By the light of the embers of the bonfire, Micah caught a glimpse of the pile of sleeping children and hellhoundcats. The adults had gathered for the final toast in honor of the holiday. He felt Azgoth’s fingers run along his nap as they stared into the waning fires. The Demon Lord had called him his heart. His own heart had leaped in response, but he refrained from asking Azgoth what he had meant. This was not the time or place.
He leaned into Azgoth’s caress just as a large SUV pulled up to the wooded lot. Azgoth groaned from beside him when he saw the small team approach them.
“Micah,” said Commander Stone as he walked up.
“Commander,” Micah responded, just as the baying roars of the Hellhoundcat rang through the air as they charged to put themselves in front of Micah, leaking balefire and sparks of energy.
“So it is true,” Stone said, looking at the slathering fury of cuteness arrayed before him. “Congratulations, Pack Master. Though I must say, such things usually take a lot longer to formalize.”
“He is mine, Stone,” Azgoth said tersely, his hand resting on Micah’s shoulder. Azgoth’s sigil flared to life, causing Micah’s to pulse in counterpoint. The two men and one woman with Stone gasped in astonishment.
“Well, in that case, I congratulate you as well, my Lord Azgoth. May your House prosper with your union.” As Stone finished speaking, Micah murmured the ritual words he had learned to the Pack and they calmed instantly.
“Thank you, Commander. I do appreciate it,” Azgoth said, looking around. The humans surrounding them stood tense and wary. “But I’m sure that is not the reason for your visit here.”
“No, indeed,” Stone laughed suddenly. “We got word that there was demon activity in this area. I figured we’d find a bunch of frat boys summoning demons for a lark. What are you doing here anyway?”
“Well, I was summoned,” Azgoth said with a smile. He walked over and picked up Marilee, who had sleepily wandered over to sit next to the pups. “This precocious one decided we needed to help find her folks. But all is settled now, and we had just been enjoying the holiday festivities.” Azgoth kissed Marilee on the head and set her back on her feet. She gave him a big hug and then ran back to the pups.
“Um, very well then. I gather someone is going to be in trouble for putting you on the list?” Stone asked?
“Yes. I don’t think I’ve been on the ‘to be summoned’ list since my school days. Someone will find life not quite so entertaining tomorrow,” Azgoth replied.
“Micah, we’ll need to talk soon about your status. Obviously, you will continue in your position in Hellsgate, but this is rather an unprecedented situation. We’ll sort it all out,” Stone said, then grinned evilly. “I gather the folks who have a bounty on Micah here will be very surprised if they try to collect.”