Chapter 21

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“What’s our message?” I asked Alex, “What did–” I sighed. “What are we claiming God told us to say?”
As much as I hated this prophethood thing, it was a welcome distraction from thinking about how I apparently enjoy using mind control.
We were back in Alex’s apartment, on the bar stools around the counter separating the kitchen from the living room area, going through the information packets the Academy had sent us. In addition to information on the prophet program, they contained a fairly large stack of questions and exercises to complete as preparation. Our entire break was supposed to be dedicated to this. Not much of a break, I suppose.
“Your choice.” Alex shrugged.
My choice? Why do I have to decide?”
“Thought I was being nice. You’re going to have to claim it came from your god, so I thought it should be something you think he’d actually say.”
“I don’t know what God wants.”
“Well, what do you think he’d want to say?”
“I have no idea. I–I don’t know Him that well.”
“You say you don’t know him well… and yet you worship him. Why?”
Why?” The question caught me off guard. “Because–because He’s God. He–He created us, and–and we’re supposed to worship Him.”
“Says who? The angels? The same people who say we need to kill the ‘cubi?”
“I–It’s in the Bible.”
“And the Bhagavad-Gita says we’re supposed to worship Krishna. Lots of books tell us to worship some particular deity. So what made you choose yours?”
“I–” I hesitated. Tried to come up with a good response. But I didn’t have one. “I… I just grew up with God, and–”
“And you never considered whether it was really a good match.” He sighed.
I nodded.
“I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to upset you. It’s just… you don’t believe all the crap the Angelic Church says. But… that’s what you follow, isn’t it?”
“I… I guess. It’s… what my family believes.” I sighed. “I guess you’re right; I don’t believe in all of it. I… I should have more faith. I–”
“Yeah. You should. You should have faith in yourself.” He smiled. “Stop trying to believe what everyone else believes. Trust yourself. If we’re going to have any hope of pulling this off, we need to give people a new way of seeing the world. Of seeing their deity. You already have that, so I say we use it.”
I sighed. “You’re sure we can’t just tell them it was all a misunderstanding?”
“If we admit that… they’re going to grow suspicious of us.” He shook his head. “Before I left for the Academy, I sealed up most of my power to avoid detection. I had to break that seal to heal you after the fight with Slaphappy. There’s not enough time to reseal it, so I need an explanation for why I’m so much more powerful than everyone else. You’re going to need one, too, once your powers grow.”
“And prophethood explains it.” I nodded.
“And if things go sour–if they realize we’re not really prophets–the Academy told us it was our destiny. And we weren’t about to doubt their judgment, right? It’s their duty to determine our destiny, so surely they must know best.”
Brilliant. “I suppose it would have been rude to tell them they were wrong about it…”
“See? It may be a bit dishonest, but it’s really our only chance.”
“Right. I suppose I could share my ideas… see if anyone likes them…”
Alex smiled and put his arm on my shoulder. “Admit it: you want to be a prophet.”
I smiled back.
He rubbed my wings gently.
There was just something about him… something I really liked.
“Maybe a little,” I admitted, “It’s the highest honor, after all. Every angel dreams of being a prophet.”
He wasn’t like the other angels I’d grown up with. They’d been nice, but… looking back, they suddenly felt cold. Empty. And Alex was… warm and comforting. He had–
“Love.” I smiled. “That’s our message.”

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