A chance meeting between a prince and a peasant results in consequences that will not only change their lives, but also the kingdom.

Cover by Zillah Designs.


42. Chapter Forty Two: Khyber

      He was dead. My father, the king, was dead.

      I couldn’t believe it. I was numb with shock.

      We hadn’t seen eye to eye recently but he was my father and I still loved him. Now that he was gone the only family I had left were Abelard and Leanda, who I would probably never see again.

      Someone clasped my shoulder, making me look up. It was one of the councillors. He muttered his condolences, saying that to die in battle was an honourable death, before moving to sit with the others. Unsurprisingly we were waiting for my brother, the new king.

      Becoming impatient, I rose to my feet. Everyone else in the room made to do the same but I waved a hand, gesturing for them to remain seated. I left the room, striding with purpose through the Palace.

      I eventually found Abelard in the drawing room asleep in an armchair in front of a fire. There was a nearly empty bottle of whisky in his hand. I sighed and walked over to him.

      “Wake up, Abelard,” I said, shaking him roughly.

      The bottle slipped from his grasp, hitting the thick woollen rug with a muffled thud. My brother’s eyes opened slowly.

      “Hello, little brother.” His lips drew into a lazy smile.

      Kicking his chair, I said, “Get up. You’re supposed to be in the Council Chambers. Everyone is waiting for you.”

      Abelard stretched out his long limbs. “Let them wait a little longer.”

      “Why?” I demanded angrily. “Because you’re going to be the king now?”

      He burst into a grin. “Yes and I order you to leave me in peace.”

      I grabbed Abelard’s collar and hauled him to his feet. “Don’t you understand? They are your responsibility. You have the chance to change everything for the better.”

      Laughing, he pushed me away. “What’s gotten into you, Khyber? You never used to care about anyone but yourself. You were just like me.”

      “I was never like you,” I snarled. “Now go to the Council Chambers.”

      Abelard looked like he was going to protest when the sound of a bell ringing could be heard.

      “Long live the king,” he chuckled, slamming me with his shoulder as he strolled passed.

      I would have followed but I was frozen to the spot. The bell. They were going to ring it at midday. Surely it wasn’t that time already? A glance at the clock on the mantelpiece confirmed what I had feared. The news of my father’s death had made me forget about Samera’s wedding. My heart dropped like a stone and I had to place a hand on the wall to support myself. By now I was too late. Samera was Omer’s wife.

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