NineMature

“We should be going now. We left Kerubiel in charge while we were gone,” said Gabriel.

Azrael laughed out loud. “Best get back quickly then.”

“Write to us about your return, whenever it is. Leliel’s been moaning about having to do two jobs,” said Raphael.

“What kind of job is ‘Angel of the Night’? And you can tell him I said that,” said Azrael.

“Goodbye, Azrael,” said Michael.

“Let me give you a tip: exit the hospital before you actually leave.”

Gabriel smiled. He pushed something into Azrael’s hand and left with the others.

“What is it?” asked Chelsea.

Azrael smiled at whatever it was in his hand. “It’s a key.”

“A key? To what?”

“We’ll see, won’t we?”

Azrael fell back against his pillows.

“Are you okay?”

“Stronger together, weaker apart,” he said absently.

He blinked a few times and looked to the left. He seemed to stare at something that Chelsea couldn’t see. But she did see a long, puckered scar right down the side of his face. She traced it in the air. Azrael’s eyes darted to hers.

“I’m so sorry for making you go,” she said. “It’s my fault.”

“Don’t worry,” he whispered. “Even bad things can be good.”

“What happened?”

“I learnt why Asmodeus hates me so much. Reasons I’d forgotten or dismissed. I told the others about him being besotted with a woman called Sarah. I had to; he killed seven of her husbands before the marriages could be consummated. I assisted Raphael in binding him. I wrote an anonymous letter to Lucifer, telling him about Asmodeus’s love of a mortal woman. I brought a battalion against his regiment and won. And I killed his brother, Paimon.”

“That’s a long list,” said Chelsea.

“He said there was more.”

“How did he give you that?” she asked, gesturing to the scar.

“With my own knife. He took it a while ago. He attacked Gabriel, Raphael, Michael and...”

“And who?”

“And Skyla,” Azrael whispered, tears swelling in his eyes.

“Your sister?” asked Chelsea.

“My wife.”

Chelsea paused. “What happened to her?”

“I don’t know. Asmodeus said she was dead, but her body was never found. Sometimes I hear rumours of someone that might be her. But when I go to see, it’s nothing.”

“Is that where you went last week?”

“Yeah. Last believable thing I heard was about fifty years ago, I was sent to kill someone who’d been possessed by the Legion. The Legion said they were after her. If they find her... It’ll be the end of the world as we know it.”

“Why?”

“She was the only being ever to have unlimited magic. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d Fallen by now; no help was sent. She’ll have lost all her faith in everyone by now.”

Chelsea squeezed his hand.

“Chelsea?” he said.

“Yes?” she replied.

“Will you ring Alexandra and ask her if there’s been a delivery for me?”

“Of course.”

Chelsea stood up and left the hospital to call Alexandra.

The End

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