2 - 69 Boom Sticks
Valeria took the time to shoot Laurenzo one short, defeating glance before she stormed out of Lucifer’s office.
To her surprise, and also a little to her resentment, the souls he had brought with him were patiently waiting in the hall, their backs pressed against the cold stone wall behind them, their eyes turning even wider the moment they saw her.
“Don’t move,” she hissed at them when passing. She could hear Laurenzo’s steps behind her, but she didn’t care to wait or turn for him.
She had hardly reached the main gate when another earsplitting rumble shook both the walls and her core.
What the actual —?
Valeria burst through the gate and ran out into the open. There was nothing distracting her eye from the glooming, dark red sky that illuminated the rocks by itself without needing or providing any other light source.
There was nothing distracting her - but there were supposed to be two towers, a smaller and a larger one, side by side, their silhouettes grey against the blood-red of the horizon, clinging to the edge of the cliff not more than a thousand feet away from her.
Instead, there were two hills of ashes now, and a short, dark haired girl observing them, occasionally stirring them with the tip of her black combat boots.
"Lucy!” Valeria called out without regard to the fact that she could still sense Laurenzo following close behind. She felt her wings spread when her step had reached its full speed, and a moment later, she dropped back to her feet by the girl’s side.
She grabbed her arms and roughly pulled her around to face her, expecting her face to be covered in grey embers, but Lucifer seemed to be entirely unaffected. Her black eyes were sparkling when she smiled at Valeria and grabbed her hands.
“Look, I finally got rid of the library!” She exclaimed, even bouncing up and down a little now.
Valeria pulled her hands away with a jerk.
“You what,” she said, slowly, not because she hadn’t understood, but because she needed a second to compose herself.
“I finally got rid of the library!” Lucifer repeated, louder this time.
“I heard you the first time,” Valeria hissed through her teeth. She was beginning to feel like she was surrounded by morons only today, a disbelieving rage swelling in her chest.
Lucifer blinked, clearly confused as to why she didn’t share her euphoria. About laying the entire library in ashes. Valeria felt her hands clenching into fists by her sides.
“Why,” she managed to get out between her teeth. “Just why, Lucifer.”
Lucifer crossed her arms in front of her chest and pouted. “Laurenzo left 69 boom sticks in my room and the note said Use me. And you always wasted so much time in there.” Her eyes focused on a point behind Valeria’s shoulder, and she turned around with an incredulous snort.
Laurenzo was standing right behind her, retracting his majestic, bright white wings just now.
“Couldn’t you just get her flowers like every normal person would?!” she yelled at him, even throwing her hands in the air in an attempt to process her rage.
Laurenzo just shrugged it off, his golden eyes shamelessly scanning Lucifer’s slender body.
“I might have, if somebody had told me the Master of Hell is a teenage girl now.”
“I am going to report to Gabriel that you’ve been nothing but a pain in my ass,” Valeria snarled, pulling Lucifer away from the ruins.
Laurenzo laughed, the sound echoing in the void now. Valeria remembered the good old times full of nostalgia – ten minutes ago, when the annoying sound still had been graciously swallowed by the walls.
“That’s okay, it doesn’t look like the worst place to be in,” he said, causing Lucifer to let out a snorting laugh. It quickly fell silent under Valeria’s judgmental glance, though. She leaned to the side with her arms crossed in front of her chest, undoubtedly checking what Laurenzo had said about Valeria’s backside.
“Honestly, though, where’s all the devil stuff?” Laurenzo asked, curiosity sparking up in his dark eyes.
"She just blew up the entire library, isn’t that enough?” Valeria shouted.
Raising her voice proved not to have much of an impact on him, though. “I was talking about...horns, a tail, a trident, maybe,” Laurenzo specified, taking Lucifer in from head to toe now. “I’m pretty sure he had those last time we met.”
“Yeah, well, a lot can happen in a millennium,” Valeria snarled, causing him to raise his eyebrows.
“I’m sure it hasn’t been that long,” he said. “Anyway, with that look, it’s not a surprise Gabriel doesn’t bother taking care of his affairs himself anymore. I can see now why the Creator doesn’t mention his name – this is blasphemy.”
The stream of air and the swooshing behind her told Valeria Lucifer had spread her wings. They didn’t cast a shadow, though, due to the lack of a direct light source, but the look on Laurenzo’s face told her Lucifer had also shifted: his golden eyes were widened in shock and awe alike.
Valeria closed her eyes for a moment, breathing out through her nose, then turned around.
Lucifer in his original state was a broad-shouldered, well-built man of nearly 6.5 feet. His eyes were glooming in the same dark shade of red as the sky behind his sweeping, black wings. The only thing resembling the short, young woman that had stood in his place only a moment ago was the jet-black hair, now significantly shorter, as it barely reached his shoulders.
And he was completely naked.
Valeria averted her gaze.
Laurenzo kept blatantly staring. The devil stared back, not a single breath moving his bare, muscular chest.
“It’s still blasphemy to discard the appearance one was given by the Creator,” he remarked, but now with a mocking sparkle in his dark eyes.
“If it was blasphemy, He shouldn’t have given me the ability to do it, don’t you think?” Lucifer asked. His voice seemed to be at least an entire octave lower than Laurenzo’s, and Valeria watched him take a step back at the sound alone with a certain amount of satisfaction.
Apparently finding he had nothing to face that argument with without risking to be found guilty of blasphemy himself, Laurenzo changed the topic: “You didn’t have to demonstrate all of it, you know.”
Valeria watched his eyes linger between Lucifer’s thighs. He really did not have an ounce of shame in his body, did he?
“You asked about the tail,” Lucifer discarded that.
Valeria spun around. ”Lucifer!”
“What? I’m not having any of this,” he said, looking down at her as he retreated his wings. Another blink later, Lucifer had shrunk back to Valeria’s size, black-eyed and half of her former weight, thankfully covered by her short, loose black dress and combat boots once again.
Laurenzo watched with wide eyes.
“I told you she jumped,” Valeria remarked, giving Lucifer a push to demonstrate she wanted her to move back into the Hut.
The Hut was in fact a two-story stone complex that stretched along the cliffs for as far as the eye could see. Its name was as old as the building itself. It dated back all the way to the day of the Jump. Lucifer’s feet had hardly touched the ground when he had dropped to the rocky bottom, arms crossed in front of his chest, wings sadly hanging down, and pouted. This sucks, Valeria remembered him commenting on the place he would rule from now on. Build me a hut.
And she had, even though she had to admit this was by no means what she had built back then.
Valeria couldn’t remember a time when she had not put all her effort into whatever wishes Lucifer came up with, covering the distance from Get me a milkshake from McDonald’s, I’ve seen an ad to Chain up this guy, he pulled at my feathers and last but not least, Help me change, I’m actually a woman.
Lucifer was a passionate defender of the opinion his father should not assign newborn humans a gender before they were old enough to choose one. This very attitude had cost Valeria long, long hours of fruitless, exhausting discussions until she had finally decided to drop it. Now, she just nodded whenever he brought up the fact that baby blue rompers were a bigger sin than pride, lust and claiming you were suffering from a lactose intolerance while stuffing your face with cheesecake combined.
Lucifer found an inappropriate glee in the fact that he did not support gender separating – or, to put it with Lucifer’s words, segregating – bathrooms. In her self-laudation, she paid zero heed to the fact that they simply did not have toilets since none of them were affected by a human metabolism.
But busting the library was a step too far, even for Lucifer’s standards. It had been Valeria’s favourite place, her sanctuary whenever she had found the time to retreat for even a few minutes - which, granted, was not very often, thanks to Lucifer’s demanding personality.
Valeria was only ripped from her thoughts when they reached Lucifer’s office, and it was only then she remembered Laurenzo’s thoughtful hostess gifts.
Lucifer’s voice filled the air the moment she had laid eyes on her uninvited visitors.
“How many times have I told you we do not have any – any – spare capacities, Valeria?!”