'Can I get you something to eat, Jimble?' she asked.
Eyes lighting up, he nodded and rubbed his tummy.
'What would you like? I've no idea what pixie trolls eat,' she smiled.
'No sugar. No sugar,' he chuckled.
'It make me grow, grow, sugar does, it does, does.'
'Oh, okay. Do you eat meat?'
Jimble screwed his face up in disgust. She laughed.
'Not sure, not sure. Never tried it, it.'
'Maybe a sandwich then? Erm, cheese?'
Jimble's face was blank.
'You've never tried cheese?'
When he shook his head, she turned to the table where the food was still laid out and made him a cheese sandwich, handing it to him with a bottle of mineral water.
Barely a second went by and the sandwich was gone, followed by a large burp and a chuckle.
'I like cheese, cheese,' he said. 'Another one?'
Daisy laughed as she made him a further three cheese sandwiches. He was just finishing when their friends walked into the room. As he turned, he noticed that many of the others were still creaking their necks to get a good look at him.
'That's enough gawping, everybody,' Eleanor said. 'I'm sure you'll all get a chance to meet Jimble personally, but for now, please give the little guy some space.'
Jimble grinned as Eleanor and the Watchers he already knew joined him at the table. Wilbur carried over a couple of pots of tea, before he and the kitchen staff began clearing the rest of the food away.
'So what happens now, Eleanor?' asked Emma.
'Declan and Diarmuid are in the archives, looking up all the vampires we have on file. I'm hoping that this Barber character will be among them. If he is, there should be sufficient information to lead us to him. So until they return, we have to go on as usual. Which means, when we've all finished our tea, it's back to class,' she said with a grin.
'But first, there's something confusing me, Jimble?' Eleanor said as his ears pricked up and he gave her his full attention.
'I understand Phillip Bottomley froze you?'
Jimble nodded, 'We were frozen frozen for years years, but we didn't know know because we frequently hibernate hibernate. It wasn't until we awoke awoke more recently that it became apparent we had been frozen frozen.'
'How did you know?'
'You told me me,' he said, pointing to Declan.
'You didn't know until then?'
Jimble shook his head.
'I guess that makes sense,' Eleanor added, before continuing, 'Jimble, as we are short one or two Mentors at the moment, I thought perhaps you might like to give a talk to the students you haven't met yet?'
His eyes opened wide at the prospect and gulped loudly.
'Talk in front of a large audience, large audience?' he asked. 'But what will I talk talk about about?'
'You can fill them in on what's been happening since you met us,' she suggested. 'And perhaps tell them a little about your kind.'
Silently pondering the subject, Jimble's face soon lit up and he nodded enthusiastically, 'I'll do it, I'll do it.'
'Good.' Eleanor took a few more sips of her tea before pushing back her seat. 'I shall go and ring the bell.'
Converging in the gym of the Praxos Academy, just around the corner from the HQ, the students waited patiently as Eleanor walked to the front, where she turned to face them.
'Although life cannot go on for the poor humans out there, it must continue for the Watchers, which means that classes are to resume shortly. I know, I know,' she said as everyone moaned, 'But this is an Academy and you are here to learn, regardless of what's going on in the outside world. Unfortunately, as several of our Mentors are either out of action or away from London, we are slightly understaffed. Jimble, therefore, will be giving a talk and will take your questions about his species and his history. At the back of the gym, you will find five lists. These are the five groups you will be split into. Group One will head to the Lux Room with Jimble, Two please head to the Veritas Room with Oksana, Three to the Tempus Room with Brody, Four to the Concordia Room with Beau and Five to the Arcana Room with... me. Off you go,' she said as the students all turned around and headed towards the lists.
Eleanor stepped down and spotted Daisy.
'Daisy, I'm afraid your GCSE classes are on hold at the moment as Marian has still not returned from Edinburgh. So feel free to join any of these classes. Alternatively, you can just go and study, if you like?'
Daisy smiled, 'Thanks.'
But she was in no mood to go and study, nor was she in the mood to join the other classes, either, so instead she decided to sneak out of the Academy and get some fresh air.
Just as she tiptoed to the main door, a hand on her shoulder made her jump. Turning, she found Lana grinning at her.
'Ditching classes?' Lana asked.
'No... they're not my classes. You seem to forget I'm a year behind you guys.'
'True,' Lana said.
'By the looks of it, you're the one who’s skiving.'
Lana laughed, 'Busted. Weirdly, they put us in Group One with Jimble. We already know everything about him so I figured I'd go and, erm, get some fresh air.'
'That's what I was thinking too, let's go then,' Daisy whispered as the two of them carefully opened the door and ran outside without even a glance backwards. Climbing the stairs that were hidden from view, they turned onto Gower Street.
'Hey! Not so fast,' said a voice behind them.
Turning, they found Emma standing with her hands on her hips and her eyebrows raised.
'I've been looking all over for you. What are you two doing?'
Daisy looked to the floor as Lana laughed at her sister.
'Why? You gonna tell?'
'Don't be stupid, Lana. It's dangerous out there.'
'You do remember our specials skills, don't you? Remember when we beat up those muggers a while back? We can handle pretty much anything, Sis. And now that we know the wolves are pretty cool too, we've got nothing to worry about. Come on, come with us. We won't go far. We just really wanna get some fresh air and chill out. Just for a bit.'
Thinking for a moment, Emma sighed heavily and walked up the stairs behind them.
'Just to be straight, I'm only coming along to keep my eye on you.'
Lana shook her head and gently punched Emma's shoulder.
'Where shall we go?' asked Daisy.
Lana shrugged, 'We can pretty much go anywhere we want. Nobody can stop us.'
'Well, apart from the Skulls,' Emma whispered as they began walking down the street. 'We really shouldn't go far. We don't want to be gone long, otherwise they'll notice.'
'Just keep an eye out for anything unusual. I'm sure we can handle it. Let's go this way,' Lana replied confidently.
The sound of howling made Daisy literally jump about two metres back before stopping still, shaking.
'Hey,' Emma said as she turned back to make sure she was okay. 'You alright?'
Daisy gulped and nodded.
'I guess I just haven't got used to that sound since, you know... since the attack.'
'But you got away from them, Daisy. You were faster than that freaky Grycan wolf. Besides, we've met the main wolves in London and they're friendly. You've got nothing to worry about. Giovanni certainly wouldn't hurt us and he's the leader of the pack here.'
'I... I guess you're right,' she sighed as she took in a deep breath of fresh air. 'It's been so long since I spent some quality time outdoors, I just really needed this. After all those months of living outdoors, it's kind of weird being inside all the time. It makes me feel constricted, you know?'
The sisters nodded and smiled.
'Thanks for coming with me.'
Both the girls linked arms with Daisy and they carried on walking past shops and cafés, occasionally stopping to get a good look at individuals frozen in time.
'It's weird, isn't it?' asked Emma.
'Seeing all these people like this when they should be scurrying around getting on with their lives.'
'Yeah, it seems like ages since it started, doesn't it?'
The girls nodded as they walked past a beautifully ornate brick building on the corner.
'That's gorgeous. Look, it's even got turrets,' said Emma as they slowed down to take it in. Lana sighed with her hands on her hips.
'It's a building.'
'Yes, but it's a lovely one. Diarmuid would love it. I should make a note of it so I can show him.'
'You're like, so... old, Emma,' her sister said, shaking her head.
'I'm exactly the same age as you, Sis.'
'Maybe physically, but certainly not mentally.'
'That's right, because you're like, six or something.'
Lana punched Emma's shoulder as Daisy shook her head and laughed.
'I agree, it is a nice building,' Daisy added.
'See?' Emma stuck out her tongue.
'Whatever. Hey, did you see that?' Lana asked as she pulled the girls away from the road and up against the building.
'Movement, over there.'
Daisy pointed further down the road where something was clearly moving.
'Let's go,' Lana whispered as they crossed the road and peered down the canal.
'It's just a boat, Lana,' Emma said.
'Yeah, but someone's driving it.'
'People don't drive boats, they steer them.'
'Well, whatever. That boat is going somewhere.'
As they tiptoed further down the road, they watched as the boat glided along the water, but it soon came upon a problem. A number of other boats in the slim waterway were in its path.
They listened as a curse was yelled loudly.
'There's someone in there,' Daisy whispered.
Peering over the fence, they watched as a middle aged woman with bright yellow hair appeared from inside the barge, cursing under her breath. She jumped from her boat to the one closest to her and tried to manoeuvre it out of the way, but there were just too many barges in front of her. It was useless. She would simply have to wait.
'Who do you think she is?' whispered Emma.
'Don't you mean what?' Daisy replied.
'Why don't we ask her?' Lana said.
Before the others had the chance to stop her, Lana leant over and shouted, 'Hello!'
'Lana, for goodness sake, she could be a Skull or something,' Emma scolded.
'Does she look like a Skull to you?' Lana tutted as the woman squinted, looking vaguely towards them.
'Over here,' Lana waved.
When her eyes rested on the three girls, the woman's mouth turned up at the sides.
'Hello girls, what are you doing here?'
'We were just passing through when we spotted you. Is there anything we can do to help?'
Emma and Daisy shared an irritated look.
'I can't get out,' she huffed. 'Been trying for what seems like an age but no, I'm well and truly stuck here.'
'Hopefully the world will return to normal soon enough and you'll be able to get on your way then,' Emma said as she pulled Lana to one side.
'Lana, we don't know what she is, for goodness sake.'
'Don't worry about me, I'll be alright. I guess I'll just have to wait. Who are you?'
Lana leant over the fence, 'We're Watchers,' she said a little quieter.
'Watchers are you?'
'Oh, I'm just a woman trying to get on with my life.'
Emma raised her eyebrows, 'She's hiding something.'
Daisy nodded but Lana chose to ignore the warning.
'Well, we'd like to help if we can.'
'Why don't you come aboard for a nice cup of tea?'
Lana smiled and climbed the fence.
Before Emma could stop her, Lana had jumped effortlessly over the water and on to the barge.
'Thank you, a cup of tea would be great.'
'My sister is going to get us killed one of these days,' cursed Emma as she climbed over the fence after her. 'We'd better go too, just in case.'
Daisy nodded and followed the two girls.
Inside the barge was decorated with floral cushions, floral wallpaper, floral carpet, even a floral tea cosy.
'I take it you like flowers,' Lana said as she sipped at the tea along with Daisy and Emma while the woman busied herself in the tiny kitchen at the centre of the house boat.