Arc II: A Shelf Full of Stories

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ARC II PART III: A Shelf Full of Stories

London, England
January 1944

"Sofía Salazar is your wife?" Shoma repeated.

Eades nodded, twirling his pen thoughtfully.

"So you are Butterfly Corps too, then?"

"No, just a fool who happened to fall for a time traveler," Eades replied. "It's a terrible thing, isn't it?"

"What is?" Shoma asked.

"Growing a heart," he replied with a sardonic smile. Eades looked at his watch and jumped up. "We need to get you out of here," he said. "Fernsby will be back soon, and while I now know you're not a spy, there's no way that we'll be able to convince him as well."

"You're really going to let me go?" Shoma asked. Just like that, the weight on his shoulders lifted ever so slightly, and a relieved sigh escaped his lips.

Eades shrugged. "My job is to catch spies," he said. "I've no use for someone who knows nothing."

"What about Darcy?" Shoma asked. "Are you going to let her go as well?"

"Darcy?" Eades asked. "Ah, right, the girl. About that-"

There was a loud knock on the interrogation room door. Shoma and Eades exchanged a glance, and cautiously Eades moved to the door and lifted up the peephole latch. "It's Fernsby," he mouthed through the glass divider. Instantly, Shoma's body went taut. He had been so close. Who knew how much longer he would have to stay here now?

Reluctantly, Eades opened the door slightly, only for a great weight from the other side to send it flying open. Eades barely managed to catch Fernsby's unconscious body as it collapsed on top of him. Raising his head, he found a pistol resting on the bridge of his tortoiseshell glasses.

"Good afternoon," Aoto said, cocking the pistol. "Hands up, please."

Eades did as Aoto said, unconcerned that in order to do so, he had to let Fernsby fall to the ground. Aoto stepped over the blonde man's limp body and confiscated Eade's own gun.

"All clear," Aoto called, his eyes never leaving Eade's phlegmatic face. Both Lills and Darcy pushed past the two men into the main interrogation room.

"Shoma!" Darcy exclaimed upon seeing him through the glass. At the sight of her, Shoma felt as though he could finally breathe properly. As she moved to untie him, he carefully observed her; she didn't seem to be limping, and no physical injuries or ailments jumped out at him. But it was not until Darcy had finally cut off the ropes around his wrists with her pocket knife that he was finally able to get a good look at her. The muscles in his legs ached as Shoma forced himself to his feet, and as soon as he straightened up the pain intensified. But Shoma stayed steady, not even relying on the chair nearby, just in case one of them might see and begin to worry.

"I'm so glad you're not dead," Darcy blurted, unsure of what else to say.

"Me too," Shoma admitted, smiling weakly. The sight of her made him forget about his pain. After all, he was alive, wasn't he? Darcy moved to hug him, but he held her back by the shoulders, only to then place his hands on her face. As he closely examined her, making sure there were no signs of abuse, Shoma gently rubbed his thumbs against her cheek. Darcy couldn't tell if it was intentional or not, but it sent a shiver down her spine.

"Are you alright?" Shoma asked. "Did they hurt you?"

"Hurt me?" Darcy asked, her face turning warm from the intensity of his stare, and from his hands still in her face. "I just got here. We found out where you were, and then I recognized the man from the train and Aoto saw his bloody fists and that he was carrying a gun so we jumped him and..." The waterfall of words stopped suddenly as Shoma let go of her face and stormed towards the glass that separated him and Eades.

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