37: First Contact

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7/24/3028

"That is not any of your concern," I hissed. "What was of such great importance for you to summon me?"

"I have it here," said the boy. He placed an auburn cloth package in my hands. "I fear that in the future, further meeting may put you in jeopardy. This is for your protection, master." I unfolded the cloth package in my hands and saw a golden locket. The boy continued, "Wear that, then wear the uni-elk hide when you wish to make contact."

"I'm impressed by your wisdom," I replied. I reached into my own robe and pulled out a small brown pouch. "I have something for you, as well. It is too risky for me to keep it, so I want you to keep it safe. From everyone. Do not let a single soul know." I spoke the last sentence slowly.

Heavy rustling not far from us drew our attention, and we instinctively marched in the direction of the sound. Barely discernible from the twilight gleam was a crow, perched on a branch.

***

I woke up in my room lying face down on the bed. The first thing I did was fumble around under my pillow. The chest and locket were still there. With a slow hand, I slipped the locket around my neck and brushed by my still-damp hair. Someone had dressed me in a loose, pink gown.

"Sye-Liene Anmyn, you're awake," Drea said, standing next to the bathroom door.

I sat up groggily. "What time is it?"

"It is half past nine in the morning," she said. "Would you like some breakfast?"

"No, I'm fine," I said. I was feeling slightly nauseous.

"Is there anything you need before I leave, Anmyn?"

"I need to see Elossai."

"I'm sorry, your highness, but you aren't permitted to see her at the moment. She is still unconscious."

"Is she okay?"

"It's nothing serious. Like you, she had fainted after the confirmation and is feeble. She would take a little longer to recover since it was quite draining for her."

"I see." I got out of bed feeling slightly off balance. I would find Keiran instead and ask him about what was going on.

"My Anmyn, where are you going?" Drea moved over to the bedroom door that led to the hallway.

"I'm going to find Keiran." I wobbled.

Drea bowed. "I'm sorry, Anmyn, but you are not allowed to leave your room."

"What? On whose orders?"

"Sorceress Stanjah."

"Tell her I'm apathetic to her orders," I said bluntly and stomped over to the door—ignoring Drea.

I've had it with Stanjah's overbearing attitude. Enough is enough.

I opened the door and saw two soldiers blocking my way.

"Excuse me, I need to pass," I said taking a step forward.

"Our apologies, Anmyn, but by orders of the Sorceress we cannot allow you to leave," said one of the soldiers.

"What? Who made her king?" I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"I'm sorry, but Dunek Anmus has given Stanjah temporary authority over you. Only he has the power to dismiss the edict," said the soldier.

Drea took me gently by the arm. "Sye-Liene Anmyn, please do not make this difficult."

"Fine then," I said through gritted teeth. "Get Stanjah for me, right now."

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