Chapter 8

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I blink and find myself outside the foyer to our homes, alone with Marc

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I blink and find myself outside the foyer to our homes, alone with Marc. He opens the door and brings me just passed the threshold enough to step over the barriers reinforcing walls. We give the soldiers guarding my home no time to catch what state I'm in before we vanish once more.

We end up in a clean and tidy living room; chilly and doused in shades of gray. A throw blanket on the couch and shelves upon shelves of books. Real books. The martians stole all our books in the midst of our last world war, leaving us paperless and technology dependent. I've never seen this many books before except in the movies.

I carefully take my shoes off and wipe my hands on my clothes. From a distance, they appear leather-bound with one Ama character carved as its label. My fingers drag along the spines. It's not leather but warm sanded wood; soft and aged. They smell of nectar. I can taste the sweetness on my tongue.

One book reads poisons. Curious, I start pulling it out. A pale hand shoves it back in. His coolness reaches my drenched bones before I find his stern lips. Darious keeps his hand on the spine which is smart. I planned to yank it back out.

"Why did you bring all your koto magic scripts?" Marc strides over towards us, his shoes stomping the entire way. "What if someone breaks in here and steals them?"

"If someone removes one, they will meet a horrible death," Darious says this while keeping his calculating gaze on mine. "I put a trap on here for those who are not one of us."

Not one of us. That is clearly a dig at me. Marc stands by my side. It feels protective and Darious seems to acknowledge this, narrowing his eyes slightly. "You should have just left them at home. Then none of that would've been necessary," Marc says.

"Mika and Sam are still training. Moving to earth doesn't stop this," he drawls, glancing towards the kitchen where the others pop up. "They still have lessons outside of your alleged training sessions."

Marc runs his fingers through his hair. He's trying to ignore Darious' taunting, just like I'm trying to ignore the fact that we're in the twins home, but it's hard to when my eyes glance around. There are obvious differences in the interior compared to my home.

It's bland and lifeless here. Colder than outside, although that might have something to do with my wet clothes. Their floor plan is the same style as ours, an open concept with a small living room and kitchen. There are three rooms, identical to one another, each with their own view of the garden or trees, except the far corner. It has a view of the city—it was Junipea's room. This used to be his home.

A shiver runs through my body, filling my arms up with goosebumps. Marc takes notice. "Okay, who's putting up their shower?" he says, standing closer to my side.

Sam's mouth falls agape, hesitating to answer as his eyes glance over at Mika and his easy-going smile. Yeah, just take your time. I'm not freezing my butt off over here.

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