Subtle Year

By Charlotte Marsh All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Humor

Epilogue: The Guest

Footsteps approached the prison cell, the shadow on the staircase lingering for a few moments as the officer stopped by the bars.

“Morning newspaper,” he spoke in a matter-of-fact tone.

The arm inside the cell reached out in the same way he’d done every morning for fifty years now. The officer handed it over, one of the few who wasn’t afraid of the man who lurked within the cell.

“Any highlights from the Freedom House?”

“Abalone Jacobson is dead.”

“Is that so?” the man inside the cell was relatively indifferent. “Tsk, old age gets even the best of men.”

“Old age never got the chance.”

The man’s yellow eyes raised from the newspaper, curious now. The officer didn’t flinch away from those eyes, although most others would.

“Our dear Grand High Sorcerer was murdered?” he raised an eyebrow.

“Along with most of the Freedom House.”

“Humph, most. I didn’t realise it was amateur hour,” he rolled his eyes. “Who’s the idiot who didn’t failed at a basic task?”

“You’re old friend, Lorian Serpent.”

“You mean he wasn’t really an ally?” he lowered the newspaper, speaking in a sarcastic tone. “I’m shocked. So, will I be getting a cell mate soon?”

“He’s dead.”

“The Freedom House’s number one detective strikes again. How… tragic. Anything else?”

“You have a visitor. Make it snappy, you have twenty minutes.”

“Is that so I have time to mourn?”

“No. There’s a World Cup qualifier on at three and nobody wants to miss it so they can guard you,” the officer folded his arms.

“I feel so loved.”

“You are our honoured guest,” he stooped into a sarcastic bow before walking away.

If the bars hadn’t been in the way, the man would have torn the officers head off in a swift movement but, on this occasion, he subdued his rage and turned his attention back to his newspaper as he waved the officer away lazily with his hand.

While the officer walked back up the stairs, the prisoners guest stepped into the light but remained silent until the door at the top of the stairs closed.

“Get on with it,” the man turned the page of his newspaper.

“I have something you’ve spent most of your life looking for,” his guest produced a photograph.

The prisoner glanced at the photo being shown. It was of a girl in her early teens, he’d probably say. Just an everyday teenager with purple hair.

“You may need to go into some detail,” the prisoner looked back at his newspaper.

“She’s the missing piece of the puzzle, I can assure you, I’ve done my research.”

“Is that so?” he was interested. “She looks like a mortal.”

“She’s a brand-new sorceress. Her powers burst from within her after being tortured by Lorian Serpent.”

“How thrilling.”

“That’s not the best part. She’s the partner of an old friend of yours. The man who put you in here fifty years ago.”

“And why are you so eager to reveal her identity?” the prisoner turned the page again.

“You are the last remaining General. One is missing, the other is dead and here you are, a power behind bars,” his guest replied in an easy tone. “That’s not the way the world should be.”

“And you are the concerned party who’ll spring me from my incarceration?” he raised an eyebrow.

“I intend to.”

The prisoner chuckled, his visitor didn’t look like the sort of person who’d come up with a daring plan to get him out of one of the highest security prisons on the planet. The man hardly looked like a sorcerer, he’d probably be around three-hundred and fifty years old and the prisoner imagined he’d spent most of that time doing absolutely nothing. Still, he wanted out of prison and it seemed this man had a plan.

“I’d like to know more about this plan,” the prisoner decided. “But not yet. The Freedom House will be on high alert thanks to Lorian. We’ll bide our time and strike while they’re still weak but complacent.”

“Very good,” his guest nodded.

“Now, you should be going, the Officers are so excited for their qualifying match. They get so excited to watch England lose.”

His guest nodded again sharply before leaving without another word. The prisoner chuckled shortly as he turned the page in his newspaper again, a wry smile lingering on his face.

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