Chapter Twenty-Nine

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"Do you wish me to go, master?"

The spry vixen and apparent thorn in my side observes my blatant disregard for entertaining her advances, choosing to ignore my lack of interest with hopes to gain a place in my household. Little does she know that falling into my bed does naught for her, since only those that have shaped the Earth deserve the privilege of living within the in-between.

My eyes remain locked on the scrying mirror hanging from the wall of my parlor, a black void containing my desires and my torments. The hours drag on, along with my sanity. The woman who is still nameless to me has her paws under my robe, nails digging into my chest to gain my attention.

She'll have to sink deeper to make a dent here.


I pin her hand still against my flesh, and she flinches in reaction. "Have you loved before?" I ask her gently. She makes uncertain noises, trying to decipher my reasoning for such an invasive question.

"Yes, my lord."

"A man? Woman? Who?"


"Are they what keep you tied to this place?"


Holding her flesh makes it effortlessly easy to search her memories, decipher the plague within her that straps her to Hell for retribution. She lived a short life, one without much joy.

"You killed someone," I say.

"My best friend."


"She was... sleeping with my husband."

"Do you regret it?"

I expect her to lie, repent. She doesn't. "They ruined my life."

Still more time here to go. It will be a while before she passes over. "You wish harm on them?"


"We hurt those we love. There's no helping that," I state definitively. "If I may offer you a piece of advice," I tug her in front of me, "try to let them go if you can. There is no future here in Hell, and there are only two ways to be free of this place. Retribution or oblivion. It's always your choice in the end."

"But I want to be with you. I—I could serve you well."

"I have my own person I've hurt."

"The goddess who left?" My eyes pierce hers. She shrinks at my frigid reaction, shaking her head, quickly losing her ability to speak. I could have her on her back in seconds if I wished it. There would be no demon or god to stop me from destroying this woman's bold nature. The voices of the darkness that rules me encourage the violence, wanting to make her wish she hadn't spoken out of turn.

But I've shed enough unnecessary blood as of late.

Clearly fearful of my wrath, she drops between my knees, making love to my chest with her mouth. I snatch her wrist which has begun to snake down to my trousers, watching her eyes peer up nervously to find me scowling with disgust at her. "Leave me."

She rushes to her feet, stumbling back on the bare soles of her feet. She's near the door when I speak again, not for myself, but for this endless realm I am in charge of.

"Think of what I said."

She bows on unstable knees. "I will, my lord."

I hear the lie in her voice, knowing before she's even left my company that she has no intention of repenting her sins. Insufferable idiot.

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