Before the Summit
He could feel the familiar anger start to pump through his veins, throbbing through his head with every beat of his heart. “What did you say?”
“I…I’m sorry your highness, but the royal majesties, your parents…ordered all of your weapons be confiscated…in case…in case you try to sneak
some with you.”
She cowered and winced away from his gaze, just another one of boring, terrified little mice that were always hovering annoyingly in his vision. Everything about her, from her cracking voice to her hunched shoulders just made him angrier.
Before he realized what he was doing he had already grabbed the porcelain pitcher of water next to him and tossed it at her head. But like a mouse, she had the audacity to scurry and so the pitcher smashed against the wall, creating a shower of water and broken pieces. That noise, at least, was satisfying.
“You are so predictable it’s boring, dear brother.” He turned his scowl on to the intruder now giving him a disdainful look from where she lounged against his open door. “If you are going to insist on throwing tantrums like you are twelve, you should at least do so in some new, creative fashion that doesn’t leave us short of dishes every month.” His sister gave the mouse, now making some hideously annoying sound between crying and heaving, a bored look. “Go.” At the word of the Princess, the little mouse scurried away so fast you would think he was a circling hawk. Like he would ever be interested in hunting someone like her.
“We can’t all be as creative as you, Gisette.” Jarrod scowled at his sister until inspiration struck. “Which means you can talk our parents out of this madness!”
“Why in the world would I want to do that?”
“You can’t tell me you want to be stuck in some godsforsaken island in the middle of nowhere with dull people doing dull things and not a weapon in sight for seven weeks!”
“We are royalty, brother. It comes with the ability to throw things at your servants’ heads, like you so often prove, but it also comes with costs. This is one of them.”
“I’m not marrying some insipid little girl who is probably hideous just because Father thinks I should.”
His sister arched her eyebrow in the way that she knew annoyed him. “I’m relieved to hear it. I’m not in the market for an insipid ugly little girl for a sister-in-law.”
“If you don’t want me to get married, and gods know you don’t want to get married, why won’t you help me talk our loving parents out of this terrible idea?”
“If you had the ability to listen to something for longer than the three seconds it takes for you to get irritated you would already know this. It’s not about getting married, although I’m sure our parents would be thrilled if we managed to secure ourselves a favorable alliance, it’s about appearances. We can’t afford to let the rest of the world think we are weak.”
“We aren’t weak, so who cares about the rest of the world? It’s not like any of the other pathetic countries could do anything to us even if they wanted to. We have the fiercest army the world has ever seen and the strongest royal family that Revaire has ever had.”
“And even if all those lies father fills your head with were true, which they aren’t, it’s not just the matter of politics or perception; it’s the matter of them.”
“Like they will have any ability to get on the Isle.”
“You and father never cease to amaze me with your ability to underestimate them. But if there is any chance they will take this opportunity to contact people from the other kingdoms, we can’t allow it.”
He looked thoughtfully at his sister. “…You really think they might show up there?”
She shrugged, so casual he knew that for once she meant what she was saying, “Them or their agents.”
He could feel a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “If we find them there, can I kill them?”
“If we find them, dear brother, I will help you kill them myself.”
He could feel his mouth spread into a vicious smile. For the first time since he had been ordered to attend the Summit by his father he found some enjoyment at the thought.
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