Two male guards burst into the room, weapons drawn and trembling. Rei turned to face them as casually as she dared. Something had changed while she and Xia were talking. One false move, one misstep could prove to be fatal.
“We were just finished up,” Rei said to the closest male. Uno, as he was called due to his having only one eye, frowned at her. He conveyed his disbelief at her simple explanation with his silence. Rei inhaled, planning to offer a more elaborate excuse when, behind her, Xia fell to the floor, moaning and gasping for air.
“SILENCE YOUR LIES!” a voice boomed. The Other swept into the small, crowded space in a swirl of dark energy and even darker cloth. “Why was this room shielded?”
Rei swallowed hard and chose her words carefully. “Shielded? Is that a known power of this girl’s?” she asked, indicting the twitching Xia. “We were not informed of that.”
There was a sound like snorting, and The Other spoke again. “I see. Perhaps her powers are not yet understand as they should be. Take her to The Dome. She will reside there from this moment on. You two-” Uno and another guard looked up at this “-clean out her cell and deliver her belongings there.” The Other left the room before any of the guards could offer a salute. Uno and the other male left the room as well, leaving Rei alone with Xia.
Testing the ear for unwanted ears, Rei turned back to Xia and leaned down. “Are you harmed?” she asked the young woman.
Xia turned her face away. “Leave me alone,” she mumbled. “I didn’t ask for any of this. I won’t be used. By anyone.” She dragged herself to her feet. “Take me back to my cell.”
“You’re being moved.”
“I know. To The Dome. I still need shoes to get there, and my shoes are in my cell. I really hope they don’t destroy my manga. That stuff is hard to find these days.” Muttering, more to herself than to Rei, Xia started the slow, painful walk out of the bathroom and down the hall.
Rei walked behind her, considering the turn of events. She curved a shield around her thoughts, and sent her mind flying through the air to touch the mind of her group’s leader. She relayed the fresh intelligence to the older woman, and listened intently as her new instructions floated back to her. She felt her shield being probed, and quickly ended the conversation. Darting her eyes left and right, she failed to see the figure that was watching her from the shadows.