Chapter 56

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Kendra and Zigzag trailed behind them.

"Where have you been all this time?" Cowal asked.

"Around," Hailie said. "I take it you and Minerva got married while I was gone."

"You knew it was going to happen eventually."

"The entire planet knew it was going to happen. I do not know what made you take this long."

"I guess you'll understand when you get older." Cowal looked down at her. At his height he looked down on everyone. "Who is that man to you? He is very handsome."

"You do realize how strange that sounds coming from you," Hailie said.

Cowal laughed. "I'm not blind and you didn't answer the question."

"A friend."

"Just a friend."

"I just met him about a month ago."

"Yes but a month to you could mean anytime between a week and a year."

"No. It really has just been a month ago. The Captain said so," Hailie said.

"And why would you be so determined to a save a man you only met a month ago?"

"I see Minerva," Hailie said. She walked ahead of him. "Minerva!" she called. Hailie hadn't realized just how much she'd missed her until she finally saw her. She felt tears running down her face but she didn't care to wipe them away.

Minerva ran up to her and pulled her into a tight hug. "Hailie. I can't believe you're here. What happened? Why did you just leave like that without saying goodbye?"

Hailie knew precisely why. If she had tried to say goodbye then she would have never been able to leave.

"I really miss you too Minerva but please, could you let go? I have dislocated my shoulder and it really hurts."

Minerva stepped back. Hailie felt something cling to her leg. She looked down at a girl who was maybe only two years old.

"Hailie," the girl said.

Cowal chuckled behind her. "Kelly seems to like you."

"I'll take Hailie to see Geron. Who are these people?" Minerva asked finally seeming to notice them.

"She is Kendra and the ugly one with the snake eyes is Zigzag. Pretty fitting don't you think?" Hailie asked.

Zigzag pulled her towards him. "Just wait until your shoulder heals. We'll have a rematch then," he whispered into her ear. She pretended not to hear him.

"It's nice to meet you. Cowal, why don't you get something for them to eat?" Minerva said. "Take Kelly with you. Hailie needs a bath."

"I'm good with that," Zigzag said.

Kendra glanced in the direction of the building where Eli was.

"There is nothing we can do right now except wait," Hailie said.

They went with Cowal.

Minerva led her towards the building. "I still can't believe you're here."

Hailie pinched her arm. Minerva made a sharp noise. "Do you believe it now?"

"I see you haven't matured at all," Minerva said.

"Maturity sounds so... boring," Hailie said.

They entered the building. Shen got up from where he was sitting and came over to them, looking relieved. Celeste was standing next to Eli's bed. Geron wasn't anywhere in sight.

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