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.“I don’t think he’ll need one.” Andy met his eyes.“You’re going to confess that later, right?”“Yeah, of course.” Jack didn’t think that coercing a devil to release a man counted as black magick, but he was wary enough of his own moral shortcomings to take his friend’s advice.Andy had always seen things more clearly than he had, discerning black and white where Jack saw only shades of gray.“So, what do you think about our friend here? I still can’t detect any magick on him.”“Could his abilities be channeled through his familiar?”Jack turned.“Amon!”The devil looked over its bony shoulder, its beak snapping with hatred.“Does this man, who calls himself Edward Todd, get his power to walk through hell from thee or from any other member of the mal'akhim?”“No,” Amon hissed, glaring at him.“What kind of magick does he use, then?”“Physics,” the devil snapped, then turned back and began to tear at its chest with its beak.Jack looked at Andy, puzzled.“Technically,” Andy sighed, “all forms of magick are physics.It’s all about converting energy of one kind into another.Physics is a very broad term.”“Well, if he’s working for Satan, hell’s learned a few new tricks.” Jack shook his ponytail over his shoulder.“All I know is, he sure can’t be working for God.”“It’s impossible to walk a middle path.” Andy’s agreement sounded uncertain.The earth shuddered beneath them.Jack checked on Amon, but the devil was whimpering again, turning in a tight circle, its neck stretched as it stared into the starry sky.“What be thou looking for?” he asked, as coldly as he could.Two-thirds of spellcasting was sheer force of will.Devils would attack at any sign of weakness.“The others,” Amon said, unwillingly, its mirroreyes still focused upward.Neither the stars nor the moon were reflected in them.Since planets and suns were morally neutral, they were invisible to the mal'akhim.“What others?”“I don’t know.” The devil squirmed in place, talons digging into the dirt as it stared upward.“They touched me, but I don’t know.”Todd gasped, his back arching.Jack grabbed his shoulders and Andy checked his pulse.The theologian shuddered and Jack threw all his weight into holding the huge man down.“Ecstatic convulsion,” Andy diagnosed, grabbing Todd’s arms as the man reached for his own face.Jack nodded.Behind him, Amon whined, its beak snapping and clattering like dried branches.After another few seconds, Todd collapsed, his mouth opening to draw in a sucking gasp of air.He blinked, looking rational again.“Are you all right, Edward?” Andy slid an arm under the big man’s back and helped him sit up.Todd nodded, wiping his forehead.“Where’s Amon?” His expression darkened as he saw Amon sitting, quivering, to one side.“Release it.”“You want to get bitten again?” Jack asked.“It wasn’t biting me.” Todd hesitated, looking at his healed wrist, then jerked his cuff forward as if he could cover the drying blood.“It was reviving itself.There are creatures in the passages, and they nearly killed it.”Jack stood, feeling a twinge in his knees, and ran the toe of his boot over one of the crosses in the dirt.“Thou be free to move,” he said, gazing distrustfully at the devil.Amon snapped at his boot as it scuttled past, but its teeth closed harmlessly on air.It was still constrained by his will, and it would be until he released it or his strength faltered.The devil pressed its bony, lumpy skull against Todd’s side.“Tell them what you discovered for me, beloved,” Todd said, looking down at it.Jack was troubled by the neutral, almost gentle, tone of the theologian’s voice.It wasn’t will that bound the devil to Todd, he suspected.“The Gudruns’ souls are lost to the mal'akhim,” Amon said, nuzzling its head against Todd’s snagged and torn sweater.“They were devoured by the others, the ones between, and the legions of hell curse their loss.”Jack yanked his leather jacket closer around him.“What are the ‘ones between’? Some kind of pagan spirits?”“Pagan? What is pagan?” Amon seemed distressed, two pairs of legs raking nervously at each other.“They aren’t from here.They don’t belong here.They are old, older than the satan, older than the mal'akhim.I can’t see them, only feel them.Oh, beloved, they will do terrible things to us all.”“Amon.” Todd laid a hand on the devil’s sharp, jutting spine.“Have you seen the snakes?”“No.I cannot see the things you call snakes.But I know they exist by their works.”“What did you see?” Andy asked, still kneeling in the dirt next to Todd.“You ate the devil’s flesh [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]