And yet another week flies by full of productivity in all the wrong places. Oh well, what can you do? Thanks to all the awesome prompts this week, I’ve gotten nothing done on my novel. Nada, zilch, zero. On the bright side, I’ve made some headway on my serials, which is always pretty cool. Could be worse – I could be getting nothing done at all.
Today’s post (potentially the first if I find time to get up another one later) comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s third Master Class Monday prompt phrase this week, “Diffident angelics.” I’ve never really used the word diffident so I had to look it up to figure out if I can fit it in anywhere. Turns out, I think I can!
Even though I’m on my way to see Lucifer, I feel like a weight’s been lifted. If I’d known reconciling with Marcus would make me feel this much better, I would have done it sooner. Maybe it’s because I’m in a better mood that I don’t mind when, upon entering Lucifer’s office, he immediately holds up a hand to keep me from speaking before motioning to a chair on the opposite side of the room. Quiet and confused about what’s going on, I simply follow his instructions. Paying me little mind, he turns his attention to a large, wall-sized mirror. In the mirror is a familiar scene, like a reenactment of the ceremony he showed me when my grandmother offered him my soul. Except, instead of a middle aged woman as the main participant, it’s a teenage girl – young, couldn’t be more than maybe fifteen years old.
She’s clearly terrified, but doing her best to put on a brave face.
Lucifer walks into the mirror and appears within their summoning circle, regarding the crowd with a look I can’t quite read. He doesn’t seem pleased, though, I can tell that much. At the sight of him, the crowd bustles, excitement buzzing around the small space. The young girl’s eyes go wide, and now the panic is even more evident.
“How old are you, child?” I’m surprised at the gentle tone in Lucifer’s voice – almost like he’s trying to keep from scaring her even more.
“F-Fourteen.” Again, this girl isn’t fooling anyone.
“And which of these people coaxed you into this?” I definitely wasn’t expecting that. Wouldn’t he be happy to have a soul and be on his way?
The entire room goes still with an anxiety and tension in the air so thick I can almost see it. Wringing her hands, she looks around the room before swallowing and trying to speak again. “No one…”
“Don’t lie to me.” Though his voice is now loaded with menace – who knew lying to him would so easily set him off? – the ire isn’t directed at the now shaking girl. His eyes scan the room of hooded figures, I guess trying to find the one who put her up to this. Again, the girl looks around the room, though this time it’s with pleading, tear-filled eyes. Poor kid.
No one steps forward. A few more moments pass and Lucifer chuckles, but there’s no humor in it.
“At least the kid has a sense of honor and loyalty. But you lot? You would throw her to the fire so easily?” And then the strangest thing I’ve ever seen happens. Lucifer turns his attention back to the young girl, and his eyes soften – actually soften, reminding me that, in a way, he’s still an angel – before he speaks again. “Maybe in a decade or two, if you’re willing then. As for right now – whatever deal you were thinking of striking with me – I refuse.”
Relief washes over the girl’s face, gratitude in her eyes at this uncharacteristic mercy. She’s smart enough to keep her mouth shut, though, simply bowing her head and stepping back from the circle.
Lucifer addresses the crowd one more time, “I look forward to seeing the rest of you in the future.”
Even I can’t help but smile at the discomfort Lucifer’s words brings the crowd. A moment later Lucifer is back in the office with me, and I steel my face to remove any reaction at what I just saw. It’s odd, but there’s a change in Lucifer, and for a moment his eyes dart to me, as if checking for a reaction. I’m not sure I recognize the expression in his eyes, mostly because I never expected to see it coming from the devil. Is that…hesitance? Insecurity? I know better than to comment on it, so I just stand from my chair and bring the reports to his desk.
“These are the reports you asked for.” I wait a beat as he glances through them before speaking again. “Max reported that my grandmother has made a move?”
“Yes – we’re making preparations to return your siblings, as well as developing a plan to imprison your grandmother now that she’s come out of hiding.” He stacks my reports on his desk before turning back to me. “We think she might try to use your mother’s soul and-”
“Don’t worry – I’ve changed the rules a bit since she offered me yours. Your mother would have to be completely willing and offer it herself.” And the desperation to get her kids back would definitely make her willing. “But we won’t let her make the deal.”
“Like the kid just now?”
Again, that flash of something in his eyes. “Yes. They’ll both need to be inside the summoning circle for the deal, and as long as I don’t accept or refuse, they’re stuck in the circle with me. We’ll use it to trap your grandmother.”
“And how will that work, exactly?”
“You’ll see.” There’s nothing I hate more than vague reassurances. Still, after what I just witnessed, I can’t help but feel confident that maybe this is going to work.
When the word angelic came up in the prompt, I really didn’t think I’d be inspired to write about the character who, in the beginning, was as much a villain as Videl’s grandmother. Oh well. The end seems to be in sight for this story, so here’s to that!
As always, think happy thoughts!