Hey there Journal,
I died today. Yeah, it was kind of a surprise to me, too. I don't even really remember how it happened. But that's inconsequential at this point. The fact is, I'm dead, and now I'm dealing with being incorporeal.
Despite being incorporeal, though – I was provided with a journal upon my arrival in the Underworld. …I'm not sure how it works, either. But since I figure being dead is awfully boring, the people in charge must have decided to give us journals to pass the time. Whoopee.
Hello again Journal,
Well, as it turns out, the Underworld isn't as boring as I'd thought it would be. In fact, it's looking to be more stressful than being alive. Though, I don't particularly remember the 'alive' part of my history too well anymore.
Apparently, in the Underworld, you have to work. And quite a lot – there're lots of wars going on around here, so we're mostly soldiers now. Anyway, I was summoned from my quarters (see: tiny box with cot) to the main foyer of the Underlord's castle with all the other incorporeals. There were also lots of people who had bodies, which kind of made me jealous. The en-bodied guys liked to call us incorporeal types "floaties."
So, with all of his minions gathered before his oversized castle, Lord Seedle addressed us from a high balcony in typical-evil-lord style. He was kind of samurai-esque in appearance, and I saw no reason to think he was anything else while alive. He greeted the new arrivals - "Welcome to hell, floaties." – and then uncaringly read off a job title followed by a list of names. These names, I found out, were the new identities we'd be using here in the Underworld, assigned randomly by whatever order we'd lined up in.
There were names like "Handbasket", "Kids' Menu", "Sortie", and "Azmagog." I think I lucked out with "Rodney".
Shortly following the naming, I found out that my job would be, simply, "Fighter". But the fun part was that I also got a body out of the deal. Sweet sweet corporeality.
And for some reason, I now require a writing utensil to write in this journal… bummer.
I'm back Journal!
Sorry I didn't write yesterday, but with all my training, I just didn't have time.
Anyway, my task had been elaborated upon since the assignment began. Lord Seedle had commissioned some of us (we're talking about 500 or so Fighters, Mages, and Swordmasters) to be spies in the Netherworlds of some of his rivals. He said, "It's a dangerous undertaking, but you're all expendable anyway."
Ah, I'm so motivated now.
But being dead meant I didn't have much choice. So tomorrow I'm being shipped off to apply for guard duty in the worst of rival Netherworlds – the domain of Lord Zetta, self-proclaimed most bad-ass freakin' Overlord in the cosmos.
It didn't sound too fun, I hoped that I didn't look tough enough to make an intimidating guard. Then maybe I'd get out of this assignment. Still, the body they gave me is surprisingly strong, and came with ruggedly good looks. How could Lord Zetta -not- choose me?
To be honest, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I liked this new demon body better than my former human one. For one, I'm cut. Also, now I have cute pointy ears and sexy auburn hair. I'm sure to have the ladies all over me in no time.
…I just wished that it didn't mean I had to work for Lord Zetta. I heard he eats babies.
Well, I'm in. Lord Zetta, as cavalier as all the other Overlords I've met, randomly picked about 80 of the applicants to be his guards. He mumbled something about a "High turnover rate" in his guards.
Comforting, it's good to know I won't have to save up my salary for retirement.
Lord Zetta was an imposing figure – tall stature, square jaw, mean eyes, and fiery red hair that was literally made out of fire. He was made doubly imposing by his huge, flowing cape. I don't know why Lord Seedle doesn't wear a cape – he'd look so much cooler. I kind of wish -I- had a cape… or even a real shirt for that matter. Netherworld clothing is so revealing.
My commanding officer, who was also randomly-appointed, assigned me to guard the hallway leading directly to the throne room. Alongside a crabby old mage named "Meister", the two of us would be the second-to-last line of defense should any of the invading armies make it past the first sixteen lines of defenses. It sounded like a cushy job.
Lord Zetta's throne room generally was not the place to find Lord Zetta. He only went there when he had to address the complaints of the demon residents of his Netherworld or when he was teaching his apprentices.
If I was a less lazy demon servant, I'd probably be working on a way to become one of his apprentices and get into the good graces of both Zetta and Seedle at the same time. However, that would be if I was a less lazy demon servant. As it stands, my partner Meister sleeps all day during guard duty – and he's the more vigilant one.
During my waking hours at my post, I managed to catch the conversations during Zetta's apprentice lectures.
"No, no, not like that at all! Your laugh is far too long to be 'bad-ass' – it's just annoying," Zetta chided one of the male students, "You can't be one of -my- apprentices with a laugh like that. Try it again!"
A deep, yet shorter, cackle followed.
"Better." Zetta praised warily, "Practice that after class."
One of his female students, a once-human blonde woman named Salome, spoke up, "Lord Zetta, could you continue with your lecture on the most efficient ways to gain Mana?"
The other students murmured their agreement eagerly. Salome was like their leader, around whom they could rally. She was obviously the most advanced and most talented of the hand-picked selection. Some of male students claimed she was also the most attractive.
Zetta's tone belied a smile of proud affection for his star pupil, "Right, getting Mana is the first and most important step to being bad-ass. And if any of you are thinking about becoming the generals of my army, you'll listen up!"
He cleared his throat to begin, "To start, you'll need boxes. Lots and lots of boxes…"
And so despite a few flaws, I'd actually come to respect Lord Zetta. But only a little.
He's less imposing than I had first thought… and his hair wasn't REALLY made of fire.
Ahoy ya scurvy Journal,
Today I lived through the wonderful experience of my first Netherworld Natural Disaster™. You'd think I would have expected this, but did you know that the Netherworld floods at the drop of a hat? The entire castle was nearly submerged, and the upper floors were crammed with the important demons.
Just so you know, Rodney the Fighter-Hallway-Guard isn't an impressive enough title to be considered one of the 'important demons'. So I was forced to carry out my duty and to guard the now-underwater hallway.
Meister, dedicated as always, was still asleep at his post.
I learned later that the storm had been caused by another overlord, Alexander the God of Destruction. While storms like this weren't uncommon in the Netherworld naturally, Alex had a bad habit of summoning them up when he came for one of his regular wars against Lord Zetta.
"Oh ho, Zetta! Now that your Netherworld is flooded, your troops won't be able to stop my oncoming army!" the green-haired Destruction God bellowed from outside the castle, "I hope your ground troops can swim!" The youthful overlord laughed at his own 'wit'.
Zetta climbed to the roof with a couple of his apprentices and exchanged words with Alex, who was floating on one of the thunderclouds as he was wont to do. "Damn you, Alex! Get down here and I'll beat you myself! My ground troops aren't the only things I can use to kick your ass!"
One of his apprentices, the lovely Salome, carefully explained to her teacher, "Ah, Lord Zetta. Just a thought, but if -our- ground troops are useless due to the flooding, it stands to reason that Alex's ground troops are equally futile. In a sense, Alex has already defeated his own army with this little stunt."
The youthful overlord peered over his shoulder at the ground-based portal he had opened to transport his army. From the distance, one could barely make out the flailing limbs of Alexander's troops trying to stay afloat. Alex gaped, "Oh snap! All the water's flooding directly into MY Netherworld!" He turned back and glared daggers at Zetta and Salome, "Oooh! Dammit Zetta, you're a tricky one, but I'll conquer your Netherworld next time!"
Lord Zetta's features screwed into an expression of disgust, "Where does he get off saying corny Saturday morning cartoon villain lines like that?"
Salome nodded her agreement, "I know… who writes this stuff?"
Later, I found out that today had been Alexander's forty-seventh invasion attempt this year. Along with his assassination attempts numbering only sixty-four, the count was only half over for the year.
And you shouldn't ask how we can breathe underwater. Damn curious Journal.
Nothing happened today.
Well, I got to eat pancakes. That was cool.
Whee! Today was my annual day off. Meister covered double-duty today so that I could have my scheduled vacation time. Man, I couldn't see why everyone complains about working for Zetta – this once-a-year holiday was more time off than I got when I was alive! (I think.)
I rounded up the other Fighters who had their day off and we all got together for a day of videogames, soda, and ABC gum. We played "Disterra: Minute of Blackness" (a favorite among our crowd) and "Smash Bros". I totally 0wnz0red McGuire with Jigglypuff. He didn't see that coming.
While I was rounding up the guys (and Cynthia the only female Fighter), I happened to notice Zetta was actually in the throne room for a change. He was in a heated meeting with a girl he called "Pram the Oracle." For Lord Seedle's sake, I decided to listen in on the conversation – but I wasn't too focused really, since videogames were luring me with their siren call.
"So tell me Zetta, what do you REALLY know about the Sacred Tome? Anything? Anything at all?" the petite white-haired demon had a tone of sarcastic superiority – which instantly set her apart from anyone else who addressed Lord Zetta.
The fire-haired overlord glared at her with grudging acceptance, "No, Pram, I've never heard of this stupid book. What's that got to do with my Netherworld?"
Pram smiled, sidling up and resting on the arm of Zetta's throne, "Well, it's simply the reason your Netherworld is going to be destroyed, that's all."
The overlord's already-narrow eyes narrowed further, "What do you mean, 'destroyed'?"
" 'Oh the humanity, the world's on fire.' – kind of destroyed," she explained, waving her arms in a mockery of panicked fear for emphasis.
Zetta glared, unamused at her light-hearted tone regarding the destruction of his Netherworld, "How do I know you're telling the truth?"
She laughed, "Oh, my dear little Zetta, have I ever steered you wrong? I'm Pram the O-R-A-C-L-E. I can see the future, and it just doesn't suit me if you don't have a fair warning about how dangerous this little sacred tome is to your Netherworld." Pram brushed a lock of white hair off her shoulder idly, "Besides, I -did- warn you about that traitorous apprentice of yours before she got too powerful, didn't I?"
Zetta's features hardened upon her mention of Salome.
Not long after Alex's most recent attack, Zetta tested Salome's power and found out she had accrued more Mana power than even -he- had. He demanded she give him an explanation for her relentless pursuit of Mana. And when she wouldn't give him a satisfactory answer, he accused her of planning treachery, as a then-unnamed Oracle had warned him. In the wake of the very-public argument, Salome left the Netherworld without a word.
And if -anyone- brought up Salome, Zetta decreed they'd be 'fired', at the very least. Touchy guy, eh?
Pram smiled, delighted, "I see you remember all the help I've given you so far. Now, listen up and I'll tell you the location of the tome..."
It was at that point that McGuire spotted me and videogames could be resisted no more. Sorry Lord Seedle, I appreciate the body and everything – but it's my day off!
I died today. Again.
There are a few choice words I wish I could utter regarding Lord Zetta's ability to make decisions, but I don't have a tongue.
To say the least, he's lost some respect points.
Apparently, he found out the Sacred Tome recorded all the events that ever took place in the Netherworld and all the events that ever would take place. In his infinite brilliance, he burned the thing when he read something he didn't like. It didn't take long to figure out that whatever affected the Sacred Tome affected his Netherworld also.
The results were just as Pram predicted – "Oh god. Oh god. The world's on fire." And I didn't even last a full month as a demon.
Now I'm an incorpore- "floatie" drifting in the vast space that -used to be- Zetta's Netherworld.
At least I still have you, Journal.
EDIT: I touched up this chapter with some new paragraphs, to make it slightly more story-like, despite its journal format. Fixed some grammar to make it flow better and to spice up to the humor. Please enjoy the next chapter, too.