I spent the rest of the day in my tent, washing the scratches on my side and rubbing some ointment over them before spending the rest of daylight in and out of sleep.

I had just woken up and was deliberating whether or not I should go to sleep again when I heard the tent flap swish and looked up to see Athena, who had circles under her eyes.

"I'm glad you're awake." she whispered, standing beside the bed with her typically rigid posture.

"What's going on?" I whispered back, "Are we out of snacks again?"

She sighed.

"I have a plan. To find the mole."

I rubbed my neck awkwardly.

"The hooded guy was kind of a dead end."

She waved my statement away.

"It's alright. I know exactly what to do."

"We will be sending battalions to these three locations on the bank in a sweeping formation. Reserve positions will be in between."

I pointed to the X's drawn onto the map, studying everyone sitting at the table.

Manara was, for once, not filing her nails. She looked at the map, scanning over it again and again as if to memorize it.

Cupid was smoking, nudging me under the table with his foot to no response.

Dionysus' face kept changing shape and expressions.

Eversio looked as tired as I felt.

Athena was so still that I had a hard time understanding that she wasn't a statue.

"We will have a council member at each position. We leave tomorrow at dawn."

Everyone looked sufficiently surprised.

"Isn't that a little early?" Manara asked, stunned.

"We need the element of surprise on our side." I stated, "We have to strike while Purgatory is still weak. There's no time to lose."

She nodded, still evidently shocked, and I continued with the meeting.

As soon as it was over, everyone except Athena filed out and I rolled up the map, sighing.

"Are you sure this will work?" I asked, scratching my head.

She nodded.

"This battle will decide the war. Our mole has no choice but to contact Purgatory by some means."

"Are the demons ready?"

"Ready and watching."

I was lying in bed, trying unsuccessfully to sleep, when I heard someone coming in.

I opened my eyes to see Lucifer, and shut them again.

"What can I do for you, Your Highness?"

"Can't I drop by to say hello?" he asked, sitting on a stool beside the bed and resting his legs by my feet.

"I'm sure you have better things to do." I replied, "Like harassing our female soldiers or drinking enough alcohol to poison an elephant."

He laughed.

"I never tire of your charming sense of humour."

"Good. It's not going anywhere any time soon."

"I wanted to talk to you about the Eunoe."

I sat up suddenly, and Lucifer misinterpreted my response.

"I know it's a rather intimidating area, but I have complete faith that you will succeed."

"Faith?" I laughed, "You?"

"Laugh as you will, both Hell and I have the utmost confidence in your ability."

I was going to make some snide remark but there was a sudden gust of wind, and a crow flew in through the tent flap. It landed on my hand, and I noticed a small roll of paper in its beak.

I took it and unrolled it, finding in elaborate print a single name.

I felt it drop from my fingers.

The End

340 comments about this story Feed