The stairs eventually level out into a room that looks very similar to the ones in the Room where the council is held. It’s large and very white. Normally, there are countless doors lining the walls. Today, there’s just the two.
Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection comes out of one. The other is at the opposite end of the room, and it is wrapped with a very bright green light.
“That’s where we have to go,” says Mr. Reciprocity.
Mr. Protection says, “yes indeed. I’d say the answers we seek are hidden there.”
“It’s not going to be easy. I’m sure there’s some trick to this. The Room is helpful, but not that helpful.”
“Aye, brother. This will be a tricky event indeed. I’m sure that we’ll be forced to really work at this.” Mr. Reciprocity lets out a heavy, full body sigh. He takes the first step, but his brother is close behind. They make sure to stick close to each other, lest something happen but – there are no issues at all. They make it to the door with no problems.
Mr. Protection huffs. “Easier than I thought.”
“Indeed,” says Mr. Reciprocity. “I would have thought we’d have had to do something there.”
They go through the door. It lets them out into a different room, this time with silver walls. There’s a hole in the middle of the floor, with flashing multi-colored lights coming out of it. And, laying on the ground near the floor, stretched out and frighteningly still, is none other than –
“Cornwallis!” Mr. Reciprocity rushes forward, towards his long time friend. “Cornwallis! Pets of the past, tell me you’re okay!”
Cornwallis blinks open one eye, than the other. His gaze is unfocused. “Hello? Who’s there?”
“It’s me and mine!” Mr. Reciprocity throws himself down in front of Cornwallis. Greyhounds are skinny dogs by nature, but Cornwallis looks as though he hasn’t had a good meal in a very long time. His ribs are showing, and so is his spine. “Cornwallis, what happened to you?”
Mr. Protection races over as fast as his short legs can carry him. He throws himself down on Cornwallis’s other side, closer to the gaping hole than is probably safe. “What’s happened to you, Cornwallis? What’s going on?”
“Mr. Reciprocity? Mr. Protection? What – what are you doing here?” Cornwallis coughs, hard. He looks very, very sick.
“We came looking for you,” says Mr. Reciprocity. “The Room brought us here.”
“Then it’s you she wants to take my place.” Cornwallis closes his eyes. “That’s a good decision.”
Mr. Protection whines. “Take your place? Cornwallis, what’s going on? Tell us!”
Cornwallis lets out a full body sigh. “Alright,” he says. “I’ll tell you. Just..give me a moment to catch my breath.”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author