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IF: Inside the Cage - Excerpt

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By chanthar
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Chapter 1 –

Sighing softly, the white-haired teen's periwinkle-colored eyes stared across the landscape. She'd successfully crossed from one side of the bridge to the other, leaving the island country of Lonan and landing on the mainland country of Sierra. The sixteen-year-old teen's goal wasn't this country, but rather the country that bordered it to the east across the river, Belden. As the summer sun had fallen below the horizon, it no longer warmed her sienna brown skin. Her fingers tucked back a waist-length strand from her cheek to behind her ear. Her name was Roddiah and she'd come back to settle a score, so to speak. Her fingers fell from her ear past the silver flower tattoo at the corner of her eye. She had one on each side of her face. She didn't know if the others were expecting her, but if they were to find her before she found them it wouldn't be good. Her first need was to find a place to sleep.

Much like the other side of the river, the city was far from the border. The bus travel from here to there had to be paid for. It was quite cheap, unless one wanted to travel further. Dia bought a ticket that would take her to the city of Saron on the easternmost border of Sierra. This plain was the only part of the country that wasn't mountainous, so the travel should be quicker across it.

She just got the ticket for the last bus. With a wide yawn, Dia stepped up into it. She could sleep on the way. She'd done it every time so far anyway. It was natural to do. If it could save her time in travel then it was all the better. She wouldn't be able to cross the border during the night, so if she was able to travel across at the crack of dawn then it would be best.

Once everyone was in place, the bus pulled away from the station. Unlike in the previous country, this bus driver didn't blow the horn at every disembarking stop. That was a good thing, since there were many. Just the stop and go of the vehicle was enough to wake most of the travelers. The ride went northeast from the border into the city. The first stop was at the edge of the city. Further in were better hotels, but they were more expensive. It would be similar when they arrived on the other border. Where it wasn't buildings, the landscape showed meadow. All too soon the ride was over. It was just about midnight.

Dia stood up from her seat. Without luggage, she looked like she was just another of the people who lived there. Her coloring was more typical of someone from either the country she had come from or the country she was going to, but the teen acted like she was fine just where she was. As she stepped off the bus, Dia cast her eyes around the bus station. There were just about six hours between now and when the border would open. She covered her mouth to hide a yawn. The stop and go of the bus hadn't let her sleep very well. Dia slowly wandered from the bus stop through the streets to the outside of the customs building. There were a few people out there in tents; it was cheaper than staying out in a hotel, though it was quite dangerous. Dia found an open spot then sat.

Sleep came almost immediately. Around her the people broke camp. Those who were awake first went to the line for the door. Even though the customs station wasn't open at that time, each person was anxious to be on their way. Every time an advantage could be taken, it was. It really got loud when the street vendors walked up with their wares. The majority of the people carried breakfast meals.

Dia didn't know that this would happen. She bit her lower lip as she pondered on her meal. Most of it would be okay, but the sandwich might be beyond its expiration. With a shrug, Dia opened her canvas bag and dug around in it. Though she was outside, no insects had gotten on any of it. Relieved at that thought, she opened the plastic bag for her sandwich. She sniffed at it then nibbled the outside of it. Hunger quickly reared its head and she devoured the sandwich. She cracked open her bottle of water and drank half. Then she capped it and got into line.

It moved incredibly slowly. Those who were going through had often brought various things to entertain themselves. The majority had brought some sort of text, due to the consideration for others' eardrums. It wouldn't be good to be detained. Inch by inch the line moved along the sidewalk to the front doors. Once they went in, the people were briefly scanned. Then the room broke into two hallways: one went to the place to get forms while the other went directly to the clerks. The latter was for people who were passing through often, like for their work on the river.

When she stepped inside, Dia took her hint from what had happened before. She went to the wall that held the papers. She took down the ones for temporary return to homeland. With a soft sigh, the teen then carried them to one of the tables. She picked up the pen on a chain and wrote out her information. It was easier to do it this time, since she'd done the same not even twenty-four hours earlier. Then she carried it over to the line for the clerk to inspect. Dia rocked back and forth on her feet as she waited for her turn. With a yawn passing her lips, Dia resolved that when she got into Belden she'd have to take a proper sleep.

"Next," said the clerk.

Dia blinked and rubbed one eye. She wandered up to the clerk with a tired smile on her lips. With a slight chuckle, she handed over her paper then her ID cards as well. "I don't know which you need."

"Both are fine," replied the clerk. This time it was a man. The redhead eyed the picture then the teen. He tilted his head to the side while he brought up her information in the database. He pondered for a bit then asked, "So, you're going home to visit your family?"

"Yes, we have a short break. I'm trying to get there fast so I don't have to turn around and come right back."

"Why didn't you fly?"

"The plane ticket is a little too expensive for me. I don't really like the idea of not having my feet on something solid connected to something else that's connected to the ground in some way or another."

"I can understand that," replied the clerk with a chuckle. "It's a little hard on the body, though."

"I know," replied Dia with a slight groan. "I'm going to have a proper sleep once I get back to Belden. Then I'll continue on to my home."

"A proper sleep?"

"Yes, I misjudged the time and got here too late for the last crossing so spent the night out on the grass."

"That doesn't sound safe."

"I don't know about safe," replied Dia with a small shrug, "But at any other time I don't think the weather would be good enough to sleep outside as I am."

"That's true," said the clerk. He pushed over the IDs. "Well, we're done here. You can go through."

"Thank you," replied Dia. She smiled while she tucked her cards into her pocket. She wandered around the high desk to the door. As the clerk buzzed her through, the teen wandered through the portal down the hallway. When she arrived at the other side, the expanse held some meadow then many docks for the ferries to carry the travelers across the expanse into Belden. With a slow step, she wandered over the path to the edge of the river. Each ferry had a pay booth. She pondered for a bit then searched for one that seemed familiar. When she found a cheaper one, she opted for that one instead. She walked over and paid for a ticket.

The first ferry was going to leave shortly, so the sailors dropped down the plank and ushered the others on board. At the bottom of the gangplank, a ticket taker checked each of the passes that were presented. With a hole-puncher in hand, the ticket taker put a hole in each of the papers that came by. The tickets were kept as proof of payment, but most of them were void after the first snap of metal through paper. The cheaper ferry just took people and a few hand powered vehicles like bicycles on board. There wasn't much room on it.

Dia glanced around while she bit her lower lip. It seemed that in the summer months there was more activity. Everyone with a boat used it to get money by carrying people and things across the raging central river. With a quick swallow, Dia wondered whether it was wise to go on this one rather than on a more expensive vessel. It was too late to change her mind, though, so she went and sat on one of the benches in the middle of the ferry. She rested her hands on her lap as she glanced around. With a lurch, the ferry took off.

Everything seemed to be going just fine. The teen thought that she had made her way across the countries undetected. What Dia didn't know was that the one she was going to confront knew everything about what was going on.

With a gasp, the administrator's aide stood beside her boss. She had in her hand a communication from the others. She was a little afraid to tell him what it said. This was what he wanted, though. After Roddiah had escaped, all he was concerned with was getting her back by any means necessary. Now she was coming.

"What is it?"

The administrator's aide looked down at him. Both of them were in this together, more or less, so she might as well. The pale woman pushed her square framed glasses up her nose. "Sir, we have a communication from the Administrator of Sierra."

"Don't just stand there," replied the man. He appeared to be about fifty, a score of years older than her. The rest of it was identical, though, with their height and coloring. "Tell me what it says."

"Yes, sir," replied the woman. She shifted from one foot to the other. Her five foot eight inch body rocked side to side. Her blue eyes lowered to the paper and she read out loud what was there, "It says that Roddiah has left Lonan."

"Has she now?" The administrator stood up from his seat. With a smile on his lips, he rested his weight against the cane in his hand. His other hand went up and rubbed through the short white hair. "It seems like my pressure has paid off. When did she leave?"

"Last night," replied the administrator's aide. She turned her head as the computer mounted on the wall beeped. Once she noted the icon she spoke, "We have a communication."

"Yes, it can wait," replied the administrator. He dropped his hand from his head to rest on the back of his other hand. "I want to know more about her movements."

With a slight nod, the administrator's aide returned her gaze to the paper in hand. Her long white hair was pulled up straight back in a ponytail. As such, it wouldn't get in her way no matter what she did. "Yes, sir, they are tracking her as best they can. The next message will be sent electronically."

"I wonder if that would be it."

"I don't know, sir."

The administrator walked from his seat across the large living area to the wall that held the computer. There were three screens in a row with the keyboard on a rollout platform. The seat folded out as well. It was a secret thing. With a slight chuckle, the administrator sat down and brought up the message. As he scanned over the content he commented, "It is."

With a slight tilt, the administrator's aide leaned forwards. She scanned over the message on the central screen. There were times when she wasn't allowed to read things, but this time it wasn't forbidden to her. She was a little afraid to, but she read it then said, "Oh, she's made it across Sierra into Belden."

"Yes," replied the administrator with a chuckle.

"What should we do?"

"I don't want to frighten her off, so I'll leave her be."

"But...what if something happens?"

"It won't."

"Sir..."

"I know; you're worried about her safety."

The administrator's aide nodded faintly. "Yes, Sir, we have the warrant out for her still."

"Ah, yes, that thing," he murmured. With a slight nod, the administrator typed in the information to get into Roddiah's government identification file. "I didn't keep it on once that she made her way into Lonan. Now that she's come back, I can put it on her file again."

"Sir, we don't want her to be traumatized..."

"It depends on what you mean," replied the administrator. He chuckled while he closed out her file. "Ah, no, I don't want to have her be taken to jail. She might get picked up by one of those who work against us anyway." His mirth faded away to a frown. His eyes narrowed as he brought up the map of the nation. "She should be on the border now, judging by the timestamp on the update. Then she'll have to go straight east, if she's going to end up in Deniz. I don't know where she's heading, but it's safe to assume that she'll be heading towards Meadow Springs."

"What should we do?"

"I want to have her come to us," replied the administrator. He shook his head. Then he tapped on the keys. "Everything must be done to bring her here, rather than to the compound. It would make the others uncomfortable. I don't want to disturb them if I can help it."

"So, send her here?"

"Yes."

With a nervous swallow, the administrator's aide bobbed her head in agreement. She flipped her paper over and wrote on the clipboard. "Yes, sir, I will make sure that it is done."

"Good," he said. "Oh, don't send out any collectors."

"After the last time, I understand why you don't want them."

"Yes," he said with a scowl. "Have they been found?"

"Not yet, sir."

His scowl only deepened at the news. With a slight nod, he brought up the screen for the satellites. He quickly tapped the keys. As he brought up the command codes, he commented, "I'm going to give Roddiah some direction."

"Sir..."

"I know," he said with a slight chuckle. "It will be tricky, but since I'm going after my own country instead of others I don't think the other Administrators will call in a panic complaining."

"Y-yes, sir," said the administrator's aide with a slight tremble. Her eyes drifted to the screen again. She hugged her clipboard to her chest while she watched the landscape on the screen. She knew that Roddiah would be there. Hopefully she wouldn't have a bad reaction. For now, all she could do was watch what happened and wait for reports.

Down on the spot where the satellite was focused, Dia rested her weight against the railing of the ferry. Soon it would dock. When it did, she wandered down the gangplank onto the land of Belden. With a slight shiver, Dia put her hand on the side of her head. A little bit of a gnawing pain got to her. She thought it was from tiredness. With a faint yawn, Dia wandered over to the line that led from the docks to the bus station's ticket window.

"Next, please," said the cashier, opening a new window.

Dia stepped up to the counter. She glanced up at the list of cities then at the prices. She was concerned at the prices. Maybe she should have tried to bring her tricycle along.

"Destination?"

"Deniz," replied Dia. She didn't know of anywhere else to go. It was the closest place to her last known origin too.

"That will be $15.00."

"Okay," said Dia. She put her hand into her messenger bag. She pulled out the money then handed it over. She was relieved that it was a relatively small sum, compared to the others.

"The bus will leave in half an hour." The cashier spoke while he
took a ticket from the dispenser on the counter. He turned the bill into change. Then he handed both over.

"Thank you," replied Dia with a slight nod. She grabbed her ticket and change then stuck it in her messenger bag. With a quick step, she went from the ticket window to the waiting station. As she looked around, she pondered on what to do. Then Dia shrugged and wandered into the bathroom. She quickly washed at the sink. Once that was done, she went out and sat on a chair in the waiting area. A yawn left her lips, but she fought her sleepiness back. She removed an apple from her canvas bag then munched on it. Time passed agonizingly slow, but eventually the appointed time came and Dia boarded the bus. She sat in the back of it and napped on the way.

When the bus arrived in Deniz it was late in the afternoon. It had stopped once for lunch, but Dia had slept through that time. All around was meadow, so as they traveled only the river behind and the city ahead showed the change in placement. Far to the north was the bottom of the forest that Dia and her rescuer had traveled through on their escape. This time she went directly into the city that they previously tried their best to avoid. The city was half built on meadow and half built on sand. The compound was securely on the peninsula. There the sand overtook the meadow, though the administrator had made sure the compound itself was secure on the grass. The part of the city that the bus entered was on the western edge. It didn't go further than that, since the bus had to turn around and go back the same way it came.

Dia's head jerked up as the bus blew its horn. She blinked a couple times then rubbed the backs of her hands over her eyes. With a small yawn, she rose from the seat then wandered down onto the street. The bus station was ahead of her, but Dia turned and walked down the sidewalk to the south. She had to find a cheap place to rest her head. A meal would be good too. Now that her mind was coming back she recognized that she was hungry.

There were plenty of restaurants around the bus station. It was a good place to be since it was a hub of activity. As usual, the closest were the most expensive. Like in Lonan, there were people who walked the streets with their carts. As the mobile restaurants each took a corner, the servers called out and tried to get more business.

Dia tilted her head to the side. Here she couldn't use the meal vouchers from school. She was in another country now. With a faint sigh leaving her lips, Dia put her hand in her pocket. She had a bag of chips and half of her water bottle left. All she needed was the main part of the meal. With a slow step, she traveled to one line with less expensive food. A small grin turned her lips as she noticed the prices of the hotdogs. It was low enough that it wouldn't strain her wallet. She pulled out the change she needed then handed it over in exchange. With her meal in hand, Dia nibbled on the end of the hotdog and walked along the sidewalk. As she went, she searched the buildings for hotels. She found a phone booth then looked through the book of business listings within it.

The motel that she picked was one that looked like a mirror of one of the buildings at her school. The property tax was levied by the width of the building, so up was the best way to go. As such, the entrance was quite skinny. There were two rooms on either side. From there, the three room wide building went up thirty stories. The rooms within were tiny, but the entrance didn't make it seem so.

At the price it was, Dia couldn't afford to be fussy. She paid for the night then went to the elevator. She pondered for a bit as she rode up through the lift. She didn't know whether she'd stay beyond the night. She didn't even know where to go the following day. With a weak smile, Dia rubbed her hand on the back of her head. She put her hand down again as she tried to keep her body as small as possible within the tiny space. Her room was on the twenty-third floor. Relieved by the opening of the doors, Dia left the lift and traveled down the hallway. It was narrow here as well. Dia felt a little claustrophobic. She fought her nerves down and went to her room. She opened the door then stepped inside. At least she'd been assigned one with a view of the street. Dia closed the door behind her. She walked over to the corner table and dropped her canvas bag on it. The messenger bag went down next. The bed was right next to it, so Dia flopped back down on it. She felt tired, so she fell asleep again. Hopefully she could have an early start in the next morning.

Back at the other place, the others were still awake and watching her moves on the computer. Rather, it was the aide who was watching as the administrator amused himself nearby. When an update showed on the screen she announced it, "Sir, Roddiah has checked into one of the motels in Deniz."

The administrator nodded. He rested one hand on his cane as his other hand rested on the window. His blue eyes stared out into the darkening sky. Though many slept at this time, he wouldn't. "So, she'll be down for the night then." He tapped one finger on the glass.

"Yes, sir," replied the administrator's aide. She walked over to stand slightly behind him. She liked the view from her room, but his was much better. What he had was like a house on top of the skyscraper. He could see everything from here.

"Aren't you going to ask what we should do next?"

"Oh! Yes, sir," replied the woman quickly. She blinked then pushed her glasses up her nose. She smiled sheepishly, bobbing her head. "How will we get her here?"

"The entire city is under my control, so... It shouldn't be hard," replied the administrator.

"No, sir."

With a slight chuckle, he turned his head from the window. "You're tired, aren't you?"

"A little, sir."

"Well, don't let me keep you from your rest. There isn't anything left for you to do. Go to bed, my dear."

With a slight nod, the administrator's aide spoke up, "Yes, sir. I hope you have a pleasant time in between." Even though she couldn't say anything about sleep or the like, it felt rude not to make some sort of mention. He seemed to be in a good mood. She wanted to keep her boss in that frame of mind. If that meant she had to leave then she would.

The administrator smiled as he watched her leave. He chuckled faintly and walked to the computer display. He sat down on the bench. While his eyes scanned the screens, he brought up the update to Dia's information. He found where she was sleeping. With a smirk, he brought up another screen. Then he typed in the commands for a program. The space around her was blanketed with the subconscious orders to help Roddiah find her way. He knew he couldn't just bring her to him. She'd have to find the way herself. It didn't mean that he wouldn't guide her, though. He worked diligently through the night while his aide slept.

Across the bridge between mainland and island, the ones that Dia knew as friends at school chatted with each other. It was dinnertime. Despite the fact that it was break, not many had left the country the campus was on. Travel was difficult. There was plenty to do in the city anyway. At this time formality had broken down, so the different groups clustered together in their favorite spots to eat together.

"So, where is Dia?"

"I don't know."

"I'm worried; she was acting a little weird."

With a nod, Indesvara spoke up, "I'm worried too." He turned his eyes from Tallulah to Tiberinus then to Trelawny. "I don't know much, other than she took her tricycle thing out for a ride."

"She's been working on that for a while," said Liavitta. "I wouldn't expect her to be away completely, though."

"If anyone knows what's going on, it would be Elati," said Florimel.

Kaveri nodded while she commented, "Her roommate should know."

"I don't know about that," said Tobikuma, "I don't tell my roommate everything."

"That's for sure," muttered Tiberinus.

Tobikuma waved his hand and said, "Anyway, it would be a good place to start."

"I wonder where she is," said Tallulah.

"If she's in her room, you'd have a better chance," said Indesvara with a sigh.

Tallulah smirked while she glanced over at him. "That's true; you don't want to be labeled a pervert."

He stuck his tongue out at the other teen. Then Indesvara shifted in his seat. "Well, if we're not going to talk nicely then I guess I'll be going." He picked up his tray then carried it with him away.

"What set him off?"

"You did," replied Tiberinus to Tallulah. He chuckled, shook his head. "He'll get over it, I bet."

"He will," said Liavitta.

"Anyway," said Florimel with a light cough. She nodded over to the brown-skinned woman who had just entered. "I think she's here."

All heads turned to stare at the nineteen year old. With her shoulder-length blonde hair parted down the middle, the haircut was simple yet sophisticated. Her green eyes were dazed as she reviewed her homework in her mind.

"I'll go," said Kaveri, standing up. Her fingers fixed one of the flower clips in her long purple hair. She was the youngest of the group there, but the tallest at six feet exactly. A head taller than the roommate, she towered over everyone except Trelawny who was the same height. With a quick step, the ruddy-skinned teen went over to Elati. "Hello, how're you doing?"

"Oh, Kaveri, hi," she replied. With a smile, Elati continued, "I'm doing well. How are you?"

"I'm well," said Kaveri. She gestured to the table where the others sat as her blue eyes watched her closely. "Would you like to join us for dinner?"

Elati blinked softly, but then she nodded to the fifteen year old. "Ah, yes, that would be nice." With that said, she went and got her meal. Tray in hand, Elati walked over to the others. As she felt the stares, she couldn't help but cough, "I have a feeling that you want to know something."

"It's about Dia," admitted Florimel. The winged teen's feathers flicked softly at her back. Her pale fingers went up and pushed the light blonde hair away from her ice blue eyes. "We're worried."

"We haven't seen her around," said the redhead. Today her curls were down, so Liavitta's black eyes in her pale face seemed even more in contrast to each other. She was two inches taller than Dia's roommate, though she was about the same in years younger.

"And we're worried as to where she could have gone," said her boyfriend. The blonde was four months older than the redhead. He had a subtle sort of handsomeness. The brown eyes were concerned as they stared out from the tanned skin.

"Would you please let us know where she went?" The speaker was the same height as the redhead. This eighteen-year-old male was also quite attractive. He brushed back his pale brown hair from his brown eyes. It was getting a little long, so the curl wasn't holding quite so well. Tiberinus held a slight smile on his tan face.

"We would like to know," said the last tan-faced teen. His expression didn't hold a smile. Instead, this eighteen year old had a serious look. Even so, he was frighteningly handsome with the orange bob cut just barely showing his bright blue eyes. He was the same height as the one he addressed.

With them staring at her, Elati swallowed nervously. She couldn't tell them more than she knew. The intensity of everyone's stares made her feel like she was doing something wrong by just not knowing. "I don't know," she finally admitted, "She said she was going to do a walkabout."

There wasn't much of a change in the others' expressions, except for a bit of a disappointed sigh. The black-haired female sighed while she flipped her hair off her shoulder. She and Indesvara had similar coloring, though his brown skin was much darker. She twisted a finger through her curl then pulled it back over her shoulder. "Well, that didn't give much of an answer." Her green eyes darted around then returned to Elati. "Can't you think of anything? She's been gone a whole day already."

"From what I understand she left to try out that thing she's been working on," replied Elati. The blonde youth shrugged. "I know she took her money with her, so it's likely that she expected to stay overnight wherever she ended up."

"I see," murmured Tobikuma.

"She didn't tell any of us that, though," said Tallulah while she continued to tease her black curl over her finger. "I would have thought she would, since we are friends and all."

"She probably didn't want to bother you," said Elati.

"That would be just like her," said Tiberinus with a sigh.

"We'll have to wait and berate her later," muttered Tobikuma.

Elati smiled weakly. She nodded as she ducked her head. "Whoever saw her last probably knows more. It wouldn't be me. We only really see each other in the dorm room."

"I wonder who was the last to see her," said Trelawny.

Liavitta wrinkled up her nose. "It probably would be Indy. He has a garage right next to hers."

"That's right."

Liavitta bobbed her head. With a faint sigh leaving her lips, she tilted over and rested her shoulder against her boyfriend's chest. "We'll have to ask him about it again."

"Where is he?"

Tobikuma replied to Elati with a chuckle, "He left in a huff when Tallulah teased him."

"Did he?" Elati laughed softly as she heard. "Oh dear, I hope he isn't in too bad of a mood."

"He'll be fine," said Trelawny.

Elati nodded then returned to her meal. Once she finished it, she sighed, "I hope so. Dia does like him. Ah, but I shouldn't speak on that until she makes up her mind up about it." With a chuckle, she stood up. "I should get back to work."

"It's vacation time," said Kaveri, "You should relax."

"I'd love to, but this is my last summer here." Elati bobbed her head as she lifted her tray. "I want to get done what I can. Then it's off to the city to look for an apartment."

"Oh?" Tallulah asked as she perked up. "I'd like to help you with that."

"Thank you," said Elati with a nod. "Dia said she'd help, but as she's away... Ah, I wonder if someone from Lonan would like to show me around."

With a laugh, Trelawny and Florimel shook their heads. Then they looked at each other. It was an awkward pause, but eventually the girl spoke first, "I haven't been around here long enough to know more than you do about this city. Sorry, Elati, but I can't."

"I'm not sure if I'd be any help either," said Trelawny.

"Ah well," said Elati. "Thank you anyway." She smiled and bobbed her head. "I'll talk with you all later." With the farewell said, Elati left the younger crowd. She disposed of her dishes. Then she left the cafeteria. Since the dean's office was at the top of the building they were already in, all Elati had to do was go up instead of down. She was incredibly worried about Dia after listening to the others. She tapped her finger against her elbow while the elevator went up. Though she was unannounced, Elati was sure that she wouldn't be denied.

As expected, Dean Vorago had an open office. Usually he wouldn't be there at that time, but due to the vacation time he didn't have to hide for his dinner. The man had turned forty-six the month before. He was tall, but at six feet he didn't tower over all the students. With a blink, he lifted his head from the meal. He was caught in a bit of an embarrassing situation. While his brown hair wasn't styled to be able to fall in his blue eyes, the meal was splattered over his pale face.

Elati tapped lightly on the open door. She had an unusual relationship with this man. With a blink then laugh, the blonde tried to hide her mouth with her hand as she spoke, "Oh dear, Dean Vorago, you have something on your face."

He slurped up the spaghetti strands. With his head ducked down, the older man grabbed a napkin with his free hand. He mopped the red sauce from his cheeks and chin. That's the last time I don't lock my door while eating! He cleaned himself up then stood up slightly from his seat behind the desk. "Elati, what are you doing here?"

"I'm sorry, sir, but I thought that I should come speak to you about Dia."

Dean Vorago frowned as he heard the name. Though the young teen meant well, she didn't seem to be having a good time here. The other teen rescued from the compound had assimilated into the culture quite well. Dean Vorago walked around the desk. "What's happened to her?"

"She seems to have disappeared," replied Elati in a straightforward tone.

"What?"

"She said that she was going for a walkabout, but she hasn't come back yet."

"I see," murmured the dean. He shook his head. "I'll put out some inquiries. I'm not sure if she's just late or in trouble. I hope it will be the former."

"I'm sorry if I've worried you," said Elati with a weak smile on her lips. "It's just that not only I but others are worried as well."

"I understand," said Dean Vorago. "She has been acting a little oddly." The dean put his hand lightly on her shoulder. "I'm glad you came to me. I'll do whatever I can."

"I know you will," murmured Elati. She nodded then let a soft sigh of relief pass her lips. "I'm glad I could talk to you. There's no one else that I can talk to about this. It's hard..."

"I know," said Dean Vorago. He rubbed his hand on her shoulder. His gaze was tender, but there was nothing that showed more than sympathy. "Even I can't talk to you about what happened. I wasn't there..."

"Yes, it's my burden," said Elati with a sigh. She closed her eyes for a moment. Then she opened them while she took a slight step back. "So, I should get back to work now."

"Study, study, study, is it?" Dean Vorago asked with a chuckle.

"Of course," replied Elati with a laugh.

Dean Vorago shook his head. With the smile on his lips, he gestured to the door then dropped his hand. "Very well, just don't overwork yourself. If you need to talk again, my door is always open, so to speak."

"I'll try not to walk in on your mealtime again," she said with a smirk. Elati curtsied then retreated from the room. Though she'd felt quite down when she had gone in, Elati felt lighter as she came out. Hopefully she was worrying over nothing. With a slow step, the teen made her way to the elevator. Once inside she went down the administration building to the student housing building in the south. She might need to visit any others in the four cardinal points for her studies: Science in the east, Foreign Relations in the north and Literature in the west. For now she just wanted to sleep, so she did.

Dean Vorago just laughed and shook his head. When she had gone the mirth faded. He let a frown creep over his fair features. He stepped around to the back of the desk. There he sat down and stared at his computer. Many thoughts swirled through his mind. He didn't want to alarm his contacts, but he couldn't just let Dia wander around Lonan. It had been proved by the sleepers that the people they were fighting against had hidden people in their ranks. If they caught the absent teen then surely they'd take her back to the people who had experimented on her. That was a horrible fate that he wanted to keep her from returning to. With that in mind, Dean Vorago flicked on his computer then typed up a note of warning for his contacts to keep an eye out for the teen. Hopefully it was nothing, but if not then maybe the resistance could stop it before things got too bad.

Little did anyone know that this tip on the scales that made the balance of existence would pull it all down around them. That would come in time, but for now those who knew watched and waited to see what Roddiah would do. Those who didn't know waited for her as well, but for different reasons. The rest of the world was completely oblivious to the happenings in the southern part of the main continent. The teen had no knowledge of what she was about to bring about. She might not have cared if she had. All she wanted was answers to the questions that plagued her amnesia-riddled mind.
A girl without a past is struggling to build her future. It's difficult though, as every day further back than three months is lost to her. Signs are taped over everything she owns with notes to help her know what they are. At least in her home she is safe. But what about in the world where everything changes so fast that it throws even the most knowledgeable into chaos? Follow Dia in her quest to stay sane in a world of insanity.

This edition holds books 7-9: Egg, Bird, and Cage.
In them Dia returns to the country she escaped. Many things are revealed. Through it all, her mind is on the one she left behind. She has to get back to him. No matter what happens there, when she makes it back to campus, will he still want her?
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© 2011 - 2020 chanthar
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