The Underworld (Chapter Four, page 2 of 11)


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Gabriel clenched his teeth, resisting the urge to smash a fist into the face of the creature who had helped upheave his life.

"Your domain lives. It talks, and when you fail to listen, it will demand," the Dark One said. "This path is not the right one."

"It's the most direct route!"

"You misunderstand. This path is not the one your underworld wishes you to take."

Gabriel absorbed the words, not wanting to listen to the latest deity telling him he was doing it wrong. No part of him wanted to ask Darkyn of all creatures to help him understand.

Facing Darkyn, he was about to pull his sword free and start hacking, when he saw the Dark One studying him.

"What?" he growled.

"I have an observation to make about you of human birth." Darkyn tilted his head to the side. He was pale beneath his tanned skin, a sign of the strain he faced without his bloodmate. "Your ego is that of a god while your understanding is that of a child."

"Great. Thanks." Gabriel blew out a breath. "You're saying I'm too stubborn to ask you for help."

"Correct."

Gabriel turned his gaze to the sky, thinking hard. It was hard to deny that the Dark One had been around longer than any deity or Immortal Gabriel knew, and even harder to admit that he might know a thing or two that Gabriel needed.

"I don't trust you," he said.

"It is not about trust. It is about winning. You do not owe me trust, and I do not owe you assistance. But right now, we have somewhere to be and no way to get there, if you do not use what I know."

It felt like a trap. Given what Gabriel knew of the Dark One, he doubted any information was going to be provided free of charge, even if Darkyn didn't ask for anything in return.

Yet.

"Okay. What am I missing?" he asked grudgingly.

"Your underworld is telling you something. Ask the right question, and it will answer."

"You think my underworld is … what? Going to talk to me?"

"In its own way, yes. Every deity with a domain has a bond to his realm. It's what allows him to reign," Darkyn said. "You clearly have no bond, and yet, your underworld is trying to guide you."

"It's not this way with Hell?"

"Hell is strictly won or lost, passed from victor to victor. Your domain has patience. Almost like it chooses you, instead of you winning the right to rule." Darkyn was eyeing another branch that snaked too close.

"I imagine it would've chosen someone not of human origin, if what everyone keeps telling me is true," Gabriel grunted.

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