I flapped my wings to keep myself aloft, staying at eye level with Gabriel, who I stared at as sorrow and determination mixed inside of me.
To be honest, I didn’t want to fight. Gabriel wasn’t bad or evil. She was just doing what she thought was the best option to protect this world. I couldn’t blame her for that.
However, I had made a promise to Alicia that I would not let myself be killed, that I would place more importance on myself, and I intended to keep that promise.
“I can see that you aren’t going to just let me do what I have to,” Gabriel said. I noticed that she specifically avoided the word “kill” when she spoke.
“Sorry.” I shrugged. “Had you come as early as three weeks ago, I would have been more than happy to let you kill me. But there’s someone who finds value in my life, who has told me that I am important and she doesn’t want me to die, and who is important enough to me that I’m not willing to let myself die. I can’t die here or she’ll be sad.”
Gabriel closed her eyes, face twisting into a pained grimace. “She must be important.”
“She is very important.”
I thought about Alicia, the girl I had only known for less than three weeks, and my heart became warm. While I didn’t know what she meant to me, I knew she was important. She had become an existence worth dying for. More importantly, she had become someone who was worth living for.
“I see.” Gabriel smiled, but it was broken, fractured, a smile filled with anguish. “I am… glad that you found someone who means so much to you.”
“Thank you,” I said.
No more words were spoke. Words were unneeded now. Gabriel readied her two swords. I released a few more locks on my power.
I always held myself back when I used my power. Not only was my power chaotic, just as liable to injure myself and my allies as it was my enemies, but my power was destructive as well.
Azazel had once made me test the limits of my power, using a device that had been more violating than if a doctor had crammed something up my rectum. He had theorized that I could probably sink the entire island of Japan merely by unleashing every lock on my power. Since then, I had kept my power under lock and key.
Now I let that power go. I might have kept a few locks in place, but if I wasn’t careful, this city would most certainly become a pile of smoking rubble. One stray attack and Saitama would turn into a crater.
I’m sure it would be okay. I felt Azazel’s power somewhere nearby. He must have separated this place in its own dimension to minimize the damage and risk of exposure.
I didn’t wait for Gabriel to make the first move, or rather, I couldn’t. Injured as I was, I knew that I needed to go on the attack now. I needed to end this.
A massive wave of energy burst from my hands. Gabriel sliced it with her sword, but she couldn’t cut, not this one. The attack was far too powerful. It slammed into her, sending her backwards, forcing a yell from her throat as she vainly tried to cut my attack in half.
Gabriel moved out of the way seconds later, allowing the attack to slam into the ground, which was annihilated. Everything within a 50-meter radius exploded. Fierce winds howled from the ground, pushing against Gabriel and I. We flapped our wings to avoid being thrown back. Gabriel stared down at the attack in horror.
As the attack down died, we were given a glimpse of what my power had done. It was just a fraction, but even so, that mere fraction of power had created a crater that was large enough to have swallowed a good chunk of land.
Maybe I should put on one or two of the locks again. I didn’t want to kill Gabriel.
Wincing as I slowly turned the key inside of myself, the key that locked my power away, I adjusted how much power I was able to release. A quarter of my full power should be fine.
Before Gabriel could recover from her shock, I sent another crescent blade attack at her. However, she wasn’t an archangel for nothing. It was cut in half by Gabriel, but I had already predicted this would happen, and so I didn’t just release one blast. Multiple waves shot from my hand, crescent-shaped projectiles that could cut through anything. Theoretically. They couldn’t seem to cut through Gabriel’s blades.
Shaping my hand into a spear, I thrust it forward, launching a bolt of darkish purple energy in the form of a sharp blade. Gabriel didn’t cut this one. She dodged it, flying to the side. I guessed that meant she couldn’t cut an attack that was so concentrated in one area.
I shot off, flying into the sky and around Gabriel. More energy burst from my hands, both demonic and holy. Gabriel cut apart some attacks and dodged others. The attacks she dodged struck the ground, decimating everything within a several dozen meter radius.
Each explosion tore apart the ground, destroying trees, annihilating the earth, leaving craters that were well over 20-meters deep. I decided it was a good thing that I had turned my power back down.
Gabriel shot off like a bullet, soaring quickly through the air, weaving between my shots as though she were a sparrow playing tag. I did my best to keep shooting. I fired off round after round, but she was quite amazing at dodging all of my attacks.
I needed to get in close.
Flapping my wings, I pushed my energy, both angelic and demonic, into them, boosting my speed to the point where the ground became a blur. I quickly caught up to Gabriel.
Credit had to be given where it was due. Gabriel was swift to react to my presence. She spun around, swinging her two golden swords at me. I backed off. Even so, pain stung my lower abdomen when a small cut opened on my belly.
Ignoring the pain, I pointed at her. A small magic circle formed on my finger tip. It shot a small bullet-sized projectile seconds later. Gabriel swerved. The attack missed and struck the ground. An explosion unlike anything that either of us had unleashed before rocked us both, the heat and pressure kicked up sending us flying upwards.
I forced my wings to flap harder, regaining control, though it took some work. Gabriel recovered more quickly. She swung at me again with both swords. I tried to dodge. She nicked my right wing—in other words, my devil wing.
It was hard to tell if she was lucky or hit it on purpose. Either way, it hurt. The divine powers of an angel tore through the demonic energy of my wing. Having my hand dunked into a tub of acid would have hurt less.
The pain in my wing made me lose control, causing the world around me to spin, switching between sky and ground, as I fell. I did regain control, but then I had to swerve away as Gabriel fell toward me. She missed, but her passage rocked me as I was struck by the air pressure from her movement. Gabriel turned in mid-air after missing and went after me again.
This was not working out. Gabriel was simply too experienced. She had fought in numerous wars. I had only fought against a few people in my entire life, and of them, only Belial had been strong enough to pose a threat. Gabriel had strength and experience, and she knew how to use both.
I think I could have won if I simply unleashed all of my power, but if I did that, she would die. Gabriel, who had been kind to me. Even though I now understood that she’d been trying to kill me, I didn’t think her kindness was faked. I didn’t want to kill her. No, I wouldn’t kill her.
However, in that case, there was no way I could win, unless…
I had to bait her.
Firing off more bullets, I made sure each one detonated close to Gabriel. The woman was rocked back and forth as air pressure slammed into her from all sides. Despite this, she showed off her dexterity and tenacity by not losing control of her flight. I figured she was probably used to flying while under fire.
I lowered my altitude as I kept firing. Gabriel was above me now. The air around her lit up as I continued bombasting her with bullets, waves, and bolts of angelic and demonic energy. Gabriel’s swords were a blur as she cut through my weaker attacks and avoided my stronger attacks. Then, almost too quickly for my eyes to follow, she swooped down after I had exhausted my ability to fire—or so she was probably thinking.
Bracing myself, I shifted just a bit, barely enough to be noticed, and then I let out a grunt when the blade in her left hand pierced my abdomen. I grabbed the blade and pulled it further in before she could pull it free.
Gabriel’s eyes went wide. “Wha—?”
“I’ve got you!”
With a grunt, I flipped us around until she was facing the ground and I the sky. I didn’t let go of her sword. I grabbed it with both hands and charged my two energies into it.
The results were… catastrophic.
I wasn’t exactly sure what happened. I remember a massive explosion going off between Gabriel and I, and I remember some blurring images and intense pain, but I couldn’t remember anything after that. When I came to, I was lying on my back. There were a pair of boobs in my face. They were covered by a school uniform.
“Jacob? Oh, thank goodness you’re awake. I was really worried after you got stabbed.” I grunted when she hit my chest. “Speaking of, what sort of idiot allows himself to get stabbed?”
“Noticed that, did you?” I grunted again. Alicia had pinched my side. “I didn’t have any other choice. Gabriel was too experienced to fall for something simple. I needed to make her think she could kill me.”
“And letting her stab you was the best way to do that?”
“It was the only way I could think of.” Wanting to change the subject, I stared at the underside of her breasts and said, “by the way, I can’t see your face.”
“T-that… can’t be helped.”
I couldn’t see her face, but I could imagine the way her cheeks reddened as she turned her head. It was a cute image.
“She’s alive, I think. She’s over there.”
Alicia raised her hand and pointed at something in front of her. I couldn’t see what, since I was lying on my back, but I didn’t tell her that.
“Can you take me to her?”
“Because I’d like to speak with her.”
“… Fine, though I do so under protest.”
Alicia lifted me by the arm. It hurt, but I withheld my groan as she slung my arm over her shoulder and wrapped hers around my waist.
I did my best to walk with her. However, my legs were weak, shaking, as though they were being weighed down by a ball and chain. Thanks to me, we staggered toward a crater with an uneven gait.
We made it to the lip, and I realized that the crater was not that large, maybe two meters in diameter and less than half a meter deep. Lying within on the crater, on her back, was Gabriell. She was conscious, but she wasn’t moving.
“It seems… I lost,” she said.
“Seems that way,” I responded.
“I lost. I see.” Gabriel blinked as her lips twitched into a smile. “I am… relieved, to be honest.”
Alicia scowled. “I don’t see why you would be relieved. You failed.”
“Yes.” Gabriel chuckled. “I failed, and now that I’ve failed, you should be safe. I doubt Michael will risk sending another angel after this.”
As if her words were somewhat prophetic, the six angels who Alicia had knocked out appeared before them.
“Are you all right?!”
“Do not worry! We will teach these devils a lesson!”
“No,” Gabriel spoke into the din, her voice quiet but firm, silencing everyone. “You will do no such thing. This battle is over.”
The angels surrounding her appeared unsure. They clearly didn’t want to just let this go, but going against the orders of an archangel was anathema to them—not that it mattered, as the matter was soon taken out of their hands.
“I’m afraid that Gabby is right,” a voice said. “This battle is finished, unless you’d like to dance with me instead of Jacob.”
The person who spoke appeared both young and old, with jet black hair that had silver streaks on either side near his ears. His black jacket flapped as he walked. While his body was thin, the confidence he walked with along with the sense of power in each step, was enough to make anyone pause. The twelve black wings jutting from his back probably helped.
“Azazel,” Gabriel sighed. “I should have guessed that you would be involved with this. Are you the reason we didn’t discover Jacob until just a little while ago?”
Shrugging, Azazel said, “I’m Jacob’s guardian, so it’s only natural I would do my best to keep people who would seek to kill him from finding out he exists.”
Gabriel said nothing.
“When did you get here, Azazel?” I asked.
Azazel offered a mild-mannered smile. “I never really left. I’ve been watching everything from afar to make sure you didn’t get yourself killed… or tried to kill yourself.” I tried not to blush. I failed. “I’ll probably be staying here for awhile, too, so you’ll be seeing a bit more of me.”
That was probably a subtle dig at Gabriel, a warning that he would continue to watch after me, so anyone else who came would have to be prepared to fight him. It was a warning that Gabriel received.
“I’m not sure you staying here is a good thing,” I said.
“That’s a pretty harsh thing to say to your guardian.”
“Guardian my left foot. You don’t even pay for my living expenses anymore.”
“I don’t need to.” Azazel shrugged. “Alicia’s old man is taking care of that now.”
“Maybe we should make him my guardian, then.”
“I understand,” Gabriel interrupted us. “I’ll inform Michael of this.”
“See to it that you do,” Azazel said.
The conversation seemed to end with that, though I still had a lot I wanted to say. I didn’t. No, that wasn’t it. Not at all. It wasn’t that I didn’t say what I wanted to. It was that I couldn’t say what I wanted.
Because what I wanted to say, what I wanted to ask of Gabriel, was something that I knew could never be.