Hey guys, this is the second version of the story, the first of which I deleted because I was not satisfied. Hopefully I have better luck this time ;)

Now, there are some of you that read the first version and know (part of) what's going to happen. There's really no big plot changes from the original plan, it's just that I didn't like the way I wrote it out.

So that's about it. You DON'T have to read the first version to understand this, mainly because I'm just rewriting this altogether and because I took the first version down.

Claimer: I own the story and the characters.

*~P~A~G~E~~~B~R~E~A~K~*

To me, innocence was something of the past. Or maybe I never had it to began with. But that's no surprise. There is a lot of things in the world I never had, and even more that I lost. If you asked the me in the past, she would say that innocence is purity of the mind. Today, to me, innocence is blissful ignorance.

But not all ignorance is blissful.

Especially not the kind I had before. To me, ignorance was never a bliss. Yet it was not a curse either. It was both.

Of course, one can argue that I lead a relatively peaceful and calm life before everything started. But that was never the life I am meant to live. My very being is intervened with a world where not knowing something can be the death of you. But sometimes, knowing too much was equally dangerous. The trick is to know enough to keep yourself safe. And that was something I never managed to accomplish. I mean, it didn't cost me my life or anything like that.

It costed me everything I am.

*~P~A~G~E~~~B~R~E~A~K~*

I don't remember much of my childhood. Most of my life happened inside the institution where I was raised by Nanny Lucy. As far as I'm concerned, she was the only person that ever cared for me. But it's not like Lucy is a kind woman or anything. In fact, she's very strict. But she was the only one that ever bothered with me, that ever made an effort to give me a life.

Lucy doesn't have any blood relations with me, but I care for her as if she does. Of course, being me, I don't even know what it's like to care for a family member. So that puts Lucy in a class all by herself. Not that I have anyone else to place.

But as lovely as Lucy is, I absolutely loathe her 'classes'. In the institution where I live, every kid is assigned a nanny. I don't see them often enough to remember anyone, but every single child I've ever saw left an everlasting scar. Their vacant faces, lifeless eyes, and scary aura made me shiver and shudder. I check the cracked mirror in my room everyday to make sure I don't look anything like them. When I was small, I asked Lucy about the other kids once. She told me not to worry and that she would never allow me to look like them.

As wonderful as Lucy is, she is bent on drilling me with lessons on the outside world. I don't pay attention because I don't believe that I'll ever leave the institution. And despite what she claims, I can sense that Lucy doesn't believe that either. But she still holds on to it. I don't have the heart to burst her bubble, so I just play along. But that still doesn't mean that I pay attention to her lessons. In fact, I sleep through most of it.

Just like right now. I think Lucy is drawing a map of Africa on the chalkboard, but it looks so blurry. I prop my elbows on the table and rested my face in my palms as Lucy attempts to sketch the Nile River. She's just barely reaching five feet, but her stature makes her look like she's seven feet. Her gray hair is gathered in a tight side bun, and she wears glasses that frame her misty eyes. But there's something about Lucy that makes you admire her. The way her eyes are so deep and icy, how her hair still have weaves of blonde from her younger days. And while her skin is flawed, it's soft and glows in a healthy pale light. I can't began to imagine how unbearably beautiful Lucy was in her younger days.

We do look alike though, enough to pass as grandma and granddaughter, but I'm definitely not as pretty as Lucy was. Her misty eyes resemble my icy cold ones to some extent, and the weaves of blonde in her hair looks like my silvery blonde hair. But while my skin is pale, it's transparent and doesn't glow in any healthy light.

When I was small, I dreamed that Lucy was secretly my grandmother. But she made it clear enough that we had no blood relations. The only family members that I remember are my parents and my big brother. My parents died when I was four, and my brother ran away some time before that. The little memories I have of them are fuzzy and blurry. I think my mother looked like me and my brother was tall, but anything beyond that is out of my reach.

My eyelids start to droop as I day-dreamed about playing with my mother's blonde hair. Lucy's words about the Nile River came to me in bits and pieces as I start to drift off. Pieces of words flowed around my mind in a slow pace.

*SNAP!*

I jumped as Lucy banged her meter stick next to my face. Me eyes timidly looked up to meet her scowl while a few pens rolled off the table.

"Hi?" I offered in a quiet voice as her eyes narrowed. Lucy's stick slid off my desk with a scratching noise.

"Honey, care to tell me what you were doing?" Her voice was sickenly sweet and dripping with syrup. I scooted back and tried to mimic her tone.

"Oh nothing much-"

"You were slacking off again, weren't you?" I shook my head and pretended to look offended.

"How could you accuse me of so? Of course I was paying atten-" Lucy snapped her stick against the chalkboard, where she drew a poor outline of Africa.

"Alright, then tell me which pharaoh built the first successful pyramid in Egypt, hmm?" I racked my brain, trying to remember the long list of pharaohs Lucy gave me a few days prior.

"Uhhh…Cleopatra?"

"Wrong!" She snapped at me angrily.

"Alita Faux! What did I tell you before?" I leaned back and folded my hands behind my head.

"I know know," I replied tiredly. "I need to start paying attention in class if I want to survive outside one day." My eyes trailed after a fly buzzing around my face, then blinked and looked away.

"But really, Lucy. Who cares? It's not like I'm ever leaving this place." She paused a moment and looked away too. I mentally kicked myself for upsetting Lucy again. She's more sensitive about this institution then me.

"You're dismissed for the rest of the day. Go to your room." Her voice had softened considerably. I jumped up and rushed out of the room.

You see, I don't live in a normal orphanage. Instead, when my parents died, I was shipped off to this big mansion in the middle of Nowhere. They told me that my case was 'special', and no one explained further than that. Not even Lucy. I don't really know what makes me or my case so special, but I don't interact with the outside world often enough to judge what's special and what's not. There's guards stationed around the perimeter of the yard 24/7 and I'm rarely allowed out of sight. Lucy takes me on 'field trips' every month or so, where I get a taste of the outside world.

Lucy told me that we live in a place where the people called 'America' a few hundred years ago. Today, they just refer to it as New Prima. America was supposedly destroyed centuries ago in an internal rebellion, and the rest of the world died off in world-wide earthquake that started from the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of New Prima, where apparently a nuclear battle took place. No one is sure what exactly happened, but frankly, I don't really think anyone cares Anyway.

Our ancestors had a complicated voting system for choosing the leaders, but nowadays it's so much simpler I suppose. They had 50 states back then, but now New Prima is divided into regions, each region labeled with a color. A council of ten serves as the governors of each region, selected by the citizens. The council then picks out a representative called the Speecher, who represents the region in the government in Region Scarlet. And the president, who has a final say in everything, is selected by the nine Speechers, one from each region. Lucy told me that the institution is part of Region Tangerine, where it was once a place called New York.

I don't know much about how the government works, and Lucy always purposely evade the subject. But if Lucy doesn't want me to know something, then whose judgment can I trust but her's?

Even so, Lucy's been acting really weird lately. Being over sensitive and bursting into tears once. She won't tell me anything, which makes me wordy more. But if there's something she doesn't want me to know, then I suppose I shouldn't know.

I turn around a corner and head towards my room. It's a small, blank room with a bed, a drawer, a desk, and a closet. I tried to decorate it a little over the years, but all I've managed to come up with is painting lousy flowers on a wall with red nail polish (that I stole from Lucy), paste random picture on the inside my closet, and stuff other things I've managed to scrap up over the years. It's pathetic, but it's either that or accept that my life will be controlled by this place forever.

I plop down on my bed and started counting the flowers on my wall while a series of thoughts ran through my mind. There's a hell lot of homework from Lucy…I think Fall is coming…that flower is just messed up…hey…that one isn't too bad…Nile River…Cleopatra didn't… built the pyra…mid….

I fell asleep under five minutes.

*~P~A~G~E~~~B~R~E~A~K~*

My sleep was dreamless and long, and I awoke to the sound of tapping on my window. A shadow dawned over the glass and sparkling…gold? I frowned and rubbed my eyes. Gold?

Suddenly, a chill ran over me. The shadow was clearly the silhouette of a human, most likely a grown man. What is a man doing here, tapping on my window? I sat up now, fully awake. Brushing away the blanket, I slowly creeped towards the window. Hearing my ruckus, the shadow bleeded away. I silently cursed myself for being so noisy.

The chill that came over me settled down, leaving me calm enough to make out several questions. Who was that person? What's he doing here? How did he get here? I took deep breaths to calm myself, debating whether or not to tell Lucy about this.

A fluttering behind the window caught my attention, and I rushed over to open the shutters and grab whatever was outside. Opening my hand, a golden envelope sparkled under the moonlight. In a beautiful cursive wrote: To Miss Alita Faux

Brushing aside my questioning as to how the person knew my name, I opened the envelope clumsily and ripped out a letter. Borrowing the moonlight, I read the letter silently and quickly.

Dear Miss Alita Faux,

We again urge you to accept admission into T.O.P. There is absolutely no more time to lose, as you're already 13, any older than that will complicate issues unnecessarily. Unless you enroll soon, you will be putting your loved ones in danger. Please consider our offer seriously. We will send over a tutor soon to hear your decision.

Please, this is the last chance. You have not answered to our past requests, and this will be the last. Choose your path carefully.

Sincerely,

Head Officials of T.O.P.

I had to reread the letter a few times to get it. Here is what I got:

First, a group, presumely school, is trying to get me to enroll. Second, if I reject enrollment, I will be in danger, and so will my loved ones. Third, the situation is getting more dangerous more as I get near age 13. And fourth, this is apparently not the first time they contacted me.

What the hell?

No, really, what the hell? I know that my life was pretty screwed up, but this, this is just over whatever line that separates reality from fantasy.

Normally, I would've waved this off as a prank, but there was some loose spots here. First of all, Lucy have been acting weird lately, and really becomes sensitive every time we talk about the outside world. And the letter claims that this isn't the first letter, so Lucy must've gotten the previous ones. That would explain her weird behavior, to some extent.

But the way the letter said 'dangerous', 'no more time', and 'choose me path', it's almost as if…as if there's something supernatural about it.

Things suddenly started to click into place.

This would explain, frankly, a lot. Why I'm caged away in this place, how there was always armed guards around, and how Lucy was trying to prepare me and her strange behavior lately. If it's absolutely confirmed that Lucy received the previous letters, she must've known about this all along. This might even explain my parents' death, and who knows? Maybe my brother ran away to this 'T.O.P' thing too! But why would Lucy hide all this from me?

Whatever it is, Lucy's been keeping secrets. Maybe just recently.

Or maybe she's been lying to me all my life.

*~P~A~G~E~~~B~R~E~A~K~*

Alright, that's the first chapter. I really, really, REALLY want to know from you guys if you think the events are rushed. I thought about having the letter appear later and just pacing things slowly, but the institution is not supposed to be the main setting, and this whole letter-Lucy thing is not the main point, or any notable point, at all in this story. I just really needed to get this part out but tried to make it as detailed and nice as possible.

Oh and that little snippet at the beginning was just me trying to set the mood by having Alita talk a little about her past in general, and the point of time she is talking from is in the WAY future.

Just once again, I rewrote this story because I simply can't continue on with so many plot holes and loose ends. Hope you understand!