Chapter 12 - Of Battles and Boxes

Greaves had found power within his skinny legs, pressing hard against the ground sprinting with long determined strides.  Walls began to blur into indescribable patterns and indifferent swirls of almost nothing.  Not that colour or decor mattered very much, the slap he had received had awakened the4 failure within him.  He could not fail the rest of his mission, luckily Belial didn't care about Persephone, she was just the bargaining chip to get the Centaurs on their side.  His next mission was imperative to the direct cause.

In the Library there is a book that Persephone had described already, containing maps and a pictorial overview of the Netherworld.  A catalogue of events dating from the beginning up to the last century.  True it wouldn't contain the concealing of the box in the catacombs, but the labyrinth and nearby portal would be marked.  Coupled with a stolen journal of Hera's that was stashed behind a bureau in the Library he should be able to pinpoint exactly where it is the group need to go.

Greaves mantra 'Library, Bureau, The New World,' repeated over and over in his mind giving him a sense of direction and purpose.  Belial may be angry at the loss of Persephone, however he wouldn't make the mistake of a failure a second time within one night.

His mantra was interrupted by a familiar voice, a voice he had hoped he would never hear again.  The voice he last heard whilst throwing rocks in Northampton.  Gabriel and his soldiers rounded the corner. 

Bad news.

Bad bad news.

The mantra wouldn't save him now, nor would the almost alien instrument he wielded as he slipped awkwardly into a defensive stance.  Yes he had found speed over the last few minutes, but these were Seraphim.  Atletically trained, swift killers, brutes with skill.

Gabriel didn't even break stride.  He nocked an arrow and shot it straight in the centre of Greaves chest.  Greaves fell backwards and coughed an arc of scarlet in the air above him.  A strange dizzy euphoria threatened to encompass his mind, but he clung to the next sound he heard.

'Simon stay and conceal the body, we don't want our intrusion alerted to Belial just yet.'  Heavy footprints warbled out of auditory focus and then they were gone.

Simon lifted the Cherubim to a seated position and pressed his back to the wall.  The blood was spurting like a grotesque geyser onto both Angels faces.  Simon looked into the glazing over eyes and thought of the coldness with which this intelligent scrawny Angel had been handed his fate.

Greaves began to mouth his mantra.

'Libree...bura...Noo whirl'

'What?' Simon looked into the eyes of the dying Greaves.

'Librar...Burrow...New whirl.'

'Library? New What?'  Simon stopped looking at his eyes and instead directly at his mouth.

'Libarareree.'

'Library?' Greaves nodded with some effort.

'Buh yoo row.'

'A bureau?'  greaves nodded again.

'Diary of...of...of...heh ra.'

'Hera's dairy?' A less obvious yet definite nod from Greaves

'N..N..N...New...wuh...New Wor...world.'  Greaves died after passing on the final world.  Simon dragged Greaves to the nearest door and threw him in almost carelessly.  Lack of comprehension passed through his mind like a cargo train thundering to an unknown destination.

Here lay a Cherubim.  The intelligent order, the order of bright minded Angels, and here one of the smartest by reputation.  Why had he thrown his lot in with the enemy of his own kind?  What could have possibly driven him away?  Are there flaws in the teachings?  Are the demons right?

Simon never saw himself as Evil.  He certainly couldn't do what Gabriel did, but he supposed that was the difference between mere Seraphim and an Archangel.  Maybe Simon didn't want to face up to everything he witnessed.  Was he so brainwashed that these constant horrors all haf justified explanations?

Everything he had done flooded the spaces behind his eyes and began to push over his lids until a single track of water slipped down his face.  Image after image, all covered in a putrid claret gripped his mind with a vice of anger.  Fires in villages, Angels peppered with arrows, poverty, desolation and the constant violence one by one lined up in his mind to remind him of everything that the decadence of Jehovah had thus far offered him.  If the fiwght was about the Demons he would have understood it, but he was in the Greek Netherworld involved in a plot to kill the Iron Queen of the underworld.  He had watched his leader assassinate Persephone and then using the shortcuts Gabriel already knew they tracked down her would be protector. 

This was no longer mere politicals.  This was evil, the angel and demon stories turned upon themselves.  This was war without a doubt but the propaganda he had shifted from village to village was beginning to make sense.  How foolish had he been.  But no longer.  He knew where the library was.

The End

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