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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12. VIII

“My brother has always been fascinated by magic. Admittedly, I was fascinated myself, but not in the same sense.”

They were sitting on the floor in Edmonds’ room, where Lina was supposed to stay the night. Although Edmond wasn’t dead, it still felt like she was intruding on his ghost. It was just too personal, and Sebastian kept staring at the empty bed behind her as if it was his brothers coffin.

“As you can probably guess he was good with curses.”

"And your mom didn’t find that weird at all.” The words slipped out before she could stop them.

“She wasn't much home at the time. She was busy.”

Lina nodded even though she didn't understand what he meant with busy. The way he spit out the words didn’t sound work-related.

“A few months before the curse was being noticed, my brother disappeared. My mother and the police went looking for him, naturally, but at some point the soldiers just came home empty handed too often."

It dawned for Lina. “So your mom…”

“Thinks he ran off because he was unhappy with his life and that I’m going to look after him now –which I am.”

Lina nodded thoughtfully. “But she doesn’t know that he’s a part of… the team who set out the curse.”

Now it was Sebastian’s time to nod. “It was the only way I could convince her to let me go. And break the law in the same evening. We're not supposed to use the portals, but I stole the key,” he explained when noticing Lina’s furrowed brows.

“How can you be sure where he is?”

Sebastian swallowed a lump in his throat. His eyes were staring at the wooden panels and Lina could feel that something was coming up.

“I let him go. He told me he was going to leave and asked me whether I would follow with him. The Queens brother, Tristan, was going to oppose her. But I stayed and then I couldn’t dare to tell them why he had run off or where.” He met Linas eyes, and she wanted to look away, but she couldn’t. He was looking straight through her, and she was afraid that if she didn’t comfort him in some sorts, he might start tearing up. Sebastian took a deep breath and lowered his voice.

“If I had told them, they would find him and the Queen would hang the bunch of them.”

“Can’t wait to meet her,” Lina muttered under her breath.

“I think the Queen knows he’s out there. It says in the news, that she stopped searching the grounds two days ago.”

“So, we need her permission to leave the grounds.”

“Yes.”

“And what if she refuses to help? She doesn’t sound too nice, honestly.”

“Oh she’s plenty nice, don’t worry.” His face contorted in a smile and Lina couldn’t help but wonder if this was the best or worst thing she had gotten herself into.

***

“Lina should have some proper clothing. Not only for the visit, but for the trip too.”

Alma had switched to a violet tunic and inspected the young girl.

Sebastian opened his mouth, but closed it again. None of them had thought much about practicalities.

“Well, what would we do without you?” Sebastian exclaimed and beamed. Alma acknowledged her son with a small smile, and nodded towards Lina.

“I’ll get some tomorrow morning for you. I’m going into town anyway. I do hope you have made thoughts about other belongings to be packed?”

“Weapons, a map, Miranda and Belinda,” Sebastian listed on the top of his head.

“Toothbrush, toothpaste, food and water?” Lina raised an eyebrow at him and he stuck out his tongue.

“Well, at least one of you has her priorities right,” Alma said and lightly hit Sebastians head with her book.

"It’s late-“

“It’s 10” 

"Well, you do have an audience with the Queen tomorrow,” Alma said, already on her way out. “And you're going to need as much sleep as possible, if you're going to be away for days." Alma's smile dropped a little.

They said quick goodnights in front of the bathroom and then disappeared into each their room. Sebastians to the left, Edmonds to the right.

His room was sparsely decorated, in contrast to Sebastians. Lina felt like a stranger here, noticing for the first time just how unprepared she was for this trap. No bags or anything, just herself, standing in a strangers bedroom.

This was a person she had never met. A brother to a person she had met not even 24 hours ago. For the first time she noticed how wrong this was. What was she doing here?

But it was also now she noticed how tired she was, how her eyelids were burning and she didn’t mind feeling a stranger. As long as she could get her sleep.

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