Chapter One.

What happens at the castle after Meylyne squashes Prince Piam?

Glendoch Castle glimmered in the twilight. On the west side was a garden filled with yellow and pink roses. Bees hummed around the bushes while gold-crested bobbing-birds darted in and out. Two people sat at the garden’s edge. One was a very tall lady in a white and gold satin suit. With her translucent skin and long, red hair she looked like a tower of fire and ice. Opposite her was a small man with spiky hair and a pointy nose. He looked like a hedgehog.

“Any word on the prince, Queen Emery?” he asked.

Queen Emery shook her head.

“The doctor is still examining him. This will not bode well, Chifflin. My people will think me incapable of protecting even my own son.”

Chifflin was about to reply when a window above flew open. A flower pot crashed down next to him, shattering into a hundred pieces. Jumping to his feet, he looked up to see a strapping teenage boy holding an older man out of the window by his collar.

“You take that back this instant, McReedy,” the teenager roared, “or I swear I’ll drop you!”

The older man, red-faced and blustering, flailed at the boy’s face, trying to scratch out his eyes.

“Never,” he wheezed. “Just wait till I’m on the throne—you can join your tarty mother out on whatever street she’s defiling our name on.”

The boy let go of the older man’s collar, catching his ankles as he fell further out of the window.

What?” he roared. “Do you really want to end up spitted like the pig you are?”

Directly beneath the man dangling from the window was a spiked railing.

“Chifflin, do something!” Queen Emery cried.

Chifflin ran to the railing but at that moment the raging boy disappeared from view while two new sets of hands appeared around the older man’s ankles, pulling him to safety. Chifflin returned to the table, wiping his brow with a handkerchief.

“As your sage, I recommend that you double their punishment this time.”

“Why bother? The Roses have not stopped fighting since Princess Amber’s kidnap and they won’t stop until they appoint themselves another monarch.”

Queen Emery’s face filled with remorse as she said this and Chifflin covered her hand with his own.

“You must not blame yourself for that, your Highness. It is not your fault that none of them is worthy of their throne. It’s not as if you want to rule over their lands as well as your own.”

I know I don’t want to rule over their lands but try telling the Icahns or the Welkans that …”

Queen Emery trailed off as she realized that one of her guards was striding toward them.

“I do apologize for the interruption,” he panted as soon as he was in earshot. “but I thought you’d like to know that we have discovered who squashed Prince Piam.”

“Of course we’d like to know! Spit it out,” Queen Emery snapped.

“It was Meylyne, Ma’am. ”

Queen Emery blinked.

“Meylyne? As in Ellenyrr the Sorceress’s daughter.”

The guard nodded. “The roundish, pinkish lady identified her. Said it was an accident though. Meylyne fell out of the tree.”

“That knobby wisp of a thing shouldn’t have been there at all,” Queen Emery growled. “She’s a Between-Worldian. How dare she violate of one of our First Rules? I can’t abide those alchemists. I don’t believe for one instant that it was an accident!”

Chifflin leaned back in his chair and regarded the queen. He seemed a lot less troubled than she. A smile played around his lips.

“Accident or not, she must be punished. And that, my dear, we can use to our advantage.”

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