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The eighteenth chapter of.
September 9, 2010
Leah says goodbye to her friends in the compound before her attempt at escaping.
"I need my honor back."
Leah packed her things in the torn and burnt backpack from years before, preparing for the hard journey ahead of her. After the session with the psychiatrist, Leah's resolve to escape from the iron grip of the Leader and the BDA was stronger than ever. Nothing could stope her now. Not her past lives. Not the Leader. Not her masters. Not Rose. Seeing her mother out there, uncaring and living without her had broken her fragile heart.
"You know she still loves you." advised Leah's quiet conscience.
"She's given up on me."
"No she hasn't."
"She's out there, living without me. She's forgotten me."
"No she hasn't. She will never forget."
"She already has. She's moved on."
"Then maybe the snotty therapist was right. Maybe we should stay."
"No. There's nothing left for me here."
"What about Rose?"
"What about her?"
"She took you under her wing from the second you've arrived here. Rose has taken care of you, sheltered you, taught you. She's been.."
"The mother that we lost?"
"The mother that is only temporarily gone."
"She won't take us back in. He was right. Us returning would only hurt her. It would damage her beyond repair. It's been four years after all, she'd think she had gone insane if she saw us."
"You don't know that."
"Then let me try my attempt, and stop pestering me."
Leah walked into the library, instantly finding Adrian in his usual meditation corner. Seeing that he was deep into his thoughts, she sat down on her usual couch opposite him and waited for him to acknowledge her.
"Hello Leah. What can I do for you today?" he said, eyes still closed.
"Hello master. I've come to thank you for all you've done for me."
"You're making it sound as if you are saying goodbye. Is something wrong?"
"No," Leah lied. "Just felt like I'd come and thank you."
"No you didn't. You came to say goodbye because you are attempting your escape in three days."
"How'd you know?" Leah asked, dumbfounded yet again at Adrian's surprising knowledge.
"I can't expect you to stay any longer after your trauma at the therapist's office."
"How'd you know about that?"
"I was the one who hired him."
"You were? But I thought that was the Leader or the Enforcers watching my cell."
"No. It was me. I was worried about you, considering your reaction at being brought back to the complex after Alice Springs."
"You saw me?"
"Not saw, felt. Remember that emotions give off a certain feeling that travels through the air. No offense, but when you came back you gave off immense rage and pain."
"You're right, I wasn't happy at being caged again. Speaking of which, your four year break is coming up. Are you excited?"
"I guess I should be, but I am not going."
"What? Why not?"
"I learned it is not good for the soul to only have small tastes of freedom only to be shut away after such a short time. I know that the BDA means well, but only a week of freedom is not one of their brighter ideas."
"Along with capturing innocent people."
"Which is why you are angry with them. As I said during our first session, you are angry at having your youth and childhood unfairly snatched away from you. Which is why I will advise, but not force, that you do not try your imminent attempt."
"Because I am worried for you. I cannot bear to see you escape and have such happiness only to get detained again and come back, broken and spiritless."
"You don't know that I'll get captured again."
"I've seen too many people pass through these deathly halls to think otherwise. I care for you Leah, please don't try it."
"I'm sorry Adrian. I know you and the others mean well too, but there's nothing left for me here."
"I understand. If you make it out of Australia, I have some friends in the airbender colony in New York that would kindly take you in. The leader of their colony, a man by the name of Mr. Levin, is located at World Trade Center. Find him there, and he will take you to the colony."
"Thanks master Adrian."
"Will I ever see you again?"
"I'm sure our paths will cross again someday, but I don't want you to come and get me while you are trying to escape. I would only endanger your chances, and probably get hurt in the process."
"So...I guess this is goodbye." Leah whispered sadly.
"Yes Leah. Please take care. Remember what I've taught you."
Leah walked into the familiar training courtyard, spotting Don and Jane sparring with each other.
"Good morning Leah. Come for a practice session, 'earthbender master.'" asked Jane, finishing her earth tent attack.
"No, thanks Jane. I've just come to talk with you."
"Alright then. What's on your mind?" Don asked.
"Well, I really just came to thank you for all you've done for me. You've helped me become comfortable with who I am, and helped me tone my abilities to master level. You've dealt with my anger and frustration, and for that, I am eternally grateful."
"Oh Leah, it's really no trouble. We couldn't just leave you to fend for yourself," said Jane.
"It was a pure pleasure training you." added Don.
"But something seems wrong. Are you okay?" asked Jane sincerely.
"Yes. I'm just not happy with how long I've been here. How have you stood it here for this long. No offense on age by the way."
"Oh it's no trouble. At first it was hard, but with friends, anything is possible." Jane taught.
"Jane is right. I would've never made it the first year without her, let alone the other ones. I only hope that we and your other friends and teachers here have made it bearable." Don asked.
"Trust me, you've done alright. I have to go see Rose, I'll see you some other time."
"Alright Leah, take care," said Don.
"Goodbye Leah," said Jane.
Leah knocked on the door to Rose's room, waiting tentively for an answer.
"Please come in." came the familiar voice.
Leah walked in, spotting the elderly woman sitting on the bed, lost in thought.
"Leah, I'm so glad to see you! Please come, sit down."
"Hello Rose. How are you?" Leah asked, sitting down beside her.
"I am doing fine. And you?"
"Are you okay? You seem...distraught."
"I just..want to come and talk for a moment."
"Alright. What is it that you need?"
"I wanted to say thank you?"
"For everything. You took me in from the second I was carted through here in chains. You've helped and supported me in any way possible. I don't know how I can ever repay you."
"Leah, my dear. There is nothing that you should ever feel obliged to do. It was my job to take you in, as you remind me of myself in younger years."
"Strong, independent, passionate, loving life, and a certain hatred of the BDA."
"But you said you've been tolerant with them, you understood them."
"Now I do, but when I was first brought here I was furious and misunderstood. I felt that they had taken away something they had no right to. Just like you I believe."
"Yes, I actually...came to say goodbye."
"I'm...going to try an escape attempt."
Panic and hurt flooded the wrinkles on Rose's face.
"Adrian told me about how you knew Bracken. I know that what I'm about to do will hurt you, but I have to do it. There's nothing left for me here."
"Why do you feel that way?"
"I...I don't feel right about the way things ended. I should've never run away. I should've been more understanding with my mom, and realized that she would've never ratted me out as a freak. I made a terrible mistake, and I want to fix it."
"I understand where you are coming from. I had a daughter before I was captured, and I left her at home for one moment because she had done something wrong. I haven't seen her since. Every day, I think about what I could've done. But I realize now that it's not healthy to dwell on past mistakes, but to look towards a smarter and smoother future. I won't stop you from what you want to try, but try to move forward instand of constantly looking back."
"Thanks Rose. You..you've been the mother that I've lost. I'm eternally grateful for what you've done. I hope that I can see you again. Perhaps you could come with me?"
"No Leah, I'm afraid that this is something you need to do on your own. I would only slow you down or get myself or yourself hurt. I don't want to endanger your chance at freedom. But I do ask this. My daughter's name is Jade. If you find her, just tell her that I'm sorry."
"I will. Goodbye Rose. Leah said, tears flooding down her face.
"Goodbye." Rose sobbed, pressing Leah into a tight hug.
The morning woke on Leah as she picked up her pack and headed towards the glass walls. She stood there for a moment, contemplating whether to proceed. There's no going back now.
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