“Sarah, can you show everyone to their rooms?” Marcus asked. “I got something that I need to take care of. I’ll come back and deal with everything later.
“Sure,” said Sarah. “Follow me, everyone.” She motioned her head to the right.
The small group followed Sarah while Marcus took off quickly, merging into the crowds.
They continued through the winding passageway as Sarah brought them towards multiple doors. Each one was painted in simple white with numbers painted on the door.
“This is for the kids. There are four bedrooms. One of you guys will have to share.” Sarah pulled out a key from her pocket and opened the door. She handed David the key. “We only have one key, so keep it well on you.”
“Thanks,” David took it from her.
“Breakfast is at 8 am sharp. Lunch is at 1 pm, and dinner is at 6 pm. So if you guys miss it, you will have to wait until the next day.” Sarah said sharply. “Tomorrow at noon, we’ll have orientation for you to help you guys get accommodated.”
“Understood,” said David.
Maze with Rye went through the door first, followed by Kim.
Jesse didn’t budge but gazed up sadly at Alexus and Crystal. “Would I see you guys again?”
“For sure,” Crystal asked with a big smile and a soft expression, “We aren’t going anywhere.”
“Good.” Jesse ran over and hugged her hard. Then she quickly let go and glomped onto Alexus, which put him slightly off his feet.
“Woah, tiger.” Alexus chuckled, patting her head a few times. “Your bear hug is quite fierce.”
Jesse giggled. “I know.”
“We will still be around.”
“I just wanted to say thank you.”
“You’re welcome, squirt.” Alexus shuffled her hair a few more times. His heartfelt warm and tingly, making him shuffle her hair harder.
“Hey, my hair is getting messy.” Jesse pulled away.
“Oh, really?” A smirk appeared on Alexus’ lips. He didn’t pry his hand off her hand and kept shuffling it more.
“Really, Jesse grabbed hold of Alexus’s hand and pulled it off her head. “I’ll see you around.” She darted off, taking the warmth with her.
“Kids,” said Crystal as she rested her arms on his shoulder. “You either love them or hate them, but it’s these times when we can’t help but live for.”
“Yea.” Alexus slowly nodded. “It definitely is.”
David spoke up, bringing their attention towards him, “Alexus. Crystal. I want to thank you guys for bringing us safely here. Without you guys, we would have probably died.”
“You’re welcome,” said Crystal. “I’m glad we got you guys out of there in one piece. “It’s never easy to be in such a dangerous congested place.”
“I agree,” David replied, shaking his head. “Though taking us across the states wasn’t an easy feat, there were too many instances where the demon got a few of us…but you guys did your best. I am sorry about going off on you guys about Ms. Abbie.” He started to shift uncomfortably.
Alexus shifted uncomfortably.
“She was someone I loved.”
“You guys were dating?” Alexus asked; he had a feeling that David liked Ms. Abbie by his reactions but didn’t think it was this deep.
“No, I just never had the chance to tell her.” David’s voice started to turn soft. “I just wish she was here with us as well.”
“I do too.” Alexus reached over, patting his shoulders. “But, we must move forward. She’s always there in your heart.”
David’s hand raised up to his heart. He then clenched his fist and glanced up. There was a spark of fire in his eyes that Alexus could feel.
“Yes, she is.” There was a momentary silence before David spoke again. “I’ll see you guys around.”
David was the last one to enter through the doorway, leaving Sarah, Crystal, and himself out.
“Before we continue our way towards your rooms, I’ll show you the others you need to know,” Sarah said as she was hobbling along the hallways.
They continued onwards as they had made their way out and into a large enclosed space. The numerous machines sounds were dampened, and serene music played. Beautiful laid-out rows of perfectly configured rocks were around in a bed of sand. A handful of people were sitting on top of rocks, meditating with crossed legs. Waters streamed from the top, where Alexus couldn’t quite find the hole in the darkness, giving it a soft trickle that brought a sense of peace. Even rows of plants littered the walls, around the floor as if purposefully put there.
“This is our joint meditation room; we expect to keep chatting to the minimum,” said Sarah. She placed her hand behind her.
Alexus continued to observe, noticing that other interesting handmade sculptors were carved on the wall.
Sarah continued on with their path, going to the right. They went through another passageway that seemed to twist around the room they had come before and exited into another ample space different from the peace and quiet.
The cafeteria was where numerous people were going in and out or huddling together, talking.
“This is our common area and the cafeteria. This is where you will get your meal.”
They continued on their path; this time, multiple passageways were difficult to tell which way ended up. Honestly, Alexus was having a rough time starting to piece together where he was; plus, he didn’t expect the underground was so big. It felt like a city.
“The meeting that you guys must attend will be at eight o clock sharp,” said Sarah, “it will be here,” she pointed towards the only door that was painted blue throughout the whole adventure they went through. “It’s the blue room for the meeting. I’ll take you to your rooms as it isn’t far away from the rest of the team.”
This time, they continued on their path, taking fewer turns but much longer walks. Finally, Sarah stopped in front of the door that had a number painted 99 on it in gold.
“I heard your number is 99, and luckily enough, this room is available.” Sarah pointed out as she unlocked the door with a spare key. She then turned and handed it directly to Alexus’ hand. “Keep it safe; we only got one.”
“Thanks.” Alexus nodded.
“For you,” Sarah turned towards Crystal, “you will be following me to your room two doors down. Unfortunately, we don’t have a bedroom with your number as it’s already been taken.”
“That’s fine,” Crystal stated, “I’ll see you later, Alexus. Go rest up; you’ll probably need it before the meeting.”
“Yea, you’re right. I wouldn’t mind a hot shower.” Alexus stated that a heavy wash of energy seemed to seep out of him that he didn’t expect. The muscles in his body ached and cried out, telling him that the intensity of the travel had taken a lot out of him. “I’ll see you guys at 8.”
Alexus turned the knob, pushing the door open.
A small one-bedroom with a simple bed with black and red covers was placed in the middle. Two stands were on opposite sides, and a closet was on the opposite side of the bed. There was a door he expected to lead into a bathroom on the left side.
With heavy steps, he started to take off his dragon suit that hissed, letting out steam. It groaned and clanked, compacting itself and turning into a black briefcase. On his wrist was an obsidian-colored bracelet that had his number imprinted on it.
Alexus was impressed by this new feature, which in the past he would have struggled to get in the suit, but from the numerous iterations, it got easier to wear. He just didn’t think the last productions would be cool.
Half naked, he opened the door to the bathroom and entered. It was a small bathroom with a sink, toilet, a small cabinet with multiple towels, and a shower with a glass door. He reached out, turning on the hot shower. In moments, the water started to heat up, bringing with it fog.
It didn’t take long for the whole room to be filled with fog as he entered the shower. Hot water smashed into his skin. A sigh escaped his lips as he closed his eyes and let the water run down his body. Oh, how he missed this warmth.
Even in the short time that they were out, he had forgotten how much of a blessing it was. He sweated so much during the whole time that he wondered how the suit didn’t stink.
He took a while as he cleansed himself up with a continued sign.
Alexus stepped out, pulling a towel out of the rack as he wiped himself down. He wrapped the towel and went out, searching for clothes to wear.
He noticed a neatly pressed bag closed in a plastic bag on his bed. He pulled out a handful of different colored t-shirts, boxers, socks, and pants. He didn’t take long to put on a black shirt and pants, putting away the remaining clothes as he flopped onto the bed. He deeply rubbed his head into the blanket as a sweep of sleepiness washed over him.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The door rattled loudly.
“Alexus!” Crystal’s voice shouted through the door, “the meeting will start! Wake up!”
Alexus groaned, turning over. He blinked a few times.
Another loud rattle followed.
“I’m up,” Alexus replied. He pushed himself up as his shoulder slightly slumped. The short nap had helped freshen him up. Then, with a loud yawn, he stretched as far as possible.
Alexus got up; he went over and opened the door.
“Jeezus christ, Crystal. Do you have to be so loud?” said Alexus, “Your voice would wake up the whole city.”
“We don’t have time for that; we have an emergency that we need to get to know.” Crystal reached over, grabbing him by his arm.
Alexus stumbled forward as he caught himself from falling. “What?”
“The meeting needs every Ouroborous to be there. I heard this had never happened before. We need to see what’s going on.”
“Okay. Okay.” Alexus pulled his arm away from her.
Alexus and Crystal power-walked through the hallway, heading straight towards the blue room. When they arrived, the blue room door was wide open. They entered, and they were welcomed by a large auditorium. Hundreds of Ourborous were talking and sitting, wondering what was going on.
Alexus and Crystal found an open seat next to Timothy and Jones, who were saving them a seat.
“Yo, you guys are a bit late, but they haven’t started anything, so you are fine,” said Timothy.
“Well, Alexus was taking his sweet time,” replied Crystal. “Do you know what’s going on?”
Timothy shook his head, “nothing.”
Crystal asked, “Jones?”
“No, if I knew, I would have told you already.”
“I hope it’s nothing too bad; we just came back.”
“I hope so too.”
Suddenly, the lights dimmed, and the voices quieted.
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