For the first time since meeting him, I think I observed a sense of humor in Halkkor, King of Lucifer's Firstborn. There was this little pinching around the corner of his eyes that made it seem like he might actually laugh.
He didn't laugh. He did, however, release my throat from his viselike grip. "Work together?" he repeated. He even sounded amused. "Why would I want to work with you? You're a human, yes? A human commanding armies of demons. All of you are stupid, lazy, and petty. What benefit to me is this absurd offer of yours?"
"It saves time," I said. "You could waste decades trying to wipe us all out while the backlog of tortured souls grows larger and larger. Or you could accept my offer and immediately help overhaul Hell's structures and procedures using personnel that are already in place."
To my relief, Halkkor actually seemed to be considering what I was saying.
"I'm telling you," I pressed, "I agree with you about all the problems you've pointed out. Between the two of us, I think we could fix them. Quickly. Restore Hell to its former glory, I guess."
After a long, expectant silence, Halkkor finally nodded. "That seems reasonable. I accept your offer. We will stop killing your demons." He stood, allowing me to get to my feet as well.
I breathed a long sigh of relief. "But know this," Halkkor added gravely, glaring at me with his empty, soulless eyes. "If you try to cross me, I will kill you without hesitation. Then I will march my army through Hell and slaughter every last one of your demons. Even if it takes decades to do it."
I nodded. "Understood," I said.
I was in deep shit.