The next day, Raea recovered from her overdrafted state. She never wanted to feel like that again. The feeling of complete helplessness overwhelmed her. She sat up in her bed and shook her head. To her left, Selena was beginning to awaken as well. The captain had agreed to place them in the same room. Raea pursed her lips when she discovered Palan was nowhere to be found. Even Cleo and Sally were missing. She heard voices chattering from outside of the room and furrowed her brow as she climbed out of bed. Her gaze met with Selena’s, and Raea thought she saw her sister flinch.
Raea’s foot made contact with the floor, and her body froze. She had stepped in a cold puddle of sticky liquid. Selena’s eyes widened as she turned on the lights to the room. A giant bloodstain lay in the middle of the room, part of it creeping towards Raea’s bed. “Sely?” Raea asked with a trembling voice. “I’m scared.” She bit her lip as she willed her body to move. Tears began to blur her vision. A pair of arms wrapped around her waist and lowered her gently to the bed.
“It’s alright, Ray,” Selena said and ran her fingers through Raea’s hair. “It’s alright.” She had also been shocked by the pool of blood, but she steeled herself and urged the feelings of fear down her chest. She had to be the strong one for her little sister. Besides, it wasn’t the first time blood appeared in her room.
“Was that really blood?” Raea asked. Her body shuddered.
“No,” Selena said, “it’s just tomato juice. Sometimes the halfling slaves are clumsy at night.” She didn’t think she sounded very convincing.
“You don’t have to lie to me,” Raea said and pursed her lips. Her face hardened. “I-I’ve seen a lot of blood. I know what it looks like.”
The door swung open with a bang, causing both sisters to scream. Palan stood at the entrance, licking his lips. Rivulets of blood ran down his mouth, past his chin, and onto his bare chest. Cleo stood behind him looking slightly green. Sally hung upside-down from his tail. “You’re awake?” he asked and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. The two sisters stared at him with blank expressions on their face. “There was an assassin trying to use blood as poison,” Palan said and gestured behind himself. Raea thought she saw a mangled, bloody body. “I took care of him.” The sisters stared at each other. Palan snorted. “You’re welcome.” He turned around and walked away.
“Wait!” Raea shouted and scrambled out of Selena’s embrace. She avoided the puddle of blood on the floor and stepped outside the room. An angel lay dead on the ground with holes in his body. It looked like his organs had been eaten. She resisted the urge to vomit. Selena stepped out from behind her and frowned when she saw the body. She recognized the face of the angel even though his skull had been cracked open. It belonged to one of the soldiers that always enjoyed bantering and making people laugh.
“You killed him?” Selena asked, raising her head.
“Nope,” Palan said while turning around. “I scared him a bit and he fell over and cracked his head open. I was surprised you two didn’t wake up. I figured it’d be best not to waste his organs since he died in that freak accident and ate them.”
Selena’s face blanched, and she turned to look at Raea. She highly suspected an angel was sneaking into her room to place blood around, but she didn’t think the culprit deserved death for his actions. “Raea?” Selena asked. She wanted to see how her little sister would deal with it.
“Well, if he says it was an accident,” Raea said and paused, “then it was an accident.” Selena’s mouth gaped. Raea blinked. “He can’t lie to me.” She paused for a second before turning to look at Palan. “It was an accident, right?”
“Nah. He got what was coming to him,” Palan said and snorted. “I told you; he was an assassin. And you always called me paranoid for sleeping in your room with you.”
Selena furrowed her brow and pulled Raea back inside the room. She said to Palan before closing the door, “Do you mind if I talk to Raea for a second?” She didn’t even wait for a reply. When the door closed behind her, Selena whirled around and placed her hands on Raea’s shoulders. “Ray … I don’t mean to sound harsh … but,” Selena said and took in a deep breath, “I don’t think he should continue being your contracted demon. You’re not in control of him at all.”
“He killed someone, Raea,” Selena said and squeezed Raea’s shoulders. “That man was a practical joker who enjoyed playing pranks at night. He wasn’t an assassin.”
“But Palan didn’t know that,” Raea said and furrowed her brow. “What kind of prank does he think he’s playing in a woman’s room in the middle of the night? How do you know he wasn’t an assassin?”
“Whether he was an assassin or not doesn’t matter,” Selena said. “That angel was just a regular angel. Your demon could’ve easily subdued him without killing him. Everyone has a right to explain themselves and be given a trial. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“I get what you’re trying to say,” Raea said, “but I don’t think Palan is at fault. That’s just how he is. He sincerely thought he was protecting me.”
“That’s how you see it,” Selena said, “and that may truly be the case. But what about the other people who hear about this? All they’re going to hear is that your demon killed someone and tore his body apart to eat his organs. It’s believable if he only killed him, but did he have to eat the organs too?”
Raea bit her lip and looked down. Selena sighed. “You’re not a child anymore, Raea,” she said. “Your birthday passed a few days ago. You’re an adult now.”
“Then what am I supposed to do?” Raea asked. She sounded like she was about to cry. “I don’t feel very adult-like.”
“Well, the first thing we have to do,” Selena said and glanced at the puddle of blood on the ground, “is get rid of the evidence.” Raea’s eyes widened. “What?” Selena asked. “I’m not letting my baby sister get executed. We can talk about your demon problem after we solve the current crisis. One step at a time, Ray. One step at a time.”