Gabriel was staying at a hotel called Palace Hotel Omiya. It was an upscale hotel made from a combination of glass, steel, and cement. It didn’t look like traditional hotels either. The building had a modern art feel to it, with unique extensions and a roof that reminded her of a fin. It was also quite tall, easily over a dozen stories.
Her room was on the sixth floor, room 614, a luxury suite that was large enough to comfortably house six people. As she closed the door behind her, Gabriel rested her back against the door and tilted her head up, closing her eyes.
She stayed there for a moment. Michael was expecting her to contact him soon, but she wanted to put her thoughts in order first. Her mind was in disarray.
Finally, after taking a deep breath, she moved into the room, disrobed, and let out her wings. As pinions shot from her back, a toga shimmered into existence over her body. She moved to the bed, sat on the edge, and waved her hand through the air in front of her.
Energy swirled around the space before her, creating a vortex of golden light. Within the center of this light appeared an image. It was of a man, once strong and straight backed, now tired and with a slumped posture. Michael. The most powerful archangel and current leader of Heaven.
“Gabriel,” he said. “I’ve been waiting to hear from you. Have you found the Nephalem yet?”
“I… I have.” Gabriel swallowed. “And I think we should reconsider killing him.”
Michael’s lips twitched. “Gabriel—”
“Hear me out before you say anything,” Gabriel interrupted quickly. She had to attack now before he could rebuke her. “Jacob is a very good child. He’s never done anything wrong, and he’s never lashed out at others despite how humans treat him. He isn’t unstable at all. He’s kind, and gentle, and a wonderful person, and he’s had such a horrible life up to this point. I think we should try helping him instead of killing him.”
“Gabriel, you know we cannot do that,” was Michael’s immediate response. He didn’t even give the matter a second of thought. “This isn’t a matter of whether or not he deserves to die. His very presence has a negative effect on our faith. He’s something that shouldn’t exist. If we let him live, his presence will continue to disrupt the delicate fabric of our religion. Even worse, should other people find out that he exists, or should the devils decide to use him as a weapon, it could destroy everything that God worked to build.”
“I know that.” Gabriel stood up and placed a hand on her chest. “I understand what you’re trying to say, but that’s no reason to kill someone in cold blood. Don’t we preach compassion? Since when have we become a bunch of murderers?”
“I don’t want to do this! We shouldn’t do this! It’s wrong!”
Michael’s face hardened, becoming sharp, strong, as if hewn from stone. “Gabriel, watch your tone. I do not like this anymore than you do, but we have no choice. For the sake of the many, we sometimes have to sacrifice the few. Humanity is like a great tree. When a branch becomes ill, you cut off the branch to avoid having it infect the rest. If we allow Jacob to live, he’ll begin to infect everyone else, and then all of our people will suffer. Our very doctrine could unravel at the seams. You must kill him.”
Gabriel shook her head back and forth. “I can’t! I won’t!”
“If you don’t, then I’ll send someone who will!” Michael finally roared, stunning Gabriel into silence. Seeming to realize what he’d done, Michael sat back down, took a deep breath, and spoke in a calm, rational voice. “I asked this of you because out of all the angels, you are the most compassionate. I thought you could make his last days on Earth painless. However, if you cannot do it, then I’ll ask Uriel to dispose of him instead.”
Gabriel’s breath caught in her throat. Uriel. The Flaming Sword of God. If Michael sent him down…
“Y-you can’t,” she muttered.
“Then you know what must be done,” Michael said. “I’m sorry that you are the one I called upon to do this, but you’re the only one who can help this boy leave the world in peace. Please, for everyone’s sake, for this world’s sake, do not waver now.”
Though he looked tired, his gaze was firm, unwavering, the eyes of a leader. Gabriel was unable to meet that gaze. She looked down in submission.
“I… I understand.” The words were ash on her mouth.
“I am glad to hear that. Please tell me when you are done. I’ll open the gates once you’ve finished.”
The mirror slowly dissipated before her eyes, particles that evaporated like steam, but Gabriel was no longer paying attention.
Her body slumped back onto the bed. All of her strength left her. As she stared at the ceiling, tears streamed from her eyes and down her face to stain the pure white sheets.
'What good is being an angel if I can’t even save the one person who needs saving the most?'
In the darkness of the room, Gabriel wept bitter tears.