Home > Insurgent (Divergent #2)(5)

Insurgent (Divergent #2)(5)
Veronica Roth

He shrugs. “I guess we’ll find out.”

Eventually someone from each of the big groups stands and approaches Johanna, picking their way carefully over the roots of the big tree. I expect them to address the rest of us, but instead they stand in a circle with Johanna and the other spokespeople and talk quietly. I begin to get the feeling that I will never know what they’re saying.

“They’re not going to let us argue with them, are they,” I say.

“I doubt it,” he says.

We are done for.

When everyone has said his or her piece, they sit down again, leaving Johanna alone in the center of the room. She angles her body toward us and folds her hands in front of her. Where will we go when they tell us to leave? Back into the city, where nothing is safe?

“Our faction has had a close relationship with Erudite for as long as any of us can remember. We need each other to survive, and we have always cooperated with each other,” says Johanna. “But we have also had a strong relationship with Abnegation in the past, and we do not think it is right to revoke the hand of friendship when it has for so long been extended.”

Her voice is honey-sweet, and moves like honey too, slow and careful. I wipe the sweat from my hairline with the back of my hand.

“We feel that the only way to preserve our relationships with both factions is to remain impartial and uninvolved,” she continues. “Your presence here, though welcome, complicates that.”

Here it comes, I think.

“We have arrived at the conclusion that we will establish our faction headquarters as a safe house for members of all factions,” she says, “under a set of conditions. The first is that no weaponry of any kind is allowed on the compound. The second is that if any serious conflict arises, whether verbal or physical, all involved parties will be asked to leave. The third is that the conflict may not be discussed, even privately, within the confines of this compound. And the fourth is that everyone who stays here must contribute to the welfare of this environment by working. We will report this to Erudite, Candor, and Dauntless as soon as we can.”

Her stare drifts to Tobias and me, and stays there.

“You are welcome to stay here if and only if you can abide by our rules,” she says. “That is our decision.”

I think of the gun I hid under my mattress, and the tension between me and Peter, and Tobias and Marcus, and my mouth feels dry. I am not good at avoiding conflict.

“We won’t be able to stay long,” I say to Tobias under my breath.

A moment ago, he was still faintly smiling. Now the corners of his mouth have disappeared into a frown. “No, we won’t.”

CHAPTER THREE

THAT EVENING I return to my room and slide my hand beneath my mattress to make sure the gun is still there. My fingers brush over the trigger, and my throat tightens like I am having an allergic reaction. I withdraw my hand and kneel on the edge of the bed, taking hard swallows of air until the feeling subsides.

What is wrong with you? I shake my head. Pull it together.

And that is what it feels like: pulling the different parts of me up and in like a shoelace. I feel suffocated, but at least I feel strong.

I see a flicker of movement in my periphery, and look out the window that faces the apple orchard. Johanna Reyes and Marcus Eaton walk side by side, pausing at the herb garden to pluck mint leaves from their stems. I am out of my room before I can evaluate why I want to follow them.

I sprint through the building so that I don’t lose them. Once I am outside, I have to be more careful. I walk around the far side of the greenhouse and, after I see Johanna and Marcus disappear into one row of trees, I creep down the next row, hoping the branches will hide me if either of them looks back.

“. . . been confused about is the timing of the attack,” says Johanna. “Is it just that Jeanine finally finished planning it, and acted, or was there an inciting incident of some kind?”

I see Marcus’s face through a divided tree trunk. He presses his lips together and says, “Hmm.”

“I suppose we’ll never know.” Johanna raises her good eyebrow. “Will we?”

“No, perhaps not.”

Johanna places her hand on his arm and turns toward him. I stiffen, afraid for a moment that she will see me, but she looks only at Marcus. I sink into a crouch and crawl toward one of the trees so that the trunk will hide me. The bark itches my spine, but I don’t move.

“But you do know,” she says. “You know why she attacked when she did. I may not be Candor anymore, but I can still tell when someone is keeping the truth from me.”

“Inquisitiveness is self-serving, Johanna.”

If I were Johanna, I would snap at him for a comment like that, but she says kindly, “My faction depends on me to advise them, and if you know information this crucial, it is important that I know it also so that I can share it with them. I’m sure you can understand that, Marcus.”

“There is a reason you don’t know all the things I know. A long time ago, the Abnegation were entrusted with some sensitive information,” says Marcus. “Jeanine attacked us to steal it. And if I am not careful, she will destroy it, so that is all I can tell you.”

“But surely—”

“No,” Marcus cuts her off. “This information is far more important than you can imagine. Most of the leaders of this city risked their lives to protect it from Jeanine and died, and I will not jeopardize it now for the sake of sating your selfish curiosity.”

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