Love or Tradition

By Sara Hajduk

Romance / Drama

Chapter 24

After two days of staying in the hospital, I'm finally able to leave that place. The doctors told me that I will be fine to leave but I had to take it easy until I was fully healed. When I got back home with Tobias, he made sure that I was comfortable and that I didn't push myself. Mostly, I have been lying around and just resting. My friends have been stopping by to check up on me to see how I'm doing. Everything is going fine…except for the nightmares. Sometimes, I would have dreams of Marcus and Jeanine actually experimenting on me, tearing through my flesh to find out why I'm resisting the serums, or they would torture my friends and family until I told them my secret. Either way, I couldn't bear to handle the nightmares so I would wake up screaming, which in term startled Tobias awake, wondering what was wrong only to realize I had a nightmare. He would comfort me then we would go back to sleep and I wouldn't have any more nightmares for the rest of the night. However, this night was different.


"Please stop!" I beg, hoping that Marcus would stop hurting Tobias. "I already told you why the serums aren't working so please stop hurting him!"

Marcus only laughs. "You are lying! Tell us the real reason why!"

"I already told you!"

"It's not possible for people to figure out the serums aren't real," states Jeanine. "So stop wasting our time and tell us or your fiancé gets it."

Tears stream down my face as I look at Tobias. His body is bloody and bruised, his left arm is twisted so badly that it probably can't be fixed, both his legs are broken, and there is so much blood pouring from his open wounds. "I'm telling the truth, I promise!"

Jeanine scoffs then nods to Marcus, who proceeds to repeatedly stab Tobias in the chest until his eyes close and his body becomes still. "NO!"


"NO!" I scream, bolting upright. I breathe heavily as I realize that it was only a nightmare and that it didn't happen.

"Tris?!" I turn to my side to see Tobias staring at me, worry etched on his face. "What's wrong?"

I launch myself at him, wrapping my arms around him. "You're alive." Tears stream down my face as I hold him closer. "The dream…it felt so real and…and I thought I lost you."

"I'm right here, Tris." Tobias wraps his arms around me, rubbing soothing circles on my back. He then kisses my head and starts to stroke my hair, trying to calm me down. "What was your dream about?"

I took a deep breath before answering, "Marcus was torturing you and he wouldn't stop until I told him how I resisted the serums. Even after I told him, Marcus claimed that I was lying and continued to hurt you until you stopped breathing." I shudder as I remember the way his body looked so pale and the blood pooling around him. "You were dead." Tobias holds me tighter. "I was scared that I lost you."

"I'm not going anywhere, Tris. It's going to take a lot to get rid of me."

I smile. "Good."

"Tris, you will tell me what happened to you during that past week right?"

"I will, but I'm not ready yet."

"It's ok; I won't pressure you into telling me. I just want to know so that I can help you. It hurts me to see you suffer like this and knowing that there is nothing I can do to help you."

I stare into Tobias' eyes. "But you are helping me. Just by being here and comforting me through all the nightmares I get. And afterwards, knowing that you are beside me, protecting me, makes me feel safe and it helps me to sleep through the night without any nightmares. You may not think you are doing a lot, but to me you are doing everything." Tobias smiles then leans down and kisses my lips. I run my fingers through his hair as Tobias places his hands on my hips, squeezing them lightly. I feel his tongue trace my bottom lip, begging for an entrance, so I let him enter. Our tongues battle for dominance until we pull away, breathing heavily as we catch our breath. I rest my forehead against his then give him a small peck on the lips.

"As much as I would love to continue," starts Tobias, "we should probably go back to sleep. We have to be at Candor at ten for the trial at ten thirty." I sigh. Tomorrow is the trail of Marcus and Jeanine as well as determining what their punishment should be.

We lie down on the bed and I snuggle close to Tobias, trying to surround myself in his warmth and presence. However, the nightmare is still etched into my brain so I find it really hard to fall back asleep. Tobias must have noticed this because he says, "You can go back to sleep. I'll fight off any nightmares that you might have."

"With what?"

"My bare hands, of course."

I chuckle then close my eyes and fall into a peaceful slumber.


The next morning, I'm dressed in a black lace tank top with my leather jacket on top of it, along with black jeans and combat boots. I decide to let my hair down for I really don't feel like doing anything with it today. When I'm done, I walk out of the room and into the dining room, where people are putting breakfast on the table. Just in time, I thought to myself as I sit down next to Tobias. He gives me a small smile, which I return, then start eating the food on the table. We make small talk as we eat and when we are full, we get up then head out of the palace and towards the tracks. Again, we make small talk as we walk then jump onto the train as it passes. Tobias wraps his arms around me and I lean into his chest, watching the scenery go by. When the kingdom of Candor is in sight, we jump off the train and head towards the palace. "How are you feeling?" Tobias asks when we are near.

"Honestly? Nervous."

"Why?"

"I don't know if the judges will believe them and let them go. They are council members after all."

"Marcus and Jeanine will be put under truth serum, Tris. It will make them tell the judges the truth without any of them lying or trying to make up a story. And even if they tried to lie, there are witnesses stating that Marcus tried to kill you and Jeanine holding you at her place. Either way, those two will be punished."

"I know. I just want this trail to fly by so that I can forget all about this."

Tobias grabs my hand and interlocks his fingers with mine. I give his hand a squeeze as we enter the palace. Once inside, a young woman greets us. "Hello, you here for the trail?" We nod. "Okay, just take this hallway here and walk straight down and when it curves to the left, you'll be in the trail room." We thank her then walk down the hallway she directed us. Just like she said, the hallway leads to a large room with rows upon rows of seats. At the front, there is a desk with a chair behind it, facing the audience. I'm guessing that's where Marcus and Jeanine will be trialed at.

"Tris!" I turn and am met with Christina wrapping her arms around me, holding me tight. "How are you doing?"

"I'm ok." She lets me go and I give her a small smile. "I just want this trial to be done."

"I hear you, but don't worry. These trails don't take that long."

King Jack walks up to me. "Hello, Princess Beatrice. I'm glad you could make it. I know its short notice but I was wondering if you would also go on trial."

"Why?" Tobias growls, transforming into Four. "Has she done anything wrong?"

"It's nothing like that," reassures Christina. "It's just a precaution and also the judges would be more convinced if they hear your side of the story."

"When would I go?" I ask.

"After Marcus and Jeanine have their trial."

I sigh. "All right."

Jack smiles. "Thank you, princess." He then leaves to get some stuff ready.

"Do I have to do anything?"

"No, they'll call you to come down and give your side of the story." I nod, give Christina one more hug, then go and sit down with Tobias. "Are you sure you want to do this?" Tobias asks me.

"Yeah. I think that if I talk about this, I'll be able to let this go and get it off my chest." Just then, my family arrives and I smile when I see them. They notice me as well and come over to where I'm sitting; I hug Mom first. "Hi, Mom."

"Hello, sweetie. How are you doing?"

"Okay." I hug Dad next, then Caleb, and finally Cara. "I'm so sorry for what those two did to you," says Cara.

"It's all right," I reassure her. "It's not your fault. I'll be happy when those two are behind bars."

We all take our seats and right at ten thirty, Jack raises up his hands, silencing the crowd. "Today, council members Marcus Eaton and Jeanine Matthews will be put on trial for the kidnapping of Princess Beatrice Prior. Depending of their involvement in this will determine the punishment these two will receive." Jack turns to the man behind him and nods his head. The man goes out then comes back with Marcus, who sits down on the chair. The man takes out a wipe and cleans the injection site on Marcus' neck. He then takes out a needle full of clear liquid and injects it into Marcus' neck. I see his eyes glaze over and I know the serum is already starting to affect him.

"I'm going to ask you some questions to make sure that the serum is working properly," starts Jack. "First, what is your name?"

"Marcus Eaton."

"What kingdom are you from?"

"Abnegation."

"Do you have a job? If so, what are you working as?"

"I do have a job, and I'm a council member for the king and queen of Abnegation."

Jack nods then starts asking the real questions. "Did you partake in kidnapping Princess Beatrice?"

"Yes, it was revenge for making the boy remember he's the prince of Dauntless."

"What do you mean?"

Marcus writhes in his chair, struggling not to answer. "Answer the question."

"No one was supposed to find out about Tobias being the prince of Dauntless. He was never supposed to find out who he was until that girl decided to investigate and tell him who he really was. Now, the plan is going to be ruined and it will be all the princess's fault."

"Why?"

"I was getting revenge on Queen Evelyn and this was the only way to do it."

Everyone grew quiet at Marcus' confession. "Did you have something to do with the attack on the kingdom of Dauntless?"

Marcus squirms in his seat as he tries to figure out if he should answer that question or not. After a while, Marcus says, "Yes I did. I attacked the kingdom of Dauntless, killing King Amar and Queen Evelyn." I hear Mom and Dad gasp beside me when Marcus confessed to killing Tobias' parents. "I also kidnapped Tobias and gave him memory serum, so that he would forget that he was the prince of Dauntless."

"Why did you commit this horrible crime?"

"To get back at Evelyn. She was my wife before she married King Amar and I was mad at her for that. I wanted to get back at her for leaving me and taking my son with her."

"Did Evelyn not allow you to see your son?"

"No, she was already pregnant with my son but she said that she didn't want me as the father."

"Why?"

"Because…Because I hit her and she didn't want that same fate to happen to my son."

Jack nods. "So to get back at your wife, you attacked Dauntless, killing the king and queen, and kidnapped your own son to erase his memories and abuse him?"

"Yes. Jeanine came to me and told that she could help me get revenge on Evelyn."

"I just have one more question. Is there anything that you regret?"

"I regret…I regret abusing my son. I don't know what came over me but when I saw him, it reminded me of Evelyn and it made me mad. I think that if I wouldn't have hit him, I would have more of a connection with my son."

"Thank you for you honesty." Everyone repeats what Jack said and the man that gave Marcus the truth serum now injects him with a serum to stop the truth serum. He then leads Marcus out of the room and when he's out of the room, I look over at Tobias and notice that he's gone rigid. I grab his hand, giving it a light squeeze. "Are you all right?"

Tobias turns to me and smiles. "I'm fine."

"You sure? You look upset."

He sighs. "It's just…I can't believe that Marcus is my actual father."

I peck Tobias on the cheek. "You are nothing like him, Four; don't forget that."

Tobias leans down and gives me a quick kiss on the lips. When we turn our attention back to the front, the man was leading Jeanine Matthews to the chair. She sat down and was then administered with the truth serum. Just like Marcus, Jeanine's eyes glaze over and she slumps in the chair.

"What is your name?" Jack starts.

"Jeanine Matthews."

"What kingdom are you from?"

"Erudite."

"Do you have a job? If so, what do you do for a living?"

"I do have a job and I work as a council member for the king and queen of Erudite."

"Did you also partake in kidnapping Princess Beatrice?"

"Yes, it was the only way the plan would work."

"What plan?"

"My plan to-" Jeanine stops mid-sentence then starts writhing about in the chair, trying to resist the truth serum. However, the truth serum wins the struggle. "My plan to get rid of the kingdoms."

"You what?"

"The kingdoms are failing and the society needs a new system." She then explains to Jack everything that she told me when I was held captive. I watch the crowd as they gasp and widen their eyes as Jeanine tells her story. I can see the king and queen of Erudite, John and Elizabeth, shake their heads at Jeanine. I also notice Queen Johanna staring at Jeanine with tearful eyes. I feel bad for her because she has just found out how her husband really died. Right after Jeanine finishes talking, most of the people in this room are seething at Jeanine for causing so much chaos.

"I only have one more question for you. What do you regret?"

Jeanine takes a while to answer this and part of me thinks she has nothing that she regrets. "I regret not taking extreme measures when I held the princess. If I would have been more careful and thought of every possible way to keep her away from society, then my plan would have gone off perfectly without a hitch."

Is this woman freaking insane?!

"Thank you for your honesty," says Jack and everyone repeats what he said. Jeanine is lead out of the room and I'm still trying to wrap my head around what Jeanine said. Is she really that psychotic that she regrets not keeping me hidden away better? I have no idea what made her this way but I hope she gets locked up for a long time.

"Now, we will hear Princess Beatrice's side of the story," says Jack. I can feel everyone's eyes on me as I get up from my seat and make my way down to the front. I sit down on the chair and the man cleans the side of my neck then administers the truth serum. I immediately feel it as I slump in the chair.

"What is your name?" Jack asks

"Beatrice Prior."

"What kingdom do you live in?

"Dauntless."

"But you were born in Abnegation?"

"Yes."

"And why are you now living in Dauntless?"

"Because I'm engaged to Prince Tobias."

Jack nods. "How were you kidnapped?"

I explain to him how I was caught off guard and was hit on the back of the head. I also told him how I woke up in a room then Marcus and Jeanine walk in, explaining their plan to me.

"Did they do anything to you?"

I still at Jack's question and my body starts to shake as I try not to let my mouth run. "Beatrice?" I open my mouth without thinking and start talking. "Jeanine created this new serum that makes people respond to fear and she said she was going to use this on people if they didn't agree to the new system. Jeanine also said she never tested it yet so she tested it on me. However, the serums didn't work on me and Jeanine was getting frustrated that they weren't working."

"Why weren't they working?"

"Because I would figure out that they are not real, that they are only sims."

"Did anything else happen?"

I nod. "Marcus would cut designs on my skin and he said he would stop if I told him how I was able to get out of the sims. I never told him because I was worried that they would kill me if I told them. Also, the day I was found, Marcus was going to cut my hair and send the cut hair to my fiancé as a present." I feel tears gather in my eyes as I think of the torture I went through. "The sims were the worst because I had to watch my friends and family get hurt and die. Even though I would figure out they weren't real, I felt like a part of me was dying when I saw that."

"I just have one more question. What do you regret?"

What do I regret? I think about what I could possibly regret when my mouth starts to speak before I can process it. "I regret not being more alert that day. If I would have been more aware of my surroundings, I think I would have been able to avoid those events."

Jack nods. "Thank you for your honesty." I feel a prick on the side of my neck as the truth serum wears off. I slowly start to get up when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I look up to see Dad staring at me, tears brimming in his eyes. He wraps an arm around my shoulders and guides me back to my seat. Tobias gets up then takes my Dad's place, helping me to sit down. He holds me close to his chest and I let myself be encased in his warmth, knowing that I'm safe. I then feel a hand rubbing my back soothingly and I don't need to look for I know its Mom.

After a while, Jack gets the people's attention and I know that he has come to a decision about what to do with Marcus and Jeanine, who are in the room as well. "After much discussion with the judges of Candor, we have decided on what to do about Marcus Eaton and Jeanine Matthews." I hold my breath in anticipation and I grab Tobias' hand, who in turn gives it a light squeeze. "Marcus Eaton is charged for kidnapping and abusing Princess Beatrice Prior, as well as murdering King Amar and Queen Evelyn of Dauntless and kidnapping and abusing Prince Tobias. Sentence is death. Jeanine Matthews is charged for kidnapping and abusing Princess Beatrice Prior, as well as murdering the king of Amity, planning to kill innocent people at Prince Caleb and Princess Cara's wedding, and worst of all, planning to take down the kingdoms, killing all the royals, and forcing people to go into a new system without their say in the matter. Sentence is death. The executions will be held today at dusk in the courtyard." Jack nods to the men standing behind Marcus and Jeanine and they lead them out of the room to the cells they'll be staying at until dusk. I let out the breath I've been holding and feel myself relax. All of this drama is finally over, but I just hope that it will last.

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