Haohi raised an eyebrow at the response. Though the decision of refusal was to be expected, she did not expect such an adamant reply, especially from a mortal.
“My deepest apologies, but perhaps I had misheard you,” The pink haired angel exclaimed with a hint of sarcasm, straightening herself in her wooden chair. “…but did you just say…Hell…no?”
Another voice rang out beside her.
“Such insolence will not be tolerated!” another angel cried out, with more angelic voices agreeing in turn, the tension in the room growing suddenly palpable.
Haohi raised her hand to silence them. Her entourage was not experienced in dealing with humans in the way she was. She had spent an insurmountable time studying humans, watching them and their short flicker-lives. She understood them well; to some degree at least. It was why she was chosen to head the angelic delegation. But humans were also unpredictable and almost entirely unmanageable. Left to their own devices for too long and they’ll surprise even the most wisest and worldly of beings.
And the humans had surprised Haohi today with such a frivolous concept, only mortals could possibly understand it.
“Your apology is accepted. And in case you still had bits of cloud in your ears, I did indeed say ‘Hell No.’”
Haohi couldn’t help but smile back in response. Impudence was one thing, but impudence in the face of an angel was something entirely else; Haohi couldn’t help but find it amusing. Even by human standards, the man sitting across from her was strange. Clad in an odd assortment of leather and plate armor, he distinctly stood out from the bejeweled kings, princes, dukes and lords that surrounded and sat on either side of him. Stranger still, he seemed to be only human in the room that could meet her gaze.
With a polite and warm smile, Haohi leaned forward in her chair, and brushed some stray strands of her hair behind her ear.
“May I ask…why?” she asked with a more serious tone.
The room seemed to ebb as she asked. The human kings and lords visibly recoiled or shuffled in their seats, as if they had just been caught stealing sweets and were being scolded. All except the human in front of her. He simply stared back.
“Well let’s explore that, shall we?” he replied.
“The Demon Lord and his demonic horde have risen up from the depths of whatever pit they crawled out of, and its currently on its way to the City of The Gods to presumably begin The End of Days, that which will ultimately cumulate into a climactic battle between good and evil.”
Before Haohi could raise her voice to interject, the human continued.
“And then Angels started descending from the heavens. They declare that we must take up arms and fight off the demonic horde and its evils to preserve the very fate of this world.”
At this, the human suddenly grew somber.
“Now I ask you this, Angel. Why should this involve us?”
Haohi almost openly laughed at the question.
“Because this affects us all, human. If we should fail, the world will be plunged into never-ending darkness, with the Demon Lord reigning over all for all eternity. Is that not so obvious to you?”
The human opposite of her shook his head, “Perhaps you misunderstood my question.”
Haohi grinned. “Enlighten me.”
The human simply stared back in ire before speaking.
“Are you familiar with the Black Blood plague?”
Haohi didn’t have to think to remember that particular disease. She remembered the abnormal amount of souls that she had guided to the beyond.
The human nodded his head.
“Good good. Because…in my travels, I read many texts about it. About how scores of people prayed in the churches or with their last dying breaths, pleading for the Gods to do something.”
Haohi didn’t know what he was getting at, but she continued to listen.
“And of course, you must be familiar with the Empire Wars? When Illgarch the Butcher attempted to unify the lands? We almost caused our own extinction with those ceaseless, unending wars.”
Another angel who sat next to Haohi intervened.
“We do not meddle in the affairs of humans.”
The human raised his hand, acquiescing.
“Of course, of course, that was presumptuous of me.”
He seemed to hang on his next words, rapping his fingers on the table.
“But now demons roam free, slaughtering villages and killing humans without challenge. The Demon Lord reigns free, and threatens our very existence. And…naturally…one would assume that the
Angels, servants of the Gods and protectors of all that is good and holy, would come and save us. Naturally, anyone would.”
The human stood up, and placed his hands upon the table and leaned forward, and stared directly at Haohi with an accusing glare.
“And yet…they now tell us to take up arms and fight the demonic hordes. Us. We fragile and weak humans.” He scoffed, “Not once in our recorded history have Angels ever helped us, even in our most dire hour. What makes you think we would ever help you now? You’re the ones supposed to be saving us. Not the other way around.”
Haohi’s eyes narrowed. She could feel the urgency for her angelic cohorts to interrupt; to put this human in his place, to remind him that he stood before holy beings. But they kept silent, and Haohi noticed that they too that they casted their own gazes downwards unwilling to meet the human’s gaze. They were holy Angels, servants of the Gods. They were not used to being chastised like children.
In other circumstances, the Angels would have gladly fought the Demon Lorde and his horde. With flaming sword and shining armor, they would have gladly taken up battle against their age-old enemy. But something was wrong. If this truly was the End of Days, the climactic battle between good and evil, then it was much too soon.
It sent worry and doubt through all the Angelic chorus. Haohi would never admit it, but she would even go so far as to say even the Gods had not anticipated this; though to openly say such things would be tantamount to blasphemy. Nevertheless it was her duty to rally the humans to fight the Demon Lord. And it would immensely problematic if the humans didn’t do just that. The Demon Lord wouldn’t have made such a bold move against the Heavens unless victory was certain.
It was troublesome indeed.
It was expected that the humans would have fallen in line and prostrated themselves to the Angel’s demands. At least the humans would be useful in buying some time for the Angels to regroup and asses the best way to counter the on-coming threat. Rebelling humans was something truly unexpected. Haohi had always expected for the humans to question the divinity of the angels, but not this early. Clearly someone here had influenced them to stand up for themselves.
And clearly it was that human sitting across from her.
He was no lord or king, and yet he had complete sway over the human delegation. It was a mystery to Haohi how such a man was able to gain such influence over them. If he was a hero or some great warrior, Haohi surely would have heard of him in her travels, and yet she could not recall the man.
Nothing would be gained from this now, Haohi realized.
A different approach would have to be taken.
“If possible, I would like to answer that question truthfully. However, may I answer that question in private?” Haohi said with a slight grin, trying to lighten the atmosphere.
To Haohi’s satisfaction, it seemed to catch the human off guard. He paused for a moment before looking to his cohorts and nodded his head. Chairs screeched as the kings and lords rose and proceeded to exit the room, with Haohi’s angelic party as well. It became eerily quiet as the great wooden doors closed behind them, leaving the two of them alone. Gracefully, she rose from her chair and proceeded to make her way around the circular table. She took her time, studying the face of the human as she approached him.
She had to hide her surprise. He was older than he looked. The short scruff of his beard already showed signs of graying along with his hair, and weathered wrinkles circled around his eyes making him look years older than he really was.
“The other humans seem to hold you in high regard.” Haohi began, crossing her arms.
He shrugged and leaned against the table.
“They’re just afraid that if they speak out of turn, you’ll take away their rule by divine right.” His tone was much lighter now, casual even. “So they appointed me to head this little delegation of theirs. I’m still speaking for what they’re all thinking though.”
Haohi considered this. “Still, it’s impressive that a man such as yourself would speak for them.”
She held out her hand for him, as was the custom mortals tended to do with each other. Haohi always thought it was a strange gesture, but appreciated the sincerity in the act.
“I have many names and titles that humans call me; Revered, Most Holy…but you may call me Haohi.”
The human seemed to regard her hand for a while before grasping it in his own, giving her quick but firm handshake. She felt as though her hand was nearly engulfed in his.
“I don’t have any fancy titles or anything like that, but most people just call me Cobb.”
“Cobb.” Haohi repeated, tasting the name with her tongue. She found the name to be endearing if not cute, in its own way.
“Well Cobb, perhaps we can settle this in a more amicable manner between just the two of us, rather than us saving face and meeting the expectations of our respective parties. I need the humans to fight with us. Now what do I need to do to make that happen?”
For whatever reason, Cobb stared at Haohi, his attention captivated by something. The lull in the conversation as Haohi waited for his response seemed to snap him to reality.
“Well, we want you to fight for us. No muddled prophecies, ancient laws, or anything of that sort about wanting to help, but can’t. We just want you to fight and save us. Humans don’t belong in this war.”
Haohi was keen not to show any sort of reaction to his demand. It was perfectly reasonable, but it was the one thing that Haohi wasn’t able to promise. The Heavens and Angels needed time, and time was what the humans were supposed to buy. She would have gladly accepted the terms of this arrangement, if not for the annoying trait that angels were incapable of lying.
“Of course, we’re more than willing to fight. But we were hoping that we would have the support of the humans at the very least.”
Again, his response was delayed. Cobb stared intently at her and Haohi wondered at what. Perhaps there was something on her armor? There was a peculiar glint in his eyes that Haohi recognized but couldn’t quite place what it meant. He was clearly fascinated by something. She leaned down and looked up at him, meeting his gaze. To her surprise, he jumped back, startled. He coughed nervously as he tried to regain his bearings.
“Uh, sorry. I wasn’t-. Could you repeat that?” He asked, his cheeks turning the barest hint of red.
So that’s what that was.
Haohi smiled coyly at his reaction, placing her hands behind her back. It wasn’t surprising that he fancied her. Angels tended to have that effect on humans. She repeated herself to him. His response was less than what she hoped for.
“The human lords and kings don’t wish to take part in this conflict. The only thing we could give is soldiers, but in the end, it’d be a slaughter.” He shook his head. “No king wants to send his people to a certain death.”
Haohi contemplated his response. Clearly, they were at an impasse. Of course she could easily smite all the humans here and simply issue a holy decree. Scare the humans into cooperating. That would easily solve the problem but could open further complications in the future, and angelic and human relations were already tense as it was.
Haohi thought over her options and was frustrated to find them limited. She glanced over to Cobb and found him gazing at her with less than pure intentions in his eyes. Could she use that? She mulled over the idea in her head, searching for any other recourse. In the end however, it would have to do.
“And what if I offered myself to you as part of the negotiations?” She asked
Cobb’s eyes widened in shock.“Wh-what do you mean?” he sputtered.
In a dim flash of white light, Haohi’s armor vanished, leaving her in a crimson tunic that tightly hugged her body and ended just at mid-thigh. The idea of copulating with humans wasn’t entirely unheard of, and there always was the rather odd angel that fell in love with a human or rare Hero that asked for a certain favor. And if it meant that she could convince the humans to fight, her body was just a small sacrifice compared to the greater good. And Cobb certainly wasn’t bad looking by any means.
“Do you find me fascinating?” she asked innocently.
Once again Cobb coughed into his fist nervously. “It…well…yes, one might say that you are …beautiful.” He replied bashfully.
Haohi smiled again, enjoying his reaction.
“Well, if you are interested, I would be more than willing to offer myself to you. In exchange however, I must ask that the humans reconsider lending their aid to us.”
Cobb stared dumbstruck, his mouth hanging open in awe. It was several moments before he was able to respond.
“You can’t be serious.”
Haohi stepped towards him, closing the distance between them. Their lips barely touched as Haohi craned her head up to look at him. He was a head taller than her, and to his credit, he didn’t back away from her and held his ground.
“I am. I hope this shows how seriously we angels do need your help. I only ask that you reconsider and that you,” she paused, her eyes flicking down to his lips, “…be gentle with me as well.”
There was a slight nod of his head and the deal was done.
Haohi smiled once more and backed away from him. There was another dim flash of white light and her tunic disappeared. She stood there in the nude before him. In an instant, she watched him as his eyes roamed freely upon her body. Haohi had never felt the touch of a man before and for the first time in forgotten memory she felt the tingle of excitement. He immediately began to fumble with his belt, pulling straps and letting his sword unceremoniously fall to the ground with a clatter. There was a tug on his trousers and before Haohi could even register the image of his cock popping free, he was upon her.
At first, she didn’t know what to expect, but the moment he laid his hands on her, she knew that he wasn’t going to be gentle at all.
He pushed her towards the table, forcing her to lean back on it and prop herself up with her hands. The next was a stab of pain and something hot and foreign inside of her. She inhaled deeply as he hilted himself inside of her, his hands grabbing onto her hips and pulling her towards him. She threw her head back in shock while he groaned loudly.
She wasn’t prepared for this. She wasn’t prepared for this at all.
Pleasure was an unknown thing to an angel as they were beings of purity. Raw emotion and newfound sensations quickly overwhelmed her. His rhythmic, forceful thrusting into her robbed her of all her thinking. Pain gave way to pleasure, and soon she felt a feeling more enjoyable than anything she ever felt before emanate from her loins. She wanted more of it, that phallic object that stirred and mixed her insides. She found herself moaning. Half scared and half excited, she wrapped her arms around his neck as he continued to fuck her, holding on to him. A hand squeezed her breasts roughly, twisting and groping it. Another warped itself around her back. Suddenly, there was a pulsing now, a crescendo building somewhere.
And then it was inside of her. Warmth. Warmth she had never felt before poured itself inside of her. It was hot, and writhed with life. And now, it was inside of her. She gaped in awe at the realization of what just occurred.
And then he was out of her. And for a brief moment, Haohi thought if it was over.
She didn’t need to wonder long as he suddenly flipped her over and bent her over the table. A rough calloused hand spread her butt and legs kicked hers open as his phallus once again entered her. Haohi let out a low gentle moan as the familiar pleasure caused her body to shiver. The fucking ensued once again, and Haohi could feel his hands grab her slim waist and ram herself into her, bouncing off her ass. With nothing to hold onto, she tried in vain to grasp at maps and treaty documents, crumpling them in her hands. Somewhere, a candle was knocked over, rolling across the table as it squeaked incessantly at their fucking. He gripped her ass and spread her, pulling it apart and letting it bounce back in place.
She didn’t care how roughly he treated her now. The pleasure. She wanted more of the pleasure.
She could feel him atop of her, his fingers going through her hair and pulling her head back while he continued to have his way with her. His heavy breathing into her ear caused her to shiver and writhe beneath him, making her heart skip beats. His free hand quickly found her breast once again and fondled them tightly, rolling it between his fingers roughly. With a loud wail, her eyes went wide in shock as he bit onto her ear, nibbling on the tip.
How could the two be woven together so euphorically.
She wondered how she never did this before.
A sharp shriek escaped her lips as he pinched and pulled her nipple.
“There!” she breathed. “That…again.”
He complied, and played and tugged her nipple, twisting and pulling the supple flesh.
The feeling was there again, the rush and crescendo. She wanted it this time, welcomed it, and surrendered herself to the inevitable.
There was pulse and once again he erupted inside of her, his fierce thrusting ensuring that his seed penetrated as deeply as it would allow. A few more thrusts and it was over. Haohi could feel herself full of the life that he had implanted inside. He pulled away from her, and instantly she felt a profound sense of loss.
There was a jingling of metal and Haohi turned her head to the side to find Cobb reequipping his sword at his waist with startling precision, as if he had done this a thousand times before.
“It’s probably best we don’t mention this affair to anyone.” He reported. “I’ll see if I can’t convince those kings and lords to fight now. But…I can’t guarantee anything.”
Haohi didn’t even have the strength to say anything as he left the room and her alone.
She supposed, in her post coitus state, that it was all up to the Gods to decide now.
Haohi shivered as her feet dipped into the water of the slow moving creek. The clear mountain water from the melting peaks was a much needed respite from her hours of flying. Seven. Seven villages she passed by, completely devoid of life, emptied in order to fight in the war. In her heart, Haohi knew that the humans stood little chance against demons. By her own estimates, it took at least twenty well-armed and well equipped humans with unwavering hearts of steel in order to successfully take down a demon, maybe less if they were truly gifted. The average farm hand, equipped with a simple spear and having never seen combat in his life? Never a chance.
Though, she had little qualms about it. Every second the humans bought in time was another second that the forces of good could use to turn the tide in battle. And in the end, even Haohi admitted, what was the loss of one, a thousand, or even a million mortal lives compared to an immortal one? Humans could easily repopulate, as they have done before on countless occasion. The death of an angel was something the world wept for.
There was a flutter of wings behind her, and something with the grace and deftness only an angel could afford touched down behind her.
“Care to join me, Yucia?” Haohi asked without turning around, already knowing who it was.
There was heavy panting, and a figure crashed down beside her on one knee gasping for breath. Haohi stared at her friend in concern. It looked as if she had flown around the world ten times over, exhausted.
“The Demon Lord…” She gasped, “The Demon Lord is dead!”
Haohi gaped at her. “How?”
“It was…a human! He fought the Demon Lord…and won! The Demon Lord is dead!”
Haohi took in this information, unsure of how to process. Such a thing was unheard of, no, impossible even.
Haohi smiled to herself. Humans. Such an unpredictable lot. Leave them alone for too long, and they’ll surprise anyone. Apparantly, even a Demon Lord.
Yucia continued, having finally caught her breath. “The remaining demonic forces are in disarray and theres already infighting! All angels have been called to battle to rout them! We have to hurry, there’s a silver haired demon trying to rally the remaining forces.”
Haohi pushed herself out of the small creek and stretched out her wings, ready to take off and join in the battle. Suddenly a thought crossed her mind. She reached out and touched the shoulder of Yucia, gaining her attention.
“Who was it that killed the Demon Lord?” Haohi asked curiously.
Yucia seemed to regard her for a moment, giving her a strange look.
“You’ve met him before. He was the leader of the humans when you went to those negotiations.”
“Him?” she replied dumbfounded. The memory of that human and that night suddenly came flooding back to her.
Yucia nodded, her expression suddenly solemn.
“I wish I could have met him. He sounded like such an interesting mortal.”
And with that, Yucia was off, a distant white blur in the sky as she no doubt went ahead to tell others of the news. Haohi stood there for a moment, a mix of thoughts and emotions swirling in her head, unsure of what to do with them. In the end however, duty required her. She pushed those thoughts aside and steeled her heart. There were demons to slay now. And though she told herself that killing those demons wasn’t anything personal, deep down, she knew she was lying to herself.