Ethan sighs and places the books and notebooks on the table where Liz is waiting.
- If it makes you feel any better, I didn't exactly ask to spend the afternoon with you either.
- Oh, great, he says as he sits down next to her.
-But you don't have to be so unpleasant, you know. I haven't done anything to you.
He sighs again, and she shoots him a dark look.
-Would it kill you to sigh a bit less loudly?
-And would it kill you to stop talking? Here, take this.
He places a stack of notebooks in front of her.
-What exactly are we looking for? she asks.
-Anything interesting your father might have written or come across.
-And why are we doing this?
-To see if there's anything of interest in his notebooks.
-Are you stupid enough not to understand my question?
-Your brother didn't tell me you were this annoying.
-I'm only like this with people who deserve it.
-What do you imply? he asks, looking up at her.
-Oh, because even that was too subtle?
-Is everything going well here? their older sister asks from the door.
-Jade? Weren't you with-
-Finch is running a bit late and I wanted to see how things were going here. I'm glad I arrived before you two tore each other apart.
-We weren't at all in the middle of-
-Try to relax, okay? Can I go in? Jade asks.
-Go ahead, don't worry about us, Ethan replies. We'll manage.
-Jade, she's your sister, right? Liz asks.
-Why don't you have the same uniform as them? she asks, pointing at him. Yours is dark blue, and my brother's is purple.
-I'm still a novice. When I turn eighteen, I'll become a guardian.
He opens the first notebook in front of him and furrows his brows at the indecipherable symbols.
-Do you understand any of this? he asks, showing it to her.
-Wait, let me see. Do you have a piece of paper?
He hands her one, and she starts scribbling on it.
-My father liked to encode what he wrote. On these pages, it's in ancient Clydian.
-It was the language of the founding tribes. I'm not very knowledgeable about it. There might be a book about it. We are in a library, after all.
He nods, and they stand up, starting to search.
* * *
- What do you mean you have nothing? Finch asks us, arms crossed. Jade lowers her head, embarrassed. Finch is our superior. His uniform, a dark black, signifies his rank and proximity to the Celestials, the highest leaders of the Order. His short brown hair and icy blue eyes, along with slightly wrinkled skin, are the only signs of his age.
- Not at the moment, I reply, meeting his gaze. But we're making progress. We've collected notebooks and research books directly related to them.
-Books? Great. If you don't have anything concrete in three days, I'm pulling you from this mission, clear? We lower our heads, aware of the significance of this project.
-We'll come through, I reply. Starting tomorrow, we'll head out to find the first piece. Jade gives me a questioning and panicked look, while Finch nods, satisfied.
-You're dismissed, I won't hold you up. Keep me posted.
We exit his office, and I hold Jade's arm.
-Why did you tell him that? she asks, pushing me away. You know very well we have nothing at all.
-Ethan and Liz are deciphering the notebooks; they'll probably find something.
-And you think that will be enough to leave tomorrow ?
-Trust me, okay?
-Kieran, it's not a matter of trust, you know that very well. This mission is important and completely beyond us.
-Let's just see if Ethan and Liz have found anything. Let's keep our hopes up, okay?
- We won't progress with hope alone, she retorts, picking up the pace.
If you have any critiques or advice, don't hesitate!