Phoenix nodded and turned towards his team, “Head to camp. I’m gonna wrap it up here,” he told the team.
Everyone nodded reluctantly and ran back to camp, where Jessie was sound asleep, tired from all the running and loss of blood. Phoenix, once everyone had run off, walked to where the meadow met the forest. There, he saw no one. Or so he thought. He scanned the area one last time, this time spotting something amongst the trees and bushes.
“Who’s out there?!” Phoenix called as his eyes narrowed, his fists clenched.
The figure stopped in its tracks, looking as if it was trembling, “Trying to get away!” The voice seemed shaky.
Phoenix’s eyes softened a bit, but still didn’t trust the sudden appearance of this person, “Alright....” Phoenix thought a moment, “Come with me.”
The figure stood there a moment, then walked over to Phoenix. The figure was a boy, about the age of seventeen, with black hair partially covering his ocean blue eyes. The boy’s clothes were torn and filthy.
“What’s your name?” Phoenix cautiously asked.
“J-Jay,” the boy replied. The name seemed familiar to Phoenix somehow.
Phoenix nodded and studied the face of Jay, “You alright?”
“Y-Yeah.......” Jay responded.
Phoenix nodded again, “Good. Follow me.”
Jay nodded in response and followed Phoenix through the thick brush of the forest.
Don’t trust him... But, he seems.... Familiar somehow. Phoenix thought to himself as they walked for, what seemed, hours. When they reached camp, some people eyed Jay suspiciously. Phoenix walked to his tent and walked inside. Jay followed him and looked around at the small tent. On the right was a small bed, with a wool blanket neatly folded on top. People passing the tent glanced in, their eyes narrowing at Jay, and some now questioning Phoenix.
“Y-You su-sure th-thi-this is n-n-no tr-tro-trouble?” Jay asked Phoenix, stuttering and trembling.
“Completely.” Phoenix smiled reassuringly.
Meanwhile, Jessie had just awoken, energized, now that she had an hour or so of rest. She got up from the comfortable, soft bed and looked around the camp. Where am I....? She didn’t remember where she was, and was dramatized by the attacks. She staggered out of the medical tent and looked around at the people.
“E-Excuse me...” Jessie began. People were too busy to stop, “C-Can yo-you help m-me?”
One girl stopped and looked at Jessie, “I see you’re new in this camp,” the girl commented, looking Jessie over, “Welcome to the Runaways.”
“The R-Runaways??” Jessie was utterly confused, “Y-You mean the group o-of rebels?”
“Correct. Oh! I’m Carmi.”
“Come, come,” Carmi ushered Jessie towards Phoenix’s tent.
“O-Ok...” Jessie followed, utterly confused.
Carmi stopped all of a sudden, seeing Jay and Phoenix. She glanced at Jessie, then back to Jay and Phoenix. By now, Jay had noticed the two girls and backed up. Phoenix, seeing Jay’s uncomfortableness, started talking to him again.
“Jay... This is one of our hunters, Carmi. Carmi, this is Jay,” Phoenix implied as he gestured towards Carmi, then Jay.
“Phoenix, may I speak with you?” Carmi asked, trying to not act paranoid.
Carmi and Phoenix walked out of the tent and a good few yards away from camp. Carmi turned towards Phoenix, her hazel brown eyes filled with care.
“Phoenix, you know that I respect you and your decisions, but, this one?” Carmi shook her head,
“Look, taking in Jessie, that was a good move. She was legitly under attack. Jay? He isn’t trustworthy, Phoenix!”
“Look, Carmi...” Phoenix sighed, “This is a group for those who don’t want to be a part of the controlled society. Jay ran because he wanted no part in the society. We accept those who run away.”
“But, Phoenix--” Carmi was cut off with the rise of Phoenix’s hand.
“Carmi, just stop.” Phoenix was getting a bit annoyed with her paranoia.
Behind the trees, Jay stood, smirking. He knew, now, that he was tearing apart the leaders. This was good.... At least, so his employers said. He turned and ran back to camp.
Jay walked around camp, as if nothing had happened. He presumed that Phoenix and Carmi were still “talking,” more or less, arguing. He was a spy, here to take down the Runaways, and he wouldn’t let anyone stop him.