Generation 2 · Generation 3

Generation 3 Heir Vote

Welcome to the Generation 3 Heir Vote for Chasing Rainbows!

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Overview

The Berry Mainlands are fueding. Zinfandel Plains and Bubbleport are taking a stand for Berry rights while the rest of the nation stands strong in their old values, traditions and beliefs. The Resistance is still strong, raising an army to take back the pinnacle of entertainment and luxury that they lost. However, in order to get to Bubbleport, they have to go through Zinfandel Plains.

Please remember that hair, make up and clothing are all subject to change.

Apollo Spring

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Apollo is charming. The oldest of six, he quickly came into a leadership role inside the Spring household. His younger siblings looked up to him and he always vied to set a good example for them. When Apollo starts school he finds himself being a role model for many of his peers; they rely on him for advice in a society that calls mixed berries equals but then treats them like second class citizens. As Apollo gets older some Berries speculate that he is losing his mind. Apollo doesn’t see it that way. He knows the quiet little town of Zinfandel Plains isn’t as safe as everyone would like to believe and is preparing for what he believes is the inevitable. When war rushes their doorsteps, Apollo might be the only person prepared for the tragedies that follow.

Solem Spring

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Solem is part of the first set of twins, along with Luxanna. Despite being born first, he is shy and reserved; a thinker in a house full of doers. Like Apollo, he feels like the time they have left in Zinfandel Plains is limited. However, he doesn’t prepare for the coming war like it is the apocalypse. Instead he cleans out the attic and begins to build himself a space for inventing. With a drawing board for his blueprints and an inventing table for tinkering, Solem begins his quest to perfect guns and armor that he hopes will help deter an attack. Can he successfully arm a whole town by himself or will the fire power of the Resistance prove to be too much?

Luxanna Spring

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Estellise always joked that Luxanna stole all of Solem’s charisma and ferocity in the womb. Lux is stubborn where Solem is flexible; dominant where Solem is submissive.  Perhaps the reason Luxanna was given an extra dose of strength and resilience is because the All Mighty Berry knew she would need it. Luxanna has been homeless most of her life. She can’t remember much about her home or her family – just her younger brother Helios and that they lived in Zinfandel Plains. She manages to scrounge by in Starburst Shores with the help of friends and a few five finger discounts. One night she saves a young boy from trouble and he insists she come to his home for a reward. At first she is reluctant to agree but eventually she caves and arrives at a mansion, of all places. Will the wealthy family that resides inside it be her salvation or her downfall?

Helios Spring

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Helios inherited more than his father’s good looks. He also inherited his father’s reckless nature and thrill seeking attitude. Whenever his parents said he couldn’t do something he just had to do it. The more they emphasized the dangers, the more likely he was to engage in it. Helios had broken just about every bone in his body by the times he was seven. When he finds himself and Luxanna in a perilous predicament it is out of instinct that he willingly sacrifices himself so she can have a chance at escape. Sold to a wealthy family in Starburst Shores for a pretty penny, Helios has a lot on his plate. Can he successfully navigate high society and falling in love while searching for his family and, more importantly to him, Luxanna?

Lightning Spring

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Lightning’s mouth lives up to her name. She’s sharp tongued and witty. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, she has a hard time making friends. She just doesn’t understand why girls like to spend hours on clothes and make-up – girls like her twin sister, Nova. She enjoys running more than gossiping and sweat more than perfume. One night, while on her usual run, she sees something she wasn’t supposed to and her whole life is changed. Will she be able to handle life in the fast lane or will end up in the dust?

Nova Spring

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Nova’s whole life is drowned in hair and clothes. Ever since she was a toddler she was called cute. Adorable. She yearns for attention and isn’t afraid to flaunt her beauty to the world. What she is afraid of is failure and rejection. As a mixed berry, she receives tons of both from the pure berries who hold no ill will towards her kind but do not see them as equals. When a pure-bred berry transfers into her school, the hallways erupt into rumors and chaos. All Nova knows is that she is drawn to him – to his status – like a moth to a flame. But there is more to this boy than Nova could possibly know.

Vote by commenting below! 😀

Apollo: 7
Solem: 4
Luxanna: 17
Helios: 15
Lightning: 5
Nova: 5

Generation 2

Chapter Twenty One: The Martyr

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A week passed and Ocean’s opportunity had yet to arrive. She was becoming restless, her lithe body often tense. Our cell was visited by various guards, in groups, and every time someone was taken her patience grew thinner. There was nothing Ocean could do – nothing any of us could do. We were each taken in turn: always alone, always without warning. Flax had been seized the same night as Sunburst; returned with broken fingers and bruises lining his side hours later. Affair was taken the next day after a breakfast of bland broth and bread and was gone for almost a full twenty-four hours. The teenager suffered from a black eye and lacerations on his extremities. Ocean’s turn had been last night. She came back with a broken nose and a nasty wound across her cheek after close to twenty minutes. She reassured us that the man that interrogated her looked worse.

Sunburst had never been brought back to us. A full week of mystery surrounded his whereabouts. Each day that passed ate away at the hope we held for our friend. I could not allow myself to dwell on death, it would consume me. Instead, I preoccupied myself with thoughts of father. I tried to keep him warm and comfortable. Whenever we were given food – which wasn’t often – I would give more than half my share of broth to him. It was difficult. He was unconscious more than not. On the rare occasion he was awake, he would mumble on and on about an island. A place where we could be free, he said. It didn’t make sense to me – probably nothing more than a fever dream – but I would nod and agree with him, praying to whatever great being there might be in the sky that he would make it.

According to Flax, we had been in the cell for eight days when strange noises began to erupt around the facility. At first we thought there was just an unusual amount of activity in the prison. Affair suggested that more Uprising members might have been caught. Whatever the cause was, boots were constantly scuffing against the floor above us. Occasionally groups of guards would rush by our cell. I noticed some of them were injured.

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Then night fell and gun shots began to resonate through the concrete building. We weren’t sure where the noises were originating from; it was hard to tell if the explosions were muffled from distance or cement. Within an hour it became clear to everyone – the Resistance’s base was under attack.

“Ocean, sit down.” Flax coaxed. Ever since we realized what was happening, Ocean’s pacing had been incessant. Every group of guards caused her to reel, and every wounded soldier they brought back caused her blue lips to pull into a smile.

“No.” There was no malice in her voice, just determination. Being in motion calmed Ocean’s nerves; focused her mind. The sounds of war settled around us, soaking into skin and reverberating through bone. Finally, Affair vocalized the question we all were afraid of.

“It’s the Uprising, Right? They’re coming to save us?”

I swallowed the lump in my throat, fingertips playing in my father’s hair, and forced a smile, “Of course. Who else could it be?” What a stupid statement. Of course it could have been a number of organizations: the government, wanting to extract its own revenge against us, for one. For the noise and chaos erupting outside seemed to be too frenzied for it to really be the Uprising. Only Pandora and possibly Noir remained outside these walls – if they even were outside these walls. I flinched at the thought. They had to be outside. They were strong and crafty individuals; not easily caught. And Noir, Noir had to have found my mother. Surely he was taking care of her somewhere far away from here.

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Flax nodded in agreement with me, patting the teenager on his shoulder, “We’re going to be-“ A gunshot rang out, this one close by, and Flax’s sentence died on his lips. For the first time screams erupted, the cries mingling together until they were an incoherent chorus of horror. Affair jumped to his feet and pushed his face against the metal bars.

Squinting through the darkness, he shook his head, “I can’t see anything.” His voice climbed over the chaos, the only comprehensible voice amongst the shrieks.

More gunshots; this time in quick secession. The cries died off slowly, one by one, until an eerie silence claimed the damp air. Collectively we held our breaths as the sound of heavy boots approached us.

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It was a guard, his movement sluggish despite having no apparent injuries. The sick smile on his lips spiked terror down my spine. His raised his head to look at us, a thick layer of blood dripping down his chin. Flax moved quickly, grabbing Affair’s wrist and yanking him towards the back of the cell. The guard’s right hand rose, wrapping around the bars. Eyes glinting dangerous in the dim light, his gaze slid from ‘Bow to ‘Bow until they rested upon me. Instinctively, I moved to protect my father from his sight even as the hair on my neck and arms rose. The unease lingering between us was only reinforced as heavy metal clanked open and closed. Stepping inside, the pistol in the guard’s clenched palm flashed precariously.

“Get on your knees!” Teeth gnashed together, saliva flying through the air.

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I took a series of deep breaths. I wanted to stay calm, willed myself to move smoothly, but my hands still trembled as I raised them into the air. Four bodies slowly clambered onto their knees as the guard flashed the weapon at each of us in turn. I kept myself in front of my father, praying that the guard would ignore his unconscious form, to no avail.

“What’s wrong with him!” He shouted, more saliva racing out of his mouth.

Fear paralyzed my lungs, made it hard to breath. My father couldn’t die here – not like this. He had already come so far. I tried to speak but only air puffed out between my teeth.

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“He’s unconscious, sir. He’s been in and out of consciousness for days.” Flax stated. His green eyes, usually riddled with worry, had hardened. I silently thanked him for coming to my aid. Unfortunately, Flax’s statement only infuriated the wary guard. He rushed forward, whipping the barrel of the thirty-five millimeter to Flax’s forehead.

“Shut up! Shut the fudge up!”

Flax flinched at the contact before steadying himself.

“I’ll pull the trigger! I fudging do it!”

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Hot tears began to blur my vision, pooling over eyelids and down my checks. I could still make out the guard, his finger tightening on the trigger. The image of Flax dead, brains sprayed across the cement walls and Affair’s face, played in my mind. I screamed, the high-pitched screech ending in a small whimper as sobs took over my vocal cords. On cue, the guard lashed towards me. The barrel smashed into my temple, slicing open skin and sending me to the floor. Blood gushed down my face, the coppery fluid filling my mouth, and another scream tore from my throat – hoarse and primal – as an explosion punctuated the air. The whole cell seemed to shift, shaking, struggling not to cave in on itself. The light overhead flickered, propelling us into darkness and back again.

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Through the strobe-like lighting, Ocean lunged through the air. Between the quake of the explosion and the weight of Ocean’s lithe frame, the guard collapsed to the ground, losing his grip on the pistol. The weapon skidded across concrete, out of sight. Ocean’s patience had finally paid off as her long graceful fingers wrapped around soft tissue and squeezed. The pressure on his trachea caused him to sputter, gasping for oxygen that would never come. As the last tremors shook the cage, our assailant’s chest stopped rising.

When Ocean was satisfied, she stood, throwing her hair out of her face. Her face was flush, lips parted as she caught her breath, “He’s dead.” Her voice was monotone, eyes still trained on the indents left around his throat.

“You only did what you had to. What I should have done.” Flax said, making his way over to her. He patted down the soldier’s sides until a soft chime sounded. Reaching inside a pocket, Flax took out a ring of keys and held them in the air, “Let’s get out of here.”

Ocean stopped to pick up the forgotten gun. She pressed a button and the magazine slid out into her palm, “There’s five shots left including the one in the chamber.” Five bullets. Five of us. A chill ran down my spine. We had been seconds from death, only saved by an unexpected detonation and Ocean’s quick reaction.

Helping me to my feet, Flax handed me the keys before scooping up my father. Being completely dead weight, my father was he gently maneuvered onto his shoulder. I wiped the blood from my eye, wincing as I grazed the cut on my temple, before shoving key after key into the cell door. Eventually one fit, clicking as I turned it.

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With no real sense of direction, we made our way down the dungeon corridor with hitched breath. Ocean’s right hand ran along the cold walls as she led the way, whispering out numbers as we passed doors and passageways. We hadn’t gone far when the ground became sticky, damp stones shining red. Up ahead I could make out a cell, like the one we had been prisoners in. My stomach twisted, recalling the screams and gunshots we had heard just minutes before the crazed guard had appeared. Ocean saw inside first. Sorrow riddled her features before they were hardened by anger. She allowed her pace to falter, just for a moment, before she continued on, “Door number five.”

I clenched my eyes shut as I finally approached the massacre. I didn’t have to see it to know that was what it had been – an execution. Had the guard been ordered to commit these murders or were they of his own volition? The smile he wore as he approached, the glint in his eyes, told me that it was the former. I felt sick.

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Eventually, Ocean took a sharp left. She seemed to so confident, so certain, that none of us questioned her judgment. After all, her guess was as good as ours. Still counting out doors and passageways, Ocean slowed when the soft murmur of voices broke through the hushed padding of our bare feet against concrete. Ocean held a hand up, slinking down the hall towards a door that had light pouring out from under its frame. Affair rushed to her side while Flax and I slowly approached. Ocean stood, legs slightly apart, with both hands firmly on the pistol. She aimed it squarely at the door and nodded once. Affair, with a flick of his wrist, opened the door before slamming his body against the safety of the stone wall.

Three shots exploded through the night air. My body jumped to match each sound, hands flying over my ears and eyes clenched shut. When I opened them I could make out a man and a woman huddled together on the ground. The man had been shot in the left side of his chest and the woman in the shoulder. The third shot had missed, lodging itself into the wood of the desk behind them. They nursed their wounds, curse words and sobs filling the air.

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“Don’t move or I’ll shoot you again.” Ocean yelled. She stepped further into the room, waving the gun from one target to the next. Affair followed her inside. A frown marred my lips – was shooting them on sight necessary? They could have easily have been escaped prisoners or perhaps individuals trying to rescue us. I kept my thoughts to myself, slowly making my way into the door frame.

“What’s going on up there?” Flax pointed to the ceiling to emphasize his question.

The two distressed ‘Bows turned to look to look at Flax and me – who was repositioning my father on his shoulder behind me. They looked at each other once before the man finally answered, “It’s free-love supporters like you. Mutt sympathizers.” Despite the disdain and hatred that tinted his answer, relief washed over us. Ocean’s tense shoulders slumped, relaxing now that we were sure we wouldn’t escape from one terror only to emerge into another.

“Where’s Sunburst!” Ocean half shouted, half growled.

“I don’t know who that is.” The man whispered, flinching as Ocean whipped the gun in his direction.

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“He was a prisoner! Like us! Where did you take him!”

“I. Don’t. Know. Where. They. Took. Him.” This time his voice was strained as he matched the hatred in Ocean’s eyes.

“Did you know of a prisoner named Pandora Spring or Noir Pinot?” I crossed the space between the door frame and the Resistance members as I spoke. I couldn’t just stand around and watch these two bleed to death. They might not have cared for us, our life or our loved ones but we couldn’t stoop to their level. We had to be better than them, “Put pressure on your wound. It will help with the coagulation.”

“You were numbers to us. We didn’t take names.” The woman spoke for the first time, her voice a strange mixture of fear and confusion.

“How do we get out of here?” Ocean asked. Her eyebrows furrowed as she aimed the pistol from one guard to the next.

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“It’s hard to explain.” The man began, wincing as Affair applied pressure over his injury.

“Well you better start trying.” Ocean hissed.

“Ocean!” Her named flew out of my mouth, annoyance riddling my tone. Threatening these guards wasn’t right. No matter how much hatred she held for them, I wouldn’t let her harm or kill them without reason.

“I can show you! If you let me, I can show you.” The woman interrupted. We all looked at her, suspicion clouding our judgment. I might not want harm to come to her but that did not mean that she would treat us with the same respect. For all I knew, this woman could guide us right into the underbelly of their organization. She could also lead us to salvation. It was a risky situation.

“How do we know we can trust you?” Affair asked, breaking the silence.

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“You don’t, but what other choice do you really have? You can shoot us dead now and wander around, hoping not to be found by other members of the Resistance or you can let me help you.” Her voice grew stronger as she spoke – the whimpering turning into an almost tranquil state of mind. I knew she was right; she was the best chance we had of getting out of here alive. It was amazing, really, that we had even made it this far without being seen.

I took a deep breath and nodded, “Okay, we’ll let you lead the way.”

Ocean looked at me, eyes wide, “What! No. The moment she hears someone coming she’ll scream for help. She’ll give away our position.”

Another deep breath to calm myself. I kneeled down in front of both of them, staring deep into her blue eyes, “If you make so much as a sound that we don’t agree with, Ocean will shoot you. It won’t be in your shoulder, either. I don’t want to hurt you so please, if you could just cooperate with us.” She nodded in understanding. The man beside her, however, did not agree with her sentiment.

“I’d rather die here, loyal, than a traitor like Casal.” He spat, “You know they’ll kill you when they find out, Mist. If they didn’t spare the chief’s son they’d never have pity you.” I had heard the name Casal once before, back at Jasper’s house. My eyebrows furrowed.

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“I can arrange that.” Ocean stated. Affair pushed the gun’s barrel down, effectively ending her threat.

“We can tie him up. Someone will find him eventually.” Affair compromised, glancing at Flax and me for approval. A small nod of my head was all it took for the young man to snatch up a pair of handcuffs that were strewn across the desk. No complaints left our hostage’s mouth at the plan and Affair maneuvered him into a chair with ease. Ocean held Mist at gunpoint while Affair finished tying a few knots in some rope, hand cuffing the guard’s hands behind his back.

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“When we get out of here we’ll tell someone that you’re in here.” Affair was trying to be reassuring but even as he spoke, the man rolled his eyes.

He kept his head held high as Affair worked at the restraints, “You are making a mistake, Mist.”

“Shut up.” Exasperation was evident as Ocean spoke.  “Also, if you scream for help while we’re still within earshot I’ll backtrack in order to put a bullet in your head.”

Despite all of his bravado, the guard didn’t speak again. Even as we snuck down the dimly lit hallway with Mist at the lead, his voice was silent. Ocean’s threat had rung true, and though I didn’t agree with her methods, I couldn’t really argue with the results. Mist led us down a maze of passageways and corridors, climbing flights of stairs. She only stopped when she heard voices, allowing us a moment of reprieve, before signaling for us to move when the coast was clear. She did all of this with Ocean’s gun aimed at the back of her head.

Throwing her back up against a wall, Mist caught her breath and gazed back at us with heavy lidded eyes. I followed her lead, relishing how the cool stones felt against my flushed flesh. Our pace had been rigorous, especially since the lot of us had been confined to a ten foot cage for over a week. Soft whispers drifted across the still air and Mist raised a finger to her lips, making herself as small as possible against the wall. Ocean’s aim drifted over Mist’s body for the firs time, ready to fire at whoever strolled around the corner.

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Out of all the people that could have rounded that corner, Cephei hadn’t even crossed my mind. Her long yellow hair had been pulled into a bun and her usual casual clothing had been replaced with cameo print pants. A shot rang out and Cephei’s calm steps fumbled, causing her to almost crash into the floor out of surprise as a bullet rooted itself right above her head. In the blink of an eye Cephei regained her posture, aiming her pistol straight at Ocean’s head. Her gaze roamed over to me before snapping back to Ocean and it dawned on me that Ocean had not lowered her weapon. Cephei hadn’t retaliated: she was a smart woman and realized that we were half naked and bruised, prisoners, but Ocean did not know who Cephei was. To Ocean, Cephei was just another faceless guard, an enemy. Not a member of Bubbleport’s Uprising, an ally.

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I threw myself into the space between them, “Ocean, don’t shoot. She’s one of us.” Shock registered in Ocean’s eyes before, slowly, she lowered her weapon.

“Estellise, you’re okay.” Cephei whispered, shoving her glock into the waist of her pants.

“Yes, I’m fine. What are you doing here? Is Noir okay? My sister?” A million questions danced on the tip of my tongue but I stopped myself from spewing them.

“We’re still securing the building,” Cephei gestured down the hall she had just came from, “I’ll explain as we move – we aren’t safe yet.”

Mist began fiddling with her hands, eyes down casted. I could read it on her face, in the shaking of her knees. She was scared, unsure what we would decide to do with her now that her presence was no longer necessary. I shot her a reassuring smile, tugging softly on her wrist as I passed. She followed after me silently, Ocean keeping an eye on her every movement.

“Eden called me a few days ago, told me that the Resistance had left Bubbleport defenseless. We took steps to quickly secure the city but our break really came when Matisse gave his verdict to support the Uprising just three days ago.” I could hardly believe my ears. It had worked? Noir and I had actually been able to convince Matisse – the CEO of Matisse Inc – to abandon his neutral stance for a pro-mixture one?

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“After we fortified the city, the broadcast happened.”

“The broadcast?” Affair echoed, sounding as confused as I felt.

“Yes, the Resistance is made up of a council – many of the Berry Mainland’s politicians are part of it. They were broadcasting one of their meetings on Apple Pie News. Several individuals spoke and Eden was one of them.”

Flax voiced his question next, “Wait, why was Eden allowed to speak at such an event?”

Because he’s a lying, back stabbing, traitorous monster; I kept those sentiments to myself.

“We’re not sure yet. It’s really hard to explain what happened. About halfway through his speech he took off his jacket and underneath he was wearing a black hoodie – like the ones we wear during protests – and started to talk about how wrong they were. How misguided and uninformed their cause was. The audio cut out but whoever was controlling the camera didn’t censor the picture before he was shot on live television.”

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“They killed him?” My long strides became tangled, toes stubbing against uneven concrete.

“They created a martyr in the process. The people are demanding justice. They couldn’t just sweep his death under the rug like they have with so many others. Zinfandel Plains is up in arms about it – Eden was from there, well known and well liked.”

The fight was over as ‘Bows dressed similarly to Cephei patrolled the area, some with hostages and some without. I couldn’t focus on anything as we emerged into the sunlight. The only thought that stuck in my head was that Eden was dead. I couldn’t understand it. Why would he do that? He had been working for the Resistance since day one, or had he? I had never given him the opportunity to explain himself. I had been so angry, so consumed by his betrayal that I never thought to give him a second chance. Why should I have? How could I have known that it wouldn’t just be more lies meant to further ensnare me in his web?

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My name broke through the fog in my head. Noir was running towards me, relief flooding his aura. I allowed myself to be twirled in the air as his words floated around us. Feet planted firmly back onto the ground, I sobbed into his chest. The tears didn’t stop as he guided me to a medic, as they cleaned me up. So many had been lost: Jasper, Sunburst and Eden. More still had to be identified. Would anything ever we okay again? Would so many people, on both sides, be able to pull their lives back together after such tragedy?

I pictured my family: Pandora, who had been fighting nail and fist to get me back. My mother, scrambling around tending to the injured. My father, unconscious and sick but alive. And Noir, who was holding my hand and whispering words of encouragement despite my sullen expression and refusal to speak and I knew the answer to that question.

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It wouldn’t be easy but we would make it.

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A.N: So this generation isn’t completely over (I have some setting up to do for the next generation but I can’t do that until I know who wins).

So go vote for the generation 3 heir!

Generation 2

Chapter Twenty: Cell 53

A.N: Hey guys, I want to warn you that this chapter contains sexual content that some of you may be uncomfortable with. If you wish to read the PG-13 version that takes out that scene then please read this chapter on the forums HERE.

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At some point I was blind folded, hands tied behind my back. Whatever had been used to restrain me was knotted too tightly. Every bump or turn the van made caused the material to chaff against my already bruised wrists.

When we arrived at what I assumed was the Resistance’s headquarters I could tell it was midday. Sunlight managed to pierce the fabric of my blindfold, turning my sight red behind closed eyelids. I could hear the moans of others as we were jerked along, the thud as someone fell, the collision between boots and ribs as our assailants screamed for them to get up. My world was dosed back into black as steal doors rang shut behind us.

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When my mask and bonds were finally removed I was in a large cement room. No windows lined the four walls; the only light leaking into the room was fluorescent, radiating from the ceiling. I wiggled my toes, having lost my shoes somewhere along the journey, and quickly realized the floor was damp beneath my feet. I didn’t have time to search the room for familiar faces before an order was barked out.

“Strip!”

Every muscle in my body stiffened. I must have heard him wrong. A quick glance around me told me I hadn’t. I didn’t know any of the individuals next to me which simultaneously made the situation better and worse; better because I wouldn’t have to live through the embarrassment of stripping in front of someone I knew, worse because no one had seen my naked body since I was a child.

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One of the guards noticed my hesitance. My lack of obedience was met with the same abuse the others had been given when their movements were deemed too slow. My legs were kicked out from under me and I collapsed onto the moist concrete with a pathetic cry. I curled up, making myself as small as I could, hands protecting my head and face, as other joined in the assault. The punishment for my crime only ended once I was bruised and bleeding. I was heaved back onto my feet by two men. They ignored my sputtering, my swollen cheek, and my bleeding sides. Instead one tore at my blouse while the other worked at my pants. All I could do was choke back sobs as buttons popped open one by one. No one said anything as their hands snaked down my body. No one batted an eyelash as my bare flesh was groped at. Areas that even I hadn’t touched were invaded, desecrated by two men who derived pleasure from such activities. They left my side when they were done with their game, their laughter still echoing off the hollow cement. Naked and embarrassed, the group of us was hosed down.

We were allowed to put on our undergarments before we were separated, thrown into varying cells. I walked down the long hallway soaked and frozen, gazing at the units as I passed them. Most of them were packed full of bodies, not enough room for the Berry’s inside to move without grazing their neighbor. A lock clicked open and a cell door clanked as metal separated from metal. I was flung inside. I didn’t bother trying to hold myself up. I wanted nothing more than to quiver against the icy floor, wallowing in self-pity and disgust. Luckily there was enough space for me to do so without inconveniencing my cell mates. I made no attempt to see who they were but they did not share my apathy.

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“Estellise?” A male voice called. It was familiar and kind. I didn’t look up, however, until a long sleeve shirt was swathed around my shoulders. Sunburst was smiling down at me. Dried blood caked his lips and there were a few injuries scattered over his exposed torso. He also looked thin – much thinner than he had been a few months ago, “Hey now, we’ll be alright.” Sunburst said once he caught sight of my tear stained face. I nodded, trying to force a smile. My body wasn’t cooperating, the trembling increasing even with the thin fabric protecting me from the bitter air.

I slowly sat up, pawing at my eyes. I knew most of the Berry’s in my cell. Ocean was pacing along the back wall, looking for something. She was also dressed in her undergarments but she didn’t seem bothered by it. Instead, Ocean looked determined, strong. Much how I imaged Pandora would react to such a situation. So unlike me – scared, shivering, defiled and weak.

Flax was sitting in a corner with Affair, both of them wearing nothing more than boxers. Water dropped from their hair, showing me that they had received the same treatment I had less than fifteen minutes ago. This seemed to upset Affair, whose face slowly changed from surprise to horror as recognition set in. I pulled Sunburst’s shirt tighter around my body, attempting to hide from the scrutiny. I was afraid if they stared at my exposed flesh for too long the evidence of the sexual assault would become apparent.

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I stat with my back turned on them – looking out through metal bars, into the now empty hallway – and buttoned the long shirt. It fell past my bottom, successfully hiding my underwear from sight. I was grateful that Sunburst – for whatever reason – still had his clothing to give me. But why was he dressed when the rest of us were practically naked?

“Sunburst…” My voice was hoarse, “how come you are the only one who is fully clothed – um, was fully clothed?”

He held out his hand for me and I hesitated – thinking about Eden and what a mistake it had ever been to trust him. Sunburst was different though, right? He was just another victim like us; another soul that was led into the fire by a supposed friend and comrade. I took his hand.

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He led me to the corner Flax and Affair were huddled in and sat down across from them. When he spoke it was barely a whisper and Ocean quickly stopped her incessant pacing to listen in, “I’ve been here for a few weeks, picked up off of the street by a police officer. No trial. No bail. Just thrown in here. When I asked what law I had broken they refused to answer.”

I glanced at Flax and Affair, then to Ocean, and it seemed they all understood my unspoken question, “They raided the Sour Apple last night. Jasper was there too, checking up on all the injured he had hidden in the loft. He had a shotgun behind the bar. Shot at them. They shot back. We don’t know where they took him.” Ocean explained, wringing her hair as she began her pacing again.

“We think,” Flax began, “That they are throwing the inner-circle of our branch into this cell. It makes sense – we’re only missing Pandora, Noir and Eden now.”

I squirmed, feeling anger welling up within me at just the mention of his name. They didn’t know what a two-faced liar he had been – how Eden was the reason they were all in here; cold, wet and hungry. Eden was the very cause of their suffering and here they were – worrying about him. It made me sick to know that I had been none the wiser just the previous day. I thought about informing them of Eden’s betrayal but by the time I had sorted through my feelings the conversation had switched course. Four sets of eyes gazed at me expectantly and I realized I had missed and important bit of information while preoccupied with my own thoughts.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.” I mumbled, suddenly embarrassed by my lack of attention. Our lives were in danger; I should be grasping at every word they said, trying to figure out an escape route. Not seething in anger over a man I should forget about.

“We were saying the only person who doesn’t fit into the equation is the man over there.” Sunburst used his thumb to point at an older man, curled up in the corner. His skin was only a shade darker than white and I could tell his breathing was shallow from across the room. My eyebrows furrowed. I hadn’t noticed him before, since he was encased in black and didn’t seem familiar, but now that he had my attention I couldn’t seem to look away.

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He was too pale to be my father; too skinny. I kept repeating those words in my head, hoping that if I convinced myself before I reached his side that it would be true. It wasn’t. I couldn’t change reality by simply wishing it away. My legs buckled. I collected myself around my father’s body but he didn’t stir. He was alive but sick, losing his color rapidly. Fading right in front of my eyes.

“You know him.” It was a statement more than a question. A statement filled with sorrow. Flax clearly emphasized with my situation.

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“What happened to him?” I whispered, brushing my father’s hair out of his face. It was still the color of the sun – the same as my hair naturally. The tiniest spark of hope ignited in my belly. He hadn’t begun to fade completely, he could still make it.

“We don’t know,” Sunburst whispered, “He was already here when I was captured. Already fading. He’s been in and out of consciousness. When he is awake he usually…”

“What? He usually what!” I asked, voice rising.

“He doesn’t make much sense. They take him away sometimes and when they bring him back he’s always worse, Estellise.”

“They take him away?” I repeated, perplexed.

Sunburst nodded, fiddling with his fingers and scrunching up his face, “They’ve brought me to a room once, too. Threatened me, soaked me with a hose like they did to you all. They asked me questions about the other branches of the Uprising. They wanted to know how many there were and such.”

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“Did you tell them?” Ocean asked. Her voice betrayed her for the first time since I had arrived, quivering in fear.

“No,” Sunburst shook his head, “I didn’t. They tried to beat it out of me. Eventually they gave up and brought me back to this cell. We’ve barely received food since.” Suddenly the bruises and half-healed lashes on Sunburst’s side seemed far more sinister. I wanted to check my father for similar injuries but he was out cold. Nothing I did roused him. Instead I nursed his head into my lap, trying to make him as comfortable as possible. There wasn’t much else I could do. My medical training had been basic so I could not diagnose, or even guess, what was ailing him. Even if I could, I had no supplies to come to his aid. Just my bare hands and what little scraps of clothing the six of us were wearing.

No one approached me for the rest of the night. They let me sit there, running my hands through my father’s hair, in silence. I was grateful for it. From what I overheard most of their conversations were clouded by speculation and seemed to move in circles. Nothing was ever concluded and no plausible escape found.

There was no way to tell time in the cell, except maybe to keep track of the guard cycles. Flax seemed to be doing that. The Berry situated outside of cell had changed twice since we had been there before I finally nodded off against the cold hard concrete walls. I woke up to the distinctive sound of someone pssst –ing. It was just as dark and cold as it had been when I nodded off, so it took me a minute to realize that I was the only one still awake inside the cell. The noise was coming from outside. I gently placed my father’s head back onto the floor before crawling towards the metal. I squinted, face mashed between two bars, as I raised myself onto my knees.

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“Eden.” He stood tall, hands behind his back and eyes trained forward – away from me. His head was held high but I noticed he flinched at the inflection in my voice. There was no affection there anymore.

“Estellise, please, let me explain.” His voice reflected pain but the side of his face I could see stayed stoic.

The urge to punch something seeped into my muscles. A few deep breaths kept it under wraps, “I don’t want you to explain. Nothing you say will make this better, Eden. Nothing you do will reverse time. Just go away.”

“I cannot do that,” For the first time he chanced a glance at me, “Will you listen to me after I help you?”

“I think you’ve helped us enough.” I hissed.

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Eden sighed and his hands balled up into tight fists behind his back, “I know this is my fault, Estellise. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. If apologies could fix what I did I would say them all. I need you to trust me and I do not want you to hate me.”

“You should have thought of that before you went and betrayed me – us.” I stated.

“I would never hurt you, Estellise. I was trying to escape with you. I-“

“Eden, I told you. I don’t want explanations.”

I slid back down onto my hands and knees, done with this conversation. I could feel irritation itching in my brain and I did not want to feel that way. Not now. There were more important subjects and events to consider.

“I am going to get you out of here. Just hold on, Estellise.” Eden’s voice chased me as I crawled away. I didn’t bother to reply. Instead I curled up next to my father’s unresponsive body and willed myself back into a restless sleep.

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I dreamt of blue snow cones and blueberry flavored kisses. I woke up disgusted with myself. I couldn’t possibly be harboring feeling for Eden after everything that had occurred in last twenty-four hours. The distress that lingered in my belly told me that my sub-conscious was still grieving. I may not have returned Eden’s romantic feeling, if they had even been real, but I had considered him a friend. A comrade. I had trusted him to protect me; with personal information. Knowing that it had all been some well contrived act stung deeper than I imagined.

The cell gate abruptly swung open. Four men entered wearing grim, exhausted expressions. Without speaking a single word one of them snatched Sunburst up by the nape of his neck while two men took either of his arms. Ocean screamed, scratching at the bare air. Flax and Affair managed to hold her back, fear seeded deeply in their green and purple eyes.

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“Where are you taking him?” Ocean screeched.

“It’s alright, Ocean. I’ll be okay.” Sunburst said. A smile was etched onto his lips. I thought I saw it falter.

His words did little to calm her frenzy. Ocean continued to struggle against Flax and Affair. She broke out as the three men were passing through the cage’s door. Her feet flew against the cement, nails digging into the arms of one of Sunburst’s captives, “Let him go!”

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It didn’t take much to sedate her. A quick blow to the face from the fourth guard – who had been holding the door open – sent her sprawling to the hard floor. I ran to her side but Ocean brushed me off. She pushed herself back onto her own two feet and began pacing. Even as her right cheek blackened and swelled she looked like a cage animal. Rage and violence glinted in her blue eyes, waiting, just like a tiger, for the perfect opportunity to strike.

——————————————————
A.N: Happy Father’s Day! :]
I am going to try to have a special out for it but it will contain spoilers for this generation. There’s only one real chapter left of story before we get to the fluff but it’s still just a warning. :]

Generation 2

Chapter Nineteen: With Any Sort of Certainty

Oh my god, I will hold my tongue and I’ll breathe easily
If anyone can say with any sort of certainty that there is something to believe

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The man punched Noir in the face and suddenly the smoke in the air didn’t seem accidental. Crimson seeped between purple fingers as heavy footsteps clomped into the room, following after Noir’s stumbling form. The air in my lungs stilled, every muscle in my body turning to stone. The stranger struck out at Noir again. Surprise wore off just in time and Noir ducked before launching himself at the intruder. They hit the floor in a mass of limbs.

I could barely keep track of who was winning as extremities rose and fell, bodies grappling for the dominant position. Grunts rose to greet my ears as I watched frozen to the bed sheets. The tossing stopped; the stranger on top. A wide forearm pressed firmly against Noir’s throat cut off oxygen, his nose gushing blood. A strangled cry escaped Noir’s busted mouth, something that sounded suspiciously like run.

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I scrambled off the bed. Uncertainty caused my hands to shake. I couldn’t flee – wouldn’t leave Noir there to suffocate and burn. I snatched up the nearest object, a small lamp producing the only light in the room, and brought it down as hard as I could on the unknown man’s back. We were dosed in darkness as the glass shattered, hoarse curses flying from both men. I struck again when he did not budge; again and again. Until finally his attention was drawn to me, lashing out wildly with his free hand. He caught my shirt. The sudden shift of his weight freed Noir and a swift elbow to the temple caused the man to release me.

Then they were tumbling again. Noir was clearly winning. The intruder’s eyes were glazed over, still not recovered from the earlier blow. He took two more strikes to the head before his hands went limp. Noir didn’t stop, fists descending on the man’s vulnerable face long after he had lost the ability to defend it.

“Noir,” My voice was small, “Noir, stop it. We need to go.” I caught his arm, pulling gently when I realized he couldn’t hear me.

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His assault slowly came to a halt and he allowed me to peel him off of the man. His breathing was labored, “Stay close to me. There will be more of them.”

It was becoming uncomfortably warm and every second that ticked caused the air to thicken as we sprinted out into the hallway. I could vaguely hear the crackling of fire, the drumming of our footsteps melting in with the hums of chaos below. Noir was quicker than me, skidding to a halt at the head of the staircase. I slowed, eyebrows knitted in worry at Noir’s lack of movement. I was about to wedge myself between him and the wall when his hand shot out, grabbing my wrist. He turned, pulling me to his chest tightly.

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“Don’t look. You don’t need to see that.”

See what? I wanted to ask him but my arms were pinned to my side by his embrace. When he pulled away his eyes had turned serious, determined, “No matter what happens, Estelle, you need to run. Don’t stop for anyone or anything, you hear me?”

I nodded and then we were dashing back towards the room we had just escaped from. Noir’s hand was linked firmly with mine; practically dragging me the ten feet down the hall. The flames from below casted strange shadows against the walls; turned common household objects into terrors. The air was so thick with smoke by now that my eyes were watering and coughs punctuated our heavy breathing.

Steering us around the unconscious man on the floor, Noir let go of my hand and quickly pulled the curtains to the side. Glass doors opened up onto the second floor balcony reveling suburban houses and a star dotted night sky. The cool night air was a relief compared to the hellish temperature that heated our backs. There was a cacophony of cries as Berries rushed to and fro on the front lawn; some familiar and some not.

“We have to jump.”

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Did you ever think that we’d be three steps from the ledge?
Contemplating awful things and thinking about the end?

Jump? I leaned over the wooden fixture, trying to measure the distance to the ground. It seemed like an impossibly long fall. I caught a flash of teal out of the corner of my eye and quickly located it. It was Eden tearing through the mass of bodies. He was heading straight towards us.

“You’ll have to climb over the ledge and drop down.” Noir instructed, hands on my waist.

He balanced me as I climbed onto the thin railing, adrenaline and fear causing my whole being to shake. Eden had just arrived below, arms out stretched.

“I’ll catch you.” Eden encouraged.

I was just about to let go, allow myself to plummet through the air, when a muted scream breached the sizzling behind us. My mind spun. Mother. She was here somewhere. Jasper. Where were they? Did they need our help? I scanned the crowd again and found none of them. In an instant I was back on the balcony floor, determined to find my mother. I was certain that had been her scream.

“You need to go.” I shook my head, expressed my concerns to Noir with the fastest symbols I could manage, “I’ll find your mother. Go.” Noir ordered.

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When I declined he let out an agitated sigh before wrapping his arms around my waist. My feet left the ground and soon I was dangling over the edge of the balcony. I screamed at the top of my lungs, uncaring that the harsh words were falling on deaf ears. My screams didn’t stop, even as Noir’s strong arms let go and I sunk through the air. Words ceased to form and only the guttural cries of fear ripped from my lungs. I slammed into Eden, dull pain plaguing my neck and extremities where they had collided with Eden’s, and we collapsed into a pile of limbs on the grassy lawn. I glared up, wanting to throw one last curse at Noir, but he was already gone.

Eden was propped up on his elbows; I was sprawled on his lap. “Are you okay?” Eden asked from his place beneath me. His eyes met mine, pure concern evident. I sighed, adverting my gaze and feeling guilty. His jacket had been displaced during our impact and his exposed flesh caught my attention. Black ink peeked out and even though I could only see the right corner of the symbol I knew what it was. Circles and straight lines crisscrossed at an apex and I knew if I moved the fabric out of the way there would be more, diving towards the center.

Nobody mentioned that the pieces wouldn’t fit
You can rearrange them all you want, but the puzzle it was rigged

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Abruptly, as if a switch had been flipped, the warmth in Eden’s expression shattered. Goosebumps washed over my pale flesh as the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I twisted out of his lap, instinct starting to take over, but before I was out of arms reach fingers buried their way into my loose strands. I was pulled to my feet before I crashed against his chest. Pain coursed through my scalp but I bit my tongue, keeping my whimpers silent.

Eden’s grip only tightened as he lowered his mouth to my ear, “You need to listen to me, Estellise. Are you listening?”

I wanted to curse at him. To tell him how much I hated him. At the same time, I wanted to know why. Why would he pretend to care about me, protect me even, if he was just a spy; some agent working for the Resistance. Why would he kiss me? My vocal cords were crippled by fear, heart injured by betrayal. I was afraid if I spoke at all I would break down into a ball of snot and tears. I would not let him have the satisfaction. I nodded stiffly instead.

“I need you to trust me. For just a little while longer, you need to trust me.” I laughed but it was cold. Harsh. Empty. Eden’s grip on my hair loosened and my scalp throbbed with relief, “I’m going to try to get you out of here.”

We swore we’d never stray
Right before we went our separate ways

And now we’re looking back
We’re second guessing all the choices that we made

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He collected both of my wrists into his large palm, holding them behind my back. I could twist them out of his grip easily enough but I didn’t. My heels sunk into the soft dirt, reminding me that I stood no chance against Eden’s long legs. He nudged me, urging me to move forward. Despite being told I was en route to salvation I felt like a prisoner being led to death row. A quick glance around told me that I wasn’t the only one – many of the Uprising members were being led away in vans like cattle. Cries were still echoing out from Jasper’s home; fire eating away slowly at wood and flesh. The grave realization that they had left those grievously wounded inside to die in the flames gnawed at my innards. These men were monsters.

And Eden was one of them.

I turned my head as we passed the side of the house, trying as hard as possible to see if the basement had been discovered. Had Eden known about it? I strained to remember if I had even seen him down there but I couldn’t be sure. I couldn’t be sure of anything anymore. My whole world seemed to be crashing around me with every step I was forced to take.

We were almost to salvation – or whatever Eden had planned for me – when one of his accomplices noticed us. Eden slowed, eventually tugging me to a stop, as the man approached. His shoulders were broad and he towered over me, green eyes burning with disgust. I duplicated his expression.

Who would’ve thought we’d fought so long
We started to see

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“Is this the mutt?” Every word dripped venom. I raised my chin, forcing eye contact with the man.

“Yes, sir.” Eden answered obediently, “I was going to escort her personally back to headquarters.”

“That won’t be necessary, Mr. Casal.” Casal? I shouldn’t have been surprised. Everything Eden had ever told me had been a lie – even his name, “I will take her from here.”

“Right. My apologies.” Eden said, head bowed.

My wrists were only free for a moment before being snatched up in a rough grip. His fingernails dug into my skin, the delicate bones aching from the pressure. Eden watched in silence as I was dragged away, back towards the vans the others had been thrown into. I tried to keep up with my assailant’s long strides but my high heels were having none of it. I kept tripping, heels sinking, until finally he had had enough of me. He struck me with the back of his hand three times. My teeth gnashed together, cheek swelling, as copper flavored blood tinted my saliva. This time I was unable to keep the whimper from escaping. My legs collapsed under my weight and I was dragged the rest of the way; knees scrapping painfully against grassy rocks and, eventually, cement.

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The last thing I saw before the van door slid shut was Eden, eyes filled with… remorse? Guilt? I didn’t get a good enough look to be sure.

Our enemies turn into friends
Our friends to enemies
And we sat somewhere in between

____________________

With Any Sort of Certainty by Streetlight Manifesto

Hope you guys enjoy, I’m not exactly confident in my ability to write fights/conflicts.