Fool’s Errand

“Do you have any pentacles?” asked a massive red half-man-half-bull.

“Ha! Go summon!” said Leviathan. The green blob shifted and stiffened into a copy of the bull demon. She pointed with a cloven hand and chuckled before pulling a pile of gold coins to herself. “You really need to work on your poker face.” She laughed so hard she spilled out of her chair onto the floor.

Glowing yellow eyes narrowed at her. Wrath pounded the table with one hoof. “Cheater! Let me check your cytoplasm for extra cards.”

“Kinky,” said the blob.

“Enough, children. It’s just a game.” A golden man with short sharp horns gathered the cards from the table.

Wrath hissed and sat back down. His shoulders slouched. “Easy for you to say when you’re winning, Mammon.”

“Please, don’t be a sore loser. We want to make a good impression on our substitute player.” He gestured vaguely toward a feminine rock monster sitting quietly. Ruby red lips and eyes precisely like sapphires were inlaid on her smooth stone. “Say hello, Rockula.”

She looked around the table and said, “Hello, Rockula,” in a gravel soft tone.

Beelz slapped several of its knees and hissed. Wetly. The creature slapped Rockula across the back.

Mammon dealt cards to each of the players. They kept an eye on their coin piles. The cards were oversized and hand painted with regal figures. “Your big blind, Belphe.” A heavy snore cut the room. The golden man rolled his eyes. “Belphe. Belphegor! Hey! Wake up!”

The snore growled and sputtered from a blue woman resting her head on the table. A dirty bathrobe hung off of her like a curtain. She yawned and rubbed her softly glowing eyes. “Is it my turn?”

“Yes, put your money on the table then go back to sleep.”

She nodded and tossed a pair of coins. Before they hit the table, she was snoring again.

Beelz gargled incoherently and struck two pinchers together. They tossed an extra set of coins to the center of the table.

Levi bubbled and wobbled. She oozed a curly mustache and foamed a cowboy hat.”Well, now. You feeling lucky Beelz?”

“My Beelz is always lucky,” said Asmo’s left face while Asmo’s right face kissed one of his pincers. “He’s like my lucky cricket.” They had two faces but turned ninety-degrees from one another at the neck and fused back to back. They resembled a single person with half a mouth on either cheek.

“Get a room you two,” said Belphe turning over.

“Or three.” Mammon clicked his tongue. “Alright, Fools are wild, and wands are high.”

Each player tossed a card into the middle of the table.

Wrath glanced around the room while they exchanged a pair of cards. He asked, “So, anyone made a score since Amy’s come back?”

Asmo shook their head with a pair of upturned lips. They said in unison, “We broke into Aegis’s evidence locker and tried to steal some mecha parts.”

“What happened?” Levi slung a card and withdrew one from the discard. “Anyone have a seer?”

Mammon tossed her a card and swore.

Asmo said with one face, “Amy. She came out nowhere.” The other face said, “Ohh, and it was so invigorating.”

“How did you get away?” asked Mammon.

They shrugged, “She beat me till I was nearly unconscious. Lucky for me, the mecha I was stealing had a freeze ray. Got her at point blank. Right in the eyes. Gave me a moment to use my Gate-Key. I wrapped safely away.”

Wrath made a mock crying face, “Oh dear, oh my! Not a battle. I must warped away!”

“Oh yeah, tough guy? How much better have you fared?” Asmo asked.

The bull-man puckered their lower lip, “Well. I, uh, well, you see. I attacked Midas.”

Levi put down her cards. “Oh, this I have got to hear. How did assaulting Cup Hands’s place go for you?”

“It was a glorious battle.”

“And how many henchmen did you lose?”

The bull snarled, “They are warriors, not “henchmen”, and for your information, we were winning.”

Mammon folded his cards up. “Here we go. And then she appeared?”

“Yeah, she just struck the battlefield. The force blew my warriors off their feet. She and Michon obliterated our siege weapons with their bare hands.” The bull-man wiped away a tear. “It was glorious.”

Asmo grinned from ear to ear, “Is Amy back with Michon?”

“They fought together.”

“But are they together.”

“Isn’t that what I said?”

Asmo sighed. “Someone help me out here?”

Mammon didn’t. “If anyone cares, it’s the second scoring round.” He flipped a pair of coins on to the center stack. “And how did you get away, Wrath?”

“Oh, I didn’t. I waited till they put me in the Mountain.”

Levi poured her head to the side. Asmo asked, “How did you escape?”

“Friends in ‘lower’ places. Speaking of, where’s Luc?”

Mammon gestured towards Rockula, “Indisposed but he sent Rockula here as his stand-in. Which, reminds me, I think I win.”

“What? I don’t believe this.” Asmo leaned over the table to review the cards. While she did, Belphe stood up, collected the pot, and drew it back to her side before she went back to sleep on top of the pile.

Mammon’s golden eyes twitched. “How did you get a Fool’s Errand and none of us saw it?”

A snot bubble inflated from Belphe’s nose. Mammon grumbled but collected the cards. Wrath crossed their arms. He said, “What about you? Rockula, right? Have you fought Amy Dangerous recently?”

The rock monster shifted in her chair. A few pebbles slide down their forehead. She said, “Well. I was stealing some, uh, rare Earth minerals.”

Wrath nodded, “As you do.”

“Then,” Rockula continued, “I was caught by Amy in the act.”

“Sounds about right.”

“So I hit her with a rock.”

“Oh, original.” Wrath’s eyes got big to emphasize their insincerity.

“It was a, uh, it was a big rock.”

Beelze made a thumbs up with three of their arms. Rockula returned the signal with just one of their two rocky arms. The bug monster gargled a string of grunts and chirps. Asmo tilted their head left and right to each block of sounds. Wrath made a jerking hand motion. Mammon shook their head and said, “See, I don’t believe you did. That’s too outrageous. Even for you. How did you even fit inside Spell Squadron’s sanctum?”

Asmo waved their hand. Their faces said, “No really, I saw it. I was actually impressed, I mean before Amy showed up and punched Beelze so hard they flew into space, he found the entrance and was in the front parlor.”

Wrath slapped the table, “That I believe.”

The bug hissed.

Belphe played their hand. She said, “I nearly got her. I know where her secret base is. Caught her while she was sleeping.”

Mammon took a trick and drew a card. He asked, “Well, play to your strengths but did you win?” A snore answered him from the end of the table. The golden devil said, “Don’t know what I expected. What about you Levi? Any master plans recently?”

Levi poured herself into the form of a young woman. “I heard the lab that made me, Binsfeld Corporation, had more mutagen on order. Thought if I got more I could stabilize my degradation rate. I got the mutagen and thought I was home free. Then, she arrived. No matter how much I drowned her, choked her, beat her, and cut her… she was fine. She punched me so hard she broke the sound barrier. The force broke me apart. Took a week to collect myself.”

“Tough break.” Wrath laid down a straight of Rooks. He hugged the pile of gold coins to himself. Some clattered as his hooves as he pulled the stacks to his end of the table.

“But, but, how? What?” Mammon was counting cards. “That’s impossible. Who added an ace to the deck without taking it back out of the rotation.”

“Hey, even if that is a duplicate, I cheated fair and square,” the bull-man tossed his cards to Mammon.

The devil squinted, “But I know for sure I’m the only one that added any cards to the deck.”

“Ah HA!,” Asmo pointed a purple finger at Mammon. Both faces were twisted into a snarl. “The cheat admits it.” A card fell out of their sleeve. The monsters giggled.

“That does it. I’m gonna to make the deck fair this time,” said Mammon. Beelz sunk a claw into the table over the cards. He dragged them away from the golden man. They grunted and started shuffling with several sets of spindly arms.

Asmo said, “I think you’re right, dear. A change of dealer is safest. While he counts them, what’s your latest score, Mammon?”

The golden devil straightened their bolo tie. He said, “I stole something, very special.”

“Don’t be shy, do tell!” Levi said.

While picking up his cards he said, “Nothing that’ll be missed, but I took a few locks of Ms. Dangerous’ hair.”

Belphe was sitting straight up wide awake. “You. Did. What? Are you actually thinking clearly?”

Mammon shrugged, “We’ve been fighting her our whole careers. I don’t think any of us will stop her now that she’s back. Our only hope is to get rid of her is an Amy of our own.”

Beelz croaked and shuffled their wings. Asmo nodded and said, “Yeah, I’m with the roach.” Beelz made an indignant chirp. “Sorry, dear, but you have better odds of destroying the world than Amy, Mammon.”

The golden devil stopped her. “That’s the plan. I don’t have to destroy Amy. I just have to push her hard enough to destroy the world for me.”

Belphe threw her feet up on the poker table and leaned back in her chair. Her eyes were wide. Two rabbit house shoes tapped at the air. She crossed her arms and huffed.She tossed out a pair of chalices and a pair of aces. “Where’s the profit?”

“Don’t be so solemn, Belphey. None of us can beat Amy. Even together we aren’t enough to stop her. The profit is in a world free of Amy.” Mammon grinned and laid out a Full Court.

Levi bubbled. Asmo giggled and chucked out of each face. Wrath smirked for a moment but turned it back into a scowl. Beelz chirped. Rockula was silent. Beelz nudged her.

“What’s wrong? Go over your head?” Levi asked.

Belphe nodded off while still leaning back in her chair with her feet propped up on the table.

Asmo leaned across the table the rock monster with the whole face closest to her. “I guess you are as dense as the rocks you’re made of. Mammon doesn’t actually want to hurt the planet. Just the world’s trust in its greatest hero.” One face eyed Rockula while the other turned toward the devil. “But what is your plan… exactly?”

The End for Now.

 

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