VII: The Room of Keepers

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Sleep had finally took Nalin. With much trouble and long moments of just staring out at the darkness beyond his cell, he had given up and allowed for his eyes to close once his head hit the mattress. It was so quiet. The silence was uncomfortable, nearly every second spent expecting to hear his heart finally stop beating.

But then abruptly, the gate to Nalin's cell suddenly swung open, banging against the bars and shattering the silence as intensely as a bomb. If the boy had the energy to scream, he would have. He felt his blood grow cold at the sight of the two guardsmen standing a few feet away from him.

Nalin was just about to stand up when they harshly grabbed him by his bound wrists, yanking the boy to his feet himself. Caught off guard, Nalin stumbled against their hold. A ringing sensation rang in his head as realization set in. They're here to kill him.

Nalin felt sick. All this devastation and anger; all these raw emotions swirling from within was practically tearing him apart.

Something flashed in Nalin's peripheral vision before sharp pain laced his senses. The force of the hit sent the boy to the concrete ground; he fell on to his side and something cracked, the chilling sound seeming to echo around in his head.

Something whizzed through the air before Nalin's back erupted in pain. He bit his lip, barely keeping the tears at bay as his body began to tremble uncontrollably. "Please!"

"Begging won't save you, demon."

Nalin's screams seemed to go on for ages. The pain didn't seem to matter anymore, his entire body was numb and his vision was fading. Nalin felt so weak. So pathetic...his mother would have looked away in disappointment if she were here.

Like a switch going off in seconds flat, the atmosphere changed and something loud screeched through the air. Nalin's eyes involuntarily snapped wide open a moment later. A foreboding feeling inflated within his chest, an overwhelming feeling that suffocated him with no mercy.

A single tear escaped his eye, slowly gliding down his cheek before the darkness finally swallowed him up whole.


. . .

Sir Alpine couldn't help but feel absolutely astonished as he stared down at the inert body of the halfbreed. He looked so small, lying motionless in a pool of his own blood.

The boy had decapitated one guardsman as easily as butter...and now he's done it again. Back in that village square, something he could not decipher had stopped him from executing the halfbreed right then and there. An unseen force that the Keeper just could not place his finger on. He didn't like it. He didn't like it one bit.

His eyes stayed locked onto the boy.

"Sir Alpine."

His advisor suddenly stepped into the cell beside him.

"Eliran is on his way. Emperor Lionel has heard word of the boy's angelic blood and has ordered for his immediate safety. It seems that we are in place for a change of plans."

Lord Alpine couldn't believe his ears. Countless times, he'd stressed over the unhealthy obsession the Emperor possessed over their angelic saviors, but many times had it gone ignored. Look where it got us! Allowing this hybrid thing to even breath the air of Iyatora would be a mistake! 

Absolute anger coursed through him. He had to think of something before it would be too late. 

. . .

Nalin didn't know how, but he was alive. Somehow he had escaped from the bony grasp of Death himself.

Goosebumps ran down the surface of his skin as he examined the number of cells lined on the right side of the evasive stretch of walkway. A total of six guardsmen surrounded him as he was herded down corridors, up flights of stairs, and around and around until he had not the slightest chance of depicting what was up or down. He might have been insulted if it hadn't been for the situation he found himself in.

At last, they stopped before twin oak doors at the end of the hallway. The front guardsmen knocked only once before whipping around with such speed it left Nalin rendered motionless. It happened so quickly, he had no time to prepare himself. With an iron grip, the man grabbed his arm and shoved him through the doors.

Nalin stumbled into the room, but regained his step soon after. Face flaming in embarrassment, Nalin straightened his stance and finally lifted his troubled gaze.

The room that he had been thrown into was beautiful. Walls filled from top to bottom with books made it look warm and inviting, a fire place crackled at the back wall, casting the otherwise dark room aglow with red-orange light, a beautiful mural loomed overhead, and sofa chairs dominated the center--- all of which were currently occupied.

"So this is the halfbreed?"

The lone man lounging at the center asked in a rather demanding tone of voice. Nalin's chest tightened in premonition as his breathing practically stopped all together. A metal insignia rested at his chest, where his heart would be. This one Nalin could make out. This man belonged to House Dawn.

"Half demon indeed. What is your name, boy?"

The next voice drew Nalin's attention to a man who sat by himself on the farthest left. Recognition sparked as he merely blinked back. This was the Keeper that Nalin and Noir had accidentally bumped into back in Islingver Village.

"Now hold on, Sir Lulche, the boy just got here. I suppose it would be more... comforting if we were to explain first."

The familiar female voice drew Nalin's eyes to the book shelves closest to him; he was surprised to have failed to notice her presence beforehand. "You are unsure of your location at the moment, I presume?"

Nalin nodded, absentmindedly twisting the chains around his wrists as a way to decrease the tension of complete silence. But then he did a double-take, realizing at last that this female Keeper was the same woman who had conversed with him but a night ago in his dungeon.

"I apologize for withholding you this information when we had met that night," She smiled, teeth white and blinding. "I am the Keeper of House Clarity. Where you are at the moment is Sanctum Academy, within the Kingdom of Light."

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