"What are we waiting for?" she replied before taking off running, pulling Fitz behind her. They tried to avoid the rebels by crouching and moving quickly through teams of their own guards, but when they were spotted by a team of archers Sophie deflected their arrows with telekinesis while Fitz looked for the wine cellar entrance. When a blinking arrow was launched at them, Sophie launched it back at the archers on instinct and found that it was the right instinct as it exploded when it reached the archers, knocking them to the ground.

"Hurry," she whispered to Fitz who was still scanning the ground below the war. "They're down but I don't know for how long."

"I've got it!" he announced to her and yanked it open. "Let's go."

Quickly, she began to climb down the latter, but she was pulled down by the waist the rest of the way by a strong, gruff hand, making her yelp. Immediately upon hearing her distress, Fitz jumped down into the cellar, not bothering to use the latter.

"A pretty one, ain't she?" the man holding her chuckled, his breath smelling like rotten fish in her face. In the dim cellar light, she could see dark tattoos circling up the bald man's arms, and that he had holes punched in the cartilage of his ears with specially shaped metal gauges to line the hole's edges, undoubtedly made through ruthless means. Panicking, Sophie tried to squirm out of his hold, but his muscly grip tightened further. "Might keep her for myself."

"Not if I have anything to say about it," Fitz grunted before slugging the goon in the face.

The lug of a man stumbled slightly, giving Sophie enough time to break free and deck him herself, using her telekinesis to drive her fist into his face harder, sending him flying backward.

"Gah," she winched and shook her hand out, her knuckles red from the hit.

Fitz looked at her for a moment, agape, then smiled, "Telekinesis?" She nodded. "Amazing," he breathed and took her hand again, feeling her bruising knuckles to see if they were broken. When he decided she was alright and the goon was starting to get up, Fitz said, "We need to keep going. I've got your back, even without my sword."

Feeling better about their situation, Sophie nodded, and together they bounded up the stairs and closed the door behind them, pulling a nearby table in front of it when they were safely in the hall of the palace. They caught their breath for a moment, but when they saw goons swarming out of the servant's passage at the end of the hall, they pressed themselves against the far wall to avoid being seen. Despite their situation, there was almost an excitement that came with sneaking into the palace while the Neverseen were storming in from the servant's passages - wait.

"They're getting in from the servant's passages," she telepathically transmitted her realization to her cognate. "Aren't those supposed to be guarded?"

"They are," Fitz's brow furrowed and his eyes slowly widened. "We never find or hear about the guards being knocked out before they get in, which must mean..."

"There are traitors among the staff," Sophie concluded. "And we don't know who we can trust."

As the clomping of footsteps started to fade, the two cognates began to peel themselves away from the wall, shocked and confused.

"They're all going in the same direction," noted Fitz. "If they wanted to try to take over the palace, they would want to spread out as much as possible; they would have come this way. It must not be their goal, and if that's true, what's their real goal?"

"We can find that out after we get your sword," she reminded him, and he nodded. Together they continued on their way, moving quickly and cautiously through the halls, only stopping when a loud BOOM shook the palace. Without a second thought, Fitz wrapped Sophie under his arm as tremors shook throughout the building, and Sophie wrapped her arms around his head so it was next to hers, protected as chunks of plaster from the ceiling rained down on them. When it was finally over they slowly moved apart and looked around numbly as the world picked back up to speed again. Servants running down the halls to the safe rooms. Guards rushing to join the fight. Dust raining from the ceiling like snow, covering the rich blue carpet in a thin layer. Sophie was the first one to regain her senses and pulled Fitz along, tearing them out of their little bubble and back into the real world.

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