Chapter 35 – Follow me, Set me free
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I would love to say that the wind howled. That the sky was clouded over. That there was a chill in the air. That you could hear thunder in the distance. That the atmosphere was full of dramatic tension. That the location of the final battle was somewhere like Castlevania. 

But no. It was a hot summer’s day with no clouds in the sky, and I was standing in front of my apartment complex, May by my side. 

Katka had sent May a text right after we left, to wait for her to arrive before we went to face off against Khazmiel. So, we were just standing there. Me looking like I just walked off a set for a magical girl show. 

Olivia must have noticed from inside the Questions, considering she had walked close to me in that moment. “Lily, May, lovely to see you. Why aren’t you in human form and what’s up with the get up?” 

“The quick summary is: Magic bullshit. It’s best you go back into the Question.” I replied, pointing with my thumb behind me. Olivia shrugged and went back inside, and I sighed. Good thing that Katka arrived shortly thereafter. Accompanied by a second wardrobe change. Her outfit kind of matched the style of mine, except where mine was pink and cat styled, hers was purple and black and raven styled. 

“So what’s the plan?” She stretched, actually she did a few stretch exercises. “You should limber up while explaining it. Don’t want to cramp up while running.” I shrugged and joined her in exercising. It at least felt like I was doing something. 

“We can’t really check every floor for him. And I don’t want to wreck the place up while fighting. We’d need to lure him outside or something.” Katka nodded at my answer. 

“I have a solution for the last part. But I won’t really be able to hit while doing it, so it’ll be up to you and May to give him the beating he deserves.” She finished stretching, waited for me to finish, and turned to May. “You doing okay? You’re about to face THE source of your trauma. I don’t want you freezing up in a panic or something.” 

I could see May clenching her fist, grinding her teeth. Tiny sparks flew from her mouth, as if inside there was a scorching inferno. She was breathing heavily, but not panicked breaths, angry breaths. “He took my daughters and now he’s hurting his grandson he doesn’t deserve. I’m not going to panic.” She stepped forward and opened the door.

 

The benefit of Khazmiel still rambling in an attempt to conversion therapy Leonard was that we heard him loud and clear. And he was currently in Leonard’s apartment from the sound of it. He hadn’t even bothered to close the door.

Correction. There was a Khazmiel-shaped hole through the door. Somehow. Perfect outline and everything. I knew he was cartoonishly evil but he didn’t have to show it off THAT much. May, Katka and myself leaned over to look through it and see him pacing around, with Leonard tied up, put against a wall. And yup, I was correct in my earlier assumptions of Leonard’s coping methods. His face SCREAMED ‘I’m imagining porn that’s scored with Jürgen Schlachter’s The Big Laugh’.

So, with all that in mind, we just kind of casually stepped inside using the hole, and just stood there for a solid minute, waiting for Khazmiel to notice us. The fact May’s big stompy boots didn’t alert him was very surprising. But, he would have to inevitably notice us, and he did so at the best possible moment in his ramble.

“How dare my own flesh and blood work together with such hellish filth?!” He began that sequence. “How dare you speak to and BEFRIEND that whore-” his arm gestures resulted in him flailing his arm towards May in that moment, “-and her CHILD?!” Followed by him flailing his arm towards me. While turning around, meaning he saw three very pissed off lesbians standing there.

“You lied to me, Denis. You stood right there in front of your house on chicken legs, and you lied to me.” Khazmiel was fuming at his mouth.

“Dude, Khaz, again, nobody named Denis is here. What’s your deal with that guy? Sounds like a real fucking loser.” Katka rolled her eyes, before shrugging. “Whatever. May’s been robbed the other half of her order of hot wings and it’s about time you deliver.” Katka strutted over to Khazmiel with what I could only assume was the confidence of a middle-aged white woman in 2018 that’s about to ask for the manager and is named Karen. Which was followed up by her bonking him on the head. Balled up fist, downwards motion towards top of head. I could SWEAR I heard a drum sound from it and I have no clue whether it was Katka doing a sound spell for a gag or whether Khazmiel’s head was hollow. Either way, next thing I knew, Katka was standing next to me again. But she was looking different. Her halo was much brighter, for starters. And there was a shade growing over her. Covering her up, making her appear as just a silhouette. The only thing that wasn’t completely shaded over was her halo and her eyes, which were glowing, piercing. 

And that’s when the room shifted. A mist enveloped the ground, originating from Katka. I could barely see grass growing from the wooden floor. The grass was soon joined by trees, as the light shifted from day to night. I recognized the space. Katka was no longer standing besides me. I turned around. And there she was. Standing on top of her house on chicken legs, the full moon behind her. And then our eyes met, and my thoughts became her voice Hey Lily I didn’t actually teleport us to my house this is just a pocket dimension mindscape I can make to spook people by dragging them in here you’re still going to need to kick Khazmiel’s ass and put the pin on it. I can’t fight him because dragging three powerful individuals in here is taking a huge toll on me so please be quick about it alright? Thanks.

Okay first off, telepathy felt fucking weird as all hell to experience, but at least that exchange of ideas took less than a second. Thank fuck. Khazmiel seemed to still be reeling somewhat from that bonk on the head. May used that opportunity to run towards him, roaring in rage, sparks coming out of her mouth, and she leapt forward, leg outstretched, digging the heel of her boot right into Khazmiel’s pale marble face. There was an audible crunch. But it didn’t make Khazmiel fall back, it made him focus. Quickly, he grabbed hold of May’s ankle, and with a spin he threw her towards me. That sent May and myself flying, hitting the chicken leg of the house. It definitely hurt me, but I was unsure whether May had gotten hurt as much as I did. She stared daggers at Khazmiel. “You’re not taking her away from me.” May spit out in his direction. 

“Of couwse I’m not-” Khazmiel’s broken nose had shifted his speech. The second he noticed it, he cracked his nose back into place. There was still a visible fracture on the side of it, like someone tried to chiself the nose off of a marble statue. “-I’m not taking her from you, whore. I’m taking you from her first.” He grinned. It was a sinister, unnatural grin. Like you described grinning to a species without the same mouth humans have and they tried to grin. He began making his way towards us at a casual pace. May scrambled up to her feet, and ran towards Khazmiel once more. He stopped dead in his tracks, and took up a fighting stance. Using May’s momentum against her, he threw her over himself, and before she hit the ground behind him, he kicked her in the gut, sending her flying once more. “Why are you trying to fight back, filth? You should kneel down and accept your judgement. It was you who was fucking mortal women to build an army.” He turned to stare at me. “It was her that plotted to overthrow The Lord Above. You are the child of a dirty usurper, who planned to turn Heaven into a brothel filled with her filth! So be the one honorable person in your bloodline, sit there and wait for your turn.” He began walking over to May, who was currently laying against the bone fence. 

Khazmiel was lying though. Through his teeth. Teeth I had all intention of taking from him. I got up, and summoned my flaming fists. The light coming off of them changed the atmosphere of the forest, now the pale moonlight was accompanied with the warmth of a roaring fire. I ran towards Khazmiel, and realised something crucial. 

I was not used to moving at Magical Girl speeds. I barely managed to stop myself in time before I crashed into him. And grabbing hold of his shoulder, I turned him around, so I had good access to his jaw for an uppercut. “She just wanted a family you fuck!” I yelled at him as he flew up. Something he was used to, since he corrected himself in the air. 

“I JUST TOLD YOU TO SIT THERE AND WAIT, DEMONSPAWN.” There was something different to his voice there. He screamed. What followed can best be described as an implosion. There was a sucking sound. And where Khazmiel had been flying in the air? Well, his torn up form had been replaced. Instead of a marble statue of a man with three wings and three wing stumps, there now stood the marble statue of a werewolf. Nobody had bothered sculpting the fur detail, so he was completely smooth. Or would be, if it wasn’t covered in cracks where the joints and jaw were. Cracks from which smoke bellowed. Dark and thick. Three plumes of it had formed into tails, and the wing stumps Khazmiel had exhumed enough smoke to make it look as if the wings were still there. He punched down. His fist was the size of me. I managed to avoid being smashed into the ground, but when he landed the punch down, he just went for a backhand. And I had a much harder time avoiding that. I hit a tree pretty high up, crushing some branches, but luckily stopped on a thicker one as I descended. I coughed, and looked at him. Looked at all he had built himself up to be. 

Wrathful Khazmiel. That’s the best name I could come up with for his berserk form. I caught a glimpse of May getting up, taking off her jacket and tearing off her shirt, so as to summon her wings. She flew up, to be eye level with Khazmiel. He laughed. “Is this how it felt when you ripped off my wings, whore? This powerful? No wonder you were able to best me that day.” May flew towards his face, but he plucked her out of the sky. “That will not happen again.” He threw her on the ground like a ragdoll, and stomped down. I gasped. Khazmiel took hold of May by the throat. He was choking her. I could see May gasping for air, her eyes rolling to the back of her head. Khazmiel’s, on the other hand, were completely enveloped in smoke, making it impossible to see where he was looking. I summoned my own wings, my magical girl outfit shifting to accommodate them, and I flew towards his back. My flight was short lived, however. With a quick flap of his wings, he threw me towards’ the house. It was a miracle I didn’t crash into Katka, just into where the front door would usually be. And as I gasped from the impact, I could hear May let out a long, shallow gasp, and then nothing. She went limp. Khazmiel got off of her, and laughed. He turned to me. “NOW it is your turn, whorechild.” 

I got up. I had no choice but to get up. I jumped off of the house on chicken legs, and started slowly walking towards him. “Good child, walking to your slaughter obediently.” He laughed out loud right after saying that. 

“You fucking wish. I can’t kick your ass without getting closer.” Breaking into a dash, I dodged his attempt to swipe at me with his claws. I had to change my approach. I had to change how I thought about the fight. I wasn’t fighting somebody person sized now. I was fighting a fucking tiny kaiju. And I hadn’t done my job this entire fight. And with May dead, I stopped thinking about myself. Khazmiel had to be stopped. Still running, I went underneath him, right between his legs, and I swung at his ankle. The impact hurt, of course. But not like hitting a wall would hurt, closer to how hitting a punching bag would hurt. So I hit him there a couple more times. The punches made him stagger a bit. I flew out of range of his grasp as he bent down to try and grab me. With how he was positioned now, I circled up and over his back, and divekicked the back of his head. With my flight I had built up enough momentum to knock him over, as he tumbled. There had to be a weakness to him. A soft and tender spot for me to exploit, to get him, quite literally, down to size. 

And as he finished tumbling over and began getting up, I saw them. The most tender spots for me to hit. All I had to do was risk suffocating in smoke. But I didn’t care. I flew, right towards his back, right towards his stump that was furthest from any of his remaining wings, and I dug in. With flaming fists that were burning white hot, I kept striking. I grabbed hold of the wing stump with my thighs to balance myself, and just kept wailing on that spot. Khazmiel howled. Loudly, powerfuly, he howled in pain. Before my next strike, I built a charge up. I could feel the fire paw grow in intensity even further, grow in size. I was making a fireball to shove right in there. And I did. The explosion it caused was huge, and sent me flying, while it sent Khazmiel to the ground, accompanied by a boom, the sound of air rushing to fill a vacuum. 

I had landed face down in the dirt, and I struggled to get up. I was battered and bruised and tired, and my hands were covered in soot. I was no longer wearing the magical girl outfit, having switched to my previous clothes, and I could see why: the only remnants of the gloves were on my forearms. I stumbled over to where Khazmiel had landed, to find him lying there, staring up, dumbfounded. 

He just couldn’t help himself with the cartoony antics, could he. He looked like Wile E. Coyote after a bomb blows up in his face. I fell down on top of him knees first, and put the pin right on his forehead. 

The forest around us began fading. The grass receded, night turned to day once more. We were back in Leonard’s apartment. Leonard, for his sake, had gotten out of his bindings and was currently snacking on a bag of chips. He stopped when he saw us though. Katka called out at that moment. “I summon the forces of the One Above, come and claim your lost hound!” Light shone from the pin I slapped onto Khazmiel’s forehead, and he laughed. 

“You fools! You morons! You’ve called my forces to my aid! I thank you for speeding up your doom!” He was still laughing. 

But at that moment, May gasped, taking a deep breath in, as she sat up and looked at the scene around her. She turned to me, as I was on the wedge of tears, and gave me a cocky smile. “We’re succubi, Lily, we’re built for the kinkiest shit in existence. A little bit of breathplay never killed one of us.” She stood up, walked over to me, and enveloped me in a tight hug. 

And that’s when I started smelling frankincense. Followed by hearing the sounds of wings flapping. Three individuals wearing riot gear manifested in Leonard’s apartment. The middle one removed their helmet. Their skin looked like damascus steel, their hair was like thin copper wires, and their eyes had a caring warmth to them. Khazmiel grinned from ear to ear when he saw their face. “Archangel Gabriel! Sir! I nearly completed my mission! Help me finish the War Whore and her filthy spawn!” He was almost pleading. The one he called Gabriel stepped forward and hit him with the back of their hand. With a whistle, Khazmiel’s hands were forced behind his back, his entire torso wrapped in a tight harness. 

“It’s Gabrielle. I’m a woman, turns out.” I’d like to say that reveal was surprising, but it felt too poetic for it to have been that surprising. 

“Gabriel, the Lord made you in His image, as a man, do you spit in His face while wearing His colors?!” Khazmiel barked out. Gabrielle backhanded his other cheek. 

“That is no way to speak to your commanding officer, Khazmiel.” She looked towards May, Leonard and myself in order. “He is too lost to say it himself, and he does not deserve your forgiveness, but I do apologise for all the hurt you’ve endured due to the actions of my subordinate. I take full responsibility.” Gabrielle tilted her chin up slightly, making Khazmiel levitate in the air. “Khazmiel, you stand accused of insubordination, wrath, hypocrisy, abuse, disrespect and murder. You have taken God’s name in vain while assigning them a gender. You deny your grandson’s identity. You have killed thirty four innocents you were told to bring in. And you hadn’t reported this in centuries, instead hiding away on Earth.” She grabbed hold of his halo, and pulled it away from him, stepping back. I had no idea that was possible. “For all that and more, you are judged to have Fallen from Grace. You shall be stripped of your rank and powers, and consigned to General Odionyx for her to do with you as she pleases.” Snap. She cracked the halo in half. The dim light faded from it, looking like a stone stick. Gabrielle dropped it, but it never hit the floor, turning to dust before it landed. 

Khazmiel’s eyes widened in shock. “You cannot! You cannot! You have no right! I served the Lord with conviction! I did as was asked of me! I never failed him! You have no right! You spit in his face by claiming yourself a woman after He made you a man! I’m better than yoouuu! I’m more than yooouuuuuu!” His voice had begun degrading at the end. It shifted from his torn up angry voice to a howl. 

His nose stretched out, taking his top lip with it. He howled and thrashed against his restraints. He shifted from howling to roaring, as his face turned into a muzzle. His marble like skin got covered in fur, and he shrunk. The harness around him shrunk with him, and I could see his wings and stumps falling off, turning to ash before they hit the ground. His ears became pointy and elongated, and his eyes, so full of rage before, were filled with fear and worry and disbelief. 

By the end of it, he looked like a shitty emaciated werewolf. He looked as if Pestilence and Famine were werewolves and had a kid.  He was also shorter than me. He looked sad, honestly. Here he was, the scourge of my bloodline, who took away a ton of my great aunts, who caused May such trauma it became generational… and he looked pathetic. I heard the sound of wings flapping again, and saw a portal to Odionyx’s office open up. With a flick of her wrist, Gabrielle threw Khazmiel through like a sack of bones, and let the portal close. 

It felt… anticlimactic. I thought we’d have an hour long battle, that we’d all be battered and bruised by the end, torn up, breathing heavily. And yet, it barely took five minutes. Khazmiel had become so large a threat in May’s head, that hearing about him left no impression that he could be a pathetic old man. That beating him up would be like beating Victor up. But, with the threat gone, I did a thing I simply had to do. I ran up to Leonard and gave him a hug. “God you fucking useless furry I’m so glad you’re okay.” He returned it awkwardly.

“Not gonna hold back on ripping into me even after that, huh.” He chuckled. “Honestly he couldn’t tell me anything that hurt worse than my first period. So I just zoned him out.”

“How many types of dicks did you imagine being pounded by.” He gently punched me in the shoulder when I asked him that.

“...Fourteen.” I pulled away from the hug and stared at him, wide eyed.

“ONLY FOURTEEN?!”

“Hey I was trying to avoid listening to a bigot I didn’t want him thinking I had a preacher kink or something from getting erect.” There was a cough after Leonard said that, and we turned to see Gabrielle nearby.

“Sorry to interrupt your… fascinating conversation, but I would like to apologise to Leonard with actions, if you’d let me.” I stepped back at her request, giving her and Leonard space. “Thank you.” She turned to him. “I understand this situation arose from you attempting to awaken heritage, correct?” Leonard nodded to answer her. “Considering you’re deeply involved with magic as a warlock and are aware of the other realms, I feel it necessary that you were granted your awakening.” She materialised a sword out of thin air, and gestured for Leonard to kneel. He did so, enthusiastically. “Leonard Silver, I grant you the Grace which you have a right to inherit. Rise as your true angelic self.” Gabrielle recited this as she did the classic shoulder tap knight thing. Right, left, but also top of head, right as she said self, and the sword snaked out of her hands, turning into a thin glowing strip.

Leonard’s transformation was nowhere near as drastic as Khazmiel’s fall. The strip of light traveled to his lower back, where it formed into a halo, and once it had done so? His ears poofed into wolf ears, and a tail sprouted from his back, bushy and soft looking, the halo hovering around it near the base. I snorted. I couldn’t help myself. “NOT YOUR FURSONA HUH LEONARD?!”

“Shut up!!!” He stomped, but his tail was wagging.

“Oh my god, you can’t hide your emotions anymore, your body betrays them, this is the best, oh I needed this after the whole thing with Khazmiel.” I was bracing myself against the wall to not fall over from laughing so hard.

“I am glad you have found some levity in this situation, Lily, but I have some possibly upsetting news.” Gabrielle spoke up, sighing. “Their Grace has request that both you and Meassael appear before them. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry you have to deal with this.”

Katka slapped her hands, before putting them on her hips. “Well, time to face God and walk backwards into Hell. I’m coming along with you two. Leonard might as well join us too.”

Gabrielle shrugged and opened a portal.

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