Chapter 15

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LILY hadn't stopped teasing Arianna about the kiss. She hadn't revealed that she had seen it, but she had made certain comments about how 'close' the two seemed to be, resulting in Arianna's face staining red for the majority of the morning.

She had only let off when she had to go to training, something that Arianna had seemed very thankful about. This time, she was early, and she could see the others filing in.

Out of her group, Brennon appeared first. She waved, and he spotted her quickly, walking over. "Hi, Lily. The others haven't come yet?" She shook her head silently, leaning against a nearby tree.

Brennon began flipping his sword in his hands, and Lily pursed her lips, "That's dangerous."

He grinned boyishly, holding the sword by its blade, "I know." Lily shook her head, turning away, but watching him from the corner of her eyes just in case he managed to hurt himself.

She saw the twins coming in next, and they joined the two of them. Venix began comparing his sword with Brennon's, and Vena rolled her eyes, "Boys."

Lily laughed, sharing a glance with Vena.

"Last night was cool, right?" Venix asked.

"He wouldn't know, he started feeling queasy when he ate too much and had to go home right when we started roasting our food," Vena added, grinning.

Venix's smile dropped, and he glared at his sister, "I was asking Lily, not you."

Vena only tipped her head to the side smugly, and Brennon chuckled. "I didn't see you last night," Vena said, looking at him.

"I was sick too, so I was in bed the whole time," He said, sharing a glance with Venix.

"I'm not the only one!" Venix proclaimed.

"You missed out on a lot," Vena said, but Brennon only shrugged.

"There'll be more bonfires."

They were interrupted when Ada and Iressa came in just as Colonel Ulima called for training to begin.

After the beginning exercises, Lily was paired with Vena. Vena was a talented fighter, so Lily didn't foresee many wins that day.

Sure enough, she lost most of them, and she was about to win one when her hair flew into her face and blocked her vision.

"You should cut your hair," Vena said, after she had pinned her sword to Lily's throat, Lily's momentary distraction being enough to let her win.

Lily eyed Vena's chin-length brown hair doubtfully. In Tsuchengko, you could never see a woman with short hair. Long hair was a symbol of beauty, of grace.

Besides, Lily loved her long, dark hair. She'd had it her whole life, cutting it short would feel strange.

"No, I'd rather not," Lily said, and Vena shrugged. They were about to start again when a loud shout interrupted them.

Lily looked to the side, her eyes widened when she saw Brennon on the floor, clutching his arm, face screwed up in pain. She gasped when she saw the blood leaking out from between his fingers.

She rushed to him, kneeling beside him and gently prying his arm out. The others gasped from beside her. There was a long gash in his forearm, and blood was running out of it without stopping.

"I'm so sorry, Brenn," Venix said. "He needs to go to the infirmary!" He shouted, and Lily could hear other people running up to them.

"Come on, let them carry him," Ada tugged at her sleeve gently, and Lily rose to her feet, backing away as Venix and another man lifted Brennon to his feet, supporting him.

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