Azrael made her spear complete the turn to free it from Belial’s scythe and following the swirling motion, kicked the scythe’s blade and aimed her spear at Belial’s throat, keeping her wings closed tight. Belial leapt back when she managed to free her weapon and turned, aiming at his throat; he spin his scythe to catch her spear with the curved blade and pull it. Choking in his own rage and hatred, he momentaneously forgot Azazel’s presence and barely noticed Moloch pouring her coercitive words in the human’s ear; Belial pulled the spear with the scythe and following a round motion to use his weight to increase his force on the pull, he pushed the end of the scythe’s pole while pulling the side closer to the blade.

Azrael shifted her gravity balance and gave in to his pull; she jumped as he pulled, flipping over his head and pulling him along, which allowed her to once more free the spear. Azrael landed on the bed and jumped back to the wall, kicking it and launching herself back to Belial’s position, aiming to the joint of his armor on his collarbone.

Belial’s eyes flashed. The drat room was too small; he moved aside just on time to avoid being beheaded and spun the scythe to thrust the curve blade in Azrael’s body, but the pole hit the wall; gypsum and wood flew about with a loud crack and Belial switched his motion, spinning the long scythe over his head aiming to hers in an attempt to make her duck and lose her guard position.
Azazel had left with the woman in his arms; he could be going back to Hell as far as Belial was concerned at the moment.

Azrael coolly calculated her next move. She had landed in a corner next to the window, some meters away from Moloch and Johnathon. Azrael put her spear under her arm, holding it with both hands and crouched down to lunge at Belial and pierce him through. Belial thrust his scythe down rotating it at its center to rip Azrael open from her right shoulder to her left side in the very instant she crouched down, pulling on one side of the scythe’s pole and pushing the other with terrible might.

Azrael jumped back in the very moment Belial thrust down the scythe; she kicked the wall in mid-jump launching herself forward and landed on the pole of the scythe, forcing it further down; the curve blade pierced the floor slab. Azrael opened her wings for balance and in the fraction of a second she held Filos with both hands, aiming the spear at Belial’s neck to behead him in a curve movement from left to right; she took impulse to rotate her torso and strike.
//You did it. You brought him back.// Azrael’s mental message to Belial was cold and lacking of all emotion, yet her mental voice had a demolishing certainty to it.

Belial opened his eyes wide when her voice resounded into his mind; she had guessed he was behind the whole thing, but this – contrary to what Belial had thought – did not provide him any joy. He opened his hands, dropping the Scythe of Simara and making Azrael lose her support; he jumped and kicked her side as she fell, sending her out of the window. Belial picked up his scythe…
“To Hell with you”, he grumbled and flew after her.
His words were not for Azrael.

Azrael was thrown out of the Inn’s window; she opened her wings and caught the air, regaining her fall’s control and soaring up into the skies. Little after Belial himself jumped out of the window to follow her. In the distance, Adriel and Raphael were already visible. Azrael kept her guard up and their weapons clashed when Belial attacked her again.

“What’s that?!” Raphael said as he an Adriel arrived, just in time to see Azrael being ‘blown’ out of the window. “Adriel, it’s Belial!!!” Raphael shouted as he unsheathed Strife, “Azrael seems to be in trouble! Let’s help her before she got messed up!” He flew towards Belial and sliced through the air, creating an air-vacuum towards the Fallen.

Tabris flew, following the traces of Raphael until he finally found him. His aura was very strong, and Tabris knew he had to be in a battle for it to be so overwhelming. // Death be to you, Raphael! //
He burst into his real form and armor as he flew in top speed. He put on his mints as he flew and neared Raphael. Tabris summoned his weapon and swung it towards Raphael!

//Raphael. Be warned; Tabris comes once more to do you harm, and is fully healed, thanks to a misguided sense of angelic justice.//
Raphael caught the mental warning, loud as wind, soft as breeze. He turned, and just in time too. Raphael flew out of the way as Tabris’ shot missed him. He noticed Tabris’ arm was broken useless. Quite gutsy to come fight in this state, Raphael thought sarcastically. “I will kill you, Tabris.” he snarled.

Rishta flew as fast as she could – this place looked like hell. She looked around wildly, and saw Tabris attack Raphael. This is going to drive me crazy. Wait, I know… idiot, yeah right you know! Oh well, watch until you can DO something. And so she hovered near them, looking from one to the other.
“Why do they do this?”

Belial sensed a demon and some angels coming from opposite directions to meet near his current location – if not in his current location. All this pierced his consciousness and he realized he had been rather careless this time – but still, he didn’t really care. Belial mumbled a spell to keep their fight hidden from human eyes. When Tabris passed by – for Belial recognized him – he effectively blocked Raphael from breaking into the fight between the archangel and the arch demon, but Adriel remained free to interfere, and he sensed more angels coming closer.
//¡Al diablo con todos ellos!//(1), Belial thought. Azrael had recovered quickly. Belial soared higher in the skies like a bullet, then motioned to her to join him with a dark, deadly look to his eyes.

Azrael spun her spear in her hands and to an attack stance and soared up to meet Belial. Azrael noticed he was strangely disturbed but he also was regaining his coolness over time. She decided to take advantage and let him attack first; if he was not cool enough at the time, he might do a mistake and expose one of his vital points. She moved away some distance and kept her guard up.

Angry Belial frowned when Azrael floated away; he clasped his fist and an energy blast formed, black energy forming arcs from between his fingers. He shot the bolt at her and darted behind it, to attack her when she tried to avoid the blast.

Azrael deflected the bolt with one of her own; the bolts clashed producing a sound like a mighty thunder; sparks surrounded them. Azrael barely had time to use her spear pole and armed forearm to shield her body from Belial’s blow. Azrael let herself fall to gain some time and hovered some distance below, shifting her spear to her other arm and allowing energy flow into her hand, creating a blast that relieved the numb feeling in her forearm and forming a shield with it. Azrael flew higher and circled him, indicating him to attack first once more.

Belial frowned darkly; he formed a shield of his own and cast a spell. The dark clouds rolled around Azrael and he, very high in the sky, forming a thick barrier filled with lightning. The curve blade of the Scythe of Simara flashed as he gathered the lightning energies, drawing them to it. Belial slashed downwards at Azrael, meaning to rip her open diagonally, from her right shoulder to her left side.

Azrael held her shield up, but it cracked under Belial’s attack and shattered. The archangel of death and destruction cast a spell and the darkness from the clouds spun fast around her; she vanished at the blade of the scythe came down, but not fast enough as not to be wounded.
Azrael’s armor resisted enough, but the scythe had caught her shoulder protector, sending it flying. Her pale shoulder was stained in blood, her black robes wet around it. Azrael appeared beside him and delivered Belial a kick in his stomach that made him double over and a hit with the spear on his back, hitting the upper wings where they met his shoulder blades.

Taken by surprise, Belial felt his wings go numb upon the blow she delivered him; he fell like a stone, pain taking hold of him. In mid-fall he was able to hover and stop his fall with his other four wings; Belial cast a furious glance up at Azrael, but still didn’t give up. He flew up with some difficult but still an inhuman speed; the numb feeling was catching his shoulders and his fingers went cold. Belial spun the Scythe of Simara, hitting her spear and attempting to behead her.

Azrael’s arm was going numb, but she still was able to fight. She fought Belial and the two – invisible to human eyes – moved quickly across the skies, moving to the West. The remains of the storm rolled behind them in a strange pursuit, and it seemed like they were a storm traveling above London.

Belial’s strength was diminishing and even though his rage was not decreasing, it was cooling down. Azrael was determined to kill him, and he wanted to kill her. Kill her! Those words danced in his mind as they fiercely fought, but the words seemed somehow unreal… Belial tried to close his eyes at the unnerving feeling that crept within his soul, making him doubt if he’d be able to strike the lethal blow when given the chance.

The Thames shone beneath them: they had moved away and fast; the Westminster Abbey rose closer by the minute. Suddenly, chance struck. Belial had managed to hit Azrael’s wounded shoulder again, this time with the pole of the scythe. Blood spurted, and tiny red drops fell on his face. Azrael gasped – the only sound that till now had come out of her lips. Belial would only have to swing the scythe backwards to slash her stomach open, but he froze; in that fraction of a second, Belial couldn’t move.

Azrael gasped as pain blinded her momentaneously; she jerked back and felt blood coming out of her. She opened her eyes wide and suddenly saw Belial staring at her; he hadn’t moved, but Azrael did not miss the chance; she delivered him a kick that sent him flying and with her unharmed arm she threw her spear with all her might. Filos flew straight to her target.

Sent flying by her kick and momentaneously unable to move, Belial was stunned. His wings and arms were numb and hurt, and he had not fully recovered from the ritual he carried out to bring Azazel back. The ritual. Had it really been of any use? Belial felt the world fading around him; the towers of the Westminster drew closer at blinding speed. In a blur he saw the spear flying after him.
//But I want to live… do I not? I wanted to be free…//

Suddenly, Belial split back in Aramis and Angel – or more precisely, Aramis jumped out. Aramis pushed Angel out of the way of the spear in the last very second, and Filos pinned Aramis to one of the abbey’s towers, piercing through his shoulder. Aramis let out a choked sob and fell unconscious; the spear had pinned him to the tower and that prevented his fall to the abyss below. The wind shook his black robes and put his hair out of his beautiful pale face; his wings hanged lifeless against the stone wall. He looked like a dead angel: an aura of innocence to him, a single tear down his pale cheek.

Astonished, Angel howled in rage. He was under their demonic form: his armor of the color of steel, his upper pair of wings like those of a dragon, his feet turned into talons and his hands clawed; a gold tiara on his black hair. Angel was in much better condition, for the pain and the wounds Aramis had kept. Angel flapped his mighty wings, forming a terrible wind; he held the scythe up and attacked Azrael.

Azrael watched the strange wonder before her and for once she looked beyond their faces and came to realize what he had really done… Azrael’s face remained cold, unmoving. She knew she was not in conditions to fight an unharmed arch demon, and in her cold mind she calculated her next move. When he darted to attack her, she simply rose her hand and opened her fingers. “Filos”, she coldly said. The spear gave a crystal-like note in response and pulled itself slightly, yet it still didn’t come out of the wall. If done, unconscious Aramis would fall the long distance from the top of the towers to the stones hundreds of yards below.
Angel stopped.
“Filos!”, Azrael called out. The spear came clean out of the wall and Aramis’ body, flying back to its owner as Aramis fell into the abyss below.

Angel opened his eyes wide. If previously unharmed, the fall wouldn’t kill Aramis, but in his conditions Angel wouldn’t take the risk, for his life was his, after all and Aramis was severely wounded. Angel dived down and caught his brother in mid-air. Damn Azrael! Angel was furious – clean of all feelings towards her but hatred, Angel wouldn’t hesitate to kill her. But when he looked up, Azrael was gone.

Adriel was startled to see Tabris come to attack, his arm limply hanging at his side, obviously broken. Was he coming from another fight? Adriel perceived Raziel and Rishta from the same direction from which Tabris had arrived, and she guessed he might’ve been fighting them… yet there was a dark imprint about Tabris that indicated he had been fighting a powerful demon. Raphael was not going to need her… She pitied Tabris, but the war was merciless. Adriel flew to help Azrael, yet she knew this was a rather personal fight. A look at Belial’s eyes said it all. Azrael on her part, could have been fighting any other arch demon with the same expression on her face of cold determination.

The demonic beast Azazel had left behind crawled out of the window to jump back on the street. Invisible to human eyes, Adriel flew down to the window level and threw her spear at him. pinning him to the wall in an instantaneous death. Adriel kept him invisible also and upon death, the beast melted in a black liquid that formed a foul puddle at the wall’s foot. Adriel retrieved her spear; the black liquid on the ground filtered through it and disappeared.

“Annoying pest!” Tabris snapped angrily, “I will destroy you once and for all today!” Tabris let his full power of fire and lightning charge into the wire which began to glow and crackle loudly in a bright silverish-orange light. He had only one arm to fight the battle but it was enough to control his weapon.
Tabris sent it flying high with a hard snap and slung it down fast and deadly, as if trying to cut Raphael in two. “DIE!!!” Tabris screamed!

Rishta saw the whip, Tabris had lost it. For a moment she had NO idea what to do. She saw Raphael and something hit her. It was an old lesson, and one she had learned well. No matter what, Raphael is worth 100x more than me. He is the General… and I am the hybrid. Nothing is more important than the leaders. A soldier should always be prepared to give it all up for them, no matter what…
In that instant she made up her mind. Spreading her wings she flew strait over to Raphael, using her height and knocking him out of the way. She then turned to the attack and her eyes widened, it seemed as though there was no escape…

Raphael was about to shield himself with a vacuum shield when he felt a hand pushing him away. His eyes widened. // Rishta!!! //
There was a loud explosion and Rishta was smashed to the ground hard, suffering from burning cuts all over her. She was bleeding badly. Raphael’s eyes blazed.
// Why…?! Why did you do this?! //
“Rishta!!!” Raphael screamed as he flew down and cradled her into his arms. Rishta reminded him of his sister Zeruel… She had suffered a similar fate…
“Don’t die….” Raphael whispered as he kissed Rishta’s cheek gently, his tears falling onto Rishta’s face.

Tabris remained hovering in the sky in a daze. The truth was hard on him. He had hit Rishta! With his full power in blast!!! His eyes dulled as it turned lifeless. He glanced shakingly to Raphael and Rishta. His eyes stung and were bloodshot with unshed tears. He flew down beside Rishta, knelt down and asked softly, holding back his tears.
“I’m sorry Rishta… how are you feeling now…? I didn’t mean to hit you…”

Adriel turned around just on time to see Rishta flying straight to Raphael and Tabris. In a flash, Adriel realized what Rishta was about to do. Startled, Adriel quickly flew to try and stop her, but it was too late. Rishta pushed Raphael aside and got clean in the way of Tabris’ whip!
Adriel landed next to Rishta and Raphael; despite Tabris’ tears, Adriel kept her guard up in case he’d suddenly attack Rishta to finish the job and Raphael, who seemed struck out of his senses. Azrael and Belial were gone, it seemed; Adriel hoped she knew for certain Rishta would live, but she hadn’t been assigned to her; she couldn’t tell for sure. Only Azrael would know.

Pain. That was all one could feel in a position like this. She had turned and the energy… One thousand times worse than being hit by a carriage. It was strong and pure, and meant for someone stronger. Then she had hit the ground, her wings prevented her from breaking her back, but she had the feeling certain bones were still fractured. Her entire body felt numb, but there was still the flashed of pain, her body was a mess, and she knew it.
Her mind was confused at the time, and for a moment she swore she was dead. But then she felt the pain. It was mind boggling… but you never felt pain if you were supposed to be dead. Through the red haze, and her messed up vision, she saw Raphael, Tabris and Adriel. She blinked several times as her vision swam in and out – was it just her, or were the guys crying? Why?

“Hey…” Rishta mumbled, despite the pain in her lungs and diaphragm – she had bruised them badly. But there was no blood in her mouth, so luckily she hadn’t burst any organs. “Guys… I am planning on living…”
And she meant what she said. Her body may be a mess, and as sure as hell she wasn’t going anywhere, but her eyes held a light, bright and fierce: she wasn’t planning to die soon. After all, she was supposed to fight in the war – it was her destiny. Besides, she felt power flowing into her – protecting her. The sword was at her side, and seemed to shine blue – the energy almost the same as Rishta’s.
“How can I die? When so many people are protecting me….?”

Raphael looked up and glared at Tabris with all the hatred he could muster, “You… I will kill you!!!” Raphael screamed as he lunged towards Tabris angrily summoning strife to strike Tabris with a killing blow.

Tabris dodged quickly, jumping out of the way of Raphael’s swing. He ducked around the angry Archangel, grabbing for Rishta’s limp body. He lifted her up in to his arms, and made off in to the sky. He would fix the damage he had done!

“No Raphael…” Rishta murmured, but it was too late. He had launched himself at Tabris. Why can’t they stop fighting for one instant? Honestly… I may be younger, but sometimes, I wonder… Then Tabris grabbed her and carried her off. She felt very, cliche-ish. But the blood was still flowing and she felt air headed. Not fun. But she couldn’t move, and the pain was becoming unbearable. She didn’t know how long she could remain awake, so she tried her hardest just to focus on healing…
And then she noticed it. The sword! It was left there! “No… father…”

Raphael screamed in frustration when Tabris flew away with Rishta, but something told him that Tabris wasn’t going to harm her. Funny. Raphael turned to Adriel instead and hugged her, crying on her shoulder. “Oh Adriel…” he sobbed, “It happened again!!! Rishta is now going to die like Zed did years ago!!! It’s all my fault!!!”

Surprised, Adriel felt her cheeks burn, blushing. She was a little confused, but she put her arms around Raphael’s shoulders and gently stroke his back feathers and the upper part of his wings as he held her, crying on her shoulder. When he mentioned his sister, Adriel’s heart ached at the memories.
“It’s not your fault, Raphael”, she told him soothingly. “Rishta did want to help you; I believe she did because she appreciates you. I’ve not… I’ve not perceived she’s going to die; I’ve not been given the knowledge, but I believe she will live.”
Adriel stroke his hair and his back feathers, soothingly. “It’s not your fault”, she softly said.

“No… She’s going to die….” Raphael muttered to himself, eyes still moist with tears. “She’s going to die like Zed did…” Raphael sink into depression with the memories of his sister, “She’s going to die… Azrael will erase her off…. Nooo…” Raphael buried his face on Adriel’s shoulder and sobbed, his body shaking with tremors of angst.

Adriel continued to stroke his hair and back feathers and began to sway him ever so gently as she soothingly stroke him. “She won’t die; you’ll see…” Adriel did not mention Zeruel, not to stir his pain. “Rishta will not die; she’ll recover soon… Don’t blame yourself, Raphael; she won’t perish…” Adriel stroke his hair and swayed him slowly, stroking his back.

“Really…?” Raphael muttered, slowly regaining his energy. “I hope she would be alright… Where do you think Tabris take her to…? That bastard… I will kill him the next time I see him… but Rishta is more important now…”
Raphael pulled himself away from Adriel and blushed. “I’m sorry…” Raphael apologized softly, “I guess I wasn’t thinking just now…”

Adriel blushed and looked down at her feet. “It’s alright…”, she murmured. “It’s been… quite a shock all that’s happened…” Adriel folded her wings smoothed out a wrinkle in her robe but it was more to distract herself and to try to stop blushing.
“Maybe we could try to find and follow their trace”, she suggested.

Raphael smiled – a rare smile which looked more like the old him. Before he was consumed by bad memories… He thought Adriel looked horribly cute when she blushed like that. Raphael flapped his wings. “Alright. Let’s follow their trail…” He lifted up in the air a bit, and waited for Adriel.

Adriel nodded and said nothing, suddenly shy. She spread her wings and took flight, joining Raphael to follow the trace Tabris and Rishta had left behind. Adriel saw Gabriel not far away…
“I… I wonder where’s Azrael and what happened to her.”

“I hope she’s not going to do anything silly…” Raphael mumbled, which clearly meant that he didn’t care as long as she didn’t dare erase Rishta’s name off the Book of Life!

Raziel, cloaked invisibly, hovered on the edges of the battle. His Pen scratched along eternally in the book, as it always had, as it always would. The battle between Belial and Azrael would not be forgotten; neither would the one between Raphael and Tabris.
When their battle, and their scene, ended, Raziel noted that the sword that housed Rishta’s father’s soul had been left behind. He had interfered in so many events already… It did not matter if he did so once more. He knelt to take the sword in hand, miniaturizing it as he had the Tome.

Gabriel had awoken with a confused impression of a strange place and blood. It took him a while to realize that he had been left behind in Uriel’s now-empty house, with his love gone as well.
He picked himself up, with a large crick in his neck. He had slept sitting up all night long.
He had just left when he finally sensed a battle brewing. “Oh, hells,” he cursed softly, ducking into an alleyway to transform and cloak himself.
Gabe arrived just in time to see Azrael burst out of the window fighting Belial, who was in one form for once, and Raphael streaking towards him. Gabe could feel another presence approaching, but it was too far to tell who it was, let alone if it was friend or foe. Gabriel watched the entire battle, standing in the middle of the street in silence. It all seemed so… Personal. And his human manners told him not to intrude. By the time the battle was completed, Tabris had escaped with Rishta… But he had the feeling he would do her no harm by his account… He lifted himself in to the skies to follow at a distance…

Kevin closed the Library doors behind him and turned around to find the other man standing alone outside. Kevin thought he left, but apparently not.
“What cha doing here all by yourself?” He said as he slowly walked towards him to the stony steps of the Library entrance. He faked a weak smile. “I think the group awaits you inside. Perhaps you should join them. I’m heading…” He stopped. He really didn’t have a destination, or a place to go, he just arrived in London. .”..I’m heading off… somewhere.”

Michael shrugged with his usual carefree air. “They’ll be alright with me.” It was an understatement for sure. If the human only knew is companions were a pack of angels. And something quite dangerous is lurking in the skies.

Uriel had reached the library when she saw two men outside exchanging conversation. At closer observation, she recognized one of them as Michael! Whoa, she hadn’t seen him in ages. Heaven only knew where he had been. Probably out ‘scaping again… Uriel thought.
Uriel approached the two briskly and tried to sound cheerfully but obviously her injuries made her sound rather lame. “Hello, Michael. It’s been a long time. You too… uh… what’s the name?” Uriel frowned at the sight of Kevin, finding him strangely familiar yet has little or no impression of.

Kevin was about to ask Michael another question, but he was interrupted by a soft voice of a girl. He looked at her and saw familiarity within her eyes. He was completely confused because it was as if he knew here from before, yet he’s sure he has never met her in a thousand years. However he finally learned who this man was: Michael was his name, or at least that’s what he was referred to as.

Kevin smiled nervously, “Oh me? I… I’m Kevin, I’m sort of new to London.” He then turned to Michael. “And nice to meet you too Michael, I’m not sure if I’ve said that yet…” The feeling of being acquainted with this young girl kept nagging at him. Finally he decided to ask. “Pardon me, but have we met before? I apologize. I just have this feeling like I’ve met you in the past.” His face turned a bit red with embarrassment. “I’m sorry I think I’m just being weird.”

Uriel rolled her eyes. This human said he might know her! Silly mortal.
// I don’t make friends with many mortals, at least not someone as normal as you… //
“The name’s Frost Spencer, any ideas?” Uriel gave her human name, the name she used for all her life as no one except supernatural beings knew her real name. She looked at Kevin again, and waited for an answer.

Kevin pondered for a few seconds, staring off into the abyss. Then, his eyes widened. Frost. You don’t come across a name like that every day. He suddenly remembered.
“Oh!” He exclaimed. “You wouldn’t happen to have almost drowned about 6 years ago, would you?” He was almost certain that was her. He never did forget that name, after all, his heroic act did earn him the scar he bears. He put his hand on his jacket, directly over the scar. He didn’t want it to seem like he’s asking for recognition, he just couldn’t believe what a small world it was.

DROWN???” Uriel’s eyes popped wide opened and her face flushed beet red in utter embarrassment as she remembered that little incident when she was a child. She was eight and yet had not remembered who she really is nor knew her powers at all. She had played with her brothers outside and got lost, and slipped into the river accidentally. A mysterious man had rescued her… “So… you are the man who rescued me seven years ago?” Uriel nearly gapped at the coincidence, “Yes, I believe we do know each another.”
Uriel looked at Michael for a while before looking at Kevin again. However, she sent a mental message to Michael.
// Don’t you dare tell anyone about my drowning thing, especially Raphael!!! //

Michael watched with mild amusement as Uriel and Kevin talked back and forth. The light conversation was keeping him distracted from the dark foreboding force that seemed to start weighing heavily on his shoulders. He knew something was amiss, he knew many of the others were getting into deep trouble, but he still hesitated to come to their aid. Fighting means death, but not fighting…?

He was jostled out of his own thoughts when Uriel’s comments echoed in his head. // Don’t you dare tell anyone about my drowning thing, especially Raphael!!! // Michael did a good job concealing his laughter at her. Her embarrassment was silly, but he could understand concealing it. He just nodded to her, as if nodding about something in the conversation. “I would stay…” He said as he cleared his throat, “But I have someone to meet. I think you two have some catching up to do, in any case.” Michael bowed politely to Uriel, with a mischievous smile, and nodded his goodbye to Kevin. “Till we meet again…”

Kevin put a hand on Michael’s shoulder to pause him before he left.
“It’s too lonely to go by yourself. Why don’t I come along to keep you company?” He smiled and looked back at Uriel. “Perhaps she’ll join us also. We can catch up with each other as we walk with you. What do you say Michael?”

Kevin’s suggestion caught Michael slightly by surprised. He wasn’t quite sure if he should allow the man to tag along… The Lady Rishta was no doubt going to be upset by his own presence. Considering he planned on sneaking in through a window… However he didn’t think it would be very kind to deny his company. Kevin said himself he had no where to go…
Michael nodded, and smiled pleasantly. “Sure, sure… I don’t mind the company. Maybe the Lady Rishta will enjoy an extra guest as well…”

A bright smile of happiness took over Kevin’s face. He was happy that Michael allowed him to tag along. The morning air was smelling better, and Kevin believed things were turning for the better. “Thanks a lot!” Kevin exclaimed, as him, Michael and Uriel walked across the street opposing the Library.

“So who’s this ‘Lady Rishta’ that you mentioned? I honestly hope she won’t mind my presence. If she will, I’ll just leave as soon as we reach her.”
Kevin noticed a troubled look upon Michael’s face. Seemed like he was battling an internal battle with himself. But over what? Kevin didn’t bother asking though, it was too private, and there was now way Michael would tell him anyway, they only just met, and he was a pure stranger.

“Ah…” Michael blushed for a few moments as they walked, before taking on a small wry grin. “The Lady is a vision of heaven… and has a temper to rival a mountain lion’s…” He thought about the funny looks she made when she was angry about his French cookie comment… He’d have to call her that again.
“I’m sure Uriel has much more entertaining stories to tell though…”

Uriel remained silent sheepishly as she followed Michael and Kevin. Her back stung and she wrapped her arms around herself in order to make herself feel warmer. She bit her lips and gave a slight wry smile at Michael’s remark. “I’m but a young girl… I have little stories to tell…”

Tabris flew about aimless in the sky invisible to human eyes after away some distance from the previous battlefield. He carried Rishta in his arms and his eyes are red from tears. He bent down and kissed Rishta’s cheek softly. “I’m sorry…” he mumbled, “I will take you to Uriel… and ask her to help you…”

Rishta was now calm, serene – even though her body was wracked with pain. She felt, light headed… a lot of her blood had drained. But the cool morning air froze the rest. She was becoming confused though, and it was safe to say that if she didn’t get help soon, she would die.
“It is ok… but father…” She mumbled, feeling as though she was shouting at the top of her lungs. Her dress was blood stained, and Rishta could tell by the color, that it had been a lot of blood. But the sword was the main thing to focus. She tried to shake herself, but she had the odd feeling of slipping away, as though she was the tide, and she was going back to the sea.

“Noo… don’t… Rishta…” Tabris’ voice trembled, “You promised to live through this… Remember… you can’t lie to me…”
Tabris saw Uriel in the distance, walking along with an angel who looked like Michael Archangel and a human. He flew down and said in his choking voice, “Uriel, could you help Rishta please? She’s dying.”

“I… I am not going anywhere….” Rishta muttered, but she wasn’t even sure if it was the truth. The blood had dried, so she was getting some blood to her brain – she was thinking somewhat more clearly. Of course, though, that this meant other parts of her weren’t going to get as much blood, but she found the numbing a blessed feeling.
When they landed she felt 2 auras that she recognized. Michael and Uriel. Uriel. No. She couldn’t ask her… it wasn’t fair. She had been injured bad. “No Tabris… Uriel… still hurt… not right.
Michael, on the other hand, she was relieved was there. It was safer to have Michael and Tabris together than Raphael and Tabris… and it was certainly safer to have Michael around when Uriel was with Michael – they probably hated each other.
Father… where are you now? I need you… daddy…

Uriel scowled. These two fools! she thought, Can’t they see there’s a human around here?! Turning to Kevin, Uriel waved her hand over Kevin and he fell unconscious, landing on the ground slowly and gently through the effect of Uriel’s spell. She frowned at a crying Tabris. Now that was rare. “You just hurt me TWICE yesterday and you want a favor outta me now? To hell with you, Tabris. I don’t care if this hybrid is going to live through the day or not, honestly. Just scram!” Uriel nearly shouted at Tabris. The sight of him angered her beyond any belief! She wanted to kill him then but she hadn’t exactly recovered and wasn’t confident of defeating him.
However… Uriel felt a bit guilty for saying that she was not going to save Rishta. Maybe she might…

Michael stared in surprised as Tabris carried a bloodied Rishta, and Uriel’s refusal to help her. A low deep growl lodged in his throat, and the need to crush this man’s bones was quickly overcoming his thoughts. Didn’t Uriel just say this man hurt her? But then she refused to help the Lady Rishta as well? He was more than confused, but his Lady didn’t look as if she could wait for any hesitations.

“Give her to me.” Michael said firmly, a focused scowl on his face. He didn’t give Tabris any chances of refusal as he gently removed Rishta from his arms, his entire energies being focused into a small spell of sealing. It was enough to close major wounds, but it was far from enough.
“Uriel… she needs help…”

Uriel scowled at Michael before glaring at Tabris. Is that an order? She thought to herself. “Sure… put her down on the ground…” Uriel muttered under her breath, clearly unhappy about Michael’s interference. She would get Tabris later, she decided, there was still plenty of time.

Raphael followed the trail slowly yet impatiently. He paused in midair suddenly.
“Damn…” Raphael cursed suddenly, “Michael, Tabris and…” Raphael’s face turned dark, “The bitch.”

“Oh… Hopefully she’ll return soon.” Adriel looked and saw the little group around Rishta; she blinked when Raphael called Uriel ‘the bitch’.
“Um… seems like Uriel will help her, see?” Adriel smiled. “Rishta will be okay.”
Adriel tilted her head, looking at Tabris.
“Tabris seems somehow affected… I don’t trust him, though. I’m worried he might wait the time we let our guard down to try something. However… do you think he truly regrets what happened?” Adriel looked up at Raphael. The blush had almost completely faded and she was back to her normal self.

“Like hell she would.” Raphael snorted, “She must have been forced by Michael to do something!”
Raphael didn’t exactly answer Adriel’s question about Tabris but he was staring at the Fallen, his eyes burning with a fire in them. Looking as though he wanted to flay Tabris and then eat him alive.

Adriel found Raphael’s eyes quite eloquent, so she nodded slightly with concern in her eyes. Adriel noticed Raphael had little love for Uriel yet, to say it in a way. About Tabris, Adriel guessed he had little time ahead… She wished a fight wouldn’t explode on the spot.
“Let’s join them”, she said, descending. “We’d better try and not disturb Rishta, though…”

Adriel landed without a noise next to the group around Rishta, with Raphael. She nodded in greeting, but had a warning look for Tabris, despite her eyes were still kind.

Rishta’s mind became foggy after she muttered about not needing Uriel, and thought they had actually reached a silent agreement. But, then Michael came into play. He moved her from Tabris and held her himself, which somewhat surprised her. He held Rishta with a gentle hand, but firm: she knew he wouldn’t drop her. He healed some of her wounds, and she felt a little better. But she was a bit out of it now, mumbling and not even sure that what she was seeing was real.

When Adriel and Raphael came, she smiled. She felt them, and with all of them so close, for the first time, she relaxed.
“Thank you…” Rishta said, and then focused on Raphael. Is he all right? Yes… perfectly safe. Good… Rishta felt so tired, so achy, she had half a mind to sleep now. And so, she rested her head on Michael’s shoulder, and fell into a fitful doze.

Raphael landed beside Adriel and he looked at Rishta with sadness and sorrow in his eyes. He glanced at Uriel and shot her a deadly look, telling her to do her job this time.
Raphael turned and glared at Tabris with a pure look of venom in his eyes…

Uriel caught Raphael’s glare and knew what he meant. She knew that he would really kill her if she did nothing again. Grumbling inwardly, Uriel touched Rishta’s forehead silently and a glow emerged from her palm, and her rune shone…
The wounds closed up completely and the bleeding stopped… The bones joined back in the right places. Uriel glanced at Rishta. “You should feel better now.” Uriel said coldly, almost emotionless.

Michael gave a small sigh of relief, choosing to ignore the glares shot back and forth, and the deep underlay of tension. He gently moved Rishta away from his shoulder, as much as he hated to do it, and gazed down at her sternly. “What happened?”

Rishta was actually comfortable when she felt Uriel heal her. She felt more alive then ever and actually quite happy to be here. Michael put her down and she grabbed his arm for balance. When she regain her composure she gave them an awkward smile.
Ignoring Michael’s question for a moment, she hugged Uriel, muttering: “You should not have done that… but thank you… thank you so much.”

Uriel blinked when Rishta hugged her. “Uhh… it’s okay…” Uriel muttered softly as Rishta hugged her. She almost felt embarrassed and she pushed Rishta away gently. She just stood there, not saying another word.

Rishta then turned to them all, smiling happily, almost sheepishly. But she knew Michael wanted an answer, almost as though he was thoroughly concerned… almost crazy about it. That confused her, but she answered.
“I just… got hit… that is all… well, I, um… don’t worry, it was an accident. You can almost say I asked for it…”

// Sorry Rishta, I never meant to hurt you… Now you probably never want to see me again… Goodbye, may you have a happy life with Raphael… //
After sending the mental message to Rishta, Tabris spread his wings and fled, disappearing into the night sky in his fastest speed. He couldn’t linger there any longer with the angels, or he would surely be ripped to shreds.

Raziel banished his Book and returned it to its locket form, and retrieved the charm of the sword from beside it. Dropping his concealment that he had cleverly kept while watching them all, he stepped forward as the sword began to return to its proper size.
“This is yours.”

Rishta was smiling at them when she heard Tabris. What the?! Me and Raphael?! Where on earth did he… oh man… what a mess… She shook her head, chuckling softly. Only her. Only would she be able to throw herself in a mess like this.
“Um… if you guys heard that, it isn’t true… he has it wrong… I, oh, this is a mess.”
She then saw Raziel and the sword. “Father!” She exploded in happiness. She accepted the sword back and sheathed it, smiling as though she couldn’t stop. Impulsively she hugged Raziel. “Thank you! Thank you so much! I thought I would never see it again…”
Rishta then turned to all of them, speechless with joy. She felt a bit weak, but she was so thankful to be alive. Thank you for giving me another chance…

Raziel stiffened reflexively before relaxing, and gave her a somewhat strained smile. Frankly, all of these people around him was starting to wear on his poor, frayed nerves.
“It was no great difficulty…” He extracted himself from her arms, before she could accidentally stab him. “I am glad you are well,” Raziel said solemnly.

“I’m glad to see you back to health, Rishta”, Adriel said with a soft, kind smile.

“Raphael, the Baroness…”, she muttered. Then she heard Tabris and Rishta’s words. Adriel blinked but said nothing on the subject, as Raziel gave back Rishta’s sword and Rishta hugged him.

“Hmm?” Raphael was near absent-minded, “Let’s go then…” He couldn’t really be bothered with the silly mortals. He just wanted to make sure his friends were okay and finish off the stupid war, killing off those irritating demons. Won’t they stop multiplying and give them problems??? Argh…
Raphael spread his wings and flew upwards a little, waiting for Adriel.

“Wait, what about him…?” Uriel said as she squat down and looked at Kevin. It was not the best time for him to regain consciousness yet. Sighing, Uriel muttered, “Alright, ungrateful assholes. Leaving after I saved Rishta… I will take care of him alone… I don’t need help…”
Uriel snapped her fingers and Kevin floated upwards, onto her arms. The human was light to her celestial form but was still kind of strenuous in her injured form. Mumbling some grumblings, Uriel left where she was, back to her home…

Adriel took flight and followed Raphael. She couldn’t help but bit her lip to prevent a smile at Uriel’s protests – well, Uriel always seemed to have a reason to complain. Adriel looked around as Raphael and she went higher into the skies.
“I wonder… where did they go. Maybe we should look for traces at the Inn they had been staying in. I perceived the most terrifying demonic presence, but it simply vanished…!”

Raphael frowned when he heard what Uriel said. He felt like blasting her slightly but he let it be, on account that she healed Rishta after all.
“We can only know when we reach there.” Raphael replied simply.

Rishta smiled when she finally released Raziel. He had been a bit stiff, but hey, he was a philosopher and obviously not to social. Oh well, she might be able to change that… she shook her head. There was no way she would succeed! She turned to Adriel and Raphael, they were leaving, and Uriel had left. The Baroness. Something inside froze slightly, but she didn’t know why.
“All right then, goodbye! I hope you can come to my house later though, or we can plan something different… goodbye! And good luck!”
She then looked at the remaining two. Michael and Raziel. “So, where are we going now?” It was kind of stupid, with her to ask that, considering she felt weak and tired, but she smiled, and actually felt like exploring.

Adriel and Raphael’s conversation peaked his interest… The Baroness? The human Raziel dragged into the middle of everything? The human should be his responsibility to look after, not having Rishta cling around his neck… Michael tried to ignore his small pain of jealously towards Raziel… still finding it difficult to be objective. The geezer gets praised and he gets left in the dust… He’d have to do something about that…

Wrong… You should be planning strategies not sending Raziel off on goose chases cause the Lady favors him over you… Then again… His mess, his responsibility…
Michael cleared his throat, standing up straight in an effort to look as serious as possible. “Adriel and Raphael believe the woman is in trouble. If she is in danger, it’s because you dragged her in to the middle of our war. You should clean up your mess…” His conscience started ticking in the back of his head. As far as he knew, the woman was living at the hell mouth itself… that house was seeping with evil…
He sighed deeply, his air of seriousness and confidence melting into defeat and a sheepish scowl. ” … I’ll go with you …” he mumbled quietly, hoping Raziel would take off before hearing him, freeing him of his stupid need to do the right thing.

Rishta smiled, unaware that Michael was trying to get rid of Raziel. She was worried about the Baroness, remembering the cold, evil feeling she got from the house. The woman had gone to the Inn… where she had been, Rishta realized. There had been a battle there… so she was gone. Probably back to the hell she called home. Rishta sighed, hopefully the woman would be fine… she prayed that the woman would be fine.

The Lady then ignored her present situation and realized that Michael had been the one who had made Uriel help her. She blushed softly for a moment, but then decided it was the right thing to do. Stepping forward she embraced Michael and gave him a soft, quick kiss on the cheek. “Thanks for convincing Uriel for me… I don’t think I would have been able to do it myself.”

Michael blinked, his face no doubt turning three shades of red. She kissed him! Ha! He doubted stuffy old Raziel ever got kissed by women!
He coughed and sputtered, “Of course, I’m sure you’ll be fine on your own. The Lady Rishta and I can stay back and prepare plans….”

Raziel’s light blue eyes narrowed slightly in warning. He knew Michael was feeling jealousy over Rishta; how many would this child ensnare? It would be the Fall all over again.
He flicked his azure wings irritatedly. “Very well, Michael. We shall go, together. Rishta, I recommend that you go home and recover your energies. It has been a long, busy day for you, and I daresay you are not used to the strain.” And nor shall you ever be… Heaven, what was I thinking, to imagine placing such a burden on frail shoulders that it should surely break?

Raziel turned back to Michael, with a message only he could here. //So long as you remember why we are here. Everything else… Must be left behind, if it prevents our success.// His mental ‘voice’ was a cool caress of wind. It seemed he would fall back into his old role as balance and wisdom once more.
Heaven save them all.

Rishta smiled, but was stubborn and held her ground. “Raziel, I may be young, but I can go see the Baroness. Besides she may not be one of my favorite people, but I have to make sure she is all right. And I promise I will not do something stupid this time.” Turning away from them she didn’t notice Michael’s red face, or Raziel noticing him being jealous. Let me see, can I go? Yes. I am fine. All we are doing is visiting hell’s house… oh, I am fine!

She stepped away from them and spread her wings, enjoying the feeling that she was healed. She didn’t feel that weak, just a bit tired. Rishta said to both of them, “Come on, lets go see the Baroness. Besides, it is more normal for a Lady to see a Baroness than two men to see her – especially since she is a widow, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to be um, flirting so soon.”

“Rishta, I am very serious. You need to go back to your manor and rest. Now.” Raziel glanced at Michael. //Lend me a little support here… If you love her so much.// He closed his wings tightly, feathers slicked down. He was worried. She ought not go.

The corner of Michael’s eye twitched, and he had a small guilty expression. How the devil did Raziel figure that out? The little… bah.. He did agree however. The lady was still weak, she shouldn’t be put in such danger.
Michael nodded his head in agreement with Raziel, and put on a firm yet gently face. “My lady, please… If you accompany us, we’ll spend all our time worrying over you. If you rest, we can be back within minutes… We can bring the Baroness to see you! Alright, cookie?”

Rishta was stunned. They were like ganging against her! They really did not want her to go… She gave a small pout, but then offered a sheepish smile. “Yes, of course, I will go home. But you better bring Autumn! Or, just tell me she is all right… once again, Raziel, your logic has gotten the better of me… but I suggest you say that you are visiting on my behalf. Then you guys are coming home and telling me everything! No ifs, ands, or–”

Rishta then stopped. The word “cookie” had just processed. She frowned in amusement. I will never escape this! He INSISTS on calling me cookie! I could…
“Michael – I have a name! Call me Rishta! Not cookie!” She then turned and flew off, only stopping to turn and wave goodbye.

Raziel shook his head. She ought to stick to swinging that sword around for now. “Are you ready?” Raziel recloaked himself against angelic sight, and dropped the same shield over Michael. “We must be going now.” He launched off to wait in the breaking cloud cover.

Michael snickered after Rishta, he never knew the little name would be so entertaining to use. He then nodded solemnly, hating to use his wing for flight, but Raziel not giving him any other choice… He dropped his human facade and took off in to the sky…

(1) To the Devil all of them!

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