“Welcome to Dauntless,” he announces. “I'll be the instructor for the transfers.”
A tall red head walks towards us and stops at the male's side. She nods at him and he tilts his head slightly back at her. She turns her attention back to us. “I shall be instructing the Dauntless born, yes, that does mean you will be training you but no, that does not mean I'll be easy. I'll warn you now, don't mess with me,” I am surprised at how calmly she says that. Her appearance looks soft but inside and when she speaks, she's tough as nails. I'm starting to be glad I have the tall blonde as an instructor.
The blonde male steps forward, removing the other instructor from his sight. “I am Elijah Spencer. No, you will not call me Eli or any other alternative to my name. You will treat me with respect and if I tell you to do something, you'll do it.”
The female behind the male, who introduced himself as Elijah, rolls her eyes. Unlike his deep set scowl, her face is alive with a smile. Like she's happy to be here or something. As she talks, I take in her appearance, she's pale, really pale. I guess that's what happens when you grow up living as a Dauntless. Her dark grey eyes wander the crowd of initiates as she explains the living arrangements.
My eyes wander to Elijah's and I notice his are grey, like fog, deep, thick, misty fog. For a moment I am stunned by how fierce and angry he is but then the red head interrupts. "Oh how silly of me, I forgot to introduce myself. As you already know, this is Elijah. Don't worry about his permanent scowl, he's really a fluffy bunny inside... deep, deep inside... somewhere," she shrugs.
Elijah frowns, he's not amused by her easy going attitude. I should look away but the pair of them intrigues me. I find my eyes darting over her face as she continues to introduce herself. "Anyway, the names Pru. I'm twenty-six years young and I'm here to teach you to kick ass. Elijah, my pal over here," she pats his shoulder and he winces slightly. "Elijah here, is here to scowl and possibly shout at you all. It's going to be fun."
I feel Elijah's pain, she is slightly annoying and I can tell by his facial expression that he would rather kick her off the roof and remove the net so it doesn't catch her.
A small piercing glints under the artificial light. Countless tattoos litter her arms and her neck. I can't make out any in particular but one stands out as she waves her hand around while she speaks. She has a small lion's head tattooed onto the skin of her left hand, I wonder what it means as Elijah cuts her speech short.
"Listen up, you guys picked Dauntless. This will be no picnic, no walk in the park. Most of you will regret switching factions within three days. I can guarantee you that right now."
Pru claps her hands together, "well, isn't this just... fun?"
Elijah rolls his eyes, "follow us and we'll take you to your dorm."
We walk in silence behind the pair, my hand firmly gripped in Zahn's. I watch the back of Eric's head as he walks beside Tobias. I hear some of their conversation.
“So, what's a Stiff like you doing here?”
Tobias grunts in reply.
“I mean, it's not like you can fight or anything. Stiff's are useless in my opinion, they can't do anything.”
A low guttural growl resonates from deep within Tobias' throat. He grasps Eric by the shirt and slams him into the nearby wall. “Don't mess with me.”
Eric snorts. “Oh look, the Stiff has a temper.” He struggles against Tobias' grip. “Get your hand off me now!”
I am pushed out the way and Elijah tears Tobias from Eric. He pushes him away and rolls his eyes at Eric. “You'll have your moment to fight,” Elijah addresses us all. “Under no circumstance will there be any fighting outside of training. If I hear one utter of a fight, even just a punch, you'll be severely punished. Dauntless is bravery,” he looks at Eric. “Not stupidity.”
Pru shouts over the noise. “Well, that was...” She trails off. “Elijah I must be off now, enjoy. Anyway guys, Dauntless born follow me.” She turns on her heels and just more than half of the initiate number follow her.
The muscled blonde starts to walk again and motions for us to follow. I raise an eyebrow as Eric dusts himself off, muttering profusely under his breath.
Elijah pulls a door open and points his finger in. “Move.”
We all file in and we now stand in a room with bunk beds. I look around for a sign that says if this is a male or female room but there is nothing, just beds and drawers. Tobias frowns. “Where are the males sleeping?”
Elijah's jaw sets. “In here.”
Tobias' eyebrows raise, “and the females?”
“But... that's not right.”
Elijah rolls his grey eyes again. “Is a Stiff scared off some females?”
It's Tobias' turn for his jaw to clench. “No.”
Eric snorts and I glare at him. Elijah snaps his fingers and the attention is turned back on him. “Yes, you will all be sleeping in this room. I don't care what you do, I don't want to hear about it. Now if you'll follow me, we will go for dinner... I'm starving.”
A few people chuckle and I walk with Zahn to the place where we will be eating. Elijah leaves us to our own devices as Max draws his attention.
“Well, he seems... interesting.”
The girl in front turns and arches an eyebrow at me. “Interesting? He's terrifying, did you see the way he tore that guy in the grey from that other guy? That's a lot of strength.”
I nod, “true but that doesn't make him bad. I bet he's nice once you get to know him.”
She laughs slightly. “I don't plan on making nice with him any time soon,” she holds her hand out to me. “The names Zoey Burton.”
I shake her hand. “I'm Shiloh Gynne,” I tilt my head in Zahn's direction. “This is my boyfriend, Zahn Mason.”
He politely smiles and shakes her hand too. “Hi, nice to meet you.”
I lean into his side and he puts an arm around me, using his free hand to collect both of our food on a tray. We walk over together with Zoey and find seats at the bottom of the table, away from most of the initiates. Zoey sits down across from us. “You transferred together... cute.”
I blush slightly. “I wouldn't exactly call stupidity cute.”
Zahn mocks Elijah's voice. “This is a faction of bravery not stupidity... I guess I've failed already.”
We all laugh.
The golden voice chuckles behind me and my head snaps around to look at him. “Nice impression, I would give it a 6 out of 10. You've got to work on the voice more.”
Zahn holds his hand out to him. “I'll try harder next time then,” he grins. “Zahn Mason, Amity transfer.”
Elijah takes the empty seat beside me and bites into his burger. “Good for you,” he looks at Zahn's raised hand. “What? Am I supposed to give you a medal or something right now?”
I reach out and lower his hand and clasps my fingers around, holding tightly as I look at Elijah. “When do we start?”
He raises an eyebrow at me as he swallows his huge bite. “Eager I see, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. First off, the rules.”
He stands up on the table and with two fingers in his mouth, he whistles and the room falls silent. “You've made it this far but now, now comes the kicker.”
Pru stands up too. “You have all chosen to be here and we salute you for your bravery but we must proceed with the initiation like we always do.”
Elijah nods. “The Dauntless born will train separately from you transfers for the first stage of initiation. At the end of each stage, rankings will be posted. Be warned, we are watching everything you do. We won't tolerate laziness here.”
Pru continues as I bite my lip at the prospect of being watched, of being ranked. “Every morning you will be in the training for eight o'clock and you will train for ten hours, with a lunch break in between. What you do after training is up to you.”
Zoey whispers across the table to us. “Did you know we would be ranked?”
We both shook our heads. “No,” I whisper back.
Pru once again claps her hands together. “Now chop chop, get to bed!”
I turn over and sigh, I can't get comfortable in this bed. I turn my head and watch Zahn's bare chest rise and fall as he sleeps peacefully on top of the bed beside mine. I can't decide if I'm happy with this or intimidated. I've never been this close to him and I definitely have not seen him shirtless before. It feels weird to gaze at him.
I bite my lip and change my stare to the bottom of the bunk above me, the one Zoey decided to sleep in. I've only been a faction transfer for a matter of hours yet I can already see and feel the change within me. For example, I have so many unclean thoughts running through my head, I don't even recognise myself.
I sit up and rub my eyes. This is ridiculous, he's your boyfriend, you're allowed to look. Why don't I sound convinced by my own words?
He mumbles something softly as he dreams, his eyes flicking around under his closed eye lids. I smile as I watch him. I hope he is dreaming of something nice as I bring my knees up and wrap my arms around them.
Training starts tomorrow. I think about the tasks that will be given to us. From Elijah's words today, I can guess that we will, at some point, be fighting each other. I look over at Tobias' bed and raise an eyebrow at his figure. He is sitting up with his head on the back board, “Tobias, are you awake?” I whisper to him.
“Yeah,” he whispers back.
“Do you think we'll really have to fight each other?”
“I hope so,” he shrugs.
I swing my feet off the bed and walk over to his, sitting at the end of his. “Why? Because of Eric?”
I shake my head. “Don't let him get to you. That's what he wants, you know. To get under your skin and distract you from your purpose.”
“My purpose?” His voice is low as he looks over at Eric's bed.
“Yeah, your purpose... the reason you came here in the first place. If you let him in, let his words affect you like this, your choice will begin to mean nothing and you'll forget why you wanted to be here.”
He smiles slightly as his blue eyes gaze around. “I just realized that I haven't introduced myself properly. My name is Tobias.“
I smile, “just Tobias?”
He nods. “Just Tobias.”
I laugh quietly. “Well Just Tobias, my name is Shiloh.”
I stand up and cross to my own bed. “Just Shiloh,” I laugh again as I lie down. “Thank you for your help, Tobias. You didn't know me and I didn't know you but it helped.”
He yawns and his bed creaks as he lies down too. “You're welcome. Night Just Shiloh,” he yawns again and turns over a few times, trying to get comfortable.
“Goodnight Tobias,” I smile into the darkness then I close my eyes, willing sleep to take over.