28 - Fye's Poor Dress

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Fye stopped listening to Lady Ayla's speech because all her attention was on Reynolds, whose face had turned the shade of pure anger. Ayla was insulting his precious pride. He would retaliate. Reuben would lose control and do something reckless, and while sometimes Reuben's recklessness resulted in miracles, Fye knew that wouldn't be the case today. Not even the red robber knight could muscle his way out of this situation.

Something else had to happen.

A switch flipped in Fye's brain. She knew what to do.

She let out a plaintive cry that cut through Lady Ayla's winsome words and brought all attention raining down on her. She leaned on Xander's shoulder and wept like her favorite horse had just fallen off a cliff. Slowly, she sank to the floor, sobbing as she went. She sat on her knees—a position that put her within easy and inconspicuous reach of her dagger.

"Please, Lord Reynolds," she said between sobs. "Please... don't hurt my mother. She's all... she's all the family I have. P-please..." Come on, Xander, she thought. Read my mind.

"You need to be quiet, my love," Xander said in a soft voice as he knelt down, blocking her from Reynolds' view. Perfect.

She threw one arm around him while the other hand slid her dagger out of its sheath. A quick glance at Reynolds found him frowning at her, questions all over his face. Antwerp's face had no questions, though. There was pure triumph there.He believed her little routine, which meant that he probably wouldn't be quick enough to stop her.

Her heart hammered in her chest. This had to work. It had to.

"I'll do anything," Fye sobbed. "Mother..." I hope no one tells her about this. I can't have her thinking I'm too worried about her. "Please, Lord Reynolds..."

"Shut up!" Antwerp yelled as he grabbed her arm and jerked her upward. He didn't notice the dagger in her hand.

Fye screamed and pulled away from, "stumbling" toward Lord Reynolds. She latched one arm around his neck, and with the other...

Antwerp started to yell something about her dagger—but he was too late.

Fye's dagger plunged into the side of Reynolds' neck. Blood sprayed everywhere.

*

28.2

Lord Reynolds sank to the floor, dead.

Fye stood over him in the silence, the wild thrumming of her heart drowning out everything else.

She had killed a man—and she had done it, not in defense of her own life, but simply because he deserved to die. His blood had ruined her dress, and Fye's mother would be extremely unhappy about that.

Her poor dress.

Her own shock at what she had done didn't last for more than a second or two. She looked up from the body to see a hate-filled Antwerp. "I guess you're not going to get paid," she said, her voice steady. Her eyes roved over the other soldiers he had brought in, and she asked them, "What now?"

"Now they run like the cowards they are," Reuben said. "Or they stay and wait to see what I'll do to them."

The men looked at each other, uncertainty on their faces. They were "sheep," as Reuben so often described the masses. Without a shepherd, they scattered. The men rushed toward the hall's gate, fighting each other in their desperate attempt to get out first. Fye almost laughed. Or, rather, she would have laughed were it not for the feral roar that pierced the air as Sir Antwerp charged at her, sword held high.

He was so close to her and his attack so fast that she barely had time to raise her dagger. It collided with his sword. But Fye, weak from her wounds and exhausted from the tournament, collapsed under the weight of him bearing down on her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Xander rushing forward—but in a fight, the smallest fraction of a second made all the difference. And this fraction of a second saw Antwerp's blade breaking free from her dagger. She fell to the side—but the blade sank into her.

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