We don’t have time for this. Get in there and follow that guy, Peters ordered. Angela’s view stood rock still. Billy’s began to move forward almost instantly. When Billy’s avatar came into Angela’s view she shifted her attention to him.
Billy! she exclaimed.
Ah, ah. Remember to use call signs, Billy admonished in mock horror. We have to follow him. Didn’t you hear Archangel?
Angela’s feed showed a full view of Billy’s face. He wore a broad grin. As he turned and flew quickly through the door to the club Angela began to follow.
Men Angela muttered quietly, but her data feed showed she was following Billy into the club.
Through the doors the club had a small anteroom painted all black. Music with a very heavy tribal bass beat thumped through the walls in a muted rhythm. A desk sat blocking the path of anyone who wanted to move forward. An overweight man with long black hair tied in a ponytail sat behind the desk with a sports page spread across the surface of the desk. A small stony-skinned demon sat on his shoulder pointing to things on the sports page with his axe. Peters thought he could see little flames burning under some of the team names as the man scribbled notes on a pad next to the paper. Billy was already through the desk and halfway through the door before Angela’s feed showed her coming into the anteroom.
Cherry! Angela exclaimed again.
Hurry up slow poke, Billy responded. Colonel Peters pulled Billy’s feed onto the main display in his vision. The inside of the club was very dark. Billy took just a second to adjust his vision and then everything snapped into crystal clarity.
The inside of the club had stages built into the walls surrounding a dark and smoky main sitting area. A bar was built against the back wall and to the right of where Billy and Angela had just come in. Above the bar was a main stage with three women, in various stages of undress, gyrating to the music. Three little grey-skinned demons pranced around the stage floor caressing the legs of the dancers and shooting fire from their axes. Peters flinched when he realized the targets of those flaming strikes were the eye sockets of the men seated below at the bar.
Cherry, pan around the club again, Peters ordered. Billy dutifully surveyed the entire club, slowly. Everyone in the club either had one of those things sitting on them, perched on the table in front of them, or next to them. Men and women both were accompanied by them, and the club was nearly full. Billy’s survey finished with the archway they had just come through. The top of the arch was lit up in subdued rainbow neon lights. Lemurs crawled over every surface of the lights. Every one of the little creatures locked gazes with him as he completed his survey.
Cherry’s heart rate, respiration, and pulse are going through the roof, someone reported on the net.
Uh, ahem, Billy coughed.
Of course they are. He’s a seventeen year old boy. Give him a break, someone else said.
It’s not that, Billy said. Those things are everywhere in here.
Lock it up. We have a job to do. Find Dante, and do not engage those Deltas, Peters said.
You can call them demons, Angela said. They can’t hear you.
Umm, I think they can hear you, Billy said. Angela’s feed showed Billy pointing to a little demon looking right at them as a waitress in a skimpy French maid’s outfit sauntered by with a tray full of drinks. The demon hesitated for a moment before catching up to its charge but it gave the pair several backward glances before rounding the corner of the bar.
The little demon hopped up onto the bar and began conversing with the fat little demon riding piggy back on the bartender. The little demon pointed at Billy and Angela, and the fat demon followed his finger. His eyes shot wide when he saw Billy and Angela.
Stop screwing around and find Dante, Peters ordered again. I’m not in the habit of giving orders twice around here!
Movement at the back of the club drew Peter’s attention. On Billy’s feed he saw the figure of Robert Dante talking with a man between two stages. The black paint of the walls coupled with the shadows cast by the two stages hid the man and the wall behind him from view.
There. At the back of the club, Peters said pointing himself as if Billy and Angela could see.
Billy shifted his attention and immediately caught sight of Dante. He began floating across the main room through the nearest empty table heading straight for the man. As Billy tried to float through the next table occupied by four men, he came to an abrupt halt.
Offt, Billy exclaimed in pain. Billy’s feed looked down and a little demon reclining on the table had the haft of his axe extended across Billy’s chest. That hurt.
Course it hurt idiot. It was supposed to hurt. Your kind ain’t wanted here. Now get out, the demon shouted. Demons at several other tables stood where they were or picked up their axes and faced Billy.
I don’t want any trouble here. I’m just trying to catch up to my friend, Billy said as Theliel emerged from his side to stand next to him. Every demon in the place began moving toward Billy.
Cherry, Colonel Peters said with a warning note to his voice.
This is not a place you should be, Billy Ransom, Theliel said softly. She did not hold her sword. Billy looked over his shoulder and saw the man in white known as Mihr standing next to Angela.
Yes, this is not a place you should be Billy Ransom, the little demon said mocking Theliel’s original tone.
The view in Colonel Peters’ helmet was surreal. The women danced and gyrated on their stages while the men watching ogled their bare flesh and sipped their drinks with total disregard for the mob that formed around them. The gray skinned, horn encrusted little creatures hefting axes were surrounding Angela, Billy, and the two white robbed people Peters still didn’t fully understand. He may not have understood what they were or why, but he knew an untenable position when he saw one.
Back out of the club, now. We’ll secure it from the outside and observe, Peters said calmly. Move slowly and deliberately. No sudden moves.
Before Billy could move the little demon spun his axe and slashed at Billy’s head from the table top. A flaming sword sprang into existence in Theliel’s hand parrying the blow. The attack released a flood of anger, sound, and action as the gathered mob drove at the four of them.
Mihr produced his own sword and began whirling the blade so fast it resembled a solid shield more than a sword. Flaming blasts deflected off that whirling shield back into the mob striking some of the attackers.
Get behind us, Mihr said as he dropped back into a defensive fighting stance, continuing to deflect fiery blows. Angela’s view showed the floor of the club receding rapidly, indicating she was going up and out. Billy’s view hadn’t moved but was now filled with the young woman, sword in hand, valiantly defending him.
Billy, get out. Move! Peters yelled. The shout broke his trance and Billy began to retreat, but in the heat of battle, his mind reverted to traditional thinking and he tried to walk backwards, out of the club.
Up, go up kid, someone else said on the net. Instantly, Billy responded and the view in Peters’ helmet showed the same kind of retreat he had seen in Angela’s. As soon as Billy cleared the roof, Peters saw the robbed figures of the man and woman flying up and out of the building as well. The roof suddenly swarmed with the little creatures all firing volleys of flame into the air, only a few of which the two figures below Billy and Angela needed to deflect.
Guardians of the Herald is a weekly serial published and copyright by The Cavalier, Mark Malcolm. For more information about this story please join us on our Facebook page community at www.facebook.com/firstchevalierbooks.