PROLOGUE:

The Blade Demon Is Born

In the bowels of hell, Blackheart watched his father's face as it transformed from an expression of irritation to one of profound puzzlement.

Right then and there Blackheart knew that Mephistopheles had made a mistake and was trying to rectify it.

"He rode away. Again," the devil said, flatly, to his son, who stood as tall, dark, and arrogant as ever, never taking his eyes off the ruler of hell.

"Ghost Rider. Right. I'm not surprised," Blackheart said, with a sneer, not flinching when his father slammed the bottom of his skull-topped staff against the rough, molten rocks that made up the floor of his liar.

"Why are you here pestering me, anyway?" Mephistopheles snapped, shifting on his throne, clearly aggravated.

Relishing in seeing his father this way, Blackheart replied, calmly, "Well, father, I came down here to my cave this morning to find that my sword, my favorite one, mind you, was no longer hanging on its spot upon my wall. If you actually took the Bone Driver to earth –"

Mephistopheles interrupted his son, saying, "So what if I did take it to the Above? There's nothing you could do about it now…and what did you ever do with it?"

Blackheart's relatively pale face blushed a bright red. "I liked…looking at it," he muttered, sheepishly, ignoring the look of amusement that had came across his father's face. Furious with himself, Blackheart quickly added, "But that gave you no right to go robbing my room! That sword was cursed, after all. I stole it from an undead pirate back when I was still just a mere, foolish child. I was very fond of it…you didn't allow it to fall into some weak, mortal hands did you?"

Blackheart's face regained its original, pallid color as Mephistopheles erupted into raucous laughter.

"Oh, that's just rich! However, I didn't give it to no, meek mortal. I gave it to my Rider!" The old man said, mockingly, and Blackheart exploded.

"Damn you, father! Damn you! Why did you give my favorite toy to your worthless bounty hunter?" he cried, his dark-brown robes flapping about his legs as angry heat radiated off of him in waves. Mephistopheles chuckled.

"Your temper…might as well quench it… for I have a plan," he assured his son, who gradually began to regain control of his rage.

"What kind of plan?" the young, black-haired man asked.

Mephistopheles slowly rose from his throne, clutching at his staff for support. "I'm bringing forth one of my demons." He hobbled toward the back of the cave, where a pool of bubbling lava was located. The old man then planted his staff into the burning water.

Scoffing, Blackheart said, "If the Rider easily disposed of my Hidden he could just as simply destroy any demon you throw at him."

Mephistopheles, however, paid no heed to his son. Instead, the old man had started to chant, and almost instantly a tall, fiery shape began to form and rise out of the lava. Within minutes the devil had created another imposing foe thwart the Ghost Rider.

"Meet my Blade Demon," Mephistopheles introduced the creature to his son, who took a step back as the Blade Demon launched itself out of the lava, planting itself onto solid ground in order to stand devotedly before its master.

"An impressive beauty, don't you think?" Mephistopheles wanted to know, giving his son a triumph look before turning his gaze back upon the beast. When his father wasn't looking, Blackheart did the same, beholding the creature with fearful awe.

Indeed, the Blade Demon was a fascinating sight to witness but its beauty was terrifying. To Blackheart, who was seeing a tall, monstrous beast which possessed clawed feet along with a male face and body, it was nearly human. It would've passed for human, to, if it wasn't for the long, curving blade that extended out form its right shoulder and the freakishly long claws that grew form the beast's lengthily, left hand.

Its face, however, was barely human. This was because of the wolf-like snout that rested in between the Demon's shifty, beady eyes. As Blackheart stared at it, he could also make out the little dots of fur that traveled across the creature's face and up into its long, red hair, which framed its black and rotting face.

Blackheart, in his mind, agreed with his father. Indeed, the Blade Demon would prove to be a troublesome foe to the Ghost Rider but…would it be able to withstand the Rider's justice?

Blackheart, like his father, was eager to find out.