08

Beelzebub found it weird that she found herself in a dark alley with Sakuma.

"Where are we?"

"Kyoto. There's a shopping centre I want to check out. But I just remembered something."

"What?"

"The fact that you're tagging along." Beelzebub simply blinked. "I believe humans would panic upon seeing you."

"Why?"

"Well… Sharp horns, reptilian tails and fly wings aren't exactly common." As Sakuma chuckled awkwardly, Beelzebub noticed her peculiar features in a different light. However, with a single simple thought, those features began to shrink, eventually disappearing. "Uh? Wait… you can remove them?"

"Demons can change their form as they wish. It takes some time for weak demons or if it's for more drastic changes."

"That… makes sense…" Sakuma admitted, recalling that most of the demons he had hunted down didn't have a natural human appearance, though he had just assumed it was for some reason he did not know of, such as 'the true appearance of their corrupt souls', though now it made more sense if such was done through free will rather than anything else. But there was something else about Beelzebub that could be considered rather eye-catching and unusual. "But there's still your clothes…"

"What about them?"

"Humans don't really dress like that. I mean, at least outside of…!" His eyes flashed with the appearance of an idea. "…If anyone asks, you're Cosplaying."

"…Cosplaying?"


The first stretch of the run was somewhat uncomfortable because of everybody staring at Beelzebub and commenting between themselves at how ridiculous she looked. Sakuma didn't appreciate the comments towards Beelzebub at all, but he simply sighed and ignored them, since he knew Beelzebub herself didn't care all that much. Though he did murmur to himself 'Now I remember why I killed myself'.

In fact, the comments were somewhat uncalled for, since Beelzebub's clothes weren't that weird to begin with: a tight maid-like outfit, mainly black and orange.

Reaching a clothes shop, Sakuma gave the excuse of how Beelzebub appeared to be cosplaying but got her regular clothes stolen, so they would have to change clothes inside and pay while she was wearing them. Luckily, the shop clerks bought it, but it wasn't without a given frown.

And thus, Sakuma waited outside of the changing room, just thinking about miscellaneous and random ideas. Shortly after, the curtain opened up. Peeking inside, Sakuma found Beelzebub wearing a simple black dress, made of a soft and silky material, thigh lengthened, meaning the skirt was rather short, but concealing nonetheless.

"…Why are you blushing?"

"Uh?" Sakuma glanced into the mirror of the room and noticed that his cheeks became coloured. "Umm… What can I say?"

"The answer?"

Sakuma flinched and chuckled awkwardly. "Let's just get out of here. You must be starving."

Beelzebub answered with a simple nod and grabbed her regular clothes. Leaving the shop after paying, Sakuma carried Beelzebub's clothes in a bag of the shop. However, before they could move to the restaurant level, the teenager had a couple of shops to visit.

One of which, a bookstore.

"Wait, she's going to appear in tonight's episode?!" The news that an actress, whose work was very familiar to Sakuma, was going to appear in the drama Sakuma was currently watching blew him away. "This can only end well."

Beelzebub was at a loss towards Sakuma's banter over the series he was watching, and so she made her way to venture through random books.

One caught her eyes. It was named 'Only You'. She picked it up, going though the pictures of the manga book. Suddenly, however, her face went completely red, despite the stoic face. She dropped the book, stunned, and moved towards Sakuma. She pulled on his sleeve in order to leave the store.

"Hm? What's the matter?"

She refused to speak, simply trying to leave. Sakuma glanced back could guess by the book on the floor and the images it displayed what was going on. In fact, he was familiar with such manga.

It was a story about two girls, best friends, who explored their sexuality together only to end up together as a couple.

"Oh… you found that section."

"No comments."

"Isn't that one?!"


"A large and a medium menus, please."

The employee quickly set up two trays, each with a hamburger, a set of fries, and a drink of their choosing. Well, Sakuma's choosing, since Beelzebub knew nothing about the fizzy drinks displayed on the machine resting on the counter.

Copying Sakuma's example, Beelzebub picked her tray and moved alongside him to a nearby table, sitting down across him.

"…"

"Don't be shy. Dig in. I know it's not much, but maybe it fits for an appetizer?"

"…" The Sin of Gluttony picked up her burger with both hands and reluctantly opened her mouth, biting down on the food. Sakuma could see her munching and swallowing the bit she had taken into her mouth, and his lips curled up a bit upon seeing her bit down on it again, somewhat more eagerly.

"You like it?"

"I do." She didn't stop taking bites of the burger. Sakuma observed while he himself took a couple of fries and placed them inside his mouth. "By the way…"

"Hm?"

"What is that green paper you keep giving to every shopkeeper?"

"Shopkeeper?" Despite finding it strange, he could see why Beelzebub would use such a peculiar word, and decided not to question it. "It's money."

"Money? It looks much different than from my time."

"Your time?"

"I was a human once too." She informed, before taking another bite, close to finishing her burger. "Where did you get it?"

"I…" Sakuma flinched, looking away awkwardly and scratching one of his cheeks. "I… kind of stole it."

"You did?"

"I teleported myself to America and tricked Satan into punching an ATM Machine." He could tell that Beelzebub didn't know the meaning of that word, despite her blank usual look. "It's a kind of machine that offers you live money if you have any of it stored. The thing is that I don't really have any of it stored, so I had to take some myself. I then quickly went to a couple of places in Japan in order to exchange the currency bit by bit."

"Currency?"

"Money in America is different than the one in Japan. And since I'm from Japan, it would make more sense if I hung around this area. Not to mention, it's highly illegal to take money from an ATM, so exchanging it in a different country just a few seconds later throws off suspicion."

Beelzebub still had a bit of difficulty to grasp Sakuma's explanation, but managed to do so nonetheless. "…You're smart."

"Uh?" The compliment came out of nowhere, but it still made his cheeks turn crimson. "T-Thanks…"

After finishing the burger, Beelzebub glanced at the fries and tried them. Needless to say, the results were the same. Sakuma couldn't help but to chuckle to himself at such a sight. Seeing someone do something they enjoy for the very first time is always fun to watch, at least in his opinion.

As she saw him taking a sip from his drink, her curiosity grew. She imitated his actions and drank the sweet and refreshing contents of the cardboard cup.

"…What's this?"

"Oh. It's a kind of soda. You like it?"

"It's… different…" The girl kept drinking the soda, pausing in between in order to munch on fries.

"Well, as soon as I finish, we can go to a place where you can eat a lot more."

"Where?"

Sakuma grinned as he placed his lips on the straw of his drink. "Next door, of course."


A large platter of all sorts of mysterious food stood in front of Beelzebub and Sakuma, though the boy wasn't going to eat any of it. It ranged from fried rice to deliciously prepared meat or shrimps.

"Is this really Chinese Food?"

"Not exactly." Sakuma chuckled, knowing that using the term of 'Chinese Food' to characterize the dishes was somewhat off. Though, they were in a Chinese Restaurant, so it was probably the best way to describe it. "Go ahead. Hope you enjoy."

Beelzebub's growling stomach encouraged her to take the chopsticks and started a rather long meal. Despite the time, Sakuma could always give the excuse to the waiters of it being an early dinner if necessary.

The Sin of Gluttony didn't hold back upon tasting some of the food. Her plate became filled with as much as possible, and it wouldn't take long for it to become empty.

In the meantime, Sakuma took out the box he had brought from one of the shops he had been in and started working on its contents. The strange device he held up didn't escape Beelzebub's curiosity though.

"What's that?"

"It's a cell phone. It's basically a communication device."

"…Why did you buy eight?"

Looking inside the box, it could be seen that Sakuma had in his possession eight cell phones, all of the same model, but different colours. "One is for me. The rest is for, well, the rest of you girls."

"But for what?"

"Again, communicating. If the TV set in the living room, which I'm still trying to understand why exactly you had one-"

Beelzebub interrupted with an explanation. "Mammon got it a couple of years ago. She found it fascinating, but we only used it every once in a while."

Sakuma blinked twice before continuing his explanation.

"…well, it shows human channels. Which means that it receives TV waves. So, in theory, it should be possible to call someone in Hell from Earth and vice-versa. I think. Especially after I set up internet at home."

He chuckled awkwardly, finding it weird the way he spoke about such a matter.

"What?" Beelzebub questioned.

"When did talking about this kind of things became common?"

"As soon as you met us, I believe."

"I guess." Sakuma replied, chuckling.

Beelzebub stared at her food for three full seconds before speaking again. "You did get used to this new life oddly fast."

"Well…" Sakuma looked away, somewhat embarrassed. Not because he thought Beelzebub, or any other person by that matter, would laugh at him for what he was about to say, but rather because he himself thought it was ridiculous that he was going to matter such words.

"I got used to all this so quickly, despite not being able to accept a whole world before… is because I don't really have anything else to embrace."

Beelzebub would've flinched at the words if she didn't maintain her stoic face.

The words themselves weren't surprising. After all, Sakuma had committed suicide, left behind an entire life for a reason. What she didn't expect was to hear such words so quickly. Or even to hear them at all. She expected anyone in his situation to just keep those words to themselves, maybe brushing off a question like that with an answer like 'Oh, I'm just really good at adapting' or something of the sort.

However, something didn't seem to fit with the logic.

"…You seem fine though."

"Uh? What do you mean?"

"You didn't fit in society, right? Yet, you seem fine with all of this. The stores, the restaurants." Beelzebub didn't stop eating as she questioned her date.

"Well, it's not like I had a problem with every single thing. My problem was mostly with… people."

"People?"

"It's… hard to explain."

What could be confused with the lightest of chuckles could be heard coming out of her nostrils. Sakuma's eyes almost widened at the event.

"Hard to explain or hard to say?"

Sakuma flinched and looked at the demon in front of him, amazed. "…How did you know?"

"…I was human once too. And I've had my share of problems as well. And…" placing down the chopsticks, Beelzebub stared down onto her left hand.

Memories began to surface. Her eyes widened and her irises and pupils shrank down. Fangs could be seen at the corners of her mouth, her breathing became faster, somewhat heavy, and her hand began to shake.

"…"

"H-Hey, Beelzebub… are you okay?" Genuinely worried and somewhat scared, Sakuma attempted to reach out to her.


Shadows of dark red and black disguised her memory. Cries of fear, yells of rage, useless and fallen death to her ears. At some point, everyone feared her just as much as the Grim Reaper itself. Her presence was a message of destruction, a moving massacre.

The growling of her stomach could have been confused with a roar of a dragon. Flesh, bone, organs, stone, wood, iron. Whatever came close to her sharp teeth, it would disappear in a matter of seconds. Her painful hunger wouldn't cease, no matter what.

Tears meant nothing to her, blood was seen as seasoning, and taste didn't matter. Even if bread tasted like ash, wine felt like rotten water, or if something was beyond acceptable condition, she would devour it no matter what, in attempt to stop her hunger.

It didn't stop. It would never stop. That is, until she looked at her right hand. Coming closer to it, a thin drop of saliva emerged from the corner of her mouth.

She bit it down.


"Beelzebub!" Sakuma's yell called her back to reality. Her teeth were sunk into her hand, the muscle that connected her thumb to the rest. Opening her eyes, she could see the appendage at the end of her arm soaked in blood. Upon removing her teeth, Sakuma quickly reached to her, holding a napkin which he used to clean the blood on her hand. "What happened?"

"I…" Beelzebub leaned back. "…What are you doing?"

"Cleaning the blood! And making sure the wound doesn't expel any more of it!"

"…There's no wound."

"What are you-?!" Removing the napkin, Sakuma glanced and found no marking whatsoever. Not even a sign that the wound had ever been open. Like it never existed to begin with. He was confused at first, but putting his instincts aside, he remembered. "…Regeneration?"

"I'm a demon. You don't have to worry about me getting hurt."

"Even so…" Reluctantly, Sakuma returned to his seat, tossing the blood soaked napkin aside. "I can't really help it."

"Why not?"

"…It's just a natural reaction, I guess." He admitted, before proceeding to question the elephant in the room. "…What was that?"

"…It's hard to say."

"I see…" Sakuma sighed with guilt. If he had just explained his situation with humans, maybe Beelzebub wouldn't have bitten herself. "…Remembering a past life is painful, isn't it?"

"Hmm-hmm…" Beelzebub simply kept on eating, as Sakuma started working on the cell phones once again.

The phones he had bought were of a special brand, where cell phones of the same model could text each other without the use of a phone account, meaning that it would be free to use, but they would be restricted to communicating between themselves alone.

Beelzebub kept satisfying her taste buds with the exotic flavour of the food, until she was interrupted.

"…A friend."

"Huh?" The Sin of Gluttony looked up at Sakuma. He was completely serious, focused on the screen of the cellphone he was setting up. In a way, the face didn't fit.

"…I miss my friend. And… my sister." His eyes never deviated. "…Belphegor reminds me of my little sister… But just a bit. And… I miss talking with my friend. About… just anything."

"…" Beelzebub was taken aback. "…Have you told anyone?"

"…Only to you. Because… I don't know. I'm just… venting." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "It's no use to think about them anyway."

The Sin of Gluttony, for a moment, saw something that the others had never seen: weakness from Sakuma.

They weren't unfamiliar with him being afraid of something in the middle of a battle, be it an unknown aspect of demons he never knew before, upcoming powerful blows, or even intimidating appearances from his foes. But this was the first time reflected the pain of his previous life.

However, before she could speak, before she could say anything, a sensation made her flinch. She was well familiar with this sensation… Her eyes narrowed and she suddenly stood up, astonishing Sakuma.

"W-What…?"

Suddenly, the lights of the entire building were turned off. Sakuma didn't understand at first but he put two and two together and stood up as well, with the same look as Beelzebub.

As if in perfect unison, the two said the same thing amidst the yells of the panicking civilians.

"There's a demon in here."