---- Abbey Mae thanks for the advice, I'll do my best to make it totally original, tell me if it's a bit too plagerised!! :) As for everyone else, enjoy the chapter and, oh yeah! I finished Pretties and am on to Specials. Hooray! :) ----

They flew for three hours, hovering above the river and it's convenient minerals that kept their boards going. Mindelle found herself, for the second time that evening, shivering and soaking after being dunked in the river.

"Please, Mindelle," Tayen begged, "Would you just ride with me?"

"What about my b-b-board?" Mindelle argued. Both Tayen and Albany looked at Guy who sighed and said, "I can control two boards at once, you know."

Mindelle sighed. Her number-one hater just so happened to be great at something she couldn't figure out for the life of her. Typical.

"Maybe we should stop," Albany spoke up, "I mean, Mindelle could catch a cold."

"Mindelle this, Mindelle that. Really, she's just slowing us down. She's probably doing it on purpose!" Guy seethed. For the billionth time, Mindelle wished it had been Guy who had chickened out instead of Geo or Zaccai. But of course, if Guy had decided not to come, it would have been due to his total hate for her, not because he was afraid to.

Mindelle gritted her teeth. Either way, she wanted to get to The Smoke as quick as possible. She didn't want to get everyone caught. They were hardly an hour's hovercar-drive away, mostly thanks to her utter lack of hoverboarding skills.

"No, please, let's hurry." She urged. Guy smiled at her for the first time ever. And after an exchanged glance, Tayen and Albany smiled, too.

Another couple of hours later, with Mindelle sharing Tayen's board and sleep weighing down on all four of them like an incredibly heavy now-extinct Rusty elephant.

"We have to go on," Guy spoke up, as if reading their thoughts, "I mean, soon it'll be day time. We have to cover some ground."

"How do you three even know where it is?" Mindelle asked wearily.

The three shared another secret look. Then Albany spoke. "Remember how we told you about our brush with Specials?" That same 'brush' which I believe to be false, Mindelle thought but didn't say.

"Well, anyhow," Albany went on, "We met David. We had – have – directions from him. Somehow, the Specials found out. They've given us a tracker."

Mindelle's beautiful eyes widened, "You mean…you're going to betray the Smoke?"

Of course, she'd only known the group and known about the Smoke for a few days. But she still felt attached and didn't think they were traitors, either.

"Of course not," Guy huffed. His hoverboard dipped and swirved for a bit while he shuffled around in his pocket. Then he located what he was looking for and pulled out a tiny, hardly noticeable device disguised as a pin.

Tayen, who Mindelle was clutching on to, looked back and said, "Let us know when you see a bird." with a jubilant grin on her face.

After a long, long time, when the sun began to rise, the ugly clique and Mindelle landed, setting up sleeping bags not to far from the river itself but still concealed by the trees.

"Goodnight, Natural." Guy sneered just before Mindelle dozed off.

The last thing she remembered was saying, "Goodnight, Uglies."


In the morning Mindelle was the last one awake. Guy snorted when he saw her. "Sleeping beauty, literally."

Mindelle remembered that littlie story well. It was from Pre-Rusty times. Even back then, being a pretty was a number one want. Mindelle just rolled her eyes at Guy's comment.

"What's for breakfast?" she asked Albany, who was busy with everyone's water filters.

"Omelets!" Albany replied gleefully. Mindelle nodded and looked at the river. She watched the fish swim by.

"Why not a fish?" she said softly, mostly to herself.

"Hmm?" Tayen questioned, returning from a little distance away, where she'd gone to the washroom.

"You said to watch out for birds. Well, why don't you stick it to a fish?" Mindelle suggested, thinking of the tracker.

"That wouldn't work. Sticking the tracker to a fish would kill it. It wouldn't take the Specials very far off course." Guy argued. If there are any Specials, Mindelle thought automatically. But now that her friends had revealed the tracker, which was – in Mindelle's opinion – solid evidence, she was a bit more sure that Special Circumstances was a sorry truth.

Mindelle shrugged. She didn't really care if her idea was shot down. It had only been a suggestion, after all.

"Well then," Tayen spoke, "Let's eat and then get this show on the road!"

It was only then that Mindelle realized the sun was already beginning to set. She'd slept for a long, long time.