"You do realize what today is?"
Junior Grace Delia Star crossed her arms as the Principal Grace leaned over the body, a heated knife in his hand. It was an exact replica of Rist's, standard issue Grace weaponry. Even though he could barely breathe, the boy flinched at the site of it.
"Today is the day of the Last Betrayal. The day my kind was able to finally conquer yours."
Delia knew better than to contradict the Principal Grace in front of a prisoner, but he was wrong. The Last Betrayal had nothing to do with Graces, nothing to do with mind travel. It was when the city collapsed on itself, and they arrived just in time to pick up the pieces. All that was left was a shambled mess of a city called Renaissance.
"You'll never... get her."
Erik had been burned half to death by the shocks, but his eyes were still violent. They locked on Dalia. "She's stronger than you."
"She's one of us," the Principal Grace corrected. His golden robes were garish on a day like this, when the sun refused to shine and the entire city draped itself in black. They would have been more fitting in an interrogation room, but the boy had been too close to death to move him. The Battlestand was less than a yard away.
Dalia could hear the souls inside of it scream for the divine justice that had abandoned them over a hundred years ago. The sound was never silent, it had followed her into her sleep ever since she'd arrived in Renaissance.
"You're... lying." Erik coughed the words out with blood.
The Principal Grace looked over at Dalia, nodding her forward. "No, Erik," she said, and he visibly calmed at her voice. It was manipulation, but it worked. "Think about it. Rist hasn't been the same lately, has she? Not for about eleven months."
"She is a Grace. Though she would've died before she told you. Get your revenge, Erik. Tell us where she is."
Erik's cough took on a gurgling sound, blood rising in his throat. Concerned, Dalia sat next to his body, lifting his head just enough so he could keep breathing. Her robes - silver to the Principal's gold - soaked in the blood from the ground.
"Where is she?" Dalia asked softly.
Erik shook his head, and Dalia felt a fierce surge of pride. He had honor. If the citizens of Renaissance had half his courage, then maybe... maybe things weren't so hopeless after all. She hid her expression from the Principal Grace. "He's going."
"Where is she?" The Grace demanded, his voice growing fiercer as Dalia's softened.
His face was terrible, and Dalia made herself look away into the trees beyond.
The trees shivered. There, in the branches, a pair of green eyes peaked out. She recognized them. "Rist."
"What?" The Principal Grace turned to her, annoyed by the distraction.
The eyes disappeared. When Dalia looked back down into Erik's eyes, she saw his fear. His concern for Rist, his love for Renaissance. Things like that were nearly impossible to hide. Dalia knew, she'd been hiding them her whole life.
"Nothing, Principal Grace." She spoke while watching Erik. "It's nothing."
His eyes gave her all the hope she had ever needed, because they held the one thing she had never received.
Tune in next week, and go check out the other participants! Have a wonderful week!