Boom. Boom. Boom.
My heartbeat thumped in a steady rhythm. I could feel it pulsating, that heavy thud reminding me how alert of my body I was.
"Steady," a voice that seemed so far away only vaguely rang into my ears. I was concentrating too hard to recognise anything else they were saying.
In. Out. In. Out.
I breathed in time with my heart. Deeply, filling my lungs with as much oxygen as possible. I began to feel more alive, the tiny cells of my body tingling as the angelic energy from my core energised me.
"NOW!" I yelled loudly, and immediately launched into my attack.
The silver light from the sharp-edged sword shined as it glided effortlessly through the air, a loud clanging noise being emitted as it crashed against its opponent.
Reuben fought against me for all he was worth, using intricate martial arts moves to soar through the air above me.
I made eye contact with him, staring deeply, as if I could see not just into his brain, but into his soul. This way, I would become One with my enemies moves. I could anticipate. We would dance.
I could feel my skin grow hot from the power flowing through my veins. In under a nanosecond, I had connected to my Inner Angel, her fighting through me.
As I let my body be controlled by the warrior inside of me, I felt energy shoot through my arms and down the hilt of the sword, the release concluding in an explosion of light.
"Holy shit," Reuben exclaimed. His eyes became as wide as saucers as the light turned into a hot violet flame. Both of us paused and stared at it.
"How did I..?" I asked, a puzzled look on my face. I turned towards our Sensei, who was approaching me from behind. He held his hand up and I stopped talking.
"Don't lose your control over the flame, Melanie-San," he began, touching me gently on the shoulder. I looked down at the sword, which was still burning brightly. "You have opened your Ajna and relinquished yourself to the power you hold. This is the most successful technique to overpowering your opponent."
"I... didn't know I could do this," I blinked, smiling broadly. "Is the flame dangerous?"
"Only to the Opposition, and any being of darkness." As if to demonstrate, Sensei Yoshirou put his hand into the flame, and just as he said, it didn't hurt him. "Flames forged of angelic Light are from your Inner Being. This could burn, even melt, the skin of your Dark opponent."
Reuben and I were absolutely fascinated by this; it was new to both of us. Despite our newfound knowledge of spiritual martial arts, the lesson was about to end.
We bowed to each other, a deep and long one to our Sensei as he walked away to tend to the other students.
"That was a good practice, wasn't it?" I asked him. I took the scrunchie out of my hair and fluffed it out, combing my fingers to get rid of the wild knots. The one downfall to heavy martial arts was even in a ponytail, I still managed to screw my hair up!
Reuben nodded happily, his eyes shining. "You're really getting the hang of this. I think someone could go for her black belt soon," he teased, leaning closer to me and planting a quick kiss on my cheek. "Well done, Mel."
I blushed deeply, shivers running up my spine at the touch of his lips. "Thanks, Reubs. Anyway, I'll go get changed. Wanna go to the Guru afterwards?"
"Sure thing." With that, he walked away to talk to some of his martial arts kin.
I stared after him, a silly little smile upon my face. It felt like it was just yesterday when we officially became a couple, at the tender age of thirteen. Now we were both seventeen, and being in a relationship for four years has made us closer than ever.
Only a true couple could nearly kill themselves practising martial arts with weapons! I thought in my head, laughing inwardly. We didn't want to harm each other, it was only lessons to help us fight the bad guys.
In the changing rooms, I took my outfit out of my bag and changed into it quickly. A tight tank top with wings on the back, short mid-thigh denim skirt, leather bikers jacket, and high heel sandals.
Nodding happily at my reflection in the mirror, I put everything else back into my bag and walked out. There was Reuben, as always, waiting for me anxiously.
He was such a sweetie that way. After class we always left together, sometimes (like that day) grabbing a bite to eat on way back to the Academy. Lola and Brice had a different schedule to ours, so unfortunately it was only a few times for us to be a group.
Smiling at each other, we both linked hands and exited the dojo, breathing in the wonderful fresh air that met us.
Heaven is such an amazing place, way better than Earth could ever be. In my era of twenty-first century London, it was chock full of fumes from cars and factories. Heaven, despite having a gorgeous city, was as pristine as the archangels could make it. One thing that has always puzzled me, though, was what was everything run on? Skyscrapers, buildings, and cars - and yet the air was so clean you could smell the lilacs right underneath your nose.
As we reached the Guru, we quickly lined up in front of the counter, waving as Star zoomed past us at rocket speed. It took her a few months after arriving in Heaven to find her legs, but eventually she was right at home studying at the Academy, a job as a waitress as her side activity.
"Hello there," Mo smiled at us warmly as we reached the counter. "Usual after-sports snack of blueberry muffins and chocolate milkshakes for two?"
"You know us too well," I winked, giggling as Reuben paid with his angel ID. Like a kind of point system, the more missions you did for the Agency, the more 'cash' you got on your card.
Pulling out my chair at the outside table, I sat across from Reubs. "So to get back on subject," I began, continuing on the conversation we had during our trip, "I wanted to do this really spectacular report, but I'm totally stuck for ideas. I know we are currently studying the Eureka Stockade in Australia, but aren't random facts just totally boring?"
"Isn't he planning another class trip soon?" Reuben asked. "That could help with your report. But just an idea, instead of 'random facts', maybe delving into the subject deeper, something concerning angels and demons."
"Ugh, I don't know," I rolled my eyes. Even being at the Academy, I still didn't like to do school work - which as you may have gathered, can have moments where it is just like Earth.
Mo was just about to bring our orders, when all of a sudden, I felt my inner self leave my body, and fly upwards towards the sky. Déjà vu much! I thought excitedly, my minds eye whooshing through the cosmos, rocketing towards Earth.
But there was something different about this. Usually during the Call, I would feel extremely free, like a kite flying through the wind without a controller. And yet this time, all I felt was darkness enclose me.
"Help me," a distant feminine voice called out. "Help me, Melanie!"
I couldn't recognise who it was, it sounded like a teenager I never heard before, but in my heart I felt a sense of familiarity. And yes, that same choking feeling of demonic vibes.
I was suddenly pushed back into my body again with a huge bang, and I looked around wildly. I was back, and thank the Universe, in one piece!
"You best go down to the Agency, Mel." Reuben had a firm, and yet disappointed sound in his voice. I understood how he was feeling, I would miss him so much on my new mission. But he was right, there was a person on Earth who needed my guardian angel help, and I had to be there for them.
Getting up from the table, I rushed over to Reuben and laid a passionate kiss on his lips. The sudden action nearly threw him off balance, but he wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me tightly.
We released from our embrace, smiling. I giggled as he had to wipe my lipstick off himself. "Bye!" I said, and quickly hopped it towards the Agency.
When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was Michael in the marble lobby, just a few metres away from the revolving doors. It was kind of hard to miss this, as his pure archangel powers practically lit up the whole floor. I was nearly blown away from the energy that hit me when I walked in. Uh oh I thought. If Michael was here, it obviously meant it was an emergency.
Turns out I was right. Wordlessly, he nodded towards the lifts, and as I flashed my ID to the receptionists, we hurried into one.
By the time we reached the briefing room, I was really starting to fidget. Apart from a quick smile and a 'you'll be fine, Melanie', Michael hadn't said anything else. I was really starting to panic.
Sam was pacing back and forth, staring at a big projector screen propped up on the wall. Turning towards us, he gave us a quick, reassuring smile. "Welcome, Melanie," he began. "I think it is best you sit down and we launch straight into the brief."
Nodding professionally (Helix had once again taken over and become all business-like), I primly sat down and faced the archangel and top agent in front of me.
"Melanie," Michael took in a breath as he stared right into my eyes. I shivered. It always felt like he could look right into my soul. "There has been a worrying occurrence in the twenty first century. Specifically, London."
"Oh, so that's why it felt so familiar!" I let out a little nervous giggle. "I was wondering why the vibes I got I recognised."
Sam and Michael shared a look. "It's not the place that we are concerned about," he commented. "It's the person."
"What?" I asked quizzically, a pang in my chest. What the fuck was going on?
Michael walked closer to me, laying a friendly hand on my shoulder, in that way adults do when they don't know how someone will take news. "Your human is your sister, Jade Beeby."
I think I felt my heart skip a beat. I felt numb. I didn't know what to think. My Jade. My sweet, innocent, pixie faced sister Jade. "What?" I repeated. My mind was trying to process, and say, as many questions as it could. "Why her?"
"Here is where it gets tricky," Sam sighed. "When she was young, she understood you were an angel in Heaven. Children of a young age are able to tap into these kind of thoughts and feelings, so it helps ease the shock of death. But as she grew older, she started disbelieving herself, calling it all fantasy and fabrication."
"But that's not true!" I exclaimed forcefully. "The only ones who could make her think like that are the-" I stopped in absolute horror. This was not happening. "The PODs."
Michael nodded silently, his eyes grave with sorrow. "Grief of growing into a teenager without her big sister opened her up to the Opposition. Eventually this connection she had plugged herself into grew. The situation can be resolved," he added hopefully, "but we need you to be on this one, to help her along."
"Of course," I said immediately without even having to think. "You can count on that."
"Good," Sam breathed a sigh of relief. "We should get you out into the force as soon as possible."
I bit my lip as we exited the briefing room, and into the time portal area. This would be one of the most hardest - and emotional - mission I have ever had to do.