Major Demons, page 11
“You angels really are an upscale bunch… talking about lineages as if we were all horses. Tell me, Raphael. Is the fact that your blood is pure going to make a difference when I spill it all over the ground?”
“Silence, abomination. Michael should have killed your father the moment he found out that he existed. I will not allow your mixed-breed race to continue. I must restore order. You don’t stand a chance against me. The last time I was here, I captured Asmodeus and threw him back in Hell.”
“I killed Asmodeus. So I guess I finished the half-ass job you did. You’re welcome.”
“Your arrogance will be your downfall, mutt.”
Sarah shook her head.
“I’m not going to watch this. This is wrong.”
She turned and ran. Shadow didn’t even turn to watch her leave. Raphael placed his fingers in his mouth and whistled. A white stallion engulfed in white flames started charging in Raphael’s direction. Raphael was able to jump into the air and mount the horse without it slowing down. He charged after Sarah. Shadow turned to Muan.
“I really hate to ask this but we don’t have any horses here with us. We need to cut him off. Do you mind?”
Muan turned into a moose. Shadow gave him an annoyed look and he turned back into a demon.
“What? I don’t like being a horse. I can run at about the same speed as a moose… plus I’ll have antlers. That’s way cooler.”
“Fine. Moose it is. Let’s go.”
Muan grinned and turned back into a moose. Shadow climbed on his back and Muan ran after the Raphael. Several minutes later, they caught up to a perplexed Raphael. His horse was nowhere in sight and he was searching the area.
“Where did she go?”
Shadow dismounted and Muan changed back into a demon.
“Sarah’s too bright to be tracked down by you. She wanted to get away and she did. It really reveals you for the coward that you are. I’m your most difficult opponent and you chose to run from me to prey on Gabriel’s granddaughter. Pathetic.”
“Are you in that much of a hurry to die, young creature? Very well. I will grant you your death wish. Before I do, we need to find a way to keep your pygmy friend occupied.”
Raphael pointed at a nearby tree. The tree’s roots pulled out of the soil as if they were legs. The tree creature started advancing towards Muan and Shadow. Muan wasn’t sure how to respond. The tree crept forward until Muan finally pointed at the tree and looked at Raphael.
“That’s messed up. What the hell is wrong with you angels?”
Muan turned into an elephant and started charging the tree. Shadow turned his attention back to Raphael.
“I didn’t need his help.”
“It doesn’t matter. I don’t trust your kind. It’s better to keep your little friend occupied. Now go ahead and take a free shot.”
Raphael held out his arms, exposing his armor. Shadow charged and swung Damnation with all of his might. Raphael brought up his shield just in time to meet the strike. The shield split in two and both Raphael and Shadow flew back several paces.
To avoid Raphael, Sarah had run into the forest and hid. She had made it ahead of the Archangel’s horse and had climbed a tree. Once inside, she pointed her sword at the heavens and shot ice directly up. Gabriel appeared within seconds.
“What’s wrong? Why did you signal me?”
“Raphael found out what I am. He’s been following us and he tracked down Bumalin. He tried to kill me and Shadow is fighting him right now.”
Gabriel didn’t have time to respond. The two were interrupted as an elephant crashed through the forest, smashing an uprooted tree against the ground with his trunk. Gabriel waved his hand and the tree burst into wood splinters. The elephant turned back into Muan, gasping for breath.
“Sarah! Shadow’s taking him on. I’m pretty sure he’s going to kill Raphael. Should we let him?”
Muan noticed Gabriel.
“Oh… hello. Didn’t know you were here.”
“You think Shadow should kill an Archangel?”
“I think it’s an option after all the things he said. He isn’t going to stop. If he didn’t have such an intense desire to kill us, he would already be back in Heaven spilling the secret you’ve protected for years.”
“Then we only have two options. We either kill Raphael or…”
Sarah looked shocked.
“There’s another way we could end this and spare his life. Muan, turn into a bird and find Bumalin. Now.”
Shadow and Raphael continued to battle. Since Shadow’s armor used to belong to Michael, it had done its job admirably and blocked all incoming shots from Raphael. However, Raphael had managed to knock Shadow’s right gauntlet off and cut his right hand deeply with his blade. Shadow had lashed out after the hit and punched Raphael hard in the face. He followed it up with a slash from Damnation. Raphael stumbled back with a broken nose and a cut across his left eye. The two continued to circle each other while they caught their breath.
Gabriel ran out of the forest and stood next to Shadow. Raphael couldn’t believe it.
“You side with these traitors? I will have you stripped of your rank! You will be an outcast with the rest of them! Michael will throw you from the heavens for this…”
“I’m not here to side with anyone. I’m here to put an end to this. Shadow is doing something admirable and you need to let him continue his mission.”
“I’m going back to Heaven right now.”
Gabriel closed the distance between himself and Raphael. He tripped Raphael and brought his head down hard on the solid ground. He then held his sword to the Archangel’s neck.
“Do not teleport away. We’re discussing this.”
“You attacked me! How dare you…”
Shadow walked up to Raphael and punched him across the face as hard as he could. The Archangel blacked out. Gabriel looked at Shadow disapprovingly.
“We couldn’t trust him. He would have teleported away the second he stopped bitching about how unfair life is and whatever the hell else he was saying. I kind of tuned out.”
Gabriel looked like he had more to say, but Sarah and Muan arrived followed by a frightened Bumalin.
“What part of leave me the fuck alone do you guys not understand? I want nothing more to do with this asshole. I barely escaped the last time after he got the information he wanted. He wanted to torture me!”
“I understand. We’re giving you a chance to take your revenge. You can take any memories from him related to nephilim. When you’re done, I don’t want him to even know what a nephilim is. It’s either that or we have to kill him so…”
Bumalin crossed his arms.
“I like the kill him option. That would be revenge.”
Muan walked up to Raphael and kicked him in the face.
“I’m with Bumalin on this one. This asshole made me fight a tree. A fucking tree! Who the fuck does that?”
Bumalin hit Muan hard across the back and laughed.
“Listen to the little witch doctor. We should just put this asshole down right now.”
Sarah shook her head.
“Do either of you comprehend the amount of attention it would draw if we were to kill an Archangel? Grandpa’s right. Wipe his memory and wash our hands of this whole thing. We don’t need to give any other angels another reason to hunt us. Shadow, what do you think?”
Shadow thought for a minute, knowing that whatever he said wouldn’t sit well with one side. He didn’t want to be the deciding vote but he knew what he had to do.
“As much as I would like to kill him, it’s an unnecessary distraction. He’s in our way. We don’t need more angels getting in our way because we killed him. I need to kill Azazel, Abaddon, and the Dragon. I don’t need this guy’s armies coming down here and becoming obstacles. Bumalin, wipe his memory.”
“Can I wipe
“You’re welcome to come with us. We’ll protect you.”
“No. I’ll wipe his memory of nephilim and then all of you need to seriously stay the fuck away. Seriously. No more. Do we have a deal?”
Gabriel nodded and shook Bumalin’s hand.
“Before you do this, the same conditions apply. Raphael has a blocked off memory. It’s similar to the one I have. The memory of when he became an Archangel. Don’t try to take it. I’ll know if you do and I’ll have to kill you. Understood?”
“Sure. Whatever. I don’t care what happened on the day you guys became Archangels. Just let me do this so I can leave.”
Bumalin reached down and placed his hand on Raphael’s forehead. He extracted several memories and put them in a vial. He turned to leave but turned back and faced the group one more time.
“Seriously. Stop looking for me. I don’t want to see any of you ever again.”
Bumalin turned and ran away. Muan looked at Shadow.
“Want me to follow him?”
“No. We can find him again if we need to. Let him run away for now.”
When Keshi crossed the border between Earth and Hell, Lilith decided to rest. It was more riding than she was used to since she had taken her mother’s scythe and could teleport where she wanted to go. Lucia was also cranky. Lilith produced a bottle from her bag and Lucia sucked contentedly on the soul of a departed thief.
Lilith wasn’t sure what to do now that she had made it to Earth. She was used to following Shadow and Leech. Both of them were much better at planning. She preferred to act impulsively and then deal with future consequences as they came. She had gotten her way. Gangrene and Raven hadn’t followed her to Earth. It dawned on Lilith for the first time that in being selfless for once and letting Gangrene and Raven stay in Hell to support Murmur, Jess, and Aim, she may have ultimately screwed herself and her daughter.
Lucia put the bottle down and started to shiver. Lilith realized that they hadn’t come to Earth in the same way Leech had taken them. She didn’t know where they were exactly, but she knew that they weren’t in the Caribbean. The land wasn’t completely ice but it was snowing. Lilith wrapped Lucia in another blanket. She knew young demons, and she assumed young nephilim, weren’t as immune to the elements of Earth as they would be when they grew up.
Fire. That’s what she needed. She needed to figure out how to start a fire. It should be simple enough. She’d seen Leech do it. She’d seen Jess do it. Her kid needed some warmth. She looked up at Keshi.
“Everything would be easier if you could talk to me.”
Lilith fumbled through her bag and found the rocks Leech had used to start fires. She also found Leech’s guns. She considered gathering some sticks and flammable material and then shooting them. After she gathered some twigs and stacked them in a pile, she pointed the gun. Before she fired, she realized that it probably wasn’t a good idea to discharge a firearm close to her child. She moved Lucia, but then abandoned the idea altogether.
Lilith next tried the rocks from Leech’s belongings. She hit the rocks together and produced sparks. After hitting them together several times near the sticks, nothing happened. She put the rocks back in the bag. Lucia looked like she was about to cry.
“It’s ok. I’ll figure it out. Give me some time.”
Lilith removed a short staff from her bag that Jess had given her. It was about a third the length of the Monkey King staff. She also found a short book of essential spells. She hoped it started on the level of an absolute beginner. As she thumbed through the pages, she realized that it had pictures of simple wand movements and simple spells. She turned the pages until she found an entry labeled “Fire.” She spun the staff in a circle around her pile of sticks, double-checking that she had the movement right.
The sticks caught on fire and Lilith had a small fire going within minutes. Lucia watched the flames dance with fascination. Lilith replaced the handles of her whips with the small staff so that she could not only send flames down the whip, but other things as she practiced and learned new spells. Lilith and Lucia continued south for a few days. Lilith could feel the presence of a nephilim. She wasn’t sure that it was Shadow, but didn’t really know what else she should do so she continued to follow it.
It was about four days after they arrived on Earth that their luck took a turn for the worse. Lilith had created a fire, as was the routine, and Lilith, Lucia, and Keshi were about to go to sleep for the night when Lilith heard a noise that sounded like a branch snapping. Lilith was up within seconds, her whips in hand. For the first time in a long time, she was actually afraid. Lilith picked up Lucia and moved her closer to the snoring Keshi before looking for the source of the noise. After a few minutes of searching, she thought she saw a blade illuminated in the moonlight. She struck at it with one of her whips, but it was gone before she connected with anything solid. After another minute of silence, Lilith started to wonder if she was imagining things. She had kept Keshi and Lucia in her sight the entire time but decided to head back and keep them closer. She walked quickly but switched to a full-speed run when she heard Lucia start crying and saw Keshi jump to her feet. When she arrived back at camp, Lilith saw an angel holding Lucia and trying to simultaneously nurse an injury on her right hand.
“What the hell did you do to that blanket? It’s like the thing bit me!”
“Give me my baby back and I’ll let you walk away uninjured.”
The angel grinned.
“Not going to happen, Lilith.”
“You know who I am?”
“Indeed. I also know that this is the child of Leech the angel slayer. We’ve been tracking you for days.”
“Why do the angels care what I’m doing?”
“Nephilim are an abomination and we’re here to put you down.”
“You keep saying ‘we.’ I only see one of you.”
The angel grinned again.
“Just know that there’s an entire army of angels on your tail. The commander will be very interested in the scouting report I prepare later tonight.”
“That’s not going to happen.”
Lilith prepared to strike, but the angel scout dropped Lucia before she had a chance. The angel’s hand burst into flames. Lilith acted swiftly, wrapping one of her whips around Lucia before she hit the ground and pulling the baby towards her. She was able to catch the crying infant and held her in one arm while she prepared to strike again with her other hand. Before she could make a move, the angel had run off.
Gangrene pointed his scythe at Jess’s neck as soon as he entered Dagon’s.
“This is unforgivable. You attacked me. I’m not just going to let this go.”
Murmur stepped in front of Gangrene.
“You’re mad at the wrong person. Everyone from Vixen’s lineage is insane and you know it.”
“Oh so now you’re insulting my girlfriend too? Did I strike a nerve, Murmur? Are you banging Jess and developing feelings for her?”
Murmur huffed and Jess almost thought she saw smoke coming from his nostrils. She pushed him backwards and shoved him towards his chair. Murmur didn’t fall in to it, but kept his eyes on Gangrene. Jess put her scythe on the table.
“I’m sorry, Gangrene. I really am. Let me explain my side of things before you threaten to slice me up. Fair enough?”
Gangrene stomped over to the table and sat down. Jess looked at Murmur.
“You sit, too. It doesn’t help when you’re staring at him menacingly. All of us need to be on the same page.”
Murmur reluctantly sat but he kept his eyes on Gangrene and his hand rested on his scythe without gripping it. Jess sat as well.
“Again… I’m rea
“A technicality. One which I really don’t care about right now.”
“Second, you should have known something was coming. Her whole ‘I’m going to knock them out with tea’ plan was fucking ridiculous. I told her as much when she explained it to me.”
“We’re not talking about what Lilith did. That’s an entirely different conversation that I’ll have with Lilith the next time I see her. Yes, I’m pissed at her… but I’m pissed at you, too. Why don’t we stay on that topic?”
“Fair enough. Then you need to understand where I’m coming from. Lilith lost her army. Lilith lost Leech. Lilith made a deal where she gave up her scythe and her major demon position after she helped me get my new mage staff. I tried to bring Leech back and failed. So I still owed her and she pointed it out to me. It’s even a possibility that even Shadow doesn’t have enough strength to spare to bring Leech back. So I’m sorry, but I did what needed to be done to keep control of my armies and my scythe. You would have done the same in my position.”
“Not only that, these nephilim problems don’t concern us. You’re one of us, Gangrene. You’re a demon. We need you down here to keep Nightmare and Astaroth…”
“I’m not a fucking chess piece! I won’t be forced to stay down here because it suits your plan! I’ve worked with Shadow and Leech. They have my respect. Give me one fucking reason why I should respect you!”
Murmur took his hand off his scythe and took a long drink from his mug. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
“I don’t have a great answer for you. Right now I’m not asking you to respect me. I just need you to trust me and to help me. Why should you trust and help me? Because Shadow did. Because Leech did. Because I helped both of them enough times and all of us benefited. I have a plan, Gangrene, and you’re an important part of it. If you’re really that worried about Lilith then I understand. Go to Earth. See how she’s doing.”