Raea frowned as she sat up in bed, knocking Cleo over. The orange lizardman was sleeping on the angel’s stomach. Palan had been gone for over two days, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad had happened to him. “What time is it?” Cleo asked and blinked as she rubbed her eyes. “Is Palan back?” She glanced around the room and saw that it was still dark.
“No,” Raea said and pursed her lips. “Was it my fault? I try to give him his freedom, but sometimes, he just….” She furrowed her brow and shook her head as she stood up and put on her armor that was lying in a folded pile in the corner of the tent. She turned towards Cleo who was still bleary-eyed. “Am I in the wrong?”
“Keeping secrets is bad,” Cleo said and nodded. “You should force them all out of him. What am I supposed to gossip about if both of you don’t say anything? It’s definitely his fault for trying to keep secrets from me.” She yawned and stood up while scratching at the metal collar on her neck.
“Who do you even gossip to?” Raea asked and raised an eyebrow as she slipped on her greaves.
“Myself, mostly,” Cleo said. Her tail swished and wrinkled the floor of the tent. “Where are you going?” She followed Raea out of the tent.
“I need to do something, or I’ll go crazy,” Raea said and took her halberd off her back. “I was thinking of doing basic drills. It’s been a while since I’ve done them. Can you help me pack the tent? I’m not sure how long we’ll be—“
Raea’s mouth stopped moving as Cleo crouched by the side of the tent and lifted a corner off the ground. The lizardman tugged on her belt and did an awkward hopping motion while crouching. The tent vanished in front of Raea’s eyes. “All done,” Cleo said and licked her lips. She blinked at Raea before whirling around. When she saw nothing was there, she tilted her head. “What? Did you see a ghost?”
“Ghosts aren’t real,” Raea said with a deadpan face. “Wait. No. More importantly, what was that? I don’t understand. Just how much space is in that pocket of yours? Can you interact with the objects inside your pocket? Did the tent fold to be smaller?”
Cleo shrugged. “Trade secret,” she said and stuck her tongue out. “You’re supposed to interrogate Palan, not me. I’m just a harmless little lizard.” She clasped her hands together and tilted her head to the side while widening her eyes.
Raea shook her head and sighed as she started walking towards the border of the camp. Cleo climbed on top of her back. “It’s too dark. How can you see?” she asked and rested her chin on Raea’s shoulder. Cleo could usually see at night, but the moon wasn’t out. The angels hadn’t lit fires either, using angels of humility to create a wall of wind as an alarm instead.
Raea frowned. She hadn’t consciously noticed, but she had been using relying on her heat vision a lot recently. It was especially useful at night even if she couldn’t see a few objects on the floor. At least she was able to see general outlines of some objects. Her vision had also improved since her transformation, allowing her to see in dimmer conditions. Maybe this was how Palan saw the world. She bit her lip and continued walking, ignoring the biting feeling in her chest when she thought of him. Was she annoyed? Worried? Cleo hit her lightly on the back of the head. “Stop being so Raea-like.”
“Huh?” Raea asked. “What’s that supposed to mean?” The duo had arrived in front of the wall of wind. Raea paused and decided it was a good place to start her drills.
“You know,” Cleo said. “All mopey and insecure and stuff. Unless you’re sad and your heart aches to see him. Then it’s totally okay.” She slipped off of Raea’s back and stretched before pulling a blanket out of her waist to protect herself from the chilling night air.
“Why do you keep insisting I’m in love with him?” Raea asked and planted the butt of her halberd into the ground. “We’re just angel and contracted demon. There’s nothing special between us. I’m helping him, and he’s helping me.”
“And you sleep in the same bed, share the same bathwater, eat the same food, use the same towels, share the same fire, do the same training,” Cleo said, counting the items with her fingers, “the list goes on and on.”
“When you put it that way…,” Raea mumbled and furrowed her brow. “No! That’s just perfectly natural for angels and demons to do. Our well-beings are tied together. Doesn’t it make sense to do everything with each other? If either of us is under threat, we can help each other before something happens.”
“Yup. Of course.”
“It’s not natural for an angel and demon to fall in love with each other.”
“Stop bullying me, please.” Raea sighed and lowered her head.
“I’m not,” Cleo said and smiled. “I’m agreeing with everything you’re saying. How could I possibly be a bully?”
“It’s the way that you’re agreeing with me that is the issue,” Raea said and raised her halberd. She shook her head and started to do some basic swings.
“I think you’re just being sensitive because you know I’m right,” Cleo said and nodded. She yawned and looked up at the stars in the sky while lying down on the grass. She frowned. “Hey. Is it just me, or are the stars blinking?”
“Blinking?” Raea asked and raised her head. She squinted her eyes. Her heat vision only extended a couple of meters away, so she held her breath to get rid of it. The stars seemed to wink in and out of existence. At first, she thought it was due to the wall of wind surrounding the camp in a dome-like manner, but she realized it shouldn’t pick up that many objects to blot out the skies. “Is something flying above us?”
A bolt of blue lightning rained down from the sky and struck the top of the watchtower that Elrith had erected. The angels of humility didn’t even scream as they collapsed, their bodies twitching. The wall of wind vanished. Lightning began to fall like rain, striking the tents in the camp and setting them on fire. The angels’ response was swift and a massive blade of wind that was visible to the naked eye returned fire from the ground, screeching through the air and drowning out all other sounds.
Raea stared in shock at the scene while Cleo stood up and walked over to her side, dragging the blanket with her. The lightning hadn’t reached outside of the camp. Raea let out a yell as a bisected harpy fell to the ground in two pieces in front of her, holding a dim purple orb in its talons. The lightning stopped, but her ears were still ringing and splotches obscured her vision, making it even more difficult to see. For ten seconds, the night had been as bright as day. Raea picked Cleo up, who was looting the harpy, and rushed back towards the camp which was now bustling with commotion.