SCALES-44

"Commander! Commander!"

I felt myself being shaken out of sleep, and rolled over in annoyance.

"What is it?" I demanded sourly of the maid, one of the few left in the castle.

"The King requires your presence immediately!"

I got up, pushing my hair out of my face, and sighed.

"What is this about?"

Her eyes were widened like that of a frightened animal.

"Purgatory's been massing forces at the border. They demand to see His Royal Highness."

Damn.

After a scalding shower and hurried breakfast I stood in the throne room, my hands clasped behind my back.

"So what happens now?"

Lucifer looked at me from his perch, a throne carved entirely out of bone. 

"I'm going to the frontlines."

"Isn't that a little dangerous?" I asked, my tail whipping around, "That's exactly what Purgatory wants. It could be an ambush."

The king of Hell's molten eyes narrowed.

"I will not have myself thought a coward. Now, can I expect your support or not?"

I forced my tail to stop moving. I could see where the whole 'pride' story came from. 

"Yes. I'm coming with you."

He smirked his signature smirk.

"I've had the horses saddled."

A few moments later, in my combat suit, the sides of my hair pulled into cornrows by the insistent maid, I followed Lucifer out of the castle.

He was fully armored like he had been the day he beheaded an assassin in front of me, his hair a stark contrast to his dark armor.

We walked into the courtyard, where I could see two black stallions anxiously stomping at the ground.

They weren't like the ones that had brought me into hell. These were sleek, built for speed. Hazy smoke drifted from their eyes and hooves.

"Meet Destroyer and Omen, the swiftest steeds in the dimension."

I whistled, impressed.

"So long as I'm not sitting on a unicorn, I think I'll be fine."

"Rocky?" Lucifer asked, his eyes laughing.

"Yep."

Lucifer chuckled, before stopping abruptly.

"I almost forgot something."

He waved over a maid who handed him a small jar, taking it in his hands and dismissing her. He undid his gauntlets and tossed them on Destroyer's saddle.

I watched him dip his thumbs into the inky substance, instantly taking a step back when he reached towards me.

"Tartarian war paint." he explained, "Perfectly safe, I assure you."

I stepped back towards him and let him take my face in his hands. I watched the artistic concentration in his expression as his thumbs travelled around my eyes, blinking as he painted over my eyelids, and down along the curve of my cheek.

 

The End

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