Twenty soldiers were securing the surroundings while Tom helped me and Mary out of the carriage. The dirt on the street instantly ruined both our dresses, but there were worse things that could be. I mean, I hadn´t to clean them afterwards, so I wasn’t really bothered.
“Your grace, it looks like the house has been raided by someone. It is … unsuitable for you to enter.” One of the guards said to Mary, while I simply strode past him with Tom by my side. I went through the open door and was immediately greeted by the very distinct smell of death. Even during the day, I was able to smell it, which honestly meant a lot.
The first floor was relatively harmless, well, except for one room of course. In silence, I followed the blood trail I made during the last night and soon found myself in front of two guards who absolutely refused to let me through.
“There is a magical door. We have to wait for a professional to open it, so please don’t enter this room, your holiness.” One of the guards said while looking away from me.
“It is ‘Lucy’, or ‘milady’ if you insist. I think I am here for a reason, Lucius, and I will not stop.”
“… if you insist, Milady.” Lucius said and let Tom and Hannah pass while Mary followed as well, albeit slowly. She already knew what was inside that room, it was just that she didn´t want to see it. Hannah on the other side balled her hands into fists as she strode through the doorframe into the gory room. Blood was sprayed onto the walls and ceiling, bisected corpses laid around while their organs were splattered all across the room.
At first, Tom checked if nobody was around, and then stared at all the corpses with barely contained interest. Hannah … well, she just puked to the side.
“Are you okay?” I asked, patting her back in concern. Mary took it way better than my maid. She still trembled and closed her eyes from time to time, but she didn´t lose control over herself like Hannah and some of the other guards did as they entered the room. I exhaled quietly and then waded through the puddles of blood towards the magical door.
“Milady, it is dangerous!” Before any of them could reach me, I already gripped the handle and opened it slowly. I cried out in shock as I saw the prison for the second time. I could only hope that nobody died while I was away and slowly walked into the large room, completely quiet and full of pity for these kids. Some of them were looking at me fearfully, some noticed I didn´t have any silver hair. I walked past the first few cages, a shocked expression on my face and stopped only as I noticed Laura inside one of the cages, looking at me with confusion and fear. She didn´t seem to remember me and she also wasn’t a werewolf anymore. Her hair was brown, perfectly fitting for her eyes.
“Someone … the keys.” I muttered, apparently slowly regaining my cool. One of the guards was particularly quick as he opened the cage right in front of me with a key he found somewhere and then proceeded to open the next cages.
“Hey …” I said towards Laura who tried to get away from me. “It is okay, I won´t hurt you.”
“Where am I? Where is my mum?”
“… what is the last thing you remember?”
“I was eating … with my mum and then … I don’t know. I want to see my mum …” Well, I wouldn’t mind … but I seriously didn´t want to traumatize the child after dealing with her last one.
“It`s going to be alright, don’t worry. You are safe now. Come here.” I said towards her and waved her out of the cage. Reluctantly, she stepped out of it and I looked towards Mary. She immediately understood, walked towards us and went on her knees in front of Laura, only to do what I couldn’t. She held her hands, talked to her in a soothing voice while I was slowly backing off towards a duo of guards who weren’t spacing out completely.
“Hey, I need one of you to alert the city guards. And the other one needs to … he needs to make another way out of this room. Ask those who are still looking around the house, maybe they have found some tools. And we need someone to go to the orphanage to tell them about the situation.” Both of them gulped loudly, but then turned around to leave the room, probably very keen on getting away from this place, filled with nearly dead children and corpses of them.
Shortly afterwards, I had a keyring in hand and slowly opened one cage after another while trying to embolden them somewhat. Some managed to get out of their cages alone, some chose to stay inside and it took either Hannah or Mary to get them out of there.
Luckily, or rather unluckily, we had a few lamps with us, but that also enabled the scared children to see the corpses. Well, that was a reality I didn´t eradicate from them, so it was kind of scary to see them not reacting in any way. Their eyes were hollow as they saw these corpses which made me belief they were already accustomed to this madness.
At last, I went into the deeper parts of the room while one of the guards broke the wooden wall apart with a war hammer he found somewhere. I stood in front of Jacob´s cage, and watched how he sat in the middle of it, hugging his knees quietly. He knew where he was, that’s for sure but luckily, no one around him seemed to recognize him. Maybe he heard of this room, maybe he was in here once or twice, it all didn´t matter. He had done nothing to these kids.
Slowly, I let my gaze wander towards his completely healed shoulder and opened the cage.
“Hey. How are you feeling?” I asked, slightly concerned as he looked at something in his hands.
“I´m … alright.” He said and let the wisp of hair fall onto the cage floor. So he did realize what happened, which made it slightly easier.
“Can you come out?” I asked and stepped back a little, only to give the keyring to a guard nearby.
“Yes …” He said, slowly crawling out of the cage and looking at me for the first time. His blue eyes contained no traces of love whatsoever, which made me quite cheerful to be honest.
“Is that … the uniform of the royal academy? … They have gone way too far.” I gave him an easy way out of this situation. He nodded slowly, entirely conscious about the fact that he wasn’t abducted. Luckily, he only nodded quietly.
“Who … who are you?” He asked, quite confused by the difference in my appearance and the surroundings.
“Uhm, you don’t know me? White clothing, blonde hair, a young appearance? And I thought I was the gossip of everyone lately …” I muttered.
“No, sorry …” He muttered, showing me that the Dshinns magic worked perfectly.
“Doesn’t matter. My name is Lucy.” I said and smiled brightly.
“Jacob.” He said, extending his hand for a handshake I absolutely didn’t want as the cold even sweept through my thin gloves.
“Hey, could you try and soothe a few of these children? We are really short on hands right now.” I explained and pointed towards the children who were slowly leaving through the broken wall. He nodded and took his hand back awkwardly. Shortly afterwards, I was watching his back as he walked out of the room, but only for a little while. There were quite a few children left to save after all.