“Sir Anidun is truly dead?” Ishim asked, bouncing his leg. His face looked cramped as he stared at Raea who was sitting across from him. He didn’t even look at the glowing white chains lying loosely beside him, waiting to bind him at a moment’s notice. If his pale face lacked any more blood than it would be as blue as his armor.
Raea nodded. “My subordinate found his body inside of the cave within the forbidden zone,” she said. “Anidun had committed suicide. There were multiple dagger wounds in his abdomen and his dagger lay by his hand.”
Ishim’s frown deepened as he sank into the couch. “Why?” he mumbled. “Then what have I been working for?” Raea furrowed her brow as she tried to make out his words. Ishim narrowed his eyes and sat up straight. He leaned forward, causing Raea to tense, and picked up his tea. “John, send a letter to all my followers,” he said while snapping his finger. “Have them all gather here with their most trusted subordinates.”
The demon butler remained silent as he walked out of the room. Ishim finished his tea and placed the empty cup on the table. “I will be going to the lizardmen city to confirm your words,” he said and stood up. “I cannot place all my trust in an inexperienced lieutenant.” He narrowed his eyes at the glowing chains beside him. “I will pardon your usage of patience against me given the circumstances.”
Raea pursed her lips as Ishim stepped over the chains and flung open the door leading outside. “Captain Ishim!” Raea said to his back as she stood up. The angel paused in front of the doorway and turned around. Flames and sparks intertwined and danced in his pupils, threatening to explode outwards. Raea seemed to wither under his gaze and shut her mouth. “N-nothing. My apologies.” Ishim narrowed his eyes at her before starting to turn around again.
“Hey,” Palan said and crossed his arms. “Stop right there.” He glanced at Raea and unsheathed his dagger. “Didn’t you say we were going to interrogate him? Why’d you stop me from killing him if you were just going to let him go?”
Ishim stroked his chin as he met Palan’s gaze through his visor. “Would you consider joining me?” he asked. His eyes flickered toward Raea. “Someone like you seems to be wasted on her.”
“I refuse,” Palan said before Raea could even open her mouth. Raea beamed at Palan. He ignored her as he continued speaking. “She’s easier to manipulate.”
“What?!” Raea asked. “I am not!”
“If that is the case, then so be it,” Ishim said. “Reconsider it while I am gone.”
“Why aren’t you stopping him?” Palan asked Raea as Ishim exited the building. A glowing white chain bound the demon’s legs together as he stood beside Raea. She crossed her arms and turned her head away from Palan. “Are you sulking? At a time like this?”
Raea sighed as the chains dispersed, and she sank into the couch. “There was nothing that I could do,” she said. She raised her head to look at Palan. “Assaulting your commanding officer is considered treason and is punishable by death. Binding him with patience can be considered as assault. He already pardoned me once, a second time would not be forgiven.”
“Then we could just kill him,” Palan said and snorted.
“Didn’t you want to go back home to the capital?” Raea asked. “There’s no way we could cover something like that up. We’d be on the run and forbidden from even entering the third sector, forget entering the capital. If that happened … I won’t allow it to.” Raea shook her head and sighed again. Palan removed his visor but didn’t retort.
“That was scary,” Cleo said and popped her head up from behind the couch. “I don’t like him.”
“He can’t be as scary as Palan,” Raea said and smiled at the lizardman.
Cleo shook her head. “He’s scarier,” she said and smiled at Palan while scratching her cheek. “No offense to you. There was something off about that man. Like he wasn’t right in the head.” A shiver ran down her spine, causing her tail to stiffen. “Like my papa’s second mate after he died.” Cleo puffed her cheeks up while frowning.
“Is that so?” Raea asked and furrowed her brow. She stared out the door. Ishim was already long gone, requesting a horse from the stables.
“What are you going to do now?” Palan asked.
“I’ll write a letter explaining the situation to my father. Though I may have been exiled from the capital, my words still hold weight because of my honesty,” Raea said as she stood up and dusted off her armor. “He will believe me about Anidun. If Captain Ishim is hiding something—like why he addresses Anidun with honorifics—then it will be investigated properly.”
“Then what am I supposed to do?”
“Stay by me of course,” Raea said and smiled as she tugged his arm. “Let’s go. I’ll teach you how to read and write since we don’t have anything to do until Captain Ishim assigns us something. I also have to write a written report of what we’ve accomplished too. It’ll be good experience for you to watch.”
Palan frowned. “I guess expanding my horizons wouldn’t be a bad idea,” he said as Raea dragged him out of the building.
“How did it go?” Owen asked as he approached the four. “We saw Captain Ishim storm out of there. He did not seem to be pleased. Did you tell him about Anidun?”
Raea nodded. “Captain Ishim used honorifics when he addressed Anidun,” she said and frowned. Owen’s face hardened. “I am going to write a letter to my father informing him about the situation.”
Owen turned towards Gerome. “Secure us a messenger pigeon,” he said. Gerome nodded and walked away. After he was out of earshot, Owen turned towards Raea. “Lieutenant Malak referred to Anidun with honorifics also. I suspect he had a subservient relationship with him, a very deep one. This may be more convoluted than it seems.”
“You spoke with Lieutenant Malak about Anidun?” Raea asked with wide eyes. “When was this?”
“That was not my intention at first,” he said and scratched his cheek. “I will tell you about it, but not here. Let’s go to your lodgings and settle down.”
“Alright,” Raea said and nodded. “I can include this in my report to my father too. If it is true that Anidun was recruiting subordinates here…”
“Then we can get merits for exposing it?” Cleo asked.
“That is certainly possible,” Raea said. “Captain Ishim ordered a gathering of his followers. Could they all be related to this?”