Malkino studied me as I waited for his response. After some agonizing rumination, he finally said, “I don’t like you.”
“Is that a no?” I asked.
“I don’t trust you, either.”
“Is that a no?” I repeated, more angrily.
“I will do as you ask,” he said, “But as soon as I get the sense that you’re setting some kind of elaborate trap for me, I’m taking every single demon and Pit Guard in my Department, marching them to your office and taking you down.”
I scowled. “This isn’t a trap, so I can live with that arrangement.”
“Excellent,” he said.
“But if this were a trap,” I added, a bit more irritably than usual, “It wouldn’t fucking matter if you tried to take me down, because three demons have already tried and one of them is dead, another one is beheaded and the other is indefinitely imprisoned in the Department of Enforcement. So before you take your shot, consider your chances of success.”
He smoldered at me. “Fine,” he said. “I see this is the beginning of a tumultuous and enjoyable working relationship.”
I grinned wryly. “Yeah, whatever. Now get your ass over to the Department of Torture so we can get you all set up. I need my army yesterday.”