The House of Asmodeus: A Trial by Fire Chapter 14

“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” – John Steinbeck

Dotor had his doubts over the Demon Kings’ abilities to rush their asses once they got word of the King of Lust’s return. 

It is of the utmost importance to all of them to see the shape he is in and if they have to go to war. They’ll soon learn that they will not be going up against the enemy they thought they were.

Dotor has been true to his word and had sent the summons letters to the other six Circles before dawn. Within a few hours much to everyone’s surprise, besides Asmodeus, they had all replied that they would arrive to the Circle of Lust the next day. Even the King of Sloth is not taking his sweet time. 

This gave the all of the workers a mere day to prepare for the arrival of not one Demon King, or two, but all the other six. It was strenuous work for Dotor to lead everyone, but with Cavill stepping up to help, they were able to confidently say that enough quality rooms were prepared for each Demon King and their Reavers. Suitable thrones for each King were added to the large dining room where Asmodeus has decided to have the meeting, and all escorts have memorized the information for the designated Sin they were assigned to assist and lead around.

*****

The first to arrive was Lucifina, the Demon Queen of Pride with only two of her Reavers. Her first priority was to make sure that her son-in-law had not been horrendously disfigured during his mission. She knew she would never hear the end of it from her beloved daughter. Lucifina was overjoyed to have found Asmodeus as dashing as ever. She was a spectacle herself in a sparkling silver dress that drove her daughter mad.  

Second was Satan, the Demon King of Wrath. This was ironic considering he was last to arrive to their original meeting. He had brought the three Reavers that Asmodeus had looked over before he choose Cavill. Each of them looking over the palace of Lust, seemingly growing jealous at having missed on living here, so much so that Satan barks at them every chance he gets.

Satan had wanted to pester Asmodeus over whether or not the Archangels had done something that could be used to bring about war. Much to his dismay Asmodeus refused to speak of any details regarding his day with the Archangels, only saying that they never fought in combat with one another. Satan’s frown was incredibly intimidating to most in his chainmail tunic, ready to armor up to go fight right at that moment.

The third Archdemon was the Demon King of Greed, Mammon, bringing with him his personal assistant and his three Reavers. This had Asmodeus wondering if maybe he had the closest relationships with his Reavers, or maybe Asmodeus simply had the most. There wasn’t much special about his arrival besides the hideously green suit he wore.

Next was the Demon King of Envy, Leviathan, and his four Reavers. He was in a hurry to speak to the King of Lust for the same reason as Satan. Quickly, Asmodeus was already realizing the opposition he may face in this conference.

Second to last was the King of Sloth. Belphegor seemed completely unprepared for his trip, taking only one Reaver, and dressed like he just got of bed. Probably the side effect of reconvening on such short notice. He quickly took his seat to read his book, and play the part of the uninterested guest.

The last King to arrive was Beelzebub, the Demon King of Gluttony and his three Reavers. Asmodeus thought it was strange that somehow the King of Sloth arrived before him, but realized the same could have been thought about him and Satan in regards to the last meeting of the Rulers of Sin.

*****

“Well, now that we’re all here, in this lovely dining room,” Leviathan says, being more patronizing than polite, “why don’t you pretend to tell us how long you argued with the angels before Michael laughed in your face?”

“I would have more faith in the young King, Leviathan,” Belphegor really liked putting the King of Envy down, and he’s clearly well versed in it, “if we had sent you, you would have come back with our official surrender, exclusively with a red ribbon to commemorate our next defeat.” Asmodeus thinks, The best part about what Belphegor said was that he did so without lifting his eyes from his book.

“Excuse me-”   

“Enough of your bickering please so we can all know what happened,” Mammon cut Leviathan off. Greed turns his eyes to Lust to point out, “I would assume based on your visible lack of wounds, that the meeting with Michael proved favorable.” 

Asmodeus appreciates that Mammon is to the point today, and not in the mood for petty arguments.

“Oh jeez, ah well, where to start.” In the day before their arrival, Asmodeus, in the fashion of the King of Lust, did not plan how he would break the news to everyone.

“The beginning,” Mammon grumbles, getting impatient.

“Ah, well, in the beginning my Reaver and I were able to get the Archangel, Michael’s, attention to get him to speak with us.”

Lucifina curiously asks, “How did you get him to come on peaceful terms? He was very much battle ready when he snuck into my palace.” She still seems somewhat bitter about it.

“Oh, when you engage in Sin you tend to draw attention from angels.” Asmodeus grins at the memory, and everyone knows which sin he was partaking in.

“I’ve never had the experience of being sinful and having angels come peacefully.” Satan though, is not quick on the uptake.

Belphegor was quick to tease, “That’s because your Sin causes an annoying amount of destruction, but when your Sin is lust…” Belphegor lets the thought hang. Satan realizes what Asmodeus meant, and forms a frown.

Satan shakes his head, and tries to get back on task, “Okay, so after Michael witnessed the King of Lust pumping another daemon-”

“Angel,” Asmodeus corrects, and then they all stare at him, “I’m lust, I’m don’t question you for living your Sin.”

 They all generally roll their eyes, and Mammon tries again instead of Wrath. “How did Michael react to your presence?” 

Mammon is very focused on the details, Asmodeus can’t help but notice.

“As I had brought Azale, a fallen angel once of Humility, one who Michael had respected, it was clear that I wanted peace.”

“Clever choice,” Mammon complements.

“Thank you. At first some accusations were thrown our way over our ability to control daemon crime.”

“As anticipated, I assume you made good use of the angels I gave you?” Sloth asked. 

“Yes, almost immediately after he tried to back me into a figurative corner, those angels really floored him, Belphegor. He was quite shocked to realize that there were angels who weren’t fallen, who had actively disobeyed what I guess is angel procedure.” Belphegor looks up from his book, wanting to absorb the little praise he received from his careful planning.

Leviathan starts to lean back in his chair with his hands behind his head. “Ha! I wish I could have seen the look on Michael’s face, oh, when he realized that his angels are just as shitty as everyone else.” Once his cackling subsides Asmodeus continues.

“Well, it actually went sort of downhill after that. You see, Uriel and Zadkiel had come down after I showed Michael the angels…” The room goes rather silent from that, and Asmodeus waits for an interruption that never comes. There aren’t any questions that won’t be answered by him continuing, so he does. “I can only assume that they were spying from above, Christ, Zadkiel was ready to take my head at that point.”

Satan grimaces, “That Archangel likes to pretend he’s all tough, the mere man was almost the first Archangel to fall to Sin from what I’ve heard. Apparently, he couldn’t contain his temper… the asshat he is.” 

Strange he seems to know so much. Maybe he assumes Zadkiel would have fallen to him. Zadkiel, as the Archangel of Temperance, is not Satan’s arch-rival, that’s Chamuel, the Archangel of Patience, but Satan seems to hate him nonetheless.

Okay,” Asmodeus mumbles, sensing Satan’s personal issues coming out, “but then Michael intervened. I could tell that he was either ashamed or disgusted by the truth behind how the angels were captured. Michael could be considered many things, but I would not call him a hypocrite, simply misinformed.” Asmodeus does not want to give a false explanation of anyone, no matter how much being honest about an Archangel may anger other people in the room.

“He’s most certainly misinformed on how rude it is to drop in on a lady.” Lucifina seems to be harboring some grudge since Michael took out a soul harvester inside her palace. Asmodeus is willing to bet that it wasn’t at the best time either. 

Mammon moves the conversation to a different Archangel. “You said that Uriel was there too, and her being your specific opposition, Asmodeus, did she antagonize you?”

Asmodeus notices the strange interest in his voice, but still answers truthfully. “She actually seems much more reserved, respectful, and patient than the time she ambushed me. I think she may like me,” Asmodeus says with a grin.

“Like you need more women to like you,” Leviathan mutters.

Asmodeus ignores him and continues. “After they all bickered, Uriel eventually put forward the idea to prove the Demon Kings’ stance against the collecting of souls by having me kill a hunting group. In hindsight I don’t really think that would have helped to convince Zadkiel, but it led to a very… strange encounter.”

The room falls quiet trying to predict what possibly could have happened while hunting some daemons. Belphegor even puts his book away.

“Did you kill a lot of demons?” Beelzebub asks this question. 

“Uh, not just that, Beelzebub. Uriel had led the five of us to a town where a soul collecting ring was suppose to be underway, but when we got there the town was a warzone. It was as if a platoon of daemons had come in and wrecked shop, and killed quite a few angels.”

“Most daemons don’t collect souls in large groups, that’s practically asking to be caught,” Mammon points out, obviously the expert on the subject.

“It’s probably also why the angels were so keen on stopping the human poaching,” Asmodeus realizes. “What we noticed was that all the humans were missing, no human bodies around or anything.”

Now Lucifina is shaking her head all confused. “That doesn’t make any sense, souls are suppose to be coaxed from the mortal, there should be no need to take the bodies, those are redundant.”

“Haven’t even gotten to the crazy part yet.”

“How? This is already the strangest raid of human souls I’ve ever heard of,” Mammon questions. 

Asmodeus can see the doubt forming in their eyes.

“Eventually a dying angel pointed us in the direction of a portal, the one where all the daemons came out of. Uriel, Azale, and I quickly went to this warehouse. Michael and Zadkiel stayed behind to talk to the angel, and this was when I assume Zadkiel left because he wasn’t with Michael when he caught up to us. It wasn’t long before we found our host of demons and quickly dispatched them when what could be one of the strangest things in history happened.”

“Stop hyping it up and get to the point,” Mammon snaps.

“Sorry, as we left one alive to interrogate, three more came out of the warehouse to see what was happening. When the lead one saw Uriel interrogating the daemon we capture, she let go of her cloak and revealed herself to not only be a regular, white-feathered angel, but, wait for it, also the captured demon’s lover.”

Now Asmodeus has officially lost the table. 

“That’s just preposterous,” Mammon puffs.

“Nice joke! Not funny,” Leviathan snaps.

Satan facepalms.

Beelzebub just looks confused.

Lucifina can barely believe Asmodeus. “How could that-? Just, what?”

Belphegor does not seem surprised or humored. “Just to be sure, are you sure her wings weren’t black?”

“Listen to me,” Asmodeus tries to level with them, pressing his hands to show how strange it sounds to him too, “I swear it wasn’t just some fallen angel, it was a regular, vengeful angel, who wanted to protect this daemon.” Asmodeus is trying to regain control, but he isn’t sure how.

Belphegor’s question makes it clear he has not yet decided on whether he believes Asmodeus’s story. “Where is this… couple, now?”

“Uh, well,” Asmodeus starts, stammering as he scratches the back of his neck. In his daze he remembers doing something very careless, especially by his standards. “You see, I thought to let them stay together. After the battle we questioned them further, and I, uh, may have let Michael to take them to Heaven question.”

“Hold on, wait, let’s backtrack here.”  Leviathan is struggling to understand this story. “First, you say this regular angel and regular daemon were an item, which doesn’t seem possible without one falling to Sin or the other to Virtue. Then you say you let the Archangel Michael, take custody of one of our daemons? After a battle, which you have not mentioned yet.”

“I wanna hear more about this battle, you said you didn’t fight with the Archangels.” Satan is now confused, choosing this point to be when he questions the legitimacy of the story.

“You see, after we bound those two we entered the warehouse and found ourselves surrounded.”

“By who, more angels and daemons.” Leviathan’s constant comments are really starting to wear Asmodeus’s patience thin.

“Exactly right, asshat, around 40, maybe more.”

“I assume four warriors of your strength were able to quickly dispatch them,” Lucifina says.

“You would think, but as we saw the last of the town’s humans being thrown through a portal, the group’s leader made himself known. He was some sort of black daemon, but not.”

“What do you mean?” asks Lucifina. 

“I mean that he had the tail, with the physical and magical strength of a very powerful black daemon, but no horns or wings. He also made a remark about not being a daemon, and that his name was A’rock.” They all looked around at each other, and no one knew that name. “This guy knew of me, and personally challenged me to a fight.” 

“Was this, false-daemon…” Mammon finds it ridiculous to say, “was he powerful? Skilled?”

“Oh yes, I wasn’t able to fight full strength due to the setting, but he was perfectly capable of keeping up with my base strength. He somehow even survived being directly hit by my blackfire without being burned.”

Lucifina claimed, “That should be impossible, angel or daemon, such an attack should incinerate most beings.”

“Not this guy,” Asmodeus says with a shake to his head. The King of Lust brings his fingers to his lips as he thinks on the memory. “Actually, he wasn’t even phased past some irritated skin. What was really threatening was his ability to produce and control whitefire.

“Oh dear,” Sloth whispers, believing Asmodeus’s story the longer it goes on. “That kind of magic isn’t something I’ve seen outside of an Archangel in all my years.” Belphegor seems rocked to the core by this revelation.

“Imagine how shocked I was when I had to trade blows with the guy, alone,” Asmodeus absentmindedly complains.

During the topic of battle, Satan misses nothing. He finds Asmodeus’s wording confusing. “Why did you receive no assistance from your Reaver or the Archangels? It couldn’t have taken all three to fend off forty throwaway enemies.”

“A’rock had a cloaked companion, who the couple had said was named Seraras. Uriel had been too busy fighting him, and when the two had both dealt fatal blows to each other this was when A’rock blinded me to rescued Seraras.”

Mammon makes note of this. “So this leader seems to have some sort of loyalty to his men. Maybe these two are even good friends, and this Seraras can’t be any pushover to take on the fastest Archangel.” Asmodeus doesn’t show it, but he wonders how Mammon knew more about Uriel than he did, and he’s her opposite.

But on the topic of Seraras, he remembers a key component he should add. “Yeah, he was pretty fast. Oh, and get ready for another bombshell, when he took off his cloak to fight shirtless, don’t know why I added that, he had angel wings, that were black and white.

Belphegor just huffs as he began to rest his chin in his hand as he hunches over. “Well why not have more surprises,” he puffs. 

“That must explain how he even had a chance of keeping up with Uriel in the air I guess,” Lucifina adds.

“The two escaped with some survivors of Michael and Azale’s slaughter. Then we went back to interrogate the couple, and now we’re here.” Asmodeus is so happy to be done with the story that he almost forgets what’s arguably the most important part. “Something else to add, we’re also supposed to meet with all the Archangels to discuss how to precede against this threat, in two weeks. Michael also promised to bring the couple for you to see for yourselves.”

Again they are speechless.

Satan mumbles first. “Uh, you made plans to what?”

Leviathan just complains. “Nope, that’s just a terrible idea.”

Asmodeus throws his hands up, because he needs them in on this. “Come on guys, if the enemy is angel and daemon in nature, plus some other weird shit, it’s all of our responsibility  to work together to beat them.”

“We’ll take them on by ourselves, after we squash the angels,” Satan spits out towards Asmodeus, even grunting that, “trying to make peace is pointless.” That’s when Asmodeus realized that he was never going to convince Satan.

Belphegor nearly jumps down Satan’s throat, “Hold on, let’s actually think for a goddamn moment, Wrath, I know that’s hard for you. If there are beings outside of the Pagan gods who can take on and maybe overcome an Archangel or a Demon King, we’re going to need all the help we can get.” Asmodeus is surprised by Belphegor’s eagerness to form an alliance, but he thinks Sloth’s assumption that these two fakes could properly take on an Archbeing is a little premature. He probably knows something the rest of us don’t, as usual.

“No, now you listen to me,” Satan snaps back at him, jabbing his big meaty finger into the table. “I have too many scars and lost too many daemons, under this age of angels. I can’t stand the fact that they get to sit on up high and look down on us. For how long have they proceeded to judge us? Speak slander of us? Deny us anything positive in the minds of the mortals?

“We offer mortals the chance to succeed at a cost they don’t have to take and yet we’re consistently punished for it. We even treat the angels who fall to Sin with reverence and respect, we let them have their own realm goddamn it. The reason so few daemons turn to Virtue, is because to do so is death by the angels’ persecution. They can all personally go to hell, and I’ve been waiting to send them there.” 

With the ultimate ultimatum, Satan stands to his feet and makes his decree, “If you want to take this conflict to its natural escalation come with me. If you want to kiss the ass of our mortal enemies, go with Asmodeus.” As Asmodeus feels Satan’s hateful glare, he finds himself caught underestimating Satan’s ability to make a rousing speech and good points. 

Unsurprisingly, the King of Envy stands get up with him, though it is more shocking to see the benevolent King of Gluttony get up to go too.

“We’re leaving this land,” Satan announces, and leads them out.

Asmodeus takes inventory of those who still stand by him. The Demon Queen of Pride, the Demon King of Greed, and the Demon King of Sloth. 

“So how are we going to convince any of the Archangels that we four don’t want to fight with those three warring around?” Asmodeus asks the others. He feels like he’s been screwed into an inescapable conflict. As if Satan knew that by announcing war against the angels, the others can’t avoid conflict themselves.

“You give those three too much credit, they won’t be able to mobilize before the meeting with the Archangels. Once there we’ll explain our side, and then get sometime to talk with the angel/daemon pair.” Belphegor comes in with a boost of confidence for Asmodeus.

“By god, I hope you’re right.” Asmodeus bends over to hold his head in his hands.

The Demon Kings are almost evenly split. Wrath, Envy, and Gluttony are going to commence war on the angels, while Lust, Pride, Greed, and Sloth want peace. 

The only problem with peace is that we might not be able to get it if our brethren are starting a fight. Even if we are able to explain themselves to the Archangels, how can Virtue possibly agree to a truce with Sin? 

Simple, if Virtue finds itself questioning the same thing.

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