Chapter 77

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Lilly and I helped the injured girl into the room’s bed, then went rummaging through the closet until we found a white shirt that kind of fit me. Lilly drew some crosses on it with the copious amounts of blood she had on hand (literally). A red cross in a field of white: a universal sign that I’m a medic, a non-combatant, and therefore off-limits.

“Let’s go.” I pulled the shirt on as I rushed to the door. Seven angels–including Lilly, myself, and the wounded girl–against a dozen ‘cubi. And Lilly was by far the best fighter. They didn’t stand a chance without us. They could already be dead.

But when I stepped into the hallway, it was a very different scene. About two dozen heavily-armed angels were picking off the last of the ‘cubi as they tried to run away.

I jumped back as a crossbow bolt whizzed by, narrowly missing me before striking a fleeing ‘cubus in the heart.

“Lilly. Alex. You’re a bit late to the party.” Jack stepped forward from the crowd, smiling.

“The ‘party’?” I glared at him. “Is this seriously your idea of a party? Killing people?

“They’re not people,” one of the other angels said, “They’re ‘cubi.” He shot a ‘cubus that was trying to get up from the floor.

“What a load of crap.” I clenched my fists.

“It’s kill or be killed,” Jack said, “They attacked us, remember?” He took aim at another ‘cubus on the ground, still alive, barely, but clearly not a threat to anyone.

My feathers puffed out in anger.

“Alex…” Lilly put her hand on my shoulder.

I stepped in between Jack and the ‘cubus. Spread my wings out as far as I could, shielding all of the ‘cubi–assuming nobody decides to just shoot through me, which they very well might.

“Get out of the way!!”

I shook my head. “You’ve already won. It’s not ‘life and death’ anymore, it’s… it’s just murder! Killing defenseless people for your own twisted pleasure!

Jack looked over at Lilly. “Talk some sense into him, would you?”

“Alex…” Lilly walked over to me. “You…”

“Come on. You can’t seriously think this is okay.” My wings lowered momentarily. Uncertain. “…Can you?”

She enjoys killing, too, I had to remind myself.

For a long moment, she stood silent.

Finally, she shook her head. “You’re right. This… this is not what God would want.” She extended her wings. “Show them we can be merciful.”

“Thank goodness.” I smiled, tucked in my wings, and went to work healing the nearest ‘cubus, who had two crossbow bolts sticking out their back. The first one went straight through a wing, tearing up the feathers and ripping through the flesh, but stopped before hitting anything else vital. I pulled the bolt out as gently as I could, then started working my magic.

You’re protecting them, too?” Jack asked.

“We’re supposed to be God’s servants,” she said, “Keeping order in the world. Spreading His love and helping those in need. There’s more to it than just killing.”

“And what are you going to do with these ‘cubi? Just let them go?”

“…We can keep them as prisoners for now, I guess.”

“Prisoners?” Jack laughed. “What’s the point? I doubt they’d have any information to give us.”

“Then we set them free,” I suggested, “When ‘cubi attack angels, it’s usually because they know that angels are genocidal assholes. Let them go back home with their wounds healed, and tell people that we’re not all bad. Just most of us.”

“Fair point,” Lilly said, “I’d hate to think what kind of treatment they’d receive as prisoners, so… sounds good.”

Intense silence. (Which is a welcome break from the usual awkward silence we’ve seen so much of lately).

“Fine.” Jack sighed. “But if they come back, it’s on you.”

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