HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 317

“I don’t really see how that helps me,” the demon said. “I’d still be trapped.”

“Yes, but it would buy us some time to find a solution,” Carmen said. “Norman might not last long enough otherwise.”

Cyrus tensed but didn’t speak. The demon glanced at him sidelong with an expression that almost looked like affection.

“I… suppose that would be better than the alternative,” the demon said. “But I’d prefer we leave that as a last resort. What else have you got?”

He glanced around the table. Carmen ignored him, still flipping through her grimoire.

“What about a portal?” Marcus asked.

“A what?” the demon replied.

Marcus turned to Frederica.

“I read that piece you wrote about travelling to Verden,” he said. “You mentioned at the end that a portal brought you home but you never revealed who opened it. That was Professor MacNeil, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, but—”

“If Hell is just another dimension, couldn’t a portal reach it too?” Marcus said.

“Theoretically, yes,” Carmen said, crossing her arms. “That might actually work.”

“Sure, a portal to Hell,” Cyrus said. “What could possibly go wrong?”

“It won’t work,” the demon said. “I can’t simply walk into Hell. A human can’t exist there any more than I can exist here.”

A silence fell over the table. Frederica stared at Norman and her eyes fell on his pendant.

“How’s your throwing arm?” she asked.

Everyone turned to look and, one by one, their eyes lit up with understanding.

“Well,” the demon said, “what are we waiting for?”

Carmen cleared the table and produced another piece of chalk. She redrew the lines on the table, modifying them slightly. Then the demon removed the pendant and placed it in the center of the symbol.