The House of Asmodeus: A Trial by Fire Chapter 38

“Everything works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out yet, then it’s not the end.” – Tracy McMillan

TODAY

“So you guys sexually assault each other to heal yourselves?” Beatrix Bone questions. 

Asmodeus groans and rest his head in his hands.

“Yeah, that’s… that’s not cool, even when it’s happening to a dude,” Axel Bone agrees as he leans into the table.

“It’s… I would have died,” Asmodeus reminds them.

“But would you have died every time they’ve done it to you?” Axel questions.

Both Noella and Asmodea trade looks and get squeamish thinking about it, considering they’re the only two who have ever performed the Chorus Libidinal on him.

“Not to mention all the women must have this happen to them across the Circle of Lust!” Beatrix yells as she throws up her hands. Coldo rests his forehead in his own as he tries to restrain from groaning.

“That’s highly unlikely,” Petra assures them with a roll of her eyes, and informs them, “very few daemons know it, it’s a skill mastered and performed to revive the King of Lust, and the Queen of Pride… and now you. There may be a handful of daemons outside of the House of Asmodeus who know of it, and even less how to do it.”

“Oh great, so it’s just the King of Lust getting molested in his sleep,” Beatrix comments, sending a glare at Petra which the Reaver of Sadism returns.

Asmodeus lifts his thoroughly annoyed head off the table to assure them, “I promise you, I consented before then.”

“You can’t consent in your sleep,” Beatrix snaps, assuring him that the conversation is in no way done. “Jesus Christ, there’s nothing fucking complicated about-”

“Beatrix,” Coldo interrupts her.

“But Coldo-”

“He’s not our friend, you’re not going to change anything by yelling at him, so let it go,” the demonkin tells her, plainly ending the conversation in a way Asmodeus could not, but then again, this isn’t the house of Asmodeus, this is the den of Coldo. His word ends the conversation.

And by his word it will start again. “So you didn’t die,” he says Asmodeus, “you are the same I saw the angel fly away with.”

“Told you we should have stayed after Pluto was stopped,” Beatrix remarks to Coldo.

Coldo turns her way with a stare, one she returns before sighing in annoyance.

“No, but it felt like I did, looked like I did,” and Asmodeus’s hand naturally moves over his ribs, where the scar still lies, the mark that makes his chest look like cracked glass. 

Asmodea rests her hand on his shoulder, and he smirks. He whispers his thanks.

“So will you do it?” Asmodeus asks Coldo. “There’s no reason to waste more time, no reason to keep arguing and talking. I know people, you made up your mind before we walked in the door so just say yes or not. We just had to meet a certain bar before you could answer.”

Coldo stares at Asmodeus, the silver plate in the helmet, the indents of darkness that make the helmet look like it has a face. 

I know what it looks like now, Asmodeus thinks to himself.

A skull, always a skull. It makes sense, Coldo’s a dead man, and he had to fight for his soul. Skulls are what the dead leave behind, and he had to leave something. What Asmodeus would give to know the Ogre daemon Coldo overcame.

“We’ll do it,” Coldo answers him.

What?!” Beatrix shouts.

“I’m not surprised, you really thought Coldo was going to let a guy like this… Seraras run around? I mean he took on Lucifer and Michael, and his friend took out Asmodeus.” Axel leans on his hand as he points out to his sister, “We’d go after this guy anyway, he sounds just douchey enough to get on shit list.”

“Shut up, you idiot!” Beatrix yells at Axel. “It’s not that we’re going to get the fucker, it’s that we’re doing it for him!” and she points at Asmodeus with fervor and rage. “This guy gets off on fucking with people, he fucked with us, and yet we still had to sit here and get this sob story of a what a good guy he is. More like was.

“Watch your mouth,” Azale growls, unwilling to listen to this fury insult her Master. “He’s a King, he will do what’s necessary, but he is still a person. He wants this mission but he wants to make us happy, he-”

“Azale,” he says her name calmly, “stop.”

“But-”

Please.” 

*****

Coldo doesn’t miss a thing. He sits with his hands crossed before him watching their silent argument, and he’s watching it all. He has Asmodeus’s memories, he has the spoken word, and he has the willingness to sort through it all. 

What he finds is this, I can’t trust Asmodeus. Asmodeus has something he’s hiding, that’s why he’s been both aggressive and yet so paranoid.

But despite that fact, Asmodeus has come to him with a true threat. 

It’s more than how powerful he is physically, Seraras is a Nephilim, and if any actions he takes against Heaven or Hell will come down the rest of his kind.

I’ve seen it happen all to often. Seraras only needs to kill the wrong people at the wrong time, and whole Dominions and Circles will turn on Nephilim even more than they already do. 

Asmodeus should have come to me sooner, the right way. 

“Others could do the job,” Coldo tells the Bone Twins, as he stares at Asmodeus, “Michael could seek him out, Lucifina could take him down… if Satan, Asmodeus, Uriel and all the other names that haunt Hell’s halls set their mind to it, and risked their lives… they could take Seraras out.

“But you won’t.”

Azale’s hands tighten along her war hammer and Noella’s hand finds its place upon the angel’s. 

Coldo holds nothing back. “Big names don’t risk their lives for small name people, the Crusaders do, we’re the only ones who can.” 

Something else is going on with this Seraras, and Asmodeus knows it, but he won’t say. 

I want his resources.

The Northern Fists stands from his chair, that’s the easy way he gathers everyone’s attention to him. “We’re not going to find and bring down this Seraras for you, we’re going to do this for the people you won’t protect yourself,” Coldo both declares, and accuses.

Again, Azale finds herself angered by this many insults, and Noella is there to squeeze her hand.

“The Crusaders do this, we protect and serve the people who need protecting, people who can’t protect themselves. I’m not blind or stupid, daemons are powerful, they’re strong, but not all of them, and mortal souls are not either. We do our best to avoid taking quests from people like you because of this. You being Kings and Queens, you could do this job yourself, but you don’t want to put yourself at risk. For whatever reason I don’t care,” a white lie, “as long as you promise whatever help and resources I want to find this man.”

“You will have it,” Asmodeus says.

Coldo crosses his arms, pausing after Asmodeus’s immediate and lack of hesitation to to give him what he wants. From that, Coldo can tell few things, the only thing he can think for sure is, “Good,” but he is wrong if he thinks its good for him.

“When will you leave?” Asmodeus asks him.

“Within the week to gather supplies,” Coldo answers, “send us your information and any objects you think we will need by then.”

“Heh, sounds easy enough.”

Beatrix isn’t having this, she’s outraged actually. “How can you go along with this?! We don’t need his help! We don’t need anything from this guy!”

Coldo turns his head towards her, and she twitches. At first, Asmodeus thought that the Bone Twins could understand Coldo even without the helmet, but watching her struggle to understand his thoughts told him otherwise. 

“I can explain it all to you,” Coldo tells her, before saying the words no man or woman in all the multiverse wants to hear, “when you’ve calmed down.”

There is an audible silence as a smile breaks out across Axel’s face, and the mother of all glares forms on Beatrix.

CRASH!

Aaaahhhh!!!

With a scream she smashes her fist through the table, putting her hand through it and tearing off the corner. Coldo doesn’t even flinch like everyone else does, if Axel’s struggle to contain his laughter counts as flinching.

Beatrix turns her back to stomp off, her back to them all. She takes her hand to the broken wood and tears it in half, leaving wood and splinters all over the floor.

When they can still hear the loud banging of her footsteps, Petra asks him, “Why would you ever say that to a woman? A fury no less.”

As Axel breaks out laughing at his sister’s humiliating rage, Coldo keeps a straight face as he clasps his fingers together. “Because I wanted her to leave the room,” Coldo answers.

Coldo steps back from the table, not without saying, “Now, it’s time you left.”

There are no nice farewells to be held, none of them particularly like each other, or want anything to do with each other. They are two groups of people forced together because of circumstances becoming dire if they don’t. One group forced out of duty, and the other out of a threat.

Before the House of Asmodeus seeks to leave, Coldo calls out, “Wait, Asmodeus.”

Asmodeus turns towards Coldo, and all of his Reavers turn towards Coldo with the expectation of the worst. They didn’t know what the worst could be.

“Tell me,” Coldo begins to ask, “is your true name Clayton Knight?”

Asmodeus’s blood runs cold. “You found that out when you absorbed my energy, didn’t you?”

“No,” Coldo answers, “I just met someone with your face, and in a way, he vouched for you.”

Asmodeus hesitates before nodding. 

This is an afterlife for all life in the multiverse. If he started life as a human, why wouldn’t there be an alternate version of him. 

“Thanks to that version of me, I guess,” Asmodeus says as he turns to walk away.

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