I stared at Vega, shocked. She leaned forward. I jumped back, stumbling over Gloria’s body. My tailbone smacked hard against the sidewalk.
Vega laughed. “Play nice, Eve. If you come without a fight, you won’t get hurt.
I hesitated, considering my options. My gut told me going with Vega was a bad idea. So how did I get out of it? She was a trained fighter. I was just a silly housekeeper who wanted desperately to go back to her old life, before I knew the truth about Isoli.
“Okay,” I agreed. I pushed myself to my knees, leaning over Gloria’s body.
“Hurry up, chica. We don’t have all night.”
I nodded. I reached out to push off Gloria’s paralyzer and stand up. As I came up I hung onto the nose. I used all my strength to swing it at Vega.
I caught her off-guard. The paralyzer hit her on the side of the head, knocking her sideways.
She rolled over, swearing at me. I fumbled with the paralyzer, trying to turn it around. Vega jumped up. She dove at my knees. I lurched forward, but her hands caught my ankles. I fell forward, catching myself painfully on my knees and hands. The paralyzer skidded out of reach.
If Vega was a traitor to the rebels, it meant she probably worked for Isoli. The realization shot through my veins. Adrenaline pumped through me. Isoli would kill me.
I kicked hard, trying to loosen Vega’s grip on my legs. One ankle broke free. I twisted to my back and slammed my heel into Vega’s head. She screeched with pain, but held tight to my other foot. I cursed her rebel training. I cursed the fact Gloria and I wasted so much time just sitting in that stupid room. Her teaching me to fight for a couple hours would’ve been better than nothing.
I rolled back over, stretching my hand out for the paralyzer. Vega yanked back on my leg, but I swung again with the other one. She ducked, loosening her grip just enough for me to propel myself forward. My fingers brushed against the plastic. I grabbed at it. It rocked toward me.
I kicked viciously with my legs, trying to distract Vega from the fact that I had the paralyzer within my grasp again. Vega wrapped her arms tightly around my legs. I grabbed wildly for the paralyzer, my last link to survival. Vega managed to pin one of my arms at my side, but I had the paralyzer in my other hand.
I pointed, pulling the trigger. Again, and again. Fighting Vega off. Missing half the time. My life depended on stopping her.
“She’s out, Eve. You can stop shooting her now.”
I looked up, panting. Actually grateful to see Able standing over me. He held out a hand to me.
“Did you...?” I asked breathlessly, pointing at the motionless woman on the sidewalk.
He laughed shortly. “No. All you. Guess you’re more like your brother than you thought.”
I shrugged. “Maybe.” If living meant fighting, I guess that was what I had to do. Even if I hated it. I hurried over to Gloria’s radio, switching it on for the first time that night. “Come on,” I said to Able. “We’ve got to get out of here before Vega’s team shows up. Can you carry Gloria?”
Able raised his eyebrows. I swallowed a snappy remark. “We’ll both carry her. Where’s the safest place for us right now?”
Able narrowed his eyes. “You sound a lot different than you did in the safe room.”
“Guess almost dying does that to you. Where should we go?”
Able waved his paralyzer toward the building. “Back inside.”
I wrapped one of Gloria’s arms around my shoulder and waited for Able. He copied me, and we drug Gloria around a corner, looking for a door. “Tanner?” I spoke into the radio. “This is Maid Marion. We’ve been betrayed.” I knew Tanner would get my thinly veiled allusion to my identity. I hoped more than believed that if ATS was listening they wouldn’t understand.
“We’re on our way to you. Turn your radio off. Over.”
I blew out my breath with relief when Tanner’s voice crackled through the radio. “Okay.” I switched the radio off. I leaned Gloria against the wall and slumped down.
Able grabbed my arm, yanking me back up. “You don’t want ATS or Vega’s people to catch us off guard. You might not be so lucky twice tonight.”
I sighed, nodding at him. I shouldered Gloria’s gun, pointing it into the darkness around me. The crack of paralyzer guns echoed in the distance, further from the building. Were the rebels actually winning?
“Who’s there?” Able whipped his gun to the right, stepping forward.
His action startled me out of a daze. I pointed my gun into the darkness.
I lowered my paralyzer. “Darion?”
He, Tanner, and two others I didn’t recognize materialized before us. I dropped the paralyzer and jumped at Darion. He wrapped his arms around me, the hard plastic of his paralyzer digging into my back.
“They didn’t get to you!” I cried with relief.
“Who?” Tanner asked.
I broke from Darion and turned to him. “Vega said the National Rebel Army sent a team in to extract me and Darion; that it was a condition for Micah leading the NRA’s army into Phoenix. When we got outside she shot Gloria. Vega told me two team members were supposed to extract Darion.”
Darion and Tanner both reacted at the same time. Darion pushed away from me roughly, turning his paralyzer on the two men that followed them. Tanner leveled his in their faces.
“You mean these two?” he growled.
It surprised me that I instinctively grabbed for my own paralyzer. "What?"
“They showed up at the door with the same story. I told them I wouldn’t leave until we received confirmation from their teammate you were safe.” Darion didn’t take his eyes off the black clad National Rebels. Without further adieu he and Tanner shot. The two men crumpled to the ground.
Tanner turned to me and Darion, clenching his jaw. “I think Isoli’s gotten into the the National Rebel Army somehow. It’s about time we took this personally. Time to take him down. For good.”
I shuddered at the fire in his eyes, recognizing it.
He locked eyes with me. “No matter what it takes.”