They were legions, they were a giant army of beautiful angelic soldiers with glistening armor, and their arrival made the earth tremble. I felt it in my gut, accompanied by a sense of impending doom. Oh, yeah, they were here.
“Lookit, the best thing we can do is find a spot to hide in and-”
Charr gave me a look. “I know these guys!” I protested.
“Just try,” she said angrily. “Just use your powers!” She lifted my arms by the wrists. It made my stomach wrench in pain. “Just – do it!”
“Charr,” I whined, dropping my arms to clutch my stomach. “I’m not Kuryo. I can’t do this. I don’t know how!” I could lift my arms all I wanted, I had no idea how Kuryo ate things!
Charr looked at me. Something shifted across her expression.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “But I can’t help you.”
Charr seized me by the arm. She began marching forward, dragging me after her. I wheezed and followed, not bothering to protest. That is, until a giant angel with only one wing landed in front of us. Smack!
The earth shook again. The armor gleamed. Flowing hair descended from the sides of the helmet and – yeah – we were about to get incinerated by that giant sword with flames all over it.
Until Charr held up a hand. “Wait!” she shouted. Then she held up my hand. “I’ve got something your leader will want! Take me to them!”
Oh no. No no no.
And that, ladies and gentlemen and all other peoples besides, was how we ended up back in hell’s living room.
It was an elaborate, fanciful room that was like a parody of a chapel. There was grotesquely sexual paintings all over the place, complete with torture scenes (because why not?) and even some pillars were, well, shaped.
And in this living room was cushions, servants, and oh yeah, my ex. And Lucifer. But I’d rather the Lying One over… Bella.
Bella was pacing in the middle of the room like a frantic cat. Her eyes were wild, her lip gnawed, and she was fidgeting with her hair. Lucifer was lounging in a chair like another kind of cat, with a glass of wine in hand.
“What is this?” Bella hissed the minute we entered.
The guard pushed us forward. Charr was still gripping my arm. I was woozy now and starting to bleed through my bandages, I was sure of it.
In Enochian, the guard explained curtly that apparently we were wanted. Bella snorted. Lucifer looked us up and down lazily.
“Well they don’t look like much,” Lucifer drawled. Bella huffed and crossed her arms.
“They’re rubbish!” she snapped. “Useless! Get rid of them!”
“Oh, sorry,” said Charr. “But you don’t want this?” and she yanked up the necklace from around my neck. The black box thingie.
Bella snorted. “What is that?”
But behind her, Lucifer tensed. His position shifted ever so slightly. Then, making sure to appear nonchalant, he relaxed.
“What is that thing?” asked Bella sharply. “A necklace?”
“It’s the power to travel to another dimension, if you dare,” said Charr angrily. “And,” she shoved me forward “I’m throwing him into the bargain.”
Bella laughed softly. “Your boyfriend? Why? You think I care?”
“He cheated on me, with you,” Charr said as I just stood there, wondering what the hell was going on. “But more importantly, when you shot him, Chaos’ soul fled. He stole Kuryo’s power and left.”
Lucifer shifted, no longer looking so relaxed. But he was behind Bella, so she was not seeing this at all. She just shrugged and said “So?”
Charr rolled her eyes like she was fed up with dealing with toddlers. “Look, are you daft? He’s useless! You left an imbalance between the dimensions, and Chaos used that to get away -” and she jabbed a finger at me. “With his powers! The necklace won’t work anymore. It belongs to Chaos now. But he’s not here, is he?”
Uhhhh. Wait a minute.
Lucifer unfurled from the chair and stalked over on impossibly high heels, swirling his glass of wine. “So what, exactly, are you suggesting?” he asked sweetly as he stepped to Bella’s side. He looped an arm around her waist and pressed into her side like they were best friends. Bella just looked uncomfortable, but too proud to admit it.
Charr lifted her chin. She was braced for war. “Bring back Chaos. The necklace will work for him, and you will have a new dimension to conquer. If you can get him to do what you want, that is.”
Bella was frowning but Lucifer’s eyes sparkled merrily. “And what do you get out of this?” he cooed. “Why are you bringing us this – gift?”
Charr smiled, and it was a bad sign. “I want revenge.” She pointed to me. “You were a waste of time, and Chaos screwed my life over. Bring him back here, and let me punish him!”
There was a pause. Lucifer was smirking. Bella looked completely nonplussed. “How are we supposed to do that?” she asked roughly. “Why would we do that for you?”
Charr opened her mouth, but Lucifer slipped in, leaning to speak near Bella’s ear. “Don’t you want all the dimensions to kneel before you? Think of it.”
“But,” Bella said hesitantly. Lucifer’s eyes narrowed dangerously. Again, Bella didn’t seem to notice, her gaze fixated on Charr, where she thought the danger was from.
Charr gestured to me. “You’ve got the necklace! Use it to undo the last spirit transfer! That’s it!”
uhh, I held my silence. Nope, I didn’t know what to do, and was heavily wondering if there even was anything I could do. Like, I could open my trap and say “I’m Chaos!” or I could shut my trap and pass off as Kuryo. One of those might just fix part of my life’s screw-ups so far. Might.
So I hunkered down, held my stomach that felt like it was being torn apart from the inside by a woodchipper, and pretended to be kuryo. Which, by the way, I was sure was not to be silent. The guy just had spunk. But I didn’t know what else to do minus being all ‘Me Kuryo! I Kuryo! Yes, yes, Kuryo!’. So I shut my trap while, essentially, I was being traded off.
Lucifer took the necklace from Charr. There was a ripple of magic through t he air as the gods’ fingers touched the black box. Oh yes, that thing just exuded magic now. SO much that – with a hiss of pain, Lucifer was forced to drop it.
The necklace hit the floor somewhere between his heels and Bella’s flat-heeled boots. She didn’t move to pick it up, just looking from it to Charr. The two women looked like they wanted to wrestle – the old fashioned way, with axes and chainsaws involved.
Lucifer, grimacing like this was the worst birthday party ever, nudged the black box with his shoe. Then, as if it was not doing what it was supposed to, he stomped on it – hard.
Charr shrieked as it shattered. Bits of black flew in all directions and there was a shudder that went through the air.
“Come here and talk!” Lucifer said to no one in particular. Or maybe- the shimmer in the air held. It vibrated, holding still. Then, it took shape.
There, off to the side so we formed a circle, appeared the beings in the suits that I had previously met at the weird beach. The man with long black hair looked pristine as ever, and the woman shimmered like she just couldn’t have enough rhinestones. She was grinning like this was the best day ever, but her eyes were vicious.
“Who goes around smashing other people’s tokens?” she asked, combing her too-long bangs back from her face. “Is this some declaration of war?”
Lucifer laughed like he was drunk at a party. “Of course not! I just really needed your attention. Lucifer, by the way, now,” he flicked a finger between himself and Bella. “We just really need the last spirit that passed from our realm to yours. How’s that?”
The orange eyed woman cocked her head to the side but didn’t say anything, grin firmly in place. Lucifer chatted on. “There’s a whole love story going on and I won’t bore you with the details but – we really need that one. So please?” he gestured to me. “Swap you with this one.”
Okay, she could drop that grin about now. But she didn’t. “The last spirit to cross the dimensions was a death. It would need a body.”
Charr held up a hand. “I’ll host. At least for now.”
Bella frowned, but didn’t speak up. The man beside the orange-eyed woman smiled, and the two of them smiling together was just – off. It boded no good.
With an opulent gesture the sparkling woman bowed, flipping her hands out before herself as if giving us an extravagant gift. “Well, if you feel like this is so serious – we will do the transfer. Take care now.”
The world slipped out from under me immediately.