Zarah and The Seven Apocalyptic Princes
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Humanity died, and she was the last of them. Zarah Winters was on the verge of death after killing the sixth prince of hell. The seventh prince, a cunning and deceitful individual, did not want her to die because it would deprive him of his source of entertainment — her. Verphegor, as the demon introduced himself, offered her a deal. He would send her back to the past, where she could keep all her memories of this time and use them to change the future. Zarah comes from a line of hunters. Hunters have a variety of abilities that aid them in combating demons. Zarah had no idea she had a talent in her past, which caused her to drop out of the academy. During the apocalypse, however, she discovers that she is a siphon, a person who steals the strength and abilities of demons in exchange for killing them. With that kind of power laying dormant and with growing potential, she agreed to gamble on the demon’s offer. But with Verphegor being a prince of Hell, can she really trust the prince? Moreover, upon learning of her powers at an early stage, can she use them for humanity’s advantage?
After killing the sixth prince, I never imagined it would cost me my life. It no longer matters, as the world has finally come to an end. I am free.
I, Zarah, am the last human in the area. There's no point in fighting if I'm going to be alone in the end, regardless of whether I liberate the world from the demons.
“Is that it? How boring. I didn’t even get to have my turn to fight.” The seventh prince sighs in disappointment. I can no longer remember which prince among the seven he represents, after all the princes I killed. I even lost track of their names. “Hey, lady. You’re name is Zarah, right? Are we still going to have a brawl or what?” I can hear the impatience in his voice
Try to remember, Zarah, which prince is he? I urge myself to recall, but my mind is drawing a blank as much as I try. I am dying, which makes it harder for me to focus.
“Hmm? Wow, my brother’s poison is making you go numb. That’s unfortunate. I wanted to have a go with you. I heard that you are really strong.”
“...kill me…already…” I gasp. I could vaguely see the prince dancing around me. Sometimes, I could feel his boot that kept nudging my stiff face from the poison.
“Kill you?” I hear him cackle. “If I do that, that will be boring. It’s super boring here, especially when none of them is as good a fighter as you.” He tried to say it in a sympathetic voice, but failed.
“Say, little lady.” I notice a slow movement from the demon prince when he crouched before me. His face is covered with a white smiling mask that makes him look even more mysterious. “Would you like to make a deal with me? Now, before you say anything to decline, let me explain my bargain. I know that humans are wary of making deals with demons because of the price. Am I right?”
It’s true. Striking deals with demons usually costs a person eternal damnation. I can’t even begin to estimate the cost of making a deal with a demon prince.
“This is my offer. I will send you to the past, where you can make use of your abilities to stop the end of the world. Work hard to siphon powerful abilities that can help you fight the other princes. My condition? You have to stay alive until the time that we’ll have to fight each other.” The offer seemed so surreal that I tried to look up at the prince. He still has a mask on, so I cannot read his expression. I heard his chuckle from under the mask. “The offer doesn’t seem so bad, right?”
“It’s…unfavorable…to…you.” I gasp. I felt my throat hitching from the dryness.
“True.” The masked prince nods in agreement and crosses his arms. “There is a chance that humanity might stand. But it doesn’t bother me that much. If you die, the last human dies. Demons win. With you gone, who will we fight? Either way, it’s going to be boring when you’re not around, screaming and threatening to kill us, which you MOSTLY did - I commend you for that.” He clapped his hands in a silent applause before he continues. “If I give you, a human, a second chance in life, you guys might stand a chance. I want to see how much you can change the past as much as I want to fight you. So, little lady, what do you say?”
His offer is tempting. I admit that there are a lot of moments when I wish that I had discovered my talent before demons took over. My talent is rare and could have drastically changed our advantage against demons.
I have the power to siphon a demon’s strength and abilities and keep them as mine. I can store as much as I need, as long as I’m the one who kills them.
In other words, I am a versatile huntress.
“Little lady, you don’t have much time. I am afraid that you will die soon if you don’t make a decision now.” The demon speaks once more, utterly bored of the situation.
“I accept.” I force the words out with as much determination as I have. I want this demon to know that I was still sane when I made the decision. Forget about damning my soul. If I think about everything I’ve been through, all the friends and family that I've lost, I no longer care what happens to me.
I want to save them all. To bring back everything I lost and strike revenge on these princes for their endless killings. If I have to sell my soul to the seventh prince, I don’t care. I am going to die anyway, so I might as well try.
But can I really trust that this demon has no other motive for bringing me back to the past?
“That’s wonderful!” I can hear the joy in the prince’s voice as he clasps his hands together. “Now, let’s seal it.” I closed my eyes when the prince lifted my chin to kiss me on the lips. I felt his cold lips touching mine, even giving my bottom lip a light bite before parting away from me.
The demon prince already has his mask on before I can open my eyes to peek at his face. “My name is Verphegor. You and I are now under a contract. I will send you to the past, where you can keep your memories of the events. But I will take away all of your siphoned abilities from other demons. If you want them back, you will just have to work it from the start.” As he continued to explain the rules, I could not help but feel myself getting closer to the darkness. I felt like I was getting lulled to sleep.
“Go to sleep, little lady.” I hear him whisper ominously. “I’ll see you in the past.”
When I woke up, I realized that I was back. And I don’t just mean that I am alive. I am back in the past!
I felt like I’d been staring at the mirror for a while now.
No signs of being poisoned.
My fingers were complete. It’s like a dream.
The only thing that is out of place with my youthful features are my eyes. They are red from crying. The moment I woke up, I immediately rushed downstairs, where I greeted my mother and father. They’re alive and well, and so is my brother.
They found it odd that I ran over to them and cried for no reason. Honestly, I was glad that they didn’t ask more questions than I wanted them to.
Looking at my hands, I tried manifesting a few of the siphoned skills from the demons that I acquired over the years once again.
Nothing. Great. I guess that the demon prince wasn’t kidding when he said that he'd take away all of my accumulated abilities over the years.
And there were a lot of them
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