"Hey, Radrlye! I think she's awake!"
Scarlet moaned slightly as she sat up. She touched her cheek, noticing the warmness of her skin. When she opened her eyes, Scarlet was face-to-face with a plump teenage boy staring intently at her. She screamed and scrambled backwards, nearly falling off the bed.
The teen leaned back slightly. "Radrlye, I think I scared her!" he called over his shoulder.
"Toran!" a voice scolded. "Don't scare the girl to death! Oh wait, she's already dead!"
The teen, who Scarlet assumed was Toran, slapped his thigh as he laughed hysterically. "Good one, Radrlye!"
Scarlet could only stare, wide-eyed as Toran continued to laugh. He sounded like a dying pig, laughing and snorting.
Scarlet cleared her throat and Toran snapped to attention, continuing to stare at her. She shifted uncomfortably under his gaze. "Um…would you happen to know where I am?"
Toran gasped loudly, startling Scarlet. She clutched the sheets tightly, her knuckles turning white.
"Radrlye, she speaks!"
Scarlet sighed in relief and loosed her grip on the sheets as she heard the sound of clacking shoes coming closer. She felt slightly nauseous and her eyesight started to blur. She didn't know how long she had been out or what Ragnar injected into her blood, but it was all catching up to her. From her death to meeting Ragnar and Themis, all of it made her woozy. She slumped back into the covers with a moan just as someone entered.
"Toran! You didn't kill her, did you? I mean, more than she already is."
Scarlet heard a gasp just as a hand landed lightly on her forehead.
"Radrlye, don't you trust me?"
Scarlet opened her eyes slightly and closed them just as quickly. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes all the way. She found herself staring into the black eyes of a skeleton, his boney hand on her warm skin. She screamed, scrambling into the corner.
The skeleton held in hands out, palms showing. "It's okay! I'm Radrlye. What's your name?"
"Scarlet Patton," Scarlet whispered her eyes still wide in fear. "Where-where am I?"
"Why, you're in Tartarus' spare bedroom!" Toran said, snorting. He nudged Radrlye and said, "She's funny."
Radrlye slapped a hand to his forehead, causing his bones to shift and knock together. "Toran, we don't speak about our guests in the third person. It's not polite."
Scarlet stared at the duo in wonder. "Tartarus? Where's that?"
Before Radrlye could stop his friend, Toran blurted out, "In Hell of course!"
Radrlye and Toran watched as Scarlet's skin turned pale and her lower lip quivered. She just now remembered the trial and especially the files proving her so-called act of "murder".
"My mom, is she here?" Scarlet croaked out. Now that Scarlet had voiced the question, others popped into her head that she knew no one could answer. How had Asima reacted when she heard that her daughter was a murderer? Was she trying to fin Scarlet at this very moment? Scarlet felt a lump form in her throat and tried to swallow it down but it seemed to stay there.
Radrlye shook his head sadly. "No one has entered since you."
Radrlye stuck his hand out for Scarlet to take and she complied. Radrlye pulled her up and led her into the dining area of Tartarus, Toran skipping in after them.
"Don't feel too glum," Radrlye said. "I'm sure you'll have some fun here."
Scarlet looked around the room as they walked. It was dim and dank, smelling of liquor and blood. The people stared at her as they passed including men with yellow teeth and women with knives, swords and other weapons on their hips. Scarlet heard faint music over the speaker but even that little source of sound couldn't mask the loud silence in the room.
Radrlye led them over to a counter and sat down, gesturing for Scarlet to do the same. She slid into the stool beside him, her eyes drifting across the bar. She couldn't help the shiver that ran down her back whenever she caught someone's gaze on her. The place definitely had the feeling of evil.
Radrlye rang a small bell that was sitting on the counter and a woman with black dogs ears came up to them. She was cleaning a glass cup within her (and Scarlet almost gasped at the sight) paws. Her snout was curled back slightly as she glared at Scarlet.
"What do you want?" she asked Radrlye, her yellow eyes shifting between him and Scarlet.
"I'll take my usual and I'm sure the same goes for Toran," Radrlye answered ignoring the woman's gaze toward Scarlet. "Scarlet, what would you like?"
"Um…" Scarlet bit her lip, not sure of what to say. "I'll just have some water," she replied in a small voice.
The woman nodded and walked curtly away. Scarlet shifted uncomfortably, questions swimming around her head. Toran was talking to a crudely made doll in his beefy hand. Scarlet watched as he muttered some things and then placed needles into the doll. Scarlet shuddered, wondering if the doll was a voodoo.
Radrlye laughed upon noticing her face. "Don't worry; it's not what you think. Toran just has a love for dolls and needles."
Scarlet smiled slightly but a part of her didn't fully believe him. She sighed, wondering how to form her thoughts into words. "What are we supposed to do here?" she asked. "I'm sort of new to this whole 'after-life' thing."
Radrlye nodded thoughtfully. "Well, you can anything really. Go shopping, play games… It's sort of like a carnival for the dead!"
"Shopping? But I don't have any money."
"Oh, sure you do!" Radrlye protested. He pointed to a small sack on her hip. "That there holds all of your wishes."
Scarlet unclipped the bag from her hip and peeked inside. She found that the bag was pretty large, despite its look on the outside. It held hundreds of gold coins, their faces stamped with a skull. She pulled a coin out of the bag and held it up to the light.
"Is this a wish?"
Radrlye nodded. "Yep. It sure is. You can do anything here as long as you have enough of those babies."
Toran nudged Radrlye none too softly. "Aren't you going to ask her?" he whispered, although Scarlet thought it shouldn't count as a whisper for its loud volume.
Radrlye pinched Toran who yelped in pain. "Toran, don't be so rude!"
Toran sucked his thumb, tears brimming at the edges of his eyes. "Sorry, Radrlye."
Scarlet watched quietly, her curiosity growing. "Ask me what?"
Before Radrlye could attempt to answer her question or even to wave her off, the dog-woman appeared with their order. She gave Toran a plate of smiley-face pancakes, Radrlye a glass of smoking liquid and Scarlet her glass of water. Toran started to stuff his face while Radrlye took small sips.
Scarlet sighed and ran her finger around the rim of her glass. Suddenly, she wasn't that thirsty.
Lexer walked around the woods, his eyes searching for a particular demon in this demon-infested forest. The leaves crackled under his feet and the birds sang softly in the trees. He smiled slightly. He felt so alive in the woods, fascinated by the beauty surrounding him. It was a wonderful change from the ugliness of the demons he faced.
Lexer stopped, his ears prickling. He had heard footsteps, ones that weren't his own. Before Lexer could even pin the sound to a source, Senka grabbed him from behind. She smiled as Lexer looked down at the blade at his throat.
"Miss me?" she purred.
Lexer laughed. "Not a chance." He swung the blade so it was pointing at her neck, a smirk on his features.
Senka growled. She spit at his feet, causing Lexer's face to flicker slightly in disgust. "What do you want, demon hunter?"
Lexer tilted his head, mocking Senka with his advantage over her. "And that's where everything gets the slightest bit interesting. What do I want? What could you, a despicable being, possible do to benefit me?"
"Do not be sarcastic with me, boy," she snarled. "You want me to get the girl for you, am I correct?"
"There is a price for such a feat, which I am sure you know about."
Lexer nodded stiffly, gripping the blade tightly within his hands. "Just name your price and I'll be out of your greasy hair."
"You must also grant me permission to bring back Blake." Senka tilted her head slightly, making sure to avoid the blade. "An eye for an eye, you might say."
"Fine." Lexer thrust the blade away from her neck, drawing some blood in the process.
Senka rubbed her neck, a scowl on her features. Lexer noticed her skin seemed extremely pale, as if she were sick. He glanced at her hand and confirmed his suspicion. Her blood was pure black, the sign of a dying demon.
"Do it quickly," Lexer said before walking away, his mind still on the black blood.