I glance at them then at Jonathan only to find him more enraged than he already was.
“What are you doing here?” I mouth to them.
“Searching for you.” Peter mouths back pointing at me.
I roll my eyes, turning my gaze to Jonathan and the gun stuck at my forehead.
I clear my throat to gain his attention.
“I see, you brought company. Is that your deal?” he mutters out.
“It’s clearly not.”
He looks at them suspiciously and I feel the urge to speak again.
“Listen, I’ll be responsible for any trouble they may cause but you have to let them stay.”
He raises an eyebrow, “How can I trust you?”
I let out a chuckle. “Well, you’ve got a gun pointed at my head already.”
“Fine. Let them stay.”
“Good. Now, remove that gun, I need to talk to them.”
Gritting his teeth and clenching his jaw, he lowers the gun slowly and I walk away towards them.
“What on earth were you thinking!” Edward exclaims.
“I’m forced into this, Edward, and I don’t want them to destroy this planet.”
“It’s not even ours. Your life is in danger, you idiot! Why don’t we back off already?” Peter scolds angrily.
I grit my teeth, “Don’t let me get started on this.” I say and he rolls his eyes.
“Now,” I start glancing at both of them, “Don’t you interfere, reject or do anything, regarding what I’m going to tell him, deal?”
“Don’t boss us around.” Peter says.
“Okay.” They both chorus. I give them a little hug and walk back to Jonathan.
“What have you got?” he says the moment I place myself before him.
“I say, you multiply the serum, cure us and leave the planet. By then, you’ll have no opponents since Poliners will no more exist,” I pause to swallow the lump in my throat. I never could’ve believed the day would come when our race vanishes as fast as it came into existence. Worse than that, I’ll be the force that wipes it out. But I shouldn’t feel bad, that’s the right thing to do. We need to stop this error, yet, I feel bad. Taking a breath, I decide it’s the rightful decision even if it isn’t too pretty. I continue, “And you’ll achieve the power you want and take your revenge, as our blood will no longer be mixed with yours. What do you say?”
I stare at him expectantly, trying to read his expression. His face is contorted into a thoughtful frown.
“Okay.” This took me by surprise. Although, I very much wanted that as an answer, I can’t believe what had just happened.
“What?” I mutter out involuntarily and he chuckles.
“Don’t fly up high, young lady, I have a condition.”
I knew he was planning something.
“I’ll do what you say and leave but...” he pauses and smiles mischievously. My heart pounds.
What is he planning for?
“But what?” I say urging him to resume his speech.
“But you’ll have to leave with me. Forever.”
I hold my gaze at him firmly, trying to comprehend what he just said. Why do I have to go? Most importantly, why does he want me to? Before my head gets flooded with more unanswerable questions, I decide to ask him, simple and direct.
“Why?” I inquire.
He turns his smile to a straight line but I can still see the look in his eyes, cunning and clever.
“You’re far more powerful than you think you are, Zoey. I can say, it’s as if you’re on of us but not at the same time. You’ll be of a great help to our planet.” I heard that before.
“You read thoughts,... And you have no idea how powerful that is.”
My grandfather’s words echo louder and louder in my mind causing my head to spin. What could that mean? I never thought of it once before.
“What do you mean?” I ask, hoping for a brief explanation but I receive a smirk instead.
I furrow my eyebrows.
“You’ll find about that later. Now, what do you say?”
I have to decide. Saying no will mean they’ll invade us till who knows when but saying yes will mean I get to be with the creatures I hate for the rest of my life. Worse, I get to be on their side and support them. I glance at the boys and they shake their heads, asking me to disagree. Suddenly, I remember Jo, my parents and... Max, I can’t let anyone else die and that’s my chance, though it’s very slim.
I inhale a long breath, “Deal.” I mutter out and Peter gasps.
I look at them and find them disappointed and worried. I smile to them trying to hold my strength.
“Deal.” Jonathan repeats pulling his slimy hand out for a shake. I take it and we both shake hands.
He turns to leave but Edward speaks up, “May I ask who are you and how do you know Zoey?”
Here’s the thing. We used to have a politics class back there in Polina, where we learned about the leaders of foreign states and their principles. I and Jo always paid attention, unlike for the boys who thought they’d rather sleep in class than let a word enter their brains.
“I’m Jonathan, Marcilus’s younger brother, second in command. How I know her, is a matter that shouldn’t be of your interest.” He replies him, giving me a glance before he continues, “Since Marcilus has died, I think I must rule after him but that will be discussed.”
“With Harold?” I ask, not realizing I did that myself.
“With Harold.” He assures.
Seconds later, he was out of the room leaving the three of us in an uncomfortable silence.
“And who’s Harold?” Peter asks breaking the silence.
“The youngest of the three brothers.” He nods slightly.
“How could you!” I startle as Edward exclaims.
“How could I do what?”
“Agree!” he shouts.
“I had to!” I shout back.
“Stop screaming, you both!”
This put us to another murderous silence, exchanging infuriated glares.
“And you, stop judging her! I’m pretty sure, she has something in store and won’t readily go.” Peter scolds pointing at Edward before glancing back at me.
“And you Zoey, don’t make hasty decisions again, especially if they determine your fate!” I nod at him bending my neck and staring at the tiles below my feet.
“Fine. Why did you kill Max?” Edward asks retaining his calm tone once again.
His question took me aback a little bit for I never expected him to ask it now, or ever. Nevertheless, they should know.
“I don’t know how it happened but...” I pause to hold back my tears, “I heard a crash and opened my eyes to my dead twin. I-I wasn’t in my senses. I should’ve given him a chance... Like a si-ster would but anger took over me and I couldn’t control it, especially after seeing Jo- my... best friend dying in front of my eyes.” I wipe off the tears that escaped my eyes.
Edward pulls me into a hug and I break down. “I can’t forgive myself. I’m heartless! How could I kill? How could I end a life?”
“Stop it, Zoey, it’s not your fault. You didn’t know what you were doing.” Peter says in a consoling tone.
I press my eyes shut, “It is, Peter, it is.” I release myself from Edward and clear my throat. “It’s undeniable.” I mutter out.
I turn away leaving the room, not even sure where am I leading myself to.
“You’re strong, Zoey, you know you are!” Edward shouts over the distance.
I don’t know who I really am. Everyone does, except for me. Just walking down a hallway I’ve never been to and seeming to have the lost the most important bit of information in my way. My friends believe I’m strong, others want me for power I’m not even sure I possess, while I’m the only one in this battle who’s in a constant dilemma. Why? Is the question that remains unanswerable.
Now is the time I get to find who I am and what can I do.
The only thing I’ll always keep in my mind and never lose, is ‘live without surrendering, die as a warrior.’ and I think it’s enough, undoubtedly.