"Fifty demons?" I asked Jaelin.
"At least that many," she confirmed. "Maybe more," she added redundantly.
I sighed, but it was mostly to steady my breathing. I was continually failing to collect information on this new threat and they were continually finding new ways to be a pain in my ass—although admittedly their strategy seemed to be to keep invading Earth over and over again until it succeeded. After all the work I'd done to legitimize my authority, surround myself with allies whom I could usually almost trust and keep a solid lid on the level of violence and usurpation down here…it still felt like all I'd been doing was losing control slowly. Gracefully, perhaps, but slowly and inevitably.
I needed to be in the Living Realm because I was the one best equipped to defend it. But how could I be certain that this wasn't all another elaborate trap? How did I know that this unnamed organization wouldn't oust whoever I put in place in my absence? How could I be sure I wouldn't return to a Hell that was no longer mine?
I pulled out my cell phone. I tried to do so with dignity and resolve, but it slipped from my trembling fingers and clattered onto my desk. I picked it up and started dialing.
"Who are you calling?" Sylnie asked.
"General Gavsot," I said. "I need him to mind the store while I'm gone. Desperate times call for big badasses in charge."
"I still want to know who Talamur is," Torvin sulked.
I pushed him roughly in response, but I threw him across the room with my mind and held him pinned against the wall. "Talamur is Jaelin's ex," I explained a little too loudly. "He was banished to the Living Realm. We bumped into him up there and it was all hugs and kisses and high-speed copulation and it was a beautiful reunion and she doesn't give a shit about your sorry ass anymore, so you might as well shut the fuck up already." I released him from my invisible grip.
"Damn," Sylnie said softly, filling the extremely awkward silence that followed. "That was kind of harsh."
I huffed. "I was stressed. I snapped at him. I'm sure he's used to it by now."