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Home > Four: The Traitor (Divergent 0.4)(3)

Four: The Traitor (Divergent 0.4)(3)
Author: Veronica Roth

Then I hear a knock, and a voice shouting, “Open up!”

This feels more like a nightmare than the tedium I just escaped—I’m sure it’s Dauntless soldiers coming to my door because they found out I’m Divergent, or that I’m spying on Max, or that I’ve been in touch with my factionless mother in the past year. All things that say “faction traitor.”

Dauntless soldiers coming to kill me—but as I walk to the door, I realize that if they were going to do that, they wouldn’t make so much noise in the hallway. And besides, that’s Zeke’s voice.

“Zeke,” I say when I open the door. “What’s your problem? It’s the middle of the night.”

There’s a line of sweat on his forehead, and he’s out of breath. He must have run here.

“I was working the night shift in the control room,” Zeke says. “Something happened in the transfer dorm.”

For some reason, my first thought is her, her wide eyes staring at me from the recesses of my memory.

“What?” I say. “To who?”

“Walk and talk,” Zeke says.

I put on my shoes and pull on my jacket and follow him down the hall.

“The Erudite guy. Blond,” Zeke says.

I have to suppress a sigh of relief. It’s not her. Nothing happened to her. “Will?”

“No, the other one.”

“Edward.”

“Yeah, Edward. He was attacked. Stabbed.”

“Dead?”

“Alive. Got hit in the eye.”

I stop. “In the eye?”

Zeke nods.

“Who did you tell?”

“Night supervisor. He went to tell Eric, Eric said he would handle it.”

“Sure he will.” I veer to the right, away from the transfer dormitory.

“Where are you going?” Zeke says.

“Edward’s already in the infirmary?” I walk backward as I talk.

Zeke nods.

I say, “Then I’m going to see Max.”

The Dauntless compound isn’t so large that I don’t know where people live. Max’s apartment is buried deep in the underground corridors of the compound, near a back door that opens up right next to the train tracks outside. I march toward it, following the blue emergency lamps run by our solar generator.

I pound on the metal door with my fist, waking Max the same way Zeke woke me. He yanks the door open a few seconds later, his feet bare and his eyes wild.

“What happened?” he says.

“One of my initiates was stabbed in the eye,” I say.

“And you came here? Didn’t someone inform Eric?”

“Yeah. That’s what I want to talk to you about. Mind if I come in?”

I don’t wait for an answer—I brush past him and walk into his living room. He flips on the lights, displaying the messiest living space I’ve ever seen, used cups and plates strewn across the coffee table, all the couch cushions in disarray, the floor gray with dust.

“I want initiation to go back to what it was before Eric made it more competitive,” I say, “and I want him out of my training room.”

“You don’t really think it’s Eric’s fault that an initiate got hurt,” Max says, crossing his arms. “Or that you’re in any position to make demands.”

“Yes, it’s his fault, of course it’s his fault!” I say, louder than I mean to be. “If they weren’t all fighting for one of ten slots, they wouldn’t be so desperate they’re ready to attack each other! He has them wound up so tight, of course they’re bound to explode eventually!”

Max is quiet. He looks annoyed, but he isn’t calling me ridiculous, which is a start.

“You don’t think the initiate who did the attacking should be held responsible?” Max says. “You don’t think he or she is the one to blame, instead of Eric?”

“Of course he—she—whoever—should be held responsible,” I say. “But this never would have happened if Eric—”

“You can’t say that with any certainty,” Max says.

“I can say it with the certainty of a reasonable person.”

“I’m not reasonable?” His voice is low, dangerous, and suddenly I remember that Max is not just the Dauntless leader who likes me for some inexplicable reason—he’s the Dauntless leader who’s working closely with Jeanine Matthews, the one who appointed Eric, the one who probably had something to do with Amar’s death.

“That’s not what I meant,” I say, trying to stay calm.

“You should be careful to communicate exactly what you mean,” Max says, moving closer to me. “Or someone will start to think you’re insulting your superiors.”

I don’t respond. He moves still closer.

“Or questioning the values of your faction,” he says, and his bloodshot eyes drift to my shoulder, where the Dauntless flames of my tattoo stick out over the collar of my shirt. I have hidden the five faction symbols that cover my spine since I got them, but for some reason, at this moment, I am terrified that Max knows about them. Knows what they mean, which is that I am not a perfect Dauntless member; I am someone who believes that more than one virtue should be prized; I am Divergent.

“You had your shot to become a Dauntless leader,” Max says. “Maybe you could have avoided this incident had you not backed out like a coward. But you did. So now you have to deal with the consequences.”

His face is showing his age. It has lines it didn’t have last year, or the year before, and his skin is grayish brown, like it was dusted with ash.

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