36 ※ A Murder

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Chapter 36 ※ A Murder

Unsurprisingly, she couldn't sleep that night. It was partly because she was picking apart her thoughts, but also because Tan slept right beneath her—and she wouldn't put it past the girl if she stabbed her in the back in the middle of the night. The assassin lay flat on her back, a tear running down her cheek she scrubbed off immediately. Elle Hallor didn't cry. Not anymore.

It was the shouting down the hallway that jarred her from a nightmare where her eyes were open. Anything to get up and out of her hard cot, where Tan was groggily waking up beneath her. They exchanged no words but headed out with the other stragglers. Mather hadn't shouted at them to wake that morning, so why was everyone in a rush?

As soon as they stepped outside, Elle was swept away in a current of running assassins. Most of the agents were in the process of leaving DETRA, sorting out affairs and where they would stay, taking advantage of the free food and a place to sleep for as long as they could.

Someone screamed.

What was happening?

Elle shot a panicked look around, looking for Cerid, or anyone who could explain the situation. It was only until the running agents took her through the arch with the flowers etched into them that she wondered how they were all permitted into agent territory. Her ankle was killing her, and her ribs ached from the increase in inhalation.

Unfamiliar surroundings, but still led by the evermoving and growing crowd, the assassin finally found herself at the bottom of the gaping Vault.

She had never been this low before. It seemed so much smaller when she was up on the balcony with Cerid. The training Sections must be on some of the lowest levels of the system. The floor was enormous, it would take her several minutes of sprinting to reach the other wall. Every agent fitted in easily.

Pushing through the agents who had abruptly stopped, she wasn't tall enough to look over their heads to see anything. 'Move a second, sorry—excuse me. Move.' Until she reached the last few agents.

Air whooshed out of her and she almost crumpled to the floor. Her mouth was slack wide open and she didn't bother to contain her horror.

There, suspended from a rope in the centre of the Vault's base, was a man. Elle immediately knew him to be Jax, from the brown hair down to his mangled face. They had tortured him. Her hand flew to her gaping mouth.

Her heart plummeted further.

Had he given up their names? Had he exposed the Order's plans? They assumed that he wouldn't be so stupid, but they were wrong. Was Cerid alright? Gods, the hanging man was tinged blue, and when the draft caused his limp body to spin, she saw the extent of the damage to his face.

Elle's empty stomach heaved. Both of his once-brown eyes had been gouged out. Leaving only dark sockets, pits of black damning them all to the Hells. They had sliced open his cheeks, extending his mouth in a bloody smile.

She retched again and vomited.

Spitting on the floor, she ground her teeth together and wiped her mouth. One could barely identify that it was him from all of the sliced skin. His clothes had been ripped, leaving him indecent when he died.

That stupid, stupid, boy.

Their personalities clashed constantly, but she did feel remorse. He once mentioned that his parents had both died from some kind of hijacking. Would there be anyone who would sob and wail over his loss?

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