Home > urban > Soul Guardian > Chapter 9: Hell on Wheels

Soul Guardian Chapter 9: Hell on Wheels

Author:TheDeliciousMeats Category:urban Update time:2024-06-27 08:53:45

It might have surprised some people to find out that there were cars in hell. Of course in typical hell fashion they were utilitarian affairs with limited amenities and top speeds that barely broke double digits. If that wasnt bad enough the roads themselves were constantly either under construction or congested to the point where it was quicker to just get out and walk.

The demon elite avoided this situation by teleporting while the working class either walked or rode bicycles. This of course begged the question as to why if nobody was actually buying the things there were so many cars on the road, something which Bael had never been able to establish a satisfactory answer for. He suspected that like most things in hell, it was just how things were and it wasnt worth trying to explain or understand.

These vehicles however were the complete opposite of what he was used to. They were sleek and sexy with more creature comforts than a luxury petting zoo. The list of available features made his head spin.

Did he need magnetic suspension? Were side airbags a necessity? What exactly was a moonroof? Was it different from a sunroof? And did he need one of each or did they serve the same purpose? Maharet had left him in charge of finding them a vehicle and he knew he would never hear the end of it if he screwed up.

(As members of a race with infinite lifespans and infinite memories to go with them, demons loved nothing more than to dig up the past, preferably at the most embarrassing possible moment.)

Of course, he could have just let her deal with the sales staff but he needed a car, not a smoking crater where a car dealership used to be. They still talked about what she had done to that one dog sled trader in Tunguska.

Can I be of assistance? Asked a pleasant voice from somewhere behind him. Bael spun around to find a salesman wearing a cheap white shirt and an atrocious tie that was more crime against nature than fashion statement. The man was smiling the plastic rictus of someone who had lost all faith in humanity (or possibly never had any to begin with.) but still had to deal with the public. It was so fake that it almost came full circle and crossed back over to being genuine.

I require a vehicle. Bael said, falling into character. We just moved here from out of state. I have a BMW but it isnt really family friendly so I thought I would try and find something else more suitable to our needs. He let out a fake smile of his own. I figured a local car dealership would steer me in the right direction instead of taking me for a ride like one of those big dealerships in the city.

Oh youre right there! The salesman replied gleefully, eager to separate this newcomer from his money. Were paid by the hour instead of on commission so that theres no conflict of interest. All I care about is finding the perfect car for you and your family.

Well thats a true relief, let me tell you. Bael said, pretending to fall for the salesmans flagrant lies. He might not have been making commission, but he was paid to sell cars and if he didnt make his quota he would quickly find himself out of a job. The salesmans interests werent just conflicted, they were fighting an all out war complete with siege weapons and armored cavalry.

There was a rule that had served Bael very well when it came to dealing with situations like these and he was happy to find that it was just as true on earth as it was in hell. It was simple, if you entered a deal and couldnt spot the patsy, you were the patsy. The trick was to pretend to be fooled, to pretend to be tricked and to play along until the other party had been lulled into complacency. Then, when they were sure they had you, slam the door on them.

To be completely honest, I dont know much about cars. I didnt even pick the last one, a business associate of mine left it to me when he passed away. Which was technically true, if misleading. I just need something to get my family from point A to point B in one piece.

Well maybe if you told me about your family I might be able to find something theyre absolutely going to love because after all, youre looking for a family vehicle, something for your family. The implication being that if Bael didnt get a nice car he didnt love his family.

Well its really just my wife and our nine year old daughter, she starts school soon. I was thinking of something simple, like a sedan. Bael wasnt even sure what a sedan was but he had seen the name on a brochure. It didnt matter though, no self respecting car salesman would ever let his client leave with what they actually wanted.

Sedans are nice, but what a family man like yourself really needs is a sport utility vehicle. Something to take the family on road trips with, something with plenty of room for backpacks and sports equipment. Do you have a dog? Every up and coming family has to have a dog. The salesman assured Bael, his watery blue eyes practically radiating honesty and good intent.

Sure, of course we do. Bael lied. In fact, we have two. Two dogs was better than one, right? He made a mental note to ask Maharet if they could get a dog.

See, you dont want a little sedan. Not with a little girl and two dogs in the back. They would be crammed together like sardines. The salesman let out a good natured chuckle. No, you need something bigger, something better. Come with me, Ill show you. Then like a judas goat the salesman led Bael off to be be slaughtered by premium sport packages and optional extras.

---

You must really trust your husband to let him shop for a car alone. The woman at the front desk of the dealership told Maharet who was sitting in a swivel chair admiring her new ring. Something about the fluorescent lights made it sparkle from the inside like fire frozen in glass. She couldnt stop looking at it. Those boys are sharks and theyll carve him up so quick he wont know whats what until its too late.

Somehow I think theyll find my husband to be a bit more than they can chew. Maharet prophesied. After all, he talked me into marrying him.

The woman looked Maharet up and down. Well, he must be one hell of a talker then. Youre so far out of his league that he might as well be sitting on the sidelines.

Unlawfully taken from Royal Road, this story should be reported if seen on Amazon.

Well, Im not about to deny that. But he has his good points too, you know. Maharet said, coming to the defense of her pretend spouse.

Like what exactly? The woman pressed. Is he rich? Can he cook? Is he-

Maharet cut her off. Let's just say that he has something that makes up for his other shortcomings, something that isnt readily apparent unless he wants it to be.

Because at the end of the day what made Bael special was his cunning, his brains. She had never known another demon that could get one over on her and thus far Bael had managed to outsmart her at least twice. Once in hell and once on earth. Even when she transformed him into a waffle she hadnt been sure if she was toying with him or he was playing her. Was he truly as clueless as he pretended to be?

The woman seemed to take that a different way. Oh, she said with a blush. Well thats hardly a basis for a relationship. But I wouldnt really know. All the men I date arewell...FiNd pdtes on n()/vln(.)cm

Shallow? Maharet suggested.

Yes lacking depth I would have to say. The woman agreed.

Thats one thing I dont have to worry about with him. Maharet assured her. I think Im still figuring out how deep it goes. Sometimes I wonder if Im just scratching the surface, if theres more to explore. Maharet pointed and laughed. Speaking of depths, heres one of your little sharks now. She said, gesturing towards the salesman that was following behind Bael.

The man was certainly worse for wear, his skin was pale and the pits of his shirt were damp with sweat. He had the expression of someone that had jumped into a puddle and found himself drowning in the ocean instead.

It seems my dear husband has taken you for quite a ride. Maharet observed. I do hope he wasnt too rough with you.

No worries there Maam. He drives a hard bargain but in the end we both got what we wanted. The salesman assured her. Dont hesitate to come back when your daughter needs a car of her own.

Oh after today I wouldnt dream of going anywhere else. Bael said with a wicked grin as he hooked his arm around Maharet. Come on honey, lets go check out our new ride.

The salesman held his composure until he saw their black SUV leave the parking lot. As soon as they were gone he collapsed into a chair and started fanning himself with a brochure. He looked over to the woman at the front desk. Darla, I learned a thing or two today and Im not afraid to admit it.

Darla gave him a concerned look. Are you sure youre alright, Todd? You dont look well. What happened back in that back office?

Todd sighed. Dont tell anyone else, but he gave me a real seeing to, if you get my drift. He was on me like a dog on a biscuit from the word go and he didnt let up until we were finished. In all my days as a salesman Ive never seen anything like it.

Did... Darla hesitated but she had to know, just for her own morbid curiosity. Did you enjoy it?

Honestly yes. Todd admitted after a moments reflection. I think I kind of did.

*---

The black SUV wove through traffic while Bael and Maharet sat in the back seat. A simple animus spell and a name was all they had needed to get the vehicle running on its own. After some arguing they had settled on Murphy, it seemed fitting. (Murphys law was one of the universal constants along with the laws of thermodynamics. Which meant what could go wrong, would go wrong and it would stay wrong until an outside force came along and fixed it.)

Murphy had an excellent knowledge of the local streets but was somewhat hazy when it came to traffic laws. They werent quite sure if this was a side effect of the spell or an inherent trait of SUV drivers to believe that things like red lights and one way streets were polite suggestions to be ignored. It also for some reason aggressively disliked smart cars and electric vehicles.

What did you do to that poor human? Maharet asked once they were safely away from the dealership. Please tell me you didnt show him your true form.

Nothing of the sort. Bale assured her. We just had a little chat about interest rates and amenities. Did you know that they still use the four square method of negotiating? It was pure childs play.

And how exactly did you pay for all of this? She ran a hand over the rich leather interior. Im assuming you didnt use gold.

Do you remember that scandal sometime a little while back when that imp escaped with some of Lucifers gold and hid in the mortal realm? Bael asked.

Of course Maharet had heard about it, everyone in hell probably had. But every last piece of gold had been recovered and the imp had been sentenced to the Abyss so she didnt understand what Bael was getting at. Besides, even if they hadnt recovered all of it, what possible use could a demon that created wealth out of thin air have for stolen gold?

I thought they got all of it back. Maharet said, wondering what she was missing. I would have heard about it if they hadnt.

Oh they got the gold back, every single cursed ounce of it. But youre clever, think about it. Bael prompted.

Maharet racked her brain for an answer but was coming up blank. If they had recovered the gold, how had Bael used it to buy their car? It didnt make any sense. She looked over to Bael who was grinning at her inability to figure out his little puzzle.

Did the imp steal anything else besides the gold? She hazarded a guess. Something they didnt recover?

Good guess, but no. Bael said, evidently enjoying her confusion. When you figure it out, do let me know. But in the meantime, suffice it to say that we wont have to worry about money for a very, very, very long while.

Well in that case I think its time we ran a few errands. Maharet suggested. Murphy, take us to the nearest mall.

The SUV pulled a U-turn in the middle of the street, all four tires screaming from the unexpected change in direction. Why do we have to go to the mall? Bael asked.

We need to update your wardrobe and buy some things for the house. Maharet explained.

Her comment about his sense of style took Bael by surprise. Whats wrong with my clothing? Ive only had this sweater for a decade, its practically new.

Honey, just because youre married now it doesnt mean you have to stop trying. She said sweetly, patting him on his moth-eaten shoulder for emphasis. If anything it means you have to try harder to look your best because people will judge me by how you dress and act.

Well thats preposterous... Bael muttered. But then again, he thought. Humans were notoriously judgmental. Alright, well buy one or two things but thats it. You know, Im starting to think this whole marriage thing might have been a bad idea.

Well its too late to be getting cold feet. Maharet informed him as the SUV pulled into the no parking zone in front of the mall. Now be a good husband and get the door for me.

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