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Phantom Wars Chapter 16

The conclusion the Marry's back story and more.

Chapter Sixteen: Suspicions

Sabrina flinched in fear as the sword came down at her, but instead of cutting her down the blade sliced through her shackles. The rider then pulled back his hood and sheathed his sword. “Thomas!” Sabrina rejoiced.

Thomas held out his hand saying, “Hurry now hop on; the both of you. We don’t have much time until they get here.”

Sabrina took Thomas,’ hand and he swiftly pulled her up onto the horse behind him. Sabrina then helped Marry onto the horse next and Thomas whipped the reins of the horse and they were off down the dark trail.

“Thomas you will be a fugitive for this.” Sabrina said.

“I don’t care Sabrina, you saved my life this is the very least I can do for you and your sister.”

“Not to complain but how exactly did you know where to find us?” Marry asked suspiciously.

“It wasn’t hard to figure out that you two would go running into these woods when you escaped. Which I knew you would escape after all you are witches. The hard part was the timing I feared I would be too late in stealing this horse and finding you but I knew that I could do it. Now keep quite were making more noise than the horse’s running.”

The three of them rode on all the way until the sun started to set where they soon stopped at a small river stream. They got off the horse and started walking down the stream until they came to a small hut. “Here it is,” Thomas said, “We can hide here for a little while until things cool down and then we will move on.

Inside the hut they all rested for a moment and Thomas grabbed them some bread from the only cupboard. “It’s a little stale but it’s the best I can do for now. Anyways I’m going to see to the horse and when I return I can start us a fire.” Then Thomas left the girls alone in the hut.

As soon as he was gone Marry faced her sister and said, “How do we know we can trust him? Something about all of this seems suspicious.”

Sabrina took a bite into her bread and waited until she finished chewing it and swallowed to talk. “Sister please stop being paranoid for once in your life. You’re right maybe it was convenient Thomas found us in those woods on that trail, or maybe it was destiny.”

Marry glared at her sister for being so optimistic then turned away from her and started eating her bread. The bread was much staler then Thomas had said but that first bite reminder her of how hungry she was and she quickly finished it.

After sitting around in silence for several minutes Sabrina and Marry began to grow worried. “He should be back by now what’s taking him?” Sabrina asked.

“Maybe he got lost on his way back to town to sell us out.” Marry mocked.

Sabrina raised her hand to slap her sister when Thomas burst through the door. Frantically he said, “Sabrina, Marry you have to get out it’s a-”

Thomas’s words were cut short by a steel blade that pierced his chest. Sabrina screamed as Thomas fell to his knees and four men armed with swords and crossbows came in. “Governor!?” Sabrina said through her muffled tears. “Why? Why did you kill your own son!?”

“Regrettably,” The governor said. “Because he is in line of abetting and aiding a witch. Crimes punishable by death, no matter who they are.”

“Sabrina, Marry, I’m so sorry for all of this.” Thomas said. “If you never saved me with your magic all that time ago Sabrina, then neither of you would be in this mess. It’s all my fault.”

Sabrina fell to her knees and grabbed Thomas hand gently spilling her magic into him to make his last moments painless. She talked softly to him until the governor said, “Enough of this!” Then he stabbed Sabrina through the chest as well and she fell to her side still holding her lovers hand and gazing into his eyes.

Marry shrieked and raised her hands as lightning crackled about them. The soldiers didn’t hesitate they fired there crossbows into Marry’s torso. Marry stayed on her feet but her head hung down and she slouched a little. The governor turned around to leave until a powerful gust of wind slammed the door shut in front of him.

Marry started laughing maniacally. She raised her head and spoke as blood poured out her mouth. “I am going to take you four down to the deepest pit of hell with me!! I hear Satan has a soft spot for witches perhaps he will allow me to personally tournament you all for eternity.”

Then without moving a muscle Merry summoned up flames to engulf the entire hut and the screams of all the men filled her ears as they burned. The smoke killed them first though and Merry fell to her back starring up at the ceiling as the roof started caving in. She used the last of her energy to blow open a hole in the roof so she could see the moon one last time before she died.

*

“What do you mean our souls are bound to the mansion?” Ethan asked.

“I mean were trapped in this realm until our contracts are destroyed.” Marry said. “Like a purgatory prison almost.”

“What do you mean like a prison we’re free to come and go as we please from here.”

“Yes you can step outside the mansion anytime you wish, but have you ever noticed how it is always following you? Every time you turn your back there it is. You know I tried hopping on my broomstick flying up into the stars and away from this planet and the mansion… I wound up right back where I started in no more than a day. No matter what direction I went I was led back here to earth heading back towards the mansion.”

“So we can’t travel to space, not like most of us were able to do that while alive anyways. And besides here we can go see the world whenever we want.”

“Yes but that’s all you can do is see it, you cannot interact with it; not without consequences at least.”

“Consequences like what?”

“If you interact with the living world too much then the reapers will hunt you down and execute you, and when a reaper kills you; you die forever.”

“Wait who are the reapers? I have never heard of them before.” Picario said.

“The reapers are like the Caretakers personal hunting force. They’re consisted of the strongest most skilled Phantoms. Little else is known about them though.”

“So then is that all these reapers do all day and night is hunt down other phantoms who make contact with the living directly?”

Not exactly, their main objective is to hunt down malevolent spirits around the world that try harming other normal spirits. They attack whoever they come across and I fear maybe another thing that can kill you aside from the reapers. That I know of after you have made the contract with caretaker and bound your soul here, whenever you die outside the mansion you wake up back here in your room. The exception being a reaper or one of those spirits kills you.”

“Wait me and Ethan were attacked by this strange dog sized monster with red eyes. Is that one of those malevolent spirits you were talking about?” Picario asked.

“That was just a minor one of them yes. Trust me, spend a few years killing them and they will stop coming and instead much bigger and more powerful ones will target you.”

“Alight fine, let’s say some of the stuff you’re saying is true Marry.” Ethan said. “But how are we to trust the rest of it is not a lie? Or how are we to know you’re not misinformed.”

“Because I have been around for centuries and have no real reason to lie. You can ask around from the older phantoms about that contract, most of them know of it as well. And if you want to test out my space trip for yourself then I can lend you one of my brooms so you can see I’m not lying about that.

Anyways I will be on floor ninety-nine room twelve if you want to continue talking.”

Then Marry turned around and left the room, leaving Ethan and Picario alone to think about everything she told them.

Ethan didn’t wait long until he went around talking to the few people he knew asking about the contract. Kelly had no idea about it so she told Ethan she would ask around for him and get back to him later. Next he went to the other shop owners he had personally met with; which was only a couple.

Tilly was too busy to talk about it and Samuel wasn’t anywhere to be found at the time. Reluctantly Ethan had to go back to his room and wait for Kelly to get back to him.

Picario was no where to be found when he returned so he pulled out one of his books and started reading it. He got several chapters further into the book when a knocking sound echoed in the room again. Ethan quickly put the bookmark in the book then closed it and rushed towards the door.

When he opened the door Ethan saw a Yellow colored Ethereal like creature on the other side. Its body took no real shape but only that of an almost see through light glowing spirit. The creature held out a piece of paper for Ethan to take.

After Ethan took the paper the creature rushed down the hall and was out of sight in the blink of an eye. Ethan looked at the paper and saw it was folded in half and was thicker than the paper he was used to. On the front of the note was Kelly’s signature.

Ethan shut the door then unfolded the note and read it to himself. It read: Ethan, according to those I’ve talked to through what they heard from others there is a max points list which has the option to, “Terminate your contract and set your soul free” I hope this information is what you were looking for.

Ethan folded up the note and put it in his pocket. For the most part everything Marry had told him was true. He went down to the waterfall rinsed himself off in it then changed his clothes and left the room.

Floor 99 was by far the most beautiful and luxurious floor in the entire mansion. To Ethan it was impossible to describe, and he tried not to spend much time in the lobby. He started to move on when a voice coming from behind him said, “Lovely isn’t it? Almost like a slice of heaven.”

Ethan turned around to see the man with a purple tailored suit, grey hair, and deep blue eyes. Ethan went to say something but was at a loss for words.

“I’m sorry I startled you. Am I keeping you from something? If so I would hate to be a bother.”

The man’s cool charisma helped Ethan find himself as he said, “No, nothing of major importance. You’re that guy from the swamp right?”

The man grinned and said, “Please call me Leo. And yes unfortunate those were the circumstances we first met but I am indeed that man.”

Ethan held out his hand and said, “Ethan, but uh you already knew that didn’t you?”

Leo took Ethan’s hand with a firm grasp and shook it then said, “Yes I did but it’s nice to be formally introduced. I find introductions are the fastest way to learn the most about another person, wouldn’t you?”

Ethan shrugged then said, “I suppose. Anyways I’m sorry to ask such a strange question but you look like someone with a lot of answers. I heard from a friend that our souls are bound here and the only way to release them is by earning up enough points and buying our freedom.”

Leo said nothing right away and instead put his arm out gesturing towards one of the many beautiful couches in the lobby. Ethan took a seat on one and immediately started sinking in as he was enveloped in soft cushion that seemed to fill his entire body. The sensation was so weird that Ethan stood right back up so fast thinking he was sinking into the couch but found out he had not gone into it all.

Leo took a seat across from Ethan relaxed into the couch and waited for Ethan to do the same. Ethan copied Leo’s example and though he felt like he was being sucked into the couch for a moment after he relaxed it was nothing but pure comfort.

“In answer to your question, yes once we enter into just one of the mansions many events we bind our souls to it until we can pay for our freedom. Although that may sound scary at first the real fear is what is after our time here?

Are we all sent to the river Styx , do the best of us go to heaven, or is it nothing but eternal darkness ahead. So many people see the glass as half empty but I like to see it as half full. But here at this mansion our cups shall never empty. Do you understand what I am saying?”

“Not entirely, no.”

Leo smiled his wolfish smile again then stood up and said. “Give it time my boy; I’m sure you will understand it all. Now then I have something I must take care of but if you have any other questions or anything at all really my room is the 3 rd one on this floor and you may come visit me whenever.”

Then Leo walked over to Ethan, pulled out a purple key with a skeleton design on it and handed it to him. “My room is your room, young Alaster.”

Ethan took the key and Leo vanished in puff of thin purple smoke. He looked at the key then buried it in his pocket as he stood up. He walked to the corridor with the rooms and turned down the second hall.

He stopped at the room with the number 12 engraved on it and knocked. Just a few seconds later Marry opened the door and invited him in. Inside the first room was an enormous 19 th century style living room, complete with furniture, stands, and a fireplace; the place looked very eloquent and had a good atmosphere to it.

When Ethan was all the way inside Marry shut the door and asked, “Is Picario not joining?”

“I couldn’t find him.” Ethan said without turning around.

“Alright well have a seat if you like, I need to grab something really quick though.” Marry said while she walked off into another room.

After a couple minutes of waiting Ethan decided to take a seat. The chairs weren’t nearly as comfortable or relaxing as the ones in the lobby but they were still very nice.

When Marry returned she was holding something in her hand. She walked up to Ethan and handed him two dragon shaped silver pins the size of his palm. “They’re clothing transformation pins, when you think about an outfit that you own while touching the pin it will instantaneously change your clothes into that outfit.

It’s a thank you gift for you and Picario for helping me in the caves. I never said thank you and I sort of got them right after leaving your place.”

Ethan starred at the pins a little longer then put them into his pocket and said, “Thanks I shall pass the message along to Picario along with your gratitude. Anyways my friends tell me that you’re right about our souls being bound here but there’s nothing I can really do or anything more that I know about it so why did you tell me?”

Marry took a seat in the chair across from Ethan and said, “I don’t really know actually. I guess when you and Picario started storming off I panicked because I wanted to talk more. In truth I convinced myself it was because I needed more answers from you but you already told me all you know.

Even now I’m still sort of panicking, and I don’t know what to say to keep you here longer.”

“Okay, how about explain to me why it’s so important that I stay here?”

Marry kept starring down at the floor while she talked. “What’s the real reason you helped me back in the caverns?”

Ethan’s attitude grew frustrated as he said, “I already told you, our goals were aligned that’s it.” Then Ethan stood up and started walking towards the door.

Marry stoop up too and said hastily, “Ethan wait, you’re the only guest I ever had please don’t go…”

Ethan stopped right in front of the door. He sighed then reluctantly turned back around and sat down again. Marry smiled and sat down to.

“The truth is in all my centuries I have been here, no one has ever helped me; in any way. So when you and you’re friend went way out of your way to try and rescue me, it made me wonder what the real purpose of it was. So I used what few contacts I have to find out who you are and when I found out about your last name it made me even more suspicious as to why you helped me.”

Ethan leaned forward and said, “Marry, I’m going to let you in on something. I know absolutely nothing about anyone else in my family except for my mother and my father. And what I know about my father is a lot less then what apparently everyone else knows. So how about this, I’ll stay if you tell me about my family, and why are they so infamous.”

Marry nodded her head then asked, “Would you like something to drink? This could be a long story.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

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