Dedrick sprints off, growing smaller and
smaller. I sit down on a bench and begin to
If I can get into that weapons room and maybe
snag a bow and a bunch of arrows, I think, and
Etara and I could go in the archer's ranks
behind a protective wall. I hope that I get into
an archer squad. I begin to doze off, my closing
eyelids blurring the room before me.
Before I know what's happening. Dedrick is
shaking me awake.
"Jillo! C'mon! You fell asleep! Kadag found us a
squad of eight! We're going to the archery
range. We need to you give some of them shooting
I jerk my eyes open and sit up
straight. "Archery range? Let's go!" I toss the
stopwatch into the bin, pick up my sheet, and
I see a small group of people standing huddled
together next to a table with bows and arrows
spread out on it. A small man with white hair is
talking to them, using his hands to point to
certain bows and arrows.
Dedrick leads me to them and the small man turns
and gives me a smile.
"Hello, I see you have come to join us! We are
currently learning how to shoot a bow and
arrow. I am Mr. Grinozzer. I assume you are
I nod. "I already-"
"Now, since you have come from one of the towns
under the City's control, I assume you have
never used a weapon before." Mr. Grinozzer
raised an eyebrow.
He picks up a polished bow that gleams like
silver, its darkened wood gleaming in the light.
My eyes shine, and a smile spreads across my
"This is called a bow," Captain Obvious
says. "He picks up a yellow arrow. "This is an
arrow." He strings the bow, sights, and fires.
The arrow thrums six inches away from the
target. Everyone whistles except for Dedrick and
"My goal is to teach you to accomplish this in
the next week or so," he says.
Then he begins to give us a detailed tutorial-
the basic basics. Everyone fires. Most miss the
target altogether. Mr. Grinozzer happens to
forget me. He continues to teach us with out
giving me a chance to show off. As immoral as
that may sound, I dislike Mr. Grinozzer almost
as much as Buarka.
Night falls. Finally Mr. Grinozzer says, "Using
all the techniques you've learned, let's see you
shoot one more time."
A fifteen-year-old boy shoots. He hits the third
ring out from the bull's eye. A seventeen-year-
old girl goes after him. She hits the fourth
ring. Two other twin girls hit the third ring.
Three boys miss the target althogether, and the
last boy hits right in between the fourth and
fifth ring. Dedrick fires and hits the third
ring. Finally, it is my turn.
The scar across my chest suddenly begins to
hurt. I'd forgotten all about it.
I wince as I slowly pull back the string. I pull
it farther back than my shoulder. The bow slowly
bends. I close one eye and lift the bow up,
The arrow buries itself in the center of the
Mr. Grinozzer stares. So does everyone else.
"Can I keep the bow? I left mine at home." I
emphasize the word 'mine.'
Mr. Grinozzer's mouth opens and closes.
"I'll take that as a yes." I grab several arrows
and walk out.
I glance at my sheet. We meet every morning at
eight. We're supposed to sleep in the soldier's
quarters in the west wing, but I decide to sleep
in the apartment Buarka gifted to Mother.
Then tomorrow night, it's a visit to the weapons
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