A Christmas Keyrol 5

Chapter V


“AAAAAAAAH!” A voice screamed in horror. The Keymaster awoke with a start, his entire body in fight-or-flight mode. He attempted to jump from the bed, but his movements were so erratic that he instead slammed his face into a stone wall and fell right back into the bed.

After lying there for a few minutes, The Keymaster first realized that the scream was his own, and secondly realized that he would not have been able to do everything that he just did if he was dead. He blinked several times, realizing that he was in his living quarters. He patted himself down, realizing that he was not melty. “So… those three visited me in a dream, then,” he said to himself. A moment of silence followed, before a sound shakily escaped him. “…heh.” His chest expanded, before another “heh” followed. Eventually, he broke into a fit of hearty laughter, something he had never done before. The Keymaster felt emboldened, as if he had just cheated death. “I’m alive!” he exclaimed, rising from his bed. Then, he looked around the room, contemplating.

On this morning, The Hub was bustling much more than usual. The wanderers were gathered together, talking amongst themselves, exchanging supplies with each-other.
Suddenly, the humans fell silent as they heard the sound of heavy footfalls approaching. After all this time, they could only associate that sound with one being. The Keymaster eventually came into view as he stopped before the gathered crowd of wanderers.

In a still moment of silence, The Keymaster scanned the crowd. He could not recall the last time he had been in the presence of so many people. He almost felt a sense of anxiety beginning to overcome him, but he fought it down and retained his composure. “Tell me…what day is today?” he asked softly.

Most of the people seemed too afraid to answer, before one of the wanderers spoke up. “Why, it’s Christmas day.”
“Christmas day?” The Keymaster repeated.
Many in the crowd nodded affirmatively.
The Keymaster looked down contemplatively, rubbing his hand over the part of his cloak where his chin would have been. “I know that you do not see me often, and when you do, I am not in the best temperament. So, I appreciate your patience with me…”

Many in the crowd seemed surprised to hear this coming from The Keymaster. They were not used to seeing any sympathetic or vulnerable aspect of him. However, it was what he said next that truly to shocked them.

“And to those who celebrate, I just want to wish you…” The Keymaster began, before freezing. He found it difficult to finish the sentence, for he had never given well wishes of any kind before. However, he managed to find the strength to continue. “M-merry…Christmas.” Silence followed, and although nobody could see it, The Keymaster was blushing intensely. He then turned on his heel and began walking away hastily.

The crowd suddenly cheered and broke into their merrymaking once again. The Keymaster stopped in his tracks, briefly smiling at this, before continuing to walk at a more calm pace. It may not have been much, but for now, it was a good enough start.

As The Keymaster walked, his mind kept returning to the exchange that he had with Jacob the previous day. Perhaps, The Keymaster thought, he may have treated the lad too harshly. After briefly deliberating with himself, he then resolved to finally release Jacob from captivity. It was not something he had ever done before, but as he had come to realize, there was a first time for everything.

The Keymaster opened the rift into his prison and entered it. "Hello, Jacob. I have given thought to our last interaction, and realized that you have been mistreated," he said as he walked through the realm, passing by many occupied cells. He then stopped before Jacob's cell. "Therefore, I have decided to finally grant you your freedom." He unlocked the cell and its door swung open, much to Jacob's shock.
"…really? But why?"
The Keymaster thought for a moment, before responding. "I suppose you could say that i was reminded of who I am supposed to be."

The Keymaster finally decided that he would attend the Christmas party. He rummaged for the invitation that Blanche had sent to him, and after finding it, he approached the door in The Hub which led to Level 906 and entered through it.

The party was incredibly lively, with many present — some familiar to The Keymaster and others not. Maria was staring at the presents under the tree with her goggles, which were promptly removed by The Alchemist to not ruin any surprises. Evie, Spec, Tom, Gani and The Actor were all talking and laughing by a bowl of eggnog. One of them went to refill their cup from the bowl, only to be shocked to find Kirai lurking within it. Berry and The Catmaster scurried about the library as they chased and played with each-other. The Squires had teleported into the level with their amulet, crashing onto the turkey.

The Keymaster made his way through the party towards Blanche, who looked up from the book she was reading — its title was in an unrecognizable language.
“Keymaster? Oh, how I'm glad that you've decided to come. Merry Christmas!”
The Keymaster silently approached her. “Hello, Blanche. I just wanted to thank you for
helping me last night. You have opened my mind, and perhaps even my heart.”




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