The voices slowed their chanting, and the summoning circle slowed faded and died, as the light moved off the central podium.

They had run out of time.

The five participants, the so called champions of the five races, looked at the podium in dismay, shock, even anger.

“You assured me this would work.” The accusations started.

“If you had an once of my intelligence you will know that I ran the calculations very carefully. This should have worked, we did everything right.”

“Clearly the hearts of lesser beings were not fully committed to the ritual.” The angel cast a side long glance at the demon, who flexed his muscles and slowly advanced.

The werewolf placed herself between the two of them, claws upraised. “Ripping each other to pieces is not going to solve anything. We did it wrong, we ran out of time.”

“But my calculations were perfect!”

“Because elves are never anything but perfect.”

They descended into bickering, as other members of the five races, and the humans looked on. Adam stood next to his mother, ready to step in if the fighting spread. His noticed that Willow was sitting on a wall, chin resting on one leg as she looked over at the so called five champions. She looked, amused almost. And then she started clapping. Slow, deliberate claps. Adam stared at her as people started to turn and look at her, spreading out until the clap had reached everyone except the five in the ritual circle.

She didn’t stop that slow deliberate clap, as first the vampire notice, turned and looked at her, then the werewolf, elf, demon, and last angel.

“Such a performance.”

“This is no performance.” The vampire was scornful.

“Oh? So the five pinnacles of the five races are actually bickering like tiny children because something went wrong.”

“Something? Something! We were trying to raise Atlantis. The stars won’t align for another thousand years or more.”

“One thousand and twenty-two if I’m not mistaken, and I rarely am.”

“It should have worked.” The elf protested again.

“Oh stop going on about your damn calculations. It failed, that means you were wrong.” The demon roared the last word at him.

“No, his calculation were right. Not perfect, but right.” Willow said. The elf turned his head with a snap. “You were doomed from the start though.”

“You speak in riddles.”

“No. I don’t. But if you need to have it spelled out for you, blame the angel.”

The angel immediately became the focus of the groups attention. “Why?”

“Because he should know better. I am actually not sure if I’m surprised or not that his pride is so great that he would give up the entire chance at Atlantis just to satisfy it.”

The demon bellowed, his chest expanding. “Speak plainly women. Why is it the angel’s fault and how do you know what the smartest people of our races do not?”

“But the angel’s do know. Well, as you put it, the smartest angels.” Willow looked at the angel directly. “Lilitu.”

He flinched. She smirked.

“What is Lilitu?”

“Not what, who. Lilitu started life out as an angel, way back in the mists of history, before most of the races had formed. The story’s long, involved and very sordid, at least to the angel’s, but essentially Lilitu had a big falling out with the other angels, did some very bad things and was cast out. In response, she cut off her own wings, smashed her halo, and replaced them with horns and tail. She was the first demon.”

The angel tightened his grip on the sword that was strapped to his hip.

“Now demons are very good at keeping records, and tend to forget things, so I doubt that anyone in hell remembers where they came from, especially since Lilitu didn’t tell her offspring where she was from, but the angels. Well, the angels have this thing called pride. They remember. And they been trying to correct their ‘mistake’ even since.”

The demon looked at the angel. “But that would mean…”

“Demons and Angels? Yeah, you guys are the same race. Different forms, but the same race. You were doomed from the start.”

The elf was looking stricken, almost sick. “What is the fifth race then?”

“Isn’t it obvious? Humans. They might not have as much magic as the rest of you, but they are their own distinct race with their place in the verse.” Willow looked over at the Angel. “And you just couldn’t accept it.”

He was fast, but she was faster. The blur of light charged, and even the supernatural people had trouble seeing what she did, but suddenly the angel was on the floor, doubling over in pain, his sword stuck in the wall, and Willow standing on the ground brushing off her sleeve.

“Don’t attack me. It’s very rude.”

“What does it matter? We failed, the ritual was not complete. What does it matter why?”

“Curiosity. But you are right, your ritual failed. I did not come all this way to see this ritual fail.”

“Then why didn’t you step in earlier? If you knew that it was going to fail why just sit there and do nothing?”

“I wanted to see if you could do it. Isn’t that what nice people do? Give the little people a chance?”

“The time has passed. It will not come again for more than a thousand years.”

Willow looked up at the alignment of stars and planets. “A thousand years if you move forward in time. Or, we could just move ten short minute backwards.” She raised two fingers to point at the closets celestial body and spoke a word.

Everything shuddered, everything was still. The lights flickered and play as the universe seemed to scream out, screeching against the unnatural progression, as the star that Willow was pointing at slowly, but surely, moved backwards across the sky.

More than one person fell to their knees or covered their faces. Adam stared at the red haired women he thought he had come to know, but was frightening with the depths of the power she had kept hidden.

The stars aligned, but she pushed them back even further, until the time was once again back to when they had first gathered. She let her fingers drop and the concentration feel off her face.

“There. From no time, to lots of time.”

The elf looked down at her from the dias upon which they had attempted their ritual. “Who are you?”

“Someone impatient. Now, you’re in the way.”

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