After the rest of the army finished assembling, Selena split off from Elrith and Michael. She walked past the army and towards the storage chest that Raea and Palan were sitting on. She climbed up the side and approached her little sister. “Ray,” Selena said and hugged Raea. “I still have my own duties to accomplish here, so I’ll be staying behind while you head off to the first sector.”
“Do we have to separate here already?” Raea asked and furrowed her brow. “Can’t you come with us? I don’t feel comfortable knowing you’ll be staying here without an archangel’s protection.”
“I’ll be fine,” Selena said. “I’m not weak, you know?” She stroked Raea’s hair. “I also heard you were getting a promotion at the capital, so don’t even think about staying here with me.”
“What do you have left to do here?” Raea asked, unwilling to let go of Selena. “Weren’t you a volunteer? You don’t have to do this.”
“You know I can’t stop a job once I begin,” Selena said. “I’ll see it through to the end. That’s why I’m a diligence angel.”
Raea pursed her lips as a tear slid down her cheek. “I don’t want you to leave,” she said.
“Weren’t you fine with coming to the borderlands by yourself?” Selena asked and smiled while wiping Raea’s tears away with the back of her hand. “You even rejected my offer of accompanying you.”
“That time was different,” Raea said and shook her head. Her grip tightened around Selena’s back, causing her sister to wince. “Something bad is going to happen. I can feel it, and it makes me so afraid for you. Please, Sely, don’t go. You can’t go.”
“Ray…,” Selena said and gasped. “I can’t breathe.”
Raea flinched and released her sister. She withdrew her hands. “I, I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to….”
“It’s okay,” Selena said and grabbed Raea’s hand. “It makes me happy to know you’ve gotten stronger. I won’t worry for you as much.” She smiled. “This is important. You’ve seen the rebel army for yourself right?” Raea nodded. “And their tunnel system?” Raea nodded again. “The capital needs me to break it down. We have to cut off their reinforcements and supplies and their retreat route.”
“Retreat route?” Palan asked. “Do they even need those? Almost all the encounters ended with you angels retreating.”
“I’m sure that won’t be the case in the capital,” Selena said.
“The capital?” Raea asked. Her eyes widened. “Will the rebels get that far?”
Selena glanced at Elrith and Michael. They were starting to lead the army away. “I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but the rebel army already defeated General Akurel’s army in the second sector,” Selena said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it to the capital. They are extremely prepared.”
Raea’s mouth fell open. “But what about Mom and Dad? And Nina, and Rupert, and—“
Palan placed his hand on Raea’s head, causing her to freeze up. “Why do you care about people who’ve abandoned you?” he asked. “If you do something stupid like sacrifice yourself to save them, I am going to be extremely upset with you.”
“They’re family!” Raea said and knocked away his hand. The storage chest started to move. Sally managed to escape from Danger Noodle’s grasp. “It doesn’t matter if they’ve abandoned me. We are connected by blood. They loved me for all my life—it’s my own fault that I developed feelings of envy and greed. I can’t blame them for leaving me.”
Palan looked behind himself and Cleo, Sally, and Selena. “I can’t be the only one who thinks that’s stupid, right?” he asked.
“My dad’s second mate tried to kill me,” Cleo said. “I’m happy she’s dead. Good riddance.” She stuck her chest out and snorted.
“My cousins tried to kill me after my mother died to be the new matriarch,” Sally said and tilted her head. “I had to kill them first.”
“I love my family,” Selena said and shrugged. “But Raea, calm down. Mom and Dad are archangels. Nothing can happen to them. I don’t believe Solra can stop their powers by himself. Maybe if there were two or three Solras. But there aren’t.”
Raea bit her lip.
“You don’t believe me?” Selena asked.
“I believe you believe what you just told me,” Raea said slowly, “but it seems like everyone is … wrong? No one believed I would come back from the lizardman camp that Ishim sent me to, but I did. General Michael thought the war would be over in one battle, but it wasn’t. Elly believed in his plan to counter the rebels, but it failed.”
“I understand what you’re saying,” Selena said and frowned. “I can’t shake the feeling of unease myself, but that is why I have to do the most that I can to prevent the worst from happening. People don’t believe because they know they’re right. People believe because that’s the only thing they can do. Worrying won’t help you; it may even make the situation worse. So believe in Mom and Dad, alright? We all have our own parts to do, no matter how small.”
Raea stayed silent. Selena walked up to her and hugged her before kissing her forehead. “Take care, Raea. You’re an adult now,” she said. “Can I count on you to welcome me back home?”
“I’ll try my best,” Raea said and sniffled. “You can’t die, Sely. Promise me you won’t die.”
“I promise you I won’t die anytime soon,” Selena said and poked Raea’s nose. “You’re not allowed to die before me, got that?”
Raea nodded. “I won’t say goodbye,” she said as Selena separated herself from Raea.
“You’ll see me again before you know it,” Selena said and climbed off the moving storage chest.
“You’re just going to let her go like that?” Palan asked Raea who watched her sister’s back which was walking away.
“I thought you would be gl-gl-glad t-to see h-her go-o….” Raea swallowed and started to sob. She crouched down and brought her knees to her chest and buried her face in her arms. Cleo frowned and waddled over to pat the crying angel’s back.
Palan frowned. It wasn’t the first time he saw Raea cry, but there was something that bothered him. Did Andrea cry after he left her? Would Selena not completing her duty cause either her or Raea to die? Probably not. It may affect some other people, but who cares? He didn’t. He jumped off the storage chest towards the direction Selena walked off to. Sally glanced at the sobbing angel who hadn’t noticed her demon’s actions and then glanced at said demon. She sat down and buried her head underneath her wing. She wished her mother was still around to tell her what to do.