"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.
"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."
"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.
"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.
"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?"
"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 -
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.