For me and the lovely Tverdost
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[i I am so sick of screams.]
Mr. Graves looked out his grimed window and glanced down at the perfect view of the fiery torture pits filled with the souls of everlasting sinners. This apartment was one of the high end residential dwellings in Hell but he found it more of an annoyance then an act of 'good' nature. Being one of Satan's higher ranking generals, he was granted the most comfortable of living conditions with a view of his handiwork, magma room lighting and a black hole portal for easy transport.
Graves was a Grim Reaper, the highest elite among Reapers that took the souls of the living, ordered hordes of demon souls and masked destruction in a cloak of darkness and pain. Two millenniums he had been doing this and it was growing to be a routine of eternal imprisonment. These were dangerous thoughts, so he never changed.
There was an image for Grim Reapers from old human legends. They were creatures who had skulls for faces, cloaks for attire and scythes for soul ripping. This was almost true. The only reason they were skeletons to begin with was because, once upon a time, every Reaper was a human soul. Their sins were so vile that when they died and entered Hell their skins were burned off.
Cloaks were traditional of the elite Grim Reapers. It represented old times and the truth of reign and evil. Grim's only had to wear them when in public service for Satan, otherwise they were free to choose attire as they so fit; except in battle where armor was preferred.
Scythes were like guns. It was fashionable to own one and impressive to know how to wield it correctly. They weren't the only soul ripper weapons available but for eons the job was only done right with a scythe at hand. Graves had revolutionized the art of Death with combining tools but all of that was history. He was a life taker and that's all he was ever going to be.
He sighed. Today was the day. It was going to be a long haul but it will be the start of judgment. A Revelation.
Mr. Graves had been chosen along with a few other Grim's to initiate the first steps. First they had to get God's attention. It was going to be a tedious battle but demons were expendable. A dime a dozen.
The field where his nearly invisible army stood was blanketed in snow surrounded by a mouth of tall entangled trees. Demons waited, clawing at the ground, maintained by the lower Reapers as the sky opened up signaling the Holy Glory. Graves knew all too well that it was a fool's mistake to stand in plain sight. He himself weaved in and out of the trees, watching as his living armor form fitted to induce camouflage.
The battlefield came to life as the crusaders from heaven touched the ground, unleashing the fury within the hordes of cannibal creatures. Eventually he grew bored of this game and turned to walk further into forest till he was needed.
He stepped through frost, dark tendrils emanating off every footstep until he came to a seamlessly quiet place... a lake.
It's so beautiful…
Celeste looked up at the sun shining down on the heavens a smile forming her face, it was such a beautiful sight she became lost in her own thoughts. For as long as she could remember there was no better feeling than seeing God's beautiful creatures grow around her.
Ever since she was a child there were talks among the elders that she would play an important part in the future. Being a child Celeste didn't take much notice of what they said as she was too busy following her father around who was a general at the time. He was admired and loved by many and Celeste wanted to grow up and be just like her father, but to become a general you had to go through many difficulties to prove yourself worthy to take on the role.
Years passed and her father stepped down from his role and Celeste made sure within her every being she would take her father's place and become the general. Due to her age elders were skeptical but she proved her worth and was given her title as the general of God's army.
Celeste trained from morning until night until she was the best fighter in the army, she knew the day would come when they would need to go to war from the stories her father told her, so she needed to be at her strongest for when hell decided to show it's ugly face to her which would be anytime soon.
One of her lower rank soldiers came flying towards her. “Ma'am it's time, they're here…” Celeste gave a slight nod as she opened out her large white wings and picked up her axe as she made her way to the front of the army. She flew in front so all eyes were on her as she began to speak.
“This is the moment we have been been waiting for! This is what you trained for! It's time to smite them down and send them back to the depths of hell from which they came from!”
There was a loud roar from the army as they flew past her and down to where hell's spawn was waiting. Celeste turned around joining them as she landed firmly on the ground cutting down the creatures that went to charge for her. She flicked the creature's blood from her axe as she looked around biting her lip in anger and drawing blood.
Hell's creatures had done a lot more damage to them than she had imagined, cutting down more of them in anger she looked down at the ground noticing black footprints leading into the forest. This intrigued Celeste with a war going it looked like someone was taking it lightly which caused anger to burn deep inside her.
She turned her attention to one of her soldiers, “Hold things for me, if things get too much to handle call for me”, with that said she spread her wings open once more and flew into the forest with no time to lose.
Weaving in and out of the trees she suddenly stopped and landed when she saw one of them standing and staring into the lake, she was a little surprised to see a demon staring into the lake, she couldn't imagine something so evil would take notice of something so beautiful. Nevertheless, he needed to be taken care of so with a smile on her face she slowly made her way over to the demon. “Well well well... I never would have thought a demon would retreat into the woods, what a cowardly thing to do”.
A slight laugh escaped her lips as she held the axe tightly in her hand, it wouldn't surprise her in the slightest if the demon had set a trap to get her out here and ambush her.
Graves felt it before it even landed. The presence of the good Lord’s Servants always had an arrogant aura of self conscious righteousness. For a moment, it lit a fire in his vacant soul as he turned around to gaze upon the winged creature.
It looked like a woman though angels were rarely fit to be human. No one truly knew what created angels down in the depths of Hell, but they did know they were skilled and cunning. It wasn’t his first slaughtered Servant after all.
The height of the afternoon sun glimmered off the creature as an awestruck distraction. God knew exactly what he was doing when he molded these. The darkness edged around his skull, inching across to give the illusion that the demon had a face. He felt it crease into a demented smile. “If it were retreating, I wouldn’t spend my leisure time around here and is it truly cowardly if such an act was beneath you?”
He raised a hand out, manifesting a large scythe into his armored palm, the blade catching the light. “Please don’t let me take you away from anything you should be doing.”
Graves no doubt figured the angel knew he was an Elite Reaper by the presence of his weapon. A smart Servant would tell their leader. If this angel wasn’t a Servant... then that would be interesting.
Celeste laughed at his comment, “Very well demon I have to agree with you there”. Looking around at her surroundings she couldn't make out any figures or shadows in the woods, but still, she kept her guard up, they were Lucifer's children after all and they never played fair. Resting her axe against her head she walked forward getting a little closer so she could analyze the demon more thoroughly and look for any weak points in case he decided to surprise her with an attack.
One of Celeste's main abilities was to pinpoint weak points in any living thing, but it required a lot of time and concentration, if the demon for a split second figured out what she was trying to do then her plans would be ruined, so for the time being she decided to listen as to what the creature would have to say.
She turned her attention to the blade forming in the demon's hand, but it wasn't just any regular blade it was a scythe and that could only mean one thing, he wasn't just a pawn in Lucifer's army, he was of importance, someone higher up, this intrigued Celeste but answered his question smiling.
“Oh demon don't trouble yourself about taking up too much of my time, I have never been in the presence of a Reaper before, therefore you have piqued my interest”.
Celeste knew very well about Reapers as her father had gone into great detail about many of the creatures of hell, but he made sure to make her aware of the higher ranking and more powerful ones, however, she had never been this close to a Reaper before and it wasn't going to be her last. Concentrating she slowly began to determine as to where the demon's weakness was, feeling as though Reapers weren't the type of creatures to sit down for a conversation and she needed to prepare herself.
Mr. Graves relaxed his posture, curious as to the angel’s true nature. If she were a Servant, should would have been gone. If she were a Guardian or anything superior than that...
Though he did notice the way she looked at him- so intense and focused even trying to be inconspicuous about it. It amused him how much effort she was putting into it... but he didn’t reveal that he knew. That would be too boring.
Unconsciously, he gripped the weapon tighter the closer she got, the tendrils of darkness reacting as he did. “If you are to challenge me, I’d deem it unwise.” he started, “I’ve perfected the art of killing.” The demon began to pace, making sure she kept a considerable distance while they circled. “Who are you?” he pried.
Celeste raised her eyebrows a little surprised as the demon relaxed himself ever so slightly, she kept her concentration though she was very close to figuring it out, however, she hoped he wouldn't attack her right away as she was finding all of this rather amusing. A creature of the night who was supposed to have no feelings, no emotions, and its first instinct was to kill everything Insight was now standing here with her and having somewhat of a conversation.
Celeste could have attacked but she wanted to find more out about how a Reaper works, it was the perfect research for her and it would help in the future with her soldiers, however, she was worried if there would be anyone left on the battlefield except for her and the Reaper.
She had never been this close to a demon of higher rank before and curiosity took over, she took another step closer seeing how the demon would react, still holding onto her axe she was prepared for any surprises, but she needed to hurry and return and that was only one of two ways, he would simply let her go which she doubted very much and secondly, one of their corpses would be lying on the floor. It wouldn't be hers…
“Well, it seems that's something we actually have in common, I have trained well, and I'm currently undefeated, however a challenge? That piques my interest demon. What did you have in mind?”
One thing was bothering Celeste though, she didn't feel much hatred which surprised her she was more interested in the research and it could be her downfall.
She couldn't help but smile as she let her wings hang down, you wish to know my name? How interesting. Very well I shall tell you after all I doubt it will be remembered for very long.
Standing tall and proud she politely bowed. “Seeing as I have manners I will be polite in greeting you whether you deserve it or not, My name is Celeste now let's see if that rings a bell”. She smiled awaiting the demon's response.
Suddenly he felt uneasy. While Graves appreciated a good chat, he was much too aware that the angel wasn’t jumping to radical conclusions like most of her kind so often did. She was different but in the end, still held the intensity and focus from which they first started. Her guard wouldn’t let down... and neither would his.
Challenges? There would be no challenge. In the instances where he did lose in battle, it was against other Elites. She had no idea what she was asking for. Willing to throw everything away... when they were so close to the end...
Though the name Celeste was granted to him. He knew of her through the other Generals gossip. Graves, personally, knew more about her Father. Nearly an Arch. Leader of God’s first armies. “You talk down to me like I belong beneath you,” he mused darkly. “Celeste, Crusader for God Himself.” He hated it. He hated the loathing angels were taught to think about demons. Demons were at first humans. The lie that all of God’s Children were made equal. Well fuck their God.
“I am Graves. Elite Reaper of the 9th Circle of Hell.” Never did he use his true name. Revealing the human part of a demon’s soul was shameful. Lucifer always believed in rising up beyond the shackles of past deceits. Additionally, he held the Devil’s favor by being one of the special nine. The Gladiator of Treachery.
“While I don’t necessarily like you, it would be pointless to kill you now.” Call him soft, but he was feeling lethargic. If Satan wanted to end the world, that didn’t have much to do with him. “And what would killing a Reaper do for you? Help you walk the steps of your Father?”
Graves shrugged his skeletal shoulders, the shadows across his face showing his bland emotion.
Celeste sighed a little knowing neither one of them wasn't going to let their guard down and regardless of whether he was a demon or not, he was someone she didn't know and therefore he couldn't be trusted.
She knew his weakness sure, but she couldn't sense his abilities or what skills he was capable of throwing at her that could have her head rolling in a split second. Continuing to keep their stances Celeste lowered her axe ever so slightly but not enough so she would be leaving herself open to an attack.
Celeste couldn't help but look slightly confused at his comment of her seeing him as beneath her but she decided to make a little joke of it. “Well if you want to be technical I guess you are all beneath me seeing as you know…” Unable to control herself she let out a laugh.
Deciding to take a chance Celeste stood up straight once more dropping her guard, she was prepared for surprise attacks but she had a feeling this demon maybe wanted the same thing as her, research, so she decided to risk it.
It surprised her a little to know the Reaper decided to share his name and his rank, usually, Satan's children never did such a thing so this new information made Celeste even more curious. “Yes your name does ring a bell, my father made sure I knew all of the names of the demons that controlled the 9 circles, as they are of great importance…”
Well well well wasn't this demon full of surprises, not only did he share his name and thus reveal his identity he was now letting her go. Surely this was some kind of a joke? This creature was very interesting indeed, Celeste would have been very eager to meet this demon again given the opportunity.
“Well how very kind of you Graves, you have surprised me with your generosity, which is something I don't admit to very often, not even to my own soldiers. As for killing you personally? I would have nothing to gain from it, I find research is more rewarding to me, sure it would give me the same honor as my father but I'm already at my highest rank and therefore have no need to progress further. I could also say the same for you”.
Celeste looked over her shoulder knowing this conversation had gone on long enough, people would start to question as to where their general was. But she wanted to hear the demon reply to her comment and what action he would take next.
Oddly enough, the angel relaxed even to his pointed comments. Obviously she was too full of herself to see that her superiors taught her to think lowly of demons. Even higher ranking ones. It was curious.
He felt a smile creep up his features when she mentioned his generosity. It wasn’t every day he was blessed with a compliment. “It’s not common that someone like you listens to creatures like me.” What a fucking stigma.
“Well... while this has been entertaining- if not enlightening, I must pull my pawns away from the massacre.” The reaper tapped his scythe twice on the ground, dissipating the weapon in a cloud of smoke. “Till we meet again, Celeste.” The Elite saluted with his skeletal fingers before boldly, striding past her. He gave her no signs of aggression. He gave no signs of a threat.
Mr. Graves cut through the trees until he made it to the edge of the clearing where, in swift motion of his hand, opened a gap in the ground where the army flooded back into the fires. He stole one last look at the angelic general in the sky which lingered in his mind till he too retreated.
Celeste knew the Reaper didn't feel comfortable in her lowering her guard, knowing him he would think she was looking down on him. All demons thought the same way about angels, but then again the majority of angels did think the demons to be nothing more but animals with nothing to think about but killing. Celeste used to think the same way until she became a general and learned how to use her head better than to judge someone. Seemed like things had paid off as she was now face to face with not only a demon but a Reaper! On top of that she was having a conversation, people would not believe her even if she decided to tell them.
However making up an excuse for her absence would be tricky, never the less it wasn't an impossible task to achieve. Celeste looked surprised at his comment, but let out a gentle smile, “My dear Graves how cruel of you to suggest I'm exactly like my race, if I was just like them, well let's just say we wouldn't be here having a conversation now would we? However I understand where you are coming from, I used to think the same about your kind”.
Celeste nodded in agreement to the Reaper's comment, they had been gone too long and she needed to retreat and help the remainder of her troops, the one thing she wished to avoid was war. But the elders saw no other way. She smiled and glanced to the side as the Reaper made his way past her. Giving a graceful nod she spread open her large wings and took to the sky leaving a gush of wind beneath her.
Celeste rejoined with her troops and shouted which echoed throughout the field. “Soldiers fall back! Enough for now you have done your general well, I will not have our efforts go to waste! FALL BACK NOW!” Within a few moments, the angelic army was gone. She glanced back down at the Reaper also making his exit. Just giving him the faintest smile before she too vanished back to the heavens.
Oddly enough, he couldn’t stop thinking about the Celeste, the Angel of War. Even in the depths of Hell where even the slightest thought of the other God was frowned upon, he found it fulfilling. The taste of good banter instead of an easy fight. The spark of something different within his black world.
Mr. Graves stared out the large window at the lava filled ground swarming with crawling, slow bodies. The bodies of the most vile in the 9th Circle. Funny how Lucifer found him so special to be trusted with this realm. More favorable than the other eight on the Elite Reaper “Committee”. He chuckled at the thought. A group of old murderers and psychopaths sitting together at a pentagon shaped table with Satan at the helm. He wondered if they would all wear business suits instead of cloaks.
“What are you laughing about?”
He turned slightly in his arm chair to stare at the imp, an ugly gray dwarf creature that housekept his apartment. “Something you won’t care for,” he huffed, lighting a cigar.
“You’re right,” she answered. “Because I’m just the bitch that cleans your filth.”
He laughed and looked at her. “I wasn’t the one that turned you into that. Don’t be mad at me.”
“We’ve been together longer then I can remember. I know something is occupying you.”
A puff of smoke surrounded his skull. “I met a Guardian today. Top five tier.”
“Satan will be pleased.”
“I didn’t kill her.”
“He will be disappointed.”
“He doesn’t need to know.” His hollow eyes landed on her. “He’s so occupied with these Nostradamus Prophecies that I think one angel getting away won’t hurt the end of the world.”
She didn’t say anything for the rest of their time together which suited Graves well. He didn’t want to put Celeste’s name out too much in Hell. It was better suited as... a fantasy in his own mind. To think something so holy and beautiful was almost splattered across his scythe. Curious...
Lucifer conducted another attack in the serenity of another dense forest line where Graves, again, led. Apparently the Devil thought it was best to distract a divine God by fighting in obscure places while the other Elite Reaper’s implanted thoughts in Man’s heads to conduct worship of other idols. It gave the rumored Four Horseman the ‘power’, if you will, to appear on Earth. They would ultimately be the ushers come Judgement Day.
As Graves stood watching over his small army, he wondered if this end of the world stuff was even worth it. Fighting an eternal battle against a being that literally created everything seemed daunting but... it was Satan’s vendetta. He was just the fighter.
He wore light armor today, showing off how tall and limber he was. He expected no Guardians or Angels but... what if the same occurrence happened like the last? If he just happened to wander away from the battlelines, would that be a trigger for a graceful power?
Slowly, the demon backed away from the forest line and looked about the tree tops. “Oh where, oh where can that little bird be?” He manifested a cigarette between two fingers as he walked, inhaling the toxins deeply.
The battle was over... for now, Celeste breathed out slightly relaxing her shoulders, there were many casualties more than she was expecting. A painful expression formed on her face as she looked around at people mourning the loss of their friends, family, and comrades. Celeste hated war but this decision was out of her control, the only thing she could do was to keep as many alive as possible, she didn't want to see more death.
She was called to speak with the elders. Celeste sighed knowing it wasn't going to be good news but it was unavoidable, if she didn't show her face it would cause suspicion.
Opening her large wings once more she flew up to the tallest tower in the heavens, she walked along a glass bridge and stopped in front of large golden double doors. Before she even needed to knock they began to open slowly. Folding her wings in she walked up to the elders kneeling before them.
“Rise my child, we wish to know what happened out there today, we suffered many casualties what went wrong?” Celeste stood up straight making eye contact with them as she began to lay out the details of what happened.
“We miscalculated how many there were going to be, it seems like Lucifer had a change of plan at the last minute and decided to add a few hundred more soldiers to his army. However, I won't make the same mistake again my lords”. Celeste remained calm as she knew what the next question was going to be, she just hoped her excuse would be believable.
“Very well make sure this time you calculate correctly Celeste. Now for our next question, we asked some of the soldiers they said you were missing for quite some time, mind telling us where you were at such a crucial moment in time?”
A smile formed on Celeste's face as she began to speak, “But of course my lords, I was with one of Lucifer's important soldiers, surprisingly enough it didn't end up bloodshed however with your permission, I would like to get closer to this Reaper to gain more knowledge for us to use at a later time, I believe if I get closer to this Reaper he may open up to me”.
The look on their faces did not disappoint Celeste in the slightest which excited her even. It didn't take long for them to come to a decision. “Very well Celeste you may get closer with this Reaper, he may become useful to us later on down the line to ending this war once and for all, however, if you betray us you know what will happen”.
Celeste knew exactly what would happen, she would be executed, something she did not want, she just hoped they wouldn't see through her lies so she could learn more about Graves who had piqued her interest. Plus it should be easier now she knew his aura to find him through the crowds and maybe he could see the same as her.
Celeste had orders to take a small group of the best fighters to patrol an area where there were rumors of Lucifer's army was stationed, he was planning something however Celeste now had more freedom to speak with Graves if she saw him, which was most likely if the group was to be small there would be someone of high rank with them to keep them in line. Celeste wanted to as avoid many conflicts as possible.
Celeste's small group remained hidden as they didn't want to expose themselves unless absolutely necessary, something she was relieved about as she didn't want to lose any more soldiers than she had already. She couldn't help but look for her Reaper though, she wanted to find out more about him, what he lived like, and how different his life was from hers. She broke off from her group who were flying higher than usual so they were hidden in the clouds.
Flying a little lower she closed her eyes and concentrated, there was the same aura, Celeste couldn't help but smile wondering if he would be able to notice her as well. She quickly flew into the forest and rested on a large tree away from the enemy who hadn't seemed to notice her yet. She decided to wait for a little while to see if the Reaper would make himself known to her. She placed her axe next to her just in case there were any surprises.
“And now we wait. I wonder how Graves will appear to me today”. Celeste let out a slight giggle to herself as she let her wings fall down behind her.
The branches creaked overhead as the Reaper slowly paced. A puff of smoke billowing into air and through his skull. Funny thing about being a demon, or well, undead. He could alter between forms thanks to the gifts bestowed from Lucifer. A reaper was required to expose the skeleton, displaying that he burned through the trials of Hell to earn the right to walk without skin. An analogy for walking without weakness. It was a bit morbid. Not exactly a pleasant look but it did the trick with striking fear into humans and making angels hesitate. At least the dark energy he possessed gave him the feel and illusion of having a body.
Speaking of angels…
The Elite General stopped, the leaves crackling beneath his feet. There was a different wind flowing through the forest. A feeling of goodness and strength. The aura that gave humans epiphanies and waves of hope. Graves couldn’t remember what that felt like. He just knew that holiness crept over his bones and made them chill. There was a glorious being within range.
The tendrils of shadows twitched as the weaved around him, moving as he did as the demon looked towards the space where the creature would be hiding. Mr. Graves inhaled a long smoke, pausing as he stared into the blackened space in the trees. “Is it rude to hide instead of facing your enemy?”
After what seemed like an eternity waiting for the demon Celeste breathed out a long sigh, she was bored... She hadn't sensed his aura yet which means he was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he wouldn't show up at all and Celeste would have to explain to the elders which was something she didn't look forward to. Everything was always so formal with them and everything had to be precise which Celeste found to be very exhausting.
Celeste stretched her wings out slightly so they wouldn't fall to sleep in case she needed to make a quick escape. To pass the time she looked around to make sure the area was clear and when confirmed it was, Celeste opened her mouth and a melody began, it was a song her mother sang to her when she was little something she cherished dearly.
It didn't take too long before Celeste picked up an aura she was becoming familiar with, “He's here…” She decided to wait though, just for safe measures in case it wasn't the reaper she knew.
When she heard the reaper speak she couldn't help but laugh to herself at his comment. Spreading open her large wings she jumped down in front of the reaper their light glowing around the two. Celeste folded them up and stood in front of him smiling. “I was simply resting Graves, there is no need for me to fight today unless necessary. However is it not rude to keep a lady waiting?” Celeste looked at the reaper giving a playful smile.
She must have been feeling more light hearted then the first time they met. Relaxed and even being within attack proximity. “Are you a lady now?” the Reaper shot back, chuckling between puffs of smoke.
Graves nodded towards the forest line he figured was a half a mile away from where they were standing. From where the army of demons was waiting. “Since there hasn’t been a battle cry, I have to ask why you are here with me and not tearing the scum of the earth apart instead?" He watched the angel carefully, noticing her stance, her armor, her tone. The way her blonde hair fell and her wings fluttered.
For all the demon knew, this could all be an elaborate trap. He was by himself but he had slain many an angel in his time as a reaper. He didn’t believe she was harboring a vendetta of any kind but he had been wrong before.
Celeste lightly placed her hand on her chest acting surprised and jokingly said “Well I'm not sure you know this but my anatomy is that of a female. So that would mean I'm a lady would it not?” Giving a light smile, she quickly looked to the side slightly making sure she or the Reaper hadn't been spotted. She knew she was meant to be here, but she couldn't say the same for the Reaper.
Turning her attention back to the Reaper she smiled answering his question "We've heard reports of an army moving towards the villages and so far there has been no attack, we're just observing for the moment, we don't want to fight unless necessary, we dealt with enough of that yesterday do you not agree?
Celeste observed the Reaper, he looked different today, something perhaps Reapers did on a regular basis, Celeste's curiosity spiked and she couldn't help herself. Moving forward a little closing the gap between them, she placed her hand on her hip. “So Graves tell me, your appearance is somewhat different today, which form is your true form, or has that not been revealed to me yet?” Celeste wouldn't be too shocked if he didn't answer her, maybe it was forbidden for them to reveal their true form, but she wanted to know more about him and the best way to start was to ask.
The reaper felt himself smile, amused by her sense of humor. It was so hard to feel light like that now days... or rather any time at all. Did that make him desperate or stupid?
He watched her carefully, noticing the little motions of caution as if she was trying not to get caught out here with him. Graves knew fully well that he was safe but he knew it wasn’t the same for angels. “I agree entirely. I may be a violent creature but at some point it does become needless.”
Barely a moment passed before Celeste suddenly closed the gap between them, catching him off guard but not showing it physically. The angel eyed him curiously, her sudden interest piquing his personal interest in her as well. How brave. “Technically all my forms are true but skinless is not really appealing with casual conversation. Might as well be naked.” He chuckled, “I still have some form of dignity after all.”
“What about you?” he asked, gesturing slightly to her. “Always sporting over-the-top angel wings?” The demon didn’t pull away from the close proximity, finding the encounter a tad on the dangerous side. An engaging experience.
At the Reaper's comment, Celeste smirked a little, “That is true Mr. Graves, but in this situation, we have both surprised each other, you thought me to be arrogant and selfish did you not? And I thought you to be a mindless killing machine, but you have proved me to be wrong, so no I do not think of you as solely a violent creature”.
After Celeste stepped closer to the Reaper, she smiled a little, waiting for a reaction, although he didn't physically show his surprise, his aura changed for a split second. But Celeste decided she would keep that to herself and listen to his reply.
Celeste crossed her arms and nodded in agreement. “I could see that making sense, I guess everyone has multiple forms which are still their own”. Celeste put her hand in front of her mouth and laughed, somehow his comment made her genuinely giggle, but feeling a little embarrassed she composed herself and took her original stance.
“So I have another question, in hell can all creatures have multiple forms? Or even human-looking forms or is that only for the higher-ranking demons?” This information would be perfect to report to the elders, but Celeste wasn't done yet, no one in heaven had ever gotten this close to a demon, let alone conversed. And deep down somewhere this Reaper must have a certain level of trust in her to meet with her in private.
Celeste snapped out of her thoughts as Graves asks a question himself. She smiled taking another step closer, the risk she found to be exciting, also to the reaction of the Reaper she desperately wanted to see.
“We do actually have multiple forms. Depending on your rank you're more over the as you call it. So you could call me near the very tip of over the top. However, as we're in the human realm we don't look as near divinely as we would in heaven. Everything is bigger and more glowing but it's rather beautiful, maybe one day you shall see”. Celeste gave a playful wink knowing all too well that would never happen, but she liked to joke and tease a little. She crossed her arms before continuing.
“But we can also remove our divine form entirely if we wish to blend in with the mortals. But this is at our weakest as we have to suppress our angelic form and powers so the mortals will not suspect. If you didn't know already they're not very good at processing things they don't understand. I know they already know of the creatures Lucifer has sent however heaven has stated full confidentiality when showing them our true forms”.
Celeste smiled her wings fluttering a little before tucking themselves back away as she turned her attention back to the Reaper. “Now Graves is there anything else you wish to know?”
The demon smiled despite himself, a curious creature this angel was. Asking a lot of questions for someone whom was supposed to despise his kind in every shape and form. Has being deprived of interaction made him more gullible and weak then he thought?
“Only the highest ranking demons can shapeshift. Human looking or not is more of preference really.” He listened closely to her information as well, quickly realizing how delicate it was to be delving into facts like these especially to a demon within the ranks of the Nine Circles, though he was sure she didn’t know that.
She mentioned she was at the ‘very top’ meaning she must have been the Head General of God’s army or something of the like. He wanted to know her official title but that meant she would want to know his, which would be very dangerous for the both of them. The elite did learn one important thing, however. This form, this moment, the General was her weakest.
Graves brought a finger to his chin, playing thoughtfulness at her question for further inquiry. “Do you truly prefer the look of humans rather than a form of your choice? I mean, us demons, we kind of hate our former human selves. Were you born an angel?”
The idea had been something the reaper had thought of before. Were angels born or created to be self righteous? To harbor a default hate for demons even though it’s against God’s rules to ‘hate’ in the first place?
Although Celeste was putting herself at a huge risk by revealing her strongest and weakest forms, she truly believed if the Reaper wanted to attack her by now he would have done so already. Something they were both similar in ways no one had ever gotten this close to a demon and vice versa, it always ended in bloodshed. Celeste was always curious as to how the other realm lived and she knew deep down Graves felt exactly the same.
But his next comment caught her interest as she smiled a little, “So tell me... if only the highest ranking demons can shapeshift, I take it you are a high-ranking demon yourself? Well, that's obvious being a Reaper of course but how high are we talking here?” The smile on her face grew larger by the second. Although she didn't find it humorous, of all things she found it exciting, the risk of revealing so much to an enemy which could potentially turn around to bite her on the ass.
Celeste placed her hands on her hips leaning forward closing the gap once more between the two and teasingly said “Well now aren't you the inquisitive Reaper Graves?” Celeste giggled a little but continued on answering his question. “It's not so much we prefer the human appearance, I guess it's just what a lot of people are used to, most of the angels as you know were made. There is only a small amount of us that are purebloods including myself. My father is of great importance”.
Smiling to herself Celeste decided not to continue with information about her father as then things would get complicated, she also had a feeling the two would need to part soon before suspicions arose from both parties. But she did quickly add one more comment to see the reaction from the Reaper. “However personally, it doesn't bother me either way. I tend not to judge someone on appearance alone, there is something very particular I look for to judge a person”.
Celeste moved even closer, the closest she imagined the Reaper would allow, and whispered so quietly even the Reaper could barely hear. “What I look for my dear Graves, is an aura, everyone has one and some shine more brightly than others”. Celeste stepped back smiling, before crossing her arms once more taking her original stance.
Oh he knew the question would arise but Graves knew better. It was safer to not know then they could at least place some sort of ignorance... or at least he can. Although Lucifer was no idiot. If any of the Nine found out what he was doing, he would be exposed to the Void. No doubt about that. But here he was... Risking it all just to be seen.
“Now you and I both know that we shouldn’t speak of titles here. We know we’re highly regarded. We know we’re powerful creatures. We know each other's ‘names’. Isn’t that enough for a curious winged warrior?”
Then she did it again. Leaning forward into his personal space, making him almost uneasy. It was difficult to tell but he’d almost bet that Celeste was flirting with him. It peaked his mood like he was given permission to test boundaries with her.
The demon’s armor shifted around in it’s usual way, giving her the illusion of an amused face as she pulled away from her sensual whispering. Particular aura of judgement? Ha! The aura he carried was always a dark and twisted one. Full of the screams of victims and tendrils of sin. “Shine and bright aren’t usually words associated with me or any of my kind for that matter, angel,” he laughed. “In fact, I dare say, you’ve been blinded for way too long from those around you.”
Graves dissipated his cigarette and put his hands behind his back, leaning close enough that she could feel the cold brush of the black smokey darkness that steamed off his armor on her skin. “Do you feel it?” he whispered. “Do you want to tangle with a creature like me? Judge this aura? Because, as you might imagine, I went to hell for a reason, pureblood...”
The reaper straightened his posture and suddenly felt a frigid pull. The pull of a higher entity calling back down to the hordes. They probably needed a different approach if they were going to meet again. Consorting on a battle ground wasn’t exactly ‘safe’ for him.
“Shall we continue this playful banter another time, Celeste? Maybe somewhere a little less important?” Graves wasn’t exactly sure what response he wanted but really anything was better than sitting in that prison down below and... this was fun.
Raising her hand in agreement Celeste nodded to his comment. It would only complicate things if they were to address each other's rankings. After all, this was only their second meeting and she didn't know who or what could be listening nearby.
At his next comment on auras, Celeste leaned her head back and laughed before putting her index in front of Graves wiggling it followed by a tut tut. “My dear Graves I can see as clear as ever. Even though others might not be able to see as clearly as me I have seen thousands upon thousands of auras and if you want to stereotype good and evil don't make a difference with aura. As I said before some shine more brightly than others. But I guess you'll have to trust me”. Celeste smiled giving a playful wink.
She watched the Reaper throw his cigarette to the floor, something that never interested her but then again everyone was healthy in heaven so cigarettes would be frowned upon. What he did next though surprised Celeste which was something that rarely happened. He leaned in close enough so she could feel the smoke from him on her skin, she felt herself flush and her heart skip slightly, and she coughed controlling herself.
She smiled at his question, unsure whether it was rhetorical or not she answered anyway. “Whatever the reason you being sent to hell is no business of mine. However whether you will agree with me or not, we are both curious creatures desperate to see how the other lives, intrigued even as we have both lived hating either side. We have surprised ourselves by instead of fighting we have conversed, so regardless of aura or what sins we have committed I'm happy to continue this and learn more about you and your world”.
Celeste looked behind her then back to Graves who mentioned they should part for now, Celeste smiled and nodded "I couldn't agree more, it also gives you time to think about how you choose to reply to my statement. Now hold your hand open". She waited for the Reaper to hold out his hand as she dropped a small red crystal into his palm and smiled.
"This little crystal here is a means to contact me without being traced, I chose the color for the whole hell thing, something dark-colored won't be suspicious". Celeste waved her hands a little playfully and rolled her eyes smiling. “We can decide where to meet up through these, it was nice speaking to you again Graves. Be safe...” Celeste opened her wings before giving the Reaper one last playful wink and shooting up and out of the forest leaving a gust of wind behind her. She rejoined her comrades as they made their way back home, but not before taking one last glance at the Reaper now nothing but a dot in the forest.
The angel honestly kept surprising him, seeming to, in fact, embrace this dark side of his instead of making the wise decision not to engage. Surely, this must have been against all those godly rules they seem to uphold there in Heaven.
“Intrigued and desperate indeed,” the demon agreed, the tendrils fluttering as he held his hand towards her. A red crystal was dropped and instantly he knew exactly what it was and he almost quivered at the sight. The Reapers have been trying to get their hands on one of the Tears of Christ, as they called it in Hell, for eons, color distinction coincidence or not. Prime communication for a sinner into the holy world.
Graves gave her no indication that he knew more than he let on and was genuinely happy that she was interested in him as he was her. “Be safe,” he replied, watching her spread out those glorious wings. He gazed after her till she disappeared from view and even then... spent a little more time there.
The crystal laid on his bedside table, glimmering in the light cast by the fiery flames of Hell coming from his window. This was risky. Troublesome. He shouldn’t have this... but he couldn’t help but to feel a sense of pride in it. Reapers would kill- shed thousands of skins for what he had stumbled upon. The blessing of an Angel who was willing to let him get close enough that he could have touched her. Skin... something he hadn’t felt in decades.
No. He won’t betray Celeste’s trust. At least not yet.
Graves reached across for the Tear, rolling it between his two boney fingers. It began to pulse slowly, as if ready for something. Tilting his head curiously, he whispered, “Let’s meet in, oh... Paris for lunch? My treat. Day after the morrow.”
Smiling, he pocketed the artifact into his breast canal. As long as he held the power of the 9th Reaper, no one would know his secret and he had to keep it that way. All the work he put into becoming what he was, wasn’t about to be lost in a day.
Entering the large golden gates in front of her she breathed out a little, she knew the next thing she would have to do would be to tell the elders how the little meeting went between her and the Reaper. She would give some information enough of what they wanted to hear, but giving him her crystal she would keep to herself. Not only is she putting herself at risk but heaven entirely. She just hoped she could trust Graves and not end up shooting herself in the foot so to speak.
Not bothering to close her wings away for she would need to fly to reach them. The safest place in the heavens where only winged creatures could enter, more specifically angels. But even the devil was once an angel. Celeste smiled at the thought as she flew up to the tower, thinking of what to say so the elders would let her arrange another meeting with the Reaper. She still had many things left unanswered, she wanted to know Graves' rank and she hoped over time when he trusted her more he would eventually open up and reveal to her exactly how high up he was.
Landing outside some rather large gates even more extravagant than the gates to heaven she folded her wings in and walked towards the door, opening again without the need to knock. Of course, she was expected, they would want to know every little tiny detail. Celeste glided over to the elders and kneeled before them with a hand across her chest “My lords…”
“You may rise, Celeste”
Doing as instructed she took up standing with her hands behind her back awaiting permission to speak. The one elder waved his hand allowing her to do so “My lords the meeting with the Reaper was a success, he revealed a small amount of his ranking, but was still very cautious, but I have a feeling he may be very close to Lucifer if not his second in command. I feel if I meet with him a few more times he may let his guard down and reveal to me something either to do with himself or Lucifer's plans. However I wish to meet him alone, he knew I was with comrades and I feel this is the reason he didn't reveal too much to me. With your permission my graces I will meet alone with him once more and try and gain some more intel to help fight off Lucifer and his army”.
Celeste breathed out a little, she hoped it was what they wanted to hear, but most of all she wanted them to grant her wish, so she could meet Graves without eyes watching them from a distance, on both sides... They spoke amongst themselves and then one of the elders stood up, “The elders and I are pleased with this information you have told us, you have done well for this Reaper to tell you this much, your beauty alone must have helped a great deal. We will allow you to meet with this Reaper alone as you are our most trusted servant and the fact of your father's reputation is also a great help in your favor. Do not let us down and report to us straight away as soon as you're back from your meeting. You may now leave”.
Celeste bowed once more and stood up turning her back to the elders she left the tower and flew to her room.
Sitting on the edge of her bed she slammed her fist onto the mattress in anger, “My beauty alone?! What fools! Is that why I rose in the ranks?! My father and my beauty! Such idiots!” Celeste bit her lip in anger, realizing she stopped and took a deep breath remaining calm. She needed to keep her head clear to get away with what she was doing, maybe that's what they wanted her to do, testing her and testing her loyalty to them.
Just as she was about to lie down the crystal in her pocket began to glow, she pulled it out, a smile on her face, she didn't need to hear the voice she knew who it was... Graves. Celeste pulled the crystal close to her chest and smiled as he began to speak she couldn't help but let out a giggle. “My dear Graves you're asking me to dinner at the most romantic city in the world? Is this a date?” Celeste couldn't help herself and laughed a little louder “But yes, of course, I shall be there. And this time I will be fully alone, aren't I the trusted little angel?”
Once the call had ended Celeste decided to tuck the crystal into her breastplate where there was no chance of anyone taking it or her losing it, her life is on the line and she hoped luck was on her side. She smiled to herself, she knew very well it wasn't a date, but she couldn't help but feel that twinge of excitement and nervousness in her chest.
It was quite some time before a message was received from the other end. His fingers brushed against his breast pocket, reaching inside the bones to retrieve the Tear of Christ. It spoke, the tone of the Angel General ringing out in the small condominium- giggles and all.
Graves smiled to himself. A date, hm? That’s an intriguing notion and he was sure being alone was making that much more obvious. Though an angel willingly going out of her way to meet a demon in broad daylight amongst humans was definitely a leap in a dangerous direction. He wondered if God could see them from his throne. Well... there was only one way to find out.
Mr. Graves had to admit that he absolutely hated being out in the human realm. Being an immortal entity meant that he had more ‘experience’ seeing the sin in the living and it was one of his duties as the head of the 9th Circle of Hell to sway the minds of mortal men and, oh, were they so easily manipulated. Though today he wasn’t working. Today he was awaiting an angel to ascend from her castle in the sky to meet the dirt of a sinner for lunch.
The skin the demon chose was a human face. A tall, dark haired man dressed in a style to fit today’s standards without looking out of place or drawing too much attention and... well he quite liked the look even though he was born in a time where suits and ties were considered mandatory to show one’s worth. He wondered if Celeste would like this face. It certainly wasn’t his but what right-minded demon wanted his own anyhow?
The Reaper adjusted the leather jacket he wore and took a seat on a bench along the Seine River where he could see the Eiffel Tower. The weather was fair here in Paris which kind of uplifted his mood. A taste of normality. He vaguely wondered if the Angel would still be able to sense the evil that still rolled off his shoulders even in disguise. Of course she could. She was a fighter and so was he. He could pick out angels in a sea of people if given a chance. With the apocalypse coming, that may happen sooner rather than later.
Celeste was nervous for this day, she had spent hours perfecting her human form, she tried to keep it as similar as her usual look just toning it down ever so slightly so she didn't draw attention to herself. Looking in her mirror she sighed a heavy sigh “This will have to do, I'm already late as it is, but then again aren't women supposed to be fashionably late?” She shrugged her shoulders and after fixing her hair and makeup a few times she finally decided it would do for now, she could always choose to change it later on if her looks and fashion weren't suited to today's standards of fashion. Heaven was different, heaven was ALWAYS different.
Just a temporary fix Celeste opened her wings and flew down from the heavens, she landed a little outside of Paris so no one would see anything they shouldn't. As she landed the cool breeze hit her cheeks, she smiled a little as she closed her eyes, concentrating for a few seconds, and when she opened them her wings had disappeared. She was now a human and at her most vulnerable.
Looking around she felt a little lost, she rarely ever landed in mortal cities, they were far too busy and people were always in a hurry. Plus she was always so busy with training that she never had the time. But she couldn't help but envy the mortals a little, this city was beautiful. No wonder Graves wanted to have dinner here. She giggled a little to herself walking along.
A few moments later she picked up a familiar aura, Celeste's heart skipped a slight beat. She frowned hitting her chest once. “Calm down, you're here for research remember…” She messed with her bangs a little more as she passed a shop window. When she was finally pleased with how it looked she moved closer to the aura now growing stronger.
There on the bench, she noticed someone, it was Graves' aura but he looked different... Human, was this his human form? No of course not there's no way he would reveal something so personal, but still, it suited him. Celeste picked up the pace almost skipping as she closed the gap between them, standing to the side of him she tapped his shoulder lightly. “Graves is that you? It's me Celeste if you didn't know already.”
Celeste let out a light laugh as she stood up, she felt a light flush on her cheeks, what on earth was wrong with her?
The demon felt it in his chest at first, the indication of a holy being in the vicinity that was supposed to signal a threat. Today it was strange feeling the aura. His body told him one thing while his brain told him something else. That Celeste had arrived and he was excited.
Closer and closer it became until there was a light tap on his shoulder. Graves looked up, meeting the piercing gaze of a rather beautiful woman. It was her, no doubt about it, but seemed more ‘down to earth’. He smiled, fully aware that this face had a very nice one, and let himself relax as he looked her over. “Slumming it today with the humans, are we? Glad you could make it.”
The demon stood from the bench, adjusting his leather jacket. “Honestly though, can’t say I really understand today’s standards on fashion but what do you think of these?” He pointed to the gauges in his ears. “I thought only girls wore them. Not too mention that you look lovely as well.” He gestured to all of her, feeling unnaturally nervous. He never felt nervous. What in hell?
Seeing Graves now standing in front of her she couldn't help but feel her cheeks flush, his appearance was very handsome, it was a different look compared to heaven. Of course, the men and women looked perfect, but there was something about his appearance she found attractive. She coughed a little tucking her hair behind her ear. Although he still made her laugh even when she was experiencing all these new emotions.
“Yes indeed, I wouldn't have missed it. We will behave like humans but try not to get into too much trouble?” Celeste winked playfully, she couldn't help but giggle a little as he adjusted his jacket, knowing it wasn't something he usually had in his wardrobe, but Celeste felt the same, most of the time she was in her armor or in her divine clothing. Dressing down so much almost made her feel naked. “It's okay I understand where you're coming from. The humans of today don't seem to dress like we used to, but times change and so does fashion. As for those things in your ears, I wouldn't wear them for myself, but they suit your appearance and personality very well, you are certain to blend in with everyone else, which is what we're aiming for yes?”
Celeste felt herself fidget a little on the spot, she had taken many compliments at home for being who her father was, but outside of heaven it was different, but it felt nice somewhat. Maybe it was the person in particular who was in front of her though. “Thank you Graves, you look very smart yourself. I had to do some changes myself, make a more updated appearance, and tone it down”. She rolled her eyes a little teasingly as she looked at either side of his face admiring the work, then she asked something she hoped would be acceptable to him, but it would mean invading his personal space.
"You've done amazing work here, do you mind me asking how you did it? Or is that top secret? Also, do you mind... If I touch your face, I've never been this close to human contact and I can't very well go around touching strangers' faces now could I?" She knew it was a long shot, but part of it was true, Celeste had never put her hands on human skin before, and touching her own wouldn't be the same. But it was also an excuse for now Graves was in a form she could touch she wasn't about to miss out on the opportunity.
The demon’s smile grew wider. It almost felt strange actually moving muscles to do things again. It had been so long since he’d given two shits about looking good for someone else- or specifically- going through such lengths as to create a new human form. Flesh was just so constricting and ever since that day... when he burned up in the entrance of Hell, there was nothing like feeling free of mortal boundaries. The whole dead thing freaked people out. Wasn’t the greatest face to wear, unfortunately.
“Can’t make any promises about the trouble part though. You do know I’m still bred to be evil, right?” Graves replied with a grin. Then she said something unnaturally strange that it actually made him laugh. How he made it and how it feels? “Basic satanic magic, I suppose. It was just a gift that was bestowed upon me when I finally impressed Lucifer enough but don’t let that scare you.”
Without a hesitation, the reaper took her uplifted hand and grasped it in his, bringing it up to the left side of his face. Surprisingly, Celeste’s hand was warm in his cold fingers though he didn’t know why he thought hers would be cool too. Maybe he thought since she was an angel they would feel like stone. Smooth and perfect. Unlike the dead.
Then he thought about how her skin felt. Not quite like his, not quite like he remembered. Gentle. A touch he was definitely not used to and almost made him pull away for fear it might have been a demon’s trick. It wouldn’t have been the first time.
“Count me flattered that I’m the first human flesh you’ve touched,”] Graves teased, smiling gently this time.
Celeste laughed at his comment, “That may be true, just as long as we don't draw any unwanted attention to ourselves. I suspect our higher-ups wouldn't be best pleased to hear about it”. However, she was fascinated by how he was able to obtain human flesh. Basic magic? This was something not everyone in heaven had the ability of, which meant he was someone of importance. His next comment confirmed her theory, but also made her wonder just HOW close he was to Lucifer himself. Did she need to be worried?
In the next moment, Graves grabbed her hands which caused Celeste to uncontrollably blush. Not much surprised her in life but this certainly did, she simply asked because she thought he would have objected but to grab her hand with his own there was no way of hiding her expression.
She looked to the side a little trying to calm herself down as she felt her hand on the side of his face bringing her attention back to Graves' face once more. His skin felt cold, but not in a bad way, maybe it was because she felt flushed but this was a different feeling for Celeste something new and Celeste always loved to have her interests piqued.
Standing on the balls of her feet, Celeste reached up and ran her fingers lightly across his cheeks, jawline, lips, nose, eyes and lastly, she touched his hair. It was remarkable how well his hair felt, it almost had a sort of rugged feeling to it. Lost in the moment she didn't realize how close she had moved to him. Fascinated by the quality she finally spoke. “I'm impressed! I thought I had made excellent quality but this is completely different, this is truly perfect. Even the elders would be impressed by this level of magic”.
Realizing she had touched his face long enough Celeste stepped back a little taking her original position. “Thank you, Graves... That was very... helpful” she coughed once more to hide her embarrassment. Although she had now experienced the touch of actual human skin, a thought occurred to her that it was mostly likely too perfect for the average human, however, she was extremely pleased she had the chance to experience touching something of such high-quality magic.
Hearing his last comment Celeste shook her head smiling “Not at all my dear Graves. If anything I should be the one feeling flattered for allowing me to put you through a few moments of discomfort for my own personal reasons, so again thank you…”
Looking around she noticed more people beginning to round crowd them and she had the uneasy feeling that at least one of them was undercover whether it be heaven or hell, she wanted to keep moving so as not to arouse suspicion. Celeste turned to look at Graves smiling “So tell me where are we going to eat? Did you have somewhere in mind?”
Truly perfect? No, she was talking about his craftsmanship. His face was perfect. His flesh too but nothing more. His smile faded slightly, the angel’s proximity becoming dangerously close as she examined him from nose to hair. It was cute but oh so deceptive. There was no way she was a real captain of God having shown the increased interest in a creature beneath her.
Once Celeste was satisfied, she stepped back, relieving any fear he harbored in his chest and watched her cheeks flush with embarrassment. That... did soften his mood again, bringing him back to his normal content self. “Glad to be of service,” Graves smiled.
The reaper had hardly noticed the mortals staring until the angel turned awkwardly. Damn tourists have gotten ruder the longer time passed. Humans were simply the worst. They act like they haven’t seen weirder things on the street then a girl touching a man’s face. Graves eyed a very nosey couple across the green, speaking amongst themselves.
“I do have a place in mind,” Graves replied, landing his gaze back on her, “In my grand adventures of soul ripping, I have tried a few restaurants in passing and, if my guess is correct, you’ve never had much experience in mortal food either. This will be a treat.” He reached out a hand, turning her bare shoulders gently in the direction they needed to go, and boldly put an arm over her, walking ahead as if they were a couple. As a personal embellishment, he flipped off the gossiping geezers across the way, smiling as he did so.
“Paris is beautiful but I feel it might just be a tad overrated,” he started, leading her down a crowded pathway but keeping her close. When a demon brushes against another human, he is starting to progress a sinful influence so he did absolute best not to touch anyone. It was annoying and kept him from enjoying his time out more than it should have. His fellow generals, however, quite enjoyed instewing chaos.
They eventually stopped at a restaurant called L’Oiseau Blanc where Graves conducted his influential magic to get them a reservation seat in his favorite spot, a corner rooftop window view of the eiffel tower. “Order anything you like,” he informed her once seated. Money was never an issue with a devil.
For a very brief moment, the two stood in silence. It wasn't something either of them was used to, but the talk amongst the humans quickly bought them back to reality. As Celeste asked the question she couldn't help but overhear the gossip amongst some of the humans. Was it so bizarre to touch another person's face? Isn't that how humans express their affection towards one another?
Celeste sighed a little, she really didn't have very much knowledge when it came to the humans and their beliefs and traditions. But then again it wasn't her job to see what the humans were up to. She was in charge of God's army so anything tactical or strategic then she was your gal. She turned her attention away from the nosey humans and back to Graves pleased to know he knew somewhere.
She smiled at his comment nodding in agreement “That you are right Graves, however, we do have THE most exquisite food in the heavens so I have to say my food palate is that of a high standard, but I look forward to tasting their food”. Giving a playful wink Celeste began laughing shortly after.
Not the first time today Graves caught her off guard once more, feeling his hands on her shoulders caused her heart to skip a beat, unsure of what was happening she looked up at him, but his next action caused her face to flush, she looked down trying her best hide her face as he rested his arm around her.
Celeste frowned becoming agitated with herself, she wasn't entirely sure if it was because this was the first time she'd allowed someone to get this close to her or just the fact of Graves' confidence. But then again they were with the humans now and she guessed they could let their guard down ever so slightly. Then she realized the reason behind it, the couple from earlier who was amazed that she had touched his face were still staring. Celeste understood now it was to keep up the disguise of them being a couple.
Watching as he made a rather rude gesture to the couple, Celeste looked in shock but somehow she couldn't help but let out a slight laugh. She almost envied what he could get away with. Heaven had such a reputation to uphold and everyone had to be on their best behavior at all times, his action surely would have been a punishable offense if seen in heaven.
As they arrived at the restaurant Celeste followed Graves and sat down when she was instructed, she looked at him with a sarcastic smile. Trust him to get the best seat in the place. She wondered what magic he might have used but that would be discussion for later. For the time being she wanted to enjoy herself and indulge in the humans' food.
“I plan to my dear Graves, but fear not, I have my manners and will pay for some of it, although I may not look it but someone of my height and weight eats more than she should". Celeste let out a slight laugh as she picked up the menu and opened it, “I have to ask though, what's your opinion of red wine? When I do indulge that is the only thing I drink, you know the whole blood of Christ thing”, Celeste rolled her eyes a little smiling, wondering if he was about to think her people are crazy for wanting to drink something reminding them of blood.
Graves almost laughed at her comment. Oh sure, the angel can eat all she wants in Heaven while he went years without a single morsel. She had no idea how many demons and damned souls would kill to have the power he did. “As strange as it might sound, I don’t eat very often. Maybe, I dunno, twice a month? Once you’ve gotten used to starving to death it’s difficult to deem one’s self worthy of eating again.”
The reaper perused over the wine list, finding it interesting that wine was such a staple even in the clouds regardless whether it was His blood or not. “I greatly assume that it’s like sparkling cider up there. I thought drinking alcohol was a sin.” No, he knew it was. It was one of the many things he was sent below for. “Wine is so delicate. My choice of drink is usually a whiskey.”
The waiter came by and Graves promptly ordered a finer red wine off of the list and a couple of appetizers to start. Waiting till the server returned with the glasses and the bottle before starting up conversation once more. “Hopefully something on this menu can impress your exquisite palate. Of course, nothing is going to be as good as whatever you angelics craft up there.” He poured her a glass and then his, lifting it for a brief cheers before taking a sip.
Celeste lightly placed her menu down on the table with a saddened look on her face she turned her attention to Graves, “I'm sorry, that was rather rude of me to say how well we eat without knowing nothing about yourself. However I have to say I'm a little surprised I would have expected you to eat well or at least Lucifer's higher-ranking demons at least, but there's something else I have learned about you”.
She couldn't help but laugh a little at his next comment, picking her menu up once more. “Well I can't speak for everyone, but as a personal preference I prefer red wine, I'm sure there's an angel out there that loves a good old glass of sparkling cider”. Celeste giggled a little placing her hand in front of her mouth, occasionally glancing at the menu and then back at Graves. “As for the sin part, it is, however, if taken in moderation and not for self reasons, say to get drunk then it is allowed. And it's usually only red wine as I mentioned before the whole blood of Christ”.
The drink Graves mentioned piqued her interest, this was something unheard of in the heavens well at least her, Heaven was a big place and she couldn't oversee everyone, that was the big guy's job. “What is this whisky you speak of? Or better yet what are its flavors?”
Shortly after the waiter came and took their order for drinks she watched Graves lift his glass in cheers as Celeste smiled “To a new friendship”. Followed by a playful wink, the waiter returned asking if we were ready to order food, Celeste glanced at Graves and nodded to the waiter. “Yes I'll take the olive wagyu please with boiled potatoes and a side salad, please”. The two glanced at Graves as Celeste smirked a little wondering what dish he was going to choose.
Mr. Graves mused for an additional minute over the menu before stating his order. “Scallops from Port-en-Bessin with the seasonal vegetables.” He wasn’t terribly fond of an abundance of sides having already ordered appetizers. A
Once the waiter had collected their menus and left them on their own did he proceed to answer the angel’s inquires, already finding their lunch date quite amusing. “Whiskey is nothing a pretty high ranking angel like you should be interested in. It’s a poor man’s drink when he wants to lose a bit of himself and no amount of flavoring can mask that.” The demon sipped his wine, noting how long it had been since he’d consumed something this refined and definitely on the high proof end. “And just to defend myself and others, getting drunk is not always a selfish reason. It’s for fun too. God just doesn’t get that.”
“But we don’t have to dwell on the sins of the world. There’s always time for that. Were you always destined to become a well-known Captain of God’s army or were you just lucky?”
Celeste smiled over his meal choice, it was a personal favorite of hers in heaven, seafood was her delicacy, she leaned forward smiling. “Excellent choice there, I can see we're going to get on splendidly”. Taking her original position she listened as he described what whisky was and to her surprise, it sounded rather disappointing, a poor man's drink? Then why on earth did people drink it?
Celeste smiled at his comment about drinking, how could something like that be fun? But she was here for research and she wanted to know everything about his life. “Well Graves please tell me if I've overstepped a line but I'm rather confused here. How is being intoxicated fun? Sure I've heard it gives some people confidence to talk to others. But I've also heard that your reaction time, balance, and mood can be affected. Not to mention some people have difficulty containing their vomit and it can also cause unnecessary violence. But as you've said yourself it's what we have been told from the man himself, so I'm open to new information if you're willing to share?”
Celeste picked up her wine glass and lightly brought it to her lips, feeling the cold liquid run down her throat she smiled, this was a high-quality wine, she glanced down at the bottle remembering the name in case she was ever to mingle with the humans again.
His next question made her frown a little, not to what he asked but the meaning behind it, she took a larger sip this time and returned the glass to the table, running her fingers up and down the stem of the glass, she thought for a moment but decided to answer honestly, she had a few personal questions to ask herself.
Making eye contact with Graves she smiled a little. “I guess it was always thought of and mentioned, but captains as you call them were always male and were aged well enough to carry that title. I'm somewhat different, I'm the first female and the youngest captain but I worked my ass off every day, I sparred with male soldiers, and I refused to have lesser training than the males because I was a woman... However, I'm beginning to think my father's title and ranking played a large part in that…” Finishing the rest of her wine in one swig she slammed the glass down on the table biting her lip a little, “Oh of course you can't forget my looks either. Tell me Graves apart from this form and my divine form which you haven't seen, what do you think of my appearance?”
The reaper almost spit out his wine, holding back a bit of laughter. How was getting intoxicated fun? He supposed it was probably a normal thought for angels seeing how they could do no wrong while on the Heavenly plane. His smile grew, choosing to wait to answer till she had answered his question.
Graves watched curiously as she spoke, her delicate features barely flawed as Celeste explained her upbringing in a few short sentences, her fingers absentmindedly caressing the glass. The angel worked her way up through the ranks as he did, giving them something small in common though they couldn’t be any further on opposite spectrums.
She finished her drink, shyly asking his opinion on her physical appearance. Had he been the man he was before he died, he would have taken her to bed already but she didn’t need to know that.
The demon finished his drink before replying to all her inquires. “While it’s true, being intoxicated can lower your ‘performance’ abilities, it doesn’t mean the feeling you get from drinking isn’t any less enjoyable.” He smiled, refilling their glasses. “Sickness is due to overindulgence and any violence is caused by whom you’re drinking with and whether or not you’re feeling sadness all the while. If the place is right and the celebration and people engaging, getting drunk is quite fun.”
Graves continued to drink, thinking about his next words carefully. “As for your appearance in this form or the other, I find it quite beautiful.” His gaze met hers, displaying his honesty. “You just look more divine and ‘out of my league’ as we humans call it when you’re as flawless as today. Perfect work.” He consumed the last of the glass, thankfully feeling a slight buzz. He was beginning to feel nervous again, wondering if his comment might have seemed inappropriate.
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