To See The Truth, Part 2: The Missing Link
rating: +15+x

You lowered yourself to the ground, wrapped your arms around your legs, and began to cry. You felt confused and disoriented; as you tried to find darkness, light, anything, you cried harder at the failure to do so. Your eyes widened as much as they could in an attempt to spot anything within the nothingness, so much so that they burned. Where… where am I? You asked yourself. Why aren't I home? Why is- why is this happening to me?

Why me?

"Hey," Someone, shaking you. They sounded as if they were out of breath, like they had been running for a while. You stood up quickly and yelped as you swatted their hands away.

"Get- get away from me!" You cried out helplessly. As you tried to move away, you tripped on a book. However, you managed to catch yourself by grabbing onto the smooth bookshelf beside you.

Your eyes widened at the touch; you ran your hand all over it and felt the paper-thin tablets that filled the shelf. A pit forms in your stomach at the realization that you were still in the bookshop. "Wh- what? How? How am I still here?" Your head started to feel fuzzy… for a moment, you could hear the birds chirp again.

"The act is near to finish," She said. She sounded young and feminine- 15, 16 perhaps? Besides her voice and your shaky breath, you heard quiet, yet quick footsteps traveling around the bookshop. You felt something press against your face and a ribbon tighten around your head. Instinctively, you touched it - they had placed a mask of sorts. The fabric was rough and thick, with pressed designs all around it. "We must make haste."

"Wh-what? Who are you? Are you part of the M.E.G.?"

"These questions of yours will override the script. Too many and soon they will take our spots on the stage. Hush if you wish it not to be so."

"They'? Who's 'they'?"

"I didn't know we still had a skit to perform!" Another voice spoke cheerily. You breathed unsteadily, unsure whether to run or stay in your place. If you kept to where you were, what would happen? Are they dangerous? But then… there were other people here… what if… they were the danger?

"Phoebe! Did you find the book?" The first one asked.

"Ah, the misfortune—I have not. To be fair—looking around in this bookshop—is a pain in the ass," Phoebe replied, letting out a little scoff.

"Fine. I suppose, then… another route must be taken." You heard them open a bag - a backpack, you supposed - and they took something out.

As much as I like music, dear Maiden, I find it difficult to see how your silly book will help us.

My book is far from silly, Madame Phoebe. Now, are the others nearby?"

Just then, you heard two more people run into the area. They huffed as Phoebe and the other hushed them.

Huff… huff… weeds- weeds… in… in D.D.S…” A male voice cried, stammering their way through the sentence. “Pet… Petrovic’s new minions. Looks like Tristan’s gotten more side characters for this twisted play..”

Tristan Petrovic. You felt your pulse rise. He got some people to save you. Well, of course, he did, you thought. As the one who sent you here in the first place, you figured he must have sent some people to retrieve you. Yet here you were, with strangers you couldn’t even fight against.

Fuck.

Where’s Lucy, James?” Amanda asked and zipped up her bag. You gripped onto the unusually smooth shelf behind you as fear crawled up your legs and made you shiver.

"Right here, mademoiselle," A voice behind you gleefully whispers. "But as much as I'd love to sit and chat, we can't really afford to stay here. We need an out. Now."

You heard someone - James, perhaps - walk closer to you. “You bringing them?

We have to, the Madam insists on her retrieval.” Phoebe responded.

The Madam. Where have you heard this before?

"Besides, I wouldn't want to leave this fine mademoiselle behind!" Lucien's voice took an almost flirty tone. You took a step away from his direction, before promptly being pulled away to another. You shoved away the slight frustration of not being able to move away from them.

A slight scoff left Phoebe. “Flirting with someone we met for exactly a minute and a half, eh? Must really be desperate.

"Oh, don't be so jealous." Lucien chuckled. You hear tapping. "There's enough of me for everybody!"

Don’t worry, Arquette. I’ll get jealous when this mask leaves my face.

"Ugh, so boring…" Ze replied, zir voice drenched in sarcasm and a french accent. You feel zir lean into you, whispered, and made you shiver in slight fear. “Mon Ami's a bitch sometimes, don’t mind her. Makes me wonder what dear old Rafael sees in her.”

Do y’all mind focusing? The weeds’ll be here soon.” Amanda stated and opened what sounded like a book as she flipped through the pages.

"Yes, yes, we know, gotta leave. You have a plan?" James asked, stuttering. “Particularly in regards to escaping and uh. Not books?

Actually. The book is the escape.

Right. Because that was exactly how things worked whenever you held a book at this hell of a level. How would that even work? They were far more insane than you thought.

No. No, don’t tell me-” Phoebe began as she laughed in between words. “Your little music box book is the escape? That’s- that’s crazy, Wright, because the only way that’s gonna work is if that was… No. You jest."

…Yes, Miss Phoebe. It is Madame Blanche’s. Well- technically it’s mine- but that’s beside the point-

"What're we waiting for, then?” Lucien interrupted as you heard him take the book from Amanda’s hands and go through it. “We don't really have the time to carefully leaf through it and give it a nice read over tea, you know? The curtains are about to fall, and we haven't left the stage yet."

Aren’t ya gonna explain how the hell you had one of these and why you didn’t tell us?” Phoebe asked.

There’s no time. We need to leave, now.

In the far distance, perhaps at the entrance of the bookshop, you heard 3 men shouting. “Stop looking at those damn books and focus!” One of them said. “You know what Petrovic ordered. Find the station and bring it down; get rid of anyone in the way.

"You could leave me here," you finally manage to say, struggling to find a spot where a Maiden wouldn't be behind you. You fumble with the ribbon that held your mask up, trying to pull the knot out. "I won't say—I won't say anything, I promise, just please—please let me leave."

You felt two small hands hold your arms. Their fingers shook a little—in annoyance or fear? You couldn't tell.

"Look," Amanda spoke quietly and lightly squeezed your arms. "I understand your fear. I was there too. But please give us a chance. You'll understand everything, in due time. Besides… we won't let you leave anyway."

A disappointment to not leave, indeed. But everything will be revealed soon.

Before you could say much more, you felt two people—James and Lucien, you assumed—link arms with you. “Everyone’s out, right? And everything else we need?” James spoke quietly as the 3 drew closer.

"I think so. Hoping this other library is a tad better." Lucien chuckled. "Maybe I'll end up reading something, who knows?"

Not to worry then, boys,” Amanda said confidently. “This might be the best one you’ll come to.” With the quiet sound of a finger moving across paper, you felt the world around you begin to spin. And with a swift reaction to keep yourself from falling, despite your better judgment, you pulled the others closer to you and braced for the spinning to stop.

“The owner makes some hella fine tea, too.”



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