50 across: Perus Capitol.  

My unused pen tapped anxiously against the heavy mahogany desk, the white sheets of paper in front of me nearly blank. Taking the cap off the pen felt like cheating in a way, eluding to the next answer before the question had even been presented. In all honestly, the exercise was more for my sanity than enjoyment.

So many thoughts in one place. Voices bounced off the inside of my skull in a myriad that caused a kind of headache; a numb throb that forced my brows to pinch in frustration. I was long use to hearing others, to the point I could almost ignore them entirely but this was an entirely different form of torture. 

So many thoughts of human blood, malice, gloating, pride. My teeth clenched together in a way that sounded like boulders colliding at impossible speeds. It didn't help that they intentionally, and quite often, thought of things aimed specifically at me. They designed thoughts curated entirely to infuriate me, push me to an edge. I had almost wished that was the worst of it. 

My family's thoughts hurt the most. Anxiety, fear, helplessness, defeat. Those closest to me suffered and I was unable to bring any ease. It added to my own worst fears, my own sense of loss. 


These puzzles were much easier to solve than my own. My jaw tightened further and before I could stop myself, the pen smashed against the stone wall across the room, small plastic shards returning to smack me in the face. Bella should have gone with her. I knew, of course, I didn't entirely mean this. Bella was also a very rare gift, a shield that is immune to all others, offensive or defensive. Of course, this only applied to those gifts that worked on the mind but as it was, most of our kind only found gifts in the form of mental illusion. I wanted to keep her away, to keep her safe, but Alice. 

My face found my hands at the thought. Alice. My mind raced, pain searing through my petrified veins. I still couldn't wrap my head around it. Out of all of us, how Alice? didn't she see this coming? Could she not have found a way out of this? It seemed like giving up, for her to have found herself in this predicament. She had to have known. 

Before I could drive myself into an uncontrollable rage I stood, my feet carrying me out the door before the last splatters of ink could even touch the floor. 

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