17.2: New Day, Same Guilt

We had already reached the Timorba City checkpoint, and I fell into awe again. Solana had to shake me out of it.

“Don’t ignore me! I’m not done with you yet.”

“Sorry,” I sulked. The weight of the guilt forced my neck to tilt downwards.

“Stop that. You’re guilty; that much is obvious. If you weren’t, I’d have left you with him, and made sure the Master wouldn’t open the doors to you again. I just need you to realize that your thoughtlessness will have consequences, like right now. Do you understand me?”

I sighed, “Yes.”

“And remember this: if someone else is hurt because of you, I will not hesitate to kill you. I mean it. I’ve seen too many Guardians fall to their instincts, and I won’t let it happen again. Mark me as a rogue, kick me out of the Order, I don’t care. As long as everyone is safe, I’ll be happy. Got it?”

As much as I wanted to press her, I kept my mouth shut. Solana was not in the mood to entertain my curiosity.


A white light shone through the elliptical window of my room, passing through my closed eyelids. Last Duscan I slept worse than any day I had spent in Old Tenebris. I tossed and turned relentlessly until the Excitus, when the light crisped my eyes and I could rise.

My breakfast was slim, and I kept quite the distance from Keith, Solana, and Melodie. None of them necessarily antagonized me, but I imagined that to some extent, Solana was disappointed.

Would she care so much if I wasn’t a White? Would anyone care as much? The Master’s elated grin still burned into my head; his excitement when he shook my hand and watched the soft white radiate from it. I remembered Solana’s eyes sparkle when I picked her up from the ground. She was just as awestruck as I was when I saw the castle for the first time.

Solana slid over towards me, placing her hand on the table before me, “Elijah, how are you feeling?”

I struggled to crack a smile, “Better, but I’m still a bit stirred up.”

Keith propelled himself beside me, “Come on Elijah, don’t be so hard on yourself. When you’re done training with Solana, you’ll never have to worry about letting your emotions get out of hand.”

“I know, but…”

“But nothing,” Solana grinned supportively. It was as if she changed completely since last Duscan, “Now come on, I want to get some training in before we have to see Melodie off. So if you’re gonna break multiple vertebrae at once, do it now, because Celeste isn’t a healer. The best she can do is a broken finger.”

“Only a fracture, actually,” Melodie added. “She was never a good healer, but her Essence Burst is the strongest in the Order.”

“She nearly forced me to get plastic surgery,” Keith rubbed his nose, reminding himself of the pain.

“Knowing the Master, he’ll want the best mentors for you, Elijah,” Solana said. “You better stay on her good side.”

I gulped. After seeing Solana’s aggressive side, there was no way I could stomach anything worse.

The End

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