4 months later…
Waiting for the eclipse was annoying and daunting. The longer we waited the more time Astra’s soul spent in Hell. Hell wasn’t a nice place in general and with its Gates closed it was even worse.
The demons would get bored and would torture the trapped souls to entertain themselves.
Art watched me go on more cases and work myself to the bone as a distraction. I pushed him away again but he stuck around, he knew I just wanted Astra’s soul out of Hell and free.
I wanted to apologize to her, it was my fault she was there, if I had called someone more experienced at the time or not summoned a more powerful demon to deal with the lower demon she wouldn’t have had to go through all that pain.
I didn’t know anyone at the time who was qualified to deal with the situation but that wasn’t an excuse. I could have found someone. My friends and I couldn’t have been the only ones who knew about the underworld at the time.
Astra deserved better, she deserved a normal life.
Lysander told me about Nergal and how until he escaped he’d watched the other human souls Nergal kept around be tortured. He’d only been down there a week in real time but it had felt like years to him.
I could only imagine how long Astra felt it was.
It had been thirty years in real time but down there, there wasn’t days or weeks or months or years, there wasn’t even dark and light. Hell, just existed.
As the day approached, Art and I prepared to open the door to Purgatory.
“Do I really have to come with you?” Lysander questioned.
“Yes, I won’t survive down there by myself for very long and I won’t get very far if I don’t have an accomplice or disguise,” I reply.
“How do you know he won’t just kill us?” Lysander asks.
“He won’t do that, mate, he’s left me to suffer for this long, he won’t just kill me,” I continue.
Winter had come and gone in the time span of waiting.
Art and I had come to trust Lysander and left him alone in the pentagrams for periods of time, he was always there when we came back, some part of him had to be demon otherwise the pentagram wouldn’t have held him and he probably would have left.
Art tried to distract me without taking me on a case. It was a nice gesture but I was too worried that the mission would fail and Astra’s soul would continue to suffer.
Art was hoping it would succeed for my sake; he didn’t want me to get stuck in Hell, he didn’t think I deserved it even if I felt responsible. And was responsible.
Art had traveled to England to collect Astra’s bones so we could put her soul back.
I didn’t have much of a lifespan left but I hoped Art would look after her. I wish I could be around to see her grow up, heal from the damage I put her through but I’d spent my life, saving others and her and it was my time, I probably had another seven years and then my time would expire.
Art didn’t know my life was that short, I’d told him I’d spent some of my years but not nearly half of my original lifespan. I didn’t want to cause him more pain and devastation. I’d given him enough grief by letting him stick around as long as I have.
The eclipse was happening in two days. Art wasn’t happy but he knew he had to let me do this or I’d go off and do it by myself without him knowing.
Art was prepared to send me to Hell and never see me again or as prepared as you could be for that sort of thing.
I’d advised Damin that if I didn’t come back to at least check up on him every once in a while. Hopefully, he at least did that.
I didn’t want Art to feel guilty for letting me do this.
I had to do it…for Astra.