Zagan appears in the doorway to the throne room, silent and coiled with hunting promise. He meets Beelzebub's eyes and smiles.
Beelzebub arches an eyebrow. "You have news for me?" he says.
"He's just run off, lord," Zagan says. "You wanted us to come get you when he took the chance."
"I did," Beelzebub says. He kicks aside the damned mortal that's been licking his boots, and laughs at the hungry way Zagan's eyes follow it. He gestures for Zagan to help himself. "Put it back where you found it when you're bored with it," he says. "Which way did he run?"
"North," Zagan says. He's stalking toward the mortal already, smiling wide enough to bare the sharp points of his teeth. The mortal cowers -- it's still new enough to hope for reprieve, and that makes it fear. "He was on foot when he left the palace, but I'm sure he'll take wing before long."
Beelzebub rises from his throne. "I certainly hope so," he says. "I'd hate for him to make it too easy."
He walks out onto the balcony, looking out over the lake of fire, thin plumes of sulfur rising in the distance. He shrugs his shoulders and lets his wings unfurl behind him, feeling the currents of the air -- they change little from day to day, in Hell, but even here nothing can be completely stagnant. The movements of the demons and the fresh agonies of the newly damned change Hell's landscape in a thousand tiny ways every day.
And now, somewhere in this wasteland of suffering, one demon in particular flees Beelzebub's attention -- and thus guarantees that he will have eyes for no-one else. He steps off the edge of the balcony, catches the air with one powerful beat of his wings, and rises on the hot wind off the lake. His shadow sweeps over the barren land below as he circles his palace and banks northward, casting out his power to find his prey.
His poor little marquis, so easy to find -- that forlorn hope for God's grace shines like a beacon amid the wreckage of broken souls that populate Hell. That faith, despite how little it's rewarded, so much like --
Ah, no. Beelzebub turns his thoughts away from that path. He's hunting to entertain himself, not for an excuse to wallow in misery of his own. He catches Shirasagi's trail and soars after it, over bare cliffs and jagged hills. Does the poor little fool really believe he can escape? Or is he simply compelled to try, despite knowing it futile? Hope does such strange things to a soul.
Beelzebub catches up to his wayward plaything just as the hills give way to red-sand desert. He couldn't have planned it better -- there's no place for Shirasagi to hide, nowhere for his desperate evasive maneuvers to lead. His wings flutter in a helpless attempt to gain speed when Beelzebub's shadow falls over him, and Beelzebub lashes out one black-thorned coil of power to show him how futile the attempt is. He clips the edge of Shirasagi's wing, and feathers scatter, drifting down out of sight. Shirasagi's flight falters, but he doesn't surrender, doesn't seek a landing. Beelzebub smiles, and snakes out another lash.
This time he strikes at the first joint of the wing, where it emerges from Shirasagi's back. Shirasagi cries out, and the fresh scatter of his loose feathers is accented with bright blood. His wings beat frantically, trying to regain the altitude he's lost, and it might be entertaining to watch him try, but the wounded need in his struggles is too much to resist. Beelzebub sends his power forth one more time, to tangle rather than to strike, and follows it downward as the thorns trap Shirasagi's wings and he begins to fall.
Beelzebub tucks his own wings behind him, stooping falcon-like to catch his prey before he can hit the sand. Shirasagi cries out again when Beelzebub catches hold of him, crushing his wings between them and slowing their descent.
"You should thank me," Beelzebub says. "That could have been a nasty fall."
Shirasagi struggles, and Beelzebub's thorns tighten around him. "It's your fault I was falling in the first place."
Beelzebub takes hold of the base of his wing and presses a thumb into the bundle of nerves right where it meets his back. Shirasagi arches and thrashes, making sweet, wounded sounds. "You could have stayed where you belonged," Beelzebub murmurs, "and I never would have had to come track you down." He doubts that's true. How much can any of them do other than their nature demands?
"Please, let me go," Shirasagi says. "I don't want --"
"You don't want to show proper allegiance," Beelzebub says. "God doesn't care about you. I'm the one you need to please. He infuses the coil of thorns with more power, with his anger, and Shirasagi screams. Beautiful.
In the wake of that scream, the ragged cadence of Shirasagi's breath is like music. "Please," he says again. "Please, archduke, I -- I just want to --"
Beelzebub wraps a hand around his lovely slender throat. "You want to be an exception. You want to escape your fate." He squeezes, and Shirasagi thrashes in his arms. Shirasagi is different from other demons, that strange misguided faith key to Beelzebub's own plans, but he thinks he would still want this even if Shirasagi were nobody -- would his resistance evaporate with his purity? It seems likely.
He's in no danger yet of losing either, writhing helplessly as Beelzebub tears at his clothes. He pleads for mercy, though his body is a demon's and easily inflamed with lust. When his pleas grow tiresome, Beelzebub curls one hand around the edge of his wing and squeezes until bones creak and Shirasagi sobs.
A jolt of power through the thorns and Shirasagi is bent double, wingtips digging into the sand beneath him as Beelzebub presses close over his back. "No," he says, "no, no," but demons are no more merciful than the angels they once were, and far more driven by their desires. Beelzebub takes him, fills him, and his body yields but his soul doesn't, so that he shudders with tension -- with fruitless struggle -- at every thrust. He flinches from the touch when Beelzebub takes his cock in hand, his trapped wings pulling against the thorn cords that hold him.
"Surrender," Beelzebub purrs in his captive's ear.
"I won't," Shirasagi says, shaking his head. He's gloriously tight around Beelzebub's cock, traitorously hard in Beelzebub's hand. "I won't." His voice cracks, his body shuddering with the pleasure he denies.
"You will," Beelzebub promises. "Not today, but you will. God will never love you. He'll never show you mercy."
Shirasagi's breath hitches. "That's not true," he says, desperately, as though he needs to believe it. Poor little fool -- as if any of them could truly deny what they've become. Beelzebub drives into him harder, bites down on the bare skin of his nape, and for all his attempts at resistance Shirasagi comes first, clenching tight around Beelzebub's cock and sobbing through it, and it's the ability to force that from him that brings Beelzebub his release.
He licks the mark he's left on the back of Shirasagi's neck. "Now, if I release you, will you behave yourself and come home with me?"
"I won't," Shirasagi says. His voice only shakes a little.
Beelzebub strokes one of his wings, smoothing down the feathers. "Then I'll have to leave you bound, and send soldiers to retrieve you." He likes the way Shirasagi still shivers at his touch, the way it's worse when he's gentle. "Perhaps I should let them take turns with you, to compensate them for their trouble."
Shirasagi trembles, tenses. "I won't cooperate with you," he says.
Beelzebub pulls out, tugging the thorns of power tighter with a gesture. "He doesn't need more martyrs," he says as he straightens his clothes. "Certainly not from our kind. But since you're so lovely, I suppose I can indulge you."
He turns away, spreading his wings and lifting himself airborne. Shirasagi will have to break eventually -- there is no mercy from Heaven for any of them. But he hopes it will take a long, long time.