The only reason I chose her to be a part of my team is because she’s quicker than a rat, made of steel, and quiet.
Honestly, there are times I forget she’s female.
With my gaze on Jai, I have to admit she’s the most breathtaking thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. She looks soft and breakable, her green eyes wide and filled with a world of innocence.
Lifting a hand, I take hold of her ponytail and yank the tie from it. The strands spill over her shoulders, and a startled gasp escapes her as she rubs the back of her head.
She’s too fragile.
Tossing the tie at her, I growl, “Put this away. The rebels don’t have these.”
“Rebels?” she gulps. “What rebels?” A terrified breath shudders from her.
“They’re our first line of defense.” I leave out the part that some are cannibals, and most are murderers and rapists who’ve been banished to the fallen cities.
The only reason they allow us into their city is because we supply them with meat and vegetables.
Turning away from Jai, I head toward the ruins of the dark metropolis in the distance.
There’s only the full moon to cast light over the towering buildings that once formed a great city. New York. It hasn’t gone by that name in decades.
We’re crossing an overgrown road no longer in use when gunfire echoes in the distance.
Jai shrieks and darts closer to Ethan and me. “What’s that popping sound?”
She keeps glancing over her shoulder, searching in the darkness for whatever made that sound.
There’s a burst of protectiveness in my chest that I don’t like one bit. It’s nature. Men have been programmed to feel protective of women.
I ignore the unwanted emotion with gritted teeth, muttering, “It’s a waste of life.”
As we continue to walk, I notice Ethan counting on his fingers as more shots echo into the night.
Sixteen shots. That’s weird.
“Since when do they send out more than seven people?” I ask.
“Since today,” Aaron replies.
Sixteen people gunned down for the emissaries to do experiments on so they can build their army of emotionless robots. Fuckers.
“What do you mean by a waste of life?” Jai asks, her tone filled with the anxiety and fear coursing through her veins.
“What you just heard was the other courageous crusaders being hunted down and shot,” I say, picking up my pace to put as much distance between the trackers and us.
“Wh–,” Jai gasps.
Glancing at her, I notice she looks even paler than when she came through the dome. The bruise from the punch Aaron gave her is forming on her jaw and cheek.
The asshole. I might not give a flying fuck about this woman, but it doesn’t mean I’m okay with a man hitting her. It’s just not right.
Fuck. What am I going to do with her when we reach the tracks where the rebels are?
Her mouth opens and closes a couple of times before she rasps, “Killed? Why?”
Figuring the woman’s had enough shocks for one day, I just shake my head. “We need to move faster.”
Jai stays by my side, her eyes shimmering with the tears she’s fighting to hold back.
I have to hand it to her. She’s stronger than she looks.
I remember what it was like when I was sent into the forbidden lands. The first two weeks, I had to fight to stay alive, and when I stumbled on the ward, I was almost killed during training.
Here you have to earn your right to live, and you have to contribute to society.
Even though Jai’s able to swallow her tears, I doubt she’ll last two weeks.
Unless I help her, which I can’t do.
Ethan is my only priority.
I’ve become stronger than most and one of the best soldiers so I can protect my brother. Even though a woman is rare and sought after by every man, I won’t let it get in the way of my goal. As soon as I get Ethan safely to the main ward, I’ll fight in the war, and after it’s ended, Ethan and I will make our own way in the world.
Since I left the ecocity and managed to escape the trackers, it’s been my only reason for living in this fucked up world left behind by our ancestors.
I’ve stayed alive and become strong, so I can protect the only person who matters to me – my brother.
This is insane.
It’s not happening.
It’s a nightmare, and I’ll wake up soon.
My thoughts keep racing, and I stick close to Chance. He’s a deviant and hasn’t killed me, so I figure I’m safest by his side.
Dear Almighty. I could’ve suffered the same fate as my fellow crusaders. I could be dead right now if it weren’t for Ethan and Aaron getting me out of the ecocity.
I immediately feel guilty for thinking of myself first and not the people who just lost their lives. Ruth is lying dead out there, and no one will know.