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I say that as if anything in life is fair or right. After what happened to Ridley . . . I mean, I don’t even know what happened with Ridley. Ever since he came back, he’s been strange. He won’t talk about anything. Tilda says I push too much and I need to just let him be but I just want to know that he’s okay.

The funeral for the King was this morning. It was held inside the ballroom in the palace, and it was standing room only with people spilling out into the street. People turned out from other Kanin communities, but Queen Mina wouldn’t let them in. She said that they could be spies for Viktor’s army, so they had to wait outside the gates of Doldastam listening to the bells toll.

She wouldn’t even invite any of the royalty from the other kingdoms, because she claims she can’t trust them. She says that we can’t trust anybody. During the funeral, the Queen spent most of the time swearing vengeance.

The worst part is that everyone ate it up. They were all cheering when she promised bloodshed to Evert’s enemies. Not that I blame them entirely. Somebody in our midst murdered our King.

At the funeral, Ridley stood in the back by himself. When everyone started cheering, I looked back and saw him sneak out. I hope nobody else noticed because that won’t look good for him.

I’m training harder with Delilah. We have to prepare for what’s coming. I don’t know what it is yet, but it’s something dark and something big. And I can’t let her get hurt.

I know this is terrible timing, but I can’t help it. I’m falling head over heels for Delilah. I feel so guilty, since our whole world is falling apart, but my heart doesn’t give a damn about time or place. All that matters is how we feel about each other.

But she has given me so much strength through all of this. I feel like I can do anything for her, and I will. I’ll do whatever I must to keep her safe when this war finally begins

Can I tell you an awful truth? I’m looking forward to this war. The tension and the waiting is maddening, especially when paranoia is running rampant.

I’m not sure if I should tell you this, but by the time you get this, hopefully everything will be all over, and you’ll want to know about it. Even if it hurts to hear.

Astrid Eckwell tried to accuse your father of poisoning the King. It was right after the funeral, when everyone was milling about. She just stood up and pointed to him and said it was him. She was hysterical, and the guards eventually dragged her away.

Queen Mina silenced the crowd, reminding them that the Högdragen had already investigated your father. But that was all she said, so people kept giving your parents these awful glares until they finally slunk out. Well, they didn’t slink exactly. You know your mother. She keeps her head held high no matter what anybody throws at her.

They should leave Doldastam, but I don’t think the Queen will let them. No one can go in or out. Tilda has talked about making a break for it, but I don’t know if she will. I don’t blame her, though. I can’t imagine having a baby here, even though she’s not due for a few months.

You’re so lucky that you’re not here. I don’t know if you’re safe. I don’t know if you’ll ever be safe again. But I still think you’re the lucky one.

Your friend (no matter what),




It was the look in her eyes that caught me off guard. In the corridor, right before we reached the throne room, there had been a massive painting of Elora Dahl, the Trylle’s most recent Queen before Wendy. Jet-black hair, flawless olive skin, dark piercing gaze—she was as beautiful as she was imposing.

But it was that look from the painting. Somehow, even in a rendering on canvas, Elora made me feel like I was two inches tall. And it was that exact look that Queen Wendy now shared with her mother.

I wanted to falter under her gaze, but I stood tall, with my shoulders back.

“I have been falsely accused,” I told her coolly, and that caused King Loki to cock an eyebrow.

“That seems a bit like a convenient excuse, doesn’t it?” Queen Wendy asked, unmoved.

“I was working in Storvatten, under direction of my kingdom,” I explained. “The Queen there felt unsafe, and I, along with my comrade Kasper Abbott, was sent to find out the cause of her unease.

“Upon returning to Doldastam, I discovered information that tied the problems in Storvatten to the Prince, Kennet Biâelse,” I went on. “When I tried to bring this to King Evert, Queen Mina blocked my attempts. Kasper and I explained the situation to her, and she accused us of treason and had us sent to the dungeon.”

“What did you say that made her allege treason?” Queen Wendy tilted her head, appearing interested.

“She said that simply making any claim against an ally was treasonous,” I answered.

Wendy sat up straighter and exchanged a look with her Chancellor, Bain. Then she looked back at me. “Go on.”

“I was afraid that we’d be locked away in the dungeon, so Kasper and I escaped in order to clear our names,” I said. “We went to Kennet’s room, since he was staying in the Doldastam palace. He admitted to his involvement in the attempts on both Queen Linnea and King Mikko’s lives in Storvatten.”

Loki let out a surprised whistle, causing Finn to cast a harsh look at him. For their parts, Wendy and Bain appeared unfazed.

“An altercation ensued between Kennet, Kasper, and myself,” I went on. “Kennet killed Kasper, and I began to fight with Kennet. During the struggle, Kennet fell out the window and died.”