The House of Asmodeus: A Trial by Fire Chapter 6

“Friendship is a word, the very sight of which in print makes the heart warm.” – Augustine Birrell

Azale was once a diligent servant of Virtue, despite never being recognized as such. She took on any task gifted of her, and she completed them without fail, except for one.

As an angel of Virtue, it would be hard to say if Azale was happy. It would be much easier to say the opposite, but she was proud, almost as much as she was lonely.

In the Dominion of Humility, acting as a Seraphim under the Archangel Michael, one would think she would demand great respect, but she did not. Not even in battle could she expect her comrades to watch her back, or to protect her stead, not as she did theirs. She accepted it, because when someone is told one thing enough, or shown one thing enough, they believe that they deserve it.

So she was an abomination.

Her wings were as white as everyone else, they weren’t malformed or inhibited. She wasn’t a terrible warrior. Being gifted with a surplus of power, she was quite the opposite, and she worked hard to hone it. She was feared and respected in that regard.

It wasn’t even that she was too good, she simply had an ability. The ability to weave dark magic, like a daemon of sin.

Now all angels hold light magic, and so did Azale. Light magic is the name of the energy that lies in the body of every angel, and those who seek to can train and practice to increase and control the energy in their body. 

They can use it for war or for craft. Those most advanced can use the energy to fuel spells, but most who do master it use if to form constructs, even summon an element of nature. The most basic of techniques is to use Aethean metal, and pool light energy into a weapon forged with it.

They do this because light magic hurts daemons, it burns them, scolds them, scars them. There are few things that will hurt a daemon more than light magic. It’s likely why angels tend to feel born to kill daemons.

Daemons have their own form of energy, dark magic. It works the same, but it has a more unwieldy form, much like sin itself. It is learned and mastered generally the same, and daemons can and do use Aethean metal to make weapons much the same as angels. They do this because dark magic hurts angels the same way that light magic hurts them.

Now, Azale was and still is the first creature in recorded history to use both. Imagine how angels reacted to that.

They ostracized her, thought her a stain on angel kind. Most assumed that because she could wield dark magic she was born to betray them, not even fallen angels suddenly gained dark magic. 

Only Azale.

If as a child she was not protected by Michael, who warded others off with his almighty power and watchful gaze, she would have been killed as a child when her powers awakened. 

The angels have talked and wondered about how it could be that she developed a huge resource of energy for both light magic and dark magic. They came up with so many stories. 

Some believe that she’s a daemon’s dark experiment, one that Michael saved to use as his weapon against them. Those believe that story think that he stains their reputation in the means of defeating the daemons. At the same time, this story gave them much needed reason to accept Michael’s ruling on her place among them.

Others think that she came from the unholy union of an angel and a fallen one. Likely the product of a black feathered heathen forcing himself on her poor mother. The vile, disgusting, and unforgivable act poisoning the child’s very foundation. Angels felt dignified in their shunning of her, blaming her as the product of her own mother’s horror.

Many believe that it’s all some elaborate trick, that she can’t possibly be using dark magic. It must be light magic used to cast illusions, a way for a stuck-up Seraphim to seem special. This helped the angels that never saw her fight in person to understand the strange abilities they kept hearing about.

This all lead to Michael constantly giving her missions across the multiverse. Few angels leave the Dominions of Heaven outside of war time. Usually it’s only rangers going out to hunt soul harvesters. Seraphim usually aren’t given such a job unless the daemon proves too powerful, but Azale was constantly given these missions.

She saw many daemons coax mortals out of their souls. Seeing that, one could say she grew to hate them as her kind hated her. 

Quite a few times there was this strange gleam in a daemon’s eyes when she used dark magic to protect herself from them. There was this expression of recognition, acceptance, and compliments before she took their life. She’d seen other angels give this to each other, many gave it to Michael, but never to her. She couldn’t place what it was, but it made her feel strong, until the moment she killed them. 

Seeing the mortals daemons usually took souls from, had her questioning why the angels cared for them at all. She assumed it was so daemons couldn’t amass their resources.

After spending all of her thousand years as an outcast, still young for the average angel, Michael one time gave her a strange task. He took responsibility for a deal the now dead Uriel made with the Demon King Asmodeus. To watch and protect his heir as terms of peace.

She was to venture to one of the many mortal realms, to watch over a human boy. She was to make sure that he was not a threat, and that only his succubus protector was the only daemon near him. 

Azale went to a version of Earth, a common name for the homeworld of the human race. By the time she received this mission from Michael, the boy was already eighteen. 

Azale would watch him drive to his high school, day in and day out in his small little town in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t a nice town, it was actually filled with crime and criminals, and she would punish a few now and then. Mostly she’d watch him from atop power lines, leaping across buildings, and blend in the crowd as he walked into school or any other public spot. 

It’s a serious job, she thought, but it just doesn’t feel like it.

The angel always expected him to do something, to strike for a human’s soul, to attempt to use his power of lust to assault women or men, but he never did. In fact, he never did anything. 

Does he even know what he is? she would constantly ask herself.

She watched him go to school, go to work, part-time, and then go home. Once in a blue moon he had this one goth female friend come to his house, or he’d stay after school longer with her, but that was it. 

It took awhile for her to notice something, and this fact embarrassed her a little. No one else ever entered his home, not before he woke, not after he came back. Not on holidays or when must have been his birthday. The human girl, who Azale eventually deemed a witch, didn’t forget, she was the only one.

Eventually, she realized most of the other young humans had someone they were going home to. After months of watching him do nothing, she spent her time pretending to be one of the humans. She utilized their machines and poed as young superintendent to get as much information on him possible.

She found out the boy’s name, always thinking of him as the next Asmodeus, King of Kings, King of daemons, Ruler of Sin, and embodiment of Lust. A sin she at the time had no experience with.

But his name was Clayton, and he was an orphaned, losing his parents at the young age of ten. For some reason the humans let him live alone in that big house to fend for himself. 

Azale couldn’t believe it. There was no record of such a thing happening where humans knowingly left a child to be raised in such a way. It was something that his parents setup after leaving him his inheritance to raise himself in this piss poor neighborhood. 

He was left a fortune, before he turned eighteen, yet he barely spent it, held a part-time job, and didn’t fall to any crime. He wasn’t just better than the average daemon, to her, he strangely seemed better than the average human, just by being mundane.

*****

Walking out of the school before it ended, wondering what to do with this information, she happened upon a local gang. A group of boys who thought they need to be like their delquinent elders, their leader already filled with a sense of entitlement.

Dressed in all red, some ripped jeans and cheap shoes, Azale had no doubt as to who they were. At the same time, she was posing as a normal human, she shouldn’t let herself be sucked into fighting.

But that did not happen. After hoots and hollers, catcalls and gross names, they didn’t appreciate being ignored, they didn’t appreciate being told no. 

They cornered her at the side of the school, and the first thing she did was ask them, “Why aren’t you in class?”

Class?” the leader, this older aryan kid who’s clearly failed a grade or two, laughed in her face. “Fuck, what would I care about class?” he told her.  “Now those legs,” he said while eyeing her skirt, “and that ass,” his shifting him, “those are things I want to watch bounce.”

Azale could depend on one thing among the angels, they never paid her any attention like this boy was giving her. 

So that day, she found herself seconds from summoning her warhammer. She didn’t notice any witnesses, in her mind, why the hell not?

“You think she’s a sub?” another darker accomplice asked the leader.

“Has to be,” said a pale and scrawny one among many more, likely the beating post of the group. “Jace’s has already fucked all the teachers, don’t know where else this one came from.” 

“Doesn’t matter, she’s next,” the leader named Jace said.

Azale’s eyes narrowed on him. “Is that so, and why would I want to do that?” she questioned him as her hand went behind her back, summoning and hiding her golden warhammer. 

“His dad’s big shit around here!” another boy told her, shouting from behind him. 

“Is that so?” 

Jace smirked before he threatened her, “Yeah, you don’t want to know what he’s taught me to do to the bitches who think their tough shit. They don’t go to school no more.”

Azale straightened her back at that, and pressed for the puny human to step up to her, “Well, come it get it then,” ready at that moment to crack his skull open with her warhammer.

“Well, I like a girl that’s ea- ACK!

To both her and the gang’s surprise, Jace is picked up by the back of his neck and is lifted several feet off the ground. His hoodie comes off to reveal his shaved head, and show another boy standing behind him, holding him up.

The angel recognized him as the boy she’d been watching over.

Clayton grinned as he easily held the boy high enough for him to dangle his feet, his latent demonic strength showing. Lucky him, he didn’t need to fully understand to use it. Considering that Clayton was leaner back then than he is now, the boys were surprised the first time he beat them up. 

This was not the first time he’d beaten them up.

“I’d ask you how many times I have to beat the shit out of you, but you’re never going to stop.” The boy in his arm hoots and hollers as Clayton carries him around. “At this point I’m just going to skip right to the ass kicking.” Enough boys remember the bruise and bloody noses to run away, but not all of them.

Asmodeus, when he was only in the makings of becoming the Demon King, still blew the scum away, and Azale too.

Clayton smashed the leader’s head into the closest gang member, and kicks another in the head. Azale took note, he had both the strength and flexibility of an incubus at least, but not a full blown black daemon yet. 

He kicked, punched, and flipped over the heads of the punks, having beaten them up a bunch of times before. He slammed two heads together, sent a boy’s balls up into his stomach, knocked three boys out with one backhand, and sent a boy six feet into the air with an uppercut, with his foot. 

Azale was utterly shocked.

Not by the physical display, a daemon of any sin defeating a bunch of lowly mortals isn’t surprising in the least. It’s the fact that he was doing for no sin of his own. She sensed none of it from him. 

Where’s the Wrath? The Lust for power? Envy? Maybe Greed? I don’t feel anything coming off of him.

From what she watched, and what she heard, all she could tell was that he was either fighting them to protect her, which no one had ever done, or he was trying to stamp corruption to the public, which was unheard of in a daemon, at least to her.

She expected him to hit on her, try and flirt with her, prove he had ulterior motives, but it doesn’t come. He doesn’t try to talk to he she watches him beat them up. She wondered if maybe he wasn’t able to have a conversation and fight at the same time, but in hand-to-hand combat, she could tell her he was well experienced. 

Frighteningly so.

He took a boy’s arm and broke his elbow over his knee. That wasn’t the move of a novice, and his form was too perfect to chalk it up demonic strength. She believed then, and still believes now that he must have been trained to fight. 

The way he caught a boy’s fist, and spun to move him in the way of another boy’s fist, tells her that he wasn’t able to just overpower them, but outmaneuver them, easily. 

The other thing she noticed was him holding back, not just his strength or just his punches, but his temper.

At first she couldn’t, but she could sense Wrath slowly building him, but that only fascinated her more. It’s not for me, and it’s not just boundless… it’s for them.

Sure, he was of Lust, but to push down any sin in the sight of mortals was unheard of. She couldn’t fathom why he was sparing them death. The beating they were receiving was bad but definitely not worse than dying. 

Why was this awful daemon showing mercy?

Clayton began finishing them off, beating on one who had tried to come back with crowbar and was now feeling it coming down on his head. She saw one more pull out a knife, and while Clayton heard the switchblade pop out, she didn’t know that. 

Clayton feints not seeing it coming, as he wanted to humiliate and terrify the boy to never carry such a weapon again, but the something strange happened.

Right when Clayton knew the boy was right behind him, he spun around to catch air.

Bang!

Clayton’s fist was mid swing, stopped by the sight of a golden warhammer coming down on the boy’s head. 

“The fuck?” he cursed, and his eyes moved to the woman holding it, only adding to his confusion. 

“Huh,” was all he muttered.

Now he was staring at her and she was staring at him, both equally infatuated with the actions of the other. “You did not have to protect me,” she said first, doing her best to hide all the curiosity and interest she had inside, “I am more than capable of dealing with lowlives like these.”

Clayton heard her but only half listened, the golden warhammer understandably holding his eye. “I can only imagine,” he muttered, and then he looked up at her fair hair and what in his mind was a perfect face if he ever saw one. 

“You’re an angel aren’t you?” he asked her, and he was not trying to be poetic or cute, though that was her first thought. 

She can’t fathom how he could have realized that, until she realized that she was still holding her warhammer. It can be an extension of her arm, easy for her to forget she’s holding it sometimes, especially back then. 

She swung it behind her back, and held it there as if that was going to make him forget it. “I am no such thing, flirt,” she accused of him. By then she knew better but she figured it would keep him on his feet.

He didn’t fall for it though, he only stared, and the longer she tried to keep it up, the farther down his face his eyebrows fell. She wasn’t a very good lier, still isn’t.

“Come on, I may have only been a daemon for a few days, but I know what Aethean metal is,” he informed her, pointing behind her back where she still held her weapon, “and from what the Incantorum told me, only angels and daemons have it. I can sense that your no daemon, so, either your an angel or you stole that.”

Azale squinted her eyes at him, not appreciating the clear logic he held over her head. She found herself both annoyed and impressed. Only a daemon for a few days, but he showed promise in self-control in their fight, and intelligence just now, or at the very least, snark. 

But the Incantorum, that book allowed the previous King of Lust to strike down the original Archangel of Chastity. She didn’t like the sound of it, and based on what she had heard, neither did most daemons.

Though she didn’t find herself worrying so much about it, for some reason she didn’t sense any reason to fear him. 

“Fine, you have outed me,” she admitted, and raised her chin at him, turning her back, prepared to walk away, “but I can just find a new identity, you can’t hang this over me.”

Clayton was taken aback, utterly confused. “What? I’m not going to blackmail you, what would be the point?” Now she was confused, especially as he continued, “Actually, I’ve never met an angel, let alone talked to one, would you… would you want to get dinner?”

What?” It used to be rare for Azale to drop her composure. Being asked to dinner, then by a daemon, was like the secret formula for completely befuddling her. 

“I get that we’re supposed to be enemies,” he started to say while scratching the back of his head, “but I don’t really get why, so I figured asking an angel would be a good way to start.”

Azale stopped, and looked over her shoulder at this strange daemon boy. “You, you actually want to hear an angel’s opinion?”

Clayton’s eyes glanced back and forth, and his mouth proved that snarkiness was not in his power to control. “Well, that is what I said.” 

For a moment, he worried if his sarcasm was going to be the reason he can’t take this woman out to dinner. Her immediate scowl made it seem unlikely, but then she smiled.

He’s unlike any other daemon I’ve ever encountered, or heard of. She began to think that he would have made a good angel, but then decades of memories of abuse reminded her otherwise. 

He was kinder than them, and not as vicious as his own kind. Eventually, she would learn that his kind weren’t as vicious off the battlefield as they were on. 

“Alright daemon,” she told him, “I’ll have this… dinner with you, and explain to you the terrible thing that is Sin!” 

Clayton laughed into his hand. 

“Well, that is what I’ve been asking for,” and he walks up to her hesitant form, and offered her his arm, thinking it would be gentlemanly, proper, as if every angel understands it. When she only stared in confusion, he quickly worried that, “Is that not something you do? I’m sorry, I-”

“No,” she interrupted him, offering one’s arm is certainly allowed in angel society, it is considered a nice gesture between friends, or even lovers. Azale’s had only ever seen it. She slipped her arm through his, and smiled up at him, thinking that maybe she wouldn’t completely harass him at dinner.

And she didn’t, and they had many dinners afterwards, and not all of them were the two of them alone.

*****

After spending time together for months, Clayton introduced his new angel friend to his best friend first, the witch rather than the demonesses. Lolara grew quite smitten with the angel, but she could tell the angel was quickly growing smitten with someone else.

Eating at a favorite chinese food restaurant for the upteenth time, Lolara finished telling Azale the story of how Clayton embarrassed himself, one of many times. One that made Azale laugh, something she’d been lacking her life. They caused Clayton’s face to scowl out of embarrassment, something he was much more used to.

Lolara placed her hands on the table, with her painted black fingernails, and her longer dark locks looking painted onto her pale skin. She took her goth phase very seriously.

“I’ll be right back,” the witch told the two.

The angel grew worried, asked her, “Is everything alright?” Dressed in casual human wear, she looked like a girl not much older than the high schoolers she was spending her time with.

Lolara chuckled, her fingers pressed to her lip before they touch Azale’s shoulder. “You’re adorable, I’m just going to take a piss,” and she walked away laughing.

“Oh,” Azale goes, wide-eyed, surprised, and infatuated all at once. She had never known a single person like Lolara, and she’s eavesdropped on many strange fellows. None of them have held such an open tongue as this witch.

Clayton found himself, staring, noticing how Azale watched his friend walk away, and gets the wrong idea.

“Az,” Clayton said, shortening her name without even thinking, so she only glanced back to him, confused, “sorry, Azale, I didn’t mean to call you that.”

“Az,” she repeated, “no, it’s fine, honestly it’s better than hearing you butcher angel pronunciation.”

“I am getting better,” he pointed out, pointing finger guns at her.

She always found the gesture silly, but silly was nice, so she did back, and told him, “That is true.”

“Aah, good,” he muttered, and then mumbled as he searched for the words, “good, good.”

“Everything okay?” Azale asked him. At this point she couldn’t name a time when he stumbled over his words.

“Yeah, yeah,” he repeated over and over again as he tapped his finger on the table, struggling with how to be both emotionally distant and attentive at the same time. Neither his father nor mother had the chance to show him how to do that. 

“Listen I, err…” he caught himself, having already found the wording he was going to use inadequately, “thanks.” 

“Thank you for what?” Azale asked him, and then after looking at the food on their table she asked him, “Do you need me to cover the bill?”

“What? No, no,” he assured her with waves of his hands. “God, I’m really bad at this, I’m, I’m trying to saying…” and he found his foot in his mouth as he started this conversation and couldn’t find a way out of it. 

“Meeting you, Az, was unexpected,” he finally started, and with that he had her undivided attention, “and, and I’m glad for it.” With that she pressed her hand over her heart, confusing herself with the gesture. She had never felt a desire to do such a thing, but she had seen so many others do it. 

Clayton noticed and rolled his eyes, thinking, “Okay, now you’re mocking me.”

She looked down at her hands then back up at him, now taking her turn to wave her hands in front of her. “No, no, not at all, please,” she told him, and placed her hand on his, “please continue.”

His eyes kept moving between her eyes and her hand on his, wondering if maybe they share more in common than he thought. That mere idea helped him finish what he was trying to say. “I, I don’t have many friends,” he told Azale, with complete honesty, she could sense it, “and… it’s really been just me and Lo, and that’s fine with her, and I think it’s been fine with me but…”

He raised his head to look her in the eyes, to tell her, “Thanks, thanks for being a friend to me.”

That was when Azale understood what the warm spot in her heart was, what she had been doing with this daemon and their witch friend. 

It was that word that passed through her head, the word that he said, that he called her, that’s the part that makes her heart warm. She had never realized how cold it was before.

“You, you think of me, as a friend?” she asked him. When he looked at her with this confusion, as if it were always clear to him, he missed the importance that the phrase meant to her, but it’s likely for the best.

Yeah,” he said, glancing away from her and back to her, making it known that he had never thought anything else. That’s when he doubted it for a second. “Aren’t we?” he asked her, “Should I? I like you,” and then her fluttered in a way she does recognize, in a way before she was usually let down, “I respect you, like I do friends, and worthy enemies I guess.” He squinted his eyes after that phrasing. “That’s a weird way to put it.”

“It is?” she questioned, his weird phrase not weird for her. She’s busy feeling more elation than she ever had before in her life, and then busy trying to hide it.

“I, I don’t know, but… aren’t we friends?” he asked her, knowing that if she said no, it would hurt him more than hitting him with her warhammer. Funny thing, she doesn’t realize how important her answer to his question is either.

“Yes,” she said, with a greater sense of accomplishment than she’s ever said the word before, “we are friends.”
Clayton made an awkward smile. He essentially shrugged off her weird emphasis having heard himself. He just held her hand, glad that he’s made yet another friend. He’s been pretty bad at that.

Azale maybe the only person who’s had it worse in that regard, and as everything seems to be going right, she sensed that something must be wrong, harshly enough until she heard the flap of wings.

Whimpf.

She knew what it was based on the sound alone, but she knew for sure when Clayton didn’t even register it, he didn’t hear. Her smile went from real to fake so she could naturally glance away out the window of the restaurant.

Outside the window, she saw a man wearing a dark flimsy blanket like a robe, it’s dark color covering his pale and hairless features. Even if he wasn’t hiding his wings and his power level, she already knew this Seraphim. He was the right hand of Zadkiel, the Archangel of Temperance, which is code for being the Archangel who hides his issues well. 

If Zadkiel had sent a Seraphim to her, Azale realized that it was likely that Michael did not know, and that there can only be more terrible things to come… for her friend.

My friend… he’s here for my friend.

She turned back to Clayton, as Lolara was coming back. “I have to go, I see a…,” and when she looked at the other Seraphim, her go to was to say ‘friend,’ as a lie, but then that would have soured the word. “…an acquaintance, at the window, I’ll be right back.”

With Azale rushing to leave him, Clayton was left wondering what he said to drive her away. It took only a second for him to think he just fucked up again, until Lolara sat down next to him. Her return reminded him of what he saw earlier.

Without warning, Clayton turned to Lolara to ask her, “So, do you think she likes you?” as if the question weren’t so ridiculous.

Lolara nearly spit out the water she was drinking, and her eyes bore into him. “Meeee? Me? Ahh… me?” she questioned back, dragging out her words to sound out how stupid he is. 

Just to be sure she knew what he was asking, “You think she likes me?” When Clayton nodded his head her mouth fell open the second before she told him, “Clay, are you a fucking idiot?”

What?!” he asked back, shocked by her vulgar outburst. 

“She likes you!” Lolara yelled at him, after Azale had already stepped out. Meaning, everyone else in the restaurant heard her except the angel in question. 

Clayton eyes turned to the table as he tried to contemplate it. At this point, he already had two demonesses fighting over him at home, the idea of a third woman liking was preposterous to him. Not to mention that he misunderstood the conversation they just had. 

“But she just agreed we’re friends.”

Lolara rolled her eyes. 

In response to whatever the two said to each while she was gone, Lolara easily rationalized that, “Well, you’re probably the first friend she’s ever had,” a statement that shocked Clayton to hear, and then to believe, “that’s why she said that, probably doesn’t even know the difference.” 

Upon seeing the befuddled expression on Clayton’s face, Lolara grew rather annoyed with him. She figured him of all people would have been able to see and understand what Azale had gone through by only talking with her, but she reminded herself of all the nonsense that was going on in his house.

“What?” Clayton asked, recognizing the look on the witch’s face. 

Lolara believed that there were reasons to him being painfully oblivious, but she still told him anyway. “You’d think you’d notice everything, considering you’ve only had me.”

Clayton saw her point rather quickly, wondering if the recent changing circumstances with becoming a daemon, and being fought over by a concubine and a fiance were changing him. He himself admitted, “Maybe it’s because I have Asmodea and Noella now too.”

He pretty much confirmed what Lolara figured, fast enough that she snorted and laughed at him. “Geez, you add two more friends to your friends list and you forget that you’re a lonely nerd.”

He snorted back at her. “You are too!”

“And I am not ashamed,” she reminded him, joking with him now, “but a nerd and proud.” Clayton began to shake his head at the ridiculous hypocrisy on display, no matter how much it made him giggle. 

As they were speaking of their angelic friend, they only thought to notice the discussion  she was having with her acquaintance, when they realized it was getting heated. As they and many people in the restaurant began to watch more closely, almost sarcastically Clayton asked, “You think she likes him?”

Lolara cracked into a low mutter as she watched intently, “I promise you, she does not.”

Outside the restaurant, Azale yelled at the other Seraphim, “What you mean we are to kill him?!”

“I did not realize this would shock you so,” the Seraphim responded to her, without giving her his attention. He looked away from her to the daemon in question, locking eyes through the window. He turned back to Azale, whose loyalty was always in question to him. 

“There is no need to be so curt with me,” Azale told him, clenching her fists as she looked up at him, only to see his dark glare… “Master Rogiel.”

Rogiel spoke out the side of his mouth, “If you were of worth, I’d agree.” He needlessly insulted her, but she was used to such jabs, and realized it immediately. 

My mission was to watch over the Demon King, over Clay, in accordance with a treaty an Archangel had struck. One that Michael wanted to honor… and now that had suddenly changed?

She stood up straight, and decided then to speak to him not as angel, but as another Seraphim among the armies ranks. 

To do that, she reminded him, “Master Rogeil, I am under orders directly from the Archangel Michael himself, to make sure that the heir to the throne of Lust be protected, that the peace between us be protected.”

Rogiel smirked at her formal report. 

“Michael told you to uphold a deal made by a dead man,” Rogiel reminded Azale, as while he showed but disdain for her, it was likely he’d rather not kill her there and then. The odds where not with him. “In that deal the Demon King could stay until he was of age.”

“And he is still learning the ways of mortals,” Azale ascertained to him, as she could see the point he was about to make.

“It is not our fault if he is a poor learner. Zadkiel has noted and decided that the treaty, which was held out of respect for, and only for the past Uriel, is now null and void.” 

Rogiel’s final words rang through Azale as if her head were a gong. She didn’t know it, but everything was going to change then. 

Rogiel essentially gave her an ultimatum. “Zadkiel respects an angel’s loyalty to their commanding Archangel, for this mission he would gladly explain your actions to Michael, to keep you in good standing. In return, you are to assist me in killing this daemon, right now, unless you know a safer strategy.” 

While she didn’t doubt that Zadkiel would speak on her behalf, or even that Michael would have understood her position… It doesn’t feel like a choice.

To attack someone who has done no one harm, someone who could truly make a difference among the scoundrel daemons that we all hate, would not be in line with any of our Virtues. That would not be any kind of justice.

“Go back and tell Zadkiel to speak to Michael, instead of going behind his back,” Azale warned the Seraphim opposite of her. She gave him her own ultimatum, one which if it had worked, would have sent Rogiel back to Zadkiel, giving Clayton the time to escape, and Azale would likely still be an angel of Virtue.

All the ultimatums failed.

Rogiel’s smirk became a sadistic smile. He gave her that look she was so familiar with. He had been waiting for his chance to kill the famous wielder of dark magic, like many other Seraphim. To him she was a stain, and even if the mission of killing the Demon King was put off, her death would please him enough.

He summoned his sword and his armor to him in an instant, the threat was clear, if not to any outside eyes, to Azale. Angels don’t fall to Sin for attacking other angels, not even killing them, but depending on the Sin they were closest to, it can push them over the edge. 

Azale had spent months building a friendship for a Demon King. Protecting him was aligning herself with him. Maybe it was the dark magic she held inside her that allowed her to make such a quick transition.

Maybe it was hate. Not her hate, but the unearned hate so many other angels held for her. That hate could have seeped into her very soul, and pushed her to the knife’s edge of Sin, and the loose bits of Lust in her heart simply decided where she would land.

Bam!

She summoned her silver warhammer before her armor, and cracked Rogiel’s head open with dark magic before he could blink. 

She fell to Sin then and there. She knew he was going to attack unprovoked, he knew he was going to, but to do so in turn herself was this turning point from which she couldn’t return.

*****

Asmodeus and Azale cuddled in the grass before Michael came down, the Demon King and the fallen angel holding each other in the wake of their Lust. She lay with her head on his chest, dreaming of the choices that lead her to where she was. 

She killed a fellow angel to save her friend, and when she fell to Lust she would want him as more than such. That will not be forgotten, even if Asmodeus has, even if the Archangels have, she will not.

As little respect as I have for him, I should have given Rogiel the chance as an angel. At least she should have let him prove himself bad before her so her actions would not weigh on her. It was the only thing she regrets, not giving Rogiel a chance. 

Azale, the Reaver of Devotion settled on the idea that if she hadn’t, Rogiel likely would have killed her in much the same manner. IIt was simply the only way to survive. If she hadn’t survived, she’d be in Death’s arms, and not the arms of Asmodeus.

Asmodeus finished putting protective spells on her without her knowing. A couple added layers against elementals, protections on her mind, and one over her heart, just in case. If she should be struck, the spell makes it so should a stab wound pierce her heart, he would receive the damage instead. 

From experience, he knew he could survive one or two blows to that organ.

“Hey, Az,” he called her. She had just finished remembering when he called her that for the first time. The restaurant did not smell as nice as the hill they laid upon.

“Yes?” 

“Remember when you fell from Virtue and your personality just flipped from being dominant and high strung to submissive and sexual?” Asmodeus asked, getting himself a laugh from the same memories she looked back on with doubt. 

She disagreed with him, “I was always submissive, Master, I was submissive to Michael’s orders, and the judgments of the other angels.” That’s when she felt his caring hand start stroking her head. “I was submissive to their abuse and harassment. After falling, I just…  became submissive to my Demon King instead of my Archangel.” 

She picked up her head to look him in the eye as she told him, “I became submissive for you because you don’t seek to dominant me in mind and soul… just in the bedroom,” now grinning, “tied to a bed as you…. as they say ‘went down low.’”

Asmodeus usually smiles awkwardly in embarrassment, but this time he looked straight up confused. His brow narrowed and he looked up at the angel on his chest with a look of surprise. 

“Um, Azale,” he started to say, “I’ve never done that, and is that what angels call it?”

The Reaver’s eyes went wide. “Huh,” she hummed, “oh wait, that was Mistress, my apologies.”

Asmodeus chuckled and pull her head down to his chest again. “No need, that image will get me through these trying times,” he joked to her, making her smile as well. 

“I love you, Master,” she told him.
“I love you too, my friend.”

“I never tired of hearing you say that.”

That’s when they heard Michael’s wings clap against the air.

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