Raea frowned as she stood with her back to the storage chest. An encirclement of angels stood nearby, defending the supplies and the medics. Occasionally, a severely wounded soldier would be dragged back for her to heal. Palan had left her behind before she could say a word. Cleo stood beside her with an orb in her hand. Palan had given her the orders, “Make sure she lives,” before he left. Cleo pouted as she clutched the red orb in her hand while looking over the encirclement of soldiers. She could see the backs of hundreds of angels and demons interspersed with halflings.
Colonel Uzziel grunted as he pulled his lance out of a dead centaur. He had pierced its chest and killed the lizardman rider in a single strike. He glanced to the side, looking at Elrith who was bashing people with his shield, and smiled. When powers were taken out of the equation, he was more efficient at killing than Elrith was. The two’s choices of weapons may have played a part in that, but Uzziel was satisfied—he wanted to prove himself as Elrith’s superior. He let out a roar and charged deeper into the enemy lines, stabbing through centaurs with the tip of his lance and deflecting their battleaxes with the end.
An arrow flew towards Uzziel, heading straight for his face. He tilted his head, but the tip still managed to graze his temple, bouncing harmlessly off his helmet. He roared and increased the speed of his stabbing, helping the soldiers under his command breach through the centaurs’ line. They formed a triangular formation with Uzziel at the head, pushing through the centaurs’ phalanx. Uzziel’s vision turned red as another centaur died by his hands. If his squadron was the first one to break through the enemy ranks, then maybe he’d get promoted. That thought caused him to grip his lance even tighter. His heart pounded as he deflected wave after wave of attacks, ignoring the arrows that shot towards his armor, but dodging the ones aimed for his head.
Uzziel gritted his teeth as a battleaxe smashed into his shoulder, denting his pauldrons. In return, he thrust his lance at the attacker. His eyes lit up. He could see the end of the enemy’s ranks. Ten more centaurs and they’d break through. A flash of metal caught his eye as an arrow was loosed from its bow, heading straight for him. He instinctively moved his head to the side, but a hand grabbed his neck from behind and pulled his body off balance, bringing his face on a direct collision course with the arrow. His eyes widened, and he opened his mouth to shout, but the arrow flew through the slit in his helmet and pierced his right eye. A groan escaped from his lips as his body fell to the ground. The last thing he saw was a snake’s face floating in the air. It seemed to smile at him.
Palan shouted, “Keep pushing! We’re almost through.” He stepped over Uzziel’s body and assumed the position at the head of the formation as if nothing happened. Uzziel had really stretched his forces thin with only a single soldier to replace the ones in the front. He had dispatched Uzziel’s backup before bringing about the colonel’s death. In the heat of battle, no one seemed to notice especially since Uzziel’s squadron was overextended.
A battleaxe flashed towards Palan. He stepped past the blade and let the shaft of the weapon hit his shoulder. He dug his hands around the centaur’s torso and lifted the halfling—along with the lizardman on its back—into the air before throwing the duo to the side.
“They’ve broken through!” a voice shouted.
Elrith turned his head to the side and saw a centaur flying through the air. The poor halfling crashed into a cluster of centaurs in front of his squadron, causing their defense to waver. His soldiers took advantage of the situation and pressed forward. Elrith raised his shield and shouted before lowering his head and charging, staggering the centaurs in front. His soldiers finished them off. With the formation of the centaurs broken, the angels were easily able to gain the upper hand. The centaurs near the breach now had to deal with angels attacking their sides along with the soldiers that were already in front of them.
“We’re winning!” Cleo said and cheered. She had climbed on top of Raea’s head to get a better view of the action. “And Palan’s at the front too. He kicked their asses.”
Raea sighed. “I wonder why he was so enthusiastic about this battle,” she said and knelt down to heal a soldier. Cleo protested as her vision was robbed. “Maybe he just hasn’t hunted in a really long time.” Raea bit her lip as her heart pounded in her chest. When the battle started, there was something urging her to join in on the bloodshed. She couldn’t tell if it was due to Palan’s influence or her own evolution, but it made her feel like ants were walking up and down her spine.
Palan licked his lips as blood dripped down his fingers. His arms were by his side. Behind him, there was a path filled with corpses, centaur and angel alike, leading back to the encirclement Raea was in. On either side of him, angels were fighting and slaughtering centaurs. He realized now why Uzziel was so intent on breaking through the enemy’s ranks. Palan raised his head into the air and saw Michael; the general was still deflecting trebuchet shots aimed at the encirclement. It seemed like Solra’s range couldn’t extend that far. Palan scratched his head and shrugged before making his way back to Raea—he achieved his goal this time around. Uzziel had died by his hand. His shoulders felt lighter, like a weight had been removed.
Raea raised her head as more footsteps approached her. She had lost track of how many angels she had to help heal. Some angels would opt out of combat if they received a few gashes that only looked bad on the surface. “Palan,” Raea said and blinked. “You’re injured?”
“Nah,” Palan said and patted Cleo’s head, leaving behind a bloody handprint. “I got bored after breaking through the enemy ranks. Fighting like that isn’t as thrilling as hunting. There’s no fear. There’s no chase.” He shook his head and climbed on top of the storage chest. He sighed and lay down. He still had other obligations to fulfill with the demons in Elrith’s army, but it was impossible to do those in an open field. His nose wrinkled. The smell of blood didn’t bother him, but it started to smell like cow manure. Like goblins.