Daily Life With A Lilim Chapter 23


~Visitation~

‘Stanley has a sister.’

Ezraphel didn’t know why this news came as a shock to her but it did. Or rather the implication of said information did anyway since Stanley seldom speaks about his family. Out of everything they’ve shared about each other for some reason the topic of his family has always been taboo. The few times she’s ever brought the topic up Stanley shuts down and Ezraphel is bombarded with a great many conflicting emotions through their bond. It made her realize that she would get no information about them from him so she opted to do her own investigations.

Said investigation got her nowhere pretty quickly as her Stanley did not keep anything that would give her a hint as to the identity of his relatives, their personality and most importantly their relationship. If she wanted to she could have employed her magic to track down and spy on his relatives however she would rather have her Stanley open up about them to her. In fact Ezraphel was only aware of their existence because Stanley himself wasn’t able to completely abide by his taboo. Over the course of their relationship he has slipped and let out some information about them.

So far Ezraphel is aware that he has a mother, a brother and a father. She could also tell from his emotions when mentioning them that he has a strained yet somewhat positive relationship with his mother, a good relationship with his brother and as for his father. Ezraphel has never felt her Stanley loathed someone so and that said a lot considering he makes it a point not to bother wasting energy with such emotions.

Regardless her Stanley has never mentioned having a sister which she found to be odd given his current reaction. Currently Ezraphel and Stanley were in the car making their way to the hospital. They were both still dressed for their date which was very much cancelled at this point not that Ezraphel cared. No the Lilim cared more about her Stanley and the emotions roiling off him at the moment.

Anxiety, fear, anger and impatience are the ones that stood out to her and the ones that mattered. It hadn’t been lost on her that at the moment he was using the two latter emotions to mask the two former ones.

Case in point…

On their way they met a bit of light traffic and Stanley seemed to be very close to inciting a ‘road rage’ incident. So to prevent that Ezraphel laid a comforting hand on his shoulder causing him to flinch and glance at her. Neither said anything and he visibly calmed himself down until the traffic moved forward. This silence persisted though it was far from awkward or stifling, if anything it was actually companionable.

They arrived at the hospital almost an hour after they left the house and Ezraphel couldn’t help but marvel at the building. She’s only ever seen hospitals through various forms of Earth media and this particular building looked drastically different from how they are depicted. That is not even mentioning the differences between it and the hospitals in Eos not that she could opine on that as much.

Ezraphel couldn’t say she spent a great deal of time with the healers on Eos. Most of them are under the purview of the Medical Sabbath and whilst she had been interested in learning their techniques at one point they would not allow her to apprentice under one of their doctors unless she actually joined the Sabbath. Needless to say Ezraphel had no intention of losing her mature and voluptuous body even if it was merely a formality and she would be free to leave.

Of all the Lilims Ezraphel is said to have a body closest to her mother’s physical form despite being one of the youngest, a fact she took pride in. Ezraphel very much liked the way she looked and would not change one of the very few advantages she had over her siblings in order to learn a few spells. At least that was her thought process when faced with the decision at the time though now she realized the medical profession was much more expansive yet intricate than she thought.

She ended up learning medical spells secondhand from other sources. Now granted they were not as intricate or extensive as what she could have been learned from the Makai’s premiere healing cult but it provided a good enough foundation for her. It was through this foundation that she was able to contrast and compare Eos and Earth medical care.

Mamono don’t really get sick and even then Mamono born diseases are hardly truly debilitating unlike human diseases. Usually Mamono cannot contract human diseases or so it was thought but the truth is that there is such a thing as cross contamination with human diseases being caught by mamono and turning into something else entirely. This was actually the basis behind the Medical Sabbath’s formation by Greilia Little.

As for human healers on Eos they have middling success as far as she was concerned especially outside of magical healing. Mamono healing methods are just vastly superior if only because Demonic Energy was already predisposed to not being harmful in general. If anything Demonic Energy could actually be used as a healing agent itself under the right circumstances. Of course with the side effects being increased libido and such.

Shaking her head of such thoughts Ezraphel focused on what she knew of earth medicine…which turned out to be not much at all. Seriously she thought human medicine on Eos was difficult (if not a bit simple) but medicine on earth was a convoluted mess. It is generally agreed upon by online consensus that medicine is one of the more difficult professions to pursue. Not just because there is a lot of knowledge to cover but also because the healthcare is ever evolving and expanding with innovation.

Doctors are charged with keeping up or losing their profession. There will always be new technologies discovered, new methods formulated, old methods that need to be updated or expunged and so much more. With all that said Ezraphel was still very curious and despite the circumstances she was actually a bit excited about what she would find inside what is essentially a modern apothecary.

Arriving inside the building Ezraphel was hit with the scent of something she could not quite indentify however if there was a description for it then it would have to be sterile. From the windows to the walls, from the air to the general aesthetic of the interior there seemed to be an emphasis on cleanliness that was just too systemic to be coincidental. Given that this was a building for healing maladies she understood the need for it and far be it for her to cast judgment but damn did it make the interesting architecture and curious design choices seem muted.

Not that Ezraphel thought of such things for more than the minute or two it took for her to venture deeper into the building. The thing Ezraphel could clearly note about the hospital is its size. Like all very important buildings the hospital is big, huge even, practically a castle onto itself. Naturally with its size it houses a great many people, some are staff but most are patients. Ezraphel knew this because she could sense them, the patients that is.

‘Ah, now I remember why I do not stay in the company of healers more than I have to back home.’

Said reason being that healers, by the very definition of their job, have a tendency to stay around the injured and afflicted. Now Ezraphel would never ever disparage a healer or their duties however all succubi possess empathic abilities and a Lilim’s are so precise that some of her siblings are able to make it seem as if they could read minds. Ezraphel herself has some mastery over this innate ability and a rather wide range which bodes ill for when she is surrounded by misery and suffering.

And make no mistake for all its uniformed cleanliness and sterile aesthetics the hospital was basically a focal point for misery and suffering. It wasn’t just the patients either but also the some of the staff who seemed anxious, overworked and generally miserable. Stanley didn’t seem to notice this fact being a bundle of nerves concealed behind an impressive veneer of calm.

“I’m here to see Natalie Berkowitz.”

The name had Ezraphel pivot most of her attention back to Stanley who after a brief back and forth with the receptionist was ordered to wait for a nurse. The waiting room wasn’t filled to capacity but there was at least a dozen other people in the waiting area. Not all of them were patients but all of them did turn their gazes to them at some point or another. Since both of them were set to go out on a date and were dressed as such having people stealing glances, especially at Ezraphel, was expected,.

Stanley didn’t seem to notice or really care and usually Ezraphel would be of the same mind but there was a problem. Well there were actually several but the most immediate (following her empathic abilities picking up negative emotions) came in the form of another couple in the waiting area. The woman was visibly pregnant and as Ezraphel beheld her swollen belly the Lilim could not help but feel a spike of jealousy and longing.

It is incredibly difficult for Mamono to become pregnant considering that they use semen as sustenance, literally feeding on it. The difficulty only gets worse for Mamono who are powerful and/or magically inclined as they are fairly high maintenance and demand even more spirit energy in the form of semen to be satiated. It is unfortunate that Ezraphel falls into this category and there wasn’t much she could do about it.

Right now her Stanley has the most potent seed in the entire world with such virility that a single drop could guarantee pregnancy in a normal human woman. It is also packed with Spirit Energy fit to feed a voracious Lilim like her but only just. The fact that they’ve had sex dozens of times and she’s had her womb drenched in his cum without it fertilizing her eggs spoke volumes.

Don’t get her wrong Ezraphel very much likes having sex with her Stanley and it was far from a means to an end but the ultimate goal of every Mamono is child rearing. Even the most obstinate Mamono in the world would jump at the chance to have children and if they say they don’t then they are lying or delusional. Ezraphel is no exception and it is her personal dream to have Stanley’s children but with no clear metric on how, when or what could spark a natural pregnancy in Lilim she didn’t know a way to expedite the process.

That’s fine though because she was patient and while did not think about it too much about it seeing other women carrying children did bring up feelings of jealousy, impatience and dare she say a bit of inadequacy as well. Then, as if taunting her with the presence of a pregnant woman wasn’t enough, Ezraphel peeked from the corner of her eye before turning to find a child sitting on his mother’s lap. He looked adorable wearing blue overalls and holding a toy.

He was also looking right at her and for a moment the two stared before he gurgled some kind of baby babble and held up his toy with a smile.

‘…that’s not fair~’ she internally whined at the absolutely adorable display.

“Mr. Berkowitz?”

Luckily at that moment a nurse came calling and Stanley hopped to his feet with Ezraphel following a moment later. As they walked away however she heard an infantile voice call out to her.

“Bye-bye”

Ezraphel stiffened and looked over her shoulder at the child who was waving goodbye to her. Resisting the urge to gush and coo at the display had the disguised Lilim almost mechanical in her own wave goodbye. Following this she made haste to catch up to her Stanley who was speaking with the nurse, the click clacking of her heels going at a quicker rate.

She did not catch whatever was said between them however she did feel dissatisfaction from Stanley which said all that needed to with the conversation. They spent a minute in relative silence as the nurse guided them to their destination. The entire time Ezraphel tried her very best to ignore what was happening around her.

Finally they arrived at a room where an older man in a white coat she recognized from various media came into view. Clearly this man was the doctor and Ezraphel felt a bit guilty that the man momentarily got distracted by her before Stanley snapped him out of it. Ezraphel lowered her charm effect to absolute zero after that.

After the man introduced himself as Dr. Harrison and confirming Stanley’s identity the latter got down to business.

“What happened to her?” Stanley demanded with a scowl.

The doctor seemed to hesitate for a bit perhaps put off by Stanley’s attitude. Ezraphel tuned them out for a bit as she looked through the open door to the woman currently laying unconscious on the bed. From her position she could see a passive resemblance to her Stanley in her long brown hair but that was about it.

Ezraphel let her more esoteric senses wash over the woman and there she found something peculiar. There was something off about the comatose woman that prickled Ezraphel’s memory but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it…

“What?”

The single word practically echoed with the sensation of Stanley’s negative emotions doubling in that same instance. Turning back to the two men she could see that once again the doctor looked put off though this time Ezraphel can see the reason why. Her Stanley’s emotions were so overwhelming that his mana reacted instinctively lacing his words with palpable intent. Luckily he seemed to have caught on to this (his training in mana manipulation showing) and reigned himself in.

“I’m sorry but could you repeat that” Stanley said with a calmness that was betrayed when opened and closed his fist with an audible *pop* of his knuckle bones “and please don’t spare any of the details.”

~Absence Makes Strangers~

Stanley had a complicated relationship with his family. Overall there were lots of regrets, anger and heartbreak where that’s concerned but in simplified terms: he burned bridges with his mother, never even constructed one with his younger sibling and as for his father that relationship was the victim of orbital bombardments long before even he realized. It only took around 15 years on his part for him to understand the veritable bottomless chasm he almost fell into trying to gain that man’s approval.

So yeah with that glowing review of the state of his familial relations one might think that it wasn’t complicated at all. But oh that was only three for four and the complications came in when one examines his relationship with the fourth member because unlike the rest Stanley actually has a good relationship with Natalie. A good relationship albeit a distant one but it was not due to any fault of his own, at least not deliberately.

Natalie understood him like none of the others did including the understanding that he can only tolerate someone intruding on his life in small doses. Plus she has her own life that Stanley certainly does not intrude upon so the understanding is mutual. The results of this mutual understanding culminates in infrequent calls and texts every other month (on special occasions, holidays and such) and the once-in-a-blue-moon-visitation on her part. It is a distant relationship to be sure, especially for the only family member who he can tolerate, but one that works for them.

‘God dammit Nat’ Stanley thought as he sat by her unconscious body.

It was also a relationship he realized he took for granted or so he thought while looking through the history of their correspondence. He’s been wrapped up in so many things as of late that he completely failed to notice a drop off in the frequency of messages from her. Said messages aren’t even personalized but just some throwaway quotes people mass send to their entire call library. It was with a start that Stanley realized he hasn’t actually spoken to or even really communicated with her in almost a year.

That was bad but it wasn’t as if their last encounter had gone horribly wrong either. At least he didn’t think so but something must have been wrong since they haven’t had a proper conversation for almost a year and the next time he sees her she’s being rushed to the hospital. Thanks to the whole fiasco with Ezraphel Stanley has taken to reevaluating his relationship with other people and it can very much be said that he could have made more effort to reach out to her.

On the other hand it wasn’t as if Natalie was blameless in all this. Especially after what Dr. Harrison told him.

‘Cancer’ Stanley thought while massaging his brow ‘of all things it just had to be fucking cancer.’

Natalie has cancer which was the cause of her sudden collapse and subsequent rush to the hospital earlier that day. It wouldn’t have been so bad if this was the first offence but that wasn’t the case because it turns out Natalie has been aware of her affliction for over a year now. The reason why she eventually stopped making contact with him was because she found out she had leukemia and started doing treatment with the goal of total remission.

Unfortunately the treatments aren’t working anymore and she’s now gone terminal. Dr. Harrison estimates that she has a few months without more treatment but a year with more treatment. The man was kind enough to tell him that he explained as much to Natalie already in a conversation they had a little over a week ago. This included spots for clinical trial which she signed up for of course though with how many people are on that list it will be a miracle if she manages to get through.

After receiving this information there was a lot of things he wanted to say. None would be tolerated in a hospital setting nor would they be deserved by present company. So instead of making a scene Stanley opted to sit his ass down on the available chair in the room and simply wait. He planned to wait out this coma either until she wakes up, visitation hours end or (by some machinations of that bastard Murphy) the rest of their family showed up.

A cursory glance at the time told him it has been several hours since he arrived which means that this secret was one his sister was keeping very close to the chest. He figured the fainting spell wasn’t exactly part of the plan so to speak and unfortunately for her she gave the hospital his information as her emergency contact.

‘And to think if this didn’t happen then there might be a good chance that I’d be seeing her in a morgue’ he morbidly mused to himself.

Said musing was interrupted by movement. It wasn’t the first time but unlike the others the movement persisted and upon seeing her eyes fluttering he…did nothing. As much as his first instinct was to stand up and hover over her to make sure she was alright and that the first thing she saw was a friendly face Stanley’s very tight control lingered. So he instead watched as she slowly came to, stared at the ceiling for a bit and audibly sighed before reaching for something.

She seemed to know what she was doing because a moment later she picked up what looked like a remote and pressed a button. Faintly Stanley heard a buzzer and he guessed that thing was used to call for a nurse, he forgot what the name was. Not that it mattered because Natalie finally seemed to register his presence in the corner and looking very much confused (and a bit perturbed) by his presence she asked the obvious question.

“Uh, hello?”

“…” Stanley said nothing as he glared at her.

“…okay I’ll bite” she said after a moment of silence which he refused to break “who are you?”

Stanley pursed his lips as his eyes narrowed before he realized ‘I keep forgetting I look different now.’

Not that he really cared.

“Been that long you don’t recognize me anymore?”

Her face scrunched at the name as she scrutinized him before her eyes widened in incredulity “Stan?”

Stanley lounged even further back into the chair with both hands draped over the hand rests before flopping them up “sup.”

Natalie almost recoiled as she scrutinized him further, giving him a once over before speaking “you look…different.”

Any other time he would have reveled in her shock but not this time.

In response he sneered “and you look like shit but I guess cancer will do that to you.”

Natalie recoiled in shock and a hint of nervousness broke through expression as she summed up her feelings in a single word “shit.”

“Yeah…”

Silence filled the room after his reply with Natalie unsure of how to proceed and Stanley willing to let her stew in the guilt and misery. It ended when the nurse arrived to check on Natalie’s condition. Eventually Dr. Harrison entered but Stanley remained seated and sequestered in his corner as he listened to their conversation. His expression was decidedly neutral and he made no comment throughout the brief conversation mostly because it wasn’t anything he hadn’t already heard before.

TLDR: Natalie fainted due to the symptoms of her cancer. She was going to be kept overnight for observation and testing. Depending on what they find or what happens in that time she will either be discharged with some meds or kept in the hospital for longer.

Once that was done Natalie thanked the doctor who clearly noticed the tension between them and quickly excused himself. And once again Stanley was alone with his sister who very much looked uncomfortable in the silence that was decidedly becoming awkward. Stanley himself gave nothing away even if his thoughts had once again becoming a roaring tempest he was very much trying to control.

Eventually Natalie decided to break the silence by gesturing to him “so new look? What’s that all about?”

“Why didn’t you tell me you had Leukemia?”

The woman winced before closing her eyes and muttered “here we go. Can we not do this right now? I just woke up.”

“We could” Stanley nodded “but I’m not feeling very accommodating after my date was interrupted by a call from the hospital about my sister fainting-”

“…date?”

Ignoring her he continued “then I come down here and the doctor whose been your personal doctor for a year now tells me you have cancer and you’ve had cancer for a year now and even went through chemo…which fucking failed!”

“Wait-wait-wait back up!” she held up her hand “you had a date? You?” she once again emphasized.

That right there was the last straw as Stanley surged to his feet and yelled “TAKE THIS FUCKING SERIOUSLY! YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!

That drained the fledgling levity that she’d try to build up and Natalie frowned at her brother.

For a long moment she looked him in the eye before shrugging “yeah looks like it.”

Stanley’s eyes narrowed “why didn’t you tell me?”

“You really want to know?”

In response Stan folded his arms ‘this ought to be good.’

Taking his action for what it was Natalie replied “you didn’t ask.”

That genuinely threw him for a loop and Stan gaped at the audacity “are you-”

“No shut up!” Natalie snapped “I found out I had Leukemia almost a year ago and I admit, I was scared but Dr. Harrison said I had a chance with chemotherapy so I said fuck it and went ahead with the procedure. I did it for months and pretty much dropped off the grid and during that time not even once did you even make an attempt to reach out to me.”

Stanley lost his indignance in that moment as he once again remembered the drop off of engagements between them.

Natalie gave a watery laugh at his expression “I wasn’t joking when I said I didn’t tell you because you didn’t ask. I’ve had friends check up on me, co-workers, even mom and Steph.”

Stanley flinched at her admission.

This time the unshed tears were starting to trickle down “but my one and only brother who’s supposed to have my back couldn’t even make a token fucking effort, the bare goddamn minimum of a call or text to check up on his big sis.”

Stanley’s hands dropped as Natalie’s words sunk in and for a moment he opened his mouth “that-”

That’s not fair.

“Y-you-”

You know how I am.

As if hearing his unsaid words she continued “and yeah I know how you are which is why I shouldn’t expect much but I really hoped that just this one time you’d pull your head out of your ass and stop acting like such a selfish shit heel” she flipped her arm up dismissively “my mistake.”

Once again Stan opened his mouth “I-” but before the words could be heard Natalie continued.

“I love you Stan, despite all your faults I really do. You’re my fucking brother but I needed an emotional rock and if you can’t even put in the effort to send a courtesy text why the hell should I tell you about this?”

“…”

Abruptly Stanley did an about face and left the room and while he did his enhanced hearing picked up Natalie’s next words.

“Yeah, I thought so.”

The parting shot practically nailed him in the heart yet he didn’t show anything beyond a neutral façade as he power walked into the nearest bathroom that was thankfully empty. Once inside Stanley quickly turned on the faucet and splashed his face in a bid to wash the salt from his eyes and disguise his tears. He did this multiple times for what must have been several minutes before gripping the edges of the counter. For several seconds Stanley took deep panting breaths.

He pointedly refused to look at his reflection for fear of punching the mirror because Stanley really despised himself right now. Stanley couldn’t even bring himself to make an argument to defend himself because what Natalie said was the truth, no questions about it. Despite claiming her to be the only family he really cared for it didn’t even cross his mind to check up on her. He could say at least part of that reason could be attributed to Ezraphel but that was a poor excuse. There is a high chance that even if Ezraphel hadn’t fallen into his life he would have been just as oblivious and uncaring.

He was so wrapped up in his own shit that other concerns fell to the wayside. Willful ignorance, that’s how it was and how it still is to a certain extent.

‘But that’s not how it always will be.’

Stanley didn’t want it to be like that going forward and this time he didn’t have any reservations or concerns with how it would affect his so-called idyllic life. The lifestyle he lived before Ezraphel showed up was truly dead and gone and this…this might just be the final nail in the coffin for it.

With a final deep breath he finally raised his head to look himself in the mirror. Thanks to his incubus physiology aside from his face being wet nothing else was amiss about him. He did not at all look like a man who has spent the last couple minutes crying.

‘Good’ he still had a reputation to maintain after all.

He didn’t know exactly what his next move was going to be. Stanley was just making it up as he went along but if there is one thing he was sure of it was that he wouldn’t apologize. He also wouldn’t spend any length of time feeling sorry for himself. He fucked up and he recognized that so he was going to own it.

Looking at his reflection in the mirror Stanley spoke out loud “don’t be sorry, be better.”

And with that quote from the God of War himself Stanley cleaned himself up and exited the bathroom.

~Magics N’ Medicines~

Earlier…

As a proper wife Ezraphel should be with her husband at this time especially since she knew of the illness his sister was diagnosed with. Cancers are unfortunately among the illnesses that earth’s modern medicine has yet to find a cure for. To her credit she did stay with him for a not insignificant amount of time however eventually her Stanley dismissed her citing the want for him to be alone when his sibling wakes up. She should have put up more of a resistance even though she knew it wouldn’t have worked but it was the principle that mattered.

After reluctantly complying with his wishes rather than linger she opted to explore the hospital itself, under an invisibility and intangibility spell of course. At first it was out of mere curiosity without a specific goal in mind however it didn’t take particularly long for that to change as the experience was tainted by the reactions she felt through her empathic abilities once again. It was terrible but not completely as Ezraphel was also made to witness and experience the triumph of modern medicine.

It was one thing to watch or read about it on the internet but another entirely to see a life saving operation or witness the joy and jubilation of someone being cured of sickness. But as much as she admired the wonders of modern medicine and reveled in its triumph over injuries and illnesses that, without the aid of magic, would serve as a death sentence to humans in her home dimension she realized very soon that even that has its limitations.

Her discovery of the morgue and the ‘terminal wards’ later on told her as much. Therefore after much internal ponderings Ezraphel decided to, just this once (but not really), get into the action so to speak. She may not have been willing to join the Medical Sabbath to receive their teachings however there are other healers who were very much willing to teach a Makai Princess. As such while Ezraphel lacked many accomplishments in the field she is a certified healer.

Of course by earth standards she would be woefully unqualified by virtue of her lack of knowledge on the minutiae of modern medicine. Still she felt what knowledge she did possess not to mention her magic would be able to bridge the gap of her ignorance. Admittedly such thoughts started out as wishful thinking and optimism on her part but actually turned out to be true after a fashion.

Pharmacomancy didn’t just develop spells to cure ailments but to also diagnose and gleam intuitive understanding of the patient’s mind and body. In essence it meant that Ezraphel didn’t really need to understand the many technical medical jargons to figure out what was wrong with a patient. Her spells literally made light work of knowing what was wrong with someone with a precision that is comparable or better than the myriad of machines. Though if she were being honest knowing what was wrong was not even half the issue she faced with a number of the more complex issues faced.

Ezraphel was very careful with how she lent her aid. As much as she wanted to help everyone to the absolute best of her abilities that would just draw unnecessary attention and worse alert her Stanley to what she was up to. She didn’t think he would have a problem with her using her abilities to help the doctors. No her Stanley was still leery of her meddling in other people’s business but he wasn’t so callous that he would prevent her from doing this. She just had to make sure that she didn’t make enough waves to alert the staff to what was going on.

By this logic Ezraphel should have been very particular with whom she aided but she ended up aiding damn near everyone she came across in one way or the other. Whether they were in surgeries or comas, had debilitating injuries, recovering from something or the other or just seemed generally depressed Ezraphel helped them. This aid also extended to the staff as well who seemed generally overworked and stressed out.

Ezraphel found herself frequently casting a spell used to alleviate anxiety and bring serenity to the heart. This resulted in a noticeable drop in the overall tension, staff irritability and anxiety. It’s amazing how a simple ‘Medical Healing’ spell could result in an overall positive experience for everyone. Magic truly is wonderful however while she made an overall positive impact Ezraphel made sure not to fall into the trap.

One of the things she learned whilst under medical apprenticeship was that for all that magic is powerful and wonderful it should not be treatment as a miracle cure-all. She saw firsthand that not everything can be cured with magic, even mamono magic. It takes a great deal of knowledge and skill to apply magic where it is needed otherwise it can actually make things worse. Ezraphel didn’t let the lack of mana on earth lull her into a false sense of security when applying her magical treatments. She was taught that due diligence was especially important when dealing with someone’s health.

Having someone’s life in your hand is not something that should ever be taken at face value and so she worked to the best of what her constraints allowed. Eventually her exploration brought her to two sections of the hospital that she had purposefully saved for last if only because she knew she would be more susceptible to distractions whilst exploring them.

The first section was the maternity ward which was occupied by women in various stages of pregnancy. Being in this place had several impacts on the Lilim such as bringing forth her imagination on the possibilities, rousing her impatience on the eventualities that would unfortunately be a while into the future and stirring up her jealousy to new heights. Regardless she aided the women who needed feeling both envious and genuine happiness for them. Luckily there weren’t many occupying the maternal ward and after she was done Ezraphel was sure that every single mother-to-be would have a healthy baby when it came.

The final ward of her exploration was the pediatric ward which provided the most issues for her because if seeing injured and ailing adults made Ezraphel uncomfortable then seeing children in the same position broke her heart. Things only became progressively worse when she found herself a room filled with children with terminal illnesses. It took a tremendous amount of effort for her to master herself calming her emotions and quelling her impulses.

She’d already learned before with their adult counterparts that this was one of the unfortunate instances where her medical magic and knowledge were not enough. Certain illnesses specifically cancers cannot be healed by conventional magical means. It sounds redundant but curing them without resorting corruption required extensive knowledge in Pharmacomancy plus experience in medical research and practice more advanced Ezraphel current capabilities.

Ezraphel knew her limits and unfortunately the medical field was more of a passing curiosity she ended up sticking with out of stubbornness than something she wanted to truly pursue. They would need a certified Medical Sabbath doctor or even Greilia Little herself to cure something like cancer. All she could do was offer a magical balm to their suffering where applicable. Eventually she moved on to the final section of her wanderings which was thankfully an overall lighter affair.

Present…

This was how Ezraphel found herself hovering in a room filled with the tiny, swaddled, loudly wailing or sleeping forms of newborn infants. If it wasn’t already obvious Ezraphel adored children beyond even her natural instincts and inclination towards child rearing. Looking at each and every one of those bundles she could imagine her and Stanley’s daughter lying down sleeping peacefully or wailing loudly.

‘But not here though’

Here as in the nursery she meant.

As a Mamono and on an individual level Ezraphel couldn’t fathom how a mother would allow herself to be separated from her recently born child. The Chief God herself couldn’t make Ezraphel separate from her newborn daughter but that’s just her. Generally speaking she understood the reasoning behind why a hospital nursery existed for newborns.

Unlike Mamono humans have complications before, during and after childbirth. Not just the mother but also the baby in some instances. She’s actually witnessed the latter with a baby being stuck inside some machine as a means of preserving its life. Of course Ezraphel used her magic to help it recover, she would be Dark God damned if she allowed a baby to suffer in her presence.

Even with those thoughts in mind and allowing herself to be immersed in ensuring that every infant has a clean bill of health her thoughts went back to the previous ward where those children were basically waiting to die. It rankled the Lilim something fierce that she couldn’t or rather wasn’t allowed to do anything about it beyond easing their pain.

‘Maybe Stanley could make an exception?’

The thought was dismissed as fast as it came because she knew well her Stanley while not nearly as cruel and selfish as he came off wouldn’t sacrifice their secrecy for strangers, even if they were innocent children. She was also very much aware that having a group of terminal children suddenly become healthy would draw much unneeded attention and the children have already been through enough without having to be scrutinized further.

Frustration didn’t even to begin to describe how Ezraphel felt right now. To be the most powerful being in the world, capable of creating miracles with but a wave of her hand yet constrained by her very nature and the rules set by a higher power so to speak. She could break said rules however the consequences would not be worth the short term gain.

‘Is this how mother felt?’

There are many who proclaim Lilith to have ascended to godhood. She hasn’t and has gone out of her way to condemn such notions. Unfortunately despite her best efforts the rumors of Lilith’s supposed godhood has taken root somewhat in the minds of mamono and for good reason. Over the course of her time as the Mamono Overlord Lilith has amassed more than enough power to challenge even the most powerful Gods. This was proven when she (with the help of her husband) repelled the Chief God herself following an attack by the deity centuries ago.

The attack itself came as a shock because the Gods have rules that prevent them from directly interfering in the mortal plane. Thing is these rules have exceptions and the exception that allowed the Chief God to launch her failed attack was the fact that Lilith’s power had broken through into the realm of godhood even if she lacked the spark of divinity. She’d become too powerful to be ignored and her movements are now being scrutinized by the gods themselves because of it.

It’s the reason why she chose not to take the field and instead use the Makai army and her daughters as proxies of her will to fight the Chief Gods own proxies in the Holy Order. Rather than risk inciting a confrontation with the Chief God and her divine allies which would result in death and destruction on a massive scale she opted to remain in the Royal Makai Realm instead, devising a means of inducing natural male birth in mamono which in Ezraphel’s opinion is the only thing preventing all the major mamono powers from really committing to ending the war.

‘So if I can’t break the rules, what could I do?’ she thought to herself.

She already had the answer to that.

Subvert the hell out of said rules.

Now how to go about that was something she would need to figure out…later. At the moment Ezraphel was acting as the beacon to a spell that saw a wave of calm gradually wash over the room filling the babies with content that had them drifting off into a calm slumber. As the last baby fell asleep the Lilim nodded to herself a job well done and just in time as she felt a sharp decline of her Stanley’s emotional state through their bond.

In the next instant she teleported to his location still invisible and saw him march into the men’s bathroom. Once again she resisted the urge to follow him inside and instead cast a spell to give him privacy while she waited. Once the coast was clear she dropped the concealment spells save for the one that kept her nondescript and her natural supernatural charm on tight leash.

The result only had people giving her second glances as opposed to gawking and ogling. She suspected the reason for this being that not a lot of beautiful women would be hanging out by the bathrooms for no reason. Luckily her Stanley did not take too long and as he stepped out he turned his head to the side to meet her gaze. While waiting she leaned her back against the wall with hands behind her back and feet crossed.

Upon meeting his eyes she spoke “you seemed like you needed the privacy.”

Her Stanley raised an eyebrow but ultimately nodded his appreciation before he walked off. She fell into step beside him a moment later and together the two walked back to Natalie’s room.

“Where have you been?”

“Here and there” she answered vaguely.

At this he sighed “what did you do?”

“…I aided the patients and staff” she answered.

“…” he said nothing but gave her a side eyed glance.

“I made sure to be subtle and used the non corruptive elements of my healing magic.”

He hummed at her words and Ezraphel thought that was it but then he added “good job.”

Her eyes widened a bit at the praise but before she could comment they arrived at his sister’s room.

“Stay out here for a bit until I call you in.”

“Okay.”

Then with a deep breath to, as he would say, ‘psyche himself up’ Stanley walked into the room leaving Ezraphel alone once more.

~Ezraphel Meets Natalie~

“You came back” were the first words out of Natalie’s mouth when he stepped into the room.

She tried not to show it but he could tell she was surprised. After ripping into him like she did the old Stan wouldn’t have come back. He would have felt too guilty, sad and bitter to face her again so soon. As he is now however Stan was much stronger than his present self in all aspects. This caught her off guard since he’s sure if she expected his return she would have put more effort into cleaning herself up.

‘Looks like I’m not the only one who was crying like a bitch.’

He kept that observation to himself and instead approached her bed.

“About what I said before” began Natalie awkwardly.

“You’re right” he interrupted.

“What?”

“Look let’s not pretend I’m not an asshole here Nat” he said with a huff “I am very self aware of my faults and I’m not gonna use that as an excuse.”

It’s one thing to ignore the indifferent world but another thing to ignore one of the few people who genuinely cared about him.

“I’m a piece of shit, a shitty brother and I promise to be better.”

And as he said this he kept her gaze with a resolute expression to deepen and legitimize his words.

“Uh…” once again Natalie found herself taken off guard by his admission and promise. So surprised she was that she didn’t even know what to say for a long while.

Eventually she clicked her tongue and nodded with a very Mr. Mackey-esque “hmm’kay apology accepted I guess” then with a shake of her head and clap of her hands she gave him a pointed look “now back to the matter at hand. What’s with the new look and did you say you were on a date before coming here.”

“I was on my way to a date yes” he answered “and as for my new look, blame her” then he turned to the side “you can come in now.”

Natalie’s gaze shifted at the sound of heels and as Ezraphel stepped into the room her eyes widened and her mouth dropped. Standing at over 6ft tall with perfect clear skin, pouty red lips, luscious blonde locks tied into a low ponytail and wearing a blue low cut dress that was practically painted onto her body showing off every contour of her curves and black thigh high boots.

“Whoa” the bedridden woman breathed.

Stanley sidled up to the woman his head coming to press against the side of her chest as he wrapped an arm around her while she did the same.

“Nat this is my girlfriend Ezraphel. Ez this is my sister Natalie.”

That had Natalie tear her eyes away from the incredibly tall, beautiful and gorgeous woman to boggle at her brother “girlfriend?”

Ignoring her outburst Ezraphel stepped forward to lean directly over her bed in an almost looming fashion with a bright smile that sent butterfly down the woman’s stomach. That’s not even mentioning the fact that her ample cleavage was practically shoved in her face.

“Hello Natalie, it’s nice to meet you Stanley has told me much about you.”

Forcing herself to keep her eyes above the neckline Natalie swallowed “d-did he now?”

“No I jest” Ezraphel answered “the truth is I only knew of your existence a few short hours ago.”

Her answer brought Natalie back to the moment with a blink. Ezraphel still maintained her cheery demeanor although now it had become just a bit more strain as she laid an accusatory gaze at Stanley. For his part Stanley was pinching the bridge of his nose in mild aggravation.

Natalie also looked to her brother with a raised brow “yeah that sounds like our Stanley for sure.”

“Don’t you fucking start” he warned.

Natalie only scoffed before turning back to Ezraphel “he hates when people call him that even though it’s his name” she emphasized “Stanley Matteo Berkowitz.”

This had Ezraphel turned to Stanley “Matteo?”

“I swear to all the Gods Nat I will end you faster than that cancer ever will if you don’t shut the fuck up!” he growled without really thinking.

“Stanley!” Ezraphel yelled in admonishment sending him a glare.

That caused the man to flinch then blanch after realizing what he just said “shit! I don’t…I mean…”

While he sputtered Natalie gave a sardonic smile as she regarded Ezraphel “as you can see our dear Stanley has the habit of putting his foot in his mouth when he loses his temper.”

Ezraphel nodded “so I have noticed.”

“On behalf of the Berkowitz family I am so sorry you had to deal with him all by yourself” Natalie said solemnly “it must have been hell.”

Ezraphel nodded waved her concern “I admit there were many, many trying times. Stanley has proven himself to be every bit as stubborn as he is uncouth.”

Natalie nodded in agreement “tell me about it. He wasn’t always like this you know. He used to be a really sweet kid.”

“Oh?” she now had Ezraphel full attention.

A young, innocent, child Stanley?

Yes please.

That was where the man in question drew the line “enough! There will be none of that. I didn’t introduce you two so you can conspire against me.”

“Well then you’re not very bright then are you Stanley? What else am I supposed to do after you introduce your first girlfriend to me” Natalie replied as if it were an obvious thing.

Ezraphel coughed into her fist “first and only” she emphasized.

Natalie raised a brow looking to her brother “only huh?”

“Don’t read into it” he shook his head.

“I’m sorry but could you elaborate on that for me?”

“I am Stanley’s first and only romantic partner” Ezraphel clarified before her eyes narrowed a bit “there won’t be another.”

“God fucking dammit” Stanley’s groan went ignored.

Natalie gave the other woman an appraising look as her countenance became serious “bold of you to proclaim that. How long have you two been together?”

“Seven months” Ezraphel answered promptly before Stanley could get a word in.

Natalie whistled at the number “wow lil bro you managed to hang onto her for seven months?”

“More like she hung onto me” he grumbled but it was ignored.

“Impressive” Natalie nodded before her eyes narrowed imperceptibly.

There was an unsaid “and very suspicious” at the end.

Stanley sighed “she’s not an escort or some gold digging bitch and I’m not her simp-”

Bull. Shit.

“…or her pay pig” he finished with only the tiniest twitch of his eyelid.

Eeh~ technically you kinda are.

‘Shut. The Fuck. Up!’

At his words however both women looked to him with degrees of mild surprise and exasperation before Natalie cleared her throat “well I’m glad you cleared that up Stan. Though would it kill you not to be so tactless.”

“What’s the point?” he argued with a scoff “you thought I bit the bullet and decide to actually hire a prostitute or was being taken advantage of by some big tittied bimbo.”

By the end of his sentence both women could only stare at him with unreadable expressions before sharing a deadpan look.

“So seven months huh?” began Natalie.

“That is correct” Ezraphel answered “give or take a few weeks.”

“Once again I sincerely apologize for him.”

“Oi!”

“Oh shut up Stanley the women are talking” Natalie waved him off with a shooing motion as she directed her full attention to “So Ezraphel?”

“Yes?”

“I take it you’re the one responsible for my brother’s makeover” she gave Stanley a once over “very impressive work.”

She meant it too.

Stan looked so different that she genuinely didn’t recognize him when she first saw him. His skin was now devoid of blemishes or imperfections lacking the acne caused by his total lack of care. His skin was also now a healthy shade lacking paleness brought on by his constantly being indoors under air conditioning. His hair lacked the greasiness and his facial hair (lacking as it was) was no longer unkempt. The pudginess that had stayed with him his whole life was finally gone giving him a leaner frame.

‘Is it me or is he taller?’ she wondered to herself.

Adding to the disconnect of what she remembered of his general appearance last year to now was his style. At some point Stan stopped caring about how he presented himself to others choosing convenience over effort and only putting the bare minimum when urged to. It’s why his wardrobe is lacking in both quantity and quality and don’t even get her started on his taste in fashion or lack thereof. Yet now his hair was sharply cut, his facial hair well groomed, his clothes looked trendy yet functional enough to show off his fit figure.

Overall Natalie approved.

“It’s no small feat turning an incel into a himbo.”

“The fuck you just call me?”

“Actually it was super easy” Ezraphel waved off with a bashful smile “barely an inconvenience.”

At that Natalie looked from the smiling woman to her brother who looked as if he was regretting his life.

“Really?”

The woman made a so-so gesture “Stanley was a bit stubborn in the beginning but I eventually won him over.”

“Not many women would go that far for him.”

Natalie didn’t think any woman in their right mind would. Sad to say but the only thing that could entice a woman to go for someone like Stan would be his money. Even then his caustic personality would make it difficult for them to keep up the pursuit. Worse Stan was too smart to not figure out their angle and he was vehemently against gold diggers and their ilk. From there it would game over for any thot who thought he was an easy mark.

The type of woman who can break through the layers of Stanley’s personality quirks, stick with him and actually get him to change is a woman worthy of the highest respect.

“I’m not many women” Ezraphel answered her earlier comment with an inflection in her voice and Natalie could have sworn she saw something flash in her eyes.

‘She’s either a saint or someone incredibly dangerous.’

Just then the topic of their conversation reintegrated himself this time coming to stand by Ezraphel.

“As much as I’d love to stand here and watch you two talk about me while ignoring my presence I’ve just been told that visitation period is almost over.”

“That late already?” Natalie questioned as she looked at the clock “time flies when you’re in a coma I guess.”

Stanley snorted “we’ll pick you up tomorrow and swing by your apartment to pick up stuff after.”

Natalie perked up “excuse me?”

“What you think I’m letting you live by yourself after you fainted in public?” he shook his head.

“Stan, “you don’t have to do that.”

“I don’t want to hear it” he growled glaring “you’re staying with me Nat.”

“…you know I can’t stay with you forever.”

He scoffed “course not, I’m kicking your ass out after a month.”

‘If I make it that long’ she thought with creeping uncertainty, anxiety and despair.

Natalie is abruptly brought out of her thoughts when Stanley grabbed both sides of her face “Nat look at me…look at me. You’re not going to die.”

“Stan-”

“Shut up!” he snapped “fuck your leukemia. You aren’t going to die, do you understand?” his teeth clenched as he gritted out “I’m not letting you die.”

“I-” Natalie didn’t know what to say not that she could with emotional she was getting “thank you.”

“Don’t thank me yet” he replied letting her go and walking away

Before she could say anything Ezraphel spoke “it is very nice to meet you Natalie.”

“You too Ezraphel” she paused for a moment “take care of him will you.”

“That’s the idea!” then she leaned in closer “I hope to get to know you over the course of your stay with us.”

Natalie felt her heart skip a beat for some reason “uh y-yeah sure”

“Let’s go Ez” Stanley called out and with a cheery closed eye smile the woman left with Natalie watching the sway of her hips the entire time.

“…nice.”

Meanwhile outside Stanley and Ezraphel entered the car and upon starting it the former turned to the latter with anticipation.

“So…?”

At this Ezraphel winced apologetically “I’m sorry Stanley.”

The small hope Stanley felt began to wilt “what’s wrong?”

“Her blood is infected with the ailment” she began “I don’t have the expertise to treat such a malady by myself.”

Ezraphel didn’t have enough confidence with cancer to begin with but having it infect the blood is by far one of the worst case scenarios.

In response Stanley trembled and Ezraphel placed a comforting hand over his. The moment didn’t last as Stanley mastered himself with a shake of his head.

“Fuck it” he growled putting the car in drive “we’re going with Plan B then.”

~To Be Continued~

Author’s Notes: This one was a long time coming and I’d like to apologize for the late update. My neurosis demanded that I publish the Halloween Special before starting the new volume for continuity’s sake but I’m currently struggling to write it. In the meantime I’ve been writing out chapters on the main story like clockwork. It didn’t make sense for me to halt this for that so I decided on a compromise. As for the main story I already chapters 24 & 25 up on my Patreon and working on chapter 26 as well as other specials.

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