"bae joohyun, i hope you have a great life!"
seungwan abruptly yelling her name makes the sisters look at each other nervously. after the devil left them with her hound, they try to staunch ryujin's wounds by ripping bits of their clothes off. applying basic first aid on a demon seems odd, and they aren't sure if she could die, but the amount of blood pouring out of her is frightening, so it's better safe than sorry.
the fighting starts shortly after and the sisters flinch with every explosion they hear, fireworks go off at some point and burger growls lowly. none of them can make sense of the chaos that unfolds and they can only wait helplessly. hearing seungwan's voice after all the commotion should be relieving, but her words after aren't reassuring in the slightest.
unnerved, joohyun brings the ring close to and begins to speak. "seungwan? what are you saying?"
a thick uneasiness makes a home in her ribs when there's no immediate reply.
"yah... seungwan, what's going on?" joohyun tries again, "you can hear me, can't you? are you okay?"
the air has completely stilled and the ground isn't threatening to break apart with all the constant tremors but joohyun finds it hard to feel relieved — silence from seungwan is never a good sign.
"seungwan!" she screams desperately at the ring in her hand, it's much colder than it used to be and the runes are barely glowing at this point.
who does she turn to if seungwan is the one in trouble? will god listen to her prayers?
and then the devil yells again, spewing more nonsense that only causes joohyun to worry more and she jumps to her feet with a burst of determination.
"i'm going out there." she declares without so much as giving sooyoung a chance to react, but thankfully, burger pushes her back with a forceful nudge.
joohyun stumbles back and sooyoung tackles her to the ground, straddling her as she cries. "you're going to be blinded if you go out there!"
"let me go, sooyoung!"
there's only so much joohyun can do to protest, she struggles under her sister's firm grip to no avail, sooyoung is much stronger than her.
"i'm not going to let you get hurt!" sooyoung cries, "i caused this... if i didn't summon those demons, none of this would've happened!"
joohyun stops struggling to regard her sister with a gentle gaze, and she shakes her head. it's not her fault that yongsun and byulyi have been lying to her for years, neither is it her fault that seungwan and yongsun have a longstanding animosity between them. without all of this, she would've remained blissfully ignorant — which isn't a bad thing but now that she knows fragments of the truth, it's as if she has an obligation to know the truth.
"we're too caught up in this mess, sooyoung-ah... there's nothing you can say or do that'll change things. i don't want to sit here and wait because seungwan is out there getting hurt because of me." joohyun whispers as begins to tighten, "i have a bad feeling... and i need to know if she's okay."
a stray tear falls drips onto joohyun's cheek and sooyoung sniffles lightly, "you're my only sister... i can't lose you..."
the younger's grip weakens and joohyun instantly breaks out of her hold to embrace her tightly, pressing her head into her chest. she has no doubt that if the roles are reversed, she would react exactly like sooyoung. running a hand down her back, joohyun murmurs softly.
"i... it's selfish, but i need to know."
if seungwan is dead, that means yongsun will come for them soon. if that's the case, she would rather face the angel on her own and give sooyoung a chance to escape. in a deep breath, her sister relents. "okay... but i need you to come back alive. take the dog, i'll stay with ryujin."
the hound tilts his head but joohyun commands him to stay, "burger is going to stay with you, i'll be fine."
seungwan won't let anything happen to me.
joohyun leaves a soft kiss on the crown of her head and scrambles to her feet. without wasting another second, she sprints down the alley. the street comes into view and the destruction makes her slow her pace. large craters like the first one yongsun had created earlier line the streets in a disorderly manner, some of them spanning the entire width of the road. one look and joohyun realizes that they're so deep that she probably can't climb out if she falls in.
it takes a little courage for her to step out of the alley. smoke and dust hang heavily in the air as she carefully crosses over fallen debris, she spots people in the streets, equally as lost as she is. murmurs of an earthquake touch her ears but then the debates regarding these odd craters begin to surface. if only they know that two otherworldly beings had been fighting, things make a lot more sense. still, the damage in the area is extensive, multiple buildings have gaping holes in them but nobody seems hurt, just confused at best.
pulling seungwan's jacket tighter around her frame, she takes an uncertain step towards the road. neither seungwan nor yongsun can be seen, so joohyun chances to call out for her.
"close your eyes!"
before she can react, seungwan appears beside her with a loud woosh and drops to her knees with a grunt. even on her knees, the devil towers above her.
joohyun reaches out to steady her but with one touch and the heat from her body singes her palm. wincing, she pulls back in pain as seungwan nudges her back lightly with her horns. tucking her hands behind her back, she murmurs apologetically.
"sorry, are you okay?" seungwan asks gently.
it feels as if she's been scalded and it hurts, but it's nothing compared to what the devil has been through. so she lies with a small smile, "don't worry."
this appearance, as monstrous as she seems, doesn't scare joohyun because she knows that it's still her stupid demon. her eyes drift to the red liquid pooling at her feet and she finally notices that her shirt is drenched in blood. there are multiple punctures across seungwan's torso and legs, no wonder she has difficulty standing.
"anyway," the devil murmurs, "you shouldn't be out here, yongsun is still behind me."
she remembers the warning about being blinded and swallows nervously, "are you going to be okay..? what's going on now?"
"i'll heal eventually." seungwan nods, "and to be honest, i don't know either."
further down the street, beyond joohyun's vision, sahaquiel is currently wrestling against a much larger leliel. the demons watch without interference simply because it's none of their business unless seungwan is involved.
"that's enough! you've done enough!" leliel shouts while she pins her companion down, two arms on her shoulders and two to lock down her disconnected forearms.
she showed up to a horrifying sight — sahaquiel and lucifer on the verge of destroying each other's souls. without baal and beelzebub, she's certain that they would've both rendered each other into piles of dust.
despite her best efforts, sahaquiel still manages to lift a spear, but an agonizing burn rips through her chest and it clatters to the ground uselessly. leliel feels her heart sink at the sight of that, while it's a good thing that she's incapacitated now, she worries that it's not as simple as a temporary injury.
"you're too hurt, yong..."
her mortal name slips from before leliel can stop herself, the lines between her loyalty and devotion blur momentarily and the angel of night bites the inside of her cheeks to distract herself from this mistake.
sahaquiel doesn't say much, but it's hard to ignore the way her chest twinges at how broken leliel sounds. her featureless mask slips off as she allows her head to meet the asphalt with a thump. there's no doubt that their adventure in the mortal realm has come to an end — it was nice to play pretend in the mortal realm, to be yongsun and byulyi.
lucifer's words replay in her head when she has trouble looking at leliel. instead of her usual veil, the angel of night has bandages looped around the right part of her face, one of her eyes irreparably wounded from their scuffle before her descent into the mortal realm. she had left leliel unconscious and bleeding in a desolate corner of the far shore. it's hard to justify that all of this is worth it when she failed to kill both joohyun and lucifer, and given the situation now, it's impossible to get another chance.
"i will take responsibility for everything, so let's return, okay?" leliel whispers softly.
"no," sahaquiel mutters stubbornly, "i started this."
"and i was the one who told joohyun the truth. let the others discuss this, and if they want her dead because she knows about us, then i will descend to finish her off myself."
their lives and duties are too entwined at this point, and it's in that moment, she brings herself to look the angel of night in the eyes. the answer to lucifer's question is all too clear — she cannot picture existence without leliel. if she continues to pursue an end to lucifer and lilith's connection, she knows she will succeed eventually, but that will come with a price that she's incapable of paying.
"let's go home."
sahaquiel caves and nods, allowing leliel to pick her up. with a fierce flap of her wings, they soar into the skies and vanish into the clouds. if there's anything she's learnt from their decade in the mortal realm, it's that there is no home without leliel.
"wow, they just left like that. how irresponsible of them, now we're going to take the fall for everything." yerim tuts as the two kings make their way to seungwan. from rescuing leliel to saving seungwan from dying, it's been an unusually hectic day.
"leliel won't let that happen."
"yeah, but what about sahaquiel? she's great at twisting tales into her favour."
"the infamous baal is afraid of angels now? that's new."
"i'd rather not deal with heaven's mess, what's the point of leaving if they're always going to blame us anyway?"
seungwan clears with an unamused gaze, how unprofessional of her kings to bicker in front of her charge. they could argue all they want in hell but in front of joohyun? that's just embarrassing.
"all i'm saying is that they should've said something like we'll take care of this instead of flapping their wings and leaving without a word." yerim shrugs while seulgi ducks under a shrinking seungwan to support her.
with seungwan returning to her usual size and her blonde hair fading to black, she starts to look like how she always does. silence devours the four and an awkward tension bleeds into the atmosphere until seulgi breaks it with a sheepish smile.
from math tutor to the devil's best friend, joohyun is hardly surprised that another person she knows isn't actually a human.
"sooyoung told me the truth," joohyun says quietly before a thought strikes her, "and speaking of her, she's still in the alley with burger and ryujin."
yerim vanishes without another word while joohyun and seulgi help seungwan hobble back into the alley. the fighting is over and all that's left is to wait for the repercussions.
the demons decide it's best if they all return to hell together, lest the angels try to assassinate them again. ironically, the mortals are much safer being surrounded by demons.
they part ways in pairs when they arrive in hell, joohyun sticks with seungwan as she gets treated for her wounds while seulgi takes sooyoung to get cleaned up. ryujin is barely conscious when she's wheeled into an operation theatre and yerim storms out of the hospital, muttering something about getting revenge.
joohyun shoots seungwan a worried glare but the devil merely shrugs her off, assuring her that yerim wouldn't do anything too dramatic.
apparently, they have hospitals in hell too. except that most of the signs are neon signs, and with dark bricks lining the walls, it resembles more of a pub than a hospital. seungwan informs her that demon magic can't heal wounds created by arcane light, but the same goes for wounds from hellfire, so seungwan and ryujin are in pretty bad shape. with their souls intact, there is no threat of dying, but the healing process will .
joohyun then brings up the fact that the hospital is deadly silent, she hasn't seen anybody else apart from a doctor and nurse on duty. to which, seungwan informs her that it's due to the stigma associated with hospitals. a trip to the hospital means that you probably lost a fight with an angel, so most demons would rather hide and heal in secret.
but joohyun learns that it's just an excuse with how seungwan is whining and squirming because of the stitches she has to get. maybe demons are just scared of hospitals.
"are you afraid of needles?"
the question is so preposterous that it leaves seungwan flabbergasted, "no!" she retorts a little too defensively, "i just think it feels weird."
"you got impaled by a gigantic spear ten times or more, and you think a needle is weird?"
"yes, what's wrong with that?" seungwan eyes her pointedly.
she's ridiculous as always, and it's comforting in a way that they're seemingly returning to what things are like before. granted, there's so much they have yet to talk about, but it's nice to have a modicum of normality after everything that's happened lately.
joohyun shakes her head with a loud sigh and offers her hand up, "quit squirming, you're making it harder for the doctor."
the demon doctor shoots her a gracious smile, he probably couldn't say anything since seungwan is technically his boss.
seungwan accepts her hand gingerly, biting the inside of her cheeks to suppress a smile. the blush on her face goes unnoticed when she realises that joohyun's hand is hurt from touching her earlier. it's a good thing demon magic works best on humans, a cooling sensation spreads over her palm and joohyun looks at their interlocked hands strangely.
"you should've just told me."
"it wasn't that bad."
seungwan hums softly as she runs her hand over every abrasion on joohyun's skin, returning it to its usual pristine condition. they slip into silence afterwards, allowing the doctor to concentrate. naturally, seungwan would bore from sitting still. much to joohyun's annoyance, she fiddles with the mortal's fingers until joohyun presses lightly on the prominent wound on her chest. digging her teeth into her lips, she muffles a pained cry and stops fidgeting entirely.
lifts into a lopsided grin and seungwan gives joohyun's hand a gentle squeeze. it's easier to smile when she feels lighter, her heart doesn't hurt as much as it did when she crashed into hell yesterday. she would have a long talk with joohyun eventually, but seungwan wants to avoid thinking about all of that now.
things are good, and she thinks that maybe it's alright if she holds on for one more lifetime.
i'm finally not posting at like 7-730am, i did that for the past 3 chapters and it really ed with me. post at 7-730 > sleep at 8 > disruptive sleep because my whole family is awake by then. i've been so tired that my brain ends up so sluggish, not to mention the weather is much colder lately and it makes me ing sleepy.
could've posted this last night/this morning at 7 again but i decided i have to prioritize sleep over pushing an update out. i don't want to burn out, so if my updates slow down, that's why. also! i pulled hutao and staff of homa in genshin! i had to spend some time to get those Freemogems.
anyway, i did a sketch for sahaquiel in the last chapter, thought my writing didn't do the version of her in my head justice. if you're an artist just don't look it at homie t.t
thanks for reading, i promise they'll talk in the next chapter and then they will chu chu afterwards ok?