"Anghel," Hiyoko said, exasperated, "How on earth did you get yourself completely covered with whipped cream?" Of all the times this had to happen, it was when she was stuck on infirmary duty by herself. Ryouta had dragged Anghel to the door, thrown him in, and fled.

Anghel flailed at her wildly as she hauled him toward the cot. "It was the work of the Black Beandonna! I was seeking out her obsidian elixir of corruption so I could destroy it, and saw the emanations of evil flowing out from her dark temple! See, I carried off one of her sacrificial chalices!"

She managed to extract a half-crushed paper cup from his grip. "...So you went to Starduck's and bought a flappaccino? With whipped cream? I thought you just wanted coffee..."

"Indeed, Edel Blau, the Beandonna's servitors tried to compound evil upon evil by mixing her black blood with ice. Or perhaps her heart is so cold that it would make hell itself freeze over- it makes my beak ache with anguish!"

Brain freeze. Anghel with brain freeze. This was not going to go well. She could already start to see the magisterial pillars of black ice coalesce around them as his agitation pumped out more of his hallucinogenic pheromones. "Dark Angel of Judecca! Submit to my judgement, so I may anoint you with this holy water and cleanse your feathers of sin!"

"No- no, the Crimson Breast of Sin cannot ever be cleaned from me, it is seared into my soul forever..."

Resist, Hiyoko thought grimly. Must resist the pheromones... and yet the black ice pillars were growing ever more taller and more solid, with unholy choirs beginning to keen and echo around them. With determination, she pinned Anghel down on the ceremonial dais (blooming from antiseptic white linen into crimson velvet emblazoned with forbidden runes) and started to sponge whipped cream off his feathers with warm, soapy water from the basin (a priceless bowl carved from a single huge black opal).

"Your soul is eternal," she told him. "I am only cleansing your glorious outer raiment of the pale froth that sullies it, and which would deny you your rightful heritage of airborne flight if it remained. Be still and submit! Do you trust me as an ally against the forces of evil, or do you not?"

He flapped awkwardly a few more times, especially when soap got into his beak, but eventually she got it all off. By this time, both of them were soaked, exhausted, and shivering.

Edel Blau knew that the Angel of Judecca had fallen from the upper realms of heaven, closer to the sun. It was her duty to keep him warm until he could return there. She stripped off her own angelic robes and lay down naked beside him on the dais, covering them both with a warm cloak of phoenix feathers. Carefully, she began to rub his feathers dry with gauze spun from brimstone thread.

"You are good to me, Edel Blau," he whispered, preening a strand of her damp hair. "I was ashamed to come to you, because of what the Black Beandonna's servitors said to me."

"What did they say?"

"They told me- but it must have been vile lies- that the oily white froth of evil came from the... the mammaries of a mammal! But I saw them force it out of a small metal can! Surely you do not have a very small sister somewhere, entrapped in a metal can...?"

"No. It comes from Kshira Sagar, the Holy Ocean of Milk. It has been churned to form the ambrosial foam of Amrita. It is not meant for us to partake of, and that is why you could not fly with it smeared upon your feathers."

"But my feathers are clean now. You have cleansed me, Edel Blau." Anghel's eyes were calmer now, but still intense and bright as he glanced at her bare torso. "And I see now that your mammaries are not made of small metal cans... those are your mammaries, are they not? You will not squirt me with white ambrosial foam from them?"

"I would never do that," the Apostle Edel Blau gravely said. "Here, you may touch them to be certain. They are not made of metal, or I would not need to arm myself with a breastplate of adamantine and steel in our fight against evil."

The Angel of Judecca laid his wings upon her breast. "Your hands are warm, Edel Blau," he said, his voice glowing with refracted light. "It is only right for me to caress your body, just as you are caressing mine."

"For you are a ministering angel, come to spread joy and gladness." The black pillars around them were evanescing into rainbow shafts, and the music into cymbals and tambours of rejoicing. Lots of rejoicing.

"As are you. Ah, yes, Edel Blau... minister to me a little higher, right there. Touch me there. Touch me."


Downstairs in the underground laboratory, Dr. Iwamine glanced at the infirmary's security monitor and just shook his head