Lore of the Angels Ch. 06byAlecrire©
Here are the Japanese, Italian and Basque translations for this chapter.
Minasan konnichiwa --Hello everyone
Konbanwa, youkoso --Good evening; welcome.
Non posso vivere senza voi -- I cannot live without you
Joan behar dut -- I have to go
Once again, credit goes to Jason Moore for his brilliant and exceptional editing skills.
Zilarrezko carefully inspected the wings of his two Ordinals, making sure they were in peak condition for the long flight home. It would just be the three of them; Yuki had declined the effort in favor of a private jet. Zilarrezko hadn't expected her to accept his invitation and ruin the rare moment to connect with his Ordinals anyway.
"Cardinal," said Julia, finally breaking the silence. "How could you do this to him?"
"Don't you speak for me Julia," warned Marcus. "My life is for my Cardinal to use as he pleases."
Julia was about to protest when her Archangel raised his wing.
"We will talk in flight," was all he said before he leapt into the open sky heading for home.
The moment they had passed the Japanese border, Zilarrezko began to speak, "It isn't Marcus that Yuki wants."
"What!" both Ordinals exclaimed. Then Marcus said, "But Cardinal! She asked for me specifically."
"But her eyes betray her. She keeps no male Angel close to her for a reason Marcus. You are simply a pawn to goad me." His eyes flickered with amusement. "Yuki never passes up on a beautiful female."
Julia didn't seem to think it was funny though.
"Cardinal! But you easily pawned Marcus out to Yuki even when you knew she's just going to kill him? I don't understand..."
"In her eyes, she sees Marcus as being more valuable to me than you are. He is after all the next in line for Archangelship."
She gave him a sideward glance. Julia understood the logic but it still disturbed her how easily her Archangel had given up Marcus for the mortal.
"Julia, I can feel your annoyance radiating towards me," said Zilarrezko casually; the threat beneath the voice was loud and clear. The moment she stopped glowering, he continued, "Don't let such anger mar your beauty Ordinal."
"I apologize for my moment of weakness Cardinal... but perhaps you could put me at ease by explaining why you'd risk Marcus's life so easily?"
Zilarrezko replied by cupping his wings close to his sides accelerating toward the Marshall Islands. A second later, his Ordinals followed suit.
He allowed them to stretch their muscles for a few minutes before speaking, "I am wary of Yuki's easy submission to help. She made no question about Aria at all --not even to ask her age or her condition. All she was concerned about was to see how much of a sacrifice I would make for Aria."
"Marcus is a big sacrifice."
"Not the biggest. I promised her my wings didn't I?"
Julia pursed her lips, her white lashes fluttering angrily against her ebony skin. "Aria would swipe at you if she knew what you did."
Her reply made him laugh. "A typical female response to male stupidity"
"I said no such thing Cardinal!" she protested.
Her Archangel smiled before turning serious once more. "I am building a trap for Yuki and she knows it. Only that she thinks it's all a game."
The two Ordinals looked at him; confusion in their eyes.
"But I promise you Marcus that by the end of today, she will return you to me."
Zilarrezko and his two Ordinals reached New York several hours ahead of Yuki. Marcus and Julia remained at the Obelisque to welcome her while he returned to the hospital to tend to Aria.
When he approached the door, Anthony spread his wings to bar his way.
Zilarrezko cocked an eyebrow. "How are you Cardinal?" Anthony's voice was cheery. The other eyebrow crept up. "Fine?"
"It's just that... you might not like what you see" a smirk gave him away.
"Is Lucian in there?"
"Yes Cardinal. I was unable to control him."
"He knows what he's doing."
Anthony moved slightly to allow his Cardinal to pass.
The door opened, revealing a flood of light that quickly ceased.
"Uh oh. We've been caught red handed Aria," said Lucian playfully.
Zilarrezko gave the room a once over, noting the balloons, baskets of flowers and splashes of paint all over the wall. Aria was still lying down but her eyes were open and staring straight at him. "Has Lucian kept you entertained?" he asked gently but she continued to stare at him.
"She... doesn't speak much," said Lucian. She sleeps on my wings and pulls my feathers in her sleep. She's having bad dreams Cardinal.
Zilarrezko noted the lavender feathers on the floor and nodded. "Lucian, you may leave her now," he ordered; his eyes followed him across the room and out the door.
"Aria..." he whispered, moving closer to the side of her bed. "Do you know who I am?"
She didn't say anything and instead moved her gaze towards the door but Zilarrezko had caught the fear in her eyes. He frightened her... and she was looking for Lucian --for comfort from an angel other than him.
"Do you want Lucian to come back?" he asked quietly, his voice betraying nothing. Watching her face carefully, he noticed the fear in her eyes lessening.
It broke his heart.
"Aria..." he whispered her name desperately. He just wanted her to look at him but instead she closed her eyes and shut them tight. "Aria, it is me... Zilarrezko," he said sadly as he picked up her frail hand and kissed her knuckles.
Then it happened.
His Valkyrie began to cloak herself in Illusion; the hand he held disappearing from sight and touch until she was no longer detectable by any of his senses.
"Aria! Please... I'll... I'll call Lucian now... see?" he said pointing to the door that was opening to reveal the lavender winged Angel. "It's Lucian see? He's here. Don't be scared."
"Cardinal?" Lucian's face was shell shocked. His Archangel was talking to someone but he could see no one on the bed. In fact Aria was no longer in the room.
Then suddenly a piercing scream broke the silence of the ICU; shattering the frosted glass window of the room and disconnecting the electrical flow to the monitors.
"Cardinal! Where is she?"
"I don't know... I can't..." he stammered. He couldn't do anything... he didn't know what to do, his brain had frozen.
"Aria... it's me Lucian... want to see something magical?" Lucian was frightened but his voice remained soft and soothing. "See?" he raised his right hand to emit a stream of Light and then with his other hand he scattered the beam. However, this time instead of a rainbow, he doused the whole room in pale UV light.
Then he saw her.
"Aria..." Lucian knelt beside her and took her carefully in his arms. "Shh..." he rocked her silently back and forth even as his eyes looked across the room at his Archangel.
There were no words to describe his Archangel at that moment. Even cast in the UV light, Lucian could see that there were no blade wings or silvery eyes. He saw not an all powerful immortal, but a man whose eyes glowed with mortal longing.
Then the Archangel turned away and walked out of the door.
The screams stopped.
"Aria, why did you do that my sweet?" Lucian carefully lifted her and returned her to the bed. With a flick of his hand, the UV light disappeared and Aria slowly materialized; her body huddled in a fetal position.
"Lucian... what happened?" asked Anthony. Behind him were a group of doctors and nurses but the Archangel was nowhere to be seen.
"I don't know... but I'm afraid to leave her now. Could you find him please?"
Anthony gave a curt nod and left, allowing the doctors and nurses to rush in to take a look at Aria.
She lay still and quiet as they tried their best to hook up the monitors once more but she had cut off the electricity supply as well.
"Here," offered Lucian giving a power surge to the cables. That was all he could do for now.
Anthony found his Archangel on the rooftop gazing out into the open skies.
"Archangel Yuki has already landed at the Obelisque. She should be here soon."
Anthony gave a perplexed look. "Why? Why is she coming here?"
"I wanted her to return Aria's wings."
The Ordinal remained quiet at this revelation. He had seen what had happened just moments ago and something about the incident made him worry.
"She should not come here Cardinal... at least not now..."
"Just... give me a minute Anthony." Zilarrezko took in a deep breath and flew up straight --like an arrow piercing through the layers of atmosphere.
Anthony looked up and waited patiently until his Archangel came back down a few minutes later; his feathers covered by Metal once more.
"Come, our guests are already here."
"Yes Cardinal." Anthony followed his Archangel to the edge of the rooftop where he could see a group of Angels flying nearer towards them.
The Snow Queen and her harem of Ordinals were stunningly beautiful but neither of them caught his attention. His eyes were only meant for one Angel and she currently had an annoyed look on her face.
The moment Yuki landed on the roof, she broke into a feminine sing-song greeting, "Minasan konnichiwa..."
Zilarrezko decided to play along. Yuki could be unpredictable at times and he needed her to feel at ease --so to speak -- so he replied, "Konbanwa, youkoso." He extended a hand for her and was about to usher her away when she stopped in front of Anthony and Marcus.
Giving an appreciative study of the two Ordinals, she whispered, "I still prefer to sink my teeth in tender young flesh."
"Indeed," said Zilarrezko, gesturing for her to follow him.
The two Archangels were right at the front, followed by Marcus and the Snow Queen's Ordinals. While they descended, Anthony pulled Julia away.
"What are you doing?" she hissed.
"Something is wrong with Aria."
Julia's face turned serious. "Tell me."
"She seemed to not recognize the Cardinal and she did something..." Anthony bit his lips slightly. "Like... Illusion but it can't possibly be. She's just a mortal."
Julia's eyes widened. Now she understood what Zilarrezko was about to do.
"Hurry Anthony. We have to get down there before someone gets killed."
By the time they got back to the ICU floor, Marcus was trying to piece the frosted glass window together. It was an amazing feat considering that glass is only partially made of silicon which in itself is not a pure metal. Considering that, Marcus was faring very well. The same could not be said for Lucian. He looked worried and Julia couldn't blame him.
She was shocked to see Aria cuddled against his feathers and was almost expecting her Cardinal to kill him for daring to touch his Valkyrie. However her Cardinal at that moment was not even interested in looking at the both of them. He was in deep conversation with Yuki.
"I don't understand Zilarrezko. You are so willing to wager your wings and give up your Ordinal to turn this... Valkyrie back to an Angel? But why? She is not yours!"
Zilarrezko's fists had clenched slightly but he did not take her bait and instead replied, "Can you do it or not?"
"Move," she ordered to Lucian but the Light Angel simply stayed in place. "I said move Ordinal."
"I cannot let go of her or she will wake up," he insisted and looked up to Zilarrezko for help but received none.
"Go now pretty boy... I will not be kind enough to repeat."
Julia heard Anthony draw in a sharp breath as Lucian carefully released his hold on Aria, tugging lightly at his feathers that she was clutching. Her hold must have been very strong for he had to sacrifice a few of his feathers again to completely move away from her.
Aria must have sensed him gone for she began to stir. Lucian immediately tried to come closer but Yuki's Ordinals blocked him.
"So this is the Valkyrie... such tanned skin..." her voice seemed to echo some disapproval. "Are you sure she is mine Zilarrezko?" Yuki was now touching Aria's hair and frowning when she saw the blue strands. "Ah... her eyes should tell me the truth," she said, moving her fingers intending to open Aria's eyelids.
But something grabbed her wrists, causing the Archangel to jump back a step.
Aria was still lying down but her hands were clamped over Yuki's wrists; her eyes wide open to reflect typhoons.
Yuki's own eyes widened in shock. "Impossible!"
"Aria! Don't!" Lucian tried to stop her but he was too late for she was shattering the newly rebuilt glass window but this time not with her scream but with a powerful storm that came from nowhere; crashing against the brick walls, shattering them down.
No one had been prepared for the sudden unexplainable display of power.
"Stop her!" screamed Yuki to Zilarrezko but he remained motionless; his eyes keeping a close watch on Aria.
Only when Lucian tried to move forward did he shout over the din, "No. Stay in your place. Yuki I want you to watch her!"
The storm didn't last long but when it died, Aria was no longer visible on the bed.
"Where... where is she?" shrieked Yuki; her face drenched with water --and anger.
"Lucian..." Zilarrezko looked at him.
Lucian too was all wet; the pale lavender turning slightly dark from the water. Raising his hand, he began to spread the UV light once more across the room --or what was left of it --and everyone started to look around for Aria.
But it was Zilarrezko who found her for she had curled herself around his legs. He hadn't felt it at first because her Illusion rendered her completely undiscoverable by the five senses. This time when he reached down to touch her, she did not scream.
He lifted her up and rested her frail body against his chest as he looked directly into Yuki's eyes.
"How dare you..." spat Yuki angrily. "I will not be manipulated like this!"
For the first time since he had seen Yuki, she was no longer bathed in white. Her eyes held deep blue swirls similar to that of Aria's and her snowy wings were simply white with blue tips.
"You gave me your word to restore her wings Yuki," said Zilarrezko in a steel cold voice. His arms held Aria close to his body, her head resting against his neck.
"You left out the part about her being a Cardinal, Zilarrezko!"
An icicle materialised, slicing through the air. Anthony extended a hand, and it melted, inches from his Archangel's head.
"You had no interest in asking me anything Yuki. You wanted to play games... so I did."
Yuki was intensely riled up by now for she was freezing up the entire room; enclosing all the Angels in an ice cube.
"You can have your Ordinal back! I'd never play with boys anyway."
"Your word should have been your honor Yuki... you waged your wings to help me restore hers."
Her eyes flit up to his face a second before Zilarrezko felt a cold ice ring forming around his neck. This time she was much too fast for Anthony but Zilarrezko broke her ice the instant his neck armored itself.
"We could fight to death now --you and me," said Yuki, baring her teeth at him. "Or... I could just kill her."
Zilarrezko saw the intention in her eyes even before she said it for his wings had turned to pure steel to shield both Aria and himself against the Snow Queen's onslaught. The Ordinals were already on their guard; ready to attack each other at their Cardinal's order.
The two Cardinal in questioned were facing each other; eyes focused and lethal. However it was Yuki who stood down first.
"Zilarrezko... if you must enforce the terms of our promise, then this will mean war."
Zilarrezko did not say anything. He knew he had to make a decision now. Could he afford another war so soon simply because he couldn't see his mortal Valkyrie die?
"I will take back my Ordinal and take it that we never made any deal in the first place."
The response was unexpected for Yuki had thought he'd choose war but clearly she had overestimated him. An Archangel with no desire for more power and territory was undeserving of such a Cardinal status. He made her sick to her stomach.
Saying not another word, Yuki broke the ice surrounding them and glided away with her Ordinals behind her.
For a moment, no one moved; their minds still in shock over the sudden turn of events.
The rebuilding of the ICU had been left in the hands of Marcus and Anthony; sponsored by the Archangel himself. Aria had been moved back to the Obelisque to be cared for by Zilarrezko's personal doctors. The hospital had been too frightened to house her for fear that she would invite more angelic devastation. Zilarrezko had not been pleased but he had no qualms about it. At least now, she would still be close to him even while he was in his office.
At the moment, Aria was sleeping in his bed. She had just been given her medication and had been told to rest. Zilarrezko took the opportunity to catch up on his own work but first, he had some dressing down to do.
The lavender winged Angel was sitting on his desk, swinging his feet innocently when he stepped into the office. He jumped off immediately but not before flashing a guilty smile on that adorable face of his. Zilarrezko had a soft spot for Lucian and Marcus but knew this had to be done.
"Lucian," he said sternly, pointing to the chair. "Sit."
"I give you a lot more freedom than the others --even Marcus."
"Yes Cardinal..." the angel hung his head down guiltily.
"But Aria is not Lorraine so do not be mistaken."
Lucian bit his lower lip; gnawing at it like a child who disliked being reprimanded.
"Lucian..." Zilarrezko was trying to be stern but just looking at the young angel's antics made him want to smile. He was about to say something when Lucian looked up.
"I mean her no harm Cardinal... but you made her frightened. Everyone frightens her except me. She pulls at my feathers in her sleep Cardinal... Can you imagine the dreams she must be having?" Zilarrezko kept quiet, allowing Lucian to continue. "Lorraine was about her age too when she died. Her wings were barely formed but I remembered what a sparkling blue it was."
Yes, Zilarrezko remembered that day very well. Lucian had sat on the bed the whole day holding his dead sister in his arms. He wouldn't let anyone near them until Zilarrezko himself had pulled the two younglings apart.
It had taken him nearly a week to coax the frail little angel to speak again. Lucian was only twenty years old then --truly an infant in angel years --but he had the most agile body that Zilarrezko had seen. Each time he tried to feed him or bathe him, Lucian would zip off and hide; moving so fast that all he could see was a streak of light.
It seemed that Zilarrezko had a penchant for picking up strays. He had found Lucian and Lorraine huddled in a corner of a dumpster along the historical Combat Zone in Boston many years ago. At first he thought they were human children for they were so malnourished and broken that their wings had been stunted and could be hidden under baggy clothing.
Then he saw Lucian's eyes and knew.
"You cannot replace Lorraine with someone else Lucian. Someday Aria too will die and you will truly hate mortals for what they have no control over."
"Is there nothing we can do?"
"For now... but I will find something."
The lavender angel looked down and shuffled his feet. "I know she is yours Cardinal... but I will lay my life down to protect her."
Zilarrezko arched an eyebrow at his words. "Even from me?"
Those lavender lashes fluttered slightly. Gulping down the rising bile in his throat, Lucian looked up straight into his Archangel's eyes and said, "Yes. If... if you ever hurt her."
For a moment, the air sizzled between them. Neither looked away or blinked.
Zilarrezko's face broke into a small smile; then a chuckle... and finally he burst out into thundering laughter, tears gathering in his eyes.