Today had been a good day for me. I made a lot of money and lost myself in the work I loved. This had been one of my best days in a long time.
Being tired and achy was just a part of the job. It was a welcome feeling, though. To me it was a badge of sorts for my hard work.
Honey enjoyed herself, too. The customers were spoiling her rotten. That poor puppy deserved that and so much more. She'd been happier than she'd been in a long time.
Cole was gone most of the day, because a teacher friend wanted him to help teach a painting class. He needed a good shower afterward, but that just went to show how much he enjoyed himself.
Still, I wasn't sure if that was the most eventful part of our days.
Ame came over around seven or eight. It'd be getting dark soon. She brought someone else with her too.
This girl was just a bit shorter than her. The girl's hair was in a frizzy ponytail. If I had to guess, it had a natural wave in it. Her hair was brown and so were her eyes, but her eyes had a golden tint in them too. She was wearing sweats and could've gone to bed in that outfit at this time of year.
"Hannah." Ame put her hands on the girl's shoulders. "I need you to take a deep breath, dear."
The girl struggled to do as Ame asked.
Cole's and my jaws dropped. "Hannah?"
"Yep." Ame cracked a smile. "This is the famous Hannah you've heard so much about."
That moment was surreal. With how tired I was, I wouldn't have been surprised if I dropped to the floor.
"You're Cyan and Cole, right?" There was something in her voice. She looked to be younger than me and Cole, but it didn't sound like it. It was like her soul was far older than her body.
Cole squeezed my hand. "We are."
"Thank you for looking out for him when I couldn't. I have the hardest time not worrying about him."
"Maybe we should sit down?" Ame suggested.
I hadn't realized it before, but my legs were shaking.
That was when we went into the kitchen. I sat with Cole and Hannah and Ame sat together.
"Ame told me the night it happened." Hannah grabbed my hands. "Know I don't blame you, sweetie. There was nothing you could've done to dissuade him."
Cole was staring.
"Alastair wouldn't hesitate to lay down his life if it meant protecting his siblings or me. Your lives were more important to him."
Cole was shaking. I didn't think he could really control his emotions in that moment. "That kid is nuts. Doesn't he want anything for himself?"
"I don't think he does," Hannah said. "The one thing I can think of something we don't have the power to give him. That was something he had to come to terms with a long time ago."
"What is that thing?" I asked.
Hannah had tears in her eyes. "His parents. Two of his older brothers and I want nothing more than to grant him that wish, but we can't. They're gone."
Ame tugged on her sleeve. "I thought you weren't giving up on that."
"Your tact leaves much to be desired, Amethyst."
Cole and I wanted to burst out laughing in that moment. That was so true. Even though they must've been friends, Hannah didn't pull any punches saying that.
"I'll give you some time with them. I'm needed elsewhere."
And then, Ame left us with Hannah.
Cole and I muttered the same things under our breaths. "Sweet Minicha, Amethyst."
"Yeah, she's always like that." Hannah took a long breath. "She does her work well, but she's definitely not the best Protector."
Was that some sort of oxymoron?
I was about to get up when Cole stopped me. I glared at him. "I haven't eaten in hours. I was busy."
Hannah pulled a plastic container out of her pocket. "Want some? One of my kids made for me, but there's no way I can eat it all. I can be just as bad as they are."
It was a box of bread I thought... It could've been cake too, but I wasn't sure.
Cole and I each took a piece.
"He made it for me this morning since I didn't eat dinner last night." She laughed into her hand. "As I'm sure you've seen, Ame isn't great at interacting with others. My best friend never cared for how she went about her Protector duties."
Cole turned his head. "I can imagine..."
"Something happened yesterday. I was just as if not more freaked out than when Ame brought me here."
"Something happened?" My ears perked up.
"Yeah. Ame was trying to convince me it was a daydream gone wrong, but I couldn't be convinced." She shook her head. "My friend wound up kicking her out."
Cole raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
She nodded. "Annie was probably the only one who could've calmed me down. I've always had a special bond with her."
Whoever this Annie was, she must've been incredible.
"What happened yesterday?" I asked.
"I think I might have an idea of where Alastair is being kept. And, it's nowhere near this neighborhood."
If I'd drunk anything, I would've spit it on the table. "Then we can save him?"
"Not yet. I just got a general area."
"Can you show us?" Cole asked.
A light emanated from her hand and entered our terminals. "I'd probably wait to look it over. Haste ruins many a well-meaning persons."
"What was Alastair like back then?" I asked.
"When he left?"
"Whenever you can tell us about," I said.
Hannah drew a long breath. "I think you both got a glimpse of the frightened little boy I took in all those years ago." She shook. "He was doing well, or so I thought. Ame just wasn't able to meet his needs."
There was something in Cole's eyes. I couldn't tell what.
"Once Alastair can come back home, I'm going to make a request to the Great Lady."
"A request to the Great Lady?" Cole asked.
Hannah nodded. "To free Ame from her role as a Protector. Ame's better suited to assist us Protectors. I plan to ask Kayleigh to assign her the task of assisting me and Annie and her friends whenever we ask."
"Has this been done before?" he asked.
"Annie hasn't heard of it, but she gave me her blessing. I dunno if I could go through with my request without her support."
Hannah was an incredible woman. I could see why Alastair loved her so dearly.
Tomorrow, I would begin my search for the boy I viewed as a little brother.
Thoughts on Cy? Hannah and her request? Theories? Predictions?
YOU ARE READING
Key of Liberation (A Key Keepers novel)Fantasy
Alastair Kurenai left his home on Earth to fulfill his destiny in a world called Nachima. Nothing out of the ordinary for a guy born into a family of Key Keepers, the ones who act as the worlds' balancing force. However, unbeknownst to him, he was i...