Palan turned his head towards Cleo while Raea looked away, her face flushed. The orange lizardman froze and took a slow step backwards. “W-what?” she asked and eyed the Danger Noodle approaching her. “Don’t let me ruin the mood. Just continue wha—, eep!” She dove to the side, but she was too slow and Danger Noodle swallowed her tail.
Raea stared at the bonfire that was starting to die down. “What should we do?” she asked, still not looking at Palan. “Find Elly? Go back? I’m not sure if I’m ready to do either.”
Palan shrugged as he dueled Cleo with Danger Noodle. “Do whatever you want,” he said. “When did you become so dependent on me?” He turned his head to stare at Raea. Her forehead was creased.
“Aren’t you a wisdom demon too?” Raea asked and pouted. “It wouldn’t be very smart of me to waste a resource like that.”
Palan snorted. “Let’s go back,” he said. “I need pants.” Cleo let out a yelp as she was swallowed whole by his tail. Palan and Raea stood up. Raea gathered her dry robes that she had hung up earlier and put them back on while Palan put out the fire. Cleo managed to claw her way back out of Danger Noodle’s mouth.
The trio proceeded back towards the outpost, following the upturned line of earth Elrith had left behind. They proceeded in silence until they were just outside the outpost. The gates were already being repaired by a few demons. Palan turned to Raea. “You know Ishim’s camp is towards the northeast, right?” he asked.
“No?” Raea replied and raised an eyebrow. “How do you know that and why does that matter?”
Palan shrugged. “Your brother went towards the northeast to look for you,” he said and continued towards the outpost gate. Raea didn’t follow, her mouth agape.
“We should’ve went after him!” Raea said after a moment and ran after Palan. She grabbed his arm and paused before lowering her head and letting go. Her eyebrows knit together as she raised her head. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“Forgot,” Palan said and yawned. He ignored Raea’s glare. “What could the three of us do against a whole army?”
“We could’ve stopped him from going,” she said. A small crowd was starting to form beside the gate, and Raea paused. She reached into her robe and pulled out the blindfold that Pyre had given her and put it on.
Palan raised an eyebrow. “Can you see?” he asked and waved his hand in front of her face. She smacked it aside and crossed her arms.
“I don’t know if you can call it seeing,” she said and inhaled through her nose. “Everything’s blue and red and flat. And orange.”
“Like a snake,” Palan said and nodded. “It looks like you won’t be completely hopeless in the future if this keeps up.” Raea frowned and walked past the broken gates. There was a slight smile on Palan’s lips as he followed her.
“Miss Caelum,” Michael said. He approached the two as they walked along the road. “Where is General Elrith?”
“General,” Raea said and saluted, her body slightly angled away from the bald angel. Her voice echoed through the outpost as she spoke. “I believe he is heading towards the enemy camp by himself, and I request for you to bring your men and go after him.” A few murmurs rose up around them.
Michael’s face darkened. “Going off to the enemy camp by himself?” he asked. “Explain yourself. You run out of the outpost without permission like a deserter and come back alone when Elrith chased after you. I’d be a fool to not feel suspicious.”
“I’m not lying,” Raea said and furrowed her brow. “There were … circumstances. But I swear I’m telling the truth! You have to send men after him or he’ll be in danger.”
Michael sighed. “Then let me ask you this,” he said. “Do you swear on your existence as an angel of kindness that you are not trying to work against me?”
“I swear,” Raea replied and nodded. Palan rubbed his chin. He wasn’t actually sure if Ishim’s army was still in the same spot as before.
“Alright,” Michael said and placed his hands on Raea’s shoulders. “I trust you.” He raised his head and shouted, his voice amplified by the wind, “To arms! We march immediately! Soldiers under General Elrith will temporarily be placed under me.”
The soldiers streamed out of the barracks and buildings, their armor clanking along with their lances. The demons at the gates stopped repairing the wooden structure and lined up next to their contractors. Michael turned to Raea. “You’ll be at the front with me,” he said.
“Can I put on some armor first?” Raea asked and turned her head to look at Palan. “He needs some clothes too.” Michael narrowed his eyes at Palan who crossed his arms and stood with his legs shoulder-width apart, staring back at Michael. The general sighed and nodded. Raea saluted and ran towards the elephants, tugging at Palan’s arm. His eyes widened as his stance was broken. He readjusted his feet and stood his ground, halting Raea. He realized why Elrith’s arm broke when Raea grabbed him.
Raea turned her head to look a Palan and tugged on his arm again. “Let’s go,” she said. “We don’t want them to be waiting for us. Is something wrong?”
Palan shook his head. “I was just thinking,” he said and recalled Elrith’s charge through the forest with his broken arm, “angels of patience really aren’t too patient.” He brushed off Raea’s hand and headed towards the elephants. “Is there even any armor that would fit on me?”
“Sure,” Raea said and nodded as they rummaged through the storage chests. “There are plenty of demons in the army of all shapes and sizes. There must be something.” After a bit of searching, they managed to locate pants that fit Palan’s body. His torso hadn’t changed much so it wasn’t difficult to acquire a cuirass for him. The two returned to the front of the army, their bodies armored. No one took notice of Cleo who stayed in the storage chest with gleaming eyes.