Written for XiaoBai.
a tale of
…by Taes, the strange one…
“God damn it, for the third time, I said I didn’t want that!” her narrow eyes are hidden in swarms
of wrinkles, her mouth a tight frown of irritation. She is skinny, but her skin sags from lack of strength—or endurance.
And the woman has the gall to wear our Lord’s emblem around her elongated, whitened neck.
I can feel my lips twitch away from the serene expression I hoped to retain, and my eyes narrow to match her feline gaze.
“No, ma’am,” oh, the power of words on the human ears is to be marveled at…using the correct enunciation,
the right utterance, and a simple command will be followed.
Or so I thought.
“You said that you did not wish to purchase these items,” I indicate a small handful of candies that the crone
denied her grandchildren. The small ones pout behind her, each mimicking the bat’s crisp, no-nonsense frown.
She narrows her eyes further still. “Young man, I don’t know whose authority you profess yourself
to have, but you need certainly get off that high horse and into reality!” she taps the register thoughtfully.
“I do not serve you, child, you serve me.” she snarls most daintily.
I sigh. Again. Dealing with mortals is most bothersome…they can wrap only so much around their tiny, fragmented minds…
“Of course, madam, but we all serve an order higher still, under the good providence of The One who is Unmatched,”
She stares at me, mouth slightly agape. “Just take the eraser off, child, I’m not paying for it!”
and so I do, ignoring her mutterings of indolence and heretic, liberal young people.
I allow my lips to curl with disdain. But I merely ask, “Student identification number, please?” and she scribbles
I glance at it.
“My dear woman,” I look at the number an instant longer before gazing into her smoldering eyes. “This
is a college bookstore, where only students may take advantage of the discount. This identification number belongs to Nathanial
Gates, not a Gabriella Smith.” I pause. “Relation to him does not permit similar benefits.” I
“Excuse me?” she seems aghast. “What are you trying to say?”
My smile widens. “I am merely helping you, Ms. Gates, to follow the lighted path…” while I speak, her
mouth goes slack. “Gold is not as valuable as your immortal soul,” I hold firm and she scoffs.
“I’d like a refund.
“I’ll take myself to Waldens and get better service there! And I’ll tell all my friends never
to let their children by from such heretic, fanatical management!”
I look down, and my eyes are hidden behind a wave of hair. The sting of reprehension will follow her long and her path—for
good or for ill—will be better set.
“Good day,” I call after her, but she is busy chiding small children, confiding in them to ease her shaken
I recollect her refund. “Ma’am,” I exclaim. “Your money,”
She stops, rigid. I can see that she doesn’t want to return to my domain, but the allure of copper coins and green
bills is surely strong within her.
So she sends a child.
I smile into the round, scowling face, when he arrives.
“Thank you,” my smile widens as my eyes shut. I can see the burning luminosity within him, great as even the
angels of first heaven…those burning, passionate beings composed of radiance …the Light angels become the very
breath and heart of a world.
One way or another, this child could bring about immense good…or terrible malevolence.
Most children can…all futures are nearly so bright…
But the hearts of mankind, their eye and heart, those teach the children certain Truths…used to give the world structure
where it might not be otherwise. These Truths build paths, these paths allow for cooperation and make dreams a reality…
Up to the level a simple mind can handle, that is.
And then there are those who abide not by common rules…those who hear or see no bounds, no regulations. These beliefs
are incomprehensible to the human heart. Being so, these rich souls cannot be Called into line by the same set of limits,
seeing that the brilliant ones continuously change the worlds in which they live…
These men and women cannot be Judged good or evil in the normal sense. They must be ruled in an altogether different fashion…though
more I couldn’t answer.
You would have to ask Itachi, bearer of scales and Ruling.
There have been few mortals on this world who transcend the created Reality…Few who passed through the heavens
and hells to see what they may see and Learn…to benefit themselves or their people.
…there have been fewer still who have remained untouched. Unaffected by the Orders we create.
Some would wonder what they gain.
Most of my brethren would not care to know They would surely say that it is for mortals to create and build. It is for
angels to preserve, to protect. To subdue ourselves to the greatest Light of all.
…those who want for change Fall, those who want for too much…I pity them, for fighting the perfect vision dreamt
in the beginning…For in the end, I am an angel, set over vengeance. Or, one could say, retribution resides in me. Further
still, you may dream that I am that which I represent…or an aspect of it…
For what thing, angel, mortal or otherwise, exists in one form alone?
The reality existing is far too complex to allow for otherwise. We conform to each faceted dream, we exist for the
cherished ones. Mankind. And one knows, their needs are many.
Even if their actions irritate all. Even if they deny the greatness of Light.
The child’s face before me comes back into focus when my eyes open. His round features are screwed into a mask of
confusion. “Aren’t you suh-posed ta say ‘you’re welcome’? I ain’t done nothin’
I look at him, slowly, and my smile fades. “But you may,”
He looks at me strangely—again. “You’re weird, mister.” The child proclaims, only to run off, money
clutched tight in one hand.
I watch him. “Aaa, Nicholas,” the boy’s name. It is a gift to all angels…so that we may appreciate
every prayer sent to heaven. “You yourself are an oddity,” I mumble, but impatience is thick in my voice. I take
a breath, and turn around.
Beside me, I know, my manager waits. Likely, he has some choice words for my behavior.
It takes some effort to prevent my lips from curling.
Anthony, the store manager, rubs his temples. His expression is like that of a boy—who has happened to eat sour grapes
assumed to be sweet. “Sasuke,” he opens his eyes. “You need to work on your people skills…you can’t
just do that to a customer!”
I frown at him before saying my opinion. “She lies.
“By claiming her son’s status as her own, she lied.” I pause. “She was no student.”
Anthony stared, aghast. “Sasuke…she’s still his grandmother, right? He probably was the one who
told her to do it!”
My face is expressionless. “We should not cater to the whims of fools…money is never so important.”
Anthony’s face has grown a most amusing shade of red. “Oh, Oren…he owes me for this, that old snake…”
I assume he speaks of Orochimaru, the angel in charge of human and angelic relations. I hadn’t realized he took another
name. But it’s simple to shrug off; as one of the archangels, Orochimaru is called many things.
He is Metatron, the Voice of God.
Orochimaru is the overseer of all angels, and the being who got me this…job…to gain the notice of our Lord
and Creator…Orochimaru knows well that I would join he and our brothers, the archangels. I would have Him call me by
name, and attend to His needs. I would enter the Presence.
I will be acknowledged.
The thought holds me captivated, and for a good while the thought of my ambition keeps me above all lower emotions. I am
filled with hope, as though the angel of the moon has graced me with his presence. For a while, I am content.
But it is not always so.
“Yo,” I look up to see the young mortal who has greeted me. My eyes open a bit wider, and I turn my gaze upon
He is a match for an angel, I see, with brilliant blue eyes like the Lord’s own sky…and hair like white gold.
It is downy as any cherub’s wing, and smooth as water. His voice…?
I wait for him to continue.
“I need, uh, these things here? You know, um, books. I need books fer m’ classes ‘r…somethin’…”
he looks at me with stunning eyes, and his smile tilts upward on one side.
I note the scratch-like scars upon his cheeks. In seconds, I recognize the pattern Light must have engraved.
Nevertheless, I wince at his coarse speech and raise an eyebrow at the proffered list. “And,” I urge, eager
to find his true voice. Surely there is an empyrean melody beneath his too human drawl.
“Help me, man!” he laughs, and mischief creeps into his eyes. The blue disks slide down my form in a quick
judgmental manner. He catches my gaze after a bit and a smooth leer adorns otherwise glorious features. “Dude, we must
be connected ‘r somethin’, hey?” he makes a wild gesture at himself. “Green and blue, straight up!”
I arch my eyebrow higher. “Excuse me?”
He laughs as he mimics my expression. “Sir, I do mean ta say that yer pants and shirt are the same cuh-lah”
I presume he means color, “as my shirt and pants, my good gentleman.” He snickers, and holds his shirt
sleeve to my slacks.
Exactly as he proclaimed, the hues matched almost perfectly.
“The universe speaks!” the kid cackles and turns behind him. “Yo, Shikamaru? We good on time, yeah?”
A slow, uninterested voice calls back, “You tell me,” the boy called Shikamaru charges, and the blond rolls
his eyes. “I’m technically out of bounds, without Kaka—”
“Where’ve you two been,” the question, so slowly and lazily spoken, seemed more of a comment than a true
inquiry. Furthermore, the voice was older than time…and smooth as any angel’s.
It took me by surprise.
“Kakashi…” I murmur and his dark eye turns to me, behind tinted glasses.
He smiles, and my blood runs cold.
The Fallen angel, Kakashi. He is overseer of unknown demons and unimaginable torture.
My lips curl. Yet I cannot yet pass judgment on the kids…the two children cannot know of his reputation—they’ve
surely never heard the tales of his cold blooded murders.
Never dreamed of his stolen gift.
They couldn’t know that the tales say he took the eye of good Obito. In battle or no, he forced the Sixth
Heaven’s momentary closure…
“C’mon, we got at least a hour!” the blond complains, but the dark eye is all but forgiving. As for the
reddened, bloodstained orb, not even I can say. “Man, Kakashi, I gotta get my books—”
Give me the texts this child seeks. I Will it to be, and it is.
I clear my throat. “These?”
He starts, amazed and amused at once. “Cheap trick, fag,” he grins.
My eyes narrow. “Excuse me?”
“Cheap trick, fag,” he purrs loudly. He takes a hat—once curled between long fingers—and
pulls it across my face. It is an old challenge, usually performed with a glove.
“And in case yer too well bred ta know, a fag’s a queer. A ‘mean’ word, ya know?”
Bright and childish laughter makes my fury grow.
To think, I’d thought to help him.
I would strike out at the boy, but I am taker of vengeance. I do not begin petty quarrels.
“Naruto,” the Fallen quietly says. “Give him your money and come with me.” His gaze behind those
dark shades is unreadable.
The mischievous grin forthcoming locks us in place. He withdraws a collection of bills, and I complete the transaction.
He leaves the coins on my counter—all but the single, golden disk most humans refuse—and with the other kid scowling
and softly grumbling, they leave. The stench of brimstone and fire leaves with them.
I relax, and the store manager walks forward, a broom in hand. I wonder at why he chose to appear then, when the
Adversary’s minions have just left.
He offers me the broom. “Sweep. Then get outta here, your shift’s about up.”
So I did, and I left.
My destination is, as expected, of the celestial variety. It is known that every angel appointed to the earthly domain
must— by design of the universe or God— meet with a demon. This being so, the archangel Orochimaru, as the link
between humankind and the heavenly orders, brought about the Heaven and Hell Organization. He did so to quiet the feuds and
bring a sense of unity to both sides. Moreover, the once-mortal being saw the opportunity to spy upon our unholy brethren
without stepping out of bounds.
Naturally, the existence of such a group should be held on neutral ground— namely, Earth— that demonkind and
heavenly spirits can both reach. What better place to hold such an organization, than the third heaven? Santai, the Three
Levels, is the most obvious choice, as the single plane where heaven and hell meet. It is the gateway to reality—
which exists mostly in the Second Heaven.
To disguise the Heaven and Hell Association, Orochimaru has developed a most interesting disguise. In Reality, the group
can be reached trough a small division of the—
“Association of Alcoholics Anonymous? Who in hell decided on that as a cover-up, huh, Shikamaru?”
My heart catches in my throat.
The bemused, lazy voice replies, “Metatron, the voice of God.”
Shikamaru. I scan my memory for the announcement of his birth, and find none. He is a demon, then.
I am, naturally, a bit disappointed when my eyes confirm the first voice as one Naruto. And I know, of course, that
no mortals are permitted entrance here...The excepted ones are either angels...
“Alcoholics Anonymous...the AA was started by Heaven?” a hardened, cold voice murmured.
I was able to find him in my memory. “Hyuuga Neji.” I look at him and allow my eyes to reflect the depthless
universe. Perhaps because of it, he will regret his choice and make actions to better his position. “Once mortal. You
were a suicide victim who, before his death, became a demon.” I walk forward; my wings are unbound and undisguised—for
only the archangels may hide their true appearances, in the Third Heaven. Knowing this, many chose to look as I do...a
'mere' angel of the Cherubim order.
I take to the air.
The blond demon, Naruto, starts with surprise at my speech. He turns, and upon seeing me, he cackles. “Oh, fagot-boy's
an angel?” he smirks. “And pulling one of those All Knowing tricks, too...” his lips twist into a
grin. “You can't fool me.” his smile could cut flesh cleaner than many’a knife. “Yer nothin' but uh
show off. Only names and shit like that come to you instantly. Ya still need ta learn slow, just like a reg'lar
human!” he crows.
I land before them, and let my wings unfurl farther, to span their full length. I frown, briefly. “Unlike you, demon,
I will exist as long as my Maker sees fit, and ever after be part of his glory.” I return his smirk with one of my own.
“And so a great many things will come to me. Among them, knowledge.” I laugh, quietly. “Whereas you
seem more than lacking in this respect.”
He snorts, obviously agitated. “Yeah, well, Miss Prissy Pants,” he grins again, and the whisker marks seem
to grow larger. “I'm not stupid enuf ta get killed, eh?”
A sharp, doglike laugh comes from behind. “Oh, yeah, Naruto? Ya just barely learned flight, and already sayin'
yer immortal?” he had brown, spiky hair, and there were two red stripes burned on each cheek. His clan, I Know...his
name, I don't.
But knowledge is easily parted, from ones such as Naruto.
“Shuddup, Kiba...” he mutters.
I laugh. “Oh? Deadlast after all, Naruto?”
His face turns scarlet, and his blue eyes are visible— the entire cerulean ellipse— for a moment. Then his
eyes close to form slits. He growls, deep in his throat, and wings, unlike mine, dissimilar to those of demonkind or
They are cloud-like, similar to breaths of wind or starlight. His wings are akin to those of the long lost Faery...but
his temperament speaks of death.
I call to me my unique sight, and watch his movements like only a warrior may. I put a hand on my sword of Light—
formed the very instant the world took shape—and the blade takes my Will and hones it.
I lean into it, and the blue-eyed demon smirks openly.
We are ready.
“Stop.” a voice bids. It is strong and beautiful as it is jaded and silky. I do not have to turn to
see him. I know Sasori, called Gabriel by men, better than I know my brother, Itachi, the angel of death and prince of Light.
“Stay your hand, fair Sasuke,” he bids. A coy, prodding smile on full lips. “We will fight these wretches
until we prevail.
Sasori’s voice is unyielding. “But you must learn he time for peace, and the time for war.” Indeed,
Sasori knows these instances best of all. For it is he who presides over conflict, despite his feminine, graceful disposition.
“Aaaah, Naruto! What did I tell you about manners!” an irate, if somewhat fatherly, voice reprimands.
My lips twitched.
These four children are young demons, indeed, to need the guidance of an older, wiser hellspawn. The single streak across
his nose marks this one as careless, in my mind, but he remains polite— if stiffly so.
“And you are?” he asks, with a formal, emotionless half-bow.
“I am Sasuke, set over Vengeance.”
Behind the brown-haired demon with black, bat-like wings, Kakashi smiles coolly. He nods. “Still clinging to the
old ways, yes?” his wings, I see, are stained black, as though encrusted in dark, dark blood. He, too, chooses not to
do away with the angelic appearance.
I cannot do away with my wings here. I lack that power.
I quickly note when Kakashi speaks again. “I remember, Sasuke, when you were set over orphans...when you researched,
at my side and my guidance, the ways that would— in time— bring Sammael to fall.”
I nod, coolly. “Yes...you were my guide, Kakashi...” I tilt my head to observe him and a slow smile overcomes
me. “I have heard,”
He looks at me from behind dark glasses.
I continue, “I have heard that you are set to guarding the Gates...the main gate to Hell, was it not?”
He allows for a cold smile, barely a twitch of lips.
Naruto whirls to face me. The brat, I see, does not like my knowledge of his world. He probably assumed I, like
most humans, believe there is no order in Hell.
I smile again.
“Shut the fuck up, fag,” the venom in his voice alongside frowning features makes for a sour image. “What
the fuck do you know about anything?”
Sasori laughs, his head tilted to one side. He answers in my stead. “A great deal, Winged One.” he pauses and
pushes at my shoulder elegantly. “A great deal.” To me, he says, “Come, Sasuke,” his smile does not
The doglike child laughs, and his hellhound yips haughtily alongside him.
I hold my head high, and let time fall as it will.
* * * * *
On to Chapter Two, Naruto.