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   Chapter 37 NO.37

The Rouges By Alzek16 Characters: 11864

Updated: 2018-01-05 17:53


A LOUD BANGING woke me, jolting me from my dreams. It took me a moment to remember where I was. Something heavy was draped over my body.

The banging vibrated the room and suddenly the pressure on my body was gone. Triven moved swiftly to the door, holding up a finger asking me stay put.

What time was it? How long had we been asleep?

Archer stood in the dim hallway, her eyes uncharacteristically wide with fear. There was blood on her shirt.

I jumped to my feet as Triven's shoulders tensed. Something was wrong.

"What happened?" His voice was deep, commanding.

"There was a second recon mission. They were meant to retrieve some of the weapons we discovered." She shook her head, unable to meet our eyes. "The Ravagers ambushed us, two dead and four injured."

"Who?" Triven's hands were clenching and unclenching at his sides.

"Marks and Weaver." Archer stared at his chest. It was the first time I had seen her look ashamed. It made the hairs on my neck stand up.

"Why wasn't I informed of this?" The tone in his voice sent chills down my spine. This was not the voice of the gentle man I had shared a bed with last night. This was the voice of a military leader.

"The orders came from above, you were not to be involved." Her eyes flitted to me.

I was not to be involved. That's what she meant. Apparently Arstid's distrust for me had only matured with time. Triven was not informed because of me. He didn't miss this either. Grabbing my wrist he pushed past Archer, pulling me with him. She looked hurt and ashamed as I glanced back at her. Triven moved with surprising speed through the halls. My usually nimble feet were struggling to keep up. Stragglers from last night's celebration still lingered in the halls, their curious eyes following our hurried progression. They didn't know yet.

We paused outside of the doors that led to the round-tabled meeting room. Voices were carrying through the door, but they were too muffled to understand. Only the volume gave away that it was a heated conversation. Triven's shoulders heaved as he took a deep breath, his hand tightened on mine. As I looked at our intertwined fingers, a dawning realization came over me. For the first night in six years, my parents' murders hadn't haunted my dreams. I had awoken in Triven's arms not because of my muffled screams but because of something else.

Before I could speak, before I could think any more about it, we were through the doors. The conversation stopped the instant we walked in. Arstid stood in front of her usual chair with her palms pressed to the table. Her face was flushed, her usually perfect hair falling around her face in a random array of white. Maddox stood across from her with Willets and the blonde guard whose name I still didn't remember. As her eyes fell on my hand in Triven's, her face tightened. I loosened my grip, but he only constricted his in response.

"Who ordered the mission tonight?" Triven's voice was like ice. Suddenly no one could meet his eyes, not even Arstid.

"We made the decision without you. It was decided that your judgment might be recently impaired—" Arstid stammered.

"Impaired?" Triven's voice rose. "The only judgment that seems to be impaired is yours, Mother. Since when have we ever sent out a team without the input of the entire council?"

The word mother was like a slap in the face. Why hadn't I seen it before? Triven wasn't just a well-spoken youth his peers looked up to. He was the heir to The Subversive. Every glare Arstid threw our way, every ti

ur conversation."

I hadn't heard him come in, but he was standing in the doorway watching me. His warm eyes waited as he leaned against the doorframe. I crumpled the drawing and shoved it into the backpack with my other things.

"Please don't leave." He whispered. My heart ripped as I kept my back to him. "I should have told you sooner that Arstid was my mother, but I didn't want you to see me as nothing more than her son. Besides, she stopped being my mother years ago. I don't agree with her about any of it. She's wrong."

I shook my head.

"She's right. I am a danger to all of you. I'm not good at working with others, you said it yourself. I'm not loyal to anyone." I kept putting things in my bag, ignoring the pain growing in my chest. I turned to leave and ran into his chest.

"Move." I said staring at his shoulder.

"No."

"Move."

"No."

I could feel the rage building in me. Why was he being so stubborn? Why couldn't he see how wrong I was for him? For everyone here? They would all be better off without me, even Mouse. I wanted them. I knew that now. I wanted people to love me. The drawing crumpled in my bag proved that. I wanted them, but I didn't need them.

"I don't need you, you know. Despite what you said to Arstid I don't need your help. I don't need anyone." I hoped the words would sting, that he would finally feel hurt and let me go. Last night had been a mistake. I had let him get too close. I stepped to the side but he moved with me.

"I know, Prea." He whispered my name and I froze, teetering on my thin emotional ledge. "I know that you don't need me, but I need you. Despite what Arstid says we need you."

My shoulders began to sag and he pressed on, taking advantage of my weakness. "You are strong and fearless and the kind of person we need on our side. If you won't stay for me, then stay for her. Mouse will be lost without you. She needs you. Without you she is just another child abandoned in Tartarus."

That was a low blow.

I pressed my head to his shoulder. I wanted to stay. I should leave. I wanted Mouse to be safe, to have the life I didn't. I didn't want her to be like me, but I didn't want to abandon her like my parents had done to me.

"For her." I said closing my eyes as I let Triven take the bag from my shoulder.

************

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