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Catastrophic Angel Response Team (C.A.R.T.)

Guardian Angel: Zeek

Rank: In Question

Mission: –

The tall, stern-looking angel never took his golden eyes off of me.

Only high-ranking angels had gold eyes. d never seen one before.

Zedekiah walked next to me. His solid, ornery presence should have been comforting, but it only made me more jittery.

First the controllers, and now this?

I wracked my brain.

Was this still about the sword?

I opened my mouth to ask what was going on, but Zedekiah elbowed me in the ribs and shook his head.

The old guy had elbows of steel. I rubbed my side and glowered.

We followed Golden Eyes through a maze of tunnels, our feet leaving prints in the dust on the stone floors. I only seen architecture like this in old brochures. The place probably knew things I’d be lucky to comprehend.

The worst part was that every few feet the angel would flick his golden eyes to me, before returning to the way ahead.

Did he think I was going to explode? Or run? I hadn’t made it past my trial period. I wasn’t even a guardian angel yet.

My insides turned cold.

Is that what this was about? Had I failed? Miserably? Had the tight rope walker been a test? One that I had messed up so bad that I was about to…what? Get my temporary wings taken away?

I looked around, hoping to find someone else there, but we were very alone.

Finally we stopped outside a large carved door that still gleamed white through the dust. Golden Eyes put his hand on it. A light flashed, and the door creaked open.

Golden Eyes entered first. I looked at Zedekiah, who motioned for me to follow. The stern expression on his face told me to do it or face his wrath. I complied.

Inside, the room was round. Terraces led down to a wide floor with a shining circle in the middle. I could see the edge of the runes where the light came out.

I swallowed.

Now I knew where I was.

The class hadn’t been required, but I loved history, so I’d rammed it between Laws for Guardian Angels and We Never Use Deadly Force.

I looked at Zedekiah. All of the color had drained from his face, and he stared at the circle.

Sometimes I hated being right.

This was a Testimony Room.

Of course I knew they had to exist still, but I hadn’t ever thought I would see one, let alone be inside of one.

Golden Eyes, who had moved to the lowest level, looked at me. “You know what this is?”

I nodded, not trusting my voice.

“Do you know why you’re here?”

I shook my head.

Golden Eyes motioned to Zedekiah, who put a hand on my back and propelled me forward. “Come on, kid.”

Getting closer didn’t feel like a good idea, but I couldn’t resist Zedekiah’s firm command. I also couldn’t take my eyes off the circle of light.

When we got to the bottom of the stairs, Zedekiah cleared his throat. “Zeek, do you know what an archangel is?”


“What are their powers?”

My mind fought to dredge up the information. I’d never expected to need it. “Uh, they have all of the powers of the other guilds. Guardian angels, Crisis of Faith angels, Comfort angels.” I knew I was forgetting some, so I added, “all of them.”

“Good.” Zedekiah turned me to face him, then put his hands on my shoulders. “Do you realize that you’ve demonstrated at least three of these powers?”

“I have?”

Golden Eyes snorted.

Zedekiah shot him the stink eye before continuing. “You called a holy cry from the heavens. You detected and removed a curse. You just helped a woman through a crisis of faith. You can speak with mortals and they can hear you. Some have seen you.”

The words poured out of my mouth before I could stop them. “I didn’t mean to do any of those things. I—”

Zedekiah held up his hand. “I know, kid. We both know.” He shot Golden Eyes another stern look. “If you recall your history, archangels train for millennia before they come into their powers.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“But once in a while, someone comes along who’s a natural.”

“A natural archangel?”

Zedekiah nodded. “We think you’re one of them.”

“That can’t be true.”

“It is.”

I glanced at the circle again, and fear washed through me. “Why are we here?”

Golden Eyes stepped toward me. “The problem with most naturals is that they go bad.”

“Bad?” The cold returned to my limbs.

“Yeah, kid.” Zedekiah looked hard at me. “The last four have almost torn heaven apart.”

My mind raced to wrap itself around that revelation. “But—but I don’t want to destroy anything.”

“They never do,” Golden Eyes said.

“Look, kid, he’s right. If anyone finds out that you’re a natural, they’ll kill you.”

“Kill me?” I took a step back. My heels hit the edge of the stairs that led to the door.

“Unless you can pass the Testimony,” Golden Eyes said.

My eyes darted back to the circle. History said that only one of ten angels to step in ever came out, and of those, half were insane.

Which is why they were forbidden.

A shudder ran through the room. Dust fell from the ceiling.

Zedekiah swore. “That’s the controllers coming for you. Your only chance is to survive the circle.” He took me by the elbow. “I’ve seen you work. I think you’re good, but we have to know.”

The room lurched again.

I knew what the controllers would do to me. Could the circle be worse?

A yell came from the other side of the door.

Golden Eyes glared at me. “Better hurry.”

Zedekiah gave me a nod.

Before I lost my nerve, I walked forward. I closed my eyes as I stepped into the circle and the light engulfed me.


Read the conclusion of Zeek’s story here!

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