With Adriel in his arms, Raphael flew back to the Farishta Manor invisible to human eyes. He passed into the various doors and walls like a spirit and finally reached the room where Rishta and Autumn were. Setting Adriel on the bed where Raziel was on previously, he frowned and asked, “Where’s Raziel?”

Adriel heard distant sounds like voices and the clash of weapons. It seemed to her thousands of demons and angels fought around her, but she couldn’t reach them. She was unable to move; strangely drained of strength, limp and motionless, she floated in a cold pool. Above the surface she could see a bright light; maybe the sun… but all images wavered and fled in nonstop motion and she couldn’t grasp them.
Adriel’s lips trembled slightly as if she fought to speak, but after a few seconds, she stopped moving. Se laid still and pale, unable to wake up from her unconsciousness.

It pained Raphael to see Adriel in such a state. He cast a spell and Strife appeared, in the form of a flute engraved with runes. Raphael sat down on the bed beside Adriel and stroked her cheek softly before placing the flute to his lips, playing a soft song.

Adriel’s brow twitched as she desperately tried to take a hold of the scattered images and sounds. She floated in the waters, drifting in an empty sea. The sounds were quieting down; the images went in a blur… Then she heard a faint music, like a flute in the distance. Adriel felt she knew the song… The melody was inviting, like a home fire; like a lit window in a dark night. Adriel tried to follow, she tried… but she was so tired. Adriel would like to give in to the soft sway of the waters and rest of all the fights, of the continuous Battle she had endured… but the flute played and she was sure she knew the melody. She tried to grasp the music…

Rishta turned to Raphael and softly whispered. “He followed you all. He left so fast… there was no time to stop him… forgive me…” Rishta nearly died when she saw Adriel. No, not Adriel… not her… no… Rishta could feel her throat close. She wanted to kill for someone to do that to her. Not sweet, nice, friendly, faithful Adriel… not her. Anyone, even her… just not Adriel.
But, as Raphael played she found herself calming a bit. She walked over to the bed and put her hand to her forehead. No fever… so far. Adriel should be fine… but she needed help.
//Uriel… we need your help… Adriel has been injured, and Michael too… we are all at my place. Do you need someone to take care of the man? Please come fast… she almost seems to be fading…//

Raphael did not respond. Or rather, he could not. He knew he has to keep on playing his flute, to guide the light he had sent within Adriel. To stop playing meant to risk losing her. That, Raphael would not do, so he kept on playing. // Please wake up, Adriel… I have already lost my sister… I cannot lose you too… //
Raphael shut his eyes and played his emotions into the music, hoping that it would help with Adriel.

Adriel listened to the melody. The flute song seemed to be a lighthouse over a black sea; she perceived a light through the wavering surface of the waters. All other images had blurred away… all other sounds were gone. Adriel relaxed in the motherly sway of the waters as the song played… it seemed to be going away. Perhaps it was her who was drifting away…

Adriel then felt something different. The music brought her feelings and a familiar presence. She smiled softly. It’s Raphael, she said to herself, //He’s playing his flute…// Adriel pale lips trembled lightly as to say something. A sort of sigh came out of her lips and it sounded like Raphael’s name. Her blood had not dried yet; her damp, stained robes and soaked red feathers stuck to her skin and the bed covers.

All of a sudden, Rishta’s eyes filled while her heart ached. There was a song… that, coupled with the effect of Raphael’s flute, was enough to make her mourn. However, Adriel’s condition remained heavily on her mind, and the blood that still flowed needed to be cleared. So, taking a bowl of water and cloth, she gently wiped the blood off of Adriel’s face and neck, wishing that she was more powerful. Maybe Raphael had a point to his earlier comment – maybe it would have been better if she was a Healing Angel.
She then heard Raphael’s name… coming faintly, from Adriel. She was awakening! Thank God… It was a bit ironic, to be thanking God, considering she never was a faithful person. But now, at that moment, it certainly was possible to her. Maybe there was a God, or maybe – a great amount of faith was capable of doing anything.

While she thought of this, Rishta gently wiped the blood off of Adriel’s arms, allowing her body the room to heal itself, or at least slow down the flow. To help her, she gave Adriel all the energy she could spare. Come back to us Adriel… you can’t die now… wake up, please. For Raphael’s sake at least. He will be lost without you… we will be… you cannot give up. Please Adriel… wake up…

Swiftly and certain as Death, Azrael flew back to Rishta’s manor. It was a curious thing perhaps to see the archangel of Death and Destruction taking someone to be healed, but it was easy so forget it seemed that her element was dual: Life/Death. However, the Order mission was not to collect as many souls as possible: only as many as necessary.
Azrael went through the roof and floors traveling within the shadows of the house and reached the room where Rishta and the others were, along with Autumn. Not many humans had ever seen Azrael walk the Earth in her angelic form, but this woman seemed to be doomed to share the angels’ fortunes and misfortunes. Azrael appeared with wounded Michael in her arms, her black wings half-closed as she gently held his injured body.

“Michael needs help,” she said. “Michael needs to be healed.” Azrael’s night sky eyes watched Raphael playing to Adriel as Rishta tended to her; Raphael’s intent was evident. Azrael watched and kept these things in her memory, trying to understand these ways.

“Michael is going to be fine. Michael needs a drink…” Making sure to make himself seem as heavy as possible, Michael fussed until Azrael finally set him down. He rested a hand on the table, using it for balance, his other arm drawn tightly around his bleeding waste. It didn’t matter to him if he was taking his last breaths, Adriel was the one he was more concerned with. She was under his protection, and now…

Raphael’s song was haunting and weighted heavily on him. It was almost too much for him to listen to, saddening and chilling for any who knew the intent behind it. Michael glanced at Azrael, who seemed both puzzled an in a state understanding. Didn’t he promise to explain things to her?
“Someone should fetch Uriel…” Michael muttered softly, not wanting to interrupt Raphael’s song, but needing to make sure something more was done. “Or a doctor… “

Rishta was sitting when she felt that Azrael and Michael had arrived. When they came in, the blood drained from her face at the sight of Michael. And his fussing wasn’t making it heal any faster. Walking to them, she immediately put her arm around him, and helped him to stand without the support of the chair.
Summoning a servant, she whispered in his ears her orders. Bring Uriel… or Frost Spencer, and her guest. Now. No questions asked. Not allowing Michael to stand much longer, she made him move to an adjourning room, where she forced him to lay down. Looking into his eyes, she muttered: “Remind me to yell at you when you are better… and don’t you DARE move.”

Once Rishta took Michael away, Azrael closed her wings, resting the upper pair on her shoulders as if they were a strange feathery cape. Her black feathers were black as a complete absence of light, and no deeper color could have ever been seen by human eyes. Azrael probably did not mean to, but she always had something sinister to her. Perhaps it was due to being a creature from the Dark, and Man had learned to fear the darkness. Her black hair, as black as her feathers hung loosely around her shoulders and her armor shone darkly. Fire-like writings could be seen on the unearthly metal. Her beautiful face was serene, but now there was a strange air lingering to her, as she watched and tried to understand. A myriad tiny suns shone in her night sky gaze.

Azrael moved to a dark corner and stood there, her eyes fixed on Raphael and Adriel. Raphael played his flute and Adriel lingered in the threshold between Life and Death, listening to him. The archangel closed her wings over her body and a cloak of Darkness fell on her: only her eyes shimmered visible.

Azrael stood on the waters; unmoving beneath unseen skies. In the ethereal space she could feel and hear the notes of Raphael’s flute. As beneath soft waves of glass, Adriel’s face and white wings were visible, floating beneath the surface.
//Adriel//, she softly spoke. //I told you your Time was coming. Before Raphael’s house, the day we found Uriel and her friend died. I had foreseen this.//

A great wind swept Azrael’s hair away from her face and huge waves appeared in the horizon, moving quickly towards them but still afar. Azrael opened her hand. In it shone the Blade of Life in the shape of a tiny sphere. In the air lingered the voice of Raphael’s flute, infused with emotions.
//Adriel. We belong in the Order of Death and Destruction; we
know some things are meant to be. There are keystones that are not to be removed… but there is still a chance to replace lesser stones with equivalent actions. You may decide this time if you may remain for some more Time or if you allow me to lead you out of this worlds. You may choose.//

The high waves were coming quickly. Azrael watched them, expressionless. //I don’t see why you’d pay heed to the Head General//, she said as the wind and the waves came closer with deafening roar, //but he at least made me wonder.//
The waves rose above the horizon and came down strangely silent. The ocean suddenly was quiet as polished glass…

Adriel could feel nothing, just the soft, motherly sway of the waters… But beyond this, she did hear and feel Raphael’s song. The song called her; there were feelings, emotions in it. These made Adriel happy, scared and sad. She did not understand all, but the music called and she lingered on. Adriel felt something loving in the soft sway of the waters; she was certain she was awaited. Adriel felt a heavenly joy… but also she grieved on leaving… The song called for her.

//Rishta…?// Adriel heard words coming from very far away… Adriel remembered Zeruel, Raphael’s sister. Somehow Adriel knew, she was a similar figure for Raphael after Zeruel’s tragic death. Raphael had come to love her like a sister. In the last days, Adriel had noticed Rishta and Raphael had easily got close, despite they both had a hard time making friends. Adriel thought it would have been Zeruel’s wish to find someone who could heal Raphael’s heart… Adriel could help, like Zeruel would have wished and bring these two together.

Azrael came then. The voice of the archangel filled Adriel’s soul. Adriel felt the rhythm of the waves change. She had but an instant to make her mind.
//So close… I can’t leave just now. I have to go back…//
Adriel felt she was falling down a chasm; she thought she would never meet the bottom of the pit. Suddenly she found herself back in her body and a terrible pain surprised her. Gasping for air, she had a painful fit of coughs, blood coming out of her lips. She tried to sit up, but her body was too weak to respond.

Raphael had ignored everything so far, in order to concentrate on playing his music and saving the life of Adriel who seemed to be fading away fast. He tried his best to remain calm, not to get frantic in his music for it would cause a loose grasp for Adriel on the threads of life and let her go back to the Light from where they came from… This, Raphael would not allow it. It was taking a little bit too long and Raphael was getting upset and losing his cool when Adriel suddenly sat up and coughed. Excited, Raphael simply leapt to his feet, threw Strife aside and hugged Adriel. “Are you alright?!” he asked anxiously, trying not to squeeze the life out of her.

Adriel coughed out the blood that was choking her and leaned against Raphael, too weak to sit up by herself. She still could not focus her sight and objects were blurry… but in the corner she saw Azrael’s eyes shimmering in the shadow. “Raph… ael…”, Adriel struggled to lift her hand and touched his cheek. “I am… f…ine.”

“Of course she’s not fine. Her body has been dying”, Azrael said. Only her eyes were visible in the shadow.
“Her wounds are too deep. She needs healing to survive”, Azrael said with a reproachful voice. “You’ve given her your energies, but she still needs to be healed.”

Raphael smiled faintly at Adriel, yet it was a happy smile. He turned to Azrael and scowled. “Somebody’s inviting that haughty Uriel, isn’t it? She can do all the work later.” Raphael said almost spitefully at Azrael. He wondered if he could manage to talk to Uriel later, in an attempt to let her heal Adriel… but Michael needed serious help himself and Uriel’s own injuries had not healed completely. Most probably she would leave Adriel to the hands of fate… Oh… Raphael loathed both Uriel and Azrael at the thought at that. Raphael shot Azrael another deadly glare while giving Adriel a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

In the corner, Azrael blinked at Raphael’s reaction. He didn’t even move to get help! Azrael stared and wondered what was going on in the Head General’s head.
“She won’t survive if she is not healed”, she coolly insisted.
Azrael half-closed her eyes. For some reason, Belial had appeared in her memories, back in the times when he worked with her; she could still imagine what he’d do in a situation like this.
Azrael watched them. She was not to interfere now, so she did not add another word.

Adriel had another painful fit of coughs. She leaned against Raphael and tried to focus her eyesight, but still she saw everything in a blur. She closed her eyes and tried to block the pain out of her mind, shaking in Raphael’s arms.
“I’ll… be fine…”, she murmured.

Seeing Adriel in such pain hurt Raphael. Perplexed, he set Adriel down onto the bed slowly and gently again, careful of not hurting her. “Take care of her.” Raphael said seriously to Azrael, “I will skin you personally if anything should happen to her while I’m not around.” Looking at Adriel softly, Raphael spread his wings and flew out of the room through the halls and doors. He didn’t care if Rishta has already let someone fetch Uriel. A human would be far too slow. Uriel would heal Adriel FIRST. Well, I guess this is what it means by ‘first come first serve. Too bad, Michael…

Azrael arched an eyebrow at the Head General’s words. He always was throwing insults at right and left; maybe if he did that less often the words would have some effect. However, Azrael was Fear Itself and she had not yet met something scarier than herself – to say it in a way!
Azrael remained in her corner, her eyes shining strangely amidst the shadows. Only her eyes were visible now, and her night sky gaze was fixed on Adriel.
//Why did you choose to stay?//, she asked.

With her eyes closed and trying to block out the pain, Adriel’s beautiful face showed pain and sorrow, but she was still content to have returned.
//I still need to do something, Azrael; I still need… to do something for a friend.//

It didn’t take long for Raphael to overtake the human sent by Rishta to fetch Uriel. Raphael simply flew at his fastest speed as he saw the Spencer household. Grimacing, Raphael hesitated for a moment, imaging Uriel making things difficult for him. No… Adriel seriously needs help. Michael too. And that stupid human is too slow. How could Rishta ever rely on humans?! Without a second hesitation, Raphael flew into Uriel’s bedroom. “Hello, Uriel.” Raphael said to the Healer sleeping in the corner of the room.

Uriel had dozed off looking after Kevin. Ever since the torture from Tabris, it seemed like she had been in a series of ill luck. Or rather, the angels. They just kept on getting injured and running to her. And she was still injured herself! When will her own wounds heal? Uriel was quite desperate without her trusty wings and thinking about her problems nearly drove her crazy. It made her so tired that she finally fell asleep. Uriel had slept deeply for the entire day, not sensing the awakening of Azazel and the wars between the demons and angels. Such was the limit of her energy… She could feel her health weakening and her energy wasn’t getting better as her body was still trying to fix her wings. Hence, Uriel wasn’t too pleased when she was interrupted from her sleep, needing all the rest she could get. She nearly jumped. Uriel gave a wicked smile at her visitor. “Surprise surprise.” Uriel nearly snickered in sarcasm, “See who’s here – none other than our great Head General himself. What do you want?”

Raphael abhorred Uriel’s attitude. He knew it! He knew that she was going to give him this sort of attitude right from the start! What the hell… if she was not the only Healing angel they could approach, there was not a chance Raphael would even consider asking her! .”.. Something serious happened. Your help is needed.” Raphael simply said, not moving. You don’t expect me to say ‘I need your help’, do you, bitch?

Uriel frowned. Raphael didn’t seem to be kidding but… “Tell me what happened first.” Uriel said, seemingly unmoved by Raphael’s earlier words, “And I have a guest here, please try not to get into a fight with me as I would not comply with you.” Uriel said, as if lecturing a child. Staring at Raphael, Uriel finally said, “And if you need others’ help… please be sincere about it. Do not say one thing and think about another thing at the same time. It makes you look like a hypocrite, even though I know you did so because you dislike me.”

“You read my mind?!” Raphael bawled, angered. First, he had to come begging Uriel for help. Second, he had to listen to her bitching away like he was there for some lectures instead of asking for help. Third and lastly, she actually read his mind! How could she do that?! It was rude!

“I didn’t. It’s merely an observation.” Uriel replied. With a sly smile, she added, “An observation of the most intelligent angel ever existing.”

And the bitchiest too… Raphael thought with bitter sarcasm.
“Anyway, we should get going right now! You will know everything later! Don’t cause deaths by delaying with useless talks!” Raphael almost exploded, trying to control his temper.

“I have a human friend here.” Uriel insisted, smiling at Raphael’s perplexed look, not believing his words. Why should she, when Raphael had not proven his worth of being the Head General to her so far? He had only proven his worth of being the Head Brat.
“I would not leave until you tell me the entire story.” Uriel said firmly.

Raphael glared at Uriel.
Sonafabitch! Why didn’t you become a Fallen?! Why are you still an angel?! The world’s being weird! Your heart is as black as charcoal and as hard as diamond! Great… “So you want me to explain things to you? Fine!” Raphael snarled at Uriel, “The more you want me to do it, the more I won’t! You shall come with me, willing or not!” With that, Raphael tore at the bed string and he cast a binding spell on it before tying Uriel’s wrists together with it despite her protests.

Uriel was horrified when Raphael began to treat her the same way Tabris had! She shrieked and tried to wriggle away but it was no use. Raphael was too strong for her even with his injury. Even at her own full health, her strength could not compare to Raphael’s. Uriel was even more horrified when she realized what Raphael was going to do. “NUUUUUU!!!” Uriel began to scream as Raphael flew through the air with her hanging down there, her hands held up by Raphael. Her wings were still at its stubbles. If Raphael decided to let go of the bed string, that’s the end of her.

Raphael’s wings flapped and he took flight off, casting both of them invisible. He flied as fast as possible back to Rishta’s manor as he held the magick-cast string in his hand, with Uriel hanging below.

Kevin slowly opened his eyes and let out a soft ‘grunt.’ He looked around, disoriented, and couldn’t figure out where he was and how he got there. His head felt like it weighed a thousand pounds, and he still felt a bit weak.
Uuuuuhhhh… Where am I? …What happened?” he muttered softly while pressing his palm to his forehead as he sat up on the bed. “Is anyone here?” he spoke softly, because he felt like if he raised his voice his own head would explode.

Hearing some noise, a maid working for the Spencers tried to open the door but as usual, the door was locked. The Missy of the family hated to have her privacy invaded. Informing Frost’s parents of the strange noises, and remembering the bad record of their daughter as well as the boy who stayed overnight the other day, they hurried up to the room and opened the door with a spare key.
As Uriel had cast an invisibility spell over the bed, they could not see anyone at all. It was an empty room. Weird.

“There’s nobody here, did you hear wrongly, Mrs. Campbell?” Mr. Spencer said with a frown.

“I did hear something!” Mrs. Campbell protested but it was no use since they couldn’t see anything. The three turned to leave.

To Kevin’s surprise he saw people rush into the room, stare him into his eyes, say no one was there and leave. Kevin sat in silence for a few minutes, he was startled and extremely confused at this point. He sat on the bed, not moving a muscle, as if waiting for something to happen.

“Where’s Frost?” Mrs. Alisa Spencer asked, taking a final look at the room, feeling eerie.

“Haven’t seen her all day, M’am.” Mrs. Campbell answered.

“Well, leave the girl alone. It isn’t the first time she stayed overnight outside. She can handle alone.” Mr. Spencer said in a cold and uncaring manner as he walked away. Mrs. Campbell followed Mr. Spencer away but Alisa felt hesitant to leave. Somehow she felt a presence in the room.

After her husband is out of earshot, Alisa enters the room once more and looked around carefully. “Hello…?” Alisa whispered, “Frost..? Are you playing the fool again…?”

Kevin prayed the people would go away already. He didn’t care how they didn’t see him, but apparently they didn’t, and he wished they would just leave already.

As Uriel’s energy was slowly being called away back to it’s mistress for healing purposes, the shield began to lose its power and Kevin was revealed on the bed. Alisa was turning to leave when she caught a head on the bed. She turned and her eyes widened. A head. Only a head. Then the neck. The shoulders. The upper torso. The lower torso, and the legs. Alisa’s eyes nearly popped out. She was so shocked she couldn’t even scream. She simply fainted straight on spot.

Seeing the woman fall on the spot Kevin jumped up from the bed and rushed to her aid.
“Miss…Are you okay?” Kevin whispered as quietly as possible, while kneeling over the fallen woman.
Kevin looked around in confusion. So much has happened in the past minutes that he couldn’t put anything together. He picked up the woman and carried her to the bed and laid her down carefully. Kevin placed two fingers, one at each side of the woman’s head, at the temples, and muttered some words under his breath. It seemed that Kevin’s headache began to worsen as he did this, but he ignored it and continued to attempt to wake her up.

“Hmm…?” Alisa uttered as her eyes fluttered open. It had been a long time since she felt a warmth like this. It was years ago when she nearly died of a sickness and it was gone suddenly, in a space of a night. Though nobody knew or thought about it, but Alisa knew that it was her daughter who saved her. She had kept quiet about it, for she knew that her husband would probably try to kill her daughter again.
Yet the feeling is different this time. Frost’s had been warm, holy and rather angelic but Kevin’s was different. But of course Alisa couldn’t tell the difference. She looked at Kevin with confused eyes. “Who are you? What are you doing in my daughter’s room?” Alisa asked weakly.

Kevin smiled when he saw the woman regain consciousness, and that she was alright. But he didn’t know how to answer her. “I’m…..uh…..well I’m Kevin. But what I’m doing here is even a mystery to me, and so is how I got here. I was sort of hoping you would be so kind to enlighten me on those questions, but it seems like you wont be able to.” Kevin let out a nervous chuckle. “I hope I didn’t cause any trouble here, miss.”

Alisa smiled. She was embarrassed to be addressed as a Miss at her age. “Oh…? Frost often climbs back to her room here by herself… but it’s impossible to carry you and climb up here…” Alisa frowned a little, “And nobody sees you through the door… weird… Where’s my daughter…?”
Alisa looked at Kevin, “Did you see my daughter?”

Kevin was relieved to hear that this woman wasn’t upset at him or anything. “I’m sorry I really don’t know where anyone or anything is. I don’t even know how long I’ve been here. I apologize if I’ve startled you. I will leave now.” Kevin held his hand out to help the woman out of the bed. After she sat up he began walking towards the door. “I would like to apologize again for any inconvenience.”

Kevin really didn’t know where to go now, so by default he decided to head out of the house. He walked out of the room that he woke up and looked to his left. Then to his right. Seeing that the stairs leading down were on the right, he proceeded to walk that way. The door that seemed to lead to the outside was directly to the left, immediately after Kevin stepped down from the stairs. Kevin put his hand on the door knob, but paused for a second and looked back at the house – just one last final glance. He then turned the door knob and walked outside.

The first thing that reached his eyes were the beautiful garden’s beside the walkway leading to the street. Following the walkway with his eyes and slowly raising his head he saw the exit gate, and some people crowding around it. Kevin’s curiosity took the best of him and he began walking towards the exit, determined to find out who those people are and what they are doing there.

“Hello there.” The woman approached Kevin first to his surprise.

“Umm… hi there. Who are you?”

“I am one of Lady Rishta’s servants. I have been sent here to call upon Frost Spencer to arrive at her manor. Do you know if she is here at the moment?”

Kevin pondered about that one for a second. Frost Spencer rang a bell in his mind, but it was vague. Before completely thinking about the answer he immediately blabbed out “No she’s not here, so you should probably head back.” Kevin was ready to eat his words, but immediately got the idea of following the servants to this Lady’s manor himself.

“Well thank you for your assistance, but I’d like to make sure myself, and I’d prefer to talk to the Lady of the house personally.” She stepped forward and stopped right in front of Kevin, he moved aside and she proceeded up the walkway to the door. From afar he could see her ring the doorbell, but surprisingly no one opened to Kevin’s surprise. After a few moments of waiting, the woman came back down the walkway and looked up at Kevin again.

“Thank you for your help kind Sir.” She bowed and proceeded to the carriage from which she emerged a few minutes ago. The carriage slowly began to move away from Kevin. He shrugged and said to himself, Oh well, it’s not like I have anything else to do, and he proceeded to follow the carriage. He put a cigarette in his mouth and patted down each of his pockets. “Damn I still don’t have a light.”

Raphael flew down smoothly onto the roof, but it wasn’t smooth for Uriel who nearly hit the tiles with her head. She shrieked quite a few times in fear of her own safety. Her own life was practically in the hands of Raphael, who doesn’t quite like her and she knew it! She wisely kept her mouth shut during the entire journey.

Raphael was enjoying it. He had jerked on purpose quite a few times and scared the wits out of Uriel, her face getting paler as time went by. He finally descended into the room where Adriel and Azrael were. Closing his wings, Raphael pulled her towards the bed, and freed her wrists. “Now go and do your work!” Raphael growled at her, knowing that he had an advantage over her now.

From her corner, only her eyes visible in the dark space, Azrael watched with cool indifference Raphael’s deeds. Uriel seemed extremely upset but bound to his will – that was at least interesting, since Uriel never agreed with anyone in ‘normal’ circumstances. Azrael stayed out of the stage and watched with moderate curiosity.

Uriel was so shocked that she couldn’t even mumble words to herself to curse Raphael. She staggered towards Adriel and stumbled, tripping over an edge of the carpeted floor. She tried to keep cool but couldn’t managed to. Raphael had rattled the guts out of her by his flying stunts. He had purposely tried to crash her into a few buildings earlier. She bet if Adriel hadn’t been in this state, he would really do that to her.
Uriel sat down beside Adriel, held Adriel’s cold hand with her own hands which is still shaking due to the earlier experience. “I… I… will… will… try my… best…” was all Uriel could say. However, one could detect the slight tone of disdain for Raphael in her voice.

Adriel had been trying to rest and not move while Raphael was gone; now with the noise and sensing his return, the angel struggled to open her eyes.
Adriel’s vision was blurry, so she didn’t see quite well what was going on. She saw Raphael pushed Uriel towards the bed, but she didn’t see the string in his hands. Adriel tried to focus and when she tried to speak, another painful fit of coughs surprised her. Blood stained her lips. Uriel took her hand and said she’d help; Adriel had a grateful smile with trembling lips. “Tha…nk you.”

Azrael watched, immutable. If Uriel were to fail – which still was a faint possibility the archangel of Death and Destruction had to keep watch on – she’d make sure to pick up Adriel’s soul. Adriel was someone Azrael knew personally and whose worth the Head of the Order knew well.
Azrael swept a look around the room and discovered the trays with tea and cakes Rishta had ordered for Autumn and the others. Dropping her cloak of Darkness, Azrael went over to the small table and examined the tray. There were tea cakes and other varieties. She had seen Rishta drink tea, so she guessed it wouldn’t be bad to give the tea a try, too. She served tea in a cup and tried it. It was… bitter? Azrael tasted the dark liquid again, watching the group over her teacup.

Uriel tried to keep her cool. Okay, be calm, Uriel. You are going to lose face acting like this! Uriel closed her eyes and mediated for a few moments, a feeling of tranquility flowing through her body, calming her rattled nerves down. Upon regaining her own calm self, Uriel opened her eyes and shot Raphael a deadly glare who ignored her and whistled away. Okay… you shall get away for now… Just you watch out! One day I shall strangle you!

Uriel turned to Adriel and grasped her hand with both of her hands. “Close your eyes and keep your mind clear…” Uriel said in a soothing voice, “Keep cool too… it will be alright soon….”
Drawing out her holy energies, a white light glowed at the grasped hands and the light disappeared, entering the body of Adriel. It traveled through her entire body, massaging her injured muscles and nerves before bobbing out of Adriel’s head. The light spread to Adriel’s body and formed the outline of her body, as if it was a shield protecting her. Uriel twitched a little and extended a little more energy to the healing light, strengthening it. The healing light spread and covered Adriel. For some moment, Adriel was covered by the light as if being swallowed by a gust of white foam. As the light dispersed, Adriel’s wounds and scars were gone from her body. It was as if she had been given a new body.

Uriel let go of Adriel’s hand and collapsed back, tired. It had to be one of her worst jobs. Her energies were being taken away slowly to heal her own injuries and now… not much were left after Adriel’s own session. “She’s going to be alright.” Uriel said, perspiring, “But make sure she don’t move about too much… She’s still badly injured internally… I don’t have much energy left in myself when I came so I couldn’t heal her completely. That’s why I was sleeping and didn’t want to come.” Uriel remarked, pinpointing at Raphael’s actions, “But I’ve tried my best and somebody had better say thank you.”

Azrael flapped her wings a little, folding them neatly at her back. She watched Uriel work and heal Adriel’s body while she coolly sipped her tea. When Uriel finished her job and started on her usual protests, Azrael knew Uriel would be fine as well; otherwise she wouldn’t have the energies to complain as much. Since she had seen Rishta serve tea and cakes, Azrael did the same she had seen Rishta do. She served a cup of tea and put it on a saucer, then placed a pair nice-looking cakes in a separate dish on a small tray and took it to Uriel.
“Thank you”, Azrael said, handing her the tray.

Uriel blinked as she received the tray from Azrael, amazed at the Archangel of Death and Destruction. “Umm… thanks…” Uriel said, still not quite believing that it was Azrael. Azrael, serving her tea?! Wow. Taking the teacup, Uriel sipped the tea and she let out a sigh of pleasure and relaxation. What a day. Uriel fell asleep not too long after that.

Since Uriel fell asleep, Azrael guessed it was no use to waste a good thing, so she picked up the cakes she had brought to Uriel and ate them without hesitation. She slowly ate the cakes and retrieved the tray. Puffing her feathers a bit, Azrael placed the tray back on the table and picked up a tea cake from the cakes tray.
These were her favorite of the lot.
Azrael turned to Adriel and after a brief look, she nodded.
“Welcome back”, she told the angel.

Adriel let out a sigh in relief. Due to her internal injuries she still had a sharp pain, but it was way lesser than before. More content, Adriel breathed more easily and thought she’d like to take a bath.
Adriel couldn’t help but to blink when Azrael brought the tray to Uriel and said thanks; when Uriel fell asleep due to the exertion, Azrael ate the cakes and retrieved the tray. Adriel watched her, wide-eyed.

“Oh… thank you”, Adriel replied after a little pause. The archangel left her side with the tray.
Azrael was choosing yet another cake from the cakes’ tray now. When she ate the cake she picked her black feathers rose slightly, puffing; indeed, she liked those. Adriel blinked again.
Oh, my… Adriel managed to sit up and tried to move Uriel to get her more comfortable, but a sting of pain forced her to desist. Adriel winced and laid back on the pillows again. She rose her gold and green eyes, looking for Raphael.

Glad that Adriel was fine now, Raphael was too overjoyed for words. Azrael had just taken the tray of food away and Raphael pushed poor Uriel to the floor as he sat beside Adriel himself. Grabbing Adriel’s hand, Raphael smiles brightly.
“Adriel!!! Are you alright?! I’m so worried about you!!!” Raphael cried out in joy.

Uriel was rudely awakened when she felt a hard shove and she fell to the ground hard, hurting her butt. Uriel cried out in pain and glared at Raphael, the culprit. But Raphael took no notice of her as he ran to sit beside Adriel and spoke to her gently. The sight made Uriel calm down slightly. She had to. She owed him one in a way too. She hadn’t managed to save Zeruel… // My debt’s paid so don’t expect me to give in to you the next time round, Raphael…. //
Uriel stood up, walked to the door and opened it. Before exiting the room, Uriel made a face at Raphael and slammed the door hard as a silent protest.

Azrael swept a look around as Uriel slammed the door shut when leaving. The archangel of Death and Destruction arched an eyebrow at Raphael’s rudeness, but again she was not the one to judge anyone.
However, Azrael guessed Adriel needed some rest instead of dealing with the loud, never polite Head General. Since she wasn’t needed anymore on the spot, Azrael took the smaller tray, piled up some cakes on it and left the room with the tray. Autumn had left earlier, but Azrael was completely indifferent to the fact, as long as she wasn’t running back to Azazel’s side. That would be no good.
Azrael vanished with her tray of cakes without a farewell word.

Adriel had a soft smile that gradually became a shy grin when she saw Raphael. Adriel blinked in alarm when he pushed Uriel off the bed and Adriel was about to say something when Uriel left, slamming the door shut behind her.
Raphael had taken her hand. Adriel blushed and when she noticed Azrael was also gone, her blush went deeper. Overjoyed Raphael told her he was worried about her. Tears brimmed in Adriel’s eyes, yet she did not know why.

Adriel looked down shyly.
“I’m alright”, she reassured him with a shy smile, still looking down. “Uriel healed most of my wounds… The internal wounds that remain will heal soon; I feel very much better… Thank you”, she added with a shy smile, still looking down. Adriel saw her stained robes and her feathers soaked in blood; surely she was not looking too good now… She unconsciously rose her hand and put some hair strands behind her ear, looking down and blushing.

Raphael hardly cared for Uriel and Azrael’s leaving of the room. He only cared for Adriel and the extent of her injuries. Noticing that Adriel was crying, he took a tissue nearby and wiped them away. “Why are you crying…? Does your injuries hurt you?” Raphael asked, a little rattled. He glanced at her stained robes and feathers. “Ah yes!!!” Raphael cried out in excitement as he dashed to a wardrobe nearby, opened it and took one of the dresses inside. Taking a nearby cloth, Raphael ran to the bathroom, puts it in a silver basin half-filled with water and goes back to the bed. Putting the dress aside, Raphael dampens the cloth and cleans Adriel’s feathers carefully.
“See? Do you feel better now?” Raphael grins almost mischievously like a little boy. He seemed to have forgotten about his own wound, which by now, had stopped bleeding. “You can change the dress later… I don’t think Rishta would mind.”

Adriel’s blush went deeper and she had a soft, happy yet shy smile at Raphael’s attentions. She felt utterly shy when he wiped her tears. She moved her wings a little as he cleaned her feathers a little embarrassed that he was doing that for her. Adriel reached out to touch the dress he had brought for her.

“Thank you, Raphael”, she softly said. “My injuries… hurt a little, but a lot less than before.” Adriel nodded reassuringly with a soft smile. “It’s a nice dress”, she said, touching the laces. Since Adriel was way smaller than Rishta, she guessed she’d need to fix a couple things before wearing the dress, so she pulled the dress towards her but winced slightly as she did.
“I… will still need some rest”, she said with a faint apologetic smile. She rested against the pillows and tugged a bit at her stained robes. Adriel felt shy and a bit nervous but she was also happy. She looked up at Raphael. “You are hurt, too…” She reached up to touch his shoulder.

Raphael smiled faintly. He nodded his head as Adriel indicated that she needed rest. Raphael decided to sit by the bedside and guard her until she was awake. Raphael looked at Adriel, and watched her moving to touch him. He shook his head, held her hand and let it rest on the bed. “Don’t…” he speaks softly, “Your wounds will hurt…” With a slight smile, Raphael said, “It doesn’t hurt at all… don’t worry…”

Adriel opened her eyes wide in concern. “Are you sure…?” She blushed as he laid her hand on the bed. After a little pause, Adriel said, “I… heard the flute when I was away; I knew it was you.” Tears brimmed in her eyes.
“I feel… there’s another wound in you that needs to heal…”, she murmured.

Raphael understood the meaning of Adriel’s words and he smiled weakly. “I’m sorry, Adriel. But I guess… it’s something I would not be able to forget all my life… or be healed of it…” Raphael mumbled, “In a way, I don’t want it to be gone too… because… it’s my last living memory of ‘her’. I don’t want to lose it as well…” Raphael clutched at the bed sheets tightly, and stared down at his clutched fists. It took him a moment to look at Adriel once more. He refocused his eyes and gave a wry smile. “Thank you anyway, Adriel. You’ve been a great support all along. We are…” Raphael paused for a moment, as if finding the right word, “We are close friends… and should look out for each another. I didn’t want you to die.” Raphael said softly, referring to Adriel’s note of him playing the flute.

Adriel had a small, soft smile and nodded slowly. “Yes, we are close friends. I want things to be fine for you… I don’t want you to be sad… or haunted by pain from the past. I believe you could meet someone that could help you have a different view of life…” Adriel closed her eyes for an instant, then opened her eyes again. “Perhaps that could help you heal…” Adriel took a deep breath as a sting of pain hurt her from inside. She moved a bit against the pillows, trying to conceal the pain, exhausted. She nodded slowly, pale. “You are such a good angel… I wish you best things…” Adriel’s voice faded and her eyelids slowly closed. Her body desperately needed to rest; a sound sleep overtook her senses.

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