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Stupid Risks

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“Take my hand, Sana. We’ll go tonight! Together!”

Sana was a good angel. Jeongyeon was a demon who liked taking risks.

Jeongyeon took one stupid risk.

--

What was the one rule of being the perfect angel? An upstanding member of the Academy of Angels?

Don’t interact with demons.

Sana never liked that rule. Found it too restrictive. Picked a stray feather out of one wing and listened anyway. It was a broken record at this point.

Don’t interact with demons. Don’t talk to demons. Don’t share eye contact with demons.

Their eyes carry venom that could poison you from afar!

‘Scientifically impossible,’ Sana had thought.

They can knock you down to the floor with a single push!

‘Demons may be powerful, but they’re not superhumans.’ Sana had thought. Because they weren’t.

They were much the same as angels, in terms of their origins. Humans that were injected with something that turned them into either an angel or a demon. Given wings and taught to fly. Took flight whenever they felt like it. Took flight whenever they were told to.

The older members given powers. The minimum age being 25.

‘See?’ Sana asked the same old lecturers in her head when she was given this same daily speech on angel protocol, ‘the demons at the academy can’t even do any of the stuff you’re saying!’

Oh! Don’t go outside of the gate! You might bump into someone who can!

‘Dickheads.’

Ah. Slap on the back of the wrist. Angels are good people with sweet mouths that can’t let out a single curse word. Even in their minds.

“Okay, everyone, now that you have been delivered your daily talk on the simple manners and rules of being a good angel, you may now go to your first class. Dismissed.”

One by one, the angels filed out of the hall. Sana hovered in the air and guided herself to her first class. Her friend, Tzuyu, caught up to her.

“Load of BS, that talk,” she whispered to Sana. Abbreviations of curse words hadn’t been discovered by every member of staff yet. One of the things that so called Internet creature had taught them.

Spawn of humans, of which you are not anymore, the head of the Academy had taught them.

“Yeah, don’t I know it,” Sana replied, glancing over at the younger girl who was clutching onto her textbooks.

“Textbooks”. Such an outdated, archaic term. Let’s call it something longer, A Book of Text to Further Learning.

Fuck that. Stick to textbooks.

“Nothing about it makes sense. I mean, the only demons we’ll have any chance of running into during the day are the ones from the Demon’s Institute.”

Demon’s Institute. The opposing school. Everything about it stunk to high heaven of trouble, which of course, inspired intrigue in Sana. Was it really full of trouble? Was it just like the Academy?

Sana guessed that she would never be able to work it out for herself. She’d only be able to read in extremely biased books in the library that only told her that the demons were evil people, and they would always be dangerous.

In the midst of thousand of pages of textbooks and history books telling her that demons were nothing but the worst, she just wanted to discover for herself what it would be like to meet a demon properly.

Not a quick glance at one from afar while the people from your same school told you to look askance at them.

Then, as she sat down at her desk, she recalled the story of the time another girl ran off with a demon. It made her shudder to think about. The couple didn’t get very far. They were the first couple who tried.

No one else did.

It made her shudder to think about. She stroked her wings delicately.

Shiver. Shiver. Shiver.

Shake the head. Rid the mind of such thoughts. Focus on class.

It was enough to push the story to the back of Sana’s mind. For the time being anyway.

--

Demon’s Institute. Every attempt to make it the scariest place imaginable seemed well justified to the people who put all their time and effort into it.

To Jeongyeon, she just stared at the large gates surrounding the Institute grounds and laughed to herself. Cackled almost. Everyone around her seemed to tease her.

You make too much of a mockery of the place for a demon.

Jeongyeon always rolled her eyes. Ignored them. Brushed it off her grey wings knowing she had something better to do.

It was already lunch. The young brown-haired woman sat by a window and drew little shapes in the dirt that the staff had no desire in cleaning from the glass.

A square. A circle. A triangle. A diamond. A pentagon. A hexagon. A--

“And what are you doing, Miss Yoo?” The sudden booming voice of the dean made Jeongyeon jump out of her skin.

“U-Um, nothing Miss, uh I-I’m just...bored.”

“Bored? Well you could always go and use the time that you’re spending bored doing something more productive! Now get to it, Yoo! Library! Now.”

The dean wasted no more time before she turned on her toes that were tucked neatly into a pair of court shoes and clomped away.

Jeongyeon rolled her eyes. Thought it was worth it to not fight. So she stood up and made her way to the library.

Already sat down at one of the tables when she entered was her best friend, Jihyo. She sat down beside her.

“Got told off by Nanny Court Heels again?” Jihyo mumbled loud enough so the older woman could hear. Her eyes stayed fixed on the notepad she was writing in.

Jeongyeon gasped sarcastically, “How did you know?” Jihyo lifted her head and gave the blonde a frankly unamused expression. Jeongyeon let the sarcasm go. “Yes, I did.”

“Hmm, what for now?” Jihyo turned back to her notepad.

“Drawing shapes on the dirty ass windows.”

Jihyo snorted. Then looked up. Scrunched her nose. “They are dirty as fuck, though, aren’t they?”

“Why do you think I get all artsy on them?”

Jihyo couldn’t help but laugh as she returned to writing in her book. Jeongyeon became increasingly interested. As if she wouldn’t.

“What you doing, Ji?”

Jihyo sat back in her chair and rested her pen on the open double-page spread. A big exhale left her lips. “Divination revision.”

“Ah.” Jeongyeon realised that she didn’t have much to do, so she stood up and began searching the aisles for a random book to read.

Every time she did, she found herself in the same section. History.

Alphabetical order. Jeongyeon didn’t have to search long. Angels.

Crossed out with the words ew simply written above it.

Jeongyeon turned her nose up. She couldn’t stand that kind of thing.

She grabbed one of the books on angels and brought it back to the table. Jihyo noticed in her peripheral vision and rolled her eyes. Jeongyeon saw.

“Uh, excuse me, got a problem?”

“You just... always read books on angels. You seem obsessed.”

“I’m curious.”

“Curious? Well, good luck on finding anything in one of those books that doesn’t imply that angels are the worst things on this planet.”

Jeongyeon hummed a little solemnly. But, she was thankful that there was at least one other person who recognised the obvious bias that all of their history books on angels had.

She opened the book anyway. Took in all of the information. Wondered how much of it was factual, and how much of it wasn’t.

Endeavoured to separate the truth from the lies.

--

It was another long day, and Sana couldn’t wait to return home.

On her flights home, the young angel always observed her surroundings. Drank them in like water. Like the only way to stay hydrated was to remind herself of the world around her should anything happen.

Things had become so different.

The ground beneath her feet was so damaged. There was no differentiation between what used to be a road and what used to be a patch of grass. Everything had merged into one. The sky had darkened over the years. Clouds were to be in the sky forever. There were frequent thunderstorms. Rain would sometimes fall. The sun was to never be seen again. You could only tell the difference between day and night by the lights that would turn on and off when the time was appropriate.

Sana could see the lights were still off. Still daytime.

Her wings carried her only so far, until she saw someone only a few metres away.

Someone who wasn’t flying, but had wings.

Grey wings.

A demon.

Sana stopped flying. Her feet rested firmly on the ground. She took note of her whereabouts.

There were too many people around.

But this was her one chance.

She would linger. She would hide. She would watch. She would wait.

Sana had found a good spot to hide out of sight of the demon.

She saw it was a young woman, much like herself. Probably a member of the Institute. Sana swallowed thickly. Watched closely, with caution, at how the demon kicked the stray stones across the ground. Kicked one so far it ended up near Sana’s feet.

Took a deep breath in. Took the leap. Stepped out. Kicked the stone back.

The demon saw the stone approach her. She looked up. Saw the white wings.

Saw Sana.

An angel.

The coast was clear. Their eyes seemed to speak to one another.

Jeongyeon kicked the stone back to Sana. Sana smiled widely as she did it a second time, stepping closer each time.

The rally continued until they were much closer.

Instinctively, once they realised, they backtracked.

But then, Jeongyeon thought, ‘fuck it,’ and stepped even closer.

Sana fumbled, “Wh-What are you doing?”

“Oh come on,” Jeongyeon replied with a huge smile, “we were having a nice game there!”

Blinking, Sana picked at her nails. Tugged at the bottom of her wings. Tried anything to get these nerves to go away.

“My name’s--”

“Stop! Whatever you do, just, stop…” Sana interjected. Couldn’t hear this demon’s name. Wanted to hear it so much.

Taken by the way the demon’s hair fell on her shoulders. Swallowed another lump in her throat. Couldn’t bear to think of anything else but the way the demon took her bottom lip between her teeth.

Another slap on the wrist. Sana was a good angel.

Demons may be expected to be evil, but they had rules to follow.

Jeongyeon shouldn’t have been admiring the angel’s pink hair. The way her eyes sparkled against the lights that had not long ago turned on. Knew that if her parents or the angel’s parents caught them standing so close to one another and talking now, they would be done for.

Sana quickly decided enough was enough. She shook her head violently.

“Sana. Minatozaki Sana.”

Jeongyeon blinked. Took a step back. Then stood up straight. Held out her hand.

They were breaking so many rules but, they didn’t care.

“Jeongyeon. Yoo Jeongyeon.”

Sana took her hand and shook it.

They had to figure out a plan.

Sana was a good angel, with a glint in her eye.

And Jeongyeon was a demon who liked to take risks.

--

An angel and a demon meeting in the first place was risky enough.

Continuing to meet meant the two of them were putting themselves in constant danger.

But they thrived on it.

Sana waited until her parents were out of town to have Jeongyeon visit her. It was a dangerous move, because her parents could track the scent of a demon anywhere, but Sana knew what to do to cover it up.

This was their sixth meeting, and it became very clear to the both of them (though neither were saying anything) that feelings were growing.

An angel and a demon? Meeting? Constant get togethers? Feelings?

Things that were all unheard of. And they knew that had to talk about that side of things.

But they didn’t want to. Loved living in the moment too much to think about future repercussions.

Jeongyeon let Sana rest her head on her shoulder as they sat talking about everything and nothing.

“What a surprise that everything written in the books we have about demons is complete bullshit,” Sana said.

“Yeah, no wonder we have books about angels filled to the brim with nothing but nonsense,” Jeongyeon replied.

It was calm. It was a peaceful few hours before Jeongyeon returned home.

Everything kept a secret. Everything kept under wraps. Scents masked by special mists.

They had this all under control.

--

Jeongyeon always liked to come to a secluded spot to be by herself. It was on the twelfth meeting they she decided to bring Sana with her.

Their feelings had grown beyond anything they could have ever possibly imagined.

Sana, once again, head on Jeongyeon’s shoulder, looked up into the night sky. The feathers of her’s and Jeongyeon’s wings swayed calmly in the breeze, and everything was tranquil.

“Sana…” Jeongyeon suddenly said.

“Hmm?”

“I like you.” Jeongyeon was never good with words.

Sana giggled. That giggle. “I like you too.”

“In the way I like you?” Jeongyeon gulped.

Sana lifted her head from Jeongyeon’s shoulder. Stared into her eyes. Then her lips. Then back into her eyes.

She knew she shouldn’t give in. Shouldn’t know how her lips tasted. Couldn’t help it.

She leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to Jeongyeon’s lips.

Nearby, someone could see.

Not just someone, two people.

Some scents couldn’t be masked.

And some friends had to betray.

--

They knew they were in love. Knew how strong it felt. How strong it was.

Sana was a good angel.

Jeongyeon took Sana’s hand as they flew at great speed through the back alleys. Or whatever the back alleys used to be.

Sana was a good angel.

Jeongyeon briefly stopped to make sure they had everything.

Sana was a good angel.

She let go of Jeongyeon’s hand. Let her feet touch the floor. Backed away.

Jeongyeon looked at her, confused.

Then knew exactly what she was thinking.

“No, Sana...please, don’t do this. We’re so close!” Jeongyeon let her own feet make contact with the ground. She stepped towards Sana.

Sana let a tear fall.

Sana was a good angel.

“Take my hand, Sana. We’ll go tonight! Together!”

The glint in Sana’s eye had gone. The boundary had already been crossed.

She knew there would be no going back.

“Sana, please I--”

“Halt!”

Lights began flashing. Sana saw red. Jeongyeon didn’t know what to do when she turned and saw people approach them.

Sana backed away. Knew this was her fault in the end.

“I’m...a good... angel…”

Jeongyeon turned to Sana. Tried to approach her.

The blame instantly fell on the angel’s shoulders.

The demon closed her eyes. Knew she would also be punished, but in a different way.

Sana was a good angel.

“I’m a good angel! I’m a good angel!” Sana pleaded. But it was no use. She dropped to her knees. Tried to crawl away. Was pulled back by her wings.

It hurt. It pained her. She cried out in fear. The tears streamed down her cheeks.

Her head snapped to a crying Jeongyeon.

Jeongyeon closed her eyes. Couldn’t watch it happen.

Knew that Jihyo was behind her, stood behind a taller person.

Sana looked ahead through blurry eyes and saw…

“Tzuyu.”

Some friends had to betray.

Some scents couldn’t be masked.

Some risks couldn’t be taken.

Some wings had to be cut off.

Sana’s piercing scream was the last thing that was heard.

Young Minatozaki Sana laid on the floor, unconscious.

Sana was once a good angel.

She wasn’t an angel anymore. She wasn’t even good.

She was simply Sana.

And Jeongyeon was nowhere to be found when she opened her eyes for the second time in her life.