Raea squatted in front of a bucket with water dripping from her face. She sighed as she made eye contact with her reflection. In her mind, her eyes seemed to glow, becoming the most noticeable feature of her face. She dipped her hands into the bucket and splashed water over her face again, breaking the reflected image on the surface. She stood up and wiped her face off with a towel before walking outside of the cubical room she was in.
Palan was waiting outside in the hallway with his arms across his chest while fighting Cleo with his tail. The tiny lizardman was losing. He turned his head and looked at Raea. Her eyes were still red and puffy, but the snot and tears were gone. “You’re not going to wear the blindfold?” Palan asked and raised an eyebrow.
Raea shook her head. “It’s better to embrace it since my parents already know,” she said as one corner of her lips curved upwards. “It’s not like I had many friends anyway. I won’t be losing much.”
Palan shrugged. “Your choice,” he said and ate Cleo with his tail before spitting her out. Raea nodded and made a motion to exit the building. Before she took a step, the ground trembled and roaring noises echoed from the distant forest. Palan wrinkled his nose. “It smells like lots of dirt.”
“Let’s go,” Raea said and grabbed Palan’s hand, pulling him along as she headed outside the building. The area outside of her residence was empty. She heard soldiers off in the distance and headed towards the noise. The ground continued to shake and sounds of booming continued to fill the area. The trio arrived at the open-air cafeteria, and saw a bunch of relaxed angels eating their meals. Raea wrinkled her brow as she scanned the area.
“It’s Owen,” Palan said and pointed at Raea’s old guard who sat next to Justitia on the fallen log. Raea’s face lit up, and she pulled Palan towards the two.
“Owen!” Raea said and tackled the surprised fellow. He grunted and fell over backwards from the force while his armor creaked under Raea’s embrace.
“I can’t breathe,” Owen gasped as his arms were pressed to his sides. He exhaled when Raea loosened her grip and grinned at him. “When did you get so strong?” Raea shrugged and stuck her tongue out.
“Your friend?” Justitia asked as she eyed Raea before turning her head to look at Palan. She frowned. “You look familiar.” Her brow furrowed as she turned to Raea. “You are Raea Caelum?”
Raea nodded. “You know me?” she asked.
Justitia snorted. “I don’t believe there is anyone who doesn’t know you,” she said. She looked at Owen.
Owen dusted himself off and returned to his seat on the log. He gestured towards Raea. “This is Lady Raea. I’m her chaperone of sorts,” Owen said and rubbed his chin. He gestured towards Justitia. “This is”—Owen paused and furrowed his brow—“I don’t believe I got your name.”
“People call me Justitia,” she said.
“That’s an odd way to introduce yourself,” Cleo said and tilted her head. “People call me Cleo the Magnificent.” She nodded and puffed her chest out.
Justitia furrowed her brow. “Is it okay for you to be here?” she asked the orange lizardman and pursed her lips. “Who’s your owner?”
Cleo wrinkled her nose and sniffed while raising her head into the air. She crossed her arms over her chest and closed her eyes. Raea spoke up, “She’s my friend.”
Justitia raised an eyebrow and turned her head to look at Raea. “I thought you were a Caelum,” she said. She narrowed her eyes at Owen. “I wouldn’t have guessed that you were a Caelum.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Raea asked.
Justitia met her gaze, unperturbed by the serpentine eyes. “Nothing, O Mighty Caelum,” Justitia said and snorted before standing up.
“Wait,” Owen said and grabbed her arm. “I don’t understand. Do people not like the Caelums?”
“General Elrith’s nickname is the Tyrant,” Justitia said. “What do you think? Victory at all costs. He can use the powers of charity, but that’s a load of horsecrap. What part of that man is charitable?”
“Elly’s a nice person,” Raea said. She furrowed her brow and recalled the tiff she just had with him. She muttered, “Sometimes.”
“Yes,” Justitia said as the ground shook again. “A very nice person. So nice of him to destroy all the trees in the nearby vicinity. No one needed them anyways.” She rolled her eyes. “It’s not like there are animals or halflings who depended on them to survive, right?”
“Huh?” Raea asked over a booming echo. A flock of birds flew over the outpost. Justitia pointed towards the wall of the outpost. Raea turned her head just in time to see a tree fall over and disappear from view. “Is Elly doing that?”
Justitia nodded. “He’s leveling everything to eliminate the potential of an ambush,” she said. “Hundreds of animals will be displaced, but it doesn’t matter, right? They aren’t angels. What right do they have?”
“I’m sure he has his reasons,” Raea said.
“Like maybe he’s upset because he was thrown out of his sister’s room,” Palan said and nodded.
“Palan,” Raea said and frowned. He shrugged, causing Raea to sigh.
Justitia looked back and forth between the two. “You’re not going to discipline him?” she asked and raised an eyebrow.
Owen grumbled. “She never does,” he said and shook his head. “Even when he does things that would get him executed by anyone else.”
Justitia blinked at Raea. “Are you really a Caelum?” she asked.
Raea scratched her head. “I was actually exiled,” she said. “And I’m not sure what my family’s going to think of me after … yeah.” She stared at her feet, and Palan flicked her forehead. “What was that for?” she asked and furrowed her brow.
“Testing your reflexes,” Palan said. “You failed. I guess we have to do more training later.”
Justitia hummed and sat back down. “It seems like I judged you wrongly due to previous biases. Forgive me,” she said to Raea. “My name is actually Blossom, but I ended up becoming an angel of temperance, much to the disappointment of my parents.”