Chapter 26

It was like everything in his body had turned off, his power cable unplugged. Oliver’s consciousness fell into that dark void that felt so familiar to him, but stopped before he could become accustomed to it. What felt like falling suddenly became slowing down– stopping. As his mind came to a halt, he felt it gradually pick up speed in the reverse direction, heading back upwards to consciousness. As if he wasn’t moving by his own volition, his mind was dragged back to his body, which should’ve been knocked out by exhaustion or the paralysis. He opened his eyes, the pristine gold ceiling impressing itself on him. He was still in Hell, as he’d most likely expected, and still in Satan’s throne room. How much time had passed?

He blinked his eyes a few time to make sure they worked, and pinched himself to make sure he was actually awake. The pain stung a little, but he could say he was fairly certain he was now if he wasn’t before.

The desire to move his arm and subsequent completion of action happened so naturally and unconsciously that he almost didn’t catch that they’d occurred. He lifted his arm again, experimentally, to make sure that it was true.

He could move again.

From his supine position, he slowly sat up, looking around again. Satan had his back to the group, dealing with matters apparently more pressing than the group of young adults he’d seemingly just slain.

Guess that means I haven’t been out for more than a minute or two, Oliver thought to himself.

His body didn’t feel too bad, all things considered, though he was aware he hadn’t taken half as much of a beating as everyone had. He still felt the pain though, and with it, something else, something different.


It wasn’t the anger he’d felt before, the rashness that had overtaken him and led him to being easily taken out of the battle by Satan. This was a far more all-consuming rage, a cleansing white hot fire. It didn’t burn out of his heart as it usually did though, in a new and unusual way, it felt like he was the rage, that it had become a part of him. The anger had woken him, it was the driving force that had brought him from unconsciousness. He could accept the hatred he felt towards Satan, but it sat around his mind, almost as a protective shell from danger, rather than a flaming oven from which his rational thought was burned out.

He stood up, the anger replenishing his energy, as if he’d woken up from the best night of sleep of his life. He flexed his power experimentally, and found that as he increased the use of it, the fire burning inside of him increased as well, invigorating him.

Must not be immune to it anymore?, He thought quizzically to himself, but it wasn’t quite that. The madness didn’t feel mad at all. It was a perfectly rational anger, one that loosened his muscles in anticipation. He could turn his power up as high as it could go, and he didn’t feel any different, mentally. Physically, it seemed that the more he used it the better he felt. His reactions felt faster, his reflexes increased, and he seemed to be able to judge things better.

He looked back to his friends, strewn across the floor like unwanted dolls. A brief flash of inspiration crossed his mind, the idea that maybe he could bring them back up with his powers the same way it had done to him. He hazarded a glance back at Satan, making sure his presence hadn’t been noted, and quickly scurried over closer to his friends, trying to keep his footfalls from echoing off of the gold and marble.

As he approached, he experimentally flexed his power. Seeing Oz’s eyes shudder open, he grinned with excitement. However, as he saw Oz struggling, taking a deep breath before shouting in pain, he rushed to his side, putting a hand to his mouth.

“Don’t you dare make a noise! Satan doesn’t know we’re back up yet, and I’d like to keep it that way for as long as possible.”

He pushed again with his power, turning it up closer to the max.

“Does that help?”

Oz considered himself for a moment, before nodding his head silently, Oliver’s hand still covering his mouth. After another moment of hesitation, Oz seemed to nod again, mostly to himself. Oliver could see him slowly ball his hands into fists, easily working what should’ve been exhausted muscle. After he seemed to come to himself, Oliver slowly let his hand off of Oz’s mouth.

“What’d you do? It feels like when you use your power on me, but I don’t feel any different up here.” Oz said quietly, knocking on his skull, “I feel great, like I just got put in a brand new body, not at all like I got slammed into the wall by a renegade angel.”

Oliver shrugged, “The same thing happened to me. My powers work on me now, but I don’t feel any crazier than usual.”

After Oz stood up on his own and seemed to be alright physically, Oliver snuck over to Maxwell, Ramona, and Celeste, repeating the process. Only Maxwell and Celeste seemed unsurprised, as Maxwell easily accepted the information Oliver told her about the new benefits of his power.

“I think I suspected as much during the fight, but I was a little too distracted to dwell on it, y’know?” She whispered to him, standing up on her own.

As he used his powers on Celeste, her eyes flashed open, and she began to get up, with no words or prodding from Oliver.

“I thought so,” She said softly, once they’d all gathered together, hiding in the corner of the room, blocked from Satan’s view by his large throne, a large piece of metal that came out of the floor as a winding pathway up, turning into a seat at the top, with a rounded back shaped like a golden sun. Everything about it screamed tacky and flashy, but it was what they’d all come to expect in Hell.

“While we were fighting I could feel it,” Celeste continued quietly, “While you were stuck, you were pushing out with your powers, whether you were aware of it or not. We’ve become desensitized to your power, from all the exposure we’ve gotten over the year, and the depth of use it’s seen has been a lot more lately than before. Your power still works on us, or else we wouldn’t even be conscious, but now our brains have become accustomed to it, and we can fight back against the madness.”

“So you’re saying we get all the benefits of a free mind, but we stay in control?” Ramona asked, her eyes shining with delight.

“I think that’s the case.” Celeste said, “Maxwell’s ribs should be broken, and yet she’s walking just fine. It doesn’t make us superheroes, but I think we’ve been given a second chance with a little bit more strength behind it.”

“Then let’s make it fucking count!” Oz said, though with a little more gumption than the situation called for.

Satan whirled around, his eyes flaming. He looked to where he though he’d left them scattered across the floor, only to see nothing and no one.

“Where are you?! You children shouldn’t be alive right now, and I can fix that easily!” He shouted in anger and confusion, “I wasted my time dealing with you all before, and I won’t waste another minute if I don’t have to.”

What had before been a cruel playfulness on his part was now replaced with the same rage that Oliver himself was familiar with. Instead of the rage clouding his mind as it now did to Satan, Oliver’s anger allowed him a looseness of muscle for him and his friends, helping them to overcome whatever physical restrictions that might’ve been hindering them in the fight before.

Satan angrily stomped around the large room, looking for them around every corner. Every step he took changed his appearance, a tail elongating from behind him, horns curling from the top of his head. His golden curls faded away, a crown taking its place. His body became less beautiful and more monstrous with every step, until Oliver could see that this form was what he’d seen the Dean almost take before he fled into Hell what felt like a lifetime ago.

“He’s becoming the red dragon of the apocalypse,” Celeste murmured, her eyes fixed on him.

Oliver noticed that she was right, that the more Satan raged the more draconic his form became. He stayed bipedal, but his skin had become scaly, and redder than before, until the transformation ended.

“Well that doesn’t really look like red to me, more like

Satan went quiet for a few moments, and they all lost track of him, much to their collective surprise and worry. He didn’t stay gone for long though, and they found him when he ripped the throne out of the ground, tossing it aside as if it were a piece of plastic, not a giant construction of gold, metal, and marble.

“The game is over. We’re not playing around.” Satan said, his eyes still burning with fury. There was no mirth leftover in his eyes from before, only a dark serious void.

The group scattered, running in different directions to avoid him. He hadn’t been keen on making direct contact with them before, for whatever reason, but now he seemed to have no such qualms. Maxwell dodged out of the way, using her power to increase the distance, as his clawed hand reached out to try to grab her.

She slipped through his fingers easily and he let out a roar, having almost completely lost whatever semblance of “humanity” he used to have,  if it could’ve ever been called such.

Maxwell’s movements and use of power came more fluidly to her than she felt she’d ever experienced. Her broken ribs didn’t utter a word of protest as she pounded her feet into the floor at a dead sprint towards the other end of the room, and there was no lag between her thinking of using her power and it coming to be. She could feel the madness, building up behind a mental wall, but she felt as if she was in control of it in a way that she hadn’t been before, and she knew she could keep it in check for as long as she needed.

Oz followed Maxwell, while Ramona and Celeste went the opposite direction. Oliver held his ground, facing Satan head on.

“This should go easily if you intend to repeat the same mistakes.” Satan said, snarling.

Oliver could feel his muscles slowing down, the paralysis not working quite as quickly as it had before. He could still feel the effects though, his body working to move as if it was stuck in molasses.

As Oliver stopped moving, Satan didn’t even chance a grin or a moment to gloat, this time he wanted to end it without expending any more energy than he had to. He swung a large clawed hand down, intending to take off Oliver’s head.

Oliver focused for a moment, feeling the anger that permeated him, the feeling that had let him break out of the paralysis before. Consciously, he worked at moving his body. He could see the hand coming down at him, slowed by his reflexes and adrenaline. He took a deep breath in quickly, and then exhaled out his nose, imagining his body stepping backwards and out of the arc of the swing.

Surely enough, his body responded. As if he was breaking out of a coating of chocolate shell, he felt the paralysis “shatter” around him, and his body stepped back as he’d imagined. Satan’s hand swung wide, missing him, both to Oliver’s moderate surprise and Satan’s shock. He used the moment of reprieve to step around Satan, increasing the distance between them.

With the way his rage transformed him also seemed to cripple him, at least slightly. He didn’t follow Oliver, bending space to catch up, nor did his reflexes and movements seem ultra-fast with the help of time dilation.

Maxwell easily fought against Satan, making it seem as if they were part of two different existences, unrelated to one another. She weaved between his legs, giving him quick space-bent punch barrages on all parts of his body. His legs would wobble as she punched his knees forward, only to find that she was already in front of him, delivering blows to his stomach. Celeste and Ramona remained in the back again, ensuring their own protection in the case that anything might go wrong again. It was only when Satan started breathing out puffs of flaming air in an area around himself that she felt the need to step back for a bit, keeping on her toes by running around the arena.

Oliver thought that all in all, things were going much better this time around. He stepped towards the wreckage of the throne, looking for something to fight with as Oz got Satan’s attention with a few fireballs.

“Looks like you’re not really a dragon,” Oz said, grinning, “cause I though they were supposed to be fireproof.”

As each ball of fire hit Satan’s body, he seemed to be less immune to fire than before. While before he’d shrugged the fire off, only taking minimal damage from the extreme heat, now his body cringed with pain, affected by all the burns Oz’s fire had made.

“Guess you can’t control it, huh? I can’t imagine you’d make yourself weaker on purpose.”

Oz fired ball after ball of fire, constantly moving, never getting fatigued.

“I wish it could’ve been like this the whole time, Oliver!” He joked, laughing as he moved. “The poor guy can’t even shoot ice anymore!”

Satan’s fury rose like a volcano waiting to erupt, and when Oz ventured upon insult, he swore vengeance. He heaved in a large breath of air, staring directly at Oz. Both Ramona and Celeste worked to keep him in place, though they’d seen before he could rip through their abilities like tissue paper, probably even with Oliver boosting their power.

He stayed in place though, apparently unwilling or unable to escape their chains, his abdominal region glowing brighter with every passing second.

“He’s gonna breathe fire again!” Maxwell shouted to Oz.

Oz nodded his head, ready and waiting. As Satan let loose a torrent of flames from his mouth, aimed directly at Oz, Oz countered in the same way. He put his hands together, splaying them out. As he did, fire poured out of them, making contact with Satan’s fiery breath. The two seemed equally matched, the spouts of fire caught in the middle, vying for ground between them.

While they fought, Satan seemed to also be using his paralysis against Oz, trying to stop his hands from working. Oz’s fire sputtered for a moment, buying Satan a few feet of ground between them, but Oz resumed his spew, pushing harder than before, fighting against the paralysis for as long as he could.

As Satan was distracted, Oliver continued looking through the wreckage, finally finding what he was looking for. He managed to rip off a piece of the broken throne, one of the “edges” of the sun, now a sharp spear of metal. Taking the weapon in both hands, he began to run towards Satan, gathering speed. Satan took no notice of him, deep within his power struggle against Oz. As Maxwell saw what Oliver was attempting, she looked one step ahead and saw what would happen once Oliver made his move and Satan lost his concentration for a moment.

She threw herself into action, turning around and instead heading for Oliver and Satan. She collapsed as much space as she could, but Oliver’s head start and proximity to Satan made it more difficult than she intended.

Oliver approached Satan, taking aim with his makeshift spear, and forced all of his body weight onto the end of the spear as he stabbed it through Satan’s upper-midsection, piercing him entirely. The spear embedded itself inside of him, and Satan fell forwards, surprised that such excruciating damage had actually been dealt to him. In an instance of cosmological perfection, another moment of his life was ruined the moment he fell– this time falling onto the spear that pierced his chest from behind.

In the same instance, his fire-breathing cut off and Oz immediately took the upper hand, his fire hurtling towards Satan. Maxwell ran up to Oliver after the spear had left his hands, and immediately hauled him off over her shoulder, collapsing space in front of them while increasing it behind them in order to step as far away from the fire as possible, just at the moment that Oz’s fire incinerated Satan. Satan roared out, his draconic voice inhuman, yet still able to strike a chord in Oliver’s heart. It was pain that he was sympathizing with, he told himself, not the demon. Still, he looked away, unwilling and unable to witness the destruction of what had once been a radiant angel.

Oz continued pouring fire onto Satan even as the roars of anger and screams of pain died down, and then he only stopped after he found that he couldn’t anymore, his super durability finally faltering from overuse and exhaustion. The flames licked at the angel brightly, obscuring a complete view from everyone for a while. Using the moment of reprieve for what it was, they all gathered with each other, watching the roaring fire with bated breath.

As the fire finally died away, they could see the husk that used to be the Lucifer, the fallen angel, their dean, the red dragon.

Before he’d died he’d fallen forwards onto the spear that Oliver had pierced him with, and as ashy pieces of his body fell off of him idly, he stayed there like a statue frozen in time. His once pale red skin was now grey, still smoldering in some places. The crown on his head had completely burnt off, or melted into nothingness. What had once been God’s second-in-command in Heaven now lay before them, an ashen heap.

Maxwell gave him a few quick experimental punches in the side, but the angel didn’t move or respond in any way. More pieces of him fell away, disturbed by Maxwell’s fist, and like a series of dominos, what was left of Satan’s arm fell away to the ground, followed by the rest of his body, until all that was left was a pile of ash surrounding a broken golden spear.

“I think it’s over.” Celeste said softly, her words echoing through the empty halls of the demon capital.

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