For a while I poked at random places along the wall- then I realized that Niccolo could probably figure it out better than I could even if he didn't remember, so I decided to check out the cells that lined the walls instead. Clearly, Mevolent hadn't had any trouble filling his castle with prisoners. I felt an overwhelming need to save everyone- they were all so terrified, and I'd been though it too- but I had to admit that it would be impossible, and if they were caught escaping they would be tortured even more. If I saw someone I recognized, though... I knew it wasn't fair, but one person would be manageable, so I skimmed through the faces of those suffering and dying- and in some cases, already dead- for someone I might know.
Death heard someone coming towards her cell she had returned to. She had come to see if her father was alright after his attack and had found it empty. The shoe she had used to prop the door open had been ineffective and the door had closed. She found it as a suitable punishment for what she'd done.
She raced to the door, tripping over his discarded shoe -she hadn't been bothered enough to put it back on - and looked out. A girl was walking down the corridor. A girl who's face showed compassion above what was necessary. Aretha Tesla. But, two things stood in her way from her joy. Number One, Aretha was being controlled by Mevolent, Number Two, she wouldn't recognize Death in the body she was currently wearing. "Ari! Aretha Tesla! Come here now!" She shouted with a wicked grin.
At the sound of my name I gasped and took a few quick steps backwards, staring into the cell at a face I couldn't recognize. "Um... Hi?" I replied hesitantly, but didn't approach. "Sorry, do I know you?"
Death grinned at sighed. "You know me, well. We're friends. I'm a daughter of a psychopath with a red hand!" She looked at Ari and noticed how dishevelled she looked. "What happend?" Something looked off about her... Something that wasn't there the last time they'd met; that day she died. She looked like her normal self. Her passion was back and her voice was full of feeling. "You're not under Mev's control anymore!" She geeky like hugging her old friend but the bar prohibited it.
My eyes flashed with recognition, and then I was racing towards the bars. "Death!" I exclaimed in delight. "Yeah, I broke the binding spell. So, that was exciting. Just recently, though, I was attacked by a vampire- but it's somewhere else now, so that's fine. What about you? How did you end up in there?" I meant to ask about the new body and the cell, but it kind of morphed into one.
Death grinned as Ari recognized her. "That is epic, Ari. And the vampire bit... Yeah, I have a feeling that was because of me. I told someone to get Dusk." She huffed a little in embarrassment. "You won't believe this but, I died twice, got a new father and found out that Ian was a Necromancer!" That was all over the course of a month, she had to admit that was pretty cool. "And I kinda punched a certain evil torturer in the face..." She laughed happily. "Ah, my life is fun!" She looked at her shoe and picked it up. "This is what they call a doorstop. A very faulty door stop. Serpine came in here and then I kinda, uh, knocked him out and broke his knee and escaped, talked to Mara for a bit and then came back into here to check on foster-daddy!"
I couldn't help but laugh at her synopsis. I would definitely have task some questions later, but for now, they could wait. "It's great to see you again, and I can't tell you how happy I am that you're not dead." I admitted, just as Niccolò appeared behind me again.
"Right, so when were you going to tell me about the detective on our tail?" Surprisingly, there was only the slightest hint of irritation in his voice- he sounded more amused than anything else. I opened my mouth to explain, but he stole the words before I had a chance. "Yes, I know, you were getting to that. And this is..." He trailed off, staring at Pure with a certain curiosity, "Death Rose. Pleasure to see you in one piece."
Then he shifted his weight slightly, and the floor opened up just in front of him, revealing some sort of secret compartment. "So that's where it is," he mused, lifting something out of the floor and fitting it into his coat. "Time to go?" He said it as a question, directed towards me. He was actually asking whether or not I was ready, instead of just running off with me. Niccolò was polite when he wasn't a sadistic murderer. I looked to Death, passing the question off to her with my eyes. I wouldn't leave without her.
Death couldn't help herself, she laughed. It was Bob Hitler, leather coat and all. She hadn't seen him since before the breakup with Diablo! "Hi! It is nice to be in one piece, better if I was in my old self though..." Bob said a few things that she didn't catch and then Aretha looked at with a question in her eyes.
"Time to go?"
Death blinked a few times then shrugged. "Both dads are going to kill me anyway so... Prolong my much awaited third death or go with my friend and my friend's crazy associate?" She pretended to ponder the question for a while, just to annoy them and then shrugged. "Either one seems fine!"
I shot a sidelong glance at Niccolò, and he got to work picking the lock on the cell. 30 seconds later, the bars swung open. "Alright," he said, "If we're going to leave, it has to be now." He added in my head, 'I don't know how much longer I can last.'
I nodded. "Did you get the sensitive?" A curt nod served as his response- I could tell he was trying to hide pain. "Then let's get out of here. Death?" I linked my left arm through his, and extended my right to Death.
Death nodded wearily at Bob as a 'thank you' and grabbed Aretha's hand. Bob looked... Strange so she tried not to think, just in case he was a Sensitive. He probably wasn't but he could've been. The Sensitives that she'd known were Ian and Ren. Ian... She sighed in her mind. Why? Why did you have to be him. Why did you turn into him. Why couldn't you be you...? Her free hand pushed into her right eye to stop the tear that threatened to escape. "No crying now," she breathed and gripped Ari's hand tighter.
I felt Death squeeze my hand, and gave a light squeeze back. I got the impression that she was really sad, but couldn't pinpoint why. But I didn't like pushing people- I decided if she wanted to tell me, she would, and I would just make sure to be there.
I blinked, and then we were standing in the rickety little hotel room I'd called home for the past few days. I gave Death's hand one more squeeze, then stepped away from the both of the, and took a deep breath. My heart rate was still above normal. "Ok, I'm going to take a walk- get some air, maybe pick up a few things." Niccolò's eyes were pleading, but I had somewhere to go and couldn't let him come with me. "I'll be back soon," I said to appease him, "And you'll be ok."
After I had left, Niccolò turned to Death. He wasn't sure how much longer he could last as himself, but he would take advantage of what time he had. "Are you all right?" He asked her gently, his voice soft and genuine. "You have no reason to trust me or speak to me, I know, but if you want to talk about... Something," he resisted the urge to say 'Ian'- she had been thinking a little too loudly- "I'll listen. Maybe there's something I can do to help."