Krishn'a: Volume 3: Leaders shall hold their subjects in the highest respect, always requesting permission for actions, votes being called, for an organized clan is an orderly clan.

I found out about Adrianna's death through the bustling of lunch. Well, my lunch was about three o'clock in the afternoon. Only a few were present, wafting down their food as gossip was spread around. The fact that barely anyone was around was the reason why I enjoyed such a late lunch. I wasn't bothered by the pointless chit-chat of some of my 'friends.' I had enough of their mindless talk the rest of the time I was forced to be with them, during training and meetings. I would have thought that given our circumstances, people would be more mature, having grown out of the silly high school phase.

I sat with my normal group, the group that enjoyed a late lunch as much as I did for similar reasons. We normally ate in silence, and I was especially quiet that day because I was practically breathing down my food. Though the ones present were never keen on sharing other people's business, they probably felt that this was everyone's business. I respected them for that – they only spoke of others when it was important to the entire clan.

"I heard Adrianna kicked the bucket last night." I choked on my bread stick when I heard those words. The others looked at me with concern, but I simply waved my hand to dismiss it so that they could continue. I quickly chugged down some water and cleared my ears.

"What?" the boy next to me hissed. "Dead? I thought it was only a simple concussion."

"As did many," the young woman who started the conversation added. Her green eyes were wide with anticipation, as if she was telling a scary story to boy scouts around a campfire at night. "I managed to corner the doctor and he told me that she was actually bleeding in her skull. They didn't catch it on the X-ray. He said that her brain swelled overnight and by morning she was dead. No one's allowed to see the body. Marcus deemed it disgraceful."

My heart skipped a beat at his name just as it had when he looked up at me from the battlefield after he twisted the enemy's neck. I coughed on my water as I took what felt like a much needed sip.

"Good gracious, Ris! What's up with you? Are you even chewing your food or are you just swallowing it?" the boy next to me commented. I gave him a sheepish grin, too lost in the fact that Adrianna was dead to care what anyone said to me.

Clearing my throat, I looked back to the girl and asked, "Did he say anything else, Marcus I mean?"

The girl shook her head, briefly thinking over what she'd heard on the wind. "Not that I know of."

"I can't believe she's dead," Kit, the boy next to me said in disbelief. I quickly shoved the rest of my bread stick into my mouth and rose from the circular table, plate in hand, as I threw away my food. I ran to the sink at the other end of the obnoxiously large kitchen and rushed out of it. I felt their eyes on me as I hurried down the hall.

I had to catch up with her doctor and speak with him. I didn't trust rumors enough to believe them, so I had to hear it from him; had to hear it for myself. Though, then again, that was a type of rumor that had to be true – not a rumor at all, but fact. The idea made my stomach churn uneasily. How could they have missed bleeding in her brain? It didn't make any sense – none of it did. She had felt perfectly fine. How could she die of something like that? I had asked her myself and she didn't complain of one headache or any other type of pain. Adrianna had even been complaining to me and the doctor that she was fine to go to her room and sleep there – that the precautions they took were highly unnecessary. If they wanted her to stay over night so that they could keep an eye on her, than why hadn't they kept an eye on her?

I went to the library and to a certain dark part of the room that simply looked poorly lit. Someone else was waiting there and I stood but in impatience. Suddenly, the dark wall seemed to open up to a darkly lit elevator. I stepped in after the other person who had been waiting, and we both reached for the Sick Bay level. I smiled sluggishly and gestured for her to go ahead and press the holy button. She tossed her head and raised her chin before pressing it. So much for me considerate, I thought bitterly to myself. When the doors opened, I let her pass first, unwilling to get into a moody woman's way. I followed after her, taking the opposite hallway and I sprinted down to the now vacant room that Adrianna was sleeping in the night before.

No one was there, and I wasn't surprised. Looking around, I got lucky and spotted her doctor and I rushed to him. He was a stocky man, short, as tall as me with thin hair starting behind his ears and traveling around without extending upward. Basically, he was bald, but the few hairs he had left gave him a little dignity in pointing out how that name for him was technically incorrect. I thought it was technically a little childish. His beady eyes looked at me through his reflective glasses. The light shining on them prevented me from identifying his eye color.

"Doctor, uh," I stole a fleeting glance at his name tag before continuing, "McCantry?" He only furrowed his brow, letting me know I had his attention. "I wanted to ask you about Adrianna."

I heard him sigh as he closed the progress sheets he had been writing on. I was probably about the twentieth person to say those words to him. "Look, like I've told everyone else who's asked me about her, she died of brain swelling – simple as that."

He was about to walk away, but I intensely spoke up. "No, it's not as simple as that," I told him through hard eyes. "I was with her last night. I spoke with her and she was feeling perfectly fine. How could you miss something like that – bleeding and swelling in the brain? How come she hadn't complained about any headaches or any pain at all? Wouldn't she feel the pain? Because I know no one gave her any drugs for anything, so a foggy observation is out of the question." I was blurting everything out then. "It doesn't make any sense that you people could miss that. And the last I checked, this estate didn't have second rate doctors."

The doctor's face had gone white, well whiter than it already was. He was scrambling for words, and my eyes must not have lost any of their intensity, for I saw the slight fear in his eyes. I heard a loud chuckle behind me, a deep throated chortle that had amusement rippling out of it like smooth waves. I didn't have to turn my head to know who it was, for the voice was speaking soon after.

"Very obvious observations, I must say." As I was about to turn my head, I heard soft footsteps coming up from behind me and then I saw who it was and I froze in my place. "Why, why, why had this death occurred?" There was something in his voice, something that hinted to sarcasm, but I couldn't be sure. Marcus continued speaking. "Our medical care in this facility might not be the best, but it sure is damn good." His voice was soft like velvet, almost charming in a sense. It was the first time he looked down at me, his black eyes meeting mine and if they had the ability to smile, they would have.

Blinking a few times, words were caught in my throat. I didn't know what to say, how to respond. Was I supposed to laugh right along with him and nod in agreement? I furrowed my brow and quickly looked away and at the doctor who had confusion on his face. I probably looked about the same as him.

"So, doctor, enlighten this young one here why something like this would happen."

"Well," the doctor began, unsure of himself. "Complications happen…"

I looked up at Marcus and he threw his hands up as if that was the perfect answer – the perfect, brief, insignificant answer. "And there you have it." He smiled down at me. "Maybe you can run to all of your curious friends and tell them the information you obtained." He patted me on the shoulder and turned to walk away.

I was quiet for a few moments, my mouth slightly open, and my eyes shown with disgust. "No, I don't have it," I snapped as I turned around to look at his back. He stopped his graceful walking to turn to me, a small grin plastered on his lips. Was it real or fake? I couldn't tell. He simply crossed his broad arms over his chest as he stared at me, waiting for my words to come out. I opened my mouth again to speak, to say something – anything! But soul and grace could not grant me that much and I was left silent.

"Well?" he chimed in, amused at my lack of response. Again, I was silent. Marcus let out a bitter laugh; one that I think had a hint of disappointment before he turned around again and continued on his path. "Call me when you're actually worthy," he said over his shoulder. My eyes narrowed dangerously at his turned back.

"Well, like the man said," the doctor added, feeling much more confident, "there you have it." I spun around, infuriated.

"Have you no respect?" I hissed in revulsion. He only gave me a smug smile before he started whistling a random tune. Clicking the end of his pen, he looked back down at the progress sheets. "So much for that bogus oath you took," I spat before shoving past him.

Something odd was going on and my nerves got on end – more than they were before. There was no way Adrianna simply died of 'complications.' It made no sense. The doctor was a terrible liar. I could hear it in his small voice that he was hiding something. I'd never seen anyone so transparent before in my life. But WHY would he be hiding something? What was there to keep secret? That made absolutely no sense. Why would he lie about how Adrianna had died? Maybe he was trying to cover his own ass. Perhaps the medical department slipped up on something, gave her something that was supposed to help her sleep. Was Adrianna allergic to any kind of medication? I never knew if she was, but then I felt guilty for not knowing.

I was with her… kind of. I should have checked in on her more often. Hell, I should have just stayed in her room, slept on the uncomfortable chair. I shouldn't have listened to the doctors when they told me I had to wait outside. They obviously didn't know what they were doing, so who said they could tell ME what to do? They were as clueless as a new born bird, or so I thought. I was too selfish. I had to go my own way. I didn't even bother to check on her after Marcus had…

A hand went to my face as I suddenly felt dizzy. The weak link in the skirmish? Granted, Adrianna was knocked out within the first few moments of the battle, but what about all the other times she fought so bravely for our clan. Where was the order and the justice? My free hand went to the cold, bland, light blue wall as I closed my eyes. Suddenly things were spinning and I tried to calm my stomach as it turned and twisted. Marcus should never have said those things to her… and I never should have eavesdropped.

"Risanda?" I forced myself to open my eyes as my name caught my attention. I lowered my hand from my face, but my other arm stayed perched on the wall. I didn't trust my legs enough to keep me steady. The face I was looking at was distant for a moment, the features unrecognizable. The bronze hair that came down in slight curls and the golden brown eyes to match were unfamiliar. Rough features mingled with a concerned yet shocked expression. Behind his eyes I saw grief and sadness. His tan skin matched Adrianna's. I suddenly knew who it was.

"Adrian," I said softly with slight surprise. It was Adrianna's twin brother. I was never fond of their similar names. I always wondered if their parents named them alike as a sick joke. "How are you?" I asked with pure concern. He and his sister were always close. They trained together and spent a lot of their time together. They were each other's best friend, and for that I was always jealous.

He didn't answer. He only twisted his lips slightly as if that was enough. "I came down here to speak with Adrianna's doctor," he answered my confused expression. I figured he'd want to be away from the place where his sister died.

"Oh," was all I could think of saying. I wanted to warn him about the lack of information he would receive, or the false information for that matter, but I felt I had no place to intrude. If all he wanted was a straight explanation from the crooked doctor, he had his right. I was sure he was depressed enough and hearing my big conspiracy theory about how Adrianna did not die the way they said she had was probably the last thing he needed… at least for now.

"Are you alright? You look a little queasy." He leaned down slightly to get a better look at my face. I could have only imagined the beat up shape my face was in. Not only was lack of sleep an issue, but the obvious stress of late wasn't making me look any more attractive.

"I'm fine. I was just sitting down and got up too fast," I lied. It was easy enough.

He seemed satisfied with my answer as he nodded his head. And then there was an awkward silence that rang between us.

"I'm sorry about your sister, Rei."

"She was your friend too," he interjected with a crooked smile. I twisted my lips in discomfort.

"I know, but you must feel tons worse." As soon as I had said the words, I regretted them and I winced at my recklessness. "Sorry," I said softly as he didn't respond.

"It's alright." Then there was that awkward, god forbidding silence again. "Look, I've got to try and find her doctor. I've been searching this floor for about fifteen minutes trying to find that slimy bastard."

"Oh, well, he's right down there." I said, pointing him in the direction I had just come from.

"Thanks," he said slowly through a suspicious tone. "Did you talk to him?"

"No," I fibbed quickly, trying to look as innocent as possible.

"Okay. Well, thanks." As he started to walk past me, I grabbed his hand and looked up at him. My eyes must have shown my sorrow, regret and remorse. He stopped in his stride and looked down at my sadly.

"I really am sorry." I felt my eyes begin to tense and sting as wetness began to emerge. He pursed his lips for a moment before he suddenly took me in an embrace. The strength behind his hug left me gasping and I wrapped my arms around him.

Just as quickly as the contact began, he broke it. "I have to go," he said hastily, though I heard his voice crack. I didn't have a chance to say good bye or to even look at his face before his back was turned to me. Narrowing my eyes slightly, my fingers went to the top of my head and I felt small beads of moisture on my hair.

They were tears.