The demon announced that the time has arrived to see the house he bought and prepared for Aksinya. He comes to Aksinya and Natalya's room and leads them in sneaking out of the school.
The demon led them out into the corridor, down the stairs, and to the back exit from the school. The door was bolted and locked. The demon pulled off the heavy wooden bolt. He stood back, “I’m sorry, Countess. I don’t have a key.”
“Then that is all there is for our foray tonight.”
“It is a simple thing for you to open it, Countess.”
“I shall not. I told you before.”
“This place is filled with innocent sleeping girls. There is so much lust I can inscribe on their hearts. Only your good will and complacency prevents me from touching their innocent souls…”
“You can’t harm innocents.”
“I cannot kill innocents nor torture them. I can tempt them as I desire—that is my purpose.” The demon hissed, “Open the lock, Countess. Your follower wishes to see your power again.”
Aksinya made a depreciating sound. She raised her hands and said a group of words in Latin. The crucifix on her chest burned.
The lock made a slight clicking sound, and the demon pushed open the door, “Well done, Countess.”
Natalya stared on wide eyed.
The demon led them into an alley. The night was cold with a thick frozen drizzle in the air. Aksinya pulled her mink cloak more tightly around her body. Natalya bunched close to her.
The demon led them across the empty street. They heard loud voices from a tavern out of sight on their left. The door that the demon stopped at was finely carved cedar. Aksinya hadn’t noticed it before. The house itself was wonderfully made. It was the house of an aristocrat and in the center of Wien. Aksinya wondered immediately why it wasn’t in use. That is until the demon bought it for her. She almost asked him, but suddenly realized the knowledge would be available at a much less dear price from other sources. She pressed her lips together.
Natalya held onto Aksinya’s mink cloak. At the front door, the demon paused. Aksinya put out her hand, “This is my house, give me the key.”
“I will always be able to open it for you, Countess.”
Aksinya didn’t look at the demon, “Give me the key. It is my house, you told me. And give a key to my lady-in-waiting. Do it now, demon.”
The demon sheepishly pulled out two keys. He handed them to Aksinya, “Give them to whomever you like. They are yours.”
Aksinya grabbed them from the demon’s hand. She put one in her coat and put the other into the lock. It turned with oiled ease.
Asmodeus smiled, “I prepared the place for you.”
The demon is crafty. Remember, he set up the house so Aksinya could practice sorcery. He wants her to sin in much more concrete ways, but he focuses on sorcery. So the question for the demon, how to make Aksinya do sorcery. The trick is like all temptation. Place the individual in a situation and then provide the proper impetus. The demon takes them to the locked door and unhappily, the door is locked. Aksinya tries to back out. The demon reminds her that she can open the lock. Aksinya still refuses and the demon threatens. Note, he doesn't threaten her or Natalya--he threatens the girls in the school. If you wondered why the demon wanted Aksinya in this school--here is one reason.
I get to give you further information on the bounds of demons--about harming innocents. He cannot harm them, but he can tempt them. This has been his exact actions against Aksinya. He has generally not harmed her, but he has tempted her. This is a big clue. He also plays on Aksinya's vanity--show your follower, Natalya.
Aksinya gives in and uses sorcery to open the lock. (Here is an example of thematic editing. I originally left off the sentence about the crucifix. I just added it in.) Watch Natalya. She holds closely to Aksinya. I also give you a foreshadowing--the tavern out of sight on the left. This will be very very important soon. We get some description of the outside of the house. Aksinya is already thinking of using sorcery again, but fights against that temptation.
Aksinya makes a demand of the demon. Keys represent control. (I should note this in some other points in the novel) She honors Natalya at the same time. The key turns easily in the lock and the demon gives us a premonition. He prepared it for Aksinya. Tomorrow, the interior of the house.