I felt much more comfortable on the cable car than I had last time. Since my frantic struggle with Halkkor, I was more confident in my ability to teleport to safety if I fell out of the car. And it was also fun to see Torvin’s unease as he stared out into the pit of lava. Last time, Wyver had scoffed at my fearfulness, but this time I got to scoff at someone else’s. As Torvin cowered in a corner of the speeding car, Jaelin knelt beside him and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. It was a strangely touching moment shared between two demons.
After a few minutes of rocketing through the air and after more than a few tight turns taken at precariously intense speeds, the driver applied the brakes and our car coasted into a station. “This is sector 38?” I asked him as we came to a stop.
I clapped him appreciatively on the shoulder. “Thanks for the ride,” I said. “Just don’t talk my ear off next time.” He rolled his eyes.
The four of us got off and looked around. We were in an enclosed cavern, but it seemed to house an artificial North American desert, complete with rough sand, tumbleweeds, and the occasional cactus. Tortured souls were arranged in an approximate grid pattern across the expansive desert, each accompanied by various torturers and torturing implements. There were no bone saws or needles or chains or carving knives, however—none of this torture seemed to be of the typical variety. The soul directly in front of us had half a dozen pit guards tickling his naked body with large feathers while another group of pit guards continuously cracked their knuckles.
“Wow,” I commented dryly. “This torturing stuff is serious business. These guys go hard.”