Okay, who didn’t see this coming? It’s longer than I thought, so instead of asking everyone to spend a year reading a single blog, I’m breaking it up into 3 parts. Here’s number 2.
With Daemona on his arm every step of the way, Harry swept Vegas up like it was Christmas candy laid out just for him. Speaking her name had bound her to him mind and body and he made full use of her attentions. There was no bodyguard on Earth more fearsome than an angered Mallekituus demon, and Harry knew he’d need one. Harry knew a lot of things these days. He knew when to double down and when to let it ride, he knew which horse was going to take every place in every race, and he knew which exotic juices from which fruits and what teas from what barks would cure his bitter, blackened lungs forever. Harry placed his bets carefully, looking for opportunities where he wouldn’t be seen over those with the hugest hauls. He traveled the world hunting out the most profitable, and most discreet, games of chance. In this beginning time Harry lost exactly one game of poker to a middle-management oil man from Texas. That guy had had some serious mojo. Inside of a month Harry had well over a billion dollars in unmarked accounts around the globe. It was enough to get started.
Next Harry bought a small island in the Caribbean, and began setting up production facilities. Soon, he knew, he would need defenses for his new home, but he was understandably excited to get started. Time would still be an issue.
One late afternoon three months into his year, Harry sat on the veranda of his island home, sipping a fruit-filled drink from a tall fluted glass. He no longer looked a day over twenty-five. Daemona, in a bikini top and sarong, stood beside him in the deepening shadows. The sounds of waves and gulls played with each other around them.
“Harry? Darling? I’m worried.” Daemona would never cry, but she did bite her lower lip. “I don’t know what it is you’re planning, but if it’s not done by September, I…” She trailed off, leaving the rest of the sentence unsaid. Naturally Harry knew what would happen in September. September third to be precise. On that day Daemona would take his immortal soul back to Hell, whether he knew her name or not. The contract, quite unlike what he had expected, had been short, clear, and unambiguous. No loopholes, no hidden clauses. Harry reached up and brushed against Daemona’s thigh, and took another sip of his drink.
It was early June, and Harry was making more money than any other single human in the world ever had. The new paint he had developed already covered twenty percent of the planet’s roofs, and sales accelerated every day. Those that couldn’t afford it had it given to them. The paint was a thick, black, tarry substance that converted the sun’s rays into electrical energy, and then stored that energy as a gigantic battery might. It’s surface absorbed radio waves as well, preventing those under it from developing wave-related illnesses. You simply plugged your house into your roof and waved bye-bye to the power company. It also made for an excellent insulator of heat, keeping homes warmer in cold months and cooler in the hot ones. The United States denounced the paint immediately as untested and unsafe and Britain followed suit soon after. The Third World accepted the technology immediately and India doubled her real wealth overnight. The oil-rich nations screamed bloody murder when Japan and China caved and began covering every square inch of roof-space they could find. OPEC sent small armies against Harry, who now owned ten islands, scattered around the globe, to no apparent effect. The soldiers simply never returned.
European nations began accepting the new technology by ones and twos, as they watched the asian world, suddenly unfettered by oil costs passing them by in earthly influence. In response eight of the planet’s largest oil companies merged into one massive corporate being, led by the charismatic and clever Wolcott Slumber, a relative newcomer to the scene, who used the crisis to pressure world governments into relaxing certain anti-trust legislations. In just a few short months Slumber had become the most powerful person in the history of the planet Earth. Harry’s personal wealth, nearly uncountable itself, paled in comparison to the influences Wolcott commanded. The oil was simply the base for an enormous amalgamation of corporate power. Media, food, power, communication, transport… there was no aspect of life that the man didn’t somehow affect. And what was more, he was completely invisible to Harry’s abilities.
It was the end of July.
“Well he obviously made a deal with another demon, but which one?” Deamona worried a fingernail as she sat on the edge of the oxblood leather sofa. “If I knew that I would know how to fight him. Have a better idea what we’re up against.”
Harry reached over and began massaging the small of her back. He always knew just where to go. “I happen to be quite certain that knowing which demon he dealt with will not help you at all.” Deamona turned around and gave Harry a look that said “You know I can’t stand it when you tell me what I want to know or not know, stupid human!” It was a look he was becoming more and more familiar with. He pressed his thumb into the muscle wrapping the base of her tail. She carried all of her tension right there. Deamona’s head lolled to the side and a poorly suppressed smile crept into the corners of her mouth. “I also know,” Harry continued, “that you won’t be satisfied until you find out.” Deamona’s head came up just enough so that Harry could see her eye over the smooth curve of her shoulder. “The demon’s name is Bentroth.”
Deamona’s eye went wide. “Harry, I know him, he’s…”
“Hush. I am aware. You and he used to be lovers.”
“Yes but…” Deamona turned fully to Harry, sliding down into the seat next to him. “He’s not… normal. You command me because you have my true name. Bentroth has no true name. He can’t be commanded by anything.”
“He still has to obey the rules though. If wants to come at me he still has to work through proxies. That means Wolcott Slumber.”
The beautiful demon closed her eyes in frustration. When she spoke, her voice had an angry, exasperated edge to it. “And you can’t even see Slumber! You don’t know what he’s up to! I can’t even…” She pointed an accusing finger at Harry as a question slowly formed in her mind. “Hey, how do you know which demon gave Slumber his wishes if you can’t know anything about him with yours?”
“Because I was there when it happened.”