Leon had no idea how much time had passed as he sat in his cold metal cell with the horizontal and vertically intertwined bars, though if had to guess it was still Monday. He had tried to search for something he could use as a lockpick, like some carelessly discarded wire, but his captors had left nothing that he could work with and they were watching him. As small as his arm was he couldn’t fit his elbow through the holes in the cage and though they were thin sheets of metal they were solid.
The only good news was that he had managed to work out where he was to an extent, but it would not do him much good if he was unable to escape his cell and tell anyone. He was forced to bide his time, but paid close attention to his captors when they spoke trying to learn something that may help him when he did escape. The first thing that he learned was that when Prometheus spoke everyone else listened, even if they disagreed with him they seemed to defer to him.
At first Leon was guarded by the wolf known as Lucas and the fox Freya, both of which seemed to be in differing states of mourning over the loss of a brother. The fox rocked back and forth on her feet and inspected her paws quietly without ever looking at Leon. The wolf never looked away from him though, watching him carefully and growling unhappily.
The worst part had been when Prometheus had come to replace them. He had brought Lilith with him but the two had spoken outside with Freya and Lucas for a few moments. Leon could vaguely hear some distress in Freya’s tone from outside. Prometheus was speaking in a soothing way.
“I believe their increase in security is because they know we have taken Lilith and wish to hold onto the only prize left to them.” Leon pressed himself against the bars and turned his head so he could hear better. He couldn’t hear the others but Prometheus’s deep voice reverberated enough for Leon to understand. “Fortunately they seem to have underestimated our capabilities and our intelligence. They expect a frontal assault utilizing brute force and have planted themselves in the way. Their hubris in thinking we must go through them to get our prize continues to be our greatest boon. Our target remains unguarded which means we can easily avoid having to kill any of them with one simple incendiary tactic. Their own men will evacuate the asylum to preserve lives and will be too preoccupied with all the other terrified inmates to prevent Kuga from escaping with his own strength. The madness will end soon and without any more bloodshed.”
Freya said something low that Leon couldn’t understand. Prometheus responded, “We will worry about that after we have Kuga and can hunt at our leisure. Now go get something to eat. I can only watch him a short time before I have to get ready.”
Soon after, Prometheus entered leading Lilith inside gently, her cane hitting the floor and helping her walk as she moved almost drunkenly, dazed as she following Prometheus’s orders just like the others.
Leon could not deny that all signs of her fever were gone, but what he saw in its place was much more sickening. Lilith betrayed no emotion, no sign that she was aware of where she was or who she was looking at, she might as well be one of the patrons of the Red Dragon staring at the ceiling.
Leon hadn’t been able to contain himself. He threw himself against the bars and shouted the worst curses that he could think of but Prometheus did not respond. After a few moments Leon sat back down on the floor of his cell and stared defiantly at the bear. Prometheus did not look at him as he said, “She is very happy to be among her family again. She had missed Freya and Kuga very much, isn’t that correct, Lilith?” The young lady nodded her head absently.
“Stop playin’ with her head!” Leon retorted. “This isn’t a family! You jus’ drugged them all didn’t you!”
Prometheus didn’t respond to him for a short time, but it seemed that had gotten under his skin more than the insults had. Finally he replied, “You presume too much boy. None of us had anyone when the master found us. Most of them were orphans, sick, alone,” Prometheus moved towards the cell slowly taking one step with each word. “Unwanted. Unloved. Living in squalor. Dying. Myself? I was old. Illness and loneliness were my only mistresses. I could hardly breathe when the master found me.”
Prometheus suddenly hit the cage in front of Leon making him fall back and scramble into a defensive stance. Prometheus however had not made any further move, had just watched him carefully with his large and unnaturally blue eyes. “The master took us in. He made us family. He transformed us, gave us hope, gave us life. Until Lilith ran away we had no need to ensure our loyalty in any other way.”
Leon barely heard him. He was too busy looking at the intertwined iron bars of his cell. They had buckled, bent backwards as they had snapped in half. Prometheus’s paw had been cut both going in and coming out, but the bear didn’t seem to notice as he left a sizeable hole in the cell. He ignored the crimson and turned back towards Lilith and made his voice calm again, “Lilith, answer us truly and honestly from your heart. Were we not a family before you fled? Did you not love your new sister and brothers deeply and freely?”
For a moment there was no response, but finally Lilith nodded her head in her daze.
“Then why did you run away, Lil?” Leon asked out of turn, taking advantage of the fact Prometheus had told her to answer both of them honestly. “Why did you run away!?”
As he asked Lilith turned towards Prometheus and he finally had some sign she was still in there somewhere. Her body was shaking as she looked at Prometheus with a fear that could not be completely subdued.
“That’s enough, Lilith,” Prometheus said before she could speak, though her fear only seemed more pronounced. “It was a mistake to come here so soon. We will be back when you are more adapted to your new medicine.”
She nodded absently, her body still shaking slightly as Prometheus took her hand and led her out of the room. Leon took a moment to see how far he could fit his arm and body through the new hole. He could reach the door handle but without a key he wouldn’t be able to open it and there was no way he could fit through the hole himself. Even Tepic might have gotten stuck trying to squeeze through.
Freya soon replaced Prometheus as his guard again, but this time she was alone and she looked even more confused than before. Leon wondered if he could use her doubts to his advantage, gain her trust somehow, but the fox never responded to him. No matter how he tried to begin a conversation: Jokes, stories, attempts to talk about Lilith and her family all received the same silence.