Uoy 33-2

Underworld of Darkness

Part 9 - Battle of 1,000 demons

Ch. 1 part 9

1.

(Narration)

And so the bloody feud continues, the war of the demons has only just gotten to its maximum. Many demons have already formed alliances with each other, fighting as teams to destroy one another. These fights are not seen by the public unaware eyes of the humans, these battles rage silently, lethally...

As more and more demons start forming alliances and battling one another in large clusters of teams, the box demon population drops tremendously now. Eventually the strong with dominate the weak and the true battle, the war against the strongest and cruelest of demons will commence.

But as the nations of the demons alliances battle out their bloodthirsty war, another war, a race, has started to take place. The race for this mysterious girl and her alleged demon eye power...

Who will claim this human girl and take the prize? Who will hold the power to annihilate both worlds of human and demon? The demon eye holds that power and it will only be a matter of time before someone steps up and takes it...but who? When? It is only a matter of time...only a matter of time...



2.

(Dander Forest...16 days later...)



"A spell, a spell!" she cackled sprinkling the herbs and other ingredients into the brewing pot. "A perfect nasty spell for a nasty boy!" she cackled taking her knife and running it across her wrist.

The blood freely dripped from her arm and into the cauldron, turning the liquid thick and brown.

"Yes!" she cried raising her arms up with the same horrendous cackle. "Perfect! Perfect! Soon all will be ready," she hissed darkly, her words vibrating with hate. "Oh, Half Lord Shou Lang," she cried narrowing her eyes and throwing a wolf's head into the brew. "You may be able to run from me, but you can never, ever, hide-!" she cackled raising her hands up and laughing at the ceiling, drunk and crazed with her madness.

3.

(Gather speaks)

She gasped running to the window and nearly hurling herself out of it. Her eyes widened as she listened, her heart beginning to flutter.

But she had not been mistaken, it was he, her darling sound-maker! She gave a little cry and jerked away from the window to crash down the stairs. "Ms. James! Ms. James!" she cried taking the old woman's hands as she crocheted. "He's playing! Come and hear him!" she cried jerking the old woman down the hallway.

...

San ran breathlessly into the open sunshine. Her mouth twisted in a blissful smile as she listened, then she turned round on the old woman and excitedly took her hands. "He almost never plays in the daytime!" she cried giggling anxiously.

Ms. James' blue gray eyes settled on her face, half alert as she listened. The old woman tilted her head for a moment as if bemused. "I hear it," she said simply and matter-of-factly.

"Oh! Isn't he great?!" she whispered hugging Ms. James' arm. "Doesn't he just sound wonderful?" she cried.

Ms. James looked a little puzzled as she stared dubiously in her face, "Yes, he sounds wonderful," she repeated mildly.

San melted her smile, "You sound so bland! Don't you like his music, isn't it beautiful?" she asked incredulously as the woman just blinked at her blankly. "I can't believe it! Why aren't you ecstatic?" she gaped.

Ms. James gave San a knowing smile and turned back for the house. "Come along dear, let's make lunch!" she said.

"But-!" she cried with her mouth open. "Wait-!" she grabbed her arm again. "Just wait a minute, wait a minute-!" she glared at her. "You know something that I don't, don't you?" she demanded with a pout.

"Not necessarily," said Ms. James shrugging.

"You've heard him before?" she pressed on. "Is that why you aren't so thrilled about hearing him as I am?"

Ms. James sighed and placed a gnarled hand on her shoulder, "San," she said with a little smile tugging the sides of her mouth.

"What? What?" cried San jumping up and down. "Tell me what you know, Ms. James!" she cried. "What is it?" she pouted.

"Now, now," said Ms. James turning and walking to the kitchen. "Help me make lunch, you know how hungry the boys are going to be..."

San twisted her face in a sour pout. "No fair! You're not telling me the whole story, Ms. James! You know how much I like my Mysterious sound-maker!" she pouted darkly.

The old woman gave her a smile over her shoulder, "That's precisely why I'm not saying anything!"

San stuck out her lip and jammed her hands in her pockets. "No fair! No fair!"

"Ok, ok," said Ms. James handing her an apron. "Stop sulking, get that look off your face," she said sniggering and chuckling. "Hand me those potatoes so I can start washing them," she ordered. "And you need to get the beef sauce from the cupboard so we can start the water boiling!"

...

"Shou Lang?" she yelled at the bottom of the stairs. She waited a moment before making a face and poking her head out into the kitchen. "Shou Lang isn't answering me!" she cried.

Ms. James was stirring the soup without looking up, "He's outside, dear," she said absently as she stirred still.

San made a face and walked back down the hallway. She put her hands on the handle of the front door and pulled it open grumbling to herself.

Get Shou Lang for lunch, she thought shuffling into the front yard. What does he do up there on the roof all day anyway?

She stopped and pivoted so she was facing the house. "Shou Lang!" she yelled.

Shou Lang's head came into view, "What?" he shouted down in his usual irritated sounding tone.

"Do you want to eat lunch or not?" she placed her hands on her hips as she looked up at him, craning her neck since he was up so high.

She saw his yellow eyes flash, "Lunch?! Finally!" he cried and jumped down to land in front of her. He landed in a crouch and for a second he stayed there before inclining his head up to look at her. "What's for lunch?" he asked showing her the whites of his fangs.

"Beef soup," she answered. "And after lunch we're going to the library," she said.

Shou Lang slowly stood up and as he did so his body towered over her by at least six of seven inches. He grinned, "Beef soup?" he repeated. "Good!" he said turning away from her with a grunt and disappearing into the house.

San made another face and shuffled after him.

...

"This place is so boring!" he complained with a groan. "I should've stayed home!" he mumbled.

San looked back at him coyly, "You should've stayed home, yes, you're right," and turned back around picking up a book from the shelf. "Hum, this looks interesting," she said absently as she flipped through some of the pages.

Shou Lang was staring down at a book with a dull look on his face. The book was open flat on top of the table he sat, his hand rested against his cheek, which was known to her as his boredom stance.

"Humans waste their time coming into a store with nothing but books?" Shou Lang growled flipping dully through the pages of the book in front of him. "If I knew that it would be this boring I wouldn't have came!"

"Stop complaining," she snapped replacing the book back on the shelf and searching for another. "Hum..." she narrowed her eyes in thought.

Shou Lang stood up and followed after her, she at first wondered why but figured that he was probably bored and had nothing else better to do. "What are you looking for?" he asked after following her around numerous shelves of books.

San looked up at him, "I'm looking for a good horror book!" she said with a grin.

"Horror?" he arched an eyebrow.

"Yeah!" she cried pulling out another book and inspecting its cover. "I love horror books, even as I kid I liked to read them." She placed the book in its place and searched around the opposite shelf.

"What kind of books...on horror?" Shou Lang sounded confused.

"Different stories, you know, ghost stories, vampires, monsters, things like that," she said nonchalantly as she picked up another book. "The books I like best are murder mysteries!" she cried and looked up at him with another grin.

Shou Lang's yellow eyes only stared.

San replaced the book and made a face. "I can't seem to find the stories that I'm looking for," she said with a sigh.

"So here at this library, they have all kinds of books?" he asked looking around the shelves curiously.

"Oh yes! There are all sorts of books you can find here," she said flashing him a smile. "What kind of books do you like?" she asked him.

"I don't waste time with reading," he answered with a careless snort.

"Oh, I see," she rolled her eyes and continued searching the shelves. "It has to be somewhere around here," she said to herself.

"Where would I find a book on spells?" asked Shou Lang.

"Spells?" laughed San turning around and staring at him. "Sorry, but we're in the 21rst century, no one reads about spells anymore!"

Shou Lang looked a little irritated, "You said that they had a lot of books here!"

"I'm sure that they might have a book on witches," said San pointing to the far end of the library. "Go to non-fiction and look up witchcraft or sorcery," she told him.

He gazed his yellow eyes on her face, "What?" he growled.

"Come on," she pushed him to the area she was talking about. "I'll help you find a book, you're so clueless," she stopped in front of a shelf with witch information. "Here!" she said picking up a book and handing it to him. "Take a look at any of these books on these shelves," she said motioning up the shelf. "They'll have all the information you're looking for."

Shou Lang spread the book apart and began searching the pages with his eyes. A look of concentration came over his face as his eyes went down the pages.

"Won't do," he said closing the book and reaching for another. "Move out the way, San," he growled impatiently at her.

San walked away, "I'll leave you to check those out," she said returning to the horror section once more. There, she met up with Chip and Ms. James, she gave them a wave, "Hi," she said.

"Ah, San!" Ms. James smiled and held up a book for her to see.

"Create the ultimate garden for your yard," San read aloud the cover. Then she looked at Ms. James, "Gardening?"

"Sure, why not?" she asked with a smile. "I have to do something while my three darlings are off at school," she said.

She tried to put the word 'darling' with Shou Lang but it wasn't matching up.

"Look what book I got!" Chip flashed up a book.

"Peter Pan?" San read aloud with a laugh. "That is what book you chose?" she asked.

"I thought he'd like it," said Ms. James with a smile. "Do you think that Chip will enjoy reading Peter?" she asked.

"Yeah!" she nodded.

...

Her eyes stopped on a title as she passed, she stopped and bent down to pick the book in her hands. The book tugged a corner in her heart.

'Dealing with Cancer' it read at the top of the book in big blue letters.

She looked up and looked across at Ms. James.

Chip and the old woman were talking to each other, softly though since they were in a library, but she could see the energy in their faces. Suddenly Ms. James laughed and pointed down in Chip's book, Chip laughed and looked up at her.

San looked down at the book in her hands and suddenly felt very heavy and weighted. The book began to feel heavy as well.

"I found my book!" said Shou Lang stopping beside her. He paused a moment and peered down in her face, "What's that expression?" he asked.

"Nothing," she said shaking her head with a smile. She trailed her eyes from the book back to Ms. James, her heart whispering at her as she gazed at her. "Nothing..."

"What's that book? Is it a horror book on vampires?" he asked curiously as he looked over her head to read the title. He paused a moment," Cancer?" he read out loud. "Cancer?" he repeated and looked down at her.

"Yeah," she said looking up at him briefly before looking down at the book. "I'm going to find out as much information as I can about cancer," she said quietly. "Maybe I'll find something in here that might help..."

...

"I love Peter Pan!" cried Chip bouncing up and down in Shou Lang's lap. "I wish I could fly like Peter, and fight pirates-!" he gushed.

"Stop jumping on me," Shou Lang growled.

"Take that, Captain Hook-!" he squealed as he thrust and imaginary sword blade into Shou Lang's shoulder. "Ha! Ha! I got you now!" cackled Chip.

San laughed with Ms. James.

...

The only sound that could be heard was the occasional flipping of pages. Everyone seemed to be immersed in their books, heads were bent, eyes scrolling down the books that they held in their hands.

Each absorbed in the words of the story, Shou Lang and witchcraft, Ms. James and her gardening, Chip in Neverland, and of course, San, who read about cancer.

San stood up suddenly, the first sound in a long time, which startled everyone else, but Shou Lang. "My goodness!" laughed Ms. James as San left the parlor area.

San quickly departed up the stairs and into the bathroom. She shut the door and flicked on the light.

"Whew! I really got to go!" she cried moving to the toilet area, but something caught the corner of her eye and she stopped. She looked around and found black eyes staring from her reflection.

"Gather!" she said narrowing her eyes and gritting her teeth. "I'm not in the mood right now, ok?" she growled picking up a soap bar and hurling it at her image on the glass.

Gather dodged the soap, although the soap wouldn't have hit her anyway, and smiled at San with crooked brown teeth. "It has been a while, has it not?" she asked cocking her head with that grin on her face.

"I have to use it," San snorted walking to the toilet. "Go away!" she said.

"But why? But why? I want to tell you something, San," said Gather in a rather taunting sounding voice. "Don't you want to hear what I have to say?"

"No," she snapped stopping by the toilet and glaring.

Gather looked sober, "Ah, why not?" she asked.

"Because I want nothing to do with you, that's why!" said San testily. "Get out of my mirror and leave me alone!" she pointed at her.

"But you need to hear what I say, you must, you must!" she cried insistently, her eyes growing wide and earnest. "Don't you want to hear? Do you now? Do you?"

San only narrowed her eyes.

Gather's earnest expression gave way to an anomalous grin. "I knew you would! I knew you would," she said clapping her hands together.

She crossed her arms over her chest, "What is it you're going to tell me?" she asked wearily.

Gather pressed her face to the mirror with the same unnatural looking grin on her face. "Take a deep breath!" she said.

San glared at her.

"Do you smell that?" asked Gather showing San her brown teeth again. "I smell war! War smells good, don't you think?"

"War?" asked San.

"Yes, war," Gather nodded her head sending black stringy hair across her face. "I see the war but you cannot," she said. "This war of the demon alliances," said Gather with a sly looking smile. "You smell it now, do you? Can you? You must smell it by now...this war!" she rasped.

What war, she thought eying the girl shrewdly.

"Ah, it is bloody and it is good!" whispered the demon shutting her eyes and inhaling with an odd look of pleasure on her face. "I smell it, I live off of that smell, that beautiful smell of death," she opened her eyes. "It lingers here, it lingers all around here," she was breathing deeply.

San made a disgusted face, "You're sick! Get out of my mirror!"

"You," Gather erupted pointing a white finger at her. "You!" she cried again with her eyes turning wide and round as grapefruits. The mirror began to crack, "The smell lingers here, around YOU!" she said laughing all of a sudden.

"What?! You're sick and insane!" she cried over the loud splintering sounds of the mirror cracking and shattering to the floor.

"I hear the voices of my brothers and sisters," Gather continued with her eyes widening still more, by now they covered half of her head, her mouth was wider too, expanding like that of a snake. "It is you they talk of, it is YOU that they seek to find!" she cried raising both arms up.

Glass shot at her but San stood where she was, knowing that the glass was only going on in her imagination and that they would not hurt her.

"They speak of this girl and her EYE, your eye San," she said pointing the surface of the mirror. "They come already," she laughed. "They will come and kill you all! They will take you to the fiery pits of hell and will burn you!"

"Shut up! Go away!" she screamed and at once Gather and the breaking glass disappeared leaving San alone and breathing hard in the center of the bathroom. "Gather," she said narrowing her eyes. "Gather..."



4.

(The start of the tide)

"I have to see the news real quick," said Ms. James lifting the remote control and turning on the TV. "I hate to disturb your reading, you guys," she said.

He sat back in his seat drooping his book with a sigh. His attention now directed at the screen in front of him, the rest of his companions had fallen into silence.

"Channel 9 news," said a human man with dark brown hair and a sharp nose. "I am Gregory Foster and I'll be presenting a special report today," he was saying with the same artificial smile that every news reporter seemed to have.

He pressed his back against the cushions of the sofa. He had to admit that he hated watching the news channel, no matter what was happening he always found it boring. Maybe it was because he had no interest in human affairs, and what humans found important he cared nothing about.

"...The latest news for today, strange creatures found in the Gulf of Mexico," said the news reporter with a sudden look of seriousness coming over his face. "Today, a local fishing boat came across a distorted creature in the waters-"

A picture popped up in the screen showing the alleged 'creature'.

He instantly gasped and gripped his knees, "That's a demon!" he cried narrowing his eyes at the picture.

"...Yellow creature," the newsman was saying.

"A demon?" asked Ms. James looking at him sideways. "Are you...sure?" she asked gaping at the screen.

"...With horns on the forehead and black substances over the torso of the," the news reporter continued.

"Then it has started!" gasped Chip. "The rest of the box demons," he cried looking up in his face. "Shou Lang-! This is bad!"

"That means that the demons are finally coming out of hiding and showing themselves," he said with a grin coming over his face. "Finally, and now I'll be able to hunt them down, one by one, just as I promised Master!" he cried making a fist determinedly.

"...Scientists believe that this creature might be some type of animal mutated by the pollutants in the water," the newsman went on.

Yes, he thought, a rush of adrenaline surged through his blood. It'll be just like Ether, he thought, and this time, I'll be smarter! I won't let a demon trick me again as Ms. Smith and Ash have done! From now on, I'll be the demon-slayer that I once was!

"...But no one is sure exactly what it is," the newsman was saying. "Scientists are running tests on this mutated animal to find out exactly what the creature might," he droned on.

At that moment San came downstairs, she looked worriedly at the TV screen. "What's going on?" she asked looking at him as she entered the parlor.

"San," he said and walked up to her so he could put both hands on her shoulders. She looked startled as she stared at him, her eyes wide and surprised. He looked directly in her face, "San," he said gravely. "Listen to me," he said in a low serious voice.

San at once looked attentive.

He paused a moment, "The rest of the box demons are finally showing themselves," he said. "It is finally time for us to start looking and seeking them out," he said gravely. "Now is the time I need you," he said.

San pursed her lips, "What for?" she asked.

"I need you to help me find them," he said grinning anxiously. "Tomorrow you and I will seek out these demons, together, Ok? I'm not leaving you alone," he said straightening his back. "I'm sure the rest of those swines know you're here, and-" he touched the center of her forehead. "I won't let them take away that eye from me," he said grinning still more.

San looked frightened, "You mean...Gather was right? They're looking for me?"

"Gather?" he asked then shrugged. "I'm sure that they know of your existence, I'm sure that Ms. Smith might have told some of the other demons or something like that," he said giving her a little shake. "But take no heed of Gather now, this moment, you need to focus on those box suckers!" His eyes flashed excitedly, "You're coming with me, so I suggest that you say goodbye to Ms. James."

She gasped and pulled away from him, "Say goodbye?" she cried horrified.

"Yes," he said rather mildly. "You very well can't stay here, you'll be with me after all," he said crossing his arms over his chest.

"But I can't leave Ms. James!" she cried staring at him with a baffled look.

"You must," he said and took her shoulders again. "We must break all ties with Chip and Ms. James," he said lowering his voice. "For now," he added quickly when he saw a look coming across her face. "You and I must travel alone," he said quietly so only she could hear him. "Trust me, if we stay here in this house the demons will use them against us- just like Ash and Ms. Smith used us!" he cried staring into her wavering eyes. "If we stay here the box demons will only hurt them," he said. "They have a better chance of surviving if they just aren't involved," he said. "We were lucky San, Ash could've killed Ms. James before, but he didn't," he said.

San looked away from him, "How long...do you think we'll be gone?" she asked.

"However long it takes to kill them all!" he said releasing her with a flourish of excitement. "And I intend to kill every last one of them!" he cried.

"Shou Lang...I don't think-" she said turning to look at him but he cut her off by taking her arm and dragging her into the area where the old woman and possum sat watching the TV.

"Everyone," he cleared his throat.

They looked up.

"Tomorrow San and I are going off!" he announced excitedly. "I suggest you say your goodbyes with San now, for we very well might not come back alive!"

"What?!" Ms. James shrieked.

"But I intend to come back alive," he looked over at San. "And I intend to keep her alive as well, so don't worry!"

Chip gasped.

"I will slay the demons," he said proudly. "I'll wipe them out just like how I did in my country!" he said grinning at their surprised faces. "This will probably take two months or so if we leave tomorrow," he calculated out loud.

"Two months?" cried Ms. James standing up and running to him and grabbing his arm. "You can't take my daughter away from me for that long!"

"My dear friend," he said grabbing both of her hands. "Your daughter is safe with me," he assured her gently. "But it is necessary that she comes with me and that we must go. If we stay here, you will only be at risk, do you understand?"

The old woman's eyes filled with tears, "No! I don't understand!" she said. "And I will have the final say about my daughter and where she is going!" she told him with a quivering chin.

He sighed and let the old woman push past him to hug San. San hugged the old woman back.

Chip remained in his seat, "You're going to leave me here?" he demanded angrily.

"I don't want you to get hurt," he said reaching down and tousling his red hair.

Chip shoved his hand away, "I won't allow it! I'm going with San!" he cried stiffly.

He sat by Chip and sighed, "You must stay here and keep the old lady company," he said.

"I'm not leaving San with you!" he cried angrily. "I want to go with you!"

"Chip," he said firmly. "You're not going! You'll stay here with the old woman and keep her company while we're gone!" he said in a voice that ended the argument.

Chip fell silent and sulky. "Not fair! Not fair!" he pouted.

He stood up and looked down at him, "Say your farewells to San now, we'll leave early tomorrow," he said.

Chip bounded away from him and in San's arms.

He watched the hugging trio with a dismayed sigh, then he looked away at the wall taking a deep breath.

Lord, he thought as he stared at the wall. Give me the strength to fulfill the promise I gave my Master, the promise of defeating these demons and restoring the balance in my country, he thought. Give me the strength to protect this world and all of the people in it, he thought. I must defeat these demons, I have to!

He looked back at the hugging trio again with another sigh.

And please, give me the strength to protect them, all three of them, he thought as he watched them. I can't let anything happen to them, please, please let nothing to them while I am gone...

...

"It is time," he said quietly.

San looked at him and then one last look to Ms. James and Chip who stood at the doorway. Their eyes shining as they waved their final goodbyes, then San looked back in his face. "Must I go?" she asked.

He nodded gravely.

San looked back and waved, "I love you all!" she shouted waving both hands over her head.

"Goodbye San!" cried Ms. James and Chip waving back.

"We'll be back," he said giving a little salute and taking San gently by her wrist.

"Take care!" called Ms. James to him. "Keep her safe, I beg of you!"

"Goodbye Shou Lang! You better come back alive or I'll-" Chip covered his face, his shoulders shaking in spasms of sobs.

A sad smile met his lips but he said nothing more.

"Be careful you guys!" waved San as he pulled her gently aside.

He looked down in San's tear-filled eyes, "San," he said so she looked up at him. "From this point on, don't look back. Don't look back."

San nodded with a pained look. "Ok," she wiped her eyes.

He looked ahead with narrowed eyes. I will find those demons, he thought swelling with confidence and determination. Nothing can stop me!

And without looking back, Shou Lang and San left...