Chapter 29

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LILY was getting along quite well with Madela Yath.

Madela didn't seem to suspect anything, not when Lily came into her shop again to get a dress adjusted, or even when Lily bumped into her near the stream, or on market days.

She was sure she had Madela convinced that she hated Tsuchengko, that she was bitter about what had been done to her, that she wanted revenge.

Adrian kept sneaking in during the late night and sneaking out after telling her more and more about the Gongjensu. The more Lily learnt, the more horrified she was.

He told her about their numbers, how much stronger they were getting, how confident their commanders seemed. They seemed to trust him.

Just like Madela seemed to trust Lily.

It was market day, again, and Lily was purchasing her supplies when she spotted Madela leaving, heading back to the shop.

Lily headed in her direction, walking briskly. She tapped Madela on the shoulder with a bright, "Good morning."

"Oh, hello," Madela said, turning.

"Done shopping?" Lily asked, eyeing Madela's full basket.

The girl nodded. "Yes. Prices are cheaper, aren't they?"

Lily nodded quickly. "It's probably because more and more are joining the Gongjensu. Vendors are desperate to sell now."

Madela nodded slowly, glancing around them.

Lily swallowed. "What do you think about the Gongjensu?"

Madela shrugged. "Nothing much."

Lily pursed her lips. "Do you think they'll really be able to take over the kingdoms?"

"Do you?" Madela asked quickly, raising an eyebrow.

Lily shrugged, keeping her voice low. "I think they can."

Madela nodded. "If they do, what will you do?"

Lily glanced at her and looked away. "I don't quite know. We'll have to wait and see if that happens."

Madela nodded, glancing around once more. "Will you go back to Tsuchengko?"

Lily looked at the ground. "I suppose so. If I'm honest, I want to see the King fall."

Madela inhaled and grasped Lily's arm. "Come with me."

Lily's heart thudded as she followed Madela deep into the forest, far away from everyone else.

Finally, Madela stopped, turning to face her. "Listen here," she hissed, her usually sweet tone replaced with something deadly. "You breathe one word of this to anyone and I'll kill you, understand?"

Lily nodded, taking in a breath.

"Now. If I told you I could give you a chance to join the Gongjensu, what would you say?"

Lily's eyes widened, but she tried not to seem to eager. "Truly? You're not joking with me?"

"If I was joking, I wouldn't have dragged you here," Madela snarled. "Now, your answer."

"I—" Lily stuttered, looking at the ground. "Are you an Arrian spy?" She asked, narrowing her eyes at Madela.

The girl shook her head impatiently. "No. Do you want to join the Gongjensu?"

Her tone was harsh. Lily nodded quickly. "I—I suppose I do."

Madela's shoulders relaxed. "Meet me at midnight, right here. And we have eyes and ears everywhere—if you tell anyone, you won't see the sun tomorrow."

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