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A winged man sat on the floor of the room. The hearty crackle of the fireplace keeping the room from being silent. He faced at an angle from a woman who sat in a chair. Angrily the woman stared at him wondering why she had stayed in her armor and wore her sword. Her seat was too small for her own wings and body, making it worse. She scowled at him and his nonchalant attitude and his plain clothes. He hummed pleasantly, sitting by the fireplace. It was as if he refused to comprehend the threat he posed to her, to everyone in the world. If there was only something more she could do about it besides monitor him.

It had been three days since she had arrived in the capital and had found him again. Three days of watching every move the man had made, that was if he could even be called a man. The demon had not slept either as if he was purposely baiting her to drop her guard. The righteous woman had matched him, but she was the worse for wear. Thus was her station but its long watch and impossible odds made her stay her blade and her righteous fury.

Now they sat somewhere in the Royal Palace, her eyes glued to him. There was nothing more she could do. There would be no stooping to his level. Even if she did, what could she gain? The monster did not take her presence seriously. He was nothing like his kin. He stopped humming and gave a sigh, it was a sign he would start to talk again. He truly loved the sound of his own voice. Some history that was lost on the rest of the world, would be his topic. She was fairly certain it was just so he might annoy her.

“They always say that it started with Origin,” he turned and looked at her for a brief moment. Turning away the hard scar over his left eye caught the light of the fireplace making it seem to glow red.

“I always found that so strange. Everything spawned from the Astral Plane, I mean I've seen it happen before my very eyes so I suppose I should believe.”

She watched him cautiously. There was no reason to respond. She would let him have his monologue. It reminded her of better times. Times that were not so determined by his ilk. Perhaps he had some insight on why the darkness of the past seemed to want to repeat itself. The huntress did not think it mattered, but let him talk anyway.

“Faust, Archangels and mortals, and their mirror. All of them, branching together and apart, spawning things that they were not meant to create.”

He paused for a time. Reaching over to the bin where the fire iron and ash shovel were kept, he selected the iron. Carefully, he pushed a rebellious log more firmly into the warm blaze. She rolled her shoulders back, waiting for him to continue. Perhaps he truly enjoyed her company as much as he claimed. Her wings pinched against the chair and the huntress fidgeted as she pondered his words. The demon was right. The world, the monsters just like him, how could Origin see all the outcomes? She harrumphed. It was not her place to question the true god of Creation, anymore than it was her place to spare the creature before her. Yet here they sat.

“The fall of the First Creation is a story we both know well. I’ve heard it told countless times by my forebears, just like they had heard it from their forebears. It is my family’s own little origin story, if you will.” He snorted. “How with vaunted knowledge they gathered in all those dark places: in the Abyss, and in Nara. They plotted to avenge their Dark Lord Yethsoor. And that is negating the great battle between Origin’s children and how Yethsoor smote his elder sister from existence.”

He directed his gaze into the fire. She could see the flames dance in his eyes as if he actively witnessed Origin crying over the remains of her children. His mind was not old, but the magic that he possessed, the guttural instinct of his ancestors remained just as alive and well as ever. Yet all she could feel coming from him was pity and sadness. It was as if he somehow understood the terrible decision that Origin had made in that time before time.

“But that destruction was repeated when Faustenmire was left to mortals. Even with the Archangels to guide them, darkness won again,” he scoffed.

“Was it all a part of her plan? To lure them...to lure us out and let us destroy ourselves? That is one of the questions I wish I knew the answer to.”

She wondered the same thing herself many times. Origin had indeed disappeared. The timeless hunt-maiden knew that was true. However, such a debate she would not have with the demon before her. Her place was to listen, to see if he slipped up. And when he finally made an error, she would destroy him. If only he was not so perfectly good at this game.

“I guess if she had not let it all happen humanity would never have realized their place in this world now. But, to allow the Shadow-kin to be created? To cast the world into thousands of years of darkness and suffering? I suppose I should be grateful, I am counted among those abominations. Origin’s mercy and foresight is the entire reason I exist.”

As intriguing as he continued to be, that did not change the truth. His rhetoricals meant little. No matter how they played this game the end was always the same. He spoke again, interrupting her thoughts and making the chair even more uncomfortable against her wings.

“It’s strange. I cannot say that the world is worse off for such a long game. Look at what humanity has become; they are more connected with Origin than they ever were. I once appreciated those subtleties. How far have I come around this damned circle to only recently find them vaguely interesting again?”

Now that was a question she did not have the time nor the patience to indulge. She huffed and he turned towards her with a smart smile on his face. His bright ivory teeth sparkled in the firelight.

“Of course we know that it was potential that saw the Kabbahlan Empire fall. It was that hope of a better tomorrow. The same reason I managed to be here today.”

He stood and extended a hand to her. She stared at it and then at his face. On a whim she indulged him and took his hand, feeling his claws carefully avoid scratching her. It was a subtly the huntress did not miss.

“But, I think we know how that song and dance goes, right, sweetheart?”

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