It's been three days since Lucifer told Matt and I about the prophecy that Matt may or may not be a part of. Matt's been staying in Hell with Lucifer, helping out where he can without being discovered. He's been restricted to Lucifer's private hallways and occasionally comes to the human world for a few hours.
I've been attending school regularly and am still the main point of gossip. Tigerlily and the warlock whose name is apparently Daniel or Damien or something have been joining me during lunch. I think they're trying to be friendly, well Tigerlily at least. The warlock is Tigerlily's best friend so I believe his eccentric pixie friend dragged him along. Why she wants to be friends with me is beyond my understanding
Daniel/Damien is even more snobbish and snooty than I first stereotyped him to be and I discovered why today. His father is the warlock representative in the Council, Gordon Harrway. An exceptionally arrogant warlock specializing in air magic and being a prejudiced conceited prick.
I had just finished my last class of the day. Immediately after, I had ran to my dorm room, changed and teleported. The sequence had quickly become routine as I could hardly ever wait to leave the figurative hellhole to return to my lovable hellhole, Hell.
The school's classes were organized by day. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the academic days while on Tuesdays and Thursdays we take our practical or "hands on" classes that would be the humans' equivalent to PE.
We have a PE class that is mandatory for all students and is basically keeping fit, running laps and playing sports, like a regular mortal PE class. The other half of the day is where we are split up on what we are and our individual abilities. Spell casting classes specified for certain groups, more outdoorsy and more extreme physical activity classes for weres and vamps and a combat class for exceptional students with advanced or more noticeable magical capabilities.
I've been put into a general magic class along with an extra PE class that was more magically centered with a mixture of warlocks, Fay, demons and witches. When I found out about the combat class I pestered Lucifer to transfer me, but he was adamant against me joining that class. Said I'd "attract too much attention" and I'd be "questioned on my unnatural ability to kick everyone's ass" or something. Bleh.
Anyway, the day was uneventful like always except for a plant elf accidentally causing wine grapes to sprout out of one of the vampire PE teachers' ear. I have to say I actually admire them for being able to get a grape seed in the teacher's ear without the teacher knowing. That takes precise timing and very nimble fingers with uncanny aim. Some creativity was also essential.
Now I was back in my element. The shadows. No literally, I was hiding in shadows as I stalked my current target.
She was a hybrid but was more angel than nymph. Her fluffy white wings were tucked away and she scuttled along the busy pavement tugging her dark trench coat up to her ears. Her curly golden locks were stuffed under a shady looking cap that resembled the ones worn by detectives from cheesy crime shows in the 1990s.
The polluted air clogged her more nymph-like lungs, making her breathing shallow and ragged. If she were a pure nymph, she'd pretty much be having a severe asthma attack, but her angel blood helped her deal with the many man-made toxins brought on by industrialization and modernization.
I continued to follow her, skulking through the shadows as she weaved through people. Her eyes were skittish, always moving and seeking but glazed over.
She turned into a quieter alley, going in a few meters until she leaned against the wall breathing heavily, greedily sucking in air. It was still not as clean as she'd prefer, but the taste of sweat and bodies was greatly lessened in the desolate alley. Plus, she could use minor nymph magic to cleanse the air around her a bit. I was still a few feet away from her, but I could sense the slightly cleaner air. It smelt faintly of salt. Ocean nymph.
Her hands shakily opened her coat and she pulled out a note. The paper shook violently in her hands, crunching in her unsteady grip.
I crept closer, molding myself to the darkness and prepared to get Scythe out. I froze though when the angel-nymph shot her head up with widened eyes. I held my breath, not shifting a single muscle despite my current awkward position.
Shit. Did she notice me? Did I slip somewhere?
The angel-nymph tucked her note away and scanned the area with a suspicious and paranoid eye. I willed her to not notice me or decide to investigate the shadows.
"Who's there?" she shouted out, her voice quivering. She combed the alleyway again with her eyes while her hand reached into another pocket to grip something that gleamed silver. Her unsteady eyes skimmed past the area I was hiding in, leaving me undetected. She played her paranoia as just that, paranoia and relaxed, slipping her weapon back.
She muttered under her breath but I couldn't hear. She checked her wrist and muttered again.
I guess she's rendezvousing with someone and that someone is late... And may have just arrived.
With the last thought I swung backwards with Scythe but stopped short of landing what would have been a fatal blow.
"Matt?" I whispered in disbelief.
He opened his eyes and slightly uncrossed his arms from above his head and smiled weakly.
I returned Scythe to a neutral position and heatedly whispered, "I could have killed you, idiot!"
He was about to speak up by I slammed my gloved hand to his mouth, "Don't speak. Keep quiet and out of my way."
He nodded, eyes wide with fear and curiosity.
I turned my back to him to return my attention to the angel-nymph but she was nowhere to be seen.
Damn. Where'd she go?
"Aaaaaarrgh!" a loud war cry erupted from above. I pushed Matt backwards and jumped to the side to narrowly avoid collision.
The angel-nymph had a long dagger clutched tightly in her shaking hands. Her wings swallowed her body from behind; large, feathery, frayed, faded and dull.
Her glazed eyes spied me out and she hissed croakily, "You! You've been disrupting his plans! If I get rid of you, he'll make me his favorite and give me more!"
She finished and immediately shot into the air again to dive down at me with the blade aimed for any part of me it could scratch. I jumped out of the way again using Scythe as leverage to gain more distance.
I swung the blade down to avoid the incoming slash of her dagger and the reacting force made us step back. Without wasting time she dashed forward again, her wings providing speed and I continued jumping backwards, deeper into the alley while blocking her aimed frantic attacks with Scythe's staff.
She kept swiping and slashing, giving me barely enough time to block each move much less fight back. Knowing I wouldn't be able to keep this up for much longer, and she was supposed to be meeting someone, I ducked and rolled to the side, getting my shoulder clipped in the process but it was a small, inevitable sacrifice.
I jumped to my feet and spun on my heel to finally, finally land a blow across her back. It was a minor cut since she propelled herself away at the last minute, but at least I was able to strike her.
She hissed in pain from the cold cut metal and leaped back to recuperate. I did the same but kept a close eye on her.
We watched one another, waiting for the other to strike or to find a chance to lay a fatal blow. She was tiring, her breathing ragged, eyes flickering and wings slightly drooping like the effort to keep them up was too taxing. The effects of Lunaria were also a weakening factor. She must have been on it for at least a month now.
A shadow moved in front of me to the side and it caught the angel-nymph's attention as well.
Shit. Matt. What is that idiot doing?
I had forgotten about him, but it seems like he didn't do the smart thing and run for his fragile life.
The angel-nymph noticed the change in my posture and grinned wickedly. She lunged in the direction of Matt without a backward glance at me.
"Get out of the way!" I yelled frantically, my voice coming out low, rough and muffled. Deep in the back of my mind I was thankful the extra precautions I take to disguising myself, going as far as my voice.
I dashed forward, Scythe already in motion as Matt cowered in fear and the angel-nymph prepared to strike down.
That moment slowed down considerably, like a cool, untraceable gel covered the scene making movements slow and sound so distorted it was almost mute.
Matt had a small knife exuding a faint dark aura gripped in his sheet white hands but was shaking and shivering with fright, absolutely unable to move. The knife gave me a helpful hint as to who to yell at when we get back to Hell.
The angel-nymph slowly plunged her dagger downwards, aiming straight for Matt's fluttering heart and would have definitely killed him.
Before she could make the determining cut, I sliced her twice diagonally across her back in an X. Broken feathers were detached and fluttered to the floor, the first to hit the ground breaking the metaphorical spell.
She staggered, the dagger still positioned over Matt's chest but her face contorted in pain. Matt finally regained his senses and scurried out of the way just before the angel-nymph let the blade fall between her slackened fingers.
She fell to her knees, her wings already turning to pale gray dust as all angel wings did when their time was over. I stood over her crumpled body and she began to laugh. Horribly letting out dry, sanity-deprived chuckles.
"He...will still win. He still...has so m-many...mo...re," she coughed out blood but continued to raspily speak. She faced me, the life fading from her already zombie-like form and whispered, "My lord...Bar..tus...D...Dra...h..heim..."
"Bartus Draheim?" I repeated as the last of the angel-nymph's wings blew away into the cold air of death and her lifeless body crumpled to the floor. I quickly muttered two small incantations, giving the angel-nymph the death rites of her people, both angel and nymphs.
After apologizing quietly I bent down and opened her coat, going through the pockets, taking whatever was necessary. This was one of the few things I hated about working as Slayer.
I took her wallet, the note, phone, watch and her dagger along with a set of keys and stored them away in my 'drawer' along with Scythe. The wallet, keys, watch and phone were useless to me other than discovering an identity, but her death wouldn't be questioned. A mug victim is less suspicious than a dead body with all her belongings. No one would look into it seriously if she was believed to be yet another unfortunate mug victim. It's sad, but it's the truth.
Finished, I dusted off my pants and looked around for the human who really shouldn't have been here and almost ended up getting killed. He was still clutching the magicked knife like it was his very soul or means of existence as he warily crept towards the lifeless corpse and me.
"Is it...did you?" he whispered hesitantly, peering forward.
I looked back down and replied shortly, "She. Not it, she. And yes. She's gone now."
He was silent but I saw him put the knife down and relax considerably from my peripheral vision. He walked up to stand beside me and looked down at her.
She looked so peaceful now despite the marring on her back. Her golden locks spread out and face calm and devoid of the pains of living on a substance that slowly drains away your life. Her pale lips kissed by death were tension free and I could remember the smile they used to hold before Lunaria shattered her mind.
The first time I saw her, she was laughing freely with a red haired witch. She was kind and wouldn't harm a fly. She was greatly loved, but when people realized she was a hybrid, they looked at her with disdain. She still never lost her smile. Until now.
"I swear, if it's the last thing I do, I will find the asshole who did this and make gouging his eyes out with a rusty pair of broken pliers seem like a magnificent alternative to dealing with me," I solemnly vowed.
Turning my back to the sleeping angel-nymph I walked back to the main street, removing my bandana and tucking it away. Matt followed me all the way and we remained unnoticed in the city crowd.
I walked silently into a McDonalds and headed straight for the washrooms with Matt coming in right after me. I triple checked that it was empty with no security cameras and took out the amber shard from under my shirt.
"Give me your hand," I ordered and grabbed Matt's wrist when he hesitated. I closed my eyes and urgently thought up Lucifer's room, the tingling sensation becoming almost painful from my haste. Matt squirmed in my grip but I tightened my hold and only released him when we were in the red and black room.
I staggered. My shade fell but I held myself together and marched towards Lucifer who was sorting through some paperwork at an office desk he must have materialized.
I grabbed Matt by the cuff of his shirt, shoving him towards Lucifer and questioned with an accusing tone, "What was he doing there? The boy almost got killed."
Lucifer opened his mouth to answer back, but I was too pissed to let him, "A knife is only useful when the holder can actually use it. If he's terrified into paralysis, not even the most dangerous and most powerful weapon in existence will be of any use."
Lucifer set down the pile of papers he was holding and sincerely apologized but Matt struggled out of my grip and said, "No, it wasn't his fault. I asked him to send me to ya. I...I just had this feelin' or somethin'. I don't know what it was, but I felt in my gut that I had ta be there. If you have to be mad at someone, it's me."
I looked at him and then at Lucifer before sighing tiredly and running my hand over my face, "Sorry, it's been a long day and lots of magic use."
I reached into my 'drawer' and pulled out the belongings of the angel-nymph, placing each item on Lucifer's desk as I explained, "The angel-nymph had these with her. She'll be considered a mug victim when found, but she was supposed to be meeting someone. She kept checking her watch and muttering."
Lucifer analyzed the items checking her wallet for identification and then inspecting the dagger. When he picked up the note I added, "When she died, she...she said a name. I think it's who we've been looking for. She said—"
"He will still win. He still has so many more. My lord Bartus Draheim."
Both Lucifer and I stared at Matt in complete and utter shock.
He gazed blankly, as if in some sort of trance before shaking his head and his forest green orbs cleared.
"What? Why're you guys starin' at me?" he asked obliviously.
I was about to question Matt, but Lucifer beat me to it. He lunged forward, startling both Matt and myself as he asked, "What did you just say?"
Matt stuttered, completely intimidated, "I-I-I, er, I didn't say nothin'. I just kinda blanked out for a second and when I came to, you both were starin' at me weirdly."
Deciding to put it off as Matt's specialness for now, I answered Lucifer, "Bartus Draheim. That's the name she said." Lucifer froze and I was almost afraid to ask but I did anyway. "You recognize the name. Who is he, Luke?"
The note was still clutched in Lucifer's hands, unread as he gravely muttered, "That's not possible. He should be dead."