Chapter 24 (Part Two - Toward Persephone)

The was a thick atmosphere in the Chamber.  Balthazar strode around the large room studying the depicted battles the fallen had endured previously.  All of Saracen's warriors (including Saracen himself) had called and relayed bad news.  Belial had not been to any of his houses on Earth in the last two days.  There was no sign, not even a hair of Belial's existence.  Ordinarily he may have had a little more patience, but for the looming shadow of Gabriel less than three feet behind him.

Gabriel had very little patience, especially after being defeated so recently by his adversary.  One he had been promised would be too dejected to be of any danger to him.  Balthazars sitting duck had found wings and flown south for the winter. 

Lanterns flickered ominously between Angel and Demon, each shape shifting silhouette cast a new shadow on both minds.  Gabriel was sporting a new scar on his face, dealt him by a foolish human contraption that was easily overturned by Belial in the mid of a chase that should have marked the ultimate victory for Gabriel.  But the scrawny matchstick-demon had underestimated his rival, and Gabriel had paid the price.

"Tell me something Balthazar, I don't like bad news very much."  Gabriel seethed through his teeth.

"The search has only just begun, did you expect Belial to advertise his whereabouts so soon after you attacked him?"  Balthazar hoped that he sounded controlled.  He was fighting to control his shuddering leg.  He was anything but in control. 

Since the exile of the fallen, everything had fallen to pieces before him, and he was helpless to fix them.  There was dissent and hate amongst his newly acquired subjects, and to add to that Gabriel looked ready to rip his head off his shoulders.

So he had underestimated Belial.  It is easy to do, Belial was not a large Demon, the was not a lot of muscle on his ignorant body.  But it seemed he had escaped the wrath of Gabriel again, and here they were.  A large angry Angel blaming Balthazar for his own misgivings.

"No I expected Belial to be alone and easy pickings just like you promised.  Instead he ripped my soldiers apart and nearly killed me too.  Can you see why I might be little wound up?"  Gabriel didn't need to attempt to portray control, his demeanour was business only.  It was easy for him to not reach out and take this weak little lizard by the neck and crush him, for it was not worth the effort.

"Saracen's men have found nothing."  Balthazar glared fiercely at the floor benath his wretched feet.

"You believe him of course.  You see I struggle to grasp something.  Belial is carrying a wounded Angel with him.  On Earth, people would see three people bleeding, one with an arrow protruding from his shoulder, probably white from shock, if not dead.  What would Human's think to them just hiring out a hotel room for the night?  Is it a regular human thing to be nonchalant about a walking kebab resting for the night without questions being asked?"  The twisted chiming sing-song tone denoted Gabriels Sarcastic effort to tell Balthazar that he was far smarter than he was being credited with.

Balthazar had come to the same conclusion.  Blood soaked people tend to cause a stir on Earth.  Belial would have had to go somewhere he couldn't be seen.  This meant that one of Saracen's men was lying to him.  Belial had been somewhere.  What really choked Balthazar was the most likely place Belial would have had to go, due to the lack of mileage and the most convenience, would have been the very place Saracen was supposed to have checked himself.

According to the map of Britain that Balthazar had studied, COrby was less than thirty miles from the place that Gabriel encountered Belial.  HAd this information escaped Gabriels attention?  Balthazar very much doubted it.

"I think you need to take a more, let us say, hands on approach to solving my problem Balthazar."  Gabriel sat in Abaddons seat around the large table.

Balthazar sat in the large comfort of Satan's chair and put his chin on his fists.  He regarded Gabriel coolly for a moment and then slapped the table.  He made his mind to go to Corby and see for himself, he hated to believe that Saracen would betray Hell's commander and ruler, but the seeds of suspicion had been planted, and a wild orchid of doubt had taken root in the tendrils of his feeble thoughts.

"Looks like a road trip Gabriel.  Hope you have packed your toothbrush."

The End

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