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Rated: E · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #2209551
What becomes of the Defenders when their greatest weapon is no more...?
Defenders of the Faith: Chapter 3
Story by T. Craver

The Sword of the Spirit rattled in its holding matrix, almost as if it were alive.
“Fascinating...” the man’s irises glowed a brilliant red as he gazed at the sword. “You did well to bring me this. It must have pained you greatly.” The woman just glared at him defiantly in response, rubbing the still healing burns on her neck.
“Oh, come now, Lilith, you can’t still be mad about that little fight.” She held his stare a moment longer, then looked away, her ears as scarlet as his eyes.
“Much better,” he said as he stalked her way, eyes ablaze. “You know what time it is.”
“Yes... Master,” she replied as she turned to lay on the bed behind her. An evil grin spread across his face as he closed the distance between them.


“Samuel!!” Caeli and Daniel came running from the house. “Kara, what happened?!”
“Lilith happened... She took the Sword.”
“What?! She can’t do that... can she?” Samuel was still unconscious from Lilith’s blow.
“Apparently she can,” Kara gritted out, on her knees next to Samuel, “I’m endangering the mission, I should go.”
“No!!” Caeli said firmly, “Samuel needs you. We need you.”
“No one needs me. I’ve always been a screw up, why should this time be any different?” Caeli cast a worried but understanding look at her friend.
“It doesn’t matter who you were, or what you did, all that matters is who you are, and who you are definitely isn’t a screw up. Come on, help me get him in the house. Daniel, can you take care of the other girl?”
“On it, boss,” he said as he put Ashlee over his shoulder.


Samuel suddenly found himself standing before Jesus.
“What? What happened? Where am I?”
“Lilith’s sneak attack rendered you unconscious, Samuel. Your friends have the situation under control.”
“They cast her out?”
“No. Lilith took the Sword to Lucifer.”
“WHAT?! This is what you call under control?!”
“Do you trust me, Samuel?”
“I... I do...”
“Then go. Everything will become clear soon.”
And with a start, Samuel awakened, surrounded by his friends.
“Samuel! Are you okay?!” Kara asked, throwing her arms around his neck.
“I’m fine, but... Lilith has the Sword...”
“Not for long,” Daniel replied with a self-assured smirk, “She might be able to take you down with one hit, but she can’t take all of us.” Samuel chose not to take offense in light of the second half of what Daniel had said.
“Are you fully committed now?”
“Buddy, if I were any more committed, you’d have to drag me off of Lucifer himself kicking and screaming.” Samuel smiled as Caeli piped up.
“I’d say the wise thing would be to learn as much as we can about Lilith, since she seems to be our constant source of irritation.”
“Agreed,” Samuel said, glancing around. “What happened to Ashlee?”
“We thought it better to let her rest,” Kara said. “Possession really drains you, and she had already worked all day.”
“As long as she’s safe,” Samuel nodded, “We can send her home tomorrow, once she’s had a chance to recover.”
“Samuel, can we talk for a second?” Kara asked, “Alone?”
“Sure. Can you two give us a couple minutes? We’ll discuss our next move shortly.” Daniel just grinned and Caeli nodded as they left the room. Kara returned her attention to Samuel.
“I don’t think me being here is a good idea. All it does is paint a bigger target on your back for Lucifer.”
“Lucifer’s already got me in the crosshairs, Kara. He’s coming for me, it’s only a matter of time.” She stood and walked to the door.
“But he can’t target us all at once if we’re not together...”
“Yes, he can!” Samuel said, standing and walking over to her, “That’s what his demons are for. We’re safer in a group.”
“I don’t think we are! You saw what happened last night, I couldn’t protect you and it was just the two of us. How am I supposed to protect the entire group when I failed to even keep you safe...?”
“That’s why we’re a team, Kara. It’s not all on you, or me, or Caeli, or Daniel. We protect each other. Last night was my fault. I thought we could be free for five seconds...”
“And we were, and it was the best time of my life, Samuel. But I failed you. I failed the group. I’m sorry... but I can’t fail again, this is for the best...” Samuel looked her square in the eye, but he knew there was no arguing with her.
“If there’s no changing your mind... at least take Caeli along... I don’t want you having no backup if Lucifer’s lackeys find you.” Kara offered a sad smile as her tears silently began to fall.
“I will,” she said as she opened the door. Kara started to step out of the room, hesitated and turned back for a moment, her mascara running. “I love you, Samuel...” Before he could respond, she was gone, the door closed.
“I love you too...”


Caeli and Daniel headed down the hall to check on Ashlee. They found her still asleep, resting as though she hadn’t slept in days. Caeli sat on the edge of the bed and Daniel sat next to her.
“We’re gonna have to tell Samuel eventually. Before he figures it out.”
“I really don’t think now’s the time...”
“Then when?” Daniel whispered as he leaned in to kiss her neck.
“Soon...” she said with a gasp. She hadn’t been prepared for the tender touch of his lips on her bare skin. “Daniel, stop. I’m not ready for... that...” Daniel obeyed and sat back, a grin lighting his face.
“If you’re not ready, then neither am I.” He turned to look at Ashlee, just stirring from her respite.
“Ugh... where am I?”
“Arkwright Farms, dear. You had a rough night,” Caeli said, trying to be as calming as possible. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“I... I remember walking to my car... but it’s hazy after that... Arkwright? Why does that sound famil- oh my God!!” Her hand flew to her mouth as her eyes widened. A flood of memory struck her as she was overcome with horror. “The couple from the restaurant, I... I attacked them!! Oh, God, what have I done?!”
“Ashlee, Ashlee, look at me, relax... they’re fine, they’re both fine... it’s not your fault,” Daniel soothed.
“Yes it is! I let that monster take control of me and I attacked them!” Caeli and Daniel exchanged a suspicious look.
“What do you mean...?” Caeli pressed. Ashlee, just about hyperventilating, forced herself to calm down a bit.
“A man... met me at my car, and... he- he asked me if... I wanted to rest. I’d just worked a twelve hour shift, so, of course, I was exhausted. I just wanted to go home and pass out, but his eyes... His eyes were mesmerizing and they drew me in... I said yes...” Again, Caeli and Daniel glanced at each other, their suspicion turning to worry.
“Did his eyes glow? Like bright red embers?” Daniel questioned, an uneasy feeling settling over him.
“Yes, exactly like that, how did you know?” Daniel stood up and headed for the door.
“You fill her in, I need to make sure Samuel’s okay.” Before Caeli could protest, he’d left the room. Sprinting down the hall, he almost ran into Kara coming the other way.
“Ope, sorry.” Catching a passing glance at her eyes, he skidded to a halt.
“Hey, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Kara nodded and looked away.
“I just need to talk to Caeli,” she replied, her voice shaking. Daniel set his jaw and gave her a hard look. He knew that wasn’t all, but there wasn’t time. Instead of pressing her, he nodded and continued to Samuel’s door.
“Samuel, it’s me, I’m coming in.” Daniel barged in to find his best friend sitting on the bed, staring at nothing.
“Earth to Samuel, you okay in there, space cadet?”
“Yeah... I’m fine. What’s up?” He asked, returning to himself, “Why are you running?” After taking a moment to breathe, Daniel looked him square in the eye.
“Lucifer got to Ashlee. He’s the one that convinced her to be possessed. I’d wager he saw the entire encounter between y’all.”
“Which means we’re not safe here anymore,” Samuel said, suddenly seeing unintentional wisdom is Kara’s words.
“What do you wanna do, bud?” Samuel was silent a moment as he considered their next move.
“Nothing for today. I think we can get through one more night while we get with Jesus and find out where to go from here.”
“...Okay...” Daniel turned for the door, but stopped short.
“By the way,” he said half turning back around, “Why was Kara crying when I passed her in the hall? Did you two fight?”
“No... not exactly. I’ll explain later, for now, we all need to pray and study. Make sure everyone’s dressed, we’re going to church.”


***


“I have to agree with Miss Milano, it makes more sense to split you up than to have you all as sitting ducks in the same pond. He may be able to send demons after you, but Lucifer himself won’t be able to attack the entire group that way. And if my years of study have helped me at all, I’d wager Lucifer’s hubris won’t let him send mere minions after you, he’ll either make an appearance himself, or he’ll send Lilith. It might be a different story if you had your weapon, Samuel, but as it stands, none of your Spirit objects have the same capability as the Sword of the Spirit,” Reverend Ohmer stated. “I’d be happy to put Caeli and Kara up at my cabin. It’s relatively close to my home, but it’s also far enough away that they should be safe if demons come knocking at my door.” Samuel nodded in agreement, though he was clearly less than thrilled.
“It’s settled, then,” he said, glancing at each of his friends in turn. “We’ll need a way to get a hold of each other if something major goes down.”
“Way ahead of you, Samuel,” Caeli said, providing a strange amount of cheeriness considering the situation. “I set up a group text! We’ll never be further than a message away from each other!” Samuel nodded again and turned to Reverend Ohmer.
“Thank you, Rev— Kaleb... I really don’t know what we’d do without you.”
“Oh, yknow,” Reverend Ohmer shrugged, “Probably get beat up by demons and stuff.” Daniel tried (unsuccessfully) to stifle a guffaw and the rest of the group began laughing in spite of themselves. When the levity faded, Reverend Ohmer looked to Kara.
“Now, I believe you wished to study on Lilith, if I recall. For that, we’ll have to head to the basement to locate the book. Would ‘twere that there was more than one, but, sadly, Lilith doesn’t get much recognition in our bibles. I’m warning you all now, watch your step. Not that it’s old or anything, but... it’s a basement, so...”


“Have you found a way to destroy it, Master?”
“Destroy it?! Lilith, dear, you’ve far too narrow a view of the situation. I’m not going to destroy it. I’m going to use it!”
“How?! The Sword of the Spirit will never obey us...”
“Obey me. And it will. Anything can be corrupted, Lilith. You, more than anyone, should know that.” Lilith looked away, forcing herself to deny the memories of her past self. That Lilith was dead, and she was going to stay dead.
“Yes, Master. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize, it makes you look weak, and foolish. Just go, before I find a reason to put you out of my misery.”
“Yes... Master.” Lilith left the room and stood outside the door for a moment as an unfamiliar wave of emotion overcame her. She didn’t understand what was happening; demons weren’t capable of crying. Yet crying she was, silently, the tears burning streaks down her face. Lucifer had laid great promises before her when she’d first turned. Now, however, he was tearing them apart, one by one, until she was little more than a messenger he could abuse in any way he deemed necessary (often involving her unwillingly laying silently on her back). She had grown tired of the way he treated her, but there was nothing she could do to change it. Lucifer was her master. No demon had ever dared to defy him to the point of open rebellion. Setting her jaw and drying her eyes, Lilith strode off to her own chamber. She had to distract herself from these disturbing notions.


Samuel flexed his hand, concentrating with all his might, but nothing happened. He tried again, still nothing.
“We’ll get it back, bud, let’s get back to studying for now,” Daniel said, noticing his partner trying to stay calm. A week had passed and every day, Samuel was acutely reminded that he’d lost the two things he cared about most in the entire world. Daniel had been a great help, but there was only so much he could do. Samuel sat back down, frustrated.
“Listen, I know you’re having a hard time with this, it’s not just the Sword, it’s Kara too. I know how you feel.”
“Do you?! Do you, really?! Go ahead, tell me more about how I feel. You didn’t fail Jesus and lose your girlfriend in the space of twenty-four hours! You don’t know how I feel!”
“Actually... I do...” Daniel took a deep breath as confusion clouded Samuel’s face. “I wanted to tell you under better circumstances, but... Caeli and I... are dating.”
“What?! Since when?!”
“About two weeks ago. She wanted to tell you so badly, but we agreed to wait until we knew it was gonna last. No better time than now, I guess, huh?” Samuel sat back, unsure what to think. Finally, he spoke,
“Did either of you even think to pray about this first?”
“Extensively. Together and separately. The boss gave us the green light Himself.” Samuel was silent a moment as he stared at Daniel, a million thoughts trying to force their way to the surface.
“I’m sorry,” he said at length, “I’m sorry you both got dragged into this. That you couldn’t be free to have a normal relationship with each other. That you’re stuck fighting my battles.”
“Pff, like you could’ve stopped me,” Daniel retorted, “I made you a promise when Mom and Dad died that I’d always be here for you, Samuel. That doesn’t mean just during the dry season, that means during the storms too.”
“...Caeli’s having a good effect on you, that’s the smartest thing you’ve said in days.”
“That’s the wisecrack I was waiting for. Come on, I think we’ve studied enough for one day. Man may not live on bread alone, but it certainly helps.


***


“Caeli, are you sure about this? I don’t want to hurt you.”
“I’m sure. You need to practice and this will help me too.”
“Okay...” Taking a deep breath, Kara outstretched her hand and summoned her weapon, then launched into her attack. She showed remarkable skill and control for someone untrained in combat. Caeli was hard pressed to keep up with her. Finally, with an unexpected flick of her wrist, Kara put Caeli on the ground.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry, are you okay?!” Kara asked as she dropped into a crouch next to her friend.
“I’m fine,” Caeli said, laughing in spite of herself. “You’re more skilled than I gave you credit for.” Kara looked away, running a hand nervously through her long, black hair.
“I probably should’ve mentioned I was captain of the color guard my senior year...”
“That might have been useful information, yes,” Caeli said, smiling as she hopped to her feet. “Again.” Kara came at her once more, but this time, Caeli was ready and blocked her attacks easily. Slowly, she drove the assailant back until Kara was unable to maneuver for the wall at her back. Caeli pressed her shield between them and looked into her friend’s steel grey eyes, her own eyes catching the sun and turning the mahogany irides into a golden honey.
“Yield,” Caeli breathed, grinning.
“I yield, I yield,” Kara agreed, putting her hands up. “You’re getting pretty good with that, Caeli. Were you training with Daniel before....... before?” Caeli blushed a little as she looked away.
“A little...” The two of them started to walk back into the cabin.
“How long have you two been together?” Caeli glanced sidelong at her, trying to gauge how much she knew.
“What do you mean?”
“Please,” Kara snorted, “You two are a couple. I suffer from depression, not blindness. You’re no better at hiding it than I was.”
“I guess not...” Caeli said, the blush returning to her cheeks. “Don’t tell Samuel though. Daniel and I agreed we’d tell him when the time was right.”
“I won’t say a word, honey. What happens at the cabin stays at the cabin.”
“Thanks. Are you cooking tonight or am I?”
“Do you want to?”
“I can, sure. You get Netflix set up, I’ll get dinner going.”
“Deal.”


“The time approaches, Lilith. They think they are strengthening their position by splitting up. Yet, like a sickly lamb, abandoned by the flock, they only weaken themselves by remaining isolated.”
“Soon, we will be in control, Master.” Lucifer’s eyes flared at Lilith’s use of the word ‘we.’ There could only be one supreme ruler and Lucifer didn’t share power with anyone. He would have to break her of that mindset before the real fight for Heaven began. This little squabble with the Chosen One’s patsies would be a good warm up though.
“Be prepared, Lilith. Though they deteriorate their defense, the only breech in their attack is their missing weapon. They remain a nuisance on offense.”
“They’re no match for me.”
“Is that so?” Lucifer admonished, turning to look at her, “Because as I recall, the score stands tied at one.”
“A fluke. They caught me by surprise. A mistake I won’t repeat.”
“You had better not!! We can not afford mistakes at such a critical time!!” Lucifer turned his back on her.
“I don’t need to remind you what happens to subordinates that fail me...”
“No...” Lilith replied, swallowing hard.
“Good, now go.” Lilith did as she was bade, striding from the room. On a sudden impulse, she walked the opposite direction from her quarters, instead entering the room where the Sword of the Spirit was being held. Immediately, as she stepped in, the Sword rattled, as though it could sense the demon’s presence. Lilith just stared at it for a long moment, a thousand thoughts trying to force their way to the surface. As suddenly as she’d come, she spun on her heel and walked away.


“I’ve never watched this show, what’s it about?”
“Two brothers,” Kara replied around a mouthful of macaroni, “They travel the country killing demons and stuff. It’s my guilty pleasure.” Caeli just nodded as the rumbling of a 1967 Chevy Impala filled the room, thanks to Reverend Ohmer’s surround sound system.
“Yknow...” she said after a moment, “The shorter one almost looks like Samuel...”
“I know, isn’t that ironic?” At Caeli’s confused look, Kara added, “The shorter one is Dean, the taller one is Sam.”
“Oh,” Caeli chuckled, “Well yeah, that is pretty iro—“ she cut her sentence short, her breath catching. Kara paused the show.
“What’s wrong?!”
“I’m not sure, but Samuel and Daniel are in danger. I can feel it.”
“Let’s get to them then, I’ll call Kaleb on the way.”


“Daniel, stay behind me,” Samuel ordered. “He’ll have to kill me to get you.”
“I’m calling Caeli.”
“NO!!” Samuel said, “I won’t put them in harm’s way for our sakes again...”
“That’s exactly why we had the group text set up, for just such an emergency, Samuel!!”
“They don’t need to get hurt, I can take this one by myself.” As he spoke though, the demon lunged at the defenseless Defender, pinning him to the ground.
“SAMUEL!!” Daniel yelled, charging the demon. He knocked the creature off of his friend, sending it sprawling. Before it could return to an attacking posture, though, its skin started to sizzle and steam. Hissing, it vanished as quickly as it had appeared. Turning to look behind him, Daniel saw Reverend Ohmer standing, SuperSoaker dripping holy water as Caeli and Kara rushed to join him. Samuel got to his feet, but was instantly back on the ground as Kara tackled him and embraced him in a crushing hug. Samuel had never been happier to see another human and he returned the embrace, only letting go long enough to kiss her, briefly, but intensely. Reverend Ohmer cleared his throat, reminding them that other people were present.
“Hey, Caeli,” Daniel said with a jovial wave and his trademark smile.
“Hi, Daniel,” she returned courteously.
“He knows.”
“She knows.” Reverend Ohmer couldn’t help laughing at the simultaneous admissions.
“Ah, to be young and in love,” he shook his head still smiling, “as amusing as this is, though, we should probably move inside, lest we draw more unwanted attention. A light rain began to fall as the Defenders headed inside, together again.


***


“So... you ‘felt’ that we were in danger... like the Force?”
“Samuel, I hate to tell you this,” Daniel whispered, “But your nerd is showing.”
“He’s not entirely wrong,” Caeli said, a thoughtful look on her face, “Kara and I were talking and then I just had this sudden overwhelming feeling that you were in trouble.”
“Kaleb, what could this mean?” Samuel asked.
“Could mean she’s a Jedi,” Reverend Ohmer said with a shrug. The deadpan look Daniel shot him prompted him to continue, stifling a laugh, “Or, she could be manifesting a new power in the Spirit.”
“Does that mean we’re all gonna develop new powers?” Kara asked.
“It’s possible... I’d say only one person knows for sure though.” Samuel cleared his throat, drawing everyone’s attention.
“We should study while we have a moment...”
“I like that enthusiasm, Samuel,” Reverend Ohmer remarked, “Shall we get to it then? You have kept the book safe, correct?”
“Right here,” Samuel replied, producing the perpetually dusty tome from its hiding place. It looked as if it would disintegrate if someone so much as looked sideways at it. The binding remained intact, however, as Reverend Ohmer opened it and carefully leafed through, looking for something specific. Finally, he stopped, pointing to a picture of a strikingly beautiful maiden and a creature which appeared to be made almost entirely of shadow.
“Here it is. The origin of the creature we now know as Lilith. According to this, Lilith began as a human, a daughter of Adam and Eve...”
“But I thought Adam and Eve had three sons?” Kara said, confusion clouding her features.
“They did,” Reverend Ohmer replied patiently, “Our bible makes no mention of their other sons by name, nor their daughter, or daughters, as the case may be, because, as translations were made throughout the centuries, bits and pieces that the translators felt were irrelevant to the central story were removed. Many of those pieces involved the early women, it would seem. The time it was compiled in was also very... masculine-centric. One such case of these omissions appears to have been the story of Lilith.
“So what happened to her?” Daniel asked, leaning forward.
“Right, as I was saying, Lilith, the daughter of Adam and Eve, lived in the constant shadow of her brothers. She wasn’t as skilled a farmer as Cain, nor as gifted with the flock as Abel. Even Seth outshined his sister. She was rarely praised for her accomplishments, overshadowed by her brothers’ own greater achievements. One day, this shadowy figure I can only presume is Satan, came to visit her in her solitude. He promised her many things: Riches, land, affection, happiness, but above all... attention.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Caeli interjected, “Are you saying that Lilith became a demon because she was lonely?!”
“In a manner of speaking... yes.”
“Let’s keep going,” Kara said, an uneasy look on her face.
“Yes,” Reverend Ohmer continued, clearing his throat, “Lilith, tired of being left behind in favor of Cain, Abel and Seth, accepted Satan’s proposal, at the cost of her soul. From that day, she ceased to be the child of Adam and Eve, and instead became the Lilith we know today. Little is known of what happened to Lilith since then, only that she became, and remains, Lucifer’s right hand.”
“Wait, so... she turned...” Samuel mused aloud, “Which means... her host isn’t really a host at all, it’s technically still her...”
“What are you scheming, Samuel?” Caeli asked warily.
“If she could be turned once...”
“Don’t believe everything you see on TV,” Reverend Ohmer cautioned. “Demons don’t magically become human because you pump them full of type O negative, or what other superstitions have you.”
“Maybe not,” Samuel continued, a glimmer coming to his eye, “But maybe we can convince her to switch sides.”
“Seems unlikely,” Daniel piped up, “You heard Kaleb, she’s been Lucifer’s right hand for as far back as anyone remembers.”
“Which is exactly why I think we can get to her! We all know what Lucifer is like, you can’t seriously tell me she enjoys being his slave. Lucifer has no friends, she’s a puppet to him. That has to bother her on some level.”
“I’m still not convinced,” Reverend Ohmer said quietly, “But maybe it’s worth the attempt. What’s life without a challenge?”


***


Later that night, the Defenders sat around a campfire, awaiting the inevitable. Sure enough, as the clock struck midnight, Caeli suddenly looked up, her eyes wide.
“She’s here.” The Defenders got into the formation they’d discussed, keeping their backs to the fire. From the shadows, a familiar figure strode into view.
“This must be what it’s like to be the guest of honor. I’m flattered, truly.”
“There’s nothing honorable about you, Lilith,” Kara spat.
“Oh, I don’t know about that, Kara, darling, I’d like to think I’m pretty loyal, that seems honorable to me.” The demon sneered at them. “But I didn’t come here to talk.” Lilith raised her hand, energy crackling at her fingertips. Caeli thinking quickly did the same.
“Wait! Maybe we did...”
“And what could you fools possibly have to say to me? Stalling would not be in your best interest. Lucifer is coming.”
“Don’t you get tired of taking orders from him?” Samuel prodded. “Having to constantly do what he says, when he says to do it and getting abused when it doesn’t go his way?”
“Were you not listening to my loyalty comment? Lucifer is my master, and he always has been. My loyalty is unwavering.”
“But are you loyal by choice? Or because he’ll obliterate you otherwise?” Reverend Ohmer pressed.
“By... choice.” Realization dawned on Lilith’s face. “You’ve read my history... this game of yours won’t end the way you want it to.”
“No games. That’s Lucifer’s domain,” Samuel said, spreading his arms wide.
“I’ve read the ending, Lilith,” Daniel chimed in, “Lucifer loses. Don’t you wanna be on the winning side? Imagine that, you could be a hero.”
“I... No... No, I won’t betray my master!!”
“You keep saying ‘master,’” Caeli said, the spark of an idea igniting in her mind, “But wouldn’t it be better to be your own master? To not have to answer to anyone?”
“And what about you?!” Lilith sneered, “All of you are slaves to Mister Goody Two Shoes! How is that any different?!”
“It’s much different,” Kara said, the previous fury in her voice dissipated, “Jesus is our friend. Can you say the same of Lucifer?” Lilith was starting to panic and it showed. No one had ever dared to question her like this. No one, except...
“Enough of this,” a voice said from the darkness. As he stepped into the fire light, everyone took in the brilliant red glow of his irises. Then Samuel noticed the object strapped to his back.
“Hm, yes, boy. The Sword has a new master,” Lucifer gloated, noticing Samuel’s gaze. He unsheathed it and held it before him, showing it off. It looked very different, twisted and defiled by its current wielder. Lucifer raised the Sword high, but before he could bring it down, Daniel interposed himself between them, his own arms raised. The Defenders watched helplessly as the sword descended, but before it could slice into Daniel’s body, the sound of steel on steel rang out, a bright flash erupting from the point of impact. Where Daniel’s hands had previously been empty, a pair of gleaming swords now resided. Smaller than Samuel’s, they glowed just as fiercely, fashioned much the same.
“I wanted to show you sooner,” Daniel said with a cocky smirk, “Didn’t have time.” The young man shoved Lucifer back and assumed a proper two weapon fighting stance.
“So, the useless friend finally discovers a purpose, just in time to die,” Lucifer taunted. Daniel only glared at him, circling the Devil, daring him to make the first move. Briefly, he caught Caeli’s eye and gave an imperceptible nod. Caeli acknowledged it and prepared herself silently.
“I could destroy you all right now,” Lucifer laughed as he swung his blade against Daniel’s. “But I do so enjoy a good torture session.” As Lucifer disengaged and continued circling, Caeli waited until his back was to her, then quietly summoned her shield. Realizing what was about to happen, Lilith cried out,
“Master, behind you!!” But it was too late. Caeli lifted her arm and sent her shield spinning toward Lucifer. He turned just in time to deflect it harmlessly away, but in so doing left himself unguarded and Daniel seized the opportunity. Quickly, he jabbed his twin blades into the wrist holding the Sword. Screaming more from surprise than pain, Lucifer’s grasp unclenched and the Sword fell. Without hesitation, Samuel outstretched his hand and summoned the Sword back to himself. Back in the hands of its rightful owner, the Sword resumed the appearance of its true self. Daniel kept his swords in an attacking position, holding Lucifer at bay. Samuel also angled his weapon to face the Devil. Kara summoned her staff and glared at Lilith. Reverend Ohmer brandished his SuperSoaker, looking as menacing as he could muster. Caeli’s shield returned to her hand and she held it before her, blocking the group from their attacker. Lucifer looked around at them, glowering.
“The Defenders of the Faith,” he spat, “This is far from over.” Without another word, he and Lilith disappeared. The Defenders remained on guard for a moment to ensure he wasn’t coming back, then, slowly, relaxed. They’d actually done it. They’d defeated Lucifer.
But for how long?
They all headed back inside, knowing the war was only beginning.



THE END.... FOR NOW....
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