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Solarites - Ch 7

Ace went down to the cafeteria and sat down at his table in the back. He assessed me for a moment, studying my eye and the patch where my other eye should be. His eyes lingered on it for a moment as a look of disgust flashed across his face. He composed himself and politely smiled. It wasn't a bad smile but it showed that he was out of practice. I hesitantly smiled back.

He took a deep breath and bluntly stated, "I know what you're doing and it won't work." My heart stopped cold, my mind raced for an answer of how he knew.

"What?" My voice was timid and meek. He was spying on us, or did someone tell him? No, Raven gave us specific instructions, but then who would tell? This had to be a joke in a not funny kind of way. He clenched his jaw for a moment, he obviously doesn't tolerate wasting time.

"I am human too. The first day here, my first thought was to escape no matter what. I know you're just itching to get out, I see it on your face."

I flushed red from embarrassment. This man I barely know just read me like an open book. I assumed a mask of sophistication and faced Ace. I would not allow him to dissuade me nor my friends from this plan.

He sighed heavily, "and I can't believe you convinced Raven to join you. I already predicted the bubbly chic and Grave."

I bit my tongue. Then I stood up and rushed back to the room, didn't even bother to check behind me to see if he was following. I mumbled my good morning to Ursula, who grunted back, and bolted out the door.

It was so quiet outside and seemed to be more of a ghost town long abandoned. There weren't any Solarites either, excluding Ursula because she doesn't count. Nothing but our own fears stops us from running, like a bird in a cage. A black dismal cage of a planet; that's what this place was like. But, just like every cage, there has to be a door, and every door has a key located somewhere. I rushed to the dorm rooms.

I had my hand on the doorknob when what Ace had said fully caught up to me. He had mentioned Grave's name, but we hadn't even let out a breath of the plan to the guy. I began to question how loyal Raven was. Fei and I kept our word not to speak of it outside, yet how is it that Ace knew and thought Grave was in on the plan?

I gritted my teeth and entered the room. I sat on the bed waiting for Fei to wake up. I was hungry but I didn't want to be alone with Ace at that table. He may have been trying to be nice, but if he thinks he could just come in randomly, and tell me that my plan will fail even though he hasn't even heard it, he has another thing coming. I know what I'm doing for the most part.

Fei rubbed her eyes and rose out of bed. Her hair was sticking up all over the place causing me to snicker. She smoothed her hair down and changed into her clothes. She sat down beside me.

"Well, you're up early," she yawned and leaned against my shoulder.

"The same with you. This is earlier then the morning people." I joked, giving her a half hug. Her smile froze on her face as she just simply looked at me.

"That's not funny." Her tone clearly upset. She got up and changed into her daily attire; this time adding a red scarf. "It reminds me of home." I stared at her, shocked. She never mentioned her home before. "I still remember my home planet a few years back, yes. It would be cold around this time of year and the white season will start." She whistled a soft tune and sat back down besides me. "Do you have a white season?"

"Yes, but we call it winter. That's when snow falls, but where I lived I rarely got to see any." She hugged me in sympathy.

The morning announcements then started their usual run through with the perky, "Good morning, residents of Demon's moon!" The girl ran down the list of usual important stuff like the weather and rules that need reminding. There seems to be a slight chance of meteor showers on and off today. Last time I nearly got killed off by a penny sized rock that grazed my hair. She finished her update and cleared her throat. There was a special announcement today.

"To all miners, today is demolition day. To all non-miners, stay clear of the mines. Good day." Demolition day?

Fei had a genuine smile and towed me out the door and down the hall opposite of the way out. She knocked lightly on the door just around the corner. Several seconds later a sleepily Raven opened the door. I never knew her room was so close, nor have I ever gone into her room. She turned sideways to allow us to pass.

It was dark and cozy with hand crafted items hanging off the walls. If I wasn't mistaken, one item resembled a dream catcher and others resembled ancient symbols. I made no comment, thinking that the Solarites are quite relaxed when it comes to their workers personal lives. If I didn't know I was from another planet and forced to work till death, this place would actually seem pretty cool.

"This is going to be a great day!" Raven cheered with a smile on her face. She wasn't being sarcastic either, she was excited to get the day started. She did her best the brush out the knots in her hair. She then tied it up in a strict bun. "First time here, the explosives singed my hair off to my cheeks." I shuddered at the thought of losing my thick brunette hair in a matter of minutes; its just that far away from the neck, it could have easily been the head too.

Fei continued to whistle her soft tune and rocked back and forth on her heels. Raven left to get dressed and allowed me time to think about Ace's accusation. Grave... How would he know? Maybe when he was studying the group, it would only be natural to assume the boyfriend was included. "Raven, did you tell Grave about the plan?" My voice slipped out again... I definitely need to stop doing that.

Her voice was sweet with the underlying threatening darkness lurking about. "Why would I tell him? I would consult you guys first." There was a silent question, 'who told you this piece of information?' I thought it might be best if I didn't tell them Ace knew about our plan. But, it seems he has yet to snitch on us, so for now we're safe.

"Oh, I thought that because he was your boyfriend that you would have informed him." I thought up the lie quickly as I received curious glances from both girls. Innocently, I smiled and they shrugged indifferent; the notion was highly logical and believable. Fei didn't miss a beat to begin her senseless babble and Raven was sucked into the conversation almost immediately.

We left the room together and grabbed a quick bite for breakfast. Grave was already at the table waiting for us. I turned toward the back table; it was empty. My breath left with a sigh of relief, I should keep my distance from now on. I enjoyed the rest of breakfast with my friends and noticed Grave's perplexed stare.

He was looking straight at me, but I don't know if he's just spaced out or something was on my face. It kind of freaked me out and tried my best to ignore it. After a moment I look again, he was still staring at me. I shifted uncomfortably and edged myself closer to Fei.

"Shall we get the equipment?" she asked, saving me from the awkward stare. As we walked out we crossed paths with Sunny, the harpy girl. She took one glance at me before bolting past. I kept walking, it didn't even faze me anymore; actually I now found it quite sad. I was indeed a social loner so it's not like I cared that only four people talk to me.

The bell had just about rang just as we grabbed our equipment. Fei fell into her now ritual silence and sped-walked to the mines. I finally mastered the art of keeping pace with her without tripping or stumbling. We began the day as usual and carried the dense water into the work site.

Throughout the day there were loud, thunderous explosions that made the ground tremble beneath our feet. It took a lot of focus to keep the buckets steady; a real test of will power and control. There were more Solarites than usual, but I'm guessing that's to keep us from smuggling out explosives. I wondered briefly how much damage just one charge could do to the town. My guess would be no more town afterward.

Finally break time came and we were able to relieve our strained shoulders. The world seemed to wobble as I was no longer used to steady ground. Fei ran ahead to find Raven and Grave; I however, decided to take my time when heading for the cafeteria. I needed to think, I have to perfect the plan; otherwise, we are just preparing ourselves for disaster.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Sunny dart past me, maybe I should talk to her… I abandoned the thought, knowing she'll just panic as usual and run away. I felt lonely then, I rarely walked without Fei; I didn't realize she had such an impact in my life.

Suddenly, I felt a hand pull me back. I turned around sharply to see Raven. She led me to the forest just out of site of the Solarites.

"I thought Fei ran up to meet you at the town!" I exclaimed. She shrugged indifferent and sat down under a forest green crystal pine tree. She stretched out and beckoned me to join her. Reluctantly, I sat down in front of her. Her hair was tangled and twisted; so much for tying it back. She leaned closer to me and I leaned forward in response.
"I have a idea." I nodded and waited to hear the rest. "It will require you and Fei to be sneaky and cunning. We are not allowed to sneak out the explosives, but I know how to activate them. So I will hide several and later on tonight you guys collect them. There's barely any guards at night." I hesitated.

"Explosives are a little dangerous, don't ya think?" I tried, miserably, to mask the quiver in my voice. A smile crept across her face and nudged my shoulder. 'It will be fine, things will go according to plan,' I most desperately hoped. I swallowed dryly and nodded in agreement to her plan. Explosives will be good for a plan B.

"So it has been decided. I will find a place to hide the deactivated charges after this break. Good luck, you'll need it tonight." With that she darted away, the conversation between us never happened.

I was about to get up too, and join the others at the town, but then the u thinkable happens. Ace was suddenly there before me and sat down where Raven had been. He cleared his throat and glanced swiftly around. My heart thundered away in my chest and my parched throat became a desert.

"I'm sorry for being rude earlier." He bluntly apologized and sighed. "I have certain reasons to be against this plan, and just simply telling you its gonna fail without explanation isn't fair." I stared at him waiting for his explanation. "I can't tell you, you're not ready." I rose up and stormed away, didn't even say goodbye.

That wasn't how I would usually act. I was submissive and meek, quiet but never rude. However, I didn't care at the moment, I was quite hungry and anxious about tonight. 'Somewhere in the mine.' Then I might get a look at that door again.

Excitement filled me, this is so new to me that it made me reflect on my previous life. How dull it was in comparison, I smiled at myself; change isn't necessarily completely bad. I hesitated and reflected on that last thought. Lost on a planet and now slave labor, no sun and crystal plants, and not to mention the humans reputation… Change was the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Upon entering the town, I heard some people fighting. I turned and saw Sunny fleeing from two others. It was the twin thugs from before; the giant ones. A twinge of annoyance poked at my heart. I stomped over to where they were at. Sunny passed by and I stepped in between them. The men skid to a halt. Sweat appeared on their foreheads and I gave them my best evil eyes I could manage for a first time. I've been studying Raven's glare for awhile. They backed away slowly, muttering some form of apology. They scampered away leaving me and the shy little harpy.

She glanced peculiarly around the sun stone, eying me with mistrust. I nodded in her direction and gave a quick smile before going to the cafeteria. Sunny skirted around the sun stone and shadowed me all the way inside. Whenever I turned around, she would quickly hide. I laughed a bit and continued. At least she doesn't fear my presence anymore. I peered at her again, she quivered as she eyes were ensnared by my eye. Well, mostly not afraid of me at least.

I met up with Fei and whispered, "Meet me at the water hole tonight." She gave me a questioning look, but didn't reply. She then thought about it and her expression lit up in an 'oh!' She smiled and winked while I blew her off and went to snatched a bite to eat. The message was passed on and now I have to survive the rest of the day.

I returned to the table and sat down besides Fai. Raven cuddled up next to Grave and he was, yet again, staring at me. "Yes? Can I help you with something?" He looked startled and turned away completely baffled.

"Sorry, I was lost in thought." Warily I turned away. He fidgeted in his seat and pretended that he wasn't up to something. I glanced at him suspicious, but kept silent; I had other things to worry about.

Later on, about a few hours past curfew I crept up to the watering hole; where Fei and I get the dense water that we carry to the mines. It wasn't as dark as I would have imagined. The crystal plants made it bright enough to see clearly. The place was a ghost town, absent of all life. I didn't want to risk getting caught, so a quick and easy in and out was preferable. I breathed in deeply; just enough to calm my nerves and become mentally prepared. Fei tiptoed into view, and I waved to catch her attention. She quickened her pace and trotted up to me.

Breathlessly she huffed out, "Raven said their located in the farthest bowels of the mines, in a box, off to the side. Oh and she also said, good luck." I humorously laughed and started walking. Fei followed closely behind. Between the two of us and that vague piece of information; it would take a miracle.

We stopped right outside the entryway of the mines, and assessed the perimeter. Once we were sure there were no Solarite guards lurking about, we each grabbed a lantern of sun stones. Fei tugged on my shirt.

"Are you sure about this?" I was frightened of the consequences, but the consequences of not trying scared me more so. I nodded firmly and stepped into the dark abyss. She stepped faithfully behind me.

"This is where the fun starts!" I joked, trying to lighten the sinister mood, "think of this as a game of hide and seek."

"Hide and seek?"

"Something is hidden and we must seek it out."

Into the mine we entered, there were no thoughts of turning back; we were too far into this to back down now.

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