“Dude, seriously?” Serafine asks, standing up and holding out her paw as it drips with the sticky evidence of your nighttime emission. “I do the nice thing and let you sleep with me on the furs and you gotta go and have a wet dream all over my hand?”
You find that you can’t say anything to your defense, for most of your brain power is currently occupied in processing the image before you. You had sat up, but Serafine was larger than you even standing. You look up at her black fur, silhouetted against the hellish orange light cast by the bathtub filled with magma.
Before she had lain down, Serafine took off the three pronged iron spikes that usually covered her breasts. You’re not sure why hellhounds decide to wear sharp-looking wrought black metal on their chest, but you figure it was probably an attempt at being intimidating. You’d seen similar fashion worn among the other hellhound demons standing in the line of Hell’s Customs checkpoint. You didn’t know anything about demonic fashion, but you certainly didn’t think hard metal around such sensitive bits sounded like a good idea. You didn’t want to even imagine the chafing it had to cause.
Whatever form or function they served, Serafine had taken them off before laying down to sleep. This meant that her heaving, coal-colored breasts are hanging right above you. Her nipples were the color of dark chocolate, and her skin is a smooth, ashen color. Her hair shines in the firelight, black as onyx. Her arms and legs are covered in a downy-soft fur that matches color of the hair on her head, while her hands and feet cut the visage of large, monstrous paws that boast savage looking claws.
Seated as you are in front of the standing demoness, your eyes are drawn almost instinctively to her puffed vulva as it was perfectly eye-level. Serafine slept in the nude so it was on clear display and you feel your mind immediately race with the possibilities. Part of you, perhaps the part of you that was responsible for the dream, wants to just crawl over there and start licking. It was the urge to show fealty, to submit and service to the predator before you. Of course, you know that hormones could make you do stupid things. You’d seen enough men enticed into lascivious indulgences because of monstergirl energy. Pheromones. Charm. Whatever word they wanted to use to describe the lust they could incite within men, you’re all too well aware of it.
Luckily, you’re brought out of your stupor by Seraphine shaking her head angrily. “Ugh, you can’t even see a pussy without your brain short circuiting… you’re going to be lucky to last ten minutes.” The hellhound walks over to the magma pool, and plunges her cum-covered paw into the magma, scouring it clean. For some reason, you feel a little insulted by this act.
“Tch, look. I’m sorry.” you say, feeling a little bad for ogling. Sure, most monstergirls preferred men to ogle them, but you don’t want to just assume it’s okay. “I’m just… not used to people walking around naked…” you trail off, lost in a brief thought. You know your words aren’t entirely true, as some districts of the city encouraged monstergirls to forego clothes, or wear clothes so skimpy they might as well have been naked for all that you got to see. Of course, even though such places existed, you tended to avoid them at all costs. A solitary existence had not merited you the same desensitization the more monster-friendly populace took toward the taboo of being naked. As far as you went, it just wasn’t something you were used to. To that end, you come to the realization that you’re still naked save for the soul collar. You stand up and turn away from Seraphine, adding, “And I’ve already survived for more than ten minutes.”
“Barely.” Serafine says, turning back toward you now that her claw was clean. “You passed out as soon as we got here.”
You turn back around with an indignant look. “Yeah, because you chased me, raped me, and dragged me here.”
“You said you were going to stop whining about that.” Serafine says with a pained tone, her claws going to pinch the bridge of her nose.
“And you said you were going to stop being such a bitch.” you retort.
The verbal sparring comes to a halt as both of you let the silence go on for a while. You meet Serafine’s stern gaze. Her eyes are red-orange, and they flicker like burning flames. A thin trail of smoke wafts from them if you look hard enough. Seraphine is the first to break the silence as she heaves a weary sigh. “Okay, fine. I’m sorry.” she says, “Just… don’t be looking too hard at the demons around here. A LOT of people wander around Limbo naked, and if someone sees you looking too hard, they may just decide to claim you. I may be responsible for you because of whatever policy sticks you with me, but you are still a free roaming soul in Hell.”
“Well at least that part will be like home.” you say dryly. You’re used to averting your gaze from naked monsters wandering by who might read too much into any displayed interest. It’s pretty much reflex at this point.
“Anyway, I hope you got it all out of your system because we gotta go out today. Best you not be staring at the naked demons where we’re going. I think I may have thought of a solution to our… problem.” Serafine says.
“Problem?” you ask. It’s not as if you couldn’t think of a problem to be solved, but there were so many of them lying at your feet that you weren’t sure which one the demoness was referring to.
The Hellhound nods. “The part where you’re stuck in Hell and I’m stuck taking care of you because of a centuries old contract. I think I know someone who can help.”
“Really?” you ask tentatively. “Who?”
Despite your curiosity, you weren’t sure you entirely wanted to know. Someone with authority in Hell put to mind one particular person, and you weren’t certain you wanted to meet the literal devil.
“We have to go see Minos.” Serafine says, answering none of the questions rolling around in your head.
“Minos?” you ask.
Serafine nods. “King Minos. The Judge of the Dead.”
Serafine explains the details to you as you both wander out into Limbo. Once again the landscape seems like how you would have expected a large cave inside a volcano to look. Most of the light comes from the glowing lake of magma, and while your eyes had adjusted yesterday, they have to briefly adjust again once you leave Serafine’s cave. You wander along streets, avoiding looking too closely at any demon, though you do see more human souls wandering around as you walk. You see more souls like you, boasting the soul collar. Serafine explains that these were claimed souls, and they were never too far from the demon that owned them.
The only thing that contrasts the cavernous look of Limbo, is the modern architecture that seemed to abound in the central parts. You think of how Serafine lives in a cave-like room with little more than the stone basin lava bath; there were some furs on her floor, but her housing was minimalistic. Almost primitive, you think, but you keep that to yourself. However, there were buildings in Limbo that look like modern apartment complexes. You see curved balconies and angled windows that almost remind you of your home city. In fact, you find yourself starting to think of this part of Limbo as practically a city. There are even streets, though you never see any kind of vehicle moving along them.
There is the odd human here and there that you notice that don’t have a soul collar, and this fact intrigues you. You turn to look at Serafine. “So you said walking around without a soul collar is a bad idea. Why do I see all kinds of people without them?” you ask.
“Well,” she says, “Those are the guiltless damned. They lived virtuous lives, but were pagans and atheists.” The hellhound trails off her explanation, but upon seeing the look of perplexity on your face, she continues without prompting. “You know about the gods? There are a lot of them. Let’s see… The Chief God. The Fallen God. Poseidon. Ares. Eros. Bastet. Bacchus. Even the Gods of Madness, championed by those Mind Flayers. All of the Higher Divinities have their jurisdiction, and all of them tend to their followers in death. If you die without any Higher Divinity to accept your soul… well. You come here. To Limbo. The eternal in-between. It’s not bad, but it’s not paradise. It’s just Limbo.”
You listen to Seraphine’s words and think to your own life. It doesn’t take much introspection to come to the conclusion that you would have likely end up here when you died. Sure, the monsters are the first to preach the power of their chosen deity, but taking them at their word always seemed like… drinking the proverbial kool-aid. You were never one for buying into fanaticism. You had always tried to approach the world with a skeptical, if not critical, eye. You certainly weren’t going to place your faith in just any higher power without some kind of proof that wasn’t anecdotal, and you’re almost positive that it wasn’t an unusually held opinion. Now that you were literally strolling through Limbo, though, the proof was empirical.
“So why is it a bad idea for me to wander around without a collar and not them?” you ask.
“Because you haven’t been Judged.” Seraphine answers. “Demons have… well, I suppose a sixth sense, but I always thought of it like more of a smell when it comes to judgements. If you wander around without a collar, you’re just a renegade soul. I mean, you’re an innocent so that’s a bit of a headache for any demon to wrap their head around. I mean it’s technically illegal to do anything to you, but demons aren’t exactly known for erring on the side of caution, you know? They’re more likely to just… do something and worry about the consequences later. I’m pretty sure that you’d be claimed before long. The collar marks you as mine, and it’s an unspoken rule among demons that nobody is supposed to… poach, I guess I should say.”
You think on this for a bit as you two walk, and then turn the conversation back to the residents of Limbo. “The guiltless damned are free to roam the whole of Limbo, but can’t venture out.” Seraphine explains. You briefly wonder how the whole of the guiltless damned could be housed in a cavern you could see the walls of. You wouldn’t have guessed that this cavern, large in scope as it was, could house the entirety of the sheer number of souls that would have come here since the history of the human race. By your admittedly amateur estimation, the cavern was no more than several miles in diameter.
“Oh that’s easy.” Seraphine says. “You see, most of Hell is a world of spirits. Physics kind of breaks down when it comes to spiritual things.” The Hellhound scratches the back of her neck, hard-pressed to come up with a more satisfying explanation. “Besides,” she adds, “It’s not like it’s always been this way.”
“What do you mean?” you ask, eliciting a sigh from Serafine as you walk.
“There was a time before the current Demon Lord.” the hellhound responds. “Back before things got so… well, civil.” Serafine goes quiet for a long while, but before you can muster the courage to inquire further, she starts speaking again. “There’s a reason demons all look like girls,” she explains. “The Demon Lord from before ran things a bit… differently. It was…” she hesitates for a moment, then takes a deep breath. “Well, if you can imagine Hell as a burning fiery hellscape of pain, suffering, and a whole host of uncomfortable words, then you wouldn’t be too far off from how things were before. It was the new Demon Lord, she came to power and altered the nature of demons. The new rules are the reason why I can’t really do anything to you besides… well, you know.”
You nod. You do know. You remember her words regarding how she was bound by certain rules. The demoness forcing herself on you is pretty much the only thing untoward she’s allowed to do to you. At least, it was the only thing allowed until you do something deserving of punishment. The guilty damned are afforded less rights, it seems. Those were the collared class of souls, belonging entirely to the demoness that owns them. “Soooo, yeah. You’re kind of an anomaly.” Serafine says, “You don’t really belong here, but no one seems to know what to do with you. Which is why we’re going to see Minos.”
“You said she was the Judge of the Damned.” you say. Serafine nods.
“Minos was the former King of Crete, said to be the son of the gods Zeus and Europa… Good luck getting the truth about that out of Minos, though.” Serafine says with a roll of her eyes. “Some people believe it, others don’t. Guess it boils down to if you think Zeus and Europa are Higher Divinities or not. I dunno, I’ve never seen anything to suggest otherwise. Makes just about as much sense as anything else around here.”
“As the history goes, Minos’ brothers challenged his claim to the throne. This made the King then pray to Poseidon, who sent him a white bull as a sign of support. Now, Minos was supposed to sacrifice the Cretan Bull in honor of Poseidon, but decided to keep the animal for its exceptional beauty. This angered the sea god, who cursed Minos’ wife. The result was the first minotaur, a monster that bore the dishonored King’s name.”
You listen to Serafine talk, remembering some of the story from the things you learned in school. She concludes her story with, “And now Minos stands in judgement of the dead. There are two more judges, Aeacus and Rhadamanthus. Aea can send you to Tartarus or Elysium. Rhada deals with reincarnation. A lot of souls go through Rhada, actually. You can always appeal for reincarnation.” You make a mental note of this fact as the Hellhound continues. “But Minos judges the guilty to the Lower Circles of Hell, and has the deciding vote over the other two. If anyone has the clout in Limbo necessary to make a decision on what can be done with you, it’s Minos.”
“You mentioned the Lower Circles yesterday,” you remember aloud, “You said you didn’t want to go there.”
Serafine nods grimly. “Limbo is… the most comfortable Circle. It’s why I live here. It’s got everything you need to, well, live… more or less.” She speaks with a slight reservation, skirting the subject of the lower hells. When you press her further, she just shakes her head, “Look. The Lower Circles are where the guilty damned sit in their punishment. They’re at the mercy of whatever demons rule over the Circle, and… It’s literally Hell. Sure, the rules are different nowadays, but just because demons are sexy doesn’t mean you’re not punished for your sins in life. The Lower Circles bear criminals. The deeper you go, the worst sort of people you find. It’s… it’s just not a fun place to hang around, unless you’re fucked in the head or something.”
You muse on this until your wandering brings you and Serafine to the end of a long line. A line of souls, though you notice they did not bear soul collars. They stand one by one, silent and staring ahead. You try making eye contact as you approach, but their gaze was fixated in front of them. With their backs toward you, the only thing they do is move the queue forward at regular intervals. Other than that, they just stare ahead blankly, listless and aloof.
“They are compelled to wait and stand in judgement of Minos.” Serafine explains. “They are not to stay in Limbo, but instead will be sent to the Lower Circles for their crimes. Come on, we don’t have to wait in this. We’re not here for judgement.”
“So they just line up to be judged?” you ask, watching the line as you walk along.
“Minos sifts through the souls pretty fast, but there’s a lot of people that come through here. Sometimes it takes a while of waiting to be Judged.” Seraphine explains.
The hellhound drags you along parallel to the line of guilty damned, and it wasn’t long before you hear something ahead. It takes you a bit of straining, but soon you recognize the words. They come at regular intervals, in no set pattern. But it is always one of the same words.
Sins bark harshly out to the air in a rather sharp voice. You can’t really place the tone, it’s not really one you’ve heard used often. It was a working tone of imperative scrutiny, calling out labels one at a time. Clear, concise, and without emotion. Not quite cold, but bearing no warmth.
You turn a corner along the street, flanked by more stone buildings. Ahead, down the line of guilty damned, you see a figure in the distance. Larger than the human souls by far, if only because of the long, white tail, you see a pale woman’s torso attached to the serpentine body. You’ve seen some lamia before, even some of the variations, but never one like this. Her hair is platinum white, a bit wild and slightly curly, and it trails down in ringlets past where the human portion meets the bottom snake part. From what you can see, she looks older, almost regal. Her lithe form is accented by the thin white brassiere that covers her ample chest, and a more solid piece of white cloth completely obscures her eyes. Her tail seems completely devoid of all scales, instead made of soft, white skin. You watch her movements, and the surface of her tail reminds you more of a worm or a grub than anything truly serpentine. Still, she moves like a snake, quick and purposefully, and you can clearly see her pull another guilty damned from the queue with her tail. It hooks around the naked man and he stumbles forward into the snake woman’s clutches.
You watch in morbid fascination as this creature, just as unnerving as she is beautiful, slowly slithers around the damned soul. His back is to you, but you see the damned man stands stooped with what must be age. Or at least, the memory of age etched onto his very soul. The white serpent slithers close, and takes a deep breath. “Oh…” she says, shaking her head. “Usurer…”
The snake woman coils around the soul seven times, before another demon comes forward. You’ve never seen a girtablilu, though you have heard of them before. The half-scorpion woman looked just as fearsome as you expected an arachnid of that size would be. You watched her approach, bow to the snake demon, and heft the usurious soul from the white coils. The scorpion threw the soul over her shoulder like a potato sack, and it was only then that you noticed the man start to move. It was sluggish, like just waking up from a deep sleep, but the usurer seemed to animate more than he had been while standing in the line. As the scorpion disappeared out of your view, ducking into one of the side alleys from the large clear area that served as a sort of central staging area for the white serpent.
This process continues on before your eyes, with the snake woman calling out sins. Depending on the sin she calls, a different demon comes forward and collects the soul. “Wait, THAT’S King Minos?” you hiss to Seraphine.
“Yeah?” the hellhound retorts. “What of it?”
“…Shouldn’t it be Queen?” you say, unable to find a suitable response. It is, after all, Hell. It stands to reason that the Judge of the Dead was going to be some crazy monster.
“Minos was a King.” Seraphine says with a shrug. “Just because she’s a girl now doesn’t mean she’s not King Minos. ”
You take a moment to ponder this. Seraphine had already explained that the demons had changed in nature. You find yourself wondering what it must be like to change from a classical fire and brimstone demon into a… well, monstrous girl. If Minos had been a King in life, you wonder if she remembers being a male. You shake your head, finding this train of thinking to be entirely unhelpful. Serafine pulls a face at your continued silence as you are lost in your thoughts, the hellhound giving an expression of annoyance. “Look, things were batshit enough when the change happened. Some of us took new names because it was easier to cope, some of us decided to keep our old ones because it was at least familiar. King Minos was always King Minos and probably will always be King Minos regardless of what he or she looks like. Got it?”
You nod, throwing your hands up in a sign of non-comfrontantionality. “Easy.” you say, “I didn’t mean anything by it. It’s just all kind of hard to wrap my head around.”
Serafine’s ears press flat against her head, and she takes a deep breath. Her claws go to pinch the bridge of her nose again, looking mildly contrite. “Sorry. Sorry. I know it’s pretty much a shit show. It’s kind of still a sore spot for some of us…” she trails off. She shakes her head again and takes another breath.
Serafine kept talking, but her words blur together into background noise as your inner thoughts race and claim your attention span. You start to wonder about her, and what she had been like before. She seems to have spoken from experience regarding the change, and you find yourself wondering if she was some scary fiery brimstone monster before she became the ash-colored sexpot you’d spent the night with. The way she spoke suggested that there had been male demons before everything changed, and you find yourself wondering if Serafine had undergone that same change herself. Did she call herself something different before, or was she always Serafine? Was she something else? Had she been a male demon before?
This question led your mind back to that first night. The night she raped you, you weren’t even thinking about her as a female. She had been a monster wreathed in fire, a predator that pounced on you and was exerting its dominance in a fiery display of power. You were nothing more than prey. You didn’t even remember feeling pleasure. You remember that you had climaxed, even more than once, but you didn’t remember feeling the buildup. Perhaps it was adrenaline and fear that blocked your senses, you had expected pain and your mind mercifully retreated into itself. A safe little box that shut out the horrors of the outside world. You’d even closed your eyes. For all you felt, she could have eaten you. Which was pretty much what she did, since she was a monster and you were well familiar with their preferred diet.
Maybe that was why your dream had felt so real, you thought. Your mind knew what her body felt like, you were just too busy being petrified when you first felt it. Whatever the case, you remember the dream and the loving, sensual copulation in front of the fireplace. That dream had been so comfortable. You remember the fleeting seconds of the morning, your mind realizing that it had just been a dream. You’d had plenty of experience waking up to regret leaving the dream world behind. Reality could be so harsh compared to the warm comfort of your dreams. At least, that was the case whenever those dreams weren’t nightmares. You more than suspected that your dream state rendezvous was a result of sleeping so close to Serafine, the effects of spending too much time with monsters was well documented in the city.
“Are you FUCKING kidding me?” Serafine hissed at you, snapping you out of yourself. You don’t have time to wonder what she meant before she hauls you bodily down a stone alleyway just off to the side. She all but throws you back against the rock wall, her eyes flaring as she glares at you. You are briefly perplexed until your brain comes out of its introspective fog and realizes that she’d just pulled you into the alley by your erection.
You look down, and do your best to give an apologetic expression. Your train of thought had led you into some pretty arousing mental areas, and your body just reacted naturally. Of course, you didn’t want to explain that you’d been thinking about fucking her just now, so you do your best to look remorseful. “Sorry.” you say.
Serafine huffs. “What the fuck did I tell you right before we left?” she hisses, and you note her very obvious attempt to keep her voice down. There is a sense of fearful urgency that you pick up on, and you start wondering exactly what has Serafine on edge. If King Minos was such a frightening presence, why did Serafine drag you all the way here? You give her a quizzical look, but your hellhound companion continues chastising you.
“Minos can literally damn you to the Second Circle and you go and pop a boner ten feet from her…” Serafine whispers.
“Look, sorry. I was just thinking about… nevermind.” You say, shaking your head. You resolve to rectify your issue by thinking of various things that had helped you prevent unwanted biological responses in front of monstergirls. Memories of grandma always helped. Unfortunately, given your present circumstance, you find distracting yourself now to be much harder than it ever was. Serafine’s eyes bore into you with an expectant look, and your thoughts seem to slide back to that dream, where her eyes had held a much softer glow.
Serafine taps her foot impatiently, and you do your best to no avail. “Oh for Demon Lord’s sake…” she says exasperatedly, before she pushes you against the cool stone wall.
“I’m sorry, it won’t go down!” you say in your defense, but it seems your hellhound companion takes it upon herself to fix the problem. Her paw slides down your shoulder, and moves between your legs.
Serafine grips your erect cock in her paws, her claws mercifully held away from your skin. She wraps her digits around your shaft, and you feel a strange paradoxical feeling envelop your most sensitive nerves. The soft, pleasantly cool touch of her pawpads contrast with the enticingly warm and velvety fur between them. Her grip is gentle, yet firm enough to send little jolts of pleasure arcing up your back.
She shakes her head again, muttering “Useless…” before she starts to stroke her paw back and forth, rubbing you in very delicious ways. A moan involuntarily escapes your mouth before the other paw clamps tightly over your jaw. The force resounds on your cheek like a soft slap, and you give a muffled cry of protest before Serafine leans in close and whispers, her voice still frantic and eager to maintain the low profile. “Shut the fuck up….” she whispers urgently. “Just, hurry and finish…”
Despite her urgency and rough tone, her paws are soft and work a delicate magic along your sensitive length. With her paw firmly over your mouth, you find that you must breathe through your nose. You inhale the scent of her fur, bringing once again the thoughts of campfires and fireplaces. A gentle warmth settles between your ears as you find yourself giving in to the pleasure. Another muffled moan escapes your lips and the sound is choked off by Serafine’s grip.
Your arms hang limply, uselessly at your side as the wall fully supports your weight as the hellhound’s impressive strength pins you against it. The warm, dull pleasure gives way to a building electric sensation in your core, and you find your breath coming faster and harder. Your panting is cut off by Serafine’s paw, and you find yourself taking deep breaths through your nose as fast as you can. Your body trembles under the hellhounds relentless, silky paws as white lights burst in your field of vision. You can’t tell if you’re going to faint from lack of oxygen, but the burning need to breathe mingles with the agonizing desire to cum as your entire body tenses. You try to break away from the demon’s grip, but she holds you firm.
Waves of pleasure crash over you like the ocean breaking upon the beach as every muscle in your body spasms, and then goes slack. Serafine catches you with one arm, “Whoa! Careful!” she calls, unaware that you had completely lost control of your body. Luckily, it lasts only a second and you manage to gain your balance as you take deep, gulping breaths.
As your vision stops spinning and you blink spots from your eyes, you turn back to Serafine. The hellhound’s back is to you, but you see her seemingly wiping her mouth with the same paw she had just used to ease your softening cock of its liquid burden. “Serafine?” you call to her, and she turns back to you. “What?” she asks, “Looks like it’s going down, so good.” She gives a satisfied smile, and nods.
“Did you just-?” you start, a bit perplexed to see her paw so clean since you’d just blown what felt like the biggest load of your life. Of course, you knew it wasn’t the case despite the pleasure you’d felt. Your wet dream from the morning would have left you with less than impressive amounts of cum, but you couldn’t deny how hard the orgasm had wracked you. Serafine cuts you off, “Look, I can’t just leave it on the ground, another demon will smell it and come bothering. So I got rid of it the best and most discreet way.” she says, and brushes past you before you could inquire further. Did she really just lick up your cum? The thought of it threatened to give rise to another problem erection.
“Now maybe Minos won’t smell you as a big pile of lust and throw you into the Second Circle.” Serafine says as you step back out of the alleyway. The impending meeting with the Judge of the Dead at least distracted you from your thoughts of Serafine. Standing before the white snake creature was a prospect that looms fearfully in your mind. Serafine had seemed on edge, and you think that reason enough to be on high alert. Despite your lascivious thoughts on the matter, you’re at least grateful that your companion isn’t squeamish when it came to such lewdity. You’re almost positive that without her assistance, you’d be approaching Minos sporting a healthy erection, especially since the snake woman moved with a lithe grace that suggested more than a hint of sensuality. Her smile was predatory, but alluring. Her voice was almost lyrical, yet dripped with a venomous bite.
“Perjurer.” the voice of Minos calls to the latest Guilty Damned as you approach her dais. An insect-winged demon, a beelzebub, flits forth to claim the soul and spirit it away into the depths of the Lower Circles.
Serafine takes a deep breath as you pass the front of the line of Guilty Damned. She strides out boldly onto the dais, and calls forth. “Minos, a word with you… Please.” She adds hastily. The blindfolded white serpent gives a small start as if surprised, then turns toward Serafine as if she were able to see the hellhound clearly without the blindfold. “I smell…” Minos sniffs the air, then smiles widely. A smile like that, you think, shows far too many teeth. Teeth that were entirely too sharp. “Serafine.” she says with a voice like honey. “It has been so long since last you visited.”
As Minos speaks, she slithers closer to Serafine, almost too fast for a creature that size. She isn’t giant, but her snake tail must be more than ten times as long as her human portion.
“The Bureau keeps me busy.” Serafine says. This elicits a chuckle from Minos.
“Ahh, yes…” She says, clearly amused. “The Bureaucracy… Leave it to the mortals to invent something so… soul-crushing. It’s almost poetic. Demons could never be so… inventive.“ Minos spoke slowly, deliberately. Her voice almost trailed along in the air, leading the conversation by a thread and leaving you hanging on every word. “Mortals always find new ways to be terrible to each other.” As she spoke, you see her turn her sightless gaze to you. “Speaking of mortals…”
Minos starts to slither around you in a wide circle. The only comfort is that Serafine stands right beside you. “Yes, that is actually what I came to talk to you about.” the hellhound says. “It seems we have a bit of a problem.”
“We?” Minos responds bemusedly. “Or you?”
Serafine maintains her steady gaze. Her fiery eyes look undauntedly at the Judge before her. “I think this is bigger than me.” she says respectfully, but resolute. “This mortal is an innocent.”
Minos pauses to hover in front of you two. “Innocent?” she says, her voice dripping with a disbelieving curiosity. Serafine does her best to launch into an explanation, but is cut off by Minos. “I think not…” Minos closes in, taking a deep breath through her nose as she hovers inches from your face. “I smell pride. Arrogance. A sloth. Oh?” Minos smiles, a sinister smile far too wide. Her head cocks slightly to the side, as if she is trying to puzzle out something. “A hoarder.” She says, her voice saturated with villainous mirth. “I haven’t judged one of those in a while…”
Serafine gives a worried look, “King Minos, you can’t possibly think to judge a living soul to the Fourth Circle… He still should have time to repent.”
“And yet he is here.” Minos answers.
While the monsters talk, your head reels at Minos’ words. Pride? Arrogance? You never thought of yourself as prideful. All you ever wanted to do was to live your life the way you wanted, and not have to worry about monsters at every corner trying to groom you into some kind of husband. Pride and arrogance? You felt it a bit harsh. Sloth, you could see. You’d always been a bit lazy. Your room had been well lived in before it burned down in hellfire. Still, you didn’t think it was THAT bad. You’d seen the TV shows where they showcased actual hoarders. Your place wasn’t nearly as bad.
You scraped a meager living in the city, and your savings had a grand total of forty two dollars in the account. A forty two dollars which you were certain you only had because you’d forgotten to pay something. By any and all accounts, you were a poor city boy just barely scraping by. How the literal hell did that figure into Minos’ judgement? The logic of it escaped you. “I am not a hoarder.” you asserted.
“Shut up!” Serafine hissed, her face growing concerned. Minos just smiled.
“How many times a day did you jerk off?” asked the Judge of the Dead. The question lingers in the stunned silence before you as you take a minute to process that Minos really had asked such a question. “What?” is the only answer you can muster.
“How many times per day did you masturbate?” Minos reiterates. “I already know the answer, so go ahead and be truthful. Else I’ll have to judge you a liar as well.”
Confronted with this, you figure honesty is the best policy. “Usually about three.” you say. Living in the city was hard. You always made sure that you never left the house without rubbing one out, so that no monster caught you off guard. You had never wanted to fall prey to their charms and end up in a bad situation just because you’d been horny. You’d seen it happen to a few people, friends and the like. This practice left the daily average at about three.
“You know what monsters derive sustenance from, correct?” Minos then asks. Again, you answer in the affirmative.
“So three times per day, you satisfy your own urges, while there were hungry monsters in the city being rationed out portions of soul energy because as I’m sure you know, males are a commodity in the world above. I’m not saying you had to go out and take a number of wives, but you never once considered donating to a kitchen. So much soul energy wasted because you, little boy, are a hoarder. A prideful, hoarding, sloth.”
“That’s not fair!” you protest. That can’t be all there was to it. Sure, you knew about the so-called Soup Kitchens and what they served. They were a frequent hangout for single monsters looking to get a good meal of soul energy. You’d just never figured to try and donate because jerking off in a building full of hungry, single monsters always seemed like proverbially sticking your head in the lion’s mouth. Hell, there was a good chance that the metaphor could easily become quite literal if there was a jinko present.
Minos just held her smile. “Life rarely is.”
“Enough!” yells Serafine, her voice hard enough to give Minos pause. The Judge turns to look at the Hellhound. “Minos, you can’t just toss an innocent soul into the Fourth Circle just because you think it’s interesting. I came to you looking for help, but if you’re not going to be of any help, then I’m just going to take this higher.”
Minos affixes Serafine with an icy stare. Or at least, what would have probably been an icy stare if not for the blindfold. “You presume to speak this way to the Judge of the Dead?”
Serafine crosses her arms. “I may be just a Hellhound, but I’m still older than you. He is my responsibility and I’m not taking heat from the higher ups just because you don’t know what to do. Sticking him in the Fourth Circle isn’t going to solve anything. What would you do if Paradisio comes looking for him?”
Minos gives a rather bored look. “And what would you do, hellhound? A low rank and file demon watching the only innocent soul in hell? I could proclaim him guilty right now and this whole thing would be swept under the rug.”
Serafine shakes her head. “I brought him here, and the Bureau said I was responsible for him. I’m gonna find out what we’re supposed to do, even if I have to go all the way to the Adversary.”
The white serpent gave pause, her smile slowly returning to her face as she moves to hover in front of Seraphine. “The Adversary?” she says, barely able to contain her excitement. “How fun! You would really take it that far?”
Serafine takes a deep breath, sighing heavily as if resigning herself to her answer. “Whatever it takes. I don’t want to be the demon that damned an innocent to Hell. He still has time to repent for any sins he has committed in life. He doesn’t deserve to be prematurely Judged.”
The Judge of the Dead thinks on this for a long, uncomfortable moment, then shrugs. “Very well. This promises to be interesting. I can’t open the way to the Adversary without a Judgement, but I can at least open the way to the Second Circle.”
Serafine takes a deep breath. “Right, Lust. Who’s the ruler again? I’ve not been down there in… centuries.”
“Last I checked it was the Chimera King Asmodeus. Or… Asmodai, as she might be calling herself. It might also be Queen now. I forget.” Minos says. Once again, you find yourself wondering about the honorifics in Hell. Chimera King? Was this another male entity changed by the shift in demonic nature? You wonder as Minos slithers over to a wall of rock.
The white serpent seems to trace white light with her fingers over the rock face, and soon the rock shimmers and ripples as if made of water. “I’ll be watching. This proves to be so very… intriguing.” Minos says with a grin.
Serafine looks at you with what almost seems like pity, before she takes your hand. “Looks like we gotta go deeper.” she says in a soft, apologetic voice. “Come on. Lust isn’t that bad from what I remember. Hopefully Asmodai can help us.”
You nod, take a deep breath, and follow Seraphine through the portal.