Chemosh wasn’t in class the next day. Kelly was taking out a bit of her frustration with an extra intensive workout regime. “And leap forward! Now back! Now forward! Now back!” The musk of demon sweat was even thicker than usual. She’d left the front and back doors cracked with fans running to help alleviate the stench, but she’d need to spray some deodorizer after they were done.
She’d been on edge all day, ever since escaping from Sean. Kelly had almost never felt helpless. She’d barely slept the night before, finally crashing at around four AM to nightmares of Sariel showing up while she slept and re-binding her. The late hour she had fallen asleep had kept her out until ten am, and she hadn’t slept that late since college. It had her thrown off. On top of that, everyone she saw that day looked like a giant walking suit, just begging her to put them on and take them for a ride. Resisting the urge had been as bad as nicotine withdrawal. She was just waiting for someone to give her a reason to go off.
One of the demons, to Kelly’s joy, was happy to oblige her. “Mercy, human, please” Belphegor said as an aside to the demon next to him, Eisheth. She sniggered at the joke, right up till she saw Kelly’s eyes flash their way.
“Everyone drop down. Push-ups, now!” Gone for that instant was Kelly the cheery personal, and in her place Kelly the drill sergeant snapped into place. She channeled her father, barking orders at her from the side of the soccer field, but with no intention of later mussing their hair and saying “good job, sport!”
The demons did as they were told, and Kelly walked among them till she was directly next to Belphegor, then crouched down to make sure he could hear her. “I like you, Belphegor. You seem like a decent enough demon. But I don’t know what’s worse. The disrespect for me, or hearing someone like you ask for mercy. Do you think Sariel is going to find your jokes about mercy cute? Do you think it’ll stay the hands of the angels that are swarming around this city?” Sweat trickled from Belphegor, pooling on the floor below him. “I asked you a question. If you want to stop before your gut falls off, you’re going to answer it.”
“No, it won’t, hrnghmm,” Belphegor croaked out.
Kelly’s eyes narrowed. She realized how she looked, crouched down on her hooves. Like a gargoyle crouching atop a building. “It won’t what, Belphegor?”
“It won’t…” Belphegor paused to wheeze a few times, “It won’t stop Sariel! Or, hmmm-“ he was interrupted by another few wheezes, “-or his angels?”
“Damn right it won’t. Alright everyone, on my mark, stand if you can, flop to your guts if you can’t. I had a terriblenight, so be glad you’re getting this fifteen minute break.” Then she smiled, the drill sergeant gone, and clapped her hands together, “Mark!”
The horde of demons collapsed. A few of them managed to rise to their feet or related appendages, but most went the route of Belphegor and crumbled to their stomachs. Water got passed around, and Kelly made sure to drink from a bottle greedily.
“A bit hard on them, aren’t you?”
Kelly whirled to the front desk. Chemosh had showed up, and was once again sitting at her desk. “A bit hard on them?” she growled, walking over to him. “Chemosh. I got abducted by a human being given powers by Sariel last night. What’s worse, it wasn’t just any human, but a douche I met on Tinder!”
Chemosh blinked at her, “I fail to see how that makes it worse.”
“It was humiliating, on top of being a huge risk. Insult to injury. Did you miss the part where one of the angels is empowering a human?” In spite of her anger, Kelly kept her voice low. She didn’t think it would go well if she yelled at Chemosh in front of his demonic friends. Or minions, whatever they were. Thankfully, they were giving them a wide berth at the moment.
Chemosh nodded in apparent understanding. “Sariel, you said? I’m having trouble believing that. No Knight has stood against him and lived.”
“Well, midnight hit before he showed up. I wasn’t a Knight, I was possessing the guy that had abducted me.”
Chemosh chuckled at that. “How fortuitous. If I didn’t know better, I’d be tempted to say you had the devil’s own luck.”
Kelly dug her fingers into the desk. “Chemosh, are you seriously joking right now? I could have died.”
“You did not. Can you not see the humor in this?” Chemosh spread his hands, “Sariel, one of heaven’s greatest assassins, foiled by a woman who is not even a full demon yet! He fell for the oldest trick in the book, possessing a living being. The literal oldest trick in this case, seeing Lucifer used it in the Garden. You should be proud of yourself.”
“I only got loose because the human he picked was a moron and wrote the Enochian in marker. I was able to sweat to …I’m just making you laugh now, aren’t I?”
Chemosh grinned. “Guilty. Ms. Schmitt, I’m not unsympathetic to your plight, and yet you lived. Why not revel in that?”
Kelly opened her mouth to object, and then her eyes narrowed. “Can you tell me more about the angels? Straight answer, yes or no, please. Not will you or won’t you or are you considering, just direct – is there more you could be telling me?”
Chemosh scratched his chin in thought. “You are getting better at this, you know,” he said in an aside before sighing. “I would need a sign of commitment to be able to provide more information. An agreement to stay on past the two weeks, a soul bound to us, a sacrifice of immense import – something that I can use to show to my superiors that you are serious.”
Kelly’s nodded, and smiled. “Okay then. Now that I know I didn’t get screwed because you were holding out on me, then yeah, I can enjoy the fact that I outsmarted Sariel.”
“Good. Although,” Chemosh looked over her shoulder at the demons, which were back on their feet, “I almost wish I had let you stay irritated through the rest of class. I think it’s time you pushed them harder. After all, only one week remains.”
Kelly smiled, “don’t worry, I’m not going to ease up on them. I’ve got a better understanding of what they’re fighting now, after all.” She turned around to get the group back in line, pulling out her phone as she did. “Two minutes, everyone,” she shouted without looking up.
Her fingers flew and sent a text to Shannon. “We still on for dinner tonight?”
“Totally! Your place or mine?”
Kelly smiled. “Mine. I have something special in mind.”
She locked the screen. A small part of her, in the back of her mind, pointed out she was running some real risks here. That she was putting her best friend in danger that she’d been trying to avoid. That this could backfire horribly.
For the most part, however, she didn’t care. If everything went the way she wanted tonight, she’d be able to get more out of Chemosh, and Shannon would get exactly what she wanted.