The Devil's Intern Part 9
The third day for Internship Week was on the way, and Joshua was off to learn about the next lesson as the devil's intern: serving as commander-in-chief for a whole army. Lucifer led Joshua to this training facility located outside Inferno Tower, all the way down its crooked road. There Joshua met those that guard the damned, the Doomsguard. Like any army the demons—young and old—signed on to be soldiers for the Inferno.
Lu left Joshua under the care of one of the young demon soldiers of the outpost. "No worries. I'll treat him like my kid brother." Those his exact words to his king as he led Joshua through the wreck rooms. "Welcome to the Doomsguard, kid. Outpost 13."
The soldiers were young. Their ages varied different centuries but they all looked and sounded like they were in their twenties. Like Babylon and the Tower, he saw a different assortment of demons. Some looked reptilian, some looked like goats or satyrs, and some were the humanoid incubi and succubi. There were even a couple that were hybrids like his friend Dominic, part demon and part succubi or incubi.
Joshua got to know several of the young recruits. At first they joked about eating him—which made Joshua very nervous—but they liked his company. They even introduced him to the personal friend of the guard: the FyreBlast-23. An automatic assault rifle, flamethrower, and grenade launcher all in one. Each clip loaded with a .300 Winchester Magnum bullet casing, powerful enough to tear a scavenger and soul to meaty pieces.
The pleasantries and jokes ended quickly when a loud whistle signaled them all to attention. In rows of two they stood. Joshua stood among them too. The recruits hoped the kid would meet their drill instructor, a demon that was harsh but laid back, yet someone worse arrived.
CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK!
Another succubus marched inside the barracks. This one had skin was light blue like the ocean. Her hair, or what's left, trimmed short to the skin. She wore a pitch black tank top and dark camo pants. Large, thick dark sunglasses, that looked like an eclipsed sun, hid her savage eyes. Her face was stern, not at all friendly like Lilith or Sitri.
All of the Inferno knew her by name and reputation: General Belial. The first succubus to reach the rank of general, and to become the supreme commander of the Doomsguard. A rumor floated that she yanked the wings off an archangel once with her bare hands, long ago during the Heaven-Hell War. Didn't even scorch her.
CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK!
The metallic peg that replaced her left leg tapped across the cold floor with each step. As she walked down the rows the recruits tried their hardest to stand still and not flinch when she darted them. They dared not breathe or sweat with the general present. Punishment from her was similar to how the condemned souls were treated.
"This is for all you new faces here in my beloved guard." she hollered. Joshua made himself not jump when the general spoke, "My name is General Belial. Yet the only thing I want to hear out of your pie holes is 'ma'am' or 'general'. Is that clear?"
"Yes ma'am." the recruits uttered in unison.
"Bullcrap! Make it sound convincing!"
"YES MA'AM!" they all shouted louder.
"Unfortunately your drill instructor is out sick today. But lucky for you maggots, I volunteered to give you some serious P.T. We're gonna P.T. until your legs pop right off. Doesn't that sound good?"
"We are the Doomsguard. Nothing in the Inferno gets in or out without our say so. We are born from hellfire and we crap hot coal. We shoot for kills and for thrills. We're lean, mean, killing machines that smashed open the gates of Heaven and march through the fields of Eden. And we did so as one superior unit.
"I don't care what you are or who you were. I don't look down on purebloods, half-breeds, succubi, or incubi. I don't care if you're endowed with magical abilities or not. I don't care if you were born from Hell or reborn from a soul. To me, you're all equally worthless, and you'll all receive the same amount of treatment. Do you maggots understand me?"
They answered. "YES MA'AM!"
She cocked her head to the left. "You!" Her eyes locked with one of the recruits.
"Yes ma'am!" he answered. The recruit looked a lot like Moloch. Not in physique or appearance, but he had his horns, red skin, and dark eyes.
"You're one of Moloch's boys, ain't ya?" the general moved a couple feet closer to Moloch's eldest son.
"Yes ma'am!" he answered again.
"Are you the scrawny little maggot that died at childbirth?"
"No ma'am! That was one of my younger brothers. And he's not dead now, ma'am!"
"Your daddy was a war hero. He ever talk about the war?"
"Just once, ma'am."
"Good. Then he wasn't lying about it. Now you better live up to his reputation, or he's gonna wish you'd died so he wouldn't be embarrassed by your existence!"
Moloch's son gave the general his final answer. "YES MA'AM!"
The succubus general carried on. She waltzed a few feet down the line until she sized up to another recruit. This one looked like a toad with his pudgy body and blank, round eyes.
"What's your excuse?" Belial asked him.
"Excuse for what, sir?" her next victim responded.
Belial's hand slapped around the recruit's meaty throat. "SIR?" she berated. "YOUR MOTHER IS A SIR! Do I look masculine to you, soldier?"
"No, ma'am!" the recruit choked. "Just a slip-up."
"Slip-ups getcha killed, private!"
"Oh, so I'm a sorry general now, that it?"
Acknowledging his mistake, the general released her grasp. The toad-like recruit cough some fresh air back into his lungs but remained at attention. General Belial continued her onslaught. "Tell me, why did you join my beloved guard?"
"To shoot scavengers, ma'am!"
"Scavengers were souls once. Do you have sympathy for them?"
"Were you a soul once?"
"I bet you were once a scroungy little soul that got damned down here because he liked fondling little boy pee-pees! You can bet your ass I'll be watching you!"
General Belial moved back down the line. Her march then led her to another recruit. This one a doe satyr with small eyes, pale skin, brown fur, and a pair of small, nubby horns on the back of her head.
The general eyed the small female. Her gaze then concentrated on a tattoo, on her right shoulder. "What is that?" She demanded an answer. Her brows scrunched into her sunglasses.
"A tattoo, ma'am!" the doe answered.
"Are tattoos allowed in my barracks, private?"
"Then why the hell do you have one on your skin, private?"
"It's brand new, ma'am!"
"Is it now?" Belial's struck against the fresh tattoo. The doe felt the sting but she dared not flinch in front of the general. "Where should that tattoo be next time?"
"Apologies, ma'am." the recruit gasped. "I'll have it covered next time."
"Damn right you will."
Their conversation ended when Belial marched off again. A couple feet down then she paused. She felt something off in her guard. Her neck curved to the right. There was a gap between two other recruits. If there was one thing she despised it was gaps in her beloved guard.
Her neck tilted down. There's the problem. Joshua Wordsworth, standing in the row and staring at the general. The general whipped off her sunglasses to get a better look at this new face. For the first time Joshua saw the succubus' eyes. Clear blue, like her skin and hair.
General Belial approached the human boy. Her shadow engulfed the boy's small body. "Well, what do we got here?" she said, her tone a little calmer. A grin groomed on her lips. "A human among demons. What brings you down here?"
"I'm here as an intern for-"
"SPEAK UP, KID!" the general snapped. "Or am I talking to a mouse?"
"Internship for the devil, ma'am!" Joshua answered anxiously. His words nearly jumbled together.
"What's your name, son?"
"What's that around your neck?" A blue finger pointed at the cross that Joshua carried on him.
"My rosary, uh ma'am." Joshua answered, trying to avoid being yelled again.
"So you're a Christian?"
"What kind? Catholic? Protestant? Lutheran?"
"Ah, the fun kind."
Josh's eyes couldn't help but stare at the general's leg. Just a stump attached to a long metal shaft that stretched into half her humerus. Josh tried not to stare too long at it, but the general already noticed.
"What are you eyeballing at, boy?" Her hand slapped against the metal, taunting the poor human boy. "You like this? You got a prosthetic fetish I should know about?"
"Uh, no ma'am."
Belial's calm demeanor reverted back to her aggressive nature. "You don't think I look pretty with this leg on, kid? You don't think I look attractive?"
Joshua gulped. "Wha? N-no that's not-"
"Oh so you're gay then. That why you don't find me attractive?"
"No! No! I'm not gay-"
"Then why are you in my beloved guard then?"
"I don't know! To do what you tell me to do?" Joshua shouted. It echoed through the barracks.
The general's smile returned. "To do what I tell you to do. I like that answer. Well done, son."
She turned from him and addressed the recruits. "Take note from this boy, maggots. If you do what I say, when I say it, if you follow my directions and proceed with my training, you will survive. You will live at the end, until the end. We are the Doomsguard! When Hell rises, we help raise it!
"Now all of you! Drop and give me twenty!"
The recruits obeyed. The dropped to the icy floors, hands and legs spread out. They all pushed themselves up and down, counting the number of push-ups their general wanted. Joshua even joined in with the recruits.
Belial marched down to the entrance where her king, Lu, watched them all. "How's my intern holding up, Bel?" he asked his loyal general.
"Sir, your intern seems to be doing fine," she answered. "Boy's got brains and guts, and that's good enough for me. If he was really part of my guard, I'd give him a metal."