PART THREE: THE ENTITY’S DEMANDS
Leal felt as if his head was far too heavy for his body even as he came to after being knocked out. He groaned as he gradually began to orient himself with his new hostile environment even as his mind replayed all the events leading up to his capture.
“Avery,” he pronounced trying to hold his head up but only managing to do so much under his current predicament. His daughter’s capture had been entirely his fault and it would be his shame for all time. Why had he persisted in getting the drop on what the Entity was up to by spying on his doppelganger? Had he not accomplished enough already or why had he been so greedy?
He slowly tried to raise his head again while trying to move other parts of his body but found himself unable to because he was physically restrained. Leal then became aware that he was bound, suspended in air with a trap door beneath his feet leading to an abyss stretching further than the eye could see. The trap door led somewhere the Protector was sure, was to certain death.
It appeared that escape at that moment would prove challenging but Leal was more worried about his daughter than his own safety. He searched around the dark room but realized that there was very little he could make out and Avery was still nowhere to be seen. Little did he know that she was in the room directly adjacent to his, beyond the translucent glass screen where she could see everything her father would be subjected to.
“It’s really simple, Avery. We know you have undergone torture endurance training and we now know you’ve protected your memories using powerful magical wards and the latest anti-mind hack tech but we also know how much family means to you and that you would not have us torture sweet old dad right before your eyes for no good reason so why don’t you be a good little girl and just do what we need you to do, hmm?” Rayan condescendingly spoke to Avery.
“See I’d help if I wasn’t so sure that you are going to kill us anyway,” Avery stated.
“Whoa there, Avery, no one said anything about murder. Come on now, there is only one sure way to ensure both you and daddy dearest survive this ordeal and that is to cooperate with us,”
“And I am supposed to just take your word for it? Oh please. Better hurry up and do it because there is no way I am helping you so go ahead and give us your worst,”
Rayan smiled humorlessly. “Are you sure you want to go with that? I mean, it is so senseless to torture your father to death, right?”
“My father is a Golden Elite class Protector. He can take it,” Avery stated boldly.
Rayan chuckled and then stated, “And yet he is the one who brought you right to us, Avery. Kind of a strange thing for a decorated Protector to do, right, least of all father of the year? Aren’t you the least bit curious why he betrayed you?”
“I know you did something to him and that is really the only thing I need to know. My father would not willingly put me in harm’s way much less hand me over to the enemy on his own free will,”
“Are you sure about that? I mean, do you not find it the least bit curious how your dad acquired that status in the first place? He was on a roll, wasn’t he? Almost seemed as if he was suddenly clairvoyant. Surely you aren’t naive enough to believe that it was because of his own excellent deductive skills or even his years of experience alone, right?”
“Whatever you are trying to achieve, it isn’t going to work,”
“I’ll let you know for free, Avery. Your father has been hijacking his doppelganger’s mind, practically hijacking his consciousness. You and I both know how dangerous that is but anyway, here we are because of it. I would also like to let you know that your father’s mind is under my control. I can practically turn him into a mindless zombie if I so please and given his bond to your mother, I would effectively be enslaving her as well. So, I essentially have two minds for the price of one, so to speak,” Rayan stated.
“I mean, your dad could take it but could your mom? Or can you truly tolerate watching your parents transform into the very thing you loathe so much… Would you wish to see them turn into their doppelgangers? How would you be able to live with yourself if they become agents of the Goddess of Enlightenment and you had to put them down? Do you have the mental fortitude to dispose of another set of parents, especially given how close you are to them?”
Avery remained silent completely stumped by what Rayan had stated. The truth was, she was unsure of whether she was strong enough to have to put another pair of her parents’ doppelgangers down especially given how much she loved them and embraced them as her own parents.
“Avery, no matter what happens to me, don’t give into their demands! I can- I accept my fate, no matter what that may be. Please just take care of your mom for me and tell her I love her and I am so sorry for being so- so foolish and myopic…”
“I thought- I thought that I was being heroic but it was my own cowardice that led to this, that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough but… but I see the folly of my ways now. I am so sorry I dragged you into this honey… Please, I- I am so sorry. I don’t know why but I feel as if you can hear me, darling, I love you and I am so glad I got to meet you and be your dad even for a while,” Leal loudly proclaimed from the other room.
“Aw, how touching,” Rayan sarcastically remarked.
“I’ll do it then,” Avery stated reluctantly.
“See now what was so hard about that?”
Avery rolled her eyes and was led to another room where the Entity itself was waiting. Its features stretched into a frightening smirk as it sat on a throne made of pure gold in its current host.
Avery was forced to sit in a dark witch circle drawn with chalk from the cursed black oak with dark mystic runes surrounding it. The room was crawling with the Entity’s agents, most notably, its cult leaders. She saw no discernible way out and felt disgusted for being surrounded by such powerful malevolent energy and she shut her eyes, blocking everything out and focusing on her desired object.
The Ancient Druidic Tome of Lemuria appeared instantaneously falling onto her laps.
“Ah, excellent work, Protector Alison,” the Entity stated. It sent one of its High Priestesses to retrieve the Tome and the second the Priestess touched the Book, she wailed as she instantaneously caught on fire and was soon vaporized.
The Entity stared at the volume intrigued by its power sending more of its cult leaders who all were similarly vaporized.
“It appears that the Tome only answers to its true Mistress, Protector Alison,” the Entity deduced.
“Well then, Protector Alison, I have a new task for you. Search through the Tome and obtain every morsel of knowledge about attaining godhood and all information pertaining to the destruction of godhood and transcribe it for us,” the Entity ordered.
“I will do no such thing. The fate of the world is far more important than three lives,”
“Oh come now, Protector Alison. Do you really think I shall stop at just your parents? I shall effectively destroy every single person you have ever loved including your beloved son, Blaize. Is his life really that meaningless to you that you would deny me what I seek?”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Shall Avery divulge the secrets the Tome has to offer about godhood or shall she willingly sacrifice the lives of everyone she loves? Stay tuned to find out. Links to the previous parts are listed below. Enjoy!