Asmodeus felt the icy blade of the sword against his neck, while the metallic stink of the sword filled his nose.
“Don’t move,” Eris said.
A grin rose on Asmodeus’ face
“Oh come on this isn’t a fair fight Eris” he stopped for a moment looking at the blade pressed against his neck “I thought you had some honor left, it looks like I was wrong.” Eris knew what her brother was doing, one of his manipulative tricks. He had always been the best at tricking the mind, even when they were children. When they were nine Asmodeus broke a vase and yet he made Eris believe it was her fault the vase broke.
Eris smiled “I did not mean this to be a fair fight, dear brother of mine” she tightened her grip on the hilt of the sword. “We never played fair, so where did this sudden burst of fairness and dignity come from?
Asmodeus chuckled “You know it’s not very comfortable here on my knees, as you may know the ground is quite hard” Asmodeus let his hand slide down to his leather boots, Asmodeus always kept an extra dagger in the lining of them. If he could distract Eris long enough, she would not notice his plan.
“What do you mean by that?”. Asmodeus made a little bounce of joy inside. He got her attention. “Ah, every time I won over you, you lay there on the ground like an abandoned puppy mourning for its owner” Asmodeus had found a grip on the dagger in his boot and dragged it out. He felt the pressure of the sword on his throat increase
“I hate you” snarled Eris. In one swift motion he thrust his elbow full force backwards into Eris’ stomach, causing her to drop the sword, which came down with a loud clatter. As Eris recovered from the blow, he took advantage of the moment and grabbed a full hand of her black hair, causing Eris to be flung to the ground. “Fun fact sister” with just enough force to keep her on the ground he placed his leather boot on her chest “I love you too” he laughed. Asmodeus’s words echoed through the great hall of the palace, creeping into the ancient walls.
“Enough” called a shrill voice, coming from the shadows of the great hall. The clicking of heels echoed down the hall, revealing a solidly built man. His gray hair swayed with his stride. Two piercing blue eyes that showed traces of the long life the man had lived looked straight at him.
Asmodeus felt his breath catch as he glanced down at his boot still resting on his sister’s chest.
“Father” as the word left his lips, he shamelessly removed his foot from Eris’ chest.
Asmodeus was getting ready for a sermon like he usually got. It was always his fault, sometimes his father was right, but most of the time it wasn’t. At the thought of all the times he had been unjustly punished, he balled his fists.
“Is this how I raised you? Like a bunch of wild animals!” roared his father. In the corner of his eye, Asmodeus saw Eris cringe like a frightened mouse. It remained icily silent as their father’s eyes flashed back and forth between the two, waiting for an answer. Asmodeus bit his tongue softly, which he did when he was nervous. If there was one man who scared him, it was his father. At the thought of his father, his back burned and he felt the welts of the old whipping revive.
“Who was it? Eris or you, Asmodeus?” Their father pulled out from the pocket of his gold-seamed pants a ring with a red diamond. He slid the ring around his bony finger with great care. Asmodeus knew all too well what this meant.
“It was me, I challenged Eris to a duel.” Asmodeus took a step towards his father, who had a grin on his face. “Nice of you to be so honest, Asmodeus.” Before Asmodeus even realized it, his father’s hand flew into the air, after which it hit Asmodeus’ jaw. Asmodeus staggered backwards, searching for his balance, but before he had a chance, the second slap arrived. With a dull bang, he landed on the ground. In the distance, he heard Eris’ wail.
“Freshen up, tonight an important guest is coming over, we don’t want to make a poor impression, do we?” Their father turned in a jerk, but before he disappeared again into the shadows of the palace, he glanced over his shoulder “And oh, Asmodeus cover the wounds on your jaw a little.” with those words his father was swallowed up by the darkness and left the great hall.
Asmodeus felt defeated by how he lay there on the floor with a throbbing jaw. His father might be older, but certainly not weaker. The slaps came hard, but this was normal for him. He always took the blame because he knew Eris would succumb to their father’s slaps.
His knees creaked as he tried to get up. His head spun a little, an icy taste dominating his mouth. He sought support against one of the marble pillars as he wiped the bit of blood from his cheek with the sleeve of his velvet shirt.
“You heard father we need to get ready” muttered Asmodeus.