Continued from here.
I stared at the most recent note in the file, my heart sinking. The tech, apparently not satisfied with writing in the largest available font, had added both bold, underline, and italics to his final sentence. “Insists on using summoning portals from 3 iterations ago,” it read. “Totally tech illiterate, and heavy on the smiting.”
Mordak was still on the phone, ranting on about his titles. “Excuse me, sir,” I interrupted, knowing that he’d go on forever. “Sir, are you trying to perform a demonic summons?”
“Of course I am! That’s what I said!” the demon roared back at me, perhaps a bit out of shape that he hadn’t gotten to recite all of his titles. “And it isn’t working! What’s wrong? I always have this same damned problem!”
I thought about pointing out that he was probably using the wrong summoning spell iteration, and that he needed to upgrade to the latest version of the spell if he wanted to get a proper connection with the cosmic ley lines. However, given how the other tech’s mention of the smiting, I thought that perhaps it would be worth trying a different tactic.
“Of course, sir, just give me one moment,” I said into the phone, hitting some more keys on the computer. Mordak began growling angry threats into the receiver, but I had already set it down while I typed. It took a minute, but I soon had the instructions and schematics for the current summoning spell version displayed on-screen.
Now, however, came the tricky part.
I cast my eye around my cubicle. All around me were massive, dusty volumes, most of them now long obsolete as they depicted arcane rituals and devilish practices that had long since gone out of style or had been replaced by much simpler and smoother protocols. Somewhere in these books, I knew, was the version of the summoning ritual that Mordak insisted on using.
The only question now was whether I could manage to locate it before the cantankerous old devil figured out how to shoot a jet of flame through the phone line.
Given his inadequacy with any advanced technology, I figured that I had a bit of time. But many of the older books were still not translated from their original demonic runes, a dense and complex language that hurt the eye with its twisting letters and occasionally managed to possess the weak-minded mortal. Fortunately, I had plenty of coffee to help bolster my brain.
After several dusty books nearly crushed me as I labored them off the stacks, I finally found what I was looking for. I propped the massive tome up next to the computer, comparing the two images. “Okay, Mordak, I have the answer for you,” I said into the phone.
I had to repeat myself several times before the raging devil finally noticed that someone was speaking back to him, but he finally quieted enough to listen. “Speak, mortal!” he roared.
“Okay, take the left-most black candle and push it three inches towards the center of the circle,” I read off, comparing the diagrams with one outstretched finger. “And instead of using an emu egg, you’ll want to substitute in three chicken ones. You’ll need to rework your summoning coordinates into hexidecimal from pentadecimal. Finally, the fourth pirouette should be counter-clockwise.”
There were a few snorts as the devil labored to implement my changes. “This isn’t how I know it,” he growled suspiciously, but I could hear that he wasn’t quite as angry as before. Faced with simple changes, he was now suspicious, but not yet in a smiting mood.
“Yes, I’m sorry about this,” I said politely into the phone receiver. “But if you try it with these changes from here on out, you should be able to summon up your target without difficulty.” I crossed my fingers, closed my eyes, and prayed.
After a minute, the devil came back on the phone line. “Well, it seems to be working now, whatever you did,” Mordak grunted. “I’ll call again if there are more problems.” And before I could respond, he disconnected.
I sagged back into my chair. On Mordak’s file, I added a couple more notes outlining the differences between summoning versions. Just another day in Hell, I thought to myself.
I didn’t get much respite. Soon, the phone was ringing again. I made several rude gestures towards it, and then picked it up.
“Hell Services, Tech department, this is Carob, how can I help you?”