The Girl in Cell 3 (Triple Witching Hour)

Every day SABLE talks to her knight in shining armor, EREN. She says sweet words, tugging at his heart, hoping to steal it. But there is always a barrier between them - a prison cell door. EREN has struck a deal: keep her locked up and his little brother will be out of harms way.

Her cell is inescapable and her placement on death row rises fast. She aims to seduce him and have him break her out. But when truths and lies become one, can she deceive his heart without breaking her own?

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29. Chapter 28 - Eren

With the list of ingredients in hand, Eren left the barracks. He wondered why Sable had suddenly decided to give him the recipe; was her heart softened by the stories he had told? Perhaps she liked Kolin? 


But that smile on her face. It was real. He was sure of it. She was beautiful. 


He headed straight to the apothecary. It was not a place he enjoyed visiting; it was a shop situated in a corner of the street, hidden in the shadows and difficult for anyone to spot—unless you already knew it was there. But despite it’s unfavorable location, business was thriving. Rumor had it that the owner of the shop knew smugglers who operated hidden passages in the mountain ranges to import tax free herbs and medicines as well as other plants that had been banned by King’s Pride law. It was known for its cheap prices, discreet service and gold only policy. No credit was given. No records were written. 


“Serpent’s Shop,” Eren murmured as he entered. He wondered if this shop was actually operated directly by the smuggler network. 


Before he entered, he had made sure to take off his uniform and change into the clothes of a regular apprentice—a leather vest, cotton shirt and dirty leather boots. After all, he knew too well that people treated him differently when he was in uniform and this time the lion insignia wouldn’t work to his advantage. 


When he entered, he saw a slim wooden desk that stretched from one wall to the other, blocking his way to the back of the shop. There were no candles and torches, which meant that the shop relied entirely on natural light for illumination. His senses were overwhelmed by thousands of strange smells. Along the walls were shelves stacked with jars filled with preserves of animals and plants, eyeballs, hands and toes, live fish and things he could not begin to identify,


Eren took shallow breaths. Yes, he thought. This was the right place for the list Sable had dictated to him. 


“Can I help you?” 


Out of nowhere, a hunchback had appeared behind the desk. Eren took a sharp breath, unable to hide the surprise on his face. He cursed silently. Where had this man come from? 


He approached the desk and put down the scroll. “I need these ingredients.” 


“Medicine? Poison?” the hunchback murmured and took the list. He frowned as he read it. “Boy, where did you get this list?” 


Eren’s face remained a blank. “This is medicine I need for my brother.” 


“This is no human medicine.” 


“…” 


The hunchback looked up at Eren, his glazed eyes scrutinizing him. “A witch gave you these, no?” 


Eren said nothing. 


The hunchback smiled, revealing a row of rotten yellow teeth. “Yes, a witch gave you these. No human doctor would know of these ingredients...rare and...banned by King’s Pride.” The hunchback raised an eyebrow. “What would the proud Senior Officer Galloway want with these?” 


Eren stood on his heels. “H-How do you know my name—?” 


The hunchback grinned. “Don’t underestimate the spy network we smugglers run. If needed, we can even get into the ear of the King...” The hunchback bit his lower lip. “But why have you been promoted to Senior Officer, hmm? There must be some special task for you in the barracks for such a promotion. I wonder what Officer Reinhard is hiding.” 


They even knew Reinhard! Eren’s heart beat fast. He had been aware that there was a spy network in King’s Pride, but he never imagined that its tentacles reached this far and to such a deep extent...


But they hadn’t found out about the witches. 


“You have the recipe of witches with you...and you won’t tell me what is hiding in those barracks...let us assume that you are guarding live witches in the barracks...but why?” 


Eren swallowed. The deductive reasoning of this unassuming hunchback was more than impressive—it was frightening. He snatched the scroll away from him, turned and prepared to leave. 


“You are free to leave, but Kolin will die otherwise, no?” 


Eren froze. “How do you know about Kolin?” 


“We keep careful records of every senior ranked officer in the King’s Pride army,” the hunchback answered. “We have to make sure we bribe the right people...” 


Although his voice was quiet, the hunchback spoke with impunity. 


“I assume Kolin is sick and that is why you need this medicine,” the hunchback continued. “Fever, lack of appetite and the monks are useless as usual.” 


“And you can help me?” 


“I’m the only one who can help you. Give me the list.” 


Eren obeyed. 


The hunchback put on spectacles and studied the list more carefully. “It will take about seven days for my associates to gather these ingredients.” 


“Seven days! Kolin will die!” Eren exclaimed.


“My associates could work faster if they were properly motivated.” 


Eren knew what that meant. “Fine, I will pay you double.”


“Are you sure you can afford double?” 


“I am a senior ranked officer. Sooner or later you will have to bribe me.” 


For a moment, the hunchback was stunned into silence by this answer. Then his entire body shook with laughter.


“Come back in three days,” he said. “Make sure to keep your brother alive until then.” 

 

A/N: We are almost at chapter 30! Phew…oh man…

 

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