Smiling in the Face of Hell

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Chapter 4

Scout blinked,” um, Queen?”

Lionel grinned,” yes ma’am that’s you, you see, I left a few details out before.”

“I was the first person you dragged down here. This wasn’t a hit and miss quest.”

Lionel looked proud,” yes, you were the first person I ever felt compelled to pull down, although no matter the reason that was still a very selfish thing of me to do. I didn’t just randomly pull the first human woman I sensed close to a gate. You called out to me. You are my soulmate and I am yours in return,” by his swift understanding of what she even meant, he must have, to some degree, knew of her doubts and thoughts that this was not his first rodeo.

Scout was speechless, this whole thing just kept getting bigger and bigger. Scout was dragged into hell, the man responsible was the King of Hell. Her employer hired her, when she really just signed up to be a slave to the council of Hell. Scout actually saved that same woman from the King. Oh and last but not least, Scout was the King’s soulmate.

Was this some cliche teen novel?

What’s next?

“Here, follow me, I want to show you something,” he said as he pulled away only to intertwine his hand in hers, gently pulling her behind him. Scout stiffly followed, her head spinning.

“When I stepped up as King of hell, the earth was just a whelp, no more than a million humans occupied the lands. Handfuls of other species grouped together and lived silently among the humans. Everything was made by a Maker, and that maker had designed Heaven and Hell as the peacekeepers for the land that laid between them. When the Maker created Hell, it also created these charms. There were exactly sixteen. No one knew what they were for, until the very first King had found his soulmate. That hunk of metal that the Maker had left was not a charm, the metal reacted to the true nature of the soulmates call, it had shaped itself into a ring. The ring was a sign from the Maker that it had not forgotten us and there was someone special for everyone, sinners and saints alike, not just the King and the seven Princes, who now each hold two of their own chunks of metal that will hopefully be a ring soon.”

Lionel led Scout through another door and pulled her into a chair that waited for her by a desk. She was in what looked like a bedroom, a very antique, vintage style of furniture were arranged inside, the colours were deep browns and blacks, red occasionally. She found the dark setting quite gothic-like.

Lionel released her hand and walked across the room to another door, which once he opened it, she realized was a walk in closet. She imagined that thing being a mile deep.

Moments later, Lionel stepped out, a small box in his hands. The box had delicate golden designs imbedded in a deep, polished cherry wood, or that’s what it looked like to her.

He stepped in front of her and opened it, showing her what looked like a thick ring. Scouts finger was considerably smaller compared to the ring. There was a second ring alongside it, and it looked equally as big. In the center of both rings was a large, deep crimson jewel that seemed to swirl and looked alive. Around the center jewel, there were two naked men spooning the jewel like it was a baby, circling it in there embrace. The detail of both rings were magnificent, so realistic she had to look away, feeling as if she was ogling the men carved into the ring.

“Whose are these?”

“You’re smarter than that Scout, or you just were not paying attention to my story on the way here,” he mused as Scout gave him a glare.

“I was paying attention, but I don’t realize they were real.”

Lionel smiled,” this isn’t some big fairy tale, Scout, this is all very real,” he said as he gently pulled up her left hand into his, pushing her ring finger up from underneath as he slipped on one of the rings. The metal was cool to the touch as he let it drop onto her skin.

Once she felt how heavy and too big it was for her, she glanced up at Lionel, but before she could speak, he put a finger to his mouth, pointing back down at the ring. Reluctantly she looked down, and just in time to see the large, dime sized jewel suddenly shrink, the metal moved against her skin molding to her finger to the perfect, snug size. The bodies of the two men suddenly crunched up and began swirling around the jewel that shrunk about half of its original size. The metal began to shape into something else. Naturally she noticed another, different, male figure shaping on one side of the ring. The body was perfectly shaped and sculpted, muscles lined his side, his arms and his legs, he was the ideal type of man that many would swoon over. Then the face formed.

Scout felt her innocence depleting when the face shaped to be a perfect resemblance of Lionel’s face, only it held a relaxed, loving, serene expression, as his arm draped over the oval jewel that had changed from a deep blood red to a bright crimson, the inside swirling like a dark fine mist. Next came a new body, just on the other side of the ring, a smaller, more feminine body that Scout couldn’t help noticing looked really familiar. The slim structure, familiar A-cup sized breasts, the nearly nonexistent behind, and the long waist length hair all made her realize the ring had made a perfect resemblance to herself, right up to the single scar that marred her shoulder that had been there since as long as she could remember.

Scout almost couldn’t look away, but when Lionel’s hand slipped on the other one, she had glanced at his to see the process happen all over again. His ring had been slightly bigger than hers, but it was only called for since he was over six foot and his hands were about twice the size of hers.

When his ring was done, Scout looked back at hers. It was gorgeous, and it fit perfectly, the black metal gleamed almost like glitter and the jewel has yet to stop slowly swirling. Scout wanted to feel frightened, but she was simply not, and she couldn’t even fake it if she tried.

Yep, this was a permanent thing.

Lionel looked tickle pink, almost childlike. He took her hand back in his and held it, pressing a soft kiss to her knuckles, his eyes sparkled with happiness, looking similar to the gleaming metal of the rings.

His glittering eyes glanced down at the metal on her finger, examining a certain part of it that made her cheeks glow in colour. Embarrassment taking over, she smacked her other hand over it, blocking his view of her nude body that was perfectly displayed on the ring.

Lionel’s sweet smile quickly turned into a playful, teasing grin as he trapped both of her hands in one of his as he brought up his own, larger ring, giving it a teasing glance.

“Don’t stare! Perv,” she shrieked, trying to pull her hands free, feeling her blush spread from the sudden unwanted attention, coloring her shoulders and neck a cherry red colour.

Lionel dropped his hand, pulling her close to his chest, as he hugged her waist,” ok ok, I won’t stare so boldly when your looking,” he teased, laughing when she smacked his chest as hard as she could, which was still weak and did close to nothing as far as damage went.

Suddenly, with the ring, she then remembered what she looked like. Scout tried to push away, but he refused to let her go.

“What’s wrong?”

Seriously, does he not have a sense of smell,” I stink, I’m sweaty and sticky, my clothes are ruined,” she listed off, wondering if he purposely forgot or sincerely just wasn’t thinking about it.

Relief spread through his features as he chuckled,” I see, follow me,” he said, keeping Scout close despite her discomfort, as he led her to another door on the other side of the room, what looked like would be a bathroom, but Scout wasn’t sure until he opened it and showed her.

Scout felt relief of her own as she spotted a large circular tub made of what looked to resemble marble, surrounded by candles that have already been used and had the drippy wax pooled at the bottom, securely holding them down in one place.

All seemed to be already lit, why, Scout did not care, all she wanted was to wash her skin free of grit and sweat.

“Someone is on their way now to cool down the water for you, then you will be all set to go,” Lionel stated, watching for any reaction of Scout’s.

“What about clothes,” she began just as someone scurried through the door in which they had just came through themselves, not pausing for a single moment as whoever it was hurried off and started the water.

Scout watched the small being as Lionel spoke,” Don’t worry about petty things like that, just worry about cleaning up and relaxing,” he said as he gently guided Scout over to the edge of the bath.

The small demon flinched and made way for Lionel and her, making sure to keep its head down at all times, as if trying desperately hard to be invisible. Water was pouring in, the steam was unbelievable, it was a wonder how there was still actual water by how much vapor there was. Scout even noticed the water was boiling the more the tub filled.

Scout took an uneasy step back, right into Lionel who, like a wall he was, did not move an inch. Instead, he took that as an invitation to wrap his arms around Scout’s waist, holding her still against him.

“Um,” she began, feeling her heart nearly squeeze into the size of a dime from the closeness.

Lionel did not at all seem to notice her behavior towards this strange situation,” Hm?”

”About that water,” she blurted as if she forgot how to properly state her feelings about this situation that seemed to be moving way too fast for her to compute.

Lionel chuckled, a nice feeling against her back,” it’s fine, Johna here will cool it down for you,” he said, not moving an inch as he watched the small demon with piercing eyes, since Scout seemed to be that easy to look over.

Scout watched between the two and noticed the longer it took, the meaner Lionel began to look, thinking Scout wasn’t watching his eyes that slowly turned into a scowl, and how his lips began to look pursed in annoyance. He clearly did not know how long filling his own tub could take. Did he even need to bathe? Was bathing another thing that was not really needed but there to remind him of his human years and habits?

Scout felt a shiver dance through her bones, he was definitely a King, expects things to happen snippity quick and for other beings to not exist until he needs them. Selfish, demanding, and self-centered.

Scout looked away, wondering how on earth, or Hell, this was going to work. She felt Lionel stiffen, but not a word was said.

The air grew heavy really quick, Scout cleared her throat,” Well I think I got it from here,” she said, in a manner that almost sounded forced and blurted. She had to get rid of the one most likely in charge of the heavy atmosphere, he probably didn’t like her defiance, maybe he got tired of her already. Hell, maybe he finally caught a whiff of the terrible smells she is emitting.

Instead of pushing her away in anger or disgust, he instead turned her to face him and kept her close with one hand as his other cupped her cheek and lifted her face slightly. A warm pair of lips touched her forehead, making her freeze from the sudden very gentle gesture.

“I will return when you are done,” he said in the softest voice Scout had ever recalled hearing from him since she’s been around him. She thought she caught a hint of hurt in his voice, but the reassuring smile he gave her made her head go blank in less than a millisecond if that’s even possible.

When Scout nodded blankly, he slowly released her and walked out without another word. He had to be mad, maybe he was just putting up with me till I change, maybe that’s when all the true colours come out, she then thought uncontrollably, feeling a slight pang of regret, she hoped she wasn’t being dragged down to someplace evil, worst than Hell itself, cause the only person that could save her is now headed to the council to either be “executed” or tortured forever.

When he closed the door, Scout stiffly glanced over at the one named Johna, now feeling that just maybe she should be feeling the same fear as this poor demon she had finally concluded was a servant.

“Is he always this tense?” Scout asked, wondering if tense was even the right word for what she was even trying to ask.

The poor servant jumped slightly as if supremely shocked she had spoken to it. A pair of neon yellow eyes looked up at Scout, making her stare in awe, there was no pupil, no white, they were just both complete yellow spheres, looking at Scout with what was clearly fear and a hint of curiosity.

“I’m sorry Queen, ma’am, I am not to speak any more than this, please let me finish cooling your bath and I will be out of your way as soon as possible,” it spoke, its voice was ragged and worn, almost sounded like an elder lady with a history of heavy smoking, but it also sounds as if it could be a man as well, it was extremely hard to tell.

Scout blinked, baffled,” Why can’t you speak,” she asked anyway, unsure of where her prying will get her.

The servant twitched, glancing around the large bathroom as if terrified Lionel will appear out of thin air and decapitate it if it was not careful, which she was sure was not unheard of,” The lord, he does not like us speaking at all. We are to serve, not to speak, question or complain.”

‘We’, that one word should not have shocked her, but it still did in a way, making her wonder just how many of them there are.

“But the ones downstairs speak,” Scout countered in a calm, gentle voice, making sure not to come off too loud or mean and make this poor demon scurry away and never speak to her again.

It was easy to coax it into speaking, it seemed kind and somewhat eager to have a relatively normal conversation for once in who knew how long,“ Those are the head maid’s, they all get to speak, they keep the lord content when it comes to food or management of the castle when he is not here, they are only to speak if it is to tell the lord of lowly maids, like me, our mistakes, or if it is to make sure the lord has everything he needs upon arrival.”

Scout shivered with the demon, wondering just how this all works out in the end for ‘Lowly maids’ for there tiniest mistakes,” What happens if a head maid snitches?”

She asked a serious question, but confusion set into the demon’s face,” I’m sorry, ‘snitches’? I’m afraid I am not familiar with this term.”

Scout refrained from smiling, Johna was finally opening up to her, even though it truly was not all that hard to do, she did not want to scare it off now, she wanted answers, but she also wanted a friend, she did not want to be in this place alone without trying to get familiar with the ‘staff’ at least, get a tiny idea on what she’s even getting into.

“Tells Lionel of something someone might have done wrong,” Scout explained loosely, watching as Johna’s face went from shock that she had said its Kings name, to fear at the thought of being told on for a mistake.

“The lord does not like imperfections and does not tolerate mistakes, no matter the intensity of those mistakes. If we make one mistake, we can lose our life span or be sent to the deepest parts of hell, where we will forever regret making a mistake in front of the Lord himself.”

Scout shivered, that is wrong in so many ways, but who was she to say, Earth and Hell are two completely different worlds. Her normal is probably weird to them as their normal is to her, or in this case cruel, to her. Her thoughts after that reminded her that she was in Hell and she needed to remember that everyone here, including Johna, have all made a dire sin on the earth’s surface to end up here and did not confess their sins. For all Scout know, Johna was a psychopath killer when it was still alive on earth.

“That’s intense,” she said lamely, turning her attention back to the water, not missing how the neon eyes seemed to turn to Scouts ring finger where the ring sat snug.

“So you are his soulmate?”

The question took Scout off guard, she wasn’t aware that everyone knew about a thing like that.

“Yea, I guess I am.”

Scouts uncertainty on the subject seemed to turn Johna curious, more open to talking,” You bare the ring of the lord’s soulmate, and he too, both signifying that you are his mate, that you are the Queen to him as King.”

“Well,” she started nervously, feeling like she was still missing too much to agree to all of this yet, even though, not rejecting the ring before may have been her downfall, if it was time she really wanted,” this all just came at me really fast, I haven’t had time to swallow it. A few hours ago I was living on earth as a gatekeeper for Hell, now I’m down here, with the King, and then the whole soulmate thing. I’m still digesting it all.”

“Which is why you are still human,” it asked, as if it all made sense right then. I guess it pieced it all together that it’s Lord had pulled me down here for himself, Scout thought, thinking he must be more selfish than he’s showing.

Well, he is a King, she countered herself, finding that to be the perfect explanation to it all.

“Yeah, he said that he can change me himself, but I asked for some time, still haven’t made a choice really, I don’t know what to do.”

The raspy, rough voice of the demon almost seemed to turn old and wise, a complete shift from it’s frail and scared tone from before,” you should take your time on that, for changing, he really simply means killing you. That is the only way to turn into a demon, you need to die to survive further in Hell since you are now already bound to Hell from stepping through the gate,” it said with such seriousness, it scared Scout.

Sure, that’s how she figured it.

“Yeah, I know.”

Just then, a loud, annoyingly screechy voice called out, effectively cutting off Johna from any further speaking and making it withdraw back into its shell, quickly turning to tend to the water, its hands dipped in and turned a strange blue colour,” Johna! Your presence is required in the mess hall, you have yet to finish your chores!”

Not even a moment later, a large, rather round, demon burst through the door, a pig snout was the very first feature Scout saw. Next was its ashy grey skin, its wide, catlike slit red eyes. Its hands mostly represented what looked like a skeletal remain of a large cat, like a tiger, very bony and thick, and most definitely sharp. Scout recalled Johan saying it was a head servant, so she assumed it was up by the entrance when she first arrived, but Scout was so out of it she had not clearly recalled what any of those demons from before looked like, although, looking at one now, she wondered just what on earth she was thinking to possibly ignore that.

It paused, glancing up at Scout as if she did not realize she was even there, a very rude scowl spread on her features, making the wrinkles Scout had not seen the first time pop out,” Who are you?”

Looks like I wasn’t the only one who did not bother checking faces around here, she thought, or maybe this one just wasn’t there when I came earlier.

Scout was taken aback, she looked at Johna for help, but its head was down and it acted like it was not listening. Scout scratched her temple nervously,” I’m Scout, I’m new around here,” she said, making that last part more like a question than an answer, making it sound like she just joined a camp or something.

The fat demon’s eyes seemed to catch on to the ring that Scout had unintentionally flashed when scratching her temple as one of her many nervous habits,” So you are the human everyone is raving about. Well, new or not. Soulmate or not, you cannot just take one of my maids for your own pleasures.”

Scout narrowed her eyes, this thing must be one of the head maids, and boy was she rude,” Johna was following Lionel’s orders, not mine.”

The scowl of hers turned deadly upon hearing her Lord’s name,” You are to not refer to the King by his name, no one has that authority, not even a lowly human like you. You are to refer to the Lord as King, or sir. You are just his petty woman, nothing more. It will only be a matter of time before he realizes his mistake in taking in a human. Let me make this clear, you are nothing but his toy, therefore you shall act like one before you suffer dire consequences. Johna, get out here now before I report you to Yance.”

Scout was stricken, maybe this whole time she was getting everything wrong. The pig-nosed woman’s words sliced through her, bringing back to surface the fear she thought she was over. Maybe this really was something she needed to think hard about, perhaps the thing was right, she was just a toy with a ring. She was nothing to him but another maid, or entertainer, or whatever he wants her to be. This was no romance novel after all like she was secretly hoping, this was real, and she may be in real trouble.

Johna jumped and hurried out before another word was said, apparently Yance was just as terrifying as Lionel himself. The pig-nosed demon humphed and turned to leave, her head held high, her stride even like she owned the place.

Scout stood in the silence for a moment longer, taking in the reality of things. The water was no longer running or boiling, the tub was filled just enough for her whole body to be submerged while sitting. Scout swallowed, this may be her last bath in a while, she might as well take the opportunity while it was there.

Trying desperately to forget everything that has happened, even if it’s for a little bit, she dunked her finger in the water to find it still very hot, but not melt-your-skin scorching, so she went for it anyways

She discarded her ruined clothes on the floor in a neat pile and climbed in, hissing at the heat that burned at first. She slowly sat, aware that the floor and sides of the tub were still scorching hot. Oh well, what're a few burns

Soaking in the large tub, she wondered if there was any such thing as soap, or shampoo, not seeing anything to even look like it was used to sanitize and clean. All she found, in the end, was a clean black rag hanging on the wall right outside the tub, she went ahead and used it settling with the lack of soap and dealt with the hot water and a rag.

After cleaning herself as spotless as she was going to get with just water and a rag, she sat back, the marble long cooled off by that time. The cool wall felt great against her very warm skin, it had relaxed her enough to just sit there and stare at the ceiling of the bathroom, which was black as coal. She wondered just what she was going to do. Try and run, Maybe after she changed she could run before something more terrible than dying happens. At this point, she didn’t know who’s side of all this to trust. Pig-nose gave some strong points that Scout could not help but think they are true. She’s been here longer than Scout, she probably knew better.

This was Hell, ain’t no one supposed to be happy.

Then there is Lionel who really did not say what was going to happen, other than she was doomed and stuck in Hell forever and she had to ‘change’ before she died from the heat. Heat or Lionel’s hands. Not sure which to prefer, both sound terrible and in the end, either way, she was dying.

Then what, what’s supposed to happen, after she finally died and started her count down to change into her final demon form. What happens then, would she be locked up, displayed as some trophy? Used and tortured? Left and ignored? Just what on earth did being a soulmate even truly mean?

With her mind racing, she stood, water rolling off her bare skin, her head still in the Hell’s skies about what is going to happen, she did not even notice the entrance of Lionel, who stood tall a few feet away from the tub, the door wide open behind him.

Scout froze in her spot, her cheeks burning from the embarrassment, but the fear that was deep in her bones kept her from moving, worried of tripping any kind of anger from Lionel, who had the power to do whatever the hell he pleased, and clearly no one to save her in the event of that happening.

In his arms was what looked like a towel, and a set of clothes, All of it white, instead of black like everything else seemed to be.

His eyes flashed many things; lust, infuriating, resentment, regret. Scout did not understand him at all, and that perhaps is the scariest part.

Then he moved, making Scout cringe slightly. He slowly approached and set the set of clothes down on a candel-less edge of the tub and stood up straight, his glittery black eyes were glued to hers,” Scout, I don’t know who told you what or what you heard, but please, don’t ever fear me. I will not harm you.”

“Pig-nose said I was just a toy,” She blurted, revealing her biggest fear, somehow having no hesitation at telling him this when he was the biggest part of her fear along with her multiple other fears of the unknown of her new home and what was to come.

Lionel blinked, as if shocked she even said someone else had said something to Scout at all,” Pig-nose? A maid?”

Scout shivered slightly, his anger was starting to seep from his pores,” I guess. S-she came in demanding for Johna, and was mad that it was helping set my bath up.”

Lionel gritted his teeth, but quickly relaxed, seeing Scout wince, waiting for him to yell or get mad at her,” Scout, listen to me, I will never get mad at you, I will never hurt you, I will never refer to you as a toy, no matter what any other low life demon in Hell says. You are my queen, and I will do anything to make sure you’re happy and safe.”

Scout felt her heart squeeze, something inside her refused to let her believe otherwise, his soft eyes, gentle voice, reassuring words, all relaxed her stiff and tense body. Something deep inside her believed him and could not think otherwise anymore. Her swirling emotions made it very hard for her to pick a side on what she wanted and needed to believe.

Once Lionel saw her relax from his words, he stepped forward and reached out, gently gripping Scout by her bare waist and lifted her out of the tub with ease, almost like a child. Scout gripped his arms, worried he might drop her, her nude body did not bother her as much anymore, with her mind on other more important things.

She felt his anger spike once more when he felt her hot skin,” was the bath not cool enough, you’re burning too hot for a human,” he grumbled, his anger most likely turning towards Johna.

“It wasn’t the first maid’s fault, the pig-nose ordered Johna out by threatening to tell someone else,” she defended, watching his face soften ever so slightly.

Lionel let her dry herself, but as soon as she passed on the towel, he threw it to the side on the floor, not a second glance in its direction and picked up one of the white cloths he had brought in with him, revealing a baggy, soft blouse with half sleeves and a v-neck. With no delay, he brought the shirt over Scout’s head and pulled it over her bare chest, leaving her to find the arm holes as he began reaching for a matching pair of white pants; white, with a gold, delicately designed hook belt with a hoop on one end and a teardrop on the other.

Feeling more like herself again at the moment, she calmly reached out for the pants, palm up,” I can dress myself, really,” she joked lightly, cracking a small smile when he chuckled, a very sweet and soft sound.

“Of course, I had no doubt,” he said as he passed over the pants and stood only a centimeter back for her to slip the pants on, relief at her joking filled all those spots in his eyes that once accompanied anger and regret, once again seeming like a whole new being.

When she finished dressing and hooking the elaborate gold belt in the belt loops, she straightened up to see Lionel watching her closely, his eyes gone from soft to lustful, as if now that he had gotten through to her again, he’s finally letting his masculinity show, in more than just his eyes.

“What?”

“Oh nothing, just seeing your body in person is, as expected, much better than looking at the ring.”

Scout’s face heated just as hot as Hell’s water,” You are so perverted!”

Scout covered her heated, red face, regretting letting her nudity not get the best of her before.

Lionel laughed, another sweet sound to Scout’s ears,” What do you expect, I’m a man, and I saw a very beautiful woman’s creamy skin bare, I can’t help myself.”

Scout kept her face covered, even when Lionel’s arms snaked around her waist and pulled her closer to him,” now that that’s all cleared up, come with me, I want you to see this.”

Scout lifted her face from her hands, glancing up to see Lionel’s face had slightly tightened, his eyes were distant as he tucked her under his arm and gently led her out into the hall, their bare feet softly pattering against the hard, smooth marble floor, his other hand reaching over to grab hers, his thumb gently rubbing across her knuckles.

Scout tried to remember where he walked so she could get at least a small idea of where they were going, but as soon as they turned the second corner and walked down the third hall, she was lost.

“Where are you taking me? What do you want me to see?”

Lionel was tense, he kept walking and only acknowledged she had even spoke when he glanced down over at her, giving one small shake of his head before looking straight again. That can’t be good. The calmer mood from before was long gone. Scout steadily felt that familiar weight of Lionel’s anger begin to rise despite keeping his straight poker face. He had a very distinct skill to literally push his seething anger out on everyone. How terrifyingly interesting his anger can be literally his weapon if he wished.

Finally, they paused in front of a door that resembled many of the other doors in the place, he did not look at her as he spoke,” when we go in there, I need you to listen closely to my words. Just listen, watch, and understand.”

Before she could ask what was going on, he released her hand, only to tighten his arm around her shoulder. He opened the door to reveal a large room that had multiple bunk beds, footlockers, and small nightstands, it almost looked like a camp, or maybe boot camp is the right word.

There was a large group of demons all huddled around, silent, then there were five others that were bigger than the others, making it quite clear who they were, and among that group of five stood Pig-nose. Just about all five of the head maid’s all had at least one feature that Scout could compare to an animal. There was pig-nose, then there was a shark mouth, a huge shark mouth at that. Then bug eyes and then bull horns. Then lastly there was fungus ears, no noticeable animal feature, but the fungus was prominent, not just their ears.

Lionel did not have to look hard to find Pig-nose, and boy when he did find her, he gave her the glare of her life, Scout then realized what’s about to happen, something she cannot stop this time.

The larger group of smaller demons all bowed their heads and cowered in the corner. The head maids straightened as stiff as a brick wall and bowed their heads in fear.

“My lord,” they all said in harmony, none of them lifting their head, except Pig-nose.

She knew why they were there, she knew he was there for her, she knew she was over and she was ready to face her punishment with her head held high. Scout was unsure if that was supposed to be a statement of pride or just pure idiotic courage, honestly, at times like this, both can look exactly the same.

“Let me be crystal clear over something. This woman is your Queen, she is to be respected as a Queen. She is not my Toy, she is not a visitor, She is my soulmate. If anyone treats her as anything less than a Queen, they shall suffer the consequences.”

Then, with no warning, Pig-nose collapsed to her knees, gasping for air as if a pair of hands were tightly gripping her throat, the air shifted to a deadly one as a portal of some kind opened right behind the five maids. The four who have not done wrong all quickly shoved each other out of the way to get as far away from that purple portal as possible, cowering in fear along with the rest of the demons who have yet to make a single sound during this whole scene.

Scout then saw movement just on the other side, just moments before two even larger beastly demons stepped through, grabbing Pig-nose by her arms, violently yanking her up to her feet.

“You are now condemned to the dungeon for your disrespect towards your Queen,” Lionel finished, flicking his free hand to dismiss both her and the two beasts, dismissing them through the portal where Scout will never see that maid ever again.

Scout did not need to be a rocket scientist to know what the dungeon is or what happens there. She gripped what she realized was Lionel’s arm with force she would consider deadly on the surface, but her strength is petty compared to his, so how unaffected he was by her death grip was unclear, but he probably did not even notice.

“Any other objections?”

Scout watched with her mouth agape as the remaining four maids heads shook, not daring to look up,” No, my lord.”

Lionel grumbled his response and gently turned Scout with him as they began to leave, his back straight, not sparing a glance as he left all the demon maids terrified of both being sentenced to the dungeon and Scout with that big announcement she was to be treated equally as him or else.

“Did you have to do that?”

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