Chapter 36

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IT took two days for Venix's assessment of the soldier Vena fancied to be complete.

They cornered him when Vena had gone to talk to one of her other friends. He seemed grumpy when he gave her, Ada and Iressa—who'd been included in the scheme—his report.

"He's a good man. Apparently handsome, brave and kind. Most of the soldiers think highly of him. I talked to him, and he was polite."

He sounded highly disappointed.

"Wonderful," Ada said, smiling brightly.

"Why?" Venix asked testily. "Now you have to tell me."

"First, what's his name?" Iressa asked dryly. "Ada seems to have forgotten that we need that bit of information."

Venix rolled his eyes. "Kaylo Hamat. Now tell me why you need to know."

"Don't tell Vena, alright?" Ada said, leaning forward. "She fancies him, but she's too worried to talk to him."

Venix's face changed, realization dawning upon him. He glanced in the direction Vena had gone, his lips parting. "My sister fancies him?"

Ada's eyebrows furrowed. "You just said he's a good man."

Venix shuddered slightly. "Doesn't mean I want to think of my sister fancying someone. Anyone."

"But she could do worse," Iressa pointed out, an amused smile playing at the corner of her lips.

Venix' lips twisted. "Well, yes, but...just keep me out of it. Vena probably won't be happy when she finds out you've meddled."

Ada chuckled, patting his forehead gently. "Don't worry. I have a feeling she won't be too angry."

"Not when you introduce her to him," Lily said slyly.

His eyes widened. "Oh, no, no, no. I will do no such thing."

"It would make her so happy," Ada said, giving him a pleading look. "Do it for me, if not her."

Venix scowled, crossing his arms. "Fine. But I'm going to say you forced me to do it."

"Thank you!" Ada beamed, the gesture softening Venix's face.

"Why don't you do it now?" Iressa suggested, raising an eyebrow at an approaching-Vena.

Venix opened his mouth, but Iressa shoved him forward. He stumbled to a stop in front of Vena, who gave him a confused look.

He shot a glare back at the three of them and turned back to Vena. "I want to introduce you to one of my friends, I think you'll like him."

Lily grinned as she watched him lead Vena towards Soldier Hamat. She shared a triumphant smile with Ada when the Soldier began talking to a heavily blushing Vena, much to Venix's obvious disgust.

"We're good at this," Ada said, turning to them with a grin.

Iressa raised an eyebrow. "Now maybe you should make an effort with Venix."

Ada blushed immediately and shook her head. "Let's get back to sparring."

Lily exchanged a knowing look with Iressa before they began sparring, and she waited for Venix to come back. It didn't look like Vena was coming anytime soon.

***

"Tell us what you talked about," Ada said, for perhaps the fifth time during the patrol alone.

A blush still lingered on Vena's cheeks, but she shook her head. "It was just a simple conversation, nothing much."

"You were giggling!" Ada seemed to be near despair at getting no details out of Vena.

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