“A Reaper?” Ryther laughed softly. “If only…”
His words stirred up a flurry of questions, but she ignored them. There’d be time for questions later. Right now, she had to get herself and Mera out of her. No wonder Elon had burnt him—Ryther was a Reaper.
Carissa drew her dagger and pointed it at Ryther’s chest. “Step away from the door.”
Mera left Tian’s bedside and hurried toward them, the floorboards creaking beneath her feet. “Carissa? What are you—”
“Stay back from him, Mera.”
Mera’s steps slowed. “What’s–what’s wrong?”
Carissa stepped forward, until her dagger pricked Ryther’s chest. “I said back away from the door.”
Though he looked a few shades paler than he had moments ago, he cracked a smile. “Actually, you said step away—”
She pressed the dagger a bit deeper, until she felt the hollowness beneath his skin. She suppressed a shudder. He was just like Akasha. To think she’d ignored her first instincts, warning her away from him. Instead she’d assumed that maybe Mera was right, maybe she was being a bit paranoid.
Ryther jerked backward, his expression tensing in pain. “But don’t you want to hear what I have to say about the Reaper King? It could mean the difference between defeating him and letting him defeat you. Don’t you want to free Esmeray?”
“I will do so without the aid of a Reaper.” She advanced, and he danced back a few steps. “Mera, come here and open the door.” She didn’t want to take her eyes off of him for a second, lest he take advantage of her lapse in attention.
Before Mera could even take a step, Ryther was by her side in a flash, gripping her upper sleeve. “Wait. I’m not through speaking with you.”