Since the meeting with my dad, only Henki and Daemon have been talkative. Wraith’s jaw is still locked in pensive silence, while I continue to watch the ground pass in between the ribs of my skeleton horse. Oddly enough, the rhythmic sound of the horses’ bones softly clinking together helps to calm my racing thoughts. It reminds me of when I was still a toddler. My mother made a mobile out of differently shaped bones and had it hung above my bed. When the cold air would blow through the palace, the bones would gently clink together. That sound lulled me to sleep many different times after many different nightmares. A tear falls from my chin onto the rib of my horse. I quickly wipe it away, hoping that no one else in our party notices.
“A pence for thy thoughts, Shadow Princess,” Daemon says, nudging his horse to match the pace of mine.
“My thoughts are worth more than a ‘pence.’” I reply coldly. I sense Wraith tense up beside me.
“Alright. A kingdom for thy thoughts then,” he replies, a smile on his face.
I sigh and look ahead, the grey mountains still seeming impossibly far away. “Ryan should have stayed in the Shadow District.”
“Is it wrong for the boy to love thee enough to try?” he asks gently. This isn’t like the Daemon Wraith told me about.
I shake my head. “It’s more complicated than that. Ryan has always been kept separate from this life. Now that he’s here, I’m not sure where everything fits together.”
Daemon nods thoughtfully, his long, dark hair bobbing with the motion. “Strange. I thought that relationships were easier to fit together when there were no secrets.”
“That’s what I used to think,” I reply with a deep breath. “But I always wanted to be the one to tell him about all of this. I didn’t want him to find out through someone else, or to find out by dying.”
“Mayhap thee should question why thy father told him,” he says after a slight pause. “Nothing thy father does is without reason. Mayhap there is hope for thy love beyond death.”
I see Wraith’s jaw tense even more and a look of hurt quickly flash across his face.
“But I wonder why thy feelings seem to have changed so much. Did thou not love Ryan?”
I choke back a sob. “That’s the problem. I thought I did.”
“But then thee was attracted to another,” Daemon finishes for me, casting a slight glance at his brother. “Does thou wish to know what I think?”
I shrug. “You’ll tell me whether or not I want you to.”
He laughs, the sound echoing loudly around the valley. “I say to stay away from love completely. It only seems to lead to complications and hardship,” he replies cynically. “Did my brother ever tell thee of his lovely Angelica?”
“Why?” I ask, curious despite myself.
Daemon casts another glance at Wraith. “She too could not decide between two loves. She allowed them both to woo her, so that she could see which one she loved more.”
“What happened?” I ask. This is different than the story that Wraith told me.
“She lost us both,” Wraith replies in a cold tone. “I believe that when she realized that Daemon and I were both not fully human, she begged us both to kill her so she could stay with one of us forever.”
My eyes triple in size. “She was stuck between you two?” I ask incredulously. I mean, I can see why she would be. Both Wraith and Daemon are extremely attractive, with the dark hair, sparkling eyes, and air of mystery. The main difference between the brothers is that Wraith is more reserved, whereas Daemon does all things passionately, from what I can remember.
“She came to me on the night that she found out,” Daemon says softly. “She was entranced. She begged for me to end her life so she could be with me forever. I was young and prideful, and I scorned her.”
“As did I,” Wraith adds, his voice slowly beginning to lose some of the steel. “I was devastated that she also loved my brother. I wish that I had not done so.”
Daemon nods in agreement. “Angelica took her life that night. She thought that the means of her death did not matter, that as long as she was dead, she could still remain with both of us.”
Wraith’s green eyes glisten with unshed tears. “I was the one that found her. I had returned to her home that night to apologize and to explain what would happen after she died. When I found her corpse, I returned to the supernatural side and tried to save her before she joined the Throne of Souls. But thy father was waiting for me, and thy mother. They took me back to the palace and made sure that I did not give into my grief and join Angelica there.”
Daemon looks at his brother, sadness in his eyes. “I lashed out, instead of withdrawing into myself. I truly loved Angelica. When I heard of her suicide, I began haunting her family. All she ever wanted was to escape. We had the means to give it to her, and we both denied her.”
“The famous Daemon, the Eidolon that many human horror movies and legends are based on, tortured, possessed, and killed, simply over heartache of a dead girl?” Henki asks, speaking up for the first time.
Henki snorts derisively. “Listen to me, Princess. Avoid all affairs of the heart. We’re all dead, after all. What good does love do when you’re dead?”
We continue to ride on in silence, only the clinking bones of our horses breaking the still air. Henki’s question echoes in my mind. What good does love do when you’re dead?