“Brother, Nikki is not Angelica,” I hear Daemon saying softly. “She does not need the coddling that thou wishes to give to her. Nikki is like a tigress, she merely needs to sharpen her claws a bit more before she can fully take care of herself. Thou always told me to let go of the past and to move on, and now I give the same advice to you. Nikki is an Eidolon, already half dead. Because she already has access to our world, she will not kill herself to join us here. Stop trying to correct thy past mistakes with a woman of the future. There is nothing that we can do to change the past, we can only forge ahead a new path.”
“I do not know how to handle a woman that can take care of herself, Daemon. Angelica always relied on me for everything,” Wraith confesses.
“I know. But Nikki also does not love thee, as hard as that is to hear. Her heart belongs to another, tis not right to try and force ownership to thyself,” Daemon replies.
“When did you become an expert in love?” Henki’s raspy voice asks.
Daemon chuckles. “I learned a few things on my last haunting spree on Earth.”
“But Shadow Lord said that he wished for me to be his successor,” Wraith objects.
Daemon sighs. “Brother, think. Why would Shadow Lord tell his daughter’s human lover about what she really is and this world unless there was a higher purpose to it? Why would he allow a Shadow, the first since Kendra blocked the portals, to remain in Sepulcrum to transition from Shadow to ghost? If he was merely trying to scare the boy off, then why would he allow the boy to try?”
I hear the horse bones shift as Wraith shifts position in his saddle. “Thou art suggesting that Shadow Lord was preparing Ryan to become Shadow Prince.”
My heart clenches in my chest and I unconsciously reach for the onyx family crest from Ryan.
“Tis only speculation, I am not one of Shadow Lord’s advisors. But what other reason makes sense?” Daemon asks.
No one says anything after that. We continue to ride in silence for hours until the grey and black vortexes tower over us.
“Forward into Enfer, Shadow Princess?” Henki asks, materializing out of my horse’s shadow.
“Forward into Enfer, and whatever trials lie ahead,” I reply, squaring my shoulders and resisting the urge to look back to the castle, where I can feel deep blue eyes boring longingly into the back of my head.