It was a sunny day outside in central Tokyo, and Xana was having none of it. The dim lighting of her room which she preferred was already in jeopardy: the archangel Gabriel cast a faint light from her body which illuminated the room in a strange warmth, soft in color and tone yet somehow undeniable and almost imposing. It was the sort of light you couldn’t look away from, but that part, at least, was a welcome distraction to Xana.
She turned her head to look at Gabby, who was dabbing her brush in deep blue oil paint.
Gabby was humming an unfamiliar tune to herself and smiling, but otherwise seemed totally focused on painting. How unlike Xana herself, Xana thought, as per usual.
“Hey,” said Xana, breaking the silence, “why do we even need to use shitty paint, anyway? I’ve got a tablet right here.”
Gabriel did not look away from her painting, nor did her smile crack or fade, but she stopped humming to respond. “Language, Xana,” she said, in the dulcet tone of someone who knew how to give a real warning and currently was not. “Jeng Yun said he’ll need to borrow your tablet in an hour’s time; I have simply planned ahead.”
Setting her brush down, she turned to look back at Xana, folding her hands on her lap. “Moreover, humans — and we — did not always have the benefits provided by computers. Indeed, the very act of summoning my kind was far more complicated.”
Xana’s brush had already been two inches above the cup where it was meant to dry. She set it down. “I’d be more interested in hearing about that to be honest. I’m not painting right and I know it… so much harder to learn than my rotation.”
Gabriel laughed. Xana spoke as if she had no patience for anything, but the truth, as Gabriel saw it, was that Xana had already made up her mind about whether or not this would be fun a few minutes after they started. She had seen Xana’s ability to lead demons into battle, after all; it was not as if Xana developed no skills of her own.
But Gabriel obliged. “You have seen Arisa’s summoning circle. Thus, I do not need to explain the most basic parts of the process to you. Demons, by their nature, are wild, untamed things, and we angels abhor being called into this world for no reason. That summoning circle is so prone to accidents because it is complex; forming a contract with a demon is a sea of binding concepts that would trouble any lawman.”
Folding her legs, Xana put a finger to her lip, considering what Gabby said. “Hmm. So it’s like how you don’t have to go into the store to buy something if you shop with an app… our phones do a lot of it for us.”
Gabriel chuckled. “Precisely, I would say, although the demonologists of old would probably not appreciate your comparison. Now, if you truly have no interest in painting, what shall we do next?”