The underground cave thundered with fury of the creature who had been bested by slip of a girl. The newly turned angels were easy to manipulate, but the girl proved a challenge. All her shields were easy to penetrate, but when she had gone deep into somnolence, patterns changed such that if Hecate hadn’t got out the moment she did, she would have been locked within the loop that Solange was weaving unaware of the power she held. She would have managed to control Solange to open the safe guard around Lucifer, but that one second of distraction had cost Hecate. She screamed again causing the cave walls to vibrate precariously with the danger of falling to ground. A small figure sitting at the corner of cave wall went still so as not to call attention to her. But she was not so fortunate; Hecate hovered above her looking with her blood red eyes and backhanded the girl with such force that the girl’s face hit the cave wall and her face slashed on one side. Not wanting to encourage more beatings the girl tried to stay down brining her body in a fetal position.
The dawn brought with it a new beginning for me. When I looked at myself in the mirror, what I saw was not a girl who was scared that she will hurt her friends because of her powers, nor the timid girl she had grown into, but a woman ready to defend what she believes in and who will fight to free her parents at every cost.
“You managed to stand on your own?” said Ralf sounding proud but his eyes betrayed something different. Walking towards me he brought forth a single sterling rose bud. As took it from him, the bud bloomed spreading a beautiful fragrance which surrounding us in cloak of emotions with promise of moments of exotic sensation.
“It’s beautiful.” I whispered
“Not more than you.” Ralf said bringing my chin up and touching my lips with his. The moment his lips touched mine, my toes curled and I lifted myself to reach for more
“Hmm, sir, I am sorry, but you wanted to be informed if there was news from Uriel.” Said a voice from threshold of the room
Ralf moved ensuring I was not visible to the person at the doorstep. “Thank you, I will be there in a moment.”
My face had gone red with embarrassment and I tried to push myself away from him, but Ralf turned around and held me close to him. As I lifted my face to look into his eyes, he closed the distance and kissed as if his life depended on this touch. A mere few seconds but it felt like eternity of bliss.
“I wish we could kiss forever.” Ralf said smiling still placing kisses along my cheek and lips.
If I knew how wonderful being in love felt like, I would have prepared myself for Ralf’s intense passion, but nothing could have prepared me for the feelings that Ralf aroused in me. “You should go.” I said not really wanting him to go, but also felt I needed to understand this attraction which was overtaking my life since I woke from somnolence.
Sighing Ralf released me and kissed my knuckles with promise to take me for my first flight to test the strength of my wing muscles. Getting ready I went to find Aunt Gretchen, Moirin and Evelyn. Only they could tell me about my mother’s abilities and maybe I could test if I had inherited them.
Ralf reached the war council room expecting a message from Uriel but instead he found Uriel himself, standing near the window lost in his thoughts. “What holds your attention my friend, that you didn’t realize my presence?”
Turning he faced me and said “Nothing of consequence. I found some information that I am sure you will be very much interested to know.”
“You could have sent it, didn’t have to come yourself”
“Hmmm. Yes, but I needed to getaway before I lost my mind amongst mortals. The information I am talking about is” saying Uriel placed a leather bound journal on the table.
“What does it contain?” asking I tried to open, but the journal didn’t open. It seemed to be bound by a spell.
“I don’t know what it contains, but the Kongamato that Michael found it from was ready to destroy herself than give up the book and no one else but you in Empyrean can open spells placed by black magic.”
Nodding I closed my eyes and let my energy source guide me to understand the spell that had been placed around the journal. Whoever placed the spell had to be ancient witch or a wizard. The spell was a clever ploy which if unraveled by an inexperienced would find one caught in the loop for eternity. Having found the end of loop, I started unraveling it in reverse order it was wound. After about half hour, I found myself only half way through the loop, but not giving up I continued the task at hand. Finally the loop terminated and the journal fell open in front of our eyes with a hissing noise. The journal seemed to have been very ancient, possible a century old and at first the pages seemed unwritten, but as I blew across it to remove the dust, the writing started forming as if fire was burning through the pages.
Uriel and I looked at the writings in the book. “May god Athena save us” we both said at the same moment.
As I walked into the sitting room, Aunt Gretchen was reading a book which was almost half her size in thickness; Moirin seemed to be helping Aunt Gretchen. Evelyn just then entered with one of the angel, who was carrying plates filled with food. My stomach rumbled protesting the lack of nourishment. We all sat down for breakfast talking how things were going on in Empyrean and the antics of Gabriel’s son. He sounded like a mischievous child.
“What did my dear grandson had to say to you dear?” asked Moirin
“About?” I asked trying to think what Moirin could be talking about
“Well that is the problem. These guardians are very clever when they bind us to them. You will not know until it is done.” Said Moirin
I stopped mid way biting into a juicy fruit, remembering my reaction to Ralf this morning. Was I reacting to the mating bond everyone was talking about or did Ralf really have feelings for me. As I was wondering we heard commotion at the entrance of room. The door opened and in entered a guardian I had seen couple of days ago when Ralf was fighting in the arena.
“Sorry my lady, a matter of urgency is taking Prince Rafael to Earth realm. He wanted me to pass on the message to all of you.” He addressed Evelyn, who I had totally forgotten is the queen of Empyrean. Upon hearing that Ralf was leaving without me, my anger surged through and I went looking for him. As expected he was in his room getting ready.
“Where do you think, you are going without me Prince Raphael?” I never intended it to come out cold, but I was seething with anger.
“Uriel has returned with matter which needs my immediate attention. If I don’t respond immediately, it will be difficult to find Michael.”
“Dad? You better not hide anything” I prayed to every god I had known or heard of, to keep him safe.
“We have received the last known location where he was seen and he has forwarded a message to come prepared immediately. There is possibility of war, which I had hoped to avoid. Bloodshed doesn’t lead to any good.”
“I am going.” I stated and walked out towards my room, but I had hardly taken a step out of his room, I was pushed to wall and Ralf stood close that our bodies were almost one. His eyes were lit with blue fire and his jaw was set in stubborn stance. His hands on the both sides caged me between his body and the wall. “Solange, I am not ready to lose you again. I can’t risk it, not finding you after eons. Please understand darling.”
The pain on his face was plain to see. I lifted my hand and ran my hand along his jaw line. Lifting on my toes, I kissed him softly whispering “My darling what happened to me on the cliff is not your fault.” He tried to deny, but before he could his words out “Shh… not your fault. I am standing safe here with you, because you saved me and gave me the most wonderful gift. But you see the problem is I don’t know how to use them to my advantage yet.” I said trying to lift my wings to prove my point. “And I know you will keep me safe and fulfill your promise to teach me to fly and also dance with me in air, whatever that means” I said trying to understand what dancing in the air means.
Shaking his head he returned my kiss smiling “You know you are more stubborn than me. I plan to teach you to fly and also a lesson to go against your prince’s wishes.”
“Haa, you are prince of Empyrean, not mine.” I said trying to find a way to put some distance between us.
“You break my heart my princess. Here I thought we will rule our world together.” He said releasing me. “Go pack light, as we plan to travel fast.”
Journey to Earth:
The guardians walked in silence to help their fellow guardian who had sent through a message of what was threatening their home. Uriel had gone silent and this was put most the guardians on edge but they walked as by blood oath they all were brothers and Uriel would never turn on his fellow brothers. The group of ten guardians along with Ralf and his mate stopped only once since they had left Empyrean. Until few centuries ago, the guardians could create a portal to earth, but that was not possible any more. So finding a natural portal was necessary to walk between the realms. As they reached the ruins of the Athena’s temple, the moons were high in the sky and the group settled in for the night unaware that their progress was being monitored continuously.