Feeling good that I managed to attack him, I wink at him.
“Again,” he orders.
I shoot forward, but instead of kneeing him, I try to kick his feet from under him, but he jumps out of my way.
“Eyes, throat, and balls,” Chance says. “Those are the weak spots.”
Ruth lets out a harrowing scream, and it takes all my strength to keep my eyes on Chance.
His lips curve into a pleased smile then he nods toward the archway. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Thank Almighty,” I mutter as I jog after him.
“Raze,” Chance shouts as we jog past the dining hall.
She comes running after us, not even asking why Chance called her.
“No breakfast?” I ask.
“Not while Idris kills the newbie,” Chance answers.
Guilt ripples through me, but I force it away.
Only focus on Chance and Raze.
We jog out of the building and alongside the wall around the ward until Chance stops and gestures at it. “Up.”
“What?” I ask.
Raze, on the other hand, starts to climb the wall as if she’d done it a million times.
I quickly find grooves I can take hold of and start to climb at a much slower pace. Before I’m halfway, Chance practically sails past me and sits on top of the wall where Raze is waiting.
I focus on where to put my hands and toes, and minutes later, I pull myself onto the wall with a groan. “Geez,” I mutter, and when I’m sitting next to Chance, I add, “Sorry it took so long.”
“This is why you have to practice.”
He points to something in the distance. “The main ward is that way. It’s only a day’s walk.”
“When will we go?”
“When Idris says training is over,” Chance answers.
I nod, staring into the distance and wondering what the future holds.
Will we win the war?
Will I ever be as good as Chance?
“So,” Raze talks for the first time, “Are you a couple?”
“A couple of what?” I ask.
Chance lets out a bark of laughter. “Yes, I’ve claimed Jai.”
“I’m not following,” I mutter.
“A couple is when two people are in a relationship. Almost like being married,” Chance explains.
“Oh.” I swing my legs, then my eyes widen. “Are we getting married?”
“No.” He shakes his head. “At least not anytime soon. The deviants live as a couple, initially, so they can get to know each other before getting married.”
The corner of my mouth lifts. “That sounds so much better.”
“Everything is better here,” Raze murmurs.
Without hesitation, Raze jumps to the ground.
Chance looks at me. “You have to follow my orders the way Raze does. Got it?”
I nod and push myself off the wall, landing on my feet.
“I know I have a lot to learn, but I’ll do my best,” I promise.
Chance smiles at me and pulls me into a hug, his strong arms wrapping around me. “Just focus on me.”
“You did much better today,” he praises me.
I snuggle against his chest, then ask, “Can we have breakfast? I’m starving.”
“Yeah, let's feed you before we get back to training.”
I twirl my fork in my bowl of mac and cheese, my eyes glued to the bruises covering almost every inch of Ruth.
She looks like she’s been through hell and doesn’t even cry anymore. Jasper doesn’t look any better, and Aaron is sporting another black eye.
It’s been three days of grueling exercise and I still haven’t spoken to Kenzo after I slapped him.
“Listen up, everyone,” Idris shouts. “Aldric, you too,”
The fork clangs as I drop it on the table, and I let out a sigh.
“Newbie season is over. I don’t expect any more surprise visitors.” His eyes roam over everyone. “We’ll only train for five more days, before we head up to the main ward.” Idris walks to Nate and pats him hard on the back. “You’ll have some peace and quiet again with all of us gone.”
Leaning closer to Skater, who I’ve found out is on Kenzo’s team, I ask, “Why is Aldric staying?”
“Someone has to take care of the animals. This is his home.”
“Oh.” I nod as I gather my bowl and fork. “See you later.”
Walking into the kitchen, I wash my bowl, then glance at Aldric. “Doesn’t it get lonely if you’re alone here?”
He shakes his head. “Animals are better company than humans.”
That’s the truth.
Just as I step out of the dining hall, Raze throws her arm around my shoulder. “Time to pack. We’re leaving.”
“Idris said we’re leaving in five days.”
She shakes her head. “Chance wants to get to the main ward before the other groups.”
There’s a stab of disappointment he sent Raze to tell me.
I get a bag from Raze and shove my three sets of clothes into it. I take the comb and toothbrush as well.
“Ready?” she asks.
“Yeah, but you go ahead. I’ll catch up.”
I want to say goodbye to the animals.
I watch as Raze jogs down the corridor, then walk toward the animal enclosure. The chickens are all over the ground, looking for food. The little chicks run after their moms, constantly making peeping sounds.