Major Demons, page 19
“That wasn’t as fun as I wanted it to be. I think I’m going to steal her clothes. It’s the least she can do for me since she wasn’t willing to fight very hard.”
Raven removed Culsu’s clothes and then ran off to continue fighting. Culsans began circling Gangrene, driven by fury but determined to not launch a foolish attack. Gangrene started circling in the opposite direction.
“Your girlfriend is kind of insane.”
“I know. I’m into it. Your sister is kind of dead.”
Gangrene hoped this would provoke an attack, but Culsans just smiled and kept circling. Gangrene felt someone tap him on his shoulder. It was the minor demon he had talked to earlier.
“We’re through to the cave, General Gangrene. We’ve started sending the armies through. Shouldn’t be long now.”
“I’ll be there shortly. Get everyone through.”
Culsans launched himself into the air with his blades overhead. Gangrene aimed his scythe and sliced upwards. Culsans was able to land part of his attack, as each blade had sunk into Gangrene’s shoulders, but neither wound was very deep. Gangrene managed to cut Culsans in half. He pulled his scythe back and ran towards the cave. A few moments later, he was on Earth with his armies.
“We need to find the Dragon. I need to be officially named a major demon. After that, we have two choices. We can side with Shadow and fight his father or we can head back down to Hell as the new official department of idolatry. I want my tent built right now and I’d like to see all of my middle demons inside within the next ten minutes. Get it done.”
Several demons scurried off to build Gangrene’s tent and the rest of them started bandaging and cleaning injuries. Ghoul approached Gangrene and asked if he could have a word in private.
“If you’re hoping the middle demons will back your play to help Shadow, know that it’s going to be close. Half of the middle demons want to head back down to Hell and finish off Nightmare’s army to share in the spoils of war. Just… be ready for that when it comes up.”
“I haven’t made a decision yet. I could seriously go either way. My real loyalty is to my armies. If everyone decides to head back down, we’ll head back down.”
Ghoul smiled as if he was pleased with Gangrene’s answer.
“I guess I’ll see you in ten then.”
Shadow jolted awake and looked around the room. He saw the tear-streaked face of Lilith.
“Did it work? Did we bring him back?”
“I… I don’t know. He keeps yelling in different voices and different languages and he won’t open his eyes. Whatever that thing is… it isn’t Leech.”
Shadow could feel his pulse racing and recognized the effect. He saw a needle on the table next to him. Lilith connected the dots for his drug-hazed mind.
“Adrenaline was here. We couldn’t get you to wake up. He injected you with berserker drugs. They worked. Quickly.”
“Great. How long was I out?”
“Three days. Adrenaline told us all about your berserker training and how Sarah ran off with the new berserker staff. I’m sorry, Shadow. If I had known...”
“It’s fine. We had to try.”
Shadow got on his feet and waited for his surroundings to stop spinning.
“Wow. I need to stop getting my ass kicked. It really doesn’t feel good.”
Lilith didn’t respond. Shadow put his hand on her shoulder. She turned into his shoulder and started crying.
“Hey. It’ll be alright. He’s alive again. We just need to figure out the next step to bring him back. This is just a minor setback. The hard part is over. Have you tried showing him his old guns and axe?”
“That didn’t do anything.”
Shadow looked down at Leech and saw what Lilith meant about him changing voices. He also seemed to occasionally shoot fire from his hands and there were scorch marks on the table he was bolted to.
“Has Samael tried anything? Or your brothers? Do they have any ideas?”
Lilith stopped crying long enough to shake her head.
“Have you shown him your daughter?”
“I’m not exposing her to him like this. I don’t know what he’s capable of right now.”
“Tell me again the details of how he died.”
“Lilith, it’ll help. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and help me bring him back.”
“Fine. I’ll try. Our armies abandoned us and he didn’t want Azazel to hurt us… so…”
Lilith started sobbing again and Shadow helped her along.
“He ran around in the sand and drew a circle around the nephilim…”
“Yes… and then he sucked in their souls. He took all of their strength and power. Then he ran at Azazel and exploded.”
“He sucked in their souls. Isn’t that what has kept him barely alive all this time? Leftover power?”
“I guess so. I guess they’re a part of him now. That’s what Jess was saying anyways. It doesn’t really matter though because he’s useless like this.”
Shadow dug around in his pocket and pulled out the large black ring he had taken from Cain’s hand. He showed it to Lilith.
“Ugly jewelry isn’t going to make me feel better right now. I’m too upset.”
“No. It’s not for you. It’s for Leech.”
Lilith looked confused.
“You’re giving Leech a ring?”
“The legion ring. The ring we used to combine the Six into Legion. That’s why he’s speaking in different languages and cycling through powers. They’re fighting for control in there. We need to unify them so that Leech can take over. He’ll become the dominant soul and come back to us.”
“It’ll work. It has to. I can’t keep siphoning off my strength with no payoff. I already lost the berserker staff and the angel who I thought was my friend. I can’t lose Leech. Not again.”
Shadow walked over to Leech and put the legion ring on his right hand.
Leech stood in the middle of a pit, surrounded by all the nephilim he had destroyed. He didn’t know why, but he could finally see them.
“This is my body and I’m in control here. All of you need to submit and let me take over.”
His request was met by a chorus of laughter.
“Listen to me. We have the potential to be powerful. More powerful than Azazel. Maybe even more powerful than Shadow. I need all of you to stop fighting for control. Submit your will to mine and we can move on.”
One of the nephilim came clearly into view and spoke to Leech.
“You killed us. Why would we submit to you? It would be so much more entertaining to torment your loved ones until this body expires. It’s called revenge, Leech. You don’t have control anymore.”
“I’ll make you a deal then. Choose a champion from among your ranks and I will fight him. Or her. Whatever. If I win, I get complete control. If I lose, the nephilim can take over this body. Do we have a deal?”
“We pick the location.”
“Sure. Fine. Anything is better than this pit we’re in right now.”
Leech and the nephilim were suddenly in a swamp.
“When we win, we will destroy you and then kill Lilith and your daughter.”
“You won’t win.”
A vine crept out of the swamp and wrapped itself around Leech’s ankle. Several other vines started crawling their way towards his other limbs. Leech looked around, hoping for something to cut them with. Suddenly, his back felt heavier. He reached back and retrieved his axe. A few minutes later, he was free of the vines. The vines, grass, and bushes crawled away from Leech like snakes and gathered into a large beast-like creature.
“Remember our deal, Leech. They die when we win.”
Leech tried to use his parasitic touch, but nothing happened. He closed his eyes and imagined his guns were attached to his belt. When he opened his eyes, they were exactly
Weapon knew the angels were tracking him, but there was nothing he could do to slow them down. He had to get out of the area quickly and find Shadow. If the idiotic group of nephilim that had captured him was right, being around Shadow and Samael was the safest place to be right now.
Weapon wasn’t using his motorcycle because it made too much noise and would be a dead giveaway. He had decided to roll down the street on a skateboard he had pulled from his coat. There weren’t many situations where the skateboard was preferable to his motorcycle, so Weapon was enjoying the change of pace.
Weapon moved in the direction his senses told him to. He had been able to track down other nephilim before and tracking was made easier by the fact that there were several of them in one location. As he neared the group, he saw a much larger force than he expected. He pocketed his skateboard and hid out in the bushes with his binoculars. When he zoomed in, he confirmed his suspicions. Berserker demons. Lots of them. It didn’t make any sense because he also felt that the nephilim were very close.
“Maybe they were captured.”
As Weapon said it, he could tell it sounded ridiculous. Samael and his children weren’t captured. They could take care of themselves. He didn’t know what the situation was, but he knew they were in there. He decided to approach the camp, but clearly signal who he was in case they saw him from a distance.
One of the berserker demons on guard duty made his way quickly to Adrenaline. Adrenaline had been explaining some berserker techniques to Thanatos, as he played with his niece.
“There’s something approaching. He has a large weapon of some kind, but we’re unsure what it is.”
“Send a band out to capture it.”
“I’ll lead them out there. We may need to kill this thing and I haven’t killed anything in a while. My hands are starting to get… itchy.”
“Sure. Let Thanatos lead a group out there. Bind the creature and bring it in alive if you can.” Thanatos nodded and delivered baby Lucia to Muan. He grabbed his large axe and started walking towards the approaching creature. Several berserker demons followed him.
Weapon saw the small band approaching. He grabbed his binoculars again. He could see a few berserker demons being led by Thanatos.
Weapon recalled that Thanatos had tried to kill him and didn’t know if he would try again when separated from Lilith. After all, she was the only one who argued to spare his life. He decided to send a warning. He aimed at an area somewhat to the right of the approaching band and fired his rocket launcher.
Thantos saw the rocket explode and immediately knew who he was dealing with. His only remaining decision was what to do about it. He still wanted to kill Weapon, but knew that Lilith would be mad at him if she found out. She didn’t want them killing nephilim anymore. If he killed Weapon, she would probably stop letting him babysit his niece and he didn’t like that thought.
“It’s a nephilim named Weapon. He has a rocket launcher. I don’t know why he’s here. He told us he was going to leave us alone. I’ll try to disarm him and we’ll bring him in alive. If he resists at all, attack from all sides and put him down. He’s a dangerous little fucker.”
The berserkers nodded and fanned out so they could encircle the approaching nephilim. When they came close enough, Weapon rested the rocket launcher on his shoulder.
“What up, Big T? I need to talk to Lilith and Shadow, if he’s here.”
“Put the rocket launcher down.”
Weapon opened his coat and Thanatos shook his head.
“On the ground. Not back in the coat. Take your fucking coat off while you’re at it.”
Weapon placed his rocket launcher on the ground and then stepped back several paces to remove his coat.
“I’m just here to talk.”
“You fired a rocket at us. Again.”
Weapon rolled his eyes.
“That didn’t count. I missed on purpose. It wasn’t even close to you guys. I just wanted to give you a heads up that it was me so you wouldn’t shoot me before I got a chance to talk to Shadow and Lilith.”
Weapon removed his coat and draped it over his arm.
“You going to try to kill me, Thanatos? ‘Cuz if you are, I’m going to keep my coat. If you want to kill me, you’ll have to take me down fully armed.”
“Lilith wants you alive. Put the coat on the ground and step back.”
“You’re not answering my question. Lilith wants me alive. Does that mean you aren’t going to kill me?”
“Not today. Now put the fucking coat on the fucking ground and step the fuck back.”
“That’s all I needed to hear. The first part… not the chorus of ‘fucks.’”
Weapon folded his coat and laid it on the ground before backing away. The berserker demons retrieved the coat and the rocket launcher. Thanatos grabbed Weapons arms and shoved them behind his back before tying them together. He shoved him with his axe towards Shadow’s tent. When they made it to Shadow’s tent, Thanatos poked his head in.
“It’s that Weapon asshole. He’s back and he fired a rocket at us again.”
Thanatos withdrew his head and shoved Weapon inside. Lilith looked amused.
“Shadow, this is Weapon. He’s the nephilim I told you about. He likes to hide stuff in his coat.”
Thanatos entered and dropped the coat on the table. He placed the rocket launcher in a chest of weapons and then shut and locked it, knowing his niece would be curious. As he looked back at the table, he saw Lucia already getting in to the coat and searching its inner pockets. He rushed to the table to pick her up. When he pulled her out of the coat, she brought a wrapped demon arm with her. Thanatos unwrapped it and let her chew on it. Weapon shook his head.
“What is it with you guys and stealing my food? That was supposed to be my dinner.”
“Maybe if your go-to reaction wasn’t ‘I’ll fire a rocket,’ you wouldn’t have issues like that as often.”
Thanatos took Lucia out of the room. Shadow picked up the coat with curiousity.
“How much can this thing hold?”
“Not sure. Don’t even know if it has a limit.”
“And you made it yourself?”
“Gift. Look… I’m not here to be interrogated. I ran into one of Uriel’s patrolling bands and I’d like to help you kill all the angels. Or all the demons. Or whatever. I forgot what your mission actually is. I just know it’s not safe out there right now and I’d rather hang around you guys until things settle down.”
“And why should we trust you? Samael told me you wanted nothing to do with us.”
“That was before I found out you were with them. I figure this is the safest place to be right now. Having your own personal berserker army is just the icing on the cake.”
“They aren’t mine. You still haven’t answered my question.”
“Give me a chance. You’ll learn to trust me and I can be useful. I have at least moderate skill with every weapon in my coat.”
“How many weapons do you have in your coat?”
Weapon thought for a minute.
“You know… I don’t remember anymore.”
Lilith pulled a chainsaw out of one of the coat’s pockets.
“Why don’t you prove it to us?”
She turned to Shadow.
“We can set up a bunch of targets and have Weapon give us a demonstration.”
“I like it. Show us what you can do and maybe you’ll be worth keeping around. Meet us outside in five minutes.”
“Is anyone going to cut me free?”
“Yup. In five minutes.”
Shadow and Lilith assembled a bunch of targets and straw men. Lilith cast a spell on a few of them to make them move. Weapon was able to hit them with every item he pulled from his coat, including reg
Gangrene met with his middle demons and presented what he hoped would be a compelling speech in favor of helping Shadow. He tried to find ways to appeal to their self-interest since he knew loyalty would be a failing argument. Then he called for a vote. Four middle demons voted to help Shadow and five voted to return to Hell. Gangrene could have voted himself and then made the decision when the results were a tie, but he let the vote stand.
“We’ll go to the Dragon, I’ll become a major demon, and then we’ll return to Hell to claim our share of Astaroth’s and Nightmare’s armies and treasure.”
As the middle demons filed out, Raven looked angry.
“We’ve discussed this before, Raven. We have to put ourselves ahead of Shadow and your sister. I have to do what’s best for my armies and the department.”
“And you think your middle demons know what’s best? You’re their leader. You decide what’s best. You could have overruled their vote.”
“And had five middle demons plotting to kill me the second we start fighting on Shadow’s side? I don’t think so. The other four only voted to help Shadow because they knew it’s what I wanted. They’ll be fine with returning to Hell.”
“Fine. You want to be a major demon. I know we’ve already discussed this. We have to do what’s best for us… but Gangrene…”
“Find a way to help them anyways.”
“You’ll think of something.”
Within a few days, Gangrene had tracked down the Dragon and his armies. When they entered the camp, they were stopped by one of the giants.
“No one comes in unless they have a scythe. The Dragon isn’t interested in talking to anyone else right now.”
Gangrene’s middle demons put their hands on their weapons and waited for Gangrene to give them a signal, but he shook his head.
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