Fane woke to a throbbing headache. The last thing he remembered was walking into a dance club with Shelly, Ajay, and the prince. The sky shifted to a soft grey in the window, jasmine dancing against the pane. He scrambled to sit up. “Oh, crap! I’m going to be late.”
He threw on his palace uniform and put his hygiene ritual in order. Flicking at his curls in frustration, he muttered to himself over and over to go get a haircut that evening.
“Shelly!” He almost collided with the short woman on his run out the door.
“Fane! I can’t believe you opened up the map last night. So many people were online talking about the Bone Crowned newb.” Shelly waited for Fane to lock the door.
“Oh, shit. I forgot all about it. Killer headache too. I don’t remember anything before stepping into the dance floor last night. What happened? Wait, we opened the map? So, we made it back to the palace in time?” Fane sagged with relief.
“You weren’t joking about that music, Fane. You seriously don’t remember last night?” Concern creased Shelly’s face.
“Not a thing. I hope I didn’t say anything stupid.” Fane glanced toward the far end of the hallway and Ishan’s door.
“Ajay was whistling this morning. I have a feeling you impressed him. Can’t say you have anything to worry about.” Shelly shrugged and led the way to the stairs. “Breakfast?”
“Yes, please. Something to get the throbbing behind my eyes to stop.” He threw a hand over his eyes as they descended past the eastern window and the pouring morning light.
“Heard from Ajay that he’s transferring over to the girls today formally, so you’ll need to get this headache sorted in time for the changing of the bodyguards.” Shelly opened the door to the canteen. They grabbed plates and slid through the line. Gulping down fruit and eggy rice mixture, Fane desperately tried to pull out memories from the night before. It was a complete blank.
The day proceeded in a mind-numbing flurry of pointless procedures in the name of ritual and ceremony. Fane had no chance to grab a word with Prince Orlov to clarify what had happened the night before. He looked as tired as Fane felt.
Standing out in the training field, they finally had a moment, while watching men run through fire drills on the cement towers, to talk.
“You did great last night. Marmar sent me an email this morning telling me the new section of the map is a desert. No one knew what the new territory was going to be like. Seeing as you opened it, the server admins named it Desert of the Lamp Sleepers.” Ishan smirked before frowning as a man slipped on the fire tower.
“Is this a good time to tell you that I don’t remember last night?” Fane asked and marked a name on his clipboard.
“Seriously? That sucks. You were pretty epic to watch. Had to help you with the bow and arrow, though,” Ishan leaned against the fence railing.
“Bow and arrow?” He waved his pencil for the next batch of recruits to latch into their harnesses.
“I should have you join me on the royal archery field later. You’d probably find it interesting,” Ishan smirked.
“I wouldn’t mind giving it a go.” Fane nodded.
Ajay formally shifted to being the twins’ daytime bodyguard, leaving Fane as the Prince’s daytime bodyguard now. The only time they really were apart was in the evenings when the Prince retired to his quarters, and Fane returned to the armoury, the men, and his room. That was when Ajay returned to the Prince’s apartment. One of the rooms within the apartment was dedicated to the man’s sleeping quarters.
The twins were left with the heir-apparent’s guard in the evenings when the family came back together. Fane had met Zahar several times in ushering the Prince to and from meetings. The man was an old war machine. He perceived the world in cold calculation through flat dead eyes. Fane respected the techniques he had shown in the trainings and simulations he directed over the last half a year.
Chapel Orahamm (C) 2022-2023. All Rights Reserved.
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