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11. Grrr

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Chapter 11. Grrr

It is with deep regret and pain that I write the events of the past half hour. Arien’s Minya was sent to deliver our latest report to the king and queen, and returned with horrible news. The castle has yet again been attacked, and King Roylance was killed. The queen was injured—she probably won’t live much longer—and sent tidings that the crown has passed to me. Though I am still prince until the crowning takes place, I am fully in charge of this kingdom.

I’m beside myself with grief. King Roylance has been a father to me these past few years since my escape from my father, Ramantus. Queen Ara Liese played an immense role, alongside my own mother and Arien, in helping me to change who I was becoming, to prevent me from following in Ramantus’s footsteps. What am I to do without their guidance? Oh, how I wish I were with Arien.

Right before we received word that the king had been killed, Aldo contacted me. He informed me that the Key of Kilenya is now in his possession. I’m not sure how he got it, or from where. I’d nearly forgotten the myths and legends surrounding those artifacts of olden times.

He instructed me not to attempt to contact him for a while longer. He’s in a very dangerous situation and will not be able to communicate. He says he’s seen the princess from a distance. She still hasn’t given birth to our child and appears to be healthy. Oh, what a relief!

***

Ebony filled Jacob’s knapsack with fresh food before he left. The trip back with Early was just as quick as the trip to Taga, and soon they entered the same hall from which they’d exited. It echoed with shouts and loud crashes.

“Early! Early! Move him fast! Hurry!

Early jerked Jacob upward just as a hand with long fingers swept through the air at him.

He yelled and clung to her arms, then watched in relief as whatever it was that had tried to grab him appeared smaller as he was raised higher. Early set him down on the shelf by the statues. Jacob scrambled toward the edge to see what was going on, but Early yanked him back, stopping him.

“September, what’s happening?” she asked.

“Don’t know. I was looking for honey and heard loud noises. A bunch of wolves and a Dust were attacking Akeno. You got here right after I did.”

“A dust?” Jacob said. “Dirt?”

“No,” Early said. “You saw the statue earlier. They’re creatures in this world.”

“Let go—I want to see.”

Jacob pushed Early’s arms away and jumped forward, dropping to his stomach and army-crawling to the edge of the shelf. Peering over, he saw Akeno brandishing a sword that was much too large for him, trying to protect himself. The wolves were snapping, growling, and barking at him. He was using the sword to fend them off, only taking a few swipes at the Dust every now and then. Jacob frowned. Why didn’t Akeno just use his Rezend?

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