The Dazzling Brightness
Hours had passed sitting in this closed cell. I had discontinued my one-man karaoke session when I began to get thirsty from singing too much. A bad mistake on my part I now realize, oh the irony of dying from thirst. And I then started to investigate the functions of my pocket watch more thoroughly. The number of functions in this thing could rival a new smartphone, except none of them provided any time waster game to help with distracting me. Or this room was blocking the magical service to where I could download those kinds of things onto it. She had said the room was made to not let any magic in or out of it.
Taking a deep breath I laid my head back and closed my eyes for a minute. My magic was blocked off, I’m trapped in an asylum styled cell with no exits in the far corner of who know how far inside or outside the castle proper, and Red and Master hadn’t any clue where I am right now. Yep, my life is kind of screwed at the moment.
Things still didn’t make sense about all of this. What was with the sudden betrayal? Was this just an act to get me out of the way? Maybe this was her way to ensure I didn’t blunder through something important tomorrow. Everyone was so focused on the Christening going right, our faction for a different kind of right of course. Maybe I’d get let out afterward, and this is just a heavy-handed prank/revenge on the me she’d been adventuring with beforehand.
I closed my eyes trying to look forward again, trying to find something that wasn’t the two of us dying over and over. Taking deep breaths and focusing, looking to see if I could find any kinds of hints at all. I could feel myself lurching forward slightly as my vision felt like it was blurring.
“Gods be damned… You used ****! We were so close last time! Why do you keep doing this to us, Blue? Look me in the eyes and tell me!”
I opened my eyes and looked up to see Violet standing in front of me, tears streaming softly down her cheeks. She was standing in front of me and holding her cape wrapped tight around her in the cooling fall light as sunset began.
We were outside in the middle of the Schwarzer Strum Forest, the smell of gingerbread and candies baking in the near distance. This was where we had said to meet when we did what we were supposed to do at the start of things. It was almost routine now.
I hesitated to tell her, she couldn’t remember and I couldn’t bring myself to confront her about things that happened past the point she couldn’t remember. She didn’t remember telling me, and I couldn’t bear to talk about things before she did. The few times I had tried in the beginning things spiraled out of control and both of us had paid dearly over and over.
A flash of memory, both of us stood facing each other, my sword and her scythe through the other’s heart, the blackness of The Silence laughing as neither of us moved from the spot, tears and regret in her eyes as I stroked her cheek softly, looking into her eyes as she apologized over and over while my vision begins to fade away.
I snapped back to myself, she was beside me now, looking worried and crouching down, her hands lightly touching my face. I looked to her and she sighed softly in relief. I lifted my hand up to brush her shoulder with a smile enjoying the look of those soft black eyes gazing back into mine…
“Sorry, Vi. The final boss is still proving harder than I thought he was. I need something more powerful to stop him, to save everything.”
A half-lie, but one she accepted trusting me that what we couldn’t share or admit was for the good of the other. Even still, I felt a bit like trash unable to tell her the full truth. But at the same point, it was for our safety and chance to make this shot work. We can do it this time, I know it.
She giggled softly and laid down, leaning her head into my shoulder. “We are going to need so much therapy when this is all over, aren’t we?”
We both laughed looking out to the sun setting behind the trees, I wrapped my arm around her and cradled her close to my chest. Enjoying to solace at the moment we were sharing here and now. Hansel and Gretel could wait a while longer to be saved from the cannibalistic witch, after all, we needed this.
I opened my eyes, getting pulled back from the half memory as some strange feeling began to come over me. Looking around the cell using the light from my watch I didn’t see any changes. I sat and waited to see what had brought me out of my vision.
Thunk, tink, thunk!
I could feel some small vibrations in the wall behind me. Like someone was chipping away at the stone. That’s impossible, right? No one knows where I am aside Violet and those guards. I turned to face the wall and press my ear against the head warmed stone.
Tink, clink, thunk tink.
There wasn’t a pattern so it wasn’t someone trying to communicate. Was someone trying to make a jailbreak on the other side of this wall? I kind of feel sorry for them if they are trying to escape through here because it’s worse than a dead-end.
CHUNK! THUNK! CHUNK!
That was way too loud. I pulled back from the wall and stared as the noise got louder and harder, metal points jutting out suddenly from distinct points on the wall, six points all aligned to make a doorway. There was no way this was happening, right? It’s all a lucky coincidence.
I heard the wall straining with a groan, even if I couldn’t see it clearly I could certainly picture the wall being pulled out from the middle. The stones strained to hold together a couple moments more before they collapsed outward, opening the cell to the night air outside.
For a brief moment, I was standing still in half-elation of having freedom from this prison. But that moment died as the full moon illuminated the man standing just in view of the hole in the wall, the dust settling as he urged his men quietly to clear out the stones and open the way to me.
Standing there, a hook on his right hand, dressed in a red captain’s coat, with fancy hat atop his black curly hair. My heart plummeted down past my stomach, or rather it took a suicidal leap with it down to the soles of my feet. Captain Hook.
He smiled at me and made a motion to his men to gather me up quickly. Still trapped in these chains and no combat skills to use them I was easily grabbed up and carried off away from the castle proper and into the garden. I admit I was rather easy to be taken along. Mostly because I was trapped in shock far too deep to fight back.
They dropped me to my feet roughly. A kick from behind knocking me down to my knees as Hook stood in front of me, giving a smile I think a youma would turn tail and run if anyone smiled like that to him. I looked up at him, unsure of what sort of look I should give back.
“So… Pagemaster Blue. We meet for our first time outside Neverland. I must say this is not the world I was expecting to find. And I don’t really like it at all.”
His voice was strange, an accent that was trying to be forced to sound more prim and proper than it might actually be. Even then I felt like I was being talked to by a snake offering to sell me something it knew I couldn’t walk away from. His eyes were glinting with enjoyment seeing me like this.
“I’m very sorry, Captain. I’ll get to fixing it right away. If you can just undo these chains I’ll-”
“Don’t patronize me, Boy. It’s in bad form to bring such disservice to your betters. Though fortunately for you, I’m feeling generous this evening and offering you a one time deal to avoid my blade skewering you like a sucking pig.”
He leaned in tapping the point of his hook against my throat, I gulped despite my parched throat wincing in pain slightly.
“Your story here is doomed to failure, Pagemaster. The Dark Queen will not be coming in the morning and your precious child won’t be cursed to her fate. Your plan, the fairies’, the violet girl’s, all of it for nothing.”
I kept still as he talked, he looked at me while he paused to let it sink in.
“Tonight, and tonight only. I am offering you the once in a lifetime chance to let you fix the problem. I’ll take you to her with my ship and let you try and convince her to do what needs to be done to save your fairy tale.”
He’s making this way too simple, isn’t he? I know Story Magic can make things convenient but… There has to be a catch. I looked up into his beady blue eyes, I kind of wished I hadn’t but I could see something shining inside something that told me he was enjoying his position in this bargain a little too much.
“And what do you want in return?”
He chuckled darkly and stood up straight, turning around and walking a few feet away before posing dramatically. He was putting on a show for his crew as much as he was for me.
“In return. I want you to be standing beside her while she curses the child. I want everyone in this kingdom to see you as a man hated for letting the dark queen place her terrible curse on their newborn princess. I want you to be the villain in this story. Pagemaster.”
I took a deep breath, letting him sneer at me as I stayed kneeling in front of him. So his game was to make me feel like I’m not a hero, huh? I thought I was doing a good job of that myself. Sighing out loud I looked up to him and nodded my head slowly.
“I can agree with that. The story is more important than what these people think of me.”
“Good job, Boy. We’ll get you out of here, and once we’re on the ship we’ll get you out of those.”
He snapped his fingers, his men picking me up again before I could make any noise I was soundly tossed into a sack and tied up inside it. Tossed over the shoulder of one of his men I was carried like so out. I wasn’t sure if it was the guy’s normal way of walking or if he was ordered to exaggerate them but I was pretty beat up inside that bag by the time we got out of the city and to his ship.