Chapter Thirty: Orders and Promises
Dream Sequence, Year 1600, the official day of the Angels' War
"Anastasia you know you can't run like this. Come out, wherever you are."
Anastasia opened her eyes to see herself lying on a flower bed under a hot summer sun. She blinked several times, not knowing how she got there. She tried to remember her steps. She was with Louis, and they kissed, touched and caressed, then finally she fell asleep…
… in her own bed.
So how did she get here?
A Memory Dream....
She sat bolt upright, and slid down the flower bed. She quickly straightened the white tunic she was wearing, and looked around her. She could hear loud noises at the distance, and she could see colors flying across the sky.
What the hell was happening?
"Anastasia!" The voices which were calling her were loud and clear now.
She spun around, and was instantly wrapped in strong, evenly muscled arms.
"Thank God." Archangel Luke spoke in her ear. "Anastasia, we must leave. NOW."
"What? I don't-"
"Look, Alexander Giovanni is looking for you. He started the War. He will lose. Angels never were a match for Archangels. Now we must run. The Archangels are worried sick about you. If Giovanni finds you first, he will take you to somewhere else. We must get out of here."
Realization dawned on her. Yes, she was in the beginning of the Angels' War, the day after the Angels' Gathering. Alex must've started the War when Archangel Luke told him he lost her. He was passionate, he would do anything to win her, and she knew that was what he was doing now.
"I can't run away with you and leave him behind, Luke!" She objected. "He started the war because of me. I need to find him, and maybe we can discuss a… a peace treaty or something."
"Anastasia, are you insane?" Luke grabbed her upper arms and shook her, "he is a traitor. He betrayed the Archangels by going after you, someone who he could never ever have, someone who he doesn't even truly love. He just wants you, Anastasia. His desire for you was purely sinful lust. We must get you away from him before he gets you."
"Alexander isn't like that-"
"Anastasia, we don't have time to argue whether his intentions are noble or not. What is important now is that we can't let him get you. Look-"
He drew her into his arms and pressed his lips against hers. She waited for the heat to go through her body, the fast beating of her heart, the desire to draw him against her body and caress every inch. But nothing happened. A low hum went through her brain, and though his kiss was heated and passionate, she felt nothing. She couldn't even kiss him back. She just put her hands on his shoulders and pushed him a little inch away.
Luke didn't seem to notice. He closed his eyes and smiled gently.
"I have longed for this kiss ever since I met you. If you only knew how deep I have fallen for you, you would never have to run like this. Anastasia…" He raised his hand to her face and brushed a finger down her cheek. "Come with me, my only love."
His hand slid down her arm to entwine his fingers with hers. She pulled her hand back, but he crossed his fingers with her own and tugged her closer.
"Trust me," he whispered, staring at her intently.
She had no choice really. The War was going on out there, and unless she finds Alexander, she would never get out of this Dream. Well, maybe if the Masked Stranger comes again, she can make some sense of what's happening out there. For now, she needed to stay safe on her own. And now the safest place, crazily enough, was with an Archangel. Maybe the Angels in the 21st century would come and get her in time.
She took a deep breath, then clenched her fingers around Luke's.
"Okay. Okay, let's go."
His face broke into a brief but sunny smile, and then he shook. Gigantic golden wings sprung free from his back. He arched his back, and the golden wings arched back with him, dazzling and shiny under the bright morning sun.
"Unfurl your wings, Anastasia. We need to fly back to the Castle."
She stared at him. He gave her a puzzled look and urged her with his eyes.
She automatically rolled back her shoulders, and something sleek and gold just burst out from her back. It felt like silk sliding down her back, or rather, water rushing out of her back. She looked around her in surprise, the wings, even more gigantic than Luke's, was shimmering in gold, and they flapped around her, protecting her.
"Good. Now take my hand and we will fly together. Stay with me at ALL TIMES. Do you understand, Anastasia?"
She could only muster a nod.
He gave her his hand, and she slid hers into his firmly. Luke bent his knees, and she did the same.
Then they were high in the air.
Anastasia's stomach seemed to stay on the ground, but then the wind carried her, her wings balancing her position in midair. Suddenly, the sun felt so close and so warm, as if she could touch it. Then she was laughing, feeling so free and so, so wonderful. She twirled in the air, the wings spinning around her. She kept her hand in Luke's, clutched tight, for she was still a little scared of falling.
They flew through the clouds, and then Ana saw a tall white castle with ink-black towers. Luke shifted her position, and then they were flying toward the tallest black tower with a white flag blowing in the wind.
She uttered a gasp when she found that they were about to crash through the window, but Luke flicked his free hand, and the glass disappeared. Hiding her surprise, (for she was supposed to be an Archangel here, nothing should surprise her). She went through the window pane and descended on a giant golden bed.
She landed with her back against the bed, and then Luke was on top of her, his beautiful eyes looking down at her in tension.
"I am sorry." He hastily said, rolling off her.
"It's okay." She sat up and rolled her wings back inside her back. Somehow, she did that with no difficulty at all. "What are we to do now?"
"We wait for our brothers and sisters to defeat Giovanni's traitor angels. I am not leaving you, at least until he surrendered."
A cold chill rolled down her back, she clutched at the sheets on the bed.
"They won't… I mean, our side won't kill him, right?"
He turned to her with a puzzled look.
"So what if we do? He deserves to die a thousand deaths, thinking he could claim and even seduce an Archangel."
She opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Her brain was whirling. She knew Alexander in this era, in 1600, was fighting for her. But what about the Alex in the 21st century? He would come looking for her, perhaps with the other angels, and what then? Luke could kill them all and then there will be no more Alex, Josie, and whoever angels who were punished because of her.
So what could she do?
She turned to Luke.
"Am I safe in this tower?" She whispered.
"Yes. Safer than anyone." He touched her hand and brought it to his cold lips.
"Then would you do one thing for me? Would you go down and fight?"
His eyes widened. Immediately he shook his head.
"I can't. I won't. How can I fight while knowing you are alone? And the dirty traitor Giovanni would find you. I can't risk that. Don't you understand?" He squeezed her hand. "I must stay with you."
"But you said I would be safe in this tower, Luke. Alexander wouldn't even know I am here. Luke…" Her eyes softened, and she touched her lips on the back of his hand. He shivered. Then she rubbed her cheek against his hand. "The Archangels may not know it, but you are the best fighter among… us. They can't win without you. Please…?" She raised her eyes and blinked pleadingly. It worked. Luke released her hand and tugged her into his arms. He wrapped his arms around her, and then his lips were at her neck.
"Okay." He murmured against the soft spot at her neck. "Okay. I will fight him for you. I would fight anyone who wants to claim you. But you must promise me…" He pressed his lips gently on her forehead. "Do not ever leave this tower. I cannot protect you, if you disobey me, my love."
She shuddered at the endearment, but having such a beautiful and lovely man calling her so lovingly did give her some comfort. She nodded, "I promise."
He pressed her down onto the bed and kissed her passionately, till her brain was whirling and she lost all sense of reaction. She didn't kiss him back, but he seemed satisfied as he rolled off her and stood at the foot of the bed.
His golden wings unfurled behind him, and he stood there, half-naked and his muscles gleaming. "Wait for me, my sweet Anastasia. Remember your promise. I cannot lose you, Anastasia. I can't bear it."
"Yes." She nodded and kissed his hand.
He looked down at her, and for a second there was so much love and desire in his eyes that Ana was afraid he might change his mind. But then he shook himself, and turned to the window. He bent his knees, and launched into the air in a blur of golden wings. She hurried to the window and saw Luke flying downward into the blur of colors and babble of noises. When she found that it was safe, she went over to the bed and lay down on it. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on the voices which were probing into her mind.
Suddenly, everyone was talking to her. She clapped her hands to her ears and moaned softly. Then Alexander's voice was the only one that stood out to her.
"Ana, where are you?"
"In the tallest black tower of the Archangels' Castle."
"I am coming to get you."
Alarm made her eyes flew open.
"No! You are supposed to be down there, fighting the Archangels with the other angels."
"I already fought them for you once, Ana, and as much as I wanna fight them for you again, I am not gonna waste my time. Now, is there anyone with you? Luke? Any Archangel or angel around you? Check."
She obeyed, and looked around her, then down the tower. Everything seemed to be peaceful. Well, peaceful except for the war going on the foot of the huge castle.
"Yes, everything is fine. No one's here with me, or around me. But Alex, I still think… Anastasia, I am not doing this to get you to fall in love with me. I am here because I think the Masked Stranger may have brought you here so that… so that he can claim you as his Mate."
"His… Mate? But he is human."
"Ana, no. He is part human, but he cannot be your Mate, even though the Archangels' Order is for you to find a Mate to return to Heaven. Look, I will explain the details for you later. Right now, you need to stay away from everyone. Stay within the tower, until I come and get you. Ana…" His voice sounded urgent. "Do you understand how important that is?"
"Yes. Yes, I do." She thought fervently.
"I will be with you before you know it. Do this one favor for me, Ana, don't trust anyone you see there, and don't, ever, trust the Archangels in 1600."
She shut her eyes tightly, and willed her promise towards Alexander.
The connection broke, and she sank down onto the bed, doing nothing except wait.