Palan sat on a wooden chair in a room with one window that had a desk beneath it. Raea sat across from him on a bed with a simple white bedsheet, pillow, and blanket. The moon cast a faint yellow glow over Palan’s face as he stared at it. He turned his head towards Raea. “Well?”
Raea sighed and pulled a yellow crystal out of the leather bag by the side of her bed. She crushed it into dust and a roll of paper materialized in the air in front of her. The crystal’s dust flew into the air and formed glowing letters on the piece of paper. Once all the dust was used up, she retrieved the paper and cleared her throat.
“This is a receipt for the level six contract between the Pride Demon Palan and the Angel of Kindness Raea,” Raea said as she read the first line aloud. “The contract was made between the Pride Demon Palan and the Kindness Angel Raea on the seventh day of the third month when the second sun passed its zenith. The term for this contract is set until both parties agree to dissolve said contract or until either party dies. In the case where the Kindness Angel Raea dies, the Pride Demon Palan agrees to surrender his life. In the case where the Pride Demon Palan dies, the Kindness Angel Raea agrees to surrender her use of magic and all of her five senses.
“The Pride Demon Palan agrees to follow the orders of the Kindness Angel Raea unless said orders will cause bodily harm to the former. The Kindness Angel Raea agrees to assist the Pride Demon Palan in reuniting with his sister. Under no circumstances may either party wound the other or cause grievous bodily harm with intent.
“Level six contract addendum. Range, thirty meters. The Pride Demon Palan may draw upon the Kindness Angel Raea’s virtues and sins to activate their respective magicks. The Kindness Angel Raea may draw upon the Pride Demon Palan’s sins and virtues to activate their respective magicks. In addition, the Pride Demon Palan may draw on ninety-five percent of the Kindness Angel Raea’s mana reserves, unless doing so would result in harm of the latter, in order to bolster his growth. In return, the Kindness Angel Raea shall experience her own growth every time the Pride Demon Palan grows stronger.
“Failure to comply by the terms of the contract will result in lightning strikes to the offending party.” Raea raised her head and glanced at Palan. “Any questions?”
“You slapped me before,” Palan said and frowned. “Doesn’t that count as wounding me? Why didn’t you get struck by lightning?”
“Are you holding a grudge over that?” Raea asked and raised an eyebrow. “A wound is classified as an injury that breaks the skin.”
“So I can slap you too?”
“No. That would be counted as grievous bodily harm because you’re that much stronger than me,” Raea said and smiled.
“What did that part about using your mana to bolster my growth mean?”
“It’s exactly what it said. You can use my mana to get stronger. I think demons refer to it as evolving?”
“Evolving,” Palan said as his eyes narrowed while he rubbed his chin. “I see. What is mana?”
“It’s the energy we use to activate our power or magic, as the contract calls it,” Raea said. “My reserves are actually a lot greater than the average angel’s. You should evolve at a faster rate compared to other demons.”
Palan smiled. “Interesting. Maybe this arrangement isn’t as bad as I thought,” he said. “Except for the bit where I get extremely irritated and want to kill everything around me every time I see your face, but I think I’ll get used to it. Eventually.”
Raea sighed. “Do you really think that poorly of me?”
“Yes,” Palan said and nodded while Raea’s head drooped. “But after hearing the terms… Didn’t you say nothing would happen to you if I died?”
“I said I would give you a proper burial. I never said nothing would happen to me,” Raea said and pouted. “How could I make you assume all the risk by yourself? That would be unbecoming of a kindness angel. That’s why I chose a level six contract, the lower level contracts have a lower risk for the angel and less mana consumed.”
Palan grunted as he leaned back into his seat. “You’ve earned some of my respect,” he said as he stared at Raea, “but just a little tiny bit that may as well be negligible.”
“Really?!” Raea asked as a smile bloomed on her face. She squealed.
“And you just lost it again,” Palan said and sighed as he shook his head. He leaned forward. “But are you really fine with losing all your senses if I die?”
Raea tilted her head. “Well, I don’t think you’d get yourself killed before you reunited with your sister,” she said and frowned, “unless you do something stupid like poking the king of the forest again.”
“It’s not my fault poison didn’t work on it,” Palan said and shrugged.
Raea bit her lip. She shuddered as she recalled the convulsing goblins enshrouded by green powder. “Do you use poison often?”
“Of course,” Palan said. “You think it’s easy to kill something ten times your size with only a dagger?”
“Makes sense,” Raea said and nodded. “I think we should explain what we can do. I don’t know a lot about you and I haven’t fully revealed everything that I can bring to the table. Since we’re basically tied together by death, it wouldn’t hurt to share our strengths and weaknesses with each other.”
Palan frowned. “I don’t like others knowing what I can do. The less someone knows about you, the safer it is,” he said.
“I won’t tell anyone,” Raea said and pulled out another yellow crystal from her bag. “We can sign a blood contract as insurance.”
“That’s the one where we die if it’s broken, right?”
Raea blinked. “You’ve heard of them before?”
“No,” Palan said and shook his head. “Educated guess.”
“Oh,” Raea said and nodded as she crushed the crystal. A blank piece of paper materialized in the air in front of her. “Yeah, if either of us breaks the contract, then we’ll die. I wish to form a blood contract with the Pride Demon Palan. I will not tell anyone anything he wants me to keep as a secret, unless retaining the information will result in either my or his death. In return, he will not tell anyone anything that I wish for him to keep a secret, unless retaining the information will result in either of our deaths.” She bit her finger and pressed a drop of blood on the contract. Palan did the same and a golden light flashed before the contract faded away.
“Alright,” Raea said and nodded. “Everything we discuss in this room, including what we discussed before, will be a secret. Agreed?”
“Agreed. Keep the extent of my senses a secret too,” Palan said. “So what do you want to know?”
“Everything that you can do that helps us,” Raea said while yawning.
“You already know about my senses,” Palan said. “My primary weapon is a dagger. I supplement it with poison. For long-ranged attacks, I apply poison on objects nearby and throw them. My strength is above the average demon’s and it seems to increase when I eat certain angels”—Raea shuddered—”like those two from earlier today. I’m a hunter; compared to demons with claws and tails, I’m weak in close combat. Also, I can regenerate body parts, but that happens over the course of a few months. Oh, and a few parts of my skin are pretty rough; like, I can shred things with the back of my elbows. That’s about it.”
Raea nodded. “I guessed as much. As for me,” Raea said and yawned again, “I’ll tell you tomorrow. If I use too much mana in a day, I’ll get exhausted. Like now. Good night and don’t forget to close the door on your way out.” Raea flopped onto her side and dragged the blanket over her body.
“Seriously?” Palan asked and frowned. “Hey.”
Raea grunted and turned her body to face the wall. Palan crossed his arms and furrowed his brow. He sighed while turning his body towards the door. He extended his legs and relaxed his body.
“Aren’t you leaving?” Raea asked.
“Hell no. If you die, I die,” Palan said. “I’m not dying because of an assassin that wasn’t even targeting me.”
“No one’s going to assassinate me,” Raea mumbled as she arched her back and stretched.
“That’s what a demon told me once before he died. You never know.”
“Was he assassinated?”
“Yeah, I killed him.”