Time flew rapidly, setting the day to sunset. Bored, Selunia lay on her back on her new bed. All her enthusiasm had drained away almost completely. The general had fleetingly visited her once, about two hours ago, to bring her some food and tell her that he would come back later.

“Feels like I got into prison. Great!” she muttered to herself, reopening a book from the White Castle. “Hopefully, he won’t keep me like this over the next few days too. I understand I’m not his priority here, but I hope he’ll understand me too when I go out of this room and meet Soris without his help. I prefer working with no ranking at the White Castle than wasting my time here.”

You're reading chapter 9 from The Arid Kingdom series - Book #1, the prince's eyes

Night fell. All the workers gradually withdrew to their places. The patrol started to make its rounds lazily around the palace and the yard, while the rest of the servants were finishing their last daily activities.

Soris wrapped up his office matters by setting in order a heap of folders, which he then put into a cabinet.

The entire population came to rest after work. Only Waltario and a group of soldiers hadn’t come back to their positions in the palace.

Selunia didn’t want to hear about rest right now. A bit angry, she was exercising, creating globes of energy with her special gloves.


Somewhere, on a side of the palace garden, a group of fired-up souls sat hidden by the thick bushes of the hedge. Vittria, along with her barbarian comrades, watched all the slow movement in the yard with much interest.

Reading chapter 9 from book one of The Arid Kingdom series - the prince's eyes

Leido had completed his equipment with thorny metallic armor on his arms, and a breastplate sporting a big lion-head mark—which showed a high distinction from the other members. He said with satisfaction, “I told you they’re very unprepared. After the official end of war two weeks ago, they don’t expect to be attacked. Now that their general is away, not even patrolling is done properly. I’m so glad we took advantage of that wreckage in their north supervising system. All we had to do was make things worse in the tower, faking it to look accidental, and there! We got Waltario out of the palace! E-heh, thinking he’s the only smart one!”

“Sir Leido, I notice you dislike General Waltario,” Vittria said provokingly, posing a sly smile. “I hope you’ve no fear of him.”

“Fear?” Leido riposted indignantly. “Bah! What are you talking about? That Waltario is nobody. I could crush him with one punch. Rest assured, Vittria, I can’t wait to take his position after we conquer this castle.”

“You want to be a general?” she asked, as if surprised.

“Come to think of it, I already am. Who trained these idiots to fight well?” he asked rhetorically, resting his hands on his hips.

The others looked at him, nodding. Though a small organization, they had already ranked themselves based on competencies. Bardan, Vittria’s uncle, was the supreme master, the founder of the group. His son, Fulgerus—away with his father now—was the right hand, and Leido, the general who took care to prepare the other members—their soldiers. Vittria had an important position between them, thanks to her magical powers. She didn’t have a particular title, everybody being content to describe her as the “witch” of their league.

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Vittria slowly made her way through the hedge, closer to the palace. She watched the surroundings with the attention of an eagle. Suddenly she exclaimed, excited, “Oh! There’s the prince! There, on the terrace! Oh, my heart beats so fast!”

Leido approached her and snapped in a loud whisper, “Leave that stupid prince! Are you ready to cast the spell or not?”

“Yes, of course I am,” she hissed. “But have you placed the Xin stones like I told you to?”

“Yes. All four of them, each at one cardinal point round the yard. C’mon! What are you waiting for?”

Vittria, irritated, turned to him. “What are you waiting for? I must climb up there on the terrace to do the spell!”

Leido watched her with doubt. Wasn’t she actually looking for a reason to get close to the prince?

She added in a pitched tone, “Why are you looking at me like that? I must sit as centrally as possible between those stones. Help me sneak up there. You be prepared to distract the soldiers’ attention in case they see me.”

“Hmm, all right,” Leido conceded. He rubbed his thick neck a little, then said, “These guys are so tranquil this evening that I think you can try crawling up there. We’ll stay on guard. As soon as you’re noticed by one, we’ll put him to sleep. Their bad if they see you… Now! Get ready to go now! After those four pass, you have a few seconds to run to that garden and hide behind a tree. You’ll manage from there. It won’t take long to get on the terrace. But as soon as you arrive, get to work. Got it? Don’t waste time.”

“Yes, yes, of course,” she interrupted him, then smiled slyly and prepared to dart.

First part of Chapter 9, The Arid Kingdom series - Book #1, the prince

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