Lisbeth leans over towards the cake and blows the candle. Caleb, Eleanor and I clap in applaud while Mr. Muller brings the cake to the kitchen to be cut into pieces.

“I can’t believe you three did this for me,” Lisbeth says, sounding like she’s going to cry.

Caleb hugs her. “What can I say? I’m awesome.”

Eleanor punches her cousin’s arm. “Hey! Melanie and I are awesome too!”

Lisbeth stiffens noticeably. I glare at Eleanor for her slipup.

“Melanie?” Lisbeth repeats in a whisper, looking at me. She stares at me for a long time until her eyes widen. Although my exterior looks are different, she knows that I’m the same Melanie she met ten years ago.

I laugh nervously. “I’m just going to go to the kitchen and see if Mr. Muller needs anything…”

Before I can run off, Lisbeth grabs my arm. The next thing she did shocks me; she hugs me.

“No wonder I felt like I knew you,” she mumbles.

“What’s going on?” Caleb asks loudly. I can see Eleanor shrugging.

I hug back. “I’m sorry for what I did years ago, Lisbeth. I’m so very sorry.”

It is almost as if I slap her when Lisbeth cringes away from me. In an instant, happiness is replaced with anger.

“Why did you avoid me? I was your best friend!” she yells at me, taking a step back. Caleb tries to hug her so she can calm down.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” he asks.

“Don’t touch me,” she hisses at him. He lets go of her.

“It’s complicated,” I answer, giving her a pleading look so she can calm down and I can explain.

“Cake is ready, children! Why don’t you – ” Mr. Muller’s sentence dies when he sees our tense situation.

Lisbeth looks at her father and asks, “Dad, did you know who Laney is?”

Mr. Muller frowns. “Yes, why?”

“I mean, the real Laney. Melanie Raquella.”

I wince again at my old name. The way she said my name is as if it’s poison on her tongue. Mr. Muller stays silent, looking at me. I, on the other hand, keep my eyes on Lisbeth.

“Yes,” Mr. Muller replies weakly. His face shows regret.

Lisbeth turns to Eleanor now. “How did you know her real name?”

“I eavesdropped on her conversation two days ago. I didn’t know who she really is though,” Eleanor answers while raising her hand in surrender.

“Lisbeth, who is she?” Caleb asks, glaring at me. I pay him no mind.

I feel something heating up in my pocket. In curiosity, I stuff my hand in and take a blank folded piece of paper from my pocket out. The paper is heating up.

Mr. Muller tilts his head in curiosity too.

I unfold the paper to see that it has writings on it. I remember that Athena gave me this paper and she told me that the paper will reveal the location to a camp. This camp is to train Lisbeth.

This means I have to get Lisbeth to this camp.

I give Mr. Muller a look. He comprehends my expression and nods. I put the map back into my pocket.

“Pack up what’s needed,” I say in an emotionless tone, walking towards Lisbeth’s room.

“Wait! We’re not done with this conversation, Melanie!” Lisbeth cries, following me.

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