Chapter 30

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VENIX was onto her.

"Why don't you come to morning training anymore?" He asked again.

Lily pressed her lips together. "For the third time, Ven, I can't." She sighed, rubbing her head. It was aching after a nightmare she'd had of the attack. This time, Brennon had stabbed her, not Ada.

"But why not?" He pressed, glancing around at the others. No one seemed to notice their hushed conservation when they really should have been sparring.

"Look, I'll tell you later," she said, giving up. "Now let's get back to work, or else someone will notice."

Venix shrugged, grinning. "Alright, then."

Minutes later, Venix was flat on his back, panting amongst the grass.

Lily laughed, offering him a hand. "Are you alright?"

He gave her a scowl, but took her hand nonetheless. "You're getting so good it's almost scary."

Lily let a modest smile come over her face. "It's not my fault you aren't as good as I am." She was joking, of course—she and Venix were well-matched on most days.

He snorted. "Right."

Lily chuckled and glanced around. Vena and Iressa were paired together, with Ada taking a break. There were only five of them, now, so they alternated sparring partners.

The thought sent a pang to her heart, so she forced a smile and sat down beside Ada. "It's almost time for lunch, I'm done."

Venix shrugged and sat on Ada's other side. "Let's wait for these two, then."

When Vena and Iressa was done, they sat for lunch, Lily unpacking her salad. Since Arianna didn't stay with her anymore, she had to remember to make her own lunch, with her practically non-existent cooking skills.

"There's another bonfire coming up—day after tomorrow, I think," Ada said, lifting the silence.

Lily looked up. She hadn't heard about it, but it would be fun. They definitely needed something to lift their spirits.

"I don't know, I might not come," Iressa murmured, her eyes tired.

Vena sighed. "Iri, you have to come. You can't hide away."

Iressa's eyes flashed. "I'm not hiding away. I just don't feel like coming. There shouldn't be a problem with that."

Lily exchanged a look with Ada and opened her mouth. "It'll do you good, though, just a night of fun."

"Yes, at least come for us," Ada added, giving Iressa her signature wide-eyed, pleading look.

Iressa sighed. "I'll think about it," she muttered.

It was the best they could get out of Iressa, so Lily only smiled.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Ada said cheerily, obviously trying to lighten the mood.

"As am I," Venix said quickly.

Vena grimaced. "Iressa, would you like to sleep at my place tonight? We'd be happy to have you over."

"I don't know," Iressa said hesitantly.

"Please? I'd really love to talk," Vena said, giving Iressa a small smile.

Iressa shrugged. "Alright."

Vena grinned. "That's wonderful, Iri. Ada, Lily, why don't you two come as well? Then all of us can be there."

Ada nodded. "That should be fine. I'll have to ask my father, though."

They looked at Lily.

She bit her lip. "I don't know if I can."

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