Remain. [NaNoWriMo '16]

[Sequel to NaNo '15 novel Run.] Ruling the world isn't as easy or as fun as it sounds, especially not when a group of angry angels are thrown into the mix. What's worse is that Baxel is without his right-hand man, who just so happens to be the key to everyone's plans.

6Likes
248Comments
2812Views
AA

20. Nineteen: A Certain Level of Trust

    I always liked France. As a country, it did a lot of things right. Solid food, nice views, eating snails, flowy language. It was a pretty cool place, which was why I resented the fact that the Watchers had set up camp there. It seemed to tarnish the rolling hillsides in my mind. Regardless, as I lurked outside of the angels’ compound, I couldn’t help but find joy in all the dead bodies the shadows showed me inside. 

    That sounded bad.

    In the past few months, I had been doing my best not to kill people in an effort to appease Damian, but knowing that the bodies of the Nephilim being stacked on top of the bodies of their mothers was my doing was a little satisfying. This was killing for the greater good. All in all, my least favorite kind of killing, but, hey, whatever made Damian happy. 

    I also couldn’t help but notice a room in the compound that was pitch black. I couldn’t see inside it - it was warded against me, but considering that Sirio was nowhere to be found and every angel that passed by that door glared at it, I made a solid guess that he was being held inside. I knew few who could piss people off as quickly and thoroughly as my brother. 

    Now for the slightly less satisfying act of breaking said brother free. After all, I couldn’t have him telling the angels any or all of my embarrassing moments. They didn’t need any more ammunition against me, and honestly, leaving Sirio in their hands made me nervous. I was half hoping they would’ve just killed him and saved me the trouble.

    The Nephilim wing was warded on the interior walls, and my shadows were stopped before they were able to reach it. However, considering the fact that Sirio was a major annoyance and minor threat, it seemed that the angels didn’t want to spend the time in his room ruining the runes on the walls. Instead, they warded the door, the symbols on the outside instead of the inside. There was no doubt in my mind that they planned to move him once a new room was prepared, but the guards outside the door told me they hadn’t done so yet. 

    The guards didn’t notice the stream of shadows that I sent creeping down the hallway; it moved so slowly that it made a barely noticeable disturbance in the light. The shadows crept past the feet of the guards and to the warding on the door, making one small but powerful scratch through a symbol. Their work done, I let them disperse.

    Dropping into the Nether, I moved into position under Sirio’s room before returning. The remaining warding made it a little more difficult than usual, but the shadows were obeying me more and more ever time I reached for them. They took me through, and I appeared just behind Sirio. “Don’t scream,” I said. 

    Sirio froze, then turned to face me. His skin was still paper thin, and his face had that unhealthy gaunt look like the Watchers’. I could already see the improvement that being on earth had brought to him; he was in the Nether for a far shorter time than the others were. But while his face as improving, his blackened hand looked the same. 

    “Come to break me free?” he asked. 

    “Yes, actually,” I replied, leaning against the wall and crossing my arms. “As much as I’d love to leave you here, it’s not in my best interests.”

    Sirio hummed. “Yes, I’d imagine not.”

    I doubted Sirio could even see me, the room was so pitch black. If it hadn’t been for my enhanced vision in the darkness, I wouldn’t be able to see him either. “Well, come on,” I said, holding out a hand. “Let’s go.”

    “Out through the door, correct?” Sirio asked. 

    “No,” I answered, still offering my hand, not that he could see it. “Through the Nether.”

    “Do you think I’m a fool?” Sirio demanded. 

    “Ye-“

    “Don’t say it,” he cut me off with a growl. “I’m not going with you to the Nether. You’ll lock me up again.”

    I sighed. “No, I won’t.”

    I could see the look Sirio gave me then. “Baxel-“

    “No, I seriously won’t,” I assured him. “If I do, then the moment Damian sets foot in the Nether anywhere even remotely close to you, you’re going to shout my secret.” I didn’t doubt that he would. “Besides… as much as I hate to admit it, we could barely best three angels. There are, what, seventeen? Eighteen?”

    “Are you feeling okay, brother?” Sirio quipped.

    I growled. “I’m trying this new thing where I admit when I’m wrong.”

    Sirio laughed, quiet enough that the guards wouldn’t here. “Why?”

    “I’m trying to be a good role- You know what? It doesn’t matter. Are you going to trust me or not?” I demanded. “If you swear not to tell Damian, I swear not to lock you up in the Nether.”

    “Hmm,” Sirio began. “Fine. But if you are lying to me, I will tear you apart atomically.”

    “Alright, alright. Let’s go before anyone notices the warding I broke,” I said, reaching out and grabbing his arm. 

    It wasn’t a problem for the shadows to condense around us, they already permeated the air. There was some resistance as they tried to bring Sirio down to the Nether, but in the end, they obeyed. I felt a swell of gratitude, overjoyed to have them back. It was such a thrill to fight with them again and have them move with me as one. While they were more hesitant to block me from attacks on instinct rather than order, at least they served as the excellent weapon I knew them to be. The rest would come, in time. 

    When we landed in the Nether, Sirio immediately sagged beneath his own weight. “Hold on,” I told him, transporting us through the Nether to the GITS headquarters in America, then back up to Earth. 

    All of that transporting with an angel in tow left me exhausted, so the moment we appeared in the conference room, I slumped into the leather armchair at the head of the table and leaned my head back. “Phew. I’m getting too old for this.”

    “Are we at the GITS place? In America?” Sirio asked. 

    “Yep.”

    “Why?” 

    I shrugged. “Because I’m waiting for a package that’s going to be delivered here.” I paused. “You can go… do whatever it is you do, but don’t go far. You never know when those angels are going to come back.”

    Sirio looked at me. “I’m free now. How are you going to make me help you?”

    I was too tired to manipulate properly. “Because you and I both know that, whatever you say, the Watchers in power are far worse for you than me in power. You’d have to share Purgatory, if they even let you survive - which they have no reason to if not to use you against me somehow. You’re no match for them alone. All of us together is the best shot, and you’re not willing to risk them beating us just to get out of a fight.” 

    Sirio didn’t respond. I knew I was right. 

    “Also,” I added, “you’re pretty pissed at me, but since we’re apparently on the same side now, fighting them is at least fighting someone and you’re pretty excited for that.” 

    This time, Sirio frowned. Hit the nail on the head there, didn’t I? 

    “I know you, Sirio,” I muttered, closing my eyes. “You always underestimated me.”

    I heard a huff, then diminishing footsteps and figured it was safe to assume that he had left the room. With a sigh, I pushed myself upright. I didn’t technically need sleep, but I did need to talk to Damian before his sister showed up. That would be a spot of drama that I could do without. 

    Heading out into the hallway, I spotted Griffiths going over something with a group of three other sorcerers. “Hey,” I said, pulling him aside. “Where’s Damian?”

    “In the library, last I saw,” Griffiths replied. “That kid needs rest, but…” he shook his head. “He’s a machine.”

    “Overachiever, more like.” I turned away, headed off to find the library when Griffiths stopped me. 

    “Baxel,” he said. “Or, your highness, or, whatever you like to be called.” 

    I shrugged. “At this exact moment, I’m not too picky.”

    “Okay, well, I just wanted to say…” Griffiths let out a breath like had been bottling this up, or at least thinking hard about it. “Damian’s a good kid. I know I can’t make you do anything-“

    “Damn straight.”

    “-But he’s had a hard life. He blames himself for a lot,” Griffiths continued. “If you were to give him a chance to atone, in his own eyes, that would go a long way.” 

    I looked at him. “A long way towards what? What do you think I’m playing at here? I’m a demon. Why would you think I care at all about him?” At the very least, maybe he could tell me what Riya had to work on publicizing. 

    “Because when you walked over here, the first question you asked wasn’t whether or not we had found something to help us defeat the angels, but where Damian was,” Griffiths answered. 

    I frowned. “Well, have you?” 

    “No, but-“

    “I’m done with this conversation,” I said, turning on my heel and walking away. Humans were always trying to press their own emotions on other people. It was one of the things I liked least about them. Even if I did maybe care about Damian, there was no need to draw attention to it, or talk about it. That was why humans were weak, among many other reasons. 

    The library wasn’t hard to find, not after I commanded my good old friendly rival Hillary to escort me. “You look wonderful today, Hillary,” I commented as we walked. “Is that thing on your head authentic mop?”

    Hillary glared at me, but couldn’t say anything since I had ordered her not to sass me. I grinned. When we reached the library, Damian was seated at a long wooden table just inside the door, a dozen books spread out around him. 

    “Finding anything useful?” I asked, sauntering over with my hands in my pockets. 

    Damian didn’t even look up at my approach. “Not really.” He rubbed his eyes, then blinked hard a few times. 

    “You should get some sleep,” I told him. “If my senses are right, you’re going to be needing your energy soon enough.”

    “How often are your senses right?” Damian grumbled, turning back to his books. 

    “Almost ninety three percent of the time,” I bragged, trying to get him to look up. He didn’t. “I need to talk to you,” I told him. “Is there somewhere private we can go?” 

    Damian nodded, closing the tome in front of him. “Yeah. You’re right, I should probably try to sleep some. My room is just around the corner in the other wing.”

    He stood, and I followed him from the library and out into the hallway again. We were at his room in only a few minutes, and I had to admit I was curious about how Damian was pre-me. Damian’s room was small and almost institutional. A plain white desk, swivel chair, and dresser sat against one wall, and the other held a twin sized bed with an end table next to it. There wasn’t much space through the center of he two sides, but Damian didn’t seem to mind as he walked down the center to sit near the head of his bed. 

    I took my time entering, wandering over to pluck a picture frame off his desk. A beaming couple stood over a girl and a boy - Taryn and Damian, I had no doubt. The children seemed elated; whatever had happened at that generic cityscape must have truly been a good time. I put the picture down, feeling for the first time in a long time something akin to remorse. I had taken Damian’s parents from him. I had wiped the smile from that kids face and turned it into the frowning scowl that was now watching me from the bed. I sighed and slumped into the swivel chair. 

    “Well,” I began. “Quite a day, huh?”

    “Yeah,” Damian agreed, settling on his bed so that his back was pressed into the corner of the wall. “Though I don’t think that’s what you’re here to talk about.”

    “Kind of,” I hedged. “So you know when we split up earlier, before the battle?” Damian nodded. “Then re-capped after?” 

    “Yes,” Damian replied. “You said that you had sent out a shadow search for the Nephilim girl, and had Nybbas on it too.”

    I nodded. “Yeah. That was true.”

    “But…?”

    “But that shadow search might have… returned something. Someone.”

    “The Nephilim?” Damian asked. 

    “Well, yes,” I said, still wondering how I should approach this. “So obviously, I went to get her before the angels found her, and… she wasn’t alone.” Damian waited for me to continue. “She was at the place of Laurita and Matias Azarola.” When Damian didn’t seem to recognize the name, Baxel added, “They have a son named Isaac.”

    Damian knew that one. His face darkened. “Isaac, yeah.”

    “Yes, well, he was there,” I continued cautiously. “And with him was-“

    “Taryn,” Damian finished for me, his voice tighter than before. 

    I nodded. “The Azarolas called them, I guess, thinking that they could take Rirnemis - the Nephilim girl - to Sirio, who they thought was still over here with the American GITS. They didn’t know what to make of her, but thought that he might.”

    Damian didn’t immediately respond. “So what did you do?”

    “Well, then I made a big deal about punishing them, got them all freaked out, then you called,” I answered. “I passed it off like you had asked me not to hurt them, and so I let them all go unharmed. I told Isaac and Taryn to bring Rirnemis here, because I didn’t think the shadows obeyed me enough yet to risk bringing her through the Nether, and also, with the angels here, that didn’t sound like a good plan.” 

    “So Taryn’s coming here,” Damian recapped, his face a blank mask. “When?”

    “A few hours, probably,” I said. “You really should try to get some rest, though. I’ll wake you before they arrive. I’ve been keeping tabs on them.”

    Damian let out a breath that might have been a sigh. “This might actually be good,” he said. “I think I’m too tired to worry about what I’m going to say.”

    I stood and moved for the door. “Let me worry about that. You just go along with whatever I say.”

    Damian was already leaning his head against the wall and closing his eyes. “You realize that requires a certain level of trust,” he mumbled. 

    I smiled a little, not that he was looking. “See you in a few hours.”

    Damian muttered something incomprehensible, and I stepped out, closing the door behind me. He was right, it did require a certain level of trust. Maybe that was the whole point. 

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...