Sample Chapter: #10 - Where's The Book?
The conference room was getting a lot of use, these days,
the maids at the Castle of the Sword thought irritably. Didn't
anybody ever sleep anymore, including them? Now their majesties
were trying to decide whether they should attack from where
they were, or adjourn the whole party to the Castle of the
Pentacle, half the world away. There was talk that Satana,
Lucifer's missing queen, had been found, the prisoner of some
filthy slavers and runaway Slamite males. The whole thing
was creepy, but it just meant more work for them.
"I think we should send a message to Vashi," Abaddon
volunteered, from where he was sitting on top of the drapes.
Lucifer glanced up at him in annoyance. "I think it's
time you were in bed, not sitting about on the ceiling. Sterling,
can't you make your son go to bed?"
Sterling yawned. "No more than you can, dear old daddums.
We need Ariel here -- where is she, by the way?"
"With the rest of the women, of course, trying to decide
how best to outfit themselves for battle. Valaura and I are
ready to go, if anybody wants to take a hint."
"And what are you planning to do once you get there?"
Evan growled at him. "This is such a bad plan it could've
been thought up by the Pentagon."
"Don't you mean Pentacle?" Abaddon asked, then started
"Someone silence that brat," Beelzebub commented,
then stopped to stare at his grand-nephew. "Pentacle
... of course! Meph; The Pentacular! You're the keeper of
the book -- why didn't you think of it?"
Mephistopheles considered this. "What do we need it for?"
"Because those slavers have some kind of a magic mirror,
that they use to suck the power out of the Light Bearers.
Lady Lilly is the only one who can evade them, because she's
not of our world. Only The Pentacular has spells to contravene
any kind of magic. Why didn't we think of it before?"
"Because we're too tired," Lucifer responded. "So
are we on our way to pay a visit Meph's house after all?"
"What's a Pentacular?" Evan asked. "I've heard
of a pentacle."
"The Pentacular is a book that contains all the occult
and arcane lore of our world. If anything can help us rescue
the prisoners, The Pentacular has it listed."
"I always thought it was unfair that Nick got to have
the tapestry and you the book. What does that leave for Beel
and me?" Lucifer asked plaintively.
"Oh, shut up," Marshall snapped at him. "Let's
go get this infernal book before we all fall asleep. The sooner
this is over, the better."
"You're getting very crotchety now that you're a married
man, Marsh," Evan observed.
"In case you never noticed, so did you. It must come
with the territory. Who's gonna go get the book? Lilly's the
only one who can beam around now without getting caught, so
I guess it'll hafta be her." Marshall sounded resigned.
"My wedding night is over anyway."
"Do you do something special on that night?" Sterling
"He wouldn't've been doing anything he doesn't do every
night," Evan retorted. "He's young yet -- he hasn't
cut back to a couple of times a week."
The kings all thought this was funny, except Lucifer. "Do
you mean that's all you do it?" He asked. "I wonder
the lady Valaura hasn't taken a lover."
"She did, and you were it. And if she does it again,
I'll find some way of pulling you into our dimension and leave
you in Times Square at the height of rush hour. Marsh is right,
Lilly will have to get the book -- I take it it's in the library
at Meph's castle?"
"Of course it is," Mephistopheles replied. "But
the littlest lady won't be able to bring it back -- much too
"Some book," Marshall muttered. "Sounds like
a Gutenberg bible. Then who's volunteering to go with `er?"
"I will. If we're pulled in by the mirror, I might be
able to combat it."
"Modest, ain't ya?" Marshall sneered. "What
about the plan of lending power -- not that it ever made any
sense to me."
"Save that for when and if we need it. I'm off to find
Lilly. We'll be back in a few minutes with the book."
"If you're going, why does she have to?" Marshall
was definitely losing the thread of the conversation.
"We've already explained that, Lord Marshall," Beelzebub
retorted as if he was a schoolboy who wouldn't learn his lessons.
"Her alien signature somehow shorts out the mirror's
Lucifer returned about twenty minutes later, and they had
all fallen asleep around the conference table. He signalled
to the two men following him, and they dropped the enormous
book they were carrying onto the table, waking everyone again.
"Wow!" Marshall exclaimed. "I thought you were
exaggerating! How many pages in that book?"
"No one ever counted. Let's get started, gentlemen. Who
wants to take the first shift?"
"First shift at what?" Evan sounded suspicious.
"At looking for the spell we need -- what do you think?
Go back to sleep if you cannot be more use than a drunken
harper." This dig at Evan, who had indeed first entered
their world as a minstrel and spent a lot of his time that
visit drinking ale, didn't miss the mark.
"You mean there's no index as well as the pages not being
numbered? Don't you people have a clue how to put a book together?"
The kings looked at one another and shrugged. "What,
exactly, is an Index?" Beelzebub asked. That told Evan
all he needed to know.
"An Index is a listing of every subject in the book,
cross-referenced. That's one of the reason the pages are numbered;
so then anyone who wants to find something can look in the
Index and is told the page number. As it is, you've got to
start at the first page and work your way through until you
get to the last one, hoping what you want is nearer to the
front than the back. Have any of you ever used this book before?
Who put it together?"
"Our mother," Beelzebub replied. "We;ve all
looked through it at one time or another, but we haven't had
much use for it. And when she made it, she collected the spells,
remedies and recipes from all over the world."
"What was your mother's name, out of curiosity?"
"Now why didn't I realize that? And your father's name
"How did you know? Oh...you had one, too. But of course,
Eve was only mother to the younger two boys. Nick and I had
a different mother, but the same father," Mephistopheles
"Don't tell me, let me guess -- Adam's first bond-mate
was named Lilith."
"Uncanny how much you people know about us."
"Of course, that was a long time ago. What Foster Mama
started, we've continued. We each have a Pentacular account-keeper
who contributed part of the book. If we get them all together,
perhaps they can locate the spell we need." Mephistopheles
looked pleased with himself at this idea.
"Finally, a sensible solution," Marshall said grumpily.
"I'm going To get some sleep with my new wife. Let us
know when you need us."
"How about you, Ev?" Mephistopheles asked. "Maybe
you and Valaura could get some sleep as well. In fact, we
might as well work on this in shifts."
"Still," Lucifer put in, "I think the Index
is a good idea. Perhaps Evan would consent to be in charge
of compiling it, since he is the writer in his own world."
Evan stared at the enormous book in horror. Still, he had
been the one who told them about the Index ... "Sure,
I guess. Not tonight, though. And I'll need a lot of assistant
It was another eight hours before the correct spell was located.
By then everyone had slept at least a little, and the two
women who were the principals in this enterprise had been
sleeping the entire time. They assembled in the conference
room, and Mephistopheles read the spell that would nullify
the magic mirror. For a moment, there was silence. Then Marshall
said, "Are you nuts? That's a Kamikaze run! Who's gonna
volunteer to do that?"
"I will." They turned to see Nicholas standing behind
them. The shock was that Nicholas had allowed himself to age,
until he now looked like a man of 65. "I have no clear
idea of what a Kamikaze is, but if I can save Satana with
the last act of my mortal life, I'm ready to do so."