The City of Magic - Chapter 11

The Guardian

pen the door or we’ll have to break in!” a voice commanded.

Faith went and opened it as Piety led me inside. We entered the kitchen and she pulled out a big slab of tile. We could hear Faith arguing with the officers while they questioned him. “Your papers are forged,” they said. “Don’t you understand that the man who sold you the papers at Avaritia is one of us? Arrest him and search the house!” the chief officer cried. Piety quickly pulled me signaling me to get into the pit. I felt confused and hesitated. She placed Inno into my arms and said “Remain here until all is fine!” She then placed a purse in my hand and quickly closed the slab. Immediately, I heard the sounds of footsteps above. There was the sound of shackles and shackling. “What wrong have we done?” I heard Piety say. I sensed Inno about to cry and I closed her mouth. Tears dropped from my eyes.

“There has been a lot of trouble in the City and conspirators at bay; we’re arresting you under suspicion of being one of them.”

“But, how can you say that?”

“Your papers are forged and we’ve received information that you recently shifted to this house. But, no more questions, lady. Officers, take her!”

We heard the steps recede. I could feel the warm tears drop from Inno’s eyes onto my fingers. It felt as if an arrow had struck my entrails. But, silence is often salvation. The doors closed and then we heard nothing anymore.

I gently pushed against the tile and put Inno up on the floor; then, jumped up, took her in arms and rushed out. The street was crowded now with people and cars and vans, and I knew not which direction to go. “Where is Mommy?” Inno began to weep. “Don’t cry, my child, we’re going there,” I said and began to walk in the dimly lit sideway. I saw a few people who were gazing at us cry out “See, he’s one of those enemies of freedom, catch him!” They began running towards us. I began to run with Inno in my arms. She cried. Then, suddenly a car jumped in front of me from the road onto the sidewalk. The man inside was intending to block my path and slow me down. But, I pulled the door, jumped in, kicked him out, and pulled back the car out of the sideway, closing the door. Inno became silent as I quickly pulled the seatbelt around her. Then, I jumped to speed and accelerated like lightning. I drove through while were police sirens kept buzzing and intensifying everywhere. They followed me from the right and the left, joining the ranks of cars, as I evaded advancing vehicles and police cars, pushing velocity as I drove like mad. Suddenly, I began hearing the sounds of gunshots in the air. Suddenly two heavy trucks cut in from the right road ahead of me and stood parallel to each other blocking the way. I screeched to a halt close to the trucks and my car turned round and stopped. The police cars all came around me and surrounded me. Around a dozen officers got down and advanced towards me with their guns and batons. I kicked the accelerator, and my car roared and charged at the vehicles in front of me; there was a collision and a car blew around as I evaded another and invaded the gap. Now, there were shots being fired at my car as it galloped through the streets spitting heat and fire. There were police cars charging at me from the front. But, I bolted through them before their bullets met the air. The signals all turned red and the sirens intensified. Then, I noticed that all the roads were blocked, and I reached a place where there was a large palatial building with the gates thrown open. I turned into it and brought the car to a screeching halt; then, jumped out of the car with Inno in my arms and ran into the building and was stopped by the guards.

“Keep your hands off them!” I heard a voice say. In front of me, there stood a tall lady in a deep red gown with fiery red eyes and a raised brow. The police cars stopped outside and I heard steps behind me come and stop.

She looked at us and then said, “Follow me!” Four officers came and stood beside us. I looked at Inno and saw fear in her eyes. I tried to smile pretending that it is all fine and part of some game. We followed her into a large hall where there was a throne on which she went and sat.

“You can go away!” she said to the officers. They moved out.

I saw that above her throne was the roaring face of a lion. Also, two lions stood on the two sides of the throne.

“Do you know where you are?” she asked.

“It is the Court of Ira,” I answered.

“Yes, it is; the place where traitors meet their fate. How interesting to see the rat escape into its own death cage!” She remarked without any smile. “Who is that girl?”

I clutched Inno tightly as she turned away her face and wrapping her arms around me with her chin on my shoulder. I kept silent. Ira rose up from her throne, pulled out a sword, advanced at me and placed the tip of the blade close to the child.

“She is the daughter of Piety and Faith who were arrested a few moments ago,” I said.

Ira removed the blade. She was tall but of the same height with me. Hatred and despisal were written on her face. My mind knew that her quickness of temper made her the sole arbitrator over final matters and things were quickly decided and done here.

“Officers!” she cried as two policemen rushed in, “Take the girl away to Luxuria, where she’ll learn the arts to serve our Queen best.”

“You can’t do that!” I cried.

“I can do everything,” she affirmed as the policemen came and snatched Inno away from me. She struggled and cried. I felt powerless.

“Take him away as well and subject him to bonded labor till the Conspiracy is broken. Let’s see if Law can come for their rescue,” she sneered.

They cuffed my hands behind and led me through one door, while they took Inno away through another as she struggled and cried. I saw no hope amidst the multitudes of guards, the mindless wrath of Ira, and damnation ahead. They took me to a police van, and an officer shouted, “To Superbia into the Camp!” The van coughed and paced off as four cars followed us from behind. It sped through two turns and entered the main way dividing the Market and Ira. Then, it roared and devoured the road like a hurricane as people and cars whizzed past. I marveled at the pace here; but, they all looked tensed, desirous of doing things fast. People jumped off even on the sidewalks when they saw our van closing in. The loud sound of the siren and the roar of the engine cleared the way. I heard one officer smugly comment, “No one stands when the emissaries of Ira take the road.” Suddenly, the van horned loud and the breaks screeched as I slid forwards. I saw from the front glass that there were big cans ranked in the middle of the road blocking all traffic. The officers in the other cars got down to investigate. I slid the pendant around my wrist into the locks and unshackled myself; at that very instant, something banged against our van and it whirled around. Then, the door slid open and a hand pulled me out of the van and then inside a car; the next instant, the car sniffed smoke, bolted backwards, then bulleted through the crowd. I looked back and the police cars all confused looked like miniatures in the far distance. The car fired, shook, dodged, horned, and shot like flashes of lightning through the streets; then, I realized that I was afraid.

In a flip of moment, we were parked before a huge monument. I looked at the man who drove, and he turned to me. “Don’t fear,” he said. I was sent for your rescue.” He wore a black suit over a white collar and his eyes blazed with pure crystal fire.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“My name is Guardian.”

I felt a hand on my shoulders and looked back. It was Inno, and she was smiling. My eyes were filled with tears.