The House of Asmodeus: A Trial by Fire Chapter 18

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.” – Revelations 12:9

Laya wakes when the morning light creeps into her room and slowly covers her whole body. “Dang it, forgot to shut the dumb blinds,” she mumbles. 

“Let me get that for you,” another voice offers.

Laya shoots up, startled by the voice. 

“Calm down, Laya, it’s only me,” her mother. 

Wouldn’t be the first time she had snuck into her daughter’s room to watch her sleep. She used to do it more often when Laya was younger, but ever since she attempted to take Laya from the castle years ago she’s been restricted around her own daughter. 

Laya begins rubbing her eyes. “Mom, you always scare me when you come in like that!”

Alice chuckles at how young Laya sounds saying that sentence. But it fades as she remembers why she wished to speak to her daughter. “Laya, please quiet your voice, you must listen to what I’m about to say.”

Laya’s eyes shoot open, remembering those same words that her mother told her when she was much younger. “No.”

“Just listen to me, we can’t-”

“No! We can’t try to leave now!”

“It’s not going to be safe here soon, Laya. Your father’s going to start a war he can’t win, and we can’t let him take us down with him.”

“You’re wrong, there isn’t going to be any war. We’re gonna get a new place to stay instead!”

Alice tilts her head, “I’m sorry, but your father can’t even attempt to gain-”

“Not from Dad, from Uncle Clay!” Laya figures that it probably would have been better to explain her Ojo Rojo first. She’s already knee deep so why not start here.

Alice first lets her mouth hang, then slowly it closes to form a frown. Her brow narrows and her eyes squint questioningly. “What, in the hell, are you talking about, Laya? How do you even know about your Uncle Clay? What do you know about him?”

In slightly fast fashion, Laya fires off, “I know that he’s the King of Lust, a Demon King, and he’s offering us a city. I know he’s your little brother, he had a big fight with Dad, and that he’s coming here, right now.” Laya kind of shrugs and gives an ingenuine smile.

Alice just shakes her head as if to say no, rubbing her temple with two fingers to process all the information her daughter just released on her, and has only one question. “And how do you know all of this?”

Now Laya starts to kind of look around, trying to figure out where to start. “Well Mom, you see, I can do this thing, where I, ah… I see through other people’s eyes, without them knowing I’m watching.”

Alice just keeps staring at her daughter. “And how do you do this?”

“I just concentrate on the person I want to spy-, not the best choice of words, -look through!” Alice bends her head  to the side as if she is losing patience. “Sorry, I just watch as they do whatever it is they do with their day, through their eyes. Has to be someone I know though.”

“So like me or your father?”

“Yeah!”

“You’ve spied on your father and I?” Alice questions, her eyes narrowing on her.

“Huh?” Laya says, right before she realizes she’s falling into a trap. “Oh wait no!” she tries to say, and her mother only glares harder until she admits, “Maybe once or twice… just people who are doing fun things all the time! Like Uncle Clay, whose eyes I can also see through. I think it’s because we’re blood.”

“Makes sense, now let me guess, my brother, the current King of Lust just decided that he wants to give us land out of nowhere, and that he’s going to come see us, am I right?” The sarcasm is strong with this one.

Laya can see that her mother doesn’t believe her, that she is thinking of how Laya could have possibly made up with this information.

“Listen Mom, if you don’t believe me, I can show you my Ojo Rojo.”

“Hoe-ro-hoe?”

No, Ojo Rojo! It’s spanish! That’s what Old man Ticket called it.”

Oh, so Old Ticket is in on this story too?” Alice asks, blatantly patronizing her now.

Laya is just getting annoyed, and shut her eyes to spy on what her father is doing. She reaches into the back of her mind, feeling their connection with her eyes rolling back into her head. She can see through her father’s eyes, and it is not pleasant looking at the dead body of woman being put into a coffin.

*****

  The group of seven fall into a sandy plain in the middle of a sandstorm. Asmodeus himself falls into a sand pit, the sand rising up to his pelvis.

Shit! Is everyone here?! Can you all hear me?!” Asmodeus needs to make sure they were all sent to the same place. He worries that joining hands didn’t do anything to keep them together.

“Clay! I can hear you! I’ll come to you!” It’s Lolara, or at least he thinks. The wind is not only powerful but loud, and sand is hitting Asmodeus in the face constantly. 

He realizes that if she gets stuck in the sandpit too, it only become a worse situation. “No don’t!” he calls back to her, “I’ll come to you! I’m in quicksand or something!”

“What??”

Just wait over there!” Asmodeus notices that he isn’t sinking any further, so maybe it isn’t actually quicksand at least. He tries to move his legs around but they won’t budge. He knows that Michael said flying would be a bad idea, the winds are probably magic, but it may be his only chance out. Asmodeus grows out his daemon appendages, and attempts to spread his wings out, lightly. 

Zmmph! 

His wings are quickly caught by the wind and torn to Asmodeus’s side.

The wind does get Asmodeus out of the sand, but it also takes him spiraling across the ground as he tries to suck his wings back in. 

“What in the hell is that sound-” Lolara is interrupted by Asmodeus colliding with her. He just perfectly hits her legs, his horns cutting her thigh. 

Fuck!” she screams out in pain. She tumbles across the ground, clutching her thigh. The sandstorm is getting worse, and she soon becomes unable to see how much blood she is losing based off squinted eyesight alone. Her glasses have somehow stayed on her head though.

Asmodeus has finally sucked back in his wings, and runs over to Lolara, finding her based on her groans of pain. “I’m so sorry,” he apologizes, “I was stuck in the sand and had to use my wings and the wind to carry me out!”

“Don’t really care right now!” she snaps at him. “Just need to make sure I’m not bleeding to death or anything, so help me up!” He puts her arm over his shoulder so she can use him as leverage to move in the storm. As she tries to rise she feels a sharp pain in her knee and her ankle. It’s cut, and likely fractured in two different places. “Damn it! I can’t stand on my right leg!”

Asmodeus then bends down to pick her up bridal style. “I got you! Start calling for the others, we’re not getting anywhere without them!”  

“We won’t make it to the others if we don’t find a place safe from this sandstorm!”

“How are we gonna do that if we can’t see around us?” Asmodeus asks himself.

“I don’t know!” Lolara yells, not realizing he was being rhetorical. 

He has an idea. “Lo, wrap your arms around me so I can use my hand to cast a spell!” She does so and holds on tightly. Asmodeus digs deep into his mind looking for a spell to make a shield of some kind around him. Luckily, he remembers all spells he reads from the Incantorum, and he spent a whole week just reading as many as he could to use later. 

He remembers one that should help him out. A spell of the wind element,. “The wind tunnel flumes, all around, spinning round and round, sphere in form. Nothing gets in, nothing gets out, follow me all around, follow the King!”

That spell reminds Asmodeus of a few pop songs, but it just sounds like demonic gibberish to Lolara, who couldn’t understand any word of what he just said. Sometimes I really wonder where the hell the spells come from inside that Incantorum. 

Wind starts circling around them, but it didn’t create any more loud noise. It formed a kind of sphere that encircled Asmodeus and Lolara, allowing them to see clearly five feet around them without sand whipping them in the face.

“Do you have another spell that can lead us to the others?” she asks him.

He thinks of one immediately for this. I actually use a search spell every time I need to find the kitchen in the palace. 

He smirks as he says, “Yeah let me do another. 

“Fiery light brighten my path, fiery light lead me to Heaven, fiery light lead me to my desire, my chicken- I mean my path,” he hopes that doesn’t fuck up the spell, “fiery light, lead the way.”

A ball of fire appeared in Asmodeus’s hand before moving slowly in the direction behind him. He sighs and take a breath, until he notices Lolara staring at him with her eyebrow arched.

“My chicken?” she asks.

“I do a lot of late night snacking, and believe it or not the palace is way to big for me to memorize.”

“You’ve lived there for a year.

“And there are still levels I don’t know.”

Lolara groans, and shakes her head.

After a snicker, Asmodeus follows the light with Lolara in his arms. He maintains a close distance to it to stay inside his wind bubble. They follow for a while when the wind bubble is intersected by a rock and starts to dissipate. Asmodeus keeps moving along the rock and finds an opening to a cave, with light coming out of it.

“I bet Uriel’s in there!” He quickly goes in letting the wind bubble dissipate, and the light leading them fade away.

Lolara calls out, “Hey! Anyone in here!?”

Uriel’s voice responds, “The five of us are here! Come deeper into the cave!”

Lolara turns to Asmodeus as he walks them through the dark and sharp cavern. “Looks like we’re the last ones to arrive.”

“Fashionably late is my forte,” Asmodeus tells her, making Lolara smile. Asmodeus proceeds down the cave when he asks how her leg is feeling.

“It’s feeling pretty numb, think you could patch me up when we get to them?”

“Sure thing, just need to give me sometime to concentrate on gathering the energy for it.” The elements of blood and bone are two of the more difficult elements to conjure up when he isn’t in his full Asmodeus form. Need to concentrate to fix the bone right. Cuts are so much easier to heal.

They soon come upon Uriel, Amy, Abe, Saphira, and Talon sitting in a circle. Uriel’s sword brightens the cave with its far reaching, but not in anyway blinding light. 

“Glad you could join us,” Uriel says, then she notices Lolara’s state, “what happened to her?”

“The wind threw this guy at me after he stretched his wings.”

Uriel looks at Asmodeus accusingly, “Didn’t you listen when Michael told you not to try flying?”

Asmodeus lays Lolara down against a wall as he tries to defend himself. “I was stuck in sand, there was no other way out!” 

Uriel just shakes her head. “What, do you not have superstrength?”

“Listen, I’ve been mastering the ten elements of magic in less than a year. It’s going to take sometime to learn all that I can do.”

Uriel looks at him sideways, and turns away rather suspiciously. Maybe I shouldn’t have told her that.

“Well, are you going to patch her up?” the little girl, Amy, asks.

“I will, just need to concentrate. Give me two minutes, Lo, I’m still pretty rocky when it comes to this particular element of magic, it’s more than just healing a cut.” Lolara just nods and Asmodeus starts pooling his energy into his hands, causing black gas to form around them.

Then the group of seven all start to just stare around each other, waiting for someone to speak first.

Asmodeus asks, “So how long is the walk from this cave to Pluto’s place?”

“Not far actually,” Saphira says, “luckily, we landed pretty close by, we can sense home about a day’s walk away.”

“Fantastic, I’m all for as little walking as possible,” Lolara practically cheers, “anyone know what happened with the portal?” 

“I think we landed at the same place but at different times,” Talon tells her as he rubs the back of his neck. “If this makes any sense, we think Uriel and the twins have been here for two hours, and we landed an hour ago, how long have you two been here?”

“About half an hour,” Lolara responds. 

Asmodeus gives her a sideways glance as he asks her, “How can you tell?”

“Intuition.”

“See?” Talon points out. “We all probably landed in the same place, but arrived at different times. The energy and placement of old Pagan Gods shacks are as different in terms of time and space as your homes are different from the mortal worlds.”

“Okay, I get it,” Lolara answers, and then silence falls again. 

Honestly, Talon didn’t expect everyone to get it so fast. 

Uriel tries to start conversation with an awkward question. “So… Lolara, I usually prefer to call people by their title, what are you the Reaver of?”

“Sorry, pardon?” Lolara asks.

“Well, all of the Demon Kings have guards called Reavers, or so I thought.”

“You’re correct,” Asmodeus assures her.

“So if you’re hanging around, protecting the King of Lust, you’re probably a Reaver by now, correct?”

“No,” Lolara answers

Abe becomes confused. “You’re not?” he asks, and then pulls a big no-no by name dropping, “Rose, you told everyone about how the King of Lust shocked you by saving his Reaver, a human witch. Does he have another human witch hanging around him?”

“No, just Lo,” Asmodeus answers, and with a slight smirk, he asks Uriel, “and your real name is Rose?”

“I must have made a wrong assumption, saying that you were a Reaver of Lust,” Uriel quickly backtracks, as she finds herself looking away angrily at Abe. She takes in a sharp breath before she answers, “And yes, it is, let’s not dwell on it. Call me Uriel in front of others, Abe.” Abe shakes his head in confusion.

“It’s fine I guess,” Lolara comments with a shrug of her shoulders, “I just didn’t want all the fame and recognition.”

Asmodeus kind of purses his lips, as if he hates to break it to her, but he hates no such thing. “To be honest, Lo, most of the daemons in the Circle of Lust have learned of you already, and most already think you’re one of my Reavers or are going to be.”

Amy chimes with a raising of her finger, “And the story of how he saved you is kind of famous around Heaven right now, you know, since it’s a strange story about the King of Lust.”

Lolara makes a face of confusion too. She looks at Asmodeus and asks, “What was it that you did to save me?” 

After these weeks, she never did ask. Makes sense, dying can be pretty scaring, and Lolara isn’t necessarily a person who approaches her problems head on. 

Right now, all she knows is that it was to save her, Dotor, and every daemon who died in the palace, but too many others know what happened to her, and not her. That’s a state she’s far more uncomfortable with now.

So, Uriel told her of how when she offered Asmodeus a Virtuous soul to use to resurrect Dotor, Lolara, or the soul harvester who in the Circle of Lust. Now she knows that Asmodeus gave his all to split a Virtuous soul to save her life, and that of so many others.

Saphira is quite impressed by this tale. “Such a brave sacrifice to make.”

Talon is more interested in Virtuous souls. “I never knew that they had that ability! Imagine who could be brought back!”

Uriel turns to erase any ideas the blue daemon had. “Exactly why it should stay between us. Consider this information a mark of trust, because learning that its possible to bring back so many people is dangerous information. Even angels would probably fall prey to wanting to save a loved one’s life.”

“I have to agree with her, Tal,” Saphira tells her love, placing a hand on his furry shoulder as she says, “the dead should be allowed to stay dead if they’ve met their time.” 

Talon looks disappointed, but he understands. “I guess you’re right, just wanted to… you know.” With a heavy head he admits to the group, “I have a few dead friends.”

“We all do, but it’s better to let them rest,” Uriel says. 

Asmodeus points out, “That’s assuming the Virtuous work on those long dead. The bodies weren’t even in rigor mortis yet.”

Lolara becomes slightly uncomfortable with the conversation. She says to Asmodeus, “So you really did save my ass again, thank you, this is twice you’ve risked yourself to save me.”

Asmodeus gives her a rather sultry smirk as he reminds her, “You already thanked me, you know.” She returns his smirk with a humored squint of her eyebrow.

“Twice?” Uriel arches an eyebrow.

“Story for another time, Archangel,” Asmodeus tells her, “I have the spell just right to heal Lolara’s wound, so I’m going to take her farther into the cave, do it privately.”

“Okay, don’t go too far, no need to risk getting lost in here,” Talon warns them.

Asmodeus picks Lolara up with black gas still coming out of his hands. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he says, then he proceeds a ways down the cave, getting a decent amount of meters away before Uriel’s light barely lights the cave.

This is when Asmodeus sets Lolara down and lays out his suit jacket for her to sit on. “Let’s slip off your shoes and pants off for this.” 

He quickly takes off her shoes, and slowly slides down her pants. 

Asmodeus takes her foot and runs his hand up her leg to her wound, where two ugly gashes are on the inside and outside of her thigh, with heavy swelling around her knee and ankle. 

“I’m really sorry about this again,” he apologizes, and he pushes his hands to both parts of her ankle to make contact between the black gas and the fracture.

Lolara winces, but manages to smile at him. “Well, it really was an accident, I think I can give you a pass on this mistake.” He looks back up at her face to share a mutual smile, then goes back to moving his hands up her leg to her knee.

Then Lolara starts again, “You know, my whole reason for not wanting to be a Reaver is kind of moot now.”

“Yeah, it is,” Asmodeus agrees without lifting his head.

“I was wondering, if you’d still have me,” and his hands slow down for a moment, “I could show the same dedication to protecting you, as you have me.”

Asmodeus looks up at her face with one of delight. “I would want nothing more.” They continue to share an intimate gaze as his hands move to the gashes around her upper thigh. “Oh, look, your leg is all healed.” 

Lolara stretches out her newly healed leg, a scar barely visible on both sides of her right leg. Then she looks at Asmodeus with a sultry smile. “Want to break it in?” 

“Break…” Asmodeus purses his brow, “in your foot? Are you offering to give me a footjob?”

“What?” Lolara questions, utterly baffled by his question. “No, I’m…” she trails off thinking about what she said. She lays her face in her hands as she groans, “God, I used to be good at flirting. I’ve had sex so easily available to me that your terribleness must have rubbed of I mean.”

“I mean, I would say sucks to suck,” Asmodeus jokes, “but the glory of any good relationship means that if you want to fuck you just gotta say so.”

“There’s still fun in foreplay,” Lolara reminds him.

“Yeah, but the flirting part is hard when you’re stupid like us.” 

Lolara glares at him. She knows I’m right. 

She tells him, “I wanna fuck.”

“See?”

“I’m about to change my mind.

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