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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

TOBIAS

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THE SUN STILL hasn’t completely set when we fall asleep, but I wake a few hours later, at midnight, my mind too busy for rest, swarming with thoughts and questions and doubts. Tris released me earlier, and her fingers now brush the floor. She is sprawled over the mattress, her hair covering her eyes.

I shove my feet into my shoes and walk the hallways, shoelaces slapping the carpets. I am so accustomed to the Dauntless compound that I am not used to the creak of wooden floors beneath me—I am used to the scrape and echo of stone, and the roar and pulse of water in the chasm.

A week into my initiation, Amar—worried that I was becoming increasingly isolated and obsessive—invited me to join some of the older Dauntless for a game of Dare. For my dare, we went back to the Pit for me to get my first tattoo, the patch of Dauntless flames covering my rib cage. It was agonizing. I relished every second of it.

I reach the end of one hallway and find myself in an atrium, surrounded by the smell of wet earth. Everywhere plants and trees are suspended in water, the same way they were in the Amity greenhouses. In the center of the room is a tree in a giant water tank, lifted high above the floor so I can see the tangle of roots beneath it, strangely human, like nerves.

“You’re not nearly as vigilant as you used to be,” Amar says from behind me. “Followed you all the way here from the hotel lobby. ”

“What do you want?” I tap the tank with my knuckles, sending ripples through the water.

“I thought you might like an explanation for why I’m not dead,” he says.

“I thought about it,” I say. “They never let us see your body. It wouldn’t be that hard to fake a death if you never show the body. ”

“Sounds like you’ve got it all figured out. ” Amar claps his hands together. “Well, I’ll just go, then, if you’re not curious. . . . ”

I cross my arms.

Amar runs a hand over his black hair, tying it back with a rubber band. “They faked my death because I was Divergent, and Jeanine had started killing the Divergent. They tried to save as many as they could before she got to them, but it was tricky, you know, because she was always a step ahead. ”

“Are there others?” I say.

“A few,” he says.

“Any named Prior?”

Amar shakes his head. “No, Natalie Prior is actually dead, unfortunately. She was the one who helped me get out. She also helped this other guy too . . . George Wu. Know him? He’s on a patrol right now, or he would have come with me to get you. His sister is still inside the city. ”

The name clutches at my stomach.

“Oh God,” I say, and I lean into the tank wall.

“What? You know him?”

I shake my head.

I can’t imagine it. There were just a few hours between Tori’s death and our arrival. On a normal day, a few hours can contain long stretches of watch-checking, of empty time. But yesterday, just a few hours placed an impenetrable barrier between Tori and her brother.

“Tori is his sister,” I say. “She tried to leave the city with us. ”

“Tried to,” repeats Amar. “Ah. Wow. That’s . . . ”

Both of us are quiet for a while. George will never get to reunite with his sister, and she died thinking he had been murdered by Jeanine. There isn’t anything to say—at least, not anything that’s worth saying.

Now that my eyes have adjusted to the light, I can see that the plants in this room were selected for beauty, not practicality—flowers and ivy and clusters of purple or red leaves. The only flowers I’ve ever seen are wildflowers, or apple blossoms in the Amity orchards. These are more extravagant than those, vibrant and complex, petals folded into petals. Whatever this place is, it has not needed to be as pragmatic as our city.

“That woman who found your body,” I say. “Was she just . . . lying about it?”

Watch Divergent 4: Ascendant (2017)

“People can’t really be trusted to lie consistently. ” He quirks his eyebrows. “Never thought I would say that phrase—it’s true, anyway. She was reset—her memory was altered to include me jumping off the Pire, and the body that was planted wasn’t actually me. But it was too messed up for anyone to notice. ”

“She was reset. You mean, with the Abnegation serum. ”

“We call it ‘memory serum,’ since it doesn’t technically just belong to the Abnegation, but yeah. That’s the one. ”

I was angry with him before. I’m not really sure why. Maybe I was just angry that the world had become such a complicated place, that I have never known even a fraction of the truth about it. Or that I allowed myself to grieve for someone who was never really gone, the same way I grieved for my mother all the years I thought she was dead. Tricking someone into grief is one of the cruelest tricks a person can play, and it’s been played on me twice.

But as I look at him, my anger ebbs away, like the changing of the tide. And standing in the place of my anger is my initiation instructor and friend, alive again.

I grin.

“So you’re alive,” I say.

“More importantly,” he says, pointing at me, “you are no longer upset about it. ”

He grabs my arm and pulls me into an embrace, slapping my back with one hand. I try to return his enthusiasm, but it doesn’t come naturally—when we break apart, my face is hot. And judging by how he bursts into laughter, it’s also bright red.

“Once a Stiff, always a Stiff,” he says.

“Whatever,” I say. “So do you like it here, then?”

Amar shrugs. “I don’t really have a choice, but yeah, I like it fine. I work in security, obviously, since that’s all I was trained to do. We’d love to have you, but you’re probably too good for it. ”

“I haven’t quite resigned myself to staying here just yet,” I say. “But thanks, I guess. ”

“There’s nowhere better out there,” he says. “All the other cities—that’s where most of the country lives, in these big metropolitan areas, like our city—are dirty and dangerous, unless you know the right people. Here at least there’s clean water and food and safety. ”

I shift my weight, uncomfortable. I don’t want to think about staying here, making this my home. I already feel trapped by my own disappointment. This is not what I imagined when I thought of escaping my parents and the bad memories they gave me. But I don’t want to disturb the peace with Amar now that I finally feel like I have my friend back, so I just say, “I’ll take that under advisement. ”

“Listen, there’s something else you should know. ”

“What? More resurrections?”

“It’s not exactly a resurrection if I was never dead, is it?” Amar shakes his head. “No, it’s about the city. Someone heard it in the control room today—Marcus’s trial is scheduled for tomorrow morning. ”

I knew it was coming—I knew Evelyn would save him for last, would savor every moment she spent watching him squirm under truth serum like he was her last meal. I just didn’t realize that I would be able to see it, if I wanted to. I thought I was finally free of them, all of them, forever.

“Oh,” is all I can say.

Watch Divergent 4: Ascendant (2017)

I still feel numb and confused when I walk back to the dormitory later and crawl back into bed. I don’t know what I’ll do.

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