We rode through the countryside, through rolling hills and fields of unidentifiable crops. Those that hadn't been conscripted into the army saluted us as we walked by, watching me with interest.

I guess word had spread about me.

The sun hadn't risen yet, so the sky was painted in a rich purplish red. Omen's flank was warm despite the slight chill in the air, and he moved with the swiftness of the wind.

The trip was in silence. Lucifer had made nothing close to any sign of agitation, but then I could sense an apprehension in the air.

I didn't blame him. I was worried myself. 

My little sparring games and simulations were one thing, but an actual war was another. If this went forward, I would have to deal with people dying. On my hands.

Yes, I killed the sacrifice. No, I didn't feel too guilty about that. If you recall, it was to keep myself from potentially getting my soul consumed. There was no immediate alternative.

I was still just a kid. A kid with a sword and an army at their disposal, and a looming set of decisions that would be far too difficult to make.

I wasn't entirely stupid. I wasn't some trigger-happy teenager who loved the idea of killing people, or a deranged psychopath who had some twisted desire to shed blood. I couldn't just have some little initiation kill, an overnight emotional purging and suddenly be totally fine with murder.

I knew there was value in lives. Regardless of what side they were on. The question was whether or not killing the enemy to save my own was right. Whether any of it at all was right.

To be entirely honest, the people of Hell weren't my people. I was a human, caught in the crossfire of a war between two archaic kingdoms whose existence I should have been questioning in some kind of angsty teenage existential crisis. 

I didn't belong there. The goal highest on my list was to survive. Maybe to perform well, and by some miracle earn my freedom back.

Though the latter was very unlikely.

After reaching the first few lines of troops, all faithfully saluting, we reached the crest of a hill- on our side was an ocean of black armour, on the other, grey.

At the foot of the hill we dismounted, our horses taken away to be tended to.

The End

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