Temperance sighed with annoyance as the golden orb in front of her darkened. The orb was still mostly gold, but more and more of the bright, shimmering surface of the floating ball was turning gray.
And Temperance knew exactly who it was that was causing the disturbance.
She turned tiredly from the floating orb, which flickered once and then disappeared completely.
Temperance was in her apartment in Chicago, just having come back from resolving an issue of Unbalance in her hometown in Botswana.
She had missed Gaborone, and was happy to go back, even if it was just a fleeting visit.
But then she was forced to return to Chicago, where she monitored the orb of Balance at all times.
Because Temperance had been cursed, and while the curse allowed for a lot of wiggle room, she was bound to the apartment.
She didn’t entirely mind, because she didn’t pay rent and food and beverages was delivered once a week. Temperance did not have to pay a thing to live there and do the job she was cursed to do.
Just then her phone rang, as she had expected it would. It was on silent, but she had sat it on the kitchen counter where she waited for it to ring.
“Hello?” Her voice was impatient, brusque. She would probably pay for that later.
“Temperance darling,” the voice on the other end was dark and fluid and made her feel all kinds of things. None of which she wanted to dwell upon. “How are you?”
The person on the other end of the line, the person calling her, was Lucifer. The King of Hell. Lord of the Underworld. The One who Fell First. Beelzebub.
He was okay with whatever name you called him by. The only thing he demanded was respect.
“I take it you’re calling about the scales?” Her voice was still impatient, but she didn’t care any longer.
She hated being on the phone with Lucifer. He was a smarmy bastard, and he was the one who had cursed her after all.
“Of course, I am,” his voice became different. Less fluid, more flint-like. More business-like.
He wasn’t entirely smarmy.
He just did it to piss her off. And it worked. Most of the time.
But even though he had cursed her and even though he purposefully tried to piss her off every few weeks, she had a good relationship with the Lord of Hell.
“You know the demon who is throwing the scales completely out?” He interrogated her.
“Yes, I do. Lucas Diamond. He is a necromancer.” She said, getting up from the counter and going to the kettle.
She needed coffee if she was going to get through the day.
“So what the fuck is he doing? How is he creating so much Unbalance in the Universe?” Lucifer asked her.
“From what I understand, he is resurrecting people who were evil before they died,” Temperance said, pouring hot water over the instant coffee grounds. “And now that they’re alive again- in a manner of speaking anyway- there’s more evil than good in the universe.”
“You need to go after him.” Lucifer said decisively, and Temperance froze.
Go after a demon? Was he crazy?
He must have sensed her thoughts.
“You’re more than powerful enough Tempy. Don’t piss me off with that negative self-talk. I made you powerful enough to fight any demon. And you were more than capable enough before that.”
“I know, but I’m not trying to interfere with a fucking demon. Lucas Diamond is a high demon, and a necromancer at that.”
“So?” Lucifer’s tone was insolent. “You’re made of dark magic too. And you practice dark magic better than anyone I know.
Don’t make me angry Temperance. Do the job and get it over with.”
Even though they had a good relationship, Temperance didn’t think it was a good idea to make Lucifer angry. The last time he had done that, the groceries she had received had consisted of canned peaches and beetroot.
“Fine. I’ll leave tonight and update you in a few days.” She put the phone down angrily and drank the hot, bitter coffee in three gulps.
God, she’d have to get to Seattle soon. She couldn’t drink the swill that Lucifer called coffee for much longer.
But she had to get ready, because going to hunt an errant demon necromancer would require a lot more than her usual skills. Though she would use those too.
When Temperance had put her mug and breakfast plate neatly in the dishwasher, she went to the bedroom to get ready for the day.
After putting everything she needed in a backpack, she turned to look at herself in the long, thin mirror that hung behind her bedroom door.
The mirror was slightly different from any other mirror. Symbols and words in ancient languages were scrawled all over the surface of the mirror. Symbols that revealed what Temperance actually looked like.
Because Temperance wasn’t human, though she went out of her way to look like one.
No. Temperance was a succubus. And she only saw her real self in the mirror.
The most prominent features that she retained in her human form, like her skin color and the shape of her body, were real. But as a succubus, she had dark red wings that grew from beneath her shoulder blades.
She also had dark curling horns growing from her forehead, and instead of long fingernails, she had diamond tipped claws.
The rest of her was pretty normal though.
Temperance had brown skin and tight black kinky curls. Her nose was large, and her mouth was wide. And her body, well, it was a thing of beauty.
She had wide hips and a perfectly rounded ass. Her stomach curved beautifully beneath heavy double D breasts. Her arms and thighs were equally thick, and her calves were muscular from spending a third of her life wearing extremely high heels.
She had inherited the color of her skin from her Trinidadian father, and her hair and eyes from her Batswana mother.
And as a succubus she was the perfect seductress.
Her mother, Bontle, had been a powerful witch. She still was, if Temperance’s surveillance was correct. Her father was an equally powerful vampire, who also wielded magic like a sword.
When Temperance was born, in the midst of a storm that burned her mother’s Justice tarot card, she was born a witch with vampiric abilities.
When she turned twenty-three, two years ago, she chose to convert to a succubus, something that was an option for all vampires.
Her parents had not exactly approved of her decision, but Temperance loved sex, and becoming a succubus seemed only right, with her face and body as perfect as they were.
She never used her abilities to hurt anyone, and always got consent from her partners. She always took the energy she received sparingly and had gotten a proper job as a magical matchmaker.
Temperance had had the perfect life. But that had all changed when she met Lucifer. He came into her matchmaking service a year earlier, looking for the perfect partner.
He had not revealed who he was first, until the first date she had set him up on went exceedingly well (Lucifer and Sarah were still together).
When she had discovered who he was, she insisted on pushing the price of her service up. That had angered Lucifer (he hadn’t accepted her explanation that she was risking her life to work with him, even though she was very right about that, considering she was attacked by three harpies two days later), and he cursed her.
Now she was in charge of keeping the scales of good and evil balanced, with no help except for Lucifer who was more of a hindrance.
It was probably because Sarah was expecting their first child. As a werewolf, Sarah’s pregnancy was lasting longer than usual, and it was making Lucifer tetchy.
He had promised to lift the curse a year after she fulfilled her duties as Lady Justice for the entire universe and that was three months away.
Now Temperance stripped off her clothes and pulled on her work uniform. A pair of black joggers, thick dragon leather boots, and a black sweater. She went into the bathroom, and after brushing her teeth, saw to her hair.
She had just removed her braids – thank God Lucifer allowed her to have people over – and her 4C hair had grown several inches in that time. She had already washed her hair twice this month, so now she went at her thick tresses with her shea butter mousse and some coconut oil hair gel.
After three hours, she managed to braid her hair into semi-neat cornrows and was ready to leave.
The apartment that Lucifer had found for her was admittedly beautiful. Her apartment was a large two-bedroom loft apartment in West Loop. West Loop had once been the meatpacking district, so the apartments were all warehouse style.
She had large living room with a fireplace and had converted one of the bedrooms into an office.
Now she headed for her office, where she had several monitors set up in one corner. The other three corners of the room were dedicated to various magical practices as well as dedicated altars.
The locator spell was easy to cast. She used a compass, a watch, and a candle, and after whispering several words in Tswana, the compass and watch both spun.
So Lucas was in New York
Maybe she could grab a bagel while she was there.
If Lucifer let her.
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