- January 26, 2021
The House of Asmodeus: A Trial by Fire (Chapter 7)
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Asmodeus hand’s leave Axel’s shoulder, and Axel now sits under his control.
Petra turns to tease Azale, “Have you ever asked him to do that to you?” and she makes the angel blush, which only makes the Reaver laugh. “I’ve never met a being of Lust who embarrasses so easily.
“Thanks for following my lead,” Mod tells Asmodeus.
Asmodeus does tell her, “You know, you didn’t have to flirt with him to keep his attention, you could have just knocked him out, or… you know… tell him I’m coming. Now we have to mind control him after you flooded him pheromones.”
Mod shrugs as she asks, “Where’s the fun in that?”
“Where’s the fun in this?” Noella questions.
“You don’t feel the power that goes with wrapping a stupid man around your finger?”
“If its his intestines,” Azale offers.
“I like the way you think, my angel.”
Looking at Axel wobble under her lover’s thumb makes Mod giddy, all smiles and dances, she did her job well. “So what’s the plan now, Clay cutie?” Mod asks him, her eyes still basking in her accomplishment, and her finger teasing as much as she can.
Noella crosses her arms over her chest, a gesture Mod does not miss.
Noella smirks because she likes Mod seeing her coming, but then lets her off easy. “Don’t tell me you forgot already?” the white daemon taunts the Reaver.
Mod lets out a little breath, seeing that it was nothing more than a taunt. The more Mod thinks about it, she can’t seem to recall any recent jabs from Noella being all that bad.
Mod playfully says, “Nooo….” being completely obvious as she pouts at her King, who’s knowingly smiling at her. “… cutie?”
Asmodeus shakes his head, and remains absolutely in amused with the Reaver of Seduction. Without any insult, he reminds her, “Axel here will lead us to Coldo. As you three,” Mod, Azale, and Petra, “have mentioned to me, he’s hard to pin down between battles, he doesn’t meet with anyone about other missions that don’t help the Crusader’s current effort, so you know what that means.”
“People will be lining up,” Noella figures, moving her hands to her hips, now realizing how sensitive they are for time.
“Exactly,” Asmodeus agrees, “which means we want to get him in his downtime before someone else does.”
Petra twirls her deadly umbrella before her face, and rests it on her shoulder. She’s ready to get a move on, as finding this Coldo can only be for the better. “When one is as introverted as Coldo is, we have to go hunting.”
“Antisocial is more accurate,” Mod tells her.
“I didn’t think he was antisocial,” Azale tells them, “I found him more repressed, tired, actually, Master…” Azale looks to Asmodeus with a bit of hesitance with her words. “… he reminds me of you, only much less charming,” a compliment which makes Asmodeus smirk, “and less sarcastic.”
“Hah!” he laughs.
“And definitely not as pretty,” Mod assures him, only adding to the humor.
“Alright, alright, let’s actually get going now,” Asmodeus tells them.
He finally takes his hand off of Axel’s shoulder, and gestures him up to his feet. “Are you ready, Axel?”
Axel stands out of his chair with a slight wobble, and the white of his eyes turning a bit pink. Once he stands at attention, his eyes and focus on Asmodeus, “Of course, anything for you.”
“Ooh,” Noella chuckles, and talks behind her hand, “should I worry about being jealous, beloved?”
Mod moves to Asmodeus’s side to joke as well. “We might have some more competition.”
Asmodeus rolls his eyes and gestures towards the door, commanding Axel, “Take us to Coldo.”
Axel immediately shows his worth by informing him, “It’s better to go out the back door, faster.”
Azale points out, “Also safer, it’s an alley that’s hard to see from the street, we’ll avoid attention.”
“Not to mention that we don’t exactly fit in,” Petra agrees with her fellow Reaver.
Asmodeus smirks, basking in a plan that’s coming together. He moves his arm to gesture out the back, telling them, “Then let us follow Mr. Bone’s lead.”
An enthralled Axel leads the way towards the door, with the Reavers in his stead. As they each move to follow, with Mod and Noella staying by him, he notices how large his guard has become. It’s been sometime since I’ve ventured anywhere on my own.
After the war between the angels and daemons, Dotor has remained hard pressed to let another king leave the palace without at least two Reavers. One to protect him from others, and one to protect him from himself.
At the door, Asmodeus snaps his fingers, and in a wave of fire he moves across the room, ready to hold the door for the many ladies.
Axel goes first, in his humorous thrall, looking weak in the knees at having Asmodeus hold the door for him. The Demon King winks at the fury to make the women laugh.
The Reavers follow Axel, with Petra giving a nod of thanks as she passes through, but Asmodeus places a hand on Azale before she goes through the door.
His Reaver of Devotion looks at his hand with curiosity and then to his worried face. “I know you can’t stand the Circle of Wrath, but I really do appreciate you keeping your cool as well as you are.”
Azale smiles at his appreciation, and nods her head, a little curt acknowledgement. “Of course, as much as I find this place… repulsive…” Asmodeus chuckles at her restraint, knowing that was the nicest way she could put it, and is touched when Devotion tells him, “I have you and Mistress here by my side, I will be more than fine.”
They speak of the devil and she will come, so Noella proves them right, coming up behind Azale, wrapping an arm around her waist and kissing her cheek. “And we will be here always,” making the angel’s cheeks rosy. She struggles to keep from beaming as she continues through the door.
Noella gives her beloved a sultry look as she follows Azale, and once she’s into the dark alley, Mod’s hand lands on the door behind Asmodeus.
He turns around to look down at the grinning succubus. “I’ve got the door,” she says, “I like watching you walk away.”
“Well,” he starts, whipping his cloak behind him, as if to show off, “why wouldn’t you.” They leave the bar laughing, and when she shuts the door, Asmodeus locks the bar with a whisper. “Don’t want anyone stealing the silverware.”
In the alleyway, Asmodeus moves behind Axel, laying his hand on the daemon’s shoulder, and letting him lead the way. At that same time, the three Reavers form a triangle around their King, ready to defend and protect him even when he may not prefer it.
Petra and Azale stand on either side of Asmodeus and Axel, always a step ahead of him, in line with the fury. Noella stands directly behind Asmodeus, her hand always on the pommel of her rapier, standing in the position Dotor usually takes with his katana.
In the very back stands Mod with the greatsword Gram in her hand. She walks with this large, hulking sword on her shoulder, vibrating a bit, speaking to her. She hasn’t split someone in two in awhile, Gram is getting thirsty.
The giant sword hums, and Mod rubs the flat of the blade on her shoulder, shushing it.
Asmodeus presses Axel forward down the cobblestone pathway. The beings of Lust find the cobblestone roads of Satan’s capital to be it’s only attractive trait, and even those are ruined by the water.
The nutrients in the soil turn the water into this dark crimson that looks like nothing more than a liquid in shadow, but to look down at it is to see blood. Blood should either be in the body or at the end of a blade, anything else is a waste.
While a day time sky would make the Circle of Wrath more appealing elsewhere, in the capital the sky looks like a ceiling. The magma fire spewing from volcanoes secrete the air form over head. Unlike a normal mortal plain, the rock does not fall and spew, it cements above them, and only drips down miles away, forming pillars to hold it up, casting the city in an eternal hellish night.
The architecture doesn’t fair much better, though that can be chalked up to the recently overthrown overlords that let the city fall into poverty and disarray. The more jagged and frightening spires were torn down, with the vast skyscrapers and treelike structures turned into material and scrap metal to force people underneath the eye of the palace.
Now there’s only these older homes and villas, ripped straight from the medieval and puritanical ages of many species. Asmodeus doesn’t recognize the buildings around him as human, but they were certainly from a similar time. The tile shingles atop metallic buildings that remind him of Renaissance villas.
The large difference being in how the rooms are taller, and everything seems more round and smooth than humanity’s sharp ends and narrow windows. He still prefers the wonderland that is the Circle of Lust, and why wouldn’t he?
Moving down the alleyway, they noticed that they were heading down the hill, towards the bottom of the capital, and as the alleyway went down it tightened towards an opening. They squeezed in together, Mod turning sideways to fit her giant sword.
As the alleyway heads towards an opening, and a rather wide one at that, the video games her liege plays has taught her one important thing. Wide areas mean fights, so she snaps at them, “Listen to the angel, I’m willing to bet something’s about to come at us.”
With the simple warning, the three all snap to attention behind Asmodeus. Asmodeus can’t help but smirk at how they can all suddenly snap between having fun and getting serious.
They all enter what seems to be a rather beaten down courtyard. There are broken down tables, with the glass having fallen out, with what red grass remains dying against the beaten black fences.
Asmodeus can tell that this was a place where daemons used to colonise, like people would in a park. The people living in the buildings nearby probably used to come down, eat, play, and rest in the grass, like humans only with less kids. There were probably a lot more arm wrestling and a lot less sexual play wrestling. This is the Circle of Wrath, Asmodeus has to remind himself.
As they all enter, they move back to their positions, and scope out the place, but don’t sense or see anyone around them.
Asmodeus presses Axel to continue, but Axel doesn’t budge.
Asmodeus still thinks the fury is under his thrall, and speaks to him as such. “Go on, little fury, I need to find Coldo,” but still the wrath daemon doesn’t budge.
Petra and Azale both turn around to see what the problem is but they both looked shocked to see something. They turn around, warhammer and umbrella pointed Axel.
“Master, get back!”
“His eyes,” Petra warns, the point of her umbrella forming a bit of electricity as she points it over her forearm, like old an model shotgun.
Asmodeus feels Axel shift and the fury looks back at him over his shoulder, with a snarky smile on his face. What Asmodeus notices is the yellow flow that has now consumed his eyes, leaving not a pupil to be seen, but Asmodeus remains calm.
The Demon King removes his hand from the daemon shoulder, figuring out that Axel isn’t under his thrall anymore, but he doesn’t back away. He stands waiting as he hears Noella unsheathe her sword behind him.
Asmodeus rests his hand in his pocket, one thumb sticking out, as his other hand gestures over his face. “What’s with your eyes, Mr. Bone?”
Axel’s smile dips for a moment of confusion, but then he grins and turns completely around to face the Demon King. “This,” he starts, gesturing over his eyes, “you remember that I’m one of the Bone Twins, right?”
I had hoped I’d meet her later.
Now that he finds himself dodging said woman’s surprise attack, he knows he’s not getting what he wants.
A claw, with red particles multiplying and floating in the palm of her hand, narrowly misses him.
As he flips backwards, he sees the woman who attacked him. Another fury, with the talons at the ends of her wings, and the ribbed sharp horns going back over her head. It keeps her long crazy red curls from falling over her face.
He doesn’t get a terribly good look at her face, only a flash of the glowing yellow eyes that Axel has.
He flips backwards over Noella, who ducks to let him pass over her, and dashes forward to thrust a strike of her sword.
This fury is no joke, dodging backwards, out of range of Noella’s strike. Matching the speed of a highborn daemon means she has the energy to match. At the same time, she blocks Azale’s golden warhammer.
This Bone twin’s reputation precedes her.
The angel’s shocked by this, her light magic not leaving a scratch, but for the split second that her weapon touches the fury, she realizes she’s not touching anything at all.
The new fury leaps backwards, as Axel coats his arm in volcanic rock to block Petra’s lightning shot. He’s hit mid leap, and the electricity still shocks him.
His sister grab his collar and pulls him back herself. Noella attempts a second thrust, this time pointed at Axel, and the moment she does both furies blur, their bodies in a flash step.
Shocking the Pride daemon, her sword thrust meets the forearm of the woman, the same particles over her arm protecting her much the same as it did against Azale, and then they flash step again.
They switch places and the woman is pulling the man to safety.
The two furies are yards away in seconds, nearly halfway across the courtyard, reminding the Reavers that the Crusaders are no joke. Noella moves a few steps in front of Asmodeus as he stands back to his feet, her sword ready to defend, and Azale dashes beside her to defend with her.
Together, they notice that their weapons are smoking where they connected, or really failed to connect, with the woman’s arm.
Noella brings her fingers to the tip to wipe off the ash, and see that her rapier is intact, but she shouldn’t attack again without knowing whatever defense this woman has.
Axel groans in pain as he sits on the ground clutching his arm as Petra’s electricity paralyzes it. “Gah,” he hisses, and the woman, who Asmodeus sees more clearly now, kneels down behind him.
She looks a lot like him as she inspects his wound with her eyes, but not her hands. Asmodeus takes note of the fact that she’s still in her armor, these heavy leathers and a fur around her neck that remind him of a hunter. Then there are the strange armored gauntlets that look like some demonic claw. Her hands essentially look like his in his True Asmodeus form, minus the magma and more like normal steel.
“Are you alright?” she asks Axel.
He’s still hissing in pain as he tells her, “I’ll live,” and with anger pointed towards Asmodeus, he growls, “I can fight.”
“Good,” she mutters, and she stands up behind him.
“Oww!” Axel yells as he clutches a small burning spot on his head, right where the woman slapped him. “What was that for?!”
“For being an idiot!” she yells at him. “You really fell for a succubus! We’re in the Circle of Wrath, they’re not coming here to sleep with you, they want to capture you, you stupid, stupid, stupid!”
“Hey,” he snaps, as he jumps back to his feet, angrily shaking his fists up and down at her, “I heard you the first one-thousand times you called me stupid!”
She slams her fists at her sides and screams in his face back, “Yet I still have to save your ass from getting merked, so clearly you aren’t getting it!”
“Why you, errrr…”
They stop growling at each other to Petra who just whistled at them. With her umbrella over her shoulder, she gives them the mother of hazy looks. “Maybe you two kids forgot, but aren’t we fighting?”
“Petra,” Noella hisses at her, wondering why she’s trying to draw the enemies attention.
The Reaver of Sadism shrugs her shoulders. “I’ve done nothing but watch Mod kiss ass all day,” so she flips her umbrella at the furies, “I could use the warm up.”
The two furies trade confused looks, but without speaking they seemed to have had a whole conversation. Asmodeus figured out who the woman was a while ago, but he figured as the two grin at each other in agreement, now is the best time.
“You’re Beatrix Bone, I presume,” Asmodeus calls from behind his two Reavers.
“Oh, you know of me,” Beatrix chuckles, quite sarcastically, “you’re about to wish you didn’t.” She moves behind her brother as he summons magma from the pores in his arms, burning his tunic.
Mod walks up beside Asmodeus with her sword on her shoulder, standing with her free hand on her hip pretty casually. “Oh look, another ego to crush.”
“Wait,” Asmodeus warns, and with a snap of his fingers he summons his Incantorum to his hands, trying to find the source of Beatrix’s powers. At the same time, he tries to tell them, “We don’t have to fight, we only came here for Crusader’s help, and we know you two don’t make the decisions.”
“So you mind controlled my brother?” Beatrix spits back.
Azale turns and gives Mod a good glare.
“Would you have took us to him otherwise?” Petra questions them.
“Well, not today!” Axel yells at them.
“We don’t have that kind of time, we need the Crusaders to start soon, another war is dependent on that,” Asmodeus tells them. The Bone Twins look between each other at the sound of that.
“Tough nuts,” Beatrix says, gesturing to himself with his thumb, “we just fought a revolution, we earned ourselves a break.”
“Maybe you should have just gotten a headstart on whatever you want yourselves rather than asking us,” Axel agrees with his sister as the ground below him starts to smoke and burn.
“I think it’s time we smoked these guys,” Beatrix taunts as she raises her claws with their strange particles.
“I agree,” Axel says in tow as he plants his volcanic hands into the ground, making it shift to match.
“Well then,” Mod coos, squinting with excitement at the prospect of a fight. Without verbally warning the others, she bends at the knee, and leaps over Azale and Noella’s, much to Asmodeus’s shock. She takes Gram in both hands and brings it over her head, crying out, “Let’s see you try!”
Asmodeus flips to a glowing page in his Incantorum as he sighs, “We don’t have time for this.”