It has taken two days, but I have learned to wield my first
Legacy. My control is not perfect yet: sometimes my
invisibility stutters, and I panic, struggling to restore it.
Turning it off and on is not like turning a light switch up or
down; it takes a certain kind of concentration.
Katarina’s breathing exercises have come in handy.
When I struggle to control my invisibility, I turn my focus to
my breathing—in, out—and then back to the ability. After
I’m able to make my hand invisible at will, I start practicing
with other parts of my body. It’s like flexing a new muscle—
it feels strange at first but quickly feels natural. Next, I let my
whole body fade out. It’s no more difficult than making my
hand disappear; in fact, it seems to take less precision.
I am ready.
I go fully invisible and wait for the next food drop. It takes
some of my energy to maintain the invisibility, energy I wish
I could conserve, but I have only that single instant for my
snare to work and I can’t risk them seeing me transform.
Finally, a Mog appears. The food slot opens, the tray is
tossed in. It shuts.
I worry the snare hasn’t worked. Maybe the Mogs don’t
bother to check on me, to look for me in my cell? In which
case my power is totally useless—
The slot opens again. Two beady eyes peer into the
In, out. Sometimes nerves can send me back into
visibility and I can’t spoil this moment. In, out. The worst-case scenario is them discovering my power before I can
use it against them.
It is a strange thing, willing someone to see my absence.
The slot closes again. I hear the Mog walk away and my
heart plummets. Where’d he go? Didn’t he notice that I’m
The door opens suddenly. Soon, my tiny cell is filled with
Mogadorian guards, four in total. I press myself against the
far corner, hiding. They are huddled close, conferring about
my apparent disappearance. No way out.
One leaves and runs down the hall. His exit creates more
space in the room, less chance that someone will stumble
onto me, and I breathe easier.
One of them whirls his arm in frustration, and I have to
duck as quickly as I can. He barely misses me. Close call.
I dodge, quiet as a cat, into the corner nearest the door.
Two of the Mogs stand deep in the cell, but one of them
blocks the exit.
Move, I think. Move.
I can hear footsteps, racing towards the cell. More Mogs.
I know that all it will take is one Mog brushing my shoulder
or sensing my breath for me and my new Legacy to be
discovered. The footsteps are getting closer. The Mog by
the door steps further into the cell to accommodate those
on their way and I lunge out into the hallway.
I nearly fall on the stone floor outside my cell, but I catch
my balance just in time. Flesh slapping against stone: I
surely would’ve been discovered.
A horde of Mogs is racing down the hall towards my cell
from the left. No choice but to run right. I take off, landing as
delicately as I can. Quiet as a cat.
It is a long hall. I struggle to maintain quiet, my bare feet
making only the faintest of noises as I run and run and run.
At first I am scared, but then I can feel it: freedom, up
I go faster, landing on arched feet to mute the noise. My
heart leaps up into my chest as I exit the hall and find myself
in the center of the Mogadorian complex, a massive cavern
fed by many other tunnels like the one I just came from.
Closed-circuit security cameras are everywhere. When I
spot them, my chest leaps with fear, but then I remember I
am invisible, to cameras as well as to Mogs.
For how long, I don’t know.
A siren is pulled. I should’ve expected that. Flashing
security lights go off as the cavern is filled with the alarm’s
shriek. The high walls of the cave only amplify it.
I take off again, choosing a tunnel at random.
I pass other cells like mine, then steel doors that probably
hold more prisoners.
I wish I had time to help them. But all I can do is run, and
keep running, as long as my invisibility will hold.
I dodge left off the tunnel, passing a large, glass-windowed room to my right. It is illuminated by bright
fluorescents. Inside hundreds and hundreds of computers in
rows hum and sift data, no doubt looking for signs of my
fellow Garde. I keep running.
I pass another laboratory, also glass-windowed, this one
to my left. Mogadorians in white plastic suits and goggles
stand inside. Scientists? Bomb chemists? I am past them
before I have a chance to see what they’re doing. I can only
assume something awful.
My brain is split by the siren, and I want to close my ears.
But I need my hands to keep my balance as I run, to keep
my footsteps dainty and soundless. I have the strange
thought that for all my bluntness, my tomboyishness, my
warrior’s training, I now find myself calling on such a
feminine skill—being lightfooted, like a ballerina.
The tunnel feeds into another center, this one even larger
than the other. I had assumed that what I saw earlier was
the heart of the complex, but this is truly it: a cavernous hall
half a mile wide and so dark and murky I can barely see
across to the other side.
I am covered in sweat, out of breath. It is hot in here. The
walls and ceiling are lined with huge wooden trellises
keeping the cave from collapsing in on itself. Narrow
ledges chiseled into the rock face connect the tunnels
dotting the dark walls. Above me, several long arches have
been carved from the mountain itself to bridge the divide
from one side to the other.
I catch my breath and wipe my brow, to keep my own
sweat from blinding me.
There are so many tunnels, none of them marked. My
heart plummets. I realize I could run and run through this
complex for days without finding the way out. I imagine
myself like a rat in a laboratory maze, scampering and
weaving to no avail.
Then I see it: a single pinprick of natural light, up above.
There must be a way out up there. It will be a steep climb up
these walls, but I can do it. As I grab the trellis to hoist
myself up, I hear it.
“She will be found.”
It’s him. Katarina’s executioner.
He is speaking to a few guard Mogs, on a walkway
above me. The guards tramp off. My eyes pin to the
executioner as he takes a detour back into the complex.
I must choose. Between escape and vengeance. The
light above beckons me like water in a desert. I wonder
exactly how long it’s been since I last saw sunlight.
But I turn around.
I choose vengeance.