Dark Angel Ch. 11byLevanaHyll©
Seth frowned, has hand raking through his hair. "Anniel, he left me in charge of the space station, the reapers, and you. I told Ash that if he left, he was on his own. He said he'd get word to Amaranth to help him get back. They can't come directly back here or they'll lead the Master Guardians hunting us down right to us."
Anniel's level of panic rose. "Where are Drakken, and the weredragons? Maybe they can come with me if it'll make you feel better."
Seth shook his head. "Devon left them guarding the mansion on Sjoria. Alluna's due any day now."
"Where did Devon go?"
"He's hiding Remi, Rowie and the babies. Angel and Jazriel are with them. I don't know where they are. We're not supposed to communicate at all. If the Master Guardians feel our power, they might be able to find any of us. We can't risk it, Anniel."
Her eyes welled with tears, but she felt determined to go and get her son and find Ashriel.
"Okay," she said turning on her heel and marching out of his quarters. She almost ran into Abdiel who was standing just outside of Seth's doorway.
Sidestepping the reaper, Anniel stalked to her rooms.
"Wait," Seth called rushing after her. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm getting my son and Ashriel back."
"But, Annie, you can't—"
"I can and I will," she snapped.
"It's too dangerous."
"We've been in dangerous situations before, and if you say it's because I'm pregnant, I will kick your butt."
She stepped into her hygiene unit and tapped a few directives into the image screen. Seth stood by looking uncertain as the blue rays of her hygiene unit engulfed her. Her scalp tingled a bit, her hair lifting up with the help of the beams. When the unit finally shut off she was clean and her hair done up in many little twists atop her head. It was her shit-serious-ass-kicking hairdo.
Seth's jaw dropped. He scrubbed his face with his hands and then held them up in defeat. "Alright. I can't let you go alone. I'll let the reapers know so they keep a low profile."
"I want to go too," Abdiel piped up.
Both Anniel and Seth turned to look at him. If Annie didn't know any better, she'd swear that the blond reaper was stalking her. He'd been following her around for most of the...
Anniel narrowed her eyes on him. "Ashriel told you to keep an eye on me, right?"
Abdiel blushed. "He said not to let you leave Alpha 7."
Anniel snorted, crossing her arms beneath her chest. "Did he now?"
Abdiel looked wary. "Yes, but if I just stay by your side and keep you safe, he might not hurt me too much because you left the safety of the space station."
She'd been about to forbid him from following her, but his obvious distress over Ashriel's reaction bothered her more. Would he actually punish the young reaper? She snorted, shaking her head. "Look here, Abdy, Ashriel will not harm a hair on your head. I will not allow it."
She was about to say more, but the tall, blond death angel yanked her into his arms and hugged her tight. Anniel found her cheek resting over a bulging pectoral as he sighed, "Oh, thank-you." The relief in his voice was hard to miss.
Anniel pressed her palms against his bare, firm, chiseled torso and drew back. "I need to have a serious conversation with Ashriel about the way he treats you guys. You're not in the holy city any longer. He can ease up on the stifling rules already."
Abdiel nodded, even as Seth crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head, looking a bit annoyed at Anniel. "Oh, please do talk to him, Anniel," Abdiel ran a frustrated hand through his shoulder length hair. "He's so overbearing, especially with me because I'm still a virgin. He wants me to go back to Seraphia, but I don't want to. I no longer want to be a slave to reaper priesthood. I want to be free, like Dava. I want to eventually have sex, but I want my first time to be special."
Anniel didn't miss the way Seth's eyes gaped at the mention of the angel of destruction, but Anniel understood what Abdiel meant. Even she had vague memories of Davariel...more than three hundred years ago. He'd sometimes pick her up and toss her playfully in the air, or blow ticklish raspberries on her tummy. She remembered his face, and even though she'd been a two-year-old, the beauty of his eyes had always captivated her.
Seth snapping his fingers before her face had her jumping. "Hellooo-I thought we were going back to Rhylos?" he asked cocking his head to the side with an arched brow.
Anniel blinked at him, feeling flustered, and nodded. "Of course. Let's go."
Green gas no longer swathed Rhylos. Angry, dark grey clouds swirled over glittering turquoise oceans and deep green forests, promising an unfriendly welcome.
Ashriel gripped the piloting levers situated to either side of the captain's chair and directed the starcruiser toward the raw grayed out area marking where the city was situated.
"Are you sure you can do this, Ash?" Natanael asked nervously by his side.
Ashriel snorted. "We're Seraphian born. Flying is what we do, Natanael."
"He's not doubting your ability to fly," Eriel said behind him. "It's your ability to pilot his new rig?"
He watched the monitors, keeping a critical eye on the degree of his angle of descent. Go in too direct and they would burn up, too shallow and they'd ricochet off the atmosphere.
He clenched his teeth when gravity began kicking in, making an effort to keep his wings pressed tight to his back as his stomach bottomed out.
He descended, making the starcruiser spiral out in ever tightening circles toward the city.
The closer they got, the worse things looked.
"What the hell," Natanael muttered.
Ashriel pulled back on the throttles, slowing their speed. "Shields," he commanded wide-eyed.
Laser fire streamed out everywhere, transports exploded, sending streams of fire and plumes of smoke.
"Laser canons engage," Ashriel barked out. With an angry snarl, he settled himself more firmly into his seat, his muscles tense and ready for evasive maneuvering. "Look at this. Look at the destruction these beings have wreaked upon this poor planet," he spat, shaking his head, "again."
"Some creatures just destroy, Ash. Like us," Eriel sighed.
"We destroy evil, Erie," Natanael corrected.
"It's still destroying," Eriel answered.
"Do we have any weapons onboard?" Ashriel asked.
"Down in the hold. Some pulse pistols, laser rifles and a portable plasma canon, among other interesting little boy-toys," Natanael replied with a cocky grin.
Eriel snorted. "If we step out there, we're toast."
Ashriel studied the mayhem before him carefully. There was no orderly semblance to traffic below, but they needed to descend.
Taking a deep breath, Ashriel said, "Hold on...and pray."
Firing the jets full force, he zipped into the worst of the fray. The starcruiser dipped and spun as Ashriel's arms moved the throttles around. Laser fire snaked around the starcruiser, just barely missing them. Next to him, Natanael gripped the arms of his chair and cursed repeatedly. Ashriel tipped the nose of the transport down and spun and dodged around exploding crafts.
Behind him, Eriel laughed out loud in glee, "Fuck yeah, Ash. You fly as kick ass as you fight."
"Shut up," Ashriel snapped rolling the starcruiser belly up before letting it take a dive straight down, heading once again to the bowels of Rhylos. Luckily, no one seemed interested in following them.
Within the myriad of glass tunnels snaking around the smoke scorched pillars of the city, Ashriel realized most of the citizens of Rhylos were either dead or in hiding. The once bustling metal and glass city was nearly deserted, except for the all out war in the upper levels.
"There's hardly anyone flying down here," Eriel observed.
"That's because they're above," Ashriel answered, "trying to wipe out the upper class.
Natanael snickered, "Ah, revenge."
"It's disgusting and horrific," Ashriel grated, leveling the starcruiser out to descend belly first now.
Coming closer to the ground, a few people could be seen walking around, fully armed.
"Is it safe?" Eriel asked, leaning closer to the view screen.
"Probably not," Ashriel answered gruffly.
Scouting out a place to land, Ashriel spotted a wide ledge jutting out from one of the buildings. He hovered over the ledge, and since no one came out to investigate, he settled the big craft down with the nose pointing to the edge of the ledge. If anyone wanted access to the starcruiser, they'd have to fly up to get it.
Cutting the power to the transport, Ashriel huffed out a frustrated breath, not having any idea how he would find Cyn now that he was here.
His answer came in the form of the dirty rebel that helped them get away from the media last time they were there. The filthy humanoid rose with his glowing green metallic wings, like an evil spirit from Hell. He grinned molar to molar, showcasing his blackened rotted teeth.
"Hey, it's our buddy," Eriel laughed.
Ashriel could feel the fine hairs at the back of his neck prickle. "I don't trust him," he rasped under his breath.
Natanael sighed. "We don't really have any choice but to act like we do. Looks like it's the only way to find Cyneolle."
Ashriel knew Natanael was right. The more people saw them, the quicker word would get back to Anniel's son. Ashriel was sure Cyn would come to them.
All three reapers donned their gear of special armored clothing, goggles, and respirators. Devon might have regenerated the planet's vitality, but there was no telling what chemical weapons might have been used since they left. By the time they opened the exit ramp, Groggo and his cohorts hovered closer to the street below, awaiting Ashriel, Natanael, and Eriel.
"Well if it isn't the pretty fly boys again," the smelly man cackled when they finally dropped down to street level.
"Groggo. How the hell are you?" Natanael called out, folding his jet wings neatly against his back.
Ashriel watched Groggo drift down, followed by more than a dozen armed half humanoid, half cyborg beings. They landed in a tight circle around the reapers.
"Welcome back to hell," Groggo smirked. "Devon of Angelos really created utter havoc here on Rhylos. The upper levels are killing each other off. We're waiting for them to finish so we can ride up and take over."
Ashriel resisted the urge to shake his head in disapproval.
"And once you take over, what will you do?" Ashriel spat, unable to keep the disdain from his voice.
The others behind Groggo echoed his chuckles. "Once we take over, we'll live like gods," Groggo answered. The mob behind him shouted in agreement, some howling, others whistling.
"So... what brings you pretties back to our lovely planet?" the disgusting man grinned wider.
"Cyneolle," Ashriel replied. "We need to see him."
Groggo snorted derisively before spitting another blood-speckled gob on the filthy floor. "You sure have a hard-on for that borg. Why don't you hook up with one of us instead? Cyn can't even get a hard on." A few of the men behind Groggo laughed. "The poor fuck's frozen in a perpetual state of childhood."
Ashriel's eyes narrowed. He didn't want to reveal any personal information to these derelicts, knowing they would use anything they knew against them.
"Well, do you know where we can find Cyneolle or not?" Ashriel asked with a scowl.
Again, they snickered setting his blood to boil. "Cyn is like the air. He's everywhere, but unseen." Groggo grinned wickedly. "If you hang out with us, he just might show up. Besides, the city isn't safe."
Ashriel tried not to scoff, as his gaze spanned the decrepit group before him. Like they'd be safer with this bunch of thieves and murders.
Obviously deciphering Ashriel's suspicious expression, Groggo threw his head back and laughed. "Only a fool would bring harm to such..." his one good eye looked at all three reapers while he licked his lips and rubbed his filthy hands together. "...such special Seraphians like yourselves."
"That's code for your ass is worth more alive than dead," Eriel whispered in Ashriel's ear.
Ashriel's frown deepened. He hadn't returned to Rhylos to whore himself out.
"How long ago did they leave?" Anniel demanded, feeling her gut twist with dread.
Seth huffed out an impatient breath. "A few hours ago. Calm down. They might still be orbiting Rhylos waiting for permission to land."
Abdiel snorted. "I doubt it."
Seth glared at him over his shoulder, ratcheting her nerves even higher.
She scowled at him. "Sethaliel, don't you treat me like some ignorant, frightened little child."
He rolled his eyes. "They'll be fine, Annie. They can't get into much trouble in a few minutes. We'll be there in five more minutes."
She bit her lip and gasped when her baby kicked against her ribs. "Can't you go any faster? We could combine our powers."
Seth shook his head, leveling his sky-blue gaze on her with a frown. "You know what Dev said about going too fast. Last time Remi did that, he almost ripped a hole in our realm and all but destroyed a planet. It's just less than five minutes, Annie. What can go wrong in less than five minutes?"
In less than five minutes, they'd walked into a trap. Groggo assured them they needed to hide. The entire city was at war after the rebels killed king Dred.
They were lead down a darkened alley, guarded heavily by more of Groggo's gang. Behind the burned out remains of a dumpster, they crawled through a broken window and down a flight of rusted metal stairs.
Overhead, music could be heard, a hard thumping beat. Two of Groggo's men pushed open a pair of metal doors leading to a long dim corridor. Deep red velvet covered the walls with faded golden designs stamped within. Ashriel frowned when he realized the designs were little cherubs
The rug beneath Ashriel's boots might have been golden at some point in time, but now it was a filthy, dingy, mustard brown. And it smelled...like sweat, and sex, and urine.
Ashriel wrinkled his nose, looking briefly at Natanael beside him. Both reapers were tense, their silvery grey eyes darting side to side. Ashriel wrapped his fingers around the hilt of the laser sword strapped to his hip even as his feathers puffed out in anticipation of a fight.
They entered an elevator, with golden mirrors lining its interior. The floor and ceiling were lit, and some strange alien tune was playing. They rode down in silence.
When the doors finally opened, they emerged in a wide, brick and concrete corridor. The walls were large bricks with peeling white paint and the floor was rough concrete, covered in layers of dirt and pebbles.
Ashriel's boots crunched loudly, the sound echoing far ahead. The corridor seemed to stretch into infinity and had a doorway every hundred yards or so. The glaring overhead lighting flickered unsteadily making him feel disorientated. All he heard beside their marching feet was the ticking flicker of the lights and the soft hiss of air coming out of the numerous vents perched low to either side of the corridor.
Ashriel should have anticipated problems when some of the men began fitting their respirators over their faces. The air smelled foul but only a few covered their noses and mouth.
Ashriel thought they used their respirators because of the stench of dank wet mold, which covered the crumbling bricks. There was also the slight scent of decay...like rotting death. It made his skin crawl as he remembered that some of the citizens in Rhylos had become so contaminated from the toxic air, they'd become little more than walking corpses. He'd yet to see one, but would rather forgo such a revolting experience.
His vision wavered a bit and then Eriel stopped to pout at Ashriel.
"I don't feel so good," was all the brunette reaper said before he collapsed. Ashriel gasped wide-eyed, and tried to pull Erie to him, but realized he barely had any strength. He felt as if he moved in slow motion. All he did manage was to hold Erie's body against his and let him slide gently to the floor in a heap of silky black feathers. Ashriel rocked back on his boots feeling numbness tingling up from his fingers and toes. His head felt like it was stuffed with cotton. He frowned, blinking, as he ran his fingers through his dark locks. Everything wavered and swam before his eyes.
Natanael knelt unsteadily to touch Eriel, but collapsed too, his deep blue hair spilling over one black wing as it struck the wall. The other wing slid up Ashriel's body until it touched his chin and then it just dropped back down to his boots.
Ashriel shook his head, trying to make sense of what was going on, but his mind felt like a swirling vortex, spinning away to dark oblivion. He fell to his knees, his hand skimming over Natanael's shoulder, and just as his belly made contact with the two fallen reapers, he lost all consciousness.
"Dev's not happy with what we're doing," Seth huffed.
Anniel wanted to scream in frustration. "I thought we weren't supposed to communicate telepathically with each other? Why are you tattling?"
"I'm not tattling," Seth snapped in exasperation.
Anniel glared at him. "Well how does he know what we're up to if you're not telling him?"
"Angel can see it, and they're linked. I can feel him getting agitated."
Anniel gasped. If Angel could see them, maybe she could see if Ashriel and the other two reapers were all right.
Seth heard her thoughts and shook his head. "She doesn't know them well enough to latch onto their life forces."
Anniel's gut twisted in anxiety, resulting in another swift kick from her daughter. Placing her palm over her softly rounded belly, she looked pleadingly at Seth. "Once we land, you'll be able to feel them out, won't you?"
Seth's brows drew closer together as he dipped the throttles of silver comet forward. "I'll try, Anniel. We don't want to let on that there are two Alpha Angels on Rhylos again."
"Three," Abdiel corrected. He leaned forward in the tiny transport to look at either of them with a worried little frown marring his perfect face. "I'm one of you now too, right?"
Anniel patted his cheek. "Yes, baby. You're one of us too."
When she looked forward again, her eyes grew round. They were coming upon Rhylos fast, but aside from that, there were thousands of space vehicles buzzing around the planet.
"There weren't that many before, were there?"
Seth remained quiet, but Abdiel had no such restraint. "That doesn't bode well. Looks like there's civil unrest. Word must've gotten out. Look at them. They're circling like vultures, just waiting"
"Vultures?" Anniel frowned, looking from Seth to Abdiel.
Seth's lips tightened into a firm line before he said,. "Mostly space pirates looking for a place to call home. They sweep in and take over after the natives virtually wipe themselves out."
"They actually go in and sell the natives weaponry of mass destruction to help them along," Abdiel added.
Anniel gasped. "That's horrible."
"That's the way of the universe." Seth said with a sigh. "The LOS won't interfere. Rhylos is worthless for the league council. Everybody hold on. We're going in."
They'd taken the Silver Comet Garethiel had left Ashriel. It jerked as Seth put the engines in full burn and they slipped under Rhylos thick atmosphere lighting up like the crafts brand name.
Gravity began kicking in and Anniel felt like she was about to get sick.
Another yank and her eyes widened when she realized the ground was flying up to meet them incredibly fast.
"Seth," she cried out.
"Easy. I'm trying to keep us from getting shot at."
Almost as if on cue, a volley of laser fire streaked past them. Seth dipped and spun the Silver Comet, weaving past exploding ships and laser fire. After passing the worst of the fighting, he tipped the nose of the transport straight down and hurtled into the darkness below. Behind them, Anniel heard a loud thump followed by Abdiel's groan of pain. Black feathers floated about, but she was too terrified to look back.