Warlands of Song

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Chapter Forty-One: Saige

Someone was banging on the glass. She tried to open her eyes, but she couldn’t. She tried to move her arms and legs, but those wouldn’t move either. Why couldn’t she move? The banging continued, and she wanted to tell it to stop , but her body was no longer hers.

“Saige? Saige, can you hear me? Give me some sort of sign.”

She wanted to. She couldn’t recognize the voice, but she wanted to. Why couldn’t she answer the woman?

“Saige, we don’t have much time. I know you can hear me, but you have to fight this. The liquid is only suspending. It holds you still, but you can fight it. You can. You have to work for it, Saige.”

Fey? What was she doing there? She’d already made things as bad as they could possibly be. Now she was trapped, and she couldn’t move. Fey had no idea what she was talking about. The liquid wouldn’t move for anything.

“I am not on their side,” the woman said. “I had to convince them that I was so they wouldn’t throw me in there with you, but really I just wanted to help you get out. I still want to help you get out. Please, I don’t know how to open this thing, but you can do it, somehow. You’re Xinaan. How dare they keep you locked in here.”

That, at least, was true. How dare the keep her locked away like an animal. She was a person. A living being. She deserved respect and control over her own body.

Something bubbled in her chest, and she relished the feeling of rage. She needed to get out. They couldn’t hold her here. Even Glen couldn’t hold her down, so how could she let a few bubbles of liquid do it?

She struggled, but nothing was working. The only part of her body she could move was her mouth. It was such a small area of her face that the liquid had nothing to grab onto.

She opened her mouth and screamed as loud as she could Bubbles exploded around her, and something felt strange in her mouth. Her tongue felt strange. Her entire body felt foreign.

“Oh my gosh, you’re doing it. The tube is cracking. Keep going!”

She took a few deep breaths of the liquid and screamed with all of her energy. This time she could hear the tube crackling around her, and her rage grew even more. She was more powerful that a plastic tube. She had too much power to let it hold her back. Them hold her back. How dare they.

Matter trickled from her fingertips. She couldn’t see how far it was reaching through the liquid, or if it was cutting through the liquid at all, but she let it flow anyway. Fey continued to encourage her, telling her it was working, but she wasn’t focusing on that. All she was focused on was the tiny glimmers of her family. They were out there, somewhere, waiting for her return, but she would never make it to them if she let these people keep her like a doll to be cut up and probed forever. She couldn’t get to them if she gave up, or let people betray her.

She grew weak with he amount of Matter she’d expended, and without a second thought she screamed yet again and pushed the Matter outward with all the strength she lad left in her body. There was a rush as the tube exploded and the next second she was spilling out among a wave of the liquid and glass. She was so high up in the liquid, she hit the floor hard, and glass stuck into her skin all over.

There were hands on her, pulling them out, but a violent twist in her stomach had her rolling over and throwing up all the liquid she’d consumed. She couldn’t breathe, it kept coming in waves and waves. A hand remained on her back all the way through, soothing words filtering into her ears. When the last drop exited her mouth, she fell onto her side on the ground and gasped for air. She still couldn’t see, too much of the liquid in her eyes, but then Fey was there with a cloth, helping to wipe it away.

She cracked an eye open. When she tried to speak, however, her body wouldn’t let her. Her throat felt like sandpaper. Her tongue wouldn’t make the sounds. Her tongue...

She stuck her tongue out and touched it with her fingers. Not one, but two slippery muscles ran over and around her fingers. She had two tongues. How was she supposed to hide that?

“Can you stand?”

Fey helped her to her feet, but she kept slipping in the liquid so finally the larger woman picked her up and carried her to the door before setting her down. Her movements were slow because of her soaked clothing, and she tried to wring it out as best she could.

“Come on, we don’t have much time.”

They traveled down a hallway littered with soldiers in varying states of unconsciousness. Saige looked to Fey, who walked ahead with a serious glint in her eyes. The woman had, quite possibly, saved her life. It took a few minutes for her to learn how to control her tongues, but the moment she did, she thanked her.

Fey glanced back at her.

“You deserve a life just like everyone else. I don’t care what anyone says.”

They reached a large, metal door somewhere she’d never been, and Fey stopped just nest to it.

“This is the control room. If we act fast we can take out their surveillance and a few of their security systems. That’ll give us a better opportunity to...”

The lights turned red and the alarms turned back on. Saige winced, but turned it out.

“Yeah, and we need to hurry. There’s not much time.”

She nodded, and they made quick work of the room, taking out every guard they saw there in the process. She didn’t even worry about if they were dead or not. She just kept moving. So did Fey.

“They’ll be searching high and low, so you need to be prepared to put up a good fight. I don’t think they’ll be too concerned with killing you this time.”

“It’s not me they need to be concerned about,” she murmured. “You can go—”

“I’m coming.”

The tone was rock-solid and left no room to argue, so Saige didn’t try. Together they made their way down each hallway, taking out countless guards and soldiers along the way. But something changed as they rounded the hundredth corner, and Saige slowed. The soldiers were no longer coming up behind them, as they had to begin with. And no more came from in front of them. They had taken out the cameras, but they could have gotten them back up without knowing.

“Fey, stop.”

“What?”

“We’re walking into a trap. I think they’re waiting for us.”

“Well then we’ll be ready.”

“Fey, we’re in their home turf. We’re outnumbered two to hundreds. This can’t work. There’s just no way.”

“No, there’s a way. We can—”

“Fey, if I get caught again, I don’t think they’re going to bother keeping me around for observation. I’ve caused too much trouble. And what will they do to you?”

The woman didn’t answer, shrugging.

“Well it’s important to me, what happens to you. I don’t want you to—”

“They already know I’m working with you now. There’s no going back. We might as well try.”

Fey smiled, a wry, tiny smirk.

“I joined the military to help people. I’m not going down without a fight and neither are you. So let’s do this.”

They knew something bad awaited them in a couple more turns, but they were satisfied. They knew they would fight until they were captured, and then... Then, Saige would find another way to free Fey from her own fate. They nodded to one another as though they’d just had an entirely different conversation in silence, before they continued down the hallway.

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