Chapter Six, Part Two

He hated coming here. It was too bright, first of all, and second, the scenery was different all the time. But it was always too bright. Physical movement was an misconception here. He had to will it before he could arrive. And since the scenery was always different, he'd always end up someplace where he didn't want to be. This time he sat for what seemed like ages, trying to speculate what it could possibly be at present. Couldn't he just summon him? Maybe give him a small indication? Today, he decided to wear a black and white outfit, blood-red boots and a maroon hat with a white plume, gold and emeralds sparkling from his hand to his fingertips and a narrow belt made of cross-linked bronze. He thought about a cape, but that would just be completely over the top. If Volxdo wanted to amuse himself by choosing an different locale every time, then he would amuse himself by dressing in an equally different fashion. Theirs was a strange relationship.

Finally, he decided on a setting. He pressed his temples, grumbling before he even arrived, knowing that it would be wrong.

"I preferred mauve."

He raised his head and grinned. He stood suspended in utter whiteness and infinite light. "Impatient, my liege?"

"Extremely." Volxdo was always impatient. Impatient for blood.

"He's made his first sacrifice, I'm pleased."

"Not enough."

Never enough, he grumbled silently. "Varsala will meet him tonight, and he will be pleased."

"Get on with it."

He shrugged. "It's slow there."

"What of Marchosias?"

He groaned the second time in as many seconds. He hadn't dealt with him yet, that conniving neighbor. "And what about your business?"

"It's slow there," Volxdo mimicked, though the expression on his face, what could be considered a face, he supposed, never changed.

"Marchosias will not grant me entry, if you weren't aware of that, my liege." He only added the last two words in spite.

"And Malkuth is not hard of hearing," Volxdo replied.

"You win," he growled. "I don't like this game. Malkuth stopped this, why is he starting it again." It was something of a rhetorical question, he knew, but if they were listening, then let them listen.

Volxdo ignored him. "Bel-Marduk's work has commenced. And just in time. Marchosias moves tonight."

"Tonight?" He dragged his hand over his forehead and over his eyes, massaging his eye sockets until his eyeballs nearly popped. The aggravation couldn't be that bad though, because they didn't pop this time. "And it's only this small," he giggled, making a gesture with his index finger and thumb.

"What is?"

He rolled his eyes and sighed. "How many do you need?"

"Gravua can wait. The Bergwaan can wait. They need to be sent now."

"Who? Ambassadors? Aids? Agents?"

"Aethos, you fool."

"Aethos? Why him?"

"The girl."

Why so cryptic? Curse his binds. If only he could play upon the mortal realm like that blasted helot imp. But then again, this was the most entertainment he'd had in a long time. Oh. "That girl."

"Very soon, Nashachiron. Why you've waited so long is beyond my comprehension, but that's what makes you a mere Shaolim."

"Shaolim, Asphilim, no difference. I've humbled that execrable chaser."

"For your entertainment, you keep him, I suppose?" He didn't wait for Nashachiron's assent. "He's a foolish beast, rid of him now."

"He's hanging on a string, my liege."

"Now Marchosias is a step ahead of you. If he would ever let you enter his abode, it would only be to cackle to your face."

"Never mind that," he waved his hand. "You haven't enlightened your servant, I noticed."

"I've enlightened him enough. Are you questioning me, or are you that foolish?"

He bowed low, his nose almost touching his knees. "Your foresight is greater than mine, my liege." He could feel Volxdo's contempt, but the view was nicer from here. Volxdo's expression never changed anyway, bore that he was. A scratch on the insole of his left heel. He rubbed at it with his pinky.

"Haste, Shaolim of avarice."

He stood up and found himself cast in the darkness of his throne.

"Haste, you bloodthirsty fiend," he growled.

The End

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