Ramira yawned and then prodded him with another question. “So how did you become a lord in your country if you weren’t born into it?”
“Ah, uh... it’s a recent thing. And kind of a long story.”
Her big gray eyes seemed to be telling him that she was ready for a long story.
He hesitated, of course, but he gave it a go, beginning with how he met the Queen and giving the highlights from there. And before long, he could see the little girl slowly drifting off to sleep. He didn’t really blame her, though. He wasn’t so great at this storytelling thing, and in spite of all her energy, Ramira had looked pretty tired even since before leaving Luzo. And it actually made the story easier to tell, he found. There was less pressure to get it right when it felt like she was hardly even listening.
At length, Ramira was out cold. And the mask made it hard to tell, but judging from Emiliana’s breathing and the fact that she hadn’t moved her head at all in the last few minutes, she seemed to be out, too. Marcos, as well, had fallen asleep on Dimas’ shoulder.
‘We might as well get some rest, too,’ said Garovel. He attached himself to Hector’s shoulder, and Hector fell quickly into unconsciousness.
The warm darkness washed over him. Familiar and welcome and gone too soon.
He awoke to the realization that the limousine was no longer moving. Garovel was awake, too, but the Elroy children were still asleep.
And Ramira was leaning against his shoulder.
He tensed up, having to resist the impulse to jump out of his seat. If not for a very potent concern that he would accidentally hurt the poor girl, Hector was pretty sure that he would have ended up ripping one of the doors off the vehicle while trying to escape.
Garovel floated in front of him. ‘You okay there, buddy?’
Hector just glared at the reaper with a clenched jaw.
‘Just relax,’ Garovel said privately, unable to hide his laughter completely. ‘She’s not going to hurt you.’
‘Think of this as practice. Y’know, for when you have to touch someone who is actually conscious.’
‘You did this on purpose...’
‘Hey, I didn’t make her fall asleep on you. She did that on her own.’
‘You woke me up.’
‘Oh, did I? My hand must have slipped.’
‘I do have hands, don’t I?’