Hey guys. I'm back again, this time for a one shot for Demon Dairy. I felt there aren't really that many Demon Dairy fanfics out there, compared to categories such as Yu Gi Oh GX and Digimon, so I thought I'd add in my own contribution. So please, read and tell me what you think of it.
Title: The Torn Mask of Loneliness
Time passes, as it does. Humans die, yet demons live on. The passing of time can change a person drastically, and 1000 years seems nothing to a demon, but Raenef is no ordinary demon. And that's how he should stay. But he doesn't, and the balance is disrupted. So it's time to fix it.
It was hard to believe that a thousand years had passed since Eclipse had traced the Raenef bloodline to a young orphan boy of fifteen. It was hard to believe that this child, the blond haired, blue eyed, ditzy youth who had lived by joining a thief's guild in Pulhel City in the South, was the heir to the Raenef line. A Demon Lord.
But it was true, and he had proven himself time and time again.
The naive child that had come into Eclipse's care and had been the cause of his embarrassment for nearly a year after had grown into one of the most powerful and feared Demon Lords the world has ever seen. Eclipse's wish had come true. His master was now a true Demon Lord, and acting like it, but surveying his liege seated on his throne, Eclipse couldn't be sure he was happy about that.
It was hard to believe that once, the cuddliest and most lovable demon lord in existence, Raenef V struck vast fear and boundless terror into the hearts of even the most courageous of creatures. But it just wasn't him.
And across the rivers of time, Eclipse heard his own voice, younger, speaking to him across the boundaries of space.
'The current Master Raenef is not his true self. All beings must be true to themselves above all else...even-and especially-a demon lord such as Master Raenef.'
Those words applied now as much as they applied at the time they were said. But then it had been a book that had awakened the dormant power within him. This time, it was simply that, time. Or passing thereof.
And outside, a war was brewing. Darkness against light. Demons against the servants of the Gods. The Clerics. And the humans caught between. A war far greater than the Hangma war had ever been. Neither side would stop until the other side was completely wiped out. But it was completely unnecessary.
Eclipse had neglected mentioning this to his Master, due to his recent change of attitude. Recent for a demon anyway. Although more than a human's lifespan had passed. How much more, he couldn't be sure. He hadn't picked up Raenef's change in attitude until it had been too late. And now he regretted it.
It probably started with the death of Erutis.
It was a day like any other. Raenef V, now an adult, kept the innocence and beauty of his youth, but with it, carried wisdom and power that combined, were a force to be reckoned with. But he still retained the kindness and compassion that set him apart from other Demon Lords. He had built a reputation for himself, and although it was one not favoured by most other demon lords, or their servants, Raenef's reputation had prevented many conflicts, and much blood being spilt on his lands.
That particular day, he was surveying the gardens from the balcony, alone, with Erutis and Chris gone since a year after his establishment to the throne, and their visits scarce. Eclipse, at that moment, was taking care to some particularly tedious paperwork, and so Raenef was left alone.
Not for much longer it seemed. Demon Lord Krayon suddenly appeared behind the other, the rustling of his cloak alerting Raenef to his presence.
'Lord Krayon,' he said respectively, turning slightly to glance at the other out of the corner of his eye. Catching a glimpse of genuine sorrow on his face, he turned fully, wondering what had brought Krayon to this castle in his sorrow. Rarely did a Demon Lord express their emotion, and even rarer for one of the five eldest to be doing so. 'What brings you here?'
'Erutis,' he replied gravely.
His tone worried Raenef. 'What about her?' he asked, concerned for her friend. 'Has something happened?'
Eclipse, who had finally completed his tedious paperwork, appeared beside the Demon Lord he swore servitude to. He, unlike his Master, recognised the tone of voice, similar to his own when Raenef IV had died in his arms. The pain of losing someone close to you, hidden beneath a mask.
'She's dead.' It was stated. Point blank. Krayon allowed no emotion to filter into his voice, no falter to betray what he was feeling inside. Raenef, who was obviously not as adept with dealing with sorrow as the other two, felt tears well up in his eyes as the news of the death of one of his dearest friends reached his ears.
'How?' he whispered, struggling to hold back his tears.
'Nomed III killed her.' Nomed III was one of the younger demon lords, and yet was still at least a hundred years older than Raenef. Despite his youth, Nomed was renowned for his love of death and particular hatred for Crusaders. And Erutis happened to be a crusader. He shivered, imagining Erutis' mangled body laid to waste in some desolate area, as countless before here were doomed to the same fate. There was no point in searching for the body, if it was lost. It would be beyond recognition now.
Krayon then began to explain the manner of her death, but Raenef tuned him out, the shock too new to be able to accept at that moment. Go, he whispered, seeking solitude in his bedroom.
He had started to become more secluded from that point on, and less in control. But apart from the rare loss of temper, life in the Demon Lord Raenef V's castle went on as normal. Chris still visited, although his visits were scarcer as tension began to rise amongst the Clerics.
Conflicts still arouse here and there, and Raenef lost some of his previous kindness and compassion while dealing with a select few. Namely ones which threatened the safety of someone dear to him. It was a method he did not prefer himself, but circumstances often took the choice out of his control, and it allowed him to vent the emotions that arose due to the gaping hole that Erutis' departure had left.
Ten years after his initial arrival at the Raenef Castle, Leeche returned, and as promised, the two were married under the moonlight sky of her father's palace, before Leeche moved into the Demon Lord's castle.
The unique spark in Raenef's eyes, which had dimmed following the aftermath of the death of Erutis, shone once more, and his laughter filled the palace halls. Ten years of separation had not lessened the affection between them, in fact, their love had grown stronger because of it.
Unfortunately, that happiness was not to last. A few years after their marriage, Leeche fell pregnant with the couple's first child. However, her body was too weak to survive the strain, and she soon died, and the unborn child with her.
Raenef's personality took a turn for the worse after Leeche's death, but still, occasionally, the old Raenef shone through. But for the most time, he became much like his successors, killing in order to release the pain that stemmed from loneliness.
But there was still Chris. And Eclipse.
But with tension between the Clerics of Rased and the Demons increasing, a war was inevitable. It was inevitable that the two had to fight on opposing sides, and although they were quite good friends, it was inevitable that they eventually wound up fighting each other.
And it was inevitable that one of them would die.
Chris had made good on his word. Once, he had vowed to take down Raenef V should he ever turn to the path of evil. And he had tried to. Raenef just happened to be that little bit stronger.
They stood, opposing one another. The Demon Lord. The next High Cleric. Raenef V, and Chris. Both were determined for victory. Although different things motivated the two. For the both of them, it was their duty. For Raenef, to the Demon Lords. For Chris, to the clerics. But it was more for him. It was a promise to an old friend that brought him foreward in this war.
The two had avoided contact up to this point, but it was not unavoidable. Things had gone too far and it was time someone took a stand. But unfortunately he failed, and he payed the ultimate price for it.
The two met in battle, and fought to the finish. At first, they aimed to injure rather than kill, since although they were enemies in this battle, they were once friends. But as the battle waged on, their honourable intentions forgotten in the midst of things, and they unleashed their power, till eventually Chris' exhausted body fell to the ground.
And Raenef realised what he had just done.
There is nothing left of the old Raenef now, Eclipse mused, staring at the blonde demon lord. Luckily for him, further thoughts were prevented by the arrival of a small piece of parchment which clattered onto the tiled floor.
Eclipse eyed the parchment, but made no movement to pick it up. He didn't need to, since he knew exactly what it said.
The War is starting, he thought, staring outside. Imaging his destination, he muttered 'go.'
And still, Raenef did not move.
The call started the said demon lord out of his stupor. Scowling, he glared at the newcomer, who startling enough bore quite a strong resemblance to Raenef himself with her long golden hair and aquamarine eyes. 'What do you want?' he snapped. 'Do you have a death wish entering the castle of a powerful demon lord such as myself?'
Without giving the other a chance to answer, he attacked. 'Dark Arrow!' he declared, directing his arrow towards the other. He, however, was not prepared for her retaliation.
'Magic Shield Circle 4!' she cried in defence, raising her hands to block the attack. The arrow bounced of the shield and struck a wall, leaving a substantial hole in its path.
Angry at her well executed block, Raenef readily launched another, stronger attack. 'Dark Strike!'
'Dark Arrow!' she countered. Her attack was enough to weaken the other's, but not enough to fully impede it. It did however force the strike to change direction and blast the door outwards.
Raenef made to attack again, but the other was quicker, hitting him with a temporary impediment spell, leaving him unable to strike for the time being.
'What do you want?' he spat, unable to do anything else.
'My name is Toshie (pronounced To-shee-eh),' she replied, introducing herself as was the custom in these parts. Meruhesae sent me.'
'Meruhesae? What does that she-devil want?'
'For all demons.'
Raenef snorted. 'Salvation for us. Demons are chanellers of darkness. Evil is our nature.'
'Only because you make it so,' Toshie replied. 'There was a time long ago where things were different. You of all people should know.'
Raenef was silent. She was right. Long ago, he wouldn't have stood for what was happening now either. When did all his beliefs and ideologies begin to change?
'Well?' Toshie asked, after a while.
'I don't know,' Raenef said uncertainly, the first deviance from the dark undertones in his voice for centuries. 'Things have gone too far for a change. I don't even know where it all began.'
'I do,' the other said. 'Because I have seen it happen more than once during my time. Loneliness. Demons were their mask to hide their grief and sorrow. As do you now.'
Raenef was silent.
'Don't hide behind your mask of loneliness any longer Raenef,' she whispered, tracing a finger down his face. 'It is a frayed mask, a torn one. Discard it altogether.'
'I can't,' he whispered brokenly, the first sign of emotion he had shown for a long time. The dam of tears he had kept within him for centuries was beginning to break. He couldn't help it though. Something about the female demon was making him crumble on the inside. 'I've made too many mistakes to be easily rectified. I've caused too much destruction, am too much covered in the blood of the innocent to turn back now.'
'Not necessarily,' the other rebuked. 'There is still time. But not much. As we speak, the demons and followers of the Gods are taking up arms against each other, each determined to end the other's race permanently. Much innocent blood will be spilt. But it is unnecessary. And it can be stopped. But only by you. Only you.'
'How? The demons' have always basked in destruction. I was simply the black sheep of the pack.'
'For a time anyhow. You became like them in the end. When the one thing that kept you from that path was lost to you.'
'The one thing that kept me..?'
It's not right, Eclipse thought, surveying the battlefield. Demons, humans, clerics, and the creatures of the Gods were scattered about the barren land, ready to fight and kill without remorse. After all, it was to be the war to end the wars. Many, if not most of them will never see another sunrise.
Are we all really so much different in the end?
'Is there really so much of a difference between us all in the end?' the blond haired woman mused, echoing Eclipse's thought. 'You never seemed to think so, till your friends passed away.'
'More like killed,' Raenef responded bitterly. 'Killed for getting to close to me. Erutis... killed by another demon lord. Leeche...died in childbirth...and my unborn child. And Chris...killed by my own hands...'
'It was an accident Raenef,' she said softly. 'Nothing more. And it could have been prevented if only the others opened their hearts.'
'The Demon Lords.'
The two were silent for a moment. 'They share the same pain as me,' Raenef responded eventually. 'Their loneliness is what fuels their desire to destroy.'
The other nodded. 'Exactly. And you, who have seen both sides of the spectrum, are the only one who can stop them. Do not fear your future Raenef. Meruhesae has foreseen your success. But you must hurry. The fighting will commence at any minute!'
With that, she teleported out of Raenef's realm, back to her mistress' lair.
On the battlefield, the war was about to start. All around, demons, humans, and creatures of the heaven were preparing for battle. A heavy fog loomed over the field, and they were forced to wait out the unwelcome weather before beginning their assault against each other.
Meruhesae, in her lair, was the perpetrator of the fog. Wielding her powers around the clouds, she attempted to stall the two opposing armies long enough for Raenef V to reach them.
She was an elder, but even so, throughout time, she had come to see the truth of what one of her servants had so steadfastly believed in. What her servant had intervened in the Hangma War for, and what had earned her over a thousand years of imprisonment. And the punishment was lax in the eyes of the council, but Meruhesae had abstained from the death penalty, and as she was one of the elders, the council could not go against her orders.
Why she abstained remains a mystery to most. But Meruhesae had kept the said demon alive and handy, because she had foreseen a time in the future where she would be needed.
Speak of the devil, she thought, as Toshie teleported in front of her.
'Well?' she asked, raising an eyebrow to the female demon.
Raenef had not wasted any time once Toshie had left, but immediately, and rather rashly he would realise later, teleported out of the comfort of his castle and into a warzone. Or the beginning of one anyway. The fog lifted suddenly at his arrival, and he was the centre of attention.
'Listen,' he said, voice carrying over the silent field. 'This fighting is meaningless. It has to stop.'
Silence met his proclamation. Eventually, the new High Cleric commented. 'A Demon Lord calling for a ceasefire,' he scoffed. 'You and your people are to blame for this.'
'Don't point fingers,' Raenef retorted. 'Both sides are equally to blame.'
He turned to Lord Aureleid, currently the oldest Demon Lord in existence. 'Please stop this,' he begged. 'There is no need for more blood to be spilt.'
'Why would protect these humans?' he asked the younger demon lord in confusion. 'You long ago realised the foolishness of your actions of association with them.'
Raenef shook his head. 'No. It was only now that I realised the foolishness of my actions.'
'He is right, you know,' a new voice verified, as Toshie appeared behind Raenef.
'Toshie!' the older demon lords exclaimed.
She nodded, eyeing them steadily.
'Wasn't it enough that you betrayed us then,' one of the Demon Lords demanded. 'You must betray us now too!'
'I may have betrayed the Demon Order then, but I do not now,' she replied. 'I came on Meruhesae's orders.'
'And why would Meruhesae order you to come?'
'She is not as short-sighted as the rest of you. Neither is Raenef.'
'You should listen to Raenef.'
'And why should we listen to a traitor?'
'Care filling in the gaps for those of us who don't know what you're talking about,' Raenef interrupted.
Toshie sighed. This wasn't the way I planned on telling him, she thought. 'Well,' she said aloud. 'Long story short, I'm your mother.'
Raenef didn't react the way she had expected. In fact, he didn't react at all. It was as if he had known. She had that sort of effect on him back in the castle.
The same could not be said about the other spectators though. Eclipse however, was the one who voiced his curiosity. And so Toshie explained.
'There are many possible futures. And not all of them come into fruition. I was destined to fall in love with Raenef IV and carry his child, but due to the outcome of the Hangma war, that never occurred. For two reasons. The annihilation of the name curse placed upon him by the creatures of Heaven, and my betrayal of the demon kind by protecting them while they uttered the curse.
In order to escape the bindings of the curse placed upon him, Raenef IV forfeited his body in order to preserve his spirit and magic in the name of Raenef. Essentially, he died. Because of his premature death, the spirit of his heir, and our son from a possible future, was brought into this time.'
'And your reasons for the intervention?' Eclipse had already sensed where her explanation was going, but asked for those who didn't.
But it wasn't Toshie that answered. It was Raenef. 'Because our fighting was meaningless when we could be friends. I too am a Demon Lord, but when I had Erutis, Leeche and Chris, I never felt the need to fight like this. It is because we don't open up our hearts to each others differences and accept each other as more than just enemies that we fight the way we do. And when I lost them, I lost something in my heart as well.'
Every demon, human and creature of the heavens listened to Raenef's words, sensing the truth in them. He went on, and eventually, the vast majority of those gathered had accepted the truth of his words and were ready for a change. Some abstained, but they would come around in time.
After all, it was just the beginning. And the war had been prevented, for now. All had quite a bit to think about, so they left for the comfort of their own houses.
'What on earth happened here?!' Eclipse demanded upon their return. The two had returned to the throne room, which was covered in rocks and debris, and a large hole decorated the left wall, cracks running from the centre and across the adjacent walls, floor and ceiling. Part of the ceiling was caved in, and several dents decorated the other walls. The door had also collapsed outwards, and lay in pieces just outside the room.
'Ah well,' Raenef said sheepishly. 'You see, Toshie decided to pay an unexpected visit, and I didn't take too kindly to that at first ...'