The Five Wanderers

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Chapter 33

Elidi had been spending most of her time after that meeting trying to track down Runi in this castle. She’d been feeling a bit queasy after the meeting so she hadn’t been able to talk to him immediately, but Apinya had given her a special herbal tea to help settle her stomach and now she felt perfectly capable...well, maybe only somewhat capable...of finding where her friend was hiding.

“Why are there so many stairs?” Elidi muttered as she climbed up to the third floor. There wasn’t much up here aside from storage rooms and a beautiful balcony and a room that was kept locked, but she saw Runi’s form sitting near a large window. He had a piece of paper in his hand that he was looking over and he seemed fully entranced by it.

“Runi?” she called out as she began to approach him.

Runi looked over and he folded the paper and tucked it into his pocket. “Elidi, what are you doing up here?” he asked. “How is Oriana?”

“Laguna walked her back to her room, but she’s fine,” Elidi assured him. “I don’t think she needs to be under constant watch anymore.”

“Good news,” Runi replied with a nod as he looked out the window.

“Jakob seems to be back to his old self, too. I suppose you were right to release him after all,” Elidi said as she watched him curiously. He seemed so closed off, even to her. That was unusual.

“My visions don’t usually lead me astray,” Runi said without looking back at her.

Elidi sighed and moved over to look out the window next to him. “If you just told us what you saw-”

“Cetas would have ignored me,” Runi interrupted. “All of you probably would have. My reputation isn’t good, so I can’t even blame you for not believing me.”

Elidi couldn’t deny that Cetas probably would have disagreed, but maybe this terrible rift between him and Cetas could have been prevented if he had tried to talk to them, at least.

“Well, from now on maybe we’ll listen a bit more,” she said with a small nod. “At least this is all over now, right? We can move on with our lives.”

Runi finally looked at her. “Move on? It’s not going to be the same as it was, Elidi. Don’t be naive. You’re about to be a mother and you’re going to marry Cetas, and Tallis and Minda are married. You’re all going to want to settle down and have quiet lives...I wonder where that leaves the rest of us?”

Elidi’s brow furrowed. “What do you mean? Are you saying we won’t stay together?”

Runi shook his head. “I have things to do, and I don’t think any of you could keep up with me,” he said.

“Things? What things? Runi, we’re a family. You’re not going to leave us, right?” Elidi asked as she reached out and took his hand. “We’ve been together for so many years.”

“Yeah, but maybe that’s why we need time away from each other,” Runi said as he pulled his hand away and stood up. “I’m not going back home with all of you when this is done. I’m going to travel so I can find some guidance for the future. I want to become the best clairvoyant I can be, and I think I need to get away from my mistakes for a while, and when I’m with all of you...I’m constantly reminded of my mistakes. And I constantly make the same sort of vindictive mistakes.”

Elidi looked down. “You did hurt Royse a lot,” she said softly. “Why did you choose him?”

“Because I knew his weakness,” Runi said with a shrug. “My morals aren’t where they should be, I guess. That’s why I need to find other people to look up to and learn from. I can’t go with you.”

Elidi glanced aside for a moment, and then looked back at him. “Will you promise me to come home once you find whatever you need to find?” she asked.

Runi nodded. “Yeah, sure,” he said. “I mean, I guess it depends on where Fate takes me, but I think I can tell you that I want to come back once I’m done. I just don’t think I should make a promise.”

Elidi sighed and then hugged him, and he hugged her back. They were quiet for a moment as they held each other. Elidi was obviously afraid of what this would mean and where Runi would go, but she had to trust him. She had to trust that he was doing what was right for himself, because he was definitely doing things that were unhealthy for him and for those around him right now.

“I love you, Runi. You mean a lot to me. So, just know that you’ll always have me as a friend,” she said as she leaned back from the hug. “You have to come back home.”

Runi smiled a little. “We’ll see where Fate takes me.”

Elidi nodded a bit and finally let him go. She knew this wasn’t going to be the last time she saw him since they were still going to do the oath ceremony and all that, but the Royals were ready to leave this castle and go back to their own home for a while until they decided if they were ready to move back to their country.

She never imagined she would be doing that without Runi.

He was clearly wrestling with something in his heart, though, and she couldn’t deny that he definitely needed a little bit of a wake up call. He needed to realize how he was treating others and that it had to change. Maybe he could find a mentor out there in the world, but she worried what would happen if he didn’t get the results he wanted from his self discovery journey.

“Come and eat something,” Elidi suggested as she started to walk down the hallway again. “I feel like you’re not taking care of yourself.”

Runi seemed to agree with this and he followed her. She felt grateful. She wanted to spend time with him while she could. She also had to spend some time praying to whatever Immortal would listen to keep him safe.

There were some good Immortals out there, she just hoped they still listened to prayers.

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