I couldn’t believe my eyes as Ralf took off his mask. His eyes were twinkling with mischief as he winked at me talking to Conall and Cearul. But all the joy I felt was replaced by insurmountable fear just as Cearul mentioned “Lucifer”. My body started shivering and black spots formed in front of my eyes. Fearing I would faint I reached for Ralf.
“Angel, open your eyes please.” said worried Ralf.
I slowly opened my eyes knowing well, I will have to live down this embarrassment again. Hoping he didn’t assume I swooned just to be in his arms, I tried to move away but he held me tight telling his dad that I needed to rest. The last few days had taken a toll me. It put me into action. I pulled away from his arms and stood straight up facing him and his father.
“I am perfectly fine. You needn’t talk on my behalf. Cearul I will be here first thing tomorrow morning to start my training. Evelyn, Moirin let’s go finish our shopping. I wish to get something ravishing for the ball.” I said slyly looking at Ralf.
I couldn’t believe her when she stood up to me one minute and the next minute was teasing, all in one breath. One look from her and I went week in my knees, but I was worried about her and for her. We still hadn’t heard from Michael and it was worrying me to no end and the fact that father was about to put Angel through very strict training was a concern too. It would not matter to him that she is a woman or that she is my mate. In many ways I was glad he was training her but I was worried if she be will be able to handle it. Before I worried more we walked back to palace to take care of preparations for the ball dad brought upon us. Frills, balloons and decorations scared me; I would any day take on a battle than take part in a ball, let alone host it.
Reaching my room I changed out of combat gear and tried reaching out to Michael, only to find him silent. I could not even sense him just like the way it had happened few years ago after his disappearance. Hoping he was safe I walked out the room towards the den only to come face to face with Judith.
“Hello Raphael. So how was your vacation?”
“Judith. How are you?”
“You tell me how I should be. You are the one that ran away.”
“Not this again Judith. I told you before also and now too, it will never work.”
“You keep saying that, it would never work. How do you know if you don’t give it a chance?”
“Because I know who my mate is and it is not you?” saying I walked away not noticing the hatred in her eyes.
For first time I was happy. Angel brought happiness to me. Her courage amazed me, knowing well enough she would soon be facing the devil himself; she still smiled hiding her fear from all, and I promised myself to never ever let any harm come to her as long as I am alive.
“Well you are not alone there. We all will stand by your side.” Said Uriel
Surprised I looked up to find him leaning against the door. At my astounded expression he said “you were thinking out loud, that’s the first time for you” sitting in the chair opposite to me. Knowing well it was not a question I bowed my head and asked about his days during my absence. I tried to catch up with the time I was away. Before settling in Shelter Cove I had taken off backpacking as they say on earth. There was strange and magical spell which had me buying a house in Shelter Cove, and now I knew what that force was. The bond had called out to me, even before we had actually known of each other’s existence. Even now, though not bonded mates I could still sense her presence and where she was at the moment.
Evelyn and Moirin dragged me along to the main center of Empyrean. The complex was ginormous and as we entered it felt like any other mall, except here between floors you could see angels flying literally. Everywhere I turned I saw angels in all shapes and sizes, some walking along with their families with exception of few kids and teenagers who were flying past. Teenagers seemed to be same here on Empyrean or earth for that matter. As I was wondering how to go about the mall, a small cart stood before us, like the ones I had seen on golf course except it was without any wheels, it was hovering on the ground. Evelyn and Moirin took their seats with me right behind them. As it flew across the shops, it brought new meaning to window shopping at its best. To my surprise all the brands including Ralphlauren to Swaroski were packed with people moving in and out. Our cart came to halt and we walked into a shop displaying ball gowns. The display was mesmerizing. It seemed to have only designer pieces and a gown caught my attention and before I could blink my eyes, I was in trial room with dress in my hand. Changing into it I felt like a princess.
“Angel, come out we would like to see it too!” Evelyn called.
Walking out I stood looking in the full length mirror, from three angels. The dress fit me snugly as if it was made only for me. Then I heard someone exclaim “It is so beautiful on her” brining a blush to my cheeks.
“You should get it dear.” Evelyn and Moirin both suggested.
Nodding I changed into my own dress and we checked out more dresses and accessories. Finally carrying arm full of clothes and shoes to go with them we moved towards the checkout. To my surprise checkout counter didn’t have cash counters, except for girl helping to put the purchased items in a bag. Looking at the confusion Evelyn told me that in Empyrean everything was free for all, for everyone was equal and there was plenty for all to live a happy and content life. I couldn’t imagine that back home and also the fact why would anyone want to leave this kind of carefree life and fight with the people of Empyrean.
It was one of a kind of shopping experience I ever had. Evelyn and Moirin showed me around the main city and they were fun to be around. Even though they both were centuries old they didn’t look a day older than me. It was as if I had found the friends I never had except Jojo was taken away from me by the black-ones. We returned to castle only to find it in full chaos according to three of us, but it was busy being prepped for the ball as according the big oaf Ralf, Cearul, & Conall. Not wanting to engage in battle of words we decided to leave the guys to their own devices and retired to our rooms.
Walking into my room I sat down for a minute dumping all the shopping bags next to bed. Wanting to shower I opened the closet to get change of clothes only to find all my clothes ripped and stained with blood. The fear clogged my throat and all I could do was walk backwards away from destruction. My hands started turning cold with a tingling on the back my neck as I turned to look back I felt someone pulling me up and the next minute I was hanging upside down with me screaming at the top of voice. A mist formed and a form came forward but I couldn’t see any face just an outline of a person.
“So you are supposed to be his mate.” Shrieked a voice before it cleared to voice of woman. “How is it that fearsome Ralf finds a meek girl like you attractive? Hmmm now do not answer that. It is very simple he is a fool for letting me go.”
“Who are you?” I managed to say for it felt as if something or rather someone was stopping me from talking.
For long time there was no response except the slow breath I felt across my face from nearness of whomever or whatever it was. “Hmm, you will learn in time that I am…” before it finished the sentence the door to my room burst open and I saw Ralf standing with a sword in his hand. The voice shrieked loudly and disappeared, dropping me to the floor. Ralf rushed to me and checked if I was hurt. When he pulled my hair away from my face I tried to appear brave and said “It seems you are my knight in shining armor and I keep attracting enough trouble to keep you busy.”