The new arrival was facing away from me. He was tall, lean, and dressed in a floor-length off-white robe and a traditional sombrero. The sombrero made me wonder if I were hallucinating.
When the man turned around to look at us, I was startled by the fact that he looked strikingly similar to Kanye West, neatly close-shaven goatee and all. For a moment, I thought maybe he actually was Kanye West. Although I would have been really surprised if the demons surrounding us would have been so terrified of the real Kanye. They began whispering fearfully to each other and backing up a few paces. Even Azraal and Kezin looked uncomfortable. I saw Azraal speak quietly to a few of his subordinates, who quickly disappeared.
"Salabas!" Talamur breathed. "I can't express how relieved I am to see you right now!"
The rapper doppelganger flashed him a brilliant grin and replied in a jarring backwoods dialect, "Well, shoot. I ain't gonna leave youse to die out here like little critters in a hailstorm."
"Who is this?" Jaelin asked.
Kanye tipped his hat coolly to her. Everything about his appearance, demeanor and behavior was inscrutable and bizarre. "The name's Salabas, ma'am. Captain in the Ninth Battalion of Heaven and Emissary to the Living Realm, at your service."
Sylnie's eyes went wide. "You're…an angel?" she stammered.
Salabas nodded. "Right you are, little lady. Heaven, born and raised. I bleed white, sure 'nough."
"It's okay though," Talamur said quickly. He'd clearly noticed Sylnie and Jaelin bristling suspiciously. "He's a friend. We can trust him. He's here to help, I can promise you."
I said nothing, quietly healing the near-fatal wound in my shoulder. I was thinking about two things—first, I was trying to remember for certain if Salabas was the name Talamur had mentioned when he explained that an angel hired him to have me murdered. And second, I was trying to count the number of demons who had begun teleporting in around us.
Azraal had called in reinforcements and half of the people who could help me get out of this alive had also been involved in my murder.