Angel fire, p.24
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       Angel Fire, p.24

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 24


  “So, here it is,” said Kara shortly. Her expression was tight as she sat down; Alex didn’t know if it was the document in her hand, or what she’d just walked in on. Both, probably.

  She pushed a sheet of paper across the table. “The Church of Angels email address this was sent to belongs to the preacher at the Metropolitan Cathedral here,” she said. “You might have seen that it’s a Church of Angels cathedral now. And you know the tabernacle, right beside it? It’s been redone into the office space for the Church. The preacher is the head honcho there – and believe me, he’s as devout as they come. ”

  Alex angled the page towards him, sharing it with Willow; a pang hit him at the sight of Juan’s familiar looping handwriting. He started to read:

  Yes, I can verify that arrangements are underway for the Seraphic Council’s planned visit to Mexico City. They have several vital orders of business there; one is to select an angelic head for the Church in Mexico. As we discussed, the utmost security during their stay is vital – the general populace is not to know of their presence. However, rest assured that Church officials will of course be allowed to pay homage to them, as will a few selected members of the public. We shall discuss this when next we speak. Meanwhile, please send a precis of all security arrangements. Remember, their safety is vital for all angelkind.

  “Seraphic Council?” said Willow. Her hair tickled his cheek as she bent close to read. “Didn’t Nate mention that to us?”

  “Yeah, but I’d never heard of it before. ” Alex frowned down at the page. “We knew all about their habits at the camp – nothing about their politics. ” It was interesting news that this Council, whoever they were, planned to appoint an angelic Church head for Mexico – Alex had always had the impression that Raziel, who was head of the Church in the US, had simply grabbed all the power for himself. So did that mean this Seraphic Council were above Willow’s father, in the angelic scheme of things?

  But more than that, Alex found himself staring at the phrase their safety is vital for all angelkind. Kara reached across and tapped the words. “That’s the reason we came here,” she said. “It sounded like if we did away with this Council, then maybe it would be a real strike against the angels – only we didn’t know that for sure, or when they were arriving, or even where, exactly. ”

  “Past tense,” noticed Alex, straightening up to look at her. “You do now?”

  “Some of it,” said Kara. “When we first got here, the cathedral had just reopened and I went there a lot, pretending to be a devotee. I, ah. . . well, I’ve managed to get kind of friendly with the preacher’s main assistant, a guy named Luis. ”

  Alex smiled wryly; he had no trouble reading between the lines. Obviously, Luis was not supposed to be talking to random devotees about this stuff – and just as obviously, Kara had the poor guy so enamoured he couldn’t help himself.

  She crossed her forearms on the table. “First of all – this thing is huge. Much bigger than we’d even hoped. ” She took a breath. “The reason the high-ups at the Church are so concerned about the security risk is because the Seraphic Council is like the angels’ heartbeat. They’re called the Twelve, and their energy is the original angel energy – apparently it’s to do with them being the ‘first formed’. And the angels can’t live without them. Literally can’t live without them. If the Council of Twelve dies—”

  “They all die,” finished Willow faintly. She looked at Alex; the blood had drained from her face. “My dream – the twelve angels vanishing, the sound of millions of them screaming. . . it all fits. ”

  “Jesus,” murmured Alex, sinking back against his chair. His heart started pounding as his eyes locked on Willow’s. They had a second chance to destroy them. They actually had a second chance. If they managed to get rid of the Council, then eventually humanity would start to recover; the world would be safe. His family flashed through his head. Willow’s mother. They had to succeed this time, so that what had happened to the people they loved would never occur again, not to anyone else.

  “Do you have any other details?” he asked Kara finally.

  “According to Luis, they’re going to be coming in early January and then staying for three weeks at the Nikko Hotel,” said Kara. “It’s one of the most exclusive hotels in the city – the whole top floor is reserved for them. Security’s going to be tight, but there’s a reception planned for the last day they’re here – and apparently the Council are going to be holding private audiences then, so that selected people can worship them in their angel forms. I’m trying to convince Luis that me and some of my friends should be on that list. ” She gave a hard smile. “Because I’m so devout, don’cha know?”

  Alex nodded. It definitely sounded like the best time to do it, if the Council were going to be in their angel forms with their vulnerable halos on display.

  “And hopefully we can pull it off with as little damage to us as possible – I really don’t want this to be a suicide mission. ” Kara rested her chin on her palm, her face tight with worry. “But everything depends on the team being able to take out the Council – because this is probably the only chance we’ll ever get at them. If we fail. . . ” She shrugged. “Well, I doubt they’ll let us get away to try again later. ”

  “I think you’re right – this is our only chance,” said Willow in a steady voice. She told Kara about her dream; Alex watched Kara go still.

  “So it’s sort of. . . fated for you two to be here,” she said.

  “Looks that way,” said Alex, playing with his fork. His mind was ticking over everything Kara had said. Depending on Luis the assistant to get the team into the reception sounded a little too flimsy for comfort to him. But even if everything went to plan, the hardest part was going to be escaping after the Council was killed, once people figured out what they’d done. There were almost certainly going to be casualties.

  He rapped the fork against the table, and left aside the logistic difficulties for the moment. “Okay, so this reception is around eleven weeks away. If you need your team trained for then, what are you doing sending them out on hunts now, before they’re ready? Are you trying to get them killed, or what?” He explained what had happened at the Zócalo; as he’d already surmised, Kara had been the lone gunman who’d actually been hitting the angels, at the other end of the square.

  “Sounds like the others all stayed together,” said Kara morosely. “Damn it – I told them to fan out. ”

  “You shouldn’t have sent them out there in the first place! God, you should have seen them out back just now, when those three angels were attacking – it was complete chaos. What did you think you were doing?”

  Her dark eyes flashed. “What I’ve been doing is being in charge the best way I know how ever since Juan died, okay? And they seemed like they could handle it! They’d all been hitting the bullseye over ninety per cent; they’re already experts at scanning; they—”

  Alex let out a disbelieving laugh. “Come on, Kara, you know how different it is shooting angels for real, instead of just hitting targets! I remember Dad telling you that often enough, anyway. ”


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