Galen sighed as his eyes met Adrien’s. As always the older captain scowled at him. He bit his lip and focused his attention on the commander. In the past year since he’d become captain of the stag division, he’d gotten used to the idiosyncrasies of most of the captains. The only thing he still couldn’t get used to was the quail division captain’s intense hatred of him. He had never done anything to the man, so where did the negative feelings come from?

“The wolf masters seem to be the ones responsible for both the organization of the wolves and the difficulties in communication,” Captain Xylander said softly. “We still don’t know how they’re disrupting communications, though.”

Galen stepped forward and waved a hand. When the commander nodded at him he said, “We think it might be a result of how they communicate with the wolves. The two spells cross each other and cause disruptions. The wolves might be having as much difficulty as we have been. We’ve noticed that when there are a lot of us in a given area, and our communication is more stable, they seem less organized.”

“That makes a certain amount of sense,” Commander Kokinos said softly. “Perhaps if we can boost the energy behind our communications we can break through the disruptions and give them trouble; like they’ve been giving us.”

“We’re working on just that, sir,” Galen replied. He bowed and stepped back. A brief glance at Adrien showed a surprised expression that was quickly hidden behind one of bland disdain.

It wasn’t long before the meeting was adjourned and the captains began to disperse. Stealing himself, Galen approached the older man as he spoke with Captain Sideros. “Excuse me,” he murmured.

“Yes,” Adrien said coolly.

Galen looked down and then, meeting the man’s eyes said, “Why do you hate me?”

Adrien blinked in shock and replied, in his usual cool voice, “You are a child. You aren’t ready for the responsibility that comes with a captaincy.”

“I didn’t ask for all our officers to be killed,” Galen snapped before he spun on his heel and stalked out of the room.

Philart frowned at Adrien and shook his head. “You don’t hate him,” he snapped. “Why do you let him think you do?”

“It’s better for him to think I hate him than to think I pity him,” Adrien said softly. “Given opposition people rise to the occasion. Given pity, they sink.” His shoulders twitched in a sort-of half- shrug and he followed the younger out of the room.