37: BETRAYAL COMES FROM THOSE YOU TRUST

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The shots fired weren't from Charlotte.

They also weren't from Rebel or I.

In fact, as the sound was echoing in my ears, I watched blood begin to seep from Charlotte's abdomen and further darken her black clothes. Her hazel eyes widened in what could only be described as fear, and before she could fire at Rebel or I, he leapt forward and yanked her guns away.

She fell to the floor in the same breath.

Legion stood directly behind her, a grimace upon his generally placid features. His attention didn't stay on us for long, and it didn't take a rocket scientist to determine why. More shots were fired behind him, and he turned swiftly despite his hulking form. "C'mon, hooligans," he said gruffly. "We need to get out of here."

That was all it took to rouse us to action. We both moved over Charlotte swiftly, shots firing off loudly as we followed Legion.

It didn't take long to pinpoint Sergeant's location -- he carried a large gun that looked similar to those Charlotte had, and was using a wall for shelter.

It didn't take long to determine who he was shooting at, either . . . it was Gray. Seeing him standing there, with Ilga and Rashid on either side, I felt my stomach drop. The grip I had on my own gun tightened, and rather than freeze up as I wanted to, I raised my arm and fired.

Bang -- one.

Rebel began to pull me by my free arm off to where Sergeant was. In my periphery I could see Sergeant and Legion exchange short words before Sergeant turned and disappeared down the hall. My full attention did not lie there, though. 

In one shot, I had sent Ilga crumpling to the floor.

Gray's eyes were on Rebel and I now, and the hardness to them was not foreign to me. He turned his weapon toward me as Rebel continued to pull me out of the room.

Bang -- two.

Rashid hit the floor next. As Gray began to fire at us, Rebel and I ducked behind the wall, and we didn't stop. Legion and Sergeant were already out of the building by the time Rebel and I reached the stairs, and as luck would have it, Gray's mercenaries were not the only operatives he had on the premises.

Men in all black tactical wear came crashing in through the windows and the door. I let out an audible growl of frustration, and Rebel and I exchanged a fast look.

"I vote window," he said, jerking a thumb over his shoulder toward the large windows behind us. 

"I second that vote," I said, sliding my gun into its holster. 

That was all that needed to be said between us. We took our running starts without fear, and when we crashed through the glass, I ignored the sharp burn of glass cutting across my hands and arms. 

When you jump, every second until you land is crucial. You have to know how to land, or how to fall. If you get stiff legs, or you're not in control of your body, it's how you break a bone. When you're jumping out of a second story window and you have no idea what's outside of it, you have to think fast. 

Every second counts.

It was a free-fall to the ground, and the nearest building was too far to try and slide down. So I mentally prepared myself for the landing, and as the ground rushed up, I took a steady breath in . . . out. As soon as my feet hit the ground, I let my body roll. From my feet, to my lower legs, to my knees, to my hips. Though the initial impact was a physical shock to my system, I ignored it, and propelled myself back up to my feet.

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