Chapter Fifty: Home Again.
We started running under the sudden rain toward my apartment. "So, Anna, how long have I been gone? From what I know, time works sort of differently between the different worlds."
"Three days if you count the evening you left." She said. "Say, how did you know where to find me?"
"I was in the abyss and saw that James was all alone, so I focused on you instead before opening a rift."
"You can do that?" She seemed impressed, after all, I was still technically human, not full blooded celestial.
"It's actually really hard, plus I need to be covered in shadows, Dylan said something about them being a connection to the abyss between world, teleporting to other worlds isn't a cakewalk..."
"So... How long did you stay in hell?"
"There's not much of an indicator of time there, but I'd say half a year or so... It was why Dylan wanted me to come with him, we needed time to train. More than we have on here."
"Do you... trust him?" She asked, probably thinking I was nuts for doing so."And why do you call him Dylan instead of his true name?"
I shrugged. "He's been nice and truthful, he has his own reasons to help us and me in particular."
"But he's a demon..."
"That's one of the thing I learned down there, demons aren't cartoonish villains, many of them aren't really all that bad or different from us. Just not like all the angels are nice and noble. Most of them were humans at one point or another. As for Dylan, I don't know, it just feels more normal to call him like that and it's what he likes to be called."
"So, what was hell like?" She then asked with hesitation in her voice. She opened the door to my apartment and I went in first.
"It's sort of like one gigantic fraternity house, full of people partying and being idiots. It sure as hell doesn't look like the divine comedy's portrayal of it. The place does however attract destruction like a magnet; there are ruins, ashes and skeletons everywhere once you step out of the civilized areas. It can be creepy..."
I reached out for the door knob but someone on the other side opened it before I could. I looked back up and saw James, an odd mix of emotions on his face, it seemed like he wasn't sure whether to cry, smile or scream in joy. Instead he tackled me into a hug, almost tripping me down.
"Where were you? You had us worried sick, Amy!"
"You're choking me..." I meekly replied and he released his grip a tiny bit. "THank you..." I sighed out.
"What's that smell?" He asked, sniffing the air. "I can't place it but it's just odd..."
"That's the ambient ichor that fills the atmosphere of the lower worlds." I answered, he looked shocked. "Yeah, short version, I spent half a year in hell training with Dylan and some guys called the grigori."
"Why did you leave so suddenly?" He asked, closing the door just as Anna entered inside the house.
"Dylan thought you and Tom wouldn't have let me go with him. He wanted or rather needed me to see hell by my own eyes. I guess training was just a secondary objective."
"What does he want with you?" He asked, suspicious of Dylan's motivations.
"He wants me to take over my father's position and become the queen of hell so the Archons can be kept under check. Right now, Ahriman is leading a group of them to take over both hell and our world."
Next to me, Anna shrugged. "He isn't my father, he must be some big guy."
"Remember that warlock? He's the demon that he summoned into this world, Dylan's sure that he's going to move on us before the week's over, since we are pretty much the only thing standing in his way with the angels in the middle of a civil war and the demon police overcharged."
"You want us to fight an Archon? Are you out of your goddamn mind Amy? We can't just attack him and have the slightest hope of surviving, much less winning!" Anna declared, obviously not on board with the plan.
"It's that or wait to get cornered and taken out. It's too late to back out, Anna. You can run if you want, but it's not going to do much."