---[Hair black with a healthy gloss. Notable eye color black. Skin pigmentation light but not pale. Biological age approximately sixteen summers. Sodium and phosphate levels normal and consistent with Forneas's observed data of the food he consumed. Cholesterol and glucose levels within an acceptable range. No obvious allergies. Light tests proved no sensitivity negating the Night Vamprous genus.]]
A manly and stoic voice delivered a prognosis. Was I caught in another juxtapositioner's lair?
His words were clearly expressed; they didn't appear to be of a third person narrative.
I realised I was conscious, but my eyes were closed, and I was lying incapacitated. The surface beneath me was solid and cool to the touch.
"Further blood tests detected an intriguing amount of elevated testosterone and epinephrine. On the other hand, his mana levels were too low for magical abilities." The clinical voice rambled on.
"Your conclusion." I recognized Leinard's voice.
The clinical voice sighed. "I envisioned the worst that would've befallen our Captain is sexual exhaustion. Apart from an overexcited libido triggered on a whim, the boy's readings concluded a perfectly healthy and normal human."
I heard a frustrated sigh released from Leinard before he raised a question on why demons called skrit were going to such lengths to capture me when I wasn't anything exceptional.
The skrits's attempts had seen to the injuries or deaths of eight of his squads so far with the remaining able body knights fighting for their lives to hold back an onslaught occurring across the entire landscape of Hell's Labyrinth.
My heart picked up in beat when I learned of the high damage and loss of life among the human prisoners. I gathered an impression that the statistics were not a normal pattern.
"If the boy is common, as you say, why smuggle him into Apocalypse and place him in Hell's Labyrinth without—" Leinard's voice paused.
His breath burned against my cheek. The sensation was replaced with a stinging slap.
"Argh!" I yelped.
"How long have you been listening?"
My eyes met Leinard's, which were filled with rage. I felt a lie to his question would put me into a coma.
"Since the start of your recipe list for a devilishly handsome guy." I spat out. "Your analysis was kind of off. I'm eighteen."
I gradually sat up and was introduced to the voice behind the clinical recipe list.
Dr Samuel Abe Mercer of the EKO Medical Unit was a wiry man in a white overcoat. His features were gaunt and close to being skeletal. A black eye-patch covered his right eye, but it couldn't hide the deep scaring around his brow bone and upper cheekbone. His free eye carried a bizarre tint of red that accentuated the morose tone of his pale skin and small ears.
"Oh, and he's aesthetically pleasing to the eye," Samuel added to his diagnosis.
I glanced around the room I was contained within.
Glass cabinets (storing rows of labelled vials) were lined up against one wall.
Opposite to where I sat stood tall benches supporting strange bronze and bulky apparatuses.
Free-standing lamps burned in the corners; their white light focused on the metal slab that I rested on.
The walls that I could make out were a sterile gray and unadorned.
From my memories of books, I had seen, I deduced I was in something of a medical examination room. I braced myself for further interrogation.
"I'm very excited to come across a living creature other than demons and humans." Samuel's eyes brightened and turned toward one of the benches.
I felt nervous by the sight of his glistening red eye and decided to see what had excited him. Blood rushed to my head and went cold against my chest when I saw Small Cap unconscious on a metal tray on the bench.
His legs were stretched out and clamped down by tiny pincers connected to the arm of an apparatus, and a set of small knives (I recognize as tools called scalpels) were laid out next to him.
"Whaddahell are you gonna do to him?!" I shouted angrily.
I stumbled towards Small Cap to free him from the pincers, and was able to free his legs, but my arms were forced backwards and held captive by Leinard when I went to scoop him up.
"Small Cap - wake up!" I shouted desperately to jostle the spider out of his unconscious state.
My heart picked up in beat when his legs twitched to life. I heard his voice groan inside my head.
_"Free-nd? Wher..."_ His voice trailed off when he saw the terrifying form of a man looming over him.
"Amazing!" The mad doctor squealed with delight as he closely examined Small Cap's return to consciousness with a scalpel posed for cutting in his trembling hands.
_"Ugh!"_ Small Cap shrieked with fright and took the mental order I gave him to run and hide.
His small body scrambled into action, running blindly across the bulky equipment to find a way off the bench. The mad doctor chased him around the bench; he was a surprisingly fast mover.
"To the left! The right!" I shouted out my assistance and attempted to bite off the hand that Leinard had cupped over my mouth to shut me up.
His other hand kept a firm grip around my arms to hold me back from going to Small Cap's aid.
I sighed with relief when Small Cap was able to leap off the bench and scurry into a tight crevice between the wall and a glass cabinet. He'd be safe for now.
"Boo." Samuel pouted, childishly, with disappointment.
He came at me with a threatening look in his eyes and the scalpel raised and ready to attack my face.
Bring it. I'll bite his nose off and smash his head with my own to ensure Small Cap's safety.
He surprised me when his mood and attitude became clinical again.
He placed the scalpel back in the pile with the others, pulled out a stool that had been hiding under the bench and took a seat. His eyes scanned my body before he spoke again.
"Doctor Mercer." Leinard prompted the man.
"Well." Samuel sighed as he stood up.
He grabbed a needle, which formed the head of a clear tube container holding strange liquid.
I yelped when he stabbed me with the needle and pushed on the tube's base, so all the liquid drained out, and into my arm. Tears welled in my eyes from the instant pain I had felt.
The needle-tube thing was pulled out of my arm and tossed aside once it was emptied.
Samuel slapped a wet patch over the puncture wound the needle had created.
"Ouch!" I involuntarily let out.
"That completes quarantine. You'll be able to move him out of the infirmary ward," he advised.
Leinard dropped his hold on my arms and faced me with a choice.
"From this point on, you are to live by one of two choices."
I felt queasy at the thought of the two choices. It was obvious I would accept choice number one since the other saw myself no different to a prisoner and with little opportunity to find my brothers.
"Fine. I am Famine from Gat Shiem and my friend, whom your kind doctor was about to cut apart, is Small Cap. We place ourselves in your care." I reintroduced myself to Leinard with a formal bow.
It seemed to earn a smile from him. Albeit for a split-second.
Upon hearing his name, I saw Small Cap emerge from the crevice. He ran up my arm and into my pocket before the men had a chance to recapture him.
"You'll obey the instructions of my captain and his squad's sergeant." Leinard's voice assumed a serious and threatening tone to his next words.
"If you so much as attempt to escape or break order within the squad, I'll not hesitate to send the spider to our kind doctor for dissection, and for you to helplessly watch as he cuts away his legs, piece by piece, alive."
I nodded with understanding and felt Small Cap's body shiver. It was clear he understood this as well.
I followed Leinard out of the examination room and into a white corridor that held signs of natural light.
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