Gus, Jorge, Jaelin, Torvin, Azraal’s Head and I walked around behind the huge spike of dark gray rock and slipped into the small, jagged opening in the wall. The opening was less than ten feet high and narrow at the top, so we had to enter in a single file. I scraped the sides of my head along the rough wall a few times as I led the way through a cramped, increasingly dark passage.
“This gives me the heebie jeebies, Boss-Man,” Gus whispered behind me.
“Oh, you think it’s bad?” Azraal snarled sourly. “Try being carried through this shithole with no body.”
“It’s not so bad,” Jaelin said softly. “It’s intimate.” Torvin yelped suddenly.
Jorge, bringing up the rear, remained silent. Though he was only human, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had the best night-vision of all of us. Either he was the least perturbed by the closeness and the darkness or he was stifling his cowardice most successfully. Maybe he was only the bravest because he was the best at acting brave. Maybe that’s what bravery was to begin with.
The humidity had been building gradually as we progressed, and soon we began to hear things dripping and echoing eerily from up ahead.
“Remind me why we’re doing this?” Torvin asked. I could tell that he was trying to sound casual, but he failed completely at sounding anything other than whiny.
“Because we need to find out how to kill Lucifer’s Firstborn or we all die,” I reminded him bluntly.
“We already know how to kill Lucifer’s Firstborn,” he mumbled.
“We have unverified information on how to kill Lucifer’s Firstborn,” I corrected. “But that information came from an unreliable source.”
“Watch it, I might get all offended,” Azraal interrupted dryly. It was a joy to see him in such a continuously foul mood.
“So we’re going to corroborate the information before we act on it,” I continued. “Because, knowing our favorite beheaded demon, here, he could have made the whole thing up hoping I’d get myself killed trying to take down Halkkor with a useless weapon.”
“No disrespect, sir,” Jaelin said, “But even if you’re doing this to avoid walking into a trap, how do you know that we’re not walking into an even cleverer trap right now?”
“I don’t,” I admitted. “But it seems safer.”
“If this is a trap, I really doubt it has Halkkor at the end of it,” Gus reasoned. “That makes it less dangerous than pretty much everything else.”