Chapter 96

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“Why do you want to know how to make contract papers?” Raea asked and furrowed her brow.

Palan ignored the glares Tuic was sending him. “To make contracts,” Palan said.

Raea sighed. “Let me rephrase that,” she said and pursed her lips. “Why do you want to form contracts? You can’t form a binding contract with another angel since you have me, you know?” Tuic made a face and looked at Raea.

“Just tell me,” Palan said and snorted. The army proceeded deeper into the forest, following Elrith’s tracks. They approached the river where Palan found Raea.

“Alright,” Raea said as she leaned over and whispered. Her warm breath tickled his ear, sending a shiver down his spine.

“That simple?” Palan asked. Raea readjusted her posture.

“Mhm. You can’t tell anyone else though,” she said. Palan nodded and rubbed his chin before glancing around.

Tuic frowned as he looked at Raea and placed his hand on her shoulder, drawing her attention. Raea stiffened. “Should you really have followed his demands and told him?” he asked.

“I trust him,” Raea said and nudged Tuic’s hand away. She stared at him with her serpentine eyes. Tuic shivered and retracted his hand. He shut his mouth and stared straight ahead, his gaze following the path Elrith left behind. Elrith had traveled in a straight line, overturning boulders and felling trees that were in his way.

Raea turned her attention towards Palan. He was rummaging through his bag with a frown on his face. “Are you looking for something?” she asked.

“Stones,” Palan said and pulled out a small pouch. He opened it and found three yellow crystals. “I had a lot mo—.” His eyes narrowed. “Where’s Cleo?”

“She’s right … here?” Raea furrowed her brow as she looked around. “She’s so unnoticeable that I didn’t realize she was gone.” Raea lowered her head and scratched it.

Faint sounds of metal clashing rang through the forest over the footsteps of the army. Raea raised her head. “That must be Elly!” she said. “Faster!”

“Full speed ahead!” Tuic shouted. A unified grunt sounded out from the army as they broke into a run. Their formation was undisturbed as everyone traveled at roughly the same speed. The sounds of clashing metal grew louder. Raea’s face paled as the army reached the top of a hill overlooking Ishim’s camp. The wall of impaled heads had turned into a wall of skulls, the flesh having been picked clean by crows. A single path of earth could be seen leading straight to the center of the camp.

“That’s the general!” Tuic shouted as his eyes focused on a red figure that was surrounded by all kinds of halflings. “Sweep through them! Pierce straight through; demons lead the charge!” The angels dismounted as the demons gathered towards the front of the army. Tuic glared at Palan who hadn’t moved. “That includes you.”

Raea opened her mouth, but Palan spoke before she could. “Piss off,” he said and snorted. “I’m not part of your army.”

Tuic’s face darkened. He turned his head away from Palan and shouted, “Charge!”

The demons were silent as they ran down the hill, heading towards the camp. The bigger demons with bulging muscles and heavy armor led the way. Some demons had flames surrounding their bodies. Others had greenish-black mist coming out of their mouth. Weapons floated in the air above some of their heads, while others hands were glowing. As soon as they stepped past the line of skulls, the powers surrounding their bodies disappeared, causing the angels faces to fall.

“It’s Solra again,” Tuic said and frowned as he continued to run behind the mass of demons. “Powers are useless; focus on the basics,” he shouted and lowered his voice. “I’ll protect you, Miss Caelum.” He glanced to the side, expecting to see Raea running alongside him. She wasn’t there.

Palan stood at the top of the hill, looking down on charging army. Raea floated in the air next to him, her body constricted by Danger Noodle. One of Palan’s hands covered her mouth. She bit him, but he didn’t even flinch as he continued to stare at the moving army. “Stop struggling,” Palan said. “Why do you want to go down there? Can you even kill someone who’s in your way?” Ishim’s halfling soldiers who were surrounding Elrith reacted to the impending charge and created a V-shaped formation with a bunch of goblins and lizardmen in the front. He saw a familiar looking angel fighting alone against Elrith.

Raea’s body stopped squirming, and she stopped biting the finger that was in her mouth. Palan turned his head to look at her. “You’re not going to order me, right?” A warm breath rushed through his fingers as Raea sighed and nodded. He withdrew his hand. Elrith’s army collided with Ishim’s, the charging demons were halted by an invisible wall, the ones at the front turning into a bloody paste. The invisible wall disappeared a second after it was formed, and the halflings charged forward, stabbing with their lances. Arrows rained down on Elrith’s army as centaurs fired their bows from behind the formation. Palan looked up and saw a blue figure with four black wings flying in the air.

Raea furrowed her brow. “They’ll win, right?” she asked. She glanced at Palan. “Can you let me down?” Danger Noodle relaxed its grip, causing Raea to fall to the floor with a yelp. Palan shrugged.

“It looks like they’re winning?” Palan said and raised an eyebrow. Raea squinted her eyes and shielded them from the sun with her hand. All the goblins and lizardmen were wearing blue armor, and their lance tips were red. Raea’s face fell as the two armies fought. The two formations acted like a giant meat grinder, causing blood to spurt from angels and halflings alike. The demons were doing much better, making steady progress through the mob towards Elrith.

“Why aren’t they using their powers?” Raea asked and clenched her hands. She pressed her lips together until they became white.

“Ishim’s army has an archangel of charity,” Palan said as he watched Madison swoop down to harass the demons. There were no signs of her giant hammer.

“What’s going on?” a high-pitched voice asked from behind Palan and Raea. Raea jumped and turned around. Cleo was staring at them with her head tilted to the side. There were an additional seven leather bags hanging on her belt.

“Nothing much,” Palan said as Danger Noodle swallowed Cleo. Moments later, it spat her out sans bags.

“My stuff!” Cleo said as she wiped the slime off of her body. “Give it back!”

“Interest for stealing from me,” Palan said as stuck his hand down Danger Noodle’s throat and rummaged around. He nodded as he opened a bag full of essence crystals.

Raea gasped. “That’s Owen!” she shouted. “Why is he fighting Elly?”

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