​​Copyright © Dani Cojo. All rights reserved. 

Dani Cojo

They first met three years ago in Paris. Regal’s father, the Ruler of Hell, had sent him to France to seduce and capture the soul of a wealthy woman named Matilda Bellaire. She was attractive, but horribly religious. This fault in her personality forced Regal to work slower than usual. It was the first test of Regal’s patience, but after years of brutal training and practice, he had learned how to control his powers to the point that he could steal a soul in mere minutes, or drag it out over a period of months.

Tracking Matilda down was easy. All Regal had to do was focus on finding her aura; a halo of energy that surrounded all living creatures. Some were positives, others negatives. In the end, they were all unique. Only angels and demons had the ability to see them — except for psychics, who trained themselves to sense them. Matilda’s aura was an obnoxious mix of gold and yellow.

Once he found her, Regal had spent several weeks learning everything he could about her. Then, when all of his research was complete, he introduced himself to her at a bookstore and befriended her. He lowly gained her trust and discreetly instilled lust into her. He even met her parents in an attempt to trick her into thinking their budding romance would take off. After months, he finally convinced her to let him stay the night. That was all the consent he needed.

He was on the verge of completing his task when Keir intervened.

Regal hovered over Matilda’s sleeping form, craving to covet her body. Just as he was about to dip into her subconscious, a blinding light flooded the bedroom. The incubus fell back with an agonized cry and covered himself with his black wings, trying to block out the burning glow. He peered through his feathers to try and see who had interrupted him. The incubus growled and flared his wings as the angel flew into the room, hovering over Matilda. She didn’t even flinch at the sudden commotion thanks to the drug Regal had used to make her fall into a deep sleep.

“Don’t touch her,” the ethereal being commanded.

“I don’t answer to you, angel. Leave me be!” Regal spat.

“My name is Keir, Angel of Kindness under the guidance of Michaelangelo and Gloria. By Her command you will leave this place this instant!”

Regal growled. “Since when did I ever listen to what She had to say?” He stood up and stretched his wings threateningly, his once gentle gray eyes turning to a cold, black hue. “I suggest you run back to Heaven so I can finish my job in peace.”

The angel seemed to flinch, hovering backwards for a moment. “I have my own orders,” Keir stated with wavering authority.

Regal snickered to himself, rolling his eyes. “Then why not settle this outside, hmm?”

He launched himself forward, baring his fangs as clawed hands reached out for the angel. Keir gasped with surprise and stepped back, fists clenching as the demon lunged at him. The angel swiftly dodged the attack, twisting his body to avoid getting scratched. Regal was surprised at the angel’s speed; even more so at the angel’s strength. Keir had firmly grabbed Regal’s shoulders, and jammed his knee up into the demon’s stomach.

Choking from the pain, Regal staggered back and leaned against the far wall. He stared wide eyed at Keir standing tall before him. Had he really been outdone by an angel? Even worse, he was an angel in training. His face grew red with mortification for a moment as Keir straightened his stance.

“There is no use trying to fight me, demon. You’re outmatched.”

“Hardly,” Regal thought bitterly, narrowing his eyes at his foe. There was no way this angel was smarter or stronger than him. His angered expression melted away and turned into one of fear and surrender as a tricky idea formed in his head.

“All right, you’ve got me.” He raised one hand as a sign of mercy. As he did so, his other hand slipped behind his back. He summoned a simple silver pocket watch silently. It lay heavy in his hand, the chain coiled around his fingers.

“Wise choice.” As Keir took a step toward Regal to make sure he left the premises, the incubus swung his arm around sharply. The pocket watch flung forward, wrapping around the angel’s ankle. The metal chain coated in demonic silver embedded itself into Keir’s skin, scorching it. Keir cried out in pain as Regal pulled the chain taut and yanked Keir’s ankle forward, causing him to fall onto his back.

Regal violently tugged his watch from around Keir’s ankle and swung it in large circles by his side. As it swung it grew in size until it resembled a razor-edged disc and chain more than a timepiece. With a grunt, Regal leapt forward to land a finishing blow at Keir’s head.

Keir, somewhat stunned and off guard, saw the heavy object coming toward his head in a large arc. His hand reached up to his throat, his fingertips touching the cross necklace hanging loosely around his neck. It glowed for a moment, the light blinding Regal as the pendant expanded into a large golden shield with intricate carvings around the border. An image of the earth, Gloria’s symbol, was in the center.

Regal’s weapon bounced off the shield with a loud clang and ricocheted into the air. He pulled it back with a jerk of his wrist and spun it by his side, preparing to attack again.

However, Keir was ready. When Regal moved to strike again, Keir tossed his shield to the side and rolled up onto his back. He curled his legs up and kicked at Regal, his foot connecting with the demon’s stomach and forcing him up and over Keir’s body into the air. The thin, gold halo wrapped around the Keir’s ankle skimmed past Regal’s body. The demon hissed in agony as the holy instrument singed his flesh.

Regal tumbled to the floor, slamming into the wall. He staggered to his feet, his vision blurry as he tried to catch his breath. Before he could regain his composure, Keir had firmly grabbed his shield once more and swung it up to smash into Regal’s chest. The force shoved him right through the window.

The glass shattered, spraying everywhere as Regal hurdled toward the ground. The demon tumbled head over heels, his heavy ball and chain dragging him through the air. Dazed, he turned his weapon back into a simple pocket watch and gripped it tightly in his fist. In an instant, Regal’s wings stretched out and caught the air, catching him roughly from falling.

He hovered in the air for a moment, his shoulders aching from the sudden stop. Grunting in pain, Regal looked down at the small red mark where the halo brushed against his skin. It would heal, but it would hurt for a while and would eventually leave a scar. He heard the rustle of feathers above him. He looked up to see Keir jumping through the window, his body shooting down at Regal like a holy missile. Regal burst back into action, pumping his wings to guide him down to the empty back roads of the city as the angel chased after him.

The demon wasn’t one to flee from a fight, but he knew that if he were to keep fighting, he would not come out unscathed. Fighting a being of equal power would weaken him and make his job harder. He needed to focus on his assignment, not on some annoying angel. It was best to get away and finish his job. He could get back at the angel later for disrupting his plans.

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