The House of Asmodeus: A Trial by Fire Chapter 37

“Love is nothing but lust misspelled.” – Dan Simmons

For several hundred years Asmodea was Asmodeus’s, the original Asmodeus’s. Not in the way she is with her poly, nothing romantic. 

I was basically one of a Sultan’s harem, his weapon, his tool, and his toy. And his pheromones… he got me addicted on it, like he did everyone. That high we all chase at giant orgies and cage matches, he could do it for me without that.

Then he started dying, finally found out how old is too old for a demon, and I couldn’t get my fix. Even worse, he wanted me to go and guard his replacement for years, away from other daemons, going through withdrawal. 

It took me a long time even realize what he had did. He gave me every chance in the world to kill powerful people, to prove that I was stronger and tougher than everyone else. 

I loved it, I loved the distraction from what was happening. While he made me weak, he allowed me to feel powerful over other people. 

He never actually put me at risk, his favorite toy… the fights weren’t real, he sent me after actors and weaklings. 

And it wasn’t out of the love, but because he never wanted to go to long without his best toy. 

It was out of ownership.

When Zazriel came… I knew what I was. If only the bastard hadn’t already started dying. His disease was worse than any punishment my crackhead could have gave him and… and I wanted more of that fix, as much as his ailing body could give me before he bit the bullet.

When the original asshole ordered me to protect his heir, I almost refused. 

I’m… so glad I didn’t.

When the old Asmodeus died, Asmodea didn’t go right away. She waited, she met Cotaras and watched him walk around claiming that he was to be King. Zazriel drove off him and his siblings the first time with ease. 

With the Reaver of Desire around, what need was there for Seduction? 

But old Maturity, he told her that she promised, and even though she didn’t care for promises, his prodding made her go. 

She visited Clayton with a VIP pass from the angels, and that was almost the most surprising thing about this arrangement. Somehow, the old Asmodeus convinced the angels to let her through and leave her be, as long as she was only protecting his heir. 

When she first saw the heir, researched him, watched over him, studied him, she saw his mother and father, she saw that he was fine. She took the time to be lax in her duties, she took the chance to really see a human world. 

I tried to deal with the withdrawal, and… I still I am, my way… I hated humans the most during those times. We daemons live so long, and while that can make many things feel shorter, but it makes the worst things last longer.

So she left Clayton to battle herself. She left to see sail the ocean blue, to see the mountains and valleys that paled in comparison to the Circle of Lust, but were respectable in their own right. 

Asmodeus had ruined men for me, and no, I don’t mean to tout the horn of that sack of shit. It was not because he was the best or was knowledgeable, or caring or gentle… 

I’ve said it, but he was a drug, all of his pheromones, all of his looks, his clothes, even the way he carried himself… the way he was designed was supposed to drive people mad with lust. 

And then the euphoria that put people into a whole other world… this… higher state of being… I’ve gotta stop obsessing about it. 

At orgies or cage matches, I get something similar, something better that I share with other people, something less addictive, and with Clay… turns out the addictiveness of the Asmodeus’s pheromonal high isn’t natural, its on purpose. 

Clay still has no idea why I was so upset that night, to learn that I was hooked on the old Asmodeus because he wanted me hooked.

I’m not proud of what I almost did, what I wanted to do.

I knew that only his heir had the ability to come close, so I thought I would get him while he was young and turn him into my perfect lover, loyal to me, make me Queen without any of the work. 

I wanted him infatuated with me, men were easy like that, easy to twist and manipulate. I knew I could mold a boy into putty in her hands, so I went back to him to check up on him, prepare for when he was ready.

Then I found him alone.

She found this little boy, in a foster home, with no parents, living under an abusive foster family with a bunch of other orphaned kids. 

That made me pause. Not only was his life terrible, I was so whacked out of my mind that I had lost track of time. What felt like decades, enough to make him into a man in body was actually barely a few years. 

I… I was laid low… seeing how little control I had over myself.

For a few months she would check in, and watch him look more and more broken. First, by the fact that his sister wasn’t coming for him, then that she was dead, and eventually because he had no one… 

Watching him go to school like a grade-A stalker allowed her to see a lot of things, and miss others. 

I… I still hold grief and regret to this day for not watching over him like I was supposed to. I would have I found out sooner what his foster father did to Clay and the other kids.

I killed him, brutally murdered the man. 

I never personally met Clayton, even as a traumatized boy. I did pose as his social worker. I put on a fake smile to get that job, and to weasel him back into his house. I got him his inheritance several years earlier than humans allow, let him raise himself, and… left again… I… I still wanted that high and I couldn’t look after anyone. 

I had paid others to watch him much closer, had humans who were capable schedule and plan a lot of therapy sessions. Started with the school therapist, a professional I hired in disguise. 

I pressed teachers into giving him personal attention and got him mostly female teachers, I just… I didn’t trust men so why would he… 

For a moment, I wondered how much traumatic fear he would have of men and violence, but then he beat a up few boys who picked on his witch friend and I figured that he was fine. 

Men who look liked his foster father didn’t even make him flinch, and I couldn’t figure out why. Men who looked like Asmodeus, made me flinch for the longest time, still do, though there aren’t many. Maybe therapy worked even though he refused to speak about anything besides school and his day.

I have an idea as to what it was that helped Clayton move past it. I think he realized he had power, he had strength. After beating up enough bullies and lowlives, he realized how strong he was. He realized that no one could take a belt to his face or his back ever again. No man was stronger than him. 

God, I hope that’s it.

Maybe… maybe the violence helped… I… that’s what’s helped me.

When he turned eighteen, that’s when I realized that it was time, but I wasn’t ready. So I waited. Waited almost two years. Actually, maybe it was two years.

Asmodea decided then it was time to truly meet him, to actually know him and introduce him to the daemon world at large, when he had been out of school, living as an adult trying to figure out life. 

Despite the strength, the senses… the power, the power that made him feel in control, he never guessed he was the chosen heir to be a Demon King. Who would? It’s an insane idea to come up with.

*****

“Maybe a 20th birthday present would have been a good conversation starter,” she told herself.

Asmodea walked up to his house. She stopped at his door raised her hand to knock, and then waited. Her fist was there, and she was going to knock but her fist stayed there and she just… didn’t knock on the door. 

Come on, you’ve put this off long enough. This isn’t him, this isn’t old Asmodeus, this… this guy’s gonna be more afraid of you than you can be of him. 

This is your sworn duty, damnit,” she told herself as she let her arm fall to her side. She bent her neck to bang her head against the door and curse at herself. 

It only took a second for her to notice how the door was already unlocked and open. 

“What the fuck…?” she whispered. “This is far from a neighborhood you can leave your doors unlocked, Clay.”

Somehow, it was easier to make a quiet intruding step forward, than a loud one with someone’s permission.

She walked into the house with trepidation, as if every step might alert her to the homeowner. Looking around the dim room, searching for any sign that he was home, she noticed how empty the house was.

Save for the tv and the couch, the whole living room was covered in dust from going years without being touched. Not to mention there was trash all over the floor in the kitchen, leaving this stench Asmodea is surprised she didn’t smell from the door. 

Asmodea walked by the kitchen, and half the table was covered with dust and dirty dishes, left there instead of the overflowing sink. 

Did he never clean up, even for the witch? Asmodea asked herself.

Asmodea made her way to the bedroom, listening for noise and heard the sound of running water from the bathroom. 

Taking a bath? Going to need to scrub extra in this house… I wonder how long he’ll want to stay here before going to lust.

Clayton’s room was a bit better. This was lived in in that it wasn’t covered in dust, but was emptied clean. The draws were pulled out, devoid of clothes, and the shelves we just about to get that dusty glint.

Asmodea looked around before she saw a piece of paper on the bed.

She walked over to it, and saw the name.

To Lolara Le Fay.

Asmodea picked it up, and read it all in a mere second.

I’m sorry, I just… it’s not you’re fault, I understand why you’re planning to go on your trip, to find yourself and learn more about your fam yourself. And I understand why you’re going alone, I’m not apart of that world, I still kind of don’t believe in it and I know that has made you angry. I’m sorry. 

I don’t… I didn’t… I just… This is on me, I never really got better, I never could really stand being alone. The summers you left to go on your trips and it was just me sitting at home alone were unbearable. I can’t describe what you mean to me, what I’ve never said because I didn’t want to risk losing pretty much the only person who calls me by my name. 

You’re all I have, and have had for years but I realize that I let it get this way.

It’s… There’s this feeling that I can’t just keep running away from and ignoring by hanging out with you, I have to do this myself. I found my way. I think it will be better for me, I don’t see how it can be worse. 

I know how that may not make sense, but I believe it, its my choice, but I’m sorry this will hurt you. I’m sorry I couldn’t wait until after you left. 

Just, please understand, this is MY choice, this is MY decision, because of ME, not you. Love you, Lo.

Asmodea finished reading the message, and spent a second listening to the running water again.

BAM!

It took less than a second for her to kick the bathroom door open, and there he was in the bathtub.

Clayton’s eyes went wide upon seeing this woman kick his door half the hinges. He was still bleeding from his wrists, enough that it had mixed in with his bath water.

“Who are you?!” he yelled at her as she walked up to him.

He was about to start kicking at her, when she seized him by the wrists, moving faster than he could see, pulling him from the bathtub like he were a small child. 

She could hear his heart beating his chest, or maybe that was hers as she held pressure to his open wounds. 

He’s yelling and screaming in terror, even as she pulled him close, holding him to her. It took some time of struggling and crying before he realized she’s just holding him.

Asmodea held Clayton’s wrists in her hands and him in her arms, holding him close as he was crying. 

She whispered to him, “You’re not alone, never alone again.” At some point it devolved to hushed whispers and shushing, and he wasn’t crying through apologies.

Eventually, he heard her say, “I’m sorry,” and to this day, he doesn’t know why.

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