The library ended up taking more time than the girls had expected it to. It wasn’t long before Jay called them out to return to the room. They had stayed in the library until nightfall, so training would have to wait for another day. They slept more at ease than the night before, but the nightmares did not cease.
Once again, they were grateful to hear Broderick’s heavy footsteps echo throughout the room. This time, however, he did not meet Jay at the balcony. He made his presence and frustration known immediately. “Get up, girls. We have a problem on our hands. Meet me outside the room right now.”
Not wanting to induce the wrath of a man who could probably cleave the planet in two with his axe, the girls were up instantly. Jay, still carrying her cigarette, walked calmly out of the room to meet the rest of the group. There, she found a raging Broderick, obviously sleep deprived and upset about his encounter with the Elzian council.
Eventually, Roselyn got the courage to ask. “What’s wrong, Broderick?”
“They said they will allow us to meet with the king,” he fumed, on the verge of yelling.
“So what’s the problem?” prodded Azura, carefully trying to get more information without enraging the man further.
“They said we could meet with him in three weeks. We don’t have three weeks to spare!” His voice seemed to shake the walls around them, threatening to collapse the building. “Those snakes don’t deserve to have a head. They’re even denying that there’s a threat to Gaia at all. As long as Elzia is safe, they don’t seem to care that Gwydion is assembling about 50,000 Cardin at this moment. I argued with them all night, but there’s nothing we can do.” Broderick threw up his hands, finally wearing himself out. He was obviously exhausted from arguing with council and seemed utterly defeated. “I don’t think there’s any way we’ll be getting help from Lorand.”
Kaelin seemed to share the same frustration as Broderick. “Then what do we do next?”
“Nothing.” All four heads turned to Jay, who had remained unnaturally calm throughout Broderick’s rant. “You guys don’t have to do anything. I’ll handle this one.”
Broderick raised his eyebrow, uncertain. “Are you sure? These guys are pretty tough.”
“Is it the same council as before?”
“Yes and ten times more stubborn.”
“Good. So am I, and I’m sure they haven’t forgotten me,” she said nonchalantly. After taking a long drag on her half-finished cigarette, she held it towards Roselyn. “Hey, Roz. Hold this for me.”
“What? Why don’t you just throw it out?” Roselyn gestured her hands in confusion.
“And waste a good cigarette? Nonsense. I’ll be back before it goes out.” Without waiting for her surrogate sister’s consent, Jay placed the still smoking cigarette into Roselyn’s outstretched hand and walked down the corridor.
Many strange moments passed as Roselyn held the cigarette awkwardly in her hand. It was a comical scene, but no one was willing to make a sound, fearing that even stranger things might come of it. The group didn’t move, blink, or even breathe. They kept their eyes fixed on the cigarette and unreadable expressions plastered on their faces.
In a few minutes, Jay returned and, just as calmly as she placed it there, removed the cigarette from Roselyn’s motionless hand and took another drag. “We meet with the King tomorrow.”
Still slightly in shock, Broderick was at a loss for words. “Oh. Um, thanks,” he stammered.
“As for the rest of you, we’re leaving Elzia after tomorrow. Spend some time at the training grounds today and get in touch with your elements. You’ll have more time to practice as we continue, but you should at least get the ability back here.”
“Right,” Roselyn responded, both surprised and strangely proud that Jay was her sister.
After finally getting himself together, Broderick excused himself. “Well, I have to go meet with someone. I’ll meet up with you guys later.”
“And I have other business to attend to, as well. Work hard, you three.” Jay and Broderick soon walked off, leaving the baffled trio behind.
“I don’t know how she does it,” Azura muttered.
“I don’t think we ever will,” replied Kaelin, just as perplexed.
“Yeah,” Roselyn said distantly, thinking about the girl that could be so caring and yet so cryptic at the same time. “Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder who she is.”