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Finn did not beg. He had too much pride and honor to beg for anything. And yet he’d wanted to be away from me so badly, he’d resorted to begging.

“Yes!” He gestured to me. “Look at you! Look at what I’m doing to you!”

“So you know that you’re doing it?” I asked. “You know and you’re doing it anyway?”

“I have so few options, Wendy!” Finn shouted. “What do you want me to do? Tell me what it is you think I should do.”

“I don’t want anything from you anymore,” I admitted, and I walked away.

“Wendy!” Finn called after me, but I shook my head and kept going.

“I’m too tired for this, Finn,” I muttered and went into my room.

As soon as I closed the door, I leaned against it and started to cry. I don’t even really know why, though. It wasn’t that I missed Finn. It was as if I couldn’t control my emotions. They just poured out of me in epic sobs.

I collapsed in bed and decided the only cure for this was sleeping.



It took Duncan twenty minutes to wake me up the next morning, or so he told me later. He tried knocking first, but I didn’t hear that at all. When he moved on to shaking me, it still didn’t wake me. He’d been convinced I was dead until Tove showed up and splashed cold water in my face.

“What the hell?” I shouted, sitting up.

Water dripped down my face, and I blinked it away to see both Tove and Duncan holding their heads. My heart pounded in my chest, and I pushed my hair out of my eyes.

“You did it again, Princess,” Tove said, rubbing his temple.

“What?” I asked. “What’s going on?”

“That brain-slap thing you do.” Tove grimaced, but Duncan had already dropped his hand. “We scared you into waking up, so you lashed out in your sleep. But it’s fading now.”

“Sorry.” I got out of bed in my drenched pajamas. “That doesn’t explain the water, though.”

“You wouldn’t wake up.” Duncan explained what had happened with wide, nervous eyes. “I was afraid you were dead.”

“I told you she wasn’t dead.” Tove cast a pointed look at him and stretched his jaw wide, working out the aches from the slap I’d accidentally given him.

“Are you okay?” Duncan moved closer to me, inspecting for injuries.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I nodded. “Other than being wet. And I’m still tired.”

“We’ll skip training today,” Tove informed me.

“What?” I turned sharply to him. “Why? I’m just starting to get stuff down.”

“I know, but it’s too draining,” Tove said. “You’ll pull a muscle or something. We can practice more tomorrow.”

I tried to protest, but it was only halfhearted, and Tove wouldn’t hear of it anyway. Even after a good night’s sleep, I still felt drained and exhausted. One whole side of my head felt strangely numb, like half of my brain had fallen asleep. That wasn’t true, obviously, since I wasn’t having a stroke, but I did need a break.

Tove left to do whatever it was that Tove did with his free time, and Duncan promised me a relaxing day, whether I liked it or not.

First order of business was changing out of my wet clothes and taking a shower. After I came out of the bathroom, I found Duncan planted on my unmade bed. He started listing all the low-key, quiet things we could do that day, but none of them sounded like fun.

“Would you say talking with friends is relaxing?” I asked, running a towel over my wet curls. Since my head hurt, I wanted to leave my hair down for a change.

“Yeah,” Duncan said hesitantly.

“Great. Then I know what I can do.” I tossed the towel on a nearby chair, and Duncan moved to the edge of the bed.

“What?” Duncan narrowed his eyes at me. I hadn’t sounded excited about any of his ideas, so he clearly didn’t trust whatever I wanted to do.

“I’m going to talk to a friend,” I said.

“What friend?” Duncan got off the bed and followed close behind me as I opened my bedroom door.

“Just a friend.” I shrugged and went out into the hall.

“You don’t have that many friends,” Duncan pointed out, and I pretended to be offended. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay. It’s true,” I said as we walked past Rhys’s and Matt’s rooms.

“Oh, no.” Duncan shook his head as he caught on. “Princess, you’re supposed to be relaxing. And that Vittra Markis is certainly not a friend.”

“He’s not exactly an enemy either, and I only want to talk to him.”

“Princess.” He sighed. “This is a bad idea.”

“Your concerns have been noted, Duncan. And I don’t mean to pull rank on you here, but I am the Princess. You can’t really stop me.”

“You’re not supposed to be talking to him at all, you know,” Duncan said, falling in step behind me. “The Queen talked to the guards after your last visit.”

“If you don’t approve, you don’t have to come with,” I pointed out.

“Of course I’m going to come with.” He bristled and quickened his pace. “I’m not about to let you talk to him alone.”

“Thanks for your concern, but I’ll be all right.” I looked over at him. “I don’t want to get you in any trouble or anything. If you need to stay, that’s okay.”