Who was I kidding? Of course I regret it. I should be at home in Old Tenebris with Wyatt and his grandmother. I should be going to school, and stop chasing the delusion that my parents will return. It’s been ten years. If they were going to come back, they would have already.
I had a chance to walk away, to return to the family that actually cared for me. But instead, I chose to search for the one that abandoned me all those years ago.
Knock. “Elijah? Come on, we have training to do,” Keith’s voice permeated through the door.
I guess there was no turning back now.
“I’ll be right out!” I shouted past the door while stuffing everything into my bag. I pushed the letter into my pocket and opened my door for Keith.
“There you are. I said five minutes, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, sorry about that. I just wanted to write a letter to Wyatt.”
“Oh. I was wondering what kept you so long.” He looked down at the piece of paper bulging out of my pocket. “Did you want to send that right now? I can take you to the mail room before we head to the tent. Sound good?”
I hesitated, staring at the letter in my pocket. As I drifted into space, I replied, “Lead the way.”
Keith led me down another series of convoluted hallways until we approached a small wooden door. Funny, I always thought extravagance was a necessity in the castle. But here I was, standing in front of a door as spare as Old Tenebris.
“After you,” Keith gestured toward the knob. It screeched as I turned it. Scared that I would break the door, I flinched backwards.
Keith broke into laughter, “Nothing to worry about, Elijah. We’ve been meaning to replace that door for a while!” He leaned against the wall, unable to control his laugh, “I’ll open it, just give me a second.”
After a few moments, Keith stopped and grabbed the knob. The shrill sound of rust was even louder this time, and it took Keith quite a bit of force to open the door.
The mail room was about the size of two bedrooms, with brass boxes lining the walls. The floorboards creaked with every step, and a modest breeze slid between the cracks in the walls.
“Each Guardian has a box, but since yours isn’t set up, we’ll just wait for one of the couriers to pass by.”
“How long will that take?” I wondered.
Keith did not answer, and instead held his arm out from his side. “Just give it a minute.”
I raised an eyebrow, but Keith only replied with a smile. “Wait for it.”
A few seconds passed until a rush of warm air whirred past my face. I tried to concentrate on wherever the gust came from, but it disappeared in a fraction of a second. My reflexes had improved, but they are not as strong as Keith or Solana’s.
Keith braced himself as something crashed into his arm. A man, just a few years older than me, tumbled to the ground and held his chest out in pain.
“Ow! Keith, what the hell?” he coughed up his words. “I could’ve broken your arm if I was running at top speed! And what’s worse, you could’ve knocked the air out of lungs! I thought you Oranges were supposed to be the smartest in the castle!?”
“Sorry Moisés. Just needed a letter sent out ASAP,” Keith struggled to hold in laughter.
“You have a mailbox for a reason, Keith!” Moisés shouted.
“It’s not for me. It’s for my friend here. He’s a new recruit, so he doesn’t have a mailbox set up yet. So, the only way was to have a courier personally retrieve his letter and send it out. And you just so happen to be the lucky go-between, Moisés.”
“Why didn’t you just toss his letter into your mailbox then?”
“Because now I get to show my buddy here how this place operates. Thanks for helping me out,” Keith gave Moisés a playful grin.