Admonae raised a hand to my elbow, lightly gripping it in an attempt to warn me to back off a little. I knew I was taking a risk baiting the Archangel, but I needed to keep him off balance and focused on me instead of the church.
“I refuse to refer to even one as damaged as you by a human name, Trazael. Take my civility on this point as a kindness. It will be the only one I extend to you this day.” Michael looked around the suburb, seemingly for the first time since his arrival, his eyes sweeping the area like a warship’s searchlight. “Admonael is correct, however. I did not expect to find one of your kind here today, let alone two. And so, I ask again, what are you doing here?”
Admonae hung her head but kept silent. She had never explained to us why she had dropped the ‘l’ from her name but otherwise kept it the same, rather than simply taking a new name like most of the rest of us. Now, however, was not the time to ask.
“Listen Michael,” I started, raising my hands in what I hoped would be taken as a gesture of supplication, “Your arrival just caught us off guard, that’s all. We’re just here checking up on a friend. Why are you here?”
“There was a disturbance, I heard it.” Michael hadn’t stopped scanning the area, but the church, it seems, was still considered above suspicion. “Your ‘friend’,” he continued, his eyes locking onto me with laser-like intensity, “It wouldn’t be one of them, would it?”
I knew immediately who he was referring to, and to anyone who knew me it would have been obvious that my disgust at the idea was genuine. “The Fallen are not my friends.”
Whatever truth Michael saw in my face seemed to reassure him, and he relaxed. Well, whatever passed as relaxed for him anyway. “Did you hear anything?”
I shook my head. “Not a thing. But then again, I am wingless.”
Michael nodded to himself, completely missing the sarcasm in my voice. “True. Still, you are of God, and I expect you to inform me should anything happen that I should know about. Am I understood?”
“Perfectly Archangel,” I replied with a little mock bow, “Believe me, I understand you perfectly.”
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