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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31. Chapter 30 - Eren

For three days, Eren did not sleep. He stayed awake, watching over Kolin, making sure that the boy stayed alive. He boiled water, made tea, prepared porridge, constantly kept a cold cloth on his forehead. The fever was kept at bay and his condition didn’t grow worse—but he didn’t become better either. The sickness continued to sap away on his strength until he was unable to open his eyes. Eren could only rely on the faint sound of his breathing to make sure that he was still alive. 

 


Then on the morning of the third day, a messenger boy knocked on his door. It was a message from the hunchback. 


“Come immediately. The medicine will be ready before sundown.” 


He glanced back at Kolin. The boy was sleeping peacefully. He should be all right for a few hours. 


Putting on his apprentice clothes, Eren made his way to the Serpent’s Shop. He wondered why the message contained a sense of urgency. Come immediately. Why did he have to come immediately if the medicine wouldn’t be ready until sundown? 


He entered the shop with a dragging sense of trepidation; the hunchback had schemed something and Eren had no choice but to go along with it. After all, he already owed this unassuming man a large favor.


“There you are.” This time, the hunchback stood at the counter, waiting for him. “Please, have a seat.” 


Why was he so courteous this time around? Eren wondered. Is it because I am costumer? Or maybe there is something he wants from me. 


The hunchback prepared two cups of tea. The sweet scent of the leaves mixed with the strange odors of the other wares, creating an atmosphere that was both pleasant and unsettling at the same time. 


“The ingredients have arrived this morning,” the hunchback said. “But I assumed that, as a Senior Officer, you have no culinary skills, and therefore you wouldn’t know to handle such precious ingredients, I took the liberty of preparing the medicine myself. My apprentice is stirring the cauldron right now.” 


Eren nodded with silent gratitude. Why was this hunchback so...nice? What does he want? 


“Getting these ingredients wasn’t easy,” the hunchback sighed profoundly. He shook his head wearily and sipped his tea—it seemed as though he had rehearsed these movements. “It used to be much easier...but ever since the start of the war...”


He glanced up at Eren, his old glazed eyes reading his young face. 


“What do you mean?” asked Eren. 


“Ever since the start of the war, the number of free roaming witches has decreased dramatically,” the hunchback continued. “And that has made it the acquirement of the ingredients rather difficult. Before, I could source such ingredients from witch merchants, but now...they are much harder to find.” 


Eren stayed silent. He wondered if the hunchback wanted to engage him in conversation so that he might reveal what was hidden inside the barracks. 


“I heard many of the witches have retreated with the Witch Council into the mountains...,” the hunchback continued. “But some roam free...” 


Still, Eren said nothing. He was waiting for the hunchback to make his move. 


“Tell me, Eren Galloway, what is the Champion of Light?” 


Eren shook his head. “The Champion of Light? I’ve never heard of that.” 


The hunchback read Eren’s befuddled expression and came to the conclusion that this young man was indeed clueless—and therefore useless. 


“Perhaps you can ask Officer Reinhard,” the hunchback suggested. “He will know.” 


“Your spy network can’t find out what the Champion of Light is?” 


“The walls of the Church of Valor are difficult to penetrate,” the hunchback said. “They control the flow of information...rather well.” 


There was a layer of begrudging admiration in his voice. 


“I’m not going to act as your spy,” Eren said. 


“Perhaps I should tell my apprentice to take a well deserved break and leave the cauldron alone, hmm?” 


Eren gritted his teeth. He knew that the hunchback knew that he did not have enough gold to pay for expedited illegal witch medicine. What the hunchback was saying now was that he wanted information as payment. 


“Please, I think your apprentice needs to keep working,” Eren said with a bitter smile. “I shall make the proper enquiries and report back to you.” 


“That is very good.” The hunchback smiled too. 


After a little while of silence, the hunchback asked: “Do you have a witch by the name of Elina in your prison?” 


Eren bought himself time to think by drinking tea. This question meant that the hunchback wanted more information as payment. He was sure that if he refused to answer, then this man might think about giving his apprentice a break again. 


“No, I’ve never heard of a witch by the name of Elina.” 


“What a shame,” the hunchback said absentmindedly, staring off into space, his thoughts seemingly elsewhere. “Have you heard of a witch by the name of Claire?” 


Eren shook his head. 


The hunchback peered at him and saw truth on his face. 


“And do you know a witch by the name of Sable?” 


Eren froze. He forgot to drink his tea even though he had raised the cup to his lips. 


The hunchback grinned. This was enough of an answer for him. 


In silence, they sipped their tea, each side trying to think ahead. Until finally—


From the back of the store, a little boy, no older than six or seven, emerged. 


“Ah, there he is!” the hunchback took a glass bottle from the boy and handed it to Eren. It contained liquid as dark as the stormy clouds. 


Eren wrapped the bottle with a piece of cloth and rushed back as fast as his legs would take him. 


When he arrived back in his hut, he opened the bottle and sniffed it. He almost dropped the bottle. His stomach recoiled. He wanted to puke. The stormy liquid was the most foul smelling thing he had ever come across.


Holding his breath, he poured the liquid into a cup and then slowly fed it to Kolin. Even in his withered state, the boy wrinkled his nose and spat out most of it. Kolin’s lips appeared as though he had tried to drink ink. His face told the same. 


“Drink it Kolin...drink it,” Eren pleaded. 


The boy grimaced and managed to swallow another mouthful. Then he fell asleep. 


Eren slept next to the bed and when he woke up the next morning, Kolin was breathing quietly. He felt his forehead; the fever had subsided. 


Eren sunk into a little pile, crying tears of joy, his body shaking. 


“Heh,” Eren laughed. It was the first time he had felt grateful towards a witch. 


A damned witch. 

 

—-

 

A/N: Chapter 30! At the beginning of 2017, I made a New Years Resolution that I would update a story for an entire month every day without fail! Phew, finally made it. Of course the updates aren’t going to stop ;) And if you enjoy this story, please do drop a comment 

 

 

 

 

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