Identity Unknown

"Being back here made me see how much it can get to you; the training, all of the lessons, even just the environment we are in. We aren't the same as everyone else. And everyone else can never know.'

After six months of searching for her father, Charlotte Goode returns to the Gallagher Academy. Exams and eager friends await, but something is wrong. When a phone call changes everything, Zach can offer the answer - but someone will stop at nothing to keep him silent. And when a double agent is revealed, Charlotte must choose who to trust - but time is running out, and the Academy's greatest secrets are at risk.

The stakes are higher, but is she ready?

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20. Answers

"Start from the beginning. Tell me everything you know."

Joe Solomon's voice carried smoothly across the CoveOps classroom, and I didn't detect a hint of tiredness in his words, even though it was gone midnight. I lifted my eyes to meet his across the desk and took a breath.

"The assailants came into the room. Bex caused a distraction so we could slip out. Zach led us outside. Then they both disappeared." He nodded, but I was surprised that he wasn't scribbling down what I had said.

"Go on," he prompted.

"I saw a symbol engraved on a tree. One of Rick's friends at Blackthorne told me it was a family emblem, something called Rosa Escuro. It must have been there for a meeting point or something..." I trailed off helplessly. It felt so odd to talk to my teacher about his son (whom I had kissed mere hours ago) and the school that he went to, a school for assassins. But Joe Solomon seemed completely unfazed.

"Did you see Rosa?" he asked. 

"Tall, thin, elegant... scary," I murmured.

"That's the one," he said.

"What does she want with me?" I asked my teacher. He leant back in his chair, adjusting his tie.

"I don't know yet," he said, meeting my gaze with the same emerald eyes of his son.

"You're going to find out, though, right?" 

His gaze dropped.

An awkward silence settled across the cool classroom. I ran a nervous hand through my hair and waited for him to speak.

"You should get some rest," he said efficiently, rising to leave. I had to get his attention.

"Zach tried to kill Stevens on that mission," I shot at him.

"I know," he said smoothly, reaching for the door handle.

Wait, what? That didn't make sense. Why was he being all weird when I was being questioned? I stood, my chair scraping. I walked towards him and pulled his arm away from the door.

"Start from the beginning. Tell me everything you know," I said.

 

                                                                      *****************************************************                                      

I asked what seemed like a thousand questions. He said what seemed like a thousand cryptic answers. But somehow, something was beginning to make sense.

Stevens was alive, and he wasn't a threat.

That's basically what Joe Solomon told me. We still don't know why Zach tried to kill him (twice) and what he is to Rosa. But he's one less thing to worry about.

Next step: find Bex.

Easier said that done. That girl is one of the best spies I've ever known. But I feared the worst for her.

 

"That mission," I said slowly. "What was the point of it?" Joe Solomon looked away.

"Joe," I said sharply, using my teacher's first name. On anyone else, it would seem arrogant, but I had known this man for years, and I wanted to know what he had to say.

"Rick was asked to kill you," he said.

Woah, minute for that to sink in please Sir.

"But it was wrong," he said hastily. "Someone switched the order. He wasn't supposed to."

"And you knew?" I said, my voice cracking.

"If I tried to stop him, he would have been killed," he said helplessly.

"Who changed the mission, then? Who wants me dead?" I demanded. But all he could do was shake his head.

"I don't know. But I will stop them." 

This would have been reassuring. Joe Solomon was one of the best spies I knew. He was strong, and clever, and brilliant - but they had gotten too close too many times. It wasn't just my life for I feared now - it was his. 

And there was nothing I could do but stand here, like bait, waiting for the enemy to get closer still.

 

 

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