BOOK 2 THE LIGHT WORLD
Chapter 1 continued...
Maia’s own hand gripped the knife harder. She had encountered one other of his kind near the swimming pool at the top of Kepler’s hotel when she had arrived with Alice from the UnderWorld at dawn this morning. He had been swimming so it was a simple matter to use an Angel Sigil to eliminate him. To any onlooker the surface of the pool would have shimmered brightly as the Sigil took shape and drowned the agent, sucking him slowly under. Simple but effective. No need for a knife.
Each hour that had gone past meant the clock was ticking. The Prince of Darkness had given her just 24 hours before The End. Each hour began with another setback. Kepler just complicated matters. Maia would have preferred to sit and study the mysteries of the Angel Script her grandfather had given her. Instead this game of cat and mouse consumed her. As far as Maia could tell, Kepler was the key to stopping the demons full on assault of Earth. Alice had led her here, to the parallel world and now Maia could not rein in her curiosity, even at the expense of finding her mother.
Kepler had reached the end of the park and stopped briefly before crossing and heading straight into an apartment building on the opposite side of the street, one with an ornate balcony adorning each floor. He punched several numbers into a panel to the right of the lobby door which swung open and Kepler disappeared. The cloaked man waited, checked the street and then followed Kepler in just before the door closed. Maia walked past casually glancing in to the foyer. The man paced back and forth inside like a panther, ready for the kill. Maia had to act and act fast. She couldn’t risk losing Kepler. Again, she thought back to her knowledge of Agents. Half man, half machine, they could never be taken lightly. She argued with herself; Alice had said how much of a risk she took exposing herself to the enemy, even in this Earth-like world. It was no use, her hand was shaking, she was half mumbling Altair’s name as if memory of his death would give her courage.
You’re right, you are afraid.
Maia opened her mouth and screamed. Her body tensed and she focused the sound. The Halo took form and shattered the door. The man had stopped pacing, he pulled his hand out of the cloak pocket, he had a weapon. She had a split second. He swore at her as she ducked the shards of flying glass and slid through the doorway, hand on the knife drawing the Sigil of Death in mid air with the point. The space in front of her tore in two. For an instant she saw the shock in the man’s eyes as his body was ripped in half, then the limbs flailed wildly and vanished.
Maia watched in astonishment as real flesh and blood muscles, sinews and tissue, separated and burst in a mass of bloody pulp before it was swallowed by the slit. There was a sudden clap like thunder and she was alone in the lobby. No mechanics, no inorganic metal. Just real human skin and bones. She was about to go into the apartment corridor leading to the stairs when an eerie silence descended over the lobby.
Now, as she surveyed the scene, emptied of the man in the cloak, she could see that the man hadn’t been holding a weapon at all. It was a long cylinder, throughout which there was constant movement, like looking into a child’s kaleidoscope. The object was a 3D map, of the Pleiadean star system.
You’ve blown it. He was Kepler’s bodyguard.
Just before arriving in the ‘LightWorld’ as Alice had nicknamed it, Alice had briefed her. Maia had been reading up on an obscure article Alice had given her by Dr Masaru Emoto on the principles of kotodama, the soul in words and the power of music. He claimed to have tested the power of consciousness and its effect on molecular structure, particularly water molecules. Together with Tareth, a well known healer in Glastonbury, England, who could bring poisoned plants back to life, Dr Emoto was using prayer and healing to convert some of the demon spawn back into their original human selves. It was a slim hope. Maia had immersed herself in the mysteries of music, ever since her guardian at the orphanage in Paris, Mrs Gripe, had given her access to the sealed closet, with her mother’s sigil hidden in the last page of her grandfather’s diary. In her travels through the UnderWorld with her friends she had earned her own wings, the final hope.
Maia hadn’t known what she was looking for, had no guidance, and travelled blind with her friends until she had met Raziel and the four Archangels, who told her the race of angels was leaving Earth, forever.
In a battle against hopeless odds, Maia and her friends were left at the mercy of the Prince of Demons, who killed Altair, her one true love and his own son.
That was when she began world hopping with Alice, desperate to find a solution to save Earth from the demons and restore the origins of the three great races, Angels, Humans and Magicks.
She had been been aided and abetted by Chenial and her legion of fledgling fallen angels and elemental dragons and it was they who had retreated first to the LightWorld, to heal their wounds and fortify their amoury. What that consisted of now Maia had no real idea.
She had come to Tokyo first, in seach of the mysterious Kepler, and it all now seemed a hideous, disastrous, waste of two precious hours.
Maia rang the doorbell of the first floor apartment. She did not expect Kepler to open the door and after the commotion in the lobby it would be a wonder if he wasn’t several blocks away by now. Looking up, she peered into the camera that she knew would be focused on her, but it was too late. There wasn’t the slightest sound from inside. Alice had given her the right number. 102. She stood outside for one more moment before turning in frustration. That was when she heard the door click quietly behind her.
“Hello, Maia,” said Kepler. He was carrying a hollow tube, just slightly larger than the cylinder Maia held in her left hand. Her right had gripped the knife tightly in her pants pocket when she heard her name. She turned.
Kepler looked at her without expression, welcome or warmth. Just the mere hint of challenge in his gaze. He did not seem perturbed to see her.
Maia walked past him into the apartment lounge, which was bare except for a low wooden kotatsu covered by a futon. She threw the cylinder down hard with a clunk.
“Aren’t you even going to offer me a cup of green tea?”
“After what you did to my man, you’re lucky I’m not offering you a quick death,” said Kepler evenly, in calm measured tones.
Maia turned and stared at him. “If you want me to leave just say so. I’ll get out of here and you’ll never see me again.”
Kepler’s eyes softened. Maia could sense the difference. He had immediately accepted her as his equal.
“We need to talk.” He reached for her hand in an offer of friendship.