[This post is from Seamus’s point of view.]
Leinth grew tense, her arms tightening. Seamus stared at nothing, jaw getting tighter and tighter, muscles coiling into overwrought springs. Leinth leaned back for a second, peering up into his face. He wasn’t sure what she was searching for, but he thought it was likely she wouldn’t find it.
“What’s wrong?” she asked in a bare whisper.
“I gave him to Pluton,” Seamus said, feeling numb. It was almost as if his consciousness had left his body, that someone else was saying the words even though he knew they came from his lips.
Her brows knit. “What are you talking about?”
“I didn’t kill him outright when I faced him. I struck a deal,” Seamus said. “I struck a deal with Pluton. Orcus in exchange for leaving my isles alone.”
“I don’t understand.” Leinth caught his face between her hands again. Her palms were warm, rough, and Seamus squeezed his eyes shut against the sudden sting of tears. “Seamus, what are you saying?”
“I’m saying that I didn’t kill him, but I thought Pluton probably had,” Seamus said, his voice hoarse. “I’m saying that if he’s alive, he has more reason to kill me than he has anyone else. He’ll come to take you, but he’ll come to kill me. Our score is far from settled, I think.”
“Then he’s not dead,” Leinth said faintly. “But with Pluton’s death, somehow he’s been freed.”
Seamus nodded. Leinth’s fingertips dug into the flesh of his cheeks.
“Seamus, look at me,” she said, her voice a whisper. “Look at me.”
He forced his eyes open, sure he would see rage and censure in her eyes. Instead, there was neither.
“Seamus, if he’s escaped whatever captivity that Pluton had him trapped in, then perhaps Persphone’s managed to do the same.”
“Persephone,” Seamus echoed, his brow furrowing. “What has she—?”
“Maybe nothing,” Leinth said. “But maybe everything. She asked for our help, Seamus. Maybe she’s free—maybe she’s out there and lost and maybe this was the clue we needed.”
“She might not be.” Seamus swallowed hard. “We don’t know that. We don’t know anything for sure.”
“No, we don’t,” Leinth agreed. “But it’s something and right now, something’s all we’ve got.”