Thoughts about Ryan continue to consume me for the rest of the night. While everyone else talks and laughs, I force smiles and continue to wonder how he’s doing, how he’s adjusting. Going from human to Shadow is a rough process. Along with coming to terms with being dead, you also begin to lose all sense of identity and form until you blur together and are only focused on the hunger for emotions. Going from Shadow to ghost is even harder, especially if you’ve been a Shadow for a significant amount of time, such as a few days. Becoming a ghost will give you back a sense of identity and give you back the looks you had as a human, but it doesn’t always take away the hunger for emotion. That’s how many ghosts end up becoming depraved creatures who haunt and kill for the fun of it. If you can get rid of the hunger, it will turn you into a stiff and unfeeling ghost. Like taming a vampire.
I feel a glass pressed into my hand and look up to see Artemis sitting next to me.
“If you will not eat, then you should at least drink. This will keep you going if you refuse food,” she explains. “I do not eat the animals that I have created, nor do I eat the plants that nature has bestowed upon me. Instead, I will drink liquid life.”
Hesitantly, I take a small sip. Warmth courses down my throat and I feel like I’ve eaten something amazing. I take another larger sip and down the entire glass in two more.
“It is delicious, is it not?” she asks.
I nod in agreement. “How do you make this?”
“Secret recipe. If I gave it out, I would have very few secrets left,” she replied.
I nod and watch as Wraith and Daemon eat parts of some creature that has been roasting over the fire. “What are they eating?”
“A stag that they caught earlier while you were brooding,” she replies, taking another sip from her glass.
“So they’re eating stone?”
She laughs and shakes her head. “No. When you kill a stone or metal beast, it turns into a normal animal with normal flesh. My visitors tell me that it is the most delicious meat they have ever had, but I will never partake of it.”
“Why not?” I ask.
“Because my gift is to create. I have spent a millennia creating many different things. To kill for food, while it is necessary for some, it is also a form of destruction.” She stands suddenly as I yawn. “Here, you will sleep safely here in my home. And when you awaken, you will have new weapons with which to finish your quest.”
She quickly walks to her forge and the fires within grow brighter. I lean back into more pillows and watch her silhouette dance back and forth with the flames. Soon, all I can hear is the sound of fires crackling and hammer on an anvil, which eventually lulls me to sleep.