"Thanks Mum. I love you too." Harold moved his tea to one side and concentrated on the manuscript, his finger running over the Aramaic and his lips moving as he silently translated. He looked up. "Two thousand demons? Is that accurate?"
"Roughly, yes. It's impossible to be exact, since some of us are absorbed into others only to split off again later."
"So how many are missing? This Manoach never mentions regaining his possessed status."
Ada snorted. "He wouldn't, would he? It's the perfect cover. Everyone sees the Prophet free you of demons and you become a celebrity. You don't tell people afterward you got your demons back, do you?"
"She has a point." Felicia stood and picked up her phone. "If you go to rehab to kick a drug habit, you don't tell everyone when you're using again." She put her phone back in her pocket. "There's a customer downstairs. I have to go."
"Okay. I'll see you later." Harold flashed her a smile as he picked up his tea cup. "If it's not a touchy subject, what sort of compensation are you offering, Mrs. Legion? Jasfoup and I don't work for free, you know, much as we'd like to. We do have overheads and a few lost children will go a long way to paying to rent."
"There are fortunes in the deserts of Palestine, Mr. Harold. I could lead you to a cave full of Persian gold, the tomb of Ahmat IV and his eternal concubines or the resting place of the Stones of Law."
"They all sound splendid." Harold smiled. "What are the Stones of Law?"
"The tablets of the commandments given to Moses on the mountain."
"Excellent!" Harold rubbed his hands together. "And the eternal concubines?"
"Harold!" Ada clipped him around the ear. "How can you even think of charging her to look for her children?"
"Because her children are three thousand year old demons that I will have to forcibly extract from the bodies of ordinary people."
"Who is this Jasfoup?" said Legion. "Will he help us?"
"I should think so." Harold returned his attention to the manuscript. "He's a demon too."
"I see." Legion leaned over to Harold. "What method would you recommend, Mr. Waterman?"
"Hmm?" Harold was still running over the manuscript of Manoach, one finger over the letters as he translated the ancient Aramaic in his head. "I beg your pardon, madam?"
"What method would you use to stop the children?"
"Oh." Harold looked at her, a slight frown creasing his forehead. "Well, none, really, since Gillian is technically barren but I'd generally use a condom if not for that."
The room went completely silent until Ada cleared her throat. "What Legion meant, Harold, was how would you stop her missing children from possessing mortal forms?"
"I see." Harold fanned his face with his hand. "Sarcasm?"