Chapter 22

As I glanced around the only thing I could say to describe this place was awe inspiring. The archives looked as old as time and it was obvious that it held documentation of every culture, human or otherwise, to ever exist on earth.

"This is the largest collection of knowledge on earth, at one time it was named the library of Alexandria which is stupid because it has never existed there, it was just a blip that an Alexandrian ended up in here." Donalbain shrugged and continued to dictate to me the history upon the shelves like so overzealous tour guide. I guess he was really passionate about this stuff, but then again history to me was probably his actual past. The hands grasping me dropped away and in an instant the men were fanning out through the shelves that divided the archives. Lucius grasped my hand and gave it a squeeze before pulling me along behind him towards the dullest looking section of the place. The whole area looked decrepit, as if it had been forgotten by everyone and everything, the whole section of the archives in disrepair. Lucius caught my disparaging look and grinned.

"What better place to hide something as valuable as the Book of Eve than a place where no one would think to look." He gestured to the area of the archives that looked as if it would collapse at any moment and I agreed. I certainly wouldn't have looked there, the place looked more dangerous than a construction site and I was more than a little wary of walking through there without a hard hat and a bunch of protective gear.

Donalbain who was leading our group, expertly manoeuvred through the debris. It was like the steps were practiced and the path he had taken had been done a million times before. I could only guess that he had some part in its protection. Either way, I tried to follow after him but my foot caught on an outcropping piece of wood so that I tumbled forwards. In that moment everything froze before I went hurtling forward, a particularly ugly piece of wood that seemed to be targeted right at me and was getting closer and closer by the second. My heart was pounding and a sharp gasp escaped my lips as I stared cross eyed at the plank of wood that I was two centimetres away from being impaled on. Jarring to a halt I was relieved at the arm that was firmly wrapped around my waist as I stared unblinking at the wood, my chest heaving up and down as the blood pumped furiously through my veins. The arms at my waist pulled me back upright so that I was chest to chest with my saviour. Grinning breathlessly at Lucius as adrenaline pumped through my veins I felt a tinge of excitement pass through me. I knew if Donalbain hadn't cleared his throat and guiltily spoken his apologies then I would have done something incredibly stupid.

Instead I gave him a nod and pushed away from him taking extra care to put a comfortable distance between us before plastering an easy smile on my face as I turned and walked toward Donalbain. I made sure to pay extra attention to where I was stepping and when I was finally by the flaming haired man's side I let out a breath at the sight of the door before me. It was even more disheartening to look at and the very vibes that it was giving off made me want to do nothing else but turn and walk away. Donalbain grasped my hand to stop me from stepping backwards, a chuckle escaping his lips as he turned me around to face the door once more.

"Don't worry, it's just one of the many layers of protection, it repels humans." He told me before taking my hand and using it to push against the door but let out a gasp when I felt nothing beneath my touch. "It's a physical and mental mirage. It repels you with both sight and emotion."

I nodded my head as we continued through the mirage into a warmly lit corridor that glowed in the soft flames of the torches on either side of me. It was as if I had broken the surface of water and the world was finally coming back into focus after being drowned out of awareness.

My chest rose and fell as I took in a deep lungful of air, my entire being relaxing as the strange tension and need to run away ebbed away. I was too preoccupied with this to note myself being ushered along the corridor until we finally ended up in a large cubed room that had three floors. Each floor had a walk way that ran around the perimeter and it was on each of these floors that there were at least twenty doors going off to some unknown room.

The Devil's Assistant (Watty Awards Finalist 2011)Read this story for FREE!