Chapter 1 - Welcome to Hell:
He thought his eyes would never open again. But he was wrong.
The blur disappeared as the sight focused on the surroundings. It took a moment for the young man to realize that the shapeless black and red colors that entertained each other both frantically and gently weren't an illusion. They were a part of reality. As his senses recovered from the slumber he had just woken up from, there were many odd effects he found himself subjected to: his body appeared to be weightless, almost as if his muscles and bones were inexistent; the air had no smell whatsoever, making the simple act of breathing uncomfortable; instead of being under the effects of gravity, he felt as if his body was somehow levitating in midair, making it difficult to tell whether he was standing upright or in a horizontal position.
After recovering his strength, the boy shifted into a position he considered much more comfortable, a position that allowed him to feel as if he was standing up the right way, at least in the situation at hands. Looking around and analyzing the surroundings led to no results: he was alone.
Or so he had thought.
"Where… am I?"
"So, you've woken up?"
The mysterious voice startled him, the scare being responded with an instinctive search for the source of the sound all around the enigmatic void he found himself in.
"As an advice, I recommend for you not to show weakness to others."
Referring to the stuttering, the voice giggled ever so lightly. The teenager could now tell that it was indeed a female voice. While it sounded like it could belong to a girl of his age, it had a hint of longevity and maturity, along with other traits he was unable to put his finger on, triggering his curiosity. Something seemed wrong with it, but not in the sense of an affected or ill state. It had something to do how it spoke or the tone it used.
Following the advice, the boy asserted his question with a stronger tone. "…Who and where are you…?"
"I'm right here with you." Not understanding the sense of the sentence, the boy put on an inquisitive look, but he was taken aback when a wisp of violet-colored fire appeared, just three meters away from him. It was just a little larger than the size of a clenched fist, and didn't seem to present any danger from the way the flames quivered gently. However, that state of innocuousness didn't last long.
Before him, the wisp grew large, the light it emitted being reflected in his monotone eyes. Its size appeared to be close to his humanoid stature after the increase, and shortly after, it assumed yet another shape.
The flames extinguished themselves, revealing a beautiful young woman in its place. The boy's eyes widened in amazement due to her appearance: graceful, majestic, composed, well-dressed despite the strangeness of the outfit, royal, between many others.
The woman giggled, which made the boy break his trance. It took him a moment to realize that he had been staring at her for the past half-minute. But it wasn't without reason. Any person would be stunned after witnessing such an event.
"You know, staring at me won't make me thank you. I'm already aware of my beauty."
"I-I wasn't focusing on that, actually…"
"Oh? Then what were you focusing on?"
Her words made him figure out what her voice had of wrong: beneath the serene and beautiful sound hid malice. The image of a snake came to his mind, hissing beautifully, but leaving a sense of evil to linger in his mind.
"…I was… trying to understand what just happened. And you still haven't answered my questions." He reminded.
"So it seems. Well then, I shouldn't leave you in the shadows for so long." She uncrossed her arms and placed the right hand over her hip. Chuckling silently, after having her eyes closed for a moment, she opened them back up, and with a vain smirk, she answered. "My name is Lucifer. Welcome to my realm."
The boy flinched. After all, the name wasn't new to him: Lucifer, the fallen angel, sent to Hell by God due to his actions. He was standing right in front of the Devil. However, one of the things he found most astounding was the fact that Lucifer was a woman, something that had never been suggested when referring to the being.
But bigger questions came.
"Your realm…? Then… is this…?"
She muttered another snicker. "Your thoughts are correct. This is Hell."
A regular person would've most likely accepted her words as nothing more than a dream, a normal human would refuse to accept such a thing, and an ordinary man would be turned insane after accepting it as the truth.
But she knew he wouldn't.
"You seem far too comfortable with the thought."
"I knew this was one of the options of what would happen after I died. Well, to an extent."
"Fair enough. However, I should warn you that not everyone is greeted by me personally. You should feel honored."
He didn't know whether or not she had a point, but decided to continue the conversation. "Then… Why is the Devil herself talking with me of all people? After all, I'm not exactly special in any way that comes to mind."
"Does there need to be a reason? Do you think you have to be special in some sort of way for this to happen?" Lucifer scoffed and crossed her arms, making the boy flinch. "Let me tell you this: you are definitely not special. You're just a human. And you just so happen to possess some features that might come in handy."
"I'll explain that later." Clearing her throat, she proceeded to explain a different matter. "As you might have figured out by now, Demons are a reality. Due to a recent incident, one can say that a vast majority of them escaped to the Human Realm. 'Earth', as you humans call it."
The boy did not respond. He just proceeded to listen carefully to what she had to say.
"I represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins, Pride. And much to my dismay, while I would punish every single demon that actually escaped with my very hands, there is a drawback to representing such an evil: on Earth, the other Six Deadly Sins and I do not possess powers on the Human Realm. Quite sad, if you ask me."
"…How exactly do I fit in the situation?"
A smirk curled up. "You will act as our 'huntsman'." The young man flinched. "While we do not have much powers of our own while on Earth, we can at least offer some power to someone else through certain methods. But we still need a volunteer."
"Why not a demon? I'm pretty sure that it would be a better choice than a human."
"I'm not any fonder of demons than I am of humans, to an extent. And while you do have a point, a human shows a much lower risk of betraying us than a demon."
"I can see why…" A demon who hunts demons would probably either become an outcast within its own species or escape the grasp of Hell once more. A human wouldn't have either option.
Lucifer raised a hand up to her neck and quickly snapped her fingers, making six more fire wisps to appear next to her, three on each side, each colored differently. From left to right, orange, light blue, green, red, yellow, and deep blue.
Each one materialized into a different demon, each shaped like a female human with its own traits and assets.
A strong frown.
A clenched fist.
A peaceful expression.
A lovely smile.
A seeping tongue.
A curious blush.
"Allow me to introduce you to my partners. Leviathan the Green Envy, Satan the Red Wrath, Belphegor the Blue Sloth, Mammon the Yellow Greed, Beelzebub the Orange Gluttony, and Asmodeus the Indigo Lust."
Somewhat hesitant at first, the boy tried to speak as naturally as possible. "Hello. It's a pleasure to meet you all."
"And it annoys me for some reason… Why isn't he afraid of us?!"
"Calm down… calm down…"
"My, my, isn't that something a bit greedy to ask for?"
"It is. …I wonder he tastes like…"
"So do I!"
The boy flinched at most of the comments, making him wonder what kind of mindset each one of them had.
"If I may continue!" Lucifer spoke with a louder tone of voice, calling everyone's attention. Needless to say, everyone went silent. "We are the Seven Queens of Inferno, the Seven Demons that represent the Seven Deadly Sins. But, as I explained before we do not have powers that allow us to bring back all of the demons while we're on Earth. Thus, we shall make a Deal!"
A Deal with the Devil. If something was certain in the world was that no matter what kind of agreement it is, the results are never positive. And no matter how many times this is made, cowards and fools still wander into the darkness and it always takes them in without second thoughts. It was a story as old as time, but the predicament in question made the boy think.
He was already dead, and in Hell of all places.
What could possibly be worse? Or rather, what could possibly go wrong? His thoughts comforted him in order to put on a straight face, but bearing a small smile. "What does the Deal consist of?"
"You will serve as our link to retrieve every Demon currently in the Human Realm back to Hell. In return, we will alter your soul in order to fit these parameters." Lucifer's right index finger rose up. "First: your soul, just like Demons and other kinds of beings, will become material, and gain a physical form." As she continued to point out the traits, Lucifer's fingers rose as if she were counting. "Second: because of the first transformation, you will possess the form you currently possess forever, thus making you eternally young. Third: your body, being a soul, will last forever unless you lose all of your power, which is something hard to accomplish. We'll discuss about that later, but you are essentially immortal as a result. Fourth: while souls in Hell become corrupt over time, thus making them turn into demons, yours will be unaffected by such. You will neither be a human nor a demon. Fifth: you will be able to transport yourself between Hell and Earth, essentially allowing you to teleport into whichever world of the two you desire."
It was surprising to say the least. The boy fell silent, his mouth slightly agape. Noticing this, the Violet Pride smirked.
"I believe you've figured out that something like this is most likely what you desire the most. I might not know much about you. To be honest, I don't even know your name. But I do know that what you desired most was to live yet stay away from all other humans, not be bound by the rules they have established since centuries ago. Correct?"
"…" With a sigh, the uncomfortable look was replaced with a soft smile. "I guess nothing escapes you."
"Indeed. So, do you accept?"
A snicker came from the boy. "I would be mad not to." Looking at all Seven Demonesses, he asked "Where do I sign?"
"Here." The seven of them made a half-circle between themselves and placed their hands together, one on top of each other. The boy, admittedly, found the gesture weird, remembering him of something akin to what the members of a sports team would for support and encouragement among themselves. But he didn't object or question it.
In many iterations of the 'Deal with the Devil' that he had seen or read about, the Deal would be sealed by shaking hands, a kiss, or even writing down one's name on an actual paper contract, but this wasn't a Deal with just the Devil.
This was a Deal with Lucifer, Leviathan, Satan, Belphegor, Mammon, Beelzebub, and Asmodeus.
His hand pressed onto the pile and a pain surged inside the left side of his chest. It burned, it made him want to scream, but at the same time, he didn't feel the need to do so. He didn't shake, shiver, or let out any sound. Almost as if he couldn't.
A blinding light flashed all around him, obligating him to shut his eyes tightly. Shortly after, reluctantly, his eyes opened, slowly. In front of him stood a tall castle-like structure, underneath a sky of black and scarlet, and built on top of vermillion rocky soil. After focusing his sight again, he could see the Seven Queens as well.
"This is your new home. Be thankful." They started walking towards the building, until Lucifer turned around, with a doubt in mind. "Oh yeah… What's your name?"
"My name?" The boy seemed nervous and reluctant for some reason. It became suspicious after some seconds of silence, but putting on another soft smile, he answered. "My name is Sakuma."