The Long Road Of Repentance and Redemption - Chapter 9 - katanaeyegaming (2024)

Chapter Text

The walk back to the hotel was awkward for Lucifer and co. Getting looks from basically the entire pride ring was more than a little unsettling. But these bystanders were all admiring the work that was being put into making hell that much more remotely tolerable to live in.

Anthony and Husk stayed at the ready unsure if there was going to be an attack on them or not. Sure these might have been adoring fans and people with all the respect in the world for Lucifer but they couldn’t be certain that one of the king's enemies wouldn’t just pop out of nowhere and ambush them.

Picking up on how uncomfortable and on edge Anthony in particular was getting from the crowd Lucifer made the subtle hand gesture that signaled to the royal guards to fan out and be on high alert. It sent chills down his spine and it spread quickly to the rest of the crew as they were on the street next to the hotel..

“I’m gonna have a talk with him later about this” Lucifer was going to find out just what was with this guy. He might not have had much interaction with the spider demon but from the small amount of time he did get to talk with him one thing was made abundantly clear. Under the surface there was so much more going on. No amount of masking the pain and trauma was going to make anything better.

Pentious and Emily were both shaking from anxiety and pure adrenaline fueled excitement. In just a few short minutes things were about to be entirely flipped on their head.

To think just a month earlier the entire idea of this even happening was brushed aside. Not even given a second look at.

The front door creaked open with everyone filing in, not even paying attention to the 2 angels who were living with them as a part of their staff.

“I know right, I told him that it was a f*cking rip off and yet they still had the balls to upcharge me for booze that tasted like sewage that had fermented for a week in the Arizona desert. What was even worse was how this one creepy waiter kept hitting on Cherri. The best part was Cyril just backhanded the dude and that little bitch slap knocked the guy clean out.” Cherri got a good chuckle remembering that night like it was yesterday. Husk's smile said all it needed to. That place wasn’t gonna see him walking through the door anytime soon.

Their eyes met. First Anthony, Then Cherri, Then Husk Alastor and Nifty. None of them could move. This had to be some kind of daydream. They couldn’t believe that he made it out and was the first redeemed.

Cherri, Anthony and Husk couldn’t take it anymore. They had so many questions and just wanted to spend time with him. Who knows how long he was going to be down here for at this point. If it was just a visit or if they somehow made a deal where they were going to stay down at the hotel and work with all of the new residents that were going to be coming in as soon as the hotel reopened.

“T-T-This can’t be real! Y-y-y-you made it out.” Anthony stuttered fumbling over even the easiest words. Something that only happened during these intense emotions of sorrow and pain.

But this was no pain. This was joy. This was hope that he never had that redemption just might in fact be possible. Whatever the case was there was one thing that was on the spider demon's mind. Taking back himself. Taking back his hobbies, His mind, His drive to live. Everything was going to change. He already took back his name, He was no longer Angel Dust the crackwhor* who would stop at nothing to suck your dick if given the chance. No! He was Anthony Chetoli, the lost soul who was going to do everything to not be held in bondage anymore.

Turning to Emily he embraced the Seraphim with open arms. This was the woman who stood up for them and who was now being proven right. Just from seeing her and Charlie side by side you could have sworn they were twins.

“This is the best thing to happen since I’ve been down here. If Pentious can get out maybe I’m not such a lost cause after all.” Anthony collapsed to his knees as his legs went numb.

Husk and Cherri let everything pour from their hearts, They were in the same boat as Anthony. Just seeing with their very eyes that not only was it possible to redeem a sinner but that the first one to be rehabilitated was the person they least suspected out of the group. It was a reality check that none of them were ready for.

“I can’t believe this is real! We all thought you were gone back there! I have so much I need to unpack and just put out in the open. But we have nothing but time so we can talk later.” Cherri couldn’t hold back anymore and squeezed him tight holding him close sobbing hysterically as she did so. It felt like an eternity before she let go. But when she did Cherri shamelessly returned the favor for what he did during the extermination before he got vaporized in that warship. Damn it she loved him too even if she didn’t want to admit it.

Cherri was flattered by his massive crush on her. There weren’t many guys that took a genuine interest in her for more than just a quick hookup at a party. And even then who wouldn’t wanna f*ck the feisty party girl?

Pulling back after a good half minute everyone else was in shock at such a public display. Everyone except for Anthony whose grin could probably be seen for miles in the dark of night.

“It’s good to have you back, Just don’t go dying on us again like that.” Cherri had a fire lit in her that she hadn’t felt since she was alive. The feelings of love, peace and genuine joy she felt made her feel whole and took away from the negatives of being a denizen of Hell.

Sure he was awkward but his intentions were genuine and not just a mask he threw on. He really didn’t need to try and impress her. Just being himself was enough to put a smile on her face. He didn’t have anything to hide, Something she envied greatly. It wasn’t going to be easy but this was one major motivator for her to get to Heaven.

Clearing her throat Charlie broke up the silence of shock and signaled there was something major to get off her chest and needed to clear the air. “So yea if it isn’t obvious I finalized a deal with Sera. Things completely took a 180 in that month that’s for sure.” Charlie went over to Cherri handing the cyclops sinner her room key before it slipped her mind.

“Here’s your room key. Room 506. With that being said, I’ll cut you guys loose here. Be back tonight at 8 so we can start our celebrations and group activities. Other than that you’re free to go.” With that everyone dispersed to whatever they had planned.

For a long agonizing and tormenting 20 minutes Anthony laid in his bed bawling his eyes out.

The more he thought about his time at the hotel the more regret and shame claimed him. Why was she still defending him? Why was anyone sticking with him? If anything he was a liability. Every step he took to better himself up to this point has only led to him falling deeper into the void and losing what tiny shard of humanity that he had left.

The spider demon would usually drown himself in booze or co*ke to numb the pain. But that wasn’t an option now. That promise was one forged in iron and nothing was going to change it. Anthony was going to shatter those addictions that had been slamming him down all these years. If he fell he had people at the hotel ready to bring him back up and not fall further down.

And that is more than he could have ever dreamed of. Treating everyone in the hotel like sh*t, Evading all of his true internal pain and struggles by putting up a mask to hide behind. All of it just exploded out at once as he lay on the bed in misery. Fat Nuggets being the only thing to comfort him.

*Knock Knock Knock*

“Anthony, it's Lucifer. I wanted to come check in and see how you were holding up. Do you mind if I come in?” Of all people that wanted a word that wasn’t someone he expected.

Silence.

“You can come in.” Anthony choked up in a defeated voice.

With that confirmation Lucifer let himself in. What the king of hell saw when he set foot in the room wasn’t Anthony but a hollow caricature of the man that resembled Anthony drowning in a hurricane level flood of tears as they lay face down into their pillow.

Flipping over to face the Morningstar his face said a thousand words alone. Dread, Pain, Hurt, Why, Misery, Existence is misery. The weight of every last thing he had done to hurt the people in this hotel was too much for him to bear. How could they be so accepting of him after all of this?!

“I’m sorry you have to see me like this. I’m just so f*cking scared it isn’t funny.” The words grated away the darkness in his heart. Anthony being honest and opening up was going to do him some good at making progress for himself.

Lucifer took a seat next to him wanting to offer any support and comfort possible. “You really worried me earlier. I’ve never seen someone so jumpy like there was someone with a sniper ready to take our heads off at a moment's notice.” Holding him close there was absolutely nothing that would stand between them.

“I always fear that when something good happens in my life that it is going to be snuffed out not even 10 seconds after. It always happens and it terrifies me because I don’t want it to be true this time.” Lucifer could feel his soul bleeding out trying to cling on for dear life rather than let his trauma win. A commendable and valiant effort but one that only made that pit deeper for him.

Lucifer couldn’t stand to see him hurting but even more so the reason why. Nothing about this was gonna be snuffed out if he had any part in it. After all no one was gonna chance facing the complete wrath of Hell.

“I’m not gonna let that happen. I know just saying it doesn’t mean all that much but we’re all on this rollercoaster ride together, Can’t just get off when things get scary or rough.” The roller coaster analogy had become overly cliched but for good reason. It was a good way of articulating the bumps and trials of life in many ways depending on how you choose to slice it. But despite that it only made everything worse as Anthony broke down again.

“I know that you’re serious but honestly even if you could prevent things from escalating, trouble always has a way of finding me. Part of the reason why I’m here to begin with.” The room went bone-chillingly silent. That was not the response Lucifer was expecting.

Anthony was trying his hardest to confront his past without becoming an inconsolable heap that shut himself out again this time becoming even more isolated. Lucifer just sat by his side as did Fat Nuggets who glanced up noticing the mood of the environment around him was changing. The pig let out an adorable oink of attention which had a positive effect on Anthony with him shining a tiny but still visible smile as he pet Fat Nuggets which helped put his mind on track.

“I’ve never had it easy. Being the son of one of the most feared mob bosses ever in New York certainly didn’t help that.” Lucifer wasn’t exactly shocked by the fact he had mob ties given the types of sinners he has seen and personally dealt with. In fact he could even argue that it was tame by comparison.

Anthony continued “But it wasn’t just about the crime and the hits that got put out on people or the various torture methods we’d enact on traitors or our enemies to send a message. But we actually behind all of that had at least what could be considered a normal life.” He emphasized normal life sarcastically. Normal? For him? Pshhh as if.

“He treated all of us like sh*t for the smallest things. Especially my sister Molly who he was f*cking awful to because she was too soft for him.” That whole sentence made him wanna barf. Molly was the furthest thing from soft! She was human. Not some mindless killer who was tied to a string and ordered around like some abused puppy.

“But as you can imagine being the boss's son I didn’t have many people at all. Save for my 2 siblings and my best friend Chelsea.” Even just mentioning her name Anthony's voice cracked. She meant so much to him and yet they never truly got to express how much they loved one another. It hurt to think about just how deep he fell.

“She was taken from me. It’s something that still haunts me in my dreams because I never got closure. I never truly got to tell her how much I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my days with her.” Anthony's sobbing transformed into wails of agony. Lucifer was in complete shock at the sight of his self destruction.

“2 years later I finally caught a glimpse of hope. Molly got a massive inheritance from a relative who had a lot of heart and liver problems from a good 15 years of substance abuse. She got a f*ckton of money and a massive house that was out of the way enough that we didn’t have to fear our dad trying anything. I have a feeling though that even if he did that people would have turned on him but that is just something I suspected.” His tears of pain turned into ones of joy and gratitude as he looked back on just how much Molly did for him and Jon. It hurt that she wasn’t here but if there was a spot in heaven for him he would want to spend it with her.

“Molly took us out to lunch one day. Nice place that I hope is still open, Local mom n pop grill joint. She said in no uncertain terms that Anthony, Jonathan I’m moving you two in with me. I can’t live with the way dad treats us and I want us as siblings to stick together, differences and issues be damned. We can work through that.” Anthony started to have more hope as he continued to dig into his past. Letting it out into the open actually felt surprisingly good for him.

“And so it was. 2 weeks into us living together I broke down and cried that I couldn’t live as a druggie and alcoholic wasting away and still enjoy life. I begged Molly to pay for a month stint in rehab because I didn’t wanna live like that anymore. And the worst part about that, Is that it was actually working.” Anthony gently wept as he laughed at his pain.

“6 months after I got out of rehab I relapsed on what would have been Chelsea's birthday. When Molly found out I thought she’d get mad at me and throw me out of the house. Instead she broke down and cried with me. She knew just how much Chelsea meant to me and just wanted me to look out for me. Something few people on Earth or in Hell have ever done for me.” Anthony had to fight himself to not break down again. He had come this far!

“And that was how it was for years. Through my sh*tty relationship the next year, Through all of my panic attacks and nightmares. That was until she too was taken from me. Some guys who had been working with our whole syndicate had enough and backstabbed us ambushing the house. She died and it was at that moment that I told myself. That not even hell would take me for the monster I’d become.” That did it. That broke him again, this time he fell back on the bed looking at the sky trying to think of anything but the circ*mstances that led to his sister's death.

“After the disaster of a year 1944 turned out to f*cking be 1945 was actually mostly better. I still felt awful for what happened to Molly and well quite frankly I still do but besides the point. I met Cyril at one of the bars I frequented. I’d gotten clean of all the hard drugs 6 years prior but still drank occasionally.” Anthony explained which Lucifer took as a hint at what would happen later on for him.

“Cyril had just come back from Europe after Germany surrendered from getting absolutely pounded from all sides at the end of the Second World War. He had served in both as a high ranking officer. But he wasn’t one to sit back and let others take the lead for him. No this motherf*cker fought on the front lines as a Lieutenant Colonel and even led a lot of charges. He had both a Victoria Cross and a Medal of Honor. Easily the most respected man in any room.”

“We’d drink and hang out and vent to one another and I had built up a close relationship with him over a good 3 months before he moved to the west coast to be with his dying brother who had liver cancer. It was the week after he left that I met my one and only boyfriend when I was alive, Arturo.” Anthony sighed knowing that he was still a long ways away from being done venting.

“He was an enabler to my bad habits and got me back into drugs again. He was also the one who got me into p*rn and whatnot when I was alive.” Lucifer could see that his blood was boiling from anger. He was all over the emotional scale and just letting it all loose. Several decades of pent up self loathing, Anger, Resentment, Misery, Depression all of it was coming undone and no one could truly be prepared for it.

“At least when I was alive I wasn’t thrown around like a f*cking ragdoll for the most degenerate and uncomfortable shoots. When I was alive a lot of it was just vanilla sh*t. But f*ck it made a lot of money and the people I worked with were great. But just a little over 2 years from my first shoot I OD’d in some f*cking alleyway and I wake up in Hell which again was a massive surprise to me.” Angel couldn’t help but smile and sound relieved knowing that he could finally talk about his time in Hell and everything that had gone on over the past 77 years.

“When I first got down here I knew absolutely f*cking nothing outside of hey here are some guns for you, Oh and you are a spider now. Have fun killing people! I roamed the streets as a killer and when Jon came down we put all of our bullsh*t aside and worked together. We stayed that way up until the early 60s.” Anthony summarized the mountain of chaos he went through in that time as best he could.

“We had our falling out but made peace in ‘68 and went our separate ways. I haven’t seen him since but I have no doubt he is still alive. If he isn’t I'd be amazed.” Anthony cringed as he thought about any way to get out of the room or just skip around talking about that f*cking scum lower than human waste piece of filth on his shoe that f*cking OWNS his soul. But there was nothing.

Sensing another impending flood of tears Lucifer held on tight making sure Anthony knew that damn it he was there too. Everyone in the hotel was here for him and they both knew it. As his world collapsed around him again and his eyes burned with the tears he had shed, the infamous killer and p*rnstar extraordinaire had the King of Hell of all people to comfort him at his lowest. No matter the circ*mstance going forth he’d never forget that.

“I-I-I first met Ezio Valentino in November of 1970 at The Blazing Falchion. Big ol bar for mercs and other people to discuss what crimes they wanted to do or what services they could offer to the other folks who’d hang out there. He somehow knew who I was and just from the first 5 minutes or so of talking with him it was clear that like I was his idol or some sh*t.” And he truly did idolize Anthony to no end. The moth wanted nothing more than to have him on his side which was a major reason for him contracting out his soul in the first place.

“We’d drink together and reminisce over killing people and torturing them in the most gruesome ways imaginable. I thought it was hilarious and I still do. It turned from talk into hey why not come kill some people who are trying to betray me. One moment we’d have a few shots of tequila the next we’d scalp a motherf*cker and then attach his dick to a car battery. Whatever we could do to get that reaction out of our victims.”

“Fast forward 4 years and it is like late December 1974 or so. I got a call from Val and he wanted me to come down and deal with this prick who was trying to sell him out to a few powerful people. He follows that up with oh there is this new guy I want you to meet too he is a savage killer and someone I’m sure you’d get along with quite well. I got to where we were torturing this guy and well look who it is, Cyril was working with Val.” A fact that still chewed a massive hole in his heart. What could he do to stop it though? Nothing until someone f*cking obliterated Val. Any day now there would have to be someone against him willing to either put out a hit or come and end the f*cking prick themselves.

“2 years after that Val came to me with an offer saying hey I’m looking at expanding my business into less violent sectors. Mainly the p*rn and music world but a few other things like owning a fair amount of the bars and clubs in Pride but that is beside the point. I said sure why the hell not and filmed some p*rn under his at the time independent small production that shared the name of our group Shallow Heart Productions.” Chills like a shockwave coursed across Anthony’s whole body at the thought of things actually being positive working under Vals p*rn productions at one point.

“In just our first 4 films we made more money than Vals 4 biggest competitors would make in a year combined and then some. We made it big at that point.” There was no running from it. He needed to face his demons head on and not cower in the corner!

“3 years on from that things started to change for the worse. Val was distant from me and not the person he once was, He had formed an alliance with Vox who is an entirely different can of worms I’ll get into another day. But the point is he started to change for the worse. The man who by that point I’d considered a brother and who I had built up a close relationship with over the 9 years I’d spent with him was gone.” Anthony's voice went hollow and crumbled underneath the weight of all of the hurt.

“January, 14th 1981 was the day I was bound in chains by that f*cking contract I still am under to this very day. I lost everything I had left in me that day and now I’m slowly rebuilding thanks to the hotel giving me the peace I never had living with him all those years.” The tonal whiplash couldn’t have hit harder if it wanted. But damn was it effective in conveying his journey through the deepest and darkest parts of hell.

“I met Cherri a little over 3 years later when I went out clubbing one night. That woman had just as much baggage during her time on Earth as I did. Just getting to know her over the next 6 months really set in motion a lot of things and we became extremely close. I mean that is my f*cking best friend right there. Her and Cyril are two of the best people that have been a consistent fixture in my life all these years and I can’t thank them enough for it.” Something he had made very clear.

“I won’t bore you with all of the minute details but they are also the reason I’m here at the hotel. After an awful month of shoots I came across one of Charlie's advertisem*nts for the place and honestly seeing no other option to get me out of this f*cking awful situation I texted Cherri about it and honestly told her about just how close I was to ending it all. Either I was gonna kill myself or die by Vals hand if I stayed.” This whole conversation really put into perspective a lot of things and showed Lucifer just how desperate one could get at their rock bottom.

“I didn’t know if this was a legitimate thing or just a way for the royal family to prey on their subjects but I at least wanted to check this out. I had nothing left to lose so why the f*ck not? I told Cyril what I was planning and he said not only would he vouch for me but he would be the one to help me pack everything to take to Cherris for the time being. In the dead of night we slowly started packing things so that Vox or Val wouldn’t notice.” They still most likely did but if they did he never found out.

“That went on for a week until we got everything out. I stayed at Cherri’s place for a couple days when I finally managed to get in touch with Charlie. Even just talking with her over the phone I realized that this was as legit as it could possibly be. I cried explaining everything to her and said that this was my last resort.”

“She told me to get down there right away and I jumped at the idea. Got my bags and Fat Nuggets and I was on my way.” Anthony cringed at his past actions and reflected on just how much stress he put both Charlie and Vaggie through along with all the others.

“I was completely and wholeheartedly goddamn awful to them that I can’t even believe I’m still here. I basically did anything and everything except destroy the building with my own two hands. And yet she gave me so many chances.” The amount of remorse in his words could fill the entire Pride ring 10,000 times over and still have some left over.

“Charlie tried to get involved at one point and let's just say that ended awfully. But it showed me the levels she was willing to go just to look out for me. Husk also was looking out for me with everything he was trying to tell me that day. Calling me out on my bullsh*t and telling me hey no one is here to judge you. We are all here to better ourselves and keep each other up. I cried myself to sleep that night because I realized just how good I had it and how I was basically slowly throwing it away.”

“When I saw Pentious out there earlier that was massive. Not only did he get redeemed, But now he is helping others get redeemed and get out like he did? That settled any uncertainty left for my future. I came here originally to both get out of the f*cking miserable situation I found myself in and so I can better myself. But the end goal of redemption was never something I had in mind. But now it is something I’m gonna shoot for.” Anthony ended off his venting with a positive note. Time to start putting that plan to action!

Lucifer clutched onto the spider tightly making sure he truly knew he was accepted by the Morningstar. He spent this whole time being there and comforting him but this was different. This was respect, trust, understanding. It was Lucifer's way of saying I got your back and we’ll get through this together.

“You’re a good man Anthony. You’ve gone through so much and brushed it off and came out the other side swinging and clinging on to your life. We all see it even if you don’t. Even if you wouldn’t have said anything there I wouldn’t feel any different about this. It’s clear you care about finding yourself and not who that dickless coward Valentino wants you to believe. I’m with you every step of the way.” The King's words carried the weight of a thousand ton blade crashing down and taking out the last remaining walls he hid behind.

“I’ll get out of your hair. But if you need anything, come find me. Later sharpshooter.” And just like that he was gone. Off to take care of business most likely.

Anthony's phone blasted a wave of ear splitting sound in the now empty room causing him to fumble it wildly. He forgot to turn his notification volume down from the day before. It was Carmilla Carmine who sent two texts.

(Looks like Relius and Cyril had a good time the other day.)
(Also I want to meet you and Vaggie for Lunch on Saturday to go over some important business.)

Vaggie too? What could she possibly want with her? Sure she had helped train her for extermination day but it wasn’t like their relationship went any further than that. Puzzling as it was there wasn’t really anything he could think of to object so he just went with it.

(I’ll let her know the next time I see her.)

He responded before catching a glimpse of a video clip attachment on the message above.

The video started on top of what Anthony quickly identified as The Burning Ranch, a popular diner not too far from the hotel. On the roof were Relius and Cyril who casually stood around waiting for the impending storm.

Lighting a cigarette the imposing hellhound sat down with his back resting against the cold stone wall. What else was there to do while waiting for angels to attack you? Bicker and bitch? Jack off? Nah, One last cig for good luck was enough.

“Good to see you aren't a chicken sh*t old man.” Cyril chuckled at the obvious attempt at gallows humor. This wasn't going to be where they die if The Crimson Raven had anything to say about it!

Loading a tube into their angelic rocket launcher Cyril couldn’t be anymore like a kid in a candy store. Getting his hands dirty in what would go down in history regardless of the outcome after spending the night prior drinking the finest Silver Ruby Tequila , Smoking the best weed and f*cking the best women Valentino had on staff? Would be a hell of a way to go out if the worst were to happen or it could be just another story to tell for the decades to come.

“You think I’d pass up an opportunity this good? You know they don’t call me The Crimson Raven for nothing. Looks like it’s time, We got company.” He pointed at the portal as a flood of exorcists made a beeline for the Hazbin Hotel. An equally viscous and massive force saw them and swooped in attempting to end the fight early.

With pinpoint precision Cyril let the rocket fly, Impacting a pack of exorcists turning them into a mist of Ichor and entrails for their co*cky and reckless approach. The blood curdling screams of the survivors were put to a swift stop with a swift shot from Relis’ Aurora TK8.

One young fresh recruit saw what had become of her sisters they dug in, managing to land on the roof clashing with Cyril. The raven danced around their blade not even the slightest bit shaken up by the heat of combat. Swing after swing and stab after stab they missed wearing down the limited stamina of the recruit.

Coming within inches of Cyril’s neck his experience took over as the unwavering will of his fighting spirit made this mistake fatal. Disarming them of the spear with some clever movements the momentum had shifted into the elder raven sinners favor.

“S-s-s-stop please, I surrender. Please show mercy! I’m only 19!” She pleaded in tears as a last resort. Anything was worth a shot.

Cyril responded by impaling her arm with the spear. The wails of excruciating pain were music to the decorated veteran. What a f*cking joke, You join an army whos mere existence was to enact an unjust genocide against the brothers and sisters who for whatever reason didn’t make it through the Pearly Gates. The people who never had a chance due to being dealt a sh*tty hand. Every second this cowardly young recruit lived and breathed was far too much air they were stealing from the citizens of hell who they were cutting down..

“You’re weak. Pathetic, I’ve met 19 year old soldiers that had more heart than you are showing here. Your life was forfeit the moment you made the choice to enlist in this genocide. There is no abyss dark enough for where your soul will wander.” Cyrils words put a stranglehold on any attempts to spare her life. They were laced with the hate and vitriol of the millions who had been put to death under the system of mass slaughter they chose to follow.

Piercing their chest with minimal effort their heart exploded as they were lifted off the ground and skewered on their own blade. As life left the young angel's body a sad*stic and savage grin crept its way onto Cyrils face. Cold and calculated he ripped the mask from the corpse's head. They wouldn’t need it anymore and besides why not put on a show.

Breaking the angelic steel into 4 jagged pieces Relius caught wind of what he was doing. Tossing the body head first onto the sidewalk beneath them a satisfying thud could be heard amongst the chaos. Their remains landed square on what was once their head.

Later examination would determine that on impact the head exploded. Shards of skull and brain matter erupting like magma and ash from a supervolcano. Some skull fragments were found almost half a block away.

“You wanna hide behind a goddamn mask! Well here!” Cyril hurled the fragments at the force still terrorizing them. One actually sliced deep into the neck and wings of one taking them out of the sky and fatally wounding them. Even their masks were weapons in this fight.

4 of her comrades made a mad dash to try and administer aid for their fallen sister only to be met with bullets to the back of the head. The battle had barely begun and many exorcists met their end by the population who lived in fear for far too long. It was cathartic and liberating to make these winged freaks an example.

When backed against a wall with no other options anyone in hell who still had enough of their mental faculties about them were going to war and digging in. Other hellborn demons from deeper rings even started to pitch in. The very small and vocal extreme minority sat and watched the ring burn live from their TV. No matter your reaction, victory seemed more and more like a far-fetched reality.

“Oy Relius, is it ready? Could use the extra firepower to set an example.” Cyril was unhinged and impatient. The gloves were off and his talons were sharper than ever ready to make some angel f*cks bleed.

It was ready, The ultimate weapon. A light machine gun loaded with a whopping 1000 rounds of the most expensive armor piercing angelic ammo that Carmine sold. A true marvel for the eyes having a signature Carmilla Carmine finish, The ones that signaled doom for any who came across its mighty wrath.

“Everything's setup, Let's turn these so called invaders into chunks of meat that not even the cannibals would touch.” They stood strong, not giving them an inch of ground.

The feed ended there, The camera that had captured the footage went out right as they took aim with the LMG.

(That footage is priceless by the way. Shame it ended before they could eradicate them with that gorgeous LMG.)

(Seriously you have taste when it comes to weapon design. You’ll have my business anytime I want someone to deepthroat some lead.)

Responding honestly and without much thought Anthony needed to do something else than lay around alone to the twisted traumatizing thoughts that fogged his mind. He wasn’t some co*ked up whor* anymore! He was Anthony Chetoli and no intrusive thoughts were going to stop that.

“Might as well get cleaned up and hit the gym. Maybe visit the music room, who knows? Nothing better to do until the party later.” He needed to get a shower anyway. Probably another one after he got back from training but who gives a sh*t when you are getting a solid workout in?

The gym was completely devoid of people with only the white noise of the fans running greeting her at the door.

Vaggie saw how much she had let herself go when training with Carmilla Carmine. Slow, Sloppy and incredibly predictable. Sure exorcists fought with reckless abandon but they always trained to be able to stand as one when the time came. They also trained cardio like no tomorrow to have a near unlimited stamina so they wouldn’t get winded on the battlefield. Even if they posed no threat to them, looking even the slightest bit weak or soft was a bad look on their entire army and was grounds to get you thrown out of the Exorcists or in severe cases out of Heaven entirely.

Throwing on her gloves it was time to knock some sense into that hard bag. Lute wasn’t going to get the best of her nor was her past actions. After all, what was living in fear of a chapter of your life long since past? 3 years might not have been much in the bigger picture but it was long enough to properly distance herself from her time spent there.

Going from one of the top figures in Adam’s army, Knowing every secret about what went on behind the scenes, Being in control of a quarter of their fighting force and a model soldier to living among the population she blended up like a f*cking meat grinder without a second thought. She was madly in love with the Princess of the people she had believed for years would stop at nothing to ruin Heaven. Charlie was so far from that. She ruled with love and understanding, Rather than being a vicious tyrant she looked for the positives in any situation. If you truly were on Charlie's bad side you f*cked up big time.

Heaven hated their relationship as did Hells general public but Vaggie could give less of a f*ck. That woman made her feel accepted and whole. She was determined to not fail the hotel or Charlie. The drive to protect and defend it from any threats was one of many duties that she bore the weight of.

With a fierce right Vaggie channeled her inner insecurities and hurt into the bag imagining it was Lute. Damn it, why was it so hard? Why couldn’t she just let it go?

Yelling out as she delivered each strike the sounds of fury reverberated throughout the gym echoing multiple times even. No punch or kick was anything less than full power, Why should she hold back when there were many detractors out there ready to do harm to the Hotel and its residents. This was just a sign to show she was more than ready to take them all down and burn them all to cinders.

“Vaggie?” A light and gentle voice called out frightened from across the room. Emily? What was she doing here?

Taking a few minutes to rest wasn’t a bad idea finding a seat on a bench near the punching bags. Emily joined her not long after, showing an unusual level of concern for the fallen angel. Vaggie might have fallen but there was much more to her story than that. How else would a former exorcist end up in the arms of the Princess of Hell?

“What are you doing here?” Vaggie questioned, still a little shaken up by the surprise visitor as the fallen exorcist gathered the mood on her face and knew this was going to be a long conversation.

Emily was trying her hardest to keep a cool head but couldn’t hold it in anymore. “I was just roaming around the hotel for a bit and heard the commotion in here and came to check if everythings alright.” The once cheerful and optimistic seraphim was shaken up and hurt, still clearly affected by the dark secret that had been revealed the month prior.

“But I’m not ok honestly. I haven’t been for a long time.” Vaggie put on a serious look to at least get the point across that none of this was a cruel joke.

“Charlie is the reason I’m still here at this point. I am just so disgusted with myself and everything I ever did as an exorcist. I still have nightmares of the many I’ve killed.” Vaggie implied that she wanted to end it all as well as barely start delving into the many traumatic events that unfolded during her time working under Adam.

“And before you ask no I don’t miss it. The moment I chose that life I was bound to it because of the NDAs. If that wasn’t the case and I could have broken free I would still be in Heaven.” The truth was much more than that. Vaggie wanted to speak out f*ck all the NDAs. It would have done the public a service in calling out a corrupt and vile system. One which preyed on the idea that nothing would be done in retaliation. But even the most ill-intentioned of the higher ups knew that it was always a possibility. No one would be that stupid to rule that out.

This opened the can of worms for Emily. She needed to know everything even if Vaggie didn’t have much. Why have them sign NDAs if there wasn’t anything to hide. The cracks were starting to show.

“Tell me everything you know. Since I know Sera is going to deny it or spin the story I would rather get the details from a third party.” To say their relationship was damaged irreparably is one way of wording it. But if Sera really was serious about working with the hotel and Charlie there was a slight chance it could improve.

Vaggie was more than eager to help out. She had more than enough dirt to make a mountainous grave for the meat grinder of a system. “I’ll tell you all the major important stuff on the condition that you tell no one.” Emily understood, If even the smallest bit of this got out it would not end well for anyone involved. She had to take a moment to think if she really wanted to go through with it. Knowledge is power after all.

Nodding to keep it under wraps Vaggie couldn’t help but beam a chaotic smirk her way. “Well let’s start out with the fact everyone thought the exorcists were some sort of special covert operations group to keep the balance between Heaven and Hell. By doing things like taking out targets who threaten to tip the balance and start a war with Heaven.”

“While that is true and it made the pool of available candidates super small just off of talent alone, They also blatantly lied and hinted at that basically being the majority of the job.” The amount of talent that made it into active duty per year could be as low as 30.

“It is kinda funny to hear how those two really think they are above Anthony and all of his nonsense. Just in the few years I spent with them I can immediately tell you that isn’t the case.” Emily was intrigued at just what dirt she could possibly have on them. Not that she had a high opinion of Adam or Lute to begin with, How could two of Heavens most important public figures who were supposed to be setting an example for the people they represent be so immature and crude?

“I told this story to Charlie earlier but to be honest this is one worth sharing with just about everyone.” Vaggie cackled and laughed until her voice went hoarse and she started to wheeze with each repetition.

It took her a couple minutes to calm and compose herself. Just thinking about the situation was enough to leave her on the ground howling her ass off from the absurdity of it. Who wouldn’t though? You can’t make up something this outlandish!

“I’m sorry when I stopped to think about it I couldn’t help myself. So Adam would throw these massive parties, Sometimes in the middle of the week but there would always be one after the extermination. We would use the briefing room we would use to prep for any assignments we had.” That briefing room was probably back in use after getting repaired but even if, there was no shot it was being used for one of these again.

“I worked the door during all of these and the things I saw during a lot of them were more than enough to raise some eyebrows but in the very last one they did. Lute went off the rails. Like I can’t even explain what the f*ck was going through her head.” A lot of cocaine, That’s what.

“You’d hear the noise of the loud music being blasted, People being rowdy and sometimes you’d have anywhere between 2 to 6 people banging on one of the tables while the entire room cheered them on.” To say that the exorcists partied harder than a college fraternity was like saying fire burns. It was the most obvious thing in the universe, Why would you need to say it?

“Well Anyway I hear this vocal cord ripping, yell like scream about two hours in. It’s f*cking Lute and she was suuuuuper wasted. When I got in the room she was snorting a line of cocaine off another exorcist. She then stripped in the middle of the party and ran out yelling a bunch of nonsense. The best one was and I quote, "I'm a cocaine chicken bawk bawk motherf*cker.” Emily couldn’t take any of this seriously. Even though it was all true it was more outlandish than she could have anticipated.

“It gets better. So we thought she just left and went back to the barracks, Which was still over a half mile away from the party. So she’d be running around completely naked, High and drunk out of her mind to the barracks.”

“She didn’t just go back did she?” Emily was invested and that curiosity was only heightened by how the narrative was being delivered. The bad blood was boiling over.

“What happened next ended up devolving into an absolute mess later on. So she didn’t just go to the barracks but into Adam’s office and took a filing cabinet. Ran the half mile back while carrying the damn thing and then chucked it into the wall behind me while screaming and again I quote, “f*ck off, I’m not paying that $20 parking fee you filthy slu*t.” Emily fell on the ground laughing. And this was the woman who called “Angel Dust” a crack whor*? What a complete joke!

The stressed seraphim had her mood flipped from agitated to positive in an instant. They didn’t interact directly at all during the time they were in Heaven to plead their case. But she was enthused to do so now. Vaggie was a funny, dedicated, caring, take no prisoners type of person. All traits that she had an immense amount of admiration for.

“Well she ended up dancing while wobbling all over the place and screaming until she tried doing it on this glass coffee table. It broke and she knocked herself out in the fall on top of having a lot of broken glass in her. Adam had to help me get the cocaine chicken to medical.”

“This is where Sera comes into the story. When an exorcist has to go to on base medical for any reason you need to write an incident report. We were in so much trouble no matter how we did this. So we get her to medical and pop all the glass out of her and patch her up, Because the main crew were out saving another officers life as she was hurt really f*cking bad in a freak accident.” The officer in question barely pulled through even after the medical intervention.

“The next day Sera found out Lute had been hurt and rushed in to get a status report on everything. That is where things really started to go completely sideways and then knocked down a flight of stairs. We told Sera everything and that broke her. She spent almost 5 minutes laughing so hard we all thought her vocal cords were gonna explode. Then just a very simple "don't do that again before she left.” Sera was insanely cryptic a lot of the time and it got under Vaggie’s skin. Just f*cking say it! But this was one of the few pleasant moments. She could only count them on 1 hand with fingers left over.

“Then what she did next was so unpopular that it led to the entire exorcist army going on strike and shutting down. I would know, I was the one who gave them the news that Lute was calling everything off. Sera went and chewed out the people who helped Yulia instead of Lute. And then stripped them of their job and sent them out to do grunt work. Then had the gall to visit Yulia who rightfully spits in her face and then rips into her for prioritizing Lute over her and ripping into some of the best medics we ever had for saving her and doing their f*cking job. Needless to say that was only the beginning of it.” Emily’s blood began to boil hearing the story. Sera did what? Her already low opinion of the person she thought of as both an older sister and a mentor took a nosedive into the point of no return. The only thing keeping them together at this point was the deal made with the hotel, If that falls through it was so over.

“As soon as Lute got word she sent me to inform everyone of the strike and why. When she was discharged from medical about an hour later the two of us basically stormed into her office and chewed her out. Lute and I have never been on good terms, She’s the reason I’m down here to keep it simple. But in that moment we couldn’t have been more on the same page.” You knew something was seriously f*cked up if Lute and Vaggie were agreeing or were able to find even the tiniest speck of common ground. Sera really overstepped and tore down the morale of the normally high octane exorcist army.

Emily was on edge, Fed up with all the lies, All the deception, Every drop of hypocrisy in Seras body. How could this story possibly end? Emily asked herself as she clenched her fists like she was ready for anyone who came her way.

“We told her how she was overstepping. How Yulia, One of the most popular higher ups was far worse off than Lute. And how f*cking dare you punish them for a stupid mistake that should have never happened.” This was as oversimplified a tale of events as the screaming session went on for almost an hour.

“The real gem was when Lute gave the ultimatum of you either reinstate them to their previous positions or she would go public about everything that goes on behind the scenes. If only she knew what would go down 5 years later. Anyway Sera backpedaled so hard after that. But we didn’t stop there, We had her publicly apologize and own up for it in front of all of us. And that was the end of that clusterf*ck.” Vaggie hid her face in embarrassment for going off on such a long tangent. It was extremely liberating to finally be open about the aspects of her past that had been sealed tight behind a thick mental barrier. One that not even the strongest of nuclear devices could penetrate.

Emily caught on to the change in mood embracing Vaggie with open arms. It wasn’t much, But if she could do anything to help comfort the former exorcist and one of the strongest and bravest women she had ever had the pleasure of meeting. Vaggie had been through so much and came out the other side still clinging on.

Even through all of the mental roadblocks and keeping her past chained up there was something about Vaggie that really cut deep into the seraphims heart. She felt a kindred soul lost in the static distorted reality they were both living in.

“I’m sorry for going off on a tangent like tha-.” Emily interrupted by shushing her, What did she have to apologize for? Being open and letting it all loose? Better now than never!

Emily giggled a little bit at the puzzled look she got for her efforts before throwing on a stern honest and caring attitude “Vaggie, there is nothing to apologize for. You clearly care for the people around you more than you think. I don’t believe Charlie is your only reason for living, I can tell just from the little bit of time we’ve spent here that you’d take a bullet for each one of those people out there.” Emily got up with an invigorated pep in her step, optimistic as ever for a better future.

“I might not relate to everything you’re going through, But I’m in your corner just as much as all of them out there. Just keep your head up and keep marching.” Emily said before running off.

10 minutes passed and then 20 as Vaggie let her words sink in. At the peak of her mountain of questions, Why? There wasn't a doubt that it was true but f*ck did it only lead to more questions she couldn’t answer.

Lunging once again at the hard bag she teed off with a vengeful strike. The power of her raging fist crashing into the padding caused a *Bang* that was roughly the same volume as a rifle to reverberate throughout the gym echoing 3 times decrescendoing each time until the noise subsided.

Her combinations were lethal, Each blow more devastating than the last. Nothing felt more euphoric, empowering and revitalizing to the angel. This fight was far from lost. The hotel couldn’t have had more of a comradery now if they tried. Something that gave Vaggie immense joy among her f*cked up mental state. Charlie might be the main and most important thing to her and why she is alive, But the others with the exception of Alastor did deep down mean a lot to her.

Husk’s no nonsense attitude was admittedly a double edged sword, But if anything she understood why. Having to deal with all the bitching on a daily basis was draining. But the more she had drinks with the former overlord it became clear that despite some hesitation there was a drive to improve. Nothing showed this improvement more than his decision to stand and fight. She wanted to skin Alastor alive for having him chained up, But Charlie would put a stop to it and try to argue for peace. But peace was truly never an option.

Nifty was the craziest little gremlin. But damn was she good at her job! The fact she was the one to take Adam out said more about how pathetic he was. But it was all the more satisfying watching that bitch crying over his overkilled corpse.

Pentious was a goofball. One that clearly struggled with being honest with himself, Something they all could relate to. At least now he got out. The circ*mstances that led to his ascension still bothered her. But who didn’t it bother? Adam just completely vaporized him. The symbolism around this extermination was ironic but it was also incredibly feral and unchained.

Anthony was a pain in the ass. Always pushing past boundaries and hiding behind a mask so thick it might as well have been a plate armor helmet made only of the purest materials. At the same time you could feel a soul crying out from any chance to better the little they have left.

Their conversation on the hotel steps was only a tiny fraction of the guilt and trauma that needed to be shed in order for her to achieve true closure and satisfaction.

“Yea man he actually made it out! And now we ended up striking a deal with heaven, And now he’s back down here.” Anthony was hyped up and ready to go. Completely oblivious to Vaggie’s presence as continued with his conversation.

“I’ll see you tonight then bro. Catch ya then.” Looking up from the floor he jumped at the sight of her startled to see Vaggie geared up like she was going to fight a world war.

They locked stares, surprised that the other was there training. It was too quiet and quickly uncomfortable.

“Vaggs? I didn’t know anyone else was gonna come down here. I heard someone nuking the bag in here. I didn't think it would be you toots.” Vaggie took the compliment in stride striking a prideful grin.

“Guess all that training with Carmine is paying off huh?” They both broke out in a fit of cordial laughter. It felt, Normal? For once they weren’t at the other's throat and it was nice.

Anthony felt it in the air. The many shadows of their collective pasts circled like vultures ready to swoop in for the kill. They may have been working on their relationship but it was incredibly troubling for them to be alone in the same room. It was just something deep inside that wasn’t going away.

“Learning from the best that is for damn sure, While we’re on the subject she wanted to treat us to lunch on Saturday.” Vaggie gave the spider a reassuring nod before zoning out into her own thoughts just as he had done moments earlier. Why did everything have to be complicated?

What caught him entirely by surprise was when she collapsed to her knees into a devastated heap. Just by her body language the suspicions he had for months were confirmed. She was masking everything negative and “Toughing it out” like he had been. But this was a much grander scale. Charlie really needed to look after her girl unless she wanted to wake up to no one by her side.

“Yo, You alright?” Dumbest question to ask in the moment but even a “No I’m f*cking not!” would do.

No response. Vaggie just acted as if he didn’t exist at all or didn’t comment on anything. Anthony sat down next to her not wanting to leave her side for any reason. This transcended anything else going on in the hotel. This was as far from the mindset of someone who had a tranquil eased mind free of the mental disturbances that would manifest themselves to torment them. This was someone who was being strangled by the weight of their past mistakes and who was breaking under the pressure one step away from submitting to their shadows.

“Vaggs talk to me here. Whatever it is that’s bothering ya I won’t bite your head off for it. You’re scaring the f*ck outta me right now.” Complete understatement, Anthony had only ever seen one other person sink that low and he wouldn’t be of any help in the moment.

Vaggie struggled to even look at him without feeling even worse. Why was he feeling bad for her? Why didn’t he lash out? If anything she deserved far worse treatment from all of them. She lied about being the very thing they were fighting against. The void of fear was starting to break the foundation her mind had stood upon, And when it gave way so too would her life.

“Why don’t you hate me? I’m just a liability to you all and I-” Anthony wrapped her in his supportive arms and held her close making sure she felt safe while she wept into his soft chest. Anything he could do to comfort her was better than nothing that much was f*cking certain.

“There are only 5 people I hate, 2 of them are dead and the others are soon to be joining them. And you were never one of them. Sure we always get on eachothers nerves but I’ve no doubt gotten under everyone's skin here.” More than under their skin, Anthony always had 3 bags ready in case he was ever thrown out because they found his ass to be too far gone to be even put in the minimal amount of effort.

Vaggie stained him with a waterfall of regret and wavering will, Shaking as he held onto her. f*ck it was embarrassing to be so vulnerable and let go but it was better than the alternatives. It couldn’t get any f*cking worse could it?

“T-t-that’s fair.” Was the only response she could muster stammering in her efforts to even speak. The normally blunt angel just couldn’t. Nothing she said would come out right anyway so maybe it was best to just be a mute so no one could misinterpret her.

There was a cloud of darkness looming over both of them, A bad omen for things to come in the near future he thought. The feeling in his gut pained him as it crawled and dragged its way up to his chest. His heart broke for her. How long was she holding this in for?

“Relax, Let it all out. It’ll feel much better when you can truly accept who you were isn’t what defines you now. Something that took me 91 years of my existence both on Earth and here in Hell to find that. And it hasn’t even been an hour yet. What I’m trying to say is I understand what’s going on and all of us are in your corner. Never forget that fact.” Anthony really had let go after his talk with Lucifer and even if it took another 10 years he was gonna claw himself to redemption. He at least wanted to see the others around him build themselves up and go down that same journey with him.

“Thank you.” Vaggie calmed down enough to not trip over herself when trying to speak. They weren’t out of the woodworks yet but it was a start at least.

Sitting there awkwardly on the cold hardwood floor it was at least 5 minutes before the silence was broken again. In that time Vaggie fully collected herself having let out her regrets to the spider whom she always butted heads with. Or at least the biggest one. The fact he didn’t hate her said so much.

Afterall she wouldn’t blame him if he did. There would have been a time where she would have happily killed him and not had any hint of remorse. At least in the moment, Why alcohol was always her best friend. Drinking to forget the atrocities and to cure the loneliness that having no one to vent her thoughts freely to would do to a person.

“You know deep down I could tell things weren’t looking up for ya all this time. It wasn’t my business but I just knew something was off.” Off was as light as a cotton swab. She had so much circling through her mind internally it was a feat that the fallen angel was still alive. Anthony was someone Vaggie was going to spend a lot more time with, The infamous p*rn star and assassin who despite the variety of shortcomings, pranks and mischief they caused they meant well.

“When I found out I wasn’t angry at you or Charlie, But at that bitch Sera who doesn’t know the first f*cking thing about me.” The truth of the matter was, Everyone saw the court case. Either live or a replay. Who was behind the broadcast was the biggest mystery in hell at the moment. One that led to gossip and conspiracy theories so absurd no one could honestly believe them even if they weren’t sober.

“I saw it more as Adam f*cking up big time by letting one of his own leave and sleep with his biggest enemies daughter. So did Cyril but he was much more colorful with his wording.” Vaggie HAD to know, Who was Cyril and why didn’t Anthony bring him up sooner?

“What is your relationship with Cyril?” Oh yea she was back to being her normal self, Just cutting straight to the point.

Anthony stopped in his tracks. The rabbit hole Vaggie was swan diving gracefully headfirst into was deep enough she may have some regrets for asking. But she asked so that was what she was gonna f*cking get.

“Cyril was someone I knew when I was alive, I met him at a bar after he got back from Europe after Germany surrendered. He served in both World wars as a f*cking Lieutenant Colonel on the front lines with his young men fighting. He was a decorated military career military man and a complete badass. And I was the youngest son of the most feared mob boss in the entire country let alone the f*cking city, I’d honestly go that far. The point is we were as different a pair as it gets with some small similarities aside.”

“We connected on the small sh*t like our love for animals, music, guns, gymnastics, the outdoors and swimming.” A lot of hobbies and common interests but having that person to bond over some drinks about anything and have a good time was a plus.

“Basic sh*t I know but we grew close over a good 3 months telling each other everything. Our whole life stories, Current events, Everything! So when I told him what had happened the year before with my sister Molly and the circ*mstances that led to her death my whole world collapsed around me.”

“I told him in no uncertain terms how I was a broken soul wandering the Earth waiting to die and when I did I would welcome the sweet abyss that it offered. Heaven wasn’t gonna take me and after what happened I felt like such a pathetic monster who didn’t deserve to even be in Hell either even if they accepted me.” And look at where he ended up. Save for Valentino still breathing there was nothing stopping him from fighting for that freedom over his life and taking himself back. Redemption would follow in time.

“I didn’t see him again until the 70s when Val ended up taking him onto his crew of around 70 people at that time. And before you ask, No I don’t regret meeting Valentino. What I do regret is not distancing myself from him when things got sketchy. Something that caused a decade-long rift between me and Carmine that I couldn’t be more relieved is behind us.”

“Anyways he was the one who brought me here. If that helps any.” It did, The imposing 7 foot raven sinner with a thick British accent. His body was covered in scars from the many fights he found himself in. Just the brief sight Vaggie caught of Cyril everything checked out.

“Wanna train for a while and relax?” Anthony jumped at the opportunity as they took to swinging on the bag like it was ripping them off for a f*ck ton of money.

It was 2:30 when they finished training and split up to kill time before the party. Vaggie and Anthony were building a lot more of a bonding relationship that never would have even come remotely close to happening before. But they were both grateful that it was working out.

Making his way down the hall to the music room Anthony saw this as an opportunity to further reclaim himself. To take joy in the things he loved so much, Be with the people he wanted to be with. Not be forced on a leash and living in fear.

The music room was gigantic, Almost as big as the front lobby and decked out with only the highest quality instruments Hell could possibly offer. The highest quality Guitars of all string and design varieties, All of the Brass and woodwind one could ever ask for, 4 drum kits, a pipe organ and what Anthony had been looking for, A piano.

And all of this was before he even read the note on the wall that said “Please take care of the instruments here. If there is anything we don’t have that you play don’t hesitate to talk. I would love to help out.” Charlie really did spoil the many musicians that most likely littered hell in the shadows. She wanted people to have the opportunity to pick up healthy habits and hobbies and it showed.

Anthony was desperate to crack the rust off of his piano abilities. He couldn’t tell you the last time he pressed a single piano key but it was several decades at the very least. If he had gone into the music side of things with Val he wouldn’t have a voice to speak of and his hands would most likely be battered and bruised beyond belief.

Gliding his fingers gracefully across the instrument to confirm everything was tuned correctly. The keys felt refreshing to play like a light breeze brushing against your hair as you run free with the people you love, not a care in the world.

God it really took him back to a time when things weren’t as complex and even close to the level of miserable he had been feeling since he sold himself out to that f*cking moth prick.

A song he had written over 40 years ago struck him like an angelic bullet piercing his broken heart. Reminiscing on some of the darkest moments of his existence Anthony began to play the haunting melody.

Only ashes remain,

The man in the reflection.

Stained with his own blood,

His scars and imperfections.

His pained voice rang out like a siren, the words bringing back vivid flashbacks of the mistakes that ate him alive like an acid that vaporized his body the same way Pentious went out.

He wanders the broken streets,

Mind and body torn asunder.

To face himself an impossible feat,

His blackened soul an endless blunder.

The face of Carmilla Carmine flashed before him. She may have been a cruel overlord to many but to Anthony she couldn’t have been any more loyal of a friend. That was before the massive rift that split them apart for those years. His arms pulsated with emotion, shaking as the spider continued to play letting out the emotion he had long built up.

In my arms that old man died,

The loyalty to his duty and cause fading.

In an effort to stick to one's side,

The pact of another bent and broken.

Just another silent voice in the wind.

No words Anthony ever said came close to the impact of what he wrote down on that paper all of those moons ago. It made him proud to be here instead of suffering the cruel fate he had led himself into.

The love and trust faded from his heart,

Replaced with darkness and sorrow.

Empty screams for a new start

To reach for a better tomorrow.

He had come so far, That better tomorrow was here. The new start came in the form of Charlie's patient and understanding attitude towards him. And everyone else here for that matter. That woman had every right to be cruel and torment them and it wouldn’t be questioned because she was, You know, the daughter of Lucifer. But there wasn’t any of that and it was really telling of her character. Having a place to stay and be free of the abuse was all the more incentive to live at the hotel.

Love has left his heart,

Replaced with hatred in his veins.

No one can hear your cries in the dark,

Venom and bitterness flow free through the chains.

Like a beggar in the streets,

Asking for a release from poverty.

These chains cling to my blood like a leech,

My body is begging for a sweet release.

To reclaim the man that once was,

A long and distant dream.

The smell of death and hollow blood,

Drying hopes out like the summer heat.

With a thousand yard stare,

When you look into the reflection.

The eyes have an illustrious flare,

And the body is the very masterpiece of perfection.

Anthony ended the piece with tears of joy. Having confronted himself once again he couldn’t have been more at peace with the shadows of his past. His mental morale was at its highest point in over 50 years. All from being honest with himself and giving himself that time to heal. Husk didn’t just tell him what he needed to hear that day but he extended a hand out to walk with him through the light and the dark. A promise that hadn’t been lost in the echoes of pain as he held Husk close.

*Clap clap clap*

Charlie had heard everything and was moved by the heart and soul in the words. Tearing up at the piece she rushed to embrace him. It was clear this was hard to get off his chest but meant the world to him to finally release it to the world.

“That was beautiful Anthony, I didn’t realize you were into music.” Well she was about to learn a lot more than that about the first resident of her hotel than she ever could have imagined.

With a relieved sigh he was at least glad someone enjoyed his music. No one had given a f*ck before. It made sense Charlie would though, Music practically ran through that woman's blood. Music, Love and Patience. Or at least that was how he saw it.

”You wouldn’t find it beautiful if you knew the backstory behind it. I’m glad you enjoyed it though. Just another part of me taking back myself and healing from the years of suffering at this point.” Charlie was glad to hear this. It was music to her ears, Pun intended or not at least he was healing from all of this and making progress to better himself.

“I’ll be honest Charlie there is so much dark and awful sh*t I let myself soak in for so long. What I told you the other night was far from the entire story and spun with half truths because I still wasn’t fully able to accept everything and let go. After the speech we gave earlier, Seeing that Pentious made it out and a talk with your dad who wanted to check in to make sure I was alright. That was enough to catapult me over the walls. I let myself hide them behind all this time and if you don’t mind spending time here with me I wanna let everything loose, Even stuff that I didn’t speak about earlier with him because there were more important things to let out.” Charlie was delighted to be an ear to listen. He had come there for a reason and it was to seek refuge from the torment and to better himself.

“I started out f*cked by circ*mstance Charlie. I was born 4/1/1913 to probably the worst father anyone could ever have. How the f*ck is the king of hell a better father than mine was? I’m the son of Greg Chetoli. THE mob boss basically. Complete piece of sh*t father to not just me but my two siblings, Jonathan and Molly. Especially Molly who he wanted to disown or kill whatever was easier to him. To say he was a brute was a complete understatement and I still have nightmares of the things he told me as a kid.” His blood boiled at thinking of the abuse she suffered at his hand. And how glad he was that she wasn’t suffering from it anymore.

“He forced me into the mob life from the age of 9 and in those first few years I had seen enough for a lifetime. A week after my 13th birthday was when I first got into drugs and booze. We had been working with these gangs out of South and Central America for a good while. They certainly made a killing during prohibition working with us for damn sure. But I got myself hooked on Silver Ruby Tequila, Weed and co*ke during that time.” Charlie could clearly be seen mouthing the words Oh Holy f*ck. A very fair response to being told that you in that deep by the age of 13.

“Jon, Molly and Chelsea were the only 3 people I had in my life at that point. Chelsea's dad was a fairly well known singer and piano teacher at that time so I got lessons from him which is where my love for music and dream to one day become a performer. Something I never got to do either in life or the afterlife save for some small bar shows in the early 70s down here but that's besides the point.”

“Life outside the crimes and sh*t we did as part of the mob was actually normal. I had private tutors come to the house which is more of my dad flexing his money around but like it was more of a normal thing than having to blow someone's head off or be a guard for a shipment of drugs or guns we were getting.” Charlie was starting to boil over just thinking about it. She was angry that he had to suffer through all this even if he was just getting started with his story.

“We’d go out to the woods behind our house and hike, camp, hunt and overall just enjoy the outdoors. Go swimming, go see movies or an opera. Whatever was on the agenda for that day. Save for Jon who was and most likely still is a bitter asshole we always had a great time just being unapologetically ourselves.” Anthony's voice manifested itself as an icy wind that could have frozen Pride over.

The resentment both at himself and the lifestyle he lived was evident as the spider's breathing became hoarse and panicked.

“The day I lost Chelsea was without question tied for the worst day of my life but I’ll get to why that is. It was my 18th birthday and we wanted to do something nice so we went out to this pretty famous ice cream place to have fun and not think about all the nasty sh*t I had gotten myself into.” If only it were that easy now he muttered under his breath.

“The moment I heard gunshots I started running with her. f*ck shooting back and taking the fight to them. Even if I did, she was already history by the time they drove off. Her last words still ring out very vividly in my mind to this f*cking day and I hate it because when I wanna look back at memories of the time I spent with Chelsea I don’t wanna think of her last moments as she died in my arms. I wanna think of the good that I spent with her, y'know.” Her screams of pain still ring out like if it were happening right now, The worst nightmare replaying in Anthony’s head.

“I lost myself that day and I haven’t been the same since. Until earlier today I’ve been miserable. Sometimes more miserable sometimes less miserable but always at least some form of miserable but I’ll lay out my general thought process as I need to. I have nothing left to hide anymore Charlie NOTHING!” That assertiveness and honesty was a great thing, He wasn’t letting the walls keep him held back anymore and it felt amazing for both of them.

This was a major reason he came to the hotel in the first place. The desperate search for peace and recovery from the major traumas he lived with on a daily basis. The latter he would never fully achieve but this is the closest he’d ever gotten. Having a group of people that helps keep each other up would certainly add to the feeling of recovery even if just a little bit.

“I was just living in my sorrow for 2 years at that point when Molly pulled the two of us aside basically saying look, Uncle Chris died and he left me basically everything, So I want you two to come with me and put all your differences aside. We’re blood and we look after our own.”

He wept as painful and vivid flashbacks of his life replayed in his mind. You’d think after all the crying he did today Anthony’s eyes would be completely devoid of the floodworks but it seemed almost endless if he was still able to let the tears flow.

“The most embarrassing thing is that I’d tried to get clean before and at least try to make things work. 2 weeks into living together I broke down to Molly and told her how I didn’t wanna live like this anymore and that I wanted to at least have a month stay at rehab. Which actually went well and I stayed clean for a bit.” Anthony’s vocal cords clashed together as he hated himself for his many failures to get off the drugs and try to live a productive life. One that was still going to be riddled with crime and bloodshed because of his f*cking bastard of a mafia father.

“But 6 months later on what would have been Chelsea's birthday I relapsed. I was incredibly terrified of what Jon or Molly would think if they found out.” A very understandable fear but one that given the circ*mstances was further amplified.

“Jon was upset but also understood at least, which is more than I expected if I’m being honest. Molly though stood with me through all of it and then some. Through the rough depression I went through there, Through my relationship with Rose the next year. Through all of it that woman stuck by my side and the relationship between the three of us was all the better for it. I even got clean of all the hard sh*t during that time, only very occasionally drinking, which was the best I had ever been at that point.” His voice completely cut out as the memory of his sister's violent death crawled on his skin. The only sound his vocal cords were capable of producing was a slow pained whimper.

Collecting himself after a few minutes he was determined to power on through. If they were gonna work together from here on out he felt it was better to do this and not hold back.

“She too was taken from me. I remember the day all too well. Some guys who had been working with our syndicate ambushed the house. When all was said and done Molly was dead and 8 of our attackers were filled with more lead than the paints of the time.“ The joke didn’t make much of a difference to how he felt about it. No matter how much time had passed he still felt like a piece of filth for leading two people he loved into death's unwavering grasp from the lifestyle he had been cursed into.

“After Jon and I managed to escape the carnage I lost it. At that point I told him as straight faced as I could without the glass that was my body in that moment shattering, What kind of monster am I? I doubt even Hell would take me at this point.” There was silence as Charlie processed what he had just said. How f*cking low could this all go? She couldn’t even think of words to try and support him. This rabbit hole went deep that was for f*cking sure.

“Jon went into hiding after that and I only saw him 3 more times before we met up down here which was just another blow to the back of my goddamn skull at that point. 1945 was a much better year despite how bad ‘44 was.” 1944 was the beginning of the end for his time on Earth but it just didn’t go well at all either. Something about it seemed ominous from the start.

“I met Cyril fresh off coming home from Europe fresh off kicking Germany’s ass. That was the highpoint of my whole year. Man was a decorated military officer who fought in both world wars as a Lt Colonel. But despite how high of a rank he was he always led from the front. Both when he fought with the Brits in the trenches or when he stormed Normandy with the Americans it didn’t matter he was going to show them how it was done. A legit badass in every way imaginable for that, He had both a Victoria Cross and a Medal of Honor to show for it.”

“We only had 3 months that we spent together before we met again in Hell but those 3 months meant so much to me Charlie. Getting to know him was a massive morale boost that I needed to keep going. I wouldn’t have it any other way, especially now with how he has been one of the only consistent people in my life for these past 50 years he’s been here.” Emotion oozed from the spider in a way the princess had never seen to this point. Keeping this much bottled up would destroy anyone but it did more than that for Anthony. He hated himself for the longest time.

“It was only 3 months because he went to the west coast to be with his dying brother which was understandable but it was the last time I saw him till the 70s.”

Anthony paused for around half a minute as he contemplated how he would go about explaining the last bit of his time on Earth, His relationship with Arturo and how he got into p*rn and sex work as a whole. How he died, The state of Hell when he first arrived in the late 40s. All of it was one big clusterf*ck looking back but he was determined to simplify it as much as possible so any confusion and misinterpretation could be avoided. Hell was a confusing place even if you were the daughter of Lucifer herself.

Charlie for all it’s worth had only been a part of Hell's public life and politics for around 35 years. She was reserved about even bothering then due to how vastly different she was as a person. Rather than keeping a firm smile and being this hyper optimistic, charming and vibrant and caring princess who wanted to look for the best in her people, Charlie was extremely angst riddled, sometimes spending weeks in her room only to come out for food or if someone like Seviathan came over to visit. But seeing the hurt of her people it only made her change for the better. The hotel was just a way for her to really dig in and personally help her people rather than just hiding behind bulletproof glass and the insecurities that came with her status.

“Sorry, I just needed a bit to collect my thoughts. Anyway the week after Cyril left things started to shift towards the end. It was already the beginning of the end for me when Molly was killed but this led to my downfall.” Downfall might not have been the best way to word it but it was what he went with.

“I met this guy at a different bar across town that had opened the day Cyril left town. His name was Arturo and he recently moved to the states from Portugal of all places. Well we hit it off and started dating within about another week after that. We would end up partying and getting all kinds of f*cked up. That was how I got back into drugs and he was how I got into p*rn.” He didn’t go deeper than that as there wasn’t a need to.

“Well anyway two years to the day after my first shoot was the day I died, ODed in an alley on PCP or what often is referred to as Angel Dust. Yea that’s where that comes from and honestly the more I think about it the more it pisses me off.” Grumbling at the thought he even tried that sh*t to begin with Anthony’s mind trailed off into the realm of his addiction and how much of a f*ckup he was for being so deep into substance abuse. He was lucky to have mental faculties or any sort of long term memories with all of it.

Anthony smiled knowing he made it to when he first arrived in Hell. Reminiscing on the chaotic time that was the Pride ring from the late 40s to roughly 1976 would be a task and a half. He could barely follow it himself but he was gonna try and explain everything the best he could.

“So I woke up in Hell and when I realized that I was alive I cried tears of joy. Maybe I wasn’t such a scumbag that I was gonna get thrown to the side after all. That only lasted all of 10 minutes when I realized I was given what was essentially a starter kit of 6 tommy guns and a f*ck ton of ammo. That was when the carnage started for me.” Anthony had a gigantic smug smirk on his face. Those were certainly the days.

Charlie wanted answers, Context on the state of Pride at the time that she didn’t have from not interacting with that sector of Hell's population much if at all.

“What was it like then? I never paid attention to anything the general public down here was getting up to till around 35 years ago or so. Dealing with just the leading class is miserable. I'll put it that way. Well some are decent but most of them were self centered pricks.” Charlie rambled on anxious thinking about a few select members of the elite she hated dealing with.

Anthony was on the same page, So much had changed in that time. But the fact Charlie didn’t spend time with anyone outside of the other classes made a lot of sense.

“I already planned on getting to all that.” He joked as she got ahead of him.

Honing into his brain it all came flooding back to him even more vivid than it already was “Well back then it was so much more bloody than it is now. A big reason for that, Cannibal town as we know it now didn’t exist. So you had the cannibals roaming the entire ring helping themselves to the biggest buffet they could fantasize about.”

“They wanted to have their own section of the ring to live in peace which they got. But only after 5 years of pestering Leon who was the leader of the overlords, And yes that is a thing. Speaking of overlords there were only 4 when I first got down here. Leon, Zestial, Carmilla and Al, Who I found out had only been there for 3 years. While my world was melting around me that motherf*cker was out here gaining power and influence. Which he honestly doesn’t have much of in comparison to other overlords even.” He took shots at Alastor who as time has gone on cracks in his foundation started to show.

“2 years later Jon was here so we’re in 1949 now. We met up and started f*cking sh*t up. How it was for a good while. Skipping to 1951 because it was rather uneventful, Just us looting, killing and asserting control over a lot of things in Pride. Only stopping the week leading up to extermination day which was always a week where there was a gentleman's agreement to not attack each other and sh*t.” It was also just better for business to not fight the week of the extermination for a variety of reasons.

“We came across a delivery truck and decided to take it over. We were successful and when we took it back to our little hideout we couldn’t have been ready to find what we did. In the back were crates with Leon’s logo on them. And a note that said hey here's $3,000,000,000. We stole 3 bill from Leon. We were billionaires.” He gave her a moment to let that sink in.

“Yea we split that sh*t down the middle and made good use of it. Fast forward again to the next year. 1952 was a historic year for a whole lot of reasons. The three biggest were the formation of Cannibal town from Leon relinquishing 2 districts to Rosies control, Leon’s very graphic assassination and the contents of his will which Carmilla read on live TV.” Leon's death was the biggest assassination of anyone in any sort of power within Hell. Ripples of his influence were still felt to the present day over 72 years after his death.

“The gist of his will was that his right hand would get the majority of his wealth, Carmilla would take over as the head of the overlords and would get the remainder of his weapon stashes. The best part, his right hand man made history earlier today.” Charlie's eyes almost popped out of her head. Pentious was Leon’s top guy?

“I didn’t know Pentious was that deeply involved in all of this. But who killed Leon?” Oh boy was that a tale to tell. But it tied everything and everyone together, chaining them together tightly.

Anthony was perplexed at it himself. This hotel really was the great uniting force the more he reflected on it. “Vox, All that sh*t that happened that night where we wanted to kill him, I was more pissed than Vaggie was. There are layers to why but the fact you were working with the piece of filth who killed your boss, your best friend, the man who you said that you’d avenge at all costs even if it meant your life.” His words had a particular disdain for the events that played out even if they became close and mended things later.

“That was what Carmilla told me he said. Her first order of business when she assumed power as the new leader of the overlords was to find us and get us on board with their plan to f*cking end him. The way things were laid out was just too good. We ended up paying her 40 mil to make what is now known as the Aurora TK8.” Anthony scrolled through his phone to show off a picture.

It was himself, Jon, Carmilla Carmine and Zestial showing off the new piece of high class angelic weaponry to the camera. Those were the days for sure. He had the original piece framed on his wall as a memento of those first few formative years he spent down in Hell.

“Well we were very obviously unsuccessful in that endeavor but it led to some connections forming. It was a net positive all around despite ya know, Vox not being put in a body bag and thrown out like the trash in the July heat.” While they failed in the moment it was only a matter of time before Vox was taken off the map for good. That flat screen faced motherf*cker was living on borrowed time and he knew it.

“So now we’re in 1956. Yea it took us 4 years to enact our plan but better late than never honestly. We gave 70 mil to Rosie who helped feed info on his Vox’s whereabouts and the type of crew he was rolling with, stuff like that.”

“Anyway also in ‘56 I moved into the house I’d spend the next 20 years of my life in. Jon moved in with me for a while till we had a falling out around ‘62 or so. Things till then were rather uneventful.” His eyes welled up with tears. Jon may not have had the most positive relationship with him even when they were alive but Anthony still deeply cared for his brother. He at least wanted to know if he was doing good even if it didn’t go further than that. He wanted to let Jon know that he was still breathing.

Charlie held onto him assuring that it was ok to let it out. Her supporting and hospitable spirit was like nothing the ex-mobster had ever seen or experienced. It was one of many reasons he cherished being with her. She was that hope and sunshine everyone needed to have in their life.

There wasn’t anything in the universe he couldn’t say or that he was afraid to let go of now. She made talking about the difficult and awful bearable.

“I’m sorry in advance if I’m an emotional mess but 1962 was a stressful year for just about everyone.” He didn’t panic immediately but it was voiced how rough that year was.

Lazily sliding off the piano bench and to the floor it took a moment to gather his thoughts determined to barrel on through it.

“To start out the year we have Carmilla tearing her goddamn hair out because her shipments were being f*cked with. Something that took another 13 years to deal with. We knew who was doing it but couldn’t get him at the time. So what we ended up doing was going and guarding her biggest clients' shipments. We couldn’t do it for all of them as we were just 2 guys but it got the job done. Everyone was hesitant for a time to mess with her but they still tried.” Anthony chuckled menacingly at the idea anyone was that f*cking stupid to come at Carmilla especially now with all the resources at her disposal to make that threat disappear.

Turning his sights to the floor he couldn’t take it anymore. Why did things have to turn out like this?! Fuuuuck thinking about his relationship with Jon eroding away hurt.

“I won’t lie, The falling out between me and Jon haunts me more than anything. Even if we made peace and went our separate ways a few years later I still feel awful about it. It’s something that I still think about often. I’d rather not talk about it but just know that it f*cks with me still.” Charlie dismissively nodded understanding why it would bother him and choosing not to address it further.

“Anyway also in ‘62 the fighting in the 4th district started. It was originally just a turf war between Vox and Carmilla to see who would take it over. The answer is no one because there wouldn’t be a persistent fight between basically everybody.” There was a possibility that the times were changing and it wasn’t worth fighting over any longer. That or it was gonna go back to being bloody within a few weeks of the extermination.

“Fast forward to ‘68 and two major things happened. That was the year me and Jon made peace with each other and the last time I saw him by the way. And a new overlord was on the scene ending a 16 year drought of nothing exciting happening in that realm.” Or at least he thought.

“Well he was the first of 3 that came to power over the next 8 years. His name was Clover. This is where I consider my whole association with Val to start because the two were a very close pair when they were alive.” Charlie's blood boiled. Valentino was on the top of her sh*t list only behind Seviathan for very understandable reasons.

“Well his legacy came in the form of every Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm he would take over every radio frequency and TV channel to broadcast his message. He purposely f*cked over Al and Vox to sh*t talk the exorcists. I’d often have it playing when I got home from whatever it was I found myself doing. Honestly some of the best entertainment I ever got, Man was f*cking hilarious.”

“2 years go by and he gets killed in the extermination. It just so happens that 3 days after that I was in the same bar as a certain moth man. And well I’ll just say the whole story behind Ezio Valentino is a long one.” If Anthony’s voice was any colder it would encase the entire hotel in a thick girthy ice plating.

Charlie matched his energy, This was the part she was dreading most. That creature was going to see his entire body ripped and cleaved apart. his eyes force fed to him. His limbs given a forceful amputation, His dick diced up into pieces.

Her horns appeared as she was going feral just thinking about how she could make that motherf*cker suffer for hurting and tormenting Anthony. And everyone under his tyrannical and abusive regime.

“Charlie?” Anthony’s voice was soft, almost a whisper as he watched the normally upbeat and cheerful princess hyperventilate in her demon form.

There wasn’t a response, only a feeling of wrath and bloodlust. Charlie wanted to destroy every trace of Valentino. Make him suffer and beg for a nonexistent mercy. Every last fiber of his being would be quivering in fear as he fell before her.

“Charlie!” That broke her out of the daydream.

There was an unnerving but sincere silence. They both knew what she was thinking. It was only a matter of time before Val would meet his end and that fact pleased Anthony who was done being a slave to the man he once considered a brother in arms. Someone who made a positive impact on him when he needed it most. But all of that was thrown out the window January, 14 1981 when his soul became tied down.

“I’m sorry. Just the thought of Valentino makes my blood boil. I don’t know how you put up with that as your day to day. And then the fact you lived with him before all of that too?” Charlie held Anthony as close as she could weeping at the way things went that day.

“Dollface, Don’t worry about it. What you did that day showed me just how much you cared. When you ran out my heart sank. I feel like I f*cked up big time. I ended up having a panic attack in the back after you left. Velvette came in to try and cover up the black eye like it never happened. Her makeup artistry worked wonders.” Velvette hated Valentino just about as much as she hated cowardice, They went hand in hand most of the time though at least from what she had observed.

“I’ll get more into my relationship with Velvette later but when she is separated from the other 2 and not having to put on an image for their whole brand she is one of the best f*cking people I’ve known down here in hell. I have no doubt when Val is eventually dealt with she’ll be here. She even has offered public support for the hotel on more than one occasion behind their backs.”

Charlie was frozen in surprise. She what? The Vees were nothing more than the textbook example of the depravity the hotel was firmly against. One of their members actually supported the cause? It seemed too far-fetched to be true but given how open Anthony had been to this point there was no reason to doubt what he was saying.

“Let’s get back on track. You met Ezio at a bar in November 1970 three days after the extermination passed.” Summing up what he had been talking about her voice was monotone and hollow. If her distaste for everything surrounding Valentino wasn’t made clear long ago (Which it most certainly was), Then just by the tone of her voice you could witness the hostility firsthand.

“Yea so we met at what used to be Leon’s old bar that was named after him called The Blazing Falchion. It's run by Zestial now but regardless of that the place was and still is a cesspool for every vice imaginable. You could just come in for a drink but if you wanted you could help yourself to some drugs, hire someone for a good time, play a hand of cards, pay to off someone. If you can think of it you could find it there.” And probably way more. It was always a packed establishment even on what you’d consider a Slow night.

“Anyway he sat down with me and was basically as giddy as you are when it comes to the idea of redemption but it was because he always looked up to me in life. That lifestyle wasn’t a positive thing to look up or aspire to but that is like saying water is wet. It just is an indisputable fact. But he looked up to me and got involved in that sh*t after moving to the states and whatnot.” Valentino was more than ecstatic and giddy to work with him, He met his hero and couldn’t be anymore over the moon if he f*cking tried.

“We talked over drinks, Joking about a lot of morbid sh*t like ways to maximize suffering and extend someone's life when torturing them to death. And by the end of the week he had invited me to actually take part in all that.” Anthony sighed as he reflected back on himself.

He truly loved working with this Valentino. Before all of the abusive and manipulative bullsh*t he was an easy going guy who took care of those who worked with him. A far cry from the personal hell that he put everyone through on a daily basis up to 5 days a week at times.

“Those were much better times. Working with him then meant you were taken care of both financially and that you were under his broad protection which at the time meant a lot more than it does now but I’ll get to that. But in a short window I went from being his main lil executioner to his right hand guy.” He smiled remembering the good times with the powerful overlord.

“Skip ahead to December of ‘74 because there wasn’t anything exciting happening till then. Just the routine of me shipping drugs or whatever else through the former underground tunnel system. Which ran from the late 1890s till around ‘78 or so. I get a call from Val while I’m working on some songwriting because I got some inspiration and he's like hey Anthony I need you down here. Some motherf*cker had been conspiring to sell him out to some powerful people who to this day I have no clue as to their identity but it was serious.”

“He also lets me know there's a new guy who is coming along to help out and that you’ll love him. He's great. It was Cyril, He’d apparently been down here since February 2 days after his 90th birthday. He found a girl and got married in October, Found Val in November and they started working together about a week before I got that call.” Cyril was a serious morale boost on top of what they were doing. It all felt like the best high of his afterlife.

“So we dealt with that person and then 3 days later on New Years Eve we did something that was a long time coming. Turns out that was the day my father fell down here. Old f*ck outlived all of us by at least 25 years at the worst. I’m sure you know what happens next.” Blood, torture and dismembered limbs as Greg quickly regretted every choice he made in life before his youngest son took him down and blended his remains for the cannibals to feast on.

“1975 was a fantastic year. Everything just went right. For reference we started out the year with about a 70 man team and we ended the year with just under 230 or so. We end up getting a call from Carmilla about 2 weeks or so later. She wanted to meet on business, the type that involved a lot of bloodshed and re-establishing control over her shipments.” This was where the downfall began. But no one at that time knew what would happen in just a little over 6 years time.

“She got a letter from one of the higher up people in their group. They gave us names, the location of their main base, several plans they had drawn up to kill several of us, the whole works.” Blood came within a nanometer of being spilled if he heard everything properly at the time. The only reason he made it out was due to sheer luck or at least was how he felt about it.

Anthony whipped out his phone scrolling for a particular video uploaded by Cyril. Of the assault on the bastards compound,

“Sorry, I just was preparing something I wanted to show ya.” Charlie didn’t weigh in anything but just trusted whatever it was he wanted her to see wasn’t another one of his films. But he hadn’t made any mention of anything relating to that yet.

“Anyway, We found out the man responsible for stealing Carmilla's shipments was this old Russian dude who had been down here since at least the early 1900s. His name was Vitali and he quite frankly should have been considered an overlord by all metrics. I want to show you the video of us taking his place over, It’ll be important later.”

“Sure.” The princess was caught off guard by the request but if it was a major enough thing there wasn’t any objections from her.

The only bad part was that the phone screen was tiny.

Anthony, Ezio and Cyril were dying to get their fill of bloodshed.

The air surrounding the trio was sharp like a piece of glass jammed into your foot. Getting pelted by strong winds wasn’t on the agenda today, no siree.

Leaping out from their concealment Cyril took charge sprinting full force towards a nearby entrance with Anthony and Valentino following close behind with their heads on a swivel for even a miniscule hint that there would be any type of attack or ambush. When they were all in the clear the moth and spider surged forth covering a scary amount of ground in just a fraction of the time it took Cyril.

Standing on either side of the doorway with their weapons at the ready it was almost time for blood to fall like a flood submerging an entire city under the waves. Nothing was going to stop the massacre ahead. Each one of the little puny f*cks that chose to align themselves with Vitali were going to regret their life choices.

“Alright team, As soon as we pop this door off the hinges each one of those sorry f*ckwads are gonna be vaporized from existence. Leave no traces of life. Make the scene as violent as you wish. Because this building is your canvas and you are the award winning blood artists whose reputation is not one to be taken lightly. Show them why.” Ezio pepped them up with a declaration for them to make as much of a scene as possible. As if they didn’t plan that to begin with but it was nice to hear.

With an assuring confident nod from both of his right hand men he sent the door crashing into the back of the dining quarters crushing two hellhounds unfortunate to be eating breakfast right as the attack began. They weren’t dead however they were severely crippled from several of their bones shattering from the impact.

Gunfire started to be exchanged as they fanned out to avoid the barrage of lead being hurled in their direction. Somersaulting behind a flipped over marble table Anthony and Cyril made it their point to focus on the right side of the dining hall where a cluster of Vitali’s men took up post.

Valentino on the other hand took the more offensive stance moving from light cover to light cover unloading rounds into anyone who dared raise a weapon in his direction. That was to say, f*ck strategy we have the upper hand lets push on.

Following that lead Anthony vaulted over the table with a volley of 3 precisely placed bullets to the hearts of his opposition. The spider was never known for his tactical approach but the uncertainty at what he was up against made him briefly think twice about how to conquer the day and leave his opponents in a maroon pool of life juices.

Cyril followed in kind with his blade sinking into the neck of a charging succubus who looked to decapitate Ezio for his Risky undertaking. Fortunately for the imposing moth she didn’t get the chance as Cyril’s katana made a swift and decisive end to what was another pathetic life. As blood sprayed from the new opening like a shower head the Crimson Raven lived up to the nickname literally as he bathed in the corpses ruby fluids.

“BLEED MOTHERf*ckERS BLEEEEEED!!!!” Anthony roared as he fired mercilessly into the crowd of demons. This was a rush he could get nowhere else. The flood of adrenaline you got while in the midst of combat was a feeling comparable to having 100 intense org*sms all at once. The 8 foot tall street sweeper let everything go with a squeeze of the trigger.

A shot barely missed his head but Anthony was still undeterred laying down hatred in the form of a burst of fire from his Aurora. Unlike his assailant Anthony’s shot didn’t miss with a glorious display of brain matter and skull fragments coming from the now headless gunman.

Around 20 were still estimated to be alive in the now bloodstained cafeteria.

A few of those still standing chose to flee into further fortified areas of their headquarters but were silenced before taking a step into the room adjacent to the chow hall. Their remains slid down the wall in a satisfying end for the cowards who chose to turn and run rather than stand and face the consequences for their actions like real men.

Cyril took initiative to end this sorry excuse of a fight. Impaling 2 imps on the end of his katana he flung the kebab of small demons off his blade in a dismissive nature, disemboweling them in the process. As their guts descended to the floor like a sack of bricks he was already making his way to cleaving the heads off several of those were paralyzed at the sight of their allies' internals being forcibly removed thanks to a trusty angelic katana.

Standing and relishing in the sight of enemy corpses a psychotic grin replaced his stoic expression. It was f*cking on now!

Only 7 were left alive including the 2 hellhounds who were squashed like some sort of road pancake behind the door that was flung like a baseball across the room.

That number became 3 as Anthony took charge this time. Each shot took off a limb or put an end to the futile resistance they posed.

The remaining 3 were mopped up by Valentino. Finally putting an end to those 2 flattened hellhounds. As they strolled past the trail of corpses left behind in their wake the trio found no one in the next room.

Caught off guard by this Cyril took to the front as he had been accustomed to in life. He always put his life in danger for the young men under his command, At the end of the day his goal was to have as many of them go home to their families. Even though he was now in hell and that didn’t matter anymore it was second nature for him to go ahead of the pack and lead from the front.

“These mediocre wet blanket pathetic excuses of henchmen could be anywhere. Keep your eyes peeled, boys.” Cyril got a laugh out of them but they went back to being serious as they kept up the search for the rest of Vitalis' men.

Room after room was devoid of anyone. Not a single one after 3 sweeps of the floor.

“I bet these dickless cowards went upstairs. Ya guys ready for some close quarters combat against some 14 year olds shooting at us with the .22 their daddy bought them for their birthday?” The disrespectful tone in his voice was a rallying cry for both Ezio and Anthony as they readied their aim at the door to the second floor.

They heard small chatter confirming their suspicions.that they locked themselves in ready to pounce on the trio after the door was kicked in.

“That is if they’re even armed at this f*cking point. But yea I’m ready.” Valentino didn’t miss a beat quipping back with a remark further putting into question just how incompetent this whole organization was.

Anthony was silent but readied his gun determined to put an end to this. Vitali was a bitch, And what is it that bitches do? Cower in fear of their impending fate A fate determined by the actions you’d been responsible for undertaking for at least the past 13 years if not longer.

Cyril sliced the mahogany door into two. And the guy standing behind it. With the new opening secured It was made clear that they were playing it smart. Attempting to secure some type of high ground was only going to delay their inevitable demise a short while.

Ezio unloaded into a sea of opposition who were attempting to shut down Cyril from climbing the stairs.

One shark demon lost an eye capping himself in the dome in the ensuing panic. Another one of his friends collapsed after 3 fatal shots collided with his heart, stomach and diaphragm, finishing him in a gruesome display of scarlet as they gasped for any oxygen that could supply their last few moments of existence. But it never came as he faded into the neverending void of nonexistence.

Cyril took no prisoners with the covering fire buying enough of a distraction for him to make his way up to the second floor and then proceeding to mop said floor with the bodies of the motherf*ckers who were stupid enough to try and take him down in the first place.

By the time Valentino and Anthony made it up the flight of stairs the floor had been marked with the remains of 15 men, Dismembered limbs, internal organs and tons of brain matter were visible.

The remainder of Vitalis squadron dropped their arms and accepted death, not feeling it worth the challenge to go down fighting.

In his chamber at the other end of the hallway with no protection remaining Vitali lit a cigar as the once powerful figure in the underground arms trade understood that his time was soon to come.

This was the repercussion for his theft of Carmine’s shipments. It took them long enough to track him down. What was the point of begging for mercy when he knew exactly the terms of what he signed up for day 1?

When the door was breached the tiger demon sat forth with his elbows burrowing into his desk. Before him were 3 men with reputations that would exceed his anyday.

Anthony Chetoli, Former mobster with ties to several of the overlords in power currently. Weapons expert and someone whose combat abilities both on Earth and in Hell couldn’t be overstated.

Cyril “Crimson Raven” Jonesworth, A combat veteran of both world wars and who was extremely athletic and intelligent, He spoke 9 languages and was always in top shape without putting much effort in (If only he had that).

Ezio Valentino, Hell’s newest overlord. A beloved figure whose efficiency was an example in how to accomplish your objectives. The moth ruled fairly, Taking care of those who chose to stick it out with him while brutalizing his enemies with just as much fervor and mystique.

Vitali took in a long inhale from his cigar knowing it would certainly be his last. If anything he was at peace knowing it was these 3 that were to be his undoing. Better someone with an experienced hand than some amateur who broke through his wall of defenses.

“Welcome gentlemen. I see you’ve made quick work of my entire gang. But given your combined reputations this is no surprise.” The tiger's formality was accepting and fearless mixed with a slight hint of intimidation.

Vitali stared into the cold dead eyes of each man seeing a united resolve unlike any other. Rising to his feet without a fuss he laid down in the center of the room ready for the darkness to overtake him.

“However you choose to take me out, make it quick. I’d rather not have prolonged suffering as much as someone like me would deserve it for the things I did.” His thick russian accent made the words more impactful. The symbolic act of laying down for them conveyed how clear his conscience truly was.

Anthony took charge standing over the once influential (for better or worse) tiger demon caressing his face.

“Before we kill you I just have two questions for you motherf*cker.” Vitalii was whipped with a fierce backhand and sent to the floor.

Wheezing from the wind being knocked out of him there was no sign of resistance from him. What kind of pathetic sh*t is this?

“What is it that you need to know from me?” There was no beating around the bush. Straight to the point.

Anthony had to think of the wording. There needed to be clear answers to put this situation to bed.

“First, Who else, if anyone, are you aware of attacking Carmilla Carmines shipments? And second what is it you were trying to accomplish?”

Vitali swallowed the last bit of his pride and ego since he had no need for such things anymore.

“To answer your first question, There was another gang pulling off heists on Carmine’s shipments but they later merged with us. There is no one else now that I am aware of. As for your second question there were multiple goals we were working towards 3 of which we accomplished a long time ago. But our main objective was to sabotage the supply chains for weapons to weaken our opposition before unleashing a counter offensive for the ages. Safe to say we failed to accomplish that to any meaningful degree.” A dry cough followed as his body started to unravel itself wanting to leave him behind as well.

“Well then, Any last words?” Anthony would have taken that as his last statement however proving respectful and useful he granted him the honor.

“May the abyss that consumes my soul leave my mind at peace.” He spoke in Russian before a bullet was put into his skull signifying the end of their battle.

In the present day Charlie couldn’t have been more mortified at the sight. This was worse than anything Alastor could have possibly gotten himself into!

“That was, Admittedly a bit much.” The princess tried to mask her discomfort but to no avail. He knew it wasn’t pretty, Looking back at it himself made Anthony cringe at the thought even if it was for an understandable cause.

“Yeah, Looking back on it wasn’t easy, honestly. And that’s coming from me, someone who is so desensitized to the violence that happens on the daily down here that it’s a fact of life.” Realizing just how close you came to death in a gunfight definitely wasn’t a pretty thought that much was goddamn sure.

“The point behind that was to showcase the trust and bond we had for each other back then as well as context for something that happened in ‘76.” Anthony clenched 4 fists as he looked at the journey ahead that was gonna mentally break him reliving even just in explanations of the goings on. But having Charlie there as a safety net to catch him when his past caused everything to break was enough of a reason to power through.

“Everyone trusted Val back then. He was the example that everyone strived to be. The efficiency in how he conducted business was something that with the exception of one person hasn’t been achieved since. He took care of the people working under him, If you had a concern he’d work it out with you. If you needed help because like you were getting f*cked over on rent prices on your house he’d pay out of pocket. Things like that y’know.” Was he talking about the same person? There was no way this was all true. There had to be some exaggeration somewhere!

“Just as he treated everyone under him with respect and took care of them Val spared nothing in setting an example for his enemies. But as viscous as that was, even he had limits. The main one was that Val wouldn’t use poison to get rid of anyone. What he told me when I asked about it had to do with Clover and the way he died. Clover was poisoned to death but it wasn’t a quick stealthy death. Nah that would be too simple and wouldn’t deter Val from using it at all. Clover spent 2 weeks bedridden with his organs slowly shutting down and in immense pain. Really f*cked with him.” Whatever they used to kill Clover was purposely engineered to maximize suffering. Not something they were looking to get their hands on for sure. Especially when much faster methods existed that got the point across much better.

“Carmilla and Val were damn near inseparable in that time. Honestly a sight to behold at the time but it made Zestial uncomfortable. Just more hinting at those two being an item. Deny it all she wants, we know those 2 are a thing. Something everyone has given her a lot of sh*t for, Basically everyone has made their jokes about it. Always funny seeing someone who is supposed to be this uber serious figure with a lot of staying power in the game get flustered like a teenage girl at the mention of it.” That wasn’t even the half of it but it painted a vivid picture.

“Val became a reseller for Carmilla's gear, that is how close they were. The only other person that ever got that honor was Relius and we all know what happened to him.” Anthony’s heart broke for Blitz. Relius’ death was not gonna do his tattered mind any favors that was for sure. He’d have to give him a call later to check in.

It went quiet, Almost as if they took the time to honor the hellhound’s life and achievements. A worthy and peaceful sendoff in any case but one Relius would have been proud of.

“We had our head in the clouds during that era and were unstoppable. Our sphere of influence grew, We got a bunch of new blood for our crew and were making billions. By the end of 1975 we made close to 70 billion, had a solid crew with a great morale and I was mentally the best I had ever been since I was alive. All was well for us.” Bracing for impact it couldn’t remain that good for long. What was the catch?

Anthony’s body language was telling. What happened in 1976 was the cause of his pain or at least a significant chunk of it. Lost in thought he slowly started shifting into demon form which was a cause for great concern.

“Anthony?” Her first call out to him reached into the spider's heart calming him from the pain and betrayal he felt deep inside quelling the burning flame.

“I’m sorry, I just hate everything about the next 10 years save for a few high points but we’ll get there.” They weren’t even out of the 70s yet and they have over 48 years left to touch ground on.

Anthony was worn out and broken. The aura changed around him as he prepared to face the worst years he has had in Hell head on.

“1976 started off on a high note. We were still riding off of the high from ‘75. I think the best way to sum up how things started is this picture here.” Scrolling through his phone Anthony pulled up the memory of a time long lost.

It was Anthony, Cyril, Valentino, Carmilla and Zestial posing for the camera looking like a small army. They certainly had the strength and support to back it up. But the important thing and something not lost on either of them, Was the colossal smirks they all exhibited. They matched one another's energy and oozed a confidence never before seen. They hung their heads higher with Pride than any drug could ever aspire to compare to.

“I look at this picture and I wonder what the f*ck happened. It was only a year prior on new year's day mind you that Val, Cyril and I swore an oath to one another that I still can recall word for word as it flashes in my mind every time I see him and it makes me truly take in how far things have fallen.”

“I see a future where we can command respect and fear as we rule our territory with Valor, Dignity and Order.

Where loyalty reigns supreme and traitorous fools shall be shown the door.

Where Pride and Egos are cast aside and replaced with a level head and where reason is the most effective debate tool.

A future where Corruption, Injustice and Tyranny are smitten with a swift right hand.

Where those who harm the innocent shall know no end to pain and suffering.

And those within our sphere of influence shall be taken care of.

For you are my brothers, my allies and my equals.”

Charlie shuddered just thinking about it, Gee that didn’t last did it?

“We were excited to start out the year meeting up with Carmilla again. That woman is just a f*cking treasure. She takes care of the people around her and always has. Made Val those custom revolvers you see there as a token of friendship and just something nice. If only we knew how the rest of the year unfolded or what happened 5 years to the day that picture was taken.” The venom in his voice unraveled a dark truth that things weren’t gonna be alright.

“That was mid January, Things were alright until March where it started to go downhill fast. I’m not even mad at this first bit because it is without question the most ballsy thing anyone has ever done and given what I know now it has aged incredibly well.” To say he was damn proud of it would be an injustice to what happened.

“One of our guys who we had sent out to help manage things in one of our territories came in covered in his own blood. He walked a half mile after getting shot 3 times and nearly died on the way back. Told us that someone walked in with his group of 4 guys and took over with no resistance after he got shot.” Seriously? Who? Were both questions coursing through Charlie's brain as she found it ridiculous that someone took it over that easily.

“That is how Husk came to power. Something he admitted to me on Saturday when we were busy partying and getting ready for war. He took over one of the best territories and over 100 guys. It gets even better though. Turns out Husk was Cyril’s second in command during the second world war which I found out when he called the hotel after I let Cherri know we were fighting back. She let Cyril know and that was that.” And then Pride was filled with the blood of angels and demons alike.

“Anyway, something that Husk also did during that time was send a letter to Zestial telling him to ban the card tables at The Blazing Falchion or he was gonna start killing the hosts.” And he complied with the request. Within a day of receiving the letter they were all gone.

“He never admitted to that one but I put 2 and 2 together. Also completely off topic but I feel it is as good a time as any to mention this, I think Al’s a f*cking joke especially after learning about all of that. There are 6 incidents I can point to in particular that put his entire reputation into question. The first being that letter to Zestial because Al is deathly terrified of that man.” He couldn’t help himself from erupting into an uproar of cheap laughter.

“I’m sorry I just find that one funny. I get that is Zestials reputation and all but it really isn’t as well founded as you think. People seem to think he is cryptic but he really isn’t in the way Alastor actually is, The way Zestial conducts himself is just a product of his time. That man was born in the late 1500s after all. Still funny though as it says a lot about anyone not afraid to call him out or anyone who works with him on a frequent basis.” Anthony took in a deep productive breath as the list of folks he knew like this was long.

“That being, Leon, Carmilla and her daughters Odette and Clara, Pentious, Myself, Jon, Rosie, Val, Cyril, Husk, Cherri, Blitz, Relius and most recently Velvette.” Out of breath from the long winded list of people he could think of Anthony took a moment to relax and get his thoughts back in the game.

“The point is, Why the f*ck are you so terrified of him? Unless you are either hiding something or if your ego is that badly bruised. On the same subject, How the f*ck are you gonna let Clover walk all over you? Granted he did it to both him and Vox. But you clearly value your image and yet you let him take over your broadcasts? This cum white suit nerd glasses wearing motherf*cker?” The picture he showed Charlie was scarily accurate. You’d never guess someone like that would be a powerful overlord let alone one who had a legacy based on critsizing the exorcist genocide in humorous wars without giving a single f*ck.

But this was Hell. A place so volatile that friendships and alliances could end at a moment's notice, Where criminal empires rose and fell and where nothing was set in stone.

“The next example was the reason he took that 7 year absence he did.” Another bellowing laugh emanated from the spider's throat as he still couldn’t believe just how pathetic the infamous Radio Demon was.

“So things between Al and Vox had been getting bad for months behind the scenes and sh*t. They would each use whatever airtime they could to throw shots at one another. It got so bad other people ended up getting brought into their beef. Val ends up calling to his radio station ripping into him for all the sh*t he was talking and dared him to come down and settle this. Which he did.” And he surely paid for it. If what Anthony had been talking about was the case.

“I was out with Cyril, Cherri and Velvette at the time the whole thing went down. We promised Vel that we would take her out for that day months ago. It was the anniversary of her best friend's death from stomach cancer. Something Cherri is all too familiar with unfortunately but that is a story I’m sure she’ll open up on eventually. Anyway we had our day out and went back to the studio because Cherri had lent me something and I was gonna hand it back to her.” If only he knew what he was about to witness and do. It wasn’t that simple.

“We walk in and the first thing we see is Velvette’s department completely covered in about 8 to 10 inches of flame retardant. Some sh*t went down and we were gonna find out what. So we scanned the place for any signs of life. We found Val up in his room after walking through the studio and also finding it covered in fire retardant. So half the building was on fire and a lot of stuff was ruined.” That accident from the day Charlie attempted to get him out of work wasn’t the first time the studio was on fire? That was an unexpected u-turn in the story.

“So when we find Val he tries pinning all of this on us making a few comments about it. Wasn’t that way for long because Velvette landed the first punch and then we all kicked him in the f*cking head while he was down. Vel isn’t a fighter but she can certainly hold her own. The only damage Val had from the fight with smiles was a small scratch on his shoulder. Val shot him in his right arm, I’m sure you saw the scar at some point. The Radio Demon got shot into a 7 year exile. That’s what you get for picking a fight you weren’t gonna win to begin with. It would have ended worse with us there though, We’d have swiss cheesed that motherf*cker so fast.” It would have no doubt been over in less than 10 seconds if they were present.

“And then he comes back into town and chooses to align himself with the hotel which is a massive red flag. There is something more that he isn’t telling you and I have no idea what it is. What I do know is you are so special that he chose to align himself with you. He didn’t align with Leon, Carmilla and Zestial when their alliance was still whole. And he obviously didn’t align himself with the Vees.” An offer he rejected multiple times apparently.

“I don’t know what his endgame is with what he’s doing here but everyone is freaked out about the whole thing. If there is one thing everyone here agrees on it’s that he is incredibly sketchy and being in the same room with him isn’t a pleasant thing. Regardless of his power or lack thereof cryptic people freak me the f*ck out and I honestly it makes me wanna keep my distance.” Charlie responded with an acknowledging nod and leaving it at that.

“Which leads us to when Alastor took Pentious’ eggs. That day was also when Carmilla called for an emergency meeting. Well Zestial ends up meeting him halfway to the meeting hall and they catch up or whatever on the walk over there. Cyril saw them across the street and just his description of how unsettled Al was, PRICELESS.” It never left his mind for a second what he said. Cyril had a way with words and it was always a good time when you were around him for that reason alone.

“During the meeting Velvette was the complete opposite. Talking sh*t straight to his face and completely lax about the whole thing. I’ll get more into that meeting later as it is context to everything leading up to now. But the fact Velvette made Al look like even more of a joke just adds to how insecure he is over his lack of control.”

“The last thing I wanted to bring up with the whole Al thing is on extermination day. Right after we finished rebuilding Cherri called Cyril and we went to pay respect to Pentious in the 4th district where we fought so f*cking much. While we were mourning his loss and not handling it well, Cyril had a smile on his face. A very pained smile but you could tell it had a lot of respect behind it for how things were.” Cyril didn’t have that deep of a relationship with him but knew Pentious was something special.

“We had our moment of pouring one out for him and then we started looking up at the bright side and joking around. And then the topic turned to the battle. So we ended up watching it back. We get to Adam and Alastor getting into their little fight and Cyril was cracking up. Al talking all the sh*t in the world and then getting blasted away for it round 2. This time it was on live TV during what was probably the most historic day in hell since the 50s. And then we have this week which has been f*cking confusing and very much a whiplash. But yea where was I?” Losing himself in his side rant Anthony forgot where he was in his story and was embarrassed to have to ask.

“Husk coming to power, Taking over territory you guys controlled and sending that threatening letter to Zestial.” Charlie had been paying close attention as she wanted to make sure she understood everything and wasn’t stepping over any boundaries going forward. That and his story was full of twists and turns that it might as well have been a rollercoaster or some type of ride. A very bumpy ride but a ride nonetheless.

“Oh right, Well that led to things spiraling out of control for everyone. A lot of unintended consequences from what he did but also just a lot of things changing and we were needing to get with the times.” And they did for the most part not just back then but in several different eras of change. Staying ahead of the curve was a key to survival in the ever changing landscape of the social life in Pride. With few exceptions you just have to roll with those punches.

“Profits tanked for everyone from a clusterf*ck of circ*mstances that ended badly for everyone. We had to hire security from other rings to help guard our shipments because we lost all those guys who would normally do it. Carmilla was burning money just as much for similar reasons to make sure things got done, Zestial had businesses that were tanking from a general lack of interest and other people taking over the markets so he had stiff competition for a lil bit. And then you had the mom ‘n pop shops and other smaller businesses I’d put a lot of investment into just to give back y’know. A lot of them got run out or suffered massive blows that took a good 8-10 years at minimum to recover from.” And that was a best case scenario for a lot of them, Pride went from being in fantastic shape to suffering a massive economic and social crisis that swept everyone off their feet.

“So at that point we tried to make it work for another 3 months. In June we ended up calling a private meeting between Me, Val, Cyril, Carmilla, Odette, Clara and Zestial about what exactly we could do to kick things back into gear. It wasn’t just a talk about the numbers we were pulling but also how we needed to get a grip on our territory and just a lot of overlord shenanigans like that.”

Anthony froze up again knowing full well this was where it all went to sh*t. Where things slid downhill until he sold his soul to the person he once trusted to be able to do the right thing. Everything about his time in Hell was one big clusterf*ck but one that he was entirely in control of. If he could take one thing back it was staying with Valentino when he made that alliance with Vox.

“Cyril and I call that meeting the Doomsday meeting because it was the last time we’d be on speaking terms with Carmilla for the next 10 years because of what happened next.”

Still shaken to his core about it all, Anthony broke down and cried. Weeping as he unraveled before the person who made everything better for him in ways she had yet to understand.

“This is when Val pulled me aside, I still remember everything he said here word for word because this was huge at the time but even more so now.” Raking his fingernails into his skin a tiny bit of blood dropped to the ground trembling in fear just as the rest of him had many times over the years.

“Anthony, You’ve been one of the most integral parts of my business ventures and I don’t want to put you in any situation that we can’t work with at full capacity.

I wanna get into the entertainment world, I wanna get into both p*rn and Music. Because lets f*cking face it both of them are industries that are begging to be taken over by someone who knows what the f*ck they’re doing. I’ve already talked this over with Cyril, Travis and a few of the others.

I’m putting all of this out there because I wanna know if you are on the same page with me here. I know you did all of this when you were alive, But if you aren’t that is completely fine and we can split no strings attached.

I’m getting out of the streets because there just isn’t money in most of it anymore and what there is won’t fly. I’m not gonna f*cking kill or extort people like that, There is nothing to gain other than money from it. And honestly we’d just be better off elsewhere anyway.

I also wanna open clubs in a lot of hotspots in the city. I don’t wanna give up on that even after we just got robbed of all of the most profitable ones. It’s a risk I’m willing to take to give people more options.

What I’m trying to say is, Would you be down to work in either p*rn or Music? I know this is a heavy ask but regardless of your choice I’ll respect it.”

“Given what I know now I should have said f*ck no and dipped but at that time of course I was going to stick by the side of someone I considered one of the very few close friends I had.” He couldn’t contain it anymore and exploded into the fetal position on the ground.

“This was something that absolutely bit me in the ass. My loyalty and sticking to my principles didn’t do me any favors as I’m sure you know now. But making that switch over to p*rn from the Drugs and Arms trade was a decision that paid off in the moment.” All of that was absolutely true. It massively paid off in the moment but was the wrong choice long term. If he knew it would lead to his soul being chained down he would have left then. Or after the deal he made with Vox. Either of which could have stopped his soul from being used as a bargaining chip at least in theory..

“Two days after that talk I was thrown out of my house. Honestly as much as I think that I could have gotten out of this and I really should have. But I’ll put it this way: Imagine yourself in my shoes during this next bit here and tell me that you wouldn't have done the same things I did.” To say the events ahead were gonna be the hardest and most agonizing to relive would be downplaying the trauma to such a significant degree it could possibly break the fabric of reality itself.

“Well when I got thrown out of my house the f*cking dumb douchebag who ended up taking over the property locked me out from getting my stuff. I was cool with the guy for a bit and then he started talking all kinds of mad sh*t. And then guess who is circling the block? Apparently word got out about my eviction and this guy didn’t f*ck with me for very long. The 3 of us packed whatever I was taking, threw it in the limo and dipped. We ran the guy over on the way out for good measure.” The terrified yelp when the motherf*ckers legs were crushed to dust was a very pleasing sound. There was no need for it to escalate to that but it did.

“So I moved into our base which at the time was the warehouse Carmilla now runs a lot of her operation out of. That place was passed around like a basketball. First it was Leon’s to store extra gear in, Then Clover took it over when he was down here, After that Val took it over from him until we ended up leaving and then Carmilla took it and it has been hers ever since.” It really was getting thrown around, What’s next Carmilla gives it up to someone else?

“So I got settled in and everything felt alright. We got to filming and Cyril got to mixing and producing albums and by the end of August our gamble paid off. In our first 4 films we finished in that time as well as the first few albums Cyril produced we made more money than our 4 biggest competitors made in a year combined and still had some money left over.” Close to 700 million souls at the time.

“We were living large again and we celebrated the only way we knew how. With some Silver Ruby and Weed. Which was a ritual for us at that point. I was amazed to learn they sell Silver Ruby down here. Until I learned the creator and his two sons are down here. Sooooo yea.” Losing his thoughts for what felt like the 80th time in a row was irritating and made it even more difficult to align the events in the right order.

But eventually like always he bounced back. “The week after that I got woken up in the middle of the night at like 1:30 by Travis, Who was Clover’s right hand guy before Val was down here. Because of that he has a cushy job writing all the scripts for every film Val has made since like the early 90s at least. I know he was writing them before that but it became his full time after that at least.” His scripts were atrocious, At least Charlie had a cohesive idea with the play she set up even if it was the most cheesy stereotypical sh*t. Most of what Travis wrote was mumbled garbage topped off by a mixture of his fantasies and whatever Val was doing at the time.

“Well he told me to get everything packed, We had a long day ahead of us tomorrow and Ezio would explain then just a whole bunch of nothing other than I needed to pack up. So I did and then just sat and talked with him till 7 when Val got up. I should mention that man is f*cking obsessed with me to a level that is honestly way too f*cking far.”

“He is a married man yet he insists on paying for sessions with me. Motherf*cker sleeps with a custom made body pillow of me naked, Bases a lot of his scripts on his own fantasies with me unless Val says otherwise, Constantly eyeing me up like I’m his boyfriend or like I’m the hottest thing he has ever seen. And again this guy is married to a woman who is a genuine sweetheart. I don’t know how someone like her ends up down here but honestly the fact he completely disregards her for me pisses me off more.” He was getting livid at the thought of the life he was wasting away chasing something that would never be.

“And the thing is his brother Zack is cool. He was the one who came in shot by Husk’s guys. More on him later though.” The day was just beginning for them. f*ck why did he go through with this? So f*cking stupid!

“So Val gets up, We have coffee together the 3 of us before we go get Cyril, who at the time lived with his wife Mikla on the complete other side of town. About an hour later we grabbed everyone's favorite raven and then the reason we packed up was made very clear. This was when we ended up meeting with Vox and finalizing a TV deal and the start of the second overlord alliance. The fact I didn’t kill him or run as far the f*ck away as possible still bothers me. I completely lost the plot with that one and the fact that not only did I fail to take him out at the time but that I later was roped into working with him are things that haunt me deeply. And are easily my two biggest regrets.” And it was the thought that he was weak enough to give in and not put up any sort of resistance to it that killed him.

“By day's end when I was talked into this we ended up doing a broadcast which ended up going over as well as you’d think. Carmilla left a message to cut all contact with us and that started a 10 year time period where I was depressed about not just that but how things were looking in general, And that was before I even sold my soul which I’ll get to.” It was almost time to address the one persistent shadow that loomed over him and leached at every drop of sanity he had left.

“So now we are living in Leon’s tower, Or what was once Leon’s tower but was now ours. Pentious had stripped the place bare or at least that was what he said when he left Vox a colorfully worded note that later got put in a plaque and f*cking immortalized around the place. What he didn’t find however was a secret room that was filled with boxes and boxes of everything Leon had ever publicly documented. A whole library of overlord history dating back to when he came to power as the original overlord in 1129 after a good 27 years of fighting.”

The room was massive and had possibly 200 thousand writings from wall to wall on shelves 6 rows high. Leon spared nothing when it came to documenting his personal thoughts about any subject and wouldn’t sugarcoat anything. Which was all the more reason to preserve the texts he had written over the centuries.

“Which is why when I say the last genuinely positive thing Val ever did that benefited other people was have all of it released to the public I really mean it. He told Zack to start up a library in a building uptown that was the perfect size. And to completely disassociate or distance themselves any way possible because this was extremely important info. And so it was. The best part about it is that you can look at everything they have to offer on your phone. You can even download it and read it that way.”

It was showtime, There wasn’t anything else separating him from the day he sold his soul. What he had said to Lucifer earlier to build up to it was more just a way to ease into it. There wasn’t a reason to do that now, It was gonna be hard no matter what to talk about. Even more so than it was earlier because Charlie had gotten a glimpse into the horrific, physical, sexual and psychological abuse he suffered at Ezio's ill intentioned hands.

“January, 14 1981. 5 years to the day that picture I showed you earlier was taken, Was the day both Cyril and I sold our souls to Val. I won’t elaborate on the specifics of our contracts or what happened that day leading up to it but just know that we didn’t have a choice in the matter. Either we signed away our souls or we were gonna end up dead and I wasn’t in the mood for dying at that point as nice as it sounded.” Death wasn’t a pleasant thought in any case but it was just how things were in Hell.

“There really wasn’t much that happened over the next 3 years. Save for the usual verbal physical and sexual abuse and mistreatment that became the norm for him. But honestly the less said about that the better.” They moved on, not discussing it further. That boundary is one that may never be crossed more than what it was right now.

“The only time I really got out of that loop was when I went out either by myself or with Cyril. Well Cyril was working overtime on an album that day so I went out to this club that had just opened up a week or so earlier. Nice place, Had a lot going for it. Shame it didn’t last.” It was a mystery to this day what exactly happened to the place that caused business to tank at the rate it did. But it was a damn shame

“I ended up at the bar next to Cherri who had only been in hell for like 5 days at that point. We ended up hitting it off right away and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That woman is one of the best people I’ve ever met and even saying that is downplaying how things would play out over the next 4 decades to this day. Everyone sees her at the surface level of this rowdy over the top party girl and while she owns that persona publicly deep down that woman's life is more complicated than anyone I know.” He could barely make sense of some of it still to this day. Even a simplified version barely made any cohesive sense. People who go in and out with little rhyme or reason, Flaky friendships that were very off putting and eerie just from brief bits he’d gathered. Cherri might have been 6 years younger than him when she died but nothing about Anthony's life was that over the top.

“A week after that was when I started writing the song from earlier. Having to hide it from Val because I couldn’t do it if he found out. I wouldn’t have a voice knowing how much he’d overwork the f*ck out of me. It was also a spur of the moment creative spark that died after I wrote that and then started on a second song that I never finished.” But he had all the time in the world to make the most soulful and emotion dense melodies backed by authentic and honest lyrics.

“It was also at that time I got Fat Nuggets. Val found him on the street outside the tower malnourished and sick. He took him in and nursed him back to health and then gave him to me as a belated birthday gift.” Charlie’s mind blanked out at that. What did he just say?

“Yea, The man has always been an animal lover. It takes a special kind of evil to abuse animals even in Hell. That is a line he firmly set from day f*cking 1. In fact the first person we ever killed as a team together to set an example was a guy who would kill animals on video and was gonna submit it to a few productions as some type of fetish bullsh*t.” Charlie had to hold back throwing up at the implications. What f*cking monster would think that is a good idea?

“Well eventually he found someone that not only agreed to produce it but it ended up getting broadcast across all of Hell. We ended up finding those motherf*ckers and making them suffer for it. That isn’t downplaying all of the sh*t Val has done to us after he took our souls. Just outlining that ever people as f*cked up as Ezio have limits and that is a massive one.”

“Vox ended up getting pissed off one day and screamed out from his side of the building about how he was gonna f*cking kill that pig and use his remains as breakfast for the next 2 weeks. Cue Cyril and I running 4 laps around the building and beating the sh*t out of him for it. The fact he had the f*cking stones to say that is more puzzling. He has his own pet at the office and would have lost it if we pulled the same sh*t. After the massive ass chewing we gave him after knocking him around I called Cherri and she took Nugs because I’m not chancing it. I still have no idea what Vox was so pissed about and I don’t wanna know at this point because it is over and done with.” Vox was still marked for death, It was only a matter of when for both him and Ezio. They knew even if they wanted to dance around the issue and act as though everything was fine and no one was gunning for their head.

“Anyway, Carmilla still hated us but that was understandable. But what I didn’t know until he came over one day when Vox and Val were out was that Zestial was still cool with Cyril. And on top of that he started offering us mercenary work at The Blazing Falchion. That was a fun 2 years worth of work. I was happy to get back into the game”

“Carmilla found out and when I was out shopping one day and invited me over to her place to put all of this behind us. It was such a f*cking feel good moment to be back to not being on such bad terms.”

“That day was as emotional as it could have been. We caught up, Cried in eachothers arms and promised not to abandon one another again and how she never went a day without thinking about Me and Cyril.” Making peace with Carmilla was one of the biggest morale boosts and it helped him keep going through all of the sh*t he was put through everyday.

“Skipping ahead to ‘92 because there isn’t a whole lot else to talk about in between. Starting off the year Cyril and Mikla divorce but they were still close friends, That whole thing is complicated but just know they had their reasons to split and she was still cool with all of us. Then in May the first new overlord after another 16 year long drought came to power. And she is a complete f*cking bitch that only maybe 2 people have ever been on at least decent terms working with.” Decent might have been setting the bar too high even.

“Crymini is just all around awful and thinking about her isn’t good for me but everyone has stories about her. And if I have to hear or see her throwing tantrums like a 2 year old over the way Cyril mixes her music I swear I’m gonna lose my mind. You were 25 when you died not 2 f*cking act like it.” Anthony had to move on from that or else he was going to lose his mind over it all.

“Skipping ahead another 5 years because again nothing special, Zeezi was the next overlord on the come up. She’s as laid back as they come. All she wants to do is record music, Run her factories that produce all the instruments, Host boxing tournaments and support local businesses. She came into the studio all the time with Crymini and they’d record what was essentially stoner rock, Stuff that was way after my time but they absolutely kicked ass with it when Crymini wasn’t yelling at Cyril over some stupid sh*t.” Anthony couldn’t help but take the free shot at Crymini for her nonsense, It was just too low hanging fruit not to.

“One day she came in 2 hours early to relax and to talk plans over. But there is one thing she hates more than anything else and it is mistreating workers. She always knew there was at least some level of abuse going on but Zeezi was and still is someone who gives people the benefit of the doubt in situations because of how bad her reputation had gotten from rumors being spread while she was alive. But when she saw how the motherf*cker was manhandling people all bets were off. I wasn’t there for that, I was out hanging at Carmilla’s for a few hours. But it was something for the ages I’m sure.”

Realizing 2004 was 20 years ago was a hard hitting blow for Anthony. But time flew by as it did on earth. It waited for no man, woman or child.

“Sorry, I just can’t believe 2004 was 20 years ago. Because that means Velvette has been down here for 20 years. She holds the record for the fastest time someone was made an overlord. 9 days, It took Velvette 9 days to come to power after getting down here. She asked all the right questions and everything went smoothly and efficiently. She is the definition of efficiency now for sure.” There were very few who would debate this if anyone. Velvette ran things ahead of schedule like it was nothing.

“Within 2 weeks of meeting her for the first time she already integrated herself into our group and honestly it's all the better for it. Vel keeps a very fine line between her professional life and her personal life. And it is her business attitude that rubs everyone the wrong way. Vel wants to make sure everything is damn perfect when putting on a show or putting out a promo for whatever her next line is gonna be. But it gets sh*t done. If she has to be blunt about it she will. But it hasn’t halted anything she’s ever done.”

“Another thing that I’ve always loved about Velvette is seeing her pissed off at either Val, Vox or both of them for the stupid sh*t they end up pulling. It could be something as simple as her lunch being stolen or something like them f*cking on the front couch in her department which she has said in no uncertain terms not to. The worst one though is when Val goes nuclear and decides to trash her department for whatever f*cking reason. In that case I work double shifts between the two of them and everyone wins. At least in theory. As Velvette started making more than Val year in and year out from 2008 to now.” And it wasn’t even close sometimes with Hell's fashion leader making upwards of 4 times what Ezio did in one calendar year.

“2009 was a very good year for a whole host of reasons. But the biggest one for me was meeting Blitz and Relius. There was a bar in Lust that Blitz would always go to with Verosika, Relius worked security there and it was a hell of a gig from what I've heard.” And it still is for those working there.

“So they opened up a spot in Pride and it was massive news for weeks beforehand. Opening day I get dragged out there by Val for whatever reason he gave I didn’t f*cking care enough to listen. Relius was working the bar that day. Val went off to do whatever the f*ck he was up to, And I just kicked back and had a good time. After about a half hour of talking with Relius, Blitz and Verosika saw me and started bombarding me with questions and just freaking out over me being there. They asked me, "How does someone gain the reputation of being one of the coldest killers walking the streets of Pride and also be known as the most famous p*rnstar?”

“Verosika had to take an important phone call or whatever so she ended up leaving for a bit. I went and just explained my history with Val to that point, leaving out any of the abusive bullsh*t for the time being because it was only a matter of time before he makes himself look bad that way. The most I went into was that he owned my soul which was enough for Blitz to get the picture.” The very unpleasant picture and not one to delve into further.

“We end up just talking and joking around and eventually Verosika comes back in. Val finds her and starts getting very handsy with her. She had dropped a bunch of music in the past like year or year and a half at that point but was nowhere near the artist she’d become in a few years time from this. Vals yapping trying to twist her into a contract while this whole time she is getting visibly more creeped the f*ck out. A few choice comments and an attempt to drag her off somewhere and sh*t got real. Relius jumped over the bar counter and Blitz knocked the wind out of him with a knee to the chest. Tossed Relius a bottle to break over his head and then the beatdown ensued.” They both got a good chuckle out of it. Typical movie trope bullsh*t but actually brought into real life.

“They kicked the everloving sh*t out of Val. Both of them had aspirations to get into the game and it helps to beat the hell out of one of the most influential overlords to get that point across. They dumped his ass outside after and left it at that. Verosika got a cab home and I took Blitz and Relius over to Carmilla's place. She sorted them out and got things rolling. That is where they took this.”

Cherri, Cyril, Blitz, Relius, Anthony, Carmilla, Zestial, Odette and Clara were looking strong yet again. This was quite the team they had assembled. One that was bound for greatness in the years to come and it showed in their eyes.

“This was 2 hours after the incident at the club. We moved fast that day and it paid off.” Relius started looking into weapons manufacturing but he didn’t fully get into it until Blitz and Verosika split 6 months later. This was also the start of what would later become I.M.P as they began carrying out hits all throughout the rings. Acquiring the help of Anthony, Cherri and Cyril whenever they had something in Pride. 15 years worth of experience has made him the absolute cream of the crop at what he did and in this case Anthony couldn’t be happier to have helped out.

There was more than just a mentor/student relationship there. They saw a reflection of each other. Blitz was worse off mentally in ways that were a cause for great concern and worried Anthony to no end. He always tried to push people away because in his eyes all Blitz could see was a worn down imp, A failed circus performer who lost everyone who he ever cared for due to his actions one way or another. What good was he other than a liability to those around him.

Liability, The word he had used to describe himself before clearing his mind to Lucifer. And what Vaggie thought of herself.

“Sorry, just lost in thought there. So a week later was when the whole routine of Pentious attacking the 4th distinct started. It always made the news whenever he took time out of his Tuesday to blow sh*t up. There is way more to say about his attacks there but honestly I don’t know where to start with it. All you need to know is that pretty much every other Tuesday I’d team up with Cherri and Cyril to stomp it out. If Cyril was there it would end without shots being fired a lot of times too which was a bonus,” And then they’d go out for drinks like nothing happened.

“There really isn’t much else to talk about for another 4 years save for in 2011 when Velvette managed to get a deal with Verosika and I to do what is to this day the biggest line she has done. They are still doing reruns of it to this very day. And all of it started from her completely burying Val and a few products the two were collabing on that she didn’t believe in. Took 30 minutes out of a 2 hour press event to do it too which was ultimate levels of petty. But she said all of this to his f*cking face already.” And it caused a blowout fight that almost spelled the end of the Vees before Vox stepped in and mediated an end to the conflict.

“Anyways, 2013 was a complete slog. It just went by so slow, Not to mention the awful work I was given at that time. I had become so emotionally numb from everything and that is a scary thought. I might dissociate and try to find myself in sh*t like pills or weed or whatever liquor I can get my hands on but at least during that I acknowledge that it happened and try to find anything to move forward. But I was so f*cked up that I couldn’t feel any emotion whatsoever. And that isn’t human. At least when I would put on that mask, And yes Husk was entirely right to call me out on it. I felt something.” Anthony bawled his eyes out. One of the hardest things to admit both to himself but especially to other people was off his chest but the pain still resonated down to every microscopic cell that formed his body.

“One of my biggest fears came true that year when that happened. At least when I was out with Cherri, Cyril or Velvette I could feel joy in that moment knowing that I was free. I didn’t have to look over my shoulder wondering if Val was gonna be there to torment me about whatever was the flavor of the week for him. But at that point there was just nothing.” There was nothing worse to him than not having the ability to feel. It let the shadows win and took away what made Anthony, Well Anthony.

“So we go out one night after a particularly rough few weeks. They had one of Zeezi’s big boxing events on at the bar. I don’t really follow it as much as Cherri or Cyril but the entire card was stacked with all the best fights imaginable. So everyone was off the walls hype for it. During one of the commercial breaks between the two biggest fights Verosika was promoting her new album. Her and Blitz broke things off 6 months after that whole ordeal at the club and it wasn’t pretty from what I’ve gathered from both of them.”

“So anyway that all gets interrupted, By you sparing nothing to sh*t talk your ex. Just dumping all you had on this guy and justifiably so. Cyril lost it and tore the place apart. Cherri and I were equally pissed off after hearing the stuff he did. We didn’t tear sh*t up like Cyril did but I’ll admit I was damn close Whatever numbness I was going through emotionally vanished. My thoughts weren’t positive at all because of that f*ck head but like I said better to feel something than nothing.” Something is definitely better than nothing. Even if that something isn’t positive to Anthony, having that sense of emotion is a sign that he wasn’t done yet.

Charlie was deathly silent. No one would question the ass chewing she gave Seviathan as it was completely justified, That wasn’t who she wanted to be. There were more than a few lines that were crossed with what Sev did to where she didn’t care. What was said still stood if that asshole was still alive. There was no turning back from what he had done.

The only redemption he’d get is a violent end if he came to the hotel. It didn’t matter who but there was nothing that would stand in her way from having his head if he was stupid enough to try.

Getting back on track the princess was embarrassed by her lack of energy in the conversation. Saying anything would bring the mood back. “I’m sorry you had to see that. But that was the worst thing that has honestly ever happened to me. The gravity of Sevs betrayal will never be matched. Sev was my biggest supporter, Even bigger than any one of you. When I wasn’t the positive optimistic person I am now Sev always gave me that sense of hope. We were almost always on the same page and even in the few times we weren’t there was always that sense of understanding.” The hurt, scorn and vengeance burst through the air as Charlie entered her demon form again while she was ranting.

“I loved him, I did everything with him, We were an unstoppable pair. I don’t know what changed in Sev that he would go back on everything and commit the worst atrocities of anyone in my life I’ve ever gotten close to. And I don’t want to know. What I said about him still stands but I don’t like to think about it.” Charlie let out a broken sigh, Signaling a deep wound that still remains fresh even after 11 years had passed.

“And no what Vaggie did doesn’t compare. While she killed however many people in those exterminations and that can’t be taken back, It’s very clear she has a lot of remorse for it. I can understand why she would hide it. Didn’t make the blow any less painful when it came out but I had far worse problems to worry about.” Like Adam tearing down everything she loved. Nothing stung more than the fight they had ahead of them in that moment. Alastor taking that weight off her shoulders was a debt that couldn’t be repaid. Regardless of his less than stellar reputation elsewhere Alastor was an integral part of the hotel's continued existence.

Anthony couldn’t think of anything other than nod. He understood but also wanted to change the subject away from that motherf*cker Seviathan “Moving on from that we’ll skip ahead to 3 years ago since I already mentioned the whole thing with Alastor. The only other thing I forgot to mention was Velvette starting up the social media platforms we all use in 2011 but honestly that really doesn’t have anything major to do with my history other than putting something into perspective later.” A funny thing but in the grand scheme it was just a blip.

“Anyways so November 2021 two weeks before Extermination day Cherri invites me, Cyril, Mikla and Velvette to her place to hang out. We were gonna make dinner but we forgot to get some seasonings so Mikla went to grab them. She sends a text to our group chat on the way back and not even 20 seconds later the notification rings out. They moved the Extermination up 2 weeks. When all was said and done she was gone. She died right outside Cherri’s apartment. She made it home before collapsing and dying.” The image of Mikla’s bloodstained corpse was forever branded into their minds. Cyril’s wails of grief tormented them even more.

“Cyril just had his world cave in around him. That first time I’ve ever seen that man break down at anything and it was when he was holding her bloody corpse.” It ignited a jet stream of fire in the old blood coursing through Cyril’s veins that he may one day avenge her and those who met their end by an exorcist's blade.

“Last year before I joined the hotel was the worst though. I was spiraling out of control by the hour and I honestly wanted to die. That was all compounded by August and September but especially September. It was just awful work, Whether it was the script, The people I was working with or the hours that I was working. There were very few breaks in between shoots. Save for an hour lunch I’d be lucky if I could wipe myself off or get a drink of water before we were back at it.” Sore wouldn’t even be close to a word to articulate the grueling labor he was forced to endure. Selling his soul to that f*cker was nothing short of his greatest f*ck up. Every goddamn breath he had to wait hand and foot for whatever that piece of sh*t wanted. No word, phrase, metaphor, analogy or any intelligently written thought would do the abuse he suffered from that egotistical, greedy, perverted, power hungry, manipulative sorry excuse of an overlord.

“And that isn’t taking into account him using me as his own personal f*ckdoll or his drug guinea pig. I fell deeper and deeper into places I never thought the mind could go. There were many sleepless nights spent staring at the ceiling because my body didn’t want me to. I was so stressed, depressed and awful that I couldn’t even escape my pain by sleeping it off.” That was if he didn’t get startled awake by the shadows that tormented him in his dreams. It was a lose/lose situation.

“So when on October, 19 2023 I came across your ad for the hotel and seeing no options left was going to take the chance. Redemption for me wasn’t the end goal, Self Improvement was at least until Pentious made it out but I’m getting ahead of myself.”

“So I texted Cherri and gave her the rundown. I told her about what I saw and that it was honestly my last resort. And that I was close to putting a bullet in my skull and calling it a day. She was in my corner without a second thought. We didn’t know if this was real or some cruel way for those at the top to wipe the lower end of the food chain out. But I also had Cyril in my corner after I let him in on it. So we started packing my things in the late hours of the night and taking it to Cherri’s. Repeat that for a week and now we’re at the 26th.” Still several days out from being able to find sanctuary in the Hazbin Hotel. But in a more positive mood than what he went in.

“I didn’t hear from you until the first when you opened up on the First but at that time I was safe. I was sleeping on the couch of my best friend's apartment and just having both Cherri and Cyril there was a major weight lifted off me. I wasn’t the anxious jumpy mess I had been all year. And that was an improvement. I was still a depressed mess that wanted to give up but I’m so lucky to have a support system like those two.” Molly had always told him this and she was extremely right even if he didn’t believe it for whatever reason.

Smiling and letting tears of joy freely flow, Anthony leapt into the princess’ arms embracing her with a sense of gratitude, love and a near unbreakable bond that had been built up over the months. He might have been awful to her at points but it said much more that through all of it never once did she give up on him. The infamous spider tested her patience more than a few times but it never wore out. Something he’d be forever indebted to her for.

Taking a moment to pull back and cool off, They both needed a second to mentally refresh again. Taxing as it was, there couldn’t have been a bigger internal sigh of relief for both of them that it was coming close to the end.

“I’m sorry, But I just can’t thank you enough for this. From the moment I first heard your voice that day I knew not only was this as real as it gets but the potential for the hotel was ginormous if you played your cards right. Either way I wanted to be a part of it.” And in being a part of the hotel Anthony was rewarded with a sense of security that set him on the path to unf*ck his mind from the tangled state he had gotten it in.

“My whole summary of basically hey, I’m Angel Dust! I’m a p*rnstar with a lot of issues I wanna sort out was as uncomplicated as I could make it. When you told me to get over here I couldn’t be out the door quick enough. Before we left, Cherri was asking me what the hell that was about? So we end up cracking a joke while I explained my thought process.”

“So I grabbed my bags and Fat Nuggets and I was on my way. Cyril came along with me because he ‘Wanted to see this for himself’, His words not mine.” There wasn’t much to say as everything explained itself.

“So we walked the 3 miles from Cherri’s apartment praying no one from the office saw what we were doing. And talking the whole way about whatever and just clearing the air.”

“We get to the hotel and my first thought after our whole introduction was, Wow this is a far cry from the whole Seviathan fiasco. It was refreshing to see someone with that positive of an attitude.” And it really lit a fire in him to keep going over the months, Husk also helped massively with that especially later on.

Letting the veil slip Charlie's body took on a stone faced honest but unconfident vibe that threw what Anthony had come to know out of alignment.

“I put up that positive attitude because it is the person I wanna be. I wanna be a voice for my people, I wanna be heard and let the good that I’m trying to provide show. Underneath all of that is a very tired, pissed off and depressed woman who is sick of being shut down for even trying to think for anyone other than herself.”

After a few deep breaths and an angrily clenched fist she continued, “The rest of the upper class don’t give a f*ck about anything other than making the lives of those below them more miserable. The few that actually weren’t assholes were a in the minority”

“The only people who ever believed in what I was doing before the hotel was even a thought were my mom, Asmodeus and Seviathan. Yea the sin of lust is actually a surprisingly relaxed person which catches pretty much everyone off guard. And Sev the less said about the better like I said earlier. I trusted him, And then he completely broke that trust with the most awful sh*t anyone in my life has ever done.” The disdain in Charlie's voice would be a more effective murder weapon than any battle implement. The pain of the betrayal still burned her deeply. But if there was one thing Charlie had gotten exceptionally good at, It was to keep moving in the face of adversity. Something the hotel faced a lot of and that it would continue to face even if support was at an all time high. All it took was the will of one to tumble into an abyss for which it would never recover.

Glaring at Anthony with a flame unmatched in her eyes the princess’ attitude took a turn to one of unrivaled willpower. “There are only 2 other people that I can say I hate and want to suffer in the most painful ways. One of whom is already dead.”

“Valentino and Adam. Just thinking about them doesn’t sit right with me. I know that people can do or say the most depraved sh*t but those 2 are on a level of their own. The fact Ezio is still breathing amazes me. After all the sh*t he has put you through I can’t help but apologize enough. The fact you endured that abuse for over 4 decades just shows how unbreakable you really are. Sober or not I wouldn’t last a day in that environment.” She shudders thinking about how nonchalant he was in the way he carried out the manhandling and abuse of the person who had been nothing but loyal to his cause to that point so the story goes.

“And then Adam, He couldn’t have been taken out of the sky quick enough. That’s all there is to it.I don’t have much else to say that Nifty didn’t say when she stabbed him an overkill amount of times while it was being broadcast for all of Hell to see.” Nifty was an unpredictable ball of chaos but damn if she wasn’t amazing at her job.

Charlie tapped deeper into herself. There was no better time to clear the air about this than now. “The hotel was the culmination of 6 years of planning. I wasn’t sure how I wanted things to go. But when I opened up I couldn’t be happier than I had anyone that volunteered.”

“I know you guys are critical and skeptical about the way I handle things. And I hear you. I’m going to make a bunch of changes this time around because I want this place to run smoothly. I can joke and say the first hotel was a test run but it wouldn’t really feel right.”

“The good news though, We’re packed out. All the rooms are pre booked.” Unable to contain her excitement, Charlie was a ball of energy again bouncing back from being a mood killer.

Anthony was taken by surprise, Oh sh*t what was he gonna Tell Cyril and Velvette? Change of plans now scram.

“That's great to hear and all but I need a favor from ya. Cyril and supposedly Velvette are coming to the hotel tonight. Since there aren’t any more rooms if you wouldn’t mind getting them a key to mine so they can have a place to stay.” Charlie to say the least was puzzled.

“Why would that be a problem? The more people I can help the better. But yea I’ll get those for you.” She left it at that.

Anthony only nodded as a sign of thanks, his mind being out of it for a second. There wasn’t a chance that he wasn’t going to power through and lay everything else out on the table.

“Anyway, after the extermination I could tell I was getting under your skin with my antics. A few times I thought you or Vaggie were just gonna throw me out because you thought I was too far gone. The worst of it was with the whole Pentious thing when he first came here.” Anthony looked down thinking about it. He’d only been there a f*cking week and he caused all that damage.

“What Vaggie said I brushed off because well we never got along from day 1. That's changed for the better now but I’ll get there.” He was really worried for Vaggie. The way she shut down earlier told the whole story.

“What really was the blow for me was the fact that not only were you on the same page with all of that, you said and I quote “It’s just nice to see someone interested for once.” I was ready to get to packing if need be honestly. I know I was a pain in the ass at that time and I’m sorry.”

The apology hit Charlie like a truck. He had nothing to apologize for! She messed up if anything!

“Anthony, You don’t need to apologize for anything. If anything I should for saying that. I was extremely stressed out from the extermination being chopped in half to only 6 months. I wasn’t thinking about what I said and I’m sorry. You wouldn’t have come here if you didn’t care.” Charlie didn’t really think about it after she said it but there wasn’t any excuse for that. She couldn’t apologize enough if she tried.

“Charlie I get it. I really do but damn girl did it bite into me. But I bounced back later that night after Val sent me a f*ck ton of messages one of them being “You really think you can change? Addict trash like you doesn’t change. I’ll be seeing you soon baby.” In the moment the first thing I did was prove that right by going for the bottle, But that message wasn’t the cause it was the flood of others that he was blowing the f*ck out of my phone with.”

“Then the whole fiasco with Pentious happened. After all was said and done I got a video call from Velvette and Cyril. The whole idea was Vox’s pet project which the others played along with in the moment. If you’re gonna send someone in then who? When Pentious was brought up Ezio ends up storming out pissed without saying a word. Velvette followed suit but she wasn’t gonna back Vox in that regardless.” Of course she wouldn’t, But Vox didn’t know that.

“I can only imagine how that went. But after that Velvette said she had something to show us. And she pulls out the head of the Exorcist Carmilla killed in the extermination. Now given what I’ve found out after all this Relius had been killing them for 12 years, And either they knew and didn’t acknowledge their dead or Adam was a blind imbecile who needed glasses more than Ezio because it was right f*cking there in plain sight that your squad are being removed from existence.” That elicited a fun chuckle from both of them.

“Either way at the time of that call all we knew was that one was dead and if we could find out how the f*ck it was done they were history. We came up with a full plan to fight back because we weren’t going to let what happened to Mikla slide.” No one would. Hell had long grown tired of being broken by the yearly extermination. With an exorcist headless on the streets there was a possibility the tides have changed.

“Which leads to the meeting. The whole thing was thrown together with like 4 hours notice at best which makes it more impressive to hear who all showed up after the fact.” Which made it all the better when Velvette pulled her shenanigans.

“All of this I got from Zeezi right before extermination day but this meeting was tense as sh*t. Of course Carmila, Zestial Odette and Clara were there but then we had Al, Rosie, Zeezi and one observer. Overlord Observers are people who aren’t technically overlords but have enough pull that they are recognized as people with significant public influence like gang leaders, Or like the right hand guys of overlords who often have a public presence.”

“Anyways so the meeting starts and Carmilla is explaining how apparently 16% of the sinner population was killed in the extermination which is a massively inflated number. There is no way that many died. During that whole speech Velvette kicks open the door, She's on the phone with Vox on the way in which you can imagine the vibe in the room changed off of that. After they got back to talks Velvette turned the whole f*cking thing around. Throws the dead exorcist's head on the table which got a good reaction out of them.”

“After revealing the whole plan that we were gonna take it to them next time around an argument ensued between Velvette and Zestial. Which escalated to her getting into his face and Carmilla losing her cool. Velvette called her out for being the one who killed the angel which she was on the money about and then instead of giving a straight answer she just dismissed the meeting. Boy that sure makes you look good after all that.” Anthony, slightly annoyed at this whole ordeal, scoffed.

“I’m amazed that I didn’t hear anything about it before then especially given not even 48 hours later I’m in the back on my lunch break with Velvette and Cyril getting f*cked up on Silver Ruby and Weed. Cyril and I were having a not so great day at work so honestly it was nice for a change to get to hang with Velvette who didn’t have anything planned.” And if anything it helped boost a damn near nonexistent morale for the two of them.

While Anthony had been barely keeping his head above the flood for a long time, Cyril was starting to lose his composure. And everyone knew it.

“The best part was this one old hellhound who was a part of Velvette’s supply chain decided to post a long article ranting about the current state of Hell. This out of touch dumbass attacked everybody. The whole thing with Vaggie being a fallen angel was brought up but we just considered it nothing more than baseless garbage with how this guy was making an ass out of himself.”

“That started a whole comment chain that was originally joking at this motherf*ckers expense but then turned into everyone dogpiling on Val. I’ll just let you read it.” Anthony scrolled for a while before finding the post Cyril made on the guy handing the phone to Charlie for her to read it.

RealCrimsonRaven1884 (Cyril): Good way to say out of touch without actually saying it jackass. You insist on going back to the long gone era of the streets of Pride in the 40s to the late 70s. You act like the major players from that time wouldn’t f*ck your sh*t up given 3 seconds of occupying the same space as your scrawny ass. Also funny how you claim you don’t give a sh*t about royal affairs and then you go after the princess and her girlfriend. Are you upset that you don’t have a relationship that good? Honestly you have no room to talk about them, Come back when you actually date and or f*ck any demon royalty.

ImpMurderBoss (Blitz): Been there done that. I don’t get why they are the one yapping about the state of things, They have a good job, A stable roof over their head, The whole 9 yards. You don’t have room to talk. Honestly that whole fallen angel situation would be hilarious if it was true. I’d like to see the look on everyone's faces if it is true.

RealAngelDustSHAC (Anthony): Man if it was true it would just add to the crazy crew Charlie has over here. I doubt anyone would really give a sh*t, If they did it would be said in hushed tones.

BanginBossBitch (Velvette): 100%. Gotta commend him for having the stones to come at everyone though. Assuming the fat bastard doesn’t get his head taken off for this I’m gonna have a word with him.

ImpMurderBoss (Blitz): Where are you right now? I thought you guys had work today?

RealAngelDustSHAC (Anthony): In the back getting f*cked up on my lunch break with Cyril and Velvette. (A picture was sent showing the three sipping on Silver Ruby while smoking on a joint for good measure.)

ShallowHeartBigDickMoth (Valentino): Oh so that is what you guys have been up to for the past month whenever I’m out at lunch. Whatever, Just don’t be dicking around in 20 we have sh*t to do.

LightTheFuse (Cherri Bomb): What a f*cking crybaby @ShallowHeartBigDickMoth

ImpMurderBoss (Blitz): Ready for round 2 motherf*cker? @ShallowHeartBigDickMoth

MartivaArmsOfficial (Relius): Sounds f*cktastic, Anthony get the tequila bottle.

CarmineArmsOfficial (Carmilla): Who needs a tequila bottle? I can just get you an Aurora to make his head explode like a f*cking watermelon.

CannibalBossBitch (Rosie): If ya end up getting him, Send his body this way so we can grill him for a good feast.

AbyssalNightmareCloak (Zestial): Doth thou have a deathwish? It is certain thou will perish by my wrath should such a skirmish occur. Consider this the extent of forewarning, Ezio Valentino.

TheSliteringVenom (Sir Pentious): Let me make one thing abundantly clear right off the bat, Every waking moment of your existence has no substance or meaning to it. After the sh*t your little co*ck sleeve Vox pulled all bets are off. I will mark the final moments of your existence with suffering. Each tear or drop of blood you shed will only add to the merciless horrors I will inflict upon your frail withering body. I will personally tear the skin and flesh from your face and force feed it to you. I will make you scream in ways that your vocal cords will never recover from. And when your voice is gone, You will have no way to scream for help as I geld you. You are nothing but the lowest common denominator and will be dealt with accordingly. As for your f*ck buddy? I will slowly carve out his internal organs making every slice of the blade slower and as dragged out to the maximum potential of my abilities. Then I’ll scrap his f*cking TV screen face for spare parts. And pay Velvette to make what remains of your skin and hide into a suit I will parade around Pentagram city in as a warning to those who dare oppose me. For I, Landon Wiles will crush any opposition in my way. Know my birth given name and live with the understanding that you only do because I’m too lazy to bother to pulverize the both of you pathetic excuses of what can barely be called overlords.

Charlie took a moment to process everything. Zestial and Pentious got involved in this? What other surprises was she in for?

“And before you ask, That is how Pentious was when Leon was alive and for many years after. You can tell he was slowly losing his mind because under no circ*mstance would he ever align himself with Vox. Not even just because of what happened to Leon but they are polar opposites in the way they handle business.” Anthony summarized in the least complicated way he could as Charlie hands his phone back.

“I didn’t even know Zestial or Pentious had a phone let alone are on social media.” Charlie finally was able to form a cohesive thought taking in everything at face value.

“The long and short of it is in Hell you gotta roll with the tides. You have Vel who excels in that. If there is something new coming out or trending she is almost guaranteed to be on top of it. Smiles on the other hand is still stuck in ‘33 with his tech and mentality which honestly contributes to a lot of the problems he has.” As much as Anthony and Alastor never got along, They both appreciated the 30s for nostalgic purposes.

Anthony was pissed at what happened the day Charlie went to the studio. But more so that she saw the awful sh*t he had to put up with on the daily. Her terrified and hurt look on the way out said it all.

“I still am pissed off about that f*cking day you came over. Not at you but at that prick. Ezio has no f*cking idea how much of what happened that day was gonna landslide back on him in the coming months.” Charlie was more than a bit intrigued by what he meant. How could what she did that day affect anything else?

“I was f*cking terrified to see you there. I know what you were trying to do and it wasn’t going to work in any capacity. The level of furious he was before all the bullsh*t he said in the dressing room was enough to make Travis jump out of his own f*cking skin.” Charlie was looking to claw through the floor, This was war. And one she would win.

“I heard everything he said. That was just giving me more reason to rip his dick off and force feed it to that motherf*cker.” Charlie was a ball of fire and venom rolled up into one. Not a single person she cared about was going to be put through that.

“Heh, And who is he to stop you? But I felt like everything was collapsing around me the way you rushed out. I was hyperventilating like a motherf*cker in the back afterwards when Velvette came in. The only reason I had any breathing room is because Val got an important phone call so he ran to his room to take it. I later found out it was Zeezi calling about a follow up album because the last one ended up being a smash hit.”

“Anyways seeing Velvette was one of the very few high points of that entire f*cking day. She got a laugh out of me when I desperately needed to focus on anything other than the thoughts in my head. Lets just say that I thought with how upset you were when you ran out that I burned my bridges with you. On top of that I had a long shift ahead of me and wasn’t gonna have anything resembling a break so to speak after this. So she made me look as presentable as possible and filled her in. Then we smoked some weed to ease us at least somewhat before I got back to shoots.” Those shoots weren’t fun at all. But none of them ever were. Especially when you are being thrown into a 16 hour long f*ck fest and come home exhausted.

“Well all night wasn’t actually all night. I just ended up working late with whatever he had prepped. I was done by 11 and back at the hotel by midnight. I just wanted a drink and to unwind from all that sh*t. Instead what happened is I made myself look like an ass and flipped out at Husk again. Honestly Husk was completely in the right all day calling me out on my bullsh*t. I don’t know how anyone put up with that.”

“I stormed out and went to a bar in the 9th district. The district Husk took over. And before you ask, Zeezi is the one who apparently took over after Husk. Anyway these fake ass f*cking shark demons were buying me drinks, One of them spiked my drink and tried acting sneaky and sh*t. I knew, But even if I didn't, Husk had my back. Just casually throws the guy halfway across the room and then we dip out. I ended up breaking down from the tense conversation we had but we figured things out.” A light smile returned to him as he started getting to the good parts of being part of the hotel.

“When we came back my heart broke into a million pieces, You had nothing to apologize for Charlie. What you did that day showed just how much you care. After all that, having that drink with Husk and just unwinding for a bit helped a lot.”

“When I got upstairs to my room though everything set in. I cried myself to sleep that night because I realized just how good I had it. How I was a complete prick and took everything out on those who were doing everything to help me through this. Recovery is a long process and not an easy one for anyone by any means but I’d be lying through my teeth if I told you it has been anything less than the most rewarding thing. I’m finding myself again, And it feels great.” Anthony didn’t want to come off as cheesy or too much with any of this but since he started the words flowed like a roaring tide.

Anthony relaxed again crossing over another massive speed bump in his long life story. But they still weren’t finished yet.

“The next morning Cyril got him back for all that. I saw him on my way out and told him to have Velvette fill him in on everything and when she did he ended up losing it. Smashed Vals coffee mug in his face, So he is getting burned from the piping hot coffee and cut by the glass, And then he kicked the sh*t out of him for it.” The lanky spider demon broke into a fit of laughter at the thought of it. Hearing Ezio scream in pain, Clutching onto his face as Cyril beats the sh*t out of him.

“I’m sorry. The image of him in that scenario is still priceless to me.” Anthony cooled himself down from the coarse breathing and laughter.

Clearing his throat Anthony was nearing the finish line, Just a few more things to clear up and he’d be on his way to achieving even the most outlandish and infeasible of goals.

“And then that bitch Mimzy is a walking disaster. I just remember her spewing this revisionist history bullsh*t that Al pulled out of his ass to try and make himself look invincible.” Alastor was full of himself and everyone knew it. This wasn’t a secret.

“Something about all of these people being overlords or whatever, which is complete bullsh*t and I know even he knows it even if he insists on spreading that lie around.” The truth was those he killed, While still important figures were nothing more than high ranking gang leaders. Ones that weren’t even attempting to contend for an overlord spot but still important enough figures that you’d notice if they went missing.

“After that day things settled down for a good two weeks. Then the day finally came where you were gonna meet with heaven again. I come in f*cking exhausted, Having just worked 16 hours straight. Yea I was just not in a great shape at all. So much so I didn’t even wanna do anything but pass out on the front couch. But we end up going out. Honestly I was so mentally and physically exhausted I couldn’t even enjoy myself. After that whole fiasco with dipsh*t at the club things have only gotten better.” He didn’t even bother name dropping Ezio, Having enough of his bullsh*t.

“We ended up catching a cab to get Cherri home and stop by a few places on the way back when I got a text from Cyril saying Sorry I couldn’t come with you guys tonight. Turns out the whole court case was broadcast to Hell and most people saw it. He sent me the whole thing along with a long wall of text tirade that among other things, Ripped into Adams leadership, Called the entire trial a complete sham, Said this wasn’t going to be the end of the hotel and we’d get up and keep moving which he was right about, Reinforced our plan to fight back and said no matter what he was going to back the hotel.”

“Well that was a fun thing to explain to the rest of the crew, Also the day after all that went down I found out just how bad things had compounded for Val. First off I found out that You, Cherri and Vaggie blew up his limo. One hell of a way to get back at him.” Charlie was pleasantly shocked but kept a straight face. She played a part in what now?

“And then I found out, The place we were at was owned by Zeezi. In fact it was the first place she had opened when she came to power in ‘97. She was always on our side when it came to how that man stepped on us and used us. After the club incident she went and aired out her grievances by holding a live broadcast. And during that whole stream she ended up getting people to boycott Val while also wholly and completely severing any ties they might have had left.” What a blow this was. Profits have tanked by 78% plummeting into the abyss. Plus who wouldn’t listen to Zeezi? She always was straight to the point.

“So downstairs we’re all a f*cking mess to varying degrees because of what happened up there. I’m joking at everyones expense trying to look for any excuse to not lose my cool at what Adam and his gang of misfits were going to pull. Husk was genuinely pissed off and at as low of morale as anyone could possibly be at that point. Who knows what Nifty or Pentious was thinking at that point but it was ridiculously tense.”

“After Al told you whatever you needed to do and you guys went off to cannibal town Vaggie let out that we were fighting back. Husk was still being grumpy and reserved about the whole thing, Nifty went back to her usual and Pentious was being himself. I text Cherri and let her in on our plan, I didn’t before because I knew she’d go loud about it and blow it way out of proportion, More so than that meeting already did.” Cherri didn’t even need to think for even a second. She was on board. For Mikla, For all the motherf*ckers those pieces of sh*t low life genocidal examples of heavens hypocrisy have killed, And for the chaos she’d cause.

“20 minutes later Cyril calls us from the studio. The poor bastard was still stuck at work and hadn’t gotten any sleep save for a 2 hour nap he took in a sleeping bag he brought with him to work.”

“This is where the tides turned in our favor. Nifty went off somewhere most likely to kill bugs or clean rooms, Whatever was needed. So It was just Me, Husk and Pentious in the front room going over plans. Most of it before Cyril called was just Pen and I trying to convince Husk to join in on the fighting. Man wanted to walk away which was hilarious given he was the right hand guy for the toughest son of a bitch I’ve ever known.” Cyril wasn’t just a physical freak that could rip you apart in 2 seconds for daring to cross him, He was a man who’d level with you on anything and everything. Someone who put the people he cared for before him and who wouldn’t call it quits even if defeat was staring him right in the face.

“Well all that changed during that call. Cyril was hyping Pentious up telling him that we’re gonna give this puny invasion force enough to know not to f*ck with us. And then after all that he had a one on one talk with Husk about everything and he was on board with everything.”

“After you guys got back, I had a talk with Odette and Clara to check up on how things were with their business. And let's just say what I heard was extremely concerning. There was a lot of infighting with Carmilla and Zestial, A lot of things being thrown and broken, And a lot of Carmilla crying herself to sleep with a bottle of Silver Ruby in her hand.” Anthony was extremely worried hearing all of that compounding for her.

“All of this happened in the time since that meeting to when Vaggie went over there to train. We were busy prepping everything for the big day, Cyril and Relius went and picked up some gear from Carmilla and Cyril explained everything about the plan. I found out after the Extermination that Relius had been killing exorcists every year for the past 12. But now he was arming all his guys from the other rings after Cyril told him what happened.”

“During that whole month Val locked himself in his room, Travis was the only person to see him until the night before the extermination when he came out to talk things out with Cyril. He was 100% on board with everything, Given what happened to Clover and Mikla it was understandable.” Anthony was winded and mentally exhausted just giving the details he remembered off the top of his head.

“Anyway while they were doing whatever the f*ck over there, Husk and Pentious are here basically pouring their life stories out. Husk wasn’t just Cyril’s right hand guy during World War 2 in Europe he was a f*cking mess. His real name is Royce, Cyril dropped the bombshell on all that. But even when he was alive he had a massive problem with booze and gambling to the point it was a contributing factor to why he went into the military.”

“He joined in ‘37 and got out in ‘67 serving in 3 big f*cking wars, Had a wife and daughter who ended up leaving him because of his alcoholism that he struggled so hard to beat, But he never did because look at the poor bastard.” Anthony hung his head low feeling bad for his friend’s struggles.

“He ended up basically doing a lot of the overlord sh*t he pulled down here while he was alive. Running 4 casinos with an ironfist while running co*ke under the table. Dying in January of ‘76 from mixing sleeping pills and booze that weren’t supposed to be.” f*ck that one got to him. Husk was even more f*cked up than he ever could have imagined. He just saw him as the grumpy reserved bartender Alastor picked up somewhere along the way to add insult to injury.

“Pentious on the other hand finally let loose that he was Leon’s right hand guy, And that he knew me. From Jon and I attempting to kill Vox and later the chaos I caused with Cyril and Ezio. Which explains a lot of why he took it personally.”

“Anyways, This week has been confusing. People mentally unraveling, Saying sh*t they don’t mean, Cracking under the pressure. But now it is starting to finally turn positive!” Which was a change of pace for f*cking once.

“The only other things I really have to bring up are Relius explaining to Cyril about the fact he’d been killing exorcists for 12 years. Someone up there had to know. The Vees will soon cease to exist as an alliance. They had a whole happy celebration dancing around singing at the top of their lungs in the place having a f*ck ton to drink and screaming like goddamn lunatics. Or at least Vox and Val did.”

“Later on when they sober up from the f*ck ton of booze they guzzled down like water Vox ended up catching a ride to the store, Asking Travis to sort some stuff around his office for him. That was his undoing because what he found on his desk was a note that was what he really thought of Ezio. His stuff was thrown out so fast. Why Vox wasn’t killed when he came back or something I have no idea but what I do know is that when Cyril came back to the studio Velvette was the only one there. We don’t know where Ezio or Travis f*cked off to but I know that it is only gonna further f*ck with him when he comes back and all their stuff is gone.” Oh that is going to be amazing!

“When I saw Pentious out there earlier, I cried and broke down because we did it. We got someone out. But also that we aren’t too far gone. This could be us if we keep going.”

“I knew I had to let everything out in the open in order to achieve that and that is where I am with you right now. I talked with your dad earlier and gave him a basic rundown of everything. Then after he left I went down to the gym where I gave Cyril the good news.” His look quickly turned serious. There wasn’t any good way to approach this and it tore him apart. She needed to know!

“Vaggie was also there, Blasting the punching bag with enough power. I'm surprised even gloved up that her hands didn’t break. I could hear it from halfway down the hall through the open gym door. I was on the phone with Cyril the whole walk down there so he heard the chaos as well. Anyway we were joking around for a little bit and I let her know that hey, Carmilla invited us out to lunch Saturday. And she just broke the f*ck down.”

“I don’t know what happened to her in her past as an exorcist, But just seeing the way she shut down there terrified the f*ck out of me. That girl is worse off than I was when I first came to the hotel even. The only person I’ve seen this shattered is Blitz and honestly even with him there is still that sliver of hope trying to push him forward.” Anthony started lightly crying, feeling awful for the fallen angel.

“Just, Do me one favor and talk with her. Vaggie loves you to no end and it isn’t hard to see why. You are just a fantastic person Charlie. Seeing you two together makes me happy because honestly it was rare when I was alive to see a relationship be that positive. And I see it in a lot of ways with you two.”

Charlie wasn’t surprised at the news Vaggie was in this much turmoil, No she was f*cking terrified. Especially with how bad it had gotten for her.

“I-I’ll talk with her later tonight. Thank you Anthony. For everything.” Charlie squeezed onto the rejuvenated spider demon, Flaming with a laundry list of emotions as she held onto him. It was nice knowing that at least Anthony was doing good for himself.

At 5:00 things were starting to get lively. Everyone was telling jokes and stories, kicking back and having a deep meaningful group bonding session.

Not even 20 feet outside the front door, Cyril and Velvette were about to make their presence known. And that would usher in the new era for not just the Hazbin Hotel but for the entirety of Hell. As with their arrival the Vees would be no more. The empire they once held will collapse into an even faster freefall than it already was with Valentino losing the public support he once enjoyed in droves.

They loaded up as many bags as they could. Taking everything important because this was a one way trip. Ezio was gonna come back to his studio in a f*cked up state and a stack of notes that among other things will have a copy of Velvette distancing herself from the Vees and everything she really thinks of the washed up piece of trash chewed up and incinerated by a river of acid and magma that was Ezio Valentino.

*Knock knock*

And so it was about to begin as Velvette climbed the steps closely behind Cyril. Calmly hauling all their gear up behind them as the door opened. Greeted by the princess’ warm smile, They were welcomed with open arms and they hadn’t even talked yet.

“Welcome in Velvette, Cyril. I got your room keys already. Let me help with your stuff.” Charlie grabbed 4 bags and helped them in.

The atmosphere in the hotel resonated peace from the distinct and strong scent of pine in the lobby. Whatever air freshener Charlie used it was better than the overwhelming smell of Weed, Sex and Blood at the studio. A nice pallet cleanser for sure.

Anthony and Cherri bolted over to them wasting not even a miniscule fraction of a second helping Velvette with her stuff.

“Welcome in guys, You’ll be rooming with me. Because we are packed! When we open Sunday we are gonna be filled up.” Which felt amazing to say because now business was picking up and Charlie was making a big play which he was going to back her for with everything he had.

Cyril dropped 6 bags on the couch nearest to the front door. In those bags were his audio equipment and even better, Vals entire cabinet of Silver Ruby. The hotel was gonna have a supply of the good stuff.

“Those 6 bags are gonna stay down here for the moment, Everything else you can take upstairs. I’m gonna stay down here and hang out for a bit.” Cyril was in a positive mood and wanted to take the time to greet everyone before he kicked back for a bit.

Anthony, Cherri and Velvette went upstairs with Charlie handing Cyril and Velvette their room key beforehand.

Cyril found Vaggie isolated in the corner with her head down staring at the floor like it was the most alluring stage performance she’d ever seen. But there was nothing. She was too lost in thought and daydreaming not hearing The Crimson Raven calling out to her. Tapping the former exorcist's shoulder snapped her out of whatever was fogging the world around her disgraced frame.

“Hey, You good young blood?” Cyril stood by her side to make sure if anything was wrong he’d be there to help however possible.

Vaggie just softly and subtly smiled at the comment, bouncing back and shaking Cyril’s hand out of respect for the immovable wall of a man that stood before her. If anyone has seen some sh*t in their day it was Cyril.

“Yea, I’ll be alright. Just have a lot to think about right now. But if the tides haven’t turned in the hotel's favor already they have now.” Vaggie wasn’t hiding just how in pieces she was very well but to avoid sending her deeper into that black hole Cyril didn’t mention it.

The turning of tides was an understatement. It would be more accurate to say the hotel diverted a river because they were opening the floodgates and they were about to do something revolutionary come Sunday.

“Well good on ya soldier, Good to see ya again. As Anthony put it when he first came to the hotel, "We're moving up in the world bitches.” Cyril got a dry chuckle from the exorcist as he waved before walking off.

Pentious was alarmed when he saw Cyril fast approaching, Bracing himself for an attack he put his hands up to shield himself but was shocked to find the raven's arms tied around him in a welcoming brotherly embrace.

“It's so good to see you aren’t gone for good. Relius and I saw your ship get f*cking vaporized. But it all worked out in the end.” Pentious was caught off guard by how openly respectful he was. All the times they clashed in the 4th district and he wasn’t trying to rip him apart? Was this some kind of joke? Was this real?

“I’m still getting adjusted to all this. But it worked out in the end for the most part.” Was all he could muster still trying to process this reality.

Emily shook his hand not saying anything with the seraphims mind being overwhelmed with joy at more people coming to the hotel.

“I’m glad someone in Heaven listened to us. You and the princess are basically the same person in a lot of ways. Glad to have you here helping out with things.” He left it at that, not wanting her mind or heart to explode from all the excitement.

Lucifer waved at Cyril on his way out. The king was on edge from the nonsensical business he had to take care of. The slam of the front door reverberated through the hotel and lead to a stunned silence for a solid 20 seconds as they tried to interpret what the f*ck just happened.

Walking over to where he set his bags earlier, Grabbing the 4 bags that contained all the Silver Ruby one could possibly need. 68 fresh bottles of the stuff. There were 2 opened ones that he dumped on the p*rn set on the way out, Completely trashing it. A mess Ezio was gonna notice when he gets back and will 100 percent go apesh*t over.

Now it was time. It had been far too long since he’d been in the same room with him. Almost 80 f*cking years. Putting the bags of booze down he stopped cleaning his glass long enough to realize who was at the bar.

They locked eyes for a brief moment before the familiar warm grin rushed across his face. It conveyed a very basic message. Welcome home.

“It feels so out of place seeing you here.” The obvious joke got a gruff chuckle from Royce who felt like he’d seen a ghost.

“Well you have Alastor to thank for that. But it's a better gig than the sh*t he was having me do before.” Just the mere thought of the radio demon tangling him up in the massive web of lies and deceit to try and make himself feel more powerful was laughable at best.

Pulling out a bottle of Silver Ruby it was due time they celebrated together with a shot.

“Took Vals entire liquor cabinet on the way out.as one last f*ck you. Figured I’d get us started with a shot because we got a lot of catching up to do.” Throwing one back they each were a little more relaxed.

“I’m honestly somewhat surprised you were the one that took over the 9th district. But that was one hell of a power grab.” Starting off with the elephant in the room Cyril took aim at Royce’s rise to power.

“I had 4 of my guys who knew what they were doing more than I did come to me and tell me why this was the best idea if we wanted to vie for any amount of power. And it paid off massively.” Cyril just let that speak for itself.

“I owe it to Gael, My right hand guy for sticking it out. He was with me the day Al got my soul. I can’t believe it’s been almost 20 f*cking years.” Royce cringed at that fact before pouring another shot for himself to forget about that asshole.

“It’s been 43 for us, It doesn’t get better.” That got a cathartic smile from the cat demon. At least he wasn’t alone in being chained down.

But he had to go ahead and ask anyway. “How the f*ck did you end up working with Valentino? But what I wanna know even more is how’d you end up down here to begin with?” Both incredibly loaded questions but nothing outlandish to what people have asked him in public.

Clearing his throat Cyril was prepared to go on autopilot. “Well let’s start with the second one as everything else will be accounted for. After the war ended in Europe they discharged me and sent me on the first ship back stateside. Ended up in New York City for a few months where I ended up meeting Anthony. He was at the same bar I ended up in paying for all the soldiers' drinks when they came home. Over the next couple of months we ended up growing close. He is no different to you or I. Given the short end of the stick more than a few times but saying f*ck the world and pulling no punches. He was gonna fight for who he wanted to be and not letting his mob ties and his own limitations put him down.” Something the stubborn spider still demonstrated to this day. Nothing was going to keep him down unless it killed him.

“He’d just come off a year where his sis, Molly got shot down by this Peruvian gang who’d been working with them where he barely escaped with his older brother Jon. Well there is a lot more to those motherf*ckers but it really doesn’t matter much from my side of things.” But it did in the grand scheme of things as they were responsible for killing Carmilla, Odette, Clara, Jon, Clover and Ezio as well. All of them fell by their hand within a 51 year time span.

“Anyway I left New York to head to LA to be with my brother who was dying a slow and agonizing death to liver cancer. The next time I heard anything of Anthony was the national news article the day he died. Which was around the same time I started ping ponging around for a while. In ‘52 I started working as a producer in the Nashville music scene. Started playing bass around that time too. Had a good 9 year career doing all that and then moved back to New Orleans working at an animal shelter up until December of ‘73.” The raven started to go into his full demon form before abruptly stopping himself.

“What I saw that day would make anyone with any decency lose their sh*t. I walk into work 20 minutes early and I see the two jackass college kids they recently brought on killing some of the cats and guinea pigs. I took the knife one of the pieces of subhuman f*cking garbage was using for their twisted form of entertainment and I made them regret their existence. Their deaths were still satisfying.”

“I spent the rest of December and January awaiting trial and then on February 4th I got put on trial, Straight up just told the Judge to give me the death penalty and save us all the headache. I know what I did and I’m not sorry, And if I’m going out anyway I might as well be shot.” And he got his wish, no one in that courtroom dared question Cyril’s request.

“2 days after my 90th birthday I got my wish so they made quick work of me. I wake up in hell and I’m literally The Crimson Raven. It wasn't just a nickname anymore. I made quick work of the streets, Started mugging and offing motherf*ckers for any change I could. Got an angelic boot knife similar to the one Anthony often used to slowly skin a bastard alive. Later on that month I got off my feet because I ended up killing this guy who worked for Vitali, A high ranking gang leader who in less than a year's time would end up dead.”

“Got a Widowmaker and a BTR70, 2 bags of cash and 2 of ammo. Used the money to rent a fairly nice apartment. I love how the only requirements in that district to get a place is just to pay a security deposit, First months rent and a contract where you agree to monthly inspections to make sure you aren’t f*cking sh*t up.” It still was like that in the area he lived. Cyril still found it hard to wrap his head around the fact that this all started with 2 bags of cash and 2 of Carmilla's most popular model guns.

“Went out clubbing to just see what the night life around pride was like. Walk into The Lion's Den. Nice place, You can get anything there for cheap and the service was solid. The main bartender there was my soon to be wife Mikla. She was a f*cking awesome woman and we got the exorcists back for taking her from us 3 years ago. Ask Anthony, Cherri or Velvette about that if you wanna know about that f*cking disaster.” Cyril took another shot of Silver Ruby so he could calm his nerves before moving on.

“We hit it off though and started dating early on in April and I got a job working as a dishwasher there which was just something to do honestly. I had more than enough money to sustain myself for several years if I played my cards right but I just wanted to have that assurance, Plus it was giving back. We got married in October and she moved in with me not much to say there.” A small grin crept onto Cyrils face. Things were about to get spicy.

“The end of November a week after the extermination I go in on my day off to get a couple drinks and unwind. Val was there just having a good time, By the end of it he had us cracking up. Flash forward to December 28th and I start working with him. First job was slowly torturing this guy who was trying to see him out to some powerful people. Simple enough, But that is where I linked back up with Anthony. And so it begins.”

“We quickly disposed of that traitor and things were moving up. New year's eve came and that was a fun day. Anthony's piece of sh*t dad died and was looking for him and Jon. Let’s just say the things we did to that man would make anyone who didn’t know better uncomfortable. But it was open season on that f*cker.” Cyril would never forget the stories of Greg Chetoli. That asshat got what he deserved.

“Moving from strength to strength 1975 started out f*cking amazing. We met up with Carmilla and Zestial which was the start of Val and I having connections with them. Anthony had been working with them since the 50s but that is a story best left for him. They called us there because one of Vitali’s men backstabbed him and gave us detailed info on where his base was and plans to kill Anthony and Zestial that almost went through.”

“So we did what we do best and dropped em all. The celebration afterward was one of the best things about it. We just got rid of a 13 year headache for her just like that. Val and Carmilla became close enough at that time that he was an official reseller for her gear which is an accolade only one other person has and they’re dead now soooo yea.” Relius’ death was still fresh in everyone's mind so Cyril preferred to move on and not talk about the toughest hellhound there ever was.

“So ‘76 we moved again from strength to strength, Starting off the year good till you swooped in. But knowing that now, Really ain’t a bad thing at all. By the end of the year we ended up starting the p*rn and music businesses and Val bought The Lions Den before it went under. That’s about all I can think of to mention before the big one. January 14, 1981 was the day we sold our souls to Val. Something that came out of nowhere, I won’t go into detail on what's in the contract but I’ll say if you knew the circ*mstances we were put in you’d have played along with it too.”

Royce was about to lose his mind. No the f*ck he would not!

“What a load of horse sh*t and you know it! You think I’d have just laid down and took it with Al? That outdated motherf*cker who's perpetually stuck in 1933? Yea no I don’t think so!” Speak his name and he appears. Alastor had a bone to pick with Royce for that one.

Pulling him to the floor with his acid green chain Alastor sought to teach him a lesson. Cyril got in his face catching The Radio Demon off guard. But Cyril didn’t budge, All bets were off.

“Do you mind?” That was the worst choice of words. Yes he did mind, And if he tried anything it was open season on that motherf*cker!

Cyril was staring through him ready to cut him down without a second thought. “Oh I do mind. If you keep going down this path we’re gonna have a problem.” He gave Alastor a warning to back off. Which was generous because there was more than enough reason to unload on him. But the elder raven didn’t come looking for a fight.

In a bid to attempt to assert control over the both of them Alastor distorted the world around them. “I wouldn’t try anything if I were you, I will break every single bone in your body before you even know what hit you.” Royce was chilled by the freakshow but this was all Cyril needed to put the biggest joke given overlord status in his place, the shallow threat not deterring him in any capacity.

A solid kick to the ribs solved that problem, sending Alastor to the floor with an audible crunch. Stomping on his right arm the bones shattered in a sickening fashion. His scream really said it all. That he was all bark without a single shred of backbone to fight back.

“Doesn’t feel too good when it happens to you, Huh motherf*cker?” Coughing up blood from the blow to the ribs the old time radio host whimpered, Holding back tears as he lay powerless on the ground.

Utilizing his knee to put pressure on the fragmented fracture Alastor’s vocal cords began to rip themselves apart from the 2 minutes of unfiltered screaming. His eyes watered as the unbearable pain coursed through his entire body.

“Crying like a bitch now? You were talking all that good sh*t a second ago, But when you were tested on it you crumple up like a used tissue. Pathetic!” 3 well placed knees to the side of his head rocked him.

Pulling out the Nightbringer, The famous angelic katana he’d used to eradicate Vitali’s men like they were mere insects crushed under his boot. Holding the blade to Alastors neck he wanted to make a point.

“I want to make it very f*cking clear that I am not gonna put up with your sh*t. I’m not going to put up with you spewing your whole revisionist history. And I’m especially not going to stand for you tormenting one of the closest friends I had when I was alive. I was gonna play it cool with you but now you pissed me off and that isn’t something you want.” There was no yelling, Cyril could always get through to you with an ice cold yet fervently aggressive tone that made everyone second guess their life choices. Alastor wasn’t an exception to this either, Visibly shaking as the sharp edge of the blade was pressed right up against the vital structures in his neck.

“Now with that out of the way, If you EVER pull a stunt like this again I’ll mount your head on our wall and wear your guts as a necklace. Got me?” For how over the top that threat was Cyril would follow through on it if pushed.

Swallowing the last bit of his pride, Alastor trembled on the ground. “Yes.” Cyril saw that as good enough and let him up.

“Now scram till tomorrow night I don’t need ya ruining the day anymore than ya already did.” Limping his way out the door in a humiliating display Alastor could barely walk without feeling like he had an anvil dropped onto his chest but was determined to make it far away from the hotel for the time being.

Cherri, Velvette and Anthony came down the stairs as the door slammed behind the disgraced overlord unaware of the savagery that had just taken place.

“We’re back, Did we miss anything?” Velvette further added to the ignorance.

Cyril’s sword told the whole story. Someone regretted their life choices.

“Just Alastor picking a fight he wasn’t going to win” Sheathing the Nightbringer that was that.

Grabbing the other 2 bags it was due time he set up his recording equipment so that the hotel residents could let their musical dreams come true.

8:00 came and the crew (Minus Alastor and Lucifer) were getting lively, kicking back and intermingling. Hopping up on the nearest table Cyril got everyone's eye on him.

Raising his shot glass there was a lot of comradery surrounding each and every member of the hotel.

“This one goes out to the princess, Everyone who fought against the exorcists or who helped supply the fight, And to the new era we have ushered in. An era in which Hell is not the end of the story, Where the damned and the broken have a chance to repent and get out of the miserable situation that we all have found ourselves locked in.” Everyone erupted with a Cheers In sync, their collective voices surging with an overtone of hope.

Sitting at the bar with his back against the counter Anthony grinned ear to ear. It was nice to see him this happy for once. “You know, This is the happiest I’ve seen him in like 10 years. The battle on Sunday was a way for him to let his pain out from what happened to Mikla.” Avenging her was a massive incentive to keep going. Cyril didn’t have much that he loved, But Mikla was at the top of that list. She was everything to him.

“Yea, What the hell happened with that?” Royce’s curiosity for details wasn’t waning, He did say to ask after all.

There wasn’t any good way to start this conversation. Anthony was just gonna have to go for it.

“So it’s the week before what would been Halloween 2021, Mikla messages our group chat that we should all just take a day to hang out because we haven’t as a group in a while. It had been like 7 years since we had hung out as a full group, And we never will again with how things ended up. Cherri offered to host it at her place and we went with it.” The location had been set but then when was still yet to be determined.

“A lot of back and forth on when we were gonna do this. We decided on November 3rd. Everyone in the group was on board save for Blitz and Relius. Zestial called Blitz in that day to discuss business which isn’t like him but it was just when he happened to be free to get him in. Relius on the other hand had a funeral to go to. His younger brother Marty took his own head off with a shotgun back in September and they didn’t find his body for over a month.” Anthony had only ever met Marty in passing maybe once or twice. But that wasn’t the news he was expecting to hear that day.

“2 weeks go by and the day arrives. The only thing I’ll say is the partying and hanging out cushioned the blow a lot. We were drinking Silver Ruby and smoking weed, Playing video games and watching a lot of old videos of us f*cking sh*t up on the big screen, Velvette was looking at her phone because her most recent line she dropped was basically printing money.” It was just a nice group bonding day until disaster struck.

Anthony clenched his left hand into a tight fist, disintegrating the shot glass and cutting his hand with the remnants. It both depressed him and pissed him off that Mikla was gone. But the reality that it could have been him, or Velvette, Cherri or Cyril that vanished, their soul becoming nothingness was something that kept him up at night.

“Velvette was gonna make dinner, Her cooking is amazing by the way. She’s gonna be cooking tomorrow's breakfast which I’m excited for. Anyway she needed some spices and eggs. Mikla went to the store to get them. On her way back the extermination deadline was bumped ahead 2 weeks. Velvette was freaking the f*ck out because she didn’t know if Mikla was going to make it back. She still feels guilty about the whole thing. Cherri was uncharacteristically quiet during the whole thing but we all know she was just as worried as we were.” But even deeper than that Cherri came clean of just how terrified she was before the fight against the exorcists.

“Cyril was a f*cking mess even before we found her body. This was what broke him. Not his time serving in the trenches or storming the beaches, Not the deaths of several people he was close with when we were alive, Not selling his soul to Ezio, Not the years of abuse he has put himself through both on Earth and in Hell. But when he lost the person that he loved the most and who by his own admission played a massive role in helping him come to terms about a lot of things he could never find closure in.”

“Just the sight of him breaking down holding her lifeless body f*cking haunts me to no end.” But the battle didn’t end until these f*ckers were taken out of the sky.

Royce didn’t say anything, the winged cat just poured another shot for the two of them getting away from the downer topic. “Cheers, Anthony.” His infectious smile said it all. The new era has just begun.

“Redemption ain’t gonna be anytime soon for us but I’m strapped in for the ride. We have nothing but time.” There wasn’t much he could add as the party dragged on.

*Riing*

The front desk phone went off for a single ring before whoever was on the other end hung up.

*Riiiing*

No! It couldn’t be?

*Riiiiiiiiing*

After the third one it was obvious he was bombarding them. Very antagonistic, Ezio knew he was getting under their skin.

Running to the front in demon form, Charlie knew what the deal was. And she was NOT having any of that sh*t. Picking up the phone and flipping it to speaker the gloves were off.

“You f*cking blueblooded c*nt! I am going to rip each and every one of you to pieces! Starting with that exorcist f*ckdoll of yours. And then I’ll slowly destroy everything you love while you are helpless and can only watch.” It wasn’t as detailed a threat as she was ready for but it was also nothing more than empty yapping.

Charlie’s dark cackling sent the whole room into shock, This was the fight Valentino picked for himself. And one she was going to put an end to.

“I find it f*cking comical that you are flapping your gums, Yapping about your fantasy world of how you’ll rip us apart. But I can sense the fear from the hotel. You attacking people that are under my protection regardless of whether or not you own his soul is a problem. One that only has two solutions, Peace or war. It’s clear what option you chose and you’ve already lost. I have your balls in a vice grip and the more I succeed the tighter the grip gets. Your end is near. You will soon know why I’m not to be trifled with.” If ever there was a true“mic drop” moment this was the one. Charlie walked off leaving the call to the others so they could chew him out.

Velvette was the first up to bat. And everyone knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. Being Valentino’s business partner and a part of the second official overlord alliance the dirt she could pull on him was damn near limitless.

“Well hello there Ezio. The princess wasn’t joking when she said that your balls were in a vice grip. Fitting because you and I both know that without me on your side there isn’t anything stopping the hundreds of people you’ve wronged from getting a piece of you.” The former head of Hell’s fashion industry spoke her mind in any other circ*mstance, Why stop now?

“Remember the sh*tty business moves you brought me in for that turned out to be a complete waste of time and resources. The love potion that you so insisted I make despite me being uncomfortable with it. And then bitching at me when restocking on it wasn’t my number 1 priority. All of the people I had to work with to even get the supplies needed were unreliable. The whole lot of them were nothing more than a f*cking joke. So it really shouldn’t be a shock to you that I completely buried you on live TV at what just might be the most historic live conference any overlord has ever hosted.” She was underplaying it a lot. But it got the point across.

“And on top of all that, The way you treated Anthony and Cyril. That is unforgivable. They are the only reason I stayed. They needed someone in their corner since you decided to disregard their loyalty and trust, Taking advantage of them just for breathing from what I saw. Those two made you into what you became.” Velvette struck with the biggest points and left it there. She got her closure. And that was all that mattered in her eyes.

Cyril was next to start ripping into Ezio, Who was incoherently rambling on about how he’d kill all of them, Facef*ck the princess in front of all of them while they are helpless to stop it among other things that his words were too jumbled up to make sense of.

“Ezio, Just stop with this desperate machismo bullsh*t. You’re starting to sound like Alastor with all those empty threats. At least you don’t cry a river when you get what’s coming to you.” All eyes were on Cyril after that. If this back and forth wasn’t juicy enough that made it boil over.

A glass could audibly be heard smashing into a wall on the other end. If that got under his skin Val hadn’t seen anything yet. There was more where that came from!

“You are nothing more than free labor to me you old fool, f*ck you.” Just more of the moth making an ass out of himself. How the mighty have fallen.

Discounting Cyril’s many successes was adorable and was more evidence of the supermassive black hole eating away at his brain like a 5 course meal. “Free labor? Yet you paid me a percentage of sales on every album I ever produced. 25% in fact.” Using the truth against him felt great and it was like adding gallons of gasoline to a raging forest fire. He was itching to burn down everything in his path and Cyril knew it.

“Also, Old fool? That is the best ya got? Old sure but I can assure you I’d have died many moons before I actually did if I truly was foolish to any degree. Let's face the facts head on here, You’ve become the very thing you feared. You had control until January 14, 1981. All your insecurities and worst case scenarios won that day. And it has only been a slippery slope down since. All of that culminated in what happened at Consent. Zeezi called me an hour before her whole speech because she was worried about me. I actively backed her when she did. You’ve pushed everyone to their limits and then some and are starting to face the consequences for it.”

“I’ll be honest, Seeing your genuine self underneath all the bullsh*t on Saturday was nice for once. But it wasn’t going to save you from anything that was going to happen in the next few days. Cherish every minute you have left, Soon you will be another statistic.” Cyril left it at that.

Royce took over, Having more than a few bones to pick with Valentino just like everyone else. But there was one in particular he could hold over his head.

“I’m just gonna cut the bullsh*t, You know who I am. I’m the one who took the district from you. I was Cyril’s right hand man and now I’m more than prepared to rip you a new one if you wanna try and attack the hotel. Are we clear?” Clearing his throat with a hoarse cough when he didn’t get an answer right away.

“I find it hilarious you’re the one trying to claim the upper hand here. But yea, Loud and clear.” That was all Royce needed to hear from the moth who you could tell was losing his will and composure with each person attacking him. The last bits of fight being sapped from his body word by word.

Cherri wanted to rub it in his f*cking face. When she put 2 and 2 together that she’d unintentionally blown his limo to hell with the help of the princess and Vaggie it was such a feel good moment.

“Hey, what's up you walking cum rag? Didya like what I did to your limo? You’re lucky that we didn’t jump and beat the f*ck out of you for what you pulled. But that ass whooping wouldn't have been as impactful as what Zeezi did.”

More destruction could be heard as Ezio’s blood boiled at the admission that it was Cherri who’d destroyed Clover’s limo.

“You f*cking lowlife, second class whor*! I’ll f*cking destroy you! You’ll regret every choice you have ever f*cking made!” She’d heard this all before and laughed it off like just another Tuesday for her.

“Anytime you want to get wiped off the map, Come find me and I’ll grant that death wish for you.” The cyclops kept it simple before walking off.

Pentious saw red, This son of a bitch was going to get a piece of his mind! If he wasn’t an angel now he’d even go down there and take the moth down himself.

“I find it funny you’re running your mouth, Especially when you have no support. Which is just plain suicidal. What the f*ck did you think was going to happen when you decided to come after the princess and her crew? You are nothing more than a washed up piece of history that should have been eradicated decades ago.” It had happened. And who better to make it out than Leon's right hand?

Valentino felt the last bit of fight evaporate from his broken down body, suffering from decades of being poorly taken care of. “So it happened? I see. Only fitting that you of all people would be the first to get out of this sh*thole. Maverick says hi by the way.” Ezio cracked open a can of worms that was going to be even bigger talk than this whole call.

Anthony and Cyril were baffled. You could hear them scream “WHAT THE f*ck?” in the background. There was something more to this and they would find it out in due time.

Vaggie didn’t bother commenting. Whatever she wanted to say wasn't anything that hadn’t been said already. Instead helping herself to the corner with Emily and Nifty who were staying out of it.

For a certain pink spider on the other hand the gloves were off and the room felt like it had been filled to excess with liquid nitrogen. Walking with authority he knew what needed to be done.

“Ezio.” Anthony’s voice fell like a hailstorm of half ton glaciers as he unleashed 43 years of hatred in the way he addressed the man he once considered a brother. Gee how that lasted.

“Anthony.” Ezio was defeated and tired and it showed. Pentious snuffed the last bit of the monster he became and by and large realized the error of his ways.

“This last month gave you what was decades coming, The only thing missing is your head being paraded around the pentagram.” That got an unexpected chuckle out of Ezio.

“If they did it would honestly be almost 48 years late. September, 3rd 1976 was the day I truly died. Vox really ruined everything we worked for. And I fell for the bait hook, line and sinker. I have no doubt all of the sh*t after would have never happened if I never entertained any of the offers he gave me. I’ve been looking back at the picture we took in January of ‘76 and wondering what could have been. If nothing else I owe every single one of you an apology for all of the awful inhumane sh*t I ever put you through, And another one for wasting your time. There is a new era in Hell, One that is no doubt going to become bloody if all I’ve seen and heard over the past 5 years is true. And you’ll be the soldiers on the frontline in whatever form it takes place. I hope all of you have a good night.” He hung up at the end of that long rant, leaving more questions than answers.

Anthony and Pentious were dead silent. They had a hard time processing just what the f*ck that was about.

“What just happened? Who did he mean by Maverick? I have so many questions after that I don’t know where to start.” Charlie said what everyone had been thinking but had been either too afraid or unsure where to start.

“I don’t know what the f*ck happened there honestly. And Maverick was one of Clover's hardliners. He was a major player in the early years with Val too. He was a jack of all trades. Among other things he was our limo driver, Our chemist, Our explosives and pyro guy, Our armorer and he was also the guy who’d drag our enemies in kicking and screaming when someone needed to get taken off the map. Point is I’m wondering why he brought him up with Pentious unless there is something I’m missing.” All eyes were on Pentious at this point as they were looking for an answer.

More than a little uncomfortable, Pentious' body language made it clear he’d rather be anywhere else. But he conceded because he had nothing to hide at this point. And there wasn’t any reason he shouldn’t let them know anyway.

“To keep a long story as simple as I can, Maverick is my son. And the reason I never mentioned anything about him has to do with 2 things. His mother ended up cheating on me with 4 of our closest friends in the first 5 years of his life. And then when she tried to break it off they poisoned her slowly over the course of a few months or so I later found out. When she died they stood by my side. I didn’t suspect anything, These guys were like extended family to us and they always had our back. Maverick ended up living with my sister because after what happened I was in the red. The circ*mstances just kept trampling on me and by the end of 1873 I turned to crime. For 15 years I ruled my empire with an iron fist, Those 4 being my right hands. One day I had one of them come to me and admit everything. That was the last thing I ever saw. As shortly after our complex blew up.” September 17th 1888 was a day for the history books. When his complex exploded it created a massive power vacuum in the underground which didn’t resolve itself for close to 50 years.

“I didn’t hear anything about a single one of them for years. Then one day Leon pulled me in and all 5 of them were chained up in a severely beaten state that leaves little for the imagination. I shot each one of them with a prototype of what later became the Widowmaker. 3 months to the day Maverick became one of us. He worked with Leon in all the background roles and stayed isolated. Hell the rest of the alliance didn’t know of him at the time. We were on good terms or so I thought until Leon died. We ended up getting into a big blowout argument and a lot of things were said that I don’t wanna think about. But safe to say, I haven’t seen him again since.” Ending his long winded explanation, Everyone was staring at him in surprise. This was a turn no one was expecting.

“I’m just confused as to how Ezio found out. But let’s not dwell on this anymore and let’s have some more fun!” Anthony raised a glass, Toasting to good vibes for the rest of the night.

It was now 10:30 and the party had come to an end about 10 minutes prior. Everyone was getting tired from a long day and went to their rooms.

Vaggie slipped out early, Stressed to no end the angel found herself at the balcony. Clawing at her face she just wanted to give up but was marching on. So much of that she owed to Charlie.

“Hey, How’re you holding up?” It was almost like when she thought of the princess she materialized right beside her. But Charlie wasn’t her normal self. Everything about her screamed extreme concern.

But Vaggie struggled to even bring herself to look in her direction. How could she? Letting the inner thoughts in her head win she began to shut down again. Her entire body was shaking like it had been dumped in a frozen lake for 24 hours. Except she wasn’t cold, This was fear, stress, depression and all the chaos swarming in to grab hold of her.

“I’m not even slightly close to ok babe.and I haven’t been for years. I’ve been eating myself alive ever since that day in court. It isn’t just that I was an exorcist and killed your people without a second thought. I was one step removed from those 2. I was by the end anyway. I can’t help but feel guilty about it even now.” Her voice was devoid of any signs of life and incredibly reserved.

Charlie wasn’t going to let the fires of regret take anything more from the woman she fell for. The one who always stood by her side no matter what. And it was mutual, Even if through all the clouding in her mind she didn’t see that Charlie was going to do everything in her power to reassure her.

“Anyone in your shoes would be feeling awful about it. But that is all in the past now. Sure I was mad in the moment but it was about the fact you kept this from me all these years. But look at it this way babe, You went from being an integral part of the problem to an integral part of the solution. We made a promise to always be there for one another and I’m not going to leave your side. It makes sense that you’re an angel, It isn’t just a figurative thing anymore. You’re my angel, Vaggie. No matter how broken down you feel I’m still gonna be by your side.” Vaggie shined a slight grin, She was right.

Jumping into her arms and almost making Charlie fall over she proved even more why she was the hope that would warm her cold, broken heart. “I love you so much Charlie. This week so far hasn’t been easy, Loads of what the f*ck moments and a chaotic unorganized mess overall. Let’s head to bed, I have a lot I want to talk about with you but I need a good night of sleep before any of that to get my head straight.” This time it was Charlie carrying Vaggie to bed, Not the other way around as had been the case months earlier.

Meanwhile, at the same time in room 506 Cherri was waiting to see if a certain redeemed Victorian snake would join her.

She had invited him in so that they’d be alone and be able to talk things out.

*Knock* *Knock* Knock*

That had to be him. Right?

“Cherri? You said you needed to see me?” It was him! The fun was just getting started.

“Yea I did, You can come on in.” And with that he entered, His face all red and being a complete nervous wreck.

His eyes darted around the room taking in what she’d done with the place. From the paintings and pictures on the wall, To the scent of the Sakura Blossom incense that was filling the room with its pleasant aroma.

“Looks like you’ve made yourself at home.” He jokes trying to divert from the awkwardness. Pentious had always been socially awkward to an extreme degree, Even when among close friends he had really bad anxiety. The two exceptions to this were Leon and Maverick. But that was a very different time in hell.

Inviting him to sit on the bed next to her, Pentious’ heart was racing as he wondered what was going on.

“Chillax mate, I can hear and sense your anxiety. It’s just the two of us.” Cherri made sure he cooled down before they talked about the matters at hand.

Taking that minute to “Chillax” They both got their heads in the game. “Sorry, I’ve always had really bad anxiety. I’m sure you understand.” She more than understood it, Having personally gone through more than a few panic attacks herself especially in the early years of her time in hell.

“It’s fine, I’m just glad to have you back. You really hurt us with what you did, Even if it was for the purest and most genuine of reasons.” Cherri clutched onto him tightly, Letting him know this was real.

“You could have just leveled with me that you liked me, I wouldn't have bitten your head off for it, even if I said no.” She wouldn't have rejected him. She would have at least given Pentious a chance even if the relationship didn't last.

Pentious’ eyes widened, This was really happening! Pulling her in for a kiss Cherri quickly leaned into it. Neither of them wanted to pull away. But eventually Pentious did.

“I want us to be a thing. Even if it doesn’t last. But I have more than a feeling it will.” She winked at him causing him to blush a deep gold signifying his angelic blood that now coursed his body.

Putting a hand on Pentious’ shoulder she felt there was no better a time than now to do this.

“I want you, To stay the night and f*ck me silly. Tomorrow we’ll be taking everyone by surprise with how quickly things are evolving between us.” They knew Pentious had been crushing on Cherri but imagine the look on their faces when they find out they actually went through with it and became an item.

Pentious simply nodded his heart racing again. His two co*cks bulged in the angelic robe bottom that he had gotten when he ascended.

Gracefully sliding down to her knees Cherri was ready to give Pentious the best night he could ever imagine. A sultry grin formed on her face as she pulled the robe and boxers off in one clean motion.

He did in fact have 2 dicks. Grazing her tongue across the two shafts got an audible gasp-moan from him. It sent a shiver through his body that he hadn’t felt in over a century.

Teasing his dual members by running her tongue along the full length was squeezing every moment of ecstasy from the snake as he was already a moaning mess.

“Let’s see how you like this.” Cherri winked, Taking both of his meat cannons down her throat in one swift, relaxed movement his hips bucked sending his ji*zz shotguns further down her throat, causing the cyclops to gag.

“O-o-o-oh F-f*ck!” Pentious stuttered as she worked him over. His splooge shooters twitching as she tackled all the best spots with her tongue. Bobbing down both of his full lengths with a smooth but lustful motion as her warm mouth worshiped his sperm hoses.

He was a squirming mess beneath her, And she loved every second of it. Keeping him under her spell was as simple as increasing suction, A flick of her magnificent tongue, Or moving blissfully across the length of the handsome snakes cum rods.

“C-c-cherri, T-t-t-that f-f-feels stellar.” Precum started to leak from the heads of his two 7 inch breeding magnums. He could barely form words. Clawing at the sheets his breathing sped up to a hoarse pant as Cherri sucked on his duel mating rituals with a passion that was even much for her.

Pentious felt his release creeping up on him. His f*ck sticks twitching and throbbing like crazy. Cherri kept ramping up the intensity which had the intended effect of driving him even closer to exploding in her mouth.

“C-c-c-cherri I-i-i-i’m gonna!” That warning decided it, Cherri took him to the base bobbing hard and licking across his length. With a buck of his hips that made her gag he came unglued. Rope after rope of cum sprayed out, Cherri happily swallowing his nut lava.

She couldn’t help but be surprised at the amount. But also just happy he enjoyed himself. “I can tell you loved every second of that.” Cherri couldn’t think of anything to say, Just letting her work speak for itself.

A minute went by of Pentious being lost for words, He was still in the aftershock of the monster org*sm so it was understandable.

“I more than loved it. I felt things that I didn’t know were possible to feel.” Completely drained, he collapsed onto the bed. With Cherri clinging onto him.

“Good, I’m glad. You deserve to be happy.” She sloppily said as she started to doze off into slumber.

It was going to be a long night for Anthony, Velvette and Cyril.

Velvette was working on some tech stuff, Changing some server settings and messaging Zeezi about some things related to marketing for the hotel. She knew someone who was well known for designing banner art and fliers and who was more than willing to help out for the princess’ cause.

Anthony and Cyril on the other hand had one thing on their mind, Blitz. After Relius met his violent end he hadn’t left their minds. Their imaginations ran wild as to how dire the circ*mstances were. After a bit of back and forth they decided to video call him.

Blitz picked the call without a second thought. He didn't even get to wipe the tears from his face, Or clean up the broken glass from the shattered bottles that surrounded him.

“What?” His voice was lifeless and lacking any semblance of what made him into the confident mercenary that took no sh*t from anyone. Who clawed his way from the bottom of the barrel to someone who all of hell recognized, For both good and bad. And who had powerful connections.

“Hey, We were originally calling to check in on you but after seeing the state of your office there, We’re coming over.” Anthony said before hanging up. Cyril didn’t say anything as they both rushed off, Out of their room, Down the hall to the elevator, Down to the bottom floor and out of the hotel.

Almost a half hour of running, Taking all of the shortcuts and back alleys, they arrived at the building Blitz had set up shop at.

A short elevator ride later and they were at the front door. Letting themselves in, the front room was a f*cking mess. Several conference room chairs were broken in half and a chair leg was found impaled in the couch, A computer monitor was found in a mangled state on the floor next to that same couch, And there were broken alcohol bottles everywhere with their remaining contents scattered all across the floor.

Needless to say, When they let themselves into his office it wasn’t any better. On top of the broken bottles, A filing cabinet being thrown on its side and the contents of his desk being scattered across the room Blitz was curled up in a ball. He’d completely mentally shut himself down which was the worst case scenario.

“Blitz” Anthony lightly addressed him while trying to find a place to sit down. Preferably somewhere where he wasn’t going to get impaled on a shard of broken glass.

When he did Blitz found solace holding onto Anthony as he wept uncontrollably.

“He fought and died with no fear. But it still f*cks with me that the reason Relius isn’t here with us is because some f*cking exorcists somehow got access to the other rings.” Blitz was hollow spoken at the loss and torn up but still he was trying to claw his way back.

“He told me he’d been fighting those f*ckers for the past 12 years. The one who killed him got a lucky shot. And it’s the only shot he’d ever land.” Cyril joked around with the truth which got a dry chuckle out of Blitz. It was a start at least.

Pulling away from Anthony for long enough to face him, Cyril could immediately tell this went much deeper. You could see the black hole of nothingness swirling in his eyes. Attempting to devour everything he had left.

“Blitz mate, talk to us here. We’re not gonna bite your head off for whatever you’re holding back. We just want you to level with us like we would if we were in this circ*mstance.” Cyril wanted to cry with him. He had always made it a point to stay strong for those around him. To be that shoulder to lean on, To be the one who lived up to the principle of taking care of those around him. And to be the morale for those around him.

With his head down he let out a sharp sigh. This wasn’t pretty and was worried that even with that reassurance that he was gonna trip over a few lines too many.

“I’ve just been thinking a lot about how much damage I’ve done to those I’ve held close over the years. How I completely burned down the circus where I grew up. Accident or not I permanently disfigured my best friend and completely alienated myself from him.” Just thinking of Fizzarolli was shattering.

“I tried recouping my losses and working as a performer anywhere I could but in the end I just accepted I wasn’t built for that life. I ended up as this 15 year old kid who had no sense of direction. A sh*tty dad who could give a f*ck less what I wanted to be. If it didn’t benefit him he was gonna stand in my way of achieving it.” Anthony grumbled at that. A feeling he was all too familiar with. He’d tried his best to have a good relationship with his father but all he ended up with was a whole load of nothing.

“And then I met Verosika. That woman dreamed big. And she certainly accomplished all of what she’d wanted and then some.” Blitz’s voice went cold out of embarrassment.

“We had a great thing going. We had our issues even back then, sure, But we always worked around it. I still had no idea where I wanted to go, Then I stumbled across the video of you guys storming Vitali’s place. And loved it.” That got all of them in somewhat of a better mood.

“I started small working as Verosika’s security. I can’t thank you guys enough for not only helping get that ball rolling for both Relius and I, But sticking with us throughout all of it.” He was lost wondering what the f*ck even was happening anymore.

“We take care of our own, You know this.” Neither Anthony nor Cyril were leaving his side until they knew he was stable. However long that was.

“I’m just f*cking terrified Anthony. Relius had his hand in a lot of things, I don’t just hurt and worry for myself and the others close to him, But for those who worked for him who are going to be out of jobs among a long list of other f*cking problems.” Looking down again he had just one thing left to get off his chest.

“I’m also at a crossroads with Stolas. I do genuinely love the guy but we aren’t doing great.” Something that took both of them off guard but especially Anthony who raised an eyebrow.

“When we originally met as kids it was a breath of fresh air. Despite my piece of sh*t dad pressuring me into stealing from them. That still haunts me. f*ck, Everything that man roped me into doing looking back was just… There aren't any words to describe it.”

“But I never forgot that day I spent with him. I could tell he was gonna make a great leader. Fast forward to December 2022 and I went to Zestial for help. Business was tanking and I needed something to spice things up and stand out. He suggested that I look into going to Earth. And we decided on the service that we started offering to sinners: We'll take care of your worst enemies from when you were alive.” Something that he’d soon bring to an end if all went well.

“That’s when I had the great idea of stealing Stolas’ book. I got caught by his guards, But we ended up talking and catching up, One thing lead to another and we ended up f*cking. And later end making a deal, Where we’d f*ck every month on the full moon and I could keep the book as needed for work.” A fair deal, But one he was gonna talk to Stolas about next time he saw him.

“But over time we both in our own ways knew we wanted this to be more than just us f*cking once a month, And the occasional visit. But we were in denial and have been dancing around the issue. BUT NO MORE! I have a contract down here in Hell that is gonna get us 50 mil. After we’re done I plan on coming clean to Stolas about everything.”

Anthony and Cyril were proud to see him letting everything go. Something that was never easy for him.

“Well, I really hope that goes well for you man. I can tell he means a lot to you. Now C’mon, Let’s get all this sh*t cleaned up here.” Where’s Nif when you need her? Anthony thought.

They weren’t going anywhere for a few hours. And Blitz couldn’t be happier to have them in his corner.

The Long Road Of Repentance and Redemption - Chapter 9 - katanaeyegaming (2024)
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