Introduction So, this will be my first attempt at a ryona story, and it's going to be tailored pretty much strictly to my own interests. While most people would probably prefer something about their favorite characters, I tend to be uncomfortable writing things about pre-existing characters, so this is going to be original fiction instead. Furthermore, the ryona will not come until later, so you will have to be patient with me. Inspired by this picture, for which I unfortunately lack the source. I'm planning on three chapters, written over the next few days. I will probably not be refining or polishing these, but constructive criticism is welcome. Just remember, it's my first time, so please be gentle~ Chapter 1: Hell On Earth August 22 They came. Usually the man on the TV says where they're going to go, but he never said they would come here. I wonder if our town will be on the news just like all of the other cities they went to. Mom says that New York City used to be one of the biggest cities in the world before they came, but now there's nothing there but rocks and fire. That happened when I was too little to remember, but now I don't have to. They came here. To my town. The police still couldn't stop them. There was a preacher on the street saying that they were demons sent to punish humanity for its sins, but they killed him too. I saw a painting with demons on it at a museum once, and they do sort of look like that. I guess that's why everybody calls them demons. It happened after school, when I was on my way home. They came and everyone started screaming and running, but they never found me because I hid in my secret spot by the playground. I'm the second shortest kid in my class, so most people can't fit there. When I came back out, everything was like the way it is now. Broken, or burning, or both. I ran back home but Mom and Dad weren't there. I wonder where everyone is now. Am I alone? I'll have to see. August 23 I'm not alone. There are still demons here. I saw one today, and it saw me, but I hid inside a trash can and it couldn't find me. I'm scared and hungry, and now I smell kind of bad too. I wish Mom and Dad were here. They'd know what to do. August 25 Something really amazing happened today! I was being chased by the demons again, but this time they trapped me. That was the first time I saw them up so close, and it was really scary. I thought I was going to die. That's not the amazing part, by the way. I curled up and cried, thinking "please I don't want to die" over and over again, and right before they got me, there was a bright light. It was really really bright, so bright I couldn't see. But then the light went away, and the demons were dead. Hovering over them was a lady with big white wings. She dressed kind of funny, but she was still really pretty. She says her name is Cassiel, and that she's my guardian angel. I didn't know angels really existed. It's hard to believe, but she's still here with me. And she's really strong, too. Now whenever we find a demon, Cassiel protects me. No matter how many of them there are, she can beat them. I don't think she even has to try very hard. I'm still scared, but I feel a lot better with her around. Now I just have to find my parents. Cassiel says that if we do, she will keep them safe too. "What are you doing, Eli?" The young boy looked up from his journal, startled by the voice. He was sitting on a fallen concrete slab, a piece of the ruins that used to be a post office. Behind him was a svelte young woman with fair skin and golden hair, peering down at him and smiling warmly. Ornate silver armor covered her legs, forearms, shoulders, and chest. Underneath she was wearing tightly-fitted dark blue fabric, and a long, flowing white skirt. She had heterochromatic eyes; her right eye blue and her left red, but by far the most obvious indicator of her inhuman origins were her wings. A pair of snowy white wings that were looked almost translucent in the daylight. She evoked the image of a valkyrie: pure, graceful, but dangerous. "Oh Cassiel, you scared me. This is just a journal. Our teacher said to write about our week for homework, so that's what I'm doing," responded the boy, putting down his number 2 pencil. He still hadn't gotten used to traveling with a companion. Until Cassiel came, every sound meant that he had to hide from yet another demon. Now he didn't have to worry about that kind of thing, with his very own guardian angel protecting him. "I see, even with all of this, you're still attending your studies. Good for you," said the angel approvingly, patting the boy on the head. He laughed, closing his journal and standing up. "Stop it, I'm not a little kid, you know," he huffed, doing his best to sound indignant. "So, did you find anything?" Cassiel nodded, and then pointed in the distance, down the cracked asphalt freeway. All along the road there were crumbling buildings and a few abandoned cars, most of them with cracked windshields. "There was an underground complex that way, about two miles away. It's very spacious, and best of all, quite secure. Furthermore, I could not sense any trace of a demonic aura in that area. The demons seem to have left it mostly untouched. Shall I take you there?" Eli picked up his backpack and slipped his journal into it. "Yeah, let's go," he agreed, standing up. If there was a complaint he could make about Cassiel, it was that she rarely acted on her own. She made suggestions, gave helpful advice, and of course kept the bloodthirsty demons away, but she seemed wholly dependent on him to make all of the actual decisions, and this baffled him. Despite his protests, he was just a kid, and she was some sort of divine being. Sometimes he wondered why she even bothered with him, when she could be out slaying demons in droves with her amazing powers. She said she was indeed from heaven, so didn't she have anything more important to be doing? He had asked her at one point, but she said that when she manifested here on Earth, she lost most of her memories related to heaven. All she knew was that it was her job to protect him and, apparently, do anything he asked. Although Cassiel could fly, when they traveled together, she simply walked beside him. They traveled in this way in silence, boy and angel side by side, for about ten minutes until Cassiel suddenly stopped. "Eli, we're being followed. You may wish to close your eyes." He knew what that meant by now, and not only did he close his eyes, he also ducked. The air in front of Cassiel shimmered for a second, and a beautiful silver lance appeared out of thin air. With a practiced manuever, she grabbed it and then whirled around. The tip of the lance flashed, then shot a beam of white hot light at a spot on the ground behind her. An ear-splitting shriek was followed by the sudden appearance of a hideous creature. It was vaguely human shaped, but with reptillian skin and the posture of a gorilla. It writhed on the ground in agony, then vanished again into a wisp of black smoke. Eli stood up and started to cheer, but Cassiel put out her arm and stepped in front of him, cutting him off. "An umbral demon. And it wasn't the only one. Watch." Faint shadows began to flicker all around them, each of them coalescing into a demon, the same kind that Cassiel had just killed. There were over a dozen demons surrounding them, watching them through their slitted pupils. "Impresssive..." hissed one of the demons, a little larger than the rest. His voice was harsh and gutteral, almost painful to Eli's ears. "But it makess little difference. A lone angel hass no chance of surviving againsst uss! Perhapss if you kneel before us, we will be kind and make your death quick. What ssay you?" The other demons cackled, eager to see the terrified reaction of the outnumbered angel, but she looked just as serene as ever. "I'm sorry, but I cannot surrender so easily. Will that be all?" she asked without a hint of aggression. In stark contrast to the demon's grating voice, hers was soft, melodious. The swarm of demons stared back in disbelief at the angel's apparent impudence. "Then, come." As if on cue, the demons ran towards her all at once, but with a wide, horizontal sweep of her lance, she knocked the front runners off of their feet. Although the weapon looked thin and fragile, more ornamental than suited for real combat, it didn't bend at all even with the powerful impact it made against the demons' legs. Before they even had a chance to register what had happened, the angel planted her foot on one of their chests, then drove her spear right through its face. The next wave of umbral demons leapt over the bodies of their fallen comrades, but Cassiel hoisted the body of the demon she had just impaled like a bale of hay, then flung it into the advancing demons. Its head ripped off at the neck, and its body slammed so forcefully into the rest that they vaporized into smoke on impact. The head still stuck on the end of her lance soon followed, so that in the end there was not a trace of blood left on the divine weapon. There was a momentary lull in action as the demons stared in a mixture of disbelief and horror. The angel had just slain half a dozen of them, and she hadn't even broken a sweat yet. They never could have fathomed that just one angel could do all of that, and now they were rethinking their odds of winning. "Grrrr... don't jusst sstand there, get her!" growled the demon who had spoken earlier, and his cohorts continued the assault, although reluctantly this time. Cassiel showed no such hesitation, diving right into the crowd of demons. She moved with blinding speed, dancing just out of the way of their hooked claws to deliver punishing blows to any that got close to her. The lance head seemed like nothing more than a formality, for she could use the butt of her lance to smash in the skulls of the demons just as easily. She became a whirl of steel and feathers, utterly demolishing the demons who so foolishly believed at one point that they had the upper hand. Amidst the chaos of the fight, two demons finally managed to get close enough to grab her arms from behind, only to learn that those wings of hers weren't just for show. With one powerful beat of her wings, they were thrown off with violent force, finally landing half a city block away. In a few short minutes, the demons that had not been killed outright were lying in a heap at Cassiel's feet, except for their apparent leader, who was now crawling away in fear. "Damn you, angel! I'll get you for thiss! You'll be sscreaming for mercy before the end!" Before Cassiel could finish him off, he disappeared into a speck of shadow, retreating as abruptly as he arrived. The demons that had not yet been killed also disappeared in the same way, until there was no longer any trace of them left. When it was all over, Eli emerged from his hiding place and ran towards Cassiel, embracing her from behind. "Cassiel! You're okay! That was so many of them-- I was really worried!" he exclaimed gratefully, hugging her tight. She looked down at him, surprised and a little confused. At no point had she considered herself in any actual danger, but she realized that to a human the situation may have looked perilous at first. Her weapon disappeared into tiny motes of light, and she patted him on the head with a gentle smile. "There, there, it's alright now. I promised that I would protect you, didn't I? Now then, let us continue on our way," she said softly, not at all like someone who had just slaughtered countless demons. "We still have to find your parents, don't we?" Eli let go of her, and contented himself with holding her hand. "Y-yeah! Let's go!" he said with a cheerful nod, and the two of them continued their journey to the underground hideout, side by side.