“What did he mean by ghosts?” Raea asked Selena after the captain left.
Selena tilted her head and rubbed her chin. “Hmm. There’s just been odd things happening here,” she said, “and the captain believes that it’s due to ghosts. Occasionally, I’ll wake up and find blood somewhere in the room, or the floors will heat up and cool down at random. Sometimes there are giggling noises.”
“You said ghosts didn’t exist,” Raea said and pursed her lips.
“They don’t,” Selena said. “I’ve already came up with many logical explanations for all of the phenomena.”
“They don’t?” Cleo asked. “But I’ve seen ghosts leave their bodies all the time. When we burn our dead, the bodies sit up and twitch like they’re fighting things.”
“I don’t know much about burning corpses,” Selena said, “but I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for why they are moving that doesn’t involve ghosts.”
“I’ve seen ghosts in the desert before,” Palan said. “You see them from far away, but when you get there, no one’s there: can’t see them, smell them, or hear them. Sometimes they’re walking upright, sometimes they’re upside down in the sky.” Raea turned to look at Selena.
“Logical explanations,” Selena said and shrugged. “I just don’t know them yet.”
“What’s so illogical about ghosts?” Cleo asked. She pulled a bucket full of water out of her invisible space and let Sally wash the blood off of her face with it.
“All recorded incidents of ghosts have been explainable phenomena. They’re just illogical,” Selena said. “How are ghosts able to affect our world, but we are unable to affect theirs?”
“Maybe we do affect their world, but we just can’t see the effects,” Cleo said and nodded as she put the bucket away. “Why can’t there be some kind of power that summons ghosts? I don’t think creating a giant spider out of earth is very logical either.”
“Does she always ask this many questions?” Selena asked Raea. “I’ve never seen such a talkative lizardman before.”
“She’s very talkative,” Raea said and nodded. She pursed her lips as her face turned a deeper shade of red. “And sometimes she says inappropriate things.”
“Inappropriate?” Selena asked. She raised an eyebrow and turned towards Cleo.
Cleo blinked. “Uh … Raea did the dirty with Palan,” she said and smiled. Her tail stiffened and she scrambled behind Sally, using her as a shield to deflect the glares she received.
“No!” Raea said and cut Selena off. “No, I didn’t! Not really….” She stared at the floor and shut her mouth. Selena looked at Palan who just smirked while sitting down. His tail was a lot plumper after eating that corpse.
Selena’s brow furrowed as she lifted Raea’s face to meet hers. “You didn’t … fall in love with him, right?” she asked, staring into Raea’s eyes. Raea opened her mouth and tried to speak, but nothing came out. She closed her mouth and broke eye contact with Selena. “Raea!”
Raea flinched and made eye contact with Selena again before trembling. Selena exhaled and closed her eyes. There was a shuffling noise behind her, but she ignored it. After a few deep breaths, Selena opened her eyes again. “I can’t tell you who or who not to fall in love with,” she said and paused, “but I can tell you that if anything happens between you and a demon, Mom and Dad are not going to be pleased at all. At best, you’ll be expelled from the family and exiled to beyond the borderlands, maybe even Eljiam. At worst, you’ll be forced to kill him then executed yourself. An angel shouldn’t love a demon. It’s against the Creator’s will.”
“That’s not true,” Raea said, her voice barely above a whisper. “That’s not true at all.” She pushed Selena’s hand away and took a step back. Her eyes glittered with tears. “I know it’s not true. The Creator approved of the contract between me and Palan.”
“You’re not going to do anything?” Cleo whispered to Palan.
He shrugged. “If I killed Selena, Raea’d probably kill herself to spite me,” he said.
“I mean,” Cleo said while fidgeting, “shouldn’t you take responsibility as a man? You have to support your woman in her time of need.”
“Weren’t you the one who brought this topic up?” Palan asked and stared at Cleo.
Cleo gulped. “Well, yes,” she said and shifted her eyes away, “but she’s your woman, not mine.”
“I think you have the wrong idea of what Raea is to me,” Palan said and snorted.
“So you’re not going to help her?” Sally asked. She had waddled over earlier.
“She’s not dying,” Palan said and crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t even understand the issue. If you want something, then take it. If you’re too weak, then come back later when you’re strong enough. Why should you let others affect what you want?”
Sally tilted her head and sat next to Palan. She seemed to be deep in thought. “If you want something, then just take it…,” she murmured.
“That’s going to be hard for you since you don’t have thumbs,” Cleo said to the harpy and wiggled her fingers.
“I’m not questioning your decisions, Ray,” Selena said and raised her hands while taking a step back. “I just want you to remember that there are always consequences for your actions. Even if you fall, I’ll still do my best to help you. I’d rather you didn’t though.” Raea wiped her eyes with the backs of her hands. “But what did you mean by the Creator approved of your contract?”
Raea sniffled. “The Creator added a clause to our contract and forcibly increased its level,” she said.
Selena blinked and furrowed her brow. “Really?” she asked. “Do you mind if I see? I don’t think I ever heard of something like that happening before.”
“Okay,” Raea said and nodded. She reached into her bag to pull out a crystal, but Danger Noodle wrapped itself around her body and swallowed her head.
“Sorry,” Palan said from behind Selena. “Contracts are confidential.” He walked down the hall with Raea flailing her legs and gestured towards Sally and Cleo to follow. “Let’s go hunting.”
Selena stared at her half-eaten, struggling sister with her mouth agape. “W-wait!” she said and chased after the group. “You can’t do that!” Palan ignored her.