Raea sat in a room across from a man wearing grey armor. Owen stood next to her while Palan leaned on the wall next to the door. The man had a frown on his face. “So you encountered one of those,” the man said and nodded. “There have been many reports about the natives using magic stolen from us angels.”
“This is not an isolated incident?” Raea asked.
The man sighed and shook his head. “We suspect it has something to do with the lizardmen village that you were sent to subjugate,” he said. “There have been many attempts at subduing it, but they have all failed. I pray you are able to do what no one else has done before.”
“I see,” Raea said as she stood up. “It was nice meeting you, Lieutenant Malak.”
“It was nice meeting you too, Lieutenant Raea,” Malak said and smiled. “Perhaps I could teach you a thing or two about being a lieutenant tonight.”
Owen’s eyes narrowed, but Malak ignored him and waited for Raea’s reply. She said, “Sorry, but I have prior engagements.”
Malak leaned back in his seat. “A shame. Maybe some other time,” he said. He eyed Raea as she stood up and exited the room, followed by Palan and Owen. Owen shot a glance at the smiling lieutenant before closing the door on his way out.
“You should avoid that man in the future,” Owen said to Raea as the three walked down the streets of the third outpost and neared their assigned lodgings.
“Why?” Raea asked and raised an eyebrow.
“His sin is lust,” Palan said. “Are you dense? It’s a miracle how you survived for so long.”
Raea blinked. “Is that true?” she turned to Owen and asked. Owen sighed and looked up at the red sky. The second sun was about to set and the yellow moon was beginning to rise.
“Most likely,” Owen said.
“That—, eep!” Raea’s foot caught on a raised brick and she stumbled. Owen grabbed Raea’s shoulder to steady her as Palan stood to the side and watched.
“Are you alright?” Owen asked Raea before turning to Palan. He narrowed his eyes. “You are her contracted demon. Why did you not make a move to help her?”
“I’m not a nanny,” Palan said and snorted. “Do you want me to burp her too? Feed her when her poor tummy growls?”
Owen glared daggers at Palan. “What is your iss—”
Raea raised her hand and cut Owen off. “I am alright,” she said. Her face was pale as she shrugged off Owen’s hand and raised her head. “Healing the horses took a toll on me. All I need is a little rest.”
“I really think your demon needs to be taught some manners,” Owen said. “I knew making a contract with a demon like him was unbefitting of your status. Any other demon would give their life to be your contracted demon; why did you contract him? He cannot even read.”
Palan laughed and unsheathed his dagger. Raea stepped in front of Owen with her back to Palan. She spread her arms out as if she were protecting Palan. “Stop it, Owen,” Raea said and frowned. “Why do you insist on antagonizing him? If you respect me, then you will respect my choice and treat Palan fairly.”
“Step aside,” Palan said and placed his hand on Raea’s shoulder. Her armor creaked as it threatened to bend underneath Palan’s grip.
“No. I will not have my subordinates fighting each other,” Raea said. Her body glowed with a white light and Palan’s hand was pushed back by an invisible force. Owen took a step backwards and shielded his eyes from the light.
Palan frowned and tried to take a step forward, but found that he couldn’t. Palan gnashed his teeth as his body trembled. “The hell is this?”
Sweat poured down Raea’s forehead and dripped to the floor. Her pale face turned even paler, almost losing its red hue completely. “The restraints of patience,” Raea said in a shaky voice.
“Why am I bound too?” Owen asked and frowned. “You should stop; using two virtues in one day is dangerous, even for you.”
“You two need to settle your differences peacefully,” Raea said as she grit her teeth. “Apologize to Palan, Owen. You were also very rude today.”
“If it will make you stop,” Owen said as his head turned towards Palan. “I apologize for my actions throughout the day.”
“Palan,” Raea said.
“Apology refused. Go jump off a cliff,” Palan said and snorted as he turned to Raea. “You think you’re the only patient one? I could stalk my prey for days just waiting for the right time to strike. I can wait until your already exhausted reserves run out.”
“Please accept his apology?” Raea asked. “I really do not wish to see you struck by lightning.”
“It’s not sincere enough,” Palan said and shook his head. “I refuse. If he wants my forgiveness, then he should get on his knees and address me as master from now on.”
Raea bit her lip. “Owen?”
“Impossible,” Owen said as he glared at Palan.
Palan laughed. “I see that your pride is more important to you than Raea,” he said and sneered. “You angels are no better than us demons. What right do you have to pretend to be better than us? Because you have honor? A sense of duty? Kindness? Pathetic.” Palan frowned as a hot object touched his thigh. He glanced down and only saw the leather pouch hanging by his side.
“Fine,” Owen said and gritted his teeth. His face contorted. “I apologize, master.”
“Is that enough, Palan?” Raea asked the demon who had an eyebrow raised.
“He’s not kneeling.”
“He is unable to move,” Raea said with a frown.
“Weak,” Palan said and snorted. “Alright, apology accepted. You get to live another day.”
Raea sighed as the glow surrounding her body disappeared. She inhaled and raised her hands towards the sky while stretching. She glanced at the two men who were glaring at each other. “We should get some rest. We have to get up early tomorrow.”
“You still have to explain the details of our contract to me,” Palan said and grabbed Raea’s shoulder.
Raea shuddered. “Right,” she said and sighed. “Come with me to my room.”
“I will accompany you,” Owen said and frowned at Palan.
“Contract details are private,” Palan said.
“Are you sure this is wise?” Owen asked Raea, ignoring Palan.
“Yes. I promised him earlier today,” Raea said. “You should get some rest. I will see you in the morning.”
“Don’t worry, old man,” Palan said as he followed after Raea. “I won’t be castrating you tonight. You can sleep well.” Owen gritted his teeth and clenched his hands as he watched Raea bring Palan into her residence before heading towards his own room.