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Author's note: A little look at what's going on behind the scenes.

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-----Michael’s POV-----

Michael was traveling towards the Gateway. He had managed to distract Gabriel by sending her searching in the wrong place. It had taken quite a bit of time and a lot of threats to dig the real information out of Tian’Zun. Michael had the sneaking suspicion, the real reason the judge had given in, was the combination of the threat of bringing Gabriel into it and Michael staying in the Judges office tying up his time. Now that he had sent Gabriel off on a wild-goose chase, he finally had time to go to the world HE had been reborn in. He was actually quite excited by the prospect. He would get a real laugh out of seeing HIM as a little girl. He should probably also warn HIM that Gabriel bent on finding HIM.

Michael had to admit the time Gabriel was looking in all the wrong places was sorely needed. The real issue wasn’t Gabriel finding HIM. It had the potential for tragedy, though HIM being reborn as a woman might throw an interesting twist into the mix. The real problem was that Gabriel was obsessed. Perhaps obsessed enough that she might decide to do what HE did, and force the Head Judge to reincarnate her into the same world as HIM. Whatever Gabriel decided to do with HIM would be twice as sweet, if she managed to do it without HIM realizing what was going on. She might even consider trying to have HIM fall in love with her, without HIM knowing HE was falling for Gabriel. Now that she was too busy searching in the wrong place though….

Michael arrived at the Gateway complex. Every habited world in all the planes was created with a Gateway that allowed for travel between worlds. Assuming one had the knowledge and power to use it. Usually the Gateway was a pair of silver colored arches. The bigger arch was large enough to allow armies or enormous creatures like dragons to pass through. The bigger arch only allowed travel to a certain amount of close-by worlds. The number of possible destinations was completely dependent on the particular Gateway.

The smaller arch only allowed a couple of people to pass through at the same time, but allowed travel to any world the person using the Gateway was aware of. In this case Michael traveled first to a world that had absolutely nothing to do with where HE had reincarnated to. He was pretty sure he had fooled Gabriel, but just in case she had cast a spell to keep an eye on him, he wanted to mislead her. Better cast an area dispel and visit a couple more unrelated worlds…

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“Did you get his final destination?” The question was asked by a majestic female celestial, with a blazing golden hair flowing down her back all the way to her waist and a pair of huge glowing golden wings.

“Yes I did. The sneaky bastard visited a dozen worlds before finally stopping. His final destination is Minrathos, one of the magic rich Prime worlds. The inhabitants run the normal range, with the only notable exception being that the world has a population of celestials unrelated to the Celestial Host.” The other party was a male Celestial that could only be described as ancient. Celestials were functionally immortal, and never really showed age after reaching a mature age. This celestial though was showing age. Lots of age in fact.

“Excellent. Thank you Onoel. I knew Michael was up to no good, when he volunteered me information on HIM. Michael never voluntarily shares important information. He’s like a dragon hoarding his gold with any secret. He tried his best to get rid of any tracking spells, but nobody can escape from your sight. Plus the local celestial population will mask my presence and help my search.” The golden haired celestial was clearly happy. Her smile was dazzling and in her clear voice you could hear the sound of a choir singing, if you were paying attention.

“Be careful Gabriel. Michael isn’t a fool, and neither is HE. What’s more worrying is that for some reason I can’t find HIS location. I think one of the local gods is protecting him. They won’t be happy to see you there. And don’t forget the local celestials aren’t the same as you. Their existence may mask your presence from an untrained eye, but anyone with any knowledge will immediately be able to tell you aren’t one of them.” (Onoel)

“Don’t worry. Even if they can tell the difference, what can they do to me? As long as Khali doesn’t get involved, they won’t be able to hurt me. And I am planning on using magic to hide my presence. Keep trying to find HIM and keep me apprised. I don’t want to give Michael too big of a head start.” (Gabriel)

An errant though came to Gabriel as she was leaving towards the Gateways. ‘That reminds me. What is Khali doing? It isn’t like the forces of Inferno to be this quiet. Usually we have to fight off their incursions almost monthly, but I’ve gotten no reports of their activity for years. I hope they aren’t planning something big while I’m gone.’

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Michael was surrounded almost immediately after stepping out of the Gateway of Minrathos. The celestials surrounding him weren’t acting threateningly but they were taking precautions against him and surrounding him with weapons ready. It seems the Gateway of this world was located in some kind of city belonging to the celestials of this world, and by their actions, it seems they didn’t get too many visitors. That in itself wasn’t terribly surprising. The Gateways took quite a bit of knowledge to use, so the beings able to use them were limited. Most of those beings were part of either the Celestial Host or Inferno, Both of which had little reason to go gallivanting around other worlds, mostly because they were too busy dealing with the other faction. Only people like HIM traveled between unrelated worlds regularly.

‘I should probably start to think HIM as HER from now on. This should be fun.’ Michael thought while waiting for one of the local celestials to take charge of the situation and initiate some dialogue with him. Finally a Regal looking male Celestial with five pairs of black wings approach him. ‘Oh right, some of the celestials that aren’t part of the host have the silly habit of splitting their wings into multiple pairs to show rank for some reason. Why can’t they just use their senses to tell the difference in power like normal people?’

“My name is Kadmiel and I am the magistrate of this city. Would you be so kind as to introduce yourself, state your business and tell us how you came to be here. We’ve long suspected the arches to be some sort of portals, but this is the first time we’ve had anyone come through.” (Kadmiel)

“My name is Michael and I’m part of the High Council of the Celestial Host. I’ve come to this world looking for someone, and as you’ve surmised, the arches truly are a gateway. You need not concern yourself on their function beyond that. Part of the price of admission shall we say, pertaining to the use of the Gateways is the ability to figure out how to operate them yourself.” Michael spoke to Kadmiel in a voice that was polite, but made it clear he considered himself to be above Kadmiel in station.

Kadmiel’s face showed that he had noticed Michael’s tone of voice, and wasn’t happy about it. “As I said, you are the first being we’ve seen to come through that gateway, so I doubt whoever you’re looking for is here.” His tone of voice suggested he would be all too happy to see Michael just turn around and return whence he came.

“Oh I know the person I’m looking for is here on this world. I got the information straight from the being in charge of processing souls after death. You need not concern yourselves with my business. I am not here to trouble you, nor do I require your help. All I need is for you to stay out of my way.” It was unusual for Michael to act so undiplomatically, but he’d always had a dislike for beings of the Prime plane that didn’t know their place in things and imagined their importance greater than they were. Especially among celestials not part of the host.

Michael took off flying away from the city. Only an hour had passed before the Gateway activated again.
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Vihyungrang

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