That was the seventh cigarette in the last ten minutes. Yung counted. Something in him was humming, just watching Howard go through them. Yung worried somewhat—but he knew so many people that smoked, and, for some baffling reason, most of them seemed perfectly fine so far.
“Look,” Howard said, tapping away some ash, “I was just the same.”
“Yeah?” Yung asked, tilting his head. “You dealt with this too?”
“Not the same exactly, but yeah. I know my way around a demon summoning as well as the next guy.”
“It wasn’t a demon summoning.” Yung looked over his shoulder, hoping no one at the college campus, none of the students walking by, had heard that. Sure, he was an English major—but that did not give him complete license to act crazy in public.
“No, come on, come on,” Howard said, lighting up another cigarette. That was eight. “You can’t bullshit a bullshitter. I can see all the little ticks, dude. You also smell like you just doused yourself with sulfur.”
Yung sniffed himself and then blushed a bit. “Well, I mean—”
“I assume you weren’t in chemistry class, were you boi?”
Yung was about to lie, to claim maybe he had been—how would he know? But, a single glance from Howard revealed it would not be even worth the breath of the lie. It would be a waste of perfectly good oxygen.
So, Yung, instead, just nodded.
“I thought not. So, then, what were you trying to summon?”
Yung took a quick step back, then forward. His face was red and growing more so. His ears a light crimson. “I mean, does it matter?”
“Does it matter?” Howard said and chuckled. “Yeah, it matters—I’ll have to report you if it was something too big.”
“Report me?” Yung asked, now his body language closing off even further.
“Only if it was something problematic. What did you summon? A Luck-Bringer? Revenging Squid?”
Yung disengaged then, moving away with a brisk walk. He did not think that would work, but, even still, he jolted when Howard grabbed his arm.
“Boi, that ain’t working here. I am not going to let you do that. What did you summon?”
“Porn Demon,” Yung whispered. His voice almost lost in the wind through the campus.
“Oh,” Howard said. He let his arm go. “Dude, that’s not a big deal. I mean, was it just like a succubus or something? Those can be fun for an evening.”
Yung winced and glanced at the nearest dorm apartment complex. Howard followed his gaze and then went for his messenger bag. He fished out a small circle of cut glass. Once he had it over his eye, he pulled back his lips in a wince.
“Oh…you picked that one.”
“I thought it would help me get laid,” Yung said, inching away. “But I barely got out of the thrall.”
This time, Howard did not grab his arm—and once Yung was a good distance removed, he broke into a run. When he came upon a bush, he was right over it in a mighty leap—disappearing, likely soon out of the country. He’d rather not face whatever consequences he’d apparently brought down on himself.
Howard clicked his tongue. “I guess we are not like each other, after all.”
He pulled from his bag, this time defying physics, a long sword and held it up with one hand. He then flicked away his cigarette and checked his box. Empty—again. Shit. The problem with smoking: it was expensive to go through a pack a day. And not great for his health in the long run.
Howard coughed, lightly, and marched toward the building: the girl’s dorms. Starting today, thanks to Yung, an eternal orgy would continue until the participants were dead, or the demon causing it was. He hoped for the second—but it would not be the first time some idiot got it the other way around.
“Get him laid, huh? Yeah—I suppose. Again, and again, till he bled. Fucking Orgy Demons, always a problem.”
Howard puffed out his cheeks and swished the sword around. He did not give a flying fuck about whether people were concerned with a college-aged man wielding a sword. If they saw what was going on in those rooms—and what blood it might spill—they would welcome a weapon-wielding badass.
No matter how much he stank of cigarette smoke.