Chapter 2: What's and who's

The limo arrived in front of the hotel, slowing to a halt once at the gates. The passengers emerged from it one by one, the Radio Demon, Vagatha, Angel, Cherri and Charlie all standing by the open door in a half circle. The princess was the most nervous of them all, knowing that their sixth passenger still had trust issues with them all. On the way here, he sat across all of them in silence, his shotgun trailed on their heads. Strangely, he never looked them in the eyes, only tinkering with his right gauntlet for the duration of the trip. It was a tensely uncomfortable drive, to say the least. The only one to have even a semblance of peace was Alastor, smiling all the way to the hotel. It wasn't his usual toothy grin, though, something the princess noted mentally. Still, the focus was on their newest guest, a silent, stranded, still-minded Slayer.

For the most part, the Slayer didn't mind being in their presence; the shotgun was there out of habit. He found it odd how comfortable he felt in this position, minus the cramped space in the limo. The air was thick with tension, however, and the closed windows provided zero help on the matter. All in all, it felt a rather slow trip for what essentially was a five-minute ride home. And now here they were, positioned in a rather combative formation as they waited patiently and with bated breath for the exit of their newest guest to exit.

The door flung open, almost hitting the side of the limo were it not for the strained metal locks holding it place. One leg out and a bent car roof with four fingers and a thumb now engraved into it later, the Slayer got out of the limo, his only welcome party being the concerned looks on his most recent… allies. He was still getting used to the idea that he took a demon's bargain. This demon, however, wasn't anything like a demon. The other four were, though, and the spider, spear wielder and bomber all looked to the now-damaged limo door.

"We'll get it fixed, no worries." The object of his recent and strange fascination sounded out first, still trying to make peace and keep the situation from escalating. The way they surrounded him, however, made him reload the shotgun, an action Charlie noticed quite fast.

"N-No need for that, now. We'll give you some space, all the space you need. That limo can get cramped anyways. Right, guys?" The princess immediately moved out of the way, signaling the others to follow suit. As they did, Charlie composed herself long enough to officially present her dream project to the Slayer, bowing slightly as she did.

"Welcome to the Hazbin Hotel, mister demon slayer. It is an honor to have you here." She straightened up, introducing the Slayer to his newest 'sanctuary', so to speak.

On his end, the Slayer simply scoped out the building, noting all the exits, entrances, windows, defensive spots, cracks in the perimeter and even the lack of any sort of security, apart from the two flying dolls on the front entrance. He could easily fight his way in and out, but he had no idea of what the interior was like. He didn't even notice time passing, a full thirty seconds before any of his acquaintances even twitched, let alone peeped.

"Uh… dude? You good?" Angel was the first to snap them all to, genuinely worried about the mental state of their new tenant. The Slayer said nothing and began walking toward the entrance, but not before stopping beside Charlie, who eyed him curiously.

"Oh, right! I'll give you the tour. In fact, I insist that I do." She almost began bouncing, glad that he was showing even the slightest bit of interest in the hotel she so lovingly built.

"Right this way. Please keep close to your guide and remember, no blasting." The princess got as giddy as they came, motioning the Slayer to follow as they walked up the stairs and in front of the ornate doors, Razzle and Dazzle moving aside and bowing to their protectorate and creator. Right as she was about to push the doors open, she heard a multitude of noises from the other side, all of them intermixed and rather loud even with the doors closed. Before Charlie could remember who they were made by, Vaggie walked up with a hand on her face.

"Ugh, I told you they would treat it as a goddamn night club." The manager referred to the group that Charlie had invited earlier to keep them safe.

"Who knows? Maybe it's a good one." Angel wasted no time putting on his lipstick and making sure his chest fur was up good.

"Or maybe they've already started smashing shit up!" Cherri on the other hand was a bit excited, her hands balled into expectant fists as she awaited the princess to open the door.

"Whoa. I don't recall us inviting you in, bombette. Why don't you explode on outta here?" Vaggie wouldn't tolerate more mayhem to her decorations, even if she was Angel's friend. No, especially because she was Angel's friend.

"Standing in line for a good show was never quite my forte, I must admit. Why don't we all stop with the teasers and go right in for whatever treat awaits us?" Alastor threw in his two cents as he walked up beside the Slayer, both beings slightly on guard against the other and the corners of their eyes meeting in a steel gaze, the only difference in their expressions being the curves of their mouths, Alastor's smile and the Slayer's scowl disagreeing already, the latter going unseen because of the helmet. Nevertheless, he had a point as there was no use standing around and speculating about things when the door was right in front of them.

"I agree." Charlie took the lead once more as she moved past Razz and Dazz, pushing open the door with gusto.

The explosion of noise that rushed out ran over her like a truck, her ears begging for it to quiet down. Inside the hotel, the freeloaders did exactly as Vaggie predicted, almost tearing the place apart. Furniture was being ripped and scratched, her prized paintings were being tossed around like wet rags, bottles were being broken or shoved up people's asses and mouths, liquids of unknown and frankly unwanted-to-be-known nature were pooled in the floor, chunks of food were thrown about and devoured messily, all of it compounded by the messmakers themselves being chased by the little pixie maid known as Niffty, the little winger cussing out the jumble to high heaven and attempting to fix smaller damages quickly before going off on another pursuit. The cat demon bartender Husker was not at his post, his presence spotted at a high-stakes poker table, the cat easily having a lead on all his opponents. All in all, it was wonderful chaos for the guests.

For Charlie and Vaggie, it was a horror show.

"Dang, Angie. I thought you said this place a dump and a bore." Cherri wasted no time in making herself at home, grabbing a makeshift party grenade stuffed with confetti instead of explosives. Before she could toss it, however, her hand got grabbed and twisted by Vaggie.

"Ow! Hey!"

"No! No more fucking explosions! We fix this mess, not make it worse!" Her neat-freak tendencies were on red alert; she had already seen enough of a mess down in the west district, not to mention still being on the fritz about Charlie's questionable decision regarding their latest arrival.

"Alright, I get it, you goddamn prude. Let me go already." Cherri squirmed out of her hold, massaging her hand to soothe the pain. From the back, Alastor just chuckled at the ensuing discord he so desired to see and experience.

"Ah, the thick, alluring and promising atmosphere of a good shindig. Nothing like it, I must say." He just twirled his cane and went back to being the ultimate spectator that he set out to be from the moment he arrived here.

Charlie just took a deep breath and immediately went over to contain the situation, grabbing as much of her paintings as she could on the way to the bar, the epicenter of this disaster. Once there, she began scanning for the spark of the party, so to speak. Finding it at once in the imp she recognized as Dewey, the princess wasted no time in moving up to resolve this issue. A wave of confidence washed over her and almost started radiating out of her; the previous encounter had given her a much-needed boost in self-esteem, especially in regards to the hotel and her dream for Hell overall. On top of a pool table, Dewey swung violently to the rhythm of the blaring trance music with two bottles of vodka in each hand, the crowd dancing to his tempo and with their own drinks, underwear and a few bras in hand, making the princess wade through the mess of people, taking a few hits and spills for her effort before she even got out of the crowd and at the edge of the table.

"Hey! Excuse me!" She tried yelling over the music but it was of no avail.

"YO! CABRONES!" Vaggie chimed in with her own take on the makeshift mosh pit, her rage deafened by it as well. Beside her, Charlie got up to the pool table, dodging the blind swing by the imp at her legs as his eyes were closed from the headbanging and the noise. One more dodged swipe allowed her to poke his horns, getting his attention for the much needed moment.

"Hey hooo, princess! Why didn't ya tell us this place had booze, blackjack and dance floors? We woulda gotten here hours ago!" He yelled over the music, trying to thank his host for the festivities she unwittingly provided them with, spurring the party further on.

"That's kind of you to say so, mister Dewey, but I'm afraid this isn't a nightclub! You guys need to break it up, you're making a huge mess and I appreciate my hotel being in one piece!" She yelled back in the most polite inquisitory tone she could muster, all the while holding back Vagatha and a sharp broken bottle she grabbed.

"Oh come on! We just started, why would you act like a killjoy this early in the night?!" Dewey continued on unaware of his surroundings, prompting Charlie to grab him as he teetered too close to the pool table's edge. All she got in return was an offer of vodka, declining it quickly and trying to return to the matter at hand.

The others were of no help at all; Angel eagerly scoped out the bar, the bottles and its fuzzy bartender winning his poker games looking mighty alluring in his eyes. Cherri joined him, both to grab the hardest alcohol they had to drown the day's events away and to play wingwoman if her friend and student decided to go for the gold. She had an easier time pegging Angel's crushes from up close rather than through the crosshair, though there were exceptions. Niffty was tied up, literally, with trying to get loose from a ceiling fan she got stuck on in the commotion. Suffice to say, it was utter chaos and Charlie had her work cut out, stolen from and slapped with across the face for her.

A deep breath was always an icebreaker for these types of situations for the princess and she took one, ready to bring a little order one step at a time.

Before anything could go any further, though, a bloodcurdling scream echoed from behind them, one of the imps pointing toward the back. The music almost stopped just as dead as the crowd, the bottle clinking still and the beat now subdued.

"What the heck is goin- HOLY JESUS HAROLD FALTERMEYER CHRIST!" Louie, who was near the back of the mosh pit turned to the screaming imp's pointing direction… and promptly almost browned his pants.

Striding into the room, his steps almost shaking the floor as much the entire jumping crowd of at least fifty, his stomps echoing across the now-silent hotel reception area, the Doom Slayer revealed himself, his left hand cracking from being balled into a fist, his shotgun in his right and his eyes shaking from anger. He was still getting used to the concept of showing mercy to demonkind, focusing all of his being on not rocket-dashing into the entire crowd with his Blood Punch augment primed and scattering their giblets across the entire hotel. The tension from the crowd condensed faster than a black hole pulled in light, all eyes in the room now on the remorseless demon killer and his hungry weapon. For his part, the Slayer took one look around the room, gauging the situation perfectly. As he readied to smash a few skulls together, he saw Charlie's eyes, the pleading in them reminding him of his deal with her.

And so, all the Slayer did was raise his shotgun and reload it once.


It wasn't clear who yelled that, but the pandemonium that followed didn't much care for it as dozens of sinners now began scrambling for the door, tripping over one another and screaming in horror throughout.

"What in the-!" It was all Husker could exclaim as the table players flipped it over, cash and chips flying everywhere and bets forgotten and buried as they joined the crowds in making a dash for the exit.

"Whoa, hey!" All Angel could was get his bourbon out of the way as the flood of people ran through the bar and out into the hallway, making Cherri try her best at avoiding trampling and general injury. Hell didn't have much of a healthcare system, after all.

"Charlie, look out!" Vaggie pulled her away from the pool table as they climbed over it in their escape attempts, Dewey now grabbed on to Brandt's tail as the hellhound busted open the doors, surprising Razzle and Dazzle as the crowds ran down the stairs, some falling down tumbling and getting bruised and broken. Nobody cared for pain as it was no substitute for existence, however, and the chaos continued on until the entire hotel was empty, leaving behind a dazed princess, a worried manager, a thoroughly amused overlord, a disappointed cat poker player, a relieved cleaning pixie, a perplexed pornstar and an impressed bombette. The occasional rolling bottle coupled by a hanging picture dropping unceremoniously only served as the cherry on top of this discordant and messy ice cream of fear.

His work done, so to speak, the Slayer simply holstered his shotgun on his back and went over to Charlie, who still needed a moment to register the situation. Once it was done, though, she looked him in the eyes, the rage-filled orbs now relatively calm, and smiled.

"Thanks… for not killing anyone."

The gratitude in her voice was prevalent over all else, making the Slayer question her motives a bit less. At least she could be trusted to hold her end of the bargain up… for now.

"Filthy, filthy, filthy, FILTHY!" Niffty wasted no time in cutting loose and start dusting and picking up trash, unable to stand the mess.

"Well, at least my money's still here." Husker got up and grabbed as much of the dough as he could, it being 'rightfully earned' and all that. As he gathered it up, he looked to the new guy, his curiosity piqued.

"Who's the brick? And why's everyone so fuckin' scared o' him?" The cat demon wiggled his wings as he grabbed another bottle of booze and went to stuff his earnings into his small vault behind his bar.

"Oh yeah. I've never seen him here before. He's a man. That's good! Cause y'know, we need more men here. No offense to us women, though. We're great too. But we need men, no doubt there. Heavy lifters, problem busters and generally nice to have around." Niffty went off as she dusted off the area and threw out the garbage she hastily scooped up. She prided herself on housework and hotel cleaning services were not that far off.

"Glad someone here agrees…" Angel took a shot before getting up from his chair and presenting the man to Husker.

"Kitty, meet… uh… Wait, did he ever say his own name?" The pornstar asked, scratching his head.

"No, Angel, he didn't. Husker, this is the Slayer. That's what we call him, unofficially. He's… well, he's pretty new around here. Let's do our best in welcoming him to the Hazbin Hotel, shall we?" Charlie introduced the death machine to the cat demon. Both eyed each other up before Husker turned to the princess.

"He don't look like no demon." He stated the obvious.

"Sure as hell fights like a thousand of us, though… Shit, now that I think about it, he might be scarier than a whole city block combined, and that's me being generous with only what he's shown us. Who knows what else this dude can do." Cherri popped in on the conversation, grabbing a bottle of scotch for herself. Something weird inside her took over for an instant, making her subconsciously offer the Slayer one by extending it to him. Charlie, Angel and Vaggie raised their hands in different denying signals and stopping motions, knowing what provoking the man-monster in front of them meant. Lucky for them, the Slayer simply looked at the bottle before ignoring Cherri and turning to the princess, who got her attention fully on him.

He made a hand motion to hotel, Charlie turning around to look before getting it.

"Oh…whuu- Oh, the tour! Sure, I'll show you around. Oh, you're gonna LOVE IT here. We got some new furniture in, along with a few decorations that I think are gonna be to your liking." Almost hopping with excitement, Charlie presented the hotel hallways before taking a bow and motioning the Slayer to follow her further.

"Oh, I have so, so, so much to show you. I'm sorry, I just can't wait to tell you all about my home. I mean, not just my kingdom, but my hotel, too. But first thing's first; where would you like to stay, mister Slayer? I can give you any room you'd like. They're fully furnished, have all the amenities, working plumbing, room service, entertainment, we're even working on a pool out back…" And so the princess led the Slayer across the hallways, giving him a tour of her grand hotel, its rooms, their setup, building design, level layout, decorations and even a few comments about the residents of Hell, who they are, were and what they could be in her eyes.

The others, meanwhile, were left to their own devices, even Vaggie at a loss for words and unable to move. How did Charlie always manage to have faith even in the most dangerous and darkest times perplexed her, but it was also one of the things she loved about her the most. Angel just returned to his attempts at wooing the alcohol-happy cat demon, the latter not appreciating the gestures as it implied he cared about anything other than his next bottle. Niffty wanted to follow the duo out of curiosity for the man in the armor, but a negating smile from Alastor bade her stay, out of patience more than anything else. Cherri, being the odd one out of the whole group apart from the Slayer, just joined Angel at the table, the spider demon offering her a much needed seat and a few chips to chew on as he put the moves on the disgruntled cat.

Vagatha couldn't sit still for long, though, and immediately dashed off toward Charlie and the Slayer, her worries getting the better of her head. The others watched her go before returning to their own sorrows, reliefs and drinks.

"Fucking hell, what a day… First my drugs get stuck, then this walking area of mass devastation appears and now…" He shook the bottle, the last drop of bourbon falling on the floor from its lipstick-laden top.

"And now I'm outta booze. Husky, hit me up, sweetcheeks."

"For the last fuckin' time, I ain't a 'sweetcheeks'. And second, get your own goddamn bottle, I'm kinda busy here." The cat demon tossed him aside as he grabbed another bottle of cheap alcohol.

"Growl! I love it when you play hard to get." Angel just picked up another one and continued unabated, Husker trying to ignore him as much as he could.

"Y'know, Husker- I can call you that, right?" Cherri joined in, figuring she could wingwoman it for Angel, who just looked grateful.

"Go fuck yourself with a machete." Came the elegant reply from the peeved cat.

"Later, fuzzywuzzy. You can watch, if you'd like." She offered, keeping her mind on the task at hand. Husker just took one look between the two before sighing grumpily.

"Great, first Chickenstick Legs over here won't leave me alone and now I gotta deal with his mother telling me he's some sorta gem. Buy a drink and shut up or get lost." He wouldn't let up, especially with his bottle on the line. Cherri just scoffed, just as persistent in her pursuit as her protégé. From the corner of his eye, Angel winked just light and fast enough for her to notice, a sign of thanks in their old days.

"Well, hook me up with the hard stuff then, kitty. I got a whole day of crazy to drink off."

With the dynamite duo going on about their business with the bartender, Vaggie off to do damage control on Charlie and the demon exterminator, the hotel once again empty and Niffty cleaning all the mess marvelously and perfectly, Alastor found himself with nothing to do but let boredom slowly erode his soul to inexistence. Joining Charlie seemed like a bad move, given her two current companions didn't like him very much. He had no clue what the spider and the cyclops were trying to do with Husker, so he let that slide and Niffty was being Niffty. He got nowhere talking to the help, so Raz and Daz were out of the equation, leaving with little options available… save for one he loved doing when there was nothing else occupying his demented mind.

"Well, this is quite the dull program I've just tuned into today. I'm going for a walk. Niffty, dear, be a good girl and tell Charlie I'll be back in a few hours. Until then, ta ta." And with that goodbye, the Radio Demon grabbed his hat, holstered his microphone cane on his elbow and exited the hotel in his true demonic gentlemanly fashion.

"Ya got it, mister A!" The little pixie just saluted and went back to her cleaning, humming a tune of content.

Pushing open the doors, Alastor stepped out and took in the air, savoring the last vestiges of the fear left by the crowd that rushed out before exhaling. It brought quite the tizzle on his soul and he loved every single sensation of it. Hell was a terribly dull place, according to his standards; Earth at least has the decency to provide entertainment in both the unknown and the selfish nature of humanity. Rare was the soul that wanted things to genuinely be better so he gave up on finding it long before he ended up down here. Even the upper class and the warlords were complacent to sit on their asses, trying to pretend they were the best Hell had in terms of power and control, but they ran just like everyone else when the Extermination came. Only three had the gall to stand up to them; the former most beloved son of Heaven and his family.

He spared a look back, thinking what the princess was up to now; she was different from the rest, comparable to an actual angel rather than the rest of the rabble down here. Maybe it was her father's former nature rubbing off on her or maybe it was all her own, but he still respected her ability to stick to her guns and control herself. Of course, it would eventually lead to her downfall or the destruction of her hotel; power and fear were the only things capable of subduing Hell's denizens and Charlie barely held on to the first while utterly scorning the second.

And it was exactly what made him worried about this strange new arrival.

This man, this Slayer, had a soul unlike any other he had seen. All souls had a stain, a mark on them signaling their weakness and the loose string in their otherwise tight and pure ball of yarn. Knowing how to pluck it was a specialty of his and so he prided himself on his honed ability to detect said string, from the most pious saints to the most wretched sinners that reality had to offer. The Slayer, however, had no such string. In fact, it would be better to compare his soul not to a ball of yarn but to a titanium cannonball. His determination, his incorruptible mind and his near-unbreakable body molded his spirit into something utterly invincible, which presented a big problem for him; if his soul had no weakness, he couldn't be broken and if he couldn't be broken, he would be unstoppable, which he had proved with the chaos he caused. Still, he had some sort of code he stuck by and, like Charlie said, he wasn't without reason. A pity that reason couldn't be taken advantage of, at least not in the usual sinner's way.

No, with this particular problem, the Radio Demon needed to change his game… but he wasn't sure he could do it without being ousted. The princess had easily seen through him on first glance and the Slayer wanted to murder him from second one.

The thoughts of dark times for his plotting days distracted him long enough for him to not realize he was a ways off the west district, right at the door of one of his old friends' shops. He looked over the establishment, admiring what she had done with the place ever since she took over from the exterminated chump that partnered with her in sharing the place. She wasn't that broken up about him, though, and immediately got to work on refurnishing and remodeling the place to suit her style more. Seeing her go without a hitch and even acquiring a following and power worthy of a warlord, Alastor walked over to Rosie's Emporium with all the elegance he had, knowing she had a thing for refinement, even in a place like Hell. Very few like her down here, indeed.

Pushing the door open and ringing overhead doorbell, the Radio Demon stepped inside the massive trinket store, the owner poking her head out of the counter. Expecting a customer, Rosie was pleasantly surprised to see her old friend walk through, especially after what she'd heard on through the news and general scuttlebutt.

"Alastor!" The warmth in her voice belied her demonic nature, even more so now that she was a minor territory holder, an overlord in her own right.

"Rosie, my budding, prickly, demure floret! Been ages, my dear, ages." Despite his status, she was one of the few that he saw as a genuine confidant and friend, he himself being able to let his guard down around her as well, both in conversation and on the streets, so much that he dropped his distorted voice almost subconsciously.

"A few days, actually, but who's counting. Come in, have a seat. I just finished categorizing some of the merchandise." The high-class demonette got down from a ladder that was hanging on a shelf ridden with strange volumes and titles. As she reached the floor, Rosie moved in for a much-wanted embrace, the Radio Demon returning it with gusto.

"How've you been, you old showstopper? Still gunning for that fool with the TV head who thinks he's something special down here?" Rosie led him in the back to a private room she used for breaks, getting both a teapot and a pair of cups for them both. As soon as she put the pot on the stove she had in there, Alastor grabbed a chair and made himself comfortable.

"Oh, let's not spoil the mood already when meeting after so long, darling. Tell me first what's the scuttlebutt these days? Ol' Valentino still being the nag, looking up your turf and your store?" The Radio Demon asked, trying to get a better vantage point over the 'political climate', so to speak. That, and he knew that Valentino was in league with his current primary target for power and territory over Hell.

"Huh… funny you should mention that. Until recently, he came by often, asking for your whereabouts and even tried shaking me down. Told him where he could stuff it, mind you, but I noticed he seemed awfully eager. More so than usual. Then, just today when I was expecting him, I heard the rumors." Rosie began, the tea brewing calmly behind her as she sat down.

"Apparently, something or someone crash landed on our soil, began raising quite the ruckus. And given how you're rather shaken, am I correct in assuming you ran into whatever or whoever it was?" As always, she had a penchant for reading right through him. He didn't mind, though; if there was anyone he trusted down here, it was her.

"Sharp as ever, Rosa my beaut. And yes, I've had something of an… encounter with the demon slayer." His particular moniker for Hell's newest troublemaker got Rosie both curious and cautious.

"Demon slayer?"

"Yes indeed. This new tenant of ours is quite the rabble raiser. In but a single hour, he razed half a city block, killed hundreds and even wrecked some of our dear Valentino's territory, the latter unknowingly. He is… quite the enigma, my dear; you see, he doesn't speak or chooses not to, making it difficult to gleam through him. His strength is… well, if I had to wager a guess, I'd say he is on par with some of our esteemed Goetia nobles, maybe even more." At that insinuation, Rosie had to gulp her tea down forcibly lest she spit out a perfectly good sip or choke on it.

"What?! You're exaggerating, surely." She took a breath to steady the conversation's flow, not liking where it was going.

"Not at all, not about this." Alastor suddenly turned grim, contemplative even. It was a sign that his next move was not a sure one. Surmising a few info bits from the previous rumors she had heard and the news report, Rosie saw fit to ask about the location of the demon slayer.

"Am I correct in assuming he is currently in that hotel you're bunking in, along with the princess? Her idea, I too presume?"

"Nothing gets by you. We found him in the middle of the west district, demolishing the place along with any who dared challenge him. He was rather fast, quiet for a man his size and-"

"Man? As in… a human?" That got her even more interested.

"Yes. He is human, or at the very least looks like one. His will and power, though, make me question that fact. From what I sensed, Rosa, he… Well, he honestly has no weaknesses or black spots on his soul. It's going to be a hassle just interacting with him, let alone manipulating him." Alastor took a sip of the tea, trying to figure out what exactly to do about the man. Rosie, on the other hand, played with her hat a bit, a sign that she was contemplating something deeply. Alastor took that as his cue to intervene lest she gain some profoundly suicidal idea.

"Rosa, listen to me. Carefully, yes? He is not to be trifled with, this, this… Slayer. His might rivals that of angels. Indeed, he possesses a power that can permanently erase our existence. No matter what, you must leave this to me, alright? While it is true he goes by a code of honor, it is so narrow and straight that I simply cannot guarantee your safety around him. So please…" He grabbed her hand, a sign of utmost concern.

"… Promise me you'll stay out of his way. No matter what."

His behest was strange, unlike anything the Alastor she knew would've requested. She therefore took his warning to heart.

"Very well, old friend. I promise." That and her look in his eyes was all he needed.

"Splendid. Now, back to the matter at hand. Tell me more of those three scoundrels. What are their next moves… Ah, but before all that…" As he began to scheme, Alastor remembered his manners.

"More tea, if you will, my floret." His radio voice returned, Alastor and Rosie began their usual daily gossip rounds, enjoying what the word around town brought them along with commenting on many a things. The topic of their newest arrival was shelved for now, something Alastor was not keen on coming back to and thus distracted himself with what and who was in front of him, knowing they faced many obstacles and issues of their own. The mystery of the Slayer would have to be solved at a much, much later date.

The door to the penthouse suite opened, the shiny and spotless room now cleaned up and ready to bunking by Niffty. Charlie made it a point to thank the little pixie for her hard work later on, something she had been meaning to do with all her helpers with her dream project. Before the ideas and fancies began swimming freely in her head, she shook it off as she led the Slayer into the room, the warrior stepping lightly in it for his size and taking care not to touch anything.

"And finally, mister Slayer, this is the penthouse, reserved only for VIPs and high-priority clients. While I insisted that there should be no such classifications in our hotel, given its peculiar design and purpose, my manager…" She shot Vaggie a dour look, who just shrugged it off with a sheepish smile.

"… deigned it 'necessary for monetary purposes'. Ugh… Seriously, Vaggie? If we make exceptions based on money, we are missing the point of the hotel. I mean, you of all people shou-"

"I know what I said! Look, hon, whether we like it or not, that's the game down here. For now, we play by those rules." Although she was miffed at her own admission, Vagatha couldn't deny that sometimes, you just had to adhere to the norms, no matter how shitty they were. Well, at least until you had enough power and influence to change them and Charlie was capable of just that.

The real trick was getting her to actually start using her inheritance and privilege, something she despised.

"Oh no. Nonono- no! No! Firm no! We are not having this discussion again, especially in front of our guest." It was more like an argument, another thing she hated doing with Vaggie, but they both agreed to put the hotel above all else, treating it like their baby, although Vaggie had a little reservation about the term. Charlie predicted it as her not being ready for kids, laughing it off adorably as she always did.

"But I-"

"Firm. No." And with that, Charlie shot her a look with her hand on her hips.

"Haaaaa… Alright, fine. Not in front of him, I get it." Her manager relented, turning to the Slayer.

"Well? What do you say?"

The silence after that question made her feel dumb, awkward and fifty other synonyms for uncomfortable.

"Jesuchriste, dude. You don't have to put up a macho act with that 'silent killer' bullshit." She was also starting to get exasperated at his un-responses.

"Vaggie, come on. Maybe he can't talk. Y'know, a mute?" Charlie eased her up. Before anything could go further, the Slayer took in the room's surroundings; plenty of space, good floor-to-ceiling ratio, lots of furniture for cover and a balcony for observation. He turned to the princess, walking up to her until he was a good five centimeters in front of her.

All he did was a solid nod, a notion that the princess was still trying to interpret.

"Uhm… hang on, does that mean… you want the room?" At her question, Vaggie did a takeback, grabbing a moment to recover before finally stepping forward.

"Whoa, Charlie! Penthouse? Reserved for important clients?" She tried reason first.

"I'm sorry, exactly how is he not in that particular category?" The princess countered with her own, motioning at the death dealer in front of her.

"Well, I… He, uh… Ok, fine. Ya got me there. But still, isn't this a bit much for a… well…?" She started her train of thought but it couldn't quite reach the next station.

"A human? No, it's not. In fact, it's perfect for him." Luckily, Charlie drove right there, grabbing her hand in understanding and with a lot of logic in her eyes.

"First off, it is quite isolated, meaning no one's gonna bother him. Second, it's got a great view of the city, meaning he gets an eagle-eye outlook, something he needs to ascertain a situation and make a logical choice. And finally, the penthouse has plenty of room for someone of his size and, uh… well, let's call it 'luggage'." Charlie laid it out for the three of them, hoping this brand of logic would get through to Vaggie. Given her sideways look, the hotel manager had trouble processing it; it wasn't because of the logic, but because of who it was applied to.

No matter how hard she tried, Vaggie couldn't bring herself to trust the Slayer, even if he seemed to adhere to the terms and conditions Charlie set him up with. The fact remained that one small misstep, one wrong word or one hint of a sour mood could hit the trigger on this nuke of a man. For one moment, however, she looked back, knowing what was waiting for and still doing it.

Charlie's hopeful and reassuring smile.

The princess truly believed she was doing the right thing. She was, in Vaggie's eyes, but no one had the same eyes, even if the colors aligned. She had to be there for her when she inevitably slipped up… and that was happening a lot since she opened the hotel. Alastor was one thing, but now this avatar of mass destruction? She didn't know if she handle two of them. Although they did seem to be at each other's throats, or were getting ready to, Vaggie worried it might lead to an even greater disaster rather than them killing each other and getting out of their hairs.

There was no use thinking about this now; Charlie needed her and that's all she cared about.

"… Fine. I'll put him down in the books…" Before Charlie could even let the barely contained squee out, Vaggie put a finger over her mouth while looking at the Slayer.

"But under two conditions. One; he doesn't make a mess. Of the whole goddamn hotel, I mean. Two; under no circumstances is he to leave without permission from you." Vaggie set her terms, looking the Slayer dead in the eyes. Well, in his visor, at least.

"What? Vaggie, he has a right to see things for his own, you can't just-"

"It's not him I'm worried about." Vaggie turned to Charlie with an anxious face.

"I believe he was attacked first, that he didn't fight back unless provoked. I'm not that vengeful to be blind. But think about it, Charlie. Out there, every single demon and sinner is now on edge because of what they saw yesterday on the news. Compound on all that your reputation for being a pushover-"

"But I'm not a pushover!"

"They don't believe that and you know it! And you haven't done anything in that regard-"

"I said in two days, Vaggie! For goodness' sake!" It was escalating into a fight and they sensed it, both of them taking a moment to look at each other and take a few deep breaths. The Slayer merely stood there, observing their quarrel; he picked up on many of their attributes of their personalities, where they clashed, what they agreed on and how they went about doing it, as if a predator picking up on its prey's habits. The more he observed them, however, the more they seemed to be… normal, not demonic or unholy, the only things even remotely such being the cussing and maybe the rage, the latter only coming out when they felt threatened, just like…

… Just like humans.

Although his trust was not yet with them, the Slayer saw fit in giving it a chance, for what is possibly perhaps the first time in his existence concerning a demon.

"Look, sweetie, we can argue over this or we can start with it and see where it takes us." Charlie was the first to break the standoff.

"Just like the hotel? Honey, he's not something you can… maintain or some shit. He's a…" Although he thought process knew the word, Vaggie had trouble saying it. This time, however, Charlie was patient, letting her speak it out loud. Maybe she too could change, at least where the Slayer was concerned.

"… a human being." She finally spoke it after ten seconds of deliberation and hesitation, looking back and forth between Charlie and the Slayer.

"A human being." The princess repeated with the largest smile she could muster at the moment. The Slayer's acknowledgement was a mere turn in the hotel manager's direction, eyeing her for any suspicions and confirming that she did in fact mean it.

They were rather strange folk to him, demon in physiology yet human in psyche and acting.

He had a lot to learn about how things functioned here, it seemed.

His heightened senses flared up all of a sudden, warning him of an approaching of some kind. Glancing down, he saw Charlie's hand nearing his own, shifting it out of reflex out of her reach. The princess noticed this, yanking hers back rather forcefully.

"Sorry, sorry! Got a bit carried away there. I tend to get physical whenever I'm overwhelmed with positivity!" Despite her apologies, she radiated warmness when explaining that, something the Slayer was rather confused by. She really was a curious entity, this self-proclaimed princess of Hell, at least in his eyes.

"No hard feelings?" She wanted to make sure. The Slayer took it a sign of apology, yet his guard was still up. He merely turned and walked to the balcony, without so much as a nod or a head shake.

"… I'll, uh… take that as a 'Maybe', then." It was still difficult, him not speaking to anyone. She had to watch his body language extremely closely as to not miss even the slightest signals, not to mention the interpretation that went behind them.

He was a unique being, even among all the hierarchs and archdemons down here. Not only was he a human that could survive in Hell, but he could also defeat the most bloodthirsty of the lowest of their kind without effort. He was exceptionally strong, quick and skilled when it came to killing, something that would quite literally take centuries to perfect.

A stray thought made her wonder how old exactly was he.

All questions would have to wait, however, as the Slayer stepped out on the veranda, taking in the sights of the city; it looked like a rundown, yet colorful human settlement, replete with hues that were strong on the eyes, almost distracting in some cases. The sounds were just as overwhelming, replete with gunshots, fights, club music, dancing, cars beeping, driving and screeching and even a few crashes here and there, complete with cats (or what passed for cats down here) hissing in panic. It seemed both pointlessly chaotic and absolutely normal at the same time. He holstered his shotgun, feeling safe for the moment as he observed all he could, his system's visor mapping out each section of the city automatically.

It reminded him of how important whatever equipment he had left was. Thankfully, his expertise extended way beyond that of the battlefield, him developing a feel for technology and knack for understanding even the most complex and alien of machines, be they for war or peace. Observing the area northwest of his sight, the Slayer noticed the lack of traffic in that area; it was after all, where he crash-landed.

The observations and thoughts gave him pause as he remembered the pods he left behind; they shouldn't fall into the hands of these… well, 'demons' was starting to seem like a loose term, but he still couldn't have them running amok with tech that they barely understood, tech that he could still use to his advantage here.

Without a word and before either Charlie or Vaggie could stop him, the Slayer grabbed the railing and leapt out of the balcony.

"What the fu- Hey!" Charlie called out, but the death machine had already made a small crater at his landing point, already striding toward the limo. As he reached it, Raz and Daz curiously eyeing him, the Slayer looked up, eyeing the princess and motioning her to the limo.

"What is that absolute monkey DOING?!" Vaggie, on the other hand, would not tolerate her rules being broken in the first two minutes.

"Yo, you overgrown burro! Did you not just hear what I said a GODDAMN MINUTE AGO?!" Without even thinking, she began reprimanding the Slayer, right before being caught by Charlie.

"Vaggie, whoa! Easy, ok?" All she had to do was say those words and point to the shotgun still holstered on his back to make her realize who she was yelling at.

"… Ugh, I mean… Slow down, ok, big dude?" Although she toned it down, she was still miffed at his sudden action.

For his end, the Slayer simply waited for the two of them to come down, or to at least interpret what he wanted. He found it odd that he didn't just take the princess' car keys and go off to recover what was left of his gear, forcing his mind to remember that he still needed her to get accustomed to this world and to help him get back to his own.

He looked up at her on the balcony, the princess looking a bit distressed at his antic, but once she saw he actually stayed put and waited for her, for whatever reason he had for jumping off in the first place, that worry turned into relief and a moment later, into a smile, one he could see clearly even from down here thanks to his visor's optical systems.

She was a very strange demon, indeed.

"And that's how Angie and me met, the explosions in the background blowing one of Val's strip clubs as we found one another, two peas in a pod, two pins in one grenade of an assload of gunpowder." Cherri finished her drink, pouring herself another shot. To her side, Angel just made the 'oh you' hand wave. In front of her, however, Husker just looked at her sideways with the most bloodshot eyes a cat demon could have.

"Uh… Cherri, was it?" He asked grumpily.

"That's my name, hon. Want me to make you scream it?" Her toothy grin flashed once again.

"Nah, I just wanna ask something." His demeanor suddenly took on a professional tone as he straightened his tie up.

"Ooooh, this is interesting." Angel was eager to see where he was going with this, liking the way he adjusted his tie; everything the cat did was seen through rose-colored glasses by him.

"May I ask if you remember what I told you a few minutes ago?" Husker began, a gentleman asking a lady a question.

"Mmm, yes. I believe I do, good sir." Cherri played along marvelously, sipping another shot.

"What was that thing, madame?"

"Hmmmm… I believe it was something along the lines of 'I'm too sober to hear life stories right now' or something."

"Well, you see, my good madame, that is because, and get this… because I AM TOO FUCKING SOBER TO HEAR YOUR LIFE BULLSHIT THROUGH MY GODDAMN EARS!" His scream echoed through the empty hotel, giving both Cherri and Angel a facial windsweeping.

"…Oh. Cool." Her and her protégé's trollish grins were getting on his nerves and they knew it.

Before anything could go further, Charlie and Vaggie came down the stairs, the hotel manager rushing past the bar while the princess stopped for a moment.

"Guys, we need some help. Think you can come over?" Charlie asked.

"The fuck? Help with what? Come over where?" Angel was not keen on being removed from both his drink and his fuzzy love interest.

"Well, uhh… how do I put this… Oh, fuck it. The Slayer leapt out of the penthouse suite, made a tiny crater in the backyard- NIFFTY, CAN YOU TAKE CARE OF THAT, BY THE WAY?!" Charlie began explaining before veering off.

"SURE THING, MISS BOSS!" Niffty sounded off from several floors above them, getting her tools ready.

"LOVE YA, SWEETIE!- Now, where was I… Oh, right. Crater made, and now he wants us to go… somewhere, for a drive, I dunno." Charlie laid out the situation as fast as possible, not wanting to keep the Slayer waiting in fear of him losing patience and going off on his own, or worse, in the brand new limo.

"Wait, he doesn't have the car keys, it's totally fine- no, wait, he can still walk… stride menacingly… stomp doomingly… oh what-the-fuck-ever. Can you or can you not come?" She sounded rather anxious and from the two troublemakers have seen, they knew why it was so.

"Uh… promise we won't get murderized horribly?" Angel was already putting his tux on, not eager to get out so soon, but also not wanting to be on the Slayer's hit list; they still had absolutely no clue how this guy's mind worked, or if he even used it all during one of his… 'afternoon strolls through Hell', as Cherri termed it not too few minutes ago.

"I do. Trust me, he won't attack you. We can…" She paused for a moment, unsure of what she was about to say. It seemed a stretch, but she strangely felt the words stuck in her mouth had a lot of meaning.

"… We will be safe with him."

And there they were. She honestly wasn't fully on board with them herself, but a part of her knew the Slayer would uphold his end of the truce. For their part, Cherri and Angel shared a look of uncertainty, but silently deciding to go along with her nonetheless.

"Huh… you know, when you really think about, this is kinda our first day out with him." Cherri added, grabbing a bottle out of Husker's hands, the cat demon just grumbling out the profanities under his mouth.

"What's that for, toots?" Angel got curious, readying his arsenal of guns in case a fight broke out.

"Sweet, sweet relief, my boy. What else?" With her bottle stashed, explosives ready and willingness somewhat returned, Cherri stood ready for action.

She kept the fact that she hoped it wouldn't be a lot; if there was anything she learned about the Slayer, it was that things tended to get out of hand fast if he was involved, a sentiment Charlie shared mentally. Kind of like…

"… Hey. Where's Alastor?"

"He went out, said something about visiting a friend or whatever. I dunno, that's what I overheard, anyhow." Angel answered, dressed up and ready to go.

"Ok… Mildly concerning, but ok." Not wanting to lose any more time, Charlie just grabbed them both by the hands and dragged them out, opening the door to see Vaggie impatiently awaiting her, nervously shifting eyes between and the very large and dangerous human next to her.

"Look, see? There she is. Now will you please try not to stomp off? We got enough on our hands as it is!" The manager assuaged the Slayer, his only response being a glance in her direction. He considered whether or not to give her a nod, but she looked like someone whose trust was hard to earn and quick to lose.

In a way, he respected that; he had those same qualities, after all.

"Hey~ho~, you two. Got the car keys ready. Oh, and some volunteers." The princess presented the two 'helpers', who were technically hotel guests. Well, one of them, anyway.

"… She's paying us for this, right?" Cherri hoped for some remuneration, even though she was technically drinking the hotel's booze for free. No need to tell them that, though.

"Well, I get a free room out of it, so I think I'm technically already being paid. In a sense. I mean… Eh, I don't fuckin' know. Let's just get this over with." Angel didn't really want to think about the logistics of his arrangement with the princess. Neither did the hotel manager, seeing as how she glared hellfire at him. Or maybe that was just her default mood around him. It was honestly hard to tell.

"So… what's that leave me with?" Cherri asked.

"Eh, ah… Hmmm… Uh… Not getting brutally wasted by Killer over there?" He just pointed to the Slayer, who was getting rather impatient, already strolling slowly left and right while glaring at them.

"Oh. Right." Feeling like having no choice, Cherri just accepted her fate and just nodded at the princess. Charlie wasted no time in getting the limo unlocked, just as the Slayer wasted no time getting in, trying to shut the door to no avail and to everyone's surprise. He suddenly remembered the dent he made when he got out earlier this day, locating the finger imprints. With a precise counter grab, he straightened out the dent as he shut the doors perfectly and waited.

The others shared glances among themselves; despite his brutal nature, the Slayer's people, social and interacting skills were… weird, to put it lightly.

"So… we're, uh… going or what?" Vaggie broke the ten-second awkward silence from the co-driver's seat, the other three snapping to.

"Right! I'm the driver! 'Cause, y'know, heh, hehehe, keys… Yeah…" Charlie's rosy cheeks turned crimson at her predicament as she shuffled quickly to get in the driver's seat. Cherri opened the newly fixed door, her first sight being the Slayer's calm, almost meditative sitting position. He looked strangely normal for a bringer of the apocalypse, but that thought process was shelved for later. Without fear, another strange thing, she got in the seat right next to him, skooching over closer until she was just a couple of centimeters away.

"Ready to get rolling, big boy?" As always, the Slayer's acknowledgement was a simple look in her direction before going back to his 'calm' state of being.

"… I'll take that as a yes." As she finished that sentence, Cherri found increasingly odd as to how familiar she felt being near someone that brought down a whole city block, butchered hundreds in an hour and almost blasted her into inexistence. Then again, this was Hell; nobody really cared about stuff like that down here, only for themselves.

Times and thoughts like this were what made Cherri wonder if she was the odd one down here, having a friend like Angel and now possibly the Slayer.

That train came to a halt when Angel peeked in, the incoming complaints on his face already making themselves apparent.

"Hey, so, is he gonna be like this all the time? The shotgun's on his back, but I'm still worried he might try to bash my head in." And thus they came pouring out.

"Dude, if you don't get in this fucking car right now, I'M gonna bash your head in!" Vaggie almost popped a vein on her right fist.

"Vaggie, come on." Charlie immediately went damage control mode.

"Alright, alright, sheesh. Don't have to go all 'cliché violent lesbian mode' with me, god…" With an insult he knew would go unanswered, Angel just got in the car, opposite of Cherri and what seemed to be her new friend-in-the-making. In truth, he was glad she was making more friends, but her choice in them left him worried.

"All set." He closed the door.

"Finally. Let's roll!" With that callout, Charlie revved up the limo and… left it in neutral before turning around and pulling the driver's window down.

"Hang on… where exactly do you want to go?" She asked the Slayer almost sheepishly, feeling a bit embarrassed after her pumped-up start.

The Slayer pointed to the shotgun and made an enveloping motion around it.

"Gunshop?... No no no… Uh… Blacksmith?... No, that's not it… Uhm…" Charlie as always was left alone to interpret the Slayer's body language.

"Oh, I think I know!" Cherri chimed up, getting everyone's attention to her.

"The pods! Right?! The ones you crash-landed with and in?" To everyone's surprise, the Slayer confirmed it.

"The crash site? What do you want there… Oh… OH! They're like your 'luggage', right? Or did you leave something in them?" Charlie got excited at Cherri's guess. The Slayer's small nod signaled another confirmation.

"Come to think of it, we really shouldn't have left those things lying around." Vaggie smacked herself in the head for not thinking of that sooner.

"One thing at a time, honey. Besides, we had bigger things to worry about then, right?" Charlie shifted into gear, more confidently this time.

"Alright, let's try this again." She revved up the limo, putting into gear this time.

"Let's roll, people!"

And with that, the princess, her crew and a demon killer extraordinaire left on their first outing together, a short drive away to recover something important to the latter. The skies were clear red, the city was in full swing, apart from the now-sealed off west side and the sinners and demons were once again drinking, gambling, eating, shooting, stabbing or drugging their night away as another normal day in Hell passed by.

For a select few, however, the day was going far from normal.

On the highest tower on the east side of Pentagram City, a tall, lanky and well-dressed demon stood straight, observing all beneath him. In his head's place was a TV, one which not only displayed his moods but also contained his 'face', a pair of eyes reflecting his emotions. They were calm now, looking out the concrete jungle ahead, a large porn studio on the west side in particular.

He saw the news report a few minutes ago; the entire entrance to the west side had been utterly demolished, its entire police district obliterated and only a few survivors left to tell the tales.

Tales of a monster who looked like a man, destroying any and all who dared challenge him.

As he pondered on what this was, the door to the roof flung open, revealing his two favorite acquaintances, the ones he shared power over Pentagram City's underbelly with.

"Jesus fucking Christ, Vox. What are ya, some super villain staring over his empire-to-be or something? How many times you need to come up here?" The incredibly dandy-dressed moth demon with the heart-shaped glasses on his eyes strolled in like the pimp he was, twirling his cane fashionably.

"Val, really? You two gonna do this now? Can I be spared the sexual tension this one fucking time? We got bigger problems." Behind him sounded off a demonette dressed up in a white-pink dress replete with hearts and with a miffed expression between her crazy eyes, tinkering slightly on the settings of her trusty iPhone, the newest edition from Hell's technological departments and recent release of the company's newest duo inventors.

"Velvie, trust me, after today, I NEED the stress relief. Seriously, what a fuckin' day…" Valentino, the owner of Pentagram City's biggest and only porn studio, tried breathing in to calm himself down.

"Alright, then. We have our agenda for this meeting and it is rather simple." Vox spoke up, turning to his two business partners and friends.

"Find out what the fuck happened to the west side."

Him laying it out was simple, but the even was so chaotic, he barely had any time to scrape up any relevant footage; almost all of it was blurs, images, damaged feeds and blood-splattered and gore-covered cameras.

"Wait, what? You mean you…" Val's infamous temper was rising, and it target was his cohort.

"You mean you don't… fuckin'…! KNOW?!" The pimp maestro almost snapped his cane out of sheer rage.

"Now, now. I didn't say that. I'm simply saying we need a bit more to go on that what we have." Vox tried calming him down; he knew this would be his first reaction and he prepared accordingly. Val took a moment to raise his hands to his face, making a calming motion on it before shifting back to Vox.

"Voxie, babe, bubala… Listen to me, yeah? A-Are you listening to m- ok, good. I just lost forty FUCKIN' million in property damages, another TWENTY in bribes and if I have to hire one more mediocre, incompetent and fucking absolutely BLIND idiot that comes knocking on my door, I'm gonna burst a goddamn testicle. A TESTICLE, MAN!" Losing anything related to monetary balances got the better out of Valentino and everyone in Pentagram City knew it. The problem was not being in his eyesights when that happened. All Vox could do right now was nod and let him vent. He needed him with a clear head.

"Relax, Valentino. We'll get to the bottom of this. You have my word." All in all, the electronic overlord handled the situation rather well. He then turned to Velvet, who just shrugged.

"Don't look at me, this is your domain. This little baby is good enough for me." She brushed him aside; although she preferred the simplicities of the iPhone, the young doll overlord loved to tinker with potions and cook up a storm rather than mess with radiowaves or press more than a few buttons on the phone.

"I know, dollie. I just wanted you both here. I might have found something that will interest us and get this problem-solving thing going." His words gave them pause, both sharing a look.

"Well, why the shit didn't you say so in the first place, man…" His mind cooled off somewhat, the CEO of the porn studio walked over to his fellow overlord as did the alchemist doll.

"That's because I just got it, as I sifted through what was left of the footages scattered around the west side, the police cars and the brave bystanders who recorded the massacre." Vox prided himself on his control over technology and most of the radiowaves in Hell, many of the demons and even some of the higher-ups looking to him for help and/or partnership. He refused them all, not wanting to share power but also not wanting it to completely go out of his hands. Velvet and Valentino were not only the answers to that particular problem, but also found in each other surprising similarities, the main one being their insatiable lust for dominance over Pentagram City's criminal underworld. In short, he genuinely liked having them around and thought of them as his friends.

"Well, what are ya waiting for? Let's see it." Velvet was growing just as impatient as Val, both now wanting to see what the heck happened to the west side.

"Very well. Switching channel." At his words, his head began switching programs until finally, it settled on a footage from an amateur video camera… right in the middle of a massacre.

"-tearing everyone apart, EVERYONE! I don't know where the fuck he came from, but one shot was all it took to set him off. He just stood there at first, but-" It was cutting off at parts, but the images were clear, as was the carnage, screams and utter devastation in them. People were dying left and right, torn apart by shotgun blasts and hails of bullets.

"-come on, work damn you- Wait, it's rolling! Yes! Ok, I'm at Calypso Street and this thing is bringing down- oh shit-" As the recorder started the video again, it showed a rocket flying toward one of the buildings, exploding at the columns and bringing the whole thing down.

"Ok, so… yeah, it's just one guy. Just ONE! He has absolutely murdered everything in his way. Only those that ran or didn't fight him were spared, it was so weird. Anyways, I'm gonna attempt to follow-" Before the footage could go on, a voice was heard from behind the recorder.

"Malcolm! What the fuck are you doing?! Come on, we gotta go." The other voice revealed itself to be an eagle demon.

"But, Jessie, we need to show what happened here to everyone else we can-"

"Dude, fuck that, we are NOT dying over goddamn Helltube ratings and I-… Oh shit!"


"… Run."

"What are you-"

As the recorder turned the camera at the angle the eagle demon was looking at, it finally revealed the source of the devastation… and he was gazing right at them from the corner of his turned head, his mighty weapons eager to blast them into nothingness, his armor gleaming in the fires of his destruction and his visor… the empty void that awaited all of their kind.

For the first time, the Three Vs saw the Doom Slayer.

The video cut off right afterwards, as if it was all it would show them.

"Well… that was rather disturbing." Vox concluded as his face came back on, his eyes in deep thought.

"…What… I… What the hell was that?" Velvet sounded and looked a bit disturbed.

"The source of our current problems… and my financial nightmare." Val summed it up, not perturbed by the footage at all, his rage easily outpowering his fear.

"Hold on, Val. I know what you're thinking and before we start anything, we need to assess the situation with what we know." Vox calmed him down once again, needing to review facts with both of them.

"First off; he is an outsider, meaning he is new around here. He might not know how things work. Second; he is heavily armed, armored and capable of untold destruction. His capabilities are still unknown to us, so let us tread lightly and not underestimate him." The TV overlord began summing up what they've seen, identifying precise points of interest and what they need to do.

"Third…" He suddenly stopped, remembering another fact he had seen today.

The news report.

The Princess.

It all came together and he did not like it one bit.

"Third what, Vox?" Velvet snapped him out of it.

"The princess."

"Charlotte? The big man's girl? What about her, Voxie?" Valentino got curious as well.

"He is with her." His deduction skills were still on point.

"What? How do you know that?" Velvet's weren't, though.

"Remember the news report? The princess coming out of the west side in a limo, not talking about it when asked but saying everything was under control?" Vox gave them the pieces and they connected them marvelously.

"… You're saying that when she talked, all the while inside that limo of hers…" Val started.

"-Was our little troublemaker." Velvet finished.

"And therefore, he is in the Hazbin Hotel." That deduction didn't sit well with him and his voice made that apparent.

"So? Why does that concern u-"

"Alastor's there."

The atmosphere suddenly grew deathly still, the tension in the air mounting faster that lightning. The moment he mentioned that name, Val and Velvet went silent as if on command; the history between those two was not a pleasant topic of discussion, no matter the circumstances. A lot of things were going through their minds, Vox' in particular; scenarios of what was and what could be. He had trouble keeping steady, judging by the increasing volume of static on his face.

"Wait, so, hang on. What does that mean, exactly?" Velvet broke the tense silence, still having trouble ascertaining the situation's possibilities.

"I don't know yet, meaning we need more information and badly. If they stay out of each other's way, good, but…" Vox presented one option on the table.

"Alastor and that guy… together… the sheer damage… Ah, shit!... Oh, fuck me senseless!..." For the first time in a long while, Valentino started to panic; the Radio Demon they could easily deal with, but this new threat, this bringer of death, combined with the red overlord, was sure to spell doom for all of them.

For the first time in their long and vain existences, the three Vs were vulnerable.

"… We gotta deal with this. I'm not messing around here, boys, we gotta kill them. Soon." Velvet's madness and ignorance took a break as she descended back down to reality.

"Patience, Velvet. Patience. We move now, we just expose ourselves needlessly. Move too late and we're dead. No, no… the timing must be perfect. We also need a plan to deal with the backlash of the princess herself. I don't know about you, but I'm not about to piss off the Big Man." Vox summarized their situation perfectly, even if the worry was apparent in his voice.

"So what now? We just sit on our hands and wait?" Val went back to twirling his cane.

"For now. Lay low, fix whatever damage you can and prepare accordingly. You too, Velvet. Get the best and deadliest brews you can, anything you can carry, drink or throw." Once again, Vox looked out to the city, feeling the storm clouds gather on the horizon.

"… Soon enough, a war's about to begin… and we need all the firepower we can get."

At his foreboding statement, Val and Velvet joined him in looking over Pentagram City, as if observing the battlefield-to-be; it was supposed to be theirs to control from the shadows, but right now that grip around its dark throat seemed to be loosening fast. Although the streets were relatively empty, the air was thick with brewing, boiling wrath, as if another reckoning was about to happen.

Right before he turned away, Vox, through his ever-reaching eyes, noticed someone coming out of a shop, one dubbed Rosie's Emporium. The tall, red figure walked across the street, whatever few demons were on the street giving him a wide berth out of fear and respect. As he was crossing the street, the red figure suddenly stopped, looking out in the far distance toward the looming tower stretching out above the city, his eyes scanning it all the way to the top.

Even though they were miles apart, the Radio Demon and the TV Demon locked eyes, both seemingly calm, yet if one could see them, they could easily spot the pure, unadulterated rage beneath them.

Vox on top of his tower; Alastor miles beneath him.

Neither was afraid to challenge the other.

And from the distance, something only Vox could see, the corners of the Radio Demon's mouth curved up as his eyebrows knitted downward.

A moment passed, an eternity shared only between them.

'I am coming for you.' The crimson eyes of the Radio Demon spoke.

'I'll be waiting.' The dark-teal ones of the TV Demon answered in kind.

They didn't need to be mind-readers; the sworn enemies understood and challenged each other to a showdown.

The storm clouds were now fully visible behind Vox, slowly starting to thunder with crimson light.

The trial was issued. And the battle, be it small or large, was about to begin.

In the city's high-class district, a particular household was being renovated, the construction noises prevalent throughout the area. And yet even they were not enough to drown out the yelling and screaming of a certain noblewoman, one known belonging to a family know in all of Hell to have serious marriage issues.

"ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND?! A GODDAMN STATUE?! THIS IS WHAT YOU SPEND OUR MONEY ON, YOU PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR A ROYAL?!" Stella Goetia screamed her lungs off at her poor, beleaguered husband Stolas, who taking cover behind an overturned table, his imp servants scrambling out of the vengeful woman's way.

"Statue!? No, darling, it's called taxidermy. Stuffed animals, you know. Our daughter's idea! It's all for her!" Stolas tried in vain to call out to his venting wife, dodging mice, a meatloaf, three plates and a man-eating plant thrown his way.

"Heather! Oh dear, it's not time for your lunch yet…" He called out to his plant, who was writhing to get out of its pot and chase the thrown mice that landed near it, balancing himself between dodging and trying to catch his escaping plant.

One person in the household, however, was going speedily for the door, her music player turned up the highest it could go. Even then, it was not enough to stop the yelling fully, but it dulled the pain. Mostly.

Almost bumping head first into the door, Octavia angrily opened it, almost tearing it off the hinges in anger and slamming in on the way out.

She took a long, deep breath, the blaring of the heavy metal music completely drowned out in her mind. She couldn't take it anymore for the day; she thought the yelling tolerance threshold would increase with each fight they had, but it was only getting smaller. She wondered if one day, it would become so unbearable that she would just… run away… forever...

Where her father couldn't find her…

'No. I don't think I can ever do that to him.'

She started walking away from the house, far enough that the yelling was no longer heard. She stopped the player completely, the earphones tucked away in her pocket as she started wandering aimlessly, only taking care to see where she was going or whether or not she bumped into someone.

She just wanted another day to pass, nothing more.

The red skies looked so alluring today, even with the gathering storm clouds on the horizon. She wanted to watch the rain fall, even if it was just as red as all the other crap down here.

The solitude was nice, giving her a lot of time to think, that was for sure; lately, things have been getting hectic for her family, if one could call it that. No, they were barely a family, more like a man, a woman and their offspring. Sure, he was a good father, but Stolas didn't know how to be a good husband, not with all the lechery he had commited, and that was even before he met that little red idiot. Apparently, their marriage had been going sideways for a long time, it was just that they were very good at hiding it from her.

Or maybe she was too ignorant and happy until it was too late.

Either way, everything had been rather shitty in her life lately, the only saving grace being her loving father.

She'd honestly be lost without him, both emotionally and socially. She owed a lot to him, a fact he didn't consider listening as he would give anything to see her smile. She just wished that, as his daughter, she could return the favor. Lately, though, he had little actually genuinely smile about.

All her thoughts were suddenly ripped from her as a loud horn and screeching noise woke her up from her walking coma, a limo coming in from her left side. On instinct, she jumped back, the limo's tires barely missing her left foot as she stumbled back. Letting the shock pass, she pulled herself up from the pavement, taking a good look at her would-be-killer.

A young, tall girl got out of the limo, an expression of pure shock on her face, something she wasn't used to from the denizens of Hell.

"A-Are you alright?!" Her sweet voice was another thing altogether.

"I, uh… yeah, I'm cool. Maybe watch where you're driving next time?" She said, unaware of where she stood. From the co-driver's seat window, another girl peeked her head.

"Watch wh- You're in the middle of the fucking street crossing on a red light, you emo perra!" Another girl with an eyepatch over her eye yelled at her. Octavia was about to yell back, but once she looked down, her feathery face went red, her hands instinctively going for her hat.

"… Sorry." It was all she could say. Rose-Cheeks, as she dubbed her in her head, just breathed out in relief.

"It's ok. Just be careful next time, alright?" She checked the owlette over before going back to the car. Right before she got it, though, she looked at Octavia with a questioning look.

"Do I know you?" Rose-Cheeks spoke in a pondering way.

"Uh, I don't think so." Octavia answered, noting to herself mentally that the girl looked familiar. Then it hit her.

"Wait a second… Wait a-! Yes! Yeah! I know you!" Octavia had a moment of realization.

"You do?"

"Yeah, you're that girl from that comedy skit on the news that one time. Something about a hotel that rehabilitates sinners. Man, that was a real stomach-turner!" Her realization was accompanied by a hearty laugh, one which the driver was getting red all over the face about.

"Yeah, hahah. HAHA! Yeah, that was me… Comedian…" The sheer embarrassment was too much for the princess as she couldn't contain it properly.

"Yeah, now I remember. You also… hey…" Octavia just remembered the broadcast she saw this morning.

"You were at the site where that massacre or whatever happened. That was something else, going in there like that, unprepared but intrepid. Hah! You're either the dumbest, craziest or bravest bitch in all of Hell." Judging by her expression, Octavia knew the girl couldn't tell whether it was an insult or a complement.

"Complement." She straightened it out with a genuine smile.

"Right. Well, uh-"

"You, Princey. Can we get a move on? He's getting kinda restless back here…" From the back of the limo, a cyclops lady poked her head out with a worried expression.

"Coming!" She reassured her before turning to Octavia, looking around the near empty streets and a brewing storm far off to the east.

"Princey…? wait…" Looking at her face, the driver girl knew she was getting recognized.

"… Charlotte Magne?" The shock in her voice was disguised, but it was there.

"That's my name, miss. Charlie's fine, though. In fact, I prefer it."

And so, the Crown Princess of Hell finally introduced herself to Octavia Goetia.

An awkward laughter broke the silence, Charlie barely scraping whatever dignity she had left up.

"Hehe… heeeeehh… Took ya long enough, huh?" Before she could realize what she was saying, the words were out, forcing her to kick herself mentally for the insult.

"Yeah, I guess it did… Sorry I didn't recognize you sooner, I've just…" To her surprise, the tall goth stylish chick was apologizing to her, putting her on the spot unknowingly.

"Oh, no! No! It's totally fine, I understand. Believe me, I do…" She felt a string already attaching their hearts. A tiny one, true, but it was there nonetheless. Maybe, with time, they could both knit something out of it, a sweater of pure friendship, love and happy endings, replete with puppies, rainbows and she was getting way~ too ahead of herself. She just met the girl.

"So, uh… what're are you doing out here by yourself?" The princess asked, looking around to barely find a sinner in sight, only the storm clouds to the east being something of note.

"Getting away from my parents. They can be a handful." She didn't know what made her confess so brazenly and openly, but Octavia did so. Maybe she was just tired of bottling it up and needed to vent, even to a total stranger.

"Overbearing while disregarding your feelings about their quarrels and/or opinions, with you getting caught in the middle and unable to anything about it?" To Octavia's surprise, Charlotte Magne perfectly surmised the royal's situation.

"Exactly so."

"Yeah, I'm… going through something of the sort with my father."

It was strange how such moments of familiarity could be randomly shared with complete strangers. For Charlie, this meant she was making progress in the right direction. For Octavia, it was a wake-up call to her friendless childhood and growing up.



They both struggled to find the words to continue this lovely first meeting.

"We're, uh… on our way to help a client of our pick his stuff up. Afterwards, though, we got some free time. You, uhm…" Charlie explained what she was doing all the way out here, hesitating slightly at the last part. Plucking up the courage, she looked Octavia in the eyes, determination and friendliness mixed together in a beautiful blend of positivity.

"… You wanna come along? At least, until your folks sort it out?"

It was like time stopped for Octavia; never, ever before had she been invited out somewhere that wasn't an overstuffed formal party. While the Princess herself made the offer, it was more like an invite to hang out, not to go to a ball or something.

"Yo, Princess, we gonna move this or what?" A spider demon poked his head out of the limo, impatient at the stalling.

"Hon, come on! We got stuff to do!" The eyepatch girl exclaimed as well, pointing with her thumb behind her with a worried expression.

"Right, right!" She calmed them down, turning back to Octavia.

"So, uh… yes or no? No pressure, though. Don't mind them. If you don't want to know, we can, y'know, exchange phone numbers or something?" Charlie was extremely patient when it came to handling situations like these, but with no less enthusiasm about getting the happiest outcomes.

Octavia, on the other hand, just fiddled with her beanie tiara; should she go or take some time? Meeting new people sounded like fun, at least as far as these were concerned. Plus, they could serve as a sort of getaway when her parents' fights became unbearable; better hang out with people you know than wander aimlessly, get run over and die miserably.

All of a sudden, the choice was clear.

"… Eh, why not? Anything but getting back to that house at the moment."

And there it was. It came out so simple, so sudden… so right. It was like breathing out a nasty breath held inside for more than a year, smelling of nothing but rot; it was like finally throwing off a weighty rock off your nearly-broken back right as you've crossed the line you were supposed to carry it to.

It was liberating.

"YAAAAAAAAY!" For Charlie, however, it meant another friendship in the making.

All of a sudden, it was as if she had gained strength to pull through everything that's been thrown at her recently; her motivation for getting the hotel up and running even faster was through the roof, her will to spread love and joy throughout Hell increased a billion-fold and her determination to show the powers of the three worlds that things can, with dedication, time, wisdom and love, get better. For all of them.

'… I can do this.'

It was the only thought on her verdant mind right now.

"Uh…. Rose-Cheeks? You okay?" Octavia snapped her out of it, literally.

"Huh?! Oh, I'm so sorry! It's just it is so exciting making new friends. Two in one day! Can ya believe it?!" Charlie literally hopped with excitement.

"Oh, what do you think we should do first after we get… our client's luggage… oh, I completely-"

"-FORGOT!" Vaggie, Cherri and Angel poked out of the limo, screaming in unison at their princess' friendship-and-rainbow addled mind.

"That I did. Well, I am happy to say that we have another new guest, or rather, a new acquaintance. Everyone, meet… uhmmmmm…"

"Octavia Goetia. 'Sup?" She waved at them.

The crew just looked at each other, unsure of what exactly to think; on one hand, Charlie was doing what she did best, but on the other this was really not the best time. Two of them didn't care while the third cared too overtly.

"Whatever, as long as she sits next to him, I'm good with her. Seriously, he is starting to freak me with the ungodly amount of brooding he does. Like, right now as we're yammering, he is still not interested in this shit." Angel started complaining, but Cherri pulled him inside.

"I'm cool with her as long as she doesn't touch my bombs. The ones that explode, not the squishy funbags on my chest." She added as she retreated as well, giving the owlette a toothy grin, Octavia being slightly uncomfortable to the implication of entering a vehicle filled with explosives.

"Oh for f-! Can't you two show any resistance at all?! Brainless fucks…" Vaggie, on the other hand, was a bit more resistant. One glance at the green menace behind her, however, canceled any objections she might've raised.

"But we're on a schedule, hon, so we gotta move."

"*gasp* So does that mean-" If Charlie's eyes were any brighter, they might've been mistake for suns.

"Yeah, she can come." As the manager finished her sentence, Charlie grabbed Octavia's arm and effortlessly dragged the goth over to the limo, even as her feet scraped the pavement slightly.

"Oh right. You've met the four of us, Cherri the cyclops lady, Angel the spider demon and my manager Vaggie, but you're about to meet one more person. He's real quiet, so don't mind him too much. Also, try not to touch him. He dislikes that. Just be relaxed around him and he won't mind you, either, ok?" Charlie explained as she opened the door for Octavia.

"Uh, ok. Who's…" Before she could finish, the Goetia royal looked inside, only to come face to visor with the Slayer.

"Whoa… He's… big, isn't he?" The first observations were usually the truest ones.

"Yeah, he is. Welp, in you go. Our first stop is his crash site." Charlie said as she nearly shoved the owlette inside.

"Whoa, hey-! Wait, what? Crash site?" Octavia was starting to wonder what she got herself into as she squeezed inside, her height needing some space as she sat as comfortably as she could… right next to the Slayer. As she made herself at home, Octavia locked eyes with him all of a sudden, seeing them clearly through the visor up close.

"… 'Sup?" She tried greeting him.

The Slayer just turned to Charlie, eyeing her impatiently.

"Ok, ok. Yeesh. We're going. Just try not to scare her too, alright? And no blasting." She closed the door and ran to the driver's seat, starting the car and finally getting the show back on the road.

Octavia looked around, trying to find something to pass the time; Cherri and Angel were thumb-wrestling, the pornstar losing badly to his explosive mentor while the princess and her manager talked about something in hushed volumes.

That only left… him.

He really was huge; sure, she was a bit taller than him, but his muscles and build made him look more like a bear than a demon. In fact, she noted how closely he resembled a human being. The man, or whatever he was, sat with his arms crossed, patiently sitting the ride away. It made her awfully curious, an itch that couldn't be left unscratched.

"Hey. I'm Octavia. What's your name?" She tried small talk, but the Slayer simply ignored her.

"O~k~… Where're you from?" Still no answer.

"Uhmmm… Does my breath smell or something? Pretty sure that helmet of yours can block it, so why are you ignoring me?" She was getting a little miffed.

"He doesn't talk, Feathers." Angel chimed in, his thumbs sore from losing ten in a row.

"You gotta ask him specific 'yes or no' questions if you want some answers. Also, we don't know his name, either. We all got our own nicks for him. He doesn't seem to mind them, though. The shared one among us all, however, is 'Slayer'." Cherri explained the nature of the relationship with their newest 'friend'.

"Slayer? As in the death metal band form Earth?" Octavia asked incredulously.

"Nope, as in 'Demon Slayer'. He's, uh… a really, really, really, really good killer, trust me. Don't worry, though. Just don't provoke him and he won't turn you into red paste with his fists." Cherri described him as callously as talking about the weather.

Octavia eyed him even more curiously now, trying to come up with a question to break the ice with the guy.

"… Do you like metal music?" She didn't know why she started with that one, but there it was. To her surprise, the Slayer turned to face her before giving a slight nod.

"Nice. I got some sweet riffs from some of the better-sounding bands in Hell on my player. Wanna listen?" She revealed her music player and earphones, putting one in her ear and offering one to the Hellwalker. On the other side of the limo, Cherri and Angel suddenly stopped all activity, watching the scene unfold before them, but too scared to actually do anything about it as it was both too surreal and too interesting.

The daughter of one of the Goetia demons just offered what was considered the worst menace in Hell since the overlords… a shared listening to music.

The Slayer eyed it expressionlessly for a second… before accepting it.

Cherri's and Angel's jaws were on the limo floor right now.

From the side of his visor, a small portcullis opened as if on command as the Slayer plugged in the earphone. Seeing it as a sign of confirmation, Octavia put on the tunes for him, the heavy metal chords, long riffs and drumbeats playing through his visor's sound system. The riffs caught her in their flow as Octavia started slowly headbanging to them.

Angel and Cherri were still stumped, unable to process it completely.

"What the feathery fuck… does he actually… like it?" Angel asked, incapable of comprehending how the mute mass murderer was capable of liking anything, let alone music. An answer was given in the form of Cherri pulling down his field of view to the Slayer's right foot.

It was stomping slowly to the rhythm of the songs… and it was in sync with Octavia's headbanging.

"What the shit's going on back there, why'd you all suddenly… go… quiet…" Vaggie grew suspicious of the lack of noise in the limo, fearing the worst.

What she found was something out of one of Charlie's fairy tale stories. Her eyes went wide as she looked from Cherri to Angel and finally to Octavia and the Slayer listening to music together. The limo stopped at another red light, giving Charlie a chance to turn around as well.

"Vaggie, what's going oooooooooOOOOHHHHH!" At the mere glance of the sight, Charlie's eyes went as wide as the moon, her teeth making her lower mouth almost bleed out of the pressure they put on it from the cuteness the princess was experiencing.

"… Angel, did you slip me something while I wasn't looking?" Vaggie wanted to believe she was high as a motherfucker, but Angel shaking his head dashed those hopes across the rocks and pissed on the remains.

"He. Made. A. FRIEND!" Charlie almost blew up from the implication and the overload of adorability.

"… Is that what just happened?" Cherri was still lost farther than Pluto.

All of them except Charlie scratched their heads at the Slayer and Octavia listening to heavy metal together, his foot and her head still in sync to the riffs' rhythms. From the corner of her eyes, Charlie shot a look of pure bliss at Vaggie, who just snapped back to reality, immediately countering with her own skepticism.

"Charlie, babe, I know you wanna believe it-"

"It's happening right now, Vaggie. I don't need to believe it, I see it."

"She's royalty. Hanging out with the human freakazoid who can end us permanently."

"And they're becoming friends. Seriously, Vaggie." She touched her shoulder in comfort, something her manager really needed right now.

"Have faith. He's a good guy. I can feel it."

"Hope you're right, sweetie. Hope you're right…"

The light turned green, allowing the trip to finally continue on, as the frozen trio, the giddy princess and the metal lovers drove on into the entrance of west side, seeking to recover that which the Slayer left behind. The clouds hung heavy still in the east, signaling the storm approaching as every citizen of Pentagram City was taking cover from the upcoming rain.

The six friends didn't care; for now, they enjoyed their time with each other in pairs; the lovers taking care of Hell's most infamous hotel's patrons' needs, a pornstar-killer-wannabe and his mentor arm-wrestling in the air…

… And Octavia Goetia and the Doom Slayer listening to heavy metal together.

A normal day if ever there was one in Hell.

A pity normal never lasted down there, as they would soon find out.