Raea walked with Palan next to her down an empty road. She wore a red robe while Palan wore a white cotton t-shirt and brown pants. Palan turned his head and frowned before walking off to the side. The sky was bathed in red as one sun began to set.
“Hey, don’t wander!” Raea said and grabbed Palan’s elbow. “As a contracted demon, you have to stay within thirty meters of me at all times.”
“You can’t be serious,” Palan said.
“Very serious,” Raea said as she tugged Palan along the road. “I can’t draw upon your powers and you can’t draw upon mine if we’re separated more than that.”
“Draw upon my powers?”
Raea smiled. “Did I forget to mention that?”
Palan jerked his arm out of Raea’s grip. “There’s nothing actually stopping me from going more than thirty meters away then.”
Raea pouted. “I order you to stay within thirty meters of me at all times,” she said and placed her hands on her hips.
“Whatever,” Palan said as he walked away from Raea and waved his hand in the air.
“I’m warning you,” Raea said and cupped her hands over her mouth. “It’s really going to hurt if you don’t obey my orders.” Palan continued walking. Raea tilted her head. “He won’t die, right?”
When Palan was thirty meters away, he turned his head around to look at Raea. His chest constricted and he frowned as a bead of sweat rolled down his head. He took a step forward. His vision turned white as a bolt of lightning shot out of the clear sky, landing directly on his body.
Palan fell to his hands and knees. He let out a yell and punched the floor with his fist before gritting his teeth and standing back up. He spread his arms out and tilted his head towards the sky. “Is that the best you got?!”
Raea’s mouth dropped open. Palan took another step forward, causing another bolt of lightning to descend from the sky. This time, he didn’t fall, but his body spasmed. He coughed out a mouthful of black blood and took another step forward while laughing. His body was struck yet again, but he remained standing, smoke drifting upwards from his hair. He raised his leg again.
“Stop!” Raea yelled as she regained her senses and dashed towards Palan. Palan ignored her and brought his foot forward; this time, he was struck by two bolts of lightning and fell to his knees. Raea stopped when she was a few steps away from Palan’s body.
“Why?” Raea asked and walked closer as a white light enveloped her hand. She placed it on Palan’s trembling shoulder. Palan flinched and raised his head. Blood leaked from the corners of his mouth as he clenched his jaw.
“What are you trying to prove?” Raea asked as a tear formed in the corner of her eye. “I really thought you were going to die.”
“Better to die free, than to live as a dog,” Palan said while shivering. His body twitched and tiny bolts of electricity flowed out of his fingertips.
“You’re not allowed to die!” Raea shouted and slapped Palan’s face with her free hand. “What happened to swallowing your pride for your sister? What’s going to happen to your sister if you die here because you were too stubborn?”
“Err, Lady Raea,” a voice said. “Is everything alright…?”
Raea raised her head and froze as Palan touched his stinging cheek. “Was I loud?” Raea asked and bit her lip. A circle of soldiers stood around the kneeling angel and demon. Owen scratched his cheek as he stood behind Raea.
“Just a bit,” Owen said and nodded. The nearby soldiers chuckled. “The thunder strikes were really eye-catching. That demon is a tough one, maybe a little slow in the head.” He nodded at Palan.
“Die in a fire, old man,” Palan said and brushed Raea’s hand off his shoulder. His shivering stopped as he staggered to his feet and stared at Owen.
“Stop. No fighting,” Raea said and stood up while dusting off her robe.
“Is that an order?” Palan asked as he walked up to Owen.
“Yes,” Raea said and frowned as Palan and Owen glared at each other. “Is something wrong?”
“I’m debating on whether punching his smug face is worth getting hit by lightning or not,” Palan said.
Owen crossed his arms over his chest. “I was complimenting your constitution, boy,” Owen said and smirked.
“Thanks,” Palan said and swung his fist, striking Owen on the nose. Lightning rained down from the sky and struck Palan as Owen staggered backwards, clutching his crooked nose. Palan’s body shook and his teeth chattered. “Worth it.”
One soldier let out a whistle while the others laughed. They broke out into a commotion and turned to each other as Raea shook her head and sighed.
“What is going on here?” a voice said, piercing through the air. The crowd of soldiers cleared their throats and fell silent while straightening their backs.
“Captain Ishim,” Raea said as she stepped next to Palan and grabbed his hand. “Everything is under control.”
“You contracted the demon?” Ishim asked and narrowed his eyes. He sneered. “So that is how you treat your guests.”
“No need to explain,” Ishim said and snorted. “It just dawned on me. There is a rather large goblin mine near the lizardmen’s city. Clear that out before you bring me the chieftain’s head.” He smiled at Raea. “I believe a leader as capable as yourself should have no issues with this.”
Raea nodded as Palan frowned and opened his mouth. “I understand,” Raea said and squeezed Palan’s hand before shooting him a glare. Palan closed his mouth.
“Good,” Ishim said and nodded. He smirked at Palan before he turned around and left.
“Why didn’t you say anything back to him?” Palan asked and jerked his hand out of Raea’s grasp.
“That would have caused more problems than it would have solved,” Raea said and wiped her hand on her robe. She sighed and faced the crowd of soldiers around her. “Hello everyone. I am Lieutenant Raea. This is my contracted demon, Palan. We will be depending on you to help us accomplish our mission. I recognize many faces from our excursion against the king of the forest. I look forward to working with you all again.”
“No need to be polite, Lady Raea,” one soldier said. “We decided to follow you as our leader ever since that day.” The other soldiers nodded and murmured in agreement.
“Thank you,” Raea said. “Get some rest. We have to get up early tomorrow.”