We left Aksinya and the demon in the city of Minsk. That's a place in Russia, actually Belarus, but that was part of Russia at the time. I will likely ask my publisher to include a simple map when the work is eventually published. Minsk is a rather large city. I tried to capture it at a time without too much turmoil due to the Russian revolution. I like to use foreign language term when they seem appropriate. Here I began to use the term, Zatknis'! Zatknis'! means "shut up" in Russian. Later in this chapter I use some great Russian curses and a little French. My publisher doesn't allow English curse words in the writing. They have allowed me to use French words. The settings and use of the words are very appropriate. In the published version, they will be footnoted with their translation. I hate works that don't translate their foreign words and phrases. Even if you read the language, the intended translation from the author may be easily missed.
Aksinya ran to catch up to the demon, “What place is this?”
“We are in Minsk, countess.”
Aksinya stopped cold, “Minsk? It cannot be Minsk.”
Asmodeus halted as well and turned toward her, “Why can it not be Minsk?”
“Minsk is more than two days by carriage from my house…What did you do?”
“I made the world bend a little.”
Aksinya raised the hem of her skirts enough to glance at her legs, “They don’t pain me more than a days walking.”
“You didn’t touch me.”
“Then it is not levied against my soul for you didn’t carry me either.”
“That shall be seen. You have enough on your soul already.”
“Zatknis'! Demon,” She put her fists on her hips, “By the way, you are a demon carrying a large chest across your shoulders and we are surrounded by people, but no one looks at you oddly.”
“You are my mistress. You see and hear me in truth. I don’t allow them to view me like that. Would you like to see what I seem to them?”
Aksinya chewed her lip a moment, “Yes. Show me what you seem to them.”
The demon blurred a bit and suddenly came into perfect focus. He appeared like a small ancient servant. His face was kind and his hair was white. He had a long beard that made him look a little like an orthodox priest or at least a deacon, but his clothing was that of a highly placed servant. He carried a heavy casket like a jewelry casket on his shoulder. His face was ruddy and made more ruddy by his supposed exertion. He looked like he had been carrying the casket for a long time. His clothing perfectly matched the style and the cut of Aksinya’s own. She was obviously his mistress and to all the world she would certainly look like a cruel one.
Aksinya’s eyes flashed, “You idiot demon. Do mean to embarrass me to everyone in the streets of Minsk. Why did you choose to look like that?”
“Countess, I would select your words carefully. Already you are in danger because you appear to be an aristocrat. There are many who would begrudge you that, but you certainly leave the stink of the bourgeoisie in a very proletarian city.”
“You caused this. You made this happen, and you must protect me in any case.”
“That I must, but I don’t have to make you look good, and if I have to protect you then you will compel me to harm them.” The demon pointed with his thumb at the passersby who stopped to watch the arrogant young lady berate her ancient kindly-looking servant.
Aksinya stood straight. She glanced around. Finally, she cleared her throat, “Go on, Asmodeus. Lead me where you must. I’m tired, and I’m certain you are too.”
The demon smiled and turned. He started out again along the side of the road. Aksinya heard a couple of snide remarks, but no one followed them or threatened her. As they went deeper into the city, Asmodeus led her to a streetcar stop.
I hope you liked this short piece that revealed a lot of information about demons and about how Asmodeus is manipulating Aksinya even when she doesn't realize it. Did you also note, the demon can't help but tell her. He rubs her nose in it each time. This isn't because I don't think my readers will catch the nuance of the demon's work--this is the demon's personality. It is the personality of all temptation and sin. Is there any realization of sin or knowledge of sin without recognition of sin? Of course not. It isn't any good to the tempter if the tempted doesn't realize their own sin. That's the point. A tempter wants to tempt, but he also wants the other to know they were tempted and that they eventually sinned. Right now, the actions of the demon are relatively passive. We shall soon see the full gamut of his willingness to force Aksinya to sin. Another revelation for you. I chose sorcery as a sin for Aksinya because I can do a lot with it that isn't horrible or salacious. In other words, I can have her doing a lot of sinning without having to write embarrassing or unacceptable storylines. The point of lust leading to sorcery and sorcery to desire is also a subtle theme I am developing. The ultimate point, as we have already seen, Aksinya's sin (sorcery) has already led to murder and will soon led to other sins. Don't lose heart, I am writing to a redemptive theme. She will figure some things out--in this chapter.