“My Lord…” A gentle voice made him wake up along with a slight shake of his shoulder. “Wake up. We are here.”
Xiumin opened his eyes and an immediate sigh escaped his lips. His heart was pounding as though he had run a marathon and it almost prickled, making him clench the cloth by his chest. He closed his eyes again and curled up as though wanting to protect himself from all that had happened.
What was that dream? It was a dream… right?
“My Lord? Are you alright?” Baek was kneeling before him, peering at him curiously. “You’re out of breath.”
It was only then that Xiumin realized that he had been panting and he was sweating profusely.
“B-Baek,” He gasped. “Mirages… Vision-I mean mirage thing-Do we see… What do souls see in the mirage?”
The three of them frown at him at that and Chen opened his mouth to answer.
“The souls are made to see their memories, My Lord.”
“So-So… Only memories? No altered ones? Even now?”
“No. Hell cannot alter happiness… so only memories. Even a person leading the most horrible life has moments of happiness.”
He tried to even out his breathing but it doesn’t help much as he clutched his pounding heart. Why did he see something like that then? Besides, demons were immune to this… was it because he was in a human body and he was basically a human soul at this point? What if it was Kyungsoo’s memories then?
However, that was highly improbable. Here the souls are important. The body meant nothing.
He took a deep breath and let it out, repeating this over and over until his heart was beating normally and his breath even out.
“What was that? Did you see a mirage?” It was a question all three were dying to ask but looks like only Kai was stupid enough to ask.
Demons do not see mirages. It was their duty to impart mirages, not have it.
“I think so.” He confirms standing up and dusting off his shirt and pants. “Let’s move. We have wasted enough time.”
The three shared knowing looks at each other but nodded and picked up their things to run after their leader.
Chen went ahead but Baek took hold of Kai. “Keep your mouth in control. Our master is not stable at the moment and I believe being in a human body is messing with the energy in hell. It is not a good sign that he’s having mirages. Best be careful and not ask him unnecessary questions.”
Kai frowns at that but nods reluctantly. He was not known for keeping his curiosities inside given his greedy nature but when it was his Lord who was going through this, he had to.
“Give me the update of what happened,” Xiumin asked as they started moving comfortably.
“Ah~” Chen smiled, “We all were worried about how you fell asleep that we forgot that.”
Xiumin gave him a sharp look making the dark-haired demon shut up. “Sorry. We um… saw a group of low-ranked demons passing by but nothing serious. But we got some interesting information.”
Xiumin raised his eyebrows.
“Everything is working in favor of us. There’s going to be a demon convention soon.”
But Xiumin was smirking already.
“Master planned it,” Baek added smoothly as he passed by them to go ahead with Kai sulking behind them. “I’ve been to hell and back a million times for this plan to come to fruition.”
“Oh…” Chen gave a nervous laugh at that making Baek smile a little.
“Don’t tell me you forgot it was Xiumin you’re serving. Surely master does nothing without knowing he is going to win.”
Chen nods his head with a little laugh at that. “How can I possibly forget that? I suppose I am the one with memory problems.”
“So now masses of demons have already crossed over to the south. It will be held two fire pits later so we are sure demon Lords have assembled there already.”
“Besides,” Kai talked now looking far away, “There are little to no power fights among the demon lords so the leaders don’t give a about securing their castles much.”
Chen quietens down at that and studied the skinny boy walking next to him, his aura frightening even as a human.
Right. Xiumin had been the most meticulous demon to have ever existed no wonder he took over the Sheol making even Lucifer fear him.
Would that have been a reason why Lucifer encouraged Xiumin to face the angels head-on all those years back?
After all with Xiumin gone, the balance of power immediately disappeared and Lucifer took complete autonomy over all the region placing his children all over.
They reached around the time Hell Pit’s fire was almost touching the end and the demons were changing their guarding.
Chen wondered if it was luck that was on their side or if all of these were meticulously planned by their lord.
He would give his bet to the latter.
It was easier than he thought.
In fact, it was too easy.
“Isn’t it suspicious?” He asked Kai as they dropped Baek and Xiumin into the rooms to retire. Demons did not need rest so Chen and Kai were told to do some work while Xiumin rest and Baek guarded him.
“What is?” Kai asks looking like the dumb that he was.
“Everything,” Chen gritted his teeth. “Everything is too… easy. It was almost like earth… Like not hell at all.”
Kai shrugs and turns around briefly to look at the door where Xiumin and Baek were.
“Hell no longer cares about the power rather they’re obsessed with humans. The more souls you bring in… the stronger you are.”
“That is true but this is hell…” Chen emphasized using his finger to point at the ground. “This is hell we’re talking about. Everyone’s always fighting and … but it is peaceful.”
Kai rolled his eyes at that. “And you say I am dumb. You do realize the number of trips we made to hell just for this day. We’ve been planting attractions everywhere on hell just so that every demon leaves north.”
Chen quietens down at that and nods his head. Dang.
“Our master is not one to joke around.”
“Aye.” He laughs. “He certainly is not.”
* * *
“What are you whining about?” Xiumin barked as soon as he woke up to Kai who was curled in the corner of the room as Baek read a book under one of his lights while Chen snoozed midair.
“Master. You’re awake.” In a flash, the book in his hand disappears and he is standing before Xiumin by the huge bed.
It was hilarious how hell was a replica of the human world, only gorier. It was true that they were obsessed with human beings so much that their lives were reflecting the human beings but since they only had the worst aspects of humans, everything was… lamer in here.
“He has been in that state since some time back,” Chen complains as he floated down, yawning and stretching. “He says he misses Cheery but Baek won’t allow him back on earth until the work is done.”
Xiumin rolled his eyes and started to prepare. “Let’s move. Sleeping in this… bed is only making my body ache more.”
The bed was unfortunately just… rocks hewed into a bed-like shape. “If it is any consolation, we could help you float.”
“No.” His reply was crisp as he walked out of the room. “I won’t have any of you exhausted. Our journey’s about to get started.”
Helping someone else float meant exertion of energy while it took almost none to float by themselves so Xiumin had denied them besides, he turns to look at Kai who was whining even more now that Chen was sending him lightning bolts to let him stand.
If Kai were to casually teleport to earth right now, it will ruin a lot of their plans like their t