| Chapter twenty-three -- Finale |
With their stuff packed in their bags, the three students and their new ally ran back down the hallway. They stopped in front of the main door and called out for their chameleon friend, expecting him to still be camouflaged.
"Roc? Are you still hidden? You can come out now, we got your stuff." Roya called out. However, the chameleon didn't reply as he was no longer there. Damian had taken him away, but they obviously didn't know that.
"This is a problem" Oliver said, "because he's obviously taken by Damian. Now we've gotta go look for him." Roya, Layne and the cheetah nodded in agreement, before Layne said "I've got an idea where they might've gone."
Following the arctic fox, everyone left through the main door and went to the building where Roc and Roya had been locked up earlier. As they reached the door, Layne went to grab it but hesitated for a second. He turned around and addressed Roya.
"Wait, you've been conditioned, I think?" He asked. Roya frowned, unsure of what the arctic fox meant by that. "As soon as you're gonna walk in here, you're probably gonna drop into his trance. With the stage thing." Layne explained. Roya nodded. " ahh, yeah. I have." The fox replied.
"I'm gonna have to take care of that first, otherwise that might backfire on us. I hope you don't mind." The arctic fox said, as he reached in his pocket and pulled out a small pendant. He wrapped the chain around his right arm and swung it in front of Roya's face. Oliver looked at the arctic fox. "What is it with you guys and always carrying pendulums?" The goat asked. Layne didn't even look at his friend. "A true hypnotist always comes prepared." He said, as he brought Roya down into trance. It didn't take long for the fox to sink, as his mind had by now gotten used to dropping easily.
"Good boy, so eager to drop into hypnosis. However, I want you to fully ignore all suggestions and conditioning that has been given to you for the next thirty minutes. Are you okay with that?" Layne asked the zonked fox, who absent-mindedly nodded. "Good." Layne said, sharply snapping his fingers in front of his face. "Now we're ready."
The building was completely silent except for the sound of the three students and Layne walking through the halls. They'd left their stuff at the door and traversed the hallway. Eventually, they reached the end of the corridor, where previously the old grandfathers' clock had been and where Roya found Roc that one night. Not knowing where to go, Oliver suggested splitting up, but Roya didn't agree. "You've clearly never seen a horror movie, where the protagonists always split up and die to the monster." The fox said. The four quickly debated what to do, until Layne proposed a coinflip. If heads, all four would go up the stairs and later go down to the basement. If tails, they'd split up. Layne and Oliver would go upstairs, Roya and the cheetah would go down.
Everyone agreed to the flip, so Layne reached into his wallet and pulled out a coin. The arctic fox threw up the coin. It momentarily hung suspended mid-air, light reflecting off of it as it spinned, before he caught the coin. He revealed the result by removing his hands, showing that the coin had landed on tails -- and so the four split up. Oliver and Layne teamed up and walked up the stairwell, Roya and the cheetah walked down.
"We've never really formally introduced ourselves, have we?" The cheetah asked. Roya shook his head. "Not really, no. I'm Roya." He replied.
"Cool, nice to meet you Roya. I'm Seville." The cheetah said. "Cool." Roya answered.
An awkward silence lingered and the two got to the bottom level. Roya realized he was at the jail cells where he and Roc had been kept captive. "This might be where they keep him." Roya told Seville, looking through all the windows to see if he could catch a glimpse of Roc, to no avail.
"It doesn't look like he's here." Roya said. He turned around to go back upstairs to meet up with Oliver and Layne, however he immediately realized Seville was missing. Frantically he looked around to see if he could find his schoolmate, however she was nowhere to be found.
"Seville? This isn't funny, especially not in this situation. Where are you?" The fox called out, frustrated at the sudden disappearance. No reply. "Fuck."
Frantically, the fox ran back down the corridor, reaching the stairway. No trace of the cheetah there either. However, he did hear some distant noise up the stairs. So naturally, the fox decided to go up the stairs to figure out what the noise was and meet up with his friends, to tell them what had happened to Seville.
As he got up the stairs, the sound started to become more clear. It was Layne calling out for the fox. "Roya, Seville, can you hear me?" Layne called out repeatedly. "Layne, it's me! Roya!" he replied as he ran up the stairs. Eventually, he saw the fox standing at the same location as the old grandfathers clock had. "What's up? And where's Oliver?" Roya asked.
"Where's Seville?" Layne asked in response. "Disappeared, no clue where she could've gone." Roya replied. He knew that she wasn't in the jail cells, else she would've heard one of those doors close. Layne looked at the fox in disbelief. "Oliver disappeared too, just like Seville... Super weird." Roya stared back at the arctic fox. "But you must've seen Seville walk through here.. right?" The fox asked. Layne frowned at the accusation. "No, but I did find what you were looking for. I've got it right here." Layne said, as he reached over his shoulder and revealed a medium-sized velvet bag.
Roya froze in place as Layne revealed a dark-red metronome, steadily ticking at roughly thirty beats per minute. Immediately, the fox felt his focus magnetize to the ticking sounds and the swaying arm. "Come on, did you really think I'd let you get away so easily? Master would never allow that to happen." The arctic fox spoke, holding the metronome in front of the fox. Roya's attention was fully taken by the metronome, barely hearing what Layne was saying. The arctic fox slowly pulled the metronome down to the ground and put it down, and Roya attentively sunk to his knees to keep staring at the metronome.
"You should've known better." Layne said. Behind him from down the hallway, Damian appeared. The wolf looked rather pleased as he watched down upon Roya.
"Good job Layne, you've done well as expected." Damian said, giving the arctic fox a pat on the shoulder. The wolf then faced Roya, who had been completely turned into a blank hypnotized subject again. Damian kneeled and shook his head at the sight of Roya. "So rebellious, so naïve. For no reason whatsoever, because we both know that you want to join me. You wouldn't have been this susceptible otherwise." The wolf whispered. As he finished his sentence, his two followers appeared from different floors of the stairway. The horse, Jamal, was carrying Oliver in his arms. The goat was deeply asleep, as evidenced by his regular deep breathing. Meanwhile, Malai was walking with Seville by her side. Seville's eyes were blank and she had an empty smile on her face -- clearly entranced by one thing or another. Damian smiled. "Looks like we're all complete. Layne, please carry Roya." He said, snapping his fingers at the fox who instantly fell into deep slumber.
With the wolf in front and Malai, Layne and Jamal following closely behind -- each of them carrying one of the students, they made their way to the giant wooden door where Damian had been when Roc saved his fox friend. Damian opened the door for his three followers, who entered the room and placing the three sleeping students on the floor. "Good. You're all dismissed, thanks for your help." Damian said, gesturing them to leave. They all nodded and left the room, with Layne closing the door behind him.
Damian proceeded to handcuff the three students, making sure they couldn't do anything to harm the wolf. He walked over to the corner and opened a closet door, revealing Roc inside. The chameleon was too sleeping deeply, having been overpowered by the wolf when he tried to make him trip. He carried Roc over to his friends and placed him next to Roya, before turning around and grabbing a remote control similar to the one his father used in the dining hall. He pressed a button and a giant spiral appeared on the wall projected behind him.
"Wake up!" The wolf said, snapping loudly in his fingers. The four students jolted awake at the sound and immediately looked at eachother frantically.
"Roc!" Roya exclaimed with joy, seeing his chameleon friend being safe and sound. "Oh my god Roya, I completely failed to stop him." Roc replied. Roya shook his head. "It's OK, Roc. I don't blame you."
Damian chuckled. "So cute. So dumb. So loyal. The three of you could've fled from the school easily, but you just had to come and heroically rescue your friend. It's cute, but you're loyal to the wrong person. Maybe I can convince you to change your mind, be loyal to me instead." The wolf grinned, walking behind the four students. One by one, he turned the students' head towards the spiral projected on the wall.
"I know that it's difficult to make big changes in life. Sometimes anxiety can get the most of you. But I know that you want to join me. You've enjoyed our hypnotic adventure way too much -- sexually and non-sexually. We both know that. So join me. Join us at cloudy waters mansion. I'm sure you'll find I can be very... persuasive." The wolf grinned, staring at the four students mesmerized by the spiral.
As Roya and Roc stared at the spiral, they both felt their heartrate drop. Roya's mouth was hanging open slightly, his jaw muscles completely relaxed. However, for the first time in trance, a light smile appeared on his face. It wasn't prompted or suggested either. It was his very own unprompted smile.
Roya fidgeted with a pen as he stared at his phone. The clock had just passed twelve. On the screen, a new message appeared. It was sent by Roc.
"Hey Roya, at what time do your classes end? Mine's finished at around two." The chameleon had sent.
Roya smiled looking at the message. It wasn't often that both he and Roc had a gap between lessons, so he already knew they'd be able to meet up.
"I'm done at around half past three, so there should be some time for us to meet between dinner and our lessons ending. I've learned a few new tricks from Layne since our last session, so look forward to that ;)" The fox replied. He pressed send and within a few seconds a reply appeared.
"@w@ good." The chameleon sent. Roya chuckled and put down his phone. He took a deep breath and stretched his arms. He sat down at his desk, staring at a few loose papers. Most of them were filled with notes and lines about his new script. The fox had worked on a new play for most of the past year, but was struggling to find inspiration for the next act. As he read over the first few pages for what must've been the hundredth time, he heard the sound of a door opening behind him.
Roya turned around and looked at who was standing in the doorway. A husky looked right back him. The dog wasn't much younger than Roya, two years at most. The husky walked inside and made his way over to Roya to shake his paws.
"Ah, you must be Jordyn. Welcome to the unlocking room. Please, sit down on the mattress."
The husky sat down and anxiously wiggled a bit in place.
"Relax, don't worry." Roya said. "I can see you're nervous, but there's no need for that. What have your friends told you about this class so far?" Roya asked.
The husky stayed silent, looking for words. "Nothing much." he replied. "Most of them seem to come out more relaxed than usual but that's about it."
The fox smiled. "My name is Roya. Nice meeting you. I'm going to be your guide with unlocking your inner talent - which should explain the name of this class, unlocking. There's a few students who really enjoy this class whereas a few don't, which is fine. I just hope you can come in here with a clear and empty mind."
The husky nodded his head and his posture relaxed a bit. Roya leaned towards his desk, grabbed the metronome which had been standing there and put it down in front of the dog. "I want you to focus all your attention on this metronome, okay? Take a deep breath in and watch it sway its' arm from the left side to the right side. Just listen to what I say whilst focusing on the slow ticking, and try to sync your breathing with the metronome - in and out." Roya began.
The husky followed Roya's instructions closely, following the metronome's sway. Soon, the dog's eyelids started growing heavy and soon they shut completely.
"Good boy, relaxing so deeply now. Feel your body sink down into the mattress as you drift into trance. Imagine your mind transporting to a place where you feel completely safe. Could you describe where you are to me?" Roya asked.
As the husky replied, Roya reached for his notebook which he'd placed just a few inches away from the mattress. He opened the notebook and flipped through the pages. Eventually, he reached a page filled with names. Most of them had been striped through already. He searched a bit further and eventually spotted the husky's name.
Roya smiled, as he guided the husky further into trance. "Very good, now breathe out with the metronome letting go of your inner tension. Feel it flow out of your mind as you let go of that breath, sinking deeper down every time I snap my fingers."
The fox snapped his fingers, which was the final tipping point for the husky who fell down on the mattress in deep hypnotic sleep. As the husky drifted in trance, Roya immediately noticed the dog's dick forming a bulge below his pants. The fox smiled, circling the husky's name in his notebook. He reached for his phone and opened his text app. Roya scrolled through the names until he finally found Damian.
"I think I found one."