“This has got to be a dream,” Adrian said, running his fingers through his hair, “This can’t be real.”
They had gone down another clean, white hallways leading away from the main lobby and were currently standing in another mammoth room. This one had tables surrounded by chairs scattered throughout. At the far end there appeared to be a long bar where food was put out. There weren’t very many people here at this hour but a few groups sat at the rectangular tables, eating and conversing in whispers. This room also had metal walls but the pieces were all the same gray color and seemed to fit together better than in the lobby. The ceiling wasn’t nearly as high in this room but the fluorescents still flickered over the wood floor.
“What? The cafeteria scares you?” Belle asked incredulously.
Adrian scoffed a little at that; he’d seen a lot of strange things in his line of work but this building took the prize. “This is a crazy place,” he told her, “Why are all the walls covered in metal?”
“It helps to repel several kinds of magical creatures. Mainly pixies and sprites.”
“Right,” he said as he reexamined the armor-plated walls.
“Okay,” Belle sighed and then began to speak in a rush, “So most of the rooms on the first floor are offices and research labs. All the floors above this are dormitories for the agents. The basement is where all the training facilities are, which is where you’ll be spending a lot of time. I’d take you to see them but I don’t have clearance to bring unregistered people down there. Only Fang can do that. And while you’re unregistered you can’t leave the building or else you won’t be able to come back in.”
“Whoa, whoa! Slow down. What do you mean I’m unregistered? How do I get registered?”
“You’re not in the system,” she explained patiently, “You don’t have a code to get into the building. You’ll get registered tomorrow.”
“Oh yeah,” he said. He’d almost forgotten the hand scanner on the front door. “Well, what now?”
Belle yawned and looked at her watch. “Now it’s four in the morning and I can’t think of anything else you need to know before tomorrow so-” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a key on a ring, “this is for you. I think you’re on the third floor. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Wait,” he said as he glanced at the room number on the key’s tag, “I don’t live here. I have an apartment.”
“Youhadan apartment Adrian,” Belle explained with a half-hearted smile, “Welcome to the family.”
She turned and disappeared down the hallway. Adrian got the feeling that there was more going on than he was being told; that Belle had left him so suddenly for reasons that had less to do with early hour and more to do with whatever the nurse had told her. But he kept his suspicions to himself and set off to find the stairs.