Fifty SixMature

I'd left Zoe with Ava, Violet and Zev. Apparently Nas had rushed off to talk to Nerissa, Evangeline, Araminta, Nisha and Gen - the other girls in her coven. I headed to the prison cells, where Darran had locked himself.

I stopped outside Darran's cell, banging on the bars to get his attention. He was lying on his side in a foetal position, holding his knees to his chest.

"What?" was his immediate response.

"There's a letter for you," I replied.

"Who from?"

"Guess."

"Go away," he said.

Instead of doing as he said, I opened the door and stepped in. His eyes flicked up to glare at me before giving up and sitting up. I handed him the letter and sat down beside him.

He opened the envelope and hesitantly plucked the letter from it. He scanned the first few lines of the letter and his interest immediately increased, for that was all that was in it, just a few lines. He read it again, slower this time, as if he wasn't quite sure what he'd read.

"She says She'll take it away. She wants me to meet Her by the lake," he murmured disbelievingly.

"What are you doing still here then?" I asked.

Grinning with glee, he got up and quickly walked to meet with our goddess.

I walked back to the large living area where I'd left Zoe. As I entered, Nasya and Gen were dancing around, banging their feet on the ground, spinning and twirling around the room. I wasn't quite sure whether Nas should have been doing it in her heels but didn't mention it. Gen was the first to notice my entrance.

"Ace!" she squealed, bumping into Nas. "Nasya didn't tell me you were here."

"We're all here, and I take it you've met Zoe," I said, smiling.

"Yes, of course. I've spoken to Riley, but he didn't mention you."

"You really expected him to talk about me when there were five women sat around him?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I do seem to expect him to have a relatively clear head, do I not? As he should, but alas."

She grinned before giving me a hug and restarting her dance with Nas. I went to sit down next to Zoe. Ava and Violet were sat opposite us. Violet with her arm around her companion as always.

"Where's Zev?" I asked.

"He had to take a call," Zoe replied, moving closer to me. "And then he rushed off."

I nodded. "He won't be gone long then."

"What do you mean?"

"The only calls that Zevran gets are ones about his 'work'. And they don't take him very long to follow-up on."

"But wh- Oh, yeah." She'd obviously remembered what it was that Zev did.

Nas started laughing, quickly joined by Gen. Turning to find their source of amusement, I realised that it was Riley, who was already rather drunk. Nerissa and Araminta were giggling either side of him. Riley seemed to be... singing?

"And how drunk are you?" I asked him loudly.

He laughed. "It's not my fault!" he shouted, raising his hands in drunk defense. "It's Minty's and Nissy's fault. They made me do the shots."

"Of course, that was after he had the bottle and a half of vodka," Nisha pointed out, rather irritated by their stupid behaviour.

"That wasn't my fault either," Riley slurred. He put his arms aroun Gen and Nas, saying, "I just didn't want to disappoint these lovely ladies here. Russian vodka is the best."

"Russians know how to handle it though, Riley," Gen said patronisingly, patting his cheek.

The End

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