“I always am,” Eden said aloud to himself. It had become a fact of his existence, a substantive part of who he was as a man: Eden Voss the Careful. Eden Voss the Diligent and Cautious. It was for this reason, no doubt, that he had stayed alive as long as he had. He made no waves, caused no problems. Always followed the rules and behaved in accordance with the laws laid down by the president and the esteemed and noble government.
That is…until tonight. Tonight, everything had changed. Eden had changed.
Blaise was nowhere to be seen when Eden had emerged from the dark and private hallways of Sister Anna’s second story. The bar room had been mostly empty, save for a few patrons slovenly watching the Games. Eden knew Blaise could take care of himself; it had been his idea to make the trek to Tartarus in the first place.
Do you want to go to Tartarus with me? As children, after the Great Fracturing, Blaise has asked him that question with a wide-eyes and mischievous grin. Back then, they had been so innocent and ignorant of the ways in which this new world worked. Everything seemed mysterious, some sort of game. Now, he couldn’t say the same.
As was usual, an armed guard of Elysian Police blocked the entrance to the stairwell. No unauthorized entrance in or out was permitted. Luckily, Eden’s status within the EP ranks allowed him the freedom to move about as he pleased. The EP soldiers looked up as he approached. Most likely, they recognized him on sight, but he withdrew his tags for their observation anyway.
“Lieutenant Voss, Sir,” one of the young EP’s saluted.
Eden forced himself not to flinch. Lieutenant. The title, only several days old, was still strange to his ears. Lieutenant Eden Voss. With the new title came new perks. Such as unquestioned authority and the ability to move about as he pleased.
Both soldiers nodded their assent and stood back to allow Eden unimpeded entrance to the stairwell. Eden returned the salute, smiling his most charming smile, and slipped up the stairs, no questions asked.
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