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CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

I TAKE MY time on my walk back to the Eaton house, and try to remember what my mother told me when she saved me from the tank during the simulation attack. Something about having watched the trains since the attack started. I didn’t know what I would do when I found you. But it was always my intention to save you.

But when I go over the memory of her voice in my mind, it sounds different. I didn’t know what I would do, when I found you. Meaning: I didn’t know how to save both you and the file. But it was always my intention to save you.

I shake my head. Is that how she said it, or am I manipulating my own memory because of what Marcus told me? There is no way to know. All I can do is decide if I trust Marcus or not.

And while he has done cruel, evil things, our society is not divided into “good” and “bad. ” Cruelty does not make a person dishonest, the same way bravery does not make a person kind. Marcus is not good or bad, but both.

Well, he is probably more bad than good.

But that doesn’t mean he’s lying.

On the street ahead of me, I see the orange glow of fire. Alarmed, I walk faster, and see that the fire rises from large, man-sized metal bowls set up on the sidewalks. The Dauntless and the factionless have gathered between them, a narrow divide separating one group from the other. And before them stand Evelyn, Harrison, Tori, and Tobias.

I spot Christina, Uriah, Lynn, Zeke, and Shauna on the right side of the cluster of Dauntless, and stand with them.

“Where’ve you been?” Christina says. “We looked all over for you. ”

“I went for a walk. What’s going on?”

“They’re finally going to tell us the attack plan,” says Uriah, looking eager.

“Oh,” I say.

Evelyn lifts her hands, palms out, and the factionless fall silent. They are better trained than the Dauntless, whose voices take thirty seconds to peter out.

“The past few weeks, we have been developing a plan to fight the Erudite,” Evelyn says, her low voice carrying easily. “And now that we have finished, we would like to share it with you. ”

Evelyn nods at Tori, who takes over. “Our strategy is not pointed, but broad. There is no way to know who among the Erudite supports Jeanine and who does not. It is therefore safer to assume that all those who do not support her have already vacated Erudite headquarters. ”

“We all know that Erudite’s power lies not in its people but in its information,” says Evelyn. “As long as they still possess that information, we will never be free of them, especially while large numbers of us are wired for simulations. They have used information to control us and keep us under their thumb for far too long. ”

A shout, beginning among the factionless and spreading to the Dauntless, rises up from the crowd like we are all parts of one organism, following the commands of a single brain. But I am not sure what I think, or how I feel. There is a part of me that is shouting, too—clamoring for the destruction of every single Erudite and all that they hold dear.

I look at Tobias. His expression is neutral, and he stands behind the glow of firelight, where he is difficult to see. I wonder what he thinks of this.

“I am sorry to tell you that those of you who were shot with simulation transmitters will have to remain here,” says Tori, “or you can be activated as a weapon of Erudite at any time. ”

There are a few cries of protest, but no one seems all that surprised. They know too well what Jeanine can do with simulations, maybe.

Lynn groans and looks at Uriah. “We have to stay?”

“You have to stay,” he says.

“You got shot too,” she says. “I saw it. ”

“Divergent, remember?” he says. Lynn rolls her eyes, and he hurries on, probably to avoid hearing Lynn’s Divergent conspiracy theory again. “Anyway, I bet you no one checks, and what are the odds she’ll activate you, specifically, if she knows everyone else with simulation transmitters is staying behind?”

Lynn frowns, considering this. But she looks more cheerful—as cheerful as Lynn gets, anyway—as Tori begins speaking again.

“The rest of us will divide into groups of mixed factionless and Dauntless,” says Tori. “A single, large group will attempt to penetrate Erudite headquarters and work its way up through the building, cleansing it of Erudite’s influence. Several other, smaller groups will proceedimmediately to the higher levels of the building to dispense with certain key Erudite officials. You will receive your group assignments later this evening. ”

“The attack will occur in three days’ time,” says Evelyn. “Prepare yourselves. This will be dangerous and difficult. But the factionless are familiar with difficulty—”

At this the factionless cheer, and I am reminded that we, the Dauntless, are the same people who, just a few weeks ago, were criticizing Abnegation for giving the factionless food and other necessary items. How was that so easy to forget?

“And the Dauntless are familiar with danger—”

Everyone around me punches the air with their fists and screams. I feel their voices inside my head, and the burn of triumph in my chest that makes me want to join them.

Evelyn’s expression is too empty for someone giving an impassioned speech. Her face looks like a mask.

“Down with Erudite!” Tori yells, and everyone repeats her, all voices joining together, regardless of faction. We share a common enemy, but does that make us friends?

I notice that Tobias does not join in the chant, and neither does Christina.

“This doesn’t feel right,” she says.

“What do you mean?” Lynn says as the voices rise around us. “Don’t you remember what they did to us? Put our minds under a simulation and forced us to shoot people without even knowing it? Murdered every single Abnegation leader?”

“Yeah,” says Christina. “It’s just . . . Invading a faction’s headquarters and killing everyone, isn’t that what the Erudite just did to Abnegation?”

“This is different. This is not an attack out of nowhere, unprovoked,” says Lynn, scowling at her.

“Yeah,” Christina says. “Yeah, I know. ”

She looks at me. I don’t say anything. She has a point—it doesn’t feel right.

I walk toward the Eaton house in search of silence.

I open the front door and climb the stairs. When I reach Tobias’s old room, I sit on the bed and look out the window, where factionless and Dauntless are gathered around the fires, laughing and talking. But they aren’t mixed together; there is still an uneasy divide between them, factionless on one side and Dauntless on the other.

I watch Lynn, Uriah, and Christina by one of the fires. Uriah snatches at the flames, too quickly to be burned. His smile looks more like a grimace, twisted as it is by grief.

After a few minutes I hear footsteps on the stairs, and Tobias comes into the room, slipping off his shoes by the doorway.

“What’s wrong?” he says.

“Nothing, really,” I say. “I was just thinking, I’m surprised the factionless agreed to work with Dauntless so easily. It’s not like the Dauntless were ever kind to them. ”

He stands beside me at the window and leans into the frame.

“It’s not a natural alliance, is it,” he says. “But we have the same goal. ”

“Right now. But what happens when the goals change? The factionless want to get rid of factions, and the Dauntless don’t. ”

Tobias presses his mouth into a line. I suddenly remember Marcus and Johanna, walking together through the orchard—Marcus wore the same expression when he was keeping something from her.

Did Tobias get that expression from his father? Or does it mean something different?

“You’re in my group,” he says. “During the attack. I hope you don’t mind. We’re supposed to lead the way to the control rooms. ”

The attack. If I participate in the attack, I can’t go after the information Jeanine stole from Abnegation. I have to choose one or the other.

Tobias said that dealing with Erudite was more important than finding out the truth. And if he had not promised the factionless control over all of Erudite’s data, he might have been right. But he left me no choice. I have to help Marcus, if there is even a chance that he is telling the truth. I have to work against the people I love best.

And right now, I have to lie.

I twist my fingers together.

“What is it?” he says.

“I still can’t fire a gun. ” I look up at him. “And after what happened in Erudite headquarters . . . ” I clear my throat. “Risking my life doesn’t seem so appealing anymore. ”

“Tris. ” He brushes my cheek with his fingertips. “You don’t have to go. ”

“I don’t want to seem like a coward. ”

“Hey. ” His fingers fit beneath my jaw. They are cool against my skin. He looks sternly at me. “You have done more for this faction than any other person. You . . . ”

He sighs, and touches his forehead to mine.

“You’re the bravest person I’ve ever met. Stay here. Let yourself mend. ”

He kisses me, and I feel like I am crumbling again, beginning with the deepest parts of me. He thinks I will be here, but I will be working against him, working with the father he despises. This lie—this lie is the worst I have ever told. I will never be able to take it back.

When we part, I am afraid he will hear my breaths shake, so I turn toward the window.

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