Michael stood outside the church for a few moments, staring at the sky in silent thought. His expression was dark as golden blonde tendrils of hair fell over in to his eyes. He carelessly ran his hand threw it as he made his way down the steps. Gabriel was following closely behind. Michael could tell he was confused and had questions, but he had yet to ask them. The boy should have stayed with the others.

“Michael, wait!” Gabriel called, trying to follow Michael’s quick steps.

Michael didn’t stop, however. He kept walking, not bothering to turn his head back. “You should go back to the others.” he simply said. “There is no sense in following me.”

Gabriel frowned, his eyebrows furrowing in an unpleasant scowl. The archangel Michael had appeared so mysteriously only to want to vanish in the night without explanations? What was his purpose? “Why are you here? It seems as if you’ve brought us together, only to disappear again.”

A long silence followed as Michael merely stared in the boys direction. Night was drawing near and he had no urges to stay before he ended up dragged in to another mess. ‘Heh… If only you knew, kid. You’d think twice about asking…’ He shrugged a nonchalant shoulder then started off walking again. The skies were beginning to turn a dusty rose color as it drew nearer to sunset. “Maybe I just wanted to see old friends.”

The soft sounds of Michael’s boots on the London’s streets was all Gabriel heard as Michael took his leave without another word beyond his vague reply. He was confused… beyond confused, he was dumbfounded! A strange feeling that the meeting wasn’t just a simple visit seemed to stir him. Gabriel sighed to himself, decided to brush it off as he turned away in the opposite direction and walked down the London street.

* * * * * * * * * *

Raziel yawned and stretched. It seemed his human form had its limitations after all. Staying up three days studying these old tomes from Aristotle and Galileo took something out of you. He wondered how humans could bear these bodies. The royal library was certainly full of useful knowledge, though, and he was privileged to be allowed to use it. But all that reading wasn’t helping him find the Archangels, or any other angels for that matter. He mumbled something vaguely rude under his breath as he leaned back once more, the small bench creaking precariously. Sitting outside of the church, he had no clue what he hoped to accomplish. An angel would walk by? Not likely. Certainly not a logical expectation in his book.

Walking out of the church with Rishta and Raphael, Adriel admired the beauty of dusk, as the night rose above the buildings and the last spades of the sun shimmered in the West. A lamplighter, followed by a sad dog, was lighting the gas street lights. The lights tossed strange shapes on the trees of the park across the street, as the citizens walked up and down the sidewalks. Different carriages pulled by horses, gentlemen on horseback and some cars could be seen. Adriel smiled at the panorama and placed her shawl over her shoulders with graceful movements. When she did, she noticed a man sitting on an old bench outside of the church. Adriel tilted her head, looking at him; he had a familiar feeling to him on a very special way. He looked tired. Adriel stopped by Raziel and smiled. “Excuse me, mister,” she said with a nod. “Are you waiting for someone? The church will be closing soon.”

Stepping out of the church, Raphael looked around lazily. Unlike Adriel, he never really took his time to enjoy the beauty of the world. All he has in his brains most of the time is revenge, revenge, revenge. Even his dreams were not spared. He could only relieve his stress and pressure through fighting out his peers in the school, those silly mortals who dared take him on just because he looked like a silly weakling. Well, actually, a girl. A strange feeling filled Raphael again, the same as when he encountered Gabriel, Michael and Rishta. He knew that the man Adriel greeted must be an angel. Raphael didn’t want be bothered with any more mysterious angels, his patience was wearing thin. He stood and waited, for without Adriel, he couldn’t possibly get home.

Raziel looked up and blinked as the young woman… No, the angel, spoke to him. .”..Yes, actually. I’ve been waiting for all of you.” He stood slowly, and bowed, hand over heart. “I am Raziel.” He could sense that most of them were truly archangels. “Angel of knowledge. I have been looking for you all,” he said, his bass voice low and smooth.

Adriel looked up at him in surprise for he spoke so openly, yet she was somewhat disappointed for she wondered if this encounter meant there’d be no dinner at her newly found friend’s house. Adriel looked around and hoped no one but them had heard the guy’s words. Once she saw no one else around, she nodded politely in greeting. “I am Adriel, an Angel of Death. Are you with Michael? He was looking for us as well.” Adriel walked over to Rishta and Raphael, and stood next to them in an indirect way to let Rishta know Adriel considered her part of the group. She looked at Raphael to see his reaction at Raziel’s words; he seemed rather indifferent. Adriel’s gaze fell on Raziel again, waiting for his answer.

Raziel was rather surprised with himself that he had been so blunt. It wasn’t his usual way. “Good to meet you, Adriel. No, I am not.” He ran a hand through his choppy blonde hair sheepishly. ‘I must have lost all of my sense when I inhabited this body. I need to get out more.’ At least his voice was quiet enough that no others had heard. There were the finer points of being soft-spoken. ‘So, Michael had sought them out? The leader of the archangels and an Angel of Death. Amazing. What hand of fate…’

As soon as she walked out, Rishta was kind of shocked, in a still silent kind of way. Another one. Of all days the angels were popping out of nowhere! She could feel his light power, he might have been a bit weaker than her! However, he was a PURE angel. One thing she could not say about herself. Rishta then turned her attention towards her two companions: once again, Adriel had been open, Raphael a bit more closed. Well… time to talk. If she remembered how. “Hello… I am Rishta.” She then stopped, what was the use? He was looking for TRUE angels. To distract herself, she called for her driver and gave him the instructions. She looked on as a boy was sent to her house with the message. They would be ready. “Adriel… do you know this angel, Raziel? What about you, Raphael?”

Raphael looked at Rishta and thought for a while before his words came out slowly and sarcastic, “I have no friends except for a few special ones… And I prefer to befriend strong ones.” Pinpointing at Raziel’s weakness deliberately, Raphael looked at him through the corner of his eyes with a haughty arrogant look.

Rishta looked at Raphael, a small smile spreading across her face. He was very cautious, not to mention sensible. Like her, pick friends slowly and not too many either. You never know what could happen. “It is good to have few friends. You know them more and not to mention if they are strong, No need to worry about them. Still, there is something about defending the weak. It gives you a sense of, I don’t know… it just makes you feel protective. And mature, in a sense, if you know what I mean. That is why I learned how to fight. I needed to be independent… and I am glad I did.” Rishta then looked into his eyes. Slightly arrogant, but still, he was there, deeper… not so lost and haughty. “Calm down. No need to be so… uptight. You don’t have to go to a BALL or something with him!” Rishta then softly laughed, like rain pattering on water. She had not laughed like this for a while. But his look was hysterical! At least, to her, since that is how she felt very often: I am toooo good for you! After all, compared to humans she was indeed strong.

“You misunderstand my meaning.” Raphael laughed softly, “I want strong allies so that they won’t become my burden, and not because of the reason you think. I’m not as good as you think.” Raphael said and stopped short, closing up himself once more. He knew it was all a pack of lies. He had been a burden himself, and that is why his sister died. He just didn’t want others to end up like his sister and be hurt again.

“Raziel is Angel of Wisdom,” Adriel explained to Rishta. “His strength relies on his mind and knowledge.” She cast a serious glance at Raphael as she said, “Strength isn’t physical only.” She turned again to Rishta. “Raziel and I have met before, sometimes.” She smiled and nodded. Adriel looked at Raphael again, her lip slightly pursed in disapproval, yet there was concern in her eyes for she cared about him.

“An angel of wisdom? An amazing ability. I have never been to good at planning strategies and I always did poorly in classes that required mathematical and strategically skills.” Rishta looked thoughtful all this time, trying to digest their conversation. Not as strong as she thought? Hmph, he was fooling himself. He was definitely more powerful than she, and that was how she judged power levels. However, she had one advantage: she could control all, though weakly. Again she sensed the memory in him but she didn’t pry further. She was so surprised how her abilities as a seer had grown, obviously being around other angels had enhanced her mother’s gift.

“Books and scrolls doesn’t save you from a fight, your fists do.” Raphael retorted back coolly, his hands in his pockets. ‘And I knew that from a personal hard lesson.’ He looked away from Adriel’s eyes. They reminded him of his sister’s eyes when he did something wrong – one of the reasons why he had stuck to Adriel like bee to honey.

Adriel’s lip pursed a bit more; she didn’t like when Raphael acted like that. She knew his actions were just a shield of his. Perhaps it was just her nature but Adriel felt like tending to him. She could feel pain in him, and she cared about Raphael. Adriel gently touched his arm. But he could be so stubborn sometimes! Adriel retrieved her hand and gave him a sharp look. “Not everything can be solved through hitting others!,” she told him in a whisper, then stopped.

“I think so.” Raphael replied in a tone that bore obvious signs that he was having different thoughts from what he was saying. He turned his head to one side and stared into space, a sign that he refused to speak on the subject anymore.

“Knowledge is Power. Power is knowledge… And the truth can defeat all,” Raziel murmured to himself. It was one of those personal mantras that helped him keep his temper. At least, if he couldn’t quash emotion fully, he could retain his serenity.

Adriel sighed and pulled her shawl over her shoulders, as if the air had become colder. “Rishta,” she said shyly. “You are our hostess now. If you’d like, could we invite Raziel over to dinner? Maybe he has news of interest to share with us.”

Rishta then turned to Raphael, and decided that she was going to try and reason with him: “I know you believe that fists are stronger but you always need a plan on how to use those fists. Do you agree? Or, maybe you have always relied on strength alone but you cannot always relief on that. At the worst possible moment they will fail. Believe me, I know personally…” she trailed off. “And yes. I think it would be a perfect idea to have Raziel come. If you can make it?” Rishta said, directing her statement to Raziel turning the conversation away. She then placed her hand on Raphael’s shoulder. “You will come too, won’t you?”

Adriel nodded slowly. She looked intently at Raphael for an instant; she then slowly turned around. “I need to get my bike,” she murmured. “I could tie it to the back of the carriage. Raziel please join us; it’s been a fortune we’ve met again like this.” Adriel descended the steps to the sidewalk, where her bike was tied to a post with a light chain. She untied the bike and pulled it along to the carriage. The driver came by to help her and soon the bike was in place, securely tied to the back of the vehicle. Adriel’s happiness seemed to have diminished. “I’m ready,” she announced to the others.

Raphael considered Rishta’s words as he bit his lip. She was right in a way. He lost the fight years ago because he was just fighting blindly, not paying much attention to anything else. That was what caused his sister’s death. He gave a slight nod at Rishta but didn’t say anything else.

Rishta understood Raphael nod and accepted it. He obviously was not in a talkative mood. Well, she hoped dinner would change that! “The carriage is ready, when we are.” Rishta mentioned, looking at all of them. Well. They would see how this evening would go. She was already getting paranoid. Not to mention slightly claustrophobic!

Raphael looked at Adriel’s expression and figured that she might not like the idea of him riding along with her now. Left with no choice, Raphael climbed into Rishta’s carriage silently and sat with no sign of expression, his face blank. He wondered if Rishta’s residence was far from his own. He didn’t like the idea of walking the long distance home.

Adriel gracefully got into the carriage and sat in a corner. She opened a window and looked out to the nearby park. “Rishta, could we stop by my house on the way to yours…?” Since Rishta had previously said they would, Adriel told the driver her address. She looked at Raphael and she wondered he would be silent as an oyster for the rest of the night. Adriel sighed.

“Of course, Adriel. It would be no problem.” Rishta then climbed into the carriage, helped by the driver. “Also, I can have it that my driver will take you all home. I mean, I do not think your parents would like it if I made you walk home in the darkness.” Rishta then turned her head towards Raphael: “Are you two all right? Please do not let one single difference in opinion make you two enemies. Even if it is for a little while. Both of you were right in your argument and so neither of you ‘lost’ the little battle.” Rishta then looked out, “Raziel, please come. Do not worry about anything. I will take care of all the traveling arrangements.” She then sat back, and waited for everyone to be ready.

“Where are…” He had almost said ‘you’, “Where are we going?” Raziel asked Rishta. ‘Interesting exchange. I take it most of them have just met. If they do not learn to trust each other, and themselves. Demons will find easy prey, else. Frightening thought, but true…’ As he climbed into the carriage, he had to duck his head. ‘Sometimes height is a definite disadvantage.’ Sitting, he studied Rishta for a moment. She was weaker than he, true. But he managed to hide his strength; it was an ability that had helped him survive many battles, by making the enemy believe that he had less strength than he truly had. So… She was a half-breed? He hadn’t seen one in a while. He gave her a warm smile.

Rishta looked at Raziel as he came in, she felt he was hiding something. It wasn’t the conclusion from her powers, it was the conclusion from her ever-present paranoia. She, however, tried to stop. “We are going to my manor for dinner and conversation.” Rishta then looked him in the eyes. From what she had seen so far in her ‘angel experience’ he probably knew what she was. Oh well, if Adriel could trust him. “You know what I am, don’t you? As I have known, wisdom can see all. That is what a… friend… used to say. Anyways, I hope we can have a nice evening.”

Raziel laughed a little and smiled, while rubbing the back of his head. A jolt on the cobblestones had just successfully landed him yet another bump. ‘Stupid doorframes… All of these short Englishmen!’ Low ceilings and doors and other building commodities had made him paranoid about his poor head. “Yes, I know. I’m sure the evening will be fine,” he said, trying to be soothing. Not his usual manner, but… It wouldn’t be right to set her off. It wasn’t her fault she was a half-breed, and she was strong in her own right. She seemed to have that ‘calming’ touch about her. Similar to Adriel, truthfully, for all that she was an Angel of Death.

Adriel folded her hands on her lap and smiled gratefully as she saw Raziel accepted Rishta. She watched the group for an instant, then looked at Raphael. She couldn’t tell him what to think or how to feel, no matter how much she cared; but still they were close friends and she worried about him. They’d need to talk later. Adriel couldn’t help but to smile at the two taller angels and their tall people issues she could read in their expression and acts; she herself was rather short in comparison due to her Spaniard and Irish heritage – in this life, at least.

“With such excellent company, nothing could go wrong,” she said with a warm smile. “Please don’t worry about earlier events, Rishta. Once again thanks for your ever so kind invitation; I had been longing for a nice evening like this, for my school obligations have not left me much time for myself. Raziel, I’m curious on what you’ve done till now – I suppose you’ve followed studies to increase your knowledge about the human ways.” Adriel was determined to keep the group spirits up, even if Raphael was being somber. “After all this time, I found myself in an Irish family, and I live with my uncles at the time; they are renowned philanthropists and they run a large public library in London, as part of their activities. I know it’d be a humble place in comparison to those you’ve visited, but it’s a window to knowledge for many people, mostly students. What studies have you followed, Raziel? Rishta, do you study art?” Adriel’s smile twinkled golden in her green eyes.

Raphael squeezed himself to the corner alone with as much space left beside him as he could manage. He was getting quite uncomfortable as he felt weird getting ‘trapped’ in a small space with two extremely tall angels. Adriel was tall for a female, even though she was shorter than most other angels, but Raphael himself was definitely SHORT for a male or angel alike. Coughing once silently, Raphael looked out of the carriage window. He didn’t like Raziel. He thought the guy was laughing at him in silence. Staring ahead, he kept extremely quiet and kept to himself the entire time. He was simply in one of his brooding moods again.

Rishta smiled at Raziel, obviously he knew, but he was trying to hide that fact. How… not blunt. He was blunt in the beginning of their meeting, but now was soothing. And for that she was grateful. “I hope you are right. The last thing we need is a mishap. Especially since…” She then stopped, this topic was not necessary. “You are right Adriel, with people like all of you, what could go wrong? I will not worry. You both seem like strong friends. And yes, school is hard… but it ends sooner or later. Your uncle runs a library? That must be nice. I have a library at home. Raziel, would you like to look later? I have documents that date back to my own era… the Middle Ages. And, I used to study art… back at home I had a teacher hired just for the subject. Now, I just make my own sketches for leisure.”

Rishta seemed to ramble as she then turned her eyes toward Raphael. She was worried. He had purposely secluded himself… and all she hoped was that she could make him feel better. “Raphael… we are all your friends here, you know that… right?” Rishta whispered, so low that only he could hear, “Please do not think that we are amused by you. In fact, I am very impressed by your powers and heart. You may be small, forgive the phrase, but you are true to yourself… and do not think otherwise…!” Rishta then stopped, because the carriage had come to a halt. “Adriel, we are at your home…” The door was then opened and the driver was there, ready to help, anyone who was going out, out.

Adriel watched Rishta and Raphael; she nodded in her heart. These two seemed to have many things in common. Adriel noticed Rishta was reading into all of them deeper than she appeared to do; in a way, this reminded Adriel of her own mother, Angela. When the carriage stopped, Adriel excused herself and descended gracefully, needing little help from the driver.

Raphael nearly fell as he listened to Rishta ‘Small…?’ He wasn’t feeling angry, just kind of amused. Sure he had felt slightly inferior about his own height but he sure didn’t expect Rishta to say those words to him. However, Raphael did felt a little… grateful for her words. The fights in school mostly started either because the boys teased him about his height or his looks. Raphael turned and looked Rishta in the eyes, but the look in his own remained neutral, not warm or cold. He thought for a moment about what to say to Rishta before responding to her. “Hmm well… thank you.” Raphael said in an soft voice he hadn’t used for years.

Adriel pushed the iron forged fence, made in delicate leaves and volutes in the newest Art Nouveau style. Unlike most of the houses, the mansion had a small front yard beyond the driveway into the property where the carriage had stopped, and Adriel crossed it under beautiful stained glass gas lamps and reached the front steps to the porch; she rang a bell and the door opened; light flowed out, golden and white.

“Miss Adriel! Your uncle and aunt have been worried about you…” Adriel replied to the person in low, cheerful voice, and they disappeared inside. After some minutes, Adriel came out with a tall man in a dark suit. He was handsome and arrogant; some gray strands could be seen in his temples. He accompanied Adriel to the carriage and introduced himself as Ethan Oscar, Adriel’s uncle. He greeted Rishta and thanked her for her politeness to his niece. Adriel introduced Rishta and Raziel and waited; her eyes twinkled in childlike happiness, for she was proud of her uncle and she was happy at having her friends meeting a loved one. Ethan Oscar greeted Raphael with a nod, as he knew the young man and trusted him.

Rishta looked at Raphael, her eyes innocent. “No, thank you. Now that I have met you… Lets just say a few lost memories are back. Memories that I need to be happy…” When Adriel’s uncle had come, she made polite chitchat with him, assuring the man that the carriage would bring her home before it became too late. He was very insightful for a human, and she immediately liked him because he was a man of knowledge, and to have knowledge was to have the key to the universe.

Adriel got back in the carriage with the aid of her uncle. It was kind of obvious that Sir Ethan wanted to see who was taking his niece where, and after a short conversation, he seemed satisfied. “Good Eve; may the Lord be with you,” he said in response as they said their goodbyes before continuing on their way. He waited till the carriage took the next corner, then went back inside the mansion.

Raziel greeted Adriel’s return to the carriage cabin with a slight smile and nod. Picking up the earlier conversation, he replied, deciding not to notice Rishta and Raphael’s interplay. It was none of his business. “Yes, actually, you’re right… And I’d love to visit your uncle’s library. You never know when you’ll find something interesting. They seem to be educated men of the time. I ‘study’ mainly current human philosophy and medicine, as well as whatever new occult interest has sprung up…” He laughed a little. It sounded like he meant he babysat them, like a nursemaid. ‘I try to suppress most of the ‘dark’ arts. There’s no need for a revolution with the strongest majick-wielder ruling them all.’

Adriel nodded at Raziel’s words and smiled. “You’ll be welcome to our library! I’ll give you one of my uncle’s cards and you’ll be allowed to the chambers where the different book collections are held,” she said with enthusiasm. “Philosophy and medicine; how interesting.” She tilted her head. “In the Westminster College there’s a scientist that is experimenting with electric current and the movement of muscles…” She was about to explain he did that with corpses, but she decided that was a gross pre-dinner topic, so she discarded it quickly. “Medicine has made more advances now in comparison to this same period on the earlier century, but still it’s mixed up with popular and folk beliefs.” Adriel nodded.

“By the way,” Adriel had a shy grin. “I’ve read some stories on the Strand Magazine; they are published one chapter an issue, and the stories are about a detective called Sherlock Holmes. It’s fiction, but the author gives so many details it’s very convincing. He uses medical details along the course of the investigations; I’m waiting for the next story to begin.”
Adriel wondered if Raziel would find that silly, being his knowledge so deep. She blushed slightly at such consideration, but she smiled and nodded. “Medicine is getting more impersonal as time goes by, and human experiments get bolder,” she added with a nod and a serious expression.

Raziel chuckled, remembering the last issue. “Yes, they are quite interesting.” He wondered if the scientist she spoke of was the one who worked with the cadavers…? It was probably better not to inquire; such conversation before dinner was tactless, and did not aid digestion. “Their medicine advances quickly, even though most of it is hindered by ‘moral’ objections to discovery. I wouldn’t wonder if the expected lifespan doubled within the next two centuries. The mind is an odd thing.”

“Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson are interesting characters!” Adriel nodded. “Yes, it wouldn’t be unexpected,” she commented, “about the human life span doubling by next century. Human health is so fragile; in the countryside, many die before leaving childhood; not only in the Islands but around the world. In the Middle Ages, a man in his 40’s was already old.” Adriel nodded slowly; it was part of her nature to know these things. “What do you mean about the mind being an odd thing?” She smiled, interested. “Do you mean, the human mind?”

Raziel shook his head. “Not just the human mind… Any sentient being. Thought is… An odd thing. Many believe it to be proof of existence, man’s superiority over beast. But who can say beasts do not think? They cannot read minds.” A memory flickered; he paused thoughtfully. “Most, anyway.” He shook his head once more. “What one thinks, how one thinks, and why? The mind may not be connected to the brain or the soul after all. Maybe it’s just something separate on his own.” Amazed by his own discussion, he lapsed into sudden silence. It seemed that being around other angels brought something out in him he hadn’t seen in quite a while. Speech, he supposed. Being around musty tomes and owners almost as dry didn’t do much for one’s oratory skills.

Adriel nodded. “Yes, it is so. I’d say, the feelings are connected to the mind; even further I’d say, if our mind is aware of the worlds we go through, then it must be aware of our feelings and also to decipher the information our senses subministrate to it in order to form an image of the world we live in, based on the information from those sources. Let it be heaven, earth or wherever. We angels have senses unknown to humans, thus we perceive worlds and facts unknown to them. However, each one’s interpretation of reality is unique. There’s a Spanish saying that goes, ‘every head is a different world’ and it means, what might be true and real for me might not be true or real for you.” Adriel tilted her head. “There was a man, in earlier centuries; his name was René Descartes. This man – a mathematician and philosopher, reached a truth that impressed me. This truth is well known by now, cogito ergo sum; I think, thus I exist. He came to the realization that he could deny every fact of reality he was faced to, for all these things could be true or false, according to different interpretations on each matter. However, he realized that even though he could deny everything, he could not deny the fact that he was thinking. Since it was a fact he could not deny, he inferred the undeniability of his own mind’s existence, thus his own. Cogito ergo sum. I think, thus I exist is one of the pillars of modern philosophy, if such a thing exists.” Adriel nodded enthusiastically.

All throughout Raziel’s and Adriel’s conversation about the human mind, Rishta could not help but feel a bit uneasy. After all, since she was from a dark period all these new thoughts were knew to her, and not a part of her childhood schooling. But, then again, she had books they wrote brought to her and added to her library, and she would read and learn from them. And Sherlock Holmes was one of her favorites. And then they started talking about the mind… another fascinating subject. It was amazing about how any creature could think and react. And instinct… obviously mother nature had provided ALL her children with adaptations. Maybe even crosses.

Finally, Rishta heard the familiar sound of the wooden wheels on gravel. They were nearing the manor. If she looked out the window she could see a corner of the house, large and grand. Normally it would be a bit dark, but now it was light, since company had been expected. “Well, were nearly there. If you look out of the window you can get your first glance at Farishta Manor or so it is nicknamed. I believe we should reach the doors in a few minutes.” Rishta then looked at the others, waiting for their reaction.

Raphael was a little sleepy and bored as Adriel talked about the workings of the brain with Raziel. He was dozing off when Rishta said that they were approaching the house. He opened the carriage window next to him and put his head out. A huge magnificent residence was not far ahead of them. His eyes widened a little and for once he looked quite impressed. Something that was unusual on his typically blank face. He had never seen a house like that before, it even bigger than Adriel’s. He himself was living in a slum, not something you would expect for an archangel. He wondered if he could fit well into the environment later on.

Rishta looked at Raphael, waiting for his expression when he saw the house. She watched closely and then was rewarded by an expression of awe. Well… the house was big, but what was the point of a house if it wasn’t used? “Raphael, what do you think? It is big, true, but I haven’t seen all the rooms, and most of them aren’t even used. After all, it is just me here. Oh, and before I forget, all of you are welcomed to stay as long as you like, whether it is to use the library or my rooms or anything.” Slowly the carriage made its way up the slight hill.

Raphael turned and looked at Rishta for a few moments. “That’s a pity then.” he said briefly and turned back to the house, “I think I prefer my dump.” The carriage stopped just outside the gates of the manor. Raphael opened the door and jumped out. Adriel was sitting on the other side and Rishta was previously beside him, Raphael reached his hand out to Rishta, naturally, offering her help to get down the carriage.

Rishta accepted his hand gratefully. After all, being tall had its disadvantages. When she had heard about his home, she felt a stab of pain. Why did she have all these things. She didn’t even deserve it! She never fought for good, or for anything. She was a coward. Fate, destiny, whatever you wanted to call it, had cheated another person again. Not to mention it was ironic, her being the Angel of Destiny. “Thank you Raphael…” Rishta looked toward the house and then back to her guests. “Come, or else dinner will be spoiled.” And then quietly to Raphael, “Do not worry about fitting in. There is no one here, not to mention I barely fit in myself.”

Raphael looked at Rishta and frowned slightly. She seemed to be shaken and upset by something. He wanted to say something nice and consoling to her but the words simply stuck in his throat, unable to come out. Narrowing his eyes, he knew that he was just right at those moments when he had difficulty talking again. When he finally managed to force open his mouth, he was amazed at what he said, for it certainly didn’t sound like it would come from him. “All lives on this earth have destiny of some sort bound to them. We cannot change the fact on who we are, what we are and what we have. It’s a part of us, and a part of our destiny. In exchange for the things given to us, something have to be taken away too and what it is, just depends on what you have been given and what you have done with it.”

Rishta stood there, a thoughtful look on her face, true what he said was perfectly correct but… How can material wealth make up for lives? Family? Friends? They were HER friends, HER family. HER life. All down the drain in a matter of hours. All gone. Her alone. No one. Not one person that she knew or could trust. Could these new acquaintances be an exception? She did not know yet. “Thank you Raphael… It is true, but no amount of wealth can make up for my loss. However, maybe I was supposed to use this wealth for something grander. Maybe something revolutionary.”

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