One minute, they stood in his bedroom and the next they stood in a large room with a high vaulted ceiling. The walls and floor were black granite with specks of gold flakes here and there. Ornate gold scenes of people and animal life covered the ceiling. There were two hallways to either side. One led to a garden where white and red plants grew, giving the area color. The other led down a hallway with many doors.
She took in all of the beauty of the room and was in awe.
A big man with light brown skin strode in, his gait confident and deadly, like a predator on the prowl. His face was made of harsh angles; he had dark eyes, and a shaved bald head. The man wore a pair of black jeans, a Sex Pistols t-shirt, and classic high-top converse.
Azrael headed to the man to clap him on the back as they man-hugged, grinning at each other.
“Az, my man, what’s up? It’s been a while since you last came over.” He grinned as the two men stepped back.
“It’s only been a week since we last spoke. You were ranting about how your cousin Isis was adding color to your garden of death.” That wicked grin of his surfaced as the two men started laughing.
They both looked toward the grim garden to their right. The bald man’s eyes held a glint of annoyance before focusing on her.
His gaze seemed to go right through her and see into her very soul. “Azrael, you’ve brought something interesting to grace our presence. What is your reason for this?” he cast a look at Azrael that sent shivers through my body.
He narrowed his eyes, “I need your help with identifying where her power lies” She caught him peeking a glance at her, “and I’ll request that we do my other inquiry in private.”
Azrael folded his arms across his wide chest as the two men exchanged a look that Lila couldn’t decipher. The bald man, who she assumed was Anubis, gave a curt nod.
“Meet me in my study when you finish. You know where to find it.” Anubis gave Lila a searing stare before turning and leaving the room.
Sighing, Azrael turned to face her with a poker face.
It aggravated her when he did that. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking or what he was planning.
“I have to put you to sleep. Anubis has to project your soul so he can figure you out. Once he is done, I’ll wake you up immediately.”
Lila frowned, “Okay, if that’s what needs to be done. I’d rather not die again, though. That sucked the first time and I don’t plan on reliving it.”
Azrael cracked a small sympathetic smile. “Don’t worry. It’s quick and painless.”
Immediately, her vision grew blurry until everything went dark.
He caught Lila before she fell to the floor and levitated her in the air. Her skin glowed amidst the gold in the room, highlighting her features.
The pressure in his groin shot through the room as he headed toward Anubis’s study down the hall.
“Fascinating. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Anubis and Azrael gazed at the glowing ball of shimmering light that projected from Lila’s chest as she floated on her back in the center of the room.
“I told you, Nu. Out of all the souls I have collected, I have never seen one like this. The colors are rich beyond compare but that’s not the best part.” He tightened his hold on the coffee cup he held as he spun Lila’s soul around with the flick of his hand.
“It’s the power within.” Anubis gazed in awe at her soul.
He enlarged the projection so he could see further within and found her core. Her core glowed a pale yellow and the power he felt coming from it made him shiver.
“She’s equal to you, Az. This woman is tied to you. Her ties to you are strong and from what I can gander, she’ll never cut them.” He cast his gaze at Lila’s floating body beneath the projection.
Azrael followed his gaze and nodded, his eyes growing soft.
“I know. It’s frightening. As for the ties, I don’t understand why she latched onto me. Earlier, her soul cleansed the darkness and she snapped. I went after her to comfort her and she latched onto me, without even realizing it. Her soul dug through my core and cleansed some of the darkness. I’ve gathered that she has this rare ability to cleanse and renew.”
He still thought she had more darkness hidden within. For some reason, he wanted to cleanse her soul himself just by being around her. It unnerved him.
“Renewal. Cleansing. A rare ability indeed. This can change the world and the cosmos as we know it.”
The two men exchanged looks.
This was huge.
Nothing like this had been around before. No one had ever latched onto him, either.
It unnerved him. Azrael wasn’t used to having someone so close.
From the moment he first saw her, something inside of him had changed. Every time he touched Lila, he felt warmth within his chest, and he liked the feeling.
“Is there a way to break the tie she has on me?”
He didn’t want to be tied to her in the case she saw what he really was. The human form he used frequently was only a mask hiding his true form beneath. Inside he was a shapeless monster. He was nothing more than just a monster that struck fear into everyone who saw it.
Over the centuries, humans feared his real form, the form that had humans running screaming and creating stories of the “Devil”. For thousands of years he had lurked in the shadows until he adopted a human form. Looking human has kept his charges from running off and made his job easier in the end.
If she ever saw him for what he really was, she would fear him, too. That idea made his very essence feel pained.
“You don’t get another chance like this, Az. I wouldn’t break the ties.” Anubis warned, his eyes darkening slightly.
“Anubis, you know what I look like under the guise of a human. She will fear me the instant she sees me for what I really am. A monster.” He gritted his teeth, balling his fists.
He wanted to save himself from the pain of her finding out and hating him.
Anubis’s eyes softened as he softly said, “Azrael, give her a chance. It’s a new era and you may not know if she will be afraid or not.” He folded his arms across his chest as he turned his gaze towards Lila’s floating form before them.
Maybe he was right.
He had to give her a chance.
Hopefully, she accepted him as he was. It wouldn’t be in his favor if she took to his negatively.
What kind of woman would want anything to do with a monster?
Maybe she would.
He had no idea unless she found out, which he was going to make sure of.
“This never happens. This hasn’t happened in long time. I feel this whole thing will play out interestingly.” Azrael nodded in agreement as he gazed at Lila.
“Since she’s staying with me for the time being, I should stop by her home to gather her things, so she isn’t stuck in that outfit. I’m sure it brings her great pain, even though she hides it from me.”
He floated Lila into his arms and cut the flow of energy keeping her levitated so he could hold her. Those long lashes lay against her cheeks as she lay asleep in his arms. Lila wasn’t heavy but light, her body fitting against his perfectly.
“That would be wise. She’ll need something familiar so she can get comfortable with you and trust you fully.” Anubis cast her soul back inside of her body, making the room grow dimmer.
“Thanks for doing this favor, Nu. I owe you one the next time you need something. Just pop in and ask.”
He popped out of the Egyptian heaven realm and into Lila’s small living room.