Published April 08, 2018 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 50

Story: Ethan is a soul in the Underworld with no memory of his life on Earth. He is bought and sold by various masters for centuries. Traveling from large industrial towns to scorching hot deserts. During his journey he picks up the skills, knowledge and magic to escape his enslavement. He runs with the intent of living a free life, but is pursued by agents until he's cornered on a remote mountain range. With little time left, Ethan begins to recount his life and masters in the hope of leaving a record of his existence. These are his memories.

Hades Town

70th day on the run.

I gradually clambered back down the mountain range, stopping only to rest, until I reached a town immersed in the alps. It was spread out over several hills. Full of depressing black stone buildings with dark slanted rooftops. A maze of narrow alleys and cobblestone streets. Scattered with people dressed in dull colors that reflected their lives.

I didn't intend to stay for long. Merely creeping through the steep slopes on the outskirts of town, but then I noticed a large brick library looming out in the fading daylight. Tempting me with forbidden knowledge and a way to reach impossible dreams.

I'd been to similar places before, clutching small scraps of paper covered in questions from masters. Things such as what temperature does water boil? Where does the sun go at night? Is the Underworld flat? Would cause other souls to groan in agony and dread those tedious visits to search through books, but not me. I happily snatched up such errands for the chance to examine library collections.

I knew that it was stupid to stay for long... but so was missing an opportunity. As humble as it looked, that place could have answers, and I needed to strip this world of anything I could use.

I waited until nightfall before slowly creeping into town. Every inch of exposed skin covered as I briskly walked through cobblestone streets. I ducked into an alley behind the library and climbed the back wall. Shoving my hands and feet into cracks in the brickwork until I reached a window on the third floor. I carefully pried it open with my fingernails, then slipped inside.

All the lamps had been extinguished, making it difficult to see. I blindly weaved my way around large bookshelves and narrow wooden desks, examining every ancient bookcase and storage closet, until I found a forgotten magic collection stored away in a back room.

There I worked quickly by the dull glow of my crystal. Frantically flipping through books and ripping out any pages of interest. I found myself stopping to examine several paragraphs more closely, before I remembered that there was no time to waste.

"Do you really think you can do it?" said a voice from beside me.

I looked up to see imaginary Alistair sitting on the table, complete with his own imaginary book. Dressed from head to toe in flashy clothes like he just emerged from a party on the other side.

"I won't know until I try," I muttered.

"Dead things don't generally come back," he tisked. "You should know that by now, Ethan."

"I know!" I snapped back, then quickly lowered my voice. "But just because it's never been done before, doesn't make it impossible."

Alistair sighed like he had absolutely no faith in my skills. That smug entitled bastard. "But even if you do somehow succeed, it won't bring your dead girlfriend back. It won't bring me back either," he added as an afterthought. Like he was somehow just as important as her.

"Yes, but-"

"Who was your favorite?" Alistair gave me one of his most stunning smiles. "Me or her?"

I examined his long gleaming hair and hopeful eyes. Struggling to put long lost emotions into actual words.

"It doesn't matter," I finally decided. "You're both gone, and it was so long ago."

Alistair moaned in disappointment and collapsed back on the table. "I'm crushed, Ethan," he said dramatically. "And after everything I did for you."

"Like willingly participate and support a system that enslaves vulnerable mortals from Earth?"

"Now you're even talking like her," he snapped. "I always had a feeling that you liked girls, but I'd have never guessed that self-righteous and preachy was your type."

"How does such a thing even matter." I returned back to my book. Trying my best to block out that idiot. "But now that you mention it, she was less flashy." My thoughts strayed to Josephine. Her grace, figure and unyielding determination. "And more refined. The sort of selfless beauty that only comes along once a century. Unlike-" I looked up to see that Alistair was gone.

I cursed myself for giving into the delusions, and returned to ripping out pages with twice the ferocity as before.

Once I took as much as I could, I shoved the pages into my pockets and snuck out a back door. Creeping down alleys until I emerged onto a cobblestone street with large imposing brick buildings crammed onto either side.

The snow had started again. Softly drifting to the ground like falling dust. All the living townspeople were rugged up in thick scarves and coats. Making it easier for me to cover my face and blend in under the dim street lights. I kept to the shadows and tried to mimic the quick pace of the men around me. Pretending to be just another overworked clerk returning home for the night.

But then I saw them.

A small group of Soul Market agents chatting together at the end of the lane. There were four large men and one teenage girl. All laughing together like they didn't have a care in the world.

I couldn't tell if they were there for me, but I refused to take any risks.

I subtly spun on my heels and tried to quietly walk back the way I came, but there were already several more agents strolling towards me. Dressed in those ridiculous matching gray coats and hats. Arrogantly throwing their weight around like they owned the place.

"Shit," I swore under my breath.

I scanned my surroundings for a way out, but there were no alleys which I could use to escape. I dashed to the closest apartment building and desperately pulled on the metal handle, but it refused to budge.

"Hey! Open up!" I banged on the door, but no one came to save me.

"Soul!" cried one agent, because that's all I was to them, just another ghost without a name.

I moved back into the middle of the street, planning on blasting my way through. I dove my hands into my pockets, searching for a spell, but instead my fingers brushed up against the countless pages that I'd haphazardly shoved in there.

My quest for knowledge had become my undoing.

"Damn it!" I hissed. Trying my best to sort through the paper without taking my eyes off the agents.

They soon surrounded me in a circle, leaving little room to break through, but I could see their hesitation. As though I was a wild animal that would soon bite their arm off.

"Now remember the plan-" snapped one older guy with dirty blonde hair and large bags under his eyes. He must have been the one in charge, but the idiot beside him ignored those words completely and charged straight towards me.

"For the Soul Market!" the agent cried and attempted to knock me to the ground, but I side dodged at the last moment and he crashed into the man behind me.

That victory was short lived because two strong arms soon grabbed me from behind. They managed to hold me there for a moment before I shoved an elbow into his ribs, knocked one leg out from underneath him, dropped my weight, and allowed that idiot to fall over my body and straight into the stone pavement.

What followed next was an all out brawl with me in the middle as the Soul Market bastards tried their best to hold me down, but I could use their numbers against them. They were disorganized. Unfamiliar with each other. As long as they had no well coordinated plan, I stood a chance.

"Enough!" cried the boss. His tired eyes narrowed in frustration. "Can't any of you idiots hold him down for a minute!"

There was a flash of something white as the tired man pulled his hand from his pocket. A soul destroying crystal. The Soul Market obviously had enough of chasing me around the Underworld and decided that it was time for me to go.

"Yeah! Get the dead bugger!" cried a clerk in a black coat from over their shoulder.

"No! You show them, soul!" cried the voice of an old woman from a window above me. "Don't let them pompous bastards push you around!"

We had attracted a crowd of onlookers, several of which were even cheering for me, but it only made it more difficult to escape. The gaps between people became narrower as onlookers gathered to watch the fight.

Four of the agents nodded to each other, then dove at me at once.

My fingers finally brushed up against the crystal in my pocket. I was fully prepared to blow those rotten mortals into a thousand pieces, until one of the townspeople shoved their way through the agents and dove out before me.

"Wait!" the intruder cried. He was a man no older than thirty with curly black hair, dressed in several layers of mismatched clothes. His pale hands extended outwards in an attempt to create a human barrier between myself and those moralless bastards.

"Get out of my way!" cried the teenage girl agent. She held her hands out before her to begin a magic spell.

"Yeah! Get out of my way!" I shoved the intruder aside, ready to blow those bastards out of Hell, but the intruder shoved his way back between us.

"I've studied the soul laws!" yelled the intruder. "And under Soul Market rule number 473, it states that a soul scheduled for destruction can be adopted for free!"

"By Azazel! Lucas, you idiot!" growled the boss like he'd never met someone so stupid. "You can't be serious. You don't want this one."

"Yeah, you don't!" I yelled.

An agent grabbed me from behind and I drop flipped him onto his back. Another two agents grabbed Lucas and started dragging him away from the fight.

"But it's Soul Market policy!" Lucas unsuccessfully attempted to struggle out of their grip. "I'll take him! I'll take him if he's free!"

"I don't need you!" I cried.

"Lucas, you fool," growled the agent holding Lucas as the young man unsuccessfully tried to fight back. "Didn't we tell you to get lost the last time you came round begging for free souls?"

"Yeah, you idiot," said another guy. "Everyone knows that rules aren't meant to be followed."

"They're just there for making things difficult."

"Or give them high ups something to do."

"Why don't you go back to your books and leave the rest of us the frick alone."

Those last words caught my attention. I dodged a magic spell from the girl, then desperately gripped onto Lucas' frayed jacket as another agent grabbed hold of my waist and attempted to pull me away.

"Hey, you!" I cried in Lucas' face. "Is what they said true? Do you really have books?"

"Ah, yeah." Lucas nodded nervously.

"On magic? Do you have books on magic?"

"Yeah, of course."

"Like a library?" I kicked the guy who was holding me to knock him away.

"Yeah, from my uncle."

I let go of Lucas' jacket and threw myself to the ground by the young man's feet. "I've been reformed!" I dramatically cried. I quickly shoved the spell up my sleeve for safekeeping, then raised my hands into the air. "This kind outstanding gentleman has convinced me to change my rebellious ways. I swear to be the perfect example of obedience and servitude if you give me to him."

Lucas stopped struggling and beamed, but the Soul Market agents were less convinced by my act.

The boss let out a frustrated sigh and suddenly looked ten years older. "How stupid do you think we are?" he growled. "We all know that you'll be out the back door as soon as this idiot's back is turned."

"No, never!" I cried in horror like such an idea was unthinkable. The following lies easily rolled off my tongue. "I tire from this horrific vagrant lifestyle. I've learnt that selfishly disobeying outstanding agents, such as yourselves, brings a soul nothing but misery. All I desire now, from the very bottom of my lowly heart, is a nice young master, who I can wait on night and day."

I may have overdone it, because the girl muttered "never have I seen a soul so full of shit."

The boss glared down at me. I could tell from his stare that he instantly knew what I was, and what I was capable of, which was why it surprised me when he said "fine."

"You can't be serious!" cried the girl. "Not after he-"

"But only if layabout Lucas agrees to fund the next expedition that's stuck tracking this bastard down."

"Expedition?" questioned Lucas. He was obviously beginning to have doubts (like any sane person) which was why I immediately jumped to my feet.

"Oh, kind young master." I bowed. "Your generosity, bravery, and dashing dark handsome locks, have swayed my conflicted heart. I desire nothing else but to obey your every command!"

That seemed to sway Lucas, and any hint of doubt evaporated from his pale face.

"You really think so?" the young man said while running his fingers through his dark curly hair. "I did recently splurge on a more expensive shampoo. They do say that the flowers of Persephone do an excellent job of bringing out hidden shine."

"Your head is virtually sparkling, Master!"

"Sir!" angrily protested one agent, like he couldn't believe the scene before him.

"No," said the boss as he tried his best to suppress his own laughter. "Let's see how the grand scholar Lucas handles one difficult soul." He turned to leave, patting Lucas on the shoulder as he walked past. "I expect you bright and early tomorrow to fill out the paperwork."

"Okay," nodded Lucas hesitantly.

I gave Lucas one of the brightest and most innocent smiles I could muster, but several agents made a show of accidentally shoving me as they left. Muttering profanities and death threats like they planned to destroy me in my sleep.

"This isn't going to go down well!" complained the girl to the boss. "We had orders. He was supposed to be destroyed! When the high ups hear about this-"

"Relax," said the boss as he casually brushed her concerns away. "You know what they say in Van Demonsland?"

"Our problem today, someone else's problem tomorrow?"

"Exactly!" the boss laughed.

"Young Master!" I reached forward and took Lucas' hand before he could overhear anything else which could sabotage my chances. "What a pleasure it is to enter your servitude. I must also mention that I've never before met someone as brave and courageous as you."

"Oh, it was nothing," Lucas nervously laughed, but I could tell that he loved the attention. "I'm Lucas Thomas, by the way, but just calling me Master is fine."

"Of course! Oh, wise and noble master."

"I suppose that I should give you a name as well."

"It would be an honor to receive a name from such an outstanding gentleman."

Lucas was quiet for a moment, then he finally said "Tulip."

I cringed and hated the name immediately, but I couldn't afford to let my displeasure show.

"I love it!" I cried with fake joy. "Never before has a master gifted me with such a magnificent name!"

"I like your attitude, Tulip." Lucas brightly grinned and patted me on the shoulder. "I have a feeling that the two of us are going to get along well."

"Of course, Master." I swore that he'd be the last mortal that I'd ever serve. "I couldn't agree with you more."


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