The House of Asmodeus: A Trial By Fire Chapter 27

“And the tombs were broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” – Matthew 27:52

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, BUT A DAY PRIOR

“Sooo,” Belphegor, the King of Sloth starts, “anyone here seen Seven?” 

“What?” Mammon responds.

“Nevermind, let’s move on, repeating myself makes me feel like a husk,” Belphegor complains. “Is there anything else we should discuss before the six of us part ways?”

“Yes, I believe it would be imperative of us to discuss what we’re going to do about the Arch-beings who aren’t here,” Raphael points out. “They should meet on this battlefield any day now, the Mountain of Death as the place has been nicknamed is where we started the last two wars.” 

Raphael brings up a point of contention that no one quite wants to discuss. Both sides want to maintain the peace they have at the moment, and such a thing can only be conserved if they let their friends kill each other.

Michael says what needs to be said. “I think it is clear to everyone, unless the Nephilim try to intervene, none of us must interfere. We must simply let them,” then he takes a pause, “kill each other.”

“I’m afraid so,” Lucifina agrees, but she isn’t that heartbroken over it.

Each of the Archangels and Demon Kings nod in agreement. 

“This makes me feel sick,” Raphael groans.

“You’re the one who brought the topic up,” Gabriel reminds him, sober in tone.

“I know I did, it was necessary, but it doesn’t make it any easier.”

Mammon thought of another interesting point. “The community has been staying in Pluto’s Palace, and he was the Roman God of the Underworld, was he not?”

“Yes, yes he was,” Raphael confirms with an arched brow.

“What are you thinking about, Greed?” Belphegor asks.

“It’s just, Belphegor, do you remember in the battle against the Pagans, how at some point it we began fighting our own dead, and then it ceased.”

“I remember,” Belphegor answers, “I thought we were going to lose the moment our dead never stayed dead, and each daemon we lost was added to their ranks.”

Michael seems to make a connection with what they are talking about. “Are you wondering if Pluto’s power was that he could use the dead as an army, because if so then you are correct.”

“You know about Pluto abilities?” Lucifina asks.

“I do, when I went to finish off Jupiter, I had to fight his brothers first,” Michael informs them, sending a chill down the necks of the Demon Kings, but not the Queen.  “I remember slaying their guards, and Pluto bringing them back. Pluto would wear this helmet to do so, the Helm of Darkness.”

“Did it really turn him invisible?” Pride asks him.

Michael nods his head. “It made killing him most difficult.”

Lucifina smirked. “I’m sure it did.” 

“But disgustingly, he had to sacrifice the life of one of the his guards while the helmet was on, and after that he could keep resurrecting whoever I slew.”

“Even the ones he sacrificed?”

“No,” Michael answers with a shake of his head. He crosses his arms, his eyes growing glassy as he thinks about the horror of it. “The frightening thing was that the others could come back no matter how many times I torn them apart. They would dissipate into dust and reform.”

“I don’t remember you mentioning how you stopped the constant resurrections,” Raphael adds.

“They didn’t stop and until I got to Pluto and lobbed off his head,” Michael answers him. “They stopped fighting me, and when I slew them another time they did not rebuild. When Pluto died his helmet warped somewhere else, and I never found it again.”

“It must have been the source of his power, because I remember the dead stopping suddenly without warning. My daemons were so relieved when the enemy stopped getting back up,” Lucifina laughed out loud.

“Now my thoughts are going to make me anxious,” Mammon grumbles, continuing to look like the Thinker from atop his rock.

Belphegor none too happy in his simple question, “Why?”

Mammon asks him, “How likely is it, that in all of this time, that someone living in Pluto’s Palace found that damn Helmet?”

*****

“Please let me go!” this thin, pale, bearded stick of man screams. A’rock continues to drag him by his hair through the prison cells, in front of all the pleading people he had kidnapped over the past year. “I’ll do anything, I just want to go home!”

“Well, you’re definitely going somewhere,” A’rock sniggers, “let’s just go into this back room and everything will be over soon.” A’rock chuckles only to terrify the man even more. He starts to uselessly and weakly kick at A’rock’s legs, doing nothing but make A’rock laugh. “Oh, I have to say, I get a kick watching you, humans, you don’t give up, when your lives are so short I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising that you fight so hard to stay alive.” Then he opens the door, and tosses the man inside like a rag doll. The man hits the wall, and nearly pisses himself.

A’rock walks in and turn to the right to look Seraras, carrying the dead body of an angel, or at least that’s what A’rock thinks it is, it’s slightly decayed. 

“Who is this?” he asks him.  

“No one important,” Seraras answers, “grabbed it from a shallow grave.” Seraras rests the body down on a table off to the side. 

“Do you have the helmet?” Seraras asks A’rock.

A’rock jokes, “Ah shit, I think I forgot it at home.” 

“Stop messing around,” Seraras stonewalls him.

“Sheesh, you in a hurry or something?” Seraras only glares, not in the mood for A’rock’s teasing. “Fine, alright, here it is.” 

A’rock pulls it out from nothing in a flash of fire. It reminds A’rock of paintings of Asmodeus, which only makes him hate it. With horns rimming the top of the obsidian steel, and horns that curve forward almost like tusks, it looks like a good helmet to wear before a headbutt. 

In the middle of the forehead was a red ruby, and looking into, A’rock feels the cries of a thousand souls calling out to him. This thing has harvested countless souls, from the mortal plains, the Underworld… countless, and now A’rock holds this power. 

“Thank you, Michael,” A’rock chuckles, but even the chuckle feels hollow in the face of the helm. A’rock may wield the helmet but he doesn’t know much about it, so he asks, “Will it only resurrect dead bodies?”

“No,” Seraras informs him, “ancient texts say that it could revive and summon any soul, but doing so with a body will create a more effective warrior. Expect souls without any form to make zombie-like bodies for themselves, or to be skeletal in physicality.”

“As long as they can fight,” A’rock grumbles, a little disappointed by those results.

“They will, almost as well as they did in life,” Seraras tells him, taking the helmet to look at for himself. He’s inspected it a thousand times, but he never gets sick of looking at it. Still, Seraras accepts that it was not made to fit his head. As he passes it back, he adds, “Though that won’t matter much since they can’t be stopped as long as the user is still alive.”

“And one live soul can power hundreds of soldiers?”

 “I don’t know the direct ratio but basically. I’m pretty sure that Virtuous souls can power thousands.”

“I’m sure we’ll have a few of those among the humans we have,” A’rock comments, but upon deeper thought, “or maybe that’s giving them too much credit. Now lets try it out to make sure it still works.” A’rock slips the helmet on over his head, letting fit his face like a glove, contrasting perfectly with his white skin, and black clothing. 

“Now you look even more like a biker,” Seraras insults him. A’rock smiles at hearing Seraras make a joke.

Then A’rock swiftly and mercilessly stabs the screaming man.

Some blood hits Seraras in the face, irritating him. “Do you have to make such a mess?” he complains, “just slice the throat, there’s no need to be a sadist about it.” As Seraras is wiping his face, A’rock starts projecting mental messages of what he wants the helmet to do.

“Wanted to let off a little steam,” A’rock admits, letting out a fury of excited breaths, “had to spend a lot of time thinking of ways to adjust our plan, specifically concerning Selena’s body.”

Seraras stops looking over the human’s body to stare at A’rock. “Why?

“Because Alice left last night. I imagine that isn’t a good sign so I had to come up with something risky to compensate.”    

“Aah,” Seraras grunts. Then the helmet’s ruby starts to glow, and the body’s neck wound begins to glow green. Green smoke exits and enters all around the body for a few minutes, and eventually stops. 

“Rise,” A’rock commands. The body sits up perfectly straight. “Can you speak?”

“Yes,” the body responds, with an otherworldly amplifier added to his voice. It’s like a normal one is layered under a deeper voice saying something in tangent.

“Which Archangel did you serve under before coming to the Palace of Pluto?” A’rock asks.

“I am not an angel, I am Nephilim,” the corpse replies.

A’rock grins at Seraras. “Even better, what is your name?”

“Hadel.”

A’rock sends a quick glance at Seraras, wondering the Hell this is, but his friend’s face stays cold. 

Outside of cursing, “Christ,” A’rock decides against saying anything. “Welcome to the cause, Hadel, and don’t worry, more of your kind will be joining you soon from the other side.”  A’rock holds a smile in a thin line as he turns towards the prison cells of nearly a thousand humans souls ready to be reaped.

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