Satan and Beelzebub stroll down the palm-tree lined streets of Winchward Beach. People wander aimlessly around them, creating the illusion that the Beach is a city, and not just a death trap designed for the king of demons. Four days have passed since Satan killed Aosoth. Nothing has changed. There have been no more Plagues. No more concerts. The DLF is laying low. Beelzebub carries a bag of supplies for their makeshift base. Mr Legion is still nowhere to be seen. The sky is a dull pink. The sun is small and weak. Beelzebub notices a pharmacy and walks off to gather medical implements. Their bodies are fragile and soft in the Beach. Supplies of such a kind will be invaluable Satan waits outside, leaning against a lamppost. He’s assembled a rudimentary suit of armour out of scrap metal, fibreglass and leather. It wins no points for aesthetics, but it’s better than the prison garments. Beelzebub walks out of the pharmacy, its fake owner yelling at him for not paying.
‘Anything good?’ Satan asks.
‘Need hair dye?’ Beelzebub replies.
Satan scoffs and the two continue their walk. The air is somehow both pleasantly warm and icy cold. It reminds Satan of the Sheol. His home. He’s concluded that one cannot wake from Winchward Beach naturally. They have to be either forced out through death or pulled out like Lilith was four days ago. That means Satan could spend centuries in the Beach if he’s careful. But he doesn’t want to. He has no power in the Beach. Sure, he can summon his weapon at will, but he’s weak. He’s at the mercy of the DLF. He has no army (unless one counts Mr Legion). All he really has is his wits, and Satan Seven is no tactical genius like Six was. Six. Satan hated his predecessor. Stuck up, cold, egotistical and narcissistic. When he became Seven, Satan had vowed to hold up the true philosophy of the Satans. He would be a pointlessly evil and needlessly cruel dictator, not some bureaucrat who would only torture an innocent if it meant useful information. What’s the point of being evil if it’s for a pragmatic purpose? Satan Seven always makes sure to lash out at subordinates and slaughter his enemies with a smile, but it isn’t working. He can’t come anywhere near the level of Satan One. To create suffering is Seven’s purpose in life, but he can’t even do that right. As he walks, Satan realises his fists have been clenched tightly enough to draw blood. He wipes his bleeding palms on his leg-plates and focuses on the task at hand; defeating the Demon Liberation Front.
Satan and Beezlebub’s base is built in the pent-house of the one of the swankiest hotels on the beachfront. The fake staff had attempted to stop them from occupying the room, but had quickly changed their minds after seeing Satan’s weapon. Stacks of food are piled up in one corner, and general use supplies in another. Potential weapons and armour material lay by the dining table, which has been converted to a work bench. Using bones harvested from some of the hotel staff, Satan turned a generic sofa into a rudimentary bone throne. It pales in comparison to the real thing, but it still serves to make the base feel a little bit more like home. Beelzebub empties his bag of supplies on the dining table. There’s a selection of tools, more food, some bear traps, and the hair dye, which Satan snatches when Beezlebub isn’t looking. Whilst Beelzebub sorts through their new supplies, Satan excuses himself to take a shower.
The penthouse’s bathroom is large and lavish, with gold-trimmed tiles and a toilet truly worthy of being called a porcelain throne. The shower also doubles as a bathtub and Jacuzzi, but Satan does not care for such things as bubbles. He strips off his makeshift armour, leaving himself in his camo print jumpsuit he had taken from a costume store. Apparently it’s supposed to render one invisible. It doesn’t seem to work. Just as Satan goes to remove the jumpsuit, he hears a noise from the toilet. He jumps, his mind scrambling for a logical answer. Piping problem? Beelzebub forgot to flush? Another Plague? Murderous clown? Satan cautiously approaches the toilet, ready to summon his weapon if need be. Another noise. Satan can’t place what it is. He peers into the toilet. At the same time, something squeezes out of the pipe. It jumps from the bowl and onto the bathroom floor, dripping with water. It wears a dark cloak. It’s almost Satan’s height. The figure straightens up and removes her hood. Lilith. She looks at Satan with her one good eye, an unreadable emotion on her melted face. Satan begins to summon his weapon, but then remembers it won’t do any good against a demon. He stands perfectly still, considering his odds.
‘I just want to talk,’ says Lilith. She sounds distracted. Frightened.
‘About how I killed your sister?’ Satan asks.
Lilith rubs her eyes, or rather her eye and her melted eye socket. ‘The sisters thing was just for show. I had never met Aosoth in real life until Abaddon put together the DLF.’
Satan is suspicious. Overwhelmingly so. ‘Right, and?’
‘I need your help.’
Satan raises his eyebrows. ‘Say again?’
‘Abaddon’s not who I thought he was. Not like I thought he was. He doesn’t care about demons. He just wants to kill you.’
Satan still fully believes Lilith’s plea to be an act. ‘Why’s that, then?’
‘You killed his family.’
‘Ah, that makes sense.’
Lilith twitches in anger. ‘I really don’t like you.’
Satan relaxes a bit. At least she isn’t trying to kiss his boots. ‘So why should I help you?’
‘I know everything there is to know about Abaddon’s plans. I know how to control Winchward Beach,’ Lilith replies.
Satan smiles. ‘And what’s to stop me from just torturing the information out of you?’
Lilith smiles back. ‘You can’t touch me without a demonic weapon.’
Lilith’s fake smile drops. ‘All I need from you is a promise that you’ll get me away from Abaddon. In the real world.’
‘It’s a deal,’ says Satan without the slightest intention to go through with his side of the agreement.
Lilith nods, satisfied. ‘You might want to read the label on that hair dye before you use it.’
With that, she leaps back into the toilet, somehow compressing her body to squirm down the pipe. Satan watches her go, then takes the hair dye from out of his pocket and reads the label.
DISEASED LIVESTOCK COLOUR – APPLY THOROUGHLY
Satan throws the dye into the toilet after Lilith and flushes.