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“Wait, wait.” I held up my hand. “What do you mean, nobody’s strong enough to hold him? I saw the guards contain him in the hall when he was captured. Duncan even helped bring him down.”

“No, Vittra work differently from us.” Tove shook his head and sat down on the opposite end of the couch. “Our abilities lie in here.” He tapped the side of his head. “We can move objects with our minds or control the wind.”

“Loki can knock people out with his mind, and the Vittra Queen can heal them,” I said.

“The Vittra Queen has Trylle blood in her, back a generation or two in order for her to be Queen. Loki has our blood, actually. His father used to be Trylle.”

“Now he’s Vittra?” I asked, remembering what Elora had said about knowing Loki’s father.

“He was for a while. Now he’s dead,” Tove said matter-of-factly.

“What? Why?” I asked.

“Treason.” Tove leaned forward, and using his mind, he lifted a vase up off a nearby table. I wanted to snap at him and tell him to pay attention, but I knew that was actually what he was trying to do.

“We killed him?” I asked.

“No. I believe he tried to defect back to Förening.” He bit his lip, concentrating as the vase floated in the air. “The Vittra killed him.”

“Oh, my gosh.” I leaned back on the couch. “Why would Loki support the Vittra still?”

“I don’t know Loki, nor did I know his father.” The vase floated down, landing gently on the table. “I can’t tell you their reasoning for anything.”

“How do you know this stuff?” I asked.

“You would know it too, if it weren’t for the state of things.” Tove exhaled deeply, seeming calmer after moving the vase. “It’s part of the training you’d be undergoing now, learning our history. But because of the attacks, it’s more important that you be prepared for battle.”

“How do Vittra powers differ?” I asked, returning to the topic.

“Strength.” He flexed his arm to demonstrate. “Physically, they’re unmatched. Even their minds are more impenetrable, which makes it harder for people like you and Elora to control them. It even makes it more difficult for me to move them. And like us, the more powerful the Vittra, the higher the ranking, so a Markis like Loki is awfully strong.”

“But you threw Loki like he was nothing at the Vittra palace,” I reminded him.

“I’ve been thinking about that.” His brow furrowed in confusion. “I think he let me.”

“What do you mean? Why?”

“I don’t know.” Tove shook his head. “Loki let me subdue him then, and he let them capture him here. Elora’s power over him is real, but the other guards…” He shook his head. “They don’t stand a chance against him.”

“Why would he do that?” I asked.

“I have no idea,” Tove admitted. “But he’s much stronger than all of us. Elora wouldn’t be able to hold him long enough for them to kill him.”

“Could you?” I asked tentatively.

“I believe so.” He nodded. “I mean, I’m capable, but I wouldn’t do it.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“I don’t think we should. He hasn’t done anything to hurt us, not really, and I want to see what he’s up to.” He shrugged, then glanced over at me. “And you don’t want me to.”

“You would go against Elora’s wishes if I asked you to?” I asked, and he nodded. “Why? Why would you do something for me and not her?”

“My loyalty lies with you, Princess.” Tove smiled. “I trust you, and other Trylle will learn to trust you, once they see what you can do.”

“What can I do?” I asked, feeling oddly touched by Tove’s admission.

“Lead us to peace,” he said, with so much conviction, I didn’t want to argue with him.



After hearing what Tove had to say about Loki, I wanted to talk to him. He hadn’t been very forthcoming with me, but I had to know why he’d come here. What did he hope to gain from breaking into the Trylle palace alone?

But, much to my disappointment, Loki’s guards had gotten stricter.

Word of my talk with him had gotten out, and the guards decided they needed to work twice as hard to keep me away from him. Duncan had gotten his butt chewed for letting me see Loki at all, and when he finally returned to fulfill his duty as bodyguard, he refused to let me go near the prisoner.

I could’ve used persuasion on Duncan, but I’d already screwed with his brain enough while practicing on him. I’d also sworn off using persuasion on anyone, though I hadn’t told Tove about it.

Besides, it would be good for me to actually use my day off to relax. Tomorrow, I’d go back to training, and I could try to see Loki after that. I was sure I could find a way around the guards without using persuasion on anybody.

I didn’t spend much time by myself, though. Duncan escorted me to my room, and I’d barely been in it for five minutes when Rhys got home from school. He made a pizza and invited me over to his room for bad movies and relaxation with him, Matt, and Willa.

Since I felt like I hadn’t been spending enough time with any of them, I agreed and made Duncan tag along. I sat on the couch and made sure to keep a safe distance from Rhys, but I didn’t have to try that hard because Matt was chaperoning.