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Gehenna

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" Yukio, Yukio, race me! Race me!" Rin giggled as he sprinted towards the lone swing, his twin right behind him, a determined glint sparkling in his eyes. 

 

He scrambled clumsily up onto the seat, swatting away his brother's worried grip as he wobbled precariously. Rin pouted at Yukio, who backed away with an apology, yet still held his arms out as if to give support.

 

He huffed at him, rocking back and forth to gain momentum until he could finally, even though barely, manage to spot the top of the church from behind the trees. Rin let out a breathless laugh, swearing he could see his father standing out front, oddly fumbling around with the fence. He let go of one of the chains to wave hello, unbalancing himself and falling harshly to the ground.

 

" Rin!" His worried-looking brother hovered over his face, crouching to help lift him " Why would you do that! You could have gotten seriously hurt from that fall, you know!"

 

" Ah, sorry Yukio, but guess what! I saw Dad, he's finally back-" He cut off his sentence abruptly as his breath hitched with anger, teeth clenching at what he spotted from over Yukio's shoulder.

 

" Huh, what's wrong?" Yukio asked him, turning to look in the direction Rin was looking in. He didn't get to see what caused his brother's ire before he was knocked to the side in Rin's haste to stop what was happening. " Rin, hey, stop! The priests said that we couldn't leave the park!"

 

Rin didn't acknowledge Yukio's frantic call, too far away by then to hear him.   He ran as fast as his little legs could carry him, much quicker than the average five-year-old, skidding into the alleyway he'd seen the older kids disappear. He halted in disgust at the sight.

 

They had cornered the dog that they had been pursuing, spitefully jeering and yelling at the poor creature.

 

Rin saw red, his anger taking hold of him just like it had many times before.

 

" Hey! Leave it alone!" He yelled furiously, glaring harshly at them. They barely took any notice of his furious state, choosing to sneer his way for spoiling their fun. One shoved him away as he tried to get closer, ending with him harshly slamming into a wall. Rin yelped in pain when his head bashed into the stone, his vision slightly blurring.

 

" Oi, shaddap! Can't you see we're trying to have some fun here? Screw off, kid." One of the oldest-looking ones spat at him, kicking the dog harshly in its side while still looking into his eyes. It whimpered in pain, the noise lighting something in Rin that he couldn't repress. He hated when innocent beings got hurt.

 

" I said, stop it!" He screamed, collapsing onto the floor as blue flames engulfed both him and his surroundings.

 

He wailed out in alarm, crawling backwards on his hands as the other children ran away, calling and shouting for their parents. He yelled for them to come back, not to leave him, but they kept on running.

 

Rin sobbed alone in the middle of his blue inferno, startling when a hand landed on his shoulder. He whipped his head around in relief, expecting to see his father, eyes widening at the sight of a strange man with long, pure white hair hovering over him.

 

" What a wonderful surprise! I didn't expect to find you alone. Hello, little brother."

 

Rin shrieked in surprise, attempting to struggle out of the man's tight grip, but to no avail. He held on fast, shushing him almost tenderly, although the sadistic smile on his face contradicted that. He picked him up, not seeming afraid of the odd flames in the slightest, and cradled him to his chest. " Dear me, it seems that you have had quite the tantrum. Honestly, if that wretched human was so utterly hellbent on raising you, he could have at least tried to teach you control. He of all people should know how dangerous an untrained baby demon is. Young ones always have outbursts at the silliest of things." He clicked his tongue as Rin's foot connected harshly with his stomach, squeezing him closer to his chest to halt his movements.

 

" Baby demon? What do you mean, demon's don't exist!" He vehemently denied, looking up at the man with a snarl twisting his lips. Lucifer repressed an amused snort, not wanting to annoy his brother any further.

 

" Hm? Oh, you don't know? He didn't tell you!" He drawled, the grin on his face growing abnormally wide. He reminded Rin of the Cheshire cat. 

 

" Know what?"

 

" Well, that's not a question that only I can answer. It's best if our father does. Now, let's get you home little brother, we've all so dearly missed your presence. Father's been making Gehenna an even more miserable place ever since that damn exorcist took you in."

 

" Huh? What? I don't know you-"

 

" Sorry for this, but I honestly cannot be bothered to deal with your struggling. It'd be better if you went to  sleep."  He ordered, catching Rin's head as it slumped to the side as he went limp. Lucifer gently brushed his soft black hair out of his face, letting out a hum of approval.

 

" Wow, you really do share fathers features. If only you had white hair, you'd be the spitting image of him." He commented as he reached into his pocket, pulling out a vial filled with dark blood. Lucifer poured it out onto the ground by his feet, chanting ancient words in Demon tongue. The ground began to bubble, forming a gate to Gehenna. Just as Lucifer was about to step into it, a high pitched voice shouted at him.

 

" Hey! What do you think you're doing! Let go of my brother!" Lucifer looked disinterestedly towards his human brother, smiling sweetly. " Hm, but he's my brother too. Don't be greedy young one." He raised a hand mockingly in a wave, before sinking into Gehenna.

 

Yukio stood there, shocked. A sob ripped from his chest, before he turned around, rushing off to go and tell his father what had happened.


Lucifer happily hummed as he made his way through the hallways of the castle, Rin still tucked safely in his arms. He was heading for the throne room where he had no doubt his father and many of his siblings would be.

 

Looking down at his brother, he couldn't help but sigh. " Finally, with you here now, father may calm down. He was oh so mad when that wretched paladin took you and your twin. Unfortunately, it seems that theirs nothing we can do about the other one, he smelled too human to survive here" He said conversationally as if his brother wasn't knocked out.

 

He walked past many demons who roamed the halls, each who kneeled to him as he passed, and those of his blood greeting him with a traditional address. He nodded at those few, pleased that his kinfolk were far superior to those of his siblings. 

 

Arriving at the extravagantly decorated throne doors, he waited for them to be opened by the guards, who did so after verifying who he was. With a shove of their hands, they swung open, allowing him entrance.

 

He stepped inside, Rin still tucked snugly in his arms and smiled at his father, high Lord Satan.

 

"Father, look who I've managed to acquire on my brief trip to Assiah. You wouldn't believe that the paladin would just let him roam the streets on his own. There wasn't even so much as a guard!" He walked closer to his father, grinning smugly as he rose almost eagerly from his ornate throne, reaching for Rin. Lucifer passed him over with a bow, not wanting to test his father's patience. Not with something like this, children were a thing to be cherished in the demon world.

 

There were so few born each year, due to demons being near infertile. The fact that Rin and Yukio had been stolen from his father was an act punishable by the most torturable death.

 

Even though he'd been alive for aeons, Satan himself had only ever managed to have ten children, two being born simply a few years before.

 

The only reason why the demon population was so vast was that many humans each day became infected by their kin, degenerating them into demons themselves.

 

Lucifer took a respectful step back, allowing his father to have some undisturbed time to bond with one of his youngest children.

 

Satan gazed down at his sleeping son, feeling the gaping hole in his heart fix itself, becoming smaller as his small family finally gained back one of it's missing members.

 

 He was so tiny, so young and innocent to the wrongs of the world. The fact that he'd had to leave his son with that bloody paladin for so long made him quiver with anger. He'd have certainly tainted his Rin's view of demons by now.

 

Satan would do whatever he could do to rectify that. Luckily for him, he had forever to bring his son back to his side.

 

Snapping his fingers, one of his son's stepped forward, eager to do his bidding.

 

" Beezlebub, retrieve the sword Kurikara from the paladin's clutches. It is time for Rin to return to his true self. If you cannot, at least remove it from its sheath, that should release enough powers for now. Don't dally, go!"

 

" Yes, father." Beezlebub grovelled reverently and scurried out of the hall with a grin. If he successfully completed this task, he'd once again be in his father's good graces.


He awoke with a start, thrashing around in the silken sheets surrounding him.

 

Rin looked about frantically, eyes widening in horror as he realised that he had no idea where he was. The last thing he remembered was that strange man talking to him, and then it went black.

 

The door to the side slammed open suddenly, startling him from his observations. A group of strange-looking guards piled into the room, gawking at him in awe as if he was an exotic creature. The most finely dressed of the group stepped forward, clearing his throat.

 

" My honourable prince! You have finally awoken! I will inform your family about this immediately." He shakily spoke, voice jittering from both excitement and anxiousness. He couldn't believe that he was allowed so close to the newest prince, demon children were scarcely seen by anyone except their family until their eleventh year.

 

 Before Rin could ask what he meant, he was out of the room in a flash, which confused the boy further. The rest stayed and watched him, looking awed at even his slightest of movements, some string intently behind him.

 

That's when he noticed it, something wrong with his body. Rin whipped his head around, eyes growing impossibly wider. He had a tail.

 

" Ahhhhh!" He yelled out in fright, scaring the already on edge guards surrounding him.

 

" Prince Rin, what is wrong?!"

 

He didn't answer them, to busy scrambling away from the blue flame attached to the tip of it. He remembered that bright blue engulfing his surrounding, and didn't want it near him any longer.

 

" Get it off, get it off, get it off!"

 

His screeching terrified the guards, not wanting any of the little one's relatives to think that they had caused his fear. They hushed him, slowly creeping closer, only to rear back as his shrieks grew louder.

 

They were about to try to calm him again but were shoved aside harshly by an invisible for. Looking up in confusion, their eyes grew wide in fear as the sighted Satan looking murderous above them.

 

They spluttered, excuses on their tounges, but he paid them no mind, waving his hand for one of his children to drag them away.

 

He was more concerned for his child.

 

" Rin." He ordered gently, causing the child to look up through teary eyes at the owner of the nice voice. " My Rin." Rin snuffled in confusion, allowing the man to cuddle him into his chest, feeling weirdly pliant.

 

His eyes drooped closed, strangely drowsy once again. He drifted off, listening to the man hum a familiar tune softly by his ear.

Chapter Text

Rin woke once more, this time drowsily, his minute movements sluggish. He was content to lay there in a half-asleep daze for a while longer, but a soft knock at the door kept him from his slumber.

 

" Yukio, It's too early. Le'me sleep." He slurred, brows scrunching in confusion at the deep chuckle his brother omitted. Oh, right. Dad was home. " Dad? Is tha' you?"

 

" Yes, did you have a nice rest, my child?" 

 

Rin was about to respond with a hum of agreeance, the sleepy noise dying in his throat as the voice registered in his mind. He shot up, dizziness hitting him head-on, peering at the man who claimed to be his father.

 

He was abnormally pale, with long white hair and blood-red eyes, taller than any man he had ever seen before, with twin horns swirling on top of his head, electric blue in colour. On a closer look, he realised that they were on  fire Blue fire .

 

" What, you're not dad!" He shrieked, paling as the man came closer, reaching out to pat his hair.

 

" Hm, I'd always hoped that one of my children would get my hair colour, even Lucifer's and Azazel's is off by a few shades, but yours matches perfectly. Although, your eyes are as blue as your mother's, even in demon form. What a perfect combination." He stared into Rin's eyes with adoration and obsession, not solely aimed at him. 

 

Rin's mind raced to catch up, his mental turmoil showing clearly on his face. The most he could croak out was a small "What?"

 

The man opened his mouth, revealing sharp, deadly looking fangs, lips twisted into a mockery of a sweet smile. " Now, there's no need for you to think so much about this, young one. It's best to just accept-"

 

" No! What? You-you took me! Where am I? I want dad! I want dad! Dad!" Rin shouted, gripping the sheets harshly, tears rolling down his cheeks. A ripping sound reached his ears, and he looked down to see the sheets in tatters, claws adorning his fingertips. " W-wh-what-" he croaked out, trembling slightly.

 

" You interrupted me." Came a cold, unfamiliar voice that sent shivers wracking down his spine. Rin's head shot up, body recoiling as his gaze met with glowing red eyes, many pairs of them that had begun to sprout on the man's body. " I do not and will not tolerate such a thing. Usually, you would already cease to exist, my dear boy. But, since you are my son and new to Gehenna, I will give you a simple warning. Never interrupt me, or it will be the last thing you do, mine and Yuri's precious son or not." His eyes dimmed, receding into his skin, the icy look disappearing as if it had never existed. " Now, Rin, what do you say about having breakfast, hm? The chefs have been working for hours on end, I ordered it to be perfect for you, as it is your first meal here, after all."

 

The man snapped his fingers, and Rin was suddenly dressed in formal wear, gaping down at himself.

 

" Come along, we don't want it to get cold. Besides, Beezlebub has probably started eating already." The man reached down, slipping his arms around his waist to cradle him against his chest, Rin too stunned to move.

 

Satan flings open the door with a gust, startling the guards who were awaiting from behind it. The group immediately dropped to their knees, heads pressed to the floor.

 

" We greet the honourable high Lord Satan and his highness Prince Rin!" The man didn't even bother to acknowledge them, stepping over their kneeled forms as if they weren't even there.

 

" Sa-Satan?" Rin shakily questioned, eyeing the man with trepidation. He'd heard all about the demon named Satan from his dad, who warned him of the evil entity and that to meet him would mean his demise.

 

" No, you call me father, as you are my son." He glared slightly at the inaccurate address, earning a hurried nod from his son. Satan looked forward once more, arms tightening slightly as Rin leaned to get a better look at his surroundings, wary of how fragile he may be, being half-human, after all.

 

Rin looked around in awe, eyeing the elegant tapestries that showed bloodied battles lining the walls with wonder and a healthy dose of fear. Each seemed to show the same outcome- bloody, battered people strewn across the ground with demonic figures standing atop their bodies proudly.

 

" Ah, do you like them? After every battle we win, I have one commissioned for the castle by the very best Gehenna has to offer. Soon, though, it seems that we will run out of space. I'll have to have another castle built for them." He seemed smug at that, whether it was the fact that he'd won so many battles, or that he could have another castle, Rin didn't know. He didn't want to know, really.

 

" So, ah, uh fuh-fah-father?"

 

" Don't stammer so much, speak clearly! It is improper of a child of mine to have such a flaw."

 

" Um, F-father?"

 

" Hm?"

 

" Where-where are we goin'?"

 

" Did you not listen to a word I said? We are heading to the dining room to have breakfast with your siblings. Do listen next time, I dislike having to repeat myself."

 

Rin wisely didn't respond, only bunching his fists tighter into the fabric of Satan's cloak, eyeing passing demons with wariness.

 

" High Lord Satan! My Lord!" A demon came from around the corner, dressed finely. Satan seemed to appraise him for a moment, before nodding his head for him to proceed. " Your presence is needed for a few short moments, my Lord. Many demons are hovering around the gates, clamouring to see the Prince." Satan tutted, placing a startled Rin onto the floor.

 

" Head to those doors over there and go in. The others should have only arrived recently. I will be there soon." He vanished in a swirl of blue flames, leaving Rin on his own.

 

He stood there for a while, confused, before shakily making his way to the ornate doors that had been pointed out. The guards in front of them opened them without a glance towards him, so Rin stepped inside the room warily

 

As he grew closer to the table, the occupants finally took notice of their entrance, each rising to their feet to bow, grudgingly it seemed for most of them.

 

" Greetings, little brother." The one who had brought him in, he couldn't remember if he'd told him his name, spoke, being copied by the others. He had a snake wrapped lazily around his shoulders, who seemed content to ignore his presence, although it did float off as he came closer after a few hisses towards the man.

 

Rin stopped short from the table, staring wide-eyed at the strange gathering of humanoid figures.

 

One that stood out, however, was the giant of a man that sat close to him.

 

" Little brother! How lovely of you to finally join us in Gehenna! We are overjoyed that you are here, aren't we, Bee?" The creature grumbled out, knocking his elbow into the side of another of his apparent brother's, who looked up from his dish with a dark glare. He grinned, standing up to stomp his way over to a frightened Rin. " And look, your fire, It's blue! Just like Father's!" He joyfully crowed, before grimacing. " You're going to take all of his attention now, aren't you? Ugh."

 

" Astaroth." Came Satan's deep voice from behind him, causing the giant man to cower into himself.

 

" Fa-father! I didn't see you there."

 

" Yes, I guessed that. Do not let your jealousy overcome you, it is unbecoming of one of my children. Your brother is but a baby demon, and you are fully grown, of course I'm going to give him attention." He drawled out as if it was an obvious thing, laying a hand on Rin's shoulder to steer him to the grand table.

 

" Of course, father."

 

Rin was lifted onto a chair to the right of Satan's, who sat at the head of the table, eyes wide in bewilderment as he took in the odd 'food' that lay upon it.

 

He was even more in shock when his plate was suddenly filled with an assortment of it, looking around to see that the others were already eating as if it was normal.

 

Gingerly, Rin picked up a fork, prodding at a particularly alive looking noodle, jumping in his seat when it let out a hiss. His fork clattered to his plate, staring at it with wide eyes.

 

" What are you waiting for? Eat up." Satan ordered him, slurping up his own noodle things with grace only the ruler of Gehenna could achieve.

 

" It-It hissed at me!" Was Rin's response, pointing at the noodle still making small, threatening noises.

 

" That means that It's fresh."

 

" Um, what is it exactly?" Rin stared at it, watching as it slithered around, feeling himself blanch in disgust.

 

" #*£$%~* " The word was guttural, deep and incomprehensible to his ears.

 

" What?" Rin asked once more, sure that he had misheard what the man had said.

 

" We do not say 'what', we say pardon. Although it is to be expected that you lack etiquette, I suppose, being raised by that filthy Excorcist." Satan muttered to himself, scowling. "The dish is called  #*£$%~*.  It's a delicacy here in Gehenna, a very rare thing to get ahold of." Satan waved his hand at Rin's plate, looking up at him expectantly.

 

Rin was hesitant to even put his fork near the 'delicacy, but Satan seemed as though he wouldn't relent until he ate the thing. With a grimace of disgust, Rin reluctantly scooped up a fork-full, messily shoving it into his mouth so that he wouldn't have to look at it any longer.

 

He clasped a hand over his mouth to stop himself from spitting it out immediately. The food wriggled disturbingly in his mouth, and he couldn't bring himself to chew on the things, turning green with revulsion.

 

A laugh startled him enough to bite down, and he promptly spat the things out of his mouth at the texture.

 

" It seems as though Gehenna's food isn't up to standard for our Assiah raised prince, father. He seems to be far too human to appreciate our world's delicacies. What is to be expected of a half and half bastard child with a pathetic mortal mother!" One of the men, Bee if he remembered correctly, was sneering his way condescendingly, looking up to Satan with eyes filled with wanting. It seemed as though he wanted praise for his observation.

 

" Beezlebub, mind your words. He is as much of a son to me as you are, and I will not hold back on punishing you if you so crassly insult the only child of mine who has inherited my flames. A feat you will never do." The words were icy and direct, causing the man to shrivel up in his seat.

 

" Yes-yes father, It won't happen again!"

 

Rin could no longer stomach the sight of the 'food' on his plate, so he took his time to observe the room, his eyes drawn to two people standing in the shadows, their forms mostly obscured by the darkness.

 

Satan watched his son intently, a glint in his eye. He wished to see how Rin would react in the presence of some of his most powerful demons who were far less humanoid than any of his offspring.

 

" I see that you are curious of our guard's, Rin. It seems introductions are in order. Abbadon, come and introduce yourself."

 

A tall man came forward, his muscles bulging underneath his suit of armour and rusty red wings engulfing the area as they swept outwards, the man bowing to him deeply.

 

" Yes, My Lord. Greetings, Prince Rin. I am his Majesties advisor, kin of Lucifer."

 

Lucifer. That name seemed familiar. He remembered what Satan had said to him just a little while before, about how he finally had a child with his shade of hair, and that two others by the names of Lucifer and Azazel came close. There were only two other's in the room with light hair, so he surmised that it was one of them.

 

" Leviathan."

 

This time, it wasn't a man who stepped forward, but a floating snake with multiple heads, looking terrifying to Rin. It was the same one that had been wrapped around Lucifer's shoulders earlier but majorly enlarged. The snake-creature eyed him with curiosity, its heads simultaneously bowing.

 

" I greet his highness, Prince Rin. I am the advisor to King's Lucifer, Samael, Azazel and Egyn, as well as Queen Iblis. Kin of Lucifer." The voice was more of a hiss, ancient and hypnotising to his ears, neither masculine nor feminine. He watched with wide eyes as the demon retreated, curling around Lucifer's shoulders, its job done.

 

" Behemoth."

 

" Your royal highness Prince Rin. I am the advisor to King's Beezlebub, Amaimon and Astaroth, as well as your own. Kin of Lucifer."

 

The final man was smaller than the rest but not any less intimidating to the very much overwhelmed five-year-old. He had unnaturally green hair, a face spotted with red commas, and a strange warty creature lounged on his shoulder, making the occasional grunt. He eyed the Prince as if waiting for a response.

 

" Uh, hi?"

 

He could almost feel Satan's disappointment at his words and heard him mutter to himself. " This will take a while."

Chapter Text

 

After the exhausting dinner he'd been subjected to sit through, in which no less than fourteen fights had broken out between his siblings in the time it took him to reluctantly finish the odd meal, Rin was dragged through the castle by one of the demons he'd been introduced to, Behemoth. The pair were heading for the library for his daily lesson, something that had Rin internally whining about his misfortune.

 

He'd been kidnapped, yet he still had to go to school!

 

The demon that accompanied him marched briskly through the vast corridors, turning this way and that, confusing him greatly as the route blurred into one in his mind. He knew for sure that he wouldn't be able to find his own way back to the room he'd been placed in.

 

Finally, he came to a stop, strangely pressing a palm against the wall. Rin watched, amazed, as the wall disintegrated, opening up to show an enormous library filled to the brim with books as far as his eyes could see.

 

The room had multiple floors, connected by a spiral staircase in the middle of it all that branched off at intervals to lead to each section. The balconies at the edges of these floors seemed to dazzle in the light of the overhanging chandeliers, made of what was clearly gold. And the books. There seemed to be hundreds of thousands of them lining the shelves, probably more than that even.

 

Behemoth watched his starry-eyed expression with amusement. " This is his majesty's private library. He has allowed you admittance into here for the time being until he gifts you your own when you turn of age." He walked in, heading for a smaller shelf to the side of the door. " You will read this children's book on the history of Gehenna in this session. It is very vague and moderately easy to read, so I do not think that you will struggle with it, that is if you can read?" He nodded so Behemoth handed the strangely bound book to Rin, who wobbled slightly because it was much heavier than it seemed. He stared at it with a furrowed brow, eyeing his teacher for an explanation that never came. " Hurry along now, we don't have as much time as I would like. I need to get you well versed in the ongoings of this world before you make your first appearance, a feat I do think is near impossible."

 

Rin was ushered into a chair at one of the many tables dotted around the library, his teacher settling himself in the one opposite, also with a book in hand. He gave the young prince a stern, expectant stare before settling back comfortably.

 

He cracked the book he'd been given open, groaning at the sight of so many words but little pictures. Rin struggled to read the book, but luckily his teacher was happy to help his prince.

 

And so, the hierarchy of Gehenna was established under the rule of his majesty, High Lord Satan. Each demon had a place in society, a role to play for the betterment of our lands. No longer would demon-kind act like wandering savages, but as civilised folk that live in cities and participate in celebrations within their communities.

 

The hierarchy goes as such: Those born from Satan's own blood are Royalty, at the top of Gehennan society. Then

 

The pair studied their respective books, Rin's noticeably slimmer than his teachers', for quite a long time, until the question that had been heavily weighing on the young boys' mind became too much to bear.

 

" What does it mean to be a 'Kin of Lucifer', Behemoth?" Rin inquired, looking up from his book after a few moments of deliberation. He had been wondering about the strange phrase since dinner time earlier on in the evening, not understanding what it meant but being too fearful to ask in front of such a large audience.

 

The older demon sighed, placing down his pen to focus his attention on the young prince in front of him. " To be someone's kin means to be of their blood. I am a Kin of Lucifer because he created me from his blood and power."

 

" So I'm your uncle?" Rin's voice wavered slightly in incredulity, not quite sure what to think of being this demon's uncle.

 

" Not quite, but essentially, yes. King Lucifer has allowed me to be known as his son, along with my fellow kin who rank over S."

 

" Rank over S? What does that mean?"

 

" Demons are categorised into different levels based on their power, from rank E to SSS+. I am in rank SS-, the same as your sister, Queen Iblis."

 

Rin 'ahhed' in response, not understanding fully but surmising that this meant his teacher was very powerful. " What rank am I?"

 

" You are E ranked my prince." He noticed the profound pout on Rin's face, rushing to placate him. " That may not be an accurate portrayal of your power. All young demons under the age of thirteen are automatically placed in the rank E because they are too young to enter the tournaments."

 

" What are the tournaments?" Rin perked up at that. From his (meagre) time at school, he'd heard about tournaments in passing, such as sports ones and fighting ones.

 

" The tournaments are the fights that determine a demons rank, along with their aptitude test, of course. Current strength alone is not a determiner for one's rank, as they may surpass that easily with more focused training, which his majesty offers those in higher positions."

 

" Ap- what?"

 

" Aptitude, How much... potential, talent someone has."

 

" And the tournaments help to know how strong someone is?"

 

" Yes, by pitting those of similar strengths against each other until one comes out on top. Although, the one who wins isn't always the only one who gets their rank raised if that happens at all. The judges- your siblings and higher-ranked demons- will review the fights and confer with one another to decide who deserves a promotion. I am one of those judges, being one of the strongest beings currently in Gehenna."

 

Rin puzzled over the words for a few seconds, not understanding them all but getting the gist of what his tutor was saying. He nodded his head for the man to continue.

 

" The whole tournament usually takes place over the course of a month, but that time varies depending on how long the fights last for or if it takes a long time for the judges to confer."

 

" Do a lot of people come and fight?"

 

" Yes, lots do, but there are restrictions on how many may enter the tournaments. Sixty-four E ranks are allowed to compete, as their fights usually take a shorter amount of time and it is only fair as they need to be ranked, but only thirty-two from Rank D are permitted to attend. Actually, there are only two people in the SSS rank, so they are the only ones who fight, one that can take a long time to be absolved unless the stronger of the two decides to release more of his power."

 

" Who are they?"

 

" Why, your brothers King Samael and King Lucifer, of course."

 

" Who's stronger?"

 

" King Lucifer is far superior to King Samael, being incomparably stronger than him. He has power only second to Lord Satan himself."

 

" Wow!" Rin gasped, imagining how strong his brother was if he could be called the second strongest being after Satan himself.

 

The man chuckled at his expression, making his features soften in a way that made him look years younger than Rin had first assumed.

 

" Um, Behemoth?" He was hesitant, not wanting the question to come off as rude and anger what he now knew was probably one of the most powerful beings in existence.

 

" Yes, my prince?"

 

" How-How old are you?" He asked timidly.

 

The man in question adopted a thoughtful expression, brow scrunching. " Hm, that is a hard question for me to answer you. You see, time flows differently here in Gehenna than it does back in Assaiah, so my age wouldn't mean the same to you as it does to me."

 

" How much different is time here?"

 

" Each day here is twice as long as one in Assiah, but only twenty-four hours would pass in Assiah in that time. There are thirteen months and all of them are exactly 28 demon days long. That means that one demon year is just under twice as long as a human year."

 

" Oh. That's why I'm so sleepy then."

 

" Yes, my prince. It will take you quite the time to adjust to our schedule. But, do not fret, your father is allowing you some leniency with this schedule due to your rather... unorthodox upbringing in Assaiah." He cleared his throat, the strange expression that had appeared on his features during his last sentence disappearing. Behemoth turned to Rin, a small smile on his face. " Now, since you didn't manage to finish that book in our lesson time, I will assign you work to finish reading it by our next lesson tomorrow. This means that you have approximately forty-four hours to finish that book. I will then quiz you on its contents. Good day, Prince Rin." With a final smile in the boy's direction, he disappeared in a swirl that made Rin gape in wonder.

 

The boy sat there for a minute more, mulling over what he had seen, before picking up his book and trudging out of the library, intent on heading back to his room.

 

He would have, if he hadn't have been grabbed from being by a pair of unfamiliar arms, yanked back into a shadowy corridor of the castle, a single yelp escaping his throat.

Chapter Text

Rin struggled against the grip, wriggling to the best of his ability, kicking out and biting with his small teeth. Even his tail was lashing about, the tip aflame with a spark of blue that had his captor rearing back a bit in fear, which allowed him to slip out of the hold, his captor cursing. Rin didn't bother turning around to see them, instead, he darted forward and to the side, dodging the hands attempting to grab him. He noticed that there were many more hands than there should be, which only fuelled his desperation to escape.

 

" Hey, young Prince! Now wait for just a second, I just wanted to say hello-" The voice was reedy sounding, deranged and hungering. Rin sobbed in fear, running as fast as his small limbs allowed him.

 

" Go away! Help! Help, there's a strange man!"

 

" My Prince-" The voice was closer, and he was sure that he could smell its breath.

 

Rin let out an ear-piercing screech as he felt a hand clasp on his shoulder, jerking away, his flames bursting briefly to life in response. A 'pop' to the side of him had him scuttling away and running around the nearest corner with a yelp. The sounds of snapping and snarling had him cowering in his hands, shaking violently.

 

The hallway went deathly silent after a few, agonising minutes filled with unearthly noises.

 

" Prince Rin?" He recognised that voice. He couldn't put a name, or a face to it, but he knew it. A womanly figure came around the bend, causing him to back up as she came closer. "Prince Rin, I'm glad to see that you were not harmed by the intruder. Please allow me to escort you back to your rooms, I do not know if there are any more of them roaming about."

 

He opened his mouth, then closed it, nodding hesitantly. It made sense. He didn't to be attacked again. This woman had saved him. The woman gave him a brief upturn of the lips, something that couldn't quite be called a smile before she turned and began to walk.

 

Rin hurried after her, tail swishing slightly, batting at the backs of his legs. He turned to scowl at it, watching at it swayed lazily without care. Huffing, he whipped his head back forward, pouting slightly.

 

The woman to his side stayed quiet, a silent protector for the remainder of the journey. And when he safely made it back to his room, she was gone before he could even mutter a thank you.

 


 

Rin's late afternoon was spent attempting to get through as much of the book as he possibly could, unsure when he'd have to stop for Tea. As it turned out, in Gehenna, they ate five meals a day. Which, he supposed, was to be expected when the day was twice as long.

 

Only two of those meals, however, were served in the dining hall. The other three, and any snacks he wanted, were brought up to his room, where he'd eat them at the table by the window.

 

The sight outside of that window had been a huge shock at first. Pale red skies with dark grey clouds littering it, a vast expanse of ground with no other buildings in sight, swarms of demonic creatures soaring in groups, it was all very frightening to look at. He had shut the curtains immediately, to get away from the nightmarish view.

 

Tea time would be soon, a meal situated between lunch and dinner. The maid that took care of him had informed him that it would be served at 30:00, although that wasn't much help for him. He hoped there wouldn't be any more 'Gehennan delicacies' for him to try, either.

[]

" Yucky! I'm not eating that! It looks gross!" 'That' was a plate of what Rin had first thought of as beans until one had crawled off the side of the plate. He grimaced as he saw the stern look his maid was sending him. He picked up his fork, gulped, and attempted to spear one of the  beans .

 

Attempted.

 

The things dodged his fork and swarmed back once he'd lifted it. Rin frowned and tried again. And again. And again. And  again . Frustrated, he picked up the plate, ready to launch it.

 

" Rin." Satan stood in the doorway, looking menacing. " We don't throw our food, especially not as a Prince. I don't care if it was acceptable behaviour in Assiah, it will not be tolerated here."

 

He gaped, looking at the 'food' still zipping about on his plate, and then at the man who walked closer. " But-"

 

" Put the plate down, you're spilling all the #/!sha everywhere."

 

" The what?" That word sounded oddly half-decipherable; as if the meaning was on the tip of his tongue.

 

" #/rsha. It is healthy food for young demons such as yourself to consume. They promoted healthy horn and scale growth, depending on which you obtain."

 

" I-I want to eat them but..." Here he stopped, feeling himself flush. "  They keep running away ."

 

" What was that?" Satan, his father, stepped further into the room, waving the maid away.

 

" I said, they keep  running away ."

 

" Rin, stop mumbling and speak clearly. You are a Prince, and princes don't mumble."

 

He took a deep breath, looking up at the towering man. " They keep running away. I can't eat them." Rin pouted, face scrunching when the man sat on his bed, laughing.

 

" Ah, young ones are always so sweet at this age." Sat- his father picked up the fork he'd been given and transformed it into a spoon. Whilst he gaped in awe, the man scooped up a spoonful of the '#/rsha', blew on them to make them freeze in place, and placed them in his mouth.

 

The flavour was indescribable, dissimilar to anything Rin had ever tasted before. They didn't wriggle about like the other food had, and were slightly crunchy. He found that he liked them, although they weren't as appetising as normal food.

 

" Do you like it?" Rin nodded whilst still chewing, and his father smiled softly. " Good, I'll have the Cook make some more for dinner." He scooped up another spoonful and waited for him to finish. Unlike his previous dish, Rin ate the majority of it, only turning his head away once he could stomach no more. " And it seems that you'll be needing smaller portions. How odd, when Lucifer was your age, he would have eaten double the amount. Perhaps, it's your status as a half-demon? Hm..."

 

Rin continued to chew, oblivious to the piercing stare aimed at his tail, which still flickered slightly with blue fire.

=


=

[Later that evening]

 

The man who called himself his father, Satan, watched with piercing red eyes as he stumbled, the books clattering to the floor with dull thuds. Rin winced, looking to his new teacher as she tutted.

 

The woman, who looked more beast than human with her scaled body, was taller than any person he'd ever seen before, lurking over him with a fearsome scowl. She hadn't seemed all that enthused to be teaching him, although hadn't denied it due to his father being the one who ordered it.

 

" Again. You will not be stopping until you can balance them for five minutes straight."

 

Rin had yet to even reach the two-minute mark, and darkness had already fallen outside. He'd never get to bed at this rate.

 

" But that's impossible! I'm tired, I want to go to sleep!" He groaned, foregoing picking up the books, and instead sat down with a huff.

 

" Prince Rin, a prince does not whine about their circumstances, start again-" He burst into tears instead, great heaving sobs that had both demons lunging into action.

 

There was a burst of blue to his side, followed by a feminine screech, and even if he'd wanted to see what had happened, he couldn't have. His father deftly swept him up into his arms with a coo, chest vibrating like what Rin could only compare to a cat purring. " Shush, it's alright, my darling, you may sleep whenever you wish. Never allow someone of such status to order you to do anything you do not want. Come now, let's get you to bed, it's been a rather long day."

 

Despite the fact that he had yet to finish reading that book Behemoth had set for him, Rin fell quickly into a deep sleep with his face nuzzled into Satan's neck. The man in question sighed contentedly, running a gentle hand through his son's white hair.

 

Walking through the mostly empty corridors, he listened to the little snuffles and snores Rin made in his sleep, relaxing in a way he hadn't done since he last held the mother of his youngest children in his arms.

 

It had taken a few years, but he had kept his promise to her, made with her dying breath.

 

" Keep them safe. Keep Yukio safe. Keep Rin safe. I-I don't know... what they'll do to him...just... please. He's so little, Rinka-"

 

It would be difficult to keep the younger twin safe, with his inability to withstand Gehenna due to his human body, but he'd try his hardest. Satan looked down at Rin softly, smiling to himself in glee. At least, he had the son he'd always wanted, draped trustingly in his arms and slumbering without care.

 

A demon passed him, and bowed deeply, curiously glancing at his expression and vulnerable son. He couldn't be blamed for his subsequent actions.