Under The Light
We returned to the Inn since there wasn’t much point in hanging around in the tavern if Blue was trapped somewhere we couldn’t find him. All we could do was hope that things would be fine with him out of the way, or that Violet would let him go tonight. As a Pagemaster, we both felt she wouldn’t try to kill him.
Sitting in silence, the two of us looked at the window processing the information we had finished exchanging. I growled low under my breath, it was a little bit frustrating to still not have all the pieces to the puzzle it seems. I could feel something missing that we still haven’t realized, something that would put suddenly make sense of most of this puzzle.
Clarion was perched on the footboard of the bed while I occupied the chair beside the table across from him. He clicked his beak in agitation and shifted from side to side.
“Hook… that man is almost as devilish as the Devil himself. But that doesn’t mean he won’t tell the truth to get what he wants. Lucifer could quote scriptures to prove his point when he needed to as well.”
“After what we saw with Violet-san? I’m slightly more convinced he might know something we don’t.”
Clarion laughed and flapped his wings slightly, rustling his feathers and puffing up before relaxing and returning to his normal size. He looked out the window and shuddered violently.
“Hook always knows more than ye ever will. That man was locked away in Neverland for good reason. I don’t know what Jim Barrie would think if he knew his creation was loose in the world again.”
“Again? What do you mean- Wait! You knew the author?” I was feeling a bit incredulous here.
“Aye… He was a good man, a great writer, and a strong Pagemaster. I don’t think he ever realized what power his three greatest literary creations actually possessed.”
“Didn’t he die before World War Two?”
“Yes, he did. But The Word and Pagemasters can be a bit tricky with time. Some can meet even if there are decades separating yer lives. It all sort of depends on the problem that Pagemasters have to face. Or so I’ve heard.”
“So far all we’ve met are those of us from the library, Isn’t there a chance we’ll meet Pagemasters from another time to help clean up the mess?”
“It’s possible, but I highly doubt that. There would be records if someone from the past was getting involved in this mess. And technically the world doesn’t have a future right now except for reality self-destructing in on itself. So I wouldn’t expect anyone coming to save the day besides us, and possibly those other two girls.”
I leaned back in my chair with a sigh, rubbing my eyes for a moment and slumping into my seat. Welp just the four or maybe six of us to save the world. It’s a long shot and a small hope but dammit I guess I have no choice.
“So what did you mean, three creations, and happening again?”
Clarion sighed and shifted from side to side.
“What I can tell ye is all second hand from two Pagemasters I met while I was early in service as the guardian of the library. Now, Jim never met his creations so I don’t think he really knew, and just chalked it up to a pair of amateurs not knowing how to deal with an accidental summons instead of making a created world.
“Peter Pan, Captain James Hook, on their own those two might have not been as troublesome. Hook was dangerous to start, even on his own, but never near the level of monster that he became. Just because he was written to be as fearsome a man to frighten Long John Silver didn’t attribute to the near disaster we had.
“Pan, on his own is just a spoiled magical child without any adult guidance or need or adults in his life. He’s not really a hero but he is all that keeps Hook in check, and for that, we’ve always relied on him to help us keep Hook locked away in Neverland when young Pagemasters had an adventure with him and Captain Hook.
“The real threat is Neverland. That world was made to lie in a world between worlds, a blend of fantasy and reality. I don’t know how many people realize how tied Neverland was to our world as much as it was to fantasy. The twists that forged those two into the most powerful creations in the fantasy worlds.
“Barrie played out many of the adventures they have with the sons of his half-adopted family, the Davies boys, himself playing Captain Hook. To Barrie, all of them became almost one and the same at times. A life of characters born before they were even put to pen. When he created the world of Neverland to house those two great characters… That was when it all went wrong for the rest of us.
“It took several adventures… But eventually, clues started to form as young Pagemasters played against Hook with Peter Pan over the next twenty years. Hook started to show that he remembered, and he began to learn how to fight us. We started working on how to deal with the problem, but. One careless moment in October of Nineteen Fifty-Seven and that person got out into the real world.
“He didn’t get very far, but before he was captured he had managed to cause a nuclear accident in Cumberland, England. I think officially the world thought it was something that went wrong with a pile chimney that jammed and started a fire in the reactor.
No one wanted to give any real details about it to me. And the documents about the ordeal were sealed above my authority, the book itself was designated as ‘non-accessible.’”
He finished and looked at me. Waiting for a response or more questions. I sat in my chair silently and close my eyes for a moment. Great even more to process now. Hook was a problem but there was still something bothering me with all of this.
“So how powerful is Neverland?”
“It can be considered a hub world. A place that can connect anywhere and anytime, like the library. Though Unlike the Library when a time is chosen ye cannot move backward from that point in time, and only going forwards naturally. Skipping ahead a few years or even decades requires the same amount of time normally lived in Neverland. Not that it would be an issue for Pan or Hook being nigh Immortal as long as they are there.”
“So Hook can’t jump forward in time to mess with Sleeping Beauty.”
“Aye. He’d have to do things here and now. Unless he plans to go back to Neverland and wait a hundred years or so. But he wouldn’t be spreading as much rumor and trying to come off as a prophet if he wasn’t planning something.”
He clicked his beak together and started pacing side to side across the footboard nervously. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair and gave a shake of my head.
“He said he’d let the story happen, but he wouldn’t make it easy… Is there something he could do that would keep the story on track while making trouble?”
Clarion sighed and gave an indefinite rustle of his feathers. “It all depends on what version of the tale we are dealing with. Perceforest, Perrault’s Narrative… Grimm Brothers… It could be a mix of any of them …”
He stopped and tilted his head slightly, a warble coming from his throat before looking back to me and huffing.
“Blue escaped and is currently with the Dark Fairy Queen. He’s coming with her in the morning to deal with the story set on track. Something about Hook breaking him out…”
“Captain Hook, broke Blue out of the jail Violet said she put him in. A jail that stopped us from even finding him?”
“Yes. Something is rotten with this and I’m not sure who is responsible. But Hook might have men inside the castle watching and managed to catch on to something. He told Blue he wanted him to ‘play the villain’. He’ll be beside the Dark Queen tomorrow morning helping her place the curse on the princess.”
I sat up with raised eyebrows. Play the villain, huh? “So the devil is already making moves.”
“And we are clueless as to what he is doing. I need you front and center to make sure we catch onto what his plan is before anything starts. If that means crossing swords with Blue if he does something stupid, then so be it…”
I nodded my head slowly, clenching a fist and praying things would work out tomorrow. We can’t let Hook cause problems for us. I just wish I knew what his plan was.