The House of Asmodeus: A Trial by Fire Chapter 31

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” – William Shakespeare

Lucifina leads the group down towards the battleground, past many clashes between daemons and angels. Her white bat-like wings flap quickly, outpacing even the large feathered ones of Michael. Noella finds difficulty keeping up with the group, which causes Azale and Petra to slow down to stay by her side.

Noella’s flying skills are not poor by any means, but she is distracted watching so many kill each other around her. 

Noella is like her husband in that she has not yet participated in bloody war, and now seeing it up close is much more scarring than watching from atop a mountain. She gasps watching a daemon stick its hand down the throat of an angel whose wing was clipped. Then she watches as the daemon pulls an angel’s throat, causing the angel to choke on his own blood. As the daemon admires his work two angels come up behind him, one slashed him in the knees with his sword, and as the daemon falls to the ground the other brings an axe over his head, repeatedly swinging down.

“Mistress!” Azale yells as she shakes Noella’s shoulder. This shocks the white demoness back into her own reality. “We must hurry! The others are upon the King of Gluttony!”

Noella shakes her own head and starts flying at full speed. She shuts her eyes to ignore all the battle going on below. Luckily, Azale is there to deflect arrows and spears that are being thrown at them. 

Noella can’t bear to watch so much blood spilled for no further purpose other than that they hate each other.

“Mistress, open your eyes!” Azale calls out to her. 

Noella’s eyes shoot wide open in time to catch herself before she hits the ground head first. Quickly, she adjusts herself midair to land loudly on her foot, knee, and hand. She has arrived just in time to hear her mother begin questioning Beelzebub, with Hecatomb pointed at him.

 “Why did you betray Leviathan? I demand to know Beelzebub, or so help me, I will behead you here and now.” The heavy emphasis of her words strengthens her appearance. The Queen of Pride’s black and white lined angelic armor, a set that reminds Michael so much of his brother’s, would have convinced anyone that she is an angel if not for the white horns and bat wings. 

“I had to, Lucifina! He does not want peace like we do!” Beelzebub makes gestures towards everyone in their group as to say that they are all thinking the way he does. “The Demon Kings, the Archangels, and everyone else who won’t accept the union of any angel and daemon has to die.”

Michael questions the King of Gluttony as he stands between the Demon King and the injured Jophiel, who is being tended to by Rogiel. “We?! There is no we with you, you sided with the Wrath and Envy to kill the angels, and yet you’re like us? A being on a quest for peace? Peace is what we wanted-”

Beelzebub interrupts again to explain himself. “We both want the union of angels and daemons to be allowed, is that not why you have chosen the side you were on? There are Demon Kings and Archangels who would keep us from making any kind of social progress, and as painful as it will be for me, I must make the hard decision to defeat each one.”
“Do you even hear yourself?” Lucifina insults. “What progress could you hope to accomplish as part of the warring side?”
“Pride, to be on the warring side has allowed me to easily and quickly kill the problem itself,” Beelzebub tells her, “if the leaders who are against unity aren’t around, new leaders can be molded away from conflict, either from a place of peace or lesser power. That’s the point of killing Leviathan, racism and injustice isn’t just a problem for the angels but the daemons too. I’m cleaning house on both sides.”

Lucifina now thinks that the King of Gluttony has gone mad. “I don’t know how you became like this, Beelzebub,” Lucifina sighes, “but I cannot let you continue to kill our own.” Then the Queen of Pride raises her battle axe and prepares herself in a stance. Michael, Noella, Azale, and Petra do the same to back their lead woman. 

“I’m sorry, Lucifina, but I cannot let you impede me now.” When Beelzebub finishes speaking he crosses his arms and starts to charge his power like he did before. When he lets it explode Noella, Azale, and Petra fly up to dodge the gas that emits from the middling shockwave. The gas has hit everyone else in the face.

Rogiel is coughing as he asks, “What was that gas?” Jophiel, who Rogiel is tending to, shouts out to warn what had just happened with the little strength she has at the moment.

“You’ve been poisoned by the gas, it stops Arch-beings from ascending to their True form,” and as Rogiel has a coughing fit, she tries to hold him up, “I know nothing about it’s effects on others,” the Archangel of Benevolence warns as she watches the Seraphim struggle to stand.

“Normal daemons and angels become as weak as a human with wings,” Gluttony informs. Beelzebub starts breathing quite heavily, which signals to Noella who has just quickly landed, that the Gluttony may not have much energy to make anymore disabling attacks. 

At the moment, Beelzebub is too dazed to realize that his attack had not reached Noella, Azale, or Petra, and that the three of them are both fully capable to attacking him while he is weakened.

Thinking of this possibility while Beelzebub is readying himself to overpower Lucifina and Michael, Noella moves into her 1000-Cuts stance and dashes at Beelzebub as he readies his sword. Jumping over the rest of her group she goes to stab at him, perpendicular in the air. He doesn’t see her coming until it’s too late, he will have to take a stab when…

CLANG! 

A half-chakram suddenly appears and deflects Noella’s attack. Noella hits the ground and starts flipping backwards in the style of several handstands. When she looks back up she sees something unbelievable. A shirtless being with black and white angel wings. This must have been the Seraras that had attacked her beloved a few weeks back. 

“What are you doing here?” Michael demands to know.

“Nothing that should concern you, Archangel, you’ll be dead before it matters,” Seraras retorts. Then he turns to Beelzebub to confirm something. “Gluttony, how many more times can you dampen their abilities?” 

“I can’t at all at least for a few more hours, I don’t have the energy for it,” Beelzebub admits, an answer that pleases Seraras more than his face shows.

“Then pick up your sword and help me hold them off, A’rock is summoning the army to win this battle.” Then the Nephilim picks up his other half-chakram from his side to dual-wield. 

He turns back to face the group to ask, “Who wants to die first.”

*****

Asmodeus starts to gather his magical energy as he sits cross-legged in the middle of the magical circle he drew on the ground. If he wants to transport such a large number of people and not just a handful of people he needs a large magical base. He has already set up the spell and the portal’s form, he just needs time to charge enough energy to create it. He has had enough time to do so as the community behind him prepares to fight.

During this time he has to swallow his pride and ask a favor. The spell he needs to use against A’rock in their impending battle is not one he actually knew, one that isn’t best described in the Incantorum. 

He has to ask the old Asmodeus for the spell he used to kill the previous Uriel.

In his meditation Asmodeus becomes one with himself, his volcanic armor forming over his body. Only in the True Asmodeus form can he be one with the original spirit. 

The world around him turns to white, and then into a hellish firescape. He removes his helmet, and the main difference in his face is the dark lining behind his tired eyes. There is no hiding from the original Asmodeus.

And the original Asmodeus certainly doesn’t hide much. 

“La-di-da, da-da, da, da, ho-ho,” he hums as he reads the newspaper, with moaning men and woman appearing before Clayton. Clayton is entering the original’s world, his afterlife, his time of peace. In a chair fit for Hugh Hefner, and a red robe to match, it seems he’s grown rather bored with the perfectly sculpted men and women bowing at his feet. 

“Tell me, boy,” the bearded Asmodeus asks, “watching over you I’ve always wondered, is there a reason your harem doesn’t see any of the boys you play with?” Asmodeus’s face hides behind the newspaper, allowing him to berate Clayton as he sees fit. He gets to hear the twitch in Clayton’s face without any of the guilt that goes along with seeing it. Asmodeus laughs, remembering exactly why. 

“I would hardly call Dotor a boy,” Asmodeus growls.

“Well, you are a boy too, I supposed I can’t quite tell the difference between you. Would you have preferred I call you all ‘young men?” The old Asmodeus waits for a response that doesn’t come, and he starts to laugh instead.

“Sorry, sometimes I forget that you had a hard childhood,” he jokes, as he lowers his hand to pet a succubus under her chin. Clayton’s jaw clenches as he recognizes the face of Asmodea, more subservient and docile than he knows she ever will be. “It’s a shame really,” he tells his heir, “I mean she still is my favorite but there are some things she can’t do.”

Clayton works hard to avoid growling at him. “You know why I’m here you old bastard,” Clayton tells him, ignoring the game he’s trying to play, “give me the spell.”  

Clayton isn’t the King of Lust here, the original Asmodeus is, and he lowers his newspaper. He looks uncannily like Clayton in his face. His skin is a lighter red, almost pink, and his well kept beard hides most of it, but anyone can see the resemblance in his eyes. Clayton and Asmodeus share those same deadly holes. 

“It’s not going to beat him, son,” Asmodeus tells Clayton.

“That’s not the idea, dickhead,” Clayton snaps in response.

“Oh that’s right, the plan is to die before your time like a stupid hero.” This comment makes Clayton wince. He realizes now that this conversation is going to go over similarly to how it did with his friends.

“If I don’t do it someone else could die,” Clayton tells him.

“Then so be it,” the old Asmodeus says with a shrug.

“You know something? Just because you were an immature, thankless, spoiled coward, doesn’t mean that I have to be too.” These insults would hurt most but the old Ogre daemon has heard the insults before. It is Clayton’s insinuation that really runs deep. “Unlike you, I care about those around me.”

“Do not precede to understand me, boy. I was the oldest of my kind, I remembered how this world came to be when no one else did. I am alone in this truth, this hell, and if you live half as long as I did, you will not question the whims of apathy, but my lack of depression. If you wish to die for those whose job it is to die for you, then so be it.” 

Now Clayton listens carefully as the orgy of men and women begin to disappear around them. “The attack that I used to kill the original Archangel of Chastity is called the ‘Onyx Star,’ and the Incantorum will not show it to you because it does not know if you were ready to use it.”

“I know I don’t have any other option on the magic front.” 

“Like with some elemental spells there aren’t any incantations that you have to speak out. Calm your mind, and remove all magical energy from your hand, specifically the point of your pointer finger. Normally I would recommend practicing with your less dominant hand, but you don’t have time to practice. This will allow you to fuse with your own power as it swarms its own energy into you. Then, when you have enough, when the power feels as if it is too much for your stomach, let it flow out your finger, and you will have it, the Onyx Star, the power to destroy a thousand worlds,” Asmodeus finishes. 

Caring little for his theatrics, Clayton asks, “Is that all? Any other tips to make it happen faster?”

Asmodeus sighes and shakes his head. “I can only think of holding the Incantorum itself in your opposite hand. If you store up too much, it can store extra amounts of power for you.”

“I know you do not approve, but thank you for your help.” Asmodeus does not respond for some time. Clayton almost thinks the original Demon King of Lust has abandoned him, but he has one last piece of advice to give.

“Clayton, you spend so much time trying to mend fences and protect others, yet, you really only feel alive doing one of two things, fucking and fighting. You don’t do either as much as you really could. You actually lead a place that doesn’t need you to fill that role, why?” Asmodeus’s question was not lost on Clayton, the current King of Lust believes that he knows the answer. 

“I think it’s because of how I was raised, or how there was a lack of raising. Losing everyone, losing my life, so young and all at once, you don’t go about things as others do.”

Asmodeus isn’t exactly content with this answer. “Most humans don’t grow up to be saviors when they’re all alone. They usually turn to darkness or madness, that is what makes them what they are. Why did you turn out to be the exception?”

“Because I was not a human, and never have been,” Clayton finally admits, “I was raised a human, if you could call self-teaching raising, but I was the King of Lust learning and living as if I wasn’t. That’s the difference you gave me, that is why I value those around me, and I will never let them go before me, I will not lose my family again, because that’s what they are-”

“Your harem?” Asmodeus interrupts to joke, more tonally like his usual demeanor.

Yes my harem,” Clayton grumbles, “my Reavers, my sister, and Laya. They are my family, I’ve lost my family before, and I will not lose another.” Clayton does not know it, but Asmodeus is smiling in spirit. 

Asmodeus bids farewell, and Clayton opens his eyes to the old world around him. Asmodeus leaves Clayton with a lasting offer. “Let’s hope you survive to see the night, who knows maybe your fight will be a good one. Good luck, King of Lust.”

*****

Lucifina snarls at Beelzebub, “You think your parlor trick will keep me down?! I am not Leviathan, you may hinder me from reaching my true potential, but what I have will still obliterate you, Gluttony!” Lucifina charges her own power into Hecatomb, causing it to glow white. 

Seraras turns to the King of Gluttony, he demands to know, “Why can she still draw power? She should be handicapped.”

Beelzebub can only guess, “I haven’t used my magic this often before, so either repeated use reduces its effectiveness, or she just has too much power for me to completely block.” Who knew which option rang true, but Michael finds that he is capable of drawing some power of his own.

Michael unsheathes his double-edged sword. It is normal in form, but intricate in it’s embroidered design. The handle where it meets the blade is made to look like two spread wings.

 Michael with one swing sends a blast of wind that Seraras has to block and disrupt with his half-chakrams. Michael warns his opponents, “Don’t expect to this to be an easy battle. You’ve just precipitated a fight with the most powerful of the Archangels and Demon Kings.”

Seraras’s response is one of much indifference to his opponent’s words. “While your words are arguable, I believe you underestimate the power Nephilim can truly possess.” Seraras begins to plant his feet spread apart, crosses his arms, and extends his wings. 

Seraras’s wings transform to be silver, metallic even, and his feathers become long, sharp blades that look ready to slice anything or anyone apart. “I ask again, whose to go first?”

Azale speaks up to her Mistress, “I believe that we should try to delay the Nephilim for as long as we can. The Queen of Pride and the Archangel of Humility may be more powerful than us, but in their weakened states they won’t defeat him. They can overpower the King of Gluttony faster than we can, and that’s probably the only way to regain their power, or at least see that they don’t die before they recover.”

“You believe that we stand a chance against someone who has taken on Archangels?” Noella asks her friend. She is taken aback by this confidence.

“No, but if we work together like we did when we had to protect the palace, we can stall for a time.” 

“Let’s do it, try blinding him with the white light from your warhammer. Then we’ll both attack, I’ll try to see if I can pierce his metallic wings with Dancing Star. If that doesn’t work, you see if your dark magic can harm him any better than your light magic.” Noella’s strategy is basic, she is trying to find her enemy’s weaknesses, a tactic she learns during her sparring with Asmodea and Azale. 

Azale nods her head in understanding, and then outstretches her black angel wings to fly above Seraras and Beelzebub. She crosses her arms with her warhammers in hand. She surges magic through them, bringing her golden warhammer behind her silver warhammer, and pushes into it, causing light to shine in a bright white flash.

Beelzebub yells in pain as his eyes burn from the light magic. Seraras isn’t hurt but he does cover his eyes, signalling that he is blinded. 

Noella then launches herself with a flap of her bat-like wings and goes to stab Seraras while he is still blinded. 

Noella! What do you think you’re doing?!” her mother yells as Noella zooms past her. 

“Protecting you,” Noella whispers to herself.

When she reaches Seraras she jumps to flip over him, and slows herself when she is above his wings. She attempts to stab his wings a dozen times over in quick succession, but her stabs only make slight scratches on his metallic wings. She then flaps her wings again to gust right over and behind Seraras by a few yards. 

Seraras tries to snap his wings at her. 

His wings decrease in width to increase in length, teaching Noella of their range of attack. At three yards away, his left wing stretches out to slice her at her waist. Noella dashes to keep ahead of it so it doesn’t cut her in half, but she can’t out run it forever. 

Gush!

The wing cuts a deep gash across Noella’s left arm before it retracts back to Seraras.

This is when Azale comes to attack Seraras from the front, her hammers glowing with the black gas of dark magic, as black blade constructs spread out between her feathers. 

She comes upon Seraras’s exposed chest, reels her arm back and proceeds to plunge her bladed wing deep into his chest. The black blades in her wing should have went right through him to the other side, but gray light seeps from where her wing pierced. 

When a force of energy pushes out Azale’s wings, she’s sent her flying backwards. She doesn’t go very far because Seraras can see clearly now and dashes quickly towards her, and shoves one of his half-chakrams into the middle of her chest. 

Ack!” is the sound Azale makes when the chakram blade pierces her breastplate down to her skin. 

There’s a look of horror on Noella’s face when she sees Azale take the hit, but the angel’s grimace turn to rage lessens the worry. 

Azale raises her legs to Seraras’s chest to push herself off. Then Seraras releases his half-chakram, letting it float in the air lodged in the fallen angel’s chest. With a pushing hand motion of his hand, he causes a burst of air to send Azale flying backwards at high speeds.

Michael leaps into the air to collide with Azale as fast as he can, leaving himself wide open. He holds on to her, speeding through the air with her as he reaches his hand to the half-chakram and pushes Azale away from it. It takes two seconds for Michael to separate the weapon from Azale, allowing him and her to fall to the ground a few feet as the weapon keeps flying straight. It collides with a few angels and daemons crushing them together until it eventually hits a rock and splatters several beings into bloody pieces from the force.     

 Michael looks over Azale like a father would his daughter, both touching the fallen angel’s heart with his gentle and caring hand, and confusing her. 

As he helps Azale up and asks her what she thinks she is doing, sounding as judgmental to the Reaver of Devotion as the Demon Queen was with her daughter. “You two are going to get yourselves killed trying to fight him. Leave him to the Queen and I.”

“With all due respect, Archangel,” Azale responds as she tears her arm from him, “you and Pride together cannot defeat him as long as the King of Gluttony has his hold on you. You won’t get the chance to regain your full powers being killed by Seraras, so don’t get in our way as we buy you as much time as we can.”

“You’re plan is suicidal, Azale!” Michael scolds her.

Azale smiles at the irony behind hearing such a statement. She responds with something she thinks her master would say, “Oh well,” then she outstretches her black wings again. “If you rather not see me dead, then spend more time trying to defeat Beelzebub then talking to me,” and then Azale speeds back towards Seraras who summoning back his weapon.

Michael knows he can’t just stand around awestruck by the fallen angel’s bravery, he has to get to Lucifina and defeat Beelzebub, who shouldn’t have the energy or skill to defeat them both. He quickly takes off to stop Lucifina from trying to interfere with her daughter’s battle.

Seraras has been slashing at Noella so the demoness has begun to bob and weave in the air, doing her best pirouette and dash out of the way. Seraras releases waves of light magic that form out of his slashing with his wings, white opaque shapes that act like boomerangs. They tear apart the ground and kill any they come into contact with. 

Noella is just agile enough to keep out of the way of Nephilim’s attack, but with his large and powerful wings she can’t get anywhere close to him. Lucifina has tried to draw Seraras’s attention towards herself by flying above him to bring Hecatomb down upon his head. 

Michael recognizes that Pride’s tactic is meant to draw attention and will be deflected by the gigantic metal wings. He flies into Lucifina and stops her mid-air. 

“Unhand me, Archangel!” she snaps at him. She struggles against him, kneeing him in the stomach to get out of his hold. “Do not think I won’t cut you down! I’m trying to save my daughter!”

“Lucifer, calm down!” Michael yells at her, accidentally calling her by his brother’s name, catching her off guard for the moment. “Our… your daughter is fighting to give us a fighting chance. Noella and Azale are going to keep him at bay while we defeat Beelzebub and undo his spell on us.”

“She cannot not take him! You know first hand that he is a Nephilim on our level! He is at his height right now, how long before Noella can no longer avoid dodging him? How long before he decides to just lunge for her and snap her neck?!” Lucifina is still yelling at Michael when Seraras sends a wave of light energy hurtling at Noella, which instead of just going past her when she dodges it, Seraras compels it to explode right next to her, causing a shockwave to send her crashing to the ground. 

“Noella!” Lucifina calls to her, as Seraras readies another blast, though instead he decides to reel back one of his half-chakrams to throw at the white demoness. Lucifina starts flying towards the Nephilim and Humility flies after her, but they will not make it in time. 

Just as Seraras is about to let go, Azale comes at him with a swing of her warhammer, whacking it against his right wing, catching him off guard, but he still throws it. The half-chakram is heading right for her. “Mistress move!” Azale yells before she gets whacked a few yards back by Seraras’s wing.

Noella had hit the ground hard when Seraras’s attack exploded. Her body ached from the force it met. The backs of her wings are singed, her right one especially with a big burn on it. 

She becomes more aware of her surroundings as she feels her hot liquid blood drip down her face from where she had collided with the ground. The blood comes right down her forehead into her eyebrow, pooling and then dripping down her cheek. Noella can hear voices calling to her. She recognizes that they were telling her to move when she notices what was heading for her. 

Seraras’s half-chakram is moving slower than before, but it will kill her if she does not get out of the way. Noella tries to get up, she moves to her hands and knees but when she raises her head a migraine shatters her ability to concentrate. It pierces through her head, causing her to hold her skull and shut one of her eyes. The half-chakram is going to hit her in a few seconds. 

I guess this is it, she thinks to herself. I’m sorry I couldn’t live long enough to show you… to show just how far I’ve come. Maybe not far enough if I’m going to die he-

Her inner thoughts are interrupted… by a magma explosion.

BA-PLUME! 

The huge sound comes after a magma wall forms in front of her, saving her from certain death. Then it comes down and Noella watches as magma pools around the half-chakram, slowly melting it down and destroying it.

“Well, isn’t it Asmodeus’s promised Queen. Rather strange to think that he would knowingly leave you here in danger and not come to your aid.” The voice comes from behind her. She doesn’t recognize it at first, it’s asinine tone brings up feelings of rage and fear. Then it strikes her memory as she turns around to see her savior.

Cotaras…” Noella hisses. The eldest Prince of Lust to the previous Asmodeus, the exiled pretender to the King of Lust’s throne, the master of five magical elements, fire, blood, earth, wind, and bone, along with the elemental compounds of ice, magma, and flesh. 

This is the same black demon who once plunged Gram through Asmodea’s chest to piss off Noella’s husband, then fianceé. 

“Now is that such a way to speak to the one who saved you?” Cotaras asks with a smile, his long and unkempt hair doing much along with a wiry beard to prove that Cotaras has not been well. He holds far less muscle mass than he did before, though he could still rival Satan in size. The idea that Cotaras has been suffering exile grants Noella a modicum of satisfaction.

“I didn’t insult you yet, you exiled pretender,” she insults him, “there now I did, what are you doing here?” Noella isn’t exactly thankful right out of the gate, with the Prince of Lust’s reputation he may have just saved her to hold her prisoner.

Cotaras’s smile drops a little. He shows… remorse. “Yes, I was exiled for wrongly thinking that I was the King of Lust. Of course, that fallacy ended when Clayton, the true King of Lust, handed me my ass, in front of everyone, painfully.” The black daemon before her seems actually embarrassed, a color she likes on him. “I would not dare try to come back to the Circle of Lust when Asmodeus spared my life and chose to exile me.”

“I remember, I said to kill you.” Noella isn’t going to let down her guard with what she is sure to be his sob story. 

“I understand that you have no reason to trust me, but I want to return to my old home. Then in my sorrow, when I heard that the King of Wrath was going to war I had to volunteer, to fight for my fellow daemons!”

“So patriotic.”

Cotaras ignores her comment. “Then I ended up battling here, and witnessed a queen in need from some metallic monstrosity.”

“I’m sure someone will explain to you what he is later, but why did you save me? It wasn’t that long ago that you almost killed me.” Noella needs to know his ulterior motive to possibly trust him.

“Well, what would be a better way to get the King of Lust’s favor than to save his queen?”

“You think he’ll let you come back if you save me from one attack?” She isn’t going to assume much from him.

“No, I’m going to get you through this battle if my life depends on it. I can’t imagine he’ll care if you die somewhere else today, and after this battle, if I don’t get to go home, well I don’t imagine that I’ll be long for this world.” 

“Hmm, if you really plan to help us then assist Azale and I in keeping that metallic beast from getting my mother and Michael.”

“Your mother is working with an Archangel?” Cotaras has obviously not been here long.

“Listen, not all angels and daemons are out to get each other anymore. Just buy them some time to defeat the King of Gluttony, he’s dampening their strength. After that they can kill the fighter in front of us. If you help, I’ll put quite the good word in for you with my beloved.”

Cotaras isn’t sure that he understands any of the politics going on around him at the moment, but he does understand that he there is someone to fight and someone not to. “No need to wait for the Queen of Pride, I’ll kill this creature myself.”

Noella reminds him of who he is in accordance to the enemy. “Doubtful, he’s on the power level of an Ogre daemon, just as durable and powerful.”

Cotaras scowls. “That may be so but I doubt he has any kind of speed, those wings seem elastic, but the rest of his body seems stationary. We have a chance.” 

Noella appreciates his insight on that. “Alright Prince of Lust, old foe of my husband, let’s go kill something.”

Then she dashes to assist Azale with Cotaras by her tail, literally.

*****

It’s time, A’rock says to himself. He has mustered together at least half the power of Pluto’s Helm of Darkness to summon at least a million soldiers to his undead army. The rest he is saving to use in his personal battles. It does not matter that he did not use all of the souls he sacrificed, an army of a million unkillable soldiers will be enough to overcome and overpower the six groups of angels and daemons already fighting each other. Even if they were to unite, which is very unlikely, they wouldn’t be able to hold it back more than an hour. A’rock sniggers to himself at the thought. 

He has created a place to stand on from several swords he stabbed into the mountainside. He begins summoning undead angels, daemons, and nephilim from all over time.

The land at the foot of the mountain starts to cave in. Most angels start to fly away, and some daemons are caught up in it. As the ground crumbles, dead hands start to shoot up and grab onto daemons and pull them down, trying to savagely strangle them. That side of the battle is between daemons of Envy and angels of Benevolence. The daemons of Envy have been on the losing side since their Demon King fell, and now they are shocked and stunned at what is happening next to them. 

Dirt clouds have culminated and covered the movement happening. Then suddenly, a lone daemon skeleton steps out. Some daemons gasp at the sight, with more stepping out and both sides notice that these are angels and daemons in the form of zombies and glowing skeletons.

The undead start charging at the angels and daemons in a mad rush out of the dirt clouds. Many stumble and fall, some running on all fours, causing some daemons and angels to run away in fear. Since there are so many and not just one, A’rock can’t compel so many to behave and move like living beings, where he could with Hadel.

“Run, scum, run,” A’rock mutters under his breath, watching the scene happen below him.

Some warriors go to attack him. A’rock sees one angel decapitate a daemon on his way to fight an undead angel. This is why A’rock knows he will win. The daemons and angels would rather try to fight each other and his army at the same time. 

That same angel strikes down an undead angel by running it through with a sword. The undead angel is unfazed and grabs onto the living angel to rip away at it’s flesh. The warrior angel tries to get away but is jumped on by an undead daemon, which helps its comrade. 

A’rock, impressed with his fighters’ ensuing victory, looks over at Seraras’s battle. He is swatting away a fallen angel. 

“Interesting,” A‘rock mutters. She looks a lot like the one who was with Asmodeus some time ago, so he wonders what seeing her head among his horde would do to the poor King of Lust’s spirits. 

Then he had another thought about his own friend. He should tell the creatures below to avoid Seraras. He pushes his thoughts into his helm, sending a signal to all below to leave Seraras alone, and to follow his orders if given any. A’rock feels mental responses flood back to him, causing him to lose his concentration for a moment as each undead soldier confirms that they understand his command. 

“I should be careful with that,” A’rock remarks to himself. If he continues to issue commands asides from simple and open ones like, ‘kill everything,’ he’ll get feedback that can give him a serious headache. 

A’rock composes himself, and continues to watch from above, seeing his plans work themselves out. Keeping an eye on Seraras’s battle, checking to see if he might have to step in.

*****

Satan and Chamuel have been creating shockwaves elsewhere in the sky as they match blow for blow, bullet for arrow, insult for insult. These two, masters of their trade. Even in their ascended personas they cannot get the best of each other until Chamuel becomes distracted by the huge dust cloud forming over a corner of the battlefield. 

This slight distraction is all the King of Wrath needed to blast the Archangel of Patience down to the ground. Satan has Conquest in the form of a rocket launcher with a hundred times the punch. This sends the Archangel blasting to the ground in the direction of the dust clouds.

When the Archangel hits the ground it makes an impact that scatters lesser daemons and angels yards away.

God almighty, that hurt.” The Archangel rubs his head to soothe the aching it felt from his fall. This is how Chamuel’s battle with Satan has been going. They keep matching blows at high speeds, either fist to fist or the Archangel’s arrows to the Demon King’s explosives, until one gets the drop on the other, knocking him down and starting over again. “Neither one of us is getting anywhere with this fight,” Chamuel grumbles. He readies himself to fly back at his opponent, when something jumps him from behind. 

The Archangel swiftly dashes to the left and spins around his attacker to get behind them. Without a second thought, he wrap his heads around its neck. 

Imagine the Archangel’s surprise when he realizes that his attacker is a decaying angel. It snaps its head back to headbutt him, but the Archangel pushes the angel to the ground. By the body alone, one cannot tell if it was male or female, but by the few white feathers left on the barren wings it can easily be seen as an angel.

The sight of it sickens Chamuel, “Augh! My poor brethren, may I grant you peace from a daemon’s cruel torture!” He quickly creates an arrow of light and shoots it through the decaying angel’s heart, the shot goes clean through. 

But the being is undead, and does not even fall. It stops to stand still but starts to charge again. Chamuel quickly rises a few feet and punts the head off of the angel’s neck. The body then falls to the ground and scrambles around. Chamuel notices that the neck starts to grow, as if it is growing back a head. Then Chamuel’s memory comes back to him.

This is the work of Pluto,” he remembers. The Archangel remembers specifically the dire straits he and his comrades had been in to defeat this deadly force. It took the combined might of the daemon and angel races to eventually defeat not just the Pagan Gods, but specifically Pluto and Olympus during the war’s final battles. This battle between Chamuel and Satan has become trivial to the Archangel if such an old foe truly has returned, or worse a new one has gained the power of the Pagan ruler of the Underworld. 

First thing he wonders is how does he go about convincing the new Satan of such things? As he ponders this, he sees the King of Wrath speeding at him once again, and the Archangel also notices the undead angel finishing the reformation of its head. 

Hehehe,” the Archangel chuckles to himself. He quickly rips off the undead angel’s head, which Satan sees, puts it on a new formly arrow, aims and shoots it right at the Demon King. 

Instead of blowing it out of the sky, Satan catches it like big ball, turns it over and looks at the face in his hand. Chamuel holsters his bow, and flies to speak with Satan, who has stopped moving towards him. 

Do you recognize what this is this, Wrath?!” Chamuel calls to his opponent. 

Yes! I tend recall things much better than you, angel.” The Demon King has not yet lifted his eyes. He is inspecting how far the head has decomposed, and when he finishes he throws it to the side to fall hundreds of feet. Satan takes a gander at the battle going on below, the first in a long time. He sees the undead attacking angels and daemons alike, without mercy or end. 

Do you know what it requires to hold back a force like this, Satan?”    

Satan frowns because he remembers all too well. He lost his two favorite Reavers in the war against the Pagan Gods, both due to the fact that Pluto’s armies were unkillable. 

The King of Wrath has been cheated out of the war he has so hoped for. If he and the Archangels do not come together to hold back this army for as long they can, they will all be killed eventually. If that happens his Circle of Wrath would be left defenseless and at the mercy of these monsters like all the Circles of Sin will be if the undead overtake them. 

Urrrr, GAAAHHH!!” the Demon King screams to the heavens with anger.

Oh, calm down you immature, daemon. I promise once Pluto, or whoever’s doing this is done interrupting us, we’ll finish our fight. Something more important needs our attention, rage isn’t going to help.” The Archangel can’t miss a chance to berate him. 

This isn’t rage you stupid angel,” Satan snaps at him, rage is thinking of a hundred reason not to kill a man, and then doing so anyway.  This, this is a new kind of pain for me, one I haven’t felt in a long time. I’m not angry, or full of rage. I’m just sad, disappointed.” Wrath almost looks like a child with the way his shoulders have slumped. 

Interesting, there may be some depth to you yet, Satan!” the Archangel teases. 

Rahh! Let’s just get this over with, tell your angels of the temporary truce to hold back those who would interrupt our battle, and I’ll go do the same.” Satan isn’t really waiting for an answer, he just assumes Chamuel will agree, so the King of Wrath descends to the ground, back to the Archangel. “Fair enough terms, could wait for me to answer though… typical.” The Archangel of Patience descends from the sky in the opposite direction to gather his forces.

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