Edge of Thorns: Bitter Truths
"So this is your true form, Avarice. I will make swift work of your destruction!"
The angel leapt back as the viscous creature lurched towards him, smashing its webbed hand into the spot where he once stood, the limb splattering into a glob of black bile. Furious, the monstrous frog gave a bellowing croak that echoed in the cavernous chamber while its hand began to reform. The stone it had touched was already solid gold. "I'll make a statue of you yet!" it snarled.
He ignored its taunt and dodged another swipe, his grip tightening on the hilt of his sword while the flames burned brighter around the blade. His opportunity would come when the ooze had to reform again. At that moment, the angel rushed forward, swinging his sword with the confidence of a seasoned warrior, but the grace of a professional dancer. The weapon sliced through Avarice's bulbous side with a loud sizzle as the fire licked up and seared the wound. The beast croaked in agony and gave an almost human cry before it attacked again.
"Michael! Watch out!"
The fist splattered midair in front of him, oozing around the barely visible shield that at formed in its way. Michael snapped his head back towards the angel who had conjured it. "Stay out of this, Lu!"
Stunned, the other angel frowned and took a small step back. "But, if Avarice touches you, I can't..."
"We do not need to give it any more excuses to attack you," Michael growled before launching another assault on the creature, cutting through its other side. This time, however, the sound it made was a throaty laugh.
"Oooh... that's right!" it sneered, leaping over Michael and landing behind them both. "You gave that power to Nathan, didn't you Lucifer? So you can't stop this!" The frog's mouth opened the full length of its body, its tongue shooting out towards him before he had time to conjure another shield. He braced himself for the pain he knew would follow, but was suddenly pushed back instead as Michael put himself between them.
Lucifer could only watch in horror as the tongue lashed around his friend's wrist, the transformation beginning immediately. Michael bit back a wince as the gold crept up his arm with increasing speed, but didn't hesitate. His sword arm still free, he swung the weapon around, slicing off the tongue and forcing it to release him. Avarice's scream was shrill as it pulled the remnants back, and the angel wasted no time charging it again. He had to finish it off now, before the transformation was complete.
There was nothing Lucifer could do now. He couldn't risk helping, lest the change overtake Michael before he could banish the Sin, and couldn't change him back after the transformation was done. He had completely forgotten that Avarice knew he'd relinquished that power to...
His eyes widened and he turned towards the direction the writer had gone. "Nathan!"
But Nathan was busy with problems of his own. Forget that he was only human among all these powerful beings. Forget that the scrawny teenager he held was slowly dying from the scalding burns covering his arms and most of his face. Forget that Death was loaming over them both, waiting. Right now, Nathan's only concern was the jagged piece of glass he had pressed against his own neck and the dreadful realization that, to save the boy, he would have to die.
"Let me do my job," the entity before him demanded, burning red eyes narrowed, his patience nearly gone. "It's his time."
Nathan squeezed the shard, blood trickling down his palm and wrist. He let the pain steel his resolve. "Not if I can help it."