Chapter Twenty Six - Promise

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Ivory interior bound walls, indigo and umber accents found in glasswork. Chestnut designs shape the flooring in swirls, clear windows looming twenty feet above her. Awry plush furniture appear in private open spaces. Almost; it lures her in, wanting to lie in the softness of the fabric. She resists, keeping her sight on Kennet.

They snuck in through an entryway bots enter. Systematic bots were easy to slip by, especially when there's no designated human patrols to watch their duties. There weren't many bots on the Acquiescence. Any that were, assisted Zaloy and his regulators.

Kennet has walked these halls before, and this doesn't surprise her. He knew about the postern for bots, so he didn't have to tell her he's done this all before.

Water paintings are hung different in size, one artist seeming to have painted them all. She wants to feel the texture of the strokes, feel the emotion the creator felt when mastering their work. She stops to inspect a painting of the sea. Images of Ellyda's canvases surface. She was so talented with a brush. Ava wishes she could posses half the skill her sister had.

With a small smile she lifts her hand to the painting to touch it. Her finger caresses the royal blue strokes. Letting her hand move with the natural curves of the artwork, calmness swallows her. She could trace her fingers along the painting for hours, the reminder it brings of Ellyda no longer bringing her dismal, but tranquil. For four years any reminder of her has brought fury and vengeance into her heart. This time it brings her stillness, the remembrance reminding her, Ellyda is so much more then gone. Her passions stay with Ava, and she makes a promise to her. I will carry on your gift, I may not be good, but I will honor you, she says to Ellyda and herself. 

She will try to see and remember her sister as she used to be. The agony of her death will never reside. No one can just get over something so execrable but she will not pity her anymore. Her life should be remembered for more than the that one horrifying, draining incident.

Kennet approaches, noticing she has fallen behind. "Hey," he murmurs. "We really need to go."

She removes her hands from the painting, lowering her hand to her side, "I know," she responds. 

As she looks to him, he does the same, though a bit in delay. He is looking at the canvas as well, and how couldn't he? It is so soothing, and well crafted. Possibly the painting reminds him of something else as it does for her. 

Continuing on their journey to find Commander Bryant and Nyles, they walk down the same hall they have been. It seems it could go on forever, but it doesn't, separating some many feet ahead into two long stretches to the left and right.

Palace guard boots click together, their marching subtle. Coming from ahead, their steps approach in the distance. To escape from getting caught, they dash down a connecting hallway. Careful to not produce noticeable footsteps, they rush towards a small stairway leading to another long, yet narrow hallway.

More footsteps approach.

Guards are coming from each direction. They will have to think fast. There were no ways of hiding in the ceiling. Not unless they could jump twenty feet high. Kennet begins to feel the walls, looking for a lever or button. She is sure a palace like this has many hidden escapes.

Boots click louder, approaching closer.

"Come on!" He whispers intently, tracing his hands in cracks. "It couldn't have changed!" he mutters aggressively. She begins to speak, responding to his remarks when his hand presses inward, a sliding part in the wall opening.

Pulling her inside first, he softly shuts the door. Lighting flickers awake, lining the top and bottom edges of the hallway. The technology is old, the lights dimming in places. The steel metal walls make groaning noises from time to time as they continue on their path. Kennet guides her, telling her when to turn. There isn't room for him to move into the lead without them having to squeeze tightly between one another. That is something they are not about to do.

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