It had been years since her brother, Michael, the de facto head for the angels and Heaven, had called for Gabriel’s presence. She wondered what he wanted. It had been so long since they had spoken, so long since they had any meaningful interaction. Perhaps that was the reason Gabriel had jitters as she walked down the white corridor.
The corridor lead to a massive chamber. Of course, it was called a chamber, but it wasn’t inside of anything. As Gabriel walked past numerous colonnades that towered over her like goliaths, she looked up. There was no ceiling. There also weren’t any walls. Even the ground that she was walking on wasn’t actual ground but clouds given solid form.
At the end of the chamber sat a throne, ornately carved from gold, with intricate designs swirling along the gleaming surface like Milky Way Galaxies. This was the Throne of Heaven. Once upon a time, that throne had been where Father sat, but God had left this world for places unknown. None of the angels knew where he had gone.
Instead of Father sitting on the throne, the one who sat there was another angel. His seven pairs of wings were folded behind him. They drooped from his shoulder as though his back muscles were no longer able to hold their weight. Straight silver hair framed a face that defied the natural laws of beauty, transcending into a realm of perfection that humans wouldn’t have been able to contemplate. Like her, he wore a white toga.
Bags hung underneath his blue eyes. His shoulders, once straight and strong, now sagged as if a great weight were crushing them. Michael’s entire being radiated exhaustion.
Michael was the leader of the archangels, the only angel with fourteen wings, the most powerful of Father’s creations. He was also the only one who had been present when Father disappeared. At the moment, he was acting as the leader of Heaven in Father’s stead, doing his best to protect the gates from those who sought to destroy them.
Gabriel hated seeing him like this. This Michael, who sat before her on a throne that was not his looked less and less like the angel she used to admire. His eyes were dead. His posture was slumped. He carried himself like a defeated man, a soulless doll. Yes, that was what Michael looked like right now, a doll whose master had abandoned it.
When was the last time I saw him smile?
Michael hadn’t smiled since before the Great War over a thousand years ago. He had stopped smiling after that. It was painful to see.
As she stopped before the dais upon which the throne sat, Gabriel knelt down and bowed her head. “Brother, I have come, just as you requested.”
“So you have,” Michael said, and even his voice had a haggard quality that had not been present before. “I have a mission for you.”
Gabriel perked up. It had been centuries since any of the angels had been given a mission. Since Father’s disappearance, the Gates of Heaven had closed, and the angels had been sent on fewer and fewer missions. This would be the first mission any angel had gone on in nearly four centuries.
“What mission would you have me do, Brother?”
“On Earth, there is a nation called Japan,” Michael began. He waved his hand, and light glimmered in front of him, swirling around like a vortex before transforming into a mirror. Unlike a mirror, however, this did not reflect Gabriel’s visage back at her, but showed her images of a city that she didn’t recognize. “Japan is a nation that falls outside of our jurisdiction. It is under the protection of the Shinto Pantheon.”
Shinto was an optimistic faith that believed humans were fundamentally good and evil was caused by evil spirits, also known as yokai. The gods who followers of Shintoism believed in were numerous. Their current leaders were the triage, Amaterasu Goddess of the Sun, Tsukiyomi the Moon God, and Susanoo-no-mikoto the God of Storms and the Sea.
Gabriel had never met them. Heaven and Christianity did not have much to do with that group, but she’d once heard that the Shinto gods were rather easy going about letting other religions come into their national borders. Supposedly, Japan was where Metatron had taken up residence, though no one had confirmed that rumor.
“Am I to travel to this Japan?” asked Gabriel.
His head bobbing as though it was barely attached to his shoulders, Michael said, “there is a dangerous individual living in that country, who must be disposed of for the sake of peace.”
Michael waved his hand again. The mirror stopped showing off scenic shots of Japan, and focused on a young man with tousled blond hair and blue eyes set on a tan face. His shoulders were quite broad. She didn’t recognize the clothing he wore, but it had been six-hundred years since she had last seen a human. He was walking alongside a girl with vibrant red hair, scarlet eyes, and a sinful figure. Gabriel felt a brief moment of disgust well up inside of her, though she didn’t know why.
“That is Alicia Asmodeus Bael and Jacob Ravensworth,” Michael said.
“Asmodeus Bael?” Gabriel felt a jolt race down her spine. “Then this girl is…?”
“Yes, she is the daughter Liam Androgorious Bael, the current ruler of the Eastern Underworld, and the deceased Anastasia Fenelana Asmodeus.”
Now she understood why she had felt disgust. This girl was a devil. Angels and devils were natural enemies of each other. Even though she not within the girl’s presence, just seeing her brought a wave of disapproval.
“So, this girl is my target?”
“No.” Shaking his head negatively, Michael waved his hand again, and the image within the mirror zoomed in on the boy. “This boy is your target. I want you to dispose of him.”
Not quite what understanding, Gabriel looked back at the young man. Messy blond hair, bright green eyes, a muscular build. He looked like any other human—no, that wasn’t quite right. As she looked at him some more, Gabriel noticed things she hadn’t before. His face was perfectly symmetrical, his build was perfect for his height, and he walked with an inhuman grace. She could only come to a single conclusion.
“This boy is not human,” she deduced.
“That is correct,” Michael said. “He isn’t human. This boy is quite possibly the most dangerous creature in existence. If we do not dispose of him, the havoc he could bring to the human world is incalculable.”
“I do not understand,” Gabriel said after a long pause. “There are plenty of non-humans living in the human world. What makes this boy so dangerous?”
“Because…” Michael began, his face so grim that Gabriel would have mistaken him for the grim reaper. His next words, however, were enough for her to understand why he looked this way. “That boy is a Nephalem.”