Palan sat on top of a blanket, his back glowing with a blue light, with Cleo curled up by his feet. Underneath him, Raea was sleeping with her face buried in the pillow. He wasn’t sure how she was able to breathe. She stirred and turned over onto her side, mumbling something incoherent. Moments later, her body spasmed and her eyes shot open as she gasped. She sat up and frowned while blinking her eyes. The room was still dark, lit only by the blue glow coming off the duo’s bodies.
Raea brought her knees to her chest and rested her chin on her knees while smoothing out her hair with her hand. She stared at Palan. His eyes were wide open and roaming around while he was meditating. It only took a short while for his gaze to land on her. The blue light began to dim. “What?” Palan asked. His tail yawned.
“Isn’t this where you’re supposed to ask if I had a bad dream?” Raea asked and pursed her lips.
“I don’t ask questions I already know the answer to,” Palan said and rolled Cleo off his feet.
“Well, at least ask for the contents,” Raea said.
“You’re being unreasonable,” Palan said and shook his head before pulling out a loose tooth. He dropped it into Cleo’s bag. “If you want to tell me, then just tell me. I can’t guarantee I’ll be listening.”
“Fine,” Raea said and crossed her arms across her shins. “I think I dreamed about the … Creator.” Palan didn’t respond; instead, the blue light on his back began to glow brighter as he resumed his meditation. Raea frowned but continued speaking. “The Creator told me you had bigger plans than just reuniting with your sister … and some other things that I don’t remember.” Raea waited. “Well?”
“Go back to sleep,” Palan said.
“The Creator said he visited you too,” Raea said and furrowed her brow.
“I don’t have dreams,” Palan said and snorted.
“But … the Creator told me you saw him too,” Raea scratched her head.
“Once again, stop being unreasonable,” Palan said.
Raea pouted. “Look me in the eyes and promise me that all you want to do is reunite with your sister,” she said. “I want you to swear on your pride that it’s true.”
“If I do this, will you stop bothering me?” Palan asked. Cleo stirred in her sleep and grumbled. Raea nodded and stared into his eyes. “The only thing I want to do is reunite with my sister. I’ll do that at any cost.” Raea knit her brow, and Palan’s tail pressed its head against her forehead before she could speak, pushing her onto her back. “Now go back to sleep.”
Raea extended her legs and pulled the blanket up to her chin. She sighed. The dream seemed really realistic. She had found herself floating in a white space. A golden ball of light had appeared in front of her claiming to be the Creator. It had told her of many things regarding Palan. She was sure it had also mentioned future plans for her, but no matter how hard she tried to remember, the words wouldn’t come back. After a decent chunk of time passed, Raea’s brow furrowed. “Palan?” she asked. She heard a sigh. “Those demons in the hunting party all died, right?”
Palan shrugged even though Raea was still staring up at the ceiling. “They were taken by the centaurs,” he said.
“You’re not lying?” Raea asked.
“Would I lie to you?” Palan asked in return.
“Well, if I’m speaking truthfully…” Raea said and raised her head to look at Palan. He wasn’t looking at her. “I used to think that you wouldn’t. But now I’m not so sure anymore.”
“Did your dream tell you this too?” Palan asked and rolled his eyes. “Why would I lie to you?”
“Because you’re afraid I’ll do something stupid or impulsive,” Raea said and bit her lip. “Like that time you didn’t tell me Elly was heading towards the enemy camp until after we got back.”
“You got smarter,” Palan said. “Must be my wisdom that’s affecting you.”
“So you were lying about them being taken by centaurs?” Raea asked. Cleo sat up and blinked her eyes. She looked around the dark room and frowned.
“No,” Palan said. His expression didn’t change at all.
Raea pursed her lips. “You’re not going to like this, but I have to be absolutely sure,” she said and looked down. “From now on, I forbid you from ever lying to me. And I promise that I will never lie to you in return. That’s fair, right?” She raised her head and saw Palan glaring at her. A shiver ran down her spine, and she quickly sat up. Images of him lunging for her throat during their training session appeared in her head. His eyes were narrowed and his lips were partially curled, revealing his teeth.
“I-isn’t this perfectly reasonable?” Raea asked and inched backwards. She took in a deep breath. “We’re tied together by life and death. It’s not that I don’t trust you … but you’re not the only one who has to worry about your partner dying. We shouldn’t be keeping secrets from each other.”
Palan ground his teeth together. The blue light from his meditation had completely disappeared. Cleo shivered and slowly inched to the far corner of the tent before curling up into a ball.
“We,” Raea said and clenched her hands to stop her voice from trembling, “are equals. We should be working together. You don’t have to treat me as a child. You know I’m strong. You said it yourself.” She bit her lip and met Palan’s gaze. Her face burned, and her scalp tingled. A layer of moisture formed a thin layer over her eyes, blurring her vision. Palan sighed and turned his head away. Raea grabbed the corner of her blanket and dabbed it to her eyes, clearing her vision. “Say something. Please.”
“So you want to know the truth?” Palan asked and smiled at her. She shivered. His eyes were dull, which made the smile unsettling. Raea tightened her grip on her blanket. She nodded.
“Well too bad,” Palan said and stood up. He turned around, plugged his ears, and walked outside of the tent.
Raea stared blankly at the closing tent flap. A scrambling noise caught her attention, and she turned her head to the side. Cleo tackled her. “You should’ve asked him if he loved you too.”
“Huh?” Raea asked. The words took a moment to register, but after they did, Raea’s face flushed crimson. She pinched Cleo’s cheeks. “Stop saying things like that.” Cleo whined and tried to pry Raea’s hands off, but the angel was too strong.