She started to turn down the tunnel, but seeing Lohka reach for his short sword she stopped and waved the torch at him. “Don’t even think about it.”“Aniira—”“No. It’s out of the question. You will stand there until we’ve left the tunnel.”“But I know where you’re hiding. What makes you think I won’t just follow?”“I don’t care if you follow us later. You don’t know where we are at the Academy. And you certainly don’t know how to gain access.”Lohka let out a thin hiss of laughter. “But I know someone who does.”Before I realized what happened, Aniira had him against the wall of the corridor, the edge of her sword against his neck. Part of me wanted to smirk. Payback. But I just went for the torch she’d thrown aside, managing to rescue it from the ground before it went out.“I’ve never had much trust to spare for the likes of you,” she said. “I don’t care what awakening you’ve had, or what kind of new person you claim to be. You’ve straddled the battle lines too long for me to believe you’re on ours to stay. So stay out of our way.”To my surprise, Lohka didn’t argue with her. He just turned to me, sad and weary.“Funny, isn’t it?” he murmured. “Funny how we can hate and mistrust each other, and circle around and try to outsmart each other, and yet in the end realize that our only chance is to band together…”The blood drained from my face, and I stared at him through a tunnel all awash in a red haze. Two steps. And suddenly Lohka was sliding down the wall, unconscious, his nose streaming blood, while I stood over him shaking out my fist.
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