“It’s tradition,” Buri repeats. “Like, what do you want me to do about it?”

“I don’t know, Kels. It’s not like we can help,” Cheri scratched at her head.

Kella huffed, her knees drawn up to her chest, her dark eyes dull in the glow of the firelight.

The campfire was almost out, but she couldn’t help but want to linger a bit longer. They all did. This would be their last night together.

Tomorrow, the camp would split everyone up into their usual groups, a choice made by seemingly pure luck, as everyone was set loose in the Wild Forest and expected to survive.

No one was allowed to help anyone, no matter what.

A stupid tradition, Kella thought, but one that she apparently couldn’t fight, even if it could cost her friends and her own life.

“It’s just stupid, okay? I didn’t—never mind. I shouldn’t have asked.”

Buri stifled a groan. She flopped onto the hard ground, uncaring. Her head pressed into the ground as she craned her neck a bit to stare up at the bright, starry sky. “Look, if you want us to do—something. Then,” she glanced sideways at Cheri. “It’s not like we haven’t been thinking about it either,” she defended.

Cheri wrinkled her button nose. “That’s not the way we ought to be starting,” she mumbled.

“Cheri?” Kella straightened up. She knew that tone, knew that awkward shuffle. “What is it?”

Their smallest friend curled in on herself beneath their sudden scrutiny.

“I-I know of a way around the wards.”

Buri sat up in a hurry. Her golden eyes fairly glowed. “Perfect. Spill-!”

A/N: I’m not sure where this was headed, but I had the image of girls sitting around a summer campfire and one of them turning the whole thing eerie. 😛 Enjoy!