Chapter 41

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LILY opened her eyes, colors blurring as she blinked, turning her head to the side. She became aware of a dull ache in her abdomen and she groaned, the world sharpening.

"Lily! Lily, you're awake!"

She blinked to see Adrian hovering over her, his face stunned. He touched her shoulders lightly. "Are you alright?"

"Yes, what—what happened?" Lily asked, grimacing. Why did her stomach hurt—

Venix.

She sucked in a breath, eyes widening. "Venix! Where is he, where—"

"Calm down," Adrian said, his eyebrows furrowed. He glanced around, calling out, "Nurse!"

"Lily, look at me," came another voice from behind her.

Lily turned her head to see Iressa, with red, concerned eyes. "Calm down," Iressa said, taking Lily's hands. "Breathe."

"What happened?" Lily asked, her eyes stinging.

A healer came hurrying over—the same one, Lily remembered, that had healed her arm in the first attack. Elize.

"Calm down, dear," Elize said, pursing her lips.

"Tell me what happened?" Lily begged.

Elize glanced at Adrian once. "We'll tell you if you calm down. I need you to breathe, and drink this." She handed Lily a glass of water, which she downed quickly.

Iressa rose to her feet. "I'm getting the others." She walked out of the infirmary.

Lily turned to Adrian. "Where's Venix?"

He exhaled, running a hand down his face. "Lily—"

"Tell me he's alive. Tell me he made it," Lily said, tears pooling in her eyes.

Adrian shook his head, let out a shuddering breath.

"No," Lily breathed, letting her head drop onto the pillow. She shut her eyes, Venix flashing before her closed eyelids. Venix laughing, Venix sparring with her. Venix and Vena.

"Who found us?" She whispered, without opening her eyes.

She heard Adrian sigh. "When the Gongjensu called you, alone, I was worried. I got Edra, Talin and Gorno to come with me, to follow you. You went in that hole—and then you screamed. I could barely hear it. We saw two women come out—Edra and Talin followed them. We had to—had to wait a bit, before coming for you, so those women didn't see us—"

His voice broke.

"It wasn't your fault," Elize said gently. "It wasn't yours either, Lily."

Adrian continued, "When we got in, there was—there was so much blood. You and Venix were on the floor. Lily, when we got in—he was dead. We couldn't save him."

Lily let out a dry sob, putting a hand over her mouth.

Venix.

"His—his body," she said, barely forming the words. "Is there a funeral?"

"Yes," Adrian said. "In a few hours."

Lily opened her eyes. "I'm going."

Elize opened her mouth, but Lily cut her off. "I have to go."

The healer nodded, looking at the floor. "Your wound wasn't too bad—you didn't lose much blood. As long as you don't exert yourself, you should be fine."

"Thank you," Lily murmured.

Elize gave her a short nod. "I'll be back in a minute." She walked off.

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