“Well, that’s a pretty little scar.”
If it was only the sheer amusement in the woman’s voice, Bast would have ignored her and continued on nursing his drink. The last thing he wanted to do was talk about the incident that led to his new scar.
Unfortunately though, the woman was not one that he could ignore; at least not without repercussions. And so, he lifted his drink and plastered on his charming smile for the Sin of Betrayal, Eloa. “Once I’m used to it I’m sure I’ll find it adds to my appearance. However, my marking is not why you came to talk to me.”
“It’s not?” Eloa slid into the bar stool next to him. As with all the Sins he’d met so far, there was an unmatched predatory grace to her. He would have been just as happy if she had stayed on the opposite side of the bar all night and never spoke to him. “Then what, pray tell, is my purpose for being here.”
“Oh no,” Bast chuckled, shaking his head. He knew when to push his luck and who to push it with. He would push Lyssa and Crevan’s buttons before he started pushing Eloa’s. Especially when he knew that there was another Sin lurking about that didn’t like it when his lady was insulted. “I’m not playing your games.”
“Come now, Clio says you love games,” Eloa smirked, a tempting pull of her lips that he ignored. It did not surprise him that his patron Sin kept Eloa around; temptation surrounded her and she blended in with any situation. It was what made Betrayal so shocking. “And you came out of your deal with Madness in one piece. Only one little scar. Lyssa must have liked you though; she usually goes for the face.”
“I can never say no to Clio, as you well know, and the duo of Madness caught me on a good day. You however, can take whatever favor you want done and find someone else.” He knew better than to get involved with any more Sin politics. The little job that the twins of Madness had him complete gave him more insight than he wanted and he knew when to stay out of it. As it was, Eloa’s smile did not bode for his demonic lifespan if he kept playing with the Sins. “And if you came looking for Deva, find her yourself. I’m her prodigy, not her keeper.”
“Now now, we both know that you know how to find Deva.” A hand fell on the shoulder opposite Eloa and he mentally snarled. On one hand, now he knew where Lies was but on the other he was feeling distinctly cornered with a Sin on either side. “Don’t you, Bast?”
“Good to see you as well, Derius.” Bast smiled at the twitch that they both had when he avoided their question. “If you have a message for my esteemed creator, why don’t you ask Clio to summon her?”
“I think he’s stalling, love,” Eloa purred, sliding his drink out of his hand and finishing it off for him. If he wasn’t more concerned about survival, he might have complained about the theft.
“I do believe he is,” Derius answered, his hand squeezing Bast’s shoulder in a silent warning. “Perhaps we should humor the baby Incubus.”
“Perhaps we should remind him why he should not delay his betters.”
“Perhaps,” Bast interrupted with a tight smile. He hated being called a baby incubus more than he cared to admit. The youngest in existence, yes, but he was also the most powerful and a favorite of Lust. “A pair of minor sins should not talk around the incubus like he isn’t there. It makes him curious and he might take his curiosity to Lust to see why they want his mentor so badly.”
A tense silence fell over the bar. No one in his or her right mind threatened a Sin. Derius and Eloa were only Minor Sins but they were the closest to a Major’s powers. Bast could not lie in the company of Derius, but his threat wasn’t a lie. He had been fishing and from the calculating look in Eloa’s gaze and the disappearance of Derius’ hand, he’d caught a big one.
While the closest demons moved away from the trio, Bast felt the first true smile curl over his lips. Whatever the pair wanted, they didn’t want Clio to get involved. That was interesting enough to keep him from taking his escape right there but pulling the Lust card had effectively ensured his safety.
Since he and Deva were favorites of Clio, they wouldn’t risk killing him. Not without pissing off the Major and Eloa would lose her secure position as Clio’s right hand. There was still the puzzle of what they wanted so badly that they would risk a Major’s anger.
Though his life was guaranteed, he knew that they could still cause harm and not face any consequences. The still tender scar down his arm was proof enough of that. So he waved down the bartender and ordered all of them drinks.
“How about we compromise.” Two sets of eyes narrowed at his offer and Bast held back the instinctual flinch as best he could. “I won’t ask what mischief the two of you are planning, or mention it to Clio, in return for walking out of here without retaliation from either one of you.”
“Why would we do that?” Eloa drummed her fingers on the polished wood, leaning against Derius who had moved to stand right behind her.
This pair was more dangerous than the Twins of Madness. Not only did they complement each other’s others powers, but he could practically taste the sexual attraction between them. Lovers and partners in crime, they were both rather fierce when it came to one another and he didn’t need either one to feel like he was a threat.
Bast really did prefer living to a true death.
“In return for such a kindness,” A word that Derius scoffed at and Eloa rolled her eyes. No Sin liked being called kind in any fashion. “I will take a message from you two to Deva. I cannot promise that she will appear or that she will even answer, but I can ensure that she at least gets it.”
“As Derius pointed out, I can find her. I just do not divulge such a thing to the public.” Normally, he would have played dumb but Derius would know the moment he lied. It was a pain in the ass but honesty was his best option here. “She does not like to be bothered, even when Clio calls for her. Dealing with a testy mentor is preferable to being on your bad sides for the rest of eternity.”
Eloa hummed as if thinking but it wasn’t until she glanced up at Derius that he realized she was waiting for his confirmation, of his honesty no doubt. It was a small exchange, a silent one that spoke of years of partnership. Neither needed to jockey for dominance, as most Sins did, and there was a level of trust there that he had never seen between any individual.
He was so busy putting together the puzzle pieces that he almost missed when they started paying attention to him again. Hopefully, his studying had come across more as mere curiosity than anything else.
“I might have liked to meet you when you were still a human,” Derius mused, reaching for one of the glasses that had been left untouched so far. “However,” he paused long enough to take a sip before smiling a smile that sent chills down his spine, “We’ll make a revision to this little plan of yours.”
Now was his turn to look confused as Eloa held out her hand. A Sin’s power was deceptively beautiful and Eloa’s was no different. The manifestation was like a gold dusting, one that spread out from her and curled around his hand as well.
That was when the burning started.
Snarling, he tried and failed to snatch his hand away from the offending power. It held tight, burning its way into his skin. It left behind gold lines with no rhyme or reason and he bared his teeth at the pair, his canines having lengthened into something more befitting a demon than the human façade he wore.
“You said you would take a message to her for us, baby incubus, you just never specified how you would like to take it,” Eloa laughed at his pain, the last vestiges of her power receding back into her own hand. “It will only disappear once you have done as you promised and taken it to Deva.”
“And your revision?” Bast regretted asking almost as soon as he opened his mouth. They enjoyed twisting his completely fair deal to something else.
“There is a catch to this message you deliver,” Derius held out his hand to help Eloa out of her seat as he explained. “If it is not given to Deva in a timely manner, it will spread and poison your system. You will not be able to feed on human essence.”
“And when you do deliver it, it will bind you to Deva until she deigns to send us an answer in return. I hope your mentor will not be too angry with you.”
“Oh no,” Bast grumbled sarcastically, watching them as they disappeared into the crowd. He reached out for the drinks left behind and downed them as quickly as possible. “She’ll only want to kill me for not listening to her about the whole lot of you”