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Chapter Fourteen: Diana

We drove in the car for about three hours from Charlotte, going northeast on the highway. I kept my eyes focused on Stella's mom in the front seat from behind the passenger's seat. I needed a clear view of her in case she tried anything while we were confined to this small space. Stella kept her mind on mine, waiting for me to make a move against her mom. The car was filled with tension and mistrust so thick a stranger would pick up on it immediately.

We made it to a huge, industrial warehouse where we drove in and parked the car. The metal door closed behind us, locking us inside.

I hopped out of the car after Stella's mom opened her door. I didn't know her element and couldn't risk being in the car if she was a Molecular. There was no way I could allow myself to be crushed or suffocated in that car, not after what happened today.

Stella exited at the same time as me. "This is where my mom works."

I hiked my backpack up on my shoulder. "So your mom doesn't work for the TWA?"

Stella grabbed my clammy hand in her warm, still one. "No." She led me through a single door that blended in with the metal wall.

Inside the warehouse, I saw crowds of people all working on different skills. There were humans with guns and some Telepaths working with their elements toward the back of the warehouse. There was also a group of people shooting targets and staring at each other with total concentration, they had to be half-telepaths.

Stella led me into an office off to the side, close to the front of the warehouse. Inside, was a girl with blonde hair sticking up in all different directions. She looked to be around our age if not a few years older. She hung up her phone when we walked in. "Hi, Stella." She looked straight at me. "You must be Diana, right?" I nodded speechless. It was all I could manage in the moment.

The girl wrote something down on a piece of paper. "We could always use soldiers. Do you know how to use a gun?"

I shot a glance at Stella, uncomfortable by this line of questioning. I'd only just walked in here and this girl was acting like we'd met on countless occasions. Stella beckoned me to break my silence. "No, but I can use a knife."

Stella and the girl exchanged looks, ones Telepaths and half-telepaths wore when passing information telepathically. Stella had to be showing her my encounter with the powerful Telepath from earlier today.

"Stella, you're in charge of her training. Now, if you would excuse me, I have to deal with an incoming asset." Stella and I exited the office, not wanting to get in the girl's way.

Stella bounced on the balls of her feet, teeming with excitement, as we stood outside of the small office building. "That was our base leader Brittany. She was extremely impressed by the way you stood your ground against the king."

I felt like I'd been punched in the guy. "D-Did you just say the king?!"

Stella nodded. "Of course. What did you think the crown on his chest and head meant?" I shrugged. "Anyway, she says you have real potential." We walked over to the gun racks, where Stella picked out a small pistol for me. "We'll start with this."

I gripped the pistol in my hand. It had some weight to it, but it balanced in my hand perfectly as if it was made especially for me. I moved to the paper targets set up across from the racks, each separated into their own lane. I aimed for the chest of my target hoping I wouldn't miss it completely. Wrapping my finger around the trigger, I took a deep breath in before exhaling and squeezing the trigger. The first shot went straight through the target's chest.

I shot a glance at Stella; she nodded encouragingly. "Try again."

I took another deep breath in. I lined the barrel up with the heart of my paper target, attempting to hit the same spot. Exhaling, I squeeze the trigger once more; it ripped through the paper heart. I shot again and again until a giant hole was left in the paper. There was no surviving that wound if you were a human, half-telepath, or even a Molecular Telepath.

I turned to Stella to see her facial expression. "Are you sure you've never shot a gun before?" she asked.

I smiled, wiggling my nose a little. "Never."

Stella handed me a fresh clip. "Maybe it's beginner's luck."

I fumbled with unloading my empty clip, not really sure how to do it. After a few seconds, Stella stepped in to show me how it was done. With the fresh clip ready, I took aim at the head of the target, providing myself a smaller target to shoot at. I pulled the trigger in rapid succession until there were no more bullets. At the end of my lane, my target was lying on the ground headless, its head was a shredded mess.

Stella nodded. "Maybe not."

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