The next day seemed to take forever to arrive as Nih'na lay in bed in a restless tangle of blankets.

Over and over, she replayed recent events and the way that Feuor seems to be changing before her eyes. Maybe the constant battle for survival had stopped her noticing the imperceptible changes,

as he had grown and matured in front of her.

She contrasted the mental image she had of Feuor from the day that he had turned into a vortex of fury when he had defended her from her attackers. He had been so strange, so determined and fierce, but in the blink of an eye he had suddenly been the caring Feuor that she had grown up with.

Maybe it was a one-off, as she had seen no more sign of the harsh and angry Feuor since that terrible day?

Somewhat comforted by the direction her thoughts had led, she drifted finally into a light sleep.

The next day they met up outside their houses as they always did before going to the Academia to start the long walk into town. They had arranged to meet Dinah on the road just outside the town, dressed for a fight since they were to do the hunt first. Nih'na and Dinah had looked in a few books during their discussion yesterday and found some animals they would focus on. According to the documentation of their habits and what they ate they were most likely to be found near watery areas and fortunately there was a small lagoon not far away from the town which had become their destination for the hunt.

As they approached the town they saw someone standing at the roadside in the distance but initially they had trouble in recognizing her as Dinah.

The armour she had worn yesterday had been of a lower quality so the details and colour she wore today confused them initially.

Perhaps knowing her as little as they did, just seeing her in the Academia and having only spent a day with her, had accustomed them to seeing her in simpler garb.

"Wow, your armour is really a masterpiece Dinah. We almost mistook you for someone else." Feuor said with a smile.

"Th-thank you." She replied with a lowered voice.

"Is there something wrong Dinah?" He asked her with concern, surprised at her reaction.

"Well.. ehm.. thank you then." She said and raised her head looking at Nih'na and Feuor. "I thought everyone knew that I come from a less fortunate family. And I.."

"Dinah, with a friend like you; who could ever be poor?" Feuor stated with great conviction and started walking down the road leading from the town towards the lagoon.

Dinah and Nih'na just stood there gazing at his departing back, he had done it again; said something serious and meaningful in his casual, throwaway manner. They looked at each other in silence and after a second they both broke into a smile and followed after.

The three new friends continued down the road at a fast walk, and even though conversation lagged a little at the start, they were soon chatting as if they had known each other for ever.

The journey took them an easy hour's travel to arrive at the small beach bordering the lagoon, where they flopped down, glad to be relieved of the burden of their equipment and stretch out on the inviting sand.


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