Welcome back for chapter 2 everyone! This is the newer chapter that sets up the direction this story will be heading in. I hope you all enjoy!
If you all want more Diablo series goodness, be sure to check out my other stories too, such as Angiris!
Scenario 2: Dining Hall
Auriel stared down at the table she ended up at. She never knew the day would come when she would be sitting here, of all places, especially in this company.
How did this come to happen? She took a moment to think. Fallen ash. Sailing meteors. They lit up the sky, falling straight for the Angelic Hosts' forces. She was attempting to save some wounded soldiers when a meteor sailed right towards them.
And then Itherael leapt in the way.
That was all she knew. When she woke up, she found herself here, in this chair, staring across at the person… No, the thing that she least wanted to see.
The being sitting across from her at the far side of the table was none other than Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred.
"Ah, how simply divine to see you awake, my dear, dear Auriel," he jeered. He rested his grinning skull on his four layered skeletal hands. His horns were protruding from his proud skull, his grin forever a contradiction to his burning hatred for everything that did and did not move. That was the kind of man he was.
She looked down at herself. Her movement wasn't restricted in any way. In fact, she wasn't tied down at all. She was free to dash away and leave.
But before she could decide to do just that, one of the Lord's hands snapped up, palm facing outwards. "Before you take your leave, there is something you would probably like to know."
Reluctantly, she sat back down. "Make your peace, Demon."
His grin cracked wider. "Come now; that is no way to address someone who knows where your friend is."
"What?!" Her mind reeled. Her thoughts immediately drifted to Itherael. Quickly, she calmed herself, then asked, "Where is he?"
He cackled. "I didn't say it was a he. Did any of you say it was a he?" He looked around at his imaginary crowd, his arms outstretched questioningly. Of course, there was no answer. "Looks like no one said he."
"Tell me where he is and then we will make our leave," she ordered curtly.
"Straight to the point, aren't you? I especially love that about you." His voice dripped with sarcasm. It was to no surprise. Every time he spoke of love would likely be a lie.
"And I find it distasteful to continue this useless discussion much longer."
"Won't you stick around for the main course just a bit longer?" he mused, using one of his slender arms to gesture at the long table.
There was an array of meals strewn about the table. Drinks that smelled of nectar and wine, and a variety of meats, fruits, and vegetables. They all would look delicious to the unsuspecting.
She responded coolly with, "Angels do not need to consume food and drink unless in the most dire of circumstances." Even if she did, though, she would never touch food served by the likes of him.
"And what dire circumstances are those? Perhaps I can make the conditions like so."
If she didn't know any better, she would ask what he was implying, whether he knew the weight of his words or not. The female Archangel settled for staring at him intently from across the room, boring holes into him.
"Relax." He waved one of his many arms passively. "He is alive, so-to-speak. He may not be in the condition to walk, but he is definitely alive."
"Where are you keeping him?! I need to treat him immediately!" Though she was the embodiment of Hope, even she had fretful thoughts. Was he alright? He wasn't dying, was he? She couldn't take that chance.
"I told you to relax, Auriel," he stated eerily sweetly. "He is in competent care. My concubines are looking after him as we speak."
Why am I not reassured? she thought sarcastically. "If I was there with him, he would already be healed."
"I told you not to fret about it. Don't worry your pretty little head. Take a breather, enjoy your time while it lasts before you return to your droll job of healing the ENTIRE Angelic Host. Don't you get tired of it?" His glowing red eyes narrowed into slits. "Don't you hate it?"
"No, I do not hate it. I do my duties because it's what we need to do to survive. To survive against the likes of your kind." She leaned forward, her hands placing themselves on the table. "Now, tell me where he is, or else I will have to not act so graceful."
"Well, there is a way you can get me to tell you sooner, dear Auriel," he cooed.
Please don't let him say anything sexual, she groaned inwardly.
He winked at her. "Oh, don't tense up like that, Auriel dearest. I just want you to do me a favor."
"If it's what I think it is—"
"Well, it should be," he mused. "After all, it has to do with your job."
"My job?" She looked down at her cord, Al'maiesh. "You mean—"
"Ah, yes, I absolutely adore how long that took you to figure it out." His long, slender fingers clacked amongst themselves as he tapped his nails together.
Auriel roved her gaze over his form. From her position, he had no external injuries. As far as internal injuries… Well, he's not much more than a skeleton. Her brow furrowed, staring at where his body met the edge of the table. In all honesty, his biology made little sense. How did he even sit in his chair right now? His lower half was just a long gnarled spine. The questions became even more confusing in regards to how he conceived a daughter—but, she dared not allow her thoughts to venture there. She could only sit in puzzlement, resisting the urge to pull up the tablecloth and look.
Mephisto reached behind his head, then brought the same fingers in front of his face. There was blood. His long tongue came out and licked his own blood from his fingers, all the meanwhile never averting his gaze from her hood. His eyes were narrowed, glowing like coals in an ancient, dark flame.
Her gaze averted downwards to his fingers, to the blood on them. His blood was a deep, almost black red. The drops looked like ink as thick as tar. This was the blood of a Lord of Hell.
"Now do you see?" he jeered, chuckling. He turned his hand this way and that as if he had never seen such a substance before, but it was just an insignificant observation to him. "I've had the most terrible headache after saving some angels lately. I wonder why."
"You what?" Her hidden brow remained furrowed. That didn't make any sense. Why would he save them? And secondly, why would he save them if not with some hidden motive? She would have to be cautious.
"You're sharp. How positively delightful." He raised his hand, twisting his wrist. "I got this wound before you so happened upon my doorstep, but isn't it just a delightful coincidence it happened to be you."
"Mephisto," she began icily, "please cut to the chase. What is it you want? You wish for me to heal you?"
"That is exactly what I want, yes."
"And you want me to heal you in exchange for learning Itherael's location?"
She sighed. "Will you keep your word?"
"Do you want me to sign a contract for you? I can do that."
The angel blinked. "You… what?"
Mephisto pulled out a parchment and quill out of seemingly nowhere. He scrawled something quickly onto the page. Soon it became filled with words. Once he was done, he leaned forward and sent a gust in her direction so that the parchment fluttered to her side of the table.
Auriel snatched it out of the air, then, slowly, brought it to her face. She began to read.
"I, Mephisto, Lord of Hatred of the Burning Hells, vow to honor my agreement with Auriel, Archangel of Hope of the High Heavens. In the document herein, I, Mephisto, vow to sign a contract in blood and offer my accurate intelligence upon Itherael, Archangel of Fate's whereabouts, in exchange for healing from Auriel, Archangel of Hope. If I am to not fulfill my part of the agreement within 24 hours of the contract being signed, I am to…"
When Auriel continued from this point, it detailed some gruesome fates for Mephisto to inflict upon himself should he fail. Such entries caused her mouth to downturn, so she simply skimmed through said entries to avoid the gruesome imagery remaining in her mind.
"...I do not require Archangel Auriel to sign this contract, only I in blood so as to maintain a fair deal in this agreement. No bloodletting on Archangel Auriel's end is necessary, nor her penmanship. I need only her verbal agreement to the vow at hand, which will seal the contract. No punishment will befall her if she does not fulfill her end of the bargain minus her lack of my offered intelligence, but if the lasceration on the back of my neck is not healed within 24 hours of the contract being signed, I will face none of the punishments listed above in this document and will instead cough up blood and then be cured."
She wondered why he put these rules in place. At first it was confusing when the agreement appeared so lop-sided and in her favor… But, that was when she understood: He didn't require her to sign a contract because he knew she would never sign any contract nor any document made by a demon. She was too pure to make her mark upon anything a demon made because of the stigma of the creators. She knew what he wanted in return now.
He wanted her trust.
"Do you have any questions?" he asked from across the table. "Any remarks? Additions to the terms?"
She raised her head to peer at him, clutching the document in her hand. She pointed at an entry in particular. "It says here, 'If the lasceration on the back of my neck is not healed within 24 hours of the contract being signed, I will face none of the punishments listed above in this document and will instead cough up blood and then be cured.' Why do you not simply write that you face no consequences in that instance?"
"Clever girl. It's rather simple, really. I hate agreements not being met without some sort of consequence, so I put it in there to let myself know when the requirement was not met. Plain and simple." He waved his hand in the air dismissively as if it did not matter to him.
"I… see." He was definitely a strange man. She looked up at him. "I do have one addition to this contract you are to sign."
"Oh? Do tell and I will correct it."
"Archangel Itherael is not to be harmed during this agreement. He will be guaranteed your safety, and if he has already been slain before the signing of this document, then you will execute the entirety of your punishment here and now." Her hands gripped the parchment tightly. She had to test him. If Itherael has already fallen, then he would never sign it. "If Itherael is alive after the terms of the agreement have been met, then he will be guaranteed safety until he returns to the High Heavens, and after this last requirement is met, hostilities are free to be in place once more."
"You aren't going to put any failsafes for yourself?" he mused. "I did not put anything in there in regards to your safety, only that you did not have to do anything past what I required."
She could never be too careful. Even if she hoped he wouldn't double-cross her, she admitted to herself that his idea was good. "Very well. I ask for those same terms. I will not face any harm while the requirements are not met and will continue not to face any further bodily harm until I reach the High Heavens safely, after which hostilities can then resume as normal." Satisfied, she sent the parchment back to him so he could add these terms. "Is this satisfactory? Are there no objections?"
"No, there are no objections." He then diplomatically took his quill in hand and filled the rest of the page with her demands. Once he was satisfied, he sent it back to her again. "Is this agreeable?"
She perused the document again. Her terms were indeed in there. She found no twisting of words; in fact, the phrasing was completely accurate to what she said. However, there was another term added at the bottom.
"Archangel Auriel will be treated as a status similar to a Queen within my, Mephisto's, domain, and if any of my followers dare inflict injury or trauma upon her, they will face the torture of…" The listed punishments were almost too graphic to read, but all these fates appeared worse than death.
Her head raised to peer up at him again. "...Why did you add this last term?"
"Oh, that? Because I simply hate any who dare interfere with my agreements, especially since not fulfilling this agreement can affect my well-being. You understand, don't you?"
"Hmm… Very well. But I will make one thing clear: I am not becoming your queen."
"I never said you were, only that you would receive the benefits of the standing of a queen. Your position would be second only to mine, and you would have the ability to give orders to my servants as well as command your own troops in battle, although I doubt you would utilize them to their full potential. After all, you would never attack mortals or your own kin, which leads to the biggest advantage you have: collecting valuable data upon my domain and serving yourself to my resources." He leaned forward, his chair creaking. His eyes gleamed as he seemed to peer into her soul. "But, as Lord of Hatred, I do retain the right to put restrictions on what you do and where you can go, and I can also revoke your rights. Do you understand?"
So this was a big opportunity for the Angelic Host, she mused. But, that did give her many questions. Why did he give her so many advantages? Why was he offering so many things just for healing an injury? If she wanted to, she could heal him within seconds. What was he planning? Surely he had some intentions of his own?
She searched the contract for invisible ink, though she only saw one inkwell on his table.
"You're looking for something else? I can help you." He jeeringly grinned from across the table, his chin resting upon his interlaced fingers.
Auriel looked up at him warily. So he knew. "No, that will… not be necessary." She looked back down at the parchment. There weren't any flaws she could think of, besides a few… She frowned. She was tasked with healing the wounds of the Angelic Host, but does her compassion spread to a demon, especially of his standing? She sighed. She couldn't help herself as she sent the document back to him, saying, "I would like you to add another term."
"Indubitably." He just sat there, waiting for her to add another failsafe.
"Archangel Auriel will provide further healing for Mephisto in case he sustains any further injuries while the agreements are not met."
She stared over the sheet at him, trying to gauge his reaction. No remarks just yet. No movement, either. His eyes flickered like gleaming coals, then settled. "...Is that all?"
She realized she was just staring at him. She nodded.
His hand outstretched. "To me."
And so it went. He wrote down her last term, then returned it to her for one final evaluation. She was satisfied and could think of nothing else, so she sent it back to him with no complaints.
At last, he reached behind his head, brought his thumb forward and covered in his own blood, and pressed it deep into the parchment. When it made a solid mark, he used more of his blood to sign his name. When he finished, he looked up and grinned at her.
"It will be a pleasure working with you." And then a wink to seal the deal.
Hope you all enjoyed the chapter! If you have any questions, don't be afraid to leave a review, and I will respond as soon as the next update is out. :) Thank you for reading!