Satan sat in his throne room, watching over the damned souls sent to him every day. Jimmy, the demon, ushered Hitler in at 4 o' clock as was expected every day, to have a pineapple shoved up his ass. Satan sighed, his job as Prince of Darkness no longer fun since his sons had left. Yes, Adrian and Cassius had deserved their punishment, but it was becoming lonely as Pop - Lucifer - was growing older and Nicky was living happily on Earth with Valerie and little Zachariah.

Satan sighed again as he picked up a large pineapple out of a large chest filled with pineapples. He was about to shove it into Hitler's ass when a large realization hit him. "Jimmy!" he shouted, dropping the fruit and letting it splatter all over the floor. "Jimmy, the flask! It's gone!"

"That's impossible, your Highness!" argued Jimmy, rushing to his Master's side. "There is no possible way for the flask to disappear from Hitler's . . ."

"It's gone, Jimmy." Satan gave him a stern look to show his seriousness. "The only way it could have possibly disappeared is if Hitler removed it or . . ." He stroked his small beard in fear of the only other possibility. " . . . or Adrian has become stronger than we could have ever deemed possible."

"If he did become that powerful, then why isn't he here?" Jimmy asked, his brow creased with worry.

"He won't try to take over Hell right now, Jimmy." Satan slowly sat down on his thrown. "Adrian is too smart for that. He will be out for revenge . . . and the first person he would go after would be Nicky. We have to warn him . . . Get me my Hell phone!!"

Jimmy rushed around Hell until he was able to find the Hell phone. Holding it carefully with an oven mitt, Jimmy handed the phone over to Satan. "Here you go, boss." He held up another object, this one silver. "I, uh, also found this, boss." It was the silver flask which had encased both Adrian and Cassius. One look inside told Satan Adrian had killed Cassius, robbed him of his powers, and escaped his imprisonment.

Satan picked up the phone and dialed his favorite son's phone number. When he heard Nicky's voice answer, Satan smiled and said, "How are you, my son?"

"I'm doing awesome, Dad." Nicky laughed a little into the phone. "How are things going in the deep south?"

Satan laughed a little at his son's joke. "Son, I called to warn you. I fear Adrian has escaped and will be coming for you. I'll be sending Beefy over to help you keep an eye out for your brother."

"What about Cassius?" asked Nicky. "I can't do this on my own, Dad. Adrian is too strong."

Satan sighed, avoiding the flask with his eyes. "Adrian killed him, Nicky. You are the only one who can stop him. I can't leave Hell and your mother will probably do whatever she can to help, but it is entirely up to you to defeat Adrian before he tries to create Hell on Earth again. Just remember, Nicky, he will come after you for defeating his plans the last time."

"I can't do this, Dad! I needed help from the Oz-man last time." Nicky's voice grew very serious. "If I couldn't defeat him last time, then what's to stop Adrian from coming after my family?"

"Nicky, have a little faith in yourself. You can defeat Adrian as long as you have faith. Beefy will be with you and your family to help you out a little. Don't let any of your family out of the house." Satan glanced over into Nicky's old room, where Nicky's friends were now staying. "I'll send your old friends, Jon and Peter, over, too. They weren't much help the last time, but who knows?"

"Thanks a lot, Pop," Nicky told his father. "I won't let you down. I'll make sure Adrian is defeated and everyone is safe."

"One more thing, Nicky."

"Yeah, Pop?"

"Under no circumstances let your brother marry."

"What? Don't let Adrian get married? Why? What does that have to do with anything?"

Satan sighed. "Because you decided to spend your life with Valerie and Cassius is now dead, Adrian is the soul heir to the throne of Hell. If he should marry, he will become the new Satan, no matter if I am still alive or not. He will become the first King of Darkness and, knowing Adrian, he will rule over Hell and Earth for all eternity." Satan paused, letting his dearest son take in all that information. "Goodbye, Nicky, and good luck." He hung up the phone.

As he hung up his telephone, Nicky looked over at his family and sighed. He knew the task set out for him would be difficult and he wondered if this time he would come out of it alive.

Meanwhile, on the other side of New York City . . .

"Watch where you're going, young man!" shouted an old woman as a tall blond man bumped into her.

If only you knew who I was, you'd think twice about telling me to watch where I'm going. The man laughed to himself. Adrian took in a deep breath of air as he walked through the streets of New York. I have missed Earth so much . . . I thought I'd never get out of that damn flask! Too bad Cassius had to die in order for me to escape, but that's life! He sat down on a bench in Central Park. I will rule over Earth again and I will kill Nicky for trapping me in that flask . . . but first I have to find . . . her.

The her to whom Adrian was referring was no ordinary woman. He had seen her walking through Central Park not long before his defeat and he had wanted to meet her, to understand the feeling of attraction he almost felt for her. Oh, she looked just about as ordinary as a piece of granite or a block of wood to be placed on a fire, but Adrian could sense something different about her deep inside. There was something about her that made Adrian feel more alive than before. She was the main reason he had escaped the flask. He wanted to find her, watch her and see exactly what it was about her which made him feel . . . human.

Adrian pulled out his bottle of Peppermint Schnapps, unscrewed the lid, and took a large swig, hoping to clear his mind of her. I can't continue planning my revenge and conquest of both Hell and Earth if she's constantly on my mind, he thought bitterly as he swallowed the liquid. He looked up at the setting sun and knew he had to get some rest. He closed the bottle of Schnapps and hid it in one of the pockets of his long, black, flame-bedecked coat before he rose to leave.

He arrived at a nearby Marion hotel, smiling pleasantly - or as pleasantly as possible for an evil spawn of Satan - at the cclerk. "Excuse me, I would like one of your best, most extravagent rooms. That is, if it's not too much trouble." He gazed deeply into her eyes, sending a wave of mind-control wistfully into her head to twist her thoughts and bend her to his will.

"We have the exact one you are looking for, sir," the woman said robotically. She moved mechanically to grab the key to the presidential suite and hand it to Adrian. "Room 666. Everything you need is in your room and if you need anything, feel free to call room service. If they ask, please tell them Margaret will pay for it."

"Thank you very much, Margaret," Adrian chuckled cruelly. "Have a pleasant evening."

He marched up the stairs in his arrogant style and entered his room, almost approving of the room chosen for him. If he had not known better, Adrian would have guessed he was back in his old room. The sheets were the black silk he remembered laying gently but kept on the large four-post bed meant for a king.

Made for a king . . . Adrian thought as he closed the blood-red curtains, blocking out the last few rays of sunlight. When I am ready to take over Hell and Earth, I will find a way to appoint myself the first official King of Darkness. Then no one would ever stand in my way again. Not his father . . . not his brother . . . not even his little ragamuffin wife or son.

Adrian began drew water for a hot bath; the stenches of the flask and Hitler's ass had grown almost too much for him to bear. He stripped of his clothes and placed them in the clothes hamper, which he knew the cleaning lady would take care of and bring back to him by morning. Slowly, he eased into the hot water and was finally able to relax, already beginning to feel himself cleansed of the grime and stench of two years of imprisonment. As he washed himself, he vowed he would seek revenge on those who had imprisoned him. First, he would once again corrupt the people of New York, starting slower this time. Then, he would seek out Nicky and destroy him.

Adrian thought about Nicky's family for a moment. Little Zachariah was two now . . . he could hear everything his father said while he was caged inside the flask. He was half human, but he could not take any chances dealing with this child. He would have to destroy him as well . . . and that little wench Nicky had married, what was to be done about her? He might as well destroy her, too; there was no way Adrian would let her stay on this Earth if he were to rule over the mass population.

As he let the water out the bathtub, he patted himself dry and made sure a black robe was at his bedside for in the morning before he laid down under the warmth of his sheets and blankets. He laid his head down on the goose-down pillows and one thought popped into his mind. I wonder if she still lives in New York. Enraged with his immediate return to thoughts of that . . . woman, Adrian said decisively, "Tomorrow, I will go find her if I have to search all of New York and I will find out exactly why she is so different from the rest of these humans and why she is causing this upset feeling in my stomach!"

Having finally spoken, or rather shouted, his mind on the matter to the ceiling above his bed, Adrian turned over and let himself drift into a slumber filled with dreams of torture and hell breaking loose. In other words, everything he enjoyed . . . and not her.