Descending through the clouds above the Earth, flying towards the ring of golden fire that lead into the actual world, Micha-el was alone with his thoughts.

Should he find his brother, what would he do? Lucifer had a long time to prepare for his eventual duel with God's Hand. Micha-el had spent a good 2000 years without decent practice. And it had been a close duel the first time, only dumb luck allowing Micha to overcome The Dragon.

I cannot allow such possibilities to cloud my sight, Micha decided silently. Should I lose when I find him, at least I attempted what my younger brother cannot see the importance of.

Several more wing beats brought the glowing beast of holy might through the circle of fire, a familiar tingling of jumping from one plane to the next covering the archangel. He smiled, enjoying for a moment the feeling of being on the mortal world once more, taking in a deep breath. He had chosen to arrive deep in the wilderness, far from human interference, but even here, he could smell the taint that the creatures of dust had brought to his, no his father's, world.

Bring his wings in tightly, he dove directly for the ground, for a glade that appeared in the forest as he approached. He landed softly, looking around for somewhere to sit. A stump appeared as he thought from the ground, allowing him to kneel. He took out his sword, and bowed like a knight errant to a king.

"Blessed be my father. May I be guided true in this holy quest," he whispered. For several moments he stayed still, concentrating on his sword, and on his prayer, before a rustling to his left broke his meditation.

Micha-el stood slowly, holding his sword low, his eyes narrowed, his armor shifting slightly to make him seem truly tank like. His wings seemed to gain a metal edge along the forepart of the wing. His eyes glowed intensely, as he faced the source of the sound.

More rustling now behind him, and all around him. He was still, his muscles ready to spring at any moment. Multiple opponents, that much he could guess, or one incredibly fast one. But no way to tell what.

The air was quiet for an endless moment, Micha-el tensed, one foot raised slightly to leap at that first to enter his glade.

The sounds of all animals about grew silent, not as if scared, but as if the sound was being blanketed out. Micha-el could still see the rustling as it resumed, but there was no noise.

Come out, heathens, the words came from his mind, not his mouth. Hide from my sight and my fury shall be tenfold.

A single dark blur shot across the glade. Before he had a chance to move, Micha watched it exit the opposite side. Several more fast moving shadows did the same, Micha-el holding his sword low and tight in one hand. Upon his arm had appeared a shield, a great eagle upon it.

The blurs, despite the movement, Micha-el could sense that something greater was hidden in the underbrush before him, and the blurs all seemed to move out from there, and eventually back to it.

Micha-el had not fought against the forces of darkness directly in just short of two millennia. He was a little fuzzy on the details of what this creature could be without seeing it, but there was something that made him feel very much that he was being stalked and observed before being pounced upon. He smiled despite himself. Fitting for him to be stalked upon arriving to track Lucifer.

The blanket of silence was beginning to become slightly unnerving, as a final blur ducked to where Micha-el sensed the greater source. There was a great rustling as a cat paw the size of Micha's shield landed with a earth shaking, but totally silent, thud. The other paw followed, as a two story tall panther emerged from hiding. There was a dark fire about its eyes, its leopard spots all red black within the black fur.

Micha-el looked over the beast as the air shuddered with its silent growl.

This is a new one, Micha thought, as they giant cat tensed and pounced forward.