Backstabber by Aurelie Kostova

Chapter 1 – Escape

The gentle sound of hammering raindrops lurches me out of my sleep. My clothes are soaked through, and I’m shivering. I slowly get up, the spiky leaves, sticks, pebbles, bugs and other annoying naturey things sticking to my damp skin and getting inside my pants and shirt. I shake them off and rub my sleepy eyes. I see the majority of my cult are sleeping but Sally and Oliver are sitting on a log sipping some tea and chatting.
My cult, The Paragons of the Soothsayers Cult, consists of Sally, Oliver, Jason, Kamyla, Lily, Pip, Greta, Walter, Tom and Atticus. I walk over to Sally and Oliver.
“Evelyn. You need to start packing up your things, the convoy is leaving in a couple of hours. We’re going to attack the rest of the Forgotten Woods in the next few days,” Sally sighs, rolling her eyes, as though speaking to me is a drag.
Sally is the cult’s leader.
I reach for my sack and take out my breakfast which consists only of some herbal tea. I sit on one of the logs and start to plot how I will take action with my plan. First, I’ll have to get ready much quicker than anyone else. Since I’ll be ready before the others, I’ll act very non suspicious and say I’m leaving to do my business and will be back shortly. But in reality I’ll never return because I mean, I’m getting bored of being nice and am in desperate need of some betrayal and pain.

Chapter 2 – Execution

I have changed out of my wet clothes and am now wearing my thick leather pants, a woolly jumper and a warm winter coat. I’ve had breakfast, my bag is packed, and I’m ready to execute my plan.
“Hey Sally? I’m going to the loo. I’ll be back.”
Sally only nods, focused on packing her bag and organising the group.
I look around making sure no one is looking and sneak past. I walk quickly, careful not to attract any attention. As I slip past other groups, I realise I don’t really have much else of a plan. Apart from escaping which I have already successfully executed, there isn’t much else to my scheme. Could I maybe find some other part of the convoy to betray? But I don’t want to go through the pain of gaining trust, it’ll take too long. Could I just travel by myself? I probably can’t survive alone, though. I could just trail behind a random group and hope they take me in….? I guess I’ll have to settle with that.

Chapter 3 – Follow

Suddenly, I hear voices. Soft muttering that soon turns into noisy chatter accompanied with the thundering of footsteps. Finally! I have found another group to start following. I start to approach the voices quietly, careful not to make any noise. I spot a flash of colour through the thick bundle of trees and duck down.
“Yeah, yeah, I think so too…”
I wait for the voices to quiet down a little before leaving my hideout. I cautiously tiptoe through the trees until I find the group. The majority are bunched up together at the front but I notice this girl around my age trailing behind. I spend a good twenty minutes darting from tree to tree, bush to bush until it starts feeling like a routine and I stop even looking at the group. But that was a big mistake. Because as I’m ducking down behind a bush, I hear a voice. A voice cold and sharp… and after a moment I realise it’s talking to me.
“Who are you supposed to be?” The voice snaps.
I look up, expecting the worst. But as I open my eyes I see the girl that I noticed earlier. “Ew,” is all I say.
“Why were you following us?” she says, looking at me in disgust.
“I was uhhh…. Totally lost,” I say, making it up on the spot.
“Ha, sure, sure,” she scoffs. “Well you’re being really annoying and distracting so spit it out will you?”
“Fine – I ditched my cult and now yeah, I’m just hanging around.”
“Seriously?” she snickers. “Which one?”
“The Paragons of the Soothsayers Cult. Who do you work for?”
“The Chosen Ones of the Four Divines – I guess we’re rivals… or at least used to be” she smirks.
“Ha, what luck… it would be so dumb if I joined your cult,” I say, trying to give her a subtle hint. “What’s your name by the way?”
“Hazel Grove.”
“Mine’s Evelyn Hall. Can I though? Join your cult, I mean,” I decide to be bold. If I’m gonna say it I might as well say it now.
“Hmmm,” Hazel pauses clearly deep in thought. Before she can respond, I notice the rest of her group approaching.
The first to speak is a girl with extremely long, light copper hair, and pale skin dotted with freckles. “OMG!!! Who are you? What are you doing here? Were you following us!? Are you going to kill us?! OMG,” she cries, dramatically leaning on another girl’s shoulder. The girl she’s leaning on, looks at me with visible disgust and says, “Paisley! You’re getting dirt on my shoes! And you’re also crinkling my new GUCCI jumper!!! Also who is this… thing?”
“That’s Bea, she’s obsessed with her shoes and Paisley is just… some idiot.” Hazel turns to the rest of the group. “This is Evelyn. She’s with us now.” She scowls at everyone and instantly they shut up and leave us alone.
“Wow,” I say, eyes wide. “So you’re the group leader?”
“Huh? What’s that?”
“Oh well at least for my cult, we have group leaders.”
“Well, I’m the top of the ranks so I guess that could be considered a group leader.”
“Uh huh… Also uhhh can I? Join your cult?” I ask again.
“Well, I mean… I guess, why not,” Hazel reluctantly agrees.
Relief washes over me but I only show my appreciation with a simple nod. “Thanks.”

Chapter 4 – Acquaintance

We have been running for a while, until I finally decide to ask where we’re going.
“The Misty Isles,” Hazel pants. “We’re going to the entrance for my – I suppose OUR actually – cult’s base.”
I simply nod, my breath too short for words.
We enter a swmp-ish looking, rocky bay area and Hazel kicks a rock that reveals a tunnel leading into… darkness for all I can see.
“Go on,” Hazel says, pointing to the dark tunnel. “Slide.”
I hesitate, considering the unlikely event of Hazel leading me in some sort of trap, but decide to take the risk and jump in. The ride is exhilarating. The wind whips my hair back and I speed down the smooth slide. As light starts to appear at the end of the slide, I brace myself, ready for a very GRACIOUS landing but surprisingly, I land on my feet. It’s nowhere near Hazel’s decorous landing but still – it was on my feet. If I want to be a part of this cult, I’m going to have to get used to it, so I keep a mental note to be prepared for next time.
“Oh my goodness… that was… glorious,” I grin.
Hazel gathers herself, and starts to walk off. “Well. I suppose we better put you in the system. It takes a painfully long time but might as well get it over and done with.”
Hazel walks down a dim hallway, stops at a regular-looking metal door with a keypad, and punches in a code. I don’t bother doing what old me would do – try to see what the code is and remember it for later so I can steal whatever is in there, because I have a sort of… loyalty towards Hazel.

We enter a very bland room full of codeprocessers, a block of concrete with a screen at the top. I just wait to the side whilst Hazel does whatever ‘putting you in the system’ includes. After only around 10 minutes Hazel is finished and we walk out the room.
“You need somewhere to exist,” Hazel says suddenly.
“Mmmm… I do.”
“Well. I did not think of that. I guess you could create a make-shift bed whilst we order a new one, but since Ahoy is kind of destroyed and nothing really exists anymore, that’ll take forever.” Hazel pauses, deep in thought. All of a sudden, she grins and says, “We could steal Jaqulin’s bed! That’ll be easy ‘cause she’s so clueless and stupid and predictable – and I’m pretty sure she’s occupied right now so let’s get right to it.”
I can tell Hazel probably despises this so-called Jaqulin so I ask, “Who’s Jaqulin?”
“Ahhhh. I forgot to tell you about Jaqulin,” Hazel says, her voice abhorrent. “She’s – she’s a bietik that’s all you need to know.”
“Right. So where’s her room?” I decide to slightly change the topic.
“Right over there. My room is obviously the best because I’m top of the ranks, so Jaqulin’s room is a little… ‘eh’ compared to mine, to say the least. But it’ll be fine for now.” We turn a corner and soon we reach a door with the number four on it.
“Ok, here we are.” Hazel glances side to side quickly before opening the door, and entering the room. “Let’s go.”
Hazel flips the light switch, enabling me to see Jaqulin’s room. It’s bland. It’s the blandest bland of bland I’ve ever seen. The walls are grey, the bed is grey, the sheets are grey, the wardrobe is grey, the clothes are grey, the bedside table is grey and the light filling the room has a greyish tone to it.
“Hurry up. You take that end of the bed and I’ll take this one. Try and be as quiet as possible,” Hazel whispers. I tip toe over to the bed and pick it up. I was expecting the bed to be a lot heavier but it’s surprisingly light which makes the task a lot easier. We slip past the door and go down the hallway until Hazel stops in front of another door that looks identical to Jaqulin’s but instead of a four on it, it has a one. I wait silently as Hazel enters the code, opens the door and gestures to me that we can now enter. We carry the bed into the room and Hazel shuts the door.
I was so focused on stealing the bed, I didn’t notice the room itself. The ceilings are tall and grand, supporting a huge chandelier that lights the room. The walls and floors are gold, and in the middle of the room there’s a massive bed with, once again, gold sheets, clearly made from silk. The bed is overflowing with luxuriously fluffy pillows that look as soft as clouds. Facing the bed is a grand fireplace, a fire roaring in the hearth. Large windows line the back wall which have grand taffeta curtains, following the same gold theme of the room. The room’s size is almost triple Jaqulin’s room from what I can see and as I advance forward the hallway ends revealing another room.
“Wow,” I say breathlessly.
“I know,” Hazel grins, smugly. “Let’s set up your bed shall we?”

An hour later my bed is set up in one of the empty corners of Hazel’s room, looking almost as comfy as Hazel’s bed.
“Great, that’s done. Now -” A loud knocking interrupts Hazel. “Yes?” Hazel approaches the door.
She opens the door, revealing a strong muscular man, with a shiny bald head, a thin moustache and a crisp suit, accompanied with polished shoes.
“Yes. I have heard of this new Evelyn Hall, and I have assigned you both a task to do together to prove whether Evelyn is worthy of our cult or not. You will venture out in the forest, and find a new suitable Gafetree,” The ‘boss’ turns to me. “The Gafetree is how we capture our fledglings. They enter the tree’s hollow and then they fall into our trap where we force them to be a part of our cult, or else, well – death.”
“Brutal,” I say under my breath.
Hazel only nods in response, suddenly in her serious, work mode.. The so-called ‘boss’ walks away, and Hazel shuts the door.
“Okay, we’re leaving now. Bring an overnight bag – the rule is that you don’t return until the task is completed so make sure you pack accordingly.”
“I’ll just bring my whole bag, ‘cause I don’t own much,” I reply.

Chapter 5 – Our First Task

The sky is grey, and the wind is a bitter cold. The forest is quiet and there’s an eerie feel in the trees. I walk alongside Hazel as she explains what to look for.
“A ‘good’ tree would be a tree with a thick trunk but also low branches, so that it kind of hides the victim. ‘Cause otherwise people would notice, and, like, cut it down, I dunno.”

It feels like we’ve been walking aimlessly around the forest for hours. When we find a tree with a thick trunk the branches are too short and when we find a tree with suitable branches, the trunk is too thin. I’ve been resisting the urge to turn away and give up for around two hours now but I know that this depends on whether or not I will be part of the cult. But after just a couple more minutes, even Hazel starts dragging her feet.
Soon, the sky starts to darken ever so slightly. Taking this as the perfect excuse to stop, Hazel says, “I think we should stop and take a rest – it’s getting dark. We can continue our search tomorrow.”
“Yeah, great idea,” I reply.
We set our bags down, and work on separate chores to get our campsite ready for the night. Hazel’s collecting the kindling for our fire and I’m setting up the tent. A little while passes and soon we’re sitting down beside the fire and the tent, eating the food we brought with us.

The darkness is thick. Even though throughout the day I was craving sleep and that I’m exhausted, now that I’m in bed, I’m wide awake. I twitch and turn, rearranging my makeshift bed every two seconds. My mind is racing and every rustle and squeak makes me jump. Soon my eyelids feel too heavy to keep open and I drift into a restless sleep.

Chapter 6 – And Then The Tables Turned

“No, no, just wait until they wake up…”
My eyes flick open to the sound of strangely familiar voices. My head throbs, an overwhelming ache making it difficult to think. I feel dried up blood on my forehead that seems to have come from a wound on my head. My arms are tied behind me on some pole. I look around trying to spot Hazel but the darkness is thick and my eyes struggle to adjust. Suddenly, I hear a noise. At first it only sounds like a squeak but soon it gets louder, forming into words.
“Evelyn! Evelyn! Evelynnnn? Hello? It’s Hazel!”
Relief washes over me. Not only am I not alone, but Hazel’s safe.
“We need to get out of here. Do you know these people? Cause I don’t, and it would make sense that they knew one of us since they sort of kidnapped us.” Hazel’s voice was rather careless, as though she has been kidnapped a thousand times and is totally prepared.
“No, I haven’t seen them yet but their voices did sound strangely familiar…”
“Hmmm, that’s -”
“Get up,” a gruff voice demands, as a bright light fills the room. I look up quickly and see a face that I know well. Very well.
“Oliver!?” I can’t believe it. My old cult has kidnapped me.
Oliver doesn’t respond, he just unties my hands from the pole, ties them back up and does the same to Hazel. We stand up awkwardly, our legs numb from sitting for so long.
“Hurry up.” Oliver puts one hand on each of our backs and leads us into a dark hallway. He flicks on the light, revealing the familiar ‘penitentiary room’ that my old cult used as a prison for people who committed various crimes against us.
Oliver shoves us into one of the cells causing us to fall on our knees, and turns the light off. Once his footsteps die down, Hazel asks, “So, what do we do now? How will we get out of here?” like I’m supposed to know everything. Well, I suppose I am meant to as this was my old cult and, as a matter of fact, I know exactly what to do.
“We wait. In about 30 minutes, Oliver will come and give us water and food – I know they’re oddly nice – and he’ll have to open the doors so you can pin hime to the ground, then I’ll take the keys, we run out and lock him in.”
“Dang. I see why you left the cult. They’re stupid as fu-”
Hazel gets interrupted by the heavy stomping of footsteps getting nearer. Oliver has come earlier than expected – how convenient.
“Here’s your stuff. Don’t even try and escape, it’s not worth it,” Oliver says gruffly, pausing in front of the bars.
Hazel and I step backwards so our backs are touching the walls, as to give the impression we aren’t attempting an escape.
Oliver slides in the key and slowly enters the cell suspiciously. As he leans down to place the water and food on the floor, a vulnerable position, Hazel pounces onto his back.
“Get off!” he yells, squirming around, trying to shove Hazel off, but Hazel’s skilled technique makes it strenuous.
I reach into Oliver’s pockets and after a second, find a singular key with ‘penitentiary room’ taped onto it – how foolish, my old cult really is idiotic.
I swiftly approach the cell’s door and signal to Hazel it’s time to go. She leaps up holding Oliver by the neck and shoves him against the wall. Hazel’s like me – stronger than she looks. I watch in amazement as she lifts his feet off the ground and drops him roughly, giving her time to jump out the door, and for me to lock it.
Hazel and I walk away, and shut the door, muffling Oliver’s empty threats.
“Ha. That was easier than I imagined,” Hazel laughs.
“Mhm, you did most of the work though,” I grin.
“Nah, it was all teamwork,” Hazel contradicts.
I smile. We make a good team.

Chapter 7 – The Fight For Yoha

I listen to the rhythm of steady footsteps. Today is the day we’re leaving for The Afeard Wilds. The air is filled with an eerie silence as we get closer and closer.
All of a sudden, a gust of ice-cold air blows past us, making everyone stop.
“Well,” Hazel says, after a moment of silence. “Looks like we’ve arrived. Take out the weapons.”
Everyone puts down their bags, taking out the range of guns, daggers, knives, swords, bow and arrows, axes, sticks, matches and rope, and after a few moments, we’re all ready to enter The Afeard Wilds.

“Ow!” Paisley mutters, as she bonks straight into a tree. Twisty trees surround us, blocking our path. Carefully stepping over them, I advance forward, on guard in case something jumps out.
“This seems too good to be true – nothings happening,” Hazel whispers to me.
“Just wait, I’m -”
“ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!” A high-pitched scream rings through the air. I spin around, and look up to see Bea, hanging from a vine. The vine is slowly creeping up her legs, then torso making her scream even louder.
Everyone, apart from Paisley who is standing there, frozen in fear, leaps into action getting out the swords, knives and daggers to cut the Strangling Vine. Some of us come under Bea, ready to catch her once the others cut the vine. As Bea lands into our arms, vines start to come out of everywhere, trying to do the same they did to Bea.
“RUN!!!” Hazel yells, whilst slicing the vines coming at her. Everyone follows Hazel’s lead and runs forward at the same time as cutting any vines coming their way.
After about 20 minutes of running, cutting, running, cutting, we reach a wall of hanging vines, swaying in the wind. Without thinking I burst through them, and come face to face with a large, empty, oval-shaped area of grass, surrounded by tall trees.
“It’s clear!” I call.
Cautiously, Dallas, Kyler, Veronica, Douglas, Bertha, the pair of twins, Bea, Connor, Rodrigo, Hazel and Paisley appear beside me.
“What is this?” Veronica asks, breaking the silence. “It looks like a battlefield -”
All of a sudden a deafening crack interrupts Veronica and the ground starts to rumble and shake. Five humongous Venus Soul Traps come out of the ground, baring their uneven, jagged teeth, spit flying from their mouths.
“Gee wiz,” Hazel says, eyes widening in shock.
Everyone starts to run in all directions, trying to reach the other side of the field. The Venus Soul Traps sway down, growling at us and trying to well, trap our souls. Realising running is not going to work, an idea comes to mind. I start to gather the large sticks and rope that we packed originally for distractions but now with a new purpose. I tie the rope in a large lasso and, as one of the Venus Soul Trap swoops down near me, I throw it around its neck. I thrust one of the thick sticks into the jaws to hold open its mouth and start to swipe at its stem. The Venus Soul Trap tries to bite me but the stick blocks it and soon it’s laying on the ground, defeated. I repeat this again and again, and soon the others start to follow my lead. Soon all of the Venus Soul Traps are laying on the floor, blood slowly trickling down the slit in their stems. I grin. The Afeard Wilds are no match for us.

Carefully stepping over the bloody ruins of Venus Soul Traps, we reach the other side of the end of the field, and pass through a thick bundle of trees. I shield my eyes. Bright sunlight shines right into my eyes. The trees have cleared, revealing the sunny, cloudless blue sky and a field of sweet daisies. I look around and all I can see are daisies. Nothing other than daisies.
“Oh lord! Are these what I think they are?” Bertha cries. All eyes turn on her expectantly. “There’s an old tale about the Dreams. Their innocent looking daisies like these, that turn into your worst nightmare. Their scream paralyses you and when you cut one of them down, two more appear. All you can do is run, block your ears and make loud noises to block out their screams. At least that’s the tale.” Before anyone can react, a low squeal pierces the air. Assuming this is the ‘paralysing scream’ Bertha was talking about, we all follow her instructions and start to run whilst blocking our ears and screaming. I run and run and run, nothing on my mind other than ‘run’. The fields of daisies seem endless and my breath starts to shallow, sweat pouring down my forehead. The sun beats down on my sweaty face, but I keep on going.
It feels like I’ve been running for centuries. My legs feel sluggish and a painful stitch throbs in my chest. Soon I see something in the distance, that definitely isn’t a daisy, giving me new motivation to keep going. My shirt is drenched with sweat and my bag feels twenty times heavier than before, but I keep going.

The not-a-daisy in the distance, gets bigger and bigger until I can make out what it is – more trees squashed together, making it difficult to see what’s beyond them. I get closer and closer to the trees and start to sprint. Finally, the trees are in arm’s reach and I slump down, panting. After a few moments, Hazel appears, followed by Dallas, Kyler, Veronica, Douglas then the pair of twins I don’t know the names of, Bea, Connor, Rodrigo, Paisley and lastly Bertha. We stay silent, getting our breath back and chugging down water.
“That was intense,” Connor says.
“That’s a bit of an understatement,” Rodrigo replies.
“I think we should keep moving after a few minutes. Staying here won’t get us to Yoha,” I suggest.
Everyone reluctantly agrees and starts to get up. We slowly walk through the thick tree trunks until we come face to face with a smelly swamp, surrounded by low, hanging cypress trees.
“Ew!” squeals Bea.
Ignoring Bea’s comment, I say “How do we get past this? We need to -” All of a sudden the murkish water starts to rise, and transforms into humongous snail creatures. They all let out a synchronised screech and start to slither towards us. We leap out the way and I observe the surroundings, trying to find a way out. The end of the swamp is guarded by one of the snails that hisses whenever you come near. The other snails are scattered around towering over everyone dangerously. Suddenly I have an idea. I run side to side and it only takes a couple seconds for the snail to look dazed and confused. I notice the majority of my convoy group are trying to attack one of the snails but two others are approaching and the snails are clearly in control. I run to everyone’s side and tell them my plan and soon, everyone’s ready to execute it. After my signal, Dallas, Kyler, Veronica, Douglas, Bertha, and the pair of twins I don’t know the names of, sit down like they’re getting ready for a tea party – the distraction. The snails fall straight into our trap and start to glide towards them. Then Bea, Connor, Rodrigo, Hazel, Paisley and I start to scream and shout, whilst getting closer and closer to the exit. The snails slowly turn around and whilst they’re nearing us Dallas, Kyler, Veronica, Douglas, Bertha, and the pair of twins get up and run through the exit. The snails turn around, confused, their slow reactions letting us get through the exit.
“That worked!” Bea grins, once we meet them at the exit.
We hear a loud squelching coming towards us, probably the snails, so we run through another thick bundle of trees through to a field with abnormally dense bushes scattered around, blocking our path. The only sound is a very soft hissing that seems to be getting louder and louder. The silence is so calming, and I feel like I could lay down and take a nap -” All of a sudden, everything goes dark and it takes me a few moments to realise it’s a shadow looming above all of us – “RUNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!” someone screams and I look up. A humongous three-headed snake hisses, the three pairs of eyes staring into my soul. My brain screams to run but my legs feel like blocks of lead, impossible to lift.
“EVELYN!!! MOVE!!!” I hear Hazel scream, but my legs don’t move an inch. The snake’s heads get closer and closer until I’m certain this is the end of me. Its jaws open wide, spit flying into my face – THUD. I crash to the ground, rolling just out of reach of the snake’s reach.
“Your welcome,” I hear Hazel say. I get up, brush the dirt off my clothes and finally I can move my legs. I run out of the snake’s way, and crouch behind one of the thick bushes to observe the situation. Everyone’s running around trying to escape, but they’re no match to the three-headed snake. One of the heads blows a fireball in Connor’s direction which he narrowly misses, and the second head shoots a wave on top of Dallas, Kyler, Veronica and Douglas, drenching them. The other head makes a mini hurricane of dirt attack the pair of twins, Bea, Connor, Rodrigo, Hazel and Paisley. I really don’t know what to do. For the first time ever, I have no idea how to win this fight. After a moment I realise doing whatever I can is better than sitting here watching everything unfold, so I stand up, take hold of my gun and sword at the same time and walk out of my hiding spot. Before I can think of something to do, someone yells, “CHARGE!!!” All 12 of us barrel towards the snake. Initially, it attempts to attack Veronica, Douglas, Bertha, and the pair of twins, but then the rest of us approach and start to slash and stab and shoot, and it’s clear the snake is struggling to keep control. It attempts to strike us with weak fire balls and waves, but soon the heads start to get confused and it’s clear we’re in control. Blood streams out of its wounds and I get the perfect idea of how to finish it off. I tell my idea to the others and we get into action. We quickly run up the snake’s necks, at the same time as the rest tie rope around the three necks so as it tries to throw us off, we stay on. I climb higher and higher, until I’m in the perfect position. I swipe at its neck again and again and soon I’m drenched in blood with the one of the heads laying on the floor. I glance over to the others and see that all the heads are lying motionlessly on the ground. We did it.

We cautiously walk around the snakes’ bloody heads until we reach a wall of thick bushes. Everyone looks at me expectantly as if waiting for me to go through, so I do. My gaze reaches a plain, boring pasture, dotted with the odd tree. Looks like we’ve arrived in Yoha.

Chapter 8 – Our Own

“This is a lot more… plain, than I expected,” Bea says, looking around.
“Mhm. I was expecting a cool modern city with advanced tech and stuff,” Dallas agrees.
“I reckon we should stop and take a rest, so we can be fully energised for tomorrow, where we can plan what to do with… this,” Bertha suggests. Everyone agrees, keen for a break.
Soon we have a fire burning, our tent up and we start to tuck into our food.

The sky is getting darker, so we begin going to bed. I lie down, satisfied with our triumph. I close my eyes but my mind is racing, the adrenaline from the fight still pumping. I look to my side and see Hazel still not quite asleep – or at least I hope. I nudge her gently.
“Huh?” Hazel says sleepily. Looks like she did fall asleep.
“I can’t sleep.”
“Well. That’s your problem,” Hazel replies and she turns over.
“No, but wouldn’t it be so stupid if we just left,” I say, thoughtlessly.
“Wha-what do you mean by that?”
“I don’t really know. But now that we’re in Yoha, do you really want to share it with our cult? I don’t.”
Hazel sits up.
“Like we don’t need them anymore… right?”
“Uh huh, uh huh..”
“So… let’s leave!”
Hazel silently agrees, and we start to get up. I can’t believe this is happening. Yoha will be ours.

We quietly pack up our things, trying to not make a noise, and, surprisingly, we succeed and no one wakes up. We tiptoe past the sleeping cult and once we’re a safe distance away, we sprint. We sprint for a good 10 minutes until Hazel pants, “Okay, we’re good, we can walk now.”
Once I get my breath back, I say “Well… we’ve run away, but what now? I mean the cult is still here, we don’t officially own the land… we need to get rid of them, you know?”
Before Hazel can respond, we hear loud footsteps. We crouch down low and hide behind a bush. Has someone already claimed Yoha? I decide to peek behind the bush and my gaze falls on a cluster of people. I fall back in shock.
“Evelyn! What the heck!? What is it?” Hazel looks over the bush and looks back at me, eyes wide.
“The Paragons are here? How?”
“I don’t know. This is terrible. We’ll never be able to defeat our cult AND my old cult for Yoha. It’s impossible.” We stay silent for a few moments, defeated. There is no way two people can overpower two cults. I look over to Hazel expecting her to look as downcast as me, but instead her eyes are glowing.
“Wait! What if… what if we make the two cults fight EACHOTHER. Not us, but themselves! We can send letters to each cult pretending it’s from the other cult, declaring war. We will say they have to meet at a certain place at a certain time and then they can kill each other, whilst we just watch. Then we can have Yoha all to ourselves,” Hazel grins.
I smile. “Well we gotta hurry up and follow The Paragons, so we can give them the letter.”

We manage to find parchment and a pen, and now are writing our declaration to war. We first write the one to The Paragons whilst following them. Once it’s finished, we observe everything the cult is carrying, trying to find an opening to sneak the letter. Finally, we notice Sally carrying an open weapon box on her back – perfect. We wait till we get in the perfect position and throw the letter straight into the box. Bullseye. We run away silently, back to where the Four Divines are sleeping to write the next one. We place the finished letter next to Bertha’s head and tiptoe back to the bush to plan for tomorrow – the war.

The wind whistles, making me wrap my coat around myself tighter. There’s a light rain causing the plaines to be muddy and slippery. I glance over at Hazel, grinning. This is going to be great.
“Just a few more minutes,” Hazel says, glancing at her watch. “But I’m assuming the Four Divines will come early so they can dominate, you know?”
“Yeah, let’s hide behind here, so we can’t be seen.” Just as we duck behind a thick bush, we hear thundering footsteps. I look to my right and see The Paragons charging forward. Then I look to my left and see the Four Divines running straight for The Paragons. Perfect timing. Everyone starts to stab and scream and shout and run and soon the ground is already splattered with blood. Oliver attempts to stab Bea, but she dodges it and stabs him instead, causing him to fall to the ground. Sally charges towards Jaqulin and shoots her with ease. Then Sally shoots Bea in the arm, triggering Bea’s gun which shoots Dallas in the head, blood splattering everywhere. Kyler sneaks behind Sally and stabs her. Bertha runs behind Jason and tackles him to the ground, suffocating him. His head turns purple and soon his body lays there, motionless. Bertha grins, but her satisfaction soon fades away as a stray bullet hits her in the chest and she falls face-first in the dirt. Douglas tries to surprise Lily and Pip but they’re quicker than him and they swipe at him with their swords. Where Douglas’ arm used to be, is now a bloody wound and he falls to the ground in shock – a vulnerable position. Lily strikes him with a bat which seems to knock him out and Pip finishes him off with a bullet to the head. The twins catch the two girls off guard and stab them in the back. Kamyla aims towards Paisley hitting her right in the chest and before she can strike again, she gets taken down by Veronica’s knife. The twins attempt to shoot Greta and Walter but they miss and get stabbed instead. Now it’s only Kyler, Veronica, Bea, Connor and Rodrigo against Greta, Walter, Tom and Atticus. Tom dodges a bullet from Kyler and tries to shoot him back, failing and hitting Greta instead. Veronica and Bea charge towards Tom and Atticus but get shot by Walter before they can do any damage. There’s a moment of silence as Kyler, Connor and Rodrigo stare down Walter, Tom and Atticus and then, like the idiots they are, they all shoot at the same time causing them all to drop dead to the ground. I glance over to Hazel.
It’s done. Yoha is ours.