Hell is a terrible place. I’m sure, you’ve heard stories about it, but the reality is, as often the case, much worse. Unless you’re the follower of a few of the mortal religions, then you probably believe in a bunch of terrible nonsense… I swear, only mortals could imagine a place where they will be tortured indefinitely after death and scare their children with it. Don’t get me wrong, many demons would love to torture a mortal or two, or a hundred. But there are no mortals in Hell…

No, Hell is mostly an endless war. War and faction politics, which is mostly threats of war. But the worst part is if you don’t die in the first few hundred years, it gets incredibly boring: there is a finite amount of slaughter, treason, dismemberment, rape, and cannibalism one can enjoy in their lifetime. Unless you’re a Wraith demon, of course, and you get off on killing and then hate-fucking anything that moves - they have the most fun in Hell.

But I’m not a Wraith demon, which is why I jumped on the first summoning ritual of sufficient strength and matching requirements and was pulled to the middle plane, where mortals live and, according to some of my acquaintances, the most fun is.

I was expecting to appear in some spacious stone-laid ritual chamber surrounded by cultists in dark robes, candles and maybe a few sacrifices. But instead, I was standing in a small wooden shack, no more than 5 feet across, lit by a single torch in a sconce. I looked under my feet. I stood on a summoning circle that occupied most of the room and was carefully drawn with chalk. I always thought that you needed to draw it with blood, but maybe that was just another mortal quirk and not an actual requirement to summon a demon. Speaking of mortals… My eyes fell on a single person in the room, she looked like a human girl, pretty small, maybe 12 or 13 years old, she laid on her back near the circle, not moving, but breathing. It looked like she has exerted herself while performing the summoning ritual and lost consciousness. I wondered how she could’ve succeeded at all. Small shards of a red stone laid beside her, I bent and stretched my arm to try and grab them, but was met with an invisible wall surrounding the summoning circle.

There are a few ways to bring a demon to another plane, one of which is a summoning ritual. It is a complicated spell, with many parts, and it’s complexity increases with the power of the demon you want to summon. One of the reasons is that you simply need more mana to bring a stronger being to another plane, so you need a bigger and more intricate spell circle to channel this mana through. Another is that summoning ritual was created with multiple fail-safe mechanisms in them to ensure the summoned being follows the orders of the summoner, and they also need to be scaled accordingly. One of those mechanisms is the barrier calculated to withstand the power of the summoned before summoner made sure that the demon (or other summoned being, you can do it with a lot of creatures) is properly bound. Another one is a contract spell, which places restrictions according to summoner’s wishes.

But since my summoner was unconscious, I was stuck in the barrier for the time being. I didn’t exactly have any urgent matters, but just sitting in a tight place wasn’t my preferred time of activity. I gave the girl a better look, as much as I could see from inside the barrier. She was small, had a really pale complexion and chestnut hair around shoulders in length. She wore a plain well-worn grey dress and was barefoot. She looked more like a lost child than a mage capable of pulling someone from another plane of existence.

After a few minutes, the girl twitched lightly and opened her eyes. She sat and looked around like she was lost and sleepy at the same time. She laid her eyes on me and suddenly screamed with a high pitched voice, not standing up crawled as far away from the circle as possible in the shack’s corner and covered her head with her hands. I didn’t need any powers to know she was scared of me, fear was pretty much universal across all planes and creatures, except undead. What was she expected when she performed a ritual? A Hellhound puppy? I sighed mentally and knocked on the barrier with my fingers, making a glass clicking sound.

“Release me”, I calmly told her.

The girl looked at me with one green eye and hid back in her hands, trying to make herself even smaller. I should probably try to be as less threatening as possible if I want to leave the summoning barrier without returning to Hell. I looked at my hands which were made out of the thick semi-transparent shadow, the same shadow all my body was made of. ‘That probably won’t work like that,’ I thought to myself and changed my form. I willed my shadows to take the form of a similar human girl, after which I adjusted it to not be her twin: I become slightly bigger to appear a few years older, changed my hair to be shorter and black, and matched the color of my eyes. I adjusted facial traits to be more sharp and serious. I didn’t know what girls in this day and age wore, so I just copied my summoner’s dress and made it deep purple, almost black. My raspy voice from the depths of Hell probably also didn’t help, I altered it too. I never tried to become human before, but infiltration and change are ones of the main aspects of most Envy demons, so it wasn’t really a big deal and took me only a few seconds.

“Hey, what’s your name?” I asked the girl with a voice an older girl might have.

That seemed to work, the girl gave me another glance and didn’t hide right away, instead, she looked me over carefully and seemed to relax a little.

“A-amelia”, she replied quietly, still shaken.

I gave her a slight smile. “Now, Amelia, why don’t you remove the barrier and let me out, so I could stretch a bit? It’s pretty tight in here.”

Amelia shook her head side to side. “The book said I should never do this until you promise to do as I say!”

“And what book would that be?”

She pulled out a book that she was hiding behind and showed it to me. It was a brown leather-bound book, written in Common on the front was “Demon summoning from Aasmo’g to Zurbulon for novices and advanced.” Both the name and the scope of the book sounded ridiculous, it is impossible to even list all the demons in such a small tome. But the girl seemed to at least be aware of the basics.

“Where did you get that?”

The girl hesitated for a moment, but then replied. “I took it from the evil mister! This and the crystal.”

I pointed to the shards on the floor. “This crystal?”

The girl nodded. I see, the crystal probably amplified her abilities or provided all mana needed for summoning spell to work. It was still impressive, though, she wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without lots of training.

“Who taught you how to use magic, Amelia?”

The girl shook her head. “I’ve seen the evil mister use it from the book, I stole the book and his crystal.”

I nodded, so she was just talented, “Good. Then why don’t you tell me what you need, and I’ll see if I can make it happen.”

The girl straightened herself and sat straight. She looked into my eyes, without any fear this time. “Please, miss demon, help me kill the evil mister and save my friends!”