Chapter 4

The Key master put the baby angel back on the nest of grass, which he knew now had been created by the female angel to give her child some comfort. He didn’t know if the mother had done it before or after she was attacked. But did it matter?

He fluffed up the grass around the baby. “All right, it was nice meeting you. I don’t get along well with angelic creatures, so let’s just pretend we never met. No hard feelings.”

He stood to leave, but then heard a croaking sound.

“No, you’re not going to cry. That’s not going to work.” He crouched down. “Listen, I don’t do babies. I eat them for breakfast. You should be scared of me.”

“Bababb.” Clap. Clap.

“All right, you’ve got me. I don’t eat babies. But I am a predator. I’ve killed other creatures simply for sport. I don’t eat them because they taste disgusting, but I do enjoy the smell of flesh and fresh blood.”

The baby stared at him and stopped making noises.

“See, you angels can’t handle what I do. You don’t understand, and you don’t appreciate it. I’m going to call this experience a wash.”

He stood.

The baby still didn’t make a sound.

“Now what, you’re not even going to say goodbye?”


He shrugged, picked up his precious piece of jade, and walked away.

Then he heard a low growl. He turned around and saw the baby angel still sitting in the grass with the same look as it had had on its face before. The baby wasn’t scared, but it had sensed the creature nearby, which had now emerged from the bush as a gigantic wolf on eight hairy spider legs.

“You are sinfully ugly,” he said to the creature. “You’ve offended my eyes, and the baby angel’s. Do you see the look of disdain on this baby’s face?”

The creature ignored him and crept toward the baby.

He recalled the wounds on the mother angel’s back. They were definitely caused by the claws on those spider legs. He realized now that the mother had hidden her baby from this creature, and he had pulled the baby out in plain sight for the predator to find.

He glanced around. There didn’t seem to be any more spider-things coming. He could handle one. Given it was his fault the baby had been found, he might as well fix his grave mistake.

Shrugging, he put the jade down and darted at the creature, pulling his rock carving knives out as he did so. In the midst of battle, he couldn’t tell which part was which on the creature’s body.

Once he had slain it, he wiped the blood and viscous substances from his hands and the knives on his pants.

He smiled at the baby. “Sorry you had to see that.”

There was no response.

“All right, I know you’re a little scared. I’ll take you away from this blood and gore. But be clear about this—it’s just temporary.”

As he reached to pick up the baby, the ground began to rumble. The rocks beneath his feet shifted slightly. He peered over the edge of the cliff where he had seen the male angel’s body and saw an army of the wolf-spider creatures approaching.

He was a predator, but he was no fighter.

He had no time to stop and think. He grabbed the baby and charged toward higher ground.

The tapping noises of thousands of spider legs climbing up the cliff echoed around him. From above, they looked like ants, but he was sure these creatures could do a lot more damage than ants ever could.

He saw the hillside and thought of the Daimon Gate—the neutral ground of all things. He would take the baby there for protection. He wouldn’t need the protection himself. Not that he disliked the Daimon Gate, but he didn’t they would accept him because he didn’t believe in their true, fair, and neutral moral principles. They had maintained that reputation for thousands of years, and he was going to have to trust them for the sake of the baby.

The Daimon Gate wasn’t far. He didn’t have to turn around to know that the first pack of spider-wolves had climbed to the top of the cliff. But he turned around anyway, facing them as he held the baby in his arms.

And he saw that it was too late to run.


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