Zarina nodded sharply, "Yes sir. We will find her."

"Whatever it takes," confirmed Fitz, who then called a servant over. "You, Miss, stop whatever order you've been given and instead find my father, tell him Sophie has been kidnapped and that I want him to go to my office to receive and interrogate the Heks family as they come in. A stone of one of their family rings was found on the floor of her room. Have them check their rings. I don't care how you get my parents there or how rude you must be - interrupt whatever they're doing, whoever is speaking. You will not be fired, no matter who takes issue with your urgency."

"Yessir," the servant nodded with a curtsy before scurrying off.

Satisfied with the response, Fitz gestured for two nearby guards to follow him to the Women's room where he knew Dex and Biana would be. His eyes felt as though they were stuck in a permanent glare as they reached ahead as though they could somehow close the distance between him and Dex, the knight who would help him find Sophie Foster.

Dex shot to his feet in alarm when Fitz threw open the door to the Women's room. A noblewoman shrieked in surprise, but Fitz didn't bat an eye, hardly looking at Biana and Della as he announced, "Sophie has been kidnapped. Dex, I need you with me to find her."

"What?" Biana frowned in horror, "We thought she was with you."

Fitz shook his head, "I overslept after working late. Her room was clearly broken into, and it looks as though she was dragged out from the bed. I found the stone of one of the Heks family rings on her floor so the guards will round up every Heks in the palace and bring them to my office where Father will interrogate them until we find out who took Sophie and where she is. The palace is on lockdown, and I want Dex with me to search every corner of the palace and beyond if we don't find her."

Dex crossed the room and grabbed Fitz's shoulder, "I'm with you to the bitter end."

"Excellent," Fitz nodded, then turned to Della and Biana, gesturing for the guards behind him to step forwards. "You two stay here. These men will protect you while Dex and I search for Sophie."

"I want to help," Biana insisted, "I can help look."

"We are not useless, Fitz," his mother reminded him.

Fitz sighed impatiently, "Yes, I know, but Biana, you're seven months pregnant, I don't what will happen or what intentions the kidnappers have for us, but I do know that I don't want anything to happen to you or Phillip. I don't want you to be without one of us, so, apologies Mother, but I must ask you to sit this out and stay with Biana in case something happens."

"Fine. Just let us know when you find her," sulked Biana..

"And call for us if you need our help," added Della. "For now I will keep Biana safe and in good company."

Fitz nodded, and Dex bowed to the we and princess. "We must hurry, so here is where we bid you farewell. We shall not see you until we bring Sophie back safely."

"See you on the other side of all this," Biana whispered, tears glistening in her wide eyes.

Fitz watched Dex hesitate before walking to up to Biana and carefully taking her hand, raising it to his lips, gently kissing the back of it with lowered eyes. "We will be back soon," he promised, though Fitz thought it almost sounded as if he was trying to convince himself.

When Biana nodded, Dex stepped back, dismissed, and bowed one more time, then urgently left the room, Fitz following close behind. The two men walked with purpose down the hall, and Dex asked, "Where have you checked?"

"Her room, but that's it. I had Zarina sent a team out to Heks manor, guards stationed at the border, a team already searching the palace, and the Heks are being brought to my office for my father to interrogate."

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