Prince, 108

“We will go back home, I think,” Cordelia said, looking at Isabella, who nodded. “Not right away.”

“No,” Isabella agreed. “But since the crown has unfrozen our assets and we’re not in danger anymore, it doesn’t make sense for us to stay in Dolovai. I hope that’s not a problem, my king.”

“No,” said Franz, who would be a little upset to lose them even if he’d known this would happen. “Now that Kyaine is safe again, you should go home. It’s where you belong.”

“It is,” Cordelia said, sighing deeply. “We are going to miss you, Franz.”

Prince, 88

“So are you going to move in with me?” Franz asked Flora, as they waited for Cordelia and her family. “Or are you going to inhabit Cordelia’s apartments like a ghost after she leaves?”

Flora smiled, playing with a slim ring on her finger. Where had that come from? Franz hadn’t bought it. “Can I have my own apartments? I feel like I’m old enough and I had my own at home.”

“Since when?” Franz asked, skeptical of that.

“Since you left and I took yours.”

Prince, 77

“Is there a way out of this without having my uncle assassinated?” Franz asked.

“It’s not impossible that there could be.” Isabella said. “There’s clearly a strong opposition to his regency.”

“To his coup,” said Boey, tapping his spoon to the table once. They were having dinner together, all of them. “His regency is invalid—Dahlia is old enough not to have needed a regent, which means that she should be serving as the baby’s regent.”

“I’m aware of that,” said Isabella, glancing at Francis, sleeping in a bassinet in the corner. “And we can talk about terms and what they mean, but the fact remains that he’s using regency as his excuse to justify the coup, and now that he has a baby he’s claiming is Felix and Maria’s, that excuse is strengthened.”

Prince, 75

Franz yawned as he headed back to his apartments. It was early in the day, but Donny had had nightmares last night and had ended up sleeping in his bed, and so Franz hadn’t slept well. He’d thought that going for a walk might help wake him up, but it hadn’t, so now he was giving in and going back to his bed to take a short nap before lunch.

He opened the door to his apartments, nodding at the guard, and nearly collided with a huge guy who had a bit of a baby face. “Oh,” said the guy, falling back and looking around as if for an escape. “Hello, sir. Your Highness, I mean.”

“Hi,” Franz said, looking at the guy. The kid, he was really a kid. Just a really, really tall kid. A servant, obviously, though Franz hadn’t seen him before. He would have remembered someone so fucking big.

Oh, fucking big. Right. “You’re Griffin, aren’t you?” he asked.

Team, 66

“What’s he waiting for?” Joey asked, eyeing Rawen. He was just sort of standing there awkwardly, watching them without looking like he was watching them, like they were at a party and Rawen wanted to come over and be their friend but was too shy to ask.

He was the fucking devil, Cal thought. Would it kill him to grow a pair?

“An invitation, probably,” Cal said, sighing. “We’re ignoring him in the hopes that he’ll go away.”

“Do you think he will?”


“Did you used to date him?” Travis asked, leaning on the table.

“I don’t think so.”

“He acts like he’s your ex-boyfriend, is all.”

Knighthood, 60

Edwin wished he were guarding the outside of the door rather than the inside. But no, he was in here, and he was going to have to pretend to pay attention and be alert for this whole meeting of Gavin’s. It was going to suck.

Erik was out there, and Edwin would much rather have stood guard with him for however long this took, but Elaine and Owen had both insisted that they only needed one person on each side. Currently only Cal and his people were here with Gavin and Owen, but that was enough people that Edwin was now working.

Not that Gavin needed protecting from all of them, Edwin thought, since Owen was now going over there with a look on his face that suggested that they were all about to get invited to the orgy that Owen had mentioned before.

Stowaway, 67

“If I get arrested I expect you to break me out of prison,” Alec—who’d changed his name to Sylvester, apparently—said to Pax as they headed for the meeting room. They’d been let into Draughten’s house with no problems this time, even with all their extra guests.

“Why can’t you break yourself out of prison?” Pax asked.

“I can, but consider it a test of your abilities.”

“I’m insulted that you think that’s challenging enough to be a real test for me,” Pax said. “Not that practice is ever a bad thing and of course nothing would ever receive less than my whole attention and effort, but breaking someone out of a prison when they’re already a wizard and also very skilled at breaking out of things is rather weak in terms of challenges. Can there at least be a bunch of orphans with you and the necessity of escaping across a series of slanted rooftops in an ice storm?”

Sylvester patted Pax’s shoulder. “No. But if it helps, I’m wanted for several unsolved crimes in Pelican Bay and if you want I’ll throw something at the prince so instead of a prison, I’ll get myself chained to a cliff face during a thunderstorm.”