“If you can tell us what they believe, we may have a chance to stop her,” said the angel sternly. “We need either a tactical defeat, or a public one to prove she isn’t all that powerful.”
Yet, I added silently. Not that powerful yet. But I shook my head. I couldn’t tell them. “I wasn’t awakened, they said. So they didn’t tell me. But they were all very devoted to her.”
“We know that,” said the angel dryly. “Even you seemed quite taken by her.”
I nodded miserably. “She has a charm to her.”
“Must be quite the charm. She had a gun to your head and you didn’t seem to care.”
I didn’t answer, chewing my bottom lip. Well, bugger. Bella had quite the ambition, it would seem.
“Can you tell us anything about them? Any detail about what drove them to her?” father asked gently.
I shook my head. But I spoke. “They were all really nice. I didn’t think they were holding me hostage. They just asked me to visit around, then to walk with them to the portal where she pulled the gun out – I,” wow, it sounded stupid when I said it like that. “They were all really nice,” I repeated, defeated by those questioning glares.
“And the vampires?” asked the angel. “Did you encounter them at all?”
“It was them, they were super nice. Docile. You’d think they were tame or something.”
“Drugged, more likely,” declared the angel. “and the werewolves?”
“They were actually around the vampires. Co existing. It was – weird,” But only now that I thought back on it. How come I hadn’t noticed this as weird before? Oh yeah, I knew why. “Why hadn’t you told me that there were werewolves involved?” I hated those things!
The angel shook his head. “We had no clue that they were involved, or even missing. This has taken us quite by surprise too, you must know that.”
I hummed and nodded, pretending to care. Truth was, I didn’t. No, I felt that somewhere in my heart, we’d become divided. I just felt I couldn’t trust them, so did it matter whether they’d known about the werewolves or not? It should have, but it didn’t matter to me anymore.
The angels waited, seeming to want to prod me with something else. I raised my eyebrows at them, challenging them to spit it out.
“So, you are maybe mortal now,” said the angel testily.
Father stiffened. Mother’s expression grew dark. And you know it’s bad when the angel of life looks dark.
I guess I was supposed to squirm and look all miserable. Truth was, I couldn’t care less. I had bigger fish to fry on my plate. “Okay,” I said quietly, refusing to mention that I may have been given an antidote. Or maybe not. Who knew with Bella, really?
The angels tapped their fingers together, exchanging glances. Their leader seemed uncertain. “There is no antidote without knowing th eoriginal recipe, having the blood and intentions of the caster-”
“I know,” I said dryly. But there was a pang in me. “What about Al?”
“Definitely mortal,” said the angel without hesitation. “I’m sorry.”
I looked back down at my hands, and found that I didn’t care. I was just angry. Angry with the angels, angry with the humans – and confused. I wanted them gone. I wanted – Bella. I wanted to speak with her. To commune with her in that strange way again. To feel her presence and be comforted, truly.
But as all that went through my mind, there was no way to say it. So I just nodded and held my silence.
The angels seemed to have been waiting for something, again. I scowled at them. “Now what?”
They took it differently than I had intended. “Now, we have to find a way to stop this. You, it would seem, are our biggest ally. None of the vampires are telling us how they feel, or what it was that caused their strange behavior. They’re even coexisting near werewolves, as you say. We need to stop this-”
“Why?” I blurted. All heads turned to me. I shrugged, pretending nonchalance. “What’s so bad? So the vampires aren’t hating on their lunches. Big deal.”
Now the smallest of the angels spoke. “You idiot. Bella hasn’t been caught yet.”
There were shushes all around the table, and the sullen angel scowled around.
“Oh?” I asked, trying to sound casual and not to squirm guiltily. Like, I knew right where she was and they were all clueless.
“She vanished as she died,” said Father gently. “She didn’t come to me, and no one saw where she went.”
Probably because I was causing such a scene, and there was all the humans around to cloud the vision and make things muddy for spirits. Like finding a person in a crowded room. But hey, all she had to do was hop right into me. It probably was easy because of the bond we shared. A special bond, I liked to think.
I fidgeted. “So?”
The head angel sighed. “Chaos, I can’t tell you how dangerous she is. It is very difficult to unite the hellions. Lucifer is always struggling to keep his armies together. To disrupt this careful balance, to try and destroy the sky realms and earth realms to invade nirvana-”
“I don’t think she wanted to destroy anything,” I snapped coldly.
The angel continued. “You don’t know what she wanted. And anyone who can turn a god mortal, and goes around doing it for the sake of fun, is a problem. Is that clear?”
I pressed my lips together, knowing full well I’d just been given a black-and-white lecture. It should have been easy to understand that Bella was ‘evil’ and ‘dangerous’. But I just couldn’t. I kept thinking of her standing beside me in the snow, our shoulders nestled together as we overlooked the gentle snowy landscape.
I shook myself, looking around the table. Had I drifted off?
“I think you need to rest,” said Father gently. “Lots of rest, and to change your mind.”
“Yes,” said the angel chief promptly. He rose from his chair. “Lots of rest. For you, the adventure is over. Let us know if you feel any changes or sudden impulses. It could be invaluable information.”
“Sure,” I said lamely.