I froze up completely as Celeste stormed out of my room. My entire body was paralyzed. My mind screamed for me to react somehow, to show some sort of remorse or grief. A simple tap of the foot if it would knock me from my stupor. But no matter how hard I pushed myself to feel anything, I became a statue beside Solana, who watched me anxiously.
Solana tried to speak to me, but all of senses failed me. I knew she was trying to tell me something, but even if I wanted to, I was trapped in a daze. So many emotions rampaged through my systems. They flooded me so quickly that they blended into cement in my nerves.
My heart begged for all of this to be a dream, that everything in the past month was just a morose nightmare. I was probably still asleep in Mr. Tinker’s class. Yeah, that would make a lot of sense. I didn’t faint in school; I just fell asleep. Granted, I was pretty exhausted cramming with Wyatt, so of course I didn’t have the energy to stay awake. Maybe if I closed my eyes, I would wake up with my head on the desk, being lectured by Mr. Tinker.
So I tried snapping my eyelids shut, but my brain refused, and for good reason. Whereas my heart was clinging to an illusion for comfort, my psyche preferred to fly under the clouds. This wasn’t a dream. This very much was my reality, and nothing could change the fact that my parents had become fugitives to the Order that has comforted me all of these years.
And yet, even though that truth was rammed into my skull, something lingered. Something that, as I replayed the memory in my head, contradicted everything that Celeste said. But, Celeste had to be telling the truth. When she unloaded her story to us, her Essence simmered within her heart. It was so strong; no one could replicate such an intensity unless it was genuine.
But this tiny detail that was ingrained in my memory...I had to figure out what the discrepancy was.
“S-Solana,” my better judgement threw my emotions out of the door.
“Yes, Elijah?” she asked.
“If all of this is true, and I’m not doubting that it is, then why…” I thought the question over very carefully, accidentally trailing off.
“Then why...why did the Master revere my parents when I first entered the Castle? He seemed so...excited to have me here. And not only that, he acted like it was my first time here, when according to Celeste, I was born into the Order.”
Solana pondered my question, replying with a shrug, “Now that you mention it, that does seem strange.”
“I think I’m going to go ask him. But not now. I’m still a bit rattled from what just happened.”
“That might be a bad idea.”
“Why? Understanding what happened that day will be crucial to tracking down my parents.”
“Because, well, what if he kept the truth from you for a reason? What if he was trying to protect you by hiding this from you.”
“But now I know the truth, Solana. It doesn’t matter anymore. He can’t protect me, so he should just tell me the truth.”
Solana and I remained on my bed for several moments. It was until Solana stood up in the center of my room that I was freed from my teeming thoughts. Still, I longed for more answers.
“Do you recognize me? Since we were both born into the Order, maybe you and I met somewhere down the road.”
Solana wondered for a few seconds, then shrugged, “I don’t remember you, but then again, I wasn’t the most sociable toddler running around the Castle. I actually used to be quite reserved when I was little. Well, and also...nevermind.”
“I guess you probably would’ve said something sooner if you did,” I pouted.
“Like I said, I’m going to do everything in my power to help you find your parents.”
“But...what about Celeste? You care about her a lot, and you’ve known her much longer than me. Wouldn’t bringing my parents back cause her even more pain? And if my parents are fugitives, wouldn’t having them return mean—?”
Solana hushed my lips with her finger, “Please, you can’t think about all of that. What matters right now is finding them. We can figure out those details later. And, about Celeste…” she fell into thought.
“She’ll be fine. Trust me.”