SIAN STARED AT me in horror. Before I could ask why, a voice spoke in my ear. 'Hello, Princess.'

The tiny hairs on the back of my neck stood stiff. The voice, though pleasant, had an underlying tone of malice that made me react before I realized it. I thrust my arm out, pushing as hard as I could with my energy.

CAT HURLED THE freaky eyed blonde away and she smashed into the mirrors at the end of the room. Kassie couldn't believe it. The blonde woman now stood there, without a scratch on her, staring at them with her white eyes, black pupils in stark contrast. The guests hadn't even had time to react, but now pressed themselves to either side of the ballroom. Alternating looks between the thing at the end of the ballroom and the Griffon Guard and Sorceress at the other.

'NOW THAT WASN'T very nice,' the blonde tsked, as though scolding a child, her weird eyes watching me. I could see the Lieutenants of the Cavalry and General Guard move themselves in front of the guests, attempting to cover as many as possible. I kept my eyes fixed on her, staying tense, ready. Alek went to move in front of me and I reached out, gripping his arm. 'Don't,' I hissed at him. 'This is our job, remember?'

He looked at me in shock which dawned into realization and horror. The other men shoved Alek back behind them and I stepped forward with the girls, between the men. We faced the blonde.

She let out a trill of laughter, the sound making most in the room shudder in disgust. 'Elena, I come to wish the last of the Thalian line a happy birthday and this is how I'm received? Really, have your manners diminished so since my last visit.' She smirked at Alek standing behind me. 'Happy Birthday, Your Highness. I believe congratulations are in order.' Her hands out on either side, I only heard a whisper of noise while she gathered energy.

Loi threw her energy into a shield at the same time the blonde, who had to be Jenviet, began to scream.

It happened so quickly. Our group, standing in the protective shield thrown up by Loi, watched in horror while it appeared to play out in slow motion. The scream pierced the air like a knife. Guests dropped to the floor, clutching their ears, then all the mirrors in the room shattered, the shards hurtling across to the opposite wall. The aftermath looked like a scene from a horror movie. People lay on the ground, screaming and moaning in pain while pools of blood began to appear. I'd never seen so much blood before, all those who weren't under the shield were splattered with it.

Laughter broke through the screams.

ALEK STARED AGHAST at the appalling display before him and felt an intense fury when he lifted his eyes to glare at his father's murderer.

'Jenviet,' he snarled.

She laughed again. 'Oh you do remember me then little prince? I thought you might have blocked the memory out.'

He growled, incapable of speech.

'Not to worry, I'm not here for you. I just want the Thalian Princess,' she looked pointedly at Cat, whose eyes bulged in shock.

I GAPED AT the psycho blonde in astonishment. Really, how do you reply to that? Other than, you're nuts? My rational voice took charge. Well, if she's focused on you then she isn't harming anyone else, I think it's time to flee. Let's get her as far away from here as possible. With as much of a plan as I could hope for in that moment, I turned and ran for the doorway, sprinting down the corridor.

THE MOMENT CAT had Jenviet's attention, Elena blasted the evil creature out of the ballroom feeling a sense of pleasure at the smacking sound when she hit the corridor wall. Alek took the opportunity to dart past her after Cat. Elena and the others ran to the corridor just in time to see Jenviet vanish from where Elena had thrown her and appear only meters behind Cat and Alek. She turned back to the group rushing down the corridor after her and chuckled. 'Catch.'

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