17: What a Shame

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Happy Veteran's Day to Dex and all those who have served in the military and thank you for your service! ♥️

I worked so hard all Sunday to try and post the chapter on the actual Veteran's day just to wish everyone a happy holiday but it took too long to write. :( With this message it's probably 6,000 words now, so enjoy!

Sophie's heart crashed against her ribs as her eyes swam through the scene playing out before her: rebels swarming around the palace and warhorses dragged large catapults and wagons filled with what looked like large clumps of metal held together ...

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Sophie's heart crashed against her ribs as her eyes swam through the scene playing out before her: rebels swarming around the palace and warhorses dragged large catapults and wagons filled with what looked like large clumps of metal held together by colored wires moving in and out of the jagged edges. Bombs. She realized and a chill ran up her spine, jerking into her shoulders hard enough that Fitz looked over his shoulder to check on her as her eyes glued to their surroundings and she realized that this wasn't just a siege; it was a war.

They slowed to a stop at the edge of the woods and Fitz dismounted before lifting Sophie off. When Keefe touched down next to them, Fitz ordered, "Take Clyde and your horse and hook them up to a carriage and have one of your men take it and hide it along the path where we just came from, then you go get my mother, the triplets, Biana, and Dex and take them to Song Manor. Dex and Lady Linh's guards will protect them."

"We need to get your sword," Sophie reminded Fitz.

"Yes," the prince nodded, "we'll do that first."

"What about Sophie? What will happen to her?" Keefe asked, confused, "Unless... is it time?"

Sophie and her cognate looked at one another for a moment, the question passing between them until Sophie reminded him, "Your father isn't here with us. You're in charge."

With furrowed brows, Fitz answered, "I feel like this is now or never. What do you think?"

She nodded, "I think so too."

"We are going to unleash the hound?" Keefe clarified.

Fitz nodded, "We need to show that we mean business. They've snuck up on us one too many times, now it's our turn to bring out a new asset."

"I'll give it all I've got," she swore, swallowing her fear to prepare for what was to come.

"And I'll be right there at your side," promised Fitz, resting his hand on her shoulder. He turned to the rest of the team of Black Swan members, all of whom still had their hoods down, "As for the rest of you, I don't know what orders you've been given or who your leader is, but I ask you to fight your hardest to protect my people."

"We shall, your highness," a man with an oddly familiar voice agreed. "Citizens are our top priority. It is why we formed the Black Swan."

"I respect your nobleness," nodded Fitz. "Now we must hurry. I hope to see you all on the other side of this."

"And you as well," Keefe smiled. "Long live Evertalia."

"Long live Evertalia," echoed the prince, and wrapped his hand around Sophie's, their rings snapping together as Keefe and the Black Swan broke away. "We'll sneak in through the wine cellar, it's decently close to my office," he whispered.

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