Hell and Styx #3: Dragons in Shining Armor

I don’t know about the title for this one…but I think it works.

Anyway, welcome to Hell and Styx #3!!! This one takes place when Hell is about 14 and Styx is about 16, between H+S #1 and H+S #2. Visit their page to see all of their stories, in chronological order. Here we see Hell and Styx in their downtime between dead-people-sorting. Styx is trying to entertain Hell, Hell is trying to annoy Styx.

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment. 🙂

Hell and Styx #3: Dragons in Shining Armor

Hell watched Styx build a dragon in the air, painstakingly dragging his aura off his body and sculpting it into the desired shape.

Hell wasn’t about to admit that she was impressed. “You’re an idiot.”

Styx grinned, adding a burst of flames shooting out of his creation’s mouth. “God, I hope so.”

Hell smacked him on the head, causing his hand to slip and dent his dragon’s back. “Well, then. You’re a genius.”

Styx shrugged, fixing the error. “Also undeniable.” He said this in Latin, however, to drive home his point.

Hell, who was attempting to annoy Styx, growled. She could never make herself happy and Styx could never make himself anything but cheerful. It was only with Styx’s help that she could forget her job and smile.

And it was only ever with Hell’s interference that Styx got angry.

Hell rolled away from Styx, onto her back, lying on her bedspread of black sheets. Styx sat on the floor, his back against her bed, knees drawn up to his chest.

“Why the dragon?” Hell asked.

“It reminded me of you,” Styx said. Hell frowned at the ceiling and waited for an explanation. “It’s dangerous and spits fire at everyone, even the kind knights in shining armor trying to be nice to it.”

Hell snorted at the idea of the good guys being easy to distinguish because of especially lustrous clothes. “I’ll take princesses too, if they deserve it,” Hell said.

Styx roared sarcastically and flicked his dragon’s tail into a warning stance.

Hell thought about laughing but didn’t think Styx deserved that reward yet. Hell’s laughter was a rare commodity, even for her one friend (ish) in the world.

“I know Portuguese,” Styx said suddenly.

This was not a weird sentence for the pair of them. Their minds weren’t always their own, permeable to random divine gifts of knowledge. Sometimes it was math formulas or geography facts. Often it was languages. As far as either of them could tell, there was no rhyme or reason to what facts appeared in their minds; they followed no schedule and could be connected to no divine purpose. They simply were, like so much in this world of half-logic.

Hell snorted. “I’d say you have a gift for languages, but we both know it has nothing to do with your intelligence.” She let the insult fester, then asked, “How long?”

“A few days.”

“Why?”

“Who knows. Maybe I’ll take a vacation.”

“And leave me with all your precious souls? Let me ruin them, damn their hides?”

“Who’s been reading the dictionary?” Styx asked, not actually impressed.

Hell knew that, but still used to insult him. “Some of us actually educate ourselves instead of relying on dream enlightenment.”

“I like my way.”

“Of course you do.” She tried to say it with disdain, but it slipped into enjoyment. Styx’s personality was the one thing that made her existence bearable.

“You could come with me.”

Hell laughed, but Styx knew her voice well enough to know she was mocking him. “Yeah, and when we get back, we can spend the rest of eternity trying to catch up sorting those lovely dead souls.”

“I knew there was something going on between you and the boy today,” Styx teased.

“He was a drug dealing scumbag who only died because he was stupid enough to take his own poison. What you saw was me gladly sending his eternal soul to rot in painful torment.”

Styx raised an eyebrow, knowing Hell better than she wanted to admit. “He was hot.”

“Should I have gotten his number for you?” Hell snapped.

Styx shrugged in his own infuriating way, clearly setting aside her comment. “He seemed more of your type.”

“He was disgusting,” Hell said, shuddering at the clammy, hungry feeling of his soul as she shoved it out of purgatory. “I don’t even have a type,” she added, a little too late.

Styx smirked. “I guess you’ll just have to wait for someone who isn’t disgusting,” he said, somehow implying that he met that criteria.

Hell made a guttural no sound and smacked him in the head. He jerked away, laughing.

The dragon burst into mist as Styx’s concentration shattered.

“Was that really necessary?”

“Like marshmallows in hot chocolate, Styx.” Hell finally laughed, her first true laugh of the day. Something inside Styx loosened and he let the rest of his aura slip back into his arm.

“But don’t you ever want to go somewhere just to go?” he asked, in Portuguese, circling back to the topic of vacations.

Je ne comprends pas,” she lazily responded in French.

Dropping the subject for a safer conversation, Styx went back to English and blabbered about buying a new wardrobe—a useless topic because, as with everything else they owned, their clothes were created with thoughts alone. He realized what an idiot he was to suggest a vacation to his counterpart and thanked his lucky stars that, by a freak stroke of good luck, he hadn’t said it in a language she could understand.

Hell relaxed, listening to his voice, laughing easier now, until eventually the knot in her chest unwound.

She didn’t want to think of the outside world, where people were human and you could be seen and have friends and learn things with books and paper and dead people died and never came back.

Don’t you ever want to go somewhere just to go?

Hell never told Styx she had learned Portuguese four months ago. It was better that way.

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