Prologue

Hiya! So, this is the first chapter of another story containing demons, angels and the poor mortals who are caught in between. Scenes change rapidly through this chapter, I hope you don't mind it; I believe it works for this one. This first chapter is sort of a prologue. The demons' names are real and the events of this first chapter take place in the beautiful island of Crete! The caves, they key and all that are of course fictional, as well as the island mentioned in the end of the chapter. I hope you'll like it!

Enjoy!


The people began exiting the church, smiling, laughing and talking cheerfully while the heavy, bronze bells chimed in a festal tone above them. The bride and groom walked out, too, surrounded by their family and friends. They were holding each other's hands and were smiling warmly to each other and the guests who were cheering and throwing handfuls of rice at them.

"They look really happy" Hamael commented.

"Indeed they do" Maion agreed.

The two angels were sitting on the top of one of the two belfries of the church. It was a stone church built according to the cruciform architecture of the early Byzantine years. Located fifteen miles outside the city, the temple was out of use most of the time. Services were held only once every five or six Sundays. But today the church had opened to host the holy mystery of marriage between two young people.

"Let us hope they are going to stay this way, happy and loving, during the rest of their married life" Maion wished.

The people beneath them started getting inside their cars in order to return back to the city for the wedding reception.

"I will pray to that" Hamael said.

The other angel stood up and spread his long, dark blue wings. Hamael looked at her comrade with question in her eyes.

"I will return to the city" Maion explained. "Quaphsiel and Iahhel are already there, searching for the Conjurer. Will you come along?"

"I will continue searching through the caves for the Key" Hamael said.

"Alright. Be careful, though. Iahhel said she could feel a dark aura in the island. She believes there are Fallen Ones here already."

The blue-winged angel flapped his wings and took off. Hamael watched as he flew away in the clear sky, towards the west. Then she returned her gaze back to the ground, where the last of the cars left the yard of the church.

-

Valefar snorted and threw a pebble into the small fire that burned in the middle of the cave.

"The hounds have still to find the Conjurer" he whined. "We're losing precious time while those morons, the angels, are using that empty-eyed bitch, Iahhel, to sense the human. Beleth will be pissed if they find him first. Or her. Whatever the human is."

Receiving no reply from his fellow demon, he turned to look at him. The red-haired demon was crouching in the corner and playing idly with a skull he was holding in his hands.

"Hey, Amaymon! Are you listening to me?"

The red-haired demon turned his head and cast an annoyed, yellow stare at his comrade.

"I don't give a damn about the stupid human" he sneered.

"But that's what we're here for, moron!" Valefar objected. His eyes narrowed. "Or isn't that what you're here for?"

Amaymon's face contorted with fury and he stood up in a rush.

"Shut up! Leave me alone and mind your own business!"

He sent the skull to crush against the opposite wall and he strode out of the cave. He walked through the endless labyrinth of caves and passages until he reached the opening. He stopped there and leaned against the stone, his eyes staring up at the blue sky. Only a few white clouds travelled lazily in the western horizon, along with a flock of wild geese and a…

Amaymon's eyes widened, a demonic gleam illuminating them as he watched a winged creature that wasn't a goose or any other bird fly gracefully across the sky.

*

Eidan took another sip of his martini and left the glass on the bar counter. The young man was feeling bored. Very bored. The loud music, the psychedelic lights, the people dancing ecstatically around him… nothing managed to interest and cheer him up tonight. Not even the lustful glances he earned from both men and women – he was young and attractive, after all – made him feel any better.

He felt a light nudge on his arm and turned around to see Chris and Josie, their hands all over each other's body and obviously more than a little drunk.

"Hey, man. We're gonna call it a night. We'll go back to the hotel" Chris announced. "Coming?"

Eidan shook his head negatively.

"I think I'll stay here for a bit longer and return to the hotel later."

Chris shrugged and the girl next to him put on a pouting expression.

"You lose, handsome" she said and stuck her tongue out to give him a lick on the cheek as they walked next to him to go to the exit.

Eidan wiped his cheek, glowering at the girl as they disappeared among the crowd. He sighed and brought the glass of martini back to his lips.

-

"I can sense her" Iahhel announced with her hollow voice. "We're getting closer."

"So, it's a female human" Quaphsiel realized.

"Yes."

The two angels walked down the dark street. It was past midnight and they had been searching for the Conjurer all day.

Iahhel suddenly stopped and remained still for a second. Then she began walking again.

"Is something wrong?" Quaphsiel asked.

"Maion" she simply answered.

A moment later Quaphsiel heard the sound of wings flapping from above. He looked around and saw a third angel landing next to them. His long, blue wings disappeared as soon as his feet touched the ground.

"Have you located the child yet?" he asked.

"Not yet, but Iahhel says we're close" Quaphsiel answered.

"We have got to hurry. I've just learnt that the Fallen Ones are already here, looking for the human, too."

Quaphsiel's expression got concerned.

"They're here already?"

Iahhel's movement next to them drew their attention. The white-haired angel had lifted her arm and was now pointing straight ahead.

"She's that way" she said.

"Let's go" Maion ordered and marched forth.

-

Eidan was drinking his third round of martini when he saw him. He was standing at the entrance of the club, surrounded by countless half-drunken people that danced frantically and laughed, yet he stood out, like a delicate ray of light in the dark. He was tall and lean, dressed in torn jeans and a very short, close-fitting black T-shirt that flattered his toned figure and revealed his fishnet-clad midriff. His hair was long and blood-red, worn in a low ponytail that fell down his back. And he had a unique aura around him, a special something that had Eidan staring at him in awe.

The newcomer scanned the interior of the club for a few moments until his eyes fell on Eidan. The two men's eyes locked together and Eidan felt mesmerized. A wide grin spread on the red-head's face as he walked through the masses and towards the counter.

The man stopped at the bar and leaned gracefully over the counter, giving his order to the bartender. Eidan was still staring at him, like an idiot. Why was this man having such a strong effect on him?

The man turned around and rested his elbows on the counter, his lean body arching lightly. He cast Eidan a seductive glance.

"Hello."

-

Hamael landed gracefully on the steep slope of the mountain. Her eyes scanned the area around the mountain. She was tired, she had to admit. She had been wandering around this part of the island all day. And she was disappointed, too, because her search had not produced any results. She still hadn't found the secret 'Temple in the Stone', the place where Eustathius the Anchorite had hidden the Key, nearly three centuries ago.

The wind blew on her face, making her hair fly around her head and bearing the saltiness of the sea with it. The night sky was so clear she could see thousands of stars twinkling upon the velvet black. The moon was already high in the sky. Judging by its position and the fact that it was late August, Hamael would say it was around twelve.

Sighing, the red-haired angel opened her wings once more and flew off to the sky again.

-

Lena writhed and twisted in her sleep, causing the sheets wrap around her body. With a soft sigh, her eyes flew open. She stared at the ceiling of her bedroom for some moments before she moved to her side and threw the bed sheet off her. It was a very warm summer night and she had just had a bad dream, so she was covered in sweat.

She couldn't remember much from her dream, but she was still left with an uneasy feeling. And this feeling still lingered. It made Lena feel like there was something off with her bedroom. Like there were eyes that watched her intensely from somewhere near.

The girl shifted uncomfortably on her bed and changed side, hoping she could fall asleep again. But instead of closing, her eyes widened and she gasped. Two red gleams were burning in the darkness of the corner. Staring at her.

-

Eidan stared at the man next to him. He had said that his name was Darryen and that he was a tourist, too. They had talked for some time while drinking their drinks. Eidan's night had suddenly turned interesting after this man's arrival. There was something about this stranger, Darryen, something seductive, alluring, something inhuman.

"So" Darryen said at some point. "This bar is not that bad, but" – he stared at Eidan intensely – "how about we move to somewhere more…" – his grin was a killer one – "quiet."

Eidan felt an electric current rushing through his whole body. He nodded. Then he followed Darryen to the club's exit and outside, at the stone-paved alley. Once outside, Darryen grabbed Eidan and pushed him to the wall. Eidan was caught off guard; his back hit the wall and next thing he knew, the other man's lips were on his. Eidan's eyes widened and then closed as he eagerly gave into the kiss and responded with zest. Darryen pulled away too soon and his green eyes bore into Eidan's hazed ones.

"I know a place" he said in a raspy voice. "It's really nice, but we'll have to drive there. We'll be all alone." He leaned in until his lips touched Eidan's ear. "Free to spend the night there."

He pulled back and looked at the man. Eidan could only gulp and shake his head 'yes'. At this point, he would probably follow this man anywhere, do whatever he ordered him to do.

Darryen grinned, showing his slightly longer than normal fangs. Then he took Eidan's hand in his cold one and led him to the street, where his car was parked.

-

"We are close" Iahhel muttered wanly. "Very close. And they are close, too."

"The Fallen Ones?" Maion asked with a frown and scanned the area around them.

Iahhel raised her arm and pointed to the south, then started marching towards that direction. The other two followed her. Iahhel's eyes had gone completely white, almost glowing, as she turned around corner after corner, walking down poorly-lighted streets and narrow alleys, following her keen sixth sense. The other two angels followed shortly behind, faithfully trusting their comrade's unmistakable hunch.

Iahhel suddenly came to a halt. Maion and Quaphsiel came to stand on either side of her. They were in front of a six-floor apartment building. Iahhel pointed her slender forefinger at the open window of the fourth floor. A white curtain was waving outside the window to the warm summer wind.

-

Hamael frowned at the mark on the rock. A patriarchal cross was drawn with red chalk on the uneven stone surface, right next to the opening of a cave into the mountain. Could that be… a sign that she was close to the Secret Temple? Hamael braced herself and entered the cave.

-

Eidan could feel the cool night air blowing on his face as Darryen drove his cabriolet a bit too fast. They had left the city behind them about ten minutes earlier and were now driving to the east.

Eidan turned to the left and looked at the mysterious man. Darryen looked completely cool and confident as he drove the car. Yet Eiden was starting to feel uncomfortable since he had no idea where they were heading to.

"So…" he started somewhat awkwardly. "Where are we going?" he asked.

A grin formed on Darryen's face.

"A very special place" he answered without turning to look at Eidan. "We're almost there. You'll like it, you'll see."

Eidan turned back to the road ahead of them, lightened by the car's strong headlights. Usually, he wasn't that compulsive, following strangers to the unknown. But this man Darryen… he had a strange impact on him, he mesmerized him. He represented the mysterious, the exotic, the adventurous…

-

"She's not here" Quaphsiel said in disappointment.

"But the bed is messed and still a little warm" Maion argued. "She must have been here until some minutes ago."

"She was here" Iahhel muttered with her colourless voice. "And so were they."

"Dark Ones?" Quaphsiel asked.

"I can clearly sense the dark aura they left in this room."

"They took her…"

"We still have time. We need to chase them" Maion said with determination. "Iahhel, can you follow them?"

"Easily."

-

The car finally stopped. As Eidan looked around, he realized they were in the middle of nowhere. The tall, stone mass of Mount Dikti towered over them to the right, a dark, ominous figure against the blue velvet of the starry sky.

Darryen got off the car and Eidan mimicked him.

"Well?" the red-head asked extending his hand towards the mountain. "Isn't it beautiful?"

"It is. It's beautiful."

Darryen smirked and stalked closer to Eidan. He slipped an arm around the young man's waist.

"There is a cave I discovered inside. It's really magical; I'm sure you're gonna love it." He leaned closer. "We can spend the night there" he whispered seductively into Eidan's ear.

Eidan shivered, his breath quickening. He swallowed, and looked deep into those green, hypnotic eyes, then nodded. Darryen's grin widened.

"Let's go then. The sooner we're there, the sooner the fun begins."

Holding Eidan's hands, he led him through the opening on the rock and into the depths of the mountain.

-

"I can see them!" Quaphsiel shouted.

The two angels sped up their pace and darted forward, charging at the demons. Iahhel followed several metres behind.

As soon as the four demons noticed the angels, they stopped and turned around. Almost immediately, their human disguise was ruined as horns emerged from their heads, fangs peeked out from between their lips, claws were extended and tails whipped the asphalt. They stood there, ready for battle as the two angels stopped a few feet away from them. They stared into each others' eyes; Maion and Quaphsiel against Malphas, Eligor and two lesser demons.

"Looking for trouble, Maion?" Eligor asked mockingly. He brought his hand to his mouth and licked the knuckles of his fingers with his long purple tongue. His fist clenched, ready to crush flesh and bone.

"Hand over the mortal" Maion demanded steadily.

"Oh, I don't think so" Malphas laughed and took a step forward. His red eyes glimmered with killing intent.

"You know it is against the rules to abduct a mortal" Quaphsiel said.

"Are you accusing me, worm?" Malphas spat, his humour quickly changing into rage.

"I am quite sure it is not the first time someone accuses you" Iahhel said bluntly.

She stood several feet behind the other two and was exceptionally calm. It was obvious that she didn't mean her comment as an offence; she was just stating her mind – and an obvious truth. But Malphas seemed to have taken it rather badly.

"What? You bitch!" he spat and charged at her.

He moved as fast as a lightning, passing between Maion and Quaphsiel before the two angels had the time to do anything to stop him. Just as Malphas prepared to pounce, Iahhel raised her hand. A white, luminant, semi-transparent cocoon formed, closing around her. The demon's fist crushed on the burier, which wavered but didn't give in.

Malphas took some steps back, holding his sore fist with his other hand and spitting some curses in a guttural language. Maion had already turned around and was running towards Iahhel to aid her, when Eligor landed right in front of him, blocking the way. The demon's wings furled behind his back and he licked his lips.

"Forget about the white-assed bitch and start worrying for yourself, servant" he spat and attacked Maion.

As demon and angel engaged in battle the two lesser demons threw themselves at Quaphsiel.

-

Hamael's long, slender fingers gently traced the complicated designs on the stone surface. It was pretty dark in the cave, the only light provided by the few rays of moonlight that sneaked in through some cracks on the cave roof. But the angel's enhanced vision allowed her to distinguish the holy drawings and Latin words. She was certain now; this long corridor would definitely lead her to the secret chamber. The place where the Key was.

-

"Amazing" Eidan breathed as he stared up at the cave roof.

The small pond sent iridescent colours and shimmers on the grey stone. It was truly beautiful inside this cave. Everything looked magical, otherworldly. After staring at his new surrounding with a gaping mouth, Eidan turned around to cast a glance at the man who had brought him here. He saw Darryen kneeling on the ground some metres away, next to a three-foot oval-shaped rock that had a strange symbol drawn on it.

"What's that?" Eidan asked.

Darryen, who seemed to be rapt with that rock, turned his head around sharply and stared at Eidan. For one moment, his eyes gleamed with something that almost scared Eidan. But then the man smiled and stood up, his expression turning mellow and seductive once more. He walked closer until he was right in front of Eidan.

"So… do you like it?" he asked gesturing around the cave.

"It's perfect" the young man answered.

Darryen moved even closer; their bodies touched and Eidan could feel Darryen's hot breath on his face. The red-haired seducer leaned in and their lips touched. Eidan almost moaned in the kiss. He slid his hands up his lover's arms, while Darryen's hands moved to his waist and head, drawing him closer.

-

Quaphsiel pulled back, avoiding the demon's sharp claws only to get a direct hit to the head by the second lesser demon. He fell to one knee and managed to lift his spear up and use it as a shield against the two demons' next attacks.

A few metres away another battle raged on. Maion and Eligor were wielding their swords against each other with fury. Further away, Malphas was still trying to penetrate Iahhel's shield.

"Cease!"

The stentorian voice echoed all around them and angels and demons alike stopped their attacks and turned around. A tall figure came out of the darkness. The creature walked closer. Maion's and Quaphsiel's eyes widened when the light of street lamp illuminated the creature; it was the Beleth, the King of the Sixth Level of Hell. He had taken the form of a tall man with handsome face features, green eyes and shoulder-length blond hair.

"Enough of this meaningless brawl" the archdemon ordered.

Maion stepped forth and stared at the demon with resolution in his eyes.

"Give us the mortal" he demanded.

A mocking grin spread on the demon's face.

"Are you giving me an order, angel? And you expect me to obey?"

"What you've done is against the rules! You can't abduct humans and force them to help you with your unholy plans and you know it!"

"Is that so?" The demon raised his left hand and snapped his fingers. "You will be surprised to know that this time I've done nothing against the rules" he said as two more figures approached from behind him.

They came to stand right next to him. The shorter one was a human, a young woman who wore only a white nightgown. The second was a lesser demon who had his hands on the woman's shoulders.

"You support free will, don't you?" Beleth asked sarcastically as Eligor, Malphas and the two lesser demons left the angels and walked towards him. "Well, here's your free will." He turned to the woman next to him. His hand rose to her head and he caressed her hair. "Tell them, sweet Lena. Tell them what you want."

"I want…" her voice broke off and she swallowed. The demon's knuckles brushed over her cheek. The girl's eyes met his and she smiled faintly. "I want to go with Master Beleth she said.

Maion and Quaphsiel were caught off-guard.

"Mortal, don't say that!" Quaphsiel pleaded. "Listen, don't be afraid of them. Now that we are here, they won't hurt you. You can speak freely. Say that you don't want to follow them and I'll take you away safely."

The girl glanced at the demon again and shook her head.

"No, I want to go with him."

"You can't do that, mortal! Whatever they said to you is a lie! They are demons and they only want to take advantage of you!"

"Enough!" Beleth barked. "You had your answer. Now be gone. This mortal is mine."

Maion clenched his fists.

"Feeling angry, angel?" Beleth asked mockingly as the demons started turning their back and walking away. "Be careful, you're sinning."

With a last scornful grin, Beleth passed his arm over the girl's shoulders and they both turned around and disappeared in the darkness of the night.

Maion closed his eyes and shook his head.

"I hadn't expected that" he muttered.

"Me neither." Quaphsiel came to stand next to him. "I feel sadness for the poor lost soul."

"She will soon regret her choice" Iahhel commented indifferently as she too approached them. "They all do."

-

Eidan felt like he was on fire. The other man's hands were all over his body; rubbing his back, tangling in his long blond hair, pulling at his shirt until it came off. The young man's mind was clouded with lust and he could hardly think of anything else apart from Darryen's tongue in his mouth. It felt so good…

The kiss was abruptly interrupted and Darryen pulled back, his face showing alertness. The man's eyes narrowed and he sniffed the air like a hound. He shivered.

"She's here" he whisper, his voice hoarse with excitement.

Eidan frowned.

"Who?" he asked.

Darryen's fanged grin sent shivers down his spine just before the man's fingers grabbed tightly a handful of his blond hair and tugged violently.

"Time to scream."

-

The pained scream echoed through the cave chambers until it reached Hamael's ears. The angel frowned. What was that? It had sounded like a human's cry. Several more screams and moans resounded through the stone walls. Someone was inside this labyrinth of caves and was obviously in trouble. Leaving her quest for the Key aside, Hamael started running, following the direction the screams where coming from. She had to aid the human.

-

The demon grinned sadistically at the mortal's pleading cries. He had the human kneeling before him, holding his right arm behind his back with one hand while he pulled at his blond hair with the other. The young man had a pained, shocked expression on his face. It was obvious that he was in shock about the turn of events. How could this be? The man that had promised him a night of pleasures was now treating him like that, hurting him like he hated him.

"You wanted romance, huh? You little, worthless worm! Now make yourself useful and scream!"

He twisted the man's wrist mercilessly and Eidan wept in agony. Amaymon snickered, both amused and annoyed by the man's pathetic stance. Then he heard light footsteps approaching. His evil grin turning to one of pure happiness, he raised his eyes to the entrance of the cavern just in time to see Hamael entering.

The angel paused beneath the arch of the cave's entrance and stared at the sight before her, looking rather confused. Amaymon had loosened his grip on Eidan's wrist and hair but the young man didn't even notice as he, too, stared at the creature that had just appeared. It looked almost identical to the man torturing him, although maybe a bit more feminine. That fact scared the young man even more.

"I knew you'd come" Amaymon began, breaking the silence. "I knew you'd rush to save the human once you heard his cries."

He tugged the man's hair and earned a gasp to emphasize his point.

"Let the child go" Hamael said steadily although a deep frown had formed between her fine brows.

"Certainly, I will" the demon said. He licked his lips lewdly. "But you know I'm gonna ask for something in return."

"Not again…" Hamael sighed.

"I know you can't stand the thought of a mortal getting hurt like this." The demon shook the man's head by the hair. "You'd do anything to save him."

The angel shook her head, her eyes lowering; it was true.

"So?" the demon prompted. "What's it gonna be? Are you gonna stay there and watch as I dismember this stupid human slowly?" His grin widened, eyes darkening with lust. "Or are you going to trade yourself for him? Mmm?"

The angle remained still for several long moments. Then she turned her head slightly to the side and nodded. That was the sign Amaymon was waiting for. He released his hold on the human and kicked him hard.

"Disappear from my sight, you worthless piece of shit!" he ordered.

The man crawled away from the man who had turned out to be his worst nightmare and scrambled to his feet. Stumbling, he ran towards the exit. When he reached Hamael he turned and looked at her with desperate eyes. The angel returned a look full of understanding and sympathy.

"I'm sorry" Eidan whispered before he ran out of the cavern.

Hamael's eyes returned to the demon.

"Finally, alone" Amaymon sighed, the gleeful smile never leaving his face. "It's been almost three years since I last saw you."

He stalked closer to the angel. Hamael resisted her instinctive reaction to step back. She had given a promise, after all. Amaymon stopped right in from of her. They were of the same height and body build, excepting for the gender features. Their skin tone, their hair colour, their eyes; all identical. But their faces, even though they had similar features, looked quite different, due to the opposite feelings depicted on them.

"I was waiting for you." A mischievous grin played across his lips. "I made the marks on the walls that lead to this cave. I knew you would follow them in order to find the Key." His grin faded. "I might let you have it."

The demon lifted a hand to her face and caressed her cheek.

"I feel so sad when I don't see you for long" he mused. "You're so perfect, I want to be with you all the time."

He moved closer to her and slipped his other arm around her waist. His face leaned forward until their lips touched. Letting out a sigh of content, Amaymon pressed his mouth on hers and began kissing her hungrily. His tongue shot out and licked sloppily her lips while trying to get in between them and inside her mouth. Instinctively, Hamael pressed her lips together and tried to pull back from him. But the demon's arms tightened around her.

"You promised me!" he reminded her. "Don't go back now. Come on."

Holding her tightly, he led her further inside the cave and towards a corner. He forced her to sit down and then joined her on the ground. Then he resumed his kissing, while his hands began groping her body hungrily.

"You'll like it, you'll see" the demon murmured between his kisses. He paused for a moment and stared at her. "You've never had carnal intercourse, have you? I have. I have laid with a few humans in the past. But not because I desired them!" he reassured. "I just wanted to see what it was like. And also" he caressed her red hair with affection, "to practice, so I could be good when I would finally mate with you."

He gave her a childish smile. On the other hand Hamael's frowning, patient, semi-disgusted expression was slowly changing to one of sympathy and compassion. She didn't pull back when the demon leaned in and nuzzled his face in her hair.

"We were so close when those angels came and interrupted us the last time" he murmured lustfully in her ear. "If that moron, Abaddon hadn't screwed up, we would have become one."

He drew back and looked deep into her eyes with his own obsessed ones. Hamael sighed softly and then she gasped when she felt cold fingers directly touching her skin, the demon's hands having somehow managed to creep between the folds and layers of her clothes.

"Now is the time!" Amaymon clamored in excitement. He pushed her on her back and swiftly got on top of her. "We'll become one! Now at last we'll become one!" And he unleashed a torrent of feverish kisses on her face while his hands tried to get rid of her clothes.

His heart was beating fast, his body blooming into new life with the presence of his other half beneath him. He was feeling so happy and fulfilled, like he was taking his dose after days of withdrawal. He thought he was going to die from all this happiness. But no, he would survive – he would survive at least as long as it would take to finally become one with her. After aeons of patience, scheming and failed attempts, he finally had her under him. Finally, he would-

A strong hand wrapped around his hair and pulled violently. Amaymon was suddenly separated from the angel and was sent flying across the cave until he crashed on the opposite wall. He collapsed to the ground groaning in pain. Still dizzy from the hit he'd received, Amaymon rubbed his head and tried to focus his vision. His eyes widened when he saw the three angels surrounding Hamael. Iahhel was helping her to her feet while Maion and Quaphsiel stood protectively in front of her, glaring at the demon. The black-haired angel was shaking his head in disapproval.

"Again with you" he muttered.

Amaymon stood up tottering.

"Go away!" he shouted at the angels. "Hamael and I made a deal! She willingly gave herself to me! Leave us alone!"

"Willingly? Who knows what trick you played again to make her agree to this blasphemy…" Quaphsiel said.

"No! No! We were meant to be one!" the demon shouted in despair. He couldn't believe they had interrupted them. Now that he had been so close…

"Let's go" Maion said to the others.

"No!" Amaymon screamed and took some steps closer to the group of angels. "You fucking bastard! I know what you want!" He pointed at Maion with his clawed finger. "You want her for yourself, you worm!"

The angels stared at each other with puzzled expressions.

"He had lost it completely" Quaphsiel muttered shaking his head.

"I won't let you take her away from me! She's mine! Mine!" Amaymon screamed and lunged against the angels.

Maion stepped in front of the others and took his fighting stance. He was ready when the demon threw himself at him. As strong a Demon Lord as Amaymon was, he was clumsy and careless in his state of anger and despair. Maion easily fended him off and pushed him down. He prepared his sword as the demon jumped back to his feet and charged at him anew. The angel stepped to the side and launched his sword forward as the demon passed by him. The blade found Amaymon on the arm, opening a deep wound. Growling in pain and frustration, the demon continued to attack blindly. More calmly and collected, Maion managed to wound his enemy a couple of more times until, finally, Amaymon's knees buckled and he fell on his knees to the ground.

"Bastard…" he gritted before the angel raised his sword and brought it down on the demon's head, hilt first.

The dull sound of bone cracking echoed in the cave and Amaymon collapsed heavily on the ground. Casting a last damnatory glance at the demon on his feet, Maion turned around and returned to the others.

"It's over. Let us go" he said, sheathing his sword. Then he frowned at Quaphsiel's smiling face. "What?"

The brown-haired angel presented the small object he was holding in his hand. It was a silver key with an artfully curved bow.

"It's the Key" Maion realized in surprise.

"Yes, it was in there" he pointed at an oval-shaped rock a few metres away, which now lay opened in two.

"Amaymon told me that he would give me the key, so I suspected that this could actually be Eustathius Secret Chamber, even though Amaymon had deliberately led me here for another purpose" Hamael explained.

"I see" Maion muttered, taking the key and studying it in his hand. He shook his head. "The fool lured you here in purpose… Didn't it even cross his mind that other angels could easily come here after sensing you?"

"He probably didn't think about it" Quaphsiel said. "I'm afraid his condition is getting worse and worse."

"Never mind him. Let us leave this place before more Fallen Ones start gathering. I wouldn't want us to engage in any more fighting tonight. We lost the mortal but at least we have the Key."

The angels started heading for the exit of the cave. The demon who lay on the ground, body and pride painfully wounded, lifted his head an inch. Through clouded eyes he caught a last glimpse of Hamael leaving, walking between Quaphsiel and Iahhel. Then the last remains of strength drained away and his head fell back down on the ground. He didn't see the red-haired angel turning her head to look back at him one last time before she exited the cave.

*

Valefar sighed.

"You lost the Key?" he asked, hardly believing his comrade's stupidity. "How could you have lost the fucking Key?"

Amaymon cast a gloomy glare and then looked away again. He was holding a cloth which had been previously drenched in unholy water and ash on his head, where the angel had stricken him with such force.

"And all for what? For that angel!" Valefar shouted in indignation. He noticed Amaymon's shocked look and added mockingly: "What did you think, you moron? Everybody knows. You're a laugh."

The red-haired demon pouted and looked away.

"Leave me alone" he murmured.

"I'll leave you alone, alright" Valefar said. "But what about Beleth? When he finds out about your screw-up, he will be mad. He will have your stupid head on a plate."

Amaymon tossed the cloth aside and stood up in a rush.

"Screw you! And screw him! You think I'm afraid of him! I don't give a shit about him or his stupid plans! I'm outta here."

Dark green smoke surrounding him, the demon vanished within seconds.

Valefar shrugged.

"Fine. You're more trouble than help anyway" he murmured as he went back to the map that lay on the ground before him. His long finger traced across Italy, Greece and Turkey until it stopped on a small island between Cyprus and Syria. The Isle of Taphos.


So??? Review and let me know what you thought of it, okay? Oh my God, please say it didn't disappoint you! Please!!!