Chapter 5

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In a hot pursuit. Well, more like being pursued...

As I came closer to the inn, I strode past it and abruptly turned into an alley way a few blocks away. There should not be anyone around now. Quickly looking for an escape, once I was sure that my stalker did not have their eyes on me for a minute. Just above me, there was a spot I could use. I climbed up to an awning and waited, hiding myself in the shadow while keeping myself calm. This someone or something had no idea who they were playing with. A well trained hunter would not allow herself to be hunted.

There! The footsteps were getting closer and closer to me now as the stalker ran after me. I did not budge an inch as I waited patiently. Finally, a tall and large built figure came into view. With a hooded body-length cloak, he also hid his face well. I held my breath as the figure slowly walked below and passed by, obviously looking for a sign of his prey.

When he reached the precise spot where I had planned on him to be, I quickly took my opportunity and jumped on top of his back knocking him down with all my weight. Once the thud against the ground was loud and clear, my knees automatically forced his body to stay down. Swiftly, I pointed the sharp arrow on my hand crossbow right at the back of his head.

"What in the heavens..!!" A deep rough voice echoed from underneath me followed by frustrated grunting. So it was a male.

"What are you?" I asked coldly and waited for him to answer. From what I could feel under my knees, he was wearing some armour underneath the cloak. There was no other ways for me to tell yet of what sort of creature he maybe. "Be warned, I will gladly send you back to hell if you were a demon." 

There was a chuckle in response but filled with irritation or rather anger. "I would prefer it if you would get off of me this moment and we could have a civilised conversation without me being much more humiliated than I already am." The way he spoke somehow sounded very resentful.

"Until I know who or what you are, I will not allow that," I replied firmly. "More importantly, why were you stalking me?" I added to my interrogation.

"What?! That was not my intention to stalk you! I was..." he sighed loudly, "Never mind that now." He finally relaxed his body under me. Something didn't seem quite right. He didn't give out any demonic feel and now it didn't feel like he was trying to kill me. His voice was somewhat familiar to me but I could not put my finger on whose it was. Also there was tiredness in his voice like he was giving up. Still, my crossbow didn't move away from him. 

"I can wait for your answer," I said, still as coldly.

A silent moment had passed before he attempted to get up. I slowly let go of him with caution but my crossbow never left its target. The man stood up and brushed off the dirt before he turned around and faced me. He was much taller than I was, his frame told me that he had done so much training, even been to a fair few battles. The sun light had already vanished, replaced by gentle dim light of the moon. That was no help for me to see the man's face clearly, it was covered by the shadow that his hood cast upon. Yet, he did not draw any weapon. I began to get impatient as I waited.

As I pondered on what to do next, familiar foot steps and voice came up behind me.

"Astraea... please, lower your weapon," the voice pleaded. 

Surprised, I turned to look at the owner of that familiar voice. "Tyrael?" I paused and looked back at the stalker, "Do you know this man? What is going on?" 

Tyrael nodded silently but his expression was one I could not read. He looked grim, yet serious. There wasn't a new enemy so soon, was there? Who or what could it be?

"That man... is Imperius." That was all he said. My eyes went wide with disbelief before I abruptly looked at the man standing behind me, searching for signs of his halo, full golden armour and wings. My crossbow was already at my side. "But... Imperius is in the heavens and this is Sanctuary," I said dumbfounded, my voice seemed so distant to my own ears. I could not possibly be dreaming right now.


Two days earlier. 

After Tyrael sent the nephalem and her companion off, he called on the members of the angiris council for a meeting. Auriel and Itherael turned up just as soon as he had asked of them. I, on the other hand, arrived a little while after. 

"What is it, Tyrael?" I asked nonchalantly after I positioned myself by my throne. 

"I've called you here to discuss something that has been on my mind since the defeat of Diablo," he began, looking around at each of us before his gaze settled upon me. "Imperius, I feel that your hatred towards the nephalem is unnecessary and unjustified. She is our ally and has helped thousands and more lives in a short period of time... that including ours." 

"I owe that petty half breed nothing!" I bellowed, anger rose from somewhere deep within me. 

"No, this is not about what we owe her. It is about you being an arrogant fool, letting your anger and hatred blind you!" Tyrael countered, just as I expected. 

"Imperius, brother, Tyrael and I both think that it maybe time for you to do something about your hatred and anger, especially towards the nephalem." Auriel quickly made herself known, speaking calmly as usual.

"We, as angels, should not carry such emotions within us. Not especially those which have the potentials to corrupt you," she paused and her words sunk in. "We cannot afford to lose you to the foul corruption, even if you will never side with evil but what could become of you might be the end of us all. Just look at what happened to Malthael."

I looked at all of them in disbelief but her words had done their justice. I did not realise I was letting the hatred consume me. I looked at my brethren and sadness began to settle upon me. "What of you, Itherael?" I asked him, his opinion matters just as much as the others'. 

"You will still choose your own fate and path, Imperius. But it is not an unwise decision to let go of hatred and anger. I have always been neutral about all things, only observant, but the decision is yours alone." That was just like him to give me a vague answer. Still, the vote was two against one, I needed to do something about it. 

"It seems I have to work on being rid of this hatred. What are you proposing, Tyrael?" I asked curiously. Perhaps, this was the resolve that I needed. Holding my position as the council leader and the archangel of Valor with pride again, I would do whatever it took to be worthy of it. 

A/N: Please feel free to drop some comments. I am also very grateful for your votes =) 

I've changed the time (Imperious's POV) since going back reading it all again, it was too short to make sense. Sorry, guys. I got too excited. LOL

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