Chapter 7 - Eren
“Shall we go down to the prison to make the proper introductions?” Reinhard suggested.
Eren nodded. “Yes, that would be a good idea.”
Following his commanding officer, Eren went down several sets of stairs until he arrived in the basement of the barracks building. From there, they traveled a complicated winding path that led through countless stone corridors, small narrow rooms and supply closets. Smart construction, Eren thought. If an enemy invaded the barracks, they were more likely to get lost than to find what they came looking for.
Finally, they reached the prison. Its somber corridor was tucked in behind an unassuming wooden door at the bottom of a set of stone stairs; unobtrusive and easily overlooked—perhaps that was by design. If you wanted to hide something, make it boring and no one will notice.
“Attention!” Reinhard bellowed. “This is Eren Galloway. 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 and if any of you cause problems, he will report it directly to me.”
The guard clicked their heels and saluted on one voice.
Then in a quieter voice he added: “These men are yours to command. Do with them as you see fit,” then he slipped Eren an envelope, “and in here is a notice for the Bank of King’s Pride that assigns a new budget for you. Use it as you see fit to keep these witches behind bars. Keep these witches down here and I will keep Kolin away from the front lines.”
Senior Officer Galloway and Commanding Officer Reinhard exchanged a brotherly hug.
“Just one thing,” Eren added, “you never told me why the kingdom wants witches.”
Reinhard pursed his lips and seemed to consider his answer for a moment. He shook his head. Eren understood. Too many questions was unwise. Take what is offered and forget about the rest.
“Now, I will be on my way, Officer Galloway,” Reinhard said. Eren clicked his heels and saluted.
“May the Word of Light guide us,” they said at the same time.
Officer Reinhard turned and left. The door slammed shut.
“Now then,” Eren breathed out. It was time to perform an initial inspection. Calm and collected he walked down the stone corridor while the guards stood at attention.
He passed the first cell, then the second, then the third. Each one of them contained a single witch. He looked straight ahead and saw that there were at least eight more cells, perhaps more. All of them had a witch in them.
What did the kingdom want with all these witches? Reinhard had refused to answer this question. Did he not know or did he refuse to tell? Eren had decided not to push for an answer; as long as Kolin was safe and they could stay together, then all he needed to know was that his job was to keep these witches behind bars.
Fine by me, he thought. Witches always deserve a little punishment—maybe a little more.
He asked one of the guards to show him the cell of the witch that had almost managed to break out. When he saw it, he forgot to breathe.
It had been years since he had seen the destructive power of witch magic. The cell door wasn’t bent or simply broken. Its metal bars had been blasted apart with brute force, molten and torn to pieces as though they were scrolls of parchment. The walls opposite had black blast marks and one could still see the outline of the guard who had been scorched to death. Nothing remained of him.
He observed each and every single witch. They had their hands chained together with gransia chains. What a wonderful metal—so rare, so effective. He knew that it had the natural ability to suck the magic out of a witch. And what was a witch without her magic? A normal human woman.
But once those cuffs were off...Eren glanced back at the molten cell door.
Most of the witches cowered in a corner, staring at the ground or the walls, mumbling to themselves, their gazes devoid of hope. Some of them had gone mad and kept pacing back and forth in the cell, others shook their heads and whimpered quietly. Other had fallen sick and coughed uncontrollably.
All witches except one.
Keep an eye on the witch with the green eyes and blonde hair.
There was only one witch in the entire prison who was different. And different was bad. Different meant that she was a risk.
He stopped before her cell. She was the only witch who stood straight. She did not mumble to herself, nor did she pace back and forth. She clutched the metal bars and her green gaze gleamed in the amber torchlight. Her frown carried an air of obstinance and defiance—it was the expression of someone who’s will was unbroken.
Her blonde hair reached her chest. She wore only a simple grey dress and a black cloak that covered her shoulders. How small she was, Eren thought. She only reached his shoulders and yet—yet—every inch of her oozed with an unbending determination that he would have found attractive under different circumstances. Very different circumstances.
“What do you want?” she asked.
A/N: Hello :) Another day, another chapter. If you enjoy this story, please do drop a comment. I’ll try to reply as fast as I can, or tweet me at twhstory