Azgoth laughed as the hellfire sputtered out a few inches from the pup’s muzzle. He picked the little one up, looking it over.
“This one seems pretty healthy. Hellfire is impressive for one so small. I don’t think they’ve even been weaned yet.”
“I had a bottle from the last time..” Percy began.
“Of course you do. And do you have a supply of food?”
“Yeah, I asked my cousin. He works in one of the kennels.”
Azgoth just rolled his eyes as he put the little spitfire down. “Of course. Why wouldn’t you have a cousin that works in the kennels? And one that works in central supply. And one that works in Lucifer’s office. And one that…”
“Hey, that’s why you can’t do without me.” Azgoth would have rolled his eyes, but his annoying admin was correct. He had contacts everywhere and could make things happen.
Suddenly the door opened at the front, and the small pack of houndcats began to yammer and charge the door. As the demon and human entered, eyes wide at the commotion, Azgoth could just picture the conversations with his boss. Sorry, sir, but the human got fried by hellhound lions. Yes, the kind that were illegal to own, but that just happened to be taking refuge in Azgoth’s office. Lovely. That conversation would go well.
Rakon moved to stand in front of his more fragile partner, but the charging pups were small and just ran between his legs. Everyone in the office stood frozen as all three of the wee beasties mobbed the human. Who promptly knelt down to dole out belly and head scratches to all three, who carried on with whimpers and whines, and sounded nothing like the crabby demon pups that had attacked Azgoth.
The human let out a chuckle as the infuriating creatures wriggled under his touch, whining for attention all the while.
“Cute little things,” he said.
“Um, yeah, cute,” replied Percy.
“I’m Micah by the way. Reporting for duty. I assume my laconic partner has brought us to the right place?”
“Hi, Micah. And yes, your, um, partner has indeed brought you to the correct location. I am the Demon in Charge of this location, Lord Azgoth.”
The human just started choking and sputtering.
“Oh, now what?” Rakon turned and asked him.
“Did he just say Demon in Charge?”
“Yes. It’s the formal title for the Commander of Hellsgate. We tend to be fairly blunt.”
“But, Demon in Charge? In short, DIC? Really?”
Azgoth glared at the human who was still kneeling on the floor. “I think I see why the humans want to have you killed.”
“Oh, come one, you can’t truly say that no one’s called you that? I mean, this is law enforcement. People love to make an acronym out of everything.”
“Um, Micah, there is no demon alive that would even think to call his Lordship that,” Rakon replied, a wary look on his face.
“Exactly” Azgoth replied, glaring at the stupid human as he headed his way. And suddenly more tiny attacks of hellfire were aimed his way, as all three ridiculous pups growled and hissed menacingly at him. They had each jumped up from the floor and stood in front of the human male, in full defensive posture.
“Um, Lord DIC?” Percy half laughed. Damn. He’d forgotten that his admin had absolutely no sense of self-preservation or propriety. Rakon stared at the young demon in astonishment. “You might want to take a look at young Micah’s arm.”
Micah’s sleeve had been rolled up while he was playing with the pups. And there, plain as day, or hellfire for that matters, were three concentric bands. Damn.
“Congratulations, idiot human. You seem to have acquired yourself a pack. That… makes life interesting.”