Chapter Forty-One

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The eyes of the devil aren't so murky against the temperateness of the sun.

In fact, there are hidden crevasses in his irises that sparkle against the light.

His conflictions are plain, unconcealed. He is thinking.

He is imagining a scenario here in which he leaves this desert the triumphant victor. Where all of his wearying sacrifices and devious labors miraculously add up to something. Written evidently across his face is the ranging realizations of catastrophe, molding into an atom bomb not entirely of his own making.

We have all been shifted, pieces of ivory shifted in the longest chess game of all-time.

His doom has just manifested before Samael's eyes, in the shape of a man that walked the planet inhuman. A vampire. An undead creature possessing pale skin, unmatchable strength, and a mind with the ability to carry the weight of time itself. Both gods are stunned by the events. Mostly because Samael refused to believe Elijah wasn't a pawn in his brother's deceptions, and Elijah refused to believe he could ever be worthy of such grace.

I can't blame him. I never thought I deserved clemency either.

All of us, standing here, were creatures destined for darkness.

Only one of us is still bound to that torture, and now, Samael knows that.

"Enough," I say to him, lowering the sword that has become an extension of me. Chiseled gold, the blade is a symbol of the divinity Jehovah bestowed the moment of my sacrifice, a decision with consequences I could have never imagined possible.

Because right now, Elijah is the dream.

Just the start of it.

Samael looks at the ground, at the weapon he could very well reach and try to exert on one of us. I cannot fathom the torrent that is occurring in him, in losing something that now, very clearly, was never his. It's two against one. He would never win, not here on earth.

But being the devil, a formidable being easily instigated by his inner rages, I expect retaliation.

It doesn't come.

"Enough," he solemnly concedes, lifting his head to display mere shreds of dignity.

The torments we endured because of this man's selfishness cannot be dismissed, even in the face of victory. He has taken everything, ripped our loved ones from our very hands, turned the very world we live in against us, all to possess and punish a woman merely in love with another man.

The horrors I've known cannot be dismissed by seeing him fail.

And yet, I can't find it in myself to be heartless. I never could.

Perhaps that was Jehovah's influence. Perhaps it was Elijah's... or perhaps it was mine.

The end of war brings with it an intense finality. It seeks to wet my eyes, but I will not let Samael survey the damage he's done. I won't give him the idea that I'll even remember his face tomorrow.

"Forget us, Samael. I promise you'll be happier that way."

The devil, a broken creature, scoffs, then shakes himself off, straightening his clothes with an arrogance only befitting him. His brokenness is transparent, but his will cannot be destroyed.

He lives under expectations. He rules by them.

The Lord of Darkness is an evil creature, incapable of remorse, or feelings. Only we know different. Only we know that he lives a lonely existence, trapped in the confines of the underworld, yearning for a piece of light he can never be granted.

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