‘Crisis’ – Chapter Two by Guest Author R.C. Hutchins

Robin Hutchins - PictureThe drive to the hospital did not take as long as the demon lord first thought. When the car pulled into the hospital parking lot, Belial glanced once at the sleeping form of his young sorcerer and let himself smile, just a little. The car engine turned slowly after the demon lord shut the car off. Stretching languidly, Belial leaned over the space between the passenger and him, stretching his hand leisurely toward the human’s face. His long nails smoothed over the worry lines at the corner of Koen’s lips and Belial purred softly.

“You’re far too young for worry lines…” the demon purred softly. But then the human stirred and the demon lord pulled back his hand as if struck. In a louder voice, Belial said, “We’re here, pet.”

—–

“…too young for worry lines…” came his purr, interrupting my sleep. I stirred slowly, blinking blearily in the afternoon light. “We’re here, pet.”

At the words, I shifted and stretched slowly, arching my back as I stretched. “Nnng… It’s only ten past eleven? I thought the drive was a five hour trip?”

The demon lord shrugged slightly. “There was no traffic.”

“…how badly did you speed?” I frowned, pushing out my lower lip slightly.

“Oh, don’t pout at me, pet,” Belial chuckled, “I went the speed limit.”

I didn’t exactly believe him, but I sighed and stretched again. “Alright, well… let’s go in.”

Yawning, I unbuckled my seatbelt, opened the door, and stepped out into the glaring sun. Holding a hand above my eyes, I winced at the intensity of the sun. “This is the hospital?” I asked, disbelieving as I looked at the squatting monster of a building. “It looks… smaller than I expected… and not exactly wealthy. I thought Mr. Julius would have installed him in a … much nicer hospital…”

Belial shrugged nonchalant as he stood from the car, shutting the door behind him. “This is Berisville Central,” the demon lord insisted, then turned his horned head toward me, “Here, catch.”

I was lucky to see the glint of the keys as he tossed them towards me. “Hey, hey, give me more warning!” I growled as I caught the keys, wincing as they dug into my skin. Muttering a curse, I shoved the keys into the pockets of my jacket. “Do you know what room he’s in?”

“I thought I’d let you figure that out when we get inside,” the demon lord chuckled and smirked as he walked.

I blanched at that. “You’re not going in looking like that, are you? I mean – well – you’ll really stand out, you know? And scare everyone.”

The demon lord laughed, glancing over his shoulder. “Really? How exciting.”

“…Belial, please change your appearance, I know you can,” I pleaded, catching up to him and cutting him off. “Please?”

The demon lord tilted his head, his lips quirked in a cruel, amused smirk. “You believe a please will melt my heart?”

“Do I have to bargain with you every time I ask you to do something?” I muttered, crossing my arms and frowning at him.

“Oh, perhaps… though I think that pout is going to become a weakness. You do look so adorable with your lip stuck out like that,” the demon lord smirked at me, lifting a hand to cup my chin. He gripped my chin between his pointer finger and his thumb, tilting my head up. “I’ll give you a discount this time, though. Kiss me and I’ll change to look more human.”

My eyes widened at that and I felt a deep blush spreading before I could stop it. “You want another kiss?”

“Indeed I do,” Belial purred, “and not just any kiss… make me believe you want to kiss me, make me believe that you do not detest me.”

I bit my inner cheek, swallowing hard. “Then I assume on the cheek will not do…”

Belial smiled slowly, “Indeed it will not.”

With a muttered curse and a sigh, I leaned up – as he was taller than I – and kissed him on the lips, pressing closer to him and slipping my arms around his neck, imagining I was kissing Derrick. It was the only way to do this without gagging.

His lips opened and his tongue sought my own, drawing me inside his mouth. But then my tongue brushed his fangs and the image I had built of Derrick shattered.

With a quick jerk, I pulled back and swallowed, taking a step away from him. “…was that sufficient?”

The demon lord frowned slightly, glancing away from me. “It will do for now. You can make it up to me when we return to your home.” Between one step and the next, Belial’s visage changed drastically. His horns disappeared, his claws shortened, shadows congealed on his skin and formed clothing – and in the breath of a moment, he looked completely human.

Exceptionally beautiful and exotic, but human.

“Alright, that works,” I murmured, shoving my hands into my pockets, hunching my shoulders and following Belial into the hospital’s main entrance. Belial strode right past the main desk, not even glancing at the nurses there. One of those nurses happened to glance up and call out to us.

“Excuse me, sirs, but you’re not allowed that way-!” the nurse began, starting to move from around the desk.

Belial glanced back at the nurse, smiling over his shoulder, “We’re just taking a short cut.” And then he disappeared behind the doors, though I saw they needed an ID to open. The nurse gaped after us and stopped in her tracks, wondering how we even managed to open the doors. But she didn’t follow us, and for that I was grateful.

I didn’t ask how Belial managed to open every door in our way as I strode in his wake, following him through the hospital. When we came to room 6298, Belial stopped in the hallway, not glancing in the door and instead holding his arm out so I would not go further.

“Wait…” the demon lord murmured, glancing into the room through the window. Belial pulled back slowly, motioning me back. “Unless you want a confrontation, back up to that corner. That fool father is in there now and he will leave in a moment. It is the lunch hour and we will have time to sneak in when he leaves.”

I nodded as we moved back and slipped behind the corner. Belial pushed me back further, until he stood between the hallway and me. Unfortunately, he didn’t have his back to me; instead, he pushed me against a wall, his arms on either side of my head. His dark and exotic face leaned close to my own pale-skinned face. Between one breath and the next, the demon lord pressed his full lips to mine – the third time that day! – and pressed his body right up against mine. I couldn’t move, couldn’t shake him off, even when I heard footsteps coming down the hallway towards us.

But whoever strode down the hallway didn’t stop, didn’t comment, and didn’t seem to notice us at all. Their steps continued without pause and only once those steps were gone did Belial pull back from the powerful kiss.

With a smirk on his lips, the demon lord purred into my ear, “You’ll get used to kissing me, pet…” Then Belial turned on his heel and went back toward Derrick’s room. “That was the bunny’s father, by the way,” the demon licked his lips as he opened the door, motioning me inside.

“So… did you do that just so he would ignore us… or because you felt like?” I grumbled, slipping past the demon lord and striding to the single bed in the room. Derrick lay perfectly still on the bed, his breathing slow and calm.

“You don’t want the answer to that, pet,” the demon lord laughed, “your mind is screaming that very thing… now then…” Belial strode to the other side of the bed, looking over the sleeping redhead. “Hm… your mind’s picture of him doesn’t do him justice, pet. Your bunny is quite cute…”

“Leave him alone, Belial. We’re just here to remove whatever is keeping him like this,” I growled, glaring at the demon lord.

“Peace, pet,” Belial laughed, smirking. He hovered a hand over the young man’s sleeping form, moving the hand this way and that, a look of concentration wrinkling his forehead. A frown disturbed the smirk on his lips, turning his smile down. “Hm. Well. This might be beyond me.”

“What do you mean? I thought you were an all-powerful demon lord!”

“I am,” Belial looked me straight in the eyes, “and if this is beyond me, that should scare you.”

I blinked, taking in the information. “… how far beyond you are we talking?”

“Straight to the boss.”

I had to force myself to swallow the lump of fear that crawled up my throat. “Oh, Gaia…”

Belial nodded, looking into my eyes as he dropped his hand. “The big man doesn’t normally dip into mortal affairs… so I’m surprised he nabbed this one.”

“What’s he doing to Derrick…?” I was almost afraid to ask, but I was more afraid of not knowing.

“You already know, pet. He’s draining Derrick’s life force,” Belial turned away, glancing towards the door. “There’s nothing we can do here.”

Biting my lip, I looked down at Derrick’s sleeping form. His breath came in ragged gasps, a little labored. Taking a breath, I turned my eyes away from Derrick and back to Belial. “Alright. What can we do, then?”

Belial didn’t look at me, nor did he answer; he moved slowly, silently, and glanced out the door. “…the fool is coming.” He turned and strode towards me, grabbing my upper arm. “Out the window if you don’t want to confront him.”

Though I hesitated, I followed him to the window. “How … how are we going to get down?” My eyes looked out the window, my stomach dropping at the height. “H-how high…. How high are we?”

Belial smiled slowly at me, chuckling lightly and wrapped an arm tight around my waist. “Don’t worry. Just hold on to me. I won’t let my pet fall.”

Swallowing hard, I wrapped my arms tight around his chest and held tight. “You better not drop me…” I muttered, glancing apprehensively over the edge of the window.

Belial laughed and picked me up, throwing me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. With a smirk on his perfect lips, he stepped up onto the windowsill and pushed us out the window with his other leg. I could hear the demon’s claws scrapping the floor and one part of me worried about the marks his claws would leave. Well, it isn’t as if Mr. Julius can connect me to scratches on the floor.

Closing my eyes tight, I clung to Belial, feeling the wind rush by me as we fell. I bit my lip to keep from screaming and giving us away, but it was a close thing. A very close thing.

I felt Belial tense as we descended and I felt us touch the ground – a lot more gently than I expected. The demon chuckled and dropped me, not even glancing at my form. The drop forced my breath from his lungs, a grunt escaping from my lips. Slowly, I glanced up at Belial, pushing myself up from the ground, the snow cold against my palms. Belial wasn’t looking at me; his eyes glued to the parking lot. There, a stranger stood, staring straight at Belial. A smile curved the stranger’s lips, hands resting in his pockets, long trench coat billowing in the cold winter wind. Slowly, a cruel, toothy smirk spread Belial’s lips, a terrible chuckle slipping from his lips.

“It appears that our visit has not gone unnoticed…” the demon purred, never taking his eyes off of the stranger. “Stand up. We’re leaving.”

Getting my legs beneath my body, I managed to get into a crouch, trying to keep my own eyes on the stranger. “Belial… who is that?”

“A spy. You don’t need his name and you don’t need to worry about him. Stand up.”

My knees groaned as I stood, swaying just a bit. The cold of the wind slipped into my jacket, causing a shiver to go down my spine. The stranger, the spy, during this time did not move, he only watched my movements. He watched Belial silent, motionless. Belial moved first, grabbing my arm and guiding me towards the parking lot, moving to the right of the spy.

“Look away, pet,” the demon murmured slowly into my ear, keeping me close. “Put him out of your thoughts, pet, think only of me.” I nodded, looking straight ahead and biting my lip hard. I thought of Derrick and his labored breathing. I thought of the perfect body pressed against me. I thought of those lips on my own.

“Close your eyes,” the demon ordered, purring gently into my ear. “Don’t open your eyes until I say it’s safe.”

I don’t know why but I trusted him. I shut my eyes and let him guide me. Belial pulled the keys out of my pocket and pressed the button to unlock the car. The car beeped and chirped and I could just imagine the lights flashing on my little Minamo. I heard the demon open the door and he pushed me into the car.

“Stay,” came his deep voice, shutting the door of the car.

I was tempted to open my eyes, really tempted, but Belial hadn’t given me the okay. But I wanted to know what was going. I was too curious for my own good. Biting the inside of my cheek, I covered my eyes with my hands, reminding myself that Belial said not to look.

Don’t look, don’t look… don’t you dare look… I don’t want to know why he said don’t look, but he sounded really fucking serious… don’t fucking look… don’t look… just don’t look…

I opened my eyes. Stupid me, I opened my eyes. I peeked around my fingers and caught sight of Belial standing there – just standing there – in front of the stranger. I assumed the stranger was a demon with the way he stood there, completely at ease, standing in front of the demon lord in all his splendor. For a moment, I wondered why Belial had shed his mortal appearance, standing at his full height, horned head high and proud. But then I remembered that Belial had only taken a mortal appearance because I asked him to; he no longer cared, now.

Swallowing around the lump of apprehension in my throat, I kept my eyes on Belial and the strange demon. The demon took a step towards Belial, his stance threatening. Belial merely smiled at the demon and in the next instance backhanded the strange demon. The demon’s neck snapped to the right, its eyes staring straight at me. Staring at those wild eyes, seeing the insanity deep in those eyes, my hands balled into fists, nails digging into my palms. I had to force myself to swallow again – but I couldn’t swallow. I couldn’t breathe around the lump in my throat. Trying to breathe in the tiny Minamo, I started to feel claustrophobic. There wasn’t enough room, not enough air, I can’t breathe-!

Belial-!

Breathe,” purred his silken voice in my head.

As if he had taken over my bodily functions, the lump in my throat disappeared and I could breathe again. Fresh oxygen rushed into my lungs and I couldn’t help but give a shudder of relief.

Look away, pet…” came Belial’s sweet baritone. Before I could, I saw Belial take the demon’s head in his hands, turning the demon towards him. There was a cruel, horrid smile on Belial’s lips. Had I been closer, I’m sure I would hear Belial laugh.

After another breath, I forced my eyes away – though I suspected Belial helped in this. I covered my ears and shut my eyes tight, somehow knowing what was coming. It seemed like an eternity before Belial opened the driver’s side door. Only then did I open my eyes and stare at him – but that in itself was a mistake. It wasn’t extremely noticeable, but I saw the drop of red blood on Belial’s bronze skin, like a pimple next to his lips.

The demon lord must have seen me looking. He quirked an eyebrow, then glanced in the rearview mirror. “Ah,” he said simply, a smirk on his lips. His tongue snaked out and the drop of blood disappeared. Belial turned his horned head back to me – and I wondered how those horns didn’t gouge into the roof of my car – and smiled.

“Better?” the demon lord purred.

I couldn’t answer him. My imagination flew away with the information I had of the encounter, imagining all the terrible things Belial had done to the demon. But how could he do those things? Demons weren’t responsible for simple things like this! The sorcerer controlled the demon – but I didn’t think Belial really cared to make that distinction.

Silence filled every crevice of the car until the demon lord chuckled and turned away from me. “We have the information you came for, pet. Now it’s time for you to do something for me.”

—-

Eyes straining to see through the fog, I glanced about, searching for the one I knew was there. The fog was so dense; I couldn’t see anything more than five feet in front of me. Muttering darkly about pain in the ass demons, I took a few cautious steps forward.

“Belial?” I called, sliding a foot forward. “Belial, this isn’t funny…”

I’m not bait, you asshole…

My fingers clutched at open air, hoping for anything physical. Swallowing hard, I forced myself to calm and See – not just look. Running through the familiar exercise, I shut my eyes and sought my center. But my center kept fleeing from my touch, avoiding my seeking tendrils. Frustration took my thoughts by storm and I cursed, loudly, opening my eyes again.

“Fuck fog!” I growled, biting my lower lip, my hands forming fists. “Fuck Belial. Next time I see him, I’m punching that smirk off his fucking face… bastard…”

As I scanned my surroundings, the words he’d spoken earlier came echoing back to me.

“Now it’s time for you to do something for me,” Belial said, starting the car. He didn’t even look at me as he pulled out of the parking lot. A little annoyed at his silence, I finally asked what he wanted me to do. “You’re going to draw out someone for me… someone who’s been causing me quite a bit of problems. I’ve already started the rumor mill. You’ll be on the

 

 

A young man slowly emerged from the fog, flanked on either side by two large, broad-shouldered men who really looked like the stereotypical bodyguards. I couldn’t help it; I laughed.

“Something funny, kid?” the young man’s smile turned down, his eyes glaring.

I couldn’t stop laughing, even as I tried to control myself. I nearly doubled over in laughter as the two bodyguards advanced towards me.

“Oh please, please, don’t sick your dogs on me!” I howled in laughter, trying to hold the laughter in, tears coming to my eyes, “Please, it’s too much! Just don’t tell me your names are Ivan and Olaf, I might collapse!”

The guards paused and looked at each other, frowning, before glancing behind them.

“Oh come on, you idiots, just restrain him!” their boss growled, lifting a hand towards me and spreading his hands.

A mage. Fuck. Belial didn’t mention that. That stopped my laughter easily.

The guards advanced and flanked me, moving in slowly. Glancing to my right, the one I dubbed Ivan took out a nasty looking club. To my left, Olaf slipped on leather gloves with glyphs etched into the leather. Double fuck.

“You will give me Pandemonium’s head, kid,” the young man smirked, flicking his fingers and sending out a bit of power. The power snapped against my cheek, flinging my head back. The backlash from the power made my foot slide back and the bodyguards took the chance, advancing and grabbing my arms. I grunted when the guards pulled the guards behind my back, painfully hard, his shoulders screaming at the pain. It felt like my shoulders had popped out of their sockets with the shock of pain that pulled at my veins. Grimacing over the pain, I pull at the guards and at my arms, trying to get free.

But the sorcerer chuckled and motioned to his guards. “Search him.”

Ivan grabbed both of my arms, standing behind me and pulling my arms tight. Olaf started rifling through my pockets, tossing out every little thing in my pockets.

“Hey, hey!” I yelped, struggling harder. “Ease up a little! Jesus!”

“Shut up, kid,” Ivan growled, his grip tightening.

“Fuck, dude, you can lay off! I’m not gonna fucking run!”

Olaf didn’t need any prompting; he pulled back his arm just enough and punched me in the gut. Any air in my lungs rushed out, my body curling in on itself. It hurt. I’d never been punched before and I never really understood why people getting into fights. With this attack, any reason or want to fight puffed out of me. Sure, I was angry with the three men and I wanted some sort of payback. But I wasn’t going to throw a punch; that just wasn’t how I solved things.

No matter how much I wanted to throw one in his face.

Ivan pulled hard on my shoulders, making me stand upright again. That hurt, too, but not as much as the punch. I tasted blood and had to force myself swallow it down – otherwise I might have spit the blood in Olaf’s face. That would only make this situation worse.

But I’m not big on thinking before I act.

“That all you assholes got?” I mocked them with a grin.

Apparently, I have a knack for saying just the right thing. The next punch landed on my right cheek, snapping my head to the left. I tasted blood the next moment and just grinned at Olaf. Warm blood dribbled down my chin and I couldn’t help the little laugh that bubbled up my throat.

“That tickled,” I smirked. “Barely even felt it!”

Before the big oaf could ready another punch, his boss cut in.

“Enough!” the sorcerer growled, striding forward. “I don’t want to be here all day. Does he have the Head?”

Scorned, the bodyguard lowered his hands and shook his head, “No, boss. Just a lot of junk.”

The sorcerer turned away from the bodyguard and glared at me; like an idiot, I just gave him a bloody grin.

“Where is the Head of Pandemonium?” the young man growled, reaching out a hand and throwing his power in my face. A bit of his power managed actually to hit me, wrapping hard around my neck. Thankfully, it was choking force and I could still breathe – barely. “Where is it?!”

I choked out a laugh and spat blood and saliva in his face. “Up yours.”

Oh, hey, I think he just popped a vein in his neck.

Slowly, the sorcerer removed a handkerchief and wiped off his face, a look of annoyance coming over his features. “… Kill him. He doesn’t have the Head.”

“Kill me? Isn’t that a little much? All I did was gift you with my blood and spit.” Koen, now would be a good time to shut up. A really good time.

I’ve never been very good at listening to myself.

“You know what? Sure, kill me, but can you make sure Ivan doesn’t touch me afterwards? I think I feel something poking my back and it’s kinda disconcerting. I really wouldn’t want him to get the wrong idea.”

As I spoke, inky black smoke swirled around behind the sorcerer. Belial?

“And can you make sure that Olaf doesn’t hit me again? He hits like a nerd.”

The smoke congealed and solidified, horns and broad shoulders stepping from the mist. Before Ivan could say anything, I jerked my head back and head-butted the big man. As the sorcerer and Olaf moved to react, Belial shot his hand forward, grabbing the sorcerer’s thin neck in his huge hand. His eyes turned toward the bodyguards and two imps leapt from the shadows, attaching themselves to the big men. My head still ringing from the hit, I barely managed to stay standing when Ivan let go of my arms. I didn’t look at the imps; I knew what happened to people the little buggers attacked. Imps tended to rip out eyes first, followed shortly by the ears. Then the little buggers would start on the limps –

Anyone attacked by an imp could expect a very gruesome death.

Shutting my ears to the screams of the bodyguards, I turned my eyes to Belial. He smiled at me, holding the sorcerer in one hand, his horned head tilted to the right. His free hand stroked the sorcerer’s hair and by his smirk, I knew Belial listened to the whimpers and pleads of the sorcerer.

“Did you like my trap, Ashton?” the demon lord purred into the sorcerer’s ear, Belial’s eyes never leaving mine. “I don’t particularly like how you’ve treated my pet, though… the death I had planned for you is just too kind…I think your screams will be beautiful…” Then the demon lord tossed Ashton aside, into the waiting hands to two small demons – not imps, though, I could see that much. With slow steps, the demon lord approached me, holding out his taloned hand. “You’ve done very well, pet… you can rest… I’ll heal you…” His voice was incredibly inviting and soothing, silky and comforting.

“Belial…” I began, swaying on my feet.

The demon lord slowly wrapped his arm around my shoulders, pulling me close to him and supporting me. “Yes, pet?”

Resting my head on his chest, I shut my eyes and muttered, “I hate you…”

The demon’s baritone laugh was all I heard before the darkness came up and swallowed my consciousness. It was probably for the best. I didn’t want to know what he would do to the sorcerer.

—-

When I woke finally, I was in my own bed, covered by my own sheets, in my own apartment, the sheets caressing my nude form. A little bit of hope rose within me. Maybe… maybe that was just a bad dream… But when I tried to move, my abdomen cried out in pain and I knew it hadn’t been a dream – bad or otherwise.

A strong hand pushed me back into the mattress and I turned my head, seeing Belial sitting on the edge of the bed. “Stay still, pet,” the demon lord smiled, his hand strong and firm on my shoulder. “I’m trying to heal you. I didn’t want you to get hurt; it wasn’t my intention. You were just supposed to keep them busy long enough for me to ensure there was no escape.”

“Really?” I growled – well, I tried to growl. It was more of a croak. My throat felt incredibly dry and I had trouble swallowing. “Fuck… any chance you’ve got anything to drink?”

Belial smiled and reached behind him, grabbing a cup of water from the side table. Instead of helping me sit up and giving it to me, he took a gulp from the glass and set it down again. Then he turned back to me and leaned in – ah fuck he’s –

Belial forced his lips onto mine, coaxing my lips apart. Like a mother bird feeding her chicks, Belial forced me to drink the water from his mouth. I tried not to gag; somehow, I knew this was the only way the demon lord would allow me to drink at this point. After forcing the water down my throat, I yanked my head away, a grimace on my lips.

“Can’t you let me drink like a normal person?” I muttered, glaring at the wall.

Belial laughed, his talons stroking my cheek. “Now where’s the fun in that, pet?”

“I’m glad you’re amused,” I grumbled, shifting under the covers, “Would you finish healing me now?”

Smirking still, the demon relented and placed a kiss on my forehead. A rush of his power suddenly flooded through my body, lighting my nerves on fire. My body convulsed and shuddered, my back arching off the mattress, a cry coming from my lips. When Belial removed his lips – and his power –, my body finally relaxed into the mattress and the pain in my ribs was gone. Blinking back tears, I rolled away from him, sitting up on the other side of the bed.

“Fuck, did you really have to do that?” I growl, my shoulders hunching forward, my eyes shutting tight. “That fucking hurt…”

Again, the demon chuckled. I felt the dip in the bed as he stood, heard his steps as he strode away from the bedroom. I didn’t look up when he left the room, nor did I move when I heard him in the living room. Gritting my teeth, I stood and grabbed the sheet off the bed, wrapping it around my waist. I didn’t really care about being naked in my own home, but the demon was right outside. With a growl in my throat, I strode to the bathroom, trying not to trip on the sheet. When I got in the doorframe, I tossed the sheet back into the bedroom and turned on the shower. Muttering under my breath about pervert demons, I locked the bathroom door.

After a quick shower, I wrapped the towel around my waist and glanced at the fogged mirror. Taking the hand towel from the rack, I cleared the middle of the mirror and glared into my reflection.

You roll over too easy,” Derrick’s words came floating back to me as I scowled at myself.

“Yeah, I know…” I muttered.

You shouldn’t let people walk all over you…”

“That’s what you said, Derrick. And I didn’t let your parents, but you… you probably hate me for leaving you that night… shit, I’m such an idiot…” Shutting my eyes tight, I gripped the sides of the sink and rested my forehead against the cold mirror. “…I’m not just an idiot, I’m a damn fuck up… why’d you ever put up with me, love?”

—-

Showered, dressed, and at least moderately awake, I still wasn’t entirely ready to face the demon and this whole situation again, but I had no real choice in the matter. The stories never said main characters get a chance to sit and breathe; it’s always get up and go – and keep going.

Scratching at my scalp as I strode from the bedroom, I glanced around and caught the scent of coffee. Belial sat on my couch, a mug of the black goodness in his hand, and I saw two imps in the apartment. Before I could ask what the imps were doing, I saw one of them with a cleaning rag and the other with a trash bag.

“…you… summoned imps to clean my apartment?” I asked, glancing around still.

“Oh, not just to clean, they cook, too. Jacko, pour my pet a cup,” Belial drawled, smirking and taking a sip of his coffee.

A third imp popped out around the corner with a cup of fresh, steaming coffee and shoved it into my hands before zooming back to the kitchen. Taking a closer look on the imps, I saw the two in the kitchen were flying imps while the third was one the ugly squat ones that hopped around like a kangaroo. Scrunching my nose up at the idea of using imps for such things, I looked down at the coffee. Before I could even say I wanted sugar or milk, the flying imp Jacko was back with the sugar bowl and the milk.

“Hew mooch?” the imp’s thickly accented and deep voice threw me off guard.

“I-I’m sorry?”

Heeew. Mooooch?” the imp repeated, impatience coloring his voice now.

“A-ah. Just a scoop of sugar and a bit of milk, please,” I murmured. As Jacko scooped out the sugar and poured the milk, I noticed he had four arms, rather than the standard two. After missing that detail, I wondered what else I’d missed about the other two imps. When Jacko sped away, I sat down on the couch, as far away from Belial as I could feasibly get. Belial chuckled as I settled on the couch and I could feel his eyes on my stiff back.

“Oh, pet, are you really so wary of me still? I’ve not done anything to you… nor did I do anything that you would find inappropriate while you slept.”

“About that,” I cut in, turning towards Belial with a slight glare. “Why was I nude? I distinctly remember being clothed when I passed out.”

Belial smiled and shrugged, taking another sip of his coffee. “I wasn’t going to put you in your clean bed wearing dirty clothing. I undressed you, yes, and then I put you to bed. I did nothing else.”

Something about the demon’s tone didn’t let me believe he was telling the truth. “Somehow I still don’t believe you,” I muttered, then finally took the first sip of lovely coffee. The taste alone was like heaven’s gates opening up. A sigh of delight fell from my lips and I allowed myself to relax back into the couch.

“Did I not say Jacko makes a great pot of coffee?” Belial purred, quite pleased.

“Shut up, your voice is ruining this moment.”

The words didn’t seem to faze Belial; I saw his smirk out of the corner of my eyes and I glowered at the wall. Damn it. Deciding to ignore him and his annoying smirk, I sipped at my coffee and enjoyed the taste. The heat of the drink rushed through me, suffused my very being with the luscious caffeine. A pleasured hum vibrated my throat as I closed my eyes to enjoy the coffee’s effects fully.

Then I felt Belial’s hand on my knee and I opened my eyes, glowering at him. “Don’t touch me, you’re ruining this wonderful morning.”

The demon just laughed; but he didn’t remove his hand, only moving it up my thigh.

“Get your hand off me,” I growled, grabbing his wrist. “If you don’t remove your hand, I’ll break it.”

“Now that I’d like to see,” the demon lord purred, chuckling, a smirk in his lips. “Do not test me, my precious little sorcerer.” As the demon said this, his hand squeezed my thigh and I glared at Belial.

“Must you do this to me?” I growled low, clutching my coffee cup.

Belial laughed, smiling, then he pulled the cup from my fingers, setting it on the coffee table in front of us. “You pledged yourself to me, pet, body, mind and soul. And you will do what I tell you willingly – and I care not whether you like what orders I give you. At this point, you do what I say, when I say it. Understand, pet? No more of this “do not touch me” or “must you do this” nonsense. I am your Master – and from now on, you will call me thus.”

At the order, I glared venomously at Belial. “You want me to call you master?” I growled, sneering at the concept.

I didn’t expect the demon to retaliate, but apparently, he got tired of me mouthing off to him.

Belial’s hand snapped across my cheek before his talented fingers grabbed hold of chin, forcing me to meet his eyes.

“No more of that, either, pet…” the demon purred, a smile still on his lips, “you will not disrespect me again. I am your master and you will treat me with respect.”

I glared at Belial defiantly, daring the demon to hit me again.

“Ah, I see… you wish to play this game… you wish to test my patience and how lenient I will be with you… but you have reached the end of my patience…”

“Do your worst, then.”

The demon lord chuckled, a cruel smirk on his lips, “There are far worse things than what you can imagine, pet…”

I don’t doubt that…

The demon laughed again, his hold like iron. “Oh, pet, you can defy me or you can give in to me willingly… that is entirely up to you. Either way, pet, I will have you.”

Even as he spoke, the demon lord’s hand moved up my thigh, his other hand slowly starting to move into my hair. Belial shifted, overshadowing my body, towering over me, his eyes locked on mine.

You cannot deny me…” the demon lord purred, his voice invading my mind. Even without those words, I knew I couldn’t deny him or his wishes; I gave myself to him.

Gulping, I shut my eyes, resigned. “Then do what you want.”

I didn’t watch as his deft hands pulled my shirt off over my head. His fingers spread over my chest, nails tapping at my flesh.

But then he pulled his hands away from my chest and I felt his presence move away. Opening my eyes cautiously, I watched Belial move away from the couch, a frown on his lips.

“…what happened? You lose your nerve?” I spat, rather disappointed, honestly.

The demon lord glanced over his shoulder, a sneer lifting his lips from his teeth. “You will beg me to take you, my pet, but now is not the time.”

“What do you mean? Thought you were pretty horny and wanted to take my virgin ass,” I goaded, grabbing my shirt from the coffee table.

“Oh, please, you are anything but a virgin-”

“I’m sure it’d be a huge surprise, but I am, actually, a virgin.”

“Delightful, call the tabloids and announce it.”

“…what crawled up your ass?” I growled, pulling on my shirt.

Belial was silent after that, striding away from me and glancing out the window. His eyes seemed glued to something down below, his back straight and stiff. I snorted in disgust and picked up my mug again, sipping at the coffee.

After what seemed like an eternity, with just the tic-toc of the clock for noise, the demon lord finally spoke.

“We have company.”