The Millenium Earl has a plan. Alex and Kanda are sent on a mission to investigate the strange events taking place in a monastery in Lisbon. Thanks to Shica.UPDATE 11-05-08: 1st chapter revision by...
1 - Prologue
There’s a figure flying in the nightly sky.
“I am the great Akuma Maker, the Millennium Earl. I am the one who shall exorcise the filthy “god” and with the Akuma lead this world to its death”.
Mankind is vain and impure. Each person strives to satisfy his own need, his own craving. We’re all alone - in life and in death. Who can guarantee eternal bliss, eternal rest? God? The God that has abandoned us to our own selfishness? The one that sees us fighting, failing and decaying?
There’s nothing unnatural in the Earl’s appearance. Long ago the Earl came to be, as old as mankind, perhaps as old as God himself. He was born from our fears and despair; from our darkest hours. The Earl mocks our every effort to survive in this world.
There’s no light, no hope. No way to cover mankind’s wounds and misdeeds. We’re sad, bitter, hopeless beings.
The Earl listens to our pleading. With an evil grin, with loud laughter, he distorts our hopes and turns our fears against us.
If we only weren’t so selfish and egotistical, all this could be avoided, and the world would be one of happiness. Perhaps, in that world, there wouldn’t be a place for the Earl.
“Earl-sama, Earl-sama, lero.”
It was a bright night. The full moon was glowing. Duke Millennium left his dwelling, accompanied by Lero, his beloved accessory. He travelled far, flying across towns, forests and mountaintops.
It was not long before the Earl reached his destination. Using the little umbrella very much like a parachute, the fat demon landed gracefully upon the Cathedral’s rooftop. The little umbrella closed itself and stared at his master questioningly.
“What is it, Lero?”, asked the Earl.
“Why did we land here, lero?”
“I haven’t been here in a long time. This was a very religious city, and everyone was afraid of Him, it seemed. No one seemed to be worthy of my gifts. All pitiful cowards that wouldn’t raise a finger to go against His will. But that has changed now.”
The dark fat figure widened his smirk; his yellowish eyes glittering in the night.
“Can’t you feel it? All this despair and fear? This city is full of potential. Here, we’ll find plenty of matter to create my beloved Akuma.”
“And isn’t it poetic for us to scheme it all from this very building? There’s something highly amusing about the profanation of His house.”
“Earl-sama has a plan, lero?”
“Patience, Lero, patience. Of course the Earl has a plan. You’ll come to know it soon. But first the first step has to be taken.”
At that moment, the Earl noticed a lonely bended figure standing in front of a tomb in the cathedral’s cemetery.
“What about the exorcists, Earl-sama, lero?”
The Earl’s smile widened.
“I’m counting on their participation in this theatrical play. But it’s not yet the time for them to make their entrance. Be quiet now, Lero. See? Someone’s calling me as we speak.”
A call to God.
“Oh, unmerciful God.”
Facing the wooden cross that marked the resting place of yet another monastery’s novice, Father Peter held his wooden crucifix in his wrinkled small hand.
“I’m an old man. Why do you refuse to take this poor old soul and instead take the youth of this holy city of Lisbon time and time again?”
The old man looked towards the sky briefly. He caught a glimpse of a heavily built figure descending smoothly, holding high in his hand a little umbrella.
The Earl chortled. “Pity. Who is this God that brings an old man to his knees so late at night?”
“Demon!!! Leave me!!”
The Earl bent enough so his mouth came close to the priest’s ear. He whispered softly and soothingly.
“You can bring him back, you know, if you truly wish it; if you show the courage. All you have to do is call him…”
The magical words bewitched the priest, making him doubt his faith for a second. A second was all the Earl needed. The beast smiled innocently.
“Wouldn’t it be good? To have him back? To have his delightful company once again?”
“God took him away. Why would I call him back - go against His wishes?” asked the priest doubtfully.
“You’re tired of watching them all die. Day after day this strange sickness, the work of your Lord, I’m sure, takes them to their graves one after the other. You’re their guardian, their keeper. You’re a failure.”
The Earl walked around the tomb and stopped in front of Father Peter, digging into the dirt with Lero’s pointy edge.
Lero felt highly undignified, feeling the dirt hitting him on his face. But the master’s orders had been clear and he remained silent.
“You know you are. You’re a failure, that’s why not even He will answer your prayers. But I’m here for you.”
The minister finally faced the Millennium Earl. Sickness had spread through his body and he shook uncontrollably. The spring night was warm, but not warm enough that the old man should be walking outside in his condition. He had the distorted vision of one suffering from hallucinations and, for just a couple of seconds, the figure of the Earl was twisted into that of an angel, an angel of salvation.
But soon, the minister of God regained sense of his surroundings.
“Why would the Millennium Earl help me?”
The Earl giggled and whirled around.
“Earl-sama, Earl-sama, I’m getting dizzy, lero.”
The Earl burst into laughter. “My poor Lero”. Stopping he pat his little umbrella playfully.
The priest observed the Earl’s actions dumbfounded.
“Priest, I’m only here to offer help in this time of need. That is the Earl’s purpose: to do everything within his grasp to spread happiness in this world of sorrow. Where God created unhappiness, I bring laughter and hope.”
The priest rose and dropped his crucifix.
“You’ll bring this boy back? Take me and bring him back?”
The metal body of the Akuma sprang from the ground.
“Old man, do you want to bring him back now? Call his name, call it.”
“Richard? Come back, my dear boy. You can come back now, Return to my side now. Richard! Richard!”
With a gasp and an unearthly howl the Akuma awakened.
“Who calls my name? Who brought me back?”
Tears of joy sprang from the minister’s eyes.
“Richard, Richard, you’re alive! I saved you!”
“Father? Father? Is it you?”
The priest approached the Akuma with tears falling down his cheeks.
“It’s really true! You’ve come back! It’s you…”
“What have you done, Father? Why am I here? Save me?! You’ve condemned us both. Why did you bring me back? Why?!”
The Earl pointed Lero in Father Peter’s direction.
“Now my pet, kill this man and wear his skin!” The Earl burst into a fit of giggles and once again he whirled around. “Now, my pet, now!”
The sick old man remained motionless. “Why? What is this? You said you would bring him back, you promised! What is that thing?”
“That is Richard – can’t you hear his voice? That is the Richard you brought back. He’s back, priest…and now I’ll take you. You’ll help built a very strong Akuma, priest.” With ease, despite his round figure, the Earl turned to the Akuma. “Akuma? Kill the old man now, kill him now and wear his skin.”
In an instant the priest was killed. The Akuma entered his new host, and wearing the priest’s skin he captured his soul.
The priest’s soul screamed in the agony of damnation, but the sound was only heard by the Earl, and it made him feel joyful.
“Now my pet: run this monastery, recruit plenty of Akuma, kill, and become stronger. I have great plans for you.”
With that, the Akuma caught the priest’s crucifix and returned it to his neck.
And so the tale begins.