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However, freezing was quite useless and a waste of time, so I took a 180.
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Blue; it was the colour that conquered his irises, so dark, it could have mistaken it for black. Yet, the blue in them couldn't be overlooked, they seemed like the result of frostbitten fingers: deadly and dangerous; cold enough to burn. They painted persona.
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"Should I know you?"
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My question was ignored. Instead, his icy eyes were set on the folder in between my hands, ringing warning alarms in my head.
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In an instant, I lurched behind the sofa and threw the file open, my eyes flying wildly over the page.
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I had the file in my hands for about the duration of a heartbeat when it was yanked out of my hands and my back collided with the wall, a death grip caging my neck.
Only one word caught my eye during my short read of the file: Everest.
But that was gibberish.
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"What?" I spoke to myself, despite the hand that choked me. "What the hell is an Everest?" I muttered to myself. "That makes no sense... they're going to take me up a mountain to kill..?"
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Judging by the way the stranger's eyes, whose hands were still around my neck, narrowed, perhaps he knew something that I didn't.
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I wondered if he sensed that the whole choking thing didn't affect me yet.
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But Everest? That wasn't a word.
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"Name!" I shouted out. He probably thought I was insane by now, but never mind. It was a name! A random name probably belonged to one of the hundreds of people who worked for the Front, maybe abroad, or even someone as insignificant as a cleaner, but a name, nevertheless!
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Except this name seemed familiar.
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I needed answers, and fast. But who would I go to? Will? Amanda? Director? Yeah right.
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However, currently, someone was blocking my way – literally, I was trapped between a wall and steel-like flesh. So doing the most logical thing anyone would do in this situation, I head butted him. Peculiar. His skull didn't crack into a million fibers, as it would have done with anyone else - very peculiar indeed - but it did faze him for a split second. That split second was all I needed to pin him to the ground.
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I had a feeling he was a fighter when my interrogatory question was stopped midair due to having my body whisked off and impacting a nearby coffee table, which, needless to say, broke. The coffee table, not my body. Anyway, the hell kind of person needed this much furniture in an office?
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I got onto my feet quick enough to see the stranger stride towards me. Seriously, what was his deal? He had the file.
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"Stop it! You–" I attempted a fierce punch, which he blocked. "You–" He attempted a fierce kick, which I blocked. "You– goddamn! Let me speak!"
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Before he could process it, I grabbed and held both of his hands in an iron grip above my head.
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"You have the file, what more do you want?" Again, the bones of his hands didn't break as it would have with anyone else. I glared frustratedly at them. "And why aren't you broken yet?!"
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My confusion was enough distraction for him to get one of his hands free and drive something into my arm. With the small pierce I felt where it touched my skin, I concluded it was a needle. Soon, the world swayed and I heard two words come out of the stranger's mouth before I fell into darkness.
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"Are we allowed in here?"
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"We might get into trouble, Evest."
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"It's Everest, you know like the mountain?"
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I thought hard.
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"The mountain?" Evest face palmed himself in response. "Maybe I should just call you Ev."
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"How old are you, Emerald?"
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"Umm," I counted on my fingers. "Three. I think. No wait, five!"
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An innocent smile tugged on his lips.
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"What about you?" I asked.
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"Seven. Come on." Grabbing my hand he ran along the isolated hallways, me working hard to keep up behind him.
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Do you what I hated? Having a dream, and then forgetting it. It happens if you wake up during the fourth and fifth stages of sleep, or so I read.
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That, and the fact that my head felt as if someone was balancing the Titanic on top of it, with all the water still inside. And the passengers, too.
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Squinting at my blurred vision, I sat up to realise that I was chained against something.
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"She's awake," a voice cut frostily through the blur.
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"Phew! I thought she was never going to wake up!" This, I recognised as Bill the technician's.
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"Don't be stupid, the volume of the serum I gave Everest was precise to the nanoliter!" Snapped one other voice. Ah, Anne the chemist. Mutual to her job, she had quite the explosive temper.
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Nope, still got nothing.
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Anyway, on the bright side, my vision was beginning to clear up. Bright side indeed, for I had to squint to see properly through the light.
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"Be quiet. Both of you." A stern voice commanded, shooting icicles at Anne and Bill. His eyes then locked with mine. Or at least I think they did, the world kept jerking. Stay still!
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Wait just a minute! I remembered those eyes! It took me a second for it to click and I gasped. It was him! He was Everest. Those were the last words that's came out of the imbecile's mouth right before I almost won the fight! Almost. But the loathing loser had cheated in the last-
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Hold on. The file! Something about a termination!
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Suddenly my hands grew as cold as his eyes.
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He crouched in front of me.
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A storm hid away in his seemingly serene eyes. Chiseled, his cheeks almost engraved into the sides of his face. He possessed hard features and judging by his blade-like jaw, he probably had no nerve endings in his face. An unmoving expression. Arctic, deserted, distant. But again, it was his eyes that caught my attention. Beneath them, was something that was laid out plain and simple, yet I couldn't decipher.
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"What was the point of bringing her here for termination if I could've done it in Director's office?" His deadpanned voice rumbled through the air.
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There's that word again.
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I lunged forward. The shackles easily snapped from their hinges and I almost caught hold of him.
Oh, sweet vengeance was right within my grasp and under my nose - literally - when the Titanic began sinking again.
It's always almost with him, isn't it?
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"It's always almost with you isn't it?"
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He effortlessly pinned my hands above my head, stealing my very own tactic, not to mention it was a really uncomfortable position, considering my head was swimming, so I kicked him. Hard. Then I charged towards the traitors, using the remaining bit of energy I had left.
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"You drugged me?!"
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"Well technically, it was Everest who drugged you," Bill replied.
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I turned around to face this Everest.
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"That explains everything." My voice was inched with sarcasm. But all I got in return was a glacial stare from him. Charming.
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Frustratedly realizing that this wasn't working out, I turned back to Bill and Anne.
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Bill gave me innocent eyes. "Tell you what?"
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One moment my hands were hanging innocently by my side, the next they were around Bill's neck.
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"202!" Another voice.
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Leaving Bill, coughing and wheezing, I charged up to Director. "What's all this nonsense about some termination?" Where was Amanda? Wherever Director was, she was.
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"You shouldn't have been in my office," he replied calmly.
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"I shouldn't..? Is that all you have to say for yourself? Where am I? Why did you drug me? What's happening?"
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"—you're in the termination unit."
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There's that word again.
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"I saw the file. You're going to terminate me? Terminate? What am I, some sort of pest? And what makes you think you can kill me so easily? Standing there, all vulnerable in your feeble and defenceless body, I'd hardly need to lift a finger to finish you off."
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"Maybe you should sit down," Director offered, rather calmly despite my threat.
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"202, stop being difficult."
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I folded my arms in restraint. The name is Emerald, brother!
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"Oh for the love of— Emerald," Director sighed. "Please sit down."
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"If you insist. You know the Titanic still is floating up there. I thought it sank already," I blabbered, mindlessly. This gained me two confused looks from Anne and Bill, a seemingly understanding nod from the Director and an emotionless stare from Mister Mystery. "So, who is he?" I asked, gesturing in this so-called Everest's direction.
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"You see, Everest has been our biggest project for twenty-two years, now."
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I frowned, confused, until the realisation drawn in on me. That meant, even before me. "What do you mean project?" I glimpsed at Everest. Ah, a stony face to match a stony personality.
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"Meaning, he's just like you."
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I raised an eyebrow. Well, that explained why he didn't exactly break, back in Director's office. "Like me," I repeated.
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"Except he's better," Anne chimed in.
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The frown returned to my face. "Better? Better how?"
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"You were the backup if something went wrong with Everest," the Director proceeded.
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"Backup?" My heart rate picked up.
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"Our whole purpose here at the Front has been to find the cure. And the whole purpose at Reynolds and Co has also been to find the cure, that's why they attacked, right? To prevent competition."
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He was telling me things I already knew. This was what I meant when I said, Director liked to spell things out to the last syllable.
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"I would really appreciate it if you would get to the point."
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"With Everest, was when we first discovered the cure."
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I had to blink a couple of times to ensure I wasn't still dreaming – or rather nightmare-ing. "Huh?"
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"After him, you came along—"
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"No, repeat the first thing you said."
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"Everest held the original cure."
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"The original cure," I reiterated. "The original cure. The original... what does that mean?"
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Director sighed. "Emerald, we already discovered the cure for cancer, long before you were born."
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Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale... "What the hell?!" Nice to know, that the breathing helped.
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"This could come as a shock—"
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"Since when was there an original cure?!"
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"Since Everest was born, two years before you."
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I closed my eyes. This notion was good, because it provided darkness, and darkness made me realise something...
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I looked back at Director. "You told me, that the cure was unintentionally created."
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"It was. Only, not with you."
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I made a calculated guess. "I'm guessing it was with Everest?"
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"Yes," Director responded.
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Oh. So, my entire life had been a lie.
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"And my mother?"
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"She never experienced the explosion. It was Everest's mother who did. Your parents helped create the cure. But it was not for your mother."
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I scratched the back of my head and smiled bitterly, trying to keep my head on. "This might sound like a dumb question. But, where the hell did I come from, then?" My voice was soft and gentle. Like the calm before the storm.
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"We made you," he stated it, just like that.
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My smile widened into humorless laughter. "That explains the lab rat name. Tell me, does Everest have one too?"
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"You know," I interrupted in a sugary voice. "I feel absolutely privileged that you chose to present me at the launch, over him. But, do you know what utterly just blows my mind?" My tone shifted into pure rage. "Why you introduced me to the world, moments before deciding to kill me, if you had your precious original cure with you all along. Or why you would lie to me about the mere discovery of the cure."
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"Would you please let me ex—"
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"I'm not done yet." I put my finger up to halt him. "Do want to know what blows my mind the most?" My voice dropped into a near whisper. "Why you want to kill me in the first place."
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Director pushed his glasses back. "Emerald, you need to understand that we hid Everest because we couldn't lose something of great value–"
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"I'm not of great value?"
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"If news on Everest gets into the wrong hands, like Gemma Reynolds, for example... We simply can't afford that."
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"News of me got into the hands of Gemma Reynolds!" I retaliated.
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"Which is precisely why we couldn't let the same thing happen with Everest!"
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"But, you let it happen to me."
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Silence conquered the room, before I chose to speak again, "Was it because he is of 'greater value' than me?"
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He took a deep breath. "I hate to say this, really, I do, but Everest has shown to be abler than you, so, unfortunately, yes."
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He spoke quickly next, "Believe me, we've run hundreds upon hundreds of tests. All of them signified that Everest had higher capabilities than you."
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I shook my head. There was no time to mourn; I wanted answers. "How?"
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"I can't share that with you."
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I scoffed, pushing down a ball of rage.
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"But that's beside the point," his fingers flexed with his words. "There was just too much at stake. We just couldn't allow discovery of Everest to fall into the hands of Gemma Reynolds."
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"I'm sure Gemma can find a boyfriend somewhere else. I mean she's pretty," I glanced at Everest; his eyes narrowed a fraction of an inch, so obscure, it could have gone unnoticed. "But not that pretty."
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"I cannot believe you are making jokes in this moment of time," Anne commented.
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"I can't believe you just complimented Gemma Reynolds," Bill squeaked somewhere from the back.
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Director exhaled the long breath, that he seemed to have held in for a while now. "202, we both know that's not what I'm talking about. Gemma already knows about you, as it is. We can't afford another attack if she discovers even a shred of information about Everest."
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"So that leaves one more question: why kill me?"
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"I'm afraid, I cannot share that detail with you."
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I breathed slowly. "I could shatter your entire nervous system, right now."
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"202, I would tell you, if I could," he added, immediately.
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"So, what you're telling me, Director," I whispered deadly serious. "Is that after you raise me, make me sacrifice my entire life for this stupid organisation, without the luxury of even living a normal life, you toss aside as soon as you find someone better?"
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"Emerald. We are not replacing you." Anne cut me off. "All we are saying is that, however special you think you are to us, is exactly how special Everest is to us.
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"That–that's worse! That's like one sided love!" For a smart woman, Anne was really dumb.
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"I am sorry it came down to this–" Director started.
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"No, you're not."
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He sighed for what seemed like the fiftieth time during this conversation. "But, according to our tests—"
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"Screw your tests."
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"According to our tests, Everest is, in fact, superior to you, as he has something you don't." Director finished.
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"What's that?" I quizzed.
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They stayed silent.
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"Why keep Everest a secret from me? Why have I lived here my whole life and never seen him once?"
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The second time they remained silent, my hand found its way to an innocent volumetric flask and hurled it across the room. "Answer me!" The flask shattered against the wall on the opposite end of the room, spitting jagged fragments out in various directions. Oh, how I wished that was Director.
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Everyone in the room winced, except Everest. After a moment, Director pushed his glasses back. "202, you have shown me in many ways what it feels like to have a daughter."
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I winced at his words.
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"But, unfortunately, it has to be this way," He concluded.
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"Oh yeah? And what makes you think, you can kill..." my sentence stopped in mid-air as that satanic drug which I was poisoned with, kicked in, again, and my head began swimming. Not again.
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"Oh, go to hell." I made sure to inform both Director and this Everest.
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"Take her to room "TU001."
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What the hell is a TU001? That was my last thought before I was enveloped by darkness. Again.
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Yay! Author's notes are fun. They make me feel all important.
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This chapter has been quite the rollercoaster ride. Jeez, I really wasn't kidding when I said Everest wasn't a man of many words – or facial expressions.
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What is your opinion on the Front, now that you have see the back-stabbing, two-faced, maniacal side of theirs?
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Also, haha Game of Thrones reference in the title. Who watches Game of Thrones? Valar Morghulis, anyone?
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