Chapter Three (Part Three - Of Battles and Boxes)

Simon was confused.  His short frame and skinny birdlike legs shook with frustration and he clucked his thick dry tongue behind his narrow peach lips.  The trail had presented no problems until they reached this spinney.  The mess and gore juxtaposed to the tranquil greens of the rest of the Netherworld dominion had thrown all theories and trust into the wind and scattered his confident leadership like petals in a hurricane.

On the face of it it seemed like two bipeds strode determinedly into the glade, their footfalls further spaced than before as if determination had give them stride.  But then the tracks became confusing, the bipeds were separated, large creatures had clawed and scrabbled at the ground, atg some point a biped had left the clearing into the shrubbery alongside the scene of battle, yet three bipeds had left leaving two heavy carcasses rotting in the sun.  The blood had seeped, then congealed creating a blanket of foul crimson flattening more of the trail than Simon had counted on.  The tracks were concealed for some part.  The technical term for the predicament was screwed.

But not completely, this dilemma had merely slowed the six frustrated hunters and delayed them for two hours whilst Simon battled with his training to unlock the sequence of events gifted him.  But that did nothing to soothe the rampant tyrannical rattles momentously thrown from Gabriels pram.

Simon had no distinct loyalty or love for the Archangel.  He personally deemed his arrogance and temper as counterproductive to most efforts that Simon had ever been directed to accompany him  on.  Tracking for Gabriel was almost certain to earn Simon many threats, many harsh beatings and more often than not a scar or two.

Although being the best that heaven had to offer anyone, Simon was always thwarted and criticised for taking the time necessary to unlock all the secrets of an environment.  But Gabriel had little patience for fine arts and important details.  A job was never fully accomplished unless Gabriel had hewn enough flesh to carve himself a mental trophy of his efforts.  Simon supposed that this was all part of the glory of Jehovah.

Jehovah was another being that Simon was slowly but more than certainly becoming severely disillusioned with.  His talk of rule and dominance was beginning to trouble Simon.  Wherever there was victory Simon saw a family raped of an eldest son, wherever there was defiance Simon saw a pauper gaining some food for a solitary day, and whereever there was failure, Simon saw a farmer reaping the crops for his own plate.  Simon saw a lot of things, but Simon preferred his head to be attached to his neck.

In truth there was some envy rested inside the fragile mind of Simon.  He envied Belial, Satan, Abaddon, Beelzebub and Lucifer.  He envied the very spirit it had taken them to defy the supremacy and righteousness of Jehovah and was green at the thought of them brazenly wielding sword and shield for the very things they believed in.  Simon was a coward wanting to be a hero, but unsure under which banner he would be one.

True he was heralded as a genius under the banner of Jehovah, and true he was unmatched for ability as a tracker in heaven.  But he never felt significant in the war, he never felt heroic.  What if right this in such close proximity to Gabriel in unsheathed his sword and swept it across the archangels exposed throat?  What if right now he led the troop away from their quarry and kept them meandering away from the war for as long as he could?  What if right this moment he declared allegiance to the Demon orders?

Futile questions.  Simon understood on his own he would never find the warriors courage and defiance it had taken the fallen, and here on the edge of the precipice of disillusionment there was nobody to give him the push.  So instead Simon searched earnestly for the key to the riddle before him.  The where, the when, the who and the why.

Gabriel once again broke his concentration with another violent tut, or hiss or whatever noise Gabriel had decided to use to hurry the process of being correct along.  Simon seethed inwardly, Gabriel would never be made to see the necessity for such pauses.  This wasn't a trail, this was a battlefield if Gabriel wanted answers, then the almighty righteous archangel would have to suck on the procrastinations for a time.

It was at this moment a lightfooted trail turned on a lightbulb in the mind of Simon.  Meagre pressure against a rapidly growing foliage that Simon had overlooked previously began to make more sense.  The winged carcasses had silently followed the soft footed biped (more than likely a female) into the glade and the duo intercepted.

But why would she leave with their quarry in the opposite direction to which she was travelling.  Gabriel would expect an answer.  He can ruddy well wait.  Simon muddled misty theories through his mind, from ambiguous ambushes to doubtful misconceptions as to the true nature of their quarries until amongst the footsteps he saw the slash of a Katana.  Very distinct lines made by very straight blades, and only one set of Demons known to utilise such tools.  Order of Belial.

Simon thought of Belials histories, as far as he could remember Belial the master of lies and the Katana rarely wielded one.  This was not Belial but a second slash cut too shallow to be a backhand but definitely a second weapon confirmed the order to which this warrior belonged.  Belials warriors were in front of them heading south through the dense forest.  Two warriors and a female that had not started with them.  None of this made sense to him but Simon definitely had divulge the information, and more importantly the dirtection.

For now Simon will keep his head.

The End

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