I understand your concern, Linao. It was never easy for any of us... and it doesn't get any easier with time, believe me."

"You're such a little ray of sunshine," she observed bitterly. "And I don't have concerns, I have a need to know what all of this means and why you showed me." She was trying to keep the frantic tone out of her voice. "I mean, I'm just..." Her throat jammed shut suddenly, and she closed her eyes for a moment before continuing. "I'm nobody. I'm just a normal girl, goes to school, has arguments with her boyfriend, teenage angst... There's nothing special about me."

"Hum. Yes. Well," he went on, sounding thoughtful. "I was going to wait awhile to tell you... mainly because I didn't expect you back so soon." His expression got farther and farther from the time they were in. "Usually the awakened one needs a few days to come to grips with their new --"

"Can we stay on topic, please?" she interrupted, trying to bring him back to the present. Her voice trembled with anger and agitation. "Why. Did. You. Do. This. To. Me."

Jeriel glanced at Linao. "Very well... Since you ask so plainly. There's a demon in the city. His name is Azael."

"A demon. In this city. And... why do I have this fear that this has something to do with me?"

"It has to do with all of us. He poses a danger to everyone you know, and everyone you don't know. He wants what he wants, and he will stop at nothing and show mercy to no one until he gets it." Jeriel stopped here, wanting Linao to get the full impact of what he was about to say. "He must be stopped. He is the reason I was sent."

"You were sent? By who?"

"Who sent me is not relevant right now. What is relevant is whom I was sent to."

"...me." Her voice was hardly above a squeaked whisper.


summary written by Cherie

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