Chapter Fifteen, New Friends

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Bennie turned up for training with Sean the next night, but Sean said before they made their way to Perce's apartment he needed to return a video game to a friend.

"This friend lives in Pelanca?" Bennie said.

"No, but he's training in Pelanca with another group. He was the rookie until about a little while ago; this girl who joined their group can communicate with insects. I think she's the one Esla mentioned when we saw him. My friend says bees are her favorite, and that she's really strange."

"Hmm," Bennie said, wondering why it had never occurred to her there were other little groups being trained outside her own. After all, she saw people training in Pelanca herself all the time, even if they did look like larger, more structured classes.

Sean and Bennie took little time reaching their destination: a large park with open, grassy fields perfect for football games and Guardian training. There was a strong looking Centaur woman there, parrying fiery spells from a small, dark-haired elf while a boy about Bennie's age with dirty blond hair fiddled with something glittering in his hands. A buzzing lump on the ground became a small figure swarming with bees when Bennie and Sean got closer.

Suddenly the bees darted away from the figure on the ground and surrounded Sean and Bennie.

"It's just friendly curiosity," said a familiar voice from the other side, "They won't sting if you don't attack them."

"Or unless you tell them to!" said another voice that Bennie assumed belonged to the boy, since it was male. The bees buzzed away and Bennie received a shock when she saw the round face smiling at her from beneath them.

"Rachel!" Bennie said.

Rachel was Sarah's little sister, who'd be coming to high school at the end of August. Bennie knew her almost as well as she knew her best friend. When they were young and Rachel wanted to tag along, Sarah would get mad, but Bennie, having no siblings of her own, convinced Sarah that it was ok to play together. They had all been close ever since.

"I've been dying to see you since I found out Sean was training with you!" Rachel said. "I told him not to mention me because I wanted to surprise you!"

"She does carry the element of surprise," the boy said.

"Oh hush, you!" Rachel said and the swarm of bees swirled together to form the letters "shh" between them. Bennie laughed.

"We were just stopping by before our own training to give you back your game," Sean said, handing his friend a box from his backpack. "And I think introductions are in order since only Bennie and Rachel know each other. Bennie, this is Peter."

"Ah, Benjamina!" Peter said with an exaggerated bow, "Such a pleasure. Sean speaks of you often!"

"Does he?" Bennie said, giving Sean a "did you put him up to this?" look. Sean winked.

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