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“The Kanin have a huge army, and with Mina commanding them, they’d be fighting against us,” Finn pointed out. “That means lots of innocent people—including my sister—would be hurt or killed.”

“I don’t want a civil war,” I corrected him. “I want Mina deposed. Your kingdom has an army that’s powerful and skilled enough that we’d only need a small number to pull off a covert mission. Maybe ten, twenty of your people could sneak into Doldastam and arrest her.”

“And you think Mina would just acquiesce to the Trylle’s authority?” Finn asked with a raised eyebrow. “That she wouldn’t fight back and summon her guards to slaughter the twenty troops that had come in to capture her?”

“Then they could assassinate her,” I replied simply, and Mia actually gasped at the mere mention of killing the Kanin Queen.

Finn exhaled heavily, looking rather grim. “Now you’ve stepped it up to murder?”

“It’s not murder,” I insisted. “Not when it’s done in protection of the kingdom. If it’s the only way to get Mina out of power, then so be it.”

“I understand your anger and frustration, but that seems rather drastic and dangerous,” Finn said.

“Your family is trapped in Doldastam, under Mina’s cruel reign. Do you really want them to stay like that?” I asked.

“Of course I don’t,” he snapped. “But I’m also not going to suggest that the Trylle start a Kanin civil war when we have no grounds for it.”

“What would be grounds enough?” I asked. “What do I need to find to sway Wendy into thinking that this is a good idea?”

“Short of the Kanin declaring war on the Trylle?” Finn shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“What do you have on the Kanin Queen?” Mia asked. “Do you have any evidence to tie her to any of the shady things that have been going on?”

“Not really,” I said sadly. “There’s stuff that Wendy already knows—like how Mina is acting strange and paranoid. But that’s not enough in and of itself. I think she killed the King, but I can’t go back to Doldastam to find out anything more.”

“What about confidants or cohorts?” Mia asked. “The Queen can’t be causing all this trouble entirely on her own. She has to have people working for her or at least a friend that she’s telling all her secrets to.”

Kennet Biâelse knew what was going on, but he was dead. Viktor Dålig would be far too dangerous for me to confront on my own, and I didn’t have any idea about who might be working for him.

There was always Konstantin Black, but he wasn’t a source that anybody would believe. He’d need evidence to corroborate what he was saying, and I knew he had none.

I shook my head. “Not anybody credible.”

Then something occurred to me. Konstantin and I had been talking once, and I’d been surprised to realize that Mina had been planning all of this for four years. Konstantin had replied that he thought she’d been plotting to take the crown since the day she met Evert.

But that couldn’t have just occurred to her. As power-hungry and greedy as Mina seemed, this wasn’t a new thing. I bet she’d been trying to figure out a way to get the crown since she was a kid.

“I can’t go back to Doldastam to dig up dirt on her, so I’ll go back further,” I said, looking up at Finn and Mia. “I need to go to Iskyla.”

“Iskyla?” Finn asked.

“It’s this tiny, isolated Kanin town way up in Nunavut. It’s where Mina’s from. And if she’s been working on this for a long time—and I’m inclined to believe she has—she probably started out working with someone up there.”

Now that I finally had a plan, I didn’t want to waste another second, so I turned and hurried into Hanna’s room. Finn followed a few steps behind me, telling me to wait a minute.

“Bryn, I don’t know if this is a good idea,” he said as I hurried to pack up my duffel bag. “You have all the tribes looking for you. If you go to a Kanin town, they’ll arrest you on sight.”

“Iskyla’s off the grid,” I told him. “I doubt they’ll notice me.”

“Have you looked in a mirror?” Finn asked dryly.

I’d finished my packing, so I turned back to face him. He stood in the doorway looking down at me, his dark eyes grave.

“Your parents and your sister are in Doldastam,” I said. “Along with my parents and my friends and a whole lot of other innocent people. I can’t just hide and wait for this to blow over. Unless I do something—unless people like you and me do something—this isn’t going to blow over.”

He breathed in deeply. “You’re gonna need to travel fast. The kingdom has a few motorcycles in the garage that nobody ever uses. I’ll get you one.”



The plane dropped in the air, making my stomach flip, and I gripped the armrest tighter.

“We’re just hitting a little turbulence as we come into town,” the pilot said, attempting to comfort me. He’d turned back to offer the words of encouragement, but I’d have felt much better if he’d kept his eyes locked on the controls in front of him.

While I didn’t ordinarily mind flying, this was easily the smallest plane I’d ever been on, and it seemed to tilt and lurch with every change of the breeze. The flight had been a very, very bumpy one, and it had turned into the longest three and a half hours of my life.