Chapter Two: Verre

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"Please, I beg you. Don't let him get away with this." The woman's eyes were hard, shining with unshed tears. While her body shook, there was a immovability to her. Something Verre couldn't help but respect.

Prince Jonad. The name sent hot blood rushing through her. So it had happened again. How could he take such pleasure from stealing these women's honor?

Her eyes swept over the small woman in front of her, even smaller to Verre's unusual height. "You want me to kill him. You realize the gravity of you bringing this request to me, correct? Jonad is the heir to the throne of Allegora."

Lora nodded quickly, her eyes widening ever so slightly. "I've heard of the woman who kills the evil of Allegora. Of the one who silences the violators of the silent. It took a lot to find you, so I ask again: please kill him so that he will never harm another woman."

Verre didn't doubt her; Jonad having been a playmate of hers. Even at the age of ten, he had been a pervert; invading her personal space, forcing physical contact even when she declined. The king has not cared, of course. The prince was merely playing around. She wondered if the king still used that excuse for his adult son.

Gathering the will to kill him, now that would be easy enough. She already hated him. Planning it so that the kingdom of Allegora didn't collapse politically, now that would be the difficult part.

Glancing into Lora's hopeful eyes, she nodded, a cold smile filling her features. "Very well."

* * *

It was time. While the planning had taken two weeks, the royal ball had offered the perfect occasion. Verre smoothed the shimmering silver folds of her gown, the movement allowing her a peek at her sparkling glass slippers. Glass. The word always brought a smile to her face. It was so deceptively deadly. Much like herself.

The rich sound of a horn rippled through the silence, causing all those waiting with Verre to glance up. The prince was arriving. Verre looked up as well, not wishing her disgust of the prince to be known. Cool and calculating; she could do this.

There he was, descending the staircase. His unicorn-fur robe alone could pay for an entire city's meals for one whole moon cycle! That, coupled with the fact that it was illegal to hunt unicorns, caused a flame to burn deep inside Verre. Did no one care about the injustice of it all?

She had heard rumors that the king had sired another child, a daughter. One that believed that magic was beneficial to Allegora. Of course, it was merely speculation, but perhaps if the rumors were true, Allegora might regain some of its former glory.

A hand slithered along Verre's shoulder, pulling her from her thoughts. "And who might you be?" The slippery smoothness of the prince's voice made Verre want to vomit, but she retained her composure.

"Prince Jonad." She gave a curt nod and pulled away. "I am Lady Rira, the daughter of one of the eastern lords." The prince gave her a curious look, and Verre wondered for a moment if he recognized her, but then she remembered her enchantment. Until the clock struck twelve, she would be undetectable. Even if someone were to try and find Lady Rira, they would be disappointed to know she didn't even exist.

If one were to go only on looks, Prince Jonad seemed like a pleasant enough man, especially with his splendid physique, deep brown eyes, and charming grin. But while his eyes were pretty--in their own way--they had the look of a predator about them, as one could tell by the way they raked over the other women at the ball.

"Are you enjoying yourself tonight?" At her brief nod, he continued, "Have you had a chance to see the palace gardens? They are unparalleled."

Fear wormed its way through Verre, though she tried to placate it. He could do nothing to her. She was practically his height and just as strong. Still, the intensity with which he stared at her--his gaze occasionally drifting to the rest of her body--spoke volumes. Now Verre understood to a small extent the terror Lora had been forced to experience.

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