I woke up early the next morning, pulling myself together before stepping out of the tent.
The sun hadn't quite come up yet, but I could already see Lucifer standing beside a saddled Destroyer and Omen.
I walked over, trying to get my eyes to adjust to the light.
"A few minutes." he replied, adjusting the reins, "We'll ride onto the battlefield with the sun behind us."
Lucifer looked out at the sea of tents and slowly milling soldiers before turning to me, procuring a pomegranate out of thin air.
"You must be hungry."
I took it, stared at it for a second, before cracking it open and casually snacking on its insides.
"So this is it, huh?"
He looked at me.
"After thousands of years of building tension, Purgatory and Hell are going to fight."
"I guess." he sighed, his eyebrows furrowed.
I tried not to seem too weirded out by his lack of enthusiasm.
"We're headed for war. Blood, largely wholesale slaughter, and pillaging. Aren't you excited?"
I expected more from the Devil.
"Hell has been a relatively peaceful land. We accept everyone, regardless of their past lives, and show them a relatively good time. There's a reason I've stayed king this long."
He was quiet a moment before continuing.
"I may be ruthless, I may be cruel, but I don't want my people to suffer."
I tried to hide my smile but it showed anyways.
"You're not half-bad, you know?"
Lucifer turned to me with a smirk.
"No. I'm all bad."
Charon appeared out of nowhere, almost making me jump.
"Your Highness. It's time."
Lucifer nodded, climbing gracefully onto Destroyer. I pulled myself onto Omen's saddle with half the grace.
We rode out of the camp and to the edge of our lines, the ocean of armour parting as we neared, drums like thunder resounding through the air.
The sun's first few brilliant rays shot out onto the field, making Lucifer's armor glow with an otherworldly radiance.
I realized then that in the light our warpaint appeared the colour of freshly spilled blood.
Lucifer and I rode about a yard into the empty space between the two armies before we stopped, and he held up an armored hand, telling the drummers to stop.
The world went quiet. Breathless, expectant.
"Exactly three months ago Purgatory began to impose itself upon our borders," his voice rang out, commanding attention, "We tried relentlessly to pursue peace, until it was decided that we were wanted not as an ally, but as an enemy. It was with great audacity that our patience was tested, and with even more gall that I was summoned. Tell me, limbo, what it is that you dare to demand of the King of Hell!"
The world was quiet again. I could see the fear painted on Purgatory's faces. I didn't blame them. Lucifer looked terrifying.
They seemed shocked into silence for an excruciating minute, before the same man who had insulted me in front of the council rode forwards on a grey mare, holding a scroll.
"Purgatory has demanded the presence of His Highness King Lucifer to declare war upon the Kingdom of Hell and its allies, and to declare null and void any previous treatises or agreements with the enemy."
Lucifer's face was stony.
"The Kingdom of Hell henceforth declares war upon Purgatory and all of its pathetic associates. May Heaven have mercy upon your souls."