Zafira looked across the house. Javier had gone baby shopping. Alexis was asleep in the play pen. Zafira took out the paper. That number. Slightly nervous she took her phone and dialed it. Who could this be?
Aretha was terribly surprised to hear her phone ringing- the only people in the world who had her cell phone number were dead, with the exception of the one asleep on the floor. "Hello?" She answered tentatively. "May I ask who is speaking?"
Zafira heard the voice. Familiar. Almost.
"This is Zafira Kerias. This number was left on my desk at my work." She explained to the person who had answered. She figured this was going to be a prank. Not fun at all.
Aretha tried very hard not to gasp into the phone. "Grand Mage? This is Aretha Tesla. My apologies- I don't know how this number... Oh..." I trailed off, realizing just a bit late that this probably had something to do with Niccolo. "I'm sorry, but was it just the number, or was there something else along with it?"
Zafira gasped when she said who she was.
"Yes this is the Grand Mage. And there was a note reading, 'I can cure the nightmares'." Zafira told Aretha. This was good. Someone sane answered and not Mevolent.
"Oh. Of course." That made perfect sense, but Niccolo didn't look like he was waking up anytime soon. "My friend probably left that for you, but he's... Um, not available at the moment... I'm very sorry. I can have him call you as soon as he can." I added under my breath, "If he ever can..."
"Alright then. I guess that's all I can do. I wondered why I got this note." Zafira shrugged. Guess this is all she could hope for. The nightmares didn't help having Alexis around but what could she do?
"If I told you that Niccolo Croatoan had written that note, and that I knew where he was... How would you react?" I immediately regretted having said that. I hadn't even thought- it just slipped out. I suppose I just wanted to know whether or not deciding not to kill him was the right choice. And then I remembered his eyes that night in the alleyway, terrified and pleading- and beneath it all, so warm... You're not second-guessing your decision, you just want someone to agree with you. You need to know you're not insane, and he's not around to prove it to you. But it was true- I wanted someone who I knew was not insane, and who had seen Niccolo at his best and his worst, so say he shouldn't die for his crimes.
Zafira took a moment to consider this. The Grand Mage side of her said kill him but the practical side said don't.
"I should order his immediate arrest. But you see I don't think that's the answer. Death or imprisonment isn'f the answer. Niccolo is not as bad as I thought. He isn't always in control of himself. So as I'm assuming what you said is true I would only ask that maybe could I speak to him. I owe him for not killing Javier and I when we were captured. And I truly believe he wrote that note to help me. I'm willing to let him. He doesn't deserve death or arrest." Zafira felt strange. The man had nearly killed her twice but she felt like maybe he didn't do it purposely.
Aretha breathed a sigh of relief. "I appreciate that more than I can say- and I know he genuinely wants to help you. Actually... He ended up overexhausting himself helping a friend of mine. He sort of just... Collapsed... I'm not sure if-when he'll wake up," I corrected myself- I couldn't figure out why I was so concerned- after all, Ren had said he was fine, right? "But I'll make sure he calls you when he comes around."
"Well alright. If you want maybe Javier or I could get him awake. Or my daughter Alexis. One wail in the ear she'd wake the dead." Zafira laughed. As she said that little Alexis let out a faint cry in her sleep.
"Oh, congratulations! I hadn't known she was already born! Well, thank you, and I wish all three of you the best." She took a quick glance out the window- she always looked outside when she was happy- but what she saw only made her that much more paranoid. "I'm so sorry, I really, really am, but I'm going to need to call you back."
"Thank you." Zafira said smiling. Then Aretha spoke,
"Oh right okay. Bye then." She said hanging up. Zafira went over to Alexis and picked up the half awake baby. Smiling she sat on the couch. She felt exhausted between sleepless nights and Alexis Zafira was low on energy.