Chapter 24

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"What's going to be your next move, Ms. Lancaster? It seems you're out of ideas. Hope is lost, and the Council is prevailing," the Council says to me. "You're wrong. As long as there are people who dare to defy you, there will always be hope. This is a battle you can't win," I spit back. "You're wrong. After all, you are the leader of this, aren't you? All we have to do is target what hurts you the most, and your own weakness will be your own destruction. Besides, not everyone is on your side; there are some people who were happy with the system, and they hate you because of what you've done," they challenge. "There is no such thing as a total compromise in war. But you listen to me: we will win, and I will see you locked in your own prisons," I threaten. "Natalie was only the first of many that will soon die; we've made it our mission to see you dead as well," they hiss. Suddenly, the ground beneath my feet opens, and I fall into the earth.

"AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" I scream into the early morning, the sound making my own blood run cold. I start shaking and crying, the horror of the dream still fresh in my mind. That was at least the fifth nightmare I've had just tonight. I hear footsteps outside, running towards my tent.

I ready myself, thinking the Council has invaded camp and is coming for me. It is only until a familiar face looks inside that I begin to calm down. "Are you ok?" Peter asks. I nod my head, but the tears running down my face say otherwise. Peter's eyes soften up, and he says, "It's a nice morning. Want to take a walk?"

Ready to leave the tent and get away from where the nightmares plagued me, I join him outside. Not caring that I'm still wearing the invasion outfit, we start walking into the cool morning. "Do you want to talk about it?" He asks, now aware it was a nightmare that caused me to scream. "Not yet," I say. Another moment of silence passes before I remember yesterday's events. "I guess you've heard about Natalie by now?" "Bits and pieces, but I don't know how she died," he admits. "One of the Council members crushed her organs from the inside during yesterday's rescue. She died in my place," I say, remembering how scared Natalie was before she died. Peter wraps his arm around me and says, "She was a very brave woman then."

I begin to say something back, but I suddenly hear a rustling in the bushes.

Feeling the motion waves being drawn to whatever made that noise coming from my feet, I whisper to Peter, "We're not alone." Using my enhanced senses, I hear muffled breathing and smell something vaguely human, almost as if there's someone trying to hide. I tip-toe over to the bush where the rustling came from, and peer behind it.

Confirming my suspicions, there staring back at me is a young girl, no older than fifteen. She has fair skin, light brown hair, pale blue eyes, and wears faded jeans with a red shirt. "What are you doing here?" I growl. "I...I...I'm sorry. I was trying to find a place to hide from the Council!" She cries. "I obtain the power of truth, so lying isn't going to save you with me," I spit back. "She's a spy sent by the Council," I hear Peter say from behind me.

Anger rises up in me, and so I control her. I levitate her off the ground and trap her so she can't move. "What did they want her to do Peter?" I ask as he evaluates her. "I'll tell you what you want to know better than your boyfriend can if you just put me down," she says angrily. Realizing that we're interrogating a fifteen year old, I put her down in my shame. "Yes, I was sent by the Council, but I only obeyed because they said they'd kill me if I didn't do what they wanted. They wanted me to look through the woods until I found your hiding place," she says. "Our hiding place is invisible to the eye, so no one will ever find it," I tell her. "Then why do I see people and tents and a campfire behind you? Explain that to me," she challenges.

Puzzled, I look back at her. Adam said there was a transparent shield around camp, invisible to the average eye and to those with the power of insight as well as strengthened senses. "What's your power?" I ask. "Why should I tell you?" She sasses. "Because you're in a place you don't know where we could easily capture you and imprison you. Be wise," I tell her. I can tell she wants to say something she would probably later regret, be she holds it back. "Fine. I have the power of senses, but it's ten times stronger than someone else with this power. The Council needed someone good, a protégé they said, to find you guys, and now I have," she explains.

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