The House of Asmodeus: A Trial by Fire Chapter 2

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

TODAY

In the Circle of Wrath Axel Bone celebrates a successful rebellions of sorts. Satan has been reinstated as the Demon King of Wrath, and the cabal who overthrew him and subjected the daemons have been both killed or chained.

So now, they drink, Axel more than anyone. As one of the leaders of the rebellion, he’s bled his fair share of blood. 

The Crusaders practically fund this bar with how much time they spend there. Not they always have rooms open for them in the inn.

This all amounts to the fact that Axel doesn’t have to worry about getting home, so he’s going to drink all night long. But not before speaking to one specific succubus first.

To meet that succubus, he holds two mugs of his favorite beer. Not the most forward thinking man.

He sets his eyes on the succubus in her dark and long cloak, and straightens out his red bat wings. Like any Fury, a daemon of Wrath, the corner points of his wings have sharp bone points, his horns are ribbed and go back over his head like an antelope, and his yellow pupils are diamond shaped, sharp

If it’s any surprise, what Axel likes about this succubus is that she shares his red skin.

Okay, let’s not embarrass tonight… as usual… maybe just not as much. 

He shrugs his shoulders, and raises his chin up high, trying to put on an air of confidence. For a born fighter like him, it’s hard, but after such a win for his home he’s feeling extra confident. If only she weren’t going to crush it. 

He saunters over to the table and two chairs where the succubus waits for him, and when he sets the mug down in front of her, her glossy black lips purse into a smile. She wraps a hand around the handle of the mug to take a big swig. 

With a grin she says, “Worst ale in the Seven Circles.”

Axel’s hand mockingly moves over his heart. He takes a swig of his own ale smiling, and by swig, he nearly gulps the whole thing in one breath. When he sets his down, he acts like the buzz has already hit him, and puts on a stupid grin. “So what is a Reaver of Lust doing here with me?”

The red succubus purses her lips. She’s pretending to think about the question she certainly knows the answer to. There’s no fun in skipping right to the point when she can make a game of getting to it. This is the kind of person Beatrix is always telling me to avoid.

“Maybe my king has a vested interest in seeing Satan reinstated?” she tells Axel, her answer sounding more like a question than anything. She mocks stupidity as she speaks, appealing to his drunk and deceptible mind, and his drunk ass smiles at it.

He wags his finger in front of her, telling her, “If that were true, you would be at court with Satan, or you would have went home,” proving that he has at least a few brain cells. The Reaver’s smile turns into a genuine smirk seeing that she has a bit of a challenge. Seduction gets boring if its always easy. Axel leans back in his chair, cooly shrugging his shoulders, thinking he looks suave as he says, “Instead, your here with little old me.”

The Reaver tilts her head, telling him, “You have a cute face, for a fury.” Before Axel can even consider the idea that she’s playing him, she sticks her finger in her ale with her long black painted nails. If Axel looks in her eyes, he could see the gross feeling on her face, but men tend to be easily entranced by anything a gorgeous woman does. 

Axel leans forward, glancing between her finger stirring in her ale, the open buttons of her black dress shirt, and the black lipstick on her lips. He’s wondering if its lipstick or magic that makes it such a dark color. 

“D-do I?” he asks, stuttering, but the anxiety in him catches it and he shakes his head. There’s this knowing smile on her face, that makes him shake his head. “Sorry,” he says, “but I thought you succubi find furies distasteful to look at?””

“We do,” she answers him honestly, and brings her finger to her mouth. She captivates his attention but sucking the drip of beer off her finger, entrapping him again. She tries not to laugh at how he’s puddy in her hands.

Then she learns that he’s not. 

He leans back in his chair, laughing to himself at her statement about succubi and furies, thinking, I’m stupid for thinking he had a chance with her, she’s messing with me, stalling. Maybe her teasing overdoes it. 

He’s laughing and she only grows confused. “Jesus, I just got cucked.”

“But that’s what we like about you,” she tells him, but the Reaver fears she’s already lost this strange Wrath daemon.

“Oh really?” he asks. The tilt of his head betrays his doubt, it’s what costs him his chance with so many demonesses. Beatrix is always telling me there’s a reason I get nervous around women and not men. Maybe I should call Danix back one of these days.

The Reaver gives up on trying to seduce him using herself. She retreats to using her allies to her disposal, determined to get this fury alone in this dive bar. “Yes,” she whispers, leaning in like she’s telling him a secret, “I’m sure there are other succubi who would love a night with Axel Bone of the Crusaders.” That makes Axel grin, the promise of women he hasn’t run off yet, and then Asmodea draws his attention to one.

As she does that, another Reaver of Lust sits at the bar, looking far less inconspicuous under her cloak. It comes with the territory of being a fallen angel.

***** 

The Reaver of Devotion feels this icky feeling being in the Circle of Wrath, shaking with a closed fist. The last time she was here she was fighting a small war on the side of the angels. I tell myself I’m over my bias against daemons, that only seems to be for beings of Lust. The rebellion against restrictions, being controlled, and the inherent pride they take in themselves… it’s easy to want to relate to them. 

But to say the same of the furies of Wrath? Violent beasts-

No, that’s… that’s… Lolara said, the first thought is what your taught, and the second thought is what you think. I can’t seem to fight my first thought here. This Circle, this world… feels gross.

A drunk fury only makes life harder, when he sees her sitting by herself with a full beer mug in her hand. All her cloak hides is her armor, but anyone can look at her fair caucasian skin and tell that she’s an angel. It’s rare for Lust daemons to hide behind human skin, even rarer for daemons of Wrath. 

And if she’s not currently killing anyone, she must be a fallen angel at that. 

While most fallen angels don’t fraternize as such with daemons, this drunk decides to harass one who fraternizes with one type of daemon especially. 

The drunk fury walks over to the Reaver, looking much like Axel if he were blue, out of shape, bearded, and gross. So the only similarity is honestly the wings and the horns. 

He tries calling to her first, but as if he clearly doesn’t realize that he’s being loud by the annoying way his voice rings through the bar. 

He raises his hand as she says, “What’s a pretty angel like you,” and he smacks her ass, “in a place li- GAK!

Azale grabs the rather small fury by his scrawny neck, lifting him off the ground with ease. To say that she grabs the attention of everyone in the bar would be misleading. A drunk idiot being beaten by a woman he inappropriately accosted is pretty common, but for the woman to be a fallen angel… 

Well, the sad thing is there were many slobs thinking about it, but only one slob both dumb enough to try and drunk enough to believe it would work.

“You dare lay a hand on me?!” Azale roars in his face, her face of malice is as intense as his look of fear. As he clutches her wrist she’s dangling him off the ground, making him feel deservedly small. Asmodea is the only one who looks away, and she covers her eyes as she wonders how she can possibly drag Axel’s attention away from this.

When he can’t answer her, not that he would have found the words to, she snarls in his face, telling him, “You really think me, or any respectable woman would debase themselves with a drunkard fool like you?” Azale summons her golden warhammer into her right hand, and points it towards the fury’s bowls. “Maybe my steel can clash with the little sword you have here.”

That’s when the fury starts really panicking, and actively struggles to free himself from the Reaver’s grip. She tightens it.

A hand, with delicately trimmed fingernails rests on the Reaver’s wrist. One that’s a shade of pink lighter than her well kept Victorian bustle dress. 

With a stylized corset and closely tailored skirt, she could easily pass for a high mannered Pride demon, but no, she’s a succubus.

And she can be quite sadistic.

Petra taps Azale’s hand as she tips her long rimmed hat, beseeching the angel to release the fury, “No, no, dove, don’t tarnish these poor floors with more piss and shit,” knowing how it ails Asmodea in their assignment. 

Azale purses her eyebrows at the short succubus besides her. “Don’t you mean piss and blood?” the angelic Reaver asks the other.

The angel makes Petra chuckle. “Same thing.”

Azale grinds her teeth, knowing that Petra would have a good reason for wanting to spare the fury. If the daemon were of any other sin, I would not be as angry. 

Bang!

Azale slams the fury’s head through the counter, knocking him to the ground. That’s her way of putting him down. 

To her surprise, the foolish daemon is quick to recover like most of his sin. They are born for violence, more so than any other sin. He touches his fingers to his bleeding lips, and the forming lump on his temple that begins to bleed too. As a fury of Wrath, he gets angry, starts growling, but that doesn’t last. 

He twitches and the fury is an inch away from death, a sharp and deadly needle right in his face, one that comes out the top of Petra’s umbrella. She can forgive most people once, Azale has come know since meeting her, never twice. 

But she won’t be nice about it.

“Oh look,” she talks down to him, sounding out her words as if she were talking to a child, “another crying fury, upset over something he can’t touch.” The fury’s upper lip twitches in rage and Petra thrusts the needle point that much closer, to his neck, so much so that he squeaks feeling it prick his skin. 

“I can see that the rage in you lies right below the surface…” she whispers, letting the umbrella go and letting the wind keep it floating against his neck. She kneels down to look the fool in the eye and speak down to him, to demoralize him, make him understand… 

“What, fun, I would have breaking you,” she tells him, licking her lips at the thought, and there will never be sight more terrifying to him. A woman that can, and wants to break him into as many pieces as she can.

She snaps to her feet, announcing in a upbeat voice, “But no time! Run along, bug,” and the fury twitches but the umbrella doesn’t leave his neck, “we have no time to waste on you.” When the fury can’t respond because of her umbrella, she flicks her finger and the umbrella goes back to her hand, and the fury breathes. 

“What are you doing?” Petra asks her, waving his hand towards the door, “Go.

The drunk crawls across the floor and starts making his way, knocking into tables and people on his way out. Petra leans against the bar besides Azale as they watch the coward run. As Petra watches him run away, she catches Asmodea trying to work her magic, and her target locking eyes with her. 

Petra winks, blows him a kiss.

“Which Reaver is she?” Axel asks Asmodea.

Asmodea cringes as she admits, “Sadism.”

“That’s hot,” Axel comments, and Asmodea goes from cringing over one thing, to cringing at his response. She puts on a better face when the fury turns back to her. 

*****

Petra and Azale continue to watch, and Petra does so with a look of pride and satisfaction. 

Azale watches Asmodea continue, and starts to growing angry again. It’s sours Petra’s mood. She loves Azale as much as every other Reaver… maybe not that much actually, Petra’s love is pretty slim and repressed. She is the Reaver of Sadism.

Point being, she’s not going to ask Azale what’s wrong. Azale has to complain to get her to say anything.
“I hate this,” Azale grumbles to herself. Petra eyes glance towards the angel angrily staring at the process unfolding between Asmodea and Axel. 

It’s hard for Petra to tell if it’s jealousy or Azale’s denied hate for the Sin of Wrath that’s prompting her grumbling, but it doesn’t matter, if Azale continues she will give them away.

Petra must bow her head and sigh to herself, muttering, “Why it’s never a group of all the fun Reavers? There’s always one serious attitude to ruin everything.” 

When Azale turns towards her, Petra asks, “Hate what, dove?” 

This,” Azale growls, and when Petra arches her brow as Azale gestures towards them. When Petra goes wide-eyed as she shakes her head. Azale gets the idea that the other Reaver doesn’t get the idea. 

“What Asmodea is doing,” Azale says, and instead of staring at her in confusion, Petra stares at her in annoyance. 

Azale crosses her arms, and starts frowning, dangerously close to pouting. Petra rolls her eyes and gives in. She asks her, “What’s the problem with what she’s doing?” 

“I thought Master said she doesn’t to do that anymore,” and Petra’s head bends over to tell her that she needs to start elaborating. Petra is no mind reader, not that she couldn’t be if she wanted to, but who would want that. “You know,” Azale presses, but Petra doesn’t, “use her body, for his designs, like she was asked to under the last Asmodeus.”

Petra makes a face of realization, vaguely recalling this conversation. She wasn’t quite listening then. She doesn’t listen to most of the little arguments her King and his harem get into, but terribly for her, she has exceptional memory, and well trained ears.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m not, but he said she doesn’t have to,” Petra corrects, making the slightest distinction that causes a frown on the other Reaver’s face, “you know, because she’s a person.” Petra turns back towards the bar, wishing she had brought her purse for a drink. “I mean, I guess that’s true, I always kind of thought of Asmodea as a rabbit, she’s a one track mind about most things, and most things to her are only sex and fighting. That woman 100%, needs more hobbies.” Petra feels the hate beating into her head, and turns to see Azale fuming at the insult to her beloved. 

Petra shrugs and yells, “There’s nothing wrong with what she likes! I like it too! She just needs more, which brings us to this,” and then Petra looks at Asmodea doing what she has always done, and realizes that there is more behind Seduction’s facade. “Maybe she likes doing this.”

“What?” Azale asks.

“No, she definitely likes it,” Petra figures, wondering if she paid more attention to Asmodea would she have realized it sooner.

“Likes what?!” Azale yells, hating the conversations people have with themselves when they’re not alone.

Seducing people, manipulating them, controlling them, it’s a skill that she has mastered far above the rest of us. I can only imagine she learned it because she likes it, and even if she didn’t, she clearly likes the power she has more than she hates the act, if she even does. I don’t know, and you don’t know.”  

That takes Azale aback, the idea that a woman would feel a sense of accomplishment from seducing and manipulating men, or really anyone. The idea that Asmodea likes being leered at and catcalled is ridiculous to her, and it is. 

“It’s a power trip,” Petra tells the angel, “it’s what you felt beating up that fury and what I felt threatening him, power. She can’t outmuscle someone better than you, or scare them better than me, but she can make people like her and do what she wants better than either of us, so that’s what she does.”

“Can’t Asmodeus make her stop?” Azale asks Petra, making Sadism roll her eyes. Petra can’t make this angel understand, despite what she thinks, she’ll always have Humility and Virtue at her core. 

Azale only sees Petra with her head in her hands, and tries to declare, “It must be an addiction.”

Petra shrugs, she doesn’t care, but she knows the angel isn’t wrong. “Probably is, but it doesn’t hurt her, it makes her feel skilled and useful,” and with a more annoyed groan, “She can’t be the strongest, Zazriel is supposed to be the most powerful of us, Reavers.”

“She is,” Azale asserts. 

I know, and absurdly so,” Petra groans again. Just because it’s true doesn’t change the fact that I resent it, silly angel. 

Before Zazriel, Petra was easily the strongest Reaver in the original Asmodeus’s guard. Now she’s third, the second can be overcome, but Zazriel… 

In regards to how Asmodea handles thats… Petra knows her pain. “Asmodea has an ego, and she doesn’t realize that war is a game of quality and quantity. Zazriel may be the most powerful but when wars have more than one front, and Asmodeus needs protection from all sides, we’re all useful to our king.” 

Petra looks back at Asmodea charming the pants off the Wrath daemon, and thinks about how long she’s been here. Thousands of years we’ve been Reavers, and the only thing that’s changed is her ability to share. 

Petra sighs. “What can we do to convince her?” she says so Azale thinks she’s on her side. “You know her.”

“We can convince the king to make her stop,” Azale tells Petra, and Petra’s neck snaps up to look Devotion right in the eyes. Azale really is protective of Asmodea, which makes sense, they’re sister wives in all but name. If only she weren’t so naive, I would find her inspiring instead of cute.

Sadism turns away and gestures the bartender for a drink, she’ll put on Axel’s tab. As the bartender comes and takes her drink, Petra sees Azale waiting on her word. Now she notices that Devotion is staring her in the face, waiting for her answer in helping her. Petra shakes her head. 

“He would never, who is he to tell her to stop doing something that makes her happy? Who are you?”

“Her King… and her lover,” Azale asserts. 

“And because he loves her he will never make her stop, and you shouldn’t because you do too. It’s like anyone’s stupid enough to attempt domestic violence against a Reaver.”

Petra’s had enough and her drink is here. She turns her head to Azale, right when the angel feels the most defeated in her belief. 

Azale shakes her head, and looks back towards Asmodea and the fury with a heavier weight on her shoulders. 

She decides to stop arguing, stop fighting, and have a drink. She sits down next to Petra, and orders her own. “Do you need money?” she asks Petra.

Petra’s head sinks down. “Yes.

Azale pulls out her wallet from under the cloak, and pulls out coins to pay for them both. When the bartender comes with both their drinks, Azale downs hers. She shakes her head and bemoans everything. “Sometimes I wish Master would be a king and tell us what to do.”

Petra twists her head to look at the angel and her strange ideals. Sadism doesn’t want to be told what to do at all unless it’s a battle plan. I don’t plan for shit. 

“Jesus, you take your submissive kink far.

Azale looks up, and turns to look the pink succubus in the eye. “That was a little far,” she admits.

Petra brings her hand to Azale’s head, and pats the taller angel, making her giggle as she says, “You’re just too tired and too sober.”

“Don’t think that’s how that works.”

From then on, Petra and Azale keep each other entertained drinking instead of making Asmodea’s task harder, and continue to wait as the numbers in the bar wind down, and there starts to be more fighting than drinking.

*****

That’s when the bar owner tells everyone to get the hell out. He starts shooing everyone towards the door in a in a wide berth with fire magic, and a teleportation spell. Nobody who drinks for fun likes being burned, there are other dive bars for that, and teleportation spells will send a daemon into the nearest and coldest lake if they don’t leave. 

When his wide berth nears the two Reavers of Lust, they get to see if Asmodea’s work has paid off all this time.

A strangely sober Asmodea lays her hand on Axel’s tipsy one, and asks him, “Can we stay, us and my friends? I’d rather not find another place this late.”

Axel waves his hand, “Say no more, I practically live in this place, sometimes the owner even lets us lock up.”

He turns around as the owner is shooing daemons out, Axel whistles and calls to him, “Budd, mind if me and my friends stay a little while, I can lock up, just, not ready to call it a night yet.”

The tan fury named Budd comments, “It’s too late in the morning to be called a night.” Then he looks at the succubus and fallen angel who are apparently going to hang around with Axel. Budd smirks and scoffs, “These two are your friends? That’s rich.”

Axel glares at the bar owner in response, and that only makes the other Wrath daemon laugh out loud. “If you lock up, than do what you want!” Budd laughs at Axel and then he notices a second succubus sitting across from him, and he sees something fishy. 

Budd walks over to Axel, the beer gut stretching his shirt, threatening to reveal that his big arms are more fat than muscle, and bends down to whisper in Axel’s ear. “I get that you have lady troubles, but you didn’t pay these girls did you?” 

“What?!” Axel yells out loud. “No!” 

Azale’s glass cracks in her hands.

Budd shrugs, if he had to call it like it looks, the two succubus were hired to help Axel celebrate, and the mean looking fallen angel was the pimp. The only thing about it that he hasn’t seen before was the fallen angel, but she looks tougher than most, if not all pimps that have walked through his bar.

He throws up his hands and apologizes, “Sorry, didn’t mean nothing by it, if you’re willing to lock up, you can stay around as long as you want, I owe you enough.” Budd starts checking the booths for the people who drank themselves into a coma, and thinks to specify that, “Though if you all do what succubuses do, I’ll kill you.”

“I wouldn’t do that!” Axel yells back, making the two succubi laugh at him. Azale is straining to remain unoffended. 

“Yeah, sure,” Budd says, and as he takes a daemon by the shoulders, he mutters under his breath, “like desperate isn’t your middle name.”

“What?!” Axel yells, fearing that Asmodea and Petra heard.

“Nothing!” Budd calls back, almost like he’s singing. As he drags the last guy out of his bar, putting off cleaning the place till the real morning. 

He facetiously assures Axel, “I would never speak ill of one of my best customers.”

When Budd leaves the bar to Axel and the three Reavers of Lust, Asmodea’s pride in success is barely hidden behind her smirk. 

Axel’s confidence has been slowly disappearing as the night goes on, r. When he looks across the table at Asmodea, smirking at him for some reason, he can’t for the life of him remember what they were talking about. He tries to run through it in his head, but then he remembers something else. 

She never did say what she was doing with him. After the Reaver of Devotion made her little scene with the drunk fury, he never got an answer.

Now more tipsy than he usually gets, he doesn’t get very drunk anymore or ever, but he’s feeling now. It only makes the succubus in front of him seem more strange.

“A while ago,” he tries to say without slurring but fails, and ends up bending forward in his seat, “I asked you about… what you were doing here… with little old me…” That’s what it sounds like in his head but Asmodea is listening carefully to understand half of it.

 As he tries to speak he’s finding himself overcome. His eyesight is getting blurry and people keep crossing in his vision. The only thing he does understand is the surge in his loins, and it’s nothing he wants. “What the hell?” he asks himself as he presses his hand to his forehead.

Asmodea’s smirk knows little bounds, and she glances to her fellow Reavers, giving them a simple gesture that everything is ready. Now as they walk over, she essentially toys with her food. 

“What were we talking about?” she repeats, not pretending like she doesn’t know this time. This time she stands up, pushes her fingers to his sickened forehead, and pushes him back into his chair. He’s staring up at her with red consuming his vision, making her demonic appendages even more terrifying to look at. 

“While you were trying to score with one of a Demon King’s harem,” she begins to inform him, as she and the other two Reavers surround him from all sides of the table, “we were talking about what a Reaver of Lust is doing here, in the Crusaders’ favorite bar.”

Petra crosses her arms with her menacing umbrella dangling from her hands, looking down on this fury in every sense. She thinks about how they just helped him and his friends overthrow a rebellion. Daemons truly can become a different person once they walk off the battlefield. 

“It’s quite simple really, our king wants to meet your boss.”

Axel barely hears or understands her. “What?”

“Our king is looking for Coldo, the Northern Fist,” Azale tells him, her stern tone scaring his drugged form.

“King?” Axel repeats, all these words and terms being thrown around him, confusing him to no end. “Wait, what? Why?”

‘Why’ really is the most important part of a lot of sentences. It tends to be the trigger for conflict whether someone answers or refuses. Sometimes there isn’t an answer to be given, and sometimes there is too much to understand. The best way to answer Axel’s question, is for the Demon King himself to explain.

There’s a puff of smoke and dust, and from behind him Axel feels these intense pangs of desire and arousal flood his body, specifically from his back as the lord of such things comes to answer his question. 

From black smoke, the Demon King Asmodeus appears with his queen at his side. He stands with his leather tunic underneath his black cloak. Noella comes dressed in hunting leathers, with greaves and light breastplate, her sword on her hip underneath the white cloak. 

She pulls down her hood but his is already down. Age doesn’t show in their faces but their eyes. Though, its in his beard that there’s a real sense of apathy and disdain. 

The war seems almost long behind them now, but the help that Axel and his group can provide is not.

Asmodeus places his hands on Axel’s shoulders, and Axel feels a sense of desire he’s never had before. He’s being drained and controlled by the Demon King’s natural sin, putting him in his calming thrall.

“I have a job for your leader, the Northern Fist, that I think he would be very interested in, and hopefully after today, you too, Mr. Bone.”

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