Autumn seemed to stay out of sight and mind of the angels, which she was incredibly good at. As Raphael left to find the one called Uriel, is was simple enough for her to slip out of the room and rest against the cool walls outside the door. The darker angel… Azrael? must’ve noticed her leave. Nothing seemed to get by her, but she made no sound or movement of it. Autumn could hear Rishta’s gentle chiding at Michael in the room next door. Did her husband really do all of this? No… She had to remind herself he wasn’t her husband. Even if he was just a normal man, to almost kill two angels in one night… it just wasn’t natural.

Rubbing her arms for comfort, she paced up and down the hallway quietly. Movement was the only thing that could keep her sane. A walk outside would be perfect, but wouldn’t they get angry with her for leaving the house? Talking with some one would be even better. Any topic or conversation that had nothing to do with angels or demons or dead husbands. She wondered where Raziel left off to, he hadn’t returned like the others… Hearing new sounds from Adriel’s room, she figured Raphael had come back. They never seemed to use doors. Sighing to herself, she left down the hallway. The manor had gardens, so technically she wouldn’t be leaving it if she walked around there. Anything was better than just waiting around.

Uriel walked out of the room and down the hallway, grumbling to herself. The servants in the Farishta Manor wondered about the new visitor and tried to talk to Uriel but she either ignored them or yelled at them to butt off. Uriel was walking so fast that she didn’t notice the woman in front of her. Their shoulders clashed. “OWW!!!” Uriel yelped, as the pain spreads to her backbone where the nerves of wings are located. Uriel stooped down and hugged herself in pain.

“Ah..” Autumn tipped slightly forward at the force of someone running into her, then quickly turned around at the cry of pain. She blinked in surprised and leaned over to help steady the woman who seemed to be hurt. “Are you alright…? You don’t look like you should be running up and down the halls…”

“I’m…” Uriel tried to say something but she felt dizzy. “Goddamn it…” Uriel whispered. It wasn’t good. Her energies were running out and she couldn’t heal herself anymore. Sooner or later her injured back will start bleeding like hell again. Blinking at the woman, Uriel thought she sensed something about her, but couldn’t figure it out. “Who… who are you?” Uriel asked, looking at Autumn suspiciously, “My name is Uriel… I mean, Frost Spencer.” Uriel made a face at her own slip of tongue. She hoped the woman didn’t catch her.

“Uriel…” She caught the name, but didn’t seemed to be surprised or curious. Just concerned over the woman who seemed as if she’d hit the floor any minute. “The others were looking for you. It’s probably best if they helped you.” Taking a hold of the woman’s arm gently, she made sure to keep her balanced. “I am Autumn Riktophen… I guess you could consider me a friend.” She smiled softly, hoping to put the woman at ease. She seemed uncomfortable with her presence.

Uriel smiled sheepishly, embarrassed that Autumn did catch her. “They don’t need me now.” Uriel said almost sourly, “Especially Raphael. He kicked me off the chair after I’ve done my job. That brainless brute. What else does he know besides fighting? Do you know he tried to murder me earlier?!” Uriel began to complain to Autumn, someone she hardly knew. For some reason the red haired-woman was easy to talk to!

“I think he is just worried about Adriel. He doesn’t seem to think of much anything else…” She patiently led Uriel back in the direction of the rooms. Understandably she was angry, but she was also hurt. Autumn couldn’t heal her, but the others should know what to do.
“Did you see Michael…?” she asked, hoping it would distract her from her anger towards Raphael. “Rishta is with him. He has been hurt fairly badly as well.”

“No.” Uriel said. As if afraid that Autumn would ask her to heal Michael, she quickly added, “I’m sorry but even the best Healing angel needs rest, especially when I’m injured myself. I have no more extra energy to spare for Michael…” Uriel stopped walking and thought for a while. Looking at Autumn, Uriel said, “Could you please bring me to where Rishta and Michael are please? I could direct that hybrid-girl to heal him.” Uriel turned her nose up. “The injuries stink of Azazel. So he is around? Whoa. Is my nurse Moloch around too? That spells trouble.” Uriel said in an almost uncaring manner.

Autumn nodded in understanding, you can’t help others if you can’t help yourself. But the mention of the name Azazel almost made her wince. She wasn’t aware of her ties to him was she? No she didn’t even know who she was. It was a piece of information she would keep to herself for now. Leading Uriel down the hallway, she finally stopped at the room containing Michael and Rishta, right next door to Adriel’s room. “Right here… would you like me to help you in…?” she asked, only half sincerely. Hearing more about ‘Azazel’ was the last thing she wanted to do, but she would help if she were needed.

“No thanks.” Uriel rejected the offer, “I can do so myself. I’m not that hurt now.” Looking at Autumn, Uriel said again with a smile, “Or… would you like to come in with me?”
Her back suddenly stung and she arched over again. “Ouch…” Uriel uttered, “Stupid wings… stupid Tabris… I will kill him for severing my wings…” Uriel reached over for the doorknob and opened the door. “Are you coming in?” Uriel asked, looking at Autumn.

Severed wings…? She hesitated for a moment, battling with her better judgment and her quaking insides. But she was a coward and couldn’t bear to deal with any more of the tragedy and the drama. The more she heard, the less she wanted to.
“No… That’s alright. Rishta will take care of you, I’m just an extra person in the way.” Autumn shrugged, returning the angel’s smile. “I will just be out here…”

Uriel blinked at Autumn. Somehow she couldn’t stand the way the woman acted towards her. “Hey wait a minute,” Uriel called out, “do I look scary in anyway or what?” Folding her arms despite her pain in order to make herself look intimidating, Uriel said, “You seemed to be scared of me.”

Autumn blinked in surprised, and despite herself she laughed softly. It was the last thing she expected the woman to say. “No, of course not… I-” She paused for a moment, thinking of the best thing to say. There was really no way around it.
“It’s just it’s all so overwhelming for me.” It was the honest to god truth. Autumn even wondered herself how she could possible deal with everything and not be completely insane. Maybe she was insane! “And very hard to explain without telling you a very long and boring life story, or the past day’s events…” she appeared embraced for a brief moment before shrugging. “I’m sure Lady Rishta will explain everything to you once everyone is rested and taken care of…”

“Well, you can tell me.” Uriel insisted, “I am young as a human, but I am not young as an angel, which you most probably already know. In fact, I am proud of the fact that I’m one of the most intelligent angels who ever existed.” Uriel boasted haughtily, “Come on, tell me.”

Raziel landed quietly on a deserted balcony. He was a bit worn, but no where near the draining emptiness of earlier. He quickly made note of the happenings here by touching the other angels’ minds. It seemed that Gabriel’s song was too soon. Adriel had chosen to live, for now. But perhaps Gabriel’s Song was meant to mourn more than the death of an angel…
Raziel slipped back into his human form and walked in from the balcony; luckily no one was inside. He strolled quietly down the hall, deep in thought. Raziel sighed and cloaked himself in obscurity. He didn’t feel like speaking with anyone right now; though he was rarely moody, at the moment he was brooding fretfully, all the more for the fact that he knew that his circular thoughts helped nothing.
He had accidentally fallen upon Autumn and Uriel’s conversation… It seemed that Autumn was uneasy and wanted to leave, and Uriel was still upset at Raphael’s rudeness. He suppressed a snort at the comment of her intelligence; she was the most spoiled and coddled of the angels, and was known to have an over-high opinion of herself.

Autumn rubbed her arms, amazed at the angel’s persistence and… confidence. “I’m afraid… My dead husband is the one you call Azazel…” She grimaced at the fact, letting out a small sigh. “Everything else is a just a very large mess I’m fairly sure no one needs me to be in the middle of…” Shrugging it off, hoping to seem calm and perfectly fine, she motioned to the door. “I’m sure you need to rest…”

Uriel’s eyes widened as she heard Autumn’s confession. “Hmm…” was all Uriel said as she pondered Autumn’s words. What a mystery. Azazel wasn’t supposed to be there but he was… And dead husband..? Moloch was around for certain, for Uriel could sense her about. Moloch was someone Uriel could never ignore. She was like the opposite gender of Raphael, but perhaps meaner, because Moloch wanted her dead and Raphael only talked but took no real action.
Well… except for earlier… But even if the best healing angel or demon could not revive a dead person. If Autumn was right in her mind when she said her husband was dead… Only if…

As if she had suddenly thought of something, Uriel snapped her fingers. “Ahh! I know! It’s Belial! Maybe he did something to your… wait a minute…” Uriel paused, “Can he actually send Azazel up to a dead human? Doesn’t the body of your husband rot? Azazel won’t want to be a skeleton or rotting zombie, isn’t it?! Hmm…” Uriel thought again, showing no signs of wanting to enter the room at all.

Autumn took a few careful steps back as Uriel spoke, trying to ease herself away without seeming rude. The woman insisted on talking about the last thing Autumn wanted to hear. All she wanted to do was get away. Hiding her discomfort as well as she could, she simply smiled politely and shrugged. “I really have no idea…” I don’t think I want to know either… She was several paces away, but not far enough to be out of general conversation distance. The last thing she wanted to do was take off and insult the woman, but she mentally urge someone, anyone to call her away so she could escape to somewhere less hectic.
One of these days woman, you’re going to have to stop wishing for someone to show up and just raise cane on your own…

Not noticing Autumn at all, Uriel continued talking to herself, “What? Does this mean humans have discovered a way to be dead and not let their bodies rot away?! Not fair! It’s supposed to be MY JOB!” Uriel nearly growled, “Oh wait… if your husband has been the vessel for Azazel right from the start, then… umm… he shouldn’t die then…” Uriel turned, and finally noticed that Autumn was several paces away from her. She frowned. Autumn was at it again, she thought. “Hey, I’m not that scary… I’m just being nice and helping you to unravel the mystery!” Uriel said, trying to smile, “What if your husband is really Azazel himself?! He will eat you up the next time you meet him!”

Raziel sighed and released his form. Uriel was scaring the poor human mortally. If she wasn’t stopped, she might kill the woman from sheer fright.
He stepped into the room with a small bow. “Mi’ladies,” he greeted them solemnly. “Lady Riktophen, I believe the Lady of this house has a room prepared for your leisure. And Uriel, you must rest. Your services will be needed in the near future… Perhaps you could lend Michael some aid.” He offered Lady Riktophen an arm respectfully.

Always the perfect timing guardian angel of mine…
“I hope you feel better Uriel.” Autumn smiled appreciatively at Raziel as she laced her arm with his. “Thank you…” she mumbled quietly as she allowed him to led her down the hallway away from the others. There was no denying he seemed to show up just when she needed him. Perhaps she could do a little more than take revealing pictures. The thought almost made her blush.
“You always have the perfect timing…” she voiced small piece of her thoughts.

“Huh?” Uriel wasn’t even aware that Raziel was standing about. God knew when he has been there and how much he has seen or heard all along. “Okay. I’m going now. See you later.” Uriel said as she entered the room, sounding obviously disappointed that she couldn’t drill Autumn for more information.

“‘Twas no great difficulty,” Raziel replied to Autumn, slipping back into his familiar, though faint, Irish accent. “After all, one must occasionally rescue the lady fair.”
//Michael badly needs your assistance, Uriel. He is dying. Go tend to him.// His words were gentle, but firm. The young angel still needed guidance; both she and Raphael needed to grow in maturity… Though they both had able guardians, Gabriel and Adriel.

Raziel guided Autumn up a short set of stairs, to a small suite of rooms that had been recently cleaned and aired. There was no balcony, however, and the windows were small and securely covered with cast-iron bars wrought to resemble ivy with wrens. “You should be safe here,” he said, smiling slightly.

“I’m sure. No way in or out…” She probably sounded more harsh than she intended. Not quite knowing why the room felt more like a small prison than a room. She’s moved from being a demon box to an angel one… “I don’t mean to be difficult, but I really don’t think I can stay in here…” She bit her bottom lip, while crossing her arms, hoping she didn’t seem like a spoiled child. She wasn’t at all Closter phobic but… well maybe she was! Maybe if there were a way to escape besides the front door. “It’s just… I think I need to go outside for a little bit…”

Raziel paused… Then understood. The prison of fear from her husband they had taken her from had just been created into one of angels. Not much of a choice at all. “I understand,” he said softly. Murmuring a few words, he lifted his hand, and the upper portion of the wall seemed to disappear, showing the sky and the beautiful grounds of the manor. “Is that a help?” The added light made the room seem more open, indeed…
“Would you need accompaniment?” There was no danger on the grounds; he would know if something came near, because of the spells on Rishta. He merely wished to know if she wanted company on her walk.

Autumn gazed at the sky, so grateful to have the room opened up. She couldn’t tell if it were an illusion or the real sky, though it didn’t matter in the least. It wasn’t a tight little cage with no means for escape. She almost didn’t hear his question.
Again she almost blushed. He was really too kind for his own good. “That would be nice…” Unlike many of the others, she didn’t seem to mind his company at all. In fact she welcomed it.

Raziel nodded and bowed silently before leading the way out of the room. Walking would do him good.

Michael rested in the bed, listening to Rishta tell him about all the horrible things she was going to do to him when he was well. A small lazy smile was splashed across his face, as her eyes remained closed, and one finger tapping on his chest in tune with his heartbeat. He didn’t doubt she’d do every damn one. In fact he deserved it all. A smart leader would have instructed Adriel to leave for the manor immediately. He could have handled Azazel alone. Instead he didn’t think and she was injured almost to the death. Hopefully Raphael’s will would pull her through…

His head was pounding almost as much as the blood that was trying to free itself from his wounds. It was making it hard for him to think clear enough to yell at himself. But he absolutely refused to die. He turned his back blind to all that was happening, and it just came on stronger. He took charge, but didn’t do it well enough. This time he had to do it right. The next battle would be the last battle. He’d sent Azazel to his grave or die trying…
Michael didn’t realize he had stopped moving until Rishta quickly called his name, worried he was falling asleep, or dying… or whatever the woman might’ve been upset over. He opened on eye to peer at her, giving a half grin. “So, cookie… what was it you were going to do to me again?”

“Michael!” Rishta called out, as his hand stopped tapping. Automatically she stood up, eyes wide. Then he spoke. Drowning in relief she sat on the bed next to him, glancing at him with worried eyes. Opening her mind she realized that Uriel had healed Adriel… so, one down, one to go. But, deep inside, she felt guilty. Poor Uriel, still injured and now look. Absentmindedly, she closed her hand upon Michael’s waist, pinching the skin so the blood wouldn’t rush out. It was slowing… he was dying. Blinking away tears, she brushed a couple of loose strand from his face with her other hand.

“Hey Mike… Adriel is fine…”
She then realized what he had said. Cookie!?!? Again! At a time like this! Despite the situation she gave him an annoyed glare, which dissolved into a smile. Michael would never stop that… even in the face of death. For some reason, it comforted her, despite the mess he seemed to be. Smoothing out her white dress, now stained with Michael’s blood, she looked at Michael’s ashen face again. Her own expression pained as she tried to think of a comeback. Anything to keep him alive.

“I am going to kill you Michael… well, eternal torture might be more effective. I will let you escape this time, but next time you call me cookie, I will have to punish you. The name is Rishta, and you know it well enough by now!”

The archangel of Death and Destruction popped out of nowhere in the dark corner of the room, holding her tray of cakes and eating one as she coolly watched Rishta and Michael. Michael’s face was not just pale; it was already grayish. Azrael delicately ate her cake with the air of being awaiting something. She didn’t mean to appear sinister, but well that was her.
“I’m here in case I’m needed”, she said. “Adriel will stay longer; I let her choose.”

Rishta gave a nod as Azrael appeared. She looked evil, well, not evil, just someone about to do her job. However, the image was killed when she took another bite out of the cake. Who would have guessed? The Angel of Death had a sweet tooth.
“I am glad Adriel is fine…” Rishta managed to choke out. On the outside, she still had that annoyed smile for Michael, but on the inside, she wanted to cry. This was her fault… she had let them go… she had let HIM go. For some strange reason she kept on seeing him telling her to stay. Fool, she thought to herself, why did you go?

//Azrael… he isn’t going to die… he can’t die… right?// Rishta’s mental voice was for Azrael alone, and had the sound of a child, asking a parent for confirmation, as though their word would make it all right. She needed Azrael to say something… almost needed it to be all right herself. “You aren’t going to die Michael… I won’t let you…” was a final whisper, but she hoped he wouldn’t hear, after all, wasn’t this her boss?

//He can die//, Azrael coolly replied. //It would be an inopportune act on his part, though.// Azrael ate another little cake, slowly and curiously meticulous. //I can’t reveal if he’s going to die now or later, however.// Azrael tilted her head and half-closed her eyes.
//The future is in permanent motion. There are keystones that are not to be removed, but lesser stones can sometimes be replaced by equivalent systems//, she said, for it was the closest thing she had to give that may resemble comforting words.

Azrael put her tray of cakes in a nearby table and picking one tea cake, she ate it in small bites. Azazel had been healed; he was not dying anymore and she knew it, but this Azrael couldn’t reveal unless asked by another archangel. “Michael”, she suddenly said, “You still have many things to do.” After this, she tilted her head and her night sky gaze lingered on them. She couldn’t say more, for she wasn’t allowed to encourage or discourage the beings to die or not when they were in their deathbed.
“Is Rishta a name for a cookie, too?”

“It’s not nice to talk about me out of ear shot…” He knew they were speaking to each other, even if he couldn’t give the energy to listen in. The expressions on Rishta’s face were enough. Azrael wasn’t saying something she wanted to hear. Did they believe he was dying? Blasphemy. As much as he welcomed the sleep, he wouldn’t leave her now…
Just like you asked, cookie… I won’t leave you…

Michael grasped Rishta’s hand gently, contented to brush his fingers across her soft skin. If he could stay like this forever he’d choose it. It’s a shame it has to be this way… Living to fight instead of living to love… Azrael’s question brought another smile to Michael’s face. “No… but it sure sounds like it… ” He raised his hand to tug on a stray piece of Rishta’s hair. “One of those sweet cookies with cream, vanilla… the kind everyone loves…”

//I understand Azrael.//
Rishta then turned her attention to Michael, who had obviously noticed they had been talking about him. Giving a small smile, for his sake, she allowed him to stroke her hand. A small piece of her wished he was well, and was doing this… after all, he could be delusional.
Why do I feel like this… he can’t die… not here… not now… I know he can’t…
“Michael… don’t be silly.” She whispered as he touched her hair. With her hand though, she gently removed it and placed it down, as her heart ached.
“You shouldn’t be wasting your energy…”

“Energy used on you is no waste, cookie…” Michael winked slightly, gripping her hand not wanting to let go. He was getting so tired. The air in the room seemed to be weighing heavily down on his chest. He didn’t want to admit it. Maybe he was hurt worse than he thought. But what a way to die, staring into the face of heaven.

“Do not even talk.” Rishta murmured with a bit of force, shocked that he had winked at her. She didn’t realize why, and didn’t even know why he was acting as such. Naiveté was not bliss this time.
//Uriel… since you are here, can you help? Or maybe you can tell me what to do… he is fading…//
Rishta blinked away tears. She had seen so much death… so much hurt, even her friends. He couldn’t die now. Something in her made her realize that he wasn’t going to die. He couldn’t. Something about a dream… shadowed figures… moonlit night… she couldn’t remember. “Stay with me a bit longer Michael… I swear you won’t die – I won’t let you.”

Azrael stared as she ate her tea cake in confusion. Why was Michael trying to grab Rishta if she was not showing signs to leave the side of the bed?
Azrael stared. She ate another tea cake as she did, staring and trying to understand. This scene brought Belial to her mind again, for some reason. Azrael tilted her head, staring and listening. “Is Death such a bad thing?”, she suddenly asked. It was one of her rhetorical questions, though. Azrael moved back and sank into the shadows in a corner. Only her eyes were visible in what seemed to be an empty space. Azrael kept her watch in silence.
The cakes tray was nowhere to be seen – she had taken it with her into her shadow spell.

“Death isn’t bad… it is just painful, filled with emotions. A person is confused because they do not know what awaits them… and those who lose someone feel a horrible loss… because they will never see them again. It hurts Azrael… it hurts humans and angels a lot.” Rishta tried to explain, as she held Michael’s hand. Her heart ached as she remembered that pain… such a familiar feeling, she thought she had left it a long time ago. Now it was like a wave, threatening to drown her in lost pain – suppressed pain, awakening hurt.

Uriel peeked into the room before entering. She shut the door silently. “Hi everyone.” Uriel said in an annoyingly cheerful voice, “How’s everyone doing?”
She walked over to Michael and examined his wounds, turning her nose up. “Baaad…” she muttered.
Looking at Rishta, Uriel said with a grin, “Hey, do you want to learn the arts of healing? If you would be my disciple, you can heal Michael because I am unable to heal any other person for now, much less an angel with such bad injuries.”

“Hello Uriel… awful, as you can see…” Rishta listened to her proposal, and remembered Raphael’s words. I was thinking that you would make a good healing angel… She had doubted it there, and knew Raziel was teaching her… well, this was Michael. She had to stop this pain he was feeling, and stop the ache in her.
“Are you so willing to teach me? I will be glad to heal Michael, and will do anything possible. Tell me how.” Rishta said, face solemn and serious. She was that playful child rarely, and now, her true emotions were coming out. She didn’t understand a lot of things, and these complications were just making it harder.

“Urk! No… prodding..” Michael clinched his teeth as he swatted any poking hands from Uriel or otherwise away from his side. It hurt bad enough with being pinched and poked and jostled. Wait.. Rishta will do the healing…? She’ll likely have her hands… eh!
“I’m fine! I need no healing. Just a little…rest…” he tried to sit up, scooting back on the bed, only to bang his head on the head board. His sudden reluctance to sit still was a curious contrast to his previous complacentness. However the over exertion of energy gave him the overwhelming need to pass out right then and there…
Dumb move Michael…

“You need more then healing, you need a miracle!” Rishta snapped all of a sudden, making him lay down with care, an oxymoron to the way she was talking. Calmly she sat next to him, placing her hand on his head, feeling the cool skin, so different from his normal sunny disposition.

“Oh okay.” Uriel said, surprised that Rishta seemed to be interested in her proposal. Uriel’s smile faded as she turned serious and solemn. “Now let Michael lie down well. Put your hand to his forehead and feel for his ‘light’. Can you feel it? Yes? Good.” Uriel didn’t seem to care to wait for Rishta’s answer. “It’s weak, isn’t it? Poor Michael.” Uriel said in sarcasm, “Call for reinforcements next time and not just fight blindly. You are as stupid as a certain angel I know.” Uriel sat beside Michael and peered at his wounds seriously. Looking at Rishta, Uriel said calmly, “You know the basic healing methods don’t you? Now close these wounds first so that they stop bleeding.”

Listening to Uriel, and ignoring her sarcasm, Rishta felt for him… there was no way she could do this alone: she needed help, and she knew just where to get it. Drawing energy from her father’s soul was simple, and soon, she was feeling ready. Weaving a spell of healing seemed a bit complex, but she used the same methods she used on Tabris, even a bit of Raziel’s example when he weaved the shield. Her hand seemed to glow purple, almost unreal, as she closed her eyes and focused.
Outside, the skin seemed to seal and smooth over, as the healing process went by. However, she found her mind wandering a bit, to when she first met Michael… who would have thought that he could bring himself into such a mess?

Uriel watched Rishta closely. Good… this hybrid does have some talents… hmm… Everything was going fine and Uriel could find herself smiling. The procedure seemed to be going well. Indeed, Rishta could make a good healing angel. Pleased, Uriel was about to say something when she noticed something about Rishta. Uriel touched Rishta’s hand gently, controlled the power and let it travel back to Rishta slowly. Uriel moved Rishta’s hand away, and looked up at her in annoyance. “What do you think you are doing, girl?” Uriel snapped, “Your mind can’t wander if you are healing. Your thoughts influences the person you are healing! If you happen to be thinking of painful things, you would be hurting Michael!”

Rishta was healing when her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Uriel scolding. She had half a mind to tell her to hush, when she realized the girl DID know better then she. “And if you think good things?” Rishta murmured, because the thoughts had indeed been pleasant. Quietly, she shut her eyes again, and continued her healing.

“Well… it would do better.” Uriel said with a smile as she let go of Rishta’s hand. However, she quickly slipped back into her serious attitude again. “But then again, it’s better if you think of nothing while healing. Nobody knows when your mind would think of pleasant or hurtful thoughts. I know of someone who often thought of hurtful things while healing and draws pain from it… and she fell from the ranks eventually…” Uriel sat back and stared up at the ceiling, as if thinking of something faraway.

Rishta nodded, blanking her mind and keeping it that way. Time didn’t seem to pass for her, it just seemed like her energy was draining… draining. However, she didn’t stop until she could feel “him” again, the way she felt when she first met him. However, now that he was better, she had this odd urge to sleep. Strange. Opening her eyes, she looked at Michael… he looked ok. Good. Looking at Uriel, she gave a small smile of thanks.

“Thank you for telling me what to do… I doubt I could have done it alone, without your guide.”
Rishta then turned to Michael, still sitting next to him on the bed. He looked so much better. He… he…
Without another word she slumped off in exhaustion, leaning against the dashboard next to Michael, gently breathing as she tried to regain what she had lost.

“I’m still… awake…” Michael squeaked out, painfully away of Rishta’s hands moving around his body but never touching. It was like a very sweet kind of torture, knowing what you wanted was within reach but not being able to reach out and grab it.
Of course he was likely to loose several limbs if he were to reach out and grab her now.
Stop being distracted! Are you forgetting why you’re stuck in this bed to begin with?… But oh what a nice consequence this is… To make it last a little while longer… Michael winced then, letting out a very dramatic groan of pain, in hopes Rishta would fawn over him a little bit more. His wounds were healed enough, he wouldn’t die… but he could risk a few extra hours in bed if it meant the Lady would be by his side.

Uriel looked at Rishta again and replied, “No. It’s not done… You must charge your holy energies into Michael’s body, cleansed it from any possible ‘infection’ from the demonic powers…” Uriel sighed, “I’m sorry that I could only verbally, but I doesn’t have much energy left myself.”
Uriel began to cough, and she couldn’t seem to be able to stop. Covering her mouth, Uriel forced herself to speak, “Make sure the energies… run through Michael… so that his inner injuries heal as well… even if it could not heal completely, at least… he will… feel… better. Coff coff!!!” Uriel turned away, and began coughing violently. She looked at her hand, seeing blood. Shaking her head, water appeared on her stained hand and washed it. The water dripped to the floor.

In her corner with only her eyes visible, Azrael finished her last cake as Uriel and Rishta healed Michael. Azrael frowned slightly as he faked more pain that was within him to get some more attention. Azrael shook her head and made herself visible again. She did not need to say anything; simply leaving was a message enough – she was not going to take Michael’s soul away. Azrael passed by Uriel, silent like a shadow and left the chamber. She was not needed here; there was no point in staying.

Rishta allowed her powers to flow through him, drawing on her father’s energy and amplifying it with the pendant. After a few minutes, she could sense “him” now, like she had seen him first. Sure he wasn’t up to his full strength, but the aura was the same. Happily, she sighed and turned to Uriel – what was that… pink? “Are you all right?”
She then noticed that Azrael had left… he would be fine. Thank goodness… She then turned back to him, placing her had on his head.
“DON’T do that to me again…”

“It’s okay… I’m alright…” Uriel said weakly, “It’s an old ailment….” Uriel’s voice drifted off and she leaned backwards, resting as she took in deep breathes of air. She looked at Michael with the corner of her eyes and she smiles slightly when she notices the leader faking pain. Such acts, couldn’t be hidden from her. She knows true pain from false pain. She could have laughed if her chest doesn’t hurt that much.
“You should rest too, hybrid.” Uriel said to Rishta, “Rest more to regain your strength…”

“Are you sure? If you need anything, all you have to do is ask…” Rishta murmured, becoming a bit tired from all the work. Well, not a bit… she wanted to drop off, but she couldn’t leave Michael. Sure, she felt him being ok, but still. She would rather hear it from him first. Absentmindedly, she stroked his hair away from his face, looking around the room.
“Dinner is in the dining room. But maybe we should have it here. What do you think? I… well, I don’t want to leave just yet.”

The urge to give an undeniably cheesy grin and ruin his whole facade of faking ill was very large. Think horrible thoughts, horrible thoughts.. dead puppies… moon crashing into the earth… He couldn’t help but snicker, but quickly faked it off as being a coughing fit. Uriel seemed to see through his entire act, he simply gave her a pointed look of ‘hush!’.
“I’ll eat where ever you want, cookie. I’m sure I could crawl my way to the dinner table for you…”

Rishta merely looked at Michael, suspicion poking her mind. She was sure she had healed him correctly. Maybe she had done something wrong? What if… what if she didn’t heal him right? Maybe he was hurt. But… That coughing fit, didn’t sound right – like… laughter. If this is a joke, I am going to… he wouldn’t… yes, he would. However, she put on a pained look, stroking his hair like a lovesick puppy. With her other hand, she adjusted the sheets, making him as comfortable as possible. “Poor Michael… so brave, it is ok… where do you want to eat? I guess I must have done something wrong, since you are still in pain…”

Uriel nearly burst out laughing at the two, especially at Michael. COOKIE?! And… and… he actually is interested in that hybrid! Wow… Michael. Forever full of surprises. “Hey, Mike and hybrid.” Uriel called out weakly in her husky voice, which is what her painful chest only allowed, “If you guys are going to eat, could you bring my share up here too…? I can’t move much in my condition…”

Rishta went over to Uriel and made sure she wasn’t going to croak right then. Then, she walked over to a tapestry and pulled it, and in a few moments, servants came.
“Bring my friends something to eat – 2 are in the adjourning room, I have to call the others.”

“Yes, milady.” They all murmured as one, and then left, leaving the three alone again.

Turning back to them, she went to Uriel and sat on the bed, forgetting the facade of Michael for a moment. “Uriel… there is no need to be so distant. You can call me Rishta… I have no qualms about that. Michael, on the other hand, has yet to learn that.” She then turned to him, eyebrow raised, as though hinting a major point.
“I better go get the others… I will be back in a few minutes.” And with that, she left to go outside, and get the others in for dinner.

The taste of wealth and arrogance was heavy on the air and tongue that evening. The White Club was rather exclusive- he had had no trouble getting in. “More wine, if you please.” Nicholai smiled, his curiously red lips parting to reveal his pearled white teeth. She was exquisite. Her hair was thick, and dark, and curled seductively about her pale neck. A true gem, the little British hoar. A true gem.

His latest fancy had taken him to the cobble-laden streets of London. Word travels fast upon loose tongues, and those were the very people he chose to surround himself by. The latest flow of gossip told of dark and evil things wandering the alleys of the British-born capital, mysterious and too terrible to speak of in mixed company. This, of course, had peaked his curiosity. He had packed and left his French villa immediately, and taken a carriage to the breeding grounds of these new rumors. And here he was. Here, yet again, with yet another drunken maiden, yet another fountain of blood for him to indulge upon. The night was going well.

“Here you are, my lord. I hope you find it to your liking.” The waiter had returned with a simple, yet elegant silver tray, upon which two glasses of a deep crimson wine were perched. Nicholai took them, setting one before his date and nodding. Nicholai took a long sip, smiling over the rim of his crystal glass at her. He paused after drinking to savor the flavor.

“The stars are quite beautiful tonight…” The girl peered upward, leaving her neck and chest temptingly exposed.

He showed no emotion at this however. Only his chill, confident smile was evident. “Are they? I hadn’t noticed. My eyes were too drawn to your beauty, ma cherie.”

She blushed a light rose.
“Oh sir…..” She smiled rather playfully. “Are all the French so complimentary?”

“Ah, non mademoiselle. Only me.” His golden eyes remained on hers, drawing her into his little game.

She giggled. “Perhaps. I should show you. To be proper of course. How we greet newcomers in this town…”

A dark laughter echoed in his mind. The liquor was taking sway with her. It would not be long now. “Oui. I do believe I would like that, cherie.” He stood and took her arm, leading her out into the shadows. Unbeknownst to her, his other hand was slipping into his velvet laced pocket, pulling a silver knife into his pale fingers. He smiled. He was going to enjoy his stay.

“H’n.. What a night…” The blood had been done away with, it left no trace upon his ivory palms. Weary, Nicholai stopped at the first house he came upon- unaware of what lay inside.
‘I do believe I shall stay here tonight. What lucky hosts.” He queer little smile appeared on his lips. Delicate fingers worked with intricate mental commands, and the lock that held the house in safety was snapped like a twig. “I hope the couch is comfortable….”

“Tut, tut… It isn’t nice to enter one’s home without being invited…” Nicholai had entered the house without a sound and with no sight or sense of anyone nearby. However the woman’s voice chided gently, with almost an amused air. Stepping into sight previously hidden by shadow, she tilted her head and gave the man an ethereal smile. She was a young beauty, raven black hair pulled up into a cascade of curls, and eyes the color of bronze.
Stepping closer, she brushed hand over a candle, a small flame igniting, setting a soft glow across the room. The light played across her lithe form, clad in trim, clinging black velvet.
“Why don’t you have a seat…?”

“H’m?” Nicholai peered at the woman with a curious, almost amused stare. Her hair swept in luxurious curls about her face in a most alluring manner. She swept her hand atop the half-melted candle, and it lit instantly, flickering a bit. He smiled charmingly, quite unflustered. So, this is one of the ever-so-elusive supernaturals the gossipers were on about. This should be interesting.. “Ah. A lady of manners, providing a seat. I do believe I’ll accept that little invitation.” He leisurely walked to a nearby black velvet attired couch, settling himself with his feet propped over the edge and his arms folded comfortably behind his head. “Quite a place you have here… rather dark, but to each his own I suppose.”

“I wasn’t expecting guests.” She moved across the floor as if she were gliding on thin air, seating herself smoothly in a chair across from him. Folding her pale ivory hands delicately in her lap, she watched with curiosity.
‘Perfect. This one will be perfect.’
Leaning back in her chair, she smiled, resting her elbows on the arms of the chair. Her fingers softly gliding back and forth the velvet of her skirt. “You are new to the city. Perhaps I can be of assistance in helping you get acquainted… However…” She tilted her giving an innocent look. “I would request a few services…”

“But of course.” He chuckled a little at the surprise his immediate trust ensued. Nicholai was rather tired, but the game was top priority- sleep could wait. “That makes two charming hostesses I’ve had show me the town tonight… a pity however, the last one had to leave so soon.” He tossed a strand of blackened hair from his eyes, waving his hand in dismissal at the thought of the maiden. “No matter- she was not exactly a lady of quality.” This ethereal woman was playing with him… This could prove itself to be rather fun. He moved his pale palm underneath his chin, propping himself up once more. “And, Milady, these services might be?”

“I may be jealous… choosing another woman before gracing me with your presence.” She brought a hand to her chest in feigned insult, the same smile across her lips.
Leaning forward in her chair, she mimicked his actions, resting her chin in her hand. “Just a small thing… I’m sure the task will be more than simple for a man of your talents.” Waiting a few moments for his reaction, she moved from the chair to fetch a small brown folder. Dropping on to the coffee table, she bid him to take a look at it’s contents.

“This woman… The Baroness Autumn Riktophen. I’m afraid she has no usefulness to me. I would like her… taken away.” Raising an eyebrow as she reseated herself, her tone of voice made it very clear her true meaning of ‘taken away’. “However, she is protected by many. You must deal with the situation delicately…”

“I see.” Nicholai made no attempt to even glance at the folder. He would find Autumn on his own soon enough. He chuckled once more. “You wish me to murder the dear Baroness? In exchange for a view of the town…” A perfectly shaped eyebrow lifted in amusement. ” A woman I have never met, to kill her just so simply… Normally, I would never…” Lying came so easily to him. Here he paused and smiled rather curiously. “But for you, ma cherie, anything.”

Nicholai stood and flicked some hair from his eyes wistfully. ” I do expect the tour to be good.” His eyes flitted across the darkened room, falling upon an open closet with several gowns inside. He moved to the opening and pulled a long, crimson, silk dress, studded with glittering rubies from the space. “Wear this. It suits you, I believe.” He smirked and blew a half-sarcastic kiss her way before stepping out onto the midnight streets.

Beelzebub walked out from the shadows and smiled at Anastasia. He was now dressed in a different suit, a changed outfit he clad in his room at home. His wounds had been bandaged and unseen, covered by the clothing. Sitting down uninvited on the seat taken by Nicholai earlier, Beelzebub rubbed his chin and said with a sly smile, “Ahh… hello. You still seem obsessed with that Autumn lady…” Winking at Anastasia, Beelzebub smiled, “Why don’t you just loosen down? If I’m you, I would hit the streets now and search for my dear son.”

Anastasia’s collected facade melted away in to great irritation as Beelzebub came in to the home, daring to question her actions towards the pathetic excuse for a woman.
“She is a thorn in a my side, and a distraction to my son’s work. The second she is dead, the moment he will be free.”

Turning away from the demon, she admired the gift her new ‘guest’ left her. Such a pretty trinket, she always did admire beautiful things. He was going to be such a joy to play with so long as he completed his task. But speaking of completed tasks.
“You didn’t do as I asked, Beelzebub. Like Moloch and Belial, you have failed to get rid of that woman. It’s a rather sad sight to see such a weak human out wit several high level demons, don’t you agree…?” Anastasia doubted her taunts would have any affect, though she could care less of him. The demons were of no use to her unless they did what she asked. Her true concerns were of her son.

“But…” Anastasia turned back around, with a curious expression. Something Beelzebub mentioned caught her attention. “Why should I be seeking my son this eve? Is he not a capable man?”

Beelzebub heard the sarcasm in Anastasia’s words and he couldn’t help but smile. “Well, Milady, I wouldn’t, because that dear Autumn lady would prove of more use to me than to anyone else of course…”
Looking at the trinket, Beelzebub smiled again. “And I see you are not a very faithful person…” Beelzebub shook his head and pretended to look sad, “Poor Lucifer… He was dead for not too long and his wife is already starting to accept gifts from other males! And from a LOWLY vampire… What would he say to this? And what would Azazel say to this?”

Chuckling, Beelzebub leaned backwards in relaxation. “Madam Riktophen, why not stop your sarcasms to me and I will stop mine too. We have more serious business to attend to, I believe.” Leaning forward, Beelzebub whispered to Anastasia, “Ahh… I can feel it… the dark powers…” Beelzebub closed his eyes and seemed to be feeling about with his demonic senses, “Torn open by the morning mass… I can hardly feel Azazel about now…” Opening his eyes, Beelzebub looked into Anastasia’s, “That must mean your poor son is either back in the abyss or…” snickering, Beelzebub continued, “Dead, though I doubt so, since we have Moloch about.”

Clueless demon. You know nothing of me and my intentions. Speaking of the devil as if he were alive… Anastasia listened, with nonchalant air. How amusing, yet bothersome that he spoke in riddles with her, when she was in no mood to play his games. The only reason she didn’t burn his skin from his bones were the words of her son, and the small chance she made need his services again.

She felt rather easily by a mother’s bonds, her son lay safe with the demon Moloch. Battling angels and chasing after that ridiculous woman was going to be the death of him. Who was able to hit the mighty Azazel Dragon with an almost fatal blow? Hmmm… Was it the human’s angel friend or… Michael. Always Michael… “Why are you here, taunting me so? Is your job not to do away with the angels so Azazel can have his wishes? I’m sure picking them off one by one would be simple enough… or did you intend to have bait and take them all at once…?” What are your purposes for being here, interrupting my thoughts…

“Well. I do have my own plans… for now, at least.” Beelzebub smirked at Anastasia. Sometimes he wished he could drive her crazy and have the privilege and joy watching her go about groveling like a mad woman. “But you see, Madam, that your son doesn’t really appreciate my help, not even me being around. The last time I ever offered my services, all I got were mere ridicules. I’m sorry to inform you but well…” Beelzebub eyed Anastasia, “I’m afraid your son hasn’t developed as much as he should have in mentality than he did physically.”

Anastasia almost sputtered! How dare he insult her precious son in such a way! Her darling was magnificent, stronger than any man that had existed before! Well… perhaps not like one other… Her arms crossed before her, perfectly manicured nails tapping against the velvet of her sleeves. “I do not wish to hear your insults or excuses. You have several tasks to be done. Stop wasting my time and complete them.”

Beelzebub scowled. The old witch always was too bossy for her own good! “As you wish, Madam Riktophen.” With a sarcastic bow, he cloaked himself with an invisibility spell and left the house in to the night.

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