He had been warming himself near some steaming pipes when the small figure began to slowly climb down the iron ladder, into the tunnels beneath the streets. Leviticus watched the figure make its way down to the bottom, where it squinted and waited for its eyes to adjust to the dark before dropping into the shallow water.
The tall pale morlock cocked his head, curiously observing this thing: now that he finally saw one of the dwellers from above for the first time, he was surprised with how small it was. After a few moments it occurred to him that this tiny specimen may be a member of tender ones spoken of by Thomas and Spurgan. A deep unwinding growl erupted from his midsection, he ran his long thick white fingers over the taut flesh slowly, as if to appease the hunger through touch. Leviticus had philosophically agreed with the treaty when it was recently spoken of, but with the possibly forbidden dancing in front of him, the entire concept now seemed plainly ludicrous.
Food was food. Clearly hunting them in their own territory was unseemly and barbaric, but if they presented themselves to the tunnels, why should we give any quarter?
The small figure stood with one hand on the ladder, looking up at something above, seemingly hesitating.
Yes, thought Leviticus, salivating slightly. Allow your vision to become dependant on the light once again. He crept closer.
The small figure looked back down into the tunnels, now looking directly at Leviticus, though it clearly could not see him, thanks to the daylight. The steadily dwindling daylight.
“Come on.” rang out a voice from above, startling both the small figure and Leviticus. “Say it.”
“Stow it, pinhead.” the small figure hissed up the ladder.
The tall hunched morlock stopped, resting on his knuckles and the balls of his feet in the shallow water. Leviticus mused on these three words, ‘it’ being the single one he fully understood. Vernacular, he decided, before creeping closer. The small figure was still looking up, eyesight becoming still more blinded to the dim of the tunnels. Up close, the figure was very small indeed.
“Move farther into the tunnel.” said someone from up above. A shrill voice, unpleasant to the ears.
“Miss Kaylee never said that.” the figure responded, but it released its hand from the ladder. Squinting into the dark, the figure walked around the opposite side of the ladder from Leviticus and stepped slowly down the tunnel. Leviticus looked up. A small figure in black stood hovering above, and beside stood… Oh. Oh, what was this? A meal for the entire clan.
He placed his hands onto the ladder, but the cold of the iron caused pause, and he then thought better of the situation. They might have weapons, the sunlight would place him into the same situation this small figure now found itself in, and the cold… the cold was bellowing down into the tunnel from above. He let go of the ladder, and crept around it, following the small figure.
“Torque or fork.” came that shrill voice from up above, and the small figure whirled around to shout something in return, and became face to face with Leviticus. It gasped.
They simply stared at one another for long moments, finally Leviticus asked: “Are you a child?”
The small figure blinked. “Certainly not!”
Leviticus smiled. By the creature’s own admission it was not one of the tender ones. Feeling he was no longer bound by the accord, he took a step forward.