Major demons, p.8

Major Demons, page 8

 

Major Demons
 


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  “It’s a nephilim. I’m pretty certain… but I agree with your point. We’ll attack with ice first.”

  As they started trudging through the hills again, a dagger flew through the air and cut Sarah’s arm. It wasn’t deep and she didn’t take time to worry about it. She looked at Shadow as if to say, “Let’s do this.” Shadow nodded.

  Both Shadow and Sarah attacked with ice whenever they saw the creature moving in the shadows. He was quick and neither of them could hit him.

  “Why don’t you come out?”

  “And be attacked by both of you in the open? I don’t think so.”

  It wasn’t Azazel’s voice, but Shadow felt that he recognized it. He couldn’t place it immediately.

  “I’m fine with one-on-one against either one of us.”

  Shadow looked at Sarah, wondering if she would be worried. She looked calm. Shadow realized that she also knew Azazel’s voice and knew that this nephilim wasn’t him. After Shadow’s promise, Scapegoat stepped out into the open. Shadow grinned. The creature was burned in several spots and Shadow could tell that the pain hadn’t fully subsided. Leech’s final play had kicked his ass along with Azazel’s.

  “Fine. I choose the angel. Shadow teleports away and watches from a distance or we don’t have a deal.”

  Shadow looked over at Sarah and she nodded. He teleported away and rested with Damnation in his hand. He was ready to teleport back if Sarah needed him. Scapegoat shook his head.

  “That’s too close. I want you barely able to see us. I don’t trust you.”

  Shadow teleported father away. He sat on a large hill and could still see Scapegoat and Sarah, but barely. Scapegoat nodded approval and drew his blade.

  “This sword was crafted by Azazel when he resided in the Heavens and is superior to any weapon of the angels. I will make your death quick and clean and I will take your head to my master. Goodbye, granddaughter of the Archangels.”

  Scapegoat attacked with speed but Sarah dodged the swipe and kicked at one of his legs. Scapegoat stumbled but was able to regain his footing and turned before Sarah could counter-attack.

  “I will not be killed quickly or cleanly. If you’re able to kill me at all, you’ll die from your own wounds shortly after I do.”

  Scapegoat angrily charged and Sarah readied herself. Scapegoat skidded to a stop shortly in front of Sarah and cut her arm before turning and running. The cut was shallow but it annoyed Sarah all the same. She pulled a dagger from her belt and threw it at Scapegoat. He knocked it away with his sword.

  “Death by a thousand cuts. You have yet to draw blood from me.”

  “Let’s change that then, nephilim.”

  This time, Sarah charged. Scapegoat disappeared. Sarah didn’t want to be taken by surprise, so she froze the ground around her and started building up a wall of ice. She strengthened it on all sides until she was sitting in an icy prison. Sarah sat in the middle and waited. Scapegoat would not be given the element of surprise. If he wanted to attack, he’d have to break through the ice and warn Sarah.

  Sarah smelled something burning and saw that her icy fortification was melting. Scapegoat had summoned fire to circle the icy walls and then retreated again. Sarah looked for Scapegoat through the ice but didn’t see him. She decided to use a technique Shadow had taught her. She stood, closed her eyes, and waited. Scapegoat attacked and stabbed at her back. Sarah spun, grabbed his sword hand, and began freezing it. Scapegoat cried out in pain and dropped his weapon. He stumbled back several steps, clutching his frozen hand. Sarah retrieved his sword.

  “I guess it doesn’t matter if I drew blood because I have your weapon now.”

  Scapegoat summoned flames in both hands.

  “Nephilim are resourceful. I don’t need a sword to kill you.”

  Sarah sheathed both blades on her belt and summoned ice in both hands. Scapegoat proceeded to throw fire and Sarah targeted it with precision, throwing ice to stop it. She became focused on the fire and Scapegoat thought she wouldn’t notice his attempt to sneak up on her. Scapegoat disappeared and charged again. He summoned fire and placed a burning hand on Sarah’s shoulder. Sarah cried out, but drew Scapegoat’s blade from her belt, spun, and stabbed Scapegoat through his right rib cage with his own blade. Scapegoat fell to his knees but quickly pulled his sword out and disappeared again. Sarah grinned.

  “Was that enough blood for you?”

  Scapegoat didn’t respond. He knew he was being taunted and didn’t want to give away his position. Sarah drew her sword and used her free hand to cool the burn on her shoulder. She continued to look for Scapegoat but saw no traces of where he had run until she noticed the blood in the grass. She started following the trail of blood until she found Scapegoat. He was shifting back and forth between being invisible and lying in a puddle of his own blood. Sarah stepped on his throat. Scapegoat pulled something out of his jacket and then died. A small circular object rolled out of his cold hand. Sarah saw it and started running. She only made it a few steps before the bomb exploded.

  CHAPTER 18

  Gangrene made his way up the stairs to Murmur’s headquarters. Lilith had told him they wanted to make a deal. She seemed to be doing better and Gangrene noted that she was less depressed. Something was driving her. He had no idea what it was, but he was glad that she was feeling better.

  A small demon tugged at Gangrene’s cloak and pointed down the hall, then ran off to announce that he had arrived. Gangrene entered the room at the end of the hall and realized something. Murmur was doing a lot better than he led them to believe. Many of the legendary items of Hell rumored to be lost were on display in the room. He imagined some of them weren’t even fakes.

  Murmur sat in Leviathan’s old golden throne at the head of a long marble table. Jess was seated next to him. He extended a hand for Gangrene to sit.

  “Lilith told me you guys met her at Dagon’s. Why am I getting the special treatment?”

  “We need your help with something. Jess is going after a new mage staff. It’s guarded by three giants who can only be harmed by scythes. We’ve already made a deal with Lilith. She’s in. We need to know if you’ll help us.”

  “What’s in it for me?”

  Murmur grinned.

  “What do you want?”

  “It’s simple, really. I command Shadow’s armies after he renounced his major demon position. I want to take Leech’s spot. Major demon of idolatry. I know the traitors from Leech’s and Lilith’s armies are now under your command. I don’t want them back. Fuck them. I want you to recognize my claim until the Dragon returns and support me after he’s back.”

  Jess shook her head.

  “My brother, Aim, has already tentatively taken the position of…”

  Murmur cut her off.

  “With Shadow renouncing his claim, I think we can make something work. You become the major demon of idolatry. Aim becomes the major demon of murder. There’s no reason we can’t switch things up to make a deal.”

  “That’s a good way to look at it. It’s all just speculation anyways. Yes, I have an army and a scythe. There’s still the possibility that the Dragon could shoot down my claim to becoming a major demon when he returns. I’m sorry… if he returns.”

  Murmur looked confused.

  “What do you mean ‘if he returns?’ He’s the Dragon. I’m not sure he can be killed. We took him on as the Six and weren’t able to kill him. You think that Abaddon has a better shot than the rest of us?”

  “The only being in existence that could kill the Dragon is Michael. Well… scratch that… Michael and God. God doesn’t come down from Heaven to kill things though… so Michael. Abaddon is a combination of Michael and Queen Persephone. An angel and a demon. Nephilim are also generally more powerful and deadly than either angels or demons. So there’s a real possibility that Abaddon is stronger than Michael. I think he has a good chance of killing the Dragon.”

  “Interesting. I always thought it was a foregone conclusion that the Drago
n would return. If he doesn’t, the balance of power tips in our favor. We could march on Nightmare and Astaroth and destroy them.”

  Gangrene held up his hands.

  “Slow down. This is all just speculation. We were talking about a deal to get the monkey stick thing for Jess. I’m in if you agree to my terms. I’m acting major demon of idolatry. I have the best claim with Shadow’s army and Leech’s scythe. Are we agreed?”

  Jess and Murmur both nodded. Jess stood and stretched her arms.

  “Enough talk and enough deals. Let’s go get Lilith and take care of this. Just the four of us. The three of you fight the giants with your scythes and I’ll run in and grab the staff of the monkey king.”

  Gangrene and Murmur were less enthusiastic, but they both stood. Murmur extended his hand towards the exit.

  “Your mission… you lead.”

  Jess walked out the exit and headed towards Lilith’s house.

  Lilith had been living in the house of her adoptive father, Panic, for several days. Panic had been killed in the wars of the major demons and had no other family, so Lilith took possession of the small shack. She had known it was possible he would die but had been too focused on other things to care. After losing Leech, Panic’s death just added to her sadness. Lucia cried in the other room and Lilith opened a can. The can screamed. She placed the damned soul in a bottle and gave it to her daughter, who sucked contentedly on her meal.

  Jess knocked at the door and Lilith let her in.

  “I found a spell that should give Leech a chance at returning. It’s definitely more than my current staff can handle, though. I made a deal with Gangrene. You ready to take on the giants?”

  Raven entered the small house from the back and nodded at Lilith.

  “Looks like my babysitter is here. Let’s do this and then I’ll hand over my scythe. Lead the way.”

  CHAPTER 19

  When Shadow saw the explosion, he immediately teleported to where Sarah was and stood in the path of the fire. The flames ate at his cape and but his armor shielded him from any serious injury. When the explosion finally stopped, Shadow turned quickly and hacked the charred remnants of Scapegoat into several pieces.

  “I should have killed you a long time ago.”

  Shadow turned to Sarah, who was lying motionless on the cold ground. It looked like she had tried to freeze herself before the explosion but was unsuccessful. Her arms and legs appeared to be badly burned.

  “I guess the two of you weren’t ready to leave the protection of the angels after all…”

  In one swift motion, Shadow pulled Damnation from his belt and turned to face the voice. He saw Gabriel frowning at him.

  “She wasn’t ready to fight a nephilim.”

  “Agree to disagree. The nephilim is dead. No one knew he was going to suicide bomb her.”

  “And yet you sent her in anyways instead of demanding the fight for yourself.”

  “Well I have a couple thoughts. First, you don’t know any more about nephilim than I do. So stop pretending this could have somehow been prevented. Second, how about you stop bitching and see if you can help her? I don’t have any healing powers. That’s an angel’s job.”

  Grabriel kept a tense expression trained on Shadow as he bent down to feel Sarah’s pulse. He put his hand over her eyes and muttered some words Shadow couldn’t hear. Sarah coughed and her eyes opened briefly but she didn’t sit up or say anything. Gabriel lifted her into his arms and Shadow put his hand on Gabriel’s shoulder.

  “You’re not taking her away.”

  Gabriel turned to face Shadow. His eyes burned with a white hot flame and his voice dropped several octaves and gained a booming, thunder summoning quality.

  “You will no longer interfere with my family, demon. She is done here. I should have taken her back when it was clear we couldn’t work with your kind.”

  Shadow raised one of Damnation’s blades to Gabriel’s throat.

  “Put her down, old man.”

  Gabriel did as requested, but only to draw his sword. Shadow could feel his adrenaline kicking in. There was no one to stop him from killing the Archangel this time. Sarah had closed her eyes again and appeared to be out cold.

  Shadow swung Damnation and Gabriel met the attack with his blade. Gabriel punched Shadow in the face. Shadow felt his nose start to trickle blood. He responded by head-butting Gabriel, which drew a similar reaction from the Archangel’s nose. Shadow grinned.

  “I guess Archangels bleed just like everyone else.”

  Shadow saw Gabriel summoning ice in his hands and did the same. The two streams of ice met in the middle and started creating a large icicle. While Gabriel continued to shoot ice, Shadow crashed through from the other side of the icicle and kicked the Archangel hard in the gut. Gabriel fell to one knee.

  Shadow didn’t waste any time. He brought down Damnation swiftly at Gabriel’s head. The attack reminded him of the short battle he should have conclusively won against Nightmare in the trials. Surprise registered on his face when Damnation stopped before embedding a blade in Gabriel’s neck.

  Gabriel had reached up and grabbed one of Damnation’s blades with his hand. He brought his forearm down on Shadow’s arms and was able to pry Damnation from his hands. Gabriel turned and threw the weapon as far as he could.

  “Let’s see how cocky you are without your scythe, demon.”

  Gabriel lunged with his blade and stabbed Shadow through the heart. Shadow cried out in pain before falling to the ground. Gabriel savored the moment only to be punched in the face. He looked at the place where Shadow had fallen and realized that Shadow had cloned himself. The clone vanished when it hit the ground. Shadow grinned again.

  “I didn’t think that would work on you, old man. I thought you were better than that.”

  “You still don’t have your weapon, demon.”

  Shadow retrieved Michael’s short blade from his belt. He cloned himself again, this time producing five Shadows. They all attacked at the same time. Gabriel stabbed his sword into the ground and looked up at the heavens. Lightning struck and Shadow’s clones disappeared. Shadow flew back and dropped Michael’s short blade.

  Gabriel retrieved his sword and charged. Shadow grasped for the short blade but it was out of reach. He knew he didn’t have much time before Gabriel would close the distance between them. Instead of grasping for his sword or attempting to get back on his feet, he stretched his arm in the direction he had seen Damnation fly when Gabriel threw it.

  Gabriel stood over Shadow and smiled.

  “You will no longer be a plague on my family and an abomination on this Earth.”

  Gabriel stabbed down at Shadow but his blade was met by Damnation. Shadow climbed the scythe fist over fist until he was back on his feet. He delivered a spinning back kick to Gabriel’s chest and Gabriel stumbled backwards several paces.

  “Another illusion? I thought I threw that away.”

  “Ever met a nephilim named Azazel? He liked taking my scythes away from me too. I talked about it with my friend, Jess. Damnation was forged with my blood because I needed a way to make the second blade invisible when I showed my scythe to the Dragon. Jess cast a spell that allows me to recall it because it’s a part of me. Azazel can’t keep it away from me and neither can you.”

  Gabriel laughed.

  “Clever, little demon. However, all you’re doing is delaying the inevitable. I have an offense I’ve developed over thousands of years. You have nothing but little tricks and an inflated sense of your own power. It’s only a matter of time.”

  Gabriel didn’t continue his attack. Shadow could tell he was hesitating. He sensed something else approaching from behind and quickly stepped out of the way. An arrow sailed past him and directly at Gabriel. Gabriel cut it in half with his blade.

  “So you’ve got Remiel hiding in the bushes somewhere?”

  Gabriel attacked again and Shadow deflected the blow. As they traded hits, it dawned on him that Gabriel could simply be
distracting him while Remiel quietly dragged Sarah away. His theory was confirmed when he looked at the spot where Sarah was and saw Remiel hoisting her onto his shoulders. Shadow continued to fight with Damnation in one hand but lifted his other towards Remiel. Remiel lifted off the ground and moved towards Shadow. When he dropped the few inches back to the Earth, Shadow grabbed his head and quickly planted a hallucination. Remiel loaded an arrow from his quiver and shot it at Gabriel. Gabriel deflected it.

  “What did you do to him?”

  “Another ‘little trick,’ as you like to call them. I’m in Remiel’s mind. There’s not much in there, so it was pretty easy to take over.”

  Shadow saw a crow land at Sarah’s feet. Shadow nodded at it and then continued to attack Gabriel. The crow changed into a bear, lifted Sarah, and ran away. When Shadow saw that they were nearly out of sight, he cut off Remiel’s head and teleported away.

  CHAPTER 20

  Jess, Gangrene, Lilith, and Murmur quietly circled the first giant they had found guarding the staff of the monkey king. The giant had two heads and they seemed to be arguing with each other.

  “It’s time for a snack.”

  “No it isn’t. We already had a snack. It’s time for dinner.”

  “We haven’t even had lunch yet!”

  “I can have dinner whenever I want.”

  “No you can’t! Not without my permission!”

  The giant’s right fist swung up and punched the left head. Jess giggled.

  “Alright guys.”

  Lilith frowned.

  “Alright guys… and Lilith. I know it looks like we should just attack the two-headed giant all at once. The other two giants have to be near here though. My plan is for one of you to fight this one and then the other three will move on. Any volunteers?”

  Gangrene nodded.

  “Yeah… I’d really like to kill this one. Listening to them arguing is giving me a migraine. Who the hell argues with themselves like that?”

 
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