Will began to feel sick as Carmen and Karn'el grabbed their suitcases and handed them to Elena, who took them to the carriage. The Avaric twins went along the line of friends, Carmen embraced all of the girls one by one, and waved to Andrel, who winked at her flirtatiously and gave her two thumbs-up. Karn'el gave them all quick hugs, fist-bumping Andrel, and waving shortly to Arlamus, who looked miserable. Before Carmen could come to Arlamus, Tayna pulled her aside and whispered something in her ear. Her eyes widened with surprise, then she giggled. Karn'el, Will and Andrel looked at each other knowingly, nudging each other and watching Arlamus standing ignorantly with his hands knotted behind his back.
Carmen resumed walking across to Arlamus, standing in a moment of silence. 'Uh, I suppose this is goodbye,' she said. 'I sort of regret not knowing you better.'
'Yes, well -,' he said studiously, pushing his glasses up, 'you will be greatly missed. Not just by me, by everybody, but certainly me, me especially, I -,'
Carmen giggled and walked forward, kissing him before he could say another word. His eyes shot open in surprise, his face turning redder than Sayara's hair. He made a strange noise as she lightly touched his shoulders, and moved his arms to touch her waist. Will suddenly felt uncomfortable and loudly cleared his throat, earning a jab in the ribs from Tayna. Carmen pulled back and Arlamus' arms shot back to his sides to hide any evidence of his attempt. He looked dazed, as if he'd just walked into a steam room of dizzying heat and fumes.
'I have to be honest,' said Carmen. 'I don't find the intestinal systems in the composite anatomical structure of abnormally sized humanoids interesting at all.' She took a deep breath after finishing the mouthful. 'But,' she added, 'maybe when we see each other again, you can educate me and see what happens.'
Arlamus caught on, he looked like he was about to fall over, he just stared at her, then nodded and murmured slowly, 'okay.' She patted him lightly on the arm and took Karn'el by the hand, heading towards the carriage.
Andrel waltzed over to his dazed brother and clapped him hard on the back, 'nice one, buddy.' He put his arm around him and pointed to Carmen, saying loudly, 'that, is the closest you'll probably ever come to losing your virginity.'
Just as Arlamus' face was cooling, his cheeks flared up once again. 'Brother...' he said through gritted teeth.
Carmen heard, looked over her shoulder and waved to everybody, 'bye, guys.' They all waved back and said farewell, then she looked at Will and gave him a personal 'bye.' Karn'el turned and waved too.
'Bye,' Will said quietly, waving constantly as his siblings ducked inside the carriage opposite Elena. 'Be safe,' he murmured as his first ever prayer to whatever higher force existed. Carmen and Karn'el leaned out of the window, waving as the carriage turned around and headed down the road, just the sound of wheels against the gravel travelling with them as they sailed away from the castle and through the wards, together into the world.