I felt heart broken and sick in the stomach from the scene of the lanes I had walked through. There were too many young people dumped and dirtied on back there. Why?
My mind spiralled into an inner turmoil with a feeling of injustice. This part of Apocalypse was wrong. Everyone deserved a chance to a good purpose in their lives.
The troubled feelings I felt transitioned to a black energy, which swirled about my head and heart.
White light slammed into my vision. I shrieked with a sudden jolt of pain that stabbed at my mind and limbs to bring my body down to my knees.
"Ugh!" I groaned and cursed as I held my aching head.
The pain stopped. I was able to breath and feel normal again. When I could see right, I saw Leinard's stern eyes focused on my face. He looked pissed off for some reason.
I sighed and rose to my feet, giving him and the others my focus.
The doors behind us opened. I gawked at the richly dressed man and the young girl who was once a doll enter. They stepped before Leinard. An obvious perplexed frown creased my forehead at the warm welcome Leinard and Jensen gave the man.
"Keiran, it's good to see you." Leinard formally shook the man's hand and gave a friendly smile to the sad-face girl who was obviously distrustful of the kind man.
"This is Alina." The richly dressed man, Leinard called Keiran, introduced the girl.
"Colonel." A smartly dressed knight came up behind Leinard.
She warmly greeted the girl who seemed to accept the kind lady's face more. ''What's your name?"
"Her name's Alina." Leinard answered for the girl.
Alina nodded her acknowledgement.
The woman knight gently took the girl's hand and led her away from us, and further into the building.
"Colonel. That girl was a doll before." I blurted, curious to know what was going on.
"Yes she was. All dolls from the Doll Shop are real life people held in stasis."
"Excuse me?!" Death intruded, disturbed by the fact. "Every single one of those dolls on a shelf at that shop?!"
"Yes." Leinard soberly answered.
"Must be through a temporal shift mechanism dat locks to a specific fixed point in time." War soberly offered his insights.
"It is." Keiran answered, impressed. "They use a frequency channel to focus sacral magic on a fixed point of the person's fate. Doll them up then freeze them in time with a beam."
War hissed through his teeth upon hearing the fact. "Bloody disgustin'."
"Glad to hear you say that." Keiran added. "By the way, my name is Keiran Marsilien. You gentlemen are those brothers who restored Hell's Labyrinth?"
I took in Keiran's smooth, paisley gold-black waistcoat, crisp white cotton shirt and pinstripe slacks leading to polished black broad toe shoes stamped with a vine leaf patterned across the vamps. His blond hair was slicked back off his squarish face with the highest cheekbones I had ever seen. It was more distinct than Death's. I guessed his age was slightly older than Leinard and all of us.
My frown deepened at his cool green eyes keenly observing me as I was on him.
"What is your name boy?"
"No, your real name." He added, seemingly convinced my name wasn't what I said it was.
"Um, that's my name." I snapped.
"They are the Gat Shiem brothers, Death, War and Famine." Leinard formally introduced us.
"You don't look like brothers. Especially you Famine. I know this sounds strange, but I'm certain I have seen you before and not at Gat Shiem." Keiran bluntly stated.
"Not possible, sorry." I answered back.
Leinard coughed to break the discussion and tension building between us.
Jensen drew our attention to the marble corridor at the end of the wide silver-glass wall foyer we were standing in.
"It's a pleasure gentlemen. Welcome to the Evadale Knight Order." Keiran bowed as we passed him to follow Jensen's escort to the corridor.
"Hey Jensen, about those dolls." I prompted Jensen into the discussion.
"Like what Keiran said. All of them are humans suspended into time for easy sale. We use rich patrons like him to rescue and recruit as many to our numbers as possible." Jensen explained with a curt tone.
I figured I shouldn't ask any more questions on the matter.
"Say, what did you think about your stroll through the lanes?" Leinard surprised us with his question and presence to our backs.
"What stroll!? Wasn't' a bloody picnic if that's what you wanted to know." I nearly spat my opinion to the gleaming white stone floor.
"So, you didn't like it?" Leinard coolly probed me.
I stopped and glared at him.
What the hell was he getting at? Who could like something as despicable? Those kids were being used as toys and disposable objects. It was bloody outrageous and made my heart thump with anger at the injustice of a system.
"You've completed your first test and piece of training." He heaved a deep sigh.
Death, War and myself faced him and Jensen.
"Training for what?"
"Your Spellbooks." Leinard pointed to our Albert chains. "The first part of training was a test to reveal the state of your heart. This will determine what kinds of spells the book will index."
Death and War groaned with realization. I blinked, perplexed.
"Famine. The chains we wear aren't dead material, but harmless parasites with reasonable intelligence." He explained.
"Lemme guess, they're dermaleeches with the ability to absorb, index and reapply focused power based on a direct order." War added with inflections of a pompous school teacher.
"Then I figure they'd need to utilize a trapeze mechanism to dampen the power's potential for a more localized approach." Death mused over War's fact.
Smart ass brothers.
Jensen laughed for the first time since we had walked through the lanes. "Man. I can see your brothers explanations have gone over your head."
I gave him the stink-eye.
"The spellbook moulds itself to the state of your heart. If your heart was at peace with the Eros & Dolls Lane systems, it would fashion itself to index and only respond to dark magic." Leinard paraphrased on everyone's explanations.
I gulped. "Since I wasn't at peace back there?"
"The spellbook will only work to the purpose of light based magic." Leinard coolly answered with a warm smile. "That's very reassuring and a relief."
"Famine. Can you really be that clueless?" Death groaned.
"Come all. We've dallied enough." Leinard prompted our walk down the corridor.
We entered the white double doors at the end.
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