Inquest Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

Betrayal

The truth of Mr. Walters’ words slap against me like an endless tide of betrayal. I want desperately to deny what he said. There is nothing left for me to defend. The proof is in my own memories. After waking up, I felt as if I was being drained. Of everything. I was so weak I could barely move. I felt disconnected from the world in a way I had never experienced before. The world around me felt plain and ordinary.

I grew up with my talents from birth. Plain and ordinary were completely foreign to me. It was beyond terrifying. I can’t imagine living my life feeling so singular, as if I were one tiny rock in a vast forest instead of part of something immense and unending. Given the choice of casting off my future to be free of my destiny and living such a barren existence, I don’t know that I could choose something so bleak.

“I’ve never heard of someone stealing another person’s talents,” Milo says. His voice sounds far away and thin. I’m too wrapped up in my own emotional turmoil to be present in their discussion. I can only listen through a haze.

“It is called a Serqet, and it’s not openly discussed. I have only heard of it myself through some less than legal inquiries. I have never heard of it being performed successfully. In every case both people involved died,” Mr. Walters says.

“Doesn’t that mean it’s impossible, then? If no one can do it…”

“No one has been able to do it, yet. That’s hardly the same as something being impossible.”

“I don’t see how.”

“There has yet to be someone powerful enough to accomplish stealing a talent. If someone powerful enough were found, they could do it,” he says. “Apparently Libby’s father thought himself able to do it, or I doubt he would have even considered it.”

“Or he didn’t know how difficult it was,” Milo offers.

“Or how dangerous. I still believe that Mr. Sparks would not intentionally harm Libby.”

“Maybe,” Milo mutters.

“The thing that bothers me the most is where he got the idea from in the first place. He shouldn’t have even known about the process in the first place.”

“Why not?”

“Because the technique was developed by the Concealers. They can find the root of the talents and, if strong enough, use their ability to reveal things to actually pull them out and transfer them to themselves. Only a person gifted with Concealment can employ the Serqet. And even though Andrew had Concealment, he was in training to be an Inquisitor. He never would have been considered for a position in the Veil.”

“The Veil?” Milo asks.

“The ruling council of the Concealers. They’re supposed to be the only ones who know about this,” Mr. Walters says.

Even held back by my grief, I am rocked by a new realization. There is no grief for this betrayal. Only anger. Furious, consuming anger. My fury spills out of me and covers the room. Milo must feel it because he turns to stare at me. Mr. Walters follows his gaze.

“Libby?” Milo asks. “Are you okay?”

My teeth are ground together so tight I can’t even speak.

“Libby, what is the matter with you, child?” Mr. Walters demands.

“My mother,” I hiss.

The two men glance at each other in confusion.

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