“Are you out of your mind!?” Solana raised her voice slightly, making sure Celeste could not hear us arguing.
“You gave me plenty of time to hear what Celeste was going to say!” My accusation matched her volume, “I know for sure that’s not a coincidence when you’re constantly within a ten foot radius of me.”
“Why would I let you pry in Celeste’s business?”
“Because you and her are keeping something from me.”
Solana began to laugh uncontrollably, “You really have lost your marbles. Maybe I should get you to bed. I must have given you a concussion.”
“Solana,” my tone shifted to a more assertive one, “I don’t like being lied to. You know how much finding my parents means to me. If you have any information that I don’t, you need to tell me.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Elijah!”
“But you do! I know you know something about this!”
“You’re insane! I don’t have a single clue about your parents, or whatever you heard from Celeste when you were eavesdropping.”
I scowled at Solana. The end result would be the same even if I continued arguing. She was much too obstinate to budge, to even admit that this was planned. An aching pain ignited in my heart. Not only was I being lied to, I was being withheld information that could have led me to my parents.
“Fine,” I walked past Solana, shooting her an annoyed glare.
“Where are you going!?”
“I’m not really hungry. I’m going to rest in my room. Pick me up when you’re ready to start my training again.”
Solana’s once adamant grimace relaxed itself into an uneasy frown, “Okay then.”
Before I reached the Castle door, I turned to Solana again, “You can lie to me Solana, but your Essence certainly can’t.”
Without even making eye contact with Solana, I entered the Castle and walked towards my room. Solana did not follow me. She did not try to argue more. She did not try to convince me to join her for lunch. She left me alone, something she rarely did. And I was not sure if I enjoyed the isolation, or if I yearned for her to be by my side like she always was.
Maybe I stepped out of line, again. Why did I always take it too far? I never wanted to hurt the people I care about. And yet, somehow it always ended that way. First the Sands, then that Dweller, and now—probably the worst of all—Solana.
I thought back to the Master’s words from when I first arrived at the Castle: White Essence was the color of Sibyl’s, the first Guardian. Her Essence was the rarest and most powerful of all. It was the purest of Essence, and can only be attained by purity of heart.
My heart was not pure. It wasn’t even close. The emptiness in my heart was a plague, not purity, as the Master described. How did I manifest white Essence? After all I had done, how was I still being revered by everyone?
How could my friends still smile at my selfishness?