Ruth was staring at the cocoon in wonderment. L’yophin and Onsort setup lights so one could see inside the cocoon. Ruth had spent most of the Wake watching as Soltana’s form slowly broke down into liquid. L’yophin had told her about adamantite and its melting point. She stared on, wondering how the adamantite melted with room temperature.
“Is she still alive?” Ruth asked, gently poking the cocoon.
She felt a shock and brought her finger to her mouth with a rasp.
“It is not safe to touch,” L’yophin warned too late.
All nine of the other goblins were watching alongside Basil.
“Diniel have mercy, I’ve seen’alot, bu’no’this,” Basil said while adjusting his bowler.
It was day number three and they had finished hauling in parts for the Sigmafly and began replacing the scuttled pieces. L’yophin had been checking the power on the cocoon, finding it consistent. The Shell Shop was parked nearby for easy access.
“L’yophin, my baeidae ol’ chap, the adamantite melted like it was nothing! Are you recording the power frequencies?”
“Everything,” L’yophin replied with a grunt.
Ruth was confused by this, or why it mattered.
“They’re seeing if they can repeat the process themselves,” Maw interjected.
S’yliska, is that possible? They said you needed a dwarf star forge to heat the metal over a time of one hundred cycles.
“No. What we’re seeing is a miracle. Adonai has bent the rules for this new species,” S’yliska responded in amazement.
Ruth was done watching and was beginning to leave.
“Ruth! Did you really beat a Daer-seehn?”
“What was it like?”
“How did you get it?”
“Are you a trow?”
“No, she’s a goblin!”
“Did you see the bugmen?”
“Why is your hair red?”
“She’s a Redcap!”
Ruth was suddenly bombarded by a horde of questions.
“Diniel have mercy, I understand Basil’s point of view now.”
Ruth stopped, turning to the goblins and folding her arms.
“Alright, alright! Look. I don’t know your names. Except for Dirk.” Ruth explained as she gestured at the beefier goblin who wanted to lift.
She looked at the group, seeing an almost even split of five males and four females.
“Dirk, I know you already. Who are the rest of you? Starting with the guys.”
“Kid!” A goblin spoke up, he was tall and lean.
“Lug!” Said a stocky goblin.
“Jug!” Said an equally stocky goblin.
“Bloak!” The last male said. He looked average.
“OK, now the girls.”
“Tess!” Said the first, she was small and petite.
“Bess!” Said another, she was tall and thin.
“Faux!” Said another, she was average yet curvy.
Ruth did a double-take at the last female goblin. She was large and thick with a multi-syllable name that didn’t fit. Her sloped brow gave her a vacant look, an unfortunate holdover from her gob days.
“O-Ok, yes. Let’s go, there’s plenty to do!” Ruth stammered, looking back at the larger female goblin who stared back impassively.
She thought for a moment. Basil had said the dekapillars were beginning to cocoon and Phela would be hatching soon.
“To the dekapillars!”
“Ho!” All of the goblins said in unison, startling Ruth.
Dirk walked beside Ruth, staring intently.
“Well? How did you beat the Daer-seehn? I say you punched it really hard!”
“She’s scrawny, she trapped it,” Chavish concluded.
“Or she used a rifle, SK-SK-SKREE-SKREE!” Bloak stated, making gunfire noises.
“No, she obviously used magic. She wanted to be a hogboon, I remember,” Tess added.
“Do you really want to know?” Ruth stated, with equal parts annoyance and mischief blossoming up in her.
They all nodded enthusiastically.
“Well, I might as well tell you all. I’m not a goblin!”
“Told you,” Chavish murmured a little too loud to Dirk.
Did everyone know??
“Well, too late now,” Maw replied.
Ruth thought deep down, finding a creature that wouldn’t terrify the goblins, but would get the point across.
Her flesh flowed, keeping her clothes as they fell to a pile. Out popped a tiny furry head.
Ruth changed into a black cat.
“She’s a Cait Sith!” Bess exclaimed.
All of the goblins murmured in wonderment as Ruth lept from the pile of clothes and sat atop them.
“Nah, she’s something else. Cait Sith aren’t like that,” Chavish stated plainly.
“That goblin is pretty sharp…” Maw stated.
“I am a shapeshifter!” Ruth announced.
“You beat a Daer-seehn as a cat?”
“N-No! I became a monster worse than Daer-seehn!”
This isn’t working, Ruth sighed internally.
“Don’t blame me if you pass out from fright!” Ruth’s voice became deeper, causing the goblins to step back.
“Ravager form!” Maw encouraged.
Her flesh flowed and changed, bones snapping in place.
Dirk looked on with a wide open mouth smile of wonderment.
He then instantly keeled over to wretch his breakfast.
Tess and Bess and Kid fainted. Bloak simply ran away. Jug and Lug blanched, and Faux shrieked.
Chavish’s impassive emotions were hackled; she raised her brow slightly.
I’ll take that as a win for Chavish, Ruth said to herself.
There a monster stood in front of the goblins. its long tooth bristled muzzle snapped down, and its yellow eyes stared intently at the goblins; surveying them as choice meat. Her quills flicked in agitation, and her clawed limbs tore up the mossy ground. She was a monster of deep nightmare.
Dirk finished heaving and stood up, seeing Ruth in a new light.
“That’s AMAZING!” He shouted.
What, a defeated Ruth thought.
The other goblins recovered, encouraged by Dirk’ bravery and Chavish’s impassivity.
“Now do you see the terror?” Ruth boasted.
“So you’re a shapeshifter. Why disguise yourself as a gob?” Chavish asked, folding her arms.
Ruth was deflated by that question.
“Eesh, she’s trouble,” Maw replied.
“Tha’s enough now,” Basil interrupted, carrying Bloak under his arm.
He eyed Ruth with a raised eyebrows.
“Showin’ off to the lil’ ones, eh? We don’ have time for foolin’aroun’!” Basil admonished.
“No’ ye’ anyways! Tha’ comes later!” He added, tapping his nose.
“Come on Ruth, need to check those dekapillars. We migh’ get there and see empty cocoons!”
“You shoul’ probably change back, les’ you terrify the wee lil’ critters.”
Ruth’s flesh flowed back into her clothes, there she returned to her goblin form.
“What were you up to?” Ruth asked, noticing he stayed behind to watch Soltana.
“I was laying dow’as many boons as possible on her. Anythin’ to spee’up the process.”
“You can do that??” Ruth asked, astonished.
“Aye. Such things are a wee infan’ hogboon skill. Ge’s stronger with age. I’m pretty ol’.” He said with a smile and tap of his nose.
“You know lassy– I been meanin’ to say this- Maybe this ol’ hogboon will settl’elswhere. Maybe for’a time.”
“Hogboon hearthed on dreary roa’, sings his song, a lonely ode.”
“Freely settle, freely mound, the hogboon searches all ‘ear roun’.”
“A home he fin’s he’ll love it well, be a goo’ neighbor and he shall dwell.”
“See a hill? Keep it still. Hol’ a tune? Receive a boon!”
Basil finished his simple tune. Ruth giggled at the silly song, Basil wiggled his bowler in response.
“Maybe, jus’ maybe I’ll settle somewhere with others,” He said with a wink.
“Is rhyming a requirement for hogboons?”
“Only on Mondays.”
“Nothin’– look there they are- Cocoons!” Basil said, redirecting her thoughts to the white mounds.
There were five cocoons all packed together. The other dekapillars were nearby, watching them with a visible worry. And it wasn’t just the cocoons they were eyeing. A sixth dekapillar was nestled up to the mound of cocoons, weaving a cocoon of its own.
Ruth and the others sprinted by its side, seeing the dekapillars hide had paled. It was halfway finished with its cocoon.
The goblins were all behind Basil, who was preventing them from getting too close.
“Amazing…” Ruth murmured.
The dekapillar paused for a moment to peer at the onlookers before continuing its journey of change.
“Don’ crow’it, one at a time!” Basil hollered at the goblins wanting to see.
Ruth stepped in first, looking into the beady eyes of the dekapillar. She gently rubbed its hide as it chittered warmly at her.
“Rest well.” Ruth valadicted.
The other goblins lined up, seeing their new friend go through change. Dirk went first, patting the dekapillar a farewell before getting to the back of the line. Ruth was entranced by the dekapillar finishing its work. Once sealed, all movement stopped as the dekapillar slept. Basil walked to the cocoon, gently brushing it.
“Very strange ho’many things in the Underrealm metamorphose,” Basil began.
“And Soltana, too,” Ruth added with a sigh. She felt the excitement down to her very being at what the Lambent would become.
“Intriguing, intriguing. Very intriguing,” A voice softly spoke.
Ruth’s heart felt softened upon hearing the voice of the newcomer. She turned to address the voice.
Her heart went from warm to stopped.
A strange angel was gripping Dirk, his fingers wrapping around his neck, armpits, and torso in a tight bundle. Dirk was holding on, frozen in fear. True fear.
He was clothed in a jade kimono of glory with long wild hair and a disquieting face of rough jade bone above his mouth. Where his left arm should have been was a floating golden ring halo. He had a single red membrane wing.
It was an angel, but one that exhibited malevolence.
Everyone froze as his presence began to build as a storm upon the mosslands. The gentle song of the glow shrooms was an orchestra to a climax. The glow worms sparkled along the cavern ceiling high above.
Oh no. God please no, Ruth begged.
“Steel yourself, Ruth. We’ve been discovered far too early.”
“It could be a good one, right?”
“Observe its power, Maw. It intends to fight.”
“I sensed a magnified malevolent intent here. But where is it?” The angel asked with a hissing laugh.
His head turned to look at the frozen goblin in his grasp.
“Is it him? Ss ss ss, No, no. No, It can’t be him.” The Angel said as he tossed the goblin behind him.
Dirk went sailing with a squeak.
“What about them? Goblins, were any of you the source of that intent?”
The goblins were stone silent, with Chavish looking somewhat concerned. Ruth felt power amplifying, with Bloak, Kid, and Faux fainting from the pressure.
Ruth felt S’yliska’s power fortifying her, the pressure washed around her like water on rock.
Bassil was trembling but held firm.
“Ruth, we nee’a plan,” He whispered.
“What can we do? Who is that?”
“An angel we Underrealmers know well. A true shtate to the core,” Basil began announcing, drawing the angel’s sight to him.
“I know’you, Abezethibou, Angel of the Red Wing!” Basil shouted.
The angel cocked his head, a smile cracking, showing silver razor teeth.
He made a gesture and stone walls sprouted, forming around the goblins, sealing them in a pyramid. Ruth could hear slight knocking as they tried to get free.
“I shall save them for later,” Abezethibou stated firmly.
“Now we’re down to just two. Who, who? Who would it be? The male, or female?” the angel hung on to the last word, licking his lips with knowing intent.
Ruth felt her stomach curdle.
“You shtate on the highes’, a angel whose love is dries’, and whose lust burns brightes’! Archangel Raphael saw the sins, the pile of skins, and clipped his wing and manhood!”
Abezethibou’s smile snapped shut at that.
Basil shifted his position, away from the cocoons, lest they get caught in the fire. Ruth did the same in the opposite direction.
“No, no. No, it is not the hogboon,” Abezethibou stated flatly, turning his attention to her.
She felt his sight bore into her, pressuring her.
Basil’s broken limerick seems to have gotten to him. An angel with thin skin!
“Ruth- lassy– Run!” Basil ordered.
“No,” Ruth flatly stated.
“I will not run when my family is threatened.”
“Wise, wise. Wise of you. I am merciful to those that submit. To those that run?”
Abezethibou rushed to Ruth, fast as the wind.
“Hold fast,” S’yliska encouraged.
I know, I have a plan, Ruth added.
“And then we eat him!” Maw announced.
Abezethibou grabbed her by the throat, lifting her high. Ruth struggled, punching futilely at his multi-fingered hand.
“Weak, weak. So very weak. How did you project such malevolence?” Abezethibou asked, pulling her close to his face. His breath smelled of sweet stone belying his intent.
What is he talking about?
One of his fingers snaked to Ruth’s throat and rolled down her turtleneck. She felt violated.
“Persevere,” S’yliska encouraged.
“I perceive it now. The Seal of the Tetragrammaton.”
She felt his finger brushing against the Seal.
Ruth strained, looking to Basil who was scooting in closer. She shook her head slightly, trying to gesture him to wait. With a grim look, he understood.
“Good, good! Good, I could not imagine the simplicity of it.”
“Lucifer said to take you in unharmed,” Abezethibou began. He cracked a large smile.
“But not unknown,” The angel added, snapping his tongue.
Ruth struck. S’yliska’s power formed within her, forming a psychokinetic spear and stabbed outward.
Abezethibou seemed to have sensed something as his smile broke and he moved his head from the blow. The spear’s head cut wide, shearing through his shoulder and out his back, severing his arm. She had almost bisected his head but missed.
The angel hissed a shriek at seeing his arm drop with Ruth. She didn’t relent, her form split in half, revealing body horror jagged bone teeth that fired off as a blast. The sneak attack failed as the angel strafed in flight, the bone volley missed. Her formed changed and flowed as she ran, becoming her ravager form. The hundreds of quills snaked and twisted, firing off as a volley. The arm had instantly crumbled to sandstone as it fell, leaving a torn kimono sleeve.
“Agh! We almost had an angel!” Maw complained.
My cells were instantly repelled, Ruth grumbled.
The angel avoided Ruth’s attacks, trying to recover from its lost arm. Golden blood flowed freely.
It focused on Ruth as she pressed the attack, her quills missing by inches as the angel spiraled around her. Abezethibou was focusing on just her.
Basil struck, Rith stepping and ramming into the angel’s path. The angel stumbled from the blow, golden blood spilling from his side.
Basil Rith stepped away to Ruth’s side, out of reach.
Basil suddenly had a bloody pointed violet steel dagger. Where he kept the dagger, she didn’t know.
“Keep him on’his toes! Don’ relen’!” Basil shouted as he Rith stepped away, pressuring Abezethibou from behind. His fae abilities frustrated the angel as he turned to engage the backstabber, only to receive a quill-load in the back.
“Don’t ignore me!” Ruth challenged as she loped along. She glanced to the stone pyramid but there was no sign of Dirk.
Hopefully, he’s getting help.
The angel snarled from the quills and spun, his wing stretched and struck out, glowing red as a sun. It was taller than the estate an insurmountable barrier unless one had flight.
A wall of red light formed, traveling to Ruth like lightning. She sidestepped the predictable attack; Borscha taught her well.
The wall of red pivoted and turned, homing and catching her in her left shoulder.
“No!” Ruth shrieked as the wall passed by her cutting into her body and dismembering her.
She felt the searing heat against her flesh, felt her cells burning. She detached the cells just beneath the burning ones, changing them to porous calcium. The other half of her body caught fire and burned on the side of the wall. She broke off the attack, limping away from the wall, nervous of being boxed in.
Abezethibou surrounded himself in a ring of fire, keeping Basil away.
Basil Rith stepped back to Ruth, blinking into existence near her.
“I go’ him a few times. Those quills hur’ him too. its the wall I’m worrie’abou’.” Basil explained as he stared at the red wall of heat.
Abezethibou let out a hissing laugh as he looked down upon his ruined stump and bloody kimono. Golden light emitted from the stump, restoring the arm. The quills dropped and the blood ceased flowing.
Abezethibou instantly healed the damage they dealt him.
“Clever, clever! Clever creature. What manner of being are you?” Abezethibou asked, tilting his head.
“Saighead.” Basil chanted, a violet bolt of fae energy traveled fast, but Abezethibou batted it away with his restored arm.
“I felt no magic and only an increased mental capacity. You deceived me! How attractive…” Abezethibou murmured as he flexed his healed arm. The pale white flesh rippled.
“Hogboon, you’re an eternity too young to face me. Leave now,” Abezethibou ordered.
“Oh, is the wee lil’ crippl’ angel scare’? Wheres ye manhoo’? Did Raphael really take it off after you took the daughters of man?” Basil taunted.
Abezethibou grimaced at that.
“Verywell, verywell. Verywell, hogboon. Let your body be the brick and mortar for Lucifer’s glory.”
“Parable of the Five Elements.”
Five spheres of energy flowed from his open hand, spinning as a slow top. He attached the spinning spheres to the halo on his left shoulder. The first lined up with Ruth and Basil, firing a sphere of fire, traveling like a comet.
Ruth dodged, her flesh rolling and tumbling in an unorthodox manner to avoid the fire. The fireball shrieked past, splashing the mossy ground with a plume of volcanic magma.
The wall of fire dropped as Abezethibou lazily walked to the group, the bundle of spheres turned, and a streak of lightning struck out, blasting into Basil, sending the hogboon sprawling back.
Basil recovered, Rith stepping away back to Ruth.
“I’m fine, my Faesciath hel’. He’s holdin’ back,” Basil explained quickly.
Ruth had little time to think as a cone-shaped rock shot towards them. Basil blinked away and Ruth sidestepped.
The cone of rock shattered and coned outward, striking her with rock ballistics, tearing into her flesh.
Ruth snarled in pain, the damaged cells began to reknit.
“Ruth, we need to use S’yliska!” Maw said, panicked.
“Ruth, steel firm,” S’yliska countered calmly.
Ruth bit down on the pain and continued firing quills as she sprinted away from the red wall.
Abezethibou’s red wing flexed and shot out, creating another red wall that raced to Ruth. This time she was ready. She dove, letting her lower half take the brunt of the blow. She disconnected from the lower half, leaving it as flaming flesh. The sacrifice worked as she was now outside of the potential box.
Her flesh flowed and reknit, rebuilding her lower torso. She had no idea if her flesh had reserves or if she could fight forever.
She turned back, seeing the wall of red curve sharply, heading back in her direction.
“Ruth, RUN!” Maw shrieked.
Ruth sprinted, fast as the wind. Fear began to form in her heart. Abezethibou was not fighting seriously. The red wall rushed past her, making a hard left turn and boxing her in. She stopped in time before she rammed into the wall of sun heat. She backed away, seeing only massive red walls in all directions. She saw a being pass through the wall easily.
Abezethibou grinned at seeing her fear.
“Trapped, trapped. Trapped Seal holder, how will you react? When fear has gripped you, how will you fall?” The angel taunted.
He planted his left halo shoulder against the wall of red, his spheres detached and rolled along as spheres on a track.
“Parable of the Five Elements,” Abezethibou chanted again. He planted the rack of spheres on the wall with the others.
Ruth fired everything, all of her quills at once as a volley.
They dashed against his red wing that covered as a shield.
And then he kept repeating it.
“Parable of the Five Elements.”
“Parable of the Five Elements.”
“Parable of the Five Elements.”
“Parable of the Five Elements.”
Four more times he chanted, attaching the clutch of spheres along the wall. They all traveled around the rounded wall as sentries, their energy crackling.
“Will you show me your true extent? I felt it, that power was hidden,” Abezethibou smiled as he stood stock still, waiting for her to react.
I’m not out yet, Ruth pushed on.
“Let his arrogance undo him,” S’yliska sagely responded.
Maw was silent, as she knew what they would do now.
Ruth was trapped in a wall of heated red energy, the angel had her trapped in a firing squad of magical spheres.
She planted roots of flesh into the ground,
Basil appeared in front of Abezethibou, striking with his dagger into the angel’s face. At the same time, Abezethibou latched on, grasping the hogboon firm. The angel snarled in pain as the dagger struck true, planting the blade inside its skull, punching through the face of bone.
Abezethibou gripped down in anger, Basil’s Faesciath flared with violet energy as the thin film that covered him strained.
Basil let out a strained gasp as the Faesciath shattered, his bones snapped with ease.
Abezethibou relaxed his grip, the hogboon went limp with a gasp.
Abezethibou cast, leaving the hogboon crippled. The hogboon released the dagger, a faint smile on his face.
Abezethibou dropped the hogboon in disgust and began reaching for the embedded dagger.
He forgot it was fae steel and a wily creature all its own.
The dagger retreated, passing deep into his skull past the hilt. Abezethibou stumbled to his knees, rage frothing from his mouth at the pain of the foreign dagger moving about inside his skull. His internals would heal, and the dagger would twist as a blender. Golden blood poured from his mouth ears and wound.
The spheres fired their charged magic, all at Ruth.
The roots of flesh branched around her, forming a spherical dome of porous calculus.
The stone shots, lightning branches, molten spheres, waves of water, and blades of air crashed into the dome, kicking up a cloud of broken magic.
The screen of refuse cleared, with Ruth standing tall in the form of her Ancath.
Abezethibou managed a smile as he saw the Seal holder’s true glory.
“Beautiful, beautiful. Beautiful to my spirit. Not like my god, Lucifer. I sacrificed my eyes when I gazed upon her full glory; for there was nothing else to compare. Yours is beautiful still; a form that will withstand my know-” Abezethibou began until the dagger punched down through the roof of his mouth, pinning his tongue silent. He gripped his head in agony.
Ruth stood mighty, the spheres of elements were stopped, sending their opposite elements to the other spheres. Water doused fire, which melted earth, which buried wind, which dispersed lightning, which disrupted water.
The spheres began to wink out as Ruth’s psychokinetic abilities flared to life.
Abezethibou acted quickly, attempting to pass through the red wall.
“A coward’s heart is the first to leave!” Ruth shouted as she gripped Abezethibou and pulled him back through before he could leave, into the waiting bladed limbs of her motherly embrace.
A long-limbed spear of jagged boned lanced true, spearing the angel through from hip to shoulder blade.
The angel let out a strained gurgling gasp at the sudden impalement.
Ruth stared deeply at the angel’s pained face, seeing his visage bathed in golden blood from the many wounds.
“Intent, intent. There is that malevolent intent…” The angel said with a gasp.
Ruth’s mouth twisted into a snarl seeing Basil crumpled nearby, his pained face angled to see. She knew Abezethibou was wanting the hogboon to watch as he violated her.
“Arrogance. Pride. All flaws that ended you,” She stated coldly.
Ruth felt her cells flowing into the wounds, trying to devour the angelic flesh. It resisted every attempt, proving to be a truly stubborn foe. She needed one molecule of his flesh and she would ascend higher.
“You speak in haste…” Abezethibou replied firmly. A large lump of metal fell from his mouth.
The fae blade had been instantly slagged by the red wall.
The red wing grasped Ruth’s body, wrapping around her torso. She was suddenly enveloped in the red heated energy. Ruth fell back with a shriek, feeling her body burning, cooking, steaming from the outside in.
Ruth’s mind went white with agony. She lashed out, the earth and mossy ground crumbled and blasted as she did everything to try to free herself. Her shrieks would burst eardrums as she cried out as her flesh cooked. Her flesh flowed and ran, but the red film sealed her in. Fiery, burning, stabbing agony ripped through her body. Unrelenting in its torture. Her mind could not find a solid grasp of the magical red film.
Then all at once, it ceased.
Ruth went limp, the pain echoing in her very being.
Abezethibou slowly walked to her, the wounds had healed.
“Pride, pride. Pride was with who? You. Not once did you ponder if you could really antagonize an eternal being? A being who has fought countless battles. Destroyed countless others.” Abezethibou said as he stepped in close, kneeling down to her face.
The red film of energy flowed, keeping her trapped within.
“Hogboon. Witness me in knowing her. Then you will cease,” Abezethibou promised.
Abezethibou reached down with a lecherous hand, inches from Ruth’s face.
Please God no! Not this way! Please, not again.
Soltana… I’m sorry, Ruth said as she wilted and awaited the torture.
Abezethibou’s body was frozen in place, his color had turned a shade of dark blue.
“Blessing of the Strength of God,” A being chanted.
Ruth looked around, seeing the black silhouette of a being against the red wall.
“Blessing of the King’s Justice.”
It slowly strode in, walking to her.
“Blessing of Admonition and Penance.”
She could see it now. The four arms, two of which were of twisted hollow metal adorning his shoulders like a mantle. He had a sword made of the same metal that Soltana was made of. The large halo floating behind him and the tongue of fire above his head. His wings were nestled behind, their plates shifting as he walked.
“Blessing of Meteor’s Blow.”
“Sacred Blessing of the Fae’s Soul.”
“Blessing of Gravity’s Might.”
“Blessing of Traitor’s Retribution.”
Diniel came into full view, peering down at Ruth with a featureless, unreadable face. His white and silver robe flowed as he moved serenely to the frozen angel.
“I am sorry for the delay, Ruth. I needed to strike when his attention was drawn away. I could not fail,” Diniel said as he moved behind the Fallen angel.
He raised his sword high, grasping it with all four arms. He spread his stance wide and swung down. The sword dropped with a gale of wind, the flat of the blade striking down.
The adamantite sword comically clunked against the angel’s skull, rebounding off.
Diniel lightly brushed at his sword and maneuvered to Basil, kneeling down over him. The red walls and film crumbled and vanished.
“Cleansing of Time.” Diniel cast. Basil disfigured self-changed as if someone began cleaning him up. He stood, no worse for ware. The damage had never happened. Diniel had removed all events of Abezethibou’s attacks on Basil from history.
He walked to Ruth and held out a twisted hollow metal arm. Ruth grabbed it, getting to her feet.
“Cleans-” Diniel began.
“No,” Ruth interrupted. “Wait.”
“I need to remember this. I let down my guard and paid for it,” Ruth demanded.
The memory of her being nearly scalded to depletion was fresh within her.
“As you wish,” Diniel said with a nod.
He turned to address Abezethibou.
Diniel gazed at the angel like one would a caged specimen.
“I knew him well.” Diniel began.
“Before The Fall.”
“His calling was to seek knowledge and advise others. However, he was one of the first group to abandon Adonai and sought to lift up the glory of Lucifer to godhood. He became twisted by her influence, seeking power and control over others; all inversions of his calling. He was the first ones to take the daughters of man. They had no choice. Archangel Raphael, my preceptor, confronted him. He subdued the fallen angel, clipping him of his wing and ability to sin; he removed them from the angel’s very existence,” Diniel explained
“What a sad pale shadow of glory you once were, my friend,” Diniel stated.
Ruth heard the tremble in his voice.
Oh my God… They must have been close friends…”
“I can’t imagine,” Maw replied.
“Please stand back,” Diniel ordered.
He gestured at the frozen angel, and Abezethibou’s complexion returned to normal. Time began to return slowly.
Ruth’s eyes went wide upon seeing Abezethibou’s skull collapsing, his hair and scalp flying to pieces in slow motion. The mouth turned from a smile to a grimace as his skull flew apart. The ground slowly collapsed into a sudden crater. Pieces of skull, golden blood droplets and violet angelic brain matter spiraled away from the impact.
The mouth that mocked them so tore down the middle, flying apart. His head was in slow-flying pieces, the crater kept sinking.
The body began to fold and collapse, snapping his spine in half. His limb tore from his shoulder in three places and flew away. The golden halo buckled and shattered, sending golden shards slowly dancing in the air.
Golden blood splattered, painting the crater with glistening metal. His body collapsed further, crushed to oblivion.
Then all at once, the flying parts flew at full velocity, the crater thundered with a meteor’s boom, and the ruined body lay folded and flattened in on itself. The hundred-foot crater was painted gold with blood.
Abezethibou was no more.
“Goo’riddance to bad shtate gobshites,” Basil swore as he spat at the crater.
Diniel held out a hand, and the floating soul mote traveled to him. He grasped the large white mote, gazing at it for a second before storing it in blue light.
Abezethibou’s body parts crumbled to sandstone.
“We couldn’t devour him…” Maw said with sadness.
But we won, Ruth replied.
“The angel was a far stronger foe than I realized. If he was a mediocre angel, then our abilities will not be enough,” S’yliska said, running through the battle.
“Ruth, are you alright?”
No, Ruth replied quickly.
The flashbacks tied to the moment when I was changed were all too real. Abezethibou almost broke me, Ruth replied.
“Ruth, we shall work through that later. We’ve been discovered and need to rush repairs to leave.” S’yliska added.
“We can’t be sure he was the only one. If Azazel is still here…” Maw began.
Diniel picked up the lump of fae ore.
“Cleansing of Time,” he cast, returning the fae metal to its former mischievous glory.
Basil took it with gratitude.
“My thanks to’you for savin’ our hides. Again.” Basil said with a bow.
“The question is why he attacked alone. If other angels are present they should have massed us.” Ruth said aloud.
“Because they do not share the glory with one another,” Diniel responded with a tap of his sword.
“They see Lucifer’s favor as something that can be shared with only one.”
“Abezethibou may have sensed that malevolent intent and rushed here in an attempt to capture you first. I had deduced upon feeling that intent that other parties would rush here. The question is why did you project that intent, Ruth?”
“What do you mean? I didn’t know I could do something like that…” Ruth siad with a stammer.
Was it when I changed to my ravager form for the goblins?
There she spotted a familiar creature, the green betafly from before, fluttering down in the distance, away from the group. It lazily chowed down on moss as it waved at them.
Diniel stared at the creature, gripping his sword hard.
“What’s wrong?” Ruth asked.
“That thing. It is not a betafly. It has no presence about it.”
“Ruth, we need to leave. The Fallen are on their way to this location. We-”
Diniel went silent with a sudden gasp, his hands went to his throat, trying to feel why it was obstructed.
“There, the threat has been dealt with,” a being said from above.
An angel appeared in its full glory, its presence crushing down on the group. Basil went to his knees at the sudden assault.
A floating legless angel, clothed in a tan robe with four floating forearms appeared. its floating head was a featureless oval shape with a cross-shaped eye.
Another being sailed over the fence of scrap and silk, clearing it with ease. The massive being sat high upon its metal armored mount. its long thin limbs and neck peered down at the group. It wielded a large pike lance and shield made of adamantite. It displayed its pressure at maximum. Ruth buckled under the presence. This angel was stronger than the others.
A final angel blurred into existence near Ruth, wearing a smug beautiful smile. His lone left arm gestured to the group. Ruth felt barely any presence from the angel that instantly recognized her, despite her new appearance.
He spoke with a gentle voice of a singer without equal.
“Abezethibou grabbed far more than could handle. He will not be missed. His arrogance and impatience was a useful trade for Diniel’s voice.”
Diniel launched an attack against the floating angel, a castless spell of violet energy. The floating angel bobbed away with ease.
A green circle appeared above Diniel, a tiny sliver of a green pie filled it in.
“Ruth– lassy- run. Now,” Basil commanded.
Diniel went to her side, glaring at the other fallen angels that had surrounded them. He glanced up at the green circle without any understanding.
“Basil, I think this is it,” Ruth said in defeat.
“Ruth… I just wanted to say thank you. It was a great adventure,” Maw said, phoning it in.
“Ruth, whatever happens, I am here until the very end. I will not buckle,” S’yliska announced.
“Thank you,” Ruth stated, thankful for her new friends and conspirators.
Then she felt it. There were no words to describe it except the malevolent intent that all of the others spoke of. Ruth fell down into a fetal position, the pain on her mind was agony, not unlike the Abezethibou’s red wall. She was blinded with flashing lights in her eyes and mind, unable to comprehend what was happening.
“What is that-” Maw began, but was quickly silenced.
“Ruth!” S’yliska shouted the first time Ruth heard the Ancath’s voice waver.
The angels let out gasps of surprise and anger, turning their attention to the betafly. its form was vibrating, phantoming, breaking down.
“Ruth, it wasn’the angels… Dear God it wasn’the angels…” Basil murmured, rolling and shrieking in pain at the pressure.
Diniel’s shoulders slumped in understanding.
The betafly’s vibrating form broke, revealing another being. It stood ten feet tall, wearing an emerald victorian suit with long coattails and well-tailored slacks. It adjusted the emerald gloves, peering down at them with his cueball head of pitted and cracked porcelain. It turned back to the group with a large disquieting smile, the only feature of its face.
Ruth knew right away what he was. She recognized it. She knew what the being had done to her.
It was the thing that changed her. Violated her very being. Damaged her in ways she still didn’t understand.
The one that had implanted the soul of an infant god within her.
The being of emerald waltzed towards the group, carefree at the turned and troubled gazes.
Azazel had a look Ruth did not expect.
“What is with these stacked odds? Gods almighty you strange angels play for keeps! Sacrificing poor Abeze… Abezethibibib? Abzthibibubururu? Whatever. Poor guy; shitty name.”
The being of emerald stated as he strolled to the group. His limbs were too long, his gait was inhuman.
“Who calls themselves the Red Wing?”
“I’m Neon, of The Green Ass!”
The emerald being laughed at its own joke, the sound of a shrieking goat.
Ruth’s ears were assaulted with the terrible sound. The other angels flinched.
“Diniel! Glad you protected the love of my life. You really put Ablublu in his place. Just the brief moment I saw him- he always came off as a complete fool– who does that to women?”
Ruth could hear Diniel gripping his sword hard.
“Abubu would have known no end to suffering if I got here first.”
“Don’t doubt me on that.”
His voice changed, becoming a deep phantasmagoria.
Ruth blacked out for a brief second, falling to all fours. Basil was done for, unmoving. Diniel was shaky on his feet for just a second.
The other angels did not fare any better.
“Now what?– you may be thinking.”
“I’ll leave the choice to the love of my life!”
Ruth felt a gentle hand gathering up her large form by the waist.
“Thank you, Diniel,” Ruth murmured.
She needed to get on her feet. Now with a third party, she could collect Basil and flee. She would lead them away, out into the mycelium and let her bestial self lead them on a merry chase. Hopefully, they would destroy each other.
“Ruth,” S’yliska said with a cold warning.
She looked to her side, seeing the person carrying her.
Its cueball porcelain head was pitted and cracked with time. His large flat tooth smile beamed at her. His arm was wrapped around her hip, keeping her standing. He smelled of sage and ancient dust.
The other angels had all crouched down, preparing for a fight. Ruth hadn’t seen him move.
“I leave the choice to you.”
The emerald being, supposedly named Neon of The Green Ass, was crushing her with his presence.
“Boop!” He mocked as he gently poked her lip.
He laughed again at that.
“Gods above you look gorgeous. You continue to surpass any expectation, finding S’yliska like that. I know I chose the right vessel to hold my child.”