The Underworld (Chapter Nine, page 2 of 6)

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Stepping by them, he started into the forest, confident they'd follow.

"No offense, Andre, but you can be a real dick." Rhyn was the first to trail him. "You know I'd chop off your head to claim the Toughest Demon Award, don't you?"

"I know there's no love lost between you and any of your brothers, Rhyn," Andre replied. "But also that you are duty bound and will honor our shared blood even if you dislike me for who I am."

"A weakness I do not share," Darkyn growled. His voice was close enough to assure Andre he, too, followed. "The Toughest Demon Award doesn't exist. If it did, it'd go to the Dark One by default."

"I am so fucking ready to take off your head after what you tried to do to my Katie!" Rhyn snarled.

"Focus, Rhyn. And Darkyn, you're weakening quickly," Andre said carefully, aware of how little he wanted a long lasting grudge from the Dark One when they left the underworld. "Your strength is better spent not fighting my shit head of a brother."

"Shit head? Really?" Rhyn grumbled. "I think Andre just called you a pussy, Darkyn."

"Hush, Rhyn," Andre chided. "We have more important issues to deal with."

"Harmony, death dealers, and two powerful deities about to lose their shit."

"There's something else here, too. Something I can't figure out."

"What can you sense, demon hunter?" Darkyn demanded.

"He can track your ass even in Hell," Rhyn replied, bristling once more.

"Be calm, Rhyn." Andre shook his head. "Darkyn knows one of my gifts but perhaps not the other."

"What is this gift?" Darkyn asked.

"Andre can suck up your emotions then crack your head open with them," Rhyn summarized. "He can read minds sometimes, too."

"Empath," Darkyn supplied.

"Exactly," Andre said.

"You knew about Sasha."

Another thing that always surprised Andre about demons: their candidness was never curbed by diplomacy or politeness or proper timing, the way his was. Andre and Rhyn both stopped and faced the Dark One, who ceased surveying their surroundings to return their looks warily.

"If he knew, he would've stopped him, before he almost destroyed the human world!" Rhyn snapped.

The name of the betrayer from the Council stirred up memories - and regret. Andre had known what his half-brother was long before Sasha openly declared his allegiance to the Dark One.

It didn't help that Sasha had had Andre rendered dead-dead several months before. Andre hadn't yet reconciled his emotions about that incident, despite the knowledge his half-brother paid the price with a painful death.

Darkyn was gazing at him, and Andre reminded himself that the Dark One was not just another demon. Darkyn had been around longer than even Wynn, the father of the Councilmembers.

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