Fade - Chapter 9

2.8K 108 2

The old library is dusty... old and decaying in its pitiful way. The young demon sifts through the ancient volumes stacked high in neat rows on crumbling shelves; his delicate fingers grazing across the decaying leather and paper. They present themselves as nothing new; the usual 'Mother Goose' and 'The Brother's Grimm' pushing their haunting titles through in their gold leafing and torn pages.

The bookshelves' top shelves near the high ceiling, the gnarled wood stretching upwards in a cascade of the beckoning books. Ciel's footsteps echo around the thickened walls of the library, the sound giving volume to the deafening silence.

A glimmer catches in the boy's eye, pulling his gaze backwards. A thick, black leather book with gold trimming surrounding a radiant magenta gem stands out among the boring others. The sparkling gemstone almost glows in the bright candlelight, almost calling to Ciel as his hands reach towards it almost on their own accord.

His fingers dance along the gold leafing adorning the jewel before he pulls the heavy tome from the shelf. The volume falls from it's resting place and into Ciel's arms as if he were meant to pluck it from the shelf as one would pluck a flower from a grassy meadow; quick and precise.

He turns the weighty pages over in his hands, tracing the intricate cover. His fingers grace along the letters that read

'The Definitive Guide to Understanding Half Bloods'.

The boy's eyes widen as he frantically opens the cover, gasping as the yellowing pages are revealed. The very first page is ripped and decaying at the edges, just like the rest of them. The top right corner looks as if it was scorched centuries ago by some ancient candle, the edge browned and deformed.

The image sketched upon the paper is one of a diagram, a sort of concept sketch, if you will. It depicts a humanoid figure, standing upright and shown at every angle, bare and naked with various labels and notes scrawled across the different places. The creature's eyes are demon-like, much like Ciel's own. The aged and colorless sketch seems to be that of a young adult, the proportions fully-grown, yet young in stature.

The labels he inspects are seemingly written in another tongue, their letters swooping in strange lines and curves, accompanied by the occasional sharp angle or edge. Ciel remembers his studies of ancient agriculture as a mortal, and recognizes them as Latin, though he cannot decipher the strange and ominous alphabet.

Ciel stares at the oxidized ink on the page, before turning it to reveal that both of the pages spread out before him are covered in the dead language, the handwriting neat yet not understandable. He turns another page, his hope for an answers dissipating as fast as he begins to flip the pages. The occasional sketch appears upon the rapidly turning pages; a diagram or herbs and directions leading to make a type of potion or tonic, a timeline that starts in the 1200's and stops in the 1650's, and picture after picture depiction the different types of half bloods and how they came to be... where they originated from.

He sifts through to the back of the book, the handwriting becoming more frantic as he nears the end of the volume, as if the author was trying to explain something in which he had not the time for... and when he finally flips the last page, several folded pieces of parchment fall to the floors. They're old and falling apart, stained with time, and aged to the point of corruption. Ciel lowers himself to the floor, setting the heavy book beside him as he picks up the first curiosity. He unfolds the parchment on tthe floor, smoothing the material out carefully. The ink is faded... smeared in some placces, spreading out across the sheet in what looks like a map.

Ciel squints his eyes to gaze at the image carefully, and again the varying labels and notes are indecipherable, written in the weird and haunting language. The boy sighs in frustration as he rubs his temples, staring intently at the map, willing the mysterious translations to reveal themselves.

The map seems to depict another world... a world unknown to the boy's studies and lessons he endured as a human. The green ink is faded to a very ugly shade of beige, barely any color left in the pigment. It shows a vast expanse of land, divided in several parts, and labeled in a beautiful script.

Ciel does not understand the significance of all of this as he opens map after map, all depicting different little islands or pieces of land. The floor is a mess around him, the various maps spread out unceremoniously in a heap of the yellowed parchment. The boy sighs heavily, hanging his head in his hands. His gaze drifts back towards the maps.

And he finally puts two in two together. On the outer boundaries of each little island type mass, the faintest lines appear in his vision. Faded and decaying letters and script are also scattered along outside of the large greenish masses in the center of each map, the seemingly random patterns of placement puzzling.

That's it; he realizes. The whole thing is a puzzle, each little area marking a different territory of hell. The barely visible markings, words, and phrases are there to signify where to apply the next piece in the puzzle... where one boundary ends and another begins. It's a hidden message within its-self, but the meaning evades Ciel, as he cannot understand the foreign language he holds in his possession.

"Sebastian, I need you. Come here."

He speaks, not too loud.

"Yes, my lord?"

Ciel sees his butler eyeing the strange scene before him, and it must be quite a weird sight to behold; the proud and honorable Ciel sitting on the floor, with a mass of strange depictions surrounding him... the large and odd-looking tome sitting next to him.

"You can read and write Latin, can you not?"

He asks, his strong gaze never wavering from the pieces in front of him.

"I can."

Ciel's gaze now flits upwards towards Sebastian.

"Good. I need you to help me with something."

FadeRead this story for FREE!