“Why didn’t your chains work?” Palan asked Raea as Cleo clung to his leg. The angels in the room seemed uncertain as they took hesitant steps towards Palan. Unfortunately, neither he nor Raea were wearing their armor. A lance thrust towards Palan. He snorted, and Anidun’s dagger flashed across the angels’ vision, cutting off the tip of the lance. Palan edged towards the window while glaring at the angels standing across from him.
“Charity nullifies any ability within a certain range,” Raea said as she continued to hide behind Palan.
“So right now, you’re completely useless,” Palan said as he fended off another attack.
“Even now, you can find time to insult me?”
“Why are you buffoons hesitating!?” Ishim roared. “Charge them all at once.” He kicked the back of an angel in front of him, causing the fellow to tumble forward. Palan furrowed his brow as all the angels took a step forward in unison. He turned around and hugged Raea to his chest with his left arm before defenestrating himself, going back first.
Cleo screamed and closed her eyes as the glass shattered, wrapping herself even tighter on Palan’s leg, her tail curling around his calf multiple times. Palan winced as glass shards dug into his back, but he scrambled to his feet—still holding onto Raea—and dashed past the stunned crowd.
“Warn me the next time you decide to do something crazy like jumping through a window?” Raea asked and frowned as she freed one of her hands and picked glass shards out of Palan’s hair. She pursed her lips when she saw multiple cuts on Palan’s arms and back. Her hand glowed white as she closed her eyes and touched his shoulder. Fragments of glass were forced out of his body as his wounds wriggled and closed. Palan increased his speed and headed in a straight line towards the towering outpost wall. A horde of angels chased them from behind, shouting at them to stop.
An angel walked out of an alley in front of Palan, staring up at the sky, completely oblivious to the chase happening. Palan released Raea, causing her to wrap her arms around his neck and legs around his waist in order to not fall, and grabbed the bystander by the collar of his shirt. Before the unfortunate soul could react, Palan swung his arm upwards, causing the man to scream as he was tossed straight up into the air. He flailed his arms and legs before landing on top of the pursuing crowd of angels.
“That wasn’t very nice,” Cleo said as she turned her head to watch the angels stumble behind them. Her vision bobbed up and down as Palan’s legs moved.
“You’re next if you keep talking,” Palan said, eyes focused on the wall ahead. Cleo’s cheeks puffed up as she shut her mouth and stared at the approaching wall. Palan leapt into the air and sank his dagger into the wall horizontally. He braced himself with his feet, slightly bending his knees to reduce the impact. He punched the wooden wall with his left hand, causing it to splinter as a hole was formed. Supporting himself with his left hand, he pulled the dagger out of the wall and stabbed it above. He climbed up the wall in this manner, ignoring the approaching crowd of angels. A few fireballs were directed at him, but Raea deflected them with her glowing chains as she clung onto Palan, her chin resting on his shoulder.
One corner of Raea’s lips turned upwards. “See? I’m not completely useLESS?!” She shrieked in concert with Cleo as Palan jumped off the top of the wall. Cleo whimpered as the impact with the ground ran through her body.
“That hurt,” she said with tears forming in her eyes, digging her claws into Palan’s thighs.
“Raea can heal you,” Palan said, not looking down as he started to sprint away from the outpost into the surrounding forest.
“Warn me!” Raea said in a voice similar to a banshee’s. She took in a deep breath. “Didn’t I tell you to warn me when you were going to do something crazy?”
“Was that crazy?” Palan asked. The surroundings darkened as the trees blocked out the sun. “It’s fine as long as no one dies, right?”
“No!” Raea sighed when Palan chose not to respond. “How long are you planning to run for?”
“Until I can’t smell the outpost anymore,” Palan said. “Or when I reach that stupid wolf. I can smell it nearby.”
“How do you know it’s EV and not some other wolf?” Cleo asked.
“Cause this wolf smells like a lizardman farted on it.”
Cleo pouted. “It was only once or twice … a day.”
The group fell silent as Palan continued deeper into the forest. He eventually made it to where Emergency Victuals was hunting, startling the prey. The dire wolf didn’t seem to mind when it saw that it was Palan who scared away its meal. Palan stopped moving and said, “Get off of me.”
Raea released herself and stretched while Cleo let go of Palan’s leg, looking slightly guilty at the puncture wounds in his thigh. Raea frowned as she looked at the trail that Palan left when he entered the forest. “I hope Owen, Carmella, and Gerome are unharmed,” she said. “Is Captain Ishim trying to continue the coup that Anidun started a decade ago?”
“You’re still calling him captain?” Palan asked and snorted as he lay down on the grass and sprawled out his limbs.
Raea’s lips slanted into a crooked smile. She smoothed out her hair. “I wonder if we’re still counted as deserters?”
Palan shrugged. “I don’t know how your inane laws work. You should just meet up with the Stormbringer and tell him the situation. He did bring an army as a just in case.”
“You’re right,” Raea said and nodded. “The letter said that the army was coming by foot from the second sector. It should take around another week before they arrive here. For now, we should head towards the checkpoint and wait for their arrival.”
“Where’s the checkpoint?”
“To the northeast,” Raea said. “As long as we head in a straight line, we’ll hit the wall. Then we can ask the patrols where the Stormbringer is entering from.”
Palan nodded. “I want to see these checkpoints for myself,” he said. His eyes narrowed as he stared up at the sky, the cool ground relaxing the muscles in his back. His eyes shifted towards Raea who was busy healing Cleo. She noticed his gaze and smiled at him.
“Nothing.” Palan stared up at the sky again. He wanted to see if the checkpoints were as impermeable as Raea made them out to be.