SEVENTY EIGHT

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THE BLOOD KNIGHTS exchanged another meaningful glance amongst one another

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THE BLOOD KNIGHTS exchanged another meaningful glance amongst one another. It almost made Ravenna laugh aloud. She was able to immediately decipher their silent message. It was quite obvious that the knights weren't sure how much information they could truly give out, concerning their orders. The drunker, more innocent that Ravenna could pretend to be, the more likely these men would divulge information, purely because they would feel assured that she'd forget everything quickly.

Ravenna brought her mug to her lips, taking an exaggerated gulp. It scorched the back of her throat. Then she lowered her drink back to the table, her lips tugged back into a cheesy grin.

"You haven't heard the rumors?" one asked finally. His skin was a russet, reddish brown color and his eyes were the color of amber, overflowing with a sharp sense of intelligence. She would have to be careful around him. He watched her cautiously, waiting for her reaction. Almost as if he was waiting for her to reveal her true intentions.

Ravenna furrowed her eyebrows. A wrongly worded sentence could potentially create a sense of alarm within the knights and cause their responses to be guarded and unhelpful. She tilted her head to the side and asked, "Are you talking about those rumors of towns being attacked?"

There was a moment of hesitation amongst the Knights, and Ravenna seized her opportunity. Panic laced her tone as she continued, saying, "Wait, are they not just rumors?" Her grip tightened on her mug and she blinked. The burn of tears appeared at the corners of her eyes. Her voice grew weak. "Are we in danger?"

The knight immediately reached out. His fingers curled around her wrist in an attempt to reassure her. He shot her a quick, disarming smile. "Don't fret, love," he said, his voice a deep baritone. "The Blood Knights won't allow any harm to befall this town. We have been sent here to protect you."

Ravenna allowed her gaze to fall downward, to focus on the bubbly froth that topped her drink. "How long will you be staying, though?" she asked, her voice quiet. "What happens when you leave?"

Another knight reached out, his fingers curling around her shoulder. His sandy skin was covered in freckles and small scars. "I wouldn't worry about that," he said, flashing a bright grin. "We won't be leaving this city until the King sends orders. Those murderers will be caught soon enough."

She furrowed her eyebrows. "What do you mean?"

The knight laughed. "Haven't you heard? The King has positioned his knights in each town within the kingdom, both large and small. No matter where they go, those murderers will face our sword. And until they are captured, we will remain here to protect you."

Her gaze darted around the table. There were about five Blood Knights sitting around her. "I had always heard that the Blood Knights were a small group," she admitted. Her eyebrows furrowed with confusion. "Very selective. Yet there are so many of you here? Are there smaller numbers in smaller towns?"

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