Palan’s eyes narrowed as he stared at Elrith. “Let her go,” he said as his tail uncoiled from around his body. Its mouth opened and hissed at the angel, showing a pair of pointed fangs.
“Or what?” Elrith asked and raised an eyebrow. He stepped in front of Raea, blocking her from Palan’s view with his towershield held horizontally across his body. It still managed to cover the region between his shoulders and knees.
“Stop,” Raea said and tugged on Elrith’s arm. “He’s my demon.” Elrith’s brow furrowed, and he shrugged his arm out of Raea’s grasp.
“All the more reason for me to fight him,” Elrith said and took a step forward. “My baby sister can’t be contracted to a weakling.” Elrith straightened his shield and thumped the front with his left hand. “C’mon, you exhibitionist. Give me your best shot.”
“This is your brother?” Palan asked. His tail floated in the air behind him, like a snake extending itself from a tree trunk.
“Yes,” Raea said and tugged on Elrith’s arm, pulling him off balance. “Stop it!” Elrith tried to straighten his posture but found that he couldn’t resist Raea’s pull. A layer of earth wrapped around his leg and helped stabilize his body. His forehead creased when he realized his sister was physically stronger than he was.
“Rayray,” Elrith said and exhaled. “This is something I have to do as a brother. And he doesn’t seem to mind either. I won’t beat him up too badly, okay?” A heavy impact on his shield sent his body straight to the floor, ripping him out of Raea’s grasp. Palan’s tail rested on Elrith’s body, its tongue flickering.
“I guess absentmindedness runs in the family,” Palan said as his tail bit Elrith’s shield and dragged it towards his body. Elrith coughed and staggered to his feet, holding his right arm with his left. His right arm was bent the wrong way, a bone sticking out of his armor’s joint. “I guess I shouldn’t beat you up too badly since your Raea’s brother.”
“Don’t you have any honor?” Elrith asked, sweat pouring from his forehead as he gritted his teeth. He let out a shout and hundreds of glowing white chains flew out of his back, lunging towards Palan.
“Honor? Can that save your life?” Palan asked as he retreated backwards and circled around the chains, deflecting the ones that got too close with Elrith’s towershield that was still in his tail’s mouth. He ran until he appeared behind Raea and lifted her up, using her squealing body as a shield. Palan frowned as he retreated with her in his grasp, her body hanging underneath his arm like a sack. “You look different. And you got heavier.”
“Put me down!” Raea said as she raised her head to look away from Palan’s lower body. “And stop fighting with my brother!”
“He started it,” Palan said as he placed Raea down on one of Elrith’s chains. A moment later, he shattered the chain with his tail and picked Raea back up. “Make him stop first.”
“Elly!” Raea shouted. “Stop it! I won’t talk to you anymore if you don’t.” She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted, her body still being carried by Palan. The chains stopped moving as Elrith hesitated. After a moment of deliberation, the chains completely dispersed. The surrounding soldiers stared at Elrith with wide eyes.
One of them whispered, “The mini-tyrant gave the Tyrant orders. Does that make her the bigger tyrant?”
“Hush. They’ll hear you!”
“What’s with her eyes? Don’t they seem demonic?”
Raea’s lips trembled, but she didn’t say a word as she climbed out of Palan’s grasp. “Can’t you cover yourself up somehow?” she asked after peeking at his body.
“Pants don’t fit,” Palan said and partially wrapped his tail around his waist.
“And where have you been?” Raea asked, glaring at him with her hands on her hips. Palan stared into her serpentine eyes for a good five seconds before looking away. He frowned and scratched his neck. His torso and lower neck burned. “Don’t ignore me!” Raea said and stamped her foot, causing a series of cracks to form on the ground. The sound of a throat clearing drew her attention to the side. Elrith was standing next to the duo, staring daggers at Palan.
“Are you okay?” Raea asked as she grabbed her brother’s arm, healing him with her powers. The bone retreated into his skin with a scraping sound, and his skin knit itself together. “Apologize to him, Palan.”
Palan glanced at Elrith. “Your face irritates me; stop staring. Do you enjoy leering at naked men?” he asked.
“It’s hard not to stare when a pervert insists on exposing himself to everyone,” Elrith said and narrowed his eyes. “Do you enjoy prancing around like a floppy noodle?”
Palan smirked. “Raea seems to enjoy it,” he said. Elrith’s eyes widened, and a growling noise rumbled out from his throat. He took a step forward and swung his fist at Palan with his left hand.
“Palan!!!!” Raea shouted with her face flushed crimson. “Just shut up, okay!? Both of you, be quiet!” Her hands tightened around Elrith’s elbow, causing a series of cracking noises to ring through the air. Elrith winced and let out a scream as he took a step back, touching his elbow with his hand. His right arm dangled uselessly as his left palm became slick with blood. The surroundings instantly fell silent, including the soldiers who were murmuring while watching the show.
Raea released Elrith’s arm and took a step back, bringing her bloody hands to her chest, staining her white robe scarlet. Elrith stared at her, his face twisted with confusion. “No,” she said and shook her head, “I didn’t mean to do that.” Her brow furrowed as she took another step backwards. “No,” she said again and fell over onto her butt. Her legs pushed against the ground, distancing her from her brother. “Not again. Why does this always happen?” Tears formed in her eyes as she whirled around and ran away, leaving deep imprints in the ground with every step.
“Ray…,” Elrith said reaching out with his left hand but stopped himself. He bit his lower lip and hung his head. A purple fist collided with the side of his face, launching him into the ground. Elrith looked up just in time to see a glob of spit land on his cheek. His eyes narrowed, and he clenched his fists. He began to rise from the ground.
Palan’s face was expressionless as he spoke, “Some brother you are.” Elrith stopped midway and paused. Palan snorted and dashed after Raea. Elrith recalled Raea’s golden eyes and shivered before shaking his head. He slapped his cheek with his uninjured hand and scrambled to his feet, summoning a wave of earth to carry himself towards Palan and Raea. His broken arm hurt, but he gritted his teeth and stared straight ahead, ignoring the gazes of his soldiers as he flew past them.