“But Mom! Celeste could be in trouble!”
Solana tried everything to convince her mother to help, but Mrs. Valenti refused. As much as we wanted to persuade her, Solana specifically told us to let her handle it. The rest of us just stood behind her, cramped in the confines of the Valenti’s bedroom. For one or two people, the room was pretty spacious. But because there were six of us in there, we had to load in shoulder to shoulder.
“Solana, I can’t allow you to disobey the Order. You do know what will happen if you’re caught, right?”
“I don’t care about what the Master will do to me, Mom. Celeste is more important. Besides, we just have to not get caught, right? We’ll be back with her before the next IE.”
“It’s not you I’m worried about,” Mrs. Valenti looked past Solana, making eye contact with me. “The Master wants to begin Elijah’s training at the wake of IE. If he’s not here by then, well…”
“So we’re strapped for time.”
Mrs. Valenti nodded, “Elijah would need to stay behind for me to even consider helping you track her down.”
“Mrs. Valenti,” I intervened, disobeying Solana’s orders to stay out of it. “I have to go with them. I’m the only reason we’re going in the first place.”
She shook her head, “All of you need to stay in the Castle where it’s safe.”
“I won’t let my daughter risk her life for this!”
I couldn’t blame Solana’s mother for being so protective of us. What parent would allow their child essentially commit a crime? Especially someone as caring and loving as Mrs. Valenti. Still, we needed her.
But she was afraid. Her entire argument was built upon the Master’s authority. She held his words in very high regard, enough to blur her moral compass. Then again, what did I know about morality?
“Elijah, nothing you say can convince me,” she sighed.
“You shouldn’t take the Master’s words to heart. It’s an empty threat.”
Her eyes widened, “Do you have any bearing on authority? Jude has never gone back on his word. If he says he will do something, he will do it.”
“Look at who’s here, though. Do you really think the Master would execute me? After all, I am his successor. As the only White Guardian, he would do anything to keep me around.”
I cringed at the thought of being next in line for the throne. Leadership wasn’t something I was ready for. And frankly, I would hate sitting on that throne for the rest of my life.
“What about Josef? Would the Master actually kill his flesh and blood? Sounds a bit heartless if you ask me.”
Mrs. Valenti mulled over my argument, “You two may have an excuse, but what about Melodie, Keith, and my daughter? There’s nothing stopping Jude from punishing the rest of you.”
“Remember when I said the Master would do anything to keep me around? He already has done very...disreputable things to make sure I stayed in the Castle. Although, many of these happened without me knowing, but that doesn’t wave them off.”
She raised an eyebrow, “And what ‘disreputable things’ has he done?”
“Let’s see. He pretended like I wasn’t born into the Order and he pardoned my parents from all of their crimes. Still think he’s righteous?”
“He did what?”
Mrs. Valenti’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped. Maybe telling her that was a bad idea.