James rubbed his eyes. His wings were nearly drooping. It had been a long day.
He looked around him. His bedroom was always a comfort. He sank back into the plush pillows which he had just got up from. He stretched his arm in front of his face, examining his palm.
“What am I even doing?” he mumbled to himself. He hadn’t signed up for this in the first place. It was all his parents’ doing.
Meet James, a devil-in-training…. In his teens. His parents had been assistant devils, and they wanted him to carry on the legacy after they retired and their soul became one with the Head Devil. Having an angel in the family, even by accident, was a big shame which they couldn’t handle.
Tomorrow was supposed to be his midterm examination for being a professional devil. The task would be given out in the morning. He was feeling so nervous that his bed could break from all that shivering.
What if he didn’t do well? His marks would be deducted, right?
Then maybe all his friends would become devils, and he would have to train for seven more years.
He would be a disappointment.
His family name would be mocked.
In fact, he hadn’t even asked for this. All he wanted to do was live a normal life, and die peacefully. The only perk of being a devil was getting your soul mixed with the Head Devil’s. James did not need this. He did not want it. He was just- pushed.
The next morning thundered over him. He had to disintegrate an entire planet whose balance had been disrupted by drastic climate change.
As he grudgingly got ready for the mission, he mulled over the planet’s life. Why had the people been so stupid to invite over an apocalypse by not bothering about something as important as the weather? No, it was too puny for their swollen heads to consider, wasn’t it?
His scaly wings carried him all the way to the barren land of the planet. As soon as he landed, he found that all life had been wiped out.
Good. His task would be much easier now.
But he had spoken too soon. A deafening roar made him jump. He turned around, scared and chilled to the bone.
His eyes reflected pure terror at what he saw. It was a dinosaur- a T-Rex at that. He shut his eyes tight. ‘Tyrannosaurus’ basically suggested about that creature’s nature. ‘Rex’… meaning ‘the reigning king’. There was no further explanation to be sought after knowing the full meaning of that name.
He raised his hand and a smell of roaring embers filled the air. He had to kill it now to ensure his own survival.
But just as he was about to fire the strike, a cool breeze caught his attention. He whipped around. Blinding light was illuminating the charred earth of the planet. James covered his eyes to shield them from the glare. Where was this coming from?
A person… no… an angel?
What was an angel doing here? They did not have any business here!
Lush vegetation sprouted wherever the angel walked. Their soft wings were barely visible, but he could just make out that they were flapping wildly- as if with excitement. Soon, to his relief, the brilliance dimmed.
“DID THAT WORK? AWESOME! ESGFCVKJHGIUYFTDTYRSY-AAAARGH!” the angel yelled in triumph. However, all that excitement came to a pause when he found James glaring at him. “What?” he said defiantly. James rubbed his forehead in frustration. “You. Just. Got. In. The. Way. Of. My. Success.” he growled.
Now the angel was angry.
“I just saved your skin, you idiot!” he hissed. James raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Why would you save me? You guys ought not to save devils. We’re polar opposites.”
The angel looked surprised. “You’re a devil?” he asked. James nodded. “Don’t tell me you were too dumb to notice. Scaly wings? Where else would you find them?”
The innocent angel mumbled something about dragons, but then cleared his throat. “Ahem, I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself properly, Mr. Devil. I am Benjamin, an angel-in-training. I’m… not so pleased to meet you.”
James scanned Benjamin. He seemed too innocent for his own good. James could easily trick him and kill him and take his body back to Hell. He would surge to the first position in his class. But… it just felt wrong.
“…I’m James, devil-in-training. Dunno if I am pleased to meet you or not.”
Benjamin’s eyes practically glowed with a lot of happiness. “You can call me Ben!” he squeaked. He shook hands with James.
“How naïve can you get?” James muttered under his breath. Benjamin frowned. “I heard that!” he scolded him.
James chuckled. “You’re totally acting like a kid right now. Why don’t you just scoot before I fireball you and carry you away to Hell as a product of my assessment?”
“Oh!” Benjamin piped up, surprised. “You’re here for an assessment too?”
James nodded, his interest piqued. “So… I take it that your midterms are going on too. What’s your mission?”
Benjamin was now jumping up and down in excitement. “We have to do a good deed on an apocalyptic planet we are assigned,” he beamed. James rolled his eyes. It was such an easy task.
“Let’s make a deal,” he said. “You help me disintegrate this planet. You will also have passed the exam since you helped me,” he suggested. Sparkles flew out of Benjamin’s tingly hands. “Oooh, that’s so cool of you! Let’s do it now!”
And so both of them set to work. They took off from the surface and out of the atmosphere. James started on an explosion spell while Benjamin started handling all the souls on it which slowly started dying out. There were no humans left, and all the organism were fit to go to Heaven, since all were pure of heart. It was a fairly easy job once they collaborated, and it was done in no time. The planet silently exploded. The spot which had a huge mass once, now held debris.
“Whew,” Benjamin said, relieved and exhausted. “That was some job. I’m glad I could be of help.”
James nodded, and both of them stood there awkwardly. “So,” James began. “I don’t think I will be able to see you after this, Benjamin,” he sighed. There was something sad in his heart. What had this angel done to him?
“Please, call me Ben,” Benjamin said with a sweet smile. “And this won’t be the last time we meet. Once we become professionals, we are able to move about as we wish, right?”
Realization dawned over James. “Ah, yes…” he drawled. “We can… keep meeting up, then.”
“Nope,” Ben shook his head. “We’ll be friends. Really good friends.”
James smiled for the first time in a few years.
And thus two unlikely creatures parted, a promise binding them together.