Solana slid through the tent first, followed by Celeste, who crept slowly between the slit. I remained exactly as I was when she left, breathing deeply and heavily. I tried my best to maintain my composure, but the fear lingered within me.
“You know I’m not much of a healer,” Celeste approached.
“Celeste, please,” Solana begged. You’re the only Green in the castle. You’re the only one with the ability to heal. Trust me, if I had any other choice, you wouldn’t be here right now.”
Celeste hesitated, then crouched down in front of me. Her face was stern, but also distant. There was a slight quiver in her eyes whenever mine made contact, forcing her to stare off to the side. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
“We were trying to teach me to practice channeling my Essence. I closed my eyes and suddenly, I thought I was...dying. I couldn’t breathe; I couldn’t move. We started panicking, and then Solana shook me a bit, and now I feel...better.”
Celeste turned to Solana, who responded with a nod. “Put your hands out,” she told me.
I turned my palms over and laid them in front of me. Celeste placed hers in mine and squeezed tightly. She closed her eyes and exhaled.
Essence poured out of our hands. The combination of emerald and alabaster auras formed a soft jade. It resonated for a few moments, then receded.
“Nothing seems to be wrong.”
That was a relief.
“Can you dig deeper?” Solana asked.
“I can try. It’s taking a lot for me to get as close to his heart as I did.”
“Do you think you can get to the center?” I asked, unsure of how her Essence worked.
“That would really be pushing it. Not only would that hurt me, but you might be affected, too.”
“Please, I need to be able to channel my Essence so I can find my parents. I don’t care what happens to me. All I ask is that you can get to the center without too much difficulty.”
Celeste’s eyes trembled as she tried to make eye contact, “Are you sure about this?”
“Please,” I urged.
“Okay,” she closed her eyes again. This time, she scrunched them shut and tightened her grasp on my hands. Essence soared out of her hands, unlike any other Guardian I had seen before. The light emitting from her fingers was enough to completely overpower mine. All that could be seen was a dazzling malachite aurora. It filled the training tent with its warmth, leaving me stunned.
I stared at Celeste’s hands, amazed by her incredible ability to channel Essence. However, her fingers shivered, as if she stood out in the cold for too long. How could she be cold when her Essence was so intense? I glanced back at her face, and I realized why she was shuddering.
She was not cold; she was crying.