The chamber reeked of fire and sulfur. Flaming geysers shot through jagged cracks, casting ghostly shadows on walls hewn from bedrock. Usually teeming with activity, all principalities and powers perched in reverent silence awaiting the master's call to order. Lucifer's eyes scanned the darkness, examining the freakish horde. An evil grin tugged at his lips as he made eye contact with each minion. On this day, he summoned the fallen for a devious announcement.
“The Enemy,” he spat, “formed beings of flesh and blood and placed them in a special garden called Eden. I assume that most of you are familiar with this so called paradise?”
Heads bobbed and some rasped words of assent.
“Since we are no longer welcome around the throne,” he paused as shrieks of laughter echoed throughout the cavernous hall, “it is our duty to sway others from taking our place of worshiping ...Jehovah.”
At the Name, lesser ranked demons cowered, burying their heads in a sea of wings and talons. A cacophonous wail sounded as other vile creatures plugged their ears.
“Silence!” Lucifer roared. The agonizing screams ceased. Quaking demons stood at a feeble attention. “We must devise a plan to deceive these creatures from worshiping,” he chose his words carefully, “the Enemy.”
“Just kill them,” seethed one from the darkness.
“No. That would be too easy,” he scoffed. “The Enemy would make others. Since they are created with the freedom to choose, there must be a way to draw them away...as well as their offspring.”
A demon of immense size stepped from the shadows. “There will be others?”
“Many,” Lucifer responded with certainty.
“Can we deceive them all?”
Lucifer profaned the Enemy's name. “No, but we can win some.”
A demon bearing marks of an intense battle, hobbled forward. “I suggest we offer them something better than humanity...something too tantalizing to refuse. Maybe, godhood?” The demon leaned in, hoarsely whispering, “Pride certainly cost us much.”
Lucifer reacted violently. A claw raked across the demon's face and two sentries standing guard dragged him into the shadows. “To the outer darkness,” Lucifer bellowed, pointing.
The chamber fell silent. “Can any of you low life's think of a plan without insulting my intelligence?”
Another shuffled from the shadows, bowing. “But master, offering godhood seems quite tempting...don't you think?”
“Maybe godhood is a good option,” Lucifer mused. “And I think I know how to entice the humans to be disobedient. The Enemy planted a tree in the middle of the garden, but explained that it was off-limits. If I can convince them that eating the fruit creates the capacity of godhood, then maybe they'll disobey the rule.”
A smattering of applause and affirmative grunts broke the silence.
Another demon approached Lucifer's throne. “Shall we force feed them?”
“No,” Lucifer sneered. “Think. Think. The Mighty One will intervene. This must be their choice.”
An evil grin creased Lucifer's lips. Without warning, he transformed into a creature of great beauty. Scales reflecting a myriad of lights covered his entire body. Soft blue eyes replaced pools of black. Gnarled talons morphed into bejeweled webbed feet. An enthusiastic roar of approval erupted from the hideous convocation.
Veiled in a tattered cloak, a demon slunk from the gloom. “A creature's beauty to match the resplendent paradise. Brilliant,” he uttered, kneeling honorably. “Now to set the trap.”
A long tongue slithered from pearly white incisors as Lucifer tested his scaly legs. “Lying issssss my sssssspecialty.”
Edging closer, the veiled hellion posed a question. “Will it work?”
He shifted his attention to the masses. Baring his teeth, he crafted his response. “Eating delicious and attractive fruit to attain godhood should be an easy sell.”
“Should be?” he questioned. “But will they take the bait?”
“What do you think?”
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