Divine Contract – Chapter 1
A Fateful Meeting
Narration: It was a sunny day.
Relic Names: Holy Sword Excalibur
Angels and Demons have been locked in war for over 1000 years, and, for a reason no one remembers, they decided to use the human world as their battlefield.
Despite the length of the war, no clear victor has been decided yet. However, the Demons hold a clear advantage.
The Demons have created a drug to enhance their demonic powers, which gives even the weakest of their forces a powerful boost. However, the Angels refuse to resort to that method, which is why they are losing this war.
Demons and Angels are physically indistinguishable from humans, in fact, the only reason most can spot a Demon is because of the uniforms they wear. They can also sprout wings, but unless they intend to fly, they tend to keep them hidden.
Currently, every country in this world is part of either the Angels or the Demons territory. There are no exceptions. At the current date, the Demons control approximately 65% of the world, which includes the country I live in.
My name is Ross Knight. I am 18 Years Old. I have short, brown hair and blue eyes. I am average in looks, but have exceptional athletic ability, which I have honed over many years. I have been training for years in how to fight and how to sneak.
I live in the country of Figma, which is the third largest out of the seven countries in this world. The Demons hold complete control over this country, but most don't view that as a bad thing. They provide protection for all the humans in their territories, as long as they obey the laws that they created, commonly known as the Demon Laws.
Demons care very little about the affairs of humans, so, most of the time, they leave us alone. Everyone can live a relatively peaceful life here.
The reason I say 'relatively' is because almost everyone is still terrified of the Demons. They wield powers that no human could ever hope to win against. For those who break any of the Demon Laws, they are brutally beaten and dragged to a Demon Jail, more commonly referred to as a Dungeon. Very few of the people taken to the Dungeons are heard from again.
Personally, I hold a different viewpoint than most humans in this world. I do not fear the Demons. I acknowledge that they wield powers beyond what I am capable of, but I do not believe that I would lose a one-on-one fight against an average Demon.
Most people go about their business, keeping their heads down and praying that none of the Demons nearby are bored enough to start picking on anyone who happens to look their way.
I find this sight to be extremely… irritating. I hate the Demons more than words could possibly describe. They did something… Stole something from me that should never have been taken. Therefore, I decided to make my living by stealing valuables from the Demons and selling them on the Black Market.
I wanted some way of getting revenge for what was stolen. To fight against the Demons.
I never expected my wish to come true quite like it did, though.
5 miles from the Demon General's mansion in Figma
I emerged from a sewer entrance, having spent the last two hours navigating through a labyrinth of sewage pipes in an effort to throw off my pursuers.
It was raining heavily, which would serve to drown out the sound of my footsteps. I checked that the items I had stolen were secure in my satchel and that my satchel was secure beneath my cloak. Then I pulled my hood over my head and started running through the streets, avoiding all the patrols and search parties as I made my way towards my destination.
Three days after pulling off my heist at the Demon General's mansion, I finally made it to my destination, a secret tavern known as The Thieves' Respite. Only skilled thieves are able to follow the clues that lead to this place. It is a gathering place for those who partake in less than reputable work. The owner also has deep connections with the Black Market, buying and selling anything of value.
Upon entering, one can find groups of thieves, each boasting about their latest successful heists and exchanging intel about Demon activity, such as changes in patrol routes and areas with heavy defences. There are also individuals who prefer to sit alone to drink, never interacting with the other patrons.
I walked past all of them, straight to the room behind the bar. I proceeded down the stairs, into the basement, where I found a room filled with shelves displaying various items, none of which were obtained through legitimate means.
I glanced through the merchandise, stopping at a glass orb that I hadn't seen the last time I was here. It was priced at 30,000 Linux. I only had 10,000 Linux on my person, but could get the rest if I returned to my hideout. As I was looking at it, text started to appear on the surface. The text read:
After being hunted by wolves,
And forced to your knee,
Trust in the Silver Maiden,
And go to where you are meant to be.
"I didn't think you were interested in stuff like that," a voice behind me spoke, as I was contemplating the meaning of the words. I turned around to find Alicia Horowitz, the owner of The Thieves' Respite, with a smirk on her face.
"It's the first time I've seen a Glass Globe," I responded with a straight face. "It's not often an item as rare as this makes its way onto your shelves."
"You make it sound like I only have common junk to sell," Alicia sarcastically responded. "Supposedly, a Glass Globe can tell you about the near future, but everyone who has tried it has said that it gives them a complex poem that turns out to be of little significance."
"I highly doubt the bunch out there phrased it in quite that manner," I said mockingly, finally showing a slight smile. "Words like 'complex' and 'significance' are far too difficult to be in their vocabulary."
Alicia laughed in response to that. "You're right. I phrased it to cut down on the pointless drivel and rude language. I wouldn't want to expose my favourite student to that kind of stuff," she said, winking at me.
Alicia was the one who trained me how fight and how to sneak. She taught me how to survive.
"By the way, how have the last items I sold you been?" Alicia queried.
"The Stealth Cloak works just as you said it would," I replied. "It conceals my presence and makes it difficult for anyone to detect me."
"And the knife?"
A bloodthirsty grin appeared on my face. "It cuts through a Demons flesh better than anything I have ever fought with before."
Alicia sighed. "Just don't let your hatred of the Demons cloud your judgement. In combat, the first one to let their emotions take control, loses."
Alicia was aware of the fact that I despise the Demons, but has never once asked me the reason why, nor have I felt the need to tell her.
I smiled back at her in response, and then made a serious expression. "I got what you wanted."
"I know," Alicia replied, a smile reappearing on her face. "You wouldn't be here if you didn't, after all."
I reached into my satchel, removed one of the two items held within, a stone tablet, and handed it to Alicia. "Here. The tablet stored in Greed's chambers."
Alicia beamed as she accepted it from me. "Good boy. This is exactly what I wanted."
She took the tablet over to her desk and immediately started looking over it. "Oh. I wonder what sort of secrets this has recorded on it!"
"Don't forget about my reward, Alicia," I interrupted her before she could get lost in her research, which she did often.
"Of course, Ross," Alicia responded, clearly annoyed that I had interrupted her mid thought. "As we agreed, I have 25,000 Linux prepared for you to…"
"Keep it," I interrupted again. "I want that," I said, pointing at the Glass Globe.
Alicia looked towards the Glass Globe, and then sighed. "You always did have the strangest of interests. Ok, take it. I'll even give you a discount, so you don't have to pay the remaining 5,000L." She winked at me again.
I walked over to the shelf, picked up the Glass Globe, and placed it in my satchel.
"Now, is there anything else, or can I get on with my research?" Alicia asked.
"I have something else that I found while exploring the mansion," I replied, pulling a red orb out of my satchel.
"What is that?" Alicia asked, with clear interest in her voice, obviously never having seen anything like the orb before.
"I was hoping that you would be able to tell me," I responded. "I found it as I was making my way to the sewer entrance, deep in the basement. It was attached to a lot of machinery, and looked valuable, so I took it."
Alicia pondered this for a moment. "I've never seen anything like it before, so I won't be able to price it accurately. I know someone who might know more, but he's out of town for the next week. If you like, I'll hold onto it, show it to him when he gets back and let you know what he thinks."
I considered Alicia's proposal. "Thanks, but I think I'll hold onto it for the time being. I'll stop by when that guy shows up and we can…"
Suddenly, the door into the basement was thrown open and the bartender came running in. "We've got a problem, Alicia!" He shouted.
"What is it?" Alicia asked.
"Several Demons are approaching the tavern!" The bartender responded. "One of our regulars spotted them heading this way, and took a shortcut to warn us! He says that there are at least two dozen of them!"
Alicia turned to me. "Ross, they couldn't have followed you here, could they?" She asked in a panic.
"That's not possible," I replied. "I made sure that I didn't leave a trail, and that no one was tailing me. Unless…"
"Unless they were invisible and erasing their presence," I responded.
Alicia clicked her tongue and ran over to her desk. "Regardless of how they did it, they are here now, and I can't have this thing lying around for them to find." She picked up the tablet and handed it to me. "Take this with you and run."
"But that's…" I tried to object.
"If they tracked you here, they know what you look like," Alicia interrupted. "Having you take this stuff with will be the safest course of action for everyone else here."
"But not for me," I thought, but decided to keep that thought to myself. I took the tablet and placed it back inside my satchel.
"I'll try to distract them, to give you a chance to run. You wait for an opportunity and use it to escape." I could tell while Alicia said that, she didn't want to expose me to this kind of danger, but didn't have any other choice.
"I won't be back until after everything calms down," I replied. "I'll give you back your tablet at that time."
Alicia smiled. "Stay safe, Ross."
She walked past me and up the stairs. I put up my hood, made my way over to one of the basement windows, which led to an alleyway at the rear of the tavern, and peered outside, trying to get a grasp of the situation.
I heard the door to the tavern being thrown open and a lot of shouting followed. The Demons were likely demanding that I be handed over to them, while Alicia would be denying that I was even still here.
I opened the window and crawled out. Without bothering to dust myself off, I started to run, intending to return to my hideout. However, as soon as I turned the corner, I came face-to-face with three Demons.
"Today isn't my lucky day," I thought, cursing the odds that they would be there at that exact moment.
"Halt!" One of the Demons ordered, presumably the leader of the three. "We are under orders to prevent anyone from leaving this area! We are searching for the man known as Ross Knight! I order you to pull down your hood and show me your face!"
Underneath my cloak, I reached for one of the objects I keep attached to my belt, a smoke bomb. I grabbed it and threw it at the ground, creating a large smokescreen. Using that opportunity, I ran. The Demon swung his sword and blew the smokescreen away, and then they gave chase.
When I glanced back at them, I could see the expressions they were making. It was as if they were chasing down their prey. This might be what the Glass Globe meant when it mentioned me being 'hunted by wolves'.
"I might not be able to outrun them, but I know this area like the back of my hand, so I should be able to lose them if I take advantage of that."
I started zigzagging through the streets, which were designed almost like a maze, so it is easy to get lost in them, but I have been exploring them for years, I was confident that I would be able to lose them in there.
At first, the Demons were right on my heels, but I kept making as many turns as I could to throw them off.
After about fifteen minutes of running and hiding, I decided that since I hadn't seen them for a while, I must have lost them, so I stopped to take a breather.
"They were certainly persistent…" I said to myself, out of breath. "But I guess I won this round…"
After catching my breath, I turned around to leave… but two of the Demons were standing about twenty feet in front of me.
"Did you honestly think you could escape from us?" the leader asked in a mocking tone.
"Damn it! I didn't lose them after all?! However, if I'm this far from the tavern, more won't be drawn here if I fight them. If it's just the two of them, I might be able to win."
I drew my knife from my belt with my left hand, holding it in a reverse grip, pulled down my hood with my right, and got into my stance. I'm right-handed, but I wield my knife with my left hand, so that I can use my right hand as a second weapon.
"So, you don't intend to run anymore, Ross Knight?" The leader queried. "Very well. We were under orders to kill you anyway, so this makes things more fun."
The leader summoned a pitch-black sword and took a stance. "Leave him to me," He said to the other Demon. "I can handle a single human on my own."
The other Demon merely nodded and took two steps back. The leader and I stared at each other for a few seconds. He made the first move. He lunged forward and swung his sword at my throat. I deflected it with my knife, and then countered by grabbing his wrist, spinning him around me and throwing him back to where he started.
He looked impressed by my fighting ability. "I can tell that you have been training for years," he said. "In fact, I will have to go all out if I want to defeat you." He readied his stance again, and I did the same.
Suddenly, a red light started to shine for my satchel. I figured that it was most likely the red orb, but was confused as to why it was shining.
I didn't let the shining distract me from my opponent, which is why I noticed that his power had suddenly increased. The timing for the orb shining and his power increase was the exact same. It was as if the orb was providing him with power.
An evil grin appeared on the Demon's face. "I'm afraid you're fresh out of luck, boy." He lunged again, using the exact same tactic as before. I tried to deflect his sword in the same way, but his power was too great. He knocked my knife out of my hand, which then imbedded itself in a nearby wall, and then kicked me in the stomach. The kick lifted me off my feet and sent me flying through the air.
I suddenly came to a stop when I came in contact with another wall. I fell and landed with one knee on the ground.
"What?! There's not meant to be a wall behind me! So, what did I just crash into?!" I thought, completely confused.
"Ahahahahaha!" I heard a laugh from above and looked up to find the third Demon, flying.
"She must have created the wall with her Demonic powers!"
The flying Demon landed next to the other Demons, and then they all started approaching me. Slowly, in an attempt to intimidate me.
With my back to the wall, I remained kneeling on the ground. Understanding that I had no hope of getting out of this alive.
"This must be what the Glass Globe meant when it mentioned being 'forced to my knee'."
"We hold no personal grudge against you." Said the leader of the trio. "But, you know… orders are orders."
He raised his sword above his head and I closed my eyes, hoping that they would, at least, make it quick.
I heard the sound of something cutting through the air… but I didn't feel any pain. In fact, I don't think he even cut me.
"If he didn't attack me… what was that sound?"
I opened my eyes and, to my surprise, saw no trace of the Demons. Both them and the wall they had created had vanished, as if they had never been there.
But in their place, was a girl holding a golden sword.
I was completely surprised by her sudden appearance, but what surprised me the most was the colour of her hair. It was pure silver.
"The Silver Maiden? From the Glass Globe's prediction? Does this mean she will lead me to 'the place I'm meant to be?"
"Are you alright?" The girl asks as she sheathes her blade.
Since I was thinking about the Glass Globe's prediction, it took me a moment to register what she said.
"Oh uh… yes. Thank you." I stood up, realising that I was still kneeling on the ground.
The girl smiled as I stood up and dusted myself off. I was having trouble thinking of something to say, but then I suddenly realised something.
"Wait a minute! What happened to those Demons?!"
"I killed them." The girl responded, in a matter-of-fact tone.
"You killed them?"
The girl nodded.
"That's impossible! They were more powerful than an average Demon. There's no way a human could have killed a Demon of that level! Even if you did sneak up on them!"
"True… but I am not a human. I am an Angel."
Silence filled the air.
"You're an Angel?"
The girl nodded.
"But… what is an Angel doing here? This is deep within Demon Territory."
"I am here looking for you, Ross Knight."
Those words sent shivers down my spine.
"I haven't had much luck with people searching for me today, so I hope you're not going to do what those Demons tried to do. Also, how do you even know who I am?"
"I have no intention of killing you. In fact, you could say that it is partially my fault that those Demons were targeting you."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Before I explain all of that. I should introduce myself and tell you why I am here."
The girl looked me straight in the eyes as she says this.
"My name is Sylvia Highlander, and I have a proposition for you."
"Sylvia Highlander." I couldn't help but repeat the name. It felt like a perfect match for this girl. "What kind of proposition?" I asked timidly.
Sylvia smiled and then asked, "How would you like to form a contract with me?"