“Oh, hi Celeste,” I smiled softly. Solana tried to force a genuine smile, but the result was rather unauthentic. “Out of curiosity, how much of that conversation did you hear?”
“I heard from ‘these aren’t my words,’” Celeste glared at Solana, folding her arms and leaning against the doorway. “Great friend you are, Solana. Remind me never to trust you with my secrets again.”
“Celeste, he deserves to know.”
“I know he does. And I know full well what he’s going to do with this information. Or at least, I thought I knew.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Forget it. I’m not about to explain myself to you. But…” Celeste took a deep breath, “My father told me once that I needed to be strong. When I listened to your conversation, you made me realize that I was being a coward by hiding my feelings. So, I’m going to respect Solana’s wishes and tell you everything you need to know.”
“Thank you, Cel—”
“But don’t think I hate you any less. Not after what your parents did to me.”
I flinched backward, remaining silent so that I didn’t aggravate her more. Her comment was like an icy thorn in my side.
“I was probably only five years old when it happened,” Celeste swallowed her words. Regret was painted all over her face. “Stay strong, Celeste. Please,” she whispered to herself.
Solana rubbed Celeste’s back as she sat on my bed, “Take your time. We know it’s hard for you.”
Celeste nodded, and after a few moments of silence, she spoke again, “My father was very good friends with your mother, Elijah. They were apprentices at the time your mother discovered the Order, and they were both Greens, so they would always be training together in their youth. My father trusted her, and eventually her husband Samuel, with his life.”
“All of that changed when one day, my father and your parents were sent to Old Tenebris by the Master, who had only taken the throne a few years before. They were sent there after a scouting report mentioned how powerful the twilight had become there. Your mother worried because she had not seen her family since she started living in the Castle. But Samuel and my father offered her reassurance.”
“I still remember being wrapped in my father’s arms at the entrance of the Castle. My mother watched as he picked me up,” a single tear slid down Celeste’s face. “Then, there was that hysterical boy a few feet from me, wailing for Eve and Samuel not to go, that he would be lonely without them. They told that child that it would only take a few days, and that school would be starting for him soon, so he could make friends with the other children. That boy kept weeping though, hoping that they would change their minds.”
My mouth gaped open at Celeste’s words. How could I have lived in the Castle? I didn’t remember anything that Celeste was telling me. It was impossible. But the sincerity in her voice resonated. Celeste was so conflicted with even revealing this to me. Why would she lie about something like this?
Celeste took notice of my confusion, “You don’t remember any of this, do you?”
“No. I...I don’t understand. As far as I know, I never stepped foot in this place before I met Solana.”
“I don’t know what happened to your memory, but when Solana told me it was your first time here, I got suspicious. I always knew that Eve and Samuel had a kid my age, and that his name was Elijah. But for some reason, you don’t seem to remember anything about the Order, even though, well...you were born into it.”