Warlands of Song

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Chapter Thirty-Six: Saige

She wound the bandages on her hand around and around until they fell to the floor. Her stomach dropped when she looked at the mangled mess. One one hand, she was happy Glen was alive, but what had she been thinking, sticking her hand directly into the Matter he’d turned into? The true potential for damage was astounding.

From her wrist to her fingertips, her skin looked like it was the victim of a horrible burn, multiplied by ten. It was wrinkled, the silver veins clearly visible, and there were glimmers of bone where flesh melted away. She couldn’t move it at all. No amount of will, and no amount of Matter would heal it.

It wasn’t as though she would need it soon though. Scheduled for execution meant no need for limbs of any kind. She’d be gone.

Crouching, she re-wrapped her hand, taking the time to do it right. No, she wouldn’t need the hand in the next few hours, but she didn’t want to look at it either. Why couldn’t they have chopped the thing off? Maybe they’d had the same thoughts of her looming demise as well.

When she’d secured the bandages again, she remained crouched beside the bed she’d woken up in. The room they’d left her in was not her own. This one was bare and stark. Empty except for a bed and a bathroom with a toilet. No one came to see her. Not even Carter. She had no idea what Glen’s condition was, or if he’d asked about her. He must have. But he wouldn’t get her out. No matter what his feelings toward her were, he wouldn’t be able to help her.

But she didn’t want help. He’d helped enough. So had everyone involved in her training. As much as she tried to get away from their help, they were around every corner and wouldn’t let her do much on her own. Even if she’d practiced hard and fought hard and won the respect of many, Carter and Glen both assisted in their own ways. Every since she’d met Glen on earth, she’d had help. She missed being on her own, solely responsible for her future.

Maybe she could take back her independence. Maybe she didn’t have to die.

She stood and looked around. The room were clear of cameras. No one expected her to do anything stupid.

“That was stupid,” she muttered, feeling along the walls with her good hand. “I’m dangerous, remember? Don’t leave me without supervision for too long, or else...”

The slighted bump brushed under her fingertip, and she smiled, slipping a tiny speck of Matter into the hairline crack.

“I’ll break out of my cage.”

There was a sharp pop as she expanded the speck, and the wall slid open. There were a few shouts, and three gunshots. She threw up a wall of Matter, and the bullets stuck in the substance. Then she dropped the shield and ran at at them. All of their shots missed, and they hit the floor in seconds. She grabbed a white jacket and zipped it up over herself, pulling one sleeve down over her bad hand.

It wasn’t until she was halfway down the hallway that she realized she had no idea where she was going.

“I didn’t think this through very well...”

She couldn’t just walk out of the building. There were guards everywhere. Locks on the doors. Codes and scanners and...

“Oh no.”

Footsteps echoed in the distance, and she panicked. She ran to the first door she saw and cracked it open the same way she’d done her cell. Rushing in, she shut it behind her and pressed her back against it. The guard passed by, and she sighed.

The first thing she noticed were the boxes lining the walls. Then, the woman standing next to the bed, thumbs in her back pockets and brows raised.

“Lost, Miss Lady?”

Crap.

She straightened off of the door and shook her head. Her mouth opened, then closed. She wouldn’t get anywhere with anger. And there was no guarantee she’d get anywhere with kindness. So maybe truth was the way to go.

“They’re going to kill me,” she said. “They think I hurt G—Commander Mykel. They think they made a mistake training me. But I didn’t hurt him. I would never hurt him. Just like you would never hurt him.”

“Why should I care?”

“All I want is to get out of here. If you can help me do that, then you’ll have zero competition for him, and—”

Fey shook her head. “He doesn’t want me. Doesn’t matter if there’s no competition.”

“Okay. Fine. Fey, I know you hate my guts, but if you have one tiny splash of compassion in your heart, you’ll help me get out of here.”

Fey ran her tongue over her teeth and folded her arms.

“I’m not. That’s why I’m being transferred. I’m crazy. I know that. You’re a monster. Accept it.”

“I’m not a monster. I’m a person just like you. It just so happens that I’m made up of different DNA and everyone thinks that means I will blow up the planet.”

Fey shrugged. “Well, the last one of your kind pretty much did, so...”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve been learning stuff, right? You haven’t heard this one? It’s pretty major. The whole reason why you’re about to be executed, most likely. The last war almost went intergalactic. Because of the last woman like you.”

“No one told me about a war. Any war.”

“Oh well. Get out.”

“You’re not going to help me?”

“Are you stupid? What did I say when you asked me to help you?”

“You... I mean, you said you weren’t compassionate. You didn’t say you wouldn’t help me. And you haven’t tried to kill me yet, so—”

“You ruined my life. No, I’m not going to help you.”

“Fey—”

When she tried to approach, Fey held up a hand. Nothing crackled, but the threat was clear threat in her stance.

“Why did you join the military? It couldn’t have been just because of Commander Mykel.”

“Of course not. I joined to help... people...”

Saige waved her arms when she’d said help.

“Then help me! I’m one of the people you joined to help.”

“No, I joined to help Namai.”

“I’m half Namai, so you should help me.”

The other woman pursed her lips and sighed.

“I can’t—”

“Why not? You’re being transfered to another base and you’ve pretty much been exiled—”

“I was not exiled. I was just transfered. And if I help you I’ll be considered a criminal.”

“Until they figure out that I’m innocent and you’ll be hailed as a hero.”

Fey leveled a flat look on her.”

“Like I’m going to believe that. They’re going to be searching for me the way they were searching for Glen.”

“Then I’ll just tell them that I influenced you. That’s what I did for Glen, and he ended up fine.”

“But—Wait, what? You didn’t influence Glen?”

“No. But I don’t care if everyone thinks I did. I couldn’t have him being arrested. He didn’t do anything wrong except try to be a good person and help me. Same as you.”

“How am I supposed to help you get out of here? I’m being watched too. All I’m supposed to be doing is leaving.”

“Then leave.”

She stepped to the side, and into one of the boxes cluttering the floor. She laid down inside it, and closed the lid over her.

“See? They’ll never know.”

She stayed still as Fey approached, even though she couldn’t see and was helpless if the woman decided to impale her through the box’s thin walls.

“That’s... actually pretty clever. I haven’t been small enough to fit in tiny places since I was three. But I thought you wanted to fight your way out.”

She pushed the box flaps open, remaining seated inside.

“I don’t want to hurt anyone. I’ve never wanted to hurt anyone. All I wanted was to be left alone.”

Fey stared down at her for what felt like forever before she crouched down.

“All I’m doing is carrying you out of here. From there on you’re on your own.”

Saige lunged forward and hugged the woman, who nearly knocked her over when she stood.

“Get back in. I’m taping it shut.”

“You’ll poke a couple holes in it, right?”

The box closed above her.

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