Lotus had always been taught not to question her orders. And honestly, she never had any reason too; not even when the stranger shoved the white-hot iron into her left eye.
Pyrrhus made special care to make sure that she wouldn't embarrass him or any of her other teachers, so he had told her beforehand to keep quiet during the ceremony.
But of course, Lotus was not the type to let anyone down. She would keep a stiff upper lip if it killed her.
Later, when the other agent left them alone, Pyrrhus gave the wincing girl an ice pack for her freshly glowing bright blue eye. He would find it blinding if he hadn't seen countless fresh marks.
The newest graduate, on the other hand, would be sure to wear her rite of passage with pride, if not a little bit of reluctance.
Finally, she acknowledged the other person in the room.
"It won't be so vibrant in the human's world, will it?" Her right, brown eye shifted over to peer at her companion.
"Of course, you have to blend in as much as possible, don't you? It'll fade before too long." Pyrrhus pulled a file from inside jacket pocket. "In the meantime, I need you to read through this.
I can't have you being uninformed on your first life. And let Maren know I'm sending you off in the morning, alright?"
Lotus nodded and took the folder.
She waited until Pyrrhus left the room before letting out a long sigh. "Maren'll kill me for graduating before her." She went back to her own anyway.
The room seemed so different all of a sudden. Lotus had spent most of her life living in this room, but it was so foreign now.
Her left eye was reacting strangely to this decidedly not human environment.
But she would have to think of that later, right then she had to focus on the other girl giving her freshly blue eye an intense stare.
“I guess this means you win.” Lotus was relieved as a grin made its way across her friend’s face.
Maren rose from her desk to get a closer look at Lotus’s new feature. Her own green eyes are still both the same, her blonde bangs hovering just above them.
Her grin was still wide, with barely a hint of jealousy. Before too long Lotus begun to feel uncomfortable with all of the attention. None of this was supposed to be about her.
So when Maren leaned away she was relieved.
“You’re still not too far from graduating though, right? Anemone said that you only have your final exam left.” Maren shrugged off the concern in Lotus’s voice.
“I’ll be fine. You need to rest for your big day tomorrow.”
Lotus shook her head and held up the file. Maren chuckled good-naturedly but left the room. Surely she had her own studying to be doing, so Lotus didn’t stop her.
It did feel a little lonely in their room all on her own though. She was hoping to spend more time with her friend before she left, after all, who knew if she would ever see her again.
Lotus and Maren had been together as long as either of them could remember. Their people didn’t typically stay with their parents, so they only knew each other and their teachers.
Of course, there were other trainees, but they didn’t always see them too much. The two girls roomed together so they spend every waking moment together.
At least they did until they were given individual teachers.
Older trainees were given private lessons that would focus mostly on the lives they would be living. There was no reason for Lotus to know about Maren’s lives, so why should they be together?
That’s what the others would tell her, but Lotus wasn’t so sure. Knowing other agents in the human world could be helpful to them.
They wouldn’t have to feel alone while living with people who didn’t know what she really was. But Lotus knew better than to question anyone.
Pyrrhus would always tell her about all of the good the agents had done. How they had saved countless lives by stopping any change before it happened.
So Lotus would do as she was told and keep her distance. And it seemed like Maren was doing the same.
Lotus enjoyed her first life. The agent’s maiden voyage doesn’t tend to be very involved so it wasn’t all that exciting. But she was still a little sad when she had to go back home.
One of the things you’re warned about in lessons is getting too attached to all of the humans you meet along the way, or even just the places. After this life, Lotus could understand why.
But she still always knew in the back of her mind that she would have to leave it one day. But at least she could see her own people again.
When she returned to her own body Maren was hovering over her, her face beaming. Thankfully, her friend had lived a good life as well.
In the few days before they would be sent off again, the two girls spent as much time together as they could.
Watching friends die and knowing she wouldn’t see them again had changed Lotus’s view of her friend.
They were lucky enough to live for such a long time and they should take advantage of the time they have. Even if they could only see each other between lives.
They exchanged so many stories that Lotus felt as if she had been right there with Maren the whole time. Maren’s life had been more eventful, so her stories were mostly what filled the silence.
“For a while, I was worried that the rebellion would get to him, but I was able to keep them away.” Maren’s voice was brimming with excitement. “Oh Lotus, I wish you had been there.
I would have liked to have told someone what I had done. But none of them would have understood.”
“They shouldn’t, I suppose, if they knew what you did, they might have tried to do something about it.” Maren let out a low hum.
“It still would have been fun to have someone there with me.”
Lotus could understand that, at least. There was something so lonely about knowing so much, without having anyone to share it with.
The next few rounds were similar. Lotus would live her life, all while waiting until she could see Maren again.
The later she got in her lives the more she started to feel comfortable with the humans. She made friends with them even if she didn’t have to.
Pyrrhus may scold her for distracting herself, but it was worth it.
After a while, Maren had a particularly tough life. When they returned, she didn’t want to talk to Lotus about it.
Lotus understood, sometimes things didn’t go according to plan and they had to fix things on their own. Or they would grow too attached to the humans and miss them when you left.
So she didn’t pry.
The day before they were supposed to leave again Maren seemed in better spirits and Lotus was glad. She told the other girl some stories about her own life, trying to keep them light.
Maren still didn’t share, but Lotus didn’t mind. She just hoped this one would be better.
In Lotus’s next life she was going to be the sister of an inventor, Cypress Meadows. Lotus herself would be Laurel Meadows. The file described a good life and she was looking forward to it.
The night before they would go, Maren stayed up the whole night reading her own file. Lotus thought it would be a good idea to follow her friend’s lead.