The House of Asmodeus: A Trail by Fire Chapter 19

“It is one of  the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lolara was a regarded as a strange child, and honestly, she seemed to like it. Her mother knew this about her daughter as she grew up, so picking a small town in the middle of nowhere, in a normal backwater, mortal universe seemed like the perfect place. 

What were the chances that she would meet and become best friends with the future Demon King of Lust?

Maybe if her mother paid more attention to her daughter she would have noticed what was so special about the strange boy her daughter made friends with. Maybe if her mother didn’t leave Lolara alone to fend for herself, outside of checking in to pay bills and make sure that Lolara had food, then maybe, just maybe her mother would have know.

Lolara wasn’t raised in a palace, she wasn’t born with some feared power, she couldn’t tell the future, and she didn’t have a Sin to hang onto. 

Lolara just woke up everyday on her own. She was taught to cook throughout her first ten years, how to keep a her house clean, how to stay out of trouble, and was left a pretty big library for her to read through after her mother started going on her long trips. 

By the time Lolara was fourteen her mother sat her down, taught her how to pay bills, keep track of her checking accounts, do taxes, and never saw her daughter again. 

Unlike her friend at the time, she did get to say goodbye to her mother, for death was not the one to take her. When Lolara bid her mother goodbye, she accepted that she would never see her again. In all honesty, she was probably used to it, her mother had taught her not to need a mother. 

This all confused Clayton a lot when they first became friends. Not when they first met, they had had classes together throughout elementary until 5th grade. She was the girl who walked to the bus stop on her own, the girl who packed her own lunch, the girl who knew all the answers to the teachers’ questions, and she was the girl with no friends. The weird girl who played with the frogs on the playground, if she couldn’t be anymore clearly a witch.

Clayton, at that time, was the boy whose mother always walked him to the bus stop, until she didn’t, he was the boy who had his own lunch packed until he didn’t, he was the boy who didn’t know all the teacher’s questions. 

When Lolara and Clayton first became friends, the only thing they had in common was that they had no friends. Within the year they would have more in common, but when they met that was the only thing.

Well, there was a hatred for bullies. Enough so that when another fifth grader tried to take Lolara’s strange frogs that wouldn’t run from her, Clayton beat them up. He beat them up bad.

That’s why he was sitting in front of principal’s office with his mother, waiting for a ten-year-old Lolara to finish giving her explanation of what happened. 

*****

Ten-year-old Clayton looked a lot like he does now, simply smaller, with more fat in his cheeks, and a sorrier look on his face. He felt terrible, not because he hurt a bunch of bad kids, but because his mother had to come down, and because his father might find out.

His mother hadn’t yelled at him, she had gotten the call from school that he had been in a fight and had coming running over immediately. The woman at front desk figured her first question would be if her son was okay, but instead she has asked how the other boys were. 

She knew, he wasn’t going to lose to three boys his age, she knew he would have pummeled them. Imagine the receptionist’s surprise when his mother found it strange to hear that the worst of the injuries was a black eye and bloody nose. Hell, his mother waved off having to deal with the other boys parents, she would leave that to Clayton’s father.

Clayton didn’t know it, but she knew that his father would be proud of him beating up three on one, and she hated that. He would deal with the other parents, and right now she would have to deal with him.

*****

His mother was silent next to him, which only made him shrivel up more. It was as if she didn’t know if she should berate him, when she had been told he was defending someone and when his father was going to praise him when they got him home. 

No, she wasn’t going to tell him he shouldn’t defend other people, but she didn’t tell him to be proud of such violence either. Honestly, any poor thoughts he was torturing himself with was probably better than any logic or lesson she could have come up with.

Then the door opened, and this raven-haired, pale, little girl walked out of the principal’s office. With her hair all wildly, barely brushed, and the girl altogether in serious need of a hygiene lesson considering she still smelled like frogs… suffice to say, Clayton’s mother was hesitant to leave him alone with her as she was about to go inside.

Hearing the principal yell to the girl, “I want to speak to your mother young lady!”

And having her respond with, “Don’t we all?!” really doesn’t make his mother smile. 

“Mrs. Knight,” the principal called for her, “please come in.”

Clayton’s mother looked over at her son, and then over at the little witch girl. She hoped to god that nothing would happen while she was gone, and walked into the principal’s office.

Immediately, this wild witch girl began pacing back and forth as she thought about how she was going to get away without her mother being home. At the same time, Clayton watched this strange girl with fascination. 

Eventually, Lolara noticed him watching her, and he turned away after going wide-eyed like a deer in headlights.

“I don’t need you saving me,” the little witch girl told the future Demon King. 

Clayton looked up at her, and looked her up and down. “Okay,” he told her. 

“Huh?” That made Lolara confused. In all the stories she was reading the stupid boy always felt he had to save the girl, and if he didn’t recognize her abilities it was his character development, not his character. She figured he must just be stupid. 

“Well, I’m a witch,” she told him, placing her hand on her chest, closing her eyes for the pomp and circumstance, and opened one eye to look at his face. His expression hadn’t changed, so she didn’t think that he believed her. She pressed her arms to her side and told him, “My mom told me so, it should be me protecting you, got it?”

“Um, okay,” that sounded nice to him, so he shrugged his shoulders, and went back to worrying, “I’m worried about my dad right now.”

Fathers were a foreign concept to Lolara, the witch never knew hers, never heard about him, never asked about. As far as she knew, she didn’t have one. She knows better now.

With her fists on her hips she asked him, “Aren’t you listening?”

Clayton looked back up at her, and answered her honestly. “Why would I? If I never see you again, what does it matter that you’re supposed to protect me?” His honesty surprised her, only her mother was ever honest with her without being angry. Everyone else wanted to sugarcoat things and bait it out of her, but this boy wasn’t doing that. 

In fact, he had a good point when she thought about it. “Never see me…” she mumbled as she thought with her chin in her hand. “… no, no, no,” she yelled and stuck her finger plain towards his chest, “you owe me a chance mister, a chance to prove myself!”

Clayton listened to her, and found himself more and more fascinated by her. “You talk a lot,” he pointed out, “and use a lot of bigger words, how do you do that?”

She waved his question off. “Nevermind that, from here on out, you and me are locked together,” and she crossed her fingers in front of her face, doing what her mother taught her when she wanted something, “friend for life, I’ve gotta protect you now, you hear?!” 

For the record, my mother told me to take what I wanted when I wanted, assuming it was possible, and to make everyone else feel like ‘no’ wasn’t an option. That lesson would have been even worse if I was a boy.

Clayton listened what she said, and thought about the prospects of having a friend who wasn’t a stuffed animal or his mother. First thing he realized, is that she wasn’t going to be protecting him, so at first he goes, “Nah, I’m sure I’ll just be protecting you,” inadvertently accepting most of her proposition.

Now Lolara was offended, and accused Clayton of being stupid. “What? Because you’re the dumb boy?”

“Huh?” Clayton went, the battle of the sexes wasn’t what he was thinking at all. In response, he admitted, “Dumb, probably, a boy…” He really had to think about what that meant. “… I got a big sister,” he muttered in thought, “she’s cool, she’s nice to me…” 

When he had it he looked up and shook his head at Lolara. “No, I don’t think it’s got to do with me being a boy, more like it’s because you’re scrawnier than me, and a witch, and witches don’t do fights.”

Eihhh!” she yelled as she’s about to correct him, but as she thought about it, she lowered her hand and pressed it to her lip again, like her mother. “Oh no, I think you have a point! I’m gonna have to learn magic to fix this!”

“Fix what?” Clayton asked.

Lolara ignored him and pointed at him again as she told him, “You, you will be my assistant, the muscle to my brains as I learn how to master the world with my magic, just like my mother has!” 

At this point I was pretty dead set on world domination. Eventually I learned how annoying that would be.

“Who’s your mom?” Clayton asked.

Again, Lolara placed her hand on her hip, and raised her chin as she closed her eyes. “Morgan Le Fay,” she gloated, and with one eye open, she saw Clayton’s face drawing a blank, and then listed off more names. “Maybe you know the name she used to go by when she wasn’t a witch for King Arthur. The Morganna, Morgaine, Morgue, Morrigan, annoying crone, a lot of things!”

“Don’t know her,” Clayton admitted as he sat back in his seat. 

“Really? Nothing about Morgan Le Fay and her witch sisters in King Arthur? A lot of people don’t know this, but they’re just a lot of Celtic goddesses in hiding after the Pagan war with Heaven and Hell!”

Clayton looked at her doe-eyed. “The what?”

Lolara let her arms dangle as she sighed, “Uh, nevermind, I’ll drill it into your brain with time.”

Right around this time, Clayton’s mother walked out of the principal’s office, with the principal strangely less angry with Clayton’s behavior. Unnaturally so. He seemed content with the punishment Clayton’s mother recommended over expulsion.

She looked between Clayton and Lolara, clearly having been talking to each other. She sighed and reached out her hand for his son to take. “Time to go home, Clay, your suspended,” and like that Clayton’s face fell. His mother felt terrible, and Lolara was jealous. She wanted a day off where she didn’t have to fake a doctor’s note.

As Clayton’s mother led him away, Lolara called, “Hey!” and Clayton turned his head to look at her. She called to him, “See you later, sidekick!”

The principal yelled at her, “Young lady, stop yelling!”

Clayton smiled a little at that, and looked up at his mother as she led him away. “Hey, mom,” he called up to her, and she looked down at him with peculiar interest, “I think I made a friend.”

His mother had a pretty straight smile, it curved only at the dimples. Her happiness was only in the fact that he was happy. 

“Well, that’s one good thing to come out of this,” she told him, and he didn’t know how to feel after that.

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