25. Sudden Escape

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Gathered in the center of camp, everyone from Scientists to guards stand in a packed circle, discussing plans.

A few attendants had dared to accompany us, and I managed to grab one of their uniforms. 

Becky hadn't taken kindly to dressing as a helper, but she sucked it up once I threatened to kick her out of camp.

Finally in disguise after a few minutes of waiting outside the tent as Becky dressed and pouted, we hurried to the center of camp, the sun rising in the morning sky.

I push my way through the crowd, Becky following a few yards behind and staying at a distance. I stop at my dads side, right in the middle of the crowd. Mrs. Clark is also there, and she sends one of her classic smirks my way.

I ignore her and instead wave at Coach Jackson who I haven't seen in a while. He winks back, and I turn my focus back on my dad, who has a sketchy drawing in his hands which looks like a poor map of the island.

"This is the best image we could conjure up with Zero's description of the island." Dad explains. 

I study the map, and all I can make of it is a bunch of scribbles and something that looks like a mountain. Glancing back, I scan all the people for Becky, and find her a few yards away, standing with her arms crossed, looking bored. She definitely stands out from the rest of the attendants, and when I catch her eye, I motion for her to uncross her arms, to which she rolls her eyes.

Scowling, I turn back to the inner circle of adults.

"Has Subject Zero given the location of the core yet." Mrs. Clark asks, also studying the map.

"The core?" I question.

Mrs. Clark glances up at me, as if forgetting I was there, and says exasperatedly, "The core of the island. The area where the Lightling territory and Darkling territory meet."

I inhale sharply. "You know about the Lightlings and Darklings? Since when?"

"The Subject was quite talkative on the ship, once I used my methods."

I hold back the urge to snarl, hating the intense wave of guilt that hits me. I knew I should have found Zero sooner on the boat. My hate for Mrs. Clark increases, if that's even possible.

"Calm down Ashley." My dad speaks up. "I made sure no harm came to Zero."

I exhale in relief, and this time it's Mrs. Clarks turn to snarl. Would it be childish to stick my tongue out at her?

"So what about this core? Why do you want to find it?" I ask, ym dad, and when mrs. Clark answers instead I glare at her.

"Well it would be stupid to surge one of the Lightlings of Darklings territories. We wouldn't stand a chance. But Zero gave some very valuable information. The core of this island is sacred, and any Lightling or Darkling that is not chosen to go there is immediately disintegrated. It would be the most idealistic place to set up camp, and begin our exploration."

I frown at her use of the word exploration. We are not exploring anything. We are taking it over."

"The core," My dad says, butting into the glaring contest between Mrs. Clark and I, "Is located just Northwest from here, at the valley of this mountain." He points to the trinagle shape on the paper which I had guessed was a mountain.

"We have two ways to get to it. Either the long way, where we travel the border between the Lightling and Darkling territory, or the shorter way, where we cut through the Lightling territory."

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