Author's Note: This here is my first fanfiction, so I really hope it turns out all right. I don't think it includes any spoilers (at least for now.) Thank you for checking it out, and I hope you like it! If you'd like, please leave a comment. Constructive criticism and positive comments only, please; if you really hate this thing, please do not bother commenting at all.
"Prepare yourself, Yako! We're looking for the Ultimate Mystery."
That is what he had said, and yet… "Neuro, um…why are we in Hell?" asked Yako tentatively.
The demon clamped his hand onto the girl's head, painfully squeezing her. "That is none of your concern, servant, although I suppose I can tell you this time." He informed her smoothly. "I seem to have forgotten one of my most important gadgets."
Yako did not complain about Neuro's vice-like grip on her head; the girl was mostly used to it by now. A part of Yako was surprised that Neuro had actually forgotten something, had made a mistake. It almost seemed impossible to her. Well, either way. There were more pressing matters at hand, including this "Hell" place. Admittedly, she was much less shocked and afraid than most humans would have been if they had been brought here, but even so. Why did he have to bring her here?
As Neuro dragged her along, Yako could see that Hell was just as Neuro had described it on numerous occasions. Just as gruesome, just as nauseating, just as morbid. Surrounding them were what looked to Yako like many disheveled corpses lying around, or even suspended several feet off the ground; mostly human, some animal, and some she could not recognize. Steam issued in bursts from pores in the mostly barren, thorny ground, although every once in a while, a gnarly, ugly, dangerous-looking plant was growing and twisting, blinking strange eyes and curling exotically fanged branches. Several pits in the ground contained either dirty, boiling water or hot, bubbling magma. The sky was a dark, sickly, grayish red color, lined with smoggy brownish and purple clouds. Occasionally, an odd creature or two scurried by, snarling or screaming.
But Yako was not so intent on sightseeing; the air, if you could really call it that, felt thick and was difficult to breath. Neuro had used a strange gadget that allowed her to breathe down her at all, but even so, each breath took strength and concentration. Finally when Neuro had released Yako's head and allowed her to actually walk behind him, she noticed that the path they walked on was bumpy and looked like it was made up of blood-and-gut covered pebbles, which slipped under Yako's feet and made it hard to walk. Yako was careful, however, not to trip; small potholes in the path seemed to be filled with a mixture of magma and off-color green slime, and she did not want to end up with any part of her body touching the odd substance. Not only that, but as horribly cliché as it was, it was incredibly, swelteringly hot. Yako felt that she was about to pass out from all the discomfort and heat, however Neuro looked perfectly comfortable.
"Ahh, Neuro, can't you at least tell me why I had to come along?" groaned Yako, trudging behind the demon still. She had asked him several times what he had forgotten and why, but as of yet, he had not answered.
Neuro turned around to look at Yako, smiling vacantly with a blank, innocent, and yet mocking look in his eyes. Yako knew that look. She knew the answer was coming before she heard it.
"No." said Neuro simply, flicking her hard in the forehead. With that, the demon turned back around to continue walking, ignoring the annoyed glare his servant had given him.
Yako normally would have persisted with her question and perhaps complained, but she hadn't seen Neuro for quite awhile, and she had to admit to herself that she had missed him somewhat in his absence. Her hard glare unconsciously softened to a fond smile; she wasn't going to be bothered by Neuro's abusive treatment of her. No, not today. She was glad just to see him again, even though when he had not showed up at the office for so long, a small part of her had been relieved. But again, Yako was forced to admit to herself that a much larger part of her had been longing for his return. The girl had grown attached to the demon, but she, who was so good at understanding the emotions and psychology of others, did not know why or how. But for now, she told herself, it didn't matter. He was back, and everything had returned to normal. If you could really call Yako's day-to-day life "normal" in the first place.
Yako decided to distract herself from the unpleasant atmosphere by concentrating on the very few things that she could still find to look pretty; along the sides of the path, she looked down to gaze upon a few bright blue and purple flowers. They were thorned and oddly twisted, but at least they were not drooling or gnarled like most of the other plants she had seen. At least these did not look like they wanted to eat her. Yako bent down to pick one.
Neuro, smirking, spoke up again.
"I wouldn't touch those, if I were you, Servant Number One." He informed the girl, who froze. "They squirt acid into the eyes of anyone who picks them."
Yako, more disappointed than freaked out, stood once again to follow behind Neuro; she suspected that Neuro had told her this information about the flowers more to ruin her excitement than to protect her from the supposed acid. She doubted the flowers would, in reality, do anything to her. But now as she looked behind her, on closer inspection, she could see that the tulip-like flowers had wicked little eyes and miniscule fanged mouths. She sighed.
Hearing Yako's sigh, the demon raised an eyebrow, but did not turn around to look at the girl.
"What are you thinking, servant?" asked Neuro uninterestedly, mainly out of curiosity.
"Well, I'm just thinking I shouldn't have really been expecting anything from Hell in the first place…" Yako answered, slightly disconcerted, as she had just seen one of the flowers stick a pointy tongue out at her.
Neuro smirked. Stooping down, he lifted what seemed to be a small golden retriever puppy from the ground that had been munching on a bone that looked horrifyingly human. The only features that made the creature look unlike an earthen canine were the two small horns protruding from its skull.
"What are you saying, louse?" An innocent-faced Neuro spun around to face Yako once again. "It's cute, right?"
It was cute, Yako admitted to herself, but the intelligent part of her brain told her it was some sort of trap. Nevertheless, rather childishly, Yako nodded and bent down slightly to look at the dog-like animal. Immediately, its jaws opened disproportionately wide and snapped shut around the girl's head. She let out a shriek and stumbled backward as Neuro released his hold on the animal. Luckily for Yako, the creature soon relinquished its grip on her head, using the back of her head to spring away from her. However, the force of the thing's jump pushed her forward and she fell flat on the grimy path, her face dangerously close to a magma-slime pothole. She watched the dog-like creature cackle devilishly and then scamper away. The girl quickly pushed herself to her feet before Neuro could pull anything else. I could cry…
Neuro smiled to himself in amusement; indeed, it was much more entertaining to have his servant with him, after all.
Just as Yako felt she was finally recovered and comfortable (as comfortable as a human can get, in her circumstances, that is,) she was faced with another rather troubling situation.
The air, which up until now had been warm past any human's comfort zone, was now cold. She hadn't realized it, but the temperature had gradually dropped over the past few minutes, and by now it was below freezing.
"N-N-N-Neuro," She chattered, wrapping her arms around herself to provide what little insulation she could from the cold. "W-What h-happened to Hell being w-warm?"
"You humans have changes of weather. Why is it so surprising?" asked Neuro, ignoring his servant's discomfort. Aside from the chattering of her teeth, Yako was now silent.
It was not long before Neuro had to realize, as the temperature continued to decrease, that humans simply could not withstand these temperatures. Really, he thought to himself as he glanced behind him to see his servant shivering violently, such weak creatures. Well, now is her chance to evolve... The demon continued to attempt to ignore Yako's shaking and chattering teeth, but it did not last very long. The temperature was still steadily dropping, and the girl would die soon if he didn't do anything. And it would not do to have her damaged beyond repair. With a slight roll of his eyes, and without a word, Neuro slipped off his jacket and dropped it onto Yako in a fashion of what he hoped to be indifference; he mustn't have her thinking he was going soft on her. No, he wasn't. Not at all. He still wanted her to evolve, Neuro assured himself, but if she died, that would be impossible. Almost annoyed at himself, he wondered if the girl would have actually died at this temperature. But what did he know of human limits?
Yako, shocked beyond belief at first, stopped in her tracks, letting the demon's jacket fall onto her shoulders. Was that a show of kindness? From Neuro? Impossible. Nevertheless, the girl curled the jacket around herself, cuddling into it to erase her shivers. The thing was incredibly too big for her, but it was still warm with Neuro's body heat, and it brought huge relief to her freezing body. Yako brought the garment tightly around her neck and face. It was warm, so comfortably warm, and she was no longer shaking. This is Neuro's… She stopped herself. What was she thinking? She quickly passed off her strange train of thought as a side effect of Hell's unfamiliar atmosphere.
It was—or at least it felt like so to Yako—several miles more of walking along the hellish path before Neuro had found what he had come for. Neuro had yanked back his jacket immediately after the temperature had risen above freezing again, and since then the temperature had returned to its uncomfortably hot state. It turned out that the gadget that Neuro had forgotten was not so "important" after all.
"Ah, here it is!" Neuro announced to himself, finally picking up the oddly shaped object. Yako was trying to get a look at what it was until he spoke again. "Evil Station."
Yako couldn't believe it. He had brought her through all of this, just to retrieve a stupid game system that would most likely only be used to torture her more later?
"Neuro! Do you really need that?!" She spoke up, astonished and irritated. Well, a logical part of her brain told her, it wasn't the first time Neuro had put her through unpleasant situations for no good reason.
"Of course," said Neuro simply, shoving Yako roughly forwards, back the way they had come.
Yako sighed; best to let it go. But just as she began walking, she stopped.
"Um, Neuro…couldn't you just take us back to the human world from here?" She didn't know why she bothered to ask; she knew the answer anyways.
"No," The demon replied, pocketing the Evil Station while pondering what sort of excuse for tormenting her he should use. "Because your pig-like form needs to walk off those calories from all the food you eat. Isn't that right?"
When the two had finally returned to the office in the human world, Yako was exhausted. All she wanted to do was sleep. Well, maybe eat first, and then sleep, but either way, Neuro gave her no time to do either, and sent her out alone to search for mysteries.
Well, Yako presumed, it wouldn't hurt to eat while she was out. It wasn't as if Neuro would be able to find out. And even if he did, she supposed her punishment for slacking off wouldn't be too bad; after being in Hell, Neuro seemed to be in a good mood. Plenty of that Shouki stuff down there, Yako reasoned.
She returned to the office almost fully rejuvenated, having cleared several menus from several different restaurants while she was out. She came in grinning several hours later, holding out a flyer to Neuro. The demon took it and scanned over it, reading every word on the colorful page.
"Hey, Neuro, are you listening to me? I said, I don't know about mysteries, but it's possible, right?" Yako's excitement was obvious; even Neuro could detect it in her voice.
"What is this…event?" asked Neuro curtly.
"It's a festival; there could be mysteries there, right?" Yako continued eagerly. It was clear that she was not interested in it for the possibility of a mystery.
"You're lucky I sense a mystery with this one, because if I had not, I would have decapitated you for saying such a hebetudinous thing, worm." Neuro informed the girl. "We'll go."