Chapter 14- Unconditional Conditions

Lousphy left the demon be, then also left the cave. Upon seeing the light of the new day, she noticed that many of the demon’s workers were busy around her, with Luna directing them. There was a table right next to her with floor plans placed all over the top of it, and a foreman looking them over. Strangely, out of the confusion, things were getting done perfectly and fairly quickly. Lousphy didn’t feel like disturbing her, so she unfurled her wings and went to the peak where she and Luna were yesterday evening.

 

For some time, she paid attention and watched the town, then she thought about the ring on her hand. In truth, the ring was a glorified engagement ring by their standards. She was now considering wedlock. She felt the demon’s truth through the ring and her own natural instincts. As she twisted it around her finger, she noticed and heard a voice calling to her. Immediately, she went through her divine portal and took a knee in front of Sir Ralph.

“Report.” (Sir Ralph)

 

Lousphy kept her head down as she gave a completely detailed report since she last saw Sir Ralph. It was her duty not to hide anything, and David didn’t show any hints about wishing to keep silent about it. After an hour, Ralph called her to rise.

“Lousphy, it has been decided that you will be put under my direct command. I have decided to change the directive of your task. I want you to learn all you can about this demon that has decided to show this odd behavior to you. If you come across anything you deem odd, you are to take note and report it. You are now dismissed.” (Sir Ralph)

Lousphy raised and pondered how to ask her questions.

“You wish to speak…, very well.” (Sir Ralph)

Lousphy took a deep breath, then slowly exhaled before proceeding.

“Sir, what of my duties before this change? How far am I allowed to follow these new orders? Am I to go to the point of losing trust or keep it a secret? Also….” (Lousphy)

 

Lousphy paused. This was the moment that she had to make up her mind.

“Sir, his offer…. He offered wedlock.”

Lousphy found herself twisting the ring he placed on the palm of her hand.

“Hand it over.” (Sir Ralph)

Lousphy moved forward slightly, then found herself not wanting to remove the ring from her person. The moment it left her grasp and came toward Ralph’s hand, it swelled with demonic energy. Sir Ralph barely kept it from touching him as Lousphy barely caught it before it hit the ground. The moment it was within Lousphy’s hand again, it was giving off gentle love from it once more. She put it on her finger, determined to never let it leave there again. After a moment of silence, Sir Ralph returned to his seat.

“How are you able to control that demon?” (Sir Ralph)

Lousphy remained silent. She had felt the demonic energy as strongly as her superior did the moment that it left her grasp. For a moment, he seemed rather afraid. She thought hard to think of an answer.

“Love.” (Lousphy)

 

He raised an eyebrow at her.

“Love?” (Sir Ralph)

Lousphy nodded.

“Love, sir. He loves me and I love him.” (Lousphy)

Sir Ralph took a moment to think that over before responding.

“So, you are saying that his love for you lets him be this open with you. Let him up open to you so you can manipulate him.” (Sir Ralph)

Lousphy shook her head.

“You know, I would never do something like that. You know the nature of demons2demonsspecies and mortals better than I do. That would be a betrayal of trust and I doubt that any forgiveness would be possible from that.” (Lousphy)

Sir Ralph paused again, and start thinking about how to use the situation and knowledge that he currently has. After that, he stood once more and picked up a scroll from his desk.

“I’ll answer your questions now. There are no further changes to your current assignment other than to watch the demon. You are to report as much as you see fit and by divine law, only me, as both your immediate superior and an eighth winged or higher ranked divine, can I grant you your bands. If that’s what you want, then terms between the divine and the demon must be made, and these terms must not be up to you to dictate.” (Sir Ralph)

 

Lousphy felt a little hurt about how the divine wanted to use her current position to take advantage of David. After returning to his realm, she tended to a few of her duties around the town. She noticed there was much more love than normal amongst both the humans and the lower class minions that freely and regularly visited the town. They both understood the needs of the other. The taxes and services of the humans that pay the minions and their master kept them fed. The minions were ever vigilant protectors and a police force to prevent theft and bandit parties from forming or coming through the portal stone unopposed. They were also an advance military force when needed. The foremen of both the mines and the crop fields were both wise and intelligent in their learned fields and their greed control. She even noticed a new family of divine and minion relations moved in.

 

As long as the kick up is large enough to not have noticeable skimming, David and Luna didn’t care, or pretended not to notice. Lousphy admitted it was a fair arrangement between divine and demonic influences, as it was a strong balance. As she sat in the church in thought, she didn’t let anything bother her unless it was important. Her train of thought broke after a letter flew in front of her, then settled on her foot. She saw the goblin who delivered it running out of there in a haste. It had her name written on it in the common human language of the realms. A messenger is immune to the wrath of both sides, as agreed to long ago. However, the goblin would still be fully afraid of hollow ground. It must’ve been not a regular to deliver messages to the divine. Lousphy opened it and read it.

 

Dear angel in the realm of Client 129083745666,

 

We have noticed an increased amount of minion productivity ever since your introduction to the realm. We are kindly asking you to stop doing whatever it is that’s causing it because it’s making the rest of us look bad.

From an unanimous employee at the Minion Guild.

 

Lousphy almost laughed. This kind of thing would actually be good for the divine, but this letter is obviously something from the demons. She couldn’t decide on whether to take it seriously or not. After thinking about it, she decided to show it to David. However, when she got back to his cave, he and Sir Ralph were in discussion. It was obvious from a glance that he didn’t see her there because she would be an unwanted distraction. Luna had been watching the negotiations since the beginning, so she noticed the look Lousphy was giving, so Luna moved her way.

“You look concerned. Come with me.” (Luna)

They left the cave, and after a short flight, they landed.

“This better be important. I should be at his side to advise him about the current state of affairs of the realm.”

Lousphy became a bit nervous of the change in Luna’s attitude toward her.

“I don’t know if it’s important or not, but look at this.” (Lousphy)

Lousphy unfolded the letter and held it for the dragon to easily read it. It took her only seconds to growl angry.

“If they think they can actually get away with this!” (Luna)

 

Luna raised up her body on her rear legs.

“What’s wrong?” (Lousphy)

Luna angrily shot fire into the air in frustration, before landing back on all four of her limbs. “I expected that David will be getting these kinds of letters every now and then for overworking his minions. The guild is the main source of minion workers throughout the nether worlds. It’s meant to be a warning about several different complaints about him. Usually, when an overlord gets enough because of too poor conditions and too many deaths, all that demons workers are called back and whichever ones fail to escape are turned into slaves.”

 

Luna finally lowered her head to be level with Lousphy’s.

“However, the minions here are different. It’s odd, but they love the work and only complain about it because they are supposed to complain. Perhaps, it’s David’s lack of action, or mine, that we could even actually pay them and let them send in their dues instead of sending them to the department where they belong and pay them. Much less mind you.” (Luna)

 

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“Really? What’s the pay like then?” (Lousphy)

“We pay a premium for the services we receive. We also allow them more freedom than normal. They have it good here and they want to be sure they can stay for as long as they possibly can. However, the higher ups at the guild noticed that if they give the recall order, then they will not only lose several skilled and experienced workers, but more importantly, they will also lose the income it would bring and the fee of hiring them as well. They do nothing while they wait until David starts acting like a true demon and suddenly starts cutting wages and other benefits. The workers will come back and David would be cut off from them. However, this letter to you is a direct insult to both you and David. To David, because of the current situation, me and him have put ourselves in league with the minions. The guild thinks the divine are plainly trying to turn them into obedient servants, which is yet another insult to David because he permitted the divine presence.” (Luna)

 

Lousphy was speechless at the long explanation. This was a form of demon politics that she didn’t know about. Luna took the note and kept it in her claw as she was about to leave.

“It was good of you to bring this, but you shouldn’t be getting them anymore. If you ever feel like talking again girl, I would like that. David is a good friend of mine, but he doesn’t understand when a girl wants some girl time sometimes. The two of us also have a lot in common, we wish for his well-being. At least, we can discuss girl things.” (Luna)

Lousphy could only smile. What girl things could she discuss with a dragon? Luna must have taken that as approval, so she left.

 

“You must allow the holy holidays, it’s expected here.” (David)

David stared at the angel, unmoved. He didn’t like him in any way. However, he was a formidable opponent in negotiations. David held a position of higher ground. To expect more than he’s been given already would be his undoing.

“Then the demon ceremonies that are performed will not be objected by any way?” (David)

David once again caught the angel off guard. It was less than a fraction of a second, but David could tell by now that he was not good at expected responses.

“That will depend on the ceremony.” (Sir Ralph)

David wrote a list on some paper.

“It’s a ceremony for holidays. You will choose which public ceremonies you’ll allow and for each one, I will permit a holiday. It’s of course as long as I can get by with still being called a demon by other demons.” (David)

Sir Ralph looked over the document and was disgusted by some of the things that were listed. Raping of virgins on their wedding nights by David was the first one listed. Public executions for the lowest of crimes, even defiling the souls of the dead. None of these could be allowed by the divine.

 

Sir Ralph lowered the paper back on the table.

“None of these are acceptable.” (Sir Ralph)

David expected this conclusion, so he made a point that everything or anything suggested may not be acceptable.

“Perhaps, those ceremonies were too disapproving to a member of the divine, so let me try another list. These may be more to your liking.” (David)

This list contained lesser things such as inspections of his own indulgence to slavery. There were three things he left specifically; his right to marshal his own forces in town at will, his right to collect taxes publicly, and his right to change the town’s infrastructure. Sir Ralph easily selected these because they were more to his liking. After that, Sir Ralph gave David a list of holidays and a short meaning of them and dates or situations when they will occur. Three for three. Out of the listed ceremonies, only the three that he gave were the three that he even cared about to implement, at least on the land granted by the divine.

 

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It took them over two hours to consent that anything about everything else is purely his domain of power and has full right to do as he sees fit. David looked over the list, and saw that it listed holidays and events as well, but not the ones that David wanted. This seemed to make him more strict on the people by denying them simple things as celebrating the birth of a child. In that moment, David realized that the angel played him, and much better than any demon could. David got exactly what he wanted and so much more. Too much actually. However, David knew that he had a gambit setup that he started earlier. David now knew that Sir Ralph knew of it and likely had counters for it as well.

“You must be joking. If I am caught by another demon letting any of these go on, then I will have every demon thinking that I’m a weakling. Not even the divine could protect me from such an onslaught if they wanted to. Perhaps, I could allow one of these publicly, but the rest of them could be behind closed doors.” (David)

Sir Ralph had him where he wanted him now.

“So, you will not consent to our demands even after I consented to yours?” (Sir Ralph)

 

David smiled and circled two holiday celebrations, one that was expected and another was not.

“These two. They can go on as they are needed, whether I have company or not.” (David)

David circled a third, but it was also unexpected.

“This one must be approved of beforehand, because if I’m caught by another demon, I would have little choice but to kill them. A set date for it can be changed though. As for the many others, I don’t care if they’re performed, as long as they aren’t caught. However, I hold the right to punish them if ever they do come to MY attention.” (David)

 

David immediately noticed that the gambit worked, or help his current position at least a little bit. Sir Ralph couldn’t refuse the surrender of all the things on the list. It would be a direct insult to David if he did, as well as make up for all the demands he made earlier. David then took the papers and transferred the writings and agreements into the stone tablet being used for the contract; which listed the harvest festival, Christmas, and the last one he circled was marriage. This was the stone that Sir Ralph insisted the contract being written on.

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