Chapter 9 (Part Two - Toward Persephone)

The car drive provided Belial with an unexpected feeling of serendipity.  The monotonous grey sky and repetitive green trees were broken sporadically by signs telling him how far he had to go.  The radio told him all sorts of stories, from girls kissing other girls and liking it to silly scotsmen walking one thousand miles to be with him.  The car had a lemon scented freshener shaped like a pair of breasts hanging from the rearview mirror.  

Apart from these human intrusions there was a humming sanguine silence that filled Belials mind with a gratifying nothing.  This calm was just an sensory precursor to a large looming overwhelming dread and the forthcoming return of guilt.

The guilt arrived as he reached the door of the 'Punch and Judy' bar for the third time in the space of a day.  It seemed longer than that since he was sitting in London having a drink with a long haired old friend.  

The pub was quiet, the hum of the refrigerator providing the only auditory entertainment for the only five customers.  These customers were familiar.

Satan faced him immediately, to his right Lucifer, Abaddon, Aim and Beelzebub.  Belial and Emanuelle went to the bar.  After two cokes were ordered Belial took a deep lumpy breath and moved to the table.

The seven of them remained silent for a what felt like an age.  It was Beelzebub who spoke first.

"No questions about Aim and then there will be no questions about..."  Beelzebub motioned toward Emanuelle who hurriedly gave her name.  She had never seen these before outside the battle.  Satan was a big daunting monster, Abaddon looked like his lemonade was more menacing than he, Lucifer could have passed for a vampire and Beelzebub was just ordinary.  She had never heard of Aim, nodded politely to him all the same.

"So what are we going to do then?"  Abaddon asked.  The Barman came to the neighbouring table and began avidly scrubbing at it with a greasy yellow cloth, he smelt of mouldering ale and whiskey.  Intuitive to the sudden lull in conversation the Barman realised his presence wasn't welcome and swiftly moved back to the bar and began his futile scrubbing there.

"I have been up all night reading through the recommended scrolls Moebius spoke of yesterday.  I know what we must do."  Beelzebub leant back wearily against his chair as if to display how utterly draining his day had been.  Belial thought of describing his own night but swallowed his tongue.

"Ok thanks for the dramatic pause Bubs.  What do we need to do."  Lucifer was wringing his pallid hands on the dark brown table.

"There are relics spread about the ethereal realms, part of this war was spent looking for them.  I have spent most of the night trying to unlock their whereabouts.  One or two have proved tricky."

"You are talking about the five objects of eternal power.  The five objects that are supposed to combine to make the most powerful weapon ever created.  The same five objects that many Angels and Demons alike have spent their entire existences searching fruitlessly for."  Belial had clicked first it seemed.  

There were many folly riddled stories about these objects.

"The Ark, The Sword, The box, The eye and the Lyre."  Abaddon appeared to be speaking to himself.

"Exactly."  Beelzebub looked around the group and saw that not one of them could believe the incredulity of the statement he had just delivered.

"Listen Belial, were are exiled from our homes, again.  This war has been dragging on all our lives, and now we are without armies.  We have two choices.  We can start another rebellion against the rebellion we started, or get to grips with the fact that we have to try doing this on our own."  Beelzebub leant over the table the fingers tips of each hand touching the other.

"You may want to hear this out."  Aim spoke with a very matter of fact tone.  "We have pored over the scrolls and unlocked the clues.  We just need to find the rest."

"Ok, lets hear what you have to say Beelzebub."  Satan huffed a large 'lets humour him' breath.

Beelzebub looked around.

"Firstly there's the box.  Pandora was gifted a biox by Zeus and in it were kept all sorts of unimaginable horrors.  The Elders had crafted this box from the weapon so the legend says.  Now, Hera destroyed the protal directing in the dominion of Hades from her end six hundred years ago, at that same time a young boys account of two men escorting a white haired woman clutching a package emerged.  Apparently they left Hades without steeds or vehicles, the men returned without the woman three days later."

"So?"  Belial demanded a little more forcefully than he had intended.

"It tells me that Hera and Hades are protecting something of importance.  Pandoras box probably rates as important do you not think.  Now if the white haired woman was Pandora then the box must be kept somewhere near Hades."  Beelzebub had taken the excited tone of a detective telling the unwitting people around him how he had come to the conclusion that Miss Scarlet killed Gravy Rockinpants in the garden shed with a pair of tweezers.

"Rigth but we can't get to Hades through the portal because..."  Abaddon began.

"Never mind that for a few minutes.  The Apollo never let the 'Lyre leave his sight.  He disappeared nine centuries ago.  Moebius found in her journal the exact date that he went to Elysium and has never returned."

"So the Lyre is in Elysium then, how strange for a Roman to hold a trinket in Elysium."  Belial snorted.

"Will you cut the sarcasm?"  Satan growled.

"The eye of Horus.  DO you remember Titvillus' last gift to the Demons before he died?  The Ceramic amulet depicting an eye?"

"That is in Hell, you have got to be kidding me."  It was Emanuelles turn to retort.  Belial shook his head impatiently and eyed beelzebub fiercely.

"The sword Excalibur is here on earth.  Merlin was reported to pass it to Arthur who passed it down his Pagan line and hold it in secret, so the snag here is we need to study his lineage."

Satan shook his head, Abaddon held his head in his hands and lucifer resumed combing his hair with his hands.

"We all know where the Ark of the covenant is.  Jehovah took it back and we have all stood before it in his halls previously when we tried to engrave a treaty in the history of the war."

"Well done, you know where all these unreachable trinkets are then.  So what's the plan then, which one are we going for first then?"  Satan leant back on his chair throwing his solid arms emphatically behind him and slouched awkwardly.

"We can't go as a troop, if we attempt to acquire one the Angels will learn of it and then we will be racing for all of them.  There is no way that either side could completely gather up these items this way."  Beelzebub took a long concerned swig from his lemonade.

"So we have to go individually then?"  LUcifer asked horrified.

"A simultaneous operation would give us the element of unpredicatbility to be able to..."  Beelzebub began.

"Good Idea, I tell you what we'll do as well, we can stop by the Reapers impenetrable fortress and fly a unicorn into his tower and slay him with a vicious attack of bad breath and flatulence too."  Belial seethed.

"Have you any better ideas?  You were the one who put us in this damned position.  Maybe you have a way of surviving our prophecies and winning this war.  What have you in mind Belial, master demon of lies?"  Satan's words were just what Belial had dreaded before he reached here.  The accusation and the guilt, all the negative emotions that he had collected over the last few hours.  This combination made him remain silent.

"So who gets what then?"  Abaddon broke the glaring silence.

"Belial goes to the netherworlds to retrieve the box."

"But you said the portal..."  Belial tried not to start his sentence so aggressively, but the boiling weight of guilt seemed to force these words out of his mouth.

"There is a portal to the netherworlds.  Three days south from Persephones home.  If you can get there without being noticed, she surely will oblige you a secret route into the dominion of Hades where you can speak to Hades himself."  Beelzebub looked uncertainly at Belial.

"Persephone, oh no."  Belial slumped back on his chair.  There was one name he had dared not think about for a long time.

"You are the only one who can do it Belial.  Lucifer must go to Elysium.  The Ancient Romans deified him.  As a minor god there is a chance he can get to Apollo."

Lucifer grinned and nodded at the mention of him being a deity in the old Roman faith.

"We need an accomplished thief to break into Jehovah's palace and acquire the Ark.  That leaves Abaddon.  Satan may still have some weight back in hell and be able to help overthrow Balthazar, or at least cause enough of a fray to create a distraction.  That leaves me with the human."

The room became silent except for the repetitive squeak of the barman rubbing yet another table.  Belial looked at Beelzebub levelly.  "You honestly think this will work?"

"No, but it is the only chance we have."  Beelzebub downed the rest of his drink.  "Belial you must leave tomorrow as you have the furthest to travel, the rest of you have three days to prepare."

"Are we all in?"  Satan asked simply.

All nodded reluctantly to the affirmative before finishing their drinks and leaving the pub.

The End

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