I was going to be riding in on the frontlines, obviously. Knowing Lucifer, he was undoubtedly going to join me whether I liked it or not.
I’d been over the plans so many times I didn’t want to think about anything related to the upcoming battle anymore.
I passed a sleepless night before some demon girls came to my tent at an ungodly hour of the morning to braid my hair. Somehow, they managed to convince the pink, purple and black mess into tight swirls on my head, threading black feathers and shards of bone into it. They even wrapped what felt like black satin around my horns.
It took a while for all of the armour to go on. There was an order to the placement of every single part, and with each new addition I had to test my mobility before the next. I didn’t complain. I was too tired.
There were also an assortment of blades strapped under and over the armour, and I had to say I was remotely impressed with the fact that I didn’t feel a single one jabbing into me.
When they were finished I stood up and looked at myself in the full-length mirror held before me.
It was heavier than the suit, that was for sure, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. It was lightweight armour like Lucifer’s, forged with dragonskin and molded to my form. It was an incredibly dark black, to the point where it looked like the light in the tent was being sucked into its depths before my eyes, but I wasn’t too bothered. The suit was exquisite.
I wasn’t going to wear a helmet, though. That would just be dorky.
Another demon girl came in and smoothed the Tartarian warpaint onto my face before informing me that my steed was ready.
I walked out of the tent and found Omen outfitted in armour matching mine, mane and tail braided expertly. I found a bag of sugar cubes in his satchel and let him slurp a few from my armored hand, patting his head with the other.
“You wear armour well.”
I turned to see Lucifer stretching behind me and resisted the urge to smile.
“You can walk, your Highness?”
Lucifer, in recovery, had skulked and limped around while he thought nobody was watching, and on the few occasions we had crossed paths tried very poorly to hide the cane he’d been forced to use.
Pride. Made more and more sense every day.
“Thank you for your concern, High Commander, but I can assure you I am of the utmost health and wholeness.” He insisted, doing a pretty good job of hiding his irritation.
“Of course, your Highness.”
“You will ride with the Guard today, yes?”
The King’s Guard was a group of maybe ten or so of Hell’s best soldiers who rode with him into battle, each having sworn to lay down their lives if need be for his sake. I’d never spoken to any of them. They kind of kept to themselves, and I probably didn’t seem serious enough to warrant their attention.
“The Guard? I think my place is with the Council, sire.”
Or what was left of it.
“Actually, about that…” Lucifer started, with a mischievous look on his face, before whistling.
A demon walked over and handed Lucifer some kind of bundle, which he promptly unrolled.
What I was looking at was a red cape. Like those the Guard wore.
“What?” I asked, blinking.
“You’ve already risked your life for mine a multitude of times.” He sighed, walking behind me to pin the cape to my shoulders, “The formalities aren’t necessary for the time being.”
“Does the rest of the Guard know about this?” I asked, laughing.
“They’ll find out soon enough.”
The Guard's reaction wasn't as bad as I expected. Actually, it wasn't anything at all. They were all milling about on their horses or on the ground, speaking in low tones among themselves and paying me no mind. I, on the other hand, had to say that I was officially in love with capes.
I mean, sitting on a horse wearing a suit of armour, with a cape streaming out behind you? It was the stuff of dreams.
"The capes are nice, aren't they?"
I turned to see Charon's silvery mare picking its way toward me, and tried not to gape when I realized he was wearing a red cape too.
"Yeah. Though I gotta say, I thought they were a little more exclusive."
"I'm just an honorary member of the Guard." he shrugged, "At the end of the day, I'm going to have to get back to ferrying souls after all this is over."
"Congratulations?" I offered, "At least you have job security?"
He shrugged again.
"Wait, so the danger to the King? The visions? I beat it, didn't I?" I asked suddenly, "Both Eversio and Cupid?"
"Yeah, probably." Charon yawned.
"I think you know by now that prophecies and visions are a messy business."
A few more moments passed before I continued.
"Speaking of prophecies...have you figured out if the prophecy's 'activated' yet? What're my abilities?"