Chapter 6Maxon and I looked at each other , then back to the rebels. You heard me right. I am Illea . And by birth , too. This will be through marriage, sooner or later, August said , nodding to the girl. Georgia Whitaker, she said. And , of course , we know all about you , America. She gave me another smile , and handed it back . I was not sure I trust her , but certainly do not hate her . So the father was right .Maxon sighed. I looked at him, confused. Maxon knew they were direct descendants of Gregory Illea Walking? He said he ‘d come by the crown a day . I do not want your crown , Aug assured us . Good, because I have the intention to bring this country Maxon replied . I was brought up by him, and if you think you can come here claiming to be great-great – grandson of Gregorio – I do not want your crown , Maxon ! The destruction of the monarchy is more up your alley of the southern rebels .We have other goals. August sat at the table , leaning back in his seat. Then , as his house we had walked in, swept his arm across the chairs, which invites us to sit . Maxon and looked at me again and joined him , after Georgia quickly. August looked at us for a while , either studying us or trying to decide where to start . Maxon , perhaps reminds us who was in charge , he broke the tension. Would you like some tea or coffee? Georgia brightened.The coffee? Despite himself, Maxon smiled at his enthusiasm and went back to get the attention of a guard. You may have one of the maids bring some coffee, please ? Because of goodness, make sure it’s safe. Then he focused again in August . I can not begin to imagine what you want from me . It seems you made a point to come, while the palace was asleep , and I guess that would like to keep this visit as secret as possible.Say what you owe. I can not promise to give you what you want, but I ‘ll listen . August nodded and leaned forward . We have been looking Gregory newspapers for decades. Know we existed long ago and had a recent confirmation from a source that I can not reveal . August looked at me. It was their presentation in the report handed to you know it . I sighed with relief . The second referred to the day , I began silently cursing myself and preparing for later when Maxon add this to the list of stupid things he had done.We have never wanted to end the monarchy , he told Maxon . Although there was a very corrupt way , we have no problem with having a sovereign leader, especially if that leader is. Maxon was still , but I could feel their pride. Thank You. What we would like other things , specific freedoms. We want nominees officials , and we want to end caste. Agosto said all this as if it were easy . If I had seen my presentation get cut on the report , you should know better.You act as if I am already the king , Maxon said in frustration. Even if it were possible, I can not just give you what you’re asking . But you are open to the idea? unlock her legs
Maxon raised his hands and dropped them on the table. I am open to it is irrelevant at this point . I am not king. August sighed , looking over to Georgia. They seemed to communicate without words , and was impressed by its easy intimacy. There they were, in a very tense situation and one that had come to suspect that perhaps would not be able to leave and their feelings for each other were so close to the surface.Speaking of kings , Maxon said , why not explain to America what you are . I ‘m sure they would do a better job than me. I knew this was a way to stop Maxon is , to think of a way to get control of this situation, but I did not care . I was dying to understand. August smiled without humor. That’s an interesting story , he promised , the vitality of his voice hinting at how exciting it would be your story. As you know , Gregory had three children: Katherine , Spencer, and Damon.Katherine married a prince, Spencer died, and Damon was the one who inherited the throne . Then , when the son of Damon , Justin, died, his cousin Porter Schreave became prince marrying young widow of Justin , who had won the team just three years earlier. And now Schreaves are the royal family. No more Illéas must exist. But we do . We? Maxon asked calculates his tone , as if waiting numbers. August nodded .The clicking of heels announced that the lady was coming. Maxon a finger to his lips , as August would say more with it in the listening distance . The maid set the tray down and poured coffee for us all. Georgia hands were in his cup away, waiting to be filled. I do not really care for coffee , it was too bitter for my taste , but I knew it would help me to wake up , so I prepared for a drink . Before he could take , Maxon slid the sugar bowl in front of me .Like he knew . You were saying? Maxon prompted, taking her black coffee. Spencer did not die , said flatly August. He knew what his father had done to take over the country , he learned that his older sister, basically , were sold in marriage, and he knew it was expected of him . I could not do it, so I ran . Where it gone? I asked , speaking for the first time . He hid with his family and friends , eventually making a camp with some like-minded people in the north.It is cooler up there, more humid, and therefore difficult to navigate than anyone tries . We live in silence most of the time. Georgia nudged him , his face a little surprised . August came to. I guess I have now instructed to invade yourself . I want to remind you that we have not killed any of its officers or employees , and avoid injuring them at all costs. All I wanted was to end caste. For this we need proof that Gregory was the man who had always told him it was .We need now , and America hinted enough that we felt we could exploit that if we wanted . We do not really though. No, if we have to . Maxon took a deep drink and set his cup . Honestly , I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with this information . You are a direct descendant of Gregory Illea , but you do not want the crown. You’ve come looking for things that only the king could offer, but requested an audience with me and one of the Elite.My father is not even here . We said in August. This was the deliberate moment . Maxon snorted. If you do not want the crown and only want things that I can not give , why are you here? Georgia August and looked at each other , perhaps preparing for its biggest order yet. We came to ask these things because we know you’re a reasonable man. You’ve seen all his life, and we can see it in your eyes. I can see it now. I tried not to draw attention while studying Maxon ‘s reaction to these words.You do not like caste either. You do not like the way his father has the country under its thumb. You do not want to fight wars that you know are not a distraction . More than anything, you want peace in your life. We are assuming that once you are king , things really could change. And we’ve been waiting a long time for that. We are willing to wait longer. North rebels are willing to give our word never to attack the palace again and do everything possible to stop or slow the southern rebels .Therefore we can not from behind these walls . We swear our loyalty to you, without a doubt , if you would be willing to give us a sample of his willingness to work with us toward a future that finally give the people of Illea the opportunity to live their own lives. Maxon not seem to know what to say, so I spoke . What do the rebels in southern anyway? Just to kill us all ? August shook his head in a movement that was neither a smoothie or a nod .That’s part of it , sure, but just so you will have no one to fight . Too much of the population is oppressed , and this cell growth has bought into the idea that they could govern the country themselves. America, you’re Five ; I know you’ve seen your share of people who hate the monarchy. Maxon discreetly moved his eyes my way. I gave a brief nod. Of course you have. Because when you’re at the bottom , their only option is to blame for the top.In this case , they have a good reason , after all , was a Him who condemned their lives without real hope to improve them. Those responsible for the southern rebels have convinced their followers that the way to get back what they think is yours is to be taken of the monarchy. But I’ve had people drop out of the southern rebel leadership and end with me. I know for a fact that once you gain control southerners have no intention of sharing the wealth .When in history has that happened ? His plan is to destroy what has Illea , grab , make a lot of promises, and leave everyone in the same place they are now. For most people, I ‘m sure it will get worse. Six and Sevens will not move up , except for a select few rebels manipulated for the sake of the show. Two and three have everything robbed from them. It will make a lot of people feel vindicated , but it will not fix anything .If no pop stars shake out those songs that mind-numbing , then there musicians in booths behind them, no staff running back and forth with ribbons , no shop owners selling music . Take a person at the top destroys thousands at the bottom . August paused , looking consumed by worry . Gregory will be all over again, only worse. Southerners are prepared to be much fiercer than you can be , and the chances of recovery are slim the country .It’ll be the same old oppression under a new name . . . and its people will suffer like never before. He looked into the eyes of Maxon . They seemed to have some understanding between them, something that perhaps came to be born to lead. All we need is a sign , and we will do everything possible to help change things peacefully and fairly. Your people deserve a chance. Maxon looked at the table . I could not imagine the debate in the head. What kind of signal? He asked hesitantly.The money? No, August said, almost laughing. We have more money than you can guess . How is that possible? Donations , he replied simply . Maxon nodded, but I was surprised . Donations meant there were people who knew how many – support . How big was the rebel force North when taking into account those followers ? What part of the country was asking exactly what these two had been requesting ? If not money, Maxon said, finally , what do you want ? August jerked his head toward me.Pick it. I buried my face in my hands, Maxon would know this. There was a long moment of silence before he lost his temper. I will not have anyone telling me that I can and I can not marry ! This is my life we ’re playing games ! I looked up in time to see August standing on the table . And the palace has been playing with the lives of others for years. Grow, Maxon . You are the prince. You want your damn crown, then keep it .But with that privilege come responsibilities . The guards were walking our way cautiously , alerted by the tone and the aggressive stance Maxon August . They could certainly hear it for now. Maxon arose to counter . You do not get to choose my wife. End of story. August, completely undeterred, stepped back and folded his arms. Very good! We have no choice if it is not working . Who? August rolled his eyes . As if I would say , given the calm you react the first time.Come off it. This or that does not really matter . We just need to know that you have a partner who will be on the same page for this plan. My name is Latin , I told him fiercely , standing and looking him straight in the eyes, not this . I’m not a toy in her small revolution . You keep talking about everybody in Illea have a chance in life they want. What about me? What about my future? I do not count on that plan? I looked at their faces , waiting for an answer.They were silent . I noticed the guards around us , on the edge. I lowered my voice . I am in favor of killing castes, but I’m not something to be played. If what you want is a pawn up there as a girl in love with him , she would do anything he asked if that meant a proposal at the end of the day. And the other two . . . between duty and prestige , they would play, too. Go find one. Without waiting to be excused , I turned to leave, raiding far the best I could in a robe and slippers.America! Wait! Georgia calls . I went to the door before she reached me . Stop for a minute. What? We are sorry. We thought you two were in love. We did not realize we were asking for something that would be in opposition . We were sure they would be on board . You do not understand. He is so tired of being bullied and bossed around . You have no idea what happened. I felt the tears rising, and I blinked them away , focusing on the designs Jacket Georgia.I know more than you think, he said. Maybe not everything, but a lot. We have been watching the team closely , and it seems that you two get along so well . He looks so happy around you. And so. . . we know about how he rescued her servants . It took me a second to realize what that meant . Who was watching us in his name? And we saw what you did for Marlee . We saw a fight. And then his presentation a few days ago . She stopped laughing.That took guts. We could use a guy with guts. I shook my head . I was not trying to be a hero. Most of the time, I do not feel anything about brave. Y? It really does not matter how you feel about your character ; it only matters what you do with it . You , more than the other , act on what is right before you think about what it will mean for you. Maxon has some great candidates up there , but they will not get their hands dirty to make things better.Not like you. A lot of that was selfish . Marlee was important to me , and so are my servants. She moved closer . But these actions come with consequences? Yes. And probably he knew they would. But you acted for those who could not speak for themselves. That’s especially America. This praise was different from what was used . I could handle my father told me it was a beautiful singer or Aspen saying it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, . but this? It was almost overwhelming. Honestly, some of the things you’ve done , I can not believe that the King let you stay . The whole thing about the report . . . She whistled . I laughed. I was so angry . I was surprised you made it out alive ! It was by the skin of my teeth , let me tell you . And most days I feel like I’m seconds away from being expelled . But Maxon likes you , right? The way you keep, . I shrugged. There are days when I feel so safe and others where I have no idea. Today is not a good day. Nor was yesterday. Or the day before, if I tell the truth. She nodded . Well, we’re pulling for you , all the same. I and another person , corrected . True. Again he gave no clue as to his other favorite. What was the deal with that reverence in the woods? Just playing with me? I asked . She smiled. I know it may not seem that by the way we act at times, but that really care about the royal family.If we lose , the southern rebels will win . If they get real control . . . well , you heard August. She shook her head. Anyway , I felt sure I was looking at my future queen , so I thought the least he deserved was a bow. His reasoning was so silly, made me laugh again. I can not tell you how nice it is to talk to a girl I’m not competing with . Getting a little old ? He asked with a sympathetic expression.As has become smaller, it has worsened. I mean, I knew he would, but . . . It feels like it is moving away from trying to be the girl who Maxon pick to make sure the other girls will not be the one he takes . I do not know if that makes sense . She nodded . It does . But , hey, this is what has been subscribed to . I laughed. Actually , I did not. I was sort of . . . encouraged to put my name . I did not want to be a princess .Really Really. She smiled. Not wanting the crown means that you’re probably the best person to have it. I stared at her , convinced by his large eyes that she believed without question . I expected to ask for more, but Maxon and August left the large room , looking surprisingly quiet. A single guard followed afar . August was looking at Georgia as it had hurt she was away from her even for a few minutes. Maybe that was the only reason he was here today.Are you okay , the United States ? He asked Maxon . Yes. My ability to look into his eyes was gone again. We have to go get ready for the day, he said. The guards are sworn to secrecy , and I would appreciate the same from you . Clear. He seemed displeased with my coldness , but how else was I supposed to do now? Mr. Illea , was a pleasure. We’ll talk again soon. Maxon offered his hand . August made easily .If there is anything you need, do not hesitate to ask. We really are on your side , Your Majesty. Thank You. Georgia , come on. Some of these guards seem a little too easy to trigger. She chuckled . See you around America. I nodded , sure that I would never see her again and sad because of her. He passed Maxon and slid his hand in August . With a guard in tow , they walked through the open doors of the palace , leaving Maxon and I alone in the lobby.His eyes lifted to mine. I mumbled something and pointed up , moving as he did . His quick objection to choose only took me home the pain of his words yesterday in the library. I thought that after the safe that was some kind of understanding between us . But it seemed that everything had become even more confused than I had been when I was still trying to decide how much I liked Maxon in the first place . I did not know what that meant to us.Or if there was still worth worrying us . Chapter 7 For as fast as I was getting to my room , Aspen was faster. I should not have been surprised . Aspen palace knew so well, it was probably nothing to him now . Hey , I started a little unsure what to say. He quickly wrapped his arms around me , and then walked away. That’s my girl. I smiled . Yes? You put ’em in place, Mer . Risking his life , Aspen ran a thumb down my cheek.You deserve to be happy. We all do. Thank You. Smiling, he dropped his hand to move the bracelet Maxon had brought me to New Asia and reached to touch below the one that had a button that had given me. His eyes looked sad as he looked at our little souvenir . We will talk soon. Really talk . There is much we have to work . With that, Aspen moved down the hall. I sighed and put my head in my hands. Will my rejection is assumed meant that I was pushing Maxon off for good ? Did he think I wanted to rekindle things with him? Moreover, I had not just pushed away Maxon ? I had not thought yesterday that Aspen needed to stay in my life? So why everything feels horrible ? The mood in the room was dark Women .Amberly Queen sat down to write his letters and occasionally , I would realize its peek to take the four of us. After yesterday , we were avoiding doing anything that we can require to interact with each other. Celeste had plenty of magazines and stretched out on the couch. In a very wise move , Kriss had taken his daily and settled in writing, once again , standing near the queen. Why he had not thought of that ? Elise had left a collection of drawing pencils and was working on something out the window.I was in a chair near the door, reading a book. So, we do not even have to make eye contact. I tried to concentrate on the words in front of me , but mostly I wondered who the northern rebels wanted as a princess if I could not have. Celeste was very popular, and it would be easy to get people to follow . I wondered if you were aware of what could be manipulative . If they knew about me , maybe they did.Was there more to Celeste than I had guessed ? Kriss was sweet, and according to that survey a while ago, she was a favorite of the people. His family did not have much influence, but she was a princess who the rest of us . He had that air about him. Maybe that was his great attraction ; it was not perfect , but it was so adorable. There were days when even wanted to Kriss . I suspected that the child was Elise . She admitted she did not love Maxon and was here for duty.Actually I thought that when he spoke of duty she meant to his family or to their new Asian roots , not the northern rebels . Besides, he was so stoic and calm. There was nothing rebellious about it. And so I was suddenly positive was his favorite. She seemed to be trying at least to compete and had openly admitted his coldness towards Maxon . Maybe she did not have to prove that , at the end of the day, had a silent supporters put it under the crown army anyway .That’s it, the queen said suddenly. All of you , come here. She pushed away the table and stood nervously as we all walk . Something is wrong. What is? She asked . We looked at each other , none of us want to explain . Too perfect Kriss finally raised his voice . Your Majesty , we just suddenly realized how intense the competition is . We’re a little more conscious of where we stand each with the prince, and it’s hard to let it sink and still want to chat right now .The queen nodded in understanding . How often do you think of Natalie ? He asked. Natalie was gone only a week . I thought about it almost every day . Marlee also thought about all the time, and some of the other girls would pop into my head at random too. Always, Elise said softly . She was so happy . A smile appeared on his lips as he said this . I had always assumed that Natalie got on the nerves of Elise because she was so reserved and Natalie was so spacious .But maybe it was one of those opposites attract kind of friends . Sometimes laughing about the smallest thing , Kriss said . It was infectious. Exactly , said the queen. I’ve been where you are, and I know how hard it is . You second guess the things you do ; You second-guess everything he does . Wondering about every conversation , trying to read breaths between sentences . It is exhausting . It was as if I could see a lifting of all.Someone needs us . But know this: as much stress as you feel each other now , it will hurt every time one of you leaves . Nobody will ever understand this experience as the other girls who have gone through it , especially the Elite . You can fight , but that’s what sisters do . These girls , she said, pointing to each of us , you will be called almost every day for the first year , terrified of making a mistake and they need your support.When you have parties , these are the names I ‘ll put on top of their guest lists, just below the names of the family members . Because that is what you are now. You will never lose those relationships. We looked at each other . If I was the princess and something was up when I needed a rational perspective , I would call Elise first. If I was struggling with Maxon , Kriss could remember everything good about it. And Celeste. , Well, I was not so sure , but if anyone ever going to tell me to harden for something , she would . So take your time , she said. Fit to where you are. And I let it go. You decide not ; he chooses you . There is no point in hating others for . You know who wants more? He asked Celeste. And for the first time, I heard concern in his voice . No, Queen Amberly confessed. Sometimes I think I could guess, but I do not pretend to understand all Maxon feel.I know that the king would choose , but that’s all . Who would you choose ? I asked , then cursed me for being so blunt . She smiled gently. Honestly, I have not stopped thinking about it. It would break my heart to start to love one of you like a daughter and then miss. I could not stand it. I lowered my eyes , I’m not sure if those words were meant to be comforting or not. I would say that would be happy to have any of you in my family.I looked up and watched as she took the time to meet each pair of eyes. For now , no work to do. We were silent , absorbing his wisdom . I had never taken the time to look at the competitors in the final selection , to f ind your pictures or anything . I met a bunch of names , mostly because older women would drop in conversations when I sang at parties. It was never that important to me ; we had a queen, and even as a child, the possibility of becoming a princess never entered my mind.But now I wonder how many of the women presenting to visit the queen came for Halloween or were her previous competition, and their closest friends. Celeste went first , to return to the comfort of the couch . It did not seem as if the words of Queen Amberly meant a lot to her . For some reason that was the turning point for me. Everything from the last days slammed back into my heart, and I could feel that he was seconds away from cracking.I bowed. Excuse me, please , I muttered, before moving quickly to the door. I did not have a plan. Maybe I could go sit in the bathroom for a minute or put myself away in one of the many rooms on the ground floor . Maybe I would go to my room and mourn my eyes. Unfortunately , it seemed that the universe was conspiring against me . Just outside the room of the woman , Maxon was pacing up and down , looking like he was trying to solve a puzzle.Before he could hide somewhere , he saw me. All I wanted to do at this time , this was the last thing on my list. I was debating asking him to leave , he said. What do you need? I answered shortly. Maxon stood there , still working up the nerve to say something that was obviously driving him crazy . So there’s a girl who loves me beyond reason? I crossed my arms . After the last few days , you should have seen his change of heart comes .Yes. Not two ? I looked up at him, almost irritated that he needed me explain. Do not you already know how I feel ? I wanted to scream . Do not you remember the safe ? But honestly , I needed any confirmation at this time , too. What had happened to me so insecure so quickly? The king. His hints about what the other girls had done , his praise of his merits made me feel small . And it is compounded by all my mistakes with Maxon this week.The only way we would ever have met was due to selection ; but it seemed that the time passed , there was no way anything to feel safe. You told me you do not trust me, I accused . The other day I made a point to humiliate me , and yesterday they basically told me I was a disgrace. And it does a couple of hours , the suggestion sent you marry me angry . Forgive me for not feeling so secure in our relationship right now .You forget that I have never done this, the United States, said with passion, but without anger . There someone compare me . They do not even know how to have a normal relationship , and I only have one chance . You’ve had at least two. I ‘ll make mistakes . Errors do not care , I shot again. I care about the uncertainty. Most of the time I can not say what’s going on . He was silent for a moment, and I realized that we had reached a serious crossroads .We had implied so many things, but we could not go on for long. Even if we end together , these moments of insecurity chase . We keep doing this , I breathed , exhausted with this game. We approached and then something happens and falls apart , and never seems to be able to make a decision. If you want everything you have always claimed that , why not this time? Although he had accused of not caring about me at all , frustration melted in sadness.Because half the time I have been sure that she loved someone else and the other half I never doubted you could love me at all, replied , making me feel positively horrible. As I have not had my own reasons to doubt ? Kriss try as it is heaven on earth, and then I catch with Celeste – I explained that . Yes , but it still it hurts to see . Well , it hurts to see how quickly off. Where does that even come from? I do not know , but maybe I should stop thinking about me for a while .The silence was abrupt. What does that mean? I shrugged. There are three other girls here . If you’re so worried about your single shot , you may want to make sure you’re not losing me. I walked away, angry with Maxon for making me feel this way . . . and angry with myself for making things much worse . . .