Leda’s Log. A behind-the-scenes, slice-of-life look into the Legion of Angels, hosted by Leda Pandora, the Angel of Chaos.

Warning: may include abnormally-large cats and adorable baby angels.

What’s inside the mysterious box that Nero gave Leda for Valentine’s Day? Find out in this entry of Leda’s Log!

Leda’s Log

Part 10: The Gift

It was a pen. And not just any pen. It was the pen. The one I’d been holding in my hand at the very moment Nero and I had met all those years ago, the day I’d joined the Legion of Angels. As soon as he’d stepped into that office, something about him—his presence, his aura, his soul—had captured a piece of me and never let it go.

“I wasn’t sure if you’d recognize it,” Nero said.

“Of course I recognize it.” I brushed my fingertip across the familiar pen’s smooth blue-and-beige marbled surface. “How could I forget a single detail from the first time you ever scolded me?”

I loved the tingle of magic in Nero’s chuckle. It rumbled in the air in deep, delightful, measured ripples, buzzing against my skin like a beloved melody. I would never grow tired of Nero’s song.

“What’s this?” I said, turning the pen in my hand. “You had it engraved?”

It was one word, written in bright gold letters: Conformist.

“It seemed appropriate,” Nero replied, his face completely serious.

And that made me laugh. “It’s amazing!” I hugged him.

That’s me. Conformist, obedient, toeing the straight and narrow line.

I’d spoken those words to Nero that day when he’d grilled me on my reasons for wanting to join the Legion. I’d tried to convince him that I was a conformist. Of course I’d been totally lying.

“It’s way better than simply ‘appropriate’. This is the perfect pen for the Angel of Chaos,” I told him.

His lip twitched. “You do have an interesting relationship with irony, Pandora.”

“Oh, you really had no idea what you were in for when you marched into that office to confront me,” I chuckled.

“No.” He entwined his fingers with mine. “You certainly were not what I expected.”

“Good. I hate being predictable. It’s much more fun to…” I squeezed my eyes shut.

“What’s wrong?” Nero’s voice sliced through the migraine that had come upon me without warning.

“I’m not sure.” I swayed. “A sudden wave of dizziness.”

“I feel…” Nero’s hands caught me. “I feel it too.”

We tumbled off the sofa and hit the floor. I tried to stand, but I couldn’t even open my eyes. My head was spinning, my eyes watering, my ears ringing. My body twitched, muscles misfiring at random.

But then, slowly, the pounding and spinning and spasming stopped. I opened my eyes.

“Nero, are you all right?”

He wasn’t there. I flipped over, searching for him. But he was gone. I drew in slow, deep breaths, trying to calm my racing heart, trying to silence all the wild, frightened fears flashing through my head.

“He’s fine,” I assured myself. “He can take care of himself.”

But what if Nero was unconscious? What if he was all alone somewhere, hurt and needing my help?

“Pull yourself together, Leda,” I chided myself. “Don’t panic.”

Easier said than done. The Legion had really honed my ability to function under pressure, but this wasn’t some monster horde or enemy army I was facing. The love of my life had disappeared, and I was totally falling to pieces.

Somehow, I managed to peel myself off my living room floor. Except I wasn’t in my living room anymore. I was somewhere…else. I looked around, struggling to get my bearings.

“I know this place,” I whispered.

I was inside Legends, the shadiest bar in all of Purgatory. Well, at least it had been the shadiest bar in all of Purgatory. When the Legion had shut down the district lords, they’d also shut down Legends. This bar didn’t exist anymore. It shouldn’t exist anymore. We’d demolished it years ago to make space for one of the Legion’s new office buildings.

I ran-stumbled for the exit. People who shouldn’t be here, drinking beer that shouldn’t exist, turned to watch me go. Outside the bar, the air was hot and sticky. The pavement was stained with vomit, moonshine, and stagnant rainwater. Potholes checkered the road like lunar craters.

And past those blackened stains and crumbling craters, the great Magitech wall glowed bright and golden. Its quiet hum was barely an acoustic band-aid over the growling, hissing, snarling Plains of Monsters beyond.

“The monsters,” I muttered. “They aren’t supposed to be here.”

To be continued…

Wait, why is there a cat picture here? There were no cats in this entry! Well, because cats make everything better—kind of like the Angel of Chaos. Except when Leda makes things worse. Which totally never happens. Like ever.

If you’d like to visit (or revisit) Leda and Nero’s very first encounter, you will find it in Chapter 5 of Vampire’s Kiss.

In the meantime… What’s going on here? What happened to Nero? Where did the monsters come from? And how did Leda get into this mess? (Well, I guess the last one is obvious. She is the Angel of Chaos, after all.)

All these answers are coming and more. Stay tuned to my blog for the next entry in Leda’s Log!