*NEW READER WARNING* The first 5 or so chapters are BAD. And I mean BAD. Why? Because I wrote it 4 years ago when I didn't care about vocabulary or punctuation or anything. But don't let it discourage you from reading further – things get MUCH better later on! Read the most recent chapter if you want to see just how much better my writing is. Thank you!

For a more detailed, better-written, in-depth explanation of Ryo's world and his early history, please read "Of Demons and Prophecies : Prologue" at my profile. Thanks! It's worth it!


What the Future Holds - Chapter 1: Changes

I'm not supposed to be scared of anything, but I don't know where I am
I wish that I could move but I'm exhausted and nobody understands (how I feel)
I'm trying hard to breathe now but there's no air in my lungs
There's no one here to talk to and the pain inside is making me numb

I try to hold this Under control
They can't help me 'Cause no one knows

Now I'm going through changes, changes
God, I feel so frustrated lately
When I get suffocated, save me
Now I'm going through changes, changes

I'm feeling weak and weary walking through this world alone
Everything you say, every word of it, cuts me to the bone
I've got something to say, but now I've got no where to turn
It feel like I've been buried underneath all the weight of the world

I try to hold this Under control
They can't help me 'Cause no one knows

Now I'm going through changes, changes
God, I feel so frustrated lately
When I get suffocated, save me
Now I'm going through changes, changes

I'm blind and shakin'
Bound and breaking
I hope I make it through all these changes

Now I'm going through changes, changes
God, I feel so frustrated lately
When I get suffocated, save me
Now I'm falling apart, now I feel it

Now I'm going through changes, changes
God, I feel so frustrated lately
When I get suffocated, I hate this
But I'm going through changes, changes...

-3 Doors Down, Changes


THE BEGINNING

I have lived a long life. A very long life.

I have seen many things. I have experienced love, and loss. I know the taste of Death and the feeling of Salvation.

This is not a fairy tale to be told to children. This is a story of Demons and Prophecies, of need and desire, of devils and gods.

I will tell you my story. But you must promise me this:

Trust me. And don't let go. Sometimes the tunnel will be dark and you won't know where you'll end.

Trust me. The ride will be good. I promise.


THE STORY

My family was peaceful before I was born. My father, Orin Takanashi, was a well - respected, popular king of my race, the Demons.

He ruled over the five Elements that made up the Demon race. The Fire Demons, the Ice Demons, the Wind Demons, The Non-Elemental, or Neutral, Demons, and what I am, the Shadow Demons.

My mother, Queen Midori was an optimistic and beautiful woman who could make even the stiffest men soften just by looking at her smile or listening to her voice. My older brother, Prince Deneth, was as intelligent and responsible as a Crowned Prince could be.

And then I was born.

I was known as the 'cursed child' of my family, because after April 13th, the day of my birth, everything in my family and kingdom changed, for the worse.

I was born prematurely. Two months early, in fact. My birth affected both the child and the mother.

I can't even imagine the pain my mother was in after I was born. But in the end, it came out to this:

My mother had died two days after I was born. She had bled to death,

the midwives said. I was still alive, however, my immune system was very weak, making me extremely venerable to any disease, and my muscles wouldn't grow, making my body remain in a thin and scrawny state. And my father, who loved my mother very much, went into a state of insanity, almost. I was the blame for the cause of my mother's death and the kingdom-wide depression.

When I was about a millenia in age, I was equivalent to an eight-year-old mortal child. Demons grow slower, you see. While it takes only about twenty one years for a mortal human to grow into adulthood, while a demon is considered a full adult at the age of five-thousand two-hundred.

My father had hated me, abused me both physically and mentally, shunned me, and even tried to kill me a few times. He blamed me for my mother's death, claiming that it was my fault, and my fault alone, that she was dead. And I believed it.

I just stayed a shy, quiet, weak and sick boy who was always looking for something to do (when I wasn't bedridden from an illness, that is), and I always found something. Of course, it usually was trying to ride the prized horse or messing with the armory or hiding the brooms from the servants, or something that always got me into trouble. Which meant that I would be sent to my father, who would yell and hit and threaten me. It was nothing new after the first five years of my existence.

All the while, I confided my fears and hopes and everything else to my brother, Deneth. He was the only one who listened to me, who loved me as a brother should. Because of that, we were very close. He was the one I went to when I was hurt, or sick, or lost, or distressed. He listened to everything I said, and often times tried to fix what was wrong.

He was also away a lot. As the crowned prince, he was always off doing one thing or another for the citizens or out hunting.

It was hard for me to stay alone for days and days at a time, but it only made me want him back more and more. I became dependent of him.

He acted as the loving mother I never had, and the caring father I wish I had.

One day, when I was about two-thousand years old (equivalent to a 12-year-old human boy) my father had called us both into his study. I was quite confused, since my father had never summoned me into his presence. Mostly just shooed me off.

"Those bandits have raided Damar again." My father explained, sighing and looking at Deneth, while I was kind of standing off to the side. As usual, he completely ignores me.

My brother nodded, "Okay. I'll get right on it. Where are they now?"

He said, sighing heavily. My brother had been trying to deal with these bandits for quite a while, and they always got away. He was tired of dealing with them. It was obvious to anyone that Deneth was eager to get rid of these pests.

"In the forest, outside of Thief Town. I want them all dead. Not one left," my father demanded, "You are dismissed. Take your brother."

He added, "Remember Deneth..." he continued as we walked out, looking right at me, "ALL of my enemies dead."

"Deneth," I said, trotting after my brother as he walked down the hall. "Where ya goin'?" I asked in my childish voice, clinging on to the ends of my brother's robes.

"Outside Damar, to get rid of the bandits." Deneth explained. Damar was the capitol of our kingdom, and also the most populated city there.

"when will you be back?"

"Your coming with me, Ryo..."

My eyes grew to the size of Jupiter at that. Never have I even been out of the castle, nevertheless in an entirely different city,

especially to help out with my brother's work...I never thought I was capable of doing so.

"When we leavin'?" I said eagerly, grinning.

"Tomorrow morning."

"I'm gonna help you?" I asked, a spring in my step. "Yep." He said with a grin down at me, and I grinned back up at him.

The next morning came all too soon, and right before sunrise, my voice could be heard, echoing through the wide marble hallways.

"C'mon, Deneth! Let's go, let's go!"

My eyes were still gigantic as I ran along down the halls, a childish grin plastered on my face. And I doubt to this day that it wouldn't have come off until I got home.

My brother, on the other hand, didn't seem to keen on me coming along. He always gave me these odd looks when his eyes met mine, always for just a split second, then they were somewhere else. But I caught them.

However, soon before we were to leave, he pulled me aside.

"Brother..." Deneth said, bending over to look at me square in the eye, one hand on my shoulder, "...do you know why father decided to take you along with me?" he asked softly, glancing around to make sure we were along. Fortunately, we were.

"Um...'cause he thinks I'm able to now?" I said innocently.

Deneth sighed heavily, shaking his head and squatting down now, balancing on the balls of his toes, "No. Father brought you today to die"

I shook my head, being my usual stubborn self, "...no, he wouldn't do that," I said, nodding, struggling to believe my original reason.

"Why not?" he continued, "He's done it before, try to kill you. You know that."

"But how can I die if I'm with you? You've always protected me," I spoke up, frowning.

"Ryo, your accident prone and reckless. That's how!"

"What does that have to do with anything?"

A sigh came from his lips, "Ryo. You are reckless...our father thinks that, even if I put you off to the sidelines, just telling you to stay, you and I both know that you won't"

"'Cause I wanna fight!" I piped up, nodding avidly.

"Ryo, please..." Deneth sighed, giving my shoulder a gentle squeeze, "Please...for the love of our mother, please do what I say. I do not want you to befall a fate that is not fit for you."

"But Deneth-"

"No buts!" My older brother snapped, "Don't make me pull rank."

"You can't do that!"

"Yes I can. If I tell you to stay, then damned it be, your gonna stay. Okay?" He was getting upset now with my constant whining.

I was silent at that, just gazing up at my brother. I was so mad at him! How dare he let me just sit on the side while he and the soldiers accompanying us defeat our enemies?

I then, as I looked into his eyes, realized it was not anger that shone his in them...it was a deep caring. My anger instantly dissolved as I realized that Deneth was only trying to be a good elder brother and protecting me.

I nodded, "Okay," I said softly, glancing down to the ground, then back up at him.

"Thank you," Deneth said, giving off a sigh of relief and hugging me tightly, "Do you promise?"

"I promise!"

"Good. Now let's go."

"Okay," I said, my grin reappearing as I walked out to the stables, my hand in my brother's.


"My lord, they are right over this hill! In the field," one of the soldiers reported to us, jogging back up to our camp.

It had been two days since we had left for the bandits. We had passed through Damar, and skirted Thief Town. My brother had told me the history behind the infamous Thief Town the night before we met the bandits, when our men had made camp and were sitting around various campfires.

It's real name is Refuge Perdu Village, but over the years, it had become so overpopulated with assassins, thieves, prostitutes, and others running away from the law, that it's now commonly known as Thief Town.

"Well, why don't all the bounty hunters just go in and capture everyone for the rewards on their heads?" I had asked, frowning a bit.

It seemed a bit strange how so many wanted men could be in one place and stay safe.

"Because. Soon after it had been renamed, a powerful wizard put a spell over the town...any bounty hunter or anyone else searching for a bounty who enters the city will disappear into oblivion." Deneth had explained, nodding as he gazed into our fire.

That had been the night before.

"Aright, men. We'll break camp and move out," Deneth ordered.

At the time, I had thought my brother was the greatest at giving orders. Later I realized there wasn't much skill to it. That's why he was so good at it, obviously.

The plan would be perfect - we would draw our weapons (I wouldn't be included, of course), hide in the surrounding brush for a while, and then..attack them head - on. We would take them by such surprise, they wouldn't have enough time to fight back.

I followed them down silently, crouching down next to my brother, looking over at the bandit's camp. They were milling about, speaking to each other, laughing occasionally. Most of them were Demons, I noted.

He glanced at me, then raised an eyebrow, "Get back up the hill," He whispered in my ear.

I shook my head, "No. I'm staying here. I won't move, promise. I just wanna watch," I whispered back.

He rolled his eyes, "Fine, whatever. Just don't get hurt. If you move, I will tell father immediately," he hissed.

I nodded contentedly, waiting for my brother to give the final word to go and end their lives.

I watched in amazement as I watched my brother fight with them. It was in the heat of battle, twenty minutes into it, and Deneth and his men had the upper hand.

Quite a few times I was tempted to run out there and join them, but I always remembered my brother's words, and willed myself to sit still and out of sight, and danger.

"We have the upper hand," I whispered to myself.

Right after that, my brother and his men lost the upperhand that I had just been silently celebrating about. The next thing I knew, some of the surviving bandits had formed a tight circle around my brother, making it impossible to see him from the outside, while the others quickly teamed up against our other men, fighting them even quicker then before.

I gulped, then shook my head, struggling to convince myself that Deneth would come out of this okay, however there was that looming feeling of death in the back of my mind.

But they only closed in and in on Deneth, and I grew only more concerned as the seconds ticked by.

"Now! Kill him!" One of the bandits called out, and I closed my eyes.

I could not watch. I would not.

They all then came upon him, their swords drawn, and I knew it was over, all over.

I opened my eyes again, about two minutes later, gulping, my hands shaking, then the rest of my body as I tried not to cry. I looked over at them with a horror-stricken expression, and saw them. They had backed off, all grinning over at each other, blood on their swords and bodies. Glancing around, I quickly realized that the other soldiers that had accompanied us were either dead or gone (I later found out that after they had figured out that Deneth was doomed to die, they ran off. I had always suspected them to be cowards.) I did not wan to look at how mutilated my brother's body would be, so I did not look in that direction. I could not believe that my big brother, the man who I had looked up to my whole life, was finally dead.

My mind racing, I glanced around the area, avoiding the place where I suspected my brother's body to be. Soon enough, I saw a forgotten sword not far off from where I hid.

My eyes narrowed. My feelings of horror soon converted into feelings of anger towards the bandits.

To anger a Shadow Demon is like angering Death himself. A famous saying amongst Demons, with all the more truth to it. We Shadow Demons are natural warlords, with a thirst for bloodshed and an addiction to death. To make one dead would be selling yourself to Death.

"HEY!" I called out to them, jumping out into their plain view, grabbing the nearest un-used sword.

I had nearly no muscle on my arms, so picking up the sword was extremely hard, and keeping the hilt of the sword around my tiny fingers was even harder, but I was determined to kill these men. At that moment, I was fueled by adrenaline and the burning anger toward them for killing my brother.

They all looked in my direction, blinking stupidly.

"It's a kid." One said.

"...Scrawny lookin'," Another spoke.

"Surprised the kid can keep that sword up..." said another.

"Hey!" One of the bandits called in the front called out to me, frowning, "This is no place for a kid! Get lo-" But, he never got to finish, because within seconds, his body hit the ground. Not only was I somewhat stronger from my controlling anger, as before this I was not even able to lift a sword at all, but I was also faster. While the bandit had been speaking, I had rushed forward, shoving the tip of my blade right into his chest before he could even raise his sword.

Yes, I was much quicker.

I had also made my first kill.

The other bandits gasped when they saw what had happened to their fallen comrade, then looked at me, glaring.

"Kill him." One said.

Then, they attacked.

My eyes widened when I saw them charge at me, all twelve of them,

however, to defend myself, I swung my blade rather un-gracefully, at them. One stabbed my shoulder, and I cut his hand off. A burly looking one slashed my cheek, and I slashed his neck, and so forth. Every time one hurt me, I killed them in return.

Within a few moments, they were all dead. I looked down at my sword, fresh with sinned blood. I then looked up, looking around at a battlefield full of bodies and blood.

It was only then that I broke down. Dropping the incredibly heavy sword, I collapsed to my knees, my hands covering my face as I cried.

I cried for the loss of my brother, for my own weakness in the fact that I couldn't protect him, for the pain I felt everywhere from my wounds, and for what my father would say when he found out that his favored son was dead...and that the one he had tried to kill still alive.

After quite a few hours of my grieving, I felt something nudge my side. Sniffling, I opened my eyes, dropping my hands, looking over, tears still pouring down my bloodstained cheeks, mixing in with the gash there A small dragon was sitting there, with gigantic blue eyes that were wide and concerned-looking, large, floppy ears drooping over it's face, and green scales with spikes going down it's back. Not to mention the classic dragon wing's on it's' back.

It whimpered a bit, nudging me again. I suppose it was trying to comfort me.

I smiled weakly, gently petting it's head, still crying, though. It was about the size off a small German shepherd...it probably came up to about the average mortal man's knees. It thumped it's tail on the ground as I pet it, still sniffling.

Not surprisingly, with it's tongue hanging out of it's mouth, and it's tail thumping happily against the ground, it reminded me of a dog.

Behind it, I saw another dragon, about the same size, lying on it's belly, it's darker, more narrowed eyes half-open. Frowning, I soon saw that it's side had been slashed, and the wound was bleeding freely.

Walking past my new-found dragon friend, I approached the other.

"it's okay. I'll take care of you. I'm in pain too, inside, and out," I said comfortingly, holding out an arm to pet it.

It growled, then somehow got to it's feet, trotting off into the bushes before I could say anything more.

Frowning, I looked back to the remaining dragon, "What happened?" I asked, like it would talk back to me.

The dragon just blinked, then cocked it's head gazing up at me with those huge blue eyes innocently, it's tongue hanging out of it's mouth as it panted very dog-like, it's tail thumping happily on the ground "I thought so." I said, smiling and patting it again, looking at it thoughtfully.

"Wanna come with me?" I said finally, getting to my feet, looking around. It was only then when I noticed something.

My brother's body was nowhere in sight.

Frowning, I did a quick search of the area, kicking over bodies, my dragon friend following at my feet faithfully, occasionally sniffing the ground. Did the bandits shred my brother's body so much, that there was nothing left? I cringed at that thought, shuddering visibly.

At last I gave up. I didn't know what happened to my brother, but it did not really matter. All I knew was that he was dead and that I would never see him again.

I gazed at the sky. It was getting late. Looking down at the dragon, I smiled sadly when I saw it still there, "Want to come back with me? I need company...I don't have anyone anymore," I said, sighing.

The dragon just panted, sitting down and looking up at me, it's tail thumping the ground.

"Okay then, it's settled," I smiled a bit, bending over to pet it. "Your name is Elroth now, okay?" Elroth, in the ancient Demonic Language, meant 'Friend.'

Elroth just blinked, continuing with what it was doing- staring up at me stupidly.

Smiling, I walked out of the bandits' camp. Elroth still followed me.

I stopped then, looking back, a sad look on my face, "I love you, Deneth," I whispered. It was no use praying, the Gods would not listen.

When a Demon dies, it's spirit gets sent to Limbo, a realm between Earth and Hell. There, Death (humans refer to him as the Grim Reaper) takes the Demon's soul and puts it in Hell. However, Death was the first Demon, after he came out Pandora's Box, and all Demons are descendants of him, however only the Royal Family on my father's side and most Shadow Demons are considered a direct descendant of Death. So, because the Five Gods, Maana, Shildra, Ororian, Namano, and Raveno, do not like Death, they do not like his children, the Demons, and they shun our kind, refusing them into their kingdom of Heaven, forcing us Demons to suffer an eternity of torture after Death.

I turned around, starting to head back, calling over Deneth's horse, BloodRain, and, with much difficulty and a conveniently-placed tree stump, managed to get on the horse's back, which was about two or three times as tall as me., looking down, my spirits lifting slightly when I saw Elroth still with me, then started to head home.

I was ready. I was ready to be the Crowned Prince, and carry in the footsteps of my brother. I was ready to become stronger and smarter and take on the world on my own. And most importantly, I was ready for my father to finally respect me. The death of my beloved brother not only brought sadness to me, but new opportunities that I did not see at once.

But little did I know, that as I left to go home, the Darkness within me had only begun to grow...

To Be Continued...


FROM THE AUTHORESS

Din: I'm in the process of revising this chapter and the next few…sooo, keep watch! If you have any questions, feel free to message me at any time! I PROMISE you the story gets better…I wouldn't turn it into a book and write 60+ chapters if it was terrible. :P For now the dialogue and punctuation are crappy…so give me, yourself, and the story patience! It gets better. Thank you! REMEMBER TO REVIEW!