Barachiel walked up the stairs, leaving the emptiness of the crypt for companionship above ground. Hani followed. Zera stood in the middle of the nave, Ramiel in hand. Hani, armed with questions, kept her mouth shut. Who’s he? Ramiel was sparking. Hani picked up the unmistakable static background hiss. Is there an exposed wire somewhere? Wait! It’s coming from that sword? Zera walked towards them, his sharply-tipped wings on full display.
‘Ah! Zera! This is Haniel, my new apprentice. Hani for short,’ Barachiel announced.
Hani noted Zera’s ferocity, and bowed her head in recognition. Don’t want to get on the wrong side of him.
Zera looked hard at Hani, sensing her insecurity. They get younger every day. Then he shook her hand. Huh? Firmer than I expected. There’s something about you. ‘Can she see ghosts?’
‘Yes,’ Barachiel replied.
‘I didn’t know they existed until tonight. The academy dismissed them as myths,’ Hani said what Zera already knew.
‘I’ll let you figure that one out.’ Zera dodged the question. ‘Besides, Barachiel will teach you. He’s rather mad as you’ve seen.’
Hani saw Zera’s wry, mischievous smile. Oh good! Someone else who doesn’t like to answer questions directly!
Barachiel laughed awkwardly. You do enjoy making me blush, Zera. ‘Why are you still up, Zera?’
‘I thought you were someone else.’
Zerachiel furrowed his forehead. Wasn’t expecting that. ‘You know her?’
‘By name only. Uriel posted two new Angels here. Seraph’s the second. I take it she’s introduced herself.’
‘She made quite the point in doing so. She wields Arakiel.’
Hani was taken aghast. Arakiel? The embodiment of the quaking land? Hani’s eyes latched onto Zera’s blade. The heavenly runes glowed golden yellow, drawing her in. That’s Ramiel? The embodiment of the thunder of God? Sparks flung off Ramiel. Hani twitched. Did Ramiel just introduce itself to me?
Zera winced from the static shock. That’s twice today.
Now, Zera and Barachiel couldn’t hide their displeasure of the situation, of what they knew was coming next.
‘You know, it’s rude to talk behind a girl’s back, boys.’ Seraph sauntered down the nave, Arakiel clearly visible in her right hand.
Ramiel sparked – its bark. The candles quivered, flickering from the resonance between the two blades. Barachiel scowled. Thanks, Uriel!
‘Well this is a sight. Four Angels who can see ghosts all under one roof. It must be Pentecost.’
‘Welcome, Seraphiel. We’ve been expecting you,’ Barachiel replied.
The closer Ramiel and Arakiel got, the stronger the resonance. Ramiel was aggressively sparking, but Arakiel was quieter, more relaxed.
Seraph smirked then caught sight of Hani silently judging her. All three need some mischief in their lives. ‘Uriel brought you up to speed, Barachiel?’
‘Yes. You’ll assist Zera’s investigations.’
‘Excellent. Where am I sleeping then?’
‘In Zera’s room.’
If looks could kill, Zera would have invented a way to kill Barachiel and then his ghost as well. Seraph enjoyed Zera’s expression. A little bit of antagonism will do the detective some good. ‘What’s wrong, Zera? No girls allowed?’
‘Woman are. Girls aren’t.’
Barachiel and Hani back stepped. This was too spicy for them.
Seraph laughed. That’s more like it. ‘Well come on then, show me to your quarters.’
Zera smiled ruefully. I really don’t care for you right now, Barachiel. Ramiel continued sparking, equally as displeased. Not wanting to give Seraph any satisfaction, Zera made no remark and led Seraph towards his room.
‘Who knew sparks flew at midnight?’ Barachiel remarked.
‘And not just from Ramiel,’ Hani quipped.
Barachiel laughed. That was a nice tonic. He paused. Are the foundations going to crack or are all the fuses going to blow with Arakiel and Ramiel being together? But, somehow, that pales in comparison to the ramifications of Zera and Seraph being in the same room.