Chapter 44

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LILY'S eyes shot wide open.

Those were footsteps. Soft, but they were there. She listened carefully. It seemed like two people. They could be healers, but she wasn't sure.

She looked around. She didn't have her daggers, or a sword, anything—

There. A knife on a table. Lily remembered Elize keeping it there. 'Just in case,' the girl had said.

She grabbed it and got out of bed, trying to be as quiet as she could, wincing at the soft sounds of the blanket. She glanced at Elize, sleeping face lighted by the flames. Should she wake her?

What if it was just two healers?

What if it was someone dangerous?

Most likely, they were healers. Lily crept around the corner, her bare feet soundless on the floor. She was lucky Elize had gotten her her own small room.

There were two figures down the hall, just barely highlighted by the moonlight coming through the windows. Lily could see them moving, peering into each room. They were getting closer to her own.

Her heartbeat quickened, and she gripped the knife tighter, until moonlight shone through one of the windows, falling on one of them women.

Falling on strands of lightning-white hair.

Lily's heart increased its beating rapidly as she ducked back around the corner. That was Invida Monarcei. What was she doing here? And that was most likely Gloria Sovranus with her.

Were they here for her?

Lily bit her lip, turning into the room again. Of course they were here for her. It was likely, at least. No one else that important that she knew of was here.

She had to wake Elize.

She scurried over to the healer's bed, shaking her gently, hoping that the Gongjensu leaders wouldn't be in the room before she was ready.

Ready with what? She only had a knife.

She shoved those thoughts away, shaking Elize harder. The healer's eyes fluttered open. Lily shoved a hand over her mouth before she could make a sound.

Elize's eyes were wide, confused. Frantic.

Lily swallowed. She leaned down, whispering straight into Elize's ear. "Gloria Sovranus and Invida Monarcei outside. Coming here."

Elize's eyes widened, and Lily let go of her slowly. The girl didn't say anything. Her eyes darted to the knife in Lily's hand.

Finally, her face calmed, and she nodded. Her eyes were hard now. She leaned forward, whispering. "Go through that door. It connects to the healers' dormitory. Raise the alarm."

Lily glanced at the nearby wall. There was a door there, that she hadn't noticed before. It had always been out of her eyesight. She looked at Elize again. "What about you?"

Elize's hand was steady as she held it out. "Give me the knife."

"No!" Lily whispered, her heart rate increasing even more. Invida Monarcei and Gloria Sovranus were outside, and Elize was putting herself in harm's way? "They'll kill you."

"You're hurt," Elize hissed, with a glance at the door.

Lily steeled herself, putting a mask of stone over her face. "I'm a better fighter. Go, now."

Something in Lily's face must have convinced her. Elize got up and opened the door as quietly as she could, slipping through it with a last, significant look at Lily, before shutting it.

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