Home > Allegiant (Divergent #3)(5)

Allegiant (Divergent #3)(5)
Veronica Roth

“The original purpose—you mean, what was in the Edith Prior video? That we should send people outside when the city has a large Divergent population?”

“That, yes. But also living in factions. The Allegiant claim that we’re meant to be in factions because we’ve been in them since the beginning.” She shakes her head. “Some people will always fear change. But we can’t indulge them.”

With the factions dismantled, part of me has felt like a man released from a long imprisonment. I don’t have to evaluate whether every thought I have or choice I make fits into a narrow ideology. I don’t want the factions back.

But Evelyn hasn’t liberated us like she thinks—she’s just made us all factionless. She’s afraid of what we would choose, if we were given actual freedom. And that means that no matter what I believe about the factions, I’m relieved that someone, somewhere, is defying her.

I arrange my face into an empty expression, but my heart is beating faster than before. I have had to be careful, to stay in Evelyn’s good graces. It’s easy for me to lie to everyone else, but it’s more difficult to lie to her, the only person who knew all the secrets of our Abnegation house, the violence contained within its walls.

“What are you going to do about them?” I say.

“I am going to get them under control, what else?”

The word “control” makes me sit up straight, as rigid as the chair beneath me. In this city, “control” means needles and serums and seeing without seeing; it means simulations, like the one that almost made me kill Tris, or the one that made the Dauntless into an army.

“With simulations?” I say slowly.

She scowls. “Of course not! I am not Jeanine Matthews!”

Her flare of anger sets me off. I say, “Don’t forget that I barely know you, Evelyn.”

She winces at the reminder. “Then let me tell you that I will never resort to simulations to get my way. Death would be better.”

It’s possible that death is what she will use—killing people would certainly keep them quiet, stifle their revolution before it begins. Whoever the Allegiant are, they need to be warned, and quickly.

“I can find out who they are,” I say.

“I’m sure that you can. Why else would I have told you about them?”

There are plenty of reasons she would tell me. To test me. To catch me. To feed me false information. I know what my mother is—she is someone for whom the end of a thing justifies the means of getting there, the same as my father, and the same, sometimes, as me.

“I’ll do it, then. I’ll find them.”

I rise, and her fingers, brittle as branches, close around my arm. “Thank you.”

I force myself to look at her. Her eyes are close above her nose, which is hooked at the end, like my own. Her skin is a middling color, darker than mine. For a moment I see her in Abnegation gray, her thick hair bound back with a dozen pins, sitting across the dinner table from me. I see her crouched in front of me, fixing my mismatched shirt buttons before I go to school, and standing at the window, watching the uniform street for my father’s car, her hands clasped—no, clenched, her tan knuckles white with tension. We were united in fear then, and now that she isn’t afraid anymore, part of me wants to see what it would be like to unite with her in strength.

I feel an ache, like I betrayed her, the woman who used to be my only ally, and I turn away before I can take it all back and apologize.

I leave Erudite headquarters amid a crowd of people, my eyes confused, hunting for faction colors automatically when there are none left. I am wearing a gray shirt, blue jeans, black shoes—new clothes, but beneath them, my Dauntless tattoos. It is impossible to erase my choices. Especially these.

CHAPTER FIVE

TRIS

I SET MY watch alarm for ten o’clock and fall asleep right away, without even shifting to a comfortable position. A few hours later the beeps don’t wake me, but the frustrated shout of someone across the room does. I turn off the alarm, run my fingers through my hair, and half walk, half jog to one of the emergency staircases. The exit at the bottom will let me out in the alley, where I probably won’t be stopped.

Once I’m outside, the cool air wakes me up. I pull my sleeves down over my fingers to keep them warm. Summer is finally ending. There are a few people milling around the entrance to Erudite headquarters, but none of them notices me creeping across Michigan Avenue. There are some advantages to being small.

I see Tobias standing in the middle of the lawn, wearing mixed faction colors—a gray T-shirt, blue jeans, and a black sweatshirt with a hood, representing all the factions my aptitude test told me I was qualified for. A backpack rests against his feet.

“How did I do?” I say when I’m close enough for him to hear me.

“Very well,” he says. “Evelyn still hates you, but Christina and Cara have been released without questioning.”

“Good.” I smile.

He pinches the front of my shirt, right over my stomach, and tugs me toward him, kissing me softly.

“Come on,” he says as he pulls away. “I have a plan for this evening.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes, well, I realized that we’ve never been on an actual date.”

“Chaos and destruction do tend to take away a person’s dating possibilities.”

“I would like to experience this ‘date’ phenomenon.” He walks backward, toward the mammoth metal structure at the other end of the lawn, and I follow him. “Before you, I only went on group dates, and they were usually a disaster. They always ended up with Zeke making out with whatever girl he intended to make out with, and me sitting in awkward silence with some girl that I had somehow offended in some way early on.”

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