As I hugged Sasha tightly once and then handed her over to Dimitri, he scooped her up and placed her in the middle of the summoning circle.
“It’ll be okay, right?”
Hearing my trembling voice, Dimitri wrapped his arms around me and soothed me. I anxiously watched Sasha, unaware that he, who disliked contact with others, was touching me himself.
Even though I wanted to ask Dimitri why he wasn’t responding, I chose to stay quiet, thinking that my nervous behavior wouldn’t be helpful in this situation.
‘Dimitri probably isn’t responding because we can’t predict what is going to happen.’
Everything depended on Sasha.
As the black smoke of the summoning circle billowed and swirled as if it were about to engulf Sasha, the light grew increasingly intense, and as it absorbed that light into its darkness, the smoke continued to billow upwards, expanding to a size where Sasha was no longer visible.
I instinctively held onto Dimitri, feeling instinctive fear.
“It seems like an impressive one.”
“How do you know?”
“If it takes time, it means that demons are salivating and rushing in from beyond the door. They will fight amongst themselves, and the strongest one among them will emerge victorious and come through. If Sasha’s desire is strong, then there will be powerful ones on the other side of the door, drawn by the scent of that desire.”
Those words didn’t sound good to me.
Didn’t it mean that they were fighting to devour Sasha’s soul? It felt like I was watching a baby sea seal floating in the middle of a sea teeming with hungry shark packs.
“Wouldn’t it be more difficult for Sasha to make a contract if a strong demon comes through?”
“Though if she manages to complete the contract safely, Sasha will become stronger than anyone else.”
I nervously watched the black smoke.
Time continued to pass.
All of a sudden, a strong wind blew from the summoning circle at a certain moment, and the smoke shot up towards the moon like an explosion.
When I hunched my body and screamed in surprise, Dimitri wrapped his arms around me, shielding me from the wind.
“Are you sure things are going well?”
Even though he was right next to me, the sound of the wind cutting through the air was so fierce that I had to shout to be heard. Dimitri, who was standing in front of me with his back to the summoning circle, covered his face with one arm and turned around.
I could see his lips moving, but the sound of the wind was so loud that I couldn’t hear anything.
I tried to look over his shoulder to see what Sasha was doing, but the ominous black smoke had enveloped her like a veil, making it impossible to see anything. At that moment, a lightning-like flash of light emanated from the summoning circle. Simultaneously, the howling wind and the black smoke abruptly ceased.
My ears felt muffled. It felt like the whole place had become extremely quiet.
When I frantically searched for Sasha, I found myself looking up at the empty space in confusion. In the meanwhile, I could hear Dimitri muttering.
“Something seems wrong.”
The ground where the summoning circle had been drawn, despite being a massive rocky terrain, was split apart as if by a severe drought. And on top of it stood Sasha, who was standing majestically, with two giant demons visible nearby.
One was a demon with the head and body of a lion and the tail of a scorpion. The other one had an enormous head, even larger than that of a lion-shaped demon or Samael, with an eye patch covering its eyes so all that could be seen was its sharp nose and large mouth, resembling a spear.
Judging by Dimitri’s expression, the appearance of two demons was something he hadn’t expected either.
“What happens when there are two demons?”
“Well, that can’t happen.”
It was then.
A huge face opened its mouth.
“Finally, we meet, contractor.”
As Dimitri had warned, the demon’s voice was far from pleasant to hear. I felt a shiver run down my spine as I stared at the demon, its voice akin to scraping metal.
The word the demon uttered was unusual since Sasha wasn’t a contractor of any demon yet. As I tilted my head in puzzlement, Dimitri’s gaze was fixed on me. He had a strange look.
“The name of that demon is Agaliaept.”
“It seems like he’s talking to Rowaine.”
I widened my eyes and alternated my gaze between Dimitri and Agaliaept. Upon hearing his words, it did seem like Agaliaept was focusing on me rather than Sasha.
Dumbfounded, I pointed a finger at myself.
“Suddenly, to me…?”
At that moment, Agaliaept grinned, revealing countless sharp, zigzagging teeth, like shark’s teeth.
“There was no way to reach you, but the door happened to open. Kiki.I never thought I’d have to resort to borrowing someone else’s door to meet my contractor? Kikiki.”
As he laughed, a demon in the form of a lion suddenly charged at him in annoyance, upon which Agaliaept exclaimed, “You brute!” and screamed as he scurried in all directions.
In the meantime, Dimitri explained.
“The demon that took on the form of a lion is Abaddon. He’s also known as the Destroyer, a combat-type demon. It seems that when Abaddon crossed over to this world, Agaliaept played a trick and came along with him. He belongs to the strategist class. While they may have different specialties, both are superior-level demons that are on par with each other.”
“But why is he calling me a contractor?”
“Well, I’m not sure about that either.”
Abaddon lashed Agaliaept’s face with the scorpion tail, causing some of Agaliaept’s teeth to break and fall out with a clatter. However, he had so many teeth that it didn’t seem to have a significant impact.
The two demons didn’t seem to have any intention of finishing it. Thankfully, the battle ended abruptly, with Abaddon losing his nerve and the Agaliaept meekly admitting his rudeness and getting beaten up.
I waited for Agaliaept to come in front of me and then asked.
“Why am I your contractor?”
“Kikiki! It’s because I’ve obtained many souls in exchange for serving you!”
“I guess an explanation is in order.”
In an instant, the black smoke emanating from him in front of me began to swirl and take on various shapes.
Gradually, it transformed into several cats.
When they had all taken on the perfect form of cats, I was so surprised that I felt like my breath was catching in my throat.
“These guys made a deal with me, and the gods of this world intervened a little. It was a very pleasant experience! Kikikiki!”
[ T/N: ｡°(°. ◜ᯅ◝ °)°｡ OMG those cats from her previous life… I’m cryingggg— ]
I fell to my knees, speechless, facing the cats that had appeared before me.
They were the cats I had taken care of in my previous life.
I reached out to them with tears in my eyes, but I couldn’t touch them. As soon as my hand touched them, the cats’ forms rippled like water and transformed back into black smoke again.
When I withdrew my hand in surprise, the black smoke once again took on the shape of cats.
“It’s just a recreation of my memories, it’s not real.”
The cats frolicked around me, looking just as healthy as when they were alive. As I watched those cats, I couldn’t help but shed tears endlessly.
It was a sight I had missed so much.
I asked the devil without even having time to wipe away the tears that fell down my face.
“What happened? What did these kids do to you?”
“They said they wanted to repay you, contractor. The deadline is three years. They asked me to grant your wish.”
“You should know that yourself! Kikikiki!”
The demon circled around me frantically, displaying a rather unfriendly attitude.
I asked desperately.
“What happened to these kids now?”
Before the demon could answer that question, Samael appeared out of nowhere and raised his sword, cleaving Agaliaept in half. As Agaliaept let out a horrible scream and melted down into black smoke, the black smoke soon seeped into my shadow and disappeared into thin air.
Dimitri placed his hand on my shoulder.
When I looked back at him, he gazed down at me with dark, sunken eyes and gently wiped away the tear stains on my cheek.
“I don’t think there’s much good to come from hearing it.”
“But, but Dimitri, this…!”
“If you really need to know, you’ll have a chance to ask him later since Rowaine can summon that demon anytime now. Still, I don’t think now is the time.”
His words were right.
I was already not in my right mind.
As tears streamed endlessly, Dimitri held me close and comforted me while reminding me of an important fact.
“Rowaine, it seems Abaddon has proposed a contract to Sasha.”
It was only then that I realized I had forgotten about Sasha and turned to where the summoning circle had been. In the presence of a giant lion that must have been over two meters tall, a tiny kitten stood fearlessly and glared at the lion with majestic eyes.
“Come on, mwiss! If you mess with me, I’ll beat you!”
I anxiously watched Sasha and Abaddon. When Abaddon said something to her, she nodded valiantly.
“Okay! Let’s do it!”
The next moment, the lion’s new form turned into black smoke as if dispersing before it soon surged fiercely toward Sasha. Like Agaliaept had been absorbed into my shadow and disappeared a moment ago, it vanished into her body.
Soon, Sasha lost consciousness and slumped down.
As I ran over and picked Sasha up, Dimitri, who followed behind, spoke calmly.
“She’s just asleep. She must be fighting within the realm of demons and illusions, and she’ll wake up safely once the contract is completed.”
That meant, in essence, that if she couldn’t complete the contract, she might never wake up from this slumber…
I held Sasha’s small body tightly.
“You have to come back to me, Sasha. Please.”