Frugality must have ran in the family. Why else would my parents choose to stay at the Dianoche? It was by far the cheapest motel in Timorba, and it was where I planned to rest when I traveled. And for many reasons, I could see why it was as inexpensive as it was.
When Solana and I arrived, the motel was practically falling apart. Above our heads was a flashing neon Vacancy sign. Windows were nearly shattered, with holes the size of softballs. Holes in the outer walls revealed the sheet rock inside. Nests of roaches congregated within some of the beds. If I actually came to check in here, I would have went home immediately.
“Your parents stayed here?” Solana raised an eyebrow. “Weren’t they Guardians? Why didn’t they just rest at the castle?”
“I didn’t even know they were Guardians until the Master confirmed it yesterday. Something doesn’t add up. Maybe I did it wrong?”
“No, you definitely did it right. Come on, there has to be something that could lead us to your parents. Maybe the manager keeps records of the people who rented rooms.”
“Ok, let’s go to the front desk then.”
The lobby was across the parking lot. It was just as run-down as the rest of the motel, with holes in the walls, busted window blinds, and papers thrown about the front desk.
However, the manager was missing. How would I have checked in if the manager wasn’t there (not that I would want to sleep with cockroaches). There was a door behind the counter, with a window to see between the rooms.
“Lights are off back there,” I pointed out.
“Hello? Hello!?” Solana called, but no one answered.
Impatient, Solana began thumbing through the papers on the counter.
“What are you doing?” I snatched a paper that she picked up, “What if the manager comes back?”
“There’s no one here, Elijah. The back room is empty, and have you seen anyone in the rooms? This place is abandoned,” she explained.
Come to think of it, how could anyone be staying in this dump? But my tour guide said it was still open. I pulled it out, and skimmed it for an answer. I checked the year in the back, which was three years ago.
“Oh,” I felt like an idiot.
“So are you going to help me look or no?”
I picked up a few papers and flipped through them. Each of them was a list of occupants who checked in. When I figured that out, I quickly searched for either of my parents’ names, Eve or Samuel Oliveira.
But there were so many papers, and so little time. Then the possibility dawned on me that they may have never checked in at all. How would I know?
I turned to Solana for guidance, “Would I be able to search the rooms with Essence? If they were here, would they leave something behind?”
She thought for a moment, “It’s a stretch, but if they were here recently, or if their Essence is strong enough, they would leave a trace of Essence behind. But you still haven’t learned how to do that yet.”
“Then now is a better time than any. Just tell me what to do.”
Solana nodded carefully, “Come outside with me.”