Chapter 73:

Volume 3: Chapter 1: Preparation - fin

Nephalem


Azazel had yet to leave Saitama, even going so far as to buy a small apartment several blocks away from where Jacob was residing with his harem.Bookmark here

The thought made Azazel giggle. Who would have guessed that Jacob would become surrounded by a trio of beauties? Certainly not him.Bookmark here

The world works in strange ways.Bookmark here

His apartment was large and luxuriously furnished, but he had tried to make it at least seem modest. Several pieces of his favorite artwork hung from the walls. He used furniture that held a modern appeal. His living room, which considered of a western style couch-slash-coffee table combination, also contained a HD flat screen TV. He even had several of the latest consoles.Bookmark here

Humans come up with some fascinating entertainment.Bookmark here

It was Sunday. At the moment, Azazel sipped a glass of wine as he spoke to Matilda over the phone.Bookmark here

“So they leave tomorrow, then?” he asked.Bookmark here

“That’s right. They’re going on a field trip to Okinawa.”Bookmark here

“Okinawa, huh? I hear that’s a great place to visit this time of years.”Bookmark here

“So the brochures say.”Bookmark here

“You’ve never been to Okinawa, have you?”Bookmark here

“This is my first time leaving hell. Of course I haven’t.”Bookmark here

“Hmm… would you like me to take you some time?”Bookmark here

“I’ll pass.”Bookmark here

Flirting with Matilda was kind of fun, sort of like tempting a poisonous snake; her words were sharp and filled with venom.Bookmark here

Most people would have probably wondered about his sanity. A fallen angel flirting with a devil? Absurd. However, it had been a long time since Azazel had cared about things like race or species.Bookmark here

Some of his subordinates felt the same, though they tried to hide it.Bookmark here

Of course, he was still in the minority. Old hatreds didn’t die so easily, and the battle between the angels, devils, and fallen angels had been going on for thousands of years, long before Jesus Christ had died on the cross. He might have been suing for peace. However, there were so many others who didn’t.Bookmark here

Fortunately, Matilda, at least, was willing to speak with him on matters concerning Jacob.
It must be thanks to her liege.Bookmark here

“Thank you for informing me about this,” Azazel said. “That brat, Jacob, never tells me anything anymore. Sometimes he doesn’t even answer my calls.”Bookmark here

“Well, Jacob has been rather busy.”Bookmark here

Azazel grinned, though he knew Matilda couldn’t see it. “I’ll bet.”Bookmark here

“That was all I wished to inform you about.”Bookmark here

“I got it. Talk to you later. Speaking of later, perhaps sometime this week, you’d like to join me for a drink?”Bookmark here

“Go fuck yourself.”Bookmark here

The line went dead.Bookmark here

Azazel chuckled as he placed his cell phone on the coffee table and took another sip of his wine. Yes, teasing that woman was truly fun.Bookmark here

Before he could decide whether to play video games or watch the latest samurai drama, a knock sounded at his door. With a sigh, Azazel stood up, set his wine down, tightened the sash around his purple robes, and wandered to the door.Bookmark here

“Yes? Can I help you?” he asked as he opened the door.Bookmark here

A man stood in the doorway. Hair like gold haloed a head that was too beautiful to be human, and so girly that he would have mistaken this person for a man, were they not intimately familiar. He wasn’t wearing his normal white robes. Even so, the all white business suit fit his delicate frame to a tee.Bookmark here

“Michael?” Azazel greeted in surprise. “I had no realized you were still hanging around?”Bookmark here

Michael sighed. “I have not been hanging around. I just got back from the Vatican and came here because I have something important to speak with you about.”Bookmark here

The Vatican, huh?Bookmark here

That was the Catholic Church’s most fortified stronghold among the humans, if he was not mistaken. And Michael had been there? Now that was odd.Bookmark here

Angels no longer involved themselves in human affairs. Azazel didn’t know why this was since no one told him anything, but he’d inferred that something was happening in Heaven. He’d noticed the unrest happening in both Heaven and Hell—Hell, more so than Heaven. However, even the way Heaven had closed its gates were telling.Bookmark here

“Come on in,” Azazel said, opening the door further and gesturing for Michael to enter.
“Thank you.”Bookmark here

Michael entered the hallway and took off his shoes. It seemed he had studied up on Japanese culture. That was just another bit of evidence that something was wrong.
The Michael I knew would never notice the cultural niceties born of other religions.Bookmark here

“How is Gabriel doing?” asked Azazel.Bookmark here

Michael shrugged. “I wouldn’t know.”Bookmark here

Azazel didn’t know what Michael meant by that, but he guessed Gabriel had locked herself up in her room or something. She had always been an emotional one. He imagined she was feeling depressed about what happened between her and Jacob several weeks ago, though this was an awfully long time for someone to not get over something. Even Jacob had gotten over the fact that she had tried to kill him.Bookmark here

“Can I get you something to drink?” asked Azazel as they entered the living room.
“No, I’m fine. Thank you,” Michael said.Bookmark here

Azazel sat back down and picked up his glass of wine. “Help yourself. Why don’t you at least pop a squat?”Bookmark here

“I’d prefer to stand, thank you.”Bookmark here

'He still doesn’t trust me.'Bookmark here

That was to be expected, as he and Michael had not parted on the best of terms. Azazel had fallen after giving into his lust for a human woman. Michael, being the straightlaced angel that he was, had been the one to cast him out. It had been a messy affair.Bookmark here

“May I ask what the purpose of your visit is?” asked Azazel. “I assume it’s important if you came all this way to speak with me personally.”Bookmark here

“It is.” Michael studied his apartment for a few more seconds before turning to him. “I heard tell that the Nephalem is going to Okinawa on a school field trip.”Bookmark here

“News sure gets around fast,” Azazel said. “And? Is there something odd about a high school boy going on a field trip?”Bookmark here

Shaking his head, Michael said, “no, of course not. However, we’ve recently been informed that the Yamata no Orochi and Kumiho are in Okinawa. You are probably not aware of this, but several years ago, the Yamata no Orochi tricked us into attacking Kumiho’s village. He and his group surged in and wiped out both us and the village.”Bookmark here

“I actually do know about that,” Azazel said.Bookmark here

He knew because Jacob had been present at the time, having been traveling for several years already. Jacob had attempted to save as many people as he could during that time. It had actually been Jacob releasing his powers to protect a yōkai that had led Azazel to him.
Not that I’m willing to let Michael know about that.Bookmark here

“Yes, well, what you probably don’t know is that one of the Vatican’s most treasured possessions had been taken.” Michael took a deep breath. “The Shroud of Turin.”Bookmark here

Now that did get Azazel’s attention. The Shroud of Turin was an important artifact with great spiritual power and religious significance. It was said to have been the cloth that Jesus Christ had been wrapped in when he was buried.Bookmark here

“That… is a problem,” Azazel admitted. “The Yamata no Orochi can’t use the shroud, though, right?”Bookmark here

It was impossible for a deity or creature from one religion to use the artifacts of another religion. That was one of the basic and most fundamental laws about their world.Bookmark here

“I do not believe the Yamata no Orochi is the one who took it,” Michael said. “And either way, the mere loss of the Shroud of Turin is a significant blow to the Church. It is a symbol, and without symbols like that, the people will lose faith.”Bookmark here

All religions were powered by the faith of their followers—in other words, by the humans who worshiped them. The more believers a religion had, the more power the figures of that religion possessed.Bookmark here

Catholicism was still one of the most widely practiced religions, which gave them great power. At the same time, their religion was on the decline. Their powers grew weaker each day. If something wasn’t done soon, they might all fade into anonymity like the Mayan gods. That was actually the reason Azazel wanted to sue for peace. Survival.Bookmark here

'We can no longer afford infighting amongst ourselves.'Bookmark here

Sadly, until everyone else agreed with his view, peace would be nothing but a naive dream.Bookmark here

“And what would you like from me?” asked Azazel.Bookmark here

Michael would not have come all this way, told him such an important secret, and not wanted something from him. The mere fact that he was coming in person meant that whatever Michael wanted to ask meant that it was going to be a huge favor.Bookmark here

If it was something within Azazel’s power, then he’d do all he could to help. It was all for the sake of his dream.Bookmark here

“I have a favor that I would like to ask of you,” Michael said, face twisting as though he were troubled to be asking a fallen angel for help.Bookmark here

As Michael told him what the favor was, Azazel soon realized why Heaven’s greatest archangel had come in person.Bookmark here

'Yeah… this is gonna be trouble,' he thought to himself.Bookmark here

He hoped Jacob would be able to forgive him.Bookmark here

******************************************************************Bookmark here

Here is the end of chapter 1. I hope you all liked it. Please leave a vote, let me know what you think, and look forward to the next chapter. Thank you all for reading. Ja ne! (^-^) Bookmark here


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