“Solana, what a surprise. Me and your boyfriend were just having a little chat. Care to join us?”
“Celeste, you don’t have to do this,” Solana’s voice trembled.
“You’re right. I don’t have to. But this opportunity is much too good to pass up!”
“What’s gotten into you? Hurting innocent people like this...do you honestly believe that this is what your father meant when he told you to be—?”
Celeste yanked Solana in, “You have no idea what my father meant! And who are you to criticize me? As I recall, it was you who forced me to put on a smile around him so that you could keep him around! It was you who forced me to be vulnerable, in front of him! And for what? For you two to start making out a month later? For my best friend to betray me?”
Although she remained stalwart, the tiniest glimmer in Solana’s eyes told me that Celeste struck a few nerves. Her words were like knives slicing through her heart. But that was Solana. She had felt worse pain that that. Those words were empty, just sound to mute the crackling of fire around us. The tiny thorns that Solana could create with her Essence.
“I didn’t betray you, Celeste. You’re my best friend, and you will always be—”
Celeste swung at Solana’s abdomen, but she was swift to sidestep away. A sapphire radiance engulfed her body, then rushed to her open palms, forming two wooden weapons. They were round and blunt, a sign that Solana was not willing to cut her down with steel.
“Billy clubs?” Celeste chuckled. “If you think those are going to stop me, you’re clearly mistaken.”
“Elijah and I are taking you back to the Castle, whether you like it or not.”
“Oh, Solana. You look so...confused. Are you...scared of me?”
Solana clutched her weapons so tight that her arms quivered rapidly.
“Elijah,” she called to me.
“Yeah, Solana?” I whispered to her.
“I know you haven’t had much experience, but...I can’t beat her without you.”
“Are you sure I won’t get in your way?”
“Elijah, I have faith in you. It’s time you start believing in yourself.”
She didn’t see how quickly Celeste was able to take me down. I was no match for her, even with Solana’s help. How could I believe in myself when I had already proven to be outmatched?
Celeste yawned, “You two lovebirds ready yet?”
“I’ll try and create an opening. That’s when you strike. No earlier, no later. Okay?”
“But…how will I know when I have an opening?”
“You’ll know. Trust me,” Solana winked.