Chapter Twenty Five - Familiar Faces

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"Weeks?" she blurts out in vex.

"Am I missing something here?" he turns around, coming closer to her again raising an eyebrow.

"I need to get back."

"You won't be going back anytime soon," he says walking again, stepping over a fallen branch.

"Not if I stay with you," she stays in place, watching him.

"I won't allow you out of my sight," he stops, turning his head to the side.

"I don't need to be protected by you."

He faces her now but stays in his place. "My job is to protect you, if I don't do my job then they will—" he stops himself whispering, "they will—"

"They will what?"

"Nothing."

He is on the move again. Her skin doesn't crawl from the cold but from his hesitation. There is something about the Strife he isn't telling her.

"You cannot let this one go Kennet."

"I need to protect you, but not for the Strife."

"Why?"

"I need their help, and I won't get it if I let you go."

"What kind of help?"

"They know—" he stops again, sighing. "They know the location of Hollie, my wife. She was taken from me. The Revive took her as my punishment."

"And the Strife is holding that information from you, to use it against you?

"Yes."

She stands there, in awe at what she just heard.

The Strife is using the information they have against Kennet in a cruel way. She realizes they are in a similar situation. The Strife is using her to get what they want so she can get what she needs. She has let herself depend on the resources the Strife has but the Strife could just find another one of her. She won't be able to find someone else who has the resources the Strife does.

Kennet needs Ava so he can get his wife back.

She really needs to get back to Valeoi now. She needs to warn her friends about the Strife, and what they will do to use anything against them, if it comes down to it.

Maybe if Kennet and her work together they can figure out how to get what they want.

"How about we make a deal," she suggests.

"Are you serious?" he laughs at first, then slowly his expression changes realizing she isn't joking.

"Maybe if we can help each other, we will both get what we want."

Quirking his head, he studies her face. "What do they have that you want?"

"They have resources that can help me."

"What's your plan?"

"Do you know where the Revive's supply quarters are held?"

For a moment he thinks, shaking his head. "We'll need access to get in," he places his hands on his hips, breathing slowly, thinking.

"Where can we get this access?"

"I know someone," he begins to walk now.

"Where are they?" she rushes to catch up with him.

"They are actually where we are heading."

"And that is?"

"To a small village, outside of the palace." Palace? She doesn't remember Liao ruled by a Queen or King. Maybe she had forgotten. It was hard enough to memorize the planets, let alone every single detail about each world.

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