Numerous rumors were passed around from the inhabitants of the universal government regarding the nature of Hell. Some claimed that, just like the void, it was a different dimension altogether, while some others claimed that it was manmade, and that in the course of millions of years, the civilization who created it had forgotten of their origin as humans, and went into a sort of evolution that ultimately forced them to become demons.
While the idea of Hell being a different dimension which humans could possibly visit, was the most interesting one for explorers and merchants, the second idea was generally more accepted by scholars and thinkers.
The reason for that was that humans, beasts, dragons and all of the numerous other races had evolved in every planet that had allowed for their evolution to happen. While on the other hand, no sign of demonkin had ever been discovered, except for those who claimed to belong to Hell.
There was also a third idea that was supported by the rumors that had appeared in the early years which followed the first encounter between humans and demons, and that was that Hell was not a typical universe with planets, stars and celestial bodies, but a multilevel plain.
Its origin was source of great debate, and along with the nature of the spiritual plane, which played a massive part in the current human cultivation.. the nature of the shattered universe known as void, which was currently inhabited by the Void Dwellers, and a few others.. Hell was considered as both part, and not part of the universal government.
The demon races who had come out of Hell had to choose between joining the universal government, or face destruction. So while nobody was sure of the magnitude of power that the demonkind truly possessed, a portion of it was controlled by the universal government.
For many years the universal government had tried to gain access to Hell, but they had always been unsuccessful, as there was only one way in.. and that was for a portal to be opened from inside.
Stairway to Hell.
"Sir, will we receive a reward for our job?" Asked one of the two large demons to the white-horned ones, as they walked down the stairway that lead to their home. They had been walking for more than twenty minutes, and it didn't seem that the path would end anytime soon.
Daniel followed them quietly, covered by an undetectable distortion in space who no one that wasn't ahead of him in comprehension of spatial essence, would be able to understand. The light that curved around him before going to its original path made it seem that there was nothing there, while the concepts of adsorption formed by dark and spatial essence prevented his immortal essence from filtering out of his skin. He was completely invisible to other people's senses.
"A reward for what? For waiting like two idiots?" Asked the white-horned demon who walked two steps ahead of them. There was no reason for him to lead the way, except for the fact that he did not want to walk along with the two lesser demons. As a white-horned demon, he was above them, and having been given the job to be their escort, was akin to task a warrior with a babysitting job.
"It's not our fault.. Hum.. Sir. We were told to follow the orders of the shapeshifter." Responded the calmer of the two demons.
The leading members of the Church of Damnation, who were expecting for an attack from Daniel's group, were forced to adapt to the powers that the three of them possessed.
While not certain about what Daniel's power as a former member of Iewah's faction was, they knew that his companions were a royal dragon, and a mental warrior.. Former elite of the Psionic Dimension.
After some consideration, they had found themselves with no other choice but to hire mercenaries.
All demons, including those who were part of the Church of Damnation, had the ability to shapeshift.. But while they would be able to trick most people by turning their demonic powers into something that could be perceived as normal immortal essence, it was impossible for them to trick beings with a heightened sense of smell, just like dragons..
At the same time, they were unable to hide their true powers.. And the simple vicinity with a mental warrior would turn them into beacons of suffering powers.
Of all of the demon races, no other was comparable in the art of shapeshifting as the members Law of Mimicry, and therefore, they had selected for the job.
The Demon Lord that lead the Law of Mimicry was known through the whole Hell, and it was said that she was even able to mimic the power of other demon lords. This power had made her a feared member of the entire demonic race, and therefore, she was treated with extreme respect.
When the Church of Damnation had come to her in search of support for this mission, she had agreed to help in exchange for an astronomical pay, and only if a condition was respected. That condition was that the members of her faction were in charge of the mission, and that they would call the shots.
An audience with Lady Night was already beyond what the messengers of the Church of Damnation could ever hope for, so they were happy to oblige to any request she had.
"What are you, worms? You are warriors of the church of damnation. You should have ripped her into pieces, and went to capture the brat by yourselves. Then you would have deserved a reward." Responded the white-horned demon with deep irritation. He then began to mutter to himself "Between you and the ones in charge to capture the lizard, I don't know which one is the most embarrassing.. Luckily the others were able to play a part in the capture of the mental warrior.. Or we would have lost face compl-huh?" his rant was interrupted by an odd feeling that flashed behind him.. However, when he turned around, the area was empty.
After learning that both Aeron and Xargy had been captured, Daniel lost his concentration. Luckily he was able to recover in time, or he would have been found out.
While the two demons were not out of his league, the white-horned demon was clearly above him in power.
What Daniel had found interesting about the demons of the Church of Damnation, was that their negative karma was directly proportionate to their power. The higher the red number was, the more powerful they were. That was due to the fact that they cultivated through feelings of suffering, which they were able to absorb.
This single notion had been put to a test when Daniel had met the Shapeshifter.. While her karma was not shockingly high when compared to the other demons Daniel had met in the past, she still was the most powerful.
It was only now that he had understood the reason why her power and karma did not match.. It was because she belonged to a different faction.
He kept following the three demons in silence for a whole day, and the deeper down they went, the higher the temperature would be. Finally, just when he was considering whether to attack the three, a large gate appeared in the distance.
What was odd was that this gate looked massive, and yet, the four of them had been unable to reach it for another day. When they were finally able to stand in front of it, the gate was as big as a mountain. In fact, the two doors were so big that they seemed impossible to move, and in their surface, a history of how Hell had been made was embossed in shiny gold.
Scenes of numerous wars fought by what looked like two groups of humans, that had ended in the defeat of one of the two groups. By losing the war, the defeated group had then lost the right to live in the territory they had occupied.
The fate of this group was, however, not over. They had set out to find another territory to inhabit, but due to being hunt down by the winning party of the previous war, they were forced into the depths of a cave.. In the deepest parts of this cave, they had found a portal that lead to an untouched and hostile territory.. A territory so vast, that their former home could not even be considered a fraction of it.
This defeated group of human-like beings had retreated into this territory, and there, they laid in wait.. A wait that would only end when their power would become big enough to take revenge on the population which had pushed them out of their home.. However, hundreds of years later, this population had discovered their inability to escape this inhospitable plain.
After millions of years, the purpose of revenge had been forgotten, and the group had evolved in order to survive their new home. Through that struggle, numerous methods of cultivation had appeared.
The nature of demons was not much different than that of human, and for one reason of the other, the various kinds of demons had ended up fighting against each other..
These wars were massive, and would always leave Hell to a worse state than it already was.. One of these wars had been so violent, that in its climax, a passage that lead outside had been discovered, along with the method to open new ones.
Nothing of the ancient knowledge had remained since millions of years before, except for the notion that their civilization was not the only existing one.. And that outside of Hell, were the violent and powerful humans.
This simple concept had lead the most belligerent of the demon races to try their luck outside, claiming that they were not the weak beings that they had used to be in the past.. But when they went out, they had encountered the universal government.
The war between the then younger universal government and the numerous demonic factions had been a bloody one.. But the variety of powers that the universal government possessed had made them too unpredictable to fight against, and in the end, they had come out victorious.
After this defeat, most demon factions had escaped back into Hell.. while a few of them had agreed to join the universal government, and be allowed to compete for the ownership of solar systems, and planets of which the newly found galaxies were full of.
What was surprising about the massive door on which these images were portrayed, was that the entire history of the demons had only taken the upper border of it, leaving the majority of it clean, and ready for other major events to be carved on.
Sitting on a wooden throne just a few hundred meters away from the door, was what looked like a teenage demon dressed in elegant black clothes. While seemingly younger, this demon was significantly different from most others.
Differently to the demons Daniel had met before, the horns on the head of this young demon were curved like spirals, and by moving out of the sides of his head, they seemed to be wrapping around two straighter invisible horns. The ears of this young demon appeared to be made out of fire, and seemed intangible. He was wearing a pair of normal glasses, behind which he was squinting his eyes in an attempt to read the page he was holding in his hands.
"Names." said the young demon casually, as the white-horned one arrived in front of his desk.
"Family." added the young demon after hearing the answer to his first question.
"Church of Damnation." responded the white-horned demon.
The teenage demon turned to look at the white-horned demon, and said "Are you an idiot? I've said family."
"What did you say?!" Asked the white-horned demon in response before taking a step closer to the desk.. Causing his eyes to emit large quantities of dark red smoke.
However, before the demon could move any closer, from the depths of the darkness that surrounded them, three deafening growls bellowed deeply in the area. This growling caused a shiver to run down the backs of the white-horned demon, and the two who followed him.
From three different directions, just as many pairs of white bright dots lit up. These six dots of light were surrounded by black circles of endless darkness, and separated from the surrounding darkness by a smoke of magical nature that made its way out of a canine-like set of teeth.
These three sets of terrifying eyes approached the four demons, until finally, their owners became clearer thanks to the light emitted by the massive door.
The owners of these eyes, were the three hellhounds that guarded the entrance to Hell.. along with their owner. Each of them possessed a power way beyond that of the white-horned demon, so the moment they appeared, he calmed down immediately.
After seeing that the most nervous of the three demons had calmed down, the teenage demon whistled faintly, causing the three hounds to approach him, while shrinking in size. They then sat in front of his desk and around the white-horned demon like three statues.
"Demon Lord Dogan's family.." said the white-horned demon while taking short glimpses of the three hellhounds.
The teenage demon ignored his behaviour, and after making sure that they had the permission to pass, he grabbed the small bell present above his desk and ringed it.
*CRUCH* The two massive doors slowly began to move, to a point where they moved past the teenage demon's desk, and separated one another by hundreds of meters.
The white-horned demon fixed his clothes nervously, then walked past the teenage demon. He was followed by the two weaker demons.
As the three entered the door, each of the three hounds moved closer to the teenage demon. One jumped above his desk, one hopped on his legs, and one crawled under his chair.
The demon smiled at them and pet their heads, but when his three loyal hounds turned to look at an empty point in space, he said "What are you looking at?" However, the affectionate voice of their owner was enough to distract them.