"Woe is me, 4 letters." Mercury sighed.
"Alas," replied Othello, staring through the window at a deserted and windy street.
"Did Opal say when this guy was going to show up?" asked Prada.
"Nope." replied Mercury firmly, "What's another word for greed, beginning with 'a'?"
"Avarice," Othello could not keep the boredom from his voice. Like all of them, he just wanted to get in there and deal with the demon they had followed here, once and for all. Having to wait was maddening.
Othello glanced over at Mercury's paper, "Spaghetti ends in an 'i' not an 'e'." he grunted.
"Oh yeah, thanks." Mercury's pen scratched the paper.
Outside in the street, nothing was still doing its best to happen.
The armoured figure facing Harold was like something come to life from one of those old mythology books. It topped Harold's six feet by a good head, and was broad of shoulder and narrow of hip. Its flowing golden hair framed a bronzed face of such surpassing beauty that, if it had smiled, it would have lit up the whole alleyway.
It was not smiling, however.
"You!" cried Harold in disbelief and not a little trepidation.
"They told me that one of the First Order was roaming around on Earth," said the armoured figure, "Imagine my surprise when they said it was you." He took a step closer and in so doing, brought the flaming tip of his sword close enough to make the front of Harold's jacket begin to smoke a little. "Do you not remember me warning you what would happen if our paths ever crossed again?" The perfect grey eyes were ablaze with anger.
"Of course I do," answered Harold, his voice calmer than he felt.
"And yet you still come up here to the world of men to make mischief."
"That's not what I'm doing here, Baruthiel," Harold protested.
"Oh?" the angel (for such it was) raised a perfect eyebrow, "So you got Lolita LaChaise to sign away her soul for her own good then, did you?" Even dripping sarcasm, the voice was lovely. "You are truly pathetic!"
Harold had no answer: he had indeed ensnared that young actress with a promise of a major part in All My Children, but that was before – and she had been drunk at the time, so even the best of the Basement's lawyers (and there were plenty to choose from) would probably not be able to get the Contract to stick. The Contract had to be signed knowingly and willingly. Harold doubted that would cut any ice with Baruthiel the Reckoner, though, and prepared himself for a swift and painful trip back home. It was a pity really, things were just getting interesting.
"I would love to deal with you as you deserve, Fallen," continued the angel, "but fortunately for you, there are more important matters at hand. I assume all this amateurish skulking in alleys is your way of investigating the disappearances?"
Harold was stung by the angel's scathing tone and, with the threat of imminent Dismissal having receded, somewhat irritated by his holier-than-thou (though technically quite true) manner.
"What's it to the Penthouse if there are a few less Fallen?" he retorted, "I would have thought you'd be pleased."
"Oh, we would be," Baruthiel assured him, "Except that some of the Loyal have also disappeared."
Even Teatime, who had been perfectly still and silent up to this point, gasped.
So Angels were disappearing too.