The King of Hell and Claudius reached the study at the same time. Unfortunately, the first was late, and the latter had no reason to be there. As soon as I smelled the first hint of brimstone, I turned and aimed for the demon king.
With a flick of my wrist, I tossed his narrow ass against a wall. The plaster dented, and a crack forked over the cream-colored surface. His dark eyes widened before turning blood-red.
“What is the meaning of this?” he bellowed.
His son stood to the side with a satisfied smirk on his handsome face.
Stalking toward the king, I pointed my finger and sparks flew. “Do you want my ass in Hell so bad that you’d help a Highmore bitch?”
The grin faded from Claudius’s face. “Dad, what the fuck is she talking about?”
The king lifted his hand, and I froze in place. Obviously, I’d pushed the boundaries with the demon. “First, although I would like your shapely ass with me, I do not play games! Second, do not accuse me of doing anything without proof.”
“Dad?” Claudius asked cautiously.
“Shut the fuck up!” Ashmedai fisted his free hand, and not another word was heard from Claudius.
Okay, maybe we had both pushed the limits.
Ashmedai lowered his hands, but I was still stuck in one spot. “If I allow you to move, will you behave yourself?”
“Yes,” I murmured.
“Good.” Addressing his son, he said, “I’ll return your voice, but you had better not speak unless I ask you a question. Understood?”
Claudius’s gaze darkened, but he acquiesced and nodded.
“Very well. As you were.” Ashmedai brushed a hand over his lapels before taking his place beside the fireplace. “Explain yourself, Elsbeth. And, I warn you. It had better be good.”
I told him what happened at the Council meeting and then filled him in on the news Yumi delivered. I even showed the demon the petitions, which he studied. Time stretched and minutes felt like hours. Slowly, the king lifted his head.
“You think I had something to do with this?” He tossed the sheets into the fire. The flames grew and threatened to leap beyond their barrier. “That was done with sorcerer magic. Besides, I told you that I don’t play games. This is all Maeve Highmore’s doing. I do admit that the witch was clever. If Hiro came to me with that stack of shit, I would have assumed it was all true. I would have had no choice but to summon you to Hell.”
“But?” I said, taking my seat across from him.
“But you forget I am a smart demon. Despite my need for chaos, I don’t practice deception unless I will profit from it. Dragging you to Hell, although a tempting thought, would do no good. You have to come of your own will. Otherwise, I can’t keep you unless you’re dead.”
“And you’ve harvested my soul,” I added.
“Exactly. We do have an interesting situation though. Drastic measures call for drastic retribution.”
Claudius came over and stopped by my side. “What are you going to do, Dad?”
His father’s lips curled up, and he stroked his pointed beard. “It will be deliciously chaotic, but first we must set the stage.”
Maeve Highmore and Rose Russell poked the wrong demon.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish