The world may be stricken with misery and suffering, but at least the blessed few who live inside the city are happy. With the invention of a revolutionary new antidepressant named BLISS, the Government can finally award happiness, compliance and coexistence to whoever uses it. Of course, it comes at a price - your free will.



This was never meant to happen, I knew that much. It seems strange now but I was sure that in years to come, this moment in time would still be frozen in my memory, nestled between places and voices and fading people like the trash I forgot to throw out. I would always remember the flushed warmth of Chess' forearm again my tightening palms, the curious shade of indigo-blue that stretched on above us, the alarming regularity of my heartbeat and those words, echoing softly in my mind like a broken record I couldn't bring myself to fix. 


"I think you have the wrong girl. I'm fine, trust me." 


I was surprised that the words felt normal, as if I could make them true if I said them out loud. Chess flinched and Seph's mouth curled into a sad little smile. 


"Please take me back to the city. I want to go back," I whispered, my mouth weirdly dry as I tried to convince myself that was what I wanted. Because it was, wasn't it? The city was safe and quiet and had okaasan and Shion and Erris waiting for me, just like they always were. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I wondered briefly what the lightning gashes in the Northern wall would look like from the other side. 


I didn't want to look at Seph or Wrenn or any of the others, instead burying my face in the hollow of Chess' neck. I couldn't bear to watch their faces, their hope and their dedication and loyalty for me, the unwavering belief that they'd really found the cure they'd been searching for. It made me want to help them, and I'd come to learn that desire was dangerous. 


But then the moment passed and clarity crashed down around my ears, wrenching my mind back to the here and now. This was my reality now - the reality I'd left behind in the city belong to a different Sakura, a saner Sakura, a kinder and gentler and more innocent Sakura. If I tried to return to that old truth I'd be living in lies and so would the people who loved me, because truths that used to be are not the same as truths that are now. Then, and only then, did I decide that I'd help the misfits find their own version of the truth they had to realise. 


The others didn't know what the gaping silence meant because really, how could they? I didn't know them nor did I honestly care to, but I'd seen their eyes and I knew that no potential energy, no static, crackling electricity burned in the depths of their irises. But of course Chess knew, and of course she grabbed me by the hand and lifted my chin from her neck and smiled at me with that terrible, terrible smile she'd worn as she escaped from that alleyway and rescued me from my cell.  


"She'll come with us," Chess murmured, her fingers lacing themselves between mine and squeezing. Pins and needles rolled like pinpricks along the skin of the hand she was holding, the sensation new and alien yet not entirely uncomfortable. 


How odd.  


And then we were moving, me swept up once more in Chess' arms and the others striding ahead, stronger and faster and with no time to waste. I supposed we had left the car park and the correctional centre and were heading towards the overgrown jungle that was Miserable territory and my new truth, but I couldn't see a thing with my face burrowed deep into the hollows and contours of my Miserable's chest. 


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