The Phoenix Child

“Coward,” Caprice huffed as Dyraden practically ran the other direction when he saw her approaching him. 

Surveying the practice field she sought out a new combatant. 

Several other students looked away nervously then quickly paired with another child. Her brother was the only one who wouldn’t run away from her, but they rarely trained with each other during mandated hand to hand combat sessions. It was better to train with someone who wasn’t your twin whenever possible. 

Caprice grunted as Brina skirted away from her. But that was just the problem, whenever possible didn’t mean much to Caprice who scared nearly everyone else away.

“I’ll partner,” A boy said behind her.

Not him. There was one person she didn’t want to spar with. The boy who never tried. A flash of memory chilled her blood. A boy who killed. The other students were all partnered now giving both her and the boy behind her a wide berth. She understood why no one else would spar with him--given the choice she wouldn’t have wanted to either--but no one else would fight her, so maybe they were a good match. She glanced to Master Klimmik. Even the adult eyed the boy behind her with discomfort, but he nodded for her to turn around anyway. 

Great. Caprice forced her body to move and stared at the dark haired boy standing across from her. The other students started their matches. Images of the boy crying, eyes wide in terror as he was taken away after he’d killed Master Byrum flooded her mind. Her magic twisted with her emotions within her. He shouldn’t be here. What he did was an accident, but that didn’t change the result. 

Warren looked at her now with those hollow eyes. Seeing those eyes was one of the worst parts about having to fight him. He looked like he was the one who’d died. By law he should have, but headmaster Ruben had other plans for the criminal. 

“Let’s get this over with,” Caprice said, raising her fists.

Warren nodded and lunged forward. So this match will end the same way it always does. Caprice grabbed him by the wrist and twisted putting Warren’s arm across her shoulder. She curled forward, throwing him up over her back and slamming him to the ground. 

 Caprice turned to leave the arena, but Warren stopped her.

“Teach me how to do that,” He panted.

Caprice glanced over her shoulder. In the past their fights had always gone as they did today, and every time when she’d thrown him to the ground he’d admit defeat with a grin then spend the next hour napping in the dirt. 

Warren dusted himself off and waited for her instruction. For the first time in days Caprice noticed something different about him. His eyes weren’t hollow. They burned with determination.

Caprice’s lip twitched upward. Maybe today will be interesting after all.