Caim’s ship hadn’t changed much, except for the addition of a few dozen hell spawn scaling the masts and railings of the black boat. The main deck was an overflowing mass of leathery flesh and barbed tails. A herd of satyrs paraded around the quarterdeck, puffing into wooden panpipes, while sirens and succubi danced to the haunting tune, spinning frenzied circles around splintered mast poles. The wind ripped at their hair and grazed their naked bodies, leaving chapped patches along their thighs and breasts.
Caim lounged along the edge of the stern deck. His pale skin looked sickly and transparent. Despite the heat and the abundant nudity, he wore a thick, dark robe. His black wings were oily, almost sparkling in the broad daylight. Where his chin and jawline ended, the flesh peeled away, leaving the length of his neck raw and tarry. The sight of him made me cringe. I couldn’t imagine what it did to Jenni.
Caim reached out to fondle a siren as she spun by, clawing at her flesh with his blackened fingertips and leaving deep cuts that quickly welled with purple blood. He cackled, flashing sharp teeth and black gums. The siren hardly spared him a gasp before falling under the spell of satyr pipes once again. She swayed and rubbed against a succubus, smearing the forgotten blood until they were both coated. A leathery winged demon dipped down to steal a taste with his forked tongue.
Gabriel’s grip under my arms tightened. “This is a terrible idea.” He grunted under the weight of me and my axe. The paint on his wings probably wasn’t helping either. One slid up my arm and I hissed from the roughness of it.
“I agree, but it’s a little late to turn back now.” My heart accelerated in my chest as I scanned the ship, desperately searching for an opening. It was looking more and more like a crash landing would be our only option.
A few seconds later, Maalik rounded the stern with Jenni in tow. It had been a smart move putting me with Gabriel. Maalik would have never dropped me on Caim’s ship, and the plan would have been shot all to hell. He glanced across the chaos to find Gabriel and me, and I could tell that I was still getting top billing on his worry list. I could live with that today I decided, taking in the scene unfolding beneath us.
Gabriel sucked in a tight breath. “Show time.” Then he dropped me on a pile of napping hellcats on the forecastle deck.