I had a mark in my records—permanent mark that is, and a letter probably already in the mail telling my parents what had happened. I could have Roan destroy it for me or I could intercept it myself, but I knew there was no way out of this. Upon receiving the letter, my parents would have to sign it and send it back or within a couple of weeks, if the letter wasn’t returned to Lady Meena, they’d receive a call and that would only be worse. And there was no forging their names. Due to the accessibility to magical implements, both of my parent’s signatures are on file and will be scanned for authenticity. I really had no way out of this and I planned on telling them before the letter arrived.
I’ve ignored all fifteen texts from Lily as I sat in my room staring up at the ceiling. What was I doing? Why didn’t I just act like all the other girls at the academy that were excited about the Ball, excited about applying for an apprenticeship at libraries all over the world? Why couldn’t I just be like that and not cause myself so much grief?
I rolled over to my stomach and sighed. I knew deep down that I’d never get to be a guardian. I felt I was a circle trying to squeeze into a society that only accepted triangles. I rolled back over gazing blankly at the ceiling. I guess I’d better start shoving this circle through the triangle opening or I’d get my circular butt in some serious trouble.
A gentle knock broke my staring trance. “Sage,” Roan said behind the door. “I’ve got your clothes washed and pressed. Are you in there?”
Roan usually didn’t deliver clothes to our rooms, but in this case, I asked if he’d wash them before my mom would see my muddy uniform.
“Yeah, hold on,” I said opening the door for him.
“You had a lot of stains in your uniform and…well, being a gnome and naturally curious by nature, how did your uniform get that dirty? I know sometimes you librarians have to get your hands dirty, but what are they having you do, wrestle mischievous elves into books as your training exercises.” I couldn’t help but laugh at Roan’s sincere question.
“No, I was running late for class, got caught in the rain and…” I thought of the man in the woods that disappeared suddenly. He must have access to magical implements, but he wasn’t a regular guardian. They don’t patrol library grounds unless, there is something or someone coming and security needs to be heightened.
“And…” Roan prompted me as he hung my uniform on a hook in my tall wardrobe.
“Do know anything about some magical Fan? My dad mentioned it was coming and it’s a pretty big deal.” I asked sitting on the edge of my bed.
“Fan?” Roan turned and shrugged his shoulders. “No, I don’t, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some magical Fan that could transport you to another time or place…” he said in a dreamy voice as he smiled to himself.
“That’s what it is then,” I said to myself. “That’s what is coming to the library and that’s why that guardian was patrolling the grounds.”
“Are you sure of this, detective?” Roan asked teasingly.
I rolled my eyes. “There was a guardian, all by himself, in the woods surrounding the library this morning. He asked me what I knew about it.”
Roan gazed down at me with a crooked smile. “What is it now? The guardians are forced to ask student librarians about prized magical implements in the woods surrounding the library? Sage, your story isn’t making sense are you sure you didn’t fall in the mud and hit your head?”
“No, I was taking a short cut and dropped my pouch and was picking things up when he came out of nowhere. He also wasn’t like the other guardians around here.” Roan sat next to me and I looked at him. “His skin was dark and his eyes nearly black, but he had the crest of the guardians on his jacket buttons.”
“Maybe they’ve brought in other guardians to help protect this Fan.” Roan suggested.
“Maybe, but he didn’t offer to escort me in, like the other guardians and he disappeared with a puff of smoke.” I looked down at my feet wanting to go back and see if I could find him.
“So was he looking for this implement, because if he was…”
“I know, I should report him to the guardians, but he didn’t ask me, I asked him,” I said as Roan raised his eyebrows.
“You asked,” he repeated. “You asked him about the Fan, which you know nothing about yourself, and not knowing who exactly he was not to mention, he obviously appeared suspicious to you.” Roan began to raise his voice almost scolding me.
“But he called me a little librarian and that made me mad and then I thought I would sound important and that’s when I told him it was coming to be displayed and everyone knew about it,” I said rubbing my temples. “I asked him who he was and that’s when he disappeared.”
Roan suddenly grabbed my wrist and pulled me closer and looked at me with his wide eyes. “Did you think you might have just let confidential information leak out? He didn’t tell you who he was, doesn’t look like the carbon copy guardians around here and he was lurking around the library,” Roan said pointing to each finger on his hand as he gave me reasons to why I feel even worse at what I’ve done.
“Sage,” he said softly. “You need to tell your father, for the sake of everything, you need to tell him.”