“Shadow Princess, the sun has risen and we head on toward Enfer.”
I open my eyes and see the loose form of Henki standing above me. “There’s no sun on the supernatural side.”
Daemon laughs and Wraith cracks a small smile.
“The sky grows brighter and we must head onward to Enfer and bring you closer to your journey’s end,” Henki amends. “Besides, the sooner we reach Gahenna, the sooner you can stay safe in your kingdom.”
“And the sooner thou can see how thy deceased lover is acclimating to his new life,” Daemon adds with a cheerful grin as he leads my horse over.
I slowly stand up and run my hands through my hair, taking it out of the ponytail. “Daemon, let’s agree that I’ll not talk about your love life if you don’t talk about mine.”
Daemon laughs again and holds my horse steady while I mount. “I have no love life, Princess.”
I roll my eyes and tap my horse’s ribs with my feet, sending her forward, toward the next set of portals. The others fall into step behind me. I keep my eyes forward, ignoring Wraith’s horse pulling even with mine.
“It cannot be easy for thee,” he says after a long and awkward silence.
“I thought the whole point of a journey to Gahenna was to be anything but easy. You don’t learn anything about yourself with things being easy,” I reply, keeping my eyes forward on the distant grey and black swirls on the horizon.
“I know that this journey is difficult. Tis why only those who prove themselves can enter Gahenna unscathed. I was talking about thy father’s decision about Ryan.”
I grit my teeth together. “I thought we agreed not to talk about it.”
“My brother agreed not to talk about it. I did no such thing. In fact, we have rarely agreed on anything,” he retorts.
“Why do you care?” I ask, finally looking at him.
Wraith shrugs, short pieces of his hair falling and framing his face. “Why art thou so defensive if he no longer means anything to thee?”
“Wraith, in the past few days, I have found out that my school nemesis is really my ghostly grandmother who has been stalking me for centuries to try and kill me to end my parents’ line because she hates humans. That same grandmother took my mom from me and is holding her captive in Gahenna. That same grandmother also seduced and killed my boyfriend, the boy that I grew up with and loved since I was twelve. This time last week, the closest my worlds ever got was when dad would talk to me about how stressful things were on the supernatural side, or how he was working on tying up loose ends on Earth so he could stay in his castle. And all within the past few days, my life has gone to hell. My family is being ripped apart, everything I’ve built myself upon is gone, and the only way to fix anything is by attempting a suicide mission to end the existence of one of the original fifteen ghosts!”
I pause a take a deep breath, trying to reign in the emotion from my sudden outburst. “So, please, forgive me if I seem defensive over anything regarding any of those subjects. They’re still a bit touchy when they’re this fresh.”
“I did not mean to rub salt into open wounds, Princess,” he replies slowly after a few seconds.
“The hell you didn’t. You’ve been pressing your suit with me ever since my dad sent you to be my babysitter,” I retort coldly.
“I was merely there to offer comfort in your time of need,” he says, his tone still even.
“Really? So when you kissed me in your basement, it was just you offering comfort?” I ask sarcastically.
“I believe that the kiss was mutual, Princess. That is something that takes two,” he retorts sharply.
“You kissed the Shadow Lord’s daughter?” Henki asks, surprised.
Daemon claps Wraith on the back. “Nice job, brother.”
I grit my teeth and bunch the reigns tight in my fist. “I was emotionally distraught and you took advantage of that,” I explain, shooting a glare at Wraith.
“That does not change the fact that thou feels some degree of affection for me.”
I pull on the reigns so hard that my horse turns completely around so I’m facing him. “Ever heard of a rebound, Wraith? You took advantage of my emotional wreck and because you were nice and sweet and so…you, I projected my feeling for Ryan onto you. But no matter what you think in that half-dead head of yours, whatever feelings you think I feel or felt for you will never compare to those that I still have for Ryan.”
The rest of my group stays silent after I finish speaking. Two ghost swallows chase each other in between the bones of Daemon’s horse.
“Come on, let’s keep going. I want to get through the other five districts as soon as possible,” I say, turning my horse back around.