‘No hurry,’ said the other reaper. ‘I’m plenty patient.’ This one’s name was Chergoa.
Zeff gave a grateful nod.
Marcos stepped up next to his sister. “Hey, if Emy doesn’t want her reaper, then I’ll take it.”
Zeff exhaled an amused breath. “No, Marcos. Emiliana will still be receiving her reaper. Just not tonight.”
The relief on Emiliana’s face seemed to lessen at that, but she nodded all the same. “Thank you, Papa...”
“Francisco, see that everyone gets ready for bed,” said Mariana.
After returning indoors, they parted ways with their children. The long corridor with ribbed arches in the ceiling gave them plenty of time to speak as they walked toward the Main House’s master bedroom, all four of the reapers following.
“You do know that it is not because she is merely scared, don’t you?” said Mariana.
“Yes,” said Zeff.
“She’s not like her sisters. Gema and Ramira are both tomboys, but Emiliana is about as girly as girls come.”
Zeff threw his wife an odd look--curious and amused by the way she put it.
“She wants to marry young and live quietly as a mother,” Mariana went on. “She wants a different kind of life for herself--one without all the commotion that the name Elroy brings with it.”
He took a deep breath. “I know.”
“Then why are you humoring her? It would be better to just get it over with and disillusion her now.”
“Because I am wondering if that is necessary.”
They arrived at their room, and Zeff entered first while Mariana stopped in the doorway. “What are you saying?”
Zeff looked to Chergoa. “I know this is not what you bargained for, but would you allow Emiliana to live quietly if she were your servant?”
Chergoa unfurled her black wings. ‘Uh. I suppose I could do that. But what do you think, Axiolis? You’re the one who recruited me into this Vanguard business.’
All eyes turned to Axiolis, and for a while, the reaper just stared at Zeff. ‘Frankly, I’m not pleased by the idea. Nor will the General be.’