previous: Isekai ch13
“Mirapo!” My eyes shot open to the sight of a familiar round portal mirror.
‘Oh, crap.’ I felt a pang of guilt, but this was immediately followed by anger. ‘Where the fuck were you?’
The purple trim seemed to shimmer from an unseen light source. Like the idiot man-child I am, I reached out to touch it. I immediately flinched in pain. ‘Nope, it’s on fire.’
The creepy humanoid eyes glared at me, gazing straight through to my soul.
‘Hey man, (or Yo-kai) I kind of miss your derpy eyes.’ The cartoonish look gave the appearance of the creature being a friend. Was that a dream? Or was this a different Mirapo? Or maybe I just fucked up that badly and my spirit guide was about to show me the consequences of my actions.
I could feel a soft suction force coming through the mirror’s surface. ‘What the Hell? Are you trying to show me something?’ I lifted my hand, searching for the center. The soft tactical sensation was kind of enjoyable. ‘I know you’re not trying to kidnap me.’
At first, messing around with the forcefield was not unlike playing with a small, hand-held, vacuum. I reached one finger and easily pulled back. Satisfied and a little cocky, I tried it with my entire hand. Perhaps I was drunk or high but something made me want to tempt fate. ‘Could I reach through completely? What was even back there?’
The eyes squinted, shifting to an expression of anger. Instead of reciting its name again, like a certain mentally ill videogame character, it sent an electric shock up my arm. I attempted to pull back, but my arm felt like it was stuck in thick mud. This was followed by a stronger suction force. It actually wanted to take me. ‘I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to insult you or any of your fictional friends.’
The rush of air seemed to be focused only on me, as the rest of the room (including Jay) was left undisturbed. Apparently, I was leaving and I had no choice in the matter. ‘Why couldn’t you have done this sooner?’
“Mir. A. Po.”
I could only assume that translated to something along the lines of, ‘I thought you had the intellect and maturity to make the correct choices.’
“You can just fuck off,” I muttered. It probably didn’t even understand English, much less profanity. Soon the suction became uncomfortable, but just as quickly, it reached a plateau. Try as it might, the creature was not strong enough to force me to take part in its plan. We were now two arm wrestlers in a stalemate.
“I refused to leave unless I know where I’m going.” I gave my arm a hard yank. I was still stuck, but I could fight him all night if necessary. (Or I could try to wake up Jay. The dragon king would know what to do.)
Mirapo sighed, causing a ripple to form on the surface. Soon I could make out an actual destination. This was a start, at least.
“And why should I go there?” I could see what looked like a dark bedroom, but that assessment came only from the fact there was a plain white bed in the middle of the room. This wasn’t a bedroom; this was a hospital, or perhaps a lab.
On the bed was a body covered in thin blankets. The reclined figure was surrounded by wires, and machines connected to various devices (most of which I could not make out through the small view.)
Was that Leah? Was someone putting her back together like a twisted take on the children’s song about a broken egg? ‘All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.’ Or could they?
A male figure entered the frame. It was, of course, Dr. Tomas. Oddly, instead of turning on the lights, he turned on a flashlight, examining the various machines before turning his attention to Leah herself. Standing over Leah’s body, he appeared to be monitoring her vitals. He was making use of tech that seemed abnormally modern. My mind raced with questions. ‘Did he make those? Where they always available to him?’ And, somehow, the creepiest of all. ‘Was he putting my sister back together with robotics?’ There was only one way to find out. And part of me really, REALLY wanted to find out.
I looked back at Jay. The dragon king was sleeping peacefully, but was that good or bad? Would it look like I abandoned him again? And how pissed off would Becca be? Would she take out her anger on her father? ‘No, that wasn’t the Becca I knew.’
Did I love Jay more than I wanted to know about Leah? ‘I could always come back.’ I nodded, replying to my own statement. I could always come back: I would come back.
I stepped through the portal, gently, like a normal person, but the moment it took hold of my leg, I found myself dragged like a ragdoll.
I was flung against a wall, landing hard on my back. I groaned in pain. ‘Very funny, Mirapo.’ Suddenly the lights went on, and then quickly cut off.
For a brief moment I saw Dr. Tomas. he put a finger to his lips, and slipped out the door. I moved towards the nearest wall, pressing my back against the cold stone surface. This was twofold; I needed to catch my breath, but I also needed to blend into the shadows.
After what felt like eternity, Dr. Tomas quietly slipped back in the room, closing the door with the softest touch humanly possible. “Well, that’s done. Hopefully there will be no further interruptions tonight.” After taking a calming breath he turned to me. “It takes great courage to believe in the power of medical science. I lost my own father to illness. unfortunately, it was long after I left home to pursue my own dreams.”
I nodded, unable to force my legs to work. “Does the king know you’re doing this?”
“Your father only requested that I try to save her life.”
That made sense. “Did he say anything about me?”
There was a long pause before he replied. “Not really.” The doctor turned around, unable to meet my gaze. “Not anything of note.”
“Not anything you’re willing to tell me?”
Tomas chuckled to himself. “Dear Marcus, you are far too bright of a child.”
I felt feeling return to my legs. “Maybe that’s because I’m not a child.” I stood up, with an intent and desire to view his work. However, the idea of seeing Leah’s remains made me want to puke.
I slowly turned to face the bed. Her face was covered in a white cloth. The fabric was thin, allowing me a very filtered view of her features. She looked like a sculpture. I moved my hand over her mouth; my goal was to check for breath. There was little motion, until she randomly coughed. I jumped back, gripping the wall to avoid falling on my ass.
Tomas smirked. He pulled a recliner out of a nearby closet. This was a plush brown chair, similar to something sold in department stores back on Earth. He settled in, sitting comfortably before reclining his chair.
“Can I ask you something?” This was a question I needed answered. “Are you from Earth?”
“What is Earth?”
“It’s where I come from.”
“I believe I’ve heard of that,” Tomas said as he rested his eyes. “It’s a place with advanced technology but lacking in faith and magic.”
“Do you put faith and magic on the same …” the word was not coming to me. ‘Category? Likelihood?’ Unsure of what I was trying to say, I went with the first word that came to mine. “Plate?”
Tomas sat up, now fully awake. He cupped his hand over his mouth to silence his laughter but it was of no use. He was laughing so hard he had to stand up and catch his breath. “Marcus, please, kindly repeat your question.”
“Do you equate faith with magic?”
“Magic is a noun, much like science,” he explained. “Although I do not doubt that legitimacy of God’s power, I personally am of the belief that God does not give us the cheat codes, nor should we expect them to.”
“Them?” I had never heard someone refer to a gender-neutral God.
“Have you met God?”
“I know him as our heavenly father.”
Tomas seemed to find my reaction humorous. He stood up, and walked over to a drawer, producing a pair of clean blue arm-length gloves. “Let me show you the progress I’ve made.”
I noticed he didn’t offer me gloves. To me, this meant I was supposed to cross my arms and watch from a safe distance. “I’m ready.”
Tomas started by removing the main blanket, revealing Leah’s body from her neck down. Her upper torso had been almost completely rebuilt. Her chest resembled metal armor; a series of tiles placed in layers to allow for movement. “Is she breathing?” Or was this just a science-based trick?
“Actually yes,” Tomas replied. To prove his point, he pressed his hand to a silver panel on her collarbone. This caused a ripple effect down her chest.
My body jumped back in terror. Leah’s chest had been moving ever so slightly, like a coma patient. On Earth, this would be the sort of situation where the friends and family would be considering ending the patient’s life. Instead, Dr. Tomas had just sent a jolt through my sister’s body, causing her to move like a robotic soldier (or maybe a captured zombie) just waiting to spring up and attack.
“As you can see, I’ve reconstructed her musculature. I started with her bones, reenforcing the structure while also adding additional parts to enforce flexibility.”
“You reconstructed her bones?” What else had he replace? How much of Leah was still human?
“I redesigned her bones,” he clarified. Tomas moved his hand down her arm, to her wrist. This seemed to calm her. “The base skeleton needed to be formed from an alloy strong enough to hold up the artificial flesh and skin.”
“Can she walk?” That felt like a stupid question. She had been in his care for less than a full day. That was what I assumed, anyway. As Jay said, time was a massive ocean of spiderwebs. So, I was safe to assume
“Not yet. I’ve been working towards getting her to sit up on her own, but in order to do that she will need to gain strength.”
That made sense with the timeline. ‘No, it didn’t.’ This all seemed like a great deal of progress for a doctor living in a realm run by magic. I need to know about his supplies and equipment. “Where did your gear come from? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“Much of my equipment was leftover from before I was sentenced to prison.”
“My father saved your lab after banishing you?”
“The way your sister Noelle tells it…”
“It was her who volunteered to seal way this section of the castle. She put up walls, both physical and paranormal to keep your father out. It seems to work well, but only as long as there is relative silence.”
“Meaning no random traitors landing in the middle of the night.”
“I would never call you a traitor.”
“Thanks, that means a lot. (I guess.)” I suddenly realized Tomas said something about paranormal magic. “Was this the bed my mother died in?”
I tried to pull up the memories shared from King Vladimir. ‘Was this the same bedroom? Maybe.’ The moment was too difficult to remember in great detail.
“The walls have been repainted; coated in a material that allowed for more of a sterile workplace. It was a kind gesture. Even if Leah had not suffered such a fate, this would have been my personal space to use as a medical ward.”
“So, the king painted the walls and brought all your stuff out of storage?” For whatever reason I pictured the royal wizard king doing all of this with the use of his army of ice-water spirits.
“It was an afternoon task we conquered together. I suppose that was Vladimir’s way of apologizing for all the time we’d lost.”
“Are you really a couple?” If they were actually in love, then I had no issue with him taking his place by my father’s side.
“Is that truly what you wish to talk about?”
It was one of many things. “Do you even want to sit on the throne of the Nordic nation?”
Tomas seemed mildly annoyed at the accusation. “I will gladly accept a role as an aid to either your father or your sisters.” He started to walk towards a cabinet secured to the far wall. “Or perhaps even yourself.”
“What does that mean?”
“You are in line for the throne.”
“Oh.” I had not thought about that. ‘Oh, fuck.’ I felt a shiver down my spine. If I managed to kill all of my sisters and my father, I would have the crystal castle all to myself. Now it (sort of) appeared like I purposefully tried to kill Leah. ‘Did I?’ Was there a sick depraved part of me who wanted to rule this place? ‘No, that was stupid. I’m just a kid.’ I nervously clasped my hands, pinching my fingers to hide my unease.
Tomas appeared by my side, offering me a flashlight of my own. “Would you like to see her face?” He scanned the light over my jaw, looking over my surgical scars. “The person who worked on your face seems to have done a good job. I can’t say that my work will compare well to this level of detail, but please keep in mind this is a work in progress.”
“Ok, sure.” I wasn’t completely certain I wanted him to reveal Leah’s face. “Is she conscious?” Could she see me? Maybe she could talk. Maybe she’d just lay there like a corpse. ‘Why the hell was I so afraid?’ I needed to see for myself.
“She is not fully conscious at the moment.” Tomas, holding a flashlight in one hand, slowly removed the covering from Leah’s face. He readjusted the light, creating a pen-like effect. (I really wished he hadn’t done that.) “As you can see here, I made use of the remining bone of her skull, and upper jaw.”
“I can see that.” Her mouth, lips and lower-jaw were made from metallic prostatic components, but I could still see the stitches that connected to the remaining fleshy pieces. Her throat, eyes, nose and hair were all human. (Actually, I was just assuming her eyes were real. Since they were closed, I had no way of knowing for sure.) “Can she see?”
Tomas looked at me. He removed his glove, patting my back with a look of pity. There was a moment of awkward silence. “Oh, wait you were serious?”
For a moment, my throat was too frozen to form words. I moved my flashlight to Leah’s face. What I assumed were eyelashes were in fact, not. ‘Why did I think those were eyelashes?’ The dark lines were extra-long, like insect legs, covering what looked like eyelids. ‘Yes, those are eyelids.’ They were far too empty. “You had to remove her eyes?”
“If it’s any consolation, this part had nothing to do with your reconstruction surgery.”
“Are you certain? I did shoot myself in the head.”
“Actually, come to think about it, there is a possibility your surgeon harvested some of the nerve tissue to rebuild the neurological connections.”
“What did you do with her eyes?”
“I kept as much as I could,” he explained. Tomas looked towards a different cabinet. “She has no optical function at this time.”
“You have her eyes in a separate location.” I bit my lip, nodding my head. “I think I need to sit down.” I needed to breathe, but no air would come.
I sat on Tomas’s chair, leaning back, but that only made it worse. Instead, I leaned forward. My lungs calmed but my stomach felt like someone just pulled a rope around my intestines. “I think I need to vomit.”
Tomas moved what looked like a wicker basket under my face. He massaged my back, up my neck to my scalp. “It’s alright. Everything will be alright.”
I vomited. The basket would have helped, if my discharge wasn’t mostly water. The noise it made was rather distinct. And although the sound was no where near as loud as when I crashed landed via the Mirapo, this brought about much more attention.
I could hear the footsteps of multiple heavily armored people. ‘Shit!’
My father banged on the door. “Who is in there with you? It’s the boy, isn’t it!” his voice trembled. “I see him in my dreams, I hear his voice in my head! I demand you surrender the demon!” He did not sound sane.
‘Demon? Wow.’ I guess it’s official, King Vladimir hates me.’
Tomas placed a finger to his lips. “Hide in the shadows, only after I close the door. Understand?”
I nodded. It wasn’t like I had much of a choice. I watched as Tomas slipped out the door. He walked with confidence, speaking to the King (and whoever else was out there) with the jovial kindness of a school teacher.
I made my way off the chair, crawling silently to the farthest corner of the room. ‘Mirapo, if you’re still here, this would be a great time to make yourself useful.’ No such luck.
Although I couldn’t make out their conversation, I felt it was going well. Tomas spoke calmly, with sweet, sensual kindness. My father sent away his men, offering to speak one-on-one. That was when the door opened and Tomas escorted Vladimir inside.
I pulled my knees to my chest, making myself as hidden as was possible with my tall frame. The room was dark, but I could still make out figures, which meant it was logical to assume Vladimir could as well.
“Let me show you the progress I’ve made,” Tomas spoke for a while, making sure to keep the king’s attention.
Vladimir was still visibly upset but his anger was beginning to quell. He held Leah’s hand. “I apologize for my unreasonable outburst. It’s just difficult to believe this is the work of any merciful God.”
“God only asks us for faith, not answers.” Tomas cupped my father’s face. “Val, my dearest friend, will you allow me to guide us in prayer?”
“Yes, I’d like that.”
The two men leaned in close, pressing their foreheads together until they became a single shadow. “Dear, kind merciful creator, we ask you to watch over us in this time of sorrow. Please allow us to live united as family, allies, friends and,” his words were cut off by a kiss.
‘Are you kidding me?’ I closed my eyes, slowing my breathing. Was there even a place for them to have sex on that side of the room?
I could hear the sounds of metal clanging, mixed with subtle gasps and moans. Somehow, they were making out against one of the supply cabinets.
Clothing fell to the floor; shirts, belts, jewelry and chains. I knew Tomas was not wearing much metal, so I assumed it was my father who was getting undressed.
I made a conscious choice to close my eyes, allowing the two men a moment of privacy. Something rolled down the shelf, bouncing across the floor before landing next to my hand. The item was warm and wet. I was tempted to knock it away, but that would likely cause a chain reaction resulting in me getting sent back to the prison dimension. In an act of desperation, I wrapped the small item in my hand, allowing it to caress my palm. ‘This is metal, or plastic, covered in saline or maybe some kind of mucus.’ I knew full well what it was and it made me want to empty my stomach all over again. After staying nervously quiet for as long as I could, I heard the distinct sound of footsteps. This was followed by the door creaking open again.
“Sleep well my love,” said Tomas in his sweet sensual voice. He escorted my father out the door, walking for a while down the hallway, before returning. Tomas stretched his back, rolling his neck as he secured the door using a doorstop.
“Doesn’t the door have a lock?” I asked in a whisper.
Tomas, again held a finger to his lips. “Too loud.”
“Sorry.” I lifted my hand. “I found this.” It was an eyeball, perfectly preserved with nerves and veins still attached. Was it Leah’s eye? I didn’t want to know.
“Thank you,” Tomas said, walking the eye back to a container that had fallen to the floor.
“Is that an eye?” I asked, getting to my feet.
“Yes.” Tomas calmly picked up the container, refilling the liquid before replacing the single body part in its medically sterile home.
“Is it Leah’s eye?”
“Do you not know the color of your sister’s eyes?”
I paused, unsure of her eyeball’s retina color. “Blue?”
Tomas chuckled, continuing his work without answering my question. “I hope you know you can trust me.”
“I do.” I moved back to the chair, making myself comfortable. Until I could find a way out of here, I had no choice. “Do you know what’s coming?”
Tomas closed the cabinet, making his way towards me. “Not for certain but I do have a guess.” He motioned his hand, expecting me to make room for him on the chair.
I got up, allowing him to sit first. “How mentally unstable is King Vladimir?”
Tomas reached for my hand, guiding me closer. “Marcus, you and I are on the same wavelength.”
I took a moment to evaluate the situation. Tomas was being gentle, kind, and for that I (had to be) grateful. “What do you know about Queen Emma Rose Amanar?”
“The devil you know, beats the devil you don’t.” he spread his legs, like a sexy mall Santa Claus.
I was tempted, but the feeling was split between my own bisexuality and an intense desire to hurt King Vladimir. “Can you please give me a real answer?” I needed a reason to want to stay.
Tomas sighed. “In all honesty?’
“I think you are the one to watch for.” Tomas pulled me on to his lap. He moved my long legs to fit around him. We slipped together like puzzle pieces. “When you rise to power,” he said as he pulled me close for a kiss. “And you will rise to power. I want my place to be by your side.”
My mouth hung open in shock. Was that truly his endgame? Where did my sisters fit in to his master plan? The fear was real. “What do you know of Javaon Lorri?”
“You mean Jay?”
“Are you serious?”
“A beautiful man with the eyes of a dragon and the soul of a beast,” he said with a smile. “Yes, we’ve met.”
“He’s been around for a long time,” Tomas explained. His warm hands caressed my ribs, down my tight, slender abs. “The honorable Lord Javaon is the kind of person I aspire to become.”
“Ok.” That actually made an odd level of sense. Jay was regal, spiritual and he had been around long enough to live a thousand lifetimes. Could I be with Tomas and imagine Jay? Or was it past time to try to make my escape? I leaned in close, looking Tomas in the eyes. “I trust you.”
Tomas parted his lips, forming a sweet smile. “It is my hope,” he whispered as he kissed my lips, down my jaw. “You will come to find that is a wise decision.” To his credit, he didn’t try to undress me, only to hold me in a way that felt like love.
next: Isekai ch15