“Nightmare.”

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The skies are blood red, crimson clouds drift rapidly over a desolate field of withering grass and dried soil. Withering trees dancing against the harsh winds as the only noise is heard is the harsh wind.

Alex stood at the center of the field. Standing still as he looked around.

“Where… Am I?” He said to himself as he turned left around. “Sal? Lea?” He called them out. No response. “How did I end up here…?” He pondered as he took a step forward. Then he felt the ground rumble.

Before he can react, an ornate chair forced him to sit down on it and bound his wrists and legs with skeletal hands. The chair is made of shattered bones and skulls placed at the ends of the armchair, skulls that do not resemble human skulls at the end, The left having a skull that had 2 small horns on both sides and eight eyesockets, the other having a single large horn in the middle and a single eye still connected into the socket.

“What the!?—” He struggled against the bindings but he can barely make the hands budge. “Ngh!—Can’t break free.” He attempted to summon a hammer made to break the bones of his seat. But nothing came. “I… I can’t make my weapons…”

Contract in progress. Synchronization in progress. Collecting Information.

A voice, feminine and monotonous like a machine echoed around the vast plains, it felt like the voice was in his head, yet it spoke and echoed into his ears.

“Synchronization? Contract?” He repeated what the voice said. “Who’s out there?!” No response. The wind came to a complete halt. The clouds stood still. Alex stiffened when his response was absolute silence.

Information acquired. Designated Host: Alexander Ares. Compatibility of Symbiosis: Incompatible. The contract is made.

“I’m not understanding this. Where are you and what are you saying about a contract?!” He exclaimed as the clouds swirled around him and condensed into a spiral. The earth quaked and split apart in front of him as something rose out of the crack, a skeletal arm with sinews and muscles forming around it as it progressively gained flesh and skin. The arm’s skin is a lavender color, inhuman yet similar to man. The rest of the arm is connected with a skeletal body that was in the process of regaining tissue and flesh.

The clouds descended and wrapped around the figure as it formed into armor, a charcoal black breastplate with golden trims, it only covered the upper torso as it showed the midriff of the figure. The arms are covered with the same armor color and trim. The hands covered in sharp, claw-like gauntlets.

“A… A Demon.” He can tell not from the skin alone, but from the general aura and pressure the being emitted. Unholy, Intense, Nauseating, it made him sick and his stomach turned.

The being is fully formed, showing its legs, it’s leggings had a gap that exposed the inner thighs down to its ankles. The greaves, nonexistent. It was bare feet. The Demon is a woman in figure, beautiful upon first glance, ember eyes, and auburn hair that’s been tied into a bun yet the rest of the hair reached her shoulders. Its eyes were blank, empty, devoid of emotion as it stood still.

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“The Contract is made. Information updated. Independence: Activated.” The voice that spoke around him and inside his head came from her. She blinked eyes as the emerald eyes came to life. She yawned, her arms stretching out wide as she looked down on the bounded boy.

“So. My new host is a Woman? Finally a host I can relate to easier.”

“I’m not a!—”

“Save your breath. I was merely joking. Have you not been listening to the droning words that came out of my mouth?” Her voice had an accent, almost that of a condescending royal. “Regardless this is still certainly better than being put to sleep after my previous host died. And thank you for providing your whole eighteen years of life to give me information and knowledge of the time that I have lost when your grandfather died.”

“Previous host? Wait… Gramps was your old host? You mean you’re—”

“Affirmative. I am the very sword you are caressing in your sleep. My name is Peina. The Demonic Goddess of Gluttony. Though if I recall, you have referred to me and my siblings as… Devils? Isn’t that insulting to give us a shorter name…?”

D…Devil?! “Y-You’re a Devil!?” This has to be a very bad dream. This must be a dream caused by watching the movie about a gluttony demon.

“In the flesh. Though that term cannot be applied to me anymore. So in the Metal, I suppose.” She smiled, flashing a seductive yet playful grin as she lifted her finger, letting Alex go from his chair as it sunk back into the ground. “No use bounding you. You are simply dreaming after all.”

Alex rubbed his wrists once he was freed. “So… You’re my Sword. So tell me why should I believe you that you are who you say you are…?”

“Simple. I’m not a dealmaker. I have been forced to make a contract with you the moment you have held me around your arms. And I myself am cursed to serve mortals lesser than me because of a foolish dare by my brother. Not only that, the one who cursed me turned my true body into a blade. What you see in front of you is what I looked like thousands of years ago…”

He is still in disbelief. A devil has been living in his house, sleeping by the fireplace for years. “But I’m a Hunter… Demons and Hunters don’t really… Pair well with each other.”

“So was your grandfather before he died. And he seemed fine with me by his side.”

“Why did Gramps keep you a secret…? This is something that shouldn’t be kept quiet.”

“Simple. I told him to be quiet or I will eat everyone he loves.” Alex stiffened at the sudden shift in atmosphere. Her attitude and behavior made him forget that he is not talking to just any demon.

“Wh—What?” He felt his body shake and quiver. The threat itself was enough to make him scared because deep down, he knows she can do something like that.

“And I will do the same to you if you ever expose me to the general public.” She isn’t a dealmaker but she knows how to drop an ultimatum.

Alex gulped nervously as he felt a massive weight in responsibility. “What am I going to do as your host…?”

She smiled, sitting down as a throne rose up from the ground. “To feed me. Simple as that. Feed me the souls of the monsters you’ve slained, but also in a literal sense. Whenever you eat, our tastebuds are linked so that I myself can taste what you eat. The more you feed me, the more I will provide you my power. That is our relationship as my host. You feed me, I provide you power. Think of it as something similar to your games. Feed me experience to level up my power~” She mocked using the knowledge she gained from his memories.

Does he have a choice? It doesn’t look like it. He expected to have a normal sword that he will never use. Now it turns out his sword is a Demon and he has to feed it to not kill him or the ones he loved. “I’ll… I’ll feed you.” Alex said in Defeat. He can’t do anything that’s happening to him but accept.

“Glad you understand the situation you are in. Do not worry, my Host, I will not harm your loved ones if you simply treat this encounter as but a nightmare, and like any nightmare. You forget the details. But you know you are scared…~ Ufufu…~”

Alex clenched his fists, he trembled that he felt powerless, like a puppet dangling on strings being controlled by someone else. Peina stood up from her seat as she approached him.

“Raise your head.” She placed her thumb and finger on his chin, forcing him to look up. Showing him a terrifying yet beautiful wide grin that is accompanied by a menacing aura and pressure that felt like his bones were being crushed from the weight of it… And then it vanished completely. Her smile suddenly bright and cheerful. “Just Kidding…~” she lets go of his chin to pat him on the back.

“E—Eh…?” Alex said dumbfoundedly, confused and scared from the intense shift of her behavior. “K-Kidding…? About what?”

“About threatening you if you don’t keep quiet about me. Alex, I’ve been around for a long time, and I’ve been around humans longer because of me being turned into a weapon. And Let me tell you, I’ve grown fascinated by you Humans and Hunters. And eventually, I’ve found it better to cooperate with my Hosts. But unfortunately, whenever I have a new host, the progress of all the power I have accumulated is gone. Which is why you must work hard killing monsters and demons so that I can show you what this old, primordial demon can do~.”

That didn’t help him still feel uneasy. “You say that. But… You’ve established yourself as someone I don’t want to make them angry…”

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“Good! I’ve gotten nicer over the years, But I’m still a very scary woman. A hungry woman too. So you better be careful to not make me really hangry~”

“I’ll… I’ll keep that in mind. If it helps… Maybe the next time you do this whole dream thing. Maybe not turn my dreams into Hell itself.”

“Well, this is Hell itself actually. not as covered in flames most expect it to be, right?”

“Huh…” He got his back patted again by Peina.

“Now that’s enough getting to know each other, it’s time for you to wake up! Remember! Keep this a secret between the two of us. And I will know, because we are now connected~” She patted his back one last time, a strong, hard and forceful pat, forcing him to wake up.

His eyes widened as Alex gasped. He looked around. The sun hit covered him like a warm blanket as he placed the sword aside. “It’s morning…” He stretched his arms as he slowly stood up, looking at his bed to see his friends gone.

“Aleeex!” He heard someone calling him.

“Sal…?” He walked over to the window to see Sal, carrying the massive bag behind her, wearing her adventurer gear. The same goes for Lea who was beside Sal, wearing her hat and mage outfit. “Finally up, Sharky? Hurry up! We’re already waiting for you!”

“We’re not really going yet! We just got back from our place to get dressed and adding more things to the bag! Were going to have breakfast in your place!” Lea replied as she assured Alex that they are not gonna go without him.

“Hold on!” He shouted as he retreated away from the window as he picked up Peina. “I’ll do my best to feed you…”

You know you can always speak to me in your head, right?

He stiffened when she responded to him almost immediately.

“Right. Sorry about that. It’s my first time having a voice in my head.”

You should hurry, they are waiting for you.

“Yeah.”

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