Church and State
“Why are we here?”
Xana lied sprawled out on a mirrored, glass surface of purple hues. Cold winds blew at supersonic speeds. Yet she did not shiver or budge.
Above them, countless stars were visible in a sky that was distinctly not theirs. Time seemed not to advance.
Gabriel rolled up her dress and got on her knees, looking down at Xana, herself in just the right position to make snow angels. That is, if any of the “angels” would stick; the winds were neither cooperative nor sympathetic to the arts.
“Xana, we’re here to meet with somebody special.” Gabriel cleared her throat, thinking of the right words to say under the circumstances. “And… matters have preoccupied your friends at home. We should leave them be.”
“Are they dealing with Vanitas?” Xana’s eyes searched the sky for the glowing orb most likely to be Earth. “...are you sure they’ll be fine without us?”
“I am certain. Rookie has a good heart.” Gabriel smiled, watching over Xana’s gaze.
Xana put one arm over her forehead at the thought of Rookie saving the world. “I mean… she’s… frequently a good person. Not the best at decision making.”
Gabriel’s eyes narrowed, still smiling. “You would rather she had no free will?”
“That’s not it! She’s just… stupid easy to influence, you know?” Xana shifted her legs to one side as her tail was starting to grow numb from the ice.
“Well, try not to think too much about them. Our guest is about to arrive.”
An orchestra swelled as smoke filled the landscape. A golden light shone through the cosmos. The percussion of a timpani drum filled as a figure, a distinctly human shape, appeared in the sparkled haze.
Xana sat up, clutching her knees. Gabriel got done on one knee, sword holstered in front, her head facing down and her eyes closed in a solemn expression.
The figure swept away the smoke, revealing the presence of an aged British headmaster in a grey suit and tie.
Gabriel shouted before Xana could spoil the moment, “The Supreme Being!”
Xana looked the figure up and down as the brass section finished playing. “Huh. You look absolutely nothing like the Demiurge.”
The Supreme Being looked unamused. “Yes, well, some of my creations like to show off. Anyway, this is…?”
“Cassiel, my lord.” Gabriel did not hesitate to speak in Xana’s stead.
“Ah, the new angel.”
Xana tried to butt in, “Mr. Supreme Being, I have a few questions about this arrangement.”
“I know.” The Supreme Being was not terribly patient.
“Angels have wings, right?” Xana inquired.
“Conventionally designed angels, yes. Would you prefer the form of an earthworm instead?”
“Of course not! I just…”
“Then are you satisfied with the vessel that you have been given?”
Gabriel interjected, “Most graciously, my lord.” Gabriel gave Xana a smile and a wink, hoping that Xana would come to terms with the management’s authority.
Xana felt her horns with her hands, quizzically. “This is just… not what I was expecting at all.”
Gabriel turned to reassure Xana. “Do not worry, my love. Your corporeal form reflects your soul. And you are more… impetuous than other angels.”
As the two spoke, the Supreme Being waved their hands and casually made pointing gestures at the sky. Xana’s meeting with the boss, it seemed, was not going as poorly as it could.
“Then tell me, Mr. Supreme Being.” Xana looked directly at the one often known as God. “Will my friends be alright?”
The Supreme Being did not turn to look at Xana, appearing more determined to finish his handiwork. “Their lives will continue through other means, and so will yours.”
“And what about Vanitas? Who could have possibly thought that a bad vibes machine that blows up humanity was worth bringing to life.”
“Excuse me?” Xana seemed taken aback.
“Vanitas was built to test my creations. That led you here.”
“Would you be on the surface of Neptune, speaking with your creator, if your savior in the Aura Gate did not consume themselves within a certain portal on their journey to halt the rise of Vanitas?”
“You are not satisfied?” The Supreme Being was dusting off the ice that had been building up on his jacket over the course of this conversation.
Xana clutched at her hood beside her horns. “Why did all of those people have to die?”
“My creations need to be tested.” The Supreme Being turned to look at Xana’s pouty figure. “Otherwise, they take life and free will for granted.”
“Do you disagree, Xana?” inquired Gabriel, visibly amused by Xana’s reactions shifting between tolerance and indignation.
Xana smoldered for a moment in the icy planes as Gabriel draped one arm over her shoulder, sensing that the meeting could have gone better.
“Can we still help them?” Xana asked the creator.
The Supreme Being stopped his idle activity, looked straight at Gabriel’s blade, and then back at Xana.
“I do believe Phanuel tried.”
“Oh, right.” Xana looked up thoughtfully. “That didn’t go super well, did it?”
The brass section came up again and timpani drums banged in elephant march succession as the Supreme Being strolled off to leave, capping off the moment.
“By the way, Gabriel. I’m afraid your salary will have to be adjusted. For all the time you’ve spent working remotely, it shall be reduced by by half.”
“Thank you, my lord.” Gabriel nodded expectantly, “For your considerate work from home policy, you are most gracious.”
Gabriel then turned to Xana and gave her a big hug to break her out of a very brief moment of despair.
“They’ll find the Lord in their own way, my dear.”
The winds turned still, their maker vanished. The two were alone with the universe.