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.


23. XV

“What exactly are we doing here?” “Well, we need a third and fourth donkey. And this is the place to get one, of course.” Lina gaped. “Of course,” she repeated barely audible. Sebastian was already moving fo srward, but this time Lina felt no rush following after him. The field they stood on was enormous. More columns held up the half roof that was covering about a quarter of the field, probably offering shelter for when it rained. On the fields there were more donkeys than Lina had ever seen in her life. Loose ropes were lazily separating some donkeys from others. Sebastian had already laid back some distance, and yelled so Lina could hear him. “Everyone who owns a donkey must have a stable. But some only have small staples, or others, like we, only have small patches of space for them to move around. So yeah, our parking lot.” “I don’t understand. You say parking lot, so you must know what a car is? So you do know something about our… my world?” Sebastian shrugged. “Just because we don’t know much, doesn’t mean we have to be held completely ignorant. Besides, Marie hears stuff, and I hear stuff.” He paused and thought back at Marie. “Apropos Marie, you don’t think she’ll be mad for a long time, do you?” Lina was close at laughing. “She’s your best friend!” It was an assumption, but by the looks of his face, she had nailed it. Sebastian looked truly concerned now. He shook his head and sighed. “You know I’m usually very good with people. But you’ve probably already guessed that, based on my handsome looks and charming personality,” He paused to flash a, what he assumed to be, attractive smile and Lina couldn’t help but let out a highly unattractive snort. “When you come back you can apologize and invite her to your next quest.” Sebastian laughed. “Will do!” He bowed deep, his nose almost touching the path of trodden grass, “thank you for your advice Obi Wan.” She rolled her eyes in response. “Get up Skywalker, we need to move forward.” He smiled amused and pointed somewhere in the distance. “We’ve got the little place called 9.” As they moved farther in, Lina began to understand the system. There were several human trodden paths, and very two meters or so there would then be a little roped entrance with a number. Sebastian got over the rope with the number 9, and Lina followed. Then they entered another labyrinth of ropes. Every donkey (or donkey family, depending) would then enter the little path of theirs and thrive with all the others, only separated by a small chord of rope. “Doesn’t that make theft pretty easy?” Lina asked as they followed the path, walking past several interested, and disinterested, donkeys. Sebastian shrugged. “It has happened before. But as I told you, donkeys are loyal. You wouldn’t get away with it without being kicked at least once, and that usually makes the thief a whole lot easier to catch.” They had arrived at a brown one, looking slightly bigger than Melinda and Belinda, who was grassing peacefully. Suddenly Lina let out a gasp. Sebastian immediately turned to her, his face concerned. “What is it?” She calmed and shook her head. “Sorry, I overreacted, it’s just… the grass here isn’t grey.” Sebastian smiled and relaxed a little. “Yearh. Probably the same reason that the curse hasn’t gone like a plague yet, and the reason that it spreads quicker in the outskirts of the city. I have this theory that the curse takes longer to reach people and animals than objects and plants.” Lina’s eyebrows furrowed. “Why on earth would it do that?” Sebastian’s jaw clenched. “Maybe…” He took a deep breath. “Maybe it takes more magic.” At first Lina didn’t understand, neither the statement, nor his expression. Then it dawned to her, and her expression softened. She turned to Melinda who had followed, stroking her brown fur. In an as reasonable and non-accusing way possible, she uttered her conclusion. “You think Edmond is stopping it.” Sebastian swallowed the lump that had been in his throat. “Maybe he’s trying to stop it, but Tristan won’t let him.” Lina kept silent, well knowing that it might not be more than wishful thinking. Sebastian saw her face, but that didn’t stop him from expressing his other theories. “Maybe… maybe he’s unconsciously stopping it, that he knows it’s wrong deep down.” Lina kept stroking Melinda, not answering. Sebastian turned to the new donkey. “Their names are Dina and Claus. We need two.” His voice was flat and he avoided looking Lina in the eyes. They turned from where they came and followed the roped path back to the entrance again. Lina tied the knot back to the pole, indicating that number 9 was reserved space. If we even come back, a little voice kept whispering. That’s morbid, she stopped herself. Of course we are going to make it back. Sebastian gave her the rope to Melinda. “If you just walk up to the front, I’ll take Dina and Claus and come in a minute. And then we’re ready to go.”
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