Chapter 21

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I am awakened the next morning much too early for my taste by someone rudely shaking my shoulder. "Julia! Wake up! It's rescue day!" I hear Cassia whisper harshly. My eyes struggle to open, but when they do, there's no going back to sleep. Cassia is dressed in something that I never could have pictured her in: she wears black leather boots that go up to her calf, simple jeans, black armor that starts at her chest and goes to her waist, and more armor that incircles her shoulders to her wrists. "What are you wearing?" I question. "Customary wardrobe for today. According to Adam, it'll 'protect' us from things that could penetrate anything vital," she explains.

"Here's yours," Cassia says as she drops an identical outfit down next to me. "Adam says to be out in five minutes, because we leave in ten," she says one last time before leaving my tent. Grumbling as I stand up, I begin to put on the clothes she left for me. The armor goes on easily and to my surprise, is actually quite comfortable. I pull my dark hair back into a ponytail, and leave the tent.

Walking towards the main area at camp, I see that I am the last to arrive. Faces of at least a hundred people I've never seen turn to me, so I just drop my gaze and stand by Susan. "How did he ever find this many people to help?" I whisper to her. "God only knows," she answers.

I see Adam walking towards us all, and he stops at the front of all the people. "Well, today is the day. We're going in to rescue a friend and finally put this rebellion in motion!" He yells to everyone. People begin to cheer and pump their fists in response. "Settle down!" He yells. People silence themselves and turn back to him. "Thank you. Now, it pains me to say that we take a chance on some of you not coming back today. If anyone wants to turn back, we hold no grudges against you. This mission today is dangerous, but I am going through with it whole-heartedly. Those who are ready to put an end to the Council, fight with me now!" Adam yells. Even louder battle cries ring out, and the mass of people begin marching forward.

Cassia and Susan have to stay behind because their powers are not ones to use in fights. Before I leave, they run up to me and tackle me with a hug. "Hey," I protest while trying to get up. "Come back home, alright?" Susan says. "I'll be fine," I promise the both of them. Then, I turn around and catch up with the rest of the group.

Zig-zagging my way through the mob of people, I finally find Adam towards the front. "Good morning," I say. "Good morning," he answers back. An awkward moment of silence passes before I say, "Are you scared?" Conflicted emotions play on his face before he says, "Are you kidding? I've waited for a day like this my entire life." I can feel his heart-rate speeding up, giving himself away. "You're lying," I tell him. "I know," he answers. "So you don't think we have a chance of today being successful?" I ask. "I have no doubt today will be a success, I just can't avoid the fact that some of these people are about to die," Adam says with guilt.

I turn my head around and scan the faces of the people in the crowd. Looks of such determination and hope, looks without worry. "They know what they signed up for; they know what's at stake," I offer. "It's different for me. I know what the Council is capable of. They, on the other hand, have no idea," Adam says just as guilty again. "If you don't stop thinking like this, you're going to be one of the ones to die too. Snap out of it and get ready to fight," I order. Adam says nothing more until we get to the wall.

I've been dreading coming back to this terrible place ever since I left, but Peter is over there. They're going to kill him, and I'd rather die in his place than have that happen. "I need those with the power of transparency to come forward," Adam says. About twenty people approach us, hands at the ready. "I need you all to activate a mass transparency to get us through the wall. But first, everyone pull up the masks!" Adam yells. Puzzled, I turn and see people pulling a small black cloth from their armor over their mouth and nose, leaving only their eyes exposed. I do the same as them.

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