Chapter 32 - Friends, Thieves and Accomplices

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Chapter 32 – Friends, Thieves and Accomplices

"Just what do you think you're doing here?" One of the two men called out walking directly towards Dov. Before she knew it, the brawny knight was off his mount and toe to toe with the two knights who had walked out to meet their party.

Frowning, she threw Rhydian a worried glance only to find he'd already dismounted and was walking towards the three men. With each man wearing a scowl, it looked as if a brawl were about to break out at any moment. Throwing her leg over the saddle, she hopped to the ground determined to remain close to Rhydian in case anything did happen. Her steps carried her quickly to the prince's side, but just as she reached the men, deep laughter rang out from all four while playful punches were exchanged by Dov and one of the knights. She stood watching all of them behave more like school boys than grown men for several more minutes until she was noticed by the one who seemed all smiles.

"Well, where are my manners, mi'lady? I'm Ranald, knight of Evenmoore, at your service." The brown-haired knight placed a kiss on the back of her hand before she knew what was happening. Dov shook his head with a chuckle as Rhydian slapped Ranald's arm lightly.

"Your manners are where they always are. Non-existent," the taller, more solemn knight said before turning towards her. "I'm Theobald. It's nice to meet you. Now would someone like to explain what you all are doing here?" Sylara could appreciate his more solemn approach but all the knights seemed happy to see each other and even Rhydian joined in having obviously grown close to them on previous visits, she supposed.

"We need to speak to Malin and Riven immediately. We've been traveling weeks and wish to rest as soon as we've told them why we came." Theobald and Ranald shot each other glances at Rhydian's words. She knew that look and it could only mean one thing, trouble. And their next words confirmed it.

"Malin and Riven stayed in Lux-Mindon following the Council of the Realms a couple weeks ago. They sent word they did not know when they would be returning as they were extending their visit by a few weeks." Rhydian ran his large hand through his hair as he listened.

"Now what?" Tarsen asked having come closer while they spoke.

"Who was left in charge?"

"Lord Stragon is acting Chancellor while the king is away. Why?"

"Then it is he we will need to speak to. The sooner the better." The knights nodded, knowing not to press for more answers until Rhydian was ready to divulge the reason they were there without invitation or prior announcement.

"We'll see you to your guest chambers and have a meal sent up while we inform Lord Stragon." Rhydian nodded at Theobald's words. She wanted to ask just who this Stragon was and if he'd help them but bit back the question until they stood in the hall near their rooms.

"He's Killian and Malin's uncle, on their mother's side. From what I've heard he's a good man but overly cautious." Rhydian gave her a half smile, walking closer to her.

"That sounds as if it could go either way."

"Aye, it does." Sylara worried her lip between her teeth a moment, weighing what she was about to say.

"If it comes down to it, it's not wrong for you to use your gift. Not in this situation. With possible bounty hunters on our trail, your sister's life, the realms' safety, our homes all at stake..."

"I know. I know you wouldn't hold it against me but I would."

"Promise you'll at least think about it as an option if it comes to it." Rhydian cupped her cheek, running the pad of his thumb down and across her bottom lip she'd just been biting.

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