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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14. The Search

I gripped the banister of the stairway as Macey, Liz and I descended swiftly, heading to the Grand Hall for dinner. My stomach was gurgling, and the scents of a proper roast dinner were wafting in the warm air. But my mind was turned from food when I saw Bex at the bottom of the stairs, Cam at her side.

"Look, I was wrong," she said quietly, meeting my eyes guiltily. "Ms Morgan told us what happened. I'm sorry I accused you." She sounded so sincere. I surprised her and myself by throwing my arms around her shoulders in an eager hug, in relief that I had my friend back.

She laughed. "Us Brits have gotta stick together, eh Charlie?" She winked and slipped her arm through mine. Then she came closer and whispered in my ear: "You've got to promise that you'll tell me about Solomon's son!" 

"Deal," I grinned, taking a seat on a bench in the Hall just as plates with food piled high were placed in front of us. Cam slipped in the other side of me, passing me the water pitcher. She admired my manicure and complimented Macey's precision. Everything seemed normal again.

I tucked into the rich food, washing it down with glasses of cool water. It felt like days since I had eaten. I finished first and went to take a portion of pie, topped with double cream, much to Macey's horror.

"Do you want the perfect bikini bod, Charlie?" she questioned, stabbing a page of her Vogue magazine with her finger. Then she winked and poured a dollop of ice-cream atop her pudding. "The calorie count starts tomorrow," she announced.

Opposite me, Liz was telling me about the key elements to conversational Portugese. I overheard Bex talking to Tina about an awesome move she had mastered in P&E. The whole hall was filled with interesting and exciting chatter, up until Headmistress Morgan took her place at the podium to silence the crowds.

"Good evening, girls," she beamed, her eyes meeting mine. "I must regrettably inform you that Agent Stevens has left us, but Mr Solomon will resume teaching again."

Macey's eyes met mine across the table. "Lizzie," she said, nudging the tiny girl, "it's time to see what your search of Stevens has found."

 

Half an hour later, we were gathered in the suite. Liz was pacing, Bex was studying the results of Liz's thorough search (which included hacking into several top secret databases), Macey was at her side, and Cam was scribbling on a piece of paper. I leant against the wall, watching my friends.

"So," said Liz efficiently, "we know he worked for the CIA before first coming to the Gallagher Academy."

"And that he worked with Charlie and Zach on a mission," added Bex.

"And he never knew that Zach tried to kill him on that mission, not Charlie." finished Macey.

"What have you got, Cam?" I asked, walking over to her. She handed me a scrap of paper covered in information.

"He taught at the Gallagher Academy for six months -  Bex, Liz and I were all taught by him. Then he left; we all presumed he had just found work elsewhere, but there's something else." Cam seemed unable to finish the sentence, so I did for her.

"He went to teach at Blackthorne," I said. "Which would mean..."

"No," said Macey firmly, already aware of what I was thinking. "Stevens only taught at Blackthorne for a year. Rick might not have even been there at that time."

"But he could have been. A year would have given Stevens plenty of time to tell them about me. Where to find me. How to kill me." I sat down on my bed, my legs suddenly feeling weak.

"On the mission that Stevens assigned, he said that friends from the CIA would appear in a day's time," said Bex.

"They never did though, right?" said Liz. I hadn't really thought back to that mission, but she was right. 

"Rick arrives tomorrow - why don't we postpone our search until then? He can offer some answers," said Cam, much to my relief. I wanted to know what was going on just as much as they did, but I was too tired to think clearly right now.

Tomorrow, Rick would be here. Tomorrow, we might solve another piece of the cryptic mess that I was intertwined in.

My mind nagged me that I had Latin homework that needed to be finished, but I crawled into bed and waited for sleep to encase me. But a nagging doubt clung to the back of my mind.

Rick went to Blackthorne. Blackthorne was a school for assassins, and one of their students would be amongst us.

We'd find answers, I know we would. But I couldn't help but think that someone might stop at nothing to keep us silent.

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