A/N: ...*quivers in terror*...S...S...SORRY! *runs away in a panic*

FYI: I borrowed some of the dialogue from the anime, but then I twisted it around and changed parts of it in order to suit my purposes.

Warnings: ...um...um...Rei comes back next chapter? ^^'

Chapter 6

It was night by the time Shiva finally returned to Heaven's Palace. His shoulders drooped and he carried and air of defeat around him like a blanket. Yuda took all this in as he approached the wayward angel. "Shiva?"

The young angel jerked and stared at the Kirin with surprise and fear embedded in his eyes. "Shiva?" the red haired angel asked more gently.

A moment passed before Shiva swallowed and whispered, "Y-you waited up for me?"

"Of course. You one of us. Why wouldn't I? Shiva, what's wrong?"

Shiva's violet eyes shimmered with unshed tears as he smiled brokenly. "Then I guess…you won't be waiting up for me anymore?"

"What do you mean?"

A single tear escaped Shiva's eye as he lowered his eyes. "I've been demoted. I'm…no longer a Saint Beast."

With that, Shiva strode past the shocked Yuda towards his room, former room to start moving his things out and back to the small, cramped cottage he once thought of as home. He was so deep in his own thoughts that he didn't hear Yuda's racing footsteps behind him until a strong hand caught his elbow stopping his progress.

"Shiva, wait! What do you mean, you're no longer a Saint Beast? What happened? What did Zeus say?"

"He stripped me of my rank as Saint Beast. Now I'm back to being a mere High Rank angel."

"Why would He do such a thing?"

"It was deserved, Yuda," Shiva said, his voice stronger now as he turned to face the one who unknowingly held his affections. "It's punishment for my sins. Believe me when I say He was merciful, Yuda. It could have been much worse."

"But…but what about the Suzaku? Who will…"

'The Suzaku has changed hands. '

Is that what Yuri meant? That someone else would replace Shiva as the Suzaku? But who and how?

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Yuda met Shiva's pained eyes and smiled gently. "Then will you at least let me help you carry your things back to your home?"

Surprise shone briefly in the smaller angel's eyes, before they relaxed into resigned acceptance. "Of course. Thank you."

"Don't mention it."

XxX

A week passed since Shiva's abrupt departure leaving the remaining Saint Beasts to brood about what Shiva could possibly have done to deserve such a punishment as well as who the new Suzaku would be. However, Zeus' summons forced them to temporarily set aside those thoughts for other things.

To Yuda's secret relief. He had been tormented by a dream in which he, Luca, Shin, Goh, Gai, as well as the mysterious angel Rei were children joking with Lucifer and Gabriel. It bothered him because he barely knew Rei yet in his dream, the violet haired angel picked on Gai in the manner of old friends. The fact that Lucifer and Gabriel were there also bothered him because he had once looked up to them before their banishment. Plus, none of the Saint Beasts knew each other at the time except for Luca and Yuda. They had all met after becoming adults.

Upon entering the Audience Chamber, the five Saint Beasts knelt before the white clad Zeus. Yuda noted with slight interest and mild annoyance that Pandora was standing on Zeus right looking down on them with an almost superior expression on his face.

Pushing his thoughts aside, Yuda focused on the here and now and their reason for being here. "What is your order today?"4

"I want you to descend to Earth once more," the pale god ordered.

"Is there some kind of trouble?" Goh asked with concern coloring his voice.

"On the continent of Lacresian in the human world, demons of darkness have appeared and are a danger to the humans and the animals."

"Danger? Demons?" Luca whispered in shock. How could the demons be in the human world?

"In the night when the moon is not visible," Zeus continued, "demons appear from the depths of the ground and are wandering the continent causing harm and misfortune to fall on the world. Descend as you have before and take care of these demons just like you did with the tree monster. Though this time, I wish you to destroy them completely. Do not fail."

The Saint Beasts winced slight at the subtle reprimand, but bowed their heads and murmured their assent. However, the mention of the demon tree brought back unwelcome doubts to Yuda's mind.

What was Rei trying to tell us when we found him?

Pandora led them out of the audience chamber and into the courtyard. Once they had a sufficient amount of space, he strode forward and handed each Saint Beast a phial of the Tears of the Spring of Life. "Zeus was happy when you eradicated the tree monster, though he was disappointed in your failure to destroy the creature within."

"Really?" Yuda demanded. "Was he really happy with its destruction?"

"Yes, why do you ask?" Pandora replied curiously.

"And why, may I ask, was Zeus disappointed with us not murdering another angel?"

This time Pandora's orange eyes widened. "Another…angel? What do you mean?"

"The creature within the tree monster was an angel who had been cursed," Goh answered. He had no choice in the killing and wished for it to stop but could do nothing about it. We let him live because he was an angel. A fallen angel, perhaps, but an angel nonetheless."

Pandora's expression was that of horror before he carefully covered himself and bowed his head. "I see. I had no idea. I did not know. This…angel…is he still alive?"

"As far as we know, yes," Goh replied. "Though we believe he is somewhere in the human world. We do know that if he is alive, he is wounded. He was attacked by a demon and fell through the Cloud Path before we could catch him."

In the corner of his eye, Goh saw Luca bow his head in shame. The pale angel was still beating himself up over that.

"I…see," came the priest angel's quiet reply. "Forgive my harshness earlier. I was not aware it had been another angel."

"You're forgiven. We should leave now though," Yuda said.

"Ah, yes. Please."

With that, the Saint Beasts disappeared in a rainbow of color only to reappear in a dark, grassy field near a forest. It was night on earth and with the moon hidden behind the clouds, it was hard to see.

Almost immediately upon arrival, scream's echoed through the forest. The rest of the night the angels fought any demons foolish enough to show their hideous faces. But only Yuda had a story to tell.

"It's been a while, Yuda," the dark figure above whispered. Golden eyes shone dully from beneath the shadowy hood.

"Lucifer," Yuda whispered in shock. Surprise and betrayal roiled within the Saint Beast each demanding his attention. Then he noticed the second figure appear next to Lucifer. "Gabriel!"

Lucifer smiled and stepped down to the stone walkway Yuda stood on and leaned close, very much in Yuda's personal space. "How's Heaven? Isn't it hard to live in?"

Gathering himself, Yuda glared at his former mentor. "More importantly, why are you disrupting the peace on the Earth?"

"Me? I have done nothing. I merely showed the demons the way to Earth, they did the rest on their own."

"Just like you did to Heaven?" Yuda demanded, his fury slipping from its tight rein.

For a moment, Lucifer looked puzzled. He glanced to Gabriel who appeared equally confused. Leaping down to Lucifer's side, Gabriel met Yuda's dark eyes with his own.

"We did nothing to Heaven," Gabriel said quietly. "That place is no longer within our reach. Why? Has something happened?"

Now it was Yuda's turn to be puzzled. "Since it was you who guided the demons to Earth, I thought you were the ones who brought them to Heaven as well."

"Demons? In Heaven?" Lucifer murmured in surprise. "No, I would not inflict such a thing upon the angels. I do not blame them for the sins of their master. But that aside, these demons…did they attack any anyone?"

"Yes, several angels were hurt, including a…" what was Rei? A friend? An acquaintance? "A friend of mine. We believe he may have fallen to Earth."

"Ah, so that's why you're here," Gabriel nodded.

"Not exactly. We were ordered to descend to destroy the demons, but as long as we're here, we figured we'd search for our friend as well."

"I see," Lucifer whispered. He glanced at his pale companion in silent communication before returning his attention to the red haired angel. "This young friend of yours, he didn't happen to have purple hair did he? And golden eyes?"

"Yes! Have you seen him?"

Lucifer nodded. "I have. I saved him from drowning when he landed in a lake after his fall to Earth. I figured he was yet another poor innocent banished from Heaven by that bastard usurper you call a god for refusing to obey his every command."

"Another angel?"

Gabriel snickered. "You honestly think the two of us are the only angels to be banished from Heaven? We aren't. There are so many others. Each one purged by god for some insignificant sin. Rei was a good child when I met him. He'd sworn his loyalty to the goddess, which is why he could see that which so many others could not, I think. He was on the outside looking in, seeing the whole forest. Unlike you who are on the inside looking out and can only see the single tree in front of you."

"What are you trying to say?" Yuda demanded.

"He's saying that as a servant of god, you see him as the supreme ruler of Heaven who can do no wrong. Rei, Gabriel, I, and a few others saw him for who and what he really was. A usurper who murdered his own father for the throne his fat ass now sits on."

"You lie!"

"Do I?" Lucifer paused in thought. "Yes, I suppose I do. But then, don't we all when the time calls for it? Do you not lie to protect someone you care about from feeling pain? Do you not lie to protect yourself or your thoughts from being exposed? We all lie, Yuda. But it's our reasons for doing so that vary.

"Yes, I lie, but not about this. For once Yuda, open your eyes and actually look at the forst and not just the tree in front of you. Then maybe you'll see the incongruities and holes in what you call a life.

"To prove my words, from here head towards the distant north side. There you'll find a village."

"Village…?" Yuda asked. How could this have any bearing on what's happened?

"Yes. You'll know the true meaning of my words once you get there."

"What are you plotting?" Yuda demanded, suspicion coloring his voice.

Lucifer merely chuckled. "I'm not plotting anything. You'll only know the truth when you get there."

Then the two angels vanished.

XxX

"What should we do?" Gai asked, obviously shaken from the news of Lucifer's return.

Yuda glanced at Gai, placing a comforting hand the shorter angel's wild hair. "He told me to follow his directions to a village where he said we'll see the truth."

"The truth? Luca asked.

"Yes. He sounded like he knew something about Zeus."

"He's probably holding a grudge against Zeus for banishing him from Heaven. He might be trying to use us to get his revenge," Luca warned.

"True, but I still want to know what he meant. And also, he said he knew Rei."

"Rei?" the others chorused.

"He survived?" Luca demanded.

"So it would seem," Yuda nodded. "It also appears that Rei knew something about Zeus that we don't as well. I say we pay a visit to this village before we return to Heaven."

"Perhaps in doing so we can banish this doubt from our hearts," Goh whispered.

"Then let's go."


A/N: Well, I hope that suited. And I hope the length wasn't too bad either. Kuronekoshoujo, it's your turn to update. ^_-

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