“We got word. Linus and Gwen are at the gate. It’ll be time for you two to go soon.” Rick told us.
“I guess we have a job to do.” Ryan said expectantly.
“Yeah, this’ll be interesting.” I said as I kind of wished it was Deacon and Linus going instead of us. But, Raphael already had a mission for us as soon as the Descending was over.
“Elle?” Ryan asked me as he cupped my face in his hands.
I looked into his eyes and tried to remember what it felt like to be happy. I couldn’t quite overcome my heart sinking into my stomach because of where we were going. I mean, granted, Raphael wouldn’t send us to certain death. But, Daniel didn’t exactly waltz into the lion’s den with glee either.
I tried to lose myself in his eyes and within a few short seconds of real concentration it began to work. I began to feel my breathing even out and quickly realized that I had been holding my breath for what seemed like a long time. No wonder he was worried. There’s always been something about just staring into his soft brown eyes that just washed warmth and peace over me. Entrancement? No, he never could get me to do what he wanted if I already disagreed. I think I’m just in love with him. That’s one of the things I always liked about Paul too. He had Ryan’s soft brown eyes.
“Thank you.” I whispered into his ear as I hugged him tightly and forced myself to breathe evenly as the desire to hold my breath returned.
They can’t know how to trap us in hell… Right? I shouldn’t be afraid to go there with him. I won’t lose Ryan again, I won’t. I have to not be afraid. That’s my only fear, not death or dismemberment, not torture or being possessed for Primus’ use. No, nothing terrifies me more than the idea that I will return to my normal life where I wake up in the morning and Ryan is not there beside me.
I looked into his eyes again. His ego must have been properly fed because he deeply reveled in the idea that his eyes were the only thing that made me feel better. Well, where we’re going perhaps a big head will help us.
“It’ll be alright. We’re all on the same side this time.” Ryan gently comforted me as he kissed me on the forehead.
I suddenly wished I could have given him children. He would have made such a magnificent daddy. I tried to suck it up. It wasn’t the priests I was worried about. No one ever survived Alistor and he was bringing in help.
“Babe, we are going to have to be on our guard. We have no idea who he will be.” I said trying to get my head in the game.
“We will be alright. Let’s decide now that we are walking out of there together. No fear. We go in the might that Raphael bestowed.” he continued as he steadied me.
I didn’t realize I had been shaking. That’s right. We were just blessed by an archangel. What could go wrong?
“Okay. Well, then I have an idea.” I told him. We ran in vampire speed to our room. One last entanglement of love before we go where no vampire has gone before and survived.
Vatican City here we come.
We showered and changed, then returned to the main hall about ten minutes after we rushed to our quarters. Gwen was getting warm and changing into dry clothes, as was Linus, and Belle was off somewhere learning combat training with Deacon. As I understood it, Gwen is transporting us to Rome, but we are on our own for getting to where we need to go from there. It’s unlikely that we will return to the Jade Gates again until we are specifically called here by Raphael himself. With us gone, I really wonder what’s going to happen to Belle. I mean, I trust that she will be safe with Linus and Deacon, but I finally had a sister and I’m going to miss her dearly if this becomes a long term separation.
We ate some of the fruit and various breads laid out on the buffet that seemed to never end. After we ate, Ryan and I looked ruefully into each other’s eyes. We were going to be fasting… permanently. No more blood. Fruit and bread somehow just wasn’t satisfying. But, all things considered. If getting Ryan out of hell meant not killing people and behaving like we were the humans we wished we could be, then it’s a small price to pay really.
“Okay so… Here’s the deal guys.” Deacons said, strolling towards us with a blushing Belle by his side. “Alistor has had a drink, but he hasn’t killed the priest. He’s assumed his identity though. The priest was sent to America to be concealed until you two are successful. We can’t have the real one and Alistor walking around the city.”
“Yeah, he’d kill him for sure.” Belle chimed in.
“Word has it, that Alistor is trying to taint the spiritual power at Vatican City to open up a portal. The old rulers are being summoned in by the Antichrist. He’s getting ready to make his move and when the time comes like it says in Revelations, he will set up ten kings. But, those kings will be the deities that Christians cast into hell that were demons.” Deacon explained.
“Vampires and demons ruled the world before Christ came and when Paul the apostle evangelized the world, Christians figured out pretty quickly how to get rid of their oppressing ‘Gods’ who could not be defeated except by using the name of Jesus as a weapon.” I recalled.
“Right. Alistor was um, well Gwen left him with a water demon to buy us some time. Unfortunately the demon merely gave him a ride to Rome.” Belle told us.
“So, how is he going to taint the spiritual power?” Ryan asked.
“We have no idea. But, Raphael told us to pray over your eyes so that they’d be opened like Elijah’s.” Deacons said.
He and Belle covered our eyes with their hands and prayed that we would see the spiritual elements in Vatican City and not be afraid.
“One more thing.” Deacon told us. “He’s bringing back Osiris. You keep him from coming in through that portal and we will do the rest. Just get yourselves out before the priests find you. You will have angelic help. He promised.”
“There you see.” Ryan said reassuringly as he held my hand to his lips.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Angels will help us… not get killed for being bloodsucking flatliners. I wonder if the priests will give us any leniency for fasting… as of a week ago.
Gwen walked in looking like an actress on the red carpet.
“Got a hot date after this?” Belle teased her.
“Yep. Going home to see my husband.” she said triumphantly. She must miss him.
“Okay, so are we all set?” Gwen asked us.
I turned to hug Belle and tried not to cry.
“Hey, no mushy stuff. Besides, we’re going to meet up as soon as this mission is over. Our permanent pack is the three of us, Linus, Deacon, and the occasional Watcher. We get to stay our own team. Meet you out there somewhere soon, so be safe girl. And you, watch out for her.” she told Ryan hugging him too.
“Mighty.” he said sarcastically.
“Serene.” she threw back at him.
“I guess we’re ready Gwen.” I told her still holding Ryan’s hand.
“Keep a look out for darkness. You will know what I mean when you see it. Darkness always leaves traces in a Holy place.” Gwen told us as mist surrounded us.
We touched down in St. Peter’s Square. For centuries I’d been trained to fear this place… intensely. But, I was still holding Ryan’s hand. Gwen nodded at us and walked away whispering under her breath where we could still hear her.
“Alistor impersonated my husband and can pick me out of a crowd. I don’t want to give you away. Meet me at the Pantheon in two days. Noon.” she said as she walked away.
I saw mist coming from one of the bathrooms in the direction she went in and knew she was gone.
“Do you see what I’m seeing?” Ryan asked me.
“See wha…” I began. I was stunned. We must have looked like overcome tourists.
There were angels everywhere. They shone slightly with a light that could only have been the glory of God. All of them were dressed in black suits like the Secret Service or something. They all pointed towards St. Peter Basilica. Whispers of welcome flew in the breeze and for the first time in my life as a vampire, I was not afraid to be in Rome.
1. From the A FEATURED BLOG: Flatliner Books RECALLS “The idea itself makes me laugh so much.” from: http://feinjapan.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/who-invented-this-it-should-have-been-me/
2. From the FEATURED BLOG below: Flatliner Books RECALLS “Be the change you want to see in the world” from: http://joelcornett.com/2012/10/30/the-god-of-this-city/#more-1621
(Photo courtesy of: picture4u.net)
Music for this episode – Secrets by One Republic