Amber loosed a sigh of relief. She was as glad to see an end to this as Payne himself was, even though they both knew that things were far from over. She accepted his offer of tea with a smile.

“Any word from Rose?” she asked.

Payne had sent the message out just over an hour ago. He had hoped that maybe things would change, that maybe, by going along with Prince Dionysus’s plans, Seelie might change its mind, but the Fates were set. Tomorrow morning, the Second Class initiates would board a ship that would take them to the incognito Seelie training grounds of Avalon, some three-hundred miles away. According to his superiors, who relayed the orders, it was a request from the highest echelons of the Court. Payne was not the only one with friends in high places.

“He expressed his disapproval,” he replied, “and informed me his daughter would not be taking part in the excursion.”

“At least that means we can cross her off the list,” said Amber, taking a cautious sip from her cup. “The Prince would have convinced him to change his mind otherwise.”

“Still, that doesn’t exactly narrow down our options. Minus Astrid, Elizabeth and Vesperia, we still have seventeen initiates who fit the criteria. And that’s assuming the soul in question is among them.”

“The Prince seems sure of it this time.”

“He always was.”


Ever since Rosencrantz had raised the issue with him, Payne had kept a close eye on the girl who called herself ‘Emily Fomalhaut’. “She is a unique character, for sure. Captain Espinosa informs me that she had a particular rapport with Princess Phantasia.”

He noticed an amused glimmer in Amber’s eyes. “It seems the Prince has a thing for seers,” she said.

“Who better to see what no one else can? At any rate, we have more important things worry about right now. I had Valentine look into this Avalon place and the more I learn of it, the more I think Rosencrantz has made the right call.”

“He was never one for Seelie’s training methods,” Amber said with a bitter smile. “Have you come up with a plan yet, or are we working through the night?”

“Let’s just say I’m glad we’ve a plentiful supply of tea.”

Episode Two End

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Guirlande hates people calling him Rose.

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