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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34. Chapter 33 - Eren

With his basketful of apples, Eren arrived at the barracks and promptly went down the stairs to the prison. He was about to open the heavy wooden door—


He stopped. Something was different. He heard the sounds of merry conversation and laughter. 


What was going on? 


He pressed his ear against the door. He was sure of it. Those weren’t the sounds of hostilities—but actual camaraderie.


He gingerly opened the door a crack and peered through it. He saw several guards eating together and sharing their meal with the witches and chatting with them. The air was merry, the mood was light. 


At the cell closest to the door, he saw a guard sitting right before the cell door with a chess board before him. A witch reached through the cell door bars and moved a piece. The guard scratched his chin, deep in thought, and after a moment made his move. The witch snickered with childish delight and moved a piece. “Checkmate,” Eren heard her say and there was much admiration from the witches around her and the losing guard received ridicule from his fellow men. 


The guard who lost the game scratched his head and turned to the other guard to say something. And that was when Eren saw his face. He knew this man. His face and body were a little thin, giving him the appearance of a starved artist who hungered for food and desired only the Truth. His dark hair was curled at the end and tousled, as though he had been too busy writing his manuscript or painting his masterpiece to take care of his appearance. And in his hazelnut eyes, one could see a deep sea of contemplation that only he could understand. 


His name was Marcus. 


At first Eren was a little disappointed when he found that many of the guards assigned to guarding the witches were unassuming in their height and build; he hoped that Officer Reinhard would find more capable men, but it seemed that the best knights had been sent to the front line for the most recent advances into Eisen territory. Marcus was more of an intellectual than a warrior—however so long as the witches stayed behind bars, there was no need for actual combat ability. 


Marcus turned back to the witch. “One more game.” 


He collected the pieces and set them on the board. The witch arranged the pieces on her side. Their hands touched—a moment that only three people noticed. 


Eren drew a sharp breath. He wanted to storm into the prison, but held himself back. What Marcus was doing was suicidal! What was that fool thinking?


He took a deep breath. There was nothing to be afraid of. So long as those witches had the gransia handcuffs on and were locked behind bars, they were only regular prisoners. 


Eren slammed the door open. 


The conversations stopped. The merry air froze. 


Marcus abruptly stood, his next move still in his hands.  


Eren entered the prison. 


“Men,” he said. 


They clicked their heels and saluted. 


Eren nodded. He ordered for the men to line up against the wall. Like an execution. The witches watched with silent intrigue—it was the first time Eren had ordered something like this. They eyed the apples in his basket. 


“I never had the chance to thank all of you,” Eren said. “And I know we don’t get paid much by King’s Pride...” A wry smile. “But I wanted to show all of you my gratitude.”


He handed each man an apple. 


It wasn’t much. Even an impoverished apprentice could easily afford an apple. But each guard accepted the gift with a slight bow. Perhaps the true gift was that Eren did not send them to the front line for chatting with the witches. 


Eren stopped when he reached Marcus. 


“Marcus, correct?” 


“Yessir!” 


Eren pointed at the chess board on the stone floor. “Pack it up. Now.”


“Yessir!” 


Marcus hurriedly collected the chess board and all the pieces, then returned to his original position. His heartbeat was erratic, his stomach sick with dread. 


“Stop!” Eren said. 


Marcus froze. He could already see himself dying at the front line, his cold body rotting in the indifferent mud, harsh rain his only burial. 


“Count your pieces,” Eren said. 


Marcus opened the chess board and counted the pieces. “The Queen is missing,” he said. 


Eren turned to the witch whom Marcus had played against. She had chestnut hair and her eyes were the color of the sun. In the somber light of the prison, they glowed like gold. She wore a black dress and a brown leather mantle to keep her warm. 


“Hand it over,” Eren said, his voice cool and even. 


The witch did not move. 


“Witch, what’s your name?” 


She said nothing. 


Eren turned to Marcus. “What is her name?” 


Silence. And then after some hesitation: “Her name is Svenja.” 


Eren nodded and faced the witch again. “Svenja, if you and your friends don’t want to starve to death, you will hand that chess piece over.” 


He peered right into Svenja’s bitter golden gaze, black hate chocking all speech out of her. She pulled a wooden Queen out of her sleeves and threw it at him. Eren caught it and handed it to Marcus. 


“Has it ever occurred to you that with some refinement work, a witch might use this to pick the lock of their gransia handcuffs?” Eren asked. 


Marcus swallowed. 


“I didn’t think so,” Eren said. “Never forget that we are your true brothers—your brothers in arms.” 


“Understood.” 


Eren frowned slightly. He never thought that he’d have this exact same conversation again. 


“All of you can take a break,” Eren said. “I will make a patrol.” 


The guards saluted and clicked their heels. They hurried out of the prison, glad that they had escaped consequences for their carelessness—for now. 


With his basket under his arms, Eren walked down the stone corridor. 


There was one apple left. 

 

A/N: One word: dissertation. Two words: Job hunt. Three words: FML 

 

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