Halfway to the castle off to the right was a pulse of power that caught Gideon’s attention. Looking in that direction, his eyes widen slightly as a once empty field was suddenly filled with what looked like a county fair. Sara, he thought. His relief that she was not in the castle was such that he faltered in mid-flight. The relief was short-lived as the illusion of the 1950’s county fair slowly dissolved, revealing where they were and more chillingly who they were. And Sara stood somewhere in the middle of them.
“Mother of God,” Talon breathed.
One by one the angels angled towards the horde.
“I’ve never seen this many demons in one place,” Loghan said in awe.
“More for us to slaughter,” Michel grinned gleefully.
Loghan grimaced at the angel. “You are one sick son-of-a….”
“We have never fought this many at once, or in their realm,” Aitan rumbled as they stopped to hover high overhead. “We are only nine, they are hundreds.”
“I don’t know,” Michel said nonchalantly, scratching his chin with one of his arrows. “I kind of like the odds.”
“Just sick,” Loghan muttered. Then more loudly, “It doesn’t really matter how many there are. Gideon was given the task of protecting Sara, which means we all protect her. We can’t leave her down there. They will tear her apart, and that is only after they are done playing with her.”
Gideon’s entire body went ridged with rage. They would not touch what was his. If they did, they would beg him for a death he would never grant them.
“Enough, Loghan,” Talon hissed seeing his leader’s expression. “Aitan is right, Gideon. There are too many of them and we are weak here.”
“I will not leave without Sara,” Gideon responded with a calm that raised the hair on Talon’s arms.
“I didn’t say we would, but going down there will be suicide. We need a diversion to pull some of them away,” Talon suggested, trying to reason with him.
When Gideon turned his blazing eyes towards him, Talon realized all the reasoning in the world would not stop his leader from going down into that death trap. With one last silent plea of sanity that Gideon ignored by turning back to the demon horde before them, Talon turned to the others.
“Loghan is right. Sara is all our responsibility. There is something about this girl that the powers to be in all the realms want. We have to make sure she does not fall into the wrong hands, whoever that may be,” he added the last quietly so only Gideon could hear.
Gideon looked at Talon, his eyes widening just a fraction. So Talon was not so sure who to trust either. Good to know.
“If this is a trap for me, you need to get her to safety, Talon. Take her to my house on Nepal. Tell no one of where you have gone except those you trust unequivocally.” He reached out and took a hold of Talon’s forearm, his grip bruising. “Keep her safe,” he hissed desperately.
Gripping Gideon’s forearm in a show of brothership, Talon nodded he would do as he was asked. Then they descended into the foray like silent shadows. There was nothing silent about the screams that followed. As Gideon fought his way through bodies, he absently realized that it had been over twenty minutes since he stood outside the electronic store watching this scene unfold. Time must be running differently here, something he had never heard of. Usually time flowed equally in each realm. He would have to wait until later to ponder that particular peculiarity. His first and only priority was finding Sara and getting her the hell out of this gods-forsaken realm.
“Sara!” he yelled between slashing and beheading. “Sara! Where are you?”
“Here!” a female voiced called from somewhere in front of him, her voice strained.
Thoughts of her fighting for her life fueled Gideon to fight harder. His name hissed in the midst of all the chaos sent a shock of adrenaline through his system, distracting him from his goal. That voice was familiar. Too familiar. Looking up he spied Lizza high in the air holding a struggling Sara and his heart froze. If Sara fell from that distance she would not survive. Their eyes locked and even though Sara did not know him, not really, there was a look of complete trust in those eyes. Trust he was not sure he had earned. However, that did not stop the feeling that slammed into him. The one that wanted desperately to earn that trust so that he could keep her with him forever.
“Let her go, Lizza,” Gideon snarled.
Lizza only laughed, which aggravated him more. That fallen angel had been a thorn in his side for far too long. Time to pull it out. Before he could launch himself into the air, his attention was diverted by a presence so foul it dwarfed all the others around him. There was only a few demons who could manage that feat, and only one who wanted Gideon’s head badly enough to risk the wrath of his master.
“Gideon!” Talon yelled in warning.
“Loathar,” Gideon snarled making that one word something as vile as the thing that stood before him, armed to the teeth. That he was so well armed brought a smile to Gideon’s lips. It meant that even though Gideon was weak in this realm, Loathar knew he could very well lose this fight.
The demon lord flexed his huge leathery wings, as his grin widened showing his surprisingly straight white teeth. It seemed to make the expression of malice on the demon’s face all that more fierce.
“You can’t just come in here and claim what is rightfully ours, Angel,” the demon scoffed.
“She is not yours, Loathar. She belongs with me,” Gideon snapped. Unfortunately the demon did not miss the hesitation over the word with. What Gideon wanted to say was that Sara was his, but that would bring a whole other set of problems down upon them. More he did not need right now.
“I suggest you keep better watch over your charges if you wish to keep them, Angel. She is in our realm now and she came freely, therefore she is ours. Your claim is null and void,” Loathar laughed. Then his voice grew low and husky. “And I plan to take pleasure in every part of her.”
“Over my dead body,” Gideon snarled.
“If you insist,” Loathar smiled. With a huge roar that shook the ground Loathar lunged.
Gideon parried with the ease of an existence worth of battle. Distantly he heard Sara scream and he desperately wanted to look, but he caught a flash out of the corner of his eye and knew that Talon was going after her. That she would be safe.
A few more blows and they backed away from each other, breathing hard as they circled.
“I never would have expected this to work out so well,” Loathar gloated. “The great Gideon! Leader of the most feared band of warriors the heavens have to offer laid low because of a small insignificant girl. I will have to admit, she does have spirit.” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “It will be interesting to see how long she will last before I have broken it.”
“I told you, demon,” Gideon said calmly, although he was anything but calm inside. Thinking about this monster touching Sara sent him into a rage the likes he had never felt before. “You will have to kill me first, and even if you do I will make sure you have nothing left to touch her with,” he added with an evil grin as he pointed his sword at the demons crotch.
“Now that is just rude,” Loathar’s voice showing his hurt as he cupped himself. Then his expression turned low and vicious as did his voice, “Boys, you know what to do with rude angels.”
Gideon barely had enough time to duck the mace that whistled through the air at his head. Then they were on him. Loathar and three other lords, all attacking at once. It was not long before Gideon lost his shield. Blocking a sword blow of the smallest lord, Gideon grabbed his wrist twisted and pulled the demon’s back to his front, his arm firmly around the demon’s neck. Now the demon had to fight his own people in order to survive, and the weapons bit into his body, not Gideon’s. Unfortunately the demon’s brethren did not care if they killed one of their own. It was just collateral damage.
“Gideon!” he heard one of his men call frantically.
“Get out of here!” Gideon ordered as he continued to keep the demon in front of him while they both fought.
“We are not leaving you!” This time it was Aitan’s voice that rumble through the ranks. A few of the lesser demon’s cowered back, knowing the mace that followed that voice was death.
“Go! Help Talon!” Gideon yelled.
With a high pitch scream, the demon he held was suddenly dead weight as a sword cleaved him almost in two. Gideon was barely able to jump back before the sword dug too deeply into his side. Swearing, he put his hand over the wound, blood seeping quickly through his fingers. Not good. Normally a wound even this size would heal almost instantly, but they were not in normal circumstances, and the weapons the demons used were laced with a poison that hindered healing.
Suddenly Aitan stood before Gideon facing his attackers. Loghan was beside him as two others faced opposite sides, barring the demons from reaching him. Dropping to his knee, Gideon gasped for air, the wound deeper than he first thought.
“We need to get you out of here,” Loghan hissed, the worry tight in his voice as he knelt beside Gideon.
“No!” Gideon gasped with a tone that none of them dared argued. “It’s me they want. If I stay here they won’t follow you. Go. Help Talon. Sara’s safety is first and foremost. Make sure she is safe.”
Loghan hesitated for a moment before he put his fist to his chest and nodded in reluctant acceptance. Helping Gideon to his feet, making sure he had his sword then giving him one of his own short swords, Loghan looked once more into his leader’s eyes to make sure this was what he wanted then started barking orders.
“Fall back!” he called.
The others balked at first, unwilling to leave their leader wounded with the enemy. But one look at Gideon’s fierce determination and they expanded their wings and were gone.
The demons immediately closed in on Gideon.
“Seems your friends have left you. I knew they were cowards,” Loathar sneered.
The smile Gideon gave him was so cold the demons hesitated in their advance.
“Oh, I’ve only just started,” Gideon responded ominously.
Then he was airborne and heading away from the direction Lizza had taken Sara, deeper into the bowels of hell with over a thousand demons in pursuit, all screaming for his death. With a wicked grin, he thought the odds could not have been better.
Copyright © 2017 Heidi Barnes