40. The Ultimate Showdown

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"Let's make a trade." Mrs. Clark smirks.

My eyes stay locked with my fathers, dread filling every inch of my body. This is exactly what I was afraid of.

I may not have predicted Peter betraying us and Mrs. Clark turning the whole team against my father to use as leverage,  but I had a feeling something terrible may have happened, and I'm beginning to see my feeling was right.

"What do you want?" I growl in a low voice, and even Mrs. Clark seems taken aback by it. She soon recovers though, and  slides that disgusting smirk back into place.

"We need protection, among a few other things." She drawls, seeming to tick things off on her fingers. "We want a guide, I'm sure one of your friends over there will do, and we also want a guard to protect us from the evil beasts that nearly killed us all. The girl looks intimidating, she might be able to hold her own."

Becky scowls, hands open and retracting like she imagines them to be claws.

"They are called Lynchers." I grit my teeth, forcing the words out as my fists clench. " And there's no way I'm letting you use any of my friends."

"You don't have a choice." She retorts, starting to get irritated. "Not unless you don't want your father to be the first one to enter the Core. We'll see if he's one of the chosen then, or if he'll be burnt to a crisp. " She claps her hands, an insane smile resting on her face. "Ooh, this is going to be just like an experiment. Reminds me of the good o'l days back on Braun Island."

Bile rises into my throat at the thought of my father being thrown into the Core first. I connect eyes with him and he shakes his head vigorously, trying to convey a message, but I don't understand what he's trying to say.

"I won't Iet you do that to my dad, and I won't let you take my friends." I finally say once I'm not in danger of throwing up.

"Empty threats." Mrs. Clark sings.

I look behind her at the other scientists and guards, all of them not meeting my eyes. An idea comes to my mind suddenly, and I focus my attention on them.

"You all worked so hard." I say to them, ignoring Mrs. Clark completely. "You finally made it to Braun Island, but you came unprepared, and didn't expect things to go wrong. If you join me, I can promise a safe return back to Braun island and off of Dalton. Just don't let her do this to my father.......please." I beg, trying to put as much emotion into my voice as I can.

I don't exactly know if I can guarantee safe travel off this island, but it's worth a shot and with the help of a Darkling High Commander, we should be able to do it. They all shift on their feet, some seeming to consider it for a few seconds.

"Don't listen to her!' Mrs. Clark shrieks, turning on her heel and facing the group behind her. "She's a liar! We won't be safe until we reach the Core!"

"That's not true." I argue, stepping forward. Some of the soldiers tense, fingers going to their triggers and I try to take a deep breath, shoving down the fear I feel rising up. "For all you know, The Core could easily kill you, just as it could with any other Lightling or Darkling. Didn't think of that, did you Mrs. Clark?"

She pauses, turning to me, and I nearly start trembling at the manic smile spreading across her features. Whatever happened on this Island must have broke Mrs. Clark. I always remembered her to be a little crazy with her violent experiments and ways to test but this is a whole different level.

"I thought you might be resistant." She sighs, shaking her head with that same evil grin still on her face. "Which is why we specifically chose this cave to hide in. If you keep walking that way," She says, pointing behind her shoulder into the darkness, "it leads you right to the Core's border."

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