Chapter 5 - A Change of Plans
“That should do it,” said the older guardian.
The creature had been lurking outside the walls of Par Amor, trying to find a place where he could sneak in. Although patrols were light (it had been eons since traitorous demons tried to enter the ‘holy foyer’) they were still performed. Unfortunately, for this low-demon, the lazy patrol consisting of an older guardian and new-recruit came by at the most inopportune of times.
Using a null-field the older guardian captured the low-demon preventing him from getting away. Once the angels and their captive arrived at guardian headquarters, they quickly went to the underground level where the seldom-used lockup area was located. Here, after sending notification of this capture to lead angels among guardians, messengers, and cherubs alike, the low-demon was unceremoniously thrown into a room with a null-cell in place – the null-cell was a larger version of the null-field; an area divinely encased preventing demons (or angels) from either disappearing from or appearing within.
Before removing the null-field from around the low-demon, the older guardian carefully inspected the null-cell making sure its shimmering, yellow field completely enclosed the holding room’s insides – its three walls, the opening, ceiling, and floor. Once satisfied, he shut the null-field off then called the new-recruit to join him in communicating with the creature.
“Traitor,” began the older guardian, “what is your name?”
“Why?” the low-demon hissed. “So you can befriend me, try to help me see the errors of my ways?”
“Your fate’s the true-death,” replied the older guardian, “you might as well ask forgiveness for your sins.”
The low-demon became enraged, he crazily bounced off the walls as though trying to escape. In time he tired, spat at the guardians, then said, “Do you think I fear the true-death? I would rather face that than betray my lord.”
“Come on,” said the new-recruit, making a face at the spit dripping down the yellow field, “you won’t change his mind.”
The older guardian placed a hand on the young angel’s shoulder, “Don’t be so quick to give up son.” He looked at the low-demon’s angry eyes and added, “Everyone can be redeemed, if they choose so.”
“Ha!” the low-demon sneered, his ugly, pinched face contorting. “You can’t redeem me. I do not need it or want it.”
“You’re wasting your time,” said the new recruit impatiently, “this demon won’t listen. Let’s just go.”
“Young guardian,” said the older one, “I have not wasted any time. The demon listened and he fully understands; he simply chooses to make the wrong decision. That doesn’t mean we don’t try, it just means we try harder.”
The new-recruit began to see the point his elder was making, he pursed his lips in grudging agreement. Although part of him still believed it was a lost cause, he was going to urge the low-demon to beg forgiveness when he noticed the glowing light of appearance behind him.
The two guardians from the Almighty’s house, the same two from Gabriel’s office, stood there with serious expressions. The taller of the two spoke first.
“This is the captured demon? This is what all the fuss is about?”
“Yes,” replied the older guardian, “and you are…?”
“We are guardians from the Almighty’s home in Heaven,” said the taller angel. “We learned about this in Gabriel’s office and came straight here.” He looked at the low-demon with pity and added, “Has he been interrogated?”
“We first asked him to confess his sins,” said the older angel, “but the demon won’t redeem himself.” He closed the statement with a sad shake of his head.
“Very well, you tried,” said the taller angel, “that is what our Lord asks of us.” He focused on the low-demon and continued, “You two can go now, my partner and I will take over.”
“Before we go,” said the older angel, “I’m curious about something. How do home guardians end up here, questioning this intruder?”
The two home guardians looked at each other knowingly, the taller one shrugged.
“Normally we wouldn’t,” replied the shorter of the two, “but the day’s events call for us to look into this.”
“How so?” said the older angel, his brow furrowed.
“The Almighty called for a young messenger angel,” said the shorter guardian, “not just into the Throne Room, but into His presence. She went into the room with blonde hair, came out with it completely white.”
“That’s incredible,” said the older guardian, eyes wide with astonishment.
“How come?” asked the new-recruit.
“No one has ever been that close to our Lord,” said the taller one, “not Gabriel, not Uriel, not Michael, not even the Deceiver. She’s been blessed for something of greatest importance to the Almighty.”
“What could it be?” said the older angel.
The two home guardians glanced again at each other knowingly, the shorter one continued, “She’s been assigned to a mission, to seek and return the Greatest Artifacts. And what makes it more interesting is that she’s Gabriel’s daughter.”
“That would be Lily the Sweet,” returned the older angel. “I remember when she was just a baby.”
“Hold on,” said the new-recruit curiously, “what about these ‘Greatest Artifacts.’ What are they?”
“We have no idea,” replied the taller angel. “Not even the Announcer knows.”
While the four guardians debated what the Greatest Artifacts might be, where they could be found, and the significance of sending that particular, female angel, the low-demon concocted a plan for escape. The home guardians did not recognize that the low-demon was able to hear everything said, and the other two guardians thought nothing of mentioning he could. With this knowledge in hand the creature, if he could escape, would return with unbelievable information for his lord. The plan he devised was not perfect, but it did play on the angel’s sense of honor and caring. Anyway, he hoped it would work. For all of his boasting, the low-demon was really terrified of the true-death.
“Guardians!” screeched the creature. “I demand audience! If I am to face the true-death then I insist to see your Lord.”
The angels stopped debating at once, they turned to look at the low-demon and blinked. They couldn’t believe what they had heard. The creature wanted audience and he wanted it with the Almighty!
“It’s a trick,” sniped the shorter guardian.
“Trick or no trick,” said the older one calmly, “he asked for audience. We have no choice but to grant it.”
“He’s right,” said the taller angel, “we’ll have to take the demon to the Throne Room. Let’s get him out of the null-cell and go quickly.” He stopped and looked at the older guardian, deferring to him.
The older guardian in turn decided it was a good idea to allow the new-recruit to perform the task. After explaining to him how to place the null-field over the demon, the older guardian motioned for a door-like opening to appear at the side facing them.
With a touch of glee to his voice, the new-recruit said, “Yes sir, right away.” It was the last thing he ever spoke.
As the new-recruit approached, the low-demon moved with speed faster than any of the angels expected. In one motion he plunged his claw-like hands into the young angel’s chest, catching him by surprise and sapping him of his life-force; in the next motion the low-demon sprang for the now-closing door to the null-cell, reaching outside; and in the third motion, as the remaining angels moved to act, the low-demon squirmed his way past them and – poof – he was gone.
For two heartbeats the angels stood there in shocked silence, everything had seem to happen at once. The older guardian hastily waved the null-cell away and raced to where the new-recruit lay. He reached an angel with no aura, was not breathing, then knelt to find no pulse – the new-recruit had suffered the true-death.
“I told you guys…” said the shorter guardian angrily. The two home guardians had moved behind the older one, who was now just beginning to stand.
“What did you expect us to do?” retorted the taller angel. “Bring the Almighty here?”
“It would have been better than this!” replied the shorter one.
“Enough,” said the older guardian, “fighting won’t bring him back. None of us expected that scrawny demon so capable. Let this be a reminder that no matter how they look, they’re ultimately demons and capable of much worse.” He wiped his forehead easing the on-coming headache and added, “We were doing the right thing. We are supposed to give audience to Him, not bring Him to the audience.”
After a deep breath and a long sigh, the taller guardian said, “The head angels will need to be notified.” He then looked at the shorter one, who gave a curt nod, then added, “We will go to Michael.”
“No,” said the older guardian firmly. “I will notify the Archangel. But first,” motioning to the lifeless angel, “I’ll return the body to his parents.” The older guardian turned to face the home guardians and added, “I think it’s best you two return to your post.” The statement was more an order than a suggestion.
The two guardians glanced at each other and agreed without a word, disappearing in a burst of wind.
The older guardian picked up the lifeless body of the angel and cradled it carefully in his arms. Wiping a tear with the shoulder of his robe, together they vanished.
“So, the plan is well understood,” Lucifer said sternly, “as I have laid it out for each of you?”
Knowing Lucifer was the impatient-type, Murmux took the opportunity to remind his Master and replied, “I presume we have given up on your reconnoiter? We’re not going to linger for it and simply move forward with this plan?” Squinting his beady eyes, Murmux smirked.
“On the contrary,” retorted Lucifer silkily, “if he returns in time, whatever information the low-demon provides will only make the plan better.” The Deceiver leaned forward in his massive chair placing both forearms and bulging biceps on the table, he added, “Don’t you think?”
“Yes, of course my Master,” replied Murmux, bowing his head slightly.
He didn’t sound convinced to Lucifer.
The Deceiver was about to reply when a flash of light brightened the dreary, dungeon-like room for an instant. What remained was a hunched demon bouncing vaguely on his clawed heels.
“M-M-Master, Master!” cried Zephon, scratching at his arms. “Look! The low-demon has r-r-returned as though you willed it.”
“Impeccable timing indeed,” said Murmux sarcastically.
The high-demon Gremory, who had been quietly listening to Lucifer until now, barked, “Servant creature, what have you to report?”
All red and sinister eyes aimed at the pitiful demon, waiting for him to speak. The low-demon looked at the floor shyly and stuttered, “I, ah, I—well—”
“Speak creature, before I destroy you!” blared Lucifer.
The low-demon visibly gulped and blurted, “The Greatest Artifacts!”
“What did you say?” returned Lucifer, steadying himself and appearing surprised.
Emboldened by the Deceiver’s reaction, the low-demon relaxed (just a little) and continued, “The Lord of angels searches for items called the Greatest Artifacts. He will send a female angel, a ‘young messenger’ they said and with white hair.”
“What are these Greatest Artifacts?” Lucifer asked slowly, as though thinking.
“Master, I do not know,” said the low-demon, a touch of fear in his voice. The low-demon quickly added, “Though I learned that not even Gabriel knows.”
“Pah,” said Murmux dismissively, “so what? Who heeds what the Announcer of the Host discerns. Did you discover anything besides?”
The low-demon eyes shifted back and forth, searching for something in his memory to reply when Lucifer interjected.
“Underling, you said the angel has white hair. Did you not mean blonde?”
Reacting quickly, he answered, “Master, no, her hair is completely white. It became white in His presence, and from what I learned, this has happened to no one else.”
Lucifer became furious; he banged the thick table with clenched claws splitting it in half down its length. Spittle came out of the Devil’s mouth as he raged, “He brings an unknown angel into His presence? Blessing her more than any other? Than me!?” The Deceiver then took a few moments to catch his breath. Impatiently he waved his hand and the table reassembled itself. It looked as if it had never been broken. Lucifer sighed heavily and continued, “Zephon, do you know what this means?”
The Deceiver’s second-in-command was caught off guard. Zephon wildly scratched his body and shrilled, “No M-M-Master, forgive me. I do-do not have your grand insight. Allow me to m-m-maim myself for I have failed y-you.”
As angry as Lucifer was this still brought a smile to his terrifying face, he said, “No my most trusted. Do nothing but listen.” Leaning back in his chair and appearing to settle down, yet the tense muscles of his neck giving him away, Lucifer said, “The low-demon has discovered something very important. It is obvious whatever these ‘Greatest Artifacts’ are, they must be of utmost importance to the Almighty. Why would He send some unknown angel, a female youngling, correct?” Lucifer glared at the low-demon, who quickly nodded his head. The Deceiver then continued, “You see my servants, whatever these objects are, He does not want me to have them. He knows if He sends the Announcer, or the righteous Archangel, or that cross cherub, we would know immediately. But by sending an inexperienced angel, a female no less, and by blessing her, He believes He has won. Oh, how unfortunate of Him to think that.”
Lucifer laughed, slapping his thigh in the process. Feeling pleased with himself, a stray thought popped in his mind. The Deceiver then turned a suspicious eye at the low-demon.
“How did you get into Par Amor and learn all this?”
“Master,” said the low-demon hesitantly, “the outer walls of Par Amor are barely defended. The ramparts can easily be breeched and guardians in pairs patrol—”
“Servant slave,” interrupted Lucifer angrily, “I will only ask once more. How did you learn about the artifacts, the female angel, her mission—everything?”
The low-demon began to tremble. If he told Lucifer the truth, he surely was as good as dead, but if he could spin what had happened in a positive light, he might get out of this alive and look good in the process.
“Well, low-demon,” the normally quiet Gremory said, “the Master asked you a question. What have you to say?”
The low-demon looked at each creature sitting at the table. Both Lucifer and Gremory stared back angrily, Zephon cackled as he raked his arms raw with bloody claws, while Murmux, who had a faint smirk on his normally arrogant face, sat back in his chair like someone waiting to be entertained.
“Uh, Master,” murmured the low-demon, “while scouting a way to enter Par Amor I was surprised by two guardians and captured in their null-field.”
“Stupid c-creature!” shrilled Zephon. “You were told n-n-not to get caught. Ahahahahaha…!”
“Zeph, quiet,” said Lucifer. Eyes fiery with intent, he added, “Continue.”
“Yes, I was caught my Master,” said the hunched creature, “but through this experience I learned not only how lightly defended Par Amor really is, but of the mission, and the angel.”
“What more do you know about the angel?” challenged Murmux.
This is where the low-demon desperately hoped his information would be well received.
“The female angel is Gabriel’s daughter, Lily the Sweet. Like I’ve told you, she’s young and has a head of completely white hair.”
“Oh, hohoho,” simpered Zephon, “the angel is-is the Announcer’s daughter. Please M-M-Master, let me bring her to-to you, pleeease!”
“Silence!” Lucifer thundered. “What else, underling, what else?”
“Master,” said the low-demon, “it was while captured that I learned of all this. I realized the information was important and knew I had to get it to you.” The low-demon bowed awkwardly, then continued, “I devised a plan to escape asking for audience with the Almighty. As you know, the angels are so trusting; they were gladly willing to take me to Him. It was then I overpowered a guardian-youngling, killing him and sending him to the true-death. I then escaped the grasp of three others to appear here, faithfully, before you and your most trusted advisors.”
A moment of silence followed where each advisor looked at the other in turn, Murmux then scoffed, “You truly expect us to believe this account? A pitiable apology for a demon overpowering a guardian, youngling or not, and escaping from three others? Do you think us fools?”
Zephon and Gremory were about to add their opinions when Lucifer raised a dark-red, pointy-fingered hand, “Actually Murmux, I do believe him. We give the guardians way to much credit as it is. This low-demon took advantage of their trusting nature, making one of them pay dearly” – he looked at the creature pleasantly – “didn’t you?”
The low-demon eagerly shook his head and was about to reply when Lucifer interjected.
“This information reaches us with perfect timing my advisors. It changes nothing of our plans we spoke earlier, instead, we can add to them. Not counting what we intend for Par Amor, we will capture this Lily the Sweet, daughter of the Announcer, and bring her to me. We will then do what it takes to find out what the Greatest Artifacts are and where to obtain them.” Lucifer stopped lost in thought, he turned to Zephon and said, “Didn’t something happen to Gabriel’s wife? Wasn’t it the true-death?”
“Y-Y-Yes, yes, yes,” chirped Zephon, now scratching at his chest. “She had the-the most unfortunate of-of accidents with one of our b-better demons.” The second-in-command giggled strangely as blackish, demonic blood oozed from the gashes of his torso.
“And when we are done with dear Lily,” said Lucifer, turning to face the other two advisors, “she can meet the same fate as well.” The Deceiver rose from his chair and walked deliberately to where the low-demon stood, Lucifer then tottered around it in circles as he spoke.
“You’ve done excellent work, underling, providing me with invaluable information I’m certain the Almighty did not want me to know. For this, I normally reward demons with, say, damned souls to torment, or a higher standing in my dominion, or other pleasures.”
“Thank you Master,” said the low-demon, breathing a sigh of relief. “My only purpose is to serve you and—”
“However, I am faced with a problem,” said Lucifer, ignoring and speaking over the creature. “Although the information you brought me is good, the work you did to get it was sloppy.”
“But Master,” said the low-demon slowly, “I did kill a guardian and ultimately escaped and—”
“It makes no matter,” interrupted Lucifer, once again. “I cannot have help around that’s this stupid or boneheaded. What sort of example would I set if I rewarded you for incompetence?” The Deceiver stopped before the hunched and now backing creature. Red, blazing fire engulfed his hands as he lifted them.
“No, Master,” pleaded the low-demon, looking around for a way to escape, noticing he was now unable to disappear. With a shrill the creature added, “No, not the true-death!”
Aiming his hands at the creature, Lucifer coldly said, “Be gone—forever.”
Pillar’s of fire shot from both palms striking the creature on the face and chest. The sounds of the low-demon’s cries filled the dungeon-like meeting room – and still the fire pressed on.
Eventually, the cries stopped.
Lucifer’s palm-borne fire returned to its origin. He clapped his hands as though cleaning them and then turned to face his advisors in the now hot room.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Move!”