Palan crossed his arms over his chest and released Cleo. He didn’t pay attention to her as she sputtered and clawed him. The words of the new contract still floated around in his mind: “The contract was made between the Pride Demon Palan and the Kindness Angel Raea on the seventh day of the third month when the second sun passed its zenith. The term for this contract is set until either party dies. In the case where the Kindness Angel Raea dies, the Pride Demon Palan agrees to surrender his life. In the case where the Pride Demon Palan dies, the Kindness Angel Raea agrees to surrender her life.
“The Pride Demon Palan agrees to follow the orders of the Kindness Angel Raea unless said orders will cause bodily harm to the former. The Kindness Angel Raea agrees to assist the Pride Demon Palan in reuniting with his sister. The terms of the contract must be renewed after the Pride Demon Palan is reunited with his sister. Under no circumstances may either party wound the other or cause grievous bodily harm with intent.
“Added clause – The Creator approves of the affinity between the Pride Demon Palan and Kindness Angel Raea and has increased the level of the contract from six to seven. If the affinity continues to increase, the level of the contract may continue to increase. The contract may not be dissolved unless the Creator’s judgment is received.
“Level seven contract addendum. Range, 600 meters. The Pride Demon Palan may draw upon the Kindness Angel Raea’s virtues and sins to activate their respective magicks. If he is unable to use them, he may forcibly draw upon their powers at the expense of the Kindness Angel Raea’s mana. The Kindness Angel Raea may draw upon the Pride Demon Palan’s sins and virtues to activate their respective magicks. If she is unable to use them, she may forcibly draw upon their powers at the expense of the Pride Demon Palan’s mana.
“In addition, the Pride Demon Palan may draw on one hundred percent of the Kindness Angel Raea’s mana reserves, unless doing so would result in harm of the latter, in order to bolster his growth. In return, the Kindness Angel Raea shall experience her own growth every time the Pride Demon Palan grows stronger.
“Failure to comply by the terms of the contract will result in lightning strikes to the offending party.”
Palan reasoned with himself. In truth, not much had changed, and it could be counted as an increase of his powers. As long as the contract was dissolved before he returned to Eljiam, then this brought nothing but benefits. He still didn’t like it. An existence he didn’t believe in—but was pretty much forced to acknowledge—interfered with his personal matters, which was complete bullshit. It seemed to be spiting him for finding a way to dissolve other contracts through torture. He’d have to ask Arjeh, the two-faced, four-armed demon leader from before, for his contract to see if the plan was still viable.
“It’s really not too bad,” Palan said for the second time. Cleo desperately wanted to make a comment but held herself back. She still hadn’t fully cleaned off Danger Noodle’s stomach acid from her body.
“You mean it?” Raea asked, chewing her lip.
“Right,” Palan said and nodded. “Now I can use these annoying chains of patience.” He raised his eyebrows as if recalling something. “I thought it was strange how easily I could heal you before—I guess this explains it.”
“And here I was thinking you finally started to love me,” Raea said and sighed. Cleo gave her a thumbs up from behind Palan—out of his view. Raea wrinkled her brow as Danger Noodle ate Cleo again.
Palan ignored the comment. “How close are we to Ishim’s camp?” he asked.
“Well, the hill that overlooks it is up there,” Raea said and pointed. The ground rumbled and the elephants came to a halt behind the army. “Is Elly…?”
The ground splintered as a giant hand made of earth rose out of the ground, lifting the hill into the air. It continued to rise into the air until a whole arm was formed. Elrith stood at the base of the arm with his eyes narrowed and sweat dripping from his forehead. He shouted unintelligibly, and the arm drew back before tossing the hill at the camp in the distance.
“Wasn’t that a bit overkill?” Michael asked as the hill landed in the center of the camp. He shielded his eyes from the suns and squinted. A few tiny figures scattered from the camp.
“No such thing,” Elrith said and took in a deep breath. “Those bastards tried to crush me under a bunch of boulders. Let’s see how they like it.” He raised his tower shield into the air and shouted, “Onwards!”
“There’s too few of them,” Michael said to Elrith as he marched alongside the young general. “They must’ve abandoned the camp.”
“So?” Elrith asked. “That’s why I left scouts behind last time.” The army proceeded towards the ruined campsite. Like Michael thought, Ishim’s army had abandoned it. The remaining halflings living inside the camp were the wounded ones from the previous encounter with Elrith’s army. Elrith snarled. “No mercy.”
Raea turned pale as she watched Elrith’s army systematically round up the halflings before executing them. The demons grinned and feasted on the helpless prey while the angels gathered them. “If it makes you sick, then you shouldn’t look,” Palan said and snorted.
“Disgusting, isn’t it?” a voice asked from below them. Justitia climbed up the side of the storage chest and joined the trio.
“You’re not taking part?” Palan asked.
“Only the Tyrant’s army would do something this barbaric,” Justitia said and shook her head. “If the Stormbringer called the shots, this wouldn’t be happening. They would’ve been enslaved instead.” Cleo comforted Raea while Justitia and Palan watched the massacre. “This is the price Elrith pays for using demons in his army.”
An angel covered in dirt and dressed in leaves approached Elrith. There were dark circles under the scout’s eyes. Moments later, Elrith raised his shield into the air and shouted, “Wrap it up! We have their location. Those dogs won’t be getting away from us today! Don’t let your demons eat too much; use the remaining halflings as shields. Have them lead the way.”