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Although a mere drizzle fell when Ambassador Arturo arrived at the Alliance camp in the dark hour before dawn, thickening clouds and a brisk wind promised a brief dawn and another storm. He thought of the Wildlands Ants and resisted the atmosphere’s depressing heaviness.
Great commotion at the Medic station drew his attention, but the voice calling, “Arturo! What’re youse doin’ here?” turned him around.
“Barry!” His friend was covered with cuts. “What happened to you?”
“Nuttin’ wort’ worryin’ about. Youse should see da stitches dey’re puttin’ in Trev’s face. What brings youse here?”
“I’ve got some good news for the Alliance.”
“We could use some.” Barry looked back at the Medic tent, and spoke in hushed tones. “Da King’s in dere. De Assassin got ’im an’ dey aren’t sure he’s gonna make it.”
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Relegating her new worry about Cassandra’s safety to her trust in King Arnie, Queen Lilian faced her duty to interview the Alliance leaders she had requested to visit her. Too many lives depended on their secret plans for her to trust Fen’s fate to leaders she didn’t know.
“Commander Torlex of The Arids’ Rebel Army, Sirehta of the Viper Brotherhood, I invited you here to share your plans so that we may coordinate our strategies.”
Chuckling deep in his throat, rain dripping from his protruding chin, and his eyes thoroughly bloodshot from lack of sleep, Commander Torlex turned to Sirehta. “It was your brilliant idea, I think you deserve the honor of sharing it with the Queen.”
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“I remember the process you’re talking about, Arnie.” With her eyes closed, Queen Lilian gazed at the pointed end of a memory that still cut into her heart. “We haven’t used it since Mother died.” She opened her eyes and willed her face to smile.
King Arnie asked, “Could we use it for Randall?”
“Of course. We’ll prepare a work area tonight, and they can bring his body in the morning.”
“Thank you, Lilian.” The King looked at his feet. “I tried to keep him safe, and I failed.”
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