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Chapter 41

I awoke with the taste of rust and salt deeply embedded in my mouth. Immediately, I knew what it was. “It’s the blood of a dying man,” I recited from my favorite movie simply to distract from the pain I felt both physically and mentally. I coughed and watched what had clotted my taste buds fly out of my mouth like a crimson hawk as I sat up from my fetal position on the conspicuously moldy mattress. “But,” I thought as I stood and bent down. I then stepped into the circle I had created with my cuffed hands to make moving easier on my exhausted body. Slowly, my memories began to return to me. I quickly began feeling around in my pocket for the tiny piece of folded paper Elizabeth had given me. “I might not have to stay here much longer,” I said aloud as I pulled the folded piece from my back pocket. My anticipation flooded my veins as I carefully undid each crease in the strangely folded piece of paper, fearing for everything I had lived for that I was going to rip the first bit of hope I had held since Zuri had sat across from me, telling stories of her brother and in turn, laughing as stories of my goofy dog and crazy sister. My heart ached as I gazed upon the first step to my freedom. I had left one last fold in the paper to hide its contents from myself. “This is it,” I told myself after a moment as I sat down cross-legged beside the small bag of strange items and unfolded the last crease.

Lightly tread and, magic smart be, careful be. Shoulders capable Riptide’s on riding lot a is there. Is it as away far so being memory the despite, was witchcraft once she who tales remember to able be to never enough long cell prison unexplainable her in rotting been has she until her world to return to be sorcery able not will James Olivia. Blown be will cover union’s the, so do to fail she should and cuffs her of out way a find battles to then is she. Plan escape mythical the discover to souls six phenomenon her giving, password interchangeable weekly organization’s the decode to provided legends materials the use good and evil to is Riptide. Laboratory the to alone come to is she. Possible however Union Struggles Mythic the of head the meet to is James Olivia.

Backward - Mythics

I sighed and realized it was a code. “Alright,” I thought to myself. “You got this,” I said repeatedly aloud as I searched the piece of paper for clues. “Backward Mythics,” I muttered, wondering what is meant. “It’s not a name,” I thought. Suddenly, it came to me. I knew what it meant. It wasn’t a name, it was a clue. Read it backward, subtracting mythics. “Mythics?” I asked myself as I repeated the words backward.

Olivia James is to meet the head of the Mythis Struggles Union however possible. She is to come alone to the Laboratory. Riptide is to evil and good?

“Wait a minute,” I thought. “Evil and good?” I paused for a moment, thinking of how this fit into the clue. “Mythics! In every mythic story or fairytale, it’s a struggle between evil and good,” I recalled. “Read the text backward and subtract anything having to do with mythics or fairytales,” I said to myself, laughing at how strange my life had become. I continued reading the newly decoded text correctly.

Riptide is to use the materials provided to decode the organization’s weekly interchangeable password, giving her six souls to discover the escape plan. She is then to find a way out of her cuffs and should she fail to do so, the union’s cover will be blown. Olivia James will not be able to return to her world until she has been rotting in her prison cell long enough never to be able to remember who she once was, despite the memory seeming so far away as it is. There is a lot riding on Riptide’s capable shoulders. Be careful, be smart, and tread lightly.

Backward - Mythics

“How clever,” I thought to myself once I was finished decoding the note. “But there’s still something missing from all this,” I said aloud as my mind flashed to every spy movie I had ever seen, which happened to be quite a lot, as the genre had been my favorite for over a decade.

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