eleventeen Chapter Three
"Have you got the information?" Evander asked, as soon as I walked in the door.
I shot him a look. "I'm hardly at home for a few seconds and you've already pounced on me?"
"Excuse me, sunshine, this is important."
"Yeah, well so's my sanity. Lay off a bit, okay?" I sighed, sitting down in a chair. "But yeah, I have the information. Happy?"
He let out a breath. "Thank heavens. I heard about the rebel...Charlotte, if this puts you in danger, I..."
"It's fine. I'm sure it can't have been me." But really, who else could it have been? Everyone else was so blindly devoted to the Puppeteer...
"I was wondering, since you got us the paper, there's a meeting tonight...do you want to come? I mean, I understand if you don't but..."
Did I? I mean, sure, the Puppeteer was unjust but it didn't really affect me too badly. I had a job, a pretty good one, plus friends and a life and it's all because of the Puppeteer...but then again, he was probably certifiably insane and was so cruel to the people who didn't listen to him. So the answer?
"Yeah...yeah, why not?"
"Really?" Evander grinned. "We'd have to get you a proper alibi, then. Just incase anyone sees you..."
"Relax. I'm staying at a hotel, remember? And I'm staying there all night. If anyone else sees me, it's only their imagination."
"I'm not really sure -"
"Evander." I put my hand on his shoulder. "Trust me."
He sighed. "Alright. I just don't want you getting in trouble, because it could hurt a lot more than just you."
"I'm well aware. But remember, the Puppeteer trusts me. He's chosen me for so much...it would take a lot of convincing for him to even fathom the idea that I'm in the rebellion."
"He's a lot smarter than you think."
"What do you mean?"
"This guy...he's crazy. And not like "I'll murder you in your sleep" crazy, I mean "I know I'm crazy, I've accepted that I'm crazy, and I know exactly how to use it do destroy everything around me" crazy. Charlotte, he could single-handedly wipe out all the rebellion has worked for over the past three years. He could kill so many people..."
"And I swear I won't let that happen. I'll play it safe, and I can just say I was out at the park. There's an area without as many cameras; I can just say I was there."
He nodded, but the doubt in his eyes. "Alright. We're leaving in a little. Be ready, okay?"
"You ready?" Evander asked, shrugging on his jacket. Iuean sat beside him, tying the laces to his boots.
"Yeah." I grabbed my research notebook out of habit, but I decided against it. Why should I help the Puppeteer?
"We'll have to go separate ways. There's less a chance of being caught if we do that. Another thing," Iuean stood up, and grabbed a coat from the closet. It was nice looking, brown leather, and it couldn't have been easy to procure. "We got this for you."
"Oh, you don't have to do that; I have my own coat."
"No, look inside." There was a detailed map, parts of it I recognized as being the traditional city routes, while others were unfamiliar. "It's got all sorts of routes mapped out there." He moved over, pointing to a red outlined route. "Follow this one for now. We might change it up some, but we'll be sure to tell you when we do."
"This is heading towards the abandoned railway station, you do realize that, right?"
"Actually, they all are." I looked a little closer and saw that Iuean was right. "We'll meet you there, and explain the rest then."
We went our separate ways, hardly making eye contact as we did so. I went over all sorts of half-baked alibis in my head: I was on my way to the library (all the way across town, in the opposite direction, much too far to walk), I was on my way to visit my cousin (I didn't have any living family members that I knew of, just a look at my record and this was blatantly obvious), I was on my way back from work (they knew I left after the emergency meeting). I had exhausted myself, both mentally and physically; I had dashed behind the nearest obstacle at the sheer sight of another human being. When I reached the train station, I was delighted to see Evander and Iuean standing there for me. They were, however, with a man I had never seen before.
"Charlotte, this is -" Iuean began.
"How's it going, Charlotte?" The man said with a chuckle, his sea-blue eyes twinkling. He spoke with a pleasant hint of a North-Eastern accent. "My name's Finn."
"As I was saying, this is Finn. He's from Schebo, if you couldn't tell by the accent. He's been a part of the rebellion since April, three years ago."
"It's an honor to meet such a lovely lady." Finn said with a grin. "So, you're our new recruit?"
"Um, I wouldn't be so sure, I mean..." I shook my head. "I'm sorry, this is all new to me."
"Oh, it's fine. It might take you a bit to learn the ropes, but everyone's really welcoming. You should be used to us in no time!" Finn put a hand on my shoulder. "I promise, you'll love it."
"But right now, we have to get going." Evander said, leading us into a tunnel. "C'mon, let's go."
We walked for a while until we reached a door. Iuean knocked twice, and a slot opened.
"Identification, please!" A female voice said.
Evander dug around in his pocket, then gave a card.
"Members of your party?"
"Iuean Heckley, Finn Skedviby, and Charlotte Pepper."
"She's not in our records."
"She will be soon. She's the girl who got us our information, right, Charlotte?"
"Er...right!" I chimed in.
The woman sighed. "Alright. But only for you, Evander."
Evander gave us all a smug grin, and his brother pretended to whack him on the head.
"Watch yourself, Ev," Iuean grinned.
The door swung open, and we were greeted by a cheerful amount of chatter coming from an assembled group of about a hundred people.
"Charlotte Pepper, welcome to the Rebellion." Finn said, patting my back.