"You really shouldn't be-"
"Please, your excellency-"
I waved the demon underlings away, strapping my sword on with a considerable amount of effort.
"You're all only making this harder for me. Get out."
They looked at me with uncertainty.
"That's an order."
The demons looked at each other, concerned.
"I'm afraid we cannot, Commander."
I put a hand on the hilt of my sword, trying to ignore how sluggishly I was moving.
"And why the Hell not?"
The tent flap swished and I looked up to see Lucifer.
"Because I told them so." he offered, waving them away, "You're excused."
They rushed out, probably thanking their stars.
"I could've dealt with them on my own." I muttered, testing my shoulders.
"Don't you think it's a little too early for dismemberment?" he asked, smirking.
"I'm not in the mood for your sparkling wit." I retorted, "Just please explain to me what the Hell I just went through."
Lucifer started inspecting his immaculate nails.
"Didn't Charon debrief you?"
"He just mentioned something about a prophecy activating or something."
"I always have to do the hard work." he sighed, sitting on the bed, "I'm only going to say this once, Commander."
I sat down beside him.
"You do remember your little swim in the Styx, yes?"
The memory of homicidal black water wasn't a very forgettable one.
"Yeah, but how do you-"
"I know everything that happens in Hell." he started, looking off at an imaginary horizon, "Besides, Charon told me."
"Here in Hell we've had knowledge of a particular prophecy for a few centuries."
"So...I'm like Harry Potter or something?"
"One baptized in the lifeblood of the Underworld will become Hell's champion. He will never know defeat, slaying armies with one hand and raising the realm to greatness with the other. His name will be written for eons to come."
"The Oracle was a chauvinist. Let's just say he took a few liberties."
"He wanted his newborn son to be the Champion. He threw him into the Styx and watched the souls consume him. Soon after he jumped in himself."
"After that incident the prophecy was pretty much forgotten. Until recently, when Purgatory started getting a little too close for comfort."
He paused before continuing.
"We were enjoying a surplus of new recruits. Far more than we could possibly ever need. I gave Charon leave to...experiment. To try and find the Prophesied."
"You...you let him condemn people to the Styx?" I asked, shocked.
"It had to be done."
"No, actually," I said, standing, "It really didn't."
"You can criticize me as much as you want later, but I'm only telling you this once, remember?"
"With you, the experiment was a success. It was hardly my fault Eversio was enough of an idiot to jump after you."
"Right, because you would rather I drown in the Styx for eternity."
"Commander, you were destined to survive."
"So what, I'm the Prophesied? I, of all people, am Hell's Champion?"
"Yes. But Eversio's little stunt meant that the prophecy took longer than it should have to come into effect."