Shizuma leaned against Aldrest, allowing the peace to waft over them. Since the battle, things had changed. Not only were her friends and her all teachers, and fighting to keep their kind alive and strong, but they had lost many of their friends, their loved ones. She thought of Candravar and felt the familiar loss and sadness flit over her.
Shizuma had changed too. What used to be all fire had now turned in to the occassional roar of flame, but mostly was just taken up by a dim acknowledgement that life was happening. She sighed and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, she saw the return of the party in the distance and stood, Aldrest standing with her. They greeted the group and Shizuma hung back, allowing Axel, Aldrest and the students to talk. When Axel took the students inside, she once again joined Aldrest.
"They are safe at least."
"Yes. But I believe something has happened. Axel wishes to talk to me in private."
"I am not allowed to come?" The look in his eyes told her he knew she would find out anyway.
"I suppose nothing he could say would be something I would keep from you."
Shizuma smiled lightly, then walked Aldrest back to the office. As she returned to her room, she thought of how she used to be. For anyone on the outside there was no change to her, but she could feel it inside of her, weakening her. And she hated it. She hated being weak. In a sudden burst of rage she had not felt for all those years, she slashed out her whip and cut through a vase, then a candle, and finally through a bed post. When the red haze disappeared from in front of her, she put away the whip and slipped down to the hall to check the students were behaving at dinner.
Shizuma was on her way back, and there was no stopping the fire inside her now.