3: The Scarfed Girl

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Inhaling, a man stepped out of his carriage, looking up at the grand Evertalian palace before him. Rumor had it that the most powerful pair of cognates lived in that grand palace, and he needed their help -- heck, all of Clementro needed their help. The kingdom was fractured after the ogres occupied all but the palace for eight years, and now that the lands were newly free of ogre rule, the kingdom not only needed a new ally, but something to rally behind. Something to bring everyone together and prove the country's new strength. They needed to find the lost Clementronean princess. And who better to help than the two strongest telepaths? The man had no idea if the pair of cognates would be able to help him, much less if they would be willing to, but he had to try. Two guards met the man where he stood, asking who he was and who sent him, but they quickly let him inside the palace when he flashed the Clementronean insignia.

The guards escorted the man inside the palace, which, from what the man could see, was under reconstruction after what appeared to be a siege. The sight was familiar to the man and didn't bother him in the least. In fact, it only gave him more hope that the Evertalians could help him. Even after such a harrowing battle, the castle was still standing, and the Vackers were still in power. Yes, a good sign indeed. The man was brought before the king, who smiled at him like an old friend.

"Lord Bronte, what a pleasant surprise it is to see you. To what do I owe the pleasure?" That's the Alden that the man, Lord Bronte, remembered. In hard times, it was always down to business. Just the way Lord Bronte liked it.

"I have come with an official request from Queen Oralie and King Kenric for your aid in the search for our lost princess. We were hoping that your son and his cognate could help us locate and retrieve her somehow," Lord Bronte declared humbly, being careful to analyze the king's expression thoroughly, so he didn't miss a single reaction.

King Alden grimaced, "I don't know if that's the best idea for right now. As you may have guessed, we've recently suffered a siege on Everglen, and that siege took a toll on Fitz and Sophie."

"How so?"

Looking uncomfortable, the king changed the subject, "I assume you intend to stay for a while?"

"Yes, indeed, sir," Lord Bronte nodded patiently, trying to understand the king's angle.

"Then, let me introduce them to you tonight at dinner," Alden offered. "To understand my hesitance of enlisting them to assist you, it is better for you to see them for yourself than for me to try and explain."

Confused, Lord Bronte agreed, though he couldn't help but feel antsy. It must have shown, as Alden noticed and said, "In the meantime, how about I introduce you to the Black Swan? They're a non-kingdom-affiliated group who've dedicated their lives to protecting the common people from the Neverseen. They may be willing to help as well."

"That would be brilliant," Lord Bronte nodded thankfully, feeling even more hopeful than when he'd first arrived. "Thank you, your majesty."

"Of course. I can't imagine one of my children being lost. Hopefully, with all of our heads put together, we'll find Princess Sephronia."

"She could still be in the hands of the Neverseen, for all we know," Lord Bronte sighed, thinking back to the attack on the Clementronean palace a little over twenty years ago.

Alden pulled him out of his memory by patting Lord Bronte's shoulder, "Even if she is, we'll get her back. The Neverseen have been in power for too long. It's time we bring them down."

Warily, Lord Bronte nodded, hoping that the king was right, that the Evertalians could help him accomplish what he failed to do twenty-one years ago... at least, if he wasn't twenty-one years too late.

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