In a seedy diner outside the city, William has a particularly important meeting. He is rubbing elbows with none other than Gabriel.
We learn that Gabriel has a particular fondness for pudding, but only if it’s not from a can. However, William has other concerns than Gabriel’s sweet tooth. He is concerned that Gabriel’s and his agenda don’t align, but Gabriel assures William that he appreciates William’s loyalty. He wants William to go back to Vega and strengthen his following, the Black Acolytes.
In the Luxor, Edward dresses himself after an indulgent night with the domesticated Eight-ball who seems to be his sweet thing on the side. He brings her gifts in the form of honey, and it’s not clear where exactly this is going.
David is still after Helena’s Air Force and offers Arika a trade. He hopes that Arika will be able to broker a deal with Evelyn. The threats he is making in the process should not be taken lightly.
Michael is being interrogated by the Senate, asked to answer the delicate question of why he hasn’t informed them until now that there were higher angels hiding in the city, disguised as humans. Michael stresses the point of their neutrality once more, but the Senate isn’t so easily reassured this time.
Furiad challenges Gabriel’s motives, asking him why he doesn’t abuse his power to force Alex to side with Gabriel. However, Gabriel knows that Alex won’t want to cooperate if taken by force, so his end game seems to be to manipulate Alex into joining them of his own free will.
Seeing the higher angels in Vega in danger, Michael enlists the help of one of them, produce dealer Louis, to inform all the highers in the city to either stand with Michael or leave. And with all that’s going on, Michael wasn’t aware that Alex has gone from the city. He needs Alex’s friend Ethan to tell him that.
Meanwhile, Alex and his red SUV are still speeding away from Vega, all the while he tries to convince himself that running away is the right thing to do. Michael seeks him out and persuades him to make one stop before he lets Alex go on his way.
The stop is Jeep’s old house, the house where Alex grew up. It’s a mess, abandoned, a reminder of times long gone. Scribbled runes adorn the walls, signs of Jeep’s obsession with the symbols and tattoos. Just as Alex is about to leave, angry with Michael, he learns that his mother died in this very house, trying to protect Alex from attacking Eight-balls.
In Vega, Arika receives a box of unknown origin, which contains the lifeless remains of her sister — a warning of sorts.
Alex and Michael’s time in Jeep’s house is cut short when Furiad arrives with a posse of angels. A violent fight ensues, and in a moment’s lapse of concentration on Michael’s part, Furiad stabs him in the abdomen with an Empyrean blade, a shard of which remains in the wound. Furiad escapes while Michael’s last words before losing consciousness are not to remove the blade or else he’ll bleed to death.
William executes Gabriel’s request and hones the loyalties of his acolytes. In a particularly cruel and painful aptitude ritual, the group chants, “Where one breaks, one becomes strong. For it is pain that makes us stronger.”
Claire has finally made one of the most important decisions of her life. Despite her initial intentions, now that Alex is gone, she agrees to marry William. The change of heart is part of a package deal she made with her father, who in turn agreed to stop detaining innocent people and draw up a bill of rights for every citizen of Vega.
When Furiad reports to Gabriel that he managed to lay his sword on Michael, Gabriel is anything but happy. His retaliation is swift, teaching Furiad a lesson in humility.
Michael’s wound is still oozing blood as he and Alex approach the city in Alex’s car. The archangel’s life seems to be hanging by a thread, and Alex hopes and prays that Michael will survive.
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