After an uneventful dinner, Raea returned to her room with Cleo and Palan, feeling slightly disturbed by the stares she had received. Palan immediately went to his bed and began to meditate, causing Raea to feel a sense of weakness as her chest glowed blue. “Palan,” Raea said and bit her lip.
“Are you also a … a lust demon?” Raea asked, her voice barely audible.
Palan didn’t respond.
“I’m not answering stupid questions,” Palan said and snorted.
Raea’s eyes widened. “So you are!?”
“How did you even come to that conclusion?” Palan asked and furrowed his brow. “I’m not.”
“But … you and Tara,” Raea said and scratched her head. “Weren’t you two going to … you know?”
Palan’s eyes narrowed as he ground his teeth together. “The only thing I want to do to Tara is kill her,” he said. His bed collapsed underneath his body as he accidentally channeled his power. Cleo let out a squeal as she was flattened against the mattress. She had been tracing the translucent wings on Palan’s back with her finger.
The door to their room flew open. “That’s not very nice of you to say, darling,” Tara said as she appeared in the doorway. “Are you throwing me away after using me? What happened to all the promises you made me before you climbed into my bed?”
“Shut up and die,” Palan said, spitting a tooth at her. It froze in midair before it could reach.
“Aren’t you two friends?” Raea asked, raising an eyebrow.
“With benefits,” Tara said and smiled as she sat down next to Palan, closing the door to the room with her power. “Isn’t that right?” Palan didn’t respond as he inhaled deeply and lowered his head to stare at his lap. “See?” Tara turned towards Raea. “He agrees.” She grabbed Cleo’s tail and pulled the lizardman to her chest before lying down and placing the back of her head on Palan’s lap.
“If you say so,” Raea said, glancing at a vein that was protruding from Palan’s forehead. Moments later, the door swung open. Uzziel stepped inside and froze when he saw Tara sleeping on Palan.
“Please,” Uzziel said and sighed. “Behave yourself.”
“You’re the one that didn’t knock,” Cleo said, her tail swishing.
“And even a halfling is lecturing me now,” Uzziel said and shook his head. “I didn’t sign up for this.”
“Did you need something?” Raea asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
Uzziel furrowed his brow. “I’m here to watch over you,” he said. “In case you decide to run away in the middle of the night, remember? And my demon seems quite attached to yours, so I’ll be staying by your side for longer.” He pulled up a chair and sat down. “Now let’s get some rest. We have to wake up early tomorrow to march.” Raea nodded and pulled her blanket over herself as she lay down to sleep.
The next morning, Raea sat up in bed and blinked a few times. Dark bags hung underneath her eyes. She turned her head towards Palan, who was still meditating. “Did you not sleep last night?” she asked. Her chest had glowed from the time she went to bed until now.
“I’d rather grow stronger than sleep,” Palan said as he cracked his neck and stood up, causing Tara to grumble and roll over after her head fell off his lap.
Raea frowned. “You have to take care of your body first,” she said. “What’s the meaning of strength if you destroy yourself in the process?”
Palan shrugged. “A missed day of sleep won’t kill me. Quit nagging.”
Raea sighed and shook her head. She glanced at Uzziel who was sleeping in his chair. “Did he fall asleep while watching over us?” she asked. “Maybe Tara influences him.” She poked Uzziel, causing his eyes to shoot open and his body to spasm.
“Wha—? I definitely wasn’t sleeping, sir!” Uzziel blinked a few times. He met Raea’s doubtful gaze and scratched his cheek while lowering his head. “What time is it?” He opened the door and walked towards the nearest window in the hallway. The first sun was just beginning to rise. He let out an exhale in relief and walked back towards the room. “I’ll wait outside for you to get changed,” he said, picking Tara up and carrying her out of the room. He stood by the side of the door, waiting for Palan to leave so he could close it.
Palan flicked Uzziel, easily launching him into the air before closing the door. “Interesting,” Palan said as a shout echoed through the door. He grinned before walking over to the drawer and equipping his gear.
Raea’s lips were slightly parted. “What did you do?” she asked as she rummaged through her closet. “You just flicked him and he flew so far away.”
“Apparently I unlocked my powers of pride,” Palan said as he donned a set of black armor. “I can make things I touch heavier or lighter.”
Raea smiled. “That’s great,” she said and finished putting on her armor. “Congratulations.”
The door burst open and Uzziel appeared with his face redder than usual. Palan plugged his ears before Uzziel could speak, causing the colonel to grit his teeth and glare at Palan. He conversed with Raea while making threatening gestures towards Palan before storming out of the room. Palan uncovered his ears and double checked his pouch.
“You’re really good at making people mad,” Raea said as she made her bed.
“Call it a talent,” Palan said and smirked.
“It’s not something you should be proud of,” Raea said and rolled her eyes as she approached the door. “Are you ready?”
“Yeah,” Palan said as he followed after her.
“I hope it doesn’t come to war,” Raea said and sighed as she shook her head, opening the door.
Palan remained silent as his eyes met Tara’s. He might not like her very much, but there was something he had to agree with. They were demons, and eating angels easily increased their powers. His heart pounded in his chest as he inhaled deeply, tasting the smells in the air. His pupils dilated as he smiled and cracked his fingers. He was looking forward to the ensuing bloodshed.