Thirteen

What happens when everything you love changes for the worst?

Danielle Miles wants to be normal. She wants to feel normal.
And yet she can never be normal because of her secret; the one thing she despises about herself most of all.
But what happens when she if forced to use her secret to help others who are just like her?
Who are... different.

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17. Thirteen: Chapter Sixteen

I awoke to a throbbing head and my body as limp as a bag of peas. I tried to lift my head but it refused to move from the bent over position. I couldn't move any part of my body.
    "How are you feeling?" A sinister voice floated around me. I couldn't answer. I had no control over my mouth. "Answer me!"
    Suddenly my chin jerked up and my eyes flashed open. "I'm fine..." I coughed, looking around and seeing nothing. The light of one lamp was on me and there were no windows in here.
    "Good. Welcome to the Circ De Freak," A man announced in a loud silky smooth voice. He stepped into the light and I saw atop his head a silk black top hat with brass welding goggles perched around the brim. Tufts of medium length raven black hair framed a pale and unforgettable face. Red eyes that burned into your soul narrowed to stare at my face. As he smiled I saw his pointed teeth like a reptiles. He wore a red ringmasters tailcoat with brass buttons and gold embroidiment on the sleeves over a black t-shirt. He fashioned dark grey slimming trousers that tied up the sides in a corset-like weave and over them he wore buckled boots, with a knife wedged firmly in one. And finally, upon his belt a bullwhip and what looked like a loaded revolver.
    I glanced around and took in more than just the light. My wrists were tied to the arms of the wooden chair, creating sore ropes burns against my pale skin. "What do you want?"
    "I'm the Ringmaster," He carried on as if I hadn't spoken. "Leader of Circ De Freak and Patron of the Fine Arts. I'm also Grand Master of All Things Magical and Mystical"
    "O-Okay," I stuttered, unsure of what to say. "But what do you want?"
    "Oh no, it is not what I want, my dear," He gasped theatrically. "It's what my audience wants"
    "And what does your audience want?" I asked, mimicking his airy tone. Maybe if I kept him talking he might slip up what he wanted with me and where I was.
    "My audience wants to be moved," He started proudly, using his hands for emphasis. I could tell he had given this speech many times before. "They want action, to be brought out of reality and into a world where their dreams and nightmares become true. They want to feel every emotion possible in one night," He grabbed the arms of the chair, including my arms, and brought his face closer. "And I give them that"
    "Except you have to kidnap your audience and hold them against their will" I spat, effectively losing my poker face. He noticed this and backed away.
    "You may not understand the way I obtain my audience but beggers can't be choosers" He sighed, adjusting the cuffs of his jacket.
    "What? By knocking people unconscious and dragging them to god knows where?!" I screamed. My ears started stinging slightly so I sucked in a deep breath and tried to calm my fast beating heart. He noticed this as well.
    "It worked in bringing you here," He pointed out, earning a glare from me. It might've been hard to admit, but I knew he was right. "And it's the most effective in getting a full house so I'm not going to question it"
    Of course you're not going to question it. You need the audience for their souls. I scowled at him while he smiled at something behind me. When a pinching sensation hurt my ears he nodded and the bracelet's electrocuted me.
    I screamed. "What the hell?! I'm calm!"
    "Oh you're not controlling it anymore," The Ringmaster laughed. "My Shadow is" A midnight black engulfed me for a second before a black blur hovered next to the Ringmaster. I noticed then that the Ringmaster didn't have a shadow.
    "Nice to finally make your acquaintance" It laughed, showing sparkling white teeth floating in the endless black. I knew what this thing was. It was the monster that had attacked me on the dirt path. My cuts started stinging slightly as I remembered the pain.
    "We've been waiting for the daughter of The Chosen One," The Ringmaster's features took on a darker edge. "She was the one who took my soul and the one who made it so I can never leave Maridia"
    "Hold on," I lifted my hand off the arm in an attempt to stop his talking. "What are you talking about?"
    "I've been planning for years and years on a way to bring back The Chosen One and I finally settled on opening my own of circus. One where I can get back the soul that was stolen from me so many years ago. I knew that if I caused enough trouble the King would ask for The Chosen One," He scoffed. "I just didn't expect her to send her own daughter"
    "Wait... are you talking about Elizabeth?" I asked, staring at the Ringmaster as if he were crazy. My mum hadn't been in Maridia since she'd left. Why was he calling her The Chosen One?
    "Elizabeth?" The Ringmaster's eyebrow rose. "She never liked that name... why would her daughter call her by her name?"
    "Dude, I have a name," I scowled. "It's Dani. Don't forget it"
    He laughed through his nose. "This one has an attitude, doesn't she?" He grabbed my chin and pulled my face up to his. His red eyes burnt into mine as he took an intake of breath. "You don't have a name here. No one does. They only have a title"
    I scoffed in his face. "You expect me to stay here?"
    "You will if you don't want your friends hurt," He laughed, releasing my face and motioning to a very battered looking B12 and Saffron. They looked exhausted and B12 couldn't keep himself up; Saffron was holding him to prevent him from falling. "What were you saying?"
    "What do you want?" I asked, my playing tone gone. He'd been hurting B12 and Saffron. He'd crossed a line.
    "You're a shapeshifter; You can bring in more people. Some of the suckers from other villages believe this is a real circus and come to see it. I like to give the audience a real show before they go away empty" He smiled, showing me his pointed teeth again.
    "You're sick," I spat. "If you think I'm going to perform for your little circus you've got another thing coming"
    He sighed. "I was hoping we could go round the easy way," He snapped his fingers and Shadow shot its hands inside its stomach, bringing out a square remote. "If you don't, I'm afraid I'll have to force you"
    I scoffed and rolled my eyes. "How are you planning to manage that then?"
    The Ringmaster grinned and pushed a button on the remote. A bright shock of electricity burst through my veins for a second and then it was gone. I opened my eyes, panting, and saw the shock on Saffron and B12's face.
    "Nice choice boss" The Shadow laughed.
    "What have you done to me?" When I spoke my voice sounded male but it sounded familiar. The Ringmaster smirked and grabbed a mirror, shoving it in my face.
    "Amazing. With this device we can change her gender and voice to suit our needs" The Ringmaster bellowed, the sound rumbling through his throat.
    "Who am I?!" I screamed, making the voice squeak slightly.
    "Danny!" B12 burst out laughing.
    "Yeah, who am I?" I repeated, getting annoyed.
    "That's who," The Ringmaster chuckled. "You're Danny Phantom"
    I gasped and my jaw fell open. "You bastard!" I thrashed about on the chair, kicking my legs against the ropes and trying to get the Ringmaster. I looked down and saw the giant boots of the jumpsuit Danny wore and that made me even angrier.
    The only weird thing was my ears weren't stinging. Or my wrists.
    But that didn't stop me from throwing my hissy fit.
    The Ringmaster took the remote back, attempting to stop laughing at my display.
    "Dani!" Saffron tried to scream over my yelling. "Calm down. You're only a cartoon character"
    "Its not the fact that I'm a cartoon," I looked at her as if she were crazy. "It's the fact that he," I pointed at the Ringmaster. "Is doing this to me"
    B12 tried to stifle another on come of laughter. "You sound really weird"
    I turned my anger on him. "Oh sorry. Is my being an animation amusing you?" A splash of green light escaped my eyes and I saw the advantage of being Danny Phantom. He had ghost powers.
    I slammed my feet down and fell through the chair, grabbing hold of the floor before flying straight down through the ground. A ghost tail whipped furiously underneath me and I grinned with childish pleasure. I flew back through the ground and turned invisible, circling the Ringmaster and laughing at his confused face.
    "Not such a good idea now, is it?" I whispered close to his ear, still flying round and round him. I grabbed his hat and pulled it over his eyes and nicked his cane, whacking his butt with it. I had so much fun I didn't see the Shadow pick the remote up and press a few buttons. A powerful shock shimmered through me and I felt my hair frizz from the enormity of the shock.
    I fell to the floor, gasping. "Wh-Wha..."
    "That's what's going to happen if you don't behave" The Shadow grinned, hovering over me.
    "Shadow!" The Ringmaster's muffled yell escaped through the thin material of the hat. He was sat on the floor, trying to pull the hat off his head. "Help!"
    "Right away sir," The Shadow flew over to the Ringmaster and grabbed the brim of the hat. A pair of legs shot out of the Shadow and landed on the Ringmaster's shoulders. "It's stuck on tight! I can't get it off"
    Saffron helped me into a sitting position and we sat laughing at the odd display panning out in front of us.
    "Oh my God," I tried to breath, wiping a tear from my eye. "You guys are hilarious"
    "We're not meant to be funny" A woman's voice hissed behind me. She walked forward and easily pulled the Ringmaster's hat off.
    I stared at her, unable to understand how a woman could look like that. She was gorgeous, with a mess of ginger hair atop her head and deep purple skin covered in strange markings and scars. Her eyes were yellow, like a wolves, and she had large beautifully decorated dragonfly wings on her back. She wore a gymnasts outfit, which was basically leaves covering the vital areas, and bare feet.
    "Thanks Olivia" The Ringmaster gasped, his face red.
    "You're welcome sir," She smiled. Then turned to me and glared, her eyes shining with anger. "We're not meant to be funny, we're meant to scare you. Make you relive your most feared nightmares. And you're going to help us"

 

 

    "Stop moving!" Olivia hissed, pinching me in the leg.
    "You can't tell me what to do" I smirked. I thought back to when I met Olivia.
    Once she'd finished creeping me out she'd dragged me off to get an outfit for my performance. I wouldn't have gone but she slapped some chains onto my wrists and ankles and pulled me with those.
    And my new title was Thirteen, The Spectacular Shapeshiftress!
    I would've been alright with the name if the Ringmaster had picked it, trying to make him think that I'd given up so he wouldn't suspect me, but B12 had to think of the name. I was really starting to hate that kid. It was Thirteen because he thought it would be funny and spectacular because I was.
    "Stand still!" The irritated Olivia pulled me out of my daydream. She pricked me with a needle and a little blood spilled onto it. She glared up at me like it was my fault. "Look what you've done!"
    "I can't help it if you have to attack me every five seconds" I muttered.
    She pricked me again for the attitude and stepped back to view her work. "I may not like it but... It'll do"
    I smiled sarcastically. "Thanks"
    Because of the name Spectacular Shapeshiftress Olivia had naturally gone with a huntress' outfit. Ragged skin tight shorts and knee-length combat boots, combined with a brown tank top and huge gloves that barely fit. Oh and also an explorers hat.
    "You do realize I'm not doing this, right?" I asked, stepping off the upturned box. The costume room we were stood in barely had any light, mostly because we were in a cramped broken down caravan with no windows, and row upon row of costumes lined the walls.
    She grabbed my arm, which in turn caused me to whimper in pain. "You'll do what the Ringmaster tells you. He owns you now; you're lucky to be alive"
    "Why are you here?" I asked, changing the subject. "You seem nice, why are you working for this bastard?"
    "He saved me from my terrible life," She began. "I was hurt, a tree branch had scratched me on the side, and I was patching myself up when the roll of tape dropped to the floor. I was stood on a high tree branch away from any prying eyes and I was never good with my balance so the medical tape fell down to the ground. When I looked down there he was. The Ringmaster asked if I needed help and I took it as an opening and asked for a place to stay, money and food. But he was already aware of my current living conditions and said he could give me everything I wanted if I worked for him in his circus. Obviously I took him up on his offer and I've been in this circus ever since"
    I found myself leaning forward, enticed by the story. Was that why she hated me, because I didn't see the Ringmaster as a savior?
    She saw me staring and sat up straight, turning on the cold glare. "Get to the big top. The Ringmaster wants to run through the show for tonight"
    I gulped. Tonight!?

 

 

Stood in the middle of the sawdust ring, I noticed why people were stupid enough to come see the circus.
    Even if the people here were cold and cynical they were amazing at what they did. There were gymnasts and two twin clowns called Giggle and Pop, which they were the complete opposite, Giggle having very colourful tattoos and Pop with scars all over his face. There were also acrobats, a tightrope walker, a juggler and very mangled-looking trained animals. The Ringmaster definitely liked giving people a show before they died.
    I sat down on the floor and craned my neck up to get a better view of the tightrope walker funnily called Cable. He was weird and he wouldn't stop staring at me from his view on the thin rope. I think Lexi would've liked me.
    He jumped up once I was tied to the pole in the middle of the tent and put his hands in his pocket, casually walking across the rope as if it were the ground I walked on. The way he looked at me, with his eyes looking every where except my eyes, made me think that he really didn't like me.
    "I see you've met Cable" The Ringmaster pointed out, coming to stand next to me.
    "No, I've only properly met Rebecca," An acrobat with weird hair. "As well as BK," The juggler who showed me his tattoo of Jesus. "And also Giggle and Pop. Are they all so...?"
    "Different?" He suggested. "Unique? There isn't a word to describe them; they're perfect"
    "I wouldn't say perfect..." I muttered, adjusting my chains. Of course I was still chained up. I guess they still didn't trust me. Smart move.
    "They've found shelter underneath the tent of Circ De Freak because they were shunned for their amazing talents and odd looks," The Ringmaster's tone turned proud. "Olivia was the first and others soon joined, for fear of being hunted because they weren't like the humans. They were different; not in key with the natural flow of things"
    I looked at him just as he turned away. He really did like these people but I knew they were only being used to enact revenge. They didn't know that soon the Ringmaster would have no use for them and they would be left to fend for themselves. Again.
    "Why can't you do a normal circus?" I asked, mostly to myself. He glanced over his shoulder at me but looked away again.
    "What?" His hands slowly balled into fists.
    "You're obviously feeling guilty for using these people for revenge so why don't you forget it and move on. You could preform your own circus and show the humans what life as a freak is really like. Do what you told me when I got here," I looked up at him then and his shoulders were shaking. "Make them feel every emotion in one night"
    The Ringmaster chuckled and whipped round, grabbing my throat. I clawed at his hand but he was much stronger than me. "You don't get it, do you? I need to show people what your mother did all those years ago. She needs to feel the pain I felt," He pulled me onto my feet. "And I'm settling with you until she can be bothered to show up"
    "It was only a suggestion" I chocked, holding onto his hand for dear life.
    "Nice try," He laughed, dropping me to the floor. "I'm not letting you off that easily" He then stalked off, chuckling quietly to himself as he left the tent. I rubbed my neck and looked up at the empty rope.
    "That was brave," Cable approved, bringing his arms under my armpits and pulling me to my feet. "But he's talked-d about revenge ever since he opened-d the circus"
    Cable didn't look like the type of person to be in a circus that steals souls. His hair was light blonde, almost white, and his eyes were a light brown. His face was angular and his skin was slightly tanned and looked very young. He was tall, almost like a head taller than me, and his arms had very defined muscles so I found myself trying to imagine what his muscles looked like underneath his shirt.
    "Is he always so..." I waved my hand in front of me, my chains jangling, trying to find the right words to explain the odd creepy man with multiple personality's. Ha, he sounded like how I tried to explain Sebastian.
    "Yeah," Cable nodded, agreeing to whatever I was trying to say. "He is always so everything"
    "Right" I forced a smile, a queasy feeling bubbling up in my stomach. I was going to have to live with that guy until I could think of a way to escape.
    Wasn't that just ironic; leaving one place to get captured and thrown into another.
    Cable paused and opened his mouth to say something but when he looked at my face, probably taking in my scars, he stopped and looked down at the floor. "Uh, D-Dani?"
    "Yeah?" I inclined my head. Why was he having such a hard time with this?
    Then it clicked.
    He was stuttering.
    On the 'D'.
    I gasped and walked as far as the chains would let me. "Cable?"
    "Y-Yeah?" His eyes widened at the look on my face.
    "You're stuttering... on the letter 'D'. I only know a few people who do that and they've had the same voice," I growled. "What aren't you telling me?"
    "I-I," He paused and took a step back. "I was in the Nova place where you were and-d I transformed-d into that Sebastian d-dude and the three-point-oh guy"
    "You were the one who attacked me and confused the hell out of me?!" I screamed, pulling at the chains. My feet dug into the sawdust, sliding across the floor, as I felt the anger boiling inside me. "You were the one who tried to kill me?!"
    "No, well yes, b-but I was only d-doing that to help you"
    "Help me?!" I yelled.
    "Well, it was mostly to get back here, but it was able to help you as well" He tried to explain but I couldn't see past the red veil of hate towards him. He was the one who had confused me with the nice Sebastian and the 3.0 guy who had almost murdered me!
    I crossed my arms, refusing to acknowledge him.
    "D-Dani, I'm sorry. I wasn't meaning to hurt you, you just got in the way," He bent down and tried to look me in the eye but I turned away from him. "I was trapped-d there and when you were in that lab I wanted-d that book for a spell to get back here"
    "I don't care," I grumbled. "Leave me alone"
    I had to think. If he was able to transform then he was a shapeshifter. I had only known one shapeshifter and that was my mother. But he had hurt me; he had lied to me, pretending to be someone else, and I couldn't forgive him for that.
    I saw Cable check his watch and he swore silently. "The show starting soon. I have to prepare," He glanced at my chains but shook his head, looking as if he changed his mind about releasing me. "See you later"
    I rolled my eyes and quickly looked throughout the huge tent. It wasn't bright like a normal circus; it was dark and smelled funny and I felt shivers running down my spine at the thought of whatever died in here. But if I could just find an opening I could-
    "What are you doing?" Olivia hissed, taking hold of my chains and yanking me to the ground.
    "Just looking around. I want to see what my prison will look like" I scowled. I wasn't going to tell her I was going to escape; she would tell the Ringmaster and then I would be dead meat.
    "She gave me a skeptical look before pulling me a little. "You need to get ready; the show's going to start soon"
    Oh joy.

 

 

    "Is this really necessary?" I asked, leaning my head on the back of the chair. My lip hurt, mostly because Olivia had split it to get me in the chair, and my body was bruised from the hissy fit I threw when they told me I had to be tied to the chair.
    And worst of all I was pissed off because B12 just had to point out that my hair was white and my eyes were green from being Danny.
    "Of course," Olivia snickered, as if it were a written fact. "I was going to let you sit there like a good girl but you just had to attack everyone, didn't you?"
    "Of course," I mimicked Olivia's voice. "Maybe I don't like sitting in chairs or going out in front of an audience"
    She'd made me sit there and watch the Shadow drag poor innocent people by the tens through the tent and strap them to their chairs. What made it worse was some of them were crying children or frightened teenagers.
    Olivia growled and slapped me round the face. "That's for the attitude. Now sit there and shut up" She walked ahead, standing near the others who were going before me. My cheek stung when the Shadow jumped onto the cart I was on and grinned down at me.
    "What do you want?" I spat.
    "Nothing. I just wanted to inform you that I'll be making your introduction tonight," I watched as it's shape morphed and bulged into the shape of a man. An old stout man with a grey mustache and who was wearing a red magicians outfit with a black mask covering his eyes. "Well, the Masked Magician will be making your introduction. And I promise, it'll be pleasant"
    The lights flashed on and I had to squint. The audience clapped and cheered but that was against their own will; it wasn't because they were happy to be there. The Masked Magician grinned and walked out into the tent and the crowd cheered louder.
    The hot lights of the circus tent burnt as the Masked Magician revved up the crowd. His loud voice carried itself throughout the entirety of the tent and the audience hung on his every word, leaning forward on their seats in excitement. He introduced each act one by one with his compelling and powerful speech and they walked out into the sawdust ring as if they owned the place, each doing a little cartwheel or flip to settle the audience's hunger for the show.
    I struggled against the raw ropes, trying to get myself free, and winced slightly as they cut into my already bruised arms. I tried to keep my face masked with a blank expression while I listened closely to the words the magician was carefully selecting, yelling them at the top of his voice.
    "...And now please give a warm Circ De Freak welcome to Thirteen, The Spectacular Shapeshiftress!" The crowd cheered the loudest for me. Only because he was putting on the fact that I was some sort of spectacular act that you'd regret for the rest of your life if you missed. I wouldn't have gone that far. The introduction he gave me brought alive the butterflies that had been living in my stomach for the past couple of days and when I looked up I saw the guilty expression in B12's eyes.
    "I'm sorry," He sounded dejected. Why? He wasn't the one going through this; I was. "Please, just do as he tells you and you won't get hurt..."
    "He can't hurt me; I don't have anything to live for," I hissed, reverting my eyes back to the floor. "Not anymore"
    "Then do this for us" Saffron pleaded. The melancholy tone in her voice forced me to look up into her light pink eyes and see the genuine fear she wasn't good at concealing. She was worried for me and, to tell the truth, I was anxious too. I didn't know what was going to happen but things never turned out well for me. That made the butterflies pound the sides of my stomach even harder.
    But I still nodded, unable to take my eyes off her's, and B12 started pulling the cart into the overheated big top. I couldn't help but hold my breath when the crowd started jeering once they saw me and how the acts looked at me with menace in their expressions.
    And how the Masked Magician grinned evilly as B12 pulled me towards him. The crowd leered and gasped as they watched me being pulled into the big top.
    "Isn't she a beauty?" The Masked Magician grinned, clearly amused by my discomfort. "We found her on the streets of Geneva, shunned for her odd appearance. Thirteen is the newest edition to our family, so be nice"
    The audience laughed but I just sat there and glared at each of them individually. They had no right to laugh at me.
    The Masked Magician clapped his hands. "Lets get the show started then"
    I was pulled back to the side while the others preformed their acts. The clowns were funny, chucking the usual pies and throwing insults back and forth. Cable was amazing at his act, walking on the tightrope using only his hands. And then the acrobats and Masked Magician did their performance, making everything from wine glasses and doves come out of his pockets as they tumbled and twisted around the tent.
    But the only time I really started paying attention was when the ring was set up for Olivia's performance. I was actually quite curious to see what she did.
    The lights were already off so when Olivia was set a spotlight flicked on, lighting up a small circle around her, and the crowd's murmurs silenced into nothing.
    "My name is The Dragonfly. Don't be fooled by the sweetness of my name," She started, meeting her hands behind her back. "It doesn't reflect who I am. I was alone at a young age. The trees became my home," The tent lit up, revealing realistic looking trees with hanging ropes falling down to the circle. She grabbed hold of one and pulled herself up effortlessly. She then wrapped the rope around one leg and 'sat' on it. "I couldn't let anyone see me; I look quite weird with my ginger hair, yellow eyes and dragonfly wings" The audience laughed and she let go of the rope but took hold of it again before hitting the floor. The audience gasped and then clapped loudly. She climbed up the rope again and swung it backwards and forwards, then leapt from the rope and grabbed onto another one.
    Over and over she did these amazing tricks, jumping and twirling through the air while the audience gasped and held their breaths. I found myself leaning forward as well, being sucked into her act. As her performance came to a close her tricks got more dangerous, with Olivia somersaulting through the air only to grab the rope just in time.
    It was only until the Masked Magician said I was getting ready did I feel the heavy weight of stage fright. I didn't want to go out there; I'd been scared of people watching me and waiting for me to do something for as long as I could remember.
    And now I found myself tied to a chair and being forced to do it. I gulped when the audience started getting agitated that I hadn't come out yet.
    "I'm not taking you out there until you're ready," B12 shook his head when I told him to start pulling. "You're sweating, Dani. Calm down" My breathing started quickening and I felt the moisture on my forehead. I needed to calm down; my heartbeat was going at twenty beats a minute.
    "I'll be alright. Don't worry," I wanted to wipe my head but then B12 would know I was freaking out. Luckily, Saffron dabbed my forehead with a cloth.
    "Calm down," She soothed. "You'll be fine. I know you will" I nodded and tried to calm my breathing.
    I'll be fine. They won't make me do anything; they don't want me let loose from the chair.
    "And now, please welcome Thirteen in her opening act!" The Masked Magician swung his hands towards me and I instantly felt empty. This is what my life was going to be. I wasn't going to escape. I wasn't going to be saved.
    I was going to be stuck in a circus. Forever.
    B12 dragged the cart into the ring and just like before the crowd cheered and stared at me like as if I were an alien. I would never get used to it but I guess I'd have to.
    "Now Thirteen is a very special act," The Masked Magician spoke loudly. "She has the power to change into anything she desires"
    "I'm fantastic like that" I shrugged, earning myself a few chuckles from the audience.
    The Masked Magician gave me a cold look and brought out a remote, cleverly hiding it from the audience. "She could turn into the ferocious Gamblesnap," He pressed a button and the bracelet's shocked me. I gasped at the amount of pain coursing through my body and held in a scream. When I didn't transform a confused expression crossed his face. "Or how about the raging Dwindlaws" He pressed another button and the same thing happened.
    "I don't know what they are!" I screeched, scared at the smoke rising from my body. The Masked Magician looked nervous when the audience started whispering and murmuring to each other.
    "Then change into the Snappganger!" He ordered, jabbing a button and causing a fresh wave of pain to shoot through my veins. The amount of smoke coming off my body was immense and I was freaking out when I felt myself burning.
    "I can't!" I yelled. The ropes were becoming loose and it looked like they would catch on fire.
    "Do it!" The Masked Magician yelled. I screamed and the spotlights flickered and then blew, engulfing us in complete darkness. All that could be seen was the faint lights of the remote. "What the-"
    A scuffle and the Masked Magician grunted, causing the audience to gasp and murmur again. Hands grabbed my arms and something was pulled over my mouth, stopping me from talking. They carried me off when the Ringmaster started yelling.
    "Who are you?" I muffled, a little annoyed at how I was just thrown over someone's shoulder.
    They shushed me and carried on running. The night turned a little lighter as we ran through the opening of the circus tent and into the forest. I couldn't see who this person was but I knew they seemed a little nervous at my rescue.
    "How much further?" A familiar woman's voice moaned.
    "Just a little" The male who was carrying me assured her. Suddenly I was dropped to the floor and surrounded by masked people.
    "What do you want?" I asked them, shuffling away. These people were freaking me out. What did they want with me?
    One leaned down and took off the cloth covering my mouth, while the others stared down at me like I was possessed. I stared too; these people seemed familiar.
    "What's up with your hair?" The female asked. "You look really weird"
    I narrowed my eyes at her and I leaned forward. There was something really familiar about them. I just couldn't place my finger on it...
    "Dani...?" Another male asked. "Are you alright?"
    My eyes widened as my brain placed the voices to faces and my jaw fell open.
    "Rufus?!" I gasped, jumping to my feet. "Lexi? And everyone else?" My voice went from surprised to confused as I pointed to each of them. They pulled their masks off and grinned at me.
    "You expect anyone else?" Sebastian smiled.
    "I..." I couldn't say anything. Why were they here? Other than the fact that they just saved me. "Why are you here?"
    "To save you. Duh" Lexi laughed at my expression. Then a thought immediately crossed my mind.
    "I have to go back" I started walking the way we had come and they soon caught up, dragging me to a stop.
    "Excuse me?" Candace asked. "We just saved you and now you want to go back?"
    "I need to get Saffron and B12" I knew they had forgotten about them and they all looked down at the floor in embarrassment.
    "Oh yeah..." Rufus rubbed the back of his head.
    "That's why I have to go back" I started walking again and Naida quickly ran to my side.
    "You know this is crazy, right?" She asked, meeting her hands behind her back. Looking at the bracelets, I saw a crack along the metal and broke them off, instantly feeling the anger I needed.
    "Yeah" I agreed completely. I knew she was right. But I knew what I had to do.
    She twisted her bracelet. "Okay. Lets go"

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