HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 315

“If you’re not this… Beast,” Cyrus said, “then who are you?”

The demon didn’t answer, just looked to Frederica expectantly. After a moment, a lightbulb went off in her head.

“The Hunter,” she muttered.

“There you go,” he said with a wink. “I knew you’d figure it out eventually.”

“But what were you hunting?” Frederica asked.

“Oh, just a hellhound,” the demon said. “It slipped through a crack between realities and started wreaking havoc on Earth, so I was sent topside to deal with it. I possessed the body of a farmer and set off to track the thing down.”

“And then your host died,” Marcus said.

The demon nodded.

“I got the job done,” he said, “but the battle took a lot out of me. I was too weak to return home, and I can’t survive in this world without a host, so I was stuck there in his corpse, waiting for someone to retrieve me. But the town was buried in a landslide before anyone could come.”

“Until Norman dug you out,” Frederica said.

“Exactly,” the demon said. “It took all my strength to make contact with him, and he helpfully volunteered to give me a lift out of there until we could find a way to send me back to Hell. I created the binding charm so he wouldn’t accidentally push me out of his body before we were ready.”

“I find it hard to believe that Norman would agree to something like this,” Cyrus said.

“He knew you’d say that,” the demon replied. “That’s why he didn’t tell you what was happening. He was worried you’d, well, do this.”

He gestured around the table.

“What would’ve happened if we’d gone through with it?” Frederica asked.

“You’d have killed me,” the demon said. “Without a host, my energies would’ve dispersed into the universe, lost forever.”

Cyrus crossed his arms and turned to Carmen.

“What do you think about all this?” he asked.