Chapter Four

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The remainder of the day is spent traversing the strange land of Purgatory. Cassie valiantly showcases the major landmarks and important buildings on campus, taking the time to walk with me on the footpaths rather than teleport to each destination. It's considerate, the way she takes into account my inability to teleport and makes it so I can find my way around without assistance in the future. Notably, we avoid the angel-claimed territory of the mountain and lake, as well as the demon-claimed area of the desert.

Once the sun kisses the horizon, she leads us back to the cafeteria and we have dinner. Just the two of us. There is literally no one else in the cavernous space.

"Where is everyone? Does anybody actually eat, or do we keep coming at a slow time?"

"The demons are having a party in the desert; the angels are doing the same at the lake. It's a tradition for the last day before classes. They bring lots of food and stuff with them so they can stay out there all day," Cassie answers.

"Huh." I take a break to plop a chocolate-covered strawberry in my mouth. The tart sweetness explodes across my tongue and I have to hold myself back from moaning in satisfaction.

Swallowing, I jokingly ask, "Did my invite get lost in the mail?"

Well, mostly joking. I don't like most of the demons who grew up in Hell, but it still sucks to not be included in the festivities.

"First years have to be invited by a returning student. If it makes you feel better, my older brother didn't invite me, either."

Okay, that's even worse. For Cassie and for me. That means that Romeo, Anne, and Aristotle all neglected to include both Eli and me. I expect that kind of treatment from Alexander and Gwen, but my relationships with the other siblings aren't nearly as hostile. In the back of my mind, I have been wondering when I'd run into the rest of the Morningstar clan. At least now I know why they've been absent today.

"That's a really messed up thing for your brother to do," I tell Cassie, not wanting to dive into my own issues.

Cassie's lips attempt to lift into a semblance of a smile. "We're not very close. Our father is a, um, strict man, and he didn't want us to be raised together."

That's weird. I wrack my brain for any details she previously mentioned about her family. "Your father, the archangel-slash-human hater? Is it Raphael? He has a son and a daughter, right?"

Now, Cassie chews her top lip with her bottom teeth and squirms in her chair. "Um, no. My father is, uh, Michael?" she phrases like it's a question.

"But, Michael only has the one son, Galileo. I met him once..." I trail off when her words and the meaning behind them actually penetrate my mind.

I straighten in my seat. "Your father is Michael?! Archangel Michael?"

Cassie grimaces at my accusing tone but inclines her head slightly in admission.

"B-but you—and him—Archangel?—pain in my—he wants me to—memory erased—oh, Satan." I think she broke me. Actually broke me. My brain is broken.

"I know he's not the most popular among demons," Cassie vastly understates.

I chuckle, but there's no joy in it. "Oh, this is rich! I'll be sleeping next to Michael's daughter for the next four years. He wants me to fail, you know. To not graduate so that he can have the pleasure of wiping my entire existence away. But, who am I kidding? Of course, you already knew that!"

"I swear I didn't!" Cassie defends, eyes tearing up.

"Sure, you didn't. Just like you can't lie," I accuse. "Maybe Eli was right and you've been trying to trick me so that you can ruin me."

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