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Fire blazed all around the clearing, burning away everything in its path and leaving the figures in the middle to battle within the destruction. Angels were meant to protect, to direct their powers in helping humanity, but these two had long since fallen from those paths.

“Anya,” the red haired female twitched at the sound of her name, her hand tightening around her sword as she pulled her powers in around her. As one of the ones who willingly fell, she had been among the originals. Not as powerful as some of the others, but she had still been an angel of destruction. “I cannot allow this.”

“You have no say,” she smiled viciously, her wings stretching out behind her in all their flaming glory. She had been one of the few who had gotten wings again after the fall, regaining the fire she’d been known for in Heaven. Only now it was hellfire. “You are not the Morning Star anymore, Lucifer; you are as fallen as the rest of us.”

“You belong to Hell now,” he pointed out, his own black wings pulled to his back. He’d fallen further than many of the others, taking up the mantle of a dark angel, the new ruler over a realm opposite of Him. His once silver wings were black and he was the one to wrangle the demons into line, keeping the balance of good and evil. Such was his agreement. “And you belong to me.”

“As the King of Hell?” She laughed, grating his nerves and he felt the dark urge to rip the larynx from her throat. See her mock him then. “You took on the dark powers of Hell to save Gabrielle. That angelic bitch is still all you can think about, you do not deserve the throne.”

Rage filled him. Lucifer had been working his way through those who argued his place in Hell one by one, but there were few that had managed to enrage him so quickly. Anya wasn’t wrong, and he could admire her courage, but she was going about it all the wrong ways.

Even the King of Hell could be fair to his subjects. But not when they questioned his right to rule and called those he loved a bitch all in one sentence. That was where the last of his angelic life left him.

“Come then,” a dark smile spread across his lips as he pointed his sword at her. It did not shine with the light of the morning star as it once had. Instead the glow that came from it seemed to steal the light surrounding them and smothered the fires she had caused. “See if you can take the throne from me if you think I am undeserving. I promise you will not survive the hour.”

If there was one thing Lucifer had learned about the Fallen Angels that turned to the demonic side of the wars, they had become prideful in ways they hadn’t been as angels of the lord. The power was seducing, he knew, but he was strong enough to see past the promise of it.

Anya was not. Anya had been an Angel of Destruction and that part of her nature had always been rather…hot-headed.

She launched forward with a war cry, the fires she controlled raging around her. His eyes watched her movements, blocking her initial swing and batting her away with a swing of his wings.

“You’d think a former Arch Angel would not merely defend,” she taunted as she stood, advancing again while he watched. “Then again, I heard Michael was always the better fighter. I didn’t believe it during the uprising. You had been such a beacon for us but you lied.”

“I never lied to you,” the difference between them was obvious to Lucifer but she seemed to be ignoring it. Every time he cut her, spilling her blood on the blackened ground, she would get back up and dive back in. It was a shame to lose a budding demon with such tenacity. He could have used her.

“You just let us believe it was because you were as disillusioned as the rest of us. As good as a lie as any.”

“Azazel knew,” he smirked, watching how that name made her pause. He knew that Anya had idolized the Angel of War and it made her vulnerable. In moments he had her against a tree, his sword pressed against her gut. “And he is now a demonic Prince of Hell.”

The newly sadistic part of him caused him to smile viciously as she stared at him. Her hero-worship of the other angel always made her do stupid things. Her change to a demon had not changed that. Another part, the one that still clung to the good in his soul, whispered mercy.

Anya opened her mouth and he stopped the words by pressing the sword slowly into her. She cried out and he cocked his head to the side. “Were you going to ask for my mercy?” His words were soft, at odds with the sadism that had him slowly cutting out her innards. “Or for the chance to serve under your general again?”

“Lucifer,” she cried out, dropping her sword to grasp at his. It sliced her palms as he pinned her to the tree. “You lied but I still followed. I was among the first to give up the last of light to become a demon. Killing me would weaken your hold.”

“Actually,” he mused, standing to the side to show her the audience that had gathered. Her demonic energies clashing with that of the King had drawn quite the crowd. “I believe my subjects would prefer your death. What kind of King would I be if I allowed one so low on the totem pole to question my authority?”

“A merciful one.”

He paused, staring her down for a moment. He was still part angel, no matter what he did. The good in him battled the darkness he’d taken on. It was a noble cause, to save the woman he loved, but the task had proven to be harder than he realized. The balance had to be restored.

A small music box flashed in his mind, paired with that heartbreaking smile she’d given him when he last saw her. She was what made all this worth damning his soul. If she was alive, it was all worth it.

“Maybe,” he leaned in, pressing his sword in with the movement. “But you insulted my Gabrielle. There is no mercy for you, Anya.”

Her guts were spilling out onto the earth before she could say another word. Lucifer watched her flop onto the ground, the fire of her wings dying out as she did. It was not easy to kill one of his sisters but the dark part of his soul rejoiced. His dominance had been reestablished, the subjects who had turned out flinched away as he spread his wings behind him.

“Is there anyone else?” He murmured, eyes scanning the charred trees were the older demons lounged. They had been there when he taken the throne, when he’d declared his intention to bring Hell to heel. No one had survived who opposed him there, just as Anya had not survived this day.

One demon stepped forward, her red eyes glowing as she moved with cat like grace. What type of demon she was didn’t matter, just that there was something in her eyes that he had yet to see beyond that of his generals. Respect.

She dragged her clawed hands through the pool of blood, coating them and inspecting his kill. Another joined her, a male this time that was more animalistic. He licked the blood from his fingers before turning back. “All hail the King,” he intoned, a fanged smile that was matched by the sadistic one curling across Lucifer’s face.

Now he was getting somewhere.