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Chapter Nineteen: Diana

Stella handed me two fully loaded pistols. "Here, try these."

I moved over to a new paper target and fired off every bullet in both guns. This was the first time in two days that Stella allowed some variation in my training. Usually, I was forced to shoot every bullet in a single gun before working on my knife throws. Once that was done, I had agility training with a professional coach before more shooting practice. I was ready for this simple change.

I placed the two guns down by my side. Almost every shot I made hit the target's chest. A few of them pierced the center of my target's head. Not a single one of the bullets missed a fatal area on my target.

"It's like you've been shooting guns your whole life." I put the guns on the empty rack. "Think fast." Stella threw a gun at me and kept one for herself. I walked over to a fresh paper target and took aim. "No. Shoot me."

I almost dropped the gun. "What? I'm not going to shoot you."

Stella took aim at my chest. "You will or I'll shoot you."

I aimed the gun at Stella's chest; the gun shook in my hands. "I can't."

"Shoot me!" I fired my gun.

My heart stopped for a second. The only image flashing across my vision was of my best friend on the ground, her lifeless eyes looking up at me while a pool of blood soaked her fiery hair. I prayed the image was only in my imagination. I closed my eyes and opened them to find Stella without a scratch on her.

Stella drew her own gun and took aim at me once more. "You missed." She pulled the trigger; the bullet hit my chest, right over my heart.

I fell to the ground, clutching my burning chest. Is this what it feels like to be shot? "You shot me!" I scanned my hand looking for even a single drop of blood. "Why isn't there blood?!" I screamed.

Stella hovered over me. "I shot you with a rubber bullet."

I gaped at Stella. "Why?" My heart rate was returning to normal.

Stella reached her hand out to me. "To simulate a real possibility in this war. Telepaths and half-telepaths can sense what you're thinking. You have to learn not to think in order to be an effective soldier."

I clasped my hand around hers. "You scared the hell out of me."

Stella chuckled. "Let's get you some ice for that welt."

Stella and I walked to the infirmary. There were a lot of humans there from what I could tell. Many were there with knife and gunshot wounds, the knife wounds thankfully outnumbered the gunshot wounds. I did see some sprains and breaks here and there too.

Stella walked over to the receptionist. "Can I get an ice pack?" She handed one over without so much as a question. "Thanks." Stella walked over to me. "Here."

I put the ice on my chest, immediately feeling the relief. "Thanks. I see there's a lot of humans here."

Stella looked around the room. "There's a pretty even mix in here." I raised an eyebrow. "Telepaths and half-telepaths get hurt too. It's a part of war."

I caught sight of someone I hadn't expected to see walking through the crowd of the injured. "Natalia?"

Natalia flipped around quickly and made solid eye contact with me for the first time in my life. She smiled at the person she was helping before walking over to us. "Have we met?" she asked, clearly not knowing who we were.

My jaw dropped. She was actually talking to me right now. I really hadn't expected to be speechless in this situation. Stella cleared her throat to break the awkward silence I created between the three of us. "We went to the same school We had a couple classes together."

Natalia smiled. "Oh yeah. You two were in my English class, right?" Stella nodded. "So what brought you guys to the Rebels?"

Stella smiled. "My mom. She got involved when I was younger. Diana is a new member looking for a cause to rally behind."

Natalia nodded. "Pretty cool." I could tell she didn't know what else to say to us. We made her nervous for some reason.

I finally found my voice. "You're the Telepath they were looking for at school, right?"

Natalia turned her attention from Stella to me. "I didn't realize word got around school so fast."

I narrowed my eyes. "I was in your biology class."

Natalia nodded. "I see." She pointed to the bag of ice on my chest. "May I?" I hesitated. "I'm a Molecular. I can heal that." I pulled the bag away from my chest. She rested her hand on my shoulder, not daring to touch the welt itself. The stinging disappeared in an instant.

I placed the ice down on a chair behind me, no longer needing it. Natalia seemed antsy around Stella and me, but other than that, she seemed calm and more in her element here than in the outside world. There was something different about her as well. She seemed to radiate power in a way I'd never picked up on before. Perhaps her new found freedom came with a new level of confidence.

Finally, my eyes settled on hers. They were no longer brown with flecks of emerald green throughout, the eyes I envied. Instead, her eyes were a green as pure as an emerald. I kept staring, entranced by the clear emerald color. There was something behind her eyes that was pulling me in until I was consumed by darkness.

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