Between the Pages

In a magical world, Between the Pages, lives Sebastian and his twin Edmond. That is, until Edmond decides to work against the Queen and disappears to join the Queens brother, and setting a curse over the country. Concerned for his brother (and the world), Sebastian sets of to search after him. But he needs help.

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3. II

Sebastian, as he had presented himself, had led them to one of the shopping streets in Copenhagen. Being in the middle of summer vacation and all, the place was naturally crowded.  

“So what do you mean when you say you don’t know where you are?”

“Well, it’s all about what image you have in your head when you step through the portal.” He shrugged. “I’ve never been to Hong Kong so I just imagined one of my favourite books and crossed fingers.”

Lina stopped in her tracks. “You were supposed to be in Hong Kong?”

Sebastian stuck his hand into the back pocket of his black jeans.

Black jeans were basically the opposite of “dressing for the weather”. She even felt hot in her shorts and sandals, but he was wearing brown leather shoes. How he could stand it, she did not know.

Finally he found what he was looking for, guys’ pockets naturally being big enough to hold a wallet and three iPhones. It was a small, crumpled piece of paper. He tried to [glatte det ud] [AS1] and showed her the meaningless scrap of compressed wood.

“You can read Chinese?”

He looked at the paper, and furrowed his brows. Then smiled and looked back at Lina. “It’s complicated. I didn’t think about the language barrier you might have…”

Lina wanted to ask him what the hell he meant with that, but right now there was another problem to solve.

“So this person lives in China?”

“Yeah.”

Lina bit her lip and took a deep breath. Someone was going to have to tell him. “I don’t know how to put this nicely…”

Sebastian stared at her. Then at the paper in his hands. Then at her again. His eyes widened.

“I’m not in Hong Kong, am I?”

If he was an actor, he was a damn good one. The way his shoulder slumped, she was close at buying his whole alien story. She shrugged.

“Not really.”

He sighed and buried his face in his hands. She could hear him curse between his fingers.

“Who do you need from Hong Kong anyway?”

“Li Xen[AS2] , she’s apparently an eccentric who happens to be really good in fencing.”

Lina couldn’t help but [fnyse]. “Please don’t tell me you just counted on her saying yes to help you save your world or whatever.”

Sebastian threw his hands up the air. “Hello. There is a reason I’m looking for an eccentric.” He rubbed his temples again.

“So, you’re just going to go home again now?” Lina shifted the weight from one foot to the other.

Sebastian feverishly shook his head. But then he sighed. “Well, I guess I’ll have to.”

“Why do you need someone anyway?”

“Better survival chances.”

Lina raised an eyebrow, but managed to keep quiet. Sebastian was threading around on the spot, as if he were ready to run off.

“Let me go without you.”

This time he was the one to [schnaubte]. “You don’t even believe me.”

“I will if I get to see the place for myself.”

He looked her up and down, a little sceptic. “Do you know any form for fighting?”

She mulled over the question. “I’m really good at chess and ?”

He rolled his eyes. “No.”

“Please?”

“A second ago you were laughing at me-“

“-I was not!”

“Why do you even want to go?”

Because I take really impulsive decisions and you’ve been talking to me about your stupid “mission” for 10 minutes.

“Because I am poor Indian girl who totally deserves proof?”

She pouted in a last effort. The more he refused to take her with him, the more she wanted to go. And maybe there was a tiny part of her believing in him. One that said “why the hell not”. Or maybe all that magic realism stuff she had been reading was getting to her.

Well, at least it made him laugh. He shook his head. “Fine.”

“Fine?”

“Are you completely sure you want to come?”

She nodded, albeit not so sure anymore. But if she left now, she would just be regretting it for the rest of her life.

“The fine.” He didn’t seem wholly convinced and was walking toward a tree somewhat distanced from the mass of people around them.

Lina quickly went after him. “So, whens the bus to wonderland or whatever going?”

“So, what bus is going to wonderland or whatever?” She wasn’t even sure whether she was joking or asking a serious question anymore. She noticed how Sebastian was fiddling with his watch and his eyes drifted.

“None.” He looked up. “Oh, and it’s not Wonderland. Just so you don’t get disappointed.” He beamed at her. It would have been easier if he was joking but he seemed genuinely concerned that she would be disappointed.

It took all her willpower not to laugh or roll her eyes at him. If she did, he might be too insulted to let her come.

“May I?”

She didn’t get what he was trying to say at first, but then he nodded towards the book. She trusted it in his hand, and he flipped it to a random page. Without any aforementioned warning he slid the tip of his finger across the page, creating a small paper cut. Tiny red dots appeared on his skin.

“Ouch.”

He grinned and nodded, raising an eyebrow. “Your turn.”

Lina, who had been observing his moves with lazy interest, now took a step back. “Is this to prove I’m worthy or some shit?”

“No, it’s a part of the travelling.”

Lina raised an eyebrow. Yeah, right.

Sebastian sighed. “I’m only asking a small favour.”

“Then why else? Is this part of some satanic ritual?”

He scratched the back of his neck. “No?”

“Did you just hesitate?” she hissed at him, crossing her arms.

He rolled his eyes, and seemed almost ready to leave her, and she let her hands drop. She lifted her left index finger, then decided against and lifted her right one instead.

“Remember to press it against the paper and do it quick,” he added.

She gave him a sullen look, then slid her finger across the side of the paper. She grimaced.

“Now place it on mine,” he ordered. His index finger rested on the middle of the page, a small drop of blood had transcended to the page.

“You’re getting blood on a library book.”

“They’ll survive.” His voice was carefree and at ease, as if he was merely going through a routine. Lina shook her head in disbelief, and then took a step closer.

She put her finger on his. Remains of week old electric blue nail polish still hung on her fingernails, and she gripped the other book tightly. She expected him to give further instructions, but he had closed his eyes and was muttering something –probably demon chanting.

It all seemed very ridiculous, and it must have looked like it from the outside too, because Lina saw several people eyeing them suspicious. For a second she was absolutely sure that this was all one big joke that she had played right into.

But before she could imagine a camera team jumping out of the nearest store, she noticed how the grass under her feet and the sounds of the people talking were slowly fading. Wind was surrounding them, and then, as if carried away by it, they were no longer under the oak tree.

 [AS1]Straighten it out

 [AS2]Come on

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