Thursday, July 18, 2013

07 It's who you know

“So demons are Magical beings, and because of that they are more susceptible to it. Warlocks are humans that use the most powerful forms of magic and can thus control and enslave demons. OK I get that but if I will eventually conquer all of demon kind or whatever then why don’t you kill me or try too or why hasn’t someone else done it or tried to? Isn’t it kind of dumb to help me?”
 This was a point that Danny had thought about more than once but never voiced for fear that Volnam hadn’t looked at it that way yet.
“OK. I have found slowest learning warlock in history of being. This we have talked about.
Already made a bargain.”
Volnam muttered to himself. They were in Danny’s Living room Volnam had a fifty pound weight sitting in his lap and was himself sitting on the flat of Danny’s back as he did pushups. The time working out had caused Danny to grow powerful arms and chest he was still pale as death due to even less sunlight now than before almost all his time was spent with Volnam which meant that anytime he went outside the mists would come and hide them from the Natural world. If Danny ever faltered before his one hundredth push up Volnam would lash him with his thin tail usually enough motivation to get him to finish his set. 
“I am Imp correct?” Volnam asked.
“Yes you are shrimp smallest of the demons. Correct.”
Danny replied starting to gasp for breath his arms burning as he worked up into the seventies in his pushups. Volnam thought about taking the talon of his right index finger and lightly setting the tip against the soft skin of Danny’s lower back he decided against it.
“What else you know about my kind? Tell all.”
“Well your supposedly the most cunning of the demons some of the most clever with magic but cowards when it comes to confrontation you could come up with a plan to take over the world but if someone came to stop you they most likely would right?”
Volnam didn’t like the way it was explained but he had covered almost every major point head on that was what an imp was at the core. The only way to make one of his kind stand and fight was to make them think that the alternative was worse than the death they might face in the actual combat.
“Yes correct mostly.” Volnam grumbled.
“This is why I find and train my own warlock then I no deal with bigger demons I safe you deal with bigger demons.”
“You call coward twenty more!”
Danny hit one hundred and was about to drop his knees when Volnam whipped the soft left side of his waist with his tail and growled at him.
“Little bastard.”
Danny grumbled under his breath and forced himself through ten more and stopped before the expected tail could strike Danny pitched over sideways dropping him to the ground Volnam pinned under the weight.
“I’ll do ten cause you are cowards.”
Danny got up and grabbed a towel off the couch. He was sweating profusely. Watching Volnam fight to get the weight off his chest was comical arms legs and tail flailing wings probably would have too if he had gotten them out before he landed on his back. After a few seconds the imp stopped moving and started to double and then triple in size when he was the size of a small ape he flipped the weight off onto the floor with no effort at all gave an angry huff and began to shrink back down to his normal size.
“So I’m just going to be a hired thug for an Imp?” Danny asked sarcastically.
“No No you will do what you kind always does and I will help. But I rather be with Warlock than across the side from one.”
“How long have you known English?”
“Why ask, that is pointless question only one race speak it.” Volnam answered furrowing up his hairless eyebrows.
“I speak more better English than you Abyssal and have only been at it for short time.”
“I’m just curious because you suck at it.”
“How is you Abyssal?” Volnam chided back. “Because millions of races and billions of beings speak it.”
“huh funny cause I haven’t met any before you.”
“You have not met means not real you deny the god that created you?”
“Evolution Imp. We grew this way.”
“Grew this way from what?”
“Huh? Slime, I don’t know. Did I run into the only Christian imp in creation?”
“Why you say creation if you evolved? No say Christian, Christian dangerous.”
The string of horribly assembled sentences and accents were beginning to annoy Danny so he quickly slipped into telepathy.
“OK so you KNOW that there is a god?”
“There are many gods some greater than others. The one who created you also created many many others and other places for them to rule and many of them created yet other places.”
“OK too much for me at this point where’s my lighter?”
 Danny headed into his bedroom and began looking for his lighter. After he found it he came back in and sat on the couch and began to work on the flame exercise again working to change the color without causing another explosion he was usually about fifty percent safe with that one. He had started buying the cheap lighters in the economy packs because he had such a good chance of blowing them up in the beginning. After a few weeks of practice it wasn’t so much a matter of blowing up the lighter as it was having a flare up and singeing an eye brow or two. As for changing the color he could change any portion of the flame into any color of the rainbow but he couldn’t make the whole thing one solid color he was currently working on making the different pieces different colors at the same time. When he practiced he noticed that Volnam never harassed him or prodded him to do anything more with it, He only sat there and watched or went and found paper and pen to mark down words in the Abyssal Runes so that Danny could break them down and translate them into English he could understand. Sometimes he would write English and have Danny turn it into Abyssal. Volnam went off into another room as Danny worked his flame and a minute later called back to the living room.
“You answer phone this time. Is important.”
A moment later the phone rang and Danny decided that there was another trick that Volnam knew that he was going to have to bug him about. He put his lighter down and went to the phone.
“This is Danny, what?” he answered.
“Ahh good afternoon Mr. Noir this is Algie. I just wanted to let you know that in one hour they will be coming by to deliver your check and was going to ask if you would be coming to get it or if you would like me to bring it to you?”
“Ohh uh just br…” Danny was about to answer
“We go get.” Volnam cut in on the phone in the room where Danny kept his computer.
“…”
Algie said nothing and there was silence for a long second. All that could be heard on the other end of the line was Algie breathing a little faster and harder than normal.
“um Mr. Volnam you will be coming with Mr. Noir to the office?”
He sounded like a teenage boy that was about to meet a superhero or a famous actor. This had Danny confused a little.
“Yes I come too. We not have car yet, he cannot fly or blink. You send car now we need to make stops on the way. Send nice car. With Baelk.” With that Danny heard the other line click and Volnam was off the phone.
“I didn’t know the little runt knew how to use the phone.” Danny said absent mindedly.
“Mr. Noir are you sure you should speak that way with him in the same building as you?” Algie asked nervously.
“huh?”
“Hey, Volnam aren’t you short for an Imp?” Algie heard Danny call out. There was a moment of silence then he heard Danny again.
“Runt!”
“See he doesn’t care.” Danny said nonchalantly.
“Very well I’m calling to have a car prepared and sent to retrieve you both now. Have a pleasant afternoon sir.”
Algie got off the phone and rang his secretary on the intercom.
“Ms. Anderson, have the cleaning crew come and straighten my office for VIPs and send a driver to take one of the cars to a cleaner and no wait send a Driver to take my personal car to it detailed and have the mini bar inside well stocked only the best this time and tell them both that they only have an hour. Send the Driver to Mr. Noir’s residence his address is in the database. Thank you.”
I can’t believe he is coming here. Algie thought to himself he got up and started pacing back and forth behind his desk he turned and looked out the window. The Raleigh office of his firm was the top five floors of a fifteen floor office building in downtown Raleigh. Algie’s office was on the top floor with a view that let him see most of down town and out to the Beltline the Freeway that ran a loop around the Raleigh area so that everything could be accessed quickly both coming into town and heading out of it. it also allowed people that had business on the other side of the state capital to skip all the inner city traffic by making a large curve around it. He stared out at the town and thought about the legends he had heard from his father and Grand Father stories about the power of the warlocks and the rewards to those who served them faithfully. His family had served the warlocks of this world for as far back as any could remember. If there was one here than someone from Algie’s family had assisted them. It had been four generations since there had been a living Warlock, and growing up Algie thought that his grandfather was getting the lord of the rings confused with real life until his father had shown him the family journals the hand written accounts carefully preserved and passed down in their family from generation to generation there were even small spells though none of the current members of the family could make them work. It was always a childhood fantasy to make a spell work, to work real magic. From his window Algie stared out into the direction of Danny’s house and awaited the arrival of the Warlock. Danny sat in the back of the Huge Mercedes Limousine, he still couldn’t believe it was even really happening. He was in the most expensive car he had ever seen. Being taken to pick up a check for more money than anyone in his family had ever had before. while the Imp went through the mini bar guzzling down everything he could find the smell alone was enough to start to make Danny feel a little tipsy himself and Volnam had to have consumed over half his own mass in liquor. After about ten minutes the Imp stopped and turned to look up at Danny. His beady yellow eyes were actually glowing, small red fires burned behind them. “OK.” He said. “Push button and tell drive to take next left…” He closed his eyes and Danny could literally see the lights in Volnam’s eyes through the imps own eyelids the effect was unnerving at the least. Danny reached back and held down a small button he found that caused a black panel to slid down and reveal a window to the Driver.
“Hey.” He called up.
“Yes sir.” The driver replied.
“Take the next right.” Danny said and was instantly stabbed in the ankle with the sharp needle Volnam called a fingernail.
“left.” He hissed
“Damnit!” Danny cursed.
“Excuse me sir, is everything OK?” the driver asked nervously.
“Yeah its fine I kicked the console back here, hit my ankle. Anyways yeah I meant to say left take the next left.”
Volnam gave out more instructions and eventually they ended up at an apartment complex in Cary it was a nice place. Danny was glad he didn’t have to worry about rent there. Of course as he thought about it he wasn’t going to be worrying about rent at all for a long time.
Volnam climbed over to the button beside Danny and called up to the driver and told him to wait there. The thing that caught Danny off guard was that he had done it in Danny’s own voice a perfect copy Danny almost thought he had said it himself. The Imp looked up to him with the same deviant grin he always had when he did something he knew caught someone (usually Danny) off guard.
“Come, come, move quickly time has almost passed.”
Volnam activated the field of nothing that would hide him in plain sight and started to the door Danny had learned to keep a mental note of where the Imp was when he did this now he was so used to looking for the slight distortions in the area when Volnam hid that he could see him ninety percent of the time. The door opened and they climbed out Volnam only communicated in Telepathy and never really with words he kept sending emotions of desperation and urgency but they didn’t feel like they were his or maybe not entirely his.
“Come.” The Imp continuously bade him.
They made it to a courtyard area between three of the nicer buildings in the complex there was a large fountain, wrought iron lawn furniture, A gazebo and those really expensive Bose speakers made to look like rocks so you could hear music but didn’t have to lug equipment back and forth for audio at a party. Once they got near the fountain the urgency melted away and now anticipation built a deep anxiety pooling in his stomach. He finally looked to where Volnam was waiting near the Fountain and growled at him.
“Stop it.”
“Stop what?” The Imp asked without speaking.
“Influencing me, pulling my feelings one way and the other. Knock it off or I’ll drown you, You hairless rat.”
The Imp denied any such action, telling Danny that it was his own emotions pulling him around and that because of his training he was just more aware of it. Secretly Volnam was astounded that Danny could feel the difference strongly enough to know it wasn’t his own emotions but those of another. They weren’t Volnam’s either at least not directly. Demons feed off human emotions They enjoy them more than they enjoy mortal alcohol. They could feel them from a mile away and if there looking for one in particular they can track it like sharks to a drop of blood. The link between Volnam and Danny must have allowed Danny to feel some of what Volnam was taking in. He will become so powerful Volnam thought to himself and if anyone could see the imp they would have seen what could almost be described as skipping. Then he heard a door slam. Danny looked up as a door somewhere slammed then it slammed again then again. He started turning in a slow circle until he saw where it was coming from. as he began to focus in on it. he saw a man in the doorway and a woman behind him and then the man threw his arm back and hit her in the face. He could tell it was an accident, regardless Danny’s blood began to boil at seeing the girl hit. He also saw the look on the guys face as he turned back into the apartment, it wasn’t anything close to remorse or the surprise you would feel at accidentally popping someone in the face. The door was slammed shut again as he moved away from it. Danny could feel the mixture of fear pain and rage in the air it felt like it was beginning to have an intoxicating effect on him. In the back of his mind he decided he would have to ask Volnam more about it later. He headed for the stairs leading up to the apartment.
Danny didn’t notice as he walked off, but Volnam did. When Danny watched the girl get struck his power tripled and stayed that way as he left the temperature in the area flashed and the grass in a ten foot circle from his feet out withered. The water in the fountain began to steam just slightly. Volnam, ecstatic with the situation began to skip off after the enraged warlock. This really was a wonderful day. Danny reached the top of the stairs without really remembering climbing them. His adrenaline was pumping a small piece of his mind told him this wasn’t his problem he had half a million dollars he needed to go pick up. But that small piece was buried under the awesome feeling of power that was coursing through him. This man was one of the demons that Volnam told him was his right to smash. He hit a woman! Asmodan’s father didn’t have very much in common with him they didn’t enjoy sports together they didn’t work on the car in the garage or anything like that but one thing that his father had taught him from his earliest memories was never to hit a woman and never let a man who hits a woman get away with it. When Danny was young he was scrawny little kid. Any time he tried to stand up for anyone including himself he usually took a worse beating than the person who he was trying to help. After a few crushed attempts at being a hero he had learned to look the other way. Asmodan hated each and every time he looked the other way but he always reminded himself that he couldn’t stand up to someone because he would take worse than the person he was helping and that there was a good possibility that they had it common anyways there was no way of know who did what before he witnessed whatever part he had happened to come across. As he walked towards the door to the apartment all the shame and guilt of having to back down on walks home from school and on the playground when there was something that he didn’t think was right going on right in front of him. Pretending he didn't see whatever it was or   crossing the street to be on the other side of the group of older boys bullying the younger child.  Each one of those incidents from years ago things he couldn't even clearly remember anymore. It was different now. He could do something and he was going to. Besides who does that in public? Its not like you just walk down a street in modern America and watch a man elbow a woman in the face with the intent of hurting her. This man did just that. In Danny’s mind that took away his right to call himself a man. There were so many thoughts running through his mind as he made his way
to the door. Then he heard screaming the woman’s voice was almost familiar although he couldn’t tell who it was or where he had heard her before. Then she was silence and Danny heard or maybe more like felt a solid thump. It was hard enough to cause the windows on the front of the apartment to shake. He heard it again.. He wanted to go in and help but his rage was turning into terror he remembered being beaten up in school it was horrible he remembered his arm being broken once in high school. It was humiliating he was made fun of forever afterward; he wanted to avoid that at any cost the powerlessness of it.
“You are a fool.”
 Came the voice from back near the hand rail where the stairs headed back down the way they had just come. He thought he was going crazy the whole situation was crazy, why they were even in this complex.
“You are Warlock. They are only human not worth your fears. See your fear kill your anger? Now your power too is gone. You let that man in there the one beating the human girl steal your power from you too?”
Volnam was playing with Danny’s emotions this time but not with any telepathy he was saying exactly what he knew would push Asmodan over the edge.
“Maybe with him the strong and you weak one. You keep money I will teach him powerful magiks, he will never be as powerful as you could have been. But then again at least he will take more before he breaks down to his fear. Besides he has already defeated you. Ahh there is also the fact that he isn’t a victim is he? No inside he has a Victim but he isn't one.”
Danny turned to glare at Volnam the imp was still hiding so Danny could see straight through him. Staring straight through him he saw an older model beat up car that he remembered from when he still worked at the call center. He thought back to the screaming voice while remembering a night not too long ago. He was outside late waiting for a bus to come to take him home. She stopped in front of the bus stop that one night and offered him a ride home. He had only scowled at her then and told her he was fine. She scowled back and drove off. It was nice though. She didn’t have to do it but she did. Now she was inside this apartment with some sleaze having the crap… he was pulled from his time wasting reflections with the sound of another window shaking thump.
Larry Kicked her again her back slammed into the wall the whole time he was muttering things at her, insults, curses whatever came to mind. Most of it didn’t even make sense or didn’t apply to her but he didn’t care. Compare him to his bastard of a father? How dare she! He reached down and grabbed a fist full of her hair and started to drag her to the bathroom. When there was an explosion in the living room. The blast knocked him from his feet and caused him to trip over one of lily’s out stretched arms. He landed on his face and rolled over onto his feet. She meant to trip him he was sure of it. What the hell happened in the living room he got up and ran to see what was the matter? He made it into the hallway but he was blinded by smoke and dust. He felt along the walls and made it to the living room. The floor was shaking and he could see light from the living room beneath his. He was confused the fact that he could see parts of the living room that belonged to the apartment directly below his.
“Hey what the hell did you do?!”
He yelled down through the dust and smoke which was finally starting to clear out. There was no answer. Larry crouched low and began looking around the hole in the floor, trying to see if he could see anyone the air was still clearing and he noticed that the whole started at his front door and had fractures all the way to his couch. Standing on the other side of the hole was a man he had never seen before. He knew he hadn’t because you would remember if you had seen someone with glowing red eyes. They were visible through what was left of the smoke. The sky had darkened outside there was a heavy grey fog with what seemed to be almost a purple tent to it. Next to no sunlight got through. For some reason Larry could only think about Sunday school as a small boy it was one place his mother would take him to get him away from their home were his father would beat all of them for the most minor mistakes as if they were a personal attack aimed at him. In Sunday school they taught him that you had to live a good life and pray often because when the end time came you would not have time to make up for it. As the man with the red eyes crouched an then leaped across the hole in the floor and landed almost ten feet into the apartment past the cracks in the floor almost level with the middle of the couch. When that same man stared at him and through him and into his soul he felt his end was very near at hand. He started to beg, to whine to say anything he could think of to keep himself alive. Danny stood up from his landing and took a few steps towards the now kneeling man and glared down at the pathetic wretch begging for his life. He walked right past him he would come back to him but first he needed to see her, to see what had happened to her he walked back down the hallway the man had come out of and into a bed room that had been torn apart and then he saw her halfway to a small bathroom attached to the bedroom.
He couldn’t tell if it was lily by looking at her. She was too badly beaten her face was covered in blood it wasn’t like it was in movies when you saw someone beaten up there wasn’t just blood and dirt on her face, she didn’t look sad or upset she looked dead her skin was pale from blood loss her face wasn’t her own he had smashed her cheek bones, her nose was stretched across her face both eyes were so swollen it looked like she had a different persons forehead. Her arm wasn’t at the right angle to match her shoulder. He stared he took it all in. The reality of it, this woman would be months in healing maybe years because of what this prick on the floor behind him had done to her. Danny looked back over his shoulder at his soon to be victim. That is what he was about to become and they both knew it. There was no escape for this man. The man was on his feet standing there staring at Danny waiting to see what he was going to do. Danny also stood there wondering what he was going to do.
“Remember the lighter your will can control him the same way. Compel him, force him to do something make him deal with himself. He is mortal and you are Warlock do not dirty you hands with his unfit blood.”
Volnam was speaking to him using the telepathy he was guiding him talking him into doing the things he wanted to see done maybe he was testing him maybe this whole thing was some sort of demonic test. Danny grinned as he decided what he wanted to do. Somehow the grin set off the fight or flight reflex in Larry as soon as he saw it he was in a panic he threw himself at Danny like a man who was doomed to die but not going to accept it. Danny was no fighter and this guy had just warmed up on his girlfriend. He landed on Danny forcing him to the ground he just started swinging left right left right he was pounding away. It was all Danny could do the keep his arms up to ward off the blows. It was actually happening he was being beaten up. This man may have just killed the girl in the back room he was going to kill Danny too and it was Danny’s own fault for getting involved. His power came and went so quickly with so little effort and now at the moment he wanted it most it was gone Volnam wasn’t going to help. He was still watching Danny to see if he was worth all his efforts.
“STOP!”
He didn’t realize he had done it and wasn’t sure what it was. But as soon as the word left his mouth the madman beating him froze. He just sat there on his chest staring down at him his eyes became a terrified window into the frozen face. He could see the effort behind the eyes the bastard wanted to move he looked like every ounce of his will was being poured into it but he only sat there fists frozen in mid swing.
“Get off of me.”
The Warlock snarled at him. The body thru itself backwards into an awkward pile on the ground. He almost threw himself down the hole in the floor and down to the apartment below. Danny stood up straightened his clothes and looked around. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do at this point but Volnam was no longer hiding he was in plain sight. Glaring at the man he extended his wings and glided over the hole at the entrance and landed next to the frozen man. He stared down into the man’s eyes. They were wild some sort of frenzied animal looking for any way out of a cage. Volnam was drinking in the fear and the terror he opened the mental link wider allowing Danny to taste fear the way a demon does, showing him the way the fear of others should be experienced and he loved it. Danny wanted nothing more at that moment than to have that moment last forever. The problem with all moments that one would want to have last forever is that they never do, in fact most moments are ruined the instant the one enjoying the moment hears sirens heading down the street.
“Crap, sirens”
Danny said out loud. He didn’t know what to do or at least didn’t know what was safe to do. He
looked around and grinned to himself.
“You.” He growled
“Pick her up and take her to the lemo downstairs. Volnam hide, we’re going outside.”
Volnam stared at the warlock for a second trying to figure out what he was planning and finally did as instructed. Larry came back to the living room carrying Lily over his shoulder like sack of potatoes. Danny glared at him wondering if this guy had a kind bone in his body even when he didn’t have control over his own actions he managed to look like he wanted to hurt her.
                “Give her to me.” He commanded and Larry handed her over.
Danny looked at the hole in the floor and decided that he wasn’t sure how he made the jump the first time and that he was sure he couldn’t make it back carrying another person. The Warlock turned back to face the thrall then looked to the window and back.
“Throw yourself out the window, then get out of my way.”
As soon as he had told him to do it Larry threw himself thru the front window and landed on the walkway outside and before he was even standing up again he was crawling on his elbows and knees scurrying like the rodent he was to get out of Danny’s way. Danny made his way out the window carrying Lily like a small child. As he did he couldn’t help but smile as he thought to himself, a year ago he wouldn’t have been able to do it. She would have been too heavy for his weak arms, now however he felt like he could carry her like this all day. He looked to Larry and then back down at the broken woman in his arms and then at the concrete three floors beneath them and grinned, he wanted to order him to jump. He was about to but at the last minute held himself back.
“Throw yourself down the stairs keep going until you hit the ground.”
As with the window Larry was rolling down the stairs by the second landing Danny heard a sickening snap and the third landing had a wet popping sound. Danny walked down at his normal pace as Larry was moving at close to although not yet break neck speeds. Once on the ground floor Danny could hear the sirens much louder now but he assumed they would be going to the front of the complex and their ride was parked in the back. He glared over at the broken and bleeding Larry and sneered.
“Go open the door to the Limo. Now.  Hurry go faster!”
He yelled at him as he ran over to the limo as fast as his broken ankle would take him he lost balance twice as he went, his left arm flailing back and forth uncontrollably no connected bone to hold it firm. They made it to the car and Danny laid her across the back seat and looked at the now broken bodied and broken spirited Larry.
“Larry listen to me very closely I want you to go to the front of the building and I want you to wait until you see the Fire truck or the Ambulance which ever gets here first, then I want you to run as fast as you can and throw yourself in front of it. Once you have done this you are free, If you live.”
The thrall turned to run off and Danny called out to him.
“Larry!”
The doomed man froze in place.
“Larry, don’t ever hit a woman again. I will find you if you do. It will be so much worse the next time. Now go do what you’ve been told.”
The man loped off making the occasional crunch sound. Danny climbed down into the back of the car and ordered the driver to Algie’s office. The drive only took about twenty minutes. Lily didn’t wake up in that time but Danny did use the phone in the back of the car to call Algie’s office to have him get medical attention. When asked why they didn’t take her to the hospital Danny just ignored the question all together, he did not want to talk about any of the events that led up to or followed his retrieval of the woman. When they got there the car pulled into a large below ground parking deck and was met by four men in suits one with a stethoscope two of the men rolled a gurney to the car where they took Lily from Danny as he struggled to get footing while climbing backwards out of the car carrying the unconscious woman. Once she was out of his arms they laid her on the gurney and carted her off to a metal emergency exit door in the far wall of the parking deck.
“Hey where the hell?”
“She is being taken to a doctor’s office in this business park. Don’t worry about her we have it all under control. So I take it your trip over was eventful?”
Algie was walking towards the car from an elevator on the far side of the parking deck. As he approached Danny noticed that he seemed to be looking for something or someone.
“What is his fascination with you?” Danny asked Volnam through his telepathy.
“You are getting very good at know when to use the mind speak maybe you will live longer than I thought. His family has served the warlocks of this world for generations and they have known powerful demons but in his long life Algie has not met one of my kind in person only in dreams and visions.”
“And your still hiding from him? Damn you’re a prick.”
A mental version of a cackle was Volnam’s only reply a flash of spite joy and the feeling that comes with suppressed laughter. Algie greeted Danny with a handshake when he was close enough and lead him to the elevator and up to his firm’s suite of offices. At the end of a large stack of paperwork most of which required Danny to initial different spots on each page he finally signed his full name and Algie wrote out a check from a fancy leather checkbook the size of a three ring binder. As he handed it over to the eager young Warlock he explained that it was a small forward against the amount that had been won in the settlement and that the rest of the money would be deposited into his account in a few days. As Danny accepted the check he thought to himself who considered ten thousand dollars to be a small amount and after another second thinking about it he had a new level of respect for the type of business that Algie handled. The entire time that they were in the office going over paperwork Danny noticed that the older man would glance around the room, at one point he did the slightest of probing of Algie’s surface thoughts and confirmed that the man was hoping to catch a glimpse of Volnam. Once he got over the fact that he had a check for ten thousand dollars sitting in his hand he put it in his wallet and leaned back in the chair.
“Are you sure you don’t want that wired into an account? It will be a lot less hassle for you that way.”
“Nope, I wanna see the bank chick’s face when I hand it to her.”
Danny sat back and thought about the small branch of his bank that he used, it was near his house which meant that it was on the backside of nowhere. Would she be surprised to be handed a check this size? A second later he wondered why he even cared.
“Sooo... Algie, Volnam was telling me before we left the house that your family has always worked with Warlocks? How does that work, did we all make our money falling down stairs and suing people over it?”
“Umm no. Not really, My grandfather decided that we should become lawyers he noticed that as time was passing the legal system was becoming more and more complicated and with the types of changes that were being made and the amount of money the profession made he decided that this would serve the cause best.”
Algie leaned forward a little in his chair as he spoke and rested his elbows on his desk. Danny could tell that the man enjoyed talking about his family or at least his grandfather.
“Serve the cause huh? I never thought about it that way. What is the cause? I mean like.. what does your family get out of sitting around and waiting for an all-powerful demon wrangling dungeons and dragons nerd to show up and help.”
Algie smiled at Danny for a sec.
“Already decided that your all powerful have you?”
“It’s hard not to feel that way after earlier. I mean I told that douche to throw himself in front of a firetruck... and he did.”
Danny would have sounded in awe of himself if the thought of Larry had not added a strong thread of hate to his voice.
“So you have mastery over the voice then?”
“No nothing close to mastery”
“That is most true.” Volnam chimed in.
“Shut up you flying rodent.” Danny slipped and said it out loud. Keeping two conversations separate one mentally and one physically was something he was getting better at but was working on. Algie sat up a little straighter in his chair. He almost took the comment as an insult but quickly picked up on what was going on.
“I’m guessing your other traveling companion is still here?”
Danny gave him credit, Algie didn’t start looking around for Volnam this time, he had come to terms with him being there and just not showing himself.
“Yeah hes in here he keeps eyeballing your liquor cabinet over there. Apparently the little rat is an alcoholic; I didn’t find that one out till this morning.”
Danny made it a point to stare directly at Volnam as he spoke, giving Algie a reference for where near the cabinet the hidden imp was. Algie looked where Danny was looking and said that he was welcome to help himself. Nothing moved and he didn’t hear anything. Then he heard Danny start laughing behind him.
“Nope. No more sneaky rodent for you. You want it you ask him, and stop hiding it’s stupid he knows your here. Hell you spoke to him on the phone earlier didn’t you?”
Another moment of silence and then there was a hissing sigh across the office and Algie saw the slightest of shimmers in the air, like the haze in the air over a city street on a really hot summers day. As the haze faded away there was the crouched form of the Imp. His scrunched up slightly canine face. Over large angular Yellow eyes. lips too short to completely cover the needle fine rot covered but somehow still pearly white teeth. He noticed wings but they were pulled in tight to his back. he had three clawed fingers and a thumb on each hand and the same number of toes on his bare feet, which were longer than a humans toes but the foot itself was much longer as well and extended up off the ground before reaching the ankle also like a canine. At first Algie saw him as hairless but the more he took in the more he realized that he looked more like he was skinless not hairless. The lithe muscle completely covered him and it was so close together as to not show any bone but as the imp moved he could see each of the different bands move against each other it was a chilling sight but it was also exciting. Algie had spent his whole life being raised to do what he was doing now and had heard and read many stories from his family and the journals of his forefathers but until this moment he had not actually seen an extra planar being himself. He realized that he was holding his breath and that Volnam was talking to him. A short gasp of breath and an apology and Volnam was quick to explain that he could smell the good stuff in the locked cabinet and that if it wasn’t opened soon he was going to open it in a manner that would set off alarms in the building. As he made his way over to the cabinet and began to open it he noticed the barbed tail waving back and forth low over the ground behind him. He produced a small key ring from his pocket and as he unlocked the
“Good stuff”
 Algie couldn't help but see the similarities that fueled Mr. Noir’s choice of insults. The imp was rather rodent like when you reall..
“Enough mortal you are not safe the same way that idiot is. Do not forget that.”
Algie who was raised to assist the Warlock with his work and trained how to deal with demons was frustrated with himself for letting his surface thoughts run so freely and apologized both out loud and mentally for his horribly rude behavior and moved out of the way to allow the anxious Imp access to the cabinet. He did his best to only cringe a little when he saw what those viciously sharp talons did to the antique wood as the demon began to rummage around looking for whatever it was its nose told him was hiding within. Danny craned his neck to watch Algie as he made his way back around to his desk. Once he was seated and looked comfortable again he leaned back in his seat.
“So with a big firm like this you deal with all sorts of people right?”
“Yes it was part of the plan that my grandfather set out. In some cases we will even work pro bono on a case for someone so that we can call in a favor later if it’s needed.”
“You know anyone that works with Real Estate?”
“Law or sales?”
“Sales. From what I’ve learned so far I’m going to need a lot more space than what I have to master all the secrets of the universe and learn how to enslave all of Demonkind and all that. Besides having my own Bat cave would be badass!”
“Your own bat cave... are you actually looking for something subterranean or just a large building?”
“Do you think you could actually get a huge cave?”
Danny was leaning forward in his seat and seemed to be getting excited rather quickly.
“I’m sure that if it’s out there we can find it and probably work something to acquire it but that could take a while to put together how soon do you want to start... mastering the secrets of the universe?”
Algie was hoping that whatever it was that Danny had in mind didn’t actually require a natural cave. That would be a headache and a half to hunt down.
“Hmm... well no it doesn’t have to be a big cave or anything even though that would be sweet. I just need a really big building like maybe an old office building or a factory. It needs a wall around it or at least space to build one. I will need more than one floor too.”

Once he actually started thinking about what he would need and what he would be using everything for in each of the different areas that he needed to study he sank back into his chair again and got quite. After a few minutes of listening to Volnam ravage his bar and Danny moving his eyes back and forth like he was reading something in the air in front of his face. Then he would tilt his head back and do the same thing looking at the sealing. Algie’s intercom beeped, he hit the button and told Ms. Anderson to go ahead. She reminded him that his next appointment was due to arrive in fifteen minutes. Within the next five his current guests were back in the limo being driven off to Danny’s local bank branch. As they drove off Volnam noted that the cars minibar had been restocked, This Algie mortal was a good one he would have to make sure that Asmodan didn’t accidentally kill him, he would be inconvenient to replace. He also wondered how many other people like Algie out there previous warlocks had setup to assist them and if any of them still waited for a warlock to return. Showing off his check at his local bank wasn't as much fun as Danny would have liked he had apparently been away from his own job at the credit union to forget how banks respond to large sums of money from people who don't normally get them. So after calling around to verify things and still placing a hold on the funds until they cleared, he decided that in the future he would just let Algie handle it. To top the whole thing off the girl he wanted to see when he turned it in was sick our on vacation or something. It was all a large pointless bother. The driver waited for them in the car and then took them back to Danny's house.

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