Sorry for the delay; I was in an angst crisis after getting incredibly bad reviews on this elsewhere...
But here's chapter 4, anyways...
Luc looked with complete astonishment at the woman in front of him. He didn’t know her, and he had never seen her before, but he noticed two things. The first was that she was wearing very normal clothes-a pair of jeans cut off at the thigh, a dark sweatshirt, and running shoes. The other thing that he noticed was that her hair was bound up in a ponytail, and that way, he could see her forehead. She had no infinity symbol.
Luc thanked the fates, and then put his hand out to her. “Hello,” he said sheepishly, “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you. My name is Luc.”
The girl took his hand, and then pulled him down and leapt onto his back, leaving a familiar, pearly knife at his throat. “You have ten seconds to give me a reason to believe that you’re not a demon. And I know that this knife can harm you.”
Luc chose his words carefully. “Are you out of your oinking mind?!?”
The girl looked at him and shouted back, “Six… Five… Four… "
Now Luc had to think quickly. He pulled back his bangs. “If you’ve been here long, you’ll know that demons have these marks on their foreheads. The symbol for infinity.”
The girl frowned, and then said, “You have a point.”
Luc snarled, “Can you please get off of me?”
The girl thought for a moment and said, “I guess you’re human.” She got up and Luc noticed a double pentagram on both hands-symmetric on each side, as if it had been drilled straight through her hands.
Luc sighed. “There’s always a catch, isn’t there? Okay, what kind of sect member or demon are you?”
The girl rolled her eyes. “If you have to know, I’m a member of the demon elimination coalition Lux Entenebres.”
Luc almost laughed out loud. “This is an official association, I take it?” he said.
The girl’s shoulders sunk. “No, it is, as you say, a cult. Now shut up, if you don’t want me to wipe the floor with your oink!”
“I’d like to see you try,” answered Luc angrily. He kicked off of his back leg and pulled a handspring backwards. He drew his knife out with a quick finger movement.
“Not bad,” said the girl. “How do you like this one?” She slammed her foot to the ground and bound five feet in the air, landing directly in front of Luc. She slashed at his stomach, attempting to gut him.
Luc sprung backwards. “Where did that come from?” he screamed, and muttered, “Great, she has super powers, too. Lovely.” He ducked forwards into a headfirst dive and grabbed her leg. The incredible bloodthirst that he had experienced in his last fight came back to the surface. He hit the ground with his hands, sprung backwards, and caught the woman by the collarbone with his legs. Before she had time to react, he tightened his legs around her neck, and with an enormous effort, he rolled forwards.
She launched towards the ground but managed to wriggle loose and landed on her back. “Check, and mate,” growled Luc. He stood up and brushed himself off. “And you wanted to wipe the floor with me? Please, don’t waste my time!”
The girl moaned, “Whoa. You’re good. Where did you learn to fight?”
Luc thought for a moment and replied, “I don’t know. For some reason, I’ve just been able to fight this way since I came here. It shocked me as much as it shocked you, believe me.”
The girl stood up and put her knife away. “You’re not from Lux Entenebres, are you?”
Luc said, “If you mean your cult, I’ve never heard of it.”
“Oh, I haven’t introduced myself,” said the girl. “My name is Arcana.”
Luc looked at Arcana. “Okay, how did you get stuck in this mess?” he asked.
Arcana sighed. “I died.”
All of the things that had been creeping Luc out thus far were nothing in comparison as that. Luc’s jaw dropped, and he began to stutter uncontrollably. “Huh?” he stammered.
“It was dumb,” admitted Arcana. “I was killed on a mission. Shot straight through the head.”
Luc stared at her. “Wait a minute,” he murmured, “You’re dead. What does that mean for me?”
Arcana laughed. “You have no idea from paradise, do you? In Lux Entenebres, we know that paradise is one place here the dead go. We don’t know anything other than that.”
Luc laughed shakily; maniacally. “So that means that I’m dead?” he screamed suddenly, pulling Arcana towards him by her shirt.
Arcana looked at him and said, “There is another thing that we know about paradise. Beings that land in paradise are either demons from the start, or slowly become demons. They are all marked with the seal of endlessness-what you call infinity symbol-which brings them to forget more and more, the more demonic they become. They always forget immediately how they died, when or why they died, or even if they died. Only we from Lux Entenebres escape this through a special ritual we carry through on our dead.”
Luc sat down slowly on the ground, each movement slow and calculated. Then he went into a seizure.
When he recovered, Arcana asked, “May I continue? I have however never seen a case like yours.”
Luc got up from the ground and shook some of the dirt out of his hair. “What do you mean?” he demanded.
“Simple. If you’ve never heard of Lux Entenebres and don’t have a seal of endlessness, you’re either lying, or you’re some freak of nature. Have you forgotten anything?”
Luc said, “Yes, almost everything before I came to paradise. And yet, the pieces of the puzzle that I have come together.”
Arcana thought for a moment, and replied, “In any case, you are special, and we have something incredibly rare in common. I can’t imagine that there are many beings in paradise that are of the same species and aren’t mutated. Follow me.”
Luc followed Arcana quietly, looking at her all the way. She was unbelievable. He had to stop thinking about her to stop her from noticing how sweaty he was. He stared at her, still wondering if he was hallucinating.
Arcana stopped short, and Luc almost ran right into her. “Why did you stop?” he asked, embarrassed.
“Shh,” she whispered. She quickly drew her dagger and became disturbingly quiet. “Something is stalking us. It has two aura signatures-one of low power and deep evil, and your aura.”
Luc felt like an idiot and asked, “Um, what does that mean?”
“An aura signature is a perfect distinguisher. It can be felt, and by people like me, even followed. It is always different. And by the looks of it, that’s a tracker demon, set on your aura. They are the servants of the high masters. They use them when they need someone dead. And you, for some reason, are a target.”
Luc shrugged, and then looked around carefully. And then he saw it out of the corner of his eye. And then it was gone, and the only thing that stopped him from getting his ribs cut open was a lightning-speed reflex. He dodged by slipping in a puddle of plasma.
Arcana sighed. “Idiot’s luck,” she spat. “I guess I’ll have to handle this.” Arcana brought her hands together. As Luc saw the imp hovering and preparing another attack, Arcana shouted, “Holy Shotgun, I call you!”
Luc watched as a shotgun appeared in her hands and she blasted the imp out of the sky. Golden crosses appeared in the air. “That was so totally a Monty Python rip-off,” he complained.
Arcana tossed her hair as the weapon vanished. “I can’t believe you! You’re criticizing the weapon that saved your life?”
High above, in the castle of darkness, a voice arose. “Uh, master, I see it taking the same course as the last eight times!”
“Patience,” whispered a lower voice. “At least then, we do not cease to exist.”
“But we still die,” bellowed another. “We must do something!”
The powerful voice said, “We have to separate them. We must destroy them before they do that to us. If we do not, we will be forced to start the countdown.”
Luc looked at Arcana. “Is that normal here, that anyone can just summon a weapon out of thin air, or what?”
Arcana looked at him pointedly and sighed. “You really have no idea, do you?”
Luc shrugged. “Nope, not a clue.”
Arcana groaned. “What the oink is wrong with you? Where did you get your brains, at a two for one sale at a flea market, or what? Come on, have you even ever played dungeons and dragons for Christ’s sake?” Seeing his blank face, Arcana tried to swallow her disappointment. “Okay,” She muttered spitefully. “Paradise has energy. In fact, it has more energy than it knows what to do with. What’s not used just basically floats around as energy in the air. It has strange properties-continuous exposure can morph life. It attacks at the same time the memories, until a critical point is achieved, and then you turn into a monster. But this energy is usable for all kinds of powerful attacks, when you can channel it. It requires extensive training, or simple coincidence.”
Luc listened carefully, and then said, “I’ll go with coincidence.”
Arcana sighed, and said, “You’re hopeless. Do you even have a place to stay?”
Luc cringed. He wasn’t exactly sure how Lasmia would take the presence of Arcana. “I…” He stopped short, and then muttered, “I really don’t know if you’ll be accepted there. I’m only able to stay there in peace because my roommate is being threatened.”
Arcana shrugged, and said, “I’ll be well able to watch after myself, thank you very much. I just hate rain. Especially when it can transform you into a puddle.”
Luc said, “Those clouds are a bit ominous, aren’t they… Let’s move.”
They started to dash towards Lasmia’s house.