Love or Tradition

Chapter 19


I stare at Tris, who is holding the letter out to me. I could feel my heart racing and my palms get sweaty as I think about reading that letter, to learn the truth about my past.

"Tris, what do you mean that the letter holds the truth of Four's family?" Uriah asks.

"Four's real parents aren't Tori and Bud," Tris says. "I asked my brother's fiancé, Cara, to look up some information about someone and she did it for me. Four, please, this letter can tell you everything about your family and who you once were."

I look at the letter before shakily taking the letter from Tris' hands. I tear open the seal then take out the letter, smoothing out the creases before reading it. "Ten years ago, the royal family of Dauntless was attacked by surprise. The attackers were wearing all black and masks, killing anyone in their path to get to the family. The king, Amar, put up a fight to keep his family safe but he was killed when his back was turned to one of the attackers. Evelyn, the queen, was brutally murdered and there were signs of rape. The prince…" I stop reading, taking a deep breath before I continue on. "The prince, Tobias, was never found and many people consider him dead." My eyes were wide after I finish reading the letter. I could hear Tris and the others asking if I was ok but I wasn't listening. Instead, there were flashbacks playing in my mind.

A knife pierces the target in the training room. I stand in amazement, staring at the board. "That's so cool!" I exclaim, looking up at my dad. "Can I try?"

"I don't know, Tobias," my dad answers. "I don't know if your mom will be ok with that." He looks behind him then hands me a knife. "Just don't tell your mother, okay?"

I nod, grabbing the knife. I turn to the target and raise the knife when I hear, "Tobias Johnson, put that knife down!" My dad and I turned around to see my mom standing there, a stern look on her face. "Evelyn!" My dad exclaims nervously. "How are you?"

"Don't Evelyn me, Amar," Mom says. "Why are you giving our son a knife?! You know he's too young!"

"Evelyn, he has to start training at some point. Tobias will grow up to be a big, strong man that will take care of himself. Don't you want that for our son?"

Mom sighs. "I do, Amar, but I just think he's too young."

"I'm not too young, momma," I tell Mom. "I'm already eight years old and the way Dad throws his knives, I think it will be easy for me. Can I please just throw one?"

"All right, but only one throw."

I smile before turning back to the target. I copy Dad's movements, taking a deep breath before throwing the knife; it lands right in the center. "Good job, son!" Dad praises.

"On your first try too!" exclaims Mom, picking me up. She kisses my cheek while Dad just smiles proudly at me.

"Four!" I snap my attention to Tris, who is staring at me worriedly. "Are you all right?"

"I remember," I whisper quietly.


"I…I remember…my mom and dad."

"Who was it, Four?" Shauna gently asks.

"Amar and…Evelyn."

"The king and queen of Dauntless?!" everyone but Tris exclaims.

I just nod as another flashback reoccurs.

I feel myself being placed on my bed and the sheets being tucked around me. "He's wiped out," I hear Dad say.

"Well, he did have an exhausting day," Mom says. "You teaching him how to fight and all." I feel the blanket cover me and Mom's lips as she kisses my forehead. "Sweet dreams, my son." Just as I'm about to fall asleep, gunshots ring through the palace. My eyes open with alarm and I look up at my parents, who are shocked and alarmed. Dad turns to us, a stern look on his face. "Stay here with our son, Evelyn."

"Be careful, Amar." Dad kisses her cheek before leaving the room, closing the door behind him.

"Mom," I say, alarm and worry laced in my voice. Mom turns to me, a reassuring look on her face. She picks me up and holds me in her lap. "Don't worry, sweetie; Dad is going to handle this." She rubs my back soothingly but I don't know if that is supposed to make me feel better or her.

After a while, the gunshots stop but we hear footsteps running towards the room. Mom gets up and carries me over to a panel hidden in the floorboards. She opens it up then places me inside of it. "Sweetie, I need you to be quiet and not say or do anything until I say you can come out. Do you understand me?" I nod then Mom closes the door. I stay in the cramped space, trying to keep myself quiet, when I hear the door to the room open. "What are you doing here?!" Mom exclaims.

"Finishing what I started," a man's voice says. I hear what sounds like a struggle until it stops and it is replaced by Mom's screams. I want to go out and help her but I'm too scared to go out. Instead, I cover my ears to drown out Mom's screams of pain and a grunting noise the man is making. It isn't long until the screams stop and then I hear Mom crying. "I told you that if you run away from me, I would make your life a living hell. Now, your husband is dead," says the man. "And when I find your son, he will be as well." I hear footsteps leave the room but I still didn't come out of my hiding spot, in fear of the man.

"Tobias," Mom starts. "You can come out now." I open the door and get out but what I see shocks me. Mom is on my bed, beaten and bloody. Her clothes are in a pile around the bed and she is using the sheets to cover herself. Tears form in my eyes as I run over to her. "Mommy, you're hurt." Mom gives me a sad smile then places her hand on my cheek. "Listen to me carefully, Tobias. I need you to get away from here, run away as fast as you can."


"No, Tobias. That man is going to search the palace from top to bottom looking for you. If he finds you, he will kill you and I can't see that happen to my own son." Tears run down Mom's face. "So I need you to run away from Dauntless. Go to the kingdom of Abnegation, go to the king and queen and tell them what has happened. I promise, they will take you in and take care of you. Do you understand?" I nod, tears running down my own face as well. Mom smiles at me then pulls me in for a hug, placing a kiss on my head. "I will always love you, Tobias. Don't you ever forget that."

"I won't, Mom." I hug her back tightly, knowing that this will be the last time I see Mom. I head towards the doorway before taking one last glance at Mom then leave the room. I run towards the exit, being wary of my surroundings, when I see Dad lying on the ground, with a bullet wound in his head. More tears run down my face as I continue to run out of the palace and towards the train tracks. The train starts coming and when I gets closer, I jump on it, riding it all the way to Abnegation.

That day continues to play over and over in my head, making my vision blurry.

"Dude, are you all right?" Zeke asks. "You look like you're about to cry."

"The legendary Four? Crying?" Lynn snorts. "Give me a break."


I couldn't handle the questions anymore so I got up and ran out of the house. I run all the way back to my house, more and more memories of my old life filling my head.

I jump off the train at Abnegation and start making my way to the palace. I need to tell the king and queen what happened so that they could do something about it. However, I get lost on my way there and I don't know where the palace is. I look around then see a market not to far from where I'm standing. Before I could go over there, though; something hard hits me in the back of the head, making everything go black.

The memories stop there but I know what happened next and it pisses me off. When I get back home, I march up to my room and slam the door shut. I pace around the room, running my fingers through my hair. Why? Why did this life have to happen to me? What did I do to deserve all of this?! I think to myself. I turn to the punching bag in the corner of my room and start beating the shit out of it. Every memory of my past parents, my home, my life fills my head and it makes me punch the bag harder until it breaks in two. However, I'm still not feeling any better so I grab my chair and fling it across the room, which breaks when it comes in contact with the wall. I then sit down on my bed, placing my head in my hands and taking deep breaths to calm myself.

A knock sounds at my door. "Tobias, it's me, Tris. Can I come in?" I debate whether or not I should talk to her but I do need someone to help me calm down. "Yeah." The door opens and Tris walks in, a worried look on her face. "Tobias, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have made you read that letter in front of your friends. I just wanted you to know the truth about your family."

"I don't know why you did that, Tris," I start. "Did you want me to break down in front of all my friends, crying about the loss of his parents and his life he never even knew?!" Tris looks down and now I hate myself for shouting at her. "But…in a way, I'm grateful that you did show me that letter." Tris looks up at me. "What do you mean?"

"I remember everything. I remember my life in the palace with Evelyn and Amar-I mean, my mom and dad." I walk over to Tris, wrapping my arms around her waist. "I don't know whether I should be angry at you or thank you."

Tris smirks at me. "I think you expelled all that anger on the punching bag and that chair."

I chuckle. "Yeah, I think I did." I kiss her on the head. "Thank you, Tris, for helping me remember."

"So does that mean that you'll accept the truth?"

"Yes, I now know that I'm Tobias Johnson, son of King Amar and Queen Evelyn, the prince of Dauntless."

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