seungwan makes joohyun sit through ten minutes of the worst marching band she's ever listened to and the mortal spends every minute of it regretting saying yes. so far, her day has been nothing but a wild ing ride. would she have thought that she would end the day with forming a pact with a demon? absolutely not. but here she is anyway, sitting in lucifer's office in the business district of hell. the best thing that could happen to her right now is to wake up from this like it's nothing but a terribly long nightmare.
"so what's your first wish going to be?" the demon grins after sending the hellion marching band away, "we can start small, something like meeting your favourite idol."
her eyes meet the demon's glowing red orbs and she's reminded of the third clause — the demon can't kill her. so joohyun dares to release a small sigh. "can i go home already? i have to work to do." she mumbles.
what the hell? seungwan blinks dumbly, mostly in surprise from the fact that joohyun could use her as she pleases but is choosing not to. "just say the word and i can get it done for you, no need to be shy." the devil prompts while sticking her thumbs up.
"don't i need to pay?"
"nope, all wishes are free except for those i don't wanna grant." seungwan winks.
petty and a brat, a look of disdain appears on her face as joohyun continues to probe. "which are?"
"basically anything that s with the current state of the world on a global scale, like filling up the oceans with oil. or taking instagram down for a week." the demon gestures vaguely, "you have no idea how annoying it is to deal with angels after, something about their charges being unhappy and stuff like that. ing people-pleasers — anyway, to make it worth sitting through a nagging from the angels, we decided to start charging fees. so anything that's not going to get us in trouble is generally free."
joohyun hums quietly, why is she even asking about the whole system anyway? she has no plans to rely on the demon at all, perhaps it's to satiate a mortal curiosity within her.
"what do you do with the souls anyway?"
"we collect certain ones, and then let the rest live in hell till they're ready to be reincarnated." seungwan explains, "freshly fallen angels usually have a hard time assimilating to the idea of sin, and we can't let them roam around on earth because they act as if they've just time travelled from the medieval era. so we let them be around mortals in hell. consider it a hands-on lesson on ethics and morality for demons while also giving souls a place to be instead of floating around in some void."
demons are apparently more humane than she expected. while all the magical stuff is confusing, everything down here seems — organized, and fair even. granted, the devil still does things based on how convenient it is for her but... she's not wrong for doing so. holy , she's turning into the devil's apologist.
joohyun narrows her eyes as her mind drifts, it feels as though this knowledge should be strictly reserved for chthonic residents. what if the demon ends up killing her after their pact ends because she knows too much now? "is it okay to tell me all of this?" she swallows as a tightness begins to form in .
seungwan cackles loudly, wrapping her hands around her midsection as she laughs mercilessly. "who are you going to tell? your sister who doesn't take you seriously? or your measly two hundred instagram followers?"
her cheeks heat up and the mortal folds her arms across her chest, "i would like to go home now."
"yah, i was just kidding!" a hand claps down on her shoulder, "we don't really care because we know nobody's going to take you seriously up there."
"damn, i thought we were having a good time." seungwan sighs with a tilt of her head, "not even a tour of hell?"
"why would any mortal want a tour of where they might end up?" joohyun deadpans.
"so you think you're coming here?"
"i just signed a pact with the devil, wouldn't that taint my soul or something?" joohyun jabs a finger towards her chest, "i'm pretty sure god doesn't want me up there anymore."
seungwan her chin with amusement, it's always fun to learn how mortals perceive what comes after death. "judgment isn't under god's jurisdiction, that's up to the fates. think of us as your friendly landlords until you get reincarnated. the duration of your stay is also up to the fates."
"friendly?" joohyun quirks a brow, "you're freezing people in the ninth circle like you're storing meat in a deep freezer."
seungwan raises her shoulders, "duh, because that's what they deserve. we treat the less ty humans a lot better, the only punishment alcoholics have in the first circle is that they can never get a cold beer."
she stares at seungwan silently for a moment, questioning what she's doing in hell talking about the system of the afterlife with the devil herself. it feels like a fever dream alright.
"yeah, okay, i can't do any more of this hell thing today." joohyun declares as she pinches the bridge of her nose, "i would like to go home."
"please say your first wish isn't to go home."
"take me home, demon."
"the name is seungwan," the demon corrects with a huff, "i'm not granting your wish until you say it right."
joohyun tenses her jaw — superpowers are a whopping five billion souls but at this rate, she might consider sacrificing five billion people just so she can punch lucifer in the face. but for now, she'll go home and apologize to sooyoung for comparing her to a demon.
"i wish to go home, seungwan."
the demon throws her head back as she groans, ", this is going to be a long year."
puckering her lips, seungwan releases a deafening whistle that can be heard across the entirety of the underworld. when nothing happens after a beat of silence, joohyun casts a doubtful glance seungwan who only puts out a hand to ask her to wait.
"so?" joohyun prompts with a wave of her hand, "what's supposed to happen?"
seungwan sighs, way to embarrass her. her hound is probably in the first circle getting belly rubs from the fresh souls at the entrance. "be right back." she grumbles.
joohyun doesn't get a jibe in before the devil disappears with a loud woosh. nothing happens for a solid thirty seconds, and just when the mortal is starting to think that she's going to be trapped in hell for an eternity, the ceiling begins to crack and crumble. her legs move on their own accord, and joohyun runs to the side to dodge the falling debris.
a large flaming dog drops from the ceiling and stares at her with eyes as dark as night; seungwan is straddling it as if it's comparable to a ing horse. joohyun screams — of course she would, anyone would. burger whimpers and takes a step back from joohyun.
"she's not scared of you, bud." seungwan coos, her hound reassuringly, "she's screaming because she likes you."
climbing off the hound, she crosses the room to coax joohyun onto burger. he won't burn you, he's really friendly! she tries to persuade joohyun, and she even gets burger to do a couple of tricks like rolling over. but nothing works, including tugging the mortal towards the flaming hound. joohyun refuses to budge, her fear of flames rooting her firmly to the ground.
"i'm not getting on!" joohyun declares with a shriek as she backs into a corner.
the devil sighs, guess they'll have to do things her way. picking joohyun up, seungwan throws her over her shoulder. and while she anticipated the mortal to struggle, she didn't think it would be possible for her screams to increase by an entire pitch. she winces while hopping back onto burger.
"let me go!" the mortal protests as she pounds her tiny fists against seungwan's back, "put me down!"
"he's not burning hot, just a little warm, you'll be fine." the devil reassures, "unless you would like to be scorched to death, this is the only way out."
"i don't care!"
"sorry, but i do. can't let you die on the first day, do you know how embarrassing that would be if word made it to the local paper?" seungwan tuts, "king lucifer letting her charge die within an hour after forming a pact, i can already hear the angels laughing at me!"
your pride, joohyun wants to scream but the hound takes off with a loud boom and she swears she sees her life flashing before her eyes. she screams again, and seungwan tightens her grip around her waist. this time, joohyun's eyes are wide open with sheer terror. she watches as they climb higher and higher above the various circles of hell as if they're in a plane, except the plane is ing exposed to the outside air. the sweltering heat returns as they break through the surface of some orange bubble, but thankfully it only lasts for a brief moment before she's finally home.
seungwan slides off burger and lets joohyun collapse on the ground in a shaking mess. she presses her skin to the cool ground in relief; it feels as though she's just gotten off an extreme carnival ride and she can't feel her legs anymore. lifting her head slightly, she sees seungwan planting her face against the hound's fur and rubbing her face all over with a satisfied grin. with her arms spread as wide as she can, the demon gives the dog a big hug before it returns to the ground where they came from.
the devil is... everything she never expected.
"oh my ing god! you're back!" sooyoung squeals as she dives into joohyun, embracing her tightly, "i thought you died!"
the older girl laughs despite still recovering from her recent trip to hell. her sister is leaving tears and snot all over her shirt but it's the least of her concerns now.
"i think i'm married to the devil now. for a year at least." joohyun chuckles softly.
her sister pulls back and wipes her tears with the back of her hand, "what the ?" she mutters with a hiccup.
"i'll explain everything later..." joohyun exhales, "what the hell did you do to our apartment?"
the state of their apartment looks like the aftermath of a rigorous summoning session. the floor is littered with runes drawn on scattered sheets of paper, various summoning circles drawn on the walls with lipstick..? she spots an ouija board in all the chaos and there are at least five strangers seated on the couch.
"what the hell did you do while i was gone?" joohyun demands before motioning to the couch, "and who are all these people?"
before she could even get an answer from sooyoung, seungwan interrupts, "yah! why are you guys here? go back to hell!"
their apartment looking like occult heaven, strangers with glowing red eyes sitting on the couch — joohyun connects the dots; sooyoung just summoned a bunch of demons. they disappear with loud wooshes, and only two remain.
"wait, you can see them?" sooyoung turns, expecting something but all she sees is an empty couch.
"yeah... can't you? and what were you thinking? summoning more demons?"
her sister shakes her head and continues to mumble. "i had to get you back somehow," sooyoung rubs the nape of her neck with a pout, "i think i may have sold my soul by accident."
joohyun turns to seungwan, who turns to the two remaining demons on the couch. the devil narrows her eyes until they begin blabbering.
"we gave her a refund," one of them responds, "she was selling her soul to get her sister back, and she happened to be your charge. we swear we didn't take it!"
that's all joohyun needs to hear, perhaps there are actually upsides to being contracted to the devil. joohyun snorts and pulls her sister into a tight hug, "your soul is intact... idiot."
sooyoung melts into her hold and they share a quiet moment. seungwan decides against disrupting, even though it would be fun, she wouldn't want joohyun to hate her on the first day of their pact. so she joins her friends on the couch, settling in between them with ease. "how the hell did she summon you guys again?"
"to be honest, we have no ing clue."
"maybe she just has an affinity for summoning powerful demons."
"well, that's great. maybe i'll get her to summon you guys when i miss you."
"you're being gross, we're leaving now. let's go, seul."
sike. thought i wouldn't be able to churn out a chapter in 6 hours but i did!
more shenanigans to follow tomorrow, but i think i'm hitting a point where i don't really know how to bridge this gap between where the story is and where the next plot point is. but that's tomorrow me's problem.
anyway, if anyone is as invested in this au as much as i am, i've been tweeting a lot abt it on my writing twt @enciouds. feel free to follow, it's just a safe little space for me to talk abt everything related to writing.
thanks for reading!