Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

We sat around a glossy mahogany wood table in the dining room of our new home.

"So what's the plan?" My mother asked. I turned to look at her and spotted the familiar look she wore when going into battle. I hadn't seen in it in so long, it had been buried underneath the layers of pretty and pristine motherliness that she'd traded it for, but now as I looked I saw that there was something different about it. Her masked lacked the familiar hardness she used to harbor and was replaced with the softest simplicity of compassion and I stared in awe. She hadn't given up "the old Janine" for me but had become a better version of her. A mother, sweet, kind, loving, and fierce, prepared to do whatever it took to protect her daughter, to protect the people she loved and cared for. I fought the urge to stand from my seat and hug her but reminded myself to do it later.

"No offense guys, but can I say what everyone else is thinking?"

"You're going to anyway, Ozera, so why ask?"

"Exactly, so, We've been running for months now and they've caught us every single time, just because a bunch of glorified witch scientist came up with some hocus pocus type protection doesn't mean that we're actually safe, does it? Are we just going to trust them?"

"Christian!" Lissa exclaimed and elbowed him in his ribs.

"Ow! What? We were all thinking it!"

"Dad- Christian could have said it differently but… are we? Safe I mean? We've got those little kids in that other room, we can't get comfortable and risk their safety if we aren't sure. They're innocent and they don't deserve any of this- none of you deserve any of this. Safety is not something we can spare." I said.

"Rose-" Abe started.

"Listen, Rose. I wasn't saying anything about being here with you. I- We wouldn't want to be anywhere- Rose you aren't gonna shake us that easily." Christian floundered. "You're stuck with us."

"With everything," Abe sighed. "There are risks. We've tested the atmosphere and it's untraceable from what we can see."

"How does it work?" Dimitri asked.

"No one can see this place. When we were flying in I gave you all a drink. That drink was charmed. It's the key to being able to get in or out of this place. It's the key to even seeing it. It lasts in your system for a course of 23 days and must be renewed in order for you to keep seeing and being able to interact with the atmosphere here. We've been supplied with an ongoing batch of it by the alchemists. If at any point your system is rid of the mixture it will appear that you are out in an open, empty field. You will not be able to see us or this and we will not be able to see you until you are free of the surrounding area under the alchemists influence. That shouldn't happen, we will be consuming the batch at the end of each month together, but if it does happen the affected person is to get as far away from the surrounding area as possible. There is a forest to the west and when you reach it you'll know you're free. Make contact and we'll come and find you."

"That's crazy…" Christian muttered.

"We have exactly 19 days before we need to replenish. Until then… I believe we are safe." Abe said. Everyone sat in silence until Janine finally spoke up, her mask never faltering.

"So, What are we going to do? What's the plan?"

"We've been searching for heavily populated areas that have maybe suffered mysterious deaths or unresolved missing cases that could point to a headquarters for the Strigoi. We aren't sure if they're all working together or if this is an isolated group. Our theory is that maybe Mishka was some sort of leader or authority figure among the Strigoi population. We've been working on lately trying an… unorthodox method."

"Unorthodox?" I asked.

"To get more information we've been working on capturing one…"

"Alive? Abe, no that's dangerous. "I said.

"For questioning. All of our attempts so far have…failed. They are- They're very avasive."

"Can we do something?" My mom asked.

"Mom, no you are not-"

"Rose!"

"We could go into town and capture one. It would be too dangerous to bring them here but a few of us could take us to the nearby base in Norfolk. Leave him there with our men. We'd have to let them transport him further away as an extra safety precaution but…" he trailed off.

"This is too dangerous. High class secret service like Guardians haven't been able to get them. You guys can get hurt."

"Rose. We'll get hurt- You'll get hurt if we don't get this information!" My mother exclaimed shooting up from her chair and throwing her hands up in exasperation.

"Fine! But I'm going and you," I pointed my finger at her. "Are staying."

"Staying, my ass! You're my kid and I'm not letting you-"

"I'll go alone!" I threatened.

"Bullshit. Over my dead body!"

"That's what it'll be if you go out there." I said. "You stay. You stay or I go alone. He stays too."

"Rosemarie Hathaway-" she fumed.

"Rose I will not-" Dimitri said outraged.

"No!" I shouted. I shot up from my chair knocking it over with my sudden movement. I looked at the grave expressions on the silent couple Lissa and Christian as they stared desperately around the table.

"Rose, I agree with them," Abe said. "This is very dangerous I don't want you out there. I don't want you any where near this."

"I'm already, near it. I'm right smack in the center! This is my fight, it always has been. I will not put you guys in any further danger, especially not this kind of danger."

"Rose-"

"I can do it, I've been training for this kind of stuff almost my whole life."

"Rose-"

"I can, I can do it. Send me, send Guardians, that way you know if anything does happen-"

"That's just it, Roza!" Dimitri exploded. "Something could happen. We will not-"

"This is my fault!" I screamed through the tears threatening to fall. "You guys had to leave your homes, your jobs, your life! Because of me… I have to do this and you all need to stay. The world needs you, those kids need you, mom needs you." I said pointing to each person. "I go alone." Dimitri walked over to where I stood and placed his hands on either side of my face sighing and leaning his forehead against mine.

"I promised you, Roza." He said shakily. "Fine. You go with as many Guardians as we can spare."

"All of them" Abe muttered.

"You get in and out," He growled. "If you don't come back by tomorrow morning I'm coming out there after you. Alone."

"I promise," I whispered.

"You better," he whispered back. He pulled my face to his and kissed me hard before pulling back and staring intensely into my eyes.

"Guys-"

"She needs you too, Roza." He muttered.

Hey guys. Thanks for reading as always. Thank you to everyone for commenting! Sorry I didn't post this yesterday, I got home and was really sick and even right now I feel like my brain is about to explode and I need soup and cuddles. v.v . I just couldn't not post this chapter though because I really liked it and I did say I was going to post it yesterday. SO, for you who brighten my day :*. Now, I was thinking maybe I should come up with a schedule for this instead of my unpredictable impatience of randomly throwing my chapters at you like skittles lol. What do you guys think? Something like every Thursday? (I go straight from classes to work on Fridays) or continue with the way I've been doing it? Love you guys! Happy reading! Leave me some love ;D

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