Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Demon Burps

Izt the Wizard watched the Sun dip below the horizon as he did every night. It flashed its red hue across the snow-covered landscape beneath his tower, turning the fields and treetops of glittering, frosty diamonds into rubies. Despite watching the beautiful scene, his heart beat heavily in his chest because of the impending night and the inevitable visitor that it brought.

Sure enough, a few moments later the inspiration for his dread appeared. With a puff of acrid smoke and a wave of static electricity that made Izt's grey hairs stand to attention like icicles along his arms, the demon Jubritt stood before Izt's hearth that flickered with warmth.

How's your day, Izt?

Fine, accursed creature.

Jubritt warmed his hands before the fire, and dragged one of Izt's plush chairs almost to the fire brick that extended beyond the fireplace.

Funny, isn't it?

What's that? asked Izt, who found nothing that the demon did to be funny.

That I'm a demon and yet I'm warmest on my nightly visits to you.

Only because the Demon High Mangler enjoys ironic punishments. Putting a demon's prison inside of a glacier.

Is that really ironic? Jubritt shivered.

I don't know, I'm a wizard, not a rhetor.

Would a rhetor know irony, or would that be the domain of a poet or bard?

I don't have time for your idle conversation, dweller in pits! I'm very busy with a new incantation.

You're just standing in front of the window.

I'm a wizard! We can't be expected to have our noses buried in books at all times! I must consider very carefully the next series of magic words to include in the - nevermind! You're a demon! Your magic is far too primitive for you to understand the Higher Arts!

Now, now. I'm also inherently magical. Intuitive. You're like a monkey trying to bang to rocks together when I'm made out of rocks. Let ol' Jubritt help you. You consider yourself an expert of demonology. That's irony. That now you're stuck with me every night and that your knowledge of demonology escapes you more often than gas, old man. What's the magic supposed to do?

Nothing!

Jubritt walked towards the massive desk, which was weighed down with tomes of inconceivable power, at least when measured in heft. The desk had been placed, for obvious reasons, as far away from the fireplace as possible. A small oil lamp had been lit in a protective sconce, so that even if it had tipped over none of the books would be in danger.

Don't read those!

Why not?

They're magical words! Your foul demonic gaze might taint them!

Please. I'm not gullible enough to believe that old lie. Hhhmmm. I don't know this word...or that one...or maybe half of these. Alright, more than half. Most of them. I understand that word, but I couldn't use it in a sentence. Seems to be a bunch of gibberish, but it looks - wait. This is a spell to unbind a demon's service!

Izt looked guilty.

Now! We've had our moments but am I really that much of a bore that you'd give away all of your magic to get rid of me! All your powers, gone! The linkage between your soul and my essence evaporated! All because I come round here and eat some of your food!

And make the furniture smell like burnt Slavering Beast Shank.

That's what they feed us in demon prison! Listen, pal, the Demon High Mangler throws all of us demons that have been bound to wizards into prison because he sees us as consorting with an enemy. Like we have a choice. And the jailers feed us swill and Slavering Beast Shank, so pardon me if I sneak a few sausages out of the tower's meat locker that aren't swimming with maggots and encrusted with slivers of armored carapace!

Jubritt threw himself back down into one of the chairs and pouted, his iron bracelets jangling together as he crossed his arms.

That sounds pretty offal, Izt said with a chuckle.

Jubritt whirled in his chair. And I'm bound by a wizard that barely remembers that he's a wizard and not a jester, for Krukuur's sake!

You think you've got it so bad, Jubritt! I'm bound to this tower! I cannot travel beyond it or else my enchantments will weaken, even the ones keeping my bones from snapping instantly with age! You at least get the luxury of going out on errands for me. Why do you think I watch with such longing from my tower every evening? I remember days spent cavorting across those beautiful lands.

I have an idea. Jubritt stood up and walked towards Izt. Command me to eat you.

What?

Command me to eat you. I can't do it on my own.

Why would I do that?

Because if I eat you, you may travel beyond the tower. It's a simple function of magical insulation. The tower works because it is impermable to magic. So is demon hide, like the magic ingredient cozies on your jars. It will prevent the dissipation of your enchantments. And for me, the binding charm won't allow me to be sent back to the prison while you're in my belly.

Eat me, damn you!

Jubritt picked up the wizard, titled his enormous head back and opened his maw.

Hang on, Izt said, his feet braced on Jubritt's massive fangs. Izt patted his pockets, found was he was looking for, and dropped a tied bundle of herbs into the demon's gullet.

Mint and parsley!

Guh eyeguha. Jubritt dropped Izt into his mouth and swallowed without chewing. Then he let out a series of burps.

Stop burping, you wretched abomination! I can't get a proper bubble of breathing air if you don't!

Jubritt suppressed the need to burp. He felt gassy, but that happened if he ate Slavering Beast Shank, too, so he was comfortable with it.

Together, the wizard and demon set out from the tower to explore the world.

The Moral: When a problem presents itself, try eating it.

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