The fireplace crackled softly in his quiet mahogany themed office. He had just returned from a class graduation ceremony and he was too lazy to move from his chair behind the desk, even if he was starting to get a chill for the lack of heat in the room.
He often blamed his age for his inability to stay on his feet for long hours, but that was just a lame excuse. The fact was, Slubgob had grown to be rather sluggish after his retirement, and it was not a trait to be celebrated, unlike his apathetic personality. But nobody could blame him for he had nothing else to do these days. He was one filled with head knowledge, and his lack of field work left him reading old dusty books to kill time.
Slubgob was rather surprised that he was even invited for the recent graduation at Tempters’ Training College for Young Demons. But when he was placed three rows from the front, among the seats of bored, agitated and noisy parents, Slubgob knew he was invited to be made fun of. Makallous, the newly appointed principle, had invited him just so he could whisper among his fellow subordinates on how the ‘old one’ has finally left his glory days to rot in his office.
They weren’t glorious at all, Slubgob thought bitterly.
Even though he had realized the childish plot of Makallous, Slubgob stayed throughout the ceremony. He didn’t want to give Makallous anymore joy in seeing him leave.
Joy, what do any of us know about joy anyways, Slubgob added silently.
Finally finding himself so close to a sneeze, Slubgob hurried to the fireplace and added more wood. The temperature was fluctuating these days and Slubgob could only suspect more victories from the enemy. He hoped their father below had not suspected the change, for if he did, they would all be in trouble.
Wait, no, Makallous will be in trouble.
The thought made Slubgob smile. Why would Slubgob be in trouble when he did nothing, nothing at all!
Maybe this sedentary lifestyle isn’t so bad after all, Slubgob thought, as he returned to his desk.
As he reclined in his chair, ready to catch a shut eye, he noticed a letter, sitting on top of his stack of reread books. Scribbled on the brown envelop was his name, and when he turned it over, he saw no seal or even an initial of who it was from.
Slowly taking out the letter, oddly finding himself not at all interested at what it had to say, Slubgob found himself staring down at three words, so poorly written that he started to wonder if he now needed glasses.
“Please help him,” Slubgob read aloud, after a few attempts of trying to piece the alphabets together. Signed beneath the three word letter was an initial; an initial he recognized all too well.
That would explain the bad handwriting, Slubgob thought.
Bledbrush was a very old friend who fell from grace. He lost both his hands after he failed a special assignment that was personally handed to him by their father below.
Maybe he wrote this letter with his feet or his mouth? Slubgob thought, and the sudden flashes of his rusty imagination made him laugh.
“Oh Bledbrush, I’m not going to do a job you should do yourself,” Slubgob said with a sigh, as he began thinking about his godson.
Bledbrush had a son named Vilefire. Vilefire was part of the graduating class this morning, and at that memory, Slubgob realized that he never saw Bledbrush among the group of parents.
Where was Bledbrush? Was he in trouble?
Bledbrush used to be a good friend, until he messed things up. The community was kind enough to accept his son, but Bledbrush was no longer welcomed at family barbeques or invited to any festive celebrations. He went from the number one tempter to the number one outcast, and to Slubgob’s honest opinion, he deserved it.
Bledbrush was to lead his patient away from the enemy, but instead, he lost him to the enemy. And this patient, in turn, ended up leading an entire generation away from them, wasting all efforts and destroying all future chances of winning any of them back.
Poor Bledbrush. Poor Vilefire. Maybe I should help him? Slubgob asked himself.
Vilefire was now on his own, and he was forced to make up for his father’s abhorrent reputation. The boy did need his help.
“That’s a poor way of asking a favor from someone, Bledbrush. The enemy forbid, your manners are appalling. But I will help you anyways,” Slubgob said, as though speaking to someone across his desk.
Just as he had decided to help him, a knock came from his office door.
“What is it Mrs. Gregious?” Slubgob asked, slightly annoyed at the disturbance. His caretaker knew better than to disturb him at anytime of the day.
“I have a letter for you, sir,” Mrs. Gregious said, as she opened the door and hurried to his desk to hand him the letter.
“Another one?” Slubgob was surprised at the amount of attention he was getting today.
Mrs. Gregious nodded and left without saying another word.
Not hesitating, Slubgob tore the letter open and read.
This is to inform you of the disappearance of former Tempter Bledbrush.
If you have any information on his whereabouts, you are to report immediately.
Anyone who withholds any information will not be spared.
(Captain of H. G Security)”
“Great. Just great. You did it again Bledbrush, you pissed off our father below and fled. I hope they spare your son,” Slubgob said as he shook his head in disappointment.
This explained the letter from Bledbrush, and Slubgob was glad that Bledbrush’s letter was just that. Anything more would get him in trouble.
Contemplating on what to do next, Slubgob decided to just give Dartloath a call. If Mrs. Gregious decided to speak about the mysterious letter he got earlier that day, he would not be able to have another day without the Hell’s Ground Security knocking on his door.
That night, he invited Dartloath over for dinner. Dartloath was not as old as he was, but he was well into his age. He also had a scar on his right eye, making it the eye no one dared to look into.
“Doctor, I know you are one with little friends, and surely I am not one of them. What is the reason of this dinner?” Dartloath said, just as he emptied his glass of wine.
“You have enjoyed my food, and now you fear not in jumping into questions and reasons. I respect the thickness of your skull, Dartloath.”
“I waste no time. I am a busy one.”
“Right. Well, earlier today I received a letter from Bledbrush, he-”
“Does it say where he is?”
“No. He just asked me to look after his son, MY godson. But, I know where he is.”
“What are you waiting for? An invitation to a dinner at my house instead, before you tell me?” Dartloath did not like waiting, it seems.
“First, I would like to know what you are planning to do with his son,” Slubgob replied, as he took another bite at his meat.
“We’re keeping Vilefire under surveillance. Bledbrush might attempt to contact him, and vice versa. Now-”
“Secondly, what did Bledbrush do that made him run?” Slubgob interrupted, completely ignoring the steam that was rising from Dartloath’s head.
“It’s confidential. Our father below gave orders not to disclose any information on Bledbrush’s offense.”
“How interesting. Well, since Bledbrush is not down here, he must be up there, frolicking with our fellow patients,” Slubgob replied with a smile.
“Do you think this is funny old one?”
“No. I’ve told you all I know, now, if you would excuse me-”
“Where’s the letter from Bledbrush? I want to see it,” Dartloath interrupted him this time.
“You won’t even be able to read it. He writes with his toes now that he has no hands,” Slubgob casually replied as he got up from his seat. “Just take my word for it. I called you here didn’t I?”
“I’m not sure what your reason was for such an invite. You know, it is true what they say; a lonely, bored old one is what you are,” Dartloath replied without hiding his spite. As he got up, he tugged his suit and left without even thanking Slubgob for the delicious meal.
Not taking any offense, Slubgob returned to his office and decided to write a letter to Vilefire. He now had something to do instead of sitting around all day, and Slubgob would do anything but turn down a mystery as such.
It was time to put his head knowledge to use and do a real field task at last. If it got him in trouble, he could always pretend to be senile.
Pulling out his favorite fountain pen from his desk’s drawer, Slubgob stared briefly at the flickering shadows that dominated his office before he started writing.
You are probably wondering why I am writing to you. Well, to be honest, your father sent me a letter asking me to help you. I suspect it could mean to help you in your new assignment, but it could also be a plea to keep you from harm’s way, now that he has fallen from grace again.
I know I have not been a very good godfather to you, but I am not one to build relationships. As you might have heard from your lecturers in college, or even your fellow classmates, I am as unfriendly as an alligator and as cold as a snake.
Oddly, I find myself writing a letter to you, hoping to do your father one last favor. He was once a good friend and a good tempter. And you would do well not to forget that.
Of course, I will not barge my way into your mediocre life, but if you would like my assistance, I am sure to have more head knowledge than anyone you have met.
Write back to me once you have decided. There is no rush, only the time wasted to do great things for our father below.
Your willing Godfather,
(For the chapter list, visit here.)