Disclaimer: Angel Sanctuary is owned solely by Kaori Yuki.
Coming of the Seraph
Silence had fallen over Lucifer's castle, and the atmosphere was left eerie and suffocating; the only audible sound was the hasty tapping of shoes on dark carmine runners. The Satan of Pride was sprinting through the halls, trying to clear it's head as it drew closer to the aura that had summoned it. Belial frantically threw open the enormous doors to the castle throne room with unimaginable ease and clear blue eyes peered into the shadows of the eviscerated room. A hole had been ripped into the high ceiling that allowed spectral white moonlight to pool amidst the rubble and broken elegance of the recently destroyed chamber. With the collision of the celestial layers, Belial had not had the time to summon up enough astral power to rebuild the room. So it waited to seat a king who had been missing for countless millennium.
"Lucifer-sama...?" The tall silhouette of the former Morningstar stood in the annihilated remains of his throne room. The thin scowl cut into his features only deepened as dark gray eyes fell on Pride; the indifference in them set Belial ablaze and it trembled with anticipation of it's master's words.
"I trust the rest of my castle isn't in this condition...Belial." The man sneered as a small gasp of satisfaction broke through Hatter's unpainted lips. Lucifer set his empty gaze on the crushed stone edifices that once decorated the walls, admittedly there were more important things for him to concern himself with. But the sight of his palace in this state had been unexpectedly infuriating.
"Everything else had been tended to, One's Lord." Mad Hatter sighed, the heavy contempt in his voice still lingered across it's genderless body. Every fiber of Belial's being urged it to step forward, longing to be closer to the one it considered it's personal God; but it would never show such disrespect.
"Lucifer-sama?" The jester swallowed hard as steel colored eyes swept back over it, the palpable loathing emanating from those eyes drove the Alcorn into a pleasurable madness. Silently the King of Darkness strode past the Satan; who trailed behind his sweeping black cape, obscuring his tall lean body from it's hungry blue eyes.
"Where is she?" Lucifer shot the question behind him, and he didn't bother to look upon the fallen abomination at his heels. The Mad Hatter stopped, loose orange curls tipped to one side; it silently considered for a moment which of the few females might be in question. It then wondered who had told him she was here, but Belial sensed that he might have known all along. A gloved hand pointed past Hell's King, making him aware of an aura so long forgotten and familiar that the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. He followed the presence deep into the castle, snuffing out his own in favor of remaining undetected by the rest of his court. Her ancient and malevolent celestial energy pulled the Devil closer, until a painted white door stood in his way. Lucifer frowned as the acrid smell of human hospitals burned his nose, and he could feel her energy snaking its way around his throat. A callous simper appeared on Lucifer's features as the noose of her aura tightened, he had to wonder if she recognized him. After all- this body, as perfect of a copy as it was, was only a replication brought into existence by the Inorganic Angel waiting for him in Heaven. Rosiel had been the one to demand he return to Hell and find her; and despite his subservience, the man had voiced his displeasure against the idea of bringing her along. He'd learned that she'd been branded Fallen, that she had gone insane; and if that was true then her company would be more trouble than he wanted. Smothering the last of his hesitation, Lucifer pushed the door open, casting hard florescent light across his vision. The room was sparse and white, decorated with a single empty black velvet cathedra chair in the center that was surrounded by modern medical equipment. At the foot of the chair a woman was twisted in agony on the floor, tangled in long cobalt blue hair that was soaked in the bitter liquid that had ruptured from the bag on the overturned IV stand. With her back arched painfully off the floor she was screaming, but it was a dry and painful noise that gave way to shallow gasps as she clawed at the hypodermic needle in her arm. Belial rushed past Lucifer, untangling the mass of dark hair from around her neck, it tipped the angel's head back to allow the woman to breathe. Her body glistened with cold sweat and her wide unfocused eyes revealed broken blood vessels in one eye. Lucifer's scowl darkened, he hadn't expected to find her at the apex of withdrawal, forced off the strongest anesthesia in Creation. She had been a prisoner in this pit, and he didn't have to wonder anymore why she never sought him out.
"Azreal..." The weight of her name put a halt to the woman's spasms; and he silently cursed the fact that eons of chemical comatose hadn't left her brain dead. A sensation shuddered through the Demon Lord as her eyes met his and the air caught in his chest. It had been such a long time, and he'd become so engrossed with his infatuation with Alexiel; but he hadn't forgotten the way light flickered across those pale silver eyes. The wide black pools of her pupils narrowed into pinholes as she focused on him, she twisted harder in the Satan's arms, screeching weakly as unconsciousness made her go limp.
"Why is she like this?" Furious gray eyes darted to Belial, who scooped up the catatonic woman in it's arms before standing.
"It was a punishment that Heaven was once very fond of once, they would seal the astral powers of their Fallen and cast them over the skies of Hell. A very literal fall from grace." The jester shivered as Lucifer's eyes narrowed, he was silently expecting more; and Hatter had no desire to deny him. "One was fortunate enough to reach her before her collision, but she was not the woman she was before the First War. She was delirious and violent, demanding to see you and taking out most of the royal guard in the process of reaching the throne room. But One's Lord was already gone and One feared what Azreal might be capable of. So she has been asleep, waiting for your return." Belial glanced at the woman, hiding the smile smeared across it's features. With a silent nod, the Satan vacated the room, taking Azreal to sleep off the waning narcotics in her system. Lucifer's eyes glanced at the ornate chair used to house the sleeping body of the fallen angel. He had expected this reunion to be violent, but something like relief swept through him; maybe her long sleep would make it easier to seduce her to idea of working with him.
Like needles, the soft bed beneath her felt like pinpricks that multiplied into an unimaginable torment that was only made infinitely worse by the inability to move her limbs to react to so much pain. Azreal could hear a voice amongst the torture of awareness, it offered vacant words that couldn't process in the miasma wrapped around her head. A pained cry stopped short in her throat as what little energy she possessed slipped away. Whatever illusion of sleep that had washed over Azreal's agonized slumber was broken at the notion of slipping and falling, but rather than that expected kick back to reality she felt herself slip deeper into the pitch black world around her. Silver eyes fluttered open to a world of turbulent charcoal storm clouds, lightning snapped loudly as it jumped from point to point amongst the clouds. Above her a trail of long incandescent white feathers marked her descent from Heaven. She could only agitate the two sets of wings on her back as her fingers struggled to break the thin silver chain wrapped tightly around her neck; sealing her astral powers and ensuring zero chance of survival when she'd collide into the forsaken plains of Hell. She gasped for air in the thin atmosphere, choking on the growing smell of sulfur; her eyes squeezed shut as she screamed. Opening them again to find herself in the decorated expanse of Lucifer's throne room, her hands covered in blood. She stormed forward, spitting fury at the calm expressionless face carved into the opposing wall. It stayed silent and she tore away the bandage on her chest, showing him the newly blackened skin of the brand burned clean over her heart. White hot pain exploded on her chest and she collapsed on all fours, heaving as the stench of charred flesh filled her lungs.
"Lu-cif-" The sob was hardly recognizable, heavy from the sleep her body was in; she cursed him over and over, demanding to know where he was. The world went dark after that, every agonizing second passed like hours until the black was painted white and his voice called out her name. Pale eyes cracked open suddenly, horrific dreams giving way to an unfamiliar lace canopy. It was minutes before she dared to sit up; reading the space around her she noted that she was alone, in a faded rose painted room. The delicate white furnishing and creamy lace canopy made for an extremely feminine setting, but the single picture window gave her a chilling view of the barren wasteland of Sheol. She sat up and moved her legs towards the edge of the bed; every strand of her limber musculature was aching and the weight of her hair was uncomfortable. Azreal ran a hand across the ugly bruised skin that encompassed most of her forearm, the skin was tender and vague flashes of a gloved hand removing the twisted intravenous device shuddered through her. The former angel dared to stretch her legs, cringing as the tendons cried out in misery. Standing came naturally for just a second, before searing agony crumpled her to the floor. She cursed loudly as the muscles in her calves and thighs constricted painfully.
"One is surprised to see that you have feeling in your legs already." The painted face of a jester appeared above her, extending a black velvet glove and wearing an old fashioned black suit; a wine colored ruffled cravat served as the only hint of color on the Mad Hatter's attire.
"Belial..." Azreal spat, recognizing the Satan even under the white makeup. "Get away from me." The woman rose to her feet, using the nearby dresser for support.
"Please, One calls Oneself Mad Hatter now." Pride went on, unaffected by the scorn in Azreal's words. "One is genuinely surprised, it had been sometime since your last dose of anesthesia. When Lucifer-sama found you in the throws of withdrawal- Oh yes, One's Lord had finally returned." Belial grinned, black lips curling in an almost feline manner. It's eyes crinkled happily as it observed the nervous expression that paled the woman's features.
"His Majesty has requested an audience with you. If you like, One can prepare a bath and change of clothing before you meet with him." The jester didn't wait for confirmation and with a loud snap of it's long gloved fingers the sound of running water started in another room. "One can't help but wonder why One chose that dress." Hatter eyed the modest black dress with distaste, turning on a heel and vanishing through a newly created doorway. Azreal's stomach knotted itself as his name rang bells in her ears.
"I...I don't want to meet with him." The ex-angel stammered, and she frowned as her objection remained ignored. In the other room, Belial's voice had taken on a sing-song quality as it searched for something presentable for the woman to wear.
"Azreal is much too tall." The sound of clothing being torn from racks came from the open doorway. "Her breasts couldn't hope to fill something so revealing." Azreal moved into the bathroom, unfazed by the Satan's statement and lured by the sweet smell of blue roses. The freestanding clawed tub was filled with steaming hot water, its surface generously coated with blue flower petals that already overwhelmed the room with their perfume. Azreal sat at the edge, skimming her fingertips through the water.
"Do you remember those?" Belial was suddenly in the bathroom, pulling the the woman's attention from her thoughts. She nodded and grunted quietly. How could she be allowed to forget? They had always been a gift, their unnatural and remarkable indigo color was flatteringly similar to her own cerulean hair.
"They don't grow in Paradise anymore, but here in Sheol they thrive off Lucifer-sama's energy." Bright blue eyes gleamed happily in a smile that it reserved only for its King and Master.
"You haven't changed." The former angel's frown deepened. "Still lusting over him. You are truly vile." Her belittlement was met with another catlike grin, and a throaty laughter that ended with a long sigh.
"Ancient evils like us will never change. Its expected of creatures like you and One." Belial set down the long black garment in its hands, tipping off it's tall hat as it bowed. "One will return after your bath. One has many things to tell you, after all it has been many many eons since you last stalked around bitterly." Belial was gone before the gibe could hit home, but Azreal hadn't gone past the length of time she'd been under. She felt her stomach roll, and in the panic her throat seized and she suffocated on the truth of just how long it had been.
Lucifer had secluded himself from the rest of his court in his castle apartments; choosing the tall leather seats of the sitting room to simmer the irritation that roiled beneath the expressionless mask of his perfectly sculpted features. He needed to see her, but Belial said she didn't feel the same way. That was expected though, Azreal was as obstinate as ever, but it was enough to put him in a foul mood. A lifetime of sleep had apparently not changed anything, and he wondered when she would start beating down his door with the intent to kill him. The Dark King's spiteful thoughts continued as he lounged on the black leather, and soon enough he turned to pacing; which in turn led him to the room Belial had set aside for Azreal. He'd been generous so far; he allowed her time to sleep off the drugs in her system, and had ordered Belial to clean her up and explain the current turmoil Creation was facing. But he was not going to allow her to think she held the upper hand in his castle, if she wouldn't come to him, then the opposite would have to do. Lucifer knocked on the black door, heavy and demanding; it was promptly met by the Satan of Pride, who stiffened at his unexpected presence.
"Out." It was a simple command, that the jester immediately obeyed, noiselessly slipping through the door; Belial hid it's smile beneath the rim of it's hat. Hatter couldn't deny it's curiosity; after all, these two were old associates, maybe even friends. They could shape the outcome of this war if they so pleased, and if they could do it by working together then there would virtually no stopping them. Lucifer felt the corners of his lips tug into a familiar smirk as he shut the door behind him, he found her apprehensive figure between the lace canopy. Azreal hugged herself, trying to hide the exposed back of her dress; she glanced behind quickly and felt an icy chill run down her back. She snapped her head away, preparing herself to come face to face with Lucifer. How long had it been? Belial had tried to fill a gap tens-of-thousands of years long, but it had focused mainly on the the recent events. Heaven and Hell had crashed into one another, both sides were preparing for war, and a young man claiming to be the Messiah was tearing his way across Heaven; looking for the woman he loved. Lucifer rounded the bed, and leaned against the post, he allowed his steel eyes to pass over her agitated figure.
"Azreal." The Devil couldn't help but cast a wry smile at what the Satan had dressed her in; it was black silk, backless and sported a plunging thinly laced covered neckline that exposed the flat stretch of pale flesh between her breasts. It was indecent and enticing on someone as ancient as she was. Beneath the charcoal lace that covered her chest, neck, and arms he caught a glimpse of the brand on her chest. It was the stigma of the inverted cross, the mark given to the most wicked of offenders; sinners of unforgivable depravity. She stayed silent, but her thin brows pinched together as she glared at the wall, ignoring him. She expected to be chilled by his immeasurable aura, she always had been; but it was grazing its way along the divots of her spine, she shivered at its softness.
"Did you have a nice sleep?" Lucifer crossed his arms as he earned the reaction he'd been hoping for; Azreal's features twisted furiously, her lips curled over her teeth as she stood and faced him.
"Don't patronize me, you bastard!" The fallen angel hissed, restraining herself against killing him on the spot. Lucifer sighed, he knew better than to provoke her, but there was something so gratifying about being cruel to her.
"So, no?" He watched her eyes narrow in scorn, and he held onto to that malevolence in the long minutes of silence that filled the space between them. Azreal found the tattoo over his left eye, it was fitting and it was clear then that he was not the same man she'd known the last time they'd seen each other. But he looked as much like himself as ever, the sharp cut of his features, a thin straight nose, and those piercing smoke gray eyes; but it was the cool smirk on his thin lips that nearly sent her into a fit of hysterics.
"What do you want?" Azreal averted her eyes, she couldn't hold that gaze any longer; a sick feeling washed over her. That smile was a torture that plagued decades of madness, it was as cold and frightening now as it had been inside her head.
"I-" His voice sent an impulse of fury through her system.
"Do you have any idea how long I've been asleep?!" The fallen woman shrieked. "Why keep me like that for so long? And why would you suddenly wake me up with no other purpose than to antagonize me?! Haven't you done enough...?" She lost her voice, supporting herself against a white nightstand as her chest tightened and lost her breath to gasps. She hid her face in her hands, silently wishing him away, but he stayed. Not flinching when she flung the vase of blue roses off the nightstand; it shattered against a wall, soaking the room with their pleasant smell.
"I want your help." Lucifer said cautiously, he had waited until her breathing slowed and he caught the glare she threw him with a slight smile.
"You don't deserve my help." Her retort was crisp and bitter, and for a moment he was pulled back to a conversation they'd had eons ago. She turned to face him, taking the bait he'd set with his words. The Dark King nodded in agreement of her statement, but didn't acknowledged it further.
"Belial told you that Creation is on the brink of war?" Gray eyes shifted to see her nod. "Our Father is sleeping still, this is our chance to slip into Etemenanki."
"That's what you want?" Thin blue brows pinched together in annoyance. "Do you realize what you're asking? The only way you could force-" Silver eyes widened in realization and she stared at him in disbelief.
"The Grand Cross..." Lucifer flashed a smile for the briefest of moments. He'd forgotten just how brilliant she was, having been his adjutant in Heaven had given her a glimpse of how he thought things out. But even with that understanding, she couldn't fathom how desperate he must have been to see God dead.
"You can't be serious. The Council isn't just going to open the door for you." Azreal shook her head, she was well aware of what he was implying, but the thought knotted her insides.
"That is why I need you. You were their guardian, you were given enough power to protect them. And its more than enough to kill them." Azreal crossed the room with a bitter laugh, she was well aware of what he was doing. They were masters of the battlefield, and between them she was the better soldier; it was the only thing he was content to let her have over him.
"That doesn't mean you aren't capable of murdering them yourself." The woman affirmed, she stood in front of the large window; silver eyes scrutinized the jagged terrain of Lucifer's kingdom. Sheol's eerie white sun had been eclipsed into nightfall, but the ring of wispy white light was just enough to illuminate the 7th Hell. The only sign of life against the stark black earth was a colossal labyrinth, vibrant green hedges painted the immediate surrounding area, and stark white walls clearly marked where the Devil's castle grounds ended and the vast nothingness of his kingdom began.
"Then you'll remain a prisoner in my castle, We'll discuss your position in my court when I return." Lucifer told himself to leave then, but his storm cloud eyes fixated on her back. The span of exposed fair skin was obscured only by a stream of straight cobalt hair that was cut off at the knees. Azreal lacked the exaggerated feminine form he found so enticing, but none of that was to say that she wasn't a magnificent example of what the Creator was capable of. She was a willowy build, deceptively strong but there was something about her silhouette that had never caught his attention like this before. He assumed it was the sight of so much skin, he'd never seen so much of her and for a moment he could imagine more. But Alexiel... Alexiel needed his attention more; or rather he wanted her to have it.
"Do you intend to see it through to the end?" She turned to stare him down, eyes narrowed. He nodded once, crushing the small smile before it broke the expressionless mask of his features.
"Good." Azreal kept her expression blank, clenching her fists as he closed the distance between them.
"Will you help me?" Lucifer's fingertips found the edge of her jaw and he traced the line across her chin.
"Yes." She whispered, pushing his hand away without meeting his eyes. "But if you lose your resolve to end Him, then I will kill you myself."
"I wouldn't have it any other way." The man shrugged a shoulder, "Anything else?"
"I want my sword. Which for now I'll assume is in Heaven. And..." Azreal frowned, crossing her arms over the deep neckline of her dress. "I want a change of clothing, this is embarrassing." Lucifer felt a chuckle deep in his chest but only nodded as he exited the room. Belial stood attentively near the door, bowing its head as Lucifer shut the door.
"We're leaving, give her something more suitable to wear and bring her to the throne room when she's ready." Hell's lord didn't acknowledge the Mad Hatter as he gave the order and continued in silence to his throne room. With a single gesture he resurrected the pile of black wood that had once been his throne. It splintered together again, taking the shape of thick pillars carved with demonic beasts and suffering angels; he took a seat as the wood took on a polished gleam and waited.
"This is hardly an improvement, Mad Hatter." Azreal huffed, crossing her arms in indignation. Belial offered another feline grin, once again delighted with itself and the attire it had chosen for the fallen angel. A black corset with polished silver military style buttons and straps, that fit well on Azreal's figure and it was paired with tight black shorts that barely extended to the length of her palms.
"One respectfully disagrees." Belial knelt before the woman making and adjustment to the fit of thigh-high leather black boots that clung to her long limbs. The Satan stood, and nodded in approval as it produced one last article of clothing a black bolero with long sleeves and a leather latch to connect the short jacket.
"Perfect. You wear leather well." Hatter replaced its D'orsay tophat and beckoned the woman to a full-length mirror to allow her to appraise herself.
"Let's just get this over with. Take me to him already." Azreal snapped, turning away from the mirror to head through the door. She followed Belial in silence, traversing through several hallways and stairwells before the doors came into view. Black wood framed heavy gold doors at least 20 feet high. Numerous scenes were cast into the cold metal, depicting demons and angels at war. Belial opened the doors with no effort, its eyes catching a final glimpse of its king. For a long moment they said nothing as Azreal approached the throne, silver eyes sweeping over the broken room.
"All this happened when the layers collided?" Her voice echoed into the vast ceiling, stepping carefully over the obstacles in her tall heels.
"I have my doubts." Lucifer replied absently, Belial had told him how Abaddon had escaped his chains and assisted the princess of Anagura in escaping with Mudou Setsuna, but Azreal had no need to know any of that.
"I'll need a weapon until I can reclaim Tenkahane." She stopped at the base of the platform, shifting her weight as she considered what he might offer her.
"It'll be yours when we cross over into Heaven's territory. Rosiel claims that its waiting for you." Lucifer stood, and descended the dais slowly, his eyes never gravitating from hers.
"Rosiel? What is he doing aiding you?" Azreal couldn't help but wonder what highest ranking angel was doing conspiring with the devil.
"He isn't the Rosiel you probable remember. He's become nothing short of a disgusting monstrosity." Lucifer shook his head. "Now come, we'll have time to discuss the past while he wait for him." He offered a hand that she took with reluctance, a pool of tangible shadows blotted out the moonlight at their feet.
"Close your eyes, the sensation can be a little overwhelming." Lucifer advised as the darkness at his command enveloped them.
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