Adriel and Raphael flew back to the Inn where Autumn and Johnathon had taken refuge the night before; hopefully they’d get clues or notice to where the humans went and what had happened to them.
Adriel went in by the bedroom window in Autumn’s room. The wallpaper and gypsum were ripped in some parts, and it was evident there had been a fight there. In the adjacent room, the furniture had been crushed and there was shattered glass on the floor. Adriel was startled at the intensity of the demonic trace remaining in the room.
“This doesn’t look good…”
Raphael looked around and found signs of violent struggles and demonic attacks. He felt the aura of a powerful demon they all knew so well and he felt shocked. Azazel is supposed to be still in the abyss…!!! He glanced at Adriel and wondered if he should tell her. “Adriel… don’t you feel that the strongest aura around here – though diminished – is rather familiar…?” Raphael said, hinting a little.
Adriel hugged herself. She perceived the trace of the demonic beast, of Belial and Moloch, the humans and… another, more powerful one. The evil aura was chilling, even though its owner had left the room some time ago. She turned to see Raphael as he spoke, and she nodded, her green and gold eyes wide in shock. “It’s Azazel… is it not…?” Adriel bit her lip. “But it can’t be him! Azrael was here; maybe she’d know…” But the evidence was too certain to leave any room for other possibilities. It had to be Azazel’s trace.
Raphael frowned. Azazel. That spelled deep trouble. Raphael considered on what they should do for the next move. Maybe they should consult the rest? Adriel would have to ask Uriel since he detested her and would go approach Michael himself despite Michael not being reliable enough. Raphael was moving to another area when he stopped. Another aura. A strong demon… but the aura was very faint… which meant that he or she has not been here for long. Raphael could recognize the aura anywhere.
“Beelzebub…” Raphael muttered, his turquoise eyes blazing blue with his fists clutched and teeth gritted.
“Beelzebub?” Adriel frowned in disgust, her full lips pursing. That was one she had been glad to see leave the Heavens, despite Adriel was of a compassionate nature. Then she remembered what he tried to do to Zeruel and Raphael’s personal hatred towards Beelzebub. “I can sense him too…”, she said when standing next to Raphael. “They have their own Gathering, Raphael”, she said. “But how did Azazel… why was he able to escape? Why was he here in the Baroness’s room?”
“I don’t care!” Raphael snapped, “I’m going to find Beelzebub, dig his heart out and feed him to his beloved flies!!!”
He picked up the underwear nearby and he frowned. “I think Azazel picked up the bad habit from Beelzebub of all things…” he mumbled to himself.
Adriel flushed at the sight of the underwear Raphael had picked up. Could be because of Victorian times she was living through, but she felt very embarrassed when he mumbled his plans with the underwear in his hands, and then mentioned Beelzebub’s bad habits.
“Well… what will we do?”, she asked, still embarrassed.
Raphael dumped the underwear aside and he sniffed at his fingers. “Stinks of Azazel…” he commented with a frown. He wondered why Azazel was there and from his observations, the Baroness had not been hurt. Weird… What was it about the Baroness which attracted Raziel to her and now even Azazel? He smiled at the thought of a fight between the two for Autumn. It took Raphael to snap out of his naughty thoughts and he smiled sheepishly at Adriel. “Maybe we should trace the Baroness and see if she’s safe…” he suggested.
Adriel nodded with her face still red. She was about to say something else when two bellboys entered the room and went into the bedroom. The did not see the angels, who were invisible. The bellboys were amazed at the mess.
“We got to report this… Where’s the suitcase?”
“It’s here!” The second boy put Autumn’s belongings inside the suitcase and closet it. “The lord said we should send it to Riktophen House.”
“What could’ve happen here???” The bellboy was amazed. His partner shrugged.
“His Lordship better pay for this if he doesn’t want to be sued…”
“I think it’s only one suitcase.”
“Okay. Lock the door!”
The boys left, locking the door behind them.
Adriel blinked. “His Lordship? I thought Autumn Riktophen was a widow!”
Raphael thought for a moment and linked one to one. “If the Baron’s dead and is the Baroness’ husband… hmm… and if Azazel is back and here to claim the Baroness for no good reason…”
Looking at Adriel, he grinned, “Do you think the Baron is Azazel?”
Adriel stared, then giggled.
“Azazel married? What a… a strange idea!” Adriel grinned but then gave it a second thought. Her smile disappeared and her expression turned worried. “Well… it’s a creepy idea, Raphael. It’s not like it isn’t possible, though! But how…? He would have had to break the Seal of the Abyss to get out, not to mention the Baron had years dead! Why to choose his body then?” Adriel looked up at Raphael with an uneasy look in her eyes.
“I wouldn’t say that.” Raphael said coolly with his hands in pockets, “Belial is already out… I sense Moloch and Azazel is powerful enough to weaken the seal, I believe. Plus Beelzebub…” Raphael paused for a moment as he continued, “The stupid stinking fly is buzzing around. These few added together is enough to break the seal, I suppose.”
Raphael thought for a moment and he said, “I don’t exactly understand why the Baron is chosen too… but there must be a good reason… Perhaps the answer lies with the Baroness…”
Adriel was dubious. “But if they together simply adding their forces could break the Seal, the Seal would have never worked! There’s more to this, I’m sure. Maybe Raziel would find some answers… because he was involved in the making of the Seal. About the Baron… I don’t know. I’m certain he was dead. No angel of death claimed his soul, though; he had sold it away or lost it to a demon.”
Adriel pressed her hand upon her lips.
“Yes, the Baroness… She’s somehow in the very center of the matter; we ought to find her and see what answers she can give.”
“Disgusting.” Raphael snorted when he heard what Adriel commented about the late Baron. “I hate it when people sold their souls to the demons. They just don’t know what they are getting themselves into.”
Raphael opened his wings and looked at Adriel, “Wanna go now? We should get to the Baroness. Who knows, maybe the Baron is there and we can seek some answers.”
Adriel was not very enthused at the idea of confronting the Baron/Azazel creature, but she felt compelled to help Autumn. She kept her fears to herself and nodded.
“Yes, let us go.” Adriel absently put a hair strand behind her ear. “I wish Azrael was here. She could tell us if it’s the Baron or not, looking in the Book of Life and Death.”
Also, Azrael isn’t afraid… but I don’t know about myself, Adriel thought.
Raphael observed Adriel for a while before saying gently, “Are you alright, Adriel? Are you afraid…? I won’t force you to come along if you are afraid…”
Yeah, you think you are some hero huh? Going alone? You will be blasted in minutes if Azazel, Belial, Moloch and the stinking fly are all there!
Adriel tilted her head to look at him in a bird-like movement. Her back feathers puffed and she had a little, soft smile. “I might be afraid, but that would not be an excuse not to go, if you go. I wouldn’t stay and let you face danger alone.”
Raphael was glad that Adriel was going with him, but he tried to keep his face straight and not show his smile. His wings flapped a little and he went to the window.
“I’m going now. See you there later, unless you are coming with me now.” Raphael said as he leapt off the window and flew in the cool morning sky, towards the Baron’s house.
Adriel took flight from the window, flying behind Raphael and invisible to human eyes. She felt the Blade of Life pound softly within her self. Adriel followed him all the way to Riktophen House.
Azazel did not smile at Beelzebub’s reaction; he regarded with an intensely cold and dark look, however.
“What you think or not does not interest me”, he coolly replied. “I’ll judge if you are a mindless child or not, and I’ll do so by your actions. Now follow me.”
Azazel carried Autumn out and into the carriage. Once the three were inside, the driver headed to the Riktophen House.
From his seat Azazel watched Beelzebub with a strange look to his evil gaze.
“Very well, mindless child. What’s the state of the troops that remained on Earth while I was gone?”
Beelzebub smiled thinly at Azazel’s words. “Well milord, I’m sure you still remember I’m your primary general, and right-hand man as well. If I’m a mindless child as you said, I wouldn’t be surprised if you are leading a group of weak and defenseless children against the angels.” Beelzebub snickered, “And we, will lose the war definitely.”
He grinned and said, “The army has been preparing well and is only awaiting for your commands now, milord, which is of course, if you don’t mind commanding a whole fleet of children.”
Just because you are the boss doesn’t give you the right to push us around like shit.
Azazel listened to Beelzebub with a lazy, full of contempt air to him. “You may be right, of course. Your assertiveness is remarkable”, he softly said, his voice seeping poison and sarcasm. “It seems like I do command a group of mindless children. Doesn’t it? Or else, we would have not been defeated… It’s quite obvious some demons have difficult to follow orders or to remain in the place where they belong.” Azazel’s bronze eyes blazed darkly as he rested his back in the comfort of the cushioned seat.
“You won’t pretend to say it was MY fault, would you?” he mockingly asked. “After all, I’ve relied on you for many things of importance. We’ll see about these troops; I still believe in your good skills.” For the way he pronounced the last words it seemed like he had really meant, ‘I could stop believing and get rid of you if you fail to me’. Azazel smiled with chilling benevolence, for it wasn’t at all.
Autumn was still unconscious. Azazel cast a side glance at her and suddenly felt the impulse to grasp her neck and tighten his fist till her delicate bones shattered. He might do that later. Azazel perceived the battling energies in the skies and snickered.
“This means of transport is awfully slow”, he muttered.
Azazel didn’t feel like adding more and sank in his own dark thoughts for the rest of the ride to the Riktophen House. His gaze wandered outside, sometimes unnervingly fixed on his two companions in the carriage, then back outside. When the carriage stopped, Azazel still didn’t move for a few seconds.
Drat! Back home… Azazel picked up Autumn and descended, followed by Beelzebub. The carriage left at his order and the three entered the house.
The mansion looked curiously empty. Their footsteps echoed in the halls. Azazel sent a simple mental command and the main door slammed shut with a loud sound.
Anastasia seemed to appear from no where, in her usual sweet old woman form. She was in the latest most extreme fashions, as if she were dressed for a dinner party. Her hair was tied back in a tight little bun, and she was wearing every bit of jewels she could fit onto her body… At her side was one of her ‘puppies’, and she wore the expression of a mother pleased to have her child back home…
Until she saw her… “Love! She is tainted! How dare you bring that woman in to our home!” Anastasia screeched.
Azazel somehow expected Lilith’s reaction, but it still irritated him, plus he was fairly confused about this wife/marriage thing. However, his emotions compelled him to keep Autumn and he had the notion that only he had the right to hurt her.
Azazel bit his lip and put up a kind of hurt look at his mother’s rant. “Mother”, he softly said, “Why do you say that? She is my wife… I thought you’d like to have a grandchild sometime.”
He walked towards the main staircase of the mansion; he had dropped that phrase on purpose to make her angry – he had missed that in Hell.
Beelzebub couldn’t help but snicker at the sight of Lilith and Azazel’s reactions to Autumn. This lady was special indeed, to let the demon and demoness in the relationship of mother and son start ‘quarrelling’. He walked up slightly and bowed to Lilith.
“”Greetings to you, milady.” Beelzebub greeted with a grin on his face, “Looks like you have some issues with your daughter-in-law…” Smirkingly, Beelzebub said, “Do not worry about that, milady. The lord will get sick of her soon…”
Hiiiiiiisssss… Anastasia gave a cold dark glare to the back of her son as he walked up the stares carrying the awful woman. A grandchild with the filthy human? The child wouldn’t live long enough to take it’s first breath. And if she had her way, the woman wouldn’t even live long enough to survive the day!
Anastasia turned to Beelzebub, her nose slightly upturned over the conversation in general. “She will die in any case… a slow painful death…” Belial and Moloch didn’t do their duty… they will pay for it later…
Azazel took Autumn upstairs. He followed her trace to find her private chambers and took her there. The doors opened under the influence of his sheer will to let him pass. Azazel laid her on the bed and swept a look around. The dorm was well-ventilated, with large windows and lacey details. Too much light to his liking. Azazel closed the curtains, leaving the room in a bluish twilight. He walked over to the bed and moved his hand over Autumn’s wound. It was healing fast. Angelic trace stung his hand, but he also perceived a dark-magic user had tended to her. Interesting. Azazel examined the room and discovered photographic materials such as rolls of film in tubes, photos… Azazel wondered if there were pictures of the Baron somewhere. But he didn’t think ‘pictures of the baron’, but ‘pictures of me’. The duality was strange.
Azazel soon got bored of rummaging through his wife’s belongings and went back to the bed. He plopped himself down on the bed next to her and retrieved the spell that made her unconscious.
“Eh…?” Autumn blinked her eyes open, surprised to find herself at home in her own bed. She couldn’t remember falling asleep? The last she remembered was asking Mr. Morris to leave… She scooted back on the bed, aware that movement came much easier by now, and she was less groggy then before. However she was reluctant to reply to her ‘dead’ husband.
“I’m fine… What happened to… you?” Autumn just had to know. Lorant Riktophen died years ago…
Azazel sniggered at her reaction. He grabbed a pillow, put it behind him then rested on it, lazily stretching out his long legs.
“Well, well… it’s a long story. I’m touched to see you are interested, though.” Azazel’s mellow voice was tinted in sarcasm. “Let’s say… I’ve been to Hell and back; a really awful journey. I won’t annoy you with details about where I’ve been; what’s really important is, I had to leave for sometime, but I am back.”
Azazel put a hair strand out of his eyes. He loosened the neck of his shirt and tie. “Now dear, explain me about this ‘accident’ of yours.” He motioned to her wound.
“I should get dressed…” Autumn slid from the bed, finding his presence disconcerting. Her husband always had a malevolent air about him, but now it seemed almost suffocating.
She was still wearing a pale ivory, modest night gown she managed to dress herself in after the Doctor left. The little comfort clothing would bring would be enough to allow her to think more clearly… His explanation of his where abouts didn’t satisfy her curiosity at all. Anastasia had to of done something… perhaps his death was faked? The old woman grieved so much for her son, it couldn’t have been faked… but she was involved… she had to of been involved…
Autumn stopped at the closet, and glanced over her shoulder… “Perhaps you should wait outside while I dress…?”
Azazel smiled in dark satisfaction and made himself more comfortable against the pillow.
“Why should I leave? I’m very comfortable right now. I don’t think you should hide from me.” Azazel had a sly smile. “I may help you, if your wound still hurts you.”
“No, of course not…” This would be so much easier if you weren’t such a coward.. Autumn mentally cursed herself as she pulled a simple copper toned dressed from the closet and moved to the dressing screen. It would provided enough distance and shelter from his eyes. She grew spoiled over the years with him gone. She was going to have to relearn all those tricks to avoid him.
Autumn dressed as quickly as she could manage, still hoping to avoid the topic of her wounds. “Have you spoken with Anastasia yet… she would be pleased to see you…?”
Dressing screen. Azazel blinked and curled the corner of his lip, annoyed. He loosened his tie further and stretched out, then ran his fingers through his hair. He could’ve broken the screen to splinters with a simple flick of his hand, but he opted otherwise. It was too soon…
“Yes, she saw me”, he mumbled irritably. “She was quite pleased. Seems like she missed me some.” Azazel frowned at the dressing screen and a subtle crack appeared on its surface. Azazel bit his lip. “How about you? Did you miss me?”
She froze, her hand hovering only halfway finished buttoning the front of her dress. It seems he was determined to ask her all the questions she didn’t want to answer. “It wasn’t the same in the house without you…” It was the best way she could answer without lying. There had to be some way to distract him…
Autumn turned around to glance at herself in the mirror, brushing her hair back out of her face. Frowning at her reflection, she almost sighed. She looked like a frightened rabbit. That wouldn’t do it all… they would both eat her alive. “You’ve been gone for so long. I’m sure you have business you need to attend to. You needed worry about me…”
Azazel frowned, realizing she was eluding his questions and she had deliberately skipped the explanation about her wound. As she spoke, Azazel sank more into the pillow and fixed his gaze on the ceiling.
“Businesses… may wait if I want them to.”
Azazel frown went more pronounced. Businesses? They had waited thousands of years. He had a world to conquer and an Army to organize; he had no time for household things. But he needed answers from this frail woman. Azazel’s beautiful face showed a mix of impatience and confusion.
After a few seconds, he sat up on the bed and absently ran his fingers through his bluish black hair.
“You’ve not told me about your wound…”
Autumn gave a frustrated huff as she finished buttoning her dress, and smoothed out her skirt. She remained standing behind the screen, lightly leaning against the dresser. The screen was the only wall between them, and if she was gong to have to make him agree, any barrier was good one. Autumn crossed her arms, trying to keep her tone firm and unwavering. “I was having a very pleasant conversation this afternoon with one of my subjects. Someone attacked us both, but Mr. Morris showed up and took care of him… The manor was too far away, so we stopped at the Inn for me to see a Doctor…” All half truths, and partial lies. She could have told him about Anastasia’s interference… or about the angels, but the less he knew, the less likely he would ask more questions…
Azazel bit his lip, processing the information. Since he knew the angelic host was involved in the healing, he couldn’t help but to guess who had attacked Autumn.
Or best, who had arranged an attack. He had been out for long… but not long enough to lose his senses! Azazel’s eyes darkened and he suddenly snapped back into his usual mood.
Azazel left the bed and walked over to the dressing screen; at his mere proximity, the fragile piece of wood and fabric shattered and fell to the bedroom’s rug. Azazel reached out and firmly grasped Autumn’s wrist, pulling her against him. His arm held her tightly against his body, not letting her pull away and making it difficult for her to breathe. “Dear”, he said with a dark smile, “there must not be secrets between us. If you ever lie to me…” Azazel put up a sad, hurt face, yet his eyes blazed like molten bronze from the pits of Hell and his voice was dark and cold, “I’ll be disappointed.”
He caressed her hair and gently grasped her neck; his fingers closed slowly and tight.
Autumn closed her eyes, taking in a deep calming breath. She wouldn’t let him have his satisfaction of shaking her. However he was seeing through every story she could think up. It was like he knew everything and only wanted to hear her say it…
“I don’t want to anger you, Lorant. Expending all your energy on me isn’t needed…” She couldn’t pull away, as much as she wanted, not with his hands so firmly clasped around her neck. The angels were causing trouble for her before, but now she almost wished they were here again.
“You should rest, or speak with your mother… it’s been so long after all…”
“Ah I don’t need any rest! Specially now that we’re finally together again!” Azazel smiled malevolently as she tried to keep calm with his grasp choking her. Her neck as so fragile… A little pressure and it’ll shatter like glass. He closed his fingers till they began to sink in her soft flesh and a bluish hue appeared in her cheeks. His eyes blazed like fire.
“It’s you who needs rest, dear. After all, it’s been troubling hours for you.” He opened his fingers, letting her breathe again; Azazel kissed her cheek as she was still gasping for air.
“Beware who you admit to your presence, Autumn. It’s inconvenient to have bad companies for friends”, he whispered in her ear, seizing her. He laid her on the bed and left, slamming the door shut behind him.
The second the door slammed, Autumn sprung from the bed and listened at the door until she was satisfied the footsteps down the hall where far enough away… She grasped the sides of her head, resisting the urge to scream, throw things… anything to release the tension of just being there… This was all so insane! The desperate need to escape was hard to ignore… but she wasn’t even sure if it were the smart thing to do. He wasn’t normal now… he was never normal to begin with, but something in this house wasn’t right…
Autumn walked quickly to the balcony swinging open the curtains and unlocking the pair of French doors. Stepping out to the wall, she gazed down to the ground, gauging the distance… Jumping would be stupid… The vines at the side looked strong enough… but climbing down in a dress would also be stupid… Leaving in broad daylight was probably just as stupid!
Exasperated, Autumn dropped into a chair on the balcony… She just needed to sit, and rest and think… A perfect solution would present itself if she just had time to think.
Raziel alighted on the balcony first, not far ahead of Michael. He dropped the angelic form and the invisibility, but retained the spell that hid his angelic presence.
He looked down at Autumn; she seemed badly stressed, and hadn’t noticed him. “Autumn?” he asked quietly. “Are you… Alright?”
Startled, Autumn jumped up, her mind an body working out of instinct now, she grabbed a small hand shovel sitting on the table nearby and wielded it in front of her like she would any small dagger. It took a few moments to realize the intruder on her deck wasn’t Lorant, or any fiend Anastasia would normally hire, but Raziel. She almost laughed… almost. She didn’t hear him come in… or climb up… or fly over? He was an angel after all…
Beware who you admit to your presence, Autumn.
The threat, her husband so chidingly gave to her before echoed in her mind. If he walked in now, he would certainly kill them both.
“You have to leave.” Setting shovel back down on the table, she frowned. Hating to have to send him away. Leaving with him would be perfect, but to leave this house with another man, let alone an angel would send the Baron in to a violent fit. The touch of his hand across her neck was still lingering.
Michael climbed over the railing of the balcony getting his foot caught in ivy, nearly stumbling over on the cool marble head first. He could have just landed like Raziel… He should have just landed, but he had to do it the normal human way… He’d kick himself for it later.
His noisy entrance seemed to make the Baroness jump again, and back away towards Raziel. He twitched his nose, dusting himself off making a mental note of it. She seemed awfully paranoid. Michael gave a stupid grin, realizing he must not of been helping any to be a complete stranger showing up when he knew she was having a hard time…
“I’m uh… Michael.” He pointed to Raziel. “His friend? Why exactly do you want us to leave…? We just got here…”
He isn’t exactly the sharpest quill in the box, is he. “I must second his question, Milady. What is it that we… should…” His eyes widened slightly, almost a shout of surprise from him.
//Azazel is here.// Raziel could sense the foul creature’s energies… A swirling ichor vortex, purely evil and malicious.
“You must leave.” It wasn’t an order or a request . It was a statement.
//Michael… You’re in command, here. What do you suggest…? I do not feel that confronting the evil in this manor once more would be prudent.//
“I just told you the very same thing!” Autumn gave an almost angry sigh as she crossed her arms to comfort herself. She noticed Raziel’s expression and his look towards Michael, they both seemed to know something. It was more than she knew… It still didn’t matter, they had to leave as quickly as possible.
“It’s too early for visitors… Perhaps another day. Just not now.” ‘Moments ago you would have sold your soul for this chance… Now you’re afraid to take it…’
//You mean stupid… How do you feel about kidnapping?…//
Michael shuffled his feet, finding the woman’s actions very odd. She was well aware there was something wrong with the house, she was even especially skittish. Now why was she being so damn difficult about the whole thing? He rubbed his chin, eying her curiously as she again ask them to leave, giving a sad excuse…
“Hey…” Blinking, Michael moved his hand forward to touch a small bruise at her neck, only to have it promptly smacked away and the women to glare at him like he bit her cat…
//… Yeah… Kidnapping is a real good idea… Hope you don’t mind loosing a few fingers…//
//Are you such a fool to suggest we do it MANUALLY? A simple spell would suffice, milord Archangel. And I would appreciate it if you kept clear of my private thoughts.// With a mental sigh, Raziel closed off his line of communication. Let Michael mull over his options and choose as he would.
Autumn’s hesitancy was well-deserved, whether or not she knew the true identity of her erstwhile husband. Perhaps she did, but it did not change the outcome all the same. “Milady, we are worried for your safety. Could you at least not claim guest-right at the Lady Rishta’s?” Raziel pleaded.
Make up your mind swiftly, Michael. I do not care to be found by the Fiend.
Michael resisted his chuckle, and kept his solemn look, despite the urge to smile. Raziel was too uptight for his own good.
“We insist. I promised the Lady I’d bring you back, and I’m trying to make a good impression.” Michael grinned trying to be as comfortable as possible to ease the baroness’ nerves. He doubted he was doing a very good job… “Of course if you refuse, we’ll have to take you anyway… It’s just more pleasant…”
“You’ve got a lot of nerve assuming it would be so easy!” Autumn snapped, pointing an accusing finger at Michael. “Angel or not, you won’t be dragging me around like a lost kitten!” It wasn’t really his fault she was so angry, and it wasn’t fair of her to take out her frustrations on the two of them. But her husband controlled her every waking moment in the past, and now he’s back meaner than the devil himself, and they want to make everything all the more worse by taking her somewhere and making him more angry?
Autumn shook her head, and crossed her arms with impatience. “I’m afraid I can’t leave.” She gave Michael a warning glance, forgetting Raziel’s presence. “Now you must go before you get me in more trouble.”
Raphael flew down onto the balcony and landed silently. He whipped off his invisible form and looked coldly at Raziel and Michael, before setting his gaze at Autumn. He scrutinized her carefully for a moment, and for the first time in a while a slight mischievous grin appeared on his face. No wonder even the son of the devil takes a liking to her. Autumn could qualify as an angel with her looks. “We must leave now.” Raphael spoke, focusing authority in his voice, “The son of the devil has awaken and if Adriel and I are not wrong, he might be possessing the body of the dead Baron.” Raphael gave a swift glance at Autumn. “You must leave too, or would you rather be devoured by the Son of the Devil, which I ensure you is not a very good experience.”
Adriel landed on the balcony handrail, then stepped down on the floor without a sound. A little worried that the news Raphael broke could startle the Baroness if she didn’t know those beforehand, Adriel squeezed herself between the little table and Michael and stood next to the Baroness; she peered inside the bedroom balcony door and saw the dressing screen shattered on the rug.
“Autumn”, Adriel softly said, “Do not fear to be helped. Please make haste and let us take you to a safer place. Don’t take anything with you and don’t look back. We know him; we’ve fought him before. This time, for your safety, we must leave at once instead of lingering here until he notices our presence.”
“Son of the devil…?!” Autumn had the mixed look of surprise and disbelief. “You must be joking! Anastasia acts like the devil, but she certainly isn’t that all… bad…” It wasn’t the time for her to make light jokes, and the faces of the angels seem to confirm that. Autumn gave a small look of disapproval… If it were so dangerous for her to be there, they certainly weren’t making things any better by all showing up at once… If Lorant really were the son of the devil, for him to walk in now with her surrounded by four angels…
Autumn was going to regret it later, but she doubted she had much of a choice. If they stayed, Lorant would have a fit, and if she refused, they were likely to take her anyway. He wouldn’t dare have his revenge on her in someone else’s home, at least she hoped… She nodded slowly. “Alright… We can go…” Doubt it will do any good…
Beelzebub smiled at Lilith. “Now now now… don’t get mad… You will get wrinkles.” Beelzebub cooed with a rather false caring tone. “I believe Azazel simply sees her for a toy but is just confused over his own and the late Baron’s feelings.” with a sly smile, Beelzebub continued in a low voice, “Believe me… she would be gotten rid of sooner or later…” Suddenly, a loud slam was heard. Beelzebub looked up. “Yo!” Beelzebub greeted, “Finished your ‘business’ with her so fast? I thought it usually take hours!”
Azazel did not turn his head to look at his first in command as he came down the stairs, but cast a displeased glance at him by the corner of his eye.
“That’s not of your business”, he coolly and curtly said. Azazel frowned, looking at Beelzebub. This whole marriage thing was getting on his nerves, and tactless Lord of the Flies was doing great at exasperating him. Azazel wondered why it bothered him so much. He made a mental note to ask Belial a couple questions, since he should have some answers to give.
By the way, where was Belial? Azazel tapped his chin, his unnerving gaze fixed on Beelzebub. He wondered where he had been. He did look like someone who has been living a comfortable life. Well, everything in the mortal world has an end…
Azazel greeted his mother with a nod. “Mother. How careless I’ve been; I forgot to tell you how wonderful you look.” He held her hand and kissed it. He wondered how much lighter she’d feel without the weight of all that jewelry she was wearing, but he didn’t mention such things. He turned to Beelzebub.
“You were telling me about the troops you’ve trained”, he lazily said. “You may continue.”
Azazel arched an eyebrow. He felt a small tingle in the back of his neck, as if a disturbance had arrived to the manor.
“Oh that.” Beelzebub smiled as he grasped his hands in a little girl’s style, “I have castratos for our priests!!! Don’t you just love it, Azazel?!” Beelzebub snickered and let his hands fall at his sides.
“I’ve revived and gathered quite a lot of our old demonic forces through the sacrifices… and you shunned me for that earlier. So much for my hard work and loyalty!” Beelzebub exaggerated his disappointed tone, “Oh yeah. Did I mention how I’ve been taking in life energy from those silly mortals and using it to open up the seals to release more of our trapped forces in the abyss? Now you are free, I believe we can open the seal more easily in time…”
Beelzebub paused, “The forces are doing well, and I feeds them life energies regularly so that they can increase in power and mentality and stop being such a pain in the neck when it comes to understanding orders.” Beelzebub looked at Azazel and asked, “I know Belial and Moloch are here… Where’s the young lady, Belphegor? Isn’t she aware that her mother and brother are now alive?”
“Castratos? How… interesting.” Azazel couldn’t help a snicker at Beelzebub’s enthusiasm about his mutilated priests.
“I see you’ve been busy”, Azazel said. “There’s no need to worry about the Seal of the Abyss. It’s shattered, kaput. Belial composed a ritual… canalized my energies and prepared this body for me, that my mother chose. Moloch participated, too. I was surprised you were not there.” Azazel’s voice was casual, yet it seeped venom in a subtle way.
“The young lady will show up on time – if she takes the right choices.” A dark, sly smile slid on Azazel’s lips. “Hard working and enthusiastic as ever – those are good qualities of you, Beelzebub. Good for you. I am pleased.”
Azazel smiled with that malevolent smile that was characteristic of him, of a chilling fake benevolence.
Beelzebub faked a happy smile in return for what he knew too well to be Azazel’s false benevolence, for he knew Azazel had no or little passion for anyone. Probably not even for his own mother, Lilith.
“I’m so sorry.” Beelzebub smiled, “I suppose Belial and Moloch invited each another? I wasn’t invited nor was I aware. I’m too busy ‘taking care’ of my little sister at home.” Beelzebub smirked. He wondered how his little Charlotte was doing at home without him. He hoped she wasn’t going to attempt another escape again or the punishment wasn’t going to be just watching a ritual…
Anastasia sighed while the two spoke, examining her long nails, looking at the ceiling… Unlike her son, she only carried a small piece of the power and spirit of Lilith, enough to raise “their” son from the dead… The conversations were such a bore, to her. She didn’t give a damn about the conquest or their battle. All she wanted was her son, everything else be damned. The little bitch Belphegor learned that easily enough when she dared to make a move to interfere.
A small tingling in the back of her mind suggested she had new ‘guests’. Instead of passing on the news, Anastasia patiently waited for Beelzebub and Azazel to finish speaking, a lazy smile across her face. It was her home, despite the angels cloaking their presence, everything she was, was tied up in the house. Anastasia patiently hoped the angels would take the woman away. Hopefully it would anger her son enough to not only kill them, but the bothersome woman as well…
The corner of her eye twitched, as her ‘guest’ still didn’t leave… the stupid woman was no doubt making it difficult for them. If they didn’t go soon, her son would realize their presence.
“Love. Let us continue conversations outside… I am in the mood for walking, yes? You should know this world better before you take it!”
Azazel cast a thoughtful look at his mother. Out of a son’s sense more than out of any demonic sense of his, he perceived his mother was plotting something – that kind of thing children perceive in their parents’ subtle mood changes. This made him mischievously curious.
“As you wish, mother”, he said with a smile. He gently took her arm to lead her, for in the Baron’s memories he found out there was a garden behind the house and partially surrounded by it. Azazel did not want to leave the manor – yet. He behaved entirely as a loving son, yet in his eyes evil burned and danced like a bonfire. He waited to see what Lilith/Anastasia was plotting.
There was a disturbance somewhere. Azazel cast a look at Beelzebub to see if he perceived something odd as well. The garden was partially shaded by the house’s cool shadow; a large stone fountain formed figures in the air with the water and a mall maze began after a green field with different plants and flowers. The maze was typical, with green neatly cut plants forming walls and corridors, tall above their heads. Azazel stood with his mother near the fountain before the green field in the shadow of a tree. The tree’s branches shook lightly and the leaves seemed to cringe, as if touched by a terrible heat.
Beelzebub nodded at Azazel, as if telling him something as he looked up the ceiling and his eyes eventually drifted to the stairs. His eyes had a soft fire as he sensed a familiar aura. Then he turned his attention away from that aura and went on sensing the others… There was others he knew, and powerful angels… It took him only a few moments to recognize all of them. How could he not? They were once friends, now enemies, and Beelzebub knew how strong they were.
Beelzebub sensed Adriel but somehow he wasn’t interested and that surprised him. Weird. For the first time he wasn’t interested. Oh well, maybe she was boring to him by now. Beelzebub wondered if ‘that kid’ was still hanging around Adriel. Stupid ‘kid’, he jest in his mind.
“Going for a walk?” Beelzebub said with a smile on his face as he looked at Azazel and Lilith, “Don’t be too long.”
Azazel’s brow twitched. The human shell was a good one, but he still was getting used to it and it made his demonic senses numb to some extent. As hours passed, he perceived things stronger and more clearly.
He perceived angels in the manor. Beelzebub expression confirmed this. A soft growl was heard, even though his vocal chords did not vibe. Michael. Raphael. An angel of Knowledge… Azazel forced his senses, adjusting the body to them. Raziel. Then, Adriel…
Michael, of all angels. Azazel’s eyes narrowed and the outline of his body went blurry for a second, and a hiss was heard as the shadow he projected on the grass turned a deep dark red, waving strangely. He opened his fingers to let go of Anastasia, almost absently.
“My love!” Anastasia quickly interrupted, attempting to catch Azazel’s attentions. She could see him feeling the angel’s pull… damn that woman for being so obstinate!
“We have important matters to discuss… Your absence has left many of the others feeling as if they can do whatever they please.” She used her pull as Lilith to draw Azazel’s focus. “Belial has dared to disregard my orders… I believe you should speak with him…” She watched carefully, hoping it would be enough to distract him. Shooting Beelzebub a pointed glance, she spoke to him out of Azazel’s reach.
//Go up there, and be rid of them all! Make your excuses and go!//
Beelzebub scowled at Lilith. He didn’t want to go up there. However, he respected her as much as he hated to. He put on a sour expression on his face. “I need the washroom. Be seeing you.” Beelzebub said as he sped upwards the stairs, making a hell of lot of a noise as he went up.
Azazel blinked at Beelzebub’s awkward excuses for his departure; Azazel couldn’t help but to guess these human shells required some prices to pay that were not exactly mystic.
Azazel frowned and his eyes flashed, for he was perfectly aware now that the angels were upstairs and so was his wife, and Beelzebub was going upstairs despite the visitors restrooms were on the ground floor. Lilith’s words caught his attention for a brief moment as his anger stirred upon the sharpening senses that told him about the Angelic Host and their intentions to once more take what was rightfully his from his grasp. “Important matters…?” Azazel eyes widened and his eyes blazed like a hellish fire as his gaze met his mother’s. “I believe you could deal with Belial if you wished… yet yes I do have some questions for him. But if you’d excuse me…” A horrible, nightmarish grin came to his face, “I’ll deal with him later, after I fix some household problems upstairs!”
Beelzebub stopped outside the door and he took a deep breathe before opening the door. He strode right in without any invitation and he smiled as wicked as ever to the angelic hosts, especially towards Raphael.
“Hello, Ma’am.” Beelzebub greeted Autumn with a strange smile on his face, “I believe you have your husband’s and mother-in-law’s attention downstairs and the ironic thing is, the two of them want me to do different things at the same time. Your mother-in-law wants me to kill you but your husband seems to want me to drive these nuisances away and wait on you… Which would you prefer, Ma’am?” Beelzebub said sweetly as he would as an angel.
The fire of Raphael’s buried pain exploded when he saw Beelzebub. Images flashed past his eyes. A fleeting figure. A protective embrace. Blood. Rapid breathing. Death. All these images and memories came flooding back to Raphael’s mind and his turquoise eyes became blue with anger and hatred.
“Beelzebub!” Raphael nearly screamed, “How dare you appear in front of ME. I will kill you, evildoer!!!!”
Strife appeared in Raphael’s hand as he waved his right hand and summoned it. He flew towards Beelzebub and stabbed forward. Strife winds up the air-vacuum and sends a blast towards the Fallen.
“Now that’s stupid, Raphael.” Beelzebub said with his darkened expression, “You are going to tell Azazel and Lilith you are here!”
Too late. Raphael wasn’t listening as usual. And he has already spun an air-vacuum blast towards him. Powerful and destructive. Beelzebub sighed with a gleam in his eyes. “Whenever will you learn, Ralphy-boy?” Beelzebub said with a sneer as a long sword appeared in his hands. Beelzebub raised his sword and blocked off the blast effectively with a shield. The blast bounced off and hits the ceiling instead, causing a loud explosion and the ceiling was destroyed, making a big hole which led out of the house.
The debris of the house flew everywhere. A larger piece of it flew towards Autumn and landed just beside her, almost crushing her to death.
“Look, we’ve got to stop this.” Beelzebub said, his eyes never leaving the other three angels, “I’m not going to hurt this lady before Lilith gives me right to her, okay?” Beelzebub said, his tongue slipping into a bad habit centuries old unintentionally.
Adriel, who was standing next to the Baroness across from Raziel, summoned an energy shield in the shape of the medieval Spaniard rodela shield to cover the Baroness’ head and herself from the debris that fell from the roof; she pushed the table out of the way to have more room to move in the balcony. The large piece that landed next to Autumn almost hit Adriel on its way. Adriel was startled that Raphael and Beelzebub’s fight would get more unwanted attention.
“Right to her?” Adriel blinked. Thinking quickly upon what Beelzebub had said about Azazel and Lilith wanting different things, Adriel replied in disbelief, “Sounds like you’d betray your Master, Beelzebub.”
//Raziel, you’d better take the Baroness away! We should go before the other two come by, but in either case we can cover you up…//
//Very well.// Before Beelzebub could remove his attention from Adriel, Raziel let fire with the largest explosion of light he could create, causing a flare the size of a small sun to erupt on the balcony, giving none warning, not angel nor demon nor human. Even worse, Raziel himself could not see… But he had other senses he could rely upon.
Without pause, Raziel snapped up the Baroness in his arms and launched off the balcony, using his magical senses and the pressures of the air and sky to guide him safely.
/Forgive me. It was the only way.// Raziel flew as swiftly as he could, calling upon the speed that was his by right.
Michael grumbled a few curses at the bright flash of light, shielding his eyes as he drew his sword from thin air. He backed up towards the edge of the balcony, and called out. “Raphael!! We’re not here to die early! Let’s go!”
“Shutup!” Raphael growled at Michael, “This is my personal feud with the smelly fly so keep out of our business!!!”
He turned back to Beelzebub and glared at him. “Why you stinking fly! I didn’t manage to kill you the last time but I will definitely succeed this time! More or less!” Raphael closed his eyes as he placed Strife in front of him, pointing the tip of the blade towards the sky. He mumbled some words and a soft beam of light emerged on it. Raphael opened his eyes slowly.
“Now die.” Raphael snarled as he pointed Strife at Beelzebub and a blast flew towards him.
Beelzebub clicked his tongue in frustration as Raphael attacked him again. For once, he had to agree with Michael, though he was not a fan of the angels, not to mention the leader of the archangels. Beelzebub wisely spread his glowing wings and leapt out of the way, allowing the force of Raphael’s power destroy the bed and wall behind him. The next thing he had to do was to get out of the angel’s way. Beelzebub flew past Raphael, Michael and Adriel, outside the manor in a flash. He turned back and smiled at Raphael. “Come get me if you can!!!” Beelzebub taunted as he flew somewhere off invisible to human eyes…
Raphael growled in anger again. His wings stretched and nearly made a twist. He ran over and jumped off the balcony. As Raphael fell, his wings went into action and started flapping again and he gave chase to Beelzebub, leaving Michael and Adriel behind.
Adriel blinked, suddenly blinded by the explosion – luckily, she was giving her back to Raziel, but she lost her sight for a brief moment, having to rely in her other angelic senses. When she heard Michael’s call and then Raphael’s response, Adriel gasped in anguish and frustration. //Raphael… please don’t!// But Beelzebub and Raphael were already in the air. Adriel jumped out of the balcony to follow Michael.
//If we follow Raziel right away, Azazel will follow us!//, she sent a mental message to Michael.
//We must lead him elsewhere. At least to a place we have a slight advantage…//
Michael’s mind spoke calmly, though his expression was sour with anxiety. He folded his wings and ducked down to hover over the front lawn and gardens of the manor. The beast inside was sure to notice Michael, and that’s exactly how it was planned.
//What do you think about a devil at the cathedral?//
Holding his sword steadily in front of him, he focused his thoughts on Azazel, hoping he would catch the mental and follow…
Adriel nodded and followed Michael. Her hands were steady and her flying precise, but her lip trembled lightly. //Yes, the Cathedral will be a good choice.// She hovered at some distance behind Michael, ready to fly off at his signal.
Azazel turned quickly when he sensed Beelzebub gathering and focusing his energies and saw the blast explode through the roof in his wife’s chambers. A huge light flashed and Azazel noticed with a start that Autumn’s presence was gone! Along with Raziel’s! “Drats. Mother… Call workers to repair the roof and the furniture. I want my wife’s rooms to be perfect when I bring her back; you may decor it as you like”. His voice was gentle, yet chilling.
Azazel walked towards the house and jumped on the roof. It was a 60 feet leap, but certainly that was little to the Leader of the Armies from the Abyss. Irritated Azazel watched Beelzebub fly away with Raphael. May Goodness confound me if I understand why he doesn’t kill that archangel once for all! Azazel leapt on the black tiles towards the hole in the roof, focusing to find his wife’s presence in the populous city.
Oh it’s Michael’s call to play! Azazel grinned with a horrible joy. Michael flew out to the front garden and Adriel was with him. Azazel floated and landed on Autumn’s balcony’s rail with a smirk. The Baron’s appearance changed: he was wearing red robes, six golden wings with bright scarlet blood-like spots on them sprouted from his back; his armor was gold and black, his left foot a goat foot. In his right hand – which was now armored in red scales – the air vibrated, showing the outline of a large sword.
Azazel flapped his wings indolently, standing on the rail as the angels watched him. He gloated in perceiving the feelings his sight brought upon them.
“You are too kind to honor me with your illustrious presence”, he said with sarcasm. “You however have stolen what’s mine – an annoying habit of yours. You’ve broken the Laws of Hospitality, so… I can’t be a kind host anymore to you, my un-guests”.
Azazel extended his hand and a black energy shot towards them in a sudden blast.
“Incoming!” Michael flourished his sword, spinning it twice in his hand before holding it steady in front of him. He took the blast of dark power head on, the sword cutting straight through the energy causing swirls of it to circle around himself and Adriel. The force caused him to take several steps back, but he held his sword steady giving Azazel only a cocky smile in return.
“You speak so well for a man that has been dead. How did your wife react to that, by the way? Not well I’d assume.” Michael watched Azazel’s reaction carefully, knowing that the Baroness must mean something to him, and it would definitely strike a cord. Their best bet was to distract Azazel too much for him to focus all of his energies on fighting them.
Azazel’s lip curled disdainfully at the archangel’s words, yet his brow twitched in frustration when Michael managed to counteract the blast. Hatred and anger flashed in his bronze eyes upon his words, but he still didn’t reply. He quickly traced a sigil in the air and held his hand before it. Energies released fiery sparks and a beam of dark energy bolted out of the sigil and onto the ground, jumping in zigzag arcs towards the angels.
Adriel summoned the Blade of Life in the shape of a double-blade spear; holding it firmly towards the center with both hands, she spun the spear hovering above the ground, catching the energy arcs in the movement. The arcs cracked like lightning on the holy weapon and Adriel released one hand, pointing the spear towards the balcony where Azazel stood; the energy released flew like a twitching snake back to the arch demon.
Following Michael’s aim, she said, “Are you planning to tell the Baroness you’d lead her to Hell?”
Azazel moved his hand in a circle before the sigil and the sigil shone like a golden rune in the air, following his hand; the energies thrown back at the demon got absorbed in the sigil. Azazel flapped one pair of his wings, irritably.
“You are so kind as ever, asking about my wife. But I won’t give you any explanations!!!”, Azazel cried out, his anger causing a tremor in the walls and the balcony, and the ground to shake. “Mind your own business!”
Azazel jumped from the balcony to the ground, giving a mighty kick with his hoof. The ground shook and a crack opened: the blood-curdling howls of the souls of those killed by Anastasia like Johnathon had seen filled the air. Immaterial hands reached up to grab the angels’ feet. Azazel summoned fire from the crack and swirled a fiery wind towards the angels!
Having no time to think, Michael shoved Adriel to the side, causing her to fall to the ground clear of the blast, but leaving her to fend the grasping hands of angered souls. In the same motion, he slashed his sword to cut the winds of fire in half, but the flames engulfed him, sending him crashing into the ground several feet back. His leaving a deep grove set into the cold hard dirt, Michael shoved himself up, his clothing already tattered with faint stains of blood. This is going to be trouble…
Azazel was gathering his wits for another blast, Michael doubted her of Adriel could take anything more from him on his own grounds. Now was the time to act… Watching Azazel with a weary eye, he gathered the rays of light around him. Before Azazel raised his hands for another strike, Michael drove his sword into the ground! “LIGHT!!” A small beam with the strength of a solar flare started at the sword, and grew wider before folding Michael, and then Adriel in a wide column of pure light. The souls wretched back in to the safe shadows of the earth, leaving the pair of angels shielded from sight…
“It’s time to fly!”
Shoved out of the dark blast path and onto the ground, Adriel struggled to free herself from the grip of the souls. She pitied them but she could do nothing for them now; with the Blade of Life she touched them and they receded, shrieking but attempting to grab her again every time! When the Light summoned by Michael made the souls go back into the shadows on the bewitched ground, shielding the angels from sight, Michael cried, “It’s time to fly!” Adriel sprang back on her feet and soared up into the air at inhuman speed. She headed for the nearest cathedral: Westminster.