Palazzo Ristorante was not as luxurious as Lieu de nourriture, but still it had its class and its specialties as well. It looked like Athenian Acropolis, except it was not that large. Its interior included many sculptures of gargoyles, dragons, minotaur and many other mythical creatures. It was difficult to decide whether Palazzo Ristorante was a restaurant or an art museum. It had the same arrangement of tables as in Lieu de nourriture, which included cubes. I got cube 7. The time felt like seven in the evening. And I was waiting for about fifteen minutes there. I was before time. Well, you don’t take risks with anything that is related to Ileana. Then she came, at last.
“Hi. I hope I didn’t keep you waiting.” Said Ileana.
“Uh… no.” I said.
She was wearing a blue Georgette Gown. Her untied hair rested on her left shoulder. And she looked as if this was supposed to be a date. And what was I wearing? A white casual shirt and blue jeans. Wait. Did I mention a date? With Ileana? Even the thought of dating Ileana sent shiver down my spine. I was terrified at that moment because I was afraid: ‘What if she reads my mind again? No, I need to control my thoughts. Calm down. She is not going to eat me.’ I was thinking to myself.
“No. I’m not going to eat you. The dinner here tastes better than your freaked up brain.” She said.
“Stop reading my mind. Please. It… it feels weird. Can’t I even think freely now?”
“Okay. I will try not to.” She said as if she pitied me.
“Is… is that why you called me here?” I asked.
“What do you mean?”
“To insult me? To… to make me feel as if I don’t belong here?”
“Oh please. Shut up.”
“Listen. I’m sorry for intimidating you today. I thought it was you who complained about me to my dad. But I came to know that it was my brother.”
‘Did she just say ‘sorry’? No. This can’t be true. Is she really Ileana?’ I thought. And then realized…
“Yes, of course, it’s me, Ileana, and you a prat.”
‘Now that treatment is something I can only expect from Ileana.’ I thought. ‘Oh! Why am I thinking so loudly!’
“You’re so naive. You’ll have to work hard to learn to halt your unnecessary thoughts. Your mind is cluttered with too much shit.”
“I’m feeling hungry. Aren’t you?”
“Y-yes I am.”
And this time too, I failed to notice where the food came on the table from. We had our dinner. And then came Chocolate brownies. This time I saw where they came from. They appeared from thin air. ‘Is this teleportation?’, I thought, with all knowledge of its consequences.
“Yes, it is.” She said and continued to eat the brownie. I ate mine. She took about twenty minutes to finish the desserts. “Wasn’t it great?”
“Yeah.” And few more dishes appeared.
“Now, let’s talk about business.”
“What do you mean?”
“I didn’t call you here to give you a dinner treat.”
“I thought you called me here to apologize.”
“That I did. But that isn’t the main reason why you are here.”
“So, tell me what is the reason to call me here?” I asked, curiously.
“I know who you are.”
“You know… Wait. What?”
“You are an Aeon” She whispered under her breath. I was barely able to hear her words.
“H-how… how do you…”
“That’s not important. I called you here to warn you.”
“Warn! Warn about what?”
“Your life is in danger. The Snoutbands wants to kill you. They have hired Bestial to kill you.”
“What?” I didn’t realize but I was too loud. I was on my feet.
“Sit down you jerk. You’re drawing attention.”
She was right. The waiters rushed towards the cube. “Is there any problem, Signore?”
“Uh… n-no” I said.
“There no problem. He’s just… getting late. Send me the bill.” She clarified.
“As you say, Signora.” They left as quickly they came.
“Let’s go. This place isn’t safe anymore. Oh my Cassata and Panettone.” She said, looking back at the two remaining plates of dessert, frowning. “Next time, you’re going to pay for this.” She said throwing at you-bloody-idiot kind of look.
“Okay fine.” I said, confused, whether to feel guilty for not letting her complete the desserts or happy for irritating her.
We came out and I was surprised to see that she had brought a car. Carbon black Shelby Cobra. “You must be joking. Is this… is this Shelby…”
“Yes it is. Now, hop in.”
We sat in the car. And whoosh! The car was in air. We were flying.
“Isn’t this supposed to be a ‘car’ and not a ‘plane’?” I asked. She threw me a shut-up-you-jerk kind of look.
“I’m dropping you to DIGITS. You’ll be safe there. Ameline will be teaching you to resisting skills tomorrow. I’ve told her everything. You -” She looked straight into my eyes and I noticed those bright green eyes that gave me nightmares. But which had an inch of sympathy now. “- be careful. Your dad is not in the city for a few days. And without him I don’t think anyone is safe here.”
“Hang on. Why are they… the Snoutbands… that Bestial guy…”
“Bestial is a very good transmorpher. Like my brother. Even better, much better. And Bestial won’t spare any chance to kill the Aeon.”
“So.. they are after Aeon?”
“Yes. But they don’t know who is the Aeon. But it is just a matter of time before he knows it is. So, be careful.”
“But… but why is this Aeon business so important? And who are these Snoutbands? Why do they want to kill m-… the Aeon?”
“Argh! You curious ass! Can’t you wait? You will know about that soon. Not now, and definitely not by me.”
“Did my father sent you?” It clicked to me instantly.
“Wait. How do you know? Don’t tell me you’re an amateur seeker like me.”
“I don’t need to be a seeker to know who sent you. You said my father’s words – You’ll know about that soon. I think you missed the word Patience.”
“Well, I did miss it. You othersiders are not as stupid as you seem.”
“I don’t know about others but I am not stupid.” She was smiling. A very, very rare expression from Ileana. I turned my eyes and looked out of the window only to notice that we were about a few hundred feet in the air. Oops! I am Acrophobic!
“Really?” Ileana asked. She was laughing. Another scarcely used expression by her.
“W-what?” My closed my eyes so tightly that, for a moment I felt as if I was blind.
“You are afraid of heights. Aren’t you?” She laughed again.
“Y-yes. Wait. DIGITS is not this far from that French restaurant!”
“Italian” She corrected me.
“Whatever. But still the school isn’t this far.”
“I’ve changed the plan a bit.”
“Where are you taking me then?”
“To meet someone.”
“Whom?” I was little stunned by the change in change in plan. Rather surprised.
“Don’t worry. I’m not handing you over to Bestial.” She laughed.
“T-this isn’t something to joke. You know he.. he can remove my heart with his bare hands.”
“You haven’t heard the worst.”
“Worst? What can be worst than this?”
“Torture. A very slow death.”
“Can’t you stop stammering. It irritates me.”
“S-sorry.” She threw at her signature look – anger.
“I don’t think that Snoutbands will pay Bestial only for a murder. Of course they will want to torture you.”
“Thanks for telling me that.” That was very comforting!
“Here we are.”
And the next moment, the Shelby was on ground. We were on what looked like a very big backyard. Behind us was a house. The house looked very much like Mr. Walder’s. But no. It wasn’t.
“It’s Ameline’s home.” Ileana said.
“Why are we here?”
“Definitely, not to meet Ameline. She’s at the school.”
“He has a message for you.”
We were standing outside the front door. I was staring at the door. ‘This can’t be wood. Ameline has told me.’ I thought looking at the door which looked like made from wood. The door opened. And Mr. Renaux was standing in front of me.
“Hurry up. Come in.” He said. We entered. Ileana was pushing me in. Then he closed the door behind us.
“Ileana, child, thanks for bringing him here safely.”
“No problem sir. But your car is bit slow.”
“Yes. I know. I bought it from the otherside. It’s developed in Broca’s Workshop.”
“Ah! So that’s why it flies so smooth.”
I was just staring at them both blankly. ‘Wasn’t Mr. Renaux supposed to give me a message?”
“Oh. I’m sorry. So the message -” He turned and went inside the room. And then came out with a box.
“Your father gave me this before he went.” He said handing over the box to me. It was a black box, circular. With an turn-n-open lid.
“Don’t lose it.And I must tell you. This box will open only on a specific date. And I don’t know when that is. But when it will open, better be in DIGITS. Nowhere else is safe.”
“But why didn’t Father give this to me himself? And where is he gone?”
“Well, child, being a Mayor of Elder is not easy. He has many reponsibilities, and duties too. He is gone for some official work. He’ll be back soon.”
“Fine.” I was bit disappointed by that answer. ‘Patience’, I repeated to myself.
“Let’s go.” Ileana said.
“Take care both of you.”
“Of course, sir.”
“And Ileana, child will you give this diary to Ameline.” He said, taking out a dairy from the pockets of his black coat. And giving it to Ileana he said, “It’s her mother’s. I found it while searching for some files.”
We left after a few seconds of staring at the diary. “Thank you, sir, for this -” I said to Mr. Renaux showing him the box. “- message.”
“You’re welcome, child. Now, go fast. It’s late already” Then he waved us goodbye. And we were back into air.
“What do you reckon is in this box?” She asked.
“Patience. We’ll get the answers soon.” I said staring curiously at the black box in my hands.
For the rest of the journey back to the school, nobody talked. Finally, when she parked the car in the staff’s parking space, she said, “Mr. Renaux will take this back tomorrow. I wish I could keep it for some more time. But thanks to you, I got to ride this.” She said pointing towards the Shelby
“Uh-no problem. By the way, you look nice in this dress.” I said. What made me appreciate her? I’ve no idea.
“I know that already. Anything else?”
“Oh. Um- nothing. Thanks.”
“Welcome. Now, go to your room and don’t wake up Ocean.”
“Fine. Good night.”
“Good night. Now go. I’ve to meet my dad.” She was staring at me blankly. I turned and started walking towards the team house.
Then a thought came to my mind about Ileana’s behavior tonight.
‘Sympathy or pity?’
“Gratitude” Ileana’s voice! My feet stopped. I looked over my shoulder, Ileana was still there looking back at me with those bright green eyes.
I reached my room. Ocean was still asleep, snoring. I let my body fall onto the bed. I was too much tired even to change my clothes. Many answers and many new questions were arisng. But finally my first day at DIGITS was over. Another ‘normal’ day of my life. I turned on my bed to face with the black box kept on my Cyclo.
‘Patience’, I said to myself.