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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54. Chapter 53 - Eren

Eren went back inside and told Kolin that he would be right back. Someone from the barracks had come to speak to him about an urgent matter. He closed the door and followed the hunchback to a local tavern. The hunchback led Eren to a corner table and ordered two pints of ale. 


A drink, Eren thought. What the meaning of this? Perhaps the man hoped for a closer alliance? Or maybe he had something schemed? 


“How did you find me?” Eren asked. 


“A man must keep close watch of the debts he is owed.” 


That answer did not answer his question, but Eren decided not to press the point further. Instead he said, “You work surprisingly fast. It took you less than a day to gather the information.” 


“Time is money,” the hunchback said, “and a wise man does not waste time.” 


The ale arrived and they both took a gulp. Eren wiped his lips. He didn’t know what the man ordered, but this drink was good. Better than Reinhard’s favorite drink. 


“Looking up the information for currently free roaming witches wasn’t difficult,” the hunchback said. “One just has to know how to read it.” 


“Impossible,” Eren retorted. “Records of every single witch? That kind of information doesn’t exist.” 


“Before the war it wasn’t possible,” said the hunchback, “but once the war started, the Witch Council retreated into the mountains and the number of remaining free roaming witches became easy to identify.” 


“And I assume your information also includes witches from the Eisen Kingdom?” 


If he said yes, Eren thought, then he would have to be even more careful about what he divulged with this man; he didn’t want the enemy to get its hands on any important military related information.


The hunchback shrugged. “Witches don’t see borders like you do.” 


Eren narrowed his eyes. He said “like you do” and not “like we do.” An indirect answer, but it told him enough. 


“I have some information regarding the three witches,” the hunchback said. “Sable, Claire and Zofia.” 


“Go on.” 


The hunchback took a drink. “These witches are very interesting and it is important that we manage to capture all three,” he said. “They aren’t ordinary witches...even for witches, their behavior is strange.” 


He pulled out a scroll and unfolded it. On it was an accurate sketch of Sable’s face. He put his finger on her forehead. 


“My records tell me that she is a witch, however after the war started, there is no record of her ever using magic — in fact, she appears to be an ordinary bracegear mechanic.” 


Eren’s heart sank. If what this man said was true, then the King’s Pride army might have made the horrible mistake of falsely imprisoning a normal human woman with witches. This would ruin her life and the reputation of the knights. But if she wasn’t a witch, then how did she know the recipe for the witch medicine that cured Kolin? 


“If your records say that she can’t use magic, then she probably isn’t a witch,” said Eren. 


The hunchback shook his head. “See, this is where this girl is strange. My informants are all adamant that she a witch, but all records indicate that she works as a traveling bracegear mechanic.” 


“So you mean that she is a witch, but refuses to use magic.” 


“Either she refuses to use it...or she can’t use it — perhaps someone or something is stopping her.” 


“That doesn’t make any sense.” 


“Many things do not make sense, especially when you are dealing with witches.” 


Eren drained the remainder of his pint. “What is this bracegear mechanic thing that you mentioned?”


“Ah,” the hunchback sounded and grinned. “A true man of King’s Pride, I see.” 


Eren gave him a threatening look, but he was not intimidated. He continued, “Bracegear is a technology often found in the Eisen Kingdom, and towns near the front line use it a lot, but it is rarely found in King’s Pride.” He raised his right arm and pulled back the sleeve. 


At first Eren did not believe what he was seeing. Indeed, for something that was so commonly found at the fringes of the kingdom, people in the capital rarely ever saw something like this. 


The hunchback’s arm had been replaced with a mechanical arm. Instead of skin there was a hard metal surface. Gears inside the arm creaked and groaned as he moved his fingers, and right where his elbow was supposed to be, there was a small vent that exuded steam. 


“The witch, Sable, specializes in repairing things like this,” the hunchback said. 


Eren sat back. Unbelievable. 


“And her sister? Claire?” 


The hunchback pulled his sleeve over his bracegear arm. “She isn’t hesitant about using her magic,” he said, “but she uses it in ways you do not expect.” 


“How so?” 


“According to my sources, she was spotted traveling from town to town in the Eisen Kingdom, selling weapons and armor to people who fear invasion from King’s Pride.” 


“We are not invading,” Eren cut in. “We are liberating them. We are giving them back their freedom under the rightful king.” 


“Simply a choice of words.” 


Eren’s nostrils flared. Sudden fury roared in his chest and he felt a need to defend the truth — what he felt to be the truth. But he reminded himself that there was no use getting angry with this man; this hunchback owed loyalty to no one. 


“And what about Zofia,” Eren said. 


The hunchback raised an eyebrow, seeming rather impressed. 


“Zofia...,” he said and his voice faded as he cast a contemplative glance into his drink. “She…is difficult to define.” 


“What do you mean?” 


“My sources tell me that there is no record of her as a witch before the war started, but right when King’s Pride and Eisen split, she appeared in the ranks of the Church of Valor and managed to attain the qualification of a priestess overnight.” 


“Hmm,” Eren murmured. That is strange. Very strange. Why would a witch want to have the qualification of a priestess? This made no sense. The Church of Valor had always been against witches and actively promoted them as a source of evil and sin. A witch coming into friendly contact with the church was impossible — let alone gaining the rank of a priestess and having the ear of the upper echelon. 


He glanced at the hunchback. Zofia was the enemy here. He was sure of it. He didn’t know what to do about Sable or her sister Claire, but he was sure now that Zofia had to be dealt with. 


“Zofia is Commanding Office Reinhard’s lover.”


The hunchback’s eyes widened. 


Eren said, “If Zofia is your aim, then I can work together with you.” 

 

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