Martyr

Jade Kapan just might be the most normal person you could meet. But don't jump to conclusions, because you couldn't be more wrong. And she has no idea. No idea that the angels fight demons constantly just to keep the humans safe. No idea that she can change the whole course of the war. The only thing is, will she have the strength to make a vital decision?

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13. War

          I wasn't sure how Ash would fly, until he opened his own pair of leathery black wings. I took off after Mark, and Ash followed. The three of us flew in awkward silence for a couple hours until we reached the entrance to the Aether. We flew into the gate, our wings being scanned as we went. Ash was stopped by a guardian, and when we said he was with us, they let him pass.

"Sooo... what exactly is the Center of Light?" I asked Mark.

"The Center of Light is where we keep the light crystals. Every angel's life source is tied to one. If the crystal cracks, then the angel evaporates." He explained.

"So if the demons somehow got to them..." I prompted.

"Then we have a problem." Came the grim reply.

We headed towards a golden building that looked like a bank. When we went inside, Mark approached the teller.

"There's going to be a raid. Ready the guards." Mark said with so much force in his voice, the frail old angel looked up with a start.

"Wha–" He said.

"There will be a raid. The demons are coming, rally the troops." Mark had a sort of calm sternness about him.

The poor old teller got up from his chair, and walked over to a rope that was hanging from the ceiling. Apparently, this was also the messaging system for the whole kingdom. The angel pulled the rope, and a large brass bell rung, its melancholy noise resounding through the streets. Almost immediately, we heard voices calling and shouting as the troops assembled. 

"You better give them an explanation." The old teller said, dismissing us.

We went back outside, and stood in the town square, waiting for an opportunity to address the town. We saw Bruce shouting at the front row, telling them to get into phalanx formation, and to hold their shields with more dignity. We approached him cautiously, afraid that he might suddenly turn and knock us over with the spear he currently had gripped tightly in his right hand. He saw us coming before we said anything.

"Hello, guys. Who invited the demon?" He asked as if demons didn't have any feelings.

"Bruce, Ash. Ash, Bruce," I quickly introduced. 

"You guys have any idea what the heck's going on? Why did the bell ring?" He asked.

"Just let Jade explain to the army." Ash instructed.

"Right this way, miss." Bruce led me to a podium with a microphone attached to it. I was really nervous, but Mark slipped his hand into mine, which gave me the courage to confront the army. 

"Um...err... I bet you're wondering why you are gathered here."

"You're darn right we are!" Someone called from the crowd.

"Thank you," I acknowledged the voice that shouted out before continuing. "I managed to eavesdrop on the leader of the demons, and gain some vital information that just might save the Aether and all of its inhabitants. We are going to be attacked."

I let that set in a little. "The demons, led by a demon who goes by the name of Derek, will raid the Center of light, and try to destroy the light crystals." A ripple of muttering swam through the crowd. "We must prepare for battle, and defend the Aether!" I called out. The reaction from the crowd was zero. They just stood there, with blank looks on their faces. Then, one single angel started to cheer. Followed by another. And one more. Before I knew it, I had the whole angel army rallied for battle.

"Let's go get you ready for battle." Mark whispered into my ear, sending chills down my back. Ash decided to stay with Bruce, so Mark led me back to the armory where I had gotten my sword, showed me into a different room. On one wall, a rack of the wetsuit type clothes that I had worn on the day of my test lined the wall. 

"Put one of them on," Mark instructed. Grumbling, I grabbed one off the rack, stepped behind a curtain, and put it on. Next, on another wall, were sets of armor. The armor consisted of many small pieces to allow maximum movement, versus the types of armor that medieval knights wore. Mark chose a breastplate for me that was sliver, and very lightweight. Around the edges of it, light blue stone glistened. It was beautiful. Mark also grabbed the matching pieces of armor that I would need, before getting some for himself. On another wall were pieces of armor that were made to be strapped onto wings. These were plates that could collapse onto themselves, so the wearer could still tuck in their wings. 

          Mark strapped my armor on quickly and skillfully, as if he had done it countless times. He probably had. Lastly, I needed a helmet. There were so many to chose from, but I settled for a simple silver one with wing designs etched into the sides. I quickly put my golden locks into a braid, and was about to put my helmet on, when Mark stopped me.

"What?" I asked.

"You can't" He said.

"Can't what?"

"Go into battle. I can't let anything happen to you."

"Mark, that's crazy. I can't go announcing that we're gonna be attacked, then not fight."

"But–"

"Mark." I interrupted. He muttered something that I didn't quite catch. "What?" I asked him, growing impatient. He repeated it louder, but I still couldn't understand what he was trying to say. I shot him a look of despair, letting him know I had know idea what he had just said. He placed his hand on the back of my neck, and quickly kissed me.

"I love you." I whispered. And this time, I heard it. It was as if he had screamed it. You might be wondering how I could possibly fight in a battle and not die after being told that. Thing is, neither do I. I quickly pulled my helmet on, and, followed by Mark, went to war.

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