A/N - It has been a long time folks, I've missed you all. I'd like to say a huge thank you for everyone who has supported me over the years. As I have mentioned in a comment in Part 8, I haven't been well for a while and have been writing sparingly over the past two years. I've made you all wait so long for another chapter that I have decided to release this early. I had wanted to add more to it first but - having thought about just how large this extra text would be (and subsequently how long it would take me to write it) - I think it best to publish this first. I do intend to write more, and I will, I just need to find the time and inspiration, so if you like this story, then please bear with me. As always, let me know what you think with a comment below.
My father's dream envelops me like a tomb, it's darkness oppressing and tightening around my shoulders. This is what he feels, I realise, as I watch him pace. His footsteps pound in my ears; they are deafening in the darkness. I hear his desperation as he calls out my name and feel his frustration when I do not answer.
Choking on his pain, my throat closes against my tears. I want so desperately to run into his arms and assure him of my safety, but Asmodeus holds me to his side.
"Wait," he says, "we must ease is path to you. He will not believe you are as you say you are."
"Why not?" I croak, the corners of my eyes pricking.
Asmodeus looks down at me, his face displaying a profound sadness.
"He dreams of you every night, my sweet. Every night, you return to him only to disappear when he wakes. He is beginning to lose hope."
"No!" I gasp, face crumpling in anguish.
I want my family to move on, to live their lives without me, not to mourn me so sickeningly. The reality is heart-wrenching. My knees buckle under the weight of mine and my father's pain.
Asmodeus steadies me, holding me as I attempt to regulate my breathing. I dig my nails into his biceps, letting him hold me tight as I fight off a panic attack. All the while, my father continues his frantic calls. Every echo of his voice is a knife in my heart.
"Calm yourself, my love. You may go to him when you are in control of your emotions."
Still clinging to my lover, I draw in one shuddering deep breath after another, letting the air fill my lungs completely and feeling my heart slow its frantic thumping. It takes every iota of focus I possess to relax my screaming muscles. I shut out my father's calls and completely release one final breath. My tears dry as I do so and I look up to see Asmodeus watching me approvingly.
"Yes," he says, "Very good."
"Now what?" I ask, voice shaking slightly.
"Now you turn that focus of yours into energy and will your appearance to change. Become Rowan again and speak to your father as her. Convince him."
I don't question him. For once, I let him direct me completely, without hesitation, following every instruction to the letter. I try to wrap my head around the power of will. I'd always believed it to be a powerful thing; a practice which could help the willing achieve anything they put their mind to. Listening to Asmodeus' stories and learning that his shape - along with that of all the immortals - is directly influenced by nothing but the will of the human collective, gives me a boost of confidence.
I close my eyes and focus everything I have, everything I am, into becoming a stranger again. I picture the pigment in my skin bleaching, like a shirt left too long in the sun. I focus on lightening my hair and eyes, picturing hay-bales and emeralds replacing black silk and dark coffee. I demonstrate the sheer power of my will, the near tangible thing which makes me strong. The rush of adrenaline I feel when my skin prickles with the change, brings with it a giddy pride. I open my eyes to find Asmodeus beaming me a devastating smile and for once, I feel worthy of him. I am strong, a fitting Queen to his all powerful King.
He tilts his head towards my father and I step forward without hesitation. This realisation that I am stronger than I thought has me eager to face my challenges head on, like a patriotic soldier, absolutely positive she is fighting for a just cause. I will win, not just for me but for my family too. I owe them a chance to say goodbye.
"Lena!" My father's voice cracks as he calls out for me, yet again. "Where are you, my baby?"
That question is quiet, broken, and a prickling of fear races up my spine. He's about to give up, I realise.
"Mr Sastri!" I call, but he does not hear me.
"Mr Sastri!" His eyes rove his dreamscape hungrily, wild and desperate, seeing everything except me.
"Dad!" I scream and finally he whips around, that magic word speaking to his damaged heart. He looks past me, eager for a glimpse of his precious daughter and is shattered to realise that she isn't hiding behind the vaguely familiar white girl. I watch his face crumple and his body visibly deflate, shoulders hunched and head hung.
"Not her," he mumbles, "Not my Selena."
My heart aches as I rush toward him, lifting his face with my palms.
"It is me, dad, I'm right here".
"Not her," he whispers.
"Yes, I am Selena."
"Not her," he asserts, louder this time, "Not her. Not her, not her, NOT HER!"
He's shaking his head now, palms clamped over his ears and eyes squeezed shut. The audacity of me, he must be thinking, pretending to be his lost child.
I will my appearance to change again, back into my real face before saying, "It's me, dad, look."
His fury boils over and he screams, "You ARE NOT my daughter!"
His eyes snap open and he looks murderous until he registers my face. Immediately, his own softens and he crushes me to his chest, his body shaking as he cries silently into my neck.
"Oh, Selena!" He sobs, "Don't leave me again."
I feel like my chest is going to explode and my throat close forever. My immovable rock of a father, stoic and always so strong, is absolutely shattered and it's entirely my fault. I've never, ever seen him cry, not once and now here he is, broken down so completely. Every time I try to pull away, he holds me tighter until we've been clinging to each other for longer than I know. When he finally releases me, I am dizzy from his hold but he steadies me with heavy hands on my shoulders.
"Where have you been, babe?"
"I'm close," I tell him, "closer than you think."
"But where?!" He whines, desperate to know.
"I'm here," I reply and let my skin shift again so that Rowan completes the sentence.
His face twitches with momentary disbelief which morphs into an easy acceptance. Dreams aren't really supposed to make sense, after all. I keep switching faces as I stand before him, proving that it really is me by reminiscing with him. In his heart he knows who I am so it doesn't matter what I look like. I do it until I sense him watching Rowan with the same warmth he reserves for me and then I turn to say goodbye.
His face falls from the smile I took so long to coax out of him.
"You're leaving me again," he mumbles, squeezing my hands.
"I'll always be with you," I reply, "Will you come to my wedding?"
"Wedding," he blinks, suddenly realising that he is speaking to Rowan, "Wedding, yes. I'll be there."
I switch my face back and whisper, "Thank you, Daddy. I love you."
I kiss his cheek while he wears a dazed expression and register the tiniest shift in our surroundings as I step back. More quickly after that, the landscape fades away as my father focuses on something new. We're in our old living room in South Africa, standing on a course grey carpet, suddenly enclosed by painted brick. A rifle hangs on a plaque, mounted on the wall beside me. The front door is at my back, the protective bars clanging as my father walks toward the entrance of the hallway. He nearly trips over a little girl, sitting cross-legged on the floor, tears streaming down her face. Her hair is long and spider-web fine, matted and knotted from burying her head in her arms.
It's me, when I was younger, maybe five or six. I remember a scene I hadn't known I'd forgotten, of waiting for my father to come home from work. I remember now, pacing at the door, watching the hands of the wall clock speed carelessly by as I agonised over his arrival. One minute later than the time I'd expected him to be in and the tears would start as I'd imagine the worst.
My mother, poor thing, I can't have helped. She knew the risks my father took with his job, policing a town situated in a very violent country. It's not like she wasn't worried too, but to her credit, she saw that she needed to mask her own in order to ease mine.
Not that it helped much.
When I'd see him walk through the door I'd leap to my feet and squeeze him in a hug so tight I could barely breathe. In this particular memory of his, he scoops little me up and gives her a hug.
"What's wrong, baby?" He asks, gentle and sweet.
"I was s-scared," she hiccups, eyes red and nose running.
"Scared of what?"
"That you weren't c-coming home," she sobs, needing another soothing hug.
"Shh, it's okay, I'm home now," he pulls back and says, "I love you and I'm not going to leave you, okay?"
Silently, her little head moves in a couple of quick nods, mouth still pulled into a dimply frown.
"Enough now," he admonishes, suddenly the tough as old boots detective inspector whom everyone knew him as, "No more crying."
I chuckle as he leads her down the hall where I know he'll tuck her into bed with her sister. I turn away and walk out the door.
I visit Rochelle at school; she is dreaming of a time when we were younger, in our final year of high school. We'd known of each other then, of course, our school wasn't very big, both in physical size and population. It wasn't until university though, that we really hit it off and of course, by then we'd lamented the fact that we were both too stuck up our own asses to really take notice of how well we would have gotten along back then. Oh well, I'd told her, better late than never.
Rochelle is someone who is so absolutely decent that I was actually suspicious of her as I got to know her. From my experiences, I'd discovered that people were rarely who they seemed to be. Naturally, with this somewhat bleak assessment of human beings colouring my attitude towards them, I kept my distance from Roch at first, reluctant to share any vulnerable part of myself with someone who seemed too perfect to actually exist. Months passed into our budding friendship and Rochelle's charm chipped away at my reservations until I couldn't help but trust her completely. Virtuous without being preachy, hard-working but fun, and intelligent but quirky, Rochelle has been one of my best friends for two years now and I love her like a sister.
It doesn't take much to convince her to attend my wedding. We sit together on a bench, wearing the maroon jumpers, powder blue shirts and navy skirts of our school uniform. We lean into each other and tears stream down her face.
"I miss you," she says quietly, linking my arm in hers.
"Me too, sweetheart," I reply, "Don't cry; you'll see me tomorrow."
She nods her head, okay, and I envelop her tiny body in a deep hug, face buried in her long, wavy black tresses, before rising and stepping forward. I visualise Bailey next and am faced with large, white double doors, which I recognise as the entrance to her parents' house. Taking a deep breath, I open a door and walk through.
Bailey is sitting cross-legged on the family room floor, bucket of kettle corn in her lap, re-watching Ocean's Eleven. A younger version of me sits on the couch she leans against, looking content to be in the company of her oldest friend.
I met Bailey when we were ten. I'd just arrived from South Africa and was attending middle school in an unfamiliar country. Fresh off the plane, my skin was very dark and my accent very pronounced. I stuck out like a sore thumb, unfamiliar with the local culture and unpopular due to my lack of confidence. Having come from a community back home where you got mercilessly teased for being overweight, I had developed somewhat of a low self-esteem. I was afraid to talk to people, feeling unworthy of them because of my size and colour. The other brown skinned girl in my class was of course, Bailey.
Upon finding out that she was also born in South Africa, I latched onto the one thing we both had in common with the hope that we would become fast friends. I was soon to find out though, that unlike Rochelle, Bailey wasn't all that perfect. Petty at times, she held grudges and was far too opinionated for her own good. She thought she was better than me at first, incensed that I'd even suggested we were anything alike. The more I tried to cling to her, the more she grew to dislike me until finally, by some miracle I realised that I deserved better than an unwilling companion.
As I withdrew, Bailey was able to see me for who I was and I was able to construct my own identity, fragile though it was. Before, in South Africa, I had been held up on the social ladder by my siblings, who were always far more popular than I was. I'd been convinced that my size was the reason; and how could I not be? Children were cruel and adults unintentionally harsh about my weight. I'd grown up believing that I was too fat to be desirable in any way and was pleasantly surprised when popularity found me in my first year at high school. Bailey and I had been friends ever since.
She definitely wasn't perfect and I loved her for it. And while we'd had a rocky start to our friendship, I now had no doubt that she would do anything for me and I, her.
"Bee," I call, trying to snap her attention away from her dream television.
"Hmm?" She answers, still totally absorbed by a movie that she's seen at least half a dozen times before.
"Bee, it's me."
She turns to look at me and I watch her face crack with pain. Wordlessly, she hugs me and I feel sobs rack her body.
"Shh," I soothe, stroking her beautiful, wavy hair.
"It's not fair," she whimpers, "How could you be gone? How could anyone hurt you. You don't deserve that; you're the loveliest person I know."
"It's okay," I whisper, "I'm still here."
And I tell her exactly when she'll have a chance to see me again.
With my job done, Bailey's house melts away and is replaced with a forest. I'm surrounded by vegetation; colossal trees with sprawling roots and wide canopies. I'm in the gardens again; its tranquillity cradling me even in this dreamscape. Asmodeus appears here as he did in the waking world, cloaked in Ash's pale skin, golden hair and icy eyes.
I find myself emotionally drained after my interactions with my friends and my father. I want only to be held by my husband-to-be; to be comforted in my decision to stay with him and to borrow some of his boundless energy. His touch does exactly this, sending a spark through me so fast that I twitch violently. I exhale slowly, releasing the sudden tension that has built in my shoulders.
He looks at me, glacial eyes glinting, and tilts his head slightly. I launch at him, flinging my arms around his neck and using his unshakable frame to pull myself up. Our mouths collide hungrily, teeth bumping behind lips as we meld together. The kiss softens slightly as I part my lips, letting his tongue slip past them and massage mine. The sound of our lips gently smacking and our panting breaths has me aching for more.
Our lips stay locked so completely and for so long that when we finally part, I am delirious from the heat of it. I pull myself close to him and run my fingers along the hard line of his jaw. The feel of him, the sound of his breathing and the smell of his musk is so absolutely arousing that I want to feast on the taste of him too, just so that I can experience him through every sense. I bury my nose within the crook of his neck and inhale his intoxicating scent before grazing my teeth against it, gently nipping at his skin.
He begins ripping off my imaginary clothing and even in his dreamscape, the resistance of the material feels deliciously rough against my skin. He is bare before me already and the heat of his skin scalds mine. His length rises up between us and I grab it without thinking. It's as if it is an organism all on its own, growing longer and harder than I thought possible. I squeeze it hard and shudder at the thought of such resistance pushing into me.
I reach lower still, gently cupping the unbelievably soft skin of his loins and stroking the wiry blond hair with my fingertips. They move within my hand, shifting and contracting as the attached appendage grows greater still. Imagining him buried deep within me has me writhing with pleasure. My irrepressible desire compels me to behave like a wild woman. I squeeze him again and graze his chest with my teeth.
I'm moaning softly now, grinding my body against his. My mouth still works at his chest, capturing a rock hard nipple between my lips and running my tongue over it. My hands rake down his back until one reaches his ass. I slap it hard, the force of it stinging my hand. Asmodeus growls his assent and explores my body with his own hands. He reaches up and grabs a fistful of my ample left breast and massages it forcefully before pinching at my nipple.
I hiss at the pain which turns to shuddering pleasure a second later, and grab his balls. I want him to feel what I feel; the exquisite balance between euphoria and suffering. To me, pleasure can only truly be felt immediately following pain. The release from it feels like a miniature orgasm and I test this paradox on my lover. He grunts when I squeeze him harder still and I feel a rush from the knowledge that even my powerful demon King is as vulnerable with his Crown Jewels as any other man. I hold tight a second longer before I release him and use my other hand to massage his magnificent member. He groans, releasing the tension which had held his frame rigid and rocking his hips in time with my hand movements.
I sink to my knees and lick his belly while I stroke him; my own tightening with pleasure at his response to my touch. He groans a sound so beautiful that I never want it to end. I work him harder and faster, feeling his skin slide smoothly over the hot and unbelievably stiff meat of his tool. Suddenly, I want to do something I've never even considered doing before. I trail my kisses lower still, past his navel and into the hard plains of his pubic bone. Course, curly hair tickles my lips as my mouth ventures further south. The fingers of my right hand alternate between tickling his balls and massaging a hard lump just below them, while my left hand remains wrapped around his shaft.
Soon, my mouth is hovering against the swollen pink head of his dick, my warm breath washing over it. I dart my tongue out and lick the tip, marvelling at the incredibly smooth and slick surface. His member twitches in response but Ash reaches down and starts to pull me back up.
"No," I gasp, "Let me please you, my love. I want to taste you."
He is quick to oblige, no doubt more willing to experiment in this dream word rather than the real one. Excited, I take his length into my grasp, kneading it firmly as I work myself up to putting him in my mouth. Feeling his skin slide over his hardness is arousing beyond measure as I pump him with one fist and tickle him a little lower with the fingers of my other hand. I loom over the mushroom shaped head of his tool, massaging a milky droplet out of the tip. As soon as I do so, I have the irrepressible urge to taste this drop.
I lean over and dip my head lower still, sliding my tongue over the smooth head. He feels even silkier in my mouth than he did in my hands and I moan over a mouthful of him. He shudders in response, his fingers clenching in the tangles of my hair. My mouth is stretched to its limit as I continue to lick him, circling him with my tongue while sucking him passionately. He twitches in my mouth and the thought that I am providing him with such pleasure has me ecstatic.
I pleasure him with everything I have, drawing delicious moans from his quaking body. I hold him in my mouth until my jaw aches and, sensing my fatigue, he brushes my hair back and gently pushes me onto the soft earth. His body still shakes and I know it takes all his control not to be rough with me. As he lowers himself onto me, I smack his ass as hard as I can; a reminder that I'm not as delicate as he seems to think.
This sends him into a frenzy and he flips me over as if I am a rag doll. Now I'm on my hands and knees, gasping in anticipation, my clenched fists ripping up grass by the roots. His hands slide down my body before resting at my hips and the pleasure his touch brings sends a tingle up my spine. The sensation builds and races up, up, until it explodes in my mind. Asmodeus chooses this moment to plunge into me.
The pleasure is so great that it feels as if my heart is going to rupture. I almost come with that thrust alone. It feels so good that I can't contain the cry that bursts from within me and my song of lust bounces off the trees and back at me. I am a sweet voiced songbird, singing her joy.
He moves quickly, a deprived animal who has finally been given a mate. Every single push from him draws a high note from me until I can't take it any longer and my song becomes a guttural cry. I come so hard that I fall face first into the dirt and moan my sweet release. Asmodeus isn't far behind and his climax sends another stab of pure bliss throughout my body.
He collapses on the ground next to me while it takes everything I have to roll over onto my back. We're both panting heavily, caught between exhaustion and utter euphoria. I reach over with my hand and draw his face to mine. We share a kiss so passionate that for once, I feel we were fated to be together, just as Asmodeus had always insisted. I am suddenly wrapped within a feeling of pure comfort and absolute certainty. This feels so right; even as spent as we are, I feel powerful with my King, as if nothing can hurt us while we are together.
The little gap between the drawn curtains, which last night let silver light in, now allows a slice of gold through. I am awakened by the dawn of my wedding day and this sudden realisation has me bounding out of bed. Asmodeus isn't here; a note on the bedside table says that he has returned to his realm to gather supplies for our wedding. I assume that amongst these supplies is my wedding dress and a portion of glamour clay; enough to change my skin again.
I release a longing sigh as I replace the letter. I had wanted a kiss from my lover one last time before we kiss as husband and wife. Deciding not to dwell on it and instead look forward to an eternity at Asmodeus' side, I glide into the bathroom. I stop in my tracks, heart thudding painfully when I find someone waiting for me.
Ida stands rigid in the middle of the room; hands clasping a frosted glass box and head bowed in submission, still wearing the green dress I gave her. It's the dress that gives away who she is and without it I probably wouldn't have recognised her. She looks completely different; no doubt covered in the glamour clay. Her dark hair has lightened somewhat, chestnut brown instead of black. Her burgundy skin has warmed to a beautiful olive, as if she is a Mediterranean beauty with the perfect tan. Lastly, her yellow eyes have cooled into a deep ocean blue; the depths of which seem unfathomable. Behind her the sink is filled with the taupe coloured clay and I know she is here to help me get ready.
An uncontrollable wave of jealousy rolls over me. Here she stands, looking more beautiful than I could ever dream to be, on MY wedding day. My jealousy turns to anger before I notice the weary innocence in her gaze as she watches me. She can feel my anger, and wonders what she has done to deserve it. Sighing softly, I ask her as gently as I can to leave me be for now. When she walks into the main room - mysterious box still cradled in her arms - without a word of argument, I lock her out and breathe deeply. I'm not going to let irrationality win today, I decide. Asmodeus loves me, not her, and Ida, with her appearance of pure strength, is not as strong as she could be and certainly not as strong as me. I must try harder not to scare her.
The first thing I do is bathe, meticulously scrubbing every inch of my body. When my skin is red and squeaky clean, I dry off, brush my teeth, dry my hair with the bathroom's built in dryer and unlock the door for Ida.
Silently, she glides in, all easy elegance and infuriating grace. I do not hide my body from her - even these few days with Asmodeus were enough to rid me of a few layers of body insecurities; no easy feat, considering the years they've had to cultivate. Of course, they aren't completely gone, or else Ida's mere presence would not irk me so.
Without a word, she turns her attention to the clay in the sink, dipping her hands in and bringing out with them a thick layer of glamour. She proceeds to smooth it into my skin starting at my shoulders and working her way down. I say nothing to her, intending on keeping our relationship strictly professional from now on. My cheeks burn at the memory of our last meeting - of me kissing her on the mouth in gratitude. I was exhausted and relieved and in a moment of weakness, I displayed unforgivable emotion. Only Asmodeus should see me vulnerable, I have decided. I cannot look weak if I am to command respect one day.
That isn't to say I'll be unkind to this demoness - we do after all share a bond of suffering - but...
God, what am I thinking? I sound like a stuffy, snooty, up herself bitch! What the fuck is going on in this stupid head of mine?
Not five hours ago I was dreaming of my friends and family. People who I love and who have loved me. And in five more hours, I'll be saying goodbye forever. Who am I to turn my nose up at friendship? When have I ever thought myself above another living being? I, who have nothing but what has been given to me. I, who have always shared my heart so freely in the past.
Just as Ida reaches up to my face, I catch her hand in mine.
"I'm sorry", I say, "For everything. Please don't feel like you have to be meek around me. I'd like for you to think of me as a friend."
She bows her head in submission, not believing a word out of my mouth. I use my other hand to cup her cheek and raise her face to meet mine.
"Please Ida, will you be my friend? I'd love to have a girl friend to speak to."
Her eyes flash with an indiscernible emotion.
"Girlfriend, my lady?" She asks and I can hear the cringe in her words. I laugh at this,
"Not that kind of girlfriend. Someone I can confide in, be at ease with and trust with my secrets."
"Secrets, Majesty?" She asks, her eyes widening, "What of our King? Is he not whom you would choose to confide in?"
"In most things, yes," I agree, "But not all. What if he is the reason I need to vent? Or if I need advice regarding him? You can be my most trusted."
She looks torn, fear and mistrust so obviously written on her face.
"Think about it," I say gently, and she bows in servitude.
I sigh. It's a start.
When Ida is done with me, I am radiant. Some eye shadow, a little blush, deep lip colour and black eyeliner is what I would wear normally if I was looking to stand out a little. Hardly a fan of regular makeup use, when I'd pretty up my face for parties, the little I'd use would serve to highlight which I now realise to be quite sensual features. Sharp, high cheekbones, smattered with freckles, impossibly deep dimples, a well-defined jaw, large brown eyes, a little button nose, and plump, sensuous lips topped with a perfect Cupid's bow. Oh yes, I see now that I've always had a pretty face. A pity, it isn't mine I see in the mirror.
With this stranger's face, the same makeup which usually only just highlighted my prettiest features, now places them on display. Rowan's eyes look heavy, sexy and a little eerie, glimmering brighter while surrounded by the dark kohl. He cheeks look angular in a way mine could never be and her lips are bold, daring and seductive, dressed in an intoxicating merlot hue.
My dress is a similar colour, a dark, rich red, not quite so deep as the lipstick, but just as bold. I am enveloped in a heavy floor length silk. The skirt is studded and pinned with diamonds. The bodice has a sweetheart neckline, and is accented with silver filigree. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever had the privilege of wearing and it's mine, just as Asmodeus will soon be mine as well.
It feels as if no time at all has passed and I'm walking toward him, down an aisle of moss and fallen leaves. I walk alone, wishing I had my father to steady me. I can't complain though; I've found his face among the seated crowd. The other faces are a blur - not that I would have recognised most of them anyway. I see my mother and siblings, sitting close to Bailey and Rochelle. Seeing my sister and best friends make my heart leap.
I'm smiling so hard, my cheeks and teeth ache as unwanted tears roll down my face. The girls smile uncertainly at me and once again I am reminded that they do not see me as I picture myself. That reminder, in turn, causes me to realise that if I do not get my emotions under control, my glamour will fail. I'd imagine that the guests would flee from sheer terror if the demented panda makes an appearance here.
Taking and releasing a deep breath helps me focus. I walk deliberately forward, my eyes glued to my camouflaged groom. All the while, the sweetest music plays in the background, all piano and harp, married to a gorgeously husky voice and given weight by a deep cello. It makes my heart want to burst because somehow, it conveys everything I feel for Asmodeus, my family, my friends, and anyone else I've ever loved with its enigmatic elegance. It doesn't even matter that the lyrics are in a tongue I don't recognise.
I listen so intently that I don't even realise I'm at the end of the aisle until Asmodeus takes my hand. A celebrant stands with us and welcomes the guests. She keeps her speech about sanctity of marriage and immorality of love, blessedly short before announcing that Ash and I will make our own vows. A wave of light-headedness nearly drops me. I have not prepared for this!
I shoot a pleading look at Asmodeus, who smiles back reassuringly. Follow my lead, the smile says, you'll be fine.
I take another breath and try to steady my nerves enough so that I can actually hear Asmodeus when he begins to speak.
"My love; you are woman whom I have chosen and who has chosen me.
"I swear to you my trust, my honour, my fealty and my life.
"I will be your friend, your partner, your lover, and your King. You will be my Queen.
"I will love, treasure and protect you. I will grant you anything within my power and I will never harm you.
"This, I swear, until the end of days."