51 – The Name of The Game, Part II
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“...Is it really necessary for them to go into such detail?” Amara asked.

“Well, it's to prevent any loopholes.” Ezme replied with a sigh. “After all, to kill all life on Teyrin would be difficult. The armistice would more or less continue indefinitely otherwise, even if the demon lord beats you.”

Realizing what she had just said, Ezme quickly added. “N-not that I think you’ll lose! Of course, I think you will win!”

Amara sighed with a smile. “I guess.” 

Reading through the advanced details of the armistice was indeed as boring as Ezme had made them out to be. But Amara knew that she couldn’t take chances and ignore them, in the event there was something useful hidden among them.

The rules they had just been reading were regarding the victory conditions. The pamphlet Amara had received before stated that victory was achieved when all hostiles were dead, and their current discussion related to what was and wasn’t to be considered hostiles. 

Mostly the rules were in place to prevent either side to declare life forms such as microbial life as their combatants, as they would continue to exist to some extent regardless of who won the battle. As such, the rules limited those involved to souls that were ‘sentient beings that have the potential during their lives, to achieve a level of intelligence to recognize the conflict and its purpose’. 

And the rules seemed to go on endlessly as to the meanings of ‘sentient’, ‘level of intelligence’ and ‘recognize’, amongst others.

This really is boring. 

Amara had been confused when she came to the living room after her bath and spotted the large pile of papers on the table. Once Ezme explained what it was and they started going through them, Amara could only feel gratitude - and shame for getting annoyed at the angel for the possibility of missing something important.

She really managed to filter out a lot of stuff and give me the crucial details of the armistice out of all this. I can’t even blame her if she missed a few important things.

“Doesn’t all this simply imply that none of the animals and such are considered participants of the war?” Amara asked.

“Indeed.” Ezme nodded.

Amara sighed. “Then I think we can skip through this. I’ll go through it in more detail later.”

“Okidoki!” Ezme chirped and grabbed the pile of papers from Amara’s hands, of which she still hadn’t read dozens of pages. After the angel browsed through the top of the remaining pile, she picked up a handful and handed them to Amara. “Next is about the mouthpiece.”

Mouthpiece, huh? This might be interesting.

I think what I’ve been told so far is rather vague. I only know that I'm limited to having one mouthpiece, which has to be on Teyrin.

“Amara.” Ezme interrupted her thoughts as she was about to start reading.

“Yes?” Amara asked as she looked up from the pages.

“I think you know this, but your mouthpiece will be crucial for your war effort. The moment you select one, the mortals in your domain will flock to it for answers.” Ezme explained seriously. “At that time, you should have a plan figured out. Everything from how to introduce yourself, to what your short and long term goals are. And what the mortals should do to help you achieve them.”

Ezme paused and considered for a while before she continued. “As such, you shouldn’t be hasty with choosing a mouthpiece. If you don’t have a clear plan of action, they won’t listen to you. So take your time to plan that out before you choose a mouthpiece. But don’t wait too long either, as the mortals will need time to prepare as well.”

I suppose that’s true. 

I should consider what might happen if I suddenly give the people in my domain knowledge from Earth. It wouldn’t be a bad assumption that it could turn the power balances on its head, once they move from dependency on magical items to purely technological ones. The economy will likely change greatly as well.

It would likely be fair to expect it to be an industrial revolution. At least I can use Earth’s history as reference for what to look out for.

Amara nodded after considering. “I’ll keep that in mind.” 

“You better!” Ezme pouted and crossed her arms as she turned away. 

Amara smiled wryly as she turned her eyes to the pages.

Reading through the details concerning restrictions about the mouthpiece, she found that a lot of them were in regard to what extent they could be changed with divine power. Although she knew that all those restrictions should already be implemented in the skill she was granted, Amara was curious about how it worked. But in the end she found no further restrictions.

“Hey, Fluffles...doesn’t this mean that the mouthpiece is allowed to travel to other worlds in my domain? And that it doesn’t have to be someone from Teyrin, as long as they are on Teyrin when I make them a mouthpiece?” Amara asked as she gestured with the pages in her hand. 

Ezme was nibbling on a biscuit and turned to look at her with a tilted head as she considered. Amara couldn’t stop her lips from curving. Adorable.

Ezme put down the biscuit as she spoke.  “You’re right, the mouthpiece shouldn’t have any such restrictions. But you should probably keep the mouthpiece on Teyrin.”

Amara raised her eyebrow. “Why?” 

“Well, Teyrin is the most important of your worlds right now. And the mouthpiece is your only line of communication with the mortals.” Ezme explained. “If you want mortals to spread your word to worlds other than Teyrin, it’s best to leave that task to others. It’s better not to keep all your eggs in one basket.”

That might be true. But if I can give the mouthpiece copies of my abilities, then maybe they could use Realm Gate to travel on their own...

Amara considered for a while. “Any suggestions for how I should choose a mouthpiece?” 

Ezme shrugged. “Pick someone unimportant. Someone that is faithful, but not a fanatic I suppose.”

Amara smiled wryly. “What’s wrong with fanatics?” 

The angel glared at her. “You really want someone who’s obsessed with you to be the one you have to go through every time you want to talk with the mortals? You’ll spend more time trying to answer pointless questions rather than talk about what actually matters.” 

Amara chuckled in amusement. “Maybe not.”

Silence ensued for a while before a thought crossed Amara’s mind. “Do angels have mouthpieces as well?”

Ezme nodded. “Sometimes. It’s rare, but when we need to stay in contact with the mortals in our domain, we might do so. Choosing a mouthpiece makes them easy to find and contact. Very useful when issuing orders to the mortals while in the middle of a battle.”

Sounds a bit like a quick-call function. Or like having them on a contact list, rather than looking for people in the yellow pages. Amara looked at the angel curiously. “Do you have a mouthpiece?”

Ezme was silent for a while before she answered. “...Not at the moment.”

Amara watched Ezme’s dejected expression when she replied and realized the subject might be a sore spot for her. “...What about in the past?” 

Ezme nodded without answering, making Amara’s suspicions grow stronger. She reached out and stroked the angel's feathers. “Seems like it didn’t end well.”

When Ezme didn’t answer, Amara pulled the angel in for a warm hug. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

Ezme shook her head. “You should know the risks.”

“Alright.” Amara held Ezme’s frame while she waited for her to speak.

Eventually Ezme spoke quietly. “Making someone your mouthpiece is dangerous. Mortals aren’t meant to hold divine power, so...if you aren’t careful, it can be lethal.”

Ah. I think the skill actually said something like that when I got it.

“I was careless when I chose my first mouthpiece.” Ezme drew a shuddered breath. “So you should hold back when you choose yours. Don’t try to make your mouthpiece powerful or anything. The more divine power you try to infuse into a mortal the higher the risks. The purpose of the mouthpiece is to serve as your contact, not anything else.”

Ezme was silent for a while before she continued. “So you shouldn’t choose a mortal that is important to you as mouthpiece. Even better if the mortal isn't important to society either, like a king or something equivalent where the mortal's sudden disappearance would cause a power vacuum.”

Amara patted her back as she replied. “Alright.”

They hugged in silence for a while before Ezme spoke up. “The other mouthpiece I had...let her position go to her head. She was already a bit fanatical at first, but after I chose her…”

Ezme drew a shuddered breath before she continued. “I had to disavow her publicly. She ended up taking her own life later on.”

Amara held her tighter. “It’s not your fault.”

Ezme shook her head. “I chose her because I was selfish.”

Selfish?

As the realization dawned on her, Amara suddenly felt displeased.

Well, well. Look at you, Fluffles.

When she glanced at the dejected angel in her arms, she knew that she should cheer her up. But she couldn’t ignore her murky feelings either. 

“Seems like you’re quite the vixen, Fluffles.” Amara teased her. 

Ezme leaned away and looked at her as she exclaimed. “I’m not!”

“Oh really?” Amara smiled wryly. “Here I thought I was your first girlfriend, but in the end there were two before me that you liked. Maybe even more? And here you are pretending to be innocent.”

Ezme blushed slightly as she exclaimed. “You’re my first girlfriend!”

“Oh?” Amara teased her with a raised eyebrow. “Then how far did you go with them?” 

The angel’s face grew redder as she exclaimed. “W-what are you saying!” 

Amara watched Ezme's embarrassed expression as she recalled what the angel had said after they had kissed in the past.

I was her first kiss. Right.

She's clearly far too innocent to have any experience. Even if she liked someone, they didn't do anything.

Feeling a little better, Amara's lips curved upwards.

“What’s with that smirk! You’re being shameless!” Ezme howled at her.

Amara smiled as she leaned back and raised her hands. “Sorry.” 

“Hmpf.” Ezme crossed her arms and pouted while she continued glaring.

Although Amara knew she likely wouldn't like the answer, she couldn't help but ask. "Did you like your mouthpieces?"

As the red hue on her cheeks faded, an amused smile grew on the angel’s face. “Could it be that you're jealous?”

Jealous? Me? 

Amara snorted. “No. I'm not jealous.”

“Oh?” Ezme smiled wryly as she looked at her. “Then why are you asking if I liked them, and how far I've gone with them?”

Amara’s lips twisted as she considered. Am I really being jealous?

“I see. I see.” Ezme said in an amused tone as she leaned closer with a playful smile. “So that’s what it is.”

“I'm not jealous.” Amara blurted out as she started feeling embarrassed. 

“Sure, sure.” Ezme teased and put her hand on Amara’s neck as she closed in. "You don't need to worry. I like you more than I've liked anyone else."

Amara quickly brought on her determination before their lips met.

Don't think I don't know what you're doing, Fluffles. I won’t let you win this time.

Their battle for superiority ensued, where both attempted to make the other fazed. However, Amara could feel how Ezme’s lips were always curved into a smile as they kissed, making her realize that victory was out of her reach from the beginning. The best she could do was hold out and hope for a draw, but the angel seemed to have no intention of relenting.

“Ahem!” (?)

The sudden cough broke off their lips from one another, as they both turned to look at the lanky, maroon haired angel who had entered through the alcove. 

“Could I have any more of the...cough-ee? That you offered me last time?” Morpheus asked, scratching the back of his head with his hand while holding a familiar basket in the other as he looked at them with embarrassment. 

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