“Company.” The female of the trio chuckled. “And they are cute.”
“Stow it.” Her burly companion hushed her as he kicked over one of the broken traps. He looked up at the demons. “This is a problem for me. No shiny bugs, no cash.”
“Bugs?” Kagemusha voiced her outrage and fluttered out of Kage’s hair. The color of her skin deepened and she narrowed her gaze as the forest answered the call of her anger. “You will pay for what you’ve done.”
“Eew.” The girl made a twisted face of disgust. “A big black one. What’s wrong with it?”
“Not all of these lovely creatures are as defenseless as their tiny sisters.” Lucifer grinned and watched Malice fly over to join Kagemusha. The shadows cast by the trees darkened and lengthened until they pooled around the humans’ feet. “I was going to kill you myself. It seems I won’t have to.”
“With your permission, Lord Kage.” Kagemusha held back her magic and waited for her Master’s command.
“Avenge your fallen.” Kage grinned. “Children of Shadows.”
Kagemusha and Malice drew on the strength of nature and used their dark magic to manipulate the shadows. Darkness reached from the forest floor and lashed tightly around the legs of the humans who had trespassed. They screamed as the coils of dark vines pulled at their flesh and slowly crushed their bones. As Kagemusha broke their bodies, Malice warped the swirling magic to force the decay. They both laughed wickedly at the guttural howls of the humans rotting to death as the woods claimed the bodies.
“Well done, ladies.” Lucifer grinned as he watched the last of their work. It was a fair vengeance as far as he was concerned, but it was unlike their race to be that cruel. Mischief was in their nature, but it tended to be playful not cruel. Kagemusha had become especially wicked in service to Kage. It was a beautiful devotion; it was just surprising to see the nearly unbreakable nature of a fairy’s love for all things altered in such an extreme way. Lucifer stroked each of their sides as they returned to Kage’s shoulder. “Where next, Kage?”
“I had planned on seeing Samael and Azrael.” Kage ran his fingers behind his neck and took a moment to comfort Kagemusha as she laid against his skin. He taunted Lucifer with the Wyrms lack of effort when the rest of the Council was working together. “Unless of course you are content with letting them do nothing.”
“We’ll go play with your friends.” Lucifer grabbed Kage by his shirt and shifted them to the doors of the Wyrms estate in Heaven. “It had better be worth coming here.”
“I was going to have them meet me in Hell.” Kage hissed. “I despise this place.”
“As do I.” Lucifer smirked. “Which is exactly why they are here. They are hiding from me.”
“Fe Fe.” Azrael swung his hand forward at his wrist distastefully as he swung the door open. “Deseka danbol haka na salek sek.”
“What is it you want, Vasun Lucifer?” Samael pulled the door open further and put his arm around Azrael’s shoulders. “After your insults, I can think of no reason for you to darken my doorstep.”
“You have the place in my court that you wanted.” Lucifer grinned. “If you can’t handle constructive criticism, perhaps the two of you should resume your life of seclusion and leave the power I gave you to someone more willing and able to use it effectively.”
“The most effective course of action would be to wipe the surface of Tsuriai clean of the human filth you insist on protecting.” Samael sneered. “Your insult aside, we are in mourning for the lost and contemplating our best option within the confines of your ridiculous rules.”
“You have been neglecting correspondence with the Council.” Kage noted. “It makes you seem disinterested.”
“We have looked over all of the information.” Samael ran his fingers back through his hair and smiled. “I’ve neglected nothing, Kage. I also don’t care how I seem to the others. My hand in this would not be a kind one. I doubt the Council would approve of my methods.”
“Azrael, don’t look at me like that.” Kage took Azrael’s hands and squeezed them. “I came because I’m concerned about the two of you. We should be doing this work together.”
“Fervas’tach shiga?” Azrael frowned.
“Protecting creation. The humans are only a part of it and they need as much protection from themselves.” Kage shook his head. “I was referring to the Council in general. Zakesalek saba wavala.”
“An odd sentiment coming from you.” Samael laughed.
“Speaking of family, where is Shiroi?” Lucifer grinned. “Or are we now going to fight over this again?”
“Welak Isa saba vana.” Azrael grinned and leaned against the doorframe. Shiroi was just inside leaning defiantly against the wall refusing to speak to either of their uninvited guests. “Ha dana bol haka na seldak na sek.”
“Welak Isa is not very happy with how you handled things after we released Raziel.” Samael clarified. “You were glad to let me punish the Keeper for you, but once I made him crawl you were very glad to let me take the fall as well.”
“Sek naze na salek ken nalakyu.” Azrael squeezed Kage’s fingers excitedly. “Ke saba volbaken dak ken kuri en kyuna.”
“You took the fall for doing unnecessary things.” Lucifer shrugged. “Involving Shiroi and Brig made it difficult to offer you any defense.”
“There is also the matter of her mother.” Samael continued as he pulled Azrael’s hands away from Kage. “I don’t suppose either of you would care to explain why she has gone missing? Why she is no longer the Third in Tsumi?”
“Can we discuss this later, Shiroi?” Kage sighed and addressed her directly. “I will bring her to see you.”
“Is Daddy going to let you out long enough for that?” Shiroi laughed and walked around her husbands to stand beside Samael. “What have you done to my Mother?”
“I am keeping her from harm.” Kage hissed. “Watch your tone.”
“Watch yours.” Samael moved to strike Kage across his face and Lucifer grabbed him by his wrist. “So, you do care enough to defend him.”
“Don’t test me, Samael.” Lucifer dragged Samael out of the doorway and tossed him to the ground.
“Nepu!” Azrael pounced after them.
“Don’t make me hurt you, Azrael.” Kage forced Azrael to the ground and deflected several kunai that Shiroi tossed at him. He hissed at her as he pulled Azrael into his arm. “Pathetic girl.”
“Now, dear Samael.” Lucifer stepped on one of the Gold Dragon’s arms and kneeled on the other as he crouched and took his jaw in his hand and grinned down at him wickedly. “You are going to invite us inside and we are going to have a nice chat about the effort you are going to start making.”
“Voldrakena, Vasun Lucifer.” Samael smiled. “Join me for some wine?”
“I’d love to.” Lucifer shifted away from him and slapped Shiroi across her face. “You are proving to be as much of a nuisance as the woman I pulled you out of.”
“I’m alright, kosha.” Samael smiled and pushed the silver hair away from Azrael’s frightened face as Kage pulled him to his feet. He gave a nod of appreciation to Kage for keeping Azrael from harm. As Shiroi wandered over holding her face and Lucifer disappeared through the door Samael took Kage by his arm and spoke softly. “I was also mistaken. All this time I assumed he was blind to your worth.”
“It would not matter to me if he was.” Kage whispered. “He is my Lord and Master, my love for him is not swayed by his opinion of me. As dear as the two of you are to me, if Azrael refused to back down I would have defended Lucifer.”
“De supas.” Samael smiled and kissed Shiroi’s face. “Does it hurt?”
“Not as much as what he said.” Shiroi pouted. “I want to see her Uncle. I don’t believe either of you.”
“Can we finish with this disaster of a visit before you make any more demands?” Kage started toward the door. “Your Masters can bring you to my estate to see Nexus tomorrow.”
“Sek kaatas voneka na benta de.” Azrael growled at Kage.
“It wouldn’t have killed you.” Kage laughed and turned to smile at him before he retracted the fangs that he had readied to deliver his venom. “At least I don’t think it would have.”
“Bol helasa, Kage.” Azrael pounced on his back and smiled.
“You both forgive him so easily.” Shiroi pouted as she clung to Samael’s arm and followed after Kage and Azrael as they teased each other.
“Kage has been our friend for a very long time, Welak Isa.” Samael explained. “You’re Father might have the honor of Kage’s love and devotion and a smile that I imagine is simply brilliant. Azrael and I have had just as great a fortune in Kage’s company, because we’ve been honored enough to join the Viper at play.”
“I don’t play.” Kage hissed.
“Any more.” Samael corrected him and smiled. Azrael managed to bring some of it out of him, but Kage stiffened quickly when he entered the sitting room and approached Lucifer. Samael muttered to himself as Kage insisted Azrael let go of him and went to sit quietly with his Master. “And there is the reason why.”
“Harka.” Azrael sat a grape against Samael’s lips as he sat beside him. He giggled as Samael pulled him close and sucked his fingers after accepting the sweet offering. “Velak.”
“Vasun.” Kage handed Lucifer a glass of wine and tried to ignore the display of lust across from them.
“Kabil.” Lucifer watched the three of them closely as he insisted on more effort. Azrael pouted, but yielded to Samael’s reluctant agreement. Shiroi gave him angry glances as she respected her Masters requests to stay out of the discussion. Between her scowling she fawned over the two of them adoringly. His once sweet, innocent daughter had been corrupted by the very love he hoped would save her. She was ruined, but at least she was happy.
“I should get back to Tsumi.” Kage stood. “Eidolon has yet to place a Third.”
“I may linger here a while longer.” Lucifer grinned up at Kage and grabbed the ends of his hair. Kage had been discretely distant during their stay, and showed disgust at the affection of their hosts. Lucifer decided that at least in their goodbye he was going to have a little fun with him. He started to wrap Kage’s hair around his arm to pull him closer. “You weren’t going to leave without a kiss were you?”
“Hala sul!” Azrael rushed over and pushed Kage into Lucifer’s embrace before he leaned close to watch.
“De shent shokeka sek, Azrael.” Kage hissed at him before he pressed his lips softly against the corner of Lucifer’s mouth. “I’m not about to make a spectacle of my affection.”
“Kasu dan sek stava helkisa de?” Lucifer grinned and wound more of Kage’s hair around his arm.
“I’m not resisting.” Kage returned the wicked grin. “Just adhering to a sense of decency.”
“Charming.” Lucifer pulled him by the back of his neck. Azrael leaned excitedly on the couch and waved his tail behind him. “A shame I’ll have to violate that decency. I don’t want to disappoint Azrael.”
“Tch.” Kage glanced aside. “Dan se dosesek.”
“Why would you want to hide away a love that beautiful, Kage?” Samael smiled as he watched Lucifer embarrass the Viper with tenderness. As opposed as Kage had been he fell completely into a blind euphoria in Lucifer’s arms as they kissed. Samael had no doubt that Lucifer could take the tender moment into lurid eroticism without a single further complaint from Kage.
“I see nothing beautiful about that.” Shiroi turned away angrily.
“Dekeha trezami Paranat.” Azrael smiled as he watched them. He had watched Kage pine after Lucifer for so long. Seeing them finally in each other’s arms was a beautiful thing. He was happy for both of them. As angry as he was at Lucifer, this moment of seeing Kage so at peace was worth forgiving the insults. “Dekeha kaat helsek.”
“Sek bret vonek.” Lucifer winked as he let Kage slide away from him. “Tell Eidolon to hurry up with his decision. His focus is needed elsewhere.”
“Tek, det Vasun.” Kage bowed his head as he stood and vanished.
“He is so adorably stubborn.” Samael laughed as Azrael skipped back to him. “Does he put up that much of a fight at home?”
“No and you wouldn’t find it quite so adorable if it was your tongue his fangs pierced when he was agitated.” Lucifer grinned. “His venom is quite potent and he does not enjoy it when I corner him like that.”
“Yet you do it anyway.” Shiroi snapped at him and Azrael jumped on her playfully and kissed her to stop her from getting into trouble.
“Amusing isn’t it?” Lucifer finished the last of his glass and glared at Samael. “The little things we do to those we love.”
“Since you let Kage fill your veins with poison to entertain Azrael.” Samael stroked Azrael’s ear as he smiled. “Where do you want me to start with this Council nonsense?”
“Just pick someone and work with them.” Lucifer crushed the glass in his hand. “Can you manage that?”