Chapter Six - Of Battles and Boxes

The plan was set, over the last few hours Belial had layed the plan out, revised it, repeated it until the individual tasks set the quartet were ingrained within their skulls.  Emmannuelle a little more used to acting on warriors orders had already focussed her task and picture the particulars in her mind.  She studied the map of the castle and was now sure she could propel her dainty, deadly body toward the objective set her.

Greaves being the less able as a warrior was, quite rightly, shaking with fear.  Yet he saw the intelligence within the plan and was glad that Belial had taken his advice on some of the more tricky aspects of his particular role.  He would be grateful for Persephones company, not that she was much of a warrior, but it was comforting to know he would not be truly alone.

Belial saw Greaves fear, but did nothing to allay it.  He understood that fear was as ubiquitous as it was necessary to keep them alert.  Belial also understood that this would be the single most dangerous task Greaves would ever have been set.  So Belial let him keep his fear and accentuated it by giving him a small duel to help greaves become accustomed to battle.

The two men were circling each other, Belial spitting taunts demeaning his intelligence in an effort to enrage the angel, and as expected Greaves took the bait. 

The withering man stepped forward as a Cricketer would stride with his bat to meet a ball, a deliberate and obvious movement which Belial easily flanked with a diagonal step to the left and flicked Greaves' wrist with the flat of his blade jarring him momentarily.

'Movements like that are telegraphed in advance to the experienced swordsman.  With a stride so big you cannot retreat or adjust your momentum easily.  Move with small strides and entice your opponent to come to you.'  Belial circled a theatrically howling Greaves and raised his falchion into a defensive position again.

Greaves hissed and wheeled around to face Belial and thrust three or four times.  Belial easily dodged him.

'Poking a fire Greaves?'  Belial undercut Greaves sword with a fast strike knocking the blade and Greaves' arm skyward.  With this Belial clouted the weaker  warrior with the hilt of his sword square to the jaw. 

'Lock your wrist a little more, keep the blade lower than your shoulder when defending yourself as much as possible you have more chance of stopping the blow.'  Belial took a step to the right and this time was met with Greaves blade slashing inches from his chin.  The effort was so fast that Belial was momentarily unbalanced.  Greaves noticed this and instinctive stabbed at his toppling opponents midriff leaving a small nick on Belial's hip.

'There's hope for you yet.'  Belial remarked through the rapturous applause of Emmanuelle and Persephone.

'Belial you can beat me bloody giving me small hints on steps and how to hold this blasted stick, but unless you tell me what to do with it I'm a deadman if I come against one of Hades' entourage.'  Greaves dropped the sword and stood with his hands on his hips with an odd camp, aggressive demeanour. 

Ordinarily Belial would have chuckled at this outburst but now wasn't the time for ridicule.  Greaves had a point, against somebody to whom a sword was more than a metal rod Greaves had little to no chance of survival.  Chance was a commodity Belial had little time for and held absolutely no stock in.

'Good point, well made.'  Belial slumped a little and then held his sword up ready with some basic instructions.

Persephone was sat on her small bed with Emmanuelle strating to become a little tired with the shtick before her.  She had tied her ample hair into a pony tail and sat with her head rested on her elbows.  She had changed into a comfortable outfit of green and gold that was tight yet did not constrict any of her movements.  She gazed over at the beautiful blonde angel on her left and studied her face for a moment.

The angel was watching Belial intently.  At first Persephone supposed it was to study his stance or his movements to aid her in battle.  But then she perceived a softness not unlike the way she once looked upon Belial.  Oh but that was so long ago. 

She had loved Belial like no other, his obvious athletic rugged physique combined with eyes so deep that she could lose herself amongst his gaze at will.  She always succumbed to the needs of her strong hero.  He was a good soul, with just enough bad to keep things interesting, but she still marvelled at the depths he managed to reach with his words.  A sharp defensive humour did little to mask the demon she had enveloped in her slender arms in the darkest of hours.  An ancient longing crept upon her and Persephone decided to speak before it drowned her in its inevitably crushing tide.

'Tell me Emmanuelle, how did a petit warrior angel become so desperately entangled in the warmongering of the most feared Demon in Hell.'  Persephone cringed at her own aggressive tone.  She could see the delivery had caught Emmanuelle off guard.

'Warmongering?  Know you so little of Belial?  I followed him here, he saved my life.  Without his intervention I'd be an unmourned fool in an unmarked tomb.  His act has crippled his kind, had him cast out from his kin.  He is left with a mere echo of the brotherhood that the Demons represented prior to him saving my life.  Lest we forget his warmongering is your best chance of escaping this elaborate tomb Persephone.'  The answer said it all to Persephone, the quick defence, the blazing eyes, the sense of blood boiling beneath her porcelain skin.  The Angel was falling fast for the Demon.

'I meant no offense Emmanuelle.'

'Yes you did.  Your love for Belial may have waned over the years inside your palace coming and going as you saw fit, enjoying the arms of whichever wanton desperado that would stray your way.  However, whilst you have been blissfully ignorant to the damnation hanging a moment away from the eyes of the world in which you live, we have been bearing sword and shield fighting to mend a world we all believed broken.'  Emmanuelle didn't understand what enraged her, but her monologue continued.

'I followed here because the Demon you so readily criticised opened my eyes and my mind to every lie that I had been injected with for decades.  If his determination ever fails then the universe will be a poorer place for it.'  Emmanuelle looked sharply at her brother who suddenly delivered a smarting rap with his blade against Belials elbow and prompted him to whoop three times with delight.

'Belial was always soft on a pretty face.  But every time he takes a step out of the door the loving souls he leaves behind become anxious fearing his absence will this time be eternal.  Every battle, every clash with Gabriel, every time he leaves your house your heart explodes and fear drives you crazy.  I loved him with all my being but loving a fallen Demon is to embrace anxiety.  You can judge my feelings for Belial all you wish it is of little consequence.'  Persephone breathed.

'Do you have any idea of what you are babbling about?'  Emmanuelle stood up and made to walk over to the sink for a glass of water when Belials phone began to ring.  As Belial answered the phone Greaves cracked Belials left knee with the sword and laughed.

Belial swore, then answered the phone. 

'We're ready.'  Belial uttered as he hung the phone up two minutes later.

The End

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