Blood Rage Retribution
By DB Nielsen
The dragon snorted flame, lighting a conflagration that swept across the open fields, turning grassy pastures to cinder in an instant. It flapped its enormous leathery wings, soaring toward heaven’s heights as shadows coalesced beneath.
The villagers screamed.
Another arrow of flame seared the temple, consuming it and all God’s worshippers within it in an enormous bonfire. The townspeople ran blindly through the narrow, winding streets, past the marketplace, covering their exposed heads with their hands.
“Nathan!” Michael shouted a warning as he extinguished the flame.
Nathan’s blade whispered as it sliced the air, striking a blow against the dense onyx scales of the dragon’s torso. Sparks flew, but no observable damage had been done. He froze. Even Michael paused motionless in midair for a moment, his mouth slightly open, which was equivalent to his jaw dropping in shock.
Oh, dear Lord! This was no ordinary demon!
Michael and the beast had known each other since they were created, and this battle was not the first time they had faced one another, nor would it be the last. But each time, it became increasingly more difficult to defeat the beast as the world became more sinful.
The dragon turned its eyes on them, blood red and simmering, as the shadows of wraiths rose between the cracks in the Earth like smoke pouring forth from the bowels of hell. The amorphous tendrils merged as the people ran, becoming sharper, taking form. Whitened eyes or hollowed sockets, skeletal limbs, rotting flesh hanging from bone. The stench of ten thousand years rose from the grave, hardening and solidifying into a familiar shape, but no longer human. These creatures crawled out from Demura in search of blood.
Ushering those still alive to safety, Michael held back the blast of sulfurous flame emitted from the serpent’s mouth. Its razor-sharp teeth dripped blood and saliva. The angry, livid slash of red gums opened to a lolling forked tongue, and the creature roared. The noise was shattering, like the bellow of a whale magnified hundreds of decibels.
The dragon’s eyes glowed crimson, its inner golden membranes blinking in rage. And then its mouth turned up in a semblance of a smile. It was ugly and terrible to behold.
“This is bad,” Nathan said, trying to drive his sword through the plate-like armor of the dragon’s belly again. It had virtually no effect. “Very, very bad.”
The dragon’s long, sharp claws swiped at the offending angel like a gnat it was determined to crush. Nathan dodged. Behind him, a mountain toppled, stones were dislodged, and buildings broke into bite-sized pebbles.
Nathan threw himself clear of the dragon’s claws, and only just managed to miss its chomping jaws as it turned its head to snap at him. Breathing fire, it traced Nathan’s path as he flew in a widening gyre, twisting and turning in the sky.
Michael was already in motion, swooping to distract the dragon from its prey.
“Begone, foul thing!” Michael shouted at the dragon. “And take your army with you! Go back to the dark place where you belong!”
The dragon hissed in response, breathing more fire from its large nostrils. It was so hot, its breath cracked stone like the heat from the blazing sun in a thirsty desert. The land shrieked in flame. The people cried out in suffering.
Glowing like starlight, Nathan turned his blade on the foul creatures swarming over the land, hacking off limbs and heads. His flaming sword cut them down easily, so they would never rise again. Yet more of the deadly creatures formed from the thick, black plumes.
A low, reverberating boom rose from the depths below, growing louder as if the Earth’s core was a massive drum with the harsh sound of thousands of marching feet. Shadows whirled and danced between the widening cracks. Scuttling, slithering, and other feral things could be heard amassing below. Fleshless and terrible. Gathering for an attack.
The numbers were overwhelming.
Decaying, putrefying creatures scurried like cockroaches up from the vaporous cracks in the ground. Sensing human blood, they dragged their decomposing carcasses toward the fleeing villagers. They shrieked unintelligibly in tongues long forgotten.
It was made more horrible as their dry, papery mouths formed strange, meaningless sounds. Sounds which were whispered, hissing and whistling between rotten teeth.
The beast roared again, an unearthly cry that shook the ground, creating shockwaves. Beating its wings against a darkening sky as the wan sun tried to weakly push back the gloom, it was a dark shadow surrounded by flames.
As it circled in the sky, returning for another pass over the land, a fiery forked tongue snaked out. It swooped down suddenly, and more flame lit up the land between the fleeing humans and the creatures, consuming both. It was entirely indifferent to the loss of some of its subjects, lighting them up along with the humans as it roared in hungry wrath. But more came, pouring forth from Demura.
“We need to hold them back,” Nathan cried over the inhuman keening of the creatures. “Save God’s chosen.”
But their efforts were severely hampered.
Black wings buffeted the archangels, each blow like a sledgehammer. The dragon was slowing them down from reaching their charges. The bright souls of the slaughtered humans needed to be collected and guided to Etherean. Yet the creatures were all around the souls, clawing at them with skeletal fingers, trying to drag them down to Demura. Then there were the others, half-living half-dead things, who clambered onto the backs of the villagers, shredding their skin, teeth sinking in, licking at the bloody wounds.
Feasting turned to screams as Nathan wielded his sword in righteous anger, cleaving the rotten flesh and brittle bones to ribbons. Purifying light flew from the flaming sword forged in Etherean, blessedly burning bright.
Engulfed in an inferno, their peeling flesh, the consistency of crumbling parchment, was consumed. A bonfire. They danced as the flames licked at their heels. Against the darkened sky, they writhed and spun in a flaming dervish. And as they thrashed and struggled, the heavens seemed to weep. Not tears. Not blood. But hollow husks. Now fragments of sooty, blackened papery flesh. Like dirty, charred flakes they drifted across the land. Charcoal-colored ash rained down. The stench was nauseating.
Michael appeared by Nathan’s side. “We must bring down the beast.”
Nathan nodded, his face smeared with ash and blood. Looking every inch the avenging angel in his crested breastplate, he said, “Only light can defeat the darkness.”
Michael looked at him knowingly. “I agree. I’ll provide the distraction.” Holding his sword aloft, he rose effortlessly into the air, his mighty white wings momentarily beating against the darkness to let the sunlight through. “Strike true.”
Michael drew out his trumpet and blew it loudly, calling to the angels, the Etherean Alpha Squad, to assist in pushing back the amassing monstrous hordes. Like bright circling lights, they appeared in the sky in shining armor, swarming upon the creatures, working quickly to keep them at bay within the split in the Earth.
“Go!” Zuriel shouted at the archangels. “We’ll hold them back for you.”
Above, the dragon was swooping, preparing to attack.
The Great Defender charged toward the dragon with a spirited war cry. It rang out over the land, a proclamation he wasn’t afraid of the beast. It gave the people hope, and they came out from their hiding places to look upon the spectacle of the archangel fighting the ancient fiend.
Great plumes of billowing black smoke engulfed the land as it burned. Ash showered them as the people stared up at the dark canvas above, almost pitch black yet backlit with flickering flames like fierce, angry stars or sparking comets.
“The Lord will save us!” they cheered.
Yet suddenly, the sky was rent asunder by a torrent of fire as hot as a furnace. The people below cried out in terror and shielded their faces as the archangels circled the beast. Michael charged at the dragon, holding his shield in front of him to take the force of the blast. He bided his time, waiting for Nathan to get into position, but feared he wouldn’t be able to hold up against the ferocity of the dragon’s blaze much longer.
Nathan flew higher to look down upon the great beating wings and the spiked, thrashing tail of the dragon. Its wings spanned miles. Its back had rows of shield-like scales tightly sealed together. Each was so close to the next that no air passed between. The scales were joined fast, right up to the dragon’s enormous head, protecting it from any threat.
Searching for a weak spot, a chink in the dragon’s armor, he noted the infinitesimal movement of the dragon’s scales on its neck when it moved its head to gaze down upon its foe.
There was his chance.
Nathan raised his sword and light poured forth from its tip, signaling Michael below. Then, having faith that Michael would be where he needed to be at the right time, Nathan channeled divine light, letting it radiate from within. Building in intensity as he unfurled his ivory wings to their widest span to act like mirrors, reflecting the light one hundredfold, he said a quick prayer and hurtled downward toward his target.
As he tore through the air, he continued to channel divine light, drawing upon the energy emanating from God’s creation; an energy created from faith, hope, and love which sustained and lifted the world. Pure energy. Pure light.
Finally, he was upon the beast.
Gripping his gleaming sword with both hands, he plunged it into the dragon’s neck in the small space between its scales, a vulnerable point. The leathery skin beneath split open like a ripe melon, and divine light breached the beast’s armor.
At the exact same moment, Michael drove his sword upward into the beast’s throat, piercing its forked tongue and the dragon roared in pain and anger, thrashing its head about and attempting to dislodge the angel.
Blinding light erupted through widening chinks in the dragon’s armor, appearing from the tip of its tail through to the dragon’s nostrils. Its forked tongue snaked out, lashing at Michael, but he darted agilely away.
Michael flew to join Nathan, whose face was a mask of grim determination. He held the brilliance of divine light, pouring it forth through the seraph blade and into the serpent. The dragon put up a vicious fight, refusing to go down.
“Return to your demon den in Demura! Begone! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and serve Him only!’ I will smite thee in His name!” Michael grasped his spear in his right hand and plunged it into the neck of the beast.
Then, from the pierced jaw of the dragon, it bellowed, “You think to be rid of me so easily? Foolish angel! I shall rise up again, stronger than before, and bring down the walls of Jericho!” With this threat, its unearthly spirit left the beast’s body.
Within moments, the dragon’s eyes rolled into the back of its head and, lifeless, it plummeted to Earth. It crashed to the ground with a thunderous noise, amid plumes of smoke and dust.
Drained and exhausted, Nathan collapsed atop the beast’s back, staring at the sky as the sun bathed the land in glorious light.
“What news?” Nathan hailed Gabriel and Aphrodite as he approached them on the veranda. He turned his eyes toward the gardens that were on display, missing the look that passed between them.
The castle’s veranda was open, allowing them to enjoy nature. It ran along the south side, beside the private garden. It was the perfect getaway for relaxation and meditation. Comfortable chairs and chaises were placed about to allow those who wanted to relax the ability to do so.
Nathan had recovered from his exhaustion but had yet to see Michael or be debriefed by the council. He breathed in the heavenly scented air.
“Such a beautiful day,” he announced to those beside him as he took a seat. A gentle breeze blew, lightly caressing his skin.
There were murmurs of agreement from his companions, but their lackluster response told him something was wrong.
Turning to look at them, he noticed the way their eyes slid away from his, avoiding his direct gaze.
“What’s the problem? Have we run out of Etherean wine?” he joked, trying to make light of the tension in the air.
“No, we’ve just ordered another bottle,” Aphrodite replied, casting a glance at Gabriel below her long lashes, which he pretended not to see. He didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news this time, despite being God’s Messenger.
“If it is a problem at the Gates, then Peter and Michael are more than capable of handling whatever the problem is. Let it play out. We can’t solve all problems for everyone,” Nathan remarked, seeing that his joke fell flat.
Gabriel wasn’t in the mood for jokes. He held back a sigh, rolling his eyes.
“Tell him,” Aphrodite urged. “He’s going to find out anyway.”
“Tell me what?” Nathan demanded, anxiety growing by the second.
Gabriel’s head jerked toward him and the instant their eyes met, dread filled Nathan. His friend’s eyes were filled with something that Nathan was unable to identify.
“You’re right,” he replied to Aphrodite. Gabriel held Nathan’s gaze. “The villagers you saved will proclaim the Lord’s name in gratitude and love forevermore.”
“That’s good,” Nathan said, confused, looking between his two good friends. “But? I assume there’s a ‘but’?”
“Remember, not to us but to the Lord be the glory, for the sake of His steadfast love and faithfulness,” intoned Gabriel.
“Oh, don’t be such a pathetic, celestial chicken-douche,” Aphrodite threw at Gabriel in exasperation. Then, she looked directly at Nathan for the first time since he arrived. “I’m sorry. The story goes that when the people looked up, they only saw one archangel defeat the dragon; the last man—or angel—standing. Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter, we know who brought the beast down.”
Nathan opened his mouth as dread and jealousy twisted in his stomach, already knowing the answer. His voice came out in a croak. “Wha—what are you saying?”
Gabriel gave him a pitying look. “Sorry, bro. As usual, Michael got all the credit.”
Now that the danger and fighting were over, St. Sepulchre took on a solemn silence, but the scent of sulfur, sweat and blood permeated the hallowed space, defiling it. It wasn’t the first time there was fighting in a church or on sacred ground. Nathan remembered the Crusades and the later Reformation when warriors even brought their horses into the church atrium and vestibule. But horse manure was nothing compared to rogue dark mages performing their foul practices and a female vampire walking on consecrated ground.
He ground his teeth together in frustration. What was the world coming to? It was sacrilegious. An abomination.
If he had any say in things, none of this would have been allowed to transpire, but he was forced to submit to His divine will and not question what the Lord commanded. He raised his eyes to the crucifix above the altar and sighed. Though he was the Left Hand of God, Nathan had no real say in anything—worse still, he wasn’t privileged like some others to share in God’s plans. That’s what you got for being an angel, even an archangel, and not God’s only son.
It was all right for some. Thirty-three years as a human without having to perform any miracles until the last twelve months. Sure, there was that whole business with the Pharisees and the Chief Priests, the betrayal of a couple of his disciples, and dying on the cross, but it wasn’t like he hadn’t been warned. At least Jesus had been given a heads-up on the grand plan. Instead, Nathan was left to cool his heels and wait for the holy orders of the day.
Still, thoughts like this could get him into trouble.
No one liked to mention that rogue archangel-turned-devil in Etherean much, since it pissed off the Almighty. But such sedition led to Lucifer’s fall from grace, and now he was an outcast for all time.
Besides, if Walt, his own personal guardian angel, knew he was having such dark thoughts, there’d be hell to pay—particularly since he’d inherited this role and its responsibilities from that same fallen angel after his banishment. He’d never met the guy, but he wondered what made one of God’s most trusted angels turn traitor.
Maybe the role was cursed. He sighed again.
Well, I’ve followed the Lord’s command to the letter. So, now what?
His mission. The daughter of Kayne.
Nathan’s eyes narrowed as he looked down at the top of the vampire’s head, hesitating to stroke the silky, platinum-blonde tresses. He knew she didn’t like being touched or public displays of affection, or affection of any kind, even though she was now openly weeping in his arms.
She was usually a bundle of explosive energy, constantly spitting fire at him with barbed remarks, unrestrained annoyance and rage. But now she was lost and would soon discover how aimless her life was without her obsessive revenge to sustain her. The Angel of Light wondered what God’s plan for this vengeful vampire might be, now that her quest was finished.
Compassion and envy warred within Nathan. He held the daughter of Kayne in his arms and let her cry it out—a millennium of hysterical, suppressed emotion—though he had to retract his wings as he really didn’t want his feathers getting wet with salty tears. He’d recently had them groomed in Etherean—cleaned, fluffed, and individually brushed with fragrant oils—and didn’t need them going flat or having another bad feather day, or year, or forty years, like when he’d guided Moses and his people across the Red Sea and the desert to the Promised Land. It was the worst gig he’d ever had and compared to Gabriel, who kept popping in and out to check on Mary and shepherd boys and the Magi, he felt he’d drawn the short straw. Not that Gabriel wasn’t a great guy and all that, but sometimes it seemed like the Almighty was testing him, as if he thought Nathan would be like his predecessor and fail in his duties too.
The vampire sniffled into his breastplate.
He rolled his eyes. He didn’t much care for rusty armor either, but at least the Etherean blacksmiths could always make him a new one.
Stop it, Nathan. Humility. Patience. Kindness. Charity. Temperance. Diligence. Chastity.
He repeated the seven virtues like a mantra to keep his thoughts from impiety. Though if he were honest with himself, thoughts of chastity were far from his mind as Aislinn glued herself to his chest.
He didn’t say anything, but she must have sensed his discomfort and disapproval as she drew back, trying to school her expression and force it into neutral, impassive lines. It wouldn’t change anything. He knew what she was thinking.
Despite the power that the daughter of Kayne had that others of her kind could only dream of, there was something innocent and childlike in her manner, as if she didn’t know how special she was. He felt the faintest stirrings of an unnamed, weightless feeling in his chest which he ruthlessly suppressed. It was a good thing she had drawn back from him or he might have pushed her away. Complications like her, he could do without.
But it was hard to distance himself. She kind of reminded him of Zuriel, his young protégé, who acted so tough, was so headstrong, and yet at times, so vulnerable. He’d personally escorted her soul to Etherean, knowing she was somehow special, and she hadn’t proven him wrong. Perhaps he needed to go with his gut instincts more often.
But not right now.
No, don’t go there. Concentrate, you blockhead.
Because his gut instinct was leading him into temptation.
Lord, show me the path to righteousness. Make me an instrument of your will.
Oh Lord, her hair smells like a field of fresh flowers, sweet and green. Violets. Yes, that’s it. Carried on a breeze.
Christ, I’m becoming poetic. Snap out of it. It’s pathetic.
I must remain calm. She’s skittish. I mustn’t frighten her away.
Kayne’s daughter was obviously uncomfortable with displaying her wild emotions and with needing a human form of contact. It didn’t surprise him, since vampires shared more in common with demons than angels. They didn’t have many, if any, human qualities left after their turning. But in this way, she was unique.
Stay cool. Be aloof. You’re an archangel, remember?
She was hesitant as she met his cool gaze.
Tearstained and vulnerable, without her usual scowl when greeting him, her face was extraordinarily pretty. No, much more than that. She wouldn’t have been out of place in Etherean, just like her father might have been with his striking looks too, except for their temperament. Both were too volatile, too hotheaded, too filled with blood rage. Nathan had done his best to help Kayne follow the pure path of light—and failed. Perhaps he would have better luck with his daughter.
His gaze sharpened as he looked at her.
Aislinn was torn between embarrassment, wariness, and a deepening fascination. The unsettled energy in the church disturbed her in new ways, much different from her earlier fears of spontaneous combustion from trespassing on hallowed ground. Somewhere at the back of her mind, she knew the angel spelled danger and trouble, but it didn’t seem to present that strobing warning light in her gut which led to self-preservation.
Nathan was intrigued by what he read on her face, but remembering his duty, he was the first to speak, breaking the tension.
“You should leave this place.”
She sniffed. “It’s too late. If it mattered all that much that a vampire was standing on sacred ground, I would have been blown to smithereens by now.”
“That’s not what I meant. You need to go right now.” He held up his hand to stop her protest before it left her lips. “Your friends, the vampires, are keeping a vigil for you outside.”
Despite her sensitive hearing, Aislinn had been oblivious to the hoots and calls of her companions, who safely remained outside the church grounds waiting for her.
This was more than the usual vampire allegiance. Loyalty wasn’t something vampires showed one another unless it benefited them personally. This was new. It was a strange notion, as fidelity didn’t appear in her species’ traits.
Yet, surprisingly, she had sworn two of her offspring to a blood oath without compunction. Despite it being the most binding of oaths—one of service, fealty, and blood honor for all eternity—Aislinn had bound them to silence about her clash with the Immortal Huntress, and its outcome. The commitment to her came at a high price, should it ever be exacted, since it annulled all other oaths, even those to serve the head of their coven and the Atum Council. Such secret allegiances were dangerous. And time would tell if her children would suffer for her selfishness. But at the time, she hadn’t cared.
And even up until a moment ago, she still hadn’t cared much about any of the others, so long as they didn’t get in the way of her vengeance. She had thought of the others as either allies or enemies, those whom she could extract favors from and those that were useless and, therefore, expendable. She had even used Cole as bait. That was harsh, even for a vampire.
She’d been so focused on her own needs, she hadn’t bothered to think of anyone else. In every way that counted, she had acted just like any other member of her species. She was cold blooded.
It brought a wave of guilt and humiliation.
“Don’t even think it.”
“Think what?” she asked the angel.
He rolled his surprisingly dark eyes at her.
“You’ll be crushed under that celestial sphere you’re holding up, Atlas—sorry, Aislinn,” Nathan quipped, touching her shoulder. Even that brief contact acted like electricity between them. He quickly removed his hand. “You’re weighing yourself down. You keep feeding the negative feelings you’re carrying. All this ‘mea culpa’ crap never helped anyone. You’re a better person than you believe you are.”
“You can’t possibly understand—” She hesitated. Confused.
He was an angel. Of course he would understand.
She started to walk away, trying to get rid of her surging emotions, to escape from the church and its religious relics reminding her of sacrifice and forgiveness, to dismiss its stifling confinement.
Nathan’s hand snaked out and tightened around her wrist, stopping her. This time he held on, despite the spark that flared between them. He was a professional. He would not let personal feelings get in the way of his duty.
“Guilt and regret are wasted emotions. Unusual emotions for a vampire, I’ll grant you, but wasted, nonetheless. They’re selfish emotions, too. They’re about you and not your companions nor your sister. You didn’t use your friends, nor did you force them to follow you. You are confusing what you feel for what is.” Her met her gaze and held it, and she found it hard to look away.
Emotions roiled within her. Startling and unknown.
“These feelings are yours alone. You need to own them. Don’t project what you feel onto your friends. Don’t decide for them. Only decide for yourself. But make sure that this is truly what you want,” the archangel continued. “Do you really want to be haunted by guilt and regret for an eternity? Because you are entitled to happiness—even as a vampire.”
Nathan released her wrist but continued to hold her gaze.
After a moment, she dropped into a nearby pew, with none of her usual gracefulness, sitting heavily in contemplation of his words. He waited in silence, allowing her time. She needed it.
While he waited, he scrutinized St. Sepulchre’s interior.
Why did humans make faith so somber and austere?
He found most churches gloomy and uninviting compared to the vast, open airiness of Etherean. It was a pity those souls who attained Heaven were unable to reveal what they had discovered to those here on Earth.
But maybe it was for the best. Humans already had it too good. Stop it, Nate! Follow your own advice!
But he couldn’t help the negative thoughts from creeping in.
He’d had enough of their delusions. They no longer believed in the forces of darkness, thinking it just what they read in storybooks. They didn’t believe vampires or shapeshifters were real. They now dismissed the dark arts, and witches and mages, and being pulled to the dark side, believing instead that good and evil lurked in the heart of all human beings. It was all about them. Everything was about them.
What a joke. They were so arrogant. They were so entitled. If life was a chocolate box, then they all thought they were the champagne-infused, gold-leaf sprinkled truffle. But the thing was, they just weren’t that special—except that Jesus told them so.
It just isn’t fair.
Of all God’s creatures, humans alone could be redeemed, even though they were almost incapable of learning from the past or exercising good judgment. They created an increasingly sinful world yet were taken into God’s bosom and forgiven.
Even the angels didn’t have it that good.
He should know, since he was stuck with a guardian angel, which was like having a probation officer for crimes unknown. It sucked donkey’s balls big time. But then again, so did the spate of crappy jobs he was continually being given by God via Walt.
Yet as far as jobs went, this one was proving interesting so far.
He was intrigued and fascinated and distracted. The daughter of Kayne was an anomaly, and he was still trying to figure that one out.
Nathan glanced down at her.
He knew what she was feeling. He could sense her inner conflict. But as he was an angel, and because he could, he gave her some space, radiating a divine calm and empathy. He figured that if it worked on humans, it might work on vampires too.
After waiting a sufficiently long time, especially for an immortal, Nathan quietly suggested, “Perhaps it would be better focusing on the now and accept that what your companions need from you is not what you believe they need.”
He was right. Vlad it.
Aislinn finally surrendered. She still didn’t say anything, but he could see the change in her body language and posture.
“You know, all of us need—”
“Don’t say it! Don’t you dare say love,” she warned, her eyes flashed obsidian momentarily. “I don’t need you telling me that all we need is love like some clichéd pop song.”
“I was going to say, a drink. I, for one, could really do with a drink right now” he muttered.
He wondered, and not for the first time, why he had been assigned this mission. No one understood the workings of God, but Walt thought it was marvelous he was stuck babysitting the female vampire. It was funny how the nicest guys could be the biggest assholes.
“Oh, right.” She shrugged. Her response was automatic but lacking any real apology. “Sorry, Nocturne doesn’t serve your kind.”
He raised his dark brows. “That’s a bit elitist.”
She frowned as she glanced at him. “So was the Last Supper. I don’t recall any vampires invited to that shindig.”
“I wasn’t invited myself,” Nathan confessed. His mouth curved up at one corner, but there was no humor in the smile.
It was true. That honor went to Peter, who was known to everyone in Etherean as ‘The Rock’, a moniker he shared with a professional wrestler-turned-actor on Earth. That thought made Nathan feel slightly better, especially as the guy was scheduled to become a member of the Etherean Alpha Squad when his soul was finally collected. Nathan’s smile broadened, knowing Peter was hoping that day would never come.
Aislinn didn’t bat an eyelash. “Don’t expect me to feel sorry for you.”
Okay, so she’s recovered her feistiness. Didn’t take too long.
“Can we call a timeout?” he asked, giving a long-suffering sigh.
She tilted her head to one side as if contemplating his request. Finally, she grudgingly offered, “There’s only one place that’ll serve both of us.”
Not that she wanted to go anywhere near the place. She would have torched it and its owner to the ground if she could have gotten away with it—and if it wasn’t flameproof.
“You’re talking about that vile establishment run by a purebred demon?” It was less a question than a statement. His voice held disgust.
“From your response, I gather you’ve been there.” Her mouth turned up in a cruel smile. “Goodie. No surprises then.”