Amy moaned and opened her eyes groggily. She sat up. "Wh-what?" She put a hand gingerly to where she'd been hit, wincing, and pulled it away, her fingers covered in blood.
"Nia ran into the Maze after the Grievers!"
"What?" Amy wiped the blood off of her hand and gripped Rachel's shoulders. "What happened?"
Rachel told her how they'd taken Beth and left, and how Nia'd run after them.
"I thought I would be the one to lose it, not Nia." Amy said. She stood up, then stumbled. "Woah. A little dizzy here." She grabbed a sheet and ripped a strip off of it, wrapping it around her head. She shook her head, as if to clear something from her head, then ran out of the open door.
Nia ran back into the Glade, panting and breathless. Amy was on her in a second.
"What were you thinking? They could still be dangerous!"
"Slim it, Amy," Nia said. "I just went to make sure it went through the Griever Hole."
Nia nodded. "It did."
Amy shook her head. "What a night. I can't believe it."
Rachel sniffed. "Where's that smokey smell coming from?"
Amy jerked her thumb towards the Map Room. With dread, Rachel looked up and saw smoke.
"Someone burned all of the bloody maps. Every last one."
The Maps didn't really matter to Rachel. She instead ran to the Slammer to Aris-the maps were helpless anyway.
A soft, slight snore can from within the Slammer. She couldn't believe he's slept through everything. "Aris" She took a nearby pebble and dropped it through the bars. A moment later, his head popped up on the other side, startling her. He was rubbing his eyes groggily.
"Were you sleeping?"
"Glad to see someone had a night's rest. Where's Sonya?"
"I dunno. Must've left while I was sleeping. Now-"
"She's not supposed to."
Tell me what happened.
"Cut that out, and I will," Rachel said. She sighed, then told him the long story. "There was this girl, Beth. You don't know her, but she's a complete psycho." She plowed through the night's events, Aris listening in silence.
"That's weird. And they just left after they took her?"
"Yeah. And she was talking about them taking only one per night."
"I don't know," Rachel mumbled. "But she was babbling about something called Variables. Or something like that."
"Rachel. I was thinking about what you said I told you before. About the Maze being a code."
"And what do you think it means?"
"Well, you said the walls move everyday, right?"
"And it repeats itself every month, right? Like a pattern."
"Yes." Rachel's thoughts started to race, as if searching for distant memory. "They compare the maps for each section, day to day. But what if..." An idea started to form in her head. "I don't think they ever tried it any other way. It's so simple. What if they just compare each section to the other sections, for the same day? The first thing that comes to mind when you say the word code is letters, right?"
Rachel leaned in, gripping the bars. "What if they somehow formed letters, if you compared section to section?"
Aris stared at her, his mouth slightly open and his eyes stretched open wide.
"Genius," he breathed.
"Wait." Rachel's hope started to crumble as she remembered what Amy had said. "Even if that is what we're supposed to do, it's all gone now."
"What do you mean?"
"The maps are gone. Someone burned all of them."