chapter xxxxivMature

That was how they began the discussion about summoning demons.  They had little other choice in the situation.  If the answers were not going to make themselves available, then they were going to have to seek them out.  It was only logical.  They flipped through the books and Gabriel recounted as much about summoning as she knew from her own education.  Soon, they had a few different options, but the most promising called for an ingredient that Gabriel was concerned about getting.  She peeked over the top of the book at him and sighed, "This might be a problem."

"What?"

"We need a demon heart to do this.  According to this, we need a demon heart to summon a demon, seems kind of stupid, doesn't it?  If I already had a demon, why would I need to summon one?"

"It's not about summoning just some random one; that's about summoning a specific one.  Wouldn't that make more sense?"

"I guess.  None of the summonings I was taught call for anything so gruesome, so I don't really know.  The book doesn't say."

"Well, I guess that at least gives us something to work with.  Do we know a demon to summon who might have useful information?  Would it be better to do that spell than to just summon some random spawn demon?"

"If we knew who to summon, obviously, this one would be more suited to our needs than just randomly going through them.  We don't want to perform too many of these, they'll draw too much attention.  Every summoning is like a beacon of light as it's being cast - they can see it for miles.  If they see it happening a lot, they'll get too curious and show up."

"Like moths to a flame," he mumbled, "All right.  So how do we figure out which demon to summon?"

"Not that it matters, Graeme, since - like I said - we'd need a demon heart.  I don't really feel comfortable going out and finding a few more to kill, not just yet.  I'm sure they're still looking for you from the last time.  We can't really afford to have anything happen to you."

He smiled, all full of a secret he was too happy to share with her, as soon as he was finished gloating about it.  "I don't think it'd be such a big issue, honestly."

She rolled her eyes, not wanting to encourage him to be so arrogant about whatever it was he was thinking.  He had proven himself to be miraculously lucky thusfar, but that didn't mean it would continue.  How many near-death experiences was he looking to have?

"I have something to show you," he said, and walked out of his bedroom.  Left with little other choice, she followed him and he grabbed a beat up backpack and set it on the kitchen island counter.  Unzipping it, he revealed a jar with a bloody heart contained inside.

The stink permeated the glass and overwhelmed her all at once.  It was not a human heart, and definitely not an animal one.  The blood inside the jar appeared to have curdled and tendrils of inkish liquid swirled around, darkening it.  She didn't know how she hadn't smelled it before, but now that she could, she didn't think it would ever leave her.  She nearly cried out.  "Where did you get that?"

"I took it, while I was in the factory district.  I took a few of them."

"How many are a few, Graeme?"

"About sixteen."

"You're lying."

"I wouldn't."  He tossed the empty backpack on the floor and held the jar to his eye level, studying it.  He couldn't smell it, she was certain.  The only reason she could was because she could always smell demon blood, it was part of her design.  It was part of the design of every Angel.

"I can't believe you thought to get them all."

"I don't usually waste precious resources, Gabriel.  I know most humans seem pretty careless with things, but I actually pay attention to how much something is worth, and the likelihood that it will come in handy."

She smiled at him, knowing that would be enough to show she'd gotten the hint about assumptions.  Everything had just gotten leaps and bounds easier.  They could summon a lot of demons with sixteen demon hearts.  She wanted to see the jars of them, to be able to have physical proof that he’d killed sixteen demons by himself.  It would certainly make the whole possibility of it easier to believe.

The End

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