Chapter 30: Absolution

It took a few days for the group to return back to the mainland, and once they had returned, Charlie had almost immediately found out that her father had somehow been brought back to his chamber, and was resting comfortably.

"Does this dude have, like, plot armor or somethin'?" Angel questioned, upon hearing about Lucifer's return.

"Well, he is the King of Hell (or so we think), so I mean, it's not a far stretch to say that might be the case." Husk surmised.

Charlie spent the next few hours at his bedside, pondering a number of things.

She looked down at her father, Lucifer, who looked like a dead husk on the bed. If he wasn't the King of Hell, he would have surely died when he transferred all that power to the Doom Slayer.

The King of Hell…

For a moment, Charlie pondered once more on that question. Ever since they had gone to that village, she was left wondering about the state of this place, and if it really was Hell. But it had to be, right?

After all, everything came together like it was Hell. Overpopulation problems, the idea of there being lower levels of Hell…


Then again, why were there cities? She had read books from Earth detailing Hell, and none of them foretold of cities where demons gathered and did...socializing stuff. It was more like some endless complex of eternal suffering, people in cages, burning in fires...stuff like that.


"Hey, Charlie."

Charlie turned around to see Vaggie in the doorway. She was deeply relieved to see that Vaggie had almost fully recovered from her initial state. She smiled.

"Hey, Vaggie."

"Hey, uh, would you mind calling me 'Vaga' instead? I, uh, spent some time thinking, and 'Vaggie' sounds really inappropriate. And...if we're really about to reincarnate, I don't want such a weird nickname, haha."

"Oh...yeah, of course...Vaga."

Charlie looked back out the window, only to notice Hayden and his UAC personnel, along with several hundreds of demons, were standing in front of the Doom Slayer.

"I wonder what they're doing…"

"Weeeell...I suppose this is 'goodbye'." Hayden articulated, watching the Doom Slayer as he waited for Blitzo and Loona to begin conjuring up a portal back to his dimension. Usually, it wouldn't take much time to open a portal to their Earth, but since this was entirely different dimension, it required a lot more incantations and such, as well as a good understanding of where they were opening a portal up.

"I've always hated using this damn book." Blitzo muttered. "I was always afraid I might open up a dimensional portal to some fuckin' horrorfest."

"Yeah, about that-" Someone suddenly spoke up. Blitzo turned his head to see who it was, then paled in the face.

It was that royal Owl fuck he couldn't remember the name of, and he seemed very displeased.

"I'm gonna have to get that book back once you're done. And then I'm gonna have to get you back."

"Uh, um…" Blitzo stuttered.

"Doom Slayer!"

The Slayer turned around to see Charlie running towards him, though she was taken aback by the red mist that was pooling from his armor and visor. He had been radiating terrifying amounts of dark energy since the battle, and his mood was quite possibly the worst she had ever seen since she'd met him. And yet, when he noticed her presence, his wrath seemed to lessen ever so slightly.


She wasn't sure what to say. In terms of conversation, there was none. Even more than that, their first meeting was terrible, and Charlie had never felt like she got to connect with the guy. Despite that, he had protected her so many times from death at this point, that she felt entirely indebted to him.

It was, quite possibly, the weirdest relationship she ever held with someone. And she was born in a land of demons.

She sighed, taking a deep breath. All of her worries thus far, in a long and drawn-out session of torture, suffering and humility, had ultimately resolved themselves. The threat to her homeland was destroyed, she was now respected and loved by her people, and those same subjects were ready to head on the path to redemption.

All they needed was a little...push.

In the form of an unstoppable, raging death machine with a terrifying name.

And for once, since the beginning of all this havoc and chaos, she couldn't help but smile. Meanwhile, Vaggie, who was standing nearby, was glad to see Charlie in high spirits again.

Meanwhile, the Doom Slayer was finishing up the last of his preparation to head back to Earth, and the portal was about finished. Samuel Hayden walked up beside him, looking at the portal.

"It will be a relief to be back in our home dimension." He said. The Slayer was silent, though he noticed Hayden was holding something in his hand.

"I have decided that, after your display of...strength and ferocity in the recent excursion, it is clear that you are meant to be Earth's protector. Thus, I shall grant you the Unmaykr, an object I had created specifically for eliminating pure demons."

Hayden brought the Unmaykr halfway towards the Slayer, who began to reach out, when Hayden stopped.

"However, Slayer, you must know this; Once we enter back into our realm, you must ensure that your presence is kept hidden. Revealing yourself to a world populace that has no idea of your capabilities could prove disastrous- Hey, I'm not finished!"

In the middle of his foreboding warning, the Doom Slayer tried to grab at the Unmaykr and pull it from Hayden's hands, and a quick tug of war ensued. In a show of loyalty, several UAC soldiers tried to grab onto Hayden and pull along with him. However, in the span of about 3-5 seconds, the Slayer yanked the Unmaykr from his hand, ripping it off. Hayden looked down at his missing limb and sighed.

"I wasn't sure why I thought I would win that engagement."

As he finished this statement, the portal had completed its transformation. However, it was milky-white, so that no one could see what was on the other side.

"It would seem the portal has finished." Hayden voiced, picking up his broken-off hand from the ground.

Charlie, who was watching the soldiers finish their final goodbyes to their fellow demon/human counterparts, she couldn't help but feel a burst of euphoria.

For the first time in a long time...she felt like...singing.

She inhaled.

"Oh, through all the times we shared-"

No sooner did she begin before the Slayer audibly groaned in disgust and hopped through the portal, quickly followed by Hayden and his UAC personnel. Within a minute, the portal had closed, leaving only the air and a deeply dismayed Charlie behind.

"Yeah, I kinda expected that…" Vaggie mumbled under her breath. Charlie sighed, exiting her pose.

"Well, at least we can get started on redemption-"

But before she could get the sentence out, there was something cresting on the horizon. Charlie squinted her eyes. It seemed to be some sort of harshly bright light, which was rapidly expanding in every direction. She became increasingly alarmed as her eyesight began to fill with this white vision, until she could hardly see anything.

And in a flash...

| To Be Continued: Layers of Hell: Scorched Earth |