I stand there for a long time, arms wrapped around Ellie, gazing off into the distance and thinking hard. There was once a time in my life where I thought I had nothing to lose, and something as simple as banishment would not have phased me in the least. Tempting as it is to dismiss the prospect with some caustic remark, I cannot help but feel unnerved. Back then I had no responsibilities to anyone but myself, but now whatever I do affects Ellie too. I might be able to cope with going back to being a Reaper, but how would she react to being left up here on her own?

I sigh, yes, this was probably a bad idea. Thinking back on it, it does seem incredibly immature, and it clearly wasn't a very well thought out plan. I need to learn to cover my tracks up here, I can't afford to keep getting into trouble. My methods of warfare are going to have to adapt to being sneakier and more subtle. And I'm going to have to watch my step.

Finally I let go of Ellie and step back, looking her in the eyes. "We're going to have to rethink this."

"What?" she says, looking a little teary eyed.

"Everything. This place isn't like anywhere we've ever been before. It's got new rules, a new hierarchy and a different way of working. We haven't got into major trouble yet - we can cope with being separated for a short while - but we can't afford to get into anything worse. Something tells me there are worse punishments available here than simply getting bollocked by your father."

Ellie nods. "Yeah, I guess. It was a bit stupid."

I nod. "It's not going to be easy, but we're going to have to deal with this. You've got to act like a Zodiac, and I've got to learn how to act like a consort. It's a big jump, but I think we can take it. Besides," I grin mischievously, "as long as no-one knows its us, I'm sure we don't have to be goody goody all the time. We're just going to have to exchange guerilla warfare for more subtle tactics. And we still get to enjoy the sight of Illiana's face at dinner."

"I look forward to that." Ellie laughs. "I still think she deserves it."

"Don't we all? Come on, let's go and see if we can get a look at her and Aries now - I'll bet there's some very colourful cursing going on."

The End

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