Chapter 6 - Sable
Something was in the air.
With every breath she took, Sable could taste the tension that electrified the narrow spaces of the cell and corridor. The guards were more nervous than usual; they paced right and left, faster and more frequent than usual, and when they stood, they constantly shifted their weight from one foot to the other. Their breathing was quick and rapid, their gazes uncertain.
What was going on?
Sable guessed that it might have something to do with the incident from a few days ago; a witch had managed to break out of her cell, killed several guards in the process, but never made it out of the corridor.
They will kill us! We have to break out! They will rip our magic out!
Sable swallowed. What did she mean with those words? They will rip our magic out? How was that possible? A witch’s magic was part of her blood, in her bones—her birthright.
Sitting against the wall, Sable wasn’t entirely unaffected by the disconcerted glances the guards exchanged with each other. Whatever they were afraid of would likely affect her too.
What was happening? She asked this question many times, and sometimes a guard opened his mouth and mumbled a few words, but would always fall silent before Sable could properly hear the answer.
Something was in the air.
Then it happened.
Right after lunch, a door at the end of the stone corridor slammed open.
“Attention!” Officer Reinhard’s voice ricocheted through the corridor. His voice was loud and rough, like a battlefield trumpet that had been used countless times.
The guards clicked their heels and stood straight. They saluted. One voice, one mind, one army.
Through the strained atmosphere of the corridor, Sable could hear two sets of footsteps. One was heavy and carried the clinking of metal armor—that must have been Officer Reinhard. The other was lighter, but she could hear longer strides and a sense of certainty in every step that sounded—a sound that was filled with vigor and determination.
“This is Eren Galloway,” Officer Reinhard said. “He has been promoted to Senior Officer of the Witch Guard and will be your superior from today on. You will do as he commands.”
Sable stood and walked up to the cell door. She leaned against the right side of the cell so that she could glance further to the left. It was of no use; the light of the torches did not penetrate the darkness far enough for her to see the scene.
“Now, I will be on my way, Officer Galloway,” Reinhard said. Sable heard heels click, a salute, two voices saying “may the Word of Light guide us” simultaneously and then a door closing.
Sable’s mind raced. It made sense to her now. The tension, the apprehension among the guards, the feeling of uncertainty. After the explosion incident, the guards must have been afraid of losing their jobs. And now after the blunder, a new Senior Officer had been placed in charge of guarding the witches.
Sable strained her ears, but she could not hear this Eren Galloway say a single word. Instead, she heard quiet, steady footsteps. Unhurried, calm and almost dismissive.
His footsteps drew closer and closer until he stood before her cell.
In the amber glow of the torchlight, Sable met Eren’s eyes. His blue gaze was cool and devoid of rancor and vindictiveness for witches as one might expect from someone who was given this position. His tawny shoulder length hair was tousled and slightly disheveled from his run to the barracks. He was tall and powerfully built, with broad shoulders that radiated strength and yet were not so wide to suggest that he lagged agility in a fight.
Sable felt his scrutinizing gaze linger on her longer than she expected. Up until her cell, his footsteps had never stopped. Why did he stop here? Sable’s heart slowly began to pound against her chest; if he had special interest in her, then it might make it harder to break out of this prison.
She swallowed her apprehension, stood straight and arranged her expression to be the same as his: calm, unfeeling—and yet the rebellious gleam in her eyes betrayed the hope in her heart.
“What do you want?” she asked.
A/N: Today’s chapter was delayed by a few hours. Had a very busy day at university OTL…