Strange, I think, is it just me or is it cold in here? I shift again, suddenly aware that there's a lot more space in the bed than there was before. I open my eyes blearily and peer across the room to find Ellie hunched in the corner, sobbing into her knees. She's upset about something, really really upset. Something twinges inside me and I get up and move over to her, crouching beside her like a gargoyle on a church roof.
"What's the matter with you?" I ask gruffly. I've never been much good at sympathy - more for the fact I've never had to give it then anything else. Ellie looks up at me, her eyes tear-stained and rimmed with red.
"It's nothing." she sniffs, trying to wipe the tears away hurriedly. I raise an eyebrow.
"And I'm the emporer of China." I add sarcastically. "Come on, you're not the type to cry."
"How do you know that?"
"Well..." I bite my lip. "You didn't cry when I killed you the first time, or when I dragged you to Hell - literally. And you've never so much as shed a tear throughout the whole experience of being here. So from what I can deduce something must be bothering you."
"Just a dream." she mutters. "Just a stupid dream."
I sigh. I probably ought to do something to cheer her up, but not being a particularly, shall we say "cuddly", specimen and my knowledge of jokes extending no further than ego-blasting sarcasm, I'm going to need to think of something good. Oh I don't know, what do humans do to cheer each other up?
"I know." I say, grinning at Ellie. "How about we head surfaceside and get something to eat? I doubt you'll be wanting to survive off apples and bread forever, so lets widen the horizons a bit. We can go anywhere you like, my treat."
Ellie smiles slightly, a little spark returning to her pale eyes. "I'd like that."
"C'mon then." I grin and pull her to her feet. Within seconds we're hurtling upwards, both of us whooping with delight. I've always preferred going up - it seems so much more exciting. Plus it means my landings are often a lot less clumsy than when I go down again. Gravity hates me.
Once back on the surface we wander into the town. It's very early morning, the sun just beginning to peak over the horizon. My wrist tingles pleasantly, echoing the small smile on Ellie's face. She still seems preoccupied about something, but evidently it's bothering her a bit less now. But I can't let this distract me, this is all the more dangerous with her around. If Eric and company have brought backup, there could be some serious trouble. Not even the Truimvate could save me if some of the high ranking Light Reapers got their hands on me. They wouldn't harm Ellie, but I suspect she'd get a little taster of whatever they'd do to me, just to put her off doing anything like it again.
"Right." I say, halting in the town centre. "Where will it be?"
"How about that place?" Ellie indicates a small French-style delicatessen. I nod, I know the place, it's small but very expensive. Still, money's not a problem for me. I've hoarded enough over the centuries - and stolen enough credit card details, just to be sure.
However, just as we take our seats, something in the air catches my attention. I freeze and zone in on it, but it's gone. I keep listening, and vague flickers of it keep appearing here and there. Distant for now, but I doubt they'll stay that way for long. I don't bother telling Ellie out loud, if she wants to know she'll hear it in my thoughts anyway.
"I think we might want a bigger table." I mutter. "Something tells me we're about to have some uninvited guests to stay."