Chapter Ten, Esla

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Immediately upon entering the Dome, Bennie struck with was the same feeling that stepping into the State Capitol had given her when she went on her seventh grade field trip to Austin. Only this time the feeling was magnified by the sheer size of the building she was in.

A vast interior of pale green polished marble was her first glimpse of its glory and the height of the ceiling made even the dizzying rotunda of the Capitol seem obsolete.

Bennie followed Perce to the left through a set of elaborately carved doors that appeared to be plated in bronze.

Fancy, she thought to herself.

They entered another marble corridor that was much narrower than the main lobby but with many more doors. Some of the doors were open, and Bennie saw that one of them was a library of sorts. Other rooms held long tables and computers and filing cabinets. A classic building of archives and diplomacy, it would seem, but nonetheless curiously interesting. Bennie's interest in the contents of the building centered in the fact it contained more information about the other worlds and the Guardians than she could ever hope to learn.

Perce led her, Sean, and Gemini up a long, wide staircase to the second floor, then up another to the third. Despite the modern computer technology Bennie had seen on the first floor, the Headquarters of the Guardians apparently lacked the luxury of elevators.

Probably because people with magic are prone to accidents, and enclosed spaces are a bad idea, Bennie thought with a smile, remembering Gemini sinking four feet into the solid earth without breaking her legs. Going straight through the floor of an elevator could cause problems, whether Gemini could fly or not.

"Here we are," Perce said as they approached a door with two Guards on either side. Neither had any obvious weapons, but considering this strange world Bennie had stepped into, she doubted they needed guns or other obvious tools of violence. The black suits and sunglasses made Bennie think of the Secret Service, and she felt like she was about to meet the President – only that he'd have Elven features like the guards.

Bennie expected a lot more show of security than she got. The guards simply looked at them and seemed sure of their good intentions. The large bronze doors behind them opened, and the foursome hurried inside.

"Perce," Bennie had to ask, "Why exactly are they letting us in so easily?"

"They're not," Perce said, smiling at her, "When we crossed the threshold of this room, our powers were neutralized, and their glasses are equipped with the latest weapon detection systems, among other things. You can't beat combined Human, Elf and Fairy technology, you know. Only Esla can turn our powers back on as long as we're in this room."

"Did someone call my name?" A deep, soft but stern voice said. Its owner stepped out from behind a partition that separated the lounge area they had entered from a more office-like area. Bennie noticed an open door in the far corner behind a large desk. She could see through the open door that shadows were moving on the wall within.

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