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*Final instalment in the 'Little British Girl' Trilogy *
One year after Elia’s death, and the entire planet is rebelling. With the news of Xander’s assassination attempt against his own daughter alarming the world, Elda and Luci are leading a powerful resistance, competing with the Southern rebellium, with no powerful government to stop either of them.
And yet, nothing seems to have changed.
Annabeth, alongside Beverly, Zacharia, and Steve Ryans, hide out amidst the chaos , unable to prevent what’s happening right in front of them. Disheartened and helpless.
Then one day, a girl turns up, a girl with heterochromia, with some interesting letters, and some even more interesting information. Could it be that Xander Moore had another daughter? And that Luci has a half-sister?

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22. Chapter 22

It’s raining.

Of course it would be. Why wouldn’t it? I mean it had to be, didn’t it? In order for this to be just right? In order for all the memories to come flooding back? In order for everyone here to feel that perfect balance between misery and strength? Still, rain is rain. It leads to mud and damp and dirt that sticks to your trousers, and it makes it very hard to push a large rock through the woodlands.

“What are we doing?” Daniel pants, taking a moment to pause, stop, and catch his breath.

“What we have to.” I remind him, secretly glad for the break myself.

“You mean what you have to,” he corrects me, “Or at least what you think you have to…”

“You agreed to this.” I remind him.

“I know…” He trails off, “That was before I realised how heavy this stone actually is.”

“It’ll be worth it.” I promise him, “It’ll all be worth it.”

“It better be…” Daniel sighs, “Come on.”

We get back to it, heaving the great stone through the path, pushing onwards towards our final destination. Rain or thunder, tired or exhausted, we have to get there, and we will.

“Are you sure she’ll be there?” Daniel checks, still not one hundred percent confident in the plan.

“I told Quinn to send the text about an hour ago,” I nod, “She’ll know what it means. She’ll be there.”

“What did you send her?” Daniel asks.

“Just three words,” I reveal, “‘Blood stained grass’.”

“What?”

“She’ll understand, trust me.” I remain confident. “It’s an old chant, an army poem, you know? She’ll get it. She’ll understand.”

“Right…”

I ignore his pessimism, shoving it to the back of my mind. She’ll get it. Of course she will. How could she not? We used to recite it almost every single day, and it’s so fitting...like it was written for this moment, and this moment alone.

“Annabeth?”

“Mhm.”

“We’re here.” I look up as soon as he says it, and realise that he’s right. We’ve made it.

I wasn’t expecting it to seem so...ordinary. The last time I was here this place was a crime scene. Blood, guns, bullets...the whole not. Now it’s just a deserted clearing that doesn’t like it’s been disturbed in months. The trees are strong, the grass is clean. The only thing imperfect about it is the rain and mud.

“Let’s put this down over there, at the edge, right at the front.” I instruct him, giving the stone one final push over to where I want it. It has to be right on the border. It has to mark this place, it has to announce it. “She’ll be here soon, we probably don’t have long.” I remind him, conscious of the time.

“Are you sure this is going to work?” Daniel asks one last time, turning more and more anxious by the minute.

“No.” I reply honestly, shrugging. “But if it doesn’t, then this will be our most perfect failure yet, you can trust me on that.”

“Yeah, that but nothing else…” He shakes his head, stepping back from the stone and brushing off his clothing, he’s coated in grass and dirt. I am too probably.

I step back to look at it, the stone, in all it’s glory. I was right. It really does look perfect here, as if this was always where it would end up, as if this is where it belongs. I almost feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders as I look at it, and a great sense of relief washes over me. Whatever happens now, whatever happens next, this stone will remain, immortal...infinite. A reminder to all of what’s happened here.

“I got your message.” Me and Daniel both dart around at the sound of her voice behind us. There she is, tall and proud, as confident as the day I first met her. She almost looks even more assured. I look around for Elda, but she’s nowhere to be seen.

“You’re alone.” I note, confused.

“I have been for about a week now.” Luci nods, “I woke up one morning and Elda was gone. I suppose it was inevitable. We were never going to be able to work together forever, I’m just glad she didn’t shoot me in my sleep.”

“You seriously expect us to believe that? Elda’s probably somewhere in the woodlands ready to shoot us both down.” Daniel scoffs, understandably untrusting. Luci just shrugs.

“For once I’m actually telling you the truth.” She sighs. “Now why exactly did you want me to come here?” I smile at her question, retrieving my penknife from my pocket. Before anyone has a chance to question it, I use it to jab a small slit in my arm, extending it out so the blood drips out onto the grass. A visual message, a visual reminder.

“Blood stained grass.” Luci recalls, understanding me perfectly, “You know I secretly hate that poem, right?”

“But you remember it, word for word, don’t you?” I point out.

“That I do.” She rolls her eyes, “Blood stained grass, green-tinted-crimson, never again will it be free,

Here at last with the blood stained grass, surrounded by the past, stand with me,

And if I die I die here today, on the blood of my comrades, where else would I want to be?

I will shoot no gun here, nor hurt no soul, respect the past, stand with me,

Too honourable to fire, this may be my final day, maybe then I shall be free?

But if I die with honour, I die an honourable death. Stand with me.”

“Do you get what it means?” I ask her.

“It’s what agents used to mutter when they were out on the field, it’s about dying with honour and respecting the dead, regardless of which side they were on.” She summarises.

“And…?” I prompt her for more.

“And what?” She snaps, getting frustrated. I don’t flinch at her outburst, I keep perfectly still.

“This is where Max and Elia died.” I remind her, not that it’s exactly necessary, “That stone is engraved with the names of hundreds of people who have suffered in this world. We are on blood stained grass now Luci, and my honour forbids me to shoot or attack you so long as I stand here behind that border that that giant rock marks. You can shoot me if you like, you’re stood on the other side, and if you do I die on the blood of my comrades, as the poem says, where else would I want to be?”

“What exactly is the point of all of this?” Luci yells, losing her temper, still confused by my choice of location. “Is this a suicide mission? Is that it? Do you want me to shoot you?”

“Not really,” I remain calm, tending to my bleeding arm, “But whilst I’m stood here I don’t think you want to either. Can you really live with staining this grass a third time?”

“I’ll do what I have to do.” Luci threatens, pulling out her gun and aiming it flawlessly in my direction.

“So will I.” I growl back, my tone darkening without my permission and my calm facade beginning to falter. “That stone has your name on it too you know, Elia carved it along with the rest of ours way back at the beginning, before you turned on us.”

“What are you saying? That it doesn’t deserve to be there? Because I’ll shoot it off, I’ll shoot it off right now!-”

“You shoot that stone and I don’t care about some dumb poem, I will shoot you.” I warn her, retrieving my own gun and holding it up high. She gets the message and takes a small step backwards, her anger beginning to melt. I don’t put my gun back away, but I do lower it, letting the tension re-settle in the clearing. “We both know you’re name deserves to be there, Luci. You’ve suffered just as much as the rest of us, perhaps even more. It was your own stupid fault, sure, but still...you’ve suffered alright.” I walk over to the stone, catching her name in the corner of my eye, and next to it, a second name, three letters… “You loved him, didn’t you?” Silence. No reply. “You must have, I didn’t want to believe it at first...I remember Elia used to think about it a lot, I just hated the thought, but it’s true, isn’t it? That’s why you were so angry that day, the last time you were here. You were grieving.”

“I never meant to. I never expected to actually, to…” She trails off, “I never meant for him to die. If you’d all have just stayed put Elda would have never shot him and...and-”

“And what? And he’d be here now, standing with us? Do you think that would be any better? Do you know what this would do to him? After everything you’ve done, he’d probably still love you, and that would tear him apart.” I spit, “He’s probably better of dead.”

“Are you serious? How can you say that? And you call me a-”

“I didn’t say I didn’t wish he was alive.” I snap, cutting her off again, “I guess we’re both selfish like that.” For a second there’s just silence, the only sound being the wind in the trees.

“Why am I here?” Luci cries out, shattering the quiet.

“I don’t know, you chose to come.” I remind her.

“No, why did you tempt me here. What do you want?” She rephrases her question, getting frustrated again.

“What you’ve wanted all along,” I tell her, “What everyone’s been telling me to do since the beginning, the bargain everyone’s been whispering in my ear. You, Grace, Daniel, even Beverley and Zacharia have suggested it multiple times...I-I want to give up.”

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