Death's Predicament
Disgaea, Emizel © NIS

Emizel groans. "Not you again."

A hand covers the young reaper's face while the other relaxes the grip it has around his scythe. How many times has he come across this certain pitiful mystic beast?

It is young, he observes with his keen red eyes as he removes his hand from his face. Its blade has not even shown itself yet, and its mane has still not flared up. Still, when a being's time is up, it is up, and it is Death's common belief that there is nothing one can do about it, especially if its wounds have festered this much. There is no mistaking that it is too weak to stand either, let alone search for its own food in order for it to satisfy the inevitable hunger that is to current surroundings are not helping as well.

This is not Emizel's first time visiting this particular part of his Netherworld. While he knows his way around it now, he has been lost before, which should not have happened, if he simply concentrated on his teleportation spell in response to the pulses sent by the soul of a dying being. Nevertheless, it has caused him to wander around and inadvertently familiarize himself with the wasteland, a wasteland as far as the eye can see. The very reason for dropping by a place unknown to him in the first place is to search for this one mystic beast, which has not moved any further from the place he has found it before.

How it has survived until now is a mystery.

Where are its parents? Emizel begins to ask himself such questions. Doesn't it belong to pack? A master?

He frowns. No, he should not think of that, not when this one is on the brink of its death, and can no longer be saved. He repeats these words in his mind to convince himself.

"Look, I don't know how you're keeping yourself alive," says Emizel, his eyebrows knitted together. "And, to be honest, I guess your determination's kind of admirable, but…" He briefly purses his lips. "You… We can't keep doing this, all right? This has to end at some point, and the earlier your suffering ends, the better, isn't it?"

At this point, he has crouched down to meet the young beast's pleading eyes. "Y'know, you're lucky that you haven't encountered the most ruthless ones among us yet." He does not classify himself as one of them, as he still has a lot to learn. For one thing, he just cannot reap the soul of this one, whereas his superiors would have probably done so without hesitation.

The mystic beast whimpers, and Emizel winces. "Hey! Stop looking at me like that!" the reaper blurts out, causing the beast to shiver in fright.

Emizel waves his free hand frantically. "N-no! Don't…" His shoulders slump as he sighs. "Don't do that, please? Really, you're making my job harder than it should be…"

The mystic beast continues to stare at him with wide eyes.

"…You can't keep doing that, you know. It won't work all the time. One of these days, a reaper who's not me will come for you, and that tactic won't work on whoever that is."

Wait, wait, wait, is he giving up on this one already? …Again?

Defeated, he uncurls the index finger of the hand holding his scythe, and taps it against the shaft three times. With the rest of his fingers supporting it, the scythe turns into a staff, and Emizel places it between himself and the mystic beast as he sits down, cross-legged.

For a few minutes, they stay quiet, unmoving, until Emizel removes his hood and speaks up once again.

"I can't believe I'm doing this," he murmurs, running a hand through his hair. Glancing at the mystic beast, he says, "Hey," and it weakly returns the reaper's gaze. "Well, since you're not exactly dead yet, just really close to kicking the bucket… I don't know if I can take you in, okay? So don't get your hopes up about that. Anyway, your wounds… I'm not sure about this, but I think Artina—she's this angel I know—she might be able to help you there, though she probably can't take you in either."

Because she is staying at Hades at the moment, and Hades already has enough mystic beasts, thanks to Fenrich, and Emizel does not know how the vampire's steward would react to him bringing another one into their care. Sure, Fenrich is not as harsh to them as he usually acts around his frie— comrades, but expecting anything from him is not exactly a wise idea, so Emizel does not have much faith in succeeding if he were to ask the werewolf for help in something like this.

Shrugging, he says, "I guess we won't know 'til we try though. Whaddya think?"

From its throat, a sound is heard, which Emizel assumes to be one of agreement. The reaper nods, and he begins to rise. He pauses for a moment, however, to ask nervously, "Can you stand?"

It barely manages to shake its head, and Emizel sighs again. Long ago has he mastered how to get to the gates of Hades without the help of a gatekeeper, although he rarely uses it for fear of running out of mana, in case an emergency becomes apparent.

Holding his staff in front of him, he says a few words, words that form circles and runes, which then begin to glow, and the spell warms the air around them.

He looks at the poor thing again before the spell engulfs them. For a moment, he wonders.

Will a time come when he should decide a name for it?