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Everybody fixed their eyes on me while I took a seat.

“You’re late,” King George glared.

“I’m sorry. I had to—”

“Enough.” His eyes narrowed.

“Shall we continue?” the Duke insisted.

“Where were we?” The King rubbed his chin.

“The Kingdom is threatened; we have no army,” the Duchess reminded.

“Right. Assemble our strongest men to fight this soon-to-be war,” he grunted. “Now, I must attempt to calm King Ferdinand—”

“King who?” I asked.

“King Ferdinand,” he growled. “ Don’t ever interrupt me again.”

“Yes,” I slumped.

“Meeting adjourned.” He stood. “Thank you . . . most of you.” He scowled at me.

As I fled the table, King George yelled, “Watch out!”

I spun around. The King lunged in front of me, collapsing to the floor.

“Father!” I cried bending down. Blood spilled from his stomach. A note dangled from the arrow that’d pierced him. He looked at me, blinked, and closed his eyes for the last time. Tears dripped down my face. No one spoke. I read the note: The Princess has a choice: Marry me by sunset tomorrow, or her kingdom goes down. I stood with clenched fists. “Never! I’ll lead this army to victory . . . for my father.”


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