Soon I was ushered back into the small drawing room and handed another hunk of stale bread and a bowl of water.

I ate dutifully, noting how hunger had actually made the food bearable. 

As the night set in Celeste was assigned to watch me, but as the hours stretched on she grew from yawning to sleeping, leaning on the table.

I couldn't help myself. I snuck out of the room, walking down the hall carefully.

There were rugs everywhere that muffled my feet, but at the same time I had nearly tripped on them numerous times.

All it took was one fall, and I was done for.

This was when Ninja XU was coming in handy. It was one of the lesser-known games on the virtual reality market, but it focused heavily on stealth and espionage. 

Sure, I didn't have any shadow shuriken on me but it did teach me how to navigate around a doorway without being seen.

I passed by Sher still tinkering away in another room, Uriel sitting on a chair looking the other way. Mercy was fighting an imaginary enemy in her room, heaving with the effort.

When I got to the end of he hall I found an empty room, and another, open door across from me.

I was too curios to pass up the chance to see where it led, and within a few steps I'd emerged onto a terrace.

Maidie was leaning on the railing, smoking a Devol.

"You want one?" she asked without turning around, tapping the cigarette to make the ash fall off the end.

"Aren't you afraid someone will see you, an angel, smoking?"

She laughed, taking another long drag.

"I'm wearing infrared lenses, Preston. I'll be able to see a spectator a mile off."

"Oh. In that case..." I walked over, and she handed me a burned-down stub from her sleeve.

"What's this?" I asked, chuckling as she lit it for me with a chunky-looking lighter.

"I have to conserve my rations." she explained, turning back to the night, "And no offense, but you're not getting a fresh smoke off of me."

I shrugged and breathed in the goodness of the Devol anyways. Sure, the stub wasn't as nice in my hands as a new cigarette, but it worked enough for me.

I followed her gaze and looked out to a dark blue sky painted with tiny white lights.

"What are those?" 

Maidie turned to look at me, with their reflection shining on the surface of her eyes.

"They're stars. Before light pollution really set in."

Stars, huh? I'd heard of them from somewhere. 

There were as many stars littering the sky as bits of nuclear debris had littered the ground the day of the Crisis.

"Wow. There's...a lot."

The End

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