Chapter 1: Demon Deal

My world is ravaged by war.

I ran, so fast and so hard until my lungs felt as if they would burst. All the while, there were screams and squeals behind as innocent people from my village were slaughtered, one by one. The smell of fresh blood permeated the air. It was sickening. There were mangled, otherworldly cries that pierced my ears and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up straight.

Demons plague the earth, escaped from the deepest recesses of hell. Some say it's because of the malfunctioning of the portals between this world and the next. Others say that this is god's punishment for the sins of humanity. But I don't care. It doesn't matter to me. All that matters, is how I can survive, and how I can protect the last remaining members of my family.

I felt tears stream down my eyes as I realised that it was all over for the cosy, secluded village I had called home for the past seventeen years. The demons have finally found us. And now, they have invaded this place, leaving behind the lingering scent of death and despair in their path. I pumped my legs harder, ignoring the pain and fatigue. I couldn't stop. Not now. Not until we were safe.

My name is Love.

A peculiar name really, for a loveless world like this. I guess my parents were just trying to be smart, saying something like 'she's the physical representation of our love' when I was born. I don't know where my parents are. They've probably been slaughtered by the demons already, many years ago. Demons don't need to eat, but they do take pleasure in a human's pain as they finally leave this world. Humans, when we die, can either go to heaven or hell, depending on how we act throughout our short lifespans. But humans that are killed by demons, can go to neither heaven nor hell.

They disappear forever.

Three small, chubby hands tugged at my sleeves as we ran, and in that brief moment of contact I felt their fear. Still running, I faked a smile and told them we would be okay.

I have three younger brothers. They're my only family. The youngest one is named Hope. He's five, naïve, and always cheerful despite the odds. The second oldest is named Luck. He's obnoxious, good for nothing, but the most understanding eight-year old one could find. The oldest one is named Courage, which is funny because he's the most spineless kid ever. He's ten. And then there's me.

"Guys, it's okay. I'll fight any of those demons that come way. Just keep running. Sis will protect you." I assured them through my gasps for breath. Little faces filled with fear were refilled with relief.

If only I could assure myself the same thing. Many minor demons plagued the town now, each one as strong as a hundred human beings. They killed for fun, and their numbers grew by the hour. With each sickening, gravelly, cry, they brought more and more of their kind into the dying village.

The stench of blood became almost unbearable now. There was the combined sound of gravelly, demonic laughter that filled my ears, haunting me. It wouldn't go away. Begs of mercy could be heard from fellow villagers; cries and pleads and futile grovelling. And the horrifying sound of talon meeting human flesh; a sound parallel to the repulsiveness of demon laughter.

My brothers and I don't have that much to go buy. With no parents to take care of us, and living on only basic supplies, we have survived until now. With only each other to support ourselves. It was a struggle to stay alive, but at least our lives were relatively peaceful.

Until today.

Suddenly, I stopped running. We had reached the end of a small housing area; a rather large space, but enclosed nonetheless. We were trapped and with nowhere to turn but back. Trying to put on a voice without any sign of my despair, I told my brothers to turn and run back. But they stood rooted to the spot.

"Look." Courage pointed towards into the distance with a hushed voice; his voice sounded as if it were crushed of all life. "A demon." Tears streamed down his face and his voice was laced with dread.

I looked towards where he was pointing. And, sure enough, there was a figure in the distance, framed by destroyed houses and miles and miles of rubble. The demon's body was starkly silhouetted by the dusk sunlight. I saw just in time as it quickly slaughtered many villagers in its path, without a second thought. I wanted to run, but neither my brothers nor I could make our bodies move. We were rooted to the spot, absolutely petrified. I held my breath and counted as the seconds passed by.


A woman holding a small child fell at the mercy of its claws.


A group of fully grown men, enraged, had attacked the demon one second and dropped dead by the next. I counted how many there were. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Five men. Just dead like that.


The demon started to cackle uncontrollably, awfully pleased with its handiwork.


It managed to kill another small family in the blink of an eye. It didn't even look back to see their bodies drop to the floor. This was a merciless creature.


The demon turned around, bright red blood still dripping from its talons. It stared right at us. For one second, its eyes met mine. His gaze seemed to drill into my soul. Its pupils, I noticed, were the same crimson hue as the fresh blood on his claws.

It was approaching towards us, leisurely but surely. I wanted to hide, but I knew that it was futile. It had seen us. It could probably smell us by now. There was no escape; I could only stand and watch as the last few moments of my short life ticked by.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

The beats of my heart started to sound like a clock.

Tick tock.

I don't want to die. Tears started falling down my face too. I don't want to die. I don't want to die. I chanted to myself many times. I didn't have that much to live for, but then again, I had so much to live for. I want to protect my brothers forever. I want to grow old and laugh at all the white hairs on my head. I want to be happy and live in a war-free world. I want to fall in love.

My brothers tugged at my sleeve. They knew what was happening too. And, as the demon approached closer and closer to us, as straight as the crow flies, they started to sob.

There was only one demon. But one demon was enough to kill a hundred people. Even more. Demons were immortal; nothing could hurt, harm, or kill them. They were invincible. Most demons weren't very intelligent, and they lived like savage beasts, plundering and killing and ravaging as they pleased.

I could see this demon's face now. Most demons were ugly as fuck. But this one, I saw, looked human. I guess it was a high class demon. You don't see those that often, so I comforted myself with the thought that at least I would be killed by a pretty one.

Then the rapidly fading afternoon sunlight illuminated its face in all its otherworldly beauty. It; or rather, he, was beautiful. Beautiful wasn't exactly the right word to describe him though. Handsome? Could demons be handsome?

This one was.

He had pale skin with the texture of marble; high cheekbones and perfectly chiselled features. Spiky black hair framed a pair of gleaming, blood red eyes. The demon was small for a demon but massive compared to a human; with broad shoulders and lean muscles that rippled as he walked. The only thing that set him apart as a demon and not just an extremely attractive human were his horns. He had long, straight, ivory-like horns that protruded from the two sides of his head. All demons had them, but his were bigger than the rest; most had finger-sized stubs. Nonetheless, he was mesmerizing. But nothing is beautiful when it's about to kill you.

Hope started to wail and cry until he couldn't even breathe properly. That did it. No one, not even an as-beautiful-as-an-angel demon was about to make my brother cry. I was going to do something about it.

Fate isn't something that just happens. It is carved by yourself.

I grabbed the dagger I always kept strapped to my thigh, unsheathed it, and charged. I'm fast, I knew that. But the demon was faster. He dodged the dagger before I even had a chance to shout. He stretched out a taloned claw and attempted to pierce me through the chest. I ducked, and forward rolled away. I leapt up, and attempted to slice him from the back. One moment he was there, but the next moment he wasn't. My dagger met nothing but the cool autumn wind.

Then I heard it. Laughter.

That accursed thing was laughing; mocking me and my human limitations. Enraged, I made mad slashes everywhere. Left, right, behind, in front. I reasoned that I'd hit it some way or another, as long as I kept moving. Meanwhile, my three brothers cried harder than ever. In my head, I told them that it would be alright. Everything would be alright. I would kill this demon with the years I had spent honing my battle skills, in preparation for the day I would have to defend my beloved brothers.

The demon appeared again; I could sense its cool breath against my neck. I sliced, but missed.

"Feisty little one, aren't you." It was talking. Fuck. First it looks human, then it starts to talk? Demons were only supposed to grunt and laugh maniacally. Not speak, like this one was. Even its voice was beautiful, although probably not the same type of beautiful as an angel's voice. It was deep, velvety and smooth, with a hint of mischief mixed in. I was almost hypnotised it, the way a small animal is hypnotised by the eyes of a snake.

I ignored the thoughts in my head and continued my barrage of slashes. The demon dodged each blow with frustrating ease, and showed no signs of tiring out. I was. I felt each breath I took become more and more ragged; each movement slower than the one before. Meanwhile, the demon just looked at me and flashed his row of pointy white teeth in a demonic grin.

"Having fun?" He smirked. "You're pretty fast for a human."

I stopped for a second, to catch my breath. He stopped too. The desperation and doubt festered in my heart, threatening to surge forth in the form of tears. I stopped thinking. Thinking hurt, and it would do me no good. All I needed to do now, was to focus on landing a blow on this thing. This talking, walking, almost human-looking, thing.

"It's pointless." He said calmly, pretending to check his nails.

I ignored him; I didn't need a demon to be telling me what to do. I roared my most unfeminine war cry, and charged straight him.

He didn't move. With triumph flooding through my heart, I realised that I had finally managed to pierce him, and right through the heart no less. The demon was tall; my eyes were barely at his jawline and I was a pretty big girl. Not wanting to feel dwarfed, I preoccupied myself with sinking the dagger into his flesh as deep as I could and didn't look up.

It was an astounding victory for Love, and a loss for Mr Hot-Demon.

I waited for him to die.

He never did.

Many minutes passed by, and I waited with my two hands still clasped firmly on the dagger through his heart. He locked his eyes on mine all throughout, lips turned up in a sceptical expression.

"You happy?" He questioned, without showing any signs he was going to bite the dust any time soon.

Then, with terrible realisation creeping up upon my heart, I finally understood. It wasn't that he couldn't dodge my dagger, but that he didn't want to. The evil bastard wanted to prove to me just how superior his immortality was to my own mortality. I started to cry. Tears rolled down my face, regardless of how hard I tried to stop myself from showing weakness in the face of my enemy.

He nonchalantly pulled the dagger out of his body, and within seconds the flesh started to form again. Soon, all that was left was smooth, pale skin and a small, bloodstained hole in his clothing. I took several more jabs into his body, heart filling with hope each time the dagger buried itself into the demon's flesh. But each time, the flesh healed itself flawlessly and instead I was left with dagger-sized wounds in my confidence. The demon made no move to do anything, and whistled a merry tune in a very obvious attempt to annoy me further.

"Done?" He asked as I stood there, dagger raised high and catching my breath. "You're starting to bore me." He continued, as if this was all a game to him.

He held up his taloned hands in full display.

"Like I'll ever die at the hands of a demon like you!" I bellowed, challenging him. "Be prepared to meet your demise!"

I charged once more, thinking to aim for the head instead of the heart. He had to have at least one weak spot. Nothing could be invincible. Not even demons. I just needed to find that vulnerability.

"It's useless. For I am immortal."

A load of bullcrap, I thought. I wasn't going to die today. The fate I wrote out for myself didn't have that on its script. I slashed his head until bright red blood spewed from his temple and dripped down his face, blending with his similarly-coloured red pupils. That healed too. I wasn't going to give up. I was planning my next move, when all of a sudden, I felt a sharp talon resembling a pointy, elongated fingernail, against my throat.

"That's enough." The demon said with an air of aura. "Now, beg for your life before I kill you."

It seemed that my eye bladders couldn't control themselves, and the tears wouldn't stop. Still, I refused to give in. I spat in the demon's face. "Bah. You wish"

He was furious. I could see it in his red eyes; a small fire alit in them. But his tone remained as calm as ever, and he started talking to me as if I were a small child, or a baby.

"Aww, really. Are you sure about that?"

I rolled my eyes and gave him my most intense of death glares. The demon looked back at me with an aura of definiteness. He knew what he was about to do. I knew it to.

I squeezed my eyes shut as I awaited my death. But it never came.

The demon let go of me, and vanished. I was almost relieved for a moment, before the shrill cry of Luck stamped that feeling away. The demon had him. He had Luck in a dead lock, one strong arm wrapped around the boy's small body, and the other holding a sharp claw against his throat. The same way that claw was beside my throat, just a few moments ago. Hope and Courage looked in horror, but didn't move. Maybe they were too afraid to.

"Beg." The demon demanded, with the most malicious of smiles playing upon his lips. "Or else your precious brother dies."

The demon was smart, very smart; I knew for certain by now. By just observing me for such a short span of time, it could tell that my brothers meant a lot to me. I had no choice.

"Please, spare him." I spoke, and my voice cracked, making my words almost undecipherable. "Please." I didn't trust myself to say anything, anymore. I felt so embarrassed. But what was my pride compared to my brothers' lives?

"Kneel." The demon was having fun. The tone of his voice said it all. It was amused, entertained, and expectant, laced with sadistic pleasure.

I walked towards them, and dropped to my knees in front of the demon. I bowed my head low, so that it rested against my knees. Sobbing, I choked: "Please. Take my life instead."

That seemed to satisfy the demon. He released Luck, and appeared beside me instead.

"Any last words?" He asked as he raised one arm above where my heart lay.

It was then that my feelings betrayed me. My own inevitable human nature shone through; the part of me that feared death. And the thought of ceasing to exist for all eternity just spurred that fear forward, until I could hide it no more.

"I don't want to die." I was sobbing into my knees, but I looked up now. My eyes met the demon's. There was no compassion there; I was just embarrassing myself and causing my brothers distress. And yet I didn't stop my pleading. "Please. I don't want to die yet. I don't want to die before having lived yet. Up until now, I have only survived. I want to taste what living is like."

I grovelled at his feet. I always thought I was a strong, hot-headed individual. But here I was, begging for the mercy of a completely merciless demon. But it was to my luck that the demon at least found me entertaining.

"Okay." He said to my surprise. "But you have to agree to a deal."

"I've already sold my soul to you in that episode of pleading just then. What more do you want?" I answered sarcastically, but shocked and relieved nonetheless.

"I'll give you one hundred days."

"For…?" I had no idea what the creature was getting at.

"To kill me."

I felt myself sink into despair as the demon continued: "If you don't manage to kill me within one hundred days, I will kill you and torture your brothers until they die. But if you do, well, I'd be dead, and I wouldn't be able to bother you anymore, would I?"

"Why?" I asked. I knew that he was just toying with me. I knew that he was invincible, and immortal, and I had no chance whatsoever of killing him. "I thought you said you were immortal."

"Because it'd be fun." The demon answered matter-of-factly. "And I am currently very bored. A bored demon is not a happy demon."

"You're toying with me, aren't you? You know that you can't be slayed."

"Oh. But you, my little hot-headed pumpkin pie, do not know that demons have one fatal weakness."

I listened eagerly and intently whilst my three brothers hid behind my back in utter horror. "And that is?" I was close. He was going to tell me. Was there a sort of ritual? I thought hard. Or maybe it was an area on his body that was vulnerable. His stomach, neck, throat, eye, horns? I knew that it wasn't the heart or the head. What?

"Oh, but first we have to introduce ourselves." The demon announced casually. "We'll probably be seeing a lot of each other over the next one hundred days."

I was getting impatient, but I wasn't one to decide what happened; I just clung to the hope that the demon would tell me his weakness, and that he wouldn't change his mind about the deal. Then, when I did learn about his weakness, I would be able to kill him right off the bat.

"My name is Odium. You may call me Lord Odium." He stretched out one taloned claw in a gesture of mock peace. As he did, his sharp fingernails magically receded and morphed back into his flesh. "What's yours?"

I took the hand and did an awkward handshake. His hand was cold, the same cold as an unfeeling piece of metal, or glass, or dead body. "I'm Love."

"That's ironic." He cackled. "I think we're made for each other." His last words were so edged with sarcasm, they almost hurt.

"Now, I'll tell you our secret."

I leaned over so closely, I almost tottered over.

"We demons are invincible; virtually nothing, from fire, bullets, to holy water, can kill us. Only one thing can. Love. When a demon falls in love, his very being disintegrates and he ceases to exist."

"What the fuck." I interrupted. "So you're telling me that I have one hundred days to make you fall in love with me?"

"Bingo!" The demon attempted to smile, but it just looked like a malicious grin. "But demons don't really have feelings like you stupid humans, so good luck with it."

I looked at him in utter shock. This wasn't what I was expecting. This was….

"So, do we have a deal?" He bent down his body in front of mine and flashed a smile again.

I hesitated for a moment.


- Odium translates to 'hate' in Latin.

- I know the title is really bad, it's just the word for hundred and the word for love smushed together. But it sounds sophisticated, so it will have to do for now. Any suggestions are welcome.