Devilish/Volume 1 is the first volume of the ongoing Fantendo - Drive series Devilish. Taking place in the year 2018 inside the New Fantendoverse, the first volume introduces the concept of Heaven and Hell into the continuity. Following the Devil's daughter, Arial, the eight issues collected here detail her arrival on Earth and the three factions that get involved, Gethen and sidekick Tatsu representing Hell, the angel Amanda representing Heaven, and F.A.N.T agent Tobias James representing Earth.
"Arial, the booze drinking, cigarette smoking, bar brawling daughter of the Devil, finds herself tired of self-indulgence after decades of comfort and ease. Wanting to make her mark on the world, she leaves her home realm for one of the biggest cities on the planet, New York. Once there, she attempts to do good in her own way, but finds that she's pitted against people on all sides. While Gethen, a warrior infatuated with Arial, attempts to track her down, an angel named Amanda investigates her presence, and F.A.N.T works to bring the demon in. Can she escape their grasps and become a hero, or will she give in to her devilish nature?"
- Arial: The main protagonist. Arial is the princess of Hell and the daughter of Satan, but is hardly what you'd expect. Although she engages in a few vices like drinking and smoking, Arial is a kind person who is sympathetic towards people regardless of their origin. Arriving on Earth to escape an unhappy life in Hell, she starts out believing it to be no better than where she came from, but who knows how her opinion will change.
- Amanda: Heaven's greatest warrior and one of the four sent to investigate Arial's arrival in New York City. Although the two are both fish out of water, Amanda prides herself on her morals, never smoking and rarely indulging in a drink. Her strict upbringing has lead her to view mortals as hateful and demons as monsters, but that could all shift when she actually gets to meet them.
- Gethen: Hell's greatest warrior and Arial's fiance. Despite being such a powerful demon, Gethen is rather humble and sweet, having climbed up the ranks after being born to two monsters. Although kind, he's pretty naive, letting people walk over him and not understanding why she would possibly want to leave. Gethen is overly loyal to the Devil, to the point of him doing immoral things at his command. He's best friends with Tatsu, although seems clueless to her romantic advances.
- Tatsu: Hell's second greatest warrior and Gethen's closest ally. While he's more compassionate, Tatsu is merciless and serious, exeucting her enemies with fierce precision. A Ghostborn like Gethen, she seems to be loyal to the Devil only because he is. After years of fighting together and becoming close friends, she has developed a rather strong infatuation with him. While a powerful warrior, she can't work up the courage to confess her feelings.
- Tobias James: A skilled solo agent of F.A.N.T. Once an NYPD officer, Tobias quit the force for a mysterious reason, moved away, and joined the organization instead. A bubbly jokester through and through, he seems to hold deep-rooted issues beneath this exterior. Although a talented fighter, Tobias refuses to work alongside others due to his anxieties and might be outclassed in this battle between forces larger than him and other mortals alike.
- The Devil: Satan, the prince of darkness, Lucifer (although he hates when people call him that), everyone knows the ruler of Hell. Although most would expect a being of pure hatred and sadism, the Devil instead seems to be pragmatic, charming, and laid-back. He also loves his daughter dearly, but don't misinterpret things, he will not fail to punish those who fail him and no one will get in his way.
- Jack: Arial's short and grumpy roommate. Probably the most ordinary person in the cast, Jack is just a poor young man trying to make his way through life. While rude and impatient on the outside, Jack is secretly a very sweet and loyal person. It's hinted that his small size and being gay has lead him to develop this hard outer shell. In his mind, if he doesn't act defensive, others will bully and step on him.
- God: The creator of the multiverse, as far as we know, and Amanda's boss. Kind and boisterous, God is still not above manipulation and intimidation to get what he wants. Putting the safety of his angels above anything else, he values control and obedience, mostly ignoring the council of Heaven to do what he wants.
- Eric Sinn: The director of F.A.N.T. A level-headed leader, Sinn is stern although reasonable. He's probably the most neutral force in the story, not being biased towards or against Arial, only sending Tobias to investigate her for the safety of innocent people.
- Lenny: The owner of Luxury Apartments, and temporarily the desk clerk. A slimey, greedy, and cowardly Garbodor, Lenny often flirts with his female tenants, although always unsuccessfully, and views Jack's discouraging comments as a threat to this. This isn't his first experience with a superpowered woman...
- Death: Claimer of souls, Death isn't intimidating or shadowy, being a wise and friendly entity instead. He works as a bartender in his spare time, mostly as a break to the monotony of his regular job. A good friend of Arial, a conversation with him is what makes her realize she needs to break free.
- Lilith: The Devil's wife and Arial's mother. His voice of reason, she wants to make peace with the mortals and Heaven so she can raise her daughter and live happily with her husband. Nothing good can last, though...
- Hayley: Tobias' partner at the NYPD, Hayley balances out his energetic nature by being more patient and careful. Despite this, they're the best of freinds, always loving to hang out with each other and talk.
- Amanda's Mother: A blonde and british woman who is very similar to her daughter, Amanda's mother isn't heartless but is rather no-nonsense. Pushing her daughter to become a warrior, she has a rather low opinion of Earth due to how she and her husband died.
- Helen Rizzo: The director of F.A.N.T before Sinn and his close friend, Rizzo understands Tobias' potential, but finds him a bit dorky and awkward. Wondering how his anxieties will affect him, she unfortunately died before she could learn.
#1: Three Kingdoms
Arial makes a move to New York City, and three seperate groups catch wind of it.
The series begins with a double page spread of New York City in the evening during a rainstorm. The next panel focuses on a small bar identified by its neon sign as the Rusty Tavern. Inside the bar, a woman wearing a cloak around her is downing whiskey like there's no tomorrow. Captions convey her inner thoughts.
- Cloaked Woman: Everybody talks about the son of the Devil. Lemme tell 'ya, that's not who 'ya need to worry about.
We see that underneath the cloak, the woman has curly brown hair, bright red skin, brown eyes, and is wearing a blue dress with white polka dots.
- Cloaked Woman: My brother Howie's a sweet kid.
In the corner of the bar, a middle aged man and his friends are bothering a young woman who is clearly not interested. She tries to back away from them, but finds herself surrounded. The bartender watches apathetically.
- Cloaked Woman: I'm the gal you don't wanna piss off.
Our mysterious protagonist slams her glass down on the counter and throws off her cloak, revealing a top hat with two horns poking through it.
- Cloaked Woman: Name's Arial. 'Ya might know my dad, him bein' the Prince of Darkness and all.
While the bartender cleans the glass absent-mindedly, Arial walks over to the lady's table and puts her hands on her hips.
- Arial: Are these guys botherin' you, hon?
The scared woman nods and the men turn around to see her. Some are visibly terrified, some are confused, and the leader seems unfazed.
- Leader: We weren't talking to you, freak.
He turns back as his minions back away from the table. Arial sighs and takes the leader's arm in hand, snapping it in two. The man shrieks in pain as they all look on, horrified.
- Arial: Hang out at classier bars, sweetheart.
The woman nods gratefully and runs off as the leader growls at Arial, motioning to his buddies with the arm that's still intact.
- Leader: Get her, you idiots!
While a few run out of the bar, the rest are loyal enough to the thug and shield him. Arial sets her hand ablaze and shakes her head.
- Arial: It's my first day here, guys, come on.
Two of the bulkier men charge towards her, but she hurls the fireball at one of them, burning his face, and uses her super strength to hurl the other into the wall.
- Arial: Just two? Come on, fellas.
The remaining thugs scatter and all arm themselves with empty bottles or chairs. The leader takes the bar's pool table cue stick but remains at a reasonable distance from Arial.
- Arial: This isn't my first bar brawl.
They all attack her at once, swinging chairs and bashing bottles. Arial dodges each attack expertly and kicks or punches them away from her, but one manages to land a hit and breaks a glass bottle on her skin. It doesn't leave a mark, but seems to cause her slight pain.
- Arial: You just made a bad decision.
She proceeds to grab the broken bottle and stab her assailant in the stomach in the chest with it, causing him to fall unconcious. This leaves the leader alone to fight her. He fearfully jabs the cue stick towards her.
- Arial: You dumbass.
Arial scoffs and retrieves a bar stool, swinging it to break the cue stick in half and then bashing the leader in the head with it, taking him down for good. As the once neutral bartender looks on in horror, she tosses a wad of cash to him.
- Arial: Stick up for 'ya customers.
The bartender watches her in awe without a word as she grabs her cloak and silently walks out the wrecked bar.
We then go to a firey realm that resembles the inside of a volcano, with treacherous rocky pathways and bubbling magma beneath them, labled by a caption as Hell. A handsome demon resembling a cowboy and his spiked club wielding female sidekick who resembles an Oni are walking up one such passage together.
- Cowboy Demon: Can't believe she went and left...
- Female Oni: Aww, Geth, I'm sad too...
The cowboy demon lets out a dramatic sigh and walks in front of her as she rolls her eyes. She then "accidentally" slips on the rock and almost falls, but her ally grabs her by the arm and pulls her up. The expression on her face clearly shows that she's head over heels in love with the cowboy demon, but he's obviously oblivious to it.
- Cowboy Demon: Better be careful, Tatsu, who knows where you go if you fall down there.
He continues the climb as she puts her hand on her chest, batting her eyes as she soaks up the attention. As he looks back at her, she goes back to the usual grimace on her face and follows behind him.
- Tatsu: This climb seems unnecessary...
As they scale the cliff and make it to the plateau above them, the two warriors stand in front of a massive figure sitting on a throne made of spikes and bones. The panels purposefully obscure his face.
- Massive Figure: Gethen and Tatsu, you've finally arrived. I was getting bored.
Gethen gets down on his knee and Tatsu reluctantly follows his lead. The figure raps on the armrest of his throne with a single claw.
- Gethen: I apologize for the wait, mister ruler of this world sir. We were wonderin' if you have any information on poor ol' Arial.
The figure crosses his legs as they look up at him expectantly. Tatsu is clearly growing impatient, but keeps it to herself.
- Massive Figure: Shame about the whole thing really, I was looking forward to the marriage. Hell's greatest warrior and its princess, you two would be unstoppable. I would betrothe my daughter to no one less worthy. No offense, Tatsu.
Gethen hangs his head down low while Tatsu nearly gags at the thought. She quickly goes back to her professional image and shakes her head.
- Tatsu: None taken, sir.
The Devil clears his throat and looks at the watch on his wrist. He pats the armchair and motions towards his warriors.
- The Devil: Well then, I'll get down to business. Poker with Elder and Hades is in a few minutes, anyways. I've located Arial rather easily. I could get her back rather easily as well, if it weren't for our treaty with those repulsive winged creatures. So I've decided to send you two instead. I imagine you can be discreet, hmm? Get in, leave no witnesses, and bring my little girl back. I do grow impatient.
Tatsu and Gethen stand up. As she puts her spiked club into the sheath on her back, he puts his hands down to the gun holsters on both sides of his jeans.
- Gethen: Yes, sir, we won't let you down!
His partner grunts in agreement as the Devil forms a portal in front of them. The portal shows an aerial view of New York City.
- The Devil: She's currently playing house in an Earthling city known as New York. As you know, Arial is a...fierce one. But I trust you two to get the job done. Do not make me regret it.
Both of them nod and look to the portal. Gethen takes a deep breath and runs headfirst into the portal, Tatsu quickly trailing behind him. The Devil closes the portal behind them and sighs.
- The Devil: Children always rebel. Not even she could stop my plans now, though.
Our first glimpse of Satan himself is a toothy grin on his face. As we zoom out from his throne, he lets out some eerie laughter.
The next page opens in a beautiful world in the clouds, the bright sun shining down on massive temples and statues. Winged creatures fly through the universe, interacting with each other and enjoying themselves. One of these winged people, a blonde woman with a determined expression on her face, is quickly making her way to the largest of these buildings.
- Female Angel: Bloody hell, I'm going to be late again.
She scoffs and lands on the stone stairs leading up to this pantheon. Walking through it's massive wooden doors, we see angels holding paperwork and files who are hurrying around. The angel pushes through the others and into a large hall where other angels of all species and types are gathered in a council. In the largest chair we see the legs and feet of the council's leader, who is presumably God.
- Female Angel: Councilmen and women-
She then sees a few genderless alien angels glaring at her and covers her mouth. She raises her hand meekly to correct herself.
- Female Angel: Members of the Council, I arrived as soon as possible.
God lets out a hearty chuckle and waves it away with a massive hand. As the council members look to him for guidance, he takes a deep breath.
- God: Amanda, it's no trouble. This is a matter of some seriousness though, and I thought that the leader of the Heaven's Army would be best suited to address it.
Amanda smiles, satisfied with herself. He snaps his fingers and a whiteboard spontaneously appears, with a picture pinned to it. The picture shows security footage of Arial beating up thieves inside a gas station, causing the angel to become somewhat confused.
- Amanda: Sir, that's a-
- God: Demon, yes. Our spies recovered this footage. It seems that a demon, the woman you see before you, is on Earth. As we all know, this violates our agreement. Neither the Kingdoms of Heaven or Hell are allowed to interfere with happenings in the Kingdom of Earth, after that whole war. The presence of this unidentified demon means that they may be interested in starting another battle. In Heaven at least, we are nothing if not bound to the law. This treaty is legally binding, and we cannot let Hell get away with this. But at the same time, a full scale invasion would make us hypocrites. We don't want that, hmm?
They all make noises of agreement, including Amanda. God seems pleased with this, so he continues.
- God: That is why we will only send one representative. Given that this demon is sure to struggle, it being in their nature, a warrior must go. And you are the greatest warrior in our ensemble, Amanda. Highest ranked ghostborn soldier in millenia. The council has decided that you will go.
Some of the council's members are clearly not in agreement with this, but are too afraid or loyal to speak up. Amanda grins and does a courtsey, unsheathing her sword and holding it high.
- Amanda: I shall not fail you, sir.
God claps his gigantic hands together, creating a swirling portal out of thin air that leads to New York City. Amanda puts her sword back and looks up to him.
- God: Go and investigate. Bring us the demon back, Amanda.
She nods and charges through the portal like a true warrior, seconds before it shuts behind her.
A state away in Washington D.C., a wide panel shows the headquarters of F.A.N.T. The next few panels show the hustle and bustle of the lobby, the building's underground prison, and the hall where the director operates. Inside this massive room, an optimistic looking 20-something agent with a badge that identifies him as "Tobias James" is walking up the stairs to Director Sinn's personal office.
- Tobias: Yes, sir, I'm here!
Sinn raises an eyebrow at the young man's enthusiasm but shakes his head and idly signs a file before pushing it off to the side on his desk.
- Sinn: Agent James, correct? I have your assignment here. It is of a...delicate nature.
Tobias nods eagerly and Sinn pushes forward a paper with a picture clipped to it. The picture shows the bar fight that Arial was a participant in. The young agent curiously puts a hand on his chin.
- Tobias: That's a...a demon...
Sinn shakes his head and pulls the file away. Tobias seems bewildered, but Sinn snaps his fingers to catch his subordiante's attention.
- Sinn: We have no confirmation that it's any such creature. Remember, we've encountered other things that are not what they seem. Three years ago, an alien that resembled a bear landed on Earth. It's incredibly likely she's an alien who landed here, and is simply confused. Or she could be a vigilante. In our line of work, we have to depend on scientific fact. Not mythology or assumptions.
Tobias does his best stern face and nods, and Sinn pulls out a file that he looks through. While his boss is busy, he goes back to his estatic expression.
- Sinn: Says here that you passed every exam with flying colors. At peak condition, physically and mentally. Completed every case assigned to you with ease. You're one of our best agents, yet you ask to not be assigned to a team. Why?
- Tobias: I don't want other people to suffer if I mistakes, sir. I...it's for personal reasons.
Tobias' usual grin becomes more somber as Sinn nods and sets the file down. He puts his hands together and his elbows up on the desk.
- Sinn: I don't need to know anything more. I contacted you because you're the best solo agent we have. Squads cause too much noise and damage. You need to bring this woman into our custody discreetly. If people learn that demon-like creatures are parading through New York City, hysteria will break out. Is that understood?
- Tobias: Yes, sir!
- Sinn: We'll get an airbus ready for you. Report to the airfield immediately.
Tobias nods and runs off with a wide smile on his face, clearly excited for his first big case. The issue's last panels show Tobias boarding the plane, Gethen, Tatsu, and Amanda stepping out from their portals, and Arial walking through New York City alone as rain pours down around her.
#2: The Lake of Fire
Arial goes house hunting, while we learn more about her.
We see Hell once more, but this time an urban part of the realm is shown off, with dingy, dark buildings and eerie alleys. A caption identifies the time as a few weeks ago.
- ???: I'm gunna go through suits with Tatsu and the guys, okay sweetie?
In the streets of Hell, Gethen is looking over at Arial with a grin while she stares off into space blankly. He looks concerned and puts a hand on her shoulder.
- Gethen: Are you alright, Ari?
Arial jumps slightly and nods, putting her best fake smile on and wrapping an arm around her fiance. She lays a kiss on his cheek, and he blushes.
- Arial: Yeah, I'm okay. Go on, Geth, I'll see 'ya.
Gethen grins and runs off, waving to his bride to be. She stays in place, taking out a cigarette and lighting it. Although the demons around her seem to be annoyed by her standing in the middle of the road, they're obviously too afraid to say anything. As the warrior runs off, he hums happily.
- Gethen: She's as cute as a button...
He sighs contentedly while Arial lets out a sigh of her own, one that's depressed rather than joyous. Looking over at a large tavern named "The Lake of Fire", she walks towards it and opens the door.
- ???: Hey, kid, come on in and sit down!
A genuine smile comes onto Arial's previously gloomy face and she walks into the bar, seating herself on a stool. Across from her is a skeletal figure in a black robe, who creates two tall mugs of beer and sets them down.
- Arial: I think I might be goin' to too many bars, Death.
The boney bartender waves the notion away and shakes his head, putting his elbow joint up on the counter. Arial chugs nearly half of one of the mugs without a thought.
- Death: Oh, nonsense, you can't get drunk anyways. None of you demons or angels can.
Some of Death's customers look up at the mention of their otherworldly enemies. The grim reaper shrugs nonchalantly.
- Arial: Y'know, Death, I've always wondered, why do 'ya run this bar when you don't need the cash? You kinda got job security.
Death chuckles, amused by the demon princess, and turns around to refill the glass as she downs more and more alcohol.
- Death: That is true, my friend. But taking souls is a lonely business. This job lets you talk to people, do something for them, make a difference they notice. As small as it is, of course.
Arial mulls it over in her mind, while Death lets her think. Her thoughtful expression eventually turns into a hopeful smile as she asks her frightful friend something.
- Arial: Why do you run a bar up there too? Seems a lil' lowbrow for the flyin' guys, huh?
- Death: Alcohol is someone's H-
Death looks around and decides to alter his response.
- Death: Someone's paradise.
- Arial: Guess so.
Cheered up, Arial raises a glass and Death takes the other one in hand, and they clink their mugs together.
- Death: Cheers!
- Arial: Cheers, man.
The next panel zooms out from the bar as Arial and Death continue their discussion.
Arial, with her cloak on, is walking down the crowded streets of New York City, where she stands out from the masses of humans, anthropomorphic animals, and Pokémon. A caption tells us that the time is the present.
- Arial: I've been lookin' for a house. Not very successfully.
A wad of cash appears in her hand, before she makes it disappear again. Turning down the street into a secluded and peaceful alleyway, she looks up at the apartment buildings around her.
- Arial: Given that I can kinda make stuff just appear, 'ya might be wonderin' why I don't buy a fancy mansion. If they have those here, anyways.
She walks through the trash-filled alley and pinches her nose, the smell of garbage in the air. Making a disgusted expression and sticking her tongue out, Arial crosses the alley into a less busy street.
- Arial: The answer is that I gotta keep hidden. A big house is too obvious, and I know Dad's not gonna let me be. Runnin' from my past isn't ideal, I know, but it's my life right now.
Arial looks up at an old apartment building made of bricks, with a ratty sign identifying it as "Luxury Apartments". She seems amused by the seemingly contradictory name, but heads to it anyways.
- Arial: Jeez, I lived in Hell and I think this place is cruddy. They got nice accents, though.
Opening the apartment building's doors, Arial finds that the lobby is suprisingly nice. Decorations and framed photos line the wall, and the front desk has a fresh paint job. She walks up to the desk to see a leather chair facing the wall.
- Arial: Nobody here?
The chair suddenly swivels around and Arial jumps a little. Seated in the chair is a Garbodor wearing a tie, who reaches out a hand to her. She raises her eyebrows.
- Arial: Uh...hi?
She politely shakes his hand as the man grins at her, standing up and waddling over to the counter. He puts his hands down and looks up at her.
- ???: Hey there, welcome to Luxury Apartments! I'm the manager here, Lenny, the desk clerk is sick. No wait, she quit. The janitor got sick...
Arial cocks her head to the side, looking curious. As she looks to the elevator, he goes through a stack of papers and gets out an old, used-up pen.
- Arial: 'Ya don't think I'm...a bit outta place?
Lenny shakes his head and tries to write something when he realizes the pen is out of ink. After shaking it several times to no avail, he throws the pen in a trash can already full of junk and takes out another one.
- Lenny: No, no, let's just say that I have experience with people of your type.
Arial isn't sure what he means, but shrugs it off and looks down at the papers. She sprawls her hands across the wooden surface, looking to Lenny.
- Arial: Got any apartments for rent? I got the money.
Lenny looks up from his papers, intrigued, as Arial reaches down beneath the counter and makes the money appear in her hand. She then puts it back up and sets the bundle of cash down in front of him.
- Lenny: U-Unfortunately, all of our apartments are already...rented out..
The overdramatic apartment manager looks like he's on the verge of crying when a thought pops into his head and he raises his hand up in the air.
- Lenny: I know! Jack was looking for a roommate, it's a great apartment, highest floor. Plus, you'll have excellent service. Especially with a manager like me.
Lenny winks at the demon and she winces, but thinks it over. A thought bubble appears over head.
- Arial: This is about as discreet as 'ya get without livin' in a box. Little flawed, but not bad...I could make it work.
Taking a deep breath, she smiles and nods, pushing the money towards him. The apartment manager greedily snatches it up and pushes a form towards her, handing her the pen. She signs it and mutters to herself.
- Arial: Here I go.
Lenny looks down at the form and raises his eyebrows, but takes it and files it away. Reaching under the desk and rummaging around in the cabinet, he retrieves the apartment key and hands it to her.
- Lenny: Just Arial, huh?
- Arial: They do that where I'm from.
As Lenny begins to respond, someone comes out from the elevator. They look over to see a serious, scruffy man who Arial is a few inches taller than.
- Lenny: Oh! What a convenient coincidence, there's Jack!
Jack hears himself being mentioned and sighs, reluctantly walking over to the desk. Lenny motions to Arial and then to her new roommate.
- Lenny: Jack, I just found your new roommate! Meet the lovely Miss Arial.
He grunts and reaches out to shake her hand. Arial shakes his hand roughly with a strong grip and he looks impressed.
- Jack: Welcome to the building, Arial. Hopefully you don't have to stay too long.
He smirks and Arial laughs at his joke. Lenny watches on, an annoyed expression on his face from the offensive statement.
- Arial: It seems pretty alright to me. A change of pace, for sure.
A small smile comes onto Lenny's face, satisfied. Jack shrugs and walks off, waving goodbye to Arial. She heads to the elevator and calls back.
- Arial: Thank you, Lenny!
- Lenny: You're very welcome!
The princess steps inside the elevator and pushes the button that will take her to the apartment building's very top. As the doors close and it starts going up, Arial impatiently taps her shoes on the floor.
- Arial: Least it's the top floor. I like nice views.
Arial exits the elevator as it arrives at her destination. Walking down the hallway, she checks the number on the key to find her new apartment.
- Arial: I know the talkin' to myself habit can't be any good. I'm used to blabberin' on a lot though, alright?
Stopping in front of the door, she fiddles with the lock using her key and eventually gets inside after some trial and error. Walking in, she finds a surprisingly nice apartment where everything is in order.
- Arial: Seems like Jack's pretty tidy.
Sitting down on the couch comfortably, she closes her eyes and lets out a relaxed sigh. Suddenly, something falls down and breaks, causing a loud crash. Arial jolts from her seat and grumbles.
Back in the past, Arial and Gethen are laying in the same bed. While the cowboy is fast asleep, snoring loudly, she's wide awake. With a sigh, she looks back at her fiance and thinks to herself.
- Arial: I can't do this anymore.
Arial gets up out of her bed in her lingerie and tip-toes over to the closet. Going through her closet full of outfits, she decides to pick a blue dress with white polka dots, a ripped skirt, and a red belt.
- Arial: Geth's a nice fella, and he's gonna make a guy or gal very happy someday. But I don't love 'im.
Slipping on two black shoes and grabbing a dark blue top hat, she stands up and walks over to the table.
- Arial: The only reason I lived like this was for my father, but now I know I can't live for him. I gotta do what I want.
Taking a blank piece of printer paper and a pen with red ink, Arial begins to write a goodbye note. After writing "I have to", Gethen begins to stir. She drops it on the table and runs out of the bedroom while he yawns.
- Arial: I don't wanna sit by and be a princess. I wanna make a difference in people's lives.
As the warrior starts to wake up, Arial closes her eyes and focuses, using her power to create a portal. Gethen groans and sits up as she takes a deep breath and runs through the portal.
- Arial: That starts now.
He rubs his eyes and looks around while the portal closes behind our hero.
In the present, Arial is walking back and forth, hands in her curly brown hair. She looks worried, her eyes darting all across the apartment and to the window.
- Arial: What am I doin'? I don't know how to make it alone!
Huffing, Arial drops her arms down to her sides and paces. The demon analyzes every minute detail of the apartment, which seems to only increase her distress.
- Arial: Nobody's on my side, all I've got is this crappy apartment, and I'm sure everyone's gonna be on my ass!
Going back to the window, Arial spots a thug harassing a woman outside the apartment building. This seems to instantly calm her as she watches the scene intently. The door opens and Jack walks in, looking around.
- Jack: Just here to get my hat!
Arial slowly nods and Jack finds what he was searching for, putting it on his head. Concerned, he focuses his eyes on his roommate.
- Jack: I'm going out with my boyfriend, you gonna be okay, Arial?
A smirk comes onto the woman's face. She turns around and nods, heading for the door. Jack seems confused, scratching his head.
- Arial: Yeah! I'm gonna be fine!
Arial dashes out of the apartment and Jack shrugs, following behind her at a slower pace.
- Jack: Weird woman.
The demon runs into the elevator and frantically taps the button to go down to the lobby. Once it reaches the bottom floor, she runs past Lenny, who seems like he has something to say to her, and goes out the building's doors.
- Arial: I know all that stuff I gotta worry about isn't going away, but I'll figure out the details. All that matters right now is that I'm helping people. Making that difference.
Confident, Arial goes to help the woman and apprehend the thug. The issue ends with a panel that shows the great view of New York City from her window.
The newcomers adjust to New York City, and Arial gains notoriety.
It's another rainy day in New York City, our opening panel showing a small coffee house built from red bricks. Inside this building is Agent James, who is sipping a mug of the hot, black drink as he sits on a wooden stool. A newspaper is in his hand, which he reads to himself as smooth jazz fills the shop.
- Tobias: F.A.N.T. arrests terrorist stopped by Misfits...
Tobias takes a drink and sighs, looking out at the downpour in front of him. A panel shows the newspaper, with headlines and pictures telling more about the state of the world, with massive attacks stopped on a daily basis and heroes from all corners of the city.
- Tobias: When I was going to Sunday school, I never thought I'd see the day where demons were in New York and aliens crashed in Noah.
Tobias stands up and slips a twenty dollar bill into the tip jar as he pulls his hoodie up over his head. Opening the door, he walks down the slippery streets.
- Tobias: But the world changes. It always has. You either adapt, put on a smile, crack some jokes when you can, or you'll never survive. That's what I've learned.
The agent arrives at the small hotel across the street, and gets out his key. After comedically struggling to unlock the door, he gets it open and walks inside.
- Tobias: God, I can't wait to be back in Washington.
He flops down on the ratty bed and gets his cell phone out from his pocket. Scrolling through it, we find that Agent James has only one contact, Director Sinn.
- Tobias: I don't have any leads. I hate to say it...but I might have to go back with my tail between my legs.
He decides to hold off on calling his boss and instead turns the old-timey TV on. A news program is playing, with an attractive woman speaking over footage of the demon he's hunting. 'Intrigued, he turns the volume up.
- Reporter: This cloaked figure, who appears to have red skin and claws, is apparently to thank for exposing a trafficking ring. Although this woman has never been reported about before, she's the latest in a long line of New York City vigilantes with extraordinary abilities, after-
Tobias mutes the TV with the remote and sighs, shaking his head. Picking up his phone, he taps on Sinn's name to call the director, and impatiently listens to it ring.
- Tobias: This is bad. She's out.
The following panel cuts to darkness, with a caption identifying the next page's events as the previous week...
On a bright and sunny day, Arial is sitting at a desk, searching things up on her computer. Jack groans, as we see him sitting on the couch and fanning himself.
- Jack: Oh my God, Arial, how is this heat not killing you?
Arial smiles and we see what she's looking for. Apparently, it's something as innocent as an ice cream parlor named Rainbow Flavors.
- Arial: It's kinda hot where I come from.
- Jack: Down south, right?
- Arial: Relatively.
Jack dramatically sticks out his tongue and shuts his eyes. Arial looks over her shoulder back at him and chuckles.
- Arial: And I thought I was dramatic.
- Jack: Hey, I'm not the one who runs out of the apartment suddenly when she feels like it.
- Arial: 'Ya wouldn't get it anyways.
Her roommates raises his hands up in defeat as she shuts off the computer and stands up. Arial pulls Jack up, eyebrows raised.
- Arial: Can 'ya gimme a ride to Rainbow Flavors?
- Jack: That ice cream parlor for children? I guess they don't have busses or subways in the south either...
Arial makes a pouty face with puppy dog eyes. Jack grunts and stands up, running a hand through his hair and grabbing his car keys off the wooden desk next to the couch.
- Jack: Fine, fine, let's go.
Arial jumps up happily and grins, following behind Jack. After a silent ride through the elevator, Arial runs past Jack, who reluctantly follows her. Lenny looks up from his desk and calls out to the demon.
- Lenny: Hey, Arial, got any plans for tonight?
- Arial: Yes!
Lenny sighs sadly and looks down as Jack rolls his eyes and goes out the doors after Arial. He unlocks his car and motions for her to get in the pasenger's seat.
- Jack: You really have no license? Or car?
- Arial: Didn't really need one back then. New York's cramped.
- Jack: You have no idea.
As they get in, Jack drives off, shouting and cussing at the drivers around him. Arial seems amused at the man's temper and stubbornness while he dodges traffic.
- Arial: 'Ya got some temper, huh?
- Jack: If you're like me, you either stand up to people or they step on you.
- Arial:...Makes sense.
Jack parks outside the small, dilapidated building and Arial gets out with a grin. She waves at Jack happily.
- Arial: I owe 'ya one!
- Jack: Yeah, you do.
Jack shows a small smile as he drives away. Arial narrows her eyes and scowls as she looks at the doors of the ice cream parlor. Thought bubbles reveal her inner monologue.
- Arial: I'm adjustin' pretty well to this whole vigilante thing. Sad to say, Earth and Hell ain't so different.
The demon princess opens the doors and puts on a happy face as a facade. Walking up to the counter, the tall, slender employee smiles warmly at her.
- Employee: Welcome to Rainbow Flavors, what can I get for you?
Suddenly, Arial starts speaking Spanish perfectly, her New Yorker accent seemingly disappearing. The employee, surprised, listens intently to the customer in front of him.
- Arial (Subtitled): I was looking for the back.
He nods and discreetly leads her behind the counter, moving a shelf out of the way to reveal a metal door. She smirks and then grabs his head, slamming it into the door and knocking him out with a nasty concussion.
- Arial: Trust me, he deserves it.
Arial uses her super strength to tear the door of its hinges without so much as looking at the employee's key. After throwing it to the side haphazardly, she looks down at the cement staircase that leads underground.
- Arial: And as far as the Spanish thing? Well, you ever notice that dumb thing where aliens are speakin' the same language as Earthlings do? There's actually a reason for it.
The hero steps down the stairs, her gaze darting around. At the bottom of the staircase we see winding, grimey tunnels, dried blood and other fluids on the wall. Arial looks disgusted and gags.
- Arial: Earthlings are pretty egocentric. Most of the languages, less they're recent, were introduced by us angels and demons to all the planets. That was before the big war, 'course.
Creating a fireball in her hand, Arial lights up the underground, taking a left turn. Groans and cries can be heard in the distance.
- Arial: Since I'm one of those ghostborn guys, I don't really got a native language. Which means if we came up with it, I can speak it. No accent either. Doesn't come in handy often, but when it does, I'm thankful.
She hears someone stepping towards her down the tunnel, so she hurls the flame forward, hitting the thug and setting him on fire.
- Arial: I've been doin' my thing here for a bit. The other day, I took down a few gang members trying to snatch a lady and her daughter. They're currently in the hospital with broken ribs, but I knew they weren't alone. So I looked into it.
Arial runs forward and generates a bucket of water in hand, pouring it on him to silence his screams. He faints from the pain, as she hears several guns being cocked. Realizing she's too late, she turns to see four criminals with machine guns in hand. The demon princess raises her hands to seemingly surrender.
- Arial: Aww, crap.
Our hero then creates an iron shield and lowers it as they open fire on her. Walking forward slowly, the shield takes the brunt of each bullet. Arial growls and tosses the shield forward like a frisbee, knocking them all over like bowling pins and taking them out. She brushes off her hands and sprints quietly, hopping over their bodies and picking it up.
- Arial: Turns out this Rainbow Flavors place is a front for a people traffickin' ring. Seems Earth might be worse than Hell, but I'm an optimist.
Arial sees several cells in the distance, with humans, anthropomorphic animals, and Pokémon of all ages locked up in them.
- Arial: I get I'm probably not the ideal hero. 'Ya see, back on Hell, us warriors are kinda encouraged to maim and murder our enemies. But your heroes are prolly more merciful.
She runs up to one, a Mexican women and two children inside. There's dirt and blood on their faces, and the cells only have the bare minimum for living inside them. The woman shouts at Arial in spanish.
- Arial (Subtitled): I'm here to help, I'm a friend. Ignore the red paint on my face. The horns too, it's just a costume.
The woman nods, a relieved smile on her face. As one of the traffickers walks down the hall to investigate, Arial punches him in the face, knocking him right out.
- Arial: Thankfully, these guys don't deserve much mercy.
The demon princess creates a cell phone in her hand and calls 911, using her other hand to break open the bars in the meantime.
A caption says that we're back in Hell, this mountainous area consisting of several rocky cliffs above an endless sea of molten magma. Gethen and Tatsu are standing on top of the tallest one, back-to-back with the cowboy's dual pistols drawn and the Oni's spiked club in her hand.
- Gethen: You think this is the end, Tats?
- Tatsu: Not by a few attempted escapees...
One of the demons, a particularly feral beast, teleports in a puff of purple smoke onto the cliff in front of Gethen. He leaps towards the warrior, who shoots it once in the chest to knock it back and again in the head to kill it. The bullets glow red as Tatsu looks over her shoulder.
- Tatsu: Ooh, new bullets?
- Gethen: They call 'em Demonkillers, and as I'm sure you can reckon, a single one can put one of our kind down. Nobody outside here has a single one.
She seems impressed as a demon catches her off guard, leaping onto her and slashing her chest. She cries out in pain and almost falls into the lava, but Gethen grabs her hand and puts a bullet in the demon's head.
- Gethen: Nobody takes down my partner!
Tatsu grins as she spots a demon from behind her crush. Narrowing her eyes, she hurls her weapon at the monster, one of it's spikes striking the demon's head and knocking him unconcious. He falls down the hill and into the lava.
- Tatsu: Thank you for the help, Geth.
- Gethen: 'Course.
Gethen pulls Tatsu back on top as demons surround them on all sides. Both of them circle around the cliff, Tatsu using her club as a boomerang and Gethen shooting the demons down with his pistols. After taking down all the demons, the final one jumps towards him, but is stabbed in the chest with the club by Tatsu before he can attack.
- Gethen: Thank you!
- Tatsu: It's no big deal...
The two take deep breaths, tired out by the fight. Turning around, the duo are face-to-face on the small pillar. With their chests touching and sweat running down their faces from the exhaustion of battle, the Oni blushes.
- Gethen: Hey, Tats, I got something to ask you...
- Tatsu: Really?
Tatsu looks both overjoyed and anxious as Gethen scratches the back of his neck nervously. He looks up and around at the stalactites that cover the top of Hell.
- Gethen: Tatsu...will you be my Best Man?
The next panel then cuts back to the present as we see it was Tatsu's flashback. She has her hand on her chin as she stares out into space, the two warriors both sitting in a Chinese restaurant. Gethen takes an obnoxious sip of his fountain drink.
- Gethen: This food is delicious! Tatsu?
He puts a hand on her shoulder as she jolts awake from her daydream. She smiles and blinks repeatedly, running a hand through her jet black hair.
- Tatsu: Yes. It's enjoyable.
The old woman who runs the shop turns on an old radio, fiddling with the tuner and causing static noises to come out of the machine. Tatsu grits her teeth together and looks annoyed, preparing to speak up when she finally tunes into a station. She lets out a sigh of relief while Gethen fiddles with his chopsticks, trying to pick up a piece of sweet and sour chicken.
- Radio Host: I mean, who does this woman think she is? Running around New York City, killing criminals, making the police look like fools, it's chaos!
Gethen coughs, nearly choking on the food. They turn to each other and raise their eyebrows, Gethen smacking his plastic cup down on the table.
- Gethen: That's Arial!
- Tatsu: And now the mortals know about her. Which means the angels are next.
The two stand up from their seats and run out the doors of the establishment without paying, causing the bell to ring. The old woman looks annoyed and yells at them in Chinese.
A panel shows a ritzy, high-rise hotel in New York City. Inside one of the rooms near the top floor, someone is showering. The furnished state of the bedroom is a stark contrast to Arial's living quarters.
- ???: Where are the bloody towels?
The person showering turns off the water and dries themselves, soon after stepping out of the bathroom. We see that it's Amanda, with her glasses off and hair down. A soft white towel is the only thing covering her body.
- Amanda: I am surprised how tolerant Earthlings are nowadays.
Amanda sits down on the bed and fiddles with the TV remote, which seems utterly alien to her. After getting it to turn on, she sees a soap opera on television and scoffs in disgust.
- Amanda: My mum always told me that mortals were cruel and hateful. But no one batted an eye at my wings and I. Except that one woman who asked me if I knew a Unten...what an odd name.
She thinks it over before waving it away, flipping through channels. She eventually stops on a news channel, the same one that Agent James was watching.
- Reporter: The woman was also spotted exiting the Luxury Apartments building on security cameras earlier that day.
A smirk comes onto the angel's face as she turns the television off. Reaching over next to the comfortable bed, she pulls her sword out from it's sheath and runs her hand along it.
- Amanda: It's time to kill that demon.
The issue's final panel focuses on her narrowed blue eyes and angular eyebrows.
#4: Hand of God
Someone catches up with Arial, and we learn more about the Devil.
We see the Devil and a female demon who resembles Arial leaning against a stone wall covered in moss and vegetation. They're both panting and sweating, battle cries being shouted in the background. A caption identifies the time as thousands of years ago.
- The Devil: I can't wait until we destroy those damn angels. And the mortals too, for siding with them.
- Female Demon: Oh, Lucifer, as if you aren't a big softie.
Lucifer, as she calls him, shows a smile as she turns toward him and kisses his cheek. He runs a hand through her curly brown hair and his smile turns into a grin.
- Lucifer: Fine, maybe we can have peace with the mortals. Maybe even the angels and that bully God. Anything so this war can be over, Lilith.
- Lilith: We've barely had any time to spend with the baby. We don't even know her name yet.
- Lucifer: She's just as gorgeous as you are, Lily. We'll have an eternity to spend together, just me and my two gi-
Suddenly, Lilith gasps and Lucifer looks down to see a spear impaling her through her chest. Blood runs down from the wound and drips onto the ground as she falls back and the human warrior who stabbed her flees.
- Lucifer: Lilith!
The demon drops to his knees and covers his mouth, shaking. Lilith pants and swallows, clutching her chest as she looks up at the man she loves.
- Lucifer: My powers! I can save you!
- Lilith: There's...not enough...time...
- Lucifer: B-But, what about...
- Lilith: You know...that once we d-die...we can't come back...ugh...
He sobs as he realizes he's helpless to save the only person he truly cares about. She wipes away his tears and smiles weakly.
- Lilith: Name her...you have to name her...Arial. It m-means...
- Lucifer: Beautiful.
She shuts her eyes as she bleeds out right there. His soldiers crowd around him, shocked and saddened. One quietly speaks to him.
- Soldier: Sir, what should we do? They just surrendered.
- Lucifer: Kill them all.
His saddened expression turns into one of pure, raw hatred. He then clenches his fists as the soldier nods.
- Soldier: Yes, sir.
Lucifer then teleports in front of the human warrior, who's running back to his faction's base. The demon king takes the spear, snaps it in half with his bare hands, and thrusts the sharpened tip into the warrior's jaw, brutally murdering him. To dispose of the body, he puts his hand on the dead soldier's arm and burns his body to ashes.
- Lucifer: They'll...they'll pay for this. Every last one of them.
He teleports back onto the battleground as all the demons charge towards the weaker human army, ruthlessly murdering them.
Back in the present, Arial is laying on the couch in her apartment. Snow is falling outside her window as she generates various cell phones and then makes them disappear.
- Arial: Jeez, Earthlings make a ton of these...which one do I pick?
She then hears Jack opening up the door as she yawns and sits up. He's carrying a hot cup of coffee and an iced coffee with caramel drizzle. After closing the door behind him, he walks over and hands her the cold beverage.
- Jack: I dunno how you drink that. Looks like diabetes in a cup.
- Arial: I can't really get sick, Jack.
Jack grunts and shrugs, sipping the black coffee. She puts her feet up on the couch and downs the drink as if it were a mug of beer. He looks at her, fascinated.
- Jack: That your power?
- Arial: That and a few other things. The horns and tail are just for show, though.
- Jack: You ever hear of the school for those powered people? Boltzmann? I had a friend who went there.
Arial frowns and shakes her head. Jack sits on the armrest and yawns as he looks out at the wintry weather and shakes his head.
- Jack: It should not be snowing outside, this time of year...
- Arial: Never really got that opportunity.
He seems intrigued and looks over to the demon princess. By now, she's already drank all of the coffee and tosses the cup into a trash can.
- Jack: Some information about the mystery gal?
- Arial: It's not really that interesting. Just makes me wonder how life coulda been different if I was here.
- Jack:...New York City?
Arial realizes that he wouldn't know what she was talking about, so she waves it away. Jack hops up and walks off as she mulls things over.
- Arial: Hey, Jack, what cell phone would you recommend?
Her roommate peers out from behind the doorway and looks confused.
- Jack: Are you kidding me?
The next panel shows Amanda sorting through the hotel's closet and taking a suit of golden armor off the rack. She smirks and walks over to the bed.
- Amanda: Demons are tricky, I need to come prepared. Whatever she'll use...shouldn't piece this armor.
She grabs the TV remote and turns it on to a music channel. As hard rock plays, she hums the melody to herself.
- Amanda: Quick...easy...clean. This is practically a bloody vacation.
In several panels, Amanda pulls her chain mail boots up and puts on plates over her waist, torso, and chest. We then see her standing up, hands on her hips in the heavy armor. She unsheathes her sword and grins.
- Amanda: It's time for the hunt.
The page ends with Arial, in a coat and sweatpants, whistling a song with a new cell phone in hand. She's walking outside the apartment building in the snow as we see Amanda determinedly flying towards her target.
As Arial hears the wind whistling, she turns around to see Amanda charging towards her from the skies. Before she has time to react, the angel slams her sword into the demon princess' gut, causing her to drop her phone into the snow and fall back onto the ground with a groan of pain.
- Arial: Oww...who the hell are you?
Amanda lands on the ground and triumphantly points her sword forward at Arial with a smirk.
- Amanda: I'm Amanda, Heaven's greatest warrior, and you're g-
She suddenly generates a sword in her hand and slashes the warrior across the face, leaving a cut on her cheek. Amanda gasps, surprised.
- Arial: Gonna shut you up? That was a new phone, by the way, I'm lucky I can make more!
The angel swings her sword forward at the demon angrily, with Arial confidently raising her sword to block the attack. As Amanda's sword cuts through hers like butter, her expression softens.
- Amanda: This sword slays demons, it can certainly cut through that hunk of metal.
- Arial::...Is it too late to talk this over?
She ruthlessly attacks Arial, cutting through her outfit and leaving her stomach bleeding. The demon princess yelps and clutches her wound.
- Amanda: What are you here for, demon?
- Arial: I'm just...just tryin' to help people...damn that hurt...
Blood drips onto the white snow, turning patches of it a crimson red. Faced with a real injury, Arial winces and closes her eyes, prepared to die.
- Amanda: What are you doing? Where are the cheap tricks, the taunting, everything you bloody demons are known for?!
- Arial: H-Ha, you're pretty violent and angry for an angel, huh?
Amanda, rather than killing her there, helps her up and cleans the blood off of it with her hand. Arial seems confused but slowly backs away.
- Arial: What are 'ya doin'? You had me there...I've never seen a sword like that...
- Amanda: I want a fair fight. I just wasn't expecting one from your kind.
The demon raises an eyebrow as a grin comes onto her face. She creates two fireballs in her hands as Amanda shows a smug smile.
- Arial: Guess we're both full of surprises.
- Amanda: I suppose so.
Arial hurls the flames towards Amanda, who weaves through them and stabs forward. This time, Arial narrowly dodges the attack and slugs her in the jaw. The angel grunts and spits blood.
- Amanda: You're here and you know how to put up a fight, you must be one of the Devil's warriors.
- Arial: I'm not, but 'ya didn't seem like 'ya wanted to talk!
She throws another punch at Amanda, but this time she blocks with her sword and Arial's fist collides with the cold hard steel. Arial grimaces and wrings her hand.
- Amanda: I'm not all mouth and no trousers, don't let my actions confuse you.
- Arial: I don't even know what the hell that means!
Amanda chuckles and repeatedly swings her sword at her opponent, knocking her down and leaving cuts across her body. Arial pants as she tries to recover, Amanda raising the weapon for the killing blow.
- Arial: Look, lady-
- Amanda: It's Amanda.
- Arial: Look, Amy, I'm not tryin' to hurt anyone here. I'm tired of Hell, I wanna start helpin' people. I'm not like my dad.
- Amanda:...Your dad?
To get her off, Arial creates a shotgun inside her hands and fires it, blasting Amanda back. While the armor takes the brunt of the gunfire, she pants, shocked by the attack.
- Arial: Yeah, I'm the big guy's daughter. I thought 'ya knew.
- Amanda: I wasn't sent to keep the peace. I was sent to kill the Devil's daughter and incite war...
Arial walks over and shrugs, reaching out a hand to Amanda. She's surprised by the kindness after the bloody fight they were in, but takes Arial's hand and they share a smile.
- Arial: Y'know, for how high up we act, I have a feelin' we're just like the mortals. None of us are perfect.
- Amanda:...Yes, I would suppose so. Maybe we should have talked. I seem to lean towards violence.
- Arial: You and me both.
They look around at the blood on the ground and take deep breaths. Arial turns to see a person watching them in awe who runs off in terror as he sees her gaze.
- Amanda: I need to...think this over.
- Arial: Looks like I got some things to think about too, with you guys after me.
Amanda and Arial shake hands and go their separate ways, the demon heading back to tend to her wounds and the angel flying away.
A taxi cab pulls up in front of the Luxury Apartments base as Agent James gets out of the car, handing cash to the driver. While he drives off, we see that Tobias is in sunglasses and a hoodie.
- Tobias: Good thing the Director had a press conference about the footage. Seems people aren't as fazed by demons, or whatever she is, as we thought.
He takes a look at the bright sun shining down on the snowy road, slowly melting it. As Tobias slowly walks forward, he spots dried blood on the streets.
- Tobias: What the hell happened here?
Tobias turns his gaze to the apartment building in front of him, specifically the upper floors. He sighs and shakes his head.
- Tobias: All that's left here...is to see what her intentions are.
Taking a deep breath, Tobias walks off towards the front door. The final panel of the issue shows a zoomed out shot of the frosty city and the sun in the sky.
Arial and her opponent recover from their battle while see glimpses of their pasts.
The issue opens on Hell, with the Devil and Arial as a child spending time together in front of his throne. She has her mother's hair and her father's eyes, and is missing a tooth or two. She's wearing a blue satin dress and knee high socks, and she's skipping around happily. The Devil watches her, a small smile coming onto his face.
- The Devil: Make sure to be careful, Ari, I won't always be there to rescue you.
- Arial: Okay, Daddy!
Arial curiously walks over to the edge of the plateau and looks down to see bubbling lava beneath her as well as the Devil's soldiers leading a group of demons and their children forward with spears and swords. She raises an eyebrow.
- Arial: Why do they hurt them, Daddy? Aren't they like us?
The Devil walks over and sighs, picking his little girl up and carrying her away. She puts her hands on his cheeks and he smiles softly.
- The Devil: No, Arial. We're special. We can do things that they can't. We're better than them, we're stronger.
Arial scratches her head curiously and her father pecks her nose before gently setting her down. Arial sits with her legs crossed, pondering the statement with her hands on her chin.
- Arial: Just because someone's stronger...doesn't mean they're better. Does it?
He sits down next to her and wraps an arm around her, using his other hand to project a portal in front of her. She looks at it in awe.
- The Devil: You can be stronger in more than one way, Ari. The demons down there have hurt people. It's in their nature to do these things. And their children will grow up to hurt people too. We have stronger hearts than them, Ari. You and I are special. We can change things for the better.
Arial nods, but is clearly still reluctant to accept the notion that she's better than them. He closes the portal and looks down at her.
- The Devil: But we have to use our powers carefully. You can't just go making portals and doing whatever you want, Ari, that leads to people getting hurt. We don't want that, do we?
- Arial: No, Daddy.
The Devil clears his throat and stands up, walking off and sitting down on his throne. As Arial thinks it over, she turns to her father.
- Arial: Why do the men with the spears call you the Devil, Daddy?
- The Devil: It means "leader", sweetie.
- Arial: Why not your real name?
The Devil frowns and puts his hands together as Arial looks out at the realm below them.
- The Devil: Your mother called me that. It's special. Not anyone can just use it.
Arial smiles at the mention of her mother and stands up, walking over to seat herself in the Devil's lap. He brushes her curly hair.
- Arial: What was she like?
- The Devil: Kind, beautiful, smart...perfect. Just like you.
The young princess giggles and grins, satisfied with his answer. He grins too as she hops up and goes back to playing. His look of happiness turns to one of sadness and regret.
- The Devil: She deserved better.
In the next panel, we return to the present, where Arial is taking a nap on her couch. Jack is hard at work on his laptop with a mug of coffee on his desk when someone rings the door.
- Jack: We don't want any!
His shouting wakes her up as she smiles, amused. Running a hand through her hair, she gets up and walks over to answer the door.
Arial answers the door to see Agent James in sunglasses and a hoodie. She raises an eyebrow as Jack looks over to his roommate.
- Jack: Anyone 'ya know?
- Arial: I don't think so.
Tobias extends a hand and a smile, and Arial shakes his hand politely. Jack goes back to typing, too focused on his job to really pay attention.
- Tobias: I'm Agent Tobias James with F.A.N.T.
Arial still looks confused, the organization's name being unfamiliar to her. He awkwardly shuffles through his pocket and gets out his wallet, presenting his badge.
- Arial: Oh yeah, F.A.N.T.! Thank you for your umm...service?
- Tobias: I have a few questions to ask you, mam.
She lets the agent in with a shrug, and he stands up over the couch. Arial casually flops onto it, as James looks over to her roommate.
- Tobias: Should we conduct this in private?
As Jack is about to speak his mind, the demon princess briefly thinks it over before shaking her head.
- Arial: No, he's done a lot for me, more than I probably deserve. He stays.
He smiles to himself slightly and gets back to work as Arial lazily puts her feet up on the couch. Tobias nods and looks around the apartment idly.
- Tobias: Fine with me.
- Arial: Whaddya have to ask, officer? Sir? Captain?
- Tobias: Tobias is fine, miss...?
- Arial: You can call me Arial.
Tobias pulls out a notepad and pen, clicking it as he searches the room with his eyes for anything of note.
- Tobias: I'm sure you've heard about your reputation.
- Arial: I kinda try to lay low. But when 'ya helping people, it gets a bit hard, huh?
- Tobias: I understand that. Why the vigilante act, though? I've seen former agents with a compulsion to help, I've seen independent organizations...but you just came out of nowhere.
- Arial: I've always seen people get hurt. Some people who deserve it, yeah. But people without a chance. People with no way to defend themselves. I wanted to stop that.
- Tobias: Why not stop that where you're from?
Arial awkwardly pauses and looks down, speechless and ashamed of herself. She then goes back to her familiar smile and clears her throat.
- Arial:...I dunno. But you guys clearly need the help.
Tobias smiles and nods, understanding her a bit better. Arial sits up and puts her hands together expectantly as Jack takes a sip.
- Tobias: Where do you come from, anyways? Another planet? An experiment?
- Arial: It's...another place. We kinda call it...Hell.
Jack nearly chokes on the coffee but swallows it and regains his composure, looking surprised. He stays silent though, looking at the two, and Tobias seems equally shocked.
- Tobias: That...that raises a lot of questions, I'm not going to lie. But I'm here strictly to know if you're a danger to the people of Earth. Can you answer that?
- Arial: I don't wanna hurt people. I've never wanted that. If I can help people, stay hidden, and live peacefully, that's all I want.
- Tobias: So you're running?
- Arial: Isn't everybody?
Agent James nods, knowing fully well what she means. As he jots down the rest of the notes, he closes the pad and puts it away.
- Tobias: Well, it seems like our business is done here. I'll report back to my superior for instructions, but as long as you keep this up, I think you'll be fine.
Arial lets out a sigh of relief now that the truth is out. She smiles at him gratefully and shakes his hand hard, the agent impressed by her strength.
- Arial: Thank you, Tobias.
- Tobias: Thank you for your cooperation, mam.
He opens the door and stands there for a moment before looking back at Arial and smiling sadly.
- Tobias: I understand what it's like to run.
Arial nods as he closes the door behind him, before turning her gaze to Jack, who finishes up with his work and gulps his beverage down.
- Jack: Wonder what his deal is?
She smiles and stands up, walking over to the desk as he goes to put the mug away. She puts a hand on her roommate's shoulder.
- Arial: Thanks for not freakin' out about it. Besides the chokin'.
He chuckles and nods, turning towards his friend. She looks down at him and he shrugs.
- Jack: Doesn't really matter to me that much. I was glad you told me the truth, though. Well, me and Agent Angst.
- Arial: 'Ya helped me out a lot, 'ya were nice to me when I didn't really have any pals here. 'Ya treated me like a friend even when I hadn't earned it. I figure 'ya deserve that much.
Jack simply nods and walks off to the kitchen to wash out his mug. Arial watches him from there with a happy look on her face.
- Arial: Why?
- Jack: You have to wash the cup out before you get another brew, come on, that's obvious.
- Arial: No, not that. Why do that stuff for me?
- Jack: Believe it or not, I know what it's like to feel out of place. I figured you could use someone looking out for you.
She grins and walks into the kitchen as he looks up at her and shakes his head.
- Jack: No hugs.
- Arial: Hugs!
The princess runs over and hugs him tightly as he groans and rolls his eyes.
In Heaven, a tall blonde angel is watching her daughter, a young Amanda. She has a wooden sword in hand and she's using it to strike a dummy repeatedly.
- Angel: Harder, Amanda! You can do better than that!
Amanda nods, determined, and hits it as hard and fast as she can. She breaks the sword on the dummy as the angel sighs.
- Angel: Take a break.
Panting, the Ghostborn girl nods and sits down. She's wearing practical white rags that have clearly been torn up and worn out from training rigorously.
- Angel: That was good. We'll continue tomorrow.
The serious angel picks up the pieces of the sword and extends a hand to Amanda. She takes it as the woman pulls her up.
- Amanda: Mummy, what was Earth like?
- Amanda's Mother: Terrible, Darling. The people there are cruel and hateful. That's why your father and I are here, they couldn't accept our love.
Amanda nods as the two hear angels flying by. They look up to see God's soldiers on their usual routine, as the warrior-in-training spots a Jewish angel and grins.
- Amanda: Daddy!
He waves down at her before going off on his way. Amanda's mother smiles softly and wraps an arm around her daughter as they walk.
- Amanda's Mother: Your father defends Heaven. If those wretched demons ever attack again, we'll be ready. That's why we work you so hard, Amanda, so one day you can be like him. You can be a true warrior. You can protect people.
Suddenly, Amanda wakes up, laying back on her hotel bed. She groans and rubs her eyes, sitting up slowly. With her armor off, she's in a tank top and jean shorts.
- Amanda: Nothing like a nap after a fight...
The warrior sighs and looks out the window, putting a hand on her chin.
- Amanda: I always wanted to be a warrior. I wanted to keep people safe. But I was used...used as a pawn. I would look like a fool while God would rush off to be the big hero and finally get his hands on Earth...
She grunts and flops back on the bed, rolling back and forth in thought as she stares up at the ceiling.
- Amanda: I can't just return like this...but I'm just as bad as the people who I fight if I kill that innocent woman. Arial.
After taking a deep breath and shutting her eyes, Amanda stands up and brushes off her wings.
- Amanda: I don't know what else to do.
Back in Arial's apartment, the demon princess is the only one home, sitting on the couch and watching television. As she hears someone knock on the door, she gets up and walks over, answering it to see Amanda standing in front of her.
- Arial: Hey, Amy, here to beat me up again?
Amanda ashamedly shakes her head as Arial chuckles and smiles, waving it away.
- Arial: Don't worry, I'm joking. What are 'ya here for?
- Amanda: Well...I suppose this might seem odd, given our fight. But you're the only person to show me genuine kindness without any cost to it. You just spared me because it was the right thing to do.
- Arial: No problem, that's the kinda stuff I try to do.
The angel smiles back and taps her foot on the ground, looking away as Arial puts her hand on the doorway.
- Amanda: I was just wondering if you'd like to talk. Maybe get some tea?
Arial grins and nods, looking around the apartment and getting out her keys.
- Arial: Make that coffee and I'd love to. I think we've got a lot in common.
- Amanda: Yes, I'd say so.
Amanda steps back as Arial walks out of the apartment, locking it behind her. They head down the hall together.
- Amanda: Do you really prefer coffee?
- Arial: Over that leaf water.
Amanda chuckles as the two continue to walk and talk.
We see Gethen and Tatsu finally arriving in front of Luxury Apartments, with a soft drink in the cowboy's hand and the Oni holding a map. She squints down at the guide as he rattles the ice inside of his cup.
- Gethen: Is this the right place?
- Tatsu: I think so...humans build unnecessarily complicated cities.
Tatsu holds it upside down and strokes her chin as a portal suddenly appears in front of them. Gethen quickly runs towards it, grabbing his partner by the arm and dragging her along.
- Gethen: Must be him!
- Tatsu: But we're so close to getting her...
The two head through the portal together and find themselves with they started from, the Devil's throne. He looks rather impatient and agitated.
- Gethen: Sir!
- The Devil: I have given you enough time to find my daughter. And yet I bring you back empty handed.
- Tatsu: Sir, we've almost found-
The Devil menacingly raises a finger to silence her, and she obeys solemnly. Gethen looks to his closest friend and then to his leader, concerned.
- The Devil: You are the best warriors in Hell. You fought out of an eternity of suffering in order to climb the ranks. And yet, you are incapable of this small, this rudimentary task?
- Gethen: Well, sir-
- The Devil: You keep quiet too.
Gethen sheepishly nods as the Devil stands up and creates portals around him, demon soldiers filing out of them in an orderly manner.
- The Devil: I have no intent of starting a war with the angels or the mortals. Today, at least. I will create a barrier around the city, and you two will join the army in their search for her as I lead the mission. We will leave no stone unturned. We will bring her back, and you two will follow orders and stop messing around like fools.
Tatsu and Gethen look at each other, before the cowboy clears his throat and steps forward. Confident in him, she does the same.
- Gethen:...Yes, sir.
The Devil sighs and stands up, closing all of the portals at once before opening up a large one to New York City. They all look to the entrance.
- The Devil: You said you'd almost found her, I trust you were near her location?
- Tatsu: That's correct, sir.
- The Devil: Then let's bring Arial back home.
Following his command, the soldiers nod and head into New York City, Gethen and Tatsu following behind them. Lastly, as he looks into the mortal world, the Devil sighs and walks through the portal before closing it.
Agent James finds himself stuck in New York City as his backstory is revealed.
The issue begins with a panel showing a bird's eye view of the F.A.N.T headquarters in Washington, D.C. A caption identifies the time as three years ago.
- ???: Is he always like this?
Inside the HQ, Director Helen Rizzo is watching the exam room through the glass. Her secretary is standing at her side, and she nods.
- Secretary: Yes, mam, I witnessed his athletics exam. As is standard, it's been recorded for archival purposes. I can retrieve it for you.
- Rizzo: No, no, this is plenty.
We see that Tobias is inside the exam room, brawling two agents at once. As they both throw a punch towards him, he ducks and socks one in the gut, sending them reeling back.
- Rizzo: Who's the last person to do this well on the combat exam?
The secretary looks down at the file in her hand while the Director keeps her eyes on the exam. Tobias elbows the other agent in the stomach before punching him in the face, knocking him down.
- Secretary: Agent Skett, mam.
- Rizzo: Jesus, get them out of there.
Tobias is put in a chokehold by the agent he punched in the gut. As the secretary pushes the button on the wall next to the glass, he throws the agent down onto the mat, knocking him unconcious. She looks nervous.
- Secretary: There's usually a bit of a delay...
The button press triggers an alarm inside the room and causes a red light to flash. Panting, Tobias looks over to see Rizzo and waves happily at them.
- Rizzo: Get him a water bottle. And then get him to my office.
- Secretary: Right away, mam.
The next panel cuts to Tobias sitting in front of Rizzo at her desk. He looks rather happy and eager, while she seems very curious.
- Rizzo: Tobias James. Passed every exam, and it doesn't look like it took you much time or effort either. That's impressive.
- Tobias: Thank you, mam, I respect your work a lot. It's so cool that you worked for the FBI and the CIA! And now you're doing this!
Rizzo chuckles, a small smile on her face. She sets down a file that has a picture and personal information on the prospective agent.
- Rizzo: Looks like we both did our research.
He scratches the back of his neck nervously as she holds up the file and shakes her head.
- Rizzo: Don't worry, it's a mandatory background check. Impressive police work, Mr. James, you were a credit to the NYPD. Why quit the force to join us? You could have had a long career, got promoted, retired comfortably. Or you could get a nice job with no excitement and settle down. I know some people can't handle this kind of life, but you've quit one for another.
- Tobias: I have to help people. My dad, he was a boxer.
A panel shows a flashback where the young, dorky Tobias is learning to fight with his dad. Rizzo, intrigued on where this is going, puts her elbows up on the desk.
- Tobias: He taught me how to fight. Growing up, it was just me and him, my mom left. He was always busy, he always had a new job, but he loved me. Protected me when I was a defenseless kid.
The next panel shows Tobias, as a young man, attending his father's funeral somberly in the early morning. He looks out to the bustling city.
- Tobias: He tried to help a woman who was getting mugged one night. He put up a fight, but not even the toughest boxer could beat a bullet. I wanted to make a difference, like he tried to. I wanted to protect people. I had to do it, for his memory.
We see Tobias lifting weights, training at the gym, and running around a lake. At a shooting range, he's a poor shot at first, but over time he improves. The last panel shows Tobias becoming an officer and recieving his badge.
- Tobias: I couldn't stay on the force anymore. But I couldn't quit helping people either. And with everything going on, superpowered people, aliens, monsters, this is the way to do it. We have a chance at really helping people.
Rizzo, visibly impressed, nods and clears her throat before putting the file away. She extends a hand and he excitedly shakes it.
- Rizzo: And I thought you were all jokes and smiles. You have a lot of potential, Tobias. You would do well on one of our top squads.
Tobias freezes, speechless at the idea of working with other people. He slowly shakes his head.
- Tobias: Sorry, mam, but...I....I have to work alone. I have to. I can't...I can't help with other people there...
Rizzo raises an eyebrow but nods, standing up from her desk. He quickly follows as she puts a F.A.N.T badge in his hands.
- Rizzo: You clearly know what we're here for. Welcome to F.A.N.T, Agent James.
His frown turns into a grin as he nods fervently. Rizzo turns around and walks over to her file cabinets as he stands there. She turns her head.
- Rizzo:...You can go now.
- Tobias: Yes, mam! I won't let you down, mam!
He heads out as she gets back to work. She then sits down in her chair and sighs.
- Rizzo: We could always use a good new agent...but his aversion to working with others can't be healthy. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it turns out.
The director strokes her chin and looks down at some papework, filling it out with her pen as the next panels zoom out from the headquarters.
Back in the present, Agent James is in the back of a taxi driving past Luxury Apartments. He's on his cell phone, the screen identifying the caller as "The Boss".
- Tobias: Yes, Director Sinn. You want repeat visits to supervise her? Like the Seattle aliens? I would be honored to take up that responsibility, sir-
- Taxi Driver: What the hell?!
Tobias looks up from the call to see a dome of red energy surrounding New York City. In the distance, cars crash into the barrier, causing a pile-up. The cab driver puts on the emergency brake, stopping the cab in it's tracks.
- Tobias: Sir...I'm going to have to call you back...
He hangs up and puts his phone in his pocket as the cabbie looks in his rearview mirror to see demon soldiers exiting a massive portal. He gasps and puts a hand over his mouth.
- Taxi Driver: We need to get the hell out of here! God, my wife and my kids, I have to get to them!
- Tobias: Seems we're cornered on both sides...alright, sir, just stay calm...
They then both hear a gunshot and turn to see police officers attacking a demon who towers above them. Although the bullet hits the soldier's shoulder and injures him, he carries on, knocking them out of the way with brute strength.
- Taxi Driver: I can't drive through that, I need to go!
The cab driver turns the car off and gets out, running down an alleyway. Tobias is left there, silently watching the battle between the cops and spear-carrying warrior.
- Tobias: That...that thing is g-going to kill them...
He reaches out his hand to open the car door, but finds that he's shaking so bad he can't. He grips his suitcase's handle tightly.
- Tobias: I have to f-fight with them, but I can't, I can't move, I can't breathe...
Agent James clutches his chest, clearly pained, as he desperately tries to catch his breath. The cops all unload bullets into the demon, but his armor takes the brunt of it, allowing him to slash at them and slam them into buildings with his mighty spear.
- Tobias: I'll just g-get them hurt, I'll just fail them...
Sweat runs down his forehead while he shuts his eyes tightly, his entire body shaking. The page ends with him in the middle of the intense panic attack while the police fearfully look at their otherworldly opponent.
In the past, we see Tobias in the passenger's seat of a police car with a blonde woman sitting in the driver's seat. The two are in NYPD uniforms, eating gyros and watching a warehouse from afar.
- Tobias: Oh my god, is anything gonna happen?
- Woman: You are way too impatient, Detective.
He smiles and looks around the area while she finishes up her meal. She looks down to grab a napkin when he suddenly shouts.
- Tobias: Hey, there!
She quickly looks up, tzatziki sauce on the corner of her mouth, to see that her partner tricked her. He laughs to himself as she punches him in the arm before wiping her mouth.
- Tobias: I can't believe you fell for that, Hayley.
- Hayley: You asshole!
He grins smugly as she tries to hide a small smile. She rests her arm on his shoulder and shakes her head.
- Hayley: I'm starting to regret recommending you to the force.
- Tobias: Oh, we've been best friends since first grade, c'mon.
She turns to him and raises her eyebrows as he looks into her eyes.
- Hayley: I recommended you because you can hold yourself in a fight and you want to help people. Not just because we're best friends.
- Tobias: It had to have helped a bit.
She chuckles and stretches her arms out, yawning. He puts his hand on his cheek, staring at her.
- Tobias: I was scared to do this. Not of the training, but...scared of the consequences. Scared of the responsibilities.
- Hayley: We all get scared, Toby. But being scared isn't ever a reason to not do something. If you can help people, you should.
Tobias beams at his partner and nods.
- Tobias: I guess you're right.
- Hayley: Of course I am.
As the two look out the window to see nothing but peace, they sit in comfortable silence.
- Hayley: I like working with you.
He grins, but before he can reply the two see a truck pulling up in front of the warehouse. They lean forward, intently watching as a man gets out of the truck and heads into the building. Tobias unbuckles his seat belt and she gasps.
- Hayley: What the hell are you doing?! This is a stakeout, we're supposed to gather evidence and get out!
- Tobias: But this is something big! The truck is there, this could be our chance to take down a huge drug operation!
- Hayley: If we were to even consider doing that, we'd need backup!
- Tobias: He might be gone by the time they get here!
The officer opens his door and gets out, closing it with his other hand on the holstered firearm clipped to his belt.
- Hayley: Goddamn it!
Tobias jogs over to the warehouse and Hayley reluctantly follows behind him to make sure he doesn't get hurt.
- Tobias: This is it...
He busts open the door as the criminal is holding a crate. Looking shocked, he draws his gun and shoots Hayley in the chest as she catches up with her partner.
- Tobias: Hayley!
She clutches her chest, her face pale as she falls to the ground. The thug makes a run for it, but Tobias shoots him in the leg before he can get away.
- Tobias: Oh m-my god, what have I done?!
He drops to his knees and cradles her in his arms. As blood runs down her outfit, she smiles weakly at her best friend.
- Tobias: I need to, I just have to, I-
- Hayley: Toby...it's been...an honor to serve with you...
The officer sobs as he holds his partner in his arms, gazing down at her as she dies.
- ???: You need help, Toby.
We see Tobias standing at Hayley's funeral and looking out blankly, quitting his job, and packing his bags. As he clears out his apartment, he listens to a voicemail message from the chief of police.
- Police Chief: I miss her. Everyone on the force does. And I know how close you two were.
Upon closing the last box, he picks his phone up off the counter and stares at it.
- Police Chief: I know about PTSD, I've seen a lot of officers with it after this many years as a cop. But there's therapy. There's work you can do to stop the panic attacks.
He moves to turn the phone off, but hesitates, his hand shaking slightly.
- Police Chief: Running won't help.
Tobias sighs and shuts his eyes, deleting the voicemail and turning the phone off before putting it away in his pocket.
The policemen are getting mercilessly attacked by the demon soldier, with no hope at stopping him. As Agent James tightly grips the cab's leather seats, he looks to the front seats of the car and remembers the moments before Hayley's death, specifically what she said to him.
- Tobias: W-We all get scared. But being scared...isn't, isn't ever a reason to not do something. If you can help people, you...you should. Okay...I can do this. But my gun isn't going to be enough.
Taking deep breaths, he unzips his suitcase and rummages through it. His eyes closed, he takes out a pouch of glowing blue grenades.
- Tobias: What are these? Oh...oh yeah, the new experimental grenades that engineering gave us for field tests...well, this is going to be one hell of a field test.
Although his hand is still shaking, he steadies it enough to open the taxi's door and slowly step out. Reaching into the pouch, he takes out one as well as a small manual.
- Tobias: Click the blue button in and throw...the intended result is freezing objects and the ground over to assist in combat and disable hazards...
Clenching the hand that's not holding the grenade to steady himself, he cautiously presses down on the pin and blindly throws it.
- Tobias: Here goes nothing.
The demon turns his head as the grenade explodes, freezing him over in a thick sheet of ice and causing him to fall to the ground. The police officers look over at Tobias gratefully, all of them in awe of the beast's defeat.
- Tobias: I don't think that was the intended effect, but it worked.
Enraged by their fallen brother, the other demon soldiers turn their interest to the officers and Tobias himself. After inhaling and exhaling, he runs forward with a determined expression on his face.
- Tobias: Running won't help.
He draws his gun and holds the grenade pouch near as he and the police officers charge into battle against the army from Hell.
#7: Divine Intervention
Things come to a head.
Arial and Amanda are in a small coffee house, a caption telling the reader that the invasion hasn't taken place yet. The demon princess is downing iced coffee, while the angel warrior is sipping hot tea.
- Arial: So, Amy, what's it like up there?
Amanda smiles softly, setting her mug down as Arial grins back at her.
- Amanda: Beautiful. There's blue skies, clouds, something like the sun...
- Arial: Jeez, 'ya makin' me jealous.
She chuckles and finishes up her cup before looking more somber.
- Amanda: Yes, well...nowhere's perfect. They...they expect you to follow the rules, no matter the morality of it. And the terrible thing is, I did.
Arial sympathetically puts her hand on Amanda's arm and shakes her head.
- Arial: 'Ya can't blame yourself for that. I'm the daughter of the Devil, don't 'ya think I know how it is? Going your own way is hard...I still wonder if I made the best decision by leavin' Hell.
This visibly cheers Amanda up, who clears her throat as Arial takes her hand away.
- Amanda: I suppose you're right. You must have some horror stories, though.
Arial grunts as she sets her iced coffee down.
- Arial: Yeah, I guess I do. There, 'ya kinda don't have a chance to really change either. Obviously, the bad people get punished. But the Ghostborns, they have to work off some kinda debt for eternity.
Amanda shudders at the thought of it.
- Amanda: That's terrible, it's not like they had any choice in being born to monsters.
Arial nods and sighs.
- Arial: If 'ya lucky, 'ya get to work for the big boss as a warrior. At least then 'ya have a chance of dyin' in battle.
- Amanda: Seems as if we come from rather similar walks in life.
- Arial: Yeah...well, besides that, what are 'ya like?
- Amanda: What do you mean?
The demon princess grins and motions towards Amanda's body.
- Arial: 'Ya clearly have fashion sense, tell me about yourself.
Amanda scoffs and smiles slightly.
- Amanda: I hardly have fashion sense, my options are just somewhat limited. Well, I rather love a great book, I'm not one for a party...and I do like a good scuffle.
The princess beams at her new friend.
- Arial: Didn't take 'ya for a shy bookworm.
The warrior smirks and puts her hands on her hips.
- Amanda: Don't make me go back and get my sword, Arial.
Arial giggles and raises her hands.
- Arial: Alright, alright.
Amanda puts her elbow on the table and her hand on her chin.
- Amanda: What about you? What drives the daughter of...him?
- Arial: Guess I saw all the people gettin' hurt, and I wanted to stop it. I...I can't help there. But I can make a difference here.
Intrigued, the angel listens closely and slowly nods.
- Amanda: I quite understand running...
The two sit there silently for a moment, before Amanda speaks up.
- Amanda: What about your interests? I already embarrassed myself.
Arial smiles broadly and puts her hands behind her head.
- Arial: Well, I like comic books, not much for fancy literature. Love a good party, a bar brawl too. You smoke and drink?
- Amanda: While neither of us have to worry about diseases, I never was one for cigarettes. Wine on occasion, though.
The demon playfully nudges Amanda.
- Arial: We'll have to get a beer, sometime.
- Amanda: I'm not sure if I-
As the barista flips through channels, she stops on the news, which is broadcasting the demon invasion. Both of them look up at the TV, and Arial seems horrified.
- Reporter: Creatures resembling demons recently arrived in New York City through a portal near the historic Luxury Apartments building. This accompanies the appearance of a large dome around the city that resembles red energy. Police recommend staying inside and locking all doors.
Our hero trembles and covers her mouth, Amanda comfortingly putting a hand on her shoulder.
- Arial: I brought 'em here. That dome...there's no escape. No more runnin'.
- Amanda: Arial, there's no way you could've predicted this.
- Arial: No...no, I knew they would come lookin'. And now people are gonna get hurt.
Amanda determinedly shakes her head and narrows her eyes.
- Amanda: Not if we can stop it.
Before they can even stand up, Gethen and Tatsu walk past the shop and stop in their tracks as they see the duo.
- Amanda: Do you know them?
- Arial:...That's my fiance and his crazy, club-wieldin' best friend.
The angel sighs and stands up, extending a hand to her friend.
- Amanda: Excellent.
Gethen, grinning, swings open the door as Tatsu rolls her eyes behind him.
- Arial: Is this gonna do?
Arial creates a sword in her hand and puts it in Amanda's. The angel looks over at the demon.
- Amanda: It'll have to.
- Gethen: Arial!
As Gethen begins to walk over to her, she creates two fireballs in her hands. Amanda raises her newly made sword.
Tatsu grits her teeth and takes her spiked club out from the sheath on her back, the four at a standstill as the baristas take cover.
Gethen extends a hand to Arial and smiles warmly.
- Gethen: I don't know what I did wrong, Ari, but I can fix it! You just gotta help me out and come back.
She sighs and shakes her head.
- Arial: It's not 'ya fault Geth, I just don't belong in Hell. This is...this is home to me, now. And you demons can't just come and wreck it.
The cowboy scratches the back of his neck.
- Gethen: Well, 'ya see, that wasn't exactly my idea. Your father brought the demons with 'im.
Arial freezes at the knowledge that her father is on Earth, and looks incredibly concerned.
- Arial: Oh no, oh no. I gotta get to him, before he does somethin' stupid.
Worried about his fiancee, he looks over to Amanda and narrows his eyes.
- Gethen: What the hell is an angel doing here?
- Tatsu: Isn't it obvious, Gethen? She's betrayed her own kind, left us for the mortals, she's even allied herself with one of them.
Amanda points her sword at Tatsu and Gethen, putting her other hand in front of Arial.
- Amanda: Enough of that. You leave this poor woman alone and go back to-
Gethen draws one of his pistols and fires a Demonkiller bullet at Amanda, who blocks it with her sword. The bullet leaves a noticable, smoking hole in the blade.
- Gethen: You corrupted her!
Realizing that a fight is inevitable, Amanda sighs and Arial steps in front of her friend.
- Arial: Leave Amy alone, I made this decision by myself.
Tatsu exchanges a look with her best friend.
- Tatsu: I'll restrain Arial, you take care of the angel.
Gethen nods and puts a hand on the Oni's shoulder.
- Gethen: Don't be too rough.
His ally nods and she turns to confront Arial, who hurls both of the flames at her and knocks her through the window of the coffee shop. Tatsu whispers something to herself in Japanese.
- Tatsu (Subtitled): No promises.
He takes out his other gun and repeatedly shoots at Amanda, as she uses her athleticism and wings to dodge the bullets.
- Amanda: You're being rather unreasonable!
- Gethen: Stay still!
As one of the hiding employees peeks out from behind the counter to get out of the building, she's almost shot by one of the bullets before the angel dives for it and takes the hit in her arm. Amanda clutches her arm and gasps in pain as blood runs down from the wound.
- Amanda: Bastard!
The woman runs out the door as we see Arial and Tatsu brawling. As the Oni swings her spiked club, Arial creates a shield that takes the brunt of the attack before uppercutting her opponent with it, causing her to fall back.
- Tatsu (Subtitled): I always knew you were untrustworthy. You don't deserve him!
Tatsu growls and does a sweeping kick to knock the princess off her feet. Arial surrounds her fist with fire and swings it towards the Oni, who defends herself with the club. As Arial slams her hand into the spike and draws blood, Tatsu smirks and strikes Arial in the stomach with the heavy weapon.
- Arial (Subtitled): I-I don't want Geth, 'ya can have him...
- Tatsu (Subtitled): What are you talking about?!
The princess clutches her stomach and breathes heavily as Tatsu looms over her.
- Arial (Subtilted): It's pretty obvious...you've loved him for a while...
- Tatsu (Subtitled): And he loves you! I'm doing this for him!
While the Oni is focused on the conversation, Arial punches her in the jaw, sending her reeling back and causing her to drop her weapon. She hops up and the two start fistfighting, yelling at each other in Japanese. This distracts Gethen, who looks over at his best friend and his fiancee who are in engaged in a sweaty, frantic fight.
Taking advantage of this momentary diversion, Amanda uses her sword to slash Gethen across the face, leaving a large cut. As he yelps in pain and puts his hand on the gash, she uses the brunt of the blade to hit him in the stomach and cause him to smash through the glass. She steps outside the building and looks down at the injured demon.
- Amanda: That was for the gunshot.
Amanda punches him in the face, knocking him out. Tatsu sees this and covers her mouth.
- Tatsu: Gethen!
Arial uses these few seconds to get the upper hand, grabbing the Oni's own weapon and thrashing her with it. As she drops to the ground, bloody and bruised, Arial uses one last forceful whack to knock her unconcious.
- Arial: Jeez, she doesn't go down easy.
The two heroes pant, exhausted from the fight. As they see that the streets are mostly empty, with people hiding away from the destruction, Amanda looks over to Arial.
- Amanda: What next?
- Arial:...You really wanna help me?
Amanda throws the bloody sword onto the road and nods.
- Amanda: There are lives at stake. As a warrior, and an angel, it's my duty to help. Not to mention, it looks like you could use it.
Arial chuckles and smiles at her new ally.
- Arial: Yeah, I'd say so. Well...maybe they're looking near my apartment? And I gotta make sure Jack's okay.
- Amanda: Who?
- Arial: He's a friend of mine, one of the humans.
- Amanda: I suppose that's a good idea then.
Having caught their breath, the two run off towards the Luxury Apartments building.
In front of Luxury Apartments, Tobias is battling against demons alongside the police. He throws his second to last grenade at one particularly large warrior who's about to stab an officer, causing the monster to be crystallized in ice and fall to the ground.
- Tobias: Don't have many of these left...
Right as one comes up from behind the agent, it's head is blown off by a shotgun. Agent James jumps a little and turns around to see Arial and Amanda. He lets out a sigh of relief, the demons too distracted with warding off the cops to notice their target.
- Tobias: You know these guys?
- Arial: Unfortunately.
Tobias extends a hand to Amanda. She looks over to the princess, who nods to signal that he's trustworthy. Amanda shakes his hand firmly.
- Tobias: Tobias James, agent of F.A.N.T.
- Amanda: Amanda, warrior of...Heaven. It's a long story.
Agent James waves it away and motions over to the fight behind them.
- Tobias: I don't have time to ask questions. As you can see, we're a bit busy.
Arial points at the pouch of grenades and raises an eyebrow.
- Arial: What are those?
- Tobias: Experimental grenades, they're supposed to freeze things, but they seem to have an especially powerful effect on your friends.
She seems intrigued as Amanda looks the scene over.
- Arial: Us demons don't like ice, does somethin' bad to us. I'm keepin' those things in mind.
- Tobias: I'm almost outta them, and I'm not sure what we should do.
Arial points up at her apartment and they all look skyward.
- Arial: Come in, we can plan our next move.
Tobias nods and takes the last grenade, tossing to an officer. Arial, Amanda, and James all head through the doors of the apartment building, where they see Lenny shaking under the desk.
- Arial: I don't think they're gonna come in, Lenny.
He nods and slowly gets out from behind the desk, gently sitting in his chair. As the trio, an agent, a demon, and an angel, run into the elevator, he realizes what he just saw and opens his mouth to say something, his hand raised. The three impatiently stand there.
- Tobias: I assume they're looking for you?
- Arial: Sad to say, yeah. Amy's here to help me out.
Amanda nods and Tobias takes a deep breath as the elevator doors open. They walk over to the apartment door and Arial uses her key to open it up.
- Tobias: Glad to have somebody else on our side, we're a little outnumbered.
They walk into the apartment to see Jack staring out the window. When he hears the door open, he turns around to see Arial and looks relieved.
- Jack: What the hell is going on out there?!
Jack crosses his arms as Arial flops onto the couch, looking over at her roomate. Amanda and Tobias pace back and forth in front of her.
- Arial: They caught up with me.
He sighs and leans against the wall. They all look to the demon for guidance.
- Arial: Well...my Dad's here. He's gonna be the leader of the demons, if I can just convince 'im to go, he'll take the rest.
- Tobias: The leader...?
Tobias takes a second to process the information and sighs as he realizes what she means.
- Tobias: Lemme guess, he's the Devil.
- Jack: He's the Devil?!
Jack rubs his forehead and Amanda simply shrugs.
- Amanda: I already knew.
The agent sighs and puts his hand over his fist.
- Tobias: Looks like it's us three against Satan himself.
- Jack: Hey!
Jack looks offended as Tobias shakes his head.
- Tobias: My apologies, four then.
Arial looks over at Amanda and sits up.
- Arial: You in?
Amanda shrugs and smiles.
- Amanda: Dying in battle with heroes at my side against the Devil would be a true warrior's death.
- Arial: I sure hope that ain't how this ends.
The princess stands up as Tobias clears his throat and walks out the door, the warrior following behind him. Jack walks over to Arial after they're gone.
- Jack: The lady with the wings is cute.
Arial smiles and chuckles, raising one of her eyebrows.
- Arial: 'Ya gonna be my matchmaker now?
- Jack: Just saying.
Jack shrugs and smirks.
- Arial: 'Ya know I can't let you come with, right? It's a warzone out there.
- Jack: You could use a ride, Arial. I know I'm no government agent, but I can get you there, I can help-
Arial shakes her head and steps out the door.
- Jack: You don't need to protect me.
- Arial: That's what friends are for.
She closes the door behind her and creates a lock in hand, using it to keep him there and safe. As she runs off to catch up with Amanda and Tobias, Jack tries to open the door, only to see that she locked it.
- Jack: Damn it!
He sighs and shakes his head, stroking his chin.
As Gethen and Tatsu come to after their brutal fight with Arial and Amanda, they see the Devil looming over them. Gethen rubs his head and blinks several times as Tatsu spits blood onto the sidewalk. The Devil barks at the duo.
- The Devil: What happened?!
The cowboy smiles nervously and runs a hand through his hair.
- Gethen: Uh...they...they kinda beat us.
- The Devil: Who?!
- Gethen: Arial and an angel.
The Devil growls and puts his hand over his eyes.
- The Devil: You lost my daughter and now you tell me an angel is with her?!
They both slowly nod and clenches his fists.
- The Devil: You idiots!
Tatsu raises her hand and he looks over at her.
- Tatsu: Sir, it was my fault, I didn't use enough force on Arial-
- The Devil: You should've!
This outburst surprises both of them.
- The Devil: I don't care about her feelings! I just wanted her back for my plan!
- Gethen: But, sir-
- The Devil: Shut it! Both of you! I try to arrange this marriage so us three could finally wipe this despicable planet for good!
Gethen and Tatsu are both shocked as they slowly stand up.
- Gethen: I thought 'ya just wanted us to be together...
The Devil scoffs and laughs to himself.
- The Devil: I don't care about you! You're the worthless son of two monsters, the only use I have for you is muscle. And the girl is even worse, I thought at least one of you would be competent enough for this to work!
The naive cowboy puts a hand on his chest, clearly hurt. Tatsu narrows her eyes, annoyed.
- The Devil: You two clearly enjoy messing around on Earth. I'll leave you to that, I have no use for you in Hell.
Before they can say anything more, the prince of darkness teleports away. Gethen frowns and shakes his head.
- Gethen: I...I've been loyal my whole life...
Tatsu, worried about him, puts a hand on the demon's shoulder.
- Gethen: But I can't let him do this. He doesn't care about Ari, he just wants to use her. Even if she doesn't want me, I can't let that happen to her.
He sighs and puts a hand on his holstered pistol.
- Gethen: I have to help her.
Gethen looks back at the Oni and she smiles softly at him.
- Tatsu: I'm loyal to you, not him.
He grins back and the two begin walking off to find Arial and stop the Devil from executing his plan.
- Gethen: Thank you, Tatsu.
Tatsu nods and the two, side by side, head off into the distance, ending the penultimate issue.
Arial and the others team up to defeat their foe.
Arial, Amanda, and Tobias are running through the streets, on their way to the Devil. A demon turns to see the trio and is shocked.
- Demon: It's Princess Arial! And an angel! And...some mortal?
Tobias narrows his eyes and frowns.
- Tobias: Hey, I'm offended by that!
Another demon sees him by Arial and views him as a threat, deciding to tackle him onto the ground. He moans in pain as the first demon storms towards the princess to capture her and another charges at her angel ally, spear first.
- Arial: C'mon guys, can't we discuss this?
He tries to pick the demon up, as she struggles and growls.
- Arial: Lemme go!
- Demon: I'm, ugh, sorry mam, but your father gave us orders to capture you at any cost!
She kicks him in the crotch, causing him to fall back in pain. Meanwhile, Amanda is dodging spear strikes, using her speed to outmaneuver the bulky soldier.
- Demon #2: Filthy angel!
- Amanda: You're being very unreasonable, all I'm trying to do is stop your boss!
The warrior uses her sword to try and cut through the spear, but finds that the quickly made blade is no match for the durable weapon.
- Amanda: Oh dear.
He picks her up by the throat and chokes her, causing her to drop the sword as she attempts to break free from his tight grasp.
- Arial: You put her down!
As Arial runs to help Amanda, the demon swings the angel out of the way by the neck to reason with her.
- Demon #2: She's corrupting you! We just need to get her out of your h-
Using this moment of weakness to her advantage, Arial surrounds her fist with fire and slams it into his face. He gasps and clutches his face as it catches on fire, causing him to drop Amanda.
- Arial: Amy!
While she hits the ground, Tobias is swerving his head side to side in order to avoid getting his face punched into the ground by the warrior. As he does so, he tries to reason with the monster.
- Tobias: What did I do to you?
- Demon #3: You're a threat to the princess!
He tries to headbutt the demon, but only ends up hurting himself. Agent James groans and rubs his forehead as the demon gets a good grip on him, holding him in place.
- Tobias: I'm pretty sure she could kick my ass!
- Demon #3: Shut your mouth and d-
The warrior inhales sharply and looks down to see he's bleeding out, with the agent's gun against his stomach. Tobias shrugs.
- Tobias: Had to buy some time.
Upon dying, the demon collapses on top of him. Tobias looks around uncomfortably and shudders as the two come to assist him. He looks exhausted and Amanda looks weak.
- Arial: We'll get 'ya outta here!
He nods as the two women pull the corpse off. Arial pulls him up by the arm quickly and her two allies breathe heavily, looking around.
- Arial: You two almost died! This is way too dangerous, the Devil's way stronger than these guys! We need to get you outta here, I'll fight alone.
Amanda scoffs in mock offense as Tobias smiles and shakes his head.
- Amanda: Do you think I would ever abandon you now? I would hardly quit a fight when I've already joined it. And you're not just an ally anymore. You're a friend.
- Tobias: I know we mortals aren't as strong as you guys. But we're way too stubborn to quit anything.
Arial's cheeks go red, but before she can reply to their heartwarming loyalty, the first demon gets up and whistles loudly.
- Demon #1: She's here!
- Arial: Damn it!
The trio looks around as the other demons take notice of his warning, a crowd of demons surrounding them from all sides.
- Amanda: I'll fight until the end, Arial.
- Tobias: Dying was always a risk in this job.
As things seem to be at their darkest, Jack barrels through in his car, running over the hoard as the three back out of the way. He turns around and drives up, parking in front of them.
- Arial: Jack?! How did you get here?!
- Jack: You forgot the fire escape. Get in.
Arial grins and gets in the passenger's seat, while Tobias and Amanda pack into the back seat, looking over awkwardly at each other.
- Arial: We were in a rough spot there...
- Jack: I could tell.
She smiles at her roommate and he grumbles, beginning to turn the car back around. They put their seatbelts on and she raises an eyebrow.
- Arial: 'Ya didn't have to do that for me. 'Ya coulda just stayed inside and been okay.
- Jack: That's what friends are for.
A slight smile comes onto his face as he clears his throat and looks into the distance.
- Jack: Where to?
Amanda and Tobias look up to Arial, who nervously chuckles and shrugs.
- Arial: U-Uh, we've kinda been searching aimlessly...
Jack sighs and shakes his head but starts driving off down the street.
- Jack: You're going to cover a lot more ground in a car than on foot.
The car makes a turn, our four heroes headed into the distance to find the Devil.
He pulls up to a massive army of demons, and Arial raises her hand.
- Arial: This has gotta be where he is, there's too many here for it to be coincidence.
Jack nods and parks, as Amanda looks at her sword and Tobias takes his pistol out of his holster. They both look to their driver.
- Amanda: It takes immense bravery to not be a warrior and be heroic anyways.
- Jack: You'd make one hell of an agent, Mr. Jack.
He shakes their hands before they get out of the car, Arial staying inside for a few moments.
- Jack: Blondie is a keeper.
She giggles and punches him in the shoulder softly before becoming more solemn.
- Arial: Thank you. For everything. What you've done for me is absolutely selfless, and there's no way I could ever repay 'ya for it.
He raises an eyebrow and seems concerned.
- Jack: You're sounding like this is goodbye.
- Arial: Well...who knows what's gonna happen when I'm there. If I go, 'least you can have your boyfriend move in.
Jack scoffs, disgusted, and shakes his head.
- Jack: If we all live through this, I'm buying us somewhere nice. With...the money I don't have. Guess I'll deal with that when I get there.
Arial thinks it over as she unbuckles her seatbelt and gets out of the car. They share a smile as he looks in his rearview mirror.
- Arial: I'd hug 'ya if we weren't in the middle of a demon invasion.
- Jack: Go and save the world, Arial.
He grins and drives away as she waves. When she turns around, she sees Tobias and Amanda fighting through demon upon demon and she creates two pistols in her hands.
- Arial: Time to stop slackin'.
Agent James is unloading bullet after bullet into a demon's chestplate. This does nothing to hurt him, but does agitate the bulky warrior.
- Demon: Stop it, puny human!
He growls and charges towards the agent, causing him to leap out of the way and shoot him in the head. Tobias takes a deep breath as three look towards him.
- Tobias: If you don't have the strength to beat 'em, you have to use strategy.
Amanda is mowing through soldiers with her sword, when she accidentally strikes a demon's armor, bending the sword. She sighs deeply.
- Amanda: God, I miss my sword.
The warrior jabs his spear at her, as she quickly backs up, only to find demons on all sides. With few options left, she puts all of her strength into lifting a demon into the air and flying skyward. As he flails about, she steals his spear and drops him onto the crowd, killing him from the fall and knocking out a few of his allies.
- Amanda: I think this spear will do, though...
Arial and Tobias make a path through the army with their guns, as the angel descends to join them. She raises her spear triumphantly and the princess looks impressed.
- Arial: Got a new toy?
- Amanda: I'm rather proud of it.
While the trio make their way towards the leader of the demons, they hear the rumbling of a motorcycle approaching. Soon after, a glowing red bullet tears through a straight line of the beasts and the bike catches up with them. Driving it is Gethen, with Tatsu clinging to his back. Arial grunts, frustrated, and Amanda rolls her eyes.
- Amanda: I'm finding this rather tiring!
- Arial: Do we need to fight 'ya again?!
Gethen shakes his head and grins, while the Oni simply seems estatic to be this close to her crush. He shouts over the engines as the five cut through Hell's army.
- Gethen: I know I've done a lot wrong, Ari, and you have a right to be cross with me, but I never meant to do anything to hurt you. Your dad doesn't want to help you, or me, or anyone here. He wants to destroy the mortals forever by usin' you as a tool! I can't let him do that. I've been loyal my whole life, but being good's better than being loyal. You taught me that.
Amanda turns her head to Arial and mutters to her.
- Amanda: Can we really trust them?
- Arial: We gotta take all the help we can get. And...yeah. I think we can.
Tatsu simply grunts her answer.
- Tatsu: I go where he goes.
Arial smiles softly and nods, narrowing her eyes determinedly and looking forward.
- Arial: Then let's fight together!
They triumphantly charge forward, when the demons simply get out of the way and a blast of energy destroys the motorcycle, knocking the two demons off of it. They stop in their tracks to see the Devil himself. He puts his hands together and shakes his head.
- The Devil: Playtime is over, Arial.
She angrily looks up at her father, who stands up straight to cast an imposing shadow over the group.
Arial turns to Gethen and Tatsu, who slowly get up from the ground. They moan in pain and clutch their sides as she looks at the burning wreckage of the motorcycle.
- Arial: Are you two okay?
They nod and she puts her hand on her chin.
- Arial: Where did 'ya get that anyways?
- Gethen: We...uh...borrowed it. Without permission.
Before she can reprimand the duo, Satan speaks up once more and they turn their attention towards him. All five of them draw their weapons as he laughs confidently.
- The Devil: I have tolerated a lot, Arial. Because I love you. But it is time to stop this nonsense immediately and return home! Now!
The cowboy fires his gun at the Devil, who nonchalantly creates an energy shield that absorbs the Demonkiller bulelt. When Gethen tries to fire it again, he finds that he's out of ammo.
- The Devil: Do you really think you can beat me? I've killed hundreds of angels...
Amanda snarls and holds the spear she stole tightly.
- The Devil: Thousands of mortals...
Tobias tries to come up with a witty retort, but finds himself speechless when face-to-face with the lord of darkness.
- The Devil: And countless demons...
Gethen nervously rummages through his pockets for ammo while Tatsu grits her teeth and points her spiked club at him. Arial speaks up.
- Arial: Daddy, these people don't deserve anything but happiness. I'm the one you want.
He nods and turns to her as she steps closer to her father.
- The Devil: You've always been smart, Arial. Smart and strong and beautiful, just like your mother. You are too good for them. They, all of them, deserve death. That is the only way to end their cruelty.
She shakes her head and discreetly creates a Demonkiller bullet in her hand.
- Arial: Is that why you want to destroy them? Or is it because of 'Ma? Because she never would've wanted you to do this...
- The Devil: You never knew her! You never got the chance because of these filthy mortals and angels!
Using the discussion to kill time, she loads the bullet into one of the pistols she was carrying before and quickly draws the gun, firing it...only to miss him. He growls and his expression turns into rage.
- The Devil: You tried to kill ME?! Your own father?!
Without giving her the chance to speak, he punches her in the chest, knocking her against the road and sending her skidding back.
- Arial: Agh!
- Gethen: Ari!
- Amanda: Arial!
Amanda and Gethen both charge towards him with their weapons, but he simply flicks them to the side. As they fall onto the ground, he uses his powers to trap them in between massive pieces of ground, holding the two there tightly.
- Tatsu: Gethen, no!
The Oni lets out a warrior's cry as she leaps into the air, holding her club above her head. The Devil, as he approaches his daughter, blasts fire at her, causing her to crash down. He casually traps her and gets closer to the princess, while Tobias runs over to see if she's okay.
- Tobias: Arial, are you-
Lucifer lifts the agent into the air and chucks him into a wall before restraining him like the rest. This leaves Arial alone, who's been weakened by the blow. He breathes heavily and growls, smacking her across the face. She spits blood onto the pavement and pants, the others incapable of helping her.
- Arial: D-Dad...ugh...stop...
The Devil calms himself down by taking several deep breaths before pulling her up onto her feet. Bruised and battered, she just stands there, trying to catch her breath.
- The Devil: I'm sorry, Arial, but you made me do that. It's not too late to make things right, though.
She looks around at her friends, who struggle to get out of their traps. Realizing she's too weak to stop him, she fearfully looks into his eyes.
- The Devil: These mortals rape and torture and kill, they do these things to children! With our powers combined, we can crush them for good. Rule over them eternally from Hell, and remove their free will, end the suffering. And if the angels try to intervene, our new demon army will be more than enough to crush them too.
- Arial: M-My...my friends...
He looks back at them and smiles sweetly at his daughter.
- The Devil: If you join me, I'll let them live. And forget the marriage, you can have anyone you want, or no one! You just have to do things my way.
With things at their most hopeless, Arial looks down and the Devil lets her think things over.
- Amanda: Let us die! Don't stop fighting!
- Gethen: You got to, Ari...you can't give up now.
- Tatsu: Gethen is right. Prove me wrong.
- Tobias: Give him hell!
The Devil sneers at the four and clutches his fists, tightening the restraints. They groan in pain and squirm uncomfortably.
- The Devil: What's your choice, Arial?
With closed fists, she approaches her father and frowns.
- Arial: S-Sorry, Dad...
She opens her hands to reveal two of the experimental grenades that Tobias showed her. He looks confused as she socks him in the jaw, sending him reeling back.
- Arial: But you know nothing about these mortals. They are good. They deserve to be free, they deserve to be happy!
He groans in pain as she smashes a grenade against his chest, causing him to start freezing over. The Devil looks around, terrified, as he realizes that he's helpless this time.
- The Devil: W-What are you doing?!
- Arial: I'm going to help them. But I'm doing it my own way.
Arial closes her hand again and punches him in the gut hard, causing the grenade to break and freeze him completely. As the crystal of ice covers his entire body, he's frozen in an expression of pure terror.
- Arial: Playtime is over, Dad.
She looks around as the group's traps shatter into chunks of rock and dirt. Freed, they all estatically run toward her.
The five stand around the frozen Devil, exhausted from the tense fight. Arial puts her hands on her hips and smiles proudly.
- Arial: That...felt good.
Tobias takes a deep breath and extends a hand to our hero. She shakes his hand happily and Amanda brushes the dust off of her.
- Tobias: I was worried you might give in for a second, there.
Arial shakes her head and sighs.
- Arial: I thought about it. I wanted to keep 'ya guys alive, and I wanted this to be over with. I used to think that Earth was no better than Hell. But I met you and Jack and I saw how happy mortals can be. How good they can be. This is my home now, and I love it.
Agent James reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone, which had been crushed by the rocky resraints. He shakes his head and tosses it into a garbage can.
- Tobias: After what you saved us from, I'm sure the Director won't mind you sticking around. F.A.N.T takes all the help it can get.
She grins and turns to Gethen and Tatsu, who are talking as she patches up his wounds. The cowboy smiles softly at his ex while the Oni focuses on the task at hand.
- Gethen: What 'ya did was really brave, Ari. Really smart too, I wouldn't have thought of that.
- Arial: You were brave too, Geth. You stopped letting him bully you, 'ya stood up to him. We probably woulda been screwed without your help. You too, Tatsu.
The Oni forcefully shakes Arial's hand and grunts.
- Tatsu: You've earned my respect. Few people do.
Arial grins and hugs the duo. Gethen hugs her back while Tatsu looks uncomfortable.
- Arial: Aww, 'ya aren't so rough after all.
After they pull away, he raises an eyebrow and adjusts his hat.
- Gethen: Well, I reckon I gotta ask, what's next for Hell? With him trapped-
- Arial: Guess that makes me queen.
Tatsu gets on one knee and raises her club.
- Tatsu: You have my services, Queen.
Arial chuckles and shakes her head.
- Arial: No thanks. I was never one for sittin' around and givin' out orders, and even if I was, this place means more to me now. That wouldn't be fair to you two or the others.
Gethen nods, unsurprised by her answer. As the Oni stands up, he thinks it over.
- Gethen: Guess that makes your little brother the new leader.
- Tatsu: That little-
She turns to see an offended Arial, who has her arms crossed.
- Tatsu: No offense.
- Arial: As much as I love 'im, you're right. Howie's just a teen, he's not ready for that kinda responsibility yet. 'Til he reaches adulthood...I can only thinka one person who cares enough about Hell to be a just ruler.
Gethen puts his hand on his chin and strokes it while Tatsu looks up at him.
- Tatsu: I think she means you.
- Gethen: Oh!
Our hero chuckles and nods. He grins and blushes.
- Arial: She's right. Congrats, Geth, you're the new king of Hell.
- Gethen: I won't let you down, Ari!
- Arial: And Tatsu...
She turns to the cowboy's best friend.
- Arial: Keep an eye on him.
Tatsu smirks and nods as Arial closes her eyes and focuses on putting her power into a portal back to Hell. As it forms in front of them, Gethen looks back at her.
- Gethen: Ari...I hope you enjoy your life here. You deserve happiness.
Touched, Arial smiles and motions for Gethen and Tatsu to return home. He confidently heads through the portal as Tatsu stays behind.
- Tatsu: I am not one for sentimentality or speeches...but your courage was inspiring. This mission has given me a lot to think about...and after witnessing that display of bravery and honesty, I think I am ready to admit how I feel to Gethen.
Arial beams and pats her former rival on the back.
- Arial: Good luck, Tats. I'm rootin' for 'ya, you guys would make a cute couple.
The Oni flushes lightly and nods, following behind her crush into the gateway. Tobias turns to her.
- Tobias: What are we doing with him?
Tobias points at Satan encased in the ice crystal and Arial shrugs it off.
- Arial: Geth'll take care of it. He can't do any more harm like this.
He nods and looks out at the city, sighing.
- Tobias: Guess it'll be kinda hard to catch a cab back to the airfield.
She raises her hand and points at the road, visibly struggling to do something. After a few seconds, she creates a car in front of him and then the keys, tossing them to her new friend.
- Tobias: You can do that?!
The former princess shrugs and grins smugly.
- Arial: Pretty cool, huh?
He nods and twinkles, opening up the door and shaking her hand. Before he gets in, his face takes a more serious look.
- Tobias: I was terrified of...of working with other people. I still am. But...you stopped running from the problem. You confronted it head on. It's time for me to do the same.
Arial scratches the back of her neck and looks away.
- Arial: Aww...glad I could inspire you. If you have the bravery to take on the Devil, you can do anything.
The agent takes a deep breath and nods before getting into the car, closing the door and taking off for the airfield.
- Arial: I hope he turns out alright...
As Arial watches him drive away, she turns to talk to Amanda, only to find that she's disappeared by the time the other conversations were over.
- Arial: Amy?
We then go to God's shrine in Heaven, where he and Amanda are standing alone. She looks around, worried, and stammers.
- Amanda: S-Sir, I...
She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, calming herself. The angel then narrows her eyes and prepares to confront God on how he set her up.
- God: There is no need to say anything, Amanda. In a...difficult situation, you performed admirably. I have decided to adjust our treaty with the Kingdom of Hell, the Council had no say in this.
Surprised at what he's saying, she raises an eyebrow and stays silent, deciding to listen to him.
- God: I watched what transpired. As long as the demons stay where they are, the young miss Arial will be allowed to stay on Earth. Furthermore...
Disappointed, God exhales and puts his hands together.
- God: I cannot allow an angel who was...fraternizing with such a powerful demon to live here, much less lead our army. So-
- Amanda: Absolutely.
This catches the Almighty off-guard, who puts his chin on his mighty fist. She nods and smiles.
- Amanda: I know what you're going to say, sir, and I would've if you hadn't. Earth...is a beautiful place. There's so much more than just hatred to them, as my mother said, so much more to Arial. If I have the gift of eternal life, I want to spend it on a place where I can be free.
He lets out a guttural laugh and slaps the armrest of his massive throne. He peers down to see that Amanda is completely serious.
- God: I cannot say I understand you, but I wish you luck in the world of the mortals. As one last gift, I will provide you with the wealth to live there comfortably, and an estate to spend your days in. It will be a palace worthy of the greatest warrior I've ever known.
Amanda happily nods as God claps gently, creating a portal back to New York City behind her. Before she can leave, he says one last thing.
- God: The mortals cause so much chaos, there's no control. Sometimes I wonder if creating them was the right choice.
Realizing that there are things not even the creator understands, Amanda laughs quietly and shakes her head, turning back towards him.
- Amanda: That's what makes them beautiful.
Not looking back again, the angel heads through the portal and appears once more in front of her new friend. Arial lets out a sigh of relief and Amanda beams.
- Arial: Jeez, I was worried about 'ya, Amy. Can't go disappearin' on people like that.
She raises an eyebrow and smiles wryly. Arial returns the smile as they look out at the city, traffic and life slowly returning to it as people leave their homes.
- Amanda: I'll make sure not to do that again. It looks like things are going back to normal, though.
- Arial: These people have a lotta stuff to deal with. Mortals are pretty damn resilient, no matter how you tear 'em down, they get back up. Dunno how I could've ever mistaken them for anything less.
- Amanda: They are rather impressive.
The friends walk down the street together as police clean up the sight of the battle. Arial looks over at Amanda curiously.
- Arial: My guess is you were talkin' to the big boss. What'd he have to say?
- Amanda: Well, we both agreed that it's best if I stay on Earth.
Pleasantly surprised, Arial gasps and giggles, pulling her ally and friend into a hug.
- Arial: That's great!
Amanda's eyes go wide as she softly smiles, hugging Arial back. She blushes and breaks the hug.
- Amanda: I do have a question to ask, though.
- Arial: Yeah?
- Amanda: He's providing me with some living quarters, something rather large and excess. I'm dreadfully bad with such large spaces...perhaps you could join me? As my housemate? We are both outsiders to this world, after all, and I imagine-
Flattered by the offer, Arial excitedly nods and jumps up and down, bringing Amanda with her. The angel looks around shyly.
- Arial: I'd love to!
- Amanda: I think you're drawing attention to us, Arial...
- Arial: I don't care!
In the waiting room for a therapist so he can work to fix his issues, Tobias has a pair of headphones on. He's listening to this song on his phone, when the therapist's assistant tells him that it's time for his appointment. Captions that say the song's lyrics are scattered across the next few panels.
- This whole damn world can fall apart
Meanwhile in Hell, Tatsu is inaudibly confessing her feelings to Gethen, clearly nervous and flustered. He grins and gives a short reply before kissing her on the lips hard. She shuts her eyes blissfully and reciprocates the kiss.
- You'll be okay, follow your heart
Jack walks into the apartment to find that Arial's belongings are gone, with a note on the table. Confused, he reads the note, which says "Find you and your special guy somewhere nice! Love, Arial". With a grin on his face, he lifts up the paper to find a stack of cash left behind by his friend.
- You're in harm's way, I'm right behind
Now under the command of Gethen, the demon soldiers move the imprisoned dark lord into the portal to Hell, where he'll be frozen forever.
- Now say you're mine
In front of the ornate mansion where they'll now live, which is situated on a hill that looks over the city, Amanda opens the door and heads inside with an enthusiastic expression on her face. Arial turns around to see the view.
- Arial: Name's Arial. I protect Earth.
The comic's first volume ends on the hero looking out at her new home as the sun sets.
- Three Kingdoms: The cover is split into five parts vertically. In the center is Arial in rainy New York, with Gethen and Tatsu on the left on a path in Hell, the Devil in his throne on the far left, Amanda in Heaven on her right, and Tobias in Sinn's office on the far right.
- The Lake of Fire: In this cover, Arial is sitting in The Lake of Fire, turned towards Death as they talk. As he wipes down the counter, she holds her mug of beer tightly.
- Trace: Here, we see Arial sitting in the passenger's seat of Jack's car while they drive down the street. As he shouts expletives at other drivers, she smiles, a pair of heart shaped glasses over her eyes.
- Hand of God: Amanda is clashing swords with Arial in the skies of New York City. White clouds surround them as the skyscape of the city is visible beneath them.
- Aftermath: Arial is sitting down, laying against the door of her apartment, while on the other side Amanda is leaning on the door of her hotel.
- Scars: In the middle of the night, Tobias and Hayley are outside the gang's warehouse, backed up against each other with their guns out.
- Divine Intervention: Outside the coffee house, Arial is sliding beneath Tatsu while she swings her club downward. In the background, Amanda deflects the bullets that Gethen fires with her sword.
- Crossroads: Arial, Amanda, Gethen, Tatsu, and Tobias are standing together in front of burning wreckage on the street, all of their weapons out and ready.
- Three Kingdoms: Arial is in the Rusty Tavern, swinging her bar stool to knock the thugs out of the way as they hold broken bottles and baseball bats.
- The Lake of Fire: Our hero is standing front of Luxury Apartments, looking up at the tall building as the sun rises. We see this from behind her.
- Trace: Inside the underground tunnel, we get a behind the shoulder view of Arial, who is blocking gunfire with a steel shield.
- Hand of God: In front of the overgrown wall, the Devil and Lilith are standing together, fists at the ready as humans and angels surround them.
- Aftermath: The cover is split into two halves, with a young Arial on the left playing around as the young Amanda slams her sword into a dummy on the right.
- Scars: Tobias is up-close with a demon warrior, who is clutching his massive spear, as he holds an experimental grenade tightly.
- Divine Intervention: Tobias and Arial are unloading bullets into demons as Amanda slashes through them in front of the Luxury Apartments building.
- Crossroads: Arial and the Devil are in a bloody fistfight as her friends are trapped in the rocks.
Reception was mostly positive. Praise went to the dialogue, characterizations, and treatment of the source material, while criticism was mostly aimed towards plot holes and pacing issues.
- Lilith is named after the Jewish demon, although she's much more sympathetic than her namesake.
- Tobias is named after a character from the original version of the Arial mythos.
- The Devil references the Greek god Hades as well as Elder, the leader of the Spirit Universe from the GHOST SMILE series.
- Tatsu and Jack were both based off of ideas from Arial's creator.
- Hayley is named after actress Hayley Atwell.
- The Devil being trapped in ice in a deep level of Hell is a reference to narrative poem Divine Comedy.
| Blank | Aero | Beam | Arial | Data | The Director | The Devil | Hugo Logia | Eric Sinn | Blizzard | Mission | Frostburn | Aran Leverletto | Amanda | Gethen | Tatsu | Tobias James | Helen Rizzo