5 - Part of the Parade
“I said I’m not coming,” Don Eckovic repeated for what felt like the one hundredth time.
Laurenzo was leaning against the wall adjoining his cell, fidgeting with a (by now) loose button of his ridiculously long coat and occasionally yawning to demonstrate his boredom although he couldn’t possibly be in need of any air.
Valeria had crossed her arms in front of her chest and caught herself tapping her foot, the discussion testing the already stretched boundaries of her patience.
Lucifer, on the other hand, showed no signs of exhaustion, leaving Valeria to wonder why she wanted Don Eckovic to come so badly all of a sudden, since she had just made a big show out of Laurenzo not being allowed to take him to Heaven under any circumstances in the first place. Then again, she took being unable to follow the twisted paths of Lucifer’s mind as evidence for her own sanity, so at some point, she had just stopped questioning them.
“And I said please!” Lucifer just retorted.
Don Eckovic killed his second cigar in an overflowing ashtray and got up. “The only way I’m leaving is dead,” he said.
Lucifer let out a squeal of joy. Laurenzo cast Valeria a doubtful glance, to which she shrugged. Don Eckovic looked puzzled for a second, until his eyes widened, and he raised his hands. “Oh, no,” he said. “No. No, no. I did not mean it like that. At all.”
“A word is a word!” Lucifer exclaimed, jumping up and down now, clapping her hands.
Laurenzo raised an eyebrow at Valeria, which she decoded as Are we done?
She nodded, and Laurenzo pushed himself away from the wall while Lucifer dragged an unwilling Don Eckovic out of his cell, closing - and locking - the gate behind him.
“Great,” she turned to Laurenzo and Valeria with a shining smile. “So with those three pour souls you forced down here, we have four. How many more do we need?”
Valeria said nothing, still hoping the two of them would come to their senses and change their minds about this whole plan.
Unfortunately, Laurenzo said: “A total of ten, maybe? That way we would take a week if we eliminate one each day.”
“Eliminate?” Don Eckovic echoed.
Lucifer waved it off. “Don’t worry,” she told him. “You can just crawl back to your dark corner afterwards.”
It slowly dawned on Valeria why she wanted him to come. Don Eckovic gave a half-hearted, disgruntled sound, demonstrating his unwillingness once more, but followed them out of the corridor again nonetheless.
“What else have you got?” Laurenzo turned to Lucifer. “Maybe something that’s a little less...time-consuming? No offense.” He directed his apologetic smile at Don Eckovic, who was shuffling into the circular main hall behind him and only grunted in response.
Lucifer ambled over to another gate. “Hmm,” she made. “Six more candidates at once, huh?” She stopped, Laurenzo walking up to her to get a glimpse of the metal plate she was standing next to.
"Chasing Their Own Grail?” he read out the inscription. Lucifer chuckled. After more centuries than Valeria cared to count, she was still chuckling about her own cheap joke. When Don Eckovic raised a questioning eyebrow at her, she just shrugged it off. Don’t mind her.
Because Lucifer was still busy appreciating her infamous sense of humour, Laurenzo thoughtfully repeated the word: “Grail...their own gr-” He grabbed Lucifer by both arms, thankfully causing her to stop giggling. “Don’t tell me -” He started.
“You bet,” Lucifer replied with barely concealed pride.
Laurenzo let go of her and hurried down the hall before Don Eckovic’s face showed any sign of a clue as to what was going on, but also none of actually caring. Valeria nodded her head in the direction Laurenzo and Lucifer had disappeared in with a smile. “Come on,” she said. “You don’t want to miss this.”
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