SCALES-89

"I made Lucifer. I know very well that he has little to no respect for authority."

I folded my arms.

"Why did you make him, then?"

The boy laughed.

"Why not?"

"Isn't it a little counterintuitive to expect obedience and worship when you create beings incapable of both?"

"Who said I expected anything?" He asked, raising an eyebrow, "Don't tell me you subscribe to those pathetically human ideas."

I sighed.

"How am I supposed to know which ideas to subscribe to? Every other person is promising a different path to salvation. You didn't exactly make things clear."

"Have you ever considered that there was no salvation?" He asked innocently, his black eye twinkling.

I blinked.

"Then...what's this place?"

He shrugged again, looking bored.

"Consider it something of a country club for my favourites. As you can see, it's rather exclusive."

"Then what's the point? Of anything?" I asked, frustrated.

He smiled.

"Why does there have to be one?"

I shifted on my feet, stunned into silence. After a few seconds He yawned, gesturing for Ace to come forwards.

"Take her back, before Lucifer throws a tantrum. I think she's heard enough."

"Why should I listen to a word you say?" I asked suddenly, brushing the weredragon's arm away.

"The typical selfish response," He sighed, "Masked behind a pretence of rebellion. If it means anything to you, I can quite easily give you anything your greedy little heart desires."

"Can you..." I started, guilt worming into my gut, "Give me my soul back?"

He scoffed.

"Commander, don't insult me. I can give you your own galaxy."

"What if...what if I refuse?"

He laughed, revealing pearly white milk teeth.

"Please. Every human has a price. I made you that way."

He made a shooing motion.

"Ace, some time this century please."

She took my arm and turned me around, walking back down the white hallway.

"What-" I started, "But I'm not done!"

"He gets to decide when you're done, Zara." Ace offered apologetically, "But you should be thrilled. God owes you a favour."

I was anything but thrilled.

Confused, yes. Apprehensive, yes. Concerned, yes. Guilty, yes. 

I did my best to remind myself I had done nothing wrong. If anything, God was asking me to stand up for the innocent - the ladies in lockets and their soldiers marching in uniform assembly lines to their deaths. 

I hadn't agreed to anything, either.

There was still a sense of dread coiling itself in the pit of my stomach. 

Maybe it felt like I was betraying Lucifer by seriously considering doing what I had been told to do. Maybe...even worse...I was seriously considering it not so much because it was the right thing to do...but -

"You're alive!"

I turned to see Eversio trotting towards me, holding Rocky's reins with his free hand. His expression was one of considerable relief and something else I couldn't place.

"Yeah, I guess." I muttered, climbing onto Rocky, "Where the Hell were you?"

"Sorry." he replied sheepishly, "I...I kinda had to 'go'."

I looked at him incredulously.

"So you ditched me to go take a piss knowing full well that a dragon was chasing me?"

"I toldya, mate." Rocky insisted through a mouth of grass.

"Are you sure it was a dragon?" Eversio asked, his voice full of disbelief.

"Yes!" I hissed, "Don't tell me you didn't see it!"

He shrugged, and I resisted the urge to strangle him, choosing instead to head back towards the camp.

It was possible that Ace appeared invisible to others for the sake of discretion. But I couldn't be sure.

 

The End

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