel asks.

You say "Calm down, Eldolith, it's just $50 worth of pizza..."

"I mean," she says, "that maybe we could start our own secret society! We could get people to join us, and overthrow the school! I've seen it in a movie."
"What are you talking about?" you ask.
"What I'm saying is, we should start a secret club."
"I think it's too late in the year to start a club," Izediel points out.

You say "Well, I'm pooped, do you guys want to start heading back home now?"

"Sure," Eldolith says. "I'm tired. But I think this was a great night. Thanks for inviting me, Izediel."
"Yeah, no problem," Izediel says.
The three of you begin to walk down the sidewalk, heading through the suburbs. It's late now, and with everything that happened, you're feeling quite tired. Eldolith is chattering openly about some song she heard on the radio earlier, and soon the three of you have reached your street.

You say "I'm going this way. If you guys need a ride home, I'm sure my Grandpa wouldn't mind driving you in his awesome, presidential limo."

"Nah, I can walk," Eldolith says. "I live really close to you guys."
"Same, I can walk," Izediel says.
"Oh. Okay then. Well, see you at school on Monday!" you say.
"See you then," Eldolith says.
The two of them wave and begin walking down the sidewalk, away from you and your house. Shaking your head, you turn around and begin walking towards your house. You get a few feet, before hearing a squeal behind you.
"Wait!" Eldolith says, grabbing your arm and turning you around. She hugs you tight, wrapping her furry little arms around your body.

You say "Hey, what's all this about?"

"Thank you, for inviting me," she whispers. "I had a great time."
"Oh. Sure, a-anytime!" you say, blushing a bright red.
You look at Izediel, who smiles and shrugs.
Without another word, Eldolith lets go of her hug and takes off running down the street in a diagonal direction towards her house. You watch her run away, before sighing and heading inside your own house. Your Dad is already asleep on the couch, snoring slightly, and your Mom is at the dinner table, reading an article on her laptop.

You say "Mom! Dad! When did you get home??"

"Hey sweetie," your Mom says, not looking up from her laptop. "We got home a half hour ago or so. Your Dad and I went out to dinner."
"Oh. Where'd you go?"
"Some Italian place on the water front, how was trick-or-treating?"

You say "Oh it was fun! We did a haunted house challenge for a $50 pizza coupon, but it turned out to be a drug den and we found the prize in a big jug of LSD! See?"

You hold out the goblet, and your Mom screams and slams the laptop closed.
"Mona Buer! What the hell is that???"
"It's a goblet, Mom."
Your Mom stares at you with a face of stone.
"I'm not talking about the damn cup, I'm talking about what it's inside of! What is this???"
"It's LSD, Mom."
"You've been drinking acid???"

You say "No! This was the prize the pizza place told people to find! I don't get why you're so mad... Did we do something wrong?"

"Mona Buer, I don't know what kind of idiot-savant hive you were raised in, but in the real world this is a illegal controlled substance. If the police found it, they would take you away from me and there'd be serious trouble. Give me that!"
She snatches the goblet from your hands as you begin to tear up.
"Oh uh, sorry, sweetie. I didn't mean to yell. I just don't want the cops accusing you of messing with drugs, because of this cup."
"But it's not drugs if it's a prize!"
"I don't know what kind of pizza joint you went to, but they're obviously running an illegal drug ring out of there. We need to throw this out. In fact, we should probably go turn them in."
"What?! But..."
"No buts! Now, go wash up, and let me handle this."

You say "B-But the $50 pizza coupon..."

"Sweetie, if you wanted pizza, all you had to do was ask."
"Does that mean I'm not in trouble?" you ask, wiping the tears from your eyes.
"If you promise to never do anything like this again, then no."
You let out a sigh of relief.
"Thanks mom. I won't do it again, I promise."

You say "Uh oh... Eldolith told me not to touch my eyes after putting my hands on that container..."

You sink into the floor as you feel an explosion go off in your head, and soon find yourself surrounded by a field of stars.
You see your Mom standing over you, her face twisted with worry. You attempt to ask her what's going on, but your voice comes out as a gurgling noise. It sounds hilarious and you begin to laugh.
Suddenly, the walls of the kitchen collapse around you. You're floating in space, and you can see Earth in front of you.
"Hello?" you ask, but there is no answer.
You float through the stars, staring at them. You feel relaxed, and there is nothing but silence. Soon enough, you begin to hear voices from all around you.
"Is someone there? Hello?" you ask.
Out of nowhere, a massive orb of dark fire appears in front of you. You let out a scream as it grabs you with its fiery tendrils.
"Such a sweet young soul..." the fiery beast says in a guttural, echoing voice. "I can taste it!"

You say "Who are you?! Lemme go!"

The dark being chuckles, as you struggle to free yourself from its fiery grasp.
"I am the Dark God, Angrin, the One True God... And soon, you will join me as a martyr to my great cause."
You struggle to break free, but the dark being's grip is implacable. Soon, it brings your face close to its own.
"It's too bad. You had such a bright future ahead of you. Now, it will all be over in an instant."
You begin to feel afraid. The Dark One brings its face closer to yours.

You say "Wait a minute, I know that name! Yado told me about you, I'm supposed to defeat you one day!"

"Yado is a fool," the Dark One laughs. "Don't you know your power is infinitesimal compared to my own?"
Your soul shudders, and you feel a great fear take hold. The Dark One just laughs louder.
"What's wrong? Have you grown scared? Good! Fear will make your suffering that much greater!

You say "Let go of me! Are all of you space gods perverts?! Perv! Pedo!"

The Dark One is taken aback by your insult.
"Insolent mortal! Your insolence will be your downfall! When you are in oblivion, I'll be laughing at your demise!"
You manage to break free of the Dark One's grasp, and fall back down into the void. As you descend back to reality, Angrin howls in pain.
"I will get you one day, you brat! You can be sure of that!"
You wake up in a huge panic, your body covered in cold sweat.

You scream "AAAAHHH! ELDRITCH STRANGER DANGER!"

"Mona! Mona, are you okay?" Dad asks, scrambling into the room.
Within seconds, Mom and Dad are by your side.
"Mona! Thank goodness you're all right! You were screaming like someone was killing you!"
"I... I had a nightmare..."
"How do you feel?" Dad asks.
"I feel fine. Look, I'm not hurt, I just had a nightmare."
"I'm going to call Dr. Sesha," Mom says, walking out of the room. A few minutes later, she comes back with someone else.
"Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Buer," says a female elf in green scrubs.

You say "Where am I? Is this the hospital?"

"Oh! She's awake," the elf says. "I'm Dr. Sesha, and you're in emergency poison control."
"Poison? I didn't eat anything! My stomach feels... woozy... "
"No, you're not poisoned," Dr. Sesha says. "You temporarily ingested a potent hallucinogenic, and your brain is currently coming down from the high."
"A hallucinogen?"
"Oh. Wait, how long was I out?"
"About eight hours. It's about noon now, so you were asleep for about six hours after the initial twelve-hour trip. It was safest to simply wait out the remainder of the effects."

You say "It's been 18 hours? It felt like... 10 minutes at most."

"Hallucinogens work differently for everyone. Anyway, we recommend you go lie down for the rest of the day. Also, your folks here should probably ground you or something."
"What did I do?"
"Well, you broke into an abandoned house and ingested a random liquid that you found there. That's pretty reckless for a twelve-year-old girl."

You say "Nuh uh! It was for a $50 coupon at the pizza place! They said the goblet was the prize we had to trade in!"

"Um... what?"
"It's a long story," says Mom, "Rest assured, our daughter would never intentionally put herself in danger."
"Okay then. Just don't do it again. You can leave now."
Mom takes your hand and pulls you out of the chair, leading you out of the emergency room and back into the parking lot.
As you walk, Dad leans over and whispers, "Hey, pumpkin... do you think you can tell me where that house was?"

You say "Oh, are you gonna go teach that weird professor a lesson?"

"Um... well..."
Dad's voice trails off, and before he can speak again, Mom cuts him off with a scolding:
"Don't even think about it, Gil. I'm calling the police. Those people need to be arrested"
Mom takes out her phone and starts dialing, and Dad sighs and shrugs.

You say "Heh, you want some of that space juice, don't you, Dad?"

"Of course not, pumpkin. Drugs are bad... for kids, that is."
Mom gives him the evil eye as she stops dialing.
"Gil, I swear to God, I will smack you through the sun if you try to steal some guy's drugs."
"I wasn't gonna steal, I was gonna buy."
Mom raises her hand, her palm facing Dad.
"Don't even say another word. You're not buying drugs, Gil."
Dad flinches and throws his hands up.
"Hey, I'm just kidding! You know I don't do that shit anymore!"

You say "Did you used to do drugs, Dad?"

Dad chuckles.
"Yeah, but that was a long time ago, before you were even thought about."

You hug Dad and say "I love you Dad. Please don't become a drug addict."

Dad sighs, and hugs you back.
"Jeez, I said I was kidding. Guess I'm losing my touch."

You go home with Mom and Dad and spend the rest of the day sleeping. You meet Yado in your sleep and talk to him about your meeting with Angrin, the Dark God.

Yado reacts with a mixture of surprise and worry.
"You have met with a Angrin? That is most unfortunate It's quite lucky that you managed to get out alive, let alone with your sanity."

You say "I accidentally took a weird drug called 'LSD', and I saw him in a really weird dream. I called him a pedo and it physically hurt him."

"You don't say? Well, that's new information. It's true that Angrin has always been rather... sensitive towards insults. But never to the point where it would physically affect him."
"Does... this change anything?"
"It most certainly does. You may be able to take advantage of this."
"How so?"
"You said that he was 'physically hurt', correct?"
"Yeah. He screamed in a really high-pitched voice and clutched his chest after I called him a pedo."
"Then, this means that you can take advantage of the fact that he is susceptible to insults to an extent. Namely, we can exploit this weakness to turn the tide of the war in our favor."

You say "You mean like, diss him so hard, he actually dies?"

"No, that is impossible. We gods do not know true death. But certainly, if we could somehow, miraculously, completely destroy his ego, then we could banish him to the outer realms."
"Who else knows about this?"
"Nobody. Only you and I know."
"How is that even possible? Wouldn't someone else have noticed that he is susceptible to verbal abuse?"
"Angrin has always been "special". Most of the other gods just see him as an edgy teenager who refuses to leave his room and cuts himself. Then, one day, he just disappears and resurfaces as the Dark God. Nobody really cared enough to investigate."

You say "You space gods really need to get your acts together..."

"I agree. It is so sad that we all squabble and bicker amongst each other while one of our own is plotting the galaxy's demise."
"Yeah..."
A pause.
"Well, this was pleasant, but I think I have to go now. Please, do get some rest, Mona."
He waves his hand, and suddenly, your dream goes black. You sleep peacefully for the first time in a long while.

Gil's POV:
You collapse in bed beside Tifid after making sure Mona is asleep. This might be the first night you'll actually be able to get some decent sleep since work went to shit. Tifid hasn't had it easy, either; as the Head of Research at the IDTB, she's been busy looking into Kieran's strange staff. It had the ability to create portals without any apparent incantations or rituals, and that has piqued her interest greatly. Your daughter's just started to recover from the whole incident, and now she's gotten herself in trouble with drugs, even if it was completely by accident. You're starting to think it's a bad thing she took after you instead of your wife.

You say "Hey Tif... am I... uncool?"

You curl up in bed next to Tifid, and she moves over a bit to make room for you.
"I was just thinking..." you mutter, "I was just thinking that I may be uncool...."
Tifid laughs and ruffles your hair. "You're not uncool, Gilly. You're definitely not uncool."

You say "Oh, phew. Maybe I'm just off my game, then. I think all this work is getting to my head... being an adult is hard as fuck."

Tifid smirks. "Yeah, I know what you mean, Gilly. But hey, look on the bright side: you don't have to go off to work for the rest of the week! You and Mona can just relax... or do something fun with me, if you want..."

You say "Cuddle... I want to cuddle."

"Cuddle? You mean, you don't want to fool around?"
"Nah... I just want to cuddle for now. I've had a stressful week."
"A Gil that doesn't want sex? Are you feeling sick or something?" she says.
Tifid puts a hand on your forehead, as if to check if you have a fever.
"I just want to cuddle, Tif," you say.
"You sure you don't have a fever, Gilly?"

You say "Hey, come on, Tif... I'm not some sleazy sex fiend. Can't a guy just want to snuggle every once in a while?"

Tifid looks you dead in the eye, her face serious.
"No."
You look at her like a puppy who's just been kicked.
She bursts out laughing. "Aw, I'm just messing with you, Gil! Come here...!"
She wraps her arms around you in a tight embrace. You snuggle up to her, resting your head on her chest.
"That's pretty rare for you. You must be really tired," she says.

You say "If I see another dotted line, I might off myself. Maybe I'm in the wrong line of work... I got this job to kick ass and keep you safe, but now I feel like I'm seeing less of you and Mona every day."

"You're working yourself too hard, Gilly," says Tifid.
She's always saying that, but what can you do? Being a government worker sucks ass, and you don't see it getting better any time soon.

You say "What can I do, Tif? People's lives are on the line... and... fuck... I guess I really am just bitching and moaning now."

She puts a hand on your shoulder. "Hey, I didn't say that. I just think you should take it easy sometimes. I worry about you, Gil."
"It's good to know someone does," you say.
Tifid kisses you softly on the head as her tail winds around your thumb and wrist. It's something she does when she knows you're feeling down. And it works, too, as you feel a little better.

You say "Say, Tif... I know that as a demon's chosen, I get to live as long as you do, but... how does that affect my aging? I mean, I've grown older for sure, but does it ever stop?"

"I think so, yes," says Tifid. "Most humans continue to age for about ten years after becoming chosen. I don't think you look a day over 30."
You give a little chuckle at that.

You check yourself out for any signs of dad bod.

You lift up your shirt and look down at your stomach. You've got a light fuzz going on, and even though you haven't been eating as well as you should be, your abs are more or less still visible. Your line of work keeps you in shape, even though you spend more time behind a desk than you do fighting criminals nowadays. You're going to turn 40 in a few years, but, like Tifid said, you don't look a day over 30. It's a gift, and one that you enjoy having.
You snap out of your self-analysis when you realize Tifid is kissing her way up your inner thigh.
"Tif," you say, brushing her hair aside gently. "Just letting you know... tonight's not my best night. I can still give it a shot, if you really want to, though."
Tifid looks up at you and grins.
"Oh, you don't have to do a thing, baby," she says. "I'll take care of everything. Just lay back and enjoy it."

You say "Fuck... I don't deserve you."

"Oh, of course you do," says Tifid. "That's why I'm doing this."
She leans in and gives your dick a gentle kiss on the tip. You're instantly harder than you've been in a long, long time. She takes this as a sign that she can continue, and begins to lick up and down your shaft. Slowly at first, then gradually faster until her tongue is a purple blur expertly running up and down your dick.
Tifid's head bobs up and down, your dick wet with her slobber. Her hands are massaging your balls, gently at first, then harder.
For the next hour or so, Tifid goes to town on you. Whenever you get too eager and start to put your hands on her, she reminds you to keep them on the bed. Every time you try and groan, she shushes you. Your demon wife has complete control of your dick, and she's not going to let you do anything else but lay back and enjoy it.
After about an hour of solid licking, sucking and prostatic massage, you start to feel something building up inside of you. Something big.
You grunt loudly, and Tifid redoubles her efforts.
"That's it, baby... Give it to mommy... Give it all to mommy..."
You groan loudly as you start to release. Tifid takes her head off of your dick for a split second, before slamming it back down and swallowing everything you have to give her. She doesn't relent until she gets absolutely every last drop of your seed.
Once she's sure she's gotten everything, she lifts her head up and smiles at you.
"There we go... How did that feel?"

You say "I think... a piece of my brain shot out of my dick."

Tifid laughs.
"Well I can't have that, I still need you to think straight for a little while longer."
With that, she plants a gentle kiss on your stomach, and gets off of the bed. You watch as she wanders over to the bathroom, then lifts a finger and beckons for you to follow.
"Let's get you cleaned up."
You nod, and follow her into the bathroom. She flips the lights on, and goes over to the bathtub. With a twist of the knobs, she starts filling it up with warm water.

You say "We haven't taken a bath together in a while."

"I know. It's been a long day, and I just really want to relax."
With that, she starts stripping off her clothes, Piece by piece, they fall to the floor. She folds them up neatly, then steps into the tub.
"Oh, this water is nice."
"Let me join you!" You say excitedly.
Tifid giggles.
"Well, I didn't mean for you to just stand there and watch."

You say "Have a nice bath with Tifid, then fall asleep together."

Tifid smiles warmly at you, and pats the bath water beside her. You step forward, and do as she says. As you get in next to her, she wraps her arm around your shoulders and pulls you in close. You lay your head against her shoulder.
"I love you." She says seriously.
"I love you too." You respond.
Tifid smiles, then leans in and kisses you on the lips. You eagerly kiss back, as the warm water surrounds the pair of you. After a good two minutes of passionate kissing, Tifid finally parts from you.
"Now we can relax." She says to you with a smile.

You say "Yeah... finally. If dealing with all that bullshit is what it takes to protect all this, I'll do it as much and for as long as I have to. Thanks, Tif."

"You're the best wife a guy in love could ever ask for," you respond, giving her another kiss.
"I'll try not to let it get to my head, or I'll be spoiling you all the time," she whispers back.
"Oh, I'm spoiled already. You don't need to try anymore," you say, partly joking, partly serious.
"Oh, well in that case I suppose I could stop," she responds, obviously joking as well.
The pair of you lay side by side in the warm bath water and gaze into one another's eyes for several minutes as you hold each other.

You get out of the tub after cleaning up, then fall asleep in Tifid's arms.

You get out of the tub, and dry yourselves off, then throw on your clothes and carry Tifid bridal-style into your bedroom. You gently set her down on the bed and climb in beside her, pulling the covers over both of you.
"Mmm... I'll never get tired of this," Tifid says, snuggling up next to you.
"You and me both," you respond, holding her tightly.
The two of you fall asleep in each other's arms.

Mona's POV (One Month Later - Day of Izediel's Departure):
It's now November, and the day that Izediel leaves for his mandatory service in Heaven has finally arrived. Despite the fact that it's currently the middle of the night, your parents gave you special permission to see him off. You wait with him in front of the Heksten City Station for the train that will take him to the capital, where he'll board a shuttle for the Angelic Realm.
"I guess... this is it," says Izediel.
"Yeah... I'll miss you," you respond.
"I'll miss you too."

You say "Don't let any of the other angels bully you, okay? I won't be there to beat them up for you."

"Ha, don't worry. I won't. And neither will anyone else."
"What do you mean?" you ask.
"I can take care of myself," he responds with a smile.
You shuffle your feet awkwardly. Wow. Didn't expect him to be so confident.
"Well, I guess you better go," you say. "The train's gonna leave soon."
"Right. Well... goodbye, then. And good luck with everything."
"Goodbye," you reply.
He turns and walks towards the train.

You run up and hug him from behind. You cry into his back and shout "I'll miss you Izzy! Promise we'll see each other again! Promise you won't forget about me!"

You see the train. It's ready to leave, but you don't care. You rush up and throw your arms around him from behind, hugging him tightly.
"Izzy! I'll miss you! Promise we'll see each other again! Promise you won't forget about me!"
He drops his bags and puts his arms around you, squeezing back.
"I... I promise," he says.
You stand like that for the longest time, not wanting it to end. Eventually he takes your hands and backs away from you.
"I have to go."
He picks up his bags and heads up into the train. He doesn't look back as he enters it. You wave until it leaves the station. After an interminable wait, the train departs.

You chase the train until you run out of platform to walk on, shouting after him the entire time.

You chase the train until you run out of platform to walk on, shouting after him the entire time. As it picked up speed, you fall to your knees in exhaustion and pain. The last thing you see as it gets smaller... is his hand raised in a final wave goodbye. The flying train picks up speed before it finally leaves the tracks, soaring up into the sky. But you don't notice anything else, because your eyes are clouding over with tears.
Izzy's gone, at least for now. What are you going to do?

Timeskip (6 Years Later):

The year is 2096. You are Mona Buer, a half-demon. Your 18th birthday was a week ago, but it was a quiet affair between you and your Mom and Dad. Since you parted ways with Izediel, you've become a bit of recluse. You haven't made many more friends, but your mind is too preoccupied with saving the world to care. You have fond memories of Izediel, but you've moved on. At least that's what you tell yourself.
Besides, he promised you that he wouldn't forget about you. He's an angel, after all. How could he break a promise?
But enough about the past. You're making steamed broccoli and instant mashed potatoes for dinner tonight. After dinner, you're going to watch a movie with your parents and go to bed. In your dreams, you are bound to meet with Yado, the space god. In your dreams, anything is possible...

You meet with Yado, and discuss your destiny, as usual.

You awaken in your dream and meet with the colossal flame-being who calls himself Yado.
"Greetings, Mona." He says in a voice that sounds like three hundred people whispering in unison.
"Hey, Yado." You reply calmly. "How's things?"
"Same as usual. The Angrin worshippers keep us under tight watch, but other than that we're fine. What about you, dreamer? How is your progress on crafting the Ultimate Insult?"
"It's coming along slowly, but surely. I've identified four of the Worst Words, and only have two more to go."
"Ah, yes. The Worst Words. I remember when my brother Zorust said one of the Worst Words in the middle of a heated debate with my sister Yaoral. It created a fissure in time and space. The Worst Words have power unlike any other, save for the Power of Angrin himself, of course."

You say "Remind me again, Yado, what the story behind the Worst Words are. How do we know there are six in total?"

Yado's eyes narrow wistfully as he stares into the sky.
"The Worst Words are so named because they are the most terrible words in all of creation. They embody the very essence of all that is rude, upsetting, and generally unpleasant. They are so powerful, that a single word was enough to fracture space and time when they were first spoken. There are six Worst Words in total, one for each of the six regular dimensions. Should all six be uttered, they have the power to banish even the greatest of the olden gods to the outer void of Nothingness that predates creation itself. Thus, together, they are known as the Ultimate Insult."
Yado pauses for a moment, and then continues.
"Sadly, the words have never been written down. They can only be spoken. Only a being of great power can hope to harness the sheer offensive power of the Worst Words. That's why you were chosen as an ideal candidate."

You say "Are you saying... I'm the rudest person in existence? Was that why I was chosen?"

Yado smiles, and chuckles. Your dreamscape rumbles gently.
"No, Mona, you're not. You're one of the least rude people I know, even counting the other gods. A bit immature, perhaps, but you are strong and noble. You are kind to friends and family, and are generous to the less fortunate. No, you were not chosen because of your rudeness. Rather, you were chosen because of your potential. You are young, strong, and have an incorruptible spirit. These qualities were deemed necessary by we gods in choosing a candidate."

You recall the four Worst Words you have collected thus far, starting with the Worst Word of the human realm.

You recall the Worst Insult Words from each realm.
Human Realm: "**"
Fae Realm: "Y'Quan"
Beast Realm: "Gol an Brengort"
Demon Realm: "Kisai'ing"
The Worst Words from the Angelic Realm and the Machine Realm have yet to be obtained.

You say "Hey... how come the Human Realm one came out censored?"

Yado chuckles.
"Mortals have a tendency to be self-censoring. You are half human, so it's probably encoded into your being. We've found that the human realms tend to produce the most hilarious insults, so keep at it!"

You say "That... makes more sense than I'm comfortable with. But if I can't say the word, how will I be able to use it against Angrin when the time comes?"

"You may not be able to say it, but Angrin will most assuredly be able to hear it."
"Who's the asshole that designed this system, anyway?" you ask.
"You are referring to Dendrin, the Master of the Future. He is the oldest of us, and the originator of the Ultimate Insult."

You say "Oh, fuck no. I'm not touching that with a 10-lightyear pole. Let's just focus on the task at hand and never bring up Dendrin ever again, okay?"

"Sure," Yado replies with a shrug.
"So... what happens if I win?" you ask.
"Well, the Ultimate Insult will be used to forever embarrass Angrin in front of all the deities. That'll teach him to make games out of people's lives. He'll be so upset, he'll have no choice but to remove his support from the Alliance of Gaia, and banish himself to some place dark, quiet and very, very lonely."

You say "I still don't really get why I'm the 'chosen one', but if it can protect those I love, I'll step up to bat any time."

"That is precisely why you have been chosen, Mona," Yado says with a comforting grin. "The strength of your spirit and the power of your will can overcome any barrier. Be it human decency or physical limitation. You will succeed."
You wake up. The alarm on your clock says it's 3:14 AM.
"Goddammit," you grumble to yourself. "It was too good to be true."
You go back to sleep.

You try to dream about something nice for once.

Yado looks surprised as you re-appear in your dream world.
"Back again?" he asks.
"Woke up too early," you grumble.
"You seem stressed out, Mona. How about I show you a nice dream about something pleasant?"

You say "Ugh, yeah, that might help. Go ahead, please."

"OK, I'll try to show you a nice dream. Close your eyes."
You close your eyes, and immediately open them again.
You're no longer in the desert with Yado, but back in your bedroom. You're still dreaming though. Looking out of your window, you see that it's snowing heavily, and there are barely any people about. Most have probably retreated to the safety of their homes.
You're about to get your coat when your Mom enters the room.
"Mona! You're not going out there, it's far too dangerous!"
She's right: going out into a blizzard would be suicide.

You say "It's okay, Mom. This is a dream. I can't be hurt. I'm here to relax, so chill, alright? Pun not intended."

You say this, and your Mom seems to understand that you need some time to yourself. She leaves the room, and you head out onto your balcony.
You take in the sights. The snowfall is so heavy that you can barely see across the street, and the entire world looks quiet and peaceful. There's something particularly beautiful about snowfall. You watch as snowflakes drift down past you, gently landing on the rail of the balcony.

You pull up a chair and sit on the balcony, watching the gentle snowfall until you wake up for real.

You sit down on your chair, and look at the scene in front of you. The snowfall is pretty, but heavy. You can barely make out the street lights across the street. Something about snow puts you at ease. It's so... peaceful. You make a mental note to thank Yado for showing you this.
You shut your eyes, and then...
You hear the piercing noise of an alarm. Groggily, you open your eyes, and look around. You're in your room, and you're not dreaming this time. You slam your hand on the button that turns off your alarm, and roll out of bed.
You take a quick shower, throw on some clothes, and hurry downstairs to eat breakfast. Your Dad is watching TV in the living room as you eat.
Your Dad takes one look at you and smirks.
"Yeesh, someone woke up on the wrong side of the coffin."
"Dad!" you say.
"Hm?" he says, feigning ignorance.
You shake your head, and grab a bagel from the toaster. You quickly slather it in butter and grape jelly before taking a bite.

You say "I'm glad you're home more often these days, Dad. Guess Mom's not as lucky, though. What's been going on at the IDTB?"

You're Dad lowers his newspaper, and looks at you.
"What's with the twenty questions?"
"Just curious," you say, shrugging.
Dad shakes his head, smiling.
"I'll tell you over dinner."
You nod eagerly.
"I'll hold you to that. Anyway, is Mom's promotion a done deal? I'll bet it's going to be so cool to have her be the boss of everyone..."
Dad laughs.
"Well, she's the boss of me anyway, pumpkin. She's been working her ass off trying to get this promotion, though," he says.
"I'll say," you say. "Ever since she got that new job, she's been working a bajillion hours a week."
Dad nods.
"She loves what she does, all of it. But more importantly, she does it for us."

You say "I know, Dad. If there's one thing going right for me, it's that I have awesome parents."

Dad smiles.
"That's my girl. Never forget, we're always here for you."
You smile.
"I won't. Anyway, I better get to school. See you tonight!"
You grab your backpack and scarf down the rest of your breakfast as you head towards the door.
Your Dad stops you before you put on your jacket.
"Hold up, kiddo," he says, "What's the rush? You have mail, by the way."
He tosses a letter on the table next to you. You look at the envelope. It's embossed in gold, and addressed to you.

You say "What's this? Looks fancy..."

"I don't know, but it's got your name on it," says Dad.
You make a face.
"Who would even write me? I don't know anyone that still writes letters."
Dad laughs.
"Who knows? Go ahead and read it. Maybe it's from a secret admirer!"
You scoff at his remark, but you can't deny you're curious.

You open the letter and read it.

You open the envelope and pull out a fancy, hand-written letter. You recognize the handwriting almost immediately, and your hands begin to tremble as you read it:

Dear Mona,
It's been a long time since we've spoken. I've thought about you a lot over the years. I know I promised to keep in touch, but as it turned out, there's no Internet in Heaven! I've tried writing to you many times, but the letters would never reach you. My superiors kept burning them, saying that it would be "better for you this way." I'm really sorry. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
You're probably wondering how this letter got to you, and the reason is because I no longer have to answer to my superiors any more! The reason? I outrank them now. I'm a full-fledged Virtue now, which means I have the power to go wherever I want, and do whatever I want.
I thought about you a lot while I was climbing the ladder to Virtuehood. I haven't forgotten that conversation we had before we parted ways. I wanted to help you, but as I said my letters to you never got through. Now I can help you directly, not through letters, but in person. If you trust me. If you still think of me as a friend. If you want me to, I'd like to visit you. I'm scheduled to visit Earth very soon. This time, I'm staying for good.
Hope to see you soon!
Love,
Izzy

You try, then fail, to keep your emotions in check.

You stare at the letter in disbelief. Your face reddens. You get angry, then sad, then elated, then... you don't know what. Before you know it, tears are streaming down your cheeks and staining the page.
"Uh oh," your Dad remarks as he peers over your shoulder. "Someone's a little too obsessed."
"I'm not obsessed," you snap back, hastily wiping your eyes. "We're friends. That's it! Friends that haven't seen each other in a long time. It's no big deal."
Dad chuckles and ruffles your hair.
"I don't have many friends, and even I know when one of them is special. This is that angel kid who saved your life, right? Wouldn't be a bad idea to get re-acquainted with him. I bet he's got some cool stories to tell."

You say "Yeah, well, he forgot to tell me how to get in touch with him. What am I supposed to do, yell the answer and hope he hears it up in Heaven?"

Dad continues chuckling as he picks up the envelope. He gives it a firm shake, and a small, white card falls out.
"Ha, I knew it. Here it is," he says.
You snatch the card from his fingers and examine it. The front reads "Send a Prayer", and the back has several dotted lines where you're supposed to write your message.
"It's a religious thing, isn't it?" you say.
"Well he is an angel."
"Okay, fine. I'll send a 'prayer' to him, but I'm not holding my breath."
"I'm sure he'll hear it eventually."
You roll your eyes, as Dad goes back to watching TV. You tuck the card in your back pocket and head for the door.

You say "Heading to school, Dad. See you later!"

"Have a good day at school, pumpkin."
You grab your bag, then pull your motorbike out of the garage. It's an old model, so it can't fly, unlike pretty much every other one on the market. It's the same one your Dad used to ride when he was younger, and he decided to give it to you when you got your license. Sure, there are much faster bikes out there, but... Well, this one's special.
You put your helmet on, fire the engine, and tear down the street, weaving in and out of traffic as you head towards school. You're a few minutes late by the time you park in the student parking lot. You sprint across the street towards the school building, then down the hall and into your homeroom.

You spend the day distracted, thinking of what you'll write back to Izediel on the prayer card.

You spend the whole day drifting in and out of your classes. It shouldn't be such a big deal, you're just writing back to Izediel. But, for some reason, it feels like a big deal for you. It's been six years since you saw him last, and in all that time you've never forgotten about him. When you started high school, you worried that you wouldn't see him again. Now, all of a sudden, he says he's coming back for a visit. What does it mean? What is he thinking? Does he still care about you?
You shake your head. Why are you thinking like this? It's Izediel. Of course he cares about you. He wouldn't have sent you that letter if he didn't.
Your day passes slowly, each class feeling twice as long as normal. Finally, the final bell of the day rings.

You meet up with Eldolith after school and tell her about the situation.

You and Eldolith have known each other since you were in grade school. You used to think she was annoying, but you grew to like her. Now, as you sit next to her by the curb, you can't think of anyone else you'd rather talk to.
"Okay, so he's coming back", Eldolith says. "What are you so nervous about?"
"What do you mean?" you say. "I'm not nervous."
"You're shaking."
You look down at your hands. They are shaking.

You say "Uh... it's cold?"

Eldolith looks at you. "Please, girl," she says, rolling her eyes. "You're never cold."
You say nothing.
"How long has it been?" Eldolith asks quietly.
You look at her in confusion, before you realize what she means. "Oh," you say, smiling. "Six years."
"Six years? That's a long time."
"I know." You pause, looking up at the sky.

You pull out the prayer card and say "I'm supposed to write back to him on this. What should I even say?"

"How about: 'My dearest Izediel, oh how my heart aches for you. Why must we be separated by the cruel machinations of fate? If I could be with you, I would.'"
You laugh. "Really?"
"Well, why not? You like him, don't you?"
"I will neither confirm nor deny such allegations."
Eldolith smiles. "You're too cute, you know that?" She looks at the sky. "Do you think he's coming today?"

You say "Who knows? It's not like Izzy to skimp on the details. Maybe his time in Heaven's changed him..."

"Who, Izediel? Nah. You know better than that."
"You're right, I guess I'm thinking way too hard about all this."
"Or maybe he just forgot," Eldolith says. "You know how they are in Heaven. Everything runs on a five-thousand-year schedule."

You say "Heh, maybe. Thanks for the pep-talk, El. It's times like these that I don't regret keeping you around."

Eldolith smiles, and hugs you. "We're BFFs, it's what we do."
You raise an eyebrow. "BFFs?"
"Best friends forever, silly! I thought the whole point of this was for us to stave off the bitter loneliness of reality with happy thoughts and delusions!" she says, with an all-too-cheerful smile.
Eldolith's insanity has always been a little contagious. Her wide smile forces you to smile as well.

You write your phone number, followed by "Text Me" on Izediel's prayer card.

You decide to leave Izzy your phone number, but you have no idea how to actually send the prayer. You recall seeing people pray for God's blessings through the windows of the local church, so you head there.
You find the line to the prayer desk empty. The bored-looking angel manning it glares at you when you enter.
"Welcome lost lamb, Please be aware that the prayer quota hasn't been lifted, and won't be for another three thousand years, so--"
"What's the prayer quota?"
"The quota, as you would call it, is set by God Himself. It varies, but there is a minimum requirement of prayers needed to receive a blessing."
"But I'm not here to bless."
"Everyone who comes through that door thinks they're not here to be blessed. You wanna break the rules, you gotta pay."
You glare at him. "What, I have to donate to this place or something?"
He smirks. "If you like. Or, since this is a Catholic church, you could confess your sins to me."

You say "Really, I'm not here for a blessing. I'm sending my best friend a message via prayer card. He's an angel."

The man's eyes widen, and he smiles. "Ah, I see. You're sending a message to one of God's soldiers. 'Haps you're in love with him?"
You blush. "No! He's my best friend."
"I see. Tell me, why do you love your friend?"

You say "Listen, pal, are you gonna let me send my message or not?"

He shrugs. "Like I said, you gotta meet the quota. Think of it like a postal fee. Every prayer card has a certain value, and you have to pay that amount in prayers to send it."
"I'm just giving Izediel my number. I'm not actually praying to him."
"Sorry kid, rules are rules. No quota, no 'sending.'

You say "Ugh. Fine! How many sins do I have to confess if I want to send my message?"

The angel takes your prayer card and examines it.
"This is a short message, so one sin should do it. Confessing your flaws brings us closer to God. Fire away, kid."
One of the disadvantages of working with angels is their holier-than-thou attitude at times like this. They think that everyone is capable of doing great deeds, or seeing God's will (depending on if they're good or evil).

You confess the first 'sin' you can think of.

"I...uh...cheated on a math test in 8th grade."
The angel nods. "Yeah, that'll do it. Your prayer card's good to go. Try not to sin again, k?"
You roll your eyes. "Whatever."
He takes your prayer card and inserts it into a silver slot. He presses a few buttons on a controller, and a light beams down onto the prayer card. The light engulfs the card, and soon it's sent on its way to heaven. The angel sits back down.
"There, that will send your message directly to Captain Izediel. Anything else I can help you with?"

You say "Wait, 'Captain' Izediel? You've gotta be kidding me."

The angel looks surprised. "You know Izediel but you don't know his rank? That's surprising. He's made quite a name for himself in the Realm of Light."
You're stunned, to say the least. "He... he's made a name for himself? I had no idea."
The angel smiles, and chuckles.
"I see. He hasn't told you about his accomplishments. Well, I'll let him tell you in person."

You say "Alright... Thanks for all your help."

The angel shrugs. "It's no problem. Come back if you're ever in need of a prayer."
You thank him and wave as you leave.
He goes back to falling asleep at the counter, and you walk out of the church.

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Pub: 18 Dec 2020 04:59 UTC
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