.04 Rising: SlumsMature

Sarah was bewildered, walking in a daze as thoughts tumbled through her mind. Hannah, after all this work, didn’t want to leave her. And worst off, she was now the queen, a spot that had once rightfully been her’s. It still was, but most people either didn’t know of her existence or thought she was dead. But the pale hair was still a dead giveaway which was why she still needed to dye her hair.

How could she...

Sarah clenched and unclenched her fist. Whoever did this to her had to pay. Hannah must have been brainwashed or something. Or else how could she not want to leave this disgusting place? Especially since she spent so much time in the cleanliness of the domes. Sarah felt anger rise up inside her. She would get her spot as the queen back. Hannah couldn’t do this.

A few moments later, she stopped in front of a small building that looked no different any of the others. But she knew where this was and this was where she wanted to go.

It was Kyle’s place.

She knocked lightly on the door.

“Come in.” A young voice rang out from behind the door. Sarah opened the door gingerly, taking a tentative step forward, into the room. There, she saw a small shabby room in which contained almost nothing but a bench and a desk cluttered with papers of some sort. Behind the desk was a child, presumably Kyle. The child squinted at her, unable to see her fully because her hood was still over her head. “What do we have here? Another one of those hidden people.”

His voice sounded dangerous, as if he had some unknown hatred for people in cloaks. Sarah wanted to take her hood off, but until she was sure she could trust him, she wasn’t taking the risk. After all, eve with her hair dyed, you could still tell who she was. Also, she had to explain Hannah’s situation, which was definitely reveal who she was and if Kyle wanted to start something against her, well he couldn’t know what she looked like.

“Do you know Hannah?” Sarah didn’t even bother with greetings. She flew straight to the point. If Kyle couldn’t help, she wasn’t going to waste anytime here with him.

“Woah woah woah now, slow down. Hannah? There are many Hannah’s in the world. I don’t even know who you are, how should I know which Hannah you’re referring to?”

Sarah felt slightly stupid. Right. How could he know?

“The Hannah you met a couple days ago.”

Kyle shook his head.

“I’m sorry but I think you may have found the wrong person. I haven’t seen a Hannah for months.”

“Really?” Sarah was surprised. He didn’t try and buy Hannah? But then why did the salon woman say that he did? She definitely was not lying. Was Kyle trying to lie?

“Of course!” He cried indignantly, “Do you think that I am a liar?”

“Oh no...” Sarah shook her head bewilderedly. “I just... Oh never mind. Well thank you for your time.”

She turned, looking rather downcast. Kyle stared at her with concern in his eyes.

“Would you like help?”

“Oh well, that’d be lovely...” Sarah was struck by surprise at Kyle’s sudden change of voice. Kyle smiled and nodded.

“Girls!” He shouted and clapped his hands a couple of times. A line girls slowly emerged from the back of the the room, through a hidden doorway that Sarah had not noticed.

Kyle turned back to Sarah.

“Are any of these people that you wanted to find?”

Sarah knew that none of them could be, but she still took the time to look at every one of them. She didn’t want to seem rude. Eventually, she shook head. Kyle nodded with a sigh.

“Well that’s a shame.”

Sarah could only nod.

“Girls, you may go back.” He waved the girls back into the back of the room. “Well...”

He trailed off for a moment as if there was something that he wanted to say, but that he also didn’t really want to say.

“Yes?” Sarah asked, a bad feeling forming in her gut.

“Well, you see, we have a policy here of only doing favors for if they do something for us. Since I just helped you, we’ll need something from you...”

“What?” Sarah’s eyes flew open. She had just been tricked? She knew the Kyle was suppose to be sly and cunning but not like this! He absolutely seemed completely genuine!  “You never said that it was rule here!”

“I were never required to tell you what the rules were. You never asked so I never bothered to tell. You’re talking to a pimp here. I would never waste unnecessary energy.”

“But...”

“But what?”

“What kind of favor am I suppose to give?”

“Oh, I don’t know, stay here for a couple days, earn me some money and I’ll set you free.”

Sarah paled. This had been such a bad idea. Why did she even go here? But then suddenly a thought hit her. Hannah! The transaction for her wasn’t successful, so obviously Kyle wouldn’t have ever found out her name! Sarah felt so stupid now.

“Wait. I think I know something that you might be interested in.”

Kyle raised an eyebrow.

“Really? You better now be wasting my time.”

Sarah shook her head solidly.

“Remember the girl from the Domes that you wanted to buy a week ago but didn’t.”

“Yeah...” Kyle stared at her, hiding some sort of anger in his eyes. She could tell that he was still angry about it.

“Well, I might be able to help you get her back.”

“And what makes me want to believe in you? Where are you going to get half a million to buy her out?”

“Who said I was going to buy her out? Haven’t you heard the news that a new queen has risen?”

“Yeah, and what does that have to do with this?”

“The new queen is her!”

Kyle’s eyes flew open in disbelief.

“What! She obviously did not have white hair or purple eyes. Nothing one her made her look like a queen!” But suddenly he stopped and squinted at her. “How do you know who I was looking for a week ago? Are you a spy of some sort?”

Sarah shook her head.

“Oh no! That girl is my friend!”

“Hannah?”

Sarah nodded.

“Hmmm...” Kyle thought for a moment. “And it turns out that she’s a queen? Wait, but you’re from the domes than right? Why are you here? You seem like you’ve been here for a long time at least!”

Sarah sighed. In the end, she still couldn’t hide it out.

“Well, it’s a secret of mine, that you must never tell anyone.” Sarah knew it sounded lame to just say that, but what else could she say? She needed to gain the trust of Kyle. She watched as Kyle nodded and leaned. Sarah took a deep breath. “Actually, I’m the one who really should be queen.”

She reached up and threw her hood back, revealing the pale roots of her hair, now starting to grow back in and her bright purple eyes were now much more visible.Sarah tried to keep herself calm, but all she could do now was pray that Kyle wouldn't sell her out.

There was a moment of silence as Kyle stared at her, seemingly taking in the information. His eyes searched over her, as if trying to find something to grasp, some loose strand that could cause something that would help him. Something that would turn the situation to his advantage. Sarah finally realized that the salon woman was telling no lie when she said that this boy was calculating. He was one big mystery alright, and it made Sarah rather uncomfortable. Deceit was not one of her specialties.

Kyle sighed.

“So, let me guess, you were the one that got away?”

Sarah stared at him in surprise. He was only barely a child when she left, how did he know?

“Don’t stare at me like that. I’m not stupid.” He sighed, leaning in, revealing a tiredness that Sarah thought could never appear on anyone as young at he was. “How about we make a deal.”

Sarah leaned in as well.

“What deal?”

“I’ll help you save your Hannah.” Sarah’s eyes lit up. “If you lend her to me for a month.”

Sarah nodded eagerly. A month won’t be terrible. She could just help Hannah find a way out later.

“I’m not done yet.” He said with a frown. Sarah stared at him alarmed. “I want you to resume reign.”

Sarah’s heart dropped down to the deepest of the deepest pits. Resume reign? She would never do that! She still remembered the times she saw her mother come home, all pale and tired, sometimes tears down her face. Whenever Sarah asked what was wrong, her mother would only shake her head and tell her that she should never want to grow up to be like her mother. Sarah could see the pain in her eyes. It was a pain that was hard to forget and she wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.

Kyle seemed to read what she was thinking and sighed once more.

“You know, it’s not like what you think it is.”

Sarah shot him a glance.

“What do you mean?” She asked, trying to hide her expression.

“You know what I mean. I know about what happened to your mother.”

“You?” Sarah almost wanted to smirk. “You were a crawling baby when all of this happened, how could you know?”

Kyle’s gaze hardened.

“Don’t question my sources.” He muttered. For a moment there was a pause. “You know, the slums really need you. They really need a new ruler. Ever since your mother’s disappearance, the slums have plunged into chaos. You don’t understand, but what your mother did was terribly selfish.”

“What did you say?” Sarah shot a glare at Kyle. Did he just insult her mother? “My mother was not selfish! You’re not the one who sees you mother turn skinner everyday. Your not the one who witnesses your mother cry every day and feel completely helpless because there’s nothing you can do about. My mother was not selfish. She gave everything up. Everything! And what happens to her? She dies!”

“You know, your mother was no longer ruling when you were born.” Kyle responded cruelly. “She quit her job and the only reason she was so tired and pale everyday was because she was running from the people who were chasing after her everyday. She was fine being queen until suddenly, she quit one day. You weren’t even living in the palace. You got it all wrong!”

Sarah froze.

“No...” She cried, trying to hide from the truth. “You’re speaking bullshit!”

But now she realized that she had been lied to all these years. All this time, she thought that being queen was the reason that her mother died. Now, she realized that it was because her mother had quit. But why? Why did she quit? What was wrong with being queen?

“There had to be something wrong! Or else why did she quit?”

Kyle stared at the desk for a moment, as if contemplating on whether or not he should tell her. He pursed his lips before he looked up again.

“Rumor has it that she was scheming with the domes.” He finally said. “That’s all I can tell you.”

Sarah leaned back against the wall, closing her eyes for a moment. This all came to her as a shock. And now she needed time. Time alone to digest it. Time alone to sort out the truth from lies.

“I’ll be back with answers.” Her eyes opened slightly and she nodded at Kyle. Kyle gave a nod back and Sarah left the place.

The End

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