“Karaoke?” Micah asked incredulously as he looked around. “We had to leave an urgent investigation with open warfare a distinct possibility to come attend karaoke night?”
Azgoth shuddered beside him. “Yes, I am afraid so. This is Lucifer’s main fundraising event of the year for the Demon Dog foundation.”
“Wait, Lucifer has a non-profit?” Micah was briefly distracted from the horror that surrounded them. The karaoke stage was decorated in a chaos of pink glitter.
“Well, yes,” Azgoth answered, looking irritated. “He had some bet with Cerberus on the Final Four a number of years ago. And Lucifer lost. So now his foundation is a major contributor to the ASPCA.”
“Oh, that’s awesome.”
“Um, yeah, awesome. This whole night is awesome,” Azgoth stated dryly, as a small demon with glittering tails, bow tie, and a top hat mounted the stage.
“Welcome to the Annual Karaoke Showdown! House champions, I hope you are prepared to come with your best!” Whistles and cheers erupted around them.
Just then Lucifer walked on stage. The being that strode beside him was beautiful beyond sanity. He’d recognize him anywhere, after all the Public Service Announcements that he’d starred in while Micah was growing up. Michael. The angel wore a luminescent white tuxedo that framed his wings perfectly. Sadly, his smirk had always made Micah want to punch something, and tonight was no exception.
“This year, Michael comes to us with a challenge. If he wins, we have to allow the heavenly choir to perform Handel’s Messiah, with Handel himself directing. And lots and lots of harps. Attendance would be mandatory for all denizens of hell.” Lucifer gazed meaningfully at the assembled audience. The groan that went up from the assembled demons was almost a whimper.
“I’d like to introduce you to this year’s judges. They’ve sworn a blood oath to judge impartially. They’ve been rewarded handsomely of course. And for those that don’t know me, I’m Bercan, and I’ll be your host for this evening. Unlike our esteemed guests, I’m not being paid to be impartial,” the small demon said, with a bow towards the judges seats.
The judges were stolen from a popular singing contest that currently ruled the network ratings. He couldn’t remember the name, but one of his partners at the agency several years ago had been obsessed with watching it every week. They seemed calm despite their audience, but of course they were used to the sharks that infested Hollywood.
“OK, well then, Michael has offered to start off our festivities. Give him a warm demonic walcome!” Bercan said, which set off a cacaphony of hellish noise that rocked the arena. The hellhoundcats at his feet started to yowl, while Arroc hissed his displeasure.
Just then Michael strode to the middle of the stage and continued to smirk as the music started in the background. It was barely audible over the noise being produced by the audience. Suddenly the noise was muted, a low background noise now, and Michael smirked even more as he held up the remote he held in his hand.
“I love the mute button,” he said with a grin, then pushed another button and the noise from the music swelled loudly over the stadium. Arroc prowled restlessly beside him, keeping herd on the hellhoundcats who looked ready to rush the stage. They hadn’t liked that bit of magic at all. Micah crouched down and whispered reassuringly to them, letting them know that they would have their revenge. They settled down just as Michael launched into his number.
“Bastard,” muttered Azgoth, glaring at Michael up on the stage. “He cheats. Dang angelic range.”
Micah had to concede the angel was good as he started to perform Stairway to Heaven. But dude, how predictable was that? He rolled his eyes as he looked around. The judges seemed to be enjoying the performance, and Michael was definitely a showman up on stage. But his voice was too perfect for the song. It was all technical perfection, with very little emotion to carry it.
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