LES FILLES DE JEANNE D'ARC

7 1 0

1911

Clara had no idea what to expect once she got back to the Tower. Full-fledged hunters with years of experience often went missing without a trace. What was the likelihood of an acolyte coming back alive? Not very, and that was bound to get some attention.

Clara knew that her credibility would come into question. Others had lied about their exploits to progress through the ranks. Such a lie would be far more plausible than walking away from a trap.

She took a deep breath while focusing on the door leading into the Tower. While the Terminus had no defences beyond obfuscation, Clara was certain that something would happen once she walked through that door. The question was what?

Clara closed her eyes, breathed out and recited a prayer. With one push of her hand, the door gave way, and she crossed the threshold.

* * * *

Blinding white light greeted her on the other side. Clara struggled in vain to open her eyes, but even that brief attempt was enough to leave her vision marred with deep purple streaks.

So this door could lead to other destinations? Clara had suspected that direct and unfettered access to the Tower would pose a security risk. In a way, it was reassuring to learn that the Tower had a few more secrets left, especially ones that favoured self-preservation.

Clara did not move. She felt the sharp edge of a blade touch her skin. A thin rivulet of blood ran down her neck but she was not worried. This was a warning; if they wanted her dead, Clara would have never known what hit her.

"There are very few ways to trigger the Tower's defences," Edith said.

Clara said nothing, since speaking would only worsen the bleeding. If Edith was interested in an answer, she would have to permit it.

"Traitors are not welcome here," Edith said. "So why are you still alive!" she demanded.

The blade remained firmly in place. Chances were that Edith had expected to find a smouldering heap of ash right about now. It must have come as a surprise to find an acolyte standing there instead.

"I wonder if that would be the best time to cook a marshmallow," Clara muttered.

At this moment, Clara was caught in a state between life and death. Clara needed to convince Edith that she had not betrayed them.

Clara reached into her pocket in a slow and deliberate manner. She then found her prize and dropped them onto the floor. The bloodied fangs sounded like a pin drop once they hit the floor. Wherever they were, it had to be spacious enough to dampen the sound that much.

"Where did you get those?" Edith asked while she sheathed her blade.

Clara turned around and felt something in her hands. Her fingers probed the metallic, glass and leather device. Without a second thought, she slipped them over her head to protect her eyes. Now she had the opportunity to take a look at where she was.

Edith stood before her while sporting spectacles fitted with onyx coloured lenses. They looked a bit like welders glasses and she assumed that she had been given an identical pair.

"Jack surrendered them," Clara said.

"Jack," Edith questioned with a hint of confusion.

Clara nodded before she said, "He must have been turned a couple of years back."

"Jack? We had no intelligence on this," Edith said.

Clara pulled out the folded canvas portrait which contained the list of girls killed. The featured model had the same effect on Edith as it had for Clara.

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