"I look ridiculous," Morgance muttered at her reflection. Raising her eyebrows, she smacked her lips and studied their bright pink color. "I mean, I do love bright pink, but not on my lips!"
"Talking to yourself?" Lisha snickered. "You're just as cuckoo as our trainer!"
Ignoring Lisha's words, Morgance glanced at the clock. 4:20. She'd be early, but she might as well leave right then. Better to be several minutes early than to stick around Lisha.
The gathering room was right across the hallway from where the Force officials were meeting for an annual gathering. Morgance paused outside the door, looking in as officials of all different races, ages, and statures laughed and sipped wine and reminisced. There was no doubt about it: she would rather be in the Songmakers Force officials' meeting than her own.
"Looks fascinating, doesn't it?" someone murmured from behind Morgance.
It was Casady and Rune.
"Hey," Morgance said, purposely not meeting Rune's eyes. She didn't want him to know that she...well...fancied him.
"We should see if we can sneak in there sometime tonight," Casady said, peering over Morgance's shoulder. "At any rate, it looks much more interesting and lively than our gathering does. Wouldn't you rather be in there than where we're supposed to be?"
Morgance was excited by the idea. "I'm sure we wouldn't get too terribly punished," she said, voice slow.
Shaking his head, Rune disagreed. "If we get caught, then there's no telling what'll happen. It's better to be safe than sorry, you know. I don't want to burn our bridges so soon in the game."
"No, it's not better safe than sorry," Morgance started.
"I know what to do," Casady said. "Let's talk to Vinnia and see if she can get us in without any punishments. She's not exactly rebellious, but she doesn't see eye-to-eye with the Force on some issues. She might be our best bet."
Rune still looked unsure, but Morgance smiled at him encouragingly. "Just you wait and see. Vinnia'll let us in. And when she does, nobody can punish us."
"I'd just rather not get a reputation as a rebel, especially if we actually do decide to rebel."
A Force official walked down the hallway and motioned for the trio to leave. Morgance was half tempted to tell the official what she thought about the whole situation, but she wisely decided to let it pass. Some battles were not worth fighting.
Soon enough, Vinnia Valdeza appeared with a man at her side. The two were rather involved in a conversation when Vinnia noticed Morgance, Rune, and Casady standing outside the door of the officials' gathering.
"What are you doing here?" Vinnia asked. She looked at Casady for an explanation.
"We were hoping we could go inside, honestly," Casady replied in a respectful tone. He nodded toward the door. "Inside your gathering instead of ours, I mean. The three of us agree that it'd be far more enjoyable to join you all than to hang around with our group."
"You know it's not possible to enter a Songmakers meeting," Vinnia said, shaking her head. "I couldn't let you in, even if I wanted to. Which I don't."
"How dare you say something like that?" Morgance exclaimed, stamping her foot. "We hate being here. I think you owe it to us to - "
Vinnia stepped forward and clamped her hand over Morgance's mouth. "We'll continue this conversation later," she said, voice low. "How many times must I tell you to be tactful?"
Scowling, Morgance pried Vinnia's hand from her mouth. Glowering both inside and out, she allowed herself to be pulled away by Casady.
"Let's go into our gathering," Casady said.
Angry and wanting to show it, Morgance stepped into the room where all the other trainees had already begun to eat. "There's a table over there, where we can be all by ourselves," Rune said.
Casady nudged Morgance. "If you don't want us to get in trouble, then I suggest you improve your attitude."