Divide and Conquer

Free Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan

Book: Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carrie Ryan
her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs.
    “They used to be rare,” she explained. “Sometimes I’d go to this old barn that stood on the edge of my uncle’s property, and I’d just
know
that at any minute the door would be flung open and two people would come strolling out toward me. It felt like they —” She cut herself off, feeling embarrassed. She pressed her finger against the dirt, dragging it in the endless loops of the infinity sign.
    Riq sat next to her, close enough that she could feel a bit of warmth from him. “They were what?” he prodded.
    She shifted and shrugged, feeling uncomfortable sharing something so personal. “It just felt like I should know them,” she said softly. “That they loved me more than anything else in the world.”
    There, she’d said it. The one secret that she’d never even shared with Dak. He had two parents who adored him and supported him, whereas she’d never known her parents. It was an absence her life always tilted around.
    Riq didn’t tell her she was stupid; he simply accepted everything she said as if he understood. “Your Remnants . . . they’ve been getting worse, haven’t they?” he asked.
    Sera sighed. “It started when we were on the
Santa María
and I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. And now I get Remnants sometimes when I just say something. Usually when I’m bossing Dak around.” She tried to laugh a bit to ease the seriousness of their discussion.
    Riq smiled, but it was halfhearted. He seemed distracted.
    She decided to ask him the question that had been on her mind for days. “When we were on the
Santa María
, you mentioned that if we fixed the Breaks we wouldn’t have to deal with Remnants anymore. You said that we were saving the world, but we were also saving ourselves.” Sera took a deep breath. “So do you have them, too? Remnants?”
    He nodded slowly, and she waited for him to say more. “Is it okay if . . .” He cleared his throat and shifted as if uncomfortable. “If I don’t talk about it?”
    Sera tried not to feel hurt and disappointed but it must have showed in her expression, because he leaned toward her until his shoulder bumped hers and added, “Yet. I’m just not ready to talk about it yet.”
    She bumped him back. If Riq wasn’t ready yet, then she’d wait.
    “But here’s the thing that really scares me,” he said. “Mine have been getting worse. Much, much worse. I can’t go more than a few hours without experiencing one. I’m worried that something we’re doing here is causing it to happen. That we’ve made a huge mistake.” He turned, finally looking her in the eye. “What if we’ve made the effects of the Break worse rather than better?”

D AK WASN’T sure how much more he could take. He’d planned to start the day extra early by slipping away from camp while it was still dark, grabbing the SQuare, and finding a way back to Sera and Riq.
    Things hadn’t worked out that way. Apparently what Dak considered “extra early,” the Vikings considered past time to get the day started. He was roused by the clamber of chain mail and armor, and the general hustle and bustle of men preparing for battle.
    He tried to sneak away but only succeeded in joining with a band of soldiers headed toward the Seine. At first he had his hopes up that they’d use the boats to attack the bridge and tower and it would be easy for him to recover the SQuare.
    But of course Dak was never that lucky. Instead he found himself stuck nearly all day with the job of gathering debris from the battlefield: broken siege engines, trampled plants, even the bodies of executed prisoners — anything and everything he could carry. All because someone had come up with the brilliant idea of filling in the shallows of the river so that the Vikings’ infantry could get around the tower.
    It was the most horrific job Dak could ever imagine — much, much worse than scrubbing the deck of the
Santa María
or sneaking around in

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