“We both know that’s not how this works,” Carmen said.
The demon stared at Frederica for a moment longer, then turned to Carmen, his smirk deepening.
“And who are you supposed to be?” he asked.
“Who I am doesn’t matter,” she replied. “The important thing is that I know who you are.”
“Oh really?” he said with a chuckle. “Who, exactly, do you think I am?”
Carmen folded her hands on the table and said, “The Beast of Morangias.”
A look of shock and confusion barely had time to register on Norman’s face before Frederica reached her mind out toward him. The pendant flew out of his shirt and into her hand. It felt surprisingly cold to the touch.
“Wait!” the demon said. “You don’t—”
Carmen started chanting in a guttural language that made Frederica vaguely nauseous. The lines she’d drawn earlier reappeared, glowing deep red. Norman’s face twisted and contorted and the veins turned black beneath his pale skin. Frederica looked away, toward Marcus. He sat transfixed, watching the proceedings with an anxious expression.
“Please,” the demon moaned.
Marcus sucked in a sharp breath and slammed his fists on the table.
He snatched the pendant from Frederica’s hand and slid it across the table. Carmen stopped mid-chant and Norman doubled over, gasping for breath. Carmen glared at Marcus.
“Why did you do that?” she snapped. “It was working!”
“I know,” Marcus said, “but we’ve got it all wrong! He’s not the Beast!”
“What are you talking about?” Frederica asked. “You were the one who suggested it.”
Norman—the demon—sat up, smiling faintly. He gently placed the pendant back around his neck and pushed a few strands of dark hair out of his eyes.
“You really should listen to the boy,” he said.