‘Sire?’ The whiny voice crept through my ears and stirred me to consciousness.
‘What is it Azazel? I was napping.’
‘We have news.’
‘This had better be good.’ I sighed and stretched my arms, not wanting to open my eyes unless I had to.
‘It’s about the scroll.’
My eyes shot open and I bolted upright, ‘What?’
‘The scroll? The one..one of…’
‘I know which scroll you mean!’ It may have been unfair to shout, but considering my position I think I’m entitled, ‘What. Is. The news?’
I looked through the bars at Azazel. Not actual bars, more like lanes of Hellfire, a substance which, without the right rune on my armour, I cannot touch without getting burned. He swallowed and started to dip slightly as his mouth opened, ‘They split it.’
‘They did what?’
Azazel whimpered, although I’m not surprised. He expects me to shout and bellow, but when I get quiet, someone gets dead, ‘They…got permission from the Lamb…and…and…split it…in…in..into sep…arate scrolls?’
I stepped forward, watching Azazel quake with fear. ‘They, split the scroll into seven of them?’
Azazel nodded, ‘They...they’ve seen us going to…Earth more, were wondering what…you…you were planning, so they…made the…the..the scrolls safer.’
‘I get the message!’ Azazel squeaked and collapsed, slamming onto the floor. Worthless piece of bloody filth.
‘Samael!’ My voice thundered through the halls and waited for my lieutenant to appear.
‘Yessir!’He halted to attention and gave me a formal salute.
I stared at him, ‘What are you doing?’
He blinked at me, turned to look at the unconscious demon and nodded, ‘Oh. Sorry, thought he was still awake.’
‘Never mind that,’ I marched towards him, ‘have you heard about the scroll?’
‘Only just, sir.’ He frowned, ‘Do you really think it will keep it safer?’
‘It will certainly make the whole Apocalypse kick-start harder than we thought.’ I closed my eyes, ‘Knowing them they would give one to each archangel. Wait until daddy dearest gives the all clear, then hand them off to the precious little Lamb one at a time.’ I sighed and looked at Samael, ‘Right now I can’t think of a way out of this without kicking open the pearly gates.’
Samael winced at the idea, ‘Easier said than done, sir.’
‘Yeah yeah, I know, bloody impenetrable, yada-yada-yada,’ I waved my hand away and turned to look up. How I wish I could just blow the lid of this fucking cage and fly out! I stretched my wings slightly to ease the muscles, not that I could fully extend them without losing a few feathers. ‘Right now, Samael, I could do with some good news. Think you could do that for me? Good news?’
He opened his mouth when footsteps started thundering down the corridor. Another demon, Verin I think his name is, came rushing up to us. ‘Sire! I have news!’
‘Well it better be good to interrupt a conversation between your leader and his lieutenant.’ I didn’t think shouting would be suitable here, besides making them halt in their tracks and slightly panic is rather fun.
But he didn’t falter, didn’t even flinch. His grin ran up to his pointed ears, ‘The scrolls sir. They’ve fallen to Earth.’
I froze. Fallen? ‘What happened?’
‘Well, from what I understand…’
‘And be quick about it!’
‘After the scroll had been split they did a whole ceremony about giving them to the archangels.’
‘Told you so,’ I smiled at Samael, who gave me a look that, if anyone else had given me would have ended in me pulling them into the bars of my cage and watch them shrivel.
‘Anyway, some low ranking angel was on guard duty and got in the way of Michael’s Legion,’ he paused as I chuckled at the sight in my head of a puny guard angel being destroyed by Michael’s egotistical soldiers, ‘and he…crashed the party.’
‘Literally. Crashed into the angel carrying the scrolls so they fell off the walkway.’
I rushed to the front of the bars, staring the demon down, ‘If your knowledge is wrong in any way…’
‘The guard angel jumped after them.’ He finished, ‘Lost his sword, his halo, but he managed to grab one scroll.’
I leant forward, the bars threatening to scorch my hair, ‘Which one?’
This was when the demon’s grin told me all I needed to know, ‘The seventh one, sir.’
A noise sounded above me and I looked up as the fire that covered the lid on my cage drew back and the earth started to crumble, opening to the outside, where the Apocalypse was waiting. I looked at Samael and saw the closest thing to joy on his face I have ever seen in my existence. ‘Guess I’ll see you topside then.’ I unfurled my wings to their full 18 feet and blasted off from the ground and into the white light that signalled my entrance.
‘Oof, that pinched more than I thought it would,’ I rubbed the back of my neck and looked around. I was in a small room, with brown walls and a brown floor and…oh wait, a hut made of logs. I turned to look at the other side and my eyes lit up with joy. ‘Well, well, well,’ I smiled at the angel tied up, yes, tied up, at the end of the room, ‘you must be the angel who I owe my thanks to.’
The angel blinked at me, ‘Huh?’
I chuckled, ‘You are the one who knocked the scrolls out of Heaven and broke the seventh one so I could be released?’
His eyes suddenly went wide, ‘Lucifer.’
‘Oh dear boy, I think that bonk to the head you took might have knocked out your brains.’
‘Oh.’ He frowned, his eyes scanning up and down, ‘Right.’
‘Yes, well,’ I smiled, the first time in countless millennia I’ve been able to smile topside, ‘I’d love to stay and chat, but you know how it is. People to see, Apocalypse to plan, nothing special but time flies.’
The angel strained against his ropes, ‘You’ll never get your hands on the first scroll.’
‘Oh dear, dear, my boy…’
‘I am not your boy!’
‘Funny,’ I chuckled to myself. He seemed like a good guy, so this one should most definitely hurt, ‘You’ve done so much for me already. More than Samael, come to think of it.’
‘You know what? You just go and…’ he pushed forward, but collapsed into a coughing fit.
‘Feisty aren’t you? I like that.’ I sighed. He was fun, but the archangels would be able to track him down, plus for entertainment I could make any of my demon monkeys dance, ‘This has been fun, but unfortunately I can’t let you live. Nothing personal, of course.’ Before he could reply I snapped my fingers.
One second, two seconds, three seconds…
‘I don’t think it worked,’ The angel smiled at me. I frowned and looked at my fingers. Why didn’t it work? I snapped my fingers again, but nothing. No poof, no frogs, no dead angel.
‘Why isn’t it working?’ I was getting far too frustrated at this point, if Samael was here he’d find some way to calm me down, but for now I just had staring at my fingers, trying to make it work. Until the angel started laughing. ‘What are you laughing at?’
That seemed to make him laugh more, and make me more angry. I rush forward and grabbed his throat, ‘I said, what the fuck are you laughing at?’ He looked at me with glee, yes glee, in his eyes, then looked down at my armour. I followed his gaze. Looking for my shining armour engraved in black runes I put there myself. But it had somehow come off my body whilst I was flying up. Which wouldn’t be too bad if I still had my angelic body underneath, built of nothing but pure muscles. But no. Somehow, on the way back up, my muscles were replaced with something I did not expect.
‘What,’ I had to speak, but this change hadn’t settled in my head yet, ‘the fuck are these?’
The angel started laughing his head off again, ‘I believe humans refer to them as…titties?’
‘I know what they are!’ I had him by the throat again, ‘What I meant is, what the fuck are they doing here?’
The angel shrugged, ‘Don’t look at me, I didn’t break the seal.’
I was about to shout again, but stopped. A thought crossed my mind. This angel was useless, and clearly something had gone wrong because I wasn’t at my full power. But if I broke the other seals…yes, yes I break the other seals and regain all my power, plus the full force of the Apocalypse behind me, and I would be unstoppable. But I needed a few things to find the scrolls.
‘No,’ I nodded, ‘no you didn’t break the seal, and I’m certain you don’t know the location of the other six scrolls.’ I moved and ducked under his arm, ‘However, I know a way that you can help me with their location.’ My fingers brushed his white feathers and plucked one out.
He winced, but didn’t falter. Kudos to him. ‘One feather won’t find you all the scrolls.’
‘No they won’t, will they? However,’ I grabbed his wings, right by the joints, and he tried to struggle away, ‘More than one will do quite nicely.’
‘What do you need the wings for?’ his voice had started to waver.
‘I don’t. I just want to hear you squeal.’ I smiled and started to tug when a menacing growl filled the cabin. I peeked over the angel’s shoulder and saw my welcome party.
‘What do you think you’re doing with our prisoner?’
I nodded and smiled, ‘Neat trick.’ My hands moved lower as I eyed up the wolf in front of me. Not that I scared anything, it’s just the first time I’ve seen a wolf standing seven feet tall. ‘And can I say, your coat is exquisite.’ I smiled and yanked out a handful of feathers.
The angel yelped in pain and another growl shook the entire cabin. A second wolf stepped forward, only slightly smaller than the first and arrowed its eyes at me,‘Step away from the prisoner bitch.’
‘Ooh, someone’s a little touchy.’ I smiled at her snarl and stepped forward, ‘Don’t worry, I’m just taking a souvenir,’ and raised my hand to show them, ‘so now I’ll just be on my way.’ I winked at them and clicked my fingers again.
A flash appeared, but the outcome wasn’t what I was expecting. I opened my eyes onto the wolves, who now seemed a little bigger than before. Another one, half the size of the others yet still big to me appeared in between the female’s legs.
I made to threaten what I could only assume was an overgrown puppy, but any violent attempts only managed to burst out of my mouth in the form of pathetic mewling. The wolf/dog/puppy bent down to make a lunge and I instantly jumped away and shouted my rage, which came out in a sort of hissing sound, but just as his huge paw brushed my nose, I saw the female grab him by the scruff of the neck and pull him back.
Watching his dangling limp legs was strangely hypnotic from his size, but his whiny voice penetrated my thoughts,‘No fair! You cheated!’
A third growl echoed through, and I decided it was time to make my escape. I grabbed as many feathers as I could in my mouth and blinked my eyes hard.
When I opened them I was in the middle of a warehouse, in the middle of a town where no log cabins would be near. I sighed and released the feathers, and watched them fall to my feet. Which weren’t feet, but in fact black kitten paws.