The final bell rang aloud at precisely 3:00 PM. Like the rest of my new classmates, I had already packed my bag and was sitting on the edge of my seat, staring at the slowly ticking needle of the cloned clock. C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, hurry up.
Without a moment's hesitation I ran out the room as soon as the English teacher dismissed us. I made a beeline straight for Dorm 6 in the next building, knocking people out of the way and getting curses aimed at me. Not the magical kind, just the crude insults variety.
"Hey! Watch where you're—oh Nyx why the hurry?" Tigerlily questioned me as I accidentally shoved her into one of her other pixie friends and a vampire. I ignored her and continued to run until I crashed into my room and slammed the door shut, locking it immediately after.
I tossed my bag in the general direction of my bed and pulled out the amber shard from under my shirt. It got stuck on the tie, so I ripped the tie off in my impatience and quickly thought up my room in the palace.
My room. Collage of faded blue walls instead of standard cream. Grey carpeting instead of sleek wood. Black, blue and grey bed that was used more during the day than at night. Medium sized couch, a haven in Hell after a long day. That's my room.
I felt the now much more familiar tingles buzzing my skin and when they stopped I opened my eyes to greet what I call home. Well, not the exact place I was trying to teleport to, but it was still part of home.
"It's you! How'd you do that?" the human from last night (or would it be this morning?) pointed. He was lounging in one of Lucifer's rooms, Room 5 I believe. It was a clone of mine but the color scheme was green and white, which I still don't understand. The room was too happy and perky color-wise which really doesn't make much sense. Then again, Lucifer rarely did make some, if any, sense.
He sprang up from the bed and began to circle me, not like a cat stalking his prey but like an intrigued scientist of sorts. His brow was scrunched and had a hand scratching the area above his ear in confused thought.
"Quit looking at me like a science experiment, boy," I ordered sharply, and mentally smiled as he did as I ordered and backed away in slight fear.
I looked around the room and frowned, "I swear I meant to teleport into my room, not this one."
The human's eyes widened and he began to ramble, his speech rapidly accelerated in his excitement, "Teleport? You can teleport? Can you fly too? And magic? Can you shoot lasers out of your eyes and curse people n' turn 'em into toads? N' dragons? Do dragons exist n' griffins n' nymphs n'—"
"Can you shut up for just a moment?" I snapped, eyes flaring. I was so not in the mood to answer a bunch of ridiculous questions of some human who causes more trouble than he may be worth. I hadn't had a chance to even begin catching up on lost sleep, and his pestering plus the 6 hours of pointless facts being crammed into my head was not helping.
"Where's Lucifer?" I asked.
I may have been a bit too snappish at him but he answered anyway, albeit warily, "He, uh, he said he had to go to some meeting and he'd be back at, erm, in a bit."
"When'd he leave?"
The boy closed his left eye and bit his bottom lip, "Around 20 minutes ago, I think. He told me to stay here and keep out of trouble."
I snorted, "I don't blame him."
Sighing I walked over to the moss green couch and flopped on my back, one leg hanging off the edge and the other tucked in with my knee jutting upwards. "He won't be back for another hour at least. Council Meetings take an inordinate amount of time. Especially with Lunaria on the loose I'd be surprised if he returns in the next 3 hours."
I turned my head to see the boy standing awkwardly at the foot of the bed. He was fidgeting, clearly out of his comfort zone and I'm sure my moodiness wasn't helping the situation.
Reluctantly getting myself out of my current very comfortable position, I got up and patted the seat in front of me as I put my back to the armrest. "Despite what you think, I won't eat you, boy. Besides, I think you've got a lot of questions to ask and I doubt Lucifer bothered to answer them when he brought you here."
"I have a name you know," he muttered under his breath and I'm sure I wasn't supposed to hear. Still, he moved to stand next to the couch and I had to tug his arm to get him to sit down.
"I see Lucifer got you some clothes," I commented as my eyes drifted over his form, changing the subject. He had a new, loose dark green shirt that was stain and tear free, jeans without holes and a brand spanking new pair of army green converse. Lucifer is so obsessed with color coordinating it's almost ridiculous.
He looked down at himself and smiled, "Yeah, I don't remember the last time I had clean clothes and a pair o' shoes that weren't about to break. Plus a roof over my head and food on demand? This place is more like Heaven instead o' Hell."
Call it pity or a rare sense of responsibility, but whatever it was made me jump off the couch to stand in front of him and do a quick examination as I said, "Well then, what would you like to be?"
"Huh?" he asked. "What'd ya mean?"
"Well, I for one do not want to sit in a way too perky room and talk for the next three hours, and I'm pretty sure you're dying of curiosity so I figured we could walk around certain areas of the palace and I could answer some questions of yours. But, you can't just waltz around as a human so I'm going to put up a shade so no one will find you out of place. So, what'll it be? Demon or dark angel?"
"Er, uhh, um," he stuttered, unable to form words.
I held back a laugh at his utterly gob smacked expression and carelessly drawled, "Well, if you don't give me an answer, I'll make you a bright pink flower faerie complete with glittery wings and flashy pants."
"Angel! I'll be an angel!" he jumped out of his seat, clearly distressed at the thought of being seen as a faerie of pinkness.
I laughed, clutching my stomach and he realized I was kidding as he rolled his eyes and drawled, "Oh haha. Very funny, Nyx."
When he said my name, I instantly sobered and was honestly surprised, "You remember my name?"
He shrugged, "Well yeah. Kind o' hard to forget the name of a one-winged angel who ain't too bad to look at."
"Flattery will only get you some places, Matt," I responded immediately and noticed his small lopsided grin as I said his name. "Hold still and shut up for a moment."
I closed my eyes and thought up a simple shade of a boy with black hair, pale grey eyes and large black wings similar to that of a crow's. I opened my eyes to view my handiwork and smiled smugly.
"What? What'd you do this time?" he turned around himself like a dog chasing his tail and I had to resist falling to the floor in a fit of laughter.
"You are now a black haired, grey eyed, dark angel. It's just an illusion though so don't go jumping off buildings in an attempt to fly," I answered. "Wait. You can't see your fake wings?"
He shook his head, "Nope, I feel a little different, like someone poured some sorta gloop or somethin' over me but otherwise, I'm pretty much the same."
This time it was my turn to circle him like an intrigued lab coat wearer, "You really are a weird human, boy."
"And we're back to the 'boy' calling, I'd call you angel but that sounds like a compliment," he complained and actually pouted.
I walked to the door of the room and called out as I waited for him to follow, "Call me angel and I'll teleport you into a nest of hungry and very grumpy water sprites while you'll be looking like a nice, big, stinking freshwater fish. They'll hardly tell the difference between fish meat and human meat, so watch your words, boy." I can't actually do all that, but he doesn't need to know.
He ran up to me as I exited the room and walked towards Lucifer's private gardens. Lucifer had all his private rooms in a whole separate wing of his palace, so it was safe for us to walk around, we just couldn't be too loud. There were some places though where we'd have to cross the main hallways and have the small chance of running into one of the palace guards or staff. Hence, the precaution shade I put on Matt.
"So, where ya takin' me?" he asked cautiously as his eyes roamed the hallway with open curiosity. It proved my suspicion that Lucifer had pretty much locked Matt in Room 5 since the morning.
"A garden. It's my favorite place to take a nap where no one but Lucifer can bother me," I answered, already envisioning the unique plants that could only grow in Hell. My absolute favorites were only grown in Lucifer's private ones since they were incredibly hard to grow, but their magnificence made up for the hard work.
"A garden?" he repeated, skeptically.
"Yes a garden. Now shut up and walk. If you want answers you'll have to follow me," I ordered, my eagerness to see my garden making me less patient by the second.
After only one run in with a demon who greeted me with a scowl and sent a disgusted look to Matt for walking next to me, we finally reached the glass doors that led out to a cavern only lit up by bright glowing blue crystals that contained mixtures of demon and faerie magic. They had darkly colored vines wrapped around them, giving a more enchanted look and the faint copper sulphate colored glow they emitted in broken shafts made the cavern all the more ethereal.
"Woah..." Matt breathed as he took in the scene with wide eyes.
A variety of unique, darkly colored plants were perfectly laid out by type and shade. Small, silver vines with razor sharp leaves that perfectly fit the "beautiful but deadly" category acted as fences, guarding each section.
There were special versions of plants found in the human world of unearthly colors as well as plants not even heard of in legends, all naturally grown. Dark maroon buttercups, purple stemmed orchids, ivory daffodils and Elven cuprum to name a few.
Elven cuprum is a leafy plant that requires Elf magic to grow and is a dull grey plant with bright copper leaves that curl in on themselves as they age. The leaves are highly toxic but the roots can be used in medicines or potions for experienced alchemists.
I smiled softly, "Yeah." I've been down here so many times (I lost count after the first 30 or 40) and it still takes my breath away.
I walked down the stone pathway until I reached the center of the cavern. I crouched down to lay a ghost's touch to the velvet petals of Lucifer's prized flowers and my personal favorite. Pure black roses.
I heard Matt quietly walk up behind me until he crouched down, enthralled by the flower.
"They're amazin'," he whispered as if he were afraid the tiniest bit of noise would destroy the seemingly unreal flowering buds.
"You're extremely lucky to see them. Barely any demons or other beings of Hell have had the honor of seeing one, much less a whole batch, in person," I whispered back inattentively for all my attention was on the exceptionally rare flora of Hell.
Unlike the mortals' 'black' roses, these were actually pure black. No tinges of purple or extremely dark blue and these were naturally grown like everything else in the cavern. They were black as a night in the arctic regions during the dead of winter with dusted silver stems and leaves the color of soot-tainted snow.
I crossed my legs under me and planted myself on the cool floor with Matt following my lead. Taking my attention away from the beauty, I opened the metaphorical doors, "So, question time."
Like an excited puppy he began, "What other magical creatures are there? Do you live in the human world and how many are there? How long have you all been around? Is the guy who brought me here really the Lucifer?"
I laughed, entertained by his infectious eagerness and answered each question, "There's hundreds of other 'magical creatures', as you call us. Faeries, witches, vampires, werewolves, angels, warlocks, pixies, elves, dwarves, and so on. But there are subsections of each type, like weres for example. Werewolves are only one of a thousand breeds. There's a were for almost every animal in existence."
Matt's jaw was getting closer and closer to the floor and his eyes were gradually expanding as each word left my mouth.
I continued, "Most of us live in the human world, but demons and dark angels prefer to live in Hell while the Fay tend to stick to mythical forests and sometimes human forests and valleys. And yes, Avalon is real though it's extremely difficult, more like almost impossible really, to get in unless you're a high-ranking Fay. Angels, the white winged ones, prefer to stay in the Upper Realm, which I guess is what you humans would call Heaven. Other than that, it depends on the person though we generally tend to lie low in the human world, spread out though so not much trouble will be caused. Supernaturals in general have been around since humans, some even before but those ones are rare. Lucifer is one of them and there's these special demons called Elemental Demons who are so mysterious, many supernaturals think of them as merely myth. And yes, the guy who brought you here is the Lucifer. King of Hell, Satan, the Devil, call him what you wish."
I could tell that all the information was overwhelming, but he didn't seem to mind as he asked, "Why do you call me 'boy'? You're not even that much older than me."
I chuckled, "I call you boy because that is what you are. Plus, it annoys you which is a bonus for me. Let me ask, how old are you?"
"Turned 17 two months ago," he answered, a little confused.
"I've been around for almost 242 years before you were even born, Matt," I said, waiting for his response.
He opened his mouth but closed it again and I could see the clogs slowly accelerating in his mind, sparks from the speed and friction flying about.
Finally he exclaimed, "You're two hundred and sixty years old?"
I mock glared, "No. 259 in a month, thank you very much."
"But...but...you," he jabbed a finger at me, "You look like you're my age..."
"Is my age really more surprising than anything I've told you so far?" I asked, honestly curiously amused at his reaction.
He was too stunned to nod or shake his head and just stared at me, trying to find evidence of my extraordinary age.
"I age 1/15 of a human. For every 15 years, I only age once. In human years I am 17, but I've been 17 for almost 4 years," I explained.
He nodded, still disbelieving but taking in my clarification. For a few moments he was silent, only staring blankly.
I smirked, "What happened? You attacked me with a volley of question when I teleported to the room and when I finally let you ask. You already ran out?"
"No, well, I wanna pick an important question. Somethin' I really wanna know more than anythin' so I don't waste time," he answered, still racking his head. His eyes widened as his head shot up when he finally decided, but he seemed to hesitate.
"Go on, ask me anything. I kind of owe it to you for dragging you along last time," I encouraged him. As an after thought I added, "Though I'm still not sure how I did that."
He took a breath and asked, "I was wondering about your wing. You're other one."
"Oh." I should have known he would ask.
I looked away from his questioning gaze and stared at the black roses while I spoke, "I don't have another wing."
Even without looking I knew he had no idea what I meant so I continued, "Supernaturals are pretty uptight about same species mating so if a child is born who is only half, they are looked down upon. There's two types of halves, half-breed and hybrid. Half-breeds are half human and are more accepted than a hybrid who has two supernatural parents of different species. I'm a hybrid, but a hybrid freak. Hybrids mostly take after one parent, but I don't. I have only one wing and I don't even know what my other half is. There's been no signs and I can do things that dark angels shouldn't be able to do but there isn't a close enough connection to another type of supernatural."
He was quiet again before tentatively saying, "I kinda know how you feel. I've been the odd one out ever since I was a kid. I was always seein' things that others couldn't n' I pretended I couldn't see nothin' for a while. Then when I was 10, I swear I saw a little girl turn into a rabbit n' everyone thought I was crazy. My parents kicked me out, sayin' they wouldn't put up with a loony son that wasn't even theirs n' I've been driftin' 'round since. Now I know I wasn't seein' things n' I'm not crazy."
We sat in silence, taking in the cavern and each other's words until I heard very recognizable footsteps clacking on the stone path.
"I knew I'd find you here," Lucifer smiled tiredly. His hair was a mess from running his hands through them and his face drooped in exhaustion. Even his usually neat, casual clothes reflected his lack of liveliness.
I got off the floor and smiled quickly before frowning and crossing my arms over my chest, "What's the point in a magicked phone if you won't answer my calls?"
He scratched the back of his neck and his smiled turned apologetic, "You can't expect me to be free when you bring back a sample of Lunaria after months of nothing. And then you bring a human who is not ordinary and can see what he shouldn't be able to."
Not letting him off so easily, I retorted, "Well if someone didn't ship me off to some stupid school, I'd be here to help and you wouldn't look like a walking corpse."
Lucifer was about to answer back when Matt raised a hesitant hand and waved slightly, "Uhh do you two want me to, er, um leave? You guys look like you've got stuff to sort out and yeah..."
Both Lucifer and I snapped our heads to stare him down and he cowered under our combined gazes.
"No, you are actually my main concern and the reason Nyx rashly left school," Lucifer answered, breaking contact. He turned his back to us and strolled towards the glass doors calling back, "Let's talk somewhere more comfortable. We can have some snacks as well and I don't want food in the cavern."
A few minutes later found us in Room 5 again but Lucifer had materialized a medium sized round table with three matching chairs. The table was stacked with plates containing a variety of pastries from cherry Danishes to slices of Devil's food cake to various berry flavored chocolate mousses. To wash down the sugar high inducing and saliva stealing treats were soda cans of our choice materialized by Lucifer on demand.
He'd kill me thirty different ways if I said it out loud, but at times, he's my personal infinite vending machine.
Matt wasted no time in stuffing his face while I picked up a can of Sprite and Lucifer kept his hands to himself.
"Sfwo, wuff woyu fwanga ftwalfk bouf?" Matt asked with a mouthful of glazed donut holes. You know, the pieces that get hole punched out of the donut to leave that empty circle so you can stack them on your fingers like giant rings? Lucifer prefers to materialize those instead the whole donut since they can be created in bulk and are easy to eat. And they are less of a mess.
Matt began to choke from talking while munching and rapidly chugged down his coke to try and unclog his throat. He hacked away for a bit and I know I should have been patting his back or something, but I was too busy laughing and Lucifer smirked in semi-sadistic amusement.
When Matt stopped dying from donut holes, Lucifer tossed five polaroids that landed on Matt's already sugar dusted lap.
He picked them up curiously and looked at me with a question in his eyes. I had no idea what the photos were for or of, so he silently asked Lucifer.
"Can you tell me what each photo is of, Matt?" Lucifer asked calmly, like a therapist who was showing ink splodges to check if a patient needed a straightjacket and a padded cell.
Matt's face scrunched up in confusion, "But these are blank pieces o' cardboard."
"Cardboard?" I echoed, my face imitating Matt's. I reached out to take a piece and turned it over in my hands. It was a photo of a phoenix no matter how hard I concentrated on it. It must have been a fake photo though because there is only one phoenix in existence and she's barely bordering reality.
Even supernaturals have myths and legends, a universal one being the four Elemental Demons. We're not sure if they're even remotely related to demons, but that's just what we've always called them. There's only four and like the name suggests, each is of a particular element; fire, air, water and earth. Phoenix is fire, Leviathan is water, Griffin is air and Golem is earth.
Lucifer sighed gravely and ran a hand through his hair, his expression becoming even more tired.
"What's goin' on?" Matt asked. Like me, he sensed that something was not quite right.
Lucifer snapped his fingers and the photo I was holding turned into a blank piece of regular cardboard. It was a shade. Matt saw past Lucifer's shade.
Lucifer eyed Matt, scanning him and staring him down. Analyzing him while I stared in unveiled shock.
"And I was honestly hoping I was wrong," Lucifer said aloud, grudging acceptance tingeing his voice.
"Luke, what's going on?" I demanded. A human saw past Luci-freaking-fer's shade.
He sighed and slumped in his chair, regarding Matt cautiously, "Long ago, before even you turned up Nyx, there was a...prophecy."
I put down my half empty can and Matt placed his treats on the closest plate. We both sat attentively and Lucifer continued, "Only the older members of the Council know of it. I don't have the exact words since we as a group decided that it was best to leave hidden, but I do remember the generalities. The prophecy told of a pure being whose eyes were free of a blinding cloth. The being had no tainted blood. The being could see. This being, accompanied by another, could bring about the end of the world as we know it. They are a dangerous pair who will meet and decide the fate of both the supernaturals and mortals."
A pregnant silence followed until Matt hesitantly spoke up, "And...and you think this, this, bein' is me?"
Lucifer didn't have to speak or move to answer, Matt knew but wouldn't believe it until it was said.
"But," he began, eyes widening and hands shaking, "I, I can't... I'm a nobody. I ain't the least bit important and no way could I destroy the world!"
"I didn't say you could and I sincerely hope you aren't, but from what I've seen so far, it fits together. You are a being of pure blood. You're 100% human yet you have clear sight. You could see past a shade I created without even trying. I'm sorry Matt, but all signs point to you," Lucifer said, still calm but there was genuine pity evident in his tone.
Matt stared blankly ahead and swallowed the imaginary lump in his throat, "So now what? If I am the person in the prophecy thing, that means I'm gonna destroy everythin'. Are ya...are ya gonna kill me?"
Killing Matt would be the logical thing to do since if he was dead, the prophecy couldn't be fulfilled. But...
"It's not his fault," I spoke up.
Ignoring their surprised expressions I continued, "I mean who knows if the prophecy is even real? And even if it is, it said that he has a partner. Maybe it's not even Matt and you just interpreted the lines wrong. The kid couldn't hurt a fly much less the whole world."
I don't know why I was trying to protect a human I had just met but I was doing it anyway. It could have been his naïve innocence or the fact that he was like the human version of me. He was born a freak and shunned. His parents got rid of him like mine, but I think I got off easier since I don't even know who my parents are. It's easier to be thrown out by strangers you never met rather than parents, even adoptive one, who raised you and made you love them.
"The prophecy is very much real, even though we had tried to deny it when it was found. There is more to it and the first few lines had already been fulfilled when we got it. Another line had been fulfilled around 80 years ago though I didn't know until I snuck a peek to check."
Matt looked down, his face no longer bright and cheerful as he held the air of one who had given up before the fight had even began. Resigned to his supposed fate and slumped in his chair.
Lucifer berated him, sounding slightly offended though I knew it was just for effect, "You have so little faith in us? If Nyx, my little Nixie Pixie, stood up for you do you think I'd really kill you just to try and prevent a prophecy? Not only is trying to control a prophecy pointless but I would have to spend a few more centuries with a very unhappy and begrudging Nyx."
I groaned in annoyed embarrassment, "You said you'd never call me that again. What kind of stupid name is 'Nixie Pixie'?"
"I think it's adorable," Lucifer admonished and then turned to Matt for support. "Right, Matt?"
"Uh..." Matt was utterly confused and I didn't blame him. First we were discussing his possible relation to a gloomy prophecy where he could be the protagonist and then we started arguing over Lucifer's stupid pet name for me that he had only used once before.
Lucifer grinned and patted Matt's back reassuringly, "Don't worry about it. Prophecies can't be changed so we will just have to take it as it comes. And it's not certain that you'll be the destroyer of the world, you could be the savior if you're the being. I don't have the actual thing with me and I haven't read it or tried to decipher it in a long time so I may have gotten some parts wrong. Just to be on the safe side, don't let anyone know you can 'see'. You can stay here if you want or I can send you home. But Nyx..."
Lucifer faced me, a his mouth in a thin line and eyes slightly narrowed, "You pretty much just disappeared from your dorm without precautions. Go back now and do your homework. I'll call you when something comes up but you can't just leave whenever you wish, understood?"
Dutifully I nodded with slight sarcasm, "Yes, Master."
Knowing I wouldn't be able to change his mind and that he would probably prevent me from being able to teleport out of the school if I tried, I stood up and prepared to go back to the dorm room.
"Don't worry about it too much, 'kay? I'll see you soon, boy," I grinned crookedly with a slight wave. I closed my eyes and felt for the tingling sensation once again and reluctantly returned to the dorm to attempt the various pieces of assigned work.