Pattern of Destiny
Author: Ria ()
Disclaimer: Demon Diary belongs to Kara, Lee Chi Hyong, Tokyopop and Sigongsa. No profit is being made from these � I do it all for my own entertainment (and hopefully that of others, as well).
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: General spoilers for Volumes 1 � 3
Summary: When Eclipse is commanded to find Raenef the Fifth, he has no idea what Fate has in store for him�
Author�s Notes: This is basically the entire flashback scene of how Eclipse met Raenef written in story form. I got the idea during Christmas and basically went with it! All the dialogue is taken from the volumes themselves, and let me tell you, it was hard to write an entire story with only the books to guide me! I hope you all enjoy reading!


Pattern of Destiny


Among the many-coloured threads that weave the tapestry of one�s life, the meeting of two people is a part of the pattern of destiny.

- Demon Diary, Volume 2


�The Demon Lord, Raenef the Fourth, has died. The vacant demon lord position is now a matter of concern to us.�

Odin�s face, usually emotionless, was grave and weary, the lines on his ancient face deepened because of worry. Eclipse stared up at the gods, a sense of foreboding building in his stomach. He stood perfectly still, forcing his face to remain blank.

�I�m sure he himself did not realise how short his life would be,� a quiet voice remarked from the shadows, as cloth rustled in slight movement.

Freya sniffed. �The fault lies with you, since you did not request the designation of an heir,� she retorted.

Ignoring both of them, Odin said, �Do you understand? Eclipse?�

Eclipse continued to stare up at him, the stirring in his stomach growing. Surely he didn�t mean�

�You will seek the fifth Raenef,� Odin ordered, his eyes hardening. �The gods agree, of all demons you, who have served so many so well, are best suited to locate the demon lord who already exists in the world.�

The foreboding exploded into full-scale disbelief. Eclipse hesitated, bowed, and kept his gaze carefully on the ground. Then without another word, he turned and walked away.

Stopping outside, he sighed and ran a hand through his bangs. �Charging me to find a demon lord,� he growled, �without knowing where to look, how old he is, or even whether �he� is male or female.� He swallowed his growing irritation and started thinking. This was only a matter of logic � all he had to do was think. There had to be a way to find some sort of starting point� He closed his eyes as his brow furrowed.

There was one way�

Eclipse�s eyes snapped open.

�Maybe I should consult the seer.�


Her lips curved in a welcoming smile as her eyes crinkled. �It�s been awhile,� she murmured in a husky purr. �Master Eclipse.�

He slowly pulled back the curtain, finally revealing himself to her. His expression was cold and emotionless, bordering on annoyance.

She laughed and rose, swaying towards him. Her lower clothes slipped, revealing smooth, pale flesh that was probably meant to tantalise and tempt him. Eclipse, however, didn�t even twitch, the very epitome of resistance. �Oh my, what a sour expression,� she said softly, tapping his chin lightly with her fan. �A century since we�ve seen each other and you can�t be bothered to smile. How disappointing.�

Eclipse�s glare could have killed, but she still managed to smile.

�Stop it,� he snapped, pivoting away from her. �Do your job. You already know why I�m here.�

Her face hardened for a moment, before she flicked open her fan and hid her lower face behind it. �South.�

Eclipse whirled to face her, his eyes questioning.

She gazed at him from beneath lowered lashes. �That which you seek is to the south.�

Time hung suspended for seconds that seemed to drag like hours. Then her face lit up in a smile that abruptly shattered the mood. �That�s all I have, dear�� she beamed.

His expression faltered for the briefest of moments, before he dragged his blank mask up again. �That�s it?� he demanded, before sighing and turning back to the curtain. He pulled it to the side and said, �To the South, then.� She heard him mutter as the curtain slid shut after him, �If all goes well, I will reward you.� His footsteps slowly faded.

She was silent and motionless for a long time afterwards, staring at the curtain without truly seeing it. After awhile, she went to her crystal ball and cupped her hands around it. Light bloomed inside it. She smiled, her expression mildly rueful. �Eclipse�� she whispered. �Always rushing about.� The blossoming light in the ball shifted to reveal the hurrying figure of Eclipse, his face set and determined.

She stared down at him, the light reflecting the faint fondness in her eyes. �Your destiny awaits you, Master Eclipse,� she murmured. �Make your choices wisely.�


Pulhel, one of the largest cities in the South, lay surrounded by ancient mountains and the endless sands of the desert, the best possible protections against outside enemies. But when Pulhel�s biggest enemy was inside it�s own walls, gradually eroding its very foundations away, it was only a matter of time before the city would fall.

In one of the lower streets, children played as adults kept a wary eye on them. Two teenagers sprawled on one of the doorsteps, basking in the sunlight as they lazed. �I think the Guild is up to something really big this time,� one of them remarked, watching a kid race past him.

�Yeah, I heard that too. But nobody knows exactly what,� his companion agreed. He gazed around, his eyes landing on a blond, slim teenager kneeling nearby, lathering a puppy with attention. �Hey!� he yelled. �You heard anything?�

Raenef raised his head, his forest-green eyes large and clear. �Me?� he asked. He turned back to the puppy, whose tail was now blurring with delight. �No, not me,� he said flatly.

�Really?� the teenager asked, leaning forward. �I thought since the leaders like you, they might�ve told you something��

�Hey! You little thieves�� a furious voice yelled.

They all jumped and gasped, whirling to see an enraged woman charging towards them. �Loitering on my property!� she snarled, rolling up one of her sleeves. �I�m gonna�!!!�

Rapid footsteps made their blood freeze, as the guards came running. �Crap, it�s the guards!� the teenager snapped. �Everybody fan out!�

As they ran, they could hear the woman shriek, �They�re getting away!! Catch them!!�

Raenef�s heart pounded as he ran, his chest burning as he struggled to breathe. He twisted and turned, finally jumping through what seemed to be a boarded-up door. He glanced back just in time to see the guards rush by. He laughed. �Bet you didn�t know there was a passageway here��

He ran down the alley and burst back into the main streets. He caught a glimpse of black out of the corner of his eye and stuttered to a stop. He stared at the tall, slender, dark-haired man that stared at him silently, struggling to catch his breath.

The man�s eyes, as dark as the night, seemed to pierce right through him. Raenef stared at him with large eyes. Black�? he thought in surprise. Then, jerking out of his daze, he pivoted and raced away. But as he ran, Raenef thought, I�ve never seen someone with pitch-black hair before.


Watching the blond boy dart away, Eclipse frowned. That boy. I wonder if he�s a thief?

His eyes narrowed. �Hm.�


The tavern was warm and lively, filled with chattering, laughing people. They were the lower class of society and it was the seedier part of the city, but they didn�t care. Men held contests to see who could drink the most ale, while serving maids giggled as young men hauled them onto their laps. But Raenef kept apart from it all, curled up in the window as he stared outside, lost in his thoughts.

�I heard you outran the guards today.�

Raenef blinked and turned towards the voice. The Guild leader�s second-in-command stood near him, his hands in his pockets, smiling at him.

�Huh? Ah, yeah,� Raenef said quietly.

The second-in-command tilted his head. �What�s wrong? What�s with the long face?� he asked.

Raenef gazed up at him, vaguely surprise. �Nothing.� He shrugged. �I saw a really interesting person today, is all.�

�Interesting how?�

Raenef�s expression turned thoughtful as he explained, �He had a really white face, but his eyes and hair were black.� As he spoke, he pictured the strange man in his mind again, the image clear and vivid. He wasn�t surprised; he didn�t think he�d forget that man very soon.

�Hm,� the second-in-command said, rubbing his thumb against his lips as he thought. �For someone like you, who�s never travelled much, that would be an interesting sight. People from the North hardly ever come here,� he added.

�Hey, what�s up?� a thief asked, coming over to them with a rakish grin. �What are you two talking about so seriously?�

The second-in-command folded his arms, looking slightly annoyed. �Nothing, just chitchat.�

The thief�s grin turned wicked. �I heard that you�re onto something big soon,� he remarked slyly. �Tell me what�s going down. What�s the plan?� he asked, spreading his arms.

�What plan?� the second-in-command demanded, his composure shattered. �Where did you hear that? Did you tell anyone on the outside?� he snarled, his voice dangerous.

�Of course not!� the thief protested. He smirked. �You underestimate my information-gathering skills.�

The second-in-command ran a hand through his hair, his face a mixture of dismay and relief. �Apparently I do. It was supposed to be a secret,� he muttered.

Raenef sighed and slid off the window. He moved towards the door, unnoticed.

�All right, there is something big,� the second-in-command reluctantly admitted.

�So, what is it?� the thief demanded.


Raenef shut the door after him, effectively blocking the conversation. He tilted his face up to the night sky, letting the cool air wash over his face. He stared up at the full moon before he decided to set off wandering for a while. He had no idea where he was going, but he didn�t care. The longer he walked, the better; it might help him clear his mind.

A line of soft black passing through his line of vision made him freeze. He blinked, realising it was the man he�d seen earlier. He stared after him, his eyes fixing on his extraordinarily long hair. �That�s him!� he whispered, his eyes widening. �Wow � his hair really is dark at night.�

The only sound was the man�s footsteps. Raenef continued to stare after him, his eyes still fixed on the shining hair as his hand inched forward.

Raenef�s face lit up as he involuntarily yanked on the strands he managed to catch. The man, however, jerked and stumbled back a step, before whirling to face him. Raenef rubbed the back of his neck as he laughed nervously. Then he took a good look at the man�s face, saw that he was less than pleased, and gulped.

�I-I�m sorry,� Raenef stammered as the man�s eyes narrowed. �I couldn�t help myself! I really didn�t mean anything by it,� he went on, holding up his hands in a gesture of goodwill. And I really didn�t mean to make you mad! �I grabbed it before I realised what I was doing. Sorry!� He grinned in spit of himself and then quickly took a step back.

Rubbing his lips, Raenef beamed up at him. �Uh� mister, we met earlier today, didn�t we?� A blatant change of subject, but that was beside the point. The man stared at him, his expression hard and implacable. �I remember because of your black hair. I�ve never seen anything like it, and I found it really interesting,� he babbled, wondering if he should just succumb to common sense and run for it.

The man looked away and closed his eyes. �You�re so used to the people of this city,� he said at last in a low, smooth voice with a slight husky edge. �I can see why it would be interesting.�

Raenef stared at him, captivated by his voice. No one he knew, not even the most charismatic thieves, sounded like that. Hah, truth be told, no one could sound like this man. �You�re different from the people who live here, mister,� he said slowly, after a lengthy pause.

The man�s expression was chilling. �Mister?� he repeated, one of his eyebrows twitching. Then he seemed to recover himself, saying quietly and matter-of-factly, �Yes, I look different than those who live in the South.� He seemed perplexed and not a little annoyed, staring at Raenef in disbelief.

�That�s not what I mean,� Raenef said, shaking his head. He placed a hand on a nearby barrel and hoisted himself up on it. �When you saw me earlier today, you already knew that I was a thief, right? The people of this town hate us, but you don�t seem to mind,� he added with a good-natured smile.

Eclipse gave him a hard look. After a moment he said, �You don�t like being a thief? If you don�t like being a thief, then stop.� His face and voice showed that he really thought it was as simple as that.

Raenef stared down at the ground, looking at it without really seeing it. �I can�t,� he whispered. �I�m an orphan. I had to join the Guild to survive.� He said it calmly and with no self-pity � there was nothing he could do to change it, after all � but inside there was the familiar stab of pain. Can�t show it thought, can never show a weakness�

Silence met his curt explanation. Raenef kept only the briefest eye on the man, stubbornly keeping most of his gaze on the ground. But he saw a brief flicker � pity? � flash across his face, before he looked like a pale statue again. Then he started to walk past Raenef, laying a hand on his head in a casual pat as he walked by. �I see. Take care of yourself, kid.�

Raenef sighed, somehow disappointed by the man�s cold sympathy, unaware that his hand tightened on his head for a moment or that his dark eyes widened a fraction.

The man suddenly said, �Wait, you�� before being abruptly interrupted.

�Hey � what are you doing? You�re gonna be late for the meeting!�

They both whirled to see a thief standing near a doorway.

Raenef gasped. �I�d better go,� he aid, starting to hurry towards the building. He tossed a grin over his shoulder. �It was nice meeting you.�

He ran inside, unaware that the man watched him the entire time.


The wind rose, whipping his hair and cloak around him like storm clouds. Eclipse, deep in thought, was oblivious to it all, instead staring at the building the thief-boy had just run into. The sky darkened overhead, blocking out the full moon. Withered leaves danced around him, skittering along the ground like they were laughing at him.

Eclipse watched them spin as his own thoughts tumbled frantically. His hand still tingled from when he�s briefly patted the boy on the head � the only gesture he could think of to do for an orphaned mortal boy. Or whom he�d assumed was a mortal boy�

How could that be? he thought helplessly. For a moment, I sensed a power� He pictured the thief-boy in his mind without even having to think about it. Young, cheerful, pleasant � all the wrong attributes for a demon lord.

He had to be wrong. There was no way it could be him.

But� that power�

Unease flickered in Eclipse�s stomach again.

Could that child be�?


�Quiet!� The sound of clapping hands. �Listen up!�

Sound abruptly died in the tavern as all eyes turned to gaze up at the Guild leader. He folded his arms and smirked. �Some of you have heard and some of you haven�t. Today, we kick off our plan to seize control of the city of Pulhel!�

There was a mini explosion as people turned to each other and babbled, while whoops and cheers fought to make themselves heard just as well. Raenef stood there and watched them all, wondering why his stomach suddenly seemed hollow.

�Quiet!� the Guild leader bellowed, his glare scathing.

Sound once more plummeted into silence, with more than one person looking sheepish.

�I believe we can succeed,� the leader continued in a quieter voice. �This us how it starts. Foremen, meet with me. The rest of you, prepare for battle.� His gaze was piercing and seemed to look straight through each of them. �In exactly two hours we meet to implement our attack.�

As cheers rang up, the thief from earlier came up to Raenef. �Ha. I got wind of this, but I can�t believe we�re going through with it,� he said, looking delighted.

Raenef glanced at him. �And it�s gonna happen tonight�?�

The thief stared at him and realised Raenef looked slightly worried. �What�s with you?� he asked. �Is something wrong?�

Raenef didn�t answer immediately, rubbing his lips nervously. Then he said, �I was just thinking that we�re fine with the areas that we already have. We don�t need all of Pulhel.�

The thief gaped at him. �What?!� he cried. �Are you crazy?!!� He clenched his hand into a fist. �We could run Pulhel!�

Raenef looked delighted for a moment, before the sounds of approaching footsteps and shouts and cries from outside made them both freeze. Silence descended on the tavern for the briefest moment, as faces gone pale stared at each other.

Then everything exploded into chaos.

�Crap!! It�s the guards,� the thief gasped, at the same time the leader yelled, �Run!! It�s a raid!�

The thief pivoted, snapping, �We�d better scram! Hurry!� over his shoulder.

�Okay!� Raenef gasped, darting after him. As he ran, he tried to ignore the sounds of screams behind them.


The wind had died down to a slight breeze and the sky had cleared, letting moonlight pool over Pulhel. Eclipse sighed, perched on one of the tallest buildings in the city. He disliked Pulhel, hated the South in general. It was such a dead place, protected by ancient mountains and a vicious desert. He ran a hand through his bangs and stared at the moon.

I couldn�t have imagined it, he thought, returning to the topic that had plagued him since that thief-boy had left him. There is a magical power in that child. He cupped his chin in thought. I wonder if he is the next demon lord�? He�s so young. I can�t picture it.

Eclipse growled. �I should see him once more, just to make sure,� he muttered. Light tapping footsteps caught his attention and he glanced down.

The boy gazed up at him, his emerald eyes large and clear, his lightly tanned face highlighted by the moon. Eclipse stared down at him, feeling his gaze sharpen. Neither of them said anything as the boy struggled to catch his breath.

Then the boy beamed, his face lighting up. �Wow!� he exclaimed. �Hi, mister! We meet again. How did you get up there?� From his expression, he seemed to have every intention of finding his own way up there.

Eclipse stared down at him, unsure whether to be worried or not. He said quickly, �I�ll come down.� Before the thief-boy could say anything, he leapt. Landing lightly on his feet, he straightened and almost smiled at the stunned expression on the boy�s face.

Words from long ago drifted through his mind: Usually, the demon lord selects his heir, gives him his name and grooms him into the role. However, should tragedy befall him before an heir has been appointed�

The boy�s grin broadened. �I was just reminded of something I heard once. If you run across the same person three times in one day, it�s not coincidence, but destiny,� he explained.

In every generation, there is one among the mortals bearing the name of a demon lord.

Odin�s voice floated back to him: �Go and find this fifth Raenef Demon Lord.�

Eclipse locked gazes with the boy looking earnestly up at him. Only one way to finally find out for certain, he realised, mentally preparing himself. �What�s your name, kid?� he asked after a moment�s hesitation.

The boy blinked, looking shocked. �Ah! Sorry � I haven�t introduced myself yet.�

The one who bears that name is�

The boy grinned again, his expression both pleasant and sheepish. �My name is� Raenef!�

Eclipse felt something explode inside his chest, as he stared blankly at him.

� the demon lord.

Raenef plopped himself down on the ground with a deep sigh. �Whew. I�m tired. I�ve been running around all day today!� he muttered.

What was left of Eclipse�s self-control shattered. How� how can this CHILD be a demon lord!! he thought in pure, utter disbelief.

�I wonder if the others are all right�?� Raenef muttered to himself, peering down the street apprehensively.

It�s not possible! Eclipse screamed in his head.

�I heard they caught the Guild leader.�

Raenef shot to his feet, ready to bolt. He watched, horrified, as a group of guards came towards them.

�Yep. That�s why the summons bell just rang,� another guard replied.

�We should hurry and get to the plaza. I think we�ve got most of them!� a third guard chimed in.

Raenef�s panic level shot up as he recognised one of the guards from earlier. And knowing his luck, he�d recognise him. He took a step back, fighting to stay calm as they guard glanced at him as they passed, frowning.

The guard said to himself, �Do I know that kid?� He stroked his chin, thinking hard. Then his eyes widened as realisation struck, and he whirled around. �Hey!� he shouted, pointing. �He�s one of the kids in the Guild!�

His companions stared at him in surprise. �What?� they chorused. �That kid?!�

Raenef�s eyes widened in dismay; Eclipse watched silently.

�You little rat!� the guards bellowed, lunging towards him with their spears at the ready.

Raenef stumbled back. �Uh oh!� he cried.

Eclipse gazed at them impassively, then narrowed his eyes. Magic swelled in the air, wrapping around the guards and freezing them in their tracks.

They gasped, their eyes bulging as they yelled. �My body! I can�t move my body,� one of them cried. �What�s going on?�

Raenef stared at them, stunned, then froze as Eclipse spoke, his voice soft with fury. �How dare you.�

Eclipse�s face was pale and set, his eyes lit up with an angry fire. He took a step forward. �Worthless mortals�� he hissed.

Raenef gaped at him as a desperate silence descended, broken only by the breeze that ruffled their clothes and cloaks. The guards stared at Eclipse, aghast. �Who-who is that guy?!� one of them whispered hoarsely.

Raenef looked at him for a moment, thinking hard, before suddenly spinning around and starting to run. Then Eclipse�s hand clamped around his wrist, causing him to jerk to a stop. Raenef gazed up at him, suddenly afraid of the expression on Eclipse�s face.

�Where do you think you�re going?� Eclipse asked softly.

Raenef�s eyelashes lowered as he looked down at the ground. �Let me go,� he said just as quietly. But when Eclipse�s grip didn�t lessen, he stiffened. �They said they caught the leader. They�ve probably gathered at the plaza,� he snapped. �I can�t just stand here and do nothing! Let go of me!�

Staring up at Eclipse with a furious expression, Raenef started to struggle. �I�m sure it doesn�t matter to you what happens to a thief, but to me � they�re the only family I�ve got,� he hissed, trying a last-ditch effort to be somewhat reasonable. �I have to do something � I can�t let them die!�

Eclipse�s eyes widened, just before Raenef wrenched himself from his grasp and took off running. Eclipse stared after him, trying to understand what he�d just witnessed.


Raenef burst into the plaza and found a thronging crowd in front of him. He glared, trying to calm his frantic breathing and hammering heart. �I can�t see,� he snapped, vexed. Well, only one thing to do�

�Pardon� Excuse me,� he said, elbowing and pushing his way through, ignoring the snarling, muttering and dirty looks he was getting. �Excu-� he said one last time, finally getting to the front of the crowd. He stopped, his eyes widening as he watched the Guild members being led to the centre.

The only sounds were the tapping of boots against the ground and the harsh breathing of the thieves. Raenef watched them blankly, unable to believe this was happening.

Then all sound seemed to return and the people�s muttering filled his ears.

�The Thief�s Guild doesn�t look so tough, now.�

�Finally, some justice!�

�Oh, he�ll get what he deserves, all right!�

The Guild leader came into Raenef�s line of vision. He gasped, unable to speak as his leader trudged by him. Then he managed to whisper, �Boss?�

�I said MOVE IT, punk!� one of the guards snarled, slamming the butt of his spear into a thief�s back.

�Aaargh!� the thief yelled as he stumbled and fell.

The crowd burst into jeering laughter.

�Look at the big man. Who�s throwing his weight around now?� a young man sneered, malicious glee shining in his eyes. �He looks pretty tame in his shackles!�

�How does it feel to be pushed around, thief?� another yelled, cackling.

Raenef�s back stiffened as he clenched his hands into fists. The mocking words cut through him like blades, each one seeming to cause a wound that couldn�t stop bleeding. Rage seemed to course through his veins in a burning flood.

�Take down their leader and the vermin just scatter!�

�Ha ha ha! Like rats under a torch!�

The rage burst through dams as fragile as air as Raenef�s temper roared to the surface. �How can you people laugh at that?!!� he yelled, squeezing his eyes shut as he trembled. �He�s a human being!�

The Guild leader�s head snapped towards Raenef, his eyes wide and his teeth clenched.

�So what if he�s a thief?� Raenef continued, not allowing himself to stop and thinking about what he was saying, or the danger he was putting himself in. �I suppose none of you have ever done anything wrong?!� he cried.

�Shut up, you idiot,� the Guild leader bellowed, enraged and frantic at the same time.

Raenef stared at him, stunned, as silence fell. Slowly he realised that they were all looking at him, some of them shocked and some of them blatantly appalled. Raenef clapped a hand over his mouth, his eyes widening. �Uh oh,� he whispered, realising that his outburst had come at the wrong time.

�That little rat is part of the Guild too!� a voice cried out. Raenef realised, his stomach sinking, that it was the woman who�s set the guards on him and the other thieves earlier today. �You tried to slither off like a snake, didn�t you?� the woman continued, rage building in her voice.

�No!� Raenef gasped, the sinking feeling growing as his trembling worsened.

�Grab the kid. We�ll take him just in case,� one of the guards ordered briskly and calmly.

�Fool!� the Guild leader shouted. �Why are you still here?! RUN!

Raenef gazed at him in dismay, taking a step back. �I� uh�� he stammered, as his shaking worsened to the point of pain.


Unknown to anyone, Eclipse stood on a nearby rooftop, watching the scene silently with his arms folded.


Raenef finally saw some light of common sense and whirled, his heart racing in his throat and the blood rushing in his ears.

�Grab him!!� a guard cried. The Guild leader stiffened, then barrelled into him, causing him to crash over with a grunted, �Ooof!�

The Guild leader stared at the fallen guard, panting, then let out a strangled yell as the butt of a spear slammed into his back and forced him to his knees. The spear wielder hissed, �You shouldn�t treat your hosts so rudely, tough guy!�

�Boss!� Raenef screamed, as the guards descended on his leader like hounds on a fox. Raenef gazed in horror, a part of him unable to look away. �Stop it,� he whispered, as something inside him broke. He squeezed his eyes shut, as the rage inside him turned cold.

�LEAVE HIM ALONE!!� he shrieked.

Trembling and hardly able to think, he reached for the first thing his hand closed around: a rather ineffective stick. �Time to yell loudly and carry a big stick! Hyaaaa!� he yelled, advancing on the nearest guard. Raenef swung wildly, only succeeding in knocking the guard�s helmet off.

The guard stared up at him with baleful eyes that were glacier-cold. Raenef realised he was staring down at Death.

The guard snarled and raised the butt of his spear as Raenef stared blindly down at him. Before he could even blink, the spear-butt was rammed into his stomach. Raenef fell to his knees with a gurgled, �Guhhhh!�

�Raenef!!� the Guild leader yelled, but was blocked by two spears crossed at his neck.

�Don�t move!!� a guard said coldly.


Eclipse�s gaze sharpened as he leaned forward, his interest piqued.


Raenef slumped onto his side, his arms wracked with spasms as they struggled to support his weight. �I� Ooooh�� He let out a sobbing breath. �I� failed,� he whispered.

A hand tangled in his ponytail and yanked his head back hard enough for his neck to pop. �You filthy little thief,� the guard hissed, his face turned into an ugly rancour thanks to hate. �You got a death wish? Careful what you wish for.� His hand tightened in his hair.

Raenef glanced up at him for a mere moment, before moving in a blur.

The guard let out an agonised scream as Raenef�s jaws clamped down on his hand. �OWWWW!� Raenef�s grip tightened, as the guard�s screams grew higher. �GET OFF!!�

The Guild leader�s jaw practically hit the ground.


Eclipse stared at the scene with wide eyes, hardly able to believe what he was seeing. He�s got courage, that one, he thought blankly.


�Ah tod oo do sdop hid,� Raenef mumbled through a mouthful of flesh and bones.

�You little weasel!� the guard shrieked, looking close to collapsing. �Get off of me!� He wrenched his hand out of Raenef�s mouth with a hollered, �OFF!!� Then he stared at his savaged hand in horror and disbelief, almost transfixed by the scarlet rivulets flowing down his skin. His eyebrow twitched, before he reached for another guard�s sword with his good hand, ignoring the guard�s protest and exclamation.


Eclipse�s eyes narrowed as he frowned.


�You insolent cur!� the guard snarled, holding the sword as steadily as could and ignoring the blood staining the hilt. �I�m going to enjoy putting you to sleep.�

Raenef�s eyes widened as he backed frantically, tripped, and crashed to the ground. He stared up at the guard, realising this was probably the end of it all.

�Raenef, get UP!� the Guild leader yelled. �Run, Raenef! GO!�

The guard smirked as he raised the sword over his head. �I�m going to paint the town red with your blood!� Then he swung the blade down with a snarled, �Off with your head!� Murder shone in his eyes.


The clouds rolled overhead as the breeze swayed Eclipse�s hair from side to side. He stared down at the plaza below, his expression hard. His mettle shall be tested, he thought, watching the guard advance towards Raenef. The boy looked thoroughly terrified, but some thread of courage still seemed to be in him.

A boy would perish� but a demon lord� would live!!

Raenef stared up with clear eyes that reflected the blade swinging down towards him. Then a cloud of dust burst up, enveloping them both. Eclipse�s eyes sharpened as he saw through the rapidly clearing dust.

Raenef stared at the shattered sword, watching scarlet liquid (not, blood, not blood, couldn�t be blood) trickle and spurt through the air, as the arms grew smaller and smaller for some strange reason. He stared dumbly at the bloody hands clutching the sword hilt � all which remained of the guard.

Eclipse sighed in dawning resignation. The people gasped and surged backwards. The guards stared in horror.

Raenef stared dumbly, as deafening silence fell.



Raenef collapsed on the ground, shivering uncontrollably. The guards stared as they surrounded him, realising this slender boy-thief was more than he seemed. �Wha-what happened? What the hell is going on?� one of them whispered in a broken voice.

Eclipse sighed and frowned. It is true, then, he reluctantly realised. He is the Demon Lord. �And the poor thing, he has no idea.� But this had gone far enough, so with a stifled growl, he snapped, �Go!� as he faded from view.

�Could-could this be black magi-� one of the guards was saying, but broke off as magic formed before them. Both the thieves and guards gasped. �Ah! Who�s that?�

Eclipse appeared before them, his eyes narrowed and his expression set. An aura of darkness and danger seemed to swirl around him.

�Hey, how did you get here?� a guard cried, as another muttered, �He�s got black hair! He�s not from around here!� But as Eclipse took a step forward, they all tensed and raised their spears. �Don�t come any closer!� they snarled. �Who are you? What�s your business here?�

Eclipse glanced at the trembling spear being pointed at him, and smirked. After a pause, he purred, �I desire an Ice Blade.�

Magic suddenly swirled around the guards, who gasped and cried out in surprise. But in the blink of an eye, they had been transformed into ice statues, expressions of terror and fear permanently etched onto their faces.

The people screamed and lurched back. �He�s a sorcerer!� they cried. �MONSTER! Somebody do something. He�s a DEMON!�

The only remaining guard near Eclipse said quietly, �Everyone relax.�

Raenef raised himself up to a sitting position, looking considerably ill and still trembling. He took one look at the ice statues, turned ashen grey, and promptly keeled over again.

Eclipse stared at him in vague disbelief, before turning his attention back to the guard, who said sharply, his face an amusing mixture of fear and determined courage, �You! Did you use magic to save that boy? Who are you? What do you seek here?�

Eclipse had to admire the guard�s backbone, so he answered the mortal as politely as he could manage, though it probably wasn�t much by the guard�s standards. �I am Eclipse, Demon of the Third Order,� he announced coldly, drawing on every trick of his rank that he knew. �I desire the freedom of the thieves.� His words had the desired effect.

Both the thieves and the guards guarding them balked and gasped. �Wha-?� they cried, staring at Eclipse in shock and not a little fear.

�What concern is the Thief Guild to a demon?� the guard demanded with wide eyes and a pale face, his composure shattered.

Eclipse gazed at him for several moments, his eyes level and calm. As the breeze swept his cloak and hair gently around him, he seemed beautiful and awe-inspiring and, oh, so very deadly. Raenef stared up at him, extremely frightened. �My only concern,� Eclipse said, his voice dangerously soft, �is my master�s desire.�

Raenef choked, his mouth slightly open. �Huh?�

The guard stiffened, his expression wary as he stepped backward. �A top-ranking demon�s master�� he said, as realisation began to dawn, ��could only be a Demon Lord!�

Sweat beaded on the guard�s face. �Release those men,� he ordered abruptly, beginning to see that he was playing with fire. Half of his men were already dead � he wouldn�t risk anymore of them.

�But� sir?� another guard asked, looking at him in shock.

�I said release them!�

�Yes, sir!�


The plaza was empty except for the two of them. The clouds had gathered once more and a breeze still stirred around them. Raenef gazed up at the demon, who stared back at him, dark eyes intent and fathomless.

Raenef finally found the courage to break the silence first. �Mister� um�� he began slowly. �Are you really a demon?� I always thought demons would be scarier, he thought to himself.


I hate being called �Mister�, Eclipse thought, wishing he could grind his teeth.

Instead, he closed his eyes, resisted the urge to cringe (proper demons never showed such absurd behaviour!), and said curtly, �Don�t call me mister. Please, my name is Eclipse.�

�Eclipse,� Raenef said slowly. �Eclipse. Eclipse.�

Eclipse�s expression faltered. �It�s all right, sire,� he murmured, while thinking, Better memorise it.


Raenef started and looked up at him, frowning slightly. �Huh? What did you just call me?� he asked. His eyes widened as Eclipse slowly knelt on my knee before him, his cloak pooling around him, and took his hand gently. Then Raenef gasped as Eclipse brushed his lips against the back of his hand.

Eclipse gazed up at him, his face completely serious. I call you 'Sire� because you are my liege,� he explained quietly. �You are the Demon Lord Raenef the Fifth, King of Demons.�

As Raenef continued to gawk at him, Eclipse went on. �Please accept me as your humble servant and let me accompany you to your domain.� He kept his face lowered, carefully avoiding looking up at him.

Raenef�s eyes were practically saucer-wide. �Wow,� he breathed. This is all happening so fast. A Demon Lord? �Um��


��is there food available in this domain place?�

Eclipse fought not to let out a strangled sound, as he blinked rapidly. Raenef is a survivor, first and foremost, he thought weakly. It was hardly surprising, he supposed; Raenef had grown up as a thief. �Yes,� he replied.

�And I don�t have to steal it?� Raenef burst out, his eyes large and shining.

Eclipse twitched and kept his gaze firmly on the ground. �No, Sire,� he muttered. �Of course not.�

His head snapped up and he stared in stunned shock as Raenef grasped his hand. �You got yourself a deal, Mist-uh� I mean, Eclipse!� he said with a broad grin.

Eclipse looked at the beaming Raenef, realising that this moment would probably change both their lives forever.


Raenef stared around him with his mouth hanging open, hardly able to believe what he was seeing. This couldn�t be possible! �Is all this� really mine?� he asked in a hushed whisper that nevertheless echoed throughout the vast space. �Wow!�

Eclipse stood a little behind him, as was proper, with his arms folded. He watched Raenef�s reaction with amusement, a small smile playing along his lips. �Yes, sire,� he replied automatically. �Now that you are part of the elite, you no longer need live with vermin. There is nothing ordinary about you anymore.

�For what could be ordinary about��

Raenef turned to look at him, his forest eyes large and clear. The breeze blew strands of flaxen hair around his delicate face.

��a demon lord?�


And so it begins�