“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Isabella asked him.
“I just... don’t. There’s nothing there,” Daniel said, trying to find the right words.
“What about Ez?” Ibby suggested.
Daniel shook his head. “He’s gone home for a month and won’t be coming back before he said. What about Lucius?”
“Wait,” Beth interjected. “I thought it had to be one of the... the Paraa?”
“You have two different kinds,” Daniel explained. “White Paraa and black Paraa. The black Paraa are referred to as demons, just for ease of reference.”
“Angels and demons then?” Beth asked.
After a moment of thought, he said, “Essentially, yes.”
“But... not angels and demons.”
He smiled. “Precisely.”
A blast of sudden heat scorched the room.
“You called?” said Lucius’ voice.
“Not exactly but I was about to,” Daniel said to him.
Lucius laughed a little. “Ah, yes, but I’m an expert at anticipating things. What can I do for you?”
“I might be pregnant,” Beth murmured, glancing up at him.
His blank white eyes stared at her, his expression one without shock or surprise, simply blank.
“And why have you called me? Daniel’s here,” Lucius said, glancing around them.
“I don’t know,” Daniel answered. “I can’t tell.”
Lucius frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I can’t tell; the determining factor just isn’t there.”
After a moment’s thought, Lucius continued, his face hardening, “And you want me to try.”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
“Daniel, you know what happened last time I tried this.”
He seemed to make no response to Lucius’ remark. He stood up, leaving the seat free. After a few seconds, Lucius sat down slowly.
“What happened last time?” Beth asked.
He didn’t seem at all surprised that she was talking. “I was mentally incapacitated for three weeks.”
Beth gasped and instantly drew her wrists against her chest. “I’m not going to let you do that.”
He shook his head. “My kind aren’t exactly designed for this purpose, but I was young and foolish; I would be quite surprised if it happened again.”
This didn’t comfort Beth whatsoever. Lucius reached out for her hand, waiting for her to give it to him.
“Honestly, Beth. It’ll be fine. Most likely.”
She thought this through and slowly placed her hand in his. He reached for her other one, which Daniel hadn’t done. With a reassuring nod from Isabella, Beth slipped her other hand into his.
“Right, close your eyes.” She did as he said. “And just relax. Trust me.”
She didn’t know what he was doing but she followed his commands, closing her eyes and relaxing. She felt heat grow against her palms, increasing until she knew she shouldn’t be able to stand it. Instead of feeling like she had to snatch her hands away, the high temperature didn’t bother her. It travelled up her wrists and over her skin to her elbows. She allowed the feeling to comfort her.