24 – Butting Heads
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“So...Morpheus has the memory of a goldfish.” Amara stated as they left to walk back to her chambers. 

“Rude! Insolent! How dare you compare my brother to a goldfish!” Ezme protested as her wings twitched.

“Well, I’m not wrong am I? Besides, I’m not exactly insulting his intelligence. If this was an anime, he’d totally be the skinny genius with thick round glasses. Basically he’s just lacking the glasses and he’d be all set to be a cliché supporting character.” Amara smiled wryly.

“Tsk. Maybe you’re right. You’re still rude though, Amara.” Ezme pouted.

“Maybe a little. But I’m still not as rude towards him as tow-” [Krrck!] “-Aow!” (Amara)

[Ding!]

Spoiler

Headbutting has reached level 3!

[collapse]

Upon rounding the corner Amara had walked straight into someone, and jerked her head back and held her nose. 

“Amara!” Ezme exclaimed and waved her fingers at Amara, who felt her nose pop back into place and the pain fading away.

“Thanks, Fluffles.” Amara looked to see who she had walked into. It was the one person she didn’t want to walk meet, who didn’t seem the slightest bit fazed at the collision. 

Well well. The Bitch makes her appearance.

Alarice’s narrowed eyes moved from Amara to Ezme. “Fluffles?”

“S-sister, that is…” Ezme began anxiously.

“Well, look who’s here - my least favourite person!” Amara exclaimed.

Alarice’s eyes turned towards Amara before they went back to Ezme. “You should quit wasting time with mortals. Especially those destined to die.”

“How creative. Don’t have anything new?” Amara said sarcastically.

Alarice turned to look at Amara. “Come again.”

“You angels always use the same insults. Like how mortals are stupid or lowly. You never come with anything new, do you?” (Amara)

Alarice let out a sigh. “I do not speak insults, merely facts. However, I suppose I can understand that your mortal mind would wish to hear insults that sparks one’s creativity, as your own are in complete lack of it.”

You…Bitch! And that’s still using the same type of insult!

Alarice turned back to Ezme. “Now, for what purpose would the mortal need to be outside her chambers?”

“W-we visited the Artifactor, sister.” Ezme explained.

“I see. I suppose the mortal might be curious, but a pointless endeavor nonetheless. You are under no obligation to help it satisfy its curiosity.” Alarice sighed.

“Hey, if I have to fight this war of yours for you, the least you angels can do is sate my curiosity, as it can help me in the fight.” Amara protested.

“Is that why you visited our brother? Because you feel that he owes you something? How pointless.” Alarice retorted as she looked at Amara.

Amara frowned. “Owes me something? No. Unlike someone, Morpheus is a decent person.”

“I see, so you’re still ignorant. I should’ve expected.” Alarice sighed as she turned back to Ezme. “Wrap up your dealings with the mortal. You’re being deployed to Biradol's domain again - as rearguard this time.”

“R-Rearguard?!” Ezme exclaimed before she saw the flash of anger in Alarice’s eyes and inclined her head. “Y-yes sister.”

Alarice went past them both and continued down the corridor.

Bitch. Take this! Appraisal!

Amara heard how Alarice snorted without changing pace before the avalanche of information came into her mind. This time however, the pain was far easier to deal with.

[Ding!]

Spoiler

Appraisal has reached level 8!

[collapse]

Either she went easier on me, or it was easier because Appraisal is leveling up. Think it was the latter though. And the appraisal result was the same as last time.

Ezme looked anxiously between Amara and Alarice as Amara watched the bright wings get smaller in the distance.

Amara suddenly had the urge to tease Ezme when she noticed the angel's look and smiled wryly. “I wasn’t admiring her wings if that’s what you thought.”

“Shut up! I didn’t think that!” Ezme exclaimed in anger.

“That’s good. I wouldn’t want you to misunderstand, Fluffles.” Amara grinned.

“Don’t call me that! Hmpf!” Ezme pouted and crossed her arms.

Amara thought for a moment. “I take it things aren’t going well if the angels are retreating. And from your response I take it being rearguard isn’t a pleasant task?”

“...It isn’t.” The angel responded dejectedly. “But I can understand why. I need the experience from it.”

“Doesn’t mean that you should let the Bitch walk all over you though, you know?” Amara frowned as looked at the angel.

“W-well...sister Alarice is...has...many things to keep in mind. And great responsibilities. She doesn’t have the time to play nice.” Ezme replied quietly.

“I don’t care. No matter what she has to deal with, you shouldn’t let yourself be dragged along her every whim.” Amara protested.

A smile grew on Ezme’s face. “Then I shouldn’t get dragged along your whims either, right?”

Hold up. Don’t try turning this around on me.

“My whims are different. Besides, you enjoy them just as much as I do.” Amara smiled wryly.

“Who said I enjoy them! Insufferable mortal!” Ezme pouted.

Amara grinned as they began walking again and a thought crossed her mind.

“What did she mean when she said I’m ignorant?” (Amara)

“That’s…” Ezme frowned anxiously. “I don’t know if you really want to know.”

Amara raised an eyebrow. “I certainly do now.”

“Well…” Ezme began before she sighed. “Morpheus is the one who suggested we use a mortal as a champion.”

Amara stopped as she felt conflicted by the sudden news that began undermining her opinion of him. Of course, the one angel that seems somewhat normal has to be the one that is the reason I’m in this mess. Typical.

But at least I don’t really have to deal with him. I didn’t even learn all that much this time when visiting the workshop, and he can’t grant me the knowledge required for enchanting. 

I’ll simply have to try and learn how to do it with mana and hope that the method for doing it with divine power is similar. 

I can think about this later. I should take the time to figure out what I need to ask Ezme before she leaves.

___________________

After getting back to Amara’s chambers, they began preparing for Ezme’s departure. The angel gave Amara advice and answered several questions that Amara needed to continue learning on her own, such as pointing out where the capital cities were in the world that Amara tapped for mana.

With that advice Amara would be able to snatch magical books and weapons to study while Ezme was gone. As there was no magic instructor for Amara, they both expected that it would keep Amara occupied for a long time.

Amara also asked regarding Ezme’s apparent inventory skill. Ezme explained that she had essentially created a separate dimension that was centered on herself, and simply brought the items out from there.

And Ezme showcased its capabilities, as the space around the angel temporarily distorted, after which she appeared fully equipped in a bulky set of dull silver armor.

Damn. It even has equip-item functionality. I certainly need to get this at some point!

 

When the time came to say goodbye, an awkward silence stood between them.

“...How long do you think you’ll be gone?” Amara eventually asked.

“I don’t know. It shouldn’t be that long. Maybe a year?” Ezme cocked her head.

A year?!

“A year is a short deployment for you?” (Amara)

“Well...it’s pretty standard I suppose. My longest deployment yet was for ten-or-so years. But even that was short compared to some of my siblings.” Ezme explained.

Damn

“Listen here, Fluffles. You better call me often, alright?” Amara said sternly.

Ezme blushed and pouted as she looked away. “Why would I do that?”

“If you don’t, I’ll simply call you. A lot.” Amara grinned. “If you wait too long, I might just accidentally leave my channel open while thinking about how-”

“Sheesh! I get it! I’ll call!” Ezme exclaimed.

“Good.” Amara nodded with a smile.

Silence sank between them again, before Amara walked up to Ezme and pulled her in for a hug. Ezme’s wings twitched as she resisted at first before she too wrapped her arms and wings around Amara.

“Don’t get hurt, okay?” Amara told the angel.

“No promises. But I’ll be careful.” Ezme responded before pulling away with a grin. “Don’t forget, I’m an angel. I won’t topple over that easily, unlike certain mortals.”

Amara’s eye twitched. “And whose fault was it that I toppled again?”

“I wasn’t talking about you. Mortal arrogance. Tsk.” Ezme smiled while clicking her tongue.

“Ahuh. Sure you weren’t.” Amara responded with a smile. “Now go out there and smash those demons.” 

I suck at goodbyes. Amara grinned as she looked at Ezme and stroked the feathers on her wings. “Go out there and teach those demons a lesson. And remember: be strong, graceful, confident. And never show weakness.”

“Of course.” Ezme smiled as she turned to leave. “I already possess those qualities. Don’t compare me with you, okay?”

Amara smiled. Ouch. You bitch.

 

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