This was a secluded room. Fire torches were inserted on the walls for the purpose of illumination, taking the place of the usual magic-lit bulbs. Twelve adults were watching over the man sitting on the chair in the center of the room. It was Glenn. He had just woken up from a faint and had no idea what was going on.
Glenn’s attempt to rise up was foiled, as were his efforts to reach his hands towards his Ashen Mask on the table in front of him. Everything around him seemed peculiar–the six men looking at him in studying manners, the torches and whatever was restraining his freedom to move. And there was a new crystal ball lying beside his Mask.
“Save your strength! You’re being enclosed by the Star of David. Now be attentive and got ready to answer our questions,” a man from the pack of serious-looking adults uttered.
Glenn’s hands trembled, and in a low and humble voice, he asked, “What’s this place, please? And who are you?”
“It’s sorcerers you are looking at! This is the inquiry room for interrogating bad sorcerers. You’re lucky to have this,” that man returned.
“Uh…” Glenn murmured.
“Who’s your mentor?” A curt inquiry was the man’s response. It was said in an unemotional way.
“No mentor. I don’t have one.” Being asked to confess something that was not the truth, especially by a sorcerer, Glenn couldn’t even put the words together.
“No mentor?!” Another sorcerer took a big step towards Glenn and barked.
A chill went through Glenn’s veins.
“Real–ly not–” Glenn had been thrown into the verge of a breakdown. He tried to recede but couldn’t since he was still confined.
“Sources in Black Isotta tell me that no mentor has kept him as a student.”
Glenn had not expected that someone would put in good words for him; he raised him head, intending to have a quick glance at the helper.
‘No way–! The black cat? The cat that guards the fancy microscope I bought from Varo’s mentor?! What’s a cat doing here?’ Glenn wondered in his head. The next moment, he lowered his head again, still thinking about it.
“Sources? What sources? Aren’t you trifling with sorcerers’ wisdom? Without a sorcerer, please tell me the slightest possible way that a student can get so advanced a Magical Tool!” The sorcerer who had made the first inquiry seemed to have been infuriated, and he slapped his hand on Glenn’s Mask, which then vibrated and rung.
It was the Ashen Mask that the sorcerer was referring to by saying “so advanced a Magical Tool”.
Meanwhile, something in the crystal ball moved.
The cat stopped talking.
“I bought it in the Black Tower; It was from a sorcerer who lives in that Tower.”
“I don’t know his name.”
“Yeah, a he.”
“How did you have that much money to buy this mask?”
“I–I just have it. I–” In a climate that intense, Glenn could barely recall how he made his fortune.
“Your mentor gave it to you, isn’t it?”
“Please–Give me a break!”
“No matter who your mentor is, you won’t come out of this intact. A mentor will be held accountable for breaking the rules. He or she is not allowed to give students such a high-class Magical Tool or so many magic stones,” the sorcerer threatened, ignoring Glenn’s pleas. “Now a leniency will be considered if you tell us everything.”
Glenn stood there, like a petrified man. He couldn’t think of anything to reply and to justify himself.
“You know, if you continue to ignore our kind suggestions, you will be treated with the Soul Search.”
“Soul Search?” Glenn did not have the slightest idea of what that represented, but he still shuddered.
The Soul Search was an examination of one’s soul. The main part of the search was targeted on the subject’s memory. The search taker would undergo extreme pain and might die from it.
The sorcerer stuck out his hand, and rotated it before Glenn’s face, saying, “Now is the last chance to salvage yourself, state who your mentor is!”
“Take it easy, Inextinguishable Flame. We understand your loss and we’re sorry for it, but he’s just a boy. Let’s cut him some slack,” another sorcerer, on whose shoulder that cat was perched on, cut in.
Things started become clear in Glenn’s head after he caught the word “loss”.
Days prior to the interrogation, when Glenn was rescued by the three Desperaters from the Black Isotta, he allied with them in concerted efforts against the Daughter of Sun, after Bionna’s waterspout proved to be ineffective against the Daughter’s Flame.
The source of Inextinguishable Flame’s hostility stemmed from the humiliating failure of Daughter of Sun in the test. She was one of his favored students, and Glenn played the biggest part in her downfall. The three Desperaters avoided being thrown off the track in chasing her thanks to Glenn, who echo-located her real time coordinates. In the decisive battle, Glenn detonated the Bead that he had obtained in the second mirror site. The Daughter of Sun was pushed to the ground by the formidable force the bead created and surrendered under their siege. Thus, the great daughter, who was universally expected to be the one winning the biggest award, was kicked out of the game.
“No slack is saved for a liar!” the Flame thundered.
Glenn had recovered his reason as well as his confidence.
“I created the Love Vial. I cooked it. That’s why I have the money!”
“The Love Vial?! This boy concocted that magical liquid? That’s unbelievable!” The sorcerers in the interrogation room buzzed.
“And it was Dickens. Dickens sold them for me in the Black Tower.” Glenn became excited as if he had been saved from hell. “And we signed the Seven Ring Contract of Partnership!”
The evidence was ironclad!
In about an hour, the twelve sorcerers came back with three new face–Dickens, Kyrie and Daughter of Sun.
The Contract was presented, and Dickens testified for Glenn. The Flame couldn’t do anything but release him. Before Glenn went, he had to be recorded for everything related to the making of the Love Vial. So Glenn briefed all he had experienced, from how he got the Olfactory book back in Bi Seer City, how he was inspired by the sorcerer’s quote “with my knowledge, give me a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world!”, and how he borrowed the microscope, among other incredible adventures.
The Daughter of Sun listened with keen interest. Her hatred against Glenn somehow subsided and was then replaced by admiration. She felt for Glenn’s unfavorable conditions–how he had to live with as an orphan, how he had made it to the school and how he had stuck to his own way of learning. She thought she had fallen in love with Glenn in these ten minutes.
The sorcerers left, and all of Glenn’s belongings were given back to him, including his new crystal ball.
Footnotes: Star of David is a six-pointed figure consisting of two interlaced equilateral triangles, used as a Jewish and Israeli symbol.