Every demon knew that Lucian, Prince of Jesters, was a spy.
Of course, all the Arlecchino were spies in one way or another, but the Prince of Jesters was special. Lucian, it was whispered, was a fallen angel. It possessed a strength belied by its small form, which some said came from its training as an angelic hunter. Even more deadly than its strength, however, was its cunning.
Most Arlecchino were tactical creatures: they had to be in order to survive among the powerful upper ranks. An Arlecchino would ally itself with a higher ranked demon and serve them faithfully- at least, until a better offer came along. But while speculation raced through the ranks as to Lucian’s Master, no demon could confirm its identity. But Lucian must answer to some strong demon, maybe even a Libbicocco, or one of the Collectors; how else might the raucous Prince of Jesters remain unscathed?
Alone among the Arlecchino, Lucian had the ability to always tell when a demon was lying. As soon as the Prince of Jesters set its beady sights on a demon, its secrets were as good as fact. Stolen promotions, secret alliances, fragmented memories of a previous life: it collected them all. And yet, no one knew where these secrets were going, which made the Prince of Jesters’s consuming gaze all the more frightening.
Lucian, for its part, didn’t care what the other demons thought. Its Master kept it on a loose leash, leaving the Prince to do as it pleased. Whenever Ashtor required information, Lucian would retrieve that information, but as likely as not, the Prince of Jesters had already unearthed the answers it sought.
Lucian’s only goal was building a map of all the souls in the demon army, and surviving long enough to see that map completed. It was searching for one soul in particular, a soul that resonated at a special frequency.
It wasn’t time for that soul to be in the celestial realm yet, but Lucian always watched for her. Human bodies were fragile, and the Prince of Jesters had intimate knowledge of how easily an accident could occur. Ashtar kept a watch on the souls entering the demon army, so the demon could easily slip away to the human world without arousing suspicion. Even though the Libbicocco had no reason to help Lucian further, it kept track of Detta and made regular reports back to the Prince of Jesters about her long and healthy life.
So Lucian waited and spun its web, making no allies but garnering no enemies. As demon after demon grew ensnared, it crossed the souls off its list. Reputation and subtle pressure kept it safe as the Prince of Jesters prepared. The plans were carefully laid for a shot at Kingship when the time was right; when it had a Queen by its side.
There was only one flaw with Lucian’s plan: only half the dying human souls came to the demonic army. The other half went to their nemeses, the angels. The Prince of Jesters could spin its web all it wanted, but if the soul it hoped to catch never came, the trap would be useless.
Lucian and Ashtar never spoke of this possibility aloud, for which Lucian was grateful. It didn’t want to lie to its Master about its plans, should the possibility ever come to pass.
Because the rumors were true: Lucian had once been an angel. And more than that, it knew how to become an angel again, because Ashtar had deliberately left its memories intact. Lucian knew more about how the world worked than any lowly demon or angel should ever know. And once it learned all the rules, the Prince of Jesters learned the most efficient way to break them. Unlike the other demons or angels, Lucian had emotions that burned hotter than any soul should be able to withstand without a mortal shell.
Lucian had once been an angel called Lian, but he had also been a human for a short time. If Detta didn’t come to the demonic army, he could simply become Lian once again, and search for Detta’s soul among the angels.
No matter where she ended up, Lucian swore that they would be together again. And now that he knew he possessed the skills to keep her memory from being wiped, as well as how to avoid sending their souls back into rebirth, he would keep them together for a very long time.
Forever, in fact.