“How do you know she is here?” Emiliana asked.
“Well, I don’t, but the cells on this floor are super old and were designed specifically to hold reapers. Normal cells won’t work even with soul-empowerment, because normal cells have to allow air in, and reapers can squeeze through even the smallest of physical gaps. Unless you’re using a soul net, I suppose. But those require added maintenance since they need electricity and other science-y stuff. Which didn’t even exist way back then, anyway. Or hadn’t been discovered yet, I guess. Whatever.”
“You... seem to know a lot about it.”
“Do I? That’s cool. Studying is boring, but knowing stuff is fun. Hey, what’s your reaper’s name?”
Emiliana seemed reluctant, still, but said, “Chergoa.”
“Lovely. HEY, CHERGOA! CAN YOU HEAR US?!”
After a beat, Emiliana blinked. “She can.”
“You lead the way, then,” said Ibai.
Emiliana proceeded down the length of the hall, shouting out to Chergoa intermittently, and soon, Ibai could hear the reaper’s responses.
‘You sound really close now.’
Emiliana stopped in front of a cell on their right. “I think she’s in here.”
“Okay,” said Ibai. “Be right back.” And he teleported inside on his own.
It was pitch dark inside, but he did not need light to see her. To his eyes, reapers were very small, human-shaped toys. Tiny action figures, in truth.
As soon as Chergoa saw him, she began bobbing frantically up and down. ‘Holy shit, an aberration! How did you--?!’
With nowhere for her to run, Ibai just scooped her up with his shadow. “Shh, it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.”
They jumped out again, and he held the reaper up for Emiliana to see. “Here she is! Safe and sound!”
“Thank you!” Emiliana moved to take Chergoa from him.
Ibai recoiled from her touch, keeping the reaper well in hand. “Ah. That’s okay. I’ll keep her safe for you.”
The relief on Emiliana’s face disappeared. “No, please, I would much rather she be--”
“Sorry,” said Ibai. “It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s that I don’t trust her. No offense, Chergoa.”
Chergoa made no response.
“I know how most reapers see me.” He frowned. “If I let her go, I’m sure she’ll just run away. And then she’ll make you run away. And then we won’t be able to go on an adventure together! So I’ll hold onto her for now.”